Tuesday, October 24, 2023


An aspiring contemporary screenwriter, a 1970s socialite-turned-feminist, and the camp in the woods that ties their stories together forever, in #1 internationally bestselling author Karma Brown’s new novel about ambition, betrayal, and the wildness that exists in all of us.

Rowan is stuck. Her dream of becoming a Hollywood screenwriter is stalled, and so she and her novelist fiancĂ©, Seth, retreat to an isolated cabin in the Adirondacks to hopefully get out of their creative ruts. There, Rowan finds herself drawn into a mysterious and unsettling story—that of socialite-turned-feminist-crusader Eddie Callaway, who vanished in these same woods the summer of 1975 and was never heard from again. A handbook found in the abandoned ruins of the Callaway camp gives Rowan glimpses into who Eddie was, and then a fateful discovery offers clues about what might have happened to her. Soon, Rowan finds herself with a story potentially more shocking than Eddie’s notes about sun salutations and pineapple upside-down cake would indicate.

As Rowan learns more about the enigmatic Eddie, who got a second chance at life after a profound loss, she discovers the camp leader’s greatest wish: to help other women unlock their true, though long-repressed, “wildness.” However, Eddie’s methods and wild ways weren’t welcomed by all, and rifts between the camp owners threatened her mission, perhaps perilously. As Rowan draws closer to the truth of Eddie’s unsolved disappearance, she realizes that the past may hold two keys: one that reveals what really happened to Eddie Callaway, and another that unlocks a future beyond her wildest imagination.

Reviews ~

"Karma Brown keeps delivering knockout after knockout. She is an auto-buy author for me!" —Taylor Jenkins Reid

“Brown cleverly converges the two storylines…and the descriptions of the natural beauty and peace of the forest will have readers longing for an escape of their own. Readers who enjoy dual-time-period novels featuring strong women characters will be delighted.”

“A story of self-discovery in a gorgeously-drawn setting, 
What Wild Women Do isn’t afraid to confront the bold choices women must make sometimes, and its dual-timeline heroines are both perfectly suited for the job. Karma Brown’s latest is a heartfelt exploration into the importance of honesty, legacy, and being true to one’s self.”
—Shelby Van Pelt, New York Times bestselling author of Remarkably Bright Creatures

What Wild Women Do is a total joy to read—it’s mysterious, atmospheric and pacey, with heaps of heart and soul. Rowan and Eddie are two women to root for, each on their own soul-searching journey of independence and a reckoning with their past. An uplifting celebration of women, and the courage it takes to find one’s true self."
—Ashley Audrain, New York Times bestselling author of The Push

“Brown’s latest is a remarkable story of two complicated women, almost fifty years apart, trying to make a mark in a world that often demeans and trivializes their dreams. Set in the lush Adirondack forest, the story addresses feminism, friendship, and the creative spirit, and is guaranteed to keep readers guessing until the very end. A terrific read.”
—Fiona Davis, New York Times bestselling author of 
The Spectacular

Author interview with Karma ~

What is something about you that would surprise people?

For those who don’t know me well, probably that I’m an introvert. I like to say I’m an “extroverted introvert,” which means I can be outgoing and relaxed in front of large groups, or at social gatherings. But my energy comes from being alone, or enjoying the company of a couple close friends. I really excel at being a hermit!

Where do you get your ideas, or what inspired this book plot?

I am lucky in that I never seem to struggle with book ideas, though that doesn’t mean every idea works out. For WHAT WILD WOMEN DO, it was Rowan’s story (the modern day protagonist) that landed first, but the book also had a very different plot at the time. I went through many iterations of this plot, and it wasn’t until I settled on the Adirondacks and the great camp as a setting, based on my childhood visits to a similar camp, that Eddie’s story revealed itself. Finding the heart of the novel (which was always going to be about women finding independence, and self-discovery) was a journey and a half, but it was worth it in the end.

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

I actually have two completed manuscripts in a drawer, along with a half-dozen, multi-page synopses for other book ideas, and maybe one or two partial books? As for seeing the light of day, I don’t suspect any of these will. However, each one was critical in getting the nine books I have published now on the shelf. Every attempt is good practice.


If I wasn’t an author, I might be…?

In an alternate universe I would be a zoo veterinarian. Or maybe a pastry chef, working in Paris. My protagonist of my work-in-progress is an art conservator, and it’s a fascinating career I knew nothing about…so that might be something I would choose to explore, if I was career hopping. I’m endlessly curious, in case that wasn’t obvious!

Do you have a particular writing routine?

