Welcome debut author Kim Ligon

Author Kim Ligon published her debut novel, Polly’s List, this year, courtesy of The Wild Rose Press. We thought a fun Q&A about process and inspiration was in order. 

Please welcome Kim to the publishing trenches and to Write Despite.

What inspired you to write this novel?

I had a list of things that were really “pent up demand” items that I wanted to tackle when I retired. Writing and publishing a novel was one of them. I had written several other stories before I began “Polly’s List”. The inspiration for Polly’s story sprang from another of those demand items. I bought a spinning wheel and taught myself to spin. It is a complex process but once you get it going, it’s very rhythmic and peaceful. I sit and spin looking out my window. We live on a cul-de-sac at the end of the street. Mostly what I see is critters creeping out of the nearby woods, the mailman, and the occasional lost soul turning around because they turned one street too late. 

I began thinking about looking down on the neighborhood activity from a third story window. No one would know you were there. What if you saw something evil? What would you do? What if the perpetrator of the crime knew you were up there? Would anyone believe an old woman who lives alone? How could you prove there was a crime? Then, Polly and what she saw while spinning was born. 

How did you choose the voice? 

It wasn’t a conscious choice. I float between the main characters and what they are seeing and thinking including Polly from her coma. The story unfolded that way and it stayed that way. 

Most difficult aspect of the process?

Remembering that the reader couldn’t see inside my head unless I put the words on paper. Early readers helped point the problem out by asking lots of whys about characters and about actions. Dianne Rich, my editor, did a yeoman’s job of pulling the story into deep point of view and immeasurably improving my writing. After it was published, I’d say marketing is the hardest. It can suck down so much of your time. 

How many drafts do you go through? 

You can’t hear me, but I’m laughing. There were at least four before I let anyone else see it. By the fourth draft, I had added all the characters that were going to be in the final cast. I went through three more rather substantially altered drafts before TWRP got it. Then another major improvement before I got the contract. After I started working with Dianne, we went through three drafts that were in part me learning more about my craft; comma splices, en and em dashes, Oxford commas. Probably things I should have already known but my manuscript did not show it. I wrote a verse about it and posted it on my blog www.spinningromance.com

Who were your manuscript readers/feedback posse along the way? 

My husband is a voracious reader and willing to be my first reader and to give me feedback. He had just finished reading a Sue Grafton novel when he read my debut novel. He said my mystery was on a par with hers and I really didn’t need to ruin it with R******. He wanted me to be a novelist/author, not just a romance writer. 

My other early-and-often reader was my dear friend, Millie. It takes someone who really knows you and loves you to tell you where the story sucks. She had spot-on recommendations and a gift for asking just the right questions to send me in the correct direction.


Writing Despite Cerebral Palsy

Writing is a challenge on so many levels. We all know the terrain.  Imagine, then, adding the very ability to type, to capture your words quickly and effortlessly, to the list. Novelist Karina Bartow could write a book about this. In fact, she has, and here she shares her story of courage in overcoming the limits that life throws at us.

Please welcome Karina to Write Despite.

When one starts a writing journey, there are often many obstacles. You wonder if you really have the creativity and skill to get anywhere, and you might struggle with whether or not you have the time and dedication to devote. When I began my first novel in 2008, I contended with all those doubts…plus a disability. 

Born with Cerebral Palsy, I’m limited in various ways, the most inconvenient being my lack of control with motor skills. I say I have one good hand, but it still isn’t a showpiece. Nonetheless, it helps me to have a high-functioning life, especially in my writing. 

When the writing bug bit, my family and I discussed the logistics of me typing out a book. I experimented with speech recognition programs, but my speech doesn’t register well with them. My sister and mom typed little children’s stories I composed when I was a kid, and we threw around the idea of me dictating my thoughts into a recorder.

But I was determined to do this all on my own merit. Plus, I knew my wonderful and well-intentioned mother wouldn’t be able to resist the urge to chime in.

Thus, I set off and began to type with my one good hand. Because of past disappointments, I didn’t set a deadline accepted however long it would take. To my surprise, I finished my first draft within about a year-and-a-half. Nowadays, I can typically complete one in a year or less. 

As with many writers, my writing is a very personal art form, and through it, I release a lot of my own inner battles. So, you might expect I’d rush to write about the challenges inflicted by my handicap, but that wasn’t the case. In my first novel, Forgetting My Way Back to You, the protagonist suffered an accident, so I incorporated a few of my struggles there. 

Still, I resisted leaning in too much, because I didn’t want my disability to define me or my work. 

