Trying to pick up where I left off

Apparently 2017 is almost over, and, when it comes to volume of writing, I have done very little this year. After finishing my six-book series of urban fantasy, I wanted to do some personal, reflective writing. I did so, but it took so much more time than I had anticipated.

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My children reflecting on their actual reflections in a pond, upstate New York, summer 2017.

The original, finished but as-yet unedited piece was about 12K words, and that took me more than a year to write. Then I worked on editing it. That took about two months and left it at about 7k words. And now I’m left with a piece that was extremely cathartic to write, but I don’t want anyone to read it, because of the personal nature. But I hate to think the year-long process was just an exercise in journal writing, so I may look to publish it in a magazine, under a pen name.

However, all this said, what I need now is a break from this gut-wrenching introspection and get back to something that’s, at times, only slightly less painful, and that is fiction writing. Ten years ago, in 2007, I decided to take part in National Novel Writing Month (nanowrimo), and that was when I wrote approximately 60% of the first draft of my first book, New Blood. When December 1 came, I just kept on writing until I was done, and then put it in a drawer for about 3 years. Because I find meaning in symmetry, I am thinking now would be a good time for me to put aside my personal troubles, and start thinking more about the topic of my next series, werewolves!

Cemeteries I Have Loved

In honor of Halloween being this week, I am devoting this post to all the cemeteries I have enjoyed exploring. And there have certainly been a lot of them!

Being that I write vampire books, it’s no surprise that cemeteries are strongly featured in them. Unless you live in New York City, and specifically the borough of Queens, what you probably don’t know is that there are more cemeteries in Queens than there are in all the other boroughs combined.

What this means is, if you live in Queens, you most likely live pretty close to a cemetery. I have many fond memories of visiting cemeteries–when I was growing up in Maspeth, Queens, my house was within a block of an entrance to the cemetery. Since my grandmother’s family was buried there, my grandma took me for walks in the graveyard quite often. Much in the way people in the suburbs would picnic in the park, my grandmother would pack us some sandwiches and we would go behind her parents’ grave and have lunch, while she told me stories about growing up in NYC in the early 1900s.

When I was a little older, it was decided by my parents that it was too dangerous to ride my bike in the park, but the cemetery, with its wide paths and infrequent traffic, was fine. So understandably, cemeteries always had a pleasant connotation for me rather than a negative one.

Below is a photo of some odd Queens magazine that features an ad for the cemetery that I used to live near as a child. Notice how they misspelled the word “cemetery” in their own ad.
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And for some reason, whenever I travel, I feel compelled to visit at least one local cemetery. In April 2005, my husband and I went to New Orleans for our honeymoon. We took the below photo at the Lafayette Cemetery No 1.
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In April 2010, we went to Paris to celebrate our fifth year anniversary. Our hotel was by the Père Lachaise Cemetery, where this photo was taken. Despite the fact that I was actually trying to be creepy, I was three months pregnant at the time and not feeling great, thus paler than usual.
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I have many more cemetery photos, but the above two are some of my favorites, taken in two of my favorite cities as well.
Lastly, in news that is somewhat related to cemeteries, I am pleased to announce the release date for Cold Blood is November 17th! For more information, plus giveaways, excerpts, and the cover reveal, join this Facebook event !

Interview with Helen Keeble, author of No Angel

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Synopsis:

Rafael Angelos just got handed the greatest gift any teenage boy could ever dream of. Upon arriving at his new boarding school for senior year, he discovered that he is the ONLY male student. But what should have been a godsend isn’t exactly heaven on Earth.

Raffi’s about to learn that St. Mary’s is actually a hub for demons-and that he was summoned to the school by someone expecting him to save the day. Raffi knows he’s no angel-but it’s pretty hard to deny that there’s some higher plan at work when he wakes up one morning to discover a glowing circle around his head.

Helen Keeble’s debut novel, Fang Girl, has been praised for its pitch-perfect teen voice, and VOYA called it “refreshing and reminiscent of Louise Rennison’s Confessions of Georgia Nicolson series.” No Angel brings you angels and demons like you’ve never seen them-complete with the wry humor of Vladimir Tod, sinfully irreverent romance, and some hilariously demonic teenage dilemmas.

Purchase:

Interview

1. Describe your new book No Angel in a single Tweet.

Boy thinks life at an all-girls school will be heavenly, but it’s hell on earth. And he’s the angel sent to fix things. Help!

