Which wood for a wand? #amwriting #reading #PNR #CommonElementsRomanceProject #fiction #books #paranormal #research

One of the fun aspects for me when writing a new story is finding out about new-to-me subjects. I’m curious by nature, so it’s something of a treasure hunt to go looking for the details to include in my stories. The meanings behind the “props” my characters use. For example, what kind of wand would Roxie have? She itches to use it in Charmed Against All Odds:


“My tea is cold.” Paulette screwed up her face as she set her cup on the low table in front of her.

“So, go put it in the micro for a few seconds.” Zak squeezed her shoulder with one large hand. “Lazy.”

“Am not. I don’t want to miss a thing.” Wrinkling her nose, Paulette turned away from her husband to pin her hopeful gaze on Roxie. “Would you mind?”

“Of course not.” Suppressing the bounding of glee inside, Roxie flourished her wand, aimed it at the flowered mug. She flicked the tip of the wand at the cup. Steam rose from the warmed liquid. “Try that.”

Paulette lifted the mug and took a sip, aiming a grateful grin at her cousin. “Perfect.”

Grant had one beefy arm around Tara as they sat on the loveseat facing the fireplace. His storm gray eyes held a hint of skepticism, the scientist in him still doubting his wife’s abilities as well as her sisters. Despite having proof. Objective, irrefutable evidence and yet he continually showed that he doubted his own observation. Roxie pursed her lips as she studied the man. Ere long he’d have to acknowledge the abilities of the witch he’d married.

“What do you know about the quest spell, Roxie?” Beth sat on Mitch’s lap in one of the chairs flanking the fireplace.

Mitch, too, tended to be reticent about the three sisters and their magical talents. Even though he would soon be a member of the family of witches with their individual gifts. Still, he’d only been part of the group for a couple of months. Over time, she hoped he’d come around fully to believe in them. Like Max and Zak.

“Enough to know that Leo and I may need all of you to help.” She slid her gaze to take in the rest of the group.

Max and Zak had married the Golden sisters’ cousins, Meredith and Paulette, respectively. The owners of the Twin Oaks plantation and B&B, the sisters had been instrumental in freeing the two ghosts who once haunted the place. Luckily, the ghosts were friendly and not scary. A whole different kind of magic might have been necessary in such a case. Roxie’s wand fingers itched at the thought. It had been too long since she’d had a solid reason to seriously wield her wand. Warming her cousin’s tea did not satisfy the itch. She put her wand away with a reluctant sigh.


I had to go digging for what kind of wood her wand would most likely be made of. There are many to choose from with their own unique properties and affinities, I found out. The list at Dragon Oak includes alder, apple, ash, basswood, beech, birch, cedar, cherry, elder, elm, hawthorn, hazel, hickory, honey locust, holly, ivy, lilac, maple, oak, Osage orange, poplar, sassafras, vine, black walnut, and willow. After reading through the descriptions, I chose ash for Roxie’s wand. Why?

Several of the properties tie into Roxie’s family heritage and her personal abilities as a witch. With her Irish ancestry, the fact that ash is a sacred tree of Celtic Astrology struck a chord. The more importantly ash “aids in communication, intelligence, wisdom, and promotes curiosity” which are all important to Roxie. And it’s also the “wood of the writer, poet, and scholar” which Roxie is as well.

I looked a bit further into ash wood wands over at British Originals to see what they had to say. Turns out “ash wands cling to its one true master” and so shouldn’t be handed down to another witch. Also Roxie’s stubborn nature makes her an ideal candidate for an ash wand since “witches…best suited to ash wands are not lightly swayed from their beliefs or purposes.”

I do find it fascinating that so much thought has gone into understanding the inherent properties of individual woods and how people can use them to suit a given purpose. I do not fully understand it myself, but is an interesting aspect of the woods available. To think of how they possibly impact us without our being aware of the subtle influences they generate.

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.

Books2Read     Amazon     Barnes & Noble     Kobo      Apple

Getting to Know Joanne Simon Tailele #author #WomensFiction #fiction #books #amreading

Today’s guest author started writing novels as a result of a kind of dare. Joanne Simon Tailele will tell you all about how she wrote her first book, right after we look at her official bio. Here we go!

Joanne Simon Tailele wrote her first short story at the age of ten. For fifty years, writing was a private release for her soul. In 2010, she accepted the NANOWRIMO challenge to write a novel in thirty days. She admits it took two years of edits to make it print worthy, but the drive to become a novelist was born.

When describing her writing style, she coins the phrase “moral fiction” from her favorite author, Jodi Picoult. “I consider my stories ‘moral fiction,’ the intent to raise the social conscience about people and circumstances more comfortable hidden as family skeletons.” Her brand is mother-daughter stories.

