Ask the Author

questionsAfter the release of Who Killed the Ghost in the Library? questions started coming in from my readers. I love to engage with my readers, so I opened my Facebook page up for questions.  You asked; I answered:

SPOILER ALERT: This Q&A contains plot information for my books. If you haven’t read them all, I recommend coming back once you’re done! 

Do you like blowing things up in your books because it’s illegal in real life?

You can blame my son for that. When I did NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) in November 2010, he kept asking me to blow things up, ram a truck into a house (he wanted the truck to go all the way THROUGH the house; we compromised and only went as far as the kitchen), and he wanted a car chase. This is the story Good Night, Sleep Tight, Don’t Let the Stalkers Bite.

I’d like to know where Randy’s (The Ghost Writer story) money comes from.

So would I! I need a loan to pay some bills! Seriously, I don’t know. But I’m sure we’ll find out in the next book, Who Killed the Ghost Writer?

Was Agatha so enamored with Stanley that she was willing to live with a dead man than to live her own life, or was she just stuck in the past?

I believe you hit the nail on the head, so to speak. She and Stanley had been together before he got married, and they stayed together for a few years even after that. I mean, Stanley IV and Cecilia were the children of their affair. Agatha gave him the children Amelia couldn’t, and she felt that entitled her to be the mistress of the manor, not Amelia. But Stanley truly loved his wife, and he was not about to walk away from his family to be with Agatha, and I think that drove her over the edge. He dies, Amelia signs the house over to Agatha and leaves town, and suddenly, Agatha has everything that she ever wanted.

What were her reasons for staying there?

She had what she wanted; she became mistress of the manor, and she had Stanley, even if he was a ghost. He couldn’t leave, and why would she leave? She had money, a huge house, and the man she loved. In her warped way, she had everything she ever wanted.

She had money to live her life. Did she think Amelia would stop the money? Or was she afraid that Amelia would come back and take over the house again?

As previously stated, she had everything she wanted. And with the story that Stanley IV was the one that killed her husband, there was no way that Amelia would risk her son’s future, so she did the only thing she could do. She allowed herself to be blackmailed by her husband’s mistress. Agatha knew that Amelia would keep paying in order to protect the family secret.

I want a sneak peek into Lizzie’s love life. Who will she choose?

This is something she is going to struggle with over the next couple of books, I think. She feels betrayed by T.J. because he used her to capture her crazy serial killer aunt, Debra Cosgrove. After what happened with Jake in college, it took her a while to open her heart again. T.J. stomped all over it. She still cares about him, but she’s not sure she wants to get involved with him again because she doesn’t know if she can trust him. As for Jake, he hasn’t really changed since their college days. He’s still trying to control things, and she knows it. She’s been making her own decisions and living her own life, and to give that up would be like cutting a piece of herself off. She knows Jake has ulterior motives, so she’s keeping him at arms’ length and watching him closely.

If Lizzie could do anything, and didn’t always find herself fighting crime, what would she do?

Despite her grumblings, I think she enjoys working at the newspaper. She’s starting to get the hang of it, and she’s surprised by how much she looks forward to going to work. Now if she could just get rid of Jake…

I love your Lizzie books. When is the next one coming out?

Soon! I’m writing a stand-alone Lizzie story for an anthology called Unlucky 7 (that’s what the anthology is called, not the Lizzie story). My contribution is Death Takes the Blue Ribbon. I will just say there is a pie-eating contest, and a death of someone we all know. I’m also hoping to get a second Lizzie story out before Christmas, Death Shoots the Sheriff (and no, it’s not Owen!).

I loved answering your questions! We’ll have to do this again soon!  If you have questions you’d like to see answered, hit me up on Facebook or Twitter!

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Friday’s Miscellaneous This and That

What a week it has been! Who Killed the Ghost in the Library? is really starting to take off. At the time of this post, it’s currently ranked #52 under Mystery, Thriller, Suspense/Crime Fiction/Murder! And it has eight 5-star reviews! I’m shocked, surprised and pleased beyond words. I put a lot of heart and soul into this book, and to have people embracing it like they are is just thrilling. One person told me that Cam is “a modern day, young Jessica Fletcher”, which is a wonderful compliment, because I grew up watching “Murder, She Wrote” with my mother. Someone else told me that the book was just as good as a Janet Evanovich book, also a compliment because I love Stephanie Plum! Cam did an interview this week on Christina Freeburn’s blog. You can read the interview here (and check out Christina’s mystery series while you’re there): Cam’s Interview

In case you think I’ve forgotten about Lizzie, I haven’t! I am currently working on a Lizzie story for a box set called Unlucky 7. The title of my story is Death Takes the Blue Ribbon. There are six other authors who will be joining me in this collection: Jamie Lee Scott, Scott Silverii, Fiona Quinn, Diane Capri , Hildie McQueen, and Vivi Anna. We are looking at a November publication date. I will let you know more as information becomes available. Death Takes the Blue Ribbon will be a stand alone book, so don’t worry about missing out on anything in the story line! But wait…that’s not the only Lizzie book coming out! I am also hoping to publish Death Shoots the Sheriff by Christmas! This one WILL continue the storyline, and will pick up a short time after the end of Death Catches a Killer. So if you haven’t read that one yet, you have plenty of time to get it!

