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Elm Books is an independent publisher based in Laramie, Wyoming. We publish romance, disability literature, children's books, and more!

Friday, November 20, 2020

Why Phonics Matters, Especially During Social Distancing

Jennifer Monaghan (1933-2014) was an educator and a historian of literacy. As a reading tutor, she noticed that students weren’t being taught phonics. She believed phonics education could help children become stronger, more independent readers. This launched her career as a professor and historian of books and reading. It also led to the creation of The Illustrated Phonics Booklet, published by Elm Books! Understanding the importance of phonics and its life-changing potential, Jennifer saw this book as her gift to the world.

Jennifer was also a mother, and she used phonics to help her own children learn to read. Leila Monaghan is Jennifer’s daughter, and publisher for Elm Books. I talked with Leila about the importance of phonics in children’s education. Phonics helps kids develop a toolkit for reading on their own. By learning to sound out unfamiliar words, kids can take more of a “DIY” approach to reading, with less teacher or parent intervention. Kids are considered “independent” readers when they can decode new words on their own, thus allowing them to read without adult help. According to Leila, this usually happens around second grade.

All images in this article are from The Illustrated Phonics Booklet!

Leila described the moment when she became an independent reader in her family’s kitchen growing up. She read the Wizard of Oz, all on her own, for two days straight. She described it as a profound moment of independence. Apparently, Jennifer would say that she taught Leila’s brother to read in a week and a half, thanks to phonics instruction!

Ok, so maybe that claim was a little exaggerated, but phonics instruction clearly helps kids gain more reading independence. This means they can read with reduced supervision, including outside of classroom time or when parents aren’t available. They may also start to develop reading as a hobby, actively seeking out books to read outside of school. I remember when I started reading on my own with series like Junie B. Jones. That was when I realized that reading could be fun, not just annoying schoolwork! Those moments of independence growing up were important foundational experiences, leading me to an interest in literature and publishing as an adult.

When Leila taught second grade, she noticed something called the “summer phenomenon.” Some kids would come back from summer with less reading ability than they had before the break. Others would come back even better readers than when they left. How could that happen?

When independent readers continue reading books on their own over summer, they maintain or even strengthen the skills developed in school. But if they don’t read over summer, the skills atrophy. There are a lot of factors at play here. Certainly, one is the education level and availability of the parents--how helpful can they be in encouraging their children to read? But phonics education can also provide a big boost. Phonics can fast-track the process of gaining reading independence, helping kids progress faster than they would otherwise. It can be particularly helpful for kids whose families don’t have a lot of books.

Helping kids become independent readers may be especially important during lockdown. Some educators are concerned about the quality of online education during the pandemic. Learning to read is a multisensory process, and the lack of in-person instruction may interfere with this. Homes may also lack resources like books and a stable internet connection, and parents may have trouble juggling work-from-home and an increased role in their kids’ education. To some extent, the “summer phenomenon” may be happening right now.

Because phonics can help kids develop reading independence faster, it may reduce strain on parents in the long-term. It could also preserve or improve kids’ reading skills during this difficult time. Phonics can be both a great way to spend family time together, and a way to help kids learn on their own with adult intervention. It can also spark a love for books that will continue through a child’s life! As Leila put it, “Time spent teaching reading is never time wasted!”

The e-book version is free to download!

The Illustrated Phonics Book was written by Jennifer Monaghan, a historian of literacy. It was gorgeously and lovingly illustrated by Virginia Cantarella. If your children don't yet read fluently, you may find this book a useful tool for teaching them. The e-version is free on Lulu for a limited time to help families during the pandemic. Print copies are also available through our website, Barnes & Noble, or Amazon.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

On Writing Historical Romance Set in Canada: An Interview with Author Estella Kuchta


We’re gearing up for the release of Estella Kuchta’s historical romance novel, Finding the Daydreamer! The book launches on September 10th, 2020. Pre-orders are available on our website, as well as Amazon or Smashwords.

In Finding the Daydreamer, author Estella Kuchta addresses trauma, courage, and desire with the grace and insight of a practiced storyteller. I was awed by the beauty and inventiveness of this novel. The depth of emotion in Kuchta’s poetic style breathes life into compassionately imagined characters. Annabelle, motherly and courageous, exemplifies the struggle to be truly seen and loved by others. Finding the Daydreamer is a testament to human resilience in the face of disaster, something especially vital in our world today.

