The Afterlife Series
Genre: Paranormal Romance / Visionary Fiction
Publisher: Rose Petal Publications
Date of Publication: Originally Released 1/1/2014
Reprint / New Cover 6/21/2014
Number of pages: 228
Word Count: 54,937
Connor’s dead. But she can still feel him. Is it just her imagination or something more? Celeste wants to know. And she’ll stop at nothing to find out.
A once-aspiring artist, Celeste is going through the motions of life. She’s stuck – in a job she doesn’t love, with a man who isn’t right for her, in a web of painful memories from the past. Adding to her despair is the sudden and unexpected death of Connor, her true love. As she struggles to make sense of the world around her, strange coincidences and mysterious events lead her to question her sanity. When the happenings persist, she wonders if Connor’s spirit is trying to tell her something. Her jealous husband Dave insists it’s all just her imagination. But when Celeste’s young son has an experience of his own, she is determined to uncover the truth.
Join Celeste as she risks her marriage, her career, and her own safety to escape the demons from her past and unravel the mysteries of life and death. With so much uncertainty, there’s only one thing Celeste knows: her world will never be the same.
Book Trailer: http://youtu.be/-jGCYT1my9E
Celeste began sobbing uncontrollably. She struggled to see the road ahead of her through tear-filled eyes. The landscape became a fuzzy blur of moonlight and shadowy trees. The world around her spun into an unrecognizable mix of darkness streaked with occasional rays of dim light. As she drove blindly ahead, she felt as if she were plunging into nothingness. And she didn’t even care.
She would have continued in her oblivious state, but somehow, out of nowhere, she heard a very clear and distinct male voice pop into her head. She thought that surely she must have imagined it, because it sounded like Connor.
Suddenly a deer darted out in front of her, its startled eyes aglow from the blazing gold headlights. Blood pulsed through her veins as she abruptly swerved her car to the right, narrowly missing the animal. With her heart still pounding, she took a deep breath and tried to regain her composure.
“That was close,” she said aloud to herself. “Stay focused, Celeste. Keep it together.”
Although she was alone in her car, she noticed a distinct presence. It felt like Connor was somehow with her. First the voice, and now this? Surely she must be losing her mind! Even so, she had an irresistible urge to talk to him. Maybe it was silly or useless, but she couldn’t fight this desire brimming inside of her. She didn’t just want communication with her deceased former love; she needed it—even if it was one-sided. She began to have a conversation as if he were right there with her.
“I’m so sorry,” she sobbed. “I’m sorry I didn’t stay in touch with you and try to be a part of your life in some way. I’m sorry I wasn’t there for you or able to help you. I’m sorry for the night I left you. I’m sorry I didn’t let you get closer to me or tell you that I love you. I’m just so sorry.”
Tears streamed down Celeste’s face like the rain on a shiny glass window, and she gasped for air. What she wanted most right now was to know that Connor still existed somehow, somewhere. She wanted proof that his spirit lived on. She wanted to know that he was alive and well in heaven. Although she had been raised Christian, her faith had faded as she’d grown older. Life’s circumstances, unanswered prayers, and the cynical, materialistic world around her had left Celeste with doubts and questions. She now wondered if God and the afterlife even existed at all. She wanted to believe. She just didn’t know how.
Right after she spoke to Connor, a song came on the radio. The words caught her attention, and she stopped crying long enough to listen. It was a tune by Nickelback titled “Someday.”
For a brief moment, Celeste noticed a tingling sensation run down her spine. She felt like Connor was speaking directly to her through this song. It felt as if he were trying to respond to her. Were the words to this song meant for her? Did he somehow hear her cries? Was he trying to tell her he was going to help her in some way?
“No,” thought Celeste. “You’re being ridiculous. This is all just a coincidence. Connor can’t hear you or help you—he’s dead.”
Somehow, even though her rational, logical mind told her this, her heart told her otherwise. Maybe Connor really was alive in the afterlife. Maybe he really could hear her. She needed to know the truth. She wanted answers.
Character Name: Connor
Character Bio: I’m a 35-year-old former teacher who recently died in a plane crash. I’m adventurous. I love to travel, and I enjoy nature. I once dated a thoughtful, sweet, beautiful woman named Celeste. She’s the kind of person every man wants to marry. Although I loved her, I didn’t fight for her or our relationship, so I missed out on an opportunity for lasting love and happiness. My advice to all the guys out there: If you have a good woman and you think you might love her, don’t blow it. You may not get another chance.
Connor (right) and Celeste (left)
Photo by Steven Jon Horner Photography
Describe yourself what is your worst and best quality?
