Before you click “Send”, think again …

This is a great reminder of the downside of social media–thanks, Susan!

Books: Publishing, Reading, Writing

On April 7, 2011, I posted I’m negative on negativity to this blog.

That post came to mind this morning when I received a negative comment on a positive status update I had posted. Why, I wondered, are there still so many people out there who feel the need to rain on everyone else’s parade? Are their lives so miserable and negative that they must bring people like me down to their level? It’s not just me who receives these comments, though, but others who also choose to post positive thoughts. I see negative comments all the time.

Plus I just lived through a very negative Canadian election (not unlike the one I describe in that post from 2011) during which I wanted to scream out, “Instead of telling us who you plan to vote OUT of office, please tell us the positive reasons why those you’re voting for will…

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Susan Whitfield Interview

SprigofBroomcvr

This week I would like to welcome Susan Whitfield, the prolific author of the Logan Hunter Mystery series, Slightly Cracked (women’s fiction) and Killer Recipes (cookbook). She’s here today to talk about her writing and her new book, a work of historical fiction called Sprig of Broom. Nice to have you here on Reade and Write, Susan!

Tell me about your new book.

Sprig of Broom is historical fiction.

Sprig of Broom is a coming-of-age novel about Geoffrey Plantagenet, a count, who at the age of 15 marries King Henry’s daughter, Empress Matilda, and fathers the dynasty of Plantagenet kings. The story begins with the count on his journey to Rouen in Normandy to be knighted, thus becoming a Knight of the Bath. From Rouen, he and the king’s entourage travel to LeMans where Geoffrey is wed to Matilda. And the loathing begins . . .

Sir Geoffrey Plantagenet has much to learn, and over the course of his life’s journey he develops a better understanding of himself, fathers a long line of kings, endures adversaries—especially his own wife—and boldly faces the world of chaos around him.

Who is the audience for the book?

Since I’m a multi-genre author, I hope my readership will follow but I expect historical fiction buffs will be the primary audience.

Tell me about the setting of your book—how did you choose it, what kind of research did you have to do, why did you choose it?

I discovered that I have an ancestor who was a Knight of the Bath in the 12th century. Geoffrey V Plantagenet, a count from Anjou in the duchy of Normandy married King Henry’s daughter, Matilda, and fathered Henry II, beginning the long line of Plantagenet kings of England. He was 15 and Matilda was 26 and previously married. They despised each other but vowed to give the king male heirs. This opened an intriguing door for my imagination. I read over thirty books from that time period and several that focused on the Plantagenets themselves.

What was the hardest thing about writing the book?

What a challenge! I have written five mysteries and a women’s fiction and made it all up. This was the first time that I felt I had to know as much accurate history about these characters as I could find and about the time period, how they talked, where they travelled, the clothing, food, etc. Once I had established the true history I went back and let my imagination fill in the unknown gaps. Believability was important to me. Writing scenes of conflict between Geoffrey and Matilda was my favorite part of the process.

Have you written any other books?

I wrote five novels in the Logan Hunter Mystery series, women’s fiction, Slightly Cracked, and authored a unique cookbook, Killer Recipes.

Do you write every day? 

In one way or another. If I’m not literally writing, I’m working something out in my head.

When you read a book, what authors do you like best? What genres do you like best?

I read a wide variety of genres and authors.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers? 

Don’t let anyone talk you out of writing what you feel. Become the character. Work through the hurdles and focus on each character, the setting and the plot at different times.

What advice would you give to your younger self? 

Don’t wait until you’re in your fifties to start writing seriously!

Is there anything I haven’t asked that you wanted me to? 

I live in North Carolina and set all my books here except Sprig of Broom, of course.

Where can readers connect with you?

www.susanwhitfield.blogspot.com

www.susanwhitfieldonline.com

Where can readers find your books?

They can find hard copies at www.Amazon.com and all e-reader formats at www.smashwords.com. Books can also be purchased with credit card or PayPal on my site.

cellarsigning

Until next week,

Amy

Soft and Chewy Sugar Cookies and Some Baking Tips To Make Them Perfect

This is a great post from my friend Sharon, who shares a sugar cookie recipe that I am going to try this season.

With the holidays fast approaching, I thought I would create a list of baking tips. When I was a young mom, I would always start baking right after Halloween, mostly because I would run out of time if I didn’t start early. It was great having cookies in the freezer whenever I needed them for a party, a school function, or last minute arrival of guests. Also, if you live in a colder climate, baking cookies warms the house up very quickly. 🙂

Today, I find myself looking things up as I bake and maybe it would be nice to have some of those things close by. What did we do before the internet?

Tip 1: Create a conversion chart. Print it on either photo paper or cardstock. Attach it to your refrigerator or stove with a magnetic.

