Saturday, December 23, 2006

The Birth of the Bewitching Mysteries...

Where do I get my ideas? When it comes to Maggie, the truth is, I'm not quite sure.

Maggie, you see, came to me herself.

I've always thought of muses as beings of light and air, wispy, feminine, fluttering in and out of a person's subconscious as they please to bestow their gifts of inspiration.

The day Maggie was born, my muse came at me with a sledgehammer.

I had been working all morning, alone in my busy office. Doing a million things other than writing: answering the phone, placing purchase orders, solving problems. Suddenly I was slammed with a cavalcade of words, compelling me, no, demanding that I let them out. I opened a Word document, set my fingers on the keyboard, and started typing.


Within just a few minutes I had three pages of something that completely mystified me.

Three pages of first person dialogue set in modern times. Three pages filled with paranormal references. Three pages that obviously did not belong in any kind of romance novel that I knew of. And at the time, I had always written straight historical romance, told in a third person point of view.

Huh, I thought as I stared at what I had written. I have no idea where THAT came from.

I had no idea what I could do with it, so I did what I always do with story ideas that come to me at odd times while I'm working on something else: I saved it under my Ideas folder, giving it the terribly descriptive name of 'Mystery, Maybe.' And then I went back to work and promptly forgot about the whole thing.

But Maggie wasn't ready or willing to be forgotten. Those three pages had ended with the words: "My name is Margaret Mary-Catherine O'Neill, and this is my story." And Maggie, it seems, was pretty determined that her story would be told.

Several months later, I was driving on the highway toward town for lunch, and wouldn't you know, it happened again? All of a sudden, images flew at me from left and right, so strong and adamant that I actually pulled my minivan off the road onto the shoulder in order to grab a moment to capture them. {Honestly, this is a rare thing for me! ::weak grin:: } The only paper I could find was in a pile my son had "cleaned out" from his bookbag and left in the middle seat, and the only thing I could find to write with was the unsharpened end of a broken green crayon. I had no choice, and at the time I didn't care. The only thing that mattered was jotting down the images that had come to me.

What I saw that day were people, places, attitudes, and simmering amongst them, conflict. I knew immediately that they belonged with the strange visitation I'd had months before, an idea I had until just that moment forgotten. In one brief moment of providence and serendipity {well, two, technically-speaking}, I was given the basis for the Bewitching series, a broad enough glimpse that I could see the direction things would be unfolding.

I've always believed there was more than a bit of magic in the creative process. =)

Happy Holidays, all...

Mad {madly!}

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

It's out, it's out, it's out, it's out, it's out!!!!!!!

Not that I'm excited or anything...

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

#2 in the Bewitching Mystery series
Available December 5th, 2006 {yes, today!!} at a bookstore near you.

All sighting reports welcome!!!!!!

And check out this new and exclusive interview: Spotlight Feature Interview

I had a lot of fun answering these thought-provoking questions for's Ransom Notes newsletter. Reviewer Paul Goat Allen says this about A CHARMED DEATH:

"Mystery fans who seek out "feel-good" reads for their literary escapism (books by authors like Janet Evanovich, Charlaine Harris, Kyra Davis, et al.) should definitely check out Alt's Bewitching Mystery saga, which is powered by her Everywoman heroine O'Neill. A small-town girl struggling to find her place in the world, she has an optimistic and idealistic outlook on an oftentimes malevolent and depressing reality -- as well an addiction to old episodes of Magnum P.I. -- that makes her one of the most refreshing and endearing protagonists to grace the amateur sleuth genre in years. Alt certainly picked the right name for this series. It's a bewitching saga by a positively witchy chick. Highly recommended."

Isn't that just the most amazing thing? I cannot begin to explain how blessed and honored I am feeling right now.

Love to all on this fantabulous day,

Mad {madly!} Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Friday, December 01, 2006

What I love about the holiday season...

In a word {well, actually, three words}:

Chocolate. Cherry. Cordials.

I don't know who first invented these little lovelies, and quite frankly, I don't care. He or she deserves a place in the annals of history just as much as Genghis Khan. Probably more.

I mean, what could be better? Firm chocolate encasing a juicy red maraschino cherry, surrounded by some gloopy, gloppy thick, sugary syrup.

It is the stuff of the gods.

Not only that, but now someone has decided to make dark chocolate cherry cordials. Be still my heart.

Dark chocolate is good for you, you know. I use it for medicinal purposes.

And the cool thing about Dark Chocolate Cherry Cordials is that there's no need for a brown bag.

Feel free to indulge at will. In public, even.

Love to all,

Mad {madly!}

P.S. Countdown to A CHARMED DEATH: 4 days... {woot! woot!}