Getting to know Anise Eden #author #suspense #romance #paranormal #bookchat #books #fiction

Please help me welcome fellow author Anise Eden! Let’s find out a little bit about her and then move right in to the Q&A.

ANISE EDEN is a psychotherapist-turned-writer of award-winning suspense novels with romantic elements and paranormal twists. Originally from the U.S., Anise now lives in Ireland with her husband and their small, benevolent canine dictator. You can learn more about Anise and her books at Member of RNA, Sisters in Crime, and the Irish Writers Centre.

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Betty: When did you become a writer?

Anise: I started writing in high school, thanks to a wonderful English and creative writing teacher. My mom says I’ve been writing stories and putting together little books since I learned to read, but I admit I have no memory of those early self-published works!

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

Anise: I wrote my first novel in 2012, then worked on it obsessively until my agent sold it to a publisher in 2015. It was published in 2016, so while I had written poetry previously, I worked on my novel-writing skills for four years prior to publication.

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

Anise: I believe my writing style has been influenced by everything I’ve ever read, to be honest. Some authors who gave me the courage to write in a way that felt natural and organic to me were Barbara Kingsolver, Audre Lorde, and Wally Lamb.

Betty: What prompted you to start writing?

Anise: I began work on my first novel several months into my first experience of forced unemployment. A breakdown in my health led me to leave my social work job, and I began writing as a way of trying to understand what had led to that breakdown. Then the story took on a life of its own.

Betty: What type of writing did you start with?

Anise: In high school, I fell in love with poetry. I worked seriously on that craft for about fifteen years, and had some poems published in small journals. I still love reading poetry, but these days I only write two or three poems a year. My focus has shifted to novel writing, and now it feels constricting to me to write anything under 70k words!

Betty: What do you most enjoy writing? Why?

Anise: I love writing stories that, while firmly grounded in the real world, explore parts of the human experience that remain mysteries. I am a huge science geek, but like so many of us, I’ve also had experiences that defy explanation. I enjoy weaving those elements into uplifting love stories with suspenseful plotlines that keep the pages turning.

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

Anise: In terms of novel writing, I learned by doing, then revising endlessly based on feedback from (very generous) friends and family members. My intensive writing education began while working with my agent, and later with editors in preparation for publication. Collaborating with editors is so exciting for me, and one of my favorite parts of the writing process.

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

Anise: I wish I had understood how drastically the publishing landscape has changed since about 2014-15. That was the year I sold my book, so my expectations were somewhat outdated, based as they were on the experiences of writers who had published prior to this new era in the industry.

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

Anise: Before I started writing my debut novel, I read the first two books in the Spiritwalker Trilogy by Kate Elliott. Her soaring, lyrical prose and the sheer ambition and originality of her stories were an inspiration, and I was on the edge of my seat, waiting for the third book to come out (it was worth the wait!). Reading her books and being encouraged by her intrepid heroine gave me courage to try something new.

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

Anise: After health issues forced me to leave behind my career in psychotherapy, I began writing to try to make sense of what happened. At the same time, I was watching the TV show “Medium,” which prompted me to wonder about the evolutionary origins of paranormal gifts; as a creative exercise, I constructed a Bronze Age origin myth. Those two elements combined as I wrote my first chapter. Then, the story of The Healing Edge Series and its characters landed in my head all at once, banging on my consciousness and demanding to be put on the page. That initial first chapter ended up in the scrap heap, but from there, the trilogy was born.

All of Cate’s problems are in her head. That may be her greatest strength.

Cate Duncan is a promising young therapist, dedicated to her work. But after her mother’s suicide, she is seized by a paralyzing depression. To save her job, Cate agrees to enter a treatment program run by the mysterious Ben MacGregor and his mother.

Housed in a repurposed church, the MacGregor Group is a collection of alternative healers whose unconventional approaches include crystals, aura readings, and psychics, but they need Cate’s unique powers. As her emotional struggles bring her ever closer to her own abyss, Ben will do everything in his power to protect Cate from those who wish her harm—including herself.

A powerful novel of suspense and a wildly inventive start to this paranormal romance series, All the Broken Places engages readers with its striking blend of the supernatural and the psychological.


In my dream, there was no thought of suicide. We were simply potting begonias on the back porch, getting our hands dirty and inhaling the dueling scents of spicy flowers and sweet earth.

My mother tried—and failed—to sound light and casual. “So, Catie, have you met anyone interesting lately?”

A man, she meant. Without looking up to meet her probing gaze, I said, “Come on, you already know the answer to that question.”

“Okay, okay. I can’t help it, though. I have to keep asking.” She smiled as though she knew something I didn’t. “Maybe soon.”

In one of my typical clumsy moves, I dropped a large clump of potting soil on the floor.

“You don’t have to get it absolutely everywhere, you know,” she teased.

I slid my hand down her forearm, leaving behind a dark streak. “Like that, you mean?”

“No, like this,” she replied, dabbing a glob of wet dirt onto my nose. At once, the dirt-smearing competition was on.

In the midst of our squeals and contortions, I noticed a black pen mark peeking out from beneath the neck of her t-shirt. “What’s that?”

“What’s what?”

“That mark.” I pointed.

She looked down, puzzled, and stretched her collar out until we could both read the words that had been written across her collarbones: “Do Not Resuscitate.”

My dirt-streaked palms flew up to cover my mouth. Mom gazed at me, her eyes heavy with unshed tears. “You’d better go now.”

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Sounds like a powerful story, indeed! Thanks for coming by today, Anise.

Happy reading!


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!

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Martha Washington and her daughter’s epilepsy #history #medicines #HistoricalFiction #HistFic #amwriting #amreading #books #novel

During this past week’s celebration of the one-year anniversary of the release of Becoming Lady Washington, I read an excerpt from the book dealing with the many treatments they tried and which failed to help Martha’s daughter with epilepsy fits. It brought to mind just how far the world of medicine has come over the last 250+ years.

I am not a medicine historian by any means but I have read a good bit about how people tried to fight off diseases in the 18th century. Here’s the excerpt I read on Wednesday, with the various kinds of treatment mentioned in bold italics:

Mount Vernon – 1768

One afternoon in September, George searched me out, finding me in the hall where I sewed in the brighter light the area afforded to my work. I set aside the stitching to attend to what he was about to convey. I braced myself when I noted his serious expression. “What is it?”

“I need to speak with you.” George placed a chair nearby and sank onto its wood seat. “I’ll be leaving in the morning to attend the assembly, but I shouldn’t be gone but a month or two. Did you wish to accompany me?”

