Time for Some #BlatantSelf-promotion a/k/a #TootingMyOwnHorn #Excerpt

It’s Friday, and I have no guests today, not even Granny, so I decided to try something I seldom do: a bit of bold and blatant self-promotion. Today’s horn tooting features one of the poems from my book, Summer Magic. This time of year always makes me a bit emotional, hence the poem I’ve chosen. Hope you enjoy it!


Up we climb again, My Love
On yet another autumn day,
Our trail meandering, higher, higher,
Amidst October’s blazing glory.
The pines are dressed in mossy green,
And glowing maples shed flaming leaves,
Keeping us brilliant company
Under the blue silk sky.

Remember our first time
Climbing this trail?
My God, we were young, and
Filled with each other!
You held my hand, and urged me on.
Wait until we’re there, you said,
Just wait! You’ll see it’s worth the climb.
And it was, My Love.
Oh, it was!

We stood at the top,
Locked in warm embrace,
Our hair, whipped by the wind,
Our hearts triumphant.
Gazing across the rolling hills,
Your radiant face was lit with pride,
As though you had created
All this wonder
Just for me—a wedding gift!
A thing of splendor our hearts shared,
Over and over, every autumn.
Our place. Ours alone,
As though no other lovers
Ever climbed this way.

Years and years ago, it was,
That first ecstatic, heavenward climb.
Yet here we are once more, My Own,
Returning to this ancient spot.
Proving some things do prevail—
Deepest faith, and promises
Sworn in love
Just as the land before us does,
Rolling on into eternity.

Take me back, you begged,
Back to our mountain.
I will, My Love, I swear it.
I will.
And here we are.
I’ll keep my promise. No tears today.
But oh, for another smile, another kiss!
Another chance to see your face,
To touch your cheek, to hold your hand.
Gone by so fast, like wind-blown leaves,
All our precious hours and minutes!
But didn’t we use them well, My Love?
Oh, yes! We used them well!

My heart in pieces, I let you go,
And watch as you drift away,
A swirl of grey against the blue.
Your soul soaring, riding the wind,
Then settling lower over the valley,
As you become one
With our hills.
And someday, My Love, my only love,
You’ll feel my soul come drifting down,
To rest with yours once more,
Part of the earth in this sacred place,
You and I, together.

Thanks for your indulgence today, but brace yourself. I might do something similar again from time to time. Turns out tooting your own horn now and then is fun! 

Download Summer Magic HERE

#ReblogAlert – Swamp Ghosts featured on Smorgasbord Today!

Today, I’m absolutely thrilled to be part of one of Sally Cronin’s newest features, Sharing an Excerpt from a Previous Book.  I hope you’ll stop by and check out the excerpt I’ve chosen, part of the Prologue from my second book, Swamp Ghosts. It was a trip to write this scene, and I hope you’ll enjoy it. But rest assured, the entire book is not a walk through this guy’s mind. It’s an introduction to a small, Florida town, filled with mostly friendly, though often eccentric folks, who have no idea what’s lurking in the shadows. And oh, yeah, there IS a love story, too, as the wonderful review Sally included mentions.  

Hope you’ll head over and see for yourself, and will remember that this is an offer open to all, as well. Sally includes instructions on how to submit YOUR own excerpt from an older book, and you really should take advantage of the opportunity. 

My heartfelt thanks to Sally for all she does to help us promote our work! And to see what’s afoot in Riverbend via her wonderful post, click HERE. 


Guest Posting Over at Harmony Kent Online Today!

Just a heads up that I’m a guest on Harmony Kent’s lovely blog today, sharing an excerpt from The Light that’s not been seen anywhere else online. It features Rabbit explaining what he thinks the Brown Mountain Lights are all about, and I hope you’ll check it out. It would be lovely if you could find a minute to share a few places–like everywhere you can think of! 😀 I only visited with four (SUPER!) blogs for my mini-tour, so any and all help in spreading the word would be gratefully accepted. Thanks a million!

The Light by @MarciaMeara

The Call of the Woof, A Marcia Banks and Buddy Cozy Mystery, #ExcerptWeek

by Kassandra Lamb

I’m playing catch-up this week after traveling last week, so I need to go back and read everyone else’s excerpts. The few I’ve read so far were really great.

