Monday, October 31, 2016

The Latest in Southern Gothics

. . . Why do ancient spirits hover at the crossroads between two worlds: the living and the dead? 
. . . With a successful writing career and blissful marriage, Ashby Overton is fulfilled and content at historic Overhome Estate in Southern Virginia until a stranger walks into her life. The arrival of Professor Ellis O. Grady coincides with a violent and bizarre turbulence emanating from the dark world of Overhome's ancient spirits.
. . . As paranormal events build into chaos, Ashby must use her sixth sense to sort out the real from the imagined in both the visible and the invisible worlds as, stirred into fury, the souls of Civil War slaves engage in a dangerous battle destined to reveal long-held secrets of the past.
. . . What is the connection between the enigmatic professor, a slave-built chapel and a restored overseer's cottage on Overhome Estate? Ashby struggles to find the answers before the spirits destroy her family's heritage, and the lives of those she loves.

Wild Women Authors is delighted to welcome a frequent visitor to our blog, fellow TWRP author, and friend Susan Coryell. She'll be with us all week, celebrating the recent release of Nobody Knows, a modern southern gothic, published by The Wild Rose Press. She's brought one of her favorite characters: Ashby Overton. As is our custom, we'll begin with Ashby.
Tell us a bit about Nobody Knows. Well, I am thirty years old in Nobody Knows. I began as a na├»ve twenty-something in A Red, Red Rose which deals with my summer visit to Overhome, my family’s historic estate in Southern Virginia. I was greeted my first night in the old mansion by Rosabelle, who turned out to be one unpredictable family spirit. Then, five years later, Beneath The Stones chronicles my chaotic experiences as owner of the Overhome Estate. I battled a Civil War spirit determined to keep me from selling off a parcel of land to save us from financial ruin. Whew! That was one mean and hateful ghost, let me tell you! But my life is anything but settled in Nobody Knows. A tall, dark stranger arrives at Overhome claiming to be a relative and he sets off every alarm bell buried deep in the spirit world of our hateful heritage of slavery.
What made you choose writing for your profession? Oh, like most writers, I have always known my muse would never let me rest until I turned my creative vision into books. There’s so much to write about here in the South—so much conflict based on the history and culture and such a rich legacy of manners and mores to explore. It’s a ripe for a writer’s pickin’ as we say in Virginia.
Knowing what you know now, if you had it to do over again, would you stick with being a writer or do something different? We writers actually have no choice. Blessing or curse—writers have to write. I could no more leave my thoughts unwritten than I could quit breathing. On the other hand, this sixth sense I seem to have developed at Overhome—this ability to hear and understand the spirit world—that’s a burden I could cheerfully abandon. Again, I seem to have no choice in the matter.
What is your biggest fear? My home and family mean everything to me. I care about others, sure. I care about doing the right things for the right reasons and I am a fervent believer that all human kind must be treated equally and fairly. That said, the one big fear would be that I would somehow do something to alienate or harm any member of my family or that I would dishonor my family heritage by allowing my beloved Overhome Estate to suffer any damage. It is that fear that keeps me tuned to my extra-sensory gifts.
Who is your favorite fictional character and why. Oh dear. Never, never ask a writer that; it is simply unanswerable! I love Jane Austen and Shakespeare and Mary Stewart and…..well you see what I mean. My favorite characters are clever, strong women who use their wits and resources to the max while solving problems.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received? I didn’t exactly receive this advice, but I have always thought Shakespeare was speaking to me when he says through a character in Hamlet, “To thine own self be true.”

Thank you, Ashby. After reading Nobody Knows, it's nice to get to know you on another plane. Now it's Susan's turn at bat.
Which writer or character from either books or movies have had a major impact on your writing? I have been an avid reader since elementary school. I read all the books in our little school library and then all of the age-appropriate ones in our little town library. I read every book in the Nancy Drew series, as well as the Bobbsey Twins, Tom Swift and The Hardy Boys by the time I finished fourth grade. By eighth grade I was reading books like Gone With the Wind and Ben Hur (talk about a challenging read!) and I had read Jane Eyre at least five times. So…it’s a bit difficult to pinpoint one writer or character. I love Jane Austen’s strong female characters and feel Charlotte Bronte may have created the first feminist protagonist in Jane Eyre. I could go on about this at length and so will regretfully stop here!
With regard to research, where did you start for this novel? Did that lead you down different paths, thereby changing the original concept? With my history backgrounds for the Trilogy, I have to do tons of research, which naturally leads me down paths I never anticipated when I began. For Nobody Knows, a documentary I viewed at a local heritage museum on peonage—the practice of re-enslaving men and women freed by the Emancipation Proclamation—helped me craft a major theme. While writing the second book in the series, Beneath The Stones, I unexpectedly encountered actual Civil War letters written by family members from Confederate battlefronts. I was able to weave many of them into the narrative—a real bonus!
Tell us a bit about your publisher. The Wild Rose Press is a wonderful small publishing company located in New York. A colleague recommended them. I remember submitting a query about A Red, Red Rose (the first book in the Overhome Trilogy). At the end of my letter I commented, “I don’t know if you’ll accept my manuscript for publication, but you have to admit, the title fits your company name to a tee.” Each of the three cozy/Gothics has taken from six to nine months from query to release.
What are you reading right now? I confess to often reading more than one book at a time…one in the car for slow lights or long waiting time at appointments; one in the house and one on the dock of our lake home. Right now I am reading Ian McEwan’s Saturday, The Secret Chord by Geraldine Brooks and Annie Barrow’s The Truth According to Us. Did I mention I am in two book clubs? So many books—so little time!
I am taking a break from my Southern Gothics to write a contemporary mystery set in a large suburban high school. Do you think I will be able to draw on my thirty years’ teaching experience as I write? Ha!
Susan brought along an excerpt from Nobody Knows for us:
     Walking over the weedy ground, I felt the desolate abandonment of those long-dead. A few tilting gravestones, so blurred with time that their epitaphs were illegible, listed toward the ground as if sheltering from a punishing wind. Scattered among the patchwork grasses were small, thin stone markers set in the dirt, little more than raw rocks, though several bore the faint outline of initials which had been chiseled into them so long ago. Ellis and I surveyed the bleak cemetery, each harboring our own thoughts. I don’t know how long we stood there breathing in the silence. Then, I heard the voice.—so clear, so distinct, that I startled and almost fell back.
     Did my companion hear it, too? I darted a look at him. He stood with eyes closed, evidently completely lost in his own reverie. I held my breath and listened with all my senses on alert. The voice wavered this time, as though trailing away, but its repeated message was identical to the one I had first heard at the Overseer’s Cottage when the candlestick went missing. I had thought, then, that I heard “red apple,” which made no sense. Now I understood. 
     “Jared Chapel,” the voice warned. Yes, its tone was severe. Demanding. “Jared Chapel.”
     I touched Ellis’s arm. “It’s here, Ellis. I know it is.” And when he blinked uncomprehendingly, I added, “You wondered if Jared Chapel offers anything in your search for your ancestry. It’s here—there’s something here. I feel it and I...I know it.”
     He blinked several times, a serious expression on his face. “You know because...”
Sometimes the past speaks to me. I can’t explain it, but I have to trust the voice that tells me things.”
     He rubbed his chin. “You know...this is odd. Really odd.”
     I raised my eyebrows in a silent question and he continued. “Because I thought I heard something. I definitely felt...a presence I can’t explain. Someone trying to get my attention. Someone very, very seriously trying to make me understand.” 
     He shook his head. “Understand what? I confess, I’m baffled.”
     “It’s a sign,” I said. “Something I’ve learned over my years at Overhome. We ignore the signs at our own peril.”

