Getting to know Nicki Greenwood #author #contemporary #PNR #NewAdult #romance #fiction #books

I think you’re going to enjoy my guest today! Please help me welcome, Nicki Greenwood! As usual we’ll start with her official bio, and then dip into what she has to say about her books and her process.

Nicki Greenwood graduated SUNY Morrisville with a degree in Natural Resources, which of course has nothing to do with writing novels. She has also worked in a bakery, an insurance agency, a flower shop, and a doctor’s office, which have nothing to do with writing, either. She did spend an awesome two years as an assistant editor for a publisher, and now does freelance editing on the side. Nicki still holds down a day job, which manages to get her out of the house once in a while. Since 2010, she has written eight novels, including the award-winning Gifted Series. Nicki lives in upstate New York with her husband, son, and assorted pets. If you can’t find her at her computer, you can always try the local Renaissance Faire.

You can learn more about Nicki at http://www.nickigreenwood.com, or follow her on Amazon, Facebook, or Twitter.

Betty: How many books have you written and published?

Nicki: Eight books of novel or short story length, and counting!

Betty: What genre(s) do you write in and why?

Nicki: I began writing in the romance genre because it’s such a broad spectrum, from sweet, contemporary romance to spicy paranormals, and everything in between. There was a lot of room to play within the universal theme of a happy ending, and that appealed to me. I am now stretching my legs by writing in the New Adult genre, which is fresh and exciting. I have a planned trilogy currently in the works.

Betty: What themes or motifs did you use in your recent release and why were they important to your story?

Nicki: I didn’t discover my “theme” until writing several books about it. I found that no matter what type of book I write, whether it’s contemporary, paranormal, or women’s fiction, the story always centers around a character finding his or her emotional home. In FIRE, my most recent release, the hero Ethan has never felt like he belonged anywhere. He is quite literally wandering the country in search of a place to belong. For him, it’s a matter of coming to terms with who—and what—he is.

Is love worth the risk of getting burned?

Ethan Sutter is good at running, but he can’t outrun himself. Rootless and reckless, he prowls the country, able to abandon everything except his hated Fire Elemental power. Then he lands in Pickering, Vermont, out of gas and out of options, and meets New Age curio shop owner Gypsy Ronan, an even bigger misfit than he is.

Gypsy knows Ethan is trouble. However, none of her tarot cards or tea leaves could have prepared her for their undoubtedly dangerous mutual attraction. More shocking still is the discovery that he possesses an incredible power, and he wants her help getting rid of it.

Ethan needs a normal life. He’s sure a woman like Gypsy couldn’t be part of it, but she sets his blood smoldering. Gypsy knows there’s more to Ethan than he admits, even as she fears for her heart.

Amazon

Betty: Do you have a specific place that you write? Revise?

Nicki: I purposely bought a laptop with a comfortable keyboard and long battery life so I can write in my office, at Starbucks, on lunch break at my day job, or wherever else I find myself. I used to write by hand, and then on a desktop computer, and finally discovered this is the best way for me to get the words down.

Betty: Do you have any writing rituals while you write? Did you have a special drink, or music, or time of day that you gravitated toward?

Nicki: Wednesday mornings are my Starbucks days, and I generally churn out the words over a green tea and breakfast sandwich with my headphones on. Something about the atmosphere encourages my muse to show up ready to work. I am a creature of habit, and these regular schedules work well for me. I write best in the mornings when I’m fresh, so unless I’m cramped for time I try to get my writing in as early as possible.

Betty: What helped you move from unpublished to published? A mentor or organization or something else?

Nicki: I wouldn’t be where I am without the generous and supportive members of the Central New York Romance Writers. I owe a lot of my craft growth to them. I also have to give a shout out to The Wild Rose Press, who came on the scene when ebooks were just beginning to emerge. They have been a huge part of my success as an author, and I couldn’t ask for a nicer publisher.

Betty: What do you think is your greatest strength in your writing?

Nicki: I love dialogue. It’s the first thing I notice in a book or television show, and one of the things I enjoy most about writing characters. The wittier the dialogue, the more fun it is!

Betty: What comes first when you’re brainstorming a new story: setting, situation, characters?

Nicki: Generally, a character shows up first. I don’t even brainstorm them, most of the time. They just begin “talking.” (We writers are among the few who can say we “hear voices” and not get strange looks…especially when talking to other writers. *grin*)

Betty: Do you have a structured time to write or is more fluid/flexible? Do you have to write between family obligations or do you set aside a block of time?

Nicki: I do have a loose weekly “structure,” but it is sometimes undermined by family needs. Family is important, so when something comes up, I move my writing schedule. I am currently writing on a 100-words-per-day minimum, but I often surpass that. Occasionally, it’s a case of squeezing the writing in wherever I can.

Betty: What is one recent struggle you’ve experienced in your writing?

