Getting to know Jessica James #historical #fiction #romance #author #military #veterans #mustread

My next guest is award-winning historical fiction author Jessica James. I read the description of her book and it sounds like my kind of story! But I’m getting ahead of myself. Here’s Jessica’s official bio and then I’ll get right to the good stuff…

Jessica James believes in honor, duty, and everlasting love—and that’s what she writes about in her award-winning novels that span the ages from the Revolutionary War to modern day.

She is a three-time winner of the John Esten Cooke Award for Southern Fiction, and has won more than a dozen other literary awards, including a Readers’ Favorite International Book Award and a Gold Medal from the Military Writers Society of America. Her novels have been used in schools and are available in hundreds of libraries including Harvard and the U.S. Naval Academy.

To combat the sedentary career of writing, Jessica works as a part-time stagehand at the Majestic Theater in Gettysburg, Pa., the “grandest small town theater in the nation.”

You can find out more about her and her books at www.jessicajamesbooks.com, or follow her at BookBub, Goodreads, or Facebook.    

Betty: How many books have you written and published?

Jessica: 10

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

I began my career writing historical fiction (Civil War), and thought that’s what I would always write. However, a book called Meant To Be begged to be written and started me on a new path of romantic suspense and thrillers. Lacewood will be my first novel in the women’s fiction/mainstream romance genre, but it combines all of my favorite things…history, mystery, and a deeply poignant love story that spans the ages.

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

I’ve always been fascinated by history and I’m drawn to old houses. Lacewood incorporates both of these and melds together some of my other favorite things, like small towns, country life, and majestic old trees. Our military is also very important to me so my heroes are usually soldiers or veterans. Lacewood focuses on a modern-day veteran and a soldier from the Civil War, so readers get two love stories for the price of one.

Sometimes love is just too powerful for one lifetime…

Two people trying to escape their pasts find a connection through an old house—and fulfill a destiny through the secrets it shares. Part love story, part ghost story, Lacewood is a timeless novel about trusting in fate, letting go of the past, and believing in things that can’t be seen.

A powerful and poignant tale that vividly conveys the heartache of war, the tragedy of loss, and the fulfillment of destiny…even when souls are separated by centuries. Lacewood takes readers on a journey that connects the past with the present—and the present with eternity.

Amazon     Apple   Books2Read     

Note: Lacewood is on sale for $3.99 through 6/22/19!

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

Jessica: I do all of my writing, editing, and reading on a very comfortable chair that I bought with money won through the John Esten Cooke Award for Southern Fiction. It was a big splurge, but well worth it!

Betty: Do you have any writing rituals while you write? Did you have a special drink, or music, or time of day that you gravitated toward?

Jessica: I’m a morning writer and need complete silence (except for birds chirping).

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

Jessica: Determination and a stubborn refusal to quit.

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

Jessica: For Lacewood, the thing that came first was sycamore trees. Strange, I know, but all of a sudden I began noticing them during my travels. (They are the trees with snowy white limbs). Most people would probably disregard this sudden fascination, but being a writer, I knew there must be a reason. I began to do research, and found that they were once called lacewood, due to the lacy pattern of bark on their trunks. Hmmm. Lacewood sounded like a good name for an old house…Imagine the stories it could tell… And thus, Lacewood was born.

Betty:  Do you have a structured time to write or is more fluid/flexible? Do you have to write between family obligations or do you set aside a block of time?

Jessica: First thing in the morning is definitely my writing time. I try to avoid morning obligations as much as possible because that is definitely when my creative juices are flowing. Afternoon time is for mundane activities like marketing or catching up on emails.

Betty: What is your favorite genre to read?

Jessica: I read a lot of non-fiction for research. Reading fiction is a rare treat. I do make time to read whenever a new Vince Flynn novel is released.

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

Jessica: My bookshelves are mostly full of 19th century or early 20th century books. I did tons of research in the early days of writing historical fiction in order to get a feel for the flow of words and use of vocabulary in the Victorian era. Those books are now impossible to part with.

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

Jessica: I took a part-time job when I began writing seriously because I found that I was spending 12 hours a day (or more) sitting in a chair. The job was as a stagehand at a performing arts center, which can be very physical on show days. That was about 14 years ago, and I’m still there, working everything from orchestra concerts to operas, Broadway shows, comedy acts, and top touring bands. It’s a perfect fit for me.

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

Jessica: I wish readers knew how much authors value their feedback, and how important reviews are to us. If you like a book, take the time to write a short review or spread the news through social media. It is much appreciated!

Betty: What advice do you have for new writers?

Jessica: A-B-C. Attach Butt to Chair.

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

Jessica: Readers have been begging me to continue my Phantom Force Tactical series, so I think that’s where I’m heading next.

Thanks for sharing about your writing and your stories, Jessica! It must be fun to be involved with the theater, too. I’m off to buy Lacewood… Happy reading, all!

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.

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Meet Gina Danna #historical #fiction #romance #author #Regency #CivilWar #histfic #amreading #amwriting

I’d like to introduce you all to a fellow historical fiction/romance author, Gina Danna. Like me, she writes in different time periods and locations. I’ll give you her professional bio and then hop right into the interview. Enjoy!

A USAToday Bestselling author, Gina Danna was born in St. Louis, Missouri, and has spent the better part of her life reading. History has always been her love and she spent numerous hours devouring historical romance stories, always dreaming of writing one of her own. After years of writing historical academic papers to achieve her undergraduate and graduate degrees in History, and then for museum programs and exhibits, she found the time to write her own historical romantic fiction novels.

