Getting to know Steve Wiegenstein #historical #literary #fiction #author

My guest today writes thought-provoking and engaging historical fiction. But let’s let him tell you all about his writing. Please help me welcome Steve Wiegenstein to the interview chair. We’ll peek at his bio and then get to the interview.

Steve Wiegenstein grew up in the Missouri Ozarks, the setting for much of his writing, and worked there as a newspaper reporter before entering the field of higher education. He is an avid hiker and canoeist who hits the trails and float streams of the Ozarks every chance he gets. Steve lives in Columbia, Missouri, where he teaches English. He is the author of three historical novels: Slant of Light, This Old World, and The Language of Trees, and of a forthcoming book of short stories. He is at work on the fourth novel of his series.

Website * Facebook * Blog * Instagram

Betty: When did you become a writer?

Steve: I started writing short stories in high school, admittedly very clumsy ones, and then worked in journalism during and after college. I was writing for newspapers by the time I reached my sophomore year in college, so I guess I could say that I’ve always been a writer!

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

Steve: I spent a couple of years working on short stories and trying to find my authentic voice and subject. Working on my writing skills is an unending process, though, and in a very real sense I am still working on those skills thirty years later!

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

Steve: Stylistically, I’ve always been a fan of Scott Fitzgerald and John Williams, two writers who used a plain, “classical” style but were able to pull out distinctive rhetorical flourishes when the situation called for it. Another pair of influences in a less noticeable way are Emerson and Thoreau. One thing I’ve noticed about their writing is that they both have a practice of making sharp turns in their subject. These seemingly unpredictable and random changes of subject turn out to make sense upon reflection, but surprise and shock us at first.

Betty: What prompted you to start writing?

Steve: It’s hard to say. I’ve just always felt that I’ve had stories to tell, ideas to communicate, and writing was the natural vehicle for me to do that. If I was better at music or art, I might have gone down those paths, but you work with what you’ve got!

Betty: What type of writing did you start with?

Steve: Schlocky, woodsy stories that were essentially bad imitations of Jack London. Blessedly vanished from the earth.

Betty: What do you most enjoy writing? Why?

Steve: There are different sorts of enjoyment, I think. Writing short stories is fun, because you can really focus, finish a story within a few weeks, and feel a sense of immediate satisfaction. By contrast, writing a novel can feel like endless work (I mean seriously, they take years). But the satisfaction when one is completed is immense.

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

Steve: I was an insanely voracious reader as a kid. I think I picked up a lot of techniques and strategies just by osmosis. But going to journalism school and then working in newspapers for several years really taught me the discipline I needed and gave me some important habits, especially for the editing stages.

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

Steve: Not exactly “knew,” but I wish I had kept at it more steadily! There were periods in my career when I focused more on “day-job” work, academic presentations and the like, but looking back on it now I wish I had stayed more focused on my creative writing instead. That’s the work that I hope will last.

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

Steve: My mom was a freelance writer who wrote feature stories for newspapers and magazines, and one of my fondest memories as a child is watching her set up her typewriter and notes on the dining room table, focus her attention intently on her subject, and laugh with delight when she came up with a particularly good phrase. I trace my love of writing right back to her.

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

Steve: My novel series deals with critical moments in American history as seen through the lens of a small village in the Missouri Ozarks. In the earlier books I dealt with the run-up to the Civil War and the aftermath of that war, but in this one I was interested in the Industrial Revolution. In the Ozarks that revolution came by way of what was known as the “timber boom,” a period in the late 19th and early 20th centuries when big financial interests came to the region and applied industrial methods to timber harvesting. The result was a huge economic change and an environmental catastrophe that is still being felt today. I’ve always felt that this was an under-told story, and it’s an era that appeals to my personal interests in economics, society, and the environment, as well as providing the backdrop for a great story.

The inhabitants of Daybreak, a quiet 19th-century utopian community, are courted by a powerful lumber and mining trust and must search their souls as the lure of sudden wealth tests ideals that to some now seem antique. And the courtship isn’t just financial. Love, lust, deception, ambition, violence, repentance, and reconciliation abound as the citizens of Daybreak try to live out oft-scorned values in a world that is changing around them with terrifying speed.

Excerpt:

Josephine pulled the shutters, darkening the house, but wasn’t ready to sleep yet. She felt restless, filled with aimless energy that she didn’t know how to burn. She took her shawl from its peg and stepped into the night.

The tang of woodsmoke from cookstoves and fireplaces seasoned the evening air, and the first stars salted the sky. In the still air she could hear the distant clack-clack of the northbound line, up from Texas with a load of cattle, no doubt. It was a good six miles to the railroad as the crow flew, but she could hear the banging of the cars, and a moment later the screech of a whistle as it passed a crossing. Cattle going north, emigrants and orphans going south. Bodies in motion.

She walked away from the sound, up the road toward the river, her mind cluttered. Charlotte liked to sit by the river, always had, and Josephine could understand why. It had a balancing effect, the movement and silence, the faint murmur concealing deep power. Sitting by the river reminded her of lasting things and suspended the oppressive sense that she would rather be anywhere than in this valley, caring for a damaged mother, waiting for her to die so that the next chapter in her own life could begin. Even the cattle had a destination.

Buy link: Amphorae Publishing

We share both a love of story and a life-time of writing, Steve. Thanks so much for joining me today and sharing about your writing process and the story behind the story!

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 Nancy Lee Badger #author #contemporary #timetravel #paranormal #scottish #romance

I have a special treat for you! My friend and fellow author, Nancy Lee Badger, has a new time-travel fantasy romance out today! I couldn’t wait to share this one with you all, so welcome to a special edition of my author interview series. Let’s meet Nancy and then we’ll dive into the interview.

Nancy Lee Badger grew up in Huntington on New York’s Long Island, where school field trips to lofty museums were the norm. After attending Plymouth State, in New Hampshire, she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Art Education and met and married her college sweetheart. They raised two handsome sons in Rumney, New Hampshire, where Nancy volunteered as an EMT and firefighter while working full-time. When the children had left the nest, and shoveling snow became a chore, she retired from her satisfying job as a 9-1-1 Emergency Medical Dispatcher and moved with her husband to North Carolina, where she writes full-time.

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

Website * Twitter * Facebook * BookBub

Betty: When did you become a writer?

Nancy Lee: I started back in 2006, the week my son arrived home after a tour in Iraq. The words just started flowing.

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

Nancy Lee: It took another 4 years seriously writing, until a publisher released my first book.

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

Nancy Lee: Hannah Howell’s Highlander stories started it after meeting her at a New Hampshire RWA chapter conference, then I met and started reading Sabrina Jeffries and Katharine Ash. They live nearby!

