Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Gayle M. Irwin and her Latest Novel

Gayle M. Irwin is a contributor to seven Chicken Soup for the Soul books and the author of many inspirational pet books and stories for children and adults. Her clean, contemporary romance series, Pet Rescue Romance, consists of Rescue Road, released November 2019; Finding Love at Compassion Ranch, released in May 2020; a 2020 novella, Rhiann’s Rescue (the series’ prequel); and My Montana Love, sequel to Rescue Road that released March 2021. She subtly weaves the importance of pet rescue and adoption into her novels and novellas. Learn more about Gayle and her writing here:

Beverley: Which genre or genres do you write or prefer to write? And why?

Gayle: I’ve written in three genres, including children’s fiction, Christian devotions, and sweet contemporary romance. The latter is what I now focus on, although I have ideas stored away for the other two in the next year or two. I enjoy writing all three genres, as my goal as an author is to entertain, educate, and inspire. My romance novels and novellas incorporate pet rescue and adoption, a passion I’ve held for years. When you pair a sweet romance with the rescue and adoption of animals, can a reader really resist? I know I can’t! Additionally, I donate a percentage of my book sales to pet rescue and adoption groups, and I enjoy giving back to those wonderful organizations that tirelessly work on behalf of those who can’t speak for themselves.

Beverley: Who influenced you the most in deciding to become a writer?

Gayle: I studied journalism and creative writing in college, and as a teen, I used to write short stories. I don’t think any one person ‘influenced’ me to write, for some reason, it came naturally. However, two college professors certainly encouraged me in the craft: Arlene Larson, who taught journalism at my community college, and Lois Melina, who taught writing at the University of Idaho when I attended. I even worked part-time for Lois, a specialist in adoptive families, during my final year at the University. Although I worked as a reporter and editor for many years, I found freelance writing for magazines and newspapers more freeing, and when I decided to write my first book, I wanted to encourage readers through my stories. I’m happy that I’ve continued the path of author and freelance writer, and I look forward to creating more books and stories in the coming years.

Beverley: What gets your creative juices flowing?

Gayle: Spending time in nature and reading other authors’ books. I enjoy walks in the woods, wildlife watching, and nature photography, and I relish being in the tranquility of nature. I feel refreshed and inspired taking such adventures, and when I’m relaxed, my creativity flows like a river. Once when my husband and I visited Grand Teton National Park and I’d been mulling a holiday novella to become part of my Pet Rescue Romance series, the idea for a title hit me as I observed the majesty of the Teton Mountains. That novella, In the Shadow of Mount Moran, will release late autumn 2021. Additionally, reading other authors’ works helps me hone my craft, learning from their styles and ideas, as well as inspires me to continue my path as an author. Their influence and inspiration are welcomed – I think writers can learn great things from each other.

Beverley: Do you have a favorite cartoon character? Why?

Gayle: I think it would be Underdog, which I watched as a child. Not only is he a hero and a dog, but many times I’ve felt like an ‘underdog,’ and yet this spotted pup can do amazing things – we all can if we believe in ourselves.

Beverley: Who would you love most to meet 'in person' and why?

Gayle: Betty White – I love her passion to help animals and I’d so love to sit down with her and talk about how people can best to that kind of work, whether as a profession, a volunteer, or just your average community member, and I’d like to learn how she became such a passionate person for animal welfare. Plus, she’s so funny – listening to her would likely have me laughing a lot, and who doesn’t need more laughter in their lives?

Beverley: If you had an unexpected free day what would you do with it?

Gayle: I’d load up my husband and our dogs in the car and travel to a national park or monument or a forest land close by. Take a picnic lunch, go for a long walk in the woods, and sit by a river, stream, or lake. And I’d do some writing while my husband fished. I hope to do that this summer when the weather warms up!

Beverley: What are you working on now?

Gayle: I’m finishing up In the Shadow of Mount Moran and I’m updating my other novels and novellas for re-release. I plan to create a boxed set of my first three books in the series: Rescue Road, Finding Love at Compassion Ranch, and My Montana Love, and create a giveaway of what was my holiday novella last year, Rhiann’s Rescue. I’m working with my book cover designer to not have the cover look so ‘Christmassy’ (it’s set more in January and February anyway) and re-release that book, too. I hope to have all that ready by mid-June. Stay tuned to my website,, for when those projects are complete and available!

Blurb for My Montana Love:

Crisis and Chaos in Paradise –

Rhiann Kelly married Levi Butler five years ago. Their blissful life on a Paradise Valley, Montana property, operating an animal sanctuary and a horse ranch, is challenged after Levi experiences a health crisis. When the nephew of a criminal the Butlers knew in their past shows up for a job during Levi’s recovery, Rhiann faces critical decisions. Can she keep the ranch and sanctuary operating or will past incidents and Levi’s suppressed fears cause chaos she cannot control?

Excerpt from My Montana Love:

Levi rose from the kitchen table, balancing his unsteady body by placing a hand on the table as a brace. His reddened face contorted.

“Like hell he’ll work here!”

Rhiann flinched. He took a deep breath and tried to steady his voice.

“He’s the nephew of the man who tried to take this land. There’s no way I’ll allow him to work our ranch.”

Levi again sat down. He put a hand to his head. “Of all the men from here to Bozeman and west to Harrison, this guy had to answer the help wanted ad.”

“Maybe it’s a sign,” Rhiann responded in a low voice.

He looked at her. “A sign? What are you talking about?”

She sat in a chair next to him.

“I think we both have been carrying unforgiveness toward Dallas Patterson ….”

“For justified reasons. He meant to kill you, Rhiann.”

“We don’t know for sure,” she protested. “To scare me, yes, but we don’t know his real intentions. He certainly didn’t say he wanted to kill me. Even Dave said at the trial he didn’t know for sure….”

Levi stood again. “Ever since we brought Dave on, things haven’t gone as well for us, even between us.”

He looked at Rhiann and saw her ashen face.

“What do you mean by that?” she asked, her voice cracking.

“Our disagreements, our not being on the same page about things.”

Rhiann stood in front of him. “Levi, people don’t always agree on things. And Dave has turned out to be a great ranch hand.”

“Yeah, but why? Maybe he and Patterson’s nephew have been conniving all this time, spying on us for some loathsome purpose.”

Rhiann placed her hands on her hips. “Like what?”

“I don’t know! Something!”

Levi hobbled toward the kitchen sink and leaned against it.

“How come you’ve become so suspicious, Levi?” Rhiann asked.

He faced her, and she continued, “As far as our disagreements, we’ve had them before, but we always found a compromise.”

“Yeah, involving me giving in. I’m getting tired of it.”

He watched as her eyes first bulged and then narrowed.

“Levi Marcus Butler, what’s gotten into you?”

“Rhiann Elizabeth Kelly, maybe I’m just weary of being the dog in the fight.”

“You used my maiden name.”

His wife’s soft voice startled him. Their eyes locked.

“You don’t want to be married to me anymore, do you?”

Levi’s gut tightened, and he nearly doubled over. He reached out to her.

“No, no, that’s not it at all.”

“Of course it is. You just couldn’t come out and say it.”

Rhiann turned her back on him, and he watched her shoulders shake. He attempted to walk to her, but one leg wouldn’t budge. He stumbled and fell to the floor. He heard Rhiann’s deep intake of breath just as a deep, male voice rumbled, “I guess that’ll teach you to be such a jerk.”

Levi turned his head to see his friend Phil standing in the kitchen’s entryway, arms crossed over his chest, and a deep frown furrowed on his face.

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Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Character Development Tips

There’s always the discussion about what’s more important, the plot or the characters.

No matter which side you agree with, the character development is important to any story. If your reader doesn’t connect with the characters, they’re not going to care what happens to them in the story.

Writing relatable characters takes work. Here are a few tips.

- Create a character document. Give each character their own section. List their physical characteristics, age, height, weight, hair color, eye color age, skin color, and any distinguishing marks.

-Next list education, family, siblings, occupation, marital status or relationships, likes and dislikes, religion, hobbies, vehicles, favorite food, favorite color, clothing likes, and styles, etc. Anything you can think that helps you know and write about that person.

-Now expand your descriptions with internal and emotional information, their goals, fears, desires, successes, and losses, addictions, any that help round out the character shows how they might react to the various situations you might put them through.

-Then do an interview. Most writers interview their characters. You can write your own questions, or google and you’ll find questions of all types from 2 or 3 pages to ten or twenty pages. Listen to the answers but also the tone of voice, pauses, anything that can give you an insight into the character. The above are ideas and hints. Get to know your character. You need to be able to write them like you’ve actually met them and spent time with the person.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Nadia L. Braeckel and her New Novel

Nadia L. Braeckel loves reading and writing romance with spice and suspense. The daughter of a Lebanese father and German-American Mother, Nadia sees the world through a unique lens and has a vivid imagination that gives life to her steamy romance characters. Taking inspiration from real-life scenarios, Nadia spins passionate, dramatic stories that leave readers breathless and wanting more, even as they root for the characters to get their happily-ever-after. Torn Ties is Nadia’s first book, and she’s already busily at work on the second series. She resides in Tulsa Oklahoma with her husband and son.

Beverley: Which genre or genres do you write or prefer to write? And why? 

Nadia: Romance, Steamy romance, suspense, and mystery. I have read a lot of romance and mystery books growing up and the authors I have looked up to inspired me to write in that genre as well.