Now, under the supervision of her dogs, she writes amid a library of research books, with her only true break away is to spend time with her other life long dream – her Arabian horse – with him, her muse can play.

You can learn more about her and her books at www.ginadanna.com, or follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

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

Gina: I write historical fiction and historical romance – most of the time combined in a historical fiction with romantic overtones and some straight historical romance. For my Ancient Rome and Civil War, they have to correct, especially the Civil War, which means having the history and historical persons in it. My Regency tend to be more romance, though with historical background. If that makes any sense.

Gerard Jennings had done his duty for God and Country and returned to England to assume a title he had never wanted nor deserved. Sweat and blood were not all he left behind in war-torn France, he’d also left his heart with the woman he’d loved and lost. Forced into a society that no longer fits the man he’s become, the new Marquis of Linnwood drifts through a sea of debutantes to fulfill the family obligation of finding a wife. None attract his attention until he meets the one who tugs at his reluctant heart – Lady Charlotte.

A runaway pup, a damsel in distress, Lady Charlotte is rescued by Lord Linnwood only to have her reputation ripped to shreds by petty gossip. Her fiance withdraws his proposal, leaving Charlotte forever ruined. The dashing Marquis again comes to her aid by making her his wife. 
Though deeply in love with her husband, Charlotte can’t bridge the distance between them and spends night after night alone. His haunted past shadows their lives and she must find a way to not only dispel his ghosts but ease his grieving heart. Will it be enough to also save his tortured soul?

Amazon     Apple     Kobo

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

Gina: No, not really. I work a full time job so my co-workers see me lugging my laptop with me and I get as much as I can get done at work as well as home.

Betty: Do you have any writing rituals while you write? Did you have a special drink, or music, or time of day that you gravitated toward?

Gina: I need quiet – which can be amazingly hard to get when you have a job like I do and live in an apartment!

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

Gina: I think what drove me was the first RWA group I joined – Missouri Romance Writers (MORWA). Very encouraging group. Great support!

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

Gina: Timeframe – of course, but after that, it’s the characters. My main people are very loud, so they’re the driving force by all means.

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

Gina: A recent struggle was working to finish a novella for a summer anthology, putting the 4th book in my Civil War series aside so I could finish, only to have the group literally fall apart. So I had this book just waiting. It’s being released on June 17th. J

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

Gina: I did so for a couple of years and succeeded – Go Me! But my current job now steals a ton of my time. It’s a busy season for us, so I haven’t been able to even think about it…

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

Gina: No, I try NOT to read the same genre/time period as my current works in progress. Fear it will mess my muse so I avoid it till after I’m finished.

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

Gina: Yes, I have a day job – I work for Southwest Airlines

Betty: What advice do you have for new writers?

Gina: Keep writing! Listen to your muse! Not the market. If you try to write just for the market, that’s a tricky thing. It changes rapidly in comparison to writing so don’t do it.

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

Gina: Well, I have a Christmas Regency novella for this winter (total romance) and finish the 4th book in my Civil War series, hopefully start on book 5.

Thanks for stopping by and sharing about your interesting background and your writing process. Best of luck with your future writing career, too!

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.

Meet Allie McCormack #author of #paranormal #multicultural #romance #Arabic #Magic #fantasy #mustread #fiction

Today I’d like for you all to help me welcome romance author Allie McCormack. She’s written some fascinating and entertaining stories I think you might love. But let’s find out more about her and then about her writing process and the stories she loves to share with readers. Let’s start with her bio and brief statement about herself:

Allie McCormack is a disabled U.S. military veteran, now pursuing her lifelong dream of being a writer. A long-time member of Romance Writers of America, she has lived all around the U.S., as well as a year in Cairo, Egypt as an exchange student and a year working in a hospital in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. After a somewhat nomadic life, she settled in Tucson, Arizona with her two rescue cats. You can visit Allie’s website at http://www.AllieMcCormack.com.

Allie says: “A writer is who and what I am…a romance writer. I write what I know, and what I know is romance. Dozens of story lines and literally hundreds of characters live and breathe within the not-so-narrow confines of my imagination, and it is my joy and privilege to bring them to life, to share them with others by writing their stories.”

Find out more at her website http://alliemccormack.com/j, and follow her on Twitter or Facebook.

Douglas needed a miracle. What he got was a genie…

Veterinarian Douglas McCandliss considered himself an ordinary kinda guy with an ordinary kinda life. He had no idea why he’d bought the old silver teapot, and when a young woman appeared before him claiming to be a genie, he almost wished he hadn’t. If only she wasn’t so damned cute.

Ebullient and cheerful, Jacinth loved granting wishes and helping people. So she was thrilled when her teapot’s new owner, a single father with custody of two young children, asked her to stay until he could find a nanny. The problem was, the longer she stayed, the more she was attracted to Douglas, and she was certainly not willing to turn over care of Ben and little Molly to just anybody. But she was a 900-year-old genie, and had no intention of falling in love with a mortal. None whatsoever.

This is the second book in my Wishes & Dreams paranormal romance series.

Amazon     Amazon AU     Amazon CA     Amazon DE     Amazon FR     Amazon IN     Amazon UK

Betty: How many books have you written and published?

Allie: 6 written, 4 published (so far!)

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

Allie: I write in romance genre only, mostly because I’m a die-hard romantic, and the stories that come to me are *always* romance! I can’t imagine writing anything else. I write both multicultural and paranormal romance.