Here’s mine from my newest release, Book 3 in the Marcia Banks and Buddy cozy mysteries, about a woman who trains service dogs (Buddy is her mentor dog) for combat veterans with PTSD and other “invisible injuries.” In this book, the veteran, Jake Black suffers from traumatic brain injury. He and his wife have been accused of robbery because the culprits were seen leaving the scene of the crime on motorcycles that look like the Blacks’ bikes.

First the synopsis and then an excerpt from Chapter Three, when the police come to search the house and garage.



Army veteran Jake Black has a new lease on life, thanks to service dog Felix and his trainer, Marcia Banks. Despite a traumatic brain injury, Jake’s able to ride his beloved motorcycle again, with Felix in the sidecar. But his freedom to hit the open road is threatened once more when he and his wife are accused of robbery.

Called in to dog-sit, Marcia can’t sit idly by. She and her mentor dog, Buddy, set out to clear the Blacks’ name, fighting misconceptions about bikers and the nature of TBI along the way. When murder is added to the mix, Marcia redoubles her efforts, despite anonymous threats and her sheriff boyfriend’s strenuous objections, both to her putting herself at risk… and to dragging him along on her wild ride.

Chapter Three:

Jake had a hand on Felix’s head, listing subtly in the dog’s direction. Jake was a big guy, but Felix was a big dog. His face and body were all Bulldog but his legs were longer, probably from some distant Labrador, or maybe a Weimaraner, in his family tree. He came up to Jake’s knee and had been trained to brace himself to take some of his master’s weight.

Most likely only Janey and I knew that Jake was using the dog to maintain his balance, which would have been a lot easier if the dog were wearing his specialized service vest with its stabilizer bar for Jake to grab.

I considered going inside to find the vest, but Jake’s body language had me worried.

His broad face was as red as I’d ever seen it. I was afraid he was about to have one of the “meltdowns” he’d told me about but I’d never witnessed. Anger control problems are common for people with traumatic brain injury.

The worry in Janey’s pale blue eyes said she had the same concern. Shoving shoulder-length blonde hair, frizzy from the humidity, behind her ears, she placed a restraining hand on her husband’s arm.

Jake shrugged her off. Not a good sign.

He snarled in the face of a dark-haired detective in an ill-fitting business suit. “I don’t care how many pieces of paper you got from some judge. How dare you come in here like a bunch of storm troopers…” He spluttered to a stop as Janey once again tugged on the arm that wasn’t using Felix for support.

He whirled on her—an even worse sign—and teetered dangerously on one foot.

Felix quickly shifted position and braced himself by spreading his legs. Once Jake seemed more stable on his feet, Felix leaned gently against his leg.

The maneuver, a type of deep pressure therapy, was meant to reduce anxiety, but it did little for Jake’s anger.

The firm look in Janey’s eyes did have an effect though. Jake froze, then took a deep breath.
“Come on inside,” she said softly. “Let Detective Wright and his men do their jobs.”

He patted her hand, just as the detective gestured to two deputies that they should head for the garage.

Jake pulled loose from his wife and followed as fast as he could, Felix keeping pace beside him. Detective Wright took off after him.

I followed in their wake, trying to decide whether I should report on the broken window in front of the officers or wait.

At the double-wide garage door, the detective gestured toward the big padlock and hasp on one side. “Unlock it.”

Obviously reluctant, Jake produced a ring of keys and removed the padlock, then unlocked a lock in the middle of the roll-up door. The thunk of metal bars releasing inside.

One of the deputies grabbed the bottom of the door and shoved it up, exposing the Blacks’ three motorcycles and the spotlessly clean workshop area.

A deputy began snapping pictures. “Bring in the trailer,” Detective Wright said to another one.

Janey had caught up with us, huffing a little from the extra weight middle age had bestowed upon her. Her peaches-and-cream complexion paled to ghost white at the detective’s words.

“Wha’?” Jake said, a bit slower to catch on to what was about to happen.

“We’re impounding the bikes.” Detective Wright waved impatiently at one of the deputies in the driveway.

Jake’s fists clenched. I could hear his teeth grinding from three feet away.

Both Janey and I jumped forward and grabbed his arms. Slugging a cop would not improve the situation.

Meanwhile, the detective was walking away, acting as if he hadn’t been about to get flattened by a six-two, two-hundred-forty-pound combat vet. He crouched down beside one of the bikes, the black one. Then he gestured to the deputy with the camera and pointed to the side of the bike.

