Getting to Know LaVerne St. George #romance #author #contemporary #historical #PNR #SweetRomance #amreading #Christmas

My next guest author is a woman I have a great deal in common with although I’ve never met her in person. LaVerne St. George writes in several subgenres of romance and has been writing since she was a child, just like me. But there I go getting ahead of myself again! Let’s peek at her official bio and then we’ll get to the interview.

Award-winning author LaVerne St. George has been writing since elementary school, but when she received a college care package from her aunt including Kathleen Woodiwiss’ The Flame and the Flower, she caught romance fever and never looked back. She’s known for her delightfully satisfying romances with sweet intensity and her believable characters. A librarian by training and a consultant for over 15 years in the pharmaceutical industry, LaVerne’s instinctive answer to almost any question is “Let’s go look that up!” She grew up in Western Pennsylvania and has either lived in or visited 40 of the 50 United States (guess what’s on her Bucket List!). A fan of sea turtles and happy endings, she now lives with her husband in the piedmont of North Carolina halfway between the ocean and the mountains, just where she likes it.

You can find out more about her and her books at www.LStGeorge.com or follow her on Facebook, Pinterest, Goodreads, or her blog Writing in the Spirit.

Betty: How many books have you written and published? 

LaVerne: I’ve written four books, traditionally and self-published. I also self-published a book in a chapter-a-month format which didn’t work out very well. Romance readers, of all genre readers I learned, prefer to binge in their reading and aren’t very patient. I reformatted that book into a submittable manuscript, and it’s now being considered by several traditional publishers.  

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

LaVerne: I write historical, contemporary, and paranormal romance, all either sweet/warm or Christian inspirational.  I write sweet/warm stories (defined as either the bedroom door closes or we join the lovers in their emotional reaction to lovemaking) because I love reading books where the tension comes from conflicts and attraction that lead up to the ultimate sexual union. Some of my characters have shown themselves to be people of deep faith or broken faith. When that happens, I develop the story into an inspirational romance.

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

LaVerne: There were two themes I wanted to explore in RESTORE MY HEART. One is the fact that Christmas, for many people, is filled with sadness and painful memories. It takes real effort to overlay the older memories with new, brighter ones. In this story, Jeff has been more successful at this than Sally. The second theme is the critical role our childhood plays in shaping how we will approach relationships in later life. For Sally, her fear of abandonment has interfered with her friendships and finding support from Jeff helps her to move forward.

This is Book 3 in my contemporary romance series Pittsburgh Connections. It stands alone very well; readers won’t need to read the previous books to enjoy this one.

With an alcoholic mother, Sally Meyers never celebrated the holidays. Her father and all the men who followed abandoned her, leaving her broken-hearted before she knew what whole-hearted felt like. Despite this rocky start, Sally has built a successful professional life but guards her heart against romance and love.  Enter appealing newcomer Jeff Campbell, a traveling restoration craftsman, just the wrong type of guy for her. In the hours of striving together to meet holiday deadlines, Jeff reveals himself to be both attentive and trustworthy. Maybe he could be the right man for her after all.  Longing to believe in the miracle of Jeff’s love, Sally drops her guard. When he leaves for his next project, her biggest fear is that he’ll never come back. 

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

LaVerne: Great timing on this question. I’m in the middle of a huge transition. I’m selling my consulting business to my partner, and as of January 1, 2020, I’ll be writing full time. I’m excited and thrilled and scared all at once. It’s a dream come true!

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

LaVerne: I do have a home office where I can have quiet and solitude to write first drafts, characters sketches, make content edits, and add to my “idea factory.” But I’m finding that I like to mix it up. I write and revise at my local library, at a table in my living room, on my back deck (lovely woods out there), at coffee shops, empty classrooms at church, and I do keep an office-share space for business activities and for writing.

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?

LaVerne: My best writing time is in the morning, and I’ve made some changes in my schedule to make that happen. I love brewing a mega cup of “cocoa coffee” – rich, dark Kauai Coffee with a good portion of milk, raw sugar, and a heaping tablespoon of baking cocoa powder mixed in. Yum! I love writing to instrumental music (song words get in the way), most especially favorite movie scores like “Gettysburg,” “The Last of the Mohicans,” and “Robin Hood” (Kevin Costner version).

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

LaVerne: I took the “Chunky Method” course from Allie Pleiter last year, and it really helped me structure my writing time. I learned that I can write about 1½ to 2 hours; then my brain fogs over. This is my “chunk,” and I happen to be a “big chunk” writer since this is about 1450 words.  I have scheduled 7 of these chunks during the week and maneuver the rest of my obligations and schedule around those. So far, it’s working well.

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

LaVerne: Any of the above. I’ve created stories from a spark from and expansion on all of these. The most important next question is always “What if?”

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

LaVerne: I do if I’m in the right spot for a particular project. If I’m on an editing deadline, then no. But if I’ve got to fill up pages quickly for a first draft, then I dive in. I’ve participated before, and it kept me on track, so I’d recommend it.

