Norma Huss's Blog

December 4, 2014

Two years ago I published A KNUCKLEHEAD IN 1920s ALASKA, aA Knucklehead in 1920s Alaska memoir of my father’s experiences when he went to Alaska hoping to earn money for college expenses. I’ve now published it as a Kindle e-book.

Here’s the blurb: At age eighty-eight, William (Bill) Collins recorded his adventures as a young man who traveled to Alaska to earn money for college. In the 1920s he found adventure, but not much money working in the railroad yards, in mines, as a pearl diver (dishwasher), and anything else between.

During three summers and one winter, Bill survived hunger, earthquake, stomping caribou, and icicle frost. He learned about stopes, sluice boxes, powder smoke, and the Festival of the Midnight Sun. He found friends who would face a bear for him and enemies eager to knife him or smash him with a twenty-pound sledge. Bill had one lucky day and more than a few really bad days.

This is the story of one hot-headed young man determined to earn his own way. In his own words, he was a true knucklehead.

~ ~ ~

I’ve included a bonus short mystery at the end, “Yesterday’s News,” previously published by Futures Mysterious Anthology Magazine. Even better, the entire e-book is free for those who purchase, or have already purchased, the paperback from Amazon.

Now for a question: Do you know any interesting stories from your parents or grandparents that your children might be interested in?

And another question: Have you ever considered telling that story to a wider audience?

And a hint: Those were the questions I asked myself a few years ago, and with a bit of encouragement, this was my answer.

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Published on December 04, 2014 13:02 • 10 views

November 25, 2014

Kait Carson lives in and writes from Florida. Her latest book, DEATH BYKait-cover BLUE WATER, was released by Henery Press on Veterans’ Day 2014. c.mxe||!i){return};c.ter.push(i);h=h||{};var g=i.logLevel||h.logLevel;if(!g||(g==b)){c.ecf++}h.pageURL=""+(a.location?a.location.href:"");h.logLevel=g;h.attribution=i.attribution||h.attribution;c.erl.push({ex:i,info:h})}function d(l,k,g,i,h){var j={m:l,f:k,l:g,c:""+i,err:h,fromOnError:1,args:arguments};f.ueLogError(j);return false}d.skipTrace=1;e.skipTrace=1;f.ueLogError=e;f.ue_err=c;a.onerror=d})(ue_csm,window);ue_csm.ue_hoe=+new Date();

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// ]]> In it, paralegal Hayden Kent discovers a man’s body at 120’ beneath the sea. She thinks she is witness to a tragic accident. Instead, she becomes the prime suspect when the victim is revealed to be the brother of the man who recently jilted her, and she has no alibi.

A year ago I spent Thanksgiving in Florida, but this year I’m at home in Pennsylvania. Unlike my guest, that was only a sometime visit. But Kait remembers past Thanksgivings and has her own way of celebrating in the tropics. Let her tell you about it…

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. Known to my family as Turkey Day, it was a favorite childhood holiday. Whether it was at home or away – there were two constants. A groaning table of food (followed by groaning family members), and cold weather—sometimes snow. SNOW, what has snow got to do with a tropical thanksgiving? Well, nothing. But my childhood turkey days were usually spent in the north. Sometimes on my great grandfather’s farm. He was a hardy soul who lived into his 100s. Family history varies on whether it was 103 or 106. I doubt he knew. He was born in the ‘old country’ at home on, yes, a farm. No records were kept, or no records that he kept were kept.

Turkey day on the farm in upstate New York was special. All of the dinner was homegrown. Since both of my great grandparents were immigrants, keeping American holidays, especially Thanksgiving, was a religion with them. Our location made snow a frequent visitor on Thanksgiving Day.