2. Do we need to have read your first novel, Fang Girl, to enjoy No Angel?

Nope, they’re entirely unrelated to each other. Well, apart from containing the same brand of humor!

Even though No Angel isn’t a sequel to Fang Girl, I hope that readers who enjoyed the way I affectionately mocked vampires in my first book will get the same sorts of giggles from the way my new one makes fun of the whole ‘angel boyfriend’ subgenre of paranormal romance.

3. Is No Angel a stand-alone novel or the start of a series?

It’s definitely a stand-alone novel. Not to give away any spoilers, but the plot is very much wrapped up at the end of the book.

48357904. Why did you decide to set No Angel at a boarding school?

My dad went to various VERY traditional English boys’ boarding schools from the age of seven to eighteen, and although he doesn’t talk much about it, he’s told me a few horror stories. I’m fascinated by old-fashioned boarding schools as these little self-contained worlds, with their own history and culture, completely isolated from normal life. Due to Harry Potter, I think most of us now have a pretty romantic idea of boarding schools as a magical wonderland, but they could just as easily be (and often were) utter hell-holes. Bullying is bad enough, but when you can’t even get away from your tormentors at the end of the school day…? Scary!

5. Your vampires in Fang Girl have some unusual (for the paranormal genre) traits based on traditional Eastern European folklore. Have you done anything similar with the angels and demons in No Angel?

Definitely! I had a lot of fun researching angels in early Christian traditions. I took a lot of inspiration from De coelesti hierarchy, a 5th Century text on angels that is utterly cracktastic to modern eyes. Let’s put it this way: When you think “angel”, do you think:

a. A noble, handsome/beautiful protector with big white wings, glowing with pure, holy goodness

b. Two massive bicycle wheels jammed crossways into each other, set on fire, and COVERED IN EYES

… Yeah.

Let’s just say that Rafael Angelos, the hero of No Angel, is not exactly happy about his newly discovered angelic tendencies…

6. Fun fact about No Angel?

I guarantee it’s the only light, fluffy YA comedy you’ll ever read that includes higher-dimensional mathematics as a pivotal plot-point.

(Don’t worry, there are no equations)

7. Would you rather be an angel or a vampire?

Definitely an angel! I’ve always wanted to fly. I, uh, may have spent an entire year hooked on a computer game called Aion just because it let me play a character with beautiful big wings. *blush*

Although I have to say I would prefer to be an angel from someone else’s book, not my own. The angels in No Angel are… not exactly eye-candy.

8. What are your favorite books, shows, or movies about angels and demons?

For books, Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. I’m also very fond of The Demon’s Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan.

9. Favorite funny movie or TV show?

Galaxy Quest, which is a movie about a group of actors from a second-rate, long-cancelled TV science-fiction series (which is of course in NO WAY based on a real TV show *cough* Star Trek *cough*) who get abducted by real aliens, who have based their entire culture on the show. Or, as the aliens call it, “the historical documents”, as they believe it’s all real. Hijinks ensue!

If you are at all aware of science fiction fan culture, Galaxy Quest is screamingly funny. The fact that I went to Star Trek conventions as a teenager, owned a lovingly-painted collection of Enterprise models, and once won a Halloween costume competition with my home-made Spock outfit, may go some way to explaining my deep and abiding love for this movie.

(no, you can’t see pictures of me in my Spock costume)

Author Links:

No Angel excerpt

In which Rafael Angelos — high school student, would-be Casanova, and unexpected angel – attempts to get to grips with his awesome new powers

So I was, for want of a better word, an angel, possibly with a holy mission to protect the world from the forces of evil. Obviously there was one thing I had to do as soon as possible.

The next morning I got up at the crack of dawn, liberated a helmet from the communal bike shed, and set off to learn how to fly.

A half-hour hike found me a nice wide clearing in the woods, well away from the school buildings. With a last glance around to check for onlookers, I shrugged my wings out. Early morning mist scurried along the ground as I lofted them to full vertical extension, the glowing pinions reaching for the sky like outstretched hands. I crouched, looked up, and took a deep breath.

“Okay,” I said softly, and swept my wings down.

It was a good thing I’d worn a helmet.

“Right,” I muttered to myself, spitting out dirt. “Less sideways, more up.”

