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The Food of Love: It’s NOT All About Me!

Living the Dream

writerGood morning. Well, the sun is shining and it’s a balmy 10 F and according to the weather network, there’s a chance we may see the Northern Lights in this region between now and Tuesday. How cool would that be!

Now that the annual hoopla around Valentine’s Day has ended, we have a romantic trough to fill. St Patrick’s day is next, and it really isn’t usually associated with love and romance. Following that, we’ll have spring and weddings–you get the picture. Love will definitely be in the air.

This morning, I’d like to talk about a short story anthology released by Solstice at the beginning of February. The book, The Food of Love, is comprised of ten short stories by some of Solstice’s authors, including myself. The contributing authors are: Mya O’MalleyRocky RochfordSusanne MatthewsRachael StapletonElle MarlowVanayssa SomersMargaret…

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Interview With Kc Sprayberry: Lost & Scared, Teens, and Teen Issues

lost and scared cover art

As I wrote in the previous blog, this topic is close to my heart. I asked author Kc Sprayberry if she would grant me an interview to explore this and her other themes in more depth. Awesome lady that she is, she did! Many thanks, Kc!

A lot of your books have to do with teens brushing into the law, either directly or indirectly. Why have you taken on these themes?

Teens today, and honestly from as far back as the 60s, have more interaction with the police than ever before in history. The YA books I write involve coming of age problems such as underage drinking, texting and driving, bullying, child kidnap, and non-custodial parental abduction. It is a given that the police will be involved at some point. I draw on my experience from when I was a Criminology major in college and from local police officers that I know, and then combine this with a lot of research on the subject.

Do you find them a challenge to write about?

Yes, it is a challenge to write about these things. The biggest question is just how far do I go, and each story dictates that point where I stop. That’s where the challenge lies. Many times, I will take the story further than is in the finished product, to see if that will work, but as is very evident from my books, those sections are ruthlessly deleted or toned down a lot.

Generally speaking, what kind of research do you do?

First, I start with fiction books already available on the subject. How current are they? How were they received by the general public? Is my book going to be a repeat of an already popular book, or is the angle that I’m using new or different? Once I determine that the book I’m writing will be different enough to attract attention, I start on the tough research by getting to know my subject. Most of that is done online. In the case of Lost & Scared, I had a scene, set long before the actual story, and nothing else. Once I began looking into websites that contained the stories of children who had gone through non-custodial parental abduction, their feelings, how long they were gone, and the return to the custodial parent, the rest of the book began to put itself together.

Then there is the most important research, as I see it. I have the bones of a good story, but I needed the rest. That meant building my characters. I liken this process to an onion, how each layer is carefully molded around the next, and the whole thing holds together, but if there is one tiny flaw in that onion, it will fall apart. This is how I build my plot and characters, one layer at a time, each of those cementing to the rest, until the story holds together and appeals to the reader.

Your books address difficult topics from the kids’ point of view, and universally convey good information and a positive message to their intended audience without being preachy or disrupting the flow of the story. How do you, as a parent yourself, put yourself into these kids’ heads and lives? What inspires you? What inclines you towards these subjects?

As I said, these issues have been around a long time. I have memories from my childhood of people’s lives being destroyed by underage drinking. Texting and driving wasn’t around at that time, but we did have other distractions that could cause major problems. Bullying has been around since the beginning of time. School violence has its roots in the United States, beginning in a schoolhouse in 1700s Pennsylvania. Child kidnap and non-custodial parental abduction were around. One thing is different between then and now—people are more aware of these issues. Being connected internationally day in and day out has brought these issues to the forefront, made awareness more visible than it was prior to the internet.

As a parent, I was watching from the outside as my own children grappled with these problems. Their stories, the stories of their friends, and those I discovered on the ‘net gave me the sense of what kind of pressures a teen today faces. Once I have the basics of a story down, I can actually hear my characters talking to me, speaking about what they’re experiencing. Bringing a good outcome to their issue inspires me to look for ways they can solve the problem themselves.

I pick these subjects many different ways. It could be a news story, the cry of a child looking for help, a situation I’ve experienced either myself or through one of my children. I might jot down a note or two, and then shove the information into the back of my head until I learn of something else, and I’ll add that tidbit. It builds from there, and I’m actively seeking information, talking to people wherever I meet them, and seeking answers. Yes, I’m a nosy person in some ways, but I’ve also been the one who runs toward trouble instead of away from it, and I know many others like that. We can’t resist becoming involved in whatever way we can, to bring about a resolution.

Do you ever find yourself responding to your writing?

Yes. I know a story will be a success when I’m talking to my characters, feeling what they do. For instance, in Take Chances, while I was fleshing out the classroom scene, I blocked out everything around me for days. Nothing mattered except getting each word, every action, all the tense moments condensed into a scene that played out for chapters but only lasted six minutes. My husband came up the stairs, and he wasn’t quiet. I never noticed him, until he asked what I was working on. At that moment, I was quietly crying while I added the final elements to the early part of the scene and his voice grabbed me away in a way that I thought it was actually happening in my house. I screamed and nearly knocked a hole in the ceiling. He apologized profusely and wiped away the tears I didn’t realize were coming out of my eyes, then left me alone until the scene was complete.

