Getting to know Michael Meyer #author #storyteller #action #adventure #crime #thriller #fiction

Please help me welcome a self-proclaimed storyteller, Michael Meyer, who found the courage to write a book and then another. Welcome, Michael! Let’s listen to what he has to say about his background and then we’ll find out more about his book.

I was a sales and marketing professional in the hospitality industry for more than forty years, working primarily with upscale properties/companies. I dabbled with writing in college; however, I had neither the money nor the patience to pursue a college education. I left school and moved to Key Largo to help support our family (more on that later). It was there I realized what a wild, funky, and fantastic world was available to provide education, entertainment, and enrichment in all of its splendor, pain, and madness.

I am not an author as much as a storyteller. Throughout my life, I have met many veterans of many wars. I have worked with them and had the pleasure of supporting them and their families through Serving Our Troops – a local group of Saint Paul people who serve the troops and their families a meal when they deploy and midway through their tour, 100% free.

As a result, I have heard their stories, opinions, and learned for good or bad war changes everyone. Exit Strategy offers a glimpse into two divergent psyches and interweaves today’s most challenging issues. It is the first of three, with Brian Kelly serving as the protagonist. I hope people enjoy it.

Author Social Links: Twitter

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

Michael: It was something I had rolling around in my head, and eventually, I had to put it on paper.

Betty: Which character arrived fully or mostly developed?

Michael: Brian Kelly, he is parts (good and bad) of me and others who have played a role in my life thus far.

Betty: Which story element sparked the idea for this story: setting, situation, character, or something else?

Michael: I was terminated from a former employer after leaving a previous employer where I had worked for twelve years. The previous employer was a friend and mentor, but I felt my contributions were being taken for granted and spinning my wheels. He died not long after I left.

Betty: Which character(s) were the hardest to get to know? Why do you think?

Michael: The Olsens, because they were pure fiction. They were created from several people’s personality characteristics, both good and bad, yet no one I actually knew. I wanted Jenny to be complex. Part girl next door, part vamp, part loving wife, and one hundred percent a bad-assed combat vet. Born of the significant personal trauma experienced during her tour in Iraq.

I also enjoyed creating Carmen, who was also one hundred percent pure fiction. I enjoyed giving her a fascinating backstory, which I further developed in the sequel.

General Knapp was based on several people. I wanted him to be crass, yet, you could see him being a good guy. Then he says or does something so despicable, you want to see him meet his end.

Betty: What kind of research did you need to do to write this story?

Michael: I needed to research a lot of geography, weaponry, and psychology as well as the military because I have never served. I spoke with many friends who had served, not as an interview, but as they retold stories. You can see the pain, horror, comradery as they retell their memories.

Betty: How many drafts of the story did you write before you felt the story was complete?

Michael: It’s my first book, and my first and worst mistake was once I started writing, the story came to me pretty quickly, so I felt compelled to get it on paper. As if it would disappear. Converting it to something that resembled English was tough because I had so many errors. I hired an editor, a total waste of money. I gave it to my two daughters, both graduates of mass com and journalism from Big Ten universities, who eventually began editing each other’s edits. At one point,  I had ten drafts; finally, I started on page one and rewrote the entire manuscript using an outline or storyboard and the character list.

In my second book, I took my time,  created an outline for each chapter, developed the characters in advance, and bought Grammarly Pro!!!!!

Betty: How long did it take for you to write the story you’re sharing with us? Is that a typical length of time for you?

Michael: Seven years! My god, I hope not. Actually, my second came together in three years, but I was still working full-time and editing the first one.

Betty: What rituals or habits do you have while writing?

Michael: None, that I’m aware of.

Betty: Every author has a tendency to overuse certain words or phrases in drafts, such as just, once, smile, nod, etc. What are yours?

Michael: He/she “sat forward, leaned back,” also “as a result/resulting”

Betty: Do you have any role models? If so, why do you look up to them?

Michael: My mother, she raised nineteen of us and also wrote. She was published in magazines and the Cincinnati Enquirer but never attempted a novel. It was her dream; I dedicated Exit Strategy to her.

Betty: Do you have a special place to write? Revise? Read?

Michael: We have a three-season porch with an adjoining deck; I use those until the winter gets too cold.

Betty: Many authors have a day job. Do you? If so, what is it and do you enjoy it?

Michael: I am winding down my hospitality industry career. Currently consulting for the company I mentioned earlier. I have loved every minute of it. The hotel/resort sales business is one of the few where you live like a millionaire on someone else’s budget. I worked for a five-star resort in the Keys, moved to Minnesota (after hurricane Andrew), and worked for the top upscale hospitality company I could find. Traveled the country, the Caribbean, and Central America and had an absolute blast.

Betty: As an author, what do you feel is your greatest achievement?

Michael: Book 1 – I have always been a good storyteller, but to actually decide to write a manuscript and sit down and do it. Going through all of the edits, making countless mistakes, going through numerous rejections (more than 500), and finally, having the gall, courage, the chutzpah to self-publis has been a monumental achievement.

Betty: What other author would you like to sit down over dinner and talk to? Why?

Michael: Ernst Hemmingway, he was just a cool guy. He went to bull fights, fished the Keys, hung out in Key West, and wrote like a poet warrior. We have so many things in common, as I have done many of those same things. I would love to hang-out for one day. Grisham would be another. Clancey is a good storyteller but an absolute jackass. Flynn was a good guy, lived near-by, and told me to go for it! May he rest in peace.

Betty: Success looks different to different people. It could be wealth, or fame, or an inner joy at reaching a certain level. How do you define success in terms of your writing career?

Michael: First, I laugh, as I don’t have a writing career YET! Even so, I have already enjoyed success. I started doing this because when I regaled people with stories, or they read my articles in industry pubs, they would say you need to write a book. So I did. Then people read it, and they told me grammar aside, it was terrific. When is the sequel? Not out of consideration, but they truly meant it. That they enjoyed and truly wanted to know what happens next is my definition of success – everything else is gravy.

Exit Strategy begins with one of today’s most vexing problems, mass shootings, this one taking place at an elementary school on the first day of the new school year. Immediately, law enforcement from throughout three counties descends upon the school, joined by local FBI Special Agent John Regal. Over the next several hours, they work to evacuate the students and reunite them with their families.

The perpetrators are introduced during a charity golf tournament that took place a week earlier. It is here where we learn that nothing is really as it seems. While the shooting is taking place, a local racetrack casino is robbed of $50M, setting up a hunt for suspects that encompasses the United States, Caribbean, and Australia, leading to a conclusion that will literally blow you away and set up the sequel.

Nearly all of the main characters are veterans of the last sixty years of war. The book delves into the travesties endured, and how it shapes the futures of each character. It’s told in the third person and is a quick read at 250 pages.

Buy Links: * Apple * B&N * Amazon

Thanks for stopping by and sharing the inspiration of your story and a glimpse at your writing process, Michael.