Beverley: Who influenced you the most in deciding to become a writer?

Nadia: My mom and grandmother.

Beverley: What gets your creative juices flowing?

Nadia: The most random times, such as driving, taking a shower, jogging, sitting outside. My juices flow when my blood is flowing too.

Beverley: Do you have a favorite cartoon character? Why?

Nadia: Mickey Mouse, since my son loves him, the cartoon has grown on me.

Beverley: Who would you love most to meet 'in person' and why? 

Nadia: Nicholas Sparks or Lisa Jewell. They both are phenomenal writers, and I would love to spend a day with them and see how their brain works

Beverley: If you had an unexpected free day what would you do with it?

Nadia: Go on an adventure outside

Beverley: What are you working on now?

Nadia: The sequel to Torn Ties, called Tangled Ties.

Blurb for Torn Ties

How can a relationship that starts for all the wrong reasons feel so right?

That’s the question Natalya Zaher keeps asking herself. After all, her daily routine isn’t usually so dramatic…or so damn hot. By day, she works at a local men’s clinic, fending off advances from dirty old men and dealing with her boss’s angry tirades. By night, she sits at home, watching Twilight. Life has been remarkably routine—and lonely—until a chance encounter with a handsome man at the gym turns unexpectedly steamy. The only hang up? He’s already in a relationship. And Natalya wants more…much more.

Alex Bowman isn’t sure what he wants. His long-term relationship has been slowly losing its luster. The sex is dull, and he’s growing frustrated with feeling controlled and demeaned. So when he meets the alluring, radiant young Natalya at the gym, he’s intrigued by her charm and upbeat nature. And when he discovers her sexually adventurous nature, he can’t stop thinking about her…and just how right their relationship seems to be.

But Alex’s girlfriend doesn’t intend to let her man go without a fight, and she’s certainly not going to play fair. Even worse, Alex has been keeping secrets that threaten not just to destroy two reputations…but threaten to break Natalya’s heart too.

Set in the heart of Tulsa, Oklahoma, Torn Ties is a roller-coaster ride of danger and desire that leaves the reader breathless to the last steamy page.

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Monday, April 19, 2021

Tips for Audiobooks

Are you published, probably self-published?  Are you  considering whether to publish an audiobook?

Okay, I have not published an audiobook. I’ve considered it but I’m not convinced that I want to spend the money yet. I have done some research and thought I’d share a few tips on what I've discovered on publishing your audiobook either by yourself or with a publisher.

1. Complete your manuscript, and put it through your editor, beta readers, and proofreader. Just like you do before you publish.

2. Print put the chapters to use for the narrator when reading the book.

3. Do you want to narrate it? Do you produce it yourself? If you choose to have some else narrate it you will need to hire a narrator. My understanding the cost varies with the narrator. An experienced narrator could be about $1500 for an eight-hour book. For a non-union narrator, it could be $150-$200 an hour.  I have also seen posts where the narrator could receive part of the profits of the book. Research your options.

4. If you want to produce it yourself you will have to purchase or have the appropriate equipment. Recommended is a a USB microphone costing from $150 US; a swivel mount studio microphone boom arm costing from $100 US; a shock guard for above the microphone to prevent picking up vibrations about $40 US; a pop filter to prevent popping sounds on some words or letters like P or B; maybe $25 US  and audiobook editing software. There are several options and they are free.

You’ll also need a quiet room, a computer, headphones and maybe background music for the beginning and end.

You should also hire an audio engineer.  That could be around $300.

5. The alternative would be to hire an audiobook producer. One example could be ACX. Check the cost relative to doing yourself.

6. Proof your audiobook

7. If you produce your own book send files to the professional audio editor  about $200

8. Upload your audiobook, possibly to ACX.


Friday, April 16, 2021

Choosing Character Names

Another interesting topic, Rhobin. How do you choose your characters' names? Are there any you avoid?)

Choosing names, for me, can be a challenge. It also varies with the book. I’m a plotter so I work out a plot before I get to know my characters well.

If I’ve begun plotting and have a hero/heroine and maybe the idea for the mystery or suspense, I may have a name in mind or I might have no idea at that time.

Other times I may pick a generic name when I start writing. It’s like a placeholder. Once I’ve developed my characters and get to know them the name will come to me. It’s a name that fits that person. Often the character's physical appearance, characteristics, or actions will lead to a name that fits.

If I’m writing in a different local, perhaps Mexico or in the Caribbean, I will look up names for male or females in that country and their meaning. If I’m writing a different generation, I may look up popular names from that era. In my Hawkins’ Family series, I researched names from the Blackfoot tribe. In Death Southern Style I researched names in Louisiana.

