Getting to know Sara LaFontain #author #contemporary #fiction #romance #books

Did you know that many authors start out in a different profession? I’ve met so many who were professors, medical personnel, and, like today’s guest, lawyers. But let’s let Sara LaFontain tell us about her background and what inspired her to become an author.

Sara LaFontain writes Women’s Fiction love stories, featuring unreliable narrators, flawed characters, and people finally finding happiness.

Prior to becoming a writer, Sara held a variety of jobs including wildlife tour guide, purveyor of fine chocolates, cafeteria worker, English teacher, domestic violence victim advocate, and family law attorney. She holds a BA in International Studies from Bowling Green State University, and both an MA in Latin American Studies and a JD from the University of Arizona. All of this means that she is overeducated and has spent far too much money on textbooks.

Sara lives in Tucson, Arizona with her husband and two children. When she isn’t writing, she’s rock-climbing, knitting, gardening, and bragging about desert winters.

Website * Facebook

Betty: When did you become a writer?

Sara: I like to think I’ve always been a writer. When I was a child, I wrote terrible poetry and cliché stories involving elves and dragons. As an adult, I found myself limited to non-fiction, such as grad school papers and legal briefs. There was still a fiction writer inside of me though, one that started but never completed several books.

That changed in 2016, when I decided to take a break from my legal career and actually finish a novel. It took me nearly two years, but I published That Last Summer in August 2018, finally making the transition from writer-in-my-mind to writer-in-reality.

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

Sara: Writing skills are a lifelong development. I’ve always written, just not necessarily anything worth showing to others outside of academia or the courtroom. Most of my creative writing endeavors remain out of sight out of mind.

Betty: What prompted you to start writing?

Sara: A few years ago, I was getting burnt out trying to balance my career with parenting two young children. I reached the point that I knew I needed to take a step back from something, so I wanted to close my law practice. But I was hesitant to stop working entirely, because I didn’t know how to fill my time while the kids were in pre-school and kindergarten. I just remember my husband looking at me like I was an idiot and saying “You’ve always wanted to be a writer.

Why don’t you just…write?” That was my lightbulb moment. I finally had the time and support to pursue my dream. I promised myself I’d give it until my youngest was in first grade, and then I’d re-think things. She’s in first grade now, and I’m working on my next series, and absolutely loving my new career. I’d say it was the right choice (write choice? Haha, check out my books for more of my amazing wit).

Betty: What type of writing did you start with?

Sara: I actually started a non-fiction book, back when I was practicing law. I worked as a legal coach, guiding family law clients in self-representation. I wanted to write a book about how to find a lawyer to represent you. But honestly, it was boring, and I lost interest. And if even the writer doesn’t want to read it, that doesn’t bode well for readers.

Then I decided to write the kind of book I like. I want to read fun stories where people overcome bad situations and find happiness. I want smart protagonists, a little bit of drama, and ultimately, a happy ending. So that’s what I do now.

Betty: What do you most enjoy writing? Why?

Sara: My favorite parts of writing are dialogue. I like writing witty conversations, the kind of things that people wish they could say in real life, but don’t come up with until too late. I’m also a big fan of writing group scenes, interactions between multiple people, with different personalities playing off of each other.

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

Sara: I learned through reading. I’ve always been a bookworm. Reading good books taught me what to do, and reading terrible books taught me what not to do.

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

Sara: I wish I had known more about the amazing writing communities out there. I started my first novel during NaNoWriMo, and read through the forums, but never participated or interacted with other authors. It wasn’t until after I published my first book that I discovered the Women’s Fiction Writer’s Association, a group that I have learned so much from and am so thankful for. Anyone reading this and thinking about embarking on a writing career, please go out and find your people. There is so much support available, if you look for it.

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

Sara: My books are standalone novels in a series. This particular book takes a character, Matteo, who appears as a background character in the first book. He’s a good guy, a bit lonely, and he battles an anxiety disorder that effects his ability to connect with others. I like him, he’s complex and interesting, and I didn’t want him to stay lonely forever. So I wrote No Longer Yours, and found him someone special, someone equally wounded, and let them bring out the best in each other.