On a more somber note: I would be remiss if I did not say something about the passing of Robin Williams. I first watched him on “Mork and Mindy”, and thought he was a wonderful comedian. I watched his show “A Night at the Met”, and I was amazed at how funny he was about his addiction, and life in general. I’ve seen many of his movies and his one-man shows on DVD, and I have shared the laughter that he brought me with my son. I guess I could relate to him because I make fun of the things that happen in my life. It’s a way to cope and deal with them. Laughter is the best medicine, but sometimes in the midst of the laughter, we can forget what causes the pain in the first place. Those that bring us the laughter often have the deepest pain. If you know someone who is going through a rough time, reach out to them, even if it’s just to say hello. Sometimes just listening to them talk about their hard day can help more than you know.

That’s it from me for today. Who knows what I’ll talk about next week! You’ll have to come back and find out!

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A Sneak Peak of Who Killed the Ghost in the Library?

I thought I would give you all an update on how things are going with my newest story (and series), Who Killed the Ghost in the Library? This will be my first full-length novel (currently 315 pages!), and I’m terribly nervous and excited about it.

8_days_logoI finished entering all the editing notes my beta readers/editors gave me, as well as my own notes, last night, and sent it off for the final read through. It looks like everything is still on track for an August 5th release date. That’s next Tuesday, folks!

It was suggested to me that I should share an excerpt from the story. This was followed by a discussion about what scene I should share with you. I hope you enjoy the part we picked out!

The advantage of riding in a patrol car with lights and sirens is that you get to your destination a lot faster without the fear of getting a ticket. We stopped in front of the nursing home twelve minutes later. There were three other patrol cars there, along with a couple of county sheriff’s cars. An ambulance was parked behind one of the county cars. Ignoring the wave of nausea that swept over me, I ran after Mike and Steve as they ran through the front door.

Nursing homes are like mazes, in my opinion, meant to confuse the mice so they can’t find their way to the cheese. Or in this case, to make sure that the people who lived there couldn’t find their way to the front door. We made a couple of wrong turns before we found the outdoor garden, which is in the center of the complex.

Grandma Alma was sitting in her wheelchair, being checked out by one paramedic while his partner checked out Walt, who was down on the ground. “Grandpa!” Mike said, rushing to his side.

“I’m alright,” Walt said.

He didn’t look alright. There was a bruise on his cheek, a gash on his forehead, and he looked pale. The paramedic treating him looked up at Mike. “I think he might have broken a hip.”

“What about her?” Mike said, pointing at Grandma Alma.

“Sprained wrist, nothing serious.”

Mike turned to the deputy that was standing nearby. “What happened here?”

“We got a call about an assault in progress. By the time we got here, your men were already searching for the suspect.”

His radio crackled. “Suspect in custody.”

“Have them bring him to us.”

The deputy nodded and relayed the message. “What happened, Ms. Alma?” Mike asked.

“I went back to my room to get my binoculars. Walt thought he spotted a bird’s nest in that tree over there,” she said, pointing to a nearby tree. “When I came back out, someone dressed in black was beating up your grandfather. He fell to the ground, and the person pulled out a knife and stood over him, ready to stab him. I rolled up behind him and started yelling and beating him with my cane.” She held up her cane, which was bent in half. “I might have gotten a bit carried away. Whoever it was gave up and ran off.”

“What were you thinking, Grandma?” I chided her. “You could have been killed.”

“I wasn’t about to sit by and be a helpless victim, young lady,” she said sternly. “You know me better than that!”

“She was great,” Walt said, smiling with pride.

My head started spinning again, and I sat down on the bench next to Grandma Alma’s wheelchair. “You smell like smoke,” she said, getting a good whiff of me.

“Sorry about that,” I said. “Someone tried to blow us up.”

I hope that’s grabbed your attention! You’ll just have to wait until Tuesday, August 5th to read the rest of Who Killed the Ghost in the Library?

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Announcing My First Full-Length Novel!

