On Knowing Martha Washington #research #AmericanRevolution #HistoricalFiction #HistFic #amwriting #amreading #books #novel

Last week I mentioned that I would be interviewed by Cynthia Brian on the Be The Star You Are! radio broadcast. If you missed the live show, you can still hear the replay at https://www.voiceamerica.com/episode/126745/soil-and-leaves-becoming-lady-washington-cyberbulling-rising. It was a quick and interesting 30-minute conversation and I hope you’ll listen to it, too.

One of the questions Cynthia asked me was about how I could know so much about Martha if she burned her personal correspondence with George. She also said that Becoming Lady Washington read like an autobiography, a huge compliment to my mind.

Answering her question thoroughly would take a little while, so I gave a shorthand answer during the show. But I wanted to share here with you all a little more about how I went about really getting to know about her life and times, her attitude and concerns, and everything going on in her world.

The first thing I did in order to begin finding out more about this truly remarkable woman was to buy two biographies about Martha to read. They both provided good information, but I relied on Martha Washington: An American Life by Patricia Brady far more because it was so well researched and documented.

Two important references for getting to know Martha Washington: “Worthy Partner”: The Papers of Martha Washington and Martha Washington: An American Life

Then I created a timeline table where I listed key events by date. These events came from Martha’s life but also George Washington’s. I even included events I discovered by researching Dolley Madison’s life because Martha and Dolley’s lives intersected several times. Every source I used informed this timeline, too. My list of references is 7 pages long in 10-point font, by the way. It includes book titles (physical ones on my shelves and online archives), articles found online, information from National Park websites and other sites for historic places, and government sites with related information. Every time I found an event that impacted her life I added it to the timeline along with the source.

One of the most important books for really knowing how she thought, felt, reacted, acted, etc., was “Worthy Partner”: The Papers of Martha Washington edited by Joseph E. Fields. Although only 5 letters between Martha and George survive today, the collection of correspondence in this volume includes letters between Martha and many other friends and relatives and business contacts. This is where I could really get inside her head, so to speak, to hear her voice in the cadence of the words she used and to glimpse the concerns and desires she held dear.

I hope you’ll listen to the interview linked above and also read Becoming Lady Washington to also get to know and understand our first First Lady.

Thanks for reading! Happy Holidays!

Betty

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

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

Martha “Patsy” Custis manages an immense eighteenth-century plantation in the Virginia colony. But as a young widow she’s hard pressed to balance her business and to care for her two young children. They need a father and protector. She needs a husband and business partner…one she can trust, especially now as tensions rise between the motherland and the American colonies. Her experience and education have sustained her thus far but when her life veers in an unexpected direction, she realizes she has so much more to learn.

Colonel George Washington takes an interest in her and she’s surprised to find him so sociable and appealing. They form an instant bond and she is certain he’ll be a likeable and loving husband and father figure for her children. She envisions a quiet life at Mount Vernon, working together to provide for their extended family.

But when trouble in the form of British oppression, taxes, and royal arrogance leads to revolt and revolution, George must choose between duty to country and Martha. Compelled to take matters into her own hands, Martha must decide whether to remain where she belongs or go with her husband…no matter what the dangerous future may hold.

Amazon     Barnes & Noble     Kobo     Apple     Books2Read

Introducing Liz Barrett Foster #author #editor #EatLikeaWriter #nonfiction #pizza #books #fiction #ChildrensBooks

Recently I answered an interesting weekly question over at Eat Like A Writer regarding how the pandemic has impacted my writing. (You can read all the responses here.) Little did I realize I might meet a kindred spirit! Please let me introduce you to a fellow author who also loves all things cooking! Let’s take a quick peek at her bio and then I’ve asked her to answer some questions based on her own website, Eat Like A Writer. Ready?

Liz Barrett Foster is the editor of Eat Like a Writer (eatlikeawriter.com). She’s an award-winning journalist, editor and author. Hailing from Michigan, she lived in Los Angeles for 19 years before landing in the south. A journalism graduate from Cal State Northridge, she’s written for an array of food and beauty magazines, authored a nonfiction pizza book about pizza and self-published a children’s mystery book about peanut butter.

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

Liz: English was always my favorite subject in school. I was on the staff of my high school newspaper, took creative writing classes, and even earned my bachelor’s degree in journalism. However, I don’t feel like I learned to write in school. I was taught the fundamentals of grammar, sentence structure, and the rules of good journalism in school, but it wasn’t until I was working my first magazine job that I finally started getting a real writing education.

I was working at a beauty publication called Dayspa in Los Angeles. My managing editor, Linda Kossoff, would go through my stories with a red pen, marking what needed to be moved and changed. We would then sit down together, before I made the edits, and she would explain why she made the changes to my work. It was in that job that I learned how to make stories tighter and words flow better. I still believe it’s important for editors to show writers what they change, and why, so writers can learn from their mistakes.

Betty: That’s a very good point. A good editor will explain the reasons behind the edits so that the writer can learn from them. It’s a conversation, in essence. So, what type of writing did you start with?

Liz: As a teenager, I used to write a lot of poetry, mostly about boys. You can imagine. Every time I fell in love (which seemed like every other day back then) I wrote a new poem. More poems surfaced with every new heartbreak. I saved most of the poems in a binder, and I pull them out every few years to remind myself of those early days of writing.

Betty: I think I have a folder around somewhere that has some early writings in it but I haven’t had the nerve to pull it out in years. So, good for you! Looking back can be a scary business. What do you wish you knew before you started writing/publishing?