I got the chance to interview Estella about the book and her experience as a novelist, researcher, and mother. She had some great insights to share about love stories, as well as questions to consider when writing them!


Luka Dowell: I was really impressed with the emotional depth of your characters. What's your process for creating characters and developing their personalities?

Estella Kuchta: In a dusty box in a closet, sits my “practice novel.” One thing I learned from that practice attempt is that plot-driven novels feel a little empty. So, when I sat down to start this novel, I chose a completely different approach. I spent months developing some of the characters before I started writing. In fact, I had no idea where the plot would go—and that was true during the entire first draft. I only listened to the characters, especially Annabelle, and followed her lead. Partway through the book, characters started to come much easier. Some of them arrived whole and fully formed. 

Luka: Where did you look for inspiration? Are the characters based on real people you know? What's your character development process like?

Estella: The trend in books, movies, and TV shows these days is to show characters who are incredibly flawed human beings. I guess we’re supposed to feel better about ourselves through feasting on the amusing flaws of others. But as an audience, I find that rather boring. It’s harder to develop really admirable characters who are still whole humans. I wanted Annabelle to be someone I could look up to and learn from. For sure I share some of her characteristics—and that was part of my motivation to write about them—but my goal was to develop a character with real integrity. Harvey vaguely resembles a guy I dated for a while. Other characters contain traces of this person or that whom I know, but also come from imagination. 

Luka: You also research love stories academically. How does your research influence your fiction writing?

Estella: What are the characteristics of a classic Canadian love story? —That was the question I set out to research in my graduate literature program. Finding the Daydreamer emerged as a creative exploration of that question. I was very lucky to have been funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Council Research Grant (SSHRC), so that allowed me to investigate Canadian literary love stories in-depth. What I discovered was that Canadian love stories are often impeded by: our vast geography; cultural tendencies toward politeness and harmony (instead of fire and passion); and economic priorities (love is often sidelined). In fact, exceedingly few literary novels set within the Canadian border focus primarily on romantic love, passionate love, or devoted companionship. In writing Finding the Daydreamer, I wanted to see if I could overcome those barriers and write a truly love-rich novel. Readers can judge whether I succeeded!

Luka: I certainly think you did! Do you think more Canadian authors should write about love? What advice would you have for those authors?

Estella: I would love to read more rich, in-depth love stories set in Canada. Some of Canada’s most brilliant authors have written engrossing love stories—but set outside of Canada. I’m thinking of Michael Ondaatje’s The English Patient or Margaret Atwood’s The Penelopiad. Of course, I haven’t read the entire Canadian canon, so people might suggest some reading that I’ve missed. 

Luka: What were the most challenging parts of writing this book? What do you wish you knew beforehand?

Estella: If anyone is wondering whether it’s challenging to write a book while being a low-income single-parent of two children, moving between four countries and multiple jobs—YES, it is! I started this book in Canada, wrote a significant portion of it while working in Japan, revised it in California, and did a second revision while working in China. During the writing of this book, I moved seven times, worked at ten jobs, finished a graduate degree, had knee surgery, a car accident, and a miscarriage. Without a doubt the most challenging part of writing this book was simply finding time. I’m so glad I persevered. It's worth it! 

Luka: Wow, that sounds intense. Did the difficulties you faced (like moving around a lot) help you become more adaptable? How consistent do you need your workspace to be?

Estella: I’m not fussy about my workspace. I can write in cafes, at home, in messiness, in spotless clean, in silence, and with 10 conversations swirling around me. That’s one of the gifts of being a mother—I have the ability to tune out noise and mess. The problem is that once I start writing, I don’t want to stop and do anything else. I become so completely engrossed in the writing, I feel like the real world is peripheral for a while. There were times writing this book where I felt like I was living two lives at once. I long to have the time and space to drift fully into the world of my novels. That happened infrequently with Finding the Daydreamer. Maybe I’ll have that with my next novel. I’ve experienced a life jam-packed with experiences, so I don’t ever stare at paper wondering what to write. There are so many stories inside me waiting to pour out. 

Luka: What does your writer's routine look like?

Estella: Sometimes I write for 12 hours a day, other days only two. I’ve never been a very routine-oriented person. Mostly, I write whenever possible. I often have to force myself to stop writing and go to bed. I get so focused that I might not even eat dinner until 11 at night. But in the morning, I don’t feel like doing much of anything except sitting on the couch, sipping tea. 

