Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Welcome, Kimberly Baer!

Even a smell can spur inspiration

I write stories. I have to. My head is stuffed full of ideas, and it would explode if I didn’t get at least some of them down on paper. Inspiration comes from a variety of sources—daydreams, night dreams, my own experiences, and random things I hear about. 

Take my recently published YA paranormal novel, The Haunted Purse. The idea for that story came to me after my car keys disappeared from my purse and magically reappeared about an hour later. (Yes, I searched thoroughly. I swear they weren’t there!) 

Then there was the time I smelled an unusual smell but couldn’t pinpoint its source. That experience morphed into my previously self-published middle-grade novel The Nasal Psychic, about a boy who discovers he can smell scents from the future. 

Once when I was driving home from work, I heard a commercial on the radio that said, “Cancer is smart, but we’re smarter.” That got me thinking. What if cancer really was smart—as in sentient? By the time I got home, I had a whole plot fleshed out in my head. It became my short story “There’s something in the sewers you need to know about,” which I posted on Reddit NoSleep. (The story didn’t get all that many views/up-votes, but I had fun popping in regularly to read the comments and see how it was doing.)

As for when inspiration strikes—it often happens when I’m power-walking. If I’m at home or at work, my brain is engaged in whatever task I’m performing. But when I’m outside walking, all my physical activity is on autopilot, so my mind is free to wander. Plus, the increased circulation to my brain really boosts my creative thinking ability. I get all kinds of ideas. Not just big ideas—little ones, too. Phrases come to me, snippets of poetic language that I save in a Word document for future use. A few months ago I won a Washington Post columnist’s annual haiku contest, thanks to a spark of inspiration that struck during one of my walks. Springtime blossoms were raining down on me, and the phrase “blossoms hopeful as bridal confetti” popped into my head. I shaped that thought into a haiku as I walked, never dreaming it would end up winning a contest!

In short, inspiration can come from anywhere at any time. You just have to keep all your senses open and be willing to look (and sniff!) in the right places.

Blurb for The Haunted Purse:


That old denim purse Libby Dawson bought at the thrift store isn’t your run-of-the-mill teenage tote. It’s a bag of secrets, imbued with supernatural powers. Strange items keep turning up inside, clues to a decades-old mystery only Libby can solve.

Filled with apprehension and yet intrigued by the mounting pile of evidence, Libby digs for the truth. And eventually finds it. But the story of the purse is darker than she imagined—and its next horrific chapter is going to be all about her.

Excerpt from The Haunted Purse:


“Do you think we should tell my mom about the purse?” asked Toni.  

“No,” I said. I wasn’t ready to trust an adult. Not even Toni’s mom, nice as she was. “Your mom is like you,” I added. “Practical. It would take a long time to convince her there’s something supernatural going on.”

We went back to watching the purse. There was a moment when I thought I saw it twitch, but that might have been my imagination. 

“You could always get rid of it,” Toni said. “You know, donate it back to the thrift store.”

I considered that. “I could. But I don’t want to—not yet, anyway. This purse is the coolest thing I’ve ever owned. I want to find out more about it. I want to see what it does next.”

 She moved her eyes from the purse long enough to glance at me. “Aren’t you afraid it’ll crawl into your bed some night and strangle you with its straps?”

“No. I think it’s trying to get my attention. It’s trying to tell me something.”

“Like what?”   

I didn’t have a clue.

Buy links:  Amazon  Barnes and Noble

Book trailer


Author Bio:

Kimberly Baer is an author and professional editor who was born and raised in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, a town marginally famous for having endured three major floods. She even lived there during one of them. She currently resides in Virginia, where she enjoys power-walking on days when it’s not too hot, too cold, too rainy, too snowy, or too windy. If forced to stay inside, she’s likely to end up binge-watching one of her favorite TV shows: Gilmore Girls, Breaking Bad, Friends, or The Office.


Kim has had her nose in a book practically since birth, and she decided early on that she wanted to be on the giving end of the reading experience as well as the receiving end. Her first story, written at age six, was about a baby chick that hatched out of a little girl’s Easter egg after somehow surviving the hard-boiling process. Her recent focus has been on writing middle-grade and young adult fiction.  


Author links:











  1. Welcome Kimberly! Happy to have you on the blog today.

  2. I enjoyed reading about the inspirations for your stories, Kimberly! Wishing you all the best with your new release The Haunted Purse.

  3. So true. The muse has struck for me through the smell of sea air and spring rain. Happy sales.

  4. Love the sound of the book, Kimberly. Inspiration strikes me while I'm driving--usually long highway trips. Wishing you all the best!

  5. Wanna RITE about 999×999+ nonillion novels
    Upstairs with me in Seventh-Heaven, miss-
    totallg-gorgeous-babe?? Follow us Home.
    Love you.
    Cya soon.