Monthly Archives: February 2013

“K.B. Owen’s Dangerous and Unseemly Mystery Book Tour”


I cannot tell you how delighted I am! Not only do I have exciting news about Historical Mystery Novelist Kathy Owen, but I have been bestowed the title of “Mistress of Ceremonies.” I know. This is a huge honor! And I’ll be happy to tell you all why in just one moment.

For starters, I’d like to ask, who really is K.B. Owen?

Many of us know her through Twitter, Facebook, Mywana and through her blog. Yet, I am suspicious there is more to Kathy Owen than just meets the eye.

So the first thing I did was go to her website. It says that K.B. Owen resides in the beautiful east coast state of Virginia with her husband and three sons. That she loves gardening, Hummingbirds and has a special fondness for Tea and Cookies.

But then it goes on to say that Kathy taught college English for nearly two decades at universities in both Connecticut and Washington, D.C., and holds a doctorate in 19th century British literature.

Aha! That would explain her love for mystery and what helped her to create amateur sleuth, Professor Concordia Wells!

Speaking of Professor Concordia Wells…

Today, as Mistress of Ceremonies, I have the distinct pleasure of announcing the launch of:

K.B. Owen’s…

“Dangerous and Unseemly” Mystery Book Tour!

If you enjoy curling up to a cozy historical mystery, you are going to be totally enthralled by K.B. Owen’s new novel!

Here’s the description:

It’s an unseemly lesson…in murder.
The year is 1896, and Professor Concordia Wells has her hands full: teaching classes, acting as live-in chaperone to a cottage of lively female students, and directing the student play, Macbeth.

But mystery and murder are not confined to the stage. Malicious pranks, arson, money troubles, and the apparent suicide of a college official create turmoil at the women’s college. For Concordia, it becomes personal when a family member dies of a mysterious illness, and her best friend is attacked and left for dead.

With her friend still in danger and her beloved school facing certain ruin, Concordia knows that she must act. But uncovering secrets is a dangerous business, and there are some who do not appreciate the unseemly inquiries and bold actions of the young lady professor. Can she discover the ones responsible…before she becomes the next target?

Okay Kathy, now we’re really hooked!

So what’s the catch?

Ah, that’s a good question. It turns out that Kathy has added a little Mystery and fun to her book launching tour. Plus a special Prize!

So do you want to play? Here’s how it works:

At each stop in “K.B. Owen’s Dangerous and Unseemly Mystery Book Tour,” there will be a mystery question to answer. The correct answer has a corresponding letter. When you collect all the letters and unscramble them into sets of four, you’ll discover which ROOM, WEAPON, and SUSPECT. Then, at the end, you’ll email Kathy at It’s just that simple. I’ll be announcing the winner right here on my blog, at the last stop of her tour on Wednesday, April 3rd. What could you win? A free ebook copy of “Dangerous and Unseemly” and a $25 gift card of your choice to either Starbucks, Amazon, or Barnes and Noble!

Ooh Kathy, that sounds really cool!

Now if you run into a few stumpers, don’t worry! You’ll be able check out Kathy’s Mystery Quizz page at It has Clue-type graphics and lays it out, step by step. And if you join us in the middle of the tour, the complete list of Book Tour hosts can be found here and at The Email Deadline is Monday, April 1st. No foolin’! 🙂

And just so you can keep up with each clue, here’s Kathy’s scheduled date of appearances:

First stop Tomorrow, Feb 25 – Elizabeth Spann Craig – “The Butler Did It?”

