Now available in AudioBook!

HautingDanielle_BOOK2_AUDIOThe second book in the Haunting Danielle series, The Ghost Who Loved Diamonds, is now available in audiobook–as a download or CD version.

If you’ve already purchased the eBook from Amazon, and you’re a member of Audible, you can purchase the audiobook for just $2.99 or use your monthly credit.

I’m excited! Are you?

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Character anecdotes borrowed from real life.

Pretty retro Caucasian women gossiping over coffee in kitchen

On a previous blog post, I mentioned my recent experience with Ancestry.com’s DNA test, giving a shout out to readers of the Ghost and the Leprechaun, pointing out how my recent experience having my DNA tested found its way into the story.

Like many other writers, I often weave real life experiences into my stories. In The Ghost and the Leprechaun, remember Danielle telling Walt about a nude dining episode at an Arizona restaurant? Well, that particular anecdote was something that actually happened—about 18 years ago.

Just to be clear, I was not the nude diner—nor was it at the restaurant we once owned. But I, like Danielle, knew the server who stumbled upon the nude diners during her shift.

It became quite titillating gossip back then.

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What’s in a name?

Left to right: Gene Glandon, Tillie Bromley, George and Hilda Glandon, Caroline and Margaret (girls in front) Glandon. Abt 1935

Back in September one of my readers asked me how I happened to come up with Boatman as Danielle’s maiden name. She was curious because it’s not a common name, and it happened to be her maiden name.

I explained to her that I snatched the name from my family tree. We then entered into a private email exchange and discovered we are distant cousins!

Well, at least I suspected we were. I had been investigating that particular branch of my family tree—my father’s paternal grandmother’s line—yet I wasn’t quite sure I was on the right track. I knew no family along that branch to share information.

But then after Christmas, I took one of those Ancestry.com DNA tests, and guess what? I discovered I had been on the right track, and I could rightfully claim the Boatman surname—as well as that distant cousin I had met online, after she read Haunting Danielle.

For those who have already read The Ghost and the Leprechaun, you’ll probably now recognize what inspired me in that particular story line, in regards to DNA.

Of course Boatman is not the first name I’ve borrowed from my family tree. Chris and Joanne share a common surname, Johnson—which is my maiden name. Of course, Chris’ real surname is Glandon—my mother’s Maiden name. Even my McIntyre pen name was taken from my family tree.

I like to keep it the family.

(Photos: Some of the Glandon from my family tree.)

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What inspires you?

Young woman sitting under a blossom tree reads a book in a beautiful sunny day

In every field there is probably a list of generic questions a person gets asked when the topic of discussion is that person’s career.

For a writer, one typical question: What inspires you? I suspect the answer to that question may change as a writer’s career evolves.

In the beginning, the writer might cite another author as the source of inspiration.

For an author who has made a commercial success and is currently making a great deal of money, the true answer might be, money.

For me, at this stage of my career, the answer is obvious. My source of inspiration? My readers. Without them, I simply could not continue—at least, not in the Haunting Danielle series.

If no one wanted to read what I write, it doesn’t mean I would stop writing. But it would mean writing as my career would be over. Obviously, one cannot make a living if no one wants to buy one’s product. But when I say inspiration, I am speaking of something a little deeper.

Inspiration motivates me to keep going. I learned early on, there will always be readers who insist I can’t write and find my stories and characters boring.  But that’s okay—they are not my readers. My readers are the ones who anxiously wait for the next story and express their love for my characters.  Each time I read a review from a reader who truly loved one of my stories, I want to give them something better the next time. I want to up my game and not disappoint them.

Of course, that is not always possible. Even amongst my readers, they will not all agree on each book in the series. But as long as the majority of my readers are satisfied, I know I am going in the right direction.

Speaking of direction—I am moving in a new one with the Haunting Danielle series. I’m a little nervous, but it’s where I want to go—where the story is taking me. It won’t get there in the next few books—but it is heading there.

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Please take the Haunting Danielle Survey!

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When the Haunting Danielle series first started—almost three years ago—reviews on those first couple books were from readers who weren’t necessarily familiar with the series. So if the reader/reviewer didn’t care for the series, chances are he or she would stop reading.