After another ten minutes of running, leaping, and rather unangelic swearing, I was still resolutely earthbound. I brushed the mud off my knees, scowling. Maybe what I needed was motivation. I’d certainly had plenty last night. Unfortunately, I didn’t think Faith would appreciate her own guardian angel pushing her out a window, not even in the interests of science. And I wasn’t quite confident enough in my wings to want to throw myself out of a window, either.

I crouched down in a sprinter’s stance and squeezed my eyes. Just think of all the things I’d be able to do once I mastered flight. I’d be able to confirm my suspicions about the true threat to the school. I’d be able to save Faith if she fell again. I’d be able to sneak out in the evening and find the nearest pub-

“Oh my God,” said a voice behind me.

I leapt into the air in alarm — literally. A short mid-teens girl in a baggy cardigan and unflattering glasses stood frozen in the bracken, staring at up me with her mouth hanging open. “You’re… you’re an angel,” she said.

As I was hovering six feet above her on glowing, slowly-beating wings, this did not seem like something I could deny. The rising sun highlighted the girl’s tear-tracked face and red eyes. She took a hesitant step forward, holding up a hand to shield herself from my light. “Who are you?” she breathed.

With my head backlit by my incandescent feathers, she must not have been able to make out my features. If only I could get away quickly, she need never know my identity. “Yes, I am an angel,” I said in the deepest voice I could manage, while frantically trying to work out how to go up. I wobbled dangerously in the air. “Sent from Heaven to, uh…”

“Smite the wicked?” the girl suggested hopefully. She sniffed, swiping her sleeve across her nose. “Because I can totally give you a list. Starting with that bitch Joanne.”

“Er, no.” What the hell did angels talk about? Half-remembered bits of the few Christmas services my dad had forced me to attend drifted up out of my memory. “I come bearing Good News! For unto you a child shall be born!”

The girl stared at me. She did not look like she considered this to be Glad Tidings.

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News and Nostalgia

First, a bit of exciting news: I have finished the second draft of Cold Blood, and it’s now with my beta readers for review. Usually, it’s during this stage that I write the first chapter of the next book, which I just finished the other night. I am very happy to almost be finished with Cold Blood, as it’s the only thing I’ve written so far that has given me actual nightmares. Just by my admitting that, I’m sure those who know me can figure out the particular subject matter fairly quickly! Those who don’t, feel free to guess! 

Next, a bit of nostalgic news–I just realized that it’s the second year anniversary of the release of New Blood, the first book in the Vampire in the City series. As to how many years it’s been since I actually wrote it–probably around six! It was originally written in a composition notebook and then hidden away in my desk for a few years. Then, in 2010, when I was getting rid of the desk to fit a bassinet into my bedroom, I found it. In 2011, after I had (marginally) adjusted to being a new mom, I typed it onto my computer, and finally let other people read it. The response was good, so I went ahead and published it. And today, almost four books out, I couldn’t be happier with where this little series has gone!

Author Interview: Nevermind

By now, Urban Harvest: Tales of the Paranormal in New York City, is available on Amazon.

The only author I haven’t interviewed here is myself. But since that strikes me as a little bit crazy, I’m just going to share an excerpt from my story in the anthology. Originally, I wasn’t going to write a story about vampires, since I’m always doing that in my Vampire in the City series. But as it was coming together, I realized there were no other stories about vampires, and that made me sad. So I wrote this story to fill the proverbial gap.

Vampires of the G Train

Deciding that keeping him talking was the best strategy, she asked, “Are you going to turn me into a vampire?”

The man looked surprised. “No. Why? Do you want to be a vampire?”

“Sure. I mean, it sounds so interesting.”

“I guess it’s pretty cool,” he admitted. “Even though I’m kind of new at it.”

“What do you like best about being a vampire?” Claire asked.

“Besides the blood?”

Claire gave the generally accepted hand gesture for hurry it up.

“Well, doesn’t everyone want to live forever and stay young and beautiful?” he asked.

Claire tilted her head to the side and gave him a questioning look.

“I mean young,” he quickly amended.

Then what Claire had been waiting for happened. With a lurch, the train finally started moving again.

The man frowned. “Must be on some kind of a switch or a timer.”

But Claire didn’t want him to notice what was happening with the train, so she said, “What’s your name, anyway?”

“It’s Harold.”

“Do people call you Harry?”

“No.”

“Anyway, Harold, I’m Claire. So, can you tell me what it’s like being a vampire?”

“Well, I’m new at this,” Harold admitted.

