Monday, January 31, 2022

RED THREAD OF FATE, by author LYN LIAO BUTLER (pub date is February 8th ~ preorder now!)

In the wake of a tragedy and fueled by guilt from a secret she's kept for years, a woman discovers how delicate the thread that binds family is in this powerful novel by Lyn Liao Butler.

Two days before Tam and Tony Kwan receive their letter of acceptance for the son they are adopting from China, Tony and his estranged cousin Mia are killed unexpectedly in an accident. A shell-shocked Tam learns she is named the guardian to Mia's five-year-old daughter, Angela. With no other family around, Tam has no choice but to agree to take in the girl she hasn't seen since the child was an infant.

Overwhelmed by her life suddenly being upended, Tam must also decide if she will complete the adoption on her own and bring home the son waiting for her in a Chinese orphanage. But when a long-concealed secret comes to light just as she and Angela start to bond, their fragile family is threatened. As Tam begins to unravel the events of Tony and Mia's past in China, she discovers the true meaning of love and the threads that bind her to the family she is fated to have.


“I couldn’t put this book down. A masterful story of sorrow, secrets and unexpected romance, Ms. Butler writes with humor, compassion and honesty. Simply wonderful. I can’t wait for more from this gifted author.”—Kristan Higgins, New York Times bestselling author of Pack Up the Moon

"Lyn Liao Butler does it again! I was anticipating Butler's second book after devouring The Tiger Mom's Tale, and Red Thread of Fate did not disappoint! With a poignant tale and beautiful prose, Butler once again whisks us onto a powerful journey of loss, sorrow, but ultimately a journey of quiet strength."—Jesse Q. Sutanto, critically acclaimed author of Dial A for Aunties

"Lyn Liao Butler is quickly becoming a go-to author for heartfelt, complex stories. Red Thread of Fate has everything—family secrets, mystery, identity. The rare blend of suspense and humor makes this story hard to put down. I can't wait to read what Butler writes next!"—Saumya Dave, author of What a Happy Family

"A heartfelt contemplation on the course of our lives—what is fate, what is the result of the choices we make—coupled with a central mystery that will keep you reading late into the night. It seems Lyn Liao Butler's fate is to entertain with absorbing stories and compelling characters that linger long after the final page."—Steven Rowley, New York Times bestselling author of The Guncle

Q & A with Lyn~

What did you think you’d be when you became an adult?

I wanted to be a ballet dancer. And I did dance professionally, ballet and modern, in NYC for many years. It was a dream come true, but also a very hard life. I think it prepared me for all the rejections and bad reviews of being an author. The dancer life gave me a very thick skin which is handy as an author.

Where do you get your ideas?

From life, the news, and my imagination. I have a very active imagination and anything can make me go, “Oh! That would make a great story.” Sometimes my imagination scares even me. J

Is there a particular author or book that influenced or inspired your writing or decision to write?

Yes! Liane Moriarty. She’s the reason I decided to write a book. I think in every interview I’ve ever done, I’ve mentioned that she is my writing idol and inspiration. If I ever meet her in real life, I will probably faint at her feet.

Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published (or this book?)

My first book came out in a pandemic, and was pushed back because of Anti-Asian sentiments in the US. At least, that was what I was told. It took two years from the time my agent sold it for it to be published, and it was a very long two years. And now, my second book will come out still in a pandemic. I’d dreamed of being able to do author events, signings, etc. when I sold my books, but alas, the pandemic put a damper on all that. But I’m still grateful that I PUBLISHED TWO BOOKS! and that I can walk into a bookstore or library and find my books. Absolute dream come true.

What are you working on now?

I just finished a thriller that my agent sold and will be coming out in early 2023, and also just finished a fourth book that just came out of me. I literally wrote it in two weeks. I have ideas for another thriller and another rom-com type book, as well as a YA. So yeah, I’ve got a lot of ideas in the works.

Is anything in your book based on real-life experiences?

My second book, Red Thread of Fate, is based on my husband and my adoption journey of our son. It is not our story at all. But the part of the book where the MC, Tam goes to China to adopt a son was based on our own experiences.