Ms. Tailele has published three Women’s Fiction, two biographies, a children’s book and a travel book. She is the current president of Marco Island Writers Inc. and owner of Simon Publishing. Originally a mid-west girl from Ohio, she lives on Marco Island, FL with her husband.

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

Betty: How many books have you written and published?

Joanne: 6 total: – 3 Women’s Fiction, 2 Biographies, 1 Travel Book, 1 Children’s.

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

Joanne: My primary genre is Women’s Fiction with family drama. My brand is mother-daughter stories with lots of angst. Why? I have 3 daughters of my own (and a son). I can relate. I did not consciously realize that my brand was mother-daughter stories until someone made a comment after the third one about it.  

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

Joanne: I usually get my ideas from something I see on the news that strikes a chord with me. Again, it always comes back to the complexities of mother-daughter relationships. My most recent book, Rehoming Pigeon is about international adoption and how things are not as simple as you’d hope or think. Decisions can be hard, and you don’t really know what you would do unless you walk in those shoes.

Cecile Boudreaux wanted nothing more than to be a mother. But when she and husband, Armand, adopt six-year-old Natalia from Russia, things don’t go as planned. Natalia wants nothing more than to get back to her brother, Nikolai. Rehoming Pigeon is about international adoption that goes all wrong, about love, and loss, and the discovery of the many faces of family.

Rehoming Pigeon Excerpt     Amazon

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

Joanne: I can only write in my recliner with my PC on my lap, just like I can only do things like paying bill sitting at my desk. No idea why.  

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?

Joanne: Always a Diet Coke on my table beside me. I prefer dead silence, but I’m pretty good at tuning any distractions out if I’m in the zone.

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

Joanne: I know I would never be published without the support of my book coach, Kelly Hartog, and my writer friends and organizations like M.I.W. (Marco Island Writers), W.F.W.A  (Women’s Fiction Writers Association), and F.A.P.A  (Florida Authors and Publishers Association).

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

Joanne: Writing in deep third person POV seems to be where I find my best writing.

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

Joanne: The situation starts the idea, like reading an article about adoption disruption, which stirred the idea for Rehoming Pigeon. Then I need to really get into the POV character’s head.  

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?

Joanne: I try to write every day, but I am good at stretching myself too thin and proofreading or editing for others sometimes gets in the way of my own work. I ghost write for Jacobs Writing Consultants and edit for others, plus I still work 2 days a week at m day job, so I am always running out of hours in the day.  

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

Joanne: Right now, I am trying to polish my recent WIP because I have requests for two fulls and two partial manuscripts from a conference I was at last month. I struggle with confidence that it is ever good enough.

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

Joanne: I participated in NaNoWriMo twice, in 2010 and 2011. In fact, it was the challenge I read about to write a book in 30 days with NaNo that made me try writing novel length commercial fiction. My first novel, Accident, was a NaNo book . . . not that you could probably recognize it now from its very rough start in 2010. I revised it for 2 years, and then recently gave it a new cover in 2018. Since then, I have not had the time to do it again. I think NaNo is great, as long as authors realize that their book is NEVER ready to publish on day 31.

Betty: What are you reading right now?

Joanne: The Reluctant Donor by Suzanne F. Ruff – more for research than pleasure because it deals with kidney transplant, like my POV character in my WIP.

Betty: What is your favorite genre to read?

Joanne: I almost always read Women’s Fiction. I love strong female characters and the emotional journeys they face. Ones that include psychological thrillers, like Gone Girl, are even better.  

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

Joanne: The Girl Who Wrote in Silk, Kellie Estes – I’ve read/listened to this at least 4 times.
My Sister’s Keeper – Jodi Picoult – Can’t even count how many times.
Sarah’s Key – Tatiana De Rosnay – My all-time favorite – Wore out one copy and had to buy another.
The Nightingale – Kristen Hannah – 3 times

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

Joanne: I usually read in my genre, but if the subject matter takes me to a different genre for research, I will go there.

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

Joanne: Not full time – I am a licensed Realtor but work for a local builder as their office manager 2 days a week. But I also ghost write for Jacobs Writing Consultants, and other writers pay me to proofread, Beta read, developmental edit, format or do cover design for them. I feel like I work 24/7.  

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

Joanne: It’s hard. You need to know what your needs as a writer are. In the beginning, I was quite satisfied with Indie publishing. Now, my goals have changed, and I NEED to land a traditional book deal for my own goals. But it’s okay to have different goals. Also, know that nothing comes quickly in the traditional writing world. You must learn patience.

Betty: What advice do you have for new writers?

Joanne: Study the craft. Go to as many conferences as you can. Take online courses. Continue to learn. And find a support group that will encourage you. 

