Mama Diaries

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Guest Author, Dennis Higgins and Question of the Month

Today, I have special guest, Dennis Higgins, at my pad. He's going to tell us a little bit about his wonderful new book, Pennies from Across the Veil. He's also going to give away a copy to one lucky winner. For your chance to win, just leave a comment below.

Blurb: Pennies From Across the Veil is a love story… about death. Karl Himmel tells the story to an unknown presence, of how he met, fell in love, and married the woman of his dreams, Jenny Engels. But at the time of the telling, Karl and Jenny find themselves on different sides of the veil—the separation we call death.

But not even death can stop true love.

Powerful signs come to those from loved ones who have passed. They can be found any and everywhere, we just need to look for them. The most significant for Karl and Jenny was the finding of numerous wheat-back pennies. However, could there have been many others, and did these signs have a deeper meaning?

Word from Dennis about Pennies From Across the Veil:

Out of all the books I have written, none are as important to me as Pennies From Across the Veil. Its influence came from every person I ever knew, loved and happened to die. This is especially true when my own mother passed away in June of 2014. Things started happening immediately after her death. In her house, coins were found daily, where the room had been cleared the day before. I had strong feelings that she was with me, leading me to things. When we got the call that first night, our canary sang at the top of his lungs (which he never ever did at night before). None of these things were scary because I knew they could only have come from her. It made me recall when my dear sister died years before, and the things that happened at that time. In fact, with each and every person I ever knew who passed from this world to the next, came signs, dreams, and occurrences, especially right afterwards. Then I discovered, it happened to other people as well. Sometime the similarity of the occurrences were striking. There were often common themes, such as butterflies, feathers late night phone calls and yes, pennies.

I was deeply moved to take all these experiences and combine them into one romantic love story about death. This is not a ghost story, but a story of love, passion and survival. 

The seemingly paranormal phenomena recorded in this book, are entirely based on true events.
My review:
Pennies from Across the Veil opens with protagonist, Karl Himmel, in an unknown, dark place, sharing the story of his lost love, Jenny Engels. Jenny has died and is on the other side of the "veil." But even in death, the bond of love is strong. Signs, some in the form of pennies, tell Karl that Jenny is still present in is life. The story twists and turns, revealing much about the relationship between Karl and Jenny, as well as other key players in Karl's life. The end is quite unexpected.

Pennies from across the Veil is a difficult story to put down. The voice of Karl is such that it feels like he is actually talking to the reader. The characters are very well-developed. It's easy to become emotionally involved in their story. Not only is it a compelling love story, but it's a story that makes one think about the nature of death, life after death, and love. Highly recommended.  Five Stars.
 Hi Dennis!  Welcome to my pad!

Sherry, Thank you so much for having me today. 

Pennies from Across the Veil is an intriguing story of love that transcends time, a love that goes beyond the grave. What gave you the idea for this unusual story?
It started years ago when people I loved would pass away. Things started happening, dreams, signs, voices… I also witnessed other people in my life having things happen to them, such as my dad when his wife died. But it was when my own mom died last year that I experienced amazing signs. It was her death that influenced my writing this story. The romance part, well, that’s just me. I have a romance with love, lol! 

You mentioned that you have experienced signs and occurrences which happened after loved ones in your life died. Can you share some of those with us?

Sure Sherry. Everything found in the book happened to me or someone I knew. I changed them slightly to make it a fictional story, but they all happened. Here are a few things that happened to me personally:  

When my sister died by her own hand in 1980, I heard her voice calling my name as clear as a bell. I could even point to the direction the voice came from. Then one night I had a dream which was Purgatorial in nature. She was there and I saw her taken to heaven. This dream comforted my family very much, because of the nature of her death. It was a very powerful dream. It then created the base for my story.  

Fast forward to last year when mom passed away. I felt her presence in her condo as I went through her pictures, I could hear her talking to me in my head and leading me to find lost things. Then the coins started. My wife and I both found them. This in itself is not a big deal to find coins lying around in a condo…at first. But it became eerie when I would leave the place clean, go back the next day and find a coin sitting in clear sight, like on a counter or the bathroom sink. When I knew the house was clean the day before. I would look around real well, leave, come back the next day and there would be a coin. Only I had the keys. The last one we received was months after her death when my wife found one in the pew at church, right where my mom would always sit with us. She handed it to me and said, “Here, your mom wants you to have this.” We both got chills. I carry a silver dollar we found with me every day. Sorry Sherry, once I start talking about these things, I can’t stop. But I have one more I’d like to tell you about.  

The night my mom passed. We got the phone call in the wee hours of the morning when the house was pitch black. Our canary started singing at the top of his little lungs. He never ever sang at night. He sang for her.

 Wow! Those are really amazing things! I have to believe that loved ones can communicate with us even after they've died. I've had a few interesting experiences myself.

What did you enjoy most about writing this book? 

I have to modestly say, I like all my books, but as I was writing this one, I knew it was special. I could feel it, like I was being guided. I was also free to write it in a more adult way than my NA series Time Pilgrims. It reminded me more of my first book, Parallel Roads (Lost on Route 66) in that sense.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated? 

