Friday, December 19, 2014

I'd Like to Thank the Academy

Eddie Murphy told a joke in one of his stand up films about Stevie Wonder and awards ceremonies. He said "If you don't shut Stevie up, the credits will be rolling and he'll still be thanking people."

I haven't won an Academy Award. Yet. (They have Oscars for writers, did you know that?) :) I should get an Oscar for some of the performances I put on at work. The award for Best Bakery Manager Appearing to Agree with A*****e Store Manager While Suppressing the Urge to Punch Him in the Face goes to .... The  award for Best Ability to Keep a Straight Face While Talking to a Size 30 Customer Shoved into a Size 12 Tank Top and Size 14 Leggings goes to ....

I may not have won an Academy Award, but I do feel like I've won something this month. After seven years of writing seriously and a lifetime of wanting to be a published writer, this month on December 1st, my first dream finally came true. It has been a long strange trip. One I have wanted to bail on more times than I care to remember. Every time I tried to steer this train wreck off the tracks someone was there to jerk the controls out of my hand and keep me on the rails.

I have a fabulous cake decorator working for me who quits at least once a day. Working at Walmart is crazy. Working as a cake decorator at Walmart is crazy, wrapped in screaming terror, topped with a healthy dose of "TheCakeBossDoesn'tWorkHere!" So at least once a day Cara looks at me and says "I quit." And I look at her and say "No." and we go back to work. This post is for all of those people who looked at me and said "No." Those of you who have seen Stevie Wonder at an awards ceremony, gird your loins. This may take a while. And I'm not blind. When you bring out the hook, I will run from you. I may have to pretend you are a knife-wielding clown to pick up some speed, but I will run.

I would like to thank Avon Publishing for putting on the AvonFanLit event. (And thanks Tammy Lynn Rushing for telling me about it!) One of the chapters in the end product is mine. And I met some amazing writers, many of whom remain some of my dearest friends and supporters in this business.

I would like to thank my very first critique group. I met them via the FanLit event. They saw something in my writing and recruited me into their group. I learned so much from these ladies. They were my first teachers and I will never be able to repay them. The group has since disbanded, but I want to thank Erin, Terry Jo, Marianne, Gillian and Mary. You put my feet on this path.

I would like to thank the Broads of Broad Strokes - the little group that formed in Tammy's bookshop. Your critiques, enthusiasm, support and understanding kept me going more times than you will ever know. Thanks Tammy, Jeannie, Audrey, Kathleen and Fran. I still crack up every time I think about us reading the "weenie in the bag" scene in the Mexican restaurant.

I want to thank Southern Magic, the most amazing and generous chapter of RWA on the planet. You ladies keep me sane. Which is a bigger job than ANYONE knows. You keep me connected. You teach me. You support me. Your accomplishments make me proud to be a member of such a talented group. And you let me ramble like an idiot on the blog once a month. :)

I want to thank the following blogs for their support, their sense of community, their entertainment and their education - The Risky Regencies, The History Hoydens, The Goddess Blogs, The Wet Noodle Posse, The Word Wenches, The Jaunty Quills, and Number One London. When you are as crazy about romance as I am, especially historical romance, it is nice to know there are people out there just as crazy as you are.

I would like to thank The Romance Bandits. If you haven't seen the party they threw for my debut last week you missed the most amazing, humbling, stupendous launch I have ever seen. Cassondra Murray and the rest of the Romance Bandits blew me away and while the enthusiasm of the little community they have built on their blog didn't surprise me after all of the years I've visited there it was still beyond thrilling to see all of that enthusiasm directed at something I wrote.

I want to thank Dianna Love for sending her street team over to the party. Dianna is one of the most generous and giving writers it has ever been my privilege to know. She is a big reason I gathered the courage to take up writing after years of my desire to do so lay dormant. I met Dianna at a readers luncheon seven years ago and she encouraged me to pick up my pen and pursue writing again. Thanks, Dianna. I owe you. Big time!

I want to thank my two Golden Heart groups - The Pixie Chicks and The Ruby Slippered Sisterhood. For all of the late night conversations, especially lately about the terrors of Indie publishing, thank you! For the commiserations, butt kickings, cheer leading and the sort of advice and chastisement only sisters can give - thank you! I would not want to be on this journey without you.

I want to thank the Beau Monde Chapter of RWA. Anyone who writes Regency set romance and doesn't avail themselves of the collective genius of this group as writers and researchers is missing the most amazing resource ever. More than that, they are some of the most generous and supportive writers it has been my privilege to know.