To learn more about Susan and the stories she creates, go to:

To find Susan's books, go to:
A RED, RED ROSE: http://a.co/e84vSGO
BENEATH THE STONES: http://a.co/8OekxWy
NOBODY KNOWS: http://a.co/38knOQI


Thursday, October 27, 2016

And The Winner Is . . .

We can never resist the opportunity to show off one of the nicer men in our lives.
And the winner is. . . Keenan Rossi from For Keeps, the story which recently took 5th place in the IDA contest. 
Hi, Keenan. Tell us a bit about For Keeps. It is the story of me and Meghan Muldoon, how we met and how, through events beyond my control, she decided to 'keep me'.
What did you think the first time you saw Meg? It was at the beginning of the monthly Crime Stats meeting, where reps from all local law enforcement agencies meet to discuss crime trends and share information on like crimes. This tall and leggy redhead walked in and my tongue hit the floor—along with every other guy's in the room. Then I dribbled hot coffee down the front of my shirt. Not a pretty picture. 
What was your second thought? Once I peeled my eyes off her legs, I recognized she was the woman my mother always warned me about. The problem after that was convincing Meg to accept the facts.
What do you like most about her? She's not intimidated by men who wield their power with a club—or other body parts located below their belt buckles. I don't mean that she's a ball buster, but she knows what she wants, how to get it and isn't afraid to go for it.
Why do you think that is? She spent a lot of time with the US Air Force's Office of Special Investigations. Not an easy road for a woman but she held her own among some pretty nasty situations.
How would you describe her? Smart, savvy and compassionate with legs that go clear to her ear lobes.
How would Meghan describe you? Career-focused, intense, and if things don't go my way I tend to pout. Truth be told, I haven't pouted in at least five days.
What made you choose law enforcement for a career? Like Meggie, I spent a few years with the military though I was a lowly MP. After I mustered out of the service, police work seemed like the natural course. I've never regretted the choice.
Who is your favorite fictional character and why? My current terrific three are Lucas Davenport and Virgil Flowers, both written by John Sandford, and Mitch Rapp, created by the late Vince Flynn. I like Davenport's humor and wouldn't mind having some of his money [he's the richest cop in Minnesota]. I envy Virgil's easy manner with women. And I like Mitch because he's not afraid to speak his mind to a superior, even if it's the director of the CIA or the President [of the United States]. If I'd mouthed off to a superior like Mitch does on a regular basis, I'd probably have been shot—or sent to the brig for the rest of my life.
Last question, Keenan: when you want to romance Meg, what do you do? That's an easy one: I turn on “Heavenly”, her favorite Johnny Mathis CD, pour her a big glass of Merlot and drop a couple dozen yellow roses in her lap. Watch out.






Monday, October 24, 2016

For an Intriguing Change of Pace . . .

Four By Moonlight: An anthology of love in the moonlight…in the paranormal universe.
Gypsy Ribbons” – A moonlight ride on the moors and meeting a notorious highwayman will forever change Lady Virginia Darby’s life.
Star Angel” – Lucy was stuck in a rut and in an Idaho potato patch. She’d seen him in the corner of her eye—a fleeting glimpse of beauty—now he stood before her in the flesh.
The Night Before Doomsday” – All his brothers had succumbed to lust, but Azazel resisted temptation until the wrong woman came along.
The Gate Keeper’s Cottage” – Newlywed Meggie Richelieu’s mysterious, phantom lover may be more than anyone, except the plantation housekeeper, suspects.