Liz: That’s a good question. So much has changed over the years with social media entering the picture, etc. But, I think if I would have understood the benefit of creating a brand around my writing from the beginning, it could have opened a few more doors for me along the way.

Betty: Having a brand is supposed to help readers find you. So is having an established genre or field you write in so that readers know what to expect. What prompted you to switch from writing about the beauty industry to writing about food?

Liz: I wrote about beauty and food simultaneously for several years after I moved from Los Angeles to Mississippi. But, I started to feel pulled in too many directions. I enjoy both industries, but they are very different when working with public relations professionals, operators, magazines, etc. I realized that to focus my time and energy, I would need to choose one. Since I was the editor of a pizza magazine at the time and had established a lot of connections in the food and restaurant industry, I chose food.

Betty: I think I would have done the same, honestly. I love cooking and baking and tinkering with recipes. I’m curious. You’ve written two books to date, one nonfiction and one a children’s picture book. How is writing nonfiction different from writing a picture book? Do you prefer one over the other?

Liz: These two books were completely different in every possible way. I worked with a traditional publisher on the nonfiction book and self-published the children’s book. The nonfiction book went through many, many, many changes, edits, revisions, etc. There were also rounds of photo and recipe gathering, nondisclosure/permission contracts to sign from everyone included in the book, and generally a lot of fact checking throughout. With the children’s picture book, once I had the story written, it was mainly a back and forth with my sister about the illustrations, which she drew by hand. I enjoyed the feeling of control I had with the children’s book, since I was self-publishing, but it was also a lot of pressure to get everything right, all on my own.

Betty: What inspired you to write Pizza: A Slice of American History?

Liz: I used to be the editor-in-chief of PMQ Pizza Magazine, the nation’s No. 1 pizza trade publication (yes, there’s a magazine all about pizza). Working in the industry for several years, you get to know a lot about pizza, and you meet a lot of pizzeria operators. The pizza book kind of fell in my lap, as luck would have it. A pizzeria operator I knew had been approached by a publisher about writing a pizza book. He, in turn, suggested that they contact me. I had not considered writing a book, but was flattered, and, of course, did not turn down the opportunity.

Betty: When opportunity knocks, it’s best to answer! I’ve written nonfiction work-for-hire books years ago, some of my first nonfiction. But I always wanted to write adult fiction. You chose a children’s picture book as your next project. What inspired you to write The Peanut Butter Bandit?

Liz: The Peanut Butter Bandit was a story I had in my head for several years. My husband Benjy loves peanut butter. I was always finding spoons and forks in the sink with peanut butter on them. When I’d open the peanut butter, sometimes I’d find marks from a fork scraping the inside. I started calling Benjy the peanut butter bandit. Finally, I decided it would make a cute children’s book, with the kids wondering where the strange marks were coming from in the peanut butter. I teamed up with my sister Shannah Barrett for the illustrations and we released the book just before Christmas 2018. (Buy your copy here: https://amzn.to/3dhZtoy)

Betty: The Eat Like a Writer site combines food and writing topics. What is your goal for the site?

Liz: You always hear how you should write about what you love, right? So, I sat down and really thought about what I enjoy. I looked through my social media photos to see what I post about, looked through my book collection, etc. I started to see a theme. I enjoy food, writing, and how other people start/grow their careers. All I needed to do was blend those ideas together. I realized that writers don’t really get a chance to connect with readers (or other writers) in a personal way very often. Why not connect them through the universal language of food? Eat Like a Writer was born. My goal is to continue to showcase the world’s writers, giving them an outlet to connect with readers in a more personal way with travel stories, recipes, and exclusive recommendations.

Betty: What are you currently working on with your writing?

Liz: My mom calls me Bizzy Lizzy because I always seem to be working on something new. That’s the nature of this business. When the Coronavirus came to town, many journalists had to shift their focus. I lost a couple of my biggest clients. For a short while, I wrote about the pandemic and how restaurant operators were navigating the situation. Now, in addition to Eat Like a Writer, I’m contributing regularly to the National Culinary Review and two websites: the food-focused Mashed.com, and Stacker.com, which breaks down expert analysis.

Betty: What advice do you have for others who are debating whether to write a book?

Liz: I think that if you have a story in you that needs to be told, you should absolutely write a book. If, however, you are thinking of writing a book to make money or become famous, sleep on it. No matter how many gurus try to tell you otherwise, writing a book is not easy. I spent almost the same amount of time on my children’s book as I did my nonfiction book, neither of which made me rich or famous. They did, however, give me a sense of satisfaction at the end of the day. I was able to send the ideas and stories that were swirling around in my mind for months or years out into the world. Ask yourself why you want to write a book. Be honest with the answer. Think about why you enjoy reading, and what you expect to feel when you finish reading a book. The answers to those questions will set you on the right path.

Good advice indeed! Thanks so much, Liz, for swinging by to tell my readers more about your fun and interesting Eat Like a Writer site! I hope everyone will visit and see if it’s a site of interest to them as well.

Happy reading!

Betty

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

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

Getting to know Laurie Alice Eakes #author #contemporary #romance #suspense #fiction #amreading #books

A good romantic suspense is a fast and entertaining read, and I think my guest today can offer up some stories that fit that bill. Please welcome Laurie Alice Eakes! Let’s get to know a little about her and then we’ll dive right into the interview.