Betty: What prompted you to start writing?

Nancy Lee: I have always thought about writing. I did some essays in grade school and had poems printed in a college paper. I even did restaurant reviews for a local paper. I wanted to do more.

Betty: What type of writing did you start with?

Nancy Lee: An idea and an ending. The characters come to me as I go. Sometimes I don’t name them right away. Names are important, so I want to get that right. I have read novels where I could not pronounce the name! The basic plot constantly changes by the time the 3rd draft is finished.

Betty: What do you most enjoy writing? Why?

Nancy Lee: The escapism. I had a very intense job as a 911 operator when I started writing a manuscript. It calmed me during the breaks between calls, and I was excited to hurry home after a 10-hour shift to type it all up.

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

Nancy Lee: I joined Romance Writers of America to find agents and publishers, then the Raleigh-area chapter the month we moved here from New Hampshire. Their monthly meetings, on-line courses, and RWA conferences were fantastic places to learn and network. This is a lonely profession, otherwise.

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

Nancy Lee: How much I had to learn! Once someone else reads and edits your work, you don’t realize how bad your grammar or spelling is. A good editor is worth every penny.

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

Nancy Lee: It wasn’t just one author, but the many authors of the early Harlequin books from the 80’s and early 90’s. I read tons of them until I had an epiphany. I said “I can write something better than this!” Not true, once I learned how hard it is, but I keep getting better.

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

Nancy Lee: My sisters, Kim Beegle and Lynn Erla Beegle, were the ones who pointed me to the nearby NC Museum of Art. The 164-acre complex opened my eyes and gave me ideas. It was only after I walked the vast grounds, and through the visually appealing Rodin Garden, that the Warriors in Bronze series was born.

An English lass grows up in a Scottish coven only to awaken in a strange new world with sculptures, a handsome man, and a hate-filled demon. Falling in love while saving the world was not the plan!

Excerpt:

Swallowing her fear, Marigold took a deep breath, and pushed away from the tree trunk. With quiet precision, she slipped her dirk from the hidden pocket she’d conjured in her leggings. Simply holding it gave her the courage to push aside the feathery branches, step out into the night, and face the demon.

Zinerva stood too close for comfort, but she did not appear threatening. In fact, she twirled in a circle and started to laugh.

What be ye wearing, whore?

“Stop calling me that. I am no whore. My name is Marigold Keats and ye and I share a history, I suspect.”

The demon sauntered closer, and then circled around her in a dance to music she heard only in her own head. Her gaze flowed up and down Marigold’s body.

Ye dress odd for a wh . . . I mean, a Sassenach witch. Be this a better label?

How could the demon know her true identity? Only Gwen and Helen’s spirit friend were privy to the information and they promised not to share it with others. If Sam ever discovered her true origin, he would never look at her in the same way again.

“I am me, nothing more. At least I am still alive. Considering yer dull as dishwater black ensemble, what is wrong with my clothes?”

A sizzle brought her attention from the demon’s pale as milk face and flaming eyes to her raised hand. Zinerva winked as she held up a red bolt that flickered and smoked, brightening their pondside meeting place.

Buy links: Amazon * Amazon UK * Amazon CAN * Amazon AUS

Wow, Nancy, that sounds like a wonderful story! I hope you have a fantastic book birthday for Heaven-sent Flame. Thanks for stopping by today to share your inspiration and new book!

Happy reading!

Betty

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

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

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

My guest today shares a couple of my own loves: dogs and horses. Of course, we also share a love of writing great stories and always striving to be better at it. Let’s meet Sally Brandle and fine out more about her, shall we?

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 rescue Aussie is her companion during long spells of writing or afternoons spent riding on the wind with her nearly 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 * Twitter * Blog

Betty: When did you become a writer?

Sally: My mom saved stories I’d written in the fourth grade, but I began to write seriously about ten years ago. I truly felt successful when the local King County Library System recently bought five copies of each of my books!

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

Sally: Working on writing skills is a continuous process. The key seems to be taking classes from successful people and then applying them to your work—my perseverance paid off after about eight years of classes and workshops, when I contracted with Soul Mate Publishing.

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

Sally: I enjoy any story from Jayne Ann Krentz, a gifted and generous local Seattle author. Years ago, at a workshop where a few of us brought manuscripts needing help, she suggested I cut my first five pages and begin with the elevator scene in The Hitman’s Mistake. Her advice rocked and now I check for an exciting ‘elevator scene’ in the opening pages of each story.

Betty: What prompted you to start writing?

Sally: A swap shelf at a bar in balmy Costa Rica provided romance novels to read while lying in a hammock on vacation. Problem was, many were not well written. I offhandedly shared my opinion with my husband, and he dared me to write a better one.

Betty: What type of writing did you start with?

Sally: I began by writing eight contemporary romantic suspense novels and then outlined two back-in-time stories and a couple of historicals. All my books are sensual without intimate scenes. I may contract a science-faction series next. Good science in very, very bad hands…

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

Sally: I’ve used the Snowflake Method and Libby Hawkers Seat of Your Pants books to outline, which saves time and energy. My object is to write a great book and be internally satisfied. Using good tools helps.

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

Sally: A friend of mine would have loved to know his Native American heritage, but his grandmother would never divulge her tribe or information he could’ve used for research. I reversed the scenario and made my hero very proud of his Blackfeet Nation lineage. Needing a sensitivity reader put me in touch with Thomas Smittle, an Oglala Lakota tribe member, who realized his gift in working with horses through the Mustang Inmate Training Program. After his release he acted in the movie, The Mustang, (2019 R Rated) directed by Robert Redford. His story inspired me, and I’m working it into my next book, tentatively titled, The Romantic Mule Thriller.

Threats forced her to flee Seattle. Honor binds him to Montana. A second chance at love tethers them together.

Elon Hardy’s romance skills are rusty after a loveless marriage ends, but upon meeting hunky rancher, Rane Calderon, sparks blaze hotter than her welding torch. To support her collegiate sons, she’s determined to acquiesce to the bullheaded, female-phobic boss until her divorce finalizes from her deceitful husband.

A woman Rane trusted ruined his life, and at forty, he won’t be fooled again. Blisteringly mad he’s hired a female bearing a man’s name, he fights attraction for the curvy, determined brunette while thwarting efforts to build a private prison atop his Blackfeet ancestors’ burial ground. 

“Sally Brandle has taken the worst of humanity and pitted that evil against the best of humanity, the ability to love and trust. A sweet, second chance, mature romance against all odds! Easy to read, filled with action, truly vile characters and characters that you cannot help but root for! Nothing graphic, this love story doesn’t need it!” Tome Tender 5 Star Review

Excerpt:

Elon smiled. Angel needed an advocate. “Just tell me where to park my car and oh…I, ah, have a dog.”

