Tag Archives: Blog Tours

Guest Blogger Lauren Carr: Ten Things About Lovers in Crime Mysteries You May Not Know

Ten Things About Lauren Carr’s Lovers in Crime Mysteries You May Not Know

By Lauren Carr, author of ‘Dead on Ice’

1)     The Lovers in Crime Mysteries take place in Chester, West Virginia, which is a real small town in the most northern point of West Virginia. In the Northern Panhandle, if you go a mile in any direction, you end up in another state (Pennsylvania or Ohio).

2)     Lauren Carr grew up in Chester, West Virginia. Many members of her family still live there.

Dead on Ice sm3)     Joshua Thornton’s stone house on Rock Spring Boulevard is a real three-story stone house that Lauren used to dream about living in when she grew up in Chester, West Virginia.

4)     Rock Spring Boulevard is a fictional street in Chester. Lauren Carr changed the name because she didn’t want people driving by and bothering the real homeowners.

5)     Irving, Cameron Gates’ cat, is based on Duchess, a Maine Coon that Lauren Carr used to have. Duchess was the reverse of a skunk, all white with a black stripe down her back. Irving is marked like a skunk, all black with a white stripe down his back.

6)     The real Hancock County prosecuting attorney’s office is located in the corner of an abandoned school house across the street from the courthouse, which is where Lauren Carr has placed Joshua’s office. Though now, with up to date technology, Joshua usually works remotely from his home.

7)     Cameron and Joshua’s passion for ice cream is based on Lauren’s own addiction. She has an ice cream sundae every night before going to bed.

8)     Cameron never gains a pound in spite of what or how much she eats—unlike Lauren Carr.

9)     Joshua and Cameron’s “place”, favorite hang-out, Cricksters, is a real retro diner located in Chester, West Virginia. The Home of the Pink Cadillac is located at 2363 Lincoln Highway. Lauren loves to visit there when she is in town.

10) The next Lovers in Crime Mystery, Real Murder, was inspired by a dream Lauren had while recovering from a concussion, which she got when she fell off a horse. Real Murder will be coming this Spring and is dedicated to Peter Pan, the horse Lauren fell off of.

————————————————————————-

Lauren Carr fell in love with mysteries when her mother read Perry Mason to her at bedtime.

Lauren CarrLauren is also the author of the Mac Faraday Mysteries, which takes place in Deep Creek Lake, Maryland. The first two books in her series, It’s Murder, My Son and Old Loves Die Hard have been getting rave reviews from readers and reviewers. Lauren’s fifth mystery, Shades of Murder has been receiving rave reviews since its release.

Lauren’s sixth book, Dead on Ice, has just been released. Dead on Ice introduces a new series entitled Lovers in Crime, in which Joshua Thornton will join forces with homicide detective Cameron Gates.

The owner of Acorn Book Services, Lauren is also a publishing manager, consultant, editor, cover and layout designer, and marketing agent for independent authors. This spring, two books written by independent authors will be released through the management of Acorn Book Services.

Lauren is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. She also passes on what she has learned in her years of writing and publishing by conducting workshops and teaching in community education classes.

She lives with her husband, son, and two dogs on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.

Visit her websites at www.acornbookservices.com and www.mysterylady.net.

1 Comment

Filed under Guest Bloggers

Talking Books with Cynthia Gail, author of WINTER’S MAGIC

Please welcome my special guest, contemporary romance author, Cynthia Gail. Cynthia is here today to talk about her latest release just in time for Christmas, Winter’s Magic (Book 1 in the Music City Hearts series).
My husband and I live in the suburbs of Nashville, Tennessee with our teenage son and three dogs. Life is busy, but when I have free time, I love to read. A math/science girl at heart and a retail analyst by trade, I never thought I’d be writing romance. But one day, a story popped into my head and I had to write it down. The fantasy, escape, and wonder of just reading multiplied by ten-fold and I couldn’t stop my fingers from typing my own fairy tales.

I hope you enjoy my stories. Each one touches on modern day issues, fears, and challenges that women face every day. And each one illustrates that love is within reach if you let down those walls and allow your heart to open. Our lives and experiences are so much more meaningful when we have someone to share them with.

Cynthia’s latest book is the contemporary romance, Winter’s Magic (Book 1 in the Music City Hearts series).

Visit her website at www.Cynthiagail.com.

Why was writing Winter’s Magic so important to you?

