Getting to know Marilyn Pemberton #author #history #historical #fiction #biography #books

My guest today has a very interesting background before she tried her hand at writing fiction. Please welcome Marilyn Pemberton! Let’s take a peek at her bio and then we’ll learn more about the inspiration for her most recent book.

Marilyn Pemberton retired from being a full-time IT Project Manager in October 2019. During research for her PhD, Marilyn “discovered” Mary De Morgan, a Victorian writer. Marilyn wrote her biography, Out of the Shadows: The Life and Works of Mary De Morgan, (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2012). There were still many gaps in her knowledge and she decided to write a fictional novel based on De Morgan’s life – The Jewel Garden (Williams & Whiting, 2018). This novel was a semi-finalist in the Chanticleer 2019 International Goethe Book Award for post 1750s Historical Fiction.

Marilyn’s second novel, The Song of the Nightingale: a tale of two castrati, (The Conrad Press, 2019), was inspired by a program on Radio 3. It is a historical novel, set in 18th century Italy that tells of two young boys who are bought from their families, castrated and then trained to be singers. It is a story of passion, revenge, jealousy, love and redemption. It won the Fiction category of the 2020 International Rubery Book Award.

Marilyn is currently working on the second book of a trilogy that will tell of three generations of women who are story-tellers but who face sometimes insurmountable obstacles to getting their her-stories heard.

Website * Blog * Facebook

Betty: When did you become a writer?

Marilyn: Having finished my English O-levels in  the late 1960s, the first thing I wrote that was not for work or my degrees was a book of little known fairy tales that I put together with a short introduction in 2010 (Enchanted Ideologies: A Collection of Rediscovered Nineteenth-Century English Moral Fairy Tales) when I was 56.I then wrote a biography of Mary de Morgan (Out of the Shadows: the life and works of Mary De Morgan), which was first published in 2012.  My first fictional book, which I suppose got me hooked on the writing of historical novels, was published in 2018, when I was 63. So I am very much a late starter.  I’m still not sure I consider myself as a writer, though.

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

Marilyn: When I knew I wanted to write a fictional book, The Jewel Garden, I was worried because I hadn’t written anything using my imagination for 40 years or more, so I joined a writing group in nearby Nuneaton. I used to read them bits of the novel and they were all very supportive, which helped my confidence no end. Ann Evans, the leader, also made us write short stories and poetry and to write in genres outside of our comfort zone, which I found immensely challenging but also very satisfying. Being part of a writing group made me realize that I did still have an imagination and that I could use it to write words that other people enjoyed.  I was in the group for about three years before The Jewel Garden was finally published.

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

Marilyn: To be honest I don’t think my writing style has been influenced by any author.

Betty: What prompted you to start writing?

Marilyn: My obsession with Mary De Morgan! On completion of my PhD (as a very mature student) I had found so much about Mary De Morgan that I decided to write her biography. Then, because there were so many gaps in my knowledge about her, I decided to write a fictional account of her life. By now, I was well and truly hooked by the writing bug!

Betty: What type of writing did you start with?

Marilyn: I feel I am repeating myself here. The first book I had published was an academic collection of little-known fairy tales, followed by a biography. Then came the fiction books – all of which have been historical. I love to read crime but there is no way I could ever write it.

Betty: What do you most enjoy writing? Why?

Marilyn: I love writing my novels. I love being lost in a world of centuries ago. Very occasionally I will write a poem if there is the right trigger, but I don’t consider myself a poet, although people have said my writing is poetic. I have absolutely no interest in writing a novel set in contemporary times.

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

Marilyn: Although I joined a writing group I don’t think it actually taught me how to write – but it did encourage me to write. I have never felt the need to read a ‘help yourself’ book on writing. I have been to a few writing conferences but I went more to hear from literary agents than to learn any skill.

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

Marilyn: How difficult, time-confusing and soul-destroying marketing is. Like most authors, I enjoy the writing, not the prostituting of oneself in order to tempt just one person to buy your book.

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

Marilyn: My interest in the telling and retelling of stories and the difficulties of women being heard is definitely as a result of my obsession with Mary De Morgan, who was a Victorian writer of fairy tales. The current trilogy I am writing is all about women telling tales in a world deaf to the female voice.

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

Marilyn: Having written the biography of Mary De Morgan, I realised that there were still some gaps in my knowledge, despite years of research: why did she never marry, why did she travel to Egypt, how did she become the directress of an Arab girls reformatory? So I decided to write a fictional account of her life, written in the first person by Hannah, a fictional character, who becomes a life-long friend of Mary. I address all the unanswered questions, using my imagination.