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

LaVerne: Always something else. If I’m reading in the same genre, the words and the style get in the way. And if I’m reading a fabulous author, I can have a “crisis in confidence” LOL. Really don’t want to be creating when I’m thinking “I’ll never be that good!”

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

LaVerne: Understanding the difference in the energy I use for writing versus the energy I used for consulting. In creative work, like writing, I learned that the energy comes from the same pool as the energy for making any life decision. And that my writing job requires time for recharging. I’ve banged up against “decision fatigue” (yes, it’s a true psychological issue) and was frankly baffled. I never had trouble with this in my consulting, so this fatigue was new to me. I’m learning how to manage my creative energy better.

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

LaVerne: I smiled at this question because it will depend a lot on when a traditional publisher will offer me a contract on the projects now under consideration. When a contract comes in, I’ll be working on that project – a warm Regency spy novel, an inspirational about the US Life-Saving Service on the Great Lakes, and/or a sweet Regency for Harlequin. As I’m waiting, most likely, I’ll work on the next book in the Pittsburgh Connections series. This will be Peter Jameson’s story. He’ll move on from his experience in Book 1 to meet a young fabric artist in Michigan whose work he’d like to sponsor. Juliana, hoping for success with her art, fights to keep her past a secret, especially from the attractive Peter, but the past catches up with her and threatens the new love they’ve found.

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

LaVerne: My keepers come from all over the romance genre and span back into the 1970’s. I also have a few paranormals, science fiction, non-fiction, and mysteries which have made my list.  I have a tall bookshelf of those books which touched me emotionally, made such an impact on me, that years later, I can still see the whole story in my head. I’ll choose a Keeper to read when I want to relax with old friends, when I need inspiration for my own writing, when I crave a reliably wonderful story. You can find my keepers listed on my Goodreads Keepers bookshelf.

Betty: What advice do you have for new writers?

LaVerne: My advice comes in a handy acronym: WELL. Write, Edit, Learn and Listen. WRITE whenever you can. Make time for it. My favorite writing quote comes from Nora Roberts: “I can fix a bad page. I can’t fix a blank page.”  Then EDIT. Edit again. And again. Don’t be afraid of the changes; that how we all get better.  LEARN your craft. The best writers say they are always trying to improve. Attend writing craft classes. The Romance Writers of America and its chapters provide ample opportunities to learn. LISTEN deeply. Listen to readers, editors, and agents who read your work and give you feedback. Don’t argue, don’t justify. Listen and consider that at least some of that feedback will make you a stronger writer.

Thanks for joining me today!

So there you have it, some great advice and stories to enjoy from LaVerne St. George. Thanks to her for stopping in today to share her writing process and inspiration for her stories with us.

I’ll have another author interview on Monday as a special shout out to a fellow Common Elements Romance Project author. Stay tuned for more on her story and writing process.

In the meantime, thanks for spending some of your valuable time with me. 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.

Charm #6: Feather or quill #amwriting #reading #PNR #CommonElementsRomanceProject #fiction #books #paranormal #jewelry #research #relationships

Book birthday! It’s finally here! Charmed Against All Odds is now available! Which means I’ve hit the 20 published books milestone. That’s nonfiction and fiction titles, too. Hubby and I are going out somewhere nice tonight to celebrate, because I never thought I’d have so many published and even more to come. I’ve got plans…!

Now, on to the enchanted charm bracelet featured in Charmed. Each charm represents a characteristic I feel is important in order to have a solid relationship with the one you love. I’ve shared the reasons for why I chose an open book, a Friend charm, a handshake, a Comedy and Tragedy Theater masks, and an arrow charm. The sixth and final charm is a feather or quill.

Charm #6: Feather or Quill

The quill is an old-fashioned tool for writing with ink to communicate with someone. Letters were the most used form of communicating with people at a distance. If you’ve been following my career or my blog, then you may realize that I adore the 18th century as a time period to write about. My A More Perfect Union series is set in Charleston, South Carolina during the American Revolution in 1782. At that time the quill was the best tool for writing.

Communication is extremely important in any relationship, from professional to personal. Clear personal communication depends on several of the other characteristics I’ve talked about in my previous posts about the charms: honesty, trust, friendship, and being open to learning about the other person’s opinions and experiences. I suppose to some extent those characteristics also apply to professional communication as well. Let’s look at each a bit more closely.

Honesty feeds the content of your conversation or letter, whatever mode of communication you’re using. If your message is not telling the truth as you see it, then doubt and allegations of lying may follow (as opposed to a misinterpretation or honest mistake). To have a solid relationship, therefore, when you speak or write to your significant other, it’s important to be honest.

You also must trust the other person, and they trust you, in order for your message to be accepted. If you can’t trust the other person for whatever reason, likely your communication will be more guarded, perhaps hedging your words more to protect yourself. This can weaken the bond between you and your significant other.