Then Wednesday, Feb 27 – Janice Hamrick – “Fantastic Formula: the Perry Mason Series”

Friday, March 1 – Jill Edmondson – “What Nancy Drew and Scooby-Doo Taught Me About Writing Cozy Mysteries”

Tuesday, March 5- Margot Kinberg – “19th century Con Men – the Best Salesmen Ever”

Wednesday, March 6 – Nancy Lauzon – “Book Shower”

Friday, March 8 – Renee Schuls-Jacobson – “An Unusual Interview”

Wednesday, March 13 – Julie Glover – “The Language of 19th century Charlatans”

Thursday, March 14 – Jenny Hansen – “When You Gotta Go…in the 19th century”

Wednesday, March 20 – Rachel Funk Heller – “Skype Interview”

Monday, March 25 – Laird Sapir – “The Interview”

Friday, March 29 – Tiffany A. White – To be announced

Wednesday, April 3 – Karen McFarland (me!) – “Announcement of Winner and Tour Wrap-Up”

So please be sure to join in on all the fun!

“Dangerous and Unseemly” is available now at:

Amazon Kindle

Paperback (Amazon)

Barnes and Noble Nookbook





And please check out Kathy Owen’s website for more historical mystery at!

So what do you think? Are you ready for “K.B. Owen’s Dangerous and Unseemly Mystery Book Tour?” Mark your calendars and bookmark this post! You all know how I love to give away prizes! And since I do happen to have some pull with the author, I’m working her over as we speak! So follow all the clues and you could be a winner!

Thank you everyone for stopping by and giving Kathy Owen all your support!


Click to "Follow Me" and receive new posts by email

“It’s Not How You Start, It’s How You Finish!”

This is what I try to tell myself everyday as I work on my manuscript. Don’t worry Karen about that piece of crap you’re writing. What really matters is how it comes across at the finish.

It isn’t really a piece of crap. Well, maybe it is. Perhaps it may not be. No, it’s a piece of crap. Oh, I’m sure it isn’t. But then again, what if it is?

Since I feel so overwhelmed by this whole process, I thought I’d try to draw some inspiration from NASCAR driver Danica Patrick and the Daytona 500.


Oh, what do I get myself into?

I wrote a story a couple of years ago and sent it to an editor for an opinion. Ha! That was the brainless idea of the century. Okay, maybe a decade. But, what was I thinking? I crashed and burned. I got creamed. My little heart was smashed into pieces. Thankfully he did it with humor. But in the end, I was bleeding. It was a painful experience, really. I was a horrible mess. I thought I’d never see daylight again as I licked my wounds under the duvet with a box of Kleenex.

I had made every mistake in the book a new writer makes. Only I didn’t know it. The editor never told me. I felt like an idiot and for months I was devastated. I lost my confidence. And it took away something else from me—the willingness to just let it rip, to let creativity flow and allow myself to make mistakes. I then became my own worst enemy.

Yet, as time went on, I regained a measure of confidence. I started writing again. But this time, I was more prepared. I equipped myself by reading a number of craft books. Then off I went with vivacious verbosity, laying the foundation for another story.

I was halfway through when I took a craft class from Bob Mayer. During the class I had an Aha moment. In one of his lessons, Bob asked the question, “Do you finish what you start?”

It caught me off guard. I was not prepared to answer his question. Why?

Because when it came time to asking myself that important question, had I really finished what I had started? No, I had not.

After my defeat, I put my focus on another project. I had run away from the challenge–the challenge to finish what I had started. After all, my failure was only a first draft. Yes, I had sent a first draft to an editor.

Now I ask you, who does that sort of thing?

Me. 🙂

So, after finishing Bob Mayer’s class, I jumped right into Wana and Kristen Lamb’s Blogging for Brand class. I was now going to create my own platform. Yet, I didn’t even have a book to launch. But I was determined to make this work and gain experience.

During this time, I met a friend of Kristen Lamb who lives in England, Donna Newton. In fact, she was the first guest on my blog. After getting to know one another, she asked me to send over the bullet points from my first manuscript. After she read them, we had our first Skype session. And she was excited.

“There’s a story here Karen. But…”

What? You thought there wouldn’t be a but?

But she liked the story!

Yes, but…“you’re not showing it and I’m not going to let you get away with it! In order to do this, it needs a lot of revision.”

Then she asked me, “Will you be up to the task? Or do you want to throw the manuscript into the drawer?”

The drawer? What is the drawer really? Is this a code word for crap?

