Getting to know Al Hague #author #historical #fiction #hisfic #Marine #Veteran #advocate #military #amreading

Please help me welcome my next distinguished author guest, Al Hague, to the interview hot seat. His story may speak to many veterans. Let’s look at his bio and then we’ll find out more about him and his debut novel, A Marine’s Daughter.

I am a US Marine having served in Viet Nam in 1965/1966. I have been a photojournalist for the past 12 years and A Marine’s Daughter is my first novel. I live in Phoenix AZ with my wife Diane. I was born and raised in Massachusetts and have lived in various parts of the USA. It is my hope this story will ring true for Viet Nam Vets and their families and will provide some insight into what we all went through and continue to go through. A portion of the royalties is being donated to the Viet Nam Foundation for the homeless. I hope you enjoy the story and will also look for the sequel I am writing this day.

I am told the story is compelling and difficult to put down. You can see reviews on Amazon at the book location. I will be traveling the country in the coming months for book signings and speaking engagements. I look forward to meeting my readers wherever I travel.

Author Social Links: Website * Facebook

Betty: What inspired you to write the story you’re sharing with us today?

Al: My belief that vets like myself may still be or recently began anew dealing with the past. I wanted to send a message to the families and friends of Vets who late in life may have changed because of past experiences now central in their mind as they may no longer be busy and have more time to remember and seek answers.

Betty: What, if any, new writing skill did you develop while working on this story?

Al: I had done a lot of writing for magazines but more in a reporter’s function. Writing this novel was the first time I needed to create characters

Betty: Did you struggle with any part of this story? What and how?

Al: Telling the moments of terror authentically without turning off the reader.

Betty: Which character(s) were the easiest to get to know? Why do you think?

Al: The main character Jon Milo as he is pretty much me in the important ways. It is difficult for me to share my reality.

Betty: What kind of research did you need to do to write this story?

Al: Very little except dates and times of specific situations.

Betty: How many drafts of the story did you write before you felt the story was complete?

Al: 2

Betty: How long did it take for you to write the story you’re sharing with us? Is that a typical length of time for you? Why or why not?

Al: First novel so I really don’t know it’s typical. It took about four months to complete

Betty: What rituals or habits do you have while writing? 

Al: I develop the story in my mind and settle on the plot before I begin to write it. Usually late at night while trying to sleep which doesn’t come easy.

Betty: Every author has a tendency to overuse certain words or phrases in drafts, such as just, once, smile, nod, etc. What are yours?

Al: Not really sure…Not many I would guess..

Betty: Do you have any role models? If so, why do you look up to them?

Al: My dad was a WWII Marine and he helped me tremendously to get my life moving forward upon my return.

Betty: Do you have a special place to write? Revise? Read?

Al: My desk in my office for writing.

Betty: Many authors have a day job. Do you? If so, what is it and do you enjoy it?

Al: I am retired finally.

Betty: As an author, what do you feel is your greatest achievement?

Al: Developing characters that interested my readers

Betty: What is your favorite genre to read?

Al: I have a difficult time reading anything except news as I am unable to sit still long enough. I used to enjoy crime dramas and relationship stories.

Betty: Success looks different to different people. It could be wealth, or fame, or an inner joy at reaching a certain level. How do you define success in terms of your writing career? 

Al: Having readers tell me my message has helped them or someone they know.

A Marine’s Daughter is a novel depicting the struggles of a Marine in his later years trying to deal with the issues from the past. The character Jon Milo lost his wife very early in his life and focused on raising their daughter Sara. Jon has several unanswered questions about his time in Viet Nam and his daughter now a successful attorney has been recruited by some of her Dad’s fellow Marines to seek recognition for the old Sergeant they believe he deserves. The story is about the relationship between father and daughter and how they work together to find the answers they both seek not only about the past but about the future as well. The story reveals the value of the father-daughter relationship and that the strength of that relationship can be healing as well as fulfilling.

Buy Links: Amazon

Thanks for stopping by, Al! I hope your story may help other veterans in processing their experiences.

Happy reading!

Betty

Award-winning Author of Historical Fiction with Heart, and Haunting, Bewitching Love Stories

Visit www.bettybolte.com for a complete list of my books and appearances.

Subscribe to My Newsletter to learn the inside scoop about releases and more!

Initial Thoughts on With Fire and Sword by Henryk Sienkiewicz #HistoricalFiction #HistFic #amwriting #amreading #books #novel #mustread #review

I must admit that this next book on my Historical Fiction Around the World series, With Fire and Sword by Polish author Henryk Sienkiewicz, is a difficult read for me. The writing can be difficult to process due to long, convoluted sentences. Add in many Polish and Russian names and words and it’s been a challenge. I meant to spend most of Thanksgiving reading it, to be honest, but didn’t feel up to that challenge despite holding my iPad with the Hoopla app on it! I will read more though and hope it snares my attention more as I delve farther into this history.

Speaking of the digital reading experience, I’m a bit frustrated with the ebook on my Hoopla app. When I stop reading and exit the app, the book gets closed. Upon reopening the app and then the book, it displays the page number where I stopped reading but defaults to the first page of the Introduction instead of to the page where I left off. Now, there are 1770+ digital pages in the ebook; I am up to page 300 or so right now. So I have to scroll through to find the page where I stopped again. Additionally, this ebook format’s header always displays “Introduction” instead of any specific chapter, which the ebook doesn’t have broken out anyway. The Table of Contents only lists four sections, to be exact, with one of those the entire story. Navigating through the ebook just adds to the challenge of reading this story. I’d really rather have a print edition…

I’m sure part of the adjustment I need to make is to the different style of language insofar as the story was written in 1884 and the author was a Polish journalist. Believe me, writing nonfiction is very different from writing fiction and can be a difficult transition. The author wrote for The Word as well as wrote short stories and other novels. He was well known and appreciated in his lifetime, the Polish people even gave him the “small estate of Oblegorek, near Kielce in south-central Poland” according to Britannica.com. Reading his work is definitely worth my time and attention given the acclaim he’s received although the novels are “criticized for their theatricality and lack of historical accuracy, they display great narrative power and contain vivid characterizations.” I’ve noticed the staging aspects of the story, almost as if he were writing a play in places. So I’ll continue reading and let you know more about the story itself next time.

Until then, happy reading!

Betty

P.S. If you haven’t already, please consider signing up for my newsletter, which I send out most every month, including news like new covers, new releases, and upcoming appearances where I love to meet my readers, along with recipes and writing progress. Thanks and happy reading!

Visit www.bettybolte.com for more on my books and upcoming events.