I’ve been writing in the early-morning hours (think 5 a.m. early) for about a decade, and it’s a solid habit now. I also use rigorous synopses and character outlines before I start writing a story, and am a die-hard Scrivener (writing software program) fan. Everything else varies, depending on story context and life happenings. With WHAT WILD WOMEN DO I wrote one entire timeline and POV before shifting to the other. I’ve never done that before, and wouldn’t set out to do it again, but it’s what made sense for this book.

Finish this: “I can’t write without…”        

Coffee. Because I write early in the morning, this is non-negotiable.


What is a bestselling book you’ve been itching to read?

One book I can’t wait to read is SHARK HEART, by Emily Habeck. I’m a sucker for a good allegory, and the concept for this one (a woman’s husband slowly transforms into a great white shark) sold me.


Do you have a favorite character?

Eddie Callaway, my 1975, 50-year-old socialite-turned-feminist protagonist, is probably my favorite character. I turned 50 around the time I was editing the book, and Eddie became a beacon for me as I navigated some of the challenging parts of being an aging woman. Plus, she was fun to write! There’s something special about crafting a woman who is firmly anchored in who she is, and w


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

I’m obsessed with the idea of writing a haunted house story. One day…


Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

I’m always hesitant to give advice, because what works for one writer may not work for another. However, the “you can’t edit a blank page” advice is worth taking, meaning you need to get your butt in the seat and get the words on the page. The only job of a messy, terrible first draft is for it to exist. That’s it. Everything else can be fixed later.


Favorite book and/or movie?

One of my favorite books is THE STEPFORD WIVES by Ira Levin. I’ve probably read it a dozen times, and am on the hunt for an original 1972 edition that I can add to my bookshelf.


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

Thank you for reading books! Not only mine, but all books, in all genres. It warms my author’s heart (and my reader’s heart, too). 

To connect with Karma ~

Friday, October 6, 2023

THE BLUE IRIS, by author RACHEL STONE (debuted October 3rd!)

Sometimes, uprooting the thorn-filled past is the only way we bloom. 

Tessa Lewis is set to embark on a Big-Time Career and marry Toronto's fastest-rising lawyer, who loves her to pieces. But when a visit to a flower market from her childhood sparks memories of the mother she lost too soon, Tessa puts her bright future on hold to work there, determined to come to terms with her past.

At the Blue Iris Flower Market, everything is blossoming except the rag-tag crew, each hiding deep scars of their own. When Sam, the beloved but troubled man in charge, takes off and leaves the market reeling, Tessa and her unlikely new friends come face-to-face with their most uncomfortable truths, uprooting lives carefully cultivated-and just maybe, unearthing everything they've ever wanted.

Told from multiple perspectives, The Blue Iris is an intricately woven exploration of love tested beyond its limits, chosen family, and the beauty that grows in letting go. 


"A story of found family, impossible romances, and the ghosts of the past, The Blue Iris is a riveting page-turner as stunning as the blooms that fill the shop at the heart of the book. Haunted and haunting, it keeps you guessing even as you cheer for Tessa and the broken but irresistible makeshift family she builds for herself. A story of growing up and deciding who you really are, it's an unforgettable tale of roots in more ways than one."-Grace O'Connell, Author of Be Ready for the Lightning

"Riveting, soul-searching, and full of heart. . . . A spectacularly told story. . . . Told in multiple characters' voices, the narrative is riveting, with shocking surprises unraveling at a steady pace. The plot's top-grade tension grows taut as Tessa works herself up to take the hard decision. Readers won't want to put this down." -
The Prairies Book Review

"A gorgeous novel-Stone brilliantly captures the power of optimism, the allure of memory. Readers will fall in love with the Blue Iris Flower Market and the vibrant cast of characters they meet there."-
Stacy Bierlein, Author of A Vacation on the Island of Ex-Boyfriends

The Blue Iris, Rachel Stone shines as a gifted wordsmith. Her narrative is like walking through a lush garden; our senses explode with the beauty in her vivid descriptions. With each chapter, her rich cast of characters take root, grow, and evolve, Tessa most of all. Hers is a difficult journey-to ground herself in truth, she must peel away the facade that has sustained her. Tessa learns a lesson important to each of us: when we let go of dying things, it frees us to hold fast to that which nurtures us. The Blue Iris is an engaging, unique novel of love and chosen family-the best kind." -Carla Damron, Author of The Orchid Tattoo

Author interview with Rachel ~

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

The Blue Iris was born from a personal crisis. A rare benign orbital tumour, successfully removed years ago, resurfaced out of the blue (at less than one percent odds). Suddenly my writing dream felt very now-or-never. 

