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SEVERED THREADS – A NOVEL
REVIEWED BY: EDITORIAL BOARD
The Editorial Board of The Columbia Review accepts submissions from authors, publishers, directors, agents, producers and fans. http://www.TheColumbiaReview.com

“Severed Threads” by Kaylin McFarren is the first installment in romantic suspense series. It provides an engaging mix of mystery, action, and drama that readers are sure to enjoy.

The story’s protagonist is Rachel Lyons, who is devastated after her father dies from a terrible diving accident. Rachel copes as best she can by choosing a life path that seems safe and comfortable. Her path soon becomes not so safe and comfortable, however, when she is drawn very reluctantly into an endeavor to recover a priceless relic from a sunken Chinese merchant ship. Because a former love interest named Chase Cohen is involved in the adventure, Rachel strongly desires not to be involved:

“Word had it, Chase Cohen, the renowned treasure hunter, was more determined than ever to leave his mark. He’d rifled ocean plots stretching from Spain to Key West, selling off remnants of other people’s lives. She had hoped their paths would never cross again.”

Despite her adamant hope to stay away, however, Rachel finds herself pulled into the situation as a result of yet another traumatic event. A drug-dealing gangster kidnaps Rachel’s brother and holds him ransom for $2 million. After learning about this horrific situation, Rachel determines that she has no choice but to become involved in the recovery of the ship’s relic…because it also holds the Heart of the Dragon, which she must steal to save her brother. The whole process forces Rachel to relive the circumstances of her father’s death, an experience that she finds incredibly challenging:

“She pulled the covers under her chin and longed to be lulled to sleep by the ship’s rocking motion—to be transported to a peaceful place. However, whether her nightmares were triggered by being aboard Stargazer or in the proximity of the place where he had met his untimely death, they had grown in intensity. They had become so horrifying and real with each passing night that she got little or no sleep at all. She closed her eyes and concentrated on the sound in the room.”

Through this adventure, Rachel must overcome her greatest challenges and biggest fears and ends up learning more than she realized about herself and her father’s death along the way.

“Severed Threads” offers a psychologically thrilling and adventurous story that includes surprising twists and turns sure to keep its readers at the edge of their seats. The novel will delight readers of all ages with interesting characters, clever plotlines, and an engaging combination of romance, villainy, and the supernatural. Highly recommended!

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Front Page – Portland Tribune, Clackamas Review, Oregon City News
Wednesday, 11 December 2013
Written by Ellen Spitaleri
Although Linda Yoshida may not call herself a Renaissance woman, it is easy to think of her that way. She used to own a large art gallery and is still a major supporter of the arts, and she is an author, who has published three books, with another one on the way. But more importantly, Yoshida, along with her husband, businessman Junki Yoshida, supports communities throughout the metro area with several charities, especially the Soulful Giving Foundation.Linda Yoshida’s father died from colon cancer, and during the process of his death, she kept a journal, which provided the basis for her first book, “Flaherty’s Crossing.” She donated 100 percent of the proceeds from the sale of that book to colon cancer research. Then she visited Randall Children’s Hospital at Legacy Emanuel and found out about the Cancer Center for Children. The visit made her realize she needed “to spread out and do more for cancer research. I would love to see treatment start with children. So I sat down with my husband and we came up with the Soulful Giving Foundation; after all, giving comes from the heart and soul.”The Yoshidas started the foundation five years ago, and the result was an event called the Artful Giving Blanket Concert, held on the grounds of their home in Troutdale. “It combines all the artistic elements — music, visual arts, food and wine. Since everything I do is about the arts, it seemed like a natural connection,” she said. Guests pay $50 for a ticket to the grounds, set up a blanket and enjoy everything happening around them in a forested, natural setting.

“This is an opportunity for the community to come together, and 100 percent of the proceeds benefit Randall Children’s Hospital at Legacy Emanuel and Providence Cancer Research Center,” Yoshida said.