It was a time when women were starting to rebel against Victorian conventions and to strive for their independence. This is a story of Hannah Russell’s physical, emotional and artistic journey from the back streets of the East End of London to the noisy souks and sandy wastes of Egypt; from the labyrinthine canals of Venice to the lonely corridors of Russell Hall in Kent. Hannah thinks she has found love with Mary De Morgan, a writer of fairy tales and one of William Morris’s circle of friends. But where there is devotion there can also be deceit and where there is hope there also dwells despair.

Excerpt:

It had been 1882, when I was twenty two and Mary ten years older. By then I had known Mary for two years and had already fallen in love with her. I had wanted to give her something special for her birthday. Over a week of dreary, wet winter days, when Mary had been out of town visiting some distant relations, I created a watercolour garden for her. The flowers were all based on real ones, but I let my imagination run free and mixed winter jasmine with spring cherry blossom; summer delphiniums with autumn roses. The blooms ranged from alabaster to deep purple, and I added even more colour by painting exotic butterflies that balanced on the edge of the petals, looking as if the slightest breeze would blow them off the paper. I had the painting framed and I was pleased with the end result.

On the day of her birthday, February 24th, I invited her around to my house for tea. She arrived promptly at three o’clock and we chatted happily over bite-sized sandwiches, dainty cakes, an assortment of pastries and numerous cups of tea. She asked me what I had been doing whilst she was away and I suddenly felt rather shy. I handed her the painting, which I had wrapped in brown paper and waited nervously for her to open it. Mary, impatient as ever, tore off the paper, giggling excitedly like a small child rather than a thirty-two year old woman, but when the picture was revealed she suddenly went silent and her face paled.

Buy links: Amazon

I find it very interesting that Marilyn wrote a biography and a novel about the same person! I’ve thought about writing a biography of Martha Washington after penning the novel Becoming Lady Washington, but there are already two biographies about her so have not. Thanks so much for sharing your story with us, Marilyn!

Thanks for reading!

Betty

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

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

Subscribe to My Newsletter to learn the inside scoop about releases and more!

Follow Me on Amazon / Facebook / Twitter

Getting to know Erica Taylor #author #historical #regency #romance #fanfiction

Please help me welcome a fellow historical romance author, Erica Taylor! See if you can spot the similarities between our backgrounds…

Erica Taylor is a mother of two and military wife married to her high school sweetheart. Raised in the mountains of Colorado, she holds a BA in History from the University of Colorado. Erica has been writing stories since she can remember, picked up her first romance novel while on a beach vacation as a teenager, and fell in love with falling in love, with sexy heroes and the feisty women who challenge their lives.

Erica loves anything Harry Potter, Doctor Who, or Star Wars, can spend hours in Home Goods with a Starbucks and truly believes a cat makes a home. Erica can often be found writing during baseball practice or piano lessons and is not afraid to let dinner burn if it means getting the story out of her head.

Website * Facebook * BookBub * Instagram

Betty: When did you become a writer?

Erica: I started writing fan fiction in high school and college and I feel like I never stopped! For me, writing historical romance is along the same lines as fan fiction— I love history and romance and playing in the regency world. 

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

Erica: I worked less on writing skills and more on historical knowledge before becoming published. It wasn’t until after I’d signed my first publishing contract I discovered the world of writing craft and learned about pacing, tropes, character motivation, etc. 

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

Erica: Julia Quinn, Gaelen Foley, Mary Balogh. 

Betty: What prompted you to start writing?

Erica: Writing in general, it was just the need to put words to paper. Writing historical romance started after I’d read a particularly bad story and I thought “I could do so much better.” And I hope I’ve done that. 

Betty: What type of writing did you start with?

Erica: Harry Potter fan fiction!

Betty: What do you most enjoy writing? Why?

Erica: The escape and the fantasy of it. Figuring out how two people fall in love just as they are themselves. Plus I love the research involved!

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

Erica: Craft lectures at conferences mostly. Other than just figuring it out as I went along. 

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

Erica: All of the craft I learned after the fact!

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

Erica: I’m inspired every time I pick up a book.

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

Erica: I liked the idea of two damaged, messy people finding each other and helping each other heal. It’s not a “love cures all” story, but more finding someone who gives you what you need when you didn’t even know you needed it. They aren’t whole and perfect by the end but together they are much stronger. There is also an element of saying goodbye to someone as they go off to war, and it’s probably the only thing in my books I’ve pulled from my actual life. 

Lady Norah Macalister is perfection: beauty, charm, grace, elegance—all a carefully constructed lie. No one would ever suspect her of anything scandalous, and no one is the wiser when a terrible secret threatens to destroy her.

Major Trevor Hayward has unraveled after a decade at war with Napoleon—or so everyone believes. When his cousin is murdered Trevor finds himself the prime suspect. Placed under house arrest at the home of his oldest friend, Trevor doubts those investigating his cousin’s murder will see past his marred reputation.

