Thursday, February 4, 2016

THE ZION TRAIL by Marsha Ward

I’ve been given the great opportunity to read Marsha Ward’s new historical fiction, The Zion Trial, debuting February 19th

Set in the late nineteenth century, it’s a story about fifteen-year-old Elijah Marshall’s conversion to the Mormon church, an action not readily accepted back then, by his neighbors, or even by some of his family members.  

I feel a certain empathy to the Marshall family and their difficult trials. Marsha Ward's genius rises to her highest peak in The Zion Trial, with spot-on period terminology and meticulous attention to detail. It pulled me back to that time when my Fourth-Great-grandfather Edson Whipple, and his family converted to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and took that Zion trail, and beyond, all because of their faith in Jesus Christ.

If you'd like to read some snippets from The Zion Trail, please go to Marsha's blog, Writer in the Pines. And stay tuned for more information on when you can buy a copy! 

Read daily!

Friday, December 18, 2015

WINDOW OF TIME cover release

It's been a long time in the works, but it's finally happening. A book that I started writing nearly thirteen years ago is finally ready to be published, and I'm thrilled to show you the beautiful cover to this Romantic Suspense, WINDOW OF TIME.

CIA courier Lucy James never gets used to seeing innocent people killed, but she copes with it—every day. Cursed with the ability to glimpse into the future when a death is about to happen, she has a short window of time to interfere—risking her life in order to change it. No one knows about her curse, until she saves a handsome Los Angeles firefighter trapped between her and foreign operatives hell-bent on intercepting her current assignment.

LA firefighter Johnny Cartwright’s life changes the moment he meets Lucy. His uncomplicated days flip to dangerously unpredictable after he’s drawn deeper into her secretive world of premonitions. His attraction to Lucy grows as he helps her stop a terroristic plot against the U.S., putting his life between her and certain death.  

Friday, November 20, 2015

Is First Person POV a bad thing?

I first published this post a couple of years ago on another blog, but it's as relevant now as it was then. 

I don’t know about you, but I find writing in the first person narrative much easier than any other point of view. It could be that it’s a matter of placing me into the story—that I am the main character, therefore, writing down my thoughts onto paper is as simple as taking a breath.

Although I have to admit that I have read some very poorly written first person POVs, where everything was “I did this” or “I turned left”, or “I sat”, which made for an extremely irritating and boring first few pages. And I mean first few pages because that was as far as I could get into the story. “I,” at the beginning of every sentence is a death toll for any book. Keeping the sentences varied in length, changing each sentence’s rhythm, and not starting each out with a pronoun, is the key to any great paragraph, and that, in turn, successfully lures your reader further into the story.

Of course, you need to have enough of a story if you are only going to “see” the view of just one person. On the occasions when I know I want to tell the story from, not only the hero’s POV, but also the heroines, writing in third-person proved to be the most expedient method. I even have a trilogy where there are three POVs going. That’s great fun! 

This subject was brought up in a recent Nathan Bransford blog. He said, “Apparently there are literary agents and professors and all kinds of ostensibly rational people out there who think first person narratives are somehow unserious.”

What I found most encouraging was some of the comments his readers left. Here are three:  

Lane Diamond: I started out my first book as a third-person tight POV (protagonist), because so many literary agents indicated they profoundly disliked first-person narratives (no doubt because they tend to devolved into a narcissistic string of I, I, I, I, I, I, I). 

Shawn: My first agent told me that First Person was the mark of an immature writer. She said that in this era, it has no place outside MG and some YA. She said it was solipsistic, in only the way a kid could be solipsistic. Oh, man, in graduate school they pounded it into our heads that third person was "the" way to go, that first-person was a weaker perspective, that it wasn't respected--that no one would take a first-person narrator seriously. Well! Excuse me, stuffy professors, but I feel that you were quite wrong. 

