Wednesday, October 31, 2007


Dear friends,
Please come in and make yourselves comfortable. Here you'll find a short PALE IMMORTAL music video, an author introduction, CHAPTER ONE and CHAPTER TWO of the uncorrected PALE IMMORTAL page proofs, plus visual images, mp3s, and text to spark your imagination. You'll also find the prologue to GARDEN OF DARKNESS, the sequel to PALE IMMORTAL.

Simply read the blog from top to bottom. The dates have no significance other than to make the blog work correctly.



Tuesday, September 12, 2006


Sunday, September 10, 2006


From the author:

On a road trip from St. Paul, Minnesota, to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, I stopped for breakfast in a Black River Falls cafe and happened upon a conversation between two men about the Wisconsin town of Tuonela, where they claimed a vampire once roamed the streets.

I introduced myself and asked if they'd mind telling me more. They fell silent, looked at each other, then grudgingly continued. The story they told was so outrageous I decided they must be having fun at my expense. They'd probably meant for me to overhear their conversation; I was their entertainment for the day. Tuonela didn't exist, and we all know vampires don't exist.

In the car I pulled out an atlas and was surprised to find a town called Tuonela on the map. If you were to draw a triangle by connecting Wausau to La Crosse to Portage, Tuonela would be somewhere in the center on the Wisconsin River. That area of Wisconsin was settled by Finns, and if you're up on your Finnish mythology and the Kalevala, you'll know that Tuonela means land of the dead in Finnish.

That left me to ponder about the men and our conversation, and about the vampire they'd referred to as the Pale Immortal. Had they been telling the truth after all? Was I now included in a secret only a handful of people knew? I have no answers to these questions. All I know is that day in the Black River Falls cafe the men told me the town often vanishes, and many don't believe it even exists. In case you think I'm making this up, dig out a map of Wisconsin and try to find Tuonela. Ninety percent of the time it won't be there.

anne frasier

Thursday, September 07, 2006


Babcotte Dirge

A 1912 archived recording.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006


click image to enlarge

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


click image to enlarge

Monday, September 04, 2006


Portishead -- Roads

A crime takes place at this stone wall overlooking the Wisconsin River. Locals call it Lover's Leap, and many towns across the United States have such dark places where people in pain are invited to end their lives. No one know how many lovers have jumped from this very spot. Someone should be keeping track, maybe put up a sign, but the numbers would change far too quickly.
This is the area where Evan Stroud hides from police.

Sunday, September 03, 2006


Billy Holiday -- Strange Fruit

New people come but rarely stay.

At first they are drawn by the charm of the cobblestone alleys and brick streets, by the church spires and dark thickets of trees. But a town that appears quaint from the outside quickly turns threatening, with undertones that make strangers uneasy and paranoid.

A darkness lingers here. A darkness that speaks to Rachel Burton and the people who belong.

Saturday, September 02, 2006


Buildings in Tuonela cling to hillsides and always look as if they're tipping over.

This is the Tuonela Public Library where Rachel Burton checks out a copy of Evan Stroud's new book, TERROR TWILIGHT.

Rachel is standing on the sidewalk in front of the library when a terrified teenage boy comes running around the corner and almost knocks her down.

Friday, September 01, 2006


"If you aren't good, I'll take you to Tuonela to live with your father."

It's something Graham has heard his entire life, and now it's finally happened.

He must go to the door alone.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006


A hundred years ago, in what is now called Old Tuonela, a killer known as the Pale Immortal walked the streets. When darkness fell children were rushed inside, doors and windows locked up tight. Some claimed the Pale Immortal bathed in blood, and that blood flooded the streets until the ground became saturated.
Even after the Pale Immortal's reign of terror ended, people were afraid. His death had come too late.

Many claimed the ground was cursed, and so a mass exodus took place. Every single person relocated to a new development five miles from the old one. A better location, they claimed. And prettier. On a bluff overlooking the river. Why had anyone settled at the old place, in such a dark valley?

Let's pretend Old Tuonela doesn't exist. Let's pretend we always lived here, in the new place.

Even though a hundred years has passed, many locals still like to pretend Old Tuonela isn't just beyond the outskirts of town where the softly rolling hills end abruptly, the valleys become dark and deep, and the roads turn back on themselves.

But if you look closely through the trees you can see it out there, across the Tuonela River. And if you can't see it, you can feel it.

Sunday, August 27, 2006


Neil Young - Don't Let It Bring You Down

Evan Stroud is the prisoner of a strange disease that forces him to live in darkness. While the town of Tuonela slumbers, he roams the streets. His walks often take him out of the valley to a small park. If you were to drive by this lookout point, you might find Stroud gazing across the river.

Saturday, August 26, 2006


Rachel Burton visits Evan and comes upon a framed photo. Even though the blurry image is over a hundred years old, the woman looks familiar. Her name is Victoria and she is one of the reasons Rachel moved away from Tuonela. She is one of the reasons Rachel was afraid to move back.