What was some unique research you had to do for a book?

In the thriller which is based in Kauai, I needed someone to die a certain way. So when my family lived in Kauai for two months in 2021, I realized a flood on the Wailua River would be a good way. I started asking people who lived there about the flooding, bad storms, and if someone could be swept away and drown if they couldn’t swim. And they all slowly backed away from me, thinking I was plotting a murder. LOL

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

If you truly love to write, keep writing. And develop a thick skin as soon as you can. Writing life is brutal (unless you are one of those 1% who things just happen for) and you will get many, many rejections. Everyone’s path is different so don’t compare yourself to someone else. Just keep writing and learning. With each book I write, I learn a little more.

To connect with Lyn:

Monday, January 24, 2022


Where the Crawdads Sing meets The Four Winds as award-winning author Donna Everhart immerses readers in a unique settinga turpentine camp buried deep in the vast pine forests of Georgia during the Great Depression—for a captivating story of friendship, survival, and three vagabonds' intersecting lives…

It takes courage to save yourself...

In the dense pine forests of North Carolina, turpentiners labor, hacking into tree trunks to draw out the sticky sap that gives the Tar Heel State its nickname, and hauling the resin to stills to be refined. Among them is Rae Lynn Cobb and her husband, Warren, who run a small turpentine farm together.

Though the work is hard and often dangerous, Rae Lynn, who spent her childhood in an orphanage, is thankful for it--and for her kind if careless husband. When Warren falls victim to his own negligence, Rae Lynn undertakes a desperate act of mercy. To keep herself from jail, she disguises herself as a man named "Ray" and heads to the only place she can think of that might offer anonymity--a turpentine camp in Georgia named Swallow Hill.

Swallow Hill is no easy haven. The camp is isolated and squalid, and commissary owner Otis Riddle takes out his frustrations on his browbeaten wife, Cornelia. Although Rae Lynn works tirelessly, she becomes a target for Crow, the ever-watchful woods rider who checks each laborer's tally. Delwood Reese, who's come to Swallow Hill hoping for his own redemption, offers "Ray" a small measure of protection, and is determined to improve their conditions. As Rae Lynn forges a deeper friendship with both Del and Cornelia, she begins to envision a path out of the camp. But she will have to come to terms with her past, with all its pain and beauty, before she can open herself to a new life and seize the chance to begin again.
“Fans of Sarah Addison Allen won't be able to put it down.” – Booklist
“The distinctive setting of the turpentine camps in the South during the Great Depression will make an imprint on readers, just as the characters of Rae Lynn and Del do. Fans of Sarah Addison Allen won't be able to put it down.”     Booklist
Q & A with Donna~

Tell us a little about yourself and how you started writing.

I was born and raised in Raleigh, North Carolina, and still live within forty-five minutes of there. I’m married, have two kids, and two grandkids. I used to have an adorable little Yorkie, named Mister, but we, sadly, lost him unexpectedly in July of last year. I am a huge animal advocate and donate to various organizations. I’m a Stage IV cancer survivor.

My “origin” story as a writer is off the beaten track, I suppose. How I got started seems like a bit of karma. You know how you meander along going to work every day, come home, do the “home” stuff, and start all over? That was me, not unlike so many other people. I had what I call a “nothing to see here,” sort of life. In the background to all of this lived my desire to write, recognized around age eighteen. But, Marriage, Kids, Work, Family, Other Obligations, Bills (capitalized because those are major influencers), had taken hold of my destiny, at least for the time being. Oh, I had dabbled with a book I’d had on my laptop since 1992, but  . . . , to take it seriously? No. Writing was a back burner dream for decades. Until a bankruptcy – not mine, fortunately!

