Getting to know G. S. Kenney #author #romance #scifi #fiction #books #amwriting #amreading

My guest today writes stories that are out of this world, quite literally! I’m pleased to introduce G. S. Kenney to you all. Let’s take a look at her bio and then we’ll slide right into the interview.

Author G. S. Kenney writes romantic speculative fiction novels. Her first science-fiction romance novel Freeing Eden, published by Soul Mate Publishing, was a 2018 RWA Golden Heart® finalist. The Last Lord of Eden, the second novel in the Ascent of Eden series published by Soul Mate, is now also available.

G. S. Kenney started reading early, and never stopped. In kindergarten, drawn in by a book with a picture of three witches at a cauldron, she learned to read by starting with Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Now she writes stories of her own (and still loves Shakespeare). Interested in many fields, she studied the “Great Books” at St. John’s College, architecture at Harvard, and financial planning at Boston University. She has also conducted post-doctoral research in psychology at the Center for Creative Leadership in Greensboro, North Carolina, and for many years developed software systems.

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Betty: When did you become a writer?

G. S.: My family moved to Texas when my children were little, and I began working for American Airlines, where my first assignment was managing the development and installation of a yield-management system for a truck-rental company in Miami. I flew into Miami every Tuesday morning and returned Thursday in time for dinner, which meant that I spent two nights every week in a hotel in Miami, away from my family. I’d been making up stories for my children pretty much since they learned language, and I found in those lonely hotel rooms that the stories I was constantly developing in my head were a lot more interesting than the stories on the television. So I began writing them down. That was over twenty years ago, and I’ve never stopped writing stories since.

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

G. S.: A long time! I didn’t even try to get published at first. Between parenting and working full time at a job that included travel, I had my hands full. I wrote for my children and their cousins. They loved the stories, and that was enough for me. I wrote and wrote, and I got better through the practice.

Eventually, though, the kids went off to college, and I stopped working in tech. I polished up some of the later (and, trust me, better!) stories and began making submissions. That’s when I discovered that the stories my children and their cousins found fascinating still left something to be desired from a professional publishing perspective. Years of coursework, writing groups, and beta readers, and many rejections later, Freeing Eden finaled in the Golden Heart contest, and I found a publisher as well.

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

G. S.: Ah. That’s a good question. My style is definitely still evolving, and there are many influences.

This is the part where I have to mention that I attended St. John’s College in Annapolis, Maryland, a small liberal-arts college with a four-year entirely fixed curriculum centered on reading and discussing the seminal books and ideas of Western civilization. I’ve read a lot of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century literature, and initially developed a style that reflects the elegance of that period: omniscient point of view, large words and long sentences, and entirely too many semicolons.

I still love reading books from that period, but the style is not well suited to my subject matter, futuristic science fiction with more than a dash of romance. Neither is the style of the mostly white-male-scientist writers of mid-twentieth-century—Asimov, Sturgeon, and the rest—who fostered my love of science fiction.

I’m trying for a more intimate style, more character-focused, often (but not entirely) deep point of view—what the romance genre is so good at, but I want to do so without entirely shaking the elegance and descriptiveness of the older styles. Do I create a unique blend that works? I hope I do.

Betty: What prompted you to start writing?

G. S.: Two things—one positive, and one negative. The positive prompt was definitely my children, who, when they were little, couldn’t get enough of my stories as fast as I could make them up. The negative prompt was television. I was traveling for work back then, two nights a week every week alone in a hotel room. Of course TV is different now, but back then, I couldn’t find anything on the hotel TV even half as interesting as the stories in my head. So instead of watching TV, I wrote down the stories I was already making up anyway. You’d be amazed how much time for writing that frees up.

Betty: What type of writing did you start with?

G. S.: YA science-fiction, very soft scifi just *this far* (forefinger and thumb less than an eighth of an inch apart) from fantasy, and sometimes actual fantasy, suitable for children.

Betty: What do you most enjoy writing? Why?

G. S.: I most enjoy writing the scenes that come easily—and believe me, they don’t always! These are the scenes that seem to want to write themselves, and all I have to do is keep up. The ones I might be writing, for example, after I should have gone to bed already, but I know that if I stop now, I’ll lose whatever muse it is that is making the scene real.