“Your car’s ok where it’s parked. Didn’t realize you brought a guest,” he said, in a voice turned soft as suede.

The calm before the storm? “Hadn’t planned to adopt a pet. A jerk tossed her from a truck on the highway an hour ago.” She clenched her fist. “I won’t abandon Angel. That’s what I named her.”

His boots scraped the floor as he pulled them in. He rose to his full height. “Angel can bunk inside, or I’ll find her a temporary doghouse.”

“I won’t let her bother you.”

“Dogs never do. If she needs kibbles, ask for Fred. He’ll find someone headed to town.”

The man did have a heart. For the first time today, she smiled. “Thank you. I’ll find something to feed her tonight,” Elon said.

Rane leaned over her, close enough to show dark stubble on his perfectly sculpted jaw. The guy’s black lashes appeared thick as paint brushes. His eyes glowed a deep shade of russet.

Flutters swirled in her belly. She blinked several times and leaned back.

With one fist braced on the papers, his chest stiffened into a shield. “Animals I trust, Ms. Hardy. Women are another story. A month’s trial, then we’ll talk.” He straightened and walked out, leaving a trail of spice-scented annoyance.

Amazon

Sounds quite tempting, Sally! Thanks for sharing about your writing inspiration and a peek at your book!

Happy reading!

Betty

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

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

Getting to know G. S. Kenney #author #romance #scifi #fiction #books #amwriting #amreading

My guest today writes stories that are out of this world, quite literally! I’m pleased to introduce G. S. Kenney to you all. Let’s take a look at her bio and then we’ll slide right into the interview.

Author G. S. Kenney writes romantic speculative fiction novels. Her first science-fiction romance novel Freeing Eden, published by Soul Mate Publishing, was a 2018 RWA Golden Heart® finalist. The Last Lord of Eden, the second novel in the Ascent of Eden series published by Soul Mate, is now also available.

G. S. Kenney started reading early, and never stopped. In kindergarten, drawn in by a book with a picture of three witches at a cauldron, she learned to read by starting with Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Now she writes stories of her own (and still loves Shakespeare). Interested in many fields, she studied the “Great Books” at St. John’s College, architecture at Harvard, and financial planning at Boston University. She has also conducted post-doctoral research in psychology at the Center for Creative Leadership in Greensboro, North Carolina, and for many years developed software systems.

Website *  Facebook * Instagram * Twitter * Goodreads

Betty: When did you become a writer?

G. S.: My family moved to Texas when my children were little, and I began working for American Airlines, where my first assignment was managing the development and installation of a yield-management system for a truck-rental company in Miami. I flew into Miami every Tuesday morning and returned Thursday in time for dinner, which meant that I spent two nights every week in a hotel in Miami, away from my family. I’d been making up stories for my children pretty much since they learned language, and I found in those lonely hotel rooms that the stories I was constantly developing in my head were a lot more interesting than the stories on the television. So I began writing them down. That was over twenty years ago, and I’ve never stopped writing stories since.

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

G. S.: A long time! I didn’t even try to get published at first. Between parenting and working full time at a job that included travel, I had my hands full. I wrote for my children and their cousins. They loved the stories, and that was enough for me. I wrote and wrote, and I got better through the practice.

Eventually, though, the kids went off to college, and I stopped working in tech. I polished up some of the later (and, trust me, better!) stories and began making submissions. That’s when I discovered that the stories my children and their cousins found fascinating still left something to be desired from a professional publishing perspective. Years of coursework, writing groups, and beta readers, and many rejections later, Freeing Eden finaled in the Golden Heart contest, and I found a publisher as well.

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

G. S.: Ah. That’s a good question. My style is definitely still evolving, and there are many influences.

This is the part where I have to mention that I attended St. John’s College in Annapolis, Maryland, a small liberal-arts college with a four-year entirely fixed curriculum centered on reading and discussing the seminal books and ideas of Western civilization. I’ve read a lot of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century literature, and initially developed a style that reflects the elegance of that period: omniscient point of view, large words and long sentences, and entirely too many semicolons.

I still love reading books from that period, but the style is not well suited to my subject matter, futuristic science fiction with more than a dash of romance. Neither is the style of the mostly white-male-scientist writers of mid-twentieth-century—Asimov, Sturgeon, and the rest—who fostered my love of science fiction.

I’m trying for a more intimate style, more character-focused, often (but not entirely) deep point of view—what the romance genre is so good at, but I want to do so without entirely shaking the elegance and descriptiveness of the older styles. Do I create a unique blend that works? I hope I do.

Betty: What prompted you to start writing?

G. S.: Two things—one positive, and one negative. The positive prompt was definitely my children, who, when they were little, couldn’t get enough of my stories as fast as I could make them up. The negative prompt was television. I was traveling for work back then, two nights a week every week alone in a hotel room. Of course TV is different now, but back then, I couldn’t find anything on the hotel TV even half as interesting as the stories in my head. So instead of watching TV, I wrote down the stories I was already making up anyway. You’d be amazed how much time for writing that frees up.

Betty: What type of writing did you start with?

G. S.: YA science-fiction, very soft scifi just *this far* (forefinger and thumb less than an eighth of an inch apart) from fantasy, and sometimes actual fantasy, suitable for children.

Betty: What do you most enjoy writing? Why?

G. S.: I most enjoy writing the scenes that come easily—and believe me, they don’t always! These are the scenes that seem to want to write themselves, and all I have to do is keep up. The ones I might be writing, for example, after I should have gone to bed already, but I know that if I stop now, I’ll lose whatever muse it is that is making the scene real.

But perhaps you mean, what genre do I most enjoy writing. My background is definitely science fiction, but I don’t prefer to write the very hard stuff full of, say, spacecraft based on deep research into the current state of NASA developments. I’m definitely a “people” writer. Futuristic environments and scenarios are tons of fun to create—and I like to do a good job of it—but their purpose, for me, is to highlight the human side of the story. So I have gravitated toward science-fiction romance, and that’s the genre of my Golden-Heart-finalist book Freeing Eden, and to a lesser extent, The Last Lord of Eden, its sequel.

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

G. S.: First and foremost, through reading! Second, through actually writing. Novels are different from the stories you just think through in your head. Those stories start somewhere and keep going as long as you can keep making them up, and end when you can’t think of new things to add to the chain. I wrote a couple of books like that when my children were little, and I guarantee you, you’ll never see them. Once I’d written a few books like that, only then did I realize I needed to sharpen my craft. So, yes, for years I took online courses (mostly those sponsored by RWA chapters), read craft books, and yes, had the generous help and feedback of some friends who were further along the writing path than I was.