My worst quality is that I have trouble settling down. I’m a free spirit (no pun intended), and I do best on my own. That quality has interfered with my relationships and even prevented me from being with Celeste, the woman I love. My best quality is that I would do anything to protect those I love.
What is the one thing you wish other people knew about you?
Just because I don’t discuss my feelings doesn’t mean I don’t care. I keep a lot inside and have trouble opening up to people, even those who are close to me.
What is your biggest secret something no one knows about?
I’m not really dead. LOL. What I’m trying to say is that death is not what people think it is. No one really dies; we just change form. That being said, I have the ability to communicate with those who are still in physical form. The problem is that most people aren’t open to that experience. They mistakenly believe that what they’re seeing, hearing, and feeling is just their imagination or coincidence. So much is possible that you’re not even aware of. Who knows, maybe I will see you in your dreams tonight. << Wink-wink >>
What are you most afraid of?
I’m afraid of never getting through to Celeste. She can be very stubborn sometimes.
What do you want more than anything?
I want to love and be loved. This is not something that has come easily to me. I should have never let Celeste go and regret not telling her how I really feel. I know I screwed up. And now it’s too late.
What is your relationship status?
Single. I’ll bet you’re not surprised!
How would you describe your sense of fashion?
I’m a casual sort of guy. You can usually find me in jeans, sweaters, t-shirts and sweat pants. I like clothes that are comfortable. I will occasionally dress up, if need be, but it isn’t something I do very often.
How much of a rebel are you?
I’m a bit of a rebel. I don’t always follow the rules. If I don’t believe something is right, I’m not afraid to speak my mind. I won’t just go along with something because someone tells me to. I enjoy coming up with unique solutions and will fight to make sure justice is served.
What do you considered to be your greatest achievement?
My greatest achievement is having the opportunity to help people from “the other side.” I’m learning how to communicate with those on earth in the hopes of guiding them towards a better life.
What is your idea of happiness?
My idea of happiness is being out in nature. I’m most happy when I’m surrounded by trees or out on my boat fishing.
What is your current state of mind?
I’m at peace, of course. You have heard of the phrase “rest in peace,” right? <<Smiles>>
What is your most treasured possession?
Possessions were never important to me. I’ve always preferred a simple life and would much rather live in a small house in the woods than in a mansion.
What is your most marked characteristic?
Women tell me they love my smile. << Big grin >>
What is it that you, most dislike?
I dislike injustice or when someone is being mistreated. I’m happy to stand up for others and ensure they are treated fairly.
Which living person do you, most despise?
I don’t despise anyone anymore. When you “die,” you feel only love, peace and forgiveness. When I was still “living,” I hated Celeste’s abusive ex-boyfriend Andy. He did a lot of terrible things to her, and I was ready to go over there and give him a piece of my mind. Celeste stopped me, though. She believed it was better to just leave things alone. Now I understand that choice. Two wrongs don’t make a right. Sometimes it’s best to just keep the peace and let things go.
What is your greatest regret?
My greatest regret is letting Celeste go. A woman like that doesn’t come along very often, and I blew my chance at love.
What is the quality you most like in a man?
I like men who respect women and don’t try to change them or make them into something they’re not. I would never ask my woman to change who she is for me.
What is the quality you most like in a woman?
I like a woman who is playful. It’s okay to be serious sometimes, but you’ve gotta have some fun too!
Who is your favorite hero in fiction?
I’m not really into super heroes like Batman or Spiderman, but I did always like The Three Stooges. My favorite character was Moe. A wise guy, eh?
Which living person do you most admire?
I most admire Chip, Celeste’s 5-year-old son. He’s a very smart boy and can easily grasp concepts that even adults have trouble with. He has a zest for life and is good at consoling others and offering a positive outlook. I expect great things from him. That boy has the potential to change the world someday!
If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be?
I would wish to be alive physically, so that I could have a second chance with Celeste. Being a spirit is amazing, but you can’t really have a relationship with someone if you’re not alive … or can you?
What is your motto?
Wish you were here.
Deanna Kahler is an accomplished writer and proud mom. Her work has been published in numerous corporate newsletters and magazines across the country. She began writing as a young child and enjoys the opportunity to reach others and make a difference in their lives.
Echoes of Paradise is her second book. The story is close to her heart because it was inspired by some of her own experiences. Deanna is now working on a follow-up novel, Visions of Mortality, scheduled for release in 2015. The book will feature some of the same characters and also have a paranormal/afterlife theme.
Deanna holds a bachelor’s degree in communication arts from Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan, where she graduated with departmental honors. She lives with her husband and daughter in a Metro Detroit suburb and enjoys writing, dancing, walking, and visiting parks in her spare time.
For more information, please visit www.deannakahler.com
Author photo by Steven Jon Horner Photography