A Storyteller’s Journey

Welcome to my Second Acts Series!

Today, we have author Becky Lower sharing excellent advice on launching second acts and her upcoming release, The Forgotten Debutante.

Here’s Becky!

beckylowerBriefly describe your first act.

My first act was a series of missteps. Although I graduated college with a degree in English and Journalism, I didn’t follow the writing path. I’d always been a storyteller, mostly spilling family secrets, but never translated that talent into a writing career. Instead, I worked in advertising, trade show management and other boring jobs, fulfilling my creative needs with a variety of hobbies. I learned to quilt, knit, refinish furniture, cross-stitch, needlepoint, you name it. But none of these outlets quite fit either. I floundered a lot during my adult life.

What triggered the need for change?

As I was approaching retirement, I thought about what to do next. Because of all my floundering, I hadn’t amassed a nice nest egg, so I needed to plan on something else for income. I found an adult education course on writing the romance novel, and thought, why not? I’d been reading romances my entire adult life. It was now time to put my storytelling and creativity together. I’d like to say the six week long class propelled me to instant fame, but I’d be lying. I spent the next few years learning my craft.

Where are you now?

Still learning. I now have 13 books published, and am still waiting for the breakthrough book. I liken my career to a snowball rolling down a hill. It starts out small and gains size and momentum as it goes.

Do you have advice for anyone planning to pursue a second act?

Start your second act the moment you think of it. Don’t wait until you have the time. If your life doesn’t feel right to you, make a change.

Any affirmations or quotations you wish to share?

My favorite quote is from one of my heroes–Jedediah Smith, an early American fur trapper and explorer. While he was trying to find a way across the mountains, he said sometimes in order to get ahead, we must be turned back. So, if what you’re doing isn’t working for you, turn back to your roots and figure out what’s missing, then forge ahead.

theforgottendebutante

Blurb

Don’t miss the touching conclusion to the Cotillion Ball Saga!

In 1863, America is war-weary. Fifteen-year-old Saffron Fitzpatrick, whose teenage years have been spent mourning the dead rather than dancing at her debutante ball, just wants to visit her beloved horse after being housebound due to the draft riots. A chance meeting with soldier Ezekiel Boone changes everything.

Three years ago, Ezekiel ran away with his older brothers to join the war effort, welcoming the chance for adventure. But when all four of his brothers die at Chancellorsville, he retreats home, despondent and depending on the kindness of strangers, like Saffron, who help him on the journey. They share a wild ride and a breathless kiss, parting with fond memories.

Fate reunites the couple three years later, and their former attraction rekindles as they discover unexpected common ground and begin to build a relationship. But though the war is over, a future together may still elude them . . . especially if Saffron’s older, protective brother and the U.S. Army have anything to say about it.

buynow

Where to find Becky…

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Blog | Goodreads | Google+ | Amazon

Joanne here!

Becky, I’ve been following your journey for several years and am impressed by the body of work you have produced. Best of luck in the future.


Spotlight on Cotillion Ball Saga

cotillion

All the drama and challenged loyalties of the pre-Civil War era come to life as the warmhearted Fitzpatrick daughters carve out their own lives and find true love. Settle in to enjoy these three tales of independent, passionate, and strong American heroines!

The Tempestuous Debutante: The smart choice says Jasmine Fitzpatrick should choose to charm the Viscount of Foxborough at this season’s Cotillion, but it’s the noble’s stable boy, Parr O’Shaughnessy, who may hold the key to her heart.

Blinded by Grace: Grace Wagner has been in love with Halwyn Fitzpatrick since they were teens, but now she needs a husband to inherit the trust her father has left for her. Will Halwyn’s new glasses help him see her in a new light, or will she take control and propose herself?

