The Indie Showcase presents, Ann Simas


Please welcome this week’s guest to the Showcase.


It never fails. The first thing readers ask is, “Where do you get the ideas for your books?” This question makes me smile every time, and my answer is always the same, “I have an active imagination.”

I’m lucky. My imagination doesn’t fail me when it comes to writing. I’m fortunate to have a good brain. It processes my dreams and nightmares, personal experiences and interests, news stories, and every-day life in ways that often become ideas that germinate my stories. Truth is stranger than fiction, but it can still become fiction. Here’s how that happens for me.

Black Moon Rising

In Colorado, I bowled in a Friday-morning league with two friends. One morning, I noticed a bicyclist sprawled on the roadside. I stopped to see if I could help, but she insisted she was okay. A man working nearby shouted that I’d better not leave. I’d left my three-year-old in his car seat, and assured the girl wasn’t in a life-threatening situation, I drove off anyway.

At the bowling alley, I began to worry. When I got home, I called the police. That man had reported me as a hit-and-run driver, but fortunately, the bicyclist had absolved me. That incident generated an idea for Black Moon Rising, which starts out with the bicyclist unconscious and unable to clear Sunny of wrong-doing.

Grace Gabbiano Mysteries

I took two classes at the local community college: Forensics, taught by the director of the local Oregon State Patrol Crime Lab, and Criminal Investigation (CI), taught by various law enforcement officers.

I got the idea for Dressed to Die in Forensics. One of the CI instructors was police chief of Coburg, Oregon, where I wanted to set the book. He was a great resource concerning small-town policing. I also knew the Deputy Medical Examiner, who spent a lot of time telling me all the ways people can die, without being murdered. I’m not sure I ever convinced him that natural deaths don’t sell books.

In addition, I’ve done a police ride-along and visited the county morgue, which plays heavily in my Grace books. And Forensics? A certified crime lab is attached to Grace’s house. Her father, who was the OSP Crime Lab director before he retired, freelances from the lab.

Dressed was the first book in my Grace Gabbiano Mysteries. This series also lets me introduce with my Italian heritage.

Andi Comstock Supernatural Mysteries

I was tasked with finding an off-campus location for the research institute where I worked, and to oversee remodeling. The first day we moved into the building, I smelled smoke, but no one else did. Weeks later, I went for a walk and passed the mortuary on the opposite corner of the block. It had a crematorium, which made me wonder if that was the source of the smoke.

I soon discovered that the crematorium didn’t emit smoke, so why did I smell it? Maybe because I was meant to write Holy Smoke, about a woman who “hears” the cremated dead as they pass to the Afterlife. Sometimes, she helps them solve a crime. Holy Smoke begins my Andi Comstock Supernatural Mysteries.

Heaven Sent

My mom and I used to enjoy discussing supernatural happenings, including near-death experiences (NDEs). After she died, we discovered a hand-written account of her personal experiences, which included an NDE. Since then, I’ve wanted to write an NDE book. Heaven Sent is not my mom’s story, but it is about Sophie, who dies twice after being hit by a car. She is given a mission from God to save Bella from the Dark Place, where the child’s dead mother is intent on dragging her.

Sophie does her research and believes she’s found a way to save Bella. To succeed, she must die again, hopefully via means that allow her to be revived once she rescues the child. Spoiler alert—I can’t say more.

Blessed Are the Eagles

Blessed Are the Eagles is set in the fictional Shiloh, Colorado, but some scenes take place on the real Hopi Reservation, which I visited while writing the book.

Finn believes Callie was involved in his brother’s death. With the incarnation of the mystical Hopi Eagle Kachina, Kwahu,  they are staggered by a truth they could not have anticipated.

I enjoyed the research for this book so much, I had to force myself to stop reading and start writing. The cover I designed for Eagles was influenced by ancient Hopi art.

Loose Ends

Dreams amaze me. In my younger days, I was plagued with nightmares about fires, wolves, and something dark and evil that always left my heart pounding. Memories of those nightmares ultimately led me to write Loose Ends.

Jessie dreams that people she loves are going to die. When she dreams of her best friend’s death, she tries to hire Mac to be her friend’s bodyguard. Mac turns her down, but does a turn-around when Jessie is called to the morgue to identify her friend’s body.

Fossil, Colorado Books

The toddler of a single mom I knew in Colorado suffocated at nap time on a one-inch rubber ball. People persecuted her for his death. In Here and Gone, Hannah’s husband and son, Jay, drown in a sailing accident. Hannah, too, becomes the target of community vitriol and relocates to Fossil, Colorado (which is fictional). There, she discovers her husband and son are still alive. Determined to find Jay, she is forced to seek the help of the sheriff, Noah.

Disappearing Act is about Noah’s brother, Brant, and Georgie, a woman he rescues after her car plunges into a deep creek. The accident–rescue idea came to me years ago, as my family travelled the river highway between our home and my in-laws’ place. All these years later, I finally found a home for this idea.

I may reject ideas, but even so, I keep track of them. I never know when I’ll need one, and believe me, I still have plenty of book ideas rumbling around in my brain.


