The SHANNON MUIR’S INFINITE HOUSE OF BOOKS weekly column is a place at Shannon Muir’s author website open to interviews and guest posts from other authors. One thing Shannon firmly believes in for readers not only to learn about new books available, but about those who craft the tales behind them. As its name implies, SHANNON MUIR’S INFINITE HOUSE OF BOOKS weekly column features writers from all genres of fiction who want their potential audience to get to know them, and their works, better – and occasionally may offer features from Shannon herself that support readers to discover words.
This week, find out more about the book THEIR WITCH WEARS PLAID in an interview with its author.
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(Kindle edition) $12.99 (paperback)
Author: Kathleen Shaputis
Genre: Magical Realism/Paranormal Romance/Romantic Comedy
INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR
What initially got you interested in writing? Books were my world from the beginning with Dick and Jane. My imagination soared by the second grade at the idea of writing my own stories, my own characters. I wrote plays/scripts for my friends in the neighborhood to act out in my backyard for our parents. The thrill of writing bit early and hard. But my mother squashed the passion for years growing up: Writing is not a career, nor a viable life choice. Put away foolish ideas and be serious about your life.
How did you decide to make the move into being a published author? Despite the notions drummed into me of getting a sensible job, get married, raise a family, I never lost the love. In the 90’s when my child hit 18, I started attending writers conferences and classes. Though fiction was my first love, I heard it was easier to sell non-fiction. Often. I grabbed a book by Eva Shaw, Writing the Non-Fiction Book. I sold my first book, Grandma Online, at the San Diego Writers Conference to 10 Speed Press.
What do you want readers to take away from reading your works? A smile, a moment of happiness from stepping away from their reality in whatever form it takes. I love writing with a splash of lightness and humor to everything. Sometimes the smile and laughter is on me, like when Gillian Nation who appears in Changes in Attitude decided he needed to partake in the Baillie Castle trilogy and brought friends. Who knew? Romantic comedies will always be my go-to favorites, but I hope all my books will include an escape. Even The Crowded Nest Syndrome, which is an Erma Bombeck-style look at my life once upon a time, is filled with a stinging humor, clenched teeth sort of voice.
What do you find most rewarding about writing? When a character truly opens up to me, letting me see into their heart, their goals and motivations, their wants and needs – their dialogue will be spot on. The invisible people in my mind are a wild and boisterous group. Separating their voices is a satisfying process for me. In Their Witch Wears Plaid the playfulness of Gillian Nation and his girls outweighed the heaviness of the Druid’s threats and coldness.
What do you find most challenging about writing? First reaction to this question is, who just dropped the tin of paperclips? So many choices scattered now over the floor, what to choose. Sometimes the challenge comes in finding the time to write. Having a full-time job, family, grandchildren, huge blocks of time disappear. And now that I have Meniere’s Disease, brain fog is a nasty villain, stealing words and consciousness right out from under me. Other times it’s that deserted middle of the book where the blinding whiteness of the blank page chokes me with a vicious grip.
What advice would you give to people want to enter the field? Read, read, read. Read in your favorite genre, read books on writing (yes, there are reasons not everyone can just sit down and write a book), and definitely do not neglect reading about marketing books. If you want to be an author, you have to know how to make your book be seen in the world.
What ways can readers connect with you?
My Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/KathleenShaputisAuthor/ and my Twitter account is @NWAuthor and my blog is https://kathleenshaputis.com/
up Nell’s festive end of summer plans. Living in Scotland, a palm
reader for Baillie Castle, Nell loses her heart to a professional
jouster. But is her shining knight in cahoots with the sinister Druid?Will the recipe of a magic coin, diva queens and witches be enough to save Nell from death? Or will evil triumph over love?PRAISE:A page-turning delight with twists and turns for the fabulous Lady
Nell. It’s 2018, what woman wouldn’t want to be chased by a knight in
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table, Lady Nell dabbed at a trickle of sweat on the back of her bare neck with
a long, white handkerchief. The summer heat, though mild in temperature for
many, had dampened her coiffed hair and Elizabethan costume. Well-worn tarot
cards splayed across the sapphire paisley tablecloth in a colorful, symmetric
array. “May I answer any other questions for thee this sweltering afternoon, my
from her, wearing a thrown-together costume of a black wench’s vest and
ankle-length skirt, shook her head. “Goodness, no. You’ve been quite helpful as
one who seeks the future, thank you, Lady Nell.” And she took a last look at
the cards before disappearing from the palm reader’s tent.
Nell smiled at how the first day of the Scottish Faire at Baillie Castle was proving a
great success. Excited crowds from surrounding areas were showing up in droves.
