Norma Huss's Blog
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.
October 8, 2014
Anne 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
Anne’s Amazon author page
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?
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: www.fireandiceya.com/authors/dgdriver/crysea.html 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.
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)
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.
September 13, 2014
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.
September 6, 2014
There’s a new book coming out from Henery Press on September 9. It’s a collection of essays from Sisters in Crime members, all designed to portray personal stories of authors from multi-published bestselling to wannabes. The stories span most any experience of a writing journey. Any writer will find passages of support, laughter, and understanding. Here’s the Amazon page for Writes of Passage. (Should I mention I’m one of the 59 contributors?)
August 30, 2014
Amazon has a new program, pre-orders on e-books for self-published authors. I couldn’t miss that with my new book. So Cherish is listed here. The e-book will be available on September 10. The paperback page will appear (and be on sale) September 1, 2014.
Here’s the blurb: It’s the sophomore Local History cemetery visit. Sure, it’s almost Halloween, but Kayla has seen that ghost for years. She wants to make the ghost go away, but she shouldn’t have touched her hand, because, That’s When Everything Changed.
Kayla finds herself in 1946 as someone else, someone whose name is on an elaborate tombstone. Is she Cherish, or is Cherish her? Is Cherish taking her place?
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 with Cherish in a few days.
Question: Do cell phone texts span the centuries? And, if they do, will Kayla’s friends believe her?
August 15, 2014
This is really Kayla’s story. She’s the 15-year-old Sophomore who is tired of seeing things others don’t see. But when she faces the teenage ghost, it’s Kayla who disappears.
Where did she go? What’s with the year 1946? And why don’t her twenty-first century friends miss her? Who is taking her place?
Cherish (A YA Ghost Mystery) will be published September 1, 2014. If you can’t wait until then, read the first two chapters here.
Be prepared for a spooky read. Remember — Halloween is coming!
July 16, 2014
In September my YA ghost mystery, Cherish, will be published (before all my grandkids get too old to be interested in Halloween stories). I’m doing a cover reveal program on my Goodreads site. I’ll encouraging perspective readers (of all ages) to list Cherish as “want to read” by giving away a two-chapter PDF.
Here’s the back-cover blurb.
“Cherish can’t be my name. It doesn’t sound right. But who am I? I should have listened better in that mini-psych class in middle school. I’ve heard of bi-polar and multiple personalities. I think. Is this the way people go crazy?”
Kayla shouldn’t have taken that strange girl’s hand, because that’s when Everything Changed.
“And, wasn’t it the twenty-first century? What’s with the date, October 1946? That can’t be right.”
But, if SHE is Cherish, how about the date on that tombstone? If she doesn’t find a way back to her own body, and her own time.., Kayla will DIE in a few days.
Not on the cover, the elevator pitch for this mystery: How can Kayla return to own century after she finds herself in 1946 with only her cell phone and a couple of Twinkies?
Ghosts and Halloween — sound like a mystery you’d like to read?
I’ve heard of mother-daughter reads. This is a grandmother-granddaughter read. I know, as a grandmother, I continue to be amazed by everything people do with their cell phones. (And, believe me, I had a lot of younger generation help while writing about text-messaging — a big part of the mystery in this book.) Teens will be just as amazed by last century’s antique social media — the hard-wired telephone that isn’t going anywhere, or doing much of anything.
June 24, 2014
Vinnie Hansen, the very first guest I’ve had on this blog, is a retired high school English teacher who lives in Santa Cruz, California. From the story she tells me, it sounds like she and her husband, artist Daniel S. Friedman love to travel—and read.
In my family we have the expression “under-the-tree good.” It refers to a
hot South Dakota afternoon when my brother Frank mixed up some orange Kool-Aid for us, his three younger siblings. He put ice cubes in it. We sat in a shady spot in the tree line behind the house and drank the beverage from brightly colored aluminum cups. The four of us agreed this was the best Kool-Aid ever. Thus originated the standard of under-the-tree good.
How much difference really could there be in one batch of Kool-Aid vs. another? In truth, a confluence of elements—heat, shade, kindness, ice-cubes—conspired to create the sensation of under-the-tree good.
Externals can also shape our experience with a book. I recently read Cara Black’s Murder in the Latin Quarter while staying in the Latin Quarter. The book became a blue print for a scavenger hunt. My husband and I tracked down 61 rue Buffon, the scene of the crime. Across the street was the lovely Jardin des Plantes. Without the mystery, I may not have visited, although this garden is every bit as beautiful and worthy as Jardin du Luxembourg. But I had to go to the garden! Protagonist Aimée Leduc escaped through the grounds on her Vespa.
My husband and I walked up into the area where Hemingway lived and Verlaine wrote his poetry. At the Pantheon where Victor Hugo is interred, I looked about and thought, “This is where the second murder in the book takes place.”
Important scenes in the mystery involve inhabitants of the catacombs that run under Paris. My husband and I didn’t descend into these tunnels. However, on Pont de la Concorde, two men, clearly not city workers, popped up out of a manhole and crossed the bridge. I felt as though the book were coming alive in front of me! Even though Murder in the Latin Quarter is set in 1997, it is clear that people still haunt this underground world of Paris.
Even now as I finish the book at home, I follow Aimée along the streets of Paris. When she turns onto Rue Cujas, I think, “We were there!”
All this makes reading the book an under-the-tree good experience.
My own Carol Sabala mystery series is set in what author Laura Crum called a “faithfully rendered” Santa Cruz. Santa Cruz is a tourist-destination beach town full of wonderful sights. Like Cara Black’s books, mine are set back in time, but many Santa Cruz landmarks have not changed. I love the idea of a Santa Cruz tourist picking up one of my mysteries, newly re-released from misterio press.
While reading Murder, Honey, maybe he or she will be inspired to eat a burger—meat or veggie—at Carpo’s. If the person is in town for our annual Open Studios in October, what fun to combine the trip with Art, Wine & Bullets set during the art event!
I would love to provide an under-the-tree-good experience.
Vinnie is in the process of updating her Carol Sabala mystery series for re-release by misterio press, while also working on the next installment in the series.
A Carol Sabala Murder Mystery
The strangled body of a gallery owner offers Carol an opportunity to cement her reputation as a private eye. Instead, the investigation turns into a nightmare during which Carol unravels much more than a murder case.