Luka: You put a lot of time into researching the historical aspects of the book, including consulting with experts. What ethical considerations should authors have when writing historical fiction?

Estella: The most challenging ethical consideration for me was how to handle the Indigenous characters and history. I’m not Indigenous myself, and I felt a real responsibility to write about those characters and the First Nations reserve in a way that would honour and acknowledge Indigenous histories. Yet, my many attempts to make contact with the specific First Nations Band of that area went unanswered. Quite understandably, some Indigenous peoples are reticent to talk to strangers about their histories, since those histories have often been used against them, misunderstood, or taken without permission. This left me in a bit of a bind, however. I didn’t want to omit Indigenous histories altogether and paint the illusion that only settlers lived in that area. I also couldn’t write about them without permission. If my parenting and financial situation would have allowed, I would have flown up to the Cariboo on multiple occasions for the sole purpose of developing relationships with the local Band members. But that was out of my reach. In the end, I altered those sections of the book dramatically so that I was no longer writing about the local Band. Two of my friends who are Indigenous elders very kindly read through the sections containing Indigenous characters and histories and offered feedback. I’m very grateful for their approval. Other aspects of the book also posed ethical considerations, such as issues of homosexuality and abuse. I also wanted to give voice to the more-than-humans who appear in the book.

Luka: Can you expand on what you mean by more-than-humans?

Estella: By “more-than-humans,” I mean the plants, animals, mountains, and weather the human characters encounter. As a Canadian, a researcher and a writer, I’m very interested in the relationships that develop between humans and nonhumans, and the way those relationships shape and influence human identity, values, and behaviour. As part of my research for this book, I studied and “listened to” chickadees, wind, fir trees, moss, rivers, and of course, horses.


Estella Kuchta is a writer, researcher, and postsecondary instructor in Vancouver, Canada. Her research focuses on ecocriticism, eco-education, and the biological impact of reading love stories. Her creative writing and journalism projects have been published, aired, and broadcast in newspapers, literary magazines, radio and TV in Canada and the United States. She earned a BFA in Creative Writing and MA in Literature from the University of British Columbia, where she won several awards for writing. Her website is

Finding the Daydreamer launches on September 10th, 2020. Pre-orders are available on our website, Amazon, and Smashwords.

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Take Off with Strange Flight! Elm Books Explores Sci-Fi with Disabled Protagonists

What does it mean to be a science fiction hero with a disability?

The authors of Strange Flight know living with a disability can be challenging—facing social stigma, inaccessibility, and invisibility that feels like navigating an alien world. And, all too often, people with disabilities are stereotyped as weak or incapable. Elm Books aims to do better—to recognize the creativity, perseverance, and diverse modes of understanding people with disabilities bring to our shared struggle for existence. What could be more appropriate for science fiction?

Strange Flight is Elm Books’ second science fiction anthology to exclusively feature protagonists with disabilities (the first was Dark Space). This collection from scholar and editor Leonie Skye features six short stories from authors with disabilities and disability allies.

When you get to the very end of the line—the end of freedom, of life support systems, of the world as we know it—how do you cheat fate and keep going? What mysterious portals might open onto new dimensions, what previously invisible corners be turned, what fantastical opportunities appear? How do disabilities open doors? Secure your space helmet, buckle up, and meet the protagonists of Elm Books’ second science fiction anthology, Strange Flight.

In Victoria Feistner’s bittersweet “Music of the Spheres”, an astrophysicist’s body is shutting down for good, but at the outer reaches of space her life’s research culminates in a unique kind of eternity. Yvette Franklin’s “The Darkness of Goo” explores communication and teamwork when sensory capability is limited-- stranded in a mysterious realm devoid of light and sound, Captain Nani and her crew must reunite and cooperate to make sense of their surroundings. In “The Reject” by Timothy Lamoureux, Ronan’s genetic disorder proves advantageous when he and his friends stumble into a deadly extraterrestrial trap. In “Twentieth Century, Go to Sleep” David Preyde tells the story of an unlikely alliance between a teacher struggling with PTSD and the time-traveling perpetrator of one of the twentieth century’s greatest crimes. Leonie Skye’s “Leavings of the Smooth World” paints a chillingly realistic picture of a not-so-distant future: on a scorched Earth where the wealthy scramble to buy up the last scraps of pleasurable experience, Leia must follow her aunt’s sensory clues to break through into a new world grown out of the old. Finally, in “The Argo Affair” by Lisa Timpf, Moira’s career as a detective on Earth is nearing an end, but her second life on a new planet awaits if she can solve one last crime.

