Getting to know author Edie Cay #author #historical #regency #fiction #romance

Today’s guest takes into the secretive world of female Regency pugilists and reveals her own not-so-secret publisher side. Please help me welcome Edie Cay! Let’s take a peek at her bio and then we’ll find out how she got started writing and what keeps her motivated.

Edie Cay has an MFA in Creative Writing and other degrees. She is a history buff, an avid traveler, and an eager reader of all genres. She has lived all over the United States, but currently calls California home. Under her other name, she has published articles and participated in documentary filmmaking. She is a member of the Paper Lantern Writers, a historical fiction author collective, as well as a member of the Historical Novel Society. A LADY’S REVENGE is her first published novel.

Website * Facebook * Instagram

Betty: When did you become a writer?

Edie: When I was ten. I wrote a book series which took one sheet of 8.5×11” paper, cut into pieces. Each book was 14 pages long, done by hand with colored pencil. I employed other children to write in the series and help me make the books. Each book cost ten cents.

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

Edie: I published my first short story in college, while I worked on my Bachelor’s degree in English. After that, I pursued my MFA in Creative Writing. I continue to read craft books, style books, and reading all genres helps to keep me aware of what is my style and what is others’.

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

Edie: Margaret Atwood—she is very direct. I was more lyrical early on, and then became so very curt and short, because I was emulating Hemingway, and now I am attempting a happy medium, which I think is more Atwood’s style.

Betty: What prompted you to start writing?

Edie: When I was nine, a teacher had us write stories for class assignments. I haven’t stopped.

Betty: What type of writing did you start with?

Edie: Short stories. I think maybe about a worm?

Betty: What do you most enjoy writing? Why?

Edie: I enjoy building a world the most. I always start with characters, figuring out what motivates them, why they do what they do.

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

Edie: I have a Bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing, an MFA in Creative Writing, and I continue to take online classes about specific topics, including Writing the Other, and classes from RWA’s Beau Monde Academy. I go to conferences when I can, and I read craft books.

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

Edie: To just get out of my own way.

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


Edie: I wanted to write a romance to help me with plotting. I was (and still am) writing a historical novel that is literary or upmarket women’s fiction, and I was flailing with plot. So I thought genre would be a good exercise. I picked Regency because it was the most popular historical time period. I started writing, and I wrote a novel. It was full of inaccuracies, because I had done cursory research. But in that novel, I met Lydia. And I knew her snark came from somewhere. She had a heart underneath all that coldness, and I knew she had a secret. But what? So I did more research, read a ton more books, and I found that she was a boxer. She just had to be.

Lady Lydia Sommerset is an earl’s daughter. At the ripe age of twenty-five, she still wears the lavish gowns and dances the dainty steps of the haute ton as if she were pursuing a husband; but  her goals are far more personal. Instead, she pursues her tormenters: the men who bet that taking a girl’s virginity—her virginity—really can cure a brothel’s plague. She has her cousins and sister to aid her, but no one can understand what it feels like to be helpless. Pugilism, England’s manliest pastime, is her only relief. Training in secret with a female boxer keeps her sane, but when her instructor is hired away by one of the men she is seeking to destroy, she is in a bind. Her new teacher, a former prizefighter with a ready joke and a quick wit might do more than just correct her technique.

John Arthur is made of money. A street kid who dazzled with his fists, he now impresses as a miracle worker on the London Stock Exchange. But a man can’t forget a boyhood spent in the gutter. Easy-going and affable, John Arthur knows he shouldn’t tangle with bluebloods. He should be happy with a full belly and coin-filled pockets. But when he finds a woman who finds boxing as vital as he does, his life gets suddenly complicated.

Caught between revenge and finding love with a man who might truly understand her, Lady Lydia must commit to opening her heart or closing it forever.

“We haven’t been introduced,” Lady Lydia said, as if she were speaking to a child. It was like she knew all the tones that could put off a person and didn’t mind using them.

“Walk with me for just a moment, here, in public, with chaperones.” He gestured to her sister and the driver. “And that will surely remedy our acquaintance.” He offered her his arm.

“That isn’t how it works.” She folded her arms across her chest. “Perhaps if you had better breeding, you would know.”

If this had been a turn-up, all bets would be against him. “I’ve spent my life taking chances, my lady. I always weigh the risk to benefit. Making your acquaintance, however I can get it, is worth the risk. And knowing me is always a benefit.” He meant to give another non-threatening grin, but he was in earnest. This was the grin that marked him as rubbish. The Quality didn’t smile—they didn’t need to. But it was the winning bits of his domino box that made folks relax and trust him.

She narrowed her eyes and watched him for a moment. It was only then that he remembered his black eye. He must be a wretched fright for a lady like her. No wonder she wouldn’t talk to him.

“Agnes, get in the phaeton. We’ll walk a single block, sir. Make your case. Vasily will follow us.”

“But—” Lady Agnes protested.

“Done,” John said, feeling like this was the hardest bargain he’d driven all year.

Buy links: Books2Read

I’m intrigued by the worm story, Edie! Was it an inchworm, perhaps? I’m also intrigued by a woman boxer during the Regency. That’s a pretty cool historical fact to uncover. Thanks for stopping by and enlightening all of 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 Olivier Bosman #author #historical #mysteries #LGBT #fiction #books

Today’s guest is a writer after my own heart. Olivier Bosman likes to visualize the scenes before writing them, as I do. But let’s let him tell you more!

