Do I Pass the Page 99 Test?

Dear Reader,

We have 22 amazing backers, bringing us to the 40% funded mark. Thank you! Your support spurred me to complete the current draft of Haunting Miss Trentwood in record time.

So in the writing world, there is this test called the Page 99 test. The basic idea is that you turn to page 99 of the book you’re thinking of reading. If you like the page, you will probably like the book.

There is an entire website dedicated to seeing if this test is a valid way of judging a book. I’m interested in putting Haunting Miss Trentwood to the test, so here we go! I give you page 99.

Hartwell figured he should have been more afraid of Mary at that point. Instead, there was the oddest sense of admiration and respect welling inside him, which felt ironic and perverse, to say the least. And satisfying, to know he had broken her shell. She had spirit. He couldn’t fault her that, especially when she applied it so unlike his sister.

“All right,” he said.

Mary stopped. She rounded on him, mouth open to spew another litany at him. “What?”

“I agreed to look over your paperwork, so I shall. I’ll admit I wanted to do so originally because I wanted to confirm you were or were not the blackmailer.” He smiled. “At least now I don’t have to pretend otherwise.”

Mary’s hands bunched into fists.

Hartwell wondered if Pomeroy* had taught her a thing or two.

When her fist connected with his jaw, he had his answer. In spades.

Do I pass?

All the best,


– – –

* Pomeroy is the butler with an interesting past…a rather successful boxer.

** This is cross-posted at my Kickstarter project.

Why I’m Writing a Ghost Story

Dear Reader,

Haunting Miss Trentwood began as an exercise to understand how my parent felt about losing both of their parents.

I researched adult (or midlife) orphans, which is such an important, and under-recognized topic. I’m certain the public library thought I was going through some deep trouble because I read every book on the topic.

I became fascinated and terrified by the idea that one day, my parents will die, and with them goes the only people in the world who have seen it all happen to me. They exist as a living record and archive of the traumatic moments in my life. They are my anchor.

I asked the questions: What happens to someone who loses both their parents? How do we continue, knowing there will never be anyone who knows us entirely? How do we keep the spirit of our parents alive?

Soon thereafter, I began dreaming about ghosts. Specifically, one ghost: the ghost of Mary’s father. I didn’t know why he was there. Mary certainly didn’t know why he was there. But we both knew his presence would forever change the plot and purpose of Haunting Miss Trentwood née Trentwood’s Orphan.

Looking back, I can see influences of Hamlet involved in the inspiration of Haunting Miss Trentwood. We so often underestimate the importance of the role our parents have in our lives, or the lack thereof if our parents are not a part of our lives. We underestimate the influence our parents have on our judgments and decisions.

This book is my attempt to understand and cope with the idea that one day, my parents will be gone, but I hope to keep their spirits alive within me. Is that crazy? Am I alone in worrying about this? Are you wondering how in the hell can I make an entertaining read about such a morbid topic?

Don’t worry, I wonder the same thing all the time. It’s a challenge, but it’s one I’m excited to face. Which, in retrospect, seems kind of weird, doesn’t it?

All the best,