Friday, September 27, 2013

Nancy Lee Badger Interviews Linda Bennett Pennell

Linda Bennett Pennell stopped by to answer a few personal questions.  Welcome, Linda! Please tell my readers a little bit about your book.  

Al Capone at the Blanche Hotel tells of lives unfolding in different centuries, but linked and irrevocably altered by a series of murders in 1930. 

I am already intrigued! Describe the genre of this particular title, and is the only genre you write in?
I am one of THOSE authors who like to blend multiple genre.  Agents and bookstores may hate the idea, but readers seem to love it. I guess I can blame it on my ADD. My book is historical suspense with romantic elements. I would have added women’s fiction into the mix, but it is appealing to men as well as women, so I think I’ll leave well enough alone.
I love reading historicals. Do you have any rejection stories to share? 
I have tons of them, but nothing worth repeating here! Forget ‘em like last year’s lover and move on. That’s my mantra.
Ha! A good idea. What is your writing routine like?  
I fear I’m rather undisciplined. I have to be in the mood; otherwise, I just end up spinning my wheels and turning out yucky stuff.  Fortunately, the mood strikes pretty often. 
Fortune is smiling on you, if this book is any indication. Is research a part of your writing? If so, where do you find the answers?
Since I write historical fiction, I consider research the first and probably most important step in my writing. Nothing sends me into a snit like reading a poorly researched book with inaccurate details, so I try no to be guilty myself.  Locating the answers? Oh, my! I owe my soul to Google Books (free), Google Scholar (free), Amazon (books purchased), and all of the informational websites! Google, a writer’s best friend!! I probably should remember it in my will!
Do you see writing as a career?
I do see writing as a career, but not as a sole means of support. Eating and having shelter are rather high on my list of preferred creature comforts.
Chocolate is on mine! Will you share some encouraging words for authors still struggling for that first contract?
I think the most important thing I can say is this: be kind to yourself. If you are doing your very best to study, learn, and write well, then turn off that blasted internal critic! It kills creativity. I’m not saying forget editing, proofing, or revising. I’m telling you to kill the internal monster that whispers damaging words that undermine your writer’s spirit and suck your soul dry. It’s an evil villain, so kill it and be done with it!
Harsh, but true. Time to lighten up, so please share three fun facts about you that most people don’t know.
Well, let me see. 
1) At one point in my life, I had close personal relationships with gangsters, primarily Crips and Latin Kings. See the contact page on my website if you want to ask how/why.
2) My husband and I bred American Quarter Horses for a time. I can stay on a working cutting horse and work a reining horse. 360 spin, figure eight, sliding stop, dosey doe, flying lead change? No problem!
3) In a moment of newly wed insanity, I agreed to camp across the US and up to Alaska and back. Picture this: seven days one way on the Al-Can highway (really a wide dirt road at the time), no motels, no restrooms, no stores, a truck cap camper sans bathroom, and Canuck’s Revenge all the way. My husband hasn’t pressed the camping issue since!
Al Capone at the Blanche Hotel tells a story of lives unfolding in different centuries, but linked and irrevocably altered by a series of murders in 1930.   

Lake City, Florida, June, 1930: Al Capone checks in for an unusually long stay at the Blanche Hotel, a nice enough joint for an insignificant little whistle stop. The following night, young Jack Blevins witnesses a body being dumped heralding the summer of violence to come. One-by-one, people controlling county vice activities swing from KKK ropes. No moonshine distributor, gaming operator, or brothel madam, black or white, is safe from the Klan's self-righteous vigilantism. Jack's older sister Meg, a waitress at the Blanche, and her fiancé, a sheriff’s deputy, discover reasons to believe the lynchings are cover for a much larger ambition than simply ridding the county of vice. Someone, possibly backed by Capone, has secret plans for filling the voids created by the killings. But as the body count grows and crosses burn, they come to realize this knowledge may get all of them killed.   

Author Linda Bennett Pennell
Gainesville, Florida, August, 2011: Liz Reams, an up and coming young academic specializing in the history of American crime, impulsively moves across the continent to follow a man who convinces her of his devotion yet refuses to say the three simple words I love you. Despite entreaties of friends and family, she is attracted to edginess and a certain type of glamour in her men, both living and historical. Her personal life is an emotional roller coaster, but her career options suddenly blossom beyond all expectation, creating a very different type of stress. To deal with it all, Liz loses herself in her professional passion, original research into the life and times of her favorite bad boy, Al Capone. What she discovers about 1930’s summer of violence, and herself in the process, leaves her reeling at first and then changed forever.

