08 October 2010

Haunted Halloween: Ty Roth + A Giveaway!

“More Things in Heaven and Earth . . .”
By: Ty Roth

Despite my lack of a reasonable explanation for the true story I’m about to share, I do not believe in ghosts. I do not believe in spirits of any kind – friendly or malevolent. And despite their omnipresence in pop culture, I do not believe in vampires, werewolves, or angels. I allow that the world would be a much more interesting place if they did exist, but the many-degreed landlord of my daytime, rational mind refuses to allow such nonsense to take up residence amongst its more erudite tenants: science, logic, and common sense. However, on two nights separated by three months, I cannot deny that I was visited by some manifestation of what I can only identify as Death. Whether it was merely a figment of an overwrought imagination or a legitimate encounter with the paranormal, I cannot say.

Two summers ago, after a long battle with cancer and a slow wasting away of his weight room-chiseled body, my best friend passed away. In just his mid-forties, he was much too young to die, but who isn’t? Bob was never what anyone would call a “religious man.” At best, near the end, he had become increasingly “spiritual.” We didn’t talk much about his newfound spirituality because I’ve long been dubious of any faith discovered at the tip of Death’s summoning finger, and I didn’t want to diminish anything that brought him even the smallest amount of mental or emotional comfort. But in my mind and from the enviable condition of my good health and with the prospect of a long life yet ahead of me, I promised myself that I would never sell out my rational disbelief in any metaphysical existence beyond the corporeal and earthly.

Then, Death paid her visits.

The first time I saw Death was on a mid-April evening, a day before I was to drive the eight hundred miles to visit Bob. His condition had worsened to the point that before each trip I had to gird myself for 1) his skeletal appearance after the ravages of the cancer and the chemo, and 2) the very real possibility that this trip could be, probably would be, our last time together. It’s important to consider that these concerns weighed heavy on my conscious mind.

As I lay on my back on the living room floor that evening, mentally inventorying my packing list and steeling my nerve, I must have drifted into sleep. I write “must have” because I know I had no intention of taking a nap, and I have no memory of closing my eyes, but suddenly, I was paralyzed, as if I were being sucked against the floor by an insanely powerful vacuum. Although I tried desperately, I couldn’t lift a limb, turn my head, nor open my mouth to speak.

On the verge of panic, a sort of, for lack of a better word, wormhole opened in my living room. The space, although no more than six feet over my head, seemed much more distant. And within that distance, a cloud-like something was coming towards the portal and me. As it drew near, the amorphous clouds took the form of long, flowing robes beneath a white-haired woman’s head. She neither smiled nor frowned when she entered this earthly realm, but she was fully aware of my existence, and I was fully aware that her visit was purposeful. The apparition momentarily hovered over my frozen form, then it darted directly towards me. I tried to yell out, but I could articulate no words nor make a sound.

Then it was gone.

I could move.

I want to say I woke up. Whether in dreamscape or in reality, the apparition had communicated its purpose clearly. In those initial moments of recalibrating myself to the “real” world, I had no doubt that the visitation was a sort of warning shot fired across my bow of unbelief.

In a matter of seconds, I successfully repelled the wraith’s message and rationally consigned it to the nonsense world of dreams. At worst, it was merely the manifestation of my own un-confronted fears of Death as they were being piqued by my two-year long witnessing of my Bob’s very real battle with it.

Life went on.

Early July found me visiting Bob once more and, this time, for what the doctors confirmed would be the last time. After a brief stay in the hospital, Bob was sent home to die. My stay reached its final night. I sat with Bob in his bedroom for a long while and held his hand as he moved in and out of a drug-addled consciousness. He no longer had the capacity to engage in a conversation other than to voice a few garbled words that bore no relevance, at least that I could discern, to his condition or my presence. Eventually, I kissed his forehead and told him goodbye for what I believed was the last time.

That night, in the guest room next door to Bob’s, I couldn’t sleep. I tossed and I turned recalling past days spent with Bob and trying to imagine future days without him. Some time near morning, the White Lady of Death visited me for a second time.

Per her first visit, she emerged out of the translucent ether of space. This time, however, I sensed, not a malevolence exactly, but a look of foreboding in her pallid expression. It was clear that she was less than pleased with me and my stubborn rationalism. Again, I was stuck fast to the floor, unable to move, and I knew she was Death. In my cowardice and to my lasting shame, I tried to shout to her that she had the wrong person, that the soul she’d come to collect was in the next room, but as on our first encounter, I’d been rendered mute.

As quickly as she had appeared in my room, she shot through the wall that separated me from Bob. When my faculties returned, I lay on the floor and cried. Again, it was most likely just a dream, but, as the first time, I have no memory either falling to or waking up from sleep.

The next day, the day of my departure, I thought for sure that I would find Bob lying lifeless in bed. A part of me hoped for that discovery, for at least his suffering would have been lifted. However, Bob was not deceased. In fact, his eyes were clearer and his thoughts and words more lucid than at any time during the week I had just spent with him. He knew I had to leave, to get back to my own life. He motioned for me to bend over, put his arms around my shoulders, lifted his head, and whispered in my ear that, “It’s okay, T-Bone. Thanks for coming. I love you, brother.”

Bob clung to life for two more weeks. There were other friends and family, whom he didn’t want to miss or disappoint, coming to see him.

At his wake, Bob’s mother recounted a story, which he had shared with her in his last days, of an angel of sorts that had come to visit him in his room. The angel had simply assured him that all would be “Okay.”

