Friday, October 25, 2013

A Ghostly Tale of Mystery and Romance

Updated 11/05/2013:

IN THE SPIRIT is now available in ebook. If anyone had asked me if I'd ever write a paranormal book, I'd have told them they were crazy. But those of you who know me know I can't pass up a challenge and I just had to see if I could pull it off. I ended up with a story that has a ghost, a mystery/suspense and not one, but two, romances--one in this life and one in the hereafter. It's also dedicated to my cat, Binky, who is a character--both in the book and in life.

(Don't you just love the cover art by Trisha FitzGerald?)

Available from Champagne Books

and at

Here's the blurb and an excerpt to whet your appetite.

Blurb:   Author Jessica Windsor is suffering a severe case of writer's block. Hoping a change of scenery will get the words flowing again, she retreats to a mountain cabin--where she soon discovers she is not alone. The ghost of mystery writer, Andrew McCabe, has unfinished business and enlists her help to solve his murder. Jessica soon finds herself on a madman's hit list.
Ben Gearing has been something of a recluse since he destroyed his marriage and lost his family. But there’s something about Jessica Windsor that makes him want to smile again, makes him feel more like his old self. Could he be ready to finally get on with his life?


Andrew hovered in the doorway while Jessica unpacked her bag. His interest piqued when she removed lingerie and carefully arranged it in one of the drawers. She set out bottles of lotions, cologne and makeup on the dressing table. God, he missed those intoxicating scents of women. The softness of their shoulders, the warmth…

She reminded him so much of Laura. He sighed.

Andrew pressed his lips together. Here goes. “Jessica,” he hissed.

“Binky?” She searched, but the cat was not in the room.

“Great. I’m hearing things.” She shoved the empty suitcase into the closet and started for the door.

Andrew remained in the doorway. “Jessica!”

But she kept moving, passing straight through him before he could step aside.

He gritted his teeth and shuddered. I hate when they do that.

He straightened his jacket.

Jessica stopped and rubbed her hands along her arms. She returned for the second suitcase and emptied it, hanging the contents in the closet. She removed a photograph from the inside pocket of the luggage—a picture of a teenaged boy with her eyes and mouth, but lighter hair.

Andrew peered over her shoulder. Good looking kid. He placed his mouth near her ear and spoke, “Jessica, can you hear me?”

She clutched the photo to her chest and whirled around. “What the…? Who said that? Is someone there?”

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Cat Shaffer - How I Became A Writer

I'm very pleased to welcome author Cat Shaffer who shares the story of her journey into writing.

~ * ~

I taught myself to read when I was four. Now, I really don’t deserve any praise for it. My mother was a teacher, my grandmother had been a teacher and my sister decided as a first grader that it was her duty to teach me everything she was learning. My parents were surprised when I read a newspaper headline but not as surprised as learning that all I ever wanted to be was a writer.

They loved me and supported me, of course. But I know that deep inside they were thinking “A writer? A writer? A writer!!!”

My first success as a writer came when I was in the fourth grade and won an essay contest. My first-plane entry garnered me my photo in the newspaper, a savings bond and a trip to the local TB hospital. Looking back, that may not have been the best reward ever. But I remember thinking how cool it was – it was super easy and people gave me stuff.

So I earned a journalism degree and set off to conquer the newspaper world. I’m sure my parents were proud of me even those I’d chosen a career with crummy hours, so-so pay and minimal respect. Yet I discovered rewards I hadn’t learned in my writing and editing classes.

That I’d walk into someone’s kitchen and see a column I’d written on the front of their refrigerator.

That someone I’d forgotten meeting would ask me if I remembered the time I interviewed them.

How even on the bad days, I’d realize I was blessed with a career that gave me freedom, great friends and a chance to affect people with the way I put words together.
But even as I moved up to an editor’s spot and hung writing awards on my wall, ideas for the other kind of stories – made up stories – circled in my brain. So I played with short stories, tried out poetry and finally realized what I was meant to do.
Write books.