For the next few days Wild Women Authors is pleased to welcome back author Linda Nightingale who brings with her, Azazel from The Night Before Doomsday. As usual we'll begin with the 'favorite character', Azazel.
Where are you from? I live in Sin City, now, and am fully acclimated to life amongst Man. I have lived many places over the millennia, but my home is Heaven. Though I was banished by my Father, I hold the deeds leading to my expulsion in dispute. I’ll tell you more later. I am young on the outside; old on the inside like my house in Las Vegas is an ultra-modern structure housing various antiquities I’ve collected in my journeys.
Tell us a bit about “The Night Before Doomsday”. The story doesn’t belong to me alone. Nine-tenths of the 200 Grigori descending onto that mountain fell to lust—which I maintain until this day was love. We were sent to Earth post-Eden to teach the Children of Clay (Man) how to thrive in a less hospitable environment. We made the mistake of falling in love with the daughters of Man, and in my case, my pupils, for I taught Woman the arts of beauty: perfume, face paint, rouges and staining of the lips, to be more alluring. Perhaps, it can be argued that since I was a leader of the angels assigned to Earth, I bore more of the blame for our fall.
What did you think the first time you saw Magdalene? She later became my wife, but she was not the most beautiful or cleverest of the women I taught. However, she was the gentle wind that blew me off course in the end. The first time I saw sultry dark-haired Ruth, I was bedazzled but must needs keep my reaction secret from my brothers and my pupils. I did so with the truest of intentions until I discovered that the other angels had already sampled the pleasures to be had in the arms of a woman.
What was your second thought? Magdalene was my first woman. I thought she was exquisite, beyond fault, and sweet. I fell in love with her, but was not, to our detriment, true to her. Yet, at the end of the day, Magdalene, my wife, was also my last woman.
Did you feel it was love at first sight? No. I fell in lust with Ruth at first sight. I fell in love with Magdalene when we fell into a bed of wildflowers, and she introduced me to physical love.
What do you like most about Magdalene? She was kind, patient, loving, and gentle—a good person in any light…and she was tolerant.
How would you describe her? She wasn’t tall, I suppose, but neither were any of the men and women of the time. As a girl, she had waist-length brown hair and captivating eyes. Her figure was trim and small-breasted. She wasn’t a great beauty until you saw her eyes, and they were beyond beautiful.
How would she describe you? Ha! I take it by that you don’t mean “philanderer.” She would say that I am 6’6”, with long hair of the palest blond and astral blue eyes. Magdalene insisted that of all the angels my wings were the grandest and pure alabaster. Not all angels have white wings. Some sport black or falcon wings, even blue and red.
Tell us about the Grigori. The Grigori were chosen as teachers to Mankind. We are also called The Watchers and the Shining Ones.
Azazel, what is your biggest fear? Capture. I live in dread of being found and recaptured, returned to the desert to pass the remainder of time bound hand-and-foot. I still remember the grit of the sand in my nose and mouth. As his punishment, my brother Samyaza, the other leader of the Grigori, was hung upside down in the stars.
How do you relax? I listen to music but dare not close my eyes, or the long ago past will invade my peace.
Who is your favorite fictional character and why? I am fond of the vampire Lestat. He did exactly as he wanted to do and never had to pay the piper.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received? Stay away from Eve. Woman was a novelty to us. Small wonder we were enchanted and fell from Grace. Still, I had no choice but to deal with all the Eves everyday. I was assigned to care for Man’s welfare, to the detriment of mine. Yet, I wouldn’t trade those days before the Flood. Not one of them.
This has been most interesting, Azazel. After four weeks of chatting with ghost hunters it's a nice change of pace to talk with an angel. Now it's time to hear from Linda.
What movies or books have had an impact on your career as a writer? The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde taught me that I preferred handsome, arrogant characters, and I laughed at Sir Henry’s warped wit. For “The Night Before Doomsday,” I read Angels, An Endangered Species by Malcolm Godwin and learned of the Grigori. It’s a fascinating book. I highly recommend it. He said that at times while he was writing the book, he felt “haunted” by other presences.
What event in your private life were you able to bring to this story and how do you
feel it impacted the novel? Actually, nothing, except that I read the Book of Enoch on a plane from Dallas to Houston when everyone else had a John Grisham novel. The angels in Enoch’s book, which is a book in the Apocrypha, but is not part of the modern Bible, inspired me to a fanciful rendition of the Grigori’s tale.
Tell us a bit about your publisher: how did you hear about them and what influenced your decision to submit to them? Class Act Books published Four by Moonlight. A friend and fellow author told me about CAB and urged me to submit. I’ve enjoyed working with CAB. Their contract is straightforward and easy to understand as well as being fair to the author. The editors and publisher are easy to work with.
What project[s] are you working on now? I’m working on a contemporary romance with normal (non-paranormal) characters! (Almost all my heroes are some persuasion of paranormal). The WIP is about a prince and a commoner’s love affair and the far-reaching domino effects of their relationship.
What's up next for you? My WIP, I hope. But I am also in a collection of cowboy stories that should be published before November, working title, Clark’s Folly, the Best Little Town in Texas.
November 11-13, I’m at Readers & ‘ritas in Dallas. The conference caters to readers, this year’s theme being ‘Meet Your Match’, pairing authors and readers of a particular genre. On Saturday, there is a multi-author book signing. Scavenger Hunts, a Masquerade Ball, and a luncheon are also part of the conference package.

