Monday, July 7, 2014


by Dennis Anthony

This is the greatest battle ever fought on American soil. History will be changed. Thousands will die. And many of the dead will wander the battlefield in three different centuries, waiting to find their way home.

It’s 150 years later. Enter Francis Trecy.

An alienated outsider, he refutes paranormal claims of other researchers on a popular reality television show. Critics call him The Dark Lord. They call him The Unbeliever. Only a few people closest to him know his secret. Francis sees a lot more than he’s telling.

Before he becomes the accidental star of the program, he falls in love with a beautiful, enigmatic woman who disappears without explanation. In her wake, she leaves behind a procession of ex-lovers, along with suggestions of deceit and betrayal. Finding her becomes Francis's obsession.

His team of mismatched investigators journeys to the most famous battlefield in American history. There he discovers that reality is not at all what it seems. In coming to terms with his relationships and his complicated past, he battles against physical danger and emotional pain. He discovers that longings of thousands of wayward spirits mirror his own.

And he learns that in a world stranger than we can imagine, the human heart remains the strangest thing of all.

“Where was this?”

“Culp’s Hill,” Francis said. “Third day.”

The old man nodded. “The Second Maryland lost more than half its men in the space of ten hours.”

“It was a slaughter pen,” Francis said. “We were exhausted after marching more than a hundred miles, but were ordered to make attacks on the second, and then again on the third. The last one was the worst.”

“Where were you?”

“I don’t know. I folded. I fell down behind a tree. I wasn’t hit and I know if I had simply kept moving, I would have . . .”

“Been killed?” Mr. Cobb said.

“Supported my unit,” Francis said. “Some of the boys got about twenty yards from the Union position. Marshall Wilson almost made it, but he caught two in his right arm. ‘I’m bleedin’ real bad, Nate,’ he called to me. He never asked for my help. He just kept talking about bleeding. Hornets were flying close above me and the tree was being chopped apart by all the fire. I was frozen. I couldn’t move. I heard Marshall call my name a couple of more times. He wasn’t mad. At least I didn’t think so. Sometimes I thought he might have been saying ‘hate’ or maybe ‘fate’.”

“What happened next?”

“I tossed my gun away. I knew I wasn’t a soldier any more.”


-What made you want to write?

I've always wanted to write. My first job was as a newspaper reporter. I learned how to write quickly, under deadline, and when I wasn't in the mood. Like learning to type in high school, this turned out to be a real blessing. Much of my life I worked in communications fields including television news production, public relations and the like. When I retired, I decided I would return to my first love: telling stories. My most direct inspiration was reading Stephen King's 11/22/63 while on a cruise. I loved the way he painted his characters in three dimensions. I thought I'd take a stab at doing the same.

-What draws you to your genre of choice?

My work defies categorization. I don't say this to brag. I wish it existed in a clearly-defined genre. It would certainly make marketing a lot easier! In general, I would call my work fantasy/paranormal and maybe a sprinkling of metaphysical. I enjoy the challenge of creating new worlds that exist in a framework defined only by me. The fantasy world provides rich opportunities to tell stories -- ironically -- about the human condition. What does it mean to care, to fear, to struggle? I want my readers to identify with the situations faced by my characters, even if those characters aren't exactly the neighbors next door.

-Name a fun fact you learned researching this project.

Before the battle of Gettysburg, Colonel Joshua Chamberlain, one of the heroes at Little Round Top, reported he and many of his men received directions to the battle from the ghost of General George Washington. He wrote about it later: “We know not what mystic power may be possessed by those who are now bivouacking with the dead. I only know the effect, but I dare not explain or deny the cause. Who shall say that Washington was not among the number of those who aided the country that he founded?”

-Which of your characters would you go out for drinks with?

My protagonist, Francis Trecy, has maturity and a background that would make him an enjoyable drinking buddy, but I'm not sure he would open up to me. He might turn out to be a quiet, earnest drinker who's not a lot of fun to be with. On the other hand, he's got a great sense of humor and lots of interesting stories. I'm willing to take the chance that I could get him to open up if I bought the first couple of rounds.

-For aspiring writers, any tips? Write every day. I take Sundays off, but I make it a point to write 500-1,000 words each time I sit down. Even if you're working, you should be able to carve enough time from your day to do this. If you do, you've got the first draft of a novel in just three to four months. In my experience, it's not always the smartest and best writers who get published. It's the writers who finish their books. Don't look for excuses not to write. You'll always find one. Write.

-Is there a genre you could never write? Which and why? This is a good question and it's the first time I thought about it. There are genres I would prefer to write in, but the contrary side of me believes I could write in any genre. I think it's good practice for writers to stretch into unfamiliar territory, step out of their comfort zones. It's easier to market if you limit your writing to one genre, but could I write juvenile fiction? Erotica? Courtroom dramas? I'd like to think I could if I put my mind to it. Maybe down the line, I'll try.


Dennis Anthony has been a newspaper reporter, sailor, military officer, television news producer, public relations executive and publishing company owner. He and his wife live in Pensacola, Florida, but try to spend as much time as possible at their cabin on Lookout Mountain in Alabama. Debunker: Independence Day is his first published novel.

Visit his website, and follow him on Twitter @DennisAuthor.

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Dennis will be awarding an eCopy of Debunker: Independence Day to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour.


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