BIO.

Ann Simas lives in Oregon, but she is a Colorado girl at heart, having grown up in the Rocky Mountains. She has been an avid reader since childhood and penned her first fiction “book” in high school. She particularly likes to write mystery-thriller-suspense with a love story and paranormal or supernatural elements.

An award-winning watercolorist and a budding photographer, Ann enjoys needlework and gardening in her spare time. She is her family’s “genealogist” and has been blessed with the opportunity to conduct first-hand research in Italy for both her writing and her family tree. The genealogy research from decade’s old documents in Italian, she says, has been a supreme but gratifying challenge.


BOOK LIST

Afterstories

Chloe’s Spirit

mybook.to/ChloesSpirit

Chloe’s Spirit Afterstories: Second Chance/Foolish Heart

mybook.to/ChloesAfterstories

First Star

mybook.to/FirstStar

First Star Afterstories: All That Glitters/Starry Night

mybook.to/FirstStarAfterstories


Stand-Alone Books

Blessed Are the Eagles

mybook.to/BlessedEagles

Loose Ends

mybook.to/Loose-Ends

Heaven Sent

mybook.to/Heaven-Sent

Black Moon Rising

mybook.to/BlackMoonRising


Fossil, Colorado Books

Here and Gone

mybook.to/HERE-GONE

Disappearing Act

mybook.to/DisappearingAct


Excerpt from Disappearing Act

The further Georgie drove up the mountain pass, the harder the snow fell. She felt the climb in altitude in her lungs, too. She’d never experienced a mountain snowfall before and she’d never been over five thousand feet before, except when passing from one place to another.

She got halfway through Woodland Park before she realized she’d taken a wrong turn. Hungry and more than a little frazzled, she pulled into a gas station and asked for directions. She used the bathroom while she was there and bought a hot coffee, because she was freezing her tush off.

Once again on her way, she headed back down the mountain on Highway 24, looking for the turnoff to Green Mountain Falls Road. She was exhausted, and her brain was fried, but she was determined to get to Fossil before nightfall, no matter what. She was nothing, if not persistent.

The snow seemed intent on causing her grief all the way. The road was narrow and curvy, and quite honestly, she had no experience driving snowy mountain roads. Not only that, but she could barely see through the windshield, even with the wipers working at the highest setting. She also wondered why she seemed to be going uphill instead of downhill. Had she turned the wrong way out of the gas station?

A pair of headlights came up behind her. The driver became impatient with her reduced speed almost immediately, and whipped around her. As far as Georgie was concerned, he was going way too fast, but she couldn’t very well roll down the window and yell, Slow down, you idiot!

Apparently trying to teach her a lesson in road manners, the other driver slammed on his brakes as soon as he took the lane in front of her again. She hit her brakes and immediately realized she’d done the wrong thing. Her SUV went into a tailspin and shot off the road.

The next thing Georgie knew, she was flying down an embankment. Her seatbelt seized up and the airbag exploded against her chest and face. The ride downward was bumpy and frightening. By the time her SUV plunged into the water, she was grateful to be alive, but soon realized she had relaxed too soon.

The river—or maybe it was a pond or a lake—must be deep, because her SUV began to sink. Before she knew it, her vehicle was nose-deep in water.

Georgie’s feet grew cold and that’s when she realized the icy water was seeping inside.

By then, the airbag had deflated. She struggled with the seatbelt, but couldn’t get it open. Every story she’d ever read about being stuck in a burning vehicle, or sinking into a watery grave, came back to haunt her.


Grace Gabbiano Mysteries

Dressed to Die

mybook.to/Dressed-to-Die

Sliced to Die

mybook.to/Sliced-to-Die

Buried to Die

mybook.to/Buried-to-Die

Quilted to Die

mybook.to/Quilted-to-Die

Taken to Die

mybook.to/Taken-to-Die

Praying to Die (coming July 2020)

mybook.to/Praying-to-Die


Andi  Comstock Supernatural Mysteries

Holy Smoke

mybook.to/HolySmoke

Penitence

mybook.to/Penitence

Angel Babies

mybook.to/AngelBabies

Hellfire

mybook.to/Hellfire-Mystery


Christmas Valley Romances

Santa’s Helper

Candy Cane Lane

Let It Snow

FruityCakes

Sleigh Bride

Angels on the Rooftop

Deck the Gnomes

Back-Door Santa

Jingle Bell Clock

mybook.to/JingleBellClock

Reindeer Blitz


Short Story Collection

All’s Well


Social Media Links

Facebook:        https://www.facebook.com/Ann-Simas-Author-410011319127684/

BookBub:        https://www.bookbub.com/authors/ann-simas

Goodreads:     https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7039844.Ann_Simas

Twitter:           https://twitter.com/AnnSimasAuthor

Amazon:          https://amazon.com/author/annsimas


Website/Email

email ann@annsimas.com


My thanks to this weeks guest for a great post. I hope you all enjoyed it.

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Have a good week,

Richard.

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