(Afterlife Book One)
by Terri Bruce
Genre: Paranormal/Contemporary Fantasy
Publisher: Mictlan Press
Date of Publication: January 20, 2014
Cover Artist: Shelby Robinson
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.
Unfortunately, what waits in the Great Beyond isn’t much better. Stuck between the boring life of a ghost in this world and the terrifying prospect of three-headed hell hounds, final judgment, and eternal torment in the next, Irene sets out to find a third option—preferably one that involves not being dead anymore. Can she wipe the slate clean and get a second chance before it’s too late?
“Come.” Samyel gestured, indicating that they should follow him. “We must go.”
“Go? Go where?”
“Away. Inside. Or they will see.”
“Who will see what?”
The dark glasses revealed nothing as he stood impassively for a moment. “Everyone.”
Samyel was attracting a lot of attention. The crowd moving around them was giving him a wide berth, and he was the focus of a lot of strange looks, which just confirmed that he wasn’t dead—people could see him. Irene knew that it looked like a seven-foot tall man in a trench coat and dark glasses was talking to himself in the middle of the sidewalk. It wouldn’t be long before the cops came to investigate.
Irene gestured for Samyel to lead the way. “Fine. Let’s go.”
Irene heard another choke of protest and glanced at Jonah. There was a silent exchange of mouthed words, pantomimed gestures, and angry, exaggerated looks.
“Don’t be crazy,” Jonah hissed. “You can’t go with him!”
“You’re the one that always wants to stop and talk to every weirdo we meet,” she countered. “And what do you mean ‘you’? We’re both going.”
“Uh uh,” Jonah said. “This is your idea. If you get murdered, I’m not saving you.”
With an exasperated look, she motioned for Jonah to follow and set out after Samyel, who was nearly out of sight. Jonah reluctantly followed. Irene gave him a wry look as they trailed, side by side, a few feet behind Samyel. “You know, at some point, we’re going to have to talk about your propensity for picking fights with people bigger than yourself.”
“A really bad habit that you should stop.”
Jonah’s expression turned unreadable for a long moment, as if he was debating with himself, and then he looked away, stuffing his hands in his pockets and bowing his head to stare at the sidewalk as they went.
“I’ve changed the password, by the way, so you can’t do that again,” he said darkly.
She grabbed his arm, pulling him to a halt. “Jonah, listen to me. It’s not that I don’t appreciate you trying to protect me. I do. Even when it’s annoying and misplaced, like with Ernest. You’re the bravest, sweetest guy I’ve ever met, but I’m dead. You’re not. I’m already probably going to Hell for dragging you along on this adventure. Don’t add being the cause of your death to my list of crimes, okay?”
The tips of his ears had turned pink and his head was down, shoulders hunched. Then, to her surprise, he suddenly looked at her, his eyes inquiring as he searched her face. She didn’t know what he was looking for, but he was gazing at her so earnestly that she blushed.
If you could have any superpower what would you choose?
I would totally want to be able to fly. Metamorphosis—into an animal or into different people—would also be awesome.
Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
There have been a lot—almost too many to count. Whenever my review request is accepted by a blogger that I really admire—that still remains one of my favorite things. :-) Meeting so many awesome people who love books. Having so many people rooting for me during the dispute with my publisher and while I’ve been going through the growing pains of learning to self-publish. Becoming an author has helped me to see just how many kind and generous people there are in the world.
Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book.
Because it’s super good—LOL! Or, at least, that’s what my cats tell me. :-)
How can I pick just one?! I love cheesecake, crème brulee, Spam, Indian food, Bachman Cheese Jax—LOL, it’s an eclectic mix, I know, but seriously, I like food (and yes, Spam was on that list).
What book are reading now?
Tonight, I’m going to be downloading Vera Nazarian’s Cobweb Forest. I’ve been waiting (LOL—not very patiently) for this book to come out and can’t wait to read it!
What’s your favorite season/weather?
Fall! Hands down, I love the fall. The air is crisp but not frigid, the leaves change colors, and it’s just such a beautiful, awesome time of year (I live in New England and fall here is awesome). My husband and I go to Bar Harbor, ME for our anniversary (which is in October) every year, and nothing beats fall in Bar Harbor!
What was your favorite children's book?
Walt Disney’s Story Land. It’s a big red, hard-covered book of stories related to Disney movies, and my father used to read to me and my sister from it. It was the only book I wanted him to read from. I still have it actually—some of the pages have crayon scribbles and some are cut up, but mostly it’s in pretty good shape for its age. :-)
Beach or Pool?
Either is fine as long as the water isn’t over my head. :-) I’m not a big swimmer. Truthfully, I much prefer the woods.
What is one book everyone should read?
The Romance of Atlantis by Taylor Caldwell—I don’t care how you feel about romance novels, the author wrote this book when she was fourteen. FOURTEEN and it’s insanely good—the world building is amazing. You have to read it just for that shear fact alone, to admire the insane talent that created it.
Any other books in the works? Goals for future projects?
The second book in the series comes out May 1, 2014. The third book is almost written, and I hope it will come out in the fall (and then it’s on to book #4!). Meanwhile, I’m working on a science fantasy—a kind of “Firefly meets Battlestar Galatica” in which cowboys in space struggle to survive a cataclysmic event that destroys their society, leaving them lost and alone in space
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. Her second novel, Thereafter (Afterlife #2), will be released May 1, 2014.
Help celebrate the re-release of HEREAFTER back into the wild at the Online Release Party January 21st from 12:00 pm EST (noon) to 12:00 am EST (midnight). Join Terri and over a dozen special guest authors—including Alma Alexander (“The Secrets of Jin-Shei”) , Gail Z. Martin (“Chronicles of the Necromancer”), Barbara Ann Wright (“The Pyramid Waltz”), and Jennifer Allis Provost (“Copper Girl”)—for games, giveaways, and other shenanigans.
So please stop on by HERE and bring your friends—the more merrier!