Spring’s Surprise, now book #2 in the Music City Hearts series, was actually the first book I wrote. At the first draft stage, I hired an editor to give me feedback and direction. She suggested I take Beth’s character from book #2, create her own story, and plan a full series. I’d already fallen in love with writing, but the guidance and validation from a professional, award-winning author, stirred a deeper passion and I jumped right in.

What was the experience like writing Winter’s Magic?

It was so exciting to write with a purpose. I’m a planner at heart and I felt like I was finally on a path that I had confidence in. Beth is probably my favorite heroine in the series. She’s a strong woman, she’s worked hard to get where she is, and as a result, runs a successful, elite day spa. But even strong women have vulnerabilities. It’s how we face our weaknesses that counts and I think Beth handles adversity with a lot of grace and fortitude.

Can you tell us more about Beth Sergeant and Nick Chester?

Beth’s parents were middle-class, but found a way to send her to the most prestigious, private high school in Nashville, Tennessee. While the invaluable experience prepared her for college, she never felt as if she fit in.

After losing his parents to a car accident at a young age, Nick Chester was raised by his grandfather, the wealthiest man in Nashville. At the age of thirty, he’s built his own business and experienced enough of life to realize everyone has an agenda.

Despite her deep-seated insecurities, Beth can’t resist Nick’s charm and finally accepts an invitation to dinner. She proves she’s nothing like other women Nick’s dated and she slowly learns to trust him in return. But just as the last of their resistance crumbles and true love is within reach, challenges from Nick’s past threaten to destroy everything and force Beth to reveal her most guarded secret.

Are there any supporting characters we need to know about?

Sara and Jenny are Beth’s two best friends. Spring’s Surprise is Sara’s story and Summer’s Family Affair is Jenny’s.

Can you open to page 25 and tell us what’s happening?

This is the end of a scene where Nick realizes how different Beth is from other women in his circle. Due to his family’s status, he’s constantly pursued by women looking for prestige and money. But Beth isn’t pursuing him and he can tell by her genuine interaction with his grandfather that she’s someone special he simply has to know more about.

What about page 65?

In a previous scene, Beth’s bank calls a surprise audit of her day spa’s construction expenses, based on allegations from an anonymous source. Nick offers to use his grandfather’s influence to get the audit dismissed, but Beth won’t let him. She has nothing to hide and doesn’t want to ‘use’ his connections. In the scene on page 65, Nick’s ex-girlfriend makes a surprise visit to his office. During the conversation, he realizes she’s the anonymous source. Though he’d promised Beth that he wouldn’t interfere, he can’t stop himself, and calls his grandfather.

Now that Winter’s Magic has been published, what’s your next project?

Spring’s Surprise is under contract and expected to release in March or April 2013. I’m just starting to work with the first draft of Summer’s Family Affair and I’m outlining Fall’s Redeeming Grace.

Do you have anything else you’d like to tell our readers?

Christmas is my favorite time of the year. It’s no surprise that my first book had to celebrate the season. I hope you enjoy Winter’s Magic as part of your holiday collection.

1 Comment

Filed under Author Interviews

A Conversation with Mark Spivak, author of Iconic Spirits: An Intoxicating History

Please welcome my special guest, Mark Spivak. Mark is here today to talk about his latest release, Iconic Spirits: An Mark Spivak smIntoxicating History.  Mark is an award-winning writer specializing in wine, spirits, food, restaurants and culinary travel. He was the wine writer for the Palm Beach Post from 1994-1999, and since 2001 has been the Wine and Spirits Editor for the Palm Beach Media Group, as well as the restaurant critic for Palm Beach Illustrated. His work has appeared in National Geographic Traveler, Robb Report, Ritz-Carlton, Continental, Art & Antiques, Newsmax, Dream of Italy and Arizona Highways. From 1999-2011 he hosted Uncorked! Radio, a highly successful wine talk show on the Palm Beach affiliate of National Public Radio.

Mark began writing Iconic Spirits after becoming fascinated with the untold stories behind the world’s greatest liquors. As a writer, he’s always searching for the unknown details that make his subjects compelling and unique.

Visit Mark’s website at http://www.iconicspirits.net.

Iconic SpiritsQ: Thank you for this interview, Mark. Can you tell us what your latest book, Iconic Spirits: An Intoxicating History, is all about?

I chronicle the untold tales of twelve spirits that changed the world and forged the cocktail culture. Some are categories and others are specific brands, but they’re all amazing stories—and stories that are unknown to the average reader.

Q: How did you come up with the idea for your book?

