Coming Soon: Defined by Others by MCV Egan

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The Trailer for Defined by Others by MCV Egan

A Sneak Peek at Chapter One of Defined by Others

Chapter One

I sat in Pete’s office after the video ended, staring at the screen with her frozen image. The illness that eventually took her life left her looking gaunt and ravaged. When her coffin was lowered into the grave the day before I was left feeling as if with her body, her casket, her illness they were also burying that which makes life an adventure and with that much of my youth and perhaps some part of my future.
As I stared at her face my mouth felt dry, my hands had a slight tremor mimicking my lower lip, and not even in my thoughts could I quite find a word to define this moment, to describe my feelings. I burst out crying in loud, wracking sobs and I heard the door open. Through my heavy tears the contact lenses swam and moved in my eyes, making everything seem a blur. I felt the hand on my shoulder before he handed me the tissues.
“Can I get you something Anne? Anything? Water? Coffee?” he asked.
I blew my nose and composed myself as best I could.
“Water, ice cold water would be nice.”
“It’s a little early, but I can offer you something stronger if you’d prefer,” he said as he walked toward a bar in the back of his office.
“No, thanks. Water with ice will be fine.”
The musical clink of the ice cubes against the glass was the familiar tone made only by fine crystal. I recognized the Baccarat pattern; it was the same as the crystal in my parents’ home. He hesitated and cleared his throat before he spoke again.
“I know speaking ill of the dead is in very poor taste, but Amanda was not a nice person. I am bound, as her attorney, to follow her instructions to the letter. You can watch what is obviously a pretty nasty recording as many times as you wish, but when you are done I need to destroy it, in front of you. Then I am to hand you a box, and again you are to open it in absolute privacy, so preferably not in this office. Can I suggest I destroy it right here and now? I have pliers and I can smash the flash drive into nothing.”
“It really is not at all what you imagine. She was even nice and apologized in it. She could be an absolute bitch, but my tears and sadness are not for her.”
“Oh, I see. How’s your dad doing?”
“We were all surprised to see you at the funeral. I actually expected to fly down to Florida and hand all this to you there. She left a nice expense account for that. How long have you been in town?”
“Just a few days. Mom assumed they’d be flying up for Thanksgiving. They are so afraid Obama will get re-elected after the Romney tape that they wanted to vote in person.”
“He might win you know. Although you would not know it in this town by the Romney signs everywhere.”
“Signs can’t vote.”
“Spoken like a true Democrat.”
“Yeah, yet another choice where I absolutely failed my parents.”
“Don’t knock yourself, I do not think any of us live up to parental expectations.”
I drank the ice cold water and nodded my head at the screen. No words were needed as he closed the file and Amanda’s face disappeared from the screen.
He pulled out the flash drive and reached into a drawer. He crunched and cracked the flash drive so viciously that I knew he too had fallen prey to one or more of Amanda’s nasty games.
“I think it is pretty much done. If you are not sure, why don’t you shoot it?”
“That is not a bad idea.”
We started to laugh in unison. I did not recognize it at the time, later though it became clear that we bonded, laughing over the nasty remains of a common enemy. I gathered my things, including the package Amanda had bequeathed me, and Pete walked me to the car.
“It would only be a conflict of interest to offer help in anything regarding Amanda, so if you need any help with your parents’ home, don’t hesitate to call me. Do you still have the card I gave you yesterday at the funeral?”
“It is such a small town, Pete, even if I lose the card, now that everyone knows I’m here it will be hard to avoid me.”
I stopped at the grocery store on my way home since everyone in town knew I was there, there was no sense in driving into the city to get what I needed. I had already put a nice dent in Mom’s pantry and Dad’s bar. I had been there well over a week, trying to understand what I had missed, how I had not known about Frank. Then Amanda died and curiosity got the better of me. What did Alison say? Her voice echoed in my mind;
‘Enemies always attend each other’s funerals. I guess it is a way of knowing they won …’
Well, we weren’t always enemies, and sometimes it is the good and healthy memories that make someone attend a funeral. Amanda was the first of us to die. At forty-seven it seemed too young to bury a contemporary. Once she was diagnosed, it was only a matter of time. In fact, it was pretty amazing she lasted as long as she did, money it seems, can buy you time if nothing else. And in 2012, time can mean science and technology might just come up with some medication or medical treatment that changes everything.
Unfortunately, it had not worked for Amanda, but so far it had worked for my dad. This last stroke seemed to be the first time he had an untimely health issue, with no easy fix in sight.
Amanda fought hard for a good two years and then lost; the image of her greenish skin color and emaciated body made that perfectly clear. Her beautiful heart-shaped face was gaunt, and her eyes were sunken in the video. However, the voice was the strangest and most unrecognizable trait. Was it karma to go so slowly and with so much suffering? Our shopping carts collided, and I was startled by that as much as I was startled by the tone of her voice.
“Hi Anne.”
“Connie? I did not see you at Amanda’s funeral yesterday. I just thought you were not in town.”
“I don’t like funerals, so I sent flowers, I saw the comments and pictures everyone posted on Facebook.
Frankly I was surprised you were there.”
“Facebook? People posted pictures from the funeral? I have some friends in Florida who use it but I personally avoid social media; I did consider it as a tool to spy on my kids.”
“Most people in town use it in a very public way.”
She looked at me in the oddest way so I had to ask.
“Is something wrong?”
She sighed, loudly the way a parent or teacher does when exasperated that a kid cannot give the right answer or tell the truth.
“You really don’t know do you?”
Small town gossip and now combined with the use of cyberspace, I could only assume was not a great combination. I began to feel uneasy and wondered if it had anything to do with Frank. I decided to disregard the thought. I simply could not imagine that whatever Connie was referring to was of any serious consequence to me.
“You know Connie, my dad is really ill, I am just here getting the house in order for my folks and trying to figure out the best way to help get them settled in
Florida full-time.”
“I am really sorry about your dad Anne. We really need to talk; it’s about Frank and… well it’s about Frank. I can go over to your parents’ house tonight, I’ll bring a nice dinner.”
This time I could easily and clearly find the word, THE WORD that defined the moment; dumbfounded. In a small town gossip travelled like wildfire; at least in this small town it did, but mom had assured me no-one knew about Frank. I was not sure what to say, but Connie’s abrupt manner did not give me much of a chance.
“Believe me, this is just as uncomfortable for me as it is for you, but we really need to talk. Simply put, it is about Frank and Mike.”
I learned at a very young age about the moments that define us in life and how sometimes they feel as concrete as a ton of bricks falling loudly and painfully on top of us. This was one of those moments; not at all like the subtle hidden moment when Pete and I laughed together. So my mother was wrong and if my Frank’s problem was involved with Connie’s Mike. Well, there it was and it made sense now the smartphones were clicking away at the funeral. It was my turn to sigh, this one was a sigh of defeat.
“At what time tonight?”
“Is seven okay? Like I said I’ll bring dinner.”
“You really think we’ll be hungry under the circumstances? I asked perhaps in a tone too sarcastic and maybe even with a touch of cruelty.
“Fine, I’ll bring wine she answered.”
“I nodded robotically, I started to pile food into the shopping cart, and as the salesclerk rang it up I noticed that I had chosen all of my husband’s, Frank’s favorite foods.