Audrey Harper needs more than home and hearth to satisfy her self-worth despite being raised with the idea that a woman’s place is in the home. Working as a music critic for the city newspaper in Baltimore, Maryland, during the Second World War, she’s enjoyed both financial freedom and personal satisfaction in a job well done. When she uncovers evidence of German spies working to sabotage a secret bomber plane being manufactured in her beloved city, she must choose between her sense of duty to protect her city and the urgings of her boss, her family, and her fiancé to turn over her evidence to the authorities. But when her choices lead her and her sister into danger, she is forced to risk life and limb to save her sister and bring the spies to justice.

Set against the backdrop of the flourishing musical community during the 1940s in Baltimore, Notes of Love and War weaves together the pleasure of musical performance with the dangers of espionage and spying.

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Getting to know Theresa Shea #author #literaryfiction #womensfiction #activist #HistFic #historical #fiction #novel #amreading

My guest author today has an important story to share with us. Please help me welcome Theresa Shea to the interview hot seat! Let’s glance at her bio and then find out more about her and the story she has to tell.

Theresa Shea is the author of two novels. The Shade Tree, winner of the 2020 Guernica Prize for best unpublished literary fiction, and winner of the 2022 Georges Bugnet Award for fiction. Her debut novel, The Unfinished Child, was a finalist for the Georges Bugnet Award and the Alberta Readers’ Choice Award. 

Shea was born in the US and moved to Canada in 1977. A graduate of McGill University, Queen’s University, and the University of Alberta, Shea is currently working on Dog Days of Planet Earth, a novel that examines animal rights and the climate crisis through the historical lens of the nuclear experiments conducted by the United States Government between 1945 and 1992.

Author Social Links: Website * Instagram * Twitter

Betty: What inspired you to write the story you’re sharing with us today?

Theresa: In August of 1963, when I was three months old, my mother took me to the March on Washington and held me in her arms as Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his now famous “I Have a Dream” speech. The civil rights movement was in full swing. Change was wanted and needed. It was an exhilarating time. Yet over fifty years later, racial inequality still thrives.

To understand the present, we need to understand the past. In The Shade Tree, I wanted to explore some of the damaging narratives that white people have inherited. The first narrative we are introduced to in life is the family narrative. How are we shaped by it? How does it define us? Why do some people blindly accept that inheritance while others question it?

Betty: What, if any, new writing skill did you develop while working on this story?

Theresa: I developed two key skills while working on this book: 1) patience to do multiple revisions, and 2) perseverance to bounce back from repeated rejections. Both will continue to be valuable during my writing life.

Winning the Guernica Prize was amazing. In addition to a cash prize, I also received a publishing contract. The novel came out the following year. One acceptance wipes out a lot of rejections. That the book went on to win best novel of the year in my Canadian province was equally wonderful and gratifying.

Betty: Did you struggle with any part of this story? What and how?

Theresa: Yes, while I wanted to highlight the damage of white supremacy, I struggled to know how much abuse against Black people to show. I didn’t want the violence to be gratuitous. For instance, there is a lynching scene in the novel that was difficult to write and is difficult to read. It is a pivotal scene that juxtaposes a horrifically violent moment with a community picnic involving so-called upstanding citizens. White readers, in particular, should be horrified by the contrast.

Betty: Which character(s) were the easiest to get to know? Why do you think?

Theresa: One reviewer said my character Ellie Turner is “the most villainous female character” she has ever come across in literature. While she found her to be “beyond redemption,” she also understood, through my character development, “how her evil came to be.” I found that gratifying. An “evil” character must be believable. Sick people are produced by sick societies.

Betty: What kind of research did you need to do to write this story?

Theresa: I wrote The Shade Tree over a nine-year period and dipped in and out of research throughout that time. The internet is a fabulous resource. I watched footage of civil unrest, revisited the March on Washington, and more. I also read extensively and paid close attention to the Southern American writer and social critic Lillian Smith, who lobbied against Jim Crow laws, segregation, and wrote about the taboos surrounding interracial relationships and the failure of so-called Christians to be charitable and good.

I also read a significant amount of history about, and novels set in, the period covered in my book.

Betty: How many drafts of the story did you write before you felt the story was complete?

Theresa: Oh my. That’s a difficult question, and I’m not certain I know, but I’m going to say approximately eight to ten.

Betty: How long did it take for you to write the story you’re sharing with us? Is that a typical length of time for you? Why or why not?

Theresa: I started The Shade Tree in 2011, and it was published in 2021. That’s a faster timeline than my first, The Unfinished Child, that took thirteen years. However, my life circumstances had changed too. I started my first book when my second child was six months old. I moved twice and had another child during that period, so I was primarily focusing more on child-rearing, out of necessity. To be honest, it took longer to get my second novel published than I expected. In the end, however, I’m grateful because it’s a better book having undergone so many revisions.

I’m hoping that my next novel, Dog Days of Planet Earth, will move along at a faster pace. I started it in April of 2019. My children are young adults now, and I have more time to devote to writing. Even so, my novels take time to fully reveal themselves. Having more time hasn’t translated to writing faster. If I can finish a novel in five years, I would think that’s a good pace. One of the benefits of aging is I have more patience for the process.

Betty: What rituals or habits do you have while writing?

Theresa: I do my best writing first thing in the day. My morning routine is to get up, make coffee, toast a bagel, and read some spiritual writing that sets me on the path to being a good human for the day. Then I go to my studio out in my backyard and give myself a pep talk. If I have a gift for writing, I ask to be deserving of that gift. I ask for the critical and doubting voice inside to be silenced. Once I am far enough into a work, I get excited to visit my fictional world and to spend time with my characters. So, there are stages of writing that are definitely more enjoyable (because they are easier) than others.

Finally, I think often of Ann Patchett’s simple equation: “Time applied equals work completed.” It’s shocking to think it can be that simple.

Betty: Every author has a tendency to overuse certain words or phrases in drafts, such as just, once, smile, nod, etc. What are yours?

Theresa: Good question. I have no idea! Maybe my readers could let me know.

Betty: Do you have any role models? If so, why do you look up to them?

Theresa: My role models are people who have strong moral compasses and are true to their convictions, no matter the repercussions. Social justice people, certain spiritual leaders, activists that challenge the status quo, to name a few.

Betty: Do you have a special place to write? Revise? Read?

Theresa: Since November of 2018, I am fortunate to have a backyard shed, insulated and heated, in which to write. It was a decrepit shed filled with old paint cans and lawn mowers and insulation rolls left by previous tenants. One day I looked at it and thought, “it has potential!” A friend did the renovation work, and it has been life changing. Also, my timing was great. I used to work in coffee shops and libraries. When Covid hit in 2020, those spaces were no longer available. That my studio was already complete was lifesaving.