One day I was think about Campari, about how bitter it is and how unpleasant it is to some consumers (myself included), despite the fact that millions of cases are sold each year. I did some reading about the physiology of taste, and realized that the taste receptors on our tongues function as an early-warning system that we’re about to drink something toxic or poisonous. Your brain is telling you, “Don’t drink this—it might kill you,” and yet Campari is considered to be one of the sexiest things on earth. The more I looked into other spirits, I found the same kinds of compelling stories.

Q: What kind of research did you do before and during the writing of your book?

There were a number of cases where I visited the distillery and spent two or three days with the producers. Not everyone wanted to give me that level of access, but fortunately there were other cases where I didn’t need it—for some spirits, I could accomplish the research by a combination of reading and telephone interviews.

Q: If a reader can come away from reading your book with one valuable message, what would that be?

The most important message concerns entrepreneurship, the creation of something out of nothing. Many of the most famous and profitable spirits in the world sprang from the flash of an idea.

Q: Can you give us a short excerpt?

The Triumph of the Bootleggers: Moonshine, Rumrunning and the Founding of NASCAR

Drive out of Winston-Salem, and the landscape turns rural very quickly. By the time you reach Wilkes County the soft, rippling hills have become higher and steeper, and the valleys are dotted with frame houses, farmland and working tractors.

Joe Michalek, the energetic and genial president of Piedmont Distillers, is at the wheel. It’s 6:30 a.m. and we’re driving out to have breakfast with Junior Johnson–driving on Junior Johnson Highway, in fact, an eight-mile stretch of U.S. Route 421 named for the famous race car driver. We ease off onto old 421, which used to be known as Bootlegger’s Highway. Sixty years ago there were nearly 400 stills in Wilkes County, and the roads here were dirt–“nothin’ more than cow pastures,” according to Junior. Bootleggers turned off their headlights at night to avoid detection, and navigated by the light of the moon.

Tom Wolfe called him “The Last American Hero.” The nickname stuck, and it became the title of a 1973 movie about his life, a Hollywood extravaganza starring Jeff Bridges. Robert Glenn Johnson Jr., known as Junior, was born in Wilkes County in 1931. He began running moonshine out of the hills at 14, using his dad’s rebuilt 1940 Ford. He became the fastest man on the dirt roads, the one bootlegger the law couldn’t catch. In time, he took his cars, his speed and his nerve onto the racetrack, and became one of the greatest drivers in NASCAR history.

Wolfe wrote at length about the legend of Junior Johnson in his breakout 1965 Esquire piece, but he also helped create it. Junior was already an idol throughout the South at that time, but was relatively unknown outside the region. The story captured him at the height of his racing career, and it also took the legend and burnished it so brightly that it became visible around the country.

Q: In your own experience, is it hard to get a nonfiction book published today?  How did you do it?

I had a great agent, which helped enormously. Even so, I think you need to have a subject which is timely and resonates with a large segment of the public. It helps to persevere, and luck also doesn’t hurt.

Q: What’s a typical day like for you?

I write at all hours of the day, but I find the early hours are best because there are no interruptions. If I can get up by 4 a.m., I’m likely to have nearly an entire day’s work done before people start calling or emailing.

Q: What’s next for you?

I’m sworn to secrecy, but the next project will undoubtedly be focused on spirits and the enjoyment of life.

Q: Thank you so much for this interview, Mark.  We wish you much success!

Many thanks.

1 Comment

Filed under Author Interviews

Interview with J.B. Miller, author of NO TIME FOR LOVE

00J.B. Miller is a published author of fiction, non-fiction, award-winning poetry, music, and numerous articles and blogs. No Time For Love is her first novel. She resides in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and three children.

Visit her blog at http://notimeforlovebyjbmiller.wordpress.com.

Welcome to As the Pages Turn, J.B.!  Can you tell us more about your heroine, Chatham?

No Time for LoveJB: Chatham is the type of heroine that all women can relate to. She does her best to keep up with the demands of her family, her work and unfortunately, does not have enough time for herself. So many readers I talk to can relate to Chatham as though they are reading about themselves. She is today’s every day heroine.

The first chapter sets the tone for the whole book. Why did you decide to start it in the kitchen over waffles?

JB: I want the reader to identify with the heroine right away. I want her to be within reach. Every mother in the world lives a secret life of chaos that many will not even admit to, but when they read about Chatham’s life, they can settle right in alongside her.

The kids seem to be Chatham’s top priority and rightly so. What are her thoughts on dating?

