- In Dreamed It, paranormal sleuth and crime consultant Baxley Powell juggles the pressure of two high-profile cases and expanding her limits. Traveling through the afterlife is hard enough, now she has to use her abilities to find a frightened woman. Consider putting yourself in Baxley’s shoes. If you had a certain skill for solving crimes would you become a police crime consultant? Why or why not?
- A Native American she met on vacation, Deputy Sam Mayes, makes no secret that he wants Baxley in his life. He uses their cultural differences to his advantage, wooing her Cherokee-style. He would consider holding her to the promises she makes by accepting his gifts but there’s no need to be heavy handed. Baxley is also in love with him. Do you think a strong relationship has a place in a mystery?
- In my early years, my dreams were so vivid upon awakening. Then came marriage and juggling kids, career, marriage, and writing. Guess what? Those vivid sleeping dreams went bye-bye. But there was a time in between where I kept a pad and pen by my bed just in case I remembered any dreams upon waking. Do you remember your nighttime dreams now? Did you ever remember them?
- Baxley and Mayes awaken someplace different than when they went to sleep. They are wearing someone else’s clothes. Worst of all, they have no memory of where they were or what they did in the dark of the night. There’s a lot of freaking out and unhelpful figuring out. They sneak home and burn the clothes so that there’s nothing physical to link them to whatever happened. They hope. What would you do if this happened to you?
- Baxley has a true affinity for animals. She has a veritable menagerie at her place with these dogs: Muffin, Elvis, and Maddy; and these cats, Sulay and Ziggy. Muffin is a rescued terrier, while Elvis is a therapy chihuahua. Maddy is Baxley’s daughter’s Labrador retriever and is not pictured here. Little Ziggy, a tabby, is a relatively new addition to the crew. Sulay, the Maine coon cat, is the boss of the pack. Baxley has one more pet: Oliver the ghost dog. Oliver is a Great Dane she rescued from being chained to a haunted house, and he’s incredibly loyal to her. Oliver loves pets and ear rubs, and he’s a darn good tracker too. Do you believe authors add pets to story to increase the number of characters or are you of the belief that pets are people too?
- The woo-woo factor is a big part of this paranormal series. I have no crystal ball or eyewitness knowledge about the afterlife, but in this series I’ve shown it as something akin to a different reality. It has the attributes we’ve heard about through time, a way to go into the light for the contented souls, and all kinds of in-between places for those souls whose dark emotions, unfinished business, or otherwise detoured trap them in a hell of their own choosing. Trips to the Other Side take a toll in terms of energy and time, and Baxley is fortunate to have a team that helps her recover from her dreamwalks. Is there someone in your family, community, or a historical figure that you might choose to visit in the afterlife if you had the power?
- My sleuth Baxley Powell is a Dreamwalker. She taps into her extrasensory abilities to learn more about a person, place, or thing in this world or the next. In reality, psychics often have one strong extrasensory skill. In the Dreamwalker Series, I take liberties so that Baxley explores a new paranormal aspect in each book. Dreamed It is book six in this series. Her skill set includes lie detection, touch readings, traveling to the spirit realm, sharing energy, being there for her ghost dog, spontaneous visions, and something new in book six. While fumbling to reach the kidnapped teen, Baxley’s consciousness gets bumped out of her mind and into another’s. If you could have any of Baxley’s paranormal abilities, which would you select and why?
- Throughout this series Baxley’s Other World mentor has been a plus and a minus. She helps Baxley when she’s asked, but there’s always a price with Rose. She doesn’t do freebies. Consequently, Baxley now owes Rose 3 hours of her life. Dreamed It opens with a chilling scene that is believed to have been engineered by Rose, but all of Baxley’s attempts to contact her go nowhere. Bottom line: Rose is missing. Her absence unnerves Baxley. Though Rose was a pain to work with, Baxley enjoyed having backup. The serial killer and the missing teen cases in Dreamed It could use Rose’s help, but she’s not there. In our lives, friends come and go through marriage, moving, career changes, lifestyle changes, and death. Is there a particular friend you’ve lost track of that you’d dearly love to connect with again?
- This amateur sleuth series mostly fits in the cozy genre, but there are usually scary moments when Baxley faces down the villain. With the story seed of Dreamed It being ripped from the headlines and the villain being a serial killer, this story leans slightly toward thriller. But it’s still a small town murder solved by deputies and an amateur sleuth. How do you feel about paranormal cozies? Do you like all your cozies to be traditional in style?