Betty: Any hints of what your next writing project might be?

Joanne: Sure – here is my pitch.  The Crittenton Girls is about a woman that hides a secret for half a century. When her secret is finally revealed, she must choose between the daughter she raised or saving the life of the daughter she gave away.

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?

Joanne: I have a suspense thriller that I’d like to delve a little deeper into and see if I can do it.

Thanks so much for taking time out to swing by my blog today, Joanne! It’s amazing to me how much authors have to juggle between writing, revising, researching, promoting, marketing, and doing all the other things that pay the bills and keep our families happy.

It’s the holiday season and I hope everyone will take time to be with family and friends and relax. Remember it’s a special time of year not because of all the activities and parties but because it’s a time to come together and enjoy being with people you care about.

Happy Holidays, everyone!

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 Irene Frances Olson #author #fiction #books #Alzheimers #caregiver #caregiving

My guest author today has a very interesting story to share with you all. Please help me welcome Irene Frances Olson who has written a fictional story about her real life experiences. But I’ll let her tell you all about it right after I share her official bio with you all. Ready?

Irene Frances Olson writes from passion and experience. She was her father’s caregiver during his struggle with Alzheimer’s disease, and would do it all over again in a heartbeat. Having previously worked in memory care, she was not new to the disease, nor was her family immune. Irene hopes to make a difference in the lives of others by writing novels that encourage and support those who just might need another person in their corner. As a matter of fact, she has her own byline, In Your Corner, in the Australian online publication, Grandparents Day Magazine. Ms. Olson is on the Management Team of the 501(c)(3) non-profit, AlzAuthors, an organization that through a digital platform and community events, uses the art of storytelling to light the way for those impacted by Alzheimer’s disease. For updates on the author’s current projects, please visit www.irenefrancesolson.com, or Facebook. She’s also on Twitter @Boomer98053 and LinkedIn.

Betty: How many books have you written and published?

Irene: Written 2½ books and published one. My second novel – title still being finalized – will be published early 2020.

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

Irene: Contemporary Fiction and Women’s Fiction. Quite frankly, I hesitate to even say Women’s Fiction because I write for everyone with a variety of themes in which most readers would readily engage.

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

Irene: Requiem for the Status Quo, published in July 2017, is a true – yet fictional account – of my experience as my father’s caregiver after he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Immediately after his death in 2007, I had no interest in anything related to dementia. Five years later, however, I realized I couldn’t just let my Alzheimer’s caregiving experience fade away, I needed to bring it out into the open so others might benefit from what was the worst time in my and my family’s life. First and foremost, I wanted to honor my father, a man who wore his disease with the dignity it did not deserve.

Family caregivers are oftentimes ruthlessly challenged by uninvolved family members who are quick to condemn, but reticent to offer assistance. Such is the case for Colleen Strand, a widow who recently found her own footing who takes on the task of caring for her father, Patrick Quinn, recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.

Her older brother, Jonathan, criticizes Colleen at every turn and verbally abuses the father when he has the gall to exhibit symptoms of his disease. In short, Jonathan travels down the road of denial, leaving Colleen to deal with all matters regarding their father’s care.

Connected tenuously to a father who barely remembers her and a brother who has become an enigma, Colleen faces the moving target that is Alzheimer’s disease, determined to clothe her father with the dignity he deserves, while struggling to squeeze every minute she can from the fleeting amount of time remaining with him.

Amazon

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

Irene: Early on in the process, I spread a cardboard sheet on my dining table and pull together all the notes I’ve collected in brainstorming my current work in progress. I then retire to my home office where I proceed to make an absolute mess of things – so much so that my husband decided years ago never to attempt using the office or computer. That pleases him to no end, however, because he’s a retired engineer and doesn’t want to have anything to do with technology, other than his cell phone or his eReader.

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?

Irene: I can’t have music on while I’m writing or reading; that has always been a distraction for me, even as far back as my college days. I always quit my writing work at 3 pm, however, retiring to my living room reading chair to read someone else’s work, not returning to my office to write until the next day, or the next day, or the next day…

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

Irene: I was greatly encouraged as a member of the Pacific Northwest Writers Association (PNWA) based in the Seattle, WA area. I submitted two manuscripts to them for judging. Their very constructive criticism of my 1st novel was extraordinarily helpful toward making it publishable. But I guess my publishing route is no different from anyone else’s: I queried more than 100 agents, didn’t get a bite from any of them; then I submitted Requiem to a few small, independent publishers with no affirmative response until four months later when a publisher made me an offer I couldn’t refuse – I jumped on it post haste.

