Hello everyone! Today I’ve got a special guest. And to begin I need to apologize to her, as I was supposed to have a guest post AND an interview, and I NEVER sent her those questions! BAD DOG!!! But I’m going to try to make it up to both her and you! But lemme tell you about the goods first
official Hereafter Blog Tour page is at http://www.terribruce.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=146:hereafter-virtual-launch-party/blog-tour
Why let a little thing like dying get in the way of a good time?
Thirty-six-year-old Irene Dunphy didn’t plan on dying any time soon, but that’s exactly what happens when she makes the mistake of getting behind the wheel after a night bar-hopping with friends. She finds herself stranded on earth as a ghost, where the food has no taste, the alcohol doesn’t get you drunk, and the sex…well, let’s just say “don’t bother.” To make matters worse, the only person who can see her—courtesy of a book he found in his school library—is a fourteen-year-old boy genius obsessed with the afterlife.
This sounds suspiciously like hell to Irene, so she prepares to strike out for the Great Beyond. The only problem is that, while this side has exorcism, ghost repellents, and soul devouring demons, the other side has three-headed hell hounds, final judgment, and eternal torment. If only there was a third option…
Publication Date: August 1, 2012
Publisher: Eternal Press
Number of Pages: 296
Genre: Contemporary Fantasy
Paperback E-Book (suggested retail price $7.95)
ISBN: 978-1-61572-725-4 ISBN: 978-1-61572-724-7
Available Wherever Books Are Sold Plus: Available From:
Amazon.com Amazon.com (kindle): http://tinyurl.com/99u44eb
Amazon.co.uk Amazon.co.uk (kindle)
B&N.com B&N.com (nook)
Eternal Press (all formats): http://tinyurl.com/cs5c65d
About the Author
Terri Bruce has been making up adventure stories for as long as she can remember and won her first writing award when she was twelve. Like Anne Shirley, she prefers to make people cry rather than laugh, but is happy if she can do either. She produces fantasy and adventure stories from a haunted house in New England where she lives with her husband and three cats.
And now, I’d like to welcome the author over for a little chat!!! THANK YOU AND WELCOME!
I love Maghon’s blog—books and animals, awesome sausage!—so when she offered me a guest spot, I jumped at the opportunity. My husband often tells me that if I didn’t have him to limit how many cats I have at any given time I’d be one of those “crazy cat ladies.” He seems to think this is a recommendation for keeping him (he sees it as him keeping me out of trouble), but it seems to me—as I always point out to him—to be the reverse (as many cats as I want?! Sign me up!). We’ve managed to find a happy balance with three cats (usually one that loves me, one that loves him, and one that is clearly plotting to kill us in our sleep).
My debut novel, Hereafter, is about the afterlife, and so today I wanted to talk about animals and the afterlife. More specifically, I wanted to talk about a personal experience that I had a few years ago, shortly after the passing of one of my cats. I haven’t told many people this story; this is the sort of tale that often makes people glance askance at you and slide their chair away. However, two things happened recently that made me want to share this experience. The first was that I went to a workshop at Readercon about why, when so many people claim to have had some sort of unexplainable experience in their life (whether it be a premonition, a ghostly encounter, a UFO sighting, or some other unexplainable event), so few people talk openly about their experience, and why we, as a society, tend to look askew when someone talks about such an experience. The second was a fellow writer sharing, on Facebook, an encounter she had with the ghost of her recently deceased cat. There was an immediate outpouring from others who had a similar experience. I was amazed—I’m not alone, I thought, and I’m not crazy. These two incidents gave me the courage to share my story today. So here goes:
Mischief, a little tuxedo cat with the most open and adorable face, was my baby—the sweetest, smartest, strangest little cat I had ever met. The story of how she came into my life is too long to tell here, but suffice it to say she came to live with me when she was still a kitten, probably only a couple of months old. She came to me sick, malnourished, and so infested with fleas she developed anemia and almost died. She was a fighter, though, and she lived. Unfortunately, at six years of age she went into kidney failure. The vet gave her a week to live. Mischief had other ideas and managed to live for three more years, most of those with an exceptionally high quality of life, thanks to daily subcutaneous fluid treatments.