My first attempts shall remain forever hidden from all but my loved ones who will inherit them upon my death. They’re already preparing to haul the manuscripts out, read them page by page and make cruel fun of them. I figure it will cheer them after they discover my estate consists of a Mac Apple IIe and a photo of me with Barbara Bush after having tea at the White House.

It took time. But I attended workshops and read articles by fantastic writers and bought books and wrote. And wrote and wrote. Eventually I screwed up the courage to submit.
And submit and submit. Which, as one might guess, brought me rejection after rejection.

Until a publisher asked for a full. And an agent agreed to represent me. And a few contest wins for my fiction and, eventually, an offer to publish the first in my Shadow Ancient vampire series, “Out of the Shadows.”

That’s when Cammie Eicher appeared on the literary scene. Cat Shaffer made her debut a year or two later when it became obvious to me that having one persona for the gritty paranormal books and another for works that were, well, not gritty paranormal books were a good idea.

I’ve been blessed to write for two publishers, Resplendence Publishing and Turquoise Morning Press, who have given me the go-ahead on a variety of books. My most recent Cat Shaffer release is Academy for Losers, the first in The Non-Magicals series, and is aimed at young adults.

Why young adult? Because Cammie’s books are aimed at adults and the kids from the youth group at my church wanted me to write something they could read. It’s taken a few years, but Academy for Losers is the result.

I love the characters, I love the happenings at the Academy and I’m so excited that the powers-that-be at Turquoise Morning want more. Yes, two more adventures of The Non-Magicals will be coming out in 2015.

So what have I learned since fourth grade?

Writing is harder than I thought back then. Editors are meaner to writers than kind small-town teachers. There is no support group as fantastic as my fellow authors.

And it’s so much easier to hit a deadline when you don’t have a cat laying on the keyboard.

Who knew that being less than special could make Violet Greene so extraordinary?
Banished to Hempstead Academy for her total lack of natural magic, Violet Greene figures life as she knows it is over. She soon discovers that there’s more for her at this Academy for Losers than vocational classes. Like totally cool new friends, the cutest boy she’s ever met and an unexpected talent with lawnmower engines—as well as a chance to use the art of prestidigitation at the county spelling bee.

Life would be perfect if only she didn’t have to thwart a nosy guidance counselor, survive her classes without maiming anyone, and figure out how to ace a report on the most boring book ever. 


Suspense author Cat Shaffer is a native of Northwest Ohio. She now lives in northeastern Kentucky with a bossy Sheltie, a rambunctious Lab puppy and a trio of cats who think they rule the world.

In her alter ego of Cammie Eicher, she writes paranormal suspense, including the Shadow Ancient vampires series.

Cat/Cammie has books in both digital and print formats, most of them suspense novels. She also has her first young adult novel, "Academy for Losers," slated for release this fall, the story of a non-magical girl in a world where what matters most is magic.

The common thread to all of Cat/Cammie's works are strong characters, plots with twist and turns and her love of small towns and small town people, all presented with a sense of humor.

Contact Cat at or on Facebook.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Diana Green - How I Became A Writer

I'm very pleased to welcome author Diana Green who shares her story of how she became a writer.

~ * ~

I want to start by thanking Linda for inviting me to her excellent blog. It is fascinating to read the journeys of my fellow writers. 
As with most authors, “becoming a writer” didn’t happen overnight for me. There has been a lot of patience, hard work, and unexpected twists in my life path, to get here.  Now that I am here, I find being a good writer is a moving target. I’m constantly striving to improve, to stretch myself, and hone my craft.

I have always loved stories. As a child, even before I could write words, I drew pictures to make stapled, construction paper books. Once I learned to read and write, there was no stopping me. I joyfully read aloud to anyone who would listen, memorized fables and myths to retell, and began writing my own creations.

