Tag Archives: the wild rose press

#HobbyCareerPassion: “A Passion for Purses” ~ Author Wendy Kendall ~ #WRPbks #AHAgrp

Welcome to my weekly feature where authors share about the hobbies, careers, or passions of their characters.

I’m pleased to introduce today’s guest, Wendy Kendall…

(I’m proud to say that I was Wendy’s editor for Kat out of the Bag – and I love her book!)

A Passion For Purses

by Wendy Kendall

I have reveled in a passion for purses many years. I enjoy all kinds. You name it and I’ll claim it. My curiosity and wildly growing peronal collection led me to investigate the world of purses. That resulted in my new mystery novel Kat Out of the Bag, introducing Katherine Watson celebrated international purse designer and amateur sleuth.

Why do women love purses? I had my suspicions, of course. I followed many clues. I devoured everything there was to read about designers. I researched art appreciation. But it was when I interviewed every day women about their favorite purse, and learned about their incredible lives and families that I knew I was hot on the trail to uncovering the mystery of a passion for purses.

I met with a variety of women who enjoyed purses. Their favorite purse, the one they told me all about,  was often a special gift, maybe a family member, loved one, friend, or mentor. Sometimes their purse was a style similar to another woman’s who they’d known. Often it evoked a cherished memory, like an aunt who had a purse pocket with surprise candy treats for kids. There was a sisterhood here.

For some women their favorie purse represented a cause that they supported wholeheartedly. They were wearing their heart on their arm, or sometimes crossbody.

No matter how contemporary, these stories had roots in history. Yes, a woman’s purse tells a story, that’s unique and at the same time shared. The final piece of the puzzle fell into place. I traveled from Seattle, Washington to Little Rock, Arkansas to visit one of only three purse museums in the world – Esse. The ESSE Purse Museum does not simply showcase accessories. It makes HERstory tangible and familiar. ESSE is focused on honoring women, artisans and the stories that make us unique and connected.

Mystery solved! And my novel underway, about Katherine Watson the purse designer. She creates purses because it was a passion that her great grandmother had shared with her when she was a young child. It was then she learned  inside every purse there’s a treasured story of the woman who carried it, and those stories are important. When Katherine ends up temporarily back in her hometown of Bayside, she decides to create a purse museum in honor of her great grandmother, and all the women who’s stories would be told in the exhibits. Never did she imagine that the mayor would be murdered at the Gala Opening.

My character Moonjava is a fan of the hippies of the 1960’s. She’s also the museum historian. She loves the idea of showcasing history in creative exhibits. She shares a daily meditation with anyone who will listen, often with interesting repercussions.

Amber is the college student who manages the museum gift shop. She’s a wristlet gal. She stumbles on her own cold case mystery when she and her boyfriend Michael find a note in a donated vintage purse.

While Michael and Amber partner on their cold case, Katherine finds herself investigating the murder with, and sometimes at odds with local cop Jason Holmes and his K-9 partner Hobbs. Jason ends up learning some things about purses as the mystery deepens.

I wrote Kat Out of the Bag for the fun of mysteries, for the fun of creating the characters, for the women who are making history right now, and to honor memories of the women who have gone before.

Kat Out of the Bag is available on Amazon

Book Blurb –

When celebrated international purse designer Katherine Watson hosts a gala for her Purse-onality Museum, she never expected the next day’s headline to read: ‘Murder at the Gala Prmiere.’ But after a dead body is found during the event, that’s exactly what happened.

Working to solve the murder, Katherine matches wits with local cop Jason Holmes and his K-9 partner Hobbs. Although Holmes and Watson disagree often, they discover an undeniable attraction building between them. But they’ll have to put their feelings on hold and focus on solving the murder, before Katherine becomes the killer’s next knock off.

Excerpt –

“There’s an officer nearby. We’ll alert him. Hold the line.”

Katherine was worried by the operator’s monotone. Did she understand the urgency? Katherine watched in disbelief as the shadow figure moved toward the shed attached to the waterwheel. Too late, she thought to get a picture after the person disappeared inside the shed.

“Oh no,” Katherine muttered. She spoke into the phone, “Hurry, I think it’s the killer, maybe looking for something left behind? Hello?” Had the operator hung up?

“Yes, the officer is on the way. Please stay on the line.” The operator’s voice now sounded bored.

A sharp ray of light from inside the shed cut through the darkness. The light jumped around. Sweat collected on Katherine’s upper lip as she imagined the killer looking through her things for something, maybe critical evidence. Fear gave way to irritation at the invasion. Irritation gave way to anger. Someone had to stop that killer from removing whatever incriminating thing was so critical it had driven a return to the scene of the crime. Katherine wanted to scream. Where were the police? Maybe MJ was right about them. She pressed against the french doors. The light in the shed went out. Her breath caught in her throat. The silhouette walked out of the shed toward the alley leading to the maze that burrowed throughout Bayside and beyond.

Katherine spoke gruffly and fast, “Hello. Where’s your officer? The suspect is getting away.”

“Ma’am, please stay calm and hang on the line. They’re on the way.”

Katherine unlocked the door to the yard and whispered to the 911 operator, “I’m in pursuit.”

 

Author Bio –

Wendy Kendall has a passion for purses and stories of the women through history who carried them. Her cozy mystery Kat Out of the Bag is the first book of the In Purse-Suit Mystery series.

Wendy is a blogger, editor, speaker, project manager, and syndicated columnist. Catch exciting author interviews on her podcasts. She loves her two sons, Alex and Brad and lives near Seattle.

Website – Wendywrites.org

Blog – ApassionForPurses.blogspot

Facebook– Wendy Kendall, Mystery Author

Twitter – wendywrites1

Podcasts – Kendall & Cooper Talk Mysteries . . . A Novel Talk . . . The Cozy Mystery Quartet

Columns – Recommended Reads and Kids Are Bookin’ It

Esse Purse Museum

 

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Filed under Author Blog Post, Hobbies...Careers...Passions

“Lessons From Rejection” by Olive Balla

Please help me welcome Olive Balla with an article all writers should read…

“Lessons From Rejection” by Olive Balla

For the umpteenth time, I click my cursor through the terse, to-the-point emailed responses to my latest barrage of agent queries. Thanks, but no thanks; Unfortunately, your work is not a good fit for our agency; and finally, the dreaded: This is in no way meant to reflect on the quality of your writing, keep it up.

“I’m seventy years old; the clock’s ticking,” my internal doomsday prophet intones. How many increments of a typical six-month waiting period do I have left? I don’t even buy green bananas.

Driven by the desire to hit that sweet spot required to find an agent willing to take a chance on my writing, I ask, “What does a good fit look like?”

Apparently, as the old saying goes, it’s different strokes for different folks. One agent’s pot-o-gold is another’s anathema. The bottom line is, how tough would an agent find it to sell my story? The shifts in the industry over the past decade alone have made it harder than ever to sell anything even remotely considered cliché, passé, overdone, or not edgy enough. To quote an agent who spoke at a writer’s convention I attended, “Please, don’t send me another story about vampires or kid wizards.” It’s a market-driven business; fads quickly come and go – emphasis on GO. To be marketable, a novel must not only be well-written, it must sizzle and pop with unique plot, peopled with and acted out by unique characters.