Then, a mystery novel started to form in my mind. I believed in the plot and all, but I wanted some way to make it my own, mainly because I don’t like mysteries that feature investigation without anything personal. Mulling it over, I saw an opportunity to channel my experiences as a handicapped person striving to defy the odds. 

Hence, my character Minka Avery was born. She’s a deaf detective, who often gets underestimated. Though she has a different kind of disability, I’ve worked in many of the highs and lows I’ve encountered in my efforts to live a normal life despite my differences.  You can meet Minka in Husband in Hiding and Brother of Interest.

Whether your challenges are external or internal, don’t give up on your dreams. As they say, turn your mess into your message. 

Connect with Karina on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter

Only a simple shoebox, but full of secrets…

U.K. author LB Griffin is celebrating the release of her brand-new novel, The Twenty-One-Year Contract. A sequel to her debut, Secrets, Shame and a Shoeboxit’s getting great reviews and is filled, like all of LB’s work, with “women don’t see themselves as courageous, strong, or survivors, but they certainly are.”

Only a simple shoebox, but full of secrets…

Kathleen Gray—talented, a little wild, at times rebellious, but always popular—has a fun, easy life in rural Somerset, with a doting family. 

Suddenly, they are gone, everything is changed, and she has only Uncle Jack. Try as he might, he cannot be father and mother to her—he has a business to run and his own life to manage.

Kathleen takes a chance and becomes Kate Westfield, fending for herself in London, with a new life built on her hopes and dreams and new friends. She could hardly have imagined that one of those friends has a shoebox full of answers.

LB stopped by to answer a few questions about the business of writing and of being a writer. Please welcome her to Write Despite.

Why do you write? I love writing. It’s as simple as that. I get an idea and I have to put it down. But when I hear back from my readers, when they tell me something positive about themselves or the book, it really makes my day. One reader wrote after reading Secrets, Shame, and a Shoebox: “I’m so glad Harriet was fired from her job. At least she didn’t have to put up with that dreadful employer!” Another person: “I hated that CJ. What a monster!” My heart sang. It’s such a compliment, and so heartwarming to know that they’ve enjoyed my book. It means that I have done my job. What more can I ask? I’m truly humbled to think my stories provoke thought and emotion with characters that readers can identify with.

How do you come up with your stories?

Coincidences. How many times have you been on holiday and bumped into someone you know in a far-flung country? Or met someone that you knew as a child and found has lived for years just a stone’s throw away? What are the chances? But they’ve happened to me. I bet they have happened to you. Or maybe you know someone who has shared their experiences anecdotally at a party or over coffee.

Plus, my characters are really bossy! They often wake me up in the middle of the night shouting, “Hey listen, I’ve got something to say, come on write it down. Now!” How can I possibly ignore that? They are real, honest, lovely hardworking people, but of course, there’s always that pesky villain that shines and everyone loves to hate.  

What’s the fun part of writing and why? 

I love the way the characters grab me by the hand and lead me along paths I could never have dreamed of. They tell me what they want to say, and what’s going to happen next. Who would have thought it? I love that, and I love them. They are survivors, though they don’t see themselves that way, they sure are! 

Why did you write The Twenty-One-Year Contract?

I’m an observer of life. Like most writers I imagine, and I’ve been fortunate to travel and to have worked alongside and taught some amazing people. And those I taught, taught me so much more! I’ve admired their strength of character, their courage, and will to live. I learned so much from them, it has been astounding. I needed to share their experiences in a way that doesn’t affect them, but hopefully shows others they can be brave, too. Just read my books.

What’s the most difficult part of writing and why?

Okay, well let’s get down to brass tacks. Finding time and that difficult word: Marketing! It stops me doing what I love most. Writing! 

For me marketing is a real issue. Unless you are a natural born salesperson, which I am not. Some people can sell snow to the Inuits or send sand to the Sahara! But I’ve never been good at bragging about myself, and that’s what it feels like. Selling my brand, telling everyone I’m great, my books are great. Go out and buy my books. Really, that’s not me. I’m shy enough as it is! But it would be wonderful if you did buy my book! My sincere thanks go to every reader who has or is considering buying my book. Without you lovely readers, writers wouldn’t be needed. So, thank you from the very bottom of my heart. 

How do you get to know your readers? What do you learn from your readers? 

Reviews are brilliant. They tell a story. I learn from that and thank them for their valuable time and effort who have shared their kind thoughts.