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

Allie: I have the recurring Djinn (genie) theme with some Arabic overtones, since Djinn originated in pre-Islamic folklore, and I used both Islamic and pre-Islamic accounts of Djinn, as well as the Arabian Nights tales, as the basis for my world-building. Also, I lived in the Middle East and had some experience with the culture and I enjoy recounting that; I feel like it adds touches of exotic flare and interest to the stories.

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

Allie: Absolutely! My L-shaped desk sits in the center of a bay window looking out over the Sonora Desert and the Catalina Mountains. It’s a spectacular view, and 3 days a month, the full moon rises straight up the middle of the center bay window, directly above my monitor. I’m a career typist, so after more years than I want to admit to, sitting at a computer desk (with good posture) typing is far more natural to me than anything else, and I do my best work here. I do have a laptop that I take out to restaurants for a prolonged writing session over a meal, which is fun too!

Betty: Do you have any writing rituals while you write? Did you have a special drink, or music, or time of day that you gravitated toward?

Allie: Absolutely. I have to have a full glass of iced tea at my side when I get started. I have a writing playlist…I need music to write, I can’t have silence, but also it has to be mostly instrumental only, because vocals tend to pull my out of my head. I also have specific snacks just for writing; high-energy/protein, low on carbs and sugar and anything that’s going to make me sleepy.

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

Allie: I’ve been writing and writing and writing, and had all these manuscripts in more or less finished state. I was still querying agents and publishers like mad, when one day I realized that my judgement was clouded; I was still in the mindset of 2000, when I first started writing for publication. Indie publishing wasn’t even really much of a thing back then, small presses and ebooks on CD (as pdf’s) were just beginning to proliferate, and Kindle wasn’t invented yet. Being traditionally published was THE way to go, if you wanted any respect for being an author. But here we are, with…well, everything!…available to authors who want to self-publish. This enlightenment kind of rocked me off balance, and I came to the conclusion that there wasn’t all that much incentive for me to continue to hold out for traditional publishing; I could do everything myself! Now… this isn’t to say that I wouldn’t LOVE to be discovered by Berkley (who, by the way, has never heard of me), but at this point, a publisher would have to offer some pretty good inducement (Marketing!!! Promotion!) to change my mind. One last thing that really tipped the scales is that, if I self-published, I wouldn’t be required to write explicit sex scenes if I didn’t want to, which, mostly, I don’t. So I found a terrific professional cover artist, someone to do professional formatting, and I never looked back!

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

Allie: My ability to get lost in the story I’m telling. I immerse myself in the story/world, and bring it to life.

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

Allie: Characters, absolutely.  They show up in my head and make their story known, and I delve deeper to find out the setting, the situation. I’m not so much creating as I am uncovering!

Betty: Do you have a structured time to write or is it more fluid/flexible? Do you have to write between family obligations or do you set aside a block of time?

Allie: Definitely fluid. I don’t have any obligations (except to feed the cats 3 times a day!), so I can write whenever. The only set block of time is Saturdays from 1-5 pm, when I co-hostess a write-in. All that aside… my best writing time is after 10 pm. I have no idea why, but that’s when the ideas come, the words flow, when my focus/concentration is best.

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

Allie: Ugh. My back went out in early January, and I’m still having problems with it now (end of March at the time of this writing). It’s limiting the amount of time I can spend at my desk writing. While I can take the laptop to the recliner, writing like that doesn’t feel natural, it’s awkward and odd, and that stifles the creative flow. If I have to do that, I usually focus more on editing. It’s slowed me way down; I’m still on the final read-through/polish of A Gift of Jacinth, although I’ll be done with that by the time this interview goes live! J

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

Allie: Absolutely!!! This will be my 12th year, and I’ve “won” 4 of those. I actually plan my entire year (and publishing schedule) around NaNoWriMo. I make it a HUGE event in my life, where I work on something new and really let the ideas come flying. It’s not for everyone, because everyone writes differently, but for me it’s a huge motivation, and I look forward to it with excitement and anticipation. It’d be fair to say that NaNo is the highlight of my entire year!

Betty: What are you reading right now?

Allie: I’ve been re-reading old favorites lately: Georgette Heyer, Nora Roberts, Christine Feehan, Dick Francis.

Betty: What is your favorite genre to read?

Allie: Romance!!!

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

Allie: WAY too many to list here…I can re-read my really old favorites (Georgette Heyer & Nora Roberts) as often as 2-3 times a year, others such as Christine Feehan, Anne McCaffrey, Lord of the Rings, about once a year.

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

Allie: Definitely something else. If I stay in the same genre, my mind is busy making comparisons. Or at least subgenre; for instance, I can read Georgette Heyer any time since those are Regency romances. I can read Christine Feehan while I’m writing my multicultural romances, but not while I’m working on the paranormal romances.

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

Allie: I’m disabled, so I don’t have a day job; however, I deal a lot with chronic pain (and the associated depression), and I find ways to work around those issues. Which is the main reason I don’t have a writing schedule or a specific time of day that I write; I write when I am able!

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

Allie: That reviews COUNT! That writing is not easy… it’s hard work, emotionally draining as we pour out our hearts and soul into the written word. Then editing, editing, editing, editing, editing to polish it into perfection. There’s the nightmare that is marketing and promotion, even for traditionally published authors. And finally, releasing your book out to the reading public. If you read and like a book, please, please, please! Write a review and let us know!