The Duplicitous Debutante: Writing the popular Harry Hawk dime novels as F.P. Elliott, Rosemary Fitzpatrick is too busy hiding her female identity from her new publisher, Henry Cooper. But Henry is not the typical Boston Brahmin nor the typical publisher. When her deception begins to unravel at the Cotillion Ball, will Henry be able to forgive her, or has deceit cost her the man she loves?

buynow

Bio

beckylowerAmazon best-selling author Becky Lower has traveled the country looking for great settings for her novels. She loves to write about two people finding each other and falling in love, amid the backdrop of a great setting, be it on a covered wagon headed west or in present day small town America. Historical and contemporary romances are her specialty. Becky is a PAN member of RWA and is a member of the Historic and Contemporary RWA chapters. She has a degree in English and Journalism from Bowling Green State University, and lives in an eclectic college town in Ohio with her puppy-mill rescue dog, Mary. She loves to hear from her readers at beckylowerauthor@gmail.com. Visit her website at http://www.beckylowerauthor.com


Spotlight on Becky Lower

I am happy to feature Amazon best-selling author Becky Lower and her new release, Expressly Yours, Samantha.

Here’s Becky!

beckylowerAs is the case with most authors, I started writing complicated plot lines as soon as I could pick up a crayon. But there’s a world of difference between being a writer and being an author. The author thing didn’t happen until much later in my life.

For years, I’d entertain my friends with long stories about my complicated, dysfunctional family. While they enjoyed my stories, I was constantly told I should write them down instead of being a vocal storyteller. I ignored their good advice since I was busy with a job and had a rambling old house that kept falling apart.

Then, my life got shook up. The economic downturn happened and my job disappeared. While I scrambled for ways to pay the mortgage on the rambling old house, I saw an ad for an adult learning course offered at a local community college, on How To Write A Romance Novel. Even though it had been years since I’d written anything, I signed up for the class.

17604325_s

I’d like to say I went right from that class to selling my first manuscript to a major publisher. But reality didn’t match up with my dreams. That first manuscript is still under the bed. Oh, I worked on it, entered it in some contests, took the feedback and rewrote it, even won a contest based on the first three chapters. But it never quite gelled for me. I’ll get back to it some day, since it contains two of my most favorite things–time travel and the early American west.

As I slid the time travel idea under the bed, I asked myself what I really wanted to write. I’m a big fan of Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton series, but I didn’t want to write books set in England. Then, a friend of mine began to talk about her days as a debutante and her Cotillion Ball, and the lightbulb moment happened. The Cotillion may have begun in Europe, but it did eventually make its way into American high society. A bit of research later, and my Cotillion Ball Series was born. There are nine siblings in this well-to-do New York family, and each one has patiently (or, in Jasmine’s case, not so patiently) waited for their own book to be written. Expressly Yours, Samantha, is the seventh book in this nine-book series, and features the youngest boy in the family, Valerian. He’s a rider for the fabled Pony Express and fate brings him into contact with Sam Hughes, who is really a girl named Samantha, on the run from an abusive uncle.

Obviously, I like to write about American history and use it as a backdrop for my stories. I was fortunate to have the Cotillions begin during an era where there was so much going on in America–tensions were mounting between the North and South over slavery, the West was being opened to settlers willing to face the journey, the Pony Express, and then the Civil War. What an exciting time in America as events, both great and small, impacted the lives of those living through it.

But what an enormous amount of research was needed for each book. So, I began to write contemporaries in between each historical, just for a break from the research. I now have three contemporaries in print and a trilogy under way. All the books so far are about women who reinvent themselves when their first acts were finished. Kind of the story of my life, wouldn’t you say?

roses2

Blurb

Samantha Hughes has one day to escape from her wicked uncle, and a sign in the post office is her answer. She’ll cut her hair to pose as a man and become Sam Hughes, a Pony Express rider.

Valerian Fitzpatrick doesn’t want the weight of responsibility that his brothers have in the family business. Fortunately, the Pony Express offers a chance to make his own way in the world.

He assumes his new buddy, Sam, is on the run from the law, until she’s hit by a stray gunshot and he has to undress her to staunch the wound. Friendship quickly turns to attraction—and more—but when Sam’s uncle tracks her down, she is forced to run yet again.