Laurie Alice Eakes thinks maybe she got her storytelling from her great-grandfather, who used to tell her sister and her stories of Beansy and Peasy. Or maybe she was always an early riser and lying still telling herself stories was the best way to stay out of trouble.

Whatever the root, the only career she ever truly wanted was to be an author. Knowing that was impractical, she received a BA in English and an MA in Creative Writing, taught English, managed a medical office, and worked in the human resources department of a soulless corporation. A month before she was laid off from this job and before her husband began law school, she sold her first book. Family Guardian won the National Readers Choice Award, and was the beginning of many sales and honors for her books, including as a finalist for the Rita Award, with her first contemporary women’s fiction novel, The Mountain Midwife.

Alice now writes full time from her home in Chicagoland, where she lives with her husband, two well-behaved dogs, and four mostly well-behaved cats. Her husband fears they are the crazy cat people of the neighborhood, but Alice doesn’t care if they are.

Website * Twitter

Betty: When did you become a writer?

Alice: I have written stories since I was able to write, so don’t know when to give it a date. I sold my first book in 2005. I sold my most recent books as of last Friday. I signed a contract with Harlequin for three more romantic suspense books. Due to some personal things going on, I haven’t gotten a new contract for a while.

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

Alice: This is difficult to answer. Either three years or three decades. I started writing while teaching school, decided I didn’t know what I was doing, and went looking for other writers. Many stops and restarts followed as life priorities took over.

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

Alice: This makes me a nerd, and I will start with Charles Dickens. He taught me how to end chapters with a cliffhanger. So did Friday afternoons on the soap operas I wasn’t supposed to watch. Other than that, though deigning to say I write like them is being kind of prideful on my part, Laura Kinsale, Jo Beverley, Barbara Michaels, Mary Stewart…

Betty: What prompted you to start writing?

My own brain prompted me to start. A few teachers along the way encouraged me to keep it up and keep trying.

Betty: What type of writing did you start with?

Alice: I started with short stories and poetry, much of which got published in school literary magazines. Then I moved on to creative nonfiction that got published in anthologies, and some articles for magazines. I wrote my first novel sometime in the 90s, but kept rewriting it instead of doing much with it.

Betty: What do you most enjoy writing?

Alice: As to genre? Suspense. Whether writing historical, contemporary romance, or women’s fiction, I want some kind of suspense. As far as part of the story, I love to write the meeting between the hero and heroine. Something about that moment is magical. Or maybe it’s the first kiss. Talk about special in a romance!

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

Alice: All of the above. Mostly I learned from books and in grad school, where my mentors were people like Barbara J. Miller and Victoria Thompson. They taught me how to take an idea and turn it into a novel.

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

Alice: How to manage my career and that a bad agent is worse than no agent at all. I can’t really say more in a public forum so as not to bruise a few toes I’d be stepping on. I adore my current agent.

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

Alice: Kimberley Cates and Jessica Douglass (writing names) encouraged me a great deal. Others followed. Those two are the most special, esp. Linda/Jessica, who told me to finish something.

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

Alice: I like playing the “What If” game. I look at a situation and think “What if that car that was carjacked held someone really, really important?” We have a problem with carjackings where in Chicagoland the car is taken and used to commit a crime, then abandoned. I kept hearing the stories on the news and…. Voila!

A kidnapper with deadly intentions

…and a US marshal who must come to the rescue

The carjacking that ended with Kristen Lang running for her life—and her federal judge mother kidnapped—was a nightmare. The ransom, however, is worse: Kristen in exchange for her mother. Deputy US Marshal Nick Sandoval will do almost anything to safely recover the judge—except trade Kristen. But can he shield the woman he’s falling for and bring her mother home?

Excerpt:

Carjacking was all too common. People stole cars to commit a crime, but they didn’t usually hurt the vehicle owners. They left them beside the road. It was unpleasant but not life threatening if they didn’t fight back.

But these men were taking her and her mother, not the car. They had deliberately wrecked her.

She yanked one arm free and struck out for the man’s face. Missed. She kicked one kitten heel into the man’s shin. Connected. He grunted, then picked her up and tossed her over his shoulder in a fireman’s carry. Tires, a barely dented bumper on the SUV, wet pavement, Mom’s designer heels spun past in a nauseating blur. In another moment, she was going to be sick.

The man tossed her in to the back of the SUV. Her head hit the side. Stars exploded before her eyes. Dazed, she lay still for a fatal moment—a moment in which her mother landed beside her.

“Tie her up,” one man commanded.

He leaned into the back of the SUV and grabbed Mom’s hands.

Kristen surged up and bashed her head into his face at the same time Mom shoved both stilettos into his middle. He staggered back, fell against his companion, sending him reeling, but still held Mom’s hands.

“Kristen, run!” her mom cried.

Kristen ran, kicking off her pumps and speeding along the shoulder of the Eisenhower. Above the roar of traffic, she heard the slam of the SUV’s hatch—with her mother behind its tinted windows.

Buy links: Amazon * Harlequin

I think I’m hooked! What about you?

Thanks for sharing Laurie Alice! 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 Carla Swafford #author #contemporary #romance #suspense #books #fiction #ReadIndie

My guest today is a very dear friend of mine, Carla Swafford. She’s a sweet and funny woman with a heart as big as the Grand Canyon. Let’s jump right in to read her bio and then find out more about her.