I worked in Information Technology for thirty-five years, (I’m aging myself with this info - haha) and, I would have most likely retired from that, had everything stayed as it was – but, it didn’t. The company I had been with a good while declared Chapter Eleven in late 2008. Talk about pushing a panic button. Then came the layoffs. One, by one, by one, I saw my colleagues go, people who were like family. On any given day, I thought I was next. Luckily, I was able to continue working for three more years as they sold off parts of the business. I went back to school and got a degree – not an MFA in writing, although in hindsight  . . .  anyway, late at night I worked on a manuscript that was disastrous, and about sixteen years old. That, (amazingly) is the manuscript that would eventually become my debut novel, THE EDUCATION OF DIXIE DUPREE.

I suppose what it boils down to is, I was more or less pushed off the cliff because of my company failing. If it hadn’t been for that, I’d still be happily project managing my way toward retirement. I signed with an agent on March 9th, 2012. My exit date from my IT job just so happened to be exactly three weeks later on March 30th, 2012. I haven’t looked back since.

What are some things you enjoy when not writing?

Running used to be my go to, head-clearing, make myself feel better about eating ice-cream at night, mainstay. The cancer diagnosis in 2017 and the long-term side-effects have more or less sidelined something I did for the better part of thirty years. Nowadays I walk/run, bike (when it’s warm), work in the yard, read and bake. My husband and I also like to take trips to the North Carolina mountains in our 5th wheel camper.

How do you start your day (a routine of sorts?)

I typically am downstairs by 6:00, and spend a bit of time with my husband before he goes to work, around 7:15, or so. Then, I go back upstairs to my office to work. Normally – and this is probably a MISTAKE, I check on social media. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. Well. We all know what happens. Sometime later, I realize, I haven’t written ONE word! I write for at least a couple hours – depending on how it’s going. Sometimes I have to get away from it to think, and this is when I like to go outside and get in some exercise of some kind. It always helps unclog the brain cells. Despite the time drain of social media I do find that I write about 4 hours a day, usually more.

Finish this: “I can’t write without…”

I can’t, make that CANNOT, write without coffee, and quiet. Sometimes, even neighborhood noises, leaf blowers, etc., disrupt my train of thought. I am talking tomb silent. Crypt silent. I.e. dead silent.

What is something about you that would surprise people?

Oh, gosh, I don’t know. My life is still that “nothing to see here,” sort of life, except I write, which is exciting to me. BUT – one thing that might be surprising, and it’s not really about me, but more of something that happened to me. I was walking on the beach and found a dead person years ago. It was out of season, so there weren’t a lot of people around. I recall seeing this odd looking shape in the distance moving back and forth in the waves. I kept walking, and when I realized what I was seeing, I started to run and found a young man who had drowned. Since that day, which was in late September, right after 9/11, I have kept up with his mother. His name was Joey Johnson, his mother’s name is Mary, and he was from West VA. I found out he was fasting because of 9/11. There was still a rip current from a recent hurricane, and he got caught up in that. So sad.

Is there a particular author or book that influenced or inspired your writing or decision to write?

Yes! If anyone ever hears me speak at a book event, I always, always talk about the influence of Kaye Gibbons (I have every single book she ever wrote) as well as Dorothy Allison. Both of those authors were my introduction to Southern fiction, stories told in the sort of “voices” that spoke to me.

Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published (or this book?)

What is it the weather people say when it’s the holidays and there are travel snafus? “Pack your patience.” That applies very well here. So, all that great stuff happened above; signing with an agent on March 9th 2012, and three weeks later I left my decades old job for the life of a bestselling author! Except, the book didn’t sell for THREE years. (!)THE EDUCATION OF DIXIE DUPREE officially went on sub in mid-March 2012. 

There was a flurry of email excitement at first between my agent and myself. A week went by and while some of the biggest editors in NYC were reading the book, I was determined to prove I could do it again! I got busy on Book #2 just to keep myself from going nuts. Two weeks go by. A month. Six months. A year, and on and on. I never went on sub with Book #2, and instead, started and finished Book #3. In mid-February 2015, Book #3 went on submission and was getting rejected. One editor who rejected it liked my writing enough to see something else. My agent took a chance and submitted DIXIE DUPREE to him. Six weeks later on April 1st, 2015 came an offer. Phew – when I think on how THAT happened, I realized what I had been told was true. Always, always have something else to offer agents and editors.

