From former self-published superstar and USA Today bestseller Tonya Kappes
comes the second novel in the hilarious paranormal series featuring Emma Lee Raines, a funeral home director who can suddenly see dead people!
♥♥♥♥♥ GUEST POST♥♥♥♥♥
Was Shakespeare really Southern, only with big words?
Shakespeare said: To weep is to make less the depth of grief.
Southern translation: Cry it out, Sugar.
Shakespeare said: Let me embrace thee sour adversity, for wise men say it’s the wisest course.
Southern translation: That which does not kill you make you stronger.
Shakespeare said: Friends, Romans, countrymen lend me your ears.
Southern translation: Listen up, y’all!
Shakespeare said: The robbed that smiles steals something from the thief.
Southern translation: Kill them with kindness.
Shakespeare said: Time does not have the same appeal for everyone.
Southern translation: Bless her heart. She’s not agin’ well.
Who knew we southern women were so smart! We’ve been reciting Shakespeare and we didn’t realize it. When I started writing the Ghostly Southern Mystery Series, I was simply writing what I knew. I’m from a small town in Central Kentucky. The small town life was all I knew and I was bound and determined to leave it all behind me when I was old enough to get out.
Boy…was that a mistake!
Growing up in a small town is really an amazing experience. I’m not saying small towns don’t have their share of problems, they do. But I love the entire flavor I grew up with and have been engrained in my soul, spirit, and personality.
There is something about a little southern flare thrown into a mystery that brings color and characters to life on the page. I wanted to bring my experience to my readers.
There’s a ghost on the loose – and a fox in the henhouse.
Four years ago, the Eternal Slumber Funeral Home put Chicken Teater in the ground. Now undertaker Emma Lee Raines is digging him back up. The whole scene is bad for business, especially with her granny running for mayor and a big festival setting up in town. But ever since Emma Lee’s started seeing ghosts, Chicken’s been pestering her to figure out who killed him.
With her handsome boyfriend, Sheriff Jack Henry Ross, busy getting new forensics on the old corpse, Emma Lee has time to look into her first suspect. Chicken’s widow may be a former Miss Kentucky, but the love of his life was another beauty queen: Lady Cluckington, his prize-winning hen. Was Mrs. Teater the jealous type? Chicken seems to think so.
Something’s definitely rotten in Sleepy Hollow—and Emma Lee just prays it’s not her luck.
Just think, this all started because of Santa Claus. I took a drink of my large Diet Coke Big Gulp that I had picked up from the Buy and Fly gas station on the way over to Sleepy Hollow Cemetery to watch Chicken Teater’s body being exhumed from his eternal resting place—only he was far from restful.
Damn Santa. I sucked up a mouthful of Diet Coke and swallowed. Damn Santa.
No, I didn’t mean the real jolly guy with the belly shaking like a bowlful of jelly who leaves baby dolls and toy trucks; I meant the plastic light-up ornamental kind that people stick in their front yards during Christmas. The particular plastic Santa I was talking about was the one that had fallen off the roof of Artie’s Deli and Meat just as I happened to walk under it, knocking me flat out cold.
Santa didn’t give me anything but a bump on the head and the gift of seeing ghosts—let me be more specific—ghosts of people who have been murdered. They called me the Betweener medium, at least that was what the psychic from Lexington told us . . . us . . . sigh . . . I looked over at Jack Henry.
The Ray Ban sunglasses covered up his big brown eyes, which were the exact same color as a Hershey’s chocolate bar. I looked into his eyes. And as with a chocolate bar, once I stared at them, I was a goner. Lost, in fact.
Today I was positive his eyes would be watering from the stench of a casket that had been buried for four years—almost four years to the day, now that I thought about it.
Jack Henry, my boyfriend and Sleepy Hollow sheriff, motioned for John Howard Lloyd to drop the claw that was attached to the tractor and begin digging. John Howard, my employee at Eternal Slumber Funeral Home, didn’t mind digging up the grave. He dug it four years ago, so why not? He hummed a tune, happily chewing—gumming, since he had no teeth—a piece of straw he had grabbed up off the ground before he took his post behind the tractor controls. If someone who didn’t know him came upon John Howard, they’d think he was a serial killer, with his dirty overalls, wiry hair and gummy smile.
The buzz of a moped scooter caused me to look back at the street. There was a crowd that had gathered behind the yellow police line to see what was happening because it wasn’t every day someone’s body was plucked from its resting place.
“Zula Fae Raines Payne, get back here!” an officer scolded my granny, who didn’t pay him any attention. She waved her handkerchief in the air with one hand while she steered her moped right on through the police tape. “This is a crime scene and you aren’t allowed over there.”
Granny didn’t even wobble but held the moped steady when she snapped right through the yellow tape.
“Woo hoooo, Emma!” Granny hollered, ignoring the officer, who was getting a little too close to her. A black helmet snapped on the side covered the top of her head, giving her plenty of room to sport her large black-rimmed sunglasses. She twisted the handle to full throttle. The officer took off at a full sprint to catch up to her. He put his arm out to grab her. “I declare!” Granny jerked Zula Raines Payne, the owner of Eternal Slumber, and this is one of my clients!”