Refusing to accept her fate, Norah is determined to punish those who have wronged her. Her plan is ruthless, and she will see it through, even if she must manipulate those around her to avenge the wounds of her past. Norah is the most confounding woman Trevor has ever met, but he cannot deny, try as he might, that his best friend’s little sister is all grown up. When she is the only one who can prove his innocence, Trevor has little choice but to agree to her risky plot to destroy a mutual enemy.

While Trevor and Norah collude and execute Norah’s plan, succumbing to the spark between them brings their secrets to light. Can they play with fire and not be burned? Or will the madness of their scheme be the downfall of them both?

Excerpt:

London, England
April 1815

​The first thing Lady Norah Macalister thought as the dark-haired man walked through her front door was, He doesn’t look insane.

Major Trevor Hayward did not notice her as he dropped his hat and gloves to the butler, giving Norah a moment to contemplate his arrival and what to do next. His appearance was untimely, as her companion was not someone Major Hayward would want to see. He looked ragged, Norah admitted silently, with dark circles under his deep brown eyes, and his hair needed a trim. It was not long to his shoulders, or cropped short, but a length in between, hanging over his ears and rather unkempt. His clothes were slightly ill fitting, the brown of his coat drooping over his shoulders. He appeared to have lost a stone or two in weight since she had seen him eight months prior, not that he’d remember seeing her then. The last time she had laid eyes on Major Hayward, he had gone quite mad; it was not a sight she would soon to forget.

The sharp intake of breath from Norah’s companion standing directly behind her drew his attention, and his gaze snapped to where the two ladies stood on the staircase.

For a long moment, Major Hayward stared at Norah, his gaze cold, before flickering to the person behind her. If possible, his gaze grew even colder, harder, his eyes narrowing as he recognized the woman standing behind Norah.

“What are you doing here?” Lady Laura Pythe demanded, exuding disdain.

Major Hayward seemed to share her disgust. “I should ask you the same thing, cousin.”

Buy links: Books2Read

There are some serious sparks flying in that opening to An Enchanting Madness! Thanks for sharing that teaser with us, Erica!

Thanks for reading!

Betty

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

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

Subscribe to My Newsletter to learn the inside scoop about releases and more!

Follow Me on Amazon / Facebook / Twitter

Getting to know Sally Brandle #author #romance #suspense #contemporary #fiction #books #kindle

Let’s kick the new year off with a bit of suspense, shall we? Please welcome Sally Brandle to the interview hot seat! Here’s a bit about her background and then we’ll talk about the inspiration for her latest story.

Multi-award winning author Sally Brandle weaves slow-burning romance into edgy suspense stories. Sally left a career as an industrial baking instructor to bring to life stories motivating readers to trust their instincts. Her two rescue pups and kitty are her companions during long spells of writing. Afternoons are spent trail riding on her thirty-year-old Quarter Horse. The Hitman’s Mistake opens her Love Thrives in Emma Springs series of stories (without intimate scenes). Torn By Vengeance, Book 2, continues showcasing friendship, courageous women, and the men who deserve their love. The Targeted Pawn, Book 3, features a second chance for a life filled with love for humans and their furry friends.

Website * Facebook * Blog * Pinterest

Betty: What type of writing did you start with?

Sally: I began writing romantic suspense stories, which are my favorite books to read. After penning seven novels in my small-town Montana series, Love Thrives in Emma Springs, I wrote a couple of romantic suspense books with a science twist. Note to self: romances involving science breakthroughs aren’t topping the charts.

Betty: What do you most enjoy writing? Why?

Sally: I enjoy crafting a female heroine facing challenges she can overcome by trusting her own gifts. Throw in rescue animals who help along the way and a motivated villain, and I’ll be busy pitting them against one another for months. I’m no shrinking violet. I succeeded for thirty years in a career dominated by men. I like to believe that my male characters are realistic. In the day job I learned a bit about how men think, react, and feel. I live with a husband and two adult sons, so the education continues.

Currently I’m finalizing edits on a book in a new genre—historical fiction or fictional memoir, with an authentic heroine. It begins in 1939 and is based on the incredible and romantic story of my Dutch American friend, Iris, who recently turned 97. She’s my nomination for the female poster child of the Greatest Generation. On Iris’s eighteenth birthday, 12/8/1941, Queen Wilhelmina of Holland declared war on Japan, setting in motion a series of events affecting her in a wonderful and then horrible manner. A movie scout once told me to connect a novel to a film, and what came to mind was a true version of a Jumanji film. Iris rode her horse in the jungle with a pet monkey, had a French Countess grandmother, and bicycled from a WWII Indonesian POW camp every day to give a high-ranking Japanese colonel a shot. Survival depended on her abilities to think fast and keep a positive outlook. Next year is the 80th Remembrance Day of Pearl Harbor and my plan is to publish The Sapphire Promise in 2021.

