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Winter Holiday in Havasu

I hope you all had a blessed Thanksgiving. My birthday fell the day before Thanksgiving this year. I spent most of the day wrapping up The Ghost and Little Marie, so I could send it off to my second round of Beta readers by Thanksgiving. It goes to the editor the first of December.

Instead of joining Black Friday shoppers, my husband Don and I spent Friday on the lake. We’ve a little pontoon boat—nothing fancy, but it does the trick. The weather was amazing. There were some folks on the lake in bathing suits. I kept thinking of my friends back in colder climates, bundling up in winter wear.

Saturday, we hauled out the Christmas decorations and put up our tree. It was exhausting! I remembered when my grandma Hilda told me she wasn’t going to put up a tree anymore, because it was just too much work. At the time, I couldn’t imagine such a thing. Now, I understand.

Today we finished decorating the tree, but I still have the Nativity set to put out and my Dicken’s Village—both of which once belonged to my mother. Mom lives with us, and will be ninety in April. As much as she loved setting up both the Nativity set and Dicken’s Village each year, it’s a tradition that has since been passed to me.

Another thing I brought out today—the Holmes Christmas book. It’s a tradition my husband started over 25 years ago, when our son and daughter were children. It’s a diary of sorts, that we each write in every year, traditionally on Christmas night—yet sometimes before the New Year.

When our children married, I gave them their own Christmas book—yet I’m not sure they’ve been as faithful as Don and I have been, writing in our book each year. It’s a tradition I encourage every family to consider.

Wishing you all a blessed holiday season.

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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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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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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 7 – The Ghost of Valentine Past

Holiday is the theme for books 5, 6, and 7 of Haunting Danielle. We already went through Books 5 and 6, touching on Halloween and Christmas, in this 14 Ghost Stories to Read Before Halloween blog series. Now we come to book 7, The Ghost of Valentine Past.

In this ghost story we bring together love and murder—and more ghosts.

A romantic weekend at Marlow House Bed and Breakfast turns deadly when Earthbound Spirits founder, Peter Morris, is murdered. Plenty of people had a reason to want the man dead—especially Danielle’s current guests.

But it isn’t Morris’ ghost distracting Danielle on this deadly Valentine’s Day weekend, it’s her late husband Lucas. She has her hands full with suitors coming from all directions—both living and dead—while she tries to figure out if there’s a killer in Marlow House.

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Let’s talk about Joe Morelli…

I know I’ve addressed this topic before, but I think it’s time I revisit the subject. It’s a question I occasionally get asked by readers.

The question?

Why did you name one of your characters after Janet Evanovich’s Joe Morelli from her popular Stephanie Plum series?

Umm…well the truth…while I had heard of Stephanie Plum, I had never read any of the books. Therefore, I was unaware of Evanovich’s “Joe Morelli.”

It wasn’t until about the third book of the Haunting Danielle series, when a reader pointed it out, that I became aware of the problem. Since Joe Morelli is such a well known character with Evanovich’s fans, I would have loved to have been able to change my character’s name. Unfortunately, by that time, it was too late.

Considering the number of books out there, I can’t even imagine trying to keep track of all the characters of other authors—even if I was to narrow it down to a specific genre. I’ve seen readers accuse authors of “stealing” another writer’s character, even when the only similarity was the first name. But the fact is, like book titles, it is impossible to have unique character names.

Sometimes a character name will just come to me. It’s as if I can’t imagine the character having any other name. Other times, I will search popular baby names of the character’s birth year.  With Joe, I gave him my son-in-law’s first name.

When it comes to surnames, I often pull names off my family tree. Glandon, Boatman and Johnson are all from my family tree. However, with my Joe character, I wanted him to be Italian, so I knew I couldn’t use a name from my family tree, so I borrowed the surname of a friend.

I still haven’t read Stephany Plumb, but I’ve since talked to friends who have read the series, and they tell me Evanovich’s Joe Morelli is a colorful rascal. My Joe is a bit of a—as the cliché goes—stick in the mud.

In my most recent Haunting Danielle book, The Ghost and the Bride, I finally addressed Evanovich’s Joe Morelli, when Lily’s sister points out Joe shares the same name with the fictional character. Of course, my Joe is a fictional character too, but he just doesn’t know it.

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Book 4 – The Ghost Who Wanted Revenge

If you found the ghosts in our first three books too charming or needy as a Halloween read, then you might be more interested in The Ghost Who Wanted Revenge.

In this book, Danielle is being haunted by a new ghost—one who believes Danielle is his killer. He has no compunction to dragging her over to his side—if he can just find some way to harness his energy.

Danielle needs to find the real killer—not just to clear her name and to stop the new haunting—but to prevent another death.

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Book 3 – The Ghost Who Wasn’t

While I consider the Haunting Danielle books a paranormal cozy mystery series—they are a bit different from a traditional cozy. And it’s not because of the ghosts.

In a traditional cozy mystery series, the reader typically expects a murder in each book. That’s not necessarily the case in Haunting Danielle. There was a hundred-year-old murder in the first book, and a murder in the second one—but the mystery in this third book takes the reader to another place.

In The Ghost Who Wasn’t I bring Lily back to Frederickport. I bet you didn’t even know she was gone.

I also introduce a new story line, one that weaves through the next four books in the series.

That relationship between Joe and Danielle—still not looking good. By the end of the book, Danielle and Joe’s relationship may be fractured, but she now has an ally in the local police department. It’s not Joe.

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Book 2 – The Ghost Who Loved Diamonds

The second book in the series, The Ghost Who Loved Diamonds, takes place about a month after Danielle and Lily have settled into Marlow House. We find them preparing for the grand opening of Danielle’s new bed and breakfast. In this book we meet Danielle’s remaining family member: her cousin Cheryl, who shows up uninvited to Marlow House’s grand opening.

Many readers are understandably not fond of Cheryl.  But cut the girl some slack—she’s having a rough time, and it is about to get rougher.

One thing I found intriguing about the reaction to this book are the number of readers who felt Danielle was too nice to Cheryl—insisting they would have tossed Cheryl out the door minutes after her arrival.

Not only would that end the story prematurely, and totally mess up my story line—I think it would be highly unrealistic, especially considering Danielle’s personal history and character traits.

In spite of Cheryl’s annoying ways, she and Danielle were basically raised like sisters.  And like sisters, they have their issues—but they are still family, and for Danielle, Cheryl is all the family she has left.

When writing a book, I try to imagine how each character would actually react in real life—not how we wish they would act.

Other notable points in this story—Danielle is no longer the only one who knows about Walt, and that budding romance with Joe—it is not looking promising for the couple.

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