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 L. Bordetsky-Williams #author #Russian #literary #historical #fiction #books #histfic #history

I’m pleased to bring a fellow historical fiction author to the interview hotseat this morning. Join me in welcoming author Lisa Williams! Let’s look at her bio and then find out more about what inspired her to write her recent book.

L. Bordetsky-Williams (aka Lisa Williams) is the author of Forget Russia, published by Tailwinds Press, December 2020. Forget Russia is an Editors’ Choice Book of the Historical Novels Review.She has also publishedthe memoir, Letters to Virginia Woolf, The Artist as Outsider in the Novels of Toni Morrison and Virginia Woolf, and three poetry chapbooks. She is a Professor of Literature at Ramapo College of New Jersey and lives in New York City.

Author Social Links: Website * Twitter * Instagram * Facebook

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

Lisa: My novel, Forget Russia, is based on my own family history. I wanted to understand the lives of my ancestors and how their lives intersected and influenced my own. My great-grandmother was raped and murdered in a pogrom in a small Ukrainian shtetl by Cossacks shortly after the Civil War between the Red and White armies ended. When the Red army finally was able to take over the Ukraine from the White and Ukrainian Nationalists, the retreating and defeated armies went into the Jewish shtetls and killed many Jews, who they equated with the Bolsheviks. I wanted to understand how this initial trauma affected the subsequent generations of women in the family. My grandmother came to America in 1921 after losing her mother in such a tragic and violent way. She settled in Roxbury, where her father, who had deserted the family years ago now lived with a new wife and children. It is not surprising that shortly after arriving, at the age of seventeen, she married a man approximately eighteen years her senior.

Then, in 1931, she and my grandfather actually returned to the Soviet Union with my mother and aunt, ages five and three. My grandfather, a carpenter, had come to America before the Revolution and had radicalized here. Life became incredibly difficult here during the Depression. It had always been a dream of his to return to the Soviet Union, the land of his birth, and build the revolution. While much has been written about Jewish Eastern European immigrants coming to this country, the experience of those American Russian Jews who returned to the Soviet Union to build the revolution in the early 30’s has been relatively unexamined.

In 1980, I was a Russian language student in Moscow at the Pushkin Institute. When I was there, I had the opportunity to meet the Soviet Jewish grandchildren of the Bolsheviks. Many of their ancestors had been imprisoned, killed, or exiled to labor camps by Stalin. It was heartbreaking to see how their ancestors’ dreams for a better, more equal society had been betrayed during Stalin’s purges. I also, for the first time, saw first-hand, how anti-semitic Soviet society was. On Rosh Hashanah Eve, we went to the only functioning synagogue in Moscow, and a car dashed across the cobble-stoned streets in an effort to intimidate and frighten the Jews gathered there.

My trip as a student to the Soviet Union truly changed my life. I spent three and a half months there, and from the moment I returned, I struggled to find the right form to express the ways that journey changed me. Finally, I realized the novel form would give me the freedom to intertwine the three generations’ stories. I also wanted to weave in a love story with an epic, historical setting, so the novel was the best form for that as well.

Betty: Which character arrived fully or mostly developed?

Lisa: My character Iosif, a young Soviet Jew, has a photograph of Leo Tolstoy hanging in his room. He is a true intellectual within a distinctly Russian and Soviet context. While he hates the absence of freedoms in his own country, he sees America as a sick and decadent place and imagines Americans only talk about business. For him, America is soul-less in its materialism, and yet the Soviet Union is as he calls it a nightmare where nothing works, and everyone worries that life will get even worse after Brezhnev dies.

Betty: What kind of research did you need to do to write this story?

Lisa: I did a tremendous amount of research for my novel, Forget Russia, over a number of years. I read accounts of Americans, some of them originally Russian Jews, who went to the Soviet Union in the 1930’s. They were heartbreaking accounts of Americans who couldn’t leave the Soviet Union once the purges reached a peak in 1936. Many were imprisoned. I had the opportunity to interview a few Americans who went to the Soviet Union in the 1930’s and managed to return to this country. I researched the 1930’s and the living conditions in Leningrad. I also read a tremendous amount about the Ukraine during the Civil War following the Russian Revolution. It was a very unstable place then, and when the White army finally lost control of the Ukraine, as they retreated, they entered the shtetls and murdered many Jews in widescale pogroms.

Betty: How many drafts of the story did you write before you felt the story was complete?

Lisa: I wrote about 30 or more drafts of the novel over a period of 20 years.

Betty: What rituals or habits do you have while writing?   

Lisa: I drink a lot of English Breakfast Tea and like to take long walks in Central Park since I live in NYC.

Betty: Every author has a tendency to overuse certain words or phrases in drafts, such as just, once, smile, nod, etc. What are yours?

Lisa: I tend to over use the adverbs quickly and slowly.

Betty: Do you have any role models? If so, why do you look up to them?

Lisa: I look up to Toni Morrison, Virginia Woolf, Chekhov, Tolstoy, Marilynne Robinson.

Betty: Do you have a special place to write? Revise? Read?

Lisa: I tend to write at my desk that is part of my bedroom that also functions as a type of study.

Betty: Many authors have a day job. Do you? If so, what is it and do you enjoy it? 

Lisa: I work as Professor of Literature at Ramapo College of New Jersey, and I really love teaching!

Betty: As an author, what do you feel is your greatest achievement?

Lisa: In Forget Russia, I have woven together the stories of 3 generations of Russian Jews journeying back and forth from Russia to the United States over the course of the 20th Century. Forget Russia is a tale of love, revolution, and betrayal. It is epic and historical in its scope. I am proud of that. In fact, the Historical Novel Society chose it as an Editors’ Choice Book.

Betty: What other author would you like to sit down over dinner and talk to? Why?

Lisa: When she was alive, I had a few opportunities to speak with Toni Morrison, and she deeply encouraged me to write. I’d love the opportunity to once more sit down to speak with her.

Betty: Success looks different to different people. It could be wealth, or fame, or an inner joy at reaching a certain level. How do you define success in terms of your writing career?

Lisa: For me, success means being able to make people understand the suffering and longing of others through my writing. I then hope to inspire my readers to unite and take an active stance against all hate crimes wherever and whenever they have taken place. I also want to highlight the courage, struggles, and importance of the immigrant experience.

Forget Russia is about three generations of Russian-American Jews journeying back and forth, throughout the twentieth century, between America and Russia, searching for some kind of home and, of course, finding something altogether different. It is a tale of love, murder, abandonment, and betrayal. In 1980, Anna, an American college student journeys to the Soviet Union to confront her family’s past. As Anna dodges date rapists, KGB agents, and smooth-talking marketeers while navigating an alien culture for the first time, she must come to terms with the aspects of the past that haunt her own life. With its insight into the everyday rhythms of an almost forgotten way of life behind Brezhnev’s Soviet Union, Forget Russia is a disquieting multi-generational epic about coming of age, forgotten history, and the loss of innocence in all of its forms.

