Friday, February 12, 2021

#NewRelease in the Spirited Quest series by Julie Howard

Julie Howard makes a return visit to Journeys with Jana. She's here to celebrate the release of Spirit in Time, a new addition to the Spirited Quest series. Welcome Julie!  

Blending fact and fiction 

There’s a lot of truth embedded in my latest ghost story. Spirit in Time is set in 1872 Sacramento, California – post-Gold Rush and at the dawning of the Gilded Age. I chose a real setting, the Crocker Museum, a lovely building I loved to roam when we lived in that city. Part of the attraction of the museum to me – aside from its stunning collection – was its unusual history. Two of the three buildings that comprise the museum were once the home of the wealthy and powerful Crocker family.

At least one member of that family, Amy Crocker (who later changed her first name to Aimee), professed to having seen a ghost in the mansion. Amy, a fascinating character who went on to marry a series of European princes and appears as a young precocious girl in my story.

My characters, of course, are completely fictional. And their interactions with the real people in this story must be fictional too. But I read enough about the family, and especially Amy, to create a few brief scenes that are faithful to the spirit of the people involved.

Amy Crocker wrote a memoir called “And I’d Do it Again. The Extraordinary Adventures of an Edwardian Heiress.” In it, she professes to also have married a Hawaiian king, lived in a Sultan’s harem, and escaped headhunters in Borneo. Certainly, she was an heiress and a rule-breaker in a time when women of her class were expected to marry a man of power and take their place at the highest level of society.

Amy defied expectations. She traveled the world, had numerous affairs and adventures, and settled in New York to throw wild bohemian parties that involved snakes and elephants.

Fictional glimpses of Amy as a little girl appear in my story. She plays a side role in the plot. I enjoyed weaving a bit of this wonderfully outrageous person into my latest novel.

Spirit in Time released this week, and is the third in my Spirited Quest mysteries series.


Time is not on her side.

Time travel isn't real. It can't be real. But ghost-blogger Jillian Winchester discovers otherwise when an enigmatic spirit conveys her to 1872 to do his bidding. 

Jillian finds herself employed as a maid in Sacramento, in an elegant mansion with a famous painting. The artwork reveals another mystery: Why does the man within look exactly like her boyfriend, Mason Chandler? 

Morality and sin live side by side, not only in the picture, but also within her. As her transgressions escalate, she races the clock to find the man in the painting, and hunt down a spirit with a disconcerting gift. 

But will time be her friend or foe?


“Are you a ghost?” A young girl stood where the guard had been only minutes before. She spoke matter- of-factly, her dark eyes alive with curiosity. 

The house was still whole, she was alive, and the world hadn’t ended. Jillian scanned the room for damage, then blinked. This must be a dream. The long dining table—bare just moments ago—was now laid for a meal. Glasses sat upright, forks and spoons lined up in perfect order, and a tall flower arrangement appeared unscathed. A crystal chandelier above the table remained perfectly still. 

The guard and Asian man were nowhere in sight. 

The girl, dressed neatly in a calf-length white pinafore embellished with pink ribbons, didn’t appear rattled by the cataclysmic jolt. 

“What happened?” Jillian asked, still crouched on her knees. “Are you okay?” 

“You don’t belong here. Mother will be angry.” 

Even though the floor had ceased to shake, the roiling continued in her head. Might this very real looking girl be a spirit? Most apparitions wavered in some manner, their appearances paler and less there than the tangible world around them. This child appeared solid in every way, from the tips of her shiny chestnut hair to the toes of her lace-up black shoes. 

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About the author:

Julie Howard is the author of the Wild Crime and Spirited Quest mystery series. She is a former journalist and editor who has covered topics ranging from crime to cowboy poetry. She is a member of the Idaho Writers Guild, editor of the Potato Soup Journal, and founder of the Boise chapter of Shut Up & Write. Learn more at







Follow her on Instagram: @authorjuliehoward 


  1. Thanks for being my guest, Julie. This sounds like an amazing read!

  2. Sounds like a good historical ghost story!--Nancy Brashear