Betty: Many authors have a day job. Do you? If so, what is it and do you enjoy it?

Theresa: I left my full-time job working at the city in late 2019 because I wanted time to finish some writing projects. Then Covid hit. I have been precariously self-employed since then.

Betty: As an author, what do you feel is your greatest achievement?

Theresa: I feel my greatest achievement as an author is writing books that move people.

Betty: What is your favorite genre to read?

Theresa: Literary fiction.

Betty: Success looks different to different people. It could be wealth, or fame, or an inner joy at reaching a certain level. How do you define success in terms of your writing career?

Theresa: Great question. When I was younger, I thought success came from being “known” or signing for a large advance. It was much more about external validation. Now, success is being able to write what I want and taking the time to let the work develop. Success for me is having more patience to let the work breathe and grow and expand.

The Shade Tree is a searing exploration of racial injustice set against the backdrop of some of America’s most turbulent historical events. The lives of two white sisters and a Black midwife are inextricably linked through a series of haunting tragedies, and the characters must make life-changing decisions about where their loyalties lie: with their biological families or with a greater moral cause. From a Florida orange grove to the seat of power in Washington, DC, during the height of the civil rights movement, The Shade Tree tells a sweeping yet intimate story of racial discrimination and the human hunger for justice.

An Editors’ Choice book with The Historical Novel Society, a reviewer said of The Shade Tree: “Mesmerizing, engrossing, and brilliantly plotted, this is an achievement that will echo long after the last page is turned.”

Buy Links: Amazon, * Barnes & Noble & any local independent bookstore

Thank you so much for sharing The Shade Tree with us today, Theresa! It sounds like a wonderful and provocative read.

Happy reading!

Betty

Award-winning Author of Historical Fiction with Heart, and Haunting, Bewitching Love Stories

Visit www.bettybolte.com for a complete list of my books and appearances.

Subscribe to My Newsletter to learn the inside scoop about releases and more!

My Impressions of The Henna Artist by Akla Joshi #HistoricalFiction #HistFic #amwriting #amreading #books #novel #mustread #review

I’ve finished reading The Henna Artist by Akla Joshi. Last week, I shared my initial thoughts so feel free to pop over and read it if you missed it. Now that I’ve read the entire story along with the supporting materials and an excerpt for the second story in the series, I feel more confident in my opinion of the story. Which is to say, that I highly recommend reading this story. It’s worth your time. Why do I say that, you ask? I will be happy to tell you…

Before I talk specifically about The Henna Artist, I want to talk about the experience of reading. Reading a borrowed book on the Hoopla app on my iPad annoys me. I find it difficult to hold the device for long periods of time. I did poke around at trying to enlarge the font but it didn’t hold at the bigger font. So I had to continue to hold it landscape. I know that’s picky of me. I much prefer holding an actual book in my hands. I have reading apps on both my phone and my tablet, but a paperback or hardback is far more comfortable for my hands. Each options for reading has its purpose, though. I am reading an anthology of historical romances for pleasure on the Nook app on my phone so I have something to read whenever I am waiting for a doctor, etc. I read the library borrows on my tablet since I’m usually home when I read the historical fiction for this blog series. But I also have a library in my guest room with tons of printed books that I can choose from. When I travel, I’ll likely take at least a couple paperbacks with me to read (they don’t require batteries or interfere with other electronics) but I’ll still have my phone and those stories at hand as well.

Now back to Akla Joshi’s story. The depth and breadth of details about living in India in the 1950 as well as the traditions and culture of the country gave me a much better appreciation of the people and the lives they lived. I’ve never traveled to India so everything I know about the region is from books and movies. Ms. Joshi helped me to “live” the life of her characters and the limitations they faced and overcome.

Discussions throughout of the uses of various plants, herbs, and spices intrigued me. Learning that the author did extensive research into that aspect of her story gives a lot of credence to how her characters use them. I’ve been fascinated with herbals and combining various herbs and spices into liquid suspension or creams/lotions for a long time. I am not an expert in any of it, just admire those who are!

Lakshmi is the epitome of an emotionally strong woman. She’s faced time and again with having to navigate through hopes and dreams on one hand and the societal expectations and limitations on the other. I really enjoyed seeing how she worked through the decision making process before her and how she handled any fall out from the choices she makes. I’m not saying she was perfect, but she took responsibility for her decisions and actions and then worked to correct any wrongs she may have made. What more can you ask of anyone?

The next book on my Historical Fiction Around the World series is With Fire and Sword by Polish author Henryk Sienkiewicz. This is another story recommended by my friends at the Historical Novel Society Facebook group. If you’re a fan of historical fiction, you might check out that group.

And one last time this year, now that Thanksgiving in America is close to hand, I’ll share my Thanksgiving romance with you all. See below for more on Tara and Grant’s unique trek into an enchanted valley…

Until next time, happy reading!

Betty

P.S. If you haven’t already, please consider signing up for my newsletter, which I send out most every month, including news like new covers, new releases, and upcoming appearances where I love to meet my readers, along with recipes and writing progress. Thanks and happy reading!

Visit www.bettybolte.com for more on my books and upcoming events.

Love is never lost; it haunts the heart…   An unsuspecting Southern town. Ghosts. Witchcraft. Skeletons in the closet. Discover the Secrets of Roseville in this five book series… Undying Love, Haunted Melody, The Touchstone of Raven Hollow, Veiled Visions of Love, and Charmed Against All Odds!

He dug for the truth and found her magic…

It’s safer to stay hidden. Or so Tara Golden believes. She has hidden her healing powers ever since shunned as a child for using them. But occasionally, she helps people passing through town. Then a tall, sexy geologist demands answers to questions she doesn’t want to face. The hunky guy is in for a huge disappointment since she would never expose her abilities and her gifted sisters even to silence the handsome man.

Grant Markel’s eyesight is restored, but the scientist within him won’t accept it’s a miracle. He followed his brother to Roseville on the fool’s errand of creating an alchemical elixir. Only to have his condition disappear without any treatment. But the idea that Tara is a sexy, mystical witch who may hold the answer to his quest makes him face hard truths despite their mutual attraction.

When they are trapped in an enchanted valley, Tara must choose between her magical reality or his scientific beliefs. Can she step from the shadows to claim her true powers before it’s too late?