Well, I had to ask myself, what would Danica Patrick do?

It was only last year that Danica was forced to start in the back of the field after crashing during her qualifying race and was caught up again in a crash on lap three of the Daytona 500.


But did she give up?

No. She forged ahead. And since she made her debut in the same race last year, Danica Patrick will now lead the field to the green flag for this year’s 500 after qualifying at Daytona International Speedway. Danica posted the fastest speed at last Saturday’s two qualifying practices and she’s the first woman to win a pole position in Sprint Cup Series history.

People may say what they want, but this woman driver has earned her way to first position.

Now I’m not saying that this is my quest. It has never been my dream to be the fastest car in front of the pack. But if I can duplicate Danica’s persistent drive and attitude, I may just have a chance to write a pretty good story.

So I have to keep reminding myself, the race isn’t over yet. I’m in it for the long run and “it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish!”

So what do you think? Do I have what it takes to make it over the finish line? Or should I shoot myself now and get it over with? To what extent have you had to revise an MS, past or present? What sage advice was given to help pull you through the process?

Thank you so much for dropping by and for all your wonderful comments!


Click to "Follow Me" and receive new posts by email

To Write or Not to Write…


What kind of atmosphere inspires you to be at your best?

Do you work well under pressure, or does your creativity run in good measure?

Does your muse fancy daylight or does it prefer the first stroke of midnight?

I guess what I’m trying to say is that we’re all different. That means every single one of us is truly unique and extraordinary. Which is an amazing thing, right? Could you imagine living in a world where all of us were identical?

Life would truly be boring.

Because of our differences, something that works for one person, may not work for another. Yet, it helps to know that we all suffer from the same malady, even though this isn’t a one size fits all kind of gig, which in some ways might make us feel like we’re losing our minds.

So what’s the answer?

Keep writing, no matter what the mood or environment!

I think it’s in our nature to get side tracked from time to time. It happens to the best of us. We all have different obstacles thrown in our direction that divert our attention. But here’s what James Scott Bell says in his book “Plot and Structure”:

“If you want to break through with this thing called craft, you’ll need to be your own disciplinarian.”

Uh-oh. Does this mean I need to limit how much time I spend on Facebook and Twitter and Google+ and LinkedIn and Goodreads and WanaTribe? 🙂

Ah, what can I say? It’s an oldie but goodie, but it doesn’t matter how many times I peruse its pages, I’m reminded of something that inspires me. It just proves that no matter how long we’ve been writing, sometimes we just need to get back to the basics.

Here’s a few of Mr. Bell’s simple reminders that I love:

1- Get Motivated: “Today I resolve to take writing seriously, to keep going and never stop, to learn everything I can and make it as a writer.”


2- Try Stuff: “I’m digesting the material as deeply as I possibly can. I want it to be a part of me. I want it there when I write my next novel.”

Okay, got it!

3- Stay loose: “Writing is never any good when it is done in the grip of anxiety. A tense brain freezes creativity.”

Aha! This would explain why I’ve been in such a deep freeze! But the good news is, I’m thawing out!

4- First get it written, then get it right: Ray Bradbury said, “Let the world burn through you. Throw the prism light, white hot, on paper.”

Dang that perfectionism!

5- Set a quota: “Most successful fiction writers make a word goal and stick to it. Sure you were at your writing desk for three hours, but what did you produce?”


6- Don’t give up: “The main difference between successful writers and unsuccessful writers is persistence. Keep writing.”

Nope, not giving up!

So what kind of atmosphere inspires me to be at my best?

Well, I find that I write at my best when I’ve had a good night’s sleep. Sleep and a good dose of protein and exercise stimulates my brainpower, along with a designated space to write with no interruptions! Is that really too much to ask? 🙂

Now what about you? Do you ever get discouraged or distracted? Is there a specific writer, mentor or teacher of craft that has inspired you? What are some of your suggestions and what inspires you to be at your best and to keep on writing?
Thank you so much for dropping by and for all your wonderful comments!


