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Author Update 2023: Lynne Sturtevant

Lynne Sturtevant is a nonfiction author of practical how-to guides who broke into the contemporary fantasy genre with The Off-Kilter Chronicles. In 2022, she released book two in the series, The Ghost of Walker’s Gap, described as a “wonderfully wild romp” that will have readers cheering for the protagonist to “prevail against supernatural mischief and humans alike.” You’ll find Lynne on Facebook and at and Read more about Lynne’s writing in previous SWW interviews: 2020 (her nonfiction releases) and 2021 (The Off-Kilter Chronicles). Visit Amazon for all of Lynne’s books.

What is your elevator pitch for The Ghost of Walker’s Gap?
Ginger Stewart doesn’t believe in ghosts—until a dead artist materializes in her back seat. New to Walker’s Gap, the most haunted town in West Virginia, Ginger soon discovers ghosts aren’t the only ones disturbing the peace. A mining company wants to strip the surrounding hills of their riches. But they’re searching for treasure in the wrong place. Something much more valuable than coal is hidden beneath the historic town’s brick streets.

What challenges did this work pose for you?
When I wrote The Good Neighbors, a contemporary fantasy about fairies running amok in the hills of West Virginia, I wasn’t planning a series. But readers hoped my main character Ginger would have more paranormal encounters and supernatural adventures. So, bringing her back, deciding what other characters would carry over, and making sure there was continuity was a challenge. It was a fun challenge, but a challenge, nevertheless.

How did the book come together?
I started this book during NaNoWriMo 2020. I didn’t have an inspiring story idea, but I really wanted to write another novel. I know a lot about ghosts and the clock was ticking, so I went with that. I had a tour company that offered ghost walks before moving to Albuquerque, and I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about ghost stories from a literary and structural perspective. I guess I was ready to write it because I took it from vague idea to available on Amazon in just over a year.

What was the most difficult aspect of world building for the book?
Although I loved writing about the hills and hollers of the southern mountains in The Good Neighbors, I needed a different sort of setting for my ghost story. So, I created an imaginary river town. Some readers have said they’d like more stories set in Walker’s Gap. We’ll see.

For those who haven’t read book one, The Good Neighbors, tell us about your main characters.
Ginger, my main character and narrator, is a snarky, overweight, middle-aged woman struggling with financial issues, job insecurity, and housing difficulties in addition to the various annoying supernatural entities who keep dogging her. Because she is a visiting home health aide, she spends a lot of time with older people, some of whom are helpful and many of whom are decidedly not. In this story, Ginger butts heads with Birdy, a feisty 80-year-old with Appalachian magic running through her veins. Can they find a way to work together and restore equilibrium to the supernatural citizens of Walker’s Gap?

What makes this novel unique in the paranormal fantasy market?
My characters are not typical for this genre. They are older, poorer, less educated, and much more down to earth. No glamorous witches, bare-chested vampires, or misunderstood teenagers with psychic abilities. My settings are different, too. I like the idea of strange things bubbling up in very unmagical places.

What was your favorite part of putting this project together?
I loved delving into the legends and lore of Appalachia: spells, curses, moonshine, folk remedies, prophetic dreams, soup beans with cornbread, creepy dolls, the whole ball of wax.

Any new writing projects?
A third Ginger story is in the works. It’s not coming along as quickly or as easily as The Ghost of Walker’s Gap. However, I’m confident that Ginger and Birdy (who makes a repeat appearance) will find a way to get to the bottom of what’s plaguing the few remaining residents of an abandoned coal company town.

KLWagoner150_2KL Wagoner (writing as Cate Macabe) is the author of This New Mountain: a memoir of AJ Jackson, private investigator, repossessor, and grandmother. Kat has a speculative fiction blog at and writes about memoir at

2022 New Releases for SWW Authors #1

Lynn Barker, Robert D. Kidera, Carol H. March, Karen Meadows, and Lynne Sturtevant represent the diverse membership of SouthWest Writers (SWW) with books published in a variety of genres in 2022. Their new releases couldn’t fit in this year’s interview schedule, but look for 2023 interviews or updates for many of these authors.

A list of interviewed SWW authors with 2022 releases is included at the end of this post.

Futurus Rex (July 2022) by Lynn Barker. In this dark future, the denizens of outposts along primitive trading routes struggle to survive and grow under medieval conditions and the harsh rule of Techno-wizards. One popular young songsayer, Aliena, is encouraged to lead a band of misfits against the oppressors but she feels far from qualified. She needs a strong battle leader and the man awakened in a cave is destined to be that person for he is Arthur, the once and future king. As legend has it, he, along with his faithful knights who rest beside him, will come forth to save his kingdom in its hour of greatest need. Unfortunately, the only one of his beloved knights to survive the long sleep is…the traitorous Modred. Co-written with Star Trek icon Dorothy (D.C.) Fontana.

