Title: I Believe…A Ghost Story for the Holidays
Author: Valerie C. Woods
Genre: Magical Realism, Novella
Was Marley & Scrooge the only ghost-to-human intervention ever? This is the question. Marley’s haunting, and the arrangement he made for Scrooge had a far-reaching and beneficial effect.
Surely, poor Jacob Marley’s ghost found some peace for being such a compassionate medium. Further, it would be nice to believe that attempts at interventions like this occur with some frequency among unfulfilled spirits. Even now.
“I Believe… A Ghost Story for the Holidays” is a contemporary holiday romp through a Los Angeles neighborhood that invites the reader to join three wandering spirits hoping to transition to the light by New Year’s Eve. But it will only happen if each of them can cure a human heart of their Scrooge-like tendencies to become more loving and charitable citizens of the planet.
An avid reader while growing up on Chicago’s South Side, Ms. Woods began writing when, as a struggling actress in New York, she couldn’t find suitable audition material for women of color. This led her to write a book of audition monologues, Something for Everyone (50 Original Monologues). The book was initially self-published and is now published by renowned theatrical play publisher, Samuel French, Inc. (www.VCWoods.com)
After adapting an average play into a better screenplay, Ms. Woods was awarded a Walt Disney Screenwriting Fellowship and followed that up with writing and producing on network and cable drama series such as Under One Roof, Touched By An Angel, Promised Land, Any Day Now and Soul Food.
But fiction, her first love, compelled her to enter the world of prose. She had always written bits of fiction, short stories and a little poetry here and there.
In November 2012, Ms. Woods founded a micro-press: BooksEndependent, LLC (www.BooksEndependent.com) to support her work and the work of other new, independent authors of fiction and non-fiction.
The first title was Ms. Woods’ novella, I Believe… A Ghost Story for the Holidays. (Amazon.com) Then, what began as a gift became her second publication.
Several years ago, needing a birthday present for her sister Ms. Woods wrote a short story about a girl detective — a highly fictionalized autobiography of the adventures she and her sister experienced in childhood. Another story was written for Christmas, then one for Mother’s Day. That’s when Ms. Woods realized she was writing the kind of novel she and her sister would have loved to read as children, but which didn’t exist – the adventures of African-American Girl Detectives!
The result, Katrin’s Chronicles: The Canon of Jacqueléne Dyanne, Vol. 1 is now available in paperback and Kindle edition at Amazon.com.
Win a signed print copy of the book and a holiday ornament. Here is a picture of the holiday ornament:
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The fact that Trevor was dead never got in the way of interfering in his sister’s life. Since the incident with the bus seven years previous, Trevor had been trying, in vain, to contact her. He had managed to make his presence known with a number of spectral visits, but Viveka, the sister in question, had dismissed those occasions as by-products of stress, drunkenness or just her imagination; nothing to really take seriously.
In life, Trevor had been an elegant, cold-hearted, selfish human being. Those who knew him well felt it was a judgment on him when he and that bus had met. But not Viveka. She herself was as self-centered and cold-hearted as they came, exactly like the parents who spawned them. That was the Blake family way. Dysfunctional didn’t even register for them.
But Trevor never gave up hope. Besides, what else had he to do in the afterlife? And, truth be told, he owed her. Viveka had no idea she was forging the same desolate afterlife in which Trevor existed.
You see, Trevor was among that host of spirits who, when death had come, discovered the grave and dust-to-dust were not the end. It had been quite a shock. The first shock being he really was dead and second, that even in death, he still had work to do. Who knew? The third, and most amazing shock was that he and all of us, both on earth and on other planes of existence were beings of light. The degree to which this light expanded to encompass our lives was, he discovered, the goal of the soul’s journey. There was, literally, a light within, sometimes a tiny flicker, sometimes a more expansive glow in various areas of the body. In rare cases, at least on the earth plane, there were those who experienced a complete immersion of light in every cell of the body. It was no coincidence that these rare beings were called “enlightened.”
It wasn’t until his final encounter with an L.A. tour bus that Trevor became conscious of his own light, a tiny flicker about the size of a grain of rice. He’d carried this grain of rice-sized light throughout his sojourn in life, never allowing it to expand more than was comfortable for him. And so he was destined to wander in death, a witness to the light and joys he could have shared, as a more loving and charitable citizen of the planet.
The only good news was that un-enlightened spirits, like Trevor, had the option to escape this transitional limbo. All that was necessary was to affect a change of heart in one living soul. A successful spirit-to-human intervention not only saved the living soul from eternal wandering upon death, it also transformed the spirit from a Wanderer in the Dark to a Resident in Light. And there was one more human heart inspired to make the world a better paradise.
There were some who had been trying for centuries to make contact with the living; others, just a few months. And the competition was fierce, especially at this time of year. In the northern hemisphere, the period marked by the Gregorian calendar leading up to the winter solstice in December, has been a time of thanksgiving and celebration for millennia. During this time, the human heart which had been, throughout the rolling year, increasingly closed off with the pressures of survival and anxiety with the lessening, life-giving rays of the sun, was ripe for flowering into bloom. The solstice in December signaled the return of the sun. It was the season of light on earth and goodwill toward all.
In the realm above the earthly plane, Trevor was determined to be a Resident in Light before New Year’s. Before Christmas, if he could manage it.