When it finally came time to say goodbye, my heart didn’t just break. It was ripped from my chest. That day in the veterinarian’s office was one of the worst of my life. For two years afterwards I couldn’t return to the vet’s office without bursting into tears or suffering an anxiety attack (not something I’m prone to in general). Needless to say, the two remaining cats naturally assumed each time that they were going somewhere horrifying since Mommy was sobbing hysterically the whole way there.
The afternoon that we put Mischief to sleep I came home and went straight to bed, while my husband buried her in the back yard. I lay on the bed, sobbing uncontrollably, only stopping long enough to catch my breath, before breaking down again. Finally, when I was sobbed out, I lay on the bed, curled in a ball. I wasn’t asleep—I was simply numb. Then the strangest thing occurred. An image formed in my mind—almost as if someone had started a movie behind my eyes. I couldn’t shake it and I couldn’t stop it or turn it off.
I was viewing a scene, as if of a far-off place, and I was outside myself, outside my body, both in the event and outside of it. I was no longer me; instead, I was a comet-like object, streaking across the landscape. There were trees and a road, very ordinary scenery, and I was rocketing across the earth, a few feet off the ground. I was heading somewhere, with single-minded purpose. There were no thoughts, no feelings, no consciousness; just a single, burning need to reach…wherever it was I was going. The countryside streaked by, nothing but a blur. Then I felt a change; deep in my core, I knew I was nearing my destination.
The scene shifted and I was me again, lying on me bed, back in my body, and I was watching, in my mind’s eye, the comet streaking across the landscape and knew it was coming for me. It slowed enough for me to see it enter my house, passing straight through the back door, streak through the kitchen, the dining room, up the stairs to the second floor, down the hall, and towards my bedroom door.
Lying on my bed, my back to the door, I turned at that moment, to look at the door, and something hit me in the chest, hard enough to knock me flat on my back. I lay there for a moment, stunned, my breath knocked out of me. A warmth filled me, filling the gaping hole left in my chest by the passing of my Mischief, and I knew what it was that had hit me. It was Mischief. She had come home. Somehow, we had been separated and she had found me. I could feel her there, inside my chest, a little glowing ball of comfort and knew she was with me, would always be with me. That is not to say that I wasn’t still heart-broken; I still lay like a zombie on the couch for two days, the t.v. on but unwatched, alternating between sobbing and glassy-eyed numbness. But now I was just grieving; I was no longer bereft. I was full of sorrow, but I no longer had a gaping hole inside me where she had once lived.
To this day I cannot explain what happened to me; the only thing I do know is that it was real. I wasn’t asleep, I wasn’t dreaming. I didn’t imagine it, because in a million years I could never imagine such a thing, and the glow in my chest didn’t fade. Seven years later, it’s still there, a small nugget of comfort, tucked near my heart.
Even stranger, for two years after the incident, Mischief’s spirit hung around the house. She had a curious way of jumping on the bed—she’s jumped up on the bottom right corner (at the foot of my husband’s side of the bed), pause, then creep diagonally across the bed toward me, then would pause near me, nose and front paw extended like an English Pointer, as if she was inquiring whether or not it was okay for her to approach or maybe she was checking to see if I was breathing (or if the lump in the bed was really me). For nearly two years following her death, several times a week I would feel a cat jump up on the bed, pause, walk across the bed, and pause. Whenever I turned to look, there was never anything there. Mischief’s sister Nixon died a year and a half after Mischief, and shortly after that, the ghost-cat visits stopped*. I assume the two of them wandered off to play together somewhere as cats are want to do. It makes me happy to think they are scampering around somewhere, frolicking in the grass, wrestling and tumbling, racing and pouncing, carefree and joyful.
