Something has always been wrong in Kirtland, Ohio...

Sightings of "Melonheads," or deformed and aggressive beings with enormous misshapen skulls, have plagued the town for decades, resulting in a small, yet petrified population surrounded by untouched forests, thanks to all of the rumors and theories of what happened to so many lost children over the years. Kirtland has maintained itself with a strategy of everyone staying put, minding their business, and keeping out of the forests at all cost.

But when a failing private eye finds a journal amongst his dead mother’s final possessions, compelling him to question and disrupt the quiet of the town in order to solve some of the strange mysteries of his murder-riddled family, Kirtland finds itself once again plagued by the hungry, mysterious creatures known as "Melonheads."

All hell might indeed break loose.

Who is Ryan X Hayes?

Ryan X Hayes is the (not so) clever pen name authors Peter Ryan and Michael Haase use when they come together on a project.

Hi, I’m Michael Haase, author of The Man Who Stole the World. In my experience with Inkshares I’ve found a ton of talent, resources, and a great community of writers. Inkshares is how Peter Ryan and I met. When I first read Peter’s work in Sync City, I was enthralled by his raw, candid voice and no-nonsense style of storytelling. Through Inkshares, we formed a friendship, started chatting regularly, and soon found that we had a knack for brainstorming together and bringing one another out of our respective writing comfort zones to create some genuinely exciting stories. 

During one of our great conversations, I introduced Peter to the real Ohio myth of the Melonheads. While these strange creatures have been supposedly sighted throughout the midwestern US, there is a deep concentration of belief in their mythos in Northeastern Ohio, complete with the origin story represented in the video above. Somehow, Peter and I came up with an entire story based on suspending disbelief and assuming these creatures were real, and an entire town was keeping the secret in order to maintain their own safety. 

Enter Peter’s talent for character and color. He took the lead on coming up with Joseph, a struggling private eye who has a sordid family history rife with murder and missing persons reports. Joseph is a deep character struggling with his family’s past, the recent death of his mother in the present, and his unclear future. When Joseph gets a lead buried among his dead mother’s possessions that might clear up all of the cloudy details of his life as well as provide him with the case that might break his career wide open, he will stop at nothing to get to the bottom of the mystery of the Melonheads and unearth the horrific past of an entire Ohio town in the process. 

What’s extra exciting about this book is that we came up with the idea of blending two different timelines of horror. The reader will follow Joseph as he claws his way through the present and risks life and limb to discover the truth of his family’s curse. At the same time, the reader will be able to follow along with the horror of Joseph’s grandmother’s journal as she details her own quest to retrieve a son she witnessed stolen by the Melonhead monsters in the forests of early 20th century Kirtland. Both storylines intertwine to create a story that is as horrific as it is enthralling. 

Peter and I are storytellers at our core. We have formed a friendship based upon our craft, and Diamonds or Dust is the first in what we anticipate to be many projects together. Thank you for checking out our page, and please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.