About the Author

Screen Shot 2014-12-23 at 07.20.23M.C.V. Egan is the pen name chosen by Maria Catalina Vergara Egan the author of The Bridge of Deaths in two versions as well as the soon to be released Defined by Others.
Catalina was born in Mexico City, Mexico in 1959, the sixth of eight children, in a traditional Catholic family. Communication in such a large family fueled her desire and need to find a voice and write.
She only spent her childhood in Mexico. Her father became an employee of The World Bank in Washington D.C. From the early 1970s at the age of 12 she moved with her entire family to the United States.

Catalina was already fluent in Southern English as she had spent one school year in the town of Pineville, Louisiana with her grandparents. There she won the English award; ironically being the only one who had English as a second language in her class. In the D.C. suburbs she attended various private Catholic schools and graduated from Winston Churchill High School in Potomac, Maryland in 1977.

She attended Montgomery Community College, where she changed majors every semester. She also studied in Lyons, France at the Catholic University for two years. In 1981, due to an impulsive young marriage to a Viking (The Swedish kind, not the football player kind) Catalina moved to Sweden where she resided for five years and taught at a language school for Swedish, Danish, and Finnish business people. She returned to the USA in the late 1980s where she has been living ever since. She is fluent in Spanish, English, French and Swedish.

Maria Catalina Vergara Egan is married and has one son, who together with their five pound Chihuahua make her feel like a fulltime mother. Although she would not call herself an Astrologer she has taken many classes and taught a few beginner classes in Astrology. This is one of her many past times when she is not writing or researching.

Get in touch with MCV Egan 

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Is History The Agreed Upon Lie?


Peace in Time Book Blitz & Blog Hop: Getting to Know MCV Egan

Peace Book Tour ImageSeptember 21 was the International Day of Peace, a day when worldwide peace and the goal of achieving it is put in focus. On this day, MCV Egan, author of The Bridge of Deaths, starts her blog tour and this year Kim Talks Books is lucky enough to be one of the stops.

To help celebrate the International Day of Peace, I am giving away a Kindle copy of MCV Egan’s The Bridge of Deaths and a copy of my Kindle-only novella, Choose Me. To enter, all you have to do is leave a comment on this post with your thoughts on peace. The winner will be chosen and notified on Saturday, 29 September. You can also join the official Peace in Time giveaway here.

MCV Egan lives in South Florida with her family. The Bridge of Deaths is her first novel.

The premise of the Bridge of Deaths is fascinating–a troubled man possibly suffering from past-life trauma trying to find the connection between his issues and a mysterious plane crash  in 1939 with only one survivor. How did you find out about this story and when did you first decide this was the book you had to write?