The latest series of rejections compelling me to action, I spend the day researching books on Amazon, paying careful attention to the back covers and blurbs to get a feel for what’s selling. Then I read my manuscript out loud, in hopes that getting another sense involved may help me spot gaps in the plot or highlight weak verbs and wonky sentences. Regardless of how many times I’ve edited, I edit again, searching for typos, misspellings, and over-use of be, am, is, are, was, were, been, or has been and have been.

If I’m still happy with my plot and character arcs, I seek and destroy anything written in passive voice – the use of which will doom even a great story.

I then move on to the Query letter. Does it sing? Does the Hook really hook? I re-read Query by C.J. Redwine and invest a day re-working my Query letter. I search the pages of the latest Guide to Literary Agents, highlighting the agencies I’ve not yet queried.

After doing everything I know to do, and as the melody of Cast Your Fate to the Wind – a golden oldie from the seventies – floats across my memory, I send out another barrage of Queries. Then I square my shoulders, open the Outline Template on my desktop, type in a working title, and begin another story.

 

Blurb: 
Eleven-year-old Jillie Ross escapes the vicious relatives threatening to flush away her beloved sister’s ashes if she doesn’t lead them to her dead father’s rumored treasure. Determined to find her sibling’s ashes and honor them along with their parents’ remains, the feisty orphan must endure harsh weather, escape a stalker, and hide from the police. But how long can she survive when at least one family member wants her dead?
Excerpt: 

Jillie dropped the metal lid as if it were red hot… Her stomach heaved, and something sour shot up her throat. Panic sent her running to the door where she pounded against the unyielding wood until the muscles in her arms cramped.  She  fell to her knees and clawed at the floor, ignoring the pain radiating up her arms from torn fingernails…The sound of approaching footsteps made the tiny hairs on the back of her neck move. Jillie snatched up the broken shovel handle and took a position in front of the door. With her legs slightly bent,, she balanced on the balls of her feet as she’d seen a martial arts professional do on television. She gripped the pole in both hands as if it were a sword, aimed its broken, pointed end at the door, and waited.

Olive Balla is a retired educator and author of two mystery/suspense novels An Arm and A Leg and Jillie published by TheWild Rose Press, Inc. A New Mexico native, Ms. Balla lives in the village of Los Lunas with her husband, her bossy puppy, and her pesky Internal Editor.
Find Olive Here:

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Author Interview with Cassie Laelyn ~ Unforgotten, The Fallen Guardians Book 2 ~ + a Giveaway

Please help me welcome author Cassie Laelyn…

Hello, Cassie. Please tell us a little about yourself, where are you from? Where do you live now? Family? Pets? 

Hi! I’m Cassie Laelyn and I’m addicted to paranormal romance. I mean, I write paranormal romance! I live with my husband, two BMX-mad boys and a crazy, very spoiled dog. I grew up in a military family, so I moved around a lot as a kid, but the family and I finally settled in a small beachside town in sunny Queensland, Australia. Right now, I couldn’t imagine living anywhere more beautiful.

Was there anything unusual, any anecdote about this book, the characters, title, process, etc, you’d like to share?

The whole Fallen Guardians series is based on the notion of soulmates. I’ve always believed that soulmates are two halves of the one soul. No matter what choices they make, regardless of the obstacles they face, those two halves will always find their way back together. After all, it’s destiny! But with Unforgotten, I wanted to take that one step further and show that even during great tragedy, there’s always a reason to choose hope.

In Unforgotten, Aric and Willow are two immortal soulmates living blissfully happy until one devastating choice tears them apart. Now, centuries later, those two halves are desperate to reunite. Consumed with never-ending love, commitment and a dangerous amount of hope, even Hell won’t stand in their way.

What book have you read that you wish you had written?

Anything written by JR Ward or Kresley Cole! Those ladies have an amazing ability to create complex worlds and characters in a long-standing series. I would love to have written the Arcana Chronicles by Kresley Cole. It’s a series based off the Major Arcana tarot Cards, and the whole world she created has blown me away. I can’t wait for the final installment.

Do you collect anything?

Books, books and books!! But I guess all authors collect books, right? Something else I love collecting are Willow Tree figurines. They’re tiny sculptures that come with a message, usually one of love, hope, comfort or inspiration. I like to buy a new one each time I experience a significant milestone in my life, such as releasing a book!

What do you want readers to come away with after they read Unforgotten?

Even when all seems lost, never lose hope. “Once you choose hope, anything’s possible.” – Christopher Reeves

What is your favorite quote?

I have two favorite quotes I turn to when things seem impossible:

“It is often in the darkest night that we see the brightest stars.” – Richard Evans.

“Follow your soul, it knows the way.” – Unknown.

What celebrity would you most like to be stranded on an island with?

You said “celebrities” right?? Ha ha! I’d like an island with me, Ryan Reynolds, Ian Somerhalder, Scott Eastwood and right now, I’m adding John Krasinski to that list!

If you could be a character in any of your books, who would you be?

If I had to choose only one, I think I’d like to be Fate. She’s mysterious, powerful and not afraid to do what’s right. Even though many immortals think she’s the enemy, I believe her heart is in the right place.

Have you written any other books that are not published?

I’ve written Book 3 in The Fallen Guardians series, which is about to enter the editing stage. I also have a bear shifter novella plus a short story as part of a charity anthology to raise money for the Australian bushfire appeal. Both are due to release in mid-2020.

Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work? 

My favorite romance authors are: JR Ward, Kresley Cole, Jennifer L Armentrout, and fellow Aussie Kylie Scott… and many more! I love how they all write over-the-top flawed heroes who will stop at nothing for the one they love. They’re intense, fiercely protective and loyal, powerful and hot! I also love how the heroines are strong and not willing to sit on the sidelines while all the action happens!

Tell us your favorite… 

Movie – Sweet Home Alabama and Ten Things I Hate About You.

Music – Anything by Lifehouse!

Place you’d like to visit – New Zealand and the USA!

TV show from adulthood – The Vampire Diaries / The Originals

Food – Woodfired pizza

Sports team – My boys are mad into BMX, so that’s my favorite sport right now!

Which do you prefer: Board games/card games or television? – It depends on my company – I love doing all three!

GIVEAWAY!!! To celebrate Unforgotten’s release, I’d love to give one lucky reader an ebook copy! To win, tell me why love reading paranormal romance!

Unforgotten, The Fallen Guardians Book 2

Goodreads – http://bit.ly/Unforgotten_GR

Blurb:

Fate offers no mercy. Especially not to those who betray her.

Lethal Guardian Aric’s loyalty never falters. Not even when Fate exiled him and his brothers from the Heavens, separating Aric from his soulmate. He’ll do anything to reunite with her. But when Willow suddenly appears in the mortal realm, Aric’s greatest fear comes true—she’s no longer the angel he left behind.

Since Aric abandoned her, the Heavens have become Willow’s personal Hell. Centuries of bitterness and hurt is a toxic combination. It even affects her angelic powers. When a Fallen offers Willow a chance to escape, she accepts. But shunning her connection to the Heavens comes at a cost.

