Part of the challenge of writing this series was drawing on historical references to accurately establish not only the setting, but also the dark and mystical practices that were very much a part of the deep south during the time period of the story.
It was always my objective to base The Kure on a derivation—or interpretation—of fact. When I started my research, I discovered an incredible wealth of history, folklore, and legend to support the practice of witchcraft in the mid-nineteenth century, but frankly, I wasn’t ready for what I found.
Disturbing? That’s an understatement. Just ask my husband, who spent more nights than he wants to remember trying to get me back to bed after my nightmares erupted into sleep-shattering screams.
I actually considered abandoning my intention of basing The Kure on fact. I even re-wrote some of it, trying to tone down the graphic nature of two specific scenes. But with each new and diluted draft, I realized that to ignore the ritual’s source and historical relevance—albeit a dark one—would be an insult to my readers.
So what is the historical source for The Kure? In short, the ritual and the scene in the barn when Sarah combines the two spells to release the Kure’s power are based on the recorded practices of the “virgin cure”—the medieval belief that having sexually-based contact with a female virgin would cure the afflicted from all manner of disease.
Yes, I know The Kure has scared the be-jesus out of some of some you. But the realism had to be there because it represented actual demonic practices of the time and place. And even more interesting, your laments over lost sleep have usually been accompanied with the hopeful desire to find the next installment just as scary. And that’s exactly what I was hoping to hear. It confirmed my faith in an intelligent and demanding audience who would not settle for anything short of an authentic and honest portrayal of the darker side of human nature.
In the following excerpt, John Tyler has been cast into a dark and ominous void, held captive by an unseen keeper. When he finally comes face-to-face with his tormentors, he is horrified by their grisly appearance and obvious sinister intent. As they advance, John realizes the wretched beasts are alarmingly familiar, and he fears not only for the few remaining threads of his sanity, but for his very soul.
The eerie quiet was only seconds old when it was broken by a peculiar rustling. John recognized the sound—hide rubbing against hide, a close shuffling, not unlike the thumping scrape of bloated cattle.
“Who’s there?” His cry entered the void as an empty rattle, the words never leaving his throat. Yet the dismal expanse answered, and John struggled to make sense of its reply as the air became choked with hissed whispers resounding as endless echoes in the dark.
Without warning, the ebony shroud was ripped away as needle-thin arcs of white fire raced across an absent sky, the spits of illumination scoring the firmament with revealing clarity.
Forcing his eyes to remain open, John absorbed the blinding flash, and with the light came a revelation more damning than a fate of eternal exile in this cyclopean wasteland.
They were everywhere!
Hovering above and below, they had surrounded him.
Half the size of a normal man, their plague-consumed copper skins mushroomed with ulcerated blisters, and their hideous faces bulged with lesions that obscured deep festering sockets where eyes might have once resided. Spawned from the seed of every wretched curse and pestilence, they were a creation from the devil’s own cauldron, inhabiting this place because no other world would have them.
He cringed as the next wave of lightning exposed their open mouths bared in the perpetual snarl of a rabid dog, their rancid juices spilling over gnashing teeth.
With their purpose as clear as the fear driving his pounding heart, John strained against muscles that were numb and useless. He prayed for a firestorm, with strikes close enough to scatter his fiendish captors. But the next brilliant arc followed the spectral curve of the canopy, its flood of light falling upon a swarming sea of silver talons—razor claws protruding from ragged stumps of bloody, rotting tissue.
It struck him with absolute certainty, the same way the blade of a tumbling knife finds its target—he had seen them before. Not in a half-forgotten nightmare or some tale of imagined horror, but in the carved border of the doctor’s unholy book. These creatures were the embodiment of the images that framed his hand as he willingly placed his palm on the blood-red leather. They were the monsters foretold by ancient warlocks, their sinister forms seared into the book’s cover to warn against the reading of the pages inside. And now he had found their world, a place of anguish and torment, a realm where savage beasts extracted payment from those foolish enough to call upon the power of the Kure.
Here’s a brief synopsis:John Tyler, a young man in his early twenties, awakens to find a ghastly affliction taking over his body. When the village doctor offers the conventional, and potentially disfiguring, treatment as the only cure, John tenaciously convinces the doctor to reveal an alternative remedy—a forbidden ritual contained within an ancient manuscript called the Kure.
Although initially rejecting the vile and sinister rite, John realizes, too late, that the ritual is more than a faded promise scrawled on a page of crumbling paper. And as cure quickly becomes curse, the demonic text unleashes a dark power that drives him to consider the unthinkable—a depraved and wicked act requiring the corruption of an innocent soul.
Ultimately, John must choose between his desperate need to arrest the plague that is destroying his body, and the virtue of the woman he loves, knowing the wrong decision could cost him his life.
For a limited time, read The Kure for only $.99 (Kindle version)
One of my resolutions for 2012 is to read more new authors—especially those whose books normally fall outside my favorite genres. As I began to search reviewer’s blogs for some ideas, I realized how many more people were reading books of all kinds, primarily due to increased availability and choice of low-cost eBooks for the Kindle and Nook. After seeing comments from readers who had decided to read a particular author’s work because it was ninety-nine cents, or in some cases free, I realized a lower price would motivate more people to read The Kure. I decided to temporarily lower the price. I’m calling it “Resolve To Read”, and it’s going on right now. The Kindle version of The Kure can be purchased for ninety-nine cents on Amazon. So if you were planning on buying an eBook version anyway, why not take advantage of the “Resolve To Read” promotion and save two bucks?
Author Bio:Jaye Frances is the author of the new paranormal/occult romance The Kure, the first novel in The Kure series. Her next release, scheduled for March 2012, is titled The Possibilities of Amy, a coming-of-age story about a young man forced to choose between alignment with his peer group and protecting his new love interest. She is also a featured columnist for the NUSA SUN magazine. Jaye was born in the Midwest and grew up surrounded by traditional values and conservative attitudes (which she quickly discarded). She readily admits that her life’s destination has been the result of an open mind and a curiosity about all things irreverent. When she’s not consumed by her writing, Jaye enjoys cooking, traveling to all places tropical and “beachy” and taking pictures—lots of pictures—many of which find their way to her website. Jaye lives on the central gulf coast of Florida, sharing her home with one husband, six computers, four cameras, and several hundred pairs of shoes.
For more information, visit Jaye at:Website www.jayefrances.com
Purchase Links for The Kure:
Amazon Paperback http://www.amazon.com/Kure-Jaye-Frances/dp/1466262966/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1317073140&sr=1-1
Amazon Kindle http://www.amazon.com/The-Kure-ebook/dp/B005P20C5Q/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1328373312&sr=1-1
Barnes and Noble Nook
February 23-26, 2012 (midnight)
Jaye is giving away one Kindle eBook version
of The KURE to a lucky winner.
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