Some of the best novels I’ve read were written in first person perspective. Have you ever read any of Edgar Allen Poe’s short stories or poems? Or have you read The Book Thief by Markus Zusak? Or Jeff Kinney’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Let’s go back farther in time, and we can read that F. Scott Fitzgerald used first person perspective in The Great Gatsby, and so did Merman Melvin in Moby Dick. These books did quite well using a perspective that big publishers seem to discourage.
Just remember, in a wonderfully written story, you shouldn’t really notice the POV. Everything should be seamless, and flow well.

Now go out there and write!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

BETWEEN NOW & NEVER by Laura Johnston Book Release

Contemporary YA Clean Romance

Now available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kensington PublishingKobo, and other online retailers.

A convict’s daughter should never fall for an FBI agent’s son, certainly not a feisty teenager like Julianna Schultz who is furious over her mother’s incarceration and the injustice of it all. But that’s exactly what seventeen-year-old Julianna finds herself doing when Cody Rush, the cocky son of the FBI agent who put her mom behind bars, moves into her hometown of Gilbert, Arizona.

Cody Rush—studious, principled, athletic, good looking and blond to boot—is everything Julianna hates, or so she thinks. Yet a series of ill-fated events one night brings them dangerously close, entangling the futures of two people who were never meant to be…

Excerpt—Photo Booth


We listen to the monotone voice reel off instructions. Four pictures. A light will flash before each picture is taken. Etcetera. How I ended up in this position I’m not sure. We both sit, staring at our reflections on the dark plastic and, no doubt, both stuck on the same thought that crosses everyone’s mind when they’re on this seat.
“Quick,” I say, “what should we do?”
A flash of light. Picture one down. Both of our mouths were hanging open, blank stares straight ahead.
We burst into laughter and can’t stop. A second flash. Picture number two: both of us laughing.
Our gazes meet and we pull ourselves together, his eyes never veering from mine. He leans toward me, coming halfway before pausing, his eyes seeking permission. I regard him with equal parts terror and anticipation, the intimacy of the situation whispering a thrill. He closes the distance between us and glides his nose through my hair. My heart rattles around as though this is the first boy I’ve ever been close to.
“Now smile,” he whispers into my ear. Even if I should be creeped out, forget it. My cheeks burn despite myself and I feel the corners of my lips tugging upward. A flash of light signals the third picture and I am totally seduced.

About the Author

Laura Johnston lives in Utah with her husband and three children. Growing up with five siblings, a few horses, peach trees, beehives and gardens, she developed an active imagination and always loved a good story. She fell in love with the young adult genre both through her experience in high school as well as her job later as a high school teacher. Laura enjoys running, playing tennis, sewing, traveling, writing, and above all, spending time with her husband and kids.


My husband was a special agent for five years, and while I’m sure he would have loved it if I’d written an intense thriller about Special Agent Johnston thanks to all of his crazy stories (sorry, babe…maybe someday!), I wrote a romance instead.
The convict’s daughter and the FBI agent’s son—I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Couldn’t resist.
Soon, characters began taking shape. And then a certain photo booth scene that had been on my mind for years came back to me. For so long, I couldn’t shake the image of two strangers meeting in the mall at a photo booth. I frequently wondered why I couldn’t stop thinking about these two mysterious people.
The two characters now had a face, a name.
Julianna, the convict's daughter; Cody, the FBI agent's son.
Julianna doesn't realize who Cody is at first. Yet he does—Cody knows who she is, knows his dad put her mom behind bars. And he's into her. And Julianna is into him. However, Cody knows it won't soon as she figures out who he is.
Add to all of this the fact that Cody knows Julianna is in danger and we have their first meeting, near a photo booth, right after Julianna gets off work at the mall.
Their story was something else to write, and I’m so excited to see it in print!

Be sure to add BETWEEN NOW & NEVER to your to-read list on Goodreads and get your print or eBopy copy on AmazonBarnes & NobleKensington PublishingKobo, or select other online retailers.

Monday, March 30, 2015

White River Killer by Stephen M Wilson

Who is up for a murder mystery? Get ready to take a look into this great thrilling book.