Jake moved forward, dragging us with him.

My eyes followed the detective’s pointing finger to the rounded side of the gas tank, and a ragged long scratch in the black paint.

Jake’s mouth fell open. “No!” he yelled.

I gestured toward the broken window. “Maybe whatever broke the window hit it.”

Everybody’s gaze turned to me, then to the window.

“When did that happen?” Janey said, a touch of wonder in her voice that some rock would dare to penetrate her husband’s sanctum.

“Just before you all got here,” I said. “I checked the outside of the garage earlier and that window was fine. Then Felix started barking and I came out and checked again and…”

The detective was glaring at me. “And you are?”

I gulped a little. “Marcia Banks, dog- and house-sitter.” I told him what little more I knew, including about the guy getting into a white pickup, who might or might not have been hanging around the garage when I arrived.

He was a stony-faced audience but he did let me finish. And he did check the scratches around the lock on the side door, even had the deputy take pictures of them.

All this gave Jake time to calm down. That is until they began to load two of the motorcycles into the large trailer they’d backed into the driveway.

Again Janey and I grabbed his arms. “Let them take them,” she hissed in his ear. “We’ve got no choice.”

He let us hold him back while they loaded Janey’s red three-wheeled bike—she said it was called a trike. I realized that indeed we were only holding him with his permission when he suddenly shook us loose like we were an old shirt he was shedding. “Wait!” He stepped forward.

Felix was beside him in a flash.

I indulged in a moment of maternal pride. That’s my boy, doin’ his job!

Jake was pointing to the black leather bag on the side of his black bike, which was halfway up the ramp. “That’s not my saddlebag.”

The detective held up a hand and the two deputies who’d been rolling the bike up the ramp between them stopped.

Jake walked around the ramp to the other side, Felix practically glued to his jeans leg. “This one too. They’re not my bags.”

The detective stepped forward and made a show of examining the bag on our side. Then he snapped on blue latex gloves, like those the deputies handling the bike were wearing. He leaned forward, tentatively touched the end of what looked like scrape marks in the leather.

He held his finger up close to his face, rubbed it and his thumb together. A few grains of sand caught the sunlight as they drifted to the pavement.

He gestured to a third deputy. “Put a bag around all that.” He pointed to the saddlebag. “We need to analyze the sand.”

Now that he mentioned it, I could see some tawny grains embedded in the leather.

“That’s not my bag,” Jake said emphatically. “Janey get the photo from the living room.”

I knew which one he meant. I’d noticed three photos earlier, front and center on the mantel. Their wedding picture had caught my eye first, with Janey standing tall and proud, forty pounds lighter and drop-dead gorgeous. On the right of it was their daughter, Andrea, smiling and holding a high-school diploma, and on the left, Jake, fifteen years younger and grinning like a kid on Christmas as he stood next to a shiny black bike.

This bike in front of us.

Janey took off at a trot for the house. She was well padded, but she could move pretty fast when motivated.

Buddy and I should have followed. This really wasn’t my business. But I didn’t move.

Curiosity killed the cat. My mother’s voice in my head.

She had a point. My curiosity…okay, my nosiness, had gotten me into trouble more than once. I figured that if I were that proverbial cat, I had about four of my nine lives left.

Janey returned with the photo.

Jake grabbed it and stuck it under the detective’s nose, then threatened to take out said nose by jabbing at the picture with a large index finger. “There! Those are my bags.”

I craned to see but couldn’t make out more than a blur of black and tan, and the younger Jake’s big grin. My throat closed. Life hadn’t treated him all that well since then.

The detective looked at the picture and then at Jake. “Side bags can be changed.”

Then he broke Jake’s heart and endangered his own life by confiscating the photo.


Kassandra Lamb head shot

Writing and psychology have always vied for first place on Kassandra Lamb’s Greatest Passions list. In her youth, she had to decide between writing and paying the bills. Partial to electricity and food, she studied psychology. Now retired from a career as a psychotherapist and college professor, she spends most of her time in an alternate universe with her characters. The magic portal to this universe (i.e., her computer) is located in Florida, where her husband and dog catch occasional glimpses of her.

