Interview with Maria E. Schneider

How does one get grave dirt out of clothes?
We writers…are weird. We have concerns that normal people just never have to deal with. It’s the way our minds work (or overwork. Or don’t work…)

When your characters go wandering around graveyards (Adriel in Under Witch Moon, for example) you just might need to know how to get graveyard dirt out of clothing. It’s not ordinary dirt, you know. I mean…it has…stuff in it. It’s not like you’re going to want to toss a cotton shirt that has grave dirt into your compost bin, I don’t care HOW long you leave it there to compost! And if you do clean it…even if all the stains DO come out, well, you see the problem here??? You aren't really going to WEAR the thing again...unless you have to visit said graveyard a second time, and do you want to leave the thing hanging in your closet just in case??? What if some sort of ghost attached itself to the shirt??? Or pants? Yeah. In the middle of the night, if there are ANY unexpected sounds coming from that closet, you'll shoot it so full of holes, none of your clothes will be wearable!

It's probably best to burn it, bury it and just buy a new one.

I had the opportunity to chat with author Frank Tuttle recently about plot issues. If you kill an almost-vampire, is it murder? I mean the guy is in the middle of dying, but he’s not going to die, he’s going to vamp. And once he vamps, you’d have to kill him to keep yourself alive and avoid becoming dinner, right?

Frank, being Frank, had this to say:

You know, you do pose a very real legal concern. As I understand it, one can be charged with homicide if one shoots a man to death who has jumped from the 100th floor and is passing by your floor, the 50th, down to a certain death. Yes, the falling man was doomed anyway. But legally, the shooter committed murder — which I assume would also apply to vamp-bitten humans who have yet to turn.

Too bad all the best lawyers are vampires themselves!

So, if a writer you know asks you an odd question or two, don't take it to heart. We're probably just researching for a novel.
Red or White Wine with that?
I was recently reminded of a time I was invited to a cookout. It was suggested I bring the wine. Okay, I am not the right person to ask because I don’t drink wine, but when the hostess asks you to bring wine, you do the best you can. When I asked what the main dish would be, she replied, “Hotdogs. New York hotdogs.”

Erm. Is it just me or do writers attract weirdos? I mean, people even weirder than writers???

I muttered about New York and just why did any hotdog require wine? But being a writer, I know how to research. Plus, I have an uncle who claims to be a wine connoisseur. Well, it turns out, uncle is a FRAUD. All he did was sputter when I asked what kind of wine to pair with hotdogs. He may have even called my mom to complain about my attitude.


But, never fear! I have a buddy who drinks French wine. He is more geek than connoisseur. He speaks French, at least to the extent where he can show off. He knows fancy phrases, the ones people throw out at parties to show how knowledgeable they are. No one understands the phrase, but we all nod knowingly. It's quite possible that all these years he’s been telling us that eating green peas puts hair on your chest. Still, he was my best bet so I sent him an email. I asked if he could he recommend a dinner wine to pair with hotdogs. --NO, it isn’t my party. I don’t even eat hotdogs!

Luckily, my geek friend is more into research than I am. He does not like any question to go unanswered. Nothing like passing the homework on to someone more obsessed than myself!

Friend suggested Scotch straight up to get through the party. As for wines, he asked if maybe she meant she wanted to soak the hotdogs in wine. Or beer.

No, I assured him. She wanted wine to drink.

Well, he came through. For hotdogs, “boxed wine is the only way to go. Doesn’t matter if it is red or white. Get a rose and you’re covered. If you want upscale wine for your hotdogs, get a four or six pack of wines with tops that screw off.”

He didn’t include any helpful French phrases for the party. Not that I’d get them correct. As for the outing, I decided to bring hamburger patties because I don’t actually like hotdogs, and if I brought wine, I'd have nothing to eat AND nothing to drink. Yeah, yeah. So I might not get invited again. I’ll probably get over that.