Buy Links: Amazon * Bookshop  

This sounds like a very powerful story and one worth reading to gain a better or deeper understanding of what was happening. Thanks for sharing, Lisa!

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 Gayle M. Irwin #author #inspirational #sweet #contemporary #romance #pets #series

My guest today is a fellow animal lover. Like author Gayle M. Irwin, I have always adopted pets from an animal shelter or rescue. She takes her love farther though. Please help me welcome Gayle to the interview hot seat! Let’s take a look at her bio and then dive right in, shall we?

Gayle M. Irwin is an award-winning author and freelance writer, being recognized by Wyoming Writers, Inc., and the Wyoming Press Association for several of her works. She is a contributor to seven Chicken Soup for the Soul books and the author of many inspirational pet books and stories for both children and adults. Her sweet, contemporary romance series, Pet Rescue Romance, consists of Rescue Road, Finding Love at Compassion Ranch, Rhiann’s Rescue, and My Montana Love. Gayle volunteers for various animal rescue and humane society organizations and donates a percentage of all book sales to such groups. Learn more about her and her writing, sign up for her monthly pet parent newsletter, and follow her bi-monthly blog, all on her website: https://gaylemirwinauthor.com/.

Author Social Links: Facebook * Twitter * Pinterest

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

Gayle: I have worked for two different humane societies and I volunteer for various rescue groups; pet rescue and adoption is my passion. Therefore, when I decided to write romance books, I chose to weave the theme of pet rescue and adoption into my stories. I’ve created a series called the Pet Rescue Romance series – Rescue Road is the first novel in that series.

Betty: Which character arrived fully or mostly developed?

Gayle: My female protagonist. I based her a bit off myself. “Rhiann” is a freelance writer and is living in southwestern Montana; I began freelance writing (and later worked for a newspaper) in that region. “Rhiann” rescues animals and wants to establish an animal sanctuary on land she owns; I love helping pet rescue organizations, and if I could afford a large piece of property, I’d start an animal rescue sanctuary and family educational center (perhaps I’ll win the lottery and be able to see that dream happen! Lol).

Betty: Which story element sparked the idea for this story: setting, situation, character, or something else?

Gayle: Situation – I wanted to subtly educate readers about pet rescue and adoption. Nearly one million healthy dogs and cats are euthanized in animal shelters in the United States; if more people adopted and spayed and neutered their animals, that number would drastically drop. Through Rescue Road and other books in my series, I subtly show how rescue and adoption helps animals AND people; the stories, therefore, are both entertaining and educational.

Betty: How many drafts of the story did you write before you felt the story was complete?

Gayle: About 10. I started the story in a creative writing class at the local college and it was completely different – with a different title, different characters, and different genre (inspirational romance). Although the story turned out completely different, I like the direction it took (and I haven’t scrapped the original; it remains in a file on my computer and may sprout back to life in the next year or two!).

Betty: What rituals or habits do you have while writing?

Gayle: I turn on instrumental, soothing music. I enjoy having music play while I write, but I can’t handle words (they sometimes end up on the page!). I also drink coffee in the morning in my “Rescue Mom” cup given by a friend, and I sip on water or fruity water during the afternoons. My pets (two dogs and two cats) often hang out in the home office with me. I find that comforting and peaceful.

Betty: Do you have a special place to write? Revise? Read?

Gayle: I write either in my home office, at the mountain cabin my husband and I own, or at a friend’s guest house on her ranch. I enjoy viewing nature so outside my home office window I have bird feeders and a bird bath at which I can see various songbirds, like chickadees, red finches, and woodpeckers. At the ranch are horses, llamas, white-tailed deer and turkeys, and at the cabin we have hummingbirds, robins, mule deer, pine squirrels, and the occasional red fox. Nature inspires me, and I weave elements of the outdoors into my stories.

Betty: Many authors have a day job. Do you? If so, what is it and do you enjoy it?

Gayle: Yes, I have a part-time job at a pregnancy resource center. My colleagues and I help women who are experiencing unplanned pregnancies navigate the waters of their new journey through advocacy, free pregnancy testing and ultrasound, resources, and on-site programs. I oversee some of the staff and a group of volunteers plus I use my writing skills to create blog and social media posts. I also am a freelance writer for a few print magazines and online publications. I enjoy all of my work because of the people who are my colleagues, and I enjoy the freelancing because I write about a variety of things, from people features and business profiles to nature essays and pet stories. I enjoy the diversity of topics and projects.

Betty: As an author, what do you feel is your greatest achievement?

Gayle: Creating a series. The idea for Rescue Road, as I mentioned earlier, was a completely different story, and it was to be a standalone. I’ve released three other books in the series and am working on a fourth (a Christmas novella). Once the first book was published, I realized I had more stories to share, and therefore, developed the idea for the series. I’m looking forward to adding the Christmas book and perhaps one more novel, or two more, to the series.

Betty: What other author would you like to sit down over dinner and talk to? Why? 

Gayle: Melissa Storm. She writes contemporary romance stories that feature animals, including In Love with the Veterinarian, In Love with the Rodeo Rider, and Lowcountry Love. She obviously enjoys weaving animals into her romance stories, so I think we’d have a lot in common. I also believe I could learn a lot from her about the craft of writing and the skill of marketing. Plus, we could talk for hours about our pets and our love for animals!

Betty: Success looks different to different people. It could be wealth, or fame, or an inner joy at reaching a certain level. How do you define success in terms of your writing career?

Gayle: I’m working on a plan to become a fulltime writer (freelance and author) by the end of 2022. That would be success to me – making a living from my writing. I don’t need wealth or fame, just enough money to sustain my household. I believe that would give me great joy as I so enjoy sharing stories, whether in book form, through magazines, or online publications. I’m on a journey toward that goal, and though the work is hard, that hard work also brings me joy as I reach new readers with my books and receive a new “yes” from a publication regarding an article.

Freelance writer Rhiann Kelly shelved romance for years. Her dream of starting an animal sanctuary takes deep roots after finding the perfect location in southwestern Montana and purchasing the property for back taxes. Emergency medical technician Levi Butler knows his elderly friend left the ranch to him in his will. Levi anxiously awaits the probate to be complete so he can plan his retirement and begin his dream of raising and selling horses. When Rhiann and Levi find each other at the ranch simultaneously, sparks fly – and not the romantic kind. Yet their mutual attraction deepens, especially after Levi finds Rhiann injured in an accident. Meantime, land developer Dallas Patterson sets his sights on charming Rhiann to obtain the land. Can Rhiann and Levi work together to detour Patterson and find a solution in which neither needs to give up their dream, or will the fence line of their hearts – and the property – separate them forever? Can their broken paths weave their hearts together as they travel the rescue road?

Buy Links: Amazon * Books2Read

Thanks for sharing your pet rescue series with us, Gayle! They sound like a good read and a good way to help those organizations that care for and rescue animals.

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 Jennifer J. Chow #author #cozymystery #characters #YA #fiction #books

I’m so pleased that author Jennifer J. Chow has given her character, Mimi Lee, the opportunity to come cat…er, chat with us today. Let’s take a look at Jennifer’s bio and then get right to talking with Mimi. Here we go!

