Michael K. Edwards – Spirits of Idaho

He grew up on farmland in the Magic Valley before earning a degree in biology from Idaho State University, and then did research on potato variety development in Aberdeen before moving to a position in factory automation with Lamb-Weston. After moving with his family to Kennewick, Washington in 1992, he returned to Idaho with his wife following his retirement where they’ve lived in Meridian since 2010.

Just Launched

In the enigmatic mountain town of Copper Creek, Rachael Greystone must trust her abilities as a Comanche Spirit Talker to uncover long-buried secrets that will ultimately decide her fate, as well as that of the entire town.

Rachael Greystone has denied having special abilities since childhood, insisting it was all superstition. However, superstition doesn’t explain the woman in a long white dress along a lonely stretch of mountain road – particularly when Rachael stops and finds a necklace by the roadside and the woman vanishes before she can return it. That was before Jason Coleman hires her to restore the historic Coleman Theater as part of his plan to revitalize the gold mining town his great-great-grandfather founded. But there are forces in the valley that resist change…

Available on Amazon.

Meet the Author

The timing is great to meet this author whose website address says it all: spiritsofidaho.com.

Do you have a writing routine? Where and when do you write?

I usually write in the morning. I get my best ideas for the next chapter at night before bed.

Do you have any patterns or rituals associated with your writing time?

I drink lots of coffee.

What do you do when you hit a wall with your writing?

I usually work on something else for a while, and then go back when I feel inspired.

Do you plan your book in advance (plotting and outlining) or are you a “discovery writer” (AKA “writing into the dark”)? Or are you somewhere in between?

I usually have a general plan in mind, but it changes over time and re-writes. Once I get a good start, I have a spreadsheet that I use to keep track of chapters, characters, events and a timeline. One important column is purpose of chapter. Sometimes I realize that I have already fulfilled that purpose in another chapter.

What’s the last book you read that made you go “wow!”?

I recently read Beulah by Christi Nogle.

What book or author do you find yourself recommending and why?

I really don’t have a favorite author. I used to read a lot of Stephen King, but he had a season for his best books.

What’s on your To Be Read pile?
  • Beyond the Veil by Nicky Shearsby
  • Mark of a Demon by Desponia Kemeridou
  • The Ghost Manuscript by Kris Frieswick
What advice do you have for readers?

If you start reading a book and give it a good chance, but it hasn’t grabbed your attention, unless it is a textbook, drop it.

What author, past or present, would you wish to have a long conversation with? Why?

Shirley Jackson. I read The Haunting when I was in high school and it has haunted me ever since. She could create a mood without jump scares or blood and murder.

Do you have early memories of reading or writing you’d like to share?

I had two high school teachers that encouraged me to go into writing. At that time, I did mostly humor. I actually started college to become a writer, but changed majors.

What books and/or authors have most influenced you as an author?

I think, by far, Shirley Jackson. But King’s earlier books (The Shining, IT, The Stand) were also good. For example, IT was more about kids growing up than a monster.

What do you most enjoy about being a writer? What do least enjoy about being a writer?

I most enjoy the writing. It is challenging and creative. The least I enjoy is trying to sell the thing.

What would you tell a new writer?

Keep after it and don’t give up. I was 70 years old when I started the first novel. I really had no intention of selling it, I think I just wanted to see if I could. Finding a publisher was the hardest.

Podcast: Murder in Idaho

It’s called “Ghosts and Garnets” and at last count there were forty-three episodes running mostly around forty minutes.

Who knew there was so much fertile ground for discussing murder in Idaho. But then, on the other hand…

Hat tip to the BSU/NPR newsletter for alerting us to this free podcast.

Photo by David von Diemar on Unsplash

ETB Crime Fiction WoC Award

The Eleanor Taylor Bland Crime Fiction Writers of Color Award is an annual grant of $2,000 for an emerging writer of color. This grant is intended to support the recipient in crime fiction writing and career development activities. The grantee may choose to use the grant for activities that include workshops, seminars, conferences, retreats, online courses, and research activities required for completion of the work.

The 2023 Submissions will be open February 1 – March 31. Learn more on the Sisters in Crime website.

Weird Weather? Submissions Open

Smoking Pen Press is pleased to announce a new Call for Submissions for a short story anthology for our Read on the Run series. We’re seeking stories about weather. But we aren’t interested in fair winds or ordinary weather, we are looking for Ill Winds and Wild Weather. All genres are considered.

  • Submissions accepted 15 March – 30 April 2023
  • 1,200 to 7,000 words
  • Attach to email as DOC or DOCX file

Contact spp (at) smokingpenpress (dotcom) for more information.