JB: Dating is not even on the burner. She has fleeting wistful thoughts of love, but her everyday demands steal all of her time. I believe in love finding us when we least expect it and even in Chatham’s family centered world, love sneaks up on her.

Does Chatham believe in soul mates?

JB: Her husband was her soul mate and sadly, Chatham does not think that she will ever find another. She is wrong.

What does Chatham do for a living?

JB: Chatham works in advertising. In particular, she writes catchy slogans and jingles for advertising campaigns. She is quirky but relatable. There are a few creations she has come up with that I think should be real companies like Vatican Air – get there on angels wings.

What is Chatham’s favorite pastime?

JB: Sleeping is high on the list, but she doesn’t get much.

What do you believe is Chatham’s biggest obstacle?

JB: Chatham’s biggest obstacle is letting herself follow her heart when love finds her. If she can’t decide which love is for her, then how will she finally find true happiness? The reader will have to see where it all ends up.

That is such a fun cover. Who designed it?

JB:I enlisted a top graphic designer to create my vision. I wanted love and time to jump off the page. I think they do.

Is chick lit a new genre for you?

JB:I have written short stories in the genre and many award winning poems. One of my favorite poems is I Don’t Do Socks.

Thank you so much for this interview, JB. Do you have any final words?

JB:I wrote No Time For Love so that women everywhere can feel that the real person they are is understood. I want mothers to know that it’s OK to not always keep it all together. When the reader finishes the book, I want them to believe in true love.

3 Comments

Filed under Author Interviews

Interview with Kay Marshall Strom, author of ‘The Love of Divena’

Kay Marshall Strom

Kay Marshall Strom is the author of forty published books.  Her writing credits also include numerous magazine articles, short stories, curriculum, stories for children, two prize-winning screenplays, and booklets for writers.  Kay speaks at seminars, retreats, and special events throughout the country.  She and her husband Dan Kline love to travel, and more and more Kay’s writing and speaking take her around the word.

Her latest book is the Christian historical fiction, The Love of Divena.

To find out more about Kay, or for contact information, check her website at www.kaystrom.com.

Visit Kay at Twitter: http://twitter.com/kaysblab

Like Kay at Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=251622274091&id=738699091#!/profile.php?id=738699091

Pick up your copy of The Love of Divena at Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/The-Love-Divena-Blessings-India/dp/1426709102/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1348760002&sr=8-1&keywords=the+love+of+divena

Pick up your copy of The Love of Divena at the publisher’s website: http://abingdonpress.com/forms/ProductDetail.aspx?pid=7312

Q: Thank you for this interview, Kay. Can you tell us what your latest book, The Love of Divena, is all about?

The trilogy centers around an Untouchable family and the high caste landlords who own them. Set in rural India in 1990, this final book tells the story of a little girl abandoned by her father and left on the doorstep of her desperately poor grandmother. Practically every area of the grandmother’s life is bound up in the constraints of society: her outcaste status, her poverty, her religion. But Divena sees the promise of a wider world. The choices she makes rock the world of both families and shake the foundation of an entire culture.

The Love of Divena

The main character of each of the books in the trilogy has a name that means “blessing” in Hindi.  Hence the series title, Blessings in India. Divena, the main character in this book, loves her grandmother dearly, but she cannot accept the older woman’s resigned attitude of “This is how it has always been, and this is how it always will be.”  Adventurous and persistent—also desperate—Divena determines she will change her life.  She does, in ways her grandmother Shridula (book 2) and her great-grandfather Ashish (book 1) never could.

Divena’s grandmother is Shridula, the young mover and shaker of book 2 (The Hope of Shridula). But the years have weighed heavily on her. Trapped by poverty and her low status as a female outcaste, the spark of hope has long since faded away.  When she sees the scrawny waif left on her doorstep, she is overcome by memories. Yet she tells the child, “You did not want to be left in my doorway, and I did not want you left here because I have no money to buy food for you. But here you are, so we will live together.”  When she changes the girl’s name from Anjan (fear) to Divena (Blessing), she has no idea how prophetic that name is.

The other major character is the wealthy, educated young man being groomed to inherit his father’s land—and also his father’s village of bonded servants.  The family is Christian, though that means little to them beyond freedom from Hindu constraints. But the son is a far different person than his father. In his objection to his father’s oppression of the laborers, he is drawn back to his family’s true Christian roots where he finds more than he bargained for.

Q: Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?

