Hi Melissa and thank you for having me here today! I’m the co-author of Romancing the Million $$$ Ghost and I also run Pump Up Your Book, a book promotion company. I live on the beautiful island of Chincoteague, land of the wild ponies, Pony Penning and mosquitoes the size of basketballs but I love it here (except for during hurricane season).
Thanks! It sounds like you have an interesting life. Now on to some personal questions.
If you could go back in time to when you were seven years old, what wisdom or advice would you pass on to yourself?
I was seven years old when my mother married my step-father and we drove all the way across country from Virginia to California so it was a monumental year for me and if I could give wisdom or advice to that little skinny girl from the sticks, I’d say “Don’t sweat the small stuff. It’s the bigger stuff you need to worry about.”
For what are you grateful?
I am eternally grateful for every friend who has graced me with their presence, all the sunsets I’ve been able to see and Sunkist Orange Drink which I’m not supposed to have but I crave.
If a zombie virus took over the world, how many days do you think you could last before you were infected? And what would you do to postpone the inevitable?
LOL these are fun questions and it just so happens I just watched a zombie movie a few weeks ago (with my eyes closed) so I’m probably in a real good position to answer this so the answer is…I’m a coward so I’d probably be hiding out until they were gone. What would I do to postpone the inevitable? Get caught up on my WIPs of course!
What television sitcom is most like your family? Why?
I want to say Roseanne but I don’t want the world to know about it so I have to pick another one, right? Married with Children? Nope, not married. Gosh, this is hard. Next question?
What’s your favorite thing to do to relax?
I love to ride my bike or walk on the beach which just so happens to be really close. I also love to read. My job requires me to spend about 14 hours a day on the computer but I make time to take my bike ride and I try to make time to read a few chapters in between breaks.
Let’s find out a little bit about you as an author.
Did you always want to be an author?
Absolutely. When I was in the 2nd grade, our teacher told us to write about our summer vacation. I went a step further and took sheets of unlined notebook paper, folded them in half, ran yard through holes I had punched out on the side and made my own illustrated book. The teacher loved it but what I loved the most about it was that my name was on the cover. ;o)
What authors had an impact on you growing up and as an adult?
I devoured the Nancy Drew series. I wanted to be Nancy when I grew up!
Do you have any “must haves” with you while you’re writing?
The only must haves I need are my Sunkist and complete quiet.
How did you decide to write a paranormal romance story? Do you feel passionate about that genre?
I absolutely love ghostie stories and read them with a passion so the interest was definitely there all along. It wasn’t until a couple of online friends and I discovered there was a man offering a million dollars for proof that ghosts exist that I really thought it was time to write that book.
What have you learned the most from being in the writing business?
LOL, it’s exhausting. If you have nothing else to do but write, you’re good, but trying to get writing in and work done – talk about multitasking – it’s hard. Another thing I learned about the writing business is that you are your book’s lifeline. You know your book better than anyone else and what you need to do is play up on the points in your book that will create the most interest.
Tell us about your latest release: (buckle up folks...here's where it gets good!)
Romancing the Million $$$ Ghost is written by Heide AW Kaminski, Pam Ryan and myself. It’s about six highly intuitive but spiritually challenged women (one joins later so technically it’s seven) who take up someone’s offer to find a ghost – a particular ghost – for a million dollars.
Here’s the blurb:
Eccentric tobacco tycoon Rodger Hawthorne III can have anything his heart desires except his dead wife, Sarah. Feeling responsible for the car crash that killed her twenty years earlier, he offers one million dollars to anyone who can find her spirit and bring it to him within one week or the money is forfeited. Six spiritually-challenged—but highly intuitive—women find his ad over the Internet and accept his challenge only to embark on a journey they didn’t quite expect that covers astral traveling, past life regressions and spiritual encounters of the unworldly kind. While this book is lightly based on a true story of a real man who is offering one million dollars to anyone who can prove that spirits exist, this story is purely fictional. Or is it?
Here’s an excerpt from the prologue:
“What century is this?”
Henri’s best friend, drinking buddy and partner in crime, Boo, shook his head and sighed. “I think you’re about the only ghost I know who can’t tell time. It’s the eighteenth century, my friend.”
Henri sat cross-legged next to Boo in their makeshift hideaway that also served as a dog house for Boo’s wife’s mutt of a dog. It wasn’t the Grand Ball Hotel but it worked. It was the one place where Boo’s wife, Maxine, and Henri’s on-again-off-again girlfriend, Juicy, would never look to find them. Boo had been out drinking, Maxine was on the rampage and Henri was there to help him figure out how to get out of this mess.
“I need to get to the twenty-first century,” Henri said, eyeing his ghostie friend with caution.
Now, Henri usually was a sensible kind of ghost who didn’t take many risks in the afterlife, but finding ghosts for mortals who were looking for ghosts was on home turf even though it wasn’t his favorite century to do it. He knew how undependable all the high tech stuff that mortals of this century used to supposedly find paranormal activity was and never could figure out why the mortals kept using them. Just when these amateur ghostbusters thought they had something, it ended up being faulty wiring in the walls or outlets or something else completely rational. Even if ghosts were really there all along, do you think they’d let some high-tech electrostatic meter pick it up if it did work? Hardly.