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Initial Thoughts about The Henna Artist by Akla Joshi #HistoricalFiction #HistFic #amwriting #amreading #books #novel #mustread #review

I’ve started reading the next book on my Historical Fiction Around the World tour of books written by non-American authors entitled The Henna Artist by Akla Joshi. It’s important to note that this is the first book in The Jaipur Trilogy. This first story is set in Jaipur, State of Rajasthan, India in the 1950s. The paperback is 400 pages, but I’m reading it on my iPad via a library borrow through Hoopla. I mentioned this only to add that while it’s nice to be able to read it on my iPad, Hoopla won’t let me resize the text easily like I can in other reading apps. Perhaps I need to poke around more and see if there is a way to change that, but for now I’ve been turning the device to landscape mode to make the text large enough to read.

The author has provided some collateral materials to help readers understand the context of the story. These include a glossary, the Story of Henna, information on the Caste System, as well as several recipes for items/foods mentioned in the story. She also includes a list of the characters who appear in the story to introduce them before you begin reading, a fact I’ll circle back around to in a minute.

The story is divided into four parts and I have finished reading through Part One. The main character, Lakshmi, is very likeable and despite the different culture and society she lives in, I feel like I understand her situation and her choices. The author has deftly written about the nuances of life in India, the protocols and expectations, as well as the subtle politics of the society. It’s really a fascinating introduction to India for me.

The Prologue helps to set the stage for what comes later, but I must admit to being confused as to whose story I was reading since the author begins with a character who is not Lakshmi, but her sister, Rhada. So when chapter one begins, I thought we were still in Rhada’s POV, not Lakshmi. After a few paragraphs, I caught on but there was a bit of confusion for me. I suppose if I’d read the list of characters more closely, I might have followed it better. So consider that my advice to any who wants to read this interesting and compelling story: read through the Characters Who Appear section carefully.

Akla Joshi has a beautiful writing style that readily depicts the life and times of the characters in this delightful story. Let me share the opening paragraph of Chapter One, which does a fine job of setting the stage of Jaipur:

Independence changed everything. Independence changed nothing. Eight years after the British left, we now had free government schools, running water and paved roads. But Jaipur still felt the same to me as it had ten years ago, the first time I stepped foot on its dusty soil. On the way to our first appointment of the morning, Malik and I nearly collided with a man carrying cement bags on his head when a bicycle cut between us. The cyclist, hugging a six-foot ladder under his arm, caused a horse carriage to sideswipe a pig, who ran squealing into a narrow alley. At one point, we stepped aside and waited for a raucous band of hijras to pass. The sari-clad, lipstick-wearing men were singing and dancing in front of a house to bless the birth of a baby boy. So accustomed were we to the odors of the city—cow dung, cooking fires, coconut hair oil, sandalwood incense and urine—that we barely noticed them.

I’m looking forward to finding out what will happen next in this story. I’ll try to finish it before next week’s blog.

Now that Thanksgiving in America is close to hand, I’d thought I’d share my Thanksgiving romance with you all. See below for more on Tara and Grant’s unique trek into an enchanted valley…

Until next time, happy reading!

Betty

P.S. If you haven’t already, please consider signing up for my newsletter, which I send out most every month, including news like new covers, new releases, and upcoming appearances where I love to meet my readers, along with recipes and writing progress. Thanks and happy reading!

Visit www.bettybolte.com for more on my books and upcoming events.

Love is never lost; it haunts the heart…   An unsuspecting Southern town. Ghosts. Witchcraft. Skeletons in the closet. Discover the Secrets of Roseville in this five book series… Undying Love, Haunted Melody, The Touchstone of Raven Hollow, Veiled Visions of Love, and Charmed Against All Odds!

He dug for the truth and found her magic…

It’s safer to stay hidden. Or so Tara Golden believes. She has hidden her healing powers ever since shunned as a child for using them. But occasionally, she helps people passing through town. Then a tall, sexy geologist demands answers to questions she doesn’t want to face. The hunky guy is in for a huge disappointment since she would never expose her abilities and her gifted sisters even to silence the handsome man.

Grant Markel’s eyesight is restored, but the scientist within him won’t accept it’s a miracle. He followed his brother to Roseville on the fool’s errand of creating an alchemical elixir. Only to have his condition disappear without any treatment. But the idea that Tara is a sexy, mystical witch who may hold the answer to his quest makes him face hard truths despite their mutual attraction.

When they are trapped in an enchanted valley, Tara must choose between her magical reality or his scientific beliefs. Can she step from the shadows to claim her true powers before it’s too late?

Amazon     Barnes and Noble      Kobo     Apple     Books2Read     Google Books     Bookshop

Getting to know Lawrie Johnston #author #hisfic #WWI #history #historical #fiction #books #amreading #amwriting

My next guest hails from the beautiful country of Scotland. Please help me welcome Lawrie Johnston! Let’s find out a bit more about her background before we learn about her inspiration and writing process.

I am a retired teacher of history. For most of my life I have read studied and taught history in various parts of Scotland. I have a BA in History from the University of Stirling where I majored in African history.  In contrast I contributed to nonfiction local history books when I lived in the southwest of Scotland. Now that I am retired, I have had the time to research aspects of the First World War and this has resulted in my first historical fiction novel “Who Served Well”, which I hope will be the first of many. I have started to write my second novel which is set in medieval Scotland at the time of The Wars of Independence.

Author Social Links: Facebook * Instagram * Twitter * Apple

Betty: What inspired you to write the story you’re sharing with us today?

Lawrie: As an historian and history teacher I have always been fascinated by the events of the First World War. It was such a pivotal moment in world history and its consequences far reaching. In its aftermath it inspired a plethora of novels, poems, plays, and films. I devoured these with pleasure. More recently and just shortly after I retired, I was given the opportunity to research a small local war memorial in a little parish called Bargrennan in the southwest of Scotland. There were around nine names on the memorial which would be a significant proportion of the young men in such a small sparsely populated area. I noticed two of the young men had died on the same day at the same battle. One had emigrated and served in a Canadian regiment. The other served in a local Scottish regiment. I wondered if they had met again during the war and that was the start of the story.

Betty: What, if any, new writing skill did you develop while working on this story

Lawrie: I was so used to writing nonfiction I really enjoyed developing fictional characters, fleshing them out, giving them emotions and situations. Thinking about how they would respond. So I think I have developed my imaginative writing skills.

Betty: Did you struggle with any part of this story?

Lawrie: Generally, I find writing dialogue quite difficult. I think you must read it aloud to judge if it sounds natural and plausible. You have also to carefully consider if it is time appropriate. I know soldiers swore a lot so that wasn’t a problem.

Betty: Which character(s) were the easiest to get to know? Why do you think?

Lawrie: That would be Tam, one of the central characters in the story. Like anyone he has his good points and flaws. Essentially, he is caught up in events which he does not fully understand but remains positive and optimistic.