Here’s what reviewers are saying:

“Stories of characters with disabilities navigating science fiction worlds, from both #OwnVoices authors and allies … moments of loveliness and insight.” (Publishers Weekly)

"What happens in a future in which people continue to live with disabilities, mental illnesses, and neurodivergences? That question lies at the heart of editor Skye's collection, comprised of six stories featuring protagonists who live with chronic illnesses and other disabilities. ... These pieces range from stolidly cerebral to deeply emotional ... imagining hopeful futures for people with disabilities." (Kirkus Reviews)

In Strange Flight, six bold new stories—from authors with disabilities and disability allies—probe the idea of life-changing escape. Grab your copy today and explore alternate universes with us!

Monday, February 3, 2020

Elm Books is Reimagining Steampunk!

If you thought steampunk was just glued-on gears and fake posh British accents, you will never be so happy to be proven wrong! Sure, the 19th century was a time of exciting scientific developments, but it was also an era of great social inequality and ruthless colonial expansion. With Death in the Age of Steam, Elm Books authors are reimagining steampunk through the colonized, marginalized, and otherwise ignored voices of the time period.

Editor Jess Faraday writes, “My interest in steampunk writing arose from an argument with another writer, who said that no story could be truly steampunk unless the character were rich, white, able-bodies, Protestant, heterosexual, and male, as in the 19th century, these were the only people who ‘had agency.’ Gross historical inaccuracy and breathtakingly offensive generalizations aside, what I most took issue with was his idea that only the people on the top rungs of society have stories to tell. This is not the case, of course. We all have stories to tell.”

Death in the Age of Steam, the latest release from Elm Books, is a continuation of our “Death” mystery series. Each short story is packed with suspense and intrigue with a steampunk twist. A lady sharpshooter solves an impossible murder in the Old, Weird West, in "A Frame Most Fearful" by Emily Baird. In "The Megalodon" by Jack Bates, unlikely heroes foil the attempted sabotage of a magnificent new submersible. In far-off Jerusalem, a determined Rabbi uses logic and Kabbalah to solve a spate of mysterious murders in "Beneath the Holy City" by Edward Stasheff. "Mrs. MacAdams’s Establishments" by Yvette Franklin has a woman respectable by day and dominating by night who investigates a murder with the help of a Lovelace analytical engine. In "Blood in Peking" by JL Boekstein, you’ll find political intrigue, romantic misunderstandings, and vampires! In "Honor, Love and Photographs" by Christalea McMullin, ancient East Asian rivalries spring to life on the streets of East London. And in "Borderman H49" by Darren Todd, a peacekeeper uncovers a twisted plot to cause havoc between competing solar farms and steal the power of the sun.

Strap on your goggles, get your gears spinning, and join your favorite Elm Books mystery authors for the previously untold stories of steampunk and the weird west!

Death in the Age of Steam is available in print or e-book format on Amazon and our website.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Volume 3: 1 June 12, 2016
Edited by Leila Monaghan

Last year, Elm Book produced one great new collection, Death and a Cup of Tea, and a beautiful second edition of Christmas is for Bad Girls, now available in paperback as well as e-format. Lots of news to share and looking forward to a great year ahead!
Leila Monaghan

Indiegogo Campaign

Introducing our first Indiegogo Campaign!  Only four days left so please help.  We are raising funds so that we can change the payment structure of Elm Books for our next cozy mystery collection, Death by Cupcake. We want to be able to give authors a lump sum of $100 rather than royalty payments.  Any and all contributions welcome.  Or just stop by to see the great video Jess Faraday put together for the campaign:

Publicity Happenings


Our PR representative, @LilyCallahan, is now regularly tweeting for @ElmBooks. If you are on Twitter, please follow both accounts and pass on the news!  

Email List

Please let me know at Leila.ElmBooks at if you would like to receive occasional e-mails from us with all the latest news.

Call for stories: Science Fiction

We now have a new Science Fiction editor, Leonie Skye.  Welcome Leonie!  Her first collection features heroic protagonists with disabilities.  Drop her a note if you are interested.

Elm Books is looking for short story submissions for our first Science Fiction & Fantasy collection (DEADLINE EXTENDED until 8/31/2016). We hope this will be the first of an ongoing series. We are interested in short stories (no more than 15,000 words) featuring heroic PROTAGONISTS WITH DISABILITIES (broadly defined) and that fall within ANY SCIENCE FICTION SUB GENRE. Stories may be soft or hard science fiction. We are particularly interested in anthropological, feminist, and speculative work that will keep us turning pages in the wee hours.  Please E-mail leoskye.elmbooks at  with your submission questions.

