It’s release day for my new spooky book, Watcher of the Woods, aka Haunted Vacation Lesbians as I called it while I was writing it.
After eighteen months staying home under rolling pandemic lockdowns with her girlfriend Joy, artist Thea Palmer has decided the strained relationship has run its course and she’s ready to end it—right after the stress of her birthday has passed.
Unfortunately, her surprise party comes with a special gift from Joy that puts the breakup on hold: a week-long cabin rental in the tiny northern Ontario community of Hope Falls, for just the two of them.
No contact with the outside world.
Joy says it’ll give them the perfect chance to reconnect and maybe restore Thea’s creativity after pandemic stress wearing down her desire to paint. But the cabin creaks at night under invisible steps, and the woods have trees that seem to shift in the corner of her eye. Thea swears she sees a strange white figure on the lake beckoning to her and an empty boat that drifts by in the early morning mist.
And Joy…Joy seems to be someone else entirely.
So it’s not super romantic for Valentine’s Day, although it is about relationships, and how we deal when people aren’t what we want them to be. If you feel left out today with book releases because you like horror, I’ve got you covered.
In my head, the setting of this was very, very loosely based on my favourite place in the entire world: my late aunt Judy’s cottage. In the book, the area is farther north, but in my head it’s Beaver Lake/Catchacoma Lake. And even though it’s the most beautiful place in the world to me, the silence and the darkness are incredibly eerie and the perfect place for a haunted cabin story.
If the cover branding looks familiar, and if you think you heard “Hope Falls, Ontario” before, yes, you’re right! It’s tied to Dweller on the Threshold (50% off for another day for Shawn’s birthday!). But they can be read as totally standalone, as there are hints and easter eggs but that’s it. And although it’s set in the same world, it’s my hope that folks reading Watcher will still be surprised by a lot that they find.
“Standalone haunted pandemic trilogy of childhood trauma with totally safe pets” is kind of a long series title, which is why I don’t use it, but that’s what I’ve called these books in my head (including the third, when I’ve got time eventually [ahahaha] to write it).