But perhaps you mean, what genre do I most enjoy writing. My background is definitely science fiction, but I don’t prefer to write the very hard stuff full of, say, spacecraft based on deep research into the current state of NASA developments. I’m definitely a “people” writer. Futuristic environments and scenarios are tons of fun to create—and I like to do a good job of it—but their purpose, for me, is to highlight the human side of the story. So I have gravitated toward science-fiction romance, and that’s the genre of my Golden-Heart-finalist book Freeing Eden, and to a lesser extent, The Last Lord of Eden, its sequel.

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

G. S.: First and foremost, through reading! Second, through actually writing. Novels are different from the stories you just think through in your head. Those stories start somewhere and keep going as long as you can keep making them up, and end when you can’t think of new things to add to the chain. I wrote a couple of books like that when my children were little, and I guarantee you, you’ll never see them. Once I’d written a few books like that, only then did I realize I needed to sharpen my craft. So, yes, for years I took online courses (mostly those sponsored by RWA chapters), read craft books, and yes, had the generous help and feedback of some friends who were further along the writing path than I was.

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

G. S.: I wish I’d started trying to publish much earlier in my writing career. Even though my writing wasn’t as good back then as it is now, I think it would have been a lot easier to find an agent and a publisher, and to establish a reputation as an author.

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

G. S.: I often say that Alfred Bester was my most inspiring author. I was in love with science fiction as a child, and his novel The Demolished Man quite took my breath away. It won the first Hugo award in the 1950s. And The Stars My Destination was also wonderful. I have, in fact, re-read both of these fairly recently, and I believe that despite some outdated cultural aspects, they hold up beautifully.

To save his planet, he’ll destroy his family.

To save him, she’ll do anything it takes!

The world of Eden is in crisis. Politicians throughout the galaxy demand the psychic-power producing drug that grows only on Eden. And the demand is skyrocketing.

Adopted son of Eden’s previous warlord, peace-loving Kell has inherited dominion over the planet and is determined to keep it free. When he discovers that the warlord’s brother and a powerful drug lord have teamed up to seize Eden’s priceless harvest, Kell will stop at nothing to prevent them–even if it means he must become a death-wielding champion.

To protect her from this danger, Kell must distance himself from Zara, the woman he loves. But when his efforts are not enough to save his beloved planet, Zara will do anything to bridge that distance. Can she succeed in time?

Excerpt:

Erik son of Magnus son of Leif had become aware of a commotion in his outer office, but he was ignoring it. As Kestra’s longtime senator to the Interplanetary Federation, he chaired the powerful Negotiation Management Committee, which would be meeting in less than an hour. He needed to be thoroughly prepared—especially today, since the man claiming to be the new Lord of Eden had been subpoenaed to appear first thing after lunch. The committee had to present a united front. He sighed and halfheartedly thumbed through the pile of papers in front of him. Where to start?

The noise grew louder, impossible to ignore any longer. He commed his assistant. “Sten, could you please keep it down out there? I—”

There was a crash, a shriek, and the door opened.

Erik’s heart pumped adrenaline; his head buzzed with it. He stood, fumbling ineffectually with the desk drawer—the locked desk drawer, he realized—where he kept a laser.

A stranger stood in the doorway, a young man. He was half-turning toward the three people opposing him and brandishing a whip of all things, effectively enough to keep all three at bay. He radiated anger and grim determination along with an odd hint of uncertainty, all of this amplified greatly, of course, by the andreatin Erik regularly consumed.

Erik took a deep breath and relaxed. How delightfully archaic. Rather like Reuel. The new young warlord from Eden, no doubt. “You must be Kell. Don’t just stand there. Come in. You’re going to, anyway.”

Buy link:  Amazon

Thanks so much, G. S. for stopping by today! I like your approach to writing science fiction!

Thanks so much for reading today! I hope you’re finding some good books to curl up at home with during this global crisis. There are a few of my books available to read for free. Find out more here. And as always, thanks for 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 http://www.bettybolte.com for more on my books and upcoming events.

