Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Author Debby Grahl, has a wonderful story and a giveaway

Posted by Susan B James on 3:00:00 AM with 8 comments
Meet paranormal and contemporary author Debby Grahl, who may be one of my favorite interviews ever. Debby, please tell us a little about yourself.
I grew up in Michigan and now live on Hilton Head Island, SC, with my husband David and our cat Tigger. I was born with a deteriorating eye disease called Retinitis Pigmentosa. RP is a disease of the retina which causes gradual vision loss. I lost the ability to read in my early twenties, but even when I had sight seeing the printed word was always difficult. Reading a book would take me twice as long as a person with normal sight. I became frustrated with this and  began to make up my own stories. It wasn’t until the development of computers and wonderful screen reading software that I was able to put my stories into words. Everything I type is read back to me aloud. This enables me to do my research, use the online dictionary, post on Google Plus and Facebook. It has truly opened a new window of opportunity for me. 

I love firsts, so tell me about the moment when a publisher told you they wanted to publish your book.
Getting my first contract was quite the rollercoaster ride. It all began three years ago when I pitched the book at a conference. An editor of a new small press told me to send him the first three chapters, which I did. A few weeks later he requested the entire MS.
My hopes built. Could it really happen this time? Then early one morning I received the email all new writers pray for -- the offer of a contract. Needless to say, I was ecstatic. I phoned and emailed all my friends and relatives and walked on a cloud for days.
The editing process began, but after working on six chapters our communication began to lag to the point I was afraid something was wrong. Well, I was right. After I sent many emails, I finally received a phone call informing me that due to financial difficulties the publisher would have to close their doors.
I was devastated. After a long cry and days of moping around the house, I picked myself up and once again sent the MS to another new small press.
After a short time, I received another contract for the book and we began the editing process.
This time we actually got to the point that advanced review copies (ARCs) were sent out, and we were going to press. I had the thrill of actually holding a copy of my book in my hand. Then I received an email telling me they were very sorry, but due to personal circumstances they were closing their doors.
Imagine my state of mind! I was beyond devastated; I was crushed. I was on the brink of giving up when my editor from the second publisher suggested I send the MS to The Writer’s Coffee Shop Publishing House.

So once again I picked myself up and sent it off.
I received a contract offer one month later, and both The Silver Crescent Crescent, and Rue Toulouse have finally found a home and are doing very well!  

Ohmigosh. That's an amazing, horrifying and happy ever after story. I love your persistance. 
If it isn’t too nosy. How about the first time you kissed your true love?
This is an unusual story. Both David and I were involved with civil war reenacting. We met by a camp fire at a living history event. We talked for quite a while. He walked me back to my tent and kissed me goodnight. That was 27 years ago.

Other than your own, who are your favorite (heroes/heroines/writers) in your genre?
This one is tough because there are so many, so I’ll list my absolute favorites. Heather Graham and Nora Roberts are at the top. I also enjoy Julie Garwood, Jayne Ann Krentz /Amanda Quick, Suzanne Brockmann, Jude Deveraux, Elizabeth Lowell and Christina Skye.   

What is the most exciting moment, so far, in your writing career?
  We’ve all experienced the eager anticipation of actually meeting one of our 
favorite authors. Some of us have stood in line for hours just to hear them speak.
I recently had an incident that made all the hours of writing, all the rejection letters, and all the rewrites worth every minute. I had a book signing where there were at least fifty people. This in itself thrilled me. As people began to line up in front of my table for me to sign my books, an excited reader stopped and told me how much she loved my books and just couldn’t wait for my next one. I can’t express the emotion I felt. I’m a newly published author, and here was this person acting as excited to meet me as I do when I go to see one of my favorite authors. Not only did I feel immense pleasure knowing something I’ve written has given someone such enjoyment, they inspired me to continue writing.
That's a truly special moment! 
What is your favorite pastime, other than writing?
I’m fortunate to live only fifteen minutes from the ocean, so David and I like to take walks on the beach. We also have a tandem bike, so we go for long rides. We also enjoy traveling. Other than seeing the US, I love England. We’ve been there three times and never tire of the quaint country villages. I’m a country music, blues and oldies fan. Play some good old rock ‘n’ roll and I’m out on the floor boogying. 
How do you motivate yourself when inspiration takes a vacation?
Sometimes to get motivated I’ll read a book which takes place in the same setting as mine, such as New Orleans. Or I clean house, or get into the hot tub with a glass of wine. I have to say I like the last the best.
Got a recipe you want to share?
I’ve attached David’s recipe for his delicious Who Dat Gumbo. (The link is to my recipe page where you will now find this delicious sounding, cant-wait-to-try-it, recipe.)