Born to Dutch parents and raised in Colombia and England, I am a rootless wanderer with itchy feet. I’ve spent the last few years living and working in The Netherlands, Czech Republic, Sudan and Bulgaria, but I have every confidence that I will now finally be able to settle down among the olive groves of Andalucia. I am an avid reader and film fan (in fact, my study is overflowing with my various DVD collections!) I did an MA in creative writing for film and television at the University of Sheffield.  After a failed attempt at making a career as a screenwriter, I turned to the theater and wrote and produced a play called “Death Takes a Lover” (which has since been turned into the first D.S. Billings Victorian Mystery). The play was performed on the London Fringe to great critical acclaim. I am currently living in Spain where I make ends meet by teaching English.

Website * Facebook

Betty: When did you become a writer?

Olivier: I started writing twenty-seven years ago. Initially I wanted to be a screenwriter or a playwright, as what I most enjoyed writing was dialogue. But screenwriters are often employed to adapt somebody else’s book or tinker on somebody else’s story, and I wanted to create my own characters and tell my own stories, so I started writing novels five years ago.

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

Olivier: I’ve always taken my writing seriously. I did an MA in creative writing for film and television and I have attended many workshops to improve my writing. I was a little insecure when I embarked on my first novel, as prior to that all I had written were plays and screenplays, so I joined a writing group where we critiqued each other’s completed manuscripts, and I have a learned a lot from that.

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

Olivier: Screenwriting has very much influenced my style. I picture the complete scene in my mind before I write it and lot of the story is told through action and dialogue, rather than narrative prose.

Betty: What prompted you to start writing?

Olivier: An innate desire to make up stories, I suppose. I’ve been making up stories ever since I was a child.

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

Olivier: I wish I had found out about self-publishing before everyone else did. With so many authors publishing their own books, it has become quite difficult to get noticed.

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

Olivier: Wilkie Collins inspired me to write Death Takes a Lover (the first D.S Billings Victorian mystery). In fact, I first wrote it as a play. I was looking for a genre that would work well in the theatre, and after reading The Woman in White I found it: Victorian Gothic. It was the right mix of chills, thrills and melodrama to a keep an audience entertained on a cold, dark autumn night.

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

Olivier: I was explaining what my play (Death Takes a Lover) was about to someone. I told him that it was about a gay Quaker detective with a morphine addiction who had to investigate the suspicious death of a house maid in an isolated mansion in the Yorkshire Moors. My friend said I should turn it into a detective series. And that’s exactly what I did. Rather than adapting Death Takes a Lover into a novel (I did do so later) I decided to introduce my character properly. Give him a back story and a cast of supporting characters which would reappear in subsequent books. The Ornamental Hermit is the first of the D.S. Billings Victorian Mysteries. There are four books in total (plus the play, which has since been turned into a novella). DS Billings delves into a new mystery in each book, but his personal life, his trials at coming to terms with his demons, carry on.

Dimly lit cobblestone streets. Sinister looking men in top hats lurking in the fog. The first three books in the DS Billings Victorian Mysteries Series have been bundled together to chill you to the bone. Detective Sergeant John Billings is an honest and hard working man who has risen swiftly through the ranks to become one of Scotland Yard’s youngest detectives. But in his private life he struggles with the demons of loneliness, morphine addiction and homosexuality. In these mysteries he will lead you on a thrilling journey into the darkest recesses of Victorian society.

“He’s been ill for some time.”

Mrs. Forrester sat next to Billings. Her eyes were still gleaming with the joy of seeing him after all these years.

“He’s never been the same since Sebastian went missing. It’s his heart. I blame it on the stress and expense we incurred in finding Sebastian. Do you know how much money we paid those incompetent detectives in Cumberland? We should have employed you. They profited from us!” She let go of his hands. “They milked us. Combing the hills, dragging the lakes. That’s what hurts the most. That in the midst of our desperation, our grieving, somebody else tried to profit.” She took off her gloves and stared out at the bare trees which lined the cobbled streets of Chelsea. “We got a letter,” she added.

“A letter?”

“From him. From Sebastian. He’s back in Oxford. He sent us a letter.”

“I thought he was dead.”

He realised his clumsiness immediately and cursed himself inwardly.

Mrs. Forrester ignored the gaffe. “We were in Oxford last week. Mr. Forrester, sick as he was, insisted he’d come with me.”

“How did you find him?”

“We didn’t. We waited for a whole week at that tea room he’d suggested for our meeting, but he didn’t show up. And we had no way of locating him. So we went back home. Mr. Forrester thinks it may have been an impostor.”

“An impostor?”

“Mr. Forrester is dying, John. I told you that. There’s a large inheritance at stake. Anyone can pretend to be Sebastian. It’s been ten years.”

Buy links: Amazon

Thanks for stopping by, Olivier, and sharing about your writing, your inspiration, and your latest books.

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 http://www.bettybolte.com for more on my books and upcoming events.

Getting to know Lexi George #author #editor #paranormal #romance #fantasy

My guest today is Lexi George who also writes under the pen name Alexandra Rushe. Lexi is a fun lady to get to know, so settle back and let’s see what has inspired her to be the wonderful author she is…

Lexi George writes snarky paranormal romance for Kensington Books about hunky, immortal demon hunters and the Southern women they love. There are five full-length novels in the series, plus a novella, and she is hard at work on the latest, Demon Hunting with a Southern Sheriff. She also writes fantasy under the pen name Alexandra Rushe. A Meddle of Wizards, the first book in the Fledgling Magic series, was released in January of 2018. The second book, A Muddle of Magic, came out in October of the same year.

