Tuesday, September 25, 2018

The Five W's in Storytelling: S. Peters Davis' Malevolent, Giveaway

The 5 W's of Stories
Hello and welcome to the Focused on Story blog. We continue with the guest author series, The 5 W's in Storytelling--who, what, where, when and why. This week our guest is multi-genre author Susan Davis. We go way back beginning our fiction writing careers at the same publishing house. Today we're together again at BWL Publishing.

Win $10 Amazon Gift Card from Susan. 

Susan says, "Leave a quick comment on what kind of supernatural/paranormal being you like best, along with your email addy for a chance to win a $10.00 Amazon Gift Card." Deadline for entry is Sunday, September 30, 10 pm ET. Good luck!!

Thank you, Susan. Now let's find out the Five W's in Susan's latest release, Malevolent.

Trafficked girls marked to lose their souls by a malevolent supernatural entity require someone with explicit abilities for their rescue. 
Will Kendra be able to save them?

The 5 W’s of Malevolent, A Kendra Spark Novel by S. Peters-Davis

Hello JQ, thank you so much for having me at your place. You have a lovely blog: ) Hello to everyone stopping in also. Thank you for taking a moment to check in. I’m honored.

Now for the reason you came – to see the 5 W’s of Malevolent:
Kendra Spark, a mystery-suspense romance author, who also possesses the ability to see and communicate with the dead, aka ghosts, ends up consulting for the FBI. She’s become the translator for Jenna.
Jenna Powers, a criminal analyst for the FBI and BFF of Kendra, died in the first book, but never left Kendra’s side. She continues to analyze criminals.
Derek Knight, a totally hot FBI Special Task Force Agent, leads an investigation team that includes Kendra and Jenna.
You’ll also meet FBI Director Jackson Powers (Jenna’s father); Luke, Ray, and Tressa (the rest of Derek’s investigation team); and plenty of “evil bad-guys” – like Vinny Merretti (part of a cartel), Bertellia Camelia Gonzales and her side-kick, Buster (two malevolent entities). 
A sealed container driven outside of Washington D.C. was found tipped over in a ditch with a number of young teen girls, dehydrated and confused, inside. The driver, DOA, had a business card tucked in his pocket listing Vinny Merretti’s North Carolina businesses along the Cape Fear River.
The case: find the ringleader of the trafficked young women.
Northern Michigan (where Kendra lives), Washington D.C. (FBI headquarters and Derek’s house located outside the city), Wilmington, NC along Cape Fear (location of Vinny Merretti’s “Midnight” businesses).
June 12 – 18, 2018 (My timeline for the story, but more or less, present day; )
Even though the BIG why is - find the ringleader of the trafficked girls, there’s more going on with Kendra and Jenna – supernatural story-threads that also need immediate attention. Their souls are marked by a malevolent entity and the countdown for the soul-sucker’s consumption fast approaches, not just for Kendra and Jenna, but for the trafficked girls as well.
A couple new characters are introduced in this 2nd book, a major one being a voodoo priestess, NaNa Rosa (who I personally adore…and she’ll definitely show up in Albatross, the 3rd book in this series). NaNa Rosa handles most of “righting” what’s happened on the preternatural front, along with Kendra’s grandmother Ellie, who makes a couple appearances even though she’s no longer on the earth plane.
FBI agents, ghost-seers, ghosts, voodoo priestess, guardian angels, and undercover police detectives play their respective parts in “how” the story unravels.
That’s a wrap;) Please don’t forget to leave a comment on your favorite supernatural-paranormal being/entity in the comment section with your email addy for your chance to win a $10 Amazon Card. Who knows, perhaps your favorite will show up in the next Kendra Spark Novel:)
About S. Peters-Davis
S. Peters-Davis writes multi-genre stories, but loves penning a good page-turning suspense-thriller, especially when it’s a ghost story and a romance. When she’s not writing, editing, or reading, she’s hiking, RV’ing, fishing, playing with grandchildren, or enjoying time with her favorite muse (her husband) in Southwest Michigan.
Author S. Peters-Davis
As DK Davis, she also writes YA and NA paranormal, supernatural novels that involve diverse and mature subject matter.