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

Sally: I’m continuing to learn the craft of writing through my editor, Sharon Roe. Eight years of conferences, classes, and wonderful beta readers and critique partners gave me a great start before I contracted my first book. Years ago, I paid for a workshop given by a successful author. He looked out at the hundred or so of us in attendance and made a declaration that stuck. To paraphrase, he mentioned that most of us were diligently taking notes. Ninety percent of us would never review the notes or put into practice the tips we would learn. I edit my books with my weaknesses in mind. My beta readers tell me each book I finish is better, and that keeps me striving to learn more.

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

Sally: All my books can be read independently. I’d written other books in the series when my dental hygienist insisted that I needed to finish the story of two characters who met in The Hitman’s Mistake. She was correct, so I got started. The incident affecting the heroine’s initial view of men in this story is based on what happened to a best friend and I when we were fifteen and naive. We often rode our bikes around an island where we’d see cute dudes parked in cars, looking to meet girls. A couple of slightly older guys invited us onto their jet boat, moored nearby, for a ride. The day was hot, and it sounded like fun. Decades later my friend and I can still recall the shock and horror when they cut the engine on the boat in the middle of the polluted river. In real life and the story, their vile intentions didn’t play out, but the emotional impact stuck. Writing it proved to be cathartic to me, and it set up a great dynamic with my heroine and a compassionate doctor.  

Look over your shoulder. He’s watching.

Corrin Patten is solidly on a path to make partner in a prestigious Seattle law firm when an ominous threat from her past turns deadly. She can handle circumstances necessitating a temporary move to the backwater town of Emma Springs, but its charming physician is another matter, as she’s issued a permanent moratorium on men.

Dr. Kyle Werner revels in trust from patients he regularly treats in a community he’s never wished to leave. Yet, Emma Springs lacks one thing, a woman to share his perfectly bucolic life. He’s read about pheromone attraction, but never experienced desire until meeting Corrin. They make an unbeatable team, but convincing her that his interest is sincere while they dissect layers of deceit requires the precision of a surgeon’s scalpel. Can they defeat the wealthy stalker bent on mistaken revenge against Corrin and destruction of the peaceful Montana setting?

If you thrive on tenacious heroines, sizzling attraction, and a shadowy villain with a grudge, you’ll love this prescription for thrills.

Excerpt:

Set up: Corrin’s arrived in Montana to find she’s just missed the friend she’d come to help. Kyle’s more than happy to assist her.

She dragged down the hem of her skirt, and stared out her side window. A silver car sped toward them from the right, traveling well over sixty.

The same kind of car from earlier. Corrin lowered the visor as a precaution and watched the lone driver as he sped past. Her pulse spiked.

Bloody hell. Paunch Guy from the airport again. She clutched her shaking hands in her lap.

“Where’s the fire?” Kyle shook his head, then met her eyes.

Those baby blues could sway any jury, on any count, any day.

“Miranda told me you became her rock, the friend who kept cool and collected. Are you certain you’re okay?” he asked.

The car faded into the distance. Only a stupid coincidence, but Kyle readily spotted her unease. She tore her eyes away. “You’re witnessing my frustration. I can’t believe I travelled here and missed Miranda. She must be terrified. I won’t relax until she’s safe.”

He glanced at her hands. “She’s being protected by a top FBI agent and my best friend. We grew up together like brothers. I’d trust Grant with my life.” He accelerated onto a two-lane paved road.

Relax your fingers and breathe, she instructed herself, and concentrated on empty pastures out the window.

She’d known country naivety, too. Her nose wrinkled at the memory of smelling cow manure on the trek home from school. ‘You’re not scheduled to testify against a mob boss. The agent better protect her or he answers to me.”

Buy links: AmazonUS

Thanks so much for sharing the inspiration for Torn by Vengeance, Sally! It looks like a compelling story, too.

Thanks for reading, folks! Happy New Year!

Betty

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

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

Subscribe to My Newsletter to learn the inside scoop about releases and more!

Follow Me on Amazon / Facebook / Twitter

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

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

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

Website * Facebook * BookBub

Betty: When did you become a writer?

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

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

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

Betty: What prompted you to start writing?

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

Betty: What type of writing did you start with?

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

Betty: What do you most enjoy writing? Why?

Cathy: Can I say everything?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fortunately, he laughed.

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

Buy links: Amazon

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

Thanks for reading! Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays!

Betty Bolte

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

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

Subscribe to My Newsletter to learn the inside scoop about releases and more!

Follow Me on Amazon / Facebook / Twitter

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

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

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

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

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

Website * Twitter * Facebook * Instagram

Betty: When did you become a writer?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Betty: What prompted you to start writing?

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

Betty: What type of writing did you start with?

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

Betty: What do you most enjoy writing? Why?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 Excerpt:

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

She sucked in a breath.

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

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

Strangers bring dangers. Beware, call out, report.

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

Buy links: Books2Read * Amazon * Audible

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

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Betty Bolte

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

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

Subscribe to My Newsletter to learn the inside scoop about releases and more!