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

G. S.: I wish I’d started trying to publish much earlier in my writing career. Even though my writing wasn’t as good back then as it is now, I think it would have been a lot easier to find an agent and a publisher, and to establish a reputation as an author.

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

G. S.: I often say that Alfred Bester was my most inspiring author. I was in love with science fiction as a child, and his novel The Demolished Man quite took my breath away. It won the first Hugo award in the 1950s. And The Stars My Destination was also wonderful. I have, in fact, re-read both of these fairly recently, and I believe that despite some outdated cultural aspects, they hold up beautifully.

To save his planet, he’ll destroy his family.

To save him, she’ll do anything it takes!

The world of Eden is in crisis. Politicians throughout the galaxy demand the psychic-power producing drug that grows only on Eden. And the demand is skyrocketing.

Adopted son of Eden’s previous warlord, peace-loving Kell has inherited dominion over the planet and is determined to keep it free. When he discovers that the warlord’s brother and a powerful drug lord have teamed up to seize Eden’s priceless harvest, Kell will stop at nothing to prevent them–even if it means he must become a death-wielding champion.

To protect her from this danger, Kell must distance himself from Zara, the woman he loves. But when his efforts are not enough to save his beloved planet, Zara will do anything to bridge that distance. Can she succeed in time?

Excerpt:

Erik son of Magnus son of Leif had become aware of a commotion in his outer office, but he was ignoring it. As Kestra’s longtime senator to the Interplanetary Federation, he chaired the powerful Negotiation Management Committee, which would be meeting in less than an hour. He needed to be thoroughly prepared—especially today, since the man claiming to be the new Lord of Eden had been subpoenaed to appear first thing after lunch. The committee had to present a united front. He sighed and halfheartedly thumbed through the pile of papers in front of him. Where to start?

The noise grew louder, impossible to ignore any longer. He commed his assistant. “Sten, could you please keep it down out there? I—”

There was a crash, a shriek, and the door opened.

Erik’s heart pumped adrenaline; his head buzzed with it. He stood, fumbling ineffectually with the desk drawer—the locked desk drawer, he realized—where he kept a laser.

A stranger stood in the doorway, a young man. He was half-turning toward the three people opposing him and brandishing a whip of all things, effectively enough to keep all three at bay. He radiated anger and grim determination along with an odd hint of uncertainty, all of this amplified greatly, of course, by the andreatin Erik regularly consumed.

Erik took a deep breath and relaxed. How delightfully archaic. Rather like Reuel. The new young warlord from Eden, no doubt. “You must be Kell. Don’t just stand there. Come in. You’re going to, anyway.”

Buy link:  Amazon

Thanks so much, G. S. for stopping by today! I like your approach to writing science fiction!

Thanks so much for reading today! I hope you’re finding some good books to curl up at home with during this global crisis. There are a few of my books available to read for free. Find out more here. And as always, thanks for reading!

Betty

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

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

Getting to know Clair Brett #author #strongwoman #historical #romance #regency

It’s always a pleasure to meet a fellow historical romance author! Please help me welcome Clair Brett and let’s find out more about her writing inspiration and stories. Here’s her bio and then we’ll dive right in to the interview.

Author of 5 historical romances, including the Improper Wives for Proper Lords series, Clair Brett lives in NH with her ever emptying nest which includes her children when they come to visit, two cats, one willful dog, and a mean Pitbull mix, that will lick you to death and run into her kennel when you speak loudly, and an ever harassed husband who takes it all in stride. A lover of all things Regency, Clair was hooked when she first read Jane Austen. She is a firm believer that a reader finds a piece of who they are or learns something about the world with every book they read. She wants her readers to be empowered and to have a refreshed belief in the goodness of people and the power of love after reading her work.

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Goodreads

Betty: When did you become a writer?

Clair: When my daughters were little and I was teaching middle school full time. I needed a world to escape into that I had control of. I would finish reading a book and think “hmm, I would have ended that differently.” So, I decided to give it a try and I was hooked.

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

Clair: I wrote for over 10 years and have one manuscript that I wrote and have not published, because it was my practice piece. After being told by many editors that they loved my voice and story, but my heroines were too strong for historical romance I decided to go indie.

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

Clair: Again, I write strong female characters, so writers like Eloisa James, Nicole Jordan, and Hannah Howell were strong influences. Karen Hawkins humor and light heartedness also spoke to me.

Betty: What prompted you to start writing?

Clair: I have always loved writing, but never thought of myself as a writer, until I had two tiny girls at home and a full time job as a middle school teacher. As much as I loved all the children in my life, I needed a place where grown ups were in charge and I was also looking for some place where I felt I had some control. As an author you are in control of your world and how your characters interact in that world. If I wanted them to eat their peas, they did.

Betty: What type of writing did you start with?

Clair: I have always loved Historical Romance with a level of suspense and action/adventure. I was raised on a solid diet of Dukes of Hazzard, MacGyver, and the A-team, and I think that influences my need to have an exciting sub plot.

Betty: What do you most enjoy writing? Why?

Clair: I love writing the scenes where my hero is being himself. Usually he is working something out with a friend or brother and doesn’t have to behave in a certain way. I also love to write the scenes where the heroine takes charge of the situation leaving my hero to sit on the sidelines and watch or help (strong heroines, remember?)

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

Clair: I joined RWA early in my writing journey, I read any book I could get my hands on about craft, took classes, went to conferences, but in the end I think I learned most about the ebb and flow of a story from reading other authors. I find when I don’t have time to read, I can feel a disconnect between my story and the flow. It is because I haven’t been reading and need to take the time to get back to that.

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

Clair: That once you start it becomes part of you, like breathing and it would be impossible to walk away from once I got started. I could have planned better. lol

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

Clair: All the writers in my NHRWA chapter. They were the first “real” writers I interacted with, and those authors at conferences that I stalked, too nervous to talk to, Karen Hawkins comes to mind. She was amazingly kind and welcoming when I finally got my nerve up. Also Julia Quinn, who is very down to earth and encouraging when she finds out you are a writer as well and not just a reader.

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

Clair: I’m not sure if I can remember. Winn’s Fall has been in my mind for many years. I think I asked myself the question what would make an otherwise responsible man be a daredevil with no care for his own safety. Often I will have a scene come to me and then I have to figure it out from there, and the scene I got from this was the meet/cute for my hero and heroine. He is in a homemade hot air balloon and she is watching him come across a field from the middle of the road. What could go wrong with that?