Nicki: I am a hybrid pantser-plotter, somewhere between the author who outlines her story first, and the one who just sits down to write without a road map. This works for me most of the time, since I don’t like to know the end of a story before I write it.  There have been moments, however, where I get stuck. I call it “writing myself into a corner,” where I have set something up that ends in a snarl. When that happens I just keep going, and in the off hours when I’m not writing, my “passive muse” works on the problem until a solution crops up. Then I’m off writing again at a crazy pace.

Betty: Do you participate in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month)? Why or why not?

Nicki: I don’t. It’s like dieting—if I call it a diet, I won’t do it. (Incidentally, I lost forty pounds over a six-month period by not calling it a diet.) Writing, like eating healthy, is a lifestyle, not a single event. I make more words by keeping at it daily than I ever would by pushing myself to do it in a standalone challenge.

Betty: What are you reading right now?

Nicki: Julia Quinn is a perennial favorite, and I have recently delved into Erica Ridley’s work. I also chanced across A PRINCESS IN THEORY by Alyssa Cole, and devoured it. Cole’s voice is such fun. A DUKE BY DEFAULT is next on my list.

Betty: What is your favorite genre to read?

Nicki: Historical novels, especially romances. I may never write one, but I love to read them, whether they are Scottish, Regency, Egyptian, or something else.

Betty: What are your keeper books? How often might you reread them?

Nicki: For one Valentine’s Day, I received a beautiful leather-bound copy of THE COMPLETE SHERLOCK HOLMES from my husband. It is one of my favorite possessions, and I am still working through it.

Betty: When you’re writing, do you read in the same genre as your work in progress or something else?

Nicki: I don’t read much while I am working on a book, but I treat myself to pleasure reading when I get to the end of my own works in progress. When I do read, if it isn’t a book on the craft of writing, it’s something historical.

Betty: Do you have a “day job” or do you write full time?

Nicki: I wish I could write full time, but if that doesn’t happen, it’s all right. Getting out of the house and seeing other people is fuel for a writer’s brain. I am a pharmacy technician, and I love my co-workers, so it’s all good!

Betty: What do you wish readers knew about the publishing industry?

Nicki: There’s room for every kind of story, with every kind of character, more now than ever. If you’re looking for a book that resonates with you, it’s out there—especially with the growth of indie publishing.

Betty: What advice do you have for new writers?

Nicki: Read, edit, learn craft, and don’t give up. There are so many books on the market, free or otherwise. In addition, you’re competing with entertainment streamers like Netflix, so you’d better learn to write a damn good book that’ll keep a reader’s attention. If you don’t polish your work, it shows. Readers recognize an amateur. You’re asking them to spend hard-earned money, so pay attention to the quality of your product. Don’t fall into the trap of assuming “good enough” is good enough, because they’ll look elsewhere for the next read…not to mention, you are doing your own craft a disservice by settling for “okay.” A thick skin is important, but remember that it grows over time. It’s all right to wallow in self-doubt for a day after a bad review, but don’t let it end your growth as a writer…because you never stop growing as a writer. It is a lifelong art.

Betty: Any hints of what you’re next writing project might be?

Nicki: I don’t want to say too much until I have the books written, but I am working on a New Adult series with fresh voices and a different sort of tone. It’s been loads of fun so far, and I think readers are going to enjoy it.

Betty: What kind of writing would you like to experiment with? Or what’s a different genre you’ve considered writing but haven’t yet?

Nicki: I have often wanted to try children’s books and screenplays. Perhaps when I’m certain I have a handle on writing New Adult stories, I’ll turn my attention to those genres!

Some very good advice in there, and some hints at interesting stories as well! Thanks so much for stopping by, Nicki.

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.

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Choosing which finger to wear a special ring #amwriting #reading #PNR #supernatural #fiction #books #paranormal #wicca #jewelry #magick #magic #witchcraft #research

Last week I talked about the overarching information I learned when I started digging into the world of Wiccans. In Charmed Against All Odds (Book 5 of Secrets of Roseville), an enchanted charm bracelet takes center stage, but I’ve also included a specific ring that identifies the members of the Order of Witchery Lore. Before I settled on what it is made of and the design, I needed to know more about Wiccan jewelry and the magic associated with it. So I kept poking around at the Wicca Spirituality website until I found what I was looking for: The Magick of Wiccan Jewelry.

Keep in mind that my focus is on how I can accurately portray the use of jewelry and its mystical powers in my story. I’m not trying to give every detail of the beliefs and uses of jewelry within the Wiccan realm. Feel free to poke around on the Wicca Spirituality site if you’re curious! For now, I’m going to break down my research into Wicca jewelry into three parts relevant to my story needs: which finger to wear the ring on; what color of stone; and which precious metal(s) lend meaning to the symbol of the ring in my story.

To determine which finger, I needed to understand the Power Centers, or energy centers on the body. Depending on where the jewelry is worn, different powers are activated. What a fascinating concept to me. Rather similar to the idea of pressure points and acupuncture in some vague more mystical way.

For the featured charm bracelet in my story, the power center isn’t so much an energy as a reminder “that all your actions can be offered to the Divine.” So I don’t have to worry about activating any specific energy as Roxie and Leo are assembling the bracelet with the hidden charms, and indeed Roxie’s mother tells her to “Wear the bracelet, my dear daughter, as a daily reminder of what makes you both strong, but also what makes you better together.”

The OWL members’ ring, however, is another matter. From the Wicca Spirituality site, I learned that the third finger is the heart finger (thus why relationship rings are typically worn on the third finger) and rings worn there are “especially powerful.” The index finger is also powerful as the creation finger. Judgement and restraint center on the middle finger. But aha! Communication—Roxie’s strongest power and the Order’s mission—comes from the pinky finger. Decision made: the ring will be worn on the right pinky finger.

At that point in my processing of this information, a chill swept over my shoulders as I realized that I missed wearing a certain ring on my own right pinky. I’d stopped because I’d put on some weight and it didn’t fit well, but I suddenly needed to wear it again. So I went to my jewelry box and put it on. In the picture, I’m wearing it alongside the blue and white sapphire ring I bought after I graduated from the University of Alabama in Huntsville with an MA in English. So I’m wearing on my heart finger my love of literature and writing.

You may wonder why wearing the simple silver band would hold such meaning for me. It’s my beloved mother-in-law’s wedding band that I inherited after she died in 2009. When I wear her ring, I feel her presence close to me. I hope for her sharp wit, her insights, her determination, to strengthen my own. Knowing that wearing it on my pinky also energizes my communication power makes me want to wear it even more! Perhaps that’s why it feels so right on my little finger. Mom Bolte was an avid reader and read/critiqued my fledgling novels, encouraging me to continue writing.

Is it possible that pairing both my graduation ring and the silver band energizes my writing and storytelling powers? I like to think so…

Speaking of reminders… Remember that Charmed Against All Odds is part of the Common Elements Romance Project, a group of books being released between October 2019 and January 2020. Over 100 authors have all agreed to include the same 5 elements in each romance, encompassing all subgenres of romance, too! The 5 elements are: a tall stack of books; a man named Max; a haunted or reported to be haunted house; a lightning storm; and a lost set of keys. These elements were super easy to fit into Book 5 of the Secrets of Roseville series!

The Common Elements Romance Project will kick off with a week-long Facebook launch party September 23-27, 2019. There will be prizes and games and interacting with the authors each day of that week. Hop over to find out more and be sure to sign up for updates! And I’ve ordered a special charm bracelet to give away during my genre day—Thursday, 9/26—that has the first two charms Roxie and Leo find. The adjustable gold bracelet will have the open book and Friends charms, so whoever wins it will always have a “book friends” charm bracelet from me. And as a bonus, for everyone who pre-orders Charmed Against All Odds, I’ll give a free ebook copy of Book 1, Undying Love! Simply share a picture or screenshot of your order and I’ll send you a link where you can download your gift as a thank you for ordering Roxie and Leo’s story!

I’m so excited to have two releases coming soon! October 1 The Haunting of Fury Falls Inn will kick off my new supernatural historical fiction series Fury Falls Inn. Then Charmed Against All Odds will release on Veterans Day, November 11, 2019. I’ll have book signings in both October and November, so check out my Appearances page on my website for details. I hope to see you there to support the independent book stores as a thank you for hosting my book birthday celebrations!

Next week I’ll share how I chose the color of the stone and the shape of it for the OWL members’ rings. The symbolism behind the symbol… Until then, I hope you have a great week and lose yourself in a great book!

Thanks for 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.

Charmed Against All Odds releases November 11 and is available for pre-order now!

Loving her brings out the magic in him…

Wedding bells are ringing, but not for Roxie Golden. If she can survive another round of wedding plans, then her life can return to normal. She’s perfectly happy running the bookstore and weaving helpful magical spells. Then one stormy day, her ex-fiancé strolls back into her life with a gift neither of them wants.

Leo King wants to flee the small town for the big city. Forget about the shame he brought upon himself when he abused his magical powers. First, to satisfy his warlock father’s final wish, he must deliver the mysterious box to Roxie’s bookstore.

But when Roxie opens the box, revealing an enchanted bracelet and a quest spell, their plans and their lives are changed forever. Trapped in a reluctant partnership with the woman he once loved, he risks everything—including his heart—for a second chance.

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Getting to know Pamela Gibson #contemporary #historical #romance #author #Regency #Western #mustread #fiction #books

Welcome to another guest author interview! Have you noticed how many authors write in more than one genre? Today I’d like to introduce you to another one who writes both contemporary and historical, Pamela Gibson. Let’s peruse her bio and then jump into the meat of the interview…

Author of eight books on California history and twelve romance novels, Pamela Gibson is a former City Manager who lives in the Nevada desert. Having spent several years messing about in boats, a hobby that included a five-thousand-mile trip in a 32-foot Nordic Tug, she now spends most of her time indoors happily reading, writing, cooking and keeping up with the antics of her gran-cats, gran-dog, and gran-fish. Her days as a white-knuckle cruising spouse may be over, but the balm of speed-eating chocolate kisses she developed during harrowing rides on frothy water lives on.

You can learn more about Pamela at https://www.pamelagibsonwrites.com, or keep up with her on Facebook  or Twitter.

Betty: How many books have you written and published?

Pamela: 12 romance novels

Betty: What genre(s) do you write in and why?

Pamela: I first wrote in the contemporary genre because I was always told it was better to “write what you know.” Now I also write in two subgenres of historical romance. The first is the Regency period because I love the manners, the food, the clothes, and the historical events taking place. The second is the early California rancho period because I have some expertise in that romantic time period which has some surprising parallels to Regency England.

Betty: What themes or motifs did you use in your recent release and why were they important to your story?

Pamela: If I had to choose a universal theme that is important to my story it would be faith versus doubt. This is a marriage of convenience trope. Gwen needs John to escape an unwanted suitor. John needs Gwen because he’s penniless and she comes with a dowry. They marry in haste, hoping to become friends. Gwen has faith that she can make any arrangement work. If not, at least she’ll be a mother, fulfilling her fondest hope. John is a doubter, afraid if he brings a child into the world it will be like his mother who is mad. He keeps his fears a secret, making Gwen think he doesn’t desire her. Can this misunderstanding be solved with a talk? Yes, and they have it, rather early in the book. Then Gwen shifts into doubting and John begins to be hopeful. Of course, they eventually work things out. It is a romance, after all.

Lady Gwendolyn Pettigrew longs to be a mother, but refuses to marry the lecherous old fool her father has found for her. When her best friend convinces her to consider her husband’s younger brother as a suitable candidate, Gwen agrees to a marriage of convenience, hoping against hope that her dream of becoming a mother will have a chance.

The Hon. John Montague, a penniless younger son, is handsome, witty, and thrilled that a woman with a dowry has agreed to wed him. Best of all she’s a fiercely independent bluestocking, a woman who won’t want to bother with a family. Because John has a shocking secret. He’s vowed never to bring a child into the world, a child who, like his own mother, might carry the strain of madness.

As secrets unfold, tension grows, threatening the fragile bonds they’ve forged.  Worse, someone wants them to abandon their home and leave Yorkshire, and they’ll stop at nothing to make it happen.

Amazon

Betty: Do you have a specific place that you write? Revise?

Pamela: I can write anywhere and had to do a lot of writing on our Nordic Tug while in port or at anchor. Now that we are land-based again, I write in a comfortable chair or on the couch in the early morning hours. Revisions are done in the same place.

Betty: Do you have any writing rituals while you write? Did you have a special drink, or music, or time of day that you gravitated toward?

Pamela: Because I am now a caregiver (sadly, my husband had a stroke and is partially disabled), I get up at dawn and write until he wakes up. Then I grab an hour or two during the day. By late afternoon, my brain turns off and I do other things.

Betty: What helped you move from unpublished to published? A mentor or organization or something else?

Pamela: For many years I was a newspaper reporter, then went back to college, got a master’s degree in public administration, and began a career in city governance. Prior to retirement, I joined Romance Writers of America and began learning to write fiction. I have to say I learned the most from entering contests and getting feedback. Some judges gave excellent advice with examples. I treasure all of it.

Betty: What do you think is your greatest strength in your writing?

Pamela: Dialogue has always been easy for me. The ability to put readers into the story is also a strength.

Betty: What comes first when you’re brainstorming a new story: setting, situation, characters?

Pamela: I write in layers. First, I get the story on paper. Then I work on my characters and setting.

Betty: Do you have a structured time to write or is more fluid/flexible? Do you have to write between family obligations or do you set aside a block of time?

Pamela: I have to put my family first, but I’m usually the only one up at dawn, and that is my primary writing time.

Betty: What is one recent struggle you’ve experienced in your writing?

Pamela: I love to write, but I hate the marketing part. Everyone has to do it, but I resist because it doesn’t come easy.

Betty: Do you participate in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month)? Why or why not?

Pamela: I’ve done a few NaNoWriMos and actually made it to 50,000 words once. I edited that book and self-published it. I think NaNoWriMo is easier for pantsers and I am definitely one of those.

Betty: What are you reading right now?

Pamela: I’m currently reading Rebel by Beverly Jenkins. She has a wonderful grasp of history and I always learn so much while reading her books.

Betty: What is your favorite genre to read?

Pamela: My favorite genre is the Regency period and I do like books with a little mystery to them.

Betty: What are your keeper books? How often might you reread them?

Pamela: I keep Mary Balogh’s books because she hits so many emotional buttons. I am so envious. I also keep Susan Elizabeth Phillips’ books because of the care she puts into her craft.

Betty: When you’re writing, do you read in the same genre as your work in progress or something else?

Pamela: I have an extensive TBR list and I just read the next book in line. I read about 80 books a year (according to Goodreads).

Betty: Do you have a “day job” or do you write full time?

Pamela: I write full time because I am retired and because it is therapeutic to do something I really enjoy.

Betty: What do you wish readers knew about the publishing industry?

Pamela: With so many books available, it is very important to leave a review. Not everyone will, and that’s fine, but if you like a book, leaving a one or two sentence review helps an author get noticed. Readers’ opinions are important. I once changed one of my indie books based on consistent comments from readers who reviewed the original, but wanted it to be longer with a more developed relationship between the hero and his newly discovered son. That book was A Touch of Chardonnay.

Betty: What advice do you have for new writers?

Pamela: Before you query an agent or publisher, have that manuscript polished and professionally edited. If you decide to self-publish, you still need to at least hire a copyeditor. It’s worth it, especially when you are starting. Before I send anything to my editor I read my manuscript five or six times and always (I am not exaggerating) find a typo or dropped word. Reading aloud is also a good way to find things that need correcting.

Betty: Any hints of what you’re next writing project might be?

Pamela: I’ve just completed a new novella in my Love in Wine Country series which I will self-publish in November. My second early California book, Return of the Fox, is with my Soulmate editor, and my third Regency, Scandal’s Promise, is underway. I like to keep busy.

Betty: What kind of writing would you like to experiment with? Or what’s a different genre you’ve considered writing but haven’t yet?

Pamela: The novella I just finished is a mystery. I’ve never tried to do one before. I’m anxious to see how it is received. The other area I want to explore is middle grade fiction. I have a wonderful character in mind, but haven’t had time to work on it yet. There’s also a non-fiction book in my future, Confessions of a White-Knuckle Cruising Spouse. That five-thousand mile cruise my husband and I did in our 32-foot boat was a huge challenge for me. I learned so much about my own fears and my ability to cope during stressful situations. Others might enjoy my journey.

So Pamela has demonstrated she’s far braving than I am! I can’t imagine taking a 5K cruise in a boat. Write that book, Pamela! I bet you had an amazing adventure. Thanks for stopping by!

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.

What I learned about Wicca #amwriting #reading #PNR #supernatural #fiction #books #paranormal #wicca #witchcraft #research

It’s time to change gears a bit and instead of talking about the Fury Falls Inn series, switch over to talking about book 5 of the Secrets of Roseville series, Charmed Against All Odds (releases November 11, 2019). I’m super excited about this story! Mainly because I finally get to tell Roxie’s story. She’s the oldest of the three sisters who are witches and run the Golden Owl Books and Brews bookstore in Roseville. The most responsible and dependable and yet mysterious of the trio.

Before I get into more about the Wiccan research I did, I want to share that this book is part of the Common Elements Romance Project, a group of books being released between October 2019 and January 2020. Over 100 authors have all agreed to include the same 5 elements in each romance, encompassing all subgenres of romance, too! The 5 elements are: a tall stack of books; a man named Max; a haunted or reported to be haunted house; a lightning storm; and a lost set of keys. The Common Elements Romance Project will kick off with a week-long Facebook launch party beginning on September 23-27, 2019. There will be prizes and games and interacting with the authors each day of that week. Hop over to find out more and be sure to sign up for updates!

Now on to my inquiry into Wicca. I’m not a religious person anymore. I was raised in the Christian faith, having been a member of Methodist, Southern Baptist, and Lutheran churches. I’ve also attended a variety of other services at Catholic, Free Holiness, Jewish, and Muslim places of worship. I considered the Baha’i faith for a while, but I have drifted away from formalized religion over the years. However, I needed to have some foundation of understanding of the Wiccan belief system so I bought a couple of books on the subject to familiarize myself back when I started writing this series. As I started writing Charmed Against All Odds, I realized I needed to know some more so I went looking on the Internet. I found a very cool site at www.wicca-spirituality.com where I learned a good deal. Including taking the Are You a Candidate for Becoming a Wicca Witch quiz to see how likely it is I could become a Wicca witch, and it’s very likely. Good to know!

So the notes I took while exploring this site follow:

  • A group is a coven. Limited usually to 13 (traditionally) or 9; a small group is desirable though not all groups insist on a specific number.
  • Groups are likely to be hierarchical, differing degrees of initiation, High Priestess and High Priests as leaders.
  • Come together to celebrate the Moon and High Holy Days, blessings, and purifications
  • A Circle is a gathering of people in order to practice Wiccan ritual. Sometimes circles replace the covens for a more relaxed form of ritual practice.
  • Witches, Wiccans, Goddess-worshippers – no one minds how the others choose to think about themselves, but they have a certain common set of beliefs
  • “When done well, working magick with others can raise much more energy than one Witch can raise working solitary.”
  • “There really are no rules in Wicca spirituality, save one: Follow your heart, and do what you deem right for you.”
  • There is no one right way to practice. In a mystical religion such as Wicca you are called upon to practice in whatever manner pleases you and your Gods. You and your Divine Source are the only ones who know what’s best for you. So listen to your own heart. And follow its advice. It’s the only one you can be sure has only your best interests at heart.”

I would like to point out that the term High Priest and High Priestess is how the highest ranking member of a group is identified. In order to prevent any confusion around Charmed Against All Odds and the Order of Witchery Lore being an actual group of Wiccan believers, I chose to use High Sorcerer and High Sorceress instead. I didn’t want to blur the line between reality and fiction on that point.

What I particularly love about Wicca is that last bullet point. “There is no one right way to practice” and “listen to your own heart” speak to me on a visceral level I cannot fully explain. Religion and faith are individual beliefs. I don’t think you absolutely need a “church” or “synagogue” or “temple” or any specific place in order to adhere to what you believe and how you practice that faith. But I digress!

I’ve tried to portray the three sisters, Roxie, Tara, and Beth, with the tenets of Wicca in mind. I hope I did a good job, but if I did not, I apologize! I mean no offense to anyone.

Roxie Golden is a very strong and opinionated woman who knows her own mind and what she wants, but she’s also afraid of getting her heart broken all over again by the love of her life, Leo King, when he unexpectedly returns to town. Sparks definitely fly between them… I hope you enjoy their story!

So I have two releases coming soon! October 1 The Haunting of Fury Falls Inn will kick off my new supernatural historical fiction series Fury Falls Inn. Then Charmed Against All Odds will release on Veterans Day, November 11, 2019, the fifth and I think final book in that series. I’ll have book signings in both October and November, so check out my Appearances page on my website for details. I hope to see you there!

Thanks for 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.

Charmed Against All Odds releases November 11 and is available for pre-order now!

Loving her brings out the magic in him…

Wedding bells are ringing, but not for Roxie Golden. If she can survive another round of wedding plans, then her life can return to normal. She’s perfectly happy running the bookstore and weaving helpful magical spells. Then one stormy day, her ex-fiancé strolls back into her life with a gift neither of them wants.

Leo King wants to flee the small town for the big city. Forget about the shame he brought upon himself when he abused his magical powers. First, to satisfy his warlock father’s final wish, he must deliver the mysterious box to Roxie’s bookstore.

But when Roxie opens the box, revealing an enchanted bracelet and a quest spell, their plans and their lives are changed forever. Trapped in a reluctant partnership with the woman he once loved, he risks everything—including his heart—for a second chance.

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Getting to know Negeen Papehn #ownvoices #contemporary #romance #author #fiction #books

It’s time to meet an intriguing author, Negeen Papehn, who writes contemporary romance featuring Iranian main characters. We’ll start with her official bio, and then dive right into the interview so you can learn more about her books…

Negeen Papehn was born and raised in southern California, where she currently lives with her husband and two boys. She wasn’t always a writer. A graduate of USC dental school, Negeen spends half of her week with patients and the other half in front of her laptop. In the little time she finds in between, she loves to hang out with her boys, go wine tasting with her friends, throw parties, and relax with her family.

Her Forbidden Love series is currently out with City Owl Press.  You can learn more about her and her books at www.negeenpapehn.com, or follow her on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

Betty: How many books have you written and published?

Negeen: I have written 4 full manuscripts and am currently working on the 5th. I currently have three of them published with City Owl Press. My Forbidden Love series.

Betty: What genre(s) do you write in and why?

Negeen: I write Contemporary Romance because I’m a “feels” junky. I love to take my readers on a roller coaster ride of emotions, where I make them fall in love and break their hearts, all at the same time. Some have said it’s exhausting to deal with all the feelings that are required when reading my books. I don’t take that as an insult, since it’s exactly what I’m going for. So if a reader picks up my stories, they should be ready to swoon, cry, have their hearts beat uncontrollably in their ribcage, and then have it ripped out of their chest and stomped on. But I promise, in the end, it’ll be worth it.

Betty: What themes or motifs did you use in your recent release and why were they important to your story?

Negeen: My latest release involves the May-December romance trope. There’s a fifteen-year age gap between my MC and her love interest. This is the third book in my Forbidden Love series; each of the stories incorporate an obstacle that makes their romance “forbidden.”

All three of my MCs are also Iranian women, so the culture and the expectations of their families play a huge role in the stories. With this one, I wanted to find a theme that wouldn’t necessarily be an issue with the older population, like those in the other two books, but an issue with the younger generation of characters. I wanted to focus on a different perspective in this last one.

When love blossoms from the unexpected will the years between separate them forever?

On the outside, Bita appears to have it all under control. She’s a no-nonsense, strong-willed, force to be reckoned with. On the inside, though, she’s spent most of her life dealing with her pushy Iranian mother, ever concerned father, and overbearing younger brother.

But that’s all about to change.

Bita is determined to stand on her own two feet. She’s purchasing her first home, and ultimately, her independence. When Bita meets Ramtin, the sexy, older real estate agent, she gets more than she ever imagined. What was meant to be a simple property transaction, blooms into a fierce desire that leaves her breathless.

Now they must make their relationship work despite their fifteen-year age gap, and interference from their traditional families. Ramtin is everything she never knew she wanted, that is, until something unexpected becomes an all-or-nothing deal-breaker, and Ramtin may not be all in. Bita must decide what’s worth fighting for and if Ramtin is worth the final risk…losing her heart.

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Betty: Do you have a specific place that you write? Revise?

Negeen: I usually write at home. More specifically, at my dining room table. I rarely have any designated writing time that is devoid of interruptions so it’s just become easier for me to station myself somewhere central. It allows me to deal with the multitude of needs, questions, and requests, my family continues to require of me while I’m authoring.

Betty: Do you have any writing rituals while you write? Did you have a special drink, or music, or time of day that you gravitated toward?

Negeen: I don’t have any rituals that are a necessity for me to be able to write, but ideally, I’m in a pair of sweats or pajamas. The more comfortable I am, the more creative I become. I have a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, depending on the time of day, beside me. And there’s always music playing in my headphones, to drown out the noise going on around me.

If I could choose my most prolific time to write, it would be around 1pm. But sadly, once I start gaining momentum, it’s time to pick up my kids, or if I’m at work, the end of my lunch break.

Betty: What do you think is your greatest strength in your writing?

Negeen: I’ve been called the “feels queen” by my critique partners because I LOVE to get into the nitty gritty of my characters’ emotions. I love them to be raw and real, make mistakes and bad choices. I strive to create characters that are authentic and humanly flawed. I’d say this is my biggest strength as a writer.

Betty: What comes first when you’re brainstorming a new story: setting, situation, characters?

Negeen: Characters come first. Something will trigger their image in my mind then as more characters are formed, the situation begins to unfold.

Betty: Do you have a structured time to write or is more fluid/flexible? Do you have to write between family obligations or do you set aside a block of time?

Negeen: I honestly wish I had a structured writing time. I’d be much more prolific that way. But sadly, my real life doesn’t allow for that. I’m a mom of two boys, ten and twelve, who have an abundance of extracurricular activities, as well as, are more dependent on me than they should be. There’s always a mound of responsibilities that come with the house and life in general. I’m also a dentist half the week. Time is not something I find enough of, so I’ve trained myself to write in the in betweens. Which means, if I have five minutes, then I use them to write. I write in the hour I have before picking up the boys, in between helping with homework, while I wait for patients to go numb, on my lunchbreaks, and late at night if I can keep my eyes open. I’ve gotten really good at stopping mid-thought and picking right back up, whether it’s a few minutes, hours, or even days later.

Betty: What is one recent struggle you’ve experienced in your writing?

Imposter syndrome. It’s a real thing, and I think all writers can identify. When I first dive into a story, I’m almost lost in the pieces, trying to stitch them together in a way that makes sense. I find myself asking “what’s the point,” and “will anyone even care,” about my storyline, my characters, their struggles. I love to create love stories, but I always feel like there has to be more. Some other factor that runs alongside the couples’ evolution, adding another layer to their struggles. So I’m always wondering if I’m getting it right and if my stories will resonate with readers, or if I’m just some lucky woman who published some books on a fluke and soon the world will see that I’m just a sham. I battle my own insecurities all of the time. And sometimes, it hinders my ability to write.

Betty: What are you reading right now?

Negeen: The beauty about being an author is that I get a first-hand peek at work that has yet to hit the stands. I’m currently reading the first book in the series, A Court of Gods and Witches, by Melissa Sercia, a fellow City Owl Press author. It’s urban fantasy and I’m totally digging it.

Betty: What is your favorite genre to read?

Negeen: I love Paranormal Romance as well as Urban Fantasy. But I read a wide variety of genres, to be honest. I don’t know if I have an actual favorite but I do prefer that there are heavy romantic elements in whatever story I’m reading.

Betty: When you’re writing, do you read in the same genre as your work in progress or something else?

Negeen: When I’m writing, I read in my genre. I feel like it helps me get more into the romantic mindset I need to fully develop my own stories. But once I’m done, I usually take at least a month hiatus from writing, and during those times, I read something completely different.

Betty: Do you have a “day job” or do you write full time?

Negeen: I wish I wrote full time! But most of us do and very few of us get to. Half the week, I’m a dentist. But writing is my happy place, so a lot of times you’ll find me in my office, on my laptop, in between patients.

Betty: What do you wish readers knew about the publishing industry?

Negeen: It’s hard! As a reader, I never really understood how much sweat and tears go into writing a novel. And that’s the easy part. Everything that comes afterwards is emotionally draining and hard to sustain sanity through. The ups and downs of the publishing process, the querying, getting and agent or editor, revising over and over again, doubting everything you do until all you want to do is hide in a corner and cry, are tedious at best. So much goes into the book before a reader can hold it in their hands. So if you love someone’s work, then yell it from the rooftops because we really need the encouragement. And if you hate it, that’s okay too, but be kind in the way you talk about it because that’s someone’s hopes and dreams your discussing.

Betty: What advice do you have for new writers?

Negeen: Hang in there. Keep writing. Try and not doubt yourself to the point of no return. No one can tell your story other than you. So tell it, love it, pour your heart into it, and don’t lose faith, even if it feels like the world doesn’t get it like you do.

Betty: Any hints of what you’re next writing project might be?

