Holidays are a time to be thankful for all the gifts, both physical and emotional, that our family and friends bestow on us. I’m very lucky to have made so many friends of fellow authors and readers this year. Many of them are online, but some are local. They have all enriched my knowledge, experience, and life in their special way.
This year was not the best for me. I lost my beloved cat, Oliver, on whom my character Sneaky, the library cat in my Cobble Cove cozy mystery series is based. There was also some stress regarding a family issue that continues but is hopefully moving in the right direction; and, despite several weeks of physical therapy and visits to the orthopedic, my left arm which has bothered me since April still has restricted movement and pain when turned in certain directions.
However, many positive things also happened in 2017. Besides meeting so many new author and reader friends. I published two books in my series as well as a romantic comedy novella and several short stories. I also wrote three books that I hope to publish in 2018, one of which has already been signed for by Solstice Publishing. I still work full-time at the library where I am fulfilled by my work ordering new books for our fiction and mystery collection and assisting patrons in finding their next great read.
I am proud of my daughter Holly who, at 13, is smart and beautiful. My husband, Anthony, supports my writing by helping at home and has recently begun preparing delicious meals as he continues to work full-time at a community college. I’m also happy that my cat Stripey has become closer to me now that Oliver is gone. While Stripey can never replace Oliver, he has his own special way and is a comfort for me as I still grieve for his brother.
Another uplifting event that happened this year is that I began visiting a new church and attending services regularly. The welcome I received by the pastor and congregation have made me rekindle my faith in God and the community.
So I count the blessings I had this year and look forward to the ones I’ll be “gifted” with next year. More importantly, I look for ways I can “gift” others with my writing, my presence, my love.
Wishing you all the happiest and healthiest of holidays and the most wonderful gifts in 2018.
Welcome to the release of a brand new psychological thriller from K.C. Sprayberry. Thunder & Lightning is a new adult story suitable for mature young adult readers. It explores the dark world of false rape allegations, how they destroy lives, and leave people wondering what is right and what is wrong.
The gridiron rivalry between the Georgia Bulldogs and the Auburn Tigers runs deep. Auburn has a knack of ruining Georgia’s perfect season at the worst possible moment…
The same can be said about Tarit ‘Lightning’ Berenson and his twin, Taren ‘Thunder’ Berenson. Tarit’s a running back for the Dawgs; his speed is legendary. Taren prefers online gaming; her skills are awesome.
Brad Weaver seeks justice for those falsely accused. He’s attempting to make up for his brother’s false arrest and subsequent “suicide” that evidence points to being a murder. Yet, proof of someone else’s involvement is hard to come by and he’s soon running at full speed to rescue Tarit from the same fate.
It all begins at a game, a win and revenge against a tough rival for University of Georgia Bulldogs.
“Dawgs, this is for you!”
Tarit’s words set up a mighty cheer on the night of the SEC Championship football game. His rejection of a girl’s advances at a party later that night turns the last half of his senior year of college into a nightmare without end.
Taren does her best to help her twin despite a lack of support from everyone, even their own parents. Her allegiance to him never wavers, nor does she stop searching for answers no matter what she has to do.
“We’re in the last quarter of the SEC final game of this season.” The announcer’s voice is barely audible over the roar of the crowd. “Tarit ‘Lightning’ Berenson prepares to receive the ball. Auburn’s Tigers are all over this talented running back, ready to stop him. But nothing has stopped Tarit all season. Will tonight be when ‘Lightning’ learns he’s not invincible?”
The voices echo in my head, reminding me the night that should have been my greatest triumph. The memory is the only thing I have left of what was once a stellar college career. Since the after-game party, when I turned down her advances and walked away alone, I’ve had to justify my every action. Juliana Mullins has been treated like a queen, given all kinds of sympathy and brought horror to my family.
“What can I do to stop this?”
About K.C. Sprayberry
Born and raised in Southern California’s Los Angeles basin, K.C. Sprayberry spent years traveling the United States and Europe while in the Air Force before settling in northwest Georgia. A new empty nester with her husband of more than twenty years, she spends her days figuring out new ways to torment her characters and coming up with innovative tales from the South and beyond.
She’s a multi-genre author who comes up with ideas from the strangest sources. Those who know her best will tell you that nothing is safe or sacred when she is observing real life. In fact, she considers any situation she witnesses as fair game when plotting a new story.
Find out more about my books at these social media sites:
The Lost Macaw is the fourth novella in the Lost and Found Pets series. Alexandra Prescott is a licensed private investigator specializing in finding missing animals. Reuniting pet and owner is more than just a job.