Exploring Elsing Green Plantation #HistoricalFiction #HistFic #amwriting #amreading #books #novel

I’ve mentioned before that one of the most interesting kinds of research for me is to visit historic sites. Today I’m going to talk about Elsing Green plantation in West Point, Virginia, which was once the home of Martha Washington’s uncle and aunt, Col. William and Unity Dandridge. I was very fortunate to be granted a private tour of Elsing Green by one of owners, Virginia Lafferty, in the spring of 2015. I am sad to say that when I reached out to Mrs. Lafferty to let her know about the upcoming release of Becoming Lady Washington, I discovered she had passed away suddenly last summer. She was such a gracious woman and spoke at length about her beloved home and the history associated with it. The website for Elsing Green has been taken down, so apparently it is not open any longer for tours or events, which is a sad thing, too.

Elsing Green main house with the Hunting Lodge, the original manor, off to the right.

Here’s the description of the property from the above link to the Virginia Department of Historic Resources:

“One of the state’s most impressive Tidewater plantations, Elsing Green is marked by a prodigious U-shaped house, a grand expression of colonial Virginia’s formal architecture. Stretched along the Pamunkey River, the plantation was owned in the 17th century by Col. William Dandridge. The property was purchased ca. 1753 by Carter Braxton, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, who probably built the main house. The house burned in the early 19th century, but its brick walls survived unmarred. Rebuilt within the walls, the house was long the home of the Gregory family. In the 1930s, during the ownership of Mr. and Mrs. Beverley D. Causey, architect Edward F. Sinnott restored the original roof pitch and installed 18th century-style woodwork. Edgar Rivers Lafferty, Jr., who purchased Elsing Green in 1949, developed the plantation into a model farm and wildlife preserve.”

The Hunting Lodge at Elsing Green Plantation

Elsing Green is situated upriver and on the other side of the Pamunkey River from Chestnut Grove, Martha Washington’s childhood home. Today there are two houses on the site along with a few outbuildings. The smaller of the two houses is called the Hunting Lodge and is the original manor Martha would have been most familiar with. Family legend tells us that Martha once rode a horse either up onto the front porch or into the house. I have no way to prove or disprove this legend, but it does say a lot about the spunk she must have possessed to foster such an idea!

I was impressed by the solid construction of the Lodge. The red and white brick exterior is a statement of strength and financial well-being. Thick doors and sturdy wood floors. I absolutely fell in love with the library’s shelves upon shelves of books, too. The tall grandfather clock was beautiful. Heck, the whole place was lovely! If I remember correctly, the décor is from the period but may not have been original. It’s been 5 years, so my memory is a bit fuzzy on the details. I’ll share several of the photos that I took so you can have a virtual tour. You’ll notice in the pictures that it had snowed the night before my husband and visited.

I found it interesting that they had a kitchen and dining room in the basement of the Lodge so it was cooler during the summer to enjoy their meals. It may also have been easier to heat in the winter, as well. Notice the number of windows they could open to allow the breeze through to cool the upstairs, too.

I enjoyed strolling through the building, trying to imagine little Patsy (Martha’s pet name) walking or running (doubtful?) around playing with her cousin Martha. I wonder what kinds of toys or dolls she played with. Maybe took dancing lessons when the itinerant dance instructor made his visits. Played the pianoforte or spinet, perhaps. I let my imagination run as I roamed through those historic rooms.

I can only wonder what the future of Elsing Green may be since Mrs. Lafferty’s death appears to have closed the venue for visitors. It had been in continuous operation since originally built in the 17th century. I imagine her family felt the blow too much to continue without her. (If any of the Lafferty family happens to read this post, please know my heart goes out to you all.)

As a reminder, there are a few of my books available to read for free. Find out more here. And as always, thanks for reading!

The catch phrase here in north Alabama is “stay safe; stay separate; and sanitize.” Hang in there, folks. It’s a tough time but we will get through this eventually. My heart goes out to everyone as we find our way through this pandemic crisis. Please listen to and follow the guidelines from the health experts so we can shorten the duration as much as possible. Take care of you and yours and I’ll do the same.

Thanks!

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.

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Getting to know Clair Brett #author #strongwoman #historical #romance #regency

It’s always a pleasure to meet a fellow historical romance author! Please help me welcome Clair Brett and let’s find out more about her writing inspiration and stories. Here’s her bio and then we’ll dive right in to the interview.