In a twisted battle of loyalty, trust and hope, what price will two soulmates pay for a second chance at love?

Excerpt:

Pivoting around, he peered over the cliff. Flames consumed the mountainside like bright orange burning fingers reaching for him.

Fuck. The fire surrounded him. No way out.

“Help!” Willow shrieked, her voice screaming through the roaring flames.

He had to find her before it was too late. Shielding his face with his arm, he crept closer to the flames.

“Willow, where are you?” A blast of heat scorched his face, forcing him back. “Fuck!”

Any gulp of air he managed burned in his chest. The smoke swirled around his body making his head swim and legs wobble. His stomach rolled.

The moment his throat squeezed shut, his legs gave out, falling to his knees in the ash, gasping for breath. Fire licked his arm as he reached for Willow.

He couldn’t find her. He couldn’t save her.

 

Purchase Links:

Amazon US – https://amzn.to/2GMnzbg

Amazon UK – https://amzn.to/3b5t8jb

Amazon CA – https://amzn.to/2OpzYGC

Amazon Aus – https://amzn.to/2GQbvWO

 

iBooks – https://apple.co/37TQ7vo

B&N – http://bit.ly/Unforgotten_Nook

Google – Coming Soon!

Kobo – Coming Soon!

Bio:

Growing up in a military family, Cassie had a childhood filled with countless crazy adventures. Eventually, sunny Queensland stole her heart, and she now calls it home with her husband and their two BMX-crazy boys.

Borderline obsessed with the paranormal world, Cassie has a passion for crafting stories involving strong, otherworldly characters in need of redemption. She’s a self-confessed book-a-holic and a sucker for a gut wrenching happily ever after.

When she isn’t narrating imaginary characters, Cassie loves binging on TV shows, spending time at the beach, and curling up listening to the rain.

Join Cassie’s newsletter (www.cassielaelyn.com) to stay up to date with release information, including the next instalment in her action packed, steamy paranormal romance series, The Fallen Guardians.

Stalk Links:

Facebook Reader’s Group (Cassie’s Log Cabin) – https://www.facebook.com/groups/CassieLaelynsLogCabin/?source_id=151798248858993

Facebook – http://bit.ly/Cassie_Facebook

Instagram – http://bit.ly/Cassie_Instagram

Twitter – https://mobile.twitter.com/CassieLaelyn

Website – https://www.cassielaelyn.com

Bookbub – http://bit.ly/Cassie_BookBub

Goodreads – http://bit.ly/CassieLaelyn_GR

Amazon Profile – https://amzn.to/2ZlZcwP

 

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Filed under Author Blog Post, giveaway

Christmas Frost – Four Sisters Find Romance at Christmas

I’m pleased to share these four sweet, holiday stories from The Wild Rose Press…

 

 

Joy Frost Burton lives a busy, successful life, finding comfort in the lovely home she shares with her three little boys. A widow, she isn’t looking for love again, in spite of her three younger sisters’ rather pushy encouragement.
Mysterious fate has other ideas and throws charming Sean Summers into Joy’s world again and again. Soon, however, ghosts from the past and a challenging family crisis create difficult complications.
Does Joy dare risk loss and sorrow a second time by following her wounded heart’s new rhythm?

Excerpt

As I arrived at the doorway, I took a quick look back and BAM—ran smack into a man coming in. An indelicate “Oomph” escaped my lips as we both reached out to steady ourselves. His hand covered mine on the door frame. Warm—very warm.

He kept it there, and I didn’t struggle to free myself at first. I was turned sideways and couldn’t see his face, but my senses—all of them—responded to his closeness.

Finally, I breathed again and pulled my hand out from under his, mumbling a weak, “Oh, so sorry.”

“No, I didn’t see you there. It was my fault.” He had a deep voice with a little rumble in it. I looked up and saw a ruggedly handsome face and dark blue eyes. He looked vaguely familiar, but I forced my eyes away too fast to think about that.

“Excuse me.” I tried to scoot past him, brushing my shoulder against his chest as we both turned to maneuver through the small open space. Unfortunately, we’d moved in the same direction, and then we bumped knees. I was mortified.

“Oh, sorry again,” I yelped. At that point I noticed his enticing aroma—a mixture of cool autumn air and spicy leather. Definitely masculine.

I couldn’t see his face now; mine was practically smashed into his neck. But I didn’t mind lingering in his scent. I may or may not have murmured, “Mmmm…”

 

 

TV Reporter Noelle Frost enjoys life now that she’s free of her abusive ex-husband. She and her young daughter are doing quite well without a man in their lives. Then she meets a giant of a man, six-foot-ten Zave Trayce, a basketball legend. Her trust in men is damaged. Zave seems like the ultimate player on and off the court. She will have to decide if she’s brave enough to risk her heart in the game of love.

Excerpt:

A shot of energy warmed my cheeks. This was undoubtedly the most incredible physical being I had ever seen, and he was looking at me. I continued to stare back, not knowing what to say, but certainly enjoying the moment, until that annoying college student interrupted my view by handing me my hot chocolate.

“Here you go, miss. That will be four dollars and twenty-five cents, please.”

“My treat.” Gorgeous Man’s low voice had come from those lips that turned up at the corners, hip still against the counter, his eyes dancing with amusement.

“Oh no, you don’t need to pay for mine.”  I pulled myself together, proud for uttering a complete and coherent sentence.

“I’m happy to do it, Ms. Frost.” He pushed his at least six-foot-ten frame away from the counter and winked at me, sending warm honey gliding through my body. Oh, my goodness. He actually winked at me, and it wasn’t cheesy. It was absolutely hot. Then a light flashed in my mind. He knew my name.

I took a step back. “Umm…have we met?” Although intrigued, since my divorce I was over cautious where men were concerned.

“CBS 4 Denver, TV reporter Noelle Frost. Everyone in Colorado must know who you are by now.”

He had an adorable lopsided grin. I could get used to that. I relaxed a little. I had only worked for the station for a few months, and it still surprised me when strangers recognized me. 

Holly Frost has suffered from unrequited-love since she turned down Elam Holmes in high school. Years later they are still doing the “friend zone” dance. They’ve seen each other through heartbreaking loss and shared everything–except the truth. Can they break down the walls they’ve built to find love beyond friendship?

Excerpt:

I had to be dreaming, but I was wide awake. Elam pulled on me some more, and the warmth of his hand made my arms and legs tingle. I floated up on the couch.

He sat beside me and touched my arm. “Holly, you feel cold.” He lay down and pulled my back against his chest, his arms wrapped around me.

Minutes crawled by while I struggled to breathe normally.

“I can feel your heartbeat through your back,” he whispered.

“I’m a little—”

His breath had warmed the back of my neck. “Are you warmer now?”

A shiver rippled over my skin from my toes to my head. “Almost,” I managed.

“Almost isn’t good enough.” He leaned up on one elbow, looking down at me and stroking the side of my face with his fingertips. “You are incredibly beautiful, Holly. No wonder Marco went after you.”

I rolled over on my back and looked up into his eyes. “There is no…”

He leaned down and skimmed his lips over mine in a friendly kiss. “I am so happy you came this weekend.”