Website: www.lexigeorge.com * www.alexandrarushe.com

Facebook: Lexi * Alexandra

Twitter: Lexi * Alexandra

Betty: When did you become a writer?

Lexi: I’ve always written something, starting with bad poetry in the third grade and progressing to really, really bad poetry in high school and college. My day job for nearly thirty years was as an appellate attorney, which means I wrote briefs for a living, but I didn’t begin seriously writing until my first child was four. That child is now twenty-eight. Gulp!  

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

Lexi: I started my first novel, a fantasy about a young woman’s adventures in a magical land, in 1995. I didn’t have a clue about the craft of writing, but I was having enormous fun. I wrote and wrote. Finally finished the darn thing in 2005 and started querying agents. Much to my dismay, not one of them recognized my brilliance, and I received over 100 rejection letters. Sobering, to say the least. Discouraged, I decided, the Universe was telling me to try something different, so I turned to my other love, romance. I joined a writer’s group and RWA and took craft classes and wrote and wrote and wrote. I was fortunate enough to get a contract with Kensington in 2010, and Demon Hunting in Dixie was released the following year.  

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

Lexi: Georgette Heyer, for sure, and David Eddings, an old-school fantasy writer. I adore Heyer’s sly wit and memorable secondary characters. Eddings Belgariad series greatly influenced my writing style. As a result, I tend to write an ensemble of characters in both genres.

Betty: What prompted you to start writing?

Lexi: Loneliness, I suppose. I was in an unhappy marriage and working and raising small children pretty much on my own, so I turned inward for companionship and escape.

Betty: What type of writing did you start with?

Lexi: I dove right in with a full-length novel, the fantasy I mentioned. It probably would have been better if I had started with short stories and moved up to full-length novels, but the story that came to me could not be told in a few words.

Betty: What do you most enjoy writing? Why?

Lexi: I really enjoy dialogue, especially if the character talking is being lewd or snarky. Great fun. As a writer, I have trouble with what I call “filler” phrases, those physical descriptions moving a character from one point to another. Much easier for me if they just talk! And sex scenes are the worst for me!  I spend days writing them and fretting that I haven’t reached the right emotional level.

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

Lexi: Not to take myself seriously. New writers tend to think their words are golden. Someone (I think it was Ray Bradbury) said the first million words you write are practice. I would also tell my younger self to toughen up. Rejection sucks, but you WILL be rejected, and readers will say rude things about your baby, and there ain’t a damn thing you can do about it. It comes with the territory.

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

Lexi: Oh, so many! Too many to name, but I remember sighing over Loretta Chase’s Lord of Scoundrels,and The Belgariad and Lord of the Rings were my great fantasy influences. I laughed until I had tears running down my face when I read Janet Evanovich’s One for the Money. That book greatly inspired the zany antics in Demon Hunting in Dixie. As a matter of fact, I remember pitching the book as “Stephanie Plum if she lived in the Deep South and had a Southern mama.”

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

Lexi: Duncan and Cassie are secondary characters in book four, Demon Hunting with a Dixie Deb, and it only felt natural to continue their story! Duncan is something of a misfit among the Dalvahni. He has a sense of humor, and his brother warriors don’t know what to make of him.

Cassandra Ferguson McKenna, aka the Witch of Devil River, has only one thing to say to her demon-hunting ex: We are never ever getting back together. Sure, Duncan Dalvhani may be the hottest thing this side of the Mason-Dixon line. He’s got a body to die for—which is hard to ignore when he skinny dips in her river every day—and swears he loves her. But as a demon hunter, Duncan is the sworn enemy of a demonoid sorceress like Cassandra. Give him another chance to break her heart? Witch, please. But when Cassandra is attacked by a werewolf, Duncan not only comes to her rescue, he helps her take on a band of magic-drunk moonshiners, fire-breathing demons, shifty shapeshifters, and a pet Sasquatch named Sugar. Welcome to Alabama. But when a portal opens up for even more hellaciousness, Cassandra has to admit that Duncan is slowly opening her heart—to a whole new world of unearthly delights . . .

“Go away, Duncan,” Cassie said. “We’re no good for each other.”

“I could go away, I suppose, but I would only return.” His mouth twisted in an expression of self-mockery. “I fear I am a pathetic creature where you are concerned.”

Cassie gazed at him in mingled panic and exasperation. There was nothing pathetic about him. The harder she resisted, the more he would take it as a challenge. So, where did that leave them? An affair was the logical solution to their problem, in a hair-of-the-dog that-bit-you kind of way.

“Let’s have sex,” Cassie said, taking the plunge. He blinked, and Cassie felt a ping of satisfaction. She’d thrown him. Good. “Friends with benefits, you know?” She gave him a bright smile. “Want to go for a roll in the hay?”

“You wish to engage in coitus with me?”

“Yup, plain, uncomplicated sex,” she said. “Two consenting adults enjoying one another’s bodies. No mushy stuff. No jealousy or insecurity. Sex, and no strings, and then we move on.”

“Agreed, but with one condition.” His eyes were flinty. “I do not share. I have exclusive use of your body while the agreement holds.”

 “Of course,” she said, striving to sound nonchalant, though her stomach was doing a roller-coaster free fall. He’d called her bluff, damn him, and she wasn’t sure how she felt about that.

He turned and strode away.

“Wait,” Cassie said. “Where are you going?”

He stopped in the doorway and looked back. “To the kitchen to prepare a repast.”

