Author: Teri LeePublisher: Black Rose Writing
Publish Date: August 21, 2014
Annie Waters hates birthdays. At least she hates her birthdays. Because every year her mother told the story of her grandmother's ghostly appearance in the delivery room. But the worst birthday was her sixteenth--the day she killed her dad.
Forced to move to Shady Cove, Maine, Annie is drawn deep into the world of the supernatural by her new friend, Harmony. Now, tormented by an angry spirit, Annie has only nine days to unravel the secrets of the Caldwell School or join the spirit world herself
As a teenager, I loved to write. But some how in the process of being a mother, wife, nurse I forgot about that love for a while. Of course I still read. A lot.To the point of possible obsession. But the need to write was always there. This nagging urge that I couldn't quite bring to the forefront of my brain. But once I did, I couldn't stop. I see stories in everything around me and then I just have to write them down. I suppose writing is an escape as well. Just as I immerse myself in a book while reading, I immerse myself in the story while I'm writing.
2. How long have you been writing?
I started writing seriously in 2008, so almost 7 years. I'd written a few nursing articles before that, but there's no passion in that writing.
3. Where did you come up with the idea for "Troubled Spirits"?
Troubled Spirits was inspired by a group of my co-workers. They invited me to join them on a ghost hunt. The ghostly expedition never happened, but the seed for Troubled Spirits was planted.
4. How long did it take you to write "Troubled Springs"?
It took a year to write my first draft. Then I met with an editor at a conference and she suggested weaving a subplot into the story. Something so that it wasn't just a ghost story. I liked the idea, but I dreaded the process, so I put Troubled Spirits aside for almost a year. And then one day, one of the McWriters asked me about the story. She said, "What ever happened to those kids? I was really attached to them." That was the inspiration I needed. I had some time off from work and I sequestered myself in my writing room, finally emerging with a completed story - subplot included
5. What are "The McWriters" and how were you introduced to them?
The McWriters is the nickname for my critique group. We meet every other Thursday at McDonald's, Why McDonald's? Well, it's a central location for all of us (some of us drive over an hour to get there) and no one cares how long we meet. So far there haven't been any complaints from other customers. Even when we discuss the occasional steamy scene or fine tune a murder. I joined the group after responding to an email that they had an opening. I had to submit a sample of my writing first. Once I passed that hurdle, I braved the terrifying process of meeting a group of strangers who would proceed to tell me what was wrong with what I thought was perfection! Over the years these strangers have become some of my closest friends. Even though they bleed all over my submissions every two weeks, I wouldn't have it any other way. I love these ladies.
6. Any advice for aspiring authors?
First, always keep writing. Push forward. Finish your story. And then go back and begin the deepening. Bring your characters life. And then polish your story. Read every line out loud. That's how you'll catch the silly mistakes that your brain reads past. And start building your brand before you finish your book. Set up a Facebook page. Set up a website or a blog site. Start blogging. Begin building a readership. This is something I started late, but wish I'd gotten a head start on. Marketing is essential to the success of your book.
7. Anything else?
Whenever I'm given an open platform I talk about bullying. I'm not talking about that pushing-shoving bullying. I'm talking about word-bullying. Words carry so much power. Once read or heard, they can't be forgotten. And with the internet and the rest of technology, words travel through cyberspace to find their target with the click of a button. When I talk about word-bullying, people often share their past experiences with me. It makes me sad to hear these successful people share the hateful words used against them in their youth. Some of these people have even shared events from almost 60 years past.
So I challenge you. What mark will you leave with your words. Will it be a mark that builds someone up? Helps them feel good about who they are? Or will it be a scar? That hurt that never really goes away? What will your words do?
As they turned onto the school road, Harmony finally spoke.
“I think the ghost knew your grandmother. And…” Excitement crept into her voice, “He sensed your grandmother’s presence when we went into the Caldwell School. He might even think you are your grandmother!”
Harmony looked out the window. They were almost to the school. “I don’t think he can tell the difference. Which means, he thinks you’re Annie Mae Brown. And that scares him!”
Something came over Annie—a force so powerful that she couldn’t resist called her from the Caldwell School. She cranked the wheel, whipping the car into the school lot, then slammed on the brakes, skidding to a stop in front of the old school. She jumped out of the car and ran toward the building.
“Annie, what are you doing?” Harmony yelled.
Annie stopped. She didn’t know why she was doing it, but she knew she had to. “I am Annie Mae Brown!” she screamed.
“And I’m going to make sure the whole world knows your secret!”
The ground trembled. And with a deafening boom, the school windows shattered. Shards of glass flew toward her.
Behind her, Harmony screamed.
And suddenly Drew was there, knocking her to the ground, shielding her with his body as glass pelted the ground around her.
The storm of glass stopped and Annie looked up into Drew’s eyes. “Are you okay?” he asked, getting to his feet.
Annie pushed herself up into a sitting position. “I think so.”
“Stay here,” Drew said, then dashed into the old school building.
“Annie…” Harmony’s voice was weak.
Annie scrambled to her feet. Harmony was standing in front of the car, a piece of glass sticking out of her chest. Annie ran.
Her feet moved, but Harmony seemed to be getting farther away. And then she watched in horror as Harmony looked down at the glass.
“Don’t!” Annie screamed—too late. Harmony reached up.
Her fingers wrapped around the glass and she pulled. She looked down at the glass in her hand as if wondering where it had come from. A dark red blotch spread across her bright green hoodie. The evil-looking shard slipped from her hand and shattered on the pavement. Harmony dropped to her knees. Her eyes met Annie’s for a brief second before she toppled forward.
Annie reached her friend in time to catch her and lower her to the ground. “Somebody, help me,” she screamed. In the distance she heard voices. “Help!” she yelled again.
Her fingers felt thick as she worked the zipper down and pulled Harmony’s sweatshirt open. Blood flowed from a deep gash just below Harmony’s left shoulder. Annie yanked her own sweatshirt off and pressed it against the wound. Harmony’s face was white. Her eyes were closed. “Talk to me,” Annie cried.
Harmony’s eyelids fluttered open. “You okay?” Her voice was barely a whisper.
Annie nodded. Tears streamed down her face.
“I saw…” Harmony’s voice faded and her eyes closed.
“Open your eyes!” Annie sobbed. “Please open your eyes.”
Harmony didn’t move. The blood soaked through Annie’s sweatshirt.
“Please don’t die,” Annie whispered. She pressed harder on the wound. She could feel the ghost behind her. She looked back at the old school building, expecting to see the swirling dark shadow. Empty windows stared back at her.
She needed to get help, but she couldn’t let up on the pressure. Harmony would die!
Where was Drew? Why wasn’t he helping her?
“Drew! Anybody! Help! Please help,” she screamed.
A door slammed across the street. Footsteps pounded on the pavement, growing closer. She looked back at Harmony.
“Someone’s coming. Hang on.”
The bleeding seemed to have slowed and Annie leaned closer to her friend. “See, it’s slowing down. You’re going to be okay.” And then an awful thought crept into her mind. The worst thought ever. What if the bleeding had slowed because Harmony’s heart had stopped beating? What if Harmony was-she couldn’t think the word.
5 ebooks copies Troubled Spirits