06 March 2012

Guest post: Read a spooky ghost story & help sponsor a Leader Dog!

          I have a very special guest today; author J.T. Baroni, who's visiting us today with the story behind his book, The Legend of Rachel Petersen. I have purchased the book upon its release because...well...how can I resist such a title and cover! Knowing how J.T. got his inspiration, the book has moved higher on my reading list. Read on to be intrigued :-)
Welcome, J.T.!
            Hello! And a big thanks to Su for having me as a guest on her blog!
            I am pleased to announce that my book, The Legend of Rachel Petersen, has been released through Damnation Books, and I plan on donating a portion of my book’s proceeds to The Leader Dogs for the Blind, located in Rochester Hills, Michigan. This organization has been training Leader Dogs and placing them with blind people, free of charge, since 1939, and they have achieved this amazing feat all from donations.
            I know all too well, both their generosity and the impact of their invaluable services. Furthering that statement, I also understand first handedly how strongly the visually impaired faithfully depend, trust, and rely on their dogs, whereas my older brother, Gene, has been blind since birth, and is on his third canine companion. As kids, my brother and I were constantly hand in hand. We went everywhere together. I was, in fact, Gene’s first Leader Dog!
            We don’t get to visit each other as often as we would like since Gene resides three hundred miles away in Philadelphia. However, the times I have visited my brother, I was impressed on how well Gene’s dog guided his blind master through the streets of The City of Brotherly Love. It’s absolutely amazing how smart these animals are. The people in Michigan do a fantastic job in training these Leader Dogs. Valor, Gene’s latest dog, is a beautiful Black Labrador Retriever, and when my brother puts the harness on Valor, that dog knows it is time to work. He even seems to enjoy riding the subway.
            I live in a rural area of Johnstown, Pennsylvania, and being the avid outdoorsman that I am, I spend a great deal of time in the woods, mostly within walking distance of my home. Last year, I came upon a lone grave in the woods, which inspired my paranormal tale. From years of weathering, the inscription was barely legible, it read, “Rachel Peterson, 1801 to 1899”. I changed the spelling of the last name and made my ghost character a young girl, which I feel gives the story a more realistic touch, while making the tale that much spookier.
            But what is really ironic, and eerily enough, my story revolves around 39-year-old sports writer Christian Kane, who becomes outraged when The Pittsburgh Post Gazette overlooks him for a well-deserved promotion. Kane quits the Paper and moves to the country to write fiction. Inspiration flows from a grave he stumbles upon in the woods, with the headstone having the dates 1851 to 1853, which means the girl died during the Civil War. He is then compelled to pen The Legend of Rachel Petersen, a fascinating and horrific story based on the dead twelve-year-old girl laid to rest beneath the weathered tombstone. His book quickly climbs the best seller lists; then Hollywood makes it in to a blockbuster movie. Kane becomes rich and famous only to have Rachel rise from the grave, seeking revenge on him for slandering her name! Or does she?
The Legend of Rachel Petersen is available both as an e-book at Damnation Books, http://www.damnationbooks.com/people.php?author=135, or in paperback at your favorite online bookstore such as Amazon, http://www.amazon.com/Legend-Rachel-Petersen-J-T-Baroni/dp/1615725431, or visit my website, www.jtbaroni.com and check out my movie trailer on YouTube, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cVOmw2vH4gg. However, I forewarn any potential readers, I wrote this story with a mature audience in mind; it does contain adult content, and one scene in particular may be disturbing for young readers. Two specific stories majorly influenced my plot structure, The Devil’s Advocate and The Sixth Sense; both of which are my all time favorite movies. Therefore, two unforeseen twists come out of nowhere at the end of the story and smack you upside the head.    
            I would like to graciously thank everyone who helps support my cause; raising a puppy to Leader Dog status is extremely expensive, averaging forty five thousand dollars per sponsored dog.
            In conclusion, thanks again for having me, Su, and I hope everybody enjoys my novel!

Author Bio:
Living in Western Pennsylvania all his life, J. T. Baroni has been an avid Whitetail hunter since he was old enough to tote a rifle, which is also about as long as he’s had a fondness for word games and literature. While hunting last year, Jim actually did stumble upon a weathered tombstone in the middle of the woods. Waiting patiently for any deer to cross his path gave him plenty of time to think about that lone grave’s inhabitant and ponder her story, which he was then driven to write. Eerie enough, this is the premise of The Legend of Rachel Petersen, his first published novel. Jim has also composed several songs that are currently signed with a music publisher. His home is Johnstown, Pennsylvania, a small town outside of Pittsburgh. Jim and his wife Becky are both proud members of the Lions International. They share their house with their son, Skyler, and two boxers.