Val’s determined to find her, but will a future with Sam mean giving up the freedom he’s always craved?

Bio

Amazon best-selling author Becky Lower has traveled the country looking for great settings for her novels. She loves to write about two people finding each other and falling in love, amid the backdrop of a great setting, be it on a covered wagon headed west or in present day small town America. Historical and contemporary romances are her specialty. Becky is a PAN member of RWA and is a member of the Historic and Contemporary RWA chapters. She has a degree in English and Journalism from Bowling Green State University, and lives in an eclectic college town in Ohio with her puppy-mill rescue dog, Mary. She loves to hear from her readers at beckylowerauthor@gmail.com.

Where to find Becky…

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Blog | Goodreads | Pinterest | Amazon

Second Chances

Welcome to my Second Acts Series!

Today, we have Becky Lower talking about “Do Overs” and her latest book, Blame It on the Brontes.

Here’s Becky!

beckylowerWhen you were a kid and something didn’t go as planned, wasn’t it great to be able to yell “Do Over” and fix whatever the problem had been? If only the big flubs in life were so simple to fix.

That’s what second chance romances are all about. The heroes and heroines are usually a bit older than standard fare romances. This isn’t their first rodeo, and they have lived long enough to have some flubs and skeletons in their closets. If you made the wrong choice with a lover from long ago and have always regretted it, or if someone in your past did you wrong and put you off from trying a new relationship, second chance romances are tailor-made for you.

In my book, Blame It On The Brontes, there’s a lot of trouble in the Bronson household, and it’s not just between the women and their men. It’s also a tale about three sisters, whose childish behavior during a family crisis twenty years prior had serious ramifications on where their lives are today. Their mother, in her infinite wisdom, crafted her will so the sisters would have to confront their self-imposed demons in order to gain control of the family fortune. They have to come back to their childhood home and live together for one year.

BlameItBrontes__850

The story is a three-act structure, with each sister getting her moment to shine. Charlotte and her long-time love, Gray, haven’t been able to mend the rift that happened long ago, when, in a moment of desperation after her father’s funeral, she called off her engagement to Gray unless he quit being a fisherman, since the sea had taken her father. Charlotte thinks Gray took the opportunity to sleep with Annie, her younger and vivacious sister. Annie has been encouraging that thinking for years.

Emily’s husband was killed while serving on the USS Cole. Her next relationship ended in failure, after she invested five years with the man. So, she’s come home to lick her wounds and act as referee between her sisters. What she doesn’t count on is her childhood friend being all grown up and studly.

Annie is a twice-married stage actress who never quite made it out of the chorus line. She knows Charlotte was responsible for getting rid of the love of Annie’s young life, and she has tormented Charlotte for years, letting her think the worst of Gray. And of Annie. What Annie really wants is the love of her sisters, which she used to have when they were younger. And a good man to be beside her.

So, if you’re in the mood for second chance romances, grab a book in this sub-genre and settle in for a good read. You might just be inspired to yell “Do Over.”

Bio

As is the case with most writers, Becky Lower began to write stories as soon as she could figure out how to put pen to paper. Her career got off to a rocky start, though, because she was a defiant teenager. A Journalism teacher in high school told her she should become a writer, so she went in a totally opposite direction, majoring in International Studies for her first two years of college, nearly flunking out in the process. It wasn’t until she switched over to an English/Journalism major that her grades improved. So, she owes a much-belated thank you to Mr. Tanner, who actually did know what he was talking about.

Today, Becky lives in an eclectic college town in Ohio with her puppy-mill rescue dog, Mary. She uses her love of history as an excuse to roam around old graveyards and Civil War battlefields, and to spend large chunks of time watching old westerns when she’s not writing romances.

Where to find Becky…

Website: http://www.beckylowerauthor.com

Amazon: http://is.gd/qhIkUY

Twitter: https://twitter.com/BeckyLower1

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/beckylowerauthor

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/authorbeckyl

Joanne here!

I love reinvention stories and the Brontes. This book is at the top of my TBR list. Thanks for dropping by, Becky.