Hi, friends and readers:
Today is a big day for me as an author. My latest novel, titled The House on Fremont Drive, was released this morning by Dark Hollows Press. Here’s a blurb for the book:
“Eighteen year-old Nate Ziegler has problems. A dead boy’s ghost dwells in the crawl space above Nate’s walk-in closet; the ghost won’t leave Nate alone. Nate’s cross-country teammate is a neo-Nazi astrology freak; he wants to recruit Nate as his disciple. Nate’s new boyfriend is an emotional mess; he’s a victim of physical and psychological abuse. And Nate’s parents don’t even know Nate is gay. How will he deal with it all?”
This is a large book, over 300 pages, and it took me nearly seven months to write it. I had to do a lot of research on astrology, cross-country running, and Nazi mysticism. It’s unlike anything I have written previously, and I have no idea how it will be received by reviewers and readers, but we’ll see. Here’s a buy link to the Dark Hollows website:
And here’s a brief excerpt from the book where the main character, Nate Ziegler, has his first encounter with the undead:
Copyright Jere’ M. Fishback, 2016
I woke to a sound that made my eyelids flutter. I glanced at the alarm clock on my nightstand. The time was around two A.M. A metallic, tinkling noise came from someplace close by, somewhere inside my room. My limbs stiffened when I heard the sound again, and then I heard something else as well: the sound of human breathing.
I crinkled my forehead, already feeling a little scared. What was going on?
Many hours had passed since I’d smoked the Kush at Riley’s house, but I still felt the weed’s effect. My brain seemed fuzzy and my mouth tasted like I’d stuffed a woolen sock inside it. I had jerked off hours before, when memories of Peter and Riley filled my mind’s eye. Then, afterward, I lay in a weird sort of netherworld—half-asleep and half-awake—until about midnight, when I finally dozed off.
Now I sat up in my bed. My sheets rustled and the bedsprings squeaked. The palest glow from a fingernail moon entered my room through the windows, casting a faint rhombus of light onto the room’s oak floor.
“Mom, Dad,” I whispered, “is that you?”
No answer. Then I heard the tinkling sound again—I heard the breathing noise too—and my scalp prickled. Who was in my room and what did they want?
After I’d turned thirteen, back in Seattle, my folks sometimes left me at home by myself while they attended parties or enjoyed their twice-monthly “date night.” I didn’t mind, but I felt uneasy about falling asleep whenever I was alone. Break-ins in our neighborhood happened occasionally and what would I do if an intruder entered our house? What if he attacked me? So without my folks’ knowledge I always kept a wooden baseball bat under my bed—it gave me a sense of security—and now, in my Fremont Drive bedroom, I reached beneath my bed frame to retrieve a 32-inch Louisville Slugger™.
Clutching the bat, I rose to my feet while trying to stay as quiet as possible. The noises continued; they seemed to come from the corner where my closet door was located. I wore only boxer shorts and my bare feet didn’t make any noise when I took a step toward the closet. Already, sweat trickled down my ribs from my armpits. My fingers flexed against the tape on the bat’s handle. Again, I heard a metallic tinkle and the sound of breathing; the noises grew louder and more distinct as I approached the closet. No light shone from beneath the closet door’s lower edge. I took two more steps, and then I heard something else: a moan and a whimper—it was a guy’s voice for certain—but whose was it?
I reached for the closet doorknob; I turned it as quietly as I could. Then I flung the door open. I switched on the closet’s overhead light while raising the bat over my shoulder. I was ready to deliver a nasty blow to my intruder’s head, but…
No one was there.
The only sound I heard was my own breathing. My forehead crinkled while I swung my gaze here and there. Nothing seemed out of place—everything looked normal to me—until I saw the belt. It hung from a hook on the backside of the closet door, just to one side of the mirror, about four feet from the floor. The belt was made of leather, about two inches wide. I hadn’t worn it in a year or more; I stored it with my other belts in a box on the closet shelf. Someone had passed the belt’s strap through the buckle to form a sort of noose. They also enlarged one of the prong holes on the strap so the hole could fit over the hook on the closet door, and this allowed the noose to hang freely.
A shudder ran through me while I studied the belt and tried to make sense of what had just happened. Was it possible I’d imagined the noises I heard? Who knew what people saw or thought while high on Kush? I’d come home from Riley’s feeling light-headed and spaced. I barely spoke to my parents at the dinner table, and then I bolted for my room right after I’d finished my meal. Maybe I had messed around with the belt while I was high. But why would I make a noose?
My mom’s voice sounded in the hallway, startling me.
“Are you okay?”
“I’m fine, Mom.”
“It’s late. Why are you up?”
I flexed my fingers against the baseball bat, feeling confused as shit. Was I going nuts? Had the Kush fucked up my head so badly that I’d lost contact with reality? Honestly, I’d never felt as creepy or bewildered as I did at that moment.
“I’m okay,” I said. “I woke up ’cause I needed to pee.”
A few seconds passed before Mom spoke, and when she did a hint of skepticism laced her voice. “All right, honey,” she said. “I’ll…see you in the morning.”
Wish me luck with this one, friends.