Betty: What advice do you have for new writers?

Allie: Just keep writing! That’s how you improve your craft and skills, how you develop your “voice” and it’s how you gain confidence.

Also, ignore anyone who says you “have to…” do this, that or the other. No, you don’t. Writing is an individual experience. Some very famous authors are “pantsers” (write “by the seat of their pants” with no plotting ahead of time), and it’s just as legitimate as plotting/outlining. Writing by pen and paper is just as valid as typing on the computer or dictating into your phone’s recorder app. Love adverbs? Go for it (within reason, but ignore those who claim adverbs are bad). There’s a lot of BAD advice floating around out there, claiming to be the One and Only True Way to (insert activity of choice). RUN from these people!

Learn to be able to judge critique impartially as you can; if a comment isn’t positive, is there still merit to it? Are you hearing the same comment from several readers? You have to learn when to shrug it off, and when there might be something in there you can use. And never take it personally!

You’re going to run into a lot of people who belittle your dream of being a writer, and from some of the most surprising sources: family, close friends, people you otherwise count on for support. It’s going to happen. Accept that, and start trying to figure out how you’re going to deal with it. Believe me, when someone close to you makes fun of you or tells you you’re wasting your time or asks when you’re going to write a “real” book…it hurts!

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

Allie: Absolutely! I have a 16th-century paranormal (vampire) romance in an Arabian-Nights type setting; it’s a trilogy, with one primary story arc (the romance) spread across three books. I’m totally, totally excited about it! In fact, I’m so excited about it that I’m not allowing myself to work on it until after my last book being released this year has been sent for formatting, because I know that once I get into that world, it’ll be hard to pull myself out, and I don’t want to have to be having the tug-of-war of *having* to be doing something else when I want to be writing on my trilogy.

Betty: What kind of writing would you like to experiment with? Or what’s a different genre you’ve considered writing but haven’t yet?

Allie: Honestly, none. This is where I belong, where I’m happy, and I have no desire to expand into other areas.

Thank you for your service, Allie! And wow, what great advice and cool stories you have to tell! Thanks for sharing with us about your writing process and upcoming stories. Working and writing through pain and discomfort I know can be a huge challenge, but I’m glad you’re finding a way to tell your stories. Wishing you all the best with your career!

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.

Introducing E.M. Bannock #author #erotic #romance #audiobooks #amreading #fiction

My next guest author is the talented E.M. Bannock! She writes steamy romance, or as she calls it “adult romance.” But she cann explain far more clearly than I can, so let’s get to know her and her stories, shall we?

About E.M.:

I grew up in the Detroit suburbs. I’m the second child of seven and eldest daughter of a working class family. My father was a great storyteller and sparked my love for telling stories and writing.

After high school I lived in Los Angeles for a while. LA was an exciting place to be in the early 70’s and I experienced all that it had to offer.

In the last 40+ years, my husband and I have lived in California, Oregon, Alaska, Florida, and Wyoming, where we now live with a spoiled dog and cat, two horses, also spoiled, and a flock of chickens that live like queens in the chicken-coupe-de-ville.

I’ve made my living as an office manager, computer programmer/analysts, project manager, clothing sales person, substitute teacher, and buffalo meat packer.

Now that I am semi-retired, I can find more time to write and promote my books.

Find out more about her at www.embannock.com and connect with her on social media:

Web site: www.embannock.com

Twitter: @EMBannock

Instagram: e_m_bannock

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EMBannock/

Betty: How many books have you written and published?

E.M.: I have published one book, Totally Devoted. It was published in 2018 by 5 Prince Publishing. The audio version will be released in late April or early May and will be available exclusively through Audible, Amazon, and iTunes.

My second book, Zoey’s Place, is in the publishing process right now and should be available for a hot 2019 summer read.

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

E.M.: I write adult romance, sometimes called erotic romance. I chose this genre because it is one of my favorite genres to read. It’s basically modern realistic fiction with some spicy descriptive sex thrown in at just the right time. My target audience is women who believe in romance and like it hot and steamy.

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

E.M.: A common theme in all of my books is a strong-willed female lead character. They all take place in the US. I feel this reflects my own personality and I can write from this POV rather easily. I like to write about life before we got so social media connected, around 2000 – 2010. I might write about life in the past but don’t think I’ll ever venture into futuristic space.

By some strange coincidence both of my published books have lead female characters dealing with the death of their husbands and lost love. Didn’t plan it that way, just happened. Don’t have that in the plan for the next two books though.

Marie Trousdale, a modern professional from California, has been mourning her husband’s death for the past ten years. She decides to move to rural Oregon to get a new lease on life. With that comes a new profession and a new love. But will her love for rugged Oregon contractor, Wil Townsend, survive their differences? He’s been hurt by love, too. Can their attraction for each other be enough to let them trust their feelings and love again, no matter what happens?

Zoey’s Place is available exclusively on Audible, Amazon, and iTunes.

Available now: Amazon (Paperback)    Available 7/15/19: Amazon (Kindle)

Paperback and ebook version of Totally Devoted, published by 5 Prince Publishing, is available at:

Amazon     Barnes and Noble     Apple     Smashwords

There are links to buy all of E.M.’s books in all formats available on her web site: www.embannock.com

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

E.M.: I do everything at my desk in my office on my desktop computer. I need a full size keyboard and a big desk. I live in a very rural area and I have a million dollar mountain view from my window.

Betty: Do you have any writing rituals while you write? Did you have a special drink, or music, or time of day that you gravitated toward?