Do you have a manuscript(s) in your drawer? If so, will it ever see the light of day?

I do, and it’s Book #2, as well as Book #3, although that one did see a few editors. I really like both of those stories, and I wouldn’t mind, with some hard work, polishing them up and seeing what might happen. Book #2 takes place in 1928 in the North Carolina mountains and is about a young couple who lose their son in a tragic accident, and their inability to cope with his death. It’s about the impact it has on them. Book #3 might have to go out under a pseudonym should my agent ever agree to resurrect that one. It’s a hard crime novel and I’d have to tone it down some, I think, to get any interest in it.

What are you working on now?

I am under contract for Books #6 and #7. Book #6 takes place during the Civil War, and it’s so fresh and new, I can’t say much more about it because it’s in that ugly stage of development. The “yuck,” this can’t be writing, stage.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

Write the way that is comfortable for YOU. Writing is an individual activity and what works for one person might not work for another. Some people still like to take a legal pad and write long-hand. Not me! Some like to write 1,000 words a day – that is me! But, that might not work for you. You might want to write more, or less. When you sit down, and if the words are coming, keep going! If you’ve barely added a hundred new words and you’re moving commas around mostly, get up, and do something else for a while, then come back to it. 

The one thing that does ring true, a book does not get done unless there is real work put towards it, so you have to know your work rhythm and what resonates to begin to build your stories.

Place you’d like to travel?

Many! My husband and I want to travel the United States – particularly out West. I have a bit of a travel bug/itch going on right now. I want to see the Grand Canyon, travel Route 66, go to the Pacific Northwest, see the great sequoias, and many other places. I want to return to my mother’s home state of Maine. I haven’t been since I was seventeen, but I recall it like it was yesterday. I want to see the rocky seashores, and smell the evergreens. It’s very distinctive, and she used to call it “God’s country.” I have relatives up there, too, so it would be nice to reconnect.

Is there anything you’d like to say to your readers and fans?

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for reading my stories! I wrote a sort of “review” for THE SAINTS OF SWALLOW HILL out on Goodreads – which was done mostly so I could “talk” to readers about the book, but it truly speaks to what I am trying to accomplish with my stories overall. What I wrote was this, “It's true that I never write easy stories, however, I like to think I write honestly about troubles, worries, about souls lost, and then found. I write about hardships, friendships, honor, and truth. I hope to create characters you love to hate, and those you want to root for, cheering them on to The End.”

And so, dear readers/fans, if that sounds like you, then I’m glad you found my work, and I appreciate your support so much! As always, happy reading!

To connect with Donna: 



Monday, January 10, 2022


 In her first year of medical school, Abby West’s goals for the future were derailed by an unexpected pregnancy. Reluctantly, she discarded her dream of becoming a physician in favor of being a wife to one.

Nineteen years later, Abby discovers her powerful, well-connected husband has been keeping a secret—an eight-year-old son from an old affair. Devastated by the betrayal, she flees to her grandmother’s hometown on the Amalfi coast.

There, Abby meets Daniel Quinn, a former American soldier turned photographer. As she travels across Europe with him, she begins to imagine a new life, one without a controlling and unfaithful husband.

Empowered by a newfound sense of freedom and courage, Abby returns to St. Augustine to settle things with her husband. But nothing goes as planned, and what awaits may very well destroy her.

A sweeping novel that takes the reader from a malfunctioning coach on an Italian mountain top to Paris to Switzerland and to Saint Augustine, Florida. Full of heartbreak and longing, and romance, but also tinged with the distressing truth of how difficult it is to leave a relationship after abuse.

Harrow has created a vivid, detailed, realistic and compelling universe. 
Recommended as a novel for book club discussion, with fascinating questions posed by each of Abby’s decisions.  Lainey Cameron, award winning author and host of The Best of Women's Fiction podcast

Q & A with Tammy:

Tell us a little about yourself and how you started writing.