Author of 5 historical romances, including the Improper Wives for Proper Lords series, Clair Brett lives in NH with her ever emptying nest which includes her children when they come to visit, two cats, one willful dog, and a mean Pitbull mix, that will lick you to death and run into her kennel when you speak loudly, and an ever harassed husband who takes it all in stride. A lover of all things Regency, Clair was hooked when she first read Jane Austen. She is a firm believer that a reader finds a piece of who they are or learns something about the world with every book they read. She wants her readers to be empowered and to have a refreshed belief in the goodness of people and the power of love after reading her work.

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Goodreads

Betty: When did you become a writer?

Clair: When my daughters were little and I was teaching middle school full time. I needed a world to escape into that I had control of. I would finish reading a book and think “hmm, I would have ended that differently.” So, I decided to give it a try and I was hooked.

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

Clair: I wrote for over 10 years and have one manuscript that I wrote and have not published, because it was my practice piece. After being told by many editors that they loved my voice and story, but my heroines were too strong for historical romance I decided to go indie.

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

Clair: Again, I write strong female characters, so writers like Eloisa James, Nicole Jordan, and Hannah Howell were strong influences. Karen Hawkins humor and light heartedness also spoke to me.

Betty: What prompted you to start writing?

Clair: I have always loved writing, but never thought of myself as a writer, until I had two tiny girls at home and a full time job as a middle school teacher. As much as I loved all the children in my life, I needed a place where grown ups were in charge and I was also looking for some place where I felt I had some control. As an author you are in control of your world and how your characters interact in that world. If I wanted them to eat their peas, they did.

Betty: What type of writing did you start with?

Clair: I have always loved Historical Romance with a level of suspense and action/adventure. I was raised on a solid diet of Dukes of Hazzard, MacGyver, and the A-team, and I think that influences my need to have an exciting sub plot.

Betty: What do you most enjoy writing? Why?

Clair: I love writing the scenes where my hero is being himself. Usually he is working something out with a friend or brother and doesn’t have to behave in a certain way. I also love to write the scenes where the heroine takes charge of the situation leaving my hero to sit on the sidelines and watch or help (strong heroines, remember?)

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

Clair: I joined RWA early in my writing journey, I read any book I could get my hands on about craft, took classes, went to conferences, but in the end I think I learned most about the ebb and flow of a story from reading other authors. I find when I don’t have time to read, I can feel a disconnect between my story and the flow. It is because I haven’t been reading and need to take the time to get back to that.

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

Clair: That once you start it becomes part of you, like breathing and it would be impossible to walk away from once I got started. I could have planned better. lol

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

Clair: All the writers in my NHRWA chapter. They were the first “real” writers I interacted with, and those authors at conferences that I stalked, too nervous to talk to, Karen Hawkins comes to mind. She was amazingly kind and welcoming when I finally got my nerve up. Also Julia Quinn, who is very down to earth and encouraging when she finds out you are a writer as well and not just a reader.

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

Clair: I’m not sure if I can remember. Winn’s Fall has been in my mind for many years. I think I asked myself the question what would make an otherwise responsible man be a daredevil with no care for his own safety. Often I will have a scene come to me and then I have to figure it out from there, and the scene I got from this was the meet/cute for my hero and heroine. He is in a homemade hot air balloon and she is watching him come across a field from the middle of the road. What could go wrong with that?

Lord Winthrop (Winn) Burton will die on his own terms. A family curse says he will die by the time he turns thirty years old. He will not leave a young wife and a child behind like his father did to him.
When childhood friend Miss Zoe Chase returns to stay with his sister and find a husband, Winn’s plans are thrown into chaos. Not only is the once gangly, awkward girl he remembers, is now everything that tempts him, the accidents that once plagued his life are happening to her.
He must keep her safe, but how can he do that when ravaging her is all he can consider? Or perhaps the curse isn’t a curse after all.
Will Winn die, or will he fall?

Excerpt:

“I will not speak a word until my plate is full and my cup refilled, twice,” He demanded as he sat down at his spot and hefted his cup toward Winn. Who unceremoniously slid the wine bottle toward him and took up the plates to serve the now simmering dinner. Once they were both seated, his friend started. “When admitted to the parlor, your mother and sister were chatting with a woman; I would say close to your mother’s age. It was, without a doubt, the older woman with your pretty partner from earlier. She was introduced to me as Lady Dorothy Lambert.”