I include friendship here because if you’re in a loving relationship friendship is most likely at the foundation of the link between you. And it seems to naturally evolve from the first two characteristics of trust and honesty.

Finally, being open-minded is important to have a good communication because if you’re not then you’re probably not hearing, listening, or receiving the real message being sent. Errors in intent or meaning may then occur because the close-minded person has already decided how they will react to the perceived message. Probably negatively since they’ve stopped accepting what’s being conveyed. Actively listening or reading with an eye to understanding the other’s point of view will smooth any misunderstandings that may arise through a garbled message. We all mistakes sometimes in how we phrase something or our interpretation of what’s happened and then make assumptions.

Case in point. I came home from a quick trip to Texas on a stormy Sunday evening. My son’s car wasn’t parked where he normally parks, on the left side of the driveway. Instead he’d parked in my spot on the right side. I knew he and my hubby were aware I was almost home and I was glad to see I could park closer to the sidewalk and run inside from the rain. I thought he’d moved his car out of courtesy. In fact, he’d thought I wasn’t going to be home so had parked in my spot so that my hubby could run an errand (he parks in the garage on the left side of the driveway). So I had totally misunderstood the situation but was still happy to have a shorter distance to get inside. (Don’t think badly about the fact I park outside and hubby parks inside. He’s the one that has to get up and go to work each morning while I walk into my office, so I suggested he park in the garage so he doesn’t have to face the weather and such.)

One other point I’d like to make about communication. You must communicate with your significant other. Not talking, sending an email, a letter, a paper airplane with your message will almost definitely lead to a breakdown in your relationship. We’re very imaginative beings so when something confuses or annoys or upsets us we can find any number of “reasons” which may or may not be the real underlying cause. It’s far easier to have a conversation and clear up the mystery or misunderstanding than to let it simmer until it explodes into a fight. Even if that conversation is difficult to have—and trust me my hubby and I have had several in the 38 years we’ve known each other, including 32 years married—working out the differences can bring you closer together. You’ll see the other perspective and hopefully understand the other point of view, and vice versa. Then you find a compromise.

I do hope you’ll read Charmed Against All Odds and then let me know what you think of Leo and Roxie’s story.

I’m heading out for a nice dinner with my loving, supportive, sometimes frustratingly stubborn husband. And as always, 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 is now available!

Charmed Against All Odds is also part of the Common Elements Romance Project. More than 75 romances—historical, sci fi, fantasy, contemporary, paranormal, suspense—which include the same 5 elements. Those elements are a guy named Max, a lost set of keys, a tall stack of books, a haunted house, and a lightning storm. Visit the website for a listing of all the books by subgenre and for monthly giveaways.

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 Debra Whiting Alexander #womensfiction #author #MentalHealthMatters #mustread #fiction #nonfiction #books

Please help me welcome women’s fiction author Debra Whiting Alexander to my interview hot seat! Debra has quite a background and education to bring to her amazing, and interesting, books. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Here’s Debra’s official bio and then we’ll jump right into the interview.

DEBRA WHITING ALEXANDER, Ph.D., won the prestigious 2018 WILLA Literary Award in Contemporary Fiction along with three other awards for her debut novel, ZETTY. Debra is also the author of numerous books related to her expertise in post trauma treatment for children and families. Raised in San Diego, she grew up on a steady diet of western movies and musicals. She developed a love for the ocean, cowgirls, pianos, golden retrievers, and art. She currently lives in Oregon with her husband and two labs where their home backs up to lush green fields, horses, stunning sunsets, and hazelnut orchards. The beaches of southern California were the inspiration for ZETTY, but it’s in the landscapes of the Pacific Northwest that she found inspiration for her next novel.

You can find out more about her at www.debrawhitingalexander.com or follow her on Facebook, Twitter, or Amazon.

Betty: How many books have you written and published?

Debra: Prior to making the leap into women’s fiction, I authored sixteen non-fiction books, including Loving Your Teenage Daughter (Whether She Likes it Or Not), and Children Changed by Trauma: A Healing Guide. As a mental health clinician, my most meaningful project, The Emotional Recovery Resource Kit, was written for my publishers in New York in response to 9/11. ZETTY was published in 2017 and my second work of fiction is currently out on submission.

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

Debra: Early in my career, I wrote non-fiction related to my work. Today, my passion is to write fictional stories about the humor, spirit, and strength of unconventional women. I relish the opportunity to write about friendship, motherhood, mental health, and to do it with spiritual substance —matters of the heart and soul. It’s important to me to write about issues I feel inspired by and care deeply about. Women’s fiction allows me to do that. I’m hooked!

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

Debra: Overcoming loss and finding joy, even in the midst of sorrow, are central themes found in ZETTY. This story shines a light on the stigma of mental illness and the shame that often accompanies it. It was important to me to present an accurate, realistic view of what it means for a child and family impacted by an illness that is as legitimate as any other medical condition.

