Tuesday, December 27, 2022

A Long Writing Journey

We may be in the middle of the holiday season, but that doesn't mean it's not a good time to enjoy a spooky story. My guest today is author Lucy Naylor Kubash, whose latest book, The Haunting of Laurel Cove was just released. It sounds like a great book to read on a long wintery evening or while relaxing on a cold or snowy day. 

Lucy says she has had a lifelong love of reading and has been writing for as long as she can remember. She is published in short fiction and novel length contemporary romance, as well as nonfiction, having written a column called The Pet Corner for twenty years. She is a member of Michigan Romance Writers, Grand Rapids Region Writers Group, Romance Writers Online, and Women Writing the West. She says she loves anything to do with the American West, mountains and beaches anywhere, and traveling whenever possible. When she is not writing, she says, she likes to spend time with her family and her pets. 


Lucy, tell us about your road to publication.


Sometimes I feel as though I’ve been writing all my life, which in some ways I have, but my road to publication began when I submitted two short romance stories to Woman’s World magazine back in 1983. At that time, the stories were much longer, average length 5-6k words, and so were able to have a lot more plot and character development. After having submitted a few full-length books to publishers with no success, I decided to try the short story market, and Woman’s World was listed in the Writer’s Digest at #5 on their list of magazines accepting submissions. I was totally amazed when both stories were accepted.  I went on to sell twelve more stories to them, and those stories are now published on Amazon in five e-book collections, as I had the rights back to them. 


What do you enjoy about being an author?


What I love most about being an author is I’ve always felt it allows me to live more than one life. That may sound weird, but I feel as though I become my characters while writing about them. I love discovering so many different characters, learning what makes them tick, and pretending I live in their settings. The most challenging part of being an author is having to crawl out of my writing cave and do promotions. While I would rather just spend time writing, I realize that if anyone else is going to find out about my characters and their stories, I have to make that effort. What I have discovered is that it’s fun to talk about my books and the people in them.


What is your latest book and how did you come up with the idea to write it?


Shattered dreams, family secrets, rekindled love. Which poses the biggest threat to life and sanity for a broken woman trying to heal?


My latest book is The Haunting of Laurel Cove. It's a mystery/romance/ghost story that was released on December 6 by The Wild Rose Press. This is my third book from Wild Rose. I wrote the original version of the story after our first trip to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. I was so intrigued by the misty mountains, old cabins, and mysterious coves that I knew I had to set a story there. I’m not sure where the characters of Jane, Brendan, Cissy and Sheridan came from—who knows where characters ever come from?—but these four would not leave me alone until I wrote their story. The manuscript went through many revisions and was sent out to a few publishers. It picked up an honorary mention in a contest along the way, but ended up in a drawer for more years than I care to count. During the Co-vid shutdown, I pulled it back out again and decided to rewrite it one more time and send it off to Wild Rose. I’m so glad I did! It just proves you should never give up on a story you love and believe in.



Let's get a blurb:


When Jane Stuart returns to the Smoky Mountains and the house she inherited from her grandmother with the hope to heal from a brutal mugging, she finds herself obsessed with a local legend involving a witch and a mysterious cabin.


Upon reconnecting with an old boyfriend now turned handsome environmentalist, she finds herself rekindling her attraction to Brendan McGarren and is drawn into his battle to keep Laurel Cove from becoming a rich man’s playground. As she begins to uncover family secrets pertaining to the witch and the cabin, Jane questions her own sanity. Then the threats begin. Can she trust Brendan?


Will the search for the truth cost Jane her life?


How about an excerpt


    I glanced up into the woods, staring once more into vacant windows. The eyes and soul of a house no longer inhabited, at least not by anyone of this world. Voices whirled about in my mind. Lights have been seen in the cabin, after dark. Some say she doesn’t rest at all, but walks at night. Then, from somewhere, the echo of a dog’s plaintive howl sent icy fingers sliding down my backbone.