I also blog. I offer simple writing suggestions for budding authors and share what I’ve learned and am still learning! 

I offer to host authors, new and experienced, to give my readers a chance to see who else is out there and listen to how they work. 

LB Griffin has been happily married for over 40 years and is surrounded by her family in Wiltshire. She has always written around the full-time paid job. She’s held a range of jobs from cleaning, barmaid, childminder, social worker and is proud to have lectured for 21 years. She absolutely loves writing fiction. Her stories touch upon social issues and are filled with gentle hints of romance.

Find LB on social media:




Enjoy some small-town stories

Hey Friends,

I was thrilled to have my novel, Arborview, included in this BookTrib recommended list of novels set in small towns.

Small towns are a genre unto themselves in literature. Please check out some of these titles. Some wonderful writers here, and settings that showcase community, connection, meaning–and sometimes the lack thereof.



Book gifts and reviews: the gifts that keep on giving!

Hi Friends,

We’re wishing everyone the best this holiday season. What books are on your gift list this year? And which ones are you hoping to receive? Please share. I just finished Andre Dubus III’s outstanding Gone So Long, and I’m gifting it to my husband.

In this season of giving, I’d like to ask anyone who has read Arborview to please leave a review on Amazon and/or Goodreads. These reviews have become so important—too important, but that’s another story—and promoters and publishers keep an eye on them. If you can spare a few minutes, I would be ever so appreciative. You can just rate the book and jot a few words. “Nice read” or “enjoyed this” are fine. 

Here is the Amazon link: Amazon

And here’s Goodreads:  Goodreads

Good luck and good health in the new year!


A mystery trilogy is born

Many readers enjoy the challenge of a good whodunnit or the tension of a spooky, hair-raising narrative roller coaster. The mystery genre is bursting with titles. Best-selling author Randy Overbeck is a genre veteran. His thrillers have earned him national awards and five-star reviews.

Here, Randy shares the story behind his trilogy.

Take it away, Randy:

In 2019, the Wild Rose Press launched its Haunted Shores Mysteries with my story about Darrell, a teacher and coach who sees ghosts, and the ghost of a student haunting a high school. BLOOD ON THE CHESAPEAKE was so well received by readers and reviewers that it became a #1 Amazon best seller!

Then, last year, my publisher released CRIMSON AT CAPE MAY in the middle of the pandemic. It’s a story featuring the specter of a bride murdered on her wedding night, who stalks Darrell, still bleeding in her white wedding dress. This second entry has won three national awards and, by now, the series has amassed more than a dozen 5-Star reviews from national and international reviewers. This fall CRIMSON joined BLOOD in the best seller category, hitting #2 on Amazon.

As I pondered the third installment, I realized I wanted to keep all the critical elements of the series—cold case murder, ghost, romance and resort—but I also wanted to give my readers something different. On a break from my brainstorming, I was thumbing through family pictures and came upon a photo of my grandkids playing on a playground. Staring at the images of the smiling faces, it hit me. What if the mystery was about the death of two kids? Two kids whose ghosts haunt Darrell on their quest for justice?

The rest, as they say, is history. Our last vacation—pre-pandemic—was to the Florida Gulf coast to find a suitable location for my narrative, and I found a great one. Thus, SCARLET AT CRYSTAL RIVER was born. Well, that and hundreds of hours of writing, revising, re-writing, editing, re-writing…well, you get the picture. I’m pretty happy with the end product, and I hope readers are, too.

“A ghost story with a twist, Scarlet at Crystal River is a bestseller in the making. Brilliant descriptive narration sucks the reader in and doesn’t let go until the end of the story. Paranormal and mystery readers will love Scarlet at Crystal River. If you’re looking for a spine-tingling mystery, pick up Scarlet at Crystal River. Highly recommend!” 5+ Stars—N N Light Bookheaven

SCARLET AT CRYSTAL RIVER… Darrell and Erin thought they were heading to Florida for a carefree honeymoon, but the ghosts of two immigrant children haunt them, pleading for help.

Buy Links



Connect with Randy on social media





Tik Tok @authorrandyo

Publish or perish? Re-releasing a title, minus your publisher

Author Amber Daulton decided to re-release her novel, A Hero’s Heart, herself, and so she waded into the waters of self-publishing. It’s something a lot of writers consider these days. Self-publishing has its pros and cons. Let’s hear from someone who took the plunge.