Without a doubt, characters are inspired by people I’ve met on my nine trips to India. There really was a little girl abandoned by her father and left on her unsuspecting grandfather’s doorstep.  I think this reality base is important for a book such as this because so many people find it absolutely unbelievable that such oppression and abuses are still around today.

Q: Are you consciously aware of the plot before you begin a novel, or do you discover it as you write?

Yes and yes. I write out a basic chapter outline before I begin, sort of like a map to where I’m going with the book. But as I write, things change.  Some events seem contrived, so I change them.  Or I drop them altogether. Characters get pushy and begin to go their own way, to get themselves into more difficulties than I anticipated.  Thanks to discoveries along the way, I end up with a better book than the one I plotted in the beginning.

Q: Your book is set in South India.  Can you tell us why you chose this place in particular?

Several years ago I had the opportunity to travel throughout Ireland with the advance team of the movie Amazing Grace. Sam Paul, a team member from India, spoke about modern day slavery as it exists there. It is the most prevalent cause of slavery today.  On the last day of our time together as a team, Sam Paul asked me, “Why don’t you write about my people?  We need someone to speak for us. Why don’t you write about us?”  So I did.  I chose to set the story in rural South India because that is an area in which I have spent quite a bit of time and where I know a number of people.

Q: Does the setting play a major part in the development of your story?

Absolutely. Without the setting, there would be no story.  The location—as well as the Indian society in which it is immersed—forms the only world in which the story could exist.

Q: Open the book to page 69.  What is happening?

Oh, good spot!  Sixteen-year-old Divena has spent the past years trudging back and forth from the market with a basket of vegetables from her grandmother’s garden balanced on her head. In blistering heat and in monsoon rain. Lots of work for so few pennies earned.  Beckoned by the sweet fragrance of ripe mangos hanging on a tree, but warned by the tree’s owner not to touch them, Divena proposes a trade: some of her vegetables for a couple of mangos.  The woman drives a hard bargain, but the barter pulls Divena into a much wider world of possibilities. On Page 69, Divena makes her first foray into business.

Q: Can you give us one of your best excerpts?

Little Daniel stood up and scowled at his leaning block tower. “Not good!” he pronounced, and he kicked it over.  Joanna giggled and clapped her little hands.

“Would it not be wonderful if we could solve our problems so easily?” Ramesh asked with a laugh.  “If all of India could?”

Baruch grabbed his son and pulled the child to him. As Daniel squirmed, Joanna climbed onto her father’s lap.  “Here it is, right in my grasp,” Baruch Sundar said as he hugged his children.  “New hope for India.”

Q: Have you suffered from writer’s block and what do you do to get back on track?

I have to say, I don’t believe in writer’s block.  I mean, what happens if a dentist gets dentist’s block?  He gets busy and works on teeth.  When I get writer’s block, I get busy and write.  It helps that I generally have a couple of projects going.  If I’m stuck on one, I work on the other.

Q: What would you do with an extra hour today if you could do anything you wanted?

Mmmmm, what a delightful thought!  I think I would head out to our hot tub/spa and read.

Q: Which already published book do you wish that you had written and why?

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.  I love the way C.S. Lewis wrote a book that works on so many different levels.  Eight-year-olds are transfixed with the tale of talking animals and witches, families read the book together for its moral values, and theology students take entire courses on it.  What a gift to be able to write a book like that!

Q: What kind of advice would you give other fiction authors regarding getting their books out there?

It is a tough field today, with so many books out there. I would say, demonstrate your writing by blogging.  Offer to write guest posts for other bloggers.  Speak wherever you can—at the library, at service clubs, in your church or other associations—and always have your book on hand.  But remember, you must not come across sounding like an advertisement.  Your listeners will be asking, “What’s in this for me?”  What they want to hear from you is, “A wonderfully entertaining story, and even more.  Much, much more.”

Q: Thank you so much for this interview, Kay.  We wish you much success!

Thank you for talking with me.

Leave a comment

Filed under Author Interviews

The Right Way and the Wrong Way to Promote Your Book Online: I Choose the Wrong Way by Susan Wingate

The Right Way and the Wrong Way to Promote Your Book Online: I Choose the Wrong Way

By Susan Wingate

Of late, every time I teach at a writing conference, the program coordinators slate a workshop with a title something like this: How to Blog Effectively or The Art of Blogging. You get the idea. They have rules like: never blog without knowing the topic you’ll be discussing; and, try to blog in your niche. Words of wisdom for sure however if your niche is writing or more succinctly, novel writing, well every Johnny out there has a blog about it. It seems the blogging market for how-to-write has become glutted.

