Release Date for “An Interstate Ghost Story: The Girl on the Highway”?

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When will An Interstate Ghost Story:  The Girl on the Highway hit the shelves?  This is a very good question and not one that can be answered with any well-deserved specificity at this time.

I learned from my very first novel not to announce deadlines before their time.  Doing so puts unnecessary pressure on me as a writer.  Because in the event that I do not finish the novel by the specified time, then I will be faced with one of two very difficult decisions, neither very profitable.

First, I could go ahead and meet the deadline and release an unready product to the market; or I could take the risk of announcing that the book’s release has been moved back…maybe the readers who were initially excited for it will be forgiving; maybe not.  But the latter category of readers is what worries me the most.

I can say this about my upcoming horror thriller:  It is almost halfway finished.  All I have from my second edit is just one of three parts left to polish.  And then I have only two full edits left.  I would like to say that I could finish in time for publication to e-book by Halloween of next year (I’ve always wanted to release a horror novel on Halloween!).

But realistically, life happens.  Unfortunately, I am unable to sustain me and my family off the profits earned from my writing.  I am currently attempting to diversify this income by opening new channels such as creating audio-books from my current print and digital ones and by bringing these digital ones to new stores in the book sales market.  All of this while working a full-time job that I may not be able to maintain much longer due to spinal injuries suffered while in the Marine Corps.  So how can I effectively predict a date.

The last thing I want to do is look like Nostradumbass before the entire world’s blogosphere!  But suffice it to say:  No one more than me wishes to release this novel as soon as possible.  Because my family and I certainly need the income!  However, I owe it to readers everywhere to release a fictional work that will exemplify the best writing I have ever accomplished.  I’ve said in previous articles that this book will be a defining one for me, and I meant it.  So I absolutely refuse to rush it.

In the meantime, I can continue to share news and occasional snippets with you here and elsewhere on the world-wide web.  One thing that can help me too is feedback from each of you.  Lately I do not get very much of that.  However, large numbers of people are visiting my articles here according to WordPress statistics.  If I am doing something right, please let me know what it is…and it is especially important to do the same if I am — on the other hand — doing something wrong.

In summary:  I look forward to unveiling a full look at the Girl on the Highway as soon as I hit the “publish” button sometime within the next two years.  Oh yes!  It should definitely be published by 2018, which is of course a very special year for me due to my previous novel!  And once I hit that “publish” button, you will be the first to know as long as you keep your fingers on my pulse here.

Thank you all for your continued interest in this most-humbled writer and the work known as An Interstate Ghost Story: The Girl on the Highway.

Note:  We will conclude the 4Ws of Excitement articles next Saturday with the final one:  Where in the Real World Does this Haunt Occur?  In this blog post, we will look at the real-life setting where the story occurs and will also include a picture or two.  So please do not miss out!  If you haven’t done so already, you are welcome to check out the first three chapters here on Raw, Raving Rants from a Struggling Writer.  Here is the link:



What Expectations Exist from the Story of “The Girl on the Highway”?


An Interstate Ghost Story: The Girl on the Highway has been in production for about two years already and probably has a couple more years to go before finally seeing the light of release.  So needless to say, there are some expectations floating around, not only by myself, but also by others.  Some have been teased by the video I have featured on the home page of my official website, others who have followed me since reading my first novel, and finally others who simply follow me on social media.  There are many people interested in this bold tale I have written.

Bearing this in mind, I will do my best to examine every possibility of expectation and address each.  If for any reason I miss one, WordPress fortunately has a very effective “comment” feature we can use to fill in any possible holes I may have left in this article.

However, the first place to begin is to describe the story synopsis:  When numerous people begin dying on Interstate 65, the troop commander in jurisdiction must determine and resolve the source of the accidents.  When he exhausts all conventional means of investigation, he turns to a disgraced paranormal investigator in a last ditch effort to uncover any possible supernatural angles.

