Monday, August 10, 2015

Get Lost in Medieval England with Barbara Bettis...


My guest today is historical romance author Barbara Bettis, a former health insurance claims adjuster, former journalist and former journalism professor. “Dr. Barb” plans never to be a “former” author. Currently, she supports her writing habit as an adjunct English instructor at a community college near her home in Missouri. 

Today she is sharing with us her new release, The Heart of the Phoenix, and answering some of my questions. Get to know her better and leave a comment (and your email) to win her book!


Some call him a ruthless mercenary; she calls him the knight of her heart.

Memories

Lady Evelynn’s childhood hero is home—bitter, hard, tempting as sin. And haunted by secrets. A now-grown Evie offers friendship, but Sir Stephen's cruel rejection crushes her, and she resolves to forget him. Yet when an unexpected war throws them together, she finds love isn’t so easy to dismiss. If only the king hadn’t betrothed her to another.

Can be cruel

Sir Stephen lives a double life while he seeks the treacherous outlaws who murdered his friends. Driven by revenge, he thinks his heart is closed to love. His childhood shadow, Lady Evie, unexpectedly challenges that belief. He rebuffs her, but he can’t forget her, although he knows she’s to wed the king’s favorite.

And deadly

When his drive for vengeance leads to Evie’s kidnapping, Stephen must choose between retribution and the love he’s denied too long. Surely King John will see reason. Convict the murderers; convince the king. Simple. Until a startling revelation threatens everything.

Read an excerpt:

Evie could tell Stephen was angry now by the way he glowered and roared in that whispery sort of way no one else could hear, but left her with no doubt of his displeasure.

“Your betrothed.” He bent and scooped her off the floor.

“What? What about him?”

“That’s the identity of the illustrious lord who’s sharing passage with us.”

“You’re drunk. And put me down. I’m perfectly capable of getting up on my own.”

“Be quiet. You have blood on your leg.”

“Of course I do. I tripped and fell trying to answer your pounding when you could easily have opened—” His words finally penetrated her throbbing head. “I’m bleeding?”

Oh, blast. The contents of her—empty—stomach churned. She attended the villagers’ hurts, bound the cuts and scrapes of servants and their children. The sight of their blood bothered her not a whit. But her own? Black spots danced at the corners of her vision, becoming larger and larger until she heard Stephen’s voice.

“Evie, Evie. What the hell?”

His voice echoed so far away. If she didn’t know better, she’d vow he sounded alarmed. Perhaps she’d close her eyes for a moment. As the ringing in her ears crescendoed, she recalled
his words. Betrothed.

Her betrothed was on board?

Dear Lord, just let me die.

Interview:

1.               Where do you read and how often?

Anywhere, everywhere, and as often as possible. I don’t wait well, so I occupy my mind with reading. I keep a couple of books in the car, just in case I get stranded empty-handed. I try to remember to stick the book I’m currently reading, which could be on my Kindle, in my purse when I leave the house for any prolonged period of time. I used to carry a small notebook and pen so I could work on my current story, or jot down other ideas, but found I can’t write in most public places. At home, I read before bed.

2.              How often do you get lost in a story?

Always, whether I’m reading or writing. If I’m reading and I can’t get ‘lost’ or caught up, I put the book aside. Sometimes it’s just the mood I’m in and later I can appreciate it. Other times it’s the story—not that I’m saying it’s bad, just that I can’t connect with it, and why waste time reading something you’re constantly rewriting in your mind? If I’m writing and I can’t get lost in the story, I know no one else will either, and I try to find a way to make it happen.

Oh, and if I’m really lost in a story, I hate putting that book down. Which can be a problem when I’m reading before bed.

3.              What’s the first book you remember reading?  

The first book I can actually remember reading was a book of folk/fairy tales. My mother had bought me a set of encyclopedias back when that was the done thing. With it, came a couple of volumes of fairy tales and folk tales. I recall sitting on my grandmother’s couch, reading one of those books. Among the stories was one of which I, unfortunately, don’t remember the name. It really caught my imagination, though, because it’s remained with me all these years. It was a Native American folk tale about the young women in a tribe who were offered a chance to marry the champion warrior by correctly guessing the nature of the bow he carried. One girl, the least likely to win a warrior’s heart, knew: It was made of the rainbow. Because her insight showed her pure heart, she was given a comb that made her hair silky and shiny, a soap that made her complexion smooth, and a beautiful, beaded dress of the softest doeskin. And she married the famed warrior. Does anyone else know that story?

