Author Archives: H.V. Purvis

About H.V. Purvis

H.V. Purvis was born in 1952 and reared in rural North Carolina near Siler City. He was raised in the country where he was exposed to farming, raising animals, hunting and fishing. While a youngster, he learned to handle guns, shoot, ride horses and spent many hours daily riding the trails around his home. His talents in music lead to an Associate in Arts degree in music from Sandhills Community College, a Bachelor in Arts in music education from Pfeiffer University and a Masters in music from Appalachian State University. After college, he worked as a church music director and taught high school chorus and theatre. In 1992, he left teaching and started Purvis Appraisals, a real estate appraisal business. He has three children from his first marriage. He considers them to be three of his best friends. He and Ally, his current wife, live on a small ranch in Scotland County adjoining forty-three thousand acres of State wildlife preserve. They have eleven horses, a faithful dog, an affectionate cat, some Guinea hens and a few chickens. They ride regularly on the wildlife preserve, at the beach, and in the mountains. Purvis is an avid reader. Several years ago, he and his active imagination developed a story idea. He wrote it out and began to develop it as a book. That story and the encouragement he received from his friends and family led to an obsession for writing.

I Just Dreamed It Up

 

When we talk about ideas, we sometimes hear the phrase, “I just dreamed it up.” I have heard this said, but I believed that even those who used the phrase most likely did not fully dream an idea. It may have “just come to them” popped into their heads out of nowhere, but did they really have a dream where something they had never considered before played out in a deep sleep? Maybe so… probably not. I do know that until recently I had not really had cause to say “I just dreamed it up.”

 
I actually was asleep. The idea did come in a dream. Action, in full color, took place in the background. Music played over top of the action. Over top of the music were the words… a poem. The words kept repeating, over and over. I woke up enough to realize what was happening and still the words hammered in my brain.
At this point, I should let you know that I am not a poet. I do not write poetry. I rarely ever read poetry. Even in a novel where the author has included a poem, I often will skip the poem, particularly if it is more than a few lines. That is why I was so amazed that a poem came to me and that it would not get out of my mind.

 
Two generations ago, back in my college days, I learned that when something like this happens, you make a note, a reminder, and then you can go back to sleep. I picked up my cell phone from the bedside table and recorded the first couple lines, rolled over thinking I would go back to sleep. I was wrong. Over and over, the poem repeated. I retrieved my phone and recorded a few more lines. Surely, my mind would let this serve as a reminder to remember the words come morning and satisfy whatever part of me still held on to this poem. Again, I was wrong.

 
It was cold in the bedroom. I grabbed my long flannel bathrobe, stuck my feet in my fleece lined bedroom shoes and trudged to the computer. There I wrote the poem in its entirety. With all the words “on paper”, I headed back to bed and immediately fell asleep.

 
No more poems have made their way into my dreams, but, now, I can truly say, “I just dreamed it up.”

 

Author of Extinction, Survival, Death in a Small Town and Shadow Knight: Dark Justice.

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Obsession

I see comments on a regular basis about people who do not understand writers. In case you did not know, the average Joe, and often even our family members, tend to think we writers are a strange lot. We choose to sit alone in quiet rooms and “work” on our stories. Why? When we could actually be out “doing something fun”: going to parties, eating at restaurants, being thrilled by movies, or even watching TV.

My wife, for instance, does not understand how I can get lost in another world. Have “imaginary” friends whose problems worry me so. How I can get so upset or depressed over what one of these “friends” is feeling. How I can sit at the computer on and on, day after day.
The answer for me is simple. Being a writer is a driving motivating force in my life. I do not need to go on a vacation, sit beside a hotel pool or even the ocean. Currently, I spend much of my time on a space transport visiting other worlds with friends.

Some of the places we go are beautiful, composites of all the best places I have seen. These places live and breathe. Soft leaves crunch under my feet. Canopies of forests shade me. I never get tired. I can walk up mountains and never get winded. Run for miles. Swim across rivers. Some of these places are populated with kind and giving people…

Some places are pure hell…populated with the vilest, most evil people, you—or I can—imagine.
And we get to decide how it all works.