THE POWERFUL STORY OF A MOTHER LOST TO A RARE FORM OF SCHIZOPHRENIA, AND A DAUGHTER’S QUEST TO FIND HER.  “…a master piece of heartache and joy…” Jane Kirkpatrick, NY Times best-selling author

Amazon

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

Debra: Anywhere my ideas form. Literally, anywhere! But most revisions happen at my desk at home.

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?

Debra: Early mornings are always my preferred time to write. I used to write regularly late into the night, and still do if I’m on a deadline. However, I prefer the early morning sunshine to awaken my thoughts and revisions.  It’s good to be rested.  (Yes. Oregon does get sunshine!)

I try to keep fresh flowers and a diffuser streaming essential oils on my desk. In the winter I have a lit candle near me too. And with each novel, I like to express the theme of my current work-in-progress on the wall above my desk. I tack up photos, art, and quotes that reflect the inspiration and theme of the story. There are days I want music and days I want total silence. Music often helps me develop scenes and go deeper into an emotional point of view. But I only listen to the music my characters listen to! Finally, breaks are essential. For me, walks, healthy snacks, and surrounding myself in nature keep inspiration fresh.

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

Debra: Persistence. I never gave up on the projects I felt most driven by. It requires so much patience. Years of it. And it’s true; being a writer requires a thick skin. Always does! When I made the leap from nonfiction to fiction, it also required practice, educating myself with books about the art and craft of writing a novel, and it meant allowing multiple editors and beta readers to pick things apart. It truly was a learning process for me, but I never minded—I considered it all healthy aerobics for my aging brain!

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

Debra: I hope it’s that I’m able to bring my experiences as a mental health practitioner into my work with honesty, compassion, and fresh insights for my readers. Because of my professional work, I’ve developed an appreciation for a wide-range of qualities, quirks, strengths, and weaknesses in my characters and for our ability to overcome hard things in life. In every story I write, my goal is to bring hope and understanding to the issues I shine a light on.

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

Debra: For me, the message (or main issue) of the story comes first—meaning I become aware of something we all experience or know about, but may not fully understand, talk about much, or know how to cope with. The main character usually stands out as I flesh out the message, and then the setting follows naturally. The supporting cast of characters forms as I develop the main ideas of the story. That being said, every story is different. Inspiration comes from so many things I think about, see, or hear. The bottom line is if anything touches my heart, I listen to it. Those moments end up in my novels.

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?

Debra: When I have a deadline, I schedule writing time on my calendar like I schedule clients at my job. It’s blocked out and protected at all costs. I crave expanded chunks of time to write and I love it when I have a full week of uninterrupted days. Sometimes it means I have to take vacation time to make that happen. I don’t mind though because it’s a luxury to have the time and space to go deep into my story and spend a “vacation” with characters I love.

When I’m not on a deadline, I write whenever I can. Sometimes I pull over to the side of the road to capture my thoughts, descriptions, and dialogue on scraps of paper. Or you’ll find me between appointments jotting down scenes in my calendar book. Whenever I find days in my schedule that are free, I use that time for writing.

Betty: What are you reading right now?

Debra: The Overstory by Richard Powers. Terrific writing!

Betty: What is your favorite genre to read?

Debra: Literary Fiction. It’s a plus to read about strong female characters, but not a must. I just want to be moved by whatever it is I read.  I really enjoy historical fiction as well.

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

Debra: My preference is to read nonfiction when I’m writing fiction. When a manuscript is out on submission I’ll pick up novels again. Otherwise, I find it distracting to go deep into another author’s voice and then shift gears to go back to my own. In order to stay true to my own voice, and keep it consistent, I’ve learned it works best for me to read outside my genre.

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

Debra: I work as a clinical supervisor in a mental health agency a few days a month. I’ve gradually decreased my hours over the last couple years to allow more time for writing and for more time with my granddaughter. I love what I do in my “day job” and will continue for as long as it works. With deadlines though, I go right into full-time writing mode.

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

Debra: It’s a long, long process from beginning to end. One book can take years of ongoing hard work on many different levels. Once it leaves my hands, even more work begins. Because it is such a competitive market I hope readers know how important their reviews are. Authors appreciate each and every one of them!

Betty: What advice do you have for new writers?

Debra: Believe in your beta readers and editors! Your success depends on both. I’ve been fortunate to have talented friends and editors by my side who always (!) make my work better.

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

Debra: My second novel is out on submission right now. It’s about a neurodivergant young woman with an indomitable spirit who refuses to give up on a dream she has. I hope to be working on a screenplay soon with a movie producer who contacted me, and I have a story about three sisters in the works, too. Both involve issues I care deeply about. Stay tuned!

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?

Debra: Writing a screenplay is a new goal I have just embarked on. And I have a number of manuscripts in my files for children’s books. But as far as novels go, upmarket women’s fiction is my passion right now.  Another perk for writing women’s fiction is being invited to some amazing book clubs. Love them!

I agree that visiting book clubs is a lot of fun, Debra. I’m glad you’re doing well with your writing career and telling some needed stories at the same time.

Check out her work and settle in for a good read! 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.

Charm #5: Shooting Straight to the Heart #amwriting #reading #PNR #CommonElementsRomanceProject #fiction #books #paranormal #jewelry #research #relationships

My next book is Charmed Against All Odds, and it releases in 1 week! I’m really very excited about this story, which is Roxie and Leo’s story. Writing their story was a challenge since they must complete a quest spell in order to learn their true destiny. The challenge for me was that I had to figure out what the clues would be and what they would mean to my characters. Which meant lots of prewriting before I started writing the actual story.

It’s also one of many books included in the Common Elements Romance Project. More than 75 romances—historical, sci fi, fantasy, contemporary, paranormal, suspense—which include the same 5 elements. Those elements are a guy named Max, a lost set of keys, a tall stack of books, a haunted house, and a lightning storm. Visit the website for a listing of all the books by subgenre and for monthly giveaways.

Now, on to the enchanted charm bracelet…

I’ve been talking about the charm bracelet featured in Charmed. Each charm represents a characteristic I feel is important in order to have a solid relationship with the one you love. I’ve shared the reasons for why I chose the first charm, an open book, the second one, a Friend charm, the third, a handshake, and the fourth, a Comedy and Tragedy Theater masks charm. The next charm they must find is an arrow.

Charm #5: Arrow

Why, you may be wondering. Well, I think it’s very important to be honest with everyone, including yourself. Definitely when you’re in a loving, long-time relationship you want to be truthful with your significant other. And yes, it can be difficult to be totally honest! But I do believe it’s important to speak the truth.

I’m not talking about being cruel with your honesty. Not at all. If someone asks your opinion, and you don’t like whatever it is they’re asking your opinion about, then please consider your response before you blurt out something hurtful. I’ve always tried to phrase my criticism gently or with some kind of suggestion for improvement (to my way of thinking). I expect my hubby and my loved ones in general to be honest in return.

Now, I will say that a very dear friend of mine once asked me while we were out shopping if I liked the hat she was trying on. I gave her my honest answer: it looked good on her but I wouldn’t buy it. She put it back and later told me she hadn’t bought it because I said I wouldn’t buy it. What she failed to realize is that I don’t wear hats. Not unless it’s in the single digits and I have to put something on my head or freeze. But decorative ones? No, thanks. But then I felt bad that she’d denied herself the hat she liked because of my inadequate response. I should have just said it looked cute on her and left it at that. I don’t recall now, decades later, if she asked me if I’d buy it, and then I replied I wouldn’t, so she put it back. That may be the case. Either way, I learned something that day as well about how to respond to such questions going forward.

One lesson I learned as a young woman is one that has stayed with me, and which has guided my choices on whether to delve deeper or not. You know, do I ask whether something I’m wearing looks nice? Or what hubby thinks of some other aspect of my person? Or even something about my stories, if I’m still working on something. Anything intensely personal which may sting if criticized. The lesson, or realization, is that if I think it will hurt to hear a negative answer, then I don’t ask the question. I keep my mouth shut. That way neither of us are put into an awkward situation when we want to share honestly with each other.

When my dear father started living with us (he did so for 17 years), he asked me to not tell my hubby something my dad had said about my husband. Since it concerned my hubby, I wanted to make clear to my dad that his unkind words were not appreciated. My response was, we tell each other everything. We are a team, partners in our married life. We are honest with each other to the best of our abilities. The message was hopefully clear to him. I do not keep secrets from my husband. Besides that, I could see how condoning or encouraging my dad to tell me such things would put me in the middle between the two men in my life. Not a place I ever wanted to be, even though there were many times I did find myself right smack dab in the middle. But that’s another story…

While I am open and honest with my husband, I will not reveal a secret to him which doesn’t concern him. I value my friends and family and their privacy, so if they ask me to keep something in confidence then of course I will.  That’s not the same thing as hearing someone disparage my husband and then ask me to keep it to myself. The decision as to whether to tell my husband rests with me at that point.

It’s my firm belief that if two people in a relationship don’t feel comfortable sharing their day-to-day stuff, their decisions, their futures, their lives, then they probably shouldn’t stay together. Honesty seems to me to be the foundation of trust. If you’re not sure whether your partner is telling you the truth, can you trust them? Without trust, how can you relax and be yourself with the other person? The rest of the characteristics I’m talking about all rely on each other.

So, that’s why I included the arrow charm, with the imagery of being honest and true with your significant other, your spouse, even your friend. It’s also vital that you are honest with yourself. Understand the impact and the effect of the decisions you make, both for yourself and those you love. Note that decisions can be as small as what you’re going to drink with dinner or huge like where you’re searching for your next job. The first choice may have no impact on others, while the second one could have life-changing ripple effects.

Five charms down, one more to go! And it’s a really, really important one, too.

So what are your thoughts on these characteristics? Do you disagree? Have others you’d like to add to the list?

As always, 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.

Books2Read     Amazon     Barnes & Noble     Kobo      Apple

Getting to know AD Ellis #author #contemporary #romance #fantasy #scifi #fiction #books

My next guest author, A.D. Ellis, is from a place I used to live for 10 years, Indiana. But I’ll let her tell you more about herself and her fiction! Here’s her official bio and then we’ll get to the interview questions.

A.D. Ellis is an Indiana girl, born and raised. She spends much of her time in central Indiana teaching alternative education in the inner city of Indianapolis, being a mom to two amazing school-aged children, and wondering how she and her husband of almost two decades have managed to not drive each other insane. A lot of her time is also devoted to phone call avoidance and her hatred of cooking.

She loves chocolate, wine, pizza, and naps along with reading and writing romance. These loves don’t leave much time for housework, much to the chagrin of her husband. Who would pick cleaning the house over a nap or a good book? She uses any extra time to increase her fluency in sarcasm.

You can find out more about her and her books at https://adellisauthor.com or follow her on Amazon, Facebook, or BookBub.

Betty: How many books have you written and published?

A.D.: At the time of answering these questions, I have 22 books published. Number 23 should be published the end of April. Twenty-four and twenty-five are in the works, and a co-written book will round out at number twenty-six.

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

A.D.: I began writing in contemporary romance because it’s what I’d loved reading the most. Thanks to one of my characters in my Torey Hope series (small-town romance), Sawyer, I started reading Male/Male romance so I could write Sawyer’s story true to who he was. From that point, I fell in love with M/M (gay male) romance and all of my books have been in that genre since.

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

A.D.: The book I’ll be publishing in April (What Blooms Beneath) has a theme of accepting differences, having an open mind, and loving a person/soul rather than a specific sexuality or gender.

These themes are important in my stories (many of my stories have the same type themes along with being true to yourself, standing up for what is right, growth/change, and being kind) because I feel these themes are something we should all be incorporating into our daily lives.

Kellan considers himself lucky to have an adequate existence on earth where, in the year 2044, common citizens toil under the oppressive thumb of a corrupt and unscrupulous government. Kellan dreams of becoming part of the Department of Paranormal, Supernatural, and Fantasy Sciences, but his application is continually denied because he has no extra-sapien blood. Kellan’s simple reality shifts when Rhône unexpectedly enters his life.

Rhône, living in a camouflaged, underground village, never planned to get involved with an individual from the outer world. When Rhône and Kellan cross paths, there’s no denying the attraction and pull between them. But there’s something else, something more, just beneath the surface.

A hidden world and painful secrets are a potentially complicated blend. However, with Rhône by his side, enlightening details and unexplored powers provide Kellan with an opportunity for deep self-discovery. Will Kellan’s open and accepting heart allow for an extraordinary love to bloom? Or will the vast differences between Kellan and Rhône take root and strangle any hope for a flourishing future?

All of A.D.’s books are available on Amazon and many of them are also on KindleUnlimited.

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

A.D.: Most of my writing/revising is done on my laptop while sitting on the couch or at my desk. Sometimes I take a trip to the local Starbucks to get some words written.

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?

A.D.: I need to have at least an hour to write (preferably two hours.) I usually have hot tea by my side and a playlist of music with songs from a variety of decades and genres. I laugh that my playlists could possibly give whiplash as songs switch from one genre to another.

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

A.D.: I had recently learned of the self-published option so I challenged myself to do it. A lot of authors helped me with the steps and process. After publishing two books, I joined Romance Writers of America and gained an invaluable group of fellow authors who support each other.

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

A.D.: I think writing real-life characters/problems, bringing tough issues to light, snarky characters, and making readers fall so in love with a series that they never want it to end.

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

A.D.: I most often have a character and/or situation or problem pop into my head, and then I work out the 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?

A.D.: I’m a full-time teacher and mom so my writing has to be fit in between those obligations. I often try to write for an hour or so each evening and for 2-3 hours on weekend days.

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

A.D.: My April release is a new genre for me. I’ve always written contemporary romance, but I veered from my normal and wrote a fantasy romance. It was scary to dive into a new genre and I had some challenges, but I had a lot of fun writing that story.

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

A.D.: November is NOT a good time for me to write. School obligations, my children’s school events, several birthdays, holidays, and upcoming holidays always seem to take precedence over writing in November.

Betty: What are you reading right now?

A.D.: At the moment of this interview, I’m reading Speak No Evil by J.R. Gray. When this interview posts I’ll likely be reading something from an author buddy or any variety of male/male romance I can get my hands on.

Betty: What is your favorite genre to read?

A.D.: Male/Male (gay male) romance. Usually contemporary but I veer off to paranormal/fantasy and historical from time to time.