“Ma’am, I know who you are. With all due respect, because my momma and pa taught me to respect my elders—and I do respect you, Ms. Payne—I can’t let you cross that tape. You are going to have to go back behind the line!” He ran behind her and pointed to the yellow tape that she had already zipped through. “This is a crime scene. Need I remind you that you turned over operations of your business to your granddaughter? And only she has the right to be on the other side of the line.”
I curled my head back around to see what Jack Henry and John were doing and pretended the roar of the excavator was drowning out the sounds around me, including those of Granny screaming my name. Plus, I didn’t want to get into any sort of argument with Granny, since half the town came out to watch the 7-a. m. exhumation, and the Auxiliary women were the first in line—and would be the first to be at the Higher Grounds Café, eating their scones, drinking their coffee and coming up with all sorts of reasons why we had exhumed the body.
I could hear them now. Ever since Zula Fae left Emma Lee and Charlotte Rae in charge of Eternal Slumber, it’s gone downhill, or my personal favorite, I’m not going to lay my corpse at Eternal Slumber just to have that crazy Emma Lee dig me back up. Especially since she’s got a case of the Funeral Trauma.
Tonya Kappes has written more than fifteen novels and four novellas, all of which have graced numerous bestseller lists including USA Today. Best known for stories charged with emotion and humor and filled with flawed characters, her novels have garnered reader praise and glowing critical reviews. She lives with her husband, three teenage boys, two very spoiled schnauzers, and one ex-stray cat in northern Kentucky. Now that her boys are teenagers, Tonya writes full-time but can be found at all of her guys’ high school games with a pencil and paper in hand. More than anything, Tonya loves to connect with readers, with a loyal ‘street team’ of fans and followers on social media. Be sure to check out her Facebook, Twitter, blog and newsletter!
Q. Where are you from? I’m from a small town in central Kentucky, Nicholasville, Kentucky. I love about two hours north of there in Crestview Hills, Kentucky, now. My parents and other relatives still live in Nicholasville. I say my stuff lives in Northern Kentucky, but my home is Nicholasville.
Q. Does the area you live in influence you writing? Nicholasville influences my writing. It’s a small town and it’s full of southern charm; rocking chairs, sweet tea, local gossip, funerals are just as much a social gathering as a wedding, no one locks their doors, you don’t have to knock to come on in, you get the idea. My novels are all set in a small town with all the southern charm I can squeeze out.
Q. Tell us your latest news?? I’m beyond thrilled the first four novels in A GHOSTLY SOUTHERN MYSTERY SERIES will released this year! It’s unheard of for a publisher to do. It’s great because my readers don’t have to wait the normal year to a year and a half lag time between their favorite novels in a series. This just thrills me to no end!
Q. When and why did you begin writing? I didn’t begin writing until well into my 30’s. I had been depressed after a failed marriage and found my way out through reading. My husband, now, encouraged me to write because I can tell a great story. I only wanted to reach one reader who could escape their daily life struggles or end their night on a good note after reading one of my novels. I’m thrilled when I got the first reader email telling me how much I helped her get through her mother’s open heart surgery and how her mother loves my novels too. It was though she opened the flood gate to reader email. Everyone have touched me so much and I make sure I answer each and every one! What inspired you to write your first book? My great aunt Grace was a very eccentric woman and fun! I love to incorporate very quirky characters and she’s one! She was a perfect character for my first novel.
Q. What book(s) / author(s) have influenced your life and writing? I’m just now discovering this. I didn’t grow up reading the greats and never had the desire.
Q. What motivates you to write? Gosh…great question. There are so many things that motivate me, but mostly it would be my readers. I’m so close to them in an unusual way.
Q. What is the hardest part of writing? The hardest part is not wasting too much time on social media! I’m such a social person and writing is kind of lonely, so I’m trolling social media to get my social fix.
Q. Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it? I have learned a lot about the real terms for funeral home items and how to performs autopsies. I might not use all of it in my novels, but I have good knowledge to pull from.
Q. Where do you get your ideas? For the Ghostly Southern Mystery Series, I have a friend who owns a funeral home. I haven’t seen an amateur sleuth as an undertaker. Then I play the “what if” game. I ask myself all sorts of questions and the ones who have meat, stick in my head. What if there is a ghost. What if the ghosts were murdered and can’t cross over until Emma sees them. How did she get her gift of seeing ghosts? What if the ghosts misbehave or snarky…still makes me giggle!
Q. What does your family think of your writing? My husband said, “I think you are very inspirational to people. Your writing is fun and addictive. Readers love how you connect with them. You are definitely a people’s person. Plus you love it and I can see that in you when you are working.”
Q. What is the best advice you would give to inspiring authors? Sit down and write. Don’t worry about outlines. Just let it flow. Write from your heart.
Q. What book are you reading now? My novel, A GHOSTLY DEMISE. I’m currently doing the final rounds of edits for HarperCollins.
WEBSITE ~ http://www.tonyakappes.com/
FACEBOOK ~ https://www.facebook.com/authortonyakappes
TWITTER ~ https://twitter.com/tonyakappes11
A Ghostly Undertaking
A Ghostly Grave
A Ghostly Demise (August 25th)
A Ghostly Murder (October 15th)
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