“Cherish,” a YA ghost mystery from author Norma Huss

Posted in Books, Halloween stories, Teen Halloween stories, Young Adult books with tags , , , , , , on October 14, 2014 by Vala Kaye



It’s the sophomore Local History cemetery visit. Sure, it’s almost Halloween, but Kayla has seen that teenage ghost for years. Why won’t she leave? When the dreamy senior asks Kayla for a date, she decides to prove to herself that she’s mature and in charge. She’ll tell that ghost to go away. But Kayla shouldn’t have touched the ghost’s cold hand because that’s when everything changed.

Suddenly, it’s 1946, or is Kayla dreaming? Is she crazy? Why is her name Cherish? Why is her mother at home baking cookies when she should be at work? And, she has a father? Didn’t he die years ago? Why is her best friend Trudy instead of Dani? And the thing in her pocket is not a compact with a bad mirror. DON’T TRY TO OPEN IT!

Text messages do travel across the years, judging from those on her cell phone. But why is Dani mad at her? She isn’t there, is she? It can’t be, but it must. Someone is taking Kayla’s place in the twenty-first century. Who?

Fact: Cherish is ruining her life in two centuries. If Kayla doesn’t find her way home to her own time and her own body, she will die in 1946 with Cherish.

Cherish (A YA Ghost Mystery) is now available as a paperback and e-book for Kindle. Buy the paperback and download the e-book for free!


About the author:


Norma Huss calls herself “The Grandma Moses of Mystery.” Cherish is her first book for young adults—for her grandchildren, of course. (She freely admits this book required a lot of help from the younger generation when it came to current technology. She handled the 1946 concepts herself.)

Her adult mysteries, Yesterday’s Body and Death of a Hot Chick are set on the Chesapeake Bay where she and her husband sailed for many years. Her non-fiction, A Knucklehead in 1920s Alaska, was taken from her father’s exploits as a nineteen-year-old college student looking to earn money.

“When I first started writing,” Norma says, “I wrote for children and young adults, submitting to magazines, and finally having quite a few published in popular magazines. I moved on to novels for the same age groups, but none sold. As my children were outgrowing those markets, I switched to my market—mysteries. But, I did have a few YA plots that had gotten nibbles from major publishers. I decided to update one before my grandchildren got too old to enjoy it.

However, after updating Cherish, the only part of the original that remained was the name Cherish for a teen from the past, her desire for an automobile of her own, and the number and sex of the other characters. The original had no ghost, just bones. Even the historic time changed, moving from the 1930s to the 1940s. (I did want someone still living who remembered Cherish.) And 1946 fit in quite nicely for two reasons—I could remember it, and the news from that year contributed to the story.

Early readers have mentioned mother-daughter reads, and that this one is more like a grandmother-granddaughter read. Actually, some of the scenes are contributed by one of the young men in the story, so grandsons may like it too (although that may be pushing it).”

Norma’s Website  Norma’s blog  Goodreads  Facebook  Twitter


My YA paranormal novella – “Ghost Writer”

Posted in Book Reviews, Books, ghost story, Halloween stories, Paranormal, Teen Halloween stories, Young Adult books with tags , , , , , on September 5, 2014 by Vala Kaye

Click on the cover to the left (or to the right!) to download the ebook for Kindle or a Kindle app for only 99 cents. (Or order a print copy from Amazon.com for $5.99.)

Have a Nook or just don’t shop at Amazon? No worries! The ebook and print book is also available here from B&N.com and the ebook can be found at Smashwords.

LASR (Long and Short Reviews) YA reviewer “Snapdragon” totally got the meaning of Ghost Writer, and gave it 4 stars.

“Ghost Writer is an unpredictable story with a nice little mystery wrapped around a sense of empathy – a sense that will try to stretch across centuries. I’d have to call this novella the perfect Halloween present: A real indulgence with no calories!”


Just click on the cover to download the e-book for Kindle or a Kindle app or to order a print copy from Amazon.com.

The e-book is also available here from B&N.com and from Smashwords.

It’s never too early to get into the Halloween spirit! (No pun intended there, honestly!)

“By Starlight,” MG/YA adventure-mystery from author Nancy Lindley-Gauthier

Posted in Books, Middle Grade, Young Adult books with tags , , , , , , , , , , on August 20, 2014 by Vala Kaye

My amazing and prolific critique partner, Nancy Lindley-Gauthier, shares By Starlight, an MG/YA mystery with a sprinkling of paranormal and a light touch of teen romance.

Here’s a bit about By Starlight:

by starlight

Kitsai “Kit” Dennis is driven by desperation: her best online friend Gracie has gone missing!

Determined to locate Gracie, Kit finagles a job at a summer camp near Gracie’s home in rural British Columbia, Canada. Evening campfires, wildlife, mountains and rivers form the backdr

op as Kit sets out to search all her friend’s favorite places.

Kit suffers doubts so she turns to some of the Native American teachings practiced in the area to help her develop a focus in her search. Determined to be a true and loyal friend, she winds up in dangerous situations far outside her comfort zone, forcing her to admit more about herself than she really wants to know.

Although not a thriller, there are many ‘thrilling’ moments in By Starlight, a YA ‘adventure’ mystery.


By Starlight is available now as an e-book from:

Desert Breeze Publishing

Amazon (Kindle)

Barnes & Noble (Nook)

Check out Nancy’s latest releases on her site: https://nlindleygauthier.wordpress.com/

My thoughts on “The Raven”

Posted in Film Reviews with tags , , , on September 22, 2013 by Vala Kaye

The RavenLast night, I watched The Raven on DVD.

It’s no secret that I like the work of actor John Cusack, who wore the character of Edgar Allen Poe as if it were a second skin. I’ve enjoyed a number of Cusack’s films, everything from rom-coms Must Love Dogs, Say Anything and Serendipity, to thrillers like Identity and 1408, to the odd and quirkier movies, such as Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil and Martian Child.

The Raven was a mystery-thriller-love story, filled with blood and gore. But, based on the works of Poe, really, how could it have been anything else? As I watched, though, I connected with this story on a level that I think is only possible when one writer observes incidents that occurred (or could have occurred) in the life of another.

Now, do I rank myself as an author with the status of Poe? Hardly. But his work was considered part of the ‘pulp fiction’ of his day, much like horror, sci-fi, romances and mysteries are today.

The Raven portrays Poe’s understanding that he was forever subject to the vagaries of newspaper editors, critics, and his readers, who consumed his stories with a rapid and morbid interest one minute while considering him capable of serial murder the next. Poe also knew that his own dark thoughts had never translated into dark actions, but he still felt responsible when what he’d written prompted an evil mind to carry out the plots of his murders on real victims.

I can identify with this. I haven’t plotted many murders in my stories, nor do I have any plans to…at the moment. But one thing that all writers need to be cognizant of is that the printed word, on paper or on a computer screen, has the power to touch others.

Are we, as writers, responsible for the actions of our readers? No, of course not. But when we see how the 50 Shades trilogy has sparked a mini-baby-boom, don’t we have to wonder?

Or, to paraphrase Poe (the character) in The Raven, “If I’d known my work would have such an effect on my readers, I would have paid more attention to eroticism.”

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