On Location

When The Turtle Boy was first released back in 2003, I included an afterword letting readers know that Myers Pond, where Timmy Quinn first encounters the boy who will change his life forever, was based on a real place, as is the neighborhood in which Timmy lives. The pond is in Delaware, Ohio, which is where I was living when I wrote it. This is not the first time I have used real places in my work, so I thought it might be fun to share a few of them with you here.

The Turtle Boy, Currency of Souls, “Snowmen”, “Mr. Goodnight” – Delaware, OH

Myers Pond

All the locations used in the novella are real and are still there today, though, as documented at the end of the story, a house was built by the pond, which made it private property, and the water was subsequently dyed green, an aesthetic move I can only assume proved fatal for the turtles who once called it home. In the town proper, the economic downturn meant that most of the people you encountered looked dispirited, burdened, a sight so prevalent it inspired an entire novel and the creation of the haunted town of Milestone.

The Hides, “The Acquaintance”, “Prohibited” – Dungarvan, Ireland


Photo courtesy Wikipedia/Mik Herman

The Hides was my chance to revisit my hometown in the south of Ireland and populate it with ghosts and other things. While I took some geographical and historical liberties to service the story, the majority of locations in the book are just as they appear in real life, with the exception of the leather factory (now a block of apartments) and the library (since moved to a new location, though the Old Market House which used to house it, still remains.) The Moresby Buoy (“there was a dead woman clinging to it”) has been restored and stands as a monument to the lives lost when the titular ship was sunk just outside the harbor.

Vessels – Inis Oírr, The Aran Islands


Photo courtesy DiscoverIreland.ie

Located on the west coast of Ireland, Inis Oírr is the smallest of three islands which make up The Aran Islands. With a combined population of approximately 1200 people, I couldn’t think of a better place to send Timmy Quinn, who, by the time we catch up to him in Vessels, is desperate for isolation.

Peregrine’s Tale, Nemesis, The Tent – Hocking Hills, OH


Photo courtesy ExploreHockingHills.com

I’ve been to Hocking Hills dozens of times. With its caves, nature trails, wide expanse of untamed woods, hideaways, and cabins, it’s a great place to get away from it all. And when you find yourself in the forest without a cell phone signal, well, how can you not write a horror story about it?

Nemesis – Adare Manor, Ireland


Photo courtesy Adaremanor.com

In the final book of the Timmy Quinn series, Timmy finds that there are others who share his curse/talent. These people call themselves The Conduits. Led by the mysterious Catherine Moriarty, their base of operations is a mansion, inspired by the very real and very beautiful Adare Manor in Ireland.

Kin – Alabama


Photo courtesy The Miami Herald

I had never been outside of Ohio by the time I took my first road trip. That trip took me through Alabama, some of the best and worst parts of the state. Then I saw a cotton field, something I’d never seen before. I walked through it, watching as the sun hit it just right, my fingers trailing over the cotton, and inspiration struck. While Kin had been on my mind for quite some time, that’s when I knew where it would start. When I returned from the road trip (to Florida), I immediately sat down and wrote the first four chapters of the book. The wind-wracked tree upon which Claire etches her initials and those of her friends, is real too.

Jack & Jill – Logan, Ohio


Photo courtesy Wikipedia

With no disrespect to the people who call it home, there is something very much amiss about Logan. For a start, I have been there three times and never seen more than a handful of people there. On my first visit, a beautiful blonde woman in white was playing a violin on a bandstand at twilight, to no audience. I was convinced she was a ghost. For another, on my last visit, as I was talking with my friends about best places to photograph, a woman burst out of her house and fell to the ground screaming and covered in blood. My friend’s son questioned Heaven as we were walking through the cemetery. There are an unusual number of car accidents there. The worst thing that’s ever happened to a friend happened in Logan when she was a child. There’s a feeling in the air there that’s just wrong. The graveyards are on a hill that overlook the town, and at the opposite end, there stands a parade of mausoleums, many of them sunken, many of them open. I cannot explain what it is or why it is that’s so odd about the place, but Jack & Jill describes it better than I can here.

Master of the Moors, “Tonight the Moon is Ours” – Touraneena, Ireland


Photo courtesy FlickrHiveMind.net

I spent a lot of my childhood in Touraneena, which is where my grandparents lived. It’s a beautiful, rural area surrounded by mountains on one side and endless fields on the other. It’s ancient, steeped in history, an anachronistic paradise for a storyteller. Many of my adventures and misadventures ended up making it into future stories. In the short “Tonight the Moon is Ours”, everything but the supernatural element really happened, though when you’re in Touraneena, it’s not hard to believe all of it could have happened. The fields, the horses, the mountains, the fog that appears abruptly, all of these combined to help influence my novel Master of the Moors.



The Timmy Quinn Interviews

Blu Gilliand over at The October Country (a wonderful blog for all things horror) has just posted the final installment in the Timmy Quinn series of interviews. There are five in all, each one focusing on a different book in the series, starting with The Turtle Boy, through The Hides, Vessels, Peregrine’s Tale, and ending with Nemesis. Blu asked some really excellent in-depth questions about each title, getting to meat of what makes them tick. If you’re a fan of the series, it provides some insight into the development of the books and the series as a whole. We also discuss what’s up next for the Timmy Quinn universe.

You can find the interviews here:

The Turtle Boy

The Hides


Peregrine’s Tale


My thanks to Blu Gilliand for conducting this excellent series of interviews.



While we wait for the release of Nemesis in a few weeks, here are some free reads for you to enjoy.

The first of them is a brand new novella set in the town of Milestone (the fictional setting for my novel Currency of Souls, and the novella Thirty Miles South of Dry County), entitled “When the Shadows are Hungry and Cold”. It’s currently available via Subterranean magazine online, but if reading on your computer doesn’t float your boat, the magazine is also available for digital download on Amazon.com.

Also in the Subterranean Press archives, you can read three more stories of mine for free: “The Acquaintance”, “Saturday Night at Eddie’s” and “Head in the Clouds”. All of these stories are also available for digital download on Amazon.com, Smashwords, B&N, and all digital booksellers, either as standalone stories (“The Acquaintance” and “Saturday Night at Eddie’s”) or as part of a collection (“Head in the Clouds” in Theater Macabre), though they’re all paid titles.

“Underneath” is still available as a free download on Amazon UK.

And as always, The Turtle Boy, the first book in the Timmy Quinn series, which will conclude with the forthcoming novel-length volume Nemesis, is free wherever e-books are sold.

NEMESIS: Five Things You Need to Know

This fall will see the release, in both hardcover and digital, of my new novel NEMESIS, the fifth book in the Timmy Quinn series (the previous books are THE TURTLE BOY, THE HIDES, VESSELS, and PEREGRINE’S TALE.) After inviting questions from fans of the series across Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and my newsletter, I thought I’d take the top five most-asked questions and answer them here. So, without further ado, here are five things you need to know about NEMESIS.

n(5) It’s a full-length novel.

The books in the series are fairly short (THE TURTLE BOY – 24,000 words, THE HIDES – 44,000 words, VESSELS – 30,000 words, and PEREGRINE’S TALE – 10,000 words). NEMESIS, currently (and I say currently because there is some editing still ahead) weighs in at 90,000 words, making it the first (and last) full-length novel of the series.

(4) Everything is explained.

Lots of questions have been raised over the course of poor Timmy’s lifetime of dealing with the disgruntled dead. In NEMESIS, all of them are addressed and explained, and in an organic way that suits the story, not in a “oh, better shoe-horn this one in there or people will complain” kind of way. You’ll learn about the genesis of The Stage and those who created it, how it all works (from the inside), the nature of Tim and Peregrine’s connection, how Darryl Gaines (The Turtle Boy) spent his last days, and what led Tim’s father to do what he did.

(3) It’s the end of the series.

A number of people have asked if there will be more sequels, and while I haven’t fully ruled out the possibility of doing a book of short stories that detail some of the encounters Timmy had in the years between THE HIDES and VESSELS (as mentioned by Sergeant O’ Dowd in the latter book), NEMESIS is the end of Timmy’ story. However, this is not to say that there won’t be a new series set in the same world, and with some of the same characters…

(2) It picks up right where VESSELS left off.

Unlike all the other books in the series, which could be read in any order (though the suggested one would be in the order in which they were published: THE TURTLE BOY, THE HIDES, VESSELS, and PEREGRINE’S TALE), NEMESIS should be read last. It picks up with Tim and Kim a few hours after the events of Blackrock Island (documented in VESSELS.)

(1) Timmy dies.

This might seem like a major spoiler but for the fact that the book is subtitled THE DEATH OF TIMMY QUINN, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise to you to learn that this is Timmy’s final outing. What you don’t yet know is how it happens. Perhaps after all is said and done, a brief coda tells you he dies peacefully at age 91. Perhaps he dies within the first two chapters. Or perhaps he dies briefly only to be magically resuscitated.But if you think I’m ruining the story for you before you’ve had a chance to read it, ask yourself what death really means in the world of Timmy Quinn.

And there you have it. Five things you need to know about NEMESIS. All the books thus far are available digitally from your favorite ebookstore, and THE TURTLE BOY is free if you’d like to sample the first book in the series.

Leave your comment below to be in with a chance to win a signed hardcover limited edition copy of NEMESIS when it’s released this summer!