Betty: What kind of research did you need to do to write this story?

Lawrie: A great deal. From researching war memorials to nonfiction books about the First World War for information about battles, troops movements, and field hospitals to name a few. I visited several museums and libraries, too.

Betty: How many drafts of the story did you write before you felt the story was complete?

Lawrie: For the book as a whole three drafts. There were some chapters or bits of chapters which were revised further.

Betty: How long did it take for you to write the story you’re sharing with us? Is that a typical length of time for you? Why or why no

Lawrie: As this was my first novel, I did not plan the timing as well as I could have. There were several gaps in my writing, so overall about three years. I am working on my second novel now and have estimated a two-year turnaround from start to publication

Betty: What rituals or habits do you have while writing?

Lawrie: Always a strong cup of coffee before I start.

Betty: Every author has a tendency to overuse certain words or phrases in drafts, such as just, once, smile, nod, etc. What are yours?

Lawrie: I used the phrase “the following morning” too often. I am very aware of that now.

Betty: Do you have any role models? If so, why do you look up to them?

Lawrie: Not really as I try to be myself. I do admire Hilary Mantel a great deal. I think she is in a class of her own when it comes to historical fiction. Her advice to other authors was excellent.

Betty: Do you have a special place to write? Revise? Read?

Lawrie: Mainly at the dining room table.

Betty: Many authors have a day job. Do you? If so, what is it and do you enjoy it?

Lawrie: I am a retired history teacher and loved my job. There are elements which I still miss.

Betty: As an author, what do you feel is your greatest achievement?

Lawrie: To date it would be the publication of my first novel. Opening the first box of books was exciting. Seeing my book on retailers’ websites and reading good reviews was also very rewarding.

Betty: What is your favorite genre to read?

Lawrie: For relaxing then crime fiction, Ian Rankin and Val McDermid are go-to writers for me.

Betty: Success looks different to different people. It could be wealth, or fame, or an inner joy at reaching a certain level. How do you define success in terms of your writing career

Lawrie: I have no illusions that I will make a fortune from my work. That people have enjoyed and taken something from my book is reward enough for me.

Who Served Well is an exploration of the devastating effects of the First World War through the eyes of three young friends from Galloway, southwest Scotland. The idea for the book comes from research I did around local war memorials. The stories of the individuals on the memorials inspired me to create the fictional characters in the book. I hope the reader will become immersed in those events and battles of the war where local men and women made a significant contribution. The essence of the book is deeply rooted in the people and places of Galloway. Andrew McDowall, Tam Murdoch, and Kathleen Marr make their own way through the war but are linked by their past and also by their present.

Buy Links: Troubadour Book Publishing * AmazonUS * AmazonUK

Knowing that the story stems from historical memorials may just mean your readers will want to travel to those sites, too. I’d go back to Scotland in a heartbeat! Thanks, Lawrie, for stopping by and sharing your debut novel with us!

Happy reading!

Betty

Award-winning Author of Historical Fiction with Heart, and Haunting, Bewitching Love Stories

Visit www.bettybolte.com for a complete list of my books and appearances.

Subscribe to My Newsletter to learn the inside scoop about releases and more!

My thoughts on Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone by Diana Gabaldon #histfic #historical #fiction #AmericanRevolution #Scottish #timetravel #fantasy #amreading #amwriting

Now that my newest releases are available, and the short flash fiction for Halloween have been shared, it’s time for me to turn my attention back to my Historical Fiction Around the World series. If you recall, this is where I read historical fiction by non-American authors. It’s my way of expanding my own reading horizons and appreciating the breadth and depth of storytelling. I’ve selected a story from India entitled The Henna Artist by Akla Joshi as the next book in the series. It sounds interesting…

While I dip my toes into this intriguing tale, I thought I’d share my thoughts on Diana Gabaldon’s recent Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone, which I finally read. The book released in 2021 but not in paperback, so I waited nearly a year until the paperback became available. My thinking was that I have the first 8 books in paperback, and I wanted the 9th in paperback as well. Then I share the books with my daughter to read. So after reading the 888 pages of the story, I can say it was worth the wait. I enjoy Ms. Gabaldon’s stories. They are entertaining and informative even if at times I wish she’d had a better editor to help her with the writing. But, then again, once an author has reached the kind of status she has, editors tend to be far more permissive and forgiving. I guess they figure she’s built an audience writing in such a style…

Betty with Diana Gabaldon in 2013 at the Historical Novel Society Conference.

Anyway, that’s my own personal preferences showing. Ms. Gabaldon’s writing is solid and she weaves an interesting story. While many things happen in this continuing saga of a time-traveling family, in this particular book not much at all happens from a big picture view. People fight, travel, defend themselves, build new homes, find new family, and navigate troubling war times during the American Revolution in the states. I found the day-to-day living aspects of the story fascinating if somewhat slow at times. Some scenes didn’t have any obvious significant purpose for this reader. But I always marvel at the depth of research she must have done to write these stories so specifically detailed. (I’d love to have a conversation with her about her research!)

Ultimately, I think of this book as a bridge to the next one, which Ms. Gabaldon teases “might be” the penultimate book in the series. It ends on a definite cliffhanger, which adds to my impression of its role in the series. Neither of those impressions are a denunciation of the story, though. I thoroughly enjoyed the evolving story of Claire and Jamie.

One interesting aspect of the points of view (POVs) used in this book is that all of the characters except Claire’s are written in third person close POV. Claire is heard in first person, bringing her inner thoughts onto the page in a more direct and personal way. This technique ensures the reader will know when we’re in Claire’s head without having to figure out who is talking/thinking. Given there are at least three other POVs employed in telling this tale, sometimes I had to pause to figure out in whose POV the scene was written.

Another thing I noticed is a reflection of Ms. Gabaldon’s scientific background. Her website bio states, “Dr. Diana J. Gabaldon holds three degrees in science: Zoology, Marine Biology, and a Ph.D. in Quantitative Behavioral Ecology.” Her writerly voice reflects this training in the use of passive language (not necessarily passive voice). She frequently begins her sentences with “There were/are/was” openings, for example. Using such constructs distance the reader from the character’s POV in one sense but also creates a “cushion” between the action of the story and the telling of it. Let me try to give an example. I just opened the novel to page 96 and found this sentence at the bottom of the page: “There was a long moment of silence.” As a comparison, what if she’d written: “A long moment of silence followed.” Or even, “A moment of silence stretched into an uncomfortable minute.” I read my examples as more active and energetic than the original. What do you think?

