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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The Joys – or Angst? – of Paranormal Encounters ~ guest post by DL Koontz, author of Crossing Into the Mystic

Today, I'm glad to have DL Koontz here to talk about her experiences with paranormal encounters. Be sure to check out her new paranormal romance release, Crossing Into the Mystic, as well as her great contest at the bottom of this post.


The Joys – or Angst? – of Paranormal Encounters

Hi, xxxx. Thanks for letting me join your blog today to talk about Crossing into the Mystic.

First, an overview of the book, for perspective: After the deaths of her parents and sister, insufferably independent main character Grace is so grief-stricken that even years later when she encounters a ghost, she is charmed into trusting him with the hope of (1) being able to help him solve his murder, and (2) making contact through him with her dead family.

Many people have asked what prompted me to write a story about the paranormal. My answer always is that several things came together at the right time to develop the story.

However, today, for the first time, I’d like to share one of those in more detail. It’s about my beloved cousin-through-marriage, Jim, an intelligent, generous, and delightful man.

Although he died a couple years ago at the age of 81, his story will remain with me forever.

To begin, I have to place you into character.  You are now a man in your late 50s. You’ve lived your whole life in towns around the Gettysburg Battlefield, site of one of the Civil War’s bloodiest and longest battles.  As a boy, you found minie balls and shells and even a uniform emblem that stemmed back to that fateful battle.  You learned the fields, their drops and inclines, their vistas, their routines, but never once did you see anything untoward.

You grew up to serve in the National Guard, reared several children, operated (and launched) a couple businesses, and made yourself so financially successful that you could retire young and travel with your lovely wife. You were involved in your church and several civic-oriented organizations. In short, you are now successful, healthy and of sound mind.

One evening, you and your wife go out to dinner with another couple. You have a great time and agree to journey back to the house to continue your time together. As you crest a hill beside a battlefield, you look to your left and see six soldiers marching in formation. You’re used to such sites in Gettysburg, given that they perform re-enactments periodically throughout the year.

But, that quickly it hits you, it’s the wrong time of year. And, it’s dusk, whereas re-enactments generally occur in the afternoons. Further, you realize that the soldiers have a semi-transparency to them and that the hair is standing up on the back of your neck (yes, even from the distance and in a car).

You pale, swallow hard, and ask your friend if he saw it, too. His answer, “yes” comes out elongated and hoarse. Quickly, you look back, but the soldiers are gone! You ask the wives in the back seat if they saw it, but the answer is no. You have only one witness. 

You try to reason it through, you discuss it a little with your friend, and decide that the fading sun had to have played tricks on your eyes and that, for some reason, it was re-enactors walking along that field. With high hopes, you choose to dismiss the whole thing, but find that you can’t.

It stays with you—the visual, the feeling, the raised hairs.

Two days later, the local paper runs a story about a ghost siting. Three other people, separately, reported seeing the same six soldiers. What’s more, one brave person ran toward them and watched the soldiers disappear as he approached.

Now what do you do? It just became even more real, but if you talk about it to other friends and family, they’ll label you in the same category as those people who believe in alien abductions.

What did Jim do?  He wrestled with the memory for years. He changed from being skeptic regarding all that silly battlefield talk about ghosts, to true believer in the spiritual realm.

When he told me his story, the hair on my arms stood on end.

Jim’s not alone. A Gallup poll found that nine of out ten people believe in God, and a Harris poll found that fifty-one percent of the public believes in ghosts. So clearly we have an overlap of people who believe in God but who also believe in ghosts.  That same Harris poll also found that one in five Americans claims to have encountered an apparition/ghost.

There will always be skeptics among us who come up with scientific explanations to discount spiritual phenomena. Yet, at the same time, most people acknowledge that there’s much more around us than what we can see, taste, smell, hear, and feel.

Many Jew and Christians interpret the Bible as saying that there is no such thing as a dead person's spirit walking the earth or returning to the place where they died, but that there are spirit beings who can connect with our physical realm. These spirits are fallen angels that once served God, but now they serve the god of the underworld, Satan. These demons are expert at deception, for they masquerade as angels of light. In other words, they can take on the same physical looks as a human who has died.

And that lays the foundation for spiritual warfare.

So, this means then, that even people of strong faith think ghosts could be in our midst (albeit, actually demons). If that’s so, then why? In Jim’s case, for example, he wasn’t interacting with them in anyway.  Did they appear merely to attempt to destroy the faith of those who observed them? (Ironically, if anything, it made Jim’s faith stronger.) I don’t know the answer to that question, but I do know that Jim saw what he described.

What about you? Have you ever had an encounter with the unexplained, an angel, or a ghost that left the hair on your arms at attention?
Crossing Into the Mystic:
A Civil War Paranormal Romance
The Crossings Series
Book One of a Trilogy
D.L. Koontz

Genre: Inspirational Fantasy, paranormal elements

Print Length: 258 pages
ISBN: 1941103030
Publisher: Lighthouse Publishing
of the Carolinas

Book Description:

Three years after losing her family in a car crash, Grace MacKenna is set to inherit her stepfather's ancestral estate among the mountains of West Virginia. Seeking solace and healing, Grace discovers the ghost of William Kavanaugh, a dashing Civil War captain in Virginia s 17th Infantry, haunts the property. When William charms Grace into investigating the mystery that led to his death a hundred and fifty years ago, she finds herself drawn into a world of chivalry and honor, but also deception with secrets too dark to speak aloud.

Meanwhile, Clay Baxter, home from service in Afghanistan, fights his own demons and ghosts. When Clay senses Grace falling deeper into the realm of the dead, he seeks to pull her back. But is he too late?

Torn between her love for two mysterious young men - one living and one dead - Grace stands in the shadows of the Antietam Battlefield with a choice: one that could leave Grace lost forever, "crossing into the Mystic."

Available at Amazon  Amazon Paperback    BN


In Crossing Into The Mystic, D.L. Koontz makes a very different world real. ~ Ann Vanino

The story is complex and unexpected and I enjoyed the twists of plot. by Felicia Bowen Bridges

I kept going back and reading a sentence, a paragraph, some of the time the whole page.~ Tricia Scoggins

About the Author:

D. L. Koontz was born in Pennsylvania, but with her husband, now splits her time between their home in mountainous West Virginia and their cattle ranch in coastal plains Georgia. She has a son and a stepdaughter. A member of ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) and ASJA (American Society of Journalists and Authors), she is a former journalist, business consultant, spokesperson, and college instructor. After several non-fiction books, Crossing into the Mystic is her first novel.

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Marsha A. Moore is a writer of fantasy and fantasy romance. The magic of art and nature spark life into her writing. Read her ENCHANTED BOOKSTORE LEGENDS for adventurous, epic fantasy romance. Or enjoy a magical realism tale of a haunted yoga studio with SHADOWS OF SERENITY. For a FREE ebook sample of her writing, read her historic fantasy short story, LE CIRQUE DE MAGIE, available at Amazon and Smashwords.