Any advice for new writers just starting out?
First, see if there’s a writers’ group near you and join them. Other writers can be full of helpful advice. Also there are a number of online groups that you can find that write in your genre. I also highly suggest that you take online writing classes. When I wrote my first book, a murder mystery titled Decorated To Death, which hasn’t been released, I was extremely naïve when it came to what a publisher expects. I thought you just wrote the book, submitted it and waited to hear back. I found out quickly how wrong I was. There are a number of what I refer to as no-nos in the writing world. I had one editor tell me that I had a good book, if I could only write it. In red, she pointed out all my beginner writer’s mistakes. And trust me, there was a lot of red on the page. That’s when I started taking online classes, and my writing improved after the first class. A number of groups offer these classes, and they’re reasonably priced. Entering contests is another way to get helpful advice on your work. Many writers’ groups conduct annual writing contests. Lastly, my advice would be that if you have a story in you, write it. Even if your book never makes some top seller list, it’s still your story and you wrote it.

What genre or genres do you write?
I write both paranormal and contemporary romance. My first release, The Silver Crescent, is a paranormal romance which takes place in my home state of Michigan. It won The Paranormal Romance Guild’s Reviewers Choice Award in the general category for 2014. Rue Toulouse, released this past January is a contemporary romance. That's wonderful! A note to my beloved readers: Debby's books are available in all platforms Amazon, Kobo, Barnes and Noble and iTunes.

Excerpt from The Silver Crescent:
Once the men had left the library, Virginia did as Martin had suggested and sailed down from the painting. With narrowed eyes and her mouth a thin line, she turned to face Cyrus, now seated behind his desk.
“That was a close call. I didn’t know if Max would feel my warning.”
“By the look on his face, I’d say you got through loud and clear.”
“What shall I do if he tries to remove my portrait?”
Cyrus shook his head. “I don’t think he will. And if he does, we’ll have to stop him.”
Virginia rubbed her temples. “And what about the display Garrison put on?”
Cyrus frowned. “I’m surprised he’s strong enough to conjure something like that.”
“I’m afraid if he keeps scaring them, they’ll leave, and our future will be doomed.”
He shook his head. “I have a feeling they’re tougher than that. We’ll just have to double our effort to subdue him.”
At that moment, one of the long French windows blew open, and Garrison strolled in.
“Did I hear my name?” He sat down in one of the high-backed chairs, propped his foot across his knee, and smirked.
Cyrus leaned forward and folded his arms on his desk. “You may be enjoying yourself with your little games, but your amusement will be short-lived. Trust me, you will not win.”
Garrison’s smirk turned to a grin as he reached into his pocket, removed a phantom cigar and lit it. “Are you sure about that, Cyrus old man?” His eyes glowed with hatred. “Who holds the power may soon change.” He let out a stream of tobacco smoke and disappeared.
Her face stricken with fear, Virginia turned to Cyrus.
He floated across his desk and took her in his arms. “It will be all right, my dear, don’t worry.”
She laid her head on his shoulder. “Cyrus, he can’t have meant what I think. If so, it’s too horrible to imagine.”
He stroked her back. “Hush, now. We must do the best we can to help them along.”
“Yes, and we must keep them safe.”
Cyrus nodded.
“Perhaps we need something besides the crescents?” Virginia asked.
“Let’s give them a little longer. If they don’t figure it out, I have another idea.”
When they heard voices in the hallway, Virginia gave Cyrus a quick kiss and reentered her portrait, and Cyrus vanished.
 Great excerpt. I want to read the book.

