Getting to know Stacy Gold #author #steamy #contemporary #romance #adventure #novels

I’m impressed with my next author’s work experience mainly because she loves doing a few things I have tried but don’t actually do. Please help me welcome Stacy Gold! Let’s take a look at her bio and then find out more about her and her books.

Compulsive tea drinker.  Outdoor sports junkie. Lover of good (and bad) puns. 

Award-winning author Stacy Gold gave up her day job as Communications Director of a nonprofit mountain biking organization to write sassy, steamy, contemporary romance novels. Her stories are packed with independent, kick-butt women finding love and adventure in the great outdoors. When Stacy’s not busy reading or writing, you can find her dancing, laughing, or playing hard in the mountains of Colorado with her wonderful hubby and happy dogs.

Author Social Links: Website *  Facebook * Twitter * Instagram

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

Stacy: I adore analyzing and writing about the convoluted path people take to finding themselves and falling in love. I’ve also spent a lifetime playing, working in, and writing about the outdoors. When I realized I could combine both, I knew I’d found my calling.

With this stand-alone novella series I challenged myself to make each story feel different, but set them all at the same ski area. The first is a sweet yet steamy, friends-to-lovers romance reuniting two old ski partners. The second brings a pair of ex-lovers together on ski patrol, where they work just as hard controlling their feelings as they do at controlling avalanches. The third is a quirky enemies-to-lovers tale set on the last day of the season at Emerald Mountain’s remote backcountry hut. Each has its own mix of heart, steam, and humor, and I’m really proud of them.

These three standalone, steamy ski romance novellas are what I want to read, and I hope they’re what other people want to read too.

Betty: Which character arrived fully or mostly developed?

Stacy: Sophie from book #2. All my characters have their basis in bits of different people I know or have known. Sophie is based a lot on an old friend of mine from ski bum days in Jackson Hole, WY. She’s brash and tough and not afraid to go after what she wants and I loved writing her.

Betty: Which story element sparked the idea for this story: setting, situation, character, or something else?

Stacy: I have a couple of friends who met and fell in love while working on ski patrol together in California. I always loved their story, and it made great inspiration for this one. Adding in the danger of their job allowed me to create another, deeper layer to this second-chance-at-love story.

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

Stacy: Probably Taya, from the first novella in the series. She’d just come out of a horrible breakup and her life was not at all turning out how she planned, and I don’t think she wanted to be known.

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

Stacy: I did some specific research on avalanche control techniques as they vary greatly from resort to resort. Other than that, I relied on my own, firsthand experience as a long-time resort and backcountry skier and outdoor guide and the tales my patroller friends have told over the years.

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

Stacy: The first novella took about 16 drafts, but I was still honing in on my process. The other two took about 5 drafts.

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

Stacy: Each of these novellas took about three months to write and edit. My writing has gotten a little faster, but I’ve been working on full-length novels and the editing takes longer because the book is bigger and more complex.

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

Stacy: I drink a lot of tea (hot in the winter, iced in summer) and rarely listen to music. I also take breaks every hour at a minimum and don’t spend more than 4 hours a day on a keyboard.

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

Stacy: Oh, gosh. I love to use just, really, that, slick, and a whole bunch more. I have a set list I always search and destroy during editing, plus a list of words and phrases specific to that book that I may have overused.

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

Stacy: I find I look up to different people for different reasons. My in-laws are amazingly thoughtful and giving. My husband is a leader par excellence, and has taught me a ton about managing people and office politics. 

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

Stacy: In winter I write in my office and move between a desk with a kneeling chair and a treadmill workstation. In the summer I set up standing and sitting options on my side porch. Though sometimes the background buzz of a public park or coffee shop is incredibly inspiring.

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

Stacy: I am lucky enough not to have a regular day job right now. My last one was as Communications Director for a nonprofit mountain biking association, but these days I handle our personal business and my writing.

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

Stacy: That I’ve discovered a way to entertain people while saying something important and writing about topics I enjoy. Though the fact that all of my novellas have finaled in contests and/or won awards and I now have an agent comes in a close second. 

Betty: What other author would you like to sit down over dinner and talk to? Why?

Stacy: Sarina Bowen because I adore her books and writing style and impressed with the business she’s built.

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

Stacy: For me, success would mean reaching enough people and selling enough books to be able to support my husband and I, and still have enough left over to support other authors and help them become more successful.

(1) Just Friends — A cold day of powder skiing leads to a night of hot sex, and maybe more, in this friends-to-lovers novella.

Taya Monroe is trying to pick up the pieces of her failed writing career and broken life. Ski Patroller Jordan Wiley is a single dad with zero time or energy for dating. When a snowstorm traps these two old friends in an avalanche of chemistry, will their friendship survive?

(2) In Deep — Avalanches aren’t the only thing these ex-lovers are trying to control in this adrenaline-packed, second-chance-at-love workplace romance.

For eight mind-blowing weeks two years ago, Max and Sophie were lovers. Now he’s her boss on ski patrol. When an adrenaline-filled day turns into a night they need to forget—will they risk their careers for each other?

(3) Never You — Together in a backcountry hut at the end of ski season, some rules are made to be broken in this forced proximity, enemies-to-lovers workplace romance.

Ski Hut Caretaker Morgan Monroe doesn’t do casual relationships. Chef Dan Griffin doesn’t believe in relationships. When things heat up on a cold winter’s night, will they play it safe or follow their hearts?

“A must-read! Fun, flirty, hot!” ~ N. N. Light Reviews

Buy Links: https://stacygold.com/emboxedset/

Sounds like a great trilogy, Stacy. Thanks for stopping in and sharing it with us.

Happy Reading!

Betty

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

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

Getting to know Anise Eden #author #suspense #romance #paranormal #bookchat #books #fiction

Please help me welcome fellow author Anise Eden! Let’s find out a little bit about her and then move right in to the Q&A.

ANISE EDEN is a psychotherapist-turned-writer of award-winning suspense novels with romantic elements and paranormal twists. Originally from the U.S., Anise now lives in Ireland with her husband and their small, benevolent canine dictator. You can learn more about Anise and her books at AniseEden.com. Member of RNA, Sisters in Crime, and the Irish Writers Centre.

