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!

Martha Washington Slept Here: New Windsor #history #NewYork #AmericanRevolution #HistoricalFiction #HistFic #amwriting #amreading #books #novel

Martha Washington had not traveled much if at all before she married George Washington. Her move from southern Virginia to northern Virginia, to Mount Vernon, was the farthest she’d journeyed. Until the American Revolution started and George was appointed as Commander of the Continental Army. The next location for the Continental Army’s winter camp and George Washington’s headquarters was in New Windsor, New York, in 1780-1781.

In case you’ve missed the earlier posts, so far I’ve covered these camps:

The first winter headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1775.

The second winter headquarters in Morristown, NJ, in 1776.

Then Valley Forge in 1777-78.

Next at Middlebrook from 1778-79.

Next at Morristown, NJ from 1779-1780. 

I don’t know much about this winter camp in New Windsor, to be honest. In fact, although I strive to be as accurate as I possibly can, when I wrote Becoming Lady Washington I made an error as to its location, confusing it with a later encampment in the same area in 1782-83. I’ll get to that in a minute.

What I have found in doing the research for this post is that while George Washington wrote many letters from “New Windsor” in December 1780, he didn’t specify where his headquarters was actually situated. Could he have used tents instead of residing in a house? It’s possible but wouldn’t be ideal to winter in New York in tents. I would think he would be in a house. I don’t know that for certain. I did find one mention related to his headquarters in a December 14, 1780 letter to the Marquis de Lafayette:

“I am in very confined Quarters—little better than those at Valley Forge—but such as they are I shall welcome into them your friends on their return to Rhode Island.”

This implies he may have been in a house since he was in a stone house at Valley Forge. I suspect he didn’t specify the location of the headquarters to protect everyone from the British surprising them. However, I also know that during this encampment the British intercepted letters from George and Martha and as a result a gift was sent under a flag of truce to Martha, who had been ill, so they (the British?) already knew the location.

Martha arrived at the camp by December 15, 1780. George was fretting about the mail route because his letters kept being “taken” by the enemy and the army didn’t have the money to replace the horses for Express riders to carry the mail. As I mentioned above, a lady, Mrs. Martha Mortier, the widow of a British army paymaster, sent quite an extensive amount of foods to Martha because she learned Martha suffered from an illness, which was a gall-bladder attack.

I can’t help but be amazed at the array and quantities of these items! According to the editors of “Worthy Partner”: The Papers of Martha Washington, the gift consisted of “a box of lemons, a box of oranges, four boxes of sweetmeats, one keg of tarmarinds (medicinal seed from tamarindus indica), 200 limes, two dozen capillaire (to prepare a syrup from maiden hair fern), two dozen orgeat (used to prepare a syrup made from barley, almonds, or orange flower water), two dozen pineapples, and two pounds of Hyson tea.” George ordered for nothing to be landed but the detachment offering the gift under a flag of truce be sent away immediately. The editors go on to say that if George had permitted the gift to even have landed on shore he would have been subjected to “criticism in the tory and patriot press for having accepted favors from the enemy.”

These were tense times in the winter headquarters. Not only was the enemy trying to trick him into missteps, the supplies and clothing for the troops were nearly nonexistent.

As to my gaffe, which I apologize for again, this headquarters was not located in the William Ellison House as noted in the following excerpt. I have not identified the actual house or place where the camp was located. Please forgive me for confusing these two winter camps. I obviously made an assumption that, since the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and the National Park Service only referred to the Ellison and Hasbrouck houses, both winter camps occurred in the same locations. Lesson learned! However, my description of the house being “tiny” apparently was accurate.

The following takes place in June 1781. From Becoming Lady Washington:


I laid in my bed, a light cover keeping me warm enough, wondering whether the bilious fever and jaundice I suffered would end me. The tiny William Ellison House where headquarters had been established provided little comfort in its cramped interior. Not a place where I’d ever thought I’d die. Yet, at that moment, it seemed a distinct possibility. I didn’t want to die, of course. Not really. But I’d been ill for weeks and didn’t know how much longer I could tolerate the illness. I had intended to leave camp for home in May, but I fell ill around the twenty-first while George was away in Connecticut.