Henri was intrigued in the fact that mortals would do anything in their power to connect with spirits and even more fascinated in the fact that some mortals didn’t even believe they existed.
He often chuckled thinking about it and this was why he loved the Spirit Seekers so much. You might say they were a bit different. They didn’t need fancy equipment to know when there was a ghost around. All they had to do was rely on intuition and prickly sensations among other natural down-to-earth ways to find a ghost. Henri, being a ghost in the natural state, knew the Spirit Seekers were as close you could get to the real thing as far as ghostbusters go. He would drop everything to go on one of their ghost busting excursions even if it meant leaving Juicy scowling at home.
But it wasn’t like he and Juicy were married or anything, which gave Henri freedom to choose between what he wanted to do or what Juicy thought he should be doing. Juicy had some kind of past life hang up, believing she and Henri were lovers in another life. She continued to follow him wherever he went which infuriated poor ol’ Henri who just wanted to have a good time.
Boo, on the other hand, knew Henri better than anyone. Leaving Juicy without telling her where he was going would definitely lead to nothing but trouble for the French-borne ghost. He knew Juicy had a thing about mortals and rightly so. Even though she was one herself in another life, this was before they took off Henri’s head and murdered her entire family. But that’s another story for another time.
“Well, I’m not going this time,” Boo blurted out. “Don’t even think it. I’m in enough trouble with Maxine as it is.”
“No, this is different. And I’m getting tingly.”
“On no, not that.” Boo knew what that meant. The mortals were calling his friend for another wild goose chase. Or should he say, wild ghost chase. “Henri, when are you ever going to learn?”
“I daresay never, mon ami affectueux de Coors Lite. I gotta scram. Can you tell Juicy for me?”
“Oh no you don’t. The last time I told her you were going out of town, she turned ballistic and started poltergeisting people. I think I’ll leave that alone. And what do you think will happen when she gets a whiff you’ll be hanging out with Ezra again? I don’t even want to think it.”
“Ezra is my friend, you know that. I watch over her.”
“Ezra might be your friend, but why do you feel you have to stick around at her house all the time? Oh, I already know. You and Ezra used to be ‘more than friends’ in another life. Jesus, Henri. All this past life mumbo jumbo is getting my ectoplasm boiling. How long will you be gone this time? Are you listening to me? Henri? Henri? Oh…Henri?”
Boo turned around and Henri was gone. Vamoosed. Vanished into thin air leaving Boo to wallow in his own misery.
But this story isn’t all about Boo. It’s not all about Henri, Juicy or beheading mortals. This isn’t about sitting in a makeshift dog house because you were out drinking all night and you knew better. Oh no, it’s not all about that at all.
This is a love story—a ghostie love story. It’s about one man’s longing to be with his soul mate no matter what dimension he may have to travel to find her.
It’s about transcending realms, butting heads with what we know as reality per say and finding something too impossibly unattainable and showing to the world that ghosts indeed exist.
Enter The Spirit Seekers.
Sounds exciting, right?? How did you decide on your story plot?
Oh I guess I gave it away further up, but once we found out there was this guy offering a million dollars to anyone who could prove that ghosts exist, my online friends and I joked and said we could do it ourselves. Then, I thought wouldn’t that make a cool book—a group of women in a haunted mansion in the Blue Ridge Mountains looking for a million dollar ghost. The rest as they say is history.
How did you choose your characters names and location for your story?
Each one of us took on a character then we’d add characters as we went. One of the ladies who wanted to be in the book ended up dropping out so we had to rewrite her part but as for coming up with character names— for me, years ago I dabbled with the Ouija board and someone named Shiolah would always appear so I thought it would be right fitting if I named one of the characters after her. As for the location, since this would be set in the fall around Halloween, what perfect place than the mountains in all its glory? Plus, the Blue Ridge is filled with ghost lore.
Do you have a favorite scene? Why?
I think the ending has to be my favorite scene because that’s when it gets real intense.
Do you have a character that you identify with? Who and why?
I want to say Shiolah because she was the character I wrote in the book and while there are similarities, we’re very different. Ezra is kinda cool and I love Pam because she’s the psychic of the whole bunch. And, of course, there’s Henri. I love Henri to pieces. Henri is the ghostest with the mostest and acts as the girls’ sidekick to help them find the million dollar ghost.
He does sound like a wonderful character. I wonder if he's around and will let me know about the lottery winning Let our readers know how they can get a hold of you…
You can visit our blog at http://romancingmilliondollarghost.com/ to find out when the book will be released, but if you want to get up with me, you are welcome to email me at thewriterslife (at) gmail.com.
Is there anything else that you want to share… feel free!!
Thank you for having us and I hope everyone has a happy Halloween!