Nell practically pinched her damp double chin in the delight of having moved to
Scotland and using her
psychic powers for employment within the castle. She sent a spiritual blessing
to her friends, Baillie and Rogue, the proprietors of the castle, for encouraging
her to establish a new life across the Atlantic. Her last home
address had been Olympia, Washington, though her
talents had let her travel throughout the United States.
under a shade tree, offering some relief of the mid-summer heat, but barely a
breeze had stirred the sauna-like air for the last hour. The steady stream of
customers had kept her emotions animated despite the stifling heat. Nell
respected and enjoyed her talent for reaching into another’s aura, their soul,
and sharing information. She stretched her arms over her head and twisted her
neck to one side hearing the familiar crick.
her chest, the icy bolt more like a speeding car crashing unheeded into a block
wall. She couldn’t breathe. Yet she was not a complete stranger to the deathly
artic slam, as the wintery pain felt similar to her first meeting with the
ghost of Baillie Castle, Lord Kai,
years ago in Olympia, Washington, where the
poltergeist had been desperate to penetrate the real world.
tried centering herself, closing her eyes, grounding her being to the Earth’s
core by visualizing a thick steel chain locking her in place. A moment later,
it was gone. Gulping in heated air, Nell kept her eyes closed, alarmed at the
unexpected glacial intensity. What in the not-of-this-world had caused such an
explosion of cold?
the herbal recipe she’d created for her morning smoothie, Nell shook her head.
She stared around her, expanding her mystic aura, rippling it out beyond the
tent, searching for unearthly energy, anything possibly related to the polar
blast. Knowing the hours she’d be working today, the potion recipe she
concocted was meant as an enhancement to her psychic abilities, a mere boost.
She blinked her eyes, the tent vacant and nothing out of the ordinary showed
itself. By and large things were as they should be inside and outside the
normal excitement of festive crowds and the music of Celtic pipes music filling
in constant demand for palm readings and tarot cards once the Faire opened this
morning, Nell asked petite T-Cup, a spicy diva queen from Seattle and dear
friend of the castle owners, to act as an assistant for her. T not only acted
as the money keeper but provided part-time entertainment for the crowds passing
by. She kept Nell’s sanity and the flow of customers continuous in and out of
the tent. T-Cup’s delightful voice squealed and twittered outside the tent’s
dangling strands of pastel beads as Nell tried discerning any mystic turbulence
from the cold blast. T’s saucy remarks on various costumes and people
throughout the day hadn’t changed in tone or manner as Nell cleared her table
with shaking hands.
and silk caught many the eye of people walking by and made for a great
marketing asset. A singer and entertainer by trade usually in company with her
best friend and fellow diva, Rafael, T’s persona of hysterical delight
brightened any room or situation, a petite dynamo of glitter and glamour. T
stuck her beribboned head of curls inside and said, “This will be your last
reading for today, Lady Nell. Looks like the universe saved the best for last.
Mr. Gigantic, Dark and Mysterious will be right in.”
giant blocked the beaded doorway. Standing more than six and a half feet tall,
the Druid-dressed customer moved with no haste. She looked at the floor-length,
burlap garment wrapped well to his body, tied with a leather strap, and a deep
hood concealing his face in shadows. Flowing sleeves draped at his sides as he
sat in front of her with fluid motion. The realistic garment fascinated her, the
material seemed threadbare and ancient. He’d paid a pretty penny for the outfit
at an estate sale or movie studio auction, she wanted to bet. Nell couldn’t
find a way of dipping her head toward the floor without looking odd to see what
he wore on his feet, something authentic or Nike sneakers.
good sir? What your future holds in store or may I answer a specific question
ye need answering? I can read your palm or maybe you’d like to see what the
cards have to say for you. My talent but waits your answer.”
cards and started shuffling. This wasn’t the first time someone shy or
conservative wasn’t sure what they wanted, but instead of her calm natural
patience, she felt a bit defensive, a molten nervousness moving through her.
The choking silence between them bothered her. First a blast of frigid, intense
air sent chaos into her chest and now an enormous mannequin sucked the very
oxygen she needed. The man raised his hand palm out, the fingers lengthy, and
she stopped mid-motion. The heat inside the tent dropped in temperature until
it crackled like thin ice on a raging river. Rivulets of perspiration trickled
down her ample body, despite the sudden disappearance of the infuriating heat.
wall and her intuition created an instant need to surround herself in a
protective spell. Her lips moved silently as she stared at the deep hood that
cloaked his face from view. The darkness nagged her in a disquieting, almost
dangerous way. Who is this Mr. Chill?
