Friday, April 24, 2020

Will o' the Wisp--Epilogue

A year later...


Grandma Ellie’s roses were in full bloom, and June burst in a riot of colors across the fields of Allison’s Farm. It was very much like the day a boy from Detroit had stepped onto the porch, and the one when a man from the West had walked into Allison’s barn. The memory of both days would forever remain stored in her heart, as would many others in the past years, but none would match the joy in her life today.

 As she walked towards the pasture, Gypsy ran around barking and the cats sprang to the top of the fence posts. The commotion brought the horses to the gate. Inquisitive as ever, they crowded close to see what Allison carried in her arms. When she stood at the fence, Melody nickered and snuffled at the pink blanket wrapped bundle.

 Sarah Ellen McBride, named for her great-grandmothers, stirred and flung out a tiny fist to bump the old broodmare’s nose. Melody didn’t budge but breathed softly on the tiny girl’s dark fluff of hair.

 “Do you think Melody knows it’s a baby?” Lizzie climbed on the fence while Mystri and the fillies Starlight and Stardust moved in for a look-see.

 “She had many babies herself. I’m sure she does.” Allison held her week old daughter up to meet the residents of the pasture, much as she had done with Lizzie ten years ago.

 “Will you like horses, Sarah?” Lizzie put out a finger for the baby to grasp. “I’ll let you have my pony. I’m getting a little too big to ride Cayenne.”

 “I think she’ll love him just as you do.” Allison tucked the baby back in the curve of her arm. “How do you feel about having a sister?”

 Lizzie shrugged but managed a close-mouthed smile that hid her new braces. “She’s okay. Except when she cries at night.”

 “You did, too. She’ll grow out of it.”

 As if she’d heard the word, Sarah Ellen started to fuss loudly.

 “Hey, is this gathering for girls only or can a guy join the party?” Shane came up behind them and peeked over Allison’s shoulder at the little face working up to a good cry.

 “We’re introducing her,” Lizzie said. “And it looks like the girls are more interested than the boys.” She motioned to Tank, Pride, Major and Duncan who had moved away when the bundle made noise.

 “I think they feel outnumbered.” He touched Sarah’s scrunched up nose. She stopped fussing and fixed deep blue eyes on her father.

 Allison glanced up at him. “Do you? Feel outnumbered?”

 “Only most of the time.” He winked at her and followed them up to the house.

 While they went inside, Shane paused to look out toward the old orchard and the woods beyond. It was a day very much like this one when he’d stepped down from the bus and come looking for a job…and met a girl named Allison Tyler. Some days it still seemed hard to believe he’d come back to Michigan, and that he and Allison were together. It seemed even more amazing they now had two daughters. Life had a funny way of working out sometimes, but in this case, he liked to think Pop and Ellie Tyler would approve.

 Later that night, while lying in bed upstairs in the old farmhouse, he told Allison what he’d heard in Jackson’s General that day. A farmer forty miles north had reported seeing something strange on his land. Something he said looked very much like a large cat.

 “It’s possible it could return here,” he added. “They have a wide range.”

 She tucked Sarah into her bassinet and climbed into bed to snuggle beside him. “I don’t think so. I think it’s old and time is short. I hope he just wanders off into the woods somewhere and fades away.”

 “There’s no certainty of that.”

 She sighed. “Life is a long list of uncertainties. We just have to learn to live with them. But I know the certainties we do have.”

 A deep sense of contentment filled Shane’s heart when Allison curled up against his side and hugged him. “Yeah? What’s that?”

 “Our love and the family we’ve made.”

 He kissed the top of her head.

 It was all either of them had ever really wanted.

Friday, October 11, 2019

Author Interview with Love Bytes

The following interview first appeared in the October issue of the Love Bytes newsletter, an official publication of the RWA Online Chapter.

Interview with Lucy Kubash
Karen Jones


Tell us about your new book.

 My new book is Will o’ the Wisp, a contemporary romance with a touch of mystery and suspense. It was released by The Wild Rose Press on August 7, 2019. Here’s the book blurb.