Therefore, I say never feel awkward for dancing to a different beat. Most people are not capable of hearing a beat. Dare to do things other people cannot imagine. Create your friends, your exciting, dangerous worlds. Have fun. And most of all, revel in your craft.

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Shadow Knight: Dark Justice

With the release of Shadow Knight: Dark Justice only three weeks away, I wanted to share an excerpt with you.

Zeb lived further out of town than he should. As sheriff, he knew he needed to live closer, but he also knew he needed to get away from all the noise and aggravation, even if only for a little while. He had lived in town when he first became sheriff, but it was too convenient for the townsfolk. Citizens knocked on his door at all hours of the day and night for any little reason. Having to ride the three miles to his place at least made them try to solve problems before sending for him.
The little house he shared with his daughter was a pretty place and the ride was usually pleasant. When he got there, Emily would fuss at him for being so late for dinner. She always did. He’d hear how she had cooked dinner, had everything ready, and now it would not be worth eating. He’d smile at her, apologize for being late, kiss her on the forehead and eat a meal that seemed to him far from “not worth eating”. He chuckled. He was glad she was still home. Most of Emily’s friends had married years ago but she didn’t seem to be able to find anyone to suit her. He sometimes wondered if it might be because she thought he needed her to look after him. His leg pained him again, probably from scuffling with the cowhands during the day. He rode easy, trying to relax. In a patch of woods, the moonlight filtered down through the leaves, creating small patches of shadow on the ground. Coyotes called back and forth breaking the stillness of the night. The soft thump of the horse’s hooves hitting the ground echoed off the trees. This alone was a good reason to live this far out from town.
No lights shone from the house as Zeb headed up the little knoll. Emily usually waited for him to get home before going to bed, so she must be more peeved than usual. He stabled his horse quickly. Then, crossing the yard, he saw the water bucket overturned by the well. Emily would never have left it lying on the ground. Something is wrong! He raced to the well and looked down into the dark depths. Could she have leaned over and fallen?
“Emily!”

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Big Kid at Heart

My wife often suggests that I am just a big kid and I agree. However, I sometimes wonder if we are on the same page with that idea. Is she suggesting that I am immature, spoiled, aggravating and always have to have things my way? I hope she is talking about my sense of excitement about new things, about my desire to learn and to experience new adventures. My childlike exuberance.

People suggest that as we get older (old) we experience a second childhood. I do not think I have truly left my first one, yet. I get excited so easily and pursue a new idea with an all-consuming eagerness. Writing is this way.

Last weekend was the Book ‘em book festival in Lumberton, NC. I was a panelist in the suspense genre. One of the questions the moderator asked was to describe our writing habits. How often do you write? My answer was “Every day I set aside two or three hours to write. This is what I consider my minimum.” Now if you asked my wife that same question about me, her answer would be something like, “All the time. If he’s awake and not at work, he’s either writing or thinking about what he is going to write. He even gets up in the middle of the night to write if an idea hits him.”

When writing my first book, Extinction, I did obsess. I spent two months writing the first draft. After going back and fleshing out the draft, I found I had enough material for four books. These characters became my invisible friends and playmates. Of course, I had to tell my wife the things they said and did, and before long, they were her invisible friends as well. (She is very understanding about the obsession and is one of my biggest fans.)

To illustrate how involved I get with my invisible friends, my wife and I were in one of those stores which has some of everything. I stopped at the mattresses, stood there and stared at them. When she asked me what I was doing, I told her that someone I knew needed several mattresses. Then I realized that the characters in my book were setting up a safe house for other survivors. She thought that was hilarious.

Let me encourage you to let your inner child loose. Give in to the urge to explore new worlds and play with imaginary friends. People might think you are crazy, but your invisible friends will stay true.

H.V. Purvis
Author of “Extinction, Survival, Death in a Small Town and coming soon, Shadow Knight: Dark Justice.
http://www.hvpurvis.com,@hvpurvis and FB page H.V. Purvis

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Shadow Knight: Dark Justice

As another month rolls around, I look back on the last year and stand amazed. The past year saw the release of my murder mystery, Death in a Small Town and Survival the sequel to Extinction. Now I look forward to the release of my fourth novel, Shadow Knight: Dark Justice.