I tilted my chin and gently kissed him back. Elam, Elam, Elam…“So am I.” I wanted more. I yearned for more. I shivered again.

Elam cleared his throat, moved over and stood up. “It is cold in here.” He grabbed my pillow and the blanket off the floor and spread it over me. “I’m not sure L.A. warmed you up as much as you’d hoped.”

“Maybe nothing is as much as I’d hoped.

Chrissy Frost’s self-identity has changed from “happy-go-lucky” to “broken” after losing her parents in a tragic accident the day after Christmas nearly four years ago. Every aspect of the holiday season, especially snow, has a devastating effect on her.
A work assignment where she is able to change others’ lives for better, in addition to meeting handsome, caring, caramel-delicious Decker, might spark a flame of hope in her wounded heart.
Yet there are so many bumps in the road, Chrissy’s not sure she can handle the risk of getting burned.

Excerpt

Gathering up all my ammo, I ran straight into him, shoving snow into his chest and face. He fell backward, and I came down on top of him. I tried to prop myself up, but he pulled me back into his embrace. I shivered, but he rubbed my back, warming me instantly. My heart thudded at a rapid pace, and every nerve in my body tingled. He loosened his grip enough for me to look at him.

You might think you’re playing fair, but this is not fair.

In one smooth motion, he lifted me off and sat up, pulling me with him. His arm remained around my waist, our faces inches apart. Those eyes that were always watching out for me locked with mine.

“I missed you on Wednesday.” Before I had a chance to respond, his warm lips were on mine. I didn’t resist. I let my arms slide around his neck. I’d never felt so safe in my life. What was happening? He was taken.

When the lusciously long, but not long enough, kiss ended, I collected my wits, which were strewn all around the kennel.

“Decker? But what about—”

“I’ve wanted to do that since the first day I met you.” The words vibrated against my willing lips, shaking the earth, or at least my heart.

Never mind the snow or Bre…what’s-her name.

I went in for more delicious kisses from the gorgeous man holding me.

 

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Interview with a Villain by Olive Balla

I’m happy to have Olive Balla back on my blog. Today’s article is entertaining and informative…

Interview with a Villain       

Grinning as if I’d just won something, which I never do, I push my office chair back from the desk and toss another ball of wadded paper toward the trash can. Whoosh, it falls through the opening without touching the sides. A good omen; one which cannot be ignored.

“Woo-hoo!” I pump my fist up and down. My pulse quickens, and I glance at my watch.

Today’s the day. In precisely six minutes, I will interview a murderer.

I couldn’t do such a thing on just any day, you understand. It must be a day filled with good omens, a day in which I feel physically energized and psychologically pumped.

A day like today.

In preparation for the interview, I drag a woven, cane-bottomed dining room chair into my office and situate it directly across from my seat. The straight, ladder back should prove uncomfortable enough to keep my guest off balance, thereby ensuring more spontaneous responses to my questions. The distance of five feet between chairs, give or take a few inches, will allow unimpeded eye contact.

I take a deep breath and blow it out through puckered lips then drop into my chair. With less than two minutes to go I peer at the screen of my laptop. My mouth goes dry as I consider the questions that seemed insightful minutes earlier but now appear insipid and pointless.

Do they zero in on the villain’s motivation like a professor’s laser pointer, or are they so ambiguous as to allow room for sloppy evasion? Are any of them redundant? Will they elicit responses that help my Readers to understand human nature while chilling their bones?

I chew my thumbnail and shoot a look toward the office door. A shadowy figure stands in the opening, backlit by the hallway light.

“You’re early,” I say.

“Insightful,” the murderer says. “Anything else, or is that it?”

“Thanks for showing up.” I point to the chair opposite me. “Have a seat.”

The villain saunters to the rattan chair. She stares down at it, snorts then grins and shakes her head. “Such an obvious ploy. Contrived. Best be careful or I’ll disappear before you have what you need.”

“Sorry.” I hold my hand up, palm out as if to stop a charging rhino. “Is there anything you’d like to tell me?”

“No, no, no.” My murderer moves her index finger back and forth imitating a clock’s pendulum. “That’s not how this works. While allowing me freedom of expression is important, it’s up to you to ask the right questions. Otherwise, you risk making me predictable, or worse, cliché. When I have something unexpected to say, as I most assuredly will if you do this right, I’ll jump in and it’ll be up to you to keep up.”

“Okay.” I take a deep breath.

For the next hour or so, I shoot questions at my murderer, furiously typing her responses into my laptop. I’ve just finished memorializing her umpteenth impromptu stream-of-consciousness monologue when she falls silent. I glance in her direction just as her shadowy form retreats through the office door.

“Thanks,” I call out.

Wordlessly, she waves an arm over her head then is gone.

My pulse pumps like race car pistons as I review the transcribed pages that will set the stage for my suspense novel.

“Not at all what I expected,” I murmur.

The fragrance of lilacs suddenly fills the room. I breathe deeply, sensing another presence.

“My turn,” says my Protagonist.

“So it is,” I say. “Please, have a seat.”

 

Thank you, Olive. Love this! It’s a great idea for writers to interview their villains, and main characters, before writing their stories. 

Now, here’s Olive’s latest release, chock full of villains…

 

Blurb:
Eleven-year-old Jillie Ross escapes the vicious relatives threatening to flush away her beloved sister’s ashes if she doesn’t lead them to her dead father’s rumored treasure.
Determined to find her sibling’s ashes and honor them along with their parents’ remains, the feisty orphan must endure harsh weather, escape a stalker, and hide from the police. But how long can she survive when at least one family member wants her dead?
Excerpt:

Jillie dropped the metal lid as if it were red hot..Her stomach heaved, and something sour shot up her throat. She pounded against the locked, unyielding door until the muscles in her arms cramped.  She  fell to her knees and clawed at the floor, ignoring the pain radiating up her arms from torn fingernails...   

The sound of approaching footsteps made the tiny hairs on the back of her neck move. She snatched up the broken shovel handle and stood behind the door. With her legs slightly bent, she gripped the pole with both hands as if it were a sword, aimed its broken, pointed end at the door and waited.  

Bio:
A retired educator, Olive Balla began writing in her sixties. Her first mystery/suspense novel, An Arm And A Leg, was published just after her sixty-fifth birthday, and her second, Jillie, was recently published. Ms. Balla is a mother of three, grandmother to eleven, and great grandmother of seven. When she isn’t writing, she can be found making sawdust in her wood shop near Albuquerque New Mexico.

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Author Interview with Jayne York ~ New Release: If Wishes Were Horses

Please help me welcome today’s guest, Jayne York…

Good morning, Jayne. Thank you for joining me today.

Do you have another occupation, other than writer? If so, what is it and do you like it?

I’m a professional jeweler specializing in custom design and manufacturing. Writing is my second career, and just like my first, it fills all those gaping holes yearning for productive creativity.

What’s the main thing that you could get rid of in your life that would give you more writing time?

Distraction, I’m easily led astray.

What do you want readers to come away with after they read If Wishes Were Horses?

This is a story of lessons learned and the strength they bring. My main characters are both at turning points in their lives. How they handle the changes and the challenges is the crux of the story.