Jennifer J. Chow is the Lefty Award-nominated author of the Sassy Cat Mysteries and the forthcoming L.A. Night Market Mysteries (Berkley/Penguin Random House). The first in the Sassy Cat series, Mimi Lee Gets A Clue, was selected as an Overdrive Recommended Read, one of PopSugar’s Best Summer Beach Reads, staff picks for both Richland Library and Changing Hands Bookstore, and a Reader’s Digest Best Read from the 2020 Quarantine Book Club. Jennifer has also published other Asian-American novels involving secrets and mysteries. She’s active in Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and Crime Writers of Color.

Author Social Links: Website * Instagram * Twitter * Facebook

Betty: How would you describe your childhood?

Mimi Lee: Fusion. My mom is Malaysian Chinese, and my dad is Caucasian.

Betty: What kind of schooling did you have?

Mimi Lee: I got my undergrad degree in psychology at UCLA. Go Bruins! It’s a slight bone of contention with my boyfriend, Josh, who went to USC.

Betty: What do you think is your greatest achievement?

Mimi Lee: Hollywoof. It’s my very own pet grooming salon in Los Angeles. I’m glad that years of dog walking and pet sitting have led me to my dream job.

Betty: What is the most embarrassing thing that has happened to you?

Mimi Lee: Lots of stuff, but my meet-cute was a meet-oops with Josh because of a misunderstanding we had in our apartment complex’s shared laundry room. And that was on top of him seeing my delicates!

Betty: What’s your greatest fear?

Mimi Lee: That something bad will happen to my friends and family—that’s why I’m keen to clear their names whenever they get on the police’s radar.

Betty: How much of your true self do you share with others?

Mimi Lee: I share a lot with my younger sister, Alice, but even she doesn’t know about my talking sassy cat, Marshmallow.

Betty: Are you close to your family? Do you wish your relationship with them was different in any way? If so, how?

Mimi Lee: I love my close-knit family, although I’m glad that Ma has stopped her ludicrous matchmaking schemes now that I have Josh in my life.

Betty: What characteristics are you looking for in a potential lover/spouse?

Mimi Lee: Tall, handsome, and rich—in kindness toward animals.

Betty: How do you like to relax? What kind of entertainment do you enjoy?

Mimi Lee: I like a good YA novel and sometimes an entertaining show while snuggling with my two favorite guys, Josh and Marshmallow.

Betty: What do you think you’re good at? Bad at?

Mimi Lee: Good at looking out for my family and friends. Bad at following directions from a certain local homicide detective.

Betty: What items do you carry in your pockets or handbag?

Mimi Lee: Keys, money, cell phone, and some handy pet wipes—to clean my furry friends’ paws.

Betty: What foods and beverages do you routinely have in your refrigerator?

Mimi Lee: I love sushi and the occasional boba—but you can’t really refrigerate those drinks too long or the tapioca balls will harden.

When a local teacher is found dead, LA’s newest pet groomer Mimi Lee finds herself in a pawful predicament—with her younger sister’s livelihood on the line.

Mimi Lee is on top of the world. She has a thriving pet grooming business, the sweetest boyfriend, and a talking cat to boot. When she arrives at the elementary school where her sister Alice works, she’s expecting a fun girls’ night out—but instead finds a teacher slumped over in her car, dead.

Alice was the last one to see Helen Reed, which instantly marks her as the prime suspect. Unable to sit quietly and let the authorities walk all over her sister, Mimi starts snooping and talks to Helen’s closest contacts, including one jumpy principal, a two-faced fiancé, and three sketchy teachers. With the help of her sassy but savvy cat, Marshmallow, and a cute kitten named Nimbus, the clock’s ticking for Mimi to get to the bottom of yet another case before her sister gets schooled.

Buy Links: Bookshop.org * PenguinRandomhouse

I love cozy mysteries with cats as active crime solvers. Don’t you? Thanks so much for stopping in, Mimi Lee!

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 Mary K. Tilghman #author #contemporary #historical #journalist

Do you enjoy cruises? My guest today doesn’t…until she does. So what changed? Please welcome journalist Donna, visiting from author Mary Tilghman’s The Last Gift! First a quick peek at Mary’s background and then we’ll find out more about Donna. Ready? Here we go!

Mary K. Tilghman, a journalist for forty years, finds inspiration for her books in the sites she visited when she wrote six travel guides for Frommer’s. These places and their history set the scene for her novels, both historical and contemporary.

Mary is the author of two Maryland-based historical novels, Divided Loyalties, set during the Civil War in Sharpsburg, and Love Letters & Gingerbread, set in 19th Century Annapolis.

Divided Loyalties was cited in CBSBaltimore’s “Five Baltimore Authors To Put On Your Summer Reading List.”

The mountains of Western Maryland serve as the backdrop for Inn By The Lake. Her newest novel, The Last Gift, published as an e-book by Champagne Book Group, takes place during an Adriatic cruise. It is due out in paperback this summer.

Mary is a member of the Historical Novel Society, Romance Writers of America, Maryland Romance Writers, and the Maryland Writers Association.

A Maryland native, Mary and her husband Ray have three grown children, all of whom still live in Maryland.

Author Social Links: Website * Instagram * Twitter

Character Interview: Donna

Betty: How would you describe your childhood?

Donna: Idyllic. My sister and I were very close, even though she’s much older than me. I had friends, of course, but I confided all my hopes and dreams, angers and frustrations with Karen. I was so sad when she fell in love and got married. I was happy for her, of course, but that close sister friendship faded away as she got caught up in marriage and then babies.

Betty: What kind of schooling did you have? Did you enjoy it?

Donna: I loved school. I loved to read and I realized—well, Karen realized—I had a knack for writing. I didn’t go to any special schools, just my neighborhood school and the local university. But I was always a diligent student. Do you think that’s how I became an unattached, workaholic adult?

Betty: When did you have your first kiss and with who? How did it go?

Donna: Men, it seemed, didn’t want to make room for my hopes and dreams. Even in high school, they seemed preoccupied with their own futures. So it took a long time for me to give a guy a chance. His name was Gary. We went to the senior prom together—our first date. After our first slow dance together, he didn’t let go. There on the dance floor he took my face in his hands, looked at me deeply as if this was an important moment. I realized what was happening, forgot the room was full of teenagers, and closed my eyes. The kiss was tender, soft, and lovely. But then some smart-aleck made a rude comment and ruined it all. We broke apart, both of our faces red, and hurried off the dance floor. The second kiss later that night was even better. I thought I was falling in love that night.

Betty: What do you think is your greatest achievement? Why?

Donna: Being an aunt to Jake and Madison, my sister’s children. I was going to say becoming a real journalist because that’s what I’ve always wanted to do. But over the years I have always made time for those two children. I’m so proud that they’ve decided I can be their friend, their confidant. Jake is a teenager and Madison is in middle school so that’s huge. I’ve gone to their sporting events and in the last year since their father died I’ve done all I could to support them. I can’t fill the hole left since Brian passed away but I can make sure they know they are loved.

