Ghost Witching (Maggie York Paranormal Mystery #2)
by Ally Shields
Too many ghosts is never a good thing…
Detectives Maggie York and Josh Brandt’s latest murder case comes at the wrong moment. She just moved out on him and wants to “cool it.” But complications throw them together more than usual. Even for New Orleans, the case is unique—with way too many suspects and creepy things—ghosts, snakes, curses, not to mention the witches.
Maggie and Josh try to make sense of it all and resist finding consolation in each other’s arms. Then Josh’s ex-fiancee, a curvy blonde, arrives from Boston, making a touchy situation impossible.
But this killer won’t wait for them to sort out their personal lives, and the situation spins out of control…
“Valerie Preston, age sixty-one,” said the older of the two patrol cops who’d found the body. He checked his palm-sized notebook. “Lived alone. Widow of real estate businessman, Clive Preston, who’s been dead five years or more. Neighbor last saw her yesterday afternoon about five bringing home groceries.” He put his notes in his shirt pocket. “Looks like the snake killed her.”
“Maybe.” Josh learned forward to inspect the bite marks, and a shock of dark hair fell over his forehead. Maggie’s attention drifted to his strong profile, the sculpted cheekbones, the full black lashes. He hadn’t shaved this morning, and she imagined the dark bristles scraping softly across her skin. Whoa, girl. Another example of why they needed to step back from their relationship. They’d grown too close, too intense, placing their on-the-job partnership at risk.
A week ago, Josh had played the alpha male, stepping into a situation she could have handled, and it had nearly gotten him killed. They’d argued for days, and yesterday—after living with him the past four months—she’d moved back to her own apartment. Ostensibly to think it over, reassess. But Maggie wasn’t sure what would happen to them next. In spite of their casual, matter-of-fact conversation since he’d picked her up at her apartment a half hour ago, raw tension simmered under the surface.
The tightening of Josh’s jaw muscle, as it did when he held back strong emotion, sharpened her focus back to the scene…where it belonged. He looked up at the two patrolmen. “Hard way to die. Who shot the snake?”
Ally Shields: Things I Wish I Knew About Being an Author I Didn’t Know Before
Where to begin… Regrets, surprises? I could write a book on this topic, but let’s stick with the top three that pop into mind.
When I started querying my first book, I thought it was good—that it was complete and polished with a minimum of grammar errors and typos. I was partly right. It was adequately proofed, but the story wasn’t ready. After 167 rejections, I realized the characters were one-dimensional, the dialogue stilted, descriptions too flowery or missing altogether, and I was writing in the wrong tense. And the plot? A little disjointed. I should have sought outside opinions beyond the friends and family who thought everything I wrote was wonderful (because they loved me, not my writing). I haven’t made that mistake again. Of course, I have an editor now who dissects everything I do, but even before it goes to her, I have unbiased beta readers I trust to tell me if I’ve lost my way.
The biggest surprise was the extensive marketing I needed to do, especially the time-consuming social media. Once I realized how vital it was, I jumped in with both feet, signing up for fifteen different services with frequent posts to all of them. Within days, I was exhausted. But worst, I was no longer writing novels. There just wasn’t time.
Eventually, I learned to restrict my media (website, blog, Facebook, G+, Twitter, Goodreads), selecting those that fit me. My favorite is still Twitter, and you’ll find me there daily (@ShieldsAlly). I post weekly on the rest. The remaining services of the original fifteen are ignored. Marketing is important, in fact, vital, but it should be limited to those avenues you most enjoy that will still reach your fans and leave you that all-important time to write.
The most awe-inspiring thing I learned was the amazing support of other authors. With a few exceptions, the writing community is filled with wonderful, sharing people with a vast amount of knowledge. I was lucky enough to join Sisters in Crime early in my writing career and other groups since—including Marketing for Romance Writers, ASMSG, and Crime Scene Writers. (There are many smaller groups on Facebook.) All have been invaluable.
It would have been nice to know these things before I wasted time re-inventing the writing and marketing wheels. But human nature being what it is…if it had been that easy, maybe I wouldn’t have appreciated how important they are.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Ally Shields grew up in the Midwest along the Mississippi River, still considers herself “a river rat,” and currently resides near Des Moines. After a career in law and juvenile justice, she turned to full-time fiction writing in 2009. Her first urban fantasy, Awakening the Fire (Guardian Witch #1) was published in 2012, and she currently has twelve published novels. She loves to travel in the US and abroad and incorporates many of those settings into her books. Ms. Shields welcomes reader contact through her website and can frequently be found on Twitter.
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Ally-Shields/e/B009AKNDZU
Ghost Witching Book Trailer: https://youtu.be/cxgb07Wzn7w
Amazon buy link to all Ally Shields books: https://www.amazon.com/Ally-Shields/e/B009AKNDZU
Ally Shields will be awarding a $30 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.