And what does she like best about giving back to her community? “I have received a number of letters from people who appreciate what we do. They see we want to help them. It is easy to just write a check and donate money, but with the foundation, we see people coming together and that is so much grander.” She added that she appreciates the support she gets from board members, all of whom have a connection to cancer in some way, and from more than 100 volunteers. “We welcome volunteers and sponsors. We love to see people affected by cancer find an avenue to help others, and dedicate a contribution to someone they’ve lost,” Yoshida said.

Although she and her husband are Troutdale residents, the board members for the Soulful Giving Foundation come from across the tri-county area, including Angela Fox, publisher of the Clackamas Review and Oregon City News. J. Mark Garber, president of Clackamas-based Pamplin Media Group, Gov. John Kitzhaber, Metro Council President Tom Hughes and U.S. Sens. Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden, who are honorary chairmen of the foundation.

When she sat down to write “Flaherty’s Crossing,” her first book, Yoshida decided to come up with a pseudonym that would honor both her own Irish heritage and her daughter, Happy Valley resident Kristina McMorris, who also is an author. Yoshida chose to write under the name Kaylin McFarren; the Kay is based on the letter K, for Kristina, and Yoshida’s own maiden name, McFarren. “I am 100 percent Irish — both my parents’ families emigrated from Ireland,” she said, noting that the name is also a dedication to her aunt and her great-grandmother, who also were writers.

“Flaherty’s Crossing” is based on Yoshida’s own father’s death; it is a novel about love, loss and the power of forgiveness when a young woman, who is estranged from her father, hears his deathbed confession. “I had a strained relationship with my father, and we tried to connect before his death, but he passed away before we had that opportunity. So I thought about a character whose father comes to see her as a ghost, to complete those issues in life,” she said. As she set about writing her second book, Yoshida made a decision to self-publish her work, noting that she can now be her own boss and write when she feels like writing.

Both her two most current books, “Severed Threads” and “Buried Threads,” fit into the romantic suspense category and have sold so well that she is now working on a third book in the series, “Banished Threads.” In “Severed Threads” we meet deep-sea diver Rachel Lyons, who is called upon by a museum director to assist Chase Cohen, her former love interest, with the recovery of a cursed relic from a sunken Chinese merchant ship. She has no intention of cooperating, until her brother is kidnapped by a drug-dealing gangster. In order to save him and gain control over her own life, Rachel must not only overcome her greatest fears, but also relive the circumstances that led to her father’s death in a diving accident.

In the most current book, “Buried Threads,” published in October, readers meet the treasure-hunting duo again. “They have been invited to Japan to look for a sunken treasure, but this job is much more complex and dangerous than anything they have done before. Shinzo, a Buddhist monk, tells them if the treasure isn’t found, then the destruction of Japan will happen,” Yoshida said. Other elements that come into play are beautiful, exotic women, some of whom can fight their way out of most situations, Japanese gangsters, hungry sharks and eels, restless spirits, and lots of obstacles that Chase and Rachel must overcome to survive. Yoshida noted that 20 percent of the proceeds from these two books will be donated to children’s cancer research.

Yoshida’s third book in the series, “Banished Threads,” is going to be more of a mystery-thriller. In this book, her duo will go to England to visit Rachel’s uncle and will become embroiled in an art theft.

The word “threads” ties in to all of her books for a reason, she said, since Asians believe that love and people are connected by threads, and if you lose someone, the thread is severed. But, if you choose to, you can keep the memory alive, or you can move on and develop a new relationship.

Her biggest thrill is to see her books in print: “It is so exciting. I feel accomplished that I started something and finished it.”

To read excerpts from or purchase Linda Yoshida’s books, visit her website at kaylinmcfarren.com. Her books also are available at Amazon.com.

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I’m very excited about the latest editorial reviews I’ve received for Severed Threads and thought I would take a moment to share them. 

“In this romantic suspense novel, a woman and her ex fight to recover a mysterious relic from a wrecked ship—and maybe salvage their relationship along the way.