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Pinterest

Betty: When did you become a writer?

Anise: I started writing in high school, thanks to a wonderful English and creative writing teacher. My mom says I’ve been writing stories and putting together little books since I learned to read, but I admit I have no memory of those early self-published works!

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

Anise: I wrote my first novel in 2012, then worked on it obsessively until my agent sold it to a publisher in 2015. It was published in 2016, so while I had written poetry previously, I worked on my novel-writing skills for four years prior to publication.

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

Anise: I believe my writing style has been influenced by everything I’ve ever read, to be honest. Some authors who gave me the courage to write in a way that felt natural and organic to me were Barbara Kingsolver, Audre Lorde, and Wally Lamb.

Betty: What prompted you to start writing?

Anise: I began work on my first novel several months into my first experience of forced unemployment. A breakdown in my health led me to leave my social work job, and I began writing as a way of trying to understand what had led to that breakdown. Then the story took on a life of its own.

Betty: What type of writing did you start with?

Anise: In high school, I fell in love with poetry. I worked seriously on that craft for about fifteen years, and had some poems published in small journals. I still love reading poetry, but these days I only write two or three poems a year. My focus has shifted to novel writing, and now it feels constricting to me to write anything under 70k words!

Betty: What do you most enjoy writing? Why?

Anise: I love writing stories that, while firmly grounded in the real world, explore parts of the human experience that remain mysteries. I am a huge science geek, but like so many of us, I’ve also had experiences that defy explanation. I enjoy weaving those elements into uplifting love stories with suspenseful plotlines that keep the pages turning.

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

Anise: In terms of novel writing, I learned by doing, then revising endlessly based on feedback from (very generous) friends and family members. My intensive writing education began while working with my agent, and later with editors in preparation for publication. Collaborating with editors is so exciting for me, and one of my favorite parts of the writing process.

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

Anise: I wish I had understood how drastically the publishing landscape has changed since about 2014-15. That was the year I sold my book, so my expectations were somewhat outdated, based as they were on the experiences of writers who had published prior to this new era in the industry.

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

Anise: Before I started writing my debut novel, I read the first two books in the Spiritwalker Trilogy by Kate Elliott. Her soaring, lyrical prose and the sheer ambition and originality of her stories were an inspiration, and I was on the edge of my seat, waiting for the third book to come out (it was worth the wait!). Reading her books and being encouraged by her intrepid heroine gave me courage to try something new.

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

Anise: After health issues forced me to leave behind my career in psychotherapy, I began writing to try to make sense of what happened. At the same time, I was watching the TV show “Medium,” which prompted me to wonder about the evolutionary origins of paranormal gifts; as a creative exercise, I constructed a Bronze Age origin myth. Those two elements combined as I wrote my first chapter. Then, the story of The Healing Edge Series and its characters landed in my head all at once, banging on my consciousness and demanding to be put on the page. That initial first chapter ended up in the scrap heap, but from there, the trilogy was born.

All of Cate’s problems are in her head. That may be her greatest strength.

Cate Duncan is a promising young therapist, dedicated to her work. But after her mother’s suicide, she is seized by a paralyzing depression. To save her job, Cate agrees to enter a treatment program run by the mysterious Ben MacGregor and his mother.

Housed in a repurposed church, the MacGregor Group is a collection of alternative healers whose unconventional approaches include crystals, aura readings, and psychics, but they need Cate’s unique powers. As her emotional struggles bring her ever closer to her own abyss, Ben will do everything in his power to protect Cate from those who wish her harm—including herself.

A powerful novel of suspense and a wildly inventive start to this paranormal romance series, All the Broken Places engages readers with its striking blend of the supernatural and the psychological.

Excerpt:

In my dream, there was no thought of suicide. We were simply potting begonias on the back porch, getting our hands dirty and inhaling the dueling scents of spicy flowers and sweet earth.

My mother tried—and failed—to sound light and casual. “So, Catie, have you met anyone interesting lately?”

A man, she meant. Without looking up to meet her probing gaze, I said, “Come on, you already know the answer to that question.”

“Okay, okay. I can’t help it, though. I have to keep asking.” She smiled as though she knew something I didn’t. “Maybe soon.”

In one of my typical clumsy moves, I dropped a large clump of potting soil on the floor.

“You don’t have to get it absolutely everywhere, you know,” she teased.

I slid my hand down her forearm, leaving behind a dark streak. “Like that, you mean?”

“No, like this,” she replied, dabbing a glob of wet dirt onto my nose. At once, the dirt-smearing competition was on.

In the midst of our squeals and contortions, I noticed a black pen mark peeking out from beneath the neck of her t-shirt. “What’s that?”

“What’s what?”

“That mark.” I pointed.

She looked down, puzzled, and stretched her collar out until we could both read the words that had been written across her collarbones: “Do Not Resuscitate.”

My dirt-streaked palms flew up to cover my mouth. Mom gazed at me, her eyes heavy with unshed tears. “You’d better go now.”

Buy links: Amazon * B&N * iBooks * GooglePlay * Kobo

Sounds like a powerful story, indeed! Thanks for coming by today, Anise.

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 Aimee O’Brian #romance #author #suspense #fiction #mustread #books

I have a special guest in the interview hot seat today. Author Aimee O’Brian has let her Los Angeles cop character sit in to answer a few questions. This should be fun! But first, let’s peek at Aimee’s bio and then we’ll meet Lexanne Harris.

Award-winning author of dark, sexy, and funny romance, Aimee O’Brian resides in the beautiful wine country. She’s enjoyed careers in retail, teaching, technical writing and office administration. Now, with her three children grown and experiencing their own adventures, she and her husband are free to explore the world. When she’s not reading, writing, or planting even more flowers in her garden, she can be found stomping through ancient ruins and getting lost in museums.

Author Social Links: Website * Instagram * Facebook

Character interview with Lexanne Harris, Los Angeles cop and the protagonist of Aimee O’Brian’s debut novel, Steal My Heart, from Tule Publishing Group.

Betty: How would you describe your childhood?