Betty: What is the most embarrassing thing that has happened to you?

Donna: I was terrified the moment I reached the gangplank for this cruise. I’d promised Karen I would go but the closer we got to the ship, the more frightened I became. I knew I didn’t like boats but I hadn’t expected to have a panic attack. If it weren’t for the kindness of that ship’s officer, I might have missed the most wonderful trip of my life. And I don’t think Karen would have forgiven me.

Betty: If you could change one thing from your past, what would it be and why?

Donna: When I was eleven or twelve, I went on a friend’s sailboat. He was showing off, making it lean over as we skipped over the ripples on the river. It was too fast for me but all he did was make fun of me and tell me to relax. I wish I had been able to gain control of my fears that day and told that kid off.

Betty: What’s your greatest fear? Who else knows about it?

Donna: Fear of failure. Nobody gets in my way. Nobody gets the best of me. I can’t stand the idea of failing so when I found myself falling apart on a stupid boat—I know it’s a ship—I had to figure out quickly how I was going to overcome my fears so that my sister Karen would have a good trip. That was so important.

Betty: How much of your true self do you share with others?

Donna: I’m pretty private. Okay, I’m shy. Only a few people know me well. My sister always. When I found Scottie was so easy to talk to I guess I kind of opened up to him.

Betty: Are you close to your family? Do you wish your relationship with them was different in any way? If so, how?

Donna: I miss my parents. We were a close-knit family. Just the four of us. Now it’s just Karen and me. I think Mom especially would be glad to see how we’ve remained so close—and she would have loved Jake and Madison.

Betty: What characteristics are you looking for in a potential lover/spouse?

Donna: I always think of Rita in “Groundhog Day” when she describes her perfect mate: Well, first of all, he’s too humble to know he’s perfect…He’s intelligent, supportive, funny…He’s romantic and courageous.” Never mind that Bill Murray keeps commenting as she talks—I always liked that list of attributes.

Betty: How do you like to relax? What kind of entertainment do you enjoy?

Donna: Relax? Who has time to relax? I work and then I crash. Sleep and repeat. I do like to keep novels on my phone. I love Scottish romances and historical novels.

Betty: If you could change yourself in some way, what change would you make? Why?

Donna: Maybe I should learn to relax. Seriously, I realized on the cruise I was too focused on work. My sister lives in the moment. She’s good at living in the past—she is newly widowed—but she enjoys her time with her children. She savors every course at dinner. She stops to smell the roses. She literally stops to smell the roses. Drives me crazy when we’re in a hurry.

Betty: What do you think you’re good at? Bad at?

Donna: I’m a great planner. I love details. I guess that’s why the boss asked me to organize the upcoming press convention. So many things to think about. I had a great time getting everything together. Even though I’m shy, when I get to working those phones, it’s really fun. And I do love seeing all the arrangements work out.

Betty: What items do you carry in your pockets or handbag?

Donna: Always a handful of pens and a notebook. I’m old school, writing down all my notes for a story. I don’t go anywhere without my cell phone. I carry a wallet with nothing in it but my driver’s license and credit card and a couple of dollars for the kids who wash car windows at the stop lights. That’s all.

Betty: What foods and beverages do you routinely have in your refrigerator?

Donna: Leftovers from the previous night’s take-out. I’d love to say champagne and aged cheese but I don’t keep any of that there. I never have anyone over. I’m barely at home.

Sail away with Donna, an up-and-coming journalist who tears herself away from work—but not her laptop—to join her sister on a Mediterranean cruise. The trip is a big step for Karen whose husband booked the voyage just before his sudden death a year ago.

There’s only one thing, Karen warns her forever-single sister: Donna won’t find love on this ship.

Scottie, a ship’s officer, has given his life to the sea but when Donna discovers she’s afraid of boats, he lends her a hand and loses his heart.

Buy Links: ChampagneBooks * Amazon * B&N

Thanks for stopping by, Donna! It’s been nice getting to know you. Thanks also to Mary for letting you have a few minutes away to join 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!

Getting to know Sarah McGregor #author #regency #historical #timetravel #romance

My guest today is coming to us from the pages of He Loves Me Knot by Sarah McGregor. Diana Burton has graciously stepped off the page and into my interview, so let’s find out more about Sarah before we get down and dirty with Diana. Ready?

Author Sarah McGregor is an award-winning romance author. A native Midwesterner, she makes her home on the eastern seaboard with her family and an assortment of cats, dogs, and horses. She finds that the best stories come to her while sitting on a tractor or running. When all hell isn’t breaking loose on the farm and there isn’t a global pandemic, she likes to travel.

A lifelong equestrian, Sarah has been around the proverbial barn enough times to portray it authentically.

Author Social Links: Website

CHARACTER – Diana Burton

Betty: How would you describe your childhood?

Diana: I grew up in a suburban neighborhood about an hour outside of Chicago. My parents were demanding, supportive, and distant, in equal measures; I earned freedom and privileges in exchange for exemplary grades and good behavior. My horse, that I earned with those grades and behavior, was my best friend and my pride and joy.

Betty: What kind of schooling did you have?

Diana: I went to public school and got a merit scholarship to a big ten University where I was in the pre-vet program.

Betty: Did you enjoy it?

Diana: I enjoyed it right up until I didn’t. I’d always gotten good grades and liked learning. I loved animals and knew from a young age that I wanted a career involving them so being a veterinarian seemed like the logical choice. In college though, when I looked at how hard and how long I was going to have to study and then the long hours I would have to work for relatively low pay, I realized I would be unable to do what I really wanted which was to train and compete horses, so I dropped out.

Betty: When did you have your first kiss and with who? How did it go?

Diana: Nick was my first kiss, my best kiss, and the kiss that made me know how every kiss that followed should feel.

Betty: What is the most embarrassing thing that has happened to you?

Diana: Hmm. First off, let me say that I wouldn’t remember any of my most embarrassing moments if not for people and their damn smart phones. Me plus drinking adds up to trouble and a virtual bottomless pit of embarrassing moments. In one night out at a bar, I was reported to have:  grabbed the mic away from the lead singer in a cover band so I could yell out some of my all-time favorites; maniacally whirl around the dance floor until I knocked over the bass player; and top it all off with barfing in the parking lot. I’d say it was all lies, except that my friends thought it was so funny they needed to share their pics with me and everyone else on social media.

Betty: If you could change one thing from your past, what would it be and why?

Diana: I would never ever have taken Nick’s love for granted. I would have supported him and confided in him and accepted the same from him.

Betty: What’s your greatest fear?

Diana: My greatest fear is that I can never take back the hateful words I said. That they will haunt me until the day that I die and that second chances are the stuff of fairytales.

Betty: Who else knows about it?

Diana: Absolutely no one. And they never will.

Betty: How much of your true self do you share with others?