“Don’t you want to talk? About . . . you know . . .” Cassie gazed at him in frustration. “Our agreement?”

“Talking is overrated, and I would have you rebuild your strength. I mean to make the most of our bargain.”

He walked out, leaving Cassie rooted to the spot.

Buy links: * Amazon *  KoboB&N  * BAM * or your favorite retailer.

Wow, that sounds like such a delicious read! Thanks, Lexi, for stopping in and sharing that drool worthy excerpt 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 http://www.bettybolte.com for more on my books and upcoming events.

Getting to know Barbara Josselsohn #author #contemporary #romance #womensfiction #writingcoach

I’m pleased to introduce my guest today, author Barbara Josselsohn, who not only writes fiction but teaches others how to write their own stories. But let’s let her tell us about who she is and what she writes…

Barbara Josselsohn is a novelist and magazine writer. Her newest novel is THE LILAC HOUSE, which releases from Bookouture in March and is now available for pre-order. Her articles and essays appear in a range of publications, including New York Magazine, American Baby, Parents Magazine, the New York Times, WorkingMother.com, and NextAvenue.com. Barbara is also a writing coach and teaches writing classes at Sarah Lawrence College and other venues. Her debut novel was THE LAST DREAMER, which was released by Lake Union in 2015, and she is currently at work on her third novel, which is scheduled for release in the fall of 2020. She and her husband live in Westchester County, just north of New York City, and have three children and a lovable shih-poo named Mosley.

You can find her here: Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram  

Betty: How many books have you written and published?

Barbara: I’ve written two books – THE LAST DREAMER, which was released in 2015, and THE LILAC HOUSE, which is currently available on pre-order and will be released on March 13th of this year. THE LILAC HOUSE is actually Book 1 of what’s being called the Lake Summers series. The next book in the series will be released this fall.

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

Barbara: I write women’s fiction, with romance as kind of a sub-genre – largely because this is a genre that comes naturally to me, and it’s a genre I love to read. Women’s fiction revolves around a character’s emotional journey. For me, there’s nothing more interesting or compelling than writing about a character who’s plunged into a difficult, heartbreaking or catastrophic situation and then navigates a path up from the abyss, becoming wiser and stronger in the process.

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

Barbara: My current release – like my last book and my next book, for that matter – revolves around the theme of reinvention and second chances. I love characters who find the courage to leap toward a new future. I’m inspired a lot by my mother, who – after being a widow for ten years following my dad’s death – fell in love again at the age of 85! I don’t mean to sound like too much of a Pollyanna, and I know that life has a way of dealing devastating blows and knocking us off our feet. But I like to think that life also deals in welcome surprises and unexpected opportunities for growth, enrichment, and love.

THE LILAC HOUSE (on pre-order; releases March 13th)

Summer escapes to Lilac House have always been a source of comfort for Anna Harris. Though things will never be the same since her husband’s death, she knows that it is there, nestled in Lake Summers in the heart of the Adirondack Mountains, that she and her children Zac and Evie can begin to build a new life.

The house is just as beautiful as Anna remembers, and caught up in the rhythm of small town life, helping her Aunt Hope run the little shop on Main Street, Anna begins to feel a sense of herself she hasn’t felt in years. Then she meets Aidan. Handsome, strong and quiet, he also knows what’s it’s like to lose someone. In each other they recognize something they’ve both been missing and they feel a spark.

But Aidan’s past holds a different set of complications. He’s hiding a secret about why he came to Lake Summers. And just as the Lilac House finally starts to feel like home, Anna learns something devastating about Greg’s death that makes her question everything…

Buy Links: Amazon * Apple * Kobo * Google  

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

Barbara: I’ve learned to be pretty flexible about when and where I write – stemming from the time when my kids were young and I had to grab whatever time and space was available to me! I do have an “office” – a small enclosed sun porch at the back of the house, but since it’s unheated, I need to move out from December through March. Sometimes I move to what I lovingly call my “winter office” and what my family more typically calls the dining-room table. I also work at my local Barnes & Noble, my local library, the campus center at the college where I teach, hotel lobbies when I’m on vacation, etc. The one rule I do have, however, is to do my final revisions somewhere other than where I did the bulk of my writing. Somehow I find that a new setting helps me see the manuscript with a fresh eye, and catch errors, inconsistencies, plot gaps, etc.

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?

Barbara: I always listen to music when I write – and typically the playlist I choose has a connection to the book I’m writing. For example, the main character of THE LILAC HOUSE was a ballerina, and a struggling dance shop is at the heart of the book. So while I was writing that book, I was always listening to ballet music – The Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, Giselle, etc.

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

Barbara: The turning point was when I enrolled in a novel writing workshop at the Writing Institute at Sarah Lawrence College, which I now teach. That’s where I met my most cherished mentors and began the process of turning my story from a manuscript into a published novel.

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

Barbara: Oh boy, that’s a hard one, because I feel like I struggle with everything! I was a journalist for a long time before I turned to novel writing, which I think helped me with clarity, structure, and conciseness. It also helped me learn how to apply feedback effectively, which I think is a skill that is often overlooked but can truly make or break a writing career. As for craft, I’ve been told that I create very relatable characters.

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

Barbara: For me, it starts with theme – some meaning or feeling or idea that I want to explore. Character is next – and from there the plot begins to unfold. 

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?