In spite of a broken heart, Allison Delaney carved out a life for herself and her young daughter on her grandparents' farm. Her child and the horses she rescues are all that matter. Then a sudden threat to their safety puts her back in touch with Shane McBride, the man she never thought to see again. Returning to the small town of Silver Creek brings back a lot of memories for Shane, ones he treasures haunted by the ones that made him leave, but this time he is determined to stay and make things right. Trusting Shane may be her only choice, but now Allison fears not only the threat against her farm but the risk of losing her heart again.

What inspired the story?

Will o’ the Wisp first began as a short story many years ago and was inspired by events that occurred in Michigan. I was writing for a magazine at that time, and when they didn’t accept this one, I put it away in my file cabinet. This was pre-computer days, if you can believe it! I always knew I’d return to the story someday. When I finally did, I decided the characters needed a full-length book to tell their story.

What inspired the title?

Because of the sense of an eerie danger that threatens my heroine Allison and the return of a love that slipped away from her, I wanted a title that evoked a sense of something that you’re not quite sure is really there, that might easily disappear. Or as Allison says in the story, “Something so fragile, so elusive you’re afraid if you look away, it will be gone.”

 What travel did your research involve?

While the story itself is set in Michigan, where I’ve always lived, the hero Shane McBride has returned from living in Wyoming for years. We’ve traveled through that state quite a bit, so I was able to use some of what I’ve learned about it in this story and compared Shane’s feelings about leaving Wyoming to coming back to Michigan after so long.


 What was the most difficult aspect of writing Will o’ the Wisp?

The hardest part was learning to let go and let it happen. By that I mean, letting the characters do their thing instead of my trying to force what I thought should happen. When I fought them on it, the story stalled. When I finally allowed them to take the story in the direction they wanted it to go, I couldn’t write it fast enough. Might sound weird, but it’s true. Shane and Allison really took on a life of their own.

What was the easiest aspect of writing Will o’ the Wisp?

 Writing about the animals that are all secondary characters in the story. I’ve always been an animal lover, and the ones in this story all have their own personalities. I loved naming them and learning their stories, which then became important to the plot, especially the horses that Allison rescues.

When did you start writing and why?

I remember making up stories in my head when I was just a kid. In junior high, a few of my friends and I wrote what is now called fan fiction. We wrote stories about our favorite characters on TV. I started writing a historical romance about that time, which remains unfinished, and always enjoyed the writing assignments in school (when everyone else hated them, lol!). I started writing contemporary romance when my children were small and sold my first short story to Woman’s World magazine thirty-six years ago. Those stories are now included in five anthologies available at Amazon. Why did I start writing? I love reading and writing just seemed to be an extension of that, plus I always felt writing lets me live other lives, even if just vicariously. When did you start reading romance and what did you read? I’ve always loved stories with a romance or love interest. I like happy endings. As a teen, because I couldn’t find much romance in my local library, I read biographies of presidents and their wives. Then I started reading Phyllis Whitney’s romantic suspense and Victoria Holt’s gothic romance. For contemporary, I enjoy Kathleen Eagle, Karen White (love her ghost stories), and Luanne Rice. My friend Rosanne Bittner writes fabulous western historical romance, so I try to keep up with them. While I do like an HEA, I also like mystery and crime and am reading Margaret Coel’s Wind River mysteries, Sharyn McCrumb’s Appalachian books, and the Craig Johnson Longmire books.

What was your funniest moment as an author?

My friend Rosanne and I were doing a book signing at a local bookstore. I only had one book out at that time, so not like I had stacks of different ones on the table. A lady came up and asked if one of us was Jayne Ann Krentz. She thought she saw in the paper where JAK was doing a book signing that day. We both laughed. Not in small town Michigan! I’m still not sure how she managed to get Jayne Ann Krentz out of Lucy Naylor Kubash, but it gave us a good chuckle that day.


 How and where is your book available and what are you working on now?

