Weathering Old Souls is a co-written book that James J. Cudney and I wrote in 2020. It’s a multi-genre tale featuring metaphysical, historical fiction, past-life regression and more. For the last few months, we’ve been releasing character introductions, and this month, we have some exciting news to share as well as an intriguing woman to introduce to you!!
Today is February 11th and we chose this day for a publication update and character intro because the number 211 is an extremely important detail in the book. It’s fitting that we share key details on that date! You see, each past life of our main character Abigail is tied into this number in one way or another, as is her own. From the past character introductions, you can meet:
- Abigail: Main Character
- The Fashionista: Serial Killer
- Sarah Brown: Elderly woman who provides clues from the past
- Nadia: Abigail’s Mother
- Penelope: The wife of a past life being
AND NOW FOR A PUBLICATION UPDATE:
James and I are so very excited to announce that we have weighed our options and made a decision on our publication! We have officially signed a contract with Next Chapter Publication, the same company that has published each of our previous works. We’ve been very pleased with their services and are thrilled to stay with them in our journey as co-authors as well! The manuscript is in their hands as well as projected dates for publication. As of now, we’re waiting for cover art, ARC copies (so keep your eyes out reviewers!!) and an official pre-release date/purchase links!
New Character Intro: Naniwa
As Abigail dives into the pastimes of her spirit, and as the lives she’s previously lived reveal themselves to be factual people in history, Naniwa’s existence proves to have quite the tale to tell! She was a Japanese American seamstress with great talent and a promising future ahead. That is until the bombing of Pearl Harbor changed the dynamics in the United States for Japanese Americans. Abigail struggles to find many details of what became of Naniwa, and what she digs up is not only heart wrenching, but also holds a shocking impact on her current life’s reality.
There are plenty of high-end dress shops to choose from, but Abigail struggles to find the perfect one. The third outlet they stop at seems promising. Although Abigail has had a skirt and blouse in mind, there’s a dress hanging from the mannequin in the window that she can’t seem to peel her eyes from. “Naniwa,” she whispers during a shallow breath, unsure why or what language she’s speaking.
The dress is beautiful, a fading teal color with the top darker than the bottom. It has a princess-cut neckline with a flowing silk train in the rear. Abigail circles the mannequin twice and admires the detail of the lacing and intricately placed beading up the back.
“Wow!” Margaret exclaims. “You should really try this on. I mean, it shouts ‘a millionaire’s prom night’ rather than ‘a successful businesswoman attire’, but why the hell not, right?!”
Abigail agrees with a mere nod and carefully pulls the tag out from inside the armpit partition of the dress. It reads: ‘Vintage Mitsuo.’ Abigail coughs at the price but takes a second look at the label. “Naniwa,” she announces again, with a strange feeling of familiarity in her gut.
“What?” Margaret asks, a crooked and arched eyebrow rising higher. “Nina-what?”
“Oh…” Abigail hesitates, her own brows knitted to the center in confusion. “I’m not really sure. I just… I feel like I know this dress. This name, Mitsuo. I don’t know why, but it makes me think of the name Naniwa.”
“Humph.” Margaret shrugs, her facial expression matching Abigail’s. She’s curious about Abigail’s interest in the dress but doesn’t express it aloud. Abigail wears such plain clothing and has never even attended a school dance. Why she would be so captivated by such a dress doesn’t make much sense to Margaret.
For Abigail, once she senses that familiar feeling, or recalls something that she’s never actually experienced, it usually frustrates her. In this case, she feels calm, but the smooth, relaxed expression on her face sets Margaret on edge. She never can tell whether it’ll pass quickly or escalate into something physically painful for Abigail. She inhales, and against better judgement, encourages Abigail again to try it on.
While in the dressing room, Abigail hangs the dress carefully on a brass hook. She runs her hands softly down the front of it, caressing its fabric between her fingertips. Instinctively, she reaches up and thumbs the quartz stone hanging from her necklace, and again she whispers the name, “Naniwa.”
Being enclosed in such a compact space with the dainty and elegant dress causes a feeling of comfort to rise in Abigail’s belly, but as she reaches up to take off its hanger, she waffles. As much as it frightens her, she’s afraid the clasp on her necklace might get caught while she’s trying on the dress. She decides to temporarily take it off, then put it back on as soon as the dress is over her neck and on her shoulders.
As the clip flicks open in her fingertips, Abigail’s head lolls backward and the conscious control of her own body dissipates, causing her arms to flop to her sides. The necklace crashes to the carpet. An invisible wind rushes downward from above her, and to Abigail it’s as if a white light with a tint of lilac flows through her in one swift, fluid motion. Entering from the crown of her head, it exits into the floor from the base of her feet. Her lungs fill themselves so full of air that her chest pulls and lifts upward. The powerful thunder from outside booms, causing the windowpanes in the store to rumble. Within seconds of pulling the quartz necklace off her neck, Abigail’s hands shake furiously, and she slowly regains control of her own movement. The light above flickers and she coughs to clear the dryness from her throat. The earthy taste of dirt rolls around on the back of her tongue, and her wrists and ankles begin to throb.
Abigail looks to her right at the slimming mirror that covers one whole side of the dressing room, and her mouth nearly hits the floor. She doesn’t reach for her necklace or make any attempt to put it back on because the image staring back stuns her core. It isn’t her own reflection at all, and the dressing room staring back at her is huge. She’s surrounded by rows of clothing hung on freestanding bars at each side of her, and her face is that of a young Japanese woman. Abigail gasps for air as she notices the sewing table to her side contains the very dress that she just asked a clerk to remove from the mannequin in the window. Its teal lace drapes from the shiny wooden surface to the tiled floor.
Abigail reaches her shaking fingers forward and strokes her altered reflection in the mirror. In all the dreams and memories that she’s had before, there has never been one so calm, so pure. Peace like nothing she’s experienced surrounds her in a bubble until a bang bang bang bang sound intrudes on the silence in her warehouse of clothing. A soldier bursts through the door with an M1 Garand rifle in hand, and the Japanese woman that is her reflection screams, “No! Please, don’t take us! We’ve done nothing! Please!”
Abigail gasps, sinks to a fetal position on the floor, and…