Barbara: When my kids were very young, I had little time to write, and I had to squeeze my writing in whenever I found a few spare moments. I think that experience made me very nimble in terms of switching my writing brain on and off. These days, I teach creative writing at various venues as well as privately, and I also have family and other personal obligations. So I still find myself fitting the writing into the empty spaces – although there are a few more empty spaces now!

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

Barbara: My current release, THE LILAC HOUSE, is set in a fictional lakeside town known as Lake Summers – and my editor loved the setting so much that we agreed my next book would be set there as well. It’s been kind of a challenge – but also very fun – to create a whole new set of characters and plot, but place them in the last book’s setting!

Betty: Do you participate in NaNoWriMo? Why or why not?

Barbara: I do participate in NaNoWriMo – in that I try to keep up with the daily word goals. I find it very motivating.

Betty: What are you reading right now?

Barbara: I’m currently reading THE WEIGHT OF INK by Rachel Kadish. It’s such a rich and fascinating story. I’m loving it!

Betty: What is your favorite genre to read?

Barbara: I don’t really have a favorite genre. I read a lot of women’s fiction and historical fiction, but I also enjoy romance, mystery, fantasy, mainstream fiction…mostly, I just like a good story!

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

Barbara: My keeper books are 19th Century classics – Dickens, Hardy, Trollope, the Brontes. Marc Twain, too. I don’t reread all that often, however – there’s only so many hours in the day, and my focus tends to be on new books.

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

Barbara: I guess I would have to say both. I like to stay on top of what’s going on my genre – women’s fiction – but I also will pick up books that simply look interesting to me.

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

Barbara: My “day job” is teaching creative writing and coaching aspiring novelists. I love teaching and mentoring, and am so glad I can do this in addition to working on my own books.

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

Barbara: I guess I wish more people realized how important it is to review the novels they like, to post about them on social media, and to share news of upcoming releases by their favorite authors. Often I think readers tell themselves that they’re just one person – how important can their review be? But reviews mean a lot to writers, and can have a big impact on their careers.

Betty: What advice do you have for new writers?

Barbara: One of the best pieces of advice I ever received was from one of my Sarah Lawrence mentors, who said that when it comes to publishing, persistence is more important than talent. I think that’s a great piece of advice – after all, you can’t sell a book that you haven’t written!

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

Barbara: My next book will be Book 2 of my Lake Summers series, which is due out later this year. After that…I don’t quite know yet, but I do have an idea that’s been simmering on the back burner for several months now, and I’m looking forward to giving it my full attention.

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?

Barbara: I definitely would like to tackle an historical novel at some point. I really enjoy historical research. 

Thanks, Barbara, for stopping by for a chat. Your stories sound intriguing! Something about a lake during the summer is inviting especially in the chill of a January morning.

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 Ellen Green Andrews #author #contemporary #erotica #romance

I’m pleased to introduce my guest today, author Ellen Green Andrews, who brings her love of architecture to her characters and stories. But let’s take a gander at her bio and then we’ll find out more about her writing process, shall we?

Ellen Green Andrews is a retired nurse, with a penchant for reading, with a broad and eclectic genre choice. Encouraged by her husband and grown children, she began writing her own stories five years ago. She is an accomplished seamstress, and has a collection of textiles from around the globe thanks to a friend who travels extensively. She loves to paint, and crafts of all sorts. She is a certified landscape designer, with a concentration on residential design. She is proud of the fact that she has 174 college credits but not a single degree, always feeling being broadly educated was more important than adhering to a degree seeking curriculum. She grew up in Northern Indiana but has lived throughout the United States, following her husband’s military career, she resides at present in North Central Florida. She is member of WFWA and ALLI.

You can find her here:   Website   *     Facebook      *   Twitter

Betty: How many books have you written and published?

Ellen: I have published 2 novels and I’m currently working on my third.

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

Ellen: The first two are Romance (steamy) and the current book is more women’s fiction. I like a happy every after ending. I like reading most genre’s but when it came to writing, this felt right for me. I guess I am a romantic at heart. The characters come to life for me in this genre. The current novel is a love story, but multigenerational. I wanted to show that even though the current younger generation thinks they invented love and sex, that is far from what is true. I also think young people think problems in relationships are exclusive to them. Sex, love and all that entails is the same from one generation to the next.

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

Ellen: Growing up I wanted to be an architect, but it was at a time when women were not encouraged to pursue higher education in anything other than education or nursing.  I took drafting in my sophomore year of high school but my drafting table was in the far back corner of the room. I think if the teacher could have set me outside on the window ledge he would have. I have always loved architecture so some element of that will probably always be a theme in my novels. I am also a crafter and love working with paper, and while writing my first book, took a course on paper making. So my characters, regardless of how flawed they might be, will always be clever and DIY’ers.

The book I am currently working on features cooking which is another love of mine. This one will have recipes from a cookbook that once belonged to my grandmother.

If love and sex are included in a business deal, can it still be called business?

Charleigh Chace lives in Naperville Illinois. She spent her childhood and youth in the gymnastics gym and her adulthood pursuing her MBA and starting her upscale stationery store. Maybe that’s why at the age of twenty-seven she is still a virgin. Now the business is in serious financial trouble, and the money she borrowed from her parents, which they will soon need to retire is in jeopardy. The only solution in sight looks like bankruptcy, abandoning her dream, and moving far from the parents she has already let down. Then Charleigh meets Elias Graham, a thirty-one year old junk man. He works in the business his parents have spent their entire married life building, and though he believes they need to retire, they won’t hear of it until he demonstrates he has his feet firmly planted in the business. Through his acumen, Elias helped their little business named Jeff’s Salvage Yard, grow into a multi-million dollar business by the name of Urban Recovery; one that Hollywood turns to when they need historically accurate set elements. A chance encounter at a bookstore brings Elias and Charleigh together where Elias proposes a business deal that benefits both of them: Charleigh poses as his rock solid girlfriend; he pays her to do so, and everyone can move on. Fate has other plans for them. Both fall in love with the other but know the deal is off the table the moment either reveals their true feelings. The inability to say how they truly feel about each other leads to misunderstandings, heartache and separation. Only time and circumstances beyond their control will determine whether they can find a future together.