The last person Rachel Lyons, marine biologist turned foundation executive, wants to see is her former love interest, Chase Cohen. He was working with her father, Sam, as an ocean salvager until Sam’s death in a diving accident, after which Chase disappeared with no more than a scribbled note. Even when a museum director begs Rachel to help finish the business Sam and Chase started and recover an important relic, she declines. But when her brother is kidnapped by drug dealers and held for ransom, Rachel agrees to lend her father’s boat to the task of exploring a 400-year-old ship. It’s said to contain gold, porcelain and the “Heart of the Dragon”—a gift from an emperor’s beautiful concubine to her illicit lover. According to legend, the concubine’s ghost still protects it. As Rachel and Chase work to bring up treasure from the sunken ship, they must fight off dangers, uncover secrets and confront their mutual rekindled passion. McFarren (Flaherty’s Crossing, 2010) offers an exciting, romantic adventure story that’s anchored by well-researched, authentic technical details of boats, scuba diving, salvage law, Chinese history and underwater archaeology.

Watching the characters thoughtfully do their jobs makes them more appealing to the reader and heightens the novel’s boldly erotic love scenes; Chase and Rachel are more than just beautiful bodies. (It’s irksome, though, when Chase treats Rachel like a child, at one point having a crew member send her to bed and doping her against her knowledge when he wants her to rest.) McFarren’s varied cast—from professors to gangsters to salty dogs—feels well rounded; despite a few ethnic clichés, like the Native American “warrior” and a hard-drinking, lusty Irishman, she toys with expectations more than once. Some odd word choices and unfortunate mistakes show that the book could use an editor’s hand, but with plenty at stake, erotic chemistry, dastardly villains, a lost relic, an unusual setting and a touch of the supernatural, this indie novel could stand on any romance publisher’s shelf. The full package of thrills and romance.” • KIRKUS REVIEW

****1/2

“Chase Cohen and Sam Lyons went diving together searching salvage for the elusive riches that come with the perfect find. When Chase realized Sam had not come back up from the dive, he went looking for him. Sam did not make it and Chase, filled with guilt, had to tell Sam’s daughter Rachel.

Years later, Rachel was discussing business with Dr. Ying, the museum director, when Chase interrupted. She was furious and declared that the foundation she worked for would not fund any projects that involved Chase. With the combination of Rachel’s brother, who was in trouble up to his ears, Dr. Ying’s manipulations, and Rachel’s unquenchable need to mend the past, she was had no choice but to search for the Heart of the Dragon.
Dive right in; the water is full of danger, intrigue, and passion. This treasure‑hunting jewel of a story will hold the reader captive to the very last page.” • LAUREN CALDER, Affaire de Coeur magazine

“Sometimes it is only when you carry the weight of the world on your shoulders that you really see what it is you want and what it is you are missing out of life. Such is the epiphany that Rachel Lyons comes to in the ever-suspenseful Severed Threads. Kaylin McFarren’s novel takes the reader through twists and turns as the story navigates romance and adventure, murder and mystery. With a central theme of guilt and deception, throughout all the action of the book, the reader sees the redemption of several of the characters; lessons are learned and bridges are built and crossed.

Believing herself to be the reason for her father’s death, Rachel has withdrawn from the world and the life she once knew to play it safe. With her last words to him replaying over and over in her head, playing it safe still wasn’t bringing her much happiness. She is stuck on this track until an old flame comes back into the picture, with tales of sunken treasure and undersea adventure. Forced into taking part in his quest because of the kidnapping of her brother, who has himself created a world of chaos after the passing of his father, Rachel sets out on a journey to discover hidden secrets, buried treasure, and herself. Throw in a little paranormal activity, curses and ghosts and such, and some strong sexual attractions, and the book will keep you on the edge of your toes throughout.

With so many plot turns and the many characters’ underlying stories, this novel is a true treasure unto itself. As a reader, I couldn’t put the book down because I constantly wanted to know what was going to happen next. Many of the ups and downs were not obvious, and I enjoyed the surprise as each revelation was made. The characters are extremely complex but real, and I found myself being very involved in their thoughts and actions. I felt for each character, questioned their reasoning and cheered them on.

