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Mothers and daughters… theme of my next Paris WW2 book and why I wrote it by Jina Bacarr

May 11, 2022 by in category Jina’s Book Chat, women's fiction, Writing tagged as , , , ,

On this Mother’s Day past, I was looking for a pretty graphic of flowers or chocolate or a cute puppy

to post but how to personalize it?

Hmm…

I ate all the chocolate during my marathon writing week finishing my manuscript.

I could buy red roses… or pink… I like yellow…. I couldn’t make up my mind.

And if I went puppy shopping, I’d come home with as many cute puppies as my arms could hold.

Back to square one… how to personalize Mother’s Day?

Especially since my next Boldwood Books novel is about Paris WW 2 is about mothers and daughters. How two daughters (Irish-American and German Jewish) — my heroines — and their relationships with their moms are affected by war.

A topic dear to my heart since I lost my mother many years ago. I had such a wonderful relationship with her. We were so close and, growing up, I adored her. When we lived in Kentucky, she was a model on live TV commercials and I used to race home from grade school to watch her on TV modeling fashion from a local dress shop.

I’ll never forget the day I was watching TV with my sitter and we were waiting to see my mom when we had a major thunderstorm. Powerful winds and a drenching downpour. I was around eleven when lightning struck the tall TV tower and it fell on the TV station… the television went black… pouring rain outside. Telephone lines down. Where was Mom? I panicked when she didn’t come home. My dad came rushing home from work to check on us… what, Mom isn’t here?

He grabbed me and we jammed to the TV station in our old blue Dodge, braving the pouring rain and deep puddles. When we got there, we saw….

Firetrucks… police cars… reporters.

Then someone said a woman had been killed when she was struck by falling debris.

I was a kid, but I never felt such panic cut through me, such anguish that something could happen to my beautiful mom. She was always there for me… we baked cookies together, sewed dresses together… I couldn’t grasp the idea of losing her. It pained me more than anything in my young life.

I turned to see my dad’s face so pale, his jaw clenched… he told me to wait with the police officer while he checked to see–

He left the words hanging…

It was the longest time in my life, waiting….

Then the news.

No, it wasn’t Mom. She came racing back with my father in tow, holding her tight around the waist. I ran into her arms and she hugged me tight… I could feel her trembling. She was wearing a red satin shirtwaist dress she was modeling that day and she was in the makeup room waiting for her cue when the tower fell. She was shaken up, but okay.

A woman who worked there lost her life that day and we cried and said prayers for her and her family. I never forgot it.

The pain and anguish of seeing how quickly you can lose someone so dear to you stayed with me. When I thought about what I wanted to write about for this next book. I decided to explore mothers and daughters during wartime… I begin my story back in 1934 when we meet my two heroines and their mothers and see their relationships grow over the years… the joys, frustrations… growing pains… then war is declared…

I hope you’ll come with me on my journey to publication of this unique World War 2 mothers and daughters story!

And for Mother’s Day?

I decided to post this short video of Mom and me when I was ten. Enjoy!!

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Author Laura Drake releases The Road to Me

March 24, 2022 by in category Jann says . . . tagged as , ,

Laura Drake is a New York and self-published and author of Women’s Fiction and Romance. Her debut, The Sweet Spot, was a double-finalist, then won the 2014 Romance Writers of America® RITA® award. She’s since published 12 more books. She is a founding member of Women’s Fiction Writers Assn, Writers in the Storm blog.

Laura is a city girl who never grew out of her tomboy ways, or a serious cowboy crush. She gave up the corporate CFO gig to write full time. She realized a lifelong dream of becoming a Texan and is currently working on her accent. She’s a wife, grandmother, and motorcycle chick in the remaining waking hours.

Author Laura Drake is a woman of many talents. In addition to being a wife, grandmother and motorcycle chick who loves to flyfish, she’s my friend. Her books reach in and grab your heart and soul. Let’s see what Laura has to say about her latest book and her love of writing.