Will o’ the Wisp is available in both print and e-book. You can find it at Amazon, B&N, Kobo and many other fine retailers. You can also ask your local library to order it. As an anecdote, I have to add that when I finished revising and editing this book, for maybe the one hundredth time, before sending it out, I decided to submit it on the day of the Great Solar Eclipse of August 21, 2017, because I thought that might bring good luck. It did! The Wild Rose Press accepted it shortly after and now here we are with it releasing in the same month. Currently, I’m finishing up revisions on a sequel to my first book, Chance’s Return. This one is titled, Tetons by Morning and is set near one of my most favorite places, The Grand Tetons of Wyoming. I would also like to finish that historical I once started.


Monday, July 22, 2019

It's Official!

My new contemporary romance Will o' the Wisp is set to release on August 7, 2019! Can you tell I'm excited? This book is very dear to my heart and I love the characters, Allison Delaney and Shane McBride. When the story opens, ten years apart stand between them, and they've both been through a lot but have learned how to pick themselves up, dust themselves off, and make a new life. Except, what happens when they are thrown together again by circumstances beyond their control?  How will they deal with emotions and feelings, not to mention secrets, that were never resolved? I hope you'll read the book to find out. It is up for pre-order now at Amazon and will soon be available at many other fine retailers. My print books are ordered, and I can't wait for the big day to arrive.

Will o' the Wisp, published by The Wild Rose Press. Pre-order here:

Monday, April 22, 2019

I Have a Cover!

It's been eons since I've posted anything here, but I haven't been taking it easy. Not by a long shot. When I last posted well over a year ago, I was waiting to hear from an editor to know if my book, Will O' the Wisp, had been accepted by her or not. A few months later, I received a contract from The Wild Rose Press, and it's been a long process of (what has seemed like) endless rounds of edits. Now that we're approaching a release date, I find my stomach is often in knots as I try to figure out the best ways to promote my story. Whatever approach an author takes, it's always a gamble as to what is most effective. Readers today are picky, and they have a right to be since there are just sooooo many books out there. What will make one book stand out among them? I great cover is a good start and fortunately, I've received one with vibrant colors that really pop and characters that match the ones in the story. One can hope this will be one good way to catch the reader's eye and make them want to know more. Who are these people? What are their secrets and what makes them tick? Here is an excerpt that I hope will also make you want to know more.

  From Will O' the Wisp by Lucy Naylor Kubash

The man who stepped from inside the truck was definitely not Doc. Tall, with shoulders stretching the faded fabric of his denim shirt and shiny black hair that glistened in the sunlight, he would have towered over Doc’s stocky figure. As he started toward the barn, she couldn’t see his face, but the easy swagger to his walk, the way he rolled his booted feet from heel to toe, spoke to her of things she thought she had forgotten. Had worked very hard to forget. Feelings she’d buried ten years ago.  Uncomfortable, she dropped her gaze to her daughter who had come to stand next to Gypsy.

           “Is he Doc’s helper, you think?” Lizzie scrunched her nose. “I don’t think I know him.”

            Sudden awareness clutched Allison’s heart, giving it an extra beat, as if to prove the man walking toward her was still easy on the eyes but hard on the heart. He’d certainly been hard on hers.

             It would stand to reason Doc might call on him to give a hand.

             But why does it have to be my barn that needs visiting this morning?

             Her heart thumped hard in her chest as Shane McBride came closer, stopped short, and tilted his head back to get a better look at her. For a second, surprise lit his eyes to the color of the sky, then, sticking his hands into his denim pockets, he shook his head. A slow grin touched his mouth. The mouth she remembered so well.

             “Allison,” he said in his slow, sexy way. “I…wasn’t sure it was you who called.”

My two characters, Shane and Allison, have been through a lot, both together and apart, but it's the story that begins at their reunion after a separation of ten years that I hope will make the reader want to know more. What kept them apart? Will it still stand between them? And what happens when long-held secrets are revealed?

 As soon as I have a release date, I'll post it here and shout it from the rooftops and anywhere else they'll let me. Stay tuned.

