Blog Tour: The Secrets of Hawthorne House by Donald Firesmith with Excerpt and Giveaway

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Blog Tours

Today’s stop is for Donald Firesmith’s The Secrets of Hawthorne House . We will have info about the book and author, a great excerpt from the book, plus a great giveaway. Make sure to check everything out and enter the giveaway.
Happy Reading 🙂


Matt’s life changes forever when a family of druids moves into the
dilapidated Victorian mansion next door. The story of an unlikely
friendship, the clash of two completely different cultures, secret
magic, and a search for the lost Hawthorne treasure.
Fifteen-year-old Matt Mitchell was having the worst summer imaginable. Matt’s misery
started when a drunk driver killed his mother. Then his father moved
him and his twin sister to the small town of Hawthorne in rural
Indiana, as far as his grieving father could take from the ocean that
Matt’s mother had loved. At the new high school, three bullies are
determined to make Matt miserable. And to top it off, Matt learns
that the recluse who lives in the ‘haunted house” next door is
none other than Old Lady Hawthorne, the town’s infamous witch and
murderer. Matt’s terrible summer is turning into an awful autumn
when something quite unexpected happens. Old Lady Hawthorne’s niece
and her three children arrive, and Matt meets Gerallt.

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Hawthorne House

The sun had just set as Matt, now transformed into a youthful vampire, walked out his front door to join Gerallt and Gareth for their planned evening of house-to-house candy extortion. Rising in the east like a pale pumpkin in the sky, a full moon peeked out from behind wispy translucent clouds. The temperature was dropping rapidly, and Matt drew his cheap black and scarlet cape around him with a flourish before striding out into the gathering darkness.

A thin mist was rising from the dew-drenched grass, forming a low layer of fog that darkened the shadows beneath the row of oaks lining Hawthorne Drive. Matt looked next door at the old Victorian mansion and was amazed by its transformation. Each tall window of the Hawthorne House framed a single colorful candle, burning with flickering flames of yellow, orange, or red. A few candles even burned with the same sickly shade of green that illuminated the bottom of the twin streams of smoke rising from the mansion’s massive stone chimneys. The green glowing smoke bubbling out of the chimney pots rose only a few feet before cascading down the gabled roof to become a low-lying fog. Matt was surprised to see a black shape suddenly swoop through the smoke, only to be followed by another and yet another. Large bats fluttered around the twin chimneys and the three towers, feasting on clouds of ghostly moths seemingly drawn to the pale green smoke. Matt had seen the occasional brown bat before, but never so many and never as big as these.

Only the short attic windows were without candles. Yet, while watching in wonder at the fluttering forms, Matt would have sworn that out of the edge of his vision he had seen a pale figure briefly looking back at him from one of the darkened windows. He looked back at the window, but the ghostly shape had vanished as quickly as it had appeared. It sent a shiver up his spine.

Walking slowly over to the Hawthorne’s gate, Matt admired the fantastic cobwebs that covered their fence, bushes, and even the lower branches of the trees. Not the thick cottony store-bought stuff he’d seen at the neighbor’s houses, they appeared to be real spider webs. Each one was outlined in diminutive droplets of dew and hosted what looked like a large black spider sitting smugly at its center. Matt was impressed; the webs looked expensive, and it must have taken lots of work to drape them so realistically.

The gate creaked mournfully as Matt opened it. Thirteen of the most intricately carved jack-o-lanterns he’d ever seen lined the front walk. Each had a different expression, some friendly and some almost terrifying, and every one worthy of wonder and envy. They were so incredible that Matt thought Gwyneth, her  mom, and great aunt must surely have worked all day on them.

The fog was getting thicker. Gazing into the darkness on either side of the twin rows of carved pumpkins, he could just make out fairy rings of large, white toadstools around teepees of dried corn stalks and several giant pumpkins at least a yard across. To his right, what looked like a real skeleton hung suspended by a hangman’s noose from a lower branch of the huge oak in the corner of their front yard. To his left, another pair of realistic skeletons sat hand in hand in the small gazebo next to the fence between their houses. Clearly, Matt thought, the Hawthornes went all out on Halloween.

The covered porch was lined with more of the marvelous jack-o-lanterns. Cobwebs hung from the newly painted gingerbread trim and between the ornately turned spindles of the recently repaired railing. Leaning over to take a closer look at one of the webs, Matt jerked back in shocked surprise. Both the big black spider and its web were real! Turning in amazement, he went to the windows for a better look at the colored candles; they too were real with flickering flames burning yellow, orange, red, or green.

A geek by day, Donald Firesmith works as a system and software engineer
helping the US Government acquire large, complex software-intensive
systems. In this guise, he has authored seven technical books,
written numerous software- and system-related articles and papers,
and spoken at more conferences than he can possibly remember. He’s
also proud to have been named a Distinguished Engineer by the
Association of Computing Machinery, although his pride is tempered
somewhat by his fear that the term “distinguished” makes
him sound like a graybeard academic rather than an active engineer
whose beard is still slightly more red than gray.
By night and on weekends, his alter ego writes modern paranormal
fantasy, apocalyptic science fiction, action and adventure novels and
relaxes by handcrafting magic wands from various magical woods and
mystical gemstones. His first foray into fiction is the book Magical
Wands: A Cornucopia of Wand Lore written under the pen name Wolfrick
Ignatius Feuerschmied. He lives in Crafton, Pennsylvania with his
wife Becky, and his son Dane, and varying numbers of dogs, cats, and birds.
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One Reply to “Blog Tour: The Secrets of Hawthorne House by Donald Firesmith with Excerpt and Giveaway”

  1. Tracy Urschler says:

    Creepy cover! Sounds like a “magical” read 🙂