Maria is the author of the humorous Sedona O'Hala mystery series, Catch an Honest Thief and the Moon Shadow urban fantasy series.
Published 2015-01-24.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Dragon's Egg
Series: Dragons of Wendal, Book 4. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 65,290. Language: English. Published: October 31, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Paranormal, Fiction » Romance » Paranormal
Winter is a skilled thief. It should have been an easy job. She wasn’t counting on a dragon with postpartum depression, the dragon’s unhatched egg or the injured wizard with a shakier past than her own. The plan was to depart town for greener pastures and easier purses to snatch. Too bad leaving requires pulling off the biggest heist of all.
Dragons of Wendal Boxed Set (1-3)
Series: Dragons of Wendal, Book 5. Price: $6.99 USD. Words: 183,470. Language: English. Published: April 24, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Paranormal, Fiction » Romance » New adult
The Dragons of Wendal Trilogy includes: Dragons of Wendal, DragonKin and Fairy Bite.
Fairy Bite
Series: Dragons of Wendal, Book 3. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 63,310. Language: English. Published: April 27, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Paranormal, Fiction » Romance » Paranormal
Shunned ever since a fairy mistakenly bit her, Ally leaves her village knowing it's the only way her family can resume their normal lives. She heads to Wendal, hoping the shifters there won’t care about problems associated with a fairy bite. Before she is even halfway there, she discovers that the fairies may not be finished ruining her life. Book 3 in the Dragons of Wendal series.
Moon Shadow Series (Books 1-3)
Series: Moon Shadow Series, Book 5. Price: $8.99 USD. Words: 263,470. Language: English. Published: September 29, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Paranormal, Fiction » Fantasy » Urban
Moon Shadow Boxed Set - Under Witch Curse, Under Witch Aura, Under Witch Curse - Adriel never intended to fight crime with magic, but trouble finds her faster than a tracking spell.
One Good Eclair (A Nutrition Mafia Mystery)
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 69,390. Language: English. Published: October 4, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Cozy, Fiction » Mystery & detective » Women Sleuths
Ivy is determined to make her living as a nutritionist, but her family has other plans. When that family is the mafia, and one of them has gone missing, all other jobs are summarily pushed aside. Or else. Ivy can’t cook her way out of this mess, but she has a recipe or two for dealing with disaster—if she can just put the fires out before she gets burned!
Year of the Mountain Lion
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 5,990. Language: English. Published: August 12, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Short stories, Fiction » Adventure » General
(5.00 from 1 review)
Cursed as a drought-bringer, Jolan lives a harsh life of nomadic exile in the desolate desert that surrounds her former cliff dwelling home. Now, for reasons she can't fathom, she is being hunted by those who have already cast her out. Unfortunately for her pursuers, Jolan is not helpless and she is determined to survive.
Sedona O'Hala Mysteries - Boxed Set (1-3)
Series: Sedona O'Hala Mysteries, Book 6. Price: $8.99 USD. Words: 239,120. Language: English. Published: August 6, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Cozy, Fiction » Mystery & detective » Women Sleuths
The Sedona O'Hala Mysteries Boxed Set contains the first three novels in the series: Executive Lunch, Executive Retention and Executive Sick Days. Sedona has more than her share of family problems, career challenges and mysteries to be solved.
Executive Dirt
Series: Sedona O'Hala Mysteries, Book 5. Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 70,360. Language: English. Published: August 4, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Cozy, Fiction » Mystery & detective » Women Sleuths
Sedona happily turns down Steve Huntington’s latest undercover project when Mark gets her a fantastic job testing advanced cell phones. But if the dead body of her co-worker is any indication, the new job may not prove to be any safer than Huntington’s covert assignments. Can she somehow endure family interferences and stay alive long enough to solve the case?
Ghost Shadow
Series: Moon Shadow Series, Book 4. Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 74,490. Language: English. Published: January 25, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Urban, Fiction » Fantasy » Paranormal
Shadow is stuck In Between, dead, but not gone. Martin insists she isn’t dead and doesn’t belong here, but so far as she can tell, the trip was a one-way ticket. If Adriel and Lynx insist on trying to help her, how can she refuse? But if magic can’t find her living body, how can one stubborn cat do the impossible? is there really enough magic in the world to bring her back over?
Executive Affairs
Price: Free! Words: 5,950. Language: English. Published: January 1, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Women Sleuths, Fiction » Mystery & detective » Short Stories
(4.00 from 1 review)
Executive Affairs contains two Sedona O'Hala short stories, Executive Affairs and Executive Gardening. These shorts are based on the characters in Maria's popular Sedona O'Hala humorous mystery series. Executive Lunch is the first novel in the series. Sedona must solve a few crimes while fighting her way up the corporate ladder; mostly she dangles from her fingertips just trying to survive.
Soul of the Desert
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 81,750. Language: English. Published: December 28, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Western, Fiction » Coming of age
In 1976, the best a kid in Harlem can hope for is to work for the mob or pick up extra bucks as an informer. It may be too late for Rand, but that won’t stop him from trying to save his brother, Bo. When strangers appear on the streets of Harlem, Rand hatches a crazy plan to send Bo to a place that is so desolate and removed from Harlem that no one will dare follow.
Series: Dragons of Wendal, Book 2. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 62,360. Language: English. Published: December 26, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Paranormal, Fiction » Fantasy » General
Drissa needs a place to hide, and she needed it yesterday. Wendal, with its rumors of inhospitable shifters, unknown terrain and wild magic, is not a territory many want to explore, making it the perfect place to disappear. Now, the last thing Drissa needs is to adopt more trouble, but what can she do when it hatches at her feet and then insists she drag it and a half-dead stranger to safety?