Yes, I do realize that most readers won’t even notice these kinds of aspects of the book. Readers, as opposed to writers reading, don’t look beyond the story. I, personally, having been trained as an editor and having studied as an English major emphasizing literature, am striving to not only tell an entertaining, informative story but to do so to the best of my ability. You’ll have to tell me how well I’ve succeeded, though, since a writer can’t really tell if they’re hitting the mark with their own writing.

If you haven’t read the series to date, you’re missing out on a lot of great historical fiction and I urge you to give it a try. If the size of the books proves too daunting—each is in the 800+ page range—then check out the Starz miniseries of Outlander. Ms. Gabaldon is the co-producer and advisor of the series and it stays true to the stories she wrote so you won’t miss out on the key elements of the series. Find out more here. Of course, if you’re like me and devour the tiniest details of life during a different time period, then you’d be better off reading the books.

Either way, I hope you’ll enjoy the Outlander series as much as I have!

And if you enjoy historical fiction set during the American Revolution, I hope you’ll take a peek at Emily’s Vow, the first book in my American Revolution series A More Perfect Union, set in Charleston, South Carolina during the British occupation of that beautiful city.

Happy reading!

Betty

P.S. If you haven’t already, please consider signing up for my newsletter, which I send out most every month, including news like new covers, new releases, and upcoming appearances where I love to meet my readers, along with recipes and writing progress. Thanks and happy reading!

Visit www.bettybolte.com for more on my books and upcoming events.

Did you know… You can order signed paperbacks of any of my books at The Snail on the Wall   book store!

How could she love a man suspected of being a turncoat?

As the American Revolution drags on, Charles Town, South Carolina, remains under siege by the British, and Emily’s father is determined to marry her off to a suspected traitor. Frank Thomson walks a fine line between spying for the Americans and being a perceived loyalist traitor. But when Frank learns Emily has been imprisoned by the enemy, he risks his own life, freedom, and heart for hers.

Books2Read     Barnes and Noble      Amazon      Apple     Kobo     Google Books     Bookshop

Audiobook Buy Links

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Introducing Miss Kitty Underhay, the delightful amateur sleuth from Helena Dixon’s cozy mystery series. #author #character #femalesleuth #bookseries #amreading #fiction #novels

Sometimes it’s the little things that matter most in life. Today let’s chat with an interesting character from Helena Dixon’s cozy mysteries, Miss Kitty Underhay. Welcome, Kitty! After we find out a little bit about Helena, I’m looking forward to finding out more about you.

Helena Dixon splits her time between the Black Country and Devon. Married to the same man for over thirty-five years she has three daughters, a cactus called Spike, and a crazy cockapoo. She is allergic to adhesives, apples, tinsel and housework.  She was winner of The Romance Prize in 2007 and Love Story of the Year 2010 as Nell Dixon. She now writes the Miss Underhay historical 1930’s cozy crime series.

Author Social Links: Twitter * Instagram

Betty: How would you describe your parents?

Kitty: My mother vanished when I was six and my father went to America. I have only recently become reacquainted with my father who is something of a rogue. I was brought up by my grandmother at the Dolphin Hotel.

Betty: Who taught you to tie your shoes?

Kitty: Mickey, the maintenance man in the hotel that I co own with my grandmother.

Betty: Do you know how to swim? How did you learn, if so?

Kitty: I live in Dartmouth, a small riverside town in Devon. When you live by water you need to know how to swim.

Betty: What do you think is your greatest failure? Why?

Kitty: I can be quite impetuous and sometimes this has placed me in considerable danger.

Betty: What is the most wonderful thing that has happened to you?

Kitty:  I met my fiancé, Captain Matthew Bryant who is a private investigator. We are due to get married on Christmas Eve

Betty: If you could change the past, what would you change?

Kitty:  I wish my mother was still alive. I spent years trying to find out what happened to her.

Betty: What’s your greatest fear? Who else knows about it?

Kitty: I really don’t like rats. I think everyone knows!

Betty: What’s your favorite game to play?

Kitty: I like to play billiards although I’m told this is not very lady-like.

Betty: Do you have a favorite sibling? Who?

Kitty: I’m an only child.

Betty: If you could live anywhere, where would you live?

Kitty:  I love living in Dartmouth. Being by the sea has to be the best place to live in the world. The countryside here is beautiful and we have the best seafood and clotted cream.

Betty: How do you like to relax?

Kitty: I like to read, especially whodunnits. I also go to the cinema with my friend, Alice. She is a huge fan of the talkies as my grandmother still calls them.

Betty: What genre of books do you most enjoy reading?

Kitty: Mysteries. I love Mrs. Sayers.

Betty: How do you like to start your day?

Kitty: I wake up early and my best days start when Alice my friend sneaks into my room to share a cup of tea with me. She’s a chambermaid at the Dolphin and has to avoid Mrs. Homer, our housekeeper. We have a good old chat and its such fun. I shall miss that when I marry Matt.

Betty: What kinds of friends do you have?

Kitty: All kinds. Alice and her sister Dolly are my closest friends but there is also Father Lamb who is a priest at Exeter. He’s very kind and generous. Dr. Carter, who I always seem to meet whenever there is a murder. Since I met Matt I always seem to end up embroiled in murders.

Betty: Who would you like to meet? Why?

Kitty: I would like to meet Queen Mary, she always seems so very gracious. Plus, Mrs. Craven has met her and won’t stop bragging about it.

Kitty Underhay is drowning… in murder.

Kitty Underhay hopes for plain sailing as she caters a 21st birthday party for the Chief Constable’s daughter aboard a luxury paddle steamer. So her heart sinks when she learns that the man her fiancé Matthew has been tailing on orders from Whitehall, Gunther Freiburg, is aboard. And she’s even more horrified when she steps below deck to discover Gunther dead in the engine room. One of the Chief Constable’s party must be responsible for his demise, but who, and why?

And the evening is on course for further disaster. As the lights go out around the candlelit cake, a terrible scream rings out over the merry hubbub. A priceless diamond necklace has been snatched from around the birthday girl’s neck… Something fishy is going on, but is this the work of the same sailing assassin, or is it a red herring?

With the local inspector in deep water having to investigate his own boss, Kitty and Matt dive in to help. But when Kitty’s eavesdropping puts her in mortal danger, will everything turn out shipshape, or will it be her turn to go swimming with the fishes…?

Buy Links: AmazonUK * AmazonUS

The lessons we learn from the various people in our lives can yield some interesting developments. Thanks, Kitty, for stopping by for a chat!

Happy reading!

Betty

Award-winning Author of Historical Fiction with Heart, and Haunting, Bewitching Love Stories

Visit www.bettybolte.com for a complete list of my books and appearances.

Subscribe to My Newsletter to learn the inside scoop about releases and more!

