Only Breath coming June 19

My next novel, Only Breath: A Ghost Story, becomes available in Kindle format on June 19, 2015. Preorders can be made here. The paperback edition should come out about then too. If you’re interested in reading this novel before it’s released (and saying something about it on Amazon?), send your name and email address to dennis.vickers@pobox.com. I’ll send you a free, pre-release copy (kindle e-book).

The title is from a quote from the poet, Sappho: “θεοί· ἠερίων ἐπέων ἄρχομαι ἀθανάτων –My words are ONLY BREATH, yet they live forever.”

Only Breath is the first in the trilogy called Language of the Gods. The second book (early 2016?) will be called Only Words, and the third (Late 2016?) will be Only Hope. Perhaps I should call this the Only Trilogy.

As one might surmise from the subtitle, Only Breath is a Ghost Story. The short description goes like this: Cement magnate Luca D’Angelo stole corpses from the morgue and used them in a macabre ‘lost-wax’ process to cast statues to adorn his mansion’s grounds. Recoiling from the indignity, angry ghosts haunt the statues and make the park a dangerous place. They drive visitors insane, knock them unconscious, strike them blind. When William Kepler sets out to calm these angry spirits, he uncovers a century-old murder. Uninhibited Marci Moore and insightful Lisa Hart compete for William’s affection as they resolve the mystery, bringing fire and wit to the undertaking. Will this unlikely trio discover what upsets the ghosts and bring peace to the park?

I’ll post several blogs over the coming days about Only Breath but here I want to comment on the narrator. The narrator is a character, but not the protagonist. His/her identity isn’t revealed directly but there are many hints and, in the end, he/she invites you to guess:

So, this is where the voice in your head, the one speaking while you read, falls silent, and I can’t help but wonder, did you question ever who is it who tells you this story? Who knows all these things and finds words to put them into your head? If so, perhaps you put two and two together; it’s not the riddle of the Sphinx, after all.

One hint as to the narrator’s identity is his/her regard for literature and satisfaction in having this important job. He/she begins the narrative with an observation about literature:

The world of literature is a sacred mirror that shows not the reality around us but the dreams and fears that reality stimulates: It’s not where we live, but life itself. What follows are images in that mirror, manifestations of thoughts, reflections within a reflection, ghosts of spirits once alive. But, what else are ghosts but spirits brought back to life?

Yet, he/she realizes being a character in a novel is an ephemeral existence and pleads, in the end, for you to continue inflating the words that give him/her life:

Perhaps you, like Sappho, understand spoken words are only so much breath, but, if so, what are words never spoken, words only in your head? Are they less than breath? Since I am made up from such words, and not from the breathing world, this is a question about me. I am such stuff as dreams are made on and the sleep that rounds my little life is within sight. So I have one request as I leave you. Go back and read this last paragraph aloud. Give my words breath. Give me breath. Spare me for a fleeting moment from my inevitable return to airy nothing.

This narrator has many observations about life and literature; I look forward to hearing reader’s reactions.

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