To my two idols and mentors - what can I say about two people whose work I so greatly admire befriending and mentoring me? There are no words adequate enough to express my gratitude. To Diane Gaston, O Divine One, thank you for the late night phone calls, for the e-mails and for all of the support and friendship you have shown me on this journey. To Anna Campbell, La Divina, thank you for all of those long e-mails, for the lunches at Nationals, for all of the laughter and generous information, opinions and advice and most of all for the dear friendship.

To RWA, I would not be making money selling something I wrote without this organization. Period. I will be forever grateful to RWA for introducing me to so many amazing writers, women generous enough to teach workshops, to answer questions or to sit in a bar and tell me "you can do this." Writing is often a lonely calling. Through RWA I have learned the two most important things a writer can learn - you are not alone and it is okay to ask for help. And for the contests, the judges' critiques, the opportunity to pitch to editors and agents, the opportunity to gather with fellow writers and just be who I truly am, I thank you!

To my RWA conference roomie, Andrea Stein, thank you for convincing me over and over again to hang in there. Thank you for believing in me and for kicking my butt when I needed it. Thank you for being a cheerleader, confidant, adviser, partner in crime (see The Joanna Bourne Incident,) for daring to ride in a car I was driving in Atlanta, for always being there, for taking this Indie journey with me, for spotting for me so I don't break my neck getting into my spanx, and for being the sister I never had.

I belong to two of the most amazing critique groups in the business, bar none. Their enthusiasm for my work and their support and encouragement mean the world to me. More than that, their incredible talent and never ending diligence serve as an inspiration to me each and every day. And their tolerance for reading my stuff over and over and over again and their ability to talk me off the ledge on a weekly basis should have each member of both groups up for sainthood. It is a privilege and honor to belong to these two groups and to call these forces of nature my friends.

So, to  Regency Romance Critiquers and Historical Romance Critiquers you have my undying love and appreciation for putting up with me. I would not be a published author without your wisdom, laughter, butt kicking and support.

And last, but never ever least, (Okay, I heard that. You're all saying "Will she NEVER shut up!")

To Kate Parker, Hannah Meredith and Anna D. Allen - I've already offered you my first born, but you wisely declined as he really is the worst chihuahua ever. So you will have to settle for my offering you my undying gratitude. I truly was ready to get out of this game. You four came along and invited me into this endeavor and then endured dealing with my fits and starts, my SLOWER THAN CONGRESS writing, and my complete ignorance of the proper use of commas. :) Your determination to produce nothing but quality writing, great stories, with well-drawn plots and characters forced me to kick my game up a notch and make me determined to settle for nothing less as I go forward. Your generosity, knowledge, friendship and craziness have changed my life and made this the very best Christmas ever. I love you all dearly.

There you have it. My Academy Award speech. Someone poke Naima and Carla and tell them the credits are rolling. It has been a long journey only to arrive at another starting place. From here I hope to travel a long and successful trip in publication. And I hope I always have the people who have made this journey possible in my heart and by my side. The trip is so much more fun with other people to laugh with, cry with, to ogle hot guys with, to complain with, and to get out and push when necessary.

Have a very Merry Christmas and a Prolific and Successful New Year. 

And, now for a commercial :

Christmas Revels : Four Regency Novellas

Hannah Meredith, Anna D. Allen, Kate Parker and Louisa Cornell


“A Light in Winter or The Wicked Will” – Debt-ridden Connor Grayson inherits his uncle's title and ruined estate. But in order to receive his uncle's money, the new Viscount Roxbury must marry an ancient crone—a fate he considers... until he meets her companion.

“The Lord of Misrule”
– Everyone expects the Earl of Morrell to propose to Alice Caruthers during the Christmas holidays. Finally! But when the earl’s best friend arrives as the lucky First Foot on New Year’s Eve, Alice’s world turns upside-down.

“God Rest Ye Murdered Gentlemen” – Newlywed Eugenia, Lady Hunter, wants to impress her aristocratic in-laws with her first Christmas house party — but blackmail, dead bodies, and being snowed in with a killer are not part of her plan.

“A Perfectly Dreadful Christmas”
– Three not-so-wise gentlemen, a pregnant stranger, several tumbling footmen, and an unexpected snowstorm will turn Elizabeth's Perfectly Ordinary Christmas into a disaster ... or a Christmas miracle with the man she loves.






Now where is Ellen DeGeneres with some pizza !!!!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Walking in the Footsteps of the Past

I’m still celebrating the release of the first two books in my A More Perfect Union series of historical romances. The stories are set in and around Charleston, South Carolina, in the fall of 1782. The British prepared to evacuate the city, as the war wound down. This time period fascinates me. I don’t think most Americans, let alone citizens of other countries, understand the dynamics of that age. In order to understand it better myself, I had to visit present day Charleston not once but twice for research… Seriously. I did research (among other things). What kind of research did I do? Well, let me tell you, but first I have a special announcement to make!