.conversion chart

Tip 2: When making sugar cookies start with a basic recipe:…

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Meet Nancy LiPetri!

The Wooded Path front cover- 300

Nancy LiPetri is my guest on Reade and Write today. She is the author of The Wooded Path, a work of contemporary women’s fiction that has garnered some wonderful words of praise on review sites (especially Amazon).

Welcome, Nancy!

Tell me about your new book.

Since October marks the first anniversary of “The Wooded Path” getting published by Oak Tree Press, I’ll answer with facts readers may not have already discovered. For example, although the setting is the real town of Mooresville on Lake Norman, and many true-to-life facts such as street names are used for characters’ names, the McClelland house is modeled after a home I admired that overlooked the DuPage river back in Chicagoland. And although the mystery of the story was inspired by an actual bunco boat ride in which I noticed a depth finder was not working, and although there is an actual wooded path I used to walk to get to horses, the proximity of the path and its farm, to the water, is fictionalized, as are all the characters and events.

Who is the audience for the book?

I felt I was writing it for women who might appreciate realistic characters daring to share what most of us don’t share in polite company, those thoughts we wonder if other “normal” women have. It turns out male readers are enjoying the story, too. They tell me they are entertained by accurate descriptions of the lake and boating, and by what their wives might be secretly thinking about marriage and the various stages of life and love.

Tell me about the setting of your book—how did you choose it, what kind of research did you have to do, why did you choose it?

Every day on Lake Norman I feel fortunate to live in such a friendly community and so close to nature, so I was compelled to share my passion for the area. You could say the lake is a central character in the story, its many moods and mysteries key. Research involved reading news articles about past disappearances on Lake Norman, talking with boating experts at marinas and with a Power Squadron connection as well as online research of facts and figures.

What was the hardest thing about writing the book?

It was frightening to go public with a major creative project, my first novel, because I knew some readers might find the moral debate, some of the women’s fantasies/temptations/confusion to be too edgy.

If your book were made into a movie, who would you like to see playing the main characters?

If you’ve seen the Simon Baker ads for Longines with the horse, you see how I picture Peter Simon. (Sometimes my character names are a clue.) I saw Samantha (Kim Cattrall) from Sex and the City, for Stacia. And Laine (pronounced Lane, by the way) would have to have satiny dark red hair–Stana Katic would be amazing.

Have you written any other books?

I am working on the sequel, working title “Across The Lake” in which the character you least expect to return is back, taking you to the other side of the lake to experience life a whole new way. She’s pushing boundaries. Not worried about fitting in. She gets more than she bargains for, and in the process, can’t believe what she discovers.

Are you in one or more critique groups or partnerships?

I think you can easily spend too much time in groups when you should be focused on lone writing, but I do make time for online writer’s groups for sharing and feedback. The first two are closed groups and my favorites: Women’s Writers, Women’s Books…and Word Surge. I also value the group of Oak Tree Press authors. Beyond those, on LinkedIn: Book Writer…Freelance Copywriters…Copywriters International…Affiliated Authors.

Do you write every day?

Oh yes. I write catalog ads for a living, and write my fiction every chance I get. If I don’t at least jot notes for the fiction, I’m thinking about them, stringing together real life inspirations with lucid dreaming and imagination. It’s a happy compulsion.

When you read a book, what authors do you like best? What genres do you like best?

I’ve always been a fan of John Irving because he is so thought-provoking while making me gasp and laugh. I’ve also enjoyed many crime thrillers, but would say my favoritegenre is contemporary fiction, the category “The Wooded Path” belongs in because it combines mystery and romance but is not purely either one. Loved “Gone Girl.”

Where would you like to go more than anywhere else on earth?

I’d rather have you visit my Pinterest travel board to see so many of my favorite places. Am in heaven snorkeling in Negril, Jamaica, for one. Am happiest in nature.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Write your passion. If you don’t “feel it,” your readers won’t either. Don’t write to please anyone but yourself. And step outside your comfort zone for promotion.

What is your favorite movie and why?

So many favorites. For one that still makes me laugh, “BIG” with Tom Hanks because it’s refreshingly original and makes a fantasy believable.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Never assume you have it all figured out, and rest assured that nobody else does.

Describe yourself in three words.

Spreading the love.

Is there anything I haven’t asked that you wanted me to?

Just to stop blabbing already 😉

Where can readers connect with you?

http://nancylonlakenorman.blogspot.com/https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9851187.Nancy_LiPetri

http://www.amazon.com/Nancy-LiPetri/e/B00P04YUFC/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_book_1

www.pinterest.com/nancylipetri

https://twitter.com/NancyLiPetri

https://www.facebook.com/nancy.lipetri

Where can readers find your books?

