Wow, I’m so happy to be here on the Coffee Time Romance Blog, on the tail end of summer and the cusp of fall. I’ve just finished up my Novel Fun in the Summer Sun book tour, celebrating the recent release of my Cape Cod paranormal romance series. Now that the beach days have drawn to a close, it’s time for autumn, a perfect time for urban fantasy.
How are they related? Basically, paranormal romance has fantasy elements and a love story with a happily ever after. Urban fantasy doesn’t have to end up with the hero and heroine together, though a hopefully ever after is often the outcome.
The Unfinished Business Series began like most of my projects—when I was not even thinking of writing a story. While opening up a summer cottage, pulling dustcovers off furniture and vacuuming up flies, I had the sudden inspiration to write a story about a woman who finds a trunk of old clothes and learns sad truths about the person who they once belonged to. It was a quick hop from that to a ghost story—and from barbecues and parades over the Fourth of July weekend in upstate New York immersion in a paranormal fantasy set on Cape Cod. The series combines my love of the beach and boats with a fascination about paranormal activities, and how past life experiences my influence our fears, fantasies, and choices.
I’ve been vacationing on the Cape since I was very young, and have been intrigued by the history of the Brewster sea captains and their wives. What better place than to situate this trunk in a dilapidated Victorian, that just happens to be haunted. I started writing Breakwater Beach that long weekend and, after missing most of the festivities, the short story version was done before it was time to pack up and go home. Over the next several months, it expanded into a novelette—and it is now being turned into a novel.
I never intended to write a sequel, but once again the story line presented itself—with a focus on a key feature of Victorian architecture. Breakwater Beach is Liz’s story, and Elisabeth and Edward’s. The Widow’s Walk is primarily Mike’s, though he shares the spotlight with his very troubled new wife. It’s not until he realizes that his past is haunting him as much as Liz’s ghost is torturing her will they able to rally as a couple and get the specters under control.
All I know about the third book in the series, Storm Watch, is that there will be a Category 5 hurricane and the ghosts will be whipping up a maelstrom of their own. But I once I start writing, the characters will come back to life and tell their stories the way they see fit.
I’m also very excited about my urban fantasy series, Boulevard of Bad Spells and Broken Dreams. The inspiration for these novels came from my day to day experiences as a public health professional in some of the most dangerous neighborhoods in New York City. I’ve chronicled many in my memoir, but escape into fiction because walking through walls is easier than running into them. Several excerpts have been featured in the Ten Tales Series: Bites, Beltane, and Seer. Check out my website for excerpts.
The Widow’s Walk was released by Soulmate in late 2014, and is now available in print. Breakwater Beach, in the novelette form, is available in Haunted: Ten Tales of Ghosts. The novel version will be published in early 2016.
I’d love to have you subscribe to my newsletter for updates on the Unfinished Business Series and will send you a PDF of Haunted to download for your e-reader. You’ll get nine other ghost stories in addition to a preview of Breakwater Beach. If you prefer, check out my blog for the latest updates and appearances.
Finally, say hello or ask a question here for a chance to win an e-book copy of The Widow’s Walk (I use random.org to choose the winner).
The Widow’s Walk
Mike and Liz Keeny are newlyweds, new parents, and the proprietors of the Barrett Inn, an 1875 Victorian on Cape Cod, which just happens to be haunted. By their own ghosts. The Inn had become an annex of Purgatory, putting Mike, Liz, and their infant son in danger. Selling the historic seaside bed and breakfast was the only answer, one that Liz and her own tortured specter refused to consider. Were they doomed to follow the same path that led to disaster in their previous lives? Was getting out, getting away, enough?
Silk rustled as she ran her hands over the dress. The lavender scent deepened as Elisabeth swirled around inside, Her mind went numb as the ghost took control. She slipped out of her clothes and stood naked in front of the mirror. She put up her hair, preening for her husband, before she stepped into the middle of the deep green skirts and pulled them up over her waist, slipped her arms into the sleeves, and twisted them behind her back to fasten the buttons. She used the buttonhook to do up the shoes, then peered out into the hallway.
Liz bundled the sweat suit into her arms, along with the soap and paper goods, and hurried to the attic door. It wasn’t until she placed her hand on the banister and started up the steep staircase to the roof that Elisabeth’s needling eased. Like an addict in the throes of withdrawal, just the promise of being up there, her spirit communing with the long lost sea captain, offered relief.
Liz Levine is convinced her recently deceased husband is engineering the sequence of events that propels her into a new life. But it’s sea captain Edward Barrett, the husband that died over a century ago, who has returned to complete their unfinished business. Edward’s lingering presence complicates all her plans and jeopardizes a new relationship that reawakens her passion for life and love. What are Captain Barrett’s plans for his wife, and for the man who is the new object of her affections?
Liz opened the lid of a large trunk affixed with shipping labels dated from 1865 to 1875. Inside, neatly folded, were women’s clothes, hats, and shoes. She examined a night chemise that resembled a long slip with lace trim. “This is English linen, Irish lace though.”
Mae didn’t answer. Liz peeled away layers of yellowed paper. Silk and velvet dresses with coordinating hats and high button shoes were stored in their original boxes. Undergarments, corsets, garters, and hosiery were wrapped in linen bags. The aroma of lavender lingered in a sachet tucked in the corner.
“You won’t be findin’ this clothin’ in the Sea Captain’s Thrift Shop,” Mae hung the dresses in the closet.
They arranged the intimate garments in the antique dresser. Liz left the shoes and hats in the trunk and pushed it against the wall.
“How could no one have noticed these for so many years?” said Liz. “It’s too damp up here to leave them out. I’ll donate them to the Brewster Historical Society and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.”
“Keep this nightgown, Miss Lizzy.” Mae hung it on a hanger over the closet door. “The sachet kept it fresh and the wrinkles will come out in time. A real lady lived here. The best of everything.”
Liz watched the girls fluffing pillows and turning down covers on the four-poster bed. Another moment of déjà vu diffused through the room.