E.M.: I get most of my ideas in the shower. Then they roll around in my head for a while before I put them down on paper. I enjoy writing in the evening when I don’t have to think about anything else going on in my life. My writing process is not a romantic one; no special music or drink although I’ve been known to listen to music and drink while I write. I like to listen to sexy music when writing love scenes.

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

E.M.: To be honest it was money. When my father passed away, I was given a small inheritance. My first book had already been written. With my dad’s financial assistance, I was able to afford the publishing costs.

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

E.M.: I have a very vivid imagination. I try to write stories about everyday people in very unusual circumstances that bring out the best of the character. Somehow, I have no trouble thinking of strange and exciting adventures for my characters.

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

E.M.: I think the situation because that’s the meat of your story. The characters and setting fit around the situation.

Betty: Do you have a structured time to write or is more fluid/flexible? Do you have to write between family obligations or do you set aside a block of time?

E.M.: My family always comes first. I like to write at night when everyone has quieted down for the evening and I’m ‘off-duty’. That way I can devote my full attention to my story.

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

E.M.: Marketing. I’m no good at it. I don’t like it. It is a necessary evil of writing.

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

E.M.: To be honest, I didn’t know what that was so I looked it up on Bing. I don’t think I could write a novel in a month. It takes me about a year to write a book. I don’t think I could even get a rough draft done in a month.

Betty: What are you reading right now?

E.M.: A Trail of Fire by Diana Gabaldon

Betty: What is your favorite genre to read?

E.M.: I like all types. The story line is what’s important to me. Two of my favorite authors are Diana Gabaldon and Zane Grey. Their style and genre couldn’t be farther apart. With the exception of the time travel in Diana’s books, both are historical fiction. I prefer that but I’m up for a little science fiction as well.

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

E.M.: My always keepers are the Outlander and the Lord John Grey series by Diana Gabaldon, The Red Tent by Anita Diamant, The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley, and my spiritual books by various authors. If I had more time, I’d reread them over and over but I don’t so I carry them like treasured memories. There are so many new authors and books that I want to explore.

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

E.M.: When I’m writing, I rarely read other books. If I do, it’s not genre specific.

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

E.M.: One day I hope to be able to be a full time writer. Right now, to pay the bills, I run the office end of a home construction company and substitute teach at the local elementary school. I do a lot of volunteer community work and am committed to fitness. I’m a vegetarian and do either Zumba, treadmill, or yoga six days a week.

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

E.M.: Most authors don’t make a living wage from writing. It’s a very competitive, but friendly, business. Writers and marketers look at reviews. I can’t stress how important reviews are. When you read a book, please review, whether it be on Amazon, Goodreads, Bookhub, Smashwords, whatever, just review it. It is so appreciated.

Betty: What advice do you have for new writers?

E.M.: Learn about marketing because it is just as important as writing a good book. Be prepared to spend about $3,000 on getting your book published right. Don’t skimp on the editing and proofreading.

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

E.M.: A lot of my friends want me to write a story based in the little community I live in but with a population of less than 500, we pretty much all know, or know of, each other and I’m afraid if I made it too realistic I would either hurt someone’s feelings or get myself in trouble. I might write it in the old western time period. I’m still kicking that around.

I also have a book I started a few years back. It’s about half done. There is a lot of Native American characters and culture in that one.

Betty: What kind of writing would you like to experiment with? Or what’s a different genre you’ve considered writing but haven’t yet?

E.M.: I wouldn’t feel comfortable writing anything but romance fiction. However, both my mother and father are Maltese, from the island country of Malta in the Mediterranean. Malta has a very rich culture and history. A friend suggested that my next book be realistic historical fiction from a woman’s point of view living in Malta around the 8th century after the Aghlabids took control of Malta from the Byzantines. Or maybe after it was conquered by the French at the end of the 18th century. Either way it would be something new and exciting for me, and a little bit scary.

We have at least one thing in common, E.M. I was able to quit working full-time after my father died in 2011, so that I could concentrate on writing full-time instead. Not that I received an inheritance, but I no longer had to work to pay his expenses in assisted living. I think writing about Malta could be fascinating and hope you are able to do so.

I also agree that most writers (including me) don’t earn a living wage from selling their books. Other sources of income are necessary for the vast majority of authors in all genres and both fiction and nonfiction.

Thanks for stopping in to share about your stories and your writing process!

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 my Website for more on my books and upcoming events.

Getting to Know Tari Lynn Jewett #author #womensfiction #romance #socialmedia #mustread #fiction

Ready to meet a fascinating author? Tari Lynn Jewett writes both romantic comedy and women’s fiction. From her experience, I bet she can weave some intriguing tales, too! Here’s a bit about her before we get to the interview.

Tari Lynn Jewett lives in Southern California with her husband of thirty years (also known as Hunky Hubby). They have three adult sons, all who live nearby. For more than fifteen years she wrote freelance for magazines and newspapers, wrote television commercials, radio spots, numerous press releases, and many, MANY PTA newsletters. As much as she loved writing those things, she always wanted to write fiction…and now she is.

When she’s not writing, you can find her at the beach, in her sewing room, or curled up with a good book. She’s also been known to play a mean game of pool.

Tari believes in happily ever afters…because she’s living hers.

Learn more about her at www.tarilynnjewett.com and connect with her on social media:

Facebook: Tari Lynn Jewett

Instagram:  Tari Lynn Jewett

Twitter: Tari Lynn Jewett

Betty: How many books have you written and published?