OakTreeBooks.com, anywhere they can order with an ISBN number, and Amazon: http://viewbook.at/TheWoodedPath

NancyLiPetri1

Thanks so much for visiting, Nancy!

Until next week,

Amy

Meet Molly Jebber!

change of heart

October will be a busy month on Reade and Write. There will be three guest interviews, beginning with Molly Jebber, author of Change of Heart, an Amish historical romance.

Welcome, Molly!

Tell me about your new book.

“Change of Heart” is the first book in my Keepsake Pocket Quilt series.

“Ohio, 1899.  Becca Yost lived by her Amish faith’s strict rules until her fiancé jilted her. She’s never been away from home, but the bustling town of Massillon, Ohio, is a welcome unexpected refuge. Especially when she goes to work for Dr. Matt Carrington and falls in love with him. But Matt’s wealthy mother is determined her son will marry a society woman. With her newfound resolve challenged, Becca decides that she and Matt must not be destined for each other after all. She accepts that she will have to forge a life alone until a wrenching crisis and life-changing revelations teach her that true faith lies in all things, especially impossible second chances. . .

Who is the audience for the book? 

Women who enjoy Amish romance stories. It’s a sweet inspirational read without sex or bad language, but enough trouble happens in Becca’s life to keep the reader turning the pages. Hint: a robbery!

Tell me about the setting of your book—how did you choose it, what kind of research did you have to do, why did you choose it?

Berlin, Ohio is one of my favorite Amish communities to visit. I found an old Farmer’s Almanac at an antique fair, and it was helpful writing for the story in 1899. The internet provides a wealth of information, and senior citizens have been wonderful to share their stories and those of their parents. The Amish I’ve met and talked to have been very helpful.

What was the hardest thing about writing the book? 

My husband, Ed, daughter, Misty, or a friend will call and ask me to do something fun. Of course, I say “Yes!” Then I burn the midnight oil making up for the time I should’ve been writing! But, it’s worth it!

If your book were made into a movie, who would you like to see playing the main characters?

Carrie Underwood and Tim McGraw

Have you written any other books?  

“An Amish Christmas Sleigh” was released September 29, 2015. This book has three separate stories in it. My story is “An Unexpected Christmas Blessing”, and it takes place in Berlin, Ohio. Kelly Long and Amy Lillard have stories in the book also.

“Grace’s Forgiveness” is the second book in the Keepsake Pocket Quilt series. It is available for preorder on Amazon, but it will be released in stores and online on January 29, 2016.

Are you in one or more critique groups or partnerships?

Southwest Florida Romance Writers

American Christian Fiction Writers

Romance Writers of America

I have published critique partners and we meet or submit our work in progress (at least 10 pages) each week.

Do you write every day?

Yes. If I’m behind on my deadline, I have “crazy hair” days. I stay at my desk all day and write. Ed, my husband, is wonderful. He brings in dinner!

When you read a book, what authors do you like best? What genres do you like best?

Janet Oke, Mary Ellis, Marta Perry, James Patterson, Harlan Coben, Lisa Jackson, Karen Rose, Sue Carly Phillips, Patty Campbell, Rosanna Huffman and so many more. Romance, mysteries and thrillers.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Don’t get discouraged! Find good critique partners. Join writing groups in your area or online. Attend classes and conferences. Visit author’s blogs for good advice. Submit to agents, until you find a good one. My agent and editor with my publisher are very helpful.

I teach free classes. Visit my website for times and locations- http://www.mollyjebber.com

What is your favorite movie and why?

Fireproof – It was such an exciting and inspiring movie.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Don’t wait to write!

Where can readers connect with you?

http://www.facebook.com/mollyjebberhttp://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8435934.Molly_Jebber

http://www.amazon.com/Molly-Jebber/e/B00NI1CSVC/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1424311352&sr=8-1

https://www.twitter.com/mollymjebber

http://www.mollyjebber.com

Where can readers find your books?   

“The Amish Christmas Sleigh” is available in stores and online in print and ebook.

“Grace’s Forgiveness” is available for preorder on Amazon, but will be available in the same locations in print and ebook as “Change of Heart” on January 29, 2016.

“Change of Heart” is available on Amazon and in stores, online and in print and ebook at Barnes & Noble, Books a Million, Walmart, Meijer, local bookstores, libraries, etc. – anywhere books are sold in the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada.

For easiest access to my books, visit my website at http://www.mollyjebber.com and click on Amazon or the store of your choice under the book cover.

Grace's Forgiveness from KensingtonThe Amish Christmas Sleigh

6-6-2015 more cropped pink jckt brown bckgdMolly Jebber

Thanks for visiting, Molly!

Until next week,

Amy