In the summer of 1875, a cutthroat band of outlaws raid homesteads in south Texas and kidnap young women. One of the captives is Emily Watson, the pretty daughter of Sheriff Zeb Watson. The kidnappers’ trail heads toward the Mexican border. Should the outlaws cross the Rio Grande, the authorities will be helpless to get the women back. A telegram confirms that the gang kidnaps women to sell, and they have crossed the border. In one desperate last-ditch gamble, Zeb enlists the aid of his brother whom he has not seen in fifteen years– a man with a dark and deadly past. Accompanied a beautiful mysterious woman, the three rescuers dare to cross into Old Mexico.

Can the brothers put aside their past? Will they be able to overcome the outlaws? Or will they die and leave the women to face slavery or death.
Excerpt
Emily looked up from her cooking to gaze out the kitchen window. A hint of rain floated on the breeze though the overcast sky. The house where she and her father lived was small, but it had more than ample room for just the two of them. Her mother had died five years earlier from an infection that festered and refused to respond to the medicine. Emily readily assumed responsibility for their home and for her father. As she poured the last of the water into the stewpot, Emily sighed. She would have to fetch more water to finish the biscuits.

Swinging the bucket and humming to herself, she strolled to the well. In spite of the clouds, the fall day was beautiful. She dropped the shiny tin bucket on the ground. The old rope and handle squeaked as she lowered the well bucket into the water. She let it settle all the way under to get to the cooler water below and avoid trash and bugs that might float on the surface. The noise of the crank kept her from hearing the footsteps until the bucket settled. Startled, she turned. Two men stood behind her. One was a smaller Mexican, the other, a large Indian. The Indian grabbed her, and the Mexican stuffed a rag into her mouth before she could scream. The Indian shoved her roughly face down onto the ground and held her hands behind her and the Mexican pulled a short length of rope from his pocket and tied her hands. The Indian yanked her to her feet.

The Mexican spoke, “Senorita, you give us trouble…we hurt you.”

The large man hoisted her over his shoulder, and they ran quickly down the road to a covered wagon. Several men at the wagon stood watch.

One of the men growled impatiently, “Brown Bear, throw her in the wagon. We must go.”

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Survival

As the day approaches for the release of my third book, Survival, I find the tension building. In this sequel to Extinction, the Roberts family still strives to survive and to find other survivors, but are they winning? Every effort brings victory…and defeat.

The jagged knife wound across Nicole’s right palm left her in no shape for fighting. She needed a chance to heal before trying to fight again. She could move all her fingers. She was lucky. Eventually the gash would heal. In the meantime, it hurt badly. She could live with it. What other choice did she have? A few aspirin were the strongest painkillers in the shelter’s first aid kit. She would ration them and hope the cut did not become infected. She chuckled at the irony. She was stuck inside one of the best hospitals in the country, and could not access any of the drugs located just on the other side of the double doors.

Nicole lay on her cot, thinking about the events of the last several days. The thought of the second Link scream that she had heard the day she yelled into the duct preyed on her mind. The only explanation was that someone uninfected yelled back to her. Other survivors could be nearby, but they would have to survive on their own for a while longer. Her hand had to heal.

Two days before, she and Danny had secured the hallway outside the fallout shelter, a significant step forward. They could have lived safely inside the medical center shelter; however, as days turned to weeks, the confinement of the windowless space took a toll on their nerves and dispositions. Laura cried most of the time. Danny became despondent and withdrawn. She realized they must do something.

With makeshift spears and a few rounds from her pistol, they attacked the Links in the hallway. The deadly gamble paid off. The claustrophobic atmosphere of the institutional green walls faded away. Gone was the trapped feeling of being in a windowless box. Sunlight flooded through the windows in the security doors at the end of the hallway. More importantly, she could see outside.

After the fight, she and Danny had escorted Laura into the hall and showed her the bodies of the dead Links before dragging them off the loading dock. They dared not try to move the bodies further.

