Saturday 11 January 2020

Guest Kristine Raymond of Kentucky. Author of The Hidden Springs series, The Celebration Series, Tempted, and Finn-agled.

Historical Western & Contemporary Romance. Cozy Mysteries – That’s what Kristine’s delightful website offers the avid reader.  There is a great selection of books to choose from. You can also read a sample of her writing in the section titled Side Stories. The Scribbler is most fortunate to have Kristine as a guest this week. She has agreed to a 4Q interview and is sharing an excerpt from Finn-agled.

It wasn’t until later in life that Kristine Raymond figured out what she wanted to be when she grew up, an epiphany that occurred in 2013 when she sat down and began writing her first book.  Sixteen books in multiple genres later, she’s added the title of podcasting host to her resume, thus assuring that she will never be idle.

When a spare moment does present itself, she fills it by navigating the publishing and promotional side of the business.  When not doing that, she spends time with her husband and furbabies (not necessarily in that order), reads, or binge-watches Netflix.

4Q: Let’s talk about your latest release, a cozy mystery titled Finn-agled. The blurb on your website makes this a very tempting read. Tell us more.

KR:  Finn-agled was such a fun story to write!  Set in the fictional seaside town of Port New, not dissimilar from the one in which I grew up, it introduces the character of Finn Bartusiak, a single woman in her early-30s whose life revolves around her aptly named antique store, Finn’s Finds, her sometimes-meddling family and friends, and her follicly-challenged Basset Hound, Garfunkel.  Life is running along pretty smoothly for Finn until the appearance – on the same day, no less – of both a coded message hidden inside of a newly acquired antique writing box and the high school crush she hasn’t seen for fifteen years.

To further complicate matters, someone else knows about the code; a man who will stop at nothing, including murder, to get his hands on it.

Finn may (or may not) be loosely based on me.  She’s Polish, and I’m half; we both own Basset Hounds that suffer from Color Dilution Alopecia, leaving them bald over most of their bodies; our hair frizzes when the humidity rises; and we both have our share of ‘squirrel’ moments.  Oh, and we both love pierogis!  But the similarities end there.  Or do they??  

4Q: You have a series of Historical Western Romance, nine books in all. Please share a bit about the collection. Which one would you advise a new reader to start with?

KR: No matter what else I write, the Hidden Springs series will always be special to me.

Here to Stay is my first book baby.  Within that single story, I created a town and characters that spanned thirty-three years over nine books and feels like home to me, even though the series is set in the 1880s.  I’ve always had a deep love for the Old West; for the wide, open spaces; the grit and determination of the people who chose to live there; even for the lawlessness; and over the course of writing the series, the characters became like family to me.

Each book in the series is about a different member of the town and is a complete story – no cliffhangers.  They can be read as standalones, though I recommend starting at the beginning with Here to Stay.  That way, you get to follow your favorite characters throughout the series and learn more about their lives, even if they aren’t the main focus of the plot.

The best part?  Here to Stay is available as a free download on all major e-book platforms.

4Q: Please share a childhood memory or anecdote.

KR:  One of my earliest, and favorite, memories is of sitting on our front porch swing listening while my sister read aloud from the Little House on the Prairie books.  To this day, that collection of stories sits on my bookshelf, waiting for me to dust it off and lose myself within its pages - which I do on occasion.  

4Q: Do you have a favorite spot where you feel most creative when you write? What are your writing habits?

KR: The ‘magic’ takes place in my office.  While not the most conducive spot for creativity due to the overwhelming amount of books and crafting paraphernalia occupying practically every square foot, it is a pet-free zone, thus enabling me to concentrate on writing without various-sized paws helping me type.   

As far as habits go, I don’t really have any other than I need complete silence when I write.  I know a lot of authors listen to playlists, but music distracts me when I’m concentrating.  I think it comes from all of those years of not be allowed to listen to my tunes while doing homework…lol.

4Q: Please tell us about your Celebration series.

KR:  The Celebration Series came about due to the kind-hearted, yet insistent, pestering from one of my readers.  The first book, By Dawn’s Early Light, was originally published in an anthology set and intended to be a standalone.  When the rights reverted back to me, the reader – let’s call her Barbara 😉 – began writing me saying that the secondary characters needed their own stories.  I resisted for as long as I could but her persistence paid off.  Ideas for Loren’s and Frankie’s stories formed and what was a standalone became a trilogy. 