4.              What turns you off like nothing else?

Rudeness.

5.              What do you do to unwind and relax?

I call a friend, watch a movie, listen to music, or take a long walk. I love Broadway musicals, and I have a few favorite classical pieces, as well. As for movies, depends on the mood, although sometimes I prevail upon my grandchildren to take me to an animated film or one of the YA series out now. A nice, long bubble bath is nice, too. I can’t sew or knit or paint or do any other craft activity. I’m terrible at them, so that certainly isn’t relaxing. Speaking of TV series, which we weren’t: Will Poldark ever get a break?

6.              What’s your favorite fairy tale?

Beauty and the Beast. So many themes are layered in that tale. While the Disney version is delightful, I’m thinking of the original story, which has the youngest sister offering to sacrifice herself to a beast in order to save her sisters from having to go to him. She is the beauty of the three, but her true beauty lies in her heart. She must see past the exterior, to love the man beneath--the beast, who must seek redemption through true love. (Why can I never write ‘true love’ without thinking of The Princess Bride?)

Barb’s question: What is your favorite fairy tale? Or your favorite movie to relax by?

Keep in touch with Barb on her Website, Facebook and Twitter.]

45 comments:

  1. Thanks for having me visit today, Regan. I enjoyed the interview!

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    1. I'm delighted you could join us, Barb. Heart of the Phoenix looks to be another great story!

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  2. my favorite fairy tale is Rapunzel. My favorite movies to relax by are Ground Hog Day and You've Got Mail.

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    1. I just finally watched Ground Hog Day recently and was very entertained. I definitely can understand. You've Got Mail--who wouldn't like those two together again :) Thanks for being here Charlene.

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  3. Lovely interview, Barbara! I get lost in stories all the time too. It's such a wonderful escape. AND I'm with you on rudeness. Arrogance is right up there too! LOL!!

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    1. Thanks Lane. Once I start a book, I'm lost in it until I finish it! Which doesn't bode well for weekends LOL.

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  4. A favorite fairy tale is Hansel and Gretl. It should really be called Gretl and Hansel. It's one of the few stories where the female is the hero. She's the one who saves her brother, kills the witch, and frees the children. My other favorite is the Snow Queen (the original, not Disney's sanitized version.) Again one of the few folktales where a girl actually has something to do other than be pretty and sweet. She kills the Snow Queen and rescues the boy.

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    1. L.A., yes, on Gretl and Hansel. I don't recall the Snow Queen--surprisingly, because my books of fairy tales were among the first I can recall reading. I'll have to look it up. thanks!

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  5. I'm right there with L.A. Kelley, Hansel and Gretl is my fav. I was married to a German named Hans. I didn't know until he came along that Hansel is a nickname meaning "Little Hans." After that, I like the story even more. Great post. Thanks.

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    1. Your very own Story Book Hero, Kathleen! I can see why you treasure that story. Glad you stopped by.

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  6. Favorite fairy tale - Beauty and the Beast. That's my kind of hero. Favorite movie - Mr. Holland's Opus.
    Good luck with The Heart of the Phoenix. The excerpt is fantastic and the cover is a real eye catcher.

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    1. Thanks, Sandra! Yep Beauty and the Beast. I didn't include this story above, but when my young g/daughter saw the Disney movie the first time, she cried when the Beast changed into the handsome young man. She thought something happened to him--she loved that beast!

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  7. I read a lot of tales growing up, but no real favorites. I preferred tall tales to them. Loved Paul Bunyan and Johnny Appleseed. Guess I was too enamored of larger than life heroes. I do write them more down to earth, lol.

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    1. Oh, Debra, those larger than life guys are certainly sigh-worthy--especially with a touch of the down to earth. I thought the real story of Johnny Appleseed was so very sad, though.

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  8. Hi, Barbara! and welcome to GLIAS! So wonderful to read your q and a and get to know you even better. I truly appreciate your kindness toward me and my work. Hugs!

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    1. Thank you Vicki. I so enjoyed being here--and I enjoy your stories. I smiled and nodded a lot in Temporarily Employed.

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  9. Beauty & the Beast. Love all fairy tale rewrites of it too.
    Congrats on your latest release.

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    1. Thank you for the well wishes, Linda. Yes, Beauty and the Beast is good in nearly all the forms. And I enjoy the B/B theme in other works, as well.

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    1. Hi Angi. Thanks for the very nice welcome. This is a great blog!

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  11. Fairy tale? I guess Sleeping Beauty, although I too love Beauty and the Beast. Glad someone else mentioned Groundhog Day, because that's one that's like a warm quilt and I can wander off and back and know exactly where I am in the plot. Still amused that the groundhog actually bit him during the filming!

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    1. Glad to see you Beppie. One of those warm quilt (love the term!) movies for me is While You Were Sleeping. And I didn't know the groundhog bit Bill Murray during filming. Funny!

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  13. Great interview, and loved the excerpt! Two of my kids are performing in a summer stock performance of Beauty and the Beast this summer - - so I've seen it several times recently. My son plays Gaston, so i've been cheering for the "bad guy" all summer long, lol.

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    1. Oh, how great, Katie. To have musical youngsters! Gaston may be a bad guy, but he's got some great songs that require a terrific voice! Yay for your Fairy Tale Family!!

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  14. I love Beauty and the Beast and Sleeping Beauty... one of my fav movies... Ever After, a Cinderella type movie. Thanks for sharing! greenshamrock at cox dot net

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    1. Hi Colleen. I hadn't seen Ever After until my granddaughter wanted me to watch it with her on TV not long ago. And I wondered how on earth I'd missed it up to now. A very enjoyable version!

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    2. Colleen, You are the winner of Barbara's book. Congratulations! I'll post it and Barb will contact you.

      Regan

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  15. Nice interview, Barb. My favorite movie to relax by is The Mummy. I just watched it for the first time a few years ago so I'm way behind. I loved the Disney Beauty and the Beast. I even had the sound track. Great music.

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    1. Did you watch the Brandon Frasier version or the Boris Karloff version, Ashley? The Frasier version was bigger and creepier with all the bugs! But I saw the Karloff version when I was young and if I hadn't already been leery of the dark, this would have done it! Oh, and I have to tell you--I bought the sound track for Beauty and the Beast, too. I do enjoy it. Thanks for stopping by. And congrats on that yummy new book cover!

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  16. nice interview; Cinderella

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

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    1. Oh, Cinderella is a good one. Love to hate those step-sisters. That original Cinderella story is a good deal darker than Disney's version w/ the loveable mice and nasty cat, isn't it? How ironic that so many of our beloved fairy tales now when first mentioned call up a picture of a Disney treatment. But the original ones were morality tales and stories to caution youngsters. Thanks for stopping by.

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  17. Thank you, Barbara and Regan. Yes, I recognize that Native American legend. When I was a kid I read it in a collection of folklore, possibly the same one you read. The story was titled "Little Scarface". It later came out in an illustrated hardback called "Rough-Faced Girl".

    I found a version on the Web titled "The Hidden One". There might be more out there. Here's the link: http://www.aaronshep.com/stories/046.html

    My fave fairy tale is "Sleeping Beauty". I can relate to it in more ways than I can list in a comment. But here's one. It's about seeking happiness even though you're cursed. One way or another.

    Keep up the good work!

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    1. Mary Anne, thanks so much for the information about the Native American legend. I'm so glad to find the title again. Great insight on Sleep Beauty!

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  19. I love Sleeping Beauty. My relaxing movie is The Mummy...

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    1. Who knew--another vote for The Mummy as a relaxing movie! Love it ;) Thanks for sharing your favs, Heather.

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  20. Hi Barbara! I can sympathize with your heroine, the site of my blood makes me ill too! :) I liked Hansel and Gretel, Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella as a child. Now I like Shrek, Toy Story and Monsters, Inc. :)

    Best of luck with your book! It looks great!

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    1. Thanks for the good wishes, Karilyn. And I can identify with Shrek,et.al. Thank goodness for, in my case, grandchildren! Oh, and how about UP. Wasn't that a super one?

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  21. Loved your book, Barb!

    As for my favorite fairy tale, that would be Red Rose and Snow White. Shh, don't tell, but I'd love to write this in contemporary times. As for movies, gosh, I LOVE so many!!! Can't pick my favorite!

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  22. The winner of Barbara's book is Colleen C! Congratulations and thanks to all for commenting. Happy reading!

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  23. My favorite 'relaxing' movie? Gotta be Ladyhawke. It's got wit, cheek, pure romance and one of the happiest endings ever.
    Congrats, Colleen C, you will enjoy The Heart of the Phoenix. It's a great book.

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  24. Excellent interview! I also like to escape into a book. My favorite fairy tale is The Little Mermaid.

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  25. Thank you so much for the win! :)

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