Monday, October 25, 2021

The Art of the Decoy audiobook coming

So excited. A huge thank you to
 #CrookedLaneBooks and #DreamscapeMedia. 

Saturday, October 23, 2021

Guest post: When Your Detecting Characters are Smarter than Yourself by Catherine Schaff-Stump

 The Lady’s Step: When Your Detecting Characters are Smarter than Yourself


Catherine Schaff-Stump


How does he do it? 


I am the writer, after all, and yet, when I write Carlo Borgia, I find him to be much smarter than myself. As a writer, I know this is impossible. I know I am threading his way through the plot, leaving him clues that he can see, that I am leading him down a road toward solving the mystery, that I am setting him up.


And yet, damned if one of my favorite characters isn’t more astute than me. 


In my novella The Lady’s Step, it is not only Carlo who gets the better of me, but also Detective August Sorrell who observes, draws conclusions, and figures out the right way to go as the two of them lead each other on a merry dance through London in 1856. There is nothing more satisfying to me than watching two smart characters go up against each other, and while Carlo and August are both heroes of the story, the situation pits them against each other, because August thinks Carlo is a murderer. 


As a writer, I tend toward the mystical side when I explain my craft. If you prefer, I know my subconscious is doing right by me, sparking in me creativity that my characters can see and act upon. I know that clever insights bubble up from inside of me. Yet, I also feel more that my characters are acting through me insightfully and sometimes with a will not entirely my own. They notice things. They tell me what to do. They point things out, and I write them down.


When I first conceived of The Lady’s Step, I needed an excuse for Carlo Borgia to absent himself from the accompanying novel The Wrath of HorusThe Wrath of Horus is a horror novel about the next generation of Klaereon sorcerers ending up in Dante’s Inferno. If that’s your cup of tea, you can purchase both the novel and the novella together, but if not, you can purchase them separately (or better yet, get Carlo’s novella for free by signing up for my newsletter.) If you’ve read either books one or two of the Klaereon Scroll Series, you know Carlo Borgia would never allow for anything like this to happen to the young people in his care. Given how seriously Carlo takes his mission in guiding his daughter and his nephews, something important had to happen to get him out of the way. 


I send Carlo off to London to chase down a lead which he thinks can restore his absent wife, and events mushroom from there. Carlo is framed for murder, and August Sorrell is on the case. August represents a new concept in London during the nineteenth century, the evidentially based police detective. Up until this point, logic was used less in connecting case, and such things as social status or circumstances were allowed to stand when criminals were charged. Carlo has been well-framed, but August needs conclusive evidence before he can make his case. 


Carlo and August each draw many of the same conclusions about the case, yet each is looking at the evidence through a very different lens. Carlo has more personal stake in the issue, but what ultimately happens is something he doesn’t mystically expect. Meanwhile, August uses a network of officers, poison experts, and fellow detectives to track down not only one, but two potential murders. What fascinates me is the perception with which Carlo and August drawn lines about what is happening around each other, and how they themselves are affecting the case for each other. I’d like to pretend I’m responsible for all these machinations, but I am not, because my characters are often the first ones to tell me about what I’m missing.


If you’d like to take a look at The Lady’s Step, you can purchase it as an ebook on Amazon:

If both The Wrath of Horus  and The Lady’s Step interest you, here’s how to get to that:


And finally, if you’d just like The Lady’s Step for free, consider signing up for my newsletter:

Cath Schaff-Stump writes fantasy for children and adults. She writes funny stories, dark stories, and everything in between. She is the author of the Klaereon Scroll series and the Abigail Rath Versus series. Cath lives and works in Iowa. During the day, she teaches English at a local community college. More of her fiction has been published by Paper Golem Press, Daydreams Dandelion Press, and in The Mammoth Book of Dieselpunk. You can find her online at Facebook, Goodreads, Amazon, @cathschaffstump, and Follow Cath’s Kindle Vella serial The Autumn Warrior and the Ice Sword.



Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Jane K. Cleland reviews The Art of the Decoy

 A wonderful early review for THE ART OF THE DECOY from the award winning author and teacher Jane Cleland . Such a wonderful way to start the week.

Thursday, September 9, 2021

The Writing Gym podcast: Trish Esden

 An interview I did with Annalisa Parent is live on The Writing Gym podcast. 

I talk about my experiences as a writer, give some advice and 

share a bit about the reason behind my name change. 

Check it out HERE.

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Now Available for Review!

 THE ART OF THE DECOY (A Scandal Mountain Antiques Mystery) 

from Crooked Lane Books

Available for review on NetGalley 

It should have been a simple appraisal. If it weren't for the thief. 

Thursday, July 8, 2021

Cover Reveal! The Art of the Decoy

 Cover reveal! 


The first novel in the Scandal Mountain Antiques Mystery series.

 #Vermont #Mystery #Antiques 

Learn more and preorder here:

It should have been a simple appraisal. If it weren’t for the thief. 


After her mother is sent to prison for art forgery, Edie Brown returns to Northern Vermont to rebuild her family’s fine art and antiques business. She’s certain she can do it now that her mother’s gone. After all, butting heads with her mom over bad business practices was what drove Edie away three years ago, including a screwup that landed Edie on probation for selling stolen property. 


When Edie scores a job appraising a waterfowl decoy collection at a hoarder’s farmhouse, she’s determined to take advantage of the situation to rebuild the business’s tarnished reputation and dwindling coffers. In lieu of payment, Edie intends to cherry-pick an exceptional decoy carved by the client’s renowned Quebecoise folk artist ancestors. Only the tables turn when the collection vanishes.   


Accused of the theft, Edie’s terrified that the fallout will destroy the business and land her in prison next to her mom. She convinces the client to give her five days to find and return the decoys before calling the authorities. Desperate, she digs into the underbelly of the local antiques and art world. When Edie uncovers a possible link between the decoy theft and a deadly robbery at a Quebec museum, she longs to ask her ex-probation officer, and ex-lover, for help. But she suspects his recent interest in rekindling their romance may hide a darker motive. 


With the help of her eccentric uncle Tuck and Kala, their enigmatic new employee, Edie must risk all she holds dear to expose the thieves and recover the decoys before the FBI’s Art Crime Team or the ruthless thieves themselves catch up with her.  


Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Coming Soon!


Book Quote Wednesday!

 Alliances with the dead could be all that keeps her alive. 
Now $3.99

#PsychicMedium #Recovery #Witch #BookQW word: Late

Learn more & buy here:

Saturday, April 17, 2021

New Website!

I'm thrilled to share that I've sold the first two books in a new mystery series to Crooked Lane Books. The series centers on a determined woman who returns to Vermont to rebuild her family's antique business after her mother goes to prison for art forgery.

ART OF THE DECOY (Scandal Mountain Antique Mystery #1) 
will be released in spring 2022.

Take a peek at my new website to learn more:


Tuesday, February 9, 2021



Alliances with the dead could be all that keeps her alive. THINGS SHE’S SEEN. 

#PsychicMedium #Recovery #Witch 

#BookQW word: Tangle 




Barnes & Noble:

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

~The twisty and shocking conclusion of the Northern Circle Coven series~


#SingleMom #Witch #Artist



Barnes & Noble: