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Saturday, August 10, 2013

The Dead -- Going Live!

Last entry I commented on two new books that are "coming attractions." One of them, MAGGIE RISING, is about to go live--which is a pretty funny joke when I think about it, since one of the main characters is a ghost.  The book begins like this:

On the last day of the year, I sat in my Great-Aunt Betty’s reading parlor staring at the framed story cloth on the wall. The embroidered figures showed the cycle of planting, harvest, and New Year in a Southeast Asian village. One figure, the “doctor” or shaman, told a different story. If I had never seen him, maybe I never would have been arrested for murder, spent time in jail, or befriended a ghost. Or I might have, anyway. It’s possible I was already on that path.

The story is about Maggie, a 17-year-old Chico (California) girl who does not believe in ghosts; ghosts, however, seem to believe in her. When the Chico High School homecoming queen goes missing, the police are certain she's just another run-away, but Maggie knows differently. Here's a bit of the scene that helps Maggie know. It occurs while she is sleeping:

I stood in the Children’s Playground next to Bidwell Presbyterian. I looked around, wondering how I’d gotten here and why I’d come. That’s when I noticed a pretty blonde girl watching me. She was leaning on the uprights for the swings, but as I looked her way she walked toward me. She looked familiar, but I couldn’t place her. I looked behind me to see if maybe her focus was actually directed elsewhere, but we were alone. As she came toward me, she gave a half-smile and asked, “Remember me?"



“You look familiar,” I answered, searching my memory.

“Lauren Hall,” she said. “I was in the same class as you, but at Chico High instead of Pleasant Valley.”

“Lauren Hall?” I didn’t yet remember her from high school, but I certainly remembered the name. “The missing Homecoming Queen?”

“The murdered Homecoming Queen,” she answered. “I met my murderer right here in Children’s Park during lunch last Wednesday.”

I swallowed, unsure how to speak to a murdered girl, let alone a murdered Homecoming Queen. “So…you’re dead?”

She rolled her eyes. “And everybody said you were smart.” She plunked down on the bench a little way from me.

The challenge is simple enough: How do two 17-year-old girls solve a murder when one of them is dead and the other is in jail, charged with her murder? I had great fun writing this one. You'll have great fun reading it, too! Watch for it to go live sometime later this week or early next. Thanks!


Susan Aylworth is a multi-published novelist who has worked with three major publishers: Harlequin/Silhouette, Avalon and Covenant Communications.  MAGGIE RISING, her 11th finished novel, is the first to be released as a digital-first publication. Find it soon on any popular digital book platform (Amazon, B&N.com, Kobo, Smashwords, etc.) In the meantime, you can read any of her first eight books in digital format or order the paper copies. She loves to hear from readers at susan.aylworth.author@gmail.com or @SusanAylworth.