Say it Haint so by Maureen Hardegree

I have been super busy with feild trips and no internet that I have not read Say it Haint so by Maureen Hardegree. So here is amazons review and her author interview, author bio, and excerpt of Say it Haint so.

Here is Amazon’s review:

Heather’s got a hunky new guy and a grumpy old ghost.
First it was Jack, the hot teenage ghost. Now it’s Zac, an all-too-alive bad boy. Not to mention trouble with Drew, Audrey and the usual BFF dramas. The last thing Heather needs is a new haint on the scene, especially not the ghost of her cantankerous
grandfather.
Four weeks were all that was left of summer vacation, if
you counted Thursday registration the first week of August, and I did.
I had made some progress on the summer goal front.
1)My older sister: Audrey tolerated my existence more than at the beginning of summer, as long as  her friends weren’t around and my geeky friend Xavier kept his distance.
2)Drew and I chatted. So at least I was on his radar. But he had a clingy girlfriend I wanted to unwrap from his frame.
Then trouble arrived in a muscle car-our neighbors’ bad boy grandson Zac. Audrey called dibs on him, which was fine with me. Drew made no bones about disliking him, also
fine with me. But for some reason I may never understand, Zac liked freaky me.
So you know what that meant-my progress with my sister and the lifeguard of my
dreams reached yet another stumbling block. My problems multiplied exponentially
at the arrival of another visitor and his sweet pipe tobacco scent-my ghostly
grandfather.
Just what I needed-a crabby octogenarian haint to complicate everything.

Here’s Maureen Hardegree’s Author interview and bio:

interview:   When did you decide to be an author?   After I gave birth to my daughter, I decided I needed to do something for me. I was no longer teaching, and my days were filled with caring for my baby and my mother-in-law, who had Alzheimer’s. I’d dreamed of becoming a published author, so I decided to pursue my dream.

 What was your first piece published? My first published piece is a short story entitled “Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow” in the BelleBooks’ More Sweet Tea anthology. My first published novel is the first book in the Ghost Handler series Haint Misbehavin’.

 What character is most like you? Currently, I’m most like Heather’s mom Catherine. I like to do arts and crafts, knit, and I sew. I do not usually wear message t-shirts like Catherine Tildy, but maybe I’m becoming more like her because I do wear the one my daughter gave me for Christmas that reads “Careful, or you’ll end up in my novel.”

What was the first story you wrote as a child?  I don’t remember the title, but I remember the subject of the first story I wrote as a child. I was in eighth grade and studying Louisiana history. My assignment somehow morphed into a novella about a Native American living in colonial Louisiana.

Do you have any advice for anyone writing a book?  Don’t give up. Success comes from persevering when you’re discouraged.

Who is your favorite author? I can’t point to just one. As a middle grader, my favorites were Judy Blume, Maureen Daly, Margaret Mitchell (I read Gone with the Wind during a bout of swimmer’s ear in either fifth or sixth grade) and adult romantic suspense written by Phyllis Whitney, Mary Stewart, and Victoria Holt. Current YA authors I enjoy reading include Jana Oliver, Gillian Summers, Trish Milburn, Sarah Dessen, and Stephanie Perkins.

 What technique do use write (make it up as you go, plan it)?  I use a beat sheet from Save the Cat, which is a method for screenwriting, but it also works for novelists. It allows me to follow a plan, but I don’t feel like I’ve written the entire book in completing the beat sheet. I also give myself permission to go off plan if something better pops into my head as I’m working on chapters.

What piece are you working on now?    Book Six of the Ghost Handler series, tentatively titled If It Haint Broke is due to my publisher July 1st, so that particularly novel is my current focus. Heroine and ghost handler Heather Tildy must help 1990’s era grunge ghost Weatherly Raines figure out why she’s stuck between worlds and move on—preferably before Heather’s big Homecoming date with crush-worthy junior Drew Blanton.

 

What is your favorite book?    There are so many I’ve enjoyed reading I can’t pick just one. But since you’re asking, I can tell you I often re-read The Moonspinners by Mary Stewart. The book continues to enchant me.

 

 Did you receive any awards for a book of yours?    I received a couple awards for time travel and historical romances I wrote ten years ago, but neither were published by a publishing house. The first book in the Ghost Handler series Haint Misbehavin’ won The Sandy Award at the Crested Butte Writers’ Conference in the unpublished Young Adult category under a different title, A Ghoul Just Wants to Have Fun. 

