Posted in authors, children, fiction, novels, publishing, readers, writers, writing

The Ghosted Bridge by Kristy Abbott

Kristy Abbott pic

Welcome Kristy,  When did you first know you wanted to be a writer and was there a particular inspiration to get started?

I’ve always had the desire to write.  I composed my first book in the second grade.

Do you have a background in writing or take any special writing courses that helped you along the way?

I have an undergraduate degree from the University of Southern California in Journalism and a Master of Professional Writing Fiction also from USC.  I am a working online content writer specializing in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) content (such as blogs, website copy, social media messaging and eBooks) for companies in a wide variety of industries.

How long did it take you to publish your fist manuscript?

From start to finish 4 years.

Do you always write in the same genre?

Ha Ha!  No.  My first book was a novel – a ghost story set against the backdrop of Minnesota’s I35W Bridge collapse in 2007.  My second which has just debuted is a children’s picture book about a homeless cat searching for a name and a forever family – opposite ends of the spectrum!

Many of us cross over genres and it is difficult to pinpoint one to fit our books. For the book we are promoting today, what shelf would we find it on if it were in a bricks and mortar bookstore?

The Ghosted Bridge shows up on a number of shelves. Paranormal, fiction, I’ve even seen it in fantasy. Of course in Minnesota it also appears on local author shelves. You can even find it at the USC bookstore in the Alumni Authors section.
For Finding Home you’ll hopefully find it cover front out on a shelf in the Children’s section surrounded by loads of happy kids sitting on the floor with the book in their laps!”

Are you published through a traditional publishing house? If yes, how did you find your agent and publisher?

Yes, both of my books were published by a small regional press.  I did many query letters to agents and publishing houses to no avail.  This publisher – North Star Press of St. Cloud, Inc. – was looking specifically for Minnesota topics and Minnesota authors.  I scored on both fronts for both books.

Do you always write in the same POV or narrative or do you switch it up in different stories?

I did try to change one of my books from 3rd person to 1st person after I read Angela’s Ashes but it didn’t work for my story.

Authors and publishers are always talking about finding your “Voice”. Exactly what does that mean to you and how did you find yours?

I think the topic of Voice is quite interesting.  The main thing I know is that my writing voice is sometimes quite different from my out loud voice.  For me the writing lets the real Kristy Abbott come out to play without judgment.

Author, Jennie Nash was quoted on Writer Unboxed that she reads other novels to study structure. Do you follow a structure pattern such as staying in chronological order, or alternating points in time or different POV’s?

I actually write the type of structure I like to read and that means shifting back and forth between characters as the story progresses.  This includes jumping back and forth in time because I like to explore generational themes – i.e., the ghost in my book is actually the relative of someone living and both story lines happen concurrently. 

I purposely used this tactic to build suspense in The Ghosted Bridge and actually sped up the pacing of the character shifts to heighten the reader’s captivation as I got closer to the climax. I think it worked quite well.  Nearly every reader I’ve talked with brings that up and says, “You captured me.  I couldn’t put it down.”  I’m happy to have contributed to some sleepless nights!

What was the hardest part for you in the writing process; the outline, synopsis, query or building the story itself?

A few things were difficult, the query process is very disheartening.  You feel like your work doesn’t warrant an agent or publisher’s interest when you send dozens of letters out without feedback.  However, I have learned that there are LOTS of small publishing houses that are looking for niche books so I don’t feel discouraged anymore.  I’d tell any hopeful writer to acquaint themselves with publishers who might be interested in your theme or subject.

I also found it challenging to make my characters believable.  It’s easy to have a strong picture of them when they live in your head but you’ve got to make them solid for readers, too.  My main character in The Ghosted Bridge is a psychic and I had to really believe that she had these gifts to make her real.  Interestingly, the psychic goes through the book questioning her own abilities and is validated at the end. 

It is not enough to write a book and wait for the money to start rolling in. What marketing techniques do you implement to increase your sales?

