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Archive for March, 2010

Flahertys-CrossingFor the past twenty years, Kaylin McFarren has worked in PR and marketing for her family-owned conglomerate, the Yoshida Group, which consists of eighteen diverse corporations. She was appointed as one of nine commissioners to the Oregon Arts Commission by Governor Kitzhaber while working as the director of a nationally-acclaimed art gallery in Portland, Oregon.

Kaylin has also served on numerous college and charity foundation boards, and continues her commitment to hospitals and children’s causes. For most of her life, she has written poems and short stories, and along with novels, currently writes articles for a syndicated travel magazine. Although Flaherty’s Crossing is Kaylin’s début novel, it has already garnered numerous awards and received recognition as a 2008 Golden Heart® Finalist.

http://www.kaylinmcfarren.com
http://www.flahertyscrossing.com

Q: Have you always wanted to be a writer?

Yes, most of my life. I honestly remember writing poems when I was five years old. I got into short stories when I was in junior high and eventually some of them ended up in my high school newspaper. My interest in writing continued for years but was limited to public relations with an emphasis on press releases and daily correspondence. In regard to novels, although I’ve contemplated penning a few for some time now, I’ve actually been writing manuscripts for a relatively short period of time.

Q: Tell us briefly about your book.

In short, Flaherty’s Crossing is the story of a young woman’s emotional, faith-seeking journey that begins when her estranged, dying father reveals the part he played in her mother’s untimely death.

Q: What are you working on at the moment?

I’m presently working on an action/adventure romance titled Severed Threads. Here’s the jest of the story: In order to save the life of her estranged brother from a ruthless mobster, former marine biologist Rachel Lyons is forced to steal a legendary artifact out from under Jordan Novak, a salvage diver and former love interest. However, when she discovers that Jordan has his own unselfish agenda for recovering the treasure, Rachel must decide whose life and love is more important.

I’m hoping to turn Severed Threads into a series which will take readers into mysterious and entrancing worlds such as Kyoto’s geisha quarters. I’m one of those writers who are never short on ideas – just a good, old-fashioned Irish storyteller I guess.

Q: Do you have a favorite character? Why is s/he your favorite?

Drew Coleman in Flaherty’s Crossing is one of my favorite characters. He’s an attractive, middle-aged divorce attorney who has spent most of his life trying to live up to his father’s expectations. In the midst of struggling with his obligations and job responsibilities, Drew’s marriage to Kate Flaherty explodes over trust issues and is left in total disrepair. However, when he learns his wife’s life is at risk, his priorities quickly shift and he discovers where his love and loyalties truly lie.

Q: What type of music, if any, do you listen to while you write? Do you need the noise or the silence?

I love to listen to music and my taste varies depending on my mood and the stories I’m working on. When I need romantic inspiration, I listen to Enya or old Stevie Nicks’ songs. I love to create intimate conversations while Michael Buble croons. But I’ve also been known to blast some U-2 and Springsteen when I’m writing an intense or dramatic scene.

Q: How do you balance out the writer’s life and the rest of life? Do you get up early? Stay up late? Ignore friends and family for certain periods of time?

Well, my children are grown, my husband travels extensively, and I have a great library with lots of peace and quite. This affords me the luxury of writing as much as I like, which could easily involve working from 10am – 1am. However, my friends and family find ways to drag me to lunches, to movies, and on vacations just so I don’t completely alienate myself.

Q: The main characters of your stories – do you find that you put a little of yourself into each of them or do you create them to be completely different from you?

I’ve been known to include aspects of myself and the people closest to me in my characters – especially in regard to appearance, conversations, career choices, and interests. I guess that’s what makes them more believable – three dimensional, you might say.

Q: So I understand you have a special project for all the proceeds from your book Flaherty’s Crossing. Can you tell us about this?

After witnessing my father’s relentless battle with terminal cancer and his passing at the young age of 64, my emotions were in complete turmoil. I was angry at him for leaving, at God for the suffering he endured, at the world in general for not taking notice. I searched for an outlet – a way to vent my feelings, and was fortunate in finding the resolution I needed by writing Flaherty’s Crossing.

In the course of creating this story, I had the opportunity to speak to various individuals who have lost loved ones and came to realize that everyone is somehow affected by this non-discriminating disease. This novel became more than a fictional account. It evolved into a personal journey – one that my father has traveled on right beside me, inspiring and encouraging me all along the way.

In order to honor his memory and to do my part to bring an end to this terrible disease in our lifetime, I have chosen to donate all the proceeds from the sale of this book to the cancer research center at Providence Medical Center, and strongly urge anyone who enjoys reading to purchase a copy of Flaherty’s Crossing. If you take a moment to visit one or both of my websites, you’ll discover a direct buy button, complete excerpts to read, a book trailer to watch, and the inspiration that lead to this story.

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New Marketing Challenge :)

I decided to come up with a new marketing challenge that would benefit everyone who participated. Now you might ask how this could possibly be true. Is there a gimmick, a ploy, a secret plot to steal and sell all of your names and addresses? Well, you know what? The answer is NO!

But there is one teeny tiny catch.

Since Flaherty’s Crossing is an award-winning, inspirational novel and all my proceeds benefit cancer research, by purchasing this eBook for only $4, downloading it in 60 seconds, reading it from beginning to end, and writing a genuine review on Amazon.com, you will have an opportunity until June 30, 2010 to win a $100 American Express Gift Card. Now doesn’t that sound simple?