Under Witch Curse
Series: Moon Shadow Series, Book 3. Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 81,240. Language: English. Published: December 19, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Urban, Fiction » Fantasy » Paranormal
Zandy, the wily coyote, is back in town, and he’s out for blood. Someone had better find him fast because the body count is rising. With White Feather to help, Adriel expects life to get easier, but the relationship comes with surprises. This time, Adriel might just need more than solid ground beneath her feet and the wind at her back.
Dragons of Wendal
Series: Dragons of Wendal, Book 1. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 57,980. Language: English. Published: June 28, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Paranormal, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Fantasy
(4.00 from 1 review)
Learning magic isn’t as easy as Zoe expected, especially when the mages at Gorgon seem dead set against teaching. When Zoe involves herself in a rescue, she gains the attention of a dragon and a wolf shifter from Wendal. To regain her freedom, all Zoe has to do is unravel a curse on Lindis, the dragon. As for Derrick, the wolf, he's happy to protect Zoe. But what will he demand in return?
Under Witch Aura
Series: Moon Shadow Series, Book 2. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 90,110. Language: English. Published: December 13, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Urban, Fiction » Fantasy » Paranormal
(5.00 from 3 reviews)
There’s an ill wind blowing, and it’s touching every witch Adriel knows, including White Feather, who is far more important to Adriel than just any warlock. Adriel will do what she must to keep those she loves safe, but if she lures the enemy away, will she be able to save herself? Her only hope is to use earth magic to hide from the very air she breathes as she hunts down an untenable evil.
Executive Sick Days
Series: Sedona O'Hala Mysteries, Book 3. Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 80,830. Language: English. Published: February 20, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Women Sleuths, Fiction » Mystery & detective » Cozy
(5.00 from 4 reviews)
Book 3: Sedona O'Hala Mysteries. Steve Huntington had a way of offering jobs that were too good to be true. Mark Huntington made offers too good to turn down. Sedona had a habit of being caught in the middle; somewhere near bad guys with guns and family members she was trying to avoid.
Under Witch Moon
Series: Moon Shadow Series, Book 1. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 92,310. Language: English. Published: September 29, 2010. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Paranormal, Fiction » Fantasy » Urban
(4.40 from 10 reviews)
Under Witch Moon is the first in an urban fantasy series: When dead bodies start turning up Adriel has no choice but to talk to White Feather, an undercover cop. Unfortunately, Adriel is a witch and White Feather isn't convinced she's innocent of wrongdoing. She's going to have to talk fast--and set spells even faster if she expects to survive.
Ίχνη Φαντασμάτων (Haunting Clues)
Price: Free! Words: 4,230. Language: Greek. Published: July 22, 2010. Categories: Fiction » Anthologies » Short stories - single author, Fiction » Fantasy » Contemporary
(5.00 from 1 review)
Ο Μαξ αναλαμβάνει να απομακρύνει τα φαντάσματα από μία πολυτελή έπαυλη. Για να αντιμετωπίσει τους νεκρούς, όμως, πρέπει πρώτα να ξεσκεπάσει τα μυστικά αυτών που είναι ακόμα ζωντανοί.
Executive Retention
Series: Sedona O'Hala Mysteries, Book 2. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 80,740. Language: English. Published: May 27, 2010. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Women Sleuths, Fiction » Mystery & detective » Amateur sleuth
(4.00 from 1 review)
After solving one case of corporate crime, Sedona expected to get her peaceful life back. Problem: She is still a manager at Strandfrost, and there is still rampant jealousy over her promotion. Is the danger of being railroaded by her not-so-illustrious colleagues worse than taking a new undercover job from Steve Huntington? Book 2 in the Sedona O'Hala series. "Executive Lunch" is the first.
Tracking Magic
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 30,130. Language: English. Published: April 8, 2010. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » General, Fiction » Fantasy » Paranormal
(4.67 from 3 reviews)
"Get Smart" meets "Ghost Busters!"-- A humorous urban fantasy. Five case files from Max Killian Investigations: Max is hired to expel a ghost from a mansion, counteract an ancient curse, investigate a graveyard mystery and figure out which secrets are worth dying for. All in a day's work--assuming he survives!
Executive Lunch
Series: Sedona O'Hala Mysteries, Book 1. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 90,320. Language: English. Published: November 9, 2009. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Women Sleuths, Fiction » Mystery & detective » Cozy
(4.33 from 6 reviews)
Sedona is given the opportunity of a lifetime: play an up-and-coming executive with all the trappings of wealth with someone else footing the bill. The catch: find out who is stealing company funds before the criminals find out that their program is being debugged. Sedona runs into danger, the corporate glass ceiling, and an occasional chance at romance in her quest.
Catch an Honest Thief
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 73,730. Language: English. Published: September 7, 2009. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » General, Fiction » Romance » Contemporary
(4.50 from 2 reviews)
An Indiana Jones-style caper across the desert of New Mexico; high-tech gadgets, a mystery and a romance. Alexia must protect the crystals that power the city of Haven. Going undercover and stealing the crystals seemed like a great idea--until a real thief showed up. Confessing her duplicity might help Chris, the attractive new security chief, but it would cost Alexia everything she holds dear.
Sage: Tales from a Magical Kingdom
Price: Free! Words: 31,310. Language: English. Published: August 29, 2009. Categories: Fiction » Anthologies » Short stories - single author, Fiction » Fantasy » General
(5.00 from 4 reviews)
Sword and Sorcery meets Agatha Christie: Three novellas introduce the Kingdom of Sage and those who protect its boundaries. Toil, Trouble and Rot: Sage is under attack from a deadly and mysterious enemy. Dungeons and Decay: Find out how far a mother will go when her child is in danger. Call to Arms: Every hand is needed when a ghost invades the kingdom demanding old wrongs be righted.