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

Irene: I love creating characters and I perform much research before assigning them names. I use a writing program called Snowflake. For me, the greatest strength of that program is character creation and development. The program asks numerous questions about individuals that once answered, allows the character to materialize right before your eyes.

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

Irene: Theme, most definitely. With Requiem that theme was obvious as I wanted to portray family struggles with Alzheimer’s, a disease that is always fatal. With my 2nd Novel I chose a theme that is sure to resonate with people worldwide: what it means to be a neighbor and how we are all more similar than not.

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?

Irene: Not structured, other than I always quit my writing day at 3 pm. I am extraordinarily busy with the privilege of caring for my 2.5-year-old grandson a couple days a week, being a Board Member and Officer of AlzAuthors, a 501(c)(3) I formed with the help of five other team members, and managing my health which does not allow for sitting at a desk for extended periods of time.

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

Irene: This is going to seem like a minor struggle, but I find it awfully difficult coming up with book titles. Requiem for the Status Quo came to me quite readily because status quo is something that no longer exists for anyone caring for a loved one with a chronic, debilitating illness. Requiem is a memorial to that status quo. I’m getting close to firming up the title for my 2nd novel – which is a good thing if I expect it to be published early 2020.

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

Irene: Yes! Yes! Yes! Although Requiem was not a byproduct of NaNoWriMo, my 2nd and third novels were. Several years ago, I had more time to commit to the NaNoWriMo schedule, and I’m extremely grateful it existed when I did have the time. I thoroughly enjoyed participating and I highly recommend all novice – and even experienced – writers do so.

Betty: What are you reading right now?

Irene: Hah! I just finished reading The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory. It was a great respite from all the reading I had been doing centered around the topic of dementia. You see, as a Director/Officer for AlzAuthors, I vet non-fiction and fiction books from authors who approach AlzAuthors to become a part of our resource community.

Betty: What is your favorite genre to read?

Irene: Fiction for pleasure; non-fiction for enlightenment. I know there are so many sub-genres within those, but my taste in books is quite varied, although I usually don’t read horror or high-suspense because I feel life is so full of the latter, I don’t want to add to it in my leisure time.

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

Irene: Most non-fiction books I keep forever and if I really fall in love with one on my eReader, I purchase the paperback/hardcover for my literal bookshelf, as opposed to just my virtual one.

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

Irene: As I mentioned earlier, I’ll steer clear of horror or high-suspense but whether I’m writing or in a dry spell and not writing, I read fiction and non-fiction every day.

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

Irene: My day job is as a grandmother, a Director/Officer for AlzAuthors, and a gatherer of family at our house whenever I have the opportunity to do so. I am very fortunate because 99.9% of my family lives in Washington State so family get-togethers are the norm.

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

Irene: In a sentence: The publishing industry is virtually impossible to crack. Very few authors sign with agents and publishing houses – regardless of how small the house – so if you have something to say and really want to get it out there, self-publish before all the rejections permanently turn you off to writing.

Betty:  What advice do you have for new writers?

Irene: I guess my advice would be to read my answer to the last question.

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

Irene: With 1.5 books currently works in progress, I’ll finish those – which I hope will be completed and published in 2020, and then I might switch to non-fiction going into 2021.

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?

Irene: I have written more than 1,000 non-fiction blog posts on my personal blog which I have hosted for more than eight years, www.babyboomersandmore.com also known as Living: the ultimate team sport. Perhaps I’ll experiment with writing a full-length non-fiction book, using the prevalent theme on that blog: caregiving and family relationships.

Sounds like Irene has several interesting projects on the horizon. Thanks so much for sharing your writing process and stories with us today!

My heart goes out to everyone who faces dementia in any of its forms. I’ve been through it with my own family and it’s definitely a struggle.

For all of my American readers, I hope you had a very Happy Thanksgiving and peaceful time spent with family and friends this week!

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.

Surviving the Walls of Jericho #amwriting #reading #PNR #CommonElementsRomanceProject #fiction #books #paranormal #research

Do you like to hike? I love going to a park and hiking through the woods, up hills and down, listening for birds and looking for wildlife. Just being outside lifts my heart and stirs my imagination. In Charmed Against All Odds, as in others of my stories, my characters go hiking or for a walk outside. In my latest book, Leo recalls an important day when he and Roxie went hiking at the Walls of Jericho Trail in Scottsboro, Alabama. Years ago, I went with my husband and two kids to do the same thing.

It’s a beautiful place but it’s not an easy hike. The trail leads down to a river and waterfalls, and when I say down, I mean it. It’s pretty steep and winding around trees and rocks and roots in the path. At the bottom is a tree bridge with a handrail to cross the river. There is a posted warning that you shouldn’t hike down to the bottom during or after it rains because the river rises too high to cross. Which means you could be trapped in the valley until the waters recede.