What actors would you like in the main roles if your book were made into a movie?

Debra Messing and Hugh Jackman.

Have you written any other books that are not published?

My WIP is a fast-paced heist enmeshed in a love story. Tentatively titled, “Midnight Acquisition”, I hope it will be out this time next year. After that, maybe a sequel to “If Wishes Were Horses.”

What is the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?

I was advised to put the MS under the bed and move on. But I believed in the story and kept at it until I had it the way I wanted it. The message there—trust your gut and listen to people with experience and a keen eye. The flip side compliment—another author called me a “Unicorn” because not only is this my first book, but my first pitch and was picked up by the first publisher I queried. Incredible luck all around, I know. Hope it holds going forward.

How did you come up with the title?

It was something my mother used to say to me all the time. Usually when I was whining about not having what I wanted.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

If I had to put a finger on the message; Remember to forgive yourself for doing the best you could when you fail. Life is a long road, and it’s full of potholes. So try to stay out of the weedy ditches.

 

BLURB:
Emily Converse never expected to return to Tamarack, Colorado. But she’s determined to rescue her drug-addicted brother and start a new life. Standing in her way, she finds her stepfather, a powerful US senator, looming over her future like the ever-present monster he’d been during their childhood. Meeting wounded retired Navy SEAL, Michael McCandlis, is a steamy surprise in her homecoming, though he’s adrift in civilian life. Together can they find a way to transform from victims to survivors?

EXCERPT:
Once upon a time, she’d run away from Tamarack like her heels were on fire, and now here she was volunteering to step back into the furnace. What was the definition of insanity? Doing the same things over and over, expecting a different outcome. Like if she managed to change, be stronger, be smarter, things would turn out better—different. It wouldn’t be that simple. She downshifted the Jeep to slow for the last of the S-shaped turns on the narrow ribbon of asphalt. The road led her past the pretentious granite columns that marked her stepfather’s compound. She wasn’t consciously holding her breath, but a trickle of fear dribbled down her spine just the same. Her molars ground together in determination. The past wouldn’t decide her present, not ever again. In spite of herself, images of her last day on his estate flashed through her mind like the herky-jerky frames of a child’s flip deck animation. Fear sharpened every visual, clarified every word, enhanced every touch. She’d run down the steps, racing for her car. He’d charged after her, smelling of alcohol and fury when he tried to stop her headlong rush toward an unknown future. They’d screamed out their mutual hatred, all the bitter dregs of their time together. She smirked when she remembered getting in the lucky shove that had landed him in a heap on the ground. It had been her first glimpse that Senator Ray Domenico was not the invincible, all-powerful monster she’d known him to be.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
I’ve been an avid reader and sometime writer all of my life. I’ve never been able to resist the draw of a good story, and that has been true in my professional life as well. I was raised as the third of three children in the Colorado high country. Early on I discovered the joy of creating handcrafted jewelry, which led to a forty-five-year career as a professional jeweler. Every customer, every piece has its own story. I’ve collected them like pearls in a strand, and I often use them as a jumping-off point for the tales I tell. If you’re looking for me, you’ll find me on the shores of a northern lake, hammering away on my latest story of love and life in the modern world. ~*~ Find Jayne online at: http://www.JayneYork.com

Website: JayneYork.com

Blog: JayneYork.com/What’sOnMyMind/

Email: Jayne@JayneYork.com

Twitter: @JayneYorkAuthor

Facebook: JayneYorkAuthor

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Author Interview with ML Erdahl ~ New Release: Winter Takes All

I am very pleased to host today’s guest. I had the pleasure of editing this fabulous book, and of meeting the author face to face at a conference in Seattle. He’s funny and personable and very talented. Please help me welcome ML Erdahl.

 

Please tell us a little about yourself, where are you from? Where do you live now? Family? Pets?

My family were early homesteaders of Gig Harbor, WA.  They witnessed the city go from dirt roads and pristine forests, to the medium sized city that it is today.  I grew up there and attended college at the University of Washington in Seattle. Today, I live in Renton with my wife and a houseful of neurotic rescue pets.

Where did you get the idea for Winter Takes All?

 My writing story for Winter Takes All began with a genre swap suggested by my wife. Her favorite fiction genres are Mysteries and Thrillers, while mine is Fantasy.  She gave me Nevada Barr, Janet Evanovich, and Mary Daheim novels to read, and I gave her Robert Jordan. I loved the stories I was given, which were so different from the long epic adventures I was used to. I enjoyed the wit of the genre, as well as the concept of a ordinary person being forced out of their comfort zone to the point where they find themselves investigating a crime.

During the long bus rides to-and-fro work, I must have been inspired, because an idea for a cozy mystery percolated in my head. I began writing it down over the next year. After I’d finished my book, I read it back.  I’m not going to lie, it was pretty mediocre, but I could see the elements of a great story.  I began to study how to write fiction, and applying what I’d learned, re-wrote the entire book to its present incarnation.

The moral of this particular story for aspiring writers is to learn how to write, and then begin writing. I still believe that the best learning tool is to practice, but having an idea where you’re going will help you get there faster. Trust me on this.

Do you have another occupation, other than writer? If so, what is it and do you like it?

By day, I’m an environmental chemist. My company specializes in analyzing fuel spills. We’ve received samples from the Exxon Valdez to the Deepwater Horizon gulf spill. It’s a satisfying job in that I know I leave the world a cleaner place with my work.

What do you dislike that most people wouldn’t understand?

Being from the Pacific Northwest and of Norwegian descent, you’d think I’d like seafood, but I can’t stand the stuff.  Whenever I eat it, my wife accuses me of “making the face.”

What was your first job?

Mowing lawns.  I still like yard work, but I remember one old lady’s yard I mowed had so very many snakes. Harmless garter snakes, but they still gave me the heebie-jeebies.

What’s your favorite book of all time and why? What’s your favorite childhood book?

A favorite book is a tough one since I love two genres, cozy mystery and fantasy. Therefore I’m going to cheat and pick two, Janet Evanovich’s “One for the Money”, and Brandon Sanderson’s “Mistborn”. Both of those authors know how to write the most memorable characters.  My favorite childhood book was Shel Silverstein’s delightful poetry in “Where the Sidewalk Ends”.

What do you want readers to come away with after they read Winter Takes All?

I want people to read my novel and feel like they escaped on a wild ride. I want a reader to turn the last page and immediately download my next book to continue the adventure.

What genre have you never written that you’d like to write?

Someday I’d like to take a crack at my other favorite genre, Fantasy. All of the advice to authors is to stay in your lane and not switch genres, because you’ll lose your audience. However, I don’t think I want to let life pass me by without taking a shot at it.

Are your characters based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?

For the most part, they are made up, but after I was done writing, I discovered my brain had also frankensteined bits and pieces of various people in my life. I recognized different attributes of friends and family in my characters.

What do your friends and family think of your writing?

They are my biggest cheerleaders.  My wife spends hours every day either helping me directly or doing more around the house to give me more time to write.  Furthermore, many of my family and friends were my beta-readers, who took time to not only read the earlier drafts, but give me valuable feedback. I couldn’t ask for a better support system.

How did your interest in writing originate?

