Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Guest Blog by Sue Ann Jaffarian - Gobsmacked by a Ghost - March 4, 2014

Please welcome Sue Ann Jaffarian to The Qwillery. She is the author of the Odelia Grey Mystery series, the Ghost of Granny Apples Mystery series, the Madison Rose Vampire Mystery series, the Holidays from Hell Short Story series, and more.  Dummy of a Ghost (A Ghost of Granny Apples eNovella) is out today from Berkley.

Gobsmacked by a Ghost

I currently write two mystery series – the Odelia Grey mystery series and the Ghost of Granny Apples mystery series. But I must confess, Granny almost didn’t happen. Not because I couldn’t find a publisher for it, but because I didn’t see the series standing in front of me waving its arms like a windmill. I just wasn’t paying attention.

It all started early one morning years ago when I was chatting via e-mail with my then editor of my Odelia Grey novels, Barbara Moore. We were talking about paranormal stories in general and I mentioned that I had a cute idea for a short story about a cantankerous ghost who visits one of her descendants and makes a pest of herself – think Topper meets The Ghost Whisperer. It was just a simple cute story, not a mystery, that I had noodling around in my brain for a few years. Originally the story was for an anthology that I’d been invited to contribute to but which never got off the ground. I had shelved the story in the back of my brain, totally forgotten until the morning I mentioned it to Barbara as an afterthought.

When Barbara wrote back that she wanted to hear more, I fleshed out the story line a bit on the fly and sent a short response back, again not making it a mystery. A minute later came another e-mail – she wanted to know more.

More? Really? Who was this woman, Oliver Twist? I didn’t have any more, but rather than tell Barbara that, I left my computer and took a shower, getting ready for the day ahead. I would tell her later that there was no more.

I don’t know about most authors, but I often get some of my best writing ideas in the shower. There’s just something about warm water hitting my skull that loosens up my clogged, spongy gray matter. It doesn’t happen all the time, but on occasion I have writing breakthroughs and barely take the time to rinse before heading back to the computer to flesh them out. And that’s what happened this particular morning. Halfway through shampooing, I saw the story of come to life and couldn’t wait to share it.

Wet and wearing a towel, I wrote Barbara back, explaining that the ghost would be wandering the earth trying to find someone to exonerate her of a murder. She’d be from someplace cool like Julian, California, during the gold rush days. And her name would be Granny Apples. That was the turning point – giving the ghost a name. She came to life and stood ready to have her story told.

The e-mail sent, I finished getting ready for the day. When I returned to my computer there was another message from Barb: This is not a short story. This is a novel. Okay, I told her, writing back, I guess it could be a cute stand alone. No, she responded almost immediately, it’s a series. How soon can you get me a manuscript?

My next step was a call my agent: “Um, I think I just sold a new series. You might want to give Barbara a call.”

And thus the very popular Ghost of Granny Apples mystery series was born. And Barb was right. Granny Apples wasn’t a short story, it was a full-blown mystery series. After the first three books, I moved the series to Penguin/Berkley. In 2013 they published a novella, The Silent Ghost. In March 2014 another novella, Dummy of a Ghost, will be released. The fourth full novel, Ghost of a Gamble, will be released in April 2014, with another full novel coming out in 2015. I have also written proposals for future novels in the series.

The lesson here is two-fold: 1) don’t listen to me, I’m lost in a fog and need running hot water to clear my head; and 2) listen to the people who know and don’t be afraid to bounce ideas off of their heads. They might recognize a gem when you think you're holding a common rock.

Ghost of Granny Apples

Dummy of a Ghost
A Ghost of Granny Apples Novella
Berkley, March 4, 2014
eNovella, 106 pages

“A pleasant mix of cozy and paranormal” (The Mystery Reader) this “appealing as apple pie” (Harley Jane Kozak) series “proves the vivacious Jaffarian is the literary heir apparent to Lucille Ball!” (The Book Resort) as a spiritual medium counts on family (those dead and alive) to help her get to the core of the most baffling crimes…

A party is giving Kelly Whitecastle a chance to play catch-up with old friends, and she’s especially keen on seeing Chris May again, an up-and-coming ventriloquist. But when Kelly sees his show, and Chris’s dummies, a couple named Shirley and Doug, appear to be staring straight at her, it only rattles Kelly’s nerves.

It seems that the ghosts of Chris’s grandparents inhabit those grinning heads full of sawdust and they have a warning for Kelly: Chris is in mortal danger. Now Kelly’s working the nightclub circuit to find out who—or what—wants Chris dead. And she’d better do it fast before the final curtain falls on Chris’s act.

Includes excerpts from the first three books in the series, plus a preview of the new Ghost of Granny Apples Mystery, Ghost of a Gamble
Amazon : Barnes and Noble : Books-A-Million : iTunes : Kobo

The Silent Ghost
A Ghost of Granny Apples Novella
Berkley, March 5, 2013
eNovella,114 pages

A brand-new novella in the Ghost of Granny Apples Mystery series, featuring Emma Whitecastle’s daughter, Kelly—only available digitally…

Like mother, like daughter? Emma Whitecastle’s daughter Kelly just wants to live a normal life and pursue her studies at Harvard. But that’s not so easy when your mother is a famous medium who hosts a TV show on paranormal activity and when your frequent companion is a ghost named Granny Apples.

When reporter Tanisha Costello approaches her, Kelly is understandably skittish. But Tanisha isn’t after a story—she needs help. She’s being haunted. Though Kelly doesn’t want to acknowledge she has the same gift as her mother, Granny Apples steps in to get her to take the case and get the scoop on the spirit.

Includes an excerpt from the “delectable” (Publishers Weekly) first book in the Ghost of Granny Apples Mystery series—Ghost á la Mode.
Amazon : Barnes and Noble : Books-A-Million : iTunes : Kobo


Ghost of a Gamble
A Ghost of Granny Apples Mystery 4
Berkley, April 1, 2014
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 304 pages

Spiritual medium Emma Whitecastle knows a good ghost when she feels one—like her own sweet Granny Apples, long gone but still as famous for her apple pies as she is for helping her great-great-great-granddaughter get to the core of the most baffling mysteries...

When Emma gets word of a sticky spirit problem in Las Vegas, she and the ghost of Granny Apples hit the road for Sin City. The spooked one is Dolly, a former showgirl. Dolly is haunted by Lenny, a dead Vegas hood worried about an aging mobster named Nemo coming after the leggy old bombshell. Dolly’s playing dumb, but Emma’s making a blind bet that she knows more about Nemo than she admits.

When Nemo is found dead, Dolly goes missing—and lands herself on a short list of suspects. Emma, Granny, and their pals comb Las Vegas to find her, only to discover the truth behind a casino heist gone bad, a hidden stash of stolen loot, and a missing wise guy who’s not letting death come between him and setting things straight. And Emma and Granny Apples aren’t about to fold until they save Dolly’s neck and put her past to rest.
Amazon : Barnes and Noble : Book Depository : Books-A-Million : IndieBound

Ghost of Granny Apples Mysteries 1 - 3 

About Sue Ann Jaffarian

Like the character Odelia Grey, Sue Ann Jaffarian is a full-time, middle-aged, paralegal. She lives in Los Angeles.

Sue Ann heard the siren call of writing early in her life, but did not make the commitment to become a novelist until about 1995. After completing two novels (still unpublished), she turned her attention to the mystery genre, and fell in love. She continues to write both mysteries and general fiction, as well as short stories, and belongs to two very supportive writers’ associations: Sisters In Crime, and Mystery Writers of America.

Website  ~  Blog   ~   Facebook   ~  Twitter @SueAnnJaffarian


  1. I can't wait to read these! I stopped after the first 3 in paper back but now, I will have to go get the others. Sue Ann has a knack that most authors don't in making the story come alive- so vivid that the reader feels like he/she is a part of the story, standing on the sidelines.

  2. I'm so glad your editor pushed you. While I don't normally read paranormal, I do love Granny.

  3. Looking forward to reading Ghost of a Gamble! And the two novellas! Thanks for the review & giveaway.