I'm not ready to dig my own grave. A bit of a gritty answer, right? Yet, it is the truth. I know I'm not alone in the myriad, and all-too-often unpredictable challenges thrown my way... and like many people, I've had my share of falling over the obstacles instead of conquering them, or at least, muddling through them with minimum injury. So... when life seems like it cannot get worse... for whatever reason. I stay in bed a tad longer, count my blessings for another sunrise and I take a cue from my cat... I stretch every which way a body can while under the covers. Oh, and then, there is the wake-me-up aroma of coffee... small blessings like an auto-set coffee brewer are incentives to throw off the covers and amble upstairs to the kitchen.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I have an Amazon Kindle, pretty basic version... I like tapping the buttons instead of using a touch screen. I used to have an E-bookwise.... that was quite some time ago, then when B & N bought out Fictionwise (the makers of the E-bookwise) Fictionwise and its device were discontinued. Shame on you B&N! I prefer reading on my Kindle rather than reading a hardprint book. Additionally, I read on my netbook, The little bit larger screen is a welcome change and it's easier for traveling, I can travel with the netbook, alone, rather than lug about a netbook and a Kindle. Sure makes going through airport security faster.
When did you first start writing?
I wrote a radio play script in 6th grade. My teacher entered my script in a PBS contest. My script was chosen and the local PBS radio station crew came to our school to broadcast the radio segment. I got to help cast the radio actors (with a great deal of guidance from the professional radio director). I was hooked. Truth be told... radio is my first love... but I'm on the wrong coast for reaching success in radio script writing.
What's the story behind your latest book?
The newest edition to my Shannon Delaney novels is A GHOST OF BROTHER JONATHAN'S. Its storyline was born from my fascination with shipwrecks. The Brother Jonathan was a ship the went down off the coast of California in the Victorian era of the Civil War. Because of the time/era (American Civil War) and the place... and the odd array of passengers, as well as the cargo on board... there has always been speculation about the cause of the shipwreck. For my lead character, Shannon Delaney, to become intrigued about the shipwreck and the mystery surrounding one of its survivors, from a present-day, looking back over 150 years ago perspective... the concept was too enticing for me to ignore. I had been musing about this plot for years.
Also, I just recently released a novelette: River Ghost. This is not part of a mystery series, rather it is a stand-alone cozy paranormal mystery, and it is novelette length, about 15,000 words. It takes place in Vicksburg, MS... an area I am familiar with because of my Southern ancestry. I used a few of my ancestor's names for characters in the story.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I hike three to four times a week. Living in a mountain forest makes this the most pleasant type of exercise for me. I hike throughout most weather conditions… though in winter, there are days I will not go out if the mercury is not above freezing...just too much ice and snow. On those days, I exercise by stacking and carrying wood. Our home is heated entirely by firewood (two airtight wood stoves), we burn 6 to 7 cords of wood each year from late October through April... so, hiking aside...I can vouch for the fact that stacking wood and carrying it will warm you twice.
I have hobbies that blow-off my creative urges: For instance I make my own glycerin soap, my own skin lotion and lip balm. I have a thing about cocoa butter...passionate about its aroma and skin-healthy attributes. I'm fortunate to have an excellent supplier (out of New Orleans) who provides top quality food-grade pure, raw cocoa butter. I incorporate cocoa butter into most of my skin products. Also, I do a little sewing: pjs, robes and tapestry bag shoulder purses, a tablecloth, once in a while.
Genealogy is another love and readers of my novels know that I am a member of one of America’s oldest, most profound heritage societies: Daughters of the American Revolution "D.A.R." So, here in my mountain village I often assist my neighbors on delving into their ancestry. And, along the lines of genealogy is my expertise in ghost research... after all...ghosts are deceased persons, and every ghost is an ancestor. Really... the research of an ancestor and ghost hunting have a lot in common, in each scenario, death is the first step in the research. As a ghost hunter...I am blessed to have contacts in all walks of life and experience... and all of them have a common outlook ...they are not the sensationalist ghost hunters you may have seen on TV. Real, truthful and honest ghost hunting is not as it is portrayed in the media, especially on TV and in the movies.
I read for pleasure only when I am not actively writing...and I do not read in the genre I write. I just finished The Perfume Collector.
How do you approach cover design?
The stories behind each of my book covers is an interview waiting to be told!
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
Where I grew up is not much of an influence... However, my heritage is a profound influence because I incorporate some reference (often trivial, often crucial) to my Southern ancestry and my Irish roots, in each novel. For instance the lead character: Shannon Delaney is named such because in Irish/Celtic mythology, the life-giving energy of water is a female power. Ireland's most famous and legendary river is the River Shannon. And, although all of the novels are located in California, all of the novels have plots that harken back to some aspect of my Southern heritage.
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