For today's blog, I'd like to share the first chapter of my new novel Hemlock Holler, which will be out in June.
An ancient power swam beneath surface of the earth like an electric octopus. It tentacled out to sacred spots around the globe and summoned both men and monsters back to Hemlock Holler. The strange souls drawn there were prone to regularly committing a litany of unsavory sins ranging from murder to moonshining, pornography to petty theft, and everything in between. But, the Holler and its residents had an unspoken pact. It would keep their secrets, if they wouldn’t reveal the extraordinary events they witnessed within it.
In the not so distant past, it was as common to look out your window and see a man morphing into some otherworldly creature as it was to spy a common grey squirrel. Chants of covens of witches casting spells to the full moon drowned out the cicada’s harsh chorus. And ghosts were as abundant as the Golden Ragwort that grew wild through the woods.
The force seeped out into nearby small, Kentucky towns causing occult occurrences and imbuing the inhabitants with unusual talents. Its influence reached as far as the outskirts of Lexington. In the seventies, a scientist from Transylvania University spent six months prying information from the locals and documenting the phenomenon. He vanished before the study was ever published. And life went on as normal…or abnormal, as the case was.
Then five years ago, for reasons unknown, all things supernatural stopped. Now, an ennui as dense as kudzu blanketed the forest. The only break in the boredom came every summer when punk-country sensation Jezebel Jackson barreled into the region for her yearly homecoming concert. She had moved away to Nashville two decades ago where she started breaking chart records, laws, hearts, and a fiddle at the end of each show, but still considered the Holler home.
So, each June, for three days, she came back and hosted Hootenanny in the Holler, a music festival of bacchanalian proportions. Hordes of hippies with backpacks full of energy drinks and hallucinogenics descended upon the land. They surfed in on a wave of patchouli and transformed the fields and forests into a colorful tent village. The drag queens that made up a significant portion of Jezebel’s fan base erected the elaborate Glitter Dome as their weekend home. And, her punk following showed up with nothing but booze, partied until they passed out on the bare ground, and used leather jackets for blankets and rocks for pillows. Peace, love, music and the unique odor of high-grade marijuana permeated the air for a full seventy-two hours. Bands ranging from Bluegrass to Metal Funk played back to back. Dancing bodies filled the fields. Then, as quickly as they arrived, the Festie Folk were gone back to jobs where they were forced to hide their tattoos under long sleeves and go by their proper, God-given names instead of Starshine or Bubble Boy. And again, for another year, tedium regained its reign.
From deep within its fiery core, Hemlock Holler yearned for something more to happen...something sinister and spectacular…luckily,it didn’t have long to wait.
the bourbonistA, Promoting Debauchery and stamping out political-correctness one blog at a time.