You’ll find Lynn on and Amazon.

Robert D. Kidera, Tony Hillerman Award Winner and author of the Gabe McKenna Mystery series, brings readers a new thriller in 2022: CHANDLER IS DEAD. An unbalanced killer-for-hire stops during a driving rain to pick up a naked, drugged-out teenage girl hitchhiking on a desolate two-lane highway outside a Colorado ghost town at 3:27 a.m. WHAT COULD POSSIBLY GO WRONG? If you’re a fan of Richard Stark/Donald Westlake’s Parker novels, you’ll love this one.

Visit Bob on his Black Range Publishing website, listen to his Black Range Pub podcast, and look for all of his releases on his Amazon author page.

When Spirit Whispers: A Journey of Awakening (January 2022) by Carol H. March is a 2022 New Mexico/Arizona Book Award Winner. Do you struggle with important decisions? Feel depressed or anxious? Get overwhelmed, with no time to create the life you want? To recover, heal, and thrive, say hello to the one who knows you best. Your Wise Inner Guide can lead you to your natural, creative self. It knows your fears, challenges, and your heart’s desire. It can show you how to create a life of meaning and purpose at any age. When Spirit Whispers: A self-guided journal for accessing your intuitive wisdom — the companion workbook — is also available. Inspirational quotes, questions for reflection, and writing prompts invite you to develop an active relationship with your Wise Inner Guide who will lead you to your inner Creative Self.

Find When Spirit Whispers and the self-guided journal on Amazon.

It’s a Tango, Not a War: Dancing with Type 1 Diabetes (May 2022) by Karen Meadows. Are you dancing with your diabetes? Most of us are not. We have been told to go to war with diabetes! But It’s a Tango, Not a War is a book about partnering with T1D (or any kind of diabetes). Do you know what to do to stay well? Do you think you can do it? Do you want to? This book offers humor, empathy and practical recommendations for finding your own way with diabetes and living more easily, even joyfully. Discover current medical guidelines embedded in inspiring stories of how others have met diabetes challenges and triumphed. Think about new routines for living well with what some consider a curse.

You’ll find Karen on Look for It’s a Tango, Not a War on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

The Ghost of Walker’s Gap (The Off-Kilter Chronicles Book 2) (April 2022) by Lynne Sturtevant. Visiting homemaker Ginger Stewart doesn’t believe in ghosts — until the spirit of a dead artist materializes in her backseat. New to Walker’s Gap, the most haunted town in West Virginia, Ginger soon discovers ghosts aren’t the only ones disturbing the peace. A mining company wants to strip the surrounding hills of their riches. But they’re searching for treasure in the wrong place. Something much more valuable than coal is hidden beneath the historic town’s brick streets. Ginger teams up with Birdy, an elderly woman with Appalachian magic running through her veins, and Ronnie, an expert in mountain legends and folklore. Can they discover the secret of Walker’s Gap and put its troubled spirits to rest before greed consumes them all?

Visit Lynne on her website For all of her books, go to her Amazon author page.

SWW Author Interviews: 2022 Releases

E. Joe Brown
A Cowboy’s Destiny (Artemesia Publishing, August 2022)

Ed Lehner
Grandpa’s Horse and Other Tales (AIA Publishing, March 2022)

Chuck Greaves
The Chimera Club (Tallow Lane Books, May 2022)

Melody Groves
Trail to Tin Town (Five Star Publishing, June 2022)
Before Billy the Kid: The Boy Behind the Legendary Outlaw (Two Dot Publishing, August 2022)

Joyce Hertzoff
Winds of Change (August 2022)

Cassie Sanchez
Embracing the Darkness (October 2022)

Avraham “Avi” Shama
Cyberwars — David Knight Goes To Moscow (3rd Coast Books, May 2022)

KLWagoner150_2KL Wagoner (writing as Cate Macabe) is the author of This New Mountain: a memoir of AJ Jackson, private investigator, repossessor, and grandmother. Kat posts to a speculative fiction blog at and writes about memoir at

Author Update: Lynne Sturtevant

Lynne Sturtevant is primarily a nonfiction author of how-to guides. But in her most recent release, The Good Neighbors (September 2020), she takes readers into the fantasy genre with a different look at fairies and their folklore. Find all of Lynne’s books on her website and Amazon author page, and connect with her on her blog and on Facebook. Read more about her work in SWW’s 2020 interview.