Amazon

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

Ellen: Yes, I am fortunate to have a dedicated office space. It doubles as my painting space also, but the room is all mine and I treasure it. I’ve never had my own space where I could leave things out and come back to at a later time. But there is a trade-off for all this space. It means all our children are grown and on their own. I am thankful that they come back often and visit. Revisions are completed in the same place. It is a room that is at the back of the house, so very quiet and peaceful.

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?

Ellen: Coffee is my drug of choice and all of my MC have a caffeine addiction. I listen to music sometimes, but it can’t be anything with words as I always want to sing along. It seems the brain can’t handle two language tasks at the same time. Either sing or write, but not both. I can however listen to opera’s sung in a foreign language as long as it isn’t one I know. Then it’s just like instrumental to me. I tend to be a night owl which means I tend to sleep late, so writing begins somewhere around ten o’clock in the morning, coffee mug in hand. Unless appointments get in the way I will write until about 6 pm. When I wander into the living room, my husband greets me with “you are home!” which I find funny as I’ve been home all day. lol

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

Ellen: I tried the query/agent route with my first book and after 8 solid months and no requests, I became frustrated with the entire process. As I have read more about the publishing world and the agents world, I get even more disgusted with the entire traditional publishing route. This is not mean to be a slam to E.L. James, but most writers will give her Fifty Shades book the same critique. They are not well written, grammar wise, but they are certainly titillating and guaranteed money makers. And that is all it took for a traditional publishing house to pick them up. I find traditional publishers to be fickle, saying they want “good literature” but then they publish some of the worst rubbish because they know it will make them money. I lost faith that they would recognize good literature when it’s presented to them.

My other pet peeve is agents who develop new vocabulary, to turn you down. Recently I read an article where the writer queried an agent and the agent requested chapters. The writer with great hope sent off the requested chapters only to be told her MC “lacked agency” but why not just say, “your main character is allowing the plot to direct her, instead of her directing the plot? So those of us who don’t swim in the publishing wading pool have to google the vocabulary to see why we’ve been rejected. Seems those agents take great pride in coming up with creative ways and confusing vocabulary to reject you. You end up mistrusting not just the publishing houses but agents also.

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

Ellen: I tell a really good story. I am a wordsmith, but I don’t believe in using a prodigious vocabulary for storytelling. Interesting language does not need to be pretentious. Reaching people’s hearts and making them become of the book is what I aim for. I am told by everyone who reads my books that that is exactly how they felt as if they were part of the story. 

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

Ellen: For me it is situations. From there I ask, “what if” and that is all it takes.

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?

Ellen: I may not always be happy about interruptions but life happens. I am pretty fluid in when I write. After writing my last book All The Words We Didn’t Say, I took off two months and traveled with my husband throughout the U.K. After we returned, I sat down to do the editing. I turned it over to my beta’s while I was gone. That allowed them plenty of time answer the questionnaire that I have all my beta’s do. It helps so much for the editing process.

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

Ellen: For a while I’d given up my office when our youngest son, his wife, and two boys stayed with us when they were house hunting. I’d become so accustomed to having that dedicated space that I found it difficult to write anywhere else. Then holidays crowd in and that takes time out of writing time. Once I start writing I like to go at it hard until I am done. When I have disruptions, it takes me a long time to get back on track, often I have to read what I have written to know where I want to go. I am a pantser, with a deep seated need for organization so I pants, then go back and form an outline to keep track of dates and events and make sure everything meshes.

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

Ellen: I have a 4th book that I wrote during NaNoWriMo, but I have not edited. It is not strictly Women’s literature and has a basis in truth, so the editing will be more difficult for me. I did that two years ago and not since. I am not sure I ever will again.

Betty:  What are you reading right now?

Ellen: Five Things by Lynne Marino

Betty: What is your favorite genre to read?

Ellen: I don’t really have a favorite. I read historical fiction, romantic comedy, suspense, sexy steamy romance. I love a well-constructed novel set during WWII. I like and have an incredible need to explore new things and ideas that just about anything is game. I am not a big fan of paranormal/Warlocks and Witches sort of writing.

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

Ellen: Outlander series. Leon Uris, everything he’s written I’ve read many times. Ken Follett is one I could read again and again, although his last few have been daunting and I’d probably not re-read them. I’ve re-read Dan Brown a few times. I’ve read Nevil Shute’s A Far Country many times. Michael Grumley is a recent writer I’ve read. His Breakthrough series is totally fascinating. I’ve read them twice.

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

Ellen: I don’t necessarily read the genre I’m writing in. If I see something I think is interesting I will read it regardless of whether it’s in my genre or not.

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

Ellen: Full time writer.

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

Ellen: It’s fickle. Never forget they are out to make money and putting out good literature is secondary to making money.

Betty: What advice do you have for new writers?