Connect Online with Susan:

Back of the Book: Malevolent, A Kendra Spark Novel
Kendra Spark, suspense-mystery writer and communicator with the dead, signs on to the next FBI Special Task Force case, trafficked girls that are marked to lose their souls.
Jenna Powers, ghostified criminal analyst, sticks close to the case as she and Kendra are also marked by the same malevolent supernatural force.
Derek Knight, lead FBI Agent on this case, learns of the malevolent entity and the deeper paranormal realm of danger.
Kendra’s unfiltered feelings for Derek struggle to take a backseat, and as the menacing threat grows more intense, so does her passion for Derek.
Derek faces uncertainties he’s never dealt with in his past, like malicious entities and the loss of his heart to love. How can he protect Kendra against forces he can’t see?   
As boundless supernatural danger intertwines with the future reality of the trafficked teens, Kendra and Jenna realize only they can shoulder the rescue by calling in a voodoo priestess…

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

When is a Good Time for a Ghost to Interrupt Your Life? Book Hooks Blog Hop #MFRWHooks: Deadly Undertaking by J.Q. Rose

Book Hooks Blog Hop 
Hello and welcome to the Focused on Story Blog. Today we're joining the Book Hooks Blog Hop sponsored by the Marketing For Romance Writers Group. Each participating blogger shares an excerpt from their book. I'm sharing from my romantic suspense novel, Deadly Undertaking.
Deadly Undertaking by J.Q. Rose
Cozy mystery
A handsome detective, a shadow man, 
and a murder victim kill Lauren’s plan for a simple life.

Back of the book:
Lauren Staab knew there would be dead bodies when she returned home. After all, her family is in the funeral business, Staab and Blood Funeral Home. Still, finding an extra body on the floor of the garage between the hearse and the flower car shocked her. Lauren’s plan to return to her hometown to help care for her mother and keep the books for the funeral home suddenly turns upside down in a struggle to prove she and her family are not guilty of murdering the man. But will the real killer return for her, her dad, her brother? Her mother’s secrets, a killer, a handsome policeman, and a shadow man muddle up her intention to have a simple life.

Welcome home, Lauren!

Excerpt: Chapter Four
In this excerpt, the reader is introduced to Henry, the shadow man, a ghost character who interrupts Lauren's life--always at the wrong time. But really, when is a good time for a ghost to interrupt your life?

Gathering her wits about her, Lauren decided she needed to know if the dead man truly was Tony. If so, she and Piper had to find Stephanie.
She returned to her desk, uncovered Detective Richards’ business card from under the files on her desk, and called.
“Richards.” he answered as if he had no time for interruptions.
Lauren was taken aback for a minute, expecting a secretary or switchboard person to answer and connect her to the detective.
“Hello, Detective Richards. This is Lauren Staab, at the Staab and Blood Funeral Home where the murder occurred this morning.” She stalled for enough time to get her thoughts together.
“Yes, I’m quite aware the murder was at the funeral home, Ms. Staab. How can I help you?”
What an arrogant man. “I’m calling to confirm the identity of the person who was killed. I’ve heard several reports.”
“We’re not revealing the name of the deceased.”
“Well can you tell me if his name is Tony?”
“Sorry. I cannot.” His voice softened. “I’m not at liberty at this time to tell you. I completely understand your concern. Do you know Anthony—er. Tony?”
“Yes, I do. He’s my friend’s fiancĂ©.”
“I know the rumor mill is probably producing more names than this, but we have to be sure of the victim’s identity before we release it. Do you understand the situation?” Lauren detected a note of sincerity in his voice. Did the man have feelings after all?
“Oh, yes I understand. But since he was in our garage, will someone call me to let me know?” She couldn’t help using the snarky tone.
“Yes. I’ll be sure to call you as soon as we have a definitive identification. You have a good evening.” The phone clicked to silence.
“And you have a good night too!” She slammed the headset into the cradle, yanked the desk drawer open, and retrieved her bag. She didn’t like being dismissed like that.
She reached into her bag to find her pack of cigarettes, pulled it out, threw it back in, and pulled the beat up pack out again. So much for trying once more to quit smoking.
When she looked up, she glimpsed a smoky shadow hovering by the door. The pungent smell of spicy carnations wafted through the room, bringing on the three little sneezes.  She worked in a funeral home. She shouldn’t be allergic to flowers. Maybe she was allergic to him.
Lauren faced the silhouette of a man dressed in a long trench coat and fedora hat. He stood, arms akimbo, evidently looking straight at her.
She had expected the shadow man to show up sometime after the terrifying events of the morning. He lurked around the rooms in the funeral home appearing whenever he wished. Because no one else ever mentioned the apparition, Lauren assumed she was the only one he communicated with. At times she questioned if Henry was real or just her overtired brain playing tricks on her.
His timing for wanting to talk was usually bad. This murder was definitely a bad time. “Henry, I can’t talk now. I’m leaving to meet Piper.” She shoved the drawer closed with her foot.
“All right,” he said in his breathy voice. “I guess you’re doing okay if you can go off to meet your friend.” Then he was gone, slipping through a fold into another dimension.