What would you like readers to know about the story you tell in The Good Neighbors?
The Good Neighbors is a different kind of contemporary fantasy. It’s a story about what happens when magic bubbles up in a normal place and disrupts the lives of ordinary people. No witches, wizards, vampires or misunderstood teenagers with magical powers. Just an overweight middle-aged woman and some feisty elderly residents in double-wide trailers trying to tamp down an outbreak of dangerous magical beings.

What sparked the idea for the book?
I was reading a lot of Celtic fairy folklore, not fairy tales, but 19th century rural folks’ descriptions of fairy encounters. My tag line for the book — “People used to know the truth about fairies and they were afraid of them.” — grew out of that research. I wondered what kind of situations would arise if a group of these self-absorbed, capricious, obnoxious creatures appeared in our world and refused to leave. Once I started imaging them roaming around the hills of West Virginia, I was off and running.

Who are your main characters, and what will readers like most about them?
My main characters are strong, smart older women. The narrator is Ginger. She’s blue collar, snarky, smokes and drinks too much and has financial problems. She is a home health aide traveling the countryside calling on elderly clients. And that brings us to Violet, a wealthy, erudite lady in her late 70s. Fairies have taken up residence on Violet’s property, but she doesn’t want anyone to know. Ginger discovers her secret when the fairies vandalize her car. There’s Henry, a retired banker who is romantically interested in Violet, as well as an assortment of other eccentric clients scattered through the hills. And, of course, there are the fairies themselves. They are not tiny, glamorous, sparkly creatures with gossamer wings that flit from flower to flower. They’re scrawny, about four-feet-tall, and they have personal hygiene issues. Plus, they really like artificial sweetener.

People love Ginger for her voice, her attitude, and the fact that she tries to apply a normal world problem-solving approach to an otherworldly dilemma: How to neutralize the increasingly violent and aggressive fairies before they create even more mayhem than they already have.

What is the main setting, and how does it impact the story?
The story is set in and around Parkersburg, West Virginia. I needed a place that was decidedly unmagical but within striking distance of an area that was remote, hidden, and possibly enchanted. Those are the sparsely populated hills and the village of Oberon, which is completely imaginary, about an hour south of Parkersburg. The setting reinforces the contrast between the regular world and the magical one, which is the theme underlying the entire story.

Tell us how the book came together.
I wrote the first version of this book about 20 years ago. I had a literary agent at the time who tried to sell it for two years. No takers. My favorite complaints from publishers were the fairies were too folklorish and Ginger was too old. I was disappointed, but I put it away. I never forgot about it, though.

The years went by, as they say, and I ended up in Albuquerque. I had several short nonfiction titles I wanted to self-publish. I took the SWW workshop on publishing last year and learned how to do just that, as we discussed in an earlier interview. I highly recommend that workshop, by the way.

When the nonfiction titles were finished, I took a deep breath and read my fairy novel for the first time in ages. I was surprised how much I still liked it. The good news was I saw flaws that I couldn’t see before. The even better news was I knew how to fix them. So, I did a rewrite, added two subplots and intensified and expanded several scenes. It only took a few weeks. Then I published it.

Is there a scene in The Good Neighbors that you’d love to see play out in a movie?
The fairies live in a mound. Even though the entrances are concealed, and no one is supposed to come inside, Ginger figures out a way to get in. The Fairyland she manages to get herself trapped in is not the magical realm described in classic fairy tales. I don’t want to give too much away, but I’ll mention a few elements: A dented Walmart shopping cart. Filthy shag carpeting. An amateurish sunset painted on black velvet. Lots of mud.

What was your favorite part of putting this project together? 
The bottom line is this story is fun. The characters are funny. The fairies are despicable. Crazy things happen. I loved writing it. I loved rewriting it. Taking the flawed original version, turning it into something better and helping it finally find the light of day was a very satisfying experience.

What writing projects are you working on now?
Several women told me they wanted to hear more from Ginger. They hoped she would have further adventures in the world of the paranormal, the supernatural, and the just plain weird. So, I’m writing a sequel! It will be book two in a series. I started it in November 2020 during NaNoWriMo. Ginger has a new territory. She’s been assigned to a small college town, which just happens to be the most haunted place in West Virginia. Rather than Celtic fairy lore, this time she’s steeped in the food, legends, folkways and magic of Appalachia. She’s also dealing with an increasingly frantic ghost. I plan to publish by the end of September. After that? I have one or two more ideas . . .