Ellen: Put your butt in a chair and write. There isn’t a secret to it. You must put words on paper (or into a document) for them to become a book. Don’t worry if it’s good writing, just write, you can always go back and make it good. Find some good books on writing. Read Story Genius by Lisa Cron, The Forest For The Trees by Betsy Lerner are both good guides.

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

Ellen: Temporary title is In The Margins and it is based on a cookbook of my grandmother’s. It is handwritten. It is more a diary of her early love life with recipes thrown in. She says she wrote it that way because her mother would not question or look at a recipe book, but most likely would a diary. I am shocked at some of the revelations, but oh, grandma you were a thoroughly modern woman!

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?

Ellen: I want to write a suspense. I have an idea and I have been keeping track of the basic ideas and developing characters in my head, but that is down the road a bit.

I love that you’re working on a cookbook slash diary, Ellen! I bet that’s a fascinating read. Thanks for sharing your background and process 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!

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!

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 http://www.bettybolte.com for more on my books and upcoming events.

Getting to Know Skye Taylor #author of #contemporary #romance #timetravel #politicalintrigue #books #fiction

Please help me welcome Skye Taylor as my guest author today on Betty Bolte’s Musings. Skye has a varied and interesting background she brings to her stories, but I’ll let her tell you more about that! Take a peek at her bio and then we’ll get started.

Skye Taylor lives in the oldest city in the US where she participates in historical reenactments, walks the beach and volunteers at the USO when she’s not writing. Loving travel and adventure, she’s a skydiver and sailor, camped on tropical Islands, climbed a volcano, ridden an elephant, rafted down rivers, snorkeled over coral reefs and explored cities and castles in 15 countries on 5 continents. She spent two years in Peace Corps (2002-2004). She’s a mom and grandmother and the author of the Camerons of Tide’s Way contemporary romance series: Falling for Zoe, Loving Meg, Trusting Will, Healing a Hero, Keeping His Promise and Worry Stone, a time travel romance: Iain’s Plaid and a mainstream political intrigue: The Candidate. Her newest project is the Jesse Quinn Mystery series: Bullseye due out in February. Skye is a member of Florida Writers Association, Sisters in Crime, RWA and Women’s Fiction Writers.

You can find out more about her at www.Skye-writer.com or you can follow her on Facebook, All Author, or Instagram.

Betty: How many books have you written and published?

Skye: The Candidate, Falling for Zoe, Loving Meg, Trusting Will, Keeping His Promise, Healing a Hero, Worry Stone, Iain’s Plaid

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

Skye: With the exception of The Candidate, my books to date have been romance, 6 contemporary (series) and 1 time-travel. The Candidate is a mainstream and was written because the story just grew out of a combination of experiences, my own, my brother’s and others who came of age during the Vietnam War. But it’s a contemporary story of a man running for president who suddenly comes face to face with a piece of his past during the campaign. He has two formidable adversaries which makes it a suspense and an intrigue. I wrote romance to start with because I love a good love story, but have some trouble keeping my stories within the sometimes confining limits of the genre. I guess I like pushing the envelope, but I’ve had good reviews so perhaps someone else also likes the same thing. I am now working on a mystery series – I also like a challenge and have discovered mysteries are very challenging, especially since I am basically a pantser. I create characters with detailed dossiers, put them in an inciting incident and let them run with the ball. But having to know how it’s going to end is the challenge, leaving hints along the way and still having little in the way of an outline.

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

Skye: Ever heard of a “worry stone?” A small, smooth stone you can carry in your pocket. Something you can touch, rub, hold, etc. while calming your worries. My mom had dozens and I often found them on the beaches in Maine where I lived at the time, made incredibly smooth by the constant action of the waves and sand. In Worry Stone, my heroine, Sandy finds just such a stone on her first date with Cam and she presents it to him, explaining what it is for. He is doubtful about the powers of this little bit of rock, but because she gave it to him, he put it in his pocket. There were times he felt nothing but despair and came close to tossing it into the sea, but something made him return it to his pocket. As this book opens, this little worry stone is still in his pocket when he is standing at the window in the waiting room of the local hospital while Sandy is rushed into emergency surgery, her life hanging in the balance. He pulls it out, still warm from his pocket, while he’s praying for her.

Is love enough to heal a soul-wounded Marine?

Cam wasn’t planning on getting involved with anyone until he put the war firmly behind him but the hope and love Sandy brings to his troubled heart is irresistible. Will Sandy’s love be enough to bring Cam back from the edge of despair and convince him to get the help he so desperately needs? Is his love for her strong enough for him to pull his life together and be the man she believes in?

Amazon Print    * Kindle  * B&N  * Kobo

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

Skye: I converted the second bedroom in my beach bungalow to a library/office. I have bookshelves on three walls filled with books of all kinds, fiction, non-fiction and books on writing. My desk sits beneath a window that overlooks the ocean, so when I’ve hit a wall, or need to think, need inspiration, I can sit back and watch the endless parade of waves, listen to the roar of the sea, and work out where to go next with my book.

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?