    “I was here the other day,” I said, my voice hushed. “I didn’t know it was Cissy’s cabin, but now I remember being here a long time ago, when the other kids were taunting her. It was awful, and I knew Gran would be upset with me. I think maybe she felt sorry for Cissy, or maybe she even knew her, before it happened.”


    “Before what happened?” Brendan drew next to me and leaned over to put his hand on mine where I gripped the reins.


    I tore my gaze from the cabin and looked into his turquoise eyes. “The murder.”


    He considered this a moment before he said, “I think we should leave now.”


    Did he feel it too? The presence of someone other than us?


    We did not talk at all as we rode away, but I couldn’t resist a single backward glance at the lonely cabin. Strange how the breeze sifting through the trees now sounded more like someone’s gentle sighing. Cecilia Jane.


What are you working on now?


I’m currently working on a trilogy of western contemporary romances I’m calling The North Star Legacy stories. It involves rewriting my first published novel, and then I’ve finished a sequel to that and a third book with many of the same characters. It follows the McCord family who live on a ranch near the Grand Tetons of Wyoming. Can you tell I love mountains?


What advice do you have for beginning writers?


My advice to beginning writers is to learn all you can about writing but don’t ever give up on yourself. Believe in your ability and don’t be afraid to put your work out there, but only after you’ve made it the very best it can be. I’m still learning, and I hope my stories improve the more I write.  


I'm so excited for this book's release. I hope you'll enjoy it! You may order it now at these fine retailers:  


KOBO: https://tinyurl.com/3cbpnf23

  iTunes: https://iBooks.com

Amazon:  https://tinyurl.com/2y72ha6r

Barnes and Noble:  https://tinyurl.com/4yechr3c

If are a library patron, please ask your local library to order The Haunting of Laurel Cove.

ISBN: 978-1-2092-4551-2


Please visit my Amazon Author Page:  

www.amazon.com/author/lucynaylorkubash

Look for me here;

www.lucynaylorkubash.com

https://www.facebook.com/LucyNaylorKubash/

https://twitter.com/LucyKubash

https://instagram.com/lucykubash_author/


Thank you, Lucy, for being my guest today. Any questions or comments for Lucy?


Monday, December 26, 2022

A Treat for the Holidays

One of the fun elements of the holiday season is there are always so many books or stories tied in to this time of the year. One of the special features of my publisher, The Wild Rose Press is its Christmas Cookies series. I enjoy featuring the authors who bring us their holidays stories. Today's guest is one of those authors, Marla White, who has appeared previously, but today she is bringing us her Christmas Cookie story, which has just been released, Blood Stains and Candy Canes, and is certain to grab the readers' attention.


Marla White appeared in My Writing Corner in October featuring her book, Cause For Elimination. She is a s
tory analysis instructor at UCLA and writing coach who lives in Los Angeles. She graduated from the University of Kentucky where she took her first horseback riding lesson. After dabbling in hunters, barrel racing, and weekly trail rides, she fell hopelessly in love with the sport of eventing.  She “conquered” Novice level before taking a break to pursue novel writing but hopes to return to the saddle some day soon.  Her first novel, The Starlight Mint Surprise Murder, was published in 2021, followed by the first two books in her Keeper Chronicles series. When she’s not writing, she’s out in the garden, hiking, or putting together impossibly difficult puzzles.   


She starts today's visit with some Fun Facts about her newest book and interesting facts about her:

 

  • The cookie recipe in the book is for a Welsh cookie that came from a friend’s grandmother.  It’s really different and worth a try!  You fry them on a griddle rather than bake them. 
  • When I was trying to come up with a name for my main character “Mandy” was the first thing to pop in my head, exposing my deeply ingrained Barry Manilow fandom.
  • The plot is inspired by real life events.  Well, not the murder part (one can only dream) but the trajectory of poor Bethany’s career closely resembles my own TV path. 

