Inerview with Nancy Brashear

Welcome to the blog, Nancy. Let’s get to know you.

I’m a Southern California gal who grew up in some pretty unusual settings and situations, one of which became the inspiration for Gunnysack Hell. Through life experience, I’ve learned two things (well, more than that!). The first is that God watches out for children. The second is not to judge others; they’re usually doing their best in the moment, and everyone has opportunities to grow into better versions of themselves. A little more about me? I’m living a pretty terrific life at the beach as a faith-filled wife and mother of grown children with seven grandgirls ranging in age from five to twelve. And the sunsets over Catalina Island are magnificent.

What’s the logline that describes your writing themes?

“The truth will set you free.” For example, in GH, one of my main characters struggles against a “big lie” fed to her by the perpetrator. If she can grasp the truth of the situation, she can free herself from silence, take action, and forgive herself. My writing usually includes a character who’s struggling with some kind of a “demon”—an untruth that’s keeping them captive to something.

Do you start with plot or characters first?

The characters usually find me and mull around in my subconscious for a while before they pop onto the page. I begin with the outside perimeter (the general story frame) before I assemble the smaller, interior scenes, which are character driven. It’s a little like putting a jigsaw puzzle together.

What was your biggest surprise in the editing/revision process?

During the final stages of editing, I morphed into an artistic conductor and orchestrated the visual feeling tone, lengths of paragraphs, and white spaces on the page. It was like I was using visual magic to create a book that would draw the reader’s eyes throughout it from beginning to end. I enjoyed this entirely different creative process after all the hard-core editing and line-by-line proofreading! (By the way, I took Linda Carroll-Bradd’s editing course, and it was very helpful in writing tighter and eliminating reader distractions in my text.)

What other genres do you write in?

I’ve published poetry (and won first place in a poetry contest recently!) as well as short stories in anthologies and stand-alones (a creepy, retold fairytale for grownups). I’ve written two unpublished adolescent novels (science fiction and time-slip fantasy), completed rough drafts of two contemporary adult novels, and have the beginning of another psychological thriller hiding in the wings. As a recently retired English and Education professor, I published in academic venues and designed content for educational publishers and websites. For the last several years, I’ve been reviewing new books for children and adolescents (International Literacy Association website).

What visual aids do you use when writing?

I love, love, love Pinterest! For almost every storyline, I have a separate board. Check out the one for GH (https://www.pinterest.com/nancybrashear/writing-ideas-gunnysack-hell/) with 136 pins, which even includes actors I would cast in character roles. For “Dare to Wish Upon a Star,” the prequel short story to GH (download here: www.nancybrashear.com), I compiled a 1940s board on Victorian mansions, furniture, clothing, tub claws, etc. (https://www.pinterest.com/nancybrashear/claires-story-gunnysack-hell/)

What do you hope readers gain from your stories?

I hope readers connect with my stories as “mirrors” that reflect their own experiences or “windows” that give them insights into the lives of others. Either way, I’d like them to come away from my writing with a renewed sense of compassion and hope for themselves and others.

BLURB

“There’s more to fear in the desert than scorpions and rattlesnakes.” It’s the summer of 1962, middle of the Cold War, and the O’Brien family has moved off-grid to the Mojave Desert in Southern California. After all, the desert has to be a safer place to raise a family than the crime-ridden city, and there they can build a new future. But evil also stalks dusty desert roads, and eight-year-old Nonni finds herself harboring a terrible secret: Only she can identify the predator who has been terrorizing the community. And he knows where she lives.

BUY LINKS

Barnes & Noble buy link: Nook and Paperback

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/gunnysack-hell-nancy-brashear/1138547553

Amazon buy link: Kindle and Print

https://amzn.to/3pFfBpk

EXCERPT

I read this morning that Donald Fricker was granted parole after serving twenty years in prison. Once I saw his name in print, the decades disappeared in the flick of a newspaper page. My childhood flooded back to eight-year-old me, too scared to identify him and save my family.