The doctor told me the abdominal pain searing through me was likely caused by a stone in my gall bladder. The biliousness and yellowing of my skin did nothing to make the strain and discomfort more bearable. Five long weeks dragged past with me fearing for my life.

George had agonized about acquiring the proper medications to ease my suffering, writing the last day of May to both Jacky and Lund to see what they could do to assist. Unfortunately, those letters along with a few others from George were intercepted. How did I know? Because a letter arrived on the twenty-first of June, dated the fifteenth, from Mrs. Martha Mortier.

She not only baldly stated that his letter had been intercepted. She had the audacity to send a gift of lemons, limes, oranges, pineapples, sweetmeats, tarmarind seeds, capillaire to make a medicinal syrup from maiden hair fern, orgeat to make another syrup, and two pounds of Hyson green tea from China. A bribe or war prize. Either way, we could not accept it. Fortunately, I had recovered my health by then so could with all honesty refuse it as no longer needed. Or wanted, but that was another matter.

“The vast amount of delicacies must have cost a small fortune, what with the outrageous inflation for even common articles.” I could see George’s concern in the set of his jaw and the anger in his eyes.

As the war had dragged on, his health had become more my concern. He brushed aside my worries, but I have eyes and could see the subtle changes. While we both wanted to be safely at home on our beloved plantation, his duty was to his role as commander of the army. Mine was to be by his side to support him and care for him through good and bad, sickness and health.

“I cannot tolerate this blatant attempt to trick me or any one on my staff to accept favors from the enemy.” George paced the office, rage pouring from him in waves. He stopped suddenly and glared at his staff member, standing rigidly at attention awaiting orders. “Major General Robert Howe, you will thwart any thing and any one from landing under such a flag of truce. I shall reject the items as politely as I can. I shall send a note thanking Mrs. Mortier but telling her you, my dear Patsy, have recovered and thus no longer need such assistance.”

“That is a wise plan.” In truth, while the whisper of temptation to enjoy the fruit existed for two heart beats, I’d never have succumbed.

The reason for George’s tirade stemmed from learning Lund, back home at Mount Vernon, had given refreshments to the enemy in April. Lund’s desperate measures proved misguided. The British had sailed up the Potomac, threatening to burn our beloved home to the ground. In order to save it, he’d offered food and drink on board the ship. He’d dared to ask for the surrender of some of our Negroes, asking a favor from the enemy! I had rarely seen my old man so livid and embarrassed in the twenty-two years we’d been married. He sent a reprimand to Lund, telling him of his displeasure with Lund’s ill-judged actions. We both feared that unhappy consequences and animadversion of the General would result. I hoped no one would criticize him, not after all our sacrifices in the cause, but we’d experienced naysayers already. Then to add to that outrage his concern for my welfare, and he proved troubled indeed.


I’ve checked my sources and they do not mention a site for the 1780-81 headquarters either. George only puts “New Windsor” or “Hd Qtr New Windsor” on his letters. I won’t make excuses for my error, only say that I will strive to avoid further errors in the future.

Until next time, when I’ll talk about Philadelphia, 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.

Cover of Becoming Lady Washington depicting the marriage of George and Martha.

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

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

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

Amazon     Barnes & Noble     Kobo     Apple     Books2Read

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?

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 known Ashley A Quinn #author #contemporary #romance #suspense #thriller #mustread #fiction #books

My guest today loves to read and write suspense stories. Please help me welcome Ashley A Quinn to the interview hot seat! Let’s take a gander at her bio and then find out more about her, shall we?

Ashley is a contemporary romantic suspense author. She currently lives in Ohio with her husband, two kids, three cats, and one hyperactive German Shepherd mix. A lifelong lover of knowledge, you can often find her with her nose buried in an academic journal or a suspense thriller. She’s also an avid baseball fan and loves SyFy disaster flicks.

