Monthly Archives: October 2017

Happy Halloween! Meet Jack…

Each year on Halloween I drag out Jack. Let me tell you a little something about Jack. He’s actually a photograph I took in 1974, for one of my photography classes when I attended Cal State University of Fullerton. Back in those days we didn’t have digital cameras, and we certainly didn’t have Photoshop. That meant when we put a pumpkin on a guy’s head, we REALLY put a pumpkin on the guy’s head!

The good natured college student behind the pumpkin (actually half a pumpkin because after I carved it, I had to remove the back half of the pumpkin to fit on his head) was one of my neighbors at the apartment I lived in at Fullerton.

After carving the pumpkin, conning my neighbor to wear it, taking the picture, I had to personally develop the film and then make the prints in a dark room. This project took hours to complete.

These days, I could make a similar photograph in a matter of minutes–with the miracle of my iPhone camera app and Photoshop.

But really, would the picture have the same character as Jack?

Happy Halloween! Stay safe!

 

Book 14 – The Ghost and the Bride

The Ghost and the Bride is the last Haunting Danielle release–yet it is not the final book in the series. The 15th Haunting Danielle Book, The Ghost and Little Marie will be released before Christmas.

As for this book…

Family and friends gather at Marlow House for Ian and Lily’s wedding.

When an unexpected guest shows up Danielle tries to figure out who he arrived with and why.

Did I mention the unexpected guest is a ghost?

 

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How do you do at Halloween?

Back when our kids were growing up, off the rack Halloween costumes always seemed tacky to me. I believed Halloween costumes should be homemade, which usually meant something thrown together at the last minute.

If you ask my daughter Elizabeth, she will tell you that didn’t always work out so well. She’s still annoyed about the Halloween we spent in Bishop, California, with my sister’s family. I made her a Jasmine costume that year.

She looked adorable, until it started to fall apart—while she was trick or treating.

Yeah, she wasn’t happy about that. Basically, when it came to Halloween, I rather sucked as a parent.

My grandkids always look adorable on Halloween. Elizabeth does it much better than I did. It’s probably because I traumatized her that year in Bishop.

As for my childhood Halloweens, I remember getting sick a lot on Halloween, which meant no trick or treating for me. And when I wasn’t sick, the only costume I recall wearing was a gypsy costume.  Seems like my mother dressed me as a gypsy each year.  Now we know why I sucked at Halloween.

(My older sister and me, one Halloween.)

Book 13 – The Ghost Who Lied

Locals call the priceless antique necklace the Missing Thorndike. Could it really be cursed? According to Danielle’s stalker it is.

Reluctantly, Danielle agrees to celebrate the First Anniversary of Marlow House’s Grand Opening. Her friends insist it is a way to move past the tragic events that occurred the past year. She even agrees to wear the Missing Thorndike for a second time.

But when one of the guests is murdered at the party—surrounded by more than a half dozen possible suspects—Danielle begins to wonder if there is something to the curse.

She understands that the ghost of a murder victim doesn’t always know the identity of his or her killer. But this ghost knows, and she isn’t telling. And she isn’t leaving Marlow House.

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Wrightwood’s Halloween, more story fodder…

Elizabeth, Bobbi and Scott Holmes

Writers often insert bits from their own life into their works of fiction.

The first book of fiction I ever published was Lessons. It was released under my pen name, Anna J. McIntyre and later was retitled, Coulson’s Lessons, and became book three in the Coulson Family Saga—a series with five books.

In Lessons, the main character, Alexandra, becomes involved with the local chamber of commerce, and then she gets involved with the community’s annual Halloween trick or treat, where local children trick or treat at the local business, instead of going from house to house.

Alexandra’s Coulson Halloween came from my own personal experience. I was actually the one who instigated the program for the village of Wrightwood, California, about thirty years ago. From what I understand, it’s still a thing in Wrightwood.