Carla Swafford loves romance novels, action/adventure movies, and men, and her books reflect that. And that’s not all, she’s crazy about hockey, and thankfully, no one has made her turn in her Southern Belle card. She’s married to her high school sweetheart and lives in Alabama.

Website *   FacebookTwitter * Instagram

Betty: When did you become a writer?

Carla: I never considered myself as a true writer until my first book was published. It was number nine out of the ten books I finished. Hard to believe, but the other nine books are still unpublished. All of them.

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

Carla: When I was around 29, I tried to write a book. It was set in the Middle Ages. I’ve always been crazy about knights and their ladies. In fact, the first romance I ever read was set during that period. Bond of Blood by Roberta Gellis. My first book took me several years to finish. The next one was a romantic suspense. That took one year to write. I was gutsy enough to send it in to a contest. When I received a handwritten, eleven-page critique, that’s when I knew I needed help. So I bought several grammar books, took online classes, and joined RWA along with the local chapter.

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

Carla: Any author who I enjoy their books: Linda Howard, Anne Stuart, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Lisa Kleypas, Cherise Sinclair, Shannon McKenna, Mary Balogh, Lorraine Heath, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, and many more.

Betty: What prompted you to start writing?

Carla: At the time, all of my favorite writers were in-between publishing books, and I was having a problem finding a new author I liked. At night before falling asleep, I would make up stories in my head. You know, the type I wanted to read. Then I decided, what the heck, why don’t I give it a try. As you can imagine, it’s so much harder to write a book worth reading than to dream up a story. They have to make sense, have layers, a plot, and such.

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

Carla: Leading up to when my first book was published, I talked with a lot of authors and heard many tales about the good and bad aspects of being published. So I was prepared for the heart wrenching reviews when someone doesn’t like your baby to how it feels to lose your editor (my first editor moved to another publishing house and it was for nonfiction). Editors are your cheerleaders to the publisher. Losing one who loved your work is so traumatic. The next editor they assign to you may not be a fan. Plus I had an author warn me how some of your friends turn out not to be your friends after you’re published.

But the one thing I never heard anyone say or even thought about was how when you finally become published by a traditional house, you’re still a little fish in a little pond with big fishes. Those big authors who have been around a long time and hit the lists with each book. Some will be friendly and others not so much. You get treated by the publishing house exactly like what you are. A little fish. But you know what, I made a lot of new friends (other little fishes), had a lot of fun and enjoyed every second. It all has to do with mindset.

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

Carla: My love of romance and hockey. And I love stories where two strangers wake up married after a night of partying.

Two strangers wake up in the same bed after partying in Las Vegas to discover they are married.

Connor Ellison, one of Atlanta Edge’s best wingers and biggest prankster, is given an ultimatum by the coaches and the PR department. He must stay married until the end of the run for the Cup or be available for trade.

Lily Jones wants nothing to do with the insane demand. But he convinces her the best decision is to play along. If they remain married and pretend to be in love, he offers to save her family’s ice rink from bankruptcy. Anyway, it’s only until the end of the hockey season. Then they can go their separate ways.

Easy-peasy. No way will they go to the finals. No way will they truly fall in love.

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

This is one of my favorite stories by Carla, too. Thanks so much for sharing it with us today, my friend! And I hope you all will give it a read!

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 Pamela Gibson #author # California #history #romance #amreading #mustread #fiction #books

My guest today is author Pamela Gibson who writes a variety of nonfiction and fiction. But let’s hear more from Pamela, after a quick peek at her bio.

Author of eight books on California history and fourteen romance novels, Pamela Gibson is a former City Manager who lives in the Nevada desert. Having spent the last three years messing about in boats, a hobby that included a five-thousand-mile trip in a 32-foot Nordic Tug, she now spends most of her time indoors happily reading, writing, cooking and keeping up with the antics of Ralph, the Rescue Cat.

Website * Facebook * Twitter

Betty: When did you become a writer?

Pamela: I think I was in the fourth grade when I started writing poetry. Of course it had to rhyme. In junior high I sold an advertising slogan to a children’s shop. My mother was a good customer and I feel sure that had something to do with it. But by the time I got to high school I fancied myself a writer, became a columnist for the local newspaper, and tried my hand at short stories. After a gazillion rejections, I decided it would be best if I went to college. When I graduated, I became a newspaper reporter. Fiction came two careers later.

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

Pamela: During my second career, as an appointed city official, I joined Romance Writers of America to learn to write fiction. My years in journalism and my years writing reports for elected officials, taught me a lot, but it’s a different kind of writing. It’s “telling,” not “showing.” When I retired, I began writing my first romance novel. Then I wrote a second one. I sold the second one about ten years after I joined RWA and began to “get serious” about learning to write fiction. The publisher who bought the book, also bought the first one. That happened about seven years ago.  I also took a lot of online and university extension courses along the way.

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

Pamela: That’s a hard one. I read all genres and write in at least three subgenres. Instead of an author, I think my biggest influence was a writing teacher at the University of California Irvine campus where I took an extension course. His name was Arnold Hano and he is known for a book called “The Catch.” He believed in me and made me believe in myself. Confidence is so important. Thirty years later I attended a lecture he gave at a bookstore near my town and introduced myself as a published author. It was a good moment for both of us.

Betty: What do you most enjoy writing? Why?

Pamela: I love writing historicals. I’ve done my fair share of contemporaries and I even wrote a romantic suspense, but history is my forte. I love the Regency period of English history and the pre-gold rush era of western history in California (think Zorro). I majored in history in college and wrote local histories for several publishers before I even considered fiction. Some are still in print.

