by Suzanne Stengl | Nov 30, 2021 | Writing
In 2012, I published my first book — The Ghost and Christie McFee. At the time, I was calling it a Contemporary Romance. It does have a sweet romance subplot. However, it turns out to be more of a Cozy Mystery, and more specifically, a Cozy Ghost Mystery. So I decided to give it a new cover.
Since this was my first book, I wasn’t sure about how covers matched up with genres. And so, this cover has gone through several iterations.
available on Amazon in eBook and Larger Print
I think this new one defines the story best.
Do you like it? Do you like cozy mysteries? Do you like ghost stories?
by Suzanne Stengl | Dec 2, 2014 | Reading
A Christmas gift for you!
A BUCKET LIST. A CHALLENGE. A GHOST. The missing piece? TREASURE!
Even though Lost Lake is renowned for claiming the lives of divers searching for the legendary gold buried in its depths, Christie McFee is determined to explore the Lake’s underwater ghost town. And when a ghost from the past convinces her to join the treasure hunt, she throws her usual caution overboard.
Sure that the talk of ghosts is strictly for tourists, Gaven St. Michel, local Divemaster, is confident he can keep Christie’s lovely body from being added to the Lake’s count—until another ghost appears amid the watery graves in Bandit Creek.
Will Gaven be able to protect Christie as she drifts deeper into the murkiness of this unsolved mystery from long ago?
(A novella – Cozy Romantic Mystery, Light Paranormal)
Download it here.
If you’ve already downloaded this one and have not yet read it, get the updates first because we have added illustrations.
Bandit Creek Library
To update a Kindle book, you do this:
- Sign in to your account on Amazon
- Click the dropdown for your account
- Choose Digital Content > Manage Your Content and Devices
- Choose Settings > Automatic Book Update
- Set to “ON”
Interested in the Bandit Creek Maps?
Go here for the Present Day map, and here for the Historical Bandit Creek map.
Editor’s note: GHOSTLY TREASURE is now called The Ghost and Christie McFee
pretty bow from photos.com #144873128
by Suzanne Stengl | Aug 12, 2014 | Reading
My cozy mystery is free today through Friday.
“A ghost, a bucket list, challenges and hope. For those who like a bit of mystery, a touch of history and a light brush of romance.”
— Goodreads Reviewer
Her first adventure might be her last.
When Christie McFee reads about the gold hidden at the bottom of Lost Lake, she decides to put some adventure in her life by diving for treasure. But when she meets Gaven St. Michel, the Divemaster on La Bonne Aventure, she starts to think that treasure can be whatever you want it to be.
If only Christie could figure out how to deal with the two ghosts who are haunting her—one of them wants her help, and the other wants her dead.
A 34,000 word novella – Cozy Mystery, Light Paranormal
Find it here.
by Suzanne Stengl | Jun 3, 2014 | Writing
By now many of you have noticed that I changed the title of THE GHOST AND CHRISTIE MCFEE to GHOSTLY TREASURE.
I decided the story was more of a “sweet romantic mystery” than a “sweet romance” and I wanted the cover to show that it was about diving. So the name of the book is different, but the story is the same.
[Editor’s Note: The title has reverted to the original THE GHOST AND CHRISTIE MCFEE but this is a good example of the process for deciding on names.]
Have you ever wondered how an author goes about naming characters?
In GHOSTLY TREASURE, the hero and heroine were not always Gaven St. Michel and Christie McFee.
GHOSTLY TREASURE is part of the Bandit Creek collective. Now it’s part of the smaller collection of BANDIT CREEK SWEET found here.
Way back when this book was still mostly an idea, I needed to fill out the publication slot with a title. “The Ghost and Sarah McFeigh” popped into my head. Then I didn’t like Sarah, and Sarah became the nasty aunt. I landed on Kristy for my heroine, at least for a time.
For the hero, I pictured someone of French Canadian origin.
I liked “Remy” right away. Then for a last name . . .
Remy St. Michel
Ahhh, Michael. The archangel, first seen as a healing angel, and then as a protector. I liked the Protector angle. But then, after I started writing, Remy didn’t work. I had too many E endings: Remy, Kristy, Ripley, Charlie.
I thought about using Gabriel, but that wouldn’t work because I had a Gabriel showing up in my next novella. At the time, I had just finished reading a story where the hero was called GAVIN. I chose a variation, GAVEN. It worked with St. Michel so my hero was named.
Now back to the heroine’s name.
At this point, she was Kristy McFeigh. The Feigh could be pronounced two ways, so I shortened it to Fey. (A hard “A”.) Then I remembered there was another character in the Bandit Creek series with a similar name. I wondered if Kristy McFey was different enough. It was time to consult with some other writers: Roxy Boroughs, Amy Jo Fleming and Brenda M Collins.
Me: Does anybody see a problem with my heroine’s name as Kristy McFey?
Amy Jo: I love Kristy. Could not find a listing for McFey but McFey would be the son of Fey. Fey is not a common name, only found it once in a Scottish census in the 1800s.