“If I remember, that is Zoe’s maternal aunt.”

“Quite right, or so I was told when introduced. It was the same woman we met on the road — the one who scooped up her charge and pierced us with reproachful glares. I got a similar one this evening. Your young lady was not, however, in attendance.”

“She is not my young lady,” Winn corrected. Why would he even say such a thing? They didn’t even know each other anymore. A lot changes a person between the ages of nine and nine and twenty.

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

I love that you made your characters eat their peas, Clair! That’s funny! Thanks for sharing about what inspired you to write your latest romance, too.

Happy reading, folks! At least that’s one thing you’ll never run out of: books to read. Stay safe and healthy!

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.

Lessons Learned while Writing Becoming Lady Washington #HistoricalFiction #HistFic #amwriting #amreading #books #novel

I’m a life-long learner by nature. I guess that’s why I don’t mind researching to write historical fiction. I always learn something! While researching and writing Becoming Lady Washington, there was a lot I didn’t know about Martha Washington’s life and times. There’s probably more to know, too.

I don’t claim to be the expert on her, but I did do quite a bit of research into what life on a plantation was like, what the clothing/attire said about the person wearing it, 18th-century dances, and much, much more. I’ve visited many of the historical sites that Martha frequented such as Mount Vernon, Elsing Green, Colonial Williamsburg, the army headquarters in New York and New Jersey, the presidential house site in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I’ve read two biographies written about Martha, a collection of her letters both sent and received, as well as a dictionary of the people who corresponded with George Washington (fascinating approach to knowing him, too). Plus many online and printed books on an array of subjects related to 18th-century America.

I mention that only to show that I’ve tried my best to write her story as authentically as I could with the knowledge I gleaned from many resources. Those who read the story to give me their feedback before I publish it all enjoyed the story and made few suggestions to improve on it. Therefore, I hope others will enjoy it, too. But I did learn a few things that I’d like to share that you won’t find spelled out in the book.

First, I learned how loving and faithful Martha was to her family and friends. Her “family” included everyone who lived and worked on the plantation. She seemed, from what I read in her letters, to admonish people to work hard, do their best, not be lazy, etc. Whether that person was her granddaughter or one of her enslaved maids, they both seemed to receive equal pressure on those fronts. I do not know, of course, how she treated them in person: facial expressions, gestures, tone of voice. But her words on paper seemed to me to be fairly even handed.

Second, I came across a line in one of her letters that I think nicely sums up her approach to life. In a letter to her friend Mercy Otis Warren, she wrote: “I am still determined to be cheerful and to be happy in whatever situation I may be, for I have also learnt from experianence [sic] that the greater part of our happiness or misary [sic] depends upon our dispositions, and not upon our circumstances; we carry the seeds of the one, or the other about with us, in our minds, wherever we go.” I agree with her.

Third, when she married George she may not have ever traveled farther from her home at Chestnut Grove than to reach Williamsburg, Virginia. Yet she moved with him to northern Virginia and Mount Vernon, far away from her family and friends. Moreover, during the entire seven years of the American Revolution she braved terrible roads and sometimes rivers in all kinds of weather, in a coach-and-six, or a carriage, or a sleigh, or even boats (which she didn’t like at all), so she could be with George at the army headquarters during the winter break from fighting. Keep in mind that the length of time it took to go from Mount Vernon to Annapolis, Maryland took two or three days, not hours. To New York was weeks, depending on whether she faced muddy roads or snow or a swollen river she couldn’t cross for days. Think of the many places she’d have to stay overnight and how she’d find food, or carried it with her, depending on the circumstances. I think that demonstrates just how much she loved George.

Finally, the general sense I have of Martha is of a philosophical woman who strove to be fair, informed, and constant, not flighty or overly emotional. I’ve read several mentions of her patriotism and of her exhorting others to fight for freedom from tyranny. Probably another reason she wanted to be with her husband, to show her support of his leadership.

Those are my main takeaways from delving into Martha Washington’s life and times. I’ve tried to reflect what I believe was important to her in Becoming Lady Washington. I hope you will also enjoy reading it and then please let me know what you learn about this remarkable woman.

Thanks!