Cherry Waites led an idyllic life, until she found out about her husband’s year-long affair. Broken-hearted, she flees to remote Whispering Pines Island, where her only friend is a Corgi. Well, there’s the Corgi’s owner too, but he’s awfully cute. No, not cute! Rude. He’s awfully rude. And annoying. And somehow, always there when she needs him.

Cherry Waites has just arrived on Whispering Pines Island, where she’s starting her life over again. Unfortunately, the first person she meets is Matteo, and they do not get off on the right foot.

Excerpt:

She took a step backward for a better view, but something yelped under her foot, and she almost lost her balance.

“Christ, lady, watch where you’re going!”

“I’m so sorry!” She had nearly stepped on a small corgi. Its owner knelt down, to smooth its fur and glare at her. He looked out of place here, with his shaggy sun-kissed blond hair and his Hawaiian shirt and cargo shorts. Vacationer from California maybe?

“Be more careful,” he snapped. “Lucky for you Tristan moved out of your way.”

“It’s okay, he’s probably just having a bad day. It has nothing to do with you,” she told herself, then realized she had spoken out loud.

“Excuse me?”

“Sorry, I’m not mentally ill. I promise. I’ve just driven two days to get here and had nobody to talk to so I guess I’ve developed the habit of talking to myself. Don’t worry, I’m not some crazy person wandering the streets.” She laughed to show that she was joking, and expected him to smile back. After all, small towns were friendly, and she hadn’t actually hurt his dog. She reached out to pet the corgi, but the man scooped him up in his arms before she could.

“Well I’m glad to know you aren’t mentally ill. Wouldn’t want anyone like that walking around, would we?” He stormed off, and she watched him go, chagrined. She hoped her first encounter wasn’t a portent of what was to come.

Buy links: Amazon * B&N

Thanks for sharing your insights into your writing process, Sara, and the sneak peek at your story. Your main characters will have their work cut out for them to find a path forward to being a couple, which should make for interesting reading, too.

Happy reading, everyone!

Betty

P.S. If you haven’t already, please consider signing up for my newsletter, which I send out most every month, including news like new covers, new releases, and upcoming appearances where I love to meet my readers, along with recipes and writing progress. Thanks and happy reading!

Visit http://www.bettybolte.com for more on my books and upcoming events.

Martha Washington’s Cookbook #Receipts #Recipes #HistoricalFiction #HistFic #amwriting #amreading #books #novel

One of the most treasured gifts Martha Washington received after her first marriage (to Daniel Custis) was her mother-in-law’s cookbook. (You can see pictures of the original book at that link.) Now, Martha never knew her mother-in-law, Frances Custis, because the poor woman had died years before. However, this book contained a collection of recipes for everything a wife and house mistress would need to make. From simple medicines (aka simples) to breakfast cakes and side dishes and meats to desserts (aka sweet meats).

I think of this compilation as one woman’s private collection of tried and trusted recipes. I know that when I married my husband, whenever I talked with his mother about cooking or indeed shared a delicious meal, we inevitably exchanged recipes. Or tips and tricks for cooking and baking and preparing a tasty meal. In particular the ones my husband liked the most. For my own mother’s part, she’d been teaching me how to cook from the time I was old enough to handle a mixing bowl. I’m glad I paid attention while she was alive as she died a couple years after I married my hubby. Having all those years to observe and ask questions makes a huge difference in being able to interpret and adjust recipes. It’s how we learn and grow when we’re starting out. Or at least, that’s how I did!

I recently found myself thinking how some of my most cherished memories are related to experiences with food and beverages. My dad was a certified bartender (I still have his certificate!) and created his own recipe for a “Solomon Manhattan” which I have in my recipe box in his handwriting. Additionally I cherish the handwritten recipes passed down to me by my grandmother, great aunt, mother and my mother-in-law. I’ve prepared them many times and some I’ve revised to suit our evolving tastes. When my son and daughter went on the French-American Back-to-Back exchange program in middle school, we prepared a booklet of our family’s favorite recipes to send to their host families in France. So some of our go-to recipes have been shared in France as well.