Tell us about your latest release.
Rue Toulouse is a contemporary romance set in New Orleans. I came up with the idea for the book when my husband, David, and I were visiting the city. While I sat on the balcony of our hotel on Rue Toulouse drinking a glass of wine and eating Voodoo chips, Caterine and Remi came to life in my mind. Rue Toulouse is a tale of sex, danger and intrigue down in the Big Easy. After Caterine Doucette inherits the family fashion business, Ma Cherie, an attempt is made on her life. Ex-cop Remi Michaud is hired to protect Caterine while discovering which of her traitorous relatives want her dead.

Excerpt from Rue Tolouse:

Hello, Princess.”
Caterine stared in disbelief at the man leaning against the door frame. Her mouth suddenly gone dry, she whispered, “Remi?”
“At your service.”
She opened her mouth and closed it several times before she stammered, “Wha-what are you doing here?”
“Your grandmother sent me.”
“Let me in, and I’ll tell you.”
Without a word, she stepped back to let him pass. He quickly scanned the room. “Nice, isn’t it? I’ve never stayed here, but I’ve heard it’s a great hotel. It suits you. But would you care to tell me why you’re here and not on a plane out of New Orleans?”
Caterine’s back stiffened. “I don’t see what concern that is of yours. I called Elaine and expected either Paul or her to come. So, again, what are you doing here instead of Paul?”
“You’re in trouble and need help.”
“But you don’t even know me.”
Remi smiled. “We have met.”
Caterine felt her face turning scarlet.
He chuckled. “I take it you remember.”
Remember? Oh, how she remembered. She’d relived those moments in his arms over and over again. And here he was standing in front of her wanting to help. It took everything she had not to throw herself at him. “I still don’t understand. How did you find out what happened?”
“I was on my way home when I heard Ma Chérie’s alarm. I found your hair clip and the blood on the sidewalk. What did that guy do to you?”
She shuddered and in a barely audible voice said, “He held a gun to my back and tried to force me into a van.”
Remi’s jaw tightened. “That fils de putain left some blood. If we find him, we have a DNA sample.” He reached out and took her hand. “How did you get away from him?”
“First I swung wildly and hit him in the nose with the alarm remote I had in my fist. Then I got him with my umbrella.”
“Way to go, Princess.”
She gave him a slight smile. “And I’m pretty sure the remote saved my life. I set the alarm off while he held the gun to my back.”
“You must have been terrified. I promise we’ll get the bastard who did that to you.”
She tried to blink back the tears that suddenly filled her eyes.
“Don’t cry.” With the tip of his finger, he brushed away the tear that slid down her cheek. “You’re safe. I’m here.”
I want to read this one too!

What’s your current WIP?
Actually I have three projects. The first, a completed manuscript titled His Magic Touch, is a paranormal romance again set in New Orleans. Island Heat, Mountain Heat and Southern Heat are contemporary romances which are works in progress. Decorated To Death, is my first book which is a mystery cozy. I plan on giving it a good polish and resubmitting it for publication. 

And finally, where can we find you?
My books can be found on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and iTunes. (I put all the links to those above.)
You can find me here:
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6862089.Debby_Grahl

Thanks for being here. Debby is offering one paperback of each of her books as a giveaway. I'm entering my own contest! Happy reading, friends.
a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Hello. I'd like to thank Susan for having me today. I'd love to hear from everyone, so please leave a comment.

  2. My heart stopped when the house was shutting their doors on your first book. What dismay! Glad it all worked out for good. Lovely post. Off to check out that gumbo recipe next.

  3. Hi Debby, Thanks for sharing your journey and advice. So inspiring! Best of luck with your books. Joanne :)

  4. Very inspiring story! I love paranormal and will be checking out your books:)

    1. Thanks, Anne, I love writing about ghosts and witches.


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