A former client hires Alex to find her lost parrot. The bright colored bird has flown away before, but this time there is evidence that Molly was kidnapped. The demand is simple—the bird for the pictures.
When her client suffers a stroke, Alex is left with a ransom note, a missing bird, and some very incriminating photos. She is in a race against time to solve the mystery of the lost Macaw.
“Your little old lady is quite interesting, Alex,” Halie said.
“What do you mean?”
“She didn’t exist until about thirty years ago.”
“I did a preliminary background search on her. In general, she is clean. No debt. The house is paid off as is her car. The one thing that jumped out at me was the fact that she had a safe deposit box at four different banks.”
Luke raised one eyebrow. I got a sinking feeling. I had noted the bank accounts but hadn’t really given them much thought.
“Yeah,” I said, “I saw those.”
“So why does an eighty-year-old woman need four safe deposit boxes?”
“Why does she need more than one?” Luke muttered.
“Exactly,” Halie said. “So I dug a little deeper.”
“What did you find?”
“About thirty years ago, Joseph and Trudy Kearns purchased the house on Carriage. Back then, it was a new neighborhood, and the prices were cheap. They paid cash. They also opened a bank account, and Joe got a job working for the city. Those are the first records I can find for either one of them.”
“Trudy would have been fifty at that time. Her husband probably a few years older. What about birth certificates? Social security cards?”
“They had them, but conveniently, they were issued from a small county in Virginia where a massive flood destroyed all their records. The county office was in the process of moving the old paper records to electronic when the flood hit.”
“Let me guess. The Kearns’s records did not survive the flood.”
“So the only records for them are the ones they had in their possession.” I paused a moment. “Do they look real?”
“Yes,” Halie replied.
“So they could be authentic.”
“Or really good forgeries. In some ways, it was easier back then.”
“Anything else?” I asked.
“Not really. Lives on a fixed income of social security and a small pension from her husband’s job. It isn’t much because he only worked for the city for twelve years before he had to retire.”
“Okay, thanks Halie.”
After ending the call, I looked at Luke. He had a perplexed look on his face that I had a feeling mirrored mine.
Welcome, Susan. Please tell us how long you’ve been published and what titles and/or series you’ve been published with and if you have any self-published titles?
I spent a long career in academic theatre – nonfiction – before I began writing my mystery series so my first books (an acting text and play anthology) were published in the decade before I published my fiction. My Dodie O’Dell mystery series published by Kensington Publishing consists of three books now – SHOW TIME (2016); TIME OUT (2017); RUNNING OUT OF TIME (October, 2017, my most recent release). I have not self-published.
Very nice. Can you please tell us about your series and any upcoming releases you have planned?
RUNNING OUT OF TIME (October, 2017) is my most recent release. Currently I am writing book four in my mystery series – JUST IN TIME – due out September, 2018.
I’m also writing Book 4 in my series, but I’ve been waylaid by writing number one in a new series.
Describe your goals as a writer. What do you hope to achieve in the next few years? What are you planning to do to reach these goals?
In the next few years I will publish books 4, 5, 6 in the mystery series: September, 2018; 2019; 2020. Since my contract with Kensington Publishing specifies dates when the books are due, my contract will help me reach my goals to meet the deadlines!
I’m sure that’s helpful but also a bit stressful, I would imagine.
What type of reader are you hoping to attract? Who do you believe would be most interested in reading your books?
I am hoping to attract anyone who likes a good mystery, especially a cozy mystery – small town life, a strong female sleuth, a healthy dose of humor. My books also feature a community theater and a restaurant – food and plays!
How interesting, great subjects for a cozy mystery series.
What advice would you give other authors or those still trying to get published?
I suppose first of all don’t give up…persist! But also find a great editor who can help you develop the book and give you some submission advice. Finally, search out readers you trust who can offer you an initial, objective assessment of your book.
What particular challenges and struggles did you face before first becoming published?
I struggled to define my genre. I was straddling two genres before a very savvy and insightful editor set me on the right path: how to write in the mystery genre. I also was challenged – like many writers – by facing rejection until the stars aligned and I was blessed with an editor and then a publisher.
I also had problems with genre. I believed the first book of my series was a romantic suspense novel, but reviewers considered it a cozy mystery, so I took their opinions to heart and went on to create my Cobble Cove cozy mystery series. I have a novella and stories in other genres but they still feature cozy-like themes and characters.
Do you belong to any writing groups? Which ones?
Since I also write plays, I take writing classes in that genre that keep me working on a defined schedule. I belong to a book club, a group of very perceptive readers; I’ve discovered that reading broadly is one of the best things I can do as a writer. I imagine that all of the fiction I read pours words and ideas and structures into my brain! Reading nurtures the writing.