She is the author of the Kate Huntington mystery series, The Kate on Vacation novellas, and the Marcia Banks and Buddy cozy mysteries, about a service dog trainer and her mentor dog, plus a guidebook for novice writers, Someday Is Here! A Beginner’s Guide to Writing and Publishing Your First Book.

Kass’s e-mail is lambkassandra3@gmail.com and she loves hearing from readers! She’s also on Facebook and hangs out some on Twitter @KassandraLamb. She blogs about psychological topics and other random things at http://misteriopress.com.

Excerpt Week—Medici Protectorate Series by Staci Troilo

I’m honored to have been asked to participate in Excerpt Week. Marcia, thank you for arranging this and letting me hop into the schedule.

I’m finishing up my Medici Protectorate series. Book 3 is with the publisher and will release soon. Book 4 is partially written, and then I have to say goodbye to this beloved series. Instead of providing you with lengthy excerpts from the novels, I’m going to give you a teaser from each of the three completed ones and a printed excerpt from the fourth.

Book 1, Bleeding Heart

Bleeding Heart teaser

Book 2, Mind Control

Mind Control teaser

Book 3, Body Armor

Body Armor teaser

And finally, from my WIP, a never-before published excerpt…

Book 4, Tortured Soul

She opened the door and glanced at the water. Coz treaded in the deep end, but mercifully, he faced the windows, his back to the door.

Good luck or consideration? She wasn’t sure, but she was grateful for the opportunity to divest herself of the roomy shirt and slip into the water unnoticed.

The cool water felt refreshing on her overheated skin. When she surfaced in front of him, she again took in his shirtless torso, distorted by the rippling water yet no less appealing. His light blond hair, slicked back and wet, had darkened to champagne and his bright blue eyes deepened from the reflection of the pool.

Adonis, come to life.

Her face heated, and she dipped under the surface with the pretense of getting her hair out of her face. Even immersing herself in the cool water didn’t soothe her burning cheeks.

As she came up, she was only inches from him, and the proximity caused her to suck in too soon. She got a lungful of water, then choked and sputtered while trying to catch her breath.

He grabbed her waist, and she flinched. “Can’t you tread? We can go to the shallow section.”

His hands on her did nothing to settle her breathing. “I can tread. I love to swim. Just somehow managed to suck down some water.”

Coz raised an eyebrow but didn’t reply. Instead, he flipped onto his back and swam toward the opposite end of the Olympic-sized pool, pulling Toni along on top of him as he sliced through the water.

The motion was far more erotic than she was prepared for. It wouldn’t have surprised her if steam billowed around them.

There you have it—a brief look at the four novels of the Medici Protectorate series, a saga about four sisters who discover they are Medici descendants, the warriors sworn to protect them, and the diabolical forces determined to use them… or destroy them.

I hope you enjoyed these quick peeks. You can find out more about the series or the individual books by clicking on any of the links above. And if you have any questions or comments, leave them below and we’ll talk about it. Thanks!

Staci Troilo bio

Connect with Staci: Website | Blog | Newsletter | Social Media

#WakeRobinRidge by @marciameara #Excerpt


Still trying to catch up after so many interruptions this fall, so not back on my normal posting schedule. Since we have no guest blogger today, I thought maybe I’d just share an excerpt from my first novel, Wake-Robin Ridge, available on Amazon for the permanently low price of $.99.

“Wake-Robin Ridge, where ghosts walk,
ancient legends abound, and things still go bump in the night.”

A slow, cold mile later, he could see the faintest hint of dawn through the trees just ahead, and knew he was approaching the clearing. The trick was to get close enough to see without being seen. He found a spot behind some thick but low-growing bushes. It was a perfect place to hunker down and wait. In the gray light of early morning, he pulled out his favorite filleting knife and a small whetstone, spat on the stone, and began to slide the knife back and forth across the surface. Falling into a rhythm, eyes half closed, he continued to hone the knife, metal caressing stone again and again. His excitement rose as he thought about the damage the razor-sharp edge was going to do, slicing deep into tender flesh, and releasing spray after spray of coppery-scented blood into the air. He smiled, already hearing the terrified pleading and the screams that would follow.

The soft noise of blade on stone kept him company as time passed. At last, morning broke in full, and spilled pink and gold daylight into the world, but his thoughts were not on the beauty of the new day opening in front of him. Instead, his hatred morphed into a cold fury as he thought about the full extent of the treachery committed against him, and the bloody revenge he planned to extract.

