Monday, June 2, 2014

Debunker: Independence Day

Today's special guest is Dennis Anthony. Dennis 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.


I asked Dennis about the backdrop of the Civil War, and here is his response:

In my fantasy story of lost love, renewal and murder, the U.S. Civil War is often the set piece. But it’s so much more.

I’ve been a student of the Civil War for decades and have prowled every major battlefield, read every important book and even collected stamps and covers of the period. This war is more than an historical event to me. It’s about honor, glory, wonderment and hundreds of kinds of magic. I hadn’t intended to include it as a focus of my book -- and, in fact, most of the book is set in contemporary times -- but it became a natural match to the theme of love in a world stranger than we can imagine.

To fully develop the setting of the Battle of Gettysburg and its re-enactment one-hundred-fifty years later, I boned up on details, especially language, weaponry, tactics and significant personalities of the time. What I didn’t research were the feelings of the participants. Whether my perceptions are accurate or not, they reflect my heartfelt belief of what it must have been like to fight in 1863. These men and boys fighting in great battles often came from farms and small towns, and had little understanding of the larger world. Most had never been further than 25 miles or so from their place of birth and, usually, their place of death.

In the battles, the men are frightened, sometimes weak,  always eager to do their duty and often resigned to an ugly death on a field far from home. Their powerful, contrasting emotions trigger events that come to fruition in this story.

People ask me if I actually believe in ghosts, other dimensions of existence, demons, portals and the rest of it. I don’t disbelieve. I study the evidence and am surprised and occasionally amused by it. What I do believe, however, is that our world is far more complex than it appears. Stranger than we imagine and stranger than we can imagine, as a sage once put it. This I believe earnestly. And absent the details, that’s the world I try to create in my book.

Sometimes a book’s inspiration comes from a small irritant in the same way a pearl might be born from a piece of sand. I’m not suggesting my book is a pearl. That’s for my readers to decide. But that little irritant can provide incentive to go forward with the writing.

In my case, it was the idea of a paranormal skeptic on a reality television show having unknown psychic abilities. Reconciling what he thinks he sees in the world with what he thinks he knows about it creates tension. In the end, he struggles to know what is true and how he can move forward with this new understanding.

I hesitate to call my book a love story because, in the conventional sense, it is not. But it is a story about love, and not just romantic love. It’s about love of family and comrades. And it’s about love between a man and a woman. Love that prevails over infidelity, separation and abandonment.

Can one book hope to accommodate civil war, paranormal worlds, and the transcendent power of love in one magical package? I think so. I hope you do too.


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.


“I’m here for you, Marion,” he said, but Marion only shook her head sadly and pulled his face to her chest. He pulled back, wanting to look at her. “I can’t remember everything. I can’t remember a lot of things. But I remember us, together.”

This time she smiled and those expressive eyes glowed just a little when she did. Then Marion kissed him lightly on his lips, so lightly he barely felt her touch at all. He returned the kiss, feeling her mouth close naturally around his, receiving her breath on his tongue. His dizziness backed off a little. The buzzing in his head became a quieter – but still steady – drone.

“This. This here is the reality I want, the reality I think you want too.” A shadow passed across the two of them. A buzzard-like black bird was flying high overhead. Except for Marion, it was the only living thing he’d seen. She stared up at it apprehensively.

“I know I can’t stay,” he said. “I don’t know how I know this, just like I don’t know how we first came together or why our being together is the only real thing in my life.”

The bird was perched on the top of a crowing rooster weather vane at the peak of the house. It seemed uninterested in the two of them. Marion studied it closely for a while, shook her head at Francis and touched the side of his cheek.

“It doesn’t matter what happened before,” he said. “All that matters is what is. You and me. We must make it complete. I’m coming back to you.”

She nodded a little sadly. Francis wondered if she knew better. The bird flapped its heavy black wings repeatedly before it was finally able to lift off its perch, then it folded them like a cormorant diving into the sea.


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

Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here: