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Kimberly Dean: The Deer and the Darkness
Saturday, October 19th, 2019

People often ask where writers come up with ideas. I usually can’t pinpoint what exactly will spur story ideas, but here’s an example. The other evening, I was mowing the lawn. I got started late, and it’s getting darker earlier every night. My backyard backs up against a wooded area, and the sun had gone down. It was getting darker with every pass, but I wanted to finish. I was walking along, eyeing the forest when I heard a noise. Something was moving fast. I snapped my head around just in time to see a deer go tearing by, between me and the house. I mean, this thing was moving. Deer are usually very graceful, even at high speed. This one was not. He was so close to the ground, he looked like a torpedo, and he was getting ahead of how fast his legs could go. He stumbled, kind of bounced off a rise in the terrain, and shot across the neighbor’s yard back into the woods. Holy crap, did he startle me.

That’s when the questions started. Where did he come from? The forest, for sure. What would have happened if he’d run into me? It would not have been a pretty sight. Deer are not small animals. I was mowing with a large, very noisy piece of equipment. What compelled him to run across the open grass, instead of staying in the tree-line? Deer tend to move in herds. Where were his buddies? Were they out there lurking, too? What else was in there? Had something scarier than a human with a lawnmower made him run for his life? What was scarier to a deer than a lawnmower? Those thoughts all tumbled in my head. The dusk… The crickets chirping nearly as loudly as the lawnmower… The complete disappearance of the deer… Yeah, I didn’t make it for another pass. I quickly ended my mowing task for the night.

I finished the rest of the yard the next day, much earlier in the evening. Would you believe that deer came back? Or maybe it wasn’t him, because this animal was as bold as can be. He moseyed out from the trees, looked at me with my monster mower, shrugged, and started having dinner. He was out in the open, nibbling on grass and leaves the entire time it took me to finish my mowing job. Yes, the questions started again. If he’s so calm around me tonight, was there some kind of predator out there the night before? Why’s he so calm now? Can deer have multiple personalities? What if deer stopped being so timid? What if the deer rose up? Questions, questions, questions… That is how writers come up with ideas.

As you can probably guess from the direction of my thoughts, I tend to write a lot of paranormal romance. My latest is Haunted Hearts, a ghost story. I don’t remember what spurred this story idea, but it was probably a squeaking floorboard or my love of Ghost Hunters or a gust of wind. Anything can generate an idea, but I’m saving that deer. That’s definitely a shifter story.

Haunted Hearts

Does a ghost from the past want the man of her future?

Callie is thrilled when she inherits a house in the small town of Shadow Valley. The house is old and creaky, but she’s not afraid of hard work. Unfortunately, no matter how many repairs she makes, the strange noises won’t go away. Cold spots appear. Lights flicker. Footsteps sound down the hallway. Her nerves are soon so frayed that she resorts to calling the one person in town she hasn’t been able to get along with, bullheaded police chief Carter Landry.

Carter doesn’t have time to investigate things that go bump in the night—although, with Callie, the idea is tempting. He’s busy working with the governor’s task force on a major case and dealing with a rash of petty Halloween crimes. He knows that Callie’s house isn’t haunted… no matter what town legend says.

Still, when her distress call comes in, Carter is quick to respond. He may not believe in ghosts, but someone is intentionally scaring the sassy blonde. And he doesn’t like it. As he investigates, the friction between the two of them ignites into passion… and the strange occurrences in the house subside. But could Carter’s presence be the reason? Callie fears that her sexy cop may be the one the ghost has wanted all along.

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