Cover of Martha Washington's Book of Cookery with portrait of George Washington eating a cherry.

When I saw that it had been transcribed and annotated I quickly ordered my own copy. Martha Washington’s Booke of Cookery and Booke of Sweetmeats is on its way to my home where I intend to try many of the recipes. I’m always on the lookout for simple, straightforward recipes with healthy ingredients. Not that I expect every recipe in the book will be healthy, but I will tinker with the ingredients and processes to make them so. I’ve tried out many 18th-century recipes in years past and have blogged about them, so I imagine I’ll continue that tradition once the new cookbook arrives. I’m also looking forward to learning more about what the cooking methods were then and how they’ve evolved into today’s technology and techniques since the editor kindly annotated the cookbook.

You may be wondering why this topic is so important to me. Is it because I enjoy cooking? Sort of. Is it because I love research? Yes. But more importantly, when I wrote both my A More Perfect Union historical romances and Becoming Lady Washington, both set in the 18th century, I endeavored to depict the cooking methods as they existed then. To do that, I had to delve into the way foods were cooked using which devices and methods.

I also made sure to include only foods I could verify were available in that time period and location(s). Availability was impacted by growing season, climate, and inflation during the American Revolution. Some foods I had assumed would be eaten didn’t even exist in America until centuries later (such as zucchini), so it was a good thing I did my research!

Outside of telling a meaningful and entertaining story, I strive to make my stories authentic and accurate to the historical reality. I may not be perfect with that regard; in fact I imagine I probably missed correcting some words that weren’t actually used during the time period of my stories. But I have done my utmost to tell a good, authentic, accurate story.

Becoming Lady Washington is available in hardback, paperback, and digital formats for preorder now. It will publish on June 2 in honor of Martha’s 289th birthday.

Happy reading!

Betty

P.S. If you haven’t already, please consider signing up for my newsletter, which I send out most every month, including news like new covers, new releases, and upcoming appearances where I love to meet my readers, along with recipes and writing progress. Thanks and happy reading!

Visit www.bettybolte.com for more on my books and upcoming events.

Available for preorders now! Releases June 2, 2020…

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

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

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

Amazon     Barnes & Noble     Kobo     Apple     Books2Read

Getting to know Elsa Winckler #author #fiction #contemporary #romance

Learning from those who do what you would like to be able to do is a great way to absorb the nuances and expectations of others in that line of work or athletic endeavor. My guest author today has done just that! Meet Elsa Winckler! First a look at her bio and then we’ll find out who inspired her and what attracts her to writing romance.

Elsa has been reading love stories for as long as she can remember and when she ‘met’ the classic authors like Jane Austen, Elizabeth Gaskell, Henry James, The Brontë sisters, etc., during her Honours studies, she was hooked for life.

She married her college boyfriend and soul mate and after 45 years, 3 interesting and wonderful children and 4 beautiful grandchildren they are fortunate to live in the picturesque little seaside village of Betty’s Bay, South Africa

She likes the heroines in her stories to be beautiful, feisty, independent and headstrong.  And the heroes must be strong but possess a generous amount of sensitivity. They are, of course, also gorgeous!  Her stories typically incorporate the family background of the characters to better understand where they come from and who they are when we meet them in the story.

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram

Betty: When did you become a writer?

Elsa: In 2008 when I entered an Afrikaans writing competition. I was fortunate enough to win it and the prize was the publication of the story. I was hooked.

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

Elsa: I actually jumped right in without any thought to writing skills! I’ve been reading love stories since my teens, so it somehow came naturally to me, but since then, I’ve learnt so much and I’m still learning every day.

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

Elsa: I’ve probably read every single Mills & Boon during the 1980s and 1990s, so I knew what I liked as a reader and that’s what I try to do – write the kind of stories I would like to read.

Betty: What prompted you to start writing?

Elsa: The writing competition.

Betty: What type of writing did you start with?

Elsa: Romance. I also write Inspirational romance and have one children’s book published (in Afrikaans).