Follow Me on Amazon / Facebook / Twitter

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

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

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

Website * Facebook * Twitter

Betty: When did you become a writer?

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

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

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

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

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

Betty: What prompted you to start writing?

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

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

Betty: What type of writing did you start with?

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

Betty: What do you most enjoy writing? Why?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Excerpt:

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

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

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

Buy links: Amazon * B&N * BoldStrokeBooks

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

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Betty Bolte

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

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

Subscribe to My Newsletter to learn the inside scoop about releases and more!

Follow Me on Amazon / Facebook / Twitter

Getting to know Jodi Burnett #author #womensfiction #romance #thrillers #books #fiction

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

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

Website * Facebook * Instagram * Goodreads

Betty: When did you become a writer?    

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

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

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

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

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

Betty:  What prompted you to start writing?

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

Betty: What type of writing did you start with?

Jodi: My first book was women’s fiction.   

Betty: What do you most enjoy writing? Why?  

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jodi: Mary Burton and Sandra Brown

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

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

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

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

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

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

Excerpt:

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

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

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

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

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

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

No one moved.

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

Buy links: Amazon

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

Thanks for reading! Happy Holidays, folks!

Betty Bolte

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

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

Subscribe to My Newsletter to learn the inside scoop about releases and more!

Follow Me on Amazon / Facebook / Twitter

Getting to know D.W. Wilma #author #history #historicalfiction #fiction #books #novels

Today I’d like to introduce you all to a devoted historical fiction author. Please help me welcome D.W. Wilma to the interview seat!

David Wilma has been writing history books, history articles, and novels since 1999. For five years he was deputy director of www.HistoryLink.org, the free encyclopedia of Washington State History. For twelve years he was a volunteer Court Appointed Special Advocate representing foster children. In a first career he was a federal and state law enforcement officer. He writes from a home on an island in the Salish Sea region of the Pacific Northwest. He has authored and co-authored seven books on regional history and has published four historical novels.

Website * Twitter * Facebook

Betty: When did you become a writer?

D.W.: I was a history major in college and spent my first career in law enforcement and both pursuits involved writing. When I neared the end of my first career, I explored options for the next chapter. I took night classes and received wonderful encouragement from instructors and fellow students.

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

D.W. It was ten years before I published my first titles and the first three came out at once. My freelance work distracted me from the fiction.

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

D.W. In high school and college, I enjoyed C.S. Forester’s Hornblower series and discovered Bernard Cornwell’s stories starting with his Richard Sharpe. George MacDonald Fraser’s Flashman tells his story through the discovery of manuscripts that open each adventure. I used this device to present my protagonist, Phyllis in her books. Recently I have enjoyed Paulette Jiles in stories like Enemy Women and News of the World.

Betty: What prompted you to start writing?

D.W. I always enjoyed telling a story in my law enforcement work. I had to research events using primary evidence, analyze the information, come to conclusions, and related the story so the reader is engaged. It seemed natural to follow this passion in a second career.

Betty: What type of writing did you start with?

D.W.: I first wrote a mystery then got employment researching and writing articles on local history. Mysteries require a lot of suspension of disbelief and did not present the real world as I knew it. Historical fiction was a way to teach history as well as entertain.

Betty: What do you most enjoy writing? Why?

D.W.: I like relating a story the reader has not heard. I like to be first in that regard. I want to leave behind a sense of satisfaction, but also a desire to learn more. Many of my readers remark, “I did not know that.”

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

D.W.: I read and listen to the voices of other authors. In the 1990s, I took night classes. This exposed me to the nuts and bolts of writing fiction as well as other writers and the critique process. My critique group first met in a class in 1998 and the core and the newcomers still meet twenty-two years later. Those are my mentors. I have attended writers conferences mostly to learn about the business.

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

D.W.: It is impossible to inventory everything I have learned in the past twenty-five years or longer. The biggest thing I wish I knew is the business of selling and marketing, but there was no way to predict the changes in the industry that have occurred in that time. What I learned ten years ago is no longer valid. Marketing in all the online permutations is still something I am trying to grasp.

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

D.W.: C.S. Forester, Bernard Cornwell, George MacDonald Fraser, Patrick O’Brian, Wallace Stegner, John Steinbeck, Paulette Jiles, and many more.

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

D.W.: Down the River is based on a real story I uncovered in family history research. Two of my ancestors were murdered in 1813 in Kentucky in a disagreement over the ownership of some slaves. The bad news is there are few reliable details of the incident. The good news is there are few reliable details of the incident. I was free to fictionalize nearly everything and wanted to take the reader someplace where they might recognize the players. As an exercise for a class I started to tell the tale from the point of view of the only eyewitness, an unlettered slave woman (a real person) and used her in two other books.

