Archive for November, 2013

GRB betterI’ve noted elsewhere that I’m currently writing two Will Castleton novels at once. We’ll likely see RETURN TO ANGEL HILL, which I’m co-writing with C. Dennis Moore, first, around the end of the year, I’m guessing. That one will combine my Green River and Will Castleton series with Dennis’ creepy, diabolical Angel Hill stories. You can read the prologue in advance here. Then, sometime early next year, we should see PURGATORY BLUES, which is chronologically the second Will Castleton novel, picking up where DEATH SIGHT left off.

And you can read the (current draft of the) prologue to PURGATORY BLUES right here, right now!

PURGATORY BLUES:

A WILL CASTLETON ADVENTURE

by David Bain

I

Dear John:

My bad time, the period during which I thought I was psychic, started after I nearly drowned trying to rescue my friend Boomer from the waves off Gamer’s Key, Florida. There were those in the U.S. Marshal Service who, shall we say, frowned on one of their underlings claiming a connection with the supernatural. Eventually, after I may or may not have freed a young woman’s soul in a cold case murder, and after I witnessed the deaths of several fellow officers in Arizona – deaths I felt I might have been able to stop because I convinced myself I had a premonition – I was sent to you, Dr. John Q. Headshrinker.

My current assignment in your ongoing “Let’s Get Will Castleton’s Brain Back in Order” crusade is to have me write about any  brushes with clairvoyance we haven’t yet discussed and to keep a journal of any new ones.

Alrighty, then.

Thankfully, there haven’t been any new ones in the intervening years.

I’d thought that it all started with Boomer, but now that you make me think about it, John, there was one other time when I had what people into this stuff would call a premonition, a vision.

It was a dream, in college, at Grand Valley State.

One morning, after a beer-soaked night, sleeping through the dorm cafeteria breakfast, I dreamt of a small, angry animal, its thick fur slick with sludgy, grimy dirt, forcibly burrowing its way up from somewhere deep inside the earth. The creature was all fury, all rage and instinct, snarling into my face as it broke through. Its nose and mouth were bloody as it growled to the surface, ferociously working its short legs and razor-clawed paws. It wanted to dig my brain out of my skull, burrow its sharp, snapping, saw-toothed maw into my guts, feast on my screams. It hated me utterly – and I awoke to a bright late morning as it burst out into the dark, humid, grinding midnight of my dream.

The next night, drunk again – hair of the dog, don’t you know – walking home from the bar in a group with four or five of my fellow wanna-be law enforcement majors, we saw a hunchbacked animal scuttling under one of the lights in the empty grocery parking lot behind our dorm. It was a rat. A huge, sniveling thing, working at some hunk of dropped and rotted food from one of the nearby trash bins.

We ran for the poor, startled beast.

It froze in shock.

Hiking boots and button-down flannel shirts were the fashion that year, the rustic look, a grunge throwback, and I remember the rat stood, raising itself on its hind legs, hissing until the first boot connected.

I still hear that hiss in other dreams – sometimes it will come from a monster, sometimes from the Queen figure who haunts the Gray Lake of my dreams. Other times I’ll be having a normal conversation, at Sheets’ Bakery, say, having a donut and a coffee with my girlfriend Candice. And suddenly Candice will stop mid sentence, smile at me – and her face will transform, her eyes going black, her face going pale as death, her teeth growing fanglike.

And she’ll his at me with all the hatred of that long-ago animal.

My buddies and I kicked the rat around like a soccer ball before it made a limping escape into the overgrowth behind the lot. The rat would skitter across the pavement, try to catch hold of the macadam with its claws, then roll straight into another boot. It was airborne a number of times. It screeched, skittered and screamed. I hadn’t known a rat could scream.

We battered the thing with our feet for probably only a minute or so, but it felt like ten – a joyous raucous decade of minutes as we drunken soldiers chortled, cheering each other on, our laughter echoing off the high brick walls of the dorm, the low slabs of the back of the nightlit grocery store.

The thing was struggling for breath as it lurched away into the weeds. I can’t imagine how much damage it had taken. I can’t imagine it lived – but, then again, rats are supposedly a tough breed.

It wasn’t until the following morning, a wicked hangover chafing at my brain, that I made the connection between my dream the previous morning and the piece of vermin we had kicked within an inch of its life. I was trying to wash the stale paste of too many beers off my tongue when the realization kicked me in the gut.

The reason I’m writing about this in the journal you suggest I keep, John, is that, this summer, I’ve been having that same dream again – the dream I had the morning before we kicked the shit out of that poor rat. I’ve heard its hiss in bad dreams dozens of times between now and then, but, this summer, the rat seems to be snarling deep down in the earth, struggling, growling, madly digging to rise once more to the surface.

