My friend, colleague and writer and yes, my client Pamela Hutchins is guest blogging today. Her new book, Saving Grace, has been published recently. I guess you just never know how your work with a client might influence them. Read on….
Once upon a time I had the help of a fantabulous stager/designer and even better friend, Lisa Baer, in two houses, one in North Richland Hills, Texas and one in Grapevine, Texas. In both, she helped me with interior decorating and then later with staging when it came time to sell them. Forever after, her wise words echo in my head when I see good bones in a house and want to make my own stylistic mark upon it.
Never was her impact on me more, well impactful, than when I chanced upon a 6,000-square foot unfinished hunk of concrete begging to become a home in the rainforest of St. Croix. The almost-house had a name — Annaly — and it spoke to me, almost literally, because I’m pretty sure that wasn’t Lisa whispering in my ear. Should I do it, I wondered? The project was daunting, the property was isolated, and the projected expense was not inconsiderable. First I’d have to clean out all the bat dung, dead gungalos, and even horse manure left from the wandering equines who had adopted it as their shelter. Then I’d have months if not years of working with hardly-working island contractors and receiving containers-full of finish-out items off of ships from Miami.
But how could I resist? So I channeled my inner-Lisa and dug in. And it was just as hard as I’d imagined (although I did feel like a bad ass when I stained my own custom-built mahogany stair treads) yet even more beautiful than I’d dreamed. Not only that, but my island-borne husband, Eric, informed me that the house had a jumbie.
“What the heck is a jumbie?” I asked. I grew up in Amarillo, Texas. We didn’t have any jumbies there.
“It’s like a ghost or a spirit,” he said, matter-of-factly.
“Oh, yeah, right.” I tipped my nose up just a little and wondered if I’d made a serious marital choice error. Maybe he was just suffering from too much sun.
But it turned out he was right. Over and over, Annaly showed us her jumbieness until she convinced even me. I’d share the stories with you here, but then there’d be no reason for you to read the book.
Well, my debut novel, Saving Grace, which not only includes our Annaly ghost stories, but also chronicles our Lisa-inspired finish-out, just came out! How awesome is that? I’m beyond excited about it.
Here’s the teaser: Texas attorney Katie Connell escapes professional humiliation, a broken heart, and her Bloody Mary-habit when she runs to the island of St. Marcos to investigate the suspicious deaths of her parents. But she trades one set of problems for another when she is bewitched by the voodoo spirit in an abandoned rainforest house and, as worlds collide, finds herself reluctantly donning her lawyer clothes again to defend her new friend Ava, who is accused of stabbing her very married Senator-boyfriend.
Saving Grace is the book you’d get if Janet Evanovich wrote Wuthering Heights meets How Stella Got Her Groove Back: zany, tropical, intense, and eerie, all at once. Readers tell me that if you like Evanovich, Jennifer Weiner, or Lisa Scottoline, you will love Katie, Annalise, and Saving Grace. I love those comparisons! It won a few awards, too, as a Romance manuscript and as a Ghost Story (thanks, Writers League of Texas and Houston Writers Guild!).
The ghost stories and remodel continue in the second mystery in the series, Leaving Annalise, which is due out in the fall of 2013.
If it sounds like Saving Grace is for you, you can buy it just about anywhere online (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Omnilit, Apple (on iTunes), Kobo, Diesel, Sony), in ebook or paperback. You can even get a signed copy. You can also request that your local bookstore or library order it for you, as it is totally available to them. If you email me and tell me you read about Saving Grace on Lisa’s blog, I will Skype with your book club for a Q&A or reading, whatever your club fancies, too.
Maybe not all of Lisa’s clients work with her and then end up inspired to remodel giant tropical rainforest houses and write novels based in the worlds they created with her guidance. But maybe more should! And to think, it all started when I asked for Lisa’s advice on a house on Shadybrooke Lane in North Richland Hills…