Betty: What do you most enjoy writing? Why?

Elsa: Romance. I love happy endings. I’ve been married to the same stubborn, at times infuriating but always loving husband for 45 years, so it makes it easy to believe that true love really exists J.

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

Elsa: I learnt about writing by reading literally thousands of books in every genre but mostly romance. Reading, I think, is still the best way to learn what works and what doesn’t. I’ve been to conferences and learn daily from fellow romance authors. The one book I can recommend, is Stephen King’s On writing. Everything you need to know about writing, is in there.

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

Elsa: How to handle a rejection! I’m still not very good with that J.

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

Elsa: Every single Mills & Boon author! I also love Nora Roberts, Jane Ann Krentz and Sandra Brown, Sarah Balance, Lilliana Hart, Jane Porter, Lauren Blakely to mention a few.

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

Elsa: It’s the last book in a series about the Cavallo brothers, billionaire tycoons with a string of boutique hotels in South Africa and the Seychelles. We’ve been to the Seychelles many years ago and I left a little bit of my heart behind. To have one of the Cavallo hotels in the Seychelles, was an obvious choice. The brothers work hard, play hard but have a difficult time trusting woman.

Darryn Cavallo is a seasoned photographer and quite used to being surrounded by gorgeous, half-naked women without breaking a sweat but he isn’t ready for the powerful feelings fashion model Hannah Sutherland elicits the minute he sets eyes on her. He’d once made the rookie mistake of falling for a model and it had ended badly, so when another photographer implies he’s also been with Hannah, Darryn uses it as the perfect excuse to walk away.

But when they meet again, Darryn can’t ignore his instincts—Hannah is in danger. Lies and threats make targets of them both, and faced with a situation of pure terror, Darryn is forced to realize he’ll do anything to protect her. And to keep her with him, always…

Lifting her face up to the sun, drinking in the fragrance that was the Seychelles, Hannah lifted the layers of pink tulle of the skirt she was wearing and twirled. Sandy, the makeup artist and the hair stylist laughed.

“I was wondering when you’d do that,” Sandy said. Looking over her shoulder, Sandy grinned. “Looks like our photographer caught you in the act.”

Hannah looked up into a pair of dark brown eyes that were watching her over the lens of a camera. This had to be Darryn Cavallo. The rumors were true—he was drop-dead gorgeous. Tall, muscled, with tousled, ink-black hair. Wow.

She didn’t wait to be introduced to him, didn’t wait to listen to his instructions. With her eyes locked on him, she slid into a pose. He stared at her for another minute before he lifted the camera.

And then her body started moving to a beat only audible to her and the photographer. Without any conscious thought, she posed and turned, instinctively knowing exactly what he wanted her to do.

The air around her stopped moving, breathing became difficult, any minute now she was going to go up in flames. Every cell in her body was reacting to him.

Buy links: Amazon * B&NKobo * iTunes

Sounds like a great story, Elsa! Thanks for sharing with us your thoughts on writing!

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 http://www.bettybolte.com for more on my books and upcoming events.

Getting to know Diane Barnes #author #contemporary #romance #chicklit

I’m delighted to welcome a fellow lifetime writer, Diane Barnes! We have similar backgrounds but let’s let her tell you all about it.

Diane Barnes is the author of More Than (October 29 2019), Waiting for Ethan (2015), and Mixed Signals (2016). She is also a marketing and corporate communication writer in the health care industry. When she’s not writing, she’s at the gym, running or playing tennis, trying to burn off the ridiculous amounts of chocolate and ice cream she eats. She and her husband Steven live in Massachusetts and dream of moving to Turks and Caicos – at least for the winter months. She hopes you enjoy reading her books as much as she enjoyed writing them.

Website: https://www.dianembarnes.com/

Social media links: Twitter * Instagram * Facebook

Betty: When did you become a writer?
Diane: I was born a writer. Seriously, I’ve been writing stories since I was old enough to hold a pencil. My first novel, WAITING FOR ETHAN, was published in 2015 so I guess that’s when I “officially” became a writer.