Wow, it really has been a long time since I’ve posted! I am so sorry! I should be grounded and sent to my room; my son says that’s not really punishment, though. I have a TV, DVD player, and plenty of movies in there, and I can always sneak the WiiU in there to keep myself entertained!

Actually, things have been a little crazy in my house for the last eight, nine months. My only child moved to Missouri in November, taking a big piece of my heart with him. I’ve had a rough time of it, as I’m sure all parents who are suddenly empty nesters will understand (granted, I still have the other child, aka my husband, but it’s not the same thing!). I did a little writing, but the motivation just wasn’t there because my son was gone.

However, thanks to Bente Gallagher, who graciously shared one of her story ideas with me, Jamie Livingston-Dierks, Stacy Jeziorowski, Kristi Spinks, my parents and my son, I finally started working on a brand new story. It’s in the final editing stages as I type this (speed it up, Stacy!), and we are planning to release the story August 5th.

Introducing My First Full-Length Novel!

So, what kind of story is it? For starters, it’s what you’ve all been asking for: it’s a full-length novel! No, really! As of right now, it’s 313 pages, almost 90,000 words. I’m just as surprised and thrilled as you are! I didn’t think I had it in me, but once I got into the story, it just flowed.

GhostInTheLibrary1It’s not a Lizzie story, however. Like I said, this is a brand new series, and the first book is Who Killed the Ghost in the Library? It stars a ghost writer named Cam Shaw, who ghost writes stories for other people (sorry, due to those pesky confidential and non-disclosure agreements, we’re not allowed to tell you who she’s worked with). However, her newest client believes she actually helps ghosts write their stories, because, well…he’s a ghost. Stanley Ashton III was murdered in the mid-1940s in his own house, and he’s been stuck there ever since. After seeing Cam’s ad in the newspaper, he hires her to find out who killed him. But someone doesn’t want the story to come out. Bodies start dropping like flies, someone tries to kill a former police chief, who is the grandfather of the current police chief, Mike Penhall. Mike thinks that Cam needs to butt out of his investigation, until he meets Stanley. So who killed the ghost, and who doesn’t want the truth to come out?

I promise there are plenty of explosions, excitement, shootouts, and chemistry, especially between Cam and Mike. Keep checking here and my author page on Facebook for excerpts and more details as it gets closer to the release date. I’m very excited about this book, and I know you all are going to LOVE it!

It’s Going to be a Busy Year!

Yes, there will be a second book! Who Killed the Ghost Writer? Cam is contacted by the ghost of a fellow ghost writer, who was killed because of a book they were writing. But Cam doesn’t know who her friend’s client is, because the manuscript has disappeared!

I’m sure you are wondering about poor Lizzie. Don’t worry! I haven’t forgotten about her. I have a couple of plot ideas I’m bouncing around for her: Death Drives a Zamboni and Death Shoots the Sheriff. I’m not sure which one is going to be first, but I’m hoping to have a new Lizzie story by the end of the year. Catch up on all of the Lizzie’s adventures in the meantime!

Thank you all for being so patient! I promise it was all worth it! The new story is fantastic! Stay tuned!

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It’s Book Launch Day!

I have started a new series, the Charlie Bannerman Mysteries, and the first book, Good Night, Sleep Tight, Don’t Let the Stalkers Bite, is now available on Amazon!

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Charlie is having a normal day: she’s running late, her Malamute has treed Mrs. Rodriguez’ cat, and her car won’t start. But what does the note “MINE, NOT YOURS. GET YOUR OWN!!” mean? Things get stranger when her crazy ex-boyfriend makes a move on her, his crazy girlfriend camps out on her front porch and accuses her of stealing the guy back (as if!). But blowing up her car with a body inside is downright terrifying. Charlie and her friends try to unravel the clues even as the chaos around her continues. How many stalkers does it take to kill one person? You’d be surprised at the answer!

This series is a bit darker than the Lizzie Crenshaw mystery series, but the humor is still there, along with the twists and turns you love. And it’s only $1.99!

Pick it up today on Amazon: Good Night, Sleep Tight, Don’t Let the Stalkers Bite

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I have found what I lost…my independence

I lost my independence a year ago. I sort of realized it at the time, but I didn’t know how deeply it would affect me until yesterday.

Last year, my son started his senior year of high school. As a senior, they were allowed to purchase a parking space close to the school and paint it any way they wanted to (as long as it conformed to school rules). When I was in high school, they didn’t have anything like this, and I didn’t get to drive to school. I wanted to make sure that my son could.

The deal we made was that I would get to drive the car once or twice a week. “Of course we’ll share the car, Mom,” he told me. Silly me, I believed him!