Oh, how I’d adore to travel with him to Williamsburg, as it would give me the opportunity to visit with my mother and kinfolk. But not with Patsy ill so frequently. My heart simply was not interested in the gaiety of the balls and dinners and the whirl of society in the colony’s capitol.

Dr. Rumney was a necessary but not entirely wanted guest. Each time I sent for him, desperate to find a solution to my daughter’s increasing fits, I prayed for strength and peace. Allowing myself to lose my composure would not help any one. Better to keep calm and seek out ways to comfort and encourage my daughter.

I smiled at George, a small rueful grin as I shook my head. “I desire nothing more than to be at your side, but I cannot leave. I do not trust any one else to attend our daughter. She’s not up to traveling, either. The journey and upset might undo any strides Dr. Rumney has made.” George’s eyes held a wealth of compassion and concern, but I wouldn’t stand between him and his obligations. I could handle the household in his absence. More importantly, I trusted he’d come home if I needed him. “Go and do what you have to. Only do not stay away a moment longer than your business requires. I will be anxious for your return.”

George enclosed my hand in his. “I give you my promise to return as soon as possible.”

Two months passed while I did my utmost to remain positive. But Patsy continued to need the doctor’s ministrations. I kept one eye on her and one on the door, waiting for George’s return. He wrote to me weekly, sharing the gossip and that he’d been asked to lead the Virginia Militia. My pride for his stellar reputation and the resulting trust placed in his hands bolstered my flagging energy. I’d do nothing to give him cause to be less proud of me than I was of him. When George trotted his stallion up the lane in November, Billy at his side like an appendage, I met him at the door to guide him to where Dr. Rumney yet again administered nervous drops and musk to Patsy.

I caught a sharp appraising glance from George, but didn’t give him chance to comment on my admittedly haggard appearance. I’d attempted to correct the ravages of months of worry, but apparently had not succeeded. A fact unsurprising when I considered the keen judgment he possessed. Whether appraising the conformation of a horse or determining the trustworthiness of a servant, he missed nothing. Hurrying him to Patsy’s room, I trusted speed would blur the edges enough to avoid further commentary. No matter what else, at least George returned home to help me shoulder the burden of worry.

“How long has the doctor been here?” George asked quietly, his voice rumbling in the passage.

“This time? An hour or so.” I kept my voice low as we turned the corner.

“I know you’re worried, as am I. We will do all we can, Patsy.” George pulled me to a halt outside the closed chamber door and embraced me, a lazy bear hug that stole my breath for a few moments. Blissful moments snug within the protection of his arms. He eased me away from him and pecked a kiss to my lips. “How frequently has Dr. Rumney been summoned?”

“Weekly.” I clung to his hands, needing their strength and stability, and craned my neck back so I could search his expression. “He continues to use purges and bleedings. Ointments and drugs of various kinds. But it’s all guessing. He told me they do not know what causes these terrifying visitations on a person’s body.” A sigh clawed its way from me. “It’s a terrible thing, to watch your child suffer and be unable to alleviate or remove the cause.”

The last fit had been the worst I’d ever seen, and the absolute hardest event to witness. She’d started to shake uncontrollably, biting her tongue until it bled, and then dropped unconscious. I had eased her to the floor with a bump. She’d slept in my arms for nearly ten minutes before she roused. Ten long, agonizing minutes of staring at her closed eyes and willing for her to be well. I’d sent for the doctor posthaste. I shuddered at the memory. We must find an answer.

“Let’s see what he has to say today.” George opened the door and ushered me inside the sunny room.

Patsy sat in a chair by the window, dark eyes in a pale face, lips brushed with pink, brunette curls hidden under a kerchief, a colorful lap blanket warming her legs. Dr. Rumney turned from where he’d been stirring yet another dosage of nervous drops into warmed sherry. Not that it had worked previously. Surely something would cure her ailment. The tension coiled inside of me would take a miracle to release. A miracle for Patsy.

“Welcome home, Colonel.” Dr. Rumney tapped the spoon on the edge of the glass and laid it on the table. “I do believe we may be making a bit of progress in managing your daughter’s symptoms.”

George strode forward and shook the doctor’s hand. “That’s good to hear, doctor. We’re naturally very concerned about the increased frequency of the attacks.”

“It’s not my fault, Father.” Patsy frowned slightly. “I try to stop them but I cannot.”

“We know it’s outside of your control, dear.” George glanced from Patsy to me and then the doctor. “We’ll keep looking for a way, anything with any hope of success will be tried. Understood, Dr. Rumney?”

“Of course.” Dr. Rumney hurried across the room and handed Patsy the glass. “Drink this and let’s hope it will help abate the events, or at least lengthen the time between them so you can play the spinet again.”

I clasped my cold hands in front of me. After the years of increasing frequency and violence in her spasms, of doctor visits, and a slew of treatments, what more could we try? “Perhaps if we took her to take of the waters at Warm Springs?”

Dr. Rumney put various tools and bottles back into his bag and snapped it closed before addressing me. “I’ve never heard of any one recovering from the falling sickness by doing so, but if it comes down to it, we might try that as a last resort. In the meanspace, continue giving our lovely patient sips of the musk twice a day as prescribed. If you have any further concerns, send for me.”

“Thank you, doctor. I’ll walk you out.” George ushered the doctor from the room, casting a last glance back at me with an encouraging smile.

“Mama, please don’t be sad.” Patsy reached out a hand, wiggling her fingers until I wrapped them with my own. “Would you like for me to play your favorite song?”

I lifted her hand to press a kiss to the fingers. The same fingers that had reluctantly pressed the ivory keys for years. “Yes, I would like that very much.”

The treatments included in this passage were not the only ones they tried. In fact in Patricia Brady’s excellent biography Martha Washington: An American Life, she states:

“Epilepsy was untreatable by any medical knowledge of the day. The Washingtons spent much time and money consulting a variety of doctors (at least eight of them over the years), trying changes in lifestyle, mountains of medicines, and treatment with ‘simples,’ that is, herbal remedies. Dr. William Rumney, an Englishman in practice in Alexandria, treated Patsy regularly for five years, coming down to Mount Vernon every few weeks to examine his patient and bring capsules, powders, pills, and decoctions. Throughout her ordeal, antispasmodics such as valerian and musk were the primary medicines prescribed—to no avail. At one point, poisonous but often used mercury and severe purging were ordered, Martha nursing and watching her daughter throughout. Another time, a blacksmith came and put an iron ring on Patsy’s finger, based on an English folk belief that such rings prevented seizures. Later, they spent a month at Warm Springs, hoping the waters might be beneficial.”

During the yellow fever outbreak in Philadelphia later in the century, 1793, they resorted to firing guns in the air and lighting fires in the streets along with wearing amulets around their necks to ward off the evil disease. Lots of folk medicine ideas were based on fear and hope not science.

One last reminder. Just for a few more days, both in honor of Memorial Day and Martha’s 290th birthday on June 2, I’ve discounted the ebook of Becoming Lady Washington: A Novel from its regular $4.99 to $2.99 (I would have made it $2.90 if I could have!). This is a limited time sale so get your copy today!

Thanks for reading! I hope you have a wonderful summer of reading and relaxing ahead.


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!

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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.

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Getting to know Aimee O’Brian #romance #author #suspense #fiction #mustread #books

I have a special guest in the interview hot seat today. Author Aimee O’Brian has let her Los Angeles cop character sit in to answer a few questions. This should be fun! But first, let’s peek at Aimee’s bio and then we’ll meet Lexanne Harris.

Award-winning author of dark, sexy, and funny romance, Aimee O’Brian resides in the beautiful wine country. She’s enjoyed careers in retail, teaching, technical writing and office administration. Now, with her three children grown and experiencing their own adventures, she and her husband are free to explore the world. When she’s not reading, writing, or planting even more flowers in her garden, she can be found stomping through ancient ruins and getting lost in museums.

Author Social Links: Website * Instagram * Facebook

Character interview with Lexanne Harris, Los Angeles cop and the protagonist of Aimee O’Brian’s debut novel, Steal My Heart, from Tule Publishing Group.

Betty: How would you describe your childhood?

Lexanne: My childhood sucked. From the day my mom died and I was stuck with just my alcoholic dad, I wanted out of the neighborhood I grew up in. I studied, graduated and joined the police force as soon as I could. I was over being a victim.

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

Lexanne: I enjoyed the police academy. I enjoyed learning to kick ass.

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

Lexanne: My greatest achievement was making detective and getting assigned to the larceny division. From the time I put on the uniform, from the time I swore to serve and protect, I wanted to make detective. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the beat, and I rocked the gang task force, but I am, oh, so good at catching criminals. I thrive on risk, on challenge. How much better is it to catch a clever criminal, one who thinks he’s impervious to the law?

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

Lexanne: My mom dying. I’d change that, yeah, that one thing. Just that.

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

Lexanne: I’m afraid of heights because of what happened to my mom.  The only person who knows is my best friend Cassidy. I can’t show weakness, not on the job, not to anyone, but Cass has been my best friend since third grade. She knows all my secrets and is still my friend.

Betty: Are you close to your family?

Lexanne: If I could choose my family it would be Cassidy, and, maybe, her kid sister Mia.  Cassidy keeps me honest and her little sis is classy. They’re my personal back-up.

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

Lexanne: The usual, you know, stamina, endurance, a hot bod. I have a plan to act out my fantasy tonight with my latest hook-up. He’s a fellow cop. I acted out his fantasy, so now it’s my turn. Sex with a cat burglar – how cool is that! Man, I can’t wait.  And, hey, I’m a cop, he’s a cop, I’m housesitting a mansion. It’s the perfect opportunity. What could possibly go wrong?

When a fantasy turns into a cold reality

Lexanne Harris had a plan down to the last sexy detail. Never did she think her attempt to spice up her love life with her boyfriend would involve her in a burglary with a sexier-than-sin thief whose emerald eyes and serious between-the-sheets skills are impossible to forget. As a police detective, she is expected to stand on the side of the law and fight for justice. But what happens when the lines of justice blur and what’s wrong becomes way too tempting? The situation might be challenging, but Lexanne is determined to get assigned to the case, recover the jewels and catch the culprit. The question is: What will she do with her sexy cat burglar when she catches him?

Buy Links: TulePublishing * Amazon

I do hope Lexanne catches her cat burglar, don’t you? Thanks for stopping by, Lexanne!

Happy reading, everyone!


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!

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Choosing A Period-Appropriate Book for a Character to Read #research #history #FuryFallsInn #amwriting #amreading #American #histfic #historical #fiction #books

I love to include places I’ve visited as well as classic authors and their books in my fiction. So in writing Desperate Reflections (Fury Falls Inn Book 3; Coming May 2021!), I looked for a “new” book Cassandra could read in the gazebo in 1821. My first thought was of Sir Walter Scott’s book, Waverly, because I was pretty sure he was writing around the turn of the 19th century. And I own a treasured copy of it. So I went in search of my copy to confirm its publication date. Now, my copy is special to me because I bought it while on a university hosted study abroad trip. It was a summer course for essentially the entire month of July 1995 in Great Britain entitled Literary Landscapes and Journeys of the Mind. That was the first and only time I have traveled abroad without family with me. It was an amazing and eye-opening experience, too. If we ever sit down over a cup of coffee together, ask me about it. <wink>

Here’s a short snippet from my upcoming release of Desperate Reflections where Cassie is reading:

She looked down at the book in her hands. Abram had let her borrow his copy of Sir Walter Scott’s novel, Waverly. Apparently, he had easy access to many books in the cosmopolitan world he lived in. He’d recommended it to her as a distraction and a great romantic tale. She opened the cover and noted it had been out for seven years, but it was entirely new to her. The story of an idealistic young man who fought for the Jacobites in 1745 Scotland seemed like a good way to not think about what was happening around her. To not think about what might happen when her aunts arrived. To not think about what other family secrets lurked in the shadows. Turning to the first page of the story, she ignored everything else.

Or tried. The rattle of wheels and thump of hooves tempted her to see who was coming and going. The smell of cake baking in the bread oven wafted past, teasing her nose. Her stomach rumbled, making her wish it was closer to dinner time. Another tweak to her empathic senses made her glance up, seeking the cause. Inwardly she shrugged. She wouldn’t actually see what caused the sensation. She returned her wayward eyes to the page and tried to absorb its contents, the reasons for why Scott had chosen the title name for the main character. She read the passage again but finally gave up with a sigh and let her gaze wander as she closed the book. So much for losing herself in an enchanting tale.

One of the many literary linked places we visited was Abbotsford, the home of Sir Walter Scott. Now he is not my all-time favorite author but I have read, enjoyed, and studied his work, making visiting his house a treat. The castle is absolutely stunning! I fell in love with his library which was immense and beautiful.

We had a brief tour on our way to Rydall Hall. I bought my copy of Waverly from the gift shop at Scott’s impressive home. My task assigned by my professor was to write a journal about my experiences, impressions, thoughts, hopes, whatever. That was the best idea ever because I have an immense notebook of my daily take on what we did and saw and experienced. I’m surprised that I didn’t actually write anything about Abbotsford in my journal despite having taken pictures of what I saw there. But I vividly remember how stunned I was by the library!

If you’re on NetGalley, Desperate Reflections is now available for download and to review. Look for it to release on May 11, 2021!

Can you believe it’s almost April already? This year is flying by for me. I guess I better get back to work.

See you next time. Happy reading!


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 for more on my books and upcoming events.

Cassie Fairhope longs for only one thing: to escape her mother’s tyranny. Her plan? Seduce the young man, who is acting as innkeeper while her father is away on business, into marrying her. But Flint Hamilton has his own plans and they don’t include marriage, even to the pretty temptress. He quickly learns that running a roadside inn in northern Alabama in 1821 means dealing not only with the young woman and her hostile mother but also with horse thieves and rogues. When tragedy strikes, Cassie and Flint are forced to face unforeseen challenges and dangerous decisions together in order to attempt to rid the inn of its newly arrived specter—who doesn’t have any plan to leave…

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Getting to know E.V. Svetova #author #YA #fantasy #mythical #mystery

I think you all will enjoy meeting my next guest! Please help me welcome E.V. Svetova! A quick peek at her background, which is fascinating by itself, and then we’ll get to find out more about her and her writing.

I was born in Moscow when it was the capital of a now extinct empire, and I had a chance to experience both the security and the subjugation of the totalitarian state. In retrospect, it was a winning combination of a happy childhood and a subversive youth. When the country I knew disintegrated like planet Krypton in front of my eyes, the shockwave of that explosion blew me across the world. I’ve landed on the island of Manhattan and have considered myself a New Yorker ever since.

These days, I live at the edge of the last natural forest on the island with my husband, a digital animator, sharing our old apartment with an ever-expanding library and a spoiled English bulldog.

I studied psychology as an undergrad and later received a Master’s in humanities from NYU. My creative nonfiction was published in a few literary magazines; a young adult fantasy Print In The Snow won an IPPY gold medal; the manuscript, Over The Hills Of Green was a finalist in the Faulkner-Wisdom Creative Writing Competition. I am a member of WFWA.

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Betty: When did you become a writer?

E.V.: I’ve been writing stories before I knew how to write. My first books were hand-drawn comics, and, for some reason, the pages turned right to left. I think I still have one of those little books.

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

I’m an eternal student. I’ve been writing since I was a kid, but only became a published author in my late forties.

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

E.V.: I grew up with classical Greek mythology; folklore and fairytales have always been my prime fare. That informed my affinity for speculative fiction in general. As a teen, I’ve been force-fed the Russian and other European classics, and as a result I am a nerd snob. I love science fiction and fantasy, and I adore magical realism. My absolute favorite writers, besides some obvious Russian classics, are Samuel Delany, Ursula Le Guin and Gene Wolfe.

Betty: What prompted you to start writing?

E.V.: Well, those voices inside my head needed to be shut up somehow.

Betty: What type of writing did you start with?

E.V.: Probably some fairytales with me as the protagonist – I was a kid, so it’s forgivable.

Betty: What do you most enjoy writing? Why?

E.V.: I am absolutely fascinated with the way language works, the way it affects the reader, transforms us and transports us. It’s the ultimate magic to me.

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

E.V.: I don’t remember ever not taking a workshop, or a class, or not reading a craft book. I think, I’m like those people addicted to therapy, except my therapy is studying the literary process. Since I’m not a native English speaker, I always had to work a little harder. I was privileged to work with a true master, Jacob Miller, whose literary workshop I attended for years. Besides being an amazing teacher, he is a student of the Nobel laureate Joseph Brodsky, so there is a deep cultural connection as well.

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

E.V.: I wish I was prepared to the degree of rejection one faces when entering the publishing world. It’s truly soul-crushing.

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

E.V.: If I read a book and feel inspired to write afterwards, that means it hasn’t awed me and feel I can do better. After reading my literary idols I feel like not wanting to write at all, that’s how simultaneously sated and discouraged they make me – because how can I ever dream of approaching their level? So, no, I don’t look for inspiration in other people’s work. Nature, visual arts, even film, but not books.

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

E.V.: This novel Over The Hills Of Green came to me when I had a high fever, laid up with a flu. The whole story just played before my eyes like a movie. The characters are from a story, Print In The Snow, that I wrote in my late teens in Russian and later translated into English, and it is a natural continuation of the earlier adventure.

Otherworldly and mundane collide when a young New York psychologist takes on a charismatic patient who may be delusional or may literally come from the Otherworld of her suppressed childhood nightmares.

Driven to solve the intriguing case, Anna Reilly tries to unwind the thread of John Doe’s story, but instead becomes entangled in an uncertain relationship that challenges her sexuality, sanity, and her very sense of reality. When he inexplicably disappears, Anna’s professional and personal life comes undone, leaving her unsure whether she is expanding her mind or losing it, and whether the androgynous John is a mystical guide or a psychopathic con artist. Finding him will either provide her with the keys to the mysteries of the universe or complete her break from reality.

OVER THE HILLS OF GREEN is the second book in The Green Hills series. The first award-winning book, PRINT IN THE SNOW, sets in motion the events that change young Anna’s life forever.


Anna never had any more of the vivid dream-memories Yaret’s closeness had brought. The dreams she could recall were now mundane, easily traced to the sensory impressions of the previous day. In her waking hours, though, she kept seeing things, and not just the usual monsters in the dark. Every so often, an elm leaf, mottled like an inscribed parchment, would blow in from nowhere and lie at her feet in the middle of a busy intersection; a shadow made by a torn wire fence of a construction site would create a geometric, almost runic pattern in the dust; a seagull, too far away from the shore, would leave lines of wet scribble-like tracks on the polished granite cornice of the hotel down the street. In moments like those, it seemed to Anna all she needed was to see with true sight, and she could read the messages the universe was sending her. Of course, Anna rationalized that is was no more than her human brain utilizing its natural acumen at pattern-discernment, yet, sometimes, she would take off her glasses, and the cityscape, reflected in her nearsighted eyes as a painting in broad careless strokes, was rich with meaning so profound it didn’t require interpretation.

Buy links: Books2Read

Thanks so much, E.V., for sharing that story with us. Anna’s mundane dreams sound like most of mine, although I have had a few, um, interesting ones of late.

I hope you all had a Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Thanks for reading!


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 for more on my books and upcoming events.

Getting to know Jacie Floyd #author #contemporary #romance #womens #fiction

Jacie, thank you for being my guest. Please tell my readers about yourself, and the book you are sharing with us today.