Roxy: Why do you ask?
Me: I just wanted to see if it twigged. If there was an echo from an existing character in the series. Does it remind you of anyone?
Roxy: Not really. Sounds like she’d be cute. Fey makes me think fairy or effeminate. McFey vaguely reminds me of McVey (as in Timothy). Boom!
Me: Yeah . . . I didn’t like that McVey association either. And he was McVeigh. I had thought of calling the heroine McFeigh, but that would be worse.
Amy Jo: I think that McFey would be a cool name if the character has some kind of psychic ability or is unconventional in some way. Then you could play with the name a bit. The idea that it means “doomed” might be good if the heroine was to die or had to be saved from something deathly. She could always be struggling against her fate and there could be many losses in her family making her somewhat tragic. All in all, I think it could provide an interesting scope for the character.
Me: I don’t want her to die! And she has no magical powers. I think I will have to save “Fey” for another character in another book.
Brenda: In Irish/Newfie culture ‘fey’ means a fairy or soothsayer so McFey would mean Son of a fairy or soothsayer. I’m surprised it doesn’t show up as Fairy in a search. I’m sure I’ve seen it in my research on witches. I agree you might want to save it for someone with a magical power.
Me: There’s another problem. Tawny’s character is Kirsten Morgan. Are Kirsten Morgan and Kristy McFey too much alike?
Roxy: Well, ya know, I didn’t make the Kirsten Morgan connection . . . and I even mentioned her in MY book. But, yeah, you could certainly start it with a C.
Me: Which? Kristy McFey, Christy McFey, Kristy McFeege, Christy McFeege?
Roxy: Christy McFeege.
Me: Thanks. I think I will christen her today. You can be her godmother.
Roxy: Can I be a fairy, too? I’d like to have a wand.
Me: Fairies will have to be for another story. This one is about ghosts.
Amy Jo: You want Christy McFeege?
Me: Yes, I googled Christy McFeege and no one has it. I suppose her birthday is today, Dec 18. Now I will find a picture of her, and then I expect to be writing this on Dec 26. Thanks for the feedback. It’s like naming a child.
Brenda: Hey, I’ve been trying to rename myself for years now and I still haven’t settled on anything.
Me: Wait a minute. I just figured out that with an “e” ending, McFeege has a “j” sound and I want a “g” sound so there is the alliteration with “ghost” in the title. The Ghost and Christy McFeege.
Amy Jo: Leave off the E, then it’s a “g” sound.
Brenda: But you trip over the “g” sound at the end. Go to McFee.
Me: But someone in the world actually has the name Christy McFee.
Roxy: Someone other than you has the name Suzanne Stengl.
Amy Jo: That’s what the copyright disclaimer is for. This is a work of fiction. All of the characters, organizations, and events portrayed in this novel are either products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.
Me: Okay. She is Christy McFee.
At least she was for a while. Then Rolf did a mock up for the cover artist and he inadvertently misspelled the name as
So I kept the original McFee but went with the Christie instead of Christy. And the main characters became:
Do you like Christie McFee for a name? Would you have chosen one of the other variations? Can you hardly wait until I write a story with Remy as the hero?
The Ghost and Christie McFee is available here.
by Suzanne Stengl | Sep 17, 2013 | Miscellaneous Moments
This past weekend, Rolf & I visited the town of Cochrane (Alberta, Canada) just west of Calgary to see the “Cochrane Classics Car Club Show and Shine”.
Our neighbour Ross had entered his 1914 Model T Ford – ‘C’ cab. This is what it looks like. I especially like the leather diamond tuft seats.
This car is similar to the car Mr. Lyon drives in THE GHOST AND CHRISTIE MCFEE except Mr. Lyon’s car is a 1911 Model T.
Several readers have asked me if Mr. Lyon is a ghost, and I don’t know. But I do think there are several ghosts in that story, not just Christie’s ghost. At any rate, I never figured out if Mr. Lyon was a ghost or not, although I suppose, if he really was a ghost, he may have brought the car with him from 1911 – when the original town of Bandit Creek flooded.
Like most antique cars, Mr. Lyon’s car has had several modifications. For example, the buffalo wire wheels. Wire wheels were not available in 1911. And neither was the electric start conversion he added.
This is what it’s like driving a Model T on the highway in Alberta sunshine.
Ross provided us with some interesting Model T Facts. Did you know that in 1914, it took 93 minutes to assemble a car, with an 8 hour day at $5.00 per day? Back then, $5 a day was an excellent wage and it attracted the best workers.
Not only did Henry Ford provide good wages, he was an early promoter of the 8 hour day. Although Ross wonders if that was because of the better working conditions, or the fact that an 8 hour day allowed for 3 shifts to work in the factory.
And then there were the colours. Colours, other than black, were only available for the Model T in 1908 – 1912, and 1926 – 1927. Ford wrote that “Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black.” Black – because it had the quickest drying time.
I don’t think Mr. Lyon liked black, because he had his 1911 Model T wearing a fresh coat of metallic red.
Have you got a favourite colour for your car?