Lexanne: My childhood sucked. From the day my mom died and I was stuck with just my alcoholic dad, I wanted out of the neighborhood I grew up in. I studied, graduated and joined the police force as soon as I could. I was over being a victim.

Betty: What kind of schooling did you have? Did you enjoy it?

Lexanne: I enjoyed the police academy. I enjoyed learning to kick ass.

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

Lexanne: My greatest achievement was making detective and getting assigned to the larceny division. From the time I put on the uniform, from the time I swore to serve and protect, I wanted to make detective. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the beat, and I rocked the gang task force, but I am, oh, so good at catching criminals. I thrive on risk, on challenge. How much better is it to catch a clever criminal, one who thinks he’s impervious to the law?

Betty: If you could change one thing from your past, what would it be and why?

Lexanne: My mom dying. I’d change that, yeah, that one thing. Just that.

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

Lexanne: I’m afraid of heights because of what happened to my mom.  The only person who knows is my best friend Cassidy. I can’t show weakness, not on the job, not to anyone, but Cass has been my best friend since third grade. She knows all my secrets and is still my friend.

Betty: Are you close to your family?

Lexanne: If I could choose my family it would be Cassidy, and, maybe, her kid sister Mia.  Cassidy keeps me honest and her little sis is classy. They’re my personal back-up.

Betty: What characteristics are you looking for in a potential lover?

Lexanne: The usual, you know, stamina, endurance, a hot bod. I have a plan to act out my fantasy tonight with my latest hook-up. He’s a fellow cop. I acted out his fantasy, so now it’s my turn. Sex with a cat burglar – how cool is that! Man, I can’t wait.  And, hey, I’m a cop, he’s a cop, I’m housesitting a mansion. It’s the perfect opportunity. What could possibly go wrong?

When a fantasy turns into a cold reality

Lexanne Harris had a plan down to the last sexy detail. Never did she think her attempt to spice up her love life with her boyfriend would involve her in a burglary with a sexier-than-sin thief whose emerald eyes and serious between-the-sheets skills are impossible to forget. As a police detective, she is expected to stand on the side of the law and fight for justice. But what happens when the lines of justice blur and what’s wrong becomes way too tempting? The situation might be challenging, but Lexanne is determined to get assigned to the case, recover the jewels and catch the culprit. The question is: What will she do with her sexy cat burglar when she catches him?

Buy Links: TulePublishing * Amazon

I do hope Lexanne catches her cat burglar, don’t you? Thanks for stopping by, Lexanne!

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 Cheryl St. John #author #historical # contemporary #fiction #nonfiction #novels

Please help me welcome my guest today the wonderful author Chery St. John! Let’s take a glance at her bio and then get right to the fun party, shall we?

USA Today bestseller Cheryl St. John is the author of more than fifty historical and contemporary novels. Her stories have earned numerous awards and are published in over a dozen languages. One thing all reviewers and readers agree on regarding Cheryl’s work is the degree of emotion and believability. In describing her stories of second chances and redemption, readers and reviewers use words like “emotional punch, hometown feel, core values, believable characters and real-life situations.”

Amazon and Goodreads reviews show her popularity with readers. With a 4.9-star rating on Amazon, Cheryl’s bestselling non-fiction books, Writing with Emotion, Tension, & Conflict and Write Smart, Write Happy by Writers Digest Books are available in print and digital.

Author Social Links: Facebook * BookBub

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

Cheryl: The Babies and Bachelors Series for which I wrote this book required a cowboy who gets a baby to care for. I’d written a couple of post-Civil War stories in the past and wanted to do something I’d never tried before, so an ex-soldier with a baby on his hands was what I imagined. Of course, he was a Union officer, so my heroine became a Southern belle who survived the war and afterward escaped to the North.

Betty: Which character arrived fully or mostly developed?

Cheryl: Raylene came to me most developed. I immediately knew her story and that her life had been turned upside down. She’s trying to keep it together the only way she knows how. As the daughter of a rich Southern gentleman, her future was laid out for her. She can embroider, needlepoint, and play the piano. She’s cultured and educated. None of that serves her well when stability is knocked out from under her, so she has to survive and recreate herself with sheer grit.

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

Cheryl: I’ve written books in this time period before, so I did a quick timeline review of the war, searched for places where my characters grew up, and chose specific battles. When I write a period piece, I often make a list of movies and watch them in order to get a feel for the atmosphere and attitudes of the time. I had a huge list for this story and got through about twenty movies.

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

Cheryl: I’m a one draft writer, so don’t throw rocks. I know that’s unusual. When I start my day’s writing, I go back and edit what I wrote the day before. Halfway through the book, I go back to the beginning and add anything I’ve missed. At the end I spell check and edit for errors. I rarely actually need to revise.

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

Cheryl: I can usually write a book this length in two or three months. For this particular story I used a sensitivity reader and a couple of beta readers, so that took a little longer.

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

Cheryl: I write at my desk and only at my desk. I usually have a cup of coffee or tea sitting to my right. On my left is my three-ring story binder that holds everything I need to write the book. Many writers keep their info in digital files, but I’m a tactile paper and pen person and have my character grids, hand-written ideas, names with descriptions, goal-motivation-conflict sheets, research and photographs all in this binder. It pretty much lies open on my left through the duration of the writing process.

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

Cheryl: For some reason, I catch those things on my own most of the time. I do editing for other writers, so I’m conscious of repetitive words. I do check for just and it before finalizing.

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

Cheryl: I plot and create characters on my sofa, with a cup of coffee, my binder and worksheets and assorted colored gel pens. I write at my desk. I edit at my desk. I most often read in bed on my iPad.

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

Cheryl: I’m very proud of my backlist and body of work. I wrote over fifty books for Harlequin, both historical and contemporary in several lines, and I’ve written how-to books for Writers Digest. Burned out after twenty-five years under deadline, I took a hiatus a few years ago and cared for a new grandbaby. During that time, I learned I still wanted to write, but vowed I would only write books I loved from then on. I’m enjoying writing the stories I want to tell, the way I want to tell them.

Betty: What other author would you like to sit down over dinner and talk to? Why?