For me, blog writing is secondary to novel writing and so I use my blog to grease my creative and technical skills. I like humor too so I sort of play around when I blog. I get silly even.

For instance, I broke out in a huge full-body rash this past April and because this new development sent me on an adventure to the doctor, I decided to blog about it. Wise in the eyes of blogging experts? I dare say not. But did it get noticed? Oh. My. Yes. That one blog post brought the most visitors to my website in months. Since then, I post everything and anything that comes to mind. Sometimes these postings are about writing but I always add a bit of humor to them. People like to laugh, plain and simple. Today’s blog, July 2nd, tells about the time my husband called me a hermit. Of course, my husband, Bob gives me tons of great fodder for writing. He makes me laugh because he doesn’t understand me. This paradoxical relationship makes for great humor. We’re terribly in love with one another but, still, he’s a businessman and I’m an artist. The rift between these two mindsets can seem as deep as the Mariana Trench.

Anyway, I tend to believe that people like to laugh. Writing funny makes me laugh too. Maybe it doesn’t meet The Idiot’s Guide to Blogging but if everyone’s laughing then we all win. Right?

About the Author:

Most recently, Susan Wingate’s novels, SPIDER BRAINS and DROWNING each reached Amazon Bestseller status in 2012. DROWNING won the 2011 Forward National Literature Award for Drama. She would love for you to read her books. You can find them all under the tab on this site labeled “Books”. SUSAN has written eleven novels, two short story collections, a few plays, one screenplay and tons of poems. Her latest 2011 novel DROWNING  (contemporary women’s fiction), won 1st place in the 2011 Forward National Literature Award and also won a finalist award for the category of Women’s Fiction/Chick Lit in the 2011 International Book Awards. A vibrant public speaker, Susan offers inspiring, motivational talks about the craft of writing, publishing and marketing, and how to survive this extremely volatile (e-)Publishing industry. She presents these lectures for private groups and at writing conferences, libraries and bookstores around the country.

To get your copy of SPIDER BRAINS by Susan Wingate:http://www.amazon.com/Spider-Brains-Love-Story-ebook/dp/B007KDAS0C/ref=la_B003CMMERK_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1339336080&sr=1-6

To view all books by Susan Wingate: http://www.amazon.com/Susan-Wingate/e/B003CMMERK/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

To learn more about Susan, go to her website: http://www.susanwingate.com

Visit Susan Wingate on Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/susanwingate

Like Susan Wingate on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/susanwingate.author

Follow Susan Wingate on Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/susanwingate/susan-wingate-s-books/

About the Book:

If one were to bake the story SPIDER BRAINS into a cake, they should sprinkle in Charlotte’s Web, toss in one Jellicle Cat, then stir in a little Spiderman—but as a girl and not in that goofy latex outfit! A tale of hope, transformation, transition and inspiration.

After her father’s death last year and, now, in the throes of a gnarly teacher’s whim as she thinks ahead to college (or really just dreams of getting into college), a small black arachnid bites fifteen-year-old Susie Speider on the finger. The bite sends her nights into fantastical dreams about taking revenge on a teacher who, ultimately, holds her college aspirations in the palm of her cold calloused hand. But, after Susie figures out the dreams are real, she ups the ante by visiting the teacher regularly… as the spider! And, oh, by the way! Who is that boy spider munching on flies, hiding over there in the corner? A story of loss and forgiveness, tolerance and kindness, Susie Speider deals with the death of her father while Matt Ryder–the new neighbor boy–has just lost his mother. Ultimately, SPIDER BRAINS poses some important questions about how to treat Attention-Deficit-Disorder.

 

2 Comments

Filed under Guest Bloggers

Interview with Kaylin McFarren, author of ‘Severed Threads’

As many people know, Kaylin McFarren wasn’t born with a pen in hand like so many of her talented fellow authors. However, she has been involved with business and personal writing projects for many years. Her careers have taken her in all directions, ranging from fashion modeling and interior design to office manager and art gallery director. Yet her love of reading and interest in creative writing has remained ever present. As a result of her tapping into her imagination and utilizing her own life experiences, she has earned more than a dozen literary awards. Her first novel, Flaherty’s Crossing was a 2008 finalist in the prestigious RWA® Golden Heart contest and her second book, Severed Threads, has already garnered two first place awards.