 Bio:  Although Georgia author Maureen Hardegree concedes to having all the usual baggage of a middle child, she is NOT a ghost handler. She does, however, believe in connecting with her inner teenager and in feeding her active imagination—it likes Italian food and chocolate.

Here is the excerpt from Say it Haint so:

 

Excerpt from Say It Haint So:

SAY IT HAINT SO

Book Three of the Ghost Handler Series

Chapter One

 

How could I explain that what I felt for Drew Blanton didn’t have a half-life?

I couldn’t. Not when it was so obvious that my good friend and geek to the millionth power Xavier wanted more than friendship from me.

“You aren’t still hung up on Drew, are you?” he repeated, leaning forward on the couch where he was sitting across from me. He brushed his shaggy hair out of his eyes so he could examine my face.

Just hearing Drew’s name heated my ears. My face and chest burned as blood rushed at the mere thought of the dreamiest lifeguard and soon-to-be Junior who ever existed. It always would—no matter how hard Xavier wished otherwise. Even Jack, the ghost I fell for on vacation, hadn’t eroded my interest in Drew for long.

“I was hoping we could hang out without talking about all this,” I said. I meant it, too. Xavier was a true friend. I shared the whole ghost-handling thing with him, and he’d kept my secret. He was the only person other than Aunt Gen who knew about my ability. Well, the two of them and of course the ghosts I’d encountered.

“Do you want some . . . popcorn?” I asked, and torqued my back to see if the itching would stop. The burnt smell of the earlier attempt Claire made in the microwave hung in the air despite me lighting a couple of those vanilla-scented candles.

“No thanks.”

Okay, now I had to scratch. This was beyond the everyday itchiness that I’d learned to live with as anyone with hypersensitive skin would. I dug at the skin where my bra hooked in the back, then felt around to figure out what was different about this particular closure. I rarely wore it because it irritated more than the rest, but every time I examined the hook and eyes and stretchy fabric I found nothing out of the ordinary.

Xavier cocked his head and met my gaze with a shrewd one of his own. “Sorry, Heather. You’re out of luck. Every time I try to talk to you about certain subjects, you divert me. It’s not going to work this time.”

“I’m not—” I objected, then at long last my fingertip grazed the offender, which felt like a small sprig of plastic used to attach price tags.

“I should be getting major credit for the fact that I’m a guy, and I’m being open with you about my feelings,” Xavier said. “That’s what girls claim they want, but I’m beginning to believe that’s not the case.”

“Hold that thought.” I pinched the miniscule bit and ran through the foyer and dining room into the kitchen to look for scissors. I wanted to avoid the den where my older sister Audrey and her friends were congregating.

“No,” he said, following me. “I demand that you listen.”

“You don’t understand,” I said, pulling open drawers, checking the cup of pens on the desk. Even the special kitchen scissors, which we were under strict orders from Mom not to move, weren’t in the knife drawer.

“Obviously.”

“I have to cut this piece of plastic ASAP. Then I’ll give you my full attention.” I rummaged through every desk drawer, then risked poking the beast—my older sister.

“Who moved all the scissors?” I yelled in the general direction of the den.

Risking ridicule of giganto proportions, I even braved the room filled with her friends. “Do you happen to know where some scissors are, Audrey?”

“Oh, you’re talking to me?” she said with a hint of disdain, enough to appease Karen, the head honcho of Heather-hate.

Her reason? Probably because she thinks I possess the ability to move objects with my brain. Is that telekinesis?

Anyway, the person moving the objects was my first ghost Amy. But Karen thought I was the responsible party for what I like to call the lip gloss incident and the soda fountain meltdown. Yeah, Amy took control of the wand and smeared pink frost all over Karen’s face when we were in the bathroom at the movies in retaliation for her bugging me. Then a couple weeks later she made the soda fountain station at Sub-a-Dub go berserk for reasons too complicated to go into now.

The gaggle glared at me.

Everyone, that is, except Audrey. But her beady little brown eyes sent a clear message for me to leave. “I have no idea where they are. Vamoose.” She shooed me like I was a fly.

I walked back into the kitchen where Xavier had wisely waited for me. If they hated me, they despised him more.

“I can cut it with my pocket knife,” he offered.

I gave him my tried and true “you must be crazy” look. Like I was going to lift up my shirt for him.

“Geez, Heather. I’m not going to get off on seeing the back of your bra.”

I hiked my eyebrow.

Xavier smiled, revealing his most-of-the-time hidden dimple. “Okay. Maybe I’ll enjoy it a little. But I can solve your problem right now.” He mimicked scales with his hands. “Cut the plastic now . . . find scissors eventually. Your choice.”