Lloyd crouched low in the bushes, peering at the little cabin in the clearing. This is what she chose to do with his money? Hide out on a deserted hillside in a stinkin’ little wooden shack that looked like it should have belonged to the Beverly Hillbillies, before they struck it rich? God, he could kill the bitch. “Oh, that’s right,” he said. “I’m going to.”


Download Your Copy Today!
Wake-Robin Ridge Book 1

End of the Line by @barbtaub #ExcerptWeek #wwwblogs #SciFi #UrbanFantasy

Note from Barb:

Thank you so much Marcia for all you do to promote other writers, and for allowing me to participate in Excerpt Week.  The following excerpt is from End of the Line, the final book in my Null City series. 

You have to understand that everyone in Null City is a normal human. Most of them just didn't start out that way. Imagine you're some superhero with special gifts or abilities that are, frankly, damn awkward. Let's say, for example, that you are the Man of Steel, but you don't dare have sex with the Plucky Girl Reporter because your LittleMan of Steel would probably split her in two. (And we're not even going to discuss the havoc your Swimmers of Steel could wreck on Woman of Pasta…) The point is that when you think about it, most people with special powers would be lining up to get rid of them and get their normal lives back. That's where Null City comes in. After one day there, those with extra gifts turn into their closest human counterparts. Dragons, for example, might become realtors. Or imps become baristas. (Of course, those imps are now ex-PhD candidates in literature or classics who claim to be experts on third-world coffee blends and obscure world music groups. But hey — there is only so close to human that hellspawn can get…)

End of the Line

by Barb Taub

You have to understand that everyone in Null City is a normal human. Most of them just didn’t start out that way. Imagine you’re some superhero with special gifts or abilities that are, frankly, damn awkward. Let’s say, for example, that you are the Man of Steel, but you don’t dare have sex with the Plucky Girl Reporter because your LittleMan of Steel would probably split her in two. (And we’re not even going to discuss the havoc your Swimmers of Steel could wreck on Woman of Pasta…)

The point is that when you think about it, most people with special powers would be lining up to get rid of them and get their normal lives back. That’s where Null City comes in. After one day there, those with extra gifts turn into their closest human counterparts. Dragons, for example, might become realtors. Or imps become baristas. (Of course, those imps are now ex-PhD candidates in literature or classics who claim to be experts on third-world coffee blends and obscure world music groups. But hey — there is only so close to human that hellspawn can get…)

POPPY: Null City, 2016

I paused on the landing of the grand stairway leading down to the main waiting room and on to the platform of the Metro Station. Above me the pearly light of a typical Null City afternoon streamed through the green and gold stained glass arched ceiling and huge matching rose windows at either end.

Just below the window, a tiled mosaic spelled out Ø CITY above a painted banner bearing a quote from Sir Isaac Newton: If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants”.  Visitors are usually impressed, at least until someone shares the Null City version that it was painted by an artistic imp standing on an actual giant who was waiting for his one-day window to pass until he became a normal human.

Dark old polished wood benches from the waiting room—the round ones whose central lamp posts now bloomed with tissue flowers and white ribbons, and the long benches with elegantly curved backs—were filled with guests, both from Null City and those who had poured in on the special Metro run.

Null City residents know that the needles on any compass here point to the Metro Station as our own version of true north. But as far as I know, only the Anchor feels that pull. I closed my eyes, and opened my connection to the City. It wasn’t words, not exactly. But…images of feelings, like holding the most effervescent of champagne to my nose…dry and tingling and full of delicious, intoxicating promise.

I smiled at the tickle as the fizz of the connection spread over my skin and I passed my own feelings back along the connection. I know you’re pleased. This wedding is just the right thing, in the right place, with the right people. Continue reading

#SALE #0.99c – THE PRINCE’S MAN by Deborah Jay #fantasy


In celebration of the imminent release of Book 2 in THE FIVE KINGDOMS series, Book #1, THE PRINCE’S MAN is on sale for 0.99c until Tuesday.

If you haven’t yet read it, now is your chance, and if you know any fantasy fans, please share.


Think James Bond meets Lord of the Rings – a sweeping tale of spies and deadly politics, inter-species mistrust and magic phobia, with an underlying thread of romance.