At sixteen I tried my hand at becoming a novelist. I almost finished that first one, before teenage life distracted me, and I put it away. It’s just as well, as the writing was not great. Over the following years I tried twice more. In my mid-twenties I managed to complete my first fully-realized book, The Song of Sehdra Mor. It is an epic-fantasy adventure, which I have since reworked and self-published through Amazon.

In the meantime, I got married, had a child, got divorced, went back to school as a single mom, got remarried, and became a teacher. Needless to say, there wasn’t much time in all that for writing. I managed to complete some short stories, a few of which got published in literary journals. I have since self-published twelve of them in a collection titled, The Dream Seller’s Wares.

I enjoyed teaching art and special education both. It was a deeply satisfying career, though the writing urge still nipped at my heels. During breaks in the school year I would dabble, even starting another two novels, before realizing I just didn’t have the time to complete them. Teaching, (even more so with special needs students) is an all-consuming occupation, especially if you love it, as I did.

About two years ago, my health gave out. It was partly a result of overworking and also being exposed to so many cold and flu bugs. I spent my last teaching year struggling against a series of viruses. This triggered an auto-immune reaction in my body. I became seriously ill, so much so I could barely get out of bed, for weeks on end. In time I was diagnosed with auto-immune thyroiditis and chronic fatigue syndrome.

With the help of an excellent specialist, (I will be grateful to her forever), I have learned how to manage my condition. I have regained a portion of my earlier health, though I still function within challenging constraints.  One of the limitations is that I can no longer teach.

Giving up my work with children was painful, but I began to recognize a new path was opening. With my medical condition, I have to work at something with flexible hours, and preferably from home. It just so happens my bliss, my life-long passion, WRITING, fit the need perfectly. 

Once I saw writing as a profession, rather than a hobby, things began to happen. I signed my first book contract, this past March. It was for a romantic science fiction adventure titled New Sion, which has just released with Champagne Books. In August, I sold the first book of a fantasy/romance trilogy, Dragon Clan, to The Wild Rose Press. The novel, Dragon Wife, will be released some time in 2014, and I am currently working on the second book, Dragon Warrior.

Clearly, it has been an exciting time, leaping into the world of publishing, with so much to learn and so much to do. I love being able to share my stories. I have ideas for many more, and now I will have the time and means to write them. It is a blessing for which I will never stop being thankful.

Thank you for taking the time to read about my journey. I encourage you to visit my website to learn more about my books. There are excerpts, book trailers and more.

 Pretending to be a man isn’t easy. Finn Colville has pulled it off for years, but things get complicated when she falls for her new bounty hunting partner, Eamon Sullivan. On the planet New Sion, it’s against the law for a woman to wear pants and carry a gun, much less shoot people for a living. What will happen if Eamon discovers her secret?
On a backwater planet, at the edge of a galactic war, one man, one woman, and one desperate alien cross paths. Together they embark on the road trip of a lifetime, bound for revelation, and redemption.

Available from Champagne Books, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other online retailers.

Diana’s Books
The Dream Seller’s Wares
The Song of Sehdra Mor
New Sion

Diana Green's Bio

Since her childhood, growing up in New Zealand, Diana has been an avid storyteller. For years she enjoyed teaching art and special education, while continuing to write as a hobby. After she developed chronic fatigue syndrome, a career change was necessary, but happily this led her to become a professional author.
Diana’s favorite genres are fantasy, science fiction, historical, and romance. She currently lives in beautiful Washington State where she writes for Champagne Books and The Wild Rose Press.

Visit her website at:  DIANAGREENBOOKS.COM

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Judy Alter - How I Became A Writer

I'm very happy to introduce author Judy Alter who shares her journey into writing.