Cheryl: That would be Stephen King. He’s a genius. Some of his books I’ve read at least ten times. The Stand is one of my all-time favorite books. He creates such amazing characters that studios keep remaking movie adaptations of his books. And he’s no-nonsense funny. I’d love to pick his brain.

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

Cheryl: While I’d love to be rich, if not famous, there’s a lot to be said for being proud of my work ethic, the people I’ve touched with my stories, and the writers I’ve worked with during my career. I’ve heard from readers who tell me my stories helped them through difficult times. One letter in particular that I cherish was from a young woman who had read Saint or Sinner. She told me her step-father had beaten her, causing permanent nerve damage in her arm. I remember sitting and crying because I sit in my comfortable air-conditioned office with my coffee and make this stuff up while others are experiencing true tragedy. But what she wrote next has stayed with me forever. She said my story gave her hope—hope that someone would love her the way Joshua loved Addie. That meant more than the awards on my walls. There’s never enough hope in this world. If I can share a little hope with readers, I consider that success. I may not be rich or famous, but I love writing the stories of my heart and sharing them with readers.

He’s focused on the future…
The past is all she knows.
Together they’re forced to face today.

His months in Salisbury prison taught Union Captain Tanner Bell to detest a southern drawl, and Widow Cranford’s exaggerated Dixie twang has him gritting his teeth. His plans for a ranch are threatened when his orphaned newborn niece is delivered to him, and he desperately needs her help.

Raylene Cranford survived a Georgia winter living on acorns and scrawny rabbits before traveling sixteen-hundred miles to carve out a life in Colorado. She lost everything—except her dignity and hope. Her feminine Southern graces are her armor, but maintaining appearances could cost her love.

Can a Southern belle and a Union soldier change deeply-ingrained misconceptions about themselves for the sake of a child?

Buy Links: Amazon

I love your definition of success so much. Thanks for stopping by, Cheryl!

Until next time, happy reading!

Betty

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

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

Getting to known Ashley A Quinn #author #contemporary #romance #suspense #thriller #mustread #fiction #books

My guest today loves to read and write suspense stories. Please help me welcome Ashley A Quinn to the interview hot seat! Let’s take a gander at her bio and then find out more about her, shall we?

Ashley is a contemporary romantic suspense author. She currently lives in Ohio with her husband, two kids, three cats, and one hyperactive German Shepherd mix. A lifelong lover of knowledge, you can often find her with her nose buried in an academic journal or a suspense thriller. She’s also an avid baseball fan and loves SyFy disaster flicks.

Author Social Links: Facebook * FacebookReaderGroup * Instagram

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

Ashley: A photograph. I was cruising through Instagram and saw a picture author Leslie Marshman posted of the ruins of St. Dominic’s Church in D’Hanis, TX. After I got over how hauntingly beautiful the picture was, I thought how great a place it would be to hide a body. Then the first scene for A Beautiful End popped into my head and The Broken Bow series was born.

Betty: Which character arrived fully or mostly developed?

Ashley: One of my side characters who has his own book later in the series, Thomas. He leaped off the page from the very first word he spoke.

Betty: Which story element sparked the idea for this story: setting, situation, character, or something else?

Ashley: A bit of all of it, I guess. It was born from the setting, but it’s driven by the characters’ responses to the situation.

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

Ashley: A couple of the side characters I wanted to develop later. Their backgrounds didn’t want to come to me, so I had a hard time fleshing them out at first until I spent a little more time in their heads.

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

Ashley: Forensics. And oddly enough, botany. Large parts of the story are driven by the criminal investigation, and I had to create a trail for law enforcement to follow. I have a thing about needing to be accurate, so I delved deep to make sure everything I wrote was plausible.

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

Ashley: Three. A rough draft and two rounds of edits.

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

Ashley: It was around three or four months, I think, which is actually faster than I used to write, but not as fast as I do now. This story was the start of taking my writing truly seriously. When I launched this series, it was the start of a new outlook on publishing for me.

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

Ashley: I don’t really have any. I listen to music to drown out external noise if I need to, but mostly I just write when I have time.

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

Ashley: Smiled, laughed, looked, nodded. I talk about hands a lot, too. People use them to talk and it’s become part of “speech” for me when I write dialogue.

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

Ashley: My mom. She works hard and can do just about anything she puts her mind to. I strive to do the same.

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

Ashley: I have a desk… I usually end up on the couch, though. When I edit, I print out the manuscript and use a pen, so then I cover the entire sofa with pages. My cat enjoys messing up my piles.

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

Ashley: I don’t have a day job outside of writing. It is my job.

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

Ashley: Becoming consistent with my writing and turning it into a real career.

Betty: What other author would you like to sit down over dinner and talk to? Why?

Ashley: James Rollins. His thrillers are fascinating. The way he connects information and draws conclusions from that is amazing. I would love to discuss his thought process.

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

Ashley: Being able to make a steady, livable income off my writing. I don’t need to be famous, but it would be nice to know that if something happened to my husband, my kids and I would be okay without me scrambling to find a decent job when I’ve been out of my field of study for twenty years. Writing and publishing is finally looking like it will be that for me.

London Scott’s routine, boring life gets a jolt when her niece discovers a woman’s body while out hiking with her boyfriend. It’s just her luck, though, that it’s Sebastian Archer who investigates the murder. Having known the man since childhood, she’s always been the annoying tagalong. Even though she finds him drop-dead sexy, that’s a ship that can never sail now that she’s guardian to her niece and his goddaughter.

Two years ago, Seb moved home to take the position as local sheriff, ready for a slower pace and to be closer to his family. That included his best friend’s sister, London. The beautiful innkeeper had held his heart since they were young, but the timing never felt right to start something. When a serial killer murders a woman in his jurisdiction who bears a striking resemblance to London, Seb realizes he could lose her before they ever get a chance.

Will London’s reluctance to date the handsome sheriff deliver her into the hands of a psychopath?

Buy Links: Amazon

I love how the cat “helps” Ashely with her writing, don’t you? Thanks for sharing about your writing process and role model, Ashely!