Author Social Links: Facebook * FacebookReaderGroup * Instagram

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

Ashley: A photograph. I was cruising through Instagram and saw a picture author Leslie Marshman posted of the ruins of St. Dominic’s Church in D’Hanis, TX. After I got over how hauntingly beautiful the picture was, I thought how great a place it would be to hide a body. Then the first scene for A Beautiful End popped into my head and The Broken Bow series was born.

Betty: Which character arrived fully or mostly developed?

Ashley: One of my side characters who has his own book later in the series, Thomas. He leaped off the page from the very first word he spoke.

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

Ashley: A bit of all of it, I guess. It was born from the setting, but it’s driven by the characters’ responses to the situation.

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

Ashley: A couple of the side characters I wanted to develop later. Their backgrounds didn’t want to come to me, so I had a hard time fleshing them out at first until I spent a little more time in their heads.

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

Ashley: Forensics. And oddly enough, botany. Large parts of the story are driven by the criminal investigation, and I had to create a trail for law enforcement to follow. I have a thing about needing to be accurate, so I delved deep to make sure everything I wrote was plausible.

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

Ashley: Three. A rough draft and two rounds of edits.

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?

Ashley: It was around three or four months, I think, which is actually faster than I used to write, but not as fast as I do now. This story was the start of taking my writing truly seriously. When I launched this series, it was the start of a new outlook on publishing for me.

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

Ashley: I don’t really have any. I listen to music to drown out external noise if I need to, but mostly I just write when I have time.

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

Ashley: Smiled, laughed, looked, nodded. I talk about hands a lot, too. People use them to talk and it’s become part of “speech” for me when I write dialogue.

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

Ashley: My mom. She works hard and can do just about anything she puts her mind to. I strive to do the same.

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

Ashley: I have a desk… I usually end up on the couch, though. When I edit, I print out the manuscript and use a pen, so then I cover the entire sofa with pages. My cat enjoys messing up my piles.

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

Ashley: I don’t have a day job outside of writing. It is my job.

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

Ashley: Becoming consistent with my writing and turning it into a real career.

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

Ashley: James Rollins. His thrillers are fascinating. The way he connects information and draws conclusions from that is amazing. I would love to discuss his thought process.

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?

Ashley: Being able to make a steady, livable income off my writing. I don’t need to be famous, but it would be nice to know that if something happened to my husband, my kids and I would be okay without me scrambling to find a decent job when I’ve been out of my field of study for twenty years. Writing and publishing is finally looking like it will be that for me.

London Scott’s routine, boring life gets a jolt when her niece discovers a woman’s body while out hiking with her boyfriend. It’s just her luck, though, that it’s Sebastian Archer who investigates the murder. Having known the man since childhood, she’s always been the annoying tagalong. Even though she finds him drop-dead sexy, that’s a ship that can never sail now that she’s guardian to her niece and his goddaughter.

Two years ago, Seb moved home to take the position as local sheriff, ready for a slower pace and to be closer to his family. That included his best friend’s sister, London. The beautiful innkeeper had held his heart since they were young, but the timing never felt right to start something. When a serial killer murders a woman in his jurisdiction who bears a striking resemblance to London, Seb realizes he could lose her before they ever get a chance.

Will London’s reluctance to date the handsome sheriff deliver her into the hands of a psychopath?

Buy Links: Amazon

I love how the cat “helps” Ashely with her writing, don’t you? Thanks for sharing about your writing process and role model, Ashely!

Is anyone else shocked that May is almost over already? Be sure to take some time to relax under a shady tree and read a good story before the warm weather is over and we’re talking about Halloween! 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.

Spellcraft in Fiction, Or How to Write A Spell #research #magic #magick #FuryFallsInn #amwriting #amreading #American #histfic #historical #fantasy #fiction #books

So, to continue the discussion on basic magic knowledge and skills, let’s talk about spells. (You can read about the basics of magic and Cassie’s wand if you missed those posts.) Now, I’ve written many kinds of documents and texts: poems, essays, articles, technical reports, performance appraisals, newspaper columns, and of course books. But in Desperate Reflections, I needed a spell for Abram to use with his special ring. How does one write such a bit of prose?

So once again I referred to my experts: Thea Sabin’s Wicca for Beginners and Ly de Angeles’ Witchcraft: Theory and Practice. Both have great advice on how to approach spellcraft, if you’re interested in learning more about it. Since I wasn’t looking to write an actual working spell, but one that approximated such a bit of text, I mainly looked at the way language was used and tried to incorporate bits of the meter and flow as well as reverence to the Goddess.

Sabin gave some succinct guidance on writing a spell. She says, “If you choose to write your spell, first think of your goal. Find a way to state your goal clearly in words, either with rhyme or without. Then build the ritual around this center statement of intent. Incorporate the correspondence you’ve chosen, either directly into the words or into the greater ritual.” She goes on to provide a Sample Spell and how to perform the ritual associated with it, which gave me greater insight into how I might write a spell myself.

De Angeles includes many different spells in her book, so I spent some time reviewing them. I was looking for similarities between them so that when I attempted to write a spell specific for my story it would seem authentic and possibly even effective. I borrowed a couple of modified lines from her spells but made up the first two lines in my spell for my purposes. Her spells are much longer and involve specific ritualistic steps. Let me share part of one of de Angeles’ spells, in this case for a Fetch, so you can see what I mean:

“I call upon the powers of Earth,
By Aradia, by Cernunnos!
Come to my circle to guard and to guide!
Blessed be the powers of Earth!
This Cup is the symbol of Woman and Goddess,
This Blade is the symbol of Man and God.
Cojoined, are They, in the way of Creation!
Life within Death, Death within Life.
Blessed be the fruit of the Vine! […]
By the ancient awesome law of Three;
As I do Will so mote it be!”

Here’s where Abram learns the spell from his mother Mercy:

Mercy shimmered into view a few feet from him. “Abram, before you try to shift let me tell you about how you can use the ring to help you succeed.”

He sucked in a shaky breath at her sudden appearance. “Very well.”

“Close your right hand.” She demonstrated with her ghostly hand until he did as instructed. “Then say,

‘I summon the protections of this ring
To guard me and aid me in my intent.
By Earth, By Sky, By Sea
By the ancient Law of Three,
As I Will, so mote it be.’”

“What will that do?” He needed some reassurance of the intent and outcome behind the spell before he’d follow her instructions. Even though he had become adept at adjusting to quick changes, the more he knew beforehand the smoother his adaption to the new direction.

“This spell protects your true nature so you can return to it when you’re finished.” She drifted a little to one side, pressing her lips together. “It doesn’t increase your ability but it does provide a layer of protection.”

He frowned at the idea of casting a spell. Of acknowledging his witchy inheritance. “I don’t know…”

“You do want to be able to shift back into your true self, right?” Her arched brows and slight shake of her head made him feel like a fool.

He steeled his courage. “Of course.”

“Then memorize the spell so you can invoke it when you feel threatened and uncertain.” She smiled at him and then shimmered. “I’ll see you later.”

Now, the spell I wrote is supposed to be used in conjunction with a ring, so don’t try using it, okay? <grin>

Desperate Reflections is out and available! Enjoy!

Betty

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Fury Falls Inn in 1821 Alabama. A place for ghosts, witches, and magic. A place of secrets and hidden dangers. Abram must protect his vulnerable sister from all of it. Before the dark side of magic ensnares her.

When Abram Fairhope grudgingly travels to the Inn, he has no idea of the dire revelations about to upend his life. His only desire is to fulfill his familial duty and then get back to his job as senator’s aide. But the shocking truth of his very nature destroys his carefully laid plans. Worse still, he must use his newly revealed ability to shield her from terrible danger. Threats exist from within and without, especially the surprisingly pretty woman his jaded heart can’t seem to ignore. Can he keep his sister safe and still protect his heart?

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