Tree bridge at the Walls of Jericho Trail

There are two waterfalls, although by the time we made it to the first one, I was struggling so much that I didn’t climb over the rocks to be able to see it. And if I thought I was struggling then, I hadn’t even realized how I’d struggle hiking back to the car!

Trees and rock wall at the Walls of Jericho Trail

Remember how I said it was a steep descent? Well, to return we had to go up that same steep incline. I was literally taking a few steps and then having to pause because my heart was racing so hard climbing up. I think I remember that it was a one mile vertical drop and the incline was nearly vertical. Which explains the winding path because you couldn’t walk straight down without sliding and tumbling. Or at least my over-active imagination could envision such an ugly descent…

Creek at the bottom of the Walls of Jericho Trail

Obviously, I made it back to the car and survived the hike. But I haven’t ever gone back because if it was tough in 2008 when I was 11 years younger, it wouldn’t be any easier today!

The trail is lovely with lots of green trees and undergrowth.

So Leo remembers how they’d underestimated how hard a trail it is and how they’d had to struggle back up the trail and to his old car. And what that meant to them. To me, I felt like I’d survived an ordeal rather than have an enjoyable time. But I did it nonetheless. I can’t say I conquered the trail, not by any stretch of my imagination. But despite my lack of physicality and strength, I still managed to finish the hike without anyone having to call 911. Which trust me was an accomplishment!

Do you like to hike? Do you enjoy a challenge? Do you want to test your mettle at the Walls of Jericho? Or are you like me and rather take an easier trail to enjoy nature?

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.

Books2Read     Amazon     Barnes & Noble     Kobo      Apple

Getting to know Claire Naden #author #romance #suspense #WomensFiction #historical #fiction #books

It’s author interview day again! One of the benefits of this series is that I’ve gotten to know some really interesting authors. I hope everyone is enjoying getting to know a different author each week. Would you enjoy it if I keep it up into 2020? Please let me know in the comments. Thanks!

This week’s guest author is a kind person I’ve met a few times although I haven’t had much opportunity to speak with her. Please help me welcome Claire Naden, author of romantic suspense and women’s fiction. Let’s peek at her official bio and then we’ll dive right into the interview.

Claire Naden resides in Southern California.  Born and raised in the Pasadena area, she enjoyed a career as a paralegal before turning her attention to writing full-time. Currently, her writing focuses on romantic suspense and historical fiction with an emphasis on World War II, but her interests also include historical events in Asia and the Middle East. Her first published novel, Cache Under the Stacks, A Cate Wagner Mystery, was published in June 2018.  Her second novel, a woman’s fiction, Starting Over, is about to be published this fall. In addition to writing, Ms. Naden is an avid reader, enjoys going to independent and foreign language films. Claire and her husband David, reside in Pasadena and enjoy caring for two spoiled dogs, Mandy and Minnie.  She has a bachelor’s degree in English, and master’s degrees in history and library and information science. You can find out more about her at https://clairenaden.wordpress.com/, and follow her on Amazon, Facebook, or Twitter.

Betty: How many books have you written and published?

Claire: So far one but my second with the galley proofs arrived this past week so I would expect it to be in the print stage very soon.

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

Claire: My first book, a romantic suspense happened quite by accident as a result of a mystery writing class I took. We were to write of an experience that we had which was terrifying, scary, etc.  I chose to write about a phone call that I received in the middle of the night when I was single and living alone in an unsecure apartment building. However, the primary similarity is the phone call and my marital status. From there the book is fiction.

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

Claire: The protagonist in my current work is looking to start her life over after several failed relationships. At midlife she knows she is taking a huge step but desires to make this change in her life – selling her present home and moving to Kauai to run bed and breakfast. You could say it has been a dream of mine to do just that.

A headstrong, ambitious forty-something woman inherited more than a thriving bookstore in her aunt’s will. Bungalow Books came with a cache of valuable artifacts, threats, and maybe love. Cate Wagner, a divorced empty-nester sees a chance to make a new start when she inherits a thriving bookstore from her late great aunt until a phone call in the middle of the night wakes Cate Wagner from an Ambien induced slumber and changes her life. The call is the first in a series of threats and incidents against her and Bungalow Books. Detective Ian West arrives to investigate and falls in love with the independent and often frustrating Cate. An encounter with a former love of Cate’s complicates their new relationship but leads her to clues about the threats. Is it what lies hidden under the stacks of Bungalow Books or is it simply a distraction that will deter Cate from finding the cache of valuable artifacts with historical implications?

