Getting to know Cathy Perkins #author #mystery #sleuth #suspense #scifi

It’s always fun to find out where inspiration comes from, isn’t it? My guest today shares some examples of where hers originated. Please help me welcome Cathy Perkins!

An award-winning author of financial mysteries, Cathy Perkins writes twisting dark suspense and light amateur sleuth stories.  When not writing, she battles with the beavers over the pond height or heads out on another travel adventure. She lives in Washington with her husband, children, several dogs and the resident deer herd.

Website * Facebook * BookBub

Betty: When did you become a writer?

Cathy: I’ve always been a reader and I think the two go together. I remember writing a sequel to My Friend Flicka and a sci-fi action adventure when I was about eight. Lots of life happens later, I started writing novels about ten years ago and love it.

Betty: How long did you work on your writing skills before you became published?

Cathy: The first two novels I wrote are safely tucked away in boxes under my bed. At the time, I’m sure I secretly thought they were terrific, but, yeah, not so much. I learned a lot writing them though and continue to learn as much as I can about the craft of writing. With the third novel, I was ready to show it to people, who then encouraged me to enter RWA contests. The novel, The Professor, won and was published in 2012.

Betty: What prompted you to start writing?

Cathy: This probably isn’t how most people start, but I had a long-term consulting job in a city about 90 miles from my home. I’d listen to music and daydream during the commute. Pretty soon, the daydream developed dialogue, characters and a setting, and I thought, hmm, this is turning into a good story. That particular book lives in a box under the bed, but I was hooked on writing, creating worlds and characters.

Betty: What type of writing did you start with?

Cathy: My first few novels were dark suspense. The research for the last one of those stories gave me nightmares, so switched to lighter amateur sleuth stories. I’m having a lot of fun with Holly Price’s adventures (in eastern Washington state) and have just started a new series set in Washington’s Cascade Mountains.

Betty: What do you most enjoy writing? Why?

Cathy: Can I say everything?

With the initial idea comes the digging for “why?” Why the villain did the crime and why the heroine got involved. I find the motivation factors so intensely into the narrative drive of the story and the development of the characters. That’s the next step, of course—brainstorming, building out the characters, including how they talk and view the world. Then again, playing with the chemistry between Holly and JC in So About the Money was a lot of fun!

Betty: How did you learn to write? A mentor, classes, conferences, craft books, or something else?

Cathy: As I mentioned above, I’ve always been a reader. I think you can pick up nuances of good writing without realizing it. Once I screwed up my courage and showed friends my first story, they encouraged me to continue writing. I heard about a week-long writing retreat sponsored by the RWA Lowcountry chapter. I learned so much at their Masterclass, I joined the South Carolina Writers Workshop when I returned home, hoping to learn more. On my, those guys were so patient with me and offered terrific feedback. Other writers encouraged me, so I kept writing and learning and more of my books were published.

Betty: What other authors inspired you (either directly or through their writing) to try your hand at writing?

Cathy: So many authors have inspired and assisted me. I’ve found the writing community is terrific. For a specific example, I was chatting with Joelle Charbonneau one night, kicking around ideas for a new series. “Write something you know about, like where you live,” she advised. I laughed and noted “An exciting day on the Christmas tree farm (where I live) means I hang out and watch the deer and the geese on the beaver pond.”

There was a long silence, then she said, “How many people can include all that in one sentence?”

That series releases next spring with the lead title, The Body in the Beaver Pond.

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

Cathy: Inspiration can hit in the strangest places. My husband and I were hiking along the Snake River, in a game management area called Big Flats (which happens to feature in So About The Money). We had to push through some tangled foliage at the shoreline. Being a mystery writer whose mind really can go strange places, I glanced over my shoulder and said, “Wouldn’t this be a great place to find a body?”

Fortunately, he laughed.

That germ of an idea kept growing. Why would the heroine be out at Big Flats to stumble over the body? How did the body end up beside the river in the first place?

Buy links: Amazon

I loved reading My Friend Flicka as a youth. Actually, any and all horse stories! Black Beauty, The Black Stallion, and Misty of Chincoteague were all favorites. But it never occurred to me to write a sequel to any of them. Cathy’s original ideas translated into very original stories, too. I hope you’ll give her books a read!

Thanks for reading! Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays!

Betty Bolte

Best-selling 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!

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Getting to know Patricia Simpson #author #paranormal #historical #histfic #romance #readindie #books #fiction

Please help me welcome my guest author today, Patricia Simpson! She is a fellow RWA member and lover of paranormal and historical stories. Let’s look at her bio and then get to know her a bit better.

Patricia Simpson is an Amazon bestselling writer from the Bay Area of California. She has won numerous awards, including multiple Reviewer’s Choice Awards from Romantic Times as well as a Career Achievement Award. Her debut novel, WHISPER OF MIDNIGHT, was a finalist in the prestigious RITA awards of Romance Writers of America. One of her more recent novels, SPELLBOUND, was nominated Best Indie Paranormal of the Year. After a long career with TOR, Silhouette and HarperMonogram, Patricia is now enjoying creative freedom as an indie author.

Patricia is fascinated by the possibility of life beyond the traditional human experience, and invariably designs one of her main characters to be less (or more) than human. Every chance she gets, she explores paranormal and historical sites and often travels with her Scottish husband, whose job takes him around the world. When not traveling, Patricia produces two podcasts: FREAKIN’ PARANORMAL and FABULOUS WRITING TIPS.

When not writing, Patricia loves to sing karaoke, redesign living spaces (10 houses and counting—one of them on TV!) and walk her two little pooches.

Website * Twitter * Facebook * Instagram

Betty: When did you become a writer?

Patricia: In my early teens, I wrote (and illustrated!) the famous “The Day He Opened the Coffin.” (The most provocative title I’ve ever come up with in my entire writing career!) I became an “official” writer when my novel Whisper of Midnight was published by HarperCollins in 1993 and was a finalist in the prestigious Romance Writers of America RITA Awards.

Betty: How long did you work on your writing skills before you became published?

Patricia: Although I have written extensively since I was a teenager, I took ten years to learn the craft as an adult. I wrote and pursued publication while working part-time at a major university and raising two daughters.

Betty: What authors or stories do you feel influenced your writing style?

Patricia: Jane Eyre – I love Gothics, strong women, and a love story that culminates on the very last page.
Interview with a Vampire – I fell in love with Anne Rice’s brooding vampire Louis with this book.
The Bible – Believe it or not, the biblical world has inspired most historical and paranormal elements/questions in my books.
Dracula by Bram Stoker – A Scot who wrote the definitive vampire story. What’s not to love? 

Albanian Wonder Tales – This collection included “The Boy Who Took the Letters to the Dead,” a story that was highly influential on my young mind. That story fired my “what if” way of thinking.

Betty: What prompted you to start writing?

Patricia: My family moved to Montana when I was nine. Living in a gorgeous but remote area provided me with a lot of creative time. Just getting around Montana involved hundreds of hours in a VW bus with no radio reception or CD player. I spent a lot of time making up stories in my head as the scenery flew by. Our television time was restricted (my parents made us pick two shows a week, and that was all we could watch). I look back on that “hardship” as one of the greatest gifts my parents gave me. Because of my strict upbringing, I became a producer of creative content instead of a consumer.

Betty: What type of writing did you start with?

Patricia: I was fascinated by Egypt and India when I was young, so I set my adventure stories there. Later, I focused on the American Revolution. In junior high, I was writing 120-page novels (longhand!). I asked for a typewriter for Christmas and never looked back.

Betty: What do you most enjoy writing? Why?

Patricia: I love to write stories that include mystery or suspense in a gothic setting, usually with a slow-burn romance. I am partial to Scottish heroes or heroes that have a paranormal “affliction.”

Betty: How did you learn to write? A mentor, classes, conferences, craft books, or something else?

Patricia: I started reading “Writer’s Digest” when I was a teenager. Then as an adult, I consumed countless how-to-write books. I attended workshops and conferences sponsored by Romance Writers of America, where I learned the mechanics of writing. I took writing/screenplay classes from Dwight Swain, Michael Hauge and Aaron Sorkin.

Betty: What do you wish you knew before you started writing/publishing?

Patricia: Knowing most writers make 5 cents an hour is a daunting prospect if a person expects to make a living. But making money is not the primary reason I write and never has been.

Betty: What other authors inspired you (either directly or through their writing) to try your hand at writing?

Patricia: Phillipa Gregory, Lucile Morrison, Bram Stoker, Daphne DuMaurier, Pat Conroy, Tom Robbins, Ken Follett, Barbara Kingsolver, Anne Rice

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

Patricia: My latest book in The Londo Chronicles, PHOENIX, came about as a product of the apocalypse that was due to arrive at the end of 2012. That looming cataclysm got me to thinking about an end of the world scenario…what might happen after a few stragglers survive a nuclear winter, what their world might look like, and what kind of social structure would emerge. The two sisters in the series are modeled after my daughters and their contentious relationship.

When vampire Overseers execute Eva Wilder Paar’s commissioner husband for treason. she is stripped of everything and forced to return to her dreary job in Londo City. But as Eva waits for her train, she recognizes her estranged sister in a line of prisoners. She knows the horrible fate her sister will face, and all because of her own rash decisions long ago. Eva has to do something. But what? Stay and rescue Joanna? They could both be killed.

Eva must find the courage to battle the vampires who have overrun her tiny seaside village, uncover the horrific secret of the Port Pennwood processing facility and vanquish the evil that stalks her sister and now her. 

This could be Eva’s chance to redeem herself—or the worst decision she’s ever made.

 Excerpt:

Eva took a moment to assess him and decided the best recourse was to check his eyes for signs of consciousness. If he was conscious and breathing, he wouldn’t have to be resuscitated. That would suit her just fine. She brushed away the curtain of wavy hair that shielded his face and took a look at him.

She sucked in a breath.

Below the curve of her hand was the face of the most handsome man Eva had ever seen. His profile was perfectly formed, from his intelligent brow and strong sharp nose, all the way to his full, masculine lips and chin. His black hair, so uncommon in Londo, was wild with wind and sand, and his sideburns cut across his lean jaw, accentuating the tendons of his throat. He wasn’t much older than she was, but even in his current condition, he possessed a simmering strength that put her on her guard. She was alone on a beach with a man who could easily overpower her—when and if he ever woke up.

Eva sat back on her heels, poised to jump to her feet. A snippet from her schooldays flitted through her mind.

Strangers bring dangers. Beware, call out, report.

She wasn’t sure what to do: stay and help him or run for her life. This man exuded danger, not only from a personal safety standpoint but also from the way his physical beauty struck her to her core. She knew how susceptible she could be to a handsome man—or any man that paid attention to her.

Buy links: Books2Read * Amazon * Audible

I share Patricia’s love of the American Revolution time period, too. Thanks for sharing your story with us!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Betty Bolte

Best-selling 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!

Follow Me on Amazon / Facebook / Twitter

Wrapping up 2020 without a Bow #MerryChristmas #HappyHolidays #HappyNewYear #Fiction #ReadIndie

As Christmas quickly approaches, I’ve decided to take some time away from my blog to reflect on the past year and make plans for the next one. I have some writing craft exercises I want to try, for example, in an ongoing effort to improve my storytelling ability. You’ll still see my guest author interviews over the next couple of weeks, though. There are some pretty amazing authors yet to meet!

The trees are decorated—we actually bought two this year. One is in the usual place in the living room and the new one is in the foyer. I can see both from where I sit in the living room, which is a magical experience I hope to repeat next year. Hanging the ornaments always evokes memories of my mother who died right before Christmas 1989 because I have so many of her ornaments in my collection. Snowflakes and ceramic bells and more that each fill me with love and fond memories.

This year seems more emotional and reminiscent than years past. I even started longing for egg nog, something I haven’t consumed since long before my dad passed in 2011. He loved to spike egg nog with liquor, though I’m not sure what he used. His had a bite to it that I don’t think I liked. But I bought a quart at my local grocery store and a pint of Jack Daniels’ whiskey. My first tentative sip reassured me that I do like it even to this day. The splash of whiskey served to cut through the custardy drink and smoothed out the taste to something light and delicious.

This year will also be the only time—I refuse to have a repeat—that I won’t see my daughter in person for Christmas. I’ve insisted that she and her new husband not risk traveling across Georgia to Alabama even for the holidays. I want them to have a long and happy life together and he’s in the high risk category just like my husband and I are. So we’ll open gifts, which I’ve already shipped and they’ve received, via Facetime. Which is better than nothing but still… At least we’ll be able to share in the joy of seeing each other open the gifts. Next year will be in person somewhere, either at our house, theirs, or at one of our timeshare weeks.

My wish for everyone is a safe, happy, and loving holiday season no matter which holidays you celebrate. So let’s put a wrap on the lumpy coal-filled box that is 2020, but don’t put a bow on it. Hide it at the back of the tree and put a “don’t open or relive” tag instead. We’ve learned a lot of lessons this year that we can apply going forward, so don’t forget those, either. Mainly so we don’t ever and nobody else will ever have to learn them again.

Raising a glass of egg nog to you all! Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays! And a very Happy New Year! See you in January!

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.

Getting to know Laney Webber #author #romance #books #librarian #GayRomance #storyteller

My guest author today is a fellow book lover and life-time writer. Please help me welcome Laney Webber! Let’s peek at her bio and then find out more about her and books.

Laney Webber writes small town contemporary lesbian romance. She has lived in four of the six New England states, but now calls Vermont home. When she’s not making up stories, she also works as a librarian in a small rural library and has the privilege and joy of helping other people find books to read. Laney and her wife like to explore New England and find new places to set their little camper. She will talk to anyone, any time, any place, about books.

Website * Facebook * Twitter

Betty: When did you become a writer?

Laney: As long as I remember I’ve had stories in my head, waiting to be told. I wrote my first story when I was about 7 or 8 years old on a quasi-typewriter that had a dial you turned for each letter. I’ve taken some long breaks from writing – when my kids were young for example.

Betty: How long did you work on your writing skills before you became published?

Laney: I’ve approached learning about writing and practicing from several different angles. I’ve taken short writing courses, attended a year long online program, and taught creative writing in an adult enrichment program. And I read. I read a wide variety of fiction and non-fiction and I read books about writing.

Betty: What authors or stories do you feel influenced your writing style?

Laney: My published work has been contemporary romance novels, and I respect the styles of Radclyffe, Melissa Brayden, Gerri Hill, and Sarah Dreher. I’ve also been influenced by Phillipa Gregory and Victoria Holt, the first romance authors I read.

Betty: What prompted you to start writing?

Laney: Books and reading have had such a profound influence on my life, both as a child and as an adult. Books showed me that there was a much larger world than my own little world on the street where I grew up. Books took me to other places and often made me feel what the characters were feeling. Books taught me how to do things, like raise chickens and build a log house. They also were a comfort during hard times. Finding lesbian romance novels in my thirties gave me the strength to come out and showed me that I was not alone and gave me great hope.

I often said to myself that I was going to write a book “someday.” And I wrote a little here and a little there, but it wasn’t until I helped a 90 year old woman put together her memoir and get it published, that I began to take myself seriously as a writer. Helen (the 90 year old woman) said to me, “Nancy, I put this off for forty years. And now, I have so many other stories to tell and I don’t have time. Don’t wait. Start your book and write it, now.”

Betty: What type of writing did you start with?

Laney: I started with poetry, believe it or not. I love poetry and the challenge to capture an emotion in words. I entered the Writer’s Digest poetry competition and won honorable mention.

Betty: What do you most enjoy writing? Why?

Laney: This may make me in the minority of writers, but I love the editing process. I get excited when I look at this big mess of a novel I have with my first draft and I explore it like you’d explore a rundown house, looking for ways to make it beautiful.

Betty: What do you wish you knew before you started writing/publishing?

Laney: I wish I knew that the thing that stopped me from completing a project was that for me, I need to just keep moving forward. I can’t stop and start editing or fixing things. As bad as the writing may be, first draft – I have to keep that writing train moving. Discovering this, made the difference between a 15 page project that never got finished, and two published romance novels in the past two years.

Betty: What other authors inspired you (either directly or through their writing) to try your hand at writing?

Laney: Alan Bradley, the author of the Flavia de Luce series. He started writing in 1994 and wrote screenplays and memoirs, then in 2007 a bidding war ensued for his mystery novel, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie. He was 69 years old.  His story continues to inspire me as I am an older author. You aren’t too old to write a book and get it published. Ever.

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

Laney: As a bookish person, I love reading books that are also about books in some way, so I set the book in a used bookstore and the main character manages the store. I also love second chance romance, because that story is a reality in my life.

Jannika Peterson arrived in Grangeton, New Hampshire, with a broken heart and a new job managing the local bookstore. She has a gift for pairing readers with the perfect books, but her matchmaking skills don’t extend to her love life. Love doesn’t stand a chance against her well-protected heart.

Eighteen years ago, Lee Thompson was Jannika’s summer camp counselor, and Lee has never forgotten the beautiful girl with the unusual name. Still healing from her wife’s sudden death, Lee hopes her new job in a new town will help her to begin a new chapter. 

When Jannika and Lee reunite, their instant connection feels like a gift, but neither is ready for a second chance at love. Unable to deny their attraction, will they finally get on the same page when it comes to love?

Excerpt:

Jannika had a love/hate relationship with boxes of used books. Along with moldy and dirty books, she had found a cat turd, a handmade icon of a saint, a half bottle of perfume, melted candles, and a filthy baby shoe among other non-book items. She could usually tell at first glance if she needed the box of vinyl gloves behind her desk. After a few months at The Pageturner, she began to take photos of her book box goodies. She wasn’t sure what she was going to do with the photos but collecting them took her mind off the ick factor.

“Put these here on the desk and let’s have a look.”

In Jannika’s mind an intimacy existed between most people and their books. She stepped with care into the space of the relationship of book and person. She thought it was like trying to put your hand through a bubble and not have it burst, but have the bubble absorb you into itself, making you part of the relationship. She could tell who wasn’t quite ready and would try to persuade them to take at least some of the books and wait a while if possible. She also could tell who was ready or needed to part with their books. But she couldn’t grab the box from them. To her that would be ripping a loved one from the arms of another.

Buy links: Amazon * B&N * BoldStrokeBooks

I have to agree with Laney’s love of stories that involve books in some way. They are a huge part of my life, too. Thanks, Laney!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Betty Bolte

Best-selling 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!

Follow Me on Amazon / Facebook / Twitter

Inspiration for Christmas Meet Cute in #NotesofLoveandWar #WWII #HistFic #Historical #Fiction #ReadIndie

This time of year has me thinking more about my parents than usual. Of course, this year has made many of us nostalgic for happier times in the past. Or longing for happier times next year. Or both! One big reason for why they come to mind around Christmas is because they were married the day after at Mom’s church in Maryland. Dad moved from Miami, Florida, to marry his sweetheart, which is similar to what Charlie does in Notes of Love and War. That is one of the inspirations from my parents’ love story that found its way into my historical fiction.

Another inspiration for my story is how my parents met in real life. Dad was stationed at Ft. Meade, Maryland, during World War Two. Mom lived with her parents outside of Baltimore. The pastor of her church encouraged the parishioners to invite single soldiers to their home for Christmas dinner. I believe my mother’s friend’s family invited several soldiers and her friend invited Mom to attend to fill out the table with an equal number of men and women. So Mom went and she met my dad. They became pen pals, nothing more, because Mom was seeing another guy who intended to be a lawyer. It was a large group Christmas dinner party, of some kind. I never got a lot of details out of either of them as to what all happened. In Notes of Love and War, I have Charlie attend a full-blown Christmas party at Audrey’s co-workers’ home. Here’s a short snippet to give you a feel for how I imagined them meeting for the first time. Audrey is trying to fend off the unwanted attentions of another man while a certain handsome soldier is making his way toward her…

Audrey glanced at her egg nog and suppressed a sigh. She did enjoy the holiday creation. But the sacrifice would be worthwhile. She met the man’s gaze and opened her mouth to say she had to leave the party, when he suddenly lifted one hand and waved at someone behind her, upending her cup onto the floor with a crash. She jumped back a few steps, egg nog oozing among the fractured glass across the hardwood floor.

“Rather clumsy of you, miss.” He frowned at her but made no move to help. “Here I thought you were a lady. My mistake.” He tapped two fingers to his brow and then walked away, slowly shaking his head.

“That was quite rude.” Gloria huffed at his disrespect and then turned to Audrey. “Keep others from walking in it and I’ll run and find a towel to clean this mess up. Be right back.”

Flustered and embarrassed, Audrey guarded the area as best she could. The rude man had created the incident and left her facing the others as if it were all her fault. Annoyance bubbled inside as she tried to hide her discomfiture with a smile. One she feared didn’t quite meet the need. If only the floor would open and swallow her, then she wouldn’t feel spotlighted. Especially as the handsome soldier brushed past the last couple of partygoers separating him from where she waited for Gloria’s return.

When he stopped, he offered his hand to her. “Major Charles Powers, ma’am. But my friends all call me Charlie.”

“Audrey Harper.” She clasped his hand to shake once, startled by the unexpected sizzle arcing up her arm, and then released his fingers. “Watch your step, Charlie.”

”Did the fellow at least apologize for spilling your drink?”

Audrey made a moue. “Blamed me for his clumsiness. I suppose he’s had a bad day.”

Charlie studied her and then glanced at the man in question. “You’re far too kind in his regard. I dare say he doesn’t deserve your sympathy.”

Gloria arrived with a flowered towel over her arm and a dust pan and small whisk broom in her hands. “Hold this for a minute, will you?” She offered her arm holding the towel to Audrey and then squatted to sweep the glass shards into the dust pan.

Audrey gazed at him over Gloria’s back and shrugged. “Consider it a holiday gift to him. Tis the season, right?”

Like I said, I don’t really know what occurred at the dinner party where my parents met or how they reacted to each other. Knowing my dad, though, he probably thought her very fine and wanted to keep in touch any way possible. They wrote to each other for a while until she became engaged to the other man. Then Dad stopped the correspondence, and Mom apparently got rid of Dad’s letters since she was going to marry someone else. She mentioned in a later letter that she hadn’t kept all of his, at least. But Dad had kept Mom’s! Only “something” the lawyer’s mother had done broke up the engagement. Again, I have no clues as to what that might have been, but it was fuel for my imagination!

After some time passed, Dad wrote to Mom again to see how she was doing. She told him about the broken engagement and their correspondence blossomed again. If it wasn’t for the wealth of correspondence between them, I wouldn’t know as much about them today as I do. I’ve had many long conversations with both of them, but they were in their early 40s when I was born. By the time we’d be talking about their courtship and such they were in their 60s. Their view of their youth and their early years together most likely morphed with age and different perspectives.

I used my parents’ concerns and activities and in some cases lingo to give Notes of Love and War authenticity even though the story is purely fiction. I found myself pondering what choices and decisions she would have been faced with when expecting to move from Baltimore to Miami after they married. That’s what I explored while writing Audrey’s story, knowing the final outcome for my own mother. It really was an interesting way to try to get to know my parents better, trying to be on the inside of their relationship however imperfectly. I hope you enjoy the story! If you’d like to sample before you buy, you can read the first 3 chapters here.

Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays!

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 Jodi Burnett #author #womensfiction #romance #thrillers #books #fiction

My guest today is a fellow horse and dog lover! Please help me welcome Jodi Burnett to the interview hot seat. A quick peek at her bio and then we’ll dive in.

Jodi Burnett loves writing thrillers with a spark of romance from her small ranch in Colorado. She is the author of the Flint River Series and the FBI-K9 Series. In addition to writing stories and enjoying in the country with her horses and dogs, Jodi fosters her creative side by watercolor painting, quilting, and stained glass. She is a member of Sisters In Crime and Novelists Inc.

Website * Facebook * Instagram * Goodreads

Betty: When did you become a writer?    

Jodi: I published my first book in 2014. It was a women’s fiction called Letting Go.

Betty: How long did you work on your writing skills before you became published?

Jodi: It took me five years to write Letting Go. I continue to hone my writing skills every day.

Betty: What authors or stories do you feel influenced your writing style?

Jodi: I fell in love with thrillers in my twenties reading Robert Ludlum. I still love a good spy thriller.   

Betty:  What prompted you to start writing?

Jodi: My kids growing up and leaving home both gave me a story to tell and the time to tell it.

Betty: What type of writing did you start with?

Jodi: My first book was women’s fiction.   

Betty: What do you most enjoy writing? Why?  

Jodi: Now I write thrillers with a spark of romance that include dogs and horses. This combination covers all the things I love; a gripping plot, great characters in complex relationships with smart animals working together to catch murderers.

Betty: How did you learn to write? A mentor, classes, conferences, craft books, or something else?

Jodi: Creative writing courses, conferences, craft books, workshops, and lots and lots of practice. I also have mentors that help me learn and grow in the business of writing.

Betty: What do you wish you knew before you started writing/publishing?

Jodi: Mostly I wish I would have started writing earlier.

Betty: What other authors inspired you (either directly or through their writing) to try your hand at writing?

Jodi: Mary Burton and Sandra Brown

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

Jodi: I felt called to write a story about the hidden and heinous crime of human trafficking. It’s a problem that invades all levels of our society. I can think of nothing worse than the wholesale marketing of people for abuse and torture. My heart broke when I learned what was going on and I could not help but respond. Through the use of story, my desire is to inform readers about human trafficking and show how we can recognize the problem in our own communities and offer help. It was a challenge to bring my readers a story that was honest without being graphic, and that depicted the horrors of trafficking while leaving them with a sense of justice and hope.

When Special Agent Clay Jennings and his K9 partner, Ranger, take to the streets of Denver to fight human trafficking, he is shocked by the inordinate number of stolen innocents who’ve been forced into the sex trade. With each new face, his resolve to help these children escape their personal horror grows stronger.

El Clark, a social worker who dedicates her life to rescuing exploited kids from the streets, works valiantly to locate their families or find them a safe place to live while they recuperate. She understands the plight of these young victims more than anyone knows.

When these two champions of enslaved children team up, they discover a web of deviant corruption that reaches into the upper echelons of US politics and society. Adding to the nightmare, a vicious serial killer focused on murdering female prostitutes threatens to pull Clay and El away from unearthing the man behind the treacherous, Colorado-based, child prostitution ring.

For Clay, working to solve these crimes is like taking one step forward and three back until El shares her story with him. Inspired by her bravery and fortitude, he is re-committed to the fight for justice. Clay and El battle against a mountain of power and money the height of which they’d never conceived, and end up building a powerful bond with one another along the way. El teaches Clay that every life they change matters—that they must do what they can, even when it’s only one child at a time.

Excerpt:

“What is it, boy? We’ve got something in that trailer, don’t we?” Clay followed the beam of his mag-light. He checked the hitch and the tires on his way to the back opening. He called out to the trooper. “Hey, you got any bolt cutters in your squad car?”

“Yes, sir. Hold on.” The trooper secured the man in the back seat of his silver-and-black Charger, then hurried to his trunk. He jogged over to Clay with the requested tool.

“Snap that lock.” Clay pointed to a padlock holding the door closed.

The trooper cut through the lock and removed it. Clay undid the hinge and pulled the trailer door open. A putrid odor oozed out from the compartment. He took a step backward, wrinkling his nose against the offensive smell. Bile burned the back of his esophagus, and eyes watered. He coughed as he flashed his beam inside the trailer. Five pairs of startled eyes stared out at him from the dark. Clay’s gut tightened as if someone punched him, and his throat thickened. “Oh my, God.”

The cop next to him covered his nose and mouth with his hand and took two steps back. Ranger sat down next to Clay’s left boot.

“Okay, all of you, come on out of there.”

No one moved.

“Come on. One at a time.” Clay passed his light to his partner and held his hand out to the nearest, smallest child. A little girl.

Buy links: Amazon

This crime is indeed terrible and I’m glad you’re using your storytelling to help raise awareness about it. I imagine this story is packed with emotion, too.

Thanks for reading! Happy Holidays, folks!

Betty Bolte

Best-selling Author of Historical Fiction with Heart, and Haunting, Bewitching Love Stories

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

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