Friday, August 17, 2012
Author: Joseph M. Horodyski
How long it's been on sale: May 19, 2012
Current price: $9.99
Total sold so far: 2
Link to book on Amazon: Shadowlawn
There was a secret once kept by the Catholic Church, one long since lost. Before the dawn of modern civilization, mankind worshipped a different set of gods - darker and more primal. It was around these that early man built a whole system of worship and service. It was a time when every dark night brought with it the fear of death and unspeakable danger lurking in every dim recess. With the coming of the world's great religions these gods were pushed aside and forgotten, relegated to the province of myth or of dimly remembered tales told around campfires. While the human race has long forgotten its association with these beings, they have never forgotten us. The doorway is now open - and man is totally unprepared for what is about to come through.
On a lonely windswept isle off the coast of Massachusetts, a group of eight individuals gather one weekend to assess the state of a long disused manor, Shadowlawn, now up for sale. In so doing they accidentally unleash a string of events that paves the way for the return of these beings. From musty secret passages to dark unholy chapels, from bone-filled catacombs and lonely windswept sand-duned beaches to a gut-wrenching climax played out in a dank and disused lighthouse, these eight disparate individuals are about to fight mankind's final battle against the ultimate, unspeakable evil. With the help of a benevolent spirit trapped on the island, the secrets of Shadowlawn are laid bare one by one until they finally see the light of day - a day that will ultimately end in either humanity's salvation, or its eternal damnation.
First 300 Words:
If you should happen to find yourself driving up the coast from Boston a short way and come to town of Ipswich on old Rte. 133, and have a little time to spare, take Argyll Rd. that leads east from the town to the Atlantic coast about 6 or 7 miles. Once you hit the water park your car and take a look at the vista before you. To your left, across the bay, you'll see Plum Island State Park, one of the most popular bird sanctuaries and nature reserves on the eastern seaboard, and one made almost entirely of shifting sand dunes and tall saw grass. To your right, the rocky coast that seems to stretch out into the Atlantic like a thumb pointing the way, is Cape Ann, a tourist's and artist's haven, attracting people from all across the globe each summer. That little town off in the distance is Pigeon Cove, at the very end of the Cape. The other side of the Cape shelters such well knew locations as Gloucester and Rockport.
But turn your attention to the peninsula you're on. The very end of it is known as Castle Neck, probably named from an old fort or other defensive structure that used to guard the harbor in colonial days. Look a little closer across the windswept bay to a small spit of land about a mile or two out in the bay. That's known as Seaview Island. If you happened to have a handy set of binoculars on you, you could just about make out a cluster of buildings on the island, but not well enough to see any of the features or architecture that you could appreciate.
Seaview Island was uninhabited through much of its history, until about 1880 when the fledgling Coast guard put up an eighty foot tall lighthouse on one end as a precaution against sailing vessel from coming to close to the rocky coast, especially if a gale or strong nor'easter was blowing in from the Atlantic. About two miles long and only a mile in width, the lighthouse stood on a rocky promontory at the northern end of the island and beamed its welcoming light seaward for over a century. The middle of the island was rocky, hilly, and heavily wooded, not much good for growing things. The southern end of the island was mostly sand and dunes that the winds would play with and form into an ever-changing array of shapes and patterns, the result of eons of ocean waves and currents smashing onto the island, reducing it at that point to fine particles of cream-colored sand.
The lighthouse stood alone until 1905 when it was joined by a 40-room stone structure of arched roofs, turrets, gables, widow's walks known collectively as Shadowlawn Terrace, or just Shadowlawn, as it quickly became known to the locals. Shadowlawn was the brainchild of millionaire inventor Nathaniel Hammond III, who made his fortune in hundreds of patents during that technological boom that took place around the turn of the century when even electricity was a mysterious force to be reckoned with. He had it built to his own specifications with the structure and furnishing imported stone by stone from the best castle ruins scattered across Europe, and included a family mausoleum, an indoor aviary, fountains, arched walkways, and spring fed pool. Hammond meant it to be the future home of his family for generations to come, but his time spent there was neither happy nor brief. Expecting his first child of the latest Hammond generation, he and his pregnant wife went down on the Titanic in 1912 returning from a European vacation and both were lost.
Comments: I like the lighthouse picture. Unfortunately, it doesn't say "Horror" to me at all. The stormy clouds maybe hint at it, but I think the cover needs more to make it look like a horror novel. I want to see some blood on it. Or a dead body. Or a weapon. Something scary. The lighthouse kind of looks peaceful, you know? I'd also suggest a different font. I'm not a big fan of the current one. I'd also get rid of the "A Classic Tale of Modern Horror." This is what the picture on the cover should show. I'd go look at some other horror novels and see what's on the cover, and study how the cover shows the genre. (And don't look at the popular authors, because the name alone will tell the genre. Study some unknown author covers, ones that are selling well.)
The description needs some scissors taken to it. I actually think the first paragraph can be cut altogether. It's all back story. You don't need it in the description. The second paragraph is much better, but can be trimmed up too. I like some of the things in there, I would just edit it to get to the good stuff. If a description is overly wordy, I always assume the book will be as well. Don't give your readers the impression the book needs a pair of scissors. Trim up that description and the book will be much more appealing. I'd also like to know who the main character is.
The beginning of the novel didn't grab me. It was all back story. Things like this are great for the author to know, but I would chop off all the back story from the beginning, and start where the story actually starts. I also see some editing issues, and some wordiness. I might suggest hiring an editor to help with those issues. (Example: Once you hit the water park your car...)
One last thing. $9.99 for the ebook? I wouldn't expect people to pay that much for an unknown author. Lower the price to $3.99 to $2.99 range.
What do you guys think?