Writer. collector. Trouble Maker.

Welcome to Gabriel

It could be any small, Southern town. Overgrown farms and single-wide homesteads huddle along the Catawma River. The old movie house perches just across from the all-night diner in what once passed for a downtown. Route 41 finally got a stop light, though there’s no reason to stop. Unless, of course, you want to see the spot near the bridge where those four boys from Enoch washed up after the flood. Or the ditch where they found Janie Dickson’s head.

In the town of Gabriel, something not quite right lurks just around every shadowed corner. Guttural noises trickle through the night air. Visitors arrive and never leave. Locals disappear into the darkness. Families look the other way while praying for their own. This is life — and death — for the scarred souls that inhabit Cull County.

Welcome to Gabriel

Like so many other modern writers, I grew up in the backwoods of the South. With a name like Mercy Heller, I soon learned my career choices were limited to televangelist, stripper or Southern Gothic novelist. Eager for a challenge, I naturally chose struggling writer — the path with least prestige and lowest earning potential.

During the day I am a mountaineering and folklore researcher for several academic institutions down around the footlands of the Appalachian Trail. At night I beseech the sinister forces of Microsoft Word to finesse the darkest corners of my twisted imagination into light.

A Few Recent Thoughts

A Southern Gothic tradition

Here in the South, we share a history permeated by shadows. For every Sunday afternoon spent on a porch swing or gossiping with neighbors after church, there are a hundred

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Generally, good fences make good neighbors. In Cull County, even fences aren’t enough as envy, resentment and petty jealousy turn a quiet cul de sac into a suburban war zone. Four families find their secrets exposed and their lives turned upside down in one night of shocking, brutal violence. Coming soon on Amazon.

Ruby has problems. Lots of problems. Her rent is due, her job is in jeopardy, her love life is a farce and the dead simply will not let her sleep. When her failing Vaudeville act attracts the right kind of attention from the wrong kind of people, Ruby must rely on her wits, her dramatic flair and her talent for talking to ghosts to save her own skin — and get a good night’s sleep. Coming soon on Amazon.

A shared ride home takes a sharp turn into terror. A group of teens find themselves locked in a dangerous game with depraved hunters, unaware that something far deadlier — and far hungrier — lurks in the darkness. Coming soon on Amazon.

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