How about a blurb for Blood Stains And Candy Canes


Attending a swanky cookie exchange is the last thing on veterinarian Dr. Mandy Brown’s holiday to-do list, but she agrees to help a friend out. The party comes to a screeching halt after a body turns up on the kitchen floor, a carving knife jutting out of his back.


As if that wasn’t bad enough, Mandy comes face-to-face with Officer Dylan Shaw, a man she thought she was dating until he ghosted her. Tensions escalate as motives for murder come out of the pantry as fast as guests scarf down the pot-spiked brownies, making everything all the merrier.


Although the case seems open and shut, Mandy doesn’t believe the evidence. Can she and Dylan put their differences aside and find the real killer, or risk one of the bakers getting away with murder.


Let's talk to the characters in Blood Stains and Candy Canes:


Mandy, tell us a little about your life right now?


Everything is kind of hectic right now what with the holidays coming up.  I’d like to say I have to finish up my gift shopping but I’ve only bought 1 gift so far so honestly I need to start shopping. Shoot, I need to start shopping! But first I need to get the decorations up on my landlady’s mansion or she’ll climb up on the roof and do it herself.  


That crazy cookie exchange Dolores dragged me to completely set my carefully mapped out schedule off-kilter, but then a murder will do that. I suppose it didn’t do much for poor Rick Sanford’s holiday plans either. I don’t like to judge people, but it’s possible he had it coming. 

What do you want most in your life?

That would have been an easy question six months ago.  Ever since I was a freshman in high school, the only things I wanted were to be a small animal vet and to be Mrs. Zachary Roberts. All of that changed when he came out to L.A. to be an actor, changed his last name to RobΓ‘rds for some reason, dumped me for a woman with bigger boobs, and was charged with her murder. All in one month before I got here! He hadn’t accomplished that much in a month the entire time I’d known him.  

So now I guess what I want most in my life are good friends, a job I love, and to find someone that I can trust with my heart.  And chocolate. 

What makes you happiest?

I feel so happy when I can help an animal feel better.  The look in their eyes when you’ve taken away the pain and made them happy?  Oh my gosh, that’s the best part of my job.  The second best? The look on the owner’s faces when their pet can come home.

After that what makes me happy?  Chocolate. 


What frightens you the most?


Being so completely wrong about anything the way I was wrong about Zach.  As a doctor and a woman, you have to rely on trusting your gut and after the poop storm of finding out Zach couldn’t be loyal for one month on his own, I’m afraid of making the same mistake again. Which makes me second-guess myself constantly, bringing on a whole new level of anxiety. 


What frightens you most about having to deal with Dylan?

(Mandy smiles mysteriously.) Again, if you’d asked me that before the disaster of a cookie exchange, it would have been a different answer. He was so dang frustrating to deal with, I was afraid I was misreading the signs all over again. But now? After the cookie party? Nothing frightens me about Dylan.

Now let's hear from Dylan:


What do you want most in your life right now?

To protect and serve, ma’am. I love being a cop and I just want to be the best officer I can be. In a perfect world, I want to be a detective one day but this world is far from perfect, isn’t it? 

What frightens you most about Mandy?


Her temper (he laughs and shakes his head). Did you know the first time I met her, I ran into her clinic covered in blood with a dog in my arms? When she found out I’d accidentally shot him, she tore me a new—oh, can I say a-hole? Anyway, you do not want to get on her bad side, she is fierce. 


What do you admire about Mandy?


I guess the flip side of the same trait, her fire, her drive. When she believes in someone or something, it’s one hundred percent balls to the walls. She doesn’t hold back. 

 

What do you want most for your future?

The house with the picket fence, kids in the yard, the whole American dream, with the right woman by my side. Is that too corny? Can I change my answer? Because when I’m with Mandy what I want most is to get through the day without getting fired, shot at, or having to chase her big Rottweiler Boy through a crime scene.  And her, of course. (Smiles shyly) That’s super corny. Can I change my answer to a vintage, restored muscle car?   