Throughout her life, Jacie Floyd resided in the solidly Midwestern states of Indiana, Missouri, Iowa, and Ohio. Going to school, finding her ideal mate, raising two perfect children, and following her husband’s career relocations from state-to-state kept her more than busy. Despite numerous jobs and professional attempts of her own, nothing career-wise ever stuck. In her heart of hearts, she longed to follow her dream of being a full-time writer. So, in 2014, she enthusiastically ditched the unfulfilling day job and freezing mid-western winters to live and write in sunny Florida… Until the possibility of grandmother-hood became a reality, frequent air travel became impractical, and the idea of living so far from her children became unbearable. So a recent relocation to Louisville, Kentucky has absorbed much of the past six months, and winter has been a horrible reminder of why she left the area in the first place. The promise of her first grandbaby in May more than made up for what is, hopefully, her last major move. But she will continue to write her books about love, laughter, and happily-ever-after.

Website * Facebook * GoodReads * BookBub

Betty: When did you become a writer?

Jacie: Hi Betty! Thank you for this opportunity to share a little bit about my books and writing life on your blog! ‘Becoming’ a writer can be defined by many different milestones. In high school, I made my first attempts at writing poetry and short stories. I joined RWA in 1997. Finished my first full-length novel in 1999. I won my first Golden Heart (a major award for pre-published authors) in 2001. Published my first book in 2014. But, honestly, I think I was born a writer. The compulsion to write either consumes you or it doesn’t.

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

Jacie: Oh, so many. I was an avid reader from birth. Of the early romance authors, the one who most impacted me and my writing was LaVyrle Spencer, because she wrote both historical and contemporary. Even then I knew that Contemporary novels would be my lane. She wrote clear, precise, emotional stories about real people in challenging, but identifiable situations. Then came Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Jennifer Cruise, Kristin Hannah, Avery Flynn, and Kristin Higgins, and so many more. The humor and fast pace of these authors’ books wins me over every time.

Betty: What type of writing did you start with?

Jacie: When I began writing with an eye to publication, it was always contemporary romance for me. Initially, they were sweeping stories with soap-opera cliff-hangers and over-the-top drama. My style has changed greatly since then.

Betty: What do you most enjoy writing? Why?

Jacie: The actual fingers-on-keyboard, butt-in-chair act of writing brings me great joy: creating characters, putting words in their mouths and emotions in their hearts. If I could sit at my desk and make up fictional characters, all-day-every-day, I’d be completely happy.

Betty: How did you learn to write?

Jacie: A mentor, classes, conferences, craft books, or something else? Allowing for the fact that ‘learning to write’ is a never-ending journey, extensive reading has always been a major influence. I’ve taken numerous creative writing classes. For many years I was part of a critique group, and now I have an editor with a keen eye for plot loopholes and overwriting. Mentoring others is invaluable at this stage in my career. But the best education is just figuring it out by sitting down and writing.

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

Jacie: Better time management. Writing and publishing are two different jobs, but I wish I had known that I’d need to learn how to do both. At the same time.

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

Jacie: ALWAYS ALLIE is the first book in a new series (The Billionaire Brides), but it’s a spin-off of The Billionaire Brotherhood. While I loved writing about the amazing men of the brotherhood, I kept having the urge to flip the trope and make some man have to deal with a powerful woman for a change. As the sister of the hero in the first Billionaire Brotherhood book (WINNING WYATT), Allie’s story always intrigued me. So THIS is the story of a female executive who’s strong, confident, sexy, and wears stilettos. 

Allison Maitland Spencer is the billionaire president and CEO of Wyatt Enterprises. Following in her legendary mother’s footsteps as a strong, independent woman, she always gets what she wants—in business. Focused on her corporate responsibilities and raising her challenging teenage son, she doesn’t have time or energy for romantic relationships.

But when Buck Cooper, her high school sweetheart, returns, she’s reminded of sweet memories and tempted by the possibility of passion-filled nights. The seductive tech developer seems determined to reclaim her heart.

Their off-the-chart chemistry is a welcome distraction, but his past baggage and current secrets fill Allie with doubts. Is his pursuit based on desire or a plot to take over her company? Buck has easy answers for all of Allie’s questions—except the one about their future.


As Allie maneuvered through the well-dressed crowd, goose bumps pebbled her skin. Her nipples hardened beneath her silk dress and lace camisole. Good Lord! Where had that reaction come from? Totally inappropriate. And unexpected. How long had it been since she’d experienced such a visceral response from an unknown source? Or even a known one?

She tucked a strand of hair behind her ear and turned her head to view the guests populating the surrounding area. Mingling. Laughing, Hugging. Nothing nipple hardening about any of it.

Angling her body slightly, she perused the men thronging the bar. Young men, old men. Men with new money, men with inherited money. Men with no money who hoped to be wealthy someday. Men who would hit on her because she was rich or because she was powerful. Men who’d be intimidated for the same reasons. Athletes, executives, investors, entrepreneurs, and adventurers. Typical for any elite social event.

None of them captured her attention or instigated the awareness prickling down her spine. Until the crowd cleared, and then… Yes, her brain whispered with satisfaction. Yes! her body shouted with excitement.

That one. Tall, hard, chiseled, and broad-shouldered. A body that begged to have the tuxedo ripped off it.

Buy links: Amazon

I’m sure it was a major adjustment moving from the warmer Florida climate to the much colder Kentucky one. ALWAYS ALLIE sounds like a great read. Thank you for sharing it with us today.

Until next time…

Happy reading!


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 for more on my books and upcoming events.

Getting to know Claudia Shelton #author #contemporary #romance #suspense #mystery #thriller

I’ve known my next guest, at least online, for many years now. Please help me welcome Claudia Shelton! First a peek at her bio and then we’ll move to the fun part…

Award winning author Claudia Shelton has already proven herself a contender in romantic suspense books that cross over into the mystery-suspense-thriller genre. Whether sexy protector agents or small-town family settings, her fast-paced stories keep the reader guessing all the way to the end. Now, with the release of the first book in her new Nature’s Crossing series, she’s entering the contemporary mainstream romance genre (a crossover between contemporary romance and women’s fiction). The ongoing small-town saga is nestled in south-central Missouri, somewhere between Lake of the Ozarks, Table Rock Lake, and Mark Twain National Forest.

On a personal note, Claudia considers herself a music lover and water person, plus she enjoys anything to do with nature. In fact, the Nature’ Crossing series allows her to bring all of those things closer. Her main priority, though, is spending time with family, friends and her two sweet, conniving rescue dogs, Gidget and Daisy.

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram * BookBub * Newsletter

Betty: When did you become a writer?

Claudia: I began writing seriously in 2006. Finished my first book in 2008.

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

Claudia: My debut novel was Risk of A Lifetime – released 2014 with Entangled Publishing. However, I had short stories published prior to that.

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

Claudia: I’ve been a reader all my life, so I feel that there isn’t just one author influence. Writing and styles and stories change with the times, so the combination of all that has come before, mixed with the stories waiting in my mind at the moment, will always influence what I write. In my humble opinion, I feel that five years from now, I could write the same premise of a story…yet the book would be different than what came out last year. Times change and so do books.

Betty: What prompted you to start writing?

Claudia: I just did! And, of course once you start, the characters, settings, and storylines begin to bombard your mind.

Betty: What type of writing did you start with?

Claudia: My first published books were Romantic Suspense. But the first book I ever wrote was A Week at Most which is a mixture of contemporary romance/women’s fiction/and just a tiny touch of suspense. The manuscript sat on my shelf for over ten years before I reworked the story and published the book in November 2020.

Betty: What do you most enjoy writing? Why?

Claudia: That’s an interesting question. One I don’t really have an answer for because there’s so much that feels good in the moment.

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

Claudia: Craft books. Critique groups. Workshops.

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

Claudia: There is no absolute right or wrong when it comes to storytelling. Just write the book!

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

Claudia: Catherine Mann, BJ Daniels, Robyn Carr, Sherryl Woods, Cherry Adair and many, many more. I thank them all.

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

Claudia: The outdoors and being close to nature have always been special to me. And I love my memories of small-town life and country living, music in the air, and swings on the front porch. The Nature’s Crossing series is a feel-good setting which called to me.

If you like the Virgin River or Sweet Magnolias series, you’ll want to read A Week At Most, first book in the new Nature’s Crossing series.

Big-city newscaster Ashley Lanovan never envisioned herself divorced, unemployed, and house sitting for friends during the holiday season. After adjusting to small-town culture shock, she realizes that her priorities have been misplaced for the past ten years and feels inspired to energize the struggling community. But a holiday getaway to Washington, D.C., gives her even more reason to call Nature’s Crossing her home.

Mark Garmund is ready for a change in careers. He’s seriously considering the National Park Services job offer in the area of Nature’s Crossing. Now, he’s got his eye on ten acres with towering pines, a park-like setting, and one sprawling house he could call home. Meeting Ashley has triggered emotions he’d rather not face, and a few he would sure like to pursue. But first he has to earn her trust.


Ashley put together a platter of fruit, cheese, and salami, then tossed crackers in a bowl and finished off the tray with two glasses. The klutz in her feared she might trip on the stairs, so she lowered it through the dumb waiter, retrieving the food once she was down the steps.

As Mark opened the patio door for her, he took the tray as she stepped out into the back yard that had become a wonderland. Flowers sprouted from a watering can placed on the picnic table, lanterns cast a warm flickering glow, and soft jazz floated in the air. Two chairs bordered the wood-filled fire pit. He’d been busy.

“I don’t think you were planning on going to the dance.” Ashley marveled at the finesse he showed in lighting the wood.

He shrugged and poured them each a glass of wine. “You’ll never know, will you? You said no.”

“By the way, don’t forget to take your clean fishing vest. I can get it from my suitcase.”

“Thanks. But I’ll pick it up the next time I’m through town.”

She wouldn’t break the mood by telling him she’d be gone by this time next week.

His grin told her his question even before he asked. “Why’s it in your suitcase?”

What was she supposed to say? That she’d hoped he’d come for the vest? She wouldn’t dare tell him she tried it on twice. Already his flirty tone played with her. “After I washed it three times and got the stink bait smell out, I needed to keep it someplace.”

The cold night air overtook her. She shivered slightly. A sweater instead of the blouse would have been a smarter choice.

“Are you cold?” he asked.

“No.” She shuddered again. “Maybe a little.”

“Won’t take long for the fire to get going. You’ll warm up fast then.” He pitched more wood on the blaze.

Her teeth chattered together lightly.

Mark removed his leather jacket. Facing her, he wrapped it around her shoulders. “There, that should help.”

It had been a long time since she felt lost in a man’s coat. A long, long time. She smiled as the fresh aroma of his ocean breeze cologne, mingled with the scent of leather against her skin.

Buy links: Amazon * Kobo * Apple * B&N * Google

I love being out in nature, too! Thanks so much for sharing your inspiration for this story and your writing, Claudia!

Happy reading!


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 for more on my books and upcoming events.

Getting to know Elizabeth Caulfield Felt #author #historical #mystery #fiction #amreading

Today’s guest author brings a lifetime love of words to her writing. Please help me welcome Elizabeth Caulfield Felt to the interview seat! Here’s a look at her credentials and then we’ll dive right in.

Elizabeth Caulfield Felt teaches composition classes and children’s literature at the University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point. Her novels include Charlotte, which won an award from the UWSP Graduate Council; Syncopation: a memoir of Adele Hugo, published by Cornerstone Press; and The Stolen Goldin Violin, a children’s mystery that takes place on the campus of UWSP during the American Suzuki Institute. Elizabeth is a book reviewer for the Historical Novel Society and a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.

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Betty: When did you become a writer?

Elizabeth: As long as I’ve been able to hold a pencil, I’ve written stories.

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

Elizabeth: Oh, my! Having announced I started writing early, the answer to this is many, many years! I was an English and French major in college, so took many literature and writing classes. I belonged to writing groups, joined writer organization and went to conferences, read books, and wrote, wrote, wrote. I was first published in 2005, decades after writing my first story.

Betty: There are as many approaches to writing as there are writers. What does your writing process look like?

Elizabeth: Writing is a struggle for me. I want to be a writer, but I never want to write. I love having written, but the work of writing is such difficult work, with so little reward. I’ve given up many times. However, even during the times I stop writing, I never stop getting ideas for stories. I spend many of my waking hours playing around with characters and plot lines in my head. After a certain point, I need to get these ideas on paper. I guess that’s my process. I think about a story for a long time before I decide to sit down at the computer, picking word after word after word. When my fingers meet keyboard, I know all the important plot points of the story and my characters are already well developed friends.

Betty: What type of writing did you start with?

Elizabeth: I don’t remember; I started writing so young. My first published work was a creative thesis, Charlotte, which is historical fiction. Next was a children’s mystery, The Stolen Goldin Violin, then another work of historical fiction, Syncopation. I’ve written a young adult fantasy trilogy that I’m querying, and my work in progress is a contemporary realistic novel about a writer in Scotland. I don’t have a favorite genre; when I have an idea I cannot ignore, I go to work.

