Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Ravens Cove VBT

Welcome to Ravens Cove, Alaska, a tiny town nestled in a small hollow on the majestic Cook Inlet. A town familiar with storytelling—after all, Alaska abounds in rich legends. In Ravens Cove, though, legends have a tendency to come to life.

Meet Josiah Williams, the peculiar stranger whose warning to lifetime residents Kat Tovslosky and her cousin, Sheriff Bart Andersen, raises more questions than answers; a man whose dark past and knowledge of the murders make him a suspect more than an ally. Join Kat and Bart as an unlikely troop forms (including a very unwelcome FBI agent) to discover the identity of a killer. The unearthing of which will throw the reluctant warriors into a battle for their very lives and the lives of all who call Ravens Cove home.

 “This is Agent Melbourne again. If you hang up, I will call back as many times as it takes. This is urgent. Tell your boss to pick up the phone, and do it now!”

Kat-fight mode sounded the first bell in the back of her brain. She knew her orders, and she would enforce them.

“With all due respect, Agent, no.” She dropped the phone into the cradle.

Ten minutes and several Melbourne calls later, Kat stomped to Bart’s office, angry at being ordered by the know-it-all FBI agent to get her “boss.”

Bart looked up to blazing eyes and a flushed face. He leaned back in his chair, linking his hands behind his head, and hoping his body language would diffuse the onslaught of emotion. It didn’t.

“There is an Agent Melbourne who keeps calling. He insists on talking to you.”

“Told you my policy on nosy outsiders.”

Being reprimanded brought the stew of frustration, weariness and hunger to a boil.

“Yes,” her voice rose, “yes you have. And, I told him, too. And I hung up. And he called back again, and again, and again. I hung up again, and again and AGAIN. He is now ordering me, under threat of interfering with FBI business, to put my ‘boss’ on the phone. He is on hold.”

Bart knew Kat. No matter who paid her, she did not have a “boss.” She had been, and always would be, a freethinker and free spirit. He could not control the grin creeping across his mouth.

 On Coincidences

There is one thing to be said for coincidences. There aren’t any.  Before you think I’m crazy or just ‘narrow minded’ consider the following story of how I became a published author.

A day came when I was confronted with an indisputable fact: My eternal soul lives in nothing more than crockery.  That day came in May 1998.

I awoke for another day of work. Hands reaching toward the ceiling in that wonderful morning stretch were stopped instantly by sharp, tear-producing pain.  As the initial pain subsided, I downed a pain reliever and was at my desk by 9 am.   The pain returned with a vengeance by noon.  At 1 pm I found myself in the emergency room.  A disc had herniated in my neck, and I faced surgery with a long recovery.

As they say, “The Lord works in mysterious ways.” Indeed, He does. Because if a disc in my neck had not herniated, if I hadn’t read 100 books in ninety days because I could do nothing else while I healed, and if I had not listened to a good friend who suggested I write a novel, I would not be an author.

My first book in what is now the Iconoclast series took many years before it saw the black and white of printing. The journey was full of trips down other paths – going back to work time and again to make the almighty dollar and avoid the emotions and mental weariness of writing. I took courses, joined online chat groups and talked about writing until I was blue in the face. I finally accepted the desire to writie a book was not going away. It took twelve years to summon the courage to write a novel.

In all of the trips down other pathways, one helped me. I discovered National Novel Writing Month. This is a yearly event where over 300,000 writers come together and grind out a novel in 30 days. I committed to the project. Low and behold, Ravens Cove was born.

Once written, I was faced with the frightening and somewhat overwhelming question every writer has: “What now?” My answer for several months was, “nothing!” This was when I first discovered that writing a book is akin to giving birth. I wasn’t putting my ‘baby’ out into the world for criticism and rejection.

I let the book sit in the dark for several months. It stayed in the rawest of formats. I think I was actually in denial. I didn’t have (or make) the time to edit it because I had no clue where to go and who to trust with my ‘baby.’

My husband read the prologue and told me it was great. Of course he did. He wanted dinner and to sleep in his own bed – what else would he say? I knew he meant it. I also knew he loved me so I dismissed his compliment.

It just so happened that my father-in-law came to visit the summer after I wrote Ravens Cove. He asked if I might allow him to read it. His reading it was not such a frightening thought and, to be honest, I wanted his opinion. And, I trusted his view because he has a PhD in education and had published works of his own. He also happened to be the most avid reader I had ever met.

He and my husband left that weekend for our RV in Anchor Point. He read it there. He came back and told me he really liked it. He said he had read authors he thought should have never been published. And, he thought mine should be.

My husband, with the I-told-you-so-look, agreed. Then, he took it a step further and emailed links to several publishers and publishing houses with information on what it took to get the book to press. Here’s where providence is again disguised as coincidence. One of those names was Publication Consultants.

I debated sending out query letters to the ‘big houses.’ I heard stories of books that were tied up for months, even a year or more, by those ‘big houses’ who initially accepted the author’s work and left them hanging forever. I debated the self-publishing houses and again read and heard of the horror stories of authors that were taken financially to the point it wasn’t worthwhile to pursue marketing their books. I decided I wanted to be able to look a publisher in the eye. So, I met with Evan Swensen of Publication Consultants.

Before I did, I reviewed the website and the different contracts available to an author. They all seemed above board and fair. I reviewed what authors said about them and it sounded good. I called.

Evan reviewed the first few pages of what was to be Ravens Cove. There were some problems but said the story was good and he would publish it—after I took it to an editor to fix the ‘boulders.’ The rest is history. Since 2010, I have been privileged to call Publication Consultants my publishing house.

Publication Consultants was and still is invaluable to this me. They have taught, and are still teaching me, the ins and outs of the road to becoming a successful author. There have been numerous mountains to climb and valleys to traverse. They have stuck with me throughout the process and have opened doors that self-publishing could not. Without Evan Swensen and his staff, I would not have reached the goal of becoming a published author.

As I stated when I began this article, there are no coincidences. Each occurrence that seemed so small in and of theirselves led me to Publication Consultants and the adventure of being a published author. To date, the journey continues. The Iconoclast Thriller series is complete. And, when ready and God willing, my fifth book will be published within a year with the assistance of Publication Consultants.

Don't forget to visit the other stops on the tour.

Author Bio and Links:
I’m Mary Ann Poll, America’s Lady of Supernatural Thrillers and charter member of Author Masterminds. The first question most people ask is, “What is an Iconoclast?” Iconoclast means, “The destroyer of religious beliefs or symbols.” I took this definition and applied it to the supernatural realm, which is how the Iconoclast Thriller series was born. My books revolve around the battle between good and evil. They also revolve around the heroic acts of ordinary people who must face extraordinary, even unbelievable, circumstances.

I draw from real-life experiences, as well as my imagination, to create these supernatural thrillers. My love for a creepy, goosebump-creating ghost story and my love for Christ come together in these books.

I am a proud pet lover, which is also reflected in my writing. In my off time, I enjoy gardening, swimming and spending time with beloved family.
I pray you enjoy reading Ravens Cove as much as I enjoyed writing it. Blessings in Christ!


  1. I love anything and everything about Alaska!! Can't wait to read this!!

  2. Hi, Rita. I hope you get a chance to take a 'sneak peak' and see if you'd enjoy it.

  3. Hello, Mya:
    I lived in Alaska for 40 years. Still home in my heart. It is an amazing place! Hope you enjoy Ravens Cove.

  4. Hello. Teresa. Thank you for the wonderful comment.