Lord Winthrop (Winn) Burton will die on his own terms. A family curse says he will die by the time he turns thirty years old. He will not leave a young wife and a child behind like his father did to him.
When childhood friend Miss Zoe Chase returns to stay with his sister and find a husband, Winn’s plans are thrown into chaos. Not only is the once gangly, awkward girl he remembers, is now everything that tempts him, the accidents that once plagued his life are happening to her.
He must keep her safe, but how can he do that when ravaging her is all he can consider? Or perhaps the curse isn’t a curse after all.
Will Winn die, or will he fall?

Excerpt:

“I will not speak a word until my plate is full and my cup refilled, twice,” He demanded as he sat down at his spot and hefted his cup toward Winn. Who unceremoniously slid the wine bottle toward him and took up the plates to serve the now simmering dinner. Once they were both seated, his friend started. “When admitted to the parlor, your mother and sister were chatting with a woman; I would say close to your mother’s age. It was, without a doubt, the older woman with your pretty partner from earlier. She was introduced to me as Lady Dorothy Lambert.”

“If I remember, that is Zoe’s maternal aunt.”

“Quite right, or so I was told when introduced. It was the same woman we met on the road — the one who scooped up her charge and pierced us with reproachful glares. I got a similar one this evening. Your young lady was not, however, in attendance.”

“She is not my young lady,” Winn corrected. Why would he even say such a thing? They didn’t even know each other anymore. A lot changes a person between the ages of nine and nine and twenty.

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

I love that you made your characters eat their peas, Clair! That’s funny! Thanks for sharing about what inspired you to write your latest romance, too.

Happy reading, folks! At least that’s one thing you’ll never run out of: books to read. Stay safe and healthy!

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 Clive Hagon #author #historical #fiction

My guest today comes to us from across the pond, as they say. Please welcome Clive Hagon, an author of historical fiction that taps into Greek myths and legends. First, I’ve asked Clive to tell us a bit about himself, then we’ll move into the interview. Take it away, Clive!

The casual observer would be forgiven for believing that my life has been devoted to gambling, womanizing, and dining well. This is only partially true, for my vocational passion has been to unravel the meaning of classical Greek literature.

I cannot claim formal structure to my studies but, since witnessing Peter Hall’s production of The Oresteia on the London stage in 1981, I have been intrigued by the significance of the play, and all the components of the Epic Greek Cycle. My lifestyle has provided me with the opportunity to devote significant time and energy to the unraveling of these mysteries, and the time now is right for me to begin to create my contribution. I am currently working on an historical fiction concerning the early life of Agamemnon.

Betty: When did you become a writer?

Clive: I have always expressed my creativity in writing, poetry mainly, as well as short stories. Until now none have been submitted for publication as they were written for my own pleasure or, in the case of the poetry, women.

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

Clive: Charles Dickens (anything). Franz Kafka (everything). Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment.

Betty: What prompted you to start writing?

Clive: Writing is, for me, a satisfying medium for telling stories. I enjoy being the storyteller.

Betty: What do you most enjoy writing? Why?

Clive: My favorite writing activity comes when I write poetry to a woman with whom I have fallen in love. The reason, I think, is self-evident.

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

Clive: Mr. Dunn, (name changed) a schoolmaster, (many, many years ago) insisted that a gentleman should learn how to express himself clearly and concisely in both spoken and written forms. Full of post-world war II vigor, he was prepared to thrash these virtues into all the young gentlemen that came unto his educational care, especially those who emerged from the vast social housing estates that had sprung up, new to the district. I learned at an early age that the pen was less painful than the cane.

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

Clive: In relation to Pelops. The Making of the King, nothing. The journey from where I was before I began writing Pelops, to where I am now, has taken me to information, myth, legend, and learning that I had previously never imagined. In research for the novella, I have gained a startling insight into the nature of the origin of civilization in the western, modern, world. I would not change a thing.

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

Clive: Oliver Postgate. He told stories on television back when I was a child. Ivor the Engine, and Noggin the Nog, were those that I fondly remember. I enjoyed in my childhood mind the rhythm of the sounds, and the images that the sounds created. I strive now to create rhythm with the written word, and to create images in the readers mind.

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

Clive: The background research for the Agamemnon project led me to the task of deconstructing the legend of Pelops. In so doing, I realized that what I had before me were the threads of a tale which could be woven into an engaging fiction. A logical step in the process of understanding the deconstructed remnants of myth and legend provided me with a wonderful story.

A fictional narrative based on the legendary ascension of Pelops to the throne of Pisa.

He awoke, refreshed and calm, to the aroma of warm bread and goats’ milk, and the sound of the horses who had returned to the yard. The old man had gathered the breakfast, and the two men sat in silence as they ate. Without a word, Pelops then hitched the horses to the chariot and led them to the entrance. He turned back to look at the old man, who sat at the table, quiet and still, as Pelops had first seen him.

Pelops spoke. “You are the only friend I have in this world. I will miss your company.”

The old man thought long. “You are my only friend too.” he eventually replied. “I know not what the future holds, neither for you, nor for myself, but I do know that we have both benefited from our friendship. If in the future, you need a quiet place to rest, you will find a home here.”

“Thank you” said Pelops, and bowed his head, overcome with an irrational concern, that the blind man would see his tears.

Please note. Due to the COVID-19 lock down currently in force in Europe, the launch of Pelops. The Making of the King has been temporarily postponed. If you would like to receive information concerning the revised launch date, please email bronzehouse@aol.com with the subject title ‘Pelops. The Making of the King’ and I will inform you of the date as soon as it is known to me. Thank you. Clive Hagon.

Take care of yourself and your family, Clive. I can only try to imagine the depth of research you must have done in order to write the story of Pelops. I’m sure your book is worth waiting for!

My heart goes out to everyone during this global health crisis. Stay safe, stay home if you can, and wash your hands… I’d like to say a huge thank you to all the first responders and healthcare workers on the front lines fighting this pandemic. Your efforts and dedication are vastly appreciated!

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 Jen FitzGerald #author #fiction #contemporary #romance #M/M

My guest author today is one I wish I had met in person by now. I have known Jen FitzGerald through online forums for a few years now, and I’m happy to introduce her and her writing to all of you. Let’s take a peek at her bio and then we’ll get to the interview.

Jen FitzGerald has loved romance since her Winnie-the-Pooh days. Christopher Robin and Winnie-the-Pooh have always been platonic soulmates. As a teen, Jen cut her romance teeth on Silhouette’s teen romance line and Danielle Steele books concurrently. She’s still an avid reader, but these days, Jen has added writing romances of her own to her list of fun things to do.

