Thursday, October 20, 2016

Finished Manuscripts & Rough Drafts #PNIWritingChallenge Day 4

I have three rough and unfinished manuscripts hanging out with me right now. One of them is my WIP, so it's coming along and soon to be completed - pretty, polished and ridiculously goofy. Don't worry. It's supposed to be all of those things.

As far as finished manuscripts go, I have some of those, too. Four of them as a matter of fact. I didn't just decide out of the clear blue to talk about my book babies ... I was actually asked. So sit back and relax a bit while I gush. I do love these books.


The first book I published was The Color of Thunder. I went through a publisher called Xlibris for my first go around. This became available on December 18, 2012. 


Faith Linsey is happily consumed with the day to day business of taking care of her siblings and being the obedient daughter of a well-liked pastor and his wife. Her view of the world is naïve and simple, and, at the age of ten, is only as large as her own hometown.

Unable to sleep one hot, humid night, Faith is surprised to hear her father on the front porch. Curious, she decides to follow him. While hidden behind a large tree, Faith witnesses something that pulls the innocence of her childhood out from underneath her. Once she steps outside the small world of her family’s home and church, she begins to question everything, including the belief that her father is an upstanding and respectable man.

Faith’s story begins in Jackson, Mississippi in 1946, soon after the end of World War II, and moves straight into the heat of the Civil Rights Movement. A string of events take place, both in her personal life and in the world at large, that force Faith to decide what it is she truly believes in, what things are important enough to fight for, and what things are best left behind.

This book was a long time coming - and I had no idea what I was doing when I published it. I've gotten some amazing feedback on this book, and it's got mostly 4 - 5 star reviews on Amazon. I have always retained all rights to it, but I am going to be taking Xlibris completely out of the equation here soon. The cover photo is mine, but the design is not, so I have to change that, and it's going to get a bit of an edit. I love this story. None of that will change, but I know a lot more now than I did back then. There are a few things about my writing that I want to tighten up.


Alabama Skye was my second book. I also published this one through Xlibris. This story started in my head years ago, but when my grandmother, Mimi, was diagnosed with Alzheimer's, the characters and their tale morphed a little bit. I really wanted to write something in her honor, and so this book was dedicated to her. Unfortunately she passed away before I could publish it, but I'm pretty confident that she knows it was written for her.


When tragedy befalls Cheney McGillivray, she leaves her beloved home on Scotland's Isle of Skye and arrives unannounced on her sister Meara's doorstep in Kelby, Alabama. With her, she brings a plan—not only for her own future but also for that of her niece.

Greer, fresh out of culinary school and two months pregnant, takes the advice of her grandmother Sarah and agrees to a partnership with her aunt. Together they transform Sarah's historic home into a proper Scottish B & B right in the heart of America's Deep South.

Both women realize the time to face their pasts has arrived as they prepare for the opening weekend of Gannon's Glen. Debilitating nightmares make it difficult for Cheney to hide from the painful secret she thought she'd left in Scotland, and a hurricane sweeps in more than stormy weather for Greer when damage to his childhood home brings her high school sweetheart back into town. Although they are nearly strangers separated by a forty-year age gap, Cheney and Greer learn to lean on one another as they come to terms with their lives and realize what possibilities lie ahead.

Alabama Skye is a story about the strength of four generations of women who discover that the ones who stand by you and carry you through both good times and bad are the ones you call family.

~~~

I was pleasantly surprised how much readers liked the mix of southern U.S. and Scotland in this tale, and then I was told over and over again how they wanted to know what happened next in the lives of these characters. I was asked specifically about Noah, who is the best friend of one of the main characters. I had no plans to write more of this story line. When I wrote Alabama Skye, in my head it was a stand alone novel. I was so encouraged by the response I got that I decided writing a second book might be a whole lot of fun. A little more than a year later, A Skye Full of Stars was released. 



This was the first book I published completely on my own. Surprisingly, readers seemed to love this second book even more than the first. I think about that a lot, how I never had any plans for writing this one, and it's one of my readers' favorites. I kind of love that, actually.


Life is good in the small, coastal town of Kelby, Alabama. The days are busy and satisfying, if not a touch predictable, but change is in the air. Spring is coming, and it’s bringing with it more than tourist season.

When Cheney receives word that a package with her name on it has been found by a family friend near Glasgow, she decides to take Meara back to Scotland with her to retrieve it. Together, the sisters discover surprising evidence of an unknown life led by their father long before either one of them was born.

Noah’s happy life is shaken when her father falls ill, and the mother who abandoned her ten years before reappears with news that makes Noah question everything she thought she knew. Things are further set off kilter when Noah’s childhood crush, Keene, drives into town with all of his belongings packed into his truck … everything, that is, except his wife.

A Skye Full of Stars takes readers from war torn Scotland, where the Gannon family tree first took root, to the modern day southern shores of Alabama’s gulf coast. It’s a story about how blood isn’t always what it takes to build a family.

I am now working on the third and final book in what has now become The Gannon Family series. This one was also prompted by readers who wanted me to go back and tell Sarah and Finlay's story. It's a prequel, but one that should be read after the other two. This third book will be titled Under a Southern Skye, and I'm hoping to have it released sometime in late 2017. (Perhaps 2018.) The first two books already have new cover designs now that they are a part of a series, but I haven't republished them with their new wrappers. It will happen soon, I promise.

~~~

My latest novel kicked off a whole new series for me. This one is a romantic comedy chock full of sexual innuendo, food and Greek mythology. It's light hearted and silly, and has been incredibly well received. Whew! This was a huge departure from my other books. I'm happy my readers are flexible.


Dead Beat Dates & Deities is the first novel in my Goddess of Tornado Alley series. Oh my gods was this a fun book to write. :) 


Frances Reed has kissed a lot of toads, but has yet to find her prince. Recovering from another disappointing date that not even three margaritas could improve, she consoles herself by shopping at her favorite lingerie shop, Cupid’s Closet. Before she can get to the Aphrodite Ultra Sleek push up bras, she trips headfirst into the decorative Aphrodite fountain.

Lying in the fountain bleeding, Frances watches the stone deity come to life. Angry, Aphrodite berates her for damaging her shell and for being an unworthy descendant.

Wait. What? A descendant of Aphrodite?

Later, after her hunky paramedic falls for her best friend, and a spark is ignited between her mom and her doctor, it becomes apparent that people fall in love when in Frances’ presence. She’s just got two questions—what in the world is a goddess born of the sea doing in Tornado Alley? And why can Frances make love connections for everyone in town but herself?

Aphrodite may have given her the gift of matchmaking, but it will take Cupid to teach her how to use it. 

This book has received consistent five star ratings - which has made me so very happy. If you hear maniac laughter it's probably just me, writing the second book, Brides, Beasts & Baklava. If you remember, I mentioned that at the beginning of this post. It's one of my rough and unfinished drafts. I'm hoping this second installment will be ready to introduce into the world in late February of this coming year. Fingers crossed.

As far as the other rough drafts ... I'll mention a couple of them briefly. 

One is called Clever as the Devil, and I started it way before I really dug into my first published book. It's a bit of a thriller, so that should be fun.  

Red Beard and the Ravens is a manuscript I started back in 2013. It's about Frederick Barbarossa, who was the Holy Roman Emperor in the 1100's. I learned a lot about him while living in Germany, and his life interested me. This book will be about him and his family. I think it will be historical fiction, but I'm also throwing a bit of a ghost story into the works. We'll see what happens.  

Please click on any of the highlighted titles of my four published books to go to their links on Amazon. I've also been known to gift e-book copies to those readers who will promise to leave reviews. Just a little something to keep in mind.