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

Pamela: I wish I knew about marketing, had better computer skills, and was not a technophobe. Training in these areas should be compulsory for any student in a creative writing program. Maybe today it is. When I started writing, we didn’t have indies and we didn’t have the internet. Boy do I feel old saying that.

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

Pamela: Return of the Fox takes place in pre-gold rush California.  It was a fascinating time full of change and contradictions, a time that can be compared to feudalism in Europe where hundreds of retainers worked for the liege and all of those things necessary for living were made or grown right on the property. My first book, Shadow of the Fox, is set mostly in what today is Orange County, California, and Return of the Fox came out May 27 and is set mainly in Los Angeles. Both are steamy historical romances, but there’s a lot of history in the background.

Why do I write in this place and time when few others do? Maybe it’s because I majored in history and I love genealogy. These are my people. I’m giving validation to my ancestors, to my great-great-grandmother born in 1845 in Los Angeles and to another branch of the family whose progenitor walked to California with wife and baby in the 1860s from the interior of Mexico.

It’s also a part of history in which I have some expertise, and that helps a lot when doing research.

The year is 1847…

Gabriel de la Vega, disgraced son of a Mexican ranchero, returns to his Alta California home when Americans take power to help his countrymen with the bewildering transition and make amends to the woman he once wronged.

Fiercely independent, Isabella Fuentes swore she’d never forgive Gabriel for abandoning her on the night they were to elope. Now he’s back, playing a dangerous game, pretending to be meek and repentant when she knows the handsome, former outlaw is anything but contrite.

When a series of accidents threaten Isabella’s safety, Gabriel offers an outrageous solution: the protection of a brief civil marriage.  Isabella is tempted. But can she rely on a man who once betrayed her and can she trust her foolish heart to let him go when the danger has passed?

Excerpt:

Screams filled the air as the bull lunged at the fence, loosening the boards that crashed to the ground with the animal’s weight. Isabella couldn’t move. Blood gushed from the bull’s nose, and he kept moving toward her. Too late she realized the long scarf she wore around her neck fluttered like a flag in the wind, attracting the bull’s attention as surely as a matador’s cape.

Fear gripped her body and froze her legs as the animal ran toward her.

Just as the charging bull reached her, a strong arm scooped her up and carried her out of the animal’s line of sight. She landed on the ground, a heavy weight on top of her. Afraid to open her eyes, she lay still.

She couldn’t breathe.

But she was alive.

A low voice murmured in her ear. “You need a keeper, querida. What were you doing so close to the ring? I thought I saw you safely seated on the hill with the others.”

She opened her eyes and stared up into Gabriel’s face. Tears leaked out of the corners of her eyes, trickling back into her ears. “The bull,” she whispered. “Where is it?”

“It’s being chased by our host’s competent vaqueros and will be lassoed and safely confined.”

She took in a deep breath and started to shake. “I am making a spectacle of myself, aren’t I?”

“Indeed you are.” His smile was gentle and comforting.

How did I let this man get away?

Buy link: Amazon

What a great excerpt to share with us, Pamela! Sounds like a wonderful story. I’m glad you had that special moment with your mentor, too. Thanks for stopping in!

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 Kris Jayne #author #contemporary #romance #paranormal #fiction #multicultural

My guest today has a very similar background to my own. Please help me welcome romance author Kris Jayne! Let’s take a glimpse at her bio and meet her pups, and then we’ll hop into the interview.

Kris Jayne is a devoted writer, reader, and traveler. She spends her days blissfully sweating out the writing process in the Dallas area with her dogs, Otis the Shih Tzu, Rocco the Terrier, and Red the Foxy Mutt.

Her passion for writing is matched only by her passion for the adventures of travel. In 2008, she let a friend talk her into sleeping outside for the first time in her life when she climbed Mount Kilimanjaro.

P.S. If you’re buying her a gift, she has a penchant for single-malt Scotch and scarves.

Website * Facebook * Instagram * BookBub

Betty: When did you become a writer?

Kris: I didn’t publish my first book until 2016, but I’ve been a writer my entire life. I wrote my first complete story in the fifth grade about how the old Chicago Bear Refrigerator Perry got so fat. That was circa 1985.

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

Kris: Since I’ve written since I was a child, I’ve been working on my writing just as long. I took creative writing classes in elementary school and high school. I majored in journalism and English in college and then earned a Master’s degree in American literature. I’ve always studied reading and writing as a discipline.

In 2014, I decided to get serious about fiction writing and joined some local writing groups. I worked on my first novel for over a year and then took a year off from working a day job to write full time, finishing my first four novels.

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

Kris: That’s a hard question because I read all kinds of stories that aren’t necessarily in my genre, which is steamy, contemporary romance. My favorite contemporary romance authors of all time are people like Jennifer Crusie, Rachel Gibson, and Carly Phillips, but I love historical romance as well and read Elizabeth Hoyt and Courtney Milan. The House of Mirth is my favorite classic.

I would say I love emotional stories with humor and adventure and that I try to infuse a mix of those elements into my stories.

Betty: What prompted you to start writing?

Kris: In 2014, I decided I was done with corporate life and wanted a more flexible, creative existence. At first, I thought I’d write on the side and keep my regular day job, but my regular day job turned into a six-day a week time suck (only because I refused to work seven). I knew I needed to escape that if I were going to have the energy to write, so I quit my job.

I didn’t work on anything but my fiction for a year, and that was incredibly motivating. I now do other freelance writing and editing while working on my fiction.

Betty: What type of writing did you start with?

Kris: My jobs have always involved writing, so I’ve written academic work and published non-fiction books, articles, and blogs on technology and business. As I mentioned, I’ve written fiction since I was a kid, and I started writing romance when I was in high school.

Betty: What do you most enjoy writing? Why?

Kris: I love writing spicy contemporary romance because I enjoy telling stories about modern, independent women who have passionate adventures and creating sexy book boyfriends for readers. Flirty, witty banter is my jam.

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

Kris: Craft books and workshops are great for getting tips and new ideas, but I learn best by practicing and getting feedback from critique partners and my editor. I also think a good writer has to be a good reader. It’s as a reader where you find out what does and doesn’t work in a story. The more I read, the more objective I can be about my own writing.

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

Kris: Only I can know what the right writing process is for me. I can read a craft book that everyone loves and try to put it into practice, and it may not work for me because my brain works differently. I’ve learned to filter every piece of advice through the lens of my own working and thinking style. That also means that I’m never going to be the writer who puts out twelve books a year. With nothing else to do and no day job, the most I’ve written is four books in a year, and that’s okay. Authors, especially indie authors, face a lot of pressure to publish more books than is humanly possible for most people.

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

Kris: In addition to those I’ve already mentioned, I’d say Edith Wharton, Henry James, Toni Morrison, and Beverly Jenkins.

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

Kris: Two to Tangle started as a Christmas story. I wrote a novella called Christmas for Two for an anthology. I wanted to write about a 40-plus-year-old woman who has left her job and is starting over. Her old boss calls her, and she gets drawn back to working with him on a new project—only this time there’s an attraction between them. She invites him over for Christmas because he’s alone and sexual hijinks (my favorite kind) ensue.

It was going to be a simple, sexy holiday story, but I realized I wasn’t done with the characters. I liked their chemistry together and the dynamics of my heroine, Delilah, dating a guy who is ten years younger but who used to be her boss. I’d also given the hero, Griffin, way too much back story that needed to play out. I won’t give all the details, but Griffin’s college sweetheart ended up marrying his father. Once I’d written that detail, I knew there was more drama to mine, so I started plotting the new book.

Family betrayal haunts new love…

Delilah Johnston and Griffin Kelso ring in the New Year with revels and romance. But once the champagne runs dry, the differences between them crash the party.

With a divorce, raising her daughter, and a corporate job in the rearview mirror, forty-something Delilah is ready to indulge herself with passion and a new life. Yes, she agreed to help her ex-boss Griffin launch his new business, but that’s temporary. The tantalizing heat between them, however, isn’t—or so she hopes.

Nearly ten years her junior, Griffin jettisons his playboy ways and sets his sights on Delilah. He aims to build a personal legacy with her by his side. But when his father’s health problems—and the older man’s scheming wife—call him home, he can no longer ignore the betrayal and pain of the past.

He finds refuge in the always willing and wise Delilah. But the more he leans on her, the more she wonders: when is it her turn?

Family drama knocks the couple off course into a tangle of secrets. Can Delilah and Griffin find a path forward together? Or will a disconcerting revelation divide them forever?

Two to Tangle is a sexy, seasoned BWWM romance with family drama and a May-December surprise. It continues the love story of Delilah and Griffin that began in the holiday novella, Christmas for Two, but can be read as a stand-alone.

Excerpt:

“I like talking dirty,” Griffin growled. “Especially since I won’t see you for a few more days, and I miss you. But if you don’t, that’s okay, too. It’s too soon, maybe. We’re just changing our relationship.”

He missed me. My skin felt warm from head to toe. Reconnecting with him even over the phone titillated, but I didn’t want him to think… My mind blanked. What was it he’d think? That I was a tramp? There’s nothing I could say that would be any trampier than what I’d done with him on Christmas night.

On Jesus’ birthday! I snickered to myself.

I was already a tramp, and he didn’t care. I should let myself have fun.

“Okay,” I said. “I’m not reading my novel to you, but I’ll tell you what happens.”

“I don’t want you to do something you don’t want to. We can talk about anything you want. We can compare Texas and Carolina barbecue. I called because I wanted to hear your voice.”

“No. I want to.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes. I miss you too.”

I swallowed and took a deep breath, ready to lean in and let go.

Buy links: Books2Read

Can you see the similarities between our education and experience? Kris and I both started writing as children, worked in fields/jobs focused on language and writing, and now write fiction full time while doing some editing on the side. I think it would be fun to sit down with her over a glass of wine and compare notes! Thanks, Kris, for stopping in today!

Happy reading!

Betty

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

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

Getting to know Molly Neely #author #paranormal #fantasy #inspirational #historical

Getting to know Molly Neely #author #paranormal #fantasy #inspirational #historical

While not every author began writing as a child, I’m finding more and more in my weekly interviews did in fact begin writing at a very young age. My guest today, Molly Neely, is my newest find, but let’s have her share her background after a quick peek at her credentials.

Molly Neely is the author of the Paranormal novel The Sand Dweller (Black Opal Books) as well as its sequel, The Orcus Child, to be released in 2020. Molly is a contributor to the Fall into Fantasy anthology, 2017 & 2019, (Cloaked Press) and her short story, “An Heirloom Spirit,” is in the collection CEA Greatest Anthology Written, which is a contender for a Guinness Book of World Records title.

