My daughter asked me to find certain photographs for her recently. As I went though hundreds of photos (not the digital kind either!) in this large tea chest, that belonged my Mother, it was quite apparent that the numerous family day trips and vacations all had one common thread – nature and wildlife. We went to zoo’s, safari parks, wildlife parks, and even family walks ended up at farms or in fields and forests. This interest has been passed down from parent to child and grandchild. It is a family interest to this day.
My narratives reflect this fascination, even if a location is ‘off world’ there are always references to the natural inhabitants of that world. In Ockleberries to the Rescue, although there are magical woodland sprites caring for forest animals, it is based on Earth. Each chapter allows a child to learn about a specific animal or bird on Earth. These sketch’s by J.E. McKnight illustrate some of the chapter headers.
In Clickety Click there is a hidden world within our own and in Creature Hunt on Planet Toaria there are fantastical plants and animals of my imagination. The initial spark for the story behind Creature Hunt was a chance encounter with this enormous mullein plant on one of my road trips. As can see it was taller than me! You will have to read the book to find out what character it plays.
In The Twesome Loop, an Italian olive grove is a fundamental part of the story. Olive trees can grow for hundreds of years and their gnarly trunks give them character. The story is set between England and Italy, two places I love very much, having lived in one and visited the other.
I used my new found knowledge of my new home, Canada, for the setting of my novel, Life in Slake Patch, which has a prairie location. And The Commodore’s Gift has my protagonists living in a forest cavern, while I take my readers back to medieval England in The Rython Kingdom and Rython Legacy.
As you can see the settings for my stories are as much a character as the protagonists are. It allows my dear readers to imagine the surroundings and the flora and fauna. I personally love discovering the natural world, while letting nature relax and inspire me. There is always something new to learn and see from a bug to a bison, from a flower to a tree.
A lot of us look forward to summer – it’s heat, long days and lazy days in the garden/yard. Of BBQ’s, beaches and the open road. This , of course, depends on the continent you live on and the weather cycles. I am not a heat person and like to stay at 22°C degrees with a breeze to keep the mosquitoes at bay. They absolutely love my English blood, here in Canada.
I wrote this poem a while ago about impending summer.
Summer, you are long awaited
Through snow, sleet and rain, your heat and blasting glory
Pull us through.
Memories of sea and sand, camp fires and BBQ gatherings
Pull us through.
Green lushness, long days and outside chores planned
Pull us through
Then you are here – Summer – our darling
Flowers are planted, friends and family gather and lawns cut
Garden furniture released from storage and nature’s sounds surround
Vacations, road trips and splashing in the pool
Long awaited, now enjoyed.
We love you Summer.
This summer there will be road trips to look forward to based on a new contest for Go East. Linda and I have already collected stickers from two routes and will explore new places over the summer months. Our first trip was ambitious driving two routes in one long day (15 hours to be precise!), so now we have planned stop overs for the remaining routes. Making it much more leisurely and giving us the ability to explore more.
The other trip we are taking includes one of the areas included in the adventure game, but for another reason. We are hosting and presenting for When Words Collide. This is an annual event and is virtual this year. We have booked an isolated cabin on private land beside a lake. The perfect writing and relaxation retreat, as well as a great dog walking venue.
I have received the last editing workshop comments and will be diving into the next round of revisions of book one in the Delphic Murders, An Elusive Trail, in the coming weeks. I am excited for this project and hope that you will enjoy the stories once they are published.
A beautifully told story centering around a particular house during two different time periods. Barbara has expertly woven the two story lines and the inhabitants lives together. The core of the novel centers on the real life of a intriguing woman, Mary Treat. Someone history should take notice of and celebrate.
This is a character interview with Evan from my speculative fiction novel, Life in Slake Patch.