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

Elizabeth: Hmm. This is a hard one. My mother wrote seven wonderful novels and wasn’t able to get them published. So, I knew getting published was difficult. What has surprised me is how many people think writing is easy, that getting published is easy, that if you self-publish you can get rich, that they have a book idea I’d want to hear about…. These types of conversations drive me crazy! By nature, I’m a quiet, polite person, so I usually nod and move on, but geesh! Writing is hard! Getting published is like winning the lottery! I have more book ideas than I’ll ever have time to write about!

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

Elizabeth: The idea for this novel came when a lot of pieces of my life all fell together. In high school, I took French and memorized the poem “Demain des l’Aube” by Victor Hugo. I lived and studied in France for a year and at some point watched the Francois Truffaut film Adele H. At university I wrote a research paper about Victor Hugo and decided I didn’t like him anymore. (He didn’t think much of women.)  Many years later, when I was nearly finished with my first novel, a group of friends were reciting poems they knew by heart. “Demain des L’Aube” flowed forth my memory, as if I’d read it the day before. It is a beautiful poem, and I was sad that it had been written by a man I no longer respected. Then I remembered Truffaut’s film about Victor’s daughter Adele. What if she had written that poem? My research about the Hugo family began, I located a copy of Adele’s journal, and three years later, Syncopation: A Memoire of Adele Hugo was completed. 

Adele, the scandalous daughter of Victor Hugo, describes life with the famous French author, playwright, poet and politician, a man who brought liberty and equality to “everyman” but felt no desire to do so for “every woman.” Adele, an accomplished poet, pianist, and composer, craves a freedom that the nineteenth century and her father will not allow. Her memoir blurs the fine line between truth and madness, in a narrative that is off-kilter, skewed, syncopated.


To life there is a rhythm one knows from the womb. It begins as the beat of a mother’s heart–slow and steady and safe. An infant finds the pulse in its own heart and continues the rhythm in its needy sucking. The toddler pitter-pats to the rhythm, and the sound of the servants starting the day carry it through. The pulse is in the wind and the laps of the waves from the Seine; birds sing it and squirrels chitter it; the very soil under our feet moans and groans to its pounding.

Firecrackers exploded when Adèle was born. July 28, 1830 was the in middle of the three-day revolution protesting the tyrannies of King Charles X. With such a birthday, Adèle was born for glory and fame.

The Hugo house was on the newly constructed rue Jean-Goujon, the wide fields of the Champs-Elysée as their backyard. The family had everything one could desire: parkland to explore, books to read, a small black piano, and each other.

And then one day, as a unit, this perfect family gasped. Those who survived missed a half-beat from the breath of life. If it had been a whole note, they could have perhaps fallen back into the rhythm, but it was a half-beat. They syncopated. They moved out of step, off-kilter. Forever more, they would run and jump and dream and scream, but they would be unable to slip into that easy rhythm, that regular beat that keeps time for the world.

Buy links: Smashwords * B&N * Kobo * amazonUS *amazonUK

It’s always interesting to have a peek at the coming together of moments and experiences to form a new story. Thanks for sharing that with us, Elizabeth!

Happy reading!


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 for more on my books and upcoming events.

Food fight in the Fury Falls Inn! #Alabama #research #American #history #FuryFallsInn #food #recipes #cooking #histfic #historical #fiction #books

I have two excellent cooks who are going to have a cookery competition in my next release, Desperate Reflections (Fury Falls Inn Book 3). So that means I got to choose some 19th century recipes to try out, which of course means adapting and tweaking them to something my husband and I might enjoy. Let’s start with the older cook’s menu, shall we?

Sheridan Drake plans to serve Pan Roasted Duck Breasts with Huckleberries, Polenta with cheese, Watercress salad with Molasses Vinaigrette, and creamed corn. So I decided to make most of his menu for dinner recently. All except the creamed corn which I know my husband and I do not enjoy. The results were mixed. The duck and the salad were excellent! The polenta? Fail! The recipe I used overstated the water requirement so I ended up with soup instead of polenta. Even after cooking it for 2 hours we couldn’t begin to eat it. I may try again, maybe.

Picture of plated meal: Pan Roasted Duck Breasts with Blueberry Sauce, Watercress Salad with Molasses Vinaigrette, and leftover tortellini with Alfredo sauce as a replacement for my failed attempt at polenta…

But I do want to share the duck and the salad recipes so you can try them, too. Today, duck breast is expensive to buy at the grocery. I was surprised to find that my local Publix actually carried them frozen. Back when this recipe was created, though, you simply went hunting for ducks so they were not costly at all back then. The original recipe calls for huckleberries, but since I couldn’t find those easily I substituted blueberries which are apparently similar.

I chose the watercress salad and vinaigrette from the menu of a tavern-style dinner my husband and I went to in 2019 which was a reenactment of the dinner Huntsville, Alabama, threw for President Monroe when he surprised the city with a visit in June of 1819, months before statehood. Watercress is something that Alabama is known for, so I knew it would be included in my book as well. The salad at the dinner included goat cheese and blackberries, with an elderberry and molasses vinaigrette. I was delighted to find a bag of watercress at my Publix, too. All washed and ready to use. I had bought some grated parmesan and romano cheese to use in the failed polenta, so I used that instead of goat cheese (again, it’s not our favorite), and some of the blueberries from the sauce for the duck. The nI just used some of our favorite salad toppings to finish the individual salads.

I located a recipe for molasses vinaigrette at and then followed it except I used Dijon mustard instead of coarsely ground mustard. The resulting dressing is delicious, too!

Here are the successful recipes based on what I actually did instead of the original ones. If you try them, let me know what you think. I’d love to hear from you!

Pan Roasted Duck Breasts with Blueberry Sauce


  • 2 duck breasts, bone out, with skin
  • Dried thyme
  • Garlic powder
  • Black pepper, ground
  • 2 T butter
  • 1 T Olive oil
  • 2 shallots diced
  • ½ cup port wine
  • ½ cup beef stock, unsalted
  • ½ cup fresh blueberries

Score the skin on the duck breasts. Sprinkle both sides with garlic powder, thyme, and black pepper. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour.

Preheat the broiler with rack in the top third of the oven. Using nonstick saute pan, melt 1 T butter and olive oil until froth subsides. Brown the duck breasts skin side down; do not turn. Reserve the saute pan and its oils. Place breasts in oven safe pan and broil 7-10 minutes, until flesh is opaque. Remove and reserve breasts in warm place.