*The skeptical among us will say that, of course, it was Nixon jumping on the bed. However, the thing is, Mischief weighed around five-six pounds and Nixon weighed ten. While Mischief was very light on her feet, Nixon was a bull in a china shop—she always landed on the bed like a bowling ball dropped from an airplane, using an unsuspecting human to cushion her landing (my legs and hips were always covered in bruises from her landings), and announcing her arrival with a goat-like bleat. Whereas Mischief came onto the bed for companionship, Nixon always had one purpose—food—and had no intention of being ignored. She would bleat and howl, head butt and knead until we got up to feed her. She was as tenacious and determined as General Patton. This cat can and will be fed!
First, I need to say thank you a million times over for sharing this heartfelt, private story. Especially with me and my lovely peeps! Second, I know you’re not crazy. I may not have had “that” experience, but I’ve had plenty. Death is a fickle thing. No one knows where they go, BUT I know that they keep an eye on us. I had a near death experience with something similar, so I very much believe you. I also know that I regard animals almost more than humans so I KNOW that the bonds we have with them are just as special if not more. I say prayers everyday that when mine go, they check up me and give me a little comfort. And as a vet tech, I see it everyday. I know the heartbreak to make those decisions, even if it means breaking a heart to save another from suffering. As I tear up reading your story, I’m so sorry for your loss, but I can’t be sorry that you had such a wonderful bond with a beautiful creature! May their kittie souls keep us all humble and loved!
She wasn’t sure what to do next. The house seemed quiet and still—in fact, almost dead. She listened hard. She couldn’t quite put her finger on it, but somehow the house, her house, seemed foreign and strange. The house seemed to be holding its breath, almost as if it was waiting for something. She felt the thick, gathered pause pushing around her. Irene shivered. She crossed her upper arms, trying to smooth away the sudden goose bumps. How could she get goose bumps if she was dead?
The phone rang, causing her to jump. Her drink crashed to the floor. She stared at the phone stupidly for a moment, and then, recognizing LaRayne’s phone number on the caller I.D., she grabbed the receiver.
“Yes! It’s me!” Relief flooded through her. LaRayne could hear her!
There was a pause and then LaRayne said, “Hello?”
“LaRayne? Can you hear me?”
Relief fizzled away. Disappointment washed over her, so strong her knees buckled and she grabbed the counter for support.
The line went dead. LaRayne had hung up.
Slowly, Irene replaced the receiver, numb with shock.
The phone rang again. Irene let the answering machine pick up this time.
“Hey, Irene. It’s LaRayne…I’ve left you some messages…well…you know…call or whatever.”
Irene cleaned up the spilled drink, sweeping the broken glass into a dustpan and dumping it in to the trash, and then mixed herself another one. She wandered back to the hall and then back to the kitchen and finally to the living room where she dropped heavily onto the couch. She sipped her drink, not really tasting it. Then she spied her laptop across the room on a chair. She fetched it, firing it up.
Email. Yes, that’s it—email. I’ll email everyone and tell them what happened, she thought through a fog of mounting hysteria.
Even as she thought it, dully watching the computer scroll through start-up screens, the “drunk emailing” incident of a few years ago—which had led to then-boyfriend Chase becoming ex-boyfriend Chase—came to mind. The part of her that was still thinking rationally pointed out that maybe it wasn’t such a good idea to email anyone until she knew for certain what exactly was going on.
You still don’t know what you want anyone to do, she thought. Call a doctor? Perform an exorcism? What, exactly, was the remedy here?
And Now for the GIVEAWAY!!! the author so awesomely is providing A READER’S CHOICE in winning either a print or digital copy of Hereafter!!! THIS IS INTERNATIONAL!!! All you need to do is leave me a comment below to enter, and I’ll pull a winner. Once I confirm your email address, and get your proper info, you will chose which you’d like and we’ll get it sent over to you!!! Ready, set GO!!! LOL
In addition to the individual tour stops there will be a twitter chat during the tour (details TBA) and a “200 word ghost story” contest to win either a print book or e-book prize pack of several books about ghosts, signed by the authors (details on the tour page)! Go on over and check them out!
I would like to thank everyone who stopped by, especially the author, who was never mean that I totally forgot to send her the interview questions, but I promise to have her back with the answers!! Happy Reading and Later Gators!!!