Although, strangely enough, I do recall one reviewer who kept reading the series—loathing each book, yet insisting she was unable to stop mid-series, and so she had to keep reading. I felt a little guilty, as if I was in some way holding the poor thing hostage. I was so tempted to send her a note, and tell her, “Please stop reading! Because the series is not ending in the foreseeable future.”

Once into a series, most readers (at least most readers who aren’t masochist) generally like the series, and that’s why they keep reading.

Of course, that doesn’t mean they will like every book. Nor does it mean all the readers of the series will feel the same about each book. Some will love a certain book—some will hate it—and some will just think, meh.

So I decided to poll my readers and ask: Which book was your favorite—and which was your least favorite? I’ve also included a comment section under each question, so readers can tell me why they felt that way.

Since not every reader of the series has read all 12 books currently available, I start the survey off with a checklist of the books—so if you are taking the survey, please check the books you have already read. This will help put into perspective books that come up as favorites or least favorites, because it’s not possible to give an accurate impression of a book you haven’t yet read.

So here is the survey! Just click on the link! It’s painless, I promise!

TAKE THE SURVEY

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The Ghost of Marlow House in Audiobook

AudioBooksIt’s a busy week for Haunting Danielle. On Tuesday, Tantor Media released the audiobook version of The Ghost of Marlow House—the first book in the Haunting Danielle series. It’s available in digital download and on CD. Today, CDs of the audiobook arrived in my mail from the publisher.

You can find the audiobook at the Tantor Media website, as well as Audible, Amazon, and other audiobook vendors. If you are a member of Audible, and have already purchased the eBook version from Amazon, you can get the audiobook at a significantly discounted price.

Tomorrow is the release of Book 12 in the series—The Ghost and the Leprechaun—in eBook format. We hope to have the paperback versions of Book 11 and 12 in the series available by April, 2017.

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You think repealing the Affordable Care Act won’t hurt you financially? Think again.

People like me are worried about the GOPs promise to repeal ACA aka Obamacare, because even though the president elect has promised to repeal and replace simultaneously and not leave people with pre-existing conditions uninsured—Congress appears to be focusing their attention primarily on the repeal part.

For those out there who are confident you will be okay—maybe you have good insurance through work and hope your premiums might even go down—or those of you who don’t believe you need insurance because you’ve always been healthy and resent being fined for not having insurance—you could still feel the pain—the financial pain, if ACA is repealed before being replaced to address those with pre-existing conditions.

When your uninsured neighbor down the street is diagnosed with cancer and ends up losing his house in foreclosure because of it—that will adversely impact your property values, meaning the value of your home could drop thousands of dollars.

If you work in a restaurant, those potential diners now struggling with medical bills will be eating out less—and those who do, will be less generous in their tips.

If you work in a beauty shop, your clients who find themselves now struggling to pay their medical bills will be looking for ways to trim their budget, which will mean less trips to the beauty shop, coloring their own hair, or no longer having their nails done.

If you have a house cleaning business, yard care business, or pool service—you’ll find those customers who get sick without health care now struggling to pay their medical bills, which can mean cancelling their service to budget their funds.

I could go on and on, but the fact is, when your neighbors are wiped out financially when faced with catastrophic medical expenses they are less likely to make purchases like new appliances, new furniture, new cars, boats, or anything beyond the basic necessities.

I’m not just making this up—I am speaking from personal experience. Before ACA we struggled to pay our mounting medical bills—and not because we didn’t have insurance, but because the insurance cost us $1,200 a month yet had a $6,000+ deductible and did not cover any doctor visits or pharmacy. It only covered major medical. This meant each month I worked to pay off medical bills, like doctor visits I had to have in order to get my thyroid medication refilled—or that that trip to the eye doctor. With the history of glaucoma in my family, I could not afford to miss my annual appointment–yet my husband regularly missed his.

I avoided things like trips to the dentist and my annual pap smear—because I didn’t have the money to pay for the dentist/doctor visit (I was too busy paying off other medical bills) and even though the insurance covered mammogram screenings, I couldn’t get one of those until I visited my doctor—a visit not covered by my insurance back then.