Take it away, Amber:

The rights to A Hero’s Heart reverted to me a few months back, and though I could’ve kept it with the publisher, I chose to self-publish it for a couple of reasons. The book was first released in 2013 and has been languishing with minimal sales for some time, so I wanted to refresh the metadata and give it a cover makeover, a new edit, and a new blurb. I also wanted to set my own prices, earn a higher royalty share, start and end sales at my leisure, and have the ability to update the file whenever I needed to. The freedom to control the life of my book is definitely important to me and something I’ve wanted for a while.

However, there are downsides to self-publishing. Some readers flock to publishers’ websites and buy whatever catches their eye. Those readers will no longer have access to A Hero’s Heart, so I’ll lose potential fans. The responsibility of creating the book files, cover, and metadata and uploading the files to the sometimes difficult-to-navigate retail sites have fallen solely on me. I’ve been so busy getting the book ready for publication, including taking care of the more “author/marketer stuff” like writing blog posts, articles, interviews, and creating teasers, that I haven’t written an actual book in months. I’m now wearing multiple hats—author, publisher, and marketer—so my time is precious.

Am I happy I decided to re-release A Hero’s Heart as a self-published book? Yes, and I would do it again. With luck, once the release hoopla dies down, I can better rearrange my time to work on another manuscript.

Readers, do you prefer traditionally published or self-published books? Or do you not have a preference as long as the writing quality is good? Please leave a comment below. I’d love to know.

A Hero’s Heart: Lies. Betrayal. A million-dollar bounty.
Check out A Hero’s Heart on Bookbub and it to your Goodreads page.
Find the book though this universal sales link – https://books2read.com/aherosheart

About the Author
Amber Daulton is the author of the romantic-suspense series Arresting Onyx and several standalone novellas. Her books are published through Daulton Publishing, The Wild Rose Press, and Books to Go Now, and are available in ebook, print on demand, audio, and foreign language formats. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and demanding cats. 

Connect with Amber via social media: https://linktr.ee/AmberDaulton

Early book reviews, just in time for Halloween

Happy almost Halloween. Arborview is almost one month old, and I have to say it’s been a fun and productive month. I had a terrific Zoom launch reading hosted by my local library, and I have a few more events scheduled in coming months.

Numerous blogs and promoters have already featured Arborview, and we’ve received some really nice reviews, for which I am truly grateful.

Here are some of my favorite mentions:

A fun author interview with N.N. Lights Book Reviews.


“10 Things”, courtesy of Joanne Guidoccio, a fellow Wild Rose Press author.

One  sparkling book review ... and another one from two wild women

And this book spotlight with a nifty little video

Please add your voice to the review chorus. Check out Arborview and tell me what you think? Reviews are welcome on AmazonGoodreads, and BookBub.

Hope all your Halloween dreams come true—the good ones, that is!


Fictional Women in the Wild West

Happy Monday!

Please welcome novelist Julie Howard to Write Despite. Julie’s new novel, The Three Widows of Wylder, was just released by The Wild Rose Press.

Julie writes historical fiction. Here, she treats us to a bit about her process, her inspiration, and the tough road women traveled in the American Old West.

Take it away, Julie:

Thank you, Karen, for hosting me on your blog. I’m happy to talk a bit about the inspiration for my upcoming release, The Three Widows of Wylder, a historical fiction that takes place in the American Old West. There are three main characters in this story, as the title implies, and each gets their own chapter in alternating fashion. Early on, their stories merge as they join up to escape their pasts.

I’ve had shadows of these characters in my mind for a few years, with the overarching story inspired by a few people I know. The characters are nothing like the real people I’ve known. When a real person inspires a character, the inspiration could come from a brief conversation or the way someone views life. It could be evoked by a physical quirk or the way someone laughs at their own jokes. Often, that’s enough to get my imagination into gear.

In this story, the women have complicated pasts with secrets to hide. They band together in a disharmonious goal to reach safety. In their previous lives, these are women who would never become friends, but their plights compel them to work together.

This story is part of a broader series my publisher, The Wild Rose Press, has produced, where each book is set in the fictional town of Wylder, in the old Wyoming Territory. In 1882 when my book is set, Wyoming was truly the Old West and under a huge change. The area attracted a huge mix of people, from adventurers seeking lands to explore to ranchers to outlaws. I’ve always been intrigued with how difficult women had it during this time, and how hard they had to struggle to have any independence at all. For the most part, their existence was ruled by the men in their lives. These themes, too, play a large role in this novel.