Halloween Flash Fiction: The Bush Indian #amwriting #amreading #Halloween2022 #shortstory #flashfiction #fiction #witches #ghosts #monsters

One more Halloween flash fiction for you all! In honor of Halloween, Poised Pen Productions is hosting a flash fiction giveaway with a prize filled with books, gift cards, and swag. Don’t forget to enter the giveaway simply by signing up with your email, and you’ll be given options for earning additional entries. Good luck!

If you missed it, I already shared my short story, Haunting Beauty. If you missed the others, check out The Hunt and A Simple Mistake, Ghostly Contact and The Witch’s Wand, and Samhain Surprise and Tall, Dark, and Handsome.  And now for the last but definitely not least of the Halloween flash fiction stories!


The Bush Indian

Copyright (c) Cherime MacFarlane

https://www.facebook.com/AuthorCherimeMacFarlane

Author’s Note: There is a tale in that country of a “Bush Indian.” What little I’ve heard of it, people don’t say much, I’ve taken license with. But people do disappear in Alaska and are never seen or heard of again. A few thousand so far. Don’t go out in the bush alone.

Dedicated to: The elders I once knew.

Gunrik sat in one of the old office chairs. The two old men sat in their favorites, each one much the worse for wear. The wood stove warmed the interior of the building the men, hunting partners for years, called their shop. Built into the hillside of the property they had called home for over eighty years, it had one door and one window. He hoped the two Athabaskan elders would flesh out the information on a tale he’d run across while gathering stories for his employer, the Native Corporation.

He’d asked politely if the old men would tell him about the Bush Indian after church several months ago. They had exchanged glances. Some communication had passed between them.

Erik looked past Gunrik’s shoulder, staring at the mountains on the far side of the lake. David sighed. “Maybe. Him and me.” He waved a hand between them. “We’ll talk, send word if it feels right.”

Eventually, he’d had a call from Lila Jones, the great-grands granddaughter. The old men had decided it would be alright to discuss the legend. But they must do it on a Sunday afternoon, after church and when the moon was full.

Erik struck a match and lit a decrepit old pipe. The smoke didn’t smell like tobacco. Gunrik waited.

“Chelth-en-ee.” The word came out of the blue cloud around Erik. “Spell it how ya please. Him and me ain’t gonna say it again. Naw…”

“Once is enough.” David finished Erik’s thought. Gunrik had seen the two old hunters do that often enough. “Ya see spirit’s smoke coming from Wrangell? Tha kay-you-nee-thled-eh? That’s what we was waitin for. We’re thinking maybe we can get clear o trouble now. But we ain’t gonna speak o this again. Get it all now cause it’s askin for trouble to be too loud about that.”

“Yes, sir. Can I record you both?”

“Naw. Ya write this down.” Erik said.

David nodded. “Ya record it an that wrong spirit could hear it. They come after us. Can’t have that trash after DeDe, Alva Mae and the young ones.”

“Trash?”

“Yep.” David spat on the ground while Erik took another puff and blue smoke filled the air. “Evil as evil can be. They stole children. Took ‘em right out of their beds.” David said.

“Ya. Hunters go looking and find bones. Chewed.” Erik shook his white head. “Lost a few to that goo.”

He knew ‘goo’ meant monster. “They ate the children?” Gunrik leaned forward. He understood why no one wanted to talk about the thing he’d been trying to clarify.

Neither old man spoke, but they did nod in agreement. Erik blew another puff of smoke into the air. They exchanged another glance.

“They ain’t above taking a lone hunter, neither.” David said.

“Yup. Never go without ah huntin partner.” Erik took another draw on the pipe.

“Uh huh. They hung out in caves in the cliffs above tha river.” David leaned forward. “Ya know there’s still hunters, hikers go missin and nothing’s found.”

Gunrik nodded. He knew that. “Like that show about the Alaska Triangle.”

Both old men laughed. “They don’t know much. And ain’t no one going to tell them more. Tha only reason you’re hearing about it from us is we know we can trust ya. You’ve seen things here. Stuff ya can’t talk about cause ain’t any of em gonna believe ya.” David grinned at him.

“Ya. His great-great grandpa and his huntin partner followed em and traced tha evil back to their hole.” Erik gestured with the stem of the pipe.

“Uh huh and ran back and got every man, woman, and child in tha camp.” David grinned at him. “Since it was summer, they built fires on the land above the entrance, rolled bundles of brush down to keep tha lot trapped.”

“Collapsed the stuff above. Sealed tha goo in.” Erik said.

“Ya. That time they got most o them.” David looked at his hunting partner. “But we must have missed a few.”

Gunrik understood the ‘we’ to be the village collectively. “You think there are some still out there?”

“We do. Don’t ya be traipsing out there alone. Take our advice and always take a huntin partner. Keep each other safe.” Erik put the pipe stem to his lips.

“Now, we’s done talking. Said enough.” David touched Erik’s shoulder. “Look. Ya see that?”

“Yup.” David pointed out the window. “Wrangell is smoking up a storm. Tha wind’s rising. Storm comin up from tha gulf. Get on home, Gunrik. Stick close ta home for tha next few days.”

The entire drive down the Edgerton Highway to the cabin he shared with his wife, he felt off somehow. But he would call Jay Leighton as soon as he got home. The moose hunt he’d thought to do alone would be put off until he could get a hunting partner. He hoped Jay would go with him.

The old men were right. He’d seen too much in this country to not pay attention. And the hair on the back of his neck rose every time he looked at the big volcano with the plume of smoke above it. Cannibals had once terrorized the people here. As the old men said, evil had once roamed this vast valley and might still be waiting to snatch a lone hunter.


What a great story to wrap up the Halloween flash fiction series! Never go out hunting alone, my friends, whether for moose or candy!

Happy Halloween!

Betty

P.S. If you haven’t already, please consider signing up for my newsletter, which I send out most every month, including news like new covers, new releases, and upcoming appearances where I love to meet my readers, along with recipes and writing progress. Thanks and happy reading!

Visit www.bettybolte.com for more on my books and upcoming events.

Did you know… You can order signed paperbacks of any of my books at The Snail on the Wall   book store!

An unsuspecting Southern town. Ghosts. Witchcraft. Skeletons in the closet. Discover the Secrets of Roseville in this five book series… Undying Love, Haunted Melody, The Touchstone of Raven Hollow, Veiled Visions of Love, and Charmed Against All Odds!

Haunted Melody is discounted for the month of October!

Her love puts a song in his heart…

Paulette O’Connell is determined to provide for her unborn child. She has few skills and nowhere to call home except Twin Oaks plantation. Paulette accidentally summons her grandfather’s annoying ghost but he won’t leave until she figures out why she needs him.