Reviews Death and a Cup of Tea

An interesting combination of very short mysteries. Some involve murder, some are just intriguing, one is set in the past, one in the future. Not all may be to the reader’s liking, yet for those who like something different, it can be found here.
A medical examiner is determined to find who killed a woman. In 1931 a head librarian must find out who is out to discredit one of her staff. The death of a tea house owner has a college student investigating. Her friend has died and Sofia can’t understand why he didn’t upload himself into the cyberget. A research mouse on a desk — how did it get there? Audrey’s making a deal and solving a murder. Getting rid of an unwanted member of the Tea Ladies may lead to murder. And a psychic prepares for a police interview when she is the last to see a man alive.
 Reviewed by: Susan Mosley

Publishers Weekly: Christmas is for Bad Girls 

No actual bad girls inhabit this happy holiday anthology—just feisty, sympathetic heroines, and heroes worthy of their love. Four stories are set in the present-day U.S., and two in Victorian England. Danger makes sexual tension run high in P.K. Tournes’s “A Partridge in Pear Treacle.” Love brightens a depressing holiday season in M.M. Ardagna’s “A Very Chunky Monkey Christmas” and a dreaded trip home in Lily Callahan’s “A Sprig of Holly.” In Yvette Franklin’s “Noisy Night,” single mom-to-be Maizy goes into labor on Christmas Eve, aided by her handsome gardener. In Jess Alynn’s “Mistletoe in Minnesota,” Emily inherits her aunt’s house and falls for the boy next door. A long wait ends with yuletide gladness when a long-lost cousin returns in Edith Elton’s “The Mad Hewitts.” Fans of quick, sweet holiday romance stories will savor this fine anthology.


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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Release Day! Interview with Elm Books author Charlie Cochrane

Today we’re celebrating not only Halloween, but the release of the latest Elm Books anthology, Undeath and the Detective!

Today, also, I have the privilege to introduce an author whose work you may already know–and if you don’t, then you should. Charlie Cochrane is the author of the Cambridge Fellows series.

as well as many other wonderful historical novels and stories. In addition, she has a new novel set post-WWII, coming soon from Bold Strokes Books, entitled Awfully Glad.

Let’s get to know her!

1. In one sentence, sum up your story in Undeath and the Detective.

A ship, a ghost (or two), a murder, a relationship which must remain hidden, and several red herrings.

2. List 5 random facts about yourself.

• I do freelance training of school governors. Always amazes me I get trusted with stuff like this!

• I was born just about within the sound of Bow Bells (on a good day, with the wind behind them) so am just about a cockney. Sort of. If you squint sideways.

• I’ve fed the famous racehorse Red Rum a Polo mint.

• I do a lot with the local church – like leading the prayers about once a month. I do have a habit of putting ‘messages’ in them, reflecting my view on a truly Christian interpretation on things. 🙂

• I can do mirror writing. A group of us learned to do it at school so we could send each other notes which couldn’t be read outside our circle!

3. What in particular inspired you to write this story?

Patrick O’Brian’s wonderful Jack Aubrey books. I’ve always wanted to try my hand at the Age of Sail and this is the second short story I’ve set in that era. (It’s the ships I like, not the handsome men in uniform. Honest.)

4. What do you most like to write? Is it the same or different from what you like to read?

A bit of both. I like to have a non-fiction book on the go (currently reading a great book searching for the truth about British heroes real and legendary) but I could never write non-fiction. I do, however, enjoy reading cosy mysteries and gay historical romances and I write both of those genres.

5. Is this your first detective story? Your first supernatural story?

No, on both counts. I’ve done two stories with ghosts in. The Shade on a Fine Day, is set in Regency times and features a curate seeking love and a ghost who wants to act as matchmaker. Music in the Midst of Desolation has two old soldiers, killed in wars almost a century apart, coming back to earth to stop somebody going off with the wrong man.

In terms of detectives, I have a whole series (the Cambridge Fellows Mysteries) featuring a pair of Edwardian gay sleuths, who have to combine solving mysteries with keeping their relationship a secret.

