LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT ROSE MARSHALL...
the woman at the diner?" —Rose Marshall
Everyone knows the urban legend about the girl who asks for a ride home; the one who turns out to have been dead all along. But where did she come from? Who was she? And how did she die? She's been called a lot of things: the Phantom Prom Day, the Girl in the Diner, and the Spirit of Sparrow Hill Road. Around here, we call her Rose.
Rose Marshall was sixteen years old in 1952, pretty as a picture, and in the wrong place at the wrong time. A drive along Sparrow Hill Road turned into a fight for her life—a fight she was destined to lose. Her story could have ended there, but a lucky break and a well-timed ride home set her on a different path. She's been running down the ghostroads ever since, one more casualty who never made it home.
A lot of people have said a lot of things about her; she's been called everything from angel to devil, from ghost story to myth to something more. They whisper her name everywhere from Michigan to Maine, from Wyoming to Washington...but no one knows what really happened that long-ago night at the top of Sparrow Hill.
Not until now.
Deliver me from the arms of Bobby Cross." —Rose Marshall
Welcome to the midnight America, the place where people go when they slip into the cracks between light and darkness, a world of routewitches and oracles, demons and ambulomancers. It's the place where a man named Bobby Cross sold his soul to live forever...and where one pretty little dead girl is racing to save herself and stop the killings that began on Sparrow Hill Road. The rules are different here, and everyone's playing for keeps. Be careful. Be cautious. And listen to the urban legends, because they may be the only things that can save you from the man who waits at the crossroads, hunting souls to keep himself alive.
Welcome to the ghostroads.
Sparrow Hill Road (May 2014, DAW) is the story of Rose Marshall, who was the first victim of the man called Bobby Cross, although she was far from the last—and unlike most of them, she did not go easy into that good night. Sixty years down the line, she's still kicking ass, taking names, and more than a little bit pissed off about the way that she died. You want a good little ghost who'll stay where she's put and only haunt the people who deserve it? Go to a sleepover. You want the real story of the American ghostroads? Come and have a word with Rose.
THE ORIGINAL STORIES
as badly as I do right now." —Rose Marshall
If the description above sounds a little familiar, it's because you may have encountered some of Rose's adventures before. Sparrow Hill Road began as a series of short stories published through The Edge of Propinquity, from January through December of 2010. All twelve stories were accompanied by stunning black and white photography, and remained archived online for over a year. It was a great experience, and I enjoyed it immensely.
The original twelve stories were:
- "Good Girls Go to Heaven." (January 2010)
- "Dead Man's Party." (February 2010)
- "Tell Laura I Love Her." (March 2010)
- "Building A Mystery." (April 2010)
- "El Viento del Diablo." (May 2010)
- "Last Dance With Mary Jane." (June 2010)
- "Do You Want to Dance?" (July 2010)
- "Dead Man's Curve." (August 2010)
- "Last Train." (September 2010)
- "Bad Moon Rising." (October 2010)
- "Faithfully." (November 2010)
- "Thunder Road." (December 2010)
All stories except for "Bad Moon Rising" appear, in altered form, in Sparrow Hill Road. The original version of "Good Girls Go to Heaven" remains available to read online, exclusively through The Edge of Propinquity.
The sweetest girl that you'd ever see..."
—from 'Pretty Little Dead Girl.'
Music plays a large part on the story of Rose Marshall, and Rose herself has been the topic of several songs...some more accurate than others. Songs involving Rose Marshall include:
- "Pretty Little Dead Girl." This is the title song of my first album, Pretty Little Dead Girl, and appears on Stars Fall Home. I consider this the "urban legend" version of Rose's story, as well as the "filthy libel" version.
- "Graveyard Rose." The other side of Rose's legend. This is the one they tell in truck stops all across the country, at least inside my head.
- "Waxen Wings." Rose always knew she wanted out of the life that she'd been born to. She just didn't know how much she'd have to lose to get what she wanted.
- "When I Drive." A variation on "Waxen Wings," at least thematically.
- "Counting Crows." Rose's relationship with her boyfriend was never destined to work out. She knew it. She loved him anyway. This song appears on Wicked Girls.
- "Hanging Tree." Being dead doesn't mean your heart stops getting broken. Rose has had to learn that the hard way.
- "On Dead Man's Hill." ...and a little silliness to end the list, at least for now.
Artwork by Aly Fell.