Betty: How long did you work on your writing skills before you became published?
Diane: Forever, really, I don’t remember a time I haven’t been working on improving my writing skills. I graduated with a degree in journalism so all through college I focused on writing. I started taking fiction writing classes over twenty years ago and still take them today.

Betty: What authors or stories do you feel influenced your writing style?
Diane:
I love Elizabeth Berg, and I’ve been fortunate enough to attend a few writing workshops that she has taught. That’s not to say that my writing is similar to hers though, but I aspire to write characters as relatable.

Betty: What prompted you to start writing?
Diane:
One day in second grade when I returned from recess, there were large paper footprints trailing from the door, on and under desks, and out the window. We had to write a story about what happened, and I have been writing ever since.

Betty: What type of writing did you start with?
Diane:
The first fiction classes I took were for short story writing, but really my first published pieces were news and feature articles for a newspaper and then a magazine.

Betty: What do you most enjoy writing? Why?
Diane:
Everything! It’s one of the rare things I do when I’m not thinking about anything else other than what I’m doing. I love creating something out of nothing, and I love being able to control everything that happens.

Betty. How did you learn to write? A mentor, classes, conferences, craft books, or something else?
Diane:
By writing and reading a lot. I read a lot of craft books as well as fiction, and I listen to a bunch of books on my commute as well. Also, I regularly attend classes, workshops, and conferences.

Betty: What do you wish you knew before you started writing/publishing?
Diane:
How to be patient! Things take a really long time.

Betty: What other authors inspired you (either directly or through their writing) to try your hand at writing?
Diane:
Every great book I read inspires me. Elizabeth Berg’s writing and teaching of writing are inspirational, and Jodi Picoult’s brilliant stories are inspiring.

Betty: What inspired you to write the book you’re sharing with us today?
Diane: Awhile after I moved, I attended an exercise boot camp class in my new town and met so many wonderful, supportive women who became friends. The class was something I really enjoyed. When I started the book, all I knew was the character would attend boot camp. The story took off from there.

“You are obese, Mrs. Moriarty.”
Peggy Moriarty is stunned by her doctor’s words. She knows she’s let herself go a bit, but she thinks the young, skinny physician is exaggerating. Her husband’s death fourteen years ago left her to raise their twins, Grace and Greg, alone. But now that they’re teenagers, doing their own things, her only hobby is watching Messages from Beyond, a show about a medium who connects the grieving with their deceased loved ones.

When the twins leave for college, they give Peggy a gift certificate for an exercise class. At first, Peggy is insulted. But once the sting wears off, she realizes if she gets in shape, she might gain the confidence she needs to go on her favorite TV show and talk to her husband one last time.

With help from her new friends at the gym and Carmen Tavarez, the mother of Grace’s boyfriend, Peggy begins to emerge from her prolonged grief and spread her wings. She may soon discover that her sum is more than a mother, a widow, and her body.

Excerpt:

This is the day I start my diet, Peggy thinks when she wakes up. It’s what she tells herself every morning, but today she means it.

Yesterday, her new physician, Dr. Richardson, pointed at her medical chart. “You are obese, Mrs. Moriarty.”

Obese! At most, she needs to lose thirty to forty pounds. That does not make her obese. Obese is her old next-door neighbor, Lannie Fitzgerald, who had to have her clothes specially made and drove around the supermarket in one of those motorized carts. Peggy is a long way from that.

Her former physician, Dr. Sheridan, never would have told Peggy she was overweight. She was kind, always asking about Peggy’s twins during the exam. Skinny doctor Dr. Richardson, in contrast, made no small talk and didn’t even address Peggy by her first name, making her feel old—and fat. Frankly, Peggy is stunned that Dr. Sheridan handed over her practice to such a rude, impersonal young thing. Peggy doesn’t want a doctor who’s insensitive and prone to exaggeration.

Maybe she should find a new doctor. Yes, that is exactly what she will do today

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

Thanks for sharing your inspiration and experience, Diane. I wish you well with your writing career.

Happy reading, everyone!