As an avid reader and librarian as well as an author, I agree with that completely.
What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?
When I am not writing, I teach in an acting studio for a small group of performers. I am a celebrant and very much enjoy presiding over weddings in my area. I travel when I can; it’s a great way to absorb material!
Yes, travel allows you many great experiences from which to draw for writing.
What do you like most and least about being an author? What is your toughest challenge?
I enjoy the creative, freewheeling fun of first drafts. Letting my imagination go wild! The discipline of revision through multiple drafts is more challenging. Some days I struggle with distractions…email, Facebook…I have to turn technology off! Some days I sit in front of my computer for an hour or so before I can sink into the writing.
I, too, enjoy the creative aspects of putting my ideas on paper and also find revisions more challenging. However, promoting and marketing are my toughest challenges. Even more so is finding the time to do everything.
What do you like about writing cozy mysteries?
In writing the Dodie O’Dell mystery series, I have fun creating the world of a small town – Etonville, NJ – and visiting the same cast of characters with each book. In each book the Etonville Little Theatre is rehearsing a different play so I get to play with each production!
That must be a lot of fun for you. I also like creating the quirky characters of Cobble Cove and seeing them develop from book to book.
Can you share a short excerpt from your latest title or upcoming release?
The temperature was dropping and the wind was picking up. I flipped up the hood of my jacket and stared down the street. It wasn’t late—not even eight o’clock—but the darkness felt as if it was well into the night. I began to retrace my steps up the street. A few yards into the alley I noticed shadows to the right of me. The backyards of houses that faced the street where Sally and I had sat in her car and talked. A few bare trees with snow-laden branches dipped to and fro like dancing skeletons. I hadn’t noticed how eerie this back lane was earlier. I was too busy trying to keep up with Sally. But now, a spooky sensation creeped me out. The only sound, at first, was the scraping of my boots on the slushy gravel, stones and chunks of ice rubbing against each other. Then I could swear I heard an echo of my footsteps. I turned backward and saw nothing; never mind, I told myself, and broke into a light jog. My hairs began to twitch and my heart pounded. Every step I took seemed to be answered with another one, a fraction of a second behind mine.
I was puffing heavily, cold air painful in my lungs as I increased my speed. I could see the end of the alley just ahead and almost laughed. In my relief I didn’t detect the sheet of black ice in the middle of the lane. I’d missed it trailing Sally, but now I was moving quickly and carelessly. Unknowingly, I placed one foot on the ice and skidded forward, landing face down on the gravel and freezing mud. I could taste the muck on my lips and my left cheek felt raw and sore. My ears were ringing; I knew I wouldn’t be able to hear someone stalking me. I rolled onto my back and faced the night sky, the moon covered in a sheer layer of clouds, and battled to stand up and regain my footing. I gingerly moved to the end of the alley and onto the street. The diner was up ahead on my left, the car wash on my right. I must have looked a fright—two young guys left the diner, poked each other and smirked at me. I ignored them and ran across the street. I fumbled with the door key and collapsed into the front seat, gasping. The street was uninhabited now. The diner had posted a Closed sign in the window. Could it all have been a figment of my overactive imagination? Bill would probably think so…
I turned the key in the ignition and the engine sputtered as it had done on many occasions in the last few days. But this time as I cranked the motor, it wouldn’t turn over. I pumped the gas pedal and tried again. The Hyundai stubbornly refused to start. My dread returned. I didn’t feel safe in a deadbeat car on a street that was deserted in a town I wasn’t too familiar with. If I had to call for help how was I going to explain my presence here? Meaning, what would I tell Bill if I got caught texting and meeting with Sally? Not to mention how mortified I’d feel with my face in this state. I switched the ignition key to Off. The evening had been a bust and all I had to show for it were a scraped cheek and a split lip that was swelling slightly. I rested my stinging face on the steering wheel and my great aunt Maureen’s words came to mind: Dorothy, you must accept that some days you are the pigeon and some days you are the statue. Right now I swore I could hear wings flapping.
Excellent. I enjoyed that very much. Lots of action and character development.
Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know about you or your books?
Periodically, I run contests on Facebook and Goodreads. Please check them out and enter! Recently, I asked readers for their favorite recipes and received some really delicious and interesting dishes that will be featured in book four: JUST IN TIME.
I also run contests during Facebook events, and I recently sponsored an Amazon giveaway. I also have a Facebook Chat group and newsletter where I feature a contest each month. One of my contests was also for a recipe that was included in my second book.
Please list your social media links, website, blog, etc. and include some book cover graphics and author photos if possible.
You can contact me through Facebook or my website. I’d love to hear from you!