Well this is the biggest thing I’ve learned about having a book published.  It doesn’t matter who you are, when you become an author, the hard work is just beginning.  I wrote a post on my blog called, Get out Of Your Longsuffering Writer’s Chair, You Are an Author Now, about the transition from being a writer to being an author.  The writer is the artist who creates the work, the author is the marketer who sells it. 

Today’s authors have to be committed to a nearly full-time effort toward marketing.  You’ve got to have a website, a Facebook page, a Twitter account, a Goodreads and Amazon profile, and a big email list.  I am good at some things and not so much at others but I’m doing everything I can think of – including getting television, radio and print interviews to get the word out about my books.

Are you a pantser or a planner?

I think I am a combination.  In terms of marketing, I go in stints and try to stay committed for the long haul.  In terms of writing, I let the story come out when it wants to.

What advice would you give to new writers just getting started with their first manuscript?

I say allow the story to be born without judgment.  I have author friends who write a few pages, maybe a chapter and then they go back and edit it before moving forward.  I feel like this completely stalls my process.  I don’t allow the editing policeman in the room until I’m pretty sure the characters are done telling their tale.

What is the biggest thing you didn’t know about being an author?

I never realized how terrifying it can be to do a book signing with the prospect of no one showing up.  We’ve all had to do events at independent book stores or Barnes & Nobles never knowing if the advanced preparation of getting the word out worked.  On those days it didn’t it can be discouraging but as an author you can’t let that derail you.

What is the premise of your novel we are promoting today?

I’m encouraging people to check out both of my books.  My novel, The Ghosted Bridge, is a fun paranormal mystery for adults.  The children’s book, Finding Home, is the heartwarming tale of second chances for lucky creatures for kids of all ages.

Ghosted Bridge Cover_The Ghosted Bridge Layout 1

Can you share a few paragraphs from your book to wet our appetite?

Attached chapter from The Ghosted Bridge.  In these paragraphs, Sedona psychic Madison Morgan is visited by a mysterious ghost for the first time, setting off a search to determine who the ghost is and what she’s trying to communicate.


Madison didn’t notice it at first.  The psychic was having so many readings a day that her tablet pages covered with numbers were filling up fast.  She made a note to go to the office supply store and get another.  She looked at her watch and then contemplated the rest of the day, one more reading, and then off to yoga at 5:30.  The phone rang.

“Yup, I’m coming.”  She told the perpetually crabby Miriam.  As she trotted down the stairs she realized that the heaviness that had been hanging around her had lifted a bit.  Mercury was leaving retrograde, she guessed.

Fifteen minutes later she was just warming up her new client (an eight of diamonds – business expertise extraordinaire) in a session on opportunities coming down the pike, when a peculiar vibration filled the room.  Immediately, Madison’s hands went cold and her hair stood on end, but she was so intent on the young woman in front of her that for a minute, she didn’t even see the older woman standing in the corner.  With the ghost’s entrance, she got a stronger shiver that told her someone from the other side was about and she lifted her eyes to meet the measured grey stare from the woman by the door.

“Holy shit,” Madison squeaked.

“What?”  The young woman sat up straight in her chair.

“Nothing, just, just…shut up for a minute.”

The girl sat back quickly with a look of shock.

Madison turned her attention to the woman in the corner.  She looked older and was dressed in a plain pastel dress.  The woman’s skin shimmered as her visible molecules filled the space where she stood.  Madison sat fascinated.  She knew from experience that these people didn’t typically speak in words. In fact, they rarely made themselves seen.   They used pictures instead.  This woman’s ability to crystallize impressed her.

The ghost stood in the corner silently.  Madison realized that this amount of energy was a huge effort.  She whispered softly to the woman.

“You have a word for this girl?”  Madison pointed at the silent girl whose face still registered confusion.  The girl looked over her left shoulder.  Seeing nothing, she looked back to Madison, eyes wider than before.

The woman gave no trace of response.  Madison tried again.  “You need something from this girl?”  The woman’s quiet presence entranced her.

“Is your mother still alive?”  Madison asked the girl quietly.



