I love discovering new authors, so I wanted my blog to be a place where readers and my author pals could come together. Only we like to do this Speed-Dating style. Check out a new author and her work here every Wednesday, and if the spark is there, you’ll have a match.
This week’s guest: Laurie Kuna
1. Which character in “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” is your favorite, and what does that say about you?
An elf, because I’m an English teacher and an elf is a subordinate “Claus.”
2. What are some of things you do to work your way through a plot problem?
Drink…Kidding. Do something else, like walk on the treadmill. My subconscious mind usually solves the plot problem.
3. Name your favorite author who writes in a genre that you never write.
Sarah Paretsky—1st person detective stories (VI Warshawski).
4. Cherry cordials or candy canes?
No contest. Cherry cordials.
5. How many full manuscripts did you have to write before you were first published?
6. In 10 words or less, give your best tip for aspiring authors.
Ignore non-constructive criticism and complete adulation. Neither helps you.
7. Lifetime Christmas movies. Yea or nay?
Yea and nay! Depends on content.
8. What was the lowest point in your writing career, and how did you recover from it?
I’ll let you know when I’ve recovered.
9. Are you traditionally published, self-published or a “hybrid” author, and why did you choose that path?
Traditionally. It chose me more than anything, as I was line editing for ImaJinn and sent a manuscript in to its publisher, Linda Kichline. She bought it, and three more of my titles.
10. “O Holy Night” (Josh Groban version) or “White Christmas” (Bing Crosby version)?
Der Bingle, although Groban’s got a great voice.
11. Which character from one of your own books do you wish you were more like?
Endora Bast, as she’s a shape-shifting witch who kicks ass.
12. What is your strategy for writing over the holidays?
Butt in Chair, Hands on Keyboard.
13. Of all the delightful treats available during the holiday season, which one would you prefer to hide in a closet so you don’t have to share it with anyone?
The cherry cordials from Question #4.
14. Do you belong to a critique group, and how has that membership affected your writing?
Yes! We’re really a family more than a critique group, so the support I’ve received—both personally and professionally—has kept me writing when I know I’d have called it quits long ago without them.
15. What is your usual New Year’s Resolution, and how quickly do you usually break it?
Stop swearing…Just as long as it takes for one of my favorite sports teams—the Spartans, the Red Wings, or the Lions—to do something stupid. Or the officials in their games to do the same.
By Laurie Carroll
“I’ve a business proposition for you. Come to my ship, and we’ll discuss it over a bottle of port.”
Although Cal could not be overheard, he leaned close and said in Meg’s ear, “If he sailed all the way out here seeking you, he’s got more than common business in mind.”
And used otherworldly means to find me. “We can’t know for sure until we hear his proposal.” Meg raised her voice so it would carry to Lady Luck. “As my crew has a large stake in whatever transaction you’re offering, we can discuss the terms right here.”
“There”s a bold piece,” Cooper muttered as he stood at Hugh’s elbow. “You’d think she had the advantage, the way she acts.”
Hugh grinned, genuine admiration in his eyes. “That’s what makes her so good at what she does, Coop.” Putting both hands on his quarterdeck rail, he leaned toward the Rosalind. “Very well. Surrender your ship, your crew and your cargo. And return to Charles Town with me.”
Although not completely surprised that he wanted to take her back to the Carolinas, his outrageous conditions shocked Meg to her core. Nevertheless, she showed no emotion. Widening her stance, she crossed her arms over her chest and raised her chin. “My ship is badly damaged and many of my crew injured. At this time, I carry no cargo.”
“Nevertheless, those are my terms.”
“I’m afraid they’re completely unacceptable.” Anger resonated in her voice when she added, “We’ll fight to the death before allowing anyone to drag us back to a Royal port to hang.”
Now Hugh’s expression cooled. “I’m willing to make a counter offer.”
The offer you’d intended all along, you mean. Wanting my crew’s surrender wasn’t in your plans. She cocked a brow, though Hugh was likely too far away to see the gesture. “And that is?”
“You’re known to have an excellent blade, possibly the best in the New World.”
The sudden dread of certainty crept into Meg’s mind. “I’ve heard it said of me,” she replied flatly.
“Then here’s my proposition. Prove your ability by dueling me. If I win, you return to Charles Town with me, and your crew goes free.”
Something about Hugh’s words thrilled her beyond belief. But pride and her sense of duty to her men quelled the thrill. “And if I win?”
Hugh laughed arrogantly, but to Meg’s ears, it was not genuine.
“Then do what you wish with my ship and crew, for I’ll be dead.”
Annoyance blasted through her. You know full well this will never go that far between us. But I’m of a mind to call your bluff. “Then
make your peace with God, Captain Stevens.”
Hugh’s lips flattened, but he said casually, “Put your crew ashore and bring your first mate and pilot with you. We’ll fight here on the
Meg felt Cal and Elijah go tense beside her. “I’ve injured men who can’t be moved.”
“Then I’ll send some of mine to see they’re comfortable in their berths.”
“I’ve one requirement of my own,” Meg stated, all the arrogance of command she could muster in her tone. “My crew goes free, no matter who wins.”
Turning to Cal, she whispered, “Don’t argue with me over this. I can’t risk you and the men.”
“However he found us, he’s here only for you.” Cal turned his back on Hugh’s ship as he added, “We were on our way back to Charles Town so you could see him. Do you really want to fight him now?”
“No.” Meg sighed. “If he hadn’t hunted us down with the express intent of taking me back with him, I’d go willingly. But I don’t take kindly to ultimatums. And I don’t think he really expects me to.”
Elijah gently squeezed Meg’s forearm. “Be careful.”
She winked at her pilot. “Maybe I won’t fight too hard.”
“Be serious, Meg,” Cal hissed under his breath, leaning in from her other side. “If Stevens bests you, he’ll likely…” His voice trailed off and he looked away.
Meg could feel her eyes blazing. She lifted her chin. “What, Cal? Bed me? You didn’t seem particularly worried about that in Charles Town.”
He had the grace to blush, but his eyes were hot when he looked up at her. “You weren’t injured then and could defend yourself if you chose to. Right now, you’re not fit, and I . . . ” Fear and anger held equal sway in Cal’s expression. “I just don’t want him to take advantage of you.”
“He challenged me. I can’t refuse.” Seeing her friends’ fear, she stated firmly, “Rest assured, anything that happens between us will be on my terms or not at all.”
Laurie Kuna writes historical and contemporary paranormal romance for ImaJinn/BellBridgeBooks, the historicals as Laurie Carroll and the contemporaries as Laurie C. Kuna. She taught high school English for 29 years and now uses those skills to edit professionally. A Golden Heart finalist, she published that manuscript as her first book, A War of Hearts. She loves hearing from fans and can be reached through her website, www.lauriecarroll-kuna.com, through her Facebook author page or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.