Friday, August 25, 2006


Leonard Cohen -- Suzanne

the sky darkens
Clouds move swiftly
night creatures appear


Patti Smith - dancing barefoot

A threatening sky above; black water below.
I leave the morgue and formalin fumes behind and follow the mildewed path through stinging nettle and multiflower rose to find myself on the edge of the Tuonela River. The lift bridge rises, the horn sounds, and the barge pushes sluggishly through water that has no bottom.

Monday, August 14, 2006


In the alley, beneath the fire escape, he waits.

Thursday, July 13, 2006


Return to the haunted town of Tuonela, Wisconsin,and find out if the rumors are true.

All roads lead back to Tuonela…

Rachel Burton tried to leave, but the killing brought her back. A skinned body is found in the woods, just as Rachel—the town medical examiner—is driving out of Tuonela for good. Now she must return. Now her baby will be born here, and the betrayal of Evan Stroud—the man she’s always loved, a man who can never see the light of day—will continue to haunt her waking and sleeping hours.

Others are coming to Tuonela, drawn to the legend of the Pale Immortal, the so-called vampire whose exhumed body is on display. And others will die. As Evan succumbs to madness, those around him suspect the worst. But everything he is rumored to be pales in comparison to the one who has been awakened…

Want to know more? Less?

Visit the Kristin Blackmoore link in the sidebar.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006


Where does the wind begin?

A dank breeze rose from the ground like one long exhaled breath. It lifted fallen leaves and swirled them up into the night sky. The leaves moved as if they knew where they were going, as if they had a destination. They flew past open windows where children were tucked in bed, hushed words snatched from sweet mouths and replaced with new ones.

“Where does the wind begin?” one child asked another.

“The Tuonela River,” the other child replied.

“What’s going on up there?” a mother called from below.

The children looked at each other in fear. “Nothing.” But they felt strange. Had a soft hand caressed them? Just a brush down the cheek, leaving a trail of goosebumps behind?

Sweet, sweet babies.

He drew nearer and inhaled their soap scent, and his breath stirred the fine hair on their heads.

Time was different here.

He could smell the river: wet driftwood, shells and bones gleaming on the shore. In the black mud of the river bottom, giant catfish slept the deep sleep in filtered light that was bent and reshaped. Never surfacing, the catfish waited patiently for prey to come close enough to catch and swallow whole.

Sweet, sweet life.

The damp night wind was tinged with sorrow and loss and longing.
Oh, to be complete, to be whole.

Some people said he was bad. But that was like saying a bear was bad when it caught a fish. It was like saying a cat was bad when it ate a bird. It was all about survival and nature. The bear wasn’t bad. The cat wasn’t bad.

He wasn’t bad.

Two places called to him, the old and the new.

For a moment he was confused. In his mind the two places meshed and he couldn’t separate them. Time moved forward and backward and the passage of a hundred years seemed like hours. Time unfolded and turned in on itself and his loss became something that hadn’t yet happened, and the strength and power he’d once known could possibly be found again.

He left the children and soared from the house, up through the roof but not as far as the stars. He joined a flock of night birds as they moved out of town, shifting and changing, blocking the moonlight.

On the ground far below, a man walking his dog felt the curious movement of air. He looked up, his face a white oval. He seemed to shrug and dismiss the sudden heaviness. But when the dog whimpered, he turned and hurried home.

Something was coming. Something had been coming for a long time. Something big. Powerful. Something that would shake the residents of Tuonela.

He soared.

To the old place.

His home.

Over the house built from native stone. Over the bare, rolling hillside that met dark woodland. Through the trees, silent and secret.

A light in the night.

A lantern and the sound of a shovel striking rocky ground.

This must be what it was like to astral project. To find yourself watching yourself. Because the man below was him, but not him.

The dead – they were everywhere. He could see their faces in the bark of the trees and the patterns made by the twisting leaves. Like him, they were looking for bodies to inhabit. Unlike him, they would take any vessel. He wanted one and only one.

The man on the ground seemed unaware of the dead surrounding him. He remained focused on his digging, never looking up. His heart pounded from exertion; steam rose from his shoulders.

Go inside.

The coaxing command seemed to come from the faces in the bark and the faces in the leaves. Who were they?

Don’t you remember us?
Don’t you remember your followers?

One face in particular became more distinct, the voice seeming to separate from the singsong chant of the others.

The scent of sage and lavender invaded his head. And somehow he could feel the softness of her skin under his fingertips.

Come inside, Richard.

Richard. That’s who he was. Richard Manchester, the Pale Immortal. And this was his land -- the land of the dead.

Come inside.

The man below stabbed the shovel into the ground, then released it and straightened, wiping his forehead with the back of his hand.

The night birds were gone. They had done their duty by bringing him here, and now they were asleep in the trees, heads tucked beneath black wings.

Richard hovered above the man with the shovel. Foolish person. Digging for secrets on the ground when the secret is above you. When the secret is in you.