Fast forward to my late teens. Here comes the tropical part. I fell in love with Miami as a five year old when we visited cousins. I never fell out of love. When the time came for me to go to college, it was UM or bust—Go Canes! Once planted, my roots grew in the warm, sandy soil, and I’ve never left. My adult reality has Thanksgivings far removed from anything resembling snow, unless you count white sandy beaches. Temperatures of 80 and above are the norm. But it’s Thanksgiving! It’s autumn. It needs to be COLD. I don’t know who invented air conditioning. I could probably Google it, but that’s been my solution since I moved here. Crank the A/C down to 60, pull on a sweater, turn on the oven and have at it. Turkey, brussels sprouts, yams (a Southern staple I might add), mashed potatoes, green beans, sweet potato pie (nod to the South) and pumpkin pie. It all pours out of my oven and on to the table. I close all the drapes to block out the green grass and palm trees, light the fireplace, and voila, a cool, Florida, Thanksgiving.

Hayden Kent, the heroine of DEATH BY BLUE WATER, would never understand. Hayden is a Conch. Born and bred in the Florida Keys. Her idea of Thanksgiving runs to Florida lobster stuffing (very good by the way) and ambrosia (also very good). She’s probably going to spend her early morning SCUBA diving to celebrate having a day off, and then hosting a dinner for her friends Mallory and Janice, and maybe her boss, Grant. Any way she slices it, the pie will be from the bakery, and everyone will have a late night, a great time, and leftovers to go.

Come to think of it, that sounds like the perfect turkey day. No matter where or how you celebrate, I hope you have a wonderful day.

Kait-photoBIO: Kait Carson lives and works in South Central Florida. She shares her home with her pilot husband, a Cherokee Six airplane, eight rescued cats, and three birds. So far, there is no partridge in the avocado tree. Kait is a rabid SCUBA diver and can be found underwater most summer weekends. A self-styled warm water wimp, the diving stops on Columbus Day and the day trips by air begin. Visit her at, or on Facebook at

Kait’s mention of her favorite foods, especially that ambrosia, reminds me of our family specialty—a necessity for any holiday meal, officially known as apple pudding, but also known as red stuff. Do you have a favorite for holiday meals?

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Published on November 25, 2014 22:01 • 14 views

November 22, 2014

Dogs on a plane. A mercy flight for animals facing death in overcrowded shelters.

Recently our newspaper told the story of the Pittsburgh Aviation Animal Rescue Team when they brought fifteen dogs to the Lancaster County SPCA shelter. The PAART began when a couple of new pilots wanted a mission other than just flying around Pittsburgh. After one transported a dog for a friend, the idea took hold. When the group hears of an overcrowded shelter about to euthanize dogs, they fly in and collect up to one thousand pounds of animals and take them to a shelter that has room and people who want to adopt dogs.

Since 2006, they’ve moved more than 600 dogs. They’ve also shifted cats, ducks, even pigs and a python. Sometimes the dogs are in crates, other times they are loose. The altitude makes them sleepy. The only problem has been when an affectionate dog wants to sit on the pilot’s lap. (The only damage to a plane was when one Great Dane chewed up the co-pilot’s seat.) Many of the dogs are puppies.

The team of pilots has gone out nearly every weekend for the last two years. On occasion a pilot will adopt one of the dogs. But they know the dogs face a bright future. Locally, the Lancaster shelter had previously taken twenty-eight dogs from the same overcrowded shelter in another state, but these were the first that came by plane. All of those those taken earlier have been adopted.

“Our turnover has been phenomenal,” said Lancaster’s Susan Martin. “We live in such a great county. There are so many dog lovers.”

The full article with pictures is here.

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Published on November 22, 2014 07:47 • 4 views

November 6, 2014

Ally-WildFire_Cover-453x680Wild Fire released November 7

I’m happy to be part of Ally Shields’ Release Party. She has a great event planned. Keep reading to learn all about it. Here’s Ally —

Thank you so much for being part of the  release party and giveaway for the sixth book in my Guardian Witch series!

(See contest details at the bottom.)

Book Blurb: A vision. A lost talisman. A dangerous journey through time…

A month after their bonding, Ari and Andreas are still adjusting to married life when they learn the hard way that the O-Seven, the terrifying and brutal vampire elders, still have them in their sights. A three million dollar bounty hangs over each of their heads, and there’s no lack of assassins eager to collect.