And – I know it’s just a rat, just a rodent – but there’s a definite, distinctive, unmistakable tone to its growling.

It wants revenge.

Click to check out more Will Castleton books and stories

underwater scene with bubbles and sunraysby David Bain

You may freely copy and repost or reprint this article as long as all links, the above byline, this note, and all following text remains unchanged.

My series character Will Castleton happened accidentally. I didn’t start out planning him to be a series character at all. Then I had editors asking for a vampire story, a ghost hunter story, etc., and I just sort of plopped Will into each piece instead of inventing a new character. He’s the same guy in these stories, just at different points in his life. By the time I realized I had to get serious about Will, the chronology was all over the place – and that’s the current state of things. I hope to fix this over the next several years, and most readers are sticking with me despite the jumps in time. (And I herewith thank them graciously for this!)

Still, I feel a few things need to be explained. First off, here, presented chronologically, are the different periods of Will’s life I’ve written about so far (or am writing about in a uncompleted work in progress), and the short stories or NOVEL titles that go with that period.

1. Rookie U.S. Marshal (DEATH SIGHT)

2. Green River County Sheriff’s Deputy (PURGATORY BLUES, HOMEWARD DEVILS (flashback scenes))

3. Reinstated U.S. Marshal (Phoenix Blood, Island Ghosts, MENGER, RUNNING)

4. Bodyguard for hire (RETURN TO ANGEL HILL, Unnamed Vance Lee Gentry/Will Castleton story, Unnamed Rafe Johnson/Will Castleton story)

5. Paranormal investigator (The Bridge, Samantha, HOMEWARD DEVILS, CHOOSE, Nighteyes, THE HOUSE IN CYRUS HOLLER)

A couple additional notes: A few reviewers and commentators have noticed that while Will’s girlfriend is named Candice in his “origin” novel DEATH SIGHT, his girlfriend is named Samantha in three of THE CASTLETON FILES – which, in fact, features a story (at least partially) named after her.

Just to clarify – I didn’t screw anything up here. Candice and Samantha are not the same person. A few readers have also commented that they like Samantha just a little bit more than Candice. Well, that’s good, actually, because that’s the way I planned it. 😉

Sometimes we have to go through a lot of relationships before we find the love of our life – and even then it’s not always easy. I wanted Will’s larger story arc to reflect that.FILES PLAY

As I noted above, the Will Castleton series sort of snuck up on me. I wrote “Island Ghosts” out of the blue one afternoon because I wanted to write an action story set in a version of a place where I’d vacationed. (While it’s a Florida key in the story, I actually based it on Dauphin Island, Alabama.) I thought the story was a one-off. I never intended to write about Will again. But then various editors wanted this or that sort of story so I wrote to order, stirring Will into the mix because, well, he was there, ready to go. I was in way too deep before I realized I was fascinated by the guy and would be with him for the duration, obligated to fill in the holes in his story arc.

So THE CASTLETON FILES represent a wide swath in Will’s life, several long years, taking him from single young U.S. Marshal to more seasoned and romantically involved private investigator.

Possible Return to Angel Hill 3For better or worse, this writing-out-of-order trend will probably continue for a little bit, too. Two writers working together write faster than one, and it’s looking like the next Will Castleton novel to be released will be RETURN TO ANGEL HILL, wherein C. Dennis Moore and I combine our various series characters and settings, taking Will from the realm of my Green River crime and horror to Dennis’ diabolical city of Angel Hill.

Sometime early next year we should see PURGATORY BLUES, which is the direct follow-up to DEATH SIGHT. As far as Will’s relationship status in PURGATORY goes, I’ll only comment that both Candice and Samantha make at least an GRB betterappearance. Uh-uh. Nope! Not saying anything more than that! Can’t make me! Lalalalalala! <fingers in my ears> I can’t hear you!

While each Will Castleton story is designed to stand on its own, I plan to eventually have a larger, relatively seamless over-arcing storyline. However, I like the idea of being able to write about Will at any stage of his life, and I’ll reserve the right to jump between, as long as it doesn’t mess with the over-arcing story.

I love the action, romance and suspense in Will’s stories, and I love the thrill and challenge of filling in the blanks in his larger narrative. So far readers have been quite supportive of Will’s time-jumps, and I appreciate everyone bearing with me! I’m in for a long journey – thanks for joining me on this exciting ride!

Where are the new movie reviews?

Posted: November 4, 2013 in Uncategorized

So a few of you have been asking – why no new movie reviews lately?

Dennis and I are putting the Dave and Dennis Reviews on hiatus in order to finish RETURN TO ANGEL HILL, our novel combining his Angel Hill  series with my Will Castleton and Green River books.

We’ve enjoyed these reviews too much to give them up, though. So they will be back, probably around Christmas/New Year’s sometime…