12.19.2012

Guest Post with Heather Hildenbrand

Heather is in the house today!!! You know that amazing gal that wrote Dirty Blood?  Yeah she's here and she asked if I could showcase another one of her books, Whisper.  Check out her Guest Post and her book Whisper.

Whisper by Heather Hildenbrand
Amazon | Barnes and Noble

The Cherokee believe when a person dies, their soul is reborn. Life is repeated. An endless cycle of lessons to be learned, love to be found, destiny to be fulfilled. For the past six months, in every flower, every bird, I’ve imagined my parents, relieved of their human forms.
Now, after five months at the Skye View Wellness Center, it was summer. A time for parties and friends, but that’s the last thing I want to do. So when my best friend Erin convinces me to attend a bonfire at Eagle Point, I can’t handle the crowd full of sympathetic stares or drunken class clowns who would use my tragedy as a way into my heart – or my pants. The solitude of the woods offers an escape, until I stumble upon a boy, unconscious and bleeding, his pockets stuffed not with identification but with poetry illustrating the beauty of dying. I’ve seen enough death. I will not leave this boy’s side.
Even after he wakes, when the only thing he can remember are visions of events that haven’t happened yet…

Now a Guest Post from Heather Hildenbrand

Have you ever read a story--or had a real life experience--that left you both hopeful and sad all at once?

Those sorts of stories are rare for me. In books and in life. But last winter I lost my newborn son when he was just five days old to a congenital heart defect. It was unexpected and traumatic and sad but it was also hopeful and uplifting and beautiful because of the people put in my path and the mercy I know was shown. To me and to my son. 
Whisper is a work of fiction but it was borne of a real life experience that was so tragic yet so spun with hope that I couldn’t help but at once both cry and smile. Everyone has either lost someone close to them or knows someone who has and I think it’s important to find a way to see the beauty in rising from the ashes of a grief like that. Whisper is the kind of story that spots those poignant moments. 
And it just so happens to feature a hot Cherokee warrior as well—gotta heat those pages somehow! So if you’re looking for a not-quite-your-typical paranormal romance, this is the one for you. Here’s a look at Whisper’s story:  

My favorite place to stand in the whole world is Bitner Peak at sunset. Something about the way the light reflects off the treetops below, a sad slant of yellow and gold that fades slowly to gray, reminds me of life. The fragility of it, the way it inevitably fades to nothing. It is the symbol of all I’ve lost and everything I will one day become. And when it fades to black, like the curtain at the end of a play, the finality is so tangible you can taste it. The air changes and becomes heavier, like a cloak you can’t shake, and inside it hangs every sad thought that’s ever existed. And you must find a way to carry it with you, or fall under its weight. 
That’s what I was doing now – trying to find a way to carry the weight. 
I watched as the last of the light faded into purplish-gray somewhere over the farthest peak of the Rocky Mountains, feeling whatever little bit of emotion I carried inside me leaking away with the setting sun. When the sun had set, and I stood in a darkness so thick you could hear it, I was empty and alone, the way I liked it. 
If you were empty, you couldn’t feel pain or loss or loneliness. Grandma used to say an empty jar was bad luck. You had to take the bad with the good, she would tell me. Half-filled jars lined her kitchen windowsill. A sign of her optimism, she’d say. Who knew what was in those jars; I never asked. To her, it didn’t matter, as long as they weren’t empty. Even water made a good filler. If she were still alive, she’d probably tell me to snap out of it, to feel something, anything. And quit walking around like an empty shell. But she wasn’t here. And she couldn’t possibly know the deep, cutting pain that would consume me if I let it. I had to keep it out. 
Empty was better than that kind of pain. 
I walked slowly back to my SUV - a present from Grandpa when they’d released me from Skye View Mental Health Facility three weeks ago – and got inside. I sat there with the keys in my hand and stared blankly through the windshield at the stars overhead. They were bright and huge out here in the middle of Grant territory. “Enough square miles to start your own country,” Dad used to say. Generations of Grants had grown up here, disturbing only enough earth to live on, leaving the rest of it untouched except by Mother Nature. “The beauty is its ruggedness,” he said. 
I had to agree. 
One thing I’d learned at Skye View was how to sit for hours without really focusing long enough on one thought to let the emotion in. It was a sort of meditation I did. Allowing myself snippets of memories to fall into my awareness, relive them, and then let them fade away again. All before my emotions had a chance to react. It allowed me to still picture my parents’ faces without having a complete breakdown. Like the night of the accident, six months ago …
***


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