Kaylin is a member of RWA, Rose City Romance Writers, and Willamette Writers. She received her AA in Literature at Highline Community College, which originally sparked her passion for writing. In her free time, she also enjoys giving back to the community through participation and support of various educational organizations in the Pacific Northwest, and is currently the president of the Soulful Giving Foundation – a non-profit she and her husband formed to fund expanded research, and the care and treatment of cancer patients and their families.

Her latest book is a romantic suspense titled Severed Threads.

You can visit Kaylin online at www.KaylinMcFarren.com.

Twitter: www.twitter.com/4kaylin

Facebook: www.facebook.com/kaylin.mcfarren

Blog: http://kaylinmcfarren.wordpress.com/

_______________________

Q: Thank you for this interview, Kaylin. Can you tell us what your latest book, Severed Threads is all about?

Believing herself responsible for her father’s fatal diving accident, Rachel Lyons has withdrawn from the world and assumed a safe position at a foundation office. When called upon by a museum director to assist her former love interest with the recovery of a cursed relic from a sunken Chinese merchant ship, she has no intention of cooperating – until her brother is kidnapped by a drug-dealing gangster. In order to save him and gain control over her life, Rachel must not only overcome her greatest fears, but also relive the circumstances that lead to her father’s death.

Q:  Can you tell us a little about your main and supporting characters?

Rachel is an attractive thirty-two year old, brown-haired, hazel-eyed former marine biologist who’s lost everyone she’s loved for one reason or another and is simply going through the motions after giving up her passion for diving. Four years earlier, her arguments with her father ultimately lead to his accidental drowning. As a result, she’s buried her emotions, taken a job in a foundation office and experiences reoccurring nightmares.

Chase Cohen, Rachel’s ex-lover, is a charismatic thirty-four year old, blond-haired, blue-eyed treasure seeker who’s fun loving, brave and caring, but he’s also hiding a world of secrets that caused him to leave town four years ago. He’s become obsessed with finding the mother lode and although he blames himself for his part in Sam Lyon’s death, the success of his latest endeavor depends on Rachel’s generosity and willingness to forget their damaged past.

Devon Lyons, an ambitious high-powered stockbroker, is Rachel’s younger brother. His preoccupation with money and blind love for Selena, the sister of a notorious drug-dealing mobster, has resulted in his involvement with an unsavory group of characters.

Q: Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?

My characters originally come from my imagination as a transitory illusion and over time become more concrete and defined. Eventually they are chiseled into complex, interesting individuals, aided by my interactions with memorable people from my travels to various places around the world.

Q: Are you consciously aware of the plot before you begin a novel, or do you discover it as you write?

I tend to start with a story idea and know pretty much where it begins and where I want it to end. As I grow my characters, I turn them loose and let their personalities help shape the story, often detouring it in all directions. Oddly, it’s not unusual to see the solution to a painted corner buried within the developing story.

Q: Your book is set in San Palo, California.  Can you tell us why you chose this city in particular?

Actually, I invented this city to mirror communities similar to San Diego and Port Angeles, where I’ve spent a great deal of time. I find it’s often easier and more fun to create unique places than worry about accurate details of a thriving, well-known community.

Q: Does the setting play a major part in the development of your story?

Yes. This is a struggling mid-size town that depends on fishing, charter boats and tourism for its economic survival. The discovery of an ancient shipwreck with a valuable cargo onboard affects everyone living and working there.

Q: Open the book to page 69.  What is happening?

Devon Lyons is tied up in an abandoned warehouse and being forced to watch a gangster beat his financial partner and best friend to death.

Q: Can you give us one of your best excerpts?

“Rachel, I’m not going to lie to you. I heard you’d given up diving, that you were working for the Warren Nash Foundation. But I honestly had no idea you’d be here.”

Her spine stiffened.

“And as for your dad,” he continued, “not a day goes by that I don’t feel responsible for what happened. Sam was a good man. Like a father to me.”

She bristled. Her gaze burned with emotion. “Oh, really? Then why didn’t you have the decency to show up at his funeral?”

Chase’s gaze slid from her face. His brows met when he looked up again. “Look, I really wanted to come. It’s just that after the investigation and everything – ”

Her anger ripened. “Yea, right.” His scrawled note had left her brooding for weeks. Something urgent came up…have to leave town. After professing her love, he turned out to be the scoundrel her brother Devon had painted him out to be. Her teeth clenched at the memory. “You were a complete asshole. Now, get out of my way.”

Using both hands, she shoved hard against his taut chest, but he rocked right back in place. He grabbed hold of her wrists and pulled her in close. “You have every right to be angry,” he said quietly. “But there was a good reason why I stayed away. Why I never called you.”

