The Accent Mark Goes Here

You know how Madonna now talks with a British accent?  And everyone kind of mocks her?  It is annoying to have someone you know grew up in Michigan try and sound all posh, but at the same time… I would be the same way.  I once realized that I had been watching twenty minutes of a cooking show with an Australian host and I had no idea what was being made.  I’d spent the entire time watching her mouth trying to figure out how she was murdering pronouncing her vowels that way.  I sounded like a monkey on the couch as I clenched and unclenched my teeth trying “ehhh-oooh-uh” my vowels.  I was two seconds away from throwing a shrimp on the barbie when my husband came home and gave me the look that implied that while our marriage was a joy and a blessing, it was also occasionally weird.

The unfortunate thing is that, just as I’m addicted to copying other people’s accents, I find that I’m also prone to picking up the language of whomever I’m reading.  I’m sure my writing/reading group can tell when I’ve been reading Regency Romances.  One cannot help but be addicted to the opulent turn of phrase.  And if I could work some sort of line about puce satin and a cravat into the paragraph all the better.  What if I’m reading fluffy chick lit?  Pretty sure that my character needs to mention her thighs and a cupcake in the next sentence.  Taut thrillers? Sentences get shorter.  Characters become brutal. And adverbs?  Kill ‘em.  Kill ‘em all.

The brutal snuffing out of “suddenly” aside, this habit does real damage to my narratives.  Characters don’t sound like themselves (why does that Texan sound English?) and plots can veer wildly off course as I spend a page (or three) describing clothing.  So when I’m writing I have to take a bit of a hiatus from reading unless I can find that wondrous book that matches the tone that I’m writing.  I think it’s incredibly unfair that my reading has suffered as a result of my writing, but currently it’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make.  Of course, if I could just figure out how to retire with a million dollars so that I could segregate my year into reading quarters and writing quarters life would be awesome.

Forest of Words

Meet Lois Winston!

As many of you know, I’m a mom with a full time job as well as an author. And while all of that is challenging enough, the pandemic has brought many fresh and special new problems. To free up some of my time I’m relinquishing one of my Stiletto Gang posting days to the fantastic Lois Winston. Lois is a USA Today and Amazon bestselling and award-winning author who writes mystery, romance, romantic suspense, chick lit, women’s fiction, children’s chapter books, and nonfiction under her own name and her Emma Carlyle pen name. Lois will be posting on the second Wednesday of the month and I thought I’d sit down and find out a little more about her as she comes on board.

Lois Winston

Me – drinking

Q: What do you write?

I started out writing romance and romantic suspense and was first published in chick lit with Talk Gertie to Me in 2006. However, back in 2003, while waiting for that first sale, my agent suggested I try writing a crafting mystery. She knew an editor looking for one. With my background as a crafts designer, my agent thought I’d be the perfect person to write such a series, even though I’d never written a mystery. I gave it a try, and in the process discovered my true literary calling. My Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery Series sold in 2009. Assault with a Deadly Glue Gun, the first book in the series, came out in 2011. I’ve since published nine books and three novellas in the series, plus two books in my Empty Nest Mystery Series.

Q: What got you excited and started you on your writing journey?

I’m not someone who always knew she wanted to be an author. In the mid-90’s I was going through an extremely stressful period, taking on as much freelance design work as I could because my husband was out of work for an extended period of time. One night I fell into an exhaustive sleep and had a very strange dream—strange for me because I usually don’t remember my dreams. Also, the people in the dream were all strangers. Weirdly, the dream kept unfolding night after night like chapters in a book. Finally, I decided to write it down. When I finished, I had a 50,000 word romance that spanned thirty-five years!

The writing bug had bitten me. Long story short, I joined some writing organizations, learned what I was doing wrong, honed my craft, and signed with an agent. After many years of rewrites, that totally unpublishable romance transformed into a 90,000 word romantic suspense and became Love, Lies and a Double Shot of Deception, the second book I sold.

Q: Do you solve the mysteries in novels & movies or do you sit back and enjoy the ride?

I should have had an inkling that I’d eventually wind up writing mysteries because I have an uncanny knack for figuring out whodunit early into most books, movies, or TV episodes. I love when I’m wrong and fall for a red herring, but it doesn’t happen often. My grandfather was the captain of a large county police force and responsible for the apprehension of many gangsters and other bad actors back in the day. I figure I inherited a large dose of his detecting DNA.

Q: And of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t ask… what are your favorite shoes?

At this point, any that are comfortable! I’m afraid my sexy heels days are over, thanks to foot surgery a few years ago after an injury and arthritis that developed in that foot as a result. So now my shoe closet contains mostly Sketchers with cushioning inner soles.

Connect with Lois!

Release Day!

It’s release day for The Cinderella Secret and my latest book baby is already racking up some stellar reviews!

5.0 out of 5 stars Aiden and Ella kick ass together!

Fast paced, super enjoyable romantic thriller. I love these characters!

5.0 out of 5 stars I NEED the next book

I fell in love with these characters while reading the first book. Now I get to come back and fall in love with them all over again. One of the things I liked best about this book was that we got to peel back even more layers of the masks these Deveraux youngsters shield themselves with.

5.0 out of 5 stars  Don’t miss a word!

I am so enjoying this series as the author’s style of writing makes you not want to miss even one word. The humorous and sarcastic interaction between this blended family highlights their closeness.

The Cinderella Secret is book 2 of the Deveraux Legacy series and I have loved every second with my characters.  I’m so excited to see that readers are too!  In celebration of its release week, The Cinderella Secret and book 1, The Second Shot are both ¢.99 through 10/23!

Want to read now? Buy it here>>https://books2read.com/Cinderella-Secret

Want to learn more about the series?  Read more here>> https://bethanymaines.com/the-deveraux-legacy/

Want a chance to celebrate and get free books?  Join me in these Facebook Groups!

 

 

Comfortable Discomfort

I once had a cousin/uncle/grandparent-ish person (he was my second cousin once-removed if you want to get technical here, but the point is that he was in his eighties and I was around ten, you get the idea) who once posed the question that I probably wasn’t supposed to hear – what’s the difference between naked and nekkid?  Naked is simply having no clothes on.  Nekkid is naked, but with intent.  In other words, the difference is subtle and mostly to do with what you intend to do about it.  Which is how I feel about old and vintage.

My general preference, when given a choice, is for old things.  Which is to say I like old books, old furniture, old clothes and my grumpy old dog.  Although, usually I say vintage, which is the same as old, but with character.  I don’t want new things (unless they’re electronics and sometimes not even then).  I want the things I’ve become accustomed to and work for me.  Which is why sometimes, even when something gets actually too old to use, I still hang on to it.  Recently, my favorite skull-n-crossbones mug developed an unfortunate hairline crack that resulted in it weeping tea over everything.  It was unusable but I hung on to it for two weeks.  What was I planning on doing with this mug?  It wasn’t fixable.  It wasn’t art.  Did I think it would magically heal itself?  It wasn’t until I had resigned myself to it’s passing that I was able to let it depart into the recycling bin.

I don’t think my preference for the old and familiar is particularly unusual.  I think most of us are little grumpy about being forced into new things.  We’re uncomfortable with being uncomfortable.  On the other hand, studies seem to indicate that actively being in a place of uncertainty and learning keeps Alzheimer’s at bay.  Being used to a little discomfort makes us appreciate what we have and have grace for those who also in discomfort. And I think that if a few more people were used to being told no and being a little more uncomfortable then they wouldn’t lose their cool and have public temper-tantrums in the middle of Target (why is it always Target?).  Perhaps we need new things periodically just to remind us that sometimes we don’t always get to keep our favorite mug.  And sometimes we need a new mug to tell us that everything will be OK.  As long as it looks vintage.