Tari: My first book #PleaseSayYes was published in a boxed set in February, 2018, and I rereleased it as an individual book in February, 2019. The 2nd book in the series will be out in June of this year.

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

Tari: I write both romantic comedy and women’s fiction. I love both genres, women’s fiction gives me the opportunity to explore darker, edgier topics, and to try to work my way through those topics to resolution. The romcom’s are light and fun, and while they often have a message, they’re an easy escape for me, and hopefully for the reader as well!

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

Tari: In the #HermosafortheHoliday series, the over-arching theme is social media, how it has changed, enhanced and challenges our daily lives.

So, you think social media has taken over your life?

Lucy Vaughn, aka @LucySchoolmarm, can’t believe her eyes when she wakes on New Year’s morning to find a message from a secret admirer on her favorite social media site, and everyone sees it!

Each day he posts a photo giving her a clue as to who he is with a message letting her know he intends to ask her out for Valentine’s and the hashtag #PleaseSayYes. Before she can decide what to do, the posts go viral, and the whole world weighs in on whether she should say yes or no.

Should she take a chance?  Will social media bring them true love, or keep them from finding each other? Only chocolate, wine and advice from her girlfriends can help her now.

#ValentinesIsComing #SecretAdmirer #PleaseSayYes

Amazon      Barnes & Noble      Apple      Kobo

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

Tari: Our youngest son moved out last summer, it took me until January to finally turn his room into my ‘library’. The walls are lined with books, and it’s where I usually write, and always revise/edit. However, I do like to take my laptop out to the patio and write outside, and when I need to get away, my favorite place to go is a little place called The Great Room Café. It’s a good place to write, with outlets, excellent food, and they don’t mind if you stay all day long.

Betty: Do you have any writing rituals while you write? Did you have a special drink, or music, or time of day that you gravitated toward?

Tari: I’m a morning person, so I usually write in the morning. I do listen to music, but it depends on what I’m writing. If I’m working on my 1920’s women’s fiction I’ll put some 1920’s tunes on Pandora while I write, but if I’m writing romcom, I listen to light energetic pop music.

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

Tari: I actually say I’m an ‘accidental author’. I started writing non-fiction years ago as a hobby. I walked into the local newspaper editor’s office with some samples for a parenting column (no appointment) and asked to talk to the editor…she gave me the column. I did the same thing a few years later and got a law column. I don’t know that that would work these days. Then when I was a divorced mom with a preschooler I was fired from a job, came home and the editor of The Toastmaster called and asked if I could have an article to her by Friday. I didn’t have a job so I could.

I earned more money for that article than I had at my job, so I kept writing for magazines and newspapers. I got a food column in a newspaper because of a wrong number phone call…yes, this is true.

So I wrote non-fiction for 15 years while my boys were little, and just wrote fiction for myself. I met Rebecca Forster, bestselling author of legal thrillers during those years, and later she would become a mentor, along with Caitlyn O’Leary, bestselling author of Navy Seal romances. In addition, I’ve been a member of the Orange County Chapter of Romance Writers of America for 8 years, and learned so much from that amazing organization. I also have an incredible online writer group #CharmedWriters. So much support, education and cheerleading in that group, and amazingly talented authors.

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

Tari: I’d like to think it’s my characters. They’re real to me, and because of that I hope they’re real to readers.

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

Tari: Characters come first for me, and I let them tell me the setting and story.

Betty: Do you have a structured time to write or is it more fluid/flexible? Do you have to write between family obligations or do you set aside a block of time?

Tari: When my boys were small I had to write whenever I could squeeze it in, usually late at night. Now I write during the day from about 8am to 3pm.

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

Tari: Learning how to navigate the waters of indie publishing!

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

Tari: I do, but it’s not my best writing time of year. From Halloween to New Year’s, I’m all about the holidays, so I don’t get much done in November.

Betty: What are you reading right now?

Tari: I just started Black Wings, by Megan Hart.

Betty: What is your favorite genre to read?

Tari: It depends on my mood. I love women’s fiction, historical, romance, classics, and lately dystopian. Really, I just love a well written book.

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

Tari: Oh my gosh, like I said, I have a library now filled with books! I don’t often reread a book because I have so many in my TBR pile, but every now and then I’ll reread something really special, maybe once every year or two.

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

Tari: Sometimes I do, I don’t specifically choose to read or not read the genre I’m writing, I just read from my TBR pile, or something that I’ve heard is good.

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

Tari: I’m now writing full time! Woo Hoo!

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

Tari: How fast it’s changing, and how much it’s changing, and that we’re all learning as we go. And how important they are to what happens next.

Betty: What advice do you have for new writers?

Tari: READ, read, read, join a good writer support group, take classes, learn your craft, and most importantly, put your Butt in the Chair and write.

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

Tari: Aside from the next book in my romcom series, I’m working on a historical women’s fiction novel, set here in Los Angeles, here’s my ‘elevator pitch’ for Fascinator:  She always did the right thing…until she didn’t. It’s the roaring twenties and former Rose Queen and oil heiress Violet Conrad appears to have it all, until she discovers that her husband, Miles isn’t who he appears to be, and is suddenly thrust into a world of lust, drugs, and rum runners. How many secrets can she keep before somebody dies?

Betty: What kind of writing would you like to experiment with? Or what’s a different genre you’ve considered writing but haven’t yet?