“Yes.”  The girl was brimming with prickling curiosity.  “Is there somebody here?”

Of course there is somebody here, Madison’s internal dialog snapped.  What are you an idiot?  Do you think I’m making this up?  But the voice that left her lips was soft and gentle.  “Yes, we have a visitor here.  Do you know an older woman who has passed?”

The girl brought a ragged fingernail to her mouth and began furiously chewing.

Madison breathed deeply and spoke from inside herself.  “Who are you here for?”  It seemed as though the presence would not respond but then ever so faintly, the woman moved her head slightly toward the door.  It was a subtle gesture but one that effectively told Madison this visitor wasn’t attached to the girl in the chair.

“I can’t think of…I don’t really know anybody….”

“That’s ok.” Madison cut her off.  “Just remember it.  Maybe it will come to you later.”

“Oh, ok.”

Madison looked back at the door.  The corner was empty.  She felt unbearably tired all of a sudden.  This typically happened when spirits spent that much effort to connect with her.  It was as if they tapped her energy to create a link.  She felt the weariness settle about her shoulders.  She passed her hand across her face and turned her attention back to the reading. A familiar tingle rose behind her eyes.  The sensation was a sign she’d get when she realized a heightened sensory connection.  She hadn’t felt this way in a long time.  It took nearly all her concentration to finish the reading.


Thank you, Kristy, for being one Writing Under Fire’s Author Interview Friday.  Where can readers go to buy your books?

My website: where you can read more about me, purchase my books and leave comments. I encourage you to check it out.




Posted in authors, books, characters, Florida, writers

Rare Ghosts in the Everglades inspire D.K. Christi


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWelcome D.K. Christi M. Ed., CWDP Consultant, Speaker, Author & Journalist. She is a member of the Authors Guild and Naples Press Club. She is a feature writer for  Spotlight Magazine.  http;// . She  has so many credentials, I am not even sure what they all mean. LOL

Do you have a background in writing or take any special writing courses that helped you along the way? I started out planning a career for radio or television news.

I majored in English and wrote curriculum for universities and state education departments. I was an editor for an international CPA firm, a grant-writer, a technical manual writer and contributed articles to professional journals. In my spare time, I wrote fiction stories, kept a diary and started writing my first novel while sailing in the Caribbean for three years. I spent many years working and traveling abroad which I feel provided my best background for writing.

Are you published through a traditional publishing house? If yes, how did you find your agent and publisher?

I have remained with small presses finding the search for an agent grueling, time consuming and perhaps a lot of work with little return. Many middle range authors with major publishers do no better than popular authors with small presses and even self-published. EBooks and self-publishing are changing the landscape and the publishing industry itself is in flux. The best route may differ for each author.

What was the hardest part for you in the writing process; the outline, synopsis, query or building the story itself?

My writing lives in the first person, present that is a hard sell to publishers. Thus, the most difficult part was putting my stories into third person, past tense. Actual events inspire my plot that builds through additional fiction events, places and characters. None of the writing is difficult. Edits, queries, and marketing are the major challenges.

It is not enough to write a book and wait for the money to start rolling in. What marketing techniques do you implement to increase your sales?

I’ve become quite proficient with social media and Authors Guild membership includes a great web site builder for members. My best marketing comes from the pre-press for signings, and speaking at events. Bloggers and reviewers are great for Internet exposure. I have joined everything to join for exposure and used many sales promotions. I believe, however, the best technique is knowing a celebrity and having a national platform.

What inspires you to keep writing when you’re feeling down or less confident than usual?

Writing is a business. There are no down times. I also write for newspapers and magazines with deadlines and interviews to fulfill. Southwest Spotlight News Magazines in print and online carry my Our Best Friends (dogs) column and five or more feature articles each month in two editions, twice monthly. I also write for Examiner.

What advice would you give to new writers just getting started with their first manuscript?

Write a page a day. In one year 365 pages will be ready to edit. Skip no days. Build a contact base and a platform ready for promoting the finished work. Join a critique group and writing organizations for fine tuning and networking.