  • Reader Expectations:  On the cover, I boast the subtitle:  “A Southern Horror Tale by Phil Sanderson“.  Thus, readers probably expect a story that will “ring true” like many of the existing ghost stories in Alabama such as those featured in books by local writing legends like Kathryn Tucker Windham.  With such in mind, I have done my absolute best to feature characters to whom the reader can relate.  By the end of the novel, I want the reader to be definite best friends with each character.  I also have done my best to make each ghostly encounter as realistic as possible.  I’ve never experienced ghostly phenomena myself, but have talked to many people who have.  And I’ve also read about such encounters and the physical conditions surrounding them.  All this has been included in my story.
  • Highway Patrol Expectations:  Two of the characters in my story story are indeed Alabama state troopers.  And my story is dedicated to state troopers all over the United States.  Therefore, they are expecting me to weave a tale in which they can be proud and appropriately honored.  I have attempted to do this by exploring the risks involved in the lives of Capt. Stan Winston and Lt. Amanda Heath.  Both have occupational and / or personal stakes in every endeavor they partake throughout the story.
  • Author Expectations:  I learned some valuable lessons from mistakes made marketing my first novel, 2018: An Uncivil War.  And I will definitely not repeat those same mistakes.  I also did not learn about character viewpoint until after I had released that first story.  So all of the pieces are in place for me to deliver as perfect a story as I know how.  Also, what Beethoven did with counterpoint in musical composition, I have done with story plotting.  There are several intricate plots weaved into The Girl on the Highway; and they all work together to form an extremely exciting and satisfying story conclusion.  So I expect this story to open doors for me that have remained shut long enough.
  • Agent Expectations:  Agents look for horror stories that are well-written, fast-paced, and have enough of a draw to put vast amounts of money in the coffers of the publishers with whom they work.  This novel, when I am complete, will achieve all of this.

As you can see, there are quite a few big expectations from my upcoming horror novel.  I did not even list the expectations of my family which have not changed since the writing of my first novel.  Many people wonder why my story has not yet been released.  Hopefully, after reading this article, they will better understand why.  An Interstate Ghost Story: The Girl on the Highway is not the type of  southern horror tale that one rushes to the market.  It is more like a special saddle that has been crafted for a special horse rider.  One whom wants to ride off into the sunset and live happily ever after.


Who is the Ghost? And Who Seeks Her?

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An Interstate Ghost Story: The Girl on the Highway is more than just a fictional Southern folktale.  It is a story of redemption, love, and — most importantly — justice.  The central thread holding it all together is the inclusion of solid and easily-identifiable characters.  This article will give you the perfect introduction to some of these major keys of excitement.

  1. Cliff Rodger:  The protagonist is a disgraced paranormal investigator who was busted for using props on his reality ghost investigation series on the Discovery Channel.  Executives immediately fired him, cancelling his series before the ink was dry on the termination of his contract.  Now, the failed investigator struggles to reclaim his credibility by taking any contracts he can find.  Cliff hears about a major accident on Interstate 65 and theoretically ties it to the legend of the “Girl on the Highway”.  After finding out that the Alabama Highway Patrol has been tasked to make the highways safer, he contacts Stan Winston, the troop commander in charge.  Surprised and grateful upon receiving the offer, he accepts Stan’s contract to investigate I-65 for any possible paranormal phenomenon.
  2. Amanda Heath:  Lt. Amanda Heath is the assistant troop commander to whom Stan has delegated the task of determining why so many more accidents have been occurring within their jurisdiction along I-65.  She succeeded in making a name for herself despite the sexual derision of many of her male peers.  After Cliff is hired to investigate, she is assigned to be his host in Montgomery, giving him anything he needs for his effective and efficient investigation and opening any doors to him that may prove necessary for successful completion of his duties.  However, she also happens to be a former fan of his cancelled show.  She and Stan both watched Ghost Stalkers together during their lunch breaks.  She had been enthralled during the televised investigations and even found herself physically attracted to Cliff.  Stan never believed any of the science, but enjoyed the show’s captivating premise and also found Cliff to be very intellectual and charismatic.  However, he always teased Amanda for believing in ghosts at all.  Amanda was one of many who took it hard when news abounded of Cliff’s fraudulent conduct.  She has lost every ounce of respect for him and despises the thought of working with him.  And she has no problem letting him know during their very first meeting.  Alas, she also no longer believes in ghosts.
  3. Stan Winston:  Capt. Stan Winston is a former Marine who eventually became a state trooper and quickly climbed the leadership ladder, obtaining authority as the troop commander in charge of Troop G in Montgomery, Alabama.  As mentioned above, he has been tasked to make the highways safe.  The areas of responsibility of all other troops consistently see far less accident occurrences, drawing major concern towards Stan’s troop.  Having implemented his own personal investigations into physical potential causes of accidents and reporting the results to his own superiors, he feels at a complete loss as to how this excessive number of mishaps continue to occur year after year.  Thus, he has decided to finally think outside the box, and hire Cliff Rodger to investigate the notorious legend of the “Girl on the Highway” in hopes that doing so will maybe give him some answers along with Cliff’s possible solutions.
  4. The Highwayman:  This notorious serial killer who has yet to be captured occasionally positions corpses on the highway causing his own detestable brand of peril.  His methods do not cause but a small fraction of the mayhem that Capt. Winston is investigating.  But it is not certain whether or not he has any connection to the ghost girl haunting I-65.
  5. The Ghost Girl:  Not much is known about the “Girl on the Highway”.  Witnesses give two vastly contradictory descriptions of her.  The first description is of a pretty, blonde-haired girl who wears a winter overcoat.  The second is a horrific entity that looks more like a zombie.