Tari: I’d like to experiment with dystopian. It’s terrifying, but it’s also something I’ve been drawn to lately.

What an interesting person and the theme of your latest book, social media and its effects on people, sounds both interesting and timely. Thanks for joining me today, Tari!

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 my Website for more on my books and upcoming events.

Meet Brenna Ash #historical #contemporary #paranormal #romance #author #Scottish #PNR #mustread #fiction

Today I’d like you to meet a lady after my own heart especially with her addictions! Brenna Ash loves two of my favorites, coffee and chocolate. And writes some wonderful tales of Highlanders falling in love as well as her latest release about a gargoyle-human guardian. But I’ll let her tell you all about her stories. First, here’s her official bio:

Brenna Ash is addicted to coffee and chocolate. When she’s not writing, she can be found either poolside reading a book, or in front of the TV, binge-watching her favorite shows, Outlander and Sons of Anarchy. She lives in Florida with her husband and a very, very spoiled cat named Lilly.

You can learn more about her at www.brennaash.com and connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Betty: How many books have you written and published?

Brenna: I’ve written 5 books, published 2 and have many more in the works.

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

Brenna: When I first starting writing, I wrote Scottish Historical and paranormal romance. Scottish Historical is hands-down my favorite genre to write. The beautiful settings, the Highlanders, the accent. I just love everything about it. With Paranormal romance, there’s no limits. I can let my imagination really run wild and build the world around the story. But, the first book I published was actually a contemporary romance. I love the book and the story, but once it was published, my heart and mind pulled me back to Historical and Paranormal, and that’s what I’ve been focusing on the past couple of years.

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

Brenna: To look outside the box. When you let down your guard and allow the world in, you’ll see all the amazing things you’ve been missing.

He needed to remind himself he was only there to protect her…

By day, Gregor Magnuson is a bodyguard to the stars, responsible for keeping Hollywood’s elite safe. By night, when he’s not defending the mortal world, he’s tasked with capturing wayward demons and returning them to the otherworld where they belong. This gargoyle-human hybrid is part of an elite warrior guard, the Dark Moor Guardians. After letting his heart get in the way of a previous job that ended in disaster, Gregor swore he’d never make the same mistake again.

Krista Wallingford is Hollywood’s reigning scream queen and a hopeless romantic, who has no idea Supernaturals exist. When a rogue skin walker becomes obsessed with her, Gregor is hired as her new security detail. Krista has a long history of getting involved with the wrong guy and the relationships never end well. She suspects Gregor is one of those guys. Yet, she can’t deny the magnetic pull she feels the instant she lays eyes on her new bodyguard.

Gregor feels that pull as well, and he soon finds himself wanting to protect Krista for more than the lucrative money he’ll be paid. Could she become part of his world or will her newfound knowledge of a supernatural world be too much to take?

Amazon     Books2Read

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

Brenna: I’m lucky enough to have a home office that I work out of, so most of my writing and revising is done there. Sometimes I just want to escape the confines of the house and I’ll grab my laptop and go outside and write by the pool or head to a nearby cafe and settle down with a mocha and get my words in.

Betty: Do you have any writing rituals while you write? Did you have a special drink, or music, or time of day that you gravitated toward?

Brenna: I create a soundtrack for each book I write and I listen to that on repeat while I’m writing the book. I post the soundtracks on my website and load them up to Spotify.

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

Brenna: So many people played a hand in my becoming published. I’ve belonged to RWA (Romance Writers of America) for many years and my local chapters, first in Maine, and then when I moved, my Florida chapter helped me tremendously. The willingness of members to share their information and expertise was invaluable to me throughout the whole process. I also have a few writers that I’m incredibly close to and we talked about the book, the process, what worked and didn’t work. They pushed me when I needed it and talked me down when I felt like I was going crazy.

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

Brenna: I think my greatest strength is dialogue. My editor says I ‘do creepy really well’. Which I found funny since I don’t write suspense.

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

Brenna: Usually, it’s a character that triggers the story.

Betty: Do you have a structured time to write or is it more fluid/flexible? Do you have to write between family obligations or do you set aside a block of time?

Brenna: I work a full-time day job which requires me to be on call most days, so my writing time is usually late in the evening. But really, for the most part, I try to fit writing in whenever I can.

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

Brenna: I’ve been struggling with the plot of the current book I’m working on. I had fully plotted it out, but then when I started writing it, the plot didn’t work, so I had to go back and replot and re-outline the whole story.

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

Brenna: I don’t. I used to and I found it so stressful that now I just write on my own and if I happen to hit 50,000 words for that month, I’ll give myself a pat on the back.

Betty: What are you reading right now?

Brenna: I just finished The Wrong Kind of Love by Lexi Ryan and loved it. It’s the first book in a series and once I finished it, I turned around and added all the other books in the series to my TBR pile.

Betty: What is your favorite genre to read?

Brenna: I have three favorite romance sub-genres to read: Scottish Historical, Paranormal and Contemporary. I pretty much read anything and everything, but those are my favorites.

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

Brenna: I have quite a few books on my keeper shelf, which is actually a whole bookcase. On there, you’ll find historicals by Kinley MacGregor and Karen Marie Moning. Paranormals by JR Ward and Sherrilyn Kenyon, along with books by Janet Chapman, Maya Banks, Tracey Garvis Graves, Jude Deveraux and Bertrice Small. I don’t reread the full books, but I often go back and revisit favorite passages.

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

Brenna: I do.

Betty: What advice do you have for new writers?