1. Tell me a little about yourself (where you live, who you are, what you look like.)My name is Evan and I live in the male compound, Slake Patch, on the prairie plain. I am a Second, as my eldest brother is the First. As such I am bound to compound duties only, rather than tending to the livestock on the plain. I am twenty-two years old, muscular, blonde with blue eyes and my fellow Slake inhabitants look up to me as a champion wrestler within the patch.
2. What do you like to do in your spare time?I love wrestling and spending time with my best friend, Greg. He and I came to the compound together at the age of six, as is the custom to live with our fathers and other men.We attended lessons together and were paired for chores for some time.Is there something more you would like to do?I would love to escape the compound to ride across the plain, but currently it is not allowed. Our only trip outside the patch is to the central food store in a horse drawn cart.
3. Do you have afavorite color and why?We do not have much color in our lives apart from the designated one for our bunkhouses to identify each working group. I am not particular about colours to be honest, although I love Kate’s long auburn hair.
4. What is your favorite food? Why is it your favorite?A thick piece of steak between two large slices of fresh cornbread is perfect. The softness of the bread soaks up the steak juices.The meat helps build my muscles and strength.
5. What would you say is your biggest quirk? I’m unsure what to say about this,if you ask around you might find the other men find it odd I spend a lot of time with an elder named Jacob.He is my mentor, friend, discoverer of information and more of a father figure than my own.
6. What is it about the antagonist in the novel that irks you the most, and why?Aiden and his Tribe use violence as a way of trying to change our way of life, the order and laws of our society. There is always a more diplomatic means to resolve conflicts. He and his follows also berate young women, which I find abhorrent. Women are to be obeyed and cherished.
7. What or who means the most to you in your life? What, if anything, would you do to keep him/her/it in your life?I am deeply in love with my tryst, Kate, and would lay down my life for her. If it was in my power I would change the once a week visiting rule to spend more time with her.
8. What one thing would you like readers to know about you that may not be spelled out in the book in which you inhabit?That I am open to new ideas as long as they do not harm others. I believe the matriarchy is right to rule the way they do.
9. If you could tell your writer (creator) anything about yourself that might turn the direction of the plot, what would it be?In truth, I altered the plot several times during the creating of my narrative. Some twists to the original were by my suggestions.
10. Do you feel you accomplished what you wanted?Yes, I do. I managed to find solutions to changes that improved our way of life.
Do you have a question you would like to ask Evan?Put it in the comments.
We enjoyed warm temperatures and sunshine this weekend, so I took advantage on Sunday afternoon to not only clean out the old planters and pots ready to plant, but also to delve into my current read – Latitudes of Melt. It is a wonderful story of life in Newfoundland’s southern shore and a mystery of a foundling. Folklore, magic and mystery always draw me to a story.
When I finished The Bar Harbor Retirement Home for Famous Writers by Terry-Lynne DeFino, I messaged her asking if she would love to have such a place to live. This is her answer:
Terri-Lynne answered: I would 100% retire to the Pen if it existed. You don’t know how many times I’ve looked longingly through Zillow, at Bed and Breakfasts up in Maine, thinking, “If only…” Sister writers and I do take a beach house once a year; our own writer’s commune. Only a week! But a small slice of heaven. Thanks for writing! Terri-Lynne
It is always such a treat to connect to the author of a book you have loved reading. If you ever want to ask me anything please do through this blog’s contact page.
Have you ever contacted an author and received a reply?
I have a personal letter from Stephen King above my writing desk, it is very precious to me as you can imagine.
. You have written several different genres. Do you decide on the genre before writing or decide which one it fits after writing?
Both! For most of my books, I knew the genre going in. The Hidden Springs series – historical western romance. The Celebration series and Seasons of Love – contemporary romance. Tempted – erotic drama. But with Finn-agled, my cozy mystery, I’d intended to write a thriller. However, the moment Finn Bartusiak took shape, I knew her antics were way too humorous for anything other than a cozy.
What draws you to the genres you write?