And Now…. Book News!

The Cinderella Secret is coming 10.19.20 and there are gifts, prizes, and sneak peeks for you to delve into! The Cinderella Secret is a romantic thriller that continues the Deveraux family saga, this time with Aiden Deveraux, the handsome lawyer going up against Ella Zhao who blames the Deveraux family for her father’s death. With family secrets and thrills at every turn, The Cinderella Secret delivers a one-two punch of passion and action that will keep readers turning the pages.

Pre-Order The Cinderella Secret on all ebook platforms: https://books2read.com/Cinderella-Secret

Bonus Gift  (but just for my friends)

The Lost Heir, a Deveraux Legacy prequel novella, will be released in December, but members of the Blue Zephyr Press / Bethany Maines newsletter will receive it on October 19 with the release of The Cinderella Secret!
Join here: https://bethanymaines.com/the-deveraux-legacy/

Giveaway

Want a chance to win a free copy of The Cinderella Secret? One lucky winner will also get a copy of Book 1 – The Second Shot.  Giveaway ends 10.17, so snag your entry now!
Enter at: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/54817893-the-cinderella-secret

Try Before You Buy

Read Chapter 1 of The Cinderella Secret!
Read here: bethanymaines.com/cinderella-secret-chapter-1/

 

The Waffle House

So, I forgot that I was supposed to blog today and instead used my few minutes of writing time to write a scene where two of my characters go to a Waffle House.  But as a west coast resident, I’ve never actually been to a Waffle House.  As a result, I spent way too much time looking at the Waffle House menu on line and now I want hashbrowns and waffles.  Sometimes we hear authors say that their characters speak to them.  My characters wouldn’t deign to do that.  They’re too busy talking to each other. And honestly, if I left them to their own devices they would talk until my fingers cramped up from trying to transcribe.  I frequently have to cut off the conversations so that the story goes somewhere.  That’s part of the editing process, but these conversations are excellent at helping me understand the characters.  When I discover what they find funny, what they hate, what annoys them, and what their hard line stance is on Christmas decorations after New Years, I can plunk them down in any situation and know how they’ll react.  Which is how I know that Jackson Deveraux would be quite happy at the Waffle House, but that he would be shocked that his hoity toity grandmother Eleanor Deveraux knows to order Waffle House hashbrowns scattered, smothered, and covered, but not chunked.  The Deveraux family is full of secrets and surprises, but when I started writing about them I never would have thought that hashbrowns would be one of the surprises.  The Deveraux family, from my Deveraux Legacy, has become one of my favorite group of characters.  They’re a very fractured family that is struggling toward reconciliation while attempting to overcome the periodic interruption of mercenaries, bank robbers, and greedy CEOs.

If you want to find out what the Deveraux family thinks about Christmas décor you can check out book 1, The Second Shot, and pre-order book 2, The Cinderella Secret (both currently ¢.99). Or you can…

Enter to win a paperback copy of The Cinderella Secret on Goodreads!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Cinderella Secret by Bethany Maines

The Cinderella Secret

by Bethany Maines

Giveaway ends October 17, 2020.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway


Or you can join the Bethany Maines / Blue Zephyr Press Newsletter mailing list and get a free copy of the prequel novella, The Lost Heir in October!

Fall! Bombs Away!

Does anyone else feel like Fall just hit with a sledgehammer?  The weather shifted, everything started getting colder and book release dates started cropping up faster than weeds in my lawn.  My friends in the Stiletto Gang have several new releases. Debra Sennefelder put out the fashion / Halloween themed mystery What Not to Wear to a Graveyard (see her post here) and we’re still celebrating the late summer releases of Debra Goldstein’s latest Three Treats Too Many and the newest Stiletto Gang member Gay Yellen with Body Business.