I began to research the plane crash of the G-AESY in pre-WWII Denmark because my maternal grandfather was one of the men who died in that crash. I tried to run away from the story many times, but somehow in different ways it chased me, found me and made me realize I had to research and write it.

Out of the blue people would contact me with new information or the right book would just be at the wrong place (right for me) how many WWII history books would anyone expect to find in the cooking section?

I began my research with very traditional methods; archives, newspaper microfilms, history books. In the 1990s my side interests revolved around ‘paranormal’ or ‘occult’ disciplines such as astrology, numerology and past life regressions, as such I was surrounded by many individuals with a variety of clairvoyance aptitudes.

The way that led to combining the very believable and the likely unbelievable was that Anthony Crossley, the British MP who died in the crash that day,  was easy to research as  he was a public figure, thus making  it was easy to confirm most information clairvoyants said about him. I should add that in the 1990s it was not like anyone could Google any of this, it was easy to confirm but by carefully researching.

The individual who allowed me to use his past life regressions, but asked to remain anonymous was not particularly troubled, and certainly never had phobias, but by infusing that into the characteristics of the fictional version the story became far more interesting.

How long did it take to write The Bridge of Deaths from starting the first draft until the final edit?

Once I decided this is it, I will not try to research more it was about 18 months. It is two books in one, it is a factual documented book, which took 18 years to compile woven together with a fun, fictional narrative.

The Bridge of Deaths Book CoverHow did you decide upon the format of the novel–of juxtaposing the crash in 1939 with Bill’s life and psychic belief in 2009-2010?

When the argument was made in 2002-2003 for the war in Iraq many politicians, commentators and ‘experts’ likened the conversations with the MUNICH PACT of 1938. Because Anthony Crossley was one of the small group that adamantly opposed appeasing Hitler; the events of modern day war and the past seemed much intertwined. Also because Anthony Crossley was called the sole voice for the Arab cause in regards to the Palestinian territories in the late 1930s, that too amazed me how similar the conversations were from the 1930s and today.

Bill is the venue in the comparison; but one of the messages in the book is how strongly we are as a society, as countries affected by the decisions and wars decades later.

How did the psychic belief angle and the idea of past life trauma come into the story?

I had past life regressions that impacted me. That physically affected me in interesting ways. I did not have phobias but I did have fears that were strongly or completely overcome through the use of hypnosis and sometimes past life regressions.  I took my personal experience and expanded to make it more dramatic.

I did use psychics and past life regressions (not my own), I did take some fictional liberties but I was careful to explain what was fiction and what actually came out of the regressions or information obtained by psychics.

In my experience many people are very skeptical about psychic abilities, so I even saved some of the information I could not prove.

Have you got any advice for writers thinking about tackling a novel based on historical events?

Yes, there are two things when you decide on your timespan. Make a timeline and keep your chronology in order. Like a school kid, a nice long line with dates events keep it handy, if possible really large on a wall or a bulletin board.

That way you will physically see the era, to keep it believable.

Be sure to get the right vernacular, the devil is in the details, and I have put down a number of books because if the writer cannot respect the reader enough to take the time to research details it kills the story for me.

What’s next for you? Are you working on another project?

I am a mom and my son just started high school so for the next four years that is my most important job. Stories can always be written and information can always be researched, but my Austin will only be a teen ager once.

I am working on several short projects, playing around with one act plays and short stories and I am working on a series in a modern setting. I hope to write in a wide variety of genres and I also enjoy helping authors promote on-line. Many authors do not have the budget to have online tours or have difficulty approaching bloggers to make themselves visible and I really enjoy sharing what I had the privilege to learn from my on-line publicist and on my own.

Your Peace in Time Blitz Blog Tour not only promotes your novel but also commemorates the International Day of Peace. Tell us why this day is so important to you.

I created a character, Maggie and she is a lovable, loving free spirit very open to the esoteric. I also needed her to be very versed in WW II so to accomplish that I made her a pacifist who felt that knowledge about war is the key to avoiding them.

As Maggie grew and developed I made her an active pacifist who had participated in London protests of the Iraq war.

Maggie grew very near and dear to my heart and creating her slowly but surely pushed me into pacifism; as I am a writer through my words I can help people to become aware.

With the current state of the world, do you believe that we will ever have true peace in our time? 

I used to think that Maggie was believable as a character because she was young enough to BELIEVE. Lately I have read a bit on Gandhi or explored the principles of pacifist rebellion.  It is true that the hope I felt; surely with many around the world, in the Arab Spring when I finished The Bridge of Deaths is now so tainted by so much blood shed and destruction.

It is unlikely that World Peace is near, but as  parent why not instill in the younger generations an acceptance of the possibility so that they may perhaps achieve what has for us been so elusive. If we do not at least discuss it; how can it possibly be so?

But I guess the honest answer to IN OUR TIME? It would be a miracle, an enormous miracle and thankfully, I believe in miracles.

Many thanks to MCV Egan for joining of this week! And everyone, remember to leave comments with your thoughts on peace or the possibility of peace in our time for the chance to win Kindle editions of The Bridge of Deaths and Choose Me.

Happy reading (and writing)!