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

A.D.: I honestly don’t reread books very often.

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

A.D.: I switch the genres I read from time to time, but I mainly read the same as what I’m writing. If I’m writing multiple stories, I usually try to make them be a different subgenre so as not to get the characters/settings/situations too similar.

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

A.D.: I’ve been writing since the fall of 2013 (published April 2014) but I’ve been teaching for 20 years.

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

A.D.: How much blood, sweat, tears, effort, and money go into our stories, and how harmful it is when some readers download pirated books instead of buying our books so we can continue writing.

Betty: What advice do you have for new writers?

A.D.:
* build your social media presence
* find your “circle” of authors who will support you (joining a reputable writing organization is a great start)
* take constructive criticism to heart
* have your book edited (not by your neighbor or Aunt Sue—unless your neighbor or Aunt Sue are highly qualified and experienced editors)
* have your book formatted (whether by you or someone else—formatting matters!)
* your cover is one of the most important things a reader is going to see…make sure it looks professional (compare it to the covers in your genre)
* stay away from drama, don’t read reviews (or at least not the nasty ones)
* write the story you want to read
* realize early on that your writing won’t be everyone’s cup of tea and that’s okay

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

A.D.: At the time of this interview, I’m writing a M/M romantic suspense, a M/M contemporary, and a co-written M/M small-town contemporary.

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?

A.D.: My April release was my first foray into fantasy romance and my current WIP is romantic suspense. I’m pretty open to writing in different romance genres, but I also enjoy the comfort of my tried-and-true contemporary romance.

Thanks for stopping by, A.D.! Very impressive total of books and interesting career so far. Wishing you all the best in the years to come!

Now that fall has officially arrived, I trust you all will find some good books to curl up with and read. Maybe with some spiced apple cider or hot tea? Sounds pretty good to me… Until next time!

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.

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

Charm #4: Good Times and Bad #amwriting #reading #PNR #CommonElementsRomanceProject #fiction #books #paranormal #jewelry #research #relationships

My next book is Charmed Against All Odds, and it releases in 2 weeks! I’ve been talking about the charm bracelet featured in the story and the reasons for why I chose the charms. I’ve shared the reasons for why I chose the first charm, an open book, the second one, a Friend charm, and the third, a handshake charm that Roxie and Leo set out to find. The next charm they must find is that of the comedy and tragedy theater masks. This choice may seem odd, but to me it speaks of good times and bad times. And thus works to represent forgiveness, in my mind anyway!

Charm #4: Comedy and
Tragedy Masks

If you’re curious about why the comedy and tragedy masks are the symbol of the theater, you can learn more here.

It’s easy to be in a relationship with someone when everything is perking along smoothly, the good times. But when something goes wrong, amiss, awry and your feelings are hurt, your loved one does something you feel is wrong, or a personal tragedy occurs, it’s much tougher. If you love the other person, you’ll need to forgive them for hurting your feelings or disappointing/upsetting you in whatever way. Without forgiveness, the good times won’t return because you’ll be harboring your hurt and anger against the other person.

Now, let me be very clear. When I say hurt, I do not mean physical or psychological harm, but emotional pain. Physical or emotional abuse is a very different situation! I do not condone or suggest you stay in a relationship that is harmful to you in any way. Some things can’t be forgiven.

However, if you’re in a loving relationship, at some point you’ll end up disappointed or angered by something your love does. In order to keep the relationship, then you’ll need to resolve the difference and forgive the transgression or misstep.

My husband had a quick temper when he was younger, which has thankfully mellowed with age. But when our children were young, he smacked our son too hard for my liking. A spanking is one thing, but that one time was something more and I let him know that was not going to happen again or I’d take the children and leave. Not that I wanted to leave him! But he couldn’t continue to vent his frustration or anger on them. To his credit, he apologized and he never repeated the offense. I forgave him, knowing he’d make it right going forward because he gave me his word. He’s kept that promise, too.

I’ve been married to my loving, intelligent, stubborn husband for 32 years. Yes, there are times when we disagree, sometimes loudly. But we’re a team. We complement each other’s weaknesses with our strengths. I’m more creative aesthetically but he’s creative functionally (he’s an engineer after all!), for example.

We’ve had our arguments over the decades, but we still prefer each other’s company over that of anyone else. Even when his stubborn shows… I can forgive him for being obstinate since I know that works in my favor, too. We made a promise to never part, never give up on our marriage, but work out any rough patches. Which we’ve done and I’m happy to add that we love each other more today than the day we married. We’ve been through a lot together, some very rough times indeed. Now we can enjoy the good times with a smile on our faces.

Four charms down, two more to go!

Don’t forget that Charmed Against All Odds is available for preorder before it releases on November 11. And as a bonus gift for everyone who preorders 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 with me on my Facebook page (www.Facebook.com/AuthorBettyBolte) and I’ll send you a link where you can download your gift as a thank you for ordering Roxie and Leo’s story! (If you’ve already read Undying Love, we’ll pick a different story in the Secrets of Roseville series as a thank you gift!)

