Before writing Troubled Spirits, I was a supernatural skeptic. Sure, I had watched Casper the Friendly Ghost as a kid and have seen all of the Ghostbuster movies, but I didn’t believe. Before I delved into a story involving the paranormal I did some research. Here’s what I uncovered:
· Although throughout Troubled Spirits I interchanged the words ghost and spirit, there is a difference. Ghosts are the souls of people who are trapped here. As a result, they are often, but not always, angry. Most of the supernatural beings in Troubled Spirits are ghosts.
Spirits are beings who have the ability to move in and out of the spiritual realms. Annie’s grandmother would be considered a spirit. So why did I, knowing the difference, flip back and forth between ghosts and spirits? First to avoid word repetition. And second, the ‘Spirits’ in the title is a reference to both definitions of spirit—attitude and soul.
· When ghosts interact with the living, there is a significant temperature drop. Usually at least ten degrees. This is because ghosts draw energy from their surroundings. They’ll also pull energy from batteries and other electronic devices. As an absolute last resort, they will siphon energy from the people around them, leaving that person exhausted. Annie experiences this phenomenon in Troubled Spirits.
· An entity’s touch feels like a small electric charge on the skin or it may cause goose bumps. During one of my interviews, I spoke with a security guard who had encountered a very old spirit. After hours one night, he investigated a report of a child sighted in one of the buildings. He and his partner arrived to find a young girl sitting in a chair. She wouldn’t speak to either of them. The security guard, who also happened to be a paramedic, checked her pulse. It felt strong and regular. But when the two guards turned away for a moment, the girl disappeared. A search of the building came up empty. There were no reports of any missing children. Later he met with a medium and spoke with her about his experience. She informed him that the entity he encountered was able to use her energy to allow him to feel a pulse. I was thankful for this interview, because it allowed me to give the ghosts in Troubled Spirits a little extra freedom.
· I’ll end with sharing one of my own supernatural experiences. In addition to being an author, I’m also an ER nurse. Much of my job involves saving lives, but some people slip from our grasp as healthcare workers. When this happens, we move the patient to a more private room to allow the family to spend time with their loved one and say their goodbyes. We always use the same room.
One night, we brought a spirit box into ‘the room’.
We huddled together in the darkness listening to the fuzzy static of my coworker’s modified AM/FM radio. “Has anyone died here?” he called out. The entity responded with two words that I can’t repeat. Because they were unkind. This was the inspiration for Annie’s first encounter with ghost of the Caldwell School.
Like Annie Waters, I began my journey into the paranormal world as a disbeliever, but before long I realized—my only choice was to believe.
Genre: YA Paranormal
Publisher: Black Rose Writing
Date of Publication: August 21, 2014
Number of pages: 220
Word Count: 64,000
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
Book Trailer: http://youtu.be/2fr-K7A9Bog
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.
About the Author:
Teri Lee is the author of Troubled Spirits, a YA paranormal novel. Growing up in Maine, Teri spent hours exploring in the woods with her friends dreaming up places like ‘Land of the Lost’, ‘Trouble Hill’, and ‘Paradise’. If she wasn’t in the woods, you’d find her lost in a book. And today not much has changed. She’s still dreaming up imaginary places, getting lost in a book, and sometimes lost in the woods. When she’s not writing you’ll find her saving lives and rescuing splinters in the ER.