Her Ghost Wears Kilts
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Crimson Romance
Date of Publication: August 26, 2013
Number of pages: 240
Word Count: 69,660
Cover Artist: 123rf.com
Drag queens, a ghost and murder, oh my. Love spirits through the modern day tale of inheritance and greed, crossing the vale between worlds.Excerpt:
Baillie thought life was content, successful in the Pacific Northwest until her bookshop became haunted. Inheriting a Scottish castle leads her on a wild adventure of Celtic chaos where she meets her gorgeous ghost. Finding her life in danger, Baillie calls the diva squad to the rescue: her friend Gillian Nation and his girls.
Will she choose her normal, safe existence or grab onto an unusual love that makes life magical?
The cat flattened itself to the carpet near the front bookcase, ears lost against its orange-striped head, frozen in fear. A terrified hiss leaked through his open mouth and, slinking backward, the cat spun and ran toward the back of the store.
Catching a brief flash of orange out of the corner of her eye, Baillie shook her head. “Now what’s gotten into Sebastian? Must be a mouse.” She fanned her painted fingernails along the spines of books stacked on the shelf beside her. Listening to the hushed clicking sounds of her nails against the bindings as she walked down the aisle, she inhaled the intoxicating aroma of paper and leather around her. She loved opening her bookshop every morning, where antique classics, used and new volumes of various sizes filled the shelves around her. Framed paintings by local artists dotted the walls between the bookcases.
“Morning,” Baillie called to the previously owned hardbacks without the slightest apprehension of appearing insane. She talked to inanimate objects all the time—great audience, no heckling. Besides, I’m alone in here unless you count the cat, and you can’t count on that spoiled feline for anything. Where did he dash off to just now in such a hurry?
A thin volume of poems lay exposed on a shelf. “You don’t belong here,” Baillie said, sweeping it up to reshelve. She hesitated; the book cover felt cold in her hand, the worn leather chilling her fingers, sucking the warmth from her fingertips in seconds. She quickly shook her head to keep her thoughts from running amok. Of course the book was cold; in the Northwest, things always seemed cold.
“I swear someone helps themselves around here at night. The least they could do is put the books back where they belong when they’re done.” She turned and pushed a ceramic bookend aside and placed the wayward book next to the others as a quick chill shivered down her spine.
“Hey, Einstein, ol’ buddy.” Baillie grabbed an ornate feather duster from a brass umbrella stand nearby and took a few housekeeping swipes against the framed lithograph hanging on the wall. “Dang, I’m looking more like you every day.” She checked her reflection in the glass. “Tell me, did you see who moved Robert Burns’ book of poems last night? Maybe I need to borrow your glasses—going blind in my old age and missed putting it away after closing.”
Baillie turned, whistling the theme song from Fame, at the end of the aisle. She missed seeing the slow, deliberate movement as the same book silently shifted out from the shelf. The dark brown edition slid away from the other poetry books, hanging suspended for a moment, then lay back on the empty surface of the shelf. The ceramic bookend moved, closing the empty gap.
The front door of the shop opened with a tinkling of metal chimes. “It’s just me,” yelled a female voice as she came in.
“I’m in the north quarter, Sally. Would you turn on the computer?” Baillie responded from somewhere behind the walls of books. “Time to open up, I guess.”
“No problem, boss.” Sally dropped her purse under the counter.
Baillie knew her assistant’s routine by heart: She’d click the black toggle switch on the power strip with the toe of her shoe, sending juice to all the electronics at the same time. Baillie heard the calculator, printer and credit card unit each create its own hum as Sally pressed the power button.
“How are the hot flashes this morning?” Sally asked.
“Midlife under control, thank you very much young whiner.” Baillie dusted another shelf with a few fast swishes. “You can kick the personal heater on for a while.”
“Just a little damp for June this year, you know. Some of us don’t have the benefit of hormonal heaters,” she taunted.
“I heard that!” Baillie continued up and down the aisles, swishing the duster back and forth. Suddenly, a bitter cold swept around her, sending a blinding chill through her body. She gasped from the icy shock. Baillie couldn’t catch her breath as the splash of numbing cold flowed into her heart and out again, pounding inside her chest. The reddish blond hairs on the back of her exposed neck stood on end. Her teeth chattered against the chill, like Lucy Ricardo locked in the meat freezer .