Diana: None of it. I am tough as nails and, if you buy me a drink, a damn good time.

Betty: Are you close to your family? Do you wish your relationship with them was different in any way? If so, how?

Diana: My family gave up on me long ago. I think I always knew that their love was conditional, so when I dropped out of school to rethink my goals and my mother told me I might as well go off to join the circus, it was no big surprise. Okay, it was a bit of a surprise, and it was maybe a bit of a loss. I was lost and floundering. Nick was gone, my dreams had changed, and all I could think of—all I was good at—was training horses.

They could have tried to understand. They could have thrown me an effing lifeline.

Betty: What characteristics are you looking for in a potential lover/spouse?

Diana: Nick. He was my best friend. He was funny and kind and protective and hardworking. I measured everyone against him, and they all came out short. Until… well that’s the great thing about a second chance, isn’t it?

Betty: How do you like to relax?

Diana: Now? Now I like to read and ride and go for walks in the country. I like to count my baby’s toes, and have dinner with my friends, and spend lazy afternoons in bed with my husband.

Betty: What kind of entertainment do you enjoy?

Diana: I enjoy most anything in good company, but there’s nothing quite like a live orchestra accompanied by the rhythmic footsteps of dancers on a ballroom floor.

He loves me…

Not anymore. That was twenty years ago. I hardly think of Nick now. Seriously. I’m too busy training horses and trying to keep a roof over my head. Now they say I never met a horse, or a man, I couldn’t ride, which is a little catty but mostly true. 

Until I do.

When Napoleon, a rangy gelding with a bad reputation, tosses me to the ground, my life literally flashes before my eyes. I swear the tangled knot of regrets and missed opportunities go parading past me like thoroughbreds at auction. When I come to, I’m shocked to discover I’m dressed in a fancy riding habit, and a corset, and I’m eighteen—again. But when Lord Nicholas Stanhope walks in the room looking like my Nick, dressed and sounding like he just stepped out of a Jane Austen novel… I’m on a mission.


I don’t care if this is a dream, or painkillers, or-or reincarnation. I won’t give up on this second chance. I won’t stop until…he loves me.

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

Thanks, Diana, for taking time away from your busy schedule to tell us more about your experience and plans for the future. And thanks to Sarah for giving you the free rein to come visit. (That was a horse pun… get it?)

Anyway, so much for bad jokes, eh? 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 Pamela Ferguson #author #contemporary #historical #romance #fantasy #covid #pandemic #fiction

My guest author today has tackled a subject that has romance authors in a quandary at times: the pandemic. Should one include it in some way in a contemporary romance or not? Pamela Ferguson is here today to tell you how she answered that question. Let’s take a look at her bio and then find out more about her writing.

Award-winning author PAMELA FERGUSON writes contemporary and historical romance fiction, fantasy, and light romantic suspense. Wings of Love, her first novel set in the fictional town of Lilac, won a 2017 Romance Writers of America Golden Heart® Award. Readers can meet relatives of her contemporary Lilac characters in her World War II-era historical romances. In 2021 she published Time Will Tell, the first book in the Hackle County time travel romantic suspense series. Upcoming books include a sweet contemporary Lilac Christmas romance (Fall 2021), a serialized ghost story (stay tuned for launch details), and the second book in the Hackle County series. Pamela collaborates with fantastic vocal artists to produce audiobooks for all her stories and encourages readers to sign up for her newsletter to read the latest news about her books.

Author Social Links: Website * Facebook * Twitter

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

Pamela: Three ideas inspired me to write this story. The first was the stress of living through a pandemic lockdown. I was privileged to have a job that allowed me to work from home, but many people had to go to a workplace each day and face risks I never had to. Their resilience inspired me. The second was the tendency to put our ancestors on pedestals and focus only on the boast-worthy things they did, as if looking at the whole person diminishes people instead of making them more human. The third was the desire to escape—which is where the time travel comes in.

Betty: Which character arrived fully or mostly developed?

Pamela: April Islip. As a county health inspector, she’s on the front lines of battling COVID-19. Unfortunately, her boyfriend, tavern owner Clay Nolan, doesn’t want to follow the pandemic regulations she has to enforce. Despite the fact that this is set during a pandemic, their relationship is actually funny.

Betty: Which story element sparked the idea for this story: setting, situation, character, or something else?

Pamela: Both the situation (the pandemic) and the setting (a rural county that’s fallen on hard times). There’s lots of conflict built into that combination. Then, of course, the element of time travel adds complexity to the situation and the setting by providing glimpses of life before the pandemic.

Betty: What kind of research did you need to do to write this story?

Pamela: If my browser bookmarks are any indication, I spent a lot of time learning about quarries, drones, and keeping the local health inspector happy.

Betty: What rituals or habits do you have while writing?

Pamela: I love using the Dragon dictation software. I think in dialogue, so I often draft an entire scene by first dictating the conversation. I then go back and layer in the action, setting, and emotion.

Betty: Every author has a tendency to overuse certain words or phrases in drafts, such as just, once, smile, nod, etc. What are yours?

Pamela: Back. Down. Out. There are too many to list. Thankfully, the Scrivener software provides counts that help me fix those overused words.

Betty: Do you have a special place to write? Revise? Read?

Pamela: I do most of my typing at my desk, which is ergonomically arranged to help me avoid muscle strain. I enjoy dictating outside on the back porch when the weather is nice. When I’m travelling, I like to write in coffee shops and bookstore cafes. I hope to do more of that now restrictions are eased and more people are vaccinated.

Betty: Success looks different to different people. It could be wealth, or fame, or an inner joy at reaching a certain level. How do you define success in terms of your writing career?

Pamela: Finishing a book and having an idea ready to go for the next one.

Hackle County health inspector April Islip believes handsome tavern owner Clay Nolan might be Mr. Right—until he refuses to make his customers wear masks. Local residents are riled up about COVID-19, threatening April when all she’s trying to do is save lives. When one of Clay’s irate customers runs April’s car off the road on the Fourth of July, she’s mysteriously transported back in time to 1970 and given the chance to right a past wrong. Can she thwart a dangerous plot involving Clay’s grandfather that doomed Hackle County’s future and her relationship with Clay?

Buy Links: Amazon * Audible

Sounds like an interesting story, Pamela. Thanks for stopping by!

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 #romance #historical #suspense #novels #writing

My guest today is quite an accomplished author in many ways. Let’s take a peek at author Leslie Hachtel’s bio and then dive right into the interview, shall we?

Leslie Hachtel has been working since she was fifteen and her various jobs have included licensed veterinary technician, caterer, horseback riding instructor for the disabled, and advertising media buyer, which have all given her a wealth of experiences.

However, it has been writing that has consistently been her passion. She is an Amazon bestselling author who has written fifteen romance novels, including eleven historicals and four romantic suspense.

Leslie now lives in Florida with her very supportive husband, and her new writing buddy, Josie, the poodle mix. She loves to hear from readers!