It is easy to see through reading this book that McFarren familiarized herself with the information she was presenting in her book. The time and information she put into the history and the undersea world lent depth to the book and helped to present a very genuine story. I enjoy nothing more than a well-researched, thought provoking read, and Severed Threads definitely found itself in that category for me.” • SUZANNE GATTIS, Pacific Book Review

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A Message From Kaylin…
The last three months have been filled with excitement, travel and fun developments. First if all, Severed Threads was officially released on July 18th and continues to receive rave reviews. This first book in the Threads series garnered a number of new awards this season, including:

2012 Indie Book of the Day Award Winner for 22nd of September 2012
2012 Golden Acorn Excellence in Writing Contest – 2nd place
2012 AKRWA’s best Break-up contest – 1st Place
2012 Central Ohio Fiction Writers’ Ignite the Flame Contest – 2nd Place

Next, with the wonderful blessing of having a second home in San Diego, I find myself visiting there at least once a month to enjoy the sights, sounds and incredible food – all within a short five-minute walk. The addition of a new writing desk and internet hook-up will continue to keep me producing all year-long and finding inspiration in the views and from the people I’ve become acquainted with during my stays.

Lastly, if you haven’t had a chance to visit my new website, be sure to do so. You’ll find news about upcoming releases, new excerpts, reviews and trailers…as well as easy-to-buy links. If you’re a new author or have been considering self-publishing your work, also visit my publisher’s website atwww.creativeedgepublishing.com. You’ll find helpful suggestions and details about my journey from concept to print.

Kaylin’s Best Review Contest:

From September 1st – 30th, I hosted a Book Review Contest on Amazon.com. My congratulations to “WaFire” (aka Jay Farrell) for the best review of the month. Hope you enjoy your new Wi-Fi Kindle and gift certificate! They’re on their way…

And here’s his winning review:

“Severed Threads – an exciting action adventure into the world of salvage diving, treasure hunting, gangsters and Chinese art history is also my first foray into the literary genre that includes ‘romance’. The story grabbed my attention from the first air bubbles on the tragic initial dive excursion resulting in the untimely death of Rachel Lyon’s father. Author Kaylin McFarren then has your attention wrapped tightly by the throat like the gangster Pollero torturing Rachel’s brother Devon. Explosions, wild seas and unexpected character revelations layer the action, and, yes romance, further into the story like thermal layers on a hundred foot dive.”

Now be sure to visit my website home page at www.kaylinmcfarren.com for new, upcoming contests that you can participate in as well!

Kaylin’s Work In Progress:

At this time, I’m working diligently on the next book in the Threads series: Buried Threads 

Here’s the summary and a fun excerpt to enjoy:

With news of their recent success spreading, Rachel Lyons and her deep-sea diving crew accept a contract to recover a lost sacred treasure in the Sea of Japan. Arriving in Tokyo, she and her partner Chase Cohen soon learn their romantic exploration is more complex than they originally believed and are determined to break their agreement – until the Buddhist monk who hired them turns up missing. In order to rescue him from certain death, Rachel must depend on her buried instincts, form an alliance with one of Japan’s most feared mafia leaders and convince her partner to dive into shark-infested waters to search for the Heart of Darkness.

Excerpt:

Rachel arched a brow. Who the hell was this guy anyway? And why would he refuse first class when given the choice? As Helen stepped away, she eyed the stranger, more mystified than ever.

“I don’t know why you would order food for me when I don’t intend to eat it. That’s a very odd thing to do, Mr. Shinji,” she said.

He shrugged a shoulder. “I suppose I am a bit odd. But I guarantee you’ll change your mind.”

She huffed. “Not likely.” She considered standing up and halting the stewardess’ progress but the drink cart was blocking the aisle.