Brenna: Keep writing and write the story you want to see out there in the world. Don’t be scared of what others may think.

Betty: Any hints of what your next writing project might be?

Brenna: I have two projects that I’m working on. Both are Scottish Historicals and will be part of my upcoming Highland Mercenaries series.

Betty: What kind of writing would you like to experiment with? Or what’s a different genre you’ve considered writing but haven’t yet?

Brenna: I have a Romantic Suspense/Thriller that I started writing a few years ago, but shelved it about halfway through. I’d like to get that one out in the world at some point.

I love the variety of genres you write, Brenna. Your ambition to write a romantic suspense is amazing to me. I wish you all the best success in your career!

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 my Website for more on my books and upcoming events.

Getting to know Fran McNabb #author of #contemporary #suspense #historical #romance #mustread #fiction

Today I have an author who writes both contemporary and historical sweet romances. Fran McNabb is an award-winning author, but I’ll let her tell you more. Here’s her brief bio:

Fran McNabb grew up along the beaches, bayous and islands of the Mississippi Gulf Coast and uses this setting in many of her novels. She received both her BS and an ME from the University of Southern Mississippi. After spending two years in Germany, she and her husband returned to the Coast where she taught English and journalism until taking an early retirement. She now lives on a quiet bayou harbor with her husband. She spends her time writing, reading, boating, and painting.

As an award-winning author, Fran has writing credits which include four romance novels with Avalon/Montlake (two contemporary and two historical romances), two romantic suspense novels with The Wild Rose Press, and three Indie contemporary romances, as well as a cookbook and numerous articles in magazines and newsletters. Find out more at www.franmcnabb.com.

Betty: How many books have you written and published?

Fran: Presently I have nine available.

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

Fran: I write tender romances, or as they are sometimes called, sweet romance. I started my publishing career in 2006 with Avalon Books, a library publisher whose trademark was family-friendly romances so I kept that brand and still write “sweets” today.

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

Fran: I write character driven books. My stories have heroes and heroines who face personal obstacles as they struggle to find a second chance at life or love.

Hope is easily lost and hard to regain. In A SOLDIER’S HONOR a military major struggles to regain his honor stripped away when he is railroaded into prison. Now in a work-release program at a nursing facility, he falls in love with his nurse supervisor. Together they help each other find the courage to live and love again.

Amazon

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

Fran: I live on a bayou harbor and my sunroom faces the water. I love sitting in there or out on the back porch to revise or to just think and get inspiration, but when I write, I tend to find a place in the house without distractions. I’m easily pulled into the beautiful views, the activity of the boats, and the wildlife on the bayou.

Betty: Do you have any writing rituals while you write? Did you have a special drink, or music, or time of day that you gravitated toward?

Fran: I’m a morning person and I find my brain functions much better in the morning than in the afternoon.

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

Fran: I taught English and journalism so it was natural for me to write, but I knew nothing about publishing until I joined RWA in 1998 and my local chapter, Gulf Coast Chapter of RWA in Mobile. Even though I don’t live there, I drove there faithfully for years. The members were my inspiration that got me to actually send off a manuscript. I’m still best friends with several of the “old members.”

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

Fran: I feel my strongpoint is characterization. I once had an editor who remembered one of my heroes two years after she rejected my manuscript. I was honored even though she never bought the book. I love presenting workshops on developing character.

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

Fran: Most of the time it’s setting that gets me thinking about a new book. A prime example is my historical WINDSWEPT. I visited the wrecker museum in Key West, and when I walked out I told my husband, that was my next book. Another one is ON THE CREST OF A WAVE. My grandfather ran the ferry boats to Ship Island where a Civil War fort still stands. As a child, I spent quite a lot of time there and even lived out on the island an entire summer when my parents worked for the family. It was natural for me to write the book that had a setting I loved.

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

Fran: Because I’ve been writing for so long, I sometimes feel “burned out” and have to get with other writing buddies to find the motivation to sit down and write. I also love to paint and I find I spend as much time painting and that in itself takes away from my writing time.

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

Fran: No. I have never participated, but admire those authors who do. I don’t like to be forced to write in a timeframe.

Betty: What are you reading right now?

Fran: I just finished reading The Doctor’s Second Chance by Missy Tippens, a Love Inspired romance.

Betty: What is your favorite genre to read?

Fran: Sweet Romances which include both contemporary and historical.

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

Fran: Even though it is not a romance, my all-time favorite book is EXODUS by Leon Uris. I read it twice and love the hero Ari. In fact, I think all of my heroes that I write have a little of Ari in them.

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

Fran: I’m a retired English and journalism teacher.

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

Fran: I don’t think readers know how difficult or how time consuming it is to write and edit a book and to find a publisher or to self-publish. When I talk with reader groups, I like to go through the process of writing a book, making sure they understand what all is involved. Most of the time, someone will come up after a talk and tell me they had no idea how difficult it is.

Betty: What advice do you have for new writers?

Fran: I think new writers must be willing to learn what is involved in the writing process, to learn the craft of writing and be willing to take constructive criticism. Going to conferences and attending workshops are important to both new writers and to published authors. No matter how many books an author has published, there is always something to learn.

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

Fran: I’ve been working on a series set in Key West. I love the Keys and have one book set there already (WINDSWEPT), but it’s historical. This series is contemporary and I hope to have the first book finished soon.

It was great getting to know you better, Fran! I wish you all the best with your writing career!

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 my Website for more on my books and upcoming events.