Author Social Links:  Website * Facebook * Twitter

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

Leslie: I have always been fascinated by the idea that people with similar experiences can reach across time and offer help.

Betty: Which character arrived fully or mostly developed?

Leslie: Definitely Evelyn. She was running from an abusive husband and had to find herself again. It isn’t easy when you’ve been oppressed. And she lived in fear for a long time.

Betty: Which story element sparked the idea for this story: setting, situation, character, or something else?

Leslie: Setting and character. Evelyn needed a place to go where she could hide and find sanctuary and there are places near where I live in Florida that fit the bill. Secluded areas along the river can hide many secrets.

Betty: Which character(s) were the hardest to get to know? Why do you think?

Leslie: Donovan was the hardest to know because he was so completely focused on Evelyn much of the time.

Betty: What kind of research did you need to do to write this story?

Leslie: Anytime I write about the Civil War, I am meticulous in my research. There are scholars out there that can put me to shame, so I never want to make an obvious error. It takes the reader out of the story if that happens, so I am very careful.

Betty: How many drafts of the story did you write before you felt the story was complete?

Leslie: This was actually two stories combined, so I reworked them each several times.

Betty: How long did it take for you to write the story you’re sharing with us? Is that a typical length of time for you? Why or why not?

Leslie: This book actually took about three months. That’s usual for me since I write about 1000 words a day on average and then have to edit.

Betty: What rituals or habits do you have while writing?

Leslie: I really don’t have any rituals. I just need time and a quiet place. And a computer, of course.

Betty: Every author has a tendency to overuse certain words or phrases in drafts, such as just, once, smile, nod, etc. What are yours?

Leslie: I had a real problem with ‘began’ for a while and ‘rose’ as in get up. Thank heavens for the ‘find’ key so I can check that I’m not overusing words. Oh and I have a fabulous editor who never lets me get away with that.

Betty: Do you have any role models? If so, why do you look up to them?

Leslie: I love Kathleen Woodiwiss. She is the reason I wanted to write romance. And Stephen King is the reason I wanted to write. They both inspired me.

Betty: Do you have a special place to write? Revise? Read?

Leslie: I work mostly in my upstairs office with my dog at my feet. That’s the best.

Betty: Many authors have a day job. Do you? If so, what is it and do you enjoy it?

Leslie: I had a day job for years when I wrote and was able to quit several years ago to write full time. I loved working, but I like writing better.

Betty: As an author, what do you feel is your greatest achievement?

Leslie: Actually writing books that people read and enjoy.

Betty: What other author would you like to sit down over dinner and talk to? Why?

Leslie: Nora Roberts. She is amazing! Not only in her work, but also in her stated philosophies. I would love to spend one-on-one time with her.

Betty: Success looks different to different people. It could be wealth, or fame, or an inner joy at reaching a certain level. How do you define success in terms of your writing career?

Leslie: Fame is a double-edged sword and I have no problem remaining anonymous. And I have enough money – how much do you need? But I would really like it if I could mentor new authors on a regular basis.

Two women. Years apart. Linked by common experience and a cottage that has survived since the Civil War.

Evelyn Smith has changed her name and is running from an abusive husband. She buys a cottage in Florida that has its own history, only to experience an attraction to the previous owner.

Rebecca Faber has rescued a Yankee soldier and fallen in love, but circumstances have forced her to marry an evil man who killed her father.

When Rebecca reaches out from the past, Evelyn finds it life changing.

And in their own times, each must discover strength and fight to find and keep true love.

Buy Links: Amazon

Oh, I do love a good time travel romance! Thanks for sharing this one with us, 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!

Getting to know Stacy Gold #author #steamy #contemporary #romance #adventure #novels

I’m impressed with my next author’s work experience mainly because she loves doing a few things I have tried but don’t actually do. Please help me welcome Stacy Gold! Let’s take a look at her bio and then find out more about her and her books.

Compulsive tea drinker.  Outdoor sports junkie. Lover of good (and bad) puns. 

Award-winning author Stacy Gold gave up her day job as Communications Director of a nonprofit mountain biking organization to write sassy, steamy, contemporary romance novels. Her stories are packed with independent, kick-butt women finding love and adventure in the great outdoors. When Stacy’s not busy reading or writing, you can find her dancing, laughing, or playing hard in the mountains of Colorado with her wonderful hubby and happy dogs.

Author Social Links: Website *  Facebook * Twitter * Instagram

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

Stacy: I adore analyzing and writing about the convoluted path people take to finding themselves and falling in love. I’ve also spent a lifetime playing, working in, and writing about the outdoors. When I realized I could combine both, I knew I’d found my calling.

With this stand-alone novella series I challenged myself to make each story feel different, but set them all at the same ski area. The first is a sweet yet steamy, friends-to-lovers romance reuniting two old ski partners. The second brings a pair of ex-lovers together on ski patrol, where they work just as hard controlling their feelings as they do at controlling avalanches. The third is a quirky enemies-to-lovers tale set on the last day of the season at Emerald Mountain’s remote backcountry hut. Each has its own mix of heart, steam, and humor, and I’m really proud of them.

These three standalone, steamy ski romance novellas are what I want to read, and I hope they’re what other people want to read too.

Betty: Which character arrived fully or mostly developed?

Stacy: Sophie from book #2. All my characters have their basis in bits of different people I know or have known. Sophie is based a lot on an old friend of mine from ski bum days in Jackson Hole, WY. She’s brash and tough and not afraid to go after what she wants and I loved writing her.

Betty: Which story element sparked the idea for this story: setting, situation, character, or something else?

Stacy: I have a couple of friends who met and fell in love while working on ski patrol together in California. I always loved their story, and it made great inspiration for this one. Adding in the danger of their job allowed me to create another, deeper layer to this second-chance-at-love story.

Betty: Which character(s) were the hardest to get to know? Why do you think?

Stacy: Probably Taya, from the first novella in the series. She’d just come out of a horrible breakup and her life was not at all turning out how she planned, and I don’t think she wanted to be known.

Betty: What kind of research did you need to do to write this story?

Stacy: I did some specific research on avalanche control techniques as they vary greatly from resort to resort. Other than that, I relied on my own, firsthand experience as a long-time resort and backcountry skier and outdoor guide and the tales my patroller friends have told over the years.

Betty: How many drafts of the story did you write before you felt the story was complete?

Stacy: The first novella took about 16 drafts, but I was still honing in on my process. The other two took about 5 drafts.

Betty: How long did it take for you to write the story you’re sharing with us? Is that a typical length of time for you? Why or why not?

Stacy: Each of these novellas took about three months to write and edit. My writing has gotten a little faster, but I’ve been working on full-length novels and the editing takes longer because the book is bigger and more complex.

Betty: What rituals or habits do you have while writing?

Stacy: I drink a lot of tea (hot in the winter, iced in summer) and rarely listen to music. I also take breaks every hour at a minimum and don’t spend more than 4 hours a day on a keyboard.

