I woke up this morning covered in sweat and sniffing back tears. I’d had a nightmare. Trying to return my heart rate to normal, I mentally went over the details of the thing. It was my familiar life at first, cozy and warm, but soon the surface of it crackled with terror. The fates of the people I love were distorted slowly at first, and then twisted to the point I couldn’t recognize them anymore. I woke up weeping, but I won’t soon forget the dream. In fact, you may see it in an upcoming short story.
You see, my writing comes from nightmares and softer terrors that have happened to me in real life. My new book is no different.
Raised across the river from the Hanford Nuclear Reactor, I grew up looking at the world a little differently. I was the kid no family member wanted to share a bed with when we came to town because I woke up screaming in terror. I use that same imagination now to write the Josie Jameson series and illustrate for talented authors, preferably with a cat on my lap or dog at my feet.
I love living in rainy Seattle, volunteering in my kids’ schools and raising funds for Providence Hospice of Seattle.
Sure, you may not love rain, but when the skies turn gray over Seattle, I nestle into my art loft to write and draw pictures. If you walk past my house, look up and smile! I just might sketch you!
Something you might now know about me: I’ve collected Pex dispensers for 30 years. When the Seinfeld episode about the Tweety bird Pez aired, I was worried collecting Pez would become trendy.
Josie Jameson and the Stone Witch
In author Jennifer L. Hotes’ YA thriller novel, Josie Jameson and the Stone Witch, readers meet a teen that’s been struggling since childhood to fill the shoes of her dead mother. Josie is a caregiver to her little brother, a confidante to her grieving dad, and the backbone of her tight-knit group of friends. But always being the strong, responsible one has taken its toll on Josie, now fourteen. After stumbling upon the grave of a witch, she’s been plagued with nightmares, dark visions, and fainting spells that leave her feeling like a freak. And then suddenly her faulty heart gives out and for 5.4 seconds Josie is technically dead. Hoping the life-saving surgery will finally transform her into a regular girl, Josie’s about to discover the witches have other plans. As she struggles to accept the foreign object now regulating her heartbeat, Josie begins to dream the life of a headstrong teen in 1820s England who, along with 11 other girls, is devoted to empowering women in their strict society. The second book in the Stone Witch series takes readers along with Josie who, with the help of her friends and clinging to the final memories of her mother, must face the challenges of her future as the past battles for her soul. Will she be strong enough to face her fate?
“Secrets, lies, and teenage angst abound in Hotes’ (Josie Jameson and the Fourth Tombstone, 2015, etc.) second installment of a supernatural YA series.
Josie Jameson is not your typical 14-year-old. After losing her mother at 8, she grows up fast, shouldering most of the household burden while her father drowns in grief. The loss hardens and matures her but also leaves many unanswered questions. Surrounded by a group of childhood friends, Josie searches for the truth about her mother and finds more than she expected. After a fainting spell lands her in the hospital, she wakes up with a pacemaker implanted, and Josie begins to experience strange, vivid dreams. Asleep, Josie is transported to 1800s London through the eyes of Agatha, an Irish missionary. Upon realizing that Agatha’s adventures are strikingly similar to actual historical events—like the push for women to take more active roles in the church—Josie plans to learn the truth behind the dreams. Fresh, modern, and inventive, the novel alternates between Josie’s and Agatha’s worlds. Each chapter reveals pieces to the overall puzzle of how and why Agatha and Josie are connected. Agatha’s chapters unveil a world where a secret sisterhood works to glorify God by clinging to the ideas in the “lost Book of Mary.” They yearn to be martyrs and leaders in a patriarchal religion. Josie’s narrative includes hashtags and relationship drama, making her seem authentic and contemporary. Hotes carefully layers Agatha’s tale and hints provocatively at what makes Josie so special. Certain key moments, however, such as a character’s struggle with depression and the ultimate big reveal, resolve without the same care and attention given in the novel’s ascent. But Josie—loyal, determined, and vulnerable—is a character readers will want to know better.
A delicious supernatural mystery that spans centuries.
What Readers Are Saying
From Teresa Miller’s review, “Recommended to those who believe in ghosts, witches, and lost souls and who are curious about how mysterious, often evil forces can alter and control our actions, thoughts, and feelings.”
From Kate Erickson’s review, “The book ends—like all good mystery series—with a cliffhanger. I can hardly wait for the next installment.”
From The Book Junkie, “I knew almost from the start that I would be finishing it in one sitting.”
From VMC on Amazon, “The book is just a touch creepy, in an intriguing and compelling way. A great read, especially if you like history, folklore, and ghost stories woven together.”
Finally, Did You Know?
There’s a character in the new book that lives in the periphery for the first half. She’s an old lady that drives a ragged yellow car. The back windshield is covered in posterboard, which are riddled with her words written in a crude hand. Things about God and radiation and pain and safety. She wears a foil-covered hat.
I was working out a storyline kink as I drove my daughter to fencing, when she rolled up next to me at a stop sign. The hair on my arms stood up. Later that same day, miles away from there, she parked in front of the Starbucks where me and my daughters were having a snack. The third time I crossed paths with her, I knew she was supposed to be in the book. She would be the one to first recognize Josie for what she had become and feel the need to watch her.