Within seconds, Helen returned with an assisting attendant holding two filled trays in her hands. More than anything, Rachel wanted to issue a verbal protest, but it seemed she’d already drawn the attention of the Asian couple seated across from her who were glowering for some unknown reason.

The petite blond leaned down, draping napkins across Rachel and Shinji’s laps. She waited for them to lower their tabletops before setting down two plates filled with cheese omelets, blueberry yogurt cups, croissants and strawberry jam. Then she returned again with a fresh pot of coffee and requested mango juice.

Unbelievable. Rachel stole sideways glances at the peculiar man. He picked up his fork and shoveled bread and a sizeable portion of omelet into his mouth. Her cheeks warmed at the practically pornographic noise that came out of her seatmate, as Shinji threw his head back and munched gratifyingly, his eyes closed in contentment. She noticed a spot of jam on the corner of his mouth and looked away determinedly.

“There’s nothing better than warm bread and eggs in the morning,” Shinji said, recovering from his omelet orgasm. “I suggest eating your meal before it gets cold, Miss Lyons. You’re going to need every ounce of strength you can muster to get your job done.”

Rachel glared at the impertinent stranger, willing him be sucked out the window. But then she’d never know his whole story – why he felt entitled and insisted on behaving so inappropriately.

“You’re not a private investigator, are you, Mr. Shinji?” she quipped.

He picked up his torn roll and smeared it with more jam. “I never said I was.”

“But you inferred as much.”

“That was never my intent. If you recall, I didn’t tell you what I actually recover.”

“So, what is it then? If you travel all over the world to find these things, they must be valuable or have some significance.”

“I think you’d have a hard time believing me if I told you.”

“Try me,” she said then inwardly cringed on her insistence.

After another well-chewed mouthful, he gazed deep into her eyes and answered in a calm, matter of fact tone. “Souls.”

On the Lighter Side:

Stuffed deer heads on walls are bad enough, but it’s worse when you see them wearing dark glasses, having streamers around their necks and a hat on their antlers. Because then you know they were enjoying themselves at a party when they were shot. (Ellen Degeneres)

A newlywed couple moves into their new house. One day the husband comes home from work and his wife says, “Honey, you know, in the upstairs bathroom one of the pipes is leaking, could you fix it?” The husband says, “What do I look like, Mr. Plumber?” A few days go by, and he comes home from work and his wife says, “Honey, the car won’t start. I think it needs a new battery. Could you change it for me?” He says: “What do I look like, Mr. Goodwrench?” Another few days go by, and it’s raining pretty hard. The wife finds a leak in the roof. She says, “Honey, there’s a leak on the roof! Can you please fix it?” He says, “What do I look like, Bob Vila?” The next day the husband comes home, and the roof is fixed. So is the plumbing. So is the car. He asks his wife what happened. “Oh, I had a handyman come in and fix them,” she says. “Great! How much is that going to cost me?” he snarls. Wife says: “Nothing. He said he’d do it for free if I either baked him a cake or slept with him.” “Uh, well, what kind of cake did you make?” asks the husband. “What do I look like,” she says, “Betty Crocker?”

Kaylin’s Favorite Recipe:

Butternut Squash Apple Soup Recipe

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 35 minutes

Note that the smaller you chop your vegetables, the faster they will cook. We like to finely dice the onion. celery and carrot, and cut the squash and apple into 1/2-inch chunks. For a variation add a couple dashes of smoked paprika and/or swirl in a little sour cream at the end (off the heat).

INGREDIENTS:

1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 rib of celery, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
2 Tbsp butter
1 butternut squash, peeled, seeds removed, chopped
1 tart green apple, peeled, cored, chopped (squash and apple should be at a 3 to 1 ratio)
3 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth if vegetarian)*
1 cup water
Pinches of nutmeg, cinnamon, cayenne, salt and pepper

*If cooking gluten-free, use gluten-free broth.

DIRECTIONS:

1 Set a large saucepan over medium-high heat and heat the butter for 1-2 minutes. Do not let it turn brown. Add the onion, celery and carrot and sauté for 5 minutes, taking care to turn the heat down if the vegetables begin to brown.