Danny had mopped the pools of drying blood. At least her wounded hand exempted her from cleaning the bloody mess covering the floor. They had discussed the fight with Laura, explaining what had happened and how dangerous it had been, in hopes it would help her understand the seriousness of the situation. If it gave her nightmares, then that was a regrettable but a necessary price for her realizing just how dangerous her world had become.

H.V. Purvis
Author of Extinction and Death in a Small Town

http://www.hvpurvis.com, @hvpurvis, FB page H.V. Purvis

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Excerpt – Death in a Small Town by H.V. Purvis

This is an excerpt from chapter 2 of my new murder mystery, released September 6.

 

John slowed the airport rental car to a stop in front of the building. He did not get out. He was not sure he could. He sat there. The motor running. His heart raced. It was cool inside the car, but beads of sweat covered his brow. He flexed his fingers. Make a fist. Then straightened his fingers. He did this over and over. It was an exercise his shrink had given him to regain control of his nerves. He took a deep breath and let it out slowly through his mouth. He had flown from DC. Driving still tied his guts in knots. He rarely drove anymore. He rarely even left his apartment anymore. Now that he was here, he did not know if he could make himself go inside.

He knew before he left that this trip was going to be difficult, but it was something he had to do. He owed it to Stan. Now he sat in the car, his hands shaking, his heart racing, feeling sick to his stomach. His leg throbbed, even though the doctors said it should not. He cursed at himself and stared out the side window at the hundred year old southern colonial which loomed over the business end of a street of impressive older houses.

John had grown up further down this street. All the lawns were immaculate. He remembered that on Saturday mornings the older ladies, in their “working in the yard” clothes which looked just as nice as their “going to the store” clothes, would put on their straw hats and tend their roses and flower gardens. His hands shook as he raised the soda he bought after leaving the airport. It was warm, but he took another swallow, trying to work up the courage to turn off the engine and go inside.

He smacked the steering wheel with his hand. This is stupid! I’m a grown man, for God’s sake! He stared at the double front doors of the colonial building. A gut wrenching dread knifed through him. He looked away. There were too many ghosts in this town and particularly inside that building. He had spent the last five years avoiding those ghosts. He reached for the keys. His hand stopped short.

Horrible memories of his last visit to this town ripped him apart, but he owed Stan. They had been best friends since first grade, played football together, double dated together. When John went off to college, Stan joined the Parkwood police department. After college, John joined the bureau and moved to DC. Stan was always the one who reached out to make sure they did not lose touch. After the wreck, he called John in the hospital every day to check on him. At least once a week he drove the two-hour round trip Chapel Hill to visit and sit with him. Now Stan was dead. John leaned his head back on the headrest and closed his eyes.

Someone tapped on the window. John jerked upright. He had been lost, drifting in numbness land, and the tap startled him. His heart pounded harder. He looked over and saw his sister, Helen, standing in the street. Traffic moved slowly to go around safely. No one honked a horn. No one stared angrily at her. No one raised a fist or middle finger. Most of the people did throw up their hand, but it was a friendly wave. This was the way people were here.

Hoyle Purvis

Author of Extinction            http://www.hvpurvis.com, facebook page H.V. Purvis, twitter @hvpurvis

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Almost a dream

At times, it almost seems like a dream. I have always had a vivid imagination, but all my earlier attempts to write a book fell far short of being satisfactory. I had some great first chapters, introductions, and prologues, but little more. I could not work up a fully functional outline, as I learned to do in school. I have written papers galore, a thesis, all using this outline model, but it just wasn’t working.

Then one day, I had what I thought was a great idea for a book. I opened up a word page and began to tell the story. No outline, just a few notes on events I wanted to include along the way. In a couple of weeks, I had a short story of 50,000 words, but the story needed some background information to understand the world in which the story took place. I figured I needed maybe three chapters to explain things.

I started writing about events that happened twelve years before my story took place. It took on a life of its own. Three months later, I had the rough draft for the New Dawn Series. With the help of my children, I started to flesh out the story. After maybe a dozen revisions, an old friend from my teaching days, an English teacher, read the first book and volunteered to give it a first edit.