Linda brought along an excerpt from The Night Before Doomsday:
Two hundred bene ha Elohim descended on the mountain where the orphans of Eden awaited their heavenly teachers.
The first shock was the cumbersome weight of flesh and bones as I became corporeal. Breath exploded in my lungs. I tested my ability to move the unwieldy mass. A panorama of sensations, sight, sound, fragrance, feeling in the physical sense, overwhelmed me. The rush was heady, powerful…and unsettling. Sunlight shafted the foliage, gleaming on our robes. The outcasts shielded their eyes to gaze at us.
At his creation, Adam was presented to the heavenly Host. The angels bowed to him, but, being too proud, Lucifer refused. Thus began the most powerful angel’s journey to banishment. This time Adam knelt to us.
“Shining Ones, welcome to Kharsag.”
We were the leaders, Samyaza and I. He glanced at me, asking silently if I wanted to greet Adam. Content to drink in the primitive beauty, I shook my head. My brother stepped forward, motioned for Adam to rise, and conversed with him. I smiled, my gaze wandering over the small crowd. None would meet my eyes until her countenance floated like a petal on the sea of rapt faces. Dark eyes captured mine. She ducked her chin, a timid smile parting her beautiful lips, but her gaze darted away. I couldn’t stop staring at her. This graceful creature, clothed in a mane of sleek black hair, festooned with leaves, must be Eve, and she was lovely, all soft curves and chiseled features. Eve was well worth the rib Adam gave to make her.
We’d been told each angel’s duty would be revealed to him. My purpose rang clear. I was to teach the daughters of Eve. Amazarak taught dividing of the roots and sorcery. Armers revealed the solution of sorcery. Barkayal instructed the observers of the stars. I gave my Eves the fabrication of mirrors, the workmanship of bracelets and ornaments, and the beautification of paint. My talent is, and has always been, the art of seduction…
…and I designed weapons for Man. For which sin I was to bear all the blame for our folly.
The Grigori loved mankind enough to reveal the secrets of Heaven. This forbidden act was most likely, as much as falling in love with Woman, the mistake earning us banishment.
~ * ~
At night when the humans slept, the faculty gathered to review our students’ progress.
“Azazel, Teacher of Women, how fare you?” Amazarak elbowed me in the ribs. “Your charges follow you like goslings after the mother goose.”
A ripple of laughter and shamefaced coughs greeted his question. The fire sputtered as the night whispered a chill breath. Annoyed at being called teacher of women, I stared at him until he broke eye contact. Still I said nothing, studying each one. Amarazak’s hair and wings were the color of a flaming sunset. He fairly glowed in the light from the crackling campfire.
“Amarazak, you forget your place.” Barkayal arched a sky blue wing, saluting me. His hair, as pale as mine, curled to his waist. “Azazel is our leader.”
“Sir,” Amarazak held up a hand, but wouldn’t meet my gaze, “I meant no offense. You taught the women to be more beautiful for us.”
“Azazel fares better than we as a teacher.” Samyaza arched a silencing brow at Amarazak. The firelight bronzed his black hair and wings. “His pupils are eager for their lessons while the men grumble and resist.”
Armers leaned against a massive oak, shifting his silver and black wings. “Now that we are making weapons, they are eager.”
“Ah,” Samyaza snapped his fingers. “Azazel, I’d meant to ask you. You've knowledge of metallurgy. Your pupils are doing fine
“Indeed they are.” Armers chuckled.
Barkayal cleared his throat, shook his head, and frowned. Armers studied the darkness beyond the firelight. I shoved an apple branch into the flames, sweetening the smoke.
“Join us in teaching the men.” Samyaza rushed into the tense silence.
My students were lovely as rain-dewed roses, witty and exuberant. When they bowed their heads over their studies, they smiled, consuming each morsel of knowledge as if it were honey cake. Apparently, my brothers had noticed how fair they were. The unspoken hung like smoke in the air.
“What did you mean beautiful for us?” I captured Amarazak’s dark gaze. “My charges are not our province.”
“Merely that you had taught them to be beautiful. We’re not blind, sir.”
I stared at him. “Indeed.”

To purchase this book and others in the series, go to:
Publisher's Website: http://www.classactbooks.com 

To learn more about Linda Nightingale, go to:
Web Site: http://www.lindanightingale.com – Visit and look around. There’s a free continuing vampire story.
Blog: https://lindanightingale.wordpress.com/ - Lots of interesting guests & prizes








Saturday, October 22, 2016

A Bit of Shameless Self Promotion

The other day the official word came down and we're thrilled to share it with you:
     For Keeps, our contribution to the 2016 Candy Hearts series, Vintage Rose line at the Wild Rose Press, took 4th place in the IDA [International Digital Awards] Contest, sponsored by the Oklahoma Romance Writers.  
     This story of my heart features victim advocate Meghan Muldoon and police investigator Keenan Rossi, and is based, in part, on an actual event. 
     All thanks for this honor go to my editor, Nicole D'Arienzo and Kay Frances Mott, critique partner and beta reader extraordinaire. And of course Sgt. Joe Murphy, Rochester Police Department, Ret. 
     You are the best!! 

Veronica Lynch

Thursday, October 20, 2016

A Time Traveling Ghost, who knew?

. . . When Lizzie Adams returns as a ghost to a life she led in the 1800s, she is surprised to find herself on a ranch in Wyoming, but delighted to learn she was married to a handsome and loving man. The reasons for her return become clear when she discovers how she died, yet the unresolved issues surrounding her death leave her unable to either live in the 1800s or return to her present life.
. . . Colby Gates misses the wife he loved, yet a ghost is a poor substitute. Re-married to a woman he doesn’t care for, and with outlaws searching for buried gold on his ranch, the spirit of his wife is a further complication.
. . . But perhaps if the questions surrounding Lizzie’s death can be answered, the two can be together.
. . . For all time.
Wild Women Authors finishes up a glorious run with the fabulous authors and really fun characters from the series, The Good, The Bad and The Ghostly. Our friend, author Andrea Downing, has brought Lizzie Adams, who as you just read, happens to be a ghost, from LONG A GHOST, AND FAR AWAY
First up is Lizzie. First can I say how much I appreciate you having me here today. It’s great to chat! And get a day off work…
We do what we can. Where are you from? St. Louis, Gateway to the West.
Tell us a bit about Long a Ghost, and Far Away. So you see, I live in this life, in 2016, but somehow or other I’ve time travelled back to the 1800s to deal with a very unpleasant situation. Only thing is, turns out I’m a ghost. You can’t believe what it’s like to discover you’re a ghost. Also, to find out what life is like without cell phones! I mean, imagine that!
We tell our grandchildren that all the time. They are not amused. So, tell us what you thought the first time you saw Colby Gates. I thought, wow, that’s some hunk of man. I mean, you gotta see him. And in chaps and a Stetson with the ring of spurs—I dare you not to lose your heart.
A man in tight pants. Works for us, whether it's denim, leather on a cowboy or a MLB power hitter. What was your second thought? Well, I couldn’t believe it when it turned out I’d been married to the guy in my former life. I mean, like, who me?!
Did you feel it was love at first sight? Well, I have no idea when I first saw him. But when I returned to the 1800s it certainly was like—POW! Cupid’s arrow got me right through the heart.
Aw geez. What do you like most about Colby? He’s just really nice. Very kind and considerate. But manly, strong, a do-er. A protector.
You are killing us, Liz. Kill-Ing-Us. How would you describe him? You mean looks? Shaggy brown hair, aquiline nose, lips you love to kiss—or at least I do—pale blue eyes like looking into calm water.
How would Colby describe you? No idea. Oh, wait, yes I do. He called me playful. Is that what you mean? Or do you mean my looks?
What made you choose working in an antique shop for a career? I guess I sort of fell into it. I just always was interested in history and old things. Now I guess I know why.
What is your biggest fear? Not being able to see Colby in my 2016 life.
Hmm. Sticky one for sure. How do you relax? Eating chocolate cake. And having a glass of wine.
Who is your favorite fictional character and why? Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz. She had a harder time than I did at getting home.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received? I don’t take advice; I follow my heart.
If that doesn't prove that our decision to purchase this anthology was spot on, meeting you has done it for us. Thanks so much, Lizzie. This has been great. Now it's Andrea's turn.
What movies or books have had an impact on your career as a writer? All the old westerns that were on TV when I was growing up: Maverick, The High Chaparral, Bonanza, Gunsmoke, certainly The Virginian--you name it, I watched it. They made the West an alternate world to that of NY suburbia. It fascinated me.
What event in your private life were you able to bring to this story and how do you feel it impacted the novel? I visited the town of Buffalo, WY, on a road trip last summer and it seemed like the ideal place to set the story since I so often use Jackson where I have a home. It made a change. The Occidental Hotel in Buffalo has a few ghosts hanging about so it just all came together for me, and the Hole-ion-the-Wall where the outlaws hung out is nearby, so that was an added bonus.
Tell us a bit about your publisher: how did you hear about them and what influenced your decision to submit to them? Our anthology is self-pubbed. I worked on an earlier anthology, Come Love a Cowboy, with Keta Diablo and she asked me to join this one as well. When she told me what she was looking for in the stories, an idea just popped into my head even though I don’t normally write paranormal.
What project[s] are you working on now? My daughter’s wedding! And I’ve started another book.
What's up next for you? I’ve got several ideas floating around but I can only manage one thing at a time. Thanks so much for having Lizzie and me here today. It’s much appreciated.
We loved having you. Good luck with the wedding. Been there, done that, twice. You will get through it. Promise.