Will O' the Wisp coming soon from The Wild Rose Press.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Waiting at the Inbox


            Lately, I’ve been haunting my Inbox. Back in the day of typewriters, large manila envelopes and trips to the post office, writers haunted their mailboxes, hoping for a sale, dreading the rejections. In today’s digital world, most submissions (not all) are made by email and thus it is at the inbox where you discover whether an editor loves your baby and wants to publish it or has decided to pass on it. It’s been a trend in the last few years for no rejection to arrive. If you haven’t had a reply in say four to five months, you can figure it’s a No, which allows you to go on to Plan B, if you haven’t already submitted somewhere else.

            I submitted a proposal (detailed synopsis) to a publisher by email two and half months ago and the request for the first three chapters came within a few weeks. That was followed by the request (JOY!) for the completed manuscript. The editor who is considering my story has given me a date of December 15 (on or before) for her final word. All of this has transpired by email.

            So that any communications wouldn’t be lost in the daily inundation that fills my regular email, I sent all of this from an account that I use for writing business only. Conveniently, I have the app on my phone and when an email comes in, it shows up on the app. All I need to do is look at the app and see if any new messages have come through. It’s pretty handy, but it does tempt me to check that app numerous times in a day. I can’t say it’s better than walking to the mailbox, because at least that involved some exercise, but it certainly does keep the anticipation high. While one check of the mailbox a day was all it took to know whether you’d gotten a reply, checking the email app can, and does, happen often in 24 hours. I have to say, it puts an entirely different perspective on the submission process.  

            My writing/publishing history goes back far enough to remember when rejected manuscripts were actually returned in the self-addressed stamped envelope that the author provided and was a submission requirement. I remember peering into the mailbox, wondering if I would see the tell-tale large yellow envelope, hoping to see a regular business size one that included an acceptance. Of course there was also The Call that every writer lived to receive. The one where a real live editor actually spoke to you, told you how wonderful your story was and how much they wanted to buy it. One memory that stands out is the time I was sweeping the kitchen floor and for the moment not thinking about writing when the phone rang. When the caller identified herself as xxxxx from xxxx publisher, I, not paying attention, almost said, “No thank you, I’m not interested in whatever you’re selling.” (There were telemarketers back then but no caller ID.) Fortunately, before I made a complete fool of myself, I heard her say, “We’d like to publish your book.” I guess I’ll always remember that call.

            I’m not sure if the waiting ever gets any easier. I think not when I count the times I’ve checked my phone app in the past few weeks, hoping for an early answer. It’s just a different method of delivery. Writers throughout time have had to wait. It’s really what we do best.


Friday, October 6, 2017

Road Tripping

For the last four years, we have traveled west for two weeks at a time, logging in anywhere from 3500 to 5500 miles. While I love traveling and look forward to making more trips when we move into retirement, there are a few observations I’ve made and tips I’ve garnered while on those journeys. This last time, I jotted a few of them down, as much to remind myself next time around as to pass them on to anyone else who may be contemplating a many-mile road trip.

1)      Always, always bring water and/or other non-sugary drinks with you rather than rely on stopping and buying them, at least for the first day or two. Unsweetened ice tea works pretty good for me when I get tired of just plain water. Staying hydrated when you’re sitting for hours is a good thing for many reasons. I have to admit, though, I really enjoy the Coke with lots of ice at the first McDonalds along the way.

2)      Never pass up the opportunity to stop at a rest area, because the next one might be 60 miles away. (And after drinking all that water/tea/whatever, you’ll need to stop frequently!) Getting out and stretching avoids muscle cramps and road fatigue and gives your eyes a rest. In some states (like Iowa), we’ve found rest areas are not far apart. In others (South Dakota, I’m talking about you), not so true.

3)      Don’t bypass the scenic lookouts you see along the way. Who knows if you’ll pass this way again? You will learn a lot about a particular area if you just stop and have a look at Points of Interest.

4)      Have a planned route in mind, but be willing to vary from it if you have the time. A side jaunt we made while driving through Nebraska (another long state that can rather bend your mind) was to go north to see the Scottsbluff area and Chimney Rock. It only set us back a few hours and turned out to be someplace very scenic that we’d never visited before. Plus, they had lots of books at the visitor center.