Is anyone else shocked that May is almost over already? Be sure to take some time to relax under a shady tree and read a good story before the warm weather is over and we’re talking about Halloween! 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 Mary Helen Sheriff #author #southern #womens #fiction #mustread #books #amreading

Have you ever wanted to take a drive with a beloved family member but life prevented it? My guest today has used her imagination to create the road trip that never was. Please help me welcome Mary Helen Sheriff to the interview hot seat! Let’s take a look at her background and then find out more about the inspiration for her writing.

Mary Helen Sheriff is the author of southern women’s fiction, Boop and Eve’s Road Trip, and a co-founder of Bookish Road Trip. After 14 years in classrooms teaching elementary school, middle school, college, and professionals, Mary has taken a break from the classroom to focus on writing. She has an MFA from Hollins University, an MA from ODU, and a BA from UVA. She lives in Henrico County with her two children, two cats, and one husband.

Website * Facebook * Instagram * BookBub

Betty: When did you become a writer?

Mary Helen: Even as a kid I played with creative writing. Serious aspirations came along 22 years ago when I was in graduate school for teaching. In my Teaching Middle School Social Studies class, the professor suggested a geography project for our students and asked us to complete the project so we’d have a sample to show our students when we assigned it. Somehow my sample became a novella. The professor loved it and suggested I get it published and a dream was born.

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

Mary Helen: I honed my writing skills for about five years before any of my work found a home. The first pieces I published were short stories and poems. It was twenty-two years before I published my debut novel. In between I earned an MFA from Hollins University and completed three other unpublished novels.

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

Mary Helen: Han Nolan pushed me not to shy away from conflict. Hillary Homzie nourished the storyteller in me. Alexandria LaFaye taught me the value of double duty details. Michael Neff forced me to leave my artistic bubble and consider the marketplace.

Betty: What type of writing did you start with?

Mary Helen: My early efforts were in writing middle grade and young adult books. In fact, I went to Hollins University and earned an MFA in Children’s Literature. Boop and Eve’s Road Trip actually started as a young adult novel, but over time Boop (the eighty-year-old grandma) evolved from a sidekick to a dual protagonist, and young adult novels don’t have half the narrative from the point of view of a grandmother. The coming-of-age elements common to young adult books are still present in the final version of Boop and Eve’s Road Trip, but once I left the young adult category I was able to incorporate more adult themes.

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

Mary Helen: My grandma Hootie passed away when I was pregnant with my first child. She lived a difficult life and made some significant mistakes, but the lady I knew was this amazing, loving grandma. I couldn’t help wishing she were still around when I was sitting in a dark place, and then I thought maybe she can be there for Eve. Enter the character of Boop.

After having babies, I struggled with postpartum depression. Part of my healing process was writing this book and attempting to capture what it feels like to sit in a dark place and to feel like you hadn’t earned the right to sit there. I think as a society we are empathetic when depression meets grief but bewildered by depression that we can’t explain. Eve was born from my journey from depression to recovery.

Like Eve and Boop in the novel, Hootie and I shared a daydream about renting an RV when I turned sixteen years old and taking a road trip together across the country. For many reasons this road trip never happened in real life—in large part because neither of us was capable of safely driving an RV across the country. Writing Boop and Eve’s Road Trip was a way for me to imagine the road trip that never was.

Eve Prince is done―with college, with her mom, with guys, and with her dream of fashion design. But when her best friend goes MIA, Eve must gather together the broken threads of her life in order to search for her.

When Eve’s grandmother, Boop, a retiree dripping with Southern charm, finds out about the trip, she―desperate to see her sister, and also hoping to alleviate Eve’s growing depression―hijacks her granddaughter’s road trip. Boop knows from experience that healing Eve will require more than flirting lessons and a Garlic Festival makeover. Nevertheless, Boop is frustrated when her feeble efforts yield the same failure that her sulfur-laced sip from the Fountain of Youth wrought on her age. She knows that sharing the secret that’s haunted her for sixty years might be the one thing that will lessen Eve’s growing depression―but she also fears that if she reveals it, she’ll lose her family and her own hard-won happiness.

Boop and Eve’s journey through the heart of Dixie is an unforgettable love story between a grandmother and her granddaughter.

Excerpt:

Justine, looking as though she’d just stepped out of a Vineyard Vines catalog, held up a neon orange flamingo birdhouse. It’d been a housewarming gift from her neighbor, Shirley, who, bless her heart, had a hole in her bag of marbles. Like Shirley herself, the birdhouse plucked Boop’s nerves. The house, nestled in the bird’s body, was perched atop one of the flamingo’s legs and toppled over every time the door opened. She’d had to glue it back on half a dozen times. Boop held onto the klutzy mis-colored flamingo though—a reminder that she’d once toppled over every time the door opened too. Wouldn’t do to forget where she came from.

“These birdhouses make you seem like a crazy old lady. Your condo’s more like a gardening store than a home.” Justine’s coiffed perfection underscored the flamingo’s ridiculousness.

“Honey, I am a crazy old lady. Don’t make no difference to me what people think.” Boop’s eyes swept her collection—all forty-three birdhouses.

Thankfully, Justine let it go at that. Maybe she chalked up Boop’s strange fetish to the three pet birds she’d lost in as many months. Only it wasn’t the birds. None of them had lasted more than ten days; hardly enough time to get attached. No, it was the emptiness that Boop sought to fill, but Justine wouldn’t know about that. No one did.

Buy links: ChopSueyBooks * MainStreetReads * Amazon

I love to drive and have taken family on road trips before, not all of them fun and entertaining like this one sounds like! Thanks for sharing your inspiration and giving us a peek at your story, Mary!

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.

Getting to know Monique Singleton #author #psychological #suspense #fantasy #storyteller #amreading #amwriting #fiction #books

My guest today comes to us from Holland and has an intriguing background to draw on for her writing. Please help me welcome author Monique Singleton! Let’s take a look at her bio and then find out more about her and her stories, shall we?

USA Today Best-selling Author Monique Singleton writes compelling stories that mix fantasy with realistic psychological suspense and unique insights into the mind of the main characters.