Back then, I was publishing a community paper called, Mountain Hi-Desert Guide, and I became active in the local chamber of commerce. Our kids were in elementary school at the time.

One Halloween, after the new mall in Victorville, California, opened, they advertised for the community to bring their children to the mall to trick or treat.

Back then, it seemed the entire village of Wrightwood descended on one neighborhood to do its trick or treating, the Apple Orchard area.  Since many of the cabins in the other neighborhoods were not occupied by full time residents, Wrightwood wasn’t the best place to take kids for trick or treating. And I always felt sorry for those living in the Apple Orchard, who were slammed each Halloween with swarms of village kids.

My husband Don and I decided to take our kids to Victorville that year, instead of staying in Wrightwood. While the mall had a good idea, it seemed every business was handing out the same cheap candy. Part of the fun for the kids is to sort through their haul. Having a bag full of the same candy rather spoiled that.

While the mall sort of missed the mark, it gave me an idea, which I brought to the Wrightwood Chamber of Commerce the next year. Why don’t we sponsor a local trick and treat for community kids, where they come to the village and the local shops. It will be our gift to the community.

The chamber bought the idea, and I ran with it. However, there were two things I insisted on back then.

  1. No Advertising in the local newspaper. I knew that if we advertised or even ran an article on the upcoming event, we’d have kids swarming up from the surrounding desert communities and overwhelm us. The original intent was to host an event for our local community.

Instead of newspaper advertising, I ordered imprinted trick or treat bags, which I distributed to the local elementary school. Every child in the school took home a trick or treat bag—and on that bag was information about the  upcoming Hallween event.

  1. The second thing I insisted on, I wanted variety on what was given away.

The Chamber provided candy to its members to pass out on Halloween. Instead of going to Victorville to purchase candy at some discount store, I purchased the candy locally, and made sure we had a variety.

As it turned out, the local grocery store ended up donating bags and bags of candy for us to distribute, so it actually cost us less than had we gone off the hill to make our purchase.

It’s been almost thirty years since that first Wrightwood Village trick or treat. From what I understand, it continues today, yet the word has gotten out, and it’s no longer confined to just the village kids.

Where I live now, in Lake Havasu City, we have a similar event. Every Halloween main street swarms with trick or treaters. We’ve lived in our house for over a decade, and I can’t remember getting a single trick or treater on Halloween night.

(Photo: That’s me and my two children, Scott and Elizabeth. Halloween, 1990, on the front porch of the Mountain/Hi-Desert Guide office, Wrightwood, California.)

Book 11 – The Ghost Who Stayed Home

Left alone at Marlow House with Sadie and Max, Walt expects Danielle and Lily to return by the end of the week. When they don’t, he begins to wonder what happened to them.

The ghost of Marlow House doesn’t scare six-year-old Evan MacDonald. When the child sneaks into the house in the middle of the night, seeking Walt’s help, the resident spirit learns something has happened to Danielle and Lily.

Can a ghost confined to Marlow House and a pint-sized medium bring the people they love home?

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Book 10 – The Ghost and the Muse

If a muse is the source of a writer’s inspiration, does it mean the muse has gone silent when writer’s block hits?  And who or what exactly is this muse we sometimes hear about?

I’ve never claimed to have a muse, but I must say there are times—when writing my books—that I feel someone is whispering in my ear, giving me direction and teaching me new things about my characters that sometimes surprise me.

In The Ghost and the Muse, we bring back the author from the previous book—The Ghost and the Mystery Writer.

In this story, the muse isn’t exactly what he seems, and Danielle must unravel his mystery.

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Come see me tomorrow!

The photo to the right is of me at a previous Shopping Extravaganza-about two years ago. I don’t do a lot of book signings–but I will be at the Lake Havasu City Aquatic Center tomorrow, October 21, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

If you are in town, stop by my booth and pick up a recipe card for the infamous Road’s End Cooler (AKA The Green Thing), or a coupon for a free eBook, or both!

Hope to see you there!

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