“You said that. How new? Like are you less than a thousand years old or something?”

“I was just turned about a week ago. As I was saying, you are meant to be my first kill.”

“Me, specifically?” Claire asked. “Or just any idiot who wandered into the train alone at night?”

“Not you specifically,” Harold said, almost smiling.

Claire suddenly had an idea. “How about I bring you over my boyfriend’s apartment instead? He’s much bigger than me, and that means more blood for you.”

The man shook his head. “I’m not supposed to get off the train.”

The G train had just pulled into a station, and the doors dinged open.

“Well, that works out for me,” Claire said. She managed to twist around enough to land a pointy elbow in his inner thigh before jumping up and leaping off the train. Unfortunately, something caught her mid-leap.

Harry had caught her around the waist and pulled her back into the train as the doors closed.

“Good try. I’m not letting go of you again.” He sat back down and pulled her beside him. Then he yanked her head to the side until her throat was by his mouth.

To read the rest of my story, buy your copy of Urban Harvest today!

Author Interview: Laurie Treacy

Laurie Treacy is one of the authors in the urban fantasy anthology, Urban Harvest: Tales of the Paranormal in New York City, and I’m so happy to have her featured on my blog for an interview.

What do you like about writing in the paranormal genre?

As a writer, I like the possibilities presented by the paranormal genre, not knowing about the unknown, about ‘otherworldly’ creatures and realms. What a creative playground for writers to play in! 

What prompted you to write this story?

“Wished Away” was originally a short story I wrote in 2012 titled “Scarecrows and Sunflowers” to enter into a competition. I didn’t win, didn’t expect to, but I wanted to explore the short story format. What I discovered was I liked creating shorter pieces. When I read the call for submissions for Urban Harvest, I thought “I can do this. I’m a New Yorker!” My favorite place in the city is the banks of the Hudson River, especially the Metro-North station at Riverdale. Many an hour I’d spent there and I’d also walk down to Spuyten Duyvil. There was my setting. While researching for another story, I discovered the urban legend of Henry Hudson’s “ghost ship.” There was the foundation of my urban lore. The Scarecrow story was still in my mind so I opened the file and began thinking. Ghost ship. Riverdale. The word “wish” popped into my mind. I was intrigued and a new story began to take shape. Within a few days I had my first draft of “Wished Away.”

What other things have you written/are you writing?

I wrote a paranormal New Adult short story, “Powerless,” which will be included in the Stalkers anthology edited by Cynthia Shepp and Rene Foslom. I also wrote an adult paranormal short story “Just One Bite,” which will be part of the In Vein vampire anthology, edited by Jodi Pierce. Both anthologies are expected to be published later this year. I am also writing two Young Adult novels, a paranormal, Strays, and a fantasy, End of Silence, finishing up my YA paranormal, Everlast, besides other works-in-progress.

Do you consider your writing character-driven or plot-driven? 

My writing is definitely character-driven. On my blog (www.laurietreacy.com) I call myself “The Story Channeler.” I feel like Theresa from TLC’sLong Island Medium, except I hear the voices of characters telling me their stories. I’ve learned whenever characters begin speaking or images pop into my mind, I grab paper or my laptop and get it out. It could be a page or two or even longer, but those spurts of inspiration can lead to short stories or novels. I let the characters take the lead.

Do you plot ahead of time, or let the plot emerge as you write?

Much like baking, the plot rises out of my stories during my writing. I do like to roughly outline first and then I will go back and plot the story.

Do you have a writing mentor or inspiration?

I don’t have one particular mentor. I regard inspiration like a sponge seeking water. I am inspired by the books I read and love. As a frequent conference attendee, I am fortunate to meet many in the industry, listen to them talk about their own journeys and that inspires me. I am also inspired by images, pictures, paintings, and by nature. Many times I stop driving to capture a picture of something because it speaks to me. I never know when I may need that picture for creating a particular setting or as the catalyst for a story idea.

When and how did you first become interested in writing?

I wanted to be a writer ever since I was a kid. Growing up in New York City, I spent many summers in the public library, lost in books. I still have two books I began writing when I was in the sixth grade (of course, both were Young Adult stories, one paranormal, one contemporary romance). In college I was very active with the school newspaper and literary magazine, majored in Journalism, and won some writing awards (I won an award from Columbia University for my Bruce Springsteen record review which was really cool).

Writing schedule?