As the daughter of a British soldier and his Dutch wife, Monique was born in an English military hospital in Germany. The family toured the world where she was exposed to different cultures in many countries. Finally settling down in the Netherlands she pursued a career in Art and later in ICT.

Monique started to put the scenes she had running around in her head down to paper. Scenes led to a story, the story to a book, and the first book to a series. In addition to her writing, Monique still holds down a full-time job as a business consultant. She lives in a beautiful old farmhouse in the south of Holland with her two sloppy monster dogs, some horses, and a cat.

The cat is the boss.

Facebook * Instagram * BookBub

Betty: Which character arrived fully or mostly developed?

Monique: None of the characters actually arrived fully developed. They evolved during the different books. I don’t outline my books. I am what they call a “Pantser.” I write by the seat of my pants. This means that subjects, plots, and characters can change during the writing process.

Betty: Which story element sparked the idea for this story: setting, situation, character, or something else?

Monique: The main protagonist was the first idea. She was not a clear and precise character, not at the beginning. She grew with the story.

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

Monique: I think the main characters are the most difficult to get to know. In Primal Nature that’s definitely the case for the main protagonist because she herself does not understand what is happening to her.

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

Monique: I did a lot of research with regard to locations, cultures (Maori cultures in the other books of the series) and also research on the riders of the apocalypse. Even with Fantasy, it has to be right.

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

Monique: I wrote one major draft but changed it a bit on the way. After that I went back and re-edited the draft. I guess that constitutes a new draft. All in all, I think there have been 4 or 5 releases. I still change things as I learn more about writing.

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

Monique: This was the first book I wrote. It took about a year to write, and another five years to pluck up the courage to publish it. Most books take me 4 months to write. Then the laborious editing process starts.

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

Monique: No specific rituals. I do usually read what I wrote last time and go on from there. I do not write sequentially. I write what comes to mind.

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

Monique: One of my overused words is “OK”, or “So.”

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

Monique: Terry Pratchett. He was a fantastic author who regrettably is no longer with us. Though his genre was different from mine, he is a great role model.

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

Monique: No special place or time. I do a lot of reading in the bath.

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

Monique: I work 4 days a week as a business consultant in IT. I very much enjoy that as well.

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

Monique: Deciding to self-publish and taking the first step.

Betty: What other author would you like to sit down with over dinner and talk to? Why?

Monique: Terry Pratchett, J.K. Rowling, and so many more.

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

Monique: Success in writing would be if people enjoy my books and maybe some will take a step back and think of some of the social subjects I write about.

I would love to write full time. My ultimate fantasy is to see my work on film or on a streaming site.

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

Monique: The stories ran around in my head for a long time. I have always been a very creative person fascinated by Fantasy. This resulted in scenes that formed in my mind that I just had to put down to paper. The Primal Series is about a flawed heroine. Someone with good and bad points. Someone like us.

Immortality comes at a high price: her sanity.

Known simply as subject 336, she was the unwilling subject of sinister and brutal experiments designed to replicate her enormous strength, healing powers, and apparent immortality.
It didn’t work out that way. Instead, they unleashed her primal nature.

Now they’re dead, and she’s lost.

From the sweltering heat of the Mexican desert, her journey leads her to the tropical jungle of the Columbian Amazon.

Against the backdrop of the Third World War, she fights her own gruelling battle to come to terms with what she is: a killer, a monster, or maybe worse.

The world is at war, and she is caught up in the middle.

Joining the revolution, her newfound talents sway the balance of war in their favour.

But is she a blessing, or a curse?

Buy Links: Amazon * B&N * Kobo * iBooks * Smashwords * Books2Read

Thanks for letting us take a peek at your writing inspiration and process, Monique. Your story sounds intriguing and inspiring.

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.

Getting to know Catherine Tinley #Author #Regency #Historical #Romance

My guest today lives in a place that is filled with history and romantic, so perfect for the author of historical romance. Please help me welcome Catherine Tinley! Let’s take a look at her bio and then find out more about her.

Catherine Tinley is an award winning author of historical romance. She writes witty, heartwarming Regency love stories for Harlequin Mills & Boon. She has loved reading and writing since childhood, and has a particular fondness for love, romance, and happy endings. After a career encompassing speech & language therapy, Sure Start, maternity campaigning and being President of a charity, she now manages a maternity hospital. She lives in Ireland with her husband, children, cats, and dog.

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram

Betty: When did you become a writer?

Catherine: I’ve been writing for many years – writing for work, and writing for my own enjoyment. I first became an author in 2017, when Waltzing with the Earl was published.

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

Catherine: All my life, I suppose. It may look as though I had overnight success – Waltzing with the Earl was the first project I’d ever submitted to publishers. Not only did it get me my first ever publishing contract, it also won the prestigious RitaTM Award in the USA. In reality, I’d been building and honing my writing skills for years.

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

Catherine: Georgette Heyer is my all-time favourite author, and my first book was borne out of the frustration that I’d read all of her Regencies and Georgians too many times.

Betty: What prompted you to start writing?

Catherine: An idea. That’s often the case, I think. I’d been watching the BBC Pride & Prejudice (yes, the Colin Firth version) and I wondered what might happen if a woman lost her place/ financial standing after she and a man were on the way to falling in love. Since then I’ve published seven books, with the eighth, Captivating the Cynical Earl, set for release in July.

Betty: What do you most enjoy writing? Why?

Catherine: I write women’s stories. I write about strong women who face challenges, and overcome them, and find partners who are worthy of them. Although my books are set around 200 years ago, the themes are recognizable as issues affecting women and girls today. I like writing gentle, family-based stories, exploring relationships, and occasionally throwing people into unusual situations to see how they’ll cope. My recent book, Rags-to-Riches Wife, tells the story of a serving-maid, Jane, who is invited to stay with wealthy relatives. Readers seemed to really enjoy the fish-out-of-water and Cinderella tropes, and that book has recently won the RoNA award from the Romantic Novelists Association, which is wonderful!

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

Catherine: None of the above :D. I just wrote, and read, then repeated that ad infinitum. I now use craft books and find them really helpful, but I rarely attend classes. Everyone walks their own path, and that has been mine.