Click to "Follow Me" and receive new posts by email

The Sweet Taste of Kiwi…More Than Just A Fruit!

After last week’s post I thought we’d switch gears and lighten things up around here. As much as I try to alter the atmosphere from one week to the next, I don’t want to get stuck running in circles. So after you take a bite out of this one, let me know what you think!

Ah Kiwi. This mouth-watering brown fuzzy berry has grown in popularity since the mid twentieth century. It’s a sweet little fruit no bigger than the size of a hen’s egg that packs a whole lot of punch. And when the Kiwi is cut open, it is then we are introduced to the splendor of its beautiful lime green center. Yes, this is a fruit with a refreshing heart.

Yet, since most of us are smack in the middle of the northern hemisphere’s winter solstice, I thought we might benefit from another type of Kiwi that is sure to warm us all up from the inside out.

New Zealand.



New Zealand is an island country situated some 900 miles east of Australia across the Tasman Sea. It sits roughly 600 miles south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga. And because of its remoteness, it was one of the last lands to be settled by humans.

There is a plethora of wonderful details that say much about this charming picturesque country. However, there is a unique relationship that I’d like to share with you that exists within close proximity of my backyard and this gorgeous Island nation. It involves an exchange program that was set up to benefit the youth in this area and New Zealand. And it only happens every three years.

The Huntington Beach Junior Lifeguard program was launched in 1963 with an initial class of 24 students that has now blossomed into a remarkable average of 1,100 students each year. Its purpose is to educate young people in the potentially dangerous ever-changing oceanic environment.

The program is world renown for teaching safety, respect, physical fitness, instruction and discipline, along with C.P.R. and other lifesaving methods, with students enrolling from other states such as Alaska, Florida, Hawaii, New York, Oregon, Utah and countries such as Germany, France, England, Japan, New Zealand, Australia and Mexico.

Since New Zealand is situated in the southern hemisphere, they are experiencing summer weather that is perfect timing for this exchange. I don’t know about you, but just thinking about this makes me warm up already. 🙂

So over a span of three weeks, starting the last week of December, a well rounded group of 28 junior lifeguards who successfully passed an interview and were able to gather the necessary $4300.00 for the trip abroad were chosen because they would represent the junior lifeguard program, their high school and the city of Huntington Beach.

Huntington Beach Junior Lifeguards

Now that’s a great-looking bunch of kids!


They devoted a week in Queenstown where they took in most of the sites and hiked up a glacier, then spent time building an international relationship with fellow junior lifeguards at the northern beaches of Piha and Tairua. There, they were taught about the native culture, though most of their time was devoted to learning local lifeguard techniques.

One of their drills included a night dive into a cave off the coast of Tairua. “It was pitch black and we only had glow sticks attached to our heads,” said sixteen year old Holly Fosmire. “It was pretty scary.” That sounds like a simulating nighttime rescue which I’m quite sure left a lasting impression.

They even completed a helicopter rescue jump though there won’t be any jumps of that nature occurring in the waters of Huntington Beach since this coastline doesn’t harbor any rock cliffs. Yet, the exercise did give that group of junior lifeguards a different perspective on how to tackle rescue issues in their local waters.

Then, after they finished their training, all 28 junior lifeguards were nationally certified as lifeguards in New Zealand.

Can you imagine what an adventure this was for these young people? Besides the new technical training, every single one said they hoped to take home with them fond memories of that beautiful island nation with all its gorgeous scenery, world-class beaches, diverse culture, and the many new friendships that were made. They knew this was a trip of a lifetime.

Yes, in this case, the sweet taste of Kiwi was more than just a fruit!

It was refreshing!

So what do you think? Have you ever had the opportunity to experience an adventure of a lifetime? Were you ever a lifeguard or taught CPR? Is there an exchange program that your city is involved with? Do you like to travel? Have you ever visited New Zealand? Or do you prefer Kiwi as a sweet mouth-watering fruit?

Thank you so much for dropping by and for all your wonderful comments!


Click to "Follow Me" and receive new posts by email