Was there a mistake you made in your writing process you could share with us?

More edits and more attention to dialogue. In the future, I will think about the novel as a piece for television with scenes and a director. I started as a story teller. Today’s readers don’t want a story told to them, they wish to see it come to life with little background and all action. I was schooled in the classics and enjoy long passages of beautiful prose. Today’s readers don’t have patience for all that background and appreciation for language.

Why do you write? Give us three reasons.

I write to release the tension from all the things I think about and experience and need to put somewhere beyond my brain. Then I write to entertain a reader and bring them into the world I know. In the end, I write because I am a person of words and they simply flow. My art is the story. I am addicted to writing and lost without a pen or a keyboard.

What’s your next big writing challenge?

My next big writing challenge is to finish Bamboo Rings, Caribbean Odyssey and an anthology of my short stories.

What is the premise of your novel we are promoting today?

The rare and endangered “Super Ghost” of Blair Audubon Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary is mystical and magical as it touches the lives of all who observe its ghostly beauty and changes them forever. Neev found the roots for which she hungered at the ghost orchid while searching as a photographer for the perfect subject in the perfect light and the answer to the question: Is love eternal? Ghost Orchid was inspired by the real “Super Ghost” orchid plant that bloomed on my birthday in July 2007 and broke every wild ghost orchid record since. I am personally obsessed with its mystery and beauty and incorporated that obsession into a fiction mystery of love, lies and redemption set in the Everglades. NPR Reviews praised Ghost Orchid for the beauty of the Everglades that shines through on every page.

Ghost Orchid by D. K. Christi

Can you share a few paragraphs from your book to whet our appetite? (if so, please copy and paste here –no more than one page.


These were her friends, her companions during her afternoon walks. She spoke with them as though they would respond to her inquiries.

She stopped; and the two of them simply stared at each other. She began her journey again, walking slowly down the path. Glancing back, she saw the owl surreptitiously following her with its head moving around on its perfectly still body, the eyes glued on her, piercing and watchful.

After she passed, she heard another owl calling “Whoooooo?” from deep in the swamp; and she recognized her owl answering. She smiled and commented to the quiet vastness of the swamp,

“Ah hah, so you have a mate.”

The little anoles were every color on this day, black and brown and green. One day she saw one actually changing color, mesmerized by the miracle. Another squirrel decided to join her. They were the least timid, apparently enjoying the company of those who walked along the boardwalk. A bright red flower, all by itself, surrounded by gigantic ferns and alligator flags, five large, red petals on a tall, too-thin stem, bobbing a little in the swamp breeze, a swamp hibiscus, seemed to say,

“See, I am still here.”

Paper white blooms and a white swamp lily or two were also dressed in their finest. The more she looked, the more flowers she saw. The purple morning glories were still partially open. Tall ferns, reminiscent of the age of dinosaurs, rose from the dry swamp floor, surrounded by other broad leaf, alligator plants, trying to catch a little dew and a wisp of sunshine. The mysteries of the swamp were like a well in a story she loved, beautiful because they were initially hidden, just waiting for the right conditions for their dramatic entrance. Some pine tree seeds only opened after a fire cleared the way, dormant for years. Thus, the Everglades were always beautiful for two reasons: the obvious beauty and the mysteries left to the imagination, waiting to burst forth in the future.

The swamp was the coolest place she knew this time of year. Even on the hottest and most humid day, a little swamp breeze wafted through the trees, rustled the dry leaves and cooled the sweat on her face and arms. Her hat acted like a sweatband, stopping the salty, pooling drops from slipping down her forehead and into her eyes. She loved the winding boardwalk where she threw her shoulders back, looked up into the green canopy overhead that provided some shade and did not miss a step on her brisk walk. She breathed in the oxygen, knowing her lungs were saying “thank you” with every step.