~ * ~

I don’t think I ever “became” an author though it took me years to feel I could claim that title. Maybe it was the transition from “writer” to “author,” but I think I was born a writer. I came by my love of words honestly. My parents both read voraciously and read to me when I was a child. By ten, I was writing short stories, and in high school I submitted stories to Seventeen, the Bible for teen girls of my era. Of course, those stories came right back.
In college, I majored in English because I wanted to read and some man was going to marry me and take care of me, so I didn’t worry about a career (I’m dating myself, I fear). I must have envisioned a life of reading while eating bonbons, but it didn’t work out that way. I kept going to school, majoring in English until I had a Ph.D. and my then-husband said, “No more college.” Along the way I gave up writing fiction because graduate school in those days taught you to analyze and defend and do everything but give in to your imagination. I wrote a lot of nonfiction, particularly articles on health for the average reader (my husband was a doctor, and I was immersed in the medical community).
I was also developing an interest in the literature of the American West, because of my graduate studies. A friend gave me her mother’s autobiography, a manuscript carefully pounded out on a manual typewriter. The story fascinated me—the writer grew up in a small East Texas town, the daughter of a deputy sheriff who was shot and killed when she was just four years old. Her account was full of details of life in the early twentieth century—a tornado that picked a baby out of its crib and set it down, unharmed, by a stock tank; a wedding breakfast of quail on toast points; the arrival of the first Jewish family in the town. Only problem was I didn’t know what to do with this material except to footnote and annotate it and rob it of every bit of life it had.
The idea that came to me was like the proverbial light bulb going off in my head. I had been reading some juvenile fiction and realized I could make the girl fourteen instead of four and tell the story from her point of view. The result was my first published novel. By serendipity I had met an agent who took it on and sold it to a New York house (those were different days than the present). I called it A Year With No Summer, but the marketing people called it After Pa Was Shot. My mother sniffed and said, “More violence!” To my surprise, they marketed it as a young-adult book and immediately I was pigeon-holed as a young-adult author, a category I’ve worked hard to break out of.

In the years since, I’ve published eleven novels for adults, eight for young adults, and reams of nonfiction, most of it book for young readers, many of them about women of the American West. Along the way I even wrote a cookbook/memoir. These days I’m fulfilling my lifelong ambition to write mysteries, with two series and five books in print, at least two more scheduled. But I don’t think any book ever gives me the thrill that first one did.

A Kelly O'Connell Cozy Mystery, Book Four

Kelly O’Connell’s husband, Mike Shandy, insists she has a talent for trouble, but how can she sit idly by while her world is shattering. Daughter Maggie is hiding a runaway classmate; protégé Joe Mendez seems to be hanging out again with his former gang friends and ignoring his lovely wife Theresa; drug dealers have moved into her beloved Fairmount neighborhood. And amidst all this, reclusive former diva Lorna McDavid expects Kelly to do her grocery shopping. In spite of Mike’s warnings, Kelly is determined to save the runaway girl and her abused mother and find out what’s troubling Joe, even when those things lead back to the drug dealers. Before all the tangles in the neighborhood are untangled, Kelly finds herself wondering who to trust, facing drug dealers, and seeing more of death than she wants. But she also tests upscale hot dog recipes and finds a soft side to the imperious recluse, Lorna McDavid. It’s a wild ride, but she manages, always, to protect her daughters and keep Mike from worrying about her—at least not too much.

About Judy:

  An award-winning novelist, Judy Alter is the author of four books in the Kelly O’Connell Mysteries series: Skeleton in a Dead Space, No Neighborhood for Old Women, Trouble in a Big Box, and Danger Comes Home. With Murder at the Blue Plate Café, she moved from inner city Fort Worth to small-town East Texas to create a new set of characters in a setting modeled after a restaurant that was for years one of her family’s favorites. Murder at Tremont House, second in the Blue Plate Mystery Series, will appear in February 2014 and a fifth Kelly O’Connell novel is scheduled for July 2014.
     Judy is retired after twenty years as director of a small academic press. The mother of four and grandmother of seven, she lives in Fort Worth, Texas, with her Bordoodle, Sophie.

Judy can be found at: