Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Guest Blogger - Liz Lipperman

Thanks, Pamela and Terri for inviting me to talk about my favorite ghost story. Until last year, I laughed when people spouted off about weird things they blamed on the supernatural.
Well, I don’t anymore!
Last February I entered a paranormal mystery in the 2009 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest against my better judgment. I hate contests. I only mention this to let you know where my mind was when I entered the ABNA. It was free, so I thought what the heck and I sent it off. I forgot about it until the day they were supposed to announce the quarterfinalists – March 16th.
I was nuts that whole day, checking the Amazon site at least every ten minutes. Finally at midnight, I went to bed, but when I woke up at 3:30 am, I HAD to check. Sure enough, there was an email from Amazon time stamped 12:30 am which made it March 17th.
Now here’s where it gets spooky. TALK DEAD TO ME is a story about four sisters who come together for the funeral of the fifth sister, fashioned after my own relationship with my four sisters, one of whom died many years ago. The dead woman, a loner all her life, and the heroine have been estranged for over nine years. At the funeral home, the ghost appears to the heroine to convince her to help her find her killer. I’ll spare you the details except to say, TDTM is a story about starting over, healing relationships, murder and mayhem. I made my ghost a wise-cracking, smart-mouthed woman (nothing like my real sister) who adds humor to the mix.
I sent out emails to all my relatives and told them to read the excerpt. I can’t tell you the chills I got when my nephew commented about how appropriate that I found out on the exact day his mother, my sister, had died twelve years earlier. I swear to you, in that moment when I realized he was right, I knew Theresa, my sister, had a hand in this. Knew she must have hexed the two people who reviewed my entry and bullied them into choosing it.
Amazon posted the first chapter of all the quarterfinalists’ manuscripts as a free download. To drum up reviews and send people for downloads, I guest-blogged on several sites talking up the contest. On one particular blog, I was responding to comments and I was telling a story about my sister before she died.

Theresa was 2 years older than me and we fought like cats and dogs growing up. It wasn’t until our older years that we finally developed a closer relationship (much like my characters in TDTM.) About a year before she died, she shared a secret with, making me swear not to tell my other sisters. After she died, I was on the phone with my younger sister, who is still my best friend today, and somehow she managed to get me to tell her Theresa’ secret. At the precise moment I did, the lights in my house dimmed.

I kid you not. I was so freaked out, I have never told anyone again.

Now comes the “do do do do” Twilight Zone moment. Since it was a blog, there was an anti-spam word for that particular comment. My sister’s name is Theresa but we called her Tessie. My ghost is Tessa, and the anti-spam word was TESSE.

OMG! I’m a believer. And you know what? I think I feel closer to her now than I ever did when she was alive. It’s like I know she’s watching from heaven and telling me she’s okay.

I’m crying now just thinking about it, so I’ll end this and let y’all tell me about any spooky things that happened to you.

Oh, and TDTM never sold, although an editor at Berkley loved it but couldn’t use it because she was acquiring cozies. With my smart-mouthed ghost, gruesome murder scenes, etc, she would have had to change too much of the “good stuff”, she said. Instead, she offered me a three book deal to write a cozy series. The first one comes out in July of 2011. (I’m still writing it.) Hope you check it out.

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Liz Lipperman started writing many years ago, even before she retired from the medical field. Wasting many years thinking she was a romance writer but always having to deal with the pesky villains who kept popping up in all her stories, she finally gave up and decided since she read mysteries and obviously wrote them, why fight it? In December, she signed her first contract with Berkley to write a cozy series called "The Casserole Lovers Mysteries". Book One, titled Ducks In A Row, comes out in July of 2011 and is about a wannabe sports reporter stuck in a po-dunk town writing personal ads who gets the chance to write the weekly culinary column.The problem is, her expertise in the kitchen is limited to frying bologna and microwaving TV dinners. When a dead body is found under her apartment stairwell with her name and number in the victim's pocket, she becomes the prime suspect, as well as the main course on the murder menu.

9 comments:

  1. Wow - that is an intense experience!

    Terri

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  2. Hi Liz! I love a good ghost story, real or written. That is just bizarre how it all happened. Definitely Twilight Zone! And I loved that excerpt.

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  3. It definitely was an intense moment and it made an absolute believer out of me. Now I check my horoscope every day!!

    Anita, thanks for stopping by. Any good ghost stories of your own?

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  4. Awesome story Liz! Crazy spooky, but hey, it made for a great story:-))

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  5. I loved your ghost story what a great blog. I do believe in ghosts and you had better keep that secret.LOLOL.........I can't wait for your cozy to be released.

    Pamela

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  6. Hey, Kari, thanks for stopping by. It still spooks me out every time I think abound it. Like I said, I have NEVER told Teresa's secret again.

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  7. Pamela, thanks for having me today. As far as you believing in ghosts, my lips are sealed. I learned my lesson the hard way!!

    I can't wait for you and everyone who loves mysteries to read my first story in the series. It's almost finished!

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  8. Wonderful column, Ms. Liz. I enjoyed every word of it. And, of course, I do believe in ghosts!

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  9. Hello, Mozart. Wonderful of you to drop in. I'd really like to hear some of your stories.

    Thanks, Mary!!

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