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

Claire: I like to write and revise in my office which I converted from a second room. It opened onto the living room and I had a wall added and door with a lock and it has afforded me privacy. Since we live in a condominium, it is often difficult to write at home because when my husband who has a part-time job is home it is a bit distracting. But I must admit to enjoying a day at a local coffee or tea shop where I can write by myself. I have been wanting to start up a writing group but here it is a tough go, but I will not give up.

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?

Claire: I drink coffee and tea in the afternoons. I listen to symphonic soundtracks while I write. I try to write in the late morning into the afternoon. When I was still working, my writing time was very limited, but now that I’m not working I can write whenever I can “get my butt in the chair.” Now I do other things during those hours such as research and character development.

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

Claire: After writing my first book, I didn’t want it to just sit in a drawer. I wanted to get it out there. I tried pitching and querying without much success. I have a good friend who is published, and she encouraged me and introduced me to her publisher, Archway. Also, while attending various writing conferences I developed a strong desire to become one of the pack.

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

Claire: What a great question for me. I have to say that I am tenacious and to my detriment a perfectionist! I never lack for story ideas and will find myself with too many stories I want to write about.

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

Claire: I like to develop my characters and place them in a situation. I usually do these two things almost simultaneously. The situation evolves from my primary character.

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?

Claire: Fortunately, I have a lot of flexibility when scheduling my writing. I was forced into an early retirement and my husband encouraged me to take the leap and write full time since I had been wanting to do that. I had been what some call a professional student: bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies following by one in English; a master’s in history followed by one in library and information science. In 2010 after completing my 2nd masters I started taking online writing courses which led me to writing full time.

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

Claire: My recent struggle has been comparing myself to other writers and their success. I step back and tell myself – “they have been writing longer and have published more books than myself.” I also marvel at authors that manage to publish more than one book a year. I try to figure out how they do that but so far, no magic bullet I have found. I question, why I can’t pump those books out like they can.

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

Claire: I have started NaNoWriMo a couple of times but drop by the wayside. I have found myself doing other things i.e. developing a character, story, revising, self-editing etc. It doesn’t seem to fit my personality although I must say being held accountable for the number of words written in a given day is a great impetus.

Betty: What are you reading right now?

Claire: I just finished Grace in the Wings by Kari Bovee. I usually am reading more than one book and have started Tessa Arlen’s Poppy Redfern and the Midnight Murders (A Woman of WWII Mystery) and The Munich Girl by Phyliss Ring.

Betty: What is your favorite genre to read?

Claire: Historical fiction set in the 1930s and during WWII. I also like to read mysteries.

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

Claire: All of the books that I have read about the 1930s and WWII? Unfortunately, I don’t reread them as there is always something new out that I want to read.

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

Claire: I read in the same genre as my work in progress because I like to immerse myself in that time period along with other writers.

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

Claire: I am thankful I can write full time.

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

Claire: This is a good question. I knew very little about the publishing industry with respect to fiction. My aunt has had a publishing business for many years but her focus has been on non-fiction so I didn’t get much help from her. I have learned a lot on my own and one thing that sticks with me is that it is much harder than I thought. There is so much competition and one should never take for granted that it is easy to break into the publishing industry. I tried for a while and decided that if I wanted to publish my work that I needed to be flexible. There are many options out there besides traditional publishing. Not to be discounted are self-publishing and hybrid publishing – they both deserve more respect.

Betty: What advice do you have for new writers?

Claire: Most would say to write every day which is a good mantra, but it comes down to one thing: don’t give up – keep pushing forward and know you can do it.

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

Claire: I have ideas for two WWII novels which I have been working on for a couple of years, but the research is daunting at times and I get pulled into writing contemporary. I often find falling down the rabbit hole when it comes to research which I love doing and have an idea for a book that takes place in my hometown of Pasadena, CA – turn of the last century!

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?

Claire: I want to write more in the historical genre especially the Victorian period.

Thanks so much for stopping by, Claire! I hope everyone enjoyed getting to know this interesting author along with me.

Are you all starting to think about the upcoming holidays? Have you considered giving the gift of reading, of good books? Reading is so important not only for its educational benefits but also for the enjoyment of visiting other places, other worlds, other ways of life.

Thanks to all of you for reading my blog as well as my books. I deeply appreciate your time and support.

Happy Fall! 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.

Getting to know Regina Jeffers #romance #author #historical #regency #cozymystery #JaneAusten #amreading #fiction

I’m delighted to introduce my next guest author, the amazing, talented romance author Regina Jeffers. She’s had quite an interesting career to date with much more to come. Let’s look at her bio and then move on to the interview, shall we?