My next book releases in October, but that just means that all the marketing is happening now, now, now (use your used car salesman voice for the last part). Marketing for most authors, including me, is a somewhat painful process in which we attempt to interest the greatest number of people in our precious book baby. The Cinderella Secret is book 2 (of 4) in my Deveraux Legacy series. With a series, book 1 sets the tone and while marketing can be increased for subsequent books – if an author did a terrible job on book 1 then book 2 doesn’t have much of a chance. This kind of high-stakes “hope you got it right” marketing pressure is what drives many authors to hate marketing.  We’re already responsible for inventing these characters, putting them through hell, hopefully letting some of them make it out with a happy ending, and now we’re responsible for making them a success in the world?  It’s too much! My poor babies deserve more!  But, of course, we saddle up and go out there and do our best for our imaginary book friends because we really do love them. Fortunately, it is a bit easier with assistance from friends, marketing professionals, and having some pretty sweet giveaways and incentives in my back pocket.


The Cinderella Secret:
 Hot-shot lawyer Aiden Deveraux holds the key to unlocking the dark secrets of Ella Zhao’s past and Ella holds the key to Aiden’s heart. But a murderer wants to stop those secrets from ever seeing the light of day and Aiden and Ella may have to trust each other with their secrets if they want to make it out of this fight alive.

Release Date: 10.19.20

Pre-Order now from iBooks for ¢.99!  (Price goes up after release week!) Buy here → https://books.apple.com/us/book/the-cinderella-secret/id1528407978?mt=11&app=itunes

Have a netgalley account and want to get an advance copy? Blogger/Reader Sign-Up → https://bit.ly/ReleasePromotionTheCinderellaSecret 

Want to win an e-copy and a $40 Amazon giftcard? Enter to win → http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/2a9f3a7480/

Want to get the Deveraux Legacy prequel novella, The Lost Heir, for FREE? Learn how → https://bethanymaines.com/the-deveraux-legacy/

Play Ball!

Money, Treasure, and… Love

One of my 2020 goals was to read more books. You would think that with pandemic shut downs that I might have made headway with that goal, but instead I had to pivot to homeschooling, fire-drill mode for several of my firm’s clients, and just generally trying not to freak out.  Fortunately, along came Cathy Perkins my fellow Stiletto Gang member with a brand new book – Calling for the Money.

Calling for the Money is the third book in the Holly Price mystery series, but doesn’t require reading the first two (there’s plenty of quickie recaps to bring a reader up to speed) and the mystery is self-contained. Holly is a top flight accountant who is quick-thinking, analytical and on the run from a devastating break-up.  But as Holly digs into her new job, her personal life and caring heart cause her to get involved in a missing persons case.  As Holly struggles to figure out if the perfect job she’s always wanted is what she wants now that she has it, kidnappers, extortion schemes and a father who needs a quick punch in the face keep her from being able to have a moment to herself.

This mystery was exactly what I needed to keep me turning pages and avoiding the dishes. Holly Price with her financial wizard mind was a smart heroine with tons of moxie that makes you root for her all the way through the book.  Calling for the Money was a fun, smart read, and I recommend the entire series.

UPDATE:  Love & Treasure is now available!

Buy Links:

🏴💖 All retailers:  https://books2read.com/LoveTreasure

🏴💖 Amazon: https://amzn.to/2UGfWuG

Chase Regard is captain of the nearly-historically-accurate pirate ship Cupid’s Revenge, a pirate-themed restaurant and dinner show, and the mountain of debt that came with both. But Chase has an ace up his sleeve: his ancestor left a heap of treasure somewhere on the coast near Ashville, Oregon. All Chase needs to find it is the help of the red-headed, fiery, and occasionally forgetful, academic Dr. Jenna Mackenzie, the director of the Ashville Museum. But when Chase and Jenna team up they must face the town’s history-buff bully, accusations of theft, and an oncoming storm before they find out that X marks the spot for love and treasure.