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 Clive Hagon #author #historical #fiction

My guest today comes to us from across the pond, as they say. Please welcome Clive Hagon, an author of historical fiction that taps into Greek myths and legends. First, I’ve asked Clive to tell us a bit about himself, then we’ll move into the interview. Take it away, Clive!

The casual observer would be forgiven for believing that my life has been devoted to gambling, womanizing, and dining well. This is only partially true, for my vocational passion has been to unravel the meaning of classical Greek literature.

I cannot claim formal structure to my studies but, since witnessing Peter Hall’s production of The Oresteia on the London stage in 1981, I have been intrigued by the significance of the play, and all the components of the Epic Greek Cycle. My lifestyle has provided me with the opportunity to devote significant time and energy to the unraveling of these mysteries, and the time now is right for me to begin to create my contribution. I am currently working on an historical fiction concerning the early life of Agamemnon.

Betty: When did you become a writer?

Clive: I have always expressed my creativity in writing, poetry mainly, as well as short stories. Until now none have been submitted for publication as they were written for my own pleasure or, in the case of the poetry, women.

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

Clive: Charles Dickens (anything). Franz Kafka (everything). Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment.

Betty: What prompted you to start writing?

Clive: Writing is, for me, a satisfying medium for telling stories. I enjoy being the storyteller.

Betty: What do you most enjoy writing? Why?

Clive: My favorite writing activity comes when I write poetry to a woman with whom I have fallen in love. The reason, I think, is self-evident.

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

Clive: Mr. Dunn, (name changed) a schoolmaster, (many, many years ago) insisted that a gentleman should learn how to express himself clearly and concisely in both spoken and written forms. Full of post-world war II vigor, he was prepared to thrash these virtues into all the young gentlemen that came unto his educational care, especially those who emerged from the vast social housing estates that had sprung up, new to the district. I learned at an early age that the pen was less painful than the cane.

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

Clive: In relation to Pelops. The Making of the King, nothing. The journey from where I was before I began writing Pelops, to where I am now, has taken me to information, myth, legend, and learning that I had previously never imagined. In research for the novella, I have gained a startling insight into the nature of the origin of civilization in the western, modern, world. I would not change a thing.

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

Clive: Oliver Postgate. He told stories on television back when I was a child. Ivor the Engine, and Noggin the Nog, were those that I fondly remember. I enjoyed in my childhood mind the rhythm of the sounds, and the images that the sounds created. I strive now to create rhythm with the written word, and to create images in the readers mind.

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

Clive: The background research for the Agamemnon project led me to the task of deconstructing the legend of Pelops. In so doing, I realized that what I had before me were the threads of a tale which could be woven into an engaging fiction. A logical step in the process of understanding the deconstructed remnants of myth and legend provided me with a wonderful story.

A fictional narrative based on the legendary ascension of Pelops to the throne of Pisa.

He awoke, refreshed and calm, to the aroma of warm bread and goats’ milk, and the sound of the horses who had returned to the yard. The old man had gathered the breakfast, and the two men sat in silence as they ate. Without a word, Pelops then hitched the horses to the chariot and led them to the entrance. He turned back to look at the old man, who sat at the table, quiet and still, as Pelops had first seen him.

Pelops spoke. “You are the only friend I have in this world. I will miss your company.”

The old man thought long. “You are my only friend too.” he eventually replied. “I know not what the future holds, neither for you, nor for myself, but I do know that we have both benefited from our friendship. If in the future, you need a quiet place to rest, you will find a home here.”

“Thank you” said Pelops, and bowed his head, overcome with an irrational concern, that the blind man would see his tears.

Please note. Due to the COVID-19 lock down currently in force in Europe, the launch of Pelops. The Making of the King has been temporarily postponed. If you would like to receive information concerning the revised launch date, please email bronzehouse@aol.com with the subject title ‘Pelops. The Making of the King’ and I will inform you of the date as soon as it is known to me. Thank you. Clive Hagon.

Take care of yourself and your family, Clive. I can only try to imagine the depth of research you must have done in order to write the story of Pelops. I’m sure your book is worth waiting for!

My heart goes out to everyone during this global health crisis. Stay safe, stay home if you can, and wash your hands… I’d like to say a huge thank you to all the first responders and healthcare workers on the front lines fighting this pandemic. Your efforts and dedication are vastly appreciated!

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.