Regina Jeffers, an award-winning author of historical cozy mysteries, Austenesque sequels and retellings, as well as Regency era romances, has worn many hats over her lifetime: daughter, student, military brat, wife, mother, grandmother, teacher, tax preparer, journalist, choreographer, Broadway dancer, theatre director, history buff, grant writer, media literacy consultant, and author. Living outside of Charlotte, NC, Jeffers writes novels that take the ordinary and adds a bit of mayhem, while mastering tension in her own life with a bit of gardening and the exuberance of her “grand joys.”

You can learn more about her books at www.rjeffers.com, or follow either of her blogs Every Woman Dreams and Austen Authors or her Amazon page. She’s also on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Betty: How many books have you written and published?

Regina: I have written 48 books.

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

Regina: I write Jane Austen-inspired variations, Regency era romance, romantic suspense/cozy mysteries, and the occasional contemporary.

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

Regina: I used Public Betrayal and Family Lies That Come Back to Bite to drive the story forward. The Heartless Earl is set in the Regency Era when divorce was a VERY public affair.  The Church of England only permitted a “legal separation,” which was termed a “divorce,” a fact that blows the mind of the modern reader. To claim a divorce (the right to marry another), the man first had to seek the “legal separation” on the ground of adultery on the part of his wife. He also had to sue the wife’s lover for “criminal conversation” (alienation of affection) in a different court. The “lover” would be found guilty of “illegal intercourse,” and the court would award the husband damages. The next step would be to petition Parliament to end his marriage. Testimony would be taken regarding the circumstances. This testimony would be published in the newspapers, which meant a quiet end to a marriage was not possible. At length, the bill/petition would be agreed upon, and the couple were free to marry others. 

STERLING BAXTER, the Earl of Merritt, has married the woman his father has chosen for him, but the marriage has been everything but comfortable. Sterling’s wife, Lady Claire, came to the marriage bed with a wanton’s experience. She dutifully provides Merritt his heir, but within a fortnight, she deserts father and son for a baron, Lord Lyall Sutherland. In the eyes of the ton, Lady Claire has cuckolded Merritt.

EBBA MAYER, longs for love and adventure. Unfortunately, she’s likely to find neither. As a squire’s daughter, Ebba holds no sway in Society; but she’s a true diamond of the first water. Yet, when she meets Merritt’s grandmother, the Dowager Countess of Merritt creates a “story” for the girl, claiming if Ebba is presented to the ton as a war widow with a small dowry, the girl will find a suitable match.

LORD LYALL SUTHERLAND remains a thorn in Merritt’s side, but when the baron makes Mrs. Mayer a pawn in his crazy game of control, Merritt offers the woman his protection. However, the earl has never faced a man who holds little strength of title, but who wields great power; and he finds himself always a step behind the enigmatic baron. When someone frames Merritt for Lady Claire’s sudden disappearance, Merritt must quickly learn the baron’s secrets or face a death sentence.

Amazon-Kindle     Kobo     Barnes & Noble     Smashwords
Black Opal Books     Amazon

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

Regina: I still hand write my books in spiral notebooks. I customarily sit in the same chair in my sitting room while doing this, joking saying my inspiration is hidden in the well-worn cushion. Then I type the manuscript. Think about it. That is actually my second draft, not my first.

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?

Regina: I write best later in the evening, somewhere between 5 and 11 P.M. By that time of the day, there is no longer annoying spam callers or other interruptions to break my concentration. Sometimes, I play classical or baroque music, but it is not necessary. That being said, I can write anywhere, waiting in the car pool line at my grandchildren’s school, doctor’s offices, etc.

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

Regina: My road to claiming a publisher was a fluke. When I was still teaching school, I was complaining about a particular book to my students. One student said: “If you know how to do it, do it yourself.” Therefore, I took up the challenge. I rewrote Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice” from Mr. Darcy’s point of view. I self-published it in a time when self-publishing was still called “vanity press.” I had one of my other students draw the cover so she could add “published artist” to her resume for college, and then forgot about it. By word of mouth, the book rose to #8 on Amazon’s sales’ list, and a traditional publisher in California contacted me and offered to publish that book and asked for more.

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

Regina: I think, first and foremost, being a voracious reader provides me the advantage of knowing what works and what does not work in writing. Having lots of experience in both amateur and professional theatre, my strength lies in using dialogue to advance the story—not depending on narration.

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

Regina: The situation is always first for me.

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?

Regina: I have family obligations, but not as many as when I first started writing. I am a retired school teacher, having spent 40 years in the public school system. I prefer to write in the evening. I work out my story issues with a good round of weeding my flower gardens.

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

Regina: Last year, I had several health issues, the most pressing, at the moment, is being diagnosed as a Type 2 diabetic. I am 72 years of age and suddenly I had to start pricking my fingers 3-4 times a day, which really is painful when one spends the majority of her day on the computer. I have solved that problem by claiming a Free Style Libre device that can take a blood glucose reading as many times a day as I choose, and, unless something is significant, no finger sticks are necessary. The only drawback is the device is not covered by Medicare, so it is a bit expensive for out-of-pocket funds.