Photo by NOAA on Unsplash

All killer. No filler.

That’s the tagline for the 4 March “Make Crime Pay” event organized and presented by Writing Magazine (UK).

This is an all-day event with options for workshops-only or interviews-only, or both, for £30 and £50, respectively.

Author interviews include:

  • John Connolly, MJ Arlidge, Shari Lapena, Gytha Lodge, BA Paris, Adele Parks, Liz Nugent, and Cath Staincliffe.

Workshops and Panel Talks include:

  • Paul Finch, Susi Holliday, Louise Jensen, Tom Mead, John Sutherland, and Roz Watkins

As the schedule is 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. GMT, you’ll be relieved to know that all ticket holders will receive a recording of the event.

Suspense Voice & Theme

Mystery Writers of America (Northwest Chapter) is presenting a full-day mini-conference 11 February. It’s online, and available to nonmembers as well.

Tickets are available via Eventbrite – $10/members and $20 for nonmembers.

Agenda includes
  • Increasing Pace & Suspense with Intentional Rewrites, presented by Elena Taylor
  • Writing Essentials: Voice & Theme, presented by Briana Lane

Read more about the courses and the presenters on the Eventbrite site.

Hailey, Idaho Murder Mystery

Idaho author Julie Weston has a book presentation at 5:30 p.m. MT on Thursday, 2 February, at the Hailey Public Library. The book: MOON BONES, a Nellie Burns and Moonshine Mystery, the 5th in the series.

A book signing will follow.

The death of a Chinese man leads photographer Nellie Burns and Sheriff Asteguitoiri to Vienna, a ghost town in the Stanley Basin in 1920’s Idaho. Sammy Ah Kee, who taught Nellie to drive, found the man’s body and is accused of killing him.  With the help of Nellie’s dog Moonshine, they discover a conspiracy dedicated to enslaving Chinese immigrants. 

Find the book at Bookshop.org (supporting your local bookshop), Barnes & Noble, and Amazon.

Idaho Mystery (etc.) Writers…

Do you write mysteries, suspense, crime fiction, thrillers? You are heartily invited to join us, sisters (and brothers)!

An Idaho chapter of the international crime-writer’s association, Sisters In Crime, is in the process of forming. Our first meeting will be in Boise one week from today, on 12 January (5-7 p.m. MT).

Meetings will be in Boise every other month. Check out their website, IdahoSinC.com, for more information.

New Environmental Thriller

At the apex of his career, Doug Diehl becomes superintendent of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska, and just in time to watch Congress drill it out from under him. The largest refuge in the country. The largest terrestrial megafauna migration on the planet. Turned into an oil patch, and on his watch. And now he has to live with it. If he can.

This debut novel by Boise author Todd Graeff promises to be a page-turner: Rick Arranger of Limberlost Press says, “I don’t know of another environmental novel since Ed Abbey’s that can get your hackles up the way Good as Given does.”

If this is your cup of tea, find Good as Given, with it’s unmistakable cover art by Ward Hooper, at:

More about the author

An aficionado of the anything-worth-doing-is-worth-overdoing school of compulsive behavior, Todd Graeff has dedicated his first 73 years to conserving wild places, pursuing adventure beyond the borders of good judgment, and writing about his more harrowing experiences. While his non-fiction and fiction have been widely published, Good as Given is his debut novel. Todd, his wife Mary, two high-test English setters, and one lap dog live in Boise, Idaho, where he continues to push the boundaries of good judgment.

Nancy Weston

With books running from mysteries to memoir, Nancy notes: “As I have matured, met people, had encounters, failures and triumphs and learned about life, I have filed away hundreds of interesting characters, events, encounters and sights. Now my mind fills with stories to share and my challenge is to select the one that is right to tell right now.”

Her works include:

  • Digger’s Izzy
  • Valley of Shadows
  • Ice in the Guise of Fire (published August 2022)
  • The Cruelty of Swallows (to be published later in 2022)

Do you have a writing routine? Where and when do you write?

Not really.  I have a list of stories in my mind that I want to tell.  Once I find the one that inspires me at the moment, I pretty much devote myself to getting the outline, then a rough draft of the story.  Then I may set it aside and work on something else or do something entirely different than writing.  Once I come back to it, my mind is fresh and I read it again.  This helps a lot!  Once I get a complete story arc that I like, I get an edited copy for my beta readers.  While they read the manuscript, I take another break.  Once I get their feedback, I may mull over their commentary or not, but I don’t rush into the next draft.  Time is my best friend in the process.  Once I start work again, it is to complete a final draft of the work, although that may be many revisions later.  When I have a complete final draft, I send it to be edited again. 

Continue reading “Nancy Weston”