One thing she knew about walking in the swamp: she did not cry. An overwhelming sense of peace filled her heart to overflowing with joy from the first step into its wonders until the last step out. Tears were for lonely automobiles, the back of the church, the empty rooms. She knew that her Creator who made this swamp such a beautiful and serene place where nature lived in harmony according to its predestined imprint had done no less for her. In the swamp, she felt her God filling the void in her soul; and she was at peace. This walk was the highlight of her day, a raison d’être for the long drive to a job that lost its spark with an accumulation of career disappointments. The swamp was never disappointing.

Thunder began as a rumble in the distance but rolled forward with loud crashes. Lightning soon followed all across the sky, long, jagged lines of white light connecting the growing cumulus clouds with the earth. These bolts of lightning were frightening this time of year. They started the unmanageable fires in the swamplands that filled the air with acrid smoke and threatened the homes of those who ventured too far into the wilderness. The heavy wind howled through the cypress; and heavy rains broke through the canopy, dancing on the wide alligator fronds and turning the moss covered walk to “swamp ice.” Her hat had a bill, and the initial drops simply glanced off the hat as she quickened her step. She enjoyed the warm, summer rain. She did not like the lightning. The air was alive with the crackling lightning, and she counted in her mind’s eye how far it was to the next protected area where she could wait under a shelter until the lightning subsided and the rain diminished. She was noticeably wet, her blouse clung revealingly to her skin, and the cool dampness became a bit uncomfortable.

Just as quickly as the storm arrived, it passed away. The sun returned in all its hot glory; diamonds glistened on the broad, deep green fronds and cool drops still fell from the canopy overhead. She was cool and wet, but she would dry sufficiently by the time the walk ended so she could return to work with no one knowing she came through a storm. Her recent hairstyle was straight with short bangs cut across her forehead. She wore little makeup to wash away in the rain. The main disaster was the shoes. The damp leather soles sloshed through the rain, gingerly traversing the slick pine needles, and they might separate from the straps. This happened before. The swamp was the dividing line between before and after.

Before, she talked for the entire walk with the man who resided in her heart. She shared the serenity, the pure joy of this special place that meant so much to her. In spite of the “no cell phone rule,” she was eager for his calls that he actually timed for her walks in the swamp. Perhaps for him it meant she had private time to chat, away from the office, just the two of them. She found a bench off the beaten path to be away from the occasional patrons who might give her the evil eye for whispering into a cell phone.

A radiant smile filled her face the whole time, heart racing, heat rising. He had that power over her. He was “the one,” the soul mate for whom nothing was sacrosanct, except for her painful secret that was buried too deep to reveal. They were of one mind and heart, and her very essence with all its greatness and its flaws was safe with him. He would do her no more harm. As soon as their conversations ended, she thought about all the things she should have said or chided herself for talking too much, being too eager to share every thought with him to make up for all the years of separation.

“Maybe I should have held back a few more secrets,” she thought in the painful time that came after.

Do you have another manuscript in progress? If so, can you tell us a little about it?

Bamboo Rings is under contract to Black Rose Writing, the first novel in the Bamboo Rings series that includes Ghost Orchid, already published, as the third novel. Bamboo Rings provides back story for the characters Mel and Jack briefly mentioned in Ghost Orchid. Bamboo Rings is an international adventure to exotic foreign locations woven together with a love story that begins in the Orient in the 1970’s.

Thank you D.K. It has been  real pleasure too have you on my blog. Best of luck with your newest book and the series.


Posted in authors, characters, conflict, faces, fiction, Florida, ghosts, mystery, novels, thriller, writers, writing

Bitter Secrets by Patty Brant

Patti Brant

Today we have my friend with us on Author Interview Friday. I first met Patty last year at a book event in Mt. Dora and had the privilege of spending some time getting to know her.  Welcome Patty.  Why don’t you tell the readers how you got started in writing.

I always enjoyed writing but I never did anything about it until I went to work for the Caloosa Belle, local newspaper in LaBelle. That was in 1985 – so I’ve done a lot or writing since then, all with a journalistic approach. There were times when I thought “Wouldn’t it be great to write a book?” That was followed immediately by “You’ve got to know something to write a book!” So that was always the end of it.

A lot of people could relate to that. The hard part is pushing past that.