As you can see, two of the story’s main characters are state troopers.  An Interstate Ghost Story:  The Girl on the Highway is being written in dedication to these brave highway warriors all over the United States.  Of course we never like seeing flashing blue lights in our rear-view mirrors; but their unarguable contribution to highway safety far outweighs our inconvenience of getting well-deserved tickets for speeding in far excess of posted speed limits.  All attempts have been made to portray state troopers as heroically as possible in this body of work while telling an intriguing story that I’m confident will keep you turning the pages to the very end.

Note:  I wish to thank my daughter, Isabella, for proofreading this article and sharing her thoughts to make it better.  Also, you are happily invited to read the first three chapters of this story here:







An Interstate Ghost Story: The 4 W’s of Excitement and Intrigue!

Girl on the Highway Cover

Thousands of people eagerly await the release of An Interstate Ghost Story:  The Girl on the Highway, my horror novel that has been a long time in the coming and is now only perhaps halfway through the development process.  But I simply cannot rush this one out before it is ready for ULTIMATE SUCCESS!  I’ve done it once before and was entirely unsatisfied with the result.

But what I can do is give you bits and pieces of valuable information that will surely whet your appetite as the impending day creeps forward!  In doing so, I submit to you the most revealing look at The Girl on the Highway yet:  The 5 W’s of Excitement and Intrigue!

I will blog five articles, each written on a weekly basis through the month of April.  They will be titled as follows:

  1. April 9:  Who is the Ghost, and Who Seeks Her?
  2. April 16:  What Expectations Exist from the Story of “The Girl on the Highway”?
  3. April 23:  Approximately When Will the Book Hit the Shelves?
  4. April 30:  Where in the Real World Does this Haunt Occur?

I have but three (huge, to me; small, for you) favors to ask in all of this.  Please help this most humble writer in getting the word out and creating even more excitement than I could ever hope to do on my own.  My family and I are coming to depend upon my writing more and more as my disability (degenerative disc disease in my neck) worsens, continuing to threaten my ability to work in physically-demanding environments.  There simply are not enough well-paying administrative positions available here in Alabama.  Thus, I simply ask:

  1. Please engage with your fellow friends and followers on Social Media.  If you are reading this on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest, please hit the back button and send this link to your Wall, Retweet it, or Share it in whatever most creative way possible to everyone you know.  And please help me sell this novel!  Put your own spin on the excitement.  If you can do this, my family and I will be most grateful to you and very happy to see that there are still good people in the world who reach out to help others.  I also wish to thank my wife, brother, and sister for being my most engaging followers to date!
  2. Please engage with me on my own social media.  I am on Facebook: ;  I am on  Google+: ;  I am on Twitter: ;   I am on Instagram: ;  And finally, I am on Pinterest: .   Please comment too!  I am thankful for all the “Likes” and “Thumbs-Ups” I have been getting.  But sometimes it is fun to hear comments and answer questions as well.  Note:  Because WordPress obviously runs on a sub-standard engine, some of the links are not clickable above.  But feel free to right-click on them for a clickable link.
  3. Finally, please support me by buying my books, right now on Amazon and Barnes & Noble and about to be released on Smashwords, Kobo, and various others.  I also occasionally mark down my work to create more of a Win-Win environment for all involved.  By keeping up with me on Social Media, you will always be the first to know of these fabulous opportunities.

Please enjoy this journalistic look at what is shaping up to be my most promising and defining literary work to date!  And God bless all of you!