Emma stood, legs apart, one hand on the pistol at her hip. The covered wagon was the type used years ago by pioneers, before trains tamed the prairie, and they still lumbered across areas where tracks hadn’t been laid. Two women sat side-by-side, too focused on their argument to yet notice the camp they entered. Their one horse, overmatched by the heavy wagon, was damp with sweat, its mouth flecked with froth. 

“We should have stayed on the main road.” The peevish one appeared much younger, curly gold hair topped by a large straw hat. She wore a light-yellow dress with lace at her wrists and throat, a perfectly inadequate outfit for travel. “Someone could have provided directions.”

The older woman had finely-drawn features, a few strands of gray threaded through her dark, uncovered hair. Dressed in sensible blue calico, she gripped the reins too tight and the poor horse gave a pathetic shake of its head. “The whole point was to avoid people,” she sniped.

Emma strode forward and seized the reins. “For God’s sake, you’re killing him.”

The two women gaped as though at an apparition. The horse, released from harsh hands, lowered its head and halted. Its sides heaved as flies drank at its sweaty flanks.

“Whomever let you two fools handle a horse should be whipped.” Tempted to dispatch the women to hell for their cruelty, Emma rested her hand on the pistol’s handle.

They two travelers spoke in tandem. “Who are you?” and “How dare you call me a fool.”

As Emma crooned into in the horse’s ear, her expert fingers undid the buckles at its shoulders and haunches. By the time the older of the two women climbed to the ground, the horse was unhitched and Emma led it to the creek.

“That’s our horse,” cried the one in yellow. “Clara, what is that insane girl doing? She’s stealing him.”

Emma halted, shoulders stiff. She turned and pointed the pistol at the one with lace at her throat. “I’m no horse thief.” She cocked the hammer. “Apologize.”

About the author:

Julie Howard is the author of the Wild Crime mystery series and Spirited Quest paranormal mystery series. She is a former journalist and editor who has covered topics ranging from crime to cowboy poetry. She is a member of the Idaho Writers Guild and editor of the Potato Soup Journal. 

Find Julie on social media:

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/juliemhowardauthor

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Julie-Howard/e/B07D6CS4NQ/

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/julie-howard?list=author_books

Twitter: https://twitter.com/_JulieMHoward

Follow her on Instagram: @authorjuliehoward 

 Buy links for The Three Widows of Wylder:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Three-Widows-Wylder-West-ebook/

iBooks: https://books.apple.com/us/book/the-three-widows-of-wylder/id1585169665

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-three-widows-of-wylder-julie-howard/

Sweet read and a recipe

Here at Write Despite, we really like baked goods and pastry, which is why Sarita Leone is a perfect guest blogger. Sarita loves happy endings—in life and on the page. The lead character of her new book? A baker.

Sarita’s story is part of The Wild Rose Press’ upcoming Christmas Cookies Series. Each book features a holiday recipe. Sarita spotlights the delectable snickerdoodle. Snickerdoodle Snowmen is available November 3. 

More from Sarita:

When I heard about The Wild Rose Press’ Christmas Cookie Series, I immediately remembered all the wonderful hours I’ve spent baking holiday cookies. Baking is one of my passions, so there was no doubt in my mind I’d submit a story to this special series. 

But how to pick just one cookie? A tough one, that. I mean, let’s face it there are so many yummy recipes to choose from! But in the end it came down to a matter of comfort. Snickerdoodles seem so warm and inviting, such a comfortable and comforting cookie. So, I pulled out my recipe and baked a batch—just for inspiration, you know. 

It worked, because the longer I rolled dough balls and pulled perfectly crinkled cookies from the oven, the more I liked the idea of writing about dreamers, the snowy Alaskan wilderness, and romance beneath the Northern Lights. Before I’d washed the cookie sheets, I had a good idea where this unlikely couple would end up. And that, the ending, is a bit of a wintery surprise! 

I loved writing this story, and I’m hoping it will bring warmth and holiday cheer to readers. It releases on November 3 but is already available for pre-order from Amazon.

And in case anyone wants to bake their own snickerdoodles, I’ve included my recipe.

Thanks so much for having me here today!  


1 cup shortening
1 ½ cups sugar
2 eggs (egg substitute is fine)
2 ¾ cups sifted flour
2 t cream of tartar
1 t baking soda
½ t salt

Combine shortening and sugar until well mixed and fluffy. 

Add the rest of the ingredients, mix well. 

Roll dough between your palms to form balls. 

Combine 2 tablespoons sugar and 2 teaspoons cinnamon in a small bowl. 

Roll each ball in the cinnamon sugar mixture. 

Bake about 10 minutes or until lightly golden brown.