Free Reads and the Story behind the title Notes of Love and War #HistoricalFiction #HistFic #amwriting #amreading #free #books #novel #kindle

Before I get into how I decided on the title for my July 28 release, I’d like to share a few free reads for all of you staying at home as a result of the global pandemic of COVID-19 and looking for ways to fill your free time. I understand how the sudden change could be both unnerving and boring for those people who don’t spend much time at home. It’s my small way of helping out during this crisis.

First, you can download a free ebook of Undying Love here. This book is the first book in the Secrets of Roseville paranormal romance series, featuring ghosts and witches. Undying Love was the first romance I sold to a small press in 2014 under the title of Traces, by the way. They published the book in ebook only but after two years the rights reverted back to me and I chose to indie publish it with its new title, along with the second book in the series, Haunted Melody (formerly Remnants). I like the new titles much better, don’t you? There are five books total in this series; the others are The Touchstone of Raven Hollow, Veiled Visions of Love, and Charmed Against All Odds.

Second, if you subscribe to Kindle Unlimited at Amazon, you can read my historical romance series, A More Perfect Union, as part of your subscription. This series is set in Charleston, SC, during/after the American Revolution while the city was besieged by the British. If you don’t currently subscribe, I’m told that Amazon is offering a 2-month free trial subscription right now. Just be sure if you don’t want to be charged to cancel the subscription before the end of the trial period. There are four novels and one novella in this series. The novels are Emily’s Vow, Amy’s Choice, Samantha’s Secret, and Evelyn’s Promise, with a prequel novella of Elizabeth’s Hope (not in KU).

Now I’d like to share with you the reason for the title of Notes of Love and War. Last week I talked about my June 2 release, Becoming Lady Washington, and how the title reflects the story. Notes will release July 28, two days after my father’s 100th birthday, if he were still alive. I chose that Tuesday because the primary inspiration for the story came after reading my dad’s correspondence with my mom during/after World War II. So the “notes” in the title is a nod to the letters they wrote to each other in their courtship phase, the “love” part of the title.

The main female character in the story is Audrey Harper, a journalist who has a degree in music appreciation and journalism, and who ultimately becomes a music critic for a fictional newspaper in Baltimore, Maryland, during WWII. So I’ve included a good bit about the music industry and community and venues in the story, another use of “notes.” Naturally, I also included the titles of some songs popular during the war, like the Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B.

Audrey meets Major Charles Powers at a Christmas party during the war. They become pen pals and exchange friendly letters for several years before they realize they belong together. So there are the “notes of love” referenced in the title.

Actually, letters, telegrams, and V-mail are letters exchanged throughout the book to reflect the forms of correspondence used in the 1940s during the war. Perusing the contents of hundreds of letters and V-mail plus the greeting cards and postcards in my dad’s collection gave me a solid foundation to use to write fictional letters, etc., in my story. Reading them also taught me about my parents as people before they became parents. The kinds of concerns and opinions they shared. It really was very interesting reading!

So Notes of Love and War seemed a fitting title for a novel about a music critic during WWII who discovers spies in her city all while falling in love via letters with a soldier. The cover artist pulled together those elements in the cover design, too. You’ll see a music score, a spy glass, a bomber plane, and letters reflected in the image below.

It’s hard to be patient for my summer releases, but I chose the dates to coincide with important dates relevant to each title. In the meantime, I hope you’ll take me up on my offer of a free read of some of my other stories. Enjoy! Stay safe, stay home if you can, and we’ll get through this. Thanks for 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 July 28, 2020…

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.

Amazon     Books2Read     Barnes & Noble     Kobo     Apple

Getting to know Jen FitzGerald #author #fiction #contemporary #romance #M/M

My guest author today is one I wish I had met in person by now. I have known Jen FitzGerald through online forums for a few years now, and I’m happy to introduce her and her writing to all of you. Let’s take a peek at her bio and then we’ll get to the interview.

Jen FitzGerald has loved romance since her Winnie-the-Pooh days. Christopher Robin and Winnie-the-Pooh have always been platonic soulmates. As a teen, Jen cut her romance teeth on Silhouette’s teen romance line and Danielle Steele books concurrently. She’s still an avid reader, but these days, Jen has added writing romances of her own to her list of fun things to do.