A little bit about the author
I reside in the Houston area with one sweet husband, one German Shorthaired Pointer who thinks she’s a little girl, and one yellow striped cat who knows she’s queen of the house. You can find more information about me, Linda Bennett Pennell at:
How can my readers buy your book?   

Saturday, September 21, 2013

New Release: DRAGON Bites, a collection of ...Myths?

For centuries, myths were often considered an aspect of folklore, but not all. Mythology might include the belief in the supernatural, where as folklore and folk tales derived when people had the need to explain mysterious events. Pre-Christianity might have had a hand in old world myths and folklore. A people’s yearning to believe in the hereafter, or in some type of entity, lived on through stories passed generation to generation. Once Christianity became widespread, mythological creatures, such as the “Fairies”, faded away.

Dragons are myths, some say, while others still ‘believe’. Do you?

Book Blurb
This book is a collection of three similarly themed novellas previously published as separate ebooks by Nancy Lee Badger. DRAGON’S CURSE, set on the Scottish island of Staffa in the late 16th century, features a young man cursed to transform into dragon at inopportune times and the woman he protects. SOUTHERN FRIED DRAGON pairs a Scottish dragon-turned woman and a federal soldier at Ft. Sumter on the eve of Civil War. DRAGON IN THE MIST is a contemporary love story on the shores of Loch Ness, which is a short story that won 1st Place in its category in the 2012 Self-Published Stars Contest.
Available in ebook and print at various locations!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Nancy Lee Badger Interviews Katie O'Boyle

Set yourself in a rocking chair, sip some tea, and enjoy my interview of author Katie O’Boyle. Her book, Stepping Up To Love is a Contemporary Romance and was released August 7, 2013.

Please tell my readers a little bit about your book. 
Stepping Up To Love, the first of the Lakeside Porches romances, is a college-town romance with a recovery spin.

Describe the genre of this particular title, and is the only genre you write in? 
My friends are surprised that I’m writing Contemporary Romance, since we’ve been trading mysteries back and forth for a decade.

What inspired you to write your first book?
A year ago in January we took a friend to brunch for his 90th birthday. As we sat on the beautiful porch of Belhurst Castle in the Finger Lakes, I watched the staff fuss over my friend, and I wondered about them, their comraderie, their lives, their hopes and dreams. The idea for the Lakeside Porches romances—starting with Stepping Up To Love—was born that day.

I miss our deck overlooking a New Hampshire lake. When did you first consider yourself a writer, and when did you start writing toward publication? 
Like Debbie Macomber I couldn’t read until I was  10 or 12; once I got glasses, I began to read voraciously and my pent-up desire to write burst forth. My early books were not publication worthy. I began to write professionally when I worked on my doctorate but finally returned to fiction in the past couple of years, with publication in mind. It’s been a fascinating learning curve, and I’m growing as a writer all the time.

How did you get into romance writing?
The stories in my head as a teen and young adult were usually romantic, but I didn’t understand “genre” and “genre fiction.” It’s just in the past couple of years that I’ve become serious about big-R Romance and eager to learn all about it.

I love my coffeemaker, and a quiet house in which to write. What is your writing routine like?
One morning each weekend you’ll find me at Spot Coffee breaking ground on a new chapter. I have to fit in my writing around a full-time job and adjunct teaching commitments, but I have promised to write an hour each day, one way or another. I’m able to carve out that much time at least.

Do you see writing as a career?
Yes, it’s the career I’m transitioning into as I move away from academia.

How many books have you written, and do you have a favorite?
Each of the 6-8 novels I’ve written is precious to me in its own way. Joel and Manda’s story is special because it’s the first to be published and also because it’s a sweet love story between two characters who make me smile every time I think of them.

What do you see ahead in your writing career?
I’m working on book three of the Lakeside Porches romances and there are more of them, all set in Tompkins Falls in the Fingers Lakes. I’ll get back to writing mysteries, too; several on-the-shelf books featured “NOB Tech,” the fictitious North of Boston Technological Institute. Higher Education is filled with intrigue and fascinating characters!