What is going on?
are, Lady Nell.” His smooth, deep voice poured out like the syrup of a public
radio station announcer. “If I may explain, I have been approached by your
her face flushed with irritation despite the cold. How dare this cloaked idiot
have the audacity to spout ancestral nonsense? “My parents are gone and have
been for many years. I don’t understand your trickery this day but you have
paid for my services, sir, not the opportunity to make mockery of me or my
temperature inside the tent dropped further. His game with the air conditioning will not deter me. Goosebumps
rippled up her bare arms. She forced herself not to give in to shivering. Nell
had hoped her anger would fight the frost, but its invasion seeped through. She
slowly lifted her chin in defiance. Her work and talent was not a game, and she
didn’t appreciate his rude announcement saying he’d been in contact with her
deceased parents, parents she’d hardly known herself growing up.
could possibly know. You are young and naïve still in your powers. You will
believe in me soon enough, stubborn one, I have no doubt of this. Your parents’
spirits and elders before them have given me a quest to find you and I am
here.” His eyes glistened, practically glowing. Specks of amber light shone
deep inside the murkiness of the hood. “They told me of your talents to see the
past and feel the energy yet to be in images—an inherited ability. Your powers
are much similar to mine in some basic ways. But over recent years, you’ve
strayed on a different course and the elders have asked me to warn you to take
heed. Their request of me is to shield you from your own foolishness.”
into the empty chill.
know of my work on the dark side?” she whispered. What does he mean about keeping me safe? From what? Who is this person?
magical talents and energy flowing through her soul, untapped reservoirs of
abilities she didn’t know existed beyond seeing the past and future. An
understanding of crystals and herbs filled her mind at odd times, pushing
details and recipes from an unknown source into her reality. She’d kept them
close to her in private, rarely using the dark magic in front of people, except
for last year here at the Baillie Castle when she felt
compelled to assist the Baillie family in a dire emergency with unmitigated
success. The process had drained her sorely for days but she still felt it was
one of her finest accomplishments.
innate skills beyond the familiar white magic and they worry for your safety.”
He placed his pale, wrinkled hands on top of the table.
shifted in her wooden folding chair, the stuffed cushion beneath her lumpy,
stiff, uncomfortable. She took in a deep breath and exhaled to a long count,
while gathering her strength and thoughts. “Then you have me at a disadvantage,
sir, as I do not know who you are. And could you turn the temperature in here
up a tad? Seriously, I am not some slab of beef.” She could see the white vapor
from her words swirling in front of her and wondered if icicles would form
along the edges of the tent. A scene from an old I Love Lucy episode flashed in her mind, when Lucy was locked in a
freezer vault and her face covered in frost.
flies with his elongated hands. “Silence, woman. I will tell your fortune and
you must listen well. Obedience is imperative.”
she snorted. “I will be obedient to no one. You have no power here, you robed
cretin, slithering in here with tricks of threatening me with lies of my
parents, chilling the air, and fallacies of wanting to tell my fortune?” Like a
kitten with an arched back, thick fur standing on end, Nell refused to cow down
to this stranger. Not a muscle twitched as she waited for his next move.
Listen to my words and listen well. A young man you’ve met before will come to
you with information you most desire. Believe him, as the bond between you is
powerful. You must then travel across the water to your former homeland, back
to the beginning of this Scottish journey at the bookstore and obtain your
spiritual guide. This will help you understand the foretold answers waiting
ahead. Ignore these words and direness awaits you.”
with his hood. “Good morrow to you, Lady Nell.” Ducking his body in half, he
left the tent before she could shove her chair back or voice any questions. And
she had a million of them on the tip of her tongue. What man was he talking
about who she had met before? Go back to the beginning? Did he mean Baillie’s
Pen and Pages bookstore in Olympia, Washington? Well, that
would be across “water” certainly.
table, she pushed herself up with trembling legs. The slam of claustrophobic
heat filled the tent nearly knocking her backward. Sounds began filtering into
her conscience: the strum of a mandolin, conversations and laughter, a sweet
Celtic tune on a pipe, as if her hearing was restored from a deep, lengthy
silk of her Elizabethan dress. “Hey, I didn’t see long-limbed, dark and spooky
leave. Do you have a back door in this tent I don’t know about?” She twirled in
a circle creating a rustling murmur from her petticoats. “C’mon, let’s go see
what deliciousness Putney the cook has for us in the kitchen. It’s got to be
tea time, right? I’m starving for something fresh and chilled.” T stopped in
mid-motion. “Wha… Lady Nell, are you doing okay?” She touched Nell’s arm and
squealed, “Dang, you’re like ice,” before bouncing through the beads yelling,
“Gillian, Gillian, come Lord Gorgeous, our lady looks dazed and feels like a
fresh blended margarita.” The last words slid out before she sucked in another
breath. “Ándele, pronto, get your
tight butt over here now, I said.” Her voice screeched an octave higher.
beads, a polished, well-built blond dressed in a traditional blue and green
Baillie kilt and sporting silk finery sauntered across the dry grass as if on a
fashion cat walk. Gillian Nation was used to the attention and lingering looks
from anyone nearby. Tanned, taut thigh muscles showed bare under the hem of the
kilt as he walked. “How wither you call, my Seattle-based jester-ess?” He slid
into the tent with noble smoothness but seeing Nell’s distress rushed to her
side. “Have you overdone yourself, my lady?” He put his strong right arm around
her waist and his eyebrows rose dramatically as he caught Nell’s gaze. “You’re
like a pale Popsicle. T, make way, you fluffy fairy. Let’s get her outside.”