Kentucky frontier, 1813. Greedy men struggle for power and wealth using the lives of their slaves as weapons and revenge. Phyllis is a young slave with blue eyes and tells the story of her life, her family, her community, their destruction, her survival, and her resurrection as an Abolitionist leader. She learns that good things can be bad and bad things can be good. 

Excerpt:  

“I can recite every detail from the afternoon the Morgans died. I can tell you the color of their horses, the smell of the trees, and the taste of the dust. I can describe every word spoken as clearly as if I heard it at breakfast this morning. I remember it all, not because of the screams and the blood, but because beginning that day, God chose me and tested me. Those dead men cost me my children, and they almost cost me my life. But their blood paid for my freedom, just as the blood of our Savior paid for our salvation. My freedom grew and blossomed into freedom for millions, but never for those whom I loved.”

Buy links: Amazon

That sounds very powerful, David. I think the POV is also an interesting choice and probably works wonderfully. Thanks for sharing your book with us!

I hope my fellow Americans had a safe yet happy Thanksgiving holiday yesterday! We won’t celebrate the holiday until Sunday this year, so I have a few more days of anticipation of turkey and homemade mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce and apple pie… Then to put up the tree and prepare for Christmas. Then before long this very trying (yet productive) year will be over.

Betty Bolte

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

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

Subscribe to My Newsletter to learn the inside scoop about releases and more!

Follow Me on Amazon / Facebook / Twitter 

Getting to know Michael Powell #author #singer #historical #military #fiction

My guest today is a multi-talented man who enjoys writing historical and science fiction. Please help me welcome Michael Powell! Let’s take a gander at his bio and then move on to the fun stuff, shall we?

Michael Powell was a Choral Exhibitioner at Christ Church Oxford and intended to become a professional singer but became a computer programmer to pay the bills in the meantime. Over the years, he alternated between the two careers. He authored a number of successful software products and, at the same time, performed professionally as a soloist in concerts and operatic performances around the UK and abroad.

In the 1980s he was commissioned to write articles for the UK national and specialist press on software-related subjects and wrote two books about Contracting (one largely written during rehearsals for Britten’s “Rape of Lucretia” at the Aldeburgh Festival).

In 1993 he met his wife, Kerstin. They bought a boat in Greece and have visited most of the Greek islands and the Turkish Mediterranean coast.

During their travels, they discovered the island of Leros where they bought a house in 2014. He became fascinated with the wartime history of the island which inspired him to write his first novel, “Four’s Destiny” and the sequel “Cheese and Chalk”.

His eclectic lifestyle has enabled him to continue to pursue his various careers wherever he happens to be.

Website * Facebook * Amazon * Twitter

Betty: When did you become a writer?

Michael: During the 1980s.

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

Michael: Immediately as a journalist, but you never stop working on your skills (such as they are).

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

Michael: Max Hastings, Iain Banks, Louis de Bernières

Betty: What prompted you to start writing?

Michael: I was temporarily unemployed when a company I had established was taken over and I was forced to step down. That prompted me to write a satirical piece for a computer magazine, which led to more regular commissions.

Betty: What type of writing did you start with?

Michael: Journalism about IT-related subjects.

Betty: What do you most enjoy writing? Why?

Michael: Fiction – some historical, some science fiction. Because I am interested in people’s experiences in conflict and in where science and technology are leading.

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

Michael: I just did it. Press sub editors helped.

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

Michael: I’d still like to find out how to market my work!

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

Michael: Initially a number of journalists with whom I was in contact during my work in software products companies.

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

Michael: I live much of the year in the Greek island of Leros, where each year there is a commemoration of a little-known World War II battle. That led me to think about the young men who fought on both sides who were brought together and destroyed by this cataclysm. English, Italians, Greeks and Germans fought and died here for very little benefit. I pictured one young man from each of these nations and wondered in what circumstances they could have met before the war and how their different lives would have been led until that fateful event.

“Four’s Destiny” melds real historical events in the period 1912-1943 with a fictional account of the short lives of four young men caught up in the maelstrom of war. At its core is the Greek Dodecanese island of Leros, the site of a largely unknown battle in World War II. The destinies of the four overlap tragically in that battle as the Italian nation overthrows Mussolini and casts in its lot with the Allies against the Nazis.

Excerpt:

Rolf Muller led his squadron of Ju88 dive bombers from the German controlled airfield in Megara on the Greek mainland towards the Dodecanese Islands. “A different target today, lads,” he told his crew. “We’re finished with Kos, now we’re going after Leros. It’s only a small island, but it’s bristling with guns and we’ve got to close it down.”

The twin-engined planes droned across the Aegean, passing areas already under German control. A further group of islands, laid out in a north-south line, materialised out of the haze on the eastern horizon, shimmering in the bright sunshine. Below them, the sea, gently ruffled by the mild winds which blew at that time of year, remained calm and peaceful.