2 Add squash, apple, broth and water. Bring to boil. Cover, turn the heat down to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes or until squash and carrots soften. Puree, and return to a clean pot.

3 Add salt and spices to taste, and garnish with chives or parsley.

Yield: Serves 4-6.

*******

Well, hope you enjoy our late summer weather and have an awesome, productive autumn!

All my best wishes,
Kaylin

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So excited by the new 5-star review I received today for my latest release – Severed Threads. When authors receive positive feedback like this, it only encourages us to return to the typewriter to conjure up more adventures and dramatic story lines. So I thank you, Suzanne Gattis, for your non-basis appraisal and vote of confidence in my writing ability. Kaylin

“Sometimes it is only when you carry the weight of the world on your shoulders that you really see what it is you want and what it is you are missing out of life.  Such is the epiphany that Rachel Lyons comes to in the ever-suspenseful Severed Threads.  Kaylin McFarren’s novel takes the reader through twists and turns as the story navigates romance and adventure, murder and mystery.  With a central theme of guilt and deception, throughout all the action of the book, the reader sees the redemption of several of the characters; lessons are learned and bridges are built and crossed.

Believing herself to be the reason for her father’s death, Rachel has withdrawn from the world and the life she once knew to play it safe.  With her last words to him replaying over and over in her head, playing it safe still wasn’t bringing her much happiness.  She is stuck on this track until an old flame comes back into the picture, with tales of sunken treasure and undersea adventure.  Forced into taking part in his quest because of the kidnapping of her brother, who has himself created a world of chaos after the passing of his father, Rachel sets out on a journey to discover hidden secrets, buried treasure, and herself.  Throw in a little paranormal activity, curses and ghosts and such, and some strong sexual attractions, and the book will keep you on the edge of your toes throughout.

With so many plot turns and the many characters’ underlying stories, this novel is a true treasure unto itself.  As a reader, I couldn’t put the book down because I constantly wanted to know what was going to happen next.  Many of the ups and downs were not obvious, and I enjoyed the surprise as each revelation was made.  The characters are extremely complex but real, and I found myself being very involved in their thoughts and actions.  I felt for each character, questioned their reasoning and cheered them on.

It is easy to see through reading this book that McFarren familiarized herself with the information she was presenting in her book.  The time and information she put into the history and the undersea world lent depth to the book and helped to present a very genuine story.  I enjoy nothing more than a well-researched, thought-provoking read, and Severed Threads definitely found itself in that category for me.” • SUZANNE GATTIS, Pacific Book Review

http://www.kaylinmcfarren.com

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Following the release of Severed Threads, I’m happy to report two upcoming additions in the Threads series.

Book 2 – Buried Threads

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With news of their successful venture spreading, Rachel Lyons and her deep-sea diving crew accept an international contract involving a lost sacred treasure in the Sea of Japan. Arriving in Tokyo, she and her partner Chase Cohen soon realize they’ve been misled and their salvage project is more complex than they originally believed. In the midst of breaking their agreement, the Buddhist monk who hired them turns up missing. In order to rescue him from certain death, Rachel must depend on her governed intuition, form an alliance with one of Japan’s most feared mafia leaders and convince her partner to dive into shark-infested waters to search for the elusive Heart of Darkness.

Book 2 – Banished Threads (the final chapter)

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While enjoying a much-earned vacation in England, Rachel Lyons and Chase Cohen are introduced to a secret mystical society by her jet-setting uncle and shortly after, a collection of priceless Morris Graves’ paintings turns up missing. Drawn into the mystery, the lovers and their salvage crew members take up residence at the Lyons’ stately manor. However, acquiring the cooperation of locals and the Fraternal Brotherhood seems improvable, convincing Rachel to end their involvement – until she discovers the secret her uncle has been harboring for years.
Be sure to pick up your copy of Severed Threads at Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble or Powell’s Bookstore and enjoy the continuing saga!
Kaylin

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