Jann: How important is the setting, themes, plot in your stories?

Laura: VERY! I’m writing Women’s Fiction now, so themes really resonate there. I’m so not a plotter, but so far, I’ve managed to bumble through. Settings – especially important in my Western Romances.

Jann: Congratulation on the April 19, 2022, release of your Women’s Fiction book, The Road to Me. I love the tag—Trouble with the Curve meets Peace, Love and Misunderstanding. Did you have this tag when developing the book or did it come to mind after?

Laura: After – and it’s the first book I’ve had a tag for!

Jann: Tell us about your characters, Jacqueline Oliver and her grandmother, Nellie, and their story. What major conflicts do they need to work through?

Laura: Oh my gosh, so many. See, Jacqueline was raised by her barely functioning alcoholic mother. Her grandmother would sail in, shower them with love and gifts, and then sail out, a few days later. Jacqueline thinks it’s because her grandmother didn’t care…but she’s wrong.

Jann: You were introduced to the rodeo world and Pro Bull Riding. You sold your Sweet on a Cowboy series after several years of submitting to agents and editors and finally to Grand Central(Forever). I remember how excited you were to receive a three-book contract. And to top it off, the first book in the series, The Sweet Spot, won the 2014 Romance Writers of America RITA for Best First Book. What a thrill it must have been for you. Tell us about the book and your experience winning the award.

Laura: The agony of defeat – until the thrill of victory! I was rejected 417 times over the course of 3 books (but who counted?). I was so desperate, because I knew this book was special. It wasn’t until an editor came to town, and I think it was YOU that asked me to pick her up at the airport and bring her to a scheduled dinner. She was stuck with me on the Orange Crush for TWO HOURS. Eventually, she asked what I wrote, and I pitched her my book. She asked me to send the beginning to her. I reached in the back seat and handed it to her (hey, I said desperate, right?) She was a bit surprised but promised that she’d read it on the plane home. Sure enough, Monday, she contacted me and said, ‘The first thing we need to do is get you an agent.’ Yeah, like I hadn’t thought of that…

I was stunned when my name was called…my agent and I just screamed for it seemed like minutes. Nora Roberts presented it to me (squee!) and whispered in my ear, ‘This is the best RITA.’ I sure wasn’t arguing! One of the best memories of my life.

Jann: Did winning the award advance your writing career?

Laura: You know, I was shocked. I was sure it would be the start that would launch my career. So after, I contacted my editor and said, ‘Okay, now how do we take advantage of this for marketing?’ She told me that the award mattered to authors, but didn’t mean anything to readers. Wow. But sadly, she was right.

Jann: You have published five more western romances and four small town romances. Your first Women’s Fiction, Days Made of Glass, published in November, 2015. Would you tell us about the history of this book?

Laura: I self-published it, because though all the editors who read it loved it, they said that there wasn’t enough of an audience for a Western WF. They were right – but I didn’t care. It’s the book I wrote for my sister, who I lost at 32 to cancer. Nothing in the book is autobiographical, but the sisters’ relationship ours. Many readers have told me that it’s their favorite of all my books, and it has the highest star rating. That’s all I care – that it touched them.

Jann: What do you want readers to come away with after they read your books?

Laura: ALL the feels. Laugh, cry, and everything in-between.

Jann: Love the picture on your website for The Road to Me. Is it a road somewhere on Route 66? It reminds me of California Highway 395 on the way to Mammoth Lakes. 

Laura: It’s not 395 (I so love that road), but somewhere in Arizona, I think.

Jann: What are you working on now? Can you tell us about your next project?

Laura: I just turned in my next Women’s Fiction to my editor. Tentatively titled, Amazing Gracie, it’s about a woman soldier returning from Afghanistan with heavy guilt. She takes her nine-year-old sister on a road trip to save her from the mother’s boyfriend, but her sister ends up saving her.

Jann: I know you love road trips on your motorcycle and fishing? Do you have any adventures planned this year?