Molly’s poetry can be found in anthologies from Z Press, Literary Alchemy, and Animal Heart Press.

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Betty: When did you become a writer?

Molly: I think I’ve always been a writer. Even as a child I loved to make up stories, play pretend that I was someone else, etc. I first put pen to paper in elementary school, and from that point on I was either buried in writing or buried in reading.

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

Molly: I took a few online courses before I was comfortable with writing anything serious. After 2ish years of that, I felt like it was time to take a deep breath and jump into the writing community. I queried my first novel for around a year and a half before it was picked up for publication.

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

Molly: I think the online courses had more influence than anything else. I originally wanted to write for children, so my training revolved around telling a lot of story, with few words. When I ultimately chose to write adult novels, that economic writing style carried over. My stories move quickly because of it.

Betty: What prompted you to start writing?

Molly: When you can’t find the story you want to read, it’s time to write one. That definitely was the case with me.

Betty: What type of writing did you start with?

Molly: Y/A which quickly feathered out into several areas.

Betty: What do you most enjoy writing? Why?

Molly: I turn to different things for different needs. If I’m blocked up, I turn to poetry. If I’m feeling salty, I write dark, longer pieces of fiction. If I see or hear a funny story, I try to incorporate it into a younger piece.

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

Molly: I took online classes, but I also plunged into conferences and workshops. There’s a ton of learning opportunity in them.

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

Molly: That I was going to need a lot of patience and that not everyone thinks what you’ve written is gold. You have to be willing to make changes to what you’ve written and you have to be willing to face constructive criticism.

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

Molly: I love James Owens. His Dragons series has been a huge inspiration for me.

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

Molly: The Sand Dweller is close to my heart for many reasons. It was an opportunity to share my faith, as well as a way to express my lifelong love affair with ancient folklore. The book gave me a platform to showcase both in the same space.

In the ancient mountains of the Sinai desert, a child is born. The half-demon son of the devil’s greatest general, Malachi grows up with one foot in the human world and one in the darkest pits of Hell itself. Soon, a power struggle will force him to choose. Will he claim the dark heritage promised to him by Lucifer? Or will he learn firsthand just how far evil will go to destroy mankind?

Buy links: Amazon

I love the combination of genres in your stories, Molly. Thanks for stopping in for a chat about your inspiration and experience!

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!

Getting to know Leslie Hachtel #author #historical #romance #suspense

My guest today has many skills in writing great stories. Please help me welcome author Leslie Hachtel! Let’s take a glance at her bio and then find out more about her.

Leslie Hachtel was born in Ohio, raised in New York and has lived all over the country. Her various jobs, including licensed veterinary technician, caterer, horseback riding instructor for the disabled and advertising media buyer have given her a wealth of experiences.

However, it has been writing that has consistently been her passion. She sold an episode of a TV show, had a screenplay optioned and has so far produced fourteen novels, including ten historicals and four romantic suspense.  Leslie lives in Florida with a fabulously supportive (retired) husband and her new writing buddy, Annie, a terrier.

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Blog

Betty: When did you become a writer?

Leslie: Years ago, I was cleaning my house and thought ‘I can either change the sheets and finish dusting or I can write a book’. I have no idea where the idea came from. But, I wrote a book. It was not a good book, but it sparked the passion.

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

Leslie: I’ve always been a voracious reader and my degree is in English literature. Reading good books is an education in itself. And then I got a good editor who taught me so much.

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

Leslie: The first romance I ever read was by Kathleen Woodiwiss and I was hooked. But, I knew I couldn’t write the same way she did, so I learned to listen to my own voice as I told my stories.

Betty: What prompted you to start writing?

Leslie: Writing is so much a part of who I am and I now realize I was writing short stories as far back as first grade.

Betty: What type of writing did you start with?

Leslie: I actually started with scripts for television and moved on to movie scripts. I sold a TV script and had one of my movie scripts optioned, but novels were more appealing.

Betty: What do you most enjoy writing? Why?

Leslie: Everything! I love the research, the total immersion into the characters and settings, creating stories. Every part of writing is gratifying to me.

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

Leslie: I took classes and had mentors, but there is no substitute for a great editor.

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

Leslie: How hard it was going to be to get that first break.

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

Leslie: Every book I read inspires me in one way or another. But the first book I read that made me want to write, oddly enough, was ‘Salem’s Lot” by Stephen King. Such great characters, and such great insight as well as wonderful writing.

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

Leslie: Like so many others, I am fascinated with serial killers. This was originally inspired by an episode of “Criminal Minds” but the plot ended up going in a different direction.

A serial killer in her small town in Florida has Detective Liza Boone challenged. Luckily, FBI agent Nash Corelli is on medical leave and living across the street. Together they must find the killer. But, he cannot help her with the nightmares about her sister’s assault.  When Liza is terrorized, can Nash stop the threat? Can he protect the woman he has come to love?

Excerpt:

A drop of sweat slid between Liza Boone’s breasts. Blood pounded through her veins and her temples throbbed. The taste of death lingered on her tongue, so she swallowed what felt like razorblades, blinked, and forced herself to concentrate. Had it only been a few hours ago she was sitting on her dock, sipping coffee and looking forward to another quiet day?