One last thing! My next signing is this Saturday, November 2, 11:00-3:00, in Albertville, Alabama. Visit the Shades of Pemberley Event Page for details. You will be able to buy a copy of The Haunting of Fury Falls Inn (Fury Falls Inn Book 1) AND I will have paperback copies of Charmed Against All Odds (Secrets of Roseville Book 5) before you can buy them in the store, too! I hope to see you there to support the Shades of Pemberley independent bookstore as a thank you for hosting my book birthday celebration!

As always, 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.

Books2Read     Amazon     Barnes & Noble     Kobo      Apple

Getting to know Nancy Lee Badger #author #contemporary #firefighter #romance #fiction #mustread #Christmas #novel

Two months until Christmas! I have an author with a story to help get you in the mood, too! I’m happy to welcome Nancy Lee Badger to the interview hot seat today. I think you’ll be glad I did! Here’s more about her background and then on to the interview…

Nancy Lee Badger grew up in Huntington on New York’s Long Island. After attending Plymouth State, in New Hampshire, she earned a Bachelor of Science degree and met and married her college sweetheart. They raised two handsome sons in Rumney, New Hampshire, where Nancy volunteered as an EMT and firefighter while working full-time. When the children had left the nest, and shoveling show became a chore, she retired from her satisfying job as a 911 Emergency Medical Dispatcher and moved to North Carolina, where she writes full-time. She and family volunteer every fall at the NH Highland Games.

Nancy is a member of Romance Writers of America, Heart of Carolina Romance Writers, Fantasy-Futuristic & Paranormal Romance Writers, and the Triangle Association of Freelancers. She loves to travel with her husband and is never far from her laptop. She finds story ideas in the most unusual places.

You can find out more about her at her website, via her blog, or follow her on Facebook.

Betty: How many books have you written and published?

Nancy: Rescuing Christmas is my 27th novel: 7 with small presses and the others I self-published. This book is a self-published novel, and since I am currently writing other books for a publisher, I am considered a Hybrid.

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

Nancy: I wanted to try something different so my readers will find the plot and the characters at the heart of the story without the heat of physical love. Well, other than kissing or heated looks across the fire department truck bay. I also used my former small-town living, where I volunteered with the local fire department and rescue squad, to give the story life.

A Manhattan businessman in a Vermont ditch meets a muddy female firefighter. No snow since November might ruin the town’s annual fire department fundraiser. Can Elinor and Bradley stop their squabbling long enough to Rescue Christmas?

Buy Links are listed on her blog:  https://nancyleebadger.blogspot.com/p/books.html

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?

Nancy: My favorite place is my dining room, where I can spread out my notes while watching people walk by the front window. It is a bit too close to the kitchen, which is why I am seeing a nutritionist. I try to drink lots of water every day. My cat. Blaze, watches me to make sure I continue working and not go off to watch Murder, She Wrote reruns!

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

Nancy: I wish my writing life was more structured! Although I no longer work full-time outside the home, I am busier than ever. Travel, volunteering, and taking care of family takes time away from my writing. I seem to get less writing done when hubby is home from work!

Betty: What is your favorite genre to read?

Nancy: I love regency historicals followed closely by Highlander historicals. I have written several of the latter, and I have dabbled with the former, but I have no plans to release one of those as yet. Things change!

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

Nancy: I am lucky to have a husband who agreed to my retirement from the State of New Hampshire 911, selling our home, and moving closer to my family. Now, I am able to write full-time.

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

Nancy: Since I submitted my first manuscript, trying desperately to get an agent or a publisher interested in my work, things have changed. There are only a few ‘Big Publishers’ and they do not look at un-agented manuscripts. The smaller publishers do have some perks such as free editing and book covers but generally do not offer much in the way of promotion except by posting my book on their website. The rest of ‘getting the word out’ is up to me. Facebook, Twitter, and other social media outlets can be a time suck, but you have to get the word out somehow.

Betty: What advice do you have for new writers?

Nancy: Do not feel you need to do this alone. Join a writing group, check out your favorite author’s YouTube craft videos, enter a writing contest. Listening is a big part of learning this craft. And…don’t forget to read!

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

Nancy: I am in the midst of editing Heaven-sent Flame, the third book in my Warriors in Bronze series. This paranormal romance set at an art museum in North Carolina will be released sometime in April 2020 by Soul Mate Publishing.

Sounds like Nancy has quite a lot on her plate! I hope you’ll check out her latest Christmas story featuring a firefighter out to rescue the holiday, too.

Okay, I’m off to ignore the idea of Christmas planning…for a little while yet anyway! But it won’t be long I’ll be grabbing a cup of hot chocolate and a good holiday story…

Wishing you all a Happy Halloween and 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.