Will you share some encouraging words for authors still struggling for that first contract?
Believe in yourself just enough to take that next step. And the next. That’s how it works J

Share three fun facts about you that most people don’t know.
1.      I have fun “working titles” for my books that say something about either the hero or the heroine. Stepping Up To Love started as Manda the Brave; Coming Home To Love was Justin’s Time Out (think he has anger issues?); book three is Gwen Gets a Clue, and I have no idea what the “real title” will be.
2.      Just like Manda and her friends, my friends and I love to have lunch on a lakeside porch in one of the pretty Finger Lakes towns, then shop for bargains and new arrivals. We never spend much but we eat well and laugh a lot.
3.      I just found out my office is big enough to swing a hula hoop. I’m up to 100 reps, both directions. It’s great for working out writer’s kinks!


When her boss Joel Cushman catches her using the spa shower at The Manse, junior accountant and graduating college senior Manda Doughty comes clean about the alcoholic drinking that has led her into a disastrous relationship with a predatory professor. Joel, who is also a trustee of the college, is faced with more problems than a beautiful, naked woman in his shower. While he’d rather make love all night with funny, brainy Manda, Joel knows his desire for her has no future if Manda cannot stay sober, grow up, and face her problems squarely. While Manda immerses herself in AA, Joel uncovers harassment and embezzlement that threaten the existence of the college his ancestors founded. Can he fix the problems at the college without exposing Manda to public humiliation? Can Manda clean up her mess and trust the love she feels for Joel? The odds may not be in their favor, but miracles happen for those who are willing to change their lives and open their hearts.

Manda turned off the water and drew back the linen curtain dividing the shower stall from the dressing area, and screamed. Standing at the glass door was the big boss. Remy’s boss. Her boss's boss. She wasn’t sure, but Joel Cushman was probably everybody’s boss.

“Geez, Joel, I thought you were a pervert!” she yelled at him. I can’t believe I just called Mr. Cushman “Joel.” I am in so much trouble here.

“Manda? What—?” His voice cracked like an adolescent.

Manda stifled a laugh. His eyes were drinking in her body as though he couldn’t believe what she’d been hiding under her baggy clothes. Drink your fill now, Joel, because I am off men for life.

“I thought you were a criminal. What are you doing in the shower at seven fifteen in the morning? And stop batting that curtain around.”

Manda tried desperately to grab the linen shower curtain, flapping this way and that in the current created by the open door. “Do you mind?” she scolded him.

Giving up on the curtain, she crossed her arms and turned her back on him. He probably likes that view, too. “Could you hand me a towel, please, or get out of here?” Why am I yelling at the boss? Seriously dumb, Manda.

He was silent now, which was worse. What is he doing, standing there, looking at me? Panic overtook anger, and she turned back to look at him.

He had dropped the admiring once-over and was taking a second look at her purpling bruises. Silently, he handed her a towel from the top of the stack and looked her in the eye.

Manda wondered if he could read the shame and fear clouding her vision.

Joel cleared his throat and ordered, “In my office. Five minutes. Dressed.”

Author Katie O'Boyle
A little bit about the author

Once upon a time, Katie O’Boyle was a stellar student and closet substance abuser at a picture-perfect small college. She credits loving friends, 12-step spirituality, and plenty of hard work for her transformation into tech-savvy college professor and passionate author of warm-hearted romance. Fall in love with her characters on the lakeside porches of the beautiful Finger Lakes in upstate New York. Lakeside Porches, Book One: Stepping Up To Love (Joel and Manda’s story), summer 2013; Book Two: Coming Home to Love (Justin and Gianessa’s story).

How can my readers buy your book?
Currently, Stepping Up To Love is available through Amazon at:

In early November it will be available in other ebook formats and through the publisher
 You can find more information about Katie O’Boyle
and her book, Stepping Up To Love at:

Friday, September 6, 2013

Nancy Lee Badger Interviews Amy Jarecki

Today I’m interviewing  author Amy Jarecki. Her book, Chihuahua Momma, is a contemporary romance and was released in eBook on July 28th, and the paperback will be available in mid September.

Please tell my readers a little bit about your book. 

It’s a fun romance between an ex-football star and a top notch dog handler who doesn’t think she wants to date. Rebecca’s a widow. She’s got two teenaged kids—there’s no time in her life for romance.This is contemporary romance—sort of Jenifer Cruisie style. I also write historical romance, and have two “Celtic Warrior” romances coming out in the second half of 2014.

Since my heart is in Scotland, I cannot wait to read them! When did you first consider yourself a writer, and when did you start writing toward publication? I’ve been a writer since second grade. I wrote my first novel in the late 90’s, and though it was a piece of literary rubbish, It whet my appetite, and I’ve been striving toward improving my craft ever since.