When the local seer has a terrifying vision of the destruction of Riverdale, it’s up to Ari—as usual—to keep everyone safe. Only this time, an enemy from the past has bound her fire powers, and the city’s string of arsons seems connected.

Daron, the vampire prince in Toronto, has information that two of the vampire elders are on their way to Riverdale. Which can’t be good. Only a risky and unprecedented journey through time can provide the help they need. But that will leave Andreas to face the O-Seven alone…

Buy Links


Also available at most online booksellers

Book Trailer on Youtube:


Author Bio: Ally Shields was born and raised in the Midwest, along the Mississippi River, and considers herself a “river rat.” The setting and folklore of that area are often incorporated into her Guardian Witch series. After  a career in law and juvenile justice, she turned to full-time writing in 2009. She loves writing, reading and traveling. Way too often she can be found on Twitter. @ShieldsAlly

Author Contacts:






Amazon Author Page:

Other books in the series:

Awakening the Fire (#1); Fire Within (#2; Burning Both Ends (#3); Blood and Fire (#4); Fire Storm (#5).

Coming Soon: Eternal Fires (Guardian Witch #7) (TBA)

Also by Ally Shields: Cross Keys, an Elvenrude novel (October 2014)

Blog Tour GIVEAWAY: Nov. 7–10:  Readers and writers always talk about characters in books, but settings are almost as important, and they play a huge role in the Guardian Witch series. Wild Fire is no exception, and this blog tour is revealing several settings that are the backdrop for major events in this new release. In fact, I think they’re so important that I’m running a special contest.

If you collect the names and numbers of all ten settings, you could win your choice of three ebooks in the series (including this latest release) or a $15.00 Amazon gift certificate. It’s easy to do. Here are the rules.

Visit the blogs on this list — or enough to collect all ten settings — then email me at by 9:00 a.m. EST, Monday, November 10, 2014 with your completed list. You will automatically be entered in the random drawing (two winners).

NOTE: A setting may appear on more than one blog, so be sure you have 10 different settings before turning in your entry.

Here is the list of participating blogs*:

AJ Locke

Angela Myers

Brinda Berry

Carmen Stefanescu

Danielle Devor

Dani-Lyn Alexander

DL Richardson

JL Buck

Joyce Laverne

Kath Marsh

Kirstin Pulioff

Lindsey Loucks

Norma Huss

Sue Roebuck

Tina Gayle

Erin Moore

(*If you can’t find a post, return to for updated links and blogs.)

Now for the setting: #10

Setting #10:  Victorian Mansion — Andreas’s Victorian home in Olde Town, which Ari now shares. The well-preserved residence and its spacious lawn is surrounded by a six foot wrought iron fence and partially lined with well-kept shrubbery. It is furnished primarily with antiques from the 1700s and 1800s.

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Published on November 06, 2014 22:00 • 6 views

October 27, 2014

Vala-Ghost_Writer_300dpiIs there anything better than a ghost story for Halloween? Yes—two ghost stories. One is mine, but first, let me tell you about Vala Kaye’s Ghost Writer.

Tech-savvy teen Malden Montgomery leaves New York City anticipating nothing but boredom when her artist-mother brings her along on a two-week vacation to a family inn in rural Virginia.

What Malden doesn’t expect is the owner’s 17-year-old son, Jackson, who is totally to-die-for cute. But does she dare believe him when he tells her that her room at the inn may be haunted by a young woman named Emily, who died there more than 150 years ago?

Then Emily begins to communicate with Malden and she and Jackson realize they have to find a way to help Emily’s ghost come back home or risk a spirit’s wrath if they choose to leave her lost in the darkness forever.

Read an excerpt here.

Vala Kaye — ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Vala Kaye

Vala Kaye grew up in Texas as an avid reader of science fiction, romance and history. Her favorite writers ran the gamut from Robert Heinlein to Margaret Mitchell, and included side journeys with Louisa May Alcott’s “Little Women” and The Hardy Boys mysteries.