I try to block out some hours in the morning but that doesn’t always work. I will say whenever inspiration strikes, I do pay attention so you may find me writing while waiting for my daughter at dance or while my son is practicing soccer. I need to write where I can see the outdoors and make sure I can listen to the playlist for that particular work.

What’s next?

I’m really looking forward to Nanowrimo this year. I have a title and story outline all ready to go. I’m excited ever since I was inspired by an urban exploration I went on. It will be a New Adult paranormal.

Anything else?

I’m a member of the SCBWI. I love to write YA and read a lot of books in this market. I’m also an active book blogger at Reader Girls, a blog I started in 2009. I get to meet many wonderful authors, publicity people, and other readers as well as discover new and exciting books.

Follow Laurie at:

Website: www.laurietreacy.com and www.readergirlsblog.com

Twitter: @llt806 and @ReaderGirls

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Reader-Girls/101996519841548

Bloglovin’: http://www.bloglovin.com/blog/3766750/the-character-channeler and http://www.bloglovin.com/blog/3467855/reader-girls

The following is a short excerpt from Laurie’s story in Urban Harvest.

Wished Away

I haven’t hung out with Colton in a few years. He was always quiet and intense. He still seems the same way. We stick by the lone Amtrak track. We both know we’re trespassing but shrug it off. Colton laughs. “Do you hear it?”

He tugs me towards the river bank as a school of clouds pass in front of the moon. We hear voices. Stopping before the land slopes down, he draws me beside him. His arm slips around my shoulder. “Close your eyes. Clear your mind of everything. Listen.”

I do. We’re wasting our time, but I shut my eyes and don’t complain. Keeping my mouth closed comes easily living with my father. I like being around Colton. My mind turns into a smart board on Monday mornings.

Within seconds, they barge in. Voices. Sounds. Lots of them. At first muffled, then clearer.

“Captain!”

“Set sail soon.”

“Collection!”

Accented voices.

Then shuffling. Hurried steps. Climbing. Huffing from heavy lifting.

What the hell is this?

My heart races as I scan around.

The area is empty. But I can almost feel a presence of something big, something looming ahead. The waves are faster here as they crash against the bank, spitting froth onto our boot tips.

Colton’s grip tightens as I’m tucked in beside him. “Do you believe, Maire?” he asks, his tone excited.

“Um, kinda.”

He shakes his head. “No, you need to believe. Look again.”

I want to dismiss him as weird. I can’t. Something is going on.

To read the rest of Laurie’s story, check out Urban Harvest: Tales of the Paranormal in New York City, available from Amazon

Author Interview: Tara Hill

Tara is one of the authors in the (extremely!) soon-to-be released urban fantasy anthology, Urban Harvest: Tales of the Paranormal in New York City, and I’m so happy to have her featured on my blog for an interview.

What do you like about writing in the paranormal genre?

The paranormal genre really gives me a lot of room to let my imagination go free.  It not only includes fantasy, but also mystery and unexplained occurrences as well.  You can say something happened and the paranormal genre naturally allows that strange and wonderful event to take place in the world that you’ve created.   

What prompted you to write this story?

I was on the train going into the city, listening to music on my MP3 player.  I was thinking about the project, wondering what I should write about when Josh Groban’s song, “The Bells of New York City” came on.  I immediately stuck it on loop and kept on listening to it for the whole ride.  Music often helps inspire my writing.  The song is about a grey, snow filled night in New York City.  At the time, I worked down near Wall Street so naturally Trinity Church’s cemetery came into my mind.  Then in my head, I got an image of a man from the late 1800s walking down those streets and I just went from there.   

 What other things have you written/are you writing?

I have written articles as the New York Paranormal Examiner for Examiner.com.  I have also kept a blog called Gay Family Life in which I talk about what it was like to grow up with a gay parent during the 1990s.  I currently write articles as a Yahoo Voices contributor.  I am working on building a collection of short stories, mostly about ghosts.  I also have written a novel that I am hoping to find an agent for and to get published someday.  It is a ghost story that talks about the importance of brotherhood and how love can last from one lifetime to the next. 

Do you consider your writing character-driven or plot-driven?

A little of both, actually.  Usually the main character will introduce themselves to me first.  Then they tell me about the situation that they are in.  I guess really the character is in charge of my writing.  

Do you plot ahead of time, or let the plot emerge as you write?

