Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Blog Tour: Spine Chillers: The Scarecrow by Nancy Gray


SPINE CHILLERS: THE SCARECROW by Nancy Gray, Mid-Grade Horror, 113 pp., $2.99 (Kindle)


Title: SPINE CHILLERS: THE SCARECROW
Author: Nancy Gray
Publisher: Independent
Pages: 113
Genre: Mid-Grade Horror

BOOK BLURB:

Eleven year old, Sophie, arrives at her Aunt and Uncle’s farm to horrible news: her cousin, Hunt, has gone missing.  When Sophie starts searching for clues to where her cousin went, strange things happen.  The scarecrow wanders around the cornfields at night and murders of crows lash out at other animals for no reason at all.

An ancient spirit wants revenge. Sophie will have to be brave and clever in order to save her cousin…and herself!

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Excerpt:


Chapter 1 – Aunt Angie’s Farm

Sophie leaned against the car window listening to the soothing sounds of the dirt road that threatened to lull her back to sleep. When her head rolled to the side, her glasses occasionally rattled against the windowpane, waking her from her dreamlike state. She glanced at the scenery rolling by like the background of a side-scrolling video game. Even though most of what she could see was the forest, she knew that they had to be getting close to the farm. The oak trees would occasionally part revealing a long patch of clover or grass that looked luxurious in the setting sun. She imagined rolling around in the grass like a happy puppy and then exploring the woods, climbing into a tree or discovering a hidden trail.
Just as she thought that she couldn’t take wondering if they were getting close and was about to ask, she realized that her parents were talking in hushed tones that they thought that she couldn’t hear. They must’ve thought that she was still asleep. She closed her eyes and listened, curious about what they were saying.
Her mother sighed and said, “Sometimes I really don’t know how you two are related.”
Her father chuckled. “Yeah, but at least she isn’t living out in the woods foraging berries or something. Angie’s always been a flake.”
“Do you think that Sophie likes coming here? I mean, the farm used to always scare her so much when she was little, but she acted like she was excited to come this time.”
At first, Sophie thought about telling them that she could still hear them, but instead she just continued to lean against the car door with her eyes shut.
“Well, she’s always liked seeing the animals and I think she likes spending time with her cousin.”
Her mother made a snorting noise and said, “Sometimes I wish she didn’t. That boy is a bad influence on her.”
“I talked to Angie about that. This time, if they want to explore they’ll be going with one of us.”
Sophie frowned at her mother’s comment. Part of the reason why she enjoyed going to the farm at all was to spend time with her cousin Hunt. They were a lot alike. They both loved exploring the farm together and playing with the animals. They even could be mistaken for siblings because they both looked alike as well, around the same height with blond hair and blue eyes. Even though she hated to admit it, her mother was right.  Sometimes Hunt did get her into trouble, but it was always fun. They loved to sneak into places on the farm that they weren’t supposed to go, like the old barn or the woods nearby. Playing with Hunt always meant going on some sort of adventure.
She thought miserably, “It just won’t be as fun if mom and dad are close by. I never get into any trouble at home. Why can’t they just let us play? I guess, at least, we won’t be getting lost in the corn field this time.
Sophie’s dad said in a voice that shook her out of her daydream, “Sophie, we’re here.”
She opened her eyes and stared out the window at the rows of feed corn in front of her, fascinated. The road was so narrow the plants scraped against the sides of the car. She could hear a tractor up ahead and their car slowed down. The tractor motor stopped and her dad stopped the car. Sophie craned her neck and saw her uncle waving at them from the seat of a large, green combine and motioning for them to get out of the car.
Her father muttered, “Looks like Mike wants to talk. Come on, Sophie. Why don’t you get out and stretch your legs too.”
She gladly got out and stretched then ran in the direction of her uncle. He gave her a long hug and said, “There’s my favorite niece. Good to see you, Sophie. Give me a minute to talk to your dad, and then maybe I’ll give you a ride on the tractor later.”
Sophie said, “Okay.”
She thought, “He usually seems more excited to see us. Why is he frowning? Is something wrong?
Her uncle put an arm around her father’s shoulders and walked down the road until they were far enough away that Sophie couldn’t hear them. From the way they pointed in her direction, she knew they didn’t want her to listen in and were talking about something that concerned her as well.
Sophie walked up to her mother. “Mom, can I go look around?”
“Okay, but don’t go too far. I’m going to talk to your dad. Stay close to the car.”
Sophie squinted and shielded the sunlight from her eyes, glancing at row after row of corn. Finally, she spotted what she was looking for and carefully entered the corn, counting the rows so that she wouldn’t get lost, until she reached the clearing. Hanging on a pole in the center of the open area was a scarecrow. Oddly, there were several crows perched on top of it. One was even pulling on one of its button eyes. The black birds glanced at Sophie for a moment with dark, doll-like eyes and then flew away as she approached to get a closer look.
Since the scarecrow’s head was tilted downward she got a good look at its face, and immediately wished that she hadn’t. The head was made of a burlap sack. Even though it was just a cloth bag, the folds around the bottom and the eyes were deep, creating grooves in the material, making the scarecrow appear to have an unhappy expression, possibly even an angry one. One of the button eyes hung limply where the crow had pecked it loose, and the wide brimmed black hat on its head cast a shadow that made the body seem to leer over her like the intimidating silhouette of a villain in a western movie. Sophie stepped back slowly and then turned and ran in the direction of the car, not stopping until she reached her mother. Sophie hugged her tightly around the waist.
Her mother glanced down at her and asked gently, “Sophie, what’s wrong?”
“Can we go?”
She nodded. “Yes, we were just about to go to the guest house and get settled in.”
Sophie got into the backseat of the car and didn’t glance back in the direction of the scarecrow until they were driving. When she did turn to look, even though she knew it wasn’t possible, the scarecrow’s head seemed to be cocked in a different direction, slightly upward, as though it was watching them leave. Just as she was about to say something to her parents, a wall of crows flew up from the cornfield and obscured her view. When they were gone the head was resting down again. Sophie made a whimpering sound in the back of her throat that she was glad her parents didn’t hear and shifted further down into her seat, hoping that even the top of her head wouldn’t show through the back window.



 







Nancy Gray 
 
Nancy Gray has published a number of works including her young adult fantasy series Blood Rain. Her short story “Chosen” appeared in Jim Henson’s The Dark Crystal Author Quest: a Penguin Special from Grosset & Dunlap. Her work also appears in various anthologies.

Nancy Gray has been writing for over ten years. Gray lives in South Carolina with her husband and two daughters. She enjoys books, video games, anime, manga, and horror.
Her latest book is the mid-grade horror, Spine Chillers: The Scarecrow.

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1 comment:

  1. This book is great. Creepy and strange and exciting! A fantastic mix of horror, urban legend, and fairytale.

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