Is there anything else you’d like readers to know?
I love helping other writers develop web content and copy, a totally different writing style for many of us. I also design beautiful websites. You can find out more at or visit my author’s site at

KLWagoner150_2KL Wagoner (writing as Cate Macabe) is the author of This New Mountain: a memoir of AJ Jackson, private investigator, repossessor, and grandmother. Kathy posts to a speculative fiction blog at and writes about memoir at

2020 New Releases for SWW Authors #3

Authors William Fisher, Cornelia Gamlem, Larry Kilham, BR Kingsolver, RJ Mirabal, and Lynne Sturtevant represent the diverse membership of SouthWest Writers (SWW) with 2020 releases in the genres of historical fiction, business, biography, and several speculative fiction sub-genres. The releases in this post couldn’t fit into this year’s interview schedule, but look for interviews or updates for most of these authors in 2021.

At the end of this post, you’ll find a list of interviewed SWW authors for books published in 2020.

William Fisher’s debut novel, Cruel Road (October 2020), is a mid-eighteenth-century historical drama. John Fraser, Scots-Irish gunsmith and militiaman, faces a difficult dilemma when his new and pregnant wife is taken captive by a local tribal chief. This is the story of real-life John and Jane Fraser, among the first settlers of western Pennsylvania. Their lives are challenged by Indian conflicts, French and English fighting over territory, and survival in the Pennsylvania wilderness. The book is a dramatization of true events. Most characters are actual historical characters. John and Jane Fraser are the author’s direct ancestors. Some characters are fictional, and certain actions and descriptions are conjecture.

Visit Bill’s Amazon author page.

They Did What? Unbelievable Tales from the Workplace (September 2020) is Cornelia Gamlem and Barbara Mitchell’s newest nonfiction release. People have been misbehaving at work since work began. If you’ve ever been curious about workplace misbehavior, this book just might hold some answers. A compilation of stories collected from HR and other business leaders have been woven into a narrative that showcases the challenges HR professionals face daily in dealing with employees. They Did What? is funny, sad, and most definitely unbelievable—except it is all based on actual situations.

Visit Cornelia’s Amazon author page.

In Destiny Strikes Twice: James L. Breese Aviator and Inventor (November 2020), Larry Kilham tells the true story of the flight engineer on the first transatlantic flight in 1919 who went on to develop 130 patents for home and military space heaters. Dismissing a high society Long Island life, Jim moved to New Mexico in 1929 to start fresh in the unencumbered West. There he built his oil burner business with sales in the millions of dollars. The twists and turns through his adventure-packed life reveal lessons for everyone including many insights for aspiring inventors and entrepreneurs.

Visit Larry’s Amazon author page.

BR Kingsolver published three novels in 2020 (read the interview for Knights Magica here). The two most recent releases are in the new Rift Chronicles series. In Magitek (book 1, August 2020), the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Danica James’ grandfather wanted to end war. Instead, he broke the world. Through the Rift came demons, vampires, and monsters. Danica is a cop with the Arcane Division. She’s also a magitek. Her job is to clean up her grandfather’s mess. She’s not making much progress.

In book two, War Song (December 2020), Danica James is still a cop with the Arcane Division who works to protect humanity from monsters — whether they be human or creatures from the Rift. It beats sitting in a factory cubical all day, which is where magiteks usually work. Most of humanity hates the magic users who rule the world, but for a hundred years, the Magi have kept the demons, vampires, and other monsters in check. But now one Magi Family has allied itself with the demons in a bid for world domination. It was ugly before, but now it’s getting worse.

Visit the author’s Amazon author page.

RJ Mirabal’s newest release is the young adult fantasy Dragon Train (December 2020). Jaiden, a 15-year-old farm boy, dreams of a more exciting life in a world where people have enslaved dragons as beasts of burden, guard animals, and soldiers. He has never been more than a few miles beyond his farm and the quiet village of Hilltop. Yet Jaiden desires escape from his grouchy and somewhat abusive father. And then the dragon train makes an unscheduled stop in Hilltop. Skye, the huge Blue Dragon pulling the train, may die of exhaustion unless someone can help. Thus, a boy and dragon embark on an epic adventure in the hopes of fulfilling their longing for freedom, excitement, and happiness.

Visit RJ’s website and his book page.

Fairy Trouble (September 2020), by Lynne Sturtevant, is a contemporary Celtic fairy tale. People used to know the truth about fairies and they were afraid of them. When visiting homemaker Ginger Stewart encounters a troop of fairies in the wild, green hills of West Virginia, she learns magic is real. She also learns our ancestors were right. There are reasons to be afraid. Ginger is astounded when a fairy attacks her while she’s calling on an elderly client, Violet. Violet has spent her life hiding the fairies and protecting them from the outside world. But something has changed. The fairies have become angry and aggressive and she has no idea how to pacify them. As the mayhem escalates, Ginger and Violet negotiate a maze of folklore, ancient symbols, and dark family secrets. Will they find a way to restore equilibrium to the fairies before it’s too late?