An involuntary shiver ran up her spine. She averted her gaze toward the marina, wishing the drifting fog could shield her from his soul-searching gaze. She didn’t want him to see how broken she’d become. Or how much, deep inside, she had never stopped yearning for his touch.

“It had nothing to do with you and me,” he insisted.

She stepped back, breaking his grip. “It still doesn’t.” Venom dripped from her words.

Chase nodded slowly. “Maybe not. But right now, I need this job. More than you know.” His blue eyes intensified. “What will it take for us to get past everything? An apology? You have it. My promise to stay clear of you? Done.”

His words reminded her how easy it was for him to dismiss her. She’d been such a fool in allowing his charm to blind her. He obviously cared about no one but himself. And deep down inside, no matter how hard she had tried to dismiss it, they both shared the blame in her father’s death. Nothing would change that.

She drew in a deep breath. “There is one thing that will make me feel better.”

His face relaxed. “You name it. Anything you want.”

She pulled back her arm and swung with all her might. Her palm connected with his cheek so hard it stung her hand to the bone.

“Damn!” He grabbed his face, wincing from the blow.

She pressed her palms together, nursing her own pain, and addressed him again. “I’ve wanted to do that for a long time. If you think you can just show up and expect me to – ”

Before she could finish, he pulled her into his arms. His lips found hers, launching a current through her veins. The parking lot was spinning out of control and he was the driving force. Her legs quivered, leaving her unsteady on her feet. When he finally lifted his head, she leaned against him, breathless, betrayed by her body’s weakened state.

His warm breath brushed her cheek, lifting tiny hairs on her skin. “And I’ve wanted to do that,” he whispered raggedly, “from the first moment I saw you in Doc’s office.”

Of course. His agenda. Her senses sobered. She distanced herself and firmed her tone. “Nice try. But you’re still not getting a dime from me.”

Chase bent his head and seemed to be strategizing his next move. When he looked up, his crystal eyes chipped away at her soul. “For what it’s worth, Rachel, I really am sorry…for everything. Should’ve said that a long time ago.” He rubbed the back of his neck. An emotion resembling disappointment crossed his face. “Believe me, I would’ve stuck around if I could have.”

She was surprised by his show of sincerity. But nothing he could say would lessen the pain she still felt from him abandoning her when she needed him most.

She jutted out her chin. “It was just a summer fling. A mistake from beginning to end. We should have ended it like adults, is all.”

Her final words hung in the air. A nerve jumped at his temple. “I didn’t know you felt that way,” he said.

Chase’s kiss still simmered on her lips. His nearness threatened her reserve. It wasn’t in her to be cruel, but she’d been hurt far too long to back down now.

“So…now you do.” The lie tasted bitter in her mouth.

Chase’s eyes darkened. He gave a rueful nod. “Good thing we got that cleared up. Wouldn’t want to make any more mistakes.”

As he strutted toward his truck, anger gathered in Rachel’s chest. Anger over his words, his deeds, his presumptuous kiss. Over the fact that for a split second, he had made her feel like the bad guy. Her mind threw daggers at his back. “Damn you, Chase Cohen.”

She slid inside her silver Kia and slammed the car door grateful the museum’s security guard was now watching from a distance. If he hadn’t been, she might have acted on a homicidal impulse and run Chase over, the manipulating jerk.

In fact, it made her feel better just to imagine it.

Q: Have you suffered from writer’s block and what do you do to get back on track?

Oddly, I haven’t had this problem. My issue is that I have too many ideas and not enough time to write them all down.

Q: What would you do with an extra hour today if you could do anything you wanted?

I’d love to have an hour to pamper myself and simply relax, since my life seems to be going a hundred miles an hours most of the time. J

Q: Which already published book do you wish that you had written and why?

The Help. I love this book! The characters and their voices are real and their stories incredibly compelling. Plus I really enjoyed the dark humor tucked inside.

Q: What kind of advice would you give other fiction authors regarding getting their books out there?

There are so many options available to authors with everything ranging from traditional queries and submissions to well-known literary agencies to self-publishing and working with print on demand companies. My only piece of advice to a new author would be no matter which route you elect to take, be sure you’re representing quality work that you’ve spent time polishing and that you’ll be proud to see in print. Become familiar with market trends and public demand while having realistic expectations for your potential sales.

Q: Thank you so much for this interview, Kaylin.  We wish you much success!

Thank you!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Author Interviews