Andrea brought along an excerpt for us. We decided to keep the entire thing in because it has such a clever ending hook:


Oh! I do beg your pardon. What year are we pretending this to be now?”
Colby raised a brow in what looked like slight irritation. “It’s 1897.”
Ah! Of course! 1897. That would explain a whole raft of things. No cell phones. In fact, no phones—”
Well, there are phones, but not here.”
I see.” Lizzie shook her head as if she would go along with this whole pretense. “And so I can’t phone a friend to collect me in their car because, of course, there are no cars.”
Well.” Colby hesitated. “I’m afraid I have no idea what a ‘car’ is other than the car of a railroad train but, yes, there aren’t any. Or do you mean automobiles? We have them—”
But not here,” Lizzie finished for him. Unable to help herself, she burst out laughing. Jason had really done a good job, and this Colby fellow was a really good actor. He stayed in his part throughout, gave nothing away. “Okay, listen….” She tried to take in a breath but the corset was really biting into her now. “Is there someplace we can go, is there someplace I can go and get the hell out of this corset or whatever the heck you call it, and then perhaps you can give me a cup of tea or something, and we can sort this out?”
Elizabeth, there is something you should know.” His voice was strained, hesitant.
There’s a lot I should know, Colby Gates, but what specific item have you got in mind?”
I’m married. I re-married.”
Lizzie covered her eyes with her hands and sighed with the weight of the universe on her shoulders. “Okay, listen. Really. I don’t want to intrude on you and your wife, I don’t want to be part of this ridiculous farce any more, and I sure as hell don’t want anything more to do with Jason Beeme. Just let me go home, all right? Let me go home? Please? Pretty please?”
Colby blew out a breath and shook his head. “Elizabeth. Lizzie. I have no idea who Jason Beeme is, and this ‘farce’ as you call it, it puzzles me as well. I don’t know how you are here; I only know what I’ve told you. We were married, happily married—very happily married and then….”
And then? What?”
You…died.”
I died. I’m dead. I see.” Hysteria was now setting in, and Lizzie couldn’t help the small giggle that escaped. “I’m dead, but I’m here, is that it?”
Yes.”
Soooo, like, if I’m dead, but I’m here, I’m a ghost?” This made her laugh out loud.
Colby didn’t answer. It was as if he hadn’t thought that at all, just been confused as much as she by the situation. He seemed to mull this over now.
Am I now a ghost as far as you are concerned?”
His “yes” came out almost as a breath.
Hmm. Well, I’m not a ghost, you’re not a cowboy, and this, for sure, isn’t 1887.”
Ninety-seven,” he corrected her.
She looked him in the eye, nose to nose. “I don’t give a good flying…you-know-what, what year you think it is. I want to go home, and I want to go home now, so just let’s stop playing around with this shit and—”
You never used to use such language.”
Mister! Colby! Please stop! The year is 2016 and I can say whatever the hell I please. Women are liberated. We’re free.”
But…it isn’t lady-like.”
Well, excuse me! ‘Lady-like’! Okay, I’ve had enough now. Take me home, please.” She rubbed her face with exasperation; this whole sham was un-be-lieve-able.
Elizabeth…Lizzie…you are home, you know that. Only now…now—”
You’re married.”
Yes.”
Well, good for you. I’m glad. I hope you’ll both be very happy. So, just take me to my apartment on Washington Avenue in St. Louis.”
I….”
She thought he was gagging as he rubbed his forehead.
Lizzie: you’re in Wyoming. We’re on a ranch near Buffalo, Wyoming. You’re miles from St. Louis.”
Lizzie could feel her eyes grow big; she thought they might pop out of her head. “Wyoming? Boy, Jason really did a job on me. Brother, how long was I out?”
Colby shook his head. “I have no idea what you’re talking about. As I said, I don’t know a Jason, I can only tell you it’s 1897, you’re in Wyoming, you’re my wife—or were my wife—before you…you…died.”
Lizzie felt the breath was being pressed out of her, and if she didn’t get out of this barn, and out of the corset soon, she would, indeed, die for real. “Okay,” she said giving in, “I’m dead. But this corset is killing me, so can we go some place and let me take it off. Maybe your wife could help?”
Sylvia is visiting her aunt over in Kelly. She won’t be back for a few days.”
How convenient!” Ha! One less actor to deal with.
I’ll take you in the house and we can sort things out there.” He offered her his hand, which she took, looking up into his pale eyes, and let him lead her out of the barn into chill air. The sun was laying its colors on the horizon and she figured it must be late afternoon, wherever she was.
So, I’m dead,” she said conversationally.
Well, you were. You seem very much alive at the moment, I have to say, but that’s quite impossible.” He stopped.
Lizzie glanced over at what was no doubt the house, a log structure of good proportion, with a lantern lit and glowing through a window. The last rays of the sun elongated their shadows, and for a moment, she tried to breathe in the cool air deeply.
Impossible,” she whispered. “To be here like this.” She turned to him, the attraction so great suddenly she wished this wasn’t all some huge act laid on to fool her. “So, I’m dead,” she repeated once more.
Yes. I think so.” There was a depth of sadness in his voice she couldn’t fathom.
And how did I die, may I ask?”
Colby Gates stood stock still beside her and let her hand go. He turned to her in the fading light, and Lizzie could see him swallow hard as he removed his Stetson and brushed an invisible speck from its brim before replacing it on his head. Then he looked her in the eye.
I shot you.”