“There it is!” said Rolf, indicating an island which looked as if it had been squeezed between a giant’s fingers to create two deep bays on each side, with narrow peninsulas in between. Dropping down to a lower height, he led the approach to the south-western bay, skimming tall, rugged hills until a deep inlet appeared below. “We’re in luck!” he cried as he spotted two warships at anchor, “two targets in sight.” 

He took his plane soaring up high above the bay and tilted it over to set it into a steep dive, aiming at one of the ships. As he did so, he saw puffs of smoke appear from the guns of the other vessel. His target was not yet responding and, coming closer, he saw men running to their stations, like panicking ants. “Too late, my friends” he thought grimly.

Buy links: Amazon US * Amazon IT

Sounds like a fascinating and haunting story, Michael. What a situation to find yourself in, too. Thanks for sharing it with us!

Thanks for reading! Happy Holidays!

Betty Bolte

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

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

Subscribe to My Newsletter to learn the inside scoop about releases and more!

Follow Me on Amazon / Facebook / Twitter 

Getting to know Ruth A. Casie #author #historical #romance #action #adventure #RomSus #amwriting #books

My guest today is a fellow lover of the Outlander series, so please help me welcome Ruth Casie! Let’s take a gander at her bio and then find out more about her inspiration for writing her best-selling stories.

Ruth A. Casie, a USA Today bestselling author, writes historical swashbuckling action-adventures and contemporary romantic suspense with enough action to keep you turning pages. Her stories feature strong women and the men who deserve them, endearing flaws and all. She lives in New Jersey with her own hero, three empty bedrooms, and a growing number of incomplete counted cross-stitch projects. Before she found her “voice,” she was a speech therapist (pun intended), client liaison for a corrugated manufacturer, and vice president at an international bank where she was a product/ marketing manager. What is her favorite job? Without a doubt it’s writing romances. She hopes her stories become your favorite adventures.

5 Things About Ruth.

1.  She filled her passport up in one-year.

2.  She has three series.  Historical Romance: The Druid Knight Series (time travel), The Stelton Legacy (fantasy), and Contemporary Romantic Suspense: Havenport Romances (small town). She also writes stories in the Pirates of Britannia Connected World.

3.  She did a rap to “How Many Trucks Can a Tow Truck Tow If a Tow Truck Could Tow Trucks.”

4.  When she cooks she dances.

5.  Her Sudoku book is in the bathroom. She’s not saying anything else about that.

Website * BookBub * Instagram * Facebook

Betty: When did you become a writer?

Ruth: I grew up in a creative household. My Dad was a dentist. My Mom worked in his office. Their hobby, besides collecting silver and crystal at auctions, was oil painting.  My hobby was getting in their way. Mom painted brilliant still-lifes while Dad was wonderful with seascapes. I was bad even at stick figures. My forte was making up stories and coercing my older sister (not an easy task—she’s fifteen years older than me) to act them out with me.

The stories in my head never stopped. But writing them down… no. As a matter of fact, I’m sure my high school English teacher is spinning in his grave at the idea that I’m a published author of nearly twenty books. I started writing in the Fall of 2009.

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

Ruth: When I finished writing my manuscript I had no idea what to do with it. I looked for a support group for guidance and found two groups, Romance Writers of America (RWA) and Liberty State Fiction Writers. Published authors in both groups were helpful and encouraging. I also found my critique partner, Jen. We still run our stories by each other. But I digress… My manuscript was polished and ready for pitching within a year. (I had a lot to learn.) I finished my first draft Spring 2010. I was under contract with Carina Press right after the first of the year, 2011.

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

Ruth: After I learned that I had to edit the draft before I could present it to anyone (yes, I was that naïve), I took a class in how to self-edit your story. It was given by Eliza Knight. She became my mentor. Her editing plan as well as sensual writing and story development techniques provided a good groundwork for my writing. While I do not write as “hot” as she does, the technique is still valuable.

Betty: What prompted you to start writing?

Ruth: I started writing when a good friend told me she wanted to write a romance story. I     offered to help, beta read, brainstorm, anything she needed. The idea of being involved in a story from inception fascinated me. I was an avid historical romance reader. At the time I was still working for the bank and flying overseas for business. I read to fill my time on flights and evenings.

My friend and I bounced around story ideas. We came across two themes that we liked. She challenged me to write my story. We could sell the two books as a set. The idea was intriguing. With only time to lose, I started sketching out my story that spring and four months later had a 100K word finished historical fantasy novel.

Betty: What type of writing did you start with?

Ruth: I started writing historical fantasy. My first book was Knight of Runes, a time travel romance. I enjoy historical romances with lords, knights, Druids, and magic. You can make anything happen. That said, I got together with three other authors (we’re close writing friends) and decided to write an anthology, four standalone stories around one theme. I was the only historical author and needed to decide what I would do. I decided to write contemporary romantic suspense. We created a small Rhode Island coastal town, Havenport, and wrote our stories. We have since pulled the stories out of the anthology and published them on our own.