I always did well in school with writing assignments, however, my grammar and spelling wasn’t good at all. I had to learn that over the years. I had a big imagination and would fantasize about being in another time, perhaps falling in love with a woman from the past. One fantasy that nagged away at me was time traveling to the great Chicago Fire. I talked to a man whose grandparents watched the glow of the fire from their back porch. I would always think, I should write a book about that one day. It eventually became Katya and Cyrus Time Pilgrims. But first I wrote about seeing Route 66 in two different timelines. I have always loved things or events that no longer exist or have changed so much you don’t recognize them. I would love to go back and see these things as they once were. That is why I mostly write time travel stories, except for Pennies of course. But as you said, even that transcends time. 

What do you like to do when you're not writing?

There’s life beyond writing? Well, I like to take photographs, watch movies, spend time with my wife, travel. In fact, we would like to visit my self-adopted sister, Author Virginia Wright in Maine one day. Maybe this summer. Both Virginia and I lost sisters, so we adopted each other as siblings.

 Virginia is a wonderful lady and friend! I hope you do get to visit her this year.

If you could sit down and talk to one person who has already passed from this life, who would it be? 

That’s a tough question and it changes over time. Before, I might have said, Author Jack Finney who is the daddy of time travel authors, or Jesus, or Elvis, lol. Now I guess it would be my mom. It’s not like I was a mamma’s boy, I wasn’t. But she lived close by and we were together every Sunday morning for church and breakfast. She was there at every birthday I ever had, including the very first one. She was there for all my Christmases, Easters and Thanksgivings. I never knew I could miss someone this much.
It sounds like you had a great relationship with your mom!

Are you working on any other projects?

Yes, in fact this goes along with the last question. When my mom passed away, I found an intriguing 1940s, World War II scrapbook in her possessions. I didn’t know the people in the scrapbook but then realized it was made by a women who was engaged to my mom’s uncle. The only thing I knew about him was that he died in the war. But I had to find out who the woman was, who put this book together and suffered such a loss. I so wished I could have sat down with mom to talk to her about this. However, months of research finally paid off when I was able to find the woman’s children through one little hint in the scrapbook itself. Talk about guiding my hand, now I had my mom and the woman from the scrapbook. The novella will be out soon, in the early part of 2016. I call it simply, The Old Scrapbook.

Sherry, how would you like an exclusive early cover reveal? It will be seen here and only here for your readers.

Thanks, Dennis! What an extra special treat! This sounds like it will be a great book!
Where can we buy your books?

Pretty much everywhere, especially Pennies From Across the Veil. It’s easier to go to my website, where I have all the button links to the sales portals.

Where can readers connect with you?

Thank you so much for being a guest on my blog!

Sherry, Thank you for having me and writing a wonderful review on Amazon for my book.
Award winning author, Dennis Higgins is a distant relative of Davy Crockett, King of the wild frontier. He has travelled the world over, collecting story ideas. As a native of Chicago, Illinois, Dennis Higgins has a passion for things that are gone but not forgotten, a romance with the past. For him, time travel is the answer. If not for real, then in the pages of his books.
Quote: “I once had a passionate affair with an Irish lass back in 1871 Chicago. I broke her heart. It just wasn't our time.” 
He now lived in the Chicago suburbs with his lovely wife, a dog and a couple of birds.
The winner of Dennis' book will be announced on January 6th.
I have to do one more thing before I go. It's time for the question of the month, hosted by Michael D'Agostino.
 The question is, "What is your New Year's Resolution?"
Uh, I don't do those things.
So the next question is, "Why not?"
Mostly because I don't want to get depressed if I don't keep them. So I set goals instead. My goals are usually writing-related. For the next year, I want to revise five manuscripts and begin work on a novel.
Questions for you:  Have you ever experienced unusual occurrences after someone you know has died? Do you think those who have died can communicate with the living? What are your resolutions or goals?
I wish you all a happy, healthy, and productive 2016! Happy New Year! 


  1. I agree with Mr.Higgins, that a lot of us find some way of connecting with the loved ones we have lost. I always had a dream with my cousin in it. That cousin had died in a horrible car accident. It seemed like I was actually having meaning full conversations with her. Also when I was getting nervous on the day of my son's wedding, it seemed like I had a visit from my late mom. To this day I cannot call her my late mom.
    Some one I knew at another job, said that she found money in her mom's room as well, when they went to clean it up after she died, and then they found a US Savings bond folded up inside a book as well. She said that it seemed like she was giving hints to find money to help them with her final services.

    Best wishes to Mr.Higgins for his new book.

    My goal is to live a clean, and small life. I want to give away a lot of things, a lot of clothes and not buy too much so it is easy to move and or travel if I have to.

    1. Thanks for sharing your stories. It certainly seems like what you've shared are signs from deceased people.

      Good luck achieving simplicity!

  2. Yeah, no stupid new years resolutions for me ever. The cat already went on about that lol and will again. A book that makes you think is always good. Depends on the connection, the deeper the more meaning we can find when they die, or the more we look, thus finding some meaning.

    1. You bring up a good point. Are these things really loved ones communicating with us, or our minds trying to make order of things?