Betty: What inspired you to write the book you’re sharing with us today? Lady Cecily Thornhill appeared as a secondary character in two of my other books, and I thought it was about time she moved centre-stage for her own story to be told. I’ve matched her with Jack Beresford, Earl of Hawkenden, and given her only a month to melt his cold heart.

The cool, aloof earl
And the enchanting lady

For Jack Beresford, Earl of Hawkenden, emotional entanglements are the path to pain. But when his brother brings his new wife and her best friend to his country home, everything changes. Lady Cecily Thornhill is both vibrant and beautiful, and Jack finds himself increasingly captivated by her sunny nature. Yet he must resist her charms, for in a month she’ll be gone—unless his frozen heart thaws before then…

Excerpt:

There was a sudden murmur of female interest, drawing Cecily out of her thoughts. At the same time she heard Nell gasp beside her. All eyes were drawn to the door, where a new arrival had just been announced.

He stood just inside the room, a head taller than almost everyone there. His figure was strong, lean and imposing, his face starkly handsome. Or at least it would be, Cecily thought, if there had been any kindness in it. He wore the full evening dress required for events such as these, but had chosen a black jacket, giving him a faintly sinister air. It was moulded to his form, drawing the eye to the breadth of his shoulders, the narrowing of his back, the smoothness of his hips.

I’ll wager he needed two valets to get into that, thought Cecily dryly. And men accuse us women of vanity!

All around the room ladies were sitting up a little straighter, smiling a little more broadly, and chattering just a little more loudly than they had been. Cecily sighed. Sometimes she quite despaired of her sex.

Buy links: Available for pre-order now. Books2Read

Congrats on winning the RoNA award, Catherine! That’s fabulous! Thanks also for sharing your story with us.

I send out my newsletter on the first of every month, so please be sure to sign up below if you haven’t already. Thanks for your interest and I wish you all perfect day, however you define it, to read a good book! 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 Helen C. Johannes #author #adventure #fantasy #romance #fiction #storyteller #amreading #amwriting

My guest today is a fellow member of Romance Writers of America and also a fellow lover of historical places. Please help me welcome Helen C. Johannes to the interview hot seat! Let’s take a look at her bio and then find out more about her and her inspirations…

Helen C. Johannes writes award-winning fantasy romance inspired by the fairy tales she grew up reading and the amazing historical places she’s visited in England, Ireland, Scotland and Germany. She writes tales of adventure and romance in fully realized worlds sprung from pure imagination and a lifelong interest in history, culture, and literature. Warriors on horseback, women who refuse to sit idly at home, and passion that cannot be denied or outrun—that’s what readers will find in her books.

Website * GoodReads * BookBub * Email

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

Helen: Years and years and years. I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember: essays, research papers, poems, stories, novels. Whatever I was studying and whatever struck my fancy, plus countless pages of instructional material in my career as a writing teacher. But my first and forever love is story-telling. Anything with suspense, adventure, danger, and romance.

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

Helen: Fairy tales, most definitely. I think I absorbed them through the skin from a book I had as a child. And Tolkien, whose world building inspired my own attempts; Shakespeare, who knew how to craft a plot true to character; Mary Stewart, who hooked me on romantic suspense; and Susan Elizabeth Phillips, who knows how to pack an emotional punch, among countless others among my wide and varied reading.

I don’t know that they’ve influenced my style so much as demonstrated various aspects of story construction in a way that I could internalize the lessons. People joke about learning by osmosis, but I firmly believe that the best way to lay the foundation for learning to write well is by reading and, reading widely.

Betty: What type of writing did you start with?

Helen: My first attempts to write to the market were romantic suspense (I finished 3½ manuscripts), but what truly fired my imagination was a fantasy story I’d begun in high school and never finished. When I dusted that off, I found it was better than I thought and still captured my imagination. After years of work applying all that I’d learned from workshops and critique partners, that fantasy romance became my first published book, THE PRINCE OF VAL-FEYRIDGE. I didn’t know at the time that I’d be turning it into a series, but it’s now Crown of Tolem #1.

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

Helen: In addition to reading widely, I credit a series of exceptional critique partners for helping me refine my prose. I have also benefitted from workshops, classes, and conferences, most sponsored by RWA chapters. As a teacher, I’ve been a mentor and a contest judge, and while those experiences have given me the satisfaction of helping others, I’ve learned so much more about my own work from spotting gaffes in the work of others. Successful writers don’t work in a vacuum.

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

Helen: Princess and the Pea and Star Wars. Yes, you read that right.

LORD OF DRUEMARWIN, Crown of Tolem #2, picks up where THE PRINCE OF VAL-FEYRIDGE leaves off. The quest for the Crown has been successful, sort of like in Star Wars: A New Hope, but we all know the war isn’t over, and the main players have to separate in order to confront their own demons (like Luke in the swamp with Yoda). My hero, Naed, new Lord of Druemarwin, must go home to rally his people to the cause and to reckon with what he’s learned about his family (his meeting-Darth Vader-in-the-cave moment). And then there’s the assassin stalking him. His bride-to-be, Lady Raell, has the Princess and the Pea experience, an outsider trying to join a family who looks upon her with distrust and even disdain. It doesn’t help that she’s already unusual among her own people, a woman skilled with blades.

Lady Raell can fight, ride, and argue politics as well as her brothers. Only being mistress of her father’s household keeps her in skirts. In Naed, the new Lord of Druemarwin, she has found devotion, a kindred spirit, and a marriage promise. But when a forgotten and unwanted betrothal comes to light, she has no choice but to run.

Amidst sweeping revolution, Naed must rally his people, fend off assassination attempts, and fight against claims he’s a traitor. Then he discovers everything about his lineage and family is a lie. And his beloved belongs to another.

With lives and a kingdom at stake, Raell and Naed must find a way to protect the innocent and save their love.

Excerpt:

“Raell, now is not the time—”

Aye, it wasn’t. They stood in torchlight on an open parapet while assassins stalked them, but this might be her only chance to reach him across that precipice he’d thrown up between them, to secure the future they were meant to share.