The victim lay sprawled, a disjointed set of limbs spread out on the concrete in the deserted alley like a broken doll. His mouth was open and an even set of white teeth gleamed in the morning shards of light that peeked out through the threatening clouds. His clear blue eyes were wide and seemed to beg for mercy. Or since it was a little late for that, justice. His fly was down and the zipper split apart to reveal the hard to fathom. His private parts had been savagely hacked away. Brown smears of dried blood that had soaked through his pants told her all she needed to know about pre-mortem agony. Liza’s body shuddered and her fists clenched in an effort to remain unmoved. Why did she have to be so damn emotional?

Her partner, Grey Winston, had just knelt down next to the body to get a closer look and then quickly stood, shaking his head. This was a small town in central Florida and this kind of violence just didn’t happen. She had no doubt he, too, was appalled or even shocked. Men were very sensitive about their genitals. Then again, maybe he’d seen worse, though that would be hard to imagine. Of course, he’d never betray his own reactions.

For Liza, it was that moment of conscious disconnect, between the feeling and the working. It never got easier when what had just recently been a living human being was spread lifelessly at her feet. Liza focused to shift her brain into clinical mode. After all, this was not her first corpse and it wouldn’t be her last. She had to woman up. Luckily, the time it took to shift was less and less, even if the initial response was always the same.

I love my job. I love my job. She did love her job. She just wished she could be less reactive when it came to the staring corpses. No matter that she had been on the streets for going on four years until this recent promotion to detective. She never got okay with the vicious, violent, premature end to a person’s life. Which was why she chose this field. She wanted to solve these crimes and get the perps put away before they could cause more damage.

Buy links: Amazon * KOBO * Nook * Apple

Thanks for the inspiration and the peek at your story, Leslie!

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 Marie Dry #author #romance #contemporary #books #fiction #mustread

I have another creative romance author to introduce you all to today! Please help me welcome Marie Dry to the guest chair. First a peek at her bio and then we’ll get right into the questions.

Ever since she can remember Marie Dry wanted to travel. She lived in Zambia, Morocco, and Spain and did short stints in Tunisia, Zimbabwe, Rome, Brazil, Portugal, Botswana, and Mozambique. Through all the travelling reading romance has been a constant.

She read romances since she was nine and was fairly young when she decided she would write a story that had all the elements she looked for in a romance.

There are several wonderful moments in her life that she would never trade for anything. One of them is meeting President Nelson Mandela and the second being published.

 Website * Amazon * Facebook

Betty: When did you become a writer?

Marie: I’ve written stories since I was seven, but I was published first in 2014

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

Marie: At least seven years of taking courses and trying to apply what I’ve learned to my manuscripts. I am still working on my craft.

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

Marie: Jayne Ann Krentz, Georgette Heyer, Linda Howard, the romances of Iris Johansen and so many more.

Betty: What prompted you to start writing?

Marie: I’ve always had stories in my head and I’ve always scribbled them down.

Betty: What type of writing did you start with?

Marie: Romance. I knew it was the genre for me by age ten when I read my first romance.

Betty: What do you most enjoy writing? Why?

Marie: Seeing the characters in my head coming alive on the page. It takes a lot of frustration and working and reworking a manuscript, but that moment when it comes alive and the story in your head is finally on the page is like magic.

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

Marie: All of the above plus writing and struggling with my stories.

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

Marie: How important it is to write and finish book after book. Even if they are never published. Writing is the best way to learn your craft.

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

Marie: Mary Buckham, Kate Walker, Lori Wilde to name a few.

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

Marie: My sister gave me an article about a couple whose paternity test came back negative. They were one hundred percent sure of who the father was and they started digging. That had me wondering. What if a couple had a test done and it came back the man was not the father? What if he believed the science and not her? The four-year-old twins in the story have been in my head for years now. The moment my sister gave me this article I knew this was their story as much as their mother’s and Rafe’s.

About Love Me, Trust Me

Five years ago, when Rafe demanded a paternity test, Lindi was devastated. When the test came back negative and Rafe believed science over her word, Lindi realized the man she’d loved with all of her heart had never loved her. Now Rafe is back in her life, he claimed he still wanted her, but he still refused to admit her twin boys were his.

Excerpt:

“We learned lawyers,” the one on the left said at last. In a tone he probably thought was threatening. Well, actually it was, even coming from such a small person. Those identical blue gazes had The Shining going on big time.

“That’s interesting.” He didn’t know much about kids, but weren’t they supposed to ask you for candy or cry for their parents? These two looked like they could kill him and ensure that no one ever found the body. Again, he marveled at the intelligence that shone in those eyes. He shrugged off that foolish thought. They were only kids, almost babies. “Are your parents working in this building?” He’d never had any occasion to interact with his employees’ children. He owned the building, but four of the twelve floors were hired by lawyers, accountants, and other businesses.

“We learnt sewing,” the talkative twin on the left continued, ignoring the reference to their parents.

“Sewing?” Rafe leaned back in his black leather chair and folded his arms across his chest, suppressing his amusement. He’d send his PA, Abbey, to look for their parents in a moment, when this conversation wasn’t strangely amusing anymore.

The silent one bumped the talkative one and mumbled something.

“S-u-i-n-g,” the child spelled out as if he spoke to a moron. Rafe had to grind his teeth together not to laugh. “We are sewing you and you will pay us.”

Hugely entertained, he relaxed back in his leather chair.

Buy link: Amazon

You made some good points about how long it can take to really hone your writing skills, Marie. Thanks for stopping in and sharing your inspiration and writing process with us!

Happy reading!

Betty

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

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

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.