Emily’s Vow (Book 1) is only $.99 for a digital copy through December 31! So I’ll make a deal with you. I’ll give away an ebook copy of Amy’s Choice (Book 2) to three commenters (selected using random.org) who buy a copy of Emily’s Vow and post the confirmation number and email address in the comments below. That’s right! You could have both of the first two books in the series for less than one dollar. Here are the links to buy a copy of Emily’s Vow:
iBooks: http://bit.ly/1DUsvAc
Nook: http://bit.ly/1wZML3a
Kindle: http://amzn.to/1obL3tT
Google: http://bit.ly/13Bll94
Kobo: http://bit.ly/1t75sMh

Now let’s look at some of the places I visited to gain a sense of the place and ensure my historical facts are as accurate as I can make them.
My supportive guinea pig hubby traveled with me to Cowpens National Battlefield. In the photo, he is the man on the right, as the park ranger led us down the road where the battle between the Americans and the British took place. This site becomes important in book 3, Samantha’s Secret (spring 2015).


We also discovered Brattonsville, a town on the frontier of South Carolina during the 18th century. It’s a unique site because American Revolution era buildings are on one side of the street, and Civil War era buildings on the other. They had a really nice gift shop and museum, too. Walking through the school helped me describe the experience of walking on the old wood floors in the books. The photo shows a cabin where somebody lived.
 
In Charleston, we took a carriage ride through the historic downtown so that I could get a sense of what traveling back in the 18th century might have been like. The horse’s name was Bob; I have no idea what the guide’s name was! But we learned about alley notorious for being used for duels, which features in Emily’s Vow.


We also took a tour of the Old Exchange and Dungeon, learning about how the British kept prisoners in the basement, shown in the photo, while they occupied the city. This site features in Emily’s Vow .

 
On our first trip to Charleston we stayed at the Rutledge House B&B, which was the home of John Rutledge, one of the governors of South Carolina during the Revolution time period. This is where I tried sherry for the first time, when they served high tea one afternoon in the upstairs parlor. Being in the elaborately decorated house helped me to visualize other houses in each of the three stories. The photo shows the rear of the majestic house.
 
And in order to sample the atmosphere a bit more, we ate dinner one night at McCrady’s Tavern, which existed during the Revolution. Also, George Washington ate there when he made a tour of the south after he became the first president of the United States of America. We were seated in the “old section” so I like to think I ate dinner in the same room as Washington.

I hope you’ll take me up on my offer, because these ladies’ stories are dear to my heart and I want to share them with everyone who loves historical fiction as much as I do! Good luck!

Keep in touch! I'd love it if you'd sign up for my newsletter so you'll learn about my new releases first. Thanks!

Website: www.bettybolte.com
Blog: www.bettybolte.com/blog.htm
Newsletter: www.bettybolte.com/newsletter.htm
Facebook: www.facebook.com/AuthorBettyBolte
Twitter: @BettyBolte
Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/bettybolte
Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/bettybolte9
Amazon: www.amazon.com/author/bettybolte
Tsu: https://www.tsu.co/BettyBolte
eBook Discovery: http://bit.ly/ZOhVhL


Monday, December 15, 2014

My Top Five Favorite Things About The Holidays

December is one of my favorite months in the year. So, in the spirit of goodwill to all men (and women!), I'm sharing a list of what I love so much about December and the holidays.
  1. Decorating the Tree for Christmas. Because I have the kitchiest, most marvelous ornaments in the world and they always make me smile to see them. It's like visiting with old friends.
     
  2. Soy Eggnog. I thought for sure I'd have to give up eggnog when I was diagnosed with lactose intolerance, but luckily, there's a deeeelicious soy milk alternative that tastes exactly the same. Yum!
     
  3. Lighting the Fireplace. Okay, my fireplace is electric, so theoretically I can run it all year long because heat doesn't actually come out of it unless I push a button....but it's winter and there's a fire in the fireplace!!!
     
  4. Lifetime and Hallmark Christmas Movies. These are my incredibly guilty and (almost) secret pleasure. I'm totally outing myself on this blog, but I literally fill up the DVR with them and watch them all year long.
     
  5. Baking Christmas Cookies. I love to bake cookies. There's something a little zen about mixing all the ingredients, placing decorations meticulously on each one, and than smelling the delicious scent of baking cookies wafting from the oven.
So those are my favorite things about the holidays. What are yours? 

