by Maggie Toussaint
Details on how to win a Kindle format version or an Advance Reading Copy paperback of the book Doggone It at the end of the post.
Something leaps out at you in the dark. Your heartbeat pounds in your ears. Your lungs burn for air. Your palms sweat buckets. Butterflies whirl in your stomach.
Scared silly, scared to death, scared stiff, scared out of your wits – those are a few of the phrases often associated with act of being terrified. What I find interesting is the polarized responses to the experience.
Some people hate that fear-paralysis mode. It produces a nauseating certainty that this is the end of the world. The intensity of that terror often puts those folks off all activities designed to provoke that response.
On the flip side, other people love getting the bejeebers scared out of them. But positive individual reactions to that adrenaline-rush sensation vary. Some folks revel in the intensity of the experience. Some feel lifted from the ordinariness of their lives. Others experience gratification from surviving experiences like sky-diving, rollercoaster riding, haunted house visiting, or scary movie watching.
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Paranormal movies, TV shows, and books have a deep-seated appeal to those who enjoy a scare or two. Interestingly, entertainment options like these that explain the fright and make the “bad guys” pay, offer value for scare lovers and scare haters alike. In the universe of a book or movie, a story may play out with characters who find ways to cope with their fears, and ultimately triumph.
Throughout time, humankind has sought to explain the unexplainable through myths, legends, and religion. In addition to these time-honored stories, modern authors continue to use story vehicles to explore different perspectives of unusual, difficult, or life changing events.
As a person who spent a lifetime avoiding being scared, I now have an intellectual interest in things that can’t be proven or explained logically. For instance, we believe in the possibility of life elsewhere in the universe, though we can’t prove it. Many believe in the afterlife, though we take that on faith from either religious or secular sources.
My current series, the Dreamwalker Mystery Series, features amateur sleuth Baxley Powell, a woman who can, among other talents, access the spirits of those who have died. She’s a police consultant who uses her unusual ability to help solve crimes.
The newest release in this paranormal mystery series, Doggone It, delves into a double homicide at a haunted house. The story opens with Baxley and Charlotte, her reporter friend, visiting the location for a newspaper story and getting waylaid by an earthbound spirit.
Charlotte feels so faint she can’t stand up. She panics as stomach butterflies, tight lungs, and racing heartbeat further debilitate her. She fights back with her secret weapon – by demanding her psychic friend make this problem go away.
Baxley knows it’s a risk for her to lower her guard at the haunted house. During her teens, she had a terrible experience here, but she’s older and wiser now. She knows what she’s about as a dreamwalker, whereas she blocked her abilities previously. Since becoming a dreamwalker, she’s traversed the veil of life dozens of times. Freeing Charlotte from this thrall should be easy-peasy to someone as seasoned as she is.
Plus, her BFF is begging for her help. Baxley’s heart says yes. Her head says she should have no problem. She’s a dreamwalker. She knows all about the spirit world.
But when she lowers her guard, she gets swamped with numbing fear, too. Something terrible has hold of her, and she can’t get away. She hears clanking chains and feels the gut-wrenching cold of nothingness.
Unlike her typical dreamwalks where she is unaware of what’s going on around her body, this experience is like a lucid dream. She knows she’s paralyzed, but she can hear and virtually see Charlotte freaking out.
Baxley’s body, mind, and soul are swamped with the fight or flight urge. Only she can’t defend herself or run. She can’t do anything.
Her options for lifelines boil down to a single bad choice. She can’t use that choice, because it comes at a harrowing cost, but she’s stuck in a nowhere place and afraid. Her father, who rescued her years ago, can’t manage regular dreamwalks anymore, and this is no ordinary anything.
The lifeline choice? A powerful spirit who helps when it suits her, for a horrifying fee. The charge for a favor is an hour of Baxley’s life. Dire circumstances forced Baxley to use the spirit’s help twice before, and in doing so, saved two lives.
If she doesn’t escape soon, she will die. Her life is on the line. The only choice is the bad one. What’s another hour of her life gone compared to no hours left at all?
I hope you enjoyed this reprise of the opening scene of Doggone It. For a chance to win a Kindle format version or an Advance Reading Copy paperback of the book, chime in with something that scares you, or simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “doggone,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen October 29, 2016. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address. Please state whether you prefer the ebook or paperback ARC.