Howard Hopkins – In Memoriam

Howard Hopkins, Author

Howard Hopkins, Author


In December, I posted an excerpt from Howard Hopkins’ children’s novel, “The Willow Witch.” Sadly, Howard passed away recently. He was a talented and prolific author. He penned westerns under the pen name Lance Howard, and horror novels under his own name; including The Chloe Files series for adults; and The Nightmare Club series for children, age eight up. He also wrote a number of classic pulp and adventure characters for anthologies and novels–including The Green Hornet, The Avenger, The Spider, Sherlock Holmes, and The Lone Ranger. He edited for Moonstone Books.


Howard joined a group of authors on Teaser Train, a weekly blog tour featuring novel excerpts. Those of us on the Teaser Train are honoring Howard’s life by honoring his work: This year, we’re committed to reading something Howard wrote, and posting a review. I invite all of my followers to join us.


There are links at the bottom of this post to Howard’s website and all of his books. Below is the excerpt from his children’s horror novel, “The Nightmare Club #3: The Willow Witch”:

Allie May Carpenter knew she had seen a witch flying across the face of the moon three nights ago after she and the Nightmare Club solved the case of the dragon boy’s ghost.

She’d only caught a glimpse from the corner of her eye, but she had seen the witch, cape fluttering out, black as night, headdress billowing, whisking on a broomstick through the frosty November sky.

That’s how she came to be at the wooden bridge on the old road leading out of New Salem, Maine, heading towards the creepy New Salem Cemetery. She was sure the witch had flown in this direction.

The night carried a brisk chill and the full moon glowed like a big orange pumpkin in a sky speckled with diamond-chip stars. She shivered beneath her New York Yankees windbreaker and her ponytail, sticking out of the back of her Yankees baseball cap, bobbed as she pedaled across the rickety bridge. She remembered this bridge only too well. Not too many weeks ago, on Halloween, the ghost of the Headless Paperboy had haunted it, kidnapping unsuspecting kids and taking their heads because he wanted revenge on the school bully, the Gibb. The Gibb was lucky to be alive, she thought, because it seemed every ghost in New Salem was out to get him and that didn’t surprise her. The Gibb dressed like a 1950s’ reject in a leather jacket and had greasy, slicked-back hair in a “duck tail” style. He was always tormenting some poor kid and had been responsible for the Headless Paperboy losing his head in the first place, and for the dragon boy getting smooshed by a train.

Allie wouldn’t be surprised if the Gibb had somehow awakened the New Salem Cemetery Witch, too.

Allie May Carpenter liked to be called by her nickname, “Alliecat”, by her friends. Well, if she actually had any friends, except for those misfit kids in the Nightmare Club. She wasn’t even totally sure they were her friends, because they wouldn’t let her join their ghost hunting group and constantly called her a pest.

She supposed she was kind of a pest, but she wanted in, and sooner or later they were going to let her join. She had already convinced one of the members, Moose Turcot, because he was sweet on her, to accept her as a member, but the rest would be a tougher sell. Still, she bet if she found out something about this witch that would do it. They’d have to let her into the group, then!

Unless of course she got herself kidnapped again and this time nobody was around to save her.

Dead leaves swirled up around her bike tires as she pedaled towards the cemetery. Woods rose up to either side of her, dark and eerie, and the stench of rotted leaves filled the frosty night air. Moonlight cut across the old road in jagged patches, like orangey skeletons lying on the ground. Her front tire thumped in a pothole and she nearly flipped over the handlebars, grabbing them hard at the last minute to stop herself from ending up in the road.

Sheesh!” she muttered, sweat trickling from her brow, despite the chill in the air. She couldn’t help it. She felt a little scared now that she was actually out on the road leading to the cemetery. Alone.

A sound came from the forest, a screech of some sort, probably an owl. A rustling noise followed the screech, like an animal dashing through the brush. She shivered. This road sure was creepy at night. Maybe this hadn’t been such a sweet idea after all.

No, she had to go through with it and prove to those guys she was worthy enough to join their group. A woman had to work twice as hard as a man in this world, after all, at least that was what she had heard, and they were all a bunch of male chauvinist pigs! But she would show the Nightmare Club she was just as good as any of them, maybe even better.

That’s when something black flew across the face of the full moon.



List of Howard’s books:




Howard’s Website

The Willow Witch

The Willow Witch




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