Former Haunted House Owner
Marion wasted no time trying to work the devil out of Jimmy. He was five now. Old enough to know better. Old enough for it to be clear that behavior like running around inside and not doing your chores on Saturday was not tolerated. There were two special places for little boys that didn't listen. One was called Time Out, just like on Oprah. Grandma Marion would lock him when she needed to learn him. The door to that hallway closet had a lock on the outside, and once he was in and it was latched the preacher on the radio would start talking about sin. He was wicked. Jimmy knew 'cause sometimes grandma would yell, "Hear that, boy?" Of course he heard it. That's how he knew the other special place was hell. Jimmy's heart would beat so fast. Jimmy didn't know this wasn't normal. Jimmy just knew time out, with the foam heads from when momma wanted to be a hair dresser someday, and the scritching of rodents just the other side of the rotting walls, and the one beam of light under the door which made it seem like everything in there was monsters. It was like that 'til he was nine or so. That's when the ambulance came for grandma. Jimmy wasn't sure how long he'd been in time out, but he sure was hungry.
Things got better once James left Taliaferro County. Since there was no parent or guardian who could properly provide a safe and nurturing environment for a child, he became a ward of the state. Thankfully, it didn't take long for James to be placed into a foster home in Augusta. The Rance family was incredibly kind to him, and showed him a love and support James had never experience. And school! James never went to school before Augusta. He was an excellent reader, but not very good with number. But he was bright, and he was determined, and he caught up in a few years. Not that school was all that easy, either. He was tall and skinny, and once people found out he was a foster kid, teasing was not far behind. But with a loving and supporting home, and loads and loads of therapy, he was able to find some semblance of peace. An important part of that peace was finding an outlet in writing.
His writing began while in high school. James was drawn to movies and television he was finally allowed to watch, and that interest was strongest in the horror genre. He loved it all, from classic black & whites of classic Universal monsters, to the latest B-movie flop. There was something empowering about facing fears and coming across the other side unscathed. This love of horror gave voice to his dark imagination, imagination that without an outlet and without a supportive home life might have manifested outward. So he wrote. They were short stories at first, full of symbolism and dark intent. They grew longer and more involved. Truly dark things were kept away from his foster parents, as he wouldn't want them to worry. James had his heart set on attending Emory College, but he had above average but far from exceptional marks, and he didn't interview well. He started his collegiate career at Savannah State University. During his second year, he applied to a number of Creative Writing programs. Hamilton College took notice of his portfolio, and he received not only an acceptance letter but also a modest scholarship to boot.
In college, James flourished. He truly became comfortable in his own skin, and with his place in the world. He became active in environmental groups and helped found the campus Humanist, Atheist and Agnostic Society. He majored in Creative Writing, with a minor in Psychology. He read everything he could on the psychology and biochemistry of fear, true crime, and mythology, all in an effort to truly reach the primal corners of his readers' imagination. And he discovered girls. Or was it that girls discovered him? He led a perturbed, introverted, sheltered life and college was an awakening. He was attractive enough, slender, and a sensitive artistic type who became very popular with a subset of the campus population. His social life included lots of trips to Albany and, every so often, Boston. A city whose vibrancy he came to love.
After graduating with his Masters's, he made the move to Brooklyn. James found roommates in a terrible apartment Flatbush, got a terrible retail job at Hot Topic, and got to work on his writing. It was a difficult first year there, going hand-to-mouth on a pittance of a paycheck. While at work at Hot Topic, he'd had the idea to make a year-round haunted house. He pulled together loans and maxed out credit cards, and bought and refurbished Smith Infirmary in Staten Island. He turned it into a gothic asylum nightmare house. Local theatre students committed to scary the holy hell out of people. It was fantastic, and James decided he never wanted to work for anyone again. He would write, he would scare the ever-living hell out of people, and he would love life as it came.
2010 was a banner year for James. His first novel, Hater, was released to rave reviews. Over the next few years, he would go on to release Dog Blood and Them or Us. A two-year lull in his writing followed, wherein he focused on developing the haunted house into a premier horror establishment in the five boroughs. But he came back strong, releasing A Head Full of Ghosts to critical acclaim and earing the Bram Stoker award in the process. His most recent novel, Disappearance at Devil's Rock, was similarly well-reviewed. In a phrase, he'd made it.
James has been in Brooklyn for over a decade now. The terrible apartment is now a very nice townhouse and he no longer lives with roommates. Girlfriends have come and gone, but he's never felt the need to really settle down. The haunted house became so successful that he had to choose which one to continue with, and he chose the writing. His books are now popular enough, and he prolific enough, that he could survive on advances alone. He's loving what he does, even though from the outside looking in it seems dark and macabre.
⤑ RAISED IN RURAL GEORGIA
⤑ MOTHER AND GREAT-GRANDMOTHER SHARE FIRST NAMES
⤑ SUBJECT TO FEAR-BASED ABUSE AS A CHILD
⤑ STUDY OF PSYCHOLOGY; FOCUSED INTEREST IN FEAR
⤑ TALL, LANKY FRAME
UNLOCKED POWERS & Abilities
🔓 GENIUS-LEVEL INTELLECT
🔓 ADVANCED PSYCHOLOGY KNOWLEDGE
🔓 ADVANCED CHEMISTRY KNOWLEDGE
🔒 FEAR TOXINS
🔒 ENHANCED AGILITY
🔒 ENHANCED HAND-TO-HAND COMBAT
🔒 SCAREBEAST TRANSFORMATION
🔒 MEMORIES OF BAT-ROGUES
🔒 MEMORIES OF GOTHAM
🔒 MEMORIES OF ARKHAM ASYLUM