How about an excerpt?


I start to creep closer to see if the butcher block is missing a knife when Shaw turns and plows smack into me. I stumble backward—again, the shoes’ fault, I wouldn’t have nearly landed on my butt in my clogs. Fortunately, Shaw has quick reflexes and grabs my arms to hold me steady. I don’t fall, but my knees feel like jelly at his touch.


“You’re right, the box is stamped with Queen Bea Bakery. I’m going to let the detective know. Seriously, you should rejoin the rest of the, um…”


He can’t quite say the rest of the sentence, so I finish it for him. “Suspects?”


His cheeks pink, and his gaze drops mine as he nods. “Yeah, the rest of the suspects.” Still holding on to me, he pulls me close for a quick, soft kiss. “Be careful, babe. One of those women might be a killer.”


Reeling from either the kiss or him calling me babe, I’m not sure which, I make my way back to the patio. Common sense says what should bother me more is the idea one of the women I’m mingling with might be a killer. I graduated near the top of my class in vet school, so why does this one sandy-haired, lantern jawed, cop confuse me so easily?


                                                    πŸŽ„πŸŽ„πŸŽ„πŸŽ„πŸŽ„


Thank you, Marla, for being my guest today on My Writing Corner.  Following are Marla's buy links and social contact information.


Bloodstains and Candy Canes buy links:


BookBub

Goodreads

Amazon

Books2Read

Apple Books

Barnes & Noble


Marla's Social Media Links


Twitter

Instagram     

Facebook

TikTok


Twitter:  https://twitter.com/TheScriptFixer

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/marlaw825/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MarlaAWhiteAuthor

TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@marlaw825


Any comments or questions for Marla?


Tuesday, December 6, 2022

From Fan to Fiction Writer

Like so many avid readers, I am always looking for the next book I might want to buy so I try to keep a close watch on new releases. That's especially true during the cold months of winter when stormy weather tends to keep us inside, eager to curl up with a new book. Today's guest in My Writing Corner, Melissa Kendall,  brings us a new novel that sounds like a perfect fit for some quiet time in a cozy chair. 

Melissa lives in Regina, Saskatchewan; the capital city in Canada that she says feels like a small town. A passionate public speaker, board game enthusiast and lover of all things Halloween, she tells us she spends her free time writing and spoiling her two cats.

Welcome Melissa.  What do you enjoy about being an author? 

I love creating an experience that elicits emotions. I want my readers to feel what I intend them to feel. I want them to cry, to laugh, to swoon. It’s a powerful feeling, and very difficult. I’m always writing new genres and trying new techniques to improve my craft. What surprised me most was horror. I tried writing short stories in 2021, and every single one turned into horror. I think it is the result of my love of Goosebumps and Are you Afraid of the Dark. One day I’ll write a MG horror series, to rediscover that love. 

Tell us about your road to publication.

My story starts, as many do, with fanfiction. I was a huge fanfiction writer, mostly for Yu-Gi-Oh! and Inuyasha. One day I got a comment from a reader who lamented my excessive use of “purple prose”. I became irrationally angry and decided to “show them” by writing a whole book. I discovered NaNoWriMo and wrote the first draft of MARKED FOR HARVEST in 2018. It was a totally different book then, based on an uncomfortable work trip where I was the only woman in a room full of old men and was treated like a secretary. When I finished writing that book, I realized it was incredibly boring!

I went to the library and read books on editing and watched hours of YouTube videos by a popular Book-Tuber. That’s when I realized that I could join their discourse and find a critique partner. For the next year I bounced around critique partners, reading dozens of manuscripts and learning how to provide meaningful feedback.

I started querying in 2019 and received several lovely rejections. I even queried a publisher who said they went back and forth before declining. I didn’t realize how amazing that was at the time and shelved the book. I wrote three more books, querying two of them, before returning to Marked For Harvest. I decided it was too short to be attractive to agents, so I sent it to small presses, and got a revise and resubmit in 2021!