Laura: Always! I’m lucky to now live within 15 miles of two lakes and a river and am fishing at least once a week (weather allowing). We’re planning on several motorcycle trips this year.

Jann: What kind of writer are you? A page a day or a burst writer?

Laura: My daily word count goal is 500. Yeah, not much, I know, but I work until they’re good words. I write every day, so they add up. It takes me 7 months to write a romance, 9 to write a Women’s Fiction.

Jann: Are there any words of inspiration on your computer, in your office or in your mind when you write?

Laura: I have a chunk of fossilized dinosaur poop on my desk. It reminds me that anything I’m worried about today won’t matter in a million years. And, not to write crap.

 Jann: Do you have a website, blog, twitter where fans might read more about you and your books?

Laura: I have a Facebook group that is full of snark, wisdom and interaction—come join us! It’s Laura Drake’s Peace, Love & Books. Twitter & Instagram – @lauradrakebooks  and my website is Laura Drake Books

I love doing Author Q&A’s and doing one with a good friend is great. Thanks Laura for giving our readers a peak into your writing, books and life. Good luck on the release of The Road to Me!!

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My ‘Good Day’ Post about a scare in the air: a podcast series from Ulverscroft UK by Jina Bacarr

January 11, 2021 by in category Jina’s Book Chat tagged as , , , , , , , ,

My #AGoodDay #podcast is up today re: a scare I had up in the air years ago.

Thanks to @uLibraryDigital for producing these stories!

You can listen below and on the Ulverscroft page on Spotify. https://open.spotify.com/episode/07cHfvk7h59dfewTRVxNO7?si=u26TNw4XQVWqZEDq-dW1jA

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Story Ideas by Kat Martin

December 17, 2020 by in category Guest Posts tagged as , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
woman using a typewriter with crumpled up paper around her and a cup of coffee next to her. Title of the post Story Ideas and author Kat Martin are place over the image.

People often ask how I come up with ideas for my novels.  Sometimes I have no answer—it just seems to pop into my head.  Best guess, the kernel of an idea probably came from a newspaper or magazine article or something I saw in a movie.  It was probably just so far back I don’t recall.

Before I started to write THE ULTIMATE BETRAYAL, Brandon Garrett’s story, the third book in my Maximum Security Series, I had decided to set a book in Colorado, maybe even a new series.  I ran across an article about the Army Chemical Weapons Depot near Fort Carson and started thinking…  wouldn’t it make be interesting if someone stole chemical weapons from the depot?  I wonder if it could be done?  How would the good guys catch the thieves?  And so off I went on a story that turned into The Ultimate Betrayal

Having written over 70 novels since I began way back when, it’s harder and harder to come up with fresh ideas.  I do a lot of research for my books.  This novel, set around a military base, was particularly difficult.  Lots of stuff I didn’t know.

In the story, when investigative journalist Jessie Kegan’s father, a colonel in the army, is accused of treason, Jessie is determined to clear his name.  Reluctantly, she turns to former Special Ops soldier, Brandon Garrett, her late brother’s best friend–a true heartbreaker, according to her brother. 

With danger coming from every angle, time is running out and the game being played is deadly.  Working together, Bran and Jessie must risk everything to solve the riddle and confront the threat–before it’s too late.

I hope you’ll give THE ULTIMATE BETRAYAL a try and if you like Bran and Jessie as much as I did, you can also find them in THE CONSPIRACY, Maximum Security book #1 and THE DECEPTION, book #2.

Till next time, happy reading and all best, Kat 


THE ULTIMATE BETRAYAL

Kat Martin

When investigative journalist Jessie Kegan’s father, a colonel in the army, is accused of treason, Jessie is determined to clear his name.  Reluctantly, she turns to former Special Ops soldier, Brandon Garrett, her late brother’s best friend—a true heartbreaker, according to her brother.

With danger coming from every angle, time is running out and the game being played is deadly.  Working together, Bran and Jessie must risk everything to solve the riddle and confront the threat—before it’s too late.