6. Do you celebrate Halloween? If so, how?

Not really. It was never a tradition when I grew up (much bigger emphasis on Guy Fawkes’ Day when I was little) although it’s becoming much more established over here now. I’ll be spending this year’s October 31st at a rugby match, England Legends vs Australia Legends. People who know me well won’t find this surprising. 🙂

7. What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Watching rugby, of course! Actually, watching almost any sort of sport. I also like walking, eating out, visiting the theatre, poking around old castles and other historic buildings, and pottering around on beaches looking for shells and fossils.

8. Are there any particular authors or artists who inspire you?

Loads. The aforementioned Patrick O’Brian, particularly for his characterisation and Mary Renault, who could say more in one line than most writers can say in an entire page. I reread The Charioteer (at least in part) every few months, just to help hone my craft.

9. Are you working on anything new? Tell us about it!

I’m supposed to be working on a re-write of a contemporary gay romance, but it’s got a bit stalled, so I’m dabbling with another Jonty/Orlando (Cambridge Fellows) story, as those lads are just so easy to write, they clear any sort of creative blockage.

10. Promote your work! What is your favorite thing you’ve written, and where can readers find it?

Oh, that’s like asking which of my three daughters is my favourite. I do have two stories for which I have a soft spot, though. Promises Made Under Fire is a bittersweet novella set in WWI, which I think might be the best serious story I’ve ever written.

Then there’s the newest Jonty and Orlando romantic mystery, Lessons for Suspicious Minds. Authors’ minds are always full of their latest release, so this is buzzing round my brain at present. I had great fun writing it and I guess it’s the closest I’ve got to the traditional ‘classic’ cosy mystery.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Interview with Elm Books Author Emily Baird

Emily Baird has contributed unforgettable stories to several Elm Books anthologies, including Death on a Cold Night, Christmas is for Bad Girls, and now Undeath and the Detective. Let’s get to know her better!

1. In one sentence, sum up your story in Undeath and the Detective.

When the a significant number of beautiful celebrities are among the walking dead, it’s important to beef up your high-end mall security.

2. List 5 random facts about yourself.

1. I take a really, really long time getting into pools.

2. I spent a lot of time in grad school, but it was more like an immersive tourist package than a career building experience.

3. I take my tea with milk and three sugars.

4. I was a huge fan of the Alfred Hitchcock Three Investigators series. Ghost to ghost hook-up anyone?

5. I have a fondness for table linens.

3. What in particular inspired you to write this story?

I read way too many Hollywood gossip blogs. Also, I have a habit of putting other people’s dogs into my stories. Skippy may or may not bear a striking resemblance to a particular editor’s German Shepherd.

4. What do you most like to write? Is it the same or different from what you like to read?

I’m still learning what I like to write. So far I’ve learned that I like to challenge myself by tackling genres out of my regular wheelhouse. I’ve also realized that short stories provide an excellent way to explore those challenges without tying up my keyboard for months on end. One thing my writing and my reading have in common is a strong preference for happy endings.

5. Is this your first detective story? Your first supernatural story?

I thought to myself at first that it was. Then I remembered the story I wrote for Elm Books Death on a Cold Night. It may not have strictly been a detective story since the detectives were kids trying to learn about their elderly neighbor, but there was detecting involved. And while I hadn’t intended for there to be any supernatural aspects involved, a certain KIA soldier had other plans for the ending of the story.

6. Do you celebrate Halloween? If so, how?

I buy pumpkins. Lots and lots of pumpkins. I have a really hard time walking by seasonal squash without putting a few in my cart.

7. What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Read, drink tea, catch up on TV shows, play tons and tons of word games. Actually, I do a lot of that when writing as well.

8. Are there any particular authors or artists who inspire you?

Zilpha Keatley Snyder, Catherine Murdock, Kristin Higgins, Barbara Michaels/Elizabeth Peters, Jennifer Crusie, Patricia Wrede and Caroline Stevermer at the moment.

9. Are you working on anything new? Tell us about it!

I’ve got a gothic send-up/romance in the works. Think werewolves, vampires and the literary-minded girls who can’t stand them and won’t let themselves be locked in an attic.

10. Promote your work! What is your favorite thing you’ve written, and where can readers find it?

One of my favorite stories, Death Benefits, was published in Death on a Cold Night, coincidentally also edited by Jess Faraday! And if you’re interested in a little detective work of your own and love a steamy romance, take a look at Elm Books Christmas is for Bad Girls. I’ve got a story in there under a pseudonym. See if you can figure out which one!