Thursday, September 6, 2012

Nearly Departed in Deadwood by Ann Charles

Little girls are vanishing from Deadwood, South Dakota. Fearing her daughter might be next, single mom, Violet Parker, is desperate to find the monster behind the abductions. With her savings dwindling and just three weeks left to sell her first house or lose her Realtor job, Violet is ecstatic when a handsome jeweler hires her to sell his century-old, Victorian masterpiece, until she sees the dilapidated dwelling. Now, if she could just convince her only buyer to stop rejecting vintage homes as if they're haunted.

Short on time and long on worry, she refuses to give up her dream of a fresh start in Deadwood. But with a malicious coworker trying to get her fired, a secret admirer sending her creepy messages, and a sexy stranger hiding skeletons in his closet, will Violet end up as one of Deadwood's dearly departed? ~~synopsis from Goodreads

My thoughts on Nearly Departed in Deadwood ~~

I met Ann Charles in Deadwood last fall at the South Dakota Festival of Books, a 3 day event full of authors and books. I was with my daughter and we were strolling through the gym filled with authors ready to sign their books.Nearly Departed caught our eye in the bookstore part of the gym because of the purple boots on the cover. (My daughter LOVES purple and that day she had on her purple jacket.) As we were walking along the rows of tables, one of the authors yelled to get our attention. It was Ann Charles and she ooed and ahhed over the purple jacket, she loves purple too. She lifted her leg up and showed us her purple boots, just like the ones her character Violet had on, on the cover of her book. Let me tell you, there was a lot of purple-love going on right then!

We talked to Ann for quite awhile and immediately loved her. She has a wonderful sense of humor and is so down to earth. We ended attending a couple of her sessions later that weekend and came away as huge fans of hers! I bought both of the Deadwood books that had been published at that point and as with most books that I own, they get put on the shelf and .... 'I'll read them, someday'. Well, the next SD Book Festival is the end of September and Ann will be attending again. So that was my incentive to get this series started - if I was going to see her again, I needed to get her books read!

And I loved Nearly Departed! Violet is struggling to make things right in her life and she just wants/needs to sell a house and be a great single mom to her 2 children. The characters are great, the story is very well written and there were parts of the book that were hilarious! Ann's sense of humor shines through in her work.

But it was not all fun and games, it IS a murder mystery, you know. So just as I was reading along, enjoying myself, Ann throws in a pretty intense scene that really caught me off guard. I couldn't turn the pages fast enough! I loved the mix of humor, seriousness, quirky characters, mystery and suspense - it all works!

Nearly Departed is book #1 in the Deadwood Mystery series and she is currently working on book #4. She also has another series, the Jackrabbit Junction Murder series, which I am going to have to take a look at too.

I love that there are so many books of Ann's that I can enjoy.
Keep up the good work, Ann!
And we'll be seeing you in SD soon!

About the author

Ann Charles is an award-winning author who writes romantic mysteries that are splashed with humor. Her book NEARLY DEPARTED IN DEADWOOD won the 2010 Daphne du Maurier for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense Award and the 2011 Romance Writers of America Golden Heart Award for Best Novel With Strong Romantic Elements. She has also been a Pacific Northwest Writers Association Literary Contest finalist.

Currently, she has several fiction books available: NEARLY DEPARTED IN DEADWOOD, OPTICAL DELUSIONS IN DEADWOOD, and DEAD CASE IN DEADWOOD, which are all part of her ongoing Deadwood Mystery Series. The fourth in this series will be out in late 2012/early 2013.

Also available from Ann are the first two books in her Jackrabbit Junction Mystery series: DANCE OF THE WINNEBAGOS and JACKRABBIT JUNCTION JITTERS. The third book in this series will be out in mid-2013.

She also has two non-fiction book available: NAIL IT! THE SECRET TO BUILDING AN EFFECTIVE FICTION WRITER'S PLATFORM and GROWING YOUR AUDIENCE. Both books are co-written with Jacquie Rogers.

A member of Sisters in Crime and Romance Writers of America for many moons, Ann has a B.A. in English with an emphasis on creative writing from the University of Washington. She is currently toiling away on her next book, wishing she was on a Mexican beach with an ice-cold Corona in one hand and her Kindle in the other. When she is not dabbling in fiction, she is arm wrestling with her two kids, attempting to seduce her husband, and arguing with her sassy cat. Most nights, you can find her hanging out over at, on Facebook as Ann Charles, or as DeadwoodViolet on Twitter--especially around midnight when her quirky fictional world comes to life.

A note from Ann Charles

Once upon a time, I thought my crush on Deadwood, South Dakota was going to be just a summer fling. Boy, was I wrong. I had fallen head-over-heels. Deadwood had gotten under my skin. Its golden history filled my mind with daydreams; its promising future spurred tales that needed to be told.

Nearly Departed in Deadwood is a contemporary mystery full of colorful characters that have been taking root inside of my noggin for almost three decades. The seed was planted when I was a young teenager sitting on the bench outside of the old Prospector Gift Shop on Main Street, waiting for my mom to get off work. Over the years, the seed sprouted as I hiked all over town, strolling around Wild Bill Hickok's and Seth Bullock's gravestones at Mount Moriah Cemetery, sitting on the steps outside the Deadwood Public Library, walking up and down Main Street, perusing the tourist shops.

As times changed, so did Deadwood. The drugstore where I used to buy candy, the clothing store where I bought my favorite Levi's, and the Prospector Gift Shop are all gone now. At first I was sad to see them go, but then I realized that Deadwood had to transform and grow in order to survive. Just like I did.

A couple of years ago, I was driving down Strawberry Hill on my way into Deadwood when an idea hit me. It was a "what if" moment that sparked the fire of a story in my head. This time, the "what if" involved a single mom, living in Deadwood, struggling to make ends meet with two kids--twins--for whom she had to provide. I had one young child and another on the way at the time, so taking care of kids was front and center in my mind (and my body).

As I drove through Deadwood that day, memories ran rampant in my mind, and the story you hold in your hands began to take shape. I could see it clearly. I'd name the heroine Violet, an old-fashioned name. I could hear her voice; see her in her favorite purple cowboy boots. I knew exactly the location of the realty office where Violet would work, the street she'd live on, and how I'd pull Deadwood's past into the story and intermingle it with the present.

Over the following month, I plotted this story. My poor husband was forced to listen to my ideas morning, noon, and night; there was no shutting me up. Then he caught the Deadwood bug, too, and he joined me in brainstorming and planning. Before I even wrote the first line, I knew that one book was not going to be enough to tell this story, but I had to start somewhere. Finally, after months of writing, I reached "The End" of Nearly Departed in Deadwood, the first book in a series, with much hooting and hollering in celebration.

Now, after several rounds of editing and a lot of polishing, I want to share Violet's story with you. If you have half as much fun reading it as I had writing it, you'll close the book when you're finished with a big grin on your face--especially since you know there is more fun to come.

Thank you for joining me in this adventure. Hold on to your hat! 

Welcome to Deadwood.

Connect with Ann

Buy the books


  1. As a Nancy Drew fan I just had to rush out and put this on my wishlist!

  2. I just got this book on my Kindle and am looking forward to reading it. Hope you have a great time at the book festival again. Oh, purple is my favorite color too!

  3. Susan,

    I had a wonderful time last fall with you and your daughter. I can still remember exactly what her purple jacket looked like--it was really cool. :) I can't wait to see you two again later this month!

    Thank you for checking out Nearly Departed in Deadwood and writing such kind words about me and my book.

    Lisa and June--thank you both, as well! (June--love your purple butterfly.)

    Take care,


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