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

Regina: I actually have participated in NaNoWriMo in the past, but it is not something I do regularly. Generally, I am fairly regimented with my writing and do not require reminders nor a “cheering section” to spur me on. I am too much of a type-A personality not to recognize my weaknesses and my strengths. [As proof I am a type-A, notice I listed “weaknesses” first, or, perhaps that is because I am also a Virgo.]

Betty: What are you reading right now?

Regina: As I said previously, I am a READER. I read everything from cereal boxes to bestsellers. I am very fond of cozy mysteries, family sagas, etc.

Betty: What is your favorite genre to read?

Regina: I, generally, read historicals. I write Regencies, but I also read Westerns, Edwardian, Victorian, Revolutionary War, Civil War, etc. I really enjoy the history of a book. I recently read a book (title and author shall remain unnamed) about the Pony Express. I found myself more interested in the history of the routes taken and the numerous rest stops than I was with the story. History geek all the way!

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

Regina: I am a Jane Austen fan, reread Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion every year, and her others regularly. I also have books from when I was still teaching that I reread. There is a young adult series from Ellen Emerson White on the Vietnam War that I keep on my shelf. My students, especially the males, loved the series, and I saw more than one kid become hooked on reading through them. White used the name Zack Emerson for The Echo Company series. They recently came out in eBooks after being so long out of print. I contacted a number of young men who loved the series and told them of the release so they could finally own a copy of the complete set.

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

Regina: As I am rarely not writing, I am sometimes reading and writing in the same genre, but I like to mix up my reading to keep my stories fresh.

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

Regina: I am a retired school teacher, but for several years I was both teacher and writer. Now, I spend several days a week volunteering at our local Department of Social Services, helping with projects for kids in foster care, Medicaid claims, food stamps, the Christmas Bureau, etc.

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

Regina: The publishing business is not for the faint of heart, nor for those who think they are going to become a best-selling author right away. It happens, but those incidences are few and far between. One must have a thick skin and not permit reviews to bring grief and sadness. You cannot write a book that will please everyone. It is more important that you are happy with how the book turned out.

Betty: What advice do you have for new writers?

Regina: You must LOVE what you do. You must WRITE every day, even if you end up throwing the scene in the trash. You must have the type of personality that you would write even if no one ever saw your story. Write for yourself.

Betty: Any hints of what your next writing project might be?

Regina: So far in 2019, I have released two Austen-inspired pieces: In Want of a Wife and Mr. Darcy’s Bet. Book 3 of my Twins’ trilogy, Lady Chandler’s Sister, arrived in March. A novella, originally published last year as a part of an anthology, Letters from Home, came out in June. Courting Lord Whitmire arrived in July. It was part of the Regency Summer Escape Anthology. On November 7, another holiday themed anthology arrives. It is entitled A Regency Christmas Proposal. My novella, Last Woman Standing, is one of six stories included.

On October 31, Black Opal Books released The Heartless Earl. This is a Regency romantic suspense and part of the Commons Elements Romance Project. More than 70 authors will release books in a variety of genres, each with the same 5 common elements included in the plot.

2020 will see my re-releasing several of my original titles. I recently got back my rights to the books from Ulysses Press, so those will be inserting into my release schedule for next year.

Currently, I am writing I Shot the Sheriff, which will have its release in Winter 2020. This book is part of the Tragic Characters in Classic Literature Series. Each of the authors involved in the project will write a Regency based on a story from classic literature. My story comes from the tales of Robin Hood. The point (no matter whether the original tale was set in a different era) is to give the hero’s nemesis a happy ending. Therefore, in my tale, the Sheriff of Nottingham will receive a different type of “just deserts.”

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?

Regina: I have been asked of late by a large publisher to write a few contemporaries, and there is the possibility of my writing a historical biography of a real-life WWII hero and the romance that lasted more than a half century. Nothing is set in stone at this time, but I am looking forward to doing both. I have also being toying with the idea of a family saga for the past two years. It is time I took on the challenge.

What a varied and prolific career, Regina! Thanks so much for stopping by to share your experience and give other authors some solid advice.

I hope you enjoyed hearing from Regina today. Do you have any questions you’d like to ask her? Or comments on any of her stories you’ve read?

One last reminder, my recent release Charmed Against All Odds is one of the stories at the Common Elements Romance Project website. You can find out more about the many subgenres of romance and the many authors and titles you have to choose from there, too.

Until next time, happy reading, everyone!

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 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. 

Amazon      Barnes & Noble       Kobo US

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.