When my youngest son graduated high school, my husband, seven year-old daughter, and I sold our home in Virginia and moved to our favorite vacation spot—St. Augustine, FL. Eleven years later, the kids are all moved out and my husband and I are still here. There’s no place I’d rather live.

I’ve written as long as I can remember. I was one of those kids that made sense of the world by putting words on paper. I have journals full of poems, song lyrics, and catastrophes of my everyday teenage life. The books, ranging from palm sized datebooks to 50 cent spiral bound notebooks, reside in my attic. Some of the writing is in code I can’t decipher.

What are some things you enjoy when not writing?

I’ve been an avid solo traveler for about twelve years. I absolutely love immersing myself in a foreign country alone. There’s no better way to soak up the culture and really take in the surroundings. But, I do also love traveling with my family. We usually take a summer trip to the mountains to hike and camp. We just finished converting a Promaster van into a home on wheels and I can’t wait to hit the road.

Other than travel, I enjoy throwing pottery and doing any type of art project. I’ve been a photographer for about thirteen years now so I love taking photos, especially when its not required (as in a paid job). Candids of people and landscape are my favorite.

In my former life, I was a pastry chef. I still enjoy baking but I have a fierce sweet tooth and can’t resist cookies. These days, I’m trying to eat healthy, so I’ve been working hard to convert recipes into healthier plant based versions. I love converting savory dishes as well.

Finish this: “I can’t write without

silence.” For the past three years, my neighbor’s have consistently had noisy construction crews working on their homes. I finally got noise cancelling headphones and some days I use them without music. I miss the quiet.  

What did you think you’d be when you became an adult?

A pediatrician.

What is something about you that people would surprise people?

I wish I’d had a few more children. Three isn’t enough. If only someone had told me they’d be so much fun once they reached adulthood.


Where do you get your ideas?

My brain never shuts down. I’m a terrible sleeper, so the wheels are always turning with story ideas, especially in the wee hours.


Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published (or this book?)

I started querying agents before I was ready. I had no idea what I was doing and my query letters were awful. Naturally, I didn’t get a whole lot of responses. Eventually I had two R&R’s, but they ultimately ended up being “No’s.” It was incredibly discouraging and I was close to giving up. I decided to query a handful of smaller presses and got responses fairly quickly. Two offered to sign me.


If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your novel or getting it published that you’d change?

One of the main problems with my novel was that it didn’t fit neatly into one genre. It was a cross between women’s fiction and suspense and that just didn’t work. I ended up having to make a lot of changes. Moving forward, I’ll be sure to stick with a single genre.


What are you working on now?

I’m working on a story about two female best friends in law enforcement trying to catch a serial killer in Key West.


Is anything in your book based on real-life experiences?
Yes. Plenty. I think most of us writer’s pull from real life experiences, at least a little.

I’m very familiar with the five European countries in All the Salt in the Sea.


Do you have a favorite chapter or scene?

There’s a night scene at a bus stop in Sorrento (Italy) where Abby believes she’ll never see Daniel again. She’s spent the bus ride trying to come to terms with his disappearance. She tells herself that he was only meant to breeze in and out of her life to remind her what it feels like to be alive.


Do you have a favorite character?

Abby’s new lover Daniel, the former soldier turned travel photographer. He’s been through a lot, lost a lot, and still persevered and found love when he was least expecting it.


What would your job of choice be if you didn’t write books?

I’d like to run a home for orphaned children or work in the medical field.


Finish this sentence: “If I could write about anything, it would be…”

Deep stories that matter. I want readers to be able to relate and to feel something when they read my work.


Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

Writing is incredibly subjective. Take early reader’s opinions with a grain of salt. Most importantly, don’t give up.


Place you’d like to travel?

My goal is to spend a straight year traveling to countries I haven’t yet seen. I’d like to spend maybe a month in each place.


Is there anything you’d like to say to your readers and fans?

Thank you. I hope you enjoy reading All the Salt in the Sea as much as I did writing it.

 To follow Tammy: