Introducing Gwyn, the heroine from A Gift By The Sea by Nancy Lee Badger #author #historical #holiday #romance #Scottish #Christmas #fiction #novels #amreading

Settle in with a cuppa and let’s meet a cute character, Gwyn, taking a break from her story to chat with us. First we’ll look at author Nancy Lee Badger’s bio and then we’ll find out more about our young guest, Gwyn.

Nancy Lee Badger grew up in Huntington on New York’s Long Island. After attending Plymouth State, in New Hampshire, she earned a Bachelor of Science degree and met and married her college sweetheart. They raised two handsome sons in Rumney, New Hampshire while she dreamed of being a writer. When the children had left the nest, and shoveling snow became a chore, she retired from her satisfying job as a 911 Emergency Medical Dispatcher and moved to North Carolina, where she writes full-time.

Nancy is a member of Romance Writers of America, Heart of Carolina Romance Writers, Fantasy-Futuristic & Paranormal Romance Writers, and the Triangle Association of Freelancers. She finds story ideas in the most unusual places, especially at Scottish Highland Games.

Author Social Links: Facebook * Twitter * Goodreads

Betty: How would you describe your parents?

Gwyn: My name is Gwyn. Mom died giving birth to my younger brother, York. Da’ is a great man, but we are curious why he made us move from the south shore of Loch Ness to the cliffs along the North Sea.

Betty: Do you know how to swim? How did you learn, if so?

Gwyn: Growing up on Loch Ness meant ye learned to swim early. Da’ taught us all to fish, but our tiny boat leaked.

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

Gwyn: I do not believe I am a failure. Rather, I have had little opportunity to show my true strengths. That all changes when I discover a not-so-dead naked sailor on our beach.

Betty: Do you have a favorite sibling? Who?

Gwyn: Sorry, but I canno’ choose between Tor and York. They have their faults. We three are rather young, but what happens when we meet Monroe makes all of us mature quickly.

Betty: What kinds of friends do you have?

Gwyn: (Gwyn blushes) I recently met a hurt sailor named Monroe. I saved his life on that beach then saved him again when he was kidnapped, and when I meet his da’. Monroe is A GIFT FROM THE SEA and we have become…close.

Grab some hot cocoa and snuggle under the covers this season with four all-new medieval romances by best-selling and award-winning authors Allison Butler, Aurrora St. James, Ria Cantrell, and Nancy Lee Badger. From friends to lovers to a marriage of convenience, hidden identities and his best friend’s sister, you’ll be swept away to the magic of Christmas in Scotland where braw heroes will do anything for the women they’ve come to love.

Buy Links:  NancyLeeBadgerBlogspot

Thanks, Gwyn, for telling us more about you and your family, and of course Monroe!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Betty

Award-winning Author of Historical Fiction with Heart, and Haunting, Bewitching Love Stories

Visit www.bettybolte.com for a complete list of my books and appearances.

Subscribe to My Newsletter to learn the inside scoop about releases and more!

Introducing Miss Kitty Underhay, the delightful amateur sleuth from Helena Dixon’s cozy mystery series. #author #character #femalesleuth #bookseries #amreading #fiction #novels

Sometimes it’s the little things that matter most in life. Today let’s chat with an interesting character from Helena Dixon’s cozy mysteries, Miss Kitty Underhay. Welcome, Kitty! After we find out a little bit about Helena, I’m looking forward to finding out more about you.

Helena Dixon splits her time between the Black Country and Devon. Married to the same man for over thirty-five years she has three daughters, a cactus called Spike, and a crazy cockapoo. She is allergic to adhesives, apples, tinsel and housework.  She was winner of The Romance Prize in 2007 and Love Story of the Year 2010 as Nell Dixon. She now writes the Miss Underhay historical 1930’s cozy crime series.

Author Social Links: Twitter * Instagram

Betty: How would you describe your parents?

Kitty: My mother vanished when I was six and my father went to America. I have only recently become reacquainted with my father who is something of a rogue. I was brought up by my grandmother at the Dolphin Hotel.

Betty: Who taught you to tie your shoes?

Kitty: Mickey, the maintenance man in the hotel that I co own with my grandmother.

Betty: Do you know how to swim? How did you learn, if so?

Kitty: I live in Dartmouth, a small riverside town in Devon. When you live by water you need to know how to swim.

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

Kitty: I can be quite impetuous and sometimes this has placed me in considerable danger.

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

Kitty:  I met my fiancé, Captain Matthew Bryant who is a private investigator. We are due to get married on Christmas Eve

Betty: If you could change the past, what would you change?

Kitty:  I wish my mother was still alive. I spent years trying to find out what happened to her.

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

Kitty: I really don’t like rats. I think everyone knows!

Betty: What’s your favorite game to play?

Kitty: I like to play billiards although I’m told this is not very lady-like.

Betty: Do you have a favorite sibling? Who?

Kitty: I’m an only child.

Betty: If you could live anywhere, where would you live?

Kitty:  I love living in Dartmouth. Being by the sea has to be the best place to live in the world. The countryside here is beautiful and we have the best seafood and clotted cream.

Betty: How do you like to relax?

Kitty: I like to read, especially whodunnits. I also go to the cinema with my friend, Alice. She is a huge fan of the talkies as my grandmother still calls them.

Betty: What genre of books do you most enjoy reading?

Kitty: Mysteries. I love Mrs. Sayers.

Betty: How do you like to start your day?

Kitty: I wake up early and my best days start when Alice my friend sneaks into my room to share a cup of tea with me. She’s a chambermaid at the Dolphin and has to avoid Mrs. Homer, our housekeeper. We have a good old chat and its such fun. I shall miss that when I marry Matt.

Betty: What kinds of friends do you have?

Kitty: All kinds. Alice and her sister Dolly are my closest friends but there is also Father Lamb who is a priest at Exeter. He’s very kind and generous. Dr. Carter, who I always seem to meet whenever there is a murder. Since I met Matt I always seem to end up embroiled in murders.

Betty: Who would you like to meet? Why?

Kitty: I would like to meet Queen Mary, she always seems so very gracious. Plus, Mrs. Craven has met her and won’t stop bragging about it.

Kitty Underhay is drowning… in murder.

Kitty Underhay hopes for plain sailing as she caters a 21st birthday party for the Chief Constable’s daughter aboard a luxury paddle steamer. So her heart sinks when she learns that the man her fiancé Matthew has been tailing on orders from Whitehall, Gunther Freiburg, is aboard. And she’s even more horrified when she steps below deck to discover Gunther dead in the engine room. One of the Chief Constable’s party must be responsible for his demise, but who, and why?

And the evening is on course for further disaster. As the lights go out around the candlelit cake, a terrible scream rings out over the merry hubbub. A priceless diamond necklace has been snatched from around the birthday girl’s neck… Something fishy is going on, but is this the work of the same sailing assassin, or is it a red herring?

With the local inspector in deep water having to investigate his own boss, Kitty and Matt dive in to help. But when Kitty’s eavesdropping puts her in mortal danger, will everything turn out shipshape, or will it be her turn to go swimming with the fishes…?

Buy Links: AmazonUK * AmazonUS

The lessons we learn from the various people in our lives can yield some interesting developments. Thanks, Kitty, for stopping by for a chat!

Happy reading!

Betty

Award-winning Author of Historical Fiction with Heart, and Haunting, Bewitching Love Stories

Visit www.bettybolte.com for a complete list of my books and appearances.

Subscribe to My Newsletter to learn the inside scoop about releases and more!

Getting to know Tamar Anolic #author #historicalfiction #HistFic #militaryfiction

My guest today has a unique view of historical fiction writing I think you’ll enjoy. Please welcome author Tamar Anolic! Let’s take a look at her background and writing credentials and then find out more about her and her writing process.

Tamar’s short stories, including several stories that appear in The Lonely Spirit, have been published in Foliate Oak, Frontier Tales, Pen In Hand, Evening Street Review and The Magazine of History and Fiction. Tamar has also had stories published in The Copperfield Review, The Sandy River Review, The Helix and Every Day Fiction. Her full-length books include the nonfiction biography The Russian Riddle and the novels The Last Battle, Triumph of a Tsar, Through the Fire, The Fourth Branch, The Imperial Spy, The Fledgling’s Inferno and Tales of the Romanov Empire. In addition, she has presented on historical fiction and writing at the Historical Novel Society of North America and the Historical Writers of America conferences.

Author Social Links: Website * Facebook

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

Tamar: A single line in the Coen brothers’ version of the movie True Grit. There’s a scene where the main character, Maddie, is asking the sheriff of Fort Smith who the best Marshal is. The sheriff mentions a half-Comanche Marshal who is good at tracking and brings his prisoners in a lot. I thought, “that sounds like an interesting character!” L.S. Quinn came out of the desire to write about a character with that background and those skills.

Betty: What, if any, new writing skill did you develop while working on this story?

Tamar: With short stories, you don’t have a lot of space to convey your plot, character and emotion. Writing these stories definitely helped me hone my skills of brevity while still conveying a lot.

Betty: Did you struggle with any part of this story? What and how?

Tamar: I struggled with where to start this short story collection. The first story I wrote about Quinn is actually the third story that appears in this book. Also, when I first wrote that story, I thought of it as a one-off. It wasn’t until I finished it that I wanted to write more about the character, and realized that I wanted to write more about his backstory.

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

Tamar: Colonel Robert Graypool, which was a surprise to me. In this book, he is the head of the Comanche reservation at Fort Sill. I conceived of him as a character not long after I thought of Quinn himself, and from the time that Graypool rescues Quinn on a lonely stretch of road, I knew I wanted to write more about him. There are a couple of stories dedicated to him in this collection, and after the first one, where he loses his wife and child, the rest were easy to write.

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

Tamar: I read quite a few books about the Comanche and got as much information as I could from the tribe’s website. I also belong to the Historical Novel Society, and their North American conference last year had a panel on writing Native characters, which I attended. In addition, there are a number of Native authors and educators, such as Debbie Reese and Sarah Elizabeth Sawyer, who offer materials about writing Native characters which I found particularly helpful. Lastly, I submitted the manuscript for The Lonely Spirit to the company Salt and Sage for a sensitivity read, and the feedback I got from that was insightful.

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

Tamar: Each story in this collection was different. Some took more drafts than others. With the short story called “The Lonely Spirit,” it’s the longest story in the book and probably took the largest number of drafts to write. It was closer to a novella when I first drafted it, so a lot of my work went into getting it down to short story length¾around 7500 words. When it initially did not get picked up by any literary journals, I put it down for a while before going back to it. Then I revised it some more and resubmitted, and it got published in the Magazine of History and Fiction.

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?

Tamar: It took me close to ten years to write all of the stories in this collection. That’s unusual for me. I usually write a story, finish it and move on. I kept coming back to Quinn’s character because I liked him so much. I also really liked all of the characters he meets on his journey.

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

Tamar: I plot out a lot of my work. I have both an overall arc for the character and a plan for the next several scenes I want to write. I note those scenes at the bottom of wherever I leave off for the day. I also do my best writing in the morning. I like to sit down with a mug of hot tea, which helps me focus.

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

Tamar: I definitely like my “long moments in silence.” There came a point where I noticed just how often I use that phrase, and I’ve been working on finding different ways of saying it.

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

Tamar: I don’t know that I have a single role model, but I admire the writers in my beta reading groups and the writers I’ve met in the writers’ associations to which I belong and the conferences I’ve attended. Each person has a different reason for writing, and a different story to tell. I’ve learned so much from interacting with each of these writers and reading their work.

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

Tamar: I usually work out of my apartment. It helps me get into the zone. Before the pandemic, though, I sometimes took my laptop to coffee shops when I needed a change in scenery. I’m looking forward to a time when that can happen again.

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

Tamar: Yes, I’m a lawyer. There’s a lot that’s interesting about it. My research and writing skills come in handy there, too, and I find that helpful.

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

Tamar: Seeing my writing in print. Indie publishing can be an uphill battle in a lot of ways, but it’s a great resource to get my work out there. I feel a sense of accomplishment in seeing a book come to fruition, when it was once just an idea in my head.

Betty: What is your favorite genre to read?

Tamar: Historical, both fiction and nonfiction. I read a lot about the Romanovs, which is the other historical time period I write about.

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?

Tamar: This is a tough question. Writing has always brought me joy¾that’s why I continue to do it. But with indie publishing, it’s so hard to reach an audience. I definitely wish I could connect with readers more and build a broader audience.

The Lonely Spirit is a short story collection of the Old West. L.S. Quinn is a half-Comanche U.S. Marshal who straddles two worlds, searching for peace in both.

Quinn’s adventures pit him against criminals like brothel owner and gunslinger Florence Finnegan, and Jack Mattherson, whose attack on U.S. Senator William Quincy brings out Quinn’s desire for revenge. Quinn isn’t always lucky: when one of his partners turns into his enemy on a lonely stretch of land, Quinn no longer knows whom to trust.

The fight between the Comanche and the United States Army is also never far from Quinn’s mind. When the Army kills his fiancée, Quinn must rebuild his life, even as he finds himself a lasting enemy in Colonel Ranald Mackenzie.

But Quinn’s journeys also bring him into contact with kindness he does not anticipate in such a wild land. Sympathy comes in the form of Colonel Robert Graypool, whose level-headed command of the Comanche reservation at Fort Sill brings out Quinn’s respect when he least expects it. Humanity also resides in Dr. Mary Newcomb, one of the few women physicians of the day. In both of them, Quinn finds some of the community for which he searches.

Buy Links: Amazon

I hope your visit here today will help you with your goal of expanding your reach to readers, Tamar!

Happy reading, everyone!

Betty

Award-winning Author of Historical Fiction with Heart, and Haunting, Bewitching Love Stories

Visit www.bettybolte.com for a complete list of my books and appearances.

Subscribe to My Newsletter to learn the inside scoop about releases and more!

Introducing Antonio Sarvilli, inadvertent hero of Trapped by the Mob by Tami Lund

#author #romcom #suspense #paranormal #mafia #fiction #books #mustread #romance

I have a special treat for you all today. We get to chat with a financial planner (sort of) from Trapped by the Mob by Tami Lund. Please help me welcome Antonio Sarvilli! First a very quick peek at Tami’s bio and then we’ll see what Antonio has to say…

Romcom. Mafia. Suspense. Shifters. Vampires. Demons. Dragons. Witches. And more. Tami Lund writes it all. With wine.

Author Social Links: Facebook * BookBub * Instagram

Betty: How would you describe your parents?

Antonio: *rubs back of head* Wow, you start with a whopper of an interview question, don’t you? Not exactly my favorite subject. There’s a lot of woulda, shoulda, coulda when it comes to my parents… I suppose I’d describe them as never satisfied. Christ, that sounds like a Prince song. But it’s true. They moved to America from Italy, searching for that elusive American Dream, but they never found it and died poorer than before they made that decision. The worst part is, my brother and I, we found the underground version of that American Dream. Running a mafia business is most definitely lucrative. 

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

Antonio: Damn, there’s another powerful question. If I didn’t know better, I’d think you’re in cahoots with that annoying cop, Detective Proctor. Did you know he thinks I’m just a lay about who constantly mooches money off my brother, the mafia king? Guy has no freaking clue I’m the one who’s grown Gino’s empire so big, there’s no possible way he could spend all that money in a single lifetime. Which, I suppose, takes us back to my greatest failure. Yeah, my greatest accomplishment is my greatest failure. That’s what happens when you start regretting your involvement with the mob, I guess.

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

Antonio: This is gonna sound weird, but meeting Phoebe Cavanaugh is definitely the most wonderful thing to have ever happened to me. It’s weird because all I was supposed to do was keep an eye on her, make sure she didn’t cause trouble for my brother. Instead, I… well, I don’t wanna use the l-o-v-e word, but let’s just say… I’m crazy about her. Which sucks because, as wonderful as that is, I can’t let it go anywhere. No way am I pulling her into this messed up world I live in. And since I can’t get out…

Betty: If you could change the past, what would you change?

Antonio: *Snort* That’s an easy one. I never would have let my brother bully me into becoming his financial planner. Man, what I wouldn’t give to be just another working shmuck. Trust me, money really doesn’t buy happiness. Plenty of heartache, though.

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

Antonio: Pushing my brother too far and ending up wearing cement shoes at the bottom of the Detroit River. And no one knows that fear, except, of course, my brother. And you, now. But you know better than to talk to anyone about this interview, right? Crap, interview… you aren’t planning to publish this, are you? That whole cement shoes scenario could become reality. Can you at least change my name or something?

Betty: What’s your favorite game to play?

Antonio: Cat and mouse with my brother, the mafia king. Just kidding. I hate that game.

Betty: Do you have a favorite sibling? Who?

Antonio: I have one sibling, Gino Sarvilli, leader of the Detroit mafia, and he’s definitely not my favorite.

Betty: If you could live anywhere, where would you live?

Antonio: Wherever Gino couldn’t get to me. And I’d take Phoebe with me. And maybe Gino’s ex-wife, Margot, and my niece, Nina, because they are good people who got a raw deal and don’t deserve to be under Gino’s thumb.

Betty: How do you like to relax?

Antonio: Before all this mess with Phoebe and my brother and Margot started, I liked to hop into my boat and cruise around the lake. So relaxing. Now, pretty much anything I do with Phoebe is relaxing. Well, when we aren’t trying to hide out from my brother, I suppose. So yeah, I’m not getting much relaxation time these days.

Betty: What genre of books do you most enjoy reading?

Antonio: Don’t tell anyone I said this, but I love a good romance. They’re kinda sexy, y’know? Plus, it’s great fodder for figuring out what women really want. Act like a romance hero, and you’re in, know what I mean?

Sure, Antonio Sarvilli is the money man behind his brother’s criminal empire, but that doesn’t mean he’s a bad guy. He’s not the one out there killing people. All he does is make greenbacks and enjoy the fruits of his labor.

That attitude changes when his brother assigns him to get to know Phoebe Cavanaugh, a Good Samaritan who witnessed something she wasn’t supposed to.

Now, all Antonio wants is to get out so he can be with Phoebe.

Except that’s not how it works when you’re related to the mob.

Buy Links: Books2Read

Yikes, Antonio! Thanks for stopping by and I hope you find a safe passage out of your current situation. Be sure to thank Tami for giving you a few minutes away from your job to chat with us, too!

Happy reading!

Betty

Award-winning Author of Historical Fiction with Heart, and Haunting, Bewitching Love Stories

Visit www.bettybolte.com for a complete list of my books and appearances.

Subscribe to My Newsletter to learn the inside scoop about releases and more!

Meet Captain James Hook, notorious pirate of the Neverland #fairytale #fiction #PeterPan #CaptainHook #amreading #mustread #novels

Buckle your britches, here comes Captain Hook! He’s here to tell us more about author Andrea Jones’ story about his life and times. First, let’s get to know more about Andrea, and then Captain Hook will take it away…

Andrea Jones, author of the Hook & Jill Saga – Novels of Neverland, for grown-ups.

Author Andrea Jones questions the fairy-tale premise of J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan story: is it truly desirable to remain a child, or is it a greater adventure, after all, to grow up? Jones enthralls us with her award-winning literary series, the Hook & Jill Saga. As a “pirate author,” Jones breaks the rules, and her stories leave readers rethinking convention.

The first three books of the Hook & Jill Saga ─ Hook & Jill, Other Oceans, and Other Islands ─ won numerous literary awards and the hearts of their many readers. Within these novels, Jones deepens and explores Barrie’s famous and infamous characters, and re-imagines the Neverland for grown-up readers who long to return there. Jones is currently composing book four, The Wider World. Five books are charted for this series.

Jones graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she studied Oral Interpretation of Literature, with a Literature minor. In her earlier career in television production, she worked in PBS, CBS, and corporate studios. Jones is known around the world as “Capitana Red-Hand” of Under the Black Flag, a web-based pirate brotherhood.

Author Social Links: Website * Facebook

Betty: How would you describe your parents?

Captain James Hook: My murderous father, and my cheat of a mother? He was handsome and aristocratic. She was vibrant, and corrupt in a very charming manner, and I adored her. Until their fatal day, they were discreet in front of the servants. But I assure you, there was nothing I didn’t hear.

Betty: Who taught you to tie your shoes?

Captain James Hook: A nursemaid, naturally. Since my unfortunate injury, however, Mr. Smee performs these little tasks for me. He is, quite literally, my right-hand man.

Betty: Do you know how to swim? How did you learn, if so?

Captain James Hook: One doesn’t bother with such a trifle until one adopts a life upon the sea, although many a sailor fails to learn, and many a sailor drowns. Of course, once Pan’s damage was done, leaving me maimed and single-handed, I had to relearn everything. I endured terrible pain, for a very long time. Before the insolent boy’s interference, I was a master swordsman. Do you think it was easy to regain my skill? I couldn’t wield a spoon, let alone a cutlass! By the time I was able to scrawl my signature, even my name had changed. To remain afloat upon a sea of turmoil, aye, this is a skill I was forced to refine, or die.

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

Captain James Hook: For too long, I failed to grasp that my existence is dictated by my Storyteller. I strove in vain to win on my own terms, while all along it was she – “the Wendy” – who narrated my failures and my successes. Once I understood her power, I moved to take her under my control. Alas for all the time spent fighting the boy, when I should have pursued the girl. And yet, those years of struggle make the taste of my victory all the sweeter to the tongue.

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

Captain James Hook: I shan’t give the ending away, but I can attest that to possess a woman whose soul encompasses my own is the most exhilarating discovery a man of spirit can experience.

Betty: If you could change the past, what would you change?

Captain James Hook: Not one thing. I have arrived, after years of striving, at a place of perfection. It will not last. In the world of piracy I inhabit, it cannot last. Yet my legend will abide, and I shall die with the satisfaction of having truly lived.

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

Captain James Hook:  I flinch at nothing but the sight of my own blood. For this reason, the threat of the Crocodile looms ever at my back. Since that fateful day that Pan fed my right hand to the monster, the beast sniffs about the island of Neverland, seeking to devour the rest of me. The men of my crew are aware of my dilemma, as is the Wendy, who, attempting to inflict a weakness upon the “villain” of her tale, dictated this hitch’s existence along with my story. I contrived to make the Croc swallow a clock, which instrument ticks warning of its coming. When the beast and its ticking approach, I seize the nearest weapon, and launch my attack.

Betty: How do you like to relax?

Captain James Hook: Piracy is not a vocation that lends itself to relaxation. In my private moments, when they occur, I devise my schemes for revenge and enrichment; I read philosophy and the classics, play the harpsichord with one hand and one hook, and, in more stimulating moments with the fairer sex, share warm sips of rum to set the mood for seduction.

Betty: Who would you like to meet? Why?

Captain James Hook: I have already met her. I await her awakening. Why? Really – I am a man, and she is a female. I’ll not be so crude as to elucidate the nature of my desires. And one other walks this world with whom I should like to share my appreciation for her interest. My author, Andrea Jones. She “pirated” the brilliant Mr. Barrie’s Neverland, yet she remains true to his vision. I find her ideas as to my character and circumstances enthralling. As I judge it, her mind is full of wit, intelligence – and intriguing twists. She expresses me beautifully. If you doubt me, do pick up the Hook & Jill Saga. We’ll both come to life there.

Wendy Darling learns. What appears to be good may prove otherwise, and what seems to be evil…is irresistible.

In this startling new vision of a cultural classic, Wendy intends to live happily-ever-after with Peter Pan. But Time, like this tale, behaves in an unsettling way.

As Wendy mothers the Lost Boys, they thrive on adventure. Struggling to keep them safe from the Island’s many hazards, she finds a more subtle threat encroaching from an unexpected quarter: the children are growing up, and only Peter knows the punishment.

Yet in the inky edges of the Island, the tales Wendy tells the Lost Boys come true. Captain Hook is real, and even the Wonderful Boy can’t defend his Wendy against this menace. Hook is a master manipulator, devising vengeance for his maiming. Insidious and seductive, Hook has his reasons for tempting Wendy to grow up.

Revenge is only the first.

Deepening the characters sketched by J.M. Barrie, Hook & Jill reveals the dark side of innocence within Peter Pan. It awakens a daring Wendy who asks questions and seeks truth; it delves into Hook, the iconic villain. Striding from fairy tale and thrusting into reality, Captain Hook becomes a frightening force indeed.

Buy links: Website * Amazon * BookDepository * B&N

Thank you, sir, for taking time to come by and tell us more about your life.

Happy reading!

Betty

Award-winning Author of Historical Fiction with Heart, and Haunting, Bewitching Love Stories

Visit www.bettybolte.com for a complete list of my books and appearances.

Subscribe to My Newsletter to learn the inside scoop about releases and more!

Getting to know Shelley Justice #author #contemporary #romance #fiction #books

My guest today embodies the spirit of never giving up and believing in yourself. And all wrapped up in a sweet and fun woman! Come on and meet author Shelley Justice and find out exactly what I mean. First, here’s a glance at her bio and then we’ll meet her and her latest book release.

Shelley Justice is a Southern belle who lives with her husband and two children in northern Alabama. Her love for the written word inspired her to start writing when she was thirteen years old, and she’s been living in her imagination and crafting stories ever since. In addition to being a bookworm, she is a self-proclaimed TV addict with a special affinity for dramas. She also loves romantic movies, especially of the black-and-white variety.

Author Social Links:  Facebook * Instagram

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

Shelley: This is a part of my series, and Brick is a popular character among readers of the series. When I began, I never intended for him to have a book all his own, but the more I wrote in the series, the more I liked this character and wanted to explore his story.

Betty: Which character arrived fully or mostly developed?

Shelley: Both of the main characters, Brick and Hope, were fully developed when I started writing. I liked the idea of an opposites attract trope for these two, and it worked well.

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

Shelley: Hope owns a bridal boutique and designs her own wedding gowns. This was inspired by my love for the television show Say Yes to the Dress.

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

Shelley: The antagonist. I won’t say who this person is because there’s a reveal close to the end. But this character was sort of a “throwaway” character, as I call them, one meant to add something to a more important character and then the throwaway character is gone and probably forgotten. It wasn’t until the midpoint of the book that I realized this character needed a more prominent role in the story. It meant having to go back and add some hints in what I’d already written, but I was glad I did.

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

Shelley: I didn’t do a lot of research before I started writing. I usually wait until a particular question comes to mind, and then I disappear down a rabbit hole of internet searches. There are some characters who work as commercial realtors, so I had to do some research into their licensing and qualifications.

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

Shelley: Two read-throughs and edits of the whole thing, start to finish. Multiple edits of particular scenes as I was writing. Something would occur to me, and I’d either go back and work it out in another scene so I could move forward, or I would make a note to edit that scene once I finished. Sometimes I have to edit as I go, otherwise I get stuck on something and can’t concentrate enough to move on.

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?

Shelley: About three months. Maybe a little more. Since I write part-time, it usually takes me three or four months to write a first draft, but that’s if the characters cooperate. I’ve had one or two in the series to take longer because the characters wouldn’t follow the story I had in mind. The longest amount of time it’s taken me to complete a first draft has been over a year.

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

Shelley: I start with a list of characters and descriptions. Sometimes I find photos of random people online to provide me a visual of what the characters look like. Then I just start writing and see where the words take me. Sometimes I’ll have an inkling of how I want the main characters to meet, but the rest comes when it comes.

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

Shelley: That is a BIG one. Smile or look/gaze/stare is another. I have an eye fetish I’ve discovered. LOL!

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

Shelley: My mentor, Maryann Jordan, is one I look up to. She and I have become great friends, and she’s been so patient in answering my endless questions about her writing career and her process. She’s published over 70 books and doesn’t have plans to stop. That’s a goal I’d like to shoot for. I also look up to Dolly Parton. She’s a Southern gal with sass and style and a don’t-care attitude that I wish I had. But I love her work with the Imagination Library and with literacy.

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

Shelley: Because I write part-time, I write everywhere. In the car, in the living room piled up on my recliners, in waiting rooms, you name it. Revising I prefer to do while I’m at home. Reading is something I do everywhere. If I’m bored, then I look for something to read usually.

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

Shelley: I work in marketing for a community college. I never thought this would be a career I enjoyed, but I do. I have time for writing, but I’m able to be creative. I’ve also met some incredible people along the way.

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

Shelley: Actually, publishing that first book. It’s something I’ve wanted to do since I was thirteen, but it never seemed to be the right time. I allowed my doubts about whether my writing was good enough or whether anyone would want to read it keep me from considering publishing an option. I don’t know how many times I almost talked myself out of doing it, but I have so many supportive people in my “tribe” who wouldn’t let me give up. It’s only been two years, but I’ve learned so much since that first book.

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

Shelley: Harper Lee, the author of To Kill a Mockingbird. That book has always been a favorite of mine, and her story has always fascinated me. She’s an author from Alabama, which is my home state as well, and she just always seemed like someone who would shoot straight from the hip, as my grandmother would say. I admire people like that.

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?

Shelley: I have set goals for my writing career, but I don’t believe meeting those goals would mean success for me as much as they would be a source of personal pride. Success for me is a single image I’ve had in my head a long time – to be in a library, to see my book on a shelf and to hear one reader (who doesn’t know me personally) to recommend the book to another reader. Knowing I created something that someone enjoyed enough to recommend it would be a humbling and joyful moment.

Hope Robertson has carefully thought out every aspect of her life. That plan does not include losing her mind, and she had a to-do list to prove it. Someone is disrupting her orderly life in ways so subtle no one believes they are anything more than just flukes. But she has no time for chaos, so she heads to the security firm next door for help.

After a successful military career, Brick Coffey landed at Knight Security and Investigations, and discovered a job he loves. He never imagined he could need or want more in his life — until he sees her. One quick look through the boutique window, and Brick can’t forget the vision dressed in a brilliant white wedding dress. He knows she is out of his league, but when she hires KSI to protect her, he can’t stay away from her.

Hope is French food and fine wine. Brick is barbecue and beer. He’s everything she thinks she doesn’t want. She’s everything he didn’t realize he had been missing. He’ll stop at nothing to protect her because when this case is over, he plans to show her they are more right than wrong.

Buy Links: Amazon

Thanks for swinging by, Shelley! I’m glad you didn’t give up and followed your heart. Your readers thank you, too!

Happy reading, everyone!

Betty

Best-selling Author of Historical Fiction with Heart, and Haunting, Bewitching Love Stories

Visit www.bettybolte.com for a complete list of my books and appearances.

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Getting to know Lynn Downey #author #historical #western #mystery #historian

I’m happy to welcome a fellow lover of history to the interview hot seat today. Cinch into your chair for a ride with author Lynn Downy and her debut novel set on a dude ranch! Let’s take a look at her bio and then find out more about her and her inspiration.

I’m a native California writer, historian, and archivist. I’ve been writing since I was a kid, but didn’t get paid for it until 1985, when I started publishing articles and books about the history of the West. I was the Historian for Levi Strauss & Co. in San Francisco for 25 years and wrote the first biography of the founder, Levi Strauss: The Man Who Gave Blue Jeans to the World. And my grandmother’s experience in a TB sanatorium in the 1920s led to Arequipa Sanatorium: Life in California’s Lung Resort for Women, which won a WILLA award from Women Writing the West. My next book is a history of dude ranching, American Dude Ranch: A Touch of the Cowboy and the Thrill of the West, which will be released in March of 2022. I’m obsessed with the dude ranch, which is also the setting for my first novel, Dudes Rush In, a finalist for the Will Rogers Medallion Award. I’m the Vice President/President-Elect of Women Writing the West, and a member of Western Writers of America. I live in the northern California wine country with 4 cats and a Pinot Noir vineyard in my back yard.

Author Social Links: Website * Blog * Instagram

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

Lynn: I have been writing books and articles about history for over 30 years, and I love to read historical mysteries. In 2012 I was reading one of Donis Casey’s wonderful Alafair Tucker mysteries, and when I finished, I thought to myself, “Gee, I’d love to write a historical novel.” Well, I had to grab pen and paper because as soon as I had that thought, the characters and plot of a story started running through my head as though someone had turned on a movie projector.

Betty: Which character arrived fully or mostly developed?

Lynn: My main character Phoebe McFarland, and the woman who wrote the diary that she discovers, Ellender Shepherd, both came to me almost fully-formed. They are very different, in back story, looks, and time period, and that actually made it easier for me to flesh them out as I worked on the book.

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

Lynn: I’m fascinated by the concept of the dude ranch, which is the perfect setting for a novel, especially a mystery: an isolated location with its own language and customs, filled with people from different places with unique back stories of their own. Stick everyone together in the ranch house, throw in cowboys, horses, and beautiful scenery, and the drama will happen.

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

Lynn: It was hardest for me to get into the head of the male characters. I think this is partly a function of being a woman, and partly being a first-time novelist. Luckily, I had a wonderful editor at my publisher, Pronghorn Press, who helped me get those details onto the page. The men in my book were a little two-dimensional, which I needed to fix.

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

Lynn: Historical research is my profession and my favorite thing to do, so I dived into the history of dude ranches, focusing on the 1950s. I have stayed at a few dude ranches, and I was able to translate those experiences into the book, making sure I stayed true to the decade in which my story is set. My fictional town, Tribulation, is based on one of my favorite places in the world, Wickenburg, Arizona, and I used aspects of its history for both plot and setting.

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

Lynn: I wrote 2 drafts of my manuscript before it was picked up by Pronghorn Press. Annette, the publisher and editor, liked my story but she made many editorial suggestions to strengthen the narrative. I ended up reorganizing some chapters and doing a lot of rewriting, all of which I started as the COVID pandemic took hold in the spring of 2020. I spent the entire first month of the lockdown working about 5 hours a day on my manuscript. It was a great way to distract myself from the horrors, was the hardest work I’ve ever done as a writer, and was also a great joy.

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?

Lynn: Dudes Rush In is my first novel, and I started it when I was still working full time. The germ of the idea came to me in the summer of 2012, I semi-retired in 2014, worked on it exclusively in 2018, and the book came out in the fall of 2020. I call that a long time! I’m working on the second book in the series now and I expect it to come out next year or the beginning of 2023. That’s certainly an improvement.

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

Lynn: I always listen to music, and it has to be music that’s pertinent to whatever I’m writing. When I was working on Dudes Rush In, I listened to a lot of Western swing and theme music written for Western TV shows and movies. And I threw in some 1950s jazz, too.

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

Lynn: I have a passive voice problem. When I edit—whether non-fiction or fiction—I have to go through the manuscript and fix limp, lifeless sentences.

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

Lynn: One of them is writer Donis Casey, whose work not only inspired me to try fiction, she was also personally supportive to me when I made a tentative beginning. Her family history inspired her books, and I also use my own family as a starting point in my novel. She is one of those authors who believes in lifting up others as they travel their own paths.

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

Lynn: I write on my computer in my home office, and I cover the walls with photos, pages from magazines, and other artifacts that pertain to what I’m writing. I surround myself with these visuals so that I’m immersed in whatever world I am trying to create. Sometimes my office looks like those rooms on TV crime shows that stalkers or serial killers have filled with the objects of their obsession. But it works for me! I like editing on paper in a bustling coffee shop, but that was out of the question for a long time in 2020 and 2021. So, I take my printed pages into my living room, sit on the couch and put on some music, hoping one of my cats won’t bat the pen out of my hand.

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

Lynn: I’m a consulting archivist and historian. I work with companies, museums, and libraries to organize their historical materials, and I write everything from social media posts to books for my clients. I did this work full time until 2014, when I decided to move into the world of consulting, which allows me to choose my projects and gives me more time to write. History and historical archives are my profession and where my heart lives.

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

Lynn: Being persistent and true to my stories. I sent the manuscript of my book Arequipa Sanatorium: Life in California’s Lung Resort for Women to a publisher I had worked with before. It was rejected (with extreme prejudice) and I was in such despair I almost gave up on it, but the book was something I had wanted to write for over 30 years. I had to keep going. Then, a historian friend introduced me to an editor at the University of Oklahoma Press, who looked at the manuscript, made some suggestions for improvement, and then saw it through to publication. As I mentioned earlier, the book won a WILLA award from Women Writing the West. I believed in my story and dug in and worked hard to make it happen. It’s a lesson I think about whenever I write something new. And the University of Oklahoma Press is also publishing my next book, so this connection has been personally and professionally fulfilling.

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

Lynn: I would love to chat with historian and author Heather Cox Richardson, who has a unique perspective on how the American West helped to shape national history. And she has a clear-eyed way of looking at modern politics through a historical lens.

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?

Lynn: Success for me is getting better at what I do, and writing the best version of whatever book I’m working on. Because it’s all about the story, which means it’s ultimately all about the reader.

In 1952 San Francisco, restless war widow and aspiring writer Phoebe McFarland decides to change her life and spend six months on her sister-in-law’s dude ranch in Tribulation, Arizona, called the H Double Bar. She has enjoyed many vacations at the ranch, she loves the desert, and is happy for the opportunity to spend time with her late husband’s family. In exchange for room and board, she helps out in the office and hopes to finally finish the novel she is working on. When a group of magazine writers comes to stay, including an attractive single man, Phoebe sees a chance to connect with the professionals. But Tribulation soon lives up to its name. When Phoebe finds an old diary hidden in her desk, she stumbles onto secrets from Tribulation’s past that collide with a shocking revelation of her own, leading her down a trail to both discovery and danger.

Buy Links: Website * Amazon * Bookshop

I enjoy stories with horses and cowboys, so this one is going on my ever-growing TBR list. Thanks for sharing, Lynn!

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 Tony Damascus, character of author Luanne Oleas #author #familysaga #inspirational #contemporary #romance #literary #fiction

Okay, gang, buckle in for my next guest, Tony Damascus, who has taken time away from his book to be grilled—er, interviewed by me. Thanks to author Luanne Oleas for giving him some time off to stop in. Let’s find out a bit about Luanne, and then we’ll dive into the interview.

Luanne Oleas was born in Steinbeck’s Salinas Valley, the setting for her novel, Flying Blind: A Cropduster’s Story. For several years, she worked as a reporter, features writer, and weekly columnist at the Salinas Californian newspaper with reprints in publications such as Reader’s Digest. After moving to the Silicon Valley, she turned her talents to technical writing, finishing her career at HP. She left high tech in 2017 to write novels full-time.

Her first novel, A Primrose In November, is a family saga set in England and France. It’s a story about loving, losing, and learning to love again.

When she isn’t publicizing Flying Blind, Luanne works on her upcoming novel, tentatively titled When Alice Played The Lottery. It’s the story of a 50-year-old widowed receptionist who starts a lottery pool with nine multi-cultural coworkers at a failing Silicon Valley startup. Just as the layoffs start, the coworkers win the big jackpot and go on to star in their own reality TV show. It takes place in the Silicon Valley where Luanne lives with her husband and Blackberry the cat.

Author Social Links: Website * Facebook * Twitter

Betty: How would you describe your childhood?

Tony: Fractured. My name is Tony Damascus and my life began normally enough with Mom and Dad, but it split wide open before I turned two. Mom died, Dad took off, and I entered the foster care system. Care is a loose term. Maybe I wasn’t the easiest kid to have around but locking me in a closet didn’t help. I spent a lot of time drawing airplanes and staring out the window.

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

Tony: I attended public school—occasionally. It was good to get away from my foster family, but it was hard to stay out of trouble. By high school, I visited my classes off and on—enough to graduate. I spent more time at the airport than I did in any after-school activities. I did like getting to know the girls though, but I wasn’t always the guy parents wanted to see coming up the walk.

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

Tony: It’s hard to remember exactly, but I want to say I was four. It was with my foster mother. You might think that doesn’t count, but trust me, if you had kissed her, you’d be counting it. My foster father counted it. I mean, she may have been a slut, but in my situation, I took what affection I could get.

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

Tony: Easy question. Becoming a pilot was my greatest achievement. It wasn’t easy, flying for 15 minutes at a time and trying to build up the hours needed for my private and commercial licenses. Of course, the flying I dig the most is ag flying. Cropdusting. The hard part is eventually, you have to land. But being alone in the cockpit, with the earth below looking well-ordered, is a trip.

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

Tony: Whoa. . . It’s hard to narrow it down to just one embarrassing incident. Getting caught with the boss’s wife is up there. It’s even worse when he fires you. Then, starts shooting at you. I did get caught using the spray plane to waterski on the Salinas River. That was kind of a bummer. Getting caught, I mean. Making rooster tails with the landing gear was great. I accidentally shot a hole through the neighbor’s bathroom window. That was embarrassing. It didn’t do much for our relationship either. The guy never let me borrow his lawnmower again.

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

Tony: Just one? I suppose I should have stopped drinking sooner. Of course, it was fun for a long time, until it wasn’t. Oddly enough, it didn’t really seem to affect my flying, but it effed up more than one relationship. Of course, it inspired most of them, based on what I was drinking—and how much—when I met a woman. It ruined several marriages, but only one that mattered.

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

Tony: Falling in love. Things were humming along just fine until that happened. Before that, I was partying like there was no tomorrow and having a grand time. I could tell you stories about a masseuse I dated but we’ll keep this PG. I suppose the only one who knew my fear, or let me know he knew, was my best friend, Bill. He was one of those stable guys with a library card and morals. It’s a little odd that we became best friends. Flying connected us. It’s probably a good thing we became friends. The dude saved my life. No B.S. He really did.

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

Tony: Oh, everyone pretty much gets all of me. How long they stick around and tolerate it is another story. I don’t hold back. Like when I had to teach that priest how to fly. Huge mistake putting me in as his instructor. Especially when I was describing how flying fast and low was like making love with a beautiful woman. He didn’t know what I was talking about. When he asked me if it was like praying, I didn’t know what he was talking about.

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

Tony: Are we close? Ha-ha-ha, very funny. I would have to say we are about as close as a group of porcupines. How do I wish my relationship was different? Well, with my foster family, I wish I didn’t know ’em. Especially my foster brothers. My wife invited them to the wedding. One shot up heroin and the other stole the maid of honor’s purse. As far as my real parents, I wish they had stuck around longer. Especially my mom.

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

Tony: Well, being good in bed matters. In fact, that used to be my only requirement until I met Angela. Don’t tell anyone, but I didn’t even get her in bed for a few months. It didn’t matter that she couldn’t cook. Finally, someone looked beyond how screwed-up I was and just got me. I never thought of myself as a provider. Hell, I could barely take care of a dog. But with Angela, I found I wanted to protect her.

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

Tony: I like women, guns, and yellow airplanes, not necessarily in that order. Flying relaxes me. It also turns me on. Listening to music definitely helps. My favorite tune is “Sexual Healing” by Marvin Gaye. Anything by the Rolling Stones works for me. Listening to music AND flying at the same time rocks. I did try duck hunting once, but my leg was in a cast at the time, and it got stuck in the mud. I had a motorcycle for a while. That was cool. I had to get rid of it to collect the insurance when I lost my job. I miss that old Hog.

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

Tony: You know, giving that priest flying lessons made me wonder if there was more to life than sex and flying. I’m not talking about getting saved, but when your plane goes down and it looks like you might die, you wonder about whether there’s more to life than you know. I guess I wish I was willing to believe that faith crap. I think it might make me a better person.

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

Tony: I’m awesome at flying. I think I’m good in bed, too. I can fix an engine. Any engine. They used to call me the piano tuner because I fixed them by sound. Even with my lousy hearing. What am I bad at? You name it. Making a relationship work. Staying employed. Staying sober. I’m horrible with money. If I have it, I spend it.

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

Tony: In my pocket right now, I have a lighter with a Great Lakes biplane on it. Don’t tell Angela—I wouldn’t want to hurt her feelings—but that masseuse gave it to me as a birthday present. That gal was fun to hang out with—until she got divorced from her long-haul trucker husband. Then she started rubbing me the wrong way, if you get my meaning. She started hounding me to settle down. What a drag! I also used to have a beer opener that looked like a naked lady, but it fell out of my pocket at the airstrip one day.

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

Tony: Beer. And more beer. Once I had this gal as a maid (she thought she was my girlfriend, but she was really just a housekeeper with benefits. I was the benefit.) Anyway, she used to make this great pineapple upside-down cake. It went well with screwdrivers. I like barbequing steaks, too. Great big ones.

Tony flees Texas at the point of a shotgun and finds himself unemployed. Taking a temporary job as a flight instructor, he demonstrates flying spray runs to his worst student, Father Roberto. Imagine the Great Waldo Pepper teaching Mother Theresa to fly in Steinbeck’s Salinas Valley in 1972.

An ace in the air, but a mess on the ground, Tony needs to tame his inner demons. Can he stay alive long enough to do that? Is flying fast and low really like making love to a beautiful woman?

Buy Links: Amazon * B&N

 Wow, Tony, you’ve had quite a life. I hope things work out for you in the best way possible. Thanks again, Luanne, for letting Tony stop by and talk to 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 Gayle Leeson #author #cozymystery #mystery #ghosts #haunting #fiction #books #mustread #amreading

I have a lovely surprise for you today, everyone! Author Gayle Leeson has given her character Amanda Tucker some time off out of her story, Designs on Murder, to come chat with me for a few minutes. Let’s take a glance at Gayle’s bio and then we’ll get to know Amanda.

Gayle Leeson is a pseudonym for Gayle Trent. Gayle has also written as Amanda Lee and Gayle Trent. As Amanda Lee, she wrote the Embroidery Mystery series, and as Gayle Trent, she writes the Daphne Martin Cake Mystery series and the Myrtle Crumb Mystery series. Going forward, Gayle intends to keep her writing under the Gayle Leeson name. Please check out her Ghostly Fashionista and Down South Café series.

Author Social Links: Newsletter * Facebook * BookBub

Betty: How would you describe your childhood?

Amanda: For the most part, it was great. My mom was—ha! is—a little overbearing and demanding sometimes, but my dad spoiled me rotten. Plus, Grandpa Dave and Grandma Jodie lived nearby, and I loved spending time with them. In fact, I still do enjoy living close to Grandpa Dave and see him nearly every day. Grandma Jodie is no longer with us, and Mom and Dad moved to Florida, so Grandpa and I keep a close eye on each other.

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

Amanda: I went to public school, and it was all right. I loved drawing and sewing and making patterns, so I excelled more away from school than I did inside it. Still, I made good grades, and I recently graduated from college with a degree in business administration.

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

Amanda: I feel that opening my shop this past year was my greatest achievement. Doing something so bold was both exhilarating and frightening; but I took the leap, the business has been successful, and I’m so glad I took the risk.

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

Amanda: Well, this happens on a regular basis—I’m trying to talk with people in my shop and find myself answering Max, the ghost that they can’t see or hear! I’m sure my coworkers often think I’ve lost my mind.

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

Amanda: I’d like to have found Max sooner.

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

Amanda: Failure. I think Grandpa Dave knows, but he has enough confidence in me for the both of us.

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

Amanda: Very little unless I’m really close to them. There are only a handful of people who know about Max, and that’s because they can communicate with her too.

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

Amanda: I am. I wish my mom and I were closer. Now that I’m an adult with my own business/life, I realize that much of her domineering behavior comes from a place of love and fear. That doesn’t always make it easier to live with, but I can make an effort to understand her better.

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

Amanda: I love reading and watching old movies. Max and I have a sort of book club now. She adores reading but hadn’t been able to do so until I introduced her to eBooks.

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

Amanda: I think I’d like to be more fearless—like Max!

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

Amanda: I’m excellent at designing a dress and creating a pattern for it. I’m horrible at saying no. I need to be less of a people-pleaser!

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

Amanda: I’m never without a tape measure and a sewing kit.

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

Amanda: – Tea, bottled water, salads, fruits, and something chocolate to satisfy my sweet tooth.

What if you discovered your lively new friend wasn’t really…alive?

When Amanda decides to lease a space in historic Abingdon, Virginia’s Shops on Main, she’s surprised to learn that she has a resident ghost. But soon Maxine “Max,” a young woman who died in 1930, isn’t the only dead person at the retail complex. Mark, a web designer who rented space at Shops on Main, is shot in his office.

Amanda is afraid that one of her new “friends” is a killer, and Max is encouraging her to solve Mark’s murder a la Nancy Drew. Easy for Max to want to investigate–she can’t end up the killer’s next victim!

Buy Links: Amazon * B&N * IndieBound * IndieboundAudio

I hope you catch the killer without any scary moments yourself, Amanda. Thanks for swinging 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 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

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