It was May of 1962. My family had recently moved to our new home, our grandparents’ one-room homestead cabin in the California high desert with tarpaper and chicken-wire lining the walls. It never occurred to me to ask my father why we had moved from our three-bedroom suburban home by the beach to “off the grid.”

All I knew was that we used kerosene lanterns, the chemical outhouse under the tall water tank, a wood- burning stove, and an old-fashioned ice-box that our father replenished daily with a big block of ice from Jolly’s Corner.

Tessa, my six-year-old sister, and I walked home alone, every school day, from the bus stop, a mile and a half down an isolated dirt road.

That’s when it happened, the thing that changed our family. I’ll never forget that day. I protected Tessa even though I broke all of my promises to Mama I’d made just the night before. To walk directly home from the bus stop, not to talk to strangers, and to stay away from open wells.

That afternoon, when the bus’s hissing air brakes signaled our stop, we leapt from the bottom step onto the dirt shoulder of the road.

I picked the perfect stone from the side of the road. It had to be small and round, with no sharp edges, and light enough to kick all the way home.

Tessa followed on my heels, talking my ear off, and stepping on the heel of one of my tennies. “Gave you a flat!”

“Back off!” I glared at her. Mama said those shoes were like gold, and we were to protect them. I gave the rock a punt and forged ahead.

Oblivious to things going on out there in the desert, we were lulled into a sense of safety and routine. Like Eve, we didn’t feel the danger around us until it was too late to escape. Instead, I should have been paying attention to the truck following us slowly.

Down the deserted road.

Yes, this is our story.

My story.

 

REVIEW COMMENT

“I can’t recall the last time I was so impressed with someone’s writing style. It’s pure genius! Gunnysack Hell, told through the various family members’ point of view, takes the readers down a tunnel filled with mystery, thrills, and excitement. This masterpiece is not to be missed.”~L. C. Hayden, Award-winning and best-selling author, http://www.lchayden.com/

(The Harry Bronson Thriller Series, When Memory Fails as seen on NBC and ABC, and others)

Nancy Brashear lives in Orange County, California, with her husband, Patrick, and their rescue dog, Goldie, where her grown children and seven grandgirls have supported her writing adventures. A professor emeritus in English, she has published short stories, poems, academic articles, textbook chapters as well as website content and writing projects with educational publishers. Gunnysack Hell is her debut fiction novel and was inspired by a true-crime event. And, yes, she did live off-grid with her family in a homestead cabin in the Mojave Desert when she was a child. Visit www.nancybrashear.com to learn more.

WEB CONTACTS

Author website: www.nancybrashear.com

Author FB: www.facebook.com/nancybrashearauthor

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/drnancybrashear

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/nancy-brashear

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Nancy-Brashear/e/B083JNZGPR%3Fref=dbs_a_mng_rwt_scns_share

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/dashboard

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/nancybrashear/

 

Enter Nancy’s Free eCopy Giveaway Drawing of Gunnysack Hell at her blog (ends February 26) by leaving your name and choice of the version you’d like if you’re one of the three winners: Mobi (Kindle), ePub (Nook), or [scrolling] PDF! Winners will also be mailed a postcard of Gunnysack Hell.

(https://www.nancybrashear.com/february-drawing-for-free-e-copy-of-brashears-gunnysack-hell-ends-feb-26/.)

Also by Nancy Brashear – Ready or Not: A Creepy, Retold Fairytale for Grownups

https://amzn.to/3reLgOK

Guest Promotion–Mrs. Spinney’s Secret by M.S. Spencer

BLURB: Amity Landing is being invaded by Hollywood and Cassidy Beauvoir, chairman of the board of overseers, doesn’t like it. That is, until she meets Jasper MacEwan, the director of American Waterloo: the Rout of the Penobscot Expedition. Their budding romance is interrupted by a series of deadly incidents, sending them on a quest for long-lost English gold. Who will be the next victim? Can they find the treasure before the murderer does?