After graduating from college with a double major in Communications and History, Vala now lives and writes in warm and sunny southern California. She is addicted to movies, live theater, word games and salsa dancing.

In her first published YA novella, Ghost Writer, Vala explores what happens when the human ‘spirit’ meets computer technology. Vala’s newest title is Artificial Intelligence, book #1 of “The Superhero Next Door” series.


Halloween’s almost here!

Do you believe in ghosts? Please leave us a comment before this Thursday October 30th at midnight and tell us why you do…or why you think there’s no such thing as ghosts.

Vala will choose one commenter at random on Halloween Day and send a gift of an e-book copy of Ghost Writer either through (for Kindle) or B& (for Nook). Be sure to let us know which gift format you’d like to receive in your comment.


Get in the mood for Halloween with this fast, fun YA paranormal novella! “Ghost Writer” is now available in print or as an e-book. Check it out at these online retailers: Amazon | B& | KoboiBooks


The second YA ghost read is mine, Cherish (A YA Ghost Mystery). You can read all about it here: The e-book is free for five days from October 28 through November 1 at Amazon. But, before you do anything, comment below. Maybe you will win Ghost Writer.

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Published on October 27, 2014 07:47 • 6 views

October 21, 2014

I love to visit Suzanne Adair’s blog, Relevant History. There’s always something new to learn about history. Her guest bloggers tell some of the unknown stories, that happen to be true, about various times in the past. All that historic lore is really a by-product of research an author has done for his or her book. Sometimes, the history is more recent, and includes memories never before written. And sometimes, the comments by readers of the blog add to the history.

Suzanne’s own specialty is the American Revolution, especially in our southern states. But she welcomes any area and time as her guest bloggers. Right now I’m a guest, which completely thrills me. My newly published book is a ghost story, with a ghost from 1946. Since I’m old enough to remember that year (I was 16), much of my post is memory. But, when one is writing a book, one can’t depend on memory, so, of course, I did research too.

Come visit my guest post, Civilians and Internees in World War II. Suzanne will choose one who comment to win a copy of my book, Cherish (A Ghost Mystery), just in time for Halloween.

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Published on October 21, 2014 18:59 • 5 views

October 8, 2014

Emmons-CoverAnne K. Edwards writes mystery (and I love mystery). Her book, Shadows Over Paradise is the story of complicated characters intent on achieving their own ends, some heedless of the cost to others. Action and tension blended with a brooding house set on a volcanic island with soaring cliffs and few modern amenities, along with turbulent emotions offer a perfect catalyst for the storm that is about to break over the Mantuan Islands.

I’d like to quote from a four-star review on Amazon.

“Julia’s been invited to her friend’s wedding on an exotic island but nothing seems to go right in Anne K. Edwards’ Shadows over Paradise. Even the boatman on the way to this island paradise says Julia shouldn’t be there. Still, the location’s great, the people are full of character, and, being a writer, Julia’s sure she’ll build a wonderful mystery novel from the experience. Meanwhile she’s living a mystery of her own.”

There’s quite a bit more to this review, but this is the way it ends — “An exciting ending is filled with fear and adventure plus the saving hands of good timing and true love. While I guessed some of what was going on, I certainly didn’t guess it all, but I might avoid island paradises after this tale.”

Oh, that does sound like a sure-fire read! Love that kind.

Here’s all the necessary information: Available in paperback and e-book formats

Order this book via check or credit card, aStore

~ or visit ~ Amazon; Barnes & Noble;; Indy bookstores.

Anne’s Amazon author page

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Published on October 08, 2014 12:19 • 5 views

October 1, 2014

I’m trading blog posts with Donna G. Driver. I’ve written a YA with a ghost and her YA with a ghost has just been accepted for publication. She told me what inspired her plot. So, here’s her fascinating story…

Ghosts Writing Notes, by D. G. Driver

If a ghost from the past wanted to communicate through a series of handwritten notes, would a teenager today be able to read them? This was the original premise of my soon-to-be-released YA novella Passing Notes.