Rustam Chalice, dance tutor, gigolo and spy, loves his life, so when the kingdom he serves is threatened from within, he leaps into action. Only trouble is, the spy master teams him up with an untouchable, beautiful aristocratic assassin who despises him.

Plunged into a desperate journey over the mountains, the mismatched pair struggle to survive deadly wildlife, the machinations of a spiteful god – and each other.

They must also keep alive a sickly elf they need as a political pawn. But when the elf reveals that Rustam has magic of his own, he is forced to question his identity, his sanity and worst, his loyalty to his prince.

For in Tyr-en, all magic users are put to death


“Remove your hand, Chalice,” Risada hissed, “unless you want to lose it.” Continue reading

Superpowers suck? Try Null City #ExcerptWeek #SciFi #UrbanFantasy by @barbtaub

Thanks so much Marcia for allowing me to participate in your Excerpt Week promotion! Following is the blurb and excerpt from Round Trip Fare. —Barb

Excerpt week: ROUND TRIP FARE by Barb Taub

Warden Carey Parker’s to-do list is already long enough: find her brother and sister, rescue her roommate, save Null City, and castrate her ex-boyfriend. Preferably with a dull-edged garden tool. A rusty one.

Carey knows superpowers suck, her own included. From childhood she’s only had two options. She can take the Metro train to Null City and a normal life. After one day there, imps become baristas, and hellhounds become poodles. Demons settle down, join the PTA, and worry about their taxes. Or she can master the powers of her warrior gift and fight a war she can’t win, in a world where she never learned how to lose.

And then there is… him. For the past two months, a dark stranger has persistently edged his way onto the mental game board behind her eyelids. Well, whatever trouble he’s selling, Carey Parker is not buying.

She just has a few details to work out first. Her parents have been killed, her brother and sister targeted, and the newest leader of the angels trying to destroy Null City might be the one person she loves most in the world. And her sexy new partner’s gift lets him predict deaths. Hers.

It just would have been nice if someone told her the angels were all on the other side.

EXCERPT —Round Trip Fare

March 2011:  Pike Place Market, Seattle

Carey slid low in the seat as Iax finally came out of the restaurant and turned toward the waterfront. To her surprise, the two watchers continued to stalk…him. So he hadn’t posted them to watch for her. Interesting. She slid from the jeep and shadowed the followers.

Accords Agency Recruiting notice

Accords Agency Recruiting notice

The attack came as Iax stepped around construction equipment at a building site in the next block. He spun around a second before the first one’s bow released, but the arrow must have missed as he was already ducking low and coming up with a knife. She narrowed her eyes. Probably too far for accuracy, but his throw managed a glancing slash on the attacker’s arm. Impressive. The knife wound was enough to cause the bow to droop as Iax sprinted toward him.

By then, the second tail had come around the far side of the giant yellow earthmover and was in position. But Iax wrapped arms around the first assailant and whirled him into the path of the new arrow. Not missing a step, he dove for the dropped crossbow, loaded from its attached quiver, and without taking any apparent time to aim, lodged an arrow in the second attacker’s throat. Very impressive. There was just one thing he missed.

Iax was bent over the second assailant when the third dropped from the scaffolding above him and hit the ground head-first with a meaty thump. “You missed one,” Carey told him. “You’re welcome.” She moved across the street until she was standing in front of him. “Excuse me? Can I get by?” Their eyes locked as each quietly palmed a knife, before he moved aside. She rolled the third assailant over and removed the knife from his throat, wiping it with the dead man’s shirt. “It’s one of my favorites.” Returning the knife to her boot, she turned and headed back to her jeep. “You coming?”

He got in heavily, and she started the engine. “Where to?”

When he didn’t answer, she turned to see him slumped against the door. The front of his jacket was wet. Guess that first arrow wasn’t a total miss after all. Well, hell. Marley would never let her hear the end of it if they had to replace the upholstery. Again. Continue reading

The Rocking Chair – Kindle Edition by Debra Mauldin

‘The Rocking Chair’, a paranormal short story, is now available at: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01DNGZFAW


Marissa had faced the loss of her grandmother, mother, and grandfather. She thought she was coping well by throwing herself into her work, but when Marissa started hearing voices and seeing things move, she had to stop and wonder. Was she going insane or was there really an afterlife?