BUY LINKS

Books2Read: https://books2read.com/u/3JXWEA

https://books2read.com/MrsSpinneysSecret

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Mrs-Spinneys-Secret-M-Spencer-ebook/dp/B08P886V99

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/mrs-spinneys-secret-m-s-spencer/1138392573?ean=9781509234486

ITunes: https://books.apple.com/us/book/mrs-spinneys-secret/id1543575824

Walmart: https://www.walmart.com/ip/Mrs-Spinney-s-Secret-Paperback/474281367

KOBO: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/mrs-spinney-s-secret

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/M_S_Spencer_Mrs_Spinney_s_Secret?id=kTsTEAAAQBAJ

EXCERPT

Nemo’s

“Speaking of, I think I deserve a raise for hazardous duty. Guess how I spent yesterday?”

“Has to be with the Red Hat ladies. Bunch of old coots in purple dresses who rampage through town harassing the inhabitants like a modern-day James gang. The one in charge accosted me the other day. Ripped me up and down for crossing against the light.” He shivered. “She’s terrifying.”

“That would be Edna Mae Quimby.” Cassidy suppressed a smile.

Sally turned to her. “Quimby, you say? It must be her husband I had to deal with then. The sheriff.”

Cassidy started. “Sheriff Quimby? What did he want with you?”

“He was asking about Rick Ahearn—the subcontractor who found the Spinney house for me. Evidently he’s dead.”

Cassidy thought of the news article Nellie had brought in. “That’s right. They found him a mile from Amity Landing. He was dressed in a sailor suit.”

“Yeah—pretty queer, huh? I didn’t have to ID him, thank God. Wouldn’t have been able to anyway—we only spoke on the phone. The hotel found my card in his room and gave it to Quimby. He wanted to know what my connection was to him. I told him I’d hired him to find sites for the filming, but that I hadn’t heard from him in days.” She blew her cheeks out. “Bit of a jolt to hear what happened to him.”

Jasper drained his beer. “Sailor suit, huh. So they think he fell off a boat and drowned?”

“That’s what they thought at first, but no.”

“No?”

“No. Sheriff told me he was found on this floating barge out in the water.” Sally jumped off her stool and plopped some bills on the bar. “Gotta go. You coming, Jasper?”

“Might stay for dinner.” He regarded Cassidy tentatively. “Fancy a bite to eat?”

She nodded, afraid to speak, afraid he’d see her pleasure at his invitation. She followed him out, but at the top of the stairs remembered her purse. She ran back. Pauline was standing behind the bar, a singular expression on her face. It might have been panic, but the fear was mixed with a hefty dose of sheer bafflement.

Librarian, anthropologist, Congressional aide, speechwriter—M. S. Spencer has traveled the globe. She has published fourteen romantic suspense or murder mystery novels, with two more on the way. She has two fabulous grown children and an incredible granddaughter. She divides her time between the Gulf Coast of Florida and a tiny village in Maine.

WEB CONTACTS

Blog: https://msspencertalespinner.blogspot.com

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

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/msspencerauthor

GoodReads: http://www.goodreads.com/msspencer
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/msspencerauthor/

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

Linked in: www.linkedin.com/in/msspencerauthor

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/m-s-spencer

Author Interview with Wendy Kendall

Welcome, Wendy. I can’t wait to get started.

Do you start a new story with the plot or characters first?

I start with the characters. My stories come from the characters, their personalities, lives, backgrounds, dreams, flaws, strengths, and what they want. Each character is the hero of their own story. I love to develop the characters, and then see how they grow. Then the plot. It’s the characters who always drive the plot and shape the story. Sometimes I expect a character to act a certain way, but then I learn from them how they must proceed, and that’s how I must write the scene.

Is your writing style planned or freestyle?

I’m a hybrid author, and I love it. All of it is so creative. First come the characters. Then an outline of the plot. Followed by a timeline that visually shows me what is happening and what characters are involved, scene by scene. Then I write the scenes. As I write, things change, and I go with those changes happily because it’s all so creative. I belong to a wonderful critique group who give me helpful feedback as I go through the process. After the first draft comes the editing. Lots of editing. And then the beta readers tell me what they think, followed by more editing. It’s all exciting for me.

If you use music while writing, name your favorite types.