Jen lives in Fort Worth, Texas, with her husband and dog. Their three children are now adults and out terrorizing the world at large instead of them. When not working her day job, Jen spends a lot of time reading, writing, watching hockey, and perusing her social media platforms of preference. She also enjoys music, cross stitching, and chatting online with writer friends.

Website * Facebook * Instagram

Betty: When did you become a writer?

Jen: I’ve been writing for over a decade. Started off writing (JAG) fan fiction many, many moons ago.

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

Jen: I’ve only been (self) published since Thanksgiving of 2017, so over ten years. But in that time, I wrote a ton of fan fiction and churned out four or five books.

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

Jen: I read so much and so fast that titles and author names don’t stick in my head for very long. Characters resonate with me for sure and so the fan fiction I read inspires and awes me on a daily basis. I re-read favorites a lot, hoping that my work will improve by sheer osmosis.

Betty: What prompted you to start writing?

Jen: The notion that I could do better than what I was reading. Little did I know how hard it really was.

Betty: What type of writing did you start with?

Jen: Romantic MF fan fiction.

Betty: What do you most enjoy writing? Why?

Jen: I struggled with this question a bit. It’s a bit wide open and Betty suggested I have fun with it, but I really couldn’t come up with anything to make y’all laugh. So the real answer is that I fell in love with reading Male/Male romance about 2013/2014 and eventually tried my hand at it. I’ve been firmly entrenched in the genre ever since. As for why…well, the whole fantasy of two sexy men expressing their love for one another aside, there are a lot of different issues facing people who fall under the queer umbrella. That added a bit of a challenge to my writing.

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

Jen: Mostly books and programs through my local writers group. Conferences when I could afford them. And reading–lots and lots of reading.

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

Jen: I don’t think there’s really anything. It took me such a long time to publish, and publishing had changed so much from the time I first started attending writers group meetings. I had a grasp on everything in as much as one can before making the decision to self-publish over trying to get into traditional publishing. The rigors and the deadlines scared the pants off me for a long time, although I definitely do better with outside deadlines now-a-days.

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

Jen: As I mentioned, I started off writing fan fiction and I still read a ton of it, so my writing is heavily influenced by it.

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

Jen: A group of friends and I were sitting around after our writers group meeting one afternoon, and someone said, “What if we all…?” The idea resonated with me and percolated, and the next month, after writers group meeting, I asked if anyone wanted to pursue the idea. Everyone was onboard so we hashed out the idea and I dove right in to writing. The original group idea fell apart, but I had a book and a town and a plan, so off I went. There are now six books in the series, and I’m hoping for at least one more.

Amputee Scott Hudson returns home to Ten Rigs and takes over the local animal shelter. For six months Ben Thompson has watched Scott work wonders with the kennel and the dogs, admiring his focus and dedication. Can Scott overcome his injury and all that it entails, physically and emotionally, to find love with Ben?

Scott walks in a circle as he works to catch his breath and Ben follows him with his gaze. The man is fit, that’s for damn sure. Six months of minor construction work and building maintenance as well as kennel cleaning and dog wrangling have kept him in shape. Ben knows for a fact that he works out too. Just then, Scott lifts the bottom of his tee shirt and wipes his face with it. Ben’s eyes are drawn to the barely outie belly button and the smattering of dark hair that surrounds it and trails southwa—

“Thompson, you really need to keep your man crush off the court,” says Dooley.

Ben wrenches his eyes away from Scott’s abdomen to catch Dooley’s smarmy smirk before snapping his gaze to Scott’s. He feels the weight of five pair of eyes, but doesn’t care. He only has eyes for Scott, who, at the moment, only has eyes for him. Everyone else fades into the background. Scott’s eyes have gone wide and the color on his face has deepened although probably only Ben realizes the man has just blushed. Ben holds his gaze for what seems like minutes and then finally shrugs. His feelings haven’t really been a secret, although he’d have much rather revealed them to Scott in a less public forum. But the knowledge is out now and there’s no taking it back. Ben doesn’t want it back, truth be told. He’s tired of waiting for the right moment that never seems to come.

** The book is free and, as a side note, all the nookie happens in the epilogue if that’s not your cup of tea.

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

Thanks for sharing a bit about your path to publication, Jen! There are definitely many roads that writers can follow to achieve the dream of publication.

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.