Virginia Babcock, Author


Virginia, welcome to the New Writing Hangout! Tell us all about yourself and what you do when you aren’t writing.

I work a real job. I am a die-