Jen lives in Fort Worth, Texas, with her husband and dog. Their three children are now adults and out terrorizing the world at large instead of them. When not working her day job, Jen spends a lot of time reading, writing, watching hockey, and perusing her social media platforms of preference. She also enjoys music, cross stitching, and chatting online with writer friends.

Website * Facebook * Instagram

Betty: When did you become a writer?

Jen: I’ve been writing for over a decade. Started off writing (JAG) fan fiction many, many moons ago.

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

Jen: I’ve only been (self) published since Thanksgiving of 2017, so over ten years. But in that time, I wrote a ton of fan fiction and churned out four or five books.

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

Jen: I read so much and so fast that titles and author names don’t stick in my head for very long. Characters resonate with me for sure and so the fan fiction I read inspires and awes me on a daily basis. I re-read favorites a lot, hoping that my work will improve by sheer osmosis.

Betty: What prompted you to start writing?

Jen: The notion that I could do better than what I was reading. Little did I know how hard it really was.

Betty: What type of writing did you start with?

Jen: Romantic MF fan fiction.

Betty: What do you most enjoy writing? Why?

Jen: I struggled with this question a bit. It’s a bit wide open and Betty suggested I have fun with it, but I really couldn’t come up with anything to make y’all laugh. So the real answer is that I fell in love with reading Male/Male romance about 2013/2014 and eventually tried my hand at it. I’ve been firmly entrenched in the genre ever since. As for why…well, the whole fantasy of two sexy men expressing their love for one another aside, there are a lot of different issues facing people who fall under the queer umbrella. That added a bit of a challenge to my writing.

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

Jen: Mostly books and programs through my local writers group. Conferences when I could afford them. And reading–lots and lots of reading.

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

Jen: I don’t think there’s really anything. It took me such a long time to publish, and publishing had changed so much from the time I first started attending writers group meetings. I had a grasp on everything in as much as one can before making the decision to self-publish over trying to get into traditional publishing. The rigors and the deadlines scared the pants off me for a long time, although I definitely do better with outside deadlines now-a-days.

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

Jen: As I mentioned, I started off writing fan fiction and I still read a ton of it, so my writing is heavily influenced by it.

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

Jen: A group of friends and I were sitting around after our writers group meeting one afternoon, and someone said, “What if we all…?” The idea resonated with me and percolated, and the next month, after writers group meeting, I asked if anyone wanted to pursue the idea. Everyone was onboard so we hashed out the idea and I dove right in to writing. The original group idea fell apart, but I had a book and a town and a plan, so off I went. There are now six books in the series, and I’m hoping for at least one more.

Amputee Scott Hudson returns home to Ten Rigs and takes over the local animal shelter. For six months Ben Thompson has watched Scott work wonders with the kennel and the dogs, admiring his focus and dedication. Can Scott overcome his injury and all that it entails, physically and emotionally, to find love with Ben?

Scott walks in a circle as he works to catch his breath and Ben follows him with his gaze. The man is fit, that’s for damn sure. Six months of minor construction work and building maintenance as well as kennel cleaning and dog wrangling have kept him in shape. Ben knows for a fact that he works out too. Just then, Scott lifts the bottom of his tee shirt and wipes his face with it. Ben’s eyes are drawn to the barely outie belly button and the smattering of dark hair that surrounds it and trails southwa—

“Thompson, you really need to keep your man crush off the court,” says Dooley.

Ben wrenches his eyes away from Scott’s abdomen to catch Dooley’s smarmy smirk before snapping his gaze to Scott’s. He feels the weight of five pair of eyes, but doesn’t care. He only has eyes for Scott, who, at the moment, only has eyes for him. Everyone else fades into the background. Scott’s eyes have gone wide and the color on his face has deepened although probably only Ben realizes the man has just blushed. Ben holds his gaze for what seems like minutes and then finally shrugs. His feelings haven’t really been a secret, although he’d have much rather revealed them to Scott in a less public forum. But the knowledge is out now and there’s no taking it back. Ben doesn’t want it back, truth be told. He’s tired of waiting for the right moment that never seems to come.

** The book is free and, as a side note, all the nookie happens in the epilogue if that’s not your cup of tea.

Buy links: Amazon * B&N * Apple * Google

Thanks for sharing a bit about your path to publication, Jen! There are definitely many roads that writers can follow to achieve the dream of publication.

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 Sara LaFontain #author #contemporary #fiction #romance #books

Did you know that many authors start out in a different profession? I’ve met so many who were professors, medical personnel, and, like today’s guest, lawyers. But let’s let Sara LaFontain tell us about her background and what inspired her to become an author.

Sara LaFontain writes Women’s Fiction love stories, featuring unreliable narrators, flawed characters, and people finally finding happiness.

Prior to becoming a writer, Sara held a variety of jobs including wildlife tour guide, purveyor of fine chocolates, cafeteria worker, English teacher, domestic violence victim advocate, and family law attorney. She holds a BA in International Studies from Bowling Green State University, and both an MA in Latin American Studies and a JD from the University of Arizona. All of this means that she is overeducated and has spent far too much money on textbooks.

Sara lives in Tucson, Arizona with her husband and two children. When she isn’t writing, she’s rock-climbing, knitting, gardening, and bragging about desert winters.

Website * Facebook

Betty: When did you become a writer?

Sara: I like to think I’ve always been a writer. When I was a child, I wrote terrible poetry and cliché stories involving elves and dragons. As an adult, I found myself limited to non-fiction, such as grad school papers and legal briefs. There was still a fiction writer inside of me though, one that started but never completed several books.

That changed in 2016, when I decided to take a break from my legal career and actually finish a novel. It took me nearly two years, but I published That Last Summer in August 2018, finally making the transition from writer-in-my-mind to writer-in-reality.

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

Sara: Writing skills are a lifelong development. I’ve always written, just not necessarily anything worth showing to others outside of academia or the courtroom. Most of my creative writing endeavors remain out of sight out of mind.

Betty: What prompted you to start writing?

Sara: A few years ago, I was getting burnt out trying to balance my career with parenting two young children. I reached the point that I knew I needed to take a step back from something, so I wanted to close my law practice. But I was hesitant to stop working entirely, because I didn’t know how to fill my time while the kids were in pre-school and kindergarten. I just remember my husband looking at me like I was an idiot and saying “You’ve always wanted to be a writer.

Why don’t you just…write?” That was my lightbulb moment. I finally had the time and support to pursue my dream. I promised myself I’d give it until my youngest was in first grade, and then I’d re-think things. She’s in first grade now, and I’m working on my next series, and absolutely loving my new career. I’d say it was the right choice (write choice? Haha, check out my books for more of my amazing wit).

Betty: What type of writing did you start with?

