Mourning the sudden death of her fiancé,
popular New York artist Kiara Rafferty flees to the property he had bought for her
in the remote rural area of Stinking Creek, Tennessee. An outspoken atheist,
Kiara is horrified by the condition of the property and even more so to
discover that her nearest neighbours are a Christian pastor and his family.
Delia Mae, the pastor’s wife, is as outspoken as Kiara yet she offers help and support as Kiara struggles to find her way in this unexpectedly difficult place. The two women develop an unlikely friendship that helps them both. At one point, Delia Mae says, “We’re kindred spirits—from polar worlds.” [Chapter 19]
The collision of two cultures and belief
systems, plus a Northerner encountering puzzling Southern dialects and cuisine,
makes for interesting and often amusing reading. I appreciated the honest
dialogue between the two women and the tentative romance between Kiara and
Shann (Delia Mae’s brother-in-law).
As Kiara progresses toward faith, largely
due to the consistent love demonstrated by Delia Mae, Shann, and his children,
Delia Mae’s strained marriage begins to crack. While we see glimpses of her
husband, Beau, as the man she fell in love with, mostly we see how rigid and
demanding he’s become. We see her desiring to please God but somehow trapped in
trying to please her husband and the church ladies.
This is a novel about friendship, family,
love, marriage, and faith—about courage and second chances. I enjoyed the
story, and it left me considering my own life for ways I might have allowed
expectations, real or perceived, to rule me instead of living in God’s grace.
Carol McClain has also written Yesterday’s
Poison: A Novel of Forgiveness. For more about the author and her work,
A four-letter word. And we writers utter it
in all its forms: noun, adjective, verb. However, this dirty little word is
most vital to our work.
My latest book A New York Yankee on Stinking Creek was heading to IngramSpark. I
knew it shone with my authorial brilliance. After all, my two critique partners
tore it apart, and I rewrote it according to their suggestions.
I have subscriptions to Grammarly and to my
favorite editing software, ProWritingAid. I ran the manuscript through them and
dutifully made corrections.
As a final polish, another software program
read the work to me.
It wasn’t enough, and I knew it.
The book would be self-published, the
reasons would make another blog post. I wanted this book to rise to the top of
Amazon and Barnes and Noble’s lists. Millions of other works competed against
it. Again and again I read that in order for your book to make it into the ten
percent of new releases, a professional editor had to correct its issues.
You read all I did to make this work shine.
My editor, true to my predictions, claimed
my work was clean. She found it easy to edit. Then she sent me my edited copy.
Page after page after never-ending page,
she marked-up my work like an English teacher on Adderall.
And what did she find? A smattering of
MINI Cooper not Mini Cooper
LEGOS not Legos
My ‘ was supposed to go the other way ’ (Can you see the difference? I couldn’t).
I spelled Emmett’s name (a
minor character appearing seldom) Emmet on one random page somewhere in the
middle of the manuscript.
Kincade not Kincaid
Random single spaces at the end
And I could go on and on and on. Why bore
you with my boo-boos?
So many small mistakes all my early editing
didn’t catch. So many of my favorite weasel words I never saw. So much.
I almost think I took longer to correct my
mistakes than it took to write the story.
However, the result is a professional novel.
I know most of you use traditional
publishers and using ProWritingAid sends off a polished manuscript for their
editors to critique.
For those who must self-publish, find a
trustworthy editor. Check his/her credentials. Send her a few pages for a
sample of her work.
How do you find one? Ask your writing
groups. Get recommendations from other writers. Mine is a member of ACFW and
used to work for the agent Les Stobbe.
New York Yankee on Stinking Creek rise to the top of the NYT Best Seller
List? An introductory read of the novel will prove it should.
If it doesn’t, it won’t be because of poor
Check out A New York Yankee on Stinking Creek. You’ll see the above is true.
NOTHING GOOD COMES FROM
Alone, again, after the death of her
fiancé, abstract artist Kiara Rafferty finds herself on Stinking Creek,
Tennessee. She wants out of this hillbilly backwater, where hicks speak an
unknown language masquerading as English. Isolated, if she doesn’t count the
snakes and termites infesting her cabin, only a one-way ticket home to
Manhattan would solve her problems.
Alone in a demanding crowd, Delia Mae
McGuffrey lives for God, her husband, her family, and the congregation of her
husband’s church. Stifled by rules, this pastor’s wife walks a fine line of
perfection, trying to please them all. Now an atheist Yankee, who moved in
across the road, needs her, too.
Two women. Two problems. Each holds the key to the other’s freedom.
Author Carol McClain is an eclectic artist and author. Her interests vary as much as the Tennessee weather—running, bassoons, jazz, stained glass and, of course, writing. She’s a transplant from New York who now lives in the hills of East Tennessee with her husband and overactive Springer spaniel.
She is the president of ACFW Knoxville and
the secretary of the Authors’ Guild of Tennessee.
The world in East Tennessee intrigues her
from the friendly neighbors to the beautiful hiking trails and the myriad