John Riley Hubbard is a young farmer and part-time reporter in a small southern town. After the body of an Arab college student is found near his home, Hubbard reluctantly agrees to cover the grisly story for the local paper. When he discovers there is a surprising link from this crime to his father’s unsolved murder, he becomes obsessed with uncovering the killer’s identity. Since he was a child, Hubbard has been haunted by nightmares and suspicions that his father’s killer may be the man closest to him – his wealthy uncle.

As his investigation progresses, he must face mounting threats from an unseen adversary and managed his growing attraction to Maria, a young Latino woman who might be part of the conspiracy.

The White River Killer is an exciting mixture of mystery, romance, and suspense.

An interview with Stephen M. Wilson

Debra: When did you first know you wanted to be an author?

SW: In Junior High, I had a Latin class where our assignment was to write a modern story using the classical Roman Gods as characters. Of course, I used humor in the story and I still remember the laughter from the other students as I read my story aloud. My teacher told me I had talent. I was hooked. I love using humor in even serious stories like The White River Killer.

Debra: What makes you passionate about writing?

SW: There is a feeling you get when you use your native talent that is like no other. There is a voice somewhere in your head that whispers "this is what you should be doing". It's a feeling of being one with the world.

Debra: What was the pathway like for you to get your first book published?

SW: My novel is my second book. Many years ago I wrote a biography of a southern industrialist, a Horatio Algier story, just because I was so fascinated by his story (I'm a history major by the way). It was published by August House Publishers, a regional publishing company. An electric utility purchased enough copies to put it in every school and library in Arkansas.

Debra: Were you ever discouraged along the way? If so, how did you deal with it?

SW: Yes. I get discouraged. Sometimes the writing comes hard. Sometimes I can't think of anything that is really good. But I keep at it. I don't stop. I write and re-write and re-write because the thought of not completing the story is more painful than the work of pressing on against the odds.

Debra: When did you write your first book and how old were you?

SW: I was in my twenties, then stopped for many years and, well, here I am today.

Debra: Where do your ideas come from? How do you know the idea is good enough to write a book about it?

SW: My ideas come at night... usually late at night. They start as "what if" kinds of thoughts. How do I know if they're worth keeping? If I can come up with a beginning, middle and an end. The ending is especially important. If it is moving and emotional (at least to me) then that's a story I want to tell.

Debra: What are you working on now?

SW: My next novel is going to be a young adult novel about two teenagers going back in time. They're trapped in 1870 with only two ways out. They must change the course of history. There's only two ways for them to do that. 1. Save the life of someone who would have died .... or take the life of someone who would have lived. Sounds easy. NOT!

Debra: What is the most difficult thing about being an author?

SW: It's just you and a blank screen. The aloneness is difficult. I think every writer struggles with that to different degrees.

White River Killer
Short Excerpt – Maria has to go

to till up his mother’s old flower garden that had gone to seed for a
new garden. Maria, through Emily’s translation, had requested a
fun summertime activity.
Emily was a born salesperson. “It will teach me responsibility if I
water it every day. I need that bad.”
The flower garden was followed by an irrigation request for the
home’s vegetable garden.
Neither of the planting activities was unusual for a farm. That’s
not what drove Hubbard to act. What troubled Hubbard was that
Emily now referred to them as Maria’s flower garden and Maria’s
There was no time to waste. From his tractor, Hubbard called
Mr. Carlos and told him that Maria wasn’t working out. After his obligation 
at the Tomato Festival, they had to find new work for her. Mr. Carlos
didn’t understand the connection between Maria and the annual
event, but he reluctantly agreed to look for a new opportunity for
the girl.
Hubbard feared he would eventually screw up with her. She
was always within arm’s reach and he was too damned attracted to
her. Sometimes the pain of his growing desire made him feel like he was
burning alive. It made him want to drink to deal with it. That’s why

she had to go.

Make sure to pick up your copy of the book on Amazon HERE.


Stephen Wilson is an American author. His first book was, "Harvey Couch - An Entrepreneur Brings Electricy to Arkansas", published in 1986 by August House publishers. He also has won awards for his screenplays which have been presented by the Writer's Workshop program at the American Film Institute. His latest work, "The White River Killer" was developed as part of the Summer Words program at the Aspen Institute.

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