I put my corporate career on hold and enrolled in creative writing classes, thinking if nothing else it would distract from the “what ifs.” I planned to work on a collection of essays, maybe some poetry—a  novel was nowhere on the horizon! But writing fiction was magic. It was like hypnosis. I kept at it every day and night; I never wanted to work on anything else.

Months later, I learned the tumour had stabilized--in fact, it appeared to be shrinking. The Blue Iris stopped feeling like a decision; no matter how many rewrites, revisions or queries it took, I was never turning my back on the thing that had given me so much.

Is there anything major that changed in this novel from when you first plotted it out?

Oh, just, you know, minor things like . . . an entire main arc and the climax scene!

My developmental editor flagged that neither were working at all. I remember feeling completely defeated; deep down, I knew she was right, but tackling it seemed impossible.

Someone told me not to attempt any changes right away, but to give it a few days--ideally a week. That advice was GOLD. Sure enough, the longer I sat with it, the more time I spent walking outside, the clearer the path through the changes became.

What was the original title of this book?

The Blue Iris had THREE titles before this one! Originally, it was called All Ways Will, because the book revolved mainly around Tessa and Will’s arc. As rewrites progressed, the secondary characters grew more central, so it no longer fit.

Then it was Deeply Rooted Lies, because everyone is carrying their own stubborn secrets, then Deeply Rooted Goodbyes, because the characters learn to let go of their past traumas. I liked both, but they didn’t match the book’s tone (which is much more uplifting than either suggests).

When I stood back, I realized that as the drafts had evolved, the flower market became the piece tying everything together. It was the heartbeat of the whole thing. Aha moment! The Blue Iris was the obvious choice, and it’s the sort of title that takes on new layers as the story progresses, too, which I always enjoy as a reader.


Can you tell us about your challenges in getting this book published?

That road was so bumpy, I’m not sure those bruises will ever heal!

It was a six-year process from start to finish. I queried it over 150 times (an estimate, because I’d stopped counting after 100), pausing in between to rework and reassess.

The pitch and opening chapter were the biggest problems, I knew that. But I’d revised both to death, and for the life of me, couldn’t figure out how to fix them. I just kept making them worse! I reached a point where I felt good about the rest, but of course, it didn’t matter; if those first pages aren’t on point, you’ve lost your chance. Nobody is reading past them.

At the urging of my writer friends, I ended up workshopping both the pitch and the opening chapter through the WFWA, which allowed me to test out different versions with a broad set of fresh eyes. Finally, I was able to break out of the revision rut! Next time out with the submission package, I had much more traction.

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?


I wouldn’t start each editing pass at the beginning--you lose more and more objectivity each time!


I wouldn’t spend so much time on line edits and polishing (for me, the most fun part) until I was sure the bones were solid--a ton of well-polished scenes ended up being slashed and cut!


Above all, I’d put myself out there earlier with fellow writers. I’m very shy at first, and I had this idea that writing should be a solitary venture, anyway. Just me and the page. But that got really lonely after awhile, and I was second-guessing myself in circles. Finding my tribe of writers changed everything–I learned from them, listened to their stories and discovered that everything I’d been experiencing was a normal part of the journey, and that was immensely encouraging.


Starting out, I didn’t know just how much I didn’t yet know; I’d have saved years of time and energy had I made those connections sooner. The people of the WFWA were so willing to share their insights and lessons learned, and so encouraging at every step. It brings me great satisfaction now when I can do the same. I always tell writers, find your people! No, seriously, do it now! Yes, writing is a solo activity, and putting yourself out there when you’re new at it is SO scary. But we’ve all been there, and it’s infinitely easier (and a lot more fun) when we’re all in it together.


Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

Be obsessed with your characters and ruthless about doing them justice. Obsessed and ruthless carry this negative connotation, but in this context they shouldn’t. The road to publication is so arduous, the revisions and rejections so exhaustive, that I really do believe some degree of both are necessary to keep at it. 

Be in love with your book, because you’re going to spend WAY more time inside of it than you can possibly imagine. Write the story that keeps you up at night and kicks you out of bed in the morning. The one you cannot get out of your head no matter how hard you try.

Then, keep doing whatever it takes–whether that’s restructuring the whole thing, or rewriting an arc or a character (or five!). Life will tell you there are more worthy priorities. The world will tell you to move on, and try something else. But when you’re in love with your book and obsessed with its characters, you’ll find that ruthlessness you need to see it through. And once you’re in that headspace, there’s just no way you won’t get there eventually.

To connect with Rachel ~


Linktree: https://linktr.ee/rachelstoneauthor


Instagram: @racheystone


Facebook: Rachel Stone


Twitter: @rachestone


Tuesday, October 3, 2023

JUSTICE BE DONE, by author CARLA DAMRON (out now!)

