Saturday, May 5, 2012

The Monsters in this Book


Stephenia, I am fascinated by your book cover. It is gripping - the eyes over the scene that dominate the sky are frightening. What is the story?

The forboading eyes hidden in the clouds on the cover of my book represents the dark visions the hero, Jim, has throughout the story. His has waking nighmares of horrific monsters coming after him in the dead of night. In the shaddows and mist, a lone voice calls to him, telling him he must help before it is too late...

Here is an excerpt to flesh out the scene:
    It was cold.
    Too cold.
    The eerie silence of a moonless, starless night engulfed him.
    Jim shivered. It had been high noon only a few minutes ago. Had he fallen asleep? He
didn't remember being tired. He shook his head and tried to focus his groggy mind. He peered
around cautiously. Where was his horse?
    A rustling sound in the bushes startled him. His eyes darted to investigate.
    Nothing.
    No, wait. There it was again. Off to the left. His eyes strained, searching for the slightest
movement or shape. Something. Anything.
    Silence.
    He felt like a kid afraid of the dark.
    Get a hold of yourself, man.
    Fingers of fear teased along the back of his neck. The hairs stood on end. He shivered.
Where was that horse?
    "Ciervo!" His voice sounded weak even to his own ears. He tried again. Now he was
completely hoarse.
    Swallowing the panic rising from the pit of his stomach, he took a cautious step forward.
    He heard stirring in the woods behind him. Squirrels? He listened intently.
    The noise came again. No. Definitely not a squirrel. Something was pacing in the woods.
    Deliberate. Stalking. Jim's mouth went dry.
    Mountain lion.
    His heart raced and he looked desperately around, scanning the darkness. Blackness
blanketed the meadow. Jim hoped Ciervo hadn't wandered too far. He started to walk. Slowly.
Calculating. He couldn't tell in what direction he moved.
    His cell! He could use it as a light source. Jim's hand brushed at his hip. It wasn't there.
He frowned. It always stayed on his belt. He never left the ranch without it.
    Jim's eyes strained, but he could barely make out his surroundings. The farther he
walked, the darker it got. His breathing came in quick, rapid intakes.
    A shrill sound broke the silence. His heart leaped.
    "Ciervo?"
    Where was he? Was the mountain lion after him?
    Hoof beats. Thank goodness.
    They were pounding quicker than his rapidly drumming heart. A shadow appeared about
thirty feet in front of him.
    It wasn't his beloved horse. It looked like something galloping up from Hell.
The horrid creature ran wildly toward him. The cold air caused the hot breath to billow
from its nostrils like a smoking dragon.
    The monster's eyes looked like no earthly thing he had ever seen. The bulging orbs had a
luminescent shine that came from deep behind the pupils. In the pitch black they glowed like a
ghostly beacon.
    The horse-shaped beast lowered his head. The creature was preparing to slam into him.
Jim threw himself out of its path and landed sharply on his hip. His right thigh slammed into a
large, extruded boulder. Fire shot down his leg. Ignoring the pain, he jumped to his feet, eyes
probing the darkness for the crazed brute. The ghostly version of Ciervo had vanished.
    Despite the cold, he began to sweat. Jim felt eyes boring into him. Someone or
something watched him. He was exposed. Unprepared. His heart hammered in his chest. His body refused to move.
    Another sound. Different. It wasn't rustling limbs or bushes, and it certainly wasn't the
horse's wild hoof beats. It was quiet, like a soft whisper. Crying? No, calling out for something.
    He strained to catch the garbled words. The voice grew louder. More urgent. Still he
couldn't make out the woeful tone. Then, as if his brain finished translating some cryptic code,
the word became clear.
    "James!"
    Again. Louder this time. "James... James..." The voice rose and fell in the darkness. Its
eerie sound slithered into his ears.
    "Hello?" His voice echoed hoarsely. He held onto a feeble hope the voice came from
someone nearby lost in the dark along with him. No one here knew him by that name. He stood
holding his breath, listening.
    Suddenly, a freight train of frigid air knocked him backward. Terrified, he dared not to
move. The voice came again.
    "You must help. Soon it will be too late--"
     An insidious roar erupted around him. Hot, musty breath bathed Jim's face. He struggled
backward. He couldn't quite make out the figure standing over him. The silhouette was
enormous. Its shoulders spanned at least four feet. An odd-shaped head swayed from side-to-side.
    It growled.
    Paralyzed with fear, Jim lay helpless. The creature rose to stand upright. Seven. Eight feet
tall. Jim gasped for air. His feet tore into the soft ground, trying to gain footing. Desperately
trying to get away. The creature came crashing toward him.

3 comments:

  1. Amazing cover! I'm so glad someone pointed it, because I hadn't noticed! I loved the warm colors and silhouette effect.

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  2. I wondered if people would see it. :) It's supposed to be like a darkness lurking...

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  3. The cover and the excerpt together are gripping! Excellent! Thank you so much for sharing.

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