Buy Links: Deadly Undertaking is available at your favorite digital bookseller.

Universal Link  for Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Apple, etc.

Available in paperback and eBook at Amazon

Thanks for stopping in today!

Please click on a blog below to visit more authors and discover their stories written for you.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

The 5 W’s in C. Lee Mackenzie’s Sudden Secrets, Giveaway

The Five W's of Stories

Hello and welcome to the Focused on Story blog. This week talented author C. Lee Mackenzie joins us with the 5 W's in her newly released YA novel, Sudden Secrets. She's a talented author who loves to write for young readers, young adult and middle-grade students. 
Young Adult Novels by C. Lee Mackenzie

We met through the Insecure Writers Support Group blog hop. Their mission is to help writers overcome their insecurities and offer encouragement through the online community. In fact, the Writers Digest recognized them with the 101 Best Websites for Writers award. Lee and I have met so many helpful, generous, sincere bloggers in the group. Click here if you would like to find out more about IWSG.

IWSG Badge
IWSG-- a supportive group for writers
Lee is offering a generous giveaway--if you would like an eBook, just mention that in the comments below and she'd be happy to give you one. Thanks, so much, Lee! 
The offer ends on Monday, September 17, at 10:00 pm ET.

Now let's crack open the 5 W's in this YA mystery, Sudden Secrets.  
I love secrets, but I'm not too good at keeping them. How about you?

The 5 W’s in C. Lee Mackenzie’s Sudden Secrets

Sudden Secrets by C. Lee Mackenzie
YA Fiction


Sudden Secrets is about Cleopatra Brown (Cleo for short). She has struggled to heal after her baby sister’s death, but the flashbacks to the accident won’t go away, and the pitying looks from her classmates make her want to hide herself away, and her grades dive into the basement. When her mother moves them to a new town, Cleo vows to keep her tragedy a secret and avoid those pitying looks. From the first day In her new place, she knows there’s something’s strange about the abandoned house across the street—flashes of light late at night and small flickers of movement that only someone looking for them would see. Everyone says the house is deserted, but Cleo is sure it isn’t, and she’s sure whoever is inside is watching her.


I like to explore what makes people tick—how they manage grief and loss, what makes them hide things or act out with hatred. In Sudden Secrets, I got to do all of that. Cleo, her mother and father, and her grandfather each deal with the loss of a beloved child differently. They have their own secrets, and they keep them tucked away from each other. When Cleo stumbles upon a mystery, she begins to unravel a secret that the small town she now lives in has kept hidden for years. It was interesting to peel away all of the secrets and shed light on them. I wanted that light to be healing for each of the characters.

The story takes place in a small but somewhat upscale town of Morgan Heights. It has some boutiques, public art, and an impressive museum by small town standards. The Brown move to a cul-de-sac in an older section of the town, and, on this street, there are two unique and rundown Victorian houses. One is where Cleo and her family live. The other is across the street and abandoned—at least that’s what everyone says. It’s this abandoned house that captures Cleo’s curiosity and that leads her to her discovery.

Sudden Secrets is set in contemporary small town USA. I suppose that will change over the years when cell phones are a device of the past or nobody needs a locker because every book is digitalized and on a portable reading device. When that happens, this story will be a slice of the “good old days.”


 This is my fourth young adult novel, and I wish I knew how an idea becomes a book. If I did, I’d be glad to share that here. As it is, I’m always amazed when the process starts and definitely when it ends. I can say that the books I’ve written have been triggered by items in the news, personal experiences, and dreams. And if any of those instigators keeps nagging at me, I can’t resist scribbling notes, that lead to a few pages, and then—about a year later—to The End.