Zak Markel is desperate to create an alchemical elixir to save his brother’s eyesight. Only, captivating Paulette distracts him at the worst possible time. While Zak longs for Paulette to give him a chance, she is determined to stand on her own, even before her child’s father returns. Can Zak convince Paulette to follow her heart before it’s too late?

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Getting to know Steven Mayfield #author #satire #smalltownfiction #historicalmystery #amreading

Buckle up, folks! And help me welcome self-proclaimed smart…guy Steven Mayfield to the guest author interview hot seat! Let’s dive right in, shall we?

Steven Mayfield is the award-winning author of Howling at the Moon, Treasure of the Blue Whale, and the upcoming Delphic Oracle, U.S.A. He lives and writes in Oregon.

Author Social Links: Facebook * Twitter

Betty: What inspired you to write the story you’re sharing with us today?

Steven: I was working on two short stories and realized that the protagonists lived in the same town. I then searched my “Ideas” file and found several other characters in search of a home. The result was Delphic Oracle, U.S.A., a small town in Nebraska that is home to some oddballs.

Betty: What, if any, new writing skill did you develop while working on this story?

Steven: I finally, at long last, stopped going off on tangents with minor characters.

Betty: Did you struggle with any part of this story? What and how?

Steven: There are two timelines, separated by nearly ninety years. Keeping the reader in two moments was a challenge that I addressed by allowing a first-person narrator to tell the story from both his own observations and experiences and those gleaned from his great-grandmother’s memories.

Betty: Which character(s) were the easiest to get to know?

Steven: Probably July and Maggie, the star-crossed lovers of the 1920s time setting. I knew who they were from the start and neither changed much.

Betty: What kind of research did you need to do to write this story?

Steven: I researched the oracles of Delphi and Plutarch’s Parallel Lives. I read a lot of Shakespeare, searching for quotes, and used A Midsummer Night’s Dream as a basis for the last chapter of the book.

Betty: How many drafts of the story did you write before you felt the story was complete?

Steven: Umptygazillion. The original draft was 185,000 words. With the help of novelist and editor, Mary Rakow and my Regal House editor, Jaynie Royal, it was trimmed down to a tidy 89,000. There was a lot of fat on the bone. Did I mention tangents and minor characters? You get the idea.

Betty: How long did it take for you to write the story you’re sharing with us? Is that a typical length of time for you? Why or why not?

Steven: I began the book in 2008, but because the structure (two timelines) was so challenging I frequently had to set it aside and published two other books before finally completing an acceptable draft in 2020. That is not typical for me. Treasure of the Blue Whale (Regal House 2020) and “The Penny Mansions” (Regal House 2023) both took about a year. I have another book, tentatively entitled “Sixty Seconds,” which is half done four months into the project.

Betty: What rituals or habits do you have while writing?

Steven: I try to write every day, even if it’s just a few words. I begin by revising what I wrote the day before, which often results in significant expansion. Then, I write new words for the next day.

Betty: Every author has a tendency to overuse certain words or phrases in drafts, such as just, once, smile, nod, etc. What are yours?

Steven: This is a better question for my editor, although in first drafts, I invariably overuse “that.” When I go to a second draft, I first do a “Find” for “that” and delete about 80% of them.

Betty: Do you have any role models? If so, why do you look up to them?

Steven: I’m too old to have role models. As a young man in medicine, I had some wonderful mentors, Ed Bell and Ed Clark at the University of Iowa among them. One man stands out: William Oh, my Neonatology fellowship director at Brown. I’ve dedicated “The Penny Mansions” to him. Among writers, I’ve been influenced by Mark Twain, O. Henry, Charles Dickens, Sinclair Lewis, John Steinbeck, John Cheever, Muriel Spark, Agatha Christie, John Irving, and Jean Shepherd. My work is about 10% an effort to be them and 90% smartass.

Betty: Do you have a special place to write? Revise? Read?

Steven: I have a study where my guitar and piano are nearby.

Betty: Many authors have a day job. Do you? If so, what is it and do you enjoy it?

Steven: I did have day job. I was a neonatologist for twenty-five years and enjoyed it, although the sleep deprivation caught up with me, forcing an early retirement.

Betty: As an author, what do you feel is your greatest achievement?

Steven: Accepting what I am: a yarn-spinner.

Betty: What is your favorite genre to read?

Steven: I don’t have a favorite. I like to read different things, which I is why I enjoy the Regal House catalog. There’s so much diversity in content and style among their authors; e.g. I just finished In Search of the Magic Theater by Karla Huebner, which is about two young women on parallel courses that eventually converge. Before that, I read Barbara Quick’s What Disappears, which is about ballet and fashion in Russia and Paris of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century and Michael Bourne’s Blithedale Canyon where a recovering addict can’t seem to go straight. Right now, I’m on Phillip Hurst’s Regent’s of Paris. Like me, Phillip writes about small towns and is a bit of a smartass. I feel right at home.

Betty: Success looks different to different people. It could be wealth, or fame, or an inner joy at reaching a certain level. How do you define success in terms of your writing career?

Steven: Being traditionally published has been gratifying. It’s nice to know that someone other than one’s friends and family has found value in my work. Because, let’s face it, your friends will never tell you that your butt looks big in EVERYTHING! Editors are less bashful, making me a shameless supplicant for their approval.

It is 1925 when a love affair between enchantress Maggie Westinghouse and con man July Pennybaker upends the small town of Miagrammesto Station, tumbles it about, and sets it back down as Delphic Oracle, Nebraska. Will their love fulfill its destiny? The narrator of this wry, entertaining novel, Father Peter Goodfellow, weaves back and forth in time to answer that question. Along the way, he introduces the Goodfellows, the Penrods, and the Thorntons—families whose members include a perpetual runaway, a man with religion but no faith, a man with faith but no religion, a boy known as Samson the Methodist, a know-it-all librarian who seems to actually know everything, a quartet of confused midsummer lovers, and a skeleton unearthed in a vacant lot. Funny, poignant, and occasionally tragic, their histories are part of how a place at the confluence of the Platte, Loup, and Missouri River Valleys became home to the long-lost Oracle of Delphi.

Buy Links: Regal House Publishing  *  Annie Bloom’s BooksBarnes & Noble

Sounds like a rollicking read, Steven! Thanks for sharing it with us.

Happy reading!

Betty

Award-winning Author of Historical Fiction with Heart, and Haunting, Bewitching Love Stories

Visit www.bettybolte.com for a complete list of my books and appearances.

Subscribe to My Newsletter to learn the inside scoop about releases and more!