It wasn’t till about ten years ago that I seriously thought I could do it. That’s when an idea hit me for a story. I was just driving home, nothing on my mind in particular. Then it was like someone opened up my head and dropped the words “I see faces” into my head. I thought, “You could write a story around those three works. Heck, you could write a whole book around just those three words.

So for the next couple weeks I was thinking about who these faces might be; what their circumstances were; Where in time they were as well as place. It became a mental exercise. When I wasn’t thinking about something else, I was building my little framework for these faces. I actually had the first several paragraphs in my head when I thought I should probably get them down in writing, and it all just grew from there.

They say there is a story inside all of us. Did you have any friends or mentors to help you?

I happened to know a very wonderful published writer named Barbara Oehlbeck who had written a book on roses, one on the sabal palm tree and many poems. A couple of years ago she wrote a wonderful memoir called Mama; Root, Hog, or Die. Barbara had always been very complimentary of my writing and even asked me once if I ever thought of writing a book!

I showed her what I had and she was very supportive. Every so often I’d show her what more I’d done and she would encourage me to keep going.

Finally, I had it done – but I finally finished my first book, Bitter Secrets, a mystery about a missing family with an otherworldly twist.  It took me at least three years – probably more.  I write off and on when I have the time. I can write all day, all night and all day again, but I have to be alone and have quiet. That just doesn’t happen.

Do you have a background in writing or take any special writing courses that helped you along the way?

Just with the newspaper – 29 years now. I have an AA degree in liberal arts and did well in writing classes there. Funny, though, I went to Catholic schools for 12 years – starting elementary school in 1955. I can still remember things the nuns said about writing.

What else can you tell us about yourself?

I’m from Canton, Ohio. Lived in Virginia Beach for two years (my husband was in the Navy at the time), moved to Florida (my husband’s home) in 1969. My husband was in law enforcement for 40 years. He’s retired now and keeps wondering when I’m going to retire.

We have two grown daughters, a son-in-law, and three grandchildren.

Do you always write in the same genre?

Not sure how to answer that, but I think so – so far anyway. I’m putting the finishing touches on my second book now – Full Circle – which is a sequel to Bitter Secrets. It’s a little different, though. The mystery of what happened to the Parker Family has been solved, of course, and Full Circle picks up the lives of my protagonist and several other characters from that point. There is another mystery to solve and other threads in this new story as well.

Do you always write in the same POV or narrative or do you switch it up in different stories?

Both my books are in first person. I chose that originally because everything I write for the paper is in third person, so I figured it might be a nice change.

I had several publishers try to steer me away from first person. I’ve never understood quite why.

Do you follow a structure pattern such as staying in chronological order, or alternating points in time or different POV’s?

My stories alternate in time. The original mystery in Bitter Secrets actually occurs in the 1940s. It isn’t solved until the 1980s, so I kind of straddle those four decades in that story.

There are several story lines in Full Circle, so I do more alternating of the story line in that one. That can be a little tricky because you still need the action to flow.

I also don’t want to get stuck into formula writing, I know that’s what a lot of publishers want, and it might sell, but that’s not my idea of what I want to do.

Many of us cross over genres and it is difficult to pinpoint one to fit our books. For the book we are promoting today, what shelf would we find it on if it were in a bricks and mortar bookstore?

I guess it would have to be Mystery. Like most things in my life, I find it hard to categorize.

Why did you choose to go the self-publishing Indie route in lieu of traditional publication? What were the deciding factors to choosing your publisher? Would you recommend that same Indie publisher to a colleague?

I checked companies out online and sent many, inquiries to traditional publishers. I got a few nice letters, but no takers. Talked to people who said yes, you need an agent; others who say no you don’t After going on this way for several years, I finally took the plunge and decided on iUniverse.

They have been very professional and very helpful. I know you have to be careful about “add on” services that you may not really need from any self publisher. I have used several of these services for my second book Full Circle, They were quite expensive but I also think I have learned a lot from them and I think the developmental editing service has made my book much better than it otherwise would have been.