Over the past year, I’ve rarely driven it. I had this car ten years before he started driving. I could come and go as I pleased, without having to ask someone if it was okay to use the car. Suddenly, I was dealing with a teenager who, once he got his hands on the car, wasn’t about to relinquish control.

I did manage to drive it on the weekends; I did have to feed the family, after all, so trips to the store were an evil necessity. But the looks I got from my son when I asked for the keys were those of annoyance. And as the school year went by, it became more “his car” and less “my car”. Radio stations set to heavy metal and country (Lord help me!), black car seat covers with skulls on them (although now he has moved on to camouflage), his senior tassel and fuzzy dice hanging from the rear view mirror. 

After graduation, he found a job and the talk turned to him finding a truck. “You can have the car back, Mom.” Oh sure, give it back after he’s dented the hood, blown out the speakers, and scrapped paint off the left rear bumper! But we couldn’t find anything for him. I realized the other day we were going about this wrong. “Why don’t we try to find something for me?” I suggested to my husband and son.

“Go for it!” they said, although I was pretty sure they didn’t think I’d have much luck.

It took me only three days to find what I wanted: a 2001, 2 door silver grey Ford Explorer. I brought it home yesterday. As I sat here eating supper at 7:15, I thought “I need to take those bookmarks Larissa Reinhart (author of Hijack in Abstract) to the library.” I jumped in the Explorer and took off. I didn’t have to ask anyone for the keys so I could go. I just went. I even took the long way home, just enjoying the drive.

When I got home, my husband was here. He could tell I was very happy. He smiled and said, “I’m glad you got your independence back.”

It was at that moment that I realized what I had been missing for over a year. I didn’t feel depressed. This big weight that I had been carrying around, that I hadn’t completely understood was gone.

I’m free!

Catch me if you can! Time to go for a ride! Image

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On Cloche and Dagger

Hi fellow Teresa-fans! If you hang around her Facebook page, you probably know me by now. I’m Erin, Teresa’s right hand gal (or evil minion, depending on my mood). Normally, I write book reviews over on Paws & Print, but Teresa invited me to take over this space on Fridays. I’ll be bringing you reviews of the latest and greatest mysteries from my bookshelf.

Have a favorite mystery series, or something new I should check out. Drop a comment on one of my posts. I love suggestions!

Okay, now that I got that intro stuff out of the way, lets get down to the heart of the matter. This week, I am bringing you the newest release from Jenn McKinlay, Cloche and Dagger. Cloche and Dagger is the first book in McKinlay’s new mystery series, the Hat Shop Mysteries. This book was also my first foray into McKinlay’s work.

cloche and dagger

Not only is Scarlett Parker’s love life in the loo—as her British cousin Vivian Tremont would say—it’s also gone viral with an embarrassing video. So when Viv suggests Scarlett leave Florida to lay low in London, she hops on the next plane across the pond. Viv is the proprietor of Mims’s Whims, a ladies’ hat shop on Portobello Road bequeathed to both cousins by their beloved grandmother, and she wants Scarlett to finally join her in the millinery business.

But a few surprises await Scarlett in London. First, she is met at the airport not by Viv, but by her handsome business manager, Harrison Wentworth. Second, Viv—who has some whims of her own—seems to be missing. No one is too concerned about the unpredictable Viv until one of her posh clients is found dead wearing the cloche hat Viv made for her—and nothing else. Is Scarlett’s cousin in trouble? Or is she in hiding? (book blurb c/o Amazon.com)

My Thoughts

Overall, I really enjoyed Cloche and Dagger. From page one, Scarlett had me laughing. She is quite the spit-fire and definitely an accident waiting to happen. In many ways, I could sympathize with her, the feeling lost and getting swept up into things beyond her control. Scarlett just intends to come to London to try to rebuild her life after her breakup goes viral on the internet.

Next thing she knows, she is swept up in a murder mystery, trying to track down her missing cousin, dodging a killer that may or may not be targeting her and fighting growing feelings for Harrison. Yep, Scarlett quickly gets herself into a pickle.

Perhaps my only complaint is that the book seems to drag in certain places. For having so much action in the storyline, those slower chapters confused me just a bit. That is not to say that Cloche and Dagger is not worth adding to your reading list, it definitely is! Anyone who enjoys an old-fashioned murder mystery and a fun, quirky heroine should get a kick out of this book.

Want More?

Pick up your copy of Cloche and Dagger:

Amazon
Barnes & Noble

Find out more about Jenn McKinlay and all her work on the author’s homepage.

Until next my Teresa fans.

XOXO,

Erin

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