Because of the ACA, which gave me better insurance for less money, I was able to pay my outstanding medical bills. Because of the ACA I was able to visit my doctor and schedule my mammogram—the mammogram that detected my breast cancer. Because of ACA, the deductible I had to come up with prior to surgery did not wipe us out.

Because of ACA, while I was dealing with my cancer, I did not have to worry about how I was going to pay the medical bills. I did not have to worry about my cancer pushing us into bankruptcy. I was able to focus my energy on my work—writing my Haunting Danielle series, which became a success and turned our family’s finances around.

And while our increase in income meant we had to repay a significant portion of the tax credit that initially helped us pay for that health insurance we purchased through the exchange—we were okay with that, because we had the money to cover it—and we had the medical insurance to pay our medical bills.

We also had money to pay off our credit cards and begin paying off any outstanding debt we had. I could now afford a housekeeper, enabling me to spend more time on my writing. We were able to buy a new vehicle. We were able to remodel my 88-year old mother’s bathroom so she could safely use her shower—something we couldn’t afford before. Don and I were able to eat out more—tip better. I joined WNEA and could afford to do things like sponsor the upcoming Bunko event which will help raise money for local scholarships. The list goes on

The real trickle down economy works when your neighbors can pay their bills and have extra money to spend.

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Happy 125th Birthday!

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Today Grandma Hilda turns 125. At least she would be, if she hadn’t passed away in 1978—a year before having a chance to meet my firstborn.

Grandma may have left this world almost 39 years ago, but I think of her every day. In my bedroom sits her old-fashioned dressing table. I remember sitting at it as a little girl, poking through its messy drawers, filled with random personal items like bobby pins, hair nets, and pop beads. Grandma didn’t wear pearls; she wore pop beads. Today women of my generation don’t use hair nets—at least not that I’m aware of, and the last time I saw a pair of pop beads was over a decade ago.

The set of apple Franciscan ware I have didn’t belong to her, yet it’s like her set—and a few of the pieces I got after my aunt passed away may have once belonged to Grandma. But it doesn’t matter. I think of Grandma whenever I use it. Even my painted kitchen cabinets—not quite white with a hint of soft yellow, were inspired by Grandma’s kitchen.

91A couple years before Grandma passed away she went into decline and my uncle put her in a nursing home. When my mother came into town we went to visit Grandma, and we were horrified at the home. They had Grandma drugged up and the place smelled. We made the split decision to kidnap her.  I can still remember the staff saying—“You can’t do that!”—we hadn’t been the ones to check her in.  We said, “Watch us,” and took her out of there.

We took Grandma to my aunt’s house. I was newly married and had recently graduated from college and didn’t yet have a job. So, each day, I drove from Covina, California to my aunt’s house in El Monte, to help take care of grandma. She got better and moved back home with my grandpa Pete.

When Grandma passed away a couple years later, she was ready to go. She told my mother, “I hope they won’t be mad at me.” Mom didn’t realize what Grandma meant until after she slipped off in her sleep.

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In my Haunting Danielle series death is never the end. And who knows—perhaps it is the same way in the real world. I like to think Grandma is surrounded by all those who she loved—and have since departed.

A few years back I discovered altered books—where an artist transforms a hardback book into a work of art. As an author, I supposed I should be outraged at the thought of violating a book in such a way—making it unreadable—not as the original author intended. But the truth is—I found altered books utterly enchanting, especially how they stimulate the tactile senses.

For my Mother’s birthday one year, I created an altered book, wholly inspired by Grandma Hilda. As you will see by the posted pictures, it even has a little drawer filled with pop beads. What you can’t smell, is the package of gardenia fragrance wax chips—which when one opens the book, still gives off the scent of Grandma Hilda’s favorite flower.

Happy Birthday Grandma Hilda

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A Christmas gift you can share.

Christmas background with decorated branches of Christmas tree.

This Christmas you can share the first book of the Haunting Danielle series with your friends, and it won’t cost you anything! Simply share this post with someone who you think will enjoy the series, and have them click on the image to take them to the page to get their free copy of The Ghost of Marlow House. If you haven’t read the book, grab a copy for yourself!

Merry Christmas,
From Bobbi Holmes

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