Social worker Caleb Knowles finds himself in the heart of a firestorm of racial tensions and violence in downtown Columbia, SC. When he interviews young Laquan Harwell, the truth behind Laquan’s crime becomes clear—it was born from years of racial mistreatment. However, Laquan’s assault on a white storekeeper lights the match that sets the town on fire: a hate crime sparks protests. Protests erupt into riots.

Downtown becomes a war zone.
The murder of a racist police officer further fuels the violence, and soon Caleb is entangled in a desperate search for justice. As the riots escalate, Caleb’s brother Sam is injured, leading Caleb to take rash actions that put his career on the line.
As he uncovers the truth about the police officer’s death, Caleb’s efforts to save a client thrust him into the eye of the storm and endanger his life. Will justice prevail, or will the hate-spawned violence take more lives?

A Caleb Knowles Mystery - Book 4

Author interview with Carla,

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

I wrote as a kid, but drifted away from creative writing in my early adult years. Later, the

bug came back, and I’m very glad it did. Writing is a huge part of my life now.


What are some things you enjoy when not writing?

I love to read of course—for pleasure and for craft. I also enjoy beading. I stay active

doing volunteer work, too, which introduced me to some incredible people and

sometimes I get to share their stories.


Is there anything major that changed in this novel from when you first plotted it out?

As I dove deeper into the characters, they revealed things that surprised me. Bad guys

had hidden good qualities. Furtive characters had big secrets to tell me. And my killer’s

motivation? That was the biggest surprise of all.


Finish this: “I can’t write without…”

A community of writers who support me and make this very isolating craft less lonely.


What is something about you that would surprise people?

I grew up in theater. My mom was a theater director, so I learned ALLLLL about the

theater business. I’ve acted, stage managed, run lights, painted sets, and served as

properties manager---all before the age of fifteen.


What was the original title of this book? PITCHFORK.


Where do you get your ideas, or what inspired this book's plot?

After the horrible George Floyd incident, I watched race riots on the news here in

Columbia. It felt like unresolved rage that was centuries old was bubbling to the surface.

That, coupled with the horrendous murders at the Mother Emanuel AME church in

2015, haunted me. Why is hate so prevalent now? So destructive now? We think we’ve

come so far, but we really haven’t, have we? These are the issues I explore in Justice

Be Done.


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

Bird On Limb. I workshopped it with a group who meant well, but confused me with their

contradictory input. It also deals with a sensitive subject, so I have to do it right. Hope to

resurrect it and try again soon!


If I wasn’t an author, I might be…?

A LOTTERY WINNER! Wouldn’t that be great? Of course, I’d probably just keep writing

till I went broke.


If you have written more than one book, which story would you choose to live?

Oh, man, I’m so hard on my characters I can’t answer this one.


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?

I would have done a better job at marketing my earlier books, or hired someone to do it

for me.


How do you market your work?

I have someone who helps with social media, which is wonderful. The rest happens

organically. I’m lucky in that I get invited to TONS of book clubs, something I really

enjoy—and readers tell other readers who tell other readers… that’s the best kind of

marketing there is.


What are you working on now?

The sequel to my last book, The Orchid Tattoo. Those characters had more to tell me

so I’m writing it down. I hope to finish a draft of The Weird Girl by the end of this year.


What is a bestselling book you’ve been itching to read? 

Demon Copperhead, except I’m a little afraid of it, too. I know it will be upsetting!


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

One of the opening scenes in Justice Be Done came from a DREAM. Seriously, I

hadn’t visited my Caleb Knowles character in years, and suddenly I have a vivid dream

of a scene with him and his brother, Sam. This is how the novel came to be.


Do you have a favorite chapter or scene?

I do! But I’m not telling!


Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

All writers are self-taught, even if you go to school for it. If your first novel doesn’t get an

agent or publisher, don’t be mad or frustrated. That novel TAUGHT you how to write.

Move on to the next one. Each book will be better than the last, and maybe it’s your

second or third that lands the big book deal. And maybe then, you go back to the first

one, fix what needs fixing, and try again.


What are the downfalls of your writing career? The best parts?

Downfalls: it can be expensive. I hope and pray that one day, I’ll make minimum wage.


Best parts: connecting with readers. Hearing them tell me how they related to my

characters, or describe what they learned, or express how they feel differently about an

issue after reading my work. That’s worth more than anything.


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

Justice Be Done is crime fiction that deals with racial issues. I tried to be as sensitive

and fair as I could be. Please, give it a try. It may surprise you.


To connect with Carla: 

Facebook: carladamronwrites


instagram: carladamron

tiktok: carladamron