I love listening to music, especially when I’m writing. When I’m working on a story I prefer instrumentals, lyrics sung while I’m writing are a big distraction. My favorite music is Kevin Eubanks cd’s. I also enjoy all kinds of jazz music. It’s such a creative style, it really creates an atmosphere that inspire my imagination. When one of my sons was in high school he played in a jazz band. He taught me so much about the music, that’s when my appreciation for it really grew.

Have you traveled to any locations that appear in your books?

Sort of. Katherine Watson, purse designer and amateur sleuth opens her own purse museum that shows women’s history through the decades with purse exhibits. My research for my cozy mystery included a trip to the Esse Purse Museum in Little Rock, Arkansas. It’s owned by a sensational woman named Anita Davis who started it with her own collection and it’s grown incredibly since then. This is one of four purse museums in the world. I thoroughly enjoyed my visit, learned so much from the exhibits, and also from the very nice and helpful staff. If you want to learn more about my visit, please visit my blog – A Passion For Purses

In what genre do you read?

I love a story! I’ve been an avid reader all my life. My favorites have always been mysteries, all kinds of mysteries. My favorite cozy mystery author, is Laura Childs. No reason to stop at one genre though. When it comes to reading I can’t get too much of that good thing. I haven’t found a genre I don’t like from classics to contemporaries. I’m a big reader of Shakespeare too – now that’s amazing plotting and characters. I love sharing my reading recommendations too. If you’re looking for your next read, you might want to take a look at my column Recommended Reads. I also recommend books for kids in my column Kids Are Bookin’ It.

Are you a pet person? If so, what do you have?

I am a pet person. Over the years my family have enjoyed a bit of an assortment. Parakeets, lizzards including geckos, cats, and dogs. Pets are such a sweet joy in life. In Kat Out of the Bag Katherine Watson has adopted a stray cat. Katherine names her Purrada and what a pampered pet she beomes. Jason Holmes is a cop in my mystery, his K-9 partner is Hobbs. I researched police dogs for my book. What amazing, smart animals. I have such great respect for all service animals. When police dogs are off duty, they’re wonderful pets. My research included a ride along with a K-9 patrol. What an experience! I’ve included so much from this adventure in my novel. If you’d like to know more about the ride along, you can hear about it on my YouTube podcast Kendall and Cooper Talk Mysteries.

BLURB

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 Premiere. 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.

BUY LINKS

Amazon

Barnes & Noble,   Google Play,   Kobo

EXCERPT

Someone had their arm around her, and she couldn’t scream because they were tightly holding a big white handkerchief over and in her mouth. It was also over her nose and she could feel that it was wet and sweet all at the same time, like a chemical. She struggled, kicking back with her feet and trying to get her arms free, but those were tightly held down. Katherine was in a panic and all her muscles seemed to seize up as she fought. Her last conscious thought was of a huge, black, furry growling beast jumping up at her shoulder height, knocking the person holding her away, as she fell hard on the ground.

A review

“Inside every handbag are artifacts – pieces of personality, glimpses of the past and often the deepest secrets. Vintage purses have a story to tell and for Kendall’s mystery, these stories unveil more than just purse-sonal history; they’re the clues to catch a killer.” – ESSE PURSE MUSEUM, Little Rock, Arkansas

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, introducing Katherine Watson an international purse designer/sleuth. Wendy is a blogger, editor, speaker, project manager, and syndicated columnist. Catch exciting author interviews on her YouTube Podcast—A Novel Talk, and the debut of her podcast – Wendy Kendall In Purse-Suit of Fashion. She loves her two sons, Alex and Brad and her Purrada cat.

WEB CONTACTS

wendywritesbooks.com

Facebook – Wendy Kendall, Mystery Author

Twitter – @wendywrites1

Instagram – wendyekendall

Goodreads

Be Mine Bookish Giveaway

Having a hard time choosing what to read in 2021? While there’re so many wonderful authors and books available, it’s imperative to have a dependable and responsible place that can help you choose what to read. It’s even better when you get a chance to win free books, audiobook codes, bookish prizes and gift cards! Every month, you can win free books and other prizes from multiple authors hosted by N. N. Light’s Book Heaven. Numerous authors are offering their books in this collaborative group entitled Literary Giveaway Portal. The best part is they’re all screened and approved by N. N. Light, a top reviewer.