Well, gee. If that one doesn't draw a HAH! reponse, nothing will. Here's where you can go to learn more about Andrea Downing and the stories she creates:
WEBSITE AND BLOG: http://andreadowning.com
Twitter: @andidowning https://twitter.com/AndiDowning


Long a Ghost, and Far Away is part of the The Good, The Bad, and The Ghostly anthology available at https://www.amazon.com/Good-Ghostly-Paranromal-Western-Romance-ebook/dp/B01KKVK9BI/

Monday, October 17, 2016

A Ghost in the Bedroom? Ugh

. . . Life is looking rosy for Abbott Foster when he brings his new bride to his ranch in Arizona. But when he is unable to consummate his marriage due to a malevolent spirit in the bedroom, he is forced to call in Psychic Specters Investigations.
. . .Agent Healy Harrison doesn’t want to accept this case. She has her own demons and likes her quiet life, lived in the anonymity of St. Louis. But Tucson is where she finds herself—with instructions to “Have an adventure! Have a romance!” Things get interesting when she meets handsome Pinkerton detective, Aaron Turrell. Is this the romance she’s meant to have, or when their two cases intersect, will it drive him away?

     For the next few days, Wild Women Authors is pleased to welcome back an old friend: Patti Sherry-Crews. This time she’s part of the creative team responsible for The Good, The Bad and The Ghostly with The Ghost and the Bridegroom and has brought along detective, Healy Harrison. As usual, we'll begin with Healy.
Where are you from? The Show Me State, Missouri, which is ironic because you don’t have to show me anything. I see dead people so you don’t have to convince me ghosts exist.
Tell us a bit about The Ghost and the Bridegroom.  I work for the PSI agency in St. Louis, which handles unwanted paranormal occurrences. Much against my will I’m sent to Tucson, AZ (literally. I’m drugged and kidnapped). The case waiting for me is a rancher who is so haunted in the bedroom, he is unable to consummate his marriage with his new mail-order bride.
What did you think the first time you saw Pinkerton Detective, Aaron Turrell? I thought he was a ghost!
A ghostly detective Hmm. And your second thought? A most attractive man. Sexy you would say.
Okay, now we're in business. Did you feel it was love at first sight? In retrospect, yes. But at the time, I attributed my strange feelings to something else. When I’m in the presence of a ghost my heart hums. Same thing happened with Aaron, only stronger.
Cool. What do you like most about this heart humming man? He’s so manly! And I don’t see dead people when I’m with him.
Which must be a relief at times. How would you describe him? Take charge, brave, a bit rough, and solid--I add the last because he’s not a ghost.
Very nice, but how would Aaron describe you? Exasperating but irresistible.
What made you choose detective work as a career? The career chose me. I’ve always been able to see and talk to ghosts. It was either shut myself away or make my gift work for me.
What is your biggest fear? Going to parties. I’m not comfortable in social situations.
How do you relax? Oh, I never relax! I’m an anxious person. But that was the old me. Aaron has opened up a new life to me and makes me feel grounded. I love riding out into the country and sleeping under the stars--with Aaron, of course. The west is so beautiful. I used to read a lot to escape life. Aaron read a book once. Now we’re too busy living life to read.
Who is your favorite fictional character and why? Nancy Drew. I understand the challenges a young lady detective faces.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received? Go have an adventure. Go have a romance!” That was on the note left for me when the drugs wore off.
This has been great fun, Healy, thanks for coming. Now it's Patti's turn.
What movies or books have had an impact on your career as a writer? Too many books to name. But since he came up in conversation lately, I’m going with Ray Bradbury. He was an early hook in my life as an avid reader. I remember feeling like I was right inside the stories in October Country. He gives great writing advice, too.
What event in your private life were you able to bring to this story and how do you feel it impacted the novel? Something very close to me. I named my agent after my daughter Healy Harrison Crews. When she was born I thought I was being very clever to give her a first and middle name that were surnames from her maternal line. I didn’t foresee she’d have to spend the rest of her life correcting people who call her Kelly, Hailey, Kayleigh, etc. Agent Harrison has the same problem.
Tell us a bit about your publisher: how did you hear about them and what influenced your decision to submit to them? Prairie Rose Publications. When I wrote my first historic western romance I had a chance Twitter encounter with a western writer and blogger. She suggested PRP because they’re good to writers and very creative at marketing. The three women who run it are incredible and so supportive. They not only created a publishing house but a community.
What project[s] are you working on now? Finishing up The Lake House which is contemporary romance. This story is based on an experience a friend had when she and her husband were stranded in a remote location with another couple whose marriage exploded while they were all on vacation together. Only in my story the second couple are strangers to one another--that’s where the romance comes in. I’m also working on my first medieval romance for PRP.
What's up next for you? Once I finish The Lake House I want to spend time trying to sell it in the traditional publishing route. Then I have a few older works in progress I want to get back to.