What was the hardest part for you in the writing process; the outline, synopsis, query or building the story itself?

Well, I didn’t do an outline – maybe I should have but I really didn’t know where Bitter Secrets was going. I just kept coming up with scenarios and wrote some more. I was probably about half way through when I knew my ending, so then I could head for the light at the end of the tunnel.

I really hate trying to do a synopsis or query.

I have to laugh at that. “the dreaded synopsis and query.” Every writer’s worst nightmare. What advice would you give to new writers just getting started with their first manuscript?

First of all, know your English – grammar and spelling do count to professional writers and to serious readers. The best story in the world can be ruined by lack of attention to basic English rules. It doesn’t have to make your work stuffy.

Beyond that, I think you need a good story to tell. I think my problem for a long time was that I just didn’t have a story I wanted to tell. When I found one, I went with it!

Tell us a little more about your current work in progress.

As I said, it’s a sequel to Bitter Secrets called Full Circle and it takes up my protagonist’s life where Bitter Secrets ends. Actually, in some ways it’s an extension of Bitter Secrets. At the end of Bitter Secrets Molly (my protagonist) was given a job to do by her friend and other main character in Bitter Secrets so she must find a way to carry it out in Full Circle. Full Circle also incorporates a little romance and a good old fashioned cop story.

I’m doing the final rewrite of Full Circle now (wish I had a nickel for every time I said that!). In a week or two I should be sending it back to the publisher and the race will be on.

We must have you back on Author Interview Friday when that book comes out. I loved Bitter Secrets and look forward to the sequel. Can you tell the readers  the premise of  Bitter Secrets,  the  novel we are promoting today?

Bitter Secrets

Molly Martindale came to Oxbow, Florida, (a fictional town in Southwest Florida’s inland area) as a scared and lonely 13-year-old orphan to live with an aunt she barely knew. Sixteen years later she is a reporter for her hometown newspaper when she becomes interested in a family that “moved away” 40 years earlier. She’s never heard of this family before – in a small Southern town that prides itself on its roots, that’s hard for her to understand – and even more perplexing is that no one will talk about them much. She’s also the focus of visits by bone-chilling “faces” that seem to be begging her for  . . . something. So Molly’s reporter instincts are roused and she starts poking around in old matters some folks would rather be left covered with dust.

In her quest for the truth, she gets help from the town drunk, a wheelchair-bound Viet Nam veteran, a savvy old black man and, of course, her faces.

A little bird told me you won an award for Bitter Secrets. Congratulations. Tell us about that.

Yes, quite an exciting surprise. Bitter Secrets was a finalist in the 2013 Indie Excellence Book Awards. 

Please share a few paragraphs from Bitter Secrets.


Excerpt from Bitter Secrets by Patty Brant

I see faces.

I can’t quite remember when I first started seeing them. They were so faint, so unobtrusive, like mist gliding above the sand. More like a sigh, really, flitting just at the periphery of vision, or tangled among leaves like low-lying clouds. At some point, they began to register in my consciousness like little feathers gliding across the bottoms of my feet. Almost imperceptible, but not quite.

I had been in this small town since high school, coming as a brokenhearted thirteen-year-old orphan to live with a widowed great aunt I barely knew. Now a reporter with the Oxbow Independent, our local mullet wrapper, I, Molly Martindale, had settled quite comfortably into my life. This town had become my own.

I remember quite clearly the day I could no longer ignore these faces. I had just spent the better part of my day wrestling with an absentee boss—you know, the kind who rarely shows her face and still manages to give you grief. As I finally hung up the phone for the last time and switched off the light, it was just about dusk. When I pulled the key from the front door lock and turned to the darkening street, it must have been bedtime for the birds. They were swishing through the air, calling to each other, making quite a ruckus. At first I hoped the waning light was playing tricks on my strained eyes.

But no, I was certain. There really was something up in the branches of that old orchid tree. All my instincts said there was.


Thank you so much for this opportunity to connect with other writers and readers. It’s always encouraging when someone shows an interest in your passion.

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