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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Book 9 – The Ghost and the Mystery Writer

I’ve a T-Shirt that says something like, “Pay no attention to my browsing history, I am a writer not a serial killer.” That’s a standard joke among authors—especially mystery writers. My husband’s always saying the FBI is going to come knocking on my door if they ever come across some of my Facebook conversations involving methods of murder. Rather macabre, but it is part of the business.

That’s why I had so much fun writing The Ghost and The Mystery Writer, because it is her writing that gets her in trouble.

A killer strikes under Frederickport Pier.

Before dawn the next morning, Marlow House’s celebrity guest, mystery author Hillary Hemingway, is busy writing about the crime for her upcoming novel—including details that only the real killer would know.

Coincidence? If so, it isn’t the first time.

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Come see me at the Shopping Extravaganza!


If you’re in Lake Havasu City this weekend (and many people will be in town for the annual Relics and Rods car show) stop by the Aquatic Center on Saturday, October 21, where I’ll have a booth at the WNEA Shopping Extravaganza.

I’ll have a variety of my paperback books at the booth—plus the CD audiobook of Books 1 through 3 of the Haunting Danielle series.

Hope to see you there!

Book 8 – The Ghost from the Sea

One of my favorite Haunting Danielle books to write was The Ghost from the Sea. It was fun stepping back in time and giving the readers a greater insight into Walt’s life. The book was a departure from the Earthbound Spirit storyline.

When a shipwreck washes up on a beach across from Marlow House, Frederickport residents wonder what happened to the ship’s crew.

Danielle soon discovers the ship brought a stowaway—a spirit with ties to Frederickport that go back to the 1920s—when Walt was still alive.

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I’ll be selling paperback books and giving away a free eBook!


I will be hauling these boxes of books down to the Shopping Extravaganza on Saturday, where I’ll have a booth. I’ll have some regular and large print books from the Haunting Danielle series, some print books from the Coulson Family Saga series, and I will also have copies of Sugar Rush (a Havasu Romance), Motherhood (a book of Poetry), and Havasu Palms, a Hostile Takeover (local history.)

I will also be giving away free eBooks, and recipe card to the famous Green Thing, alias the Road’s End cooler.

So stop by Lake Havasu City’s Aquatic Center on Saturday, October 21, and say hi!