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Kat Martin Bio

Bestselling author Kat Martin, a graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara, currently resides in Missoula, Montana with Western-author husband, L. J. Martin.  More than seventeen million copies of Kat’s books are in print, and she has been published in twenty foreign countries.  Fifteen of her recent novels have taken top-ten spots on the New York Times Bestseller List, and her novel, BEYOND REASON, was recently optioned for a feature film.  Kat’s latest novel, THE ULTIMATE  BETRAYAL, a Romantic Thriller, will be released in paperback December 29th.


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Christmas Memories… and how they become the stories we love to write by Jina Bacarr

December 11, 2020 by in category Jina’s Book Chat tagged as , , , , , ,

Ah, the magic of Christmases past… even those we want to forget…

Like spending an hour hanging up Christmas tree lights that don’t work when you plug them in.

Or imbibing in two much spicy eggnog at the office party while wearing a tipsy Santa hat… and then seeing your grinning face splashed all over social media.

Or digging through your closet for your favorite red Christmas dress to impress the new man in your life and you find out it doesn’t fit anymore.

Not our best holiday memories and ones we’d rather forget. But what about the holiday moments that make our eyes misty no matter how many years go by? 

Memories of Christmases past race through our heads like sugar plum fairies on a triathlon this time of year… for me, I’ve turned three of them into Christmas stories that turn back the clock.

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A SOLDIER’S ITALIAN CHRISTMAS

When I was stationed in Livorno, Italy, I worked in the US Army Service Club and every Christmas we hosted an event for the soldiers with the nuns and little boys from the local orphanage. I never forgot how the soldiers and little Italian boys had such a great time even though they didn’t speak the same language… except they did.

The spirit of Christmas.

I wanted to capture that lovely day in a story about a US Army captain in Italy during World War 2 who gets lost on the road to Rome right before Christmas Eve. He ends up helping out a beautiful nun and her charge of little boys and saves them from the Nazis.

If you like WW 2 romance, check out my holiday novella that takes place on Christmas Eve during the cold winter of 1943: A Soldier’s Italian Christmas.

December 1943 Italy

He is a US Army captain, a battle-weary soldier who has lost his faith.

She is a nun, her life dedicated to God.

Together they are going to commit an act the civilized world will not tolerate.

They are about to fall in love.

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A NAUGHTY CHRISTMAS CAROL

I was only six years old when I attended a strict parochial school behind a big iron gate in Philadelphia… at Christmastime, the nuns took us to see Santa Claus at Wanamaker’s department store, but we had to pass by the ‘poor house’ – an old limestone building with broken windows and no trees. Lost souls squatting. We gave them packages of food and the sisters told us kids we’d end up there if we didn’t learn our Catechism lessons.

It scared the heck out of me.

Years later when I saw ‘A Christmas Carol’ on TV and got a glimpse of Scrooge threatening to send the hungry and poor to a workhouse, I remember the nun’s warning.

I wanted to write my own version of Scrooge, but I fantasized him more like a tortured, romantic hero, so I created Nick Radnor… handsome, brilliant… and with a smartphone.

Meet him in ‘A Naughty Christmas Carol.’


And one so close to my heart…

CHRISTMAS ONCE AGAIN

I grew up hearing my dad’s stories about how he met my mom during the war… the red coat she wore when she saw him off at the train station… the letters they wrote to each other. The strong feelings of hope and love that kept everybody’s spirits up till the soldiers came home.

When I wrote Christmas Once Again about a woman who goes back in time to save the man she loves, I drew upon those memories, especially for my heroine’s mother. Kate’s strong bond with Ma, her need to see her again (she lost her mother before the book opens), also reflects my desire to see my mom.

My mother passed away a few days before Christmas many years ago…

So, when I talk about Christmas Once Again, you’ll understand the joy and poignant feelings racing through me when I wrote those scenes when my heroine reconnects with her mother once again… if only for a little while.

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What are your most emotional Christmas memories?

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, everyone!

Jina

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