Using the saute pan, add the shallots, port wine, and stock to deglaze the pan on high heat, until the sauce reduces and thickens. Add the blueberries and simmer on low for 15 minutes. Serve the sauce over the duck breasts.

Watercress Salad

  • Fresh watercress leaves
  • Sliced radishes
  • Pecan pieces
  • Fresh blueberries
  • Shredded cheese

Place about 1 cup of leaves in each individual bowl. Top with a few sliced radishes, pecans, blueberries, and add a sprinkle of cheese.

Molasses Vinaigrette

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup cider vinegar
  • 2 T molasses
  • 1 T Dijon Mustard
  • 1 t minced garlic
  • ½ t black pepper

In a small bowl whisk together all ingredients until well blended.

Enjoy! Look for Desperate Reflections to release later this spring, too. That gives you plenty of time to read the first two books in the Fury Falls Inn series, The Haunting of Fury Falls Inn and Under Lock and Key, in the meantime… And as always, happy reading!


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 for more on my books and upcoming events.

Giles Fairhope reluctantly journeys to the Fury Falls Inn for one reason: his beloved sister Cassie needs him after their mother was murdered. His father and three brothers are far away, so she’s alone, without any family, in the wilderness of 1821 northern Alabama. He plans to find his mother’s killers, ensure Cassie’s safety, and then go home. Cassie begs him to stay until their father returns, but Giles has absolutely no desire to see him. When Cassie tells him their mother’s ghost haunts the inn, he suddenly faces his dead mother amidst shocking memories from his past and unexpected changes in himself.

His mother’s ghost insists he find not only the killers but a stolen set of keys. Keys which unlock more than an attic door but also surprising and dangerous family secrets. The revelations change everything he thought he knew about his family and threaten his sister’s safety and perhaps even her life…

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Getting to know Renny DeGroot #author #historical #fiction #novel #nonfiction

My guest today is joining us from Canada with a riveting tale to share with you all. Please help me welcome Renny deGroot to the interview hot seat! Here’s a glance at her bio and then we’ll find out more about her story.

Renny deGroot is a first generation Canadian of Dutch parents. She was born in Nova Scotia, Canada.

Her debut novel, Family Business, was shortlisted for the Kobo Emerging Writer Prize. Her second novel, After Paris, has been well received by fans of Historical Fiction and her latest novel Torn Asunder has garnered several readers’ awards including an IndieB.R.A.G Medallion, a Five Star Award from the Coffee Pot Book Club (U.K.), A Book of the Month Premier Award and joint runner up for Book of the Year 2020 from Chill With A Book (U.K.), a Readers Favorite Honorable Mention (Hist Fic) in the 2020 International Book Contest and a Readers’ Pick badge from the Miramichi Reader (Canada).

In 2019 Renny was commissioned to produce a coffee-table non-fiction book about the military history of her former regiment, called 32 Signal Regiment, Royal Canadian Corps of Signals: A History.

Renny spent ten years in the Canadian Forces, retiring as a Warrant Officer.

Renny has a BA in English Literature from Trent University. She lives in rural Ontario with her Great Pyrenees and Golden Retriever, and vacations at her cottage in Nova Scotia.

Website * Facebook * Twitter

Betty: When did you become a writer?

Renny: I was fortunate enough to get the ‘golden handshake’ from my full-time job in 2010 which gave me the freedom to dedicate myself to my writing. Prior to that I dabbled, but I really view my birth as an author from the moment I began full time.

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

Renny: I am a real fan of the classics and continue to go back to them when I am in need of a ‘comfort read’. I am especially inspired by Charles Dickens with his ability to tell important stories and do it in such a way that engages and entertains. Who doesn’t cry at the end of A Tale of Two Cities? He takes the notion of societal transformation and applies it at a personal level with the idea that people can change, and all people have good in them at some level. I work to apply the same method to my writing. I had a manuscript review done of Torn Asunder by the amazing Barbara Kyle during which she told me I had ‘window pane writing’. This comment delighted me because for me, telling a good story is always the first priority. It’s only by truly engaging the reader, that one can have any success in getting one’s message across.

Betty: What type of writing did you start with?

Renny: I started with angst-filled poetry as a teenager (I had a few poems published in school year books that I now flip past quite quickly when looking at the old photos!). I went on to short stories when I took some creative writing classes at Ryerson, and I still occasionally will work on that format (I came in 1st in my group in round one of the NYC Short Story Contest 2 years ago), but my real love is now the novel. I love the scope and leeway I have in evolving the characters and story.

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

Renny: I lived in Ireland for a while and fell in love with the history and drama with which the country is steeped. I thought it was a perfect setting to look at the idea of how we influence others.

Thank you so much for having me here today Betty! I’ve enjoyed thinking about these questions and the journey I’ve taken to get where I am today. The support of bloggers is so vital to indie authors, and I appreciate this opportunity.

Opening in Ireland 1916, Emmet Ryan becomes an inspiring journalist during one of the country’s most turbulent times, but he has no idea that his words have the power to destroy those he loves the most. An Irish multi-generational family drama of divided loyalties.


Emmet joined his father and two brothers cycling home. They burst in on their mother with a clatter of noise.

She wiped her hands on her apron and smiled at Emmet. “You found them all, then?”

Emmet’s father put a hand on her shoulder. “Kathleen, make up some packages of sandwiches for each of us. We’ll be leaving again in a few minutes and I don’t know when we’ll be back.”

She put her hand to her mouth. “It’s not true. You’re not really going to fight?”

“We are. Is there any food ready right now that we could have a quick hot meal?”

She stood with her hand still pressed to her mouth and then glanced over to her youngest son. “Not Emmet as well?”

Emmet felt his chest swell when he heard his father. “Emmet’s old enough to make his own decision.”

She came near him and reached out her hand as though to hold him fast, but Emmet nodded. “Me too, Mam.”

She wiped her eyes with a corner of her apron and then went to the cooker. Her voice was thick with tears and defeat. “The spuds aren’t ready, but you’ll each have a cut of ham on bread with onions and gravy before you go anywhere.”

For a mixed media reading by one of Canada’s leading Irish tenors, click here:

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My all-time favorite Dickens novel is Our Mutual Friend, which was his last completed novel. It’s dark and ironic and clever all wrapped into a fascinating tale. I just received a new copy of A Tale of Two Cities to read for Christmas. It’s been a long time since I read it and I want to see if I like it and understand it better as an adult. Thanks for stopping in, Remmy!

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! And as always, thanks for reading!


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