This boy knew me too well, and he was using that knowledge to his advantage. I turned around and lifted the back of my T-shirt with my free hand.

“Purple. Nice.”

“Xavier,” I warned, as my cheeks burned in embarrassment. I was so glad I didn’t wear the monkey bra from the tween section that I unfortunately could still fit into.

“Okay, okay.” His fingers brushed mine away from the offending bit of plastic. “I’ve got to hold it to cut.”

“What are you doing in there?” Audrey called out from the den.

“Nothing that concerns you,” I said in as light-hearted a tone as I could manage.

“Don’t move.”

I didn’t. I prayed they didn’t come in and see me like this and that the knife didn’t slip and stab me. That would be interesting to explain to my parents.

“Hurry up,” I urged.

“You afraid your sister’s going to think we’re doing something perverted?” he asked.

“Let’s just agree that even though you and I know your hands up the back of my shirt are for medicinal purposes only, not many other people would understand.”

“Agreed,” he said. “Got it.”

Relieved, I faced him. “Thank you, so much.” We both looked at the tiny tag holder. “Hard to believe something so benign could cause so much pain.”

“Would you like me to check the skin underneath?” he asked with a smirk.

“Funny.”

“Hey, a guy has to try.”

“No. Not really.” Although if Drew had helped me . . .

“Would you let Drew check you for a rash?” Xavier asked before I could even get my Drew dream started.

That’s what I loved and at times hated about Xavier. He knew exactly what I was thinking most of the time.

“You know I have a ceasefire in place,” I said making a point of lowering my voice and hoping he’d keep his deep tones close to a whisper. “I don’t want to mess that up. For the first time in a long time, Audrey’s being civil to me.”

“Except for the day you and Claire went to the mall, and you got spritzed by that ghost.”

“A minor skirmish.” Sure, Audrey had been miffed that Claire and I weren’t at the mall exit on time after the perfume spritzer ghost squirted me into an allergic equivalent of a core meltdown. But since then, all had been quiet on the sister front.

“Right,” he agreed as we headed through the dining room to the living room. “Let’s get back to the topic you’re trying so hard to avoid.”

I couldn’t help but focus on his wispy mustache that I really hoped he’d shave off before school started in a month.

As we crossed the foyer into the living room, I wondered if maybe I should try to work shaving off the pseudo-stache into some sort of getting ready to start high school kind of thing. I could suggest we both do makeovers. Would that work on a boy?

“Heather!” He snapped his fingers in my face. “You didn’t hear a word I said.”

“Sorry,” I apologized and sat down next to him on the couch.

“Look at me and pay attention.”

I did, completely avoiding the mustache which sent me on a tangent.

“What I was saying was that I don’t get it. I’m the one who researched for you when you had no access to a computer on vacation. I’m the guy who helped you with both of your ghost friends. I’m the guy you told your secret to. Obviously, you trust me. Just as obviously, you don’t trust Drew.”

“I don’t know Drew well enough to tell him yet.”

Xavier raised his hands in frustration. “Exactly.”

“And this is the whole reason you came by today?” I asked, figuring there had to be more of a point to this conversation. Usually, Xavier isn’t the kind of guy who just happens to drop by for a chat.

My phone started buzzing. I reached my hand into my pocket.

“Don’t you dare.” Xavier meant it, too. There was nothing that aggravated him more than people in the same room texting people who weren’t there and not paying attention to the people they were supposed to be with. My parents felt that way, too.

I left my phone in my pocket. “Happy?”

“Ecstatic.” He wiped his hands on his long cargo shorts. “You know how I was on the wait list for that Space Camp in Alabama? Well, I got in.”

“Oh, my God, Xavier. That’s fantastic.” And then it hit me, he’d be gone. He’d be busy. I might actually miss him. “So . . . you’re gonna be gone for how long?”

“Three weeks. I’ll get back in time to get ready for school, if my mom even notices.”

I hurt for Xavier. His mom was still in mourning for his brother Stevie, who’d died last year. Stevie didn’t seem to want my help. I’d sensed him hanging around their house when I had ghost Amy to deal with, but he’d never appeared to me. Xavier knew that, and I suspected knowing his brother was stuck in their front yard made his leaving harder. He probably felt a little guilty for wanting to move forward with his life when his brother was in limbo.

That’s the way it went with ghosts. Some want to be dealt with, some don’t. I hadn’t run across any since the ghost at the mall who spritzed me with perfume. Luckily, moving her to the great beyond was a pretty fast dispatch, if I do say so myself.

