“The Willow Witch” Teaser!

The Willow Witch

The Nightmare Club #3

I’m thrilled to be hosting Howard Hopkins this morning on Teaser Train. Howard is a Fictionwise #1 Best-Selling and Eppie-nominated author of horror stories and children’s horror stories, which he writes under his own name in the tradition of Stephen King and Dean Koontz. He also writes western stories under the pseudonym Lance Howard. Today, Howard will share an 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.


Learn more about Howard and his books on his Website


Purchase“The Nightmare Club #3” on Amazon





  • Posted December 15, 2011 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

    What a wonderful excerpt, Howard! It’s filled with evocative images and an intense sense of place, as well as lots of mystery! Plus a clear picture of Allie’s yearning for acceptance. Everything I’d want in a children’s horror story!


    Writing as AR Silverberry

  • Posted December 15, 2011 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

    Thanks so much for hosting my excerpt today for Teaser Train, Peter! And for your wonderful comments!

  • Posted December 16, 2011 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

    As a fan of horror, I really enjoyed this excerpt. It put me in the mind of Stephen King’s “It” because of the adolescent acceptance theme similarities as well as the obvious horror element. Great teaser!

  • Posted December 16, 2011 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for stopping by, GE! Howard and Stephen King both hail from Maine. Maybe it’s something in the air!

  • Posted December 17, 2011 at 5:00 am | Permalink

    Sounds like a great story! I loved reading stories like this when I was a kid. I also like Allie’s spunk. Spunk like that is sure to get her in interesting situations!

  • Posted December 18, 2011 at 2:56 am | Permalink

    Thanks very much for the kind words, G.E. & Kellianne! Much appreciated.
    Each of the books in the series tends to focus on a different member, and Willow Witch is pretty much Allie’s book. That girl just won’t stay out of trouble! 🙂
    And, yes, I live about 150 miles south of Stephen King (or “dad” as I like to call him, lol).

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