What it comes down to is…the best overall review wins! So what are you waiting for? Go to: http://lnk.ms/7Np6v and let’s make a miracle happen together.

Kaylin 😀

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Kaylin’s First Sale Story

Everyone has a first sale story…

My journey to publication has been an enlightening experience, to say the least. Exactly one year ago, I was in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico on an annual family vacation. While everyone was sunning themselves around the pool, I snuck off to check emails at a local internet café. Lo and behold, I spotted a familiar name in my mailbox: Champagne Books. At this point, I had already received letters from approximately eighteen publishers – kind and complimentary mind you, but still rejections. So you can imagine my state of mind as I sat there on a metal chair determining if I really wanted to open that message and ruin a perfectly good vacation.

I took a deep breath, glanced around at other customers typing away, and then returned by attention to J. Ellen Smith’s letter. I am pleased to offer you a contract… I almost fell off of my seat. Was it really possible that someone saw the potential in my story? Ten minutes later, I was back at the pool with a strawberry Margarita in one hand, a printed out message in the other, and a huge grin on my face.

However, arriving at this point in my journey was an adventure in itself. Sixteen years ago, my world was turned upside down. I lost my beloved father to colon cancer after an intense two and a half year battle. I was angry at him, at God, at the world in general. I needed an outlet and found it by sitting down in front of my computer, releasing emotions that were racing through my head and heart. This therapeutic exercise gradually evolved into a related fictional story about a woman’s personal journey to find faith and forgiveness. In the process of writing Flaherty’s Crossing and exploring my main character’s growth, I found myself learning and growing as well.

I entered this “genre-blending” story in numerous contests, knowing that agents and editors would be involved in final round judging. I was amazed that I won time and time again, but there was never a request for a full manuscript. I set to work creating a great query letter. I requested reviews from my rough-draft manuscript, and participated in pitch sessions at various conferences. Although I eventually received numerous requests for full copies, I learned a very difficult lesson from trying to market a book that is “out of the box”…so to speak. Although Flaherty’s Crossing was truly a labor of love and the agents who read it consistently loved my voice and writing style, they weren’t sure how to market it or where it would sit on the shelf.

Now this didn’t prevent my manuscript from grabbing the interest of one visionary agent in New York. She complimented me for being original, and absolutely fell in love with this story. However, after being under contract for only six months and having received rejections by eight of the largest publishing houses, she felt that changing the story line completely and emphasizing romance would ultimately be the best solution. Long story short, we parted ways and since I no longer had agent representation, I sought out smaller houses on my own.

In closing, all I can say is…persistence pays off. On February 1st, Champagne Books officially released Flaherty’s Crossing and I’m proud to announce that I’ve chosen to donate all my proceeds to the colon cancer research project at Providence Medical Center in my father’s name. In the meantime, I’m busy writing again and have discovered my passion for creating action-adventure stories. It’s my hope that once Severed Threads is completed, it will touch lives and inspire readers as deeply as Flaherty’s Crossing.

You can visit Kaylin online at www.kaylinmcfarren.com or visit her book’s website at www.flahertyscrossing.com.

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Kaylin’s St. Paddy’s Post

With St. Paddy’s Day just around the corner, do you have special plans? As for myself, I intend to visit a few of the finest Irish pubs in the Northwest, just to watch a bit of clogging and to enjoy some rollicking tunes… and maybe a green beer or two as well. But this fun-loving holiday would not be complete without enjoying a few of my most-prized, hearty recipes. So to my loyal readership, enjoy with my blessings:

Guinness® Corned Beef – This is a “melt-in-your-mouth dish and well-worth the wait! (Prep Time: 20 Minutes/Cook Time: 2-1/2 Hours)

4 pounds corned beef brisket
1 cup of brown sugar
1- 12 oz. can of Guinness® Irish Stout beer
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C)

Rinse the beef completely and pat dry. Place the brisket on rack in a roasting pan or Dutch oven. Rub the brown sugar on the corned beef to coat entire beef, including the bottom. Pour the bottle of stout beer around, and gently over the beef to wet the sugar. Cover, and place in preheated oven. Bake for 2 1/2 hours. Allow to rest 5 minutes before slicing.

Note: During the last hour, add vegetables in the roasting pan as well. Try a wedge of cabbage, new potatoes, onion, carrots, etc. You may need to add a little more beer with your vegetables.

Kaylin’s One-Hour Buttermilk Rolls – A nice replacement to the standard Irish Soda Bread (Preheat oven to 450 degrees)

2 packets dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
3 Tbsp sugar
1/2 cup melted butter or margarine, divided
1-1/2 cups lukewarm buttermilk
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
4-1/2 cups bread flour

Dissolve yeast in warm water. Add sugar and 1/4 cup butter. Stir to dissolve sugar. Add buttermilk, salt and soda, and stir to blend. Add flour and blend to form dough. Set in a warm place and let rise for 10 minutes. Turn dough out on a floured area and knead briefly until smooth. Roll dough with a rolling pin to about 1/4″ thick. Cut in circles with a cookie cutter. Brush with some melted butter. Fold in half and place on a greased cookie sheet. Brush the top with more melted butter and let rolls rise for 40 minutes. Bake at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Makes about 1-1/2 dozen

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