In middle school, our English teacher had us free write for an hour once a week and I was hooked. After moving on from that grade, I continued writing short stories to amuse myself and my friends. However, it wasn’t until the last few years that I began to take writing seriously.  Reading books on writing from KM Weiland, Jane Friedman, and Stephen King has shown me how much effort needs to go into each and every sentence to make a compelling story. Instead of being intimidating, it has inspired me.

Your favorite…

Movie Shawshank Redemption

Music Eclectic

Place you’ve visited Venice

Place you’d like to visit Greece

TV show from childhood Night Court

TV show from adulthood Game of Thrones

Food Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese

Sports team Seahawks

Which do you prefer: Board games/card games or television? Board Games/Card games

Great interview, it was fun getting to know more about you, ML. Now, please tell us about your book…

 

Blurb:

Crystal Rainey is aghast when she realizes her new year’s resolutions haven’t changed one whit from the previous year. Wanting to escape a future as dreary as a Pacific Northwest winter, she walks out on her dead-end office job, despite her tenuous savings account.

Stumbling across a job opening posted by a wilderness guide outfit, an intrigued Crystal bluffs her way into the position. With handsome fellow guide, the stalwart Conner Oakes, she leads a corporate retreat on a snowshoe hike to a majestic alpine chalet.

But when the company’s detestable owner turns up dead in the snow, she fears her new life and budding romance slipping away. She finally has something worth fighting for and is determined to solve the murder and grab her chance at happiness before it’s too late.

Excerpt:

Not the most auspicious start to my guiding career, Crystal admitted to herself.

Conner sat back down, took a grateful swig of the coffee and sighed. “This could have gone better,” he said stating the obvious.

“What happens next?” Crystal asked.

“We wait until dawn, see if he turns up, and escort everyone out of here. Hopefully, Philip is waiting for us at the lodge, and we can drive this whole miserable lot back to the city a day early. In the meantime, I suggest we follow everyone’s lead and try to get a little shuteye.”

Conner’s radio crackled with Sam’s voice, “We’ve found the missing man from your group, Conner. He’s at the bottom of a cliff. I’m sorry to say this search and rescue operation has become a search and recover.”

Conner paled at the news.

“What does ‘search and recover’ mean?” Crystal asked.

“It means he’s dead.”

*************************

Buy Links:

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Apple Books

Biography:

ML Erdahl lives amidst the trees of the Pacific Northwest, where he pens humorous cozy mystery novels set in the wilderness he has spent his lifetime exploring. The only thing slowing him down is when his adorable rescue dogs, Skip and Daisy, demand to be petted and cuddled on his lap while he types. When he’s not wandering the mountains, you can find him gardening, reading, or searching for the best coffee in Seattle with his wife, Emily.

Social Media Links:

Website

Facebook

Instagram

Twitter

Goodreads

Bookbub

Pinterest

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Author Interview with Amber Daulton ~ New Release: Arresting Mason

Please help me welcome Amber Daulton with an author interview and her new release…

Please tell us a little about yourself, where are you from? Where do you live now? Family? Pets?

I live in the foothills of North Carolina, and it’s absolutely beautiful here, especially in the morning when it’s misty. I’ve been married for nine years, and Greg is my biggest fan. He reads all my novels and loves helping me out of plot holes. We have three cats—Darby, Pepper, and Sox—and my writing day is never complete until Darby knocks the computer mouse on the floor. He’s a mischievous little boy!

Where did you get the idea for Arresting Mason?

I originally wrote this book for a bad boy anthology call, but by the time I was done, I had exceeded the maximum word count and still wanted to add more scenes. So I forgot all about the submission call and kept revising this story until I was finally happy with it. It’s now book one in the Arresting Onyx series.

For how I came up with the plot, I must thank my subconscious since I dreamed about it. For days after, I kept thinking about the hero, the heroine, and her brother, and those characters wouldn’t leave me in peace until I wrote out a rough plotline. Though I changed quite a bit as I put the dream down on paper (or rather computer), the main premise remained the same.

The hero, Mason Harding, appeals to me more than any other character in the book because I love redemption stories. Just because someone makes a mistake (depending on the mistake, really), I don’t think they should be ostracized from society, especially if they’re trying to live a better life and trying to make amends.

What do you want readers to come away with after they read Arresting Mason?

That everyone is worth a second chance.

What actors would you like in the main roles if your book were made into a movie?

That’s a tough one. Perhaps Evangeline Lily for Mia (heroine) and Theo James for Mason (hero).

What genre have you never written that you’d like to write?

I read most sub-genres of romance, but I’ve never written sci/fi or alien romance, which I’d love to do someday. Unfortunately, I don’t have any ideas for a story, at least one that hasn’t already been done a zillion times, but maybe inspiration will strike someday.

What is your favorite quote?

A woman’s guess is much more accurate than a man’s certainty. — Rudyard Kipling

Have you written any other books that are not published?

I have eleven books published, and I’m currently revising the next one. There are several more manuscripts collecting digital dust on my computer. I definitely plan on pubbing them in the future.

How did your interest in writing originate?

I read my first romance book when I was 12 after I snuck a Harlequin paperback out of my mom’s bedroom. I couldn’t stop thinking about it, and I wanted to create my own story about two people having an adventure and falling in love. I wrote with pencil in a spiral-bound notebook and finished that 200-plus page story in about six months.

Your favorite…

Movie – Die Hard

Music – anything by Aerosmith

Places you’ve visited – Washington DC; Indianapolis, IN; St. Augustine, FL; Wilmington, NC and lots of other beaches in NC

Places you’d like to visit – my dream vacation is two weeks in Italy and Greece, one week in each.

TV show from childhood – The Simpsons

TV show from adulthood – Star Trek: TNG

Food – Lasagna

Sports team – You kidding? Don’t watch sports, but ice hockey is interesting.

Which do you prefer: Board games/card games or television? – Games, all the way. I rock at Canasta, Life, and UNO.

Giveaway!!!

Please join my Street Team on Facebook. Then comment on this post to let me know you’ve sent a request. Here’s the link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/572204316296198/

One lucky entrant will receive any ebook from my reading list, which can be found here: https://www.amazon.com/kindle-dbs/entity/author/B00ALQITWY (Anthologies not included.)

Blurb for Arresting Mason

Once you’re in a prison gang, you’re in it for life. That’s what Mason Harding thought until the boss accepted his resignation. After the State releases him on parole, a sexy divorcée behind the wheel of a car almost ends his life quicker than a shank. His chance encounter with Mia Eddison results in a night of passion, but her brother—his parole officer—catches them together and doesn’t approve.

Mia falls hard for the cocky ex-con, but not because of his chiseled body. She vows to break through his walls and discover his secrets, but never expects those secrets to threaten her life.

When members of an organized crime ring kidnap Mia to force Mason’s return to the gang, he goes up against an old friend to save the woman he loves. Will his sacrifice be enough or will everything fall apart in a blaze of gunfire?

Excerpt

“Which one is your car?” She glanced around the crowded parking lot. A few streetlights pushed back the darkness and shadows. The restaurant served customers until midnight on the weekends, but no one loitered in the lot, at least from what Mia could see.