Patti brought us an excerpt from The Ghost and the Bridegroom:
     The air burned as hot as a fever out here on the porch. The windmill in the yard creaked and creaked. Tumbleweed rolled past, carried on the same breeze turning the windmill. The porch smelled like hot, old wood.
     Healy pinched the bridge of her nose, dislodging her glasses. Over the layer of perspiration covering her face, a fine coating of gritty dust stuck to her skin. She’d gone so parched; she had to work her lips off her teeth—where they were stuck—to utter a word.
     “Yes, we’ve already established that fact, and as I’ve already had this conversation with the ranch hand you sent to fetch me, I’m finding this conversation about my gender rather tedious.”
     He studied her with his gray eyes. “You’re a woman.”
     “Oh, my…now that we’ve ascertained I’m not a man are we going to have to now go through this whole process again, establishing I’m a woman. I suggest we move on from this topic and talk about your problem, Mr. Foster.”
     He ran a hand through his sandy brown hair. “I can’t talk to you about this. I thought you’d be a man. This is a delicate matter.”
     “Mr. Foster, I assure you I’ve seen everything. There isn’t anything you can tell me I haven’t heard before. What is happening to you has happened to many before you.”
     “That’s just it. I’ve heard about it happening to other men, but it’s never happened to me before.”
     “Ah, I see. Well, this too is a common reaction. Many don’t believe in ghosts until they experience the phenomenon themselves. You’re not alone.”
     He looked down. “I’m not talking about ghosts.”
     “What are you talking about?”
     “I can’t talk to a young lady about this.”
     “You can! Nothing you say will shock me.”
     “Are you a…spinster?”
     Healy huffed. “I don’t see how my marital status is relevant, but yes, I am not a married woman.”
     “So you don’t have experience….”
     “Please, I have traveled a long way under the most trying circumstances to help you. You’ve already paid the agency, and here I am!  Let’s just start at the place where you encountered the haunting?”
     Abbott sighed. “In the bedroom.”
     “You’re lucky in that sense. Some ghosts follow people around and make all kinds of mischief.”
     “Naw, you ain’t catching my meaning.”
     “Enlighten me.”
     “Aw, all right.” He took a long pause, studying his boots before he looked up again. “I’m a newlywed….”
     “Congratulations.”
     “Yes, but here’s the crux of the matter. The ghost will not allow me to…consummate my marriage.”
     Healy felt her face burn red. “Oh, I see. Well, that is a new one on me. Never heard of that one before. How is it that the ghost has power to stop…the act?” “Ever since I brought Erline—that’s my bride—home, things don’t work right.”
     She put a hand on his arm. “Are you sure you’re consulting the right expert? Have you talked to your doctor?”
     His face went beet red with frustration. “It’s having a ghost in my bedroom gumming up the works.”
     “You have to be more specific. I need details.”
     He shuffled his feet in the dust on the boards of the porch. “I think about Erline all day. She’s so pretty. I can’t wait to go to bed. I get in next to her all cocked and ready to fire—and she’s eager too--I can tell, but then when I put….”
     Healy put up her hand. “I don’t mean those kinds of details. Tell me about the ghost.”

Wow. This one, like all the stories in TGTBTG looks like a winner
To learn more about Patti Sherry-Crews and the stories she creates, go to:

To purchase The Good, The Bad and The Ghostly, go to: www.mybook.to/GoodBadGhostly

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Along Comes Outlaw Coy Santos