A couple years ago my 17-year-old daughter was in a relationship where I swear the only way she and her boyfriend communicated was through texts – endless amounts of nonsensical (and in my opinion, not very romantic) texts. I’m pretty sure they never actually talked to each other. At the same time, my younger daughter, who was nine, was learning to write cursive. She was in the rare 3rd grade classroom that still taught cursive writing, as most elementary schools have pulled that curriculum, educators claiming it to be unnecessary. Between the two experiences of my children, I came up with a story idea: a boy is trying to win the love of a girl but is failing because he keeps sending awkward and stupid texts or emails. Suddenly, he begins getting a series of handwritten notes giving him advice about how to write love letters and win the affections of this girl. He first has to learn how to decode these mysterious notes, and then he tries to figure out who is sending them and why.

I originally wrote Passing Notes as a short story, but earlier this year I felt inspired to take another look at it and stretch it out to a novella. Revision is my mantra, and I am a big proponent of never throwing away a story idea, because you never know when the muse will visit with the perfect solution to “fix” what might be going wrong. In this case, my muse told me the story just needed more to it. I wanted to really explore who Mark’s girl Bethany was. Why would actual love letters appeal to her more than the ordinary texts and emails that everyone else gets? I introduced the rival boy at school, and added a couple of Bethany’s girlfriends who aren’t particularly on Mark’s side either. Most importantly, I wanted to build the relationship between Mark and the ghost. How are the two of them related, and why does it matter to the ghost so much that Mark win Bethany’s affections?  And then, of course, if he follows the ghost’s advice, will it work?

DonnaD-cryofthesea4 (2)

I was thrilled that Fire and Ice, the publishers of my mermaid novel Cry of the Sea, agreed to publish Passing Notes. It will be released on January 24th, 2015. In the meantime, do check out my current novel about a girl who discovers real mermaids washed up on the beach during an oil spill. You can sample the first two chapters at the publisher’s web site: Follow me on FB or Twitter to keep up to date on the release news for Passing Notes, and read some of my other stories for free on Wattpad.

Twitter: @DGDriverAuthor


Buy Links for Cry of the Sea:

(It is my understand that if you buy from this indie book store in Nashville, you can request an autographed copy. They will email me, and I just have to drop by the store to sign a copy before they mail it)

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Published on October 01, 2014 07:31 • 9 views

September 28, 2014

A ghost writer is coming. No, not the kind who writes stories for others to claim. No such thing. We’re talking real ghosts here, like dead people from the past. She has a great story to tell, both her own and the YA fiction about a ghost from the past.

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Published on September 28, 2014 18:10 • 7 views

September 13, 2014

Cherish-FrontI’m running a Goodreads giveaway through October 7, 2014. Cherish (A Ghost Mystery) takes place in current time, and in 1946. (Things like that happen with ghosts, you know.)

Sign up for the giveaway here.

Read the first two chapters here.

It’s the sophomore Local History cemetery visit. Sure, it’s almost Halloween, but Kayla has seen that teen-age ghost for years. Why won’t she leave? When the dreamy senior asks Kayla for a date, she decides to prove to herself that she’s mature and in charge. She’ll tell that ghost to go away. But Kayla shouldn’t have touched the ghost’s cold hand, because that’s when everything changed.

Suddenly, it’s 1946, or is Kayla dreaming? Is she crazy? Why is her name Cherish? Why is her mother at home baking cookies when she should be at work? And, she has a father? Didn’t he die years ago? Why is her best friend Trudy instead of Dani? And the thing in her pocket is not a compact with a bad mirror. DON’T TRY TO OPEN IT!

Text messages do travel across the years, judging from those on her cell phone. But why is Dani mad at her? She isn’t there, is she? It can’t be, but it must. Someone is taking Kayla’s place in the twenty-first century. Who?

Fact: Cherish is ruining her life in two centuries. If Kayla doesn’t find her way home to her own time and her own body, she will die in 1946 with Cherish.

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Published on September 13, 2014 18:13 • 23 views

Norma Huss's Blog

Norma Huss
The Grandma Moses of Mystery
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