Negeen: I’ve just started a new manuscript, one I’m hoping to shape into a series. I’m Iranian and so I love to do own voices when I create characters. All my MCs are Persian women of varying ages and stages in their lives. It’s my way of shedding some positive light on my culture. My most recent story follows Darya, a thirty-year-old ER doctor whose path crosses with a Latin superstar. He’s nothing like she expected and she’s forced to question her biases as she tries to figure out what she really wants, while pushing against the limits created by her upbringing. And then there’s a whole other emotionally charged story line happening simultaneously because, well, I can’t just leave a romance as a romance. 

Betty: What kind of writing would you like to experiment with? Or what’s a different genre you’ve considered writing but haven’t yet?

Negeen: I would love to dip into urban fantasy. I’m fascinated with that type of world building and I’d love to have characters with hidden identities and powers. I’d still probably gear it in the romance direction because I can’t imagine writing anything that didn’t have heavy romantic subplots.

Sounds like some really interesting stories to explore and tell, Negeen. Thanks for sharing your writing process and insights with us.

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.

What’s in a (character’s) name? #amwriting #reading #histfic #historical #fiction #books #history #research

Naming a character is harder than naming your first born child. For one thing, you only have one first born child, but writers have many characters to name. But it’s more than that. Naming a child means either being creative, choosing something new and different, or honoring another beloved family member or two.

There are many resources available to help a writer choose the perfect name for their characters. I’ve used The Writer’s Digest Character-Naming Sourcebook to pick out names by heritage and by meaning. I’ve used Census records lists of most popular names for a given decade. History books, baby name lists, phone books. No matter what resource you use, or if you make up names out of your imagination, it’s most important to have a name that reflects your character’s personality, purpose, or importance in the story(ies) he or she appears in.

For the Fury Falls Inn series, I chose names that I hope will reflect on the character’s role. I gave Cassandra Fairhope, or Cassie, her name because first I think Cassandra is a beautiful name, but second because I associate the name with witches. I imagine the Goodwitch series may have most recently influenced that association, but it’s still, to my mind, the perfect name for the girl in my series.

Her mother is Mercy Fairhope, qualities she once possessed but in the opening story has very little left of either mercy or hope. So her name shows the contradiction in her personality. And it rolls off my tongue so sweetly, too.

Her husband is Reginald Fairhope, or Reggie, and I gave him this name because I wanted a strong name with a lovable nickname for Mercy to call him. And by the way, Fairhope is the name of a town in Alabama, and since my series is set in that beautiful state, I hope the town won’t mind sharing its name with my family of characters. (Pun intended!)

As for the Cassie’s four brothers, I used a rather unusual source for popular regional names: the Early History of Huntsville Alabama 1804 to 1870 by Edward Chambers Betts. I found this book both informative and fascinating. I jotted down male first names, as well as some interesting last names from lists of men who signed a charter or contract sometime before my story time period begins. I only made a specific note of the interesting and unusual names.

First names I noted were Ruggles, Silas, Abram, Giles, Ephraim, Ezekiah, Moses, and Daniel. I’m going to have to come up with a character I can name Ruggles! I love that name so much. I just didn’t think it fit the somewhat gothic atmosphere of my series. Many of these names are strongly associated with the bible, which didn’t suit my characters either. So I settled on the four boys being named Giles, Abram, Daniel, and Silas, oldest to youngest. Those four sound like good, strong men but a bit unusual, too. And yes, I know that Daniel and Abram are also biblical but not nearly as overtly as Ezekiah and Moses.

Are you curious about the interesting last names I gleaned from the Betts’ book? I have used at least one of these in The Haunting of Fury Falls Inn. They are Drake, Barber, Alcott, Crane, Knapp, Hull, Stoddart, Fisk, and Hale. The inn’s cook, Sheridan Drake, is one that comes to mind.

Naming characters takes time and consideration. If I’ve chosen a name because of its specific meaning, like Tara in the Secrets of Roseville series, I record in my character profile what the meaning of the name is. Tara is the anglicized Irish form of Teamhair which means “elevated place” in Gaelic. The important point here being that it’s an Irish name for a family with Irish heritage. But also in some way the idea of place or earth seemed to be associated with her talent of healing through touch. Physical connection. I can’t really put it into words why those are associated in my head, but they are.

What’s your favorite character name? Why?

Quick reminder! It’s only one month until The Haunting of Fury Falls Inn releases. You can pre-order your copy today and have it in your inbox first thing on release day!

I appreciate everyone who subscribes to and reads my weekly blog. I strive to share something worth reading, something interesting or curious. Thanks for stopping by!

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.

Innkeeper’s daughter Cassie Fairhope longs for only one thing: to escape her mother’s tyranny. But in northern Alabama in 1821 marriage is her only escape. Even so, she has a plan: Seduce the young man acting as innkeeper while her father is away and marry him. He’s handsome and available. Even though he has no feelings for her, it is still a better option than enduring her mother.

But Flint Hamilton has his own plans and they don’t include marriage, even to the pretty temptress. Securing his reputation in the hostelry business and earning his father’s respect are far more important. He did not count on having to deal with horse thieves and rogues in addition to his guests.

When tragedy strikes, Cassie and Flint must do whatever it takes to rid the inn of its newly arrived specter—who has no intention of leaving…

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