“What the…?” She leaned against the shelving for support. “Whoa.” Baillie blinked rapidly and focused on her right hand, more specifically the beige metal shelf under her crimson-painted fingernails. The metal felt warm, warmer than her soul at the moment. Goose bumps traveled up her bare arms and under her short-sleeved blouse. Titles describing Scotland and its clans stood in military straight rows in front of her.
As quickly as it had struck, the air around her trembling body returned to normal temperatures. She took a shaky breath, mentally searching for some logical explanation for the bone-chilling cold. “Who turned the air conditioner on?” she whispered to herself with mock confidence. Looking around the cramped quarters of bookshelves as she moved away, the store seemed peaceful. She dropped the feather duster into a stand with a soft thud.
From Twenty Minutes to Twenty Years
Can you imagine a work in progress, a novel wanna-be, stuffed in various drawers for almost twenty years before not only being completed but published? Doesn’t it sound like a far-fetched Cinderella story? Those poor frayed, abandoned pages of typed material in a three-ring binder patiently waiting their turn for the muse of their author to explode into chaotic passion and finish the storyline finally get their chance in the sunlight.
Plus the poor thing didn’t have a title.
Its working title was “The B&B Mystery” back in 1993 when the original concept came from a writing class given by Eva Shaw where we had to brainstorm an idea for a genre we didn’t read. I drew Mystery from a small wicker basket of cards. Other than the Nancy Drew series I read when much younger, I hadn’t cracked open a mystery in forever.
Eva calls her method of brainstorming “bubbling.” My outline or bubbles of this mystery started as more of a clash between two clans, the Baillies versus the Bruces, my ancestors. The protagonist would inherit a Scottish castle where all those before her had been killed. I truly enjoyed flushing out more of the story.
Over the next decade I wrote notes and scenes, but reality pushed the castle mystery further aside. I had three fiction works in progress during these years and pulled one or the other out now and again. Writing is my addiction, my passion, yet I put all other responsibilities ahead of it due to a strict mother who dashed my creative prowess with continual buckets of ice water how writing was not a job.
I’ve worked full time all my adult years yet after my parents passed away and my kids were grown, I allowed myself back into the dream. I self published my debut romantic comedy “Changes in Attitude” with a fun and dynamic side character, Gillian Nation. Eventually it was Gillian himself who demanded inclusion in this musty old castle story idea. He was the nudge to finally get serious about writing the book. Gillian’s energy added more to the story, but the manuscript still sat in a virtual drawer on my computer.
One day futzing around on Facebook I heard about Abroad Writers Conferences and their next event would be during Thanksgiving week held at Hever Castle in England. A real castle. This was my “aha” moment. I maxed out my credit cards and signed up, getting the chance to live and explore a castle and its grounds for a week.
When I returned reality be damned, the pages flew from my imagination. The next four months were a blur of keyboarding or writing scenes, dialogue, new characters that presented themselves from thin air. I enjoyed every frustrating, blissful, sweat-baring moment. Every good story has a final twist to it, right? I’d begun sending out query letters early in 2013, when I flew to California to be on the faculty of a writers’ conference. One of my fellow staff members was Eva Shaw, now good friend and mentor. She had published two books with Crimson Romance and nudged me to send a query letter off that very night to the acquisitions editor. The serendipity of a story idea first created in a class given by Ms. Shaw concluded with the manuscript being accepted by Ms. Shaw’s own romance publisher.
Don’t you love a happy ending?
Book Tour Info:
Don't forget to check out the other stops on the Book Tour:
Fang-tastic Books - Guest Post
Author Leah DW
Rose & Beps Blog - Guest Post
Pembroke Sinclair - Interview
Literal Hotties Naughty Book Reviews
Lisa’s World of Books
Author Karen Swart
Dalene’s Book Reviews - Interview
Roxanne’s Realm - Interview
Musings and Ramblings
BookwormBridgette's World - Interview
Ramblings of a Book Lunatic - Review
The Creatively Green Write at Home Mom - Interview
Victoria's Gossip - Guest Post
Mousehead & Tales - Review
Kathleen Shaputis, author/ghostwriter, lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, Bob, where curling up with icy Diet Coke, writing romantic comedies is her ultimate paradise.
To connect with the author online:
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Pinterest