Skye: My best time of day for writing is mid-afternoon to 8ish in the evening. Since I’m a widow with grown kids, I can go ahead and get immersed right through what would normally be the supper hour. But I’ve also been known to think about where my book is going after I’ve climbed into bed for the night, come up with a whole new plot point, a scene complete with dialog or something I just don’t want to disappear in the night, so I’ll get up, wake the computer up and type away until I get the ideas outlined. Then I can fall asleep knowing right where I’ll start in the morning.
Sometimes I do put music on, but it has to have no words, and the tempo has to match the scenes I’m writing. If it’s tense, urgent, dangerous, etc., maybe it’ll be Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture. If it’s a romantic scene, perhaps music by André Rieu or Johann Strauss. I do have an entire collection on my laptop, a compilation of my favorite music to write by, from a dozen different composers and artists.
One other writing ritual, although not strictly a ritual, is to pick out a talisman that fits each book I write and it sits beside my monitor while I’m writing the book. My brother made me a lovely display case where all those talismans end up after the book has been published. Currently I have a pair of cufflinks while I’m writing a mystery and my heroine is a deputy detective. And, of course, while writing Worry Stone there was a whole row of smooth little stones sitting next to my keyboard.

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

Skye: Good question. You might want to ask my readers, but perhaps it’s creating complex characters that captivate my readers and make them care. I am not a plotter. I create in depth dossiers on all my main characters and somewhat less detailed for all secondary ones. Once I know these folk really well, I drop them into the middle of the inciting incident and let them tell me how the story is going to unfold. Although I usually have a very clear idea of where and how the story will end, my characters really drive the plot.

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

Skye: Well, first I have a nugget of an idea. I don’t really brainstorm to create them – they just come to me. I people watch everywhere and sometimes ideas come to me there. Sometimes it’s an experience I’ve had or someone I know has. Once when I was exploring an island off the coast of Maine with a fascinating history, I stood on an old foundation and the big stone beneath my feet wiggled. I jumped off before I could fall into the yawning, grass lined old cellar, but on my way home the thought came to me: “What if I had fallen in, hit my head and woken up again in another century. Which, of course became the start of my time travel romance, IAIN’S PLAID.

Then I brainstorm the characters who will fit into this nugget of an idea and they take over.

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?

Skye: As a retired widow with my kids all grown, I am very fortunate that I don’t have to squeeze my writing into a structured lifestyle. I live on the beach so when I’m stumped, I just go for a walk on the beach and let the story rattle around in my brain, come home and type it all up. Or, as I said before, whenever an idea hits, even in the middle of the night, I have the freedom to just sit down and write.

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

Skye: Most recent struggle was and is the learning curve for moving from writing romance to mystery. As a panster, I have never had detailed plots, but with a mystery, I needed to know all those details, how to present them and where. So learning to at least do a bare bones outline was a challenge. Also the change from romance to mystery brought a whole new feeling to the process and the story itself.

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

Skye: No. If it were any other month of the year, I’d have given it a go, but I have a big family with 12 birthdays between Oct 20 and Dec 18, plus five kids and 13 grandchildren, and 8 spouses, a sister, niece and more to prepare for Christmas. And since I almost always travel for Christmas, this means having all my gifts bought, sewn, or created, wrapped and shipped by mid-December. Thus November is an impossible month for me to commit to anything like NaNoWriMo. I wish they’d choose March instead. NOTHING happens in March except St Patrick’s day so why not that month instead of the outrageously busy month of November.

Betty: What are you reading right now?

Skye: I just finished the most recent Tom Clancy book as well as a romance by a new author. I also have three books going I’ve promised a review for. My current book in progress just for pleasure is David Baldacci’s The Escape, and to enlarge my understanding of current national affairs, The Problem with Socialism by Thomas DiLorenzo.

Betty: What is your favorite genre to read?

Skye: I used to read mostly romance, but that genre has become so narrow and same old same old, I have moved on to mystery, action adventure, espionage, and military thrillers.

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

Skye: Outlander, by Dianna Gabaldon – which I first read when it came out more than 20 years ago. I also have an entire shelf of W.E.B. Griffin, all of Georgette Heyer, and a Maine author most have never heard of, Elizabeth Ogilvie. I’ve read all of them more than once and now and then I take one down and read it again. But less often these days with so many books coming out every day and a finite amount of time to read them in.

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

Skye: Never. I always read a totally different genre than what I’m writing.

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

Skye: Writing is my day job. The fruits of retirement….

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

Skye: I wish readers could fully grasp the absolute reliance any author today has on getting reviews. The number of reviews is what drives the search engines and the Amazon algorithm. Without reviews it’s hard for even the most compelling book to get noticed.

Betty: What advice do you have for new writers?

Skye: Develop a thick skin and ask for honest critique of your work. We all, even already published authors, learn from the things people tell us about our work. Believe in yourself and never give up. We all have dozens of rejections so don’t get discouraged.

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

Skye: My next book out is Bullseye, the first in my new series: The Jesse Quinn Mysteries. I’ve had a grand time with the research, joining the Citizens Law Enforcement Academy, going on ride-alongs and picking the brain of some detectives who’ve been on the job for years.

Jesse Quinn used to be a dutiful daughter and wife … until she discovered her husband was cheating on her and the promises her mother made about being a lady turned sour. Then she followed her heart and into the footsteps of her dad, her idol who had died in the line of duty when she was twelve. She’s been on the job long enough now to have risen to detective and she has a fun new partner who is a perfect foil for her style as they pursue investigations on the Major Crimes Squad of the St John’s County Sheriff’s Department.

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?

Skye: I already have one mainstream, political intrigue out, The Candidate (https://amzn.to/2C8Zg83). It was the most challenging book I’ve written to date and one day I’d like to try another mainstream novel.

You’re tempting me with the idea of a ride-along… Did they have those in the past, do you think? Anyway, thanks, Skye for stopping by and sharing with us today.

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 http://www.bettybolte.com for more on my books and upcoming events.