          When a tragic accident claims her husband's life, Jesse Santos must find a way to keep the ranch, the only home her 12-year-old son has ever known. The ranch hands have abandoned her, a gang of cutthroat ranchers want her land and an ancient Yaqui Indian insists a spirit has taken up residence in the house.
          After a fifteen year absence, her husband's brother, Coy, returns to his childhood home. He doesn't plan on staying, and he certainly doesn't intend to settle down with a widow and her son…no matter how pretty she is.
          He's an outlaw, after all, and made a decision to put an end to his gun-slinging days long ago. Will his conscience let him walk away from family, or will his heart overrule his head?
For the next few days, Keta Diablo and Jezebel “Jesse” Santos from Comes An Outlaw are visiting Wild Women Authors and we couldn't be more pleased. First up is Jesse.
Where are you from? Arizona, near the Vulture Mountains.
What did you think the first time you saw Coy Santos?. That's right, we have the same last name even though we've never met before. You see, Coy is my late husband's brother. After a 15 year absence, he came to the ranch to see his parents and his brother. Of course, he didn't know Cain had married while he was gone. And, he didn't know his parents died several years ago, and his brother, Cain, 6 months ago.
What did I think the first time I saw him? I thought he was a gun-for-hire, or possibly a bounty hunter, someone who lived by the gun and would no doubt die by the gun. On a physical level, the man was breathtaking and I felt an immediate draw to him.
What was your second thought? A part of me wanted him to keep right on riding to Utah where he planned to settle down on his own little piece of land. The other part, wanted him to stay for a time. Perhaps his presence, not to mention his shiny pistol, might deter the cutthroat neighbors who wanted my ranch.
Did you feel it was love at first sight? Love….no. Attraction, intrigue, curiosity? Definitely yes.
What do you like most about Coy? That he was full of surprises; not the man I thought rode in one day, but a thoughtful, caring man--garnished with a slice of self-assuredness and courage.
This gets better and better. How would you describe him? Tall, lean, midnight hair, gray eyes and chiseled features.
Oh yeah. How would Coy describe you? You know, for the longest time, I didn't know what he thought about me. He keeps his emotions and feelings quite guarded. But then, one day he told me he liked everything about me, and that's why it would so hard for him to leave.
What made you choose writing as a career? I've always loved reading, grew up with a book in my hand. I suppose my love for the written word led me toward writing. I started out writing a few family-type stories, histories on my ancestors, and from there it blossomed into fiction.
What is your biggest fear? I'm going to assume you mean in life but maybe you mean about writing? Let's take life: I loathe bears, not too fond of heights and worry continuously about the health and safety of my kids. Er…who doesn't these days? Back to the bears…I think in another life, I was attacked by a grizzly. And that's quite a gruesome thing to think about.
How do you relax? Gardening, volunteering at my local animal shelter (no bears there) and reading.
Who is your favorite fictional character and why? Scarlet O'Hara. What a deep, conflicted woman. Second choice: Scout Finch from To Kill A Mockingbird. It's a toss-up who made that book a big hit, Atticus or Scout, but I'm placing my money on Scout. She was tenacious, transparent, and in so many ways a typically innocent young girl with the heart of a lion. I just love her.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received? Make sure the person looking back at you in the mirror likes what they see. (Who else but a mother would say that?)
Thanks for this insight, Jesse. Now it's Keta's turn at bat.
What movies or books have had an impact on your career as a writer and why? See above. Gone With the Wind, To Kill A Mockingbird and I really enjoyed The Windflower.
What event in your private life were you able to bring to this story and how do you feel it impacted the novel? I probably couldn't pinpoint an exact element, but, I think every story we write holds a little piece of us. Whether that's in style of writing, character depiction or plot, a little bit of us is interspersed somewhere. I don't think it's possible for writers to not pass on their personal experience, events in their life through their writing.
What project[s] are you working on now? Finishing the third book in my Sky Series. Sky Tinted Water, Book 1, Sky Dance, Book 2 and now look for Sky Dreams coming to a Kindle near you soon!
Keta brought along an excerpt for us:
          The town of Red Butte sat five miles behind him, which meant his destination should appear around the next bend. He wondered how much had changed since he'd left fifteen years ago. Hell, he wondered if anyone would even recognize him. Guess he'd soon find out.
          The one-story house came into view. Painted buttercup yellow and trimmed in white, with a wrap-around veranda the same color as the trim, it looked the same. At least that hadn't changed. The red barn still stood and to the right of the house, the riotous garden remained. Childhood memories flooded Coy. He could almost smell his mother's Blue Bells and Forget Me Nots, taste her home-grown beans, squash and the mouth-watering ears of corn, fresh off the stalk.
          A dog barked from somewhere near the steps of the porch. As he drew closer he spotted the long-haired cur, part Australian Shepherd and a breed he couldn't identify. The dog trotted up the steps when he brought his horse to a halt, settled in beside a young boy, and then flashed an ominous row of white teeth his way.
          His gaze left the dog and wandered to the boy with a baby screech owl perched on his left shoulder. A brown slouch hat sat atop his head, the chin strap resting on his chest. His hair was long and jet black, his eyes gun-metal gray. A rope-belt held up his baggy wool trousers and the white cotton shirt set off his youthful, tanned face. A face that held a wary expression yet exuded a cocky air.
          "State your business," a female voice called out.
          Too busy taking in his surroundings, the dog and the boy, his tired brain overlooked the woman on the porch. Now that he'd taken a good look, he couldn't imagine how any man with blood running through his veins could fail to notice her. Tall and lean, weathered leather trousers clung to her long legs like second skin. A red flannel shirt hung long and loose on her body but failed to hide her womanly curves. Her hair was thick and straight, falling past her shoulders in a tangle of burnished copper. Watchful and intense, her large, round eyes glistened like liquid pools of blue ice.
          When he brought a knee up to dismount, she cocked the rifle. "You don't hear so good. I asked you to state your business."
          "My business? I was about to ask what you're doing here and follow it up with just who the hell are you?"
          "Don't bother dismounting, and don't even think about going for that sidearm at your hip. Though the buzzards might like it; they haven't had their breakfast yet this morning."
          "Right friendly, aren't ya?"
          "To my friends, yes."
          "Where's the folks that used to live here?"
          She jerked her chin toward a cluster of cottonwoods in the distance. He remembered the trees and the black wrought-iron fence surrounding them, the family graveyard. His heart wrenched for a brief moment. He hadn't considered the possibility his parents might be dead.
          "Where's Cain? He off again on one of his infamous ghost hunts or is he hiding inside with his nose buried in a textbook?"
          Something crossed her eyes for a second…surprise, sorrow? Maybe both. "You know Cain?"
          "I should, he's my brother."
          Definitely shock this time. "Your…your brother?"
          "Now who can't hear so good?"
          "I heard you. He, well, he didn't talk much about a brother."
          "No, don't imagine he did." He put his hands out at his sides. "Look, it's mighty hot out here under the sun, and my horse needs water." Sweating under the sweltering heat, his temper flared. "For the record, never point a rifle at a man unless you intend to use it."
          "I still might."
          He shook his head and blew a puff of air.
          "All right, climb on down but keep your hands where I can see 'em." She eased up on the rifle and turned to the boy. "Grange, grab a bucket of water for his horse."
          The kid scrambled down the steps and headed for the well nearby, the mutt close on his heels and growling as he passed. "Easy, Fetch," the boy said.
          "Fetch? How original."
          "At least he's got a name," the boy muttered under his breath and kept on walking.
          Coy turned back to the woman. "The kid's right. Forgive my manners. Name is Coy…Coy Santos, Cain's younger brother. If he's not here right now, I'm sure he'll vouch for me when he gets back."
          She leaned the rifle against the railing and met his eyes. "I'm Jesse, and that boy watering your horse is my son, Grange."
          He looked toward the cemetery again. "So Ma and Pa are gone, huh? Didn't realize I'd been gone so long."
          "I'm sorry." She tucked a loose strand of hair behind her ear. "Your pa died seven years back, your ma…." She looked off for a minute as if recalling the event. "Must be five years ago now."
          "Well, I guess time slips away without us realizing it." He caught those shimmering blue eyes again. "You didn't tell me your last name."
          "Santos," she said and paused to wait for his reaction. When he didn't offer one, she added, "Cain's wife."
          The merciless sun must have scrambled his brain. She looked too young to be his brother's wife; she couldn't be more than thirty years old. And Cain, well, he was almost twenty years older than him. Above that, she had to be the most handsome woman he'd ever laid eyes on. There had to be more to this story, and he intended to find out how she ended up married to his bookish brother. "Your name is Santos?"
          She nodded. "Yes, Santos, apparently the same as yours."
          "The boy is Cain's son?"
          Another nod as she glanced toward the boy.
          "Guess I missed out on a whole lot of news from home."
          "There's more." She turned on her heels and walked toward the door leading to the house. "Can't very well turn family out. Come inside, breakfast is warming on the stove. I'll let you know what else you missed."

If you're as intrigued by this excerpt as we are, you can find Keta here:
Author home: http://ketaskeep.blogspot.com

To purchase The Good, The Bad and The Ghostly, go to:
www.mybook.to/GoodBadGhostly