That’s how I know a book will be a success, when I’m so involved that I don’t hear what’s happening around me, when I’m distant from everyone important to me.

How do you hope your readers will respond?

I hope my readers will feel they are part of the story and respond in a positive way. The temptation for teens to drink is extremely strong, yet in Softly Say Goodbye, Erin stands against all drunks, but teens most of all. She’s never been tempted, not even a little bit. It’s not hard for her to take a stand, but she has two friends who can’t resist the temptation. One of those friends makes the choice to walk away from that, to leave behind an issue that could cause her problems for the rest of her life, but I make sure that other teens see it isn’t easy.

For our readers, which of your books have addressed teen/child topics?

Softly Say Goodbye – underage drinking

Take Chances – school violence

Where U @ – texting and driving

Inits – bullying

The Wrong One – child kidnap

Evil Eyes – stalking

I hear that you have a new book coming out which concerns child abduction by a non-custodial parent. Could you please tell us about it? Like many of your other books, the topic is extremely timely and so important.

Lost & Scared is a novel about non-custodial parental abduction. That’s a very broad subject, and a heartbreaking situation. Families torn apart through divorce, or just a parent walking out and taking the children with them, never again to see their other parent, happens daily all over the world. 203,000 families experience this issue every year. Over 556 families every single day are thrown into the terror of not seeing some or all of their children. They don’t know when those children will return, if ever.

Oftentimes, the abducting parent is a criminal or has an addiction, and I included both of these elements in Lost & Scared. It’s not unusual for that parent to verbally abuse the custodial parent, questioning their ability to take of their children, or telling them that one day they’ll just disappear with the kids to “protect” them and they will never be seen again. Many people will scratch their heads and comment, “Just report them.” But that isn’t a solution. The laws regarding child custody and unsubstantiated threats from a non-custodial parent are soft at best. Taking one’s own child isn’t considered kidnapping, but custodial interference. Even when the children are returned to the custodial parent, the other parent still has the right to visitation. I’ve seen places where the non-custodial parent received nothing but a small fine and stern warning not to do that again. In some of the cases I read online, the children who found their way back spoke of multiple “kidnappings” before they didn’t return home for many years.

The life they have with their non-custodial parent while in this situation is often lonely. They might not attend school or have medical care. They’re hidden from sight. Or some have their names changed and are told their custodial parent is a “bad person” and they have to hide from them, or they might be hurt or killed. They’re not allowed to talk about where they came from, what they did, or even their relatives. They begin to believe that their captor is the one who loves them, and will protect them from the evils of their home.

Even when they come home, these children face a lot of problems. They discover that people missed them, but they went on with their lives. Things special to the child have passed them by: school events, sports, special family occasions. They will feel resentment, or are scared they’ll be dragged back into the horror they escaped. Time does heal some of these wounds, but complete recovery takes many, many years.

Release Date: Pre-order available 2/24/2015, Release: 3/3/2015. Ebook will be available on Amazon, print book on Amazon and CreateSpace.

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New title by Kc Sprayberry: Lost & Scared

This book addresses a topic close to me: spousal and child abuse. It’s an important book and even though it is a work of fiction, it deals with the realities kids and spouses can face when confronted by an abusive and controlling parent.

Lost & Scared can be pre-ordered now on, and will release in about a week,

Blurb and excerpts follow.

When their younger twin siblings were murdered by their cold-blooded father, Shane and Keri’s own twin connection deepened. Their father shamed Shane and Keri into silence, and then went on to bring four more children into a house shuddering under the weight of his unpredictable temper.

Ten years later, what should have been a regular visitation turns into a horrific nightmare. Trapped in the Superstition Mountains with an addicted and dangerous father, Keri’s faith and determination wavers, but she knows she must save her brothers and sisters and return all of them to the home they love.

She now faces one insurmountable obstacle. He can’t afford to let her go.

Excerpt 1 ~ Shane

The window in my bedroom that I share with my two younger brothers overlooks Main Street. I angle my head, so I can attempt to see where my twin is.

“See Keri?” Axe, my best bud, asks.

“Nope. But I do see a bunch of cars leaving.” I face him and grin. “That means she’s on her way back.”

“Great. We can leave now.”

“Looks that way.”

He and I race down the stairs. The normal noise of a large family during winter holiday break greets me, along with what can only be described as evil snickering. We come around the corner, shoving and pushing to see which one of us gets to the bottom first, with me gaining an inch on my bud.

“Yes!” I pump a fist and hop down the last three steps, the satisfaction of proving once and for all that I’m the best pass receiver on our team.

“I am so going to beat you one of these days,” he says.

We knuckle bump and clown around.

“Ready when you are, honey,” a strange female voice says.

“Huh?” I turn around.

A woman who looks like a million miles of bad road stands beside the open front door. Before I can ask who she is and what she’s doing in our house, a series of loud bangs precedes the sound of a cat yowling. That noise sends fear shivers through every inch of my body, and I don’t scare all that easily.

“What the heck?” Axe pushes me aside. “What’s going on, Shane?”