Betty: What do you most enjoy writing? Why?

Ruth: Creativity. After twenty-five years of working at an international bank as a product manager where you did not get high marks for creative writing, writing romantic fantasy, time travel in particular, was mind expanding and fun. As an empty nester, I came home each night and added to my story and worked on weekends. I was enthusiastic and excited about each plot twist and “great line” I wrote. I spoke to my characters, which drove my husband crazy as well as a state policeman when he stopped me for speeding. But that is another story entirely!

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

Ruth: Eliza Knight was my mentor when I wrote Knight of Runes, and we still catch up when we can. I have taken classes with Donald Maass, Michael Hauge, and Damon Suede to name a few. Up until the recent pandemic, I attended the RWA National Conference and even served as Workshop Chair. I also attend the New Jersey Chapter conferences. While I attend some workshops, I get the recorded workshops and spend time networking and catching up with people I only see once a year.

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

Ruth: Knight of Runes was published by Carina Press. I remember asking Angela James, the acquiring editor, what I should do to market the book. She said write the next story. Her answer frustrated me. How was I going to sell books if no one knew who I was? I didn’t take her advice, instead I spent a lot of time and money (that I didn’t have) on marketing the book.

Sales were good, but I had nothing else to sell. Fans I had taken so much time to cultivate were asking for more stories but I didn’t have any. Looking back, I wish I had listened to Angela and written more stories sooner.

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

Ruth: All the authors whose books I read on those international flights and who kept me company at dinner and afterwards are the authors who inspired me: Jude Deveraux, Julie Garwood, Julia Quinn, Diana Gabaldon, Judith McKnight, Johanna Lindsey, Eliza Knight, Kathryn LeVeque. But it’s not only about romance. There is this action-adventure side that excites me inspired by Clive Cussler, Dan Brown, and Tom Clancy.

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

Ruth: I read Outlander and loved the story. The concept was as intriguing as Jude Devereaux’s Knight in Shining Armor. When my friend asked me to write my own story, I found myself creating a time travel romance. The result was Knight of Runes, a story about a woman, Rebeka, who falls back in time to 1605 and meets her soulmate, Lord Arik. I followed it with Knight of Rapture. In this story, Rebeka is tricked back into the 21st century and Arik must go through time to rescue her.

She was his witch, his warrior, and his wife. He was her greatest love.
Four centuries couldn’t keep them apart.

When Lord Arik, a druid knight, finds Rebeka Tyler wandering his lands without protection, he swears to keep her safe. But Rebeka can take care of herself. When Arik sees her clash with a group of attackers using a strange fighting style, he’s intrigued.

Rebeka is no ordinary seventeenth-century woman—she’s travelled back from the year 2011, and she desperately wants to return to her own time. She poses as a scholar sent by the king to find out what’s killing Arik’s land. But as she works to decode the ancient runes that are the key to solving this mystery and sending her home, she finds herself drawn to the charismatic and powerful Arik.

As Arik and Rebeka fall in love, someone in Arik’s household schemes to keep them apart, and a dark druid with a grudge prepares his revenge. Soon Rebeka will have to decide whether to return to the future or trust Arik with the secret of her time travel and her heart.

Excerpt:

Rebeka stood taller, planted her staff on the ground in a quiet emphatic fashion and stared squarely into his eyes. “I can take care of myself, thank you very much.”

Arik shifted his attention to her, taking her in fully. He was used to facing men eye-to-eye. Most were intimidated and unable to hold his stare. He gave her his fiercest look, expecting her to look away, and was stunned when she stared back at him in the same manner. Arrogant. There was also a spark of something he couldn’t pinpoint. An instant chemistry of recognition and challenge. He quickly hid his feelings, a practiced talent.

She wasn’t as adept. He saw the recognition in her eyes before she won control of her reaction. She registered confusion, a sense of disbelief and white-hot anger.

She probably came up to his shoulder. He marveled at how the gold and copper flecks in her mahogany hair reflected in the sun. Although her hair was bound, wisps fell in gentle waves, framing her oval face. Her skin looked soft to touch and was vibrant and healthy even through the bruises. Her mouth was full and inviting, her white teeth perfectly straight. Her deep-set eyes, an extraordinary shade of violet shot through with flecks of silver, held his attention. He saw intelligence in them and passion. The intelligence was a surprise. The passion, well, he stirred that in many women.

Buy links: Amazon

I love a good time travel romance! That’s why I enjoy Outlander so much. This one sounds really intriguing, too. Thanks for sharing, Ruth!

Happy reading!

Betty Bolte

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

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

Subscribe to My Newsletter to learn the inside scoop about releases and more!

Follow Me on Amazon / Facebook / Twitter