How did you get into romance writing?I love romance, and after doing my research, I discovered that romance is the genre that sells the most. Why not write something you love in a genre that you have a chance of getting published in?

Let's get really personal: Do you have any rejection stories to share? The most baffling was from an agent who sent me the following e-mail after reading my full:
Thanks for your patience while I’ve evaluated this project. I read the sample in entirety yesterday and I’m afraid I’m going to pass. I think your writing is fabulous, and this is an entertaining read. I’m afraid it’s just the story itself that didn’t really set with me. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with it, like I said, I have nothing but positives to say, it’s really just a matter of personal taste. I realize that’s about the worst thing to hear, but, I wanted to be up front. I think you have a lot of talent, it’s just this one isn’t right for my list. I wish you the best in finding a better suited match.
Is research a part of your writing? If so, where do you find the answers?
I do a ton of research. I find answers in books and online—anywhere I can…and if I can’t find it, I make something up and verify the facts later (if possible).

How many books have you written, and do you have a favorite?
Presently I’m just about finished with manuscript #10. My favorite is always the one I’m writing!

We connected as members of the Celtic Hearts Romance Writers. Are you a member of any other writing organizations and have they helped?
I’m a member of the RWA and the chapter Celtic Hearts RWA. I also am a member of the League of Utah Writers. Yes, all of these organizations have helped me immensely. I take a ton of writing classes, as I’m always trying to improve my craft.

Share three fun facts about you that most people don’t know.
1)I used to be a plant manager in the plastics industry.
2)I play the piano badly.
3)I got my master’s degree from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Visiting Scotland is on my Bucket List! What’s next for you? Upcoming releases: Virtue - Release date, Dec. 1, 2013 A contemporary romantic suspense—Dancers, Cruise Ships, a Mayan Temple and the Prophecy of the Golden Goddess.
Rescued by the Celtic Warrior – Roman woman, Pict man, forbidden love. Takes place during the Roman occupation of Britannia, Release August, 2014

Celtic Maid – Sequel to Rescued – Release Dec. 2014

Look for future announcements about my Highlanders of Raasay series…

In the frenetic world of canine pageants like Westminster, where dog hair flies and personalities diverge, Rebecca Lee remains in a cocoon of loneliness. Widowed, with two teenaged kids and a business to run, Rebecca would rather mow through five-hundred poodle cuts than think about dating. But when former quarterback Matt Johnson shows up to buy a Chihuahua, his irresistible grin rocks her world—until Matt’s ex decides she wants him back and Rebecca’s daughter decides she’s against her mom dating. Rebecca now has a choice—crawl back into her realm of dogs or fight for the powerful love that fills her soul.

     Like all males, this one was a sucker for a back massage and he leaned into her skilled hands with a blissful moan. He arched his back when she found that “spot” and Rebecca chuckled at the dog’s leg-shaking response. She glanced in the mirror over the stainless steel doggie bath. The steam always made Rebecca’s red hair frizz and it tickled her cheeks as she worked suds into the Powder Puff Chinese Crested.
     With her teenaged kids at school, Rebecca sang along to the tune of “Uptown Girl” booming from the light-rock station. She sounded pretty good and blasted out the words she knew, substituting “doggie paws” where her memory failed.
     Rebecca took her hand off the Crested to swipe the encroaching frizz out of her eyes. Of course the dog took advantage of the freedom and shook, splattering her with water and suds. “Darn you little rascal.” She twitched as doggie bath water dribbled down her face. Glancing at the mirror, she dabbed her cheeks with her shirt sleeve. The suds in her hair would have to wait.
     As she reached for the warm water spray hose, a muffled doorbell rang. Her eyes shot to a plastic black-and-white Chihuahua clock, its tail wagging to the tick of each half-second. Damn, ten minutes early and he’s at the wrong door. Can’t people read the sign? She fastened the grooming loop on the Crested and folded up the side panel of the bath to ensure the dog’s safety.
     Dashing from her studio, she opened the door of her Southern New Jersey home. With a sharp jolt, her breath caught as a friendly grin and sky-blue eyes gazed down at her. “Hi, I’m Matt Johnson.”
     Rebecca stood motionless. Her mouth hung open, her mind unable to focus.

A little bit about the author Amy lives in Southwest Utah with her husband Bob and three adorable Chihuahuas. Born in Alturas, California, she holds an MBA from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland. Amy loves dancing, hiking, golfing, but above all, she is a true Chihuahua Momma.

You can visit her at:
How can my readers buy your book?
Readers can go to the publisher’s HOME PAGE