“Don’t know.” I point at the woman. “Who are you?”

“Jake’s honey-poo,” she purrs.

That response is wrong on so many levels, beginning with Jake is my dad’s name. The last time I checked he was still married to my mom.

“Who are you two handsome hunks?”

Gross. Sick. Yuck! She sounds just like Scooter when he catches a mouse.

Just as I’m about to tell this loser from the wrong side of the tracks to get lost, Scooter races out of the kitchen. A mix of who knows what, he has gorgeous gray and white striped fur and I can only describe him as fat and slow.

Slow comes nowhere close to describing that streak racing for safety. Scooter howls out his fear. His fur stands on end and his tail is so fluffy that it looks ten times its normal size.

Author Bio:

Born and raised in Southern California’s Los Angeles basin, K.C. Sprayberry spent years traveling the United States and Europe while in the Air Force before settling in Northwest Georgia. A new empty nester with her husband of more than twenty years, she spends her days figuring out new ways to torment her characters and coming up with innovative tales from the South and beyond.

She’s a multi-genre author who comes up with ideas from the strangest sources. Some of her short stories have appeared in anthologies, others in magazines. Three of her books (Softly Say Goodbye, Who Am I?, and Mama’s Advice) are Amazon best sellers. Her other books are: Take Chances, Where U @, The Wrong One, Pony Dreams, Evil Eyes, Inits, Canoples Investigations Tackles Space Pirates, The Call Chronicles 1: The Griswold Gang, The Curse of Grungy Gulley, Paradox Lost: Their Path, and Starlight. Additionally, she has shorts available on Amazon: Grace, Secret From the Flames, Family Curse … Times Two, Right Wrong Nothing In Between, and The Ghost Catcher.

Excerpt 2 ~ Keri

Carly and I sneak up the walkway to the backdoor of the house where I live with my parents and five siblings. We’ve done nothing wrong. There is no reason for us to be sneaking into my house, except one… him.

“Are you sure about this?” she whispers.

“Yeah.” I cast a guilty glance at the driveway.

Shane’s truck isn’t here. He must still be hanging with his best bud, Axe. Heat rushes up my face whenever I think about that hunk. Axe not Shane. Big Bro is anything but a hunk. Well, he is kind of cute, and a lot of girls like him, but a hunk? Give me a break. None of the girls hot for him know that he stinks up a bathroom or dumps his clothes all over the place for me to pick up.

I’ll forgive Carly for thinking like that. She’s good for Shane, if he’d just get over the “everybody will hate us for dating” thing. Big deal if she’s African American and we’re white. Nobody cares about that anymore.

“Your dad will pop a cork if he catches me in the house,” Carly says. “You know he hates… you know.”

We never talk about that. So what if my dad is the biggest bigot in the world? The rest of my family is totally cool with me having Carly around. They like her. She’s funny, and an awesome bestie.

We both stop in front of the back door. I reach out a hand, but don’t turn the knob when I hear shouting.

“Oh, shit.” I glance at Carly.

“What now?” she whispers.

Memories flood through me of a night I try so very hard to forget. Once upon a time, there was another set of twins in our house. Then they were gone. The reason they’re not with us anymore is too hard to think about. I don’t even talk about that night, but that’s because Shane and I made a sacred vow. We will always keep that secret. Telling now will cause so many problems for us.

I have to tell someone, but that means I’ll go to jail. Won’t I? Isn’t that where liars go when they hide a crime?

The anniversary of that particular act still haunts me, even though it was way back in August. December has usually been good, even if we’re sad because of whatever he is doing. To have such an innocent act end in the violence as that one did should never happen to anyone, especially a kid. To have the person responsible still walking around as if he did nothing wrong infuriates me, until I think about how I never told.

Shane didn’t either. We should have told. It didn’t matter if we were only seven. It doesn’t matter now that we’re almost seventeen. We should have told.

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Solstice titles are being pirated by 

That’s right–they are STEALING.

We strongly encourage you that if you are interested in a Solstice book to go to, our SOLE LEGAL DISTRIBUTOR.

o2pdf says they do not violate copyrights knowingly. Then, I ask, how come they stole a book that was just released LAST WEEK?!?! (The Food of Love, a delightful collection of short stories and recipes to share with your loved one.)

Please spread the word. Reblog this post. Post Tweets.

Let’s get these sons of bitches.

And thank you very much for your help and support!

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The Food of Love–an anthology brought to you by Solstice Publishing!

Solstice Publishing invites you to share the love. “The Food of Love” is now available at!

Food entices the senses just as love entices the soul. We take chances, we share new beginnings, in hopes of making that special someone part of our lives, now and forever. Solstice Publishing presents ten tales of love, each with a recipe our…

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Summer Solstice: Valentine’s Day giveaways!

Solstice is having a giveaway!

Solstice Publishing – Valentine’s Day ’15

Fall in love with Summer Solstice’s list of books chosen for our Valentine’s Day giveaway. Visit for more titles.

There are more titles being given away here than just those in the video! Check out the site!

Fall in love with Summer Solstice’s list of books chosen for our Valentine’s Day giveaway. Visit for more titles.