Even though Xavier knew I could help haints, he never once asked me to help Stevie. I think, though, that he was asking now for some reassurance. “Your mom will notice you’re gone. Don’t say things like that.”

Probably thinking he was much wiser to the ways of the world than I was, Xavier shook his head slowly.

I wasn’t being naïve. I was being polite and hopeful. Something could happen to make his mother notice her living son needed her.

“That has as much chance of going down as you telling me what happened between you and your ghostly boyfriend.”

Yet another sore subject between us. “When are you leaving?”

“When are you going to tell me about Jack?”

“I don’t want to discuss it.”

“Yeah, I got that,” he said, his deep voice rising once more in irritation.

“Don’t get all huffy with me. You came over, without even texting. I haven’t had a shower.”

“What does that have to do with anything?” he asked.

“I’m probably stinky, which puts me in a bad mood. And I didn’t get up early like I wanted to, and . . .” I sighed. I was on my period and feeling kind of crampy, but that information wasn’t something I was sharing with Xavier. “Let’s just say the whole day is pretty much wasted.”

Audrey poked her head in the living room where Xavier and I were fussing. Karen and her minions of evil had been here when I woke up and had been eating all the junk food Mom bought. Goodbye cheesy munchies. As usual, they were gossiping about their friends who weren’t with them, but they must have gotten bored because my sister’s entourage followed her in her quest for new targets.

“What are you two arguing about?” Audrey asked.

“We’re not arguing,” Xavier and I said at the same time, with the same inflection, then sighed heavily as punctuation.

I needed a heating pad and a mega dose of Ibuprofen.

That’s when my younger sister Claire ran into the room, gangly arms akimbo. “Did you hear it? He’s here.”

“Who?” Karen snarled.

“Our neighbor’s cute grandson,” Claire said, then squealed. “I heard the muffler on his car.”

Karen’s face squinched up like she’d shoved a pile of sour gummies in her mouth.

Audrey’s heavily lined eyes widened, her cheeks pinkened. “Zac. Oh my God. Karen, this is the guy I’ve been telling you about. Zac is so hot. He drives an old car and wears worn jeans that hug his—” she darted her eyes toward Xavier, who rolled his in response.

“Anyway,” she continued without waxing on about Zac’s butt. “You’ve got to see him, and we have to come up with an excuse to be outside.” Audrey grabbed Claire’s arm. “Has he taken his luggage out of his car? Maybe we could walk by casually and offer to help him.”

Xavier locked gazes with me. “So it is genetic.”

“Har-de-har,” I said, then turned to Audrey and friends confabbing over how best to make Zac notice them. I had no clue why Xavier of all people was taking offense—king of stalkers as he was.

“Here’s an idea, why don’t you just go over and say hi?” I suggested.

Audrey looked at me like I’d sprouted the Mount Vesuvius of pimples. “You know nothing about boys.”

Maybe not, but at least I was sane, unlike her. Except when it came to Drew.

Gabby, Audrey’s friend whose eyes got super wide and blinked rapidly when she was excited about something, stationed herself at the sidelight by the front door where she could monitor any movements. She screamed, “He’s outside! He’s outside! He’s wearing a tight black tee and Ray-Bans.”

I preferred Drew and aviators. These girls were looney. And they had no taste whatsoever.

The pack flew to the dining room windows, where they could all gaze upon his gloriousness.

Audrey shouted, “He looks like he has scruff. Oh, my God. He is so sexy.”

Xavier’s posture caved like a person whose belly was protesting too many burritos. I didn’t blame him. They were acting totally crazy, crazier than I would in front of a boy, anyway. He rubbed his face where his beard hadn’t completely come in yet.

“Look at the way his jeans mold to his ass—ets!” Karen shouted.

“I feel violated,” Xavier grumbled. “Your sister and her friends are worse than construction workers. And I’m a guy. You’d think they wouldn’t . . . . They don’t think of me as a guy, do they?”

I offered my hand to Xavier. “Come on. I’ll walk you home.”

“So you can accidentally run into this Zac person? No thanks.”

I unlocked the key bolt on the front door. “Don’t be silly. Bad boys are more Audrey’s thing. Zac’s not my type.”

Say It Haint So and the rest of the Ghost Handler series of books are available in e-book and print from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Bell Bridge Books.

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2 Responses to Say it Haint so by Maureen Hardegree

  1. sharonledwith says:

    Sounds like a great series, Maureen! Keep those imaginative juices flowing! Wonderful interview, Gaea! Shared and tweeted! Cheers, ladies!

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