Ghosts in the Mirror
Sixteen-year-old Jeremy Riggs has lived his life in and out of the hospital. While the doctors are clueless as to why he lapses into comas, he is well aware of his unique ability to merge with a wandering spirit. With his own soul too weak to sustain life, it’s the only thing keeping him alive.
Waking up from a coma a year after being found at the county dump—next to the remains of the last spirit to inhabit him—Jeremy finds the newest spirit is nothing like the previous ones. It’s bent on revenge and has the will to take control over his body. With the police lining him up as a murder suspect and an ancient evil pursuing him, Jeremy must help the ghost hitching a ride in his body find eternal rest without seeing his own soul snuffed out.
How it happened–Joyce’s words:
When I first started writing Ghosts in the Mirror, I really thought it would be another failed attempt to get a novel completed. At first, it was. Then I really realized I couldn’t keep going on NaNo after NaNo and leaving a huge cookie crumb trail of haphazard manuscripts. Sure, I had minor publications before this but no full length novels. I sent the beginning of Ghosts in the Mirror, on a whim, to Lycaon Press during one of their ‘open houses’ so-to-speak. Send in the first 500 words and they’ll tell you what they think. That encouraged me to finish it. It’s one thing to decide on a publisher, it’s another to have them want it.
So for the next several months, I worked hard to get Ghosts in the Mirror polished. I poured over it chapter by chapter for mistakes in plot and whatnot. I had around ten chapters or so posted in a private critique site called Scribophile. It was a great place to get positive and negative feedback. I took each piece of advice and looked it over carefully. Advice is good, especially from fellow authors/aspiring writers. The trick is to weed through what actually helps and what actually hinders your work. Most importantly, my ego had to be checked at the door. That, alone, is a hard hill to climb.
I got lucky that Lycaon wanted my novel. Had they declined, I would have continued the search for a publisher. I’ll gladly take a percentage of the sales for free editing and cover art over paying for that all myself.
A chill swept through his body, and Jeremy lurched up. Cold tendrils of breath seeped out of his mouth. Across the room in the dresser mirror, the ghostly visage of Beverly stared back at him.
The image wavered, and he tilted over to the side of the bed. Thick deep orange ectoplasm poured out of his mouth and into the bucket beside the nightstand. The nausea hit again, and his snack from earlier vacated his body. Frost formed on his fingers, the tips whitened crystal. He fought the urge to scream and buried himself in his blankets for warmth. He burrowed his face into his pillow to muffle the cries of pain. The sting of muscle spasms ran the length of his body. Sweat mingled with the melting ice coating his body, soaking his bed.
Had she left his body and returned?
His shaky hand grabbed the pill box and opened it up. Pinkie nail sized blue and white tablets rattled. He shook out the pills—one for pain and one to lull him back to sleep–and ate them, their grainy texture rolling on his tongue. He poured water down his throat to wash away the awful taste.
“Please stop it.” If Beverly heard his pleas, she didn’t listen. A whimper escaped the confines of the pillow. A clear vision popped into his head. He closed his eyes tight and snuggled deep in the blankets, pleading for his pills to knock him out. The spirit inside him revolted, and a kaleidoscope of colors exploded in his head. He blinked, the neon glow of the clock reading one in the morning.
Jeremy thrashed under the sheets. Flaring pain prickled his skin, a thousand needles poking and prodding him. His right hand ripped the blankets away leaving him exposed. He fought to catch his breath and sat up, his reflection shimmering in the mirror.
A halo of white surrounded him, ghostly fingers urging him to stand. Jeremy shook his head.
“No. I don’t want to,” he cried. His hands shot to the side of his head, the searing ripples of a migraine rocking his senses. He gasped as the image of a little girl, eyes wide in terror, sprang to life in his head.
“Help me,” her wispy voice pleaded before she vanished in a rain of black mucus splattering to the floor.
He staggered out of bed. His arm flailed to fend off an unseen force.
“Help me.” Her plea came again, and Jeremy jerked forward. His fingers brushed his nose, and crimson stained them. One foot flopped in front of the other, and he staggered to the basement. The door groaned in protest as he opened it. He eased down the steps and grasped the banister as one leg gave out. Cold enveloped him, and his teeth chattered. Down at the bottom of the steps, he collapsed to the floor.
“Please let me go,” he cried. “I don’t want to do this anymore.”
A note from me:
I’ve known Joyce for several years now, and I’ve always found her to be an inspiration. When she says that she’d keep submitting until someone published her work, she wasn’t kidding. That’s her–tenacious, driven, and an incredible writer.
What do you think? Pretty good, right?