“Does my honor mean naught? When weighed with D’nalian honor, is mine lesser because ‘tis a woman’s honor? Or because ‘tis a Tolemak’s honor? Be honest and tell me that.”

The world had gone silent; Raell could hear nothing over the rush of blood in her ears, the terrible heavy beats of her heart while she waited, dizzy with fear, breathless with longing, for the man she loved to respond with a word, a look, even a blink. Even a shift of his gaze she’d take as a sign he’d at least heard, mayhap begun to consider—

“Yes, be honest, Lord Naed,” said a voice she’d heard but once, a voice that raised all the fine hairs on her body and made her innards contract into a cold, tight knot. “Tell us both how much honor means to a bastard who’s betrayed his countrymen and his blood.”

Buy links: Amazon * B&N * Apple * Kobo * Walmart * WildRosePress

Thanks for sharing your story with us, Helen! It sounds like quite an adventure!

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 Julia O. Greene #Author #Fiction #Fantasy #Speculative #Contemporary #Romance

Today’s guest author hails from the Midwest and brings a fresh perspective to her stories. Please help me welcome Julia O. Greene to the interview hot seat! Take a peek at her bio and then we’ll find out more about her.

Julia O. Greene is a pen name for Susan Stradiotto who is typically a fantasy and speculative fiction author. As the material she writes doesn’t serve the romance audience, she decided to pay tribute to her grandmother in her contemporary fiction. Susan lives in Eden Prairie, Minnesota with her husband, three children, and a crazy Bernese Mountain Dog named Delaunay. Stories of all kinds are her passion, and she has always been a voracious reader, lover of worlds, and hoarder of books. Her infatuation with well-developed characters sometimes rivals relationships with real people.

Website * Facebook * Instagram * Twitter

Betty: When did you become a writer?

Julia: I’ve been a writer all my life but became serious about writing as a career in 2017.

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

Julia: This is a hard question to answer because I’ve been passionate about reading and writing ever since I can recall. But if pressed to say when I started honing the skill, I’d go with 2017.

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

Julia: There are several from different genres.

  • From women’s fiction, Lianne Moriarty.
  • From paranormal romance, J.R. Ward.
  • From fantasy: Jacqueline Carey and N.K. Jemesin.

Betty: What prompted you to start writing?

Julia: In the eleventh grade, my English teacher challenged us to go all out on a creative writing assignment, and I believe that’s what started my love of storytelling.

Betty: What type of writing did you start with?

Julia: Fantasy with tons of worldbuilding. My real inspiration here was a trip I took to Italy and Greece.

Betty: What do you most enjoy writing? Why?

Julia: Fantasy and Romance, or really anything with a happy ending. While I adore conflict in fiction, I want the resolution to be good for my main characters. This life is so short, I really feel people need to seek out their happiness.

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

Julia: I’d have to say, “The Brute-Force Method.” I wrote, looked for feedback, researched the feedback I received, purchased craft books, and wrote some more. I learn every time I receive an edit back or feedback from a critique. Ongoing honing and learning are something that really jazzes me up about the process of writing.

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

Julia: The timeline for getting a book to market and what it means to adequately market a book. I’ve learned a ton since I published my first book in 2018, and it’s getting more and more fluid. I actually took a year off from publishing just to build a backlog of content so that I can continue writing while publishing and not lose that momentum.

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

Julia: The favorites I mentioned above plus Stephanie Meyer. I wrote a fan fiction about Alice and Jasper after reading the Twilight series. That, however, will never see the light of day.

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

Julia: When I wrote An Orchid Falls, it was inspired by a friend who actually went through a divorce. My aim was to give her the happy ending she deserved, even if it was in a fictional form.

Divorced. Single Mother.

Words that Calli never imagined she’d use to describe herself, but today, she would sign those fateful papers and bring the words to life—her life. Her career is going well enough. With the financial arrangements in the decree, she’d be able to maintain a solid middle-class status. Her plans for the future are set…keep on keeping on. Maybe one day, her mother could accept her divorce. Maybe one day she’d be comfortable alone. Maybe one day, her life would turn out how it was supposed to be with Bennett. But for today, she’d go to happy hour and celebrate her freedom with her friends.

The variable Calli’s calculations don’t include: restaurateur, Dominic Moretti.

Food. Fitness.

The two pleasures in life that Dom thrives upon. Moretti’s, his first love, his upscale flagship restaurant in Minneapolis, has grown to one of the most in-demand venues in the Twin Cities. When he isn’t traveling for business, he enjoys overseeing the floor as his alter-ego: restaurant manager, Nic Moore. In his other foodie ventures, he operates as the better-known Dom of The Dinner Shark on Food Network. All work and very little play keep his accounts bulging at the seams, and he thoroughly enjoys a city-boy bachelor’s lifestyle.

The secret ingredient he has yet to factor into his perfect recipe: Callista Lindley.

Excerpt:

Not stepping out of his arms, she turned her head and looked up at him with her big, deep browns—eyes he could lose himself in for hours if it weren’t for the pull of her lips. He leaned in and kissed her softly. “Merry Christmas.”

Buon Natale,” answered Calli.

Dom raised a brow. “Joyeux Nöel.”

Feliz Navidad.”

Fröhliche Weihnachten.”

Calli chewed the inside of her lip and looked around, searching with her eyes. A light went on. “Felicem natalem Christi.”

Dom dropped back his head and laughed. Coming back face-to-face, he asked, “Latin?”

“What can I say, four years in high school and two in college. Oh, I have one more. Feliz Natal.

“Ah, yes. Portuguese. I only know two more, so you almost had me. God jul?” He phrased as a question to see if she could guess.

She pressed her lips together and shook her head.

“Norwegian. Come on, living in Minnesota, you never learned that one?”

“Nope, sorry.”

“And . . . Glædelig Jul, Danish.”

“I guess you win.”

“But you have the romance languages, hands down. Speaking of . . . ” He brushed her hair away from her neck, inhaled her floral-vanilla scent, and kissed under her ear.

Buy links: Amazon * B&N * Indiebound

Sounds like a delightful story! I may be a bit biased since my cat’s name is Calli, short for Calliope though. Thanks for sharing with us, Julia!

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.