Thanks for stopping by Cat’s wonderful blog and a huge thanks to her for having me over. Today is a big moment in my life, the release of my Romantic Fantasy, Tearing the Shroud. When Escape Publishing picked it up last June I didn’t think I could be more excited, but today might top it.
In many parts of the world, this is Dia de los Muertos or the start of All Souls Day in various churches. Interestingly the storyline in my novel involves another reality and the idea that the world we live in has unseen things happening just out of our perception. With that in mind, I thought I’d share a couple of unexplainable moments that happened in my life.
The first took place at age twelve. The day was sunny and the pool in our back yard reflected the brilliant blue of the Southern California sky. I sat at the kitchen table munching on a sandwich my mom had just made for me and looking out over the city below when the phone rang. A feeling like I’d just slipped into a hot bubbling Jacuzzi came over me.
I turned to my mom as she reached for the phone and said, “Grandpa’s dead.”
Her face registered the oddity of my proclamation and she lifted the receiver. Then as she spoke to whoever it was her reaction grew. The phone call was a family member letting us know that my dad’s father had died minutes before.
The second happened when I was nineteen. I’d moved out of my parent’s house the year before and was living with a roommate in a small apartment in Tujunga, California. If you watch Son’s of Anarchy you might know it as “Charming.” It’s a town with a checkered past.
In the 1950’s surrounding cities sent troubled youth to high school there when they couldn’t handle them. Then, further down the road it was the So. Cal. hotspot for the Hells Angels. (I guess the SoA producers got it right.) During a huge flood in the late 1970’s a graveyard gave way and coffins floated down the steep streets. If all that isn’t enough, a buddy of mine came to high school one morning only to find it closed because someone had nailed a severed goats head to the main doors. Yeah…like I said…a checkered past.
One night as I traveled home in my beat up ’59 MGB, I ran out of gas a couple of blocks from home. It was common enough as the thing didn’t have a working fuel gauge and I was dirt poor. I parked and started to walk. The Santa Anna winds whipped the tall eucalyptus trees into a frenzy with their warm bursts and gusts. The tree limbs groaned and creaked overhead and I sped up a little, worried that they would come down.
Then a feeling that something was behind me ran down my spine, you know…that feeling you get when ascending a darkened stairwell or walking in a graveyard at night (which I’ve also done.) I turned, but nothing was there. The chill grew, adding some juice in my stride so I started to jog. It didn’t help. The branches seemed to be reaching for me, the palpable weight of something after me put spurs in my sides and I took off like shot from a cannon.
I rounded the corner and sprinted through the gate of my apartment complex, fumbling with my keys. As I took the cement stairs two at a time, I gripped them like my life depended on it and never looked back. I somehow I managed to hold my trembling hand still long enough to shove the key in and unlock the door. Dashing inside, I slammed it behind me, turning both locks.
My startled roommate asked what was wrong and I said, ‘Something’s chasing me.’
He raised his eyebrows. ‘Something?’
At that moment, the door handle started to move, jiggling one way then another, but held by the lock. We had a curtained window just next to the door. I summoned my courage and brought my shaking finger to ease back the curtain for a peek outside. Surely, it was a buddy pulling a prank, or a drunk neighbor…or…nothing.
That turned out to be the correct answer. Nothing was there…yet still the handle continued to move.
(Cue the music from the Omen)
I hope you enjoyed the visit but let’s not end things here.
Share a comment about something unexplainable you experienced. It has to be true and your own personal experience. Cat and I will choose the best comment, and you’ll receive a digital copy of Tearing the Shroud and digital signed cover art.
Publisher: Escape Publishing (Harlequin AU) http://www.escapepublishing.com.au
Fall in love, be possessed, hunt a sorcerer and save the world — and Vincent thought calculus was tough.
1984 — Vincent expected college to be about freedom and girls, but then the nightmares of sorcery, monsters and other worlds began. Not even the surprising attention from his dream girl, Julie, could shake them.
Before he’s even nailed his second date with Julie, he’s possessed by Coleman, a warrior from another realm. Coleman is hell bent on defeating the monstrous Kafla who threatens to tear into Vincent’s reality, changing both his and Coleman’s worlds forever. They have one chance to stop them: Vincent must allow Coleman to share his body and wage war against the sorcerer.
Now it’s up to them, the women they love, and Vincent’s rag-tag bunch of role- playing and gaming friends to save the world, or see 1984 descend into the apocalypse.
J.M. Bray lives in Southern California with his college sweetheart and their two dogs. After a lifetime together, they are happier than the moment they met.
When not writing or working his “day job”, he loves to cook, play the guitar, and travel with his wife. Every chance he gets, he races an old Porsche named “Tuffy” at tracks in the southwest.
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