Sunday, April 10, 2011

The River and the Roses by Sophia Martin

Since childhood, Veronica Barry has denied her psychic ability. When she dreams of blood and roses in Sacramento’s McKinley Park, the images are so vivid that she rushes to the rose garden, only to find that she is too late to save the victim. Although Veronica yearns to put the experience behind her, her best friend turns to her for help in finding her daughter, Angie, who has gone missing. Veronica must learn to embrace her gift, or Angie will be the next to die.

Bio: I'm a high school teacher in Mount Shasta, CA. I live with my husband, dog, and four cats and when it's not snowing, we all like to go hiking (except not the cats). In the summer, we swim in the lakes, and in the fall, we collect wild berries. I write fiction that pretty much always has ghosts in it.

What will readers like about your book?
I've been told the dialogues are particularly entertaining.

Why did you self publish?
I don't want anyone telling me how to write stories. I don't need validation from an agent or publisher--just my readers.

What is your writing process?
I'm a big fan of NaNoWriMo--having a deadline helps make me buckle down.

How long does it take you to write your first draft?
An average of five months.

What inspired you to write this particular story?
I wondered, one day, what would make a medium afraid of death?


Veronica saw the bleeding man first, then the city bus barreling towards him. The man stood in the middle of the crosswalk, blood staining the front of his flannel shirt, holding a beat up denim jacket. The ragged hems of his jeans brushed the tops of his bare feet. He turned and looked directly at her.

The bus had to stop. The driver must see him. But it rumbled as it picked up speed at the changing of the traffic light to yellow.

“Hey!” Veronica shouted at the man as her Australian Shepherd, Harry, tugged on his leash. “Get out of the way!” The man just stood staring. It crossed her mind to run out and push him, but she hung back, paralyzed, clutching Harry’s leash up high against her chest.

The bus charged on.

“No!” she screamed at the moment of impact. But then it rolled on, and the bleeding man had disappeared. It was as if he never existed. Nothing marked his presence there—no blood stains on the ground. And around her, people stared—not at where he had been. At her.

Veronica looked back at them, twisting the leash. Seven thirty on a Friday morning, and plenty of Sacramento’s workforce hurried along the sidewalks or rode their bikes. Her cheeks grew hot despite the chill in the air. Plenty of people to see her acting like a lunatic. They had not seen the man with the bloody shirt. Why did this keep happening to her? Now these people thought she was crazy. The burning in Veronica’s cheeks spread to her ears and neck.

Looking down to avoid their eyes, she dug her phone out of her pocket and checked the time. It came as a relief to realize she had to get home with Harry now if she hoped to make it on time to work. See, she thought at them all, I’m just like you. I have a dog to walk and a job to go to.

With a quick pat on Harry’s head she led him away from the intersection, back towards her duplex. What a crappy way to start a morning. Well, she could put it behind her—forget all about it. Besides, she had plenty to do today without getting distracted by embarrassing herself in front of strangers.

Where sold:

Amazon, UK,
Barnes & Noble,

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