Meet Author Ann Charles!

Ann Charles is a USA TODAY bestselling author who writes award-winning mysteries that are splashed with humor, romance, paranormal and whatever sounds like fun. Read her interview below!
  1. Your website states you “write award-winning mysteries that are splashed with humor, romance, paranormal and whatever sounds fun.” How do you balance such an array of what are often separate genres?

This mixed genre madness is what comes out when I write, so apparently my brain is a professional jack-of-all-trades. When I first started writing fiction many, many moons ago, I tried to write contemporary romances, but emoting enough to pull off a full-length romance was tough for me. Then I added in some hair-raising murders and creepy ghosts, along with humor and romance to offset the suspense, and suddenly the stories just flowed from my fingertips. Somehow, my muse juggles all of those genres with relative ease by nature, and most days I feel like I’m just along for the ride. 

  1. Do you have a disciplined writing routine? Can you describe it?

I wish I had a disciplined writing routine, but in truth I have kids and too many cats, so I am often distracted. When I’m in the thick of writing a book, I aim for 2000 words written per day, and when I start running up against my deadline for finishing the first draft, I increase that goal by a thousand or two thousand per day. Sometimes I write in the morning, other times the afternoon, and periodically late into the night. Maybe someday I’ll have a set writing schedule, but for now, I write whenever I can find the time, whether we’re talking about a story, marketing pieces, or email replies to readers.  

  1. Your website also states you’re a member of Sisters in Crime and Western Writers of America.  How long have you been a member of these organizations?

I’ve been with Sisters in Crime for many years—probably about eight. I’ve been with Western Writers of America for about three years now. Until last year, I was also a member of Romance Writers of America and had been with them since the mid-1990s, but I’d grown away from that organization writing-wise, so I let that membership lapse. All of these organizations have been helpful over the years, but I don’t go to their conferences or meetings any more due to time restraints thanks to my kids’ school schedules. In the past, I’ve enjoyed meeting other authors who are also part of these organizations, so if you’re an author looking to network, there are great opportunities within them.

  1. What can readers expect from Ann Charles next?

DEVIL DAYS IN DEADWOOD, the 11th book in my Deadwood Mystery series (a blend of mystery, supernatural suspense, humor, and romance) has an ebook release date of May 29, 2020. The print book version will follow shortly (the audiobook will be out in early 2021, which seems farther off than it actually is). After DEVIL DAYS, my husband, Sam Lucky, and I will be releasing the 3rd book in the Deadwood Undertaker series, CAN’T RIDE AROUND IT, which is a mix of western, supernatural suspense, mystery, and humor. This book will be out by September 2020. After that, I’ll be working on the 12th book in the Deadwood Mystery series with the goal of releasing around the end of the year. So, it’s going to be a year of “Deadwood” for me.

Post-Pandemic Thoughts on the Importance of Human Contact

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We’re well into this new form of existence, several months now, with no end on the horizon. How has this pandemic affected you? And I don’t just mean the frustration of not being able to socialize and I don’t even mean the extremely unfair outcome of unemployment for MILLIONS.

I mean the impact on our psyches.

The longer we have to wear masks and practice social distancing (especially hard for demonstrative, huggy-kissy touchy-feely people like me) I wonder how conditioned we’ll become to it. After endless months, will this become the “new normal?” Masks are sort of becoming a fashion statement, for pete’s sake! Touch is so important for feeding our souls. What about those who live alone and thus are without human contact AT ALL? At least we can chat (and, my preference–videochat!) but that doesn’t offer the warmth of a hug.

I’ve just been wondering, the longer this goes on, will be become so used to it that we’ll feel NAKED without our masks even after this pandemic is over? Will we view movies and think, “those people are entirely too close to one another!”? CoVid19 has social implications that will scar humanity for years to come, I’m afraid.

This article mentions the importance of hugs, and states;

Family therapist Virginia Satir once said, “We need four hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth.”

So I feel deeply for those who aren’t getting their daily requirement of something as basic as a hug. Be glad if, like me, you are isolated with loved ones from whom you can give and receive hugs at any time, because they’re more important than you may realize.

Stay safe and well!

One Month In to my 56th Year

So last month I turned 55. My first birthday spent during quarantine.

Were I more of an introvert, this isolation wouldn’t be so difficult, I imagine. But last year, after seeing myself through a difficult time, I dove head-first into socializing and joined 3 groups. One of them being a local Red Hat chapter.

Ready and willing to be as involved as I could, I became Secretary and was having the time of my life meeting some fantastic Red Hatters. Silliness and individuality is encouraged in Red Hats, which fed my soul deliciously, and I looked forward to our monthly meetings and other events.

And then CoVid19 sent the world screeching to a halt.

Not knowing when I’d join my Red Hat sisters again, I determined to remain hopeful that we would–soon! And to keep my own spirits up I decided to add to a growing collection of pins.

My bowler-style red hat is already well-adorned with pins, and I didn’t want to encrust it with rhinestones completely, so I purchased red beauty-pageant style sash. Plenty of room for pins now! So when I’m back with the Sassie Lassies, I’ll be decked out with all my new accoutrements. I’m looking so forward to that!

Happy May Day! Happy Beltane!

Happy Beltane 2020– the cross-quarter day between the Spring Equinox and the Summer Solstice. No swapping of May baskets, no dancing around the May pole. And yet, the Wheel of the Year faithfully continues its cycle regardless of the menacing threat of CoVid19 to humanity and other species.

Springtime has always been my favorite season; new beginnings abound. Tender young buds burst open while new generations of countless species are born. Full of hope and promise, the air is abundant with the scent of new-mown lawns and the insistent, high-pitched tweeting of baby birds.

Our current quarantine situation is really feeding my anxiety, and it can be so difficult to remain hopeful. I’m quite positive I won’t be seeing any family this year, and that prospect saddens me. I have resorted to videochatting with any family members willing to do so, but it’s not the same.

However, I am a strong believer that happiness is a choice and attitude is everything. I honestly enjoy holing up with Dave. When the cats join us on the bed for our afternoon naps, the troubled world falls away and we are encased in our own blissful world.

As this new month begins I have decided to re-commit myself to my chanting, which I’m afraid I have let slip a little lately. I’ll begin a new record book today and joyfully determine to chant for at least 30 minutes a day. If ever our souls needed nurturing, it’s during a time of crisis like now.

So smile and know mid-Spring is here, with brighter, cheerier days ahead. Stay safe and well.

Happy Beltane!