most of the performers. A few groundskeepers had begun clearing the trash,
making little noise as they emptied smaller waste containers into a large
rolling bin. Reality snapped her into a safety hold like a seat belt in a
speeding Porsche. Patting her damp face with the already wet handkerchief, she
imitated, clung desperately to Gillian’s calm, graceful moves as he sat next to
Nell that precipitated this dearth of possible frostbite?” His well-pampered
face showed no emotions, unlike T-Cup’s pasty, frightened look nearby.
giant-in-robes man come in or out of the tent?”
hand. “Ooh, ooh, I did, I did. Well, I saw a Druid-looking guy go into the tent
after he paid me. I don’t remember seeing him come out though, you know, but I
wasn’t paying attention. Tapping my fingers along with the music, I guess. It’s
the end of a long hot day. I’m tired. Sue me already.”
cappuccino-colored eyes at T’s dramatics, shaking his head, sliding his low
ponytail over his shoulder. “I’m afraid my attentions were also elsewhere.”
tilted his head catching T-Cup’s nervous glance and the tiny shrug of her bare
arms wildly over her head. “He had this enormous hood up covering everything,
everything. I wouldn’t be able to pick him out of a line up, if that’s what you
mean. He paid for his session, Lady Nell, and went inside. Easy peasy. Did he
steal something from you other than the heat inside your body? Pretty fancy
trick, I might add.” She inhaled sharply. “Did he touch you inappropriately? Is
that why you’re upset?” T puffed up like a frazzled hen, flapping invisible
feathers everywhere. “Should I sound an alarm and have someone search the
castle grounds for the criminal?”
except my sanity.” The last word came out in a whisper as she rubbed her
good lady a cold drink. She’s probably dehydrated.” Gillian kept a still face
as the flouncing skirt disappeared. “Now that the dear elf is gone, what
happened inside the tent, Nell?”
her nose and slowly blew out the air. “This oversized giant came in dressed
head to toe in brown sack cloth, Druid looking, well-worn material. My first
thought was he had on either a pricey costume or had somehow stepped through
time. I swear, my very first thoughts.” Gillian rolled his eyes with a faint
smile. “No, now hear me out. The hood draped over his head so deep his face was
completely in shadow, just like T said. On purpose, I’m sure, yet I caught a
single glimpse of his eyes while he sat there and they glowed, almost a maize
color, spooky and bizarre.”
skirt. “Gillian, he said he came by a request of my parents and my elders to
tell my future and when I challenged him, he lowered the thermostat to some teeth-chattering
zero degrees in the tent.”
does a scam fortune teller tell a real fortune teller?” He tapped his
fingertips together. “So we have an overdressed druid who paid for your
services, but instead told you your fortune with some stage-effect trickery
like dry ice. Did he at least report anything sizzling in your future? Some
delightfully male encounters by any chance?”
her cheeks. Why did Gillian never take anything seriously, twisting most
conversations into sexual twitters? “No, well, yes, I am supposed to meet a
young man I’ve met before who will answer my questions. What questions, for
heaven’s sake? What kind of questions could he possibly mean? And I’m supposed
to go back to Pen and Pages like the beginning of a puzzle and find my spirit
guide. What hokey nonsense is a spirit guide, whatever that may be, going to do
more important detail of the story, my dear.” Gillian sniffed as T skipped
toward them, clutching a dripping bottle of cold water. “We’ll continue this
discussion later, out of prying curious ears, you realize. Say nothing of this
during our tea,” he focused on T, “or you’ll have the whole castle staff up in
arms.” He stretched his arm out, wiggling his fingers at the colorful nymph.
“You are a jewel and an enchanted servant.” T squeaked from Gillian’s words.
“Exactly what our dear friend needs.”
and her old foot’s a tapping. C’mon, you two, you’re the only ones out here.”
keep the sweet ancient thing waiting.” Gillian turned his arm to Nell. “Allow
me to escort you back to the castle.”
bottle, gave a grateful smile to T-Cup. “Thank you. That was just what I
needed.” She tucked the ominous meeting away for now and slipped her arm in
Gillian’s. “Let’s go.”
husband, Bob, a clowder of cats and three pompously protective
Pomeranians with little social aptitude: Brugh, Bouncer and Miss Jazzy.
If not writing, she’s busy reading and watching romantic comedies, her
ultimate paradise.Her latest book is Their Witch Wears Plaid.
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Thank you for having me on your blog and I so enjoyed the interview. I appreciate the opportunity to share my latest novel with your audience.