      Can't wait to see what cat says about New Years resolutions.

  3. What a wonderful gift, to be in touch with those who have passed on.

    1. I think it can be comforting to those left behind.

  4. No resolutions for me either - just goals!

  5. Wonderful to hear from Dennis. His book does sound intriguing. The interview was interesting. I also like to take photographs. :)

  6. I won't be ,aking resolutions, but I have aims I wish to achieve. Great post Sherry.

    1. A lot of people seem to opt for goals rather than resolutions.

  7. Looks like a great book.
    Resolutions have become out of fashion nowadays.
    Good post, Sherry.

    1. It seems to be a tradition. Most people aren't too successful in keeping their resolutions. That's why I think setting goals is better. It's measurable.

  8. Sherry, it was great being on your blog. You have wonderful commentators. Great folks. Thank you again.

    I was able to keep my New Years resolution last year and lost 30 lbs. Maybe i can keep that up and lose 20 more. I also have another book idea brewing.

    1. I'm so happy to have you as a guest! Yes, my blogger buddies are terrific. The best!

      Good luck with your weight loss, and also writing.

  9. Great interview Sherry, with Dennis. I read his book Pennies...oh, my gosh I could not put his book down. I am hoping to see this story on the big screen one day! The Old Scrapbook sounds like an intriguing the cover!

    1. I finished his book quickly, because it was impossible to put down. I think it would be great if it was adapted for big screen. I agree. The Old Scrapbook does sound like it will be an excellent read.

  10. Great interview Sherry, with Dennis. I read his book Pennies...oh, my gosh I could not put his book down. I am hoping to see this story on the big screen one day! The Old Scrapbook sounds like an intriguing the cover!

  11. Great review and post, Sherry.

    Wishing you a Happy New Year!

  12. I like the mix of the statue with the people on the first cover. Etherial quality. I see I'm not the only who notices it, I see!

    1. It is certainly a nice cover! The story is just as good!

  13. All my resolutions are a form of "ah, come can do better." They're just worded differently.

    Happy New Year, Sherry!

  14. I set goals rather than make resolutions. I think it's both eerie and beautiful that the dead would leave signs like that.

    1. You are definitely a great goal-setter!

      Unexplainable things like that certainly make you wonder if the dead can communicate with us. I guess one day we'll all find out.

  15. Awesome guest post & giveaway! Happy 2016, to all! xoxo

  16. Interesting book and interview. I have often dreamed about those who have died and in some cases, when I wasn't able to be there, it was sheer grace to be able to talk to them in my dream (and knowing it would be the final time).

    1. My dad has had experiences like that. I wonder if loved ones really can communicate with us in dreams.

  17. I enjoyed learning more about Dennis and his writing. The cover for the Scrapbook is excellent too. Great interview, Sherry and Dennis. :-)

  18. Replies
    1. Happy New Year to you, too! I wish you all the best in 2016!

  19. Congratulations to Dennis. I enjoyed reading all about his processes.

    Hope you had great holidays! Happy New Year!

    1. I had a nice New Year and Christmas, thank you! I wish you all the best in 2016!

  20. I hope Dennis has tons of success in 2016! Love the interview and the books sounds so interesting.

    Happy New Year to you both.

  21. I've never experienced anything unusual when someone died, though once I thought I did. Many years ago when we lived in Indiana, three members of a family were murdered: the father, the mother, and the son. I guess I should say four because their dog was killed, too. They had a little girl who was a toddler in her crib. The killer hit her over the head with a flashlight, but otherwise, she was not hurt. In fact, she could use simple words to describe the killer--information that wasn't released to the public. Soon after I heard about the murders, I had a vivid dream in which I saw the killing, and the killer. I kept watching the news for information. Soon, a young man was arrested. He committed suicide in jail. His father said he was mentally ill, and he wasn't surprised his son had committed such a terrible crime. I was relieved to learn that the killer looked nothing like the man in my dream. I would not want to have some sort of psychic power. I think it would be a burden, as are new year's resolutions.


    1. That would have been completely freaky if the killer in your dream had matched the real killer! I shudder just thinking about it!

  22. Wishing Dennis well with his book. And wishing all of us well in 2016!

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

  23. Wow, Pennies from Across the Veil sounds amazing! I think it's really cool how the signs and such featured in the book were inspired by actual occurrences. I haven't experienced many myself, but when someone dies, even a pet, framed pictures of them tend to fall over for me to find, without anyone else's photos being disturbed.

    And I feel the same way about resolutions as you, Sherry. I stopped making those years ago, since they always made me feel like a failure! Concentrating on daily and weekly goals has been much more manageable...

    1. Pennies from Across the Veil is amazing. It really held my attention!

      Goals are definitely much better than resolutions!

  24. We got to the Question in the end ;) A lot of people have talked about goals rather than resolutions, and I must admit that sounds a lot less abstract.

    Interesting story - When I was 11, my family and I were all set to travel to Disneyland for the second time. Then my grandma got sick and we had to postpone the trip. The very first day we would have been there, the Big Thunder Railroad ride crashed, killing one person and injuring 20 others. I took that as some sort of divine intervention.