I wish I had an easy answer to this one. For the historical westerns, it’s because I love that time period. The other stories just came about on their own. When I wrote By Dawn’s Early Light, the first in the Celebration series, I knew it would be contemporary romance for no other reason than I needed a break from historical.
Do you plot your series’ book by book or as a series arc?
To date, book by book. Usually, the storyline in one leads me to the next. The exception to this is the thriller series I’ve planned. I can’t go into details, but as it stands now, it’ll be a trilogy with the main character’s background as the series arc. Of course, that’s what I say today. By the time I get around to writing those books, I’ll have changed my mind a dozen times.
Do you decide on a theme/topic for your series before writing book one?
Only in the most general sense. I know how the story will begin – more specifically, the opening paragraph or two, a vague sense of the plotline, and how I want it to end, although it rarely happens the way I think it will. Once my characters take hold, they author their own destinies. I’m merely their transcriptionist.
How did you come up with the idea of your side stories?
Side Stories came about after a discussion with a guest on my podcast, Word Play with Kristine Raymond. Aside from writing books, he’s also a college professor and told me that he encourages his students to explore the stories that happen off the page. Between the chapters, so to speak. I thought it was an intriguing concept and added it as a feature on my website, though, to date, I’ve only written one.
When and why did you start your The Felonious Scribe podcast?
The Felonious Scribe was a collaboration with author Dawn Hosmer, who writes the most amazing psychological thrillers! We thought it would be fun to answer questions from readers pertaining to murder, mystery, and mayhem – eh em, on the page, of course.
We recorded five episodes of the show, which can be found on YouTube, and then moved on to different projects. Dawn currently hosts a podcast called Unravel the Binding with her daughter, Jesi, while I’m working on my next book.
Who has influenced your writing the most?
This will sound like a copout answer, but every book I’ve ever read has influenced my writing in some way. How an author tells a story – their voice – is the determining factor in whether or not I choose a particular book, and I believe that has a direct bearing on how I tell my stories.
Do you have an author hero?
All those who took the chance to send their stories out into the world for readers to enjoy – and critique. Because one doesn’t happen without the other, and criticism can be soul-crushing. And, that’s what authors’ stories are, including mine. A piece of our souls.
Where is your writing space? Can you describe it?
I have one room in our house that is furbaby-free (I type sardonically while looking at the cat who jumped over the baby gate before falling asleep in my lap). It’s a combo room – part office/part library/part craft room/part whatever else I can stuff in here. Personally, I think the hubs is afraid to step foot in it which is how it became my space. Lol.
My desktop sits atop a messy desk covered with scrawled notes, pens, and notebooks. It’s a wonder I can find my keyboard.
Where can readers find your books?
Links to all of my books can be found on my website – www.kristineraymond.com. They’re available on all major platforms (and a few minor ones, as well).
Do you have a current release? Can you share what it is about?
My most recent release is Finn-agled, the first book in the Finn’s Finds cozy mystery series.
Running an antique store in the fictional seaside town of Port New, Finn Bartusiak is quite happy with how her life is going – until both a coded message and her high school crush figuratively fall into her lap on the same day. With murder, intrigue, and pierogis – what’s not to love?
This was such a fun story to write, and I’m currently working on the second in the series, Finn-icky Eaters.
Is there anything you would like your readers to know?
Thanks to my readers, both new and existing, for taking a chance on my books. I hope you enjoy them. And thanks, Mandy, for hosting me today. This has been fun!
It wasn’t until later in life that Kristine Raymond figured out what she wanted to be when she grew up, an epiphany that occurred in 2013 when she sat down and began writing her first novel. Over a dozen books in multiple genres later, there are a multitude of ideas floating around in her head thus assuring she’ll never be idle.
When a spare moment does present itself, she fills it by navigating the publishing and promotional side of the business. When not doing that, she spends time with her husband and furbabies (not necessarily in that order) at their home in south-central Kentucky, gardens, reads, or binge-watches Netflix.