- Dreamed It is the sixth book in a seven book series. Early in the series we learn that Baxley’s soldier husband was declared missing and then dead by the service several years ago. She never believed the finding because she searched for him among the dead and he wasn’t there. Over the first few books we learn more about how she operates in this limbo of not knowing. In book five, readers find out what happened to her husband, and Baxley and Mayes guide his spirit into the light. All of the steps of grieving for her husband get jumbled up but she makes it through the process, feeling much better. And now there’s a new man in her life, one that shares her talents and helps on her Dreamwalks. She wants to take that next step in their relationship but she’s afraid. All of this is given to say that Baxley’s series arc is one of self-discovery and personal growth. Do you prefer this kind of series where the character changes, or do you prefer the mysteries where the main character stays the same and the crimes and/or locations change?
1. What if a young mother found a lucrative way to provide a future for her son, but then couldn’t get out? Soon she becomes a homicide statistic. We automatically look at what she did-making drugs-and label her a bad person. Now that you know character Mandy Patterson’s backstory, do you feel empathy for her? Do you think others care if a meth cook dies?
2. A man she met on vacation, Deputy Sam Mayes, visits my sleuth Baxley Powell and her family. Like her, the man has extrasensory abilities, and she wants to learn from his experiences. He, on the other hand, is abiding by her lets-be-friends decree, but he’s made it clear he’s interested in a romantic relationship. As a woman, would you pursue the friendship?
3. For the longest time, Baxley has lived in relationship limbo. Her elite soldier of a husband went missing on a military mission. After a year went by, the Army declared him dead. As someone who can traverse the Veil of Life, Baxley knows he isn’t dead, only she can’t find him in the land of the living either. She worries he’s hurt. That’s the only way she knows that he wouldn’t come home to her and their young daughter. People say she should start dating again, but Baxley is married. Her honor and integrity demand that she honor her vows. What would you do in that situation?
4. In-laws and Outlaws is a phrase I’ve often heard applied to some extended families. In Confound It, discord rules amongst the victim’s family members. There’s love, but there’s also envy, greed, jealousy, and lust. Does your family always get along? What’s the usual bone of contention? Examples: curfew, bedtime, heirloom, elder care, employment, authority, money, respect…
5. We expect those who care for us to comfort us when troubles occur. But Confound It’s Mandy Patterson is trapped in a desperate situation, and she’s afraid of her boyfriend. What advice would you give someone like Mandy?
6. In Confound It, Mandy’s sister makes no bones that she wants what her sister has, only June is mostly talk and no action. Plus, she believes the world owes her. She gets mad when Mandy won’t continue to give her money. Do you believe in Tough Love? Why or why not?
7. My sleuth Baxley Powell is a Dreamwalker. She taps into her extrasensory abilities to learn more about a person, place, or thing in this world or the next. In reality, psychics often have one strong extrasensory skill. In the Dreamwalker Series, I take liberties so that Baxley explores a new paranormal aspect in each book. Confound It is book five in this series. Usually in other books, she must hold an item of the victim to make contact with his or her spirit. In this book, Baxley has several spontaneous visions causing her no end of confusion. What characteristic of Baxley’s do you most admire and why? (Her traits include loyalty, adaptability, courage, patience, composure, self-sufficiency, perceptiveness, honesty, fairness, or her curiosity).
8. Deputy Sam Mayes is a Cherokee. He carefully treads his way in both his native world and the white man’s world. Baxley doesn’t understand the issues he faces, doesn’t know how hard he is to appear to be solidly in both worlds, or that it costs his tribes when he is less than fully theirs. Assimilation used to be the American Way. Our society is a melting pot of immigrant groups. Why does assimilation hurt Native American tribes? Don’t people have to live and make a living in the twenty-first century?
9. Baxley’s household has a menagerie of animals: a Shih-Pooh named Muffin, a chihuahua named Elvis, black lab named Maddy, a Maine Coon cat named Sulay, and a tabby named Ziggy. Her ghost dog, Oliver the Great Dane, puts in appearances now and then. Occasionally, one of her pet-sitting clients leaves their animals with her, so she has even more animals at home. With such a variety of dogs and cats, which animal is the boss and why?
10. In a series mystery like this one, as the series goes along, the amateur sleuth gains more of a familiarity with the criminal world, though she still says firmly grounded in her community. Although Baxley has gained experience as a dreamwalker, one of her abilities, being able to perceive lies, happens automatically. This can be a bonus for her police work, but this (and her other skills) makes people leery of her. If you had a special skill that made people nervous, would you use it or hide it?