Sara: I actually started a non-fiction book, back when I was practicing law. I worked as a legal coach, guiding family law clients in self-representation. I wanted to write a book about how to find a lawyer to represent you. But honestly, it was boring, and I lost interest. And if even the writer doesn’t want to read it, that doesn’t bode well for readers.

Then I decided to write the kind of book I like. I want to read fun stories where people overcome bad situations and find happiness. I want smart protagonists, a little bit of drama, and ultimately, a happy ending. So that’s what I do now.

Betty: What do you most enjoy writing? Why?

Sara: My favorite parts of writing are dialogue. I like writing witty conversations, the kind of things that people wish they could say in real life, but don’t come up with until too late. I’m also a big fan of writing group scenes, interactions between multiple people, with different personalities playing off of each other.

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

Sara: I learned through reading. I’ve always been a bookworm. Reading good books taught me what to do, and reading terrible books taught me what not to do.

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

Sara: I wish I had known more about the amazing writing communities out there. I started my first novel during NaNoWriMo, and read through the forums, but never participated or interacted with other authors. It wasn’t until after I published my first book that I discovered the Women’s Fiction Writer’s Association, a group that I have learned so much from and am so thankful for. Anyone reading this and thinking about embarking on a writing career, please go out and find your people. There is so much support available, if you look for it.

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

Sara: My books are standalone novels in a series. This particular book takes a character, Matteo, who appears as a background character in the first book. He’s a good guy, a bit lonely, and he battles an anxiety disorder that effects his ability to connect with others. I like him, he’s complex and interesting, and I didn’t want him to stay lonely forever. So I wrote No Longer Yours, and found him someone special, someone equally wounded, and let them bring out the best in each other.

Cherry Waites led an idyllic life, until she found out about her husband’s year-long affair. Broken-hearted, she flees to remote Whispering Pines Island, where her only friend is a Corgi. Well, there’s the Corgi’s owner too, but he’s awfully cute. No, not cute! Rude. He’s awfully rude. And annoying. And somehow, always there when she needs him.

Cherry Waites has just arrived on Whispering Pines Island, where she’s starting her life over again. Unfortunately, the first person she meets is Matteo, and they do not get off on the right foot.

Excerpt:

She took a step backward for a better view, but something yelped under her foot, and she almost lost her balance.

“Christ, lady, watch where you’re going!”

“I’m so sorry!” She had nearly stepped on a small corgi. Its owner knelt down, to smooth its fur and glare at her. He looked out of place here, with his shaggy sun-kissed blond hair and his Hawaiian shirt and cargo shorts. Vacationer from California maybe?

“Be more careful,” he snapped. “Lucky for you Tristan moved out of your way.”

“It’s okay, he’s probably just having a bad day. It has nothing to do with you,” she told herself, then realized she had spoken out loud.

“Excuse me?”

“Sorry, I’m not mentally ill. I promise. I’ve just driven two days to get here and had nobody to talk to so I guess I’ve developed the habit of talking to myself. Don’t worry, I’m not some crazy person wandering the streets.” She laughed to show that she was joking, and expected him to smile back. After all, small towns were friendly, and she hadn’t actually hurt his dog. She reached out to pet the corgi, but the man scooped him up in his arms before she could.

“Well I’m glad to know you aren’t mentally ill. Wouldn’t want anyone like that walking around, would we?” He stormed off, and she watched him go, chagrined. She hoped her first encounter wasn’t a portent of what was to come.

Buy links: Amazon * B&N

Thanks for sharing your insights into your writing process, Sara, and the sneak peek at your story. Your main characters will have their work cut out for them to find a path forward to being a couple, which should make for interesting reading, too.

Happy reading, everyone!

Betty

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

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

Getting to know Elsa Winckler #author #fiction #contemporary #romance

Learning from those who do what you would like to be able to do is a great way to absorb the nuances and expectations of others in that line of work or athletic endeavor. My guest author today has done just that! Meet Elsa Winckler! First a look at her bio and then we’ll find out who inspired her and what attracts her to writing romance.

Elsa has been reading love stories for as long as she can remember and when she ‘met’ the classic authors like Jane Austen, Elizabeth Gaskell, Henry James, The Brontë sisters, etc., during her Honours studies, she was hooked for life.

She married her college boyfriend and soul mate and after 45 years, 3 interesting and wonderful children and 4 beautiful grandchildren they are fortunate to live in the picturesque little seaside village of Betty’s Bay, South Africa

She likes the heroines in her stories to be beautiful, feisty, independent and headstrong.  And the heroes must be strong but possess a generous amount of sensitivity. They are, of course, also gorgeous!  Her stories typically incorporate the family background of the characters to better understand where they come from and who they are when we meet them in the story.

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram

Betty: When did you become a writer?

Elsa: In 2008 when I entered an Afrikaans writing competition. I was fortunate enough to win it and the prize was the publication of the story. I was hooked.

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

Elsa: I actually jumped right in without any thought to writing skills! I’ve been reading love stories since my teens, so it somehow came naturally to me, but since then, I’ve learnt so much and I’m still learning every day.

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

Elsa: I’ve probably read every single Mills & Boon during the 1980s and 1990s, so I knew what I liked as a reader and that’s what I try to do – write the kind of stories I would like to read.

Betty: What prompted you to start writing?

Elsa: The writing competition.

Betty: What type of writing did you start with?

Elsa: Romance. I also write Inspirational romance and have one children’s book published (in Afrikaans).

Betty: What do you most enjoy writing? Why?

Elsa: Romance. I love happy endings. I’ve been married to the same stubborn, at times infuriating but always loving husband for 45 years, so it makes it easy to believe that true love really exists J.

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

Elsa: I learnt about writing by reading literally thousands of books in every genre but mostly romance. Reading, I think, is still the best way to learn what works and what doesn’t. I’ve been to conferences and learn daily from fellow romance authors. The one book I can recommend, is Stephen King’s On writing. Everything you need to know about writing, is in there.

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

Elsa: How to handle a rejection! I’m still not very good with that J.

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

Elsa: Every single Mills & Boon author! I also love Nora Roberts, Jane Ann Krentz and Sandra Brown, Sarah Balance, Lilliana Hart, Jane Porter, Lauren Blakely to mention a few.

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

Elsa: It’s the last book in a series about the Cavallo brothers, billionaire tycoons with a string of boutique hotels in South Africa and the Seychelles. We’ve been to the Seychelles many years ago and I left a little bit of my heart behind. To have one of the Cavallo hotels in the Seychelles, was an obvious choice. The brothers work hard, play hard but have a difficult time trusting woman.