When I’m choosing names, I look at all the characters that I’m naming. I make sure that the names aren’t similar. For example, the hero is named Rob, the secondary character is named Ron and the suspect might be Ross. For a reader, this could be very confusing. They might have to flip back to check which name it is. I don’t want to confuse a reader. They might quit reading in frustration. I will probably keep Rob as my hero if it’s a name that fits. The secondary character will be Jack and the suspect will be changed to Murray. So, I avoid similarities in names.

I also avoid names that might be difficult for a reader to pronounce while reading. Again, pulling the reader out of the story each time. It frustrates me when a character has a name I’m not familiar with and it’s spelled in another language.

I look forward to reading how other authors chose their names. I’m off to read their blogs.

Skye Taylor

Anne Stenhouse

Victoria Chatham

Helena Fairfax

Dr. Bob Rich

Marci Baun

Judith Copek

Connie Vines

Fiona McGier

Rhobin L Courtrigh

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Check Out Kim McMahill and her New Release

Kim McMahill grew up in Wyoming which is where she developed her sense of adventure and love of the outdoors. She started out writing non-fiction, but her passion for exotic world travel, outrageous adventures, stories of survival, and happily-ever-after endings soon drew her into a world of romantic suspense and adventure fiction. Along with writing novels Kim has also published over eighty travel and geographic articles, and contributed to a travel story anthology. She has had the opportunity to live in Hawaii, New Mexico, South Dakota, Iowa, and Colorado, but has finally returned home to Wyoming. When not writing she enjoys gardening, traveling, hiking, and spending time with family.

Beverley: Which genre or genres do you write or prefer to write? And why?

Kim: I write suspense and adventure fiction. I love stories that allow me to incorporate action, adventure, romance, exotic locations, and happily-ever-after endings. In the real world the good guys don’t always win, but in my stories they do. However, in my Risky Research Series the wins in each story will be smaller, rather than unequivocally complete, until I decide to end the series for good since my protagonist and some of the antagonists are recurring characters.

Beverley: Who influenced you the most in deciding to become a writer?

Kim: I had a high school creative writing teacher who commented on one of my stories that with more character development I was well on my way to a novel. I always enjoyed writing, but her comment and encouragement made me think that I could actually construct a novel.

Beverley: What gets your creative juices flowing?

Kim: I love to travel, which always inspires me with ideas for new stories, locations, or characters.

Beverley: Do you have a favorite cartoon character? Why?

Kim: Growing up my favorite cartoon was Scooby Doo. I guess I’ve always loved a good mystery and a little suspense.

Beverley: Who would you love most to meet 'in person' and why?

Kim: A couple years ago I was able to meet one of my two favorite writer, James Rollins. It was pretty exciting. I had hoped for an opportunity to meet my other favorite author, Clive Cussler. Unfortunately, he passed away last winter before I had an opportunity, but I did get to visit his classic car museum in Colorado which contained many of the cars from his novels.

Beverley: If you had an unexpected free day what would you do with it?

Kim: Whenever I have an unexpected free day I love to go out and try to discover a new site close to home that I had previously overlooked. I’ve been surprised in the past year to find many interesting places that I didn’t realize existed so close to home.

Beverley: What are you working on now?

Kim: I just released the fourth installment in the Risky Research Series, A Measure of Madness, and I’m currently working on the fifth, and likely final, installment in the series, A Recipe for Revenge. Here’s a bit more about my new release, A Measure of Madness.

Blurb for A Measure of Madness

FBI agent Devyn Nash's pursuit of a deadly organization heats up in this fourth installment of the Risky Research series.
The FBI locates the mastermind behind Coterie, but attempts to bring him in result in a shootout that sends Coterie’s members scrambling for cover. When Devyn’s partner is left fighting for his life in a Puerto Rican hospital, she becomes more determined than ever to bring them to justice.
Devyn’s decision to ignore her orders and pursue the head of Coterie to Brazil puts her job and her relationship with Sheriff Gage Harris in jeopardy, but she is unwilling to allow those responsible for so much death to live out their lives in paradise

Excerpt from A Measure of Madness

Devyn smeared butter on her pancakes and poured an ample portion of blueberry syrup over the large stack. She supposed Nick had a point about her eating habits, but that was far down on her list of worries at the moment. Between drug lords, arms dealers, and Coterie, she had a difficult time mustering up any fear of butter.

Her number one priority was shutting down Coterie. A close second was figuring out what to do about Gage. She wanted Gage to be first, but if she was being honest with herself, he couldn’t be until she brought Coterie to justice. Too many people had already died and the trail of destruction would likely continue as long as any members were out there. For now, she had to keep her head in the game. One misstep could be deadly. 

Buy Links for A Measure of Madness

A Measure of Madness is currently available in ebook from these online book retailers, and it will also be released in paperback soon.

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