Betty: Every author has a tendency to overuse certain words or phrases in drafts, such as just, once, smile, nod, etc. What are yours?

Stacy: Oh, gosh. I love to use just, really, that, slick, and a whole bunch more. I have a set list I always search and destroy during editing, plus a list of words and phrases specific to that book that I may have overused.

Betty: Do you have any role models? If so, why do you look up to them?

Stacy: I find I look up to different people for different reasons. My in-laws are amazingly thoughtful and giving. My husband is a leader par excellence, and has taught me a ton about managing people and office politics. 

Betty: Do you have a special place to write? Revise? Read?

Stacy: In winter I write in my office and move between a desk with a kneeling chair and a treadmill workstation. In the summer I set up standing and sitting options on my side porch. Though sometimes the background buzz of a public park or coffee shop is incredibly inspiring.

Betty: Many authors have a day job. Do you? If so, what is it and do you enjoy it?

Stacy: I am lucky enough not to have a regular day job right now. My last one was as Communications Director for a nonprofit mountain biking association, but these days I handle our personal business and my writing.

Betty: As an author, what do you feel is your greatest achievement?

Stacy: That I’ve discovered a way to entertain people while saying something important and writing about topics I enjoy. Though the fact that all of my novellas have finaled in contests and/or won awards and I now have an agent comes in a close second. 

Betty: What other author would you like to sit down over dinner and talk to? Why?

Stacy: Sarina Bowen because I adore her books and writing style and impressed with the business she’s built.

Betty: Success looks different to different people. It could be wealth, or fame, or an inner joy at reaching a certain level. How do you define success in terms of your writing career?

Stacy: For me, success would mean reaching enough people and selling enough books to be able to support my husband and I, and still have enough left over to support other authors and help them become more successful.

(1) Just Friends — A cold day of powder skiing leads to a night of hot sex, and maybe more, in this friends-to-lovers novella.

Taya Monroe is trying to pick up the pieces of her failed writing career and broken life. Ski Patroller Jordan Wiley is a single dad with zero time or energy for dating. When a snowstorm traps these two old friends in an avalanche of chemistry, will their friendship survive?

(2) In Deep — Avalanches aren’t the only thing these ex-lovers are trying to control in this adrenaline-packed, second-chance-at-love workplace romance.

For eight mind-blowing weeks two years ago, Max and Sophie were lovers. Now he’s her boss on ski patrol. When an adrenaline-filled day turns into a night they need to forget—will they risk their careers for each other?

(3) Never You — Together in a backcountry hut at the end of ski season, some rules are made to be broken in this forced proximity, enemies-to-lovers workplace romance.

Ski Hut Caretaker Morgan Monroe doesn’t do casual relationships. Chef Dan Griffin doesn’t believe in relationships. When things heat up on a cold winter’s night, will they play it safe or follow their hearts?

“A must-read! Fun, flirty, hot!” ~ N. N. Light Reviews

Buy Links: https://stacygold.com/emboxedset/

Sounds like a great trilogy, Stacy. Thanks for stopping in and sharing it 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 www.bettybolte.com for more on my books and upcoming events.

Getting to know Pamela Ferguson #author #contemporary #historical #romance #fantasy #covid #pandemic #fiction

My guest author today has tackled a subject that has romance authors in a quandary at times: the pandemic. Should one include it in some way in a contemporary romance or not? Pamela Ferguson is here today to tell you how she answered that question. Let’s take a look at her bio and then find out more about her writing.

Award-winning author PAMELA FERGUSON writes contemporary and historical romance fiction, fantasy, and light romantic suspense. Wings of Love, her first novel set in the fictional town of Lilac, won a 2017 Romance Writers of America Golden Heart® Award. Readers can meet relatives of her contemporary Lilac characters in her World War II-era historical romances. In 2021 she published Time Will Tell, the first book in the Hackle County time travel romantic suspense series. Upcoming books include a sweet contemporary Lilac Christmas romance (Fall 2021), a serialized ghost story (stay tuned for launch details), and the second book in the Hackle County series. Pamela collaborates with fantastic vocal artists to produce audiobooks for all her stories and encourages readers to sign up for her newsletter to read the latest news about her books.

Author Social Links: Website * Facebook * Twitter

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

Pamela: Three ideas inspired me to write this story. The first was the stress of living through a pandemic lockdown. I was privileged to have a job that allowed me to work from home, but many people had to go to a workplace each day and face risks I never had to. Their resilience inspired me. The second was the tendency to put our ancestors on pedestals and focus only on the boast-worthy things they did, as if looking at the whole person diminishes people instead of making them more human. The third was the desire to escape—which is where the time travel comes in.

Betty: Which character arrived fully or mostly developed?

Pamela: April Islip. As a county health inspector, she’s on the front lines of battling COVID-19. Unfortunately, her boyfriend, tavern owner Clay Nolan, doesn’t want to follow the pandemic regulations she has to enforce. Despite the fact that this is set during a pandemic, their relationship is actually funny.

Betty: Which story element sparked the idea for this story: setting, situation, character, or something else?

Pamela: Both the situation (the pandemic) and the setting (a rural county that’s fallen on hard times). There’s lots of conflict built into that combination. Then, of course, the element of time travel adds complexity to the situation and the setting by providing glimpses of life before the pandemic.

Betty: What kind of research did you need to do to write this story?

Pamela: If my browser bookmarks are any indication, I spent a lot of time learning about quarries, drones, and keeping the local health inspector happy.

Betty: What rituals or habits do you have while writing?

Pamela: I love using the Dragon dictation software. I think in dialogue, so I often draft an entire scene by first dictating the conversation. I then go back and layer in the action, setting, and emotion.

Betty: Every author has a tendency to overuse certain words or phrases in drafts, such as just, once, smile, nod, etc. What are yours?

Pamela: Back. Down. Out. There are too many to list. Thankfully, the Scrivener software provides counts that help me fix those overused words.

Betty: Do you have a special place to write? Revise? Read?

Pamela: I do most of my typing at my desk, which is ergonomically arranged to help me avoid muscle strain. I enjoy dictating outside on the back porch when the weather is nice. When I’m travelling, I like to write in coffee shops and bookstore cafes. I hope to do more of that now restrictions are eased and more people are vaccinated.

Betty: Success looks different to different people. It could be wealth, or fame, or an inner joy at reaching a certain level. How do you define success in terms of your writing career?

Pamela: Finishing a book and having an idea ready to go for the next one.

Hackle County health inspector April Islip believes handsome tavern owner Clay Nolan might be Mr. Right—until he refuses to make his customers wear masks. Local residents are riled up about COVID-19, threatening April when all she’s trying to do is save lives. When one of Clay’s irate customers runs April’s car off the road on the Fourth of July, she’s mysteriously transported back in time to 1970 and given the chance to right a past wrong. Can she thwart a dangerous plot involving Clay’s grandfather that doomed Hackle County’s future and her relationship with Clay?

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Sounds like an interesting story, Pamela. Thanks for stopping by!

Happy reading!

Betty

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