“Don’t have one at the moment.” Mason hooked his thumbs in the belt loops of his jeans. “I took the bus. It stopped a few blocks from here.”

“Would you like a ride?” She pulled the car keys from her purse. “I feel a little ridiculous we met here tonight. I just wasn’t sure if you were some kind of freak.”

His eyebrow lifted, and he closed the distance between them as a tiger would zero in on its mate. A sexy, masculine smile curled his lips. “Have you made up your mind yet?”

“I’ll let you know in the morning.” Desire trickled down her spine. Mia nodded toward the passenger side of the car for him to hop in.

He confiscated her keys instead to unlock and open the driver’s side door for her like a gentleman. Then he leaned closer and nuzzled her temple with his nose.

Not sure if he planned to seduce her in the parking lot or if he merely wanted to tease her, Mia pressed her hand to his chest and tried to think straight. “You’re the first guy I’ve gone on a date with since my divorce. I haven’t slept with anyone since Evan.”

He tunneled his fingers through her wavy, chestnut-brown hair. “I haven’t dated anyone in a long time either. We’ll take it slow or fast, whatever you want, but I promise you one thing. After I’m done with you, you won’t even remember that bastard’s name.”

Oh, God. She almost melted right then and there. “Fast. I want you, Mason.”

“Take me to your place and you can have me.”

**************

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/39005064-arresting-mason

Buy Links

Amazon – http://amzn.to/2ppcmEJ

Barnes and Noble – https://bit.ly/2uOj90J

iTunes – https://apple.co/2FVAQMP

Kobo – https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/arresting-mason

Google Play – https://bit.ly/2Izu3cZ

The Wild Rose Press store – https://bit.ly/2VDUTXI

Books2Read – https://books2read.com/u/m2vvY7

Audio Buy Links

Amazon – https://amzn.to/2Nbwr03

Audible – https://adbl.co/2CV6oVU

iTunes – https://apple.co/2NHwMqA

About the Author

Amber Daulton is the author of the romantic-suspense series Arresting Onyx and several standalone novellas. Her books are published through The Wild Rose Press and Books to Go Now, and are available in ebook, print on demand, audio, and foreign language formats.

Amber lives in North Carolina with her husband and four demanding cats. Feel free to visit her at http://www.amberdaultonauthor.blogspot.com.

Social Media Links

Facebook Author Page – www.facebook.com/amber.daulton.author

Twitter – https://twitter.com/AmberDaulton1

Street Team – https://www.facebook.com/groups/572204316296198/

Pinterest – http://pinterest.com/amberdaulton5/

Goodreads – www.goodreads.com/author/show/6624921.Amber_Daulton

Amazon Author Page – http://amzn.to/14JoZff

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/amberdaultonauthor/

Book Bub – https://www.bookbub.com/profile/amber-daulton

Book Gorilla – https://www.bookgorilla.com/author/B00ALQITWY/amber-daulton/kcc

Smashwords – https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/amberdaulton

LinkedIn – www.linkedin.com/pub/amber-daulton/87/538/368

Google Plus – https://plus.google.com/u/0/+AmberDaulton

The Wild Rose Press – https://catalog.thewildrosepress.com/2362_amber-daulton

 

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Why Do We Do That Voodoo We Do? by Olive Balla

Please help me welcome Olive Balla, an author with whom I had the pleasure of working with at The Wild Rose Press on a few books, the most recent being her fantastic suspense novel, Jillie.

WHY DO WE DO THAT VOODOO WE DO?

I tap the screen of my laptop and find a writer’s blog entitled Why Do You Write? Since the process of establishing a “motive” is central to my Suspense/Mystery genre, this gives me pause. I chew on the question, a frown creasing my forehead.

Other authors seem to have no problem defining their motivation, so why can’t I? It’s not a trick question – it’s something I should probably know.

Did my inability to name a consistent tune to which my Writer Spirit dances signify a lack of imagination? Was it a death knell to my aspirations to write something worth a few hours of someone’s life?

One blogger claims his raison d’etre is a drive for pure creative expression. His stories offer the perfect venue for building other worlds peopled with folk of his conjuring.

Yup, I say to myself, that’s a cool reason to write. Maybe I just feel the need to do me some creating.

Another writer vows she has no choice but to obey a powerful Inner Command to write. I consider the implied nobility of that statement. Maybe that’s why I write. I DO sometimes feel compelled. No, really.

What might happen to a writer who ignores such a command; would she expire? Would she explode into unfulfilled bits of gelatinous non-writer? I sigh.

With a grateful heart, I find one blogger who admits to purely mercenary motives. Time to get new carpet for the living room? No problem, just whip out a blockbuster. If only.

As a retiree living on a clenched-butt fixed income, that thought sets off a responsive gong. Perhaps paving a pathway to a gratifying payday is my true motivation after all.

Yet another blogger says his writings are borne of angst. His words, a therapeutic outlet, offer catharsis to his existential pain.

Then there is the writer who believes he has important information for the world, words of wisdom, answers to the mysteries of the human condition. And there are indeed those writers whose words change the course of history.

But alas, pleased to un-dangle participles and duct-tape split infinitives, I don’t have anything of such magnitude to say. One writer’s nuggets of gold are another’s horse puckie.

Then my hard-nosed Internal Editor sends up snarky questions on the quality of my own writing. Was my plot tight enough? Did my dialogue sing? Should I have included at least one scene of graphic sex? Or horror of horrors, did my characters behave uncharacteristically?

Perhaps I write to justify my mother’s never-flagging faith in my abilities, while jabbing a finger in my dad’s eye for suggesting I get a real job.

By the time the self-doubt and reflection are said and done, I arrive at a near-epiphany: Sometimes I write for all the above reasons but sometimes I write for none of them.

Mostly I write because I want to. If someone escapes a less-than-perfect reality for a nano-second by reading something I’ve written – that’s just plain cool.

My Internal Writer sighs. The tightness in my neck relaxes, and I bang out another scene.

 

Blurb:
Eleven-year-old Jillie Ross escapes the vicious relatives threatening to flush away her beloved sister’s ashes if she doesn’t lead them to her dead father’s rumored treasure.
Determined to find her sibling’s ashes and honor them along with their parents’ remains, the feisty orphan must endure harsh weather, escape a stalker, and hide from the police. But how long can she survive when at least one family member wants her dead?
Excerpt:

Jillie dropped the metal lid as if it were red hot..Her stomach heaved, and something sour shot up her throat. She pounded against the locked, unyielding door until the muscles in her arms cramped.  She  fell to her knees and clawed at the floor, ignoring the pain radiating up her arms from torn fingernails...   

The sound of approaching footsteps made the tiny hairs on the back of her neck move. She snatched up the broken shovel handle and stood behind the door. With her legs slightly bent, she gripped the pole with both hands as if it were a sword, aimed its broken, pointed end at the door and waited.  

Bio:
A retired educator, Olive Balla began writing in her sixties. Her first mystery/suspense novel, An Arm And A Leg, was published just after her sixty-fifth birthday, and her second, Jillie, was recently published. Ms. Balla is a mother of three, grandmother to eleven, and great grandmother of seven. When she isn’t writing, she can be found making sawdust in her wood shop near Albuquerque New Mexico.