Be Mine Bookish Giveaway: https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/92db775096

Literary Giveaway Portal:  https://www.nnlightsbookheaven.com/literary-giveaway-portal

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My prize for the month is a copy of Cowboy Kisses, an anthology of 8 historical romances Print (US only) or ebook (International) containing my story titled When My Heart Knew.

Release of Amata

Grayson’s adopted daughter is all grown up and not following Papa’s directives.

After completion of her studies at a teacher’s college, Amata Wainwright returns to her Cheyenne, Wyoming, hometown. Her worry is she must inform her state senator father that she didn’t earn the expected diploma. Determined to help a younger brother who suffers with dyslexia, she starts tutoring him and his friend using unorthodox methods.

Rancher Harlan Thorpe has his hands full and needs no more distractions. He’s establishing a breeding program on his ranch, keeping an eye on his stubborn son who keeps ditching school, and riding herd on his younger brother who would rather drink and gamble than put in an honest day’s work.

The mischievous young boys contrive situations to get Dario’s sister and Liam’s dad together. Each time, the adults don’t know what has hit them, but the growing feelings are definitely not in either one’s plans.

Amazon buy link 

FREE in Kindle Unlimited

EXCERPT

A familiar surrey with a matched team of roans stood near the holding corral where transported animals were off-loaded. A group of saddled horses stood tied to the railing.

A shaft of sunlight reflecting off a depot window blinded her. She averted her face then lifted a hand to shade her eyes. Several men gathered near the corral with a couple of them sitting atop the corral railing. The broad-shouldered one with the wide-brimmed hat looked like Chester. Why was the family’s man-of-all-work waiting there instead of on the platform to greet her?

The ground beneath her shoes shook. She glanced down but saw nothing amiss.

Pounding hooves beat the dirt, followed by masculine hollers and whoops.

An echoing set of hard footfalls thrummed from the opposite direction.

“Get out of the way!”

What’s going on? Amata looked between a tall man bearing down on her from the left and a beast of a cow thundering her way from the right. Her pulse kicked up.

The stranger waved an arm. “Move back, lady!”

Two hands grabbed her upper arms and jerked her off her feet. A muscular body slammed her back against the railroad car, pressing close. He tucked her head under his chin and clamped her to his chest. Grasping handfuls of soft cloth, she gasped and inhaled warm cotton and male sweat overlaying the scent of fresh soap.

Seconds later, the cow barreled past followed by a galloping horse, both kicking up clods of dirt.

Amata squirmed, which only dragged her fists across hard-as-granite muscles. Such awareness was scandalous. Heat invaded her cheeks, and she stiffened. “Sir, unhand me.”

Another horse charged past.

“Not yet.”

“I beg your pardon.” She lifted her head but only moved an inch under his strong hold.

“My men need to get that steer controlled.”

The metal car at her back kept her upright and as far away as possible from the rampaging cow. Unfortunately, her feet dangled several inches above the ground, hardly a position from where she could issue directives. “At least allow me to stand on my own two feet.”

His stance eased away. “Sure enough, miss.”

Even with her feet under her, Amata was adrift. Their bodies no longer touched, but the skin on her arms tingled where his grip held her safe. Her breathing was too fast. Blood pounded in her ears, and yet again, her hat hung askew. Except at a few dances as a youth, she’d never been held in a male’s embrace.

Freed from his iron grip, she shook herself and glanced up into eyes of the bluest blue. A lock of sandy brown hair hung over one eyebrow. The stranger was quite a handsome man…as long as she didn’t factor in his brutish manners.

“Cupids and Cowboys” is a multi-author series. Previous titles are:

Harriet by Pam Crooks

Lainie by Cynthia Woolf

Vella by Charlene Raddon

Alice by Margaret

To find these and upcoming titles, go to the series page on Amazon.