Betty

P.S. If you haven’t already, please consider signing up for my newsletter, which I send out most every month, including news like new covers, new releases, and upcoming appearances where I love to meet my readers, along with recipes and writing progress. Thanks and happy reading!

Visit http://www.bettybolte.com for more on my books and upcoming events.

Martha Washington’s Birthplace #HistoricalFiction #HistFic #amwriting #amreading #books #novel

With each book I write I do research. The extent and kind will vary depending on what I need to know to write the story accurately and authentically to the best of my ability. The longest book I’ve ever written, and the one that I had to do a ton of research to write, is my June 2 release, Becoming Lady Washington. Why June 2? Because that is Martha’s birthday. So today I’m going to talk about where Martha Dandridge was born.

Her parents, John and Frances Dandridge, welcomed her to their home called Chestnut Grove sometime between midnight and 1:00 a.m. on June 2, 1731. Chestnut Grove was located alongside the Pamunkey River in Kent County, Virginia. It was a two-story frame house with three rooms on each floor. Not a big house for a plantation in those days. You can see a sketch of what the house looked like here.

Historic marker about Chestnut Grove

My hubby and I visited the area back in 2015 when I first started researching to write Martha’s life story. Well, at least from her teenage years! I wanted to see the lay of the land and at least try to imagine what it would have looked like when she was a girl. It was disappointing to find we couldn’t even get close to the site as it’s private property. So online research and pictures had to suffice to inspire my imagination. Here’s a short excerpt from my book where she sees the house:

“As we neared Chestnut Grove, I studied the main house as the boat angled toward the dock. The central sturdy door had been made from poplar, like the window casings. At either end of the good-sized clapboard house rose two brick chimneys poking through the white oak shingled roof. A variety of flowering bushes and plants softened the appearance of the brick-and-board structure. Around it, smaller buildings stood: the kitchen, laundry, smokehouse, privy. Chestnut Grove was the only home I’d ever known. If I’d succeeded in my mission, the two-story frame house would become my childhood home. I’d move away, to a new home, a new husband, a new life.”

But just like Martha’s life, that was only one the beginning. Knowing where she was born and grew up was one piece of the history I needed to learn more about, then understand, and then put myself in her shoes. I really wish the home hadn’t burned down in the early 1900s so I could have seen it for myself. It’s far easier to feel like I’ve walked in my character’s place when I can roam around the same spaces she did. See what the view from the windows would have been. Hear the sounds of movement by others.

I’ve worked hard to write her story in order for others to find out what a remarkable woman she was in her own right. Not just as the wife of a great man. In fact, after all I’ve learned about Martha I don’t believe George would have reached the heights of greatness he did without her support and love.

Becoming Lady Washington is available in hardback, paperback, and digital formats for preorder now. Like I said, it will publish on June 2 in honor of Martha’s 289th birthday.

Happy reading!

Betty

P.S. If you haven’t already, please consider signing up for my newsletter, which I send out most every month, including news like new covers, new releases, and upcoming appearances where I love to meet my readers, along with recipes and writing progress. Thanks and happy reading!

Visit www.bettybolte.com for more on my books and upcoming events.

Available for preorders now! Releases June 2, 2020…

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

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

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

Amazon     Barnes & Noble     Kobo     Apple     Books2Read

Getting to know author Edie Cay #author #historical #regency #fiction #romance

Today’s guest takes into the secretive world of female Regency pugilists and reveals her own not-so-secret publisher side. Please help me welcome Edie Cay! Let’s take a peek at her bio and then we’ll find out how she got started writing and what keeps her motivated.

Edie Cay has an MFA in Creative Writing and other degrees. She is a history buff, an avid traveler, and an eager reader of all genres. She has lived all over the United States, but currently calls California home. Under her other name, she has published articles and participated in documentary filmmaking. She is a member of the Paper Lantern Writers, a historical fiction author collective, as well as a member of the Historical Novel Society. A LADY’S REVENGE is her first published novel.

Website * Facebook * Instagram

Betty: When did you become a writer?