I spent months on that R&R, really poured everything into it. Unfortunately, the result was another rejection, which utterly crushed me. I decided to give
Marked For Harvest one more chance. A writer friend mentioned Wild Rose Press, and I sent in a query, expecting another rejection. Much to my surprise, they accepted!

Let's get a blurb:

Hunted by a creature that wants to consume the ghosts on her skin, Elena Cain flees to her family home to find her childhood friend, Chloe, floating face down in the pool. Accused of following in her mother's murderous footsteps, she teams up with the one man who believes her, the victim's brother--and her former flame.

Sebastian Castillo can’t forget the girl who broke his heart--even though her mother murdered his brother. So when he finds Elena with his sister’s dead body, he accepts her claims of innocence and together they unravel the tangle of secrets at the heart of their small town.

As the spark between them kindles into an inferno, they must choose between justice for Chloe and keeping Elena safe, before she becomes the killer's next target.

How about an excerpt?

Her neck tingled, and then, with a sound like rushing water, the snake faded from the woman’s shoulders. A sharp pinch told her the shade had materialized on her chest. She peeked beneath her shirt to see a slitted snout staring up at her. The snake’s mottled yellow and white body was curled into a heap with only the tip of its triangular-shaped head peeking out from the folds.

The snake flicked its tongue at her. Its memories itched at the back of her mind, but as she mentally reached for them, they squirmed away. She tried again, stretching herself thin, hoping to feel some flicker of intelligence, and found a wisp, the last remnants of the soul’s consciousness. She grasped onto it and was catapulted into a memory.

“Please! No!”

Hands clasped like iron bands around her neck and pushed her face-first into the pool. The murky water flooded her mouth and burned in her lungs. She fought, kicking against her assailant, but the cold sapped her strength and burned her eyes.

Through the rippling water, her attacker grinned.

The memory dissolved like sand blowing in the wind, and Elena gasped with recognition. She touched the snake’s head with her fingers and sniffed.

“I’m so sorry, Chloe.”

How do you develop characters?

I always start with irony. I love my characters to be mirror images. So, I might start with a character afraid of the water, and then match them with a sailor, or a mermaid. What is the furthest thing from a sailor? Maybe a pilot. So, I have a pilot and a sailor, how do I make them meet? Maybe the pilot crashes into the ocean and is rescued by the sailor. Then the challenge is how to figure out how to keep these two together, when one longs for the sea, and the other for the sky.

What is your latest book and how did you come up with the idea to write it?

I am currently on submission with my amazing agent, Lane, for an adult Victorian historical romance called Companion To The Count. It features an autistic female lead, Saffron, who sees her dead brothers face in the newest painting from a famous anonymous artist. The idea started with a male lead who made corsets, and a female lead who had a sister drown in a corset. Along the way it somehow changed to painting instead, inspired by the artist Bansky.

What’s your next project?

I am currently writing an adult paranormal suspense called Escape From Wolfpoint about a remote camp where ghosts go to learn how to reincarnate. The main character, Maura, makes a deal with the werewolves that lurk in the mist to return to her life. It’s based on two summers I spent working at remote fly-in fishing camps in northern Ontario.

Sounds intriguing!    Here are the buy links for today's featured book, Marked For Harvest and social contact information for Melissa to keep up with her future writing:

Buy links

Universal: https://books2read.com/MarkedForHarvest

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Marked-Harvest-Melissa-Kendall-ebook/dp/B0BD2VM6FD

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/marked-for-harvest-melissa-kendall/1142099800


Social Contacts

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MAKendallAuthor

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/makendallauthor/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MAKendallAuthor

Website: https://melissakendall.ca


Thank you, Melissa, for being my guest. Any comments or questions for Melissa?

LIving the Dream

While the calendar may read December, this is the time we all want to start thinking about those great warm days that will be coming soon (h...