I usually have an idea of what direction I want the plot to go in, but ultimately there are some twists and turns as the story progresses.  I have found that it doesn’t work well if I try to force something too much, so I just wait for my inspiration to lead me down the right path. 

Do you have a writing mentor or inspiration?

I have several.  Some of my favorite authors are J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Amy Tan, Anne Rice, Neil Gaiman, Mitch Albom, and Charles Dickens.  My favorite book of all time is The Hobbit.  I like writers that create other worlds for their characters to go into or create odd situations for their characters to encounter in reality. 

When and how did you first become interested in writing?

My family raised me to love books.  They took me to libraries and bookstores, they read to me every night, encouraged imaginative play, and had discussions with me about what I was reading. One day, I was in a bookstore pretending to be Belle from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. I was actually reading a novelization of it as I was walking through the store.  Being something of a tomboy, Belle was the one princess character that I really identified with because she loved to read. Then suddenly, I stopped and looked up at the walls of books. Turning to my mother, I told her that I wanted my name to be up on those shelves someday so that everyone could read my stories.   

What’s your writing schedule? Do you have a favorite place to write?

I tend to write for one to three hours at a clip.  I don’t really keep a strict writing schedule.  Instead, I just write my heart out every time I sit down at the computer and try to make sure that I find time to do this at least three to four times a week. 

What’s next?

I’m going to keep on writing more short stories and see if I can get them published. I’m also pretty sure I have another novel that is almost ready to bloom, but I don’t think I’m ready to start it yet. Also, I need to focus on getting a literary agent. 

Anything else you’d like to add?

I have created two Facebook pages, one to help showcase my online work as a writer and another called Ghost Fanatic to share my interest in ghosts.  You can also check out my Twitter page, @TaraTheresaHill.  I’m really excited about the Urban Harvest anthology.  This is my first official story publication.    

The following is a short excerpt from Tara’s story in Urban Harvest.

Don’t Be Afraid

Every night, I rise just as the twilight ends and night descends around the city. Walking through the old cemetery, I wander to the front doors of the church. Old Trinity Church welcomes me long after the last visitor’s steps have faded into the sounds of the bustling streets. Walking the long aisle, I always stop at the altar to pray. Only this night will be different. This is All Hallow’s Eve, the one night of the year when the veil between the Spirit World and the Living is thinnest. Every year at this time, I go back to the old neighborhood hoping to find the one that I lost.

Having said my piece, I exit the church and start the long, lonely walk. The city is busy with people and spirits roaming about. Another gentleman and lady from my time nod their heads as I pass by. I tip my hat in return, but there are plenty of spirits from all walks of life and eras here. If the Living only had the sight, they would see souls of people from modern times all the way back to the ancients who first walked the land. All gather together sharing ideas and helping to influence the ones on the physical plane when they can. Most come and go as they please, but others are stuck here on the Earth. I should know because I am one of them. While people use the terms interchangeably, the real difference between a ghost and a spirit is that a spirit has the ability to shift between the two realms at will.

How I died is not important. I do not really remember it being different from any other day. I seemed to wake up just as I always did. Actually, it was a lot like waking up from a nap. I opened my eyes to find myself fully dressed even though I thought I remembered having gone to bed the previous night. I was sitting in my study, only the shades were drawn and the windows were closed. I had always liked to have them open even during the coldest days so that a bit of air could get into the room. Standing up, I walked out into hallway and toward the center of the house. That’s when I heard the weeping. It was a sad sound that shuddered up and down as it came to me from across the hall. Astounded at the noise, I still swept forward to find the source of it. My hand stopped at the parlor door, which was wide open for a viewing. Everything was draped in black and candles burned all about the room amidst the overwhelming perfume of flowers.

My wife and our grown children sat in the parlor, surrounded by friends and other members of the community. The grandbaby sat on his mother’s lap, his fingers stuck in his mouth to soothe himself. They all wore black and grey. Shaking my head, I looked toward the raised dais in the back of the room. All conversation was lost on me for the moment; I had to see for myself to make good their words.

Walking over to the coffin, I stared down at the remains of the body that I had only recently occupied. There was the strong, square jaw, the jet black hair laced delicately with grey at the temples, the broad shoulders and wide chest. I had been in the peak of health for a man in his sixties. What had happened? Surely someone must know. 

To read the rest of Tara’s story, check out Urban Harvest: Tales of the Paranormal in New York City, available from Amazon in just a few hours!