Each week during our Kickstarter campaign, we will bring you updates from the project, including excerpts from both novellas. For the past three weeks, we presented the opening scenes from Phil Giunta’s novella, LIKE MOTHER, LIKE DAUGHTERS, and Steven H. Wilson’s vampire tale, FREEDOM’S BLOOD.
One of the books we’re including in some of our Kickstarter reward levels is Phil Giunta’s paranormal mystery novel, By Your Side, published in 2013. This story marked the second appearance of psychic-medium and single-mom Miranda Lorensen, introduced to readers as a secondary character in Phil’s first novel, Testing the Prisoner.
As with Like Mother, Like Daughters, Miranda is front and center as the protagonist in By Your Side.
While haunted by visions of her brother’s suicide, Miranda is called to Lancaster, Pennsylvania to investigate a series of bizarre deaths–some of which are also suicides. Miranda and her team of paranormal investigators quickly find themselves confronted by a vengeful spirit awakened thirty-three years after a bloody family tragedy. Miranda realizes that only she can stop the entity before it claims its final victims, but will her obsession for saving lives redeem her for the brother she failed?
Below is an excerpt from By Your Side. We hope you enjoy these story samples and deeply appreciate your support for small press authors!
By Your Side (Excerpt)
Three hours later, after her guests had departed, Miranda rinsed off the last plate and slipped it into the dishwasher. After pouring detergent into the dispenser, she closed the door and noticed a blurred reflection in the stainless steel door. It moved from left to right before coming to a stop in her peripheral vision. It made no sound as it moved on the tiled floor of her kitchen, which suddenly became cold under Miranda’s bare feet.
She ignored the presence at first, continuing with her chores. She had learned years ago not to be frightened by the sudden appearance of spectral visitors nor would she simply drop everything to attend to them. Death should not give license to be discourteous. Miranda wanted to help them, of course, but she would not allow them to disrupt her life either. She was a single parent with three children, a career, and a home to maintain. These were her priorities.
Still, the kids were away for now and if this gentle presence was the little girls she’d seen earlier this evening, then Miranda was all too happy to give them her attention despite the late hour. She dried her hands with paper towel as she turned to address her guest.
“Yes, what can I—”
Miranda froze. She felt her heart leap. The tall, gaunt man who stood before her was someone she hadn’t seen in twelve years, since the birth of her twin boys. Before that, it had been the birth of her daughter. He hadn’t come to her wedding. Miranda’s mother had joked that he probably didn’t approve of Brian.
“Dad,” she breathed.
“How’s my Randy Panda?”
Miranda struggled to find words, but all she could think to say was, “You haven’t called me that since I was eight.”
Her father shrugged. “I miss my little girl.”
“I miss you, too.”
“The kids are safe with Brian. Nothing to worry about. He’s a good father.”
“Yeah, he is.” Miranda nodded. It occurred to her that he looked exactly as he had the last two times he appeared, as he had in the months before his emphysema—healthy and robust—and only a few years older than Miranda was now. He was clean shaven and his light brown hair was spiked as it had been since his days in the Marines.
“How are you?” Miranda asked.
“I’ve been having visions of Colin.”
“Is he OK?”
“He’d be better if you’d move on.”
“How can I? He took his own life, and I could have saved him if—”
“Depression took him. It wasn’t his fault.”
“Then why am I having—”
“Guilt is what you’re having. Needless guilt. Let go, Randy. Give him peace.”
Miranda felt tears welling up in her eyes as her father continued. “I know what you’re about to do. You’re going to help those people that your friend called about, but you don’t realize how dangerous it is.”
“My ability is dangerous in and of itself. I never know who’s going to show up or when. The things I’ve seen…” Miranda trailed off. It had always been pointless to argue with him. “If I can’t help people what is the point of it all?”
“You can’t save the world, Randy.”
“No, but I can damn well try.”
“At what cost?”
The tears were running down her face now. “We’ve both seen the cost of not trying.”
Her father shook his head. “You didn’t know the depth of your brother’s depression. No one in the family really understood it.”
“You did. If you could come here tonight to warn me about going to Lancaster, you could have warned me about Colin.” Miranda turned away and reached for a piece of paper towel to dry her eyes. “I could have helped him.”
She crossed her arms and glared at her father, but he was gone. “I could have saved him,” she whispered.
By Your Side is available in eBook and paperback from most online booksellers, but you can also obtain a copy by donating to our Kickstarter campaign for our double horror novel, FREEDOM’S BLOOD by Steven H. Wilson & LIKE MOTHER, LIKE DAUGHTERS by Phil Giunta coming in November 2018 from Firebringer Press. Donate to the Kickstarter now!