I don’t typically put much stock in death bed visions, but this time . . . I don’t know.

As I said at the beginning, I remain skeptical. I believe that, in general, people see what they want to see and don’t see what they don’t want to see. But in the light of my two encounters with the White Lady, I can’t help but think of Hamlet’s comment to his best friend and fellow student: “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”

Title: So Shelly

Synopsis: Until now, high school junior, John Keats, has only tiptoed near the edges of the vortex that is schoolmate and literary prodigy, Gordon Byron. That is, until their mutual friend, Shelly, drowns in a sailing accident.

After stealing Shelly's ashes from her wake at Trinity Catholic High School, the boys set a course for the small Lake Erie island where Shelly's body had washed ashore and to where she wished to be returned. It would be one last "so Shelly" romantic quest. At least that's what they think. As they navigate around the obstacles and resist temptations during their odyssey, Keats and Gordon glue together the shattered pieces of Shelly's and their own pasts while attempting to make sense of her tragic and premature end.

Available from Delacorte Books for Young Readers, Feb 8th, 2011

Preorder Online here:

Amazon | Borders | Barnes and Noble | The Book Depository

Find Ty Online:

Website | Twitter

Enter to win a Signed Copy of So Shelly!! This is for a
promised copy. Once Ty has his author copies one
will be mailed out to the winner!

Here are the rules and how to enter:

You MUST complete the form to enter. No entries in comments please they won't count. Comments are welcome, so share your love with Ty!
You must be at least 13 years old to enter.
This contest is open to INTERNATIONAL!
Contest ends: Oct. 22nd, 2010


Good luck to everyone who enters. If you have any questions, please see my policy page or feel free to email me with any questions.
A HUGE thank you to Ty for not only his time and story but also for the donation of the signed copy of So Shelly and for making this contest International.

Check out Jessica's Haunted Halloween post with Tammar Stein and a giveaway for a
signed copy of Light Years!

REMINDER: *If you are interested in the COMMENT CONTEST, remember to include your email address with your comment for an extra entry!
Please ready full entry rules HERE.

*I am not compensated at all for any of the links within this page.

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  1. So Shelly sounds pretty interesting. Love the character names! ;)


  2. Interesting story.
    So Shelly sounds like an interesting read. ^_^

    hauntingorchid (at) aol (dot) com

  3. Being that I grew up on Lake Erie I am obsessed with this book. You are so lucky to have been able to interivew him. I really want to win this!!

  4. What a sad story.
    But I heart the cover of So Shelly its sad and beautiful.

  5. Sounds like a great book! Would love to get the chance to read this one! Thanks, guys!


  6. Love the cover :D The books sounds really cool too!


  7. Pretty interesting story.

    Sounds like a pretty interesting read.


  8. Ty had mentioned that we see what we want to see. Well I don't in no way want to ever see any ghosts so I hope she's right.

    romancebookjunkiesdanielle at yahoo dot com

  9. The book sounds interesting!

    email: beautiful_molly (at) hotmail (dot) com

  10. That is a very sad story about the loss of your friend.

    jlynettes @ hotmail . com

  11. Creepy, and sad! I'm not one for death bed visions (like Ty said above), but that sounds pretty convincing!


  12. Great story! Thanks for the giveaway :D


    Ashley's Bookshelf

  13. My heart broke reading that story. I totally agree with the idea that you see what you want or do not want to see. I'm sure if I were in that situation I'd definitely fully believe in the angel rather than thinking it's some crazy talk or dream.

    nalynboni AT gmail DOT com

  14. Wow the story was really interesting to read! It must have been really scary not being able to move when the White Lady first visited you..

    sophiayunjin @ gmail.com

  15. I really wan't to read this one!


  16. Interesting story (and a little spooky too) but this has been in my to-read list as well, so I hope I win! :)


  17. Oh my gosh, I want to read this even more now. <3


  18. Amazing story. Thanks for sharing.

    bacchus76 at myself dot com

  19. beautiful book cover and the story sounds great.


  20. What a great idea for a book. I'll have to pick this up.


  21. I want to know where the girl is going? :)

    deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com


  22. Thank you for sharing such a personal story. Maybe it was real, maybe it wasn't, but maybe it was what you needed to see at the time.

    I also want to mention that I can't wait to read So Shelly!


  23. My condolences on the loss of your friend. And I agree with you and Shakespeare: "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy." Even though I myself have a difficult time with my rational and scientific mind believing in the metaphysical, I still wonder, and try to remain open to the possibilities.


    Crazy Cat Lady

  24. It sounds really interesting! Thank you for this chance! :D

  25. "So Shelly" has a beautiful book cover!
    The book is interesting. ^^
    I'm from Brazil. See my blog: http://lembradaquelahistoria.blogspot.com/
    I do book reviews on it, too.

    Good week!

  26. Looks like a good read. Thanks for having this contest. Happy Halloween!

  27. I have a hard time believing any paranormal stories at all but sometimes some things just can't be explained. Interesting story.

    truthbetold004 at gmail dot com

  28. oo creepy story!

    twilightforever.edward at gmail dot com

  29. Sounds interesting... And such a beautiful cover!

  30. That's an incredible story, and so sad. It really makes you think about the ways in which we react to death, how we deal with it in our own, unique ways. This was a great post!

    About the book: this is one of the loveliest covers I have ever seen. Somber and striking, and a little sad. And the story sounds interesting. I'm definitely going to be checking this out.



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