One Secret
Cleo has struggled to heal after her baby sister’s death, but the flashbacks to the accident won’t go away. With the move, she vows to keep her tragedy a secret and avoid pitying looks.
One Mystery
Something’s strange about the abandoned house across the street—flashes of light late at night and small flickers of movement that only someone looking for them would see. Everyone says the house is deserted, but Cleo is sure it isn’t, and she’s sure whoever is inside is watching her.
Another Secret
In one night, Belleza’s life changes forever. So famous, her only choice is to hide her secret from the world so she can silence small-town bigotry.
Then Cleo happens.

Sudden Secrets by C. Lee Mackenzie
YA Mystery


I’m C. Lee McKenzie. I love to write for young readers, and I write both young adult and middle-grade fiction. Sliding on the Edge, The Princess of Las Pulgas, Double Negative, and Sudden Secrets are my four YAs. My middle-grade adventure/fantasy series is now a trilogy: Alligators Overhead, The Great Time Lock Disaster, and Some Very Messy Medieval Magic. I also have a stand-alone MG fantasy called Sign of the Green Dragon. Italia Gandolfo represents me.

Author C. Lee Mackenzie
I’m very fortunate to have some great five star reviews from readers and reviewers. And I’m really pleased that I’m learning this business. Promotion has been my biggest challenge. I’ve had to learn how to schedule, so I can still write and do the promotion I need to do for my other books. It’s a full-time job.

When I’m not writing I’m practicing yoga, doing sun salutations in my garden (AKA weeding) or scratching my head over how all of this writing stuff started. I'm still not sure, but the ride has been exhilarating and so much different than I'd expected.

Website: http://www.cleemckenziebooks.com

Thanks for guesting on the Focused on Story Blog, Lee!
Circle September 25 when my next guest for the Five W's event is mystery author, Susan Calder.

 Follow by Email so you won't miss the next blog post on the Focused on Story blog!

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

IWSG Blog Hop: Self-publishing or Traditional Publishing?

IWSG Badge
IWSG Blog Hop---the first Wednesday of every Month.

Hello and welcome to the Insecure Writer's Support Group Blog Hop!

What is the Insecure Writer's Support Group?

Founded by author Alex J. Cavanaugh, the Insecure Writer’s Support Group offers support for writers and authors alike. It provides an online database, articles and tips, a monthly blog posting, a Facebook and Instagram group, Twitter, and a monthly newsletter. To find out more, click this link: 
 Insecure Writer’s Support Group

The purpose of the group is 
* to share and encourage. 
* Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. 
* Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. 
*It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds! 

You're invited to become a member of this supportive group. Click here to sign-up to join.

September 5 question - What publishing path are you considering/did you take, and why?

I sent out 24 queries for my book for middle grade girls in 2009-2010 and received 24 rejections. Still believing the book was (and is) an inspiring book for girls, I decided to self-publish my first book. Let's just say, I've learned a lot about self-publishing from that experience. It's hard to sell books when you are all alone. 

Being part of  a network is an essential part of selling books because it helps to have many voices shouting about your book online. My first traditional publisher met me thanks to the network I joined when participating in an online course. I was blown away when she chose my first mystery story for her publishing company. After joining this publisher, I learned that a built-in network is a perk when one is published traditionally because all the authors in the house join together to promote each other. 

Meeting folks here at IWSG is also networking. These helpful writers share experiences, offer information about writing publishing, and marketing, as well as support each other with friendship and promotions.

If you have a strong network, then you'll have an easier time selling books, so you may consider self-publishing. You can build a network, but it takes time. In my case, with traditional publishers, I've had lots of support instantly from fellow authors.

Today I'm a "hybrid publisher." My mysteries are with a traditional publisher, Books We Love Publishing, and my non-fiction books are self-published. I'd say I have the best of both worlds!

# # #
The 5 W's of Story Guest Authors Event
Looking forward to hosting more guest authors this month and sharing the Five W's of their stories! Come back and discover authors and great reads. AND, You may win a giveaway from an author.

You're invited to be my guest on the 5 W's. Send me an email at jqrose02 (at) gmail (dot) com.

12           C. Lee Mackenzie
26           Susan Davis
Follow this blog-- Focused on Story 
The IWSG members blog the first Wednesday of every month The list of bloggers is always available so you can hop around to the author blogs filled with humor, advice, and thought-provoking topics on writing and publishing. Find the list of participants at
Alex's IWSG page

Of Brides and Blooms by J.Q. Rose

Book Hooks--excerpts from novels      Book Hooks Blog Hop  #MFRWHooks Hello and welcome to the Focused on Story Blog. Today we're joinin...