Everyone told me to not get discouraged if it never got published. It was an accomplishment just to have finished writing a book. I accepted it was a long shot and I had written the story for myself and not to publish. It had been a labor of love.

About this time, I met Mike Simpson of Second Wind Publishing at the Book’em festival in Lumberton, NC. He was a panelist and after it was over, I boldly walked up to him and began my pitch for the book. He gave me a card and asked me to send him the first thirty pages. (I wondered later if that was an easy way to get rid of me.) I sent the pages and he turned it down, BUT with three pages of suggestions. I rewrote the thirty pages following his suggestions and resubmitted. I received the reply to send the whole book.

I had a publisher interested in seeing my book…revised according to his suggestions. I had thirty revised pages. I set to work. My friend edited and I submitted. Eight weeks later, I received a contract.

Now eight months later, I have another book, Death in a Small Town, a murder mystery, ready to come out any week now. The sequel to Extinction, Survival, is due out later in the fall and I just signed a contract for my forth book, Shadow Knight: Dark Justice, an action adventure with a vampire hero.

Who would have thought when I started this process three years ago that such a thing was possible? Certainly not me.

H.V. Purvis, author of Extinction.  http://www.hvpurvis.com , facebook page hvpurvis, twitter hvpurvis

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Berry Picking

One of the advantages of an at home office is being able to walk outside when I take a break and be in my own yard. For those of you that don’t know, I live in the country and I live there because I love it. Around here it’s pretty isolated. Having a forty-three thousand acre nature preserve adjoining on three sides lends a little extra privacy, as well.

If you have been to my website hvpurvis.com or my facebook page, you have seen photos of horses and old country buildings. Everyone needs a hobby and with over a hundred acres I am often asked the question, “What do you raise on your farm?” The answer is…nothing. Farming is hard work and I do not care much even for yard work. I do my small area of blueberry bushes, grape vines, apples, peaches and pears. That brings me back to my starting sentence.

Each day for the past week, I walk out to my blueberries to check if any have begun to change color. First will come red and then it will evolve to the big succulent blue. That is the day I eagerly anticipate. Nothing seems as good as walking the fifty feet to my bushes and standing there picking the berries and eating them on the spot. Eventually, the bushes will produce more berries than I can eat like this and we will pull out the pans and pick.

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A part of my history

Recently, I inherited a small family farm originally belonging to my great grandfather. It’s where I grew up…or rather spent my life until I turned eighteen. I didn’t really grow up until I was in my forties. My wife might even suggest the event has yet to happen.
The property has a small creek and several old buildings, in addition to a newer house. The old log barn and the “big house”, part of the original house where my great grandfather and great grandmother raised their family, still stand. Historically, there is nothing particularly noteworthy about these old buildings to anyone outside my family. To me, they represent a large part of my past, of where I came from.
I used some of this history in my novel, Extinction. Jason’s memories of his time spent playing along the little creek came from my memories. Exploring caves, building castles and forts for waging war against unnumbered foes in the hayloft were a part of my childhood and happened in this old hand-hewed log barn. The pond Jason jogged around is the same one where I spent many hours fishing, swimming and skipping rocks. William’s memory in the smoke house was based upon my early childhood memories…including the part about his cutting his finger. As you can tell by reading Extinction, I love this place and have such fond memories of it.
As I look at the old buildings, I don’t see them as they now sit—old run-down shacks that most people would put a match to. I see my memories. My childhood. My history. Five generations growing up surrounded by family and love. I see the sixth generation, still too young to understand the meaning of this place, where they, too, will play in the creek, explore new worlds in the woods and hayloft, fish, swim and skip rocks on the pond.
One of my new building projects is to repair/restore the structural integrity of these bits of family history. In the ‘old house” to bring new life to the tongue and groove board walls, to the pegged window sashes, the wooden floors. To make stable the log walls of the barn. For hay bales to once again fill the loft. For memories to extend to at least one more generation.
I have attached photos of the old buildings. This project is not a project I expect completed quickly. It is a labor of love, of history, with a little bit of insanity thrown in for good measure.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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