Darryn Cavallo is a seasoned photographer and quite used to being surrounded by gorgeous, half-naked women without breaking a sweat but he isn’t ready for the powerful feelings fashion model Hannah Sutherland elicits the minute he sets eyes on her. He’d once made the rookie mistake of falling for a model and it had ended badly, so when another photographer implies he’s also been with Hannah, Darryn uses it as the perfect excuse to walk away.

But when they meet again, Darryn can’t ignore his instincts—Hannah is in danger. Lies and threats make targets of them both, and faced with a situation of pure terror, Darryn is forced to realize he’ll do anything to protect her. And to keep her with him, always…

Lifting her face up to the sun, drinking in the fragrance that was the Seychelles, Hannah lifted the layers of pink tulle of the skirt she was wearing and twirled. Sandy, the makeup artist and the hair stylist laughed.

“I was wondering when you’d do that,” Sandy said. Looking over her shoulder, Sandy grinned. “Looks like our photographer caught you in the act.”

Hannah looked up into a pair of dark brown eyes that were watching her over the lens of a camera. This had to be Darryn Cavallo. The rumors were true—he was drop-dead gorgeous. Tall, muscled, with tousled, ink-black hair. Wow.

She didn’t wait to be introduced to him, didn’t wait to listen to his instructions. With her eyes locked on him, she slid into a pose. He stared at her for another minute before he lifted the camera.

And then her body started moving to a beat only audible to her and the photographer. Without any conscious thought, she posed and turned, instinctively knowing exactly what he wanted her to do.

The air around her stopped moving, breathing became difficult, any minute now she was going to go up in flames. Every cell in her body was reacting to him.

Buy links: Amazon * B&NKobo * iTunes

Sounds like a great story, Elsa! Thanks for sharing with us your thoughts on writing!

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 Diane Barnes #author #contemporary #romance #chicklit

I’m delighted to welcome a fellow lifetime writer, Diane Barnes! We have similar backgrounds but let’s let her tell you all about it.

Diane Barnes is the author of More Than (October 29 2019), Waiting for Ethan (2015), and Mixed Signals (2016). She is also a marketing and corporate communication writer in the health care industry. When she’s not writing, she’s at the gym, running or playing tennis, trying to burn off the ridiculous amounts of chocolate and ice cream she eats. She and her husband Steven live in Massachusetts and dream of moving to Turks and Caicos – at least for the winter months. She hopes you enjoy reading her books as much as she enjoyed writing them.

Website: https://www.dianembarnes.com/

Social media links: Twitter * Instagram * Facebook

Betty: When did you become a writer?
Diane: I was born a writer. Seriously, I’ve been writing stories since I was old enough to hold a pencil. My first novel, WAITING FOR ETHAN, was published in 2015 so I guess that’s when I “officially” became a writer.

Betty: How long did you work on your writing skills before you became published?
Diane: Forever, really, I don’t remember a time I haven’t been working on improving my writing skills. I graduated with a degree in journalism so all through college I focused on writing. I started taking fiction writing classes over twenty years ago and still take them today.

Betty: What authors or stories do you feel influenced your writing style?
Diane:
I love Elizabeth Berg, and I’ve been fortunate enough to attend a few writing workshops that she has taught. That’s not to say that my writing is similar to hers though, but I aspire to write characters as relatable.

Betty: What prompted you to start writing?
Diane:
One day in second grade when I returned from recess, there were large paper footprints trailing from the door, on and under desks, and out the window. We had to write a story about what happened, and I have been writing ever since.

Betty: What type of writing did you start with?
Diane:
The first fiction classes I took were for short story writing, but really my first published pieces were news and feature articles for a newspaper and then a magazine.

Betty: What do you most enjoy writing? Why?
Diane:
Everything! It’s one of the rare things I do when I’m not thinking about anything else other than what I’m doing. I love creating something out of nothing, and I love being able to control everything that happens.

Betty. How did you learn to write? A mentor, classes, conferences, craft books, or something else?
Diane:
By writing and reading a lot. I read a lot of craft books as well as fiction, and I listen to a bunch of books on my commute as well. Also, I regularly attend classes, workshops, and conferences.

Betty: What do you wish you knew before you started writing/publishing?
Diane:
How to be patient! Things take a really long time.

Betty: What other authors inspired you (either directly or through their writing) to try your hand at writing?
Diane:
Every great book I read inspires me. Elizabeth Berg’s writing and teaching of writing are inspirational, and Jodi Picoult’s brilliant stories are inspiring.

Betty: What inspired you to write the book you’re sharing with us today?
Diane: Awhile after I moved, I attended an exercise boot camp class in my new town and met so many wonderful, supportive women who became friends. The class was something I really enjoyed. When I started the book, all I knew was the character would attend boot camp. The story took off from there.

“You are obese, Mrs. Moriarty.”
Peggy Moriarty is stunned by her doctor’s words. She knows she’s let herself go a bit, but she thinks the young, skinny physician is exaggerating. Her husband’s death fourteen years ago left her to raise their twins, Grace and Greg, alone. But now that they’re teenagers, doing their own things, her only hobby is watching Messages from Beyond, a show about a medium who connects the grieving with their deceased loved ones.

When the twins leave for college, they give Peggy a gift certificate for an exercise class. At first, Peggy is insulted. But once the sting wears off, she realizes if she gets in shape, she might gain the confidence she needs to go on her favorite TV show and talk to her husband one last time.

With help from her new friends at the gym and Carmen Tavarez, the mother of Grace’s boyfriend, Peggy begins to emerge from her prolonged grief and spread her wings. She may soon discover that her sum is more than a mother, a widow, and her body.

Excerpt:

This is the day I start my diet, Peggy thinks when she wakes up. It’s what she tells herself every morning, but today she means it.

Yesterday, her new physician, Dr. Richardson, pointed at her medical chart. “You are obese, Mrs. Moriarty.”

Obese! At most, she needs to lose thirty to forty pounds. That does not make her obese. Obese is her old next-door neighbor, Lannie Fitzgerald, who had to have her clothes specially made and drove around the supermarket in one of those motorized carts. Peggy is a long way from that.

Her former physician, Dr. Sheridan, never would have told Peggy she was overweight. She was kind, always asking about Peggy’s twins during the exam. Skinny doctor Dr. Richardson, in contrast, made no small talk and didn’t even address Peggy by her first name, making her feel old—and fat. Frankly, Peggy is stunned that Dr. Sheridan handed over her practice to such a rude, impersonal young thing. Peggy doesn’t want a doctor who’s insensitive and prone to exaggeration.

Maybe she should find a new doctor. Yes, that is exactly what she will do today

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

Thanks for sharing your inspiration and experience, Diane. I wish you well with your writing career.

Happy reading, everyone!

Betty

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