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Author Interview & The Keys: Voice of the Turtle by Karen Hulene Bartell

Please help me welcome Wild Rose Press Author Karen Hulene Bartell…

Please tell us a little about yourself, where are you from? Where do you live now? Family? Pets?

Thank you for inviting me to your blog, Alicia! I was born in Jersey City, NJ, to rolling-stone parents who moved annually. My earliest playmates were fictional friends in books. Paperbacks were my portable pals. Ghost stories kept me up at night—reading feverishly. The paranormal was my passion. Wanderlust inherent, I enjoyed traveling, although I loathed changing schools—seven schools by the time I entered ninth grade.

Novels offered an imaginative escape. An only child, I began my first novel at nine, but stopped after several days. (Said I needed to learn more first.) Professor emeritus of the University of Texas at Austin, I live in the Texas Hill Country with my husband Peter and my mews—three rescued cats and a rescued *Cat*ahoula Leopard dog.

Where did you get the idea for THE KEYS: VOICE OF THE TURTLE?

The idea for THE KEYS: VOICE OF THE TURTLE came to me as my husband and I drove Highway 1 through the Keys all the way to Key West. (Something about travel always spurs my imagination.) Key West itself is so chock-full of history and ghosts, the two apparitions almost wrote themselves into this Mainstream Fantasy. Even Key West’s original name evokes mystery. The Spaniards called it Cayo Hueso, meaning Island of Bones, because they found human bones scattered across the island’s white beaches when they first arrived. Since I love turtles, the underlying  message of this novel is saving one of the few remaining sea-turtle nesting beaches from being developed into a hotel and lost forever to the turtles.

Why did you choose the Mainstream Fantasy genre?

I like to read stories that include mystery, romance, nature, and the supernatural.  As a result, I write stories that include those four elements. Although a romance develops between Keya and a dashing sailor, this is not a “Romance,” even though a budding love develops between a thirty-something man and woman.

A body washes up on the beach and begins a whodunnit mystery, but two other mysteries also crop up. Though Keya finds buried treasure and love, can she save the beach? Can Ruth find the body’s murderer or help Bart solve his 400-year-old mystery? Despite all these mysteries to solve and resolve, this is not a “Mystery.”

I chose the Mainstream Fantasy genre because where else can readers join the characters’ adventures as they fall in love, mingle with ghosts, and talk with turtles?

Was there any anecdote about THE KEYS: VOICE OF THE TURTLE you’d like to share?

Yes, finding the name Keya for one of the main characters—who is Native American and a turtle aficionado—was kismet.

In the Lakota Sioux language, Keya means Turtle. The setting of the Mainstream Fantasy novel is the Florida Keys, and the premise is protecting sea turtles and their nesting beaches. The title is The Keys: Voice of the Turtle.

Are there any tricks, habits or superstitions you have when creating a story?

The only writing “tricks” I have are these two:

  1. I can only write in the morning when I’m fresh—which often means getting up at 3:30, so I can write before my day begins, and
  2. I write every day, which keeps the story going. Even afternoons, when I’m busy with other obligations, my mind continues thinking about what the characters will do next.

What do you love that most people don’t like and wouldn’t understand why you do?

I love researching my books and going on “Tory n’ Mom” trips with my dog—for instance, going on Louisiana’s Creole Nature Trail and getting cornered by a bobcat or walking through the Wetland Walkway and meeting an alligator. I love nature and enjoy going on rock hunts near the Rio Grande in Terlingua’s mountains, or walking barefoot through White Sands, New Mexico, or climbing the Franklin Mountains, or sitting in an open cattle trailer at dawn, waiting for Nebraska’s Prairie Chickens to begin their “dance.”

Have you written any other books that are not published?

I have. My Master’s Thesis was my first unpublished book—although, I plan to rewrite it at some later time. I also began a book and could not find enough material or inspiration to finish it. However, I “cannibalized” what I wrote, reusing bits of it in several other books 😉

Are your characters based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?

Completely, yet not at all. Let me explain 😉 I take pieces of people—facial or other physical features, mannerisms, unusual speech inflections, or temperaments. Then, I combines these qualities into a wholly new character. Once in Taipei, Taiwan, I followed a man into a bookstore because he absolutely looked like the mental picture I carried of one of my characters.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Yes, in THE KEYS: VOICE OF THE TURTLE, the underlying message is to save one of the Keys’ few remaining sea-turtle nesting beaches from being developed into a hotel complex and lost forever to the turtles.

How much of the book is realistic?

All of it, yet none of it. Let me explain 😉 Like I “piece together” characters, I merge real places (and sometimes events) with total fiction. Hopefully the result is a seamlessly “realistic” amalgamation that is plausible and could happen yet is rooted from my imagination.

How did your interest in writing originate?

Characters in books were my earliest playmates. Paperbacks were my portable pals. Ghost stories kept me up at night—reading feverishly. My mother didn’t care how late I stayed up—if I read. The result? Writing—it’s the natural extension of reading. Besides, what reader can resist creating her own ending?

Your favorite…

Movie ~ Gone With the Wind

Music ~ Classic oldies

Place you’d like to visit ~ Ireland

Food  ~ Any new ethnic dish

Thank you, Karen. Great interview. Gone with the Wind is my favorite movie too!

Now, Karen has a question for you…

Question for readers ~ If you could write a book, what would be its theme?

THE KEYS: VOICE OF THE TURTLE Blurb:

Finding buried treasure and love, Keya moves forward, but can she save the beach? Can Ruth find Maita’s murderer or help Bart solve his 400-year-old mystery? Join their adventures as they mingle with ghosts and talk with turtles.

THE KEYS: VOICE OF THE TURTLE Excerpt:

“These nesting grounds are the reason I’ve fought to keep this property intact. If this beach is developed, the impact will destroy it, but fighting the lawsuit is expensive. I’d hate to sell this place to pay court costs.”

“But you said keeping the nesting grounds intact is only part of the reason you stay.” Ruth gave her a sympathetic smile. “What’s the rest of it?”

“Call it my legacy.” Keya stood up straight. “When I’m gone, I’d like this beach to remain as nature intended it…for the turtles. Since I’ve never had children—”

Earnestine meowed.

Keya grinned. “That is, except for my furry, four-legged kids, I’ve never had children. I have no one to leave it to other than who or what will make the best use of it. Conveying this land to the turtles would be my way of leaving the world a better place.” She turned toward Ruth. “Does that make sense?”

Ruth nodded. Her cousin’s intentions were clear. “But legally, how can you will the property to the turtles?”

“Easy. I leave it to the Turtle Refuge.” Keya chuckled as they meandered along the beach. “And this is where you come in. When you’re writing the brochure, add a few paragraphs about planned giving and charitable bequests…” Keya stared as if in a trance.

“What’s wrong?”

Her hand shaking, Keya pointed to a shady patch of beach half hidden by sand dunes. A lifeless hand lay tangled in seaweed, its fingernails broken and bloodied.

THE KEYS: VOICE OF THE TURTLE Buy Links:

Kindle: https://amzn.to/2XV2wO1

Paperback: https://amzn.to/316xbWM

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