Edie: When I was ten. I wrote a book series which took one sheet of 8.5×11” paper, cut into pieces. Each book was 14 pages long, done by hand with colored pencil. I employed other children to write in the series and help me make the books. Each book cost ten cents.

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

Edie: I published my first short story in college, while I worked on my Bachelor’s degree in English. After that, I pursued my MFA in Creative Writing. I continue to read craft books, style books, and reading all genres helps to keep me aware of what is my style and what is others’.

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

Edie: Margaret Atwood—she is very direct. I was more lyrical early on, and then became so very curt and short, because I was emulating Hemingway, and now I am attempting a happy medium, which I think is more Atwood’s style.

Betty: What prompted you to start writing?

Edie: When I was nine, a teacher had us write stories for class assignments. I haven’t stopped.

Betty: What type of writing did you start with?

Edie: Short stories. I think maybe about a worm?

Betty: What do you most enjoy writing? Why?

Edie: I enjoy building a world the most. I always start with characters, figuring out what motivates them, why they do what they do.

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

Edie: I have a Bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing, an MFA in Creative Writing, and I continue to take online classes about specific topics, including Writing the Other, and classes from RWA’s Beau Monde Academy. I go to conferences when I can, and I read craft books.

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

Edie: To just get out of my own way.

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


Edie: I wanted to write a romance to help me with plotting. I was (and still am) writing a historical novel that is literary or upmarket women’s fiction, and I was flailing with plot. So I thought genre would be a good exercise. I picked Regency because it was the most popular historical time period. I started writing, and I wrote a novel. It was full of inaccuracies, because I had done cursory research. But in that novel, I met Lydia. And I knew her snark came from somewhere. She had a heart underneath all that coldness, and I knew she had a secret. But what? So I did more research, read a ton more books, and I found that she was a boxer. She just had to be.

Lady Lydia Sommerset is an earl’s daughter. At the ripe age of twenty-five, she still wears the lavish gowns and dances the dainty steps of the haute ton as if she were pursuing a husband; but  her goals are far more personal. Instead, she pursues her tormenters: the men who bet that taking a girl’s virginity—her virginity—really can cure a brothel’s plague. She has her cousins and sister to aid her, but no one can understand what it feels like to be helpless. Pugilism, England’s manliest pastime, is her only relief. Training in secret with a female boxer keeps her sane, but when her instructor is hired away by one of the men she is seeking to destroy, she is in a bind. Her new teacher, a former prizefighter with a ready joke and a quick wit might do more than just correct her technique.

John Arthur is made of money. A street kid who dazzled with his fists, he now impresses as a miracle worker on the London Stock Exchange. But a man can’t forget a boyhood spent in the gutter. Easy-going and affable, John Arthur knows he shouldn’t tangle with bluebloods. He should be happy with a full belly and coin-filled pockets. But when he finds a woman who finds boxing as vital as he does, his life gets suddenly complicated.

Caught between revenge and finding love with a man who might truly understand her, Lady Lydia must commit to opening her heart or closing it forever.

“We haven’t been introduced,” Lady Lydia said, as if she were speaking to a child. It was like she knew all the tones that could put off a person and didn’t mind using them.

“Walk with me for just a moment, here, in public, with chaperones.” He gestured to her sister and the driver. “And that will surely remedy our acquaintance.” He offered her his arm.

“That isn’t how it works.” She folded her arms across her chest. “Perhaps if you had better breeding, you would know.”

If this had been a turn-up, all bets would be against him. “I’ve spent my life taking chances, my lady. I always weigh the risk to benefit. Making your acquaintance, however I can get it, is worth the risk. And knowing me is always a benefit.” He meant to give another non-threatening grin, but he was in earnest. This was the grin that marked him as rubbish. The Quality didn’t smile—they didn’t need to. But it was the winning bits of his domino box that made folks relax and trust him.

She narrowed her eyes and watched him for a moment. It was only then that he remembered his black eye. He must be a wretched fright for a lady like her. No wonder she wouldn’t talk to him.

“Agnes, get in the phaeton. We’ll walk a single block, sir. Make your case. Vasily will follow us.”

“But—” Lady Agnes protested.