I hope you all have a great and wonderful month full of fun, friendship, and really good food. ;)

====

AIDEE LADNIER is a writer who loves quirky characters. You can visit her website at http://www.aideeladnier.com or meet her at some of her favorite social media sites: 
Twitter  |  Tumblr  |  Pinterest  |  Facebook



Friday, December 12, 2014

Traditions of the More Colorful Sort

There is no time of the year that tradition dominates my activities more than the holidays.  I would love to paint the picture of my family snuggled around a crackling fire as someone with a cultured British accent read Twas the Night Before Christmas.  Something like this:


But alas, the traditions celebrated at Casa de Leonard are a little more . . . colorful?  We begin with topping the tree.  You may have a star or angel up there.  Well, I have a stuffed Yukon Cornelius (the original Ron Swanson) to guard the top of my tree.  Tell me an angel or star is better than this:


Many families watch a specific movie during the holiday season.  It's a Wonderful Life.  Love Actually.  Die Hard. Gremlins.  Ahh, the classics.  Our family has a Christmas movie.  The best darn Christmas movie ever. STARSHIP TROOPERS!!!!!  If you want to argue with me that it isn't the best darn holiday movie ever, you can try.  You will lose.

These are the traditions I am willing to publicly share.  Buy me a glass (or three) of champagne and I may be willing to share a few more (after you sign the appropriate NDA).

Don't leave me hanging out here alone.  Share your more colorful holiday traditions with me.  Or do I need to buy you a glass of champagne? 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Interview with Cheryl Yeko, Past Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence Winner


Cheryl Yeko
 
Imagine my surprise when I discovered a fellow Soul Mate author, editor extraordinaire, and creator of outstanding book trailers was also a Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence winner.  I bounced right off my balance ball.


 
The fabulous Cheryl Yeko won the 2012 Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence with her debut romantic suspense novel, Protecting Rose.


 
In 2013, she was a finalist in the same category with her second novel, A Man To Trust.
 

Me:  *waves* Hey, Cheryl. Thanks for taking the time to chat with me on Romance Magicians. Why did you choose to enter a contest for published writers?

Cheryl: My entry into the writing world was very fast, and I was looking for ways to promote, and to see if I could get some feedback on my writing. So, I entered Protecting Rose in some contests, but I never really expected to win. I had actually forgotten about it, when I got the call. I was beyond thrilled, as you can imagine. J Now, of course, I’m hooked, and enter all my novels in contests. I’ve been lucky that my books continue to place well in these contests, and my novella Mountain Hero just took first place in the 2014 International Digital Awards contest.
 
Me: That’s wonderful. Congratulations on your success. I’d say the contest wins certainly confirm your talent as a writer. I think many published authors are looking for that kind of feedback. What did you gain from entering the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence?

Cheryl: First and foremost, validation. Protecting Rose was the first time I’d ever attempted to write anything, and I had no idea how well I had done, or not done. So, when I won this contest, it made me feel like a real writer. I floated for at least a year...my family probably wanted to stick a sock in my mouth, because it was all I could talk about. Really, I was so annoying, I’m sure... But, they forgave me. J I’m much calmer now...okay...a little calmer now...LOL
When it was announced that’d I’d won, I saw a huge increase in visitors on my website, like close to 20,000. That was cool. Now, if only they’d all bought my book...sigh.
Then I received an awesome button for my website at http://www.cherylyeko.com/ I also bought a really nice reading/writing chair and created a nook area in my living room corner, where I hang my writing awards. My Gayle Wilson Award was professionally framed and is my centerpiece.

Me: LOL. I’m sure my family wants to stuff a sock in my mouth at times. ;) I love that the Gayle Wilson win increased your online visibility. I saw the button on your website. Very cool. I hope to have an awards nook someday. What are you working on now? 
Cheryl:  I’m working on two novels, a paranormal with angels and warriors, and a romantic suspense with a serial killer plot. Both are stretching my writing skills. I’m having a lot of fun with the paranormal, and I’ve really freaked myself out a time or two with the serial killer story. My goal is to complete the serial killer story (still unnamed) by 2015, along with another novella for my Hero Series, and the paranormal by 2016. I’m hoping the paranormal goes over well with readers, and I’ll make it a series. That’d be really cool!
Me: Best wishes with your upcoming releases. I bet the serial killer and paranormal stories will go over great with readers. Thanks again for stopping by, and I hope 2015 will be your greatest year yet. *Applause* Check out these other titles by Cheryl and visit her online at her Website, Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.



 
Have you ever gotten great contest feedback?

2015 GAYLE WILSON AWARD OF EXCELLENCE
The Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, sponsored by RWA chapter Southern Magic, was conceived in honor of multi-RITA Winner Gayle Wilson to award excellence in published romance fiction. The contest is judged by avid readers of romance, booksellers, and/or librarians. The winners of each category are awarded a custom-made golden lapel pin. Winners will also be included in a full-page RWR advertisement.

For more details and to enter, go to: Southern Magic