Author: Kaylin McFarren
Publisher: Creative Edge Publishing LLC
Genre: Romantic Suspense
A valuable art collection disappears turning a treasure-hunting duo into crime-stopping sleuths committed to vindicating family members in Kaylin McFarren’s action-packed suspense novel, Banished Threads.
While vacationing at the stately Cumberforge Manor in Bellwood, England, Rachel Lyons and Chase Cohen attend an elegant dinner party hosted by her uncle, Paul Lyons, and his aristocratic wife, Sara. Before the evening ends, a priceless collection of Morris Graves’s paintings are stolen from her uncle’s popular gallery, throwing all suspicion onto his wife’s missing granddaughter. Determined to clear Sloan Rafferty’s name and, in the process, win Paul’s favor, Chase scours the countryside looking for answers. In his absence, the police accuse Rachel’s uncle of an unsolved murder and secrets surrounding her grandmother’s death and the deaths of Sara’s former husbands turn his wife into the most likely suspect.
With the true villains hell-bent on destroying Paul Lyons and his family, solving both crimes while ensuring her uncle’s freedom not only endangers Rachel’s life but that of her unborn child. Will Chase save them before the kidnappers enact their revenge or will the ultimate price be paid, as predicted by a vagabond fortuneteller?
First place – 2016 Hudson Valley RWA Hook, Line & Sinker Contest
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A lone figure stood in the estuary lookout nestled in the trees above the North Sea on the Holderness Coast, waiting with restless anticipation as Gwen Gallagher approached the cliff’s edge. A quick adjustment to the night-vision binoculars allowed the watcher a closer view of the twenty-eight-year-old secretary as she savored the last autumn sunset she would ever see. The crisp, cool air picked up speed, leaving her long black hair sailing like a ghostly pirate’s flag behind her. It lifted the hem of her black skirt slightly, exposing her white shapely legs and black suede booties to the wintry elements. Her pale blue eyes swept across the landscape, appraising the beauty surrounding them. She raised her chin toward the darkening sky and smiled, obviously believing the note she had received, inviting her here, had come from her married lover.
As Gwen moved even closer to the edge, the watcher inhaled a deep breath. All that remained between this ludicrous woman and the vividly blue ocean was two meters of solid rock. From the lookout vantage point, there was barely enough light to confirm that she was staring down at the tossing sands and churning water, mesmerizing in the early evening breeze. All it would take was one push, and she would feel the rush of wind through her hair and see the crystal-blue sea one last time as she slammed headlong into the jagged rocks below.
The watcher’s heart was fluttering erratically now as Gwen stood balancing on the brink of extinction. The sky darkened, and gray waves slammed into the rocks, blasting sea spray high into the air. By all appearances, she had become preoccupied by the black storm clouds collecting overhead and the hard-hitting raindrops striking her cheeks. The wind was whipping now and had started to voice its howling rage. Meanwhile, the watcher climbed down from the lookout and stepped hurriedly across the uneven ground, arriving only six yards away from the scene where Gwen now remained frozen in place. The soles of her shoes held her stoically to the uneven mafic rock as the rising wind whipped and swayed her body like a frail willow. For a brief moment, the watcher was uncertain of what to do next. Then Gwen turned around suddenly and stared back in a trancelike state. Another step forward resulted in waking her.
“What are you doing here?” she called out. “What do you want?”
The watcher remained silent and took another step forward before pulling out an engraved, freshly sharpened steak knife. A look of fear crossed Gwen’s rain-streaked face, making it impossible not to smile.
“Go away! Leave me alone!” she screeched. She took a final step back to distance herself, just as a massive wave hit. The spray washed over her and sent her plummeting fifteen meters down. The watcher dropped on all fours to maintain a protected position on the slippery, stony ground. Minutes later, the surge passed, and it was now safe to stand. A quick assessment confirmed the dangling binoculars were safe and in excellent working order, but the engraved knife had been washed away. After stepping down to a new viewpoint, it was easy to ascertain that Gwen had been injured from the fall and was now trapped in the jagged rocks below. She looked up at the watcher and called out for help, screaming at the top of her lungs.