5)      Visitor centers are a rich source for information, sites of interest, and did I mention books? The folks who staff them are usually friendly and willing to talk about their area and answer any questions you may have. They’ll tell you the best places to eat, where to get pizza, and when places open and close.

6)      Maps, tour books, pamphlets and brochures will proliferate overnight, on their own, and without your permission. They will soon take over your vehicle. I’ve tried to limit myself on what I pick up, but they often just jump into my hand and insist they go with me. Using my phone has helped reduce some of the paper, but there truly is nothing like looking at a real honest-to-goodness map. I’ve learned how to fold them so I only see what I need to for a few hours. By the end of the trip, they’re often well-worn and have served their purpose.

7)      Sometimes you just need to get off the Interstate if you want to see America. In doing so, you may give up the nicer motels and chain restaurants, but you’ll see how other people really live, good or not.

8)      Keep a log or journal of what you saw, where you stayed, what you did. Even if it’s just a few lines jotted down at the end of the day, it’s fun to look back later and remember the trip with more than photos.

9)      Speaking of photos; take lots. Take more than one of the same thing. You can always go back and delete. Post some on social media as you travel. It’s another way of keeping track of where you’ve been.

10)  Last, but not least in any way, make sure the companion/spouse/friend/kids/pets you are traveling with are people you can spend hours with, in close spaces, for days at a time, without wanting to strangle them. Okay, I confess, the strangling part does enter your mind about day three. I’ve traveled with all of the above, and it’s hard to remain in a good mood all of the time when you just want to get the heck someplace where you don’t have to leave for a couple of days. Traveling with kids and pets deserves its own list of tips, and since our kids are grown and we’ve opted to leave the pets at home, we didn’t have to worry about that. But I do have a long memory for how we coped with them.

For myself, the destination has been very worth the journey, but to stay sane you want to make the journey as pleasant as possible, too. Meltdowns will occur, and the best way to overcome is to remember that we all get tired and frustrated (especially when you realize you’ve driven 50 miles in  the wrong direction), but some of the worst times become the ones we laugh about even years later. The last place we stayed on the trip home, the motel clerk said, laughingly, that he couldn’t count the number of couples who check in, saying, “Just give us two beds. Doesn't matter what size. I’m not sleeping with him/her tonight.”


Tuesday, August 22, 2017

It was a day when we felt joined by something so far beyond us, we couldn’t help but pause to observe it in awe. After months and weeks of listening to sad, fearful and appalling news, it was something that brought people together in a good way and gave us a chance to dwell on an event over which we had no control. Yet, it seemed to bring joy and a feeling of camaraderie with the entire country. Even if you weren’t in the path of totality or weren’t able to watch it in person, you probably saw it unfold on TV or the Internet. Solar Eclipse Day 2017, when the shadow of the moon swept across the heartland and many people stopped to look up (with the proper eye protection!) and to appreciate a most magnificent display of celestial beauty. I dare to say nothing we could produce here on earth could rival the show the sun and moon managed to put on for most of the afternoon, and we didn’t have to buy tickets to attend.

Watching people’s reactions to the eclipse was almost as much fun as the event itself. Many who traveled hundred, even thousands, of miles seemed more than willing to put up with crowds and inconveniences for the chance to see the moon blot out the sun. How good to know we have not gone beyond the ability to appreciate such a natural event. People even applauded at the peak and when the diamond effect beamed sunlight past the moon’s rim.

Where I live, we experienced about an 80% eclipse and that was quite amazing. Clouds threatened to blot out the sky, but at the moment of the most coverage they added to the eerie, hazy gray light cast by the sliver of sun.

I’m sure the towns and communities that were in the path of the eclipse are happy and relieved it is finally over, after a summer of so much hype, but a takeaway lesson for everyone might be to appreciate what is beyond us, and to let it take us out of ourselves, if even just for a few moments. Let the summer of ’17 go down as the one when, for a few hours, we looked up.