“Done,” John said, feeling like this was the hardest bargain he’d driven all year.

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I’m intrigued by the worm story, Edie! Was it an inchworm, perhaps? I’m also intrigued by a woman boxer during the Regency. That’s a pretty cool historical fact to uncover. Thanks for stopping by and enlightening all of us!

Happy reading!

Betty

P.S. If you haven’t already, please consider signing up for my newsletter, which I send out most every month, including news like new covers, new releases, and upcoming appearances where I love to meet my readers, along with recipes and writing progress. Thanks and happy reading!

Visit www.bettybolte.com for more on my books and upcoming events.

Discovering the woman who was my mother #familyfirst #Baltimore #historical #fiction #books #inspiration #amwriting #amreading

I have many stories about my mother from my own life. I mean, who doesn’t when you’ve lived with your family for 18 years or more. Things like Mom sitting under a shady tree reading the newspaper while Dad took me and my sisters to the beach to splash around. Helping Mom in the kitchen to make the holiday turkey and mashed potatoes. Oh, her mashed potatoes! Christmas shopping all day on Black Friday, laughing and having a grand time. Mom sipping on a beer in a glass, munching on Utz potato chips. We talked sometimes, though rarely, about her life as a teen and young woman. I wish I’d asked more questions, though.

When I first started reading through my father’s correspondence, 6 years after he passed in 2011, I was a bit nervous about what I might find out about him. I was surprised at how much I learned about my mother as a young, flirty, fun woman.

I mentioned before that she signed many of her letters as Mary Lou, but that nobody in her family ever called her that. I’m wondering if Dad started calling her that since he was from the Deep South. I have no way of knowing for certain. I was also surprised to see line drawings and jokes included in the letters. The interactions I had with my mother didn’t hint at that side of her. For example, she mentions in a March 1948 letter the following riddle:

Friday evening we went over to a very lovely restaurant in Silver Springs, Md. A large fireplace plus crackling logs were in each room. Above the one fireplace was this riddle. Can you make it out?
            If the B m t put :
            If the B ◊ putting :

Now, I pondered that for some time without figuring out its solution. It wasn’t until she wrote to him later and shared the meaning that I had any idea. One hint as you read the solution: the “:” punctuation symbol reads as “coal on”. So here’s what Mom wrote in her letter:

The answer to the riddle is
If the grate be empty put coal on
            (If the B m t put : )
If the grate be full, stop putting coal on.
            (If the B ◊ putting : )

My mother’s handwritten letter including the riddle.

In my novel, Notes of Love and War, I reverse this trait to have Charlie sending the jokes and riddles to Audrey. She professes to not be very good at solving them, too. I used different riddles and jokes, too, which were fun to research and debate which ones I thought worth including.

So tell me how much you remember about your mother. Did you talk to her about her younger years? If your mom is still alive, what questions do you have for her?

Thanks for stopping by. Happy reading!

Betty

P.S. If you haven’t already, please consider signing up for my newsletter, which I send out most every month, including news like new covers, new releases, and upcoming appearances where I love to meet my readers, along with recipes and writing progress. Thanks and happy reading!

Visit www.bettybolte.com for more on my books and upcoming events.

Now available for preorder! Notes of Love and War will release on July 28, 2020, in honor of my dad’s 100th birthday!

Audrey Harper needs more than home and hearth to satisfy her self-worth despite being raised with the idea that a woman’s place is in the home. Working as a music critic for the city newspaper in Baltimore, Maryland, during the Second World War, she’s enjoyed both financial freedom and personal satisfaction in a job well done. When she uncovers evidence of German spies working to sabotage a secret bomber plane being manufactured in her beloved city, she must choose between her sense of duty to protect her city and the urgings of her boss, her family, and her fiancé to turn over her evidence to the authorities. But when her choices lead her and her sister into danger, she is forced to risk life and limb to save her sister and bring the spies to justice.

Set against the backdrop of the flourishing musical community during the 1940s in Baltimore, Notes of Love and War weaves together the pleasure of musical performance with the dangers of espionage and spying.

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