Bloody idiot. If someone should hear her, they could interfere, and that would ruin everything.
Five minutes passed as poor Gwen continued to scream. Then, as good fortune would have it, the wind rose again. With the crush of another wave, she was pulled under and swept out to sea.
The watcher smiled and was about to leave when a tiny fraction of light picked up something on the ground. Careful inspection confirmed it was a gold hoop earring, plucked from its owner—a marvelous souvenir to add to the prized, growing collection. After the watcher slipped it into a pocket in the yellow hooded slicker and removed the binoculars, a pleasant thought came to mind. Since it had become a moral right and obligation to dispose of the unworthy and undeserving in the Cumberforge Manor, it wouldn’t be long before Gwen’s lover would be joining her and the rest of the moneygrubbing fools who had been personally escorted to the bowels of hell.
Kaylin McFarren is a California native who has enjoyed traveling around the world. She previously worked as director for a fine art gallery, where she helped foster the careers of various artists before feeling the urge to satisfy her own creative impulses.
Since launching her writing career, McFarren has earned more than a dozen literary awards in addition to a finalist spot in the 2008 RWA Golden Heart Contest. A member of RWA, Rose City Romance Writers, and Willamette Writers, she also lends her participation and support to various charitable and educational organizations in the Pacific Northwest.
McFarren currently lives with her husband in Oregon and visits her second home in California once a month. They have three grown daughters and two grandchildren, and look forward to having more.
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As an author, what has been my greatest challenge?
The writer’s pit. Ugh!!! I admit it…I’m an obsessive panster, if that makes any sense at all. As a practice, I sit down and create a basic summary for a new book, avoiding the post-a-note story boards and 20 page synopsis, which works for most writers. Since I’m a bit of a perfectionist as well, I end up self-editing myself for hours on end, which can result in highly polished chapters, gleaming in fact, along with an enormous hole for the next three to four days. At times, jumping over it to keep going can be a major pole-vaulting experience. Then it’s back to staying the course – moving the story forward, until the next hole arrives.
Of course, every author wants their writing to be perfect and to complete their project as soon as possible. We know what we want to say, the arch we’re hoping to create, and where we’d like our characters to ultimately end up, but we’re afraid our writing and storyline won’t measure up to our readers’ expectations. Sound familiar?
As you might imagine, I’ve been told these feelings are natural and normal. Everyone finds writing a challenge. Many writers, however, compound their problems by employing weak writing strategies and when these methods fail, they surrender their efforts. Quite often, the number killer for great stories is perfectionism. I should know. It’s the fastest way to dig yourself into a pit or to drive headlong into writer’s block. Expecting everything to come together at once leads to paralysis and an emotional heart attack. When you’re not just blocked, when you’re absolutely stonewalled, I tap into an easy, workable solution: free writing.
This is how it works. Sit down for ten minutes and write down everything you can think of about your topic. The object is to write without stopping for the whole ten minutes. If you can’t think of anything to say, write “blah, blah, blah” over and over. If other things occur to you as you write, go ahead and record them, even if they are not directly related to your topic. These distractions may be part of what is keeping you blocked.
Although this isn’t the same as brainstorming, free writing is a great means for uncovering ideas – it’s a good way to reconnect or to find inspiration. But the main purpose is to get you moving again…to get your creative juices flowing and those fingers typing away. Most of what you write in those ten minutes will go in the trash or be completely deleted, but it’s a sure way get warmed up for some serious writing.
Stories that touch the soul
McFarren is giving away a Gift Basket (Value $135)!
- By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
- One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive the gift basket.
- This giveaway begins May 9 and ends on June 30.
- Winners will be contacted via email on June 31.
- Winner has 48 hours to reply.
ENTER TO WIN!