Thank you so much for having me!
When I was told I was scheduled to do guest blogs, I freaked out a little. I almost never know what to talk about on a blog (heck, even my own is a mess). Suggestions I received for what I could discuss were things like the inspiration for the book, my writing process—with four kids, my process has kind of become: "It's quiet? Quick, jump on the computer and type 'til somebody yells for you!" And, unfortunately, I can't share the inspiration, other than to say it was from a dream, 'cause to elaborate would give spoilers for events in the story.
All that being said, one of the things I do enjoy—since Buried is a paranormal tale, and as a paranormal author, you do get asked frequently about personal thoughts on otherworldly things—is sharing real life paranormal experiences I've had.
If I had to give this a title, it would be "Smoke."
Halloween, 1993. I remember the date very specifically 'cause when I got home that night, I'd heard on the radio (back when you could still tune into Z100 for decent rock music) that River Phoenix had collapsed in front of the Viper Room, and had just been pronounced dead.
It wasn't very late for a Halloween night, about 10 pm, maybe, and I was walking home through Whitestone with a friend of mine (funny, I can't remember which friend it had been, but I think it was Dianne). Anyone that's ever been to my town can tell you that 20 years ago, they rolled up the sidewalks at 9 pm, so even on a night like Halloween, the streets were dead quiet. There was not a soul out and about that night aside from the two of us strolling along. No cars were about, so we were walking down the middle of the street, rather than on the sidewalk (I feel like this is probably pretty common in dead-at-night small towns).
The night was very clear, the light from the streetlamps was white, not orange like in a lot of places—so things were rather well illuminated for that time of night—and it was a little warm for the end of October in NYC. I was dressed as a . . . recently turned Gypsy vampire (sandals, peasant skirt, billowy beige cotton blouse, with dark makeup around my eyes, fangs, and two, still dripping 'wounds' in the side of my neck . . . yeah, I like to go overboard with dress-up, I'm still surprised I haven't gotten into Cosplay yet, but that's more of a "if I could afford to do it, I would," issue). I don't think my costume has anything to do with it, the description is just for aesthetics.
As we were walking, we heard something behind us. Like a whisper. Not someone speaking from a distance, because you can tell the difference between volume lowered by distance and someone near you lowering their voice.
I know we both heard it, 'cause we both turned at the same time, without having to say anything to one another. There, just a few feet from us—in the direct path that we had just walked—was a plume of smoke. It wasn't thin, or wispy, it looked as though someone had been smoking a cigarette right there on that spot. It didn't look like steam rising up from the street, and it wasn't hot enough for that, anyway, and even had it been something environmental like that, it was only this one spot . . . and it was hanging in the air, not coming up from the asphalt.
We froze. We listened for any sounds, we looked around . . . there was nothing to be heard and we were the only people on the street, it had all been too quick and quiet for someone with a cigarette to have been following us and simply run away, we would have seen them or heard their footfalls. The streets are pretty wide in that section of town, so the idea that we heard a whisper right behind us, turned immediately, and any person who might have been behind us would have had to move fast enough to be out of sight in a second was equally unsettling to the notion that there had been no one there at all.
I don't know about other people, but I have a pretty acute spatial awareness—I can tell when someone is standing behind me, even if I haven't heard them behind me, or been given any other indication of their presence. For the record, yes, it does weird me out every time I feel someone standing behind me and there's no one there. I didn't feel anyone behind us.
The smoke dissipated, and we turned around and continued on our way . . . glancing over our shoulders every couple of minutes. We dissected it, trying to verify what we'd just heard and seen. We both reacted at the same time, to what we thought was the same thing. We both heard a voice, both saw the smoke, and neither of us heard anything else, or noticed anyone—and it wasn't as if we'd been so deep in girly conversation that we might have drowned out the sound of someone following us.
The next day, we talked about it again, trying to see if we had any details that differed from how we remembered it the night before—to see if, in hindsight, anything that would logically explain what we'd seen and heard, but there didn't seem to be anything.
It wasn't one of my creepier experiences, but it is one that has always stuck with me. It's very easy to discount such things when they happen while you're alone, but when someone else witnesses exactly what you have, and neither of you have an explanation.
The story of Buried takes place in a town called Fane's Cove (which is based loosely on my hometown) and in Fane's Cove, experiences like the one I just recounted—and more—happen every day.
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Cadence McKenna knows her town is, well, odd. And yet, residents are accustomed to the near-daily supernatural happenings. When Gray Addison moves to Fane's Cove and stays, she is shocked to find that she's the only one who believes there must be something strange about him. With her life-long - if minor - psychic sensitivity, she knows that what she feels isn't simple paranoia. After all, how many normal guys pay no mind to poltergeist activity occurring right in front of them? Cadence can't dismiss her feelings until she understands why he's in Fane's Cove. Even if it means sticking her neck out by getting close to him... and learning more about her town's history than anyone would ever want to know.
Gerilyn Marin is a self-proclaimed gothic tree-hugger, currently residing in the same small town where she grew up with her husband & 4 children. She is fascinated by paranormal phenomena & ancient cultures, and has received several awards and nominations for her writing. When not tapping away at the keyboard, or being yelled for by small people, Gerilyn spends time shying away from the sun, staring dreamily at pictures of supposedly haunted houses and deciding what color she'll next use to torture her hair.