Monday, 9 November 2015

Guest Post! Researching Life After Death -Courtney Houston

An Author's Journey: Researching Life After Death
Guest Post by Courtney Houston, author of Flicker

I don’t do much research in my writing. I even made up a city based on a real city, so I could make things up instead of having to actually find real street names and places. The ideas of what happens after we die was something that I DID actually research. 

In case you didn’t know, there are many theories on what happens when we die. Even outside of religion. Most ideas, have at least one thing in common: you go somewhere. Death terrifies me. I’m not sure if it’s the actual act of dying or the idea of no longer being here. Whatever the reason, I wanted to know more. 

There are two things that I have always believed in: Life after death and ghost. For the purposes of my series, the ideas of Heaven and Hell weren’t something that would work (we’ll go back to this later). So I took my research further to the beliefs of other cultures. The one that I found the most intriguing was The Summerland. 

The Summerland is mostly a pagan belief that when you die, your soul goes on to live in a land of eternal Summer. In some subsets of paganism they believe that you are reincarnated to live again and again until you live a life that is perfect enough for you to stay in the Summerland forever. 

This information set my mind off into a ton of ‘What Ifs’. What do the souls do while there? Is there TV or books in Summerland? Does everyone have their own or does everyone share one? Remember when I said we would go back to the Heaven and Hell thing? Here is it. What if when we die, our souls were sort of like temporary angels? 

That thought right there is where The Other, The Entities and the Souls came from. Even though the Summerland seemed like a great ideal to incorporate, it wasn’t everything that I needed it to be. So I mixed my lore. 

In the Defying Death Series, when you die, your souls is greeted by a Guide and taken to The Other. Once in The Other you are dropped off with the Watchers where you are in ‘review’. You basically watch a movie of your life and see where you went wrong and where you did the right things. If your life has been perfect (or perfect enough) you are allowed to continue on to the Summerland. If it hasn’t been, you are assigned a job while you wait for your reincarnation. 

There are 6 jobs that a soul ca be assigned:

Guides: Works for Death. They carry souls from this world to the afterlife when they die.

Couriers: Works for Life. They carry souls from the afterlife back to this world when it is time to reincarnate. 

Spinners: Works for Life. They determine people’s looks. 

Weavers: Works for Destiny. They determine people’s fates. 

Aligners: Works for Order. Their job is to help keep the balance of good acts vs. bad acts.

Meddlers: Works for Chaos. Their job is to shake things up a little.

After you are assigned a job, you are trained, then set off on your own to carry it out. How long you stay in The Other is completely dependent on 1) how long you were alive in your previous life 2) how good/bad you were in your previous life 3) how many times you have been reincarnated before.  

Example: If this is your 15th life, you were a mean person that kicked puppies and yelled at the wait staff, and you lived to be 105… you’re gonna do sometime in The Other. On the opposite side of that, if this is your first life, you told some white lies, cheated on a chemistry test, and lived to be 50… you’re not gonna spend that much time there. The first soul was season and should have known better, the second is new and still learning.

Instead of having an ultimate power, I have the Entities: Life, Death, Destiny, Chaos, and Order. Together, these 5 people control the universe. When Death takes a soul from Life, it has to give about 2.5 souls back. Death weighs a little heavier on the scales than life does. So Death doesn’t take whenever she wants, Destiny determines when and where the souls enter and leave. But wait, then Destiny is basically in charge. Enter Chaos and Order. Destiny can only determine a person’s life so much. You may be destined to be a millionaire, but how you get there is up to you… and those around you. Chaos and Order help determine if a person’s fate leads them to a better or worse version of their life.

So there it is Ladies and Gentleman, my convoluted and overly complicated explanation, research and findings of Life after Death. Thank you so much for stopping by and checking this out, I appreciate all of you!

Courtney lives in Kentucky with her husband (Mr. Houston), her two boys (Emmett and Ellis), her two cats (Polly and Jed) and her 3 chickens. Legal Assistant by day and writer by night, Courtney enjoys pancakes, coffee, wine and the number 26. She's a Leo, at least that's what the tattoo on her back says.


My name is Catalina Franklin. And I should be dead.

When Death called my number, sending one of her Guides to take my soul, she didn't count on one thing. The Guide she sent - He was made for me, and I for him. Pulling me back from the arms of Death, Telor changed my fate - and his. Now we're left with the question of not only how he's still here, but why. Will we get the answers we need? Or will Death find us first? Only time will tell...but ours is quickly running out.


Telor surveyed my room with a sad resigned smile, stopping to look at my pictures, running his hand over one of the many porcelain dolls on a shelf next to my dresser. I wondered what he was thinking, or if he would tell me the truth if I asked. The urge to comfort him was almost unbearable. Walking quietly over to him, I wrapped my arms around his middle and pulled him to me, resting my head on his back.

“What’s the matter?” I asked.

“Nothing,” he answered, though his voice was far away. He might have heard the question, but he wasn’t listening.

“Liar,” I whispered. “Tell me.”

“Are you and your brother close?” he asked.

“We were. He’s dead,” I answered. I haven’t actually said that out loud for a long time. People were liars—it didn’t get easier. As much as it hurt to talk about Ollie, it hurt to watch Telor yearn for his lost ones more.  Ones he never really got to mourn. “He and my dad died in a car accident when I was eight. Oliver was only seventeen; he was nine years older than me.”

“Your mum?” he asked, his voice had gotten thicker. “She’s still around?”

I let out a short bark of humorless laughter. “She’s still alive. But my mother has been gone for a long time. When they died, she drowned her sorrow at the bottom of any bottle she could find. I remind her of the family she lost, so she can barely stand to look at me.”

Courtney will be awarding $15 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour! Enter Here: Rafflecopter giveaway