Sunday, August 5, 2012


I’m honored today to host one of the most talented writers I ever met, Leigh M. Lane.
She is the author of a wide variety titles, spanning from the dystopian nightmare of ‘World -Mart’ to the classic gothic ‘Finding Poe’.

I asked her to enlighten my blog with a guest post presenting her latest work of art: The Hidden Valley.
Like me, Leigh is an experimenter of the written word, always striving to test herself and learn something new in the process. It is a risky business, but she does it excellently.

One of the most ancestral elements in Horror is ‘Isolation’.
I discussed this topic in one of my earlier posts.

Yet, in the gothic tale, there was another element of fear as strong as that: Nature.
Starkly beautiful landscapes by day suddenly turn into forbidding expression of dread by night. And enchanted valleys transform into blizzard swept dales of terror.

I leave you to her enriching words.

The Darkness Behind the Hidden Valley
by Leigh M. Lane

It’s interesting sometimes to look at the various motivations behind any given book. We all draw from what we take in around us, but inspiration can come from the most unexpected of places.

I’m a California girl. I spent most of my childhood and early adult life on one end of the coast or the other, swimming in the ocean, and appreciating the bright, temperate weather. More recently, I spent ten years in the Las Vegas area, laughingly sharing about my ongoing “culture shock” throughout my stay. Moreover, the summer heat each year was brutal—but with no ocean beaches to balance it out. I told myself I was never going to miss that place. How wrong I could be.

Last summer, my husband and I moved a thousand miles north to a small town in Montana. I fell in love with the place immediately. The landscape reminded me much of northern California. Everything was green. Colorful flowers bloomed everywhere. Waterfalls caressed mountainsides and fell into elegant rivers that followed the interstate. It was, quite literally, love at first sight. And then fall came.

The clouds rolled in … and they remained overhead without reprieve. While the autumn leaves were beautiful, everything else slowly became devoid of color. The town seemed to die slowly right before my eyes, until everything was gray and dark and lifeless. It remained that way through the winter. No sunlight dared to creep through. It felt almost as if time itself had stopped. Being one used to sunlight year-round, even in Vegas—which does get quite cold in the winter—I found myself wanting to do nothing but hibernate. I thought I might die with everything else here.

Being a writer, I took my thoughts and feelings to the written word, transforming the darkness that had enveloped me here into The Hidden Valley. Readers will notice the vibrant colors and rich language I use to describe the characters’ first impressions of South Bend:

It was the seemingly countless vivid colors that struck Carrie most as they entered the valley. There was a sea of green, a fine mosaic of tall heaps of grass, towering treetops, and sprawling overgrowth speckled with tiny buds and diverse flowers in every hue imaginable….

The highway wound around a mountain pass, on which massive formations of dark, rocky terrain broke through the heavy foliage, but the contrast only added to the striking landscape that unfolded as they traveled further into the valley. A river rushed to one side, offering varying shades of blue along with the white crests that formed as it splashed against the peeking rocks. Despite the minimal cloud cover and the visible absence of rain, a well-defined double rainbow stretched overhead, its illusion unwavering as the car twisted down the two-lane highway.

As the seasons progress, however, the characters see a different side to the valley, and while my experience here translated into mere feelings, what they find is a town that is slowly dying—and literally taking them with it. I separate the novel (The Whole Story) into four sections: Spring; Summer, Fall, and Nightmare. Each season is distinctly different from the next, each darker and more horrifying than the last, until the hapless newcomers find themselves in a desperate race against time: to get out before the town consumes them completely.

About The Hidden Valley:

Deep in a hidden valley, there is a ghost town that has experienced a miraculous rebound. It is separated from the rest of the world by a mountain pass, but it's found a dark and deadly lifeline…. Carrie and her husband Grant are moving wayward teenage twins John and Jane across the country for a fresh start. South Bend seems like the perfect place for it. Maybe just a little too perfect. When they become aware of the trap that has been set for them, will it already be too late for any of them to escape?

In addition to being a ghost story, The Hidden Valley is an experiment in structure. The reader will find that nearly every chapter is, in itself, a work of flash fiction. Each main character’s story may be read individually for a surprisingly different effect. Read The Hidden Valley by character; read The Whole Story in Kindle or paperback (coming soon); or read the weekly flash fiction serial at my website, The Cerebral Writer.

About the author:

Leigh M. Lane lives in the beautiful mountains of Montana, where she writes speculative fiction that spans from sci-fi to horror. All of her works contain a gritty realism that hallmarks her unique voice, which also often has social or political undertones. Her recent releases are The Hidden Valley, Finding Poe, World-Mart, and Myths of Gods.

Leigh's influences include H.G. Wells, Kurt Vonnegut, Isaac Asimov, Clive Barker, Edgar Allan Poe, Rod Serling, and Stephen King.


  1. Very cool post, Leigh. I love getting the inside scoop on your thought/creative process!

  2. Replies
    1. No. Thank you for making a stop here. I'm honored by your presence.