Visit Lynne’s Amazon author page.

SWW Author Interviews: 2020 Releases

Connie Flores
Our Fascinating Life: The Totally Accidental Trip 1979
Sue Houser
BR Kingsolver
Knights Magica
Dr. Barbara Koltuska-Haskin
How My Brain Works: A Guide to Understanding It Better and Keeping It Healthy
Manfred Leuthard
Broken Arrow: A Nuke Goes Missing
Shirley Raye Redmond
Courageous World Changers: 50 True Stories of Daring Women of God
J.R. Seeger
A Graveyard for Spies
Lynne Sturtevant
Hometown: Writing a Local History or Travel Guide and The Collaboration Kit
Patricia Walkow
New Mexico Remembers 9/11

KLWagoner150_2KL Wagoner (writing as Cate Macabe) is the author of This New Mountain: a memoir of AJ Jackson, private investigator, repossessor, and grandmother. Kathy posts to a speculative fiction blog at and writes about memoir at

An Interview with Author Lynne Sturtevant

Lynne Sturtevant combines decades of tourism experience with a love of local history to produce her nonfiction books. In a span of two months she published her three most recent releases: Create Successful Walking Tours (November 2019), Hometown: Writing a Local History or Travel Guide (January 2020), and The Collaboration Kit (January 2020). Find all of Lynne’s books on her website and her Amazon author page, and connect with her on her blog and on Facebook.

How did these closely tied books evolve from the spark of an idea to their first draft?
All three books started as blog posts. For several years, I had a blog called The History Biz for folks working in local history and tourism. When I moved to New Mexico four years ago, I stopped updating the blog. About a year ago, I read through the posts. There was a lot of good content there. So, I decided to repurpose some of it as eBooks. The material needed to be updated and significantly expanded. I knew how to do that. What I didn’t know how to do was self-publish.

What was the most challenging aspect of publishing three books in two months?
The biggest challenge was just sitting down and doing it. Even though I’m comfortable with technology, there was a learning curve. To be honest, I wouldn’t have attempted it if I hadn’t taken a self-publishing workshop from SouthWest Writers. The process is tedious, but it’s worth it. I’ve become a huge fan of self-publishing.

Who are the audiences for the three books, and what would you like readers to know about each of these releases?
The Collaboration Kit and Create Successful Walking Tours are practical guides for people working in county historical societies, small museums, and historic houses, as well as entrepreneurs who offer history-themed walking tours and events. The books describe how to find interesting program ideas, how to work with other organizations, how to properly price events, how to deal with unruly customers, how much to pay guides, how to effectively use social media, etc.

Hometown: Writing a Local History or Travel Guide is for writers and people who would like to become writers. It’s a complete guide to conceptualizing, writing, publishing, and marketing a local interest book. I published two local interest books about ten years ago. Both are still in print and selling well. So, I have good information to share on this topic. Whether it’s a town history, a family saga, a neighborhood’s story or a collection of legends, a local interest book is a manageable project. The research is fun and there are lots of interesting and lucrative marketing opportunities that are only available for local books.

How has your experience writing nonfiction affected or benefited your fiction writing?
I’m convinced writing both fiction and nonfiction makes me a better writer. I have more techniques to draw from. When I find opportunities to use scene setting and character description in nonfiction pieces, it always strengthens the prose. I also do web copywriting. Part of my process is to interview people about what they want for their websites. I don’t just focus on their answers, though. I listen to the way they speak, their tone, their vocabulary. Because I’ve had lots of practice writing dialogue, I can bring their voices to life on their websites. As far as what nonfiction brings to the table, it’s editing. You learn to spot the chaff when you have to adhere to word count limits.

What writing projects are you working on now?
I’ve got two projects in the works. My novel The Good Neighbors, a contemporary fantasy about a troop of Celtic fairies rampaging through the hills of West Virginia, is in final editing. I’m in the outlining stage of another book for the local history crowd. The working title is Haunted: Profiting from the Paranormal. It’s about how to create ghost walks, graveyard tours, investigations of haunted houses, that sort of thing. I plan to self-publish both.

Is there anything else you’d like readers to know?
I offer website design and copywriting services to writers, artists and other creative people. You can find out more about that at

KLWagoner150_2KL Wagoner (writing as Cate Macabe) is the author of This New Mountain: a memoir of AJ Jackson, private investigator, repossessor, and grandmother. Kathy posts to a speculative fiction blog at and writes about memoir at

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