By the way, Barbara is quite proud of herself for her achievement.

The stories are contemporary romance and take place in the fictional town of Celebration; small-town U.S.A.  They revolve around three best friends – Joe Callaghan, Loren Hamilton, and Frankie Denton – who find love when they’re least expecting it.  Isn’t that the way it always happens?

The books can be read as standalones, but like the Hidden Springs series, you’ll get more from them if you start at the beginning with By Dawn’s Early Light.  But that’s my opinion.  Reservations for Two and Under the Mistletoe hold up pretty well on their own.  The books are available individually or in a boxed set.

4Q: Anything else you’d like to share with us?

KR:  I’m currently working on the follow-up to Finn-agled titled Finn-icky Eaters. I don’t have a release date as of yet, but I’ll be sure to announce it on my website and social media accounts once it’s live.  I also have a few more Finn’s Finds story ideas floating around in my noggin’, as well as another historical western (not tied to Hidden Springs) and a contemporary romance series.  I also host a podcast called Word Play with Kristine Raymond, and the line-up of guests in 2020 is amazing!  You can catch new and previous episodes on the website – GO HERE

Thanks for spending time here with me today on the South Branch Scribbler.  Happy Reading!

A secret message hidden inside of an antique wooden box, an unidentified dead body, and a mother determined to marry her off to the high school crush whom she hasn’t seen since…well…high school.  There’s no doubt about it; Finn Bartusiak’s life in the seaside town of Port New is about to get interesting.

Coming into possession of a 19th-century, bronze and mahogany writing box under somewhat suspicious circumstances, Finn’s accidental discovery of a coded note leads her and Spencer Dane, bestselling novelist and love of her life (though he doesn’t know it yet), on a quest to unravel the mystery behind the jumble of letters.  But they’re not the only ones interested in the cryptic message.  There’s a con man on their trail, and he’ll stop at nothing, including murder, to claim the ‘treasure’ for himself.  

An Excerpt from Finn-agled 

(Copyright is held by the author. Used with permission)

A slip of paper slightly larger than an index card fell from between the seams and floated ever so gently to the floor. Almost dropping the case in my elation (wouldn’t that just be my luck?), I set it gingerly on the table and retrieved the note.

Zubcd Yefemeby
Xlw k Wrlm no
Vpqre Upbpqee

Huh? What kind of crazy language is this?

I attempted to sound it out, tripping over my tongue because – let’s face it – it’s impossible to pronounce words that have no vowels. Thinking I’d stumbled onto either an ancient, and possibly forgotten, language, or a secret military code, I hopped back on the computer for some serious research. It wasn’t until the Gothic cathedral mantel clock perched on the shelf above a row of whiskey barrels chimed twelve that I realized I’d been staring at the screen for the better part of three hours. That would explain my grainy eyeballs.

“Time to call it a night. Come on, Garfunkel. Let’s go home.”

Shutting off the computer, I slipped the note into my pocket, leaving the writing case in my office for the time being. Who knew what other mysterious messages might be hidden inside? Turning off the light, plunging the room into darkness, I walked out front to collect my sleepy hound, dim lumens from the street lamp outside filtering in through the plate glass window, illuminating my way and casting shadows along the floor and walls. Headlights from a passing car briefly lit up the interior of the shop, glinting off the wind chimes that hung over the front door.

If only I’d had the forethought to hang a set of chimes over the back door as well. Then, perhaps, they would’ve warned me about the person who jimmied the lock, crept up behind me, and wrapped his fingers around my neck, squeezing until everything went black.

Thank you, Kristine, for being our guest this week. Wishing you continued success with your writing. 

For those visiting this week, if you want to discover more about this talented author and her books, please follow these links:

Find out more about Kristine on her website at and follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and BookBub.  

And for links to podcast episodes, guest posts, and other great stuff, check out Word Play with Kristine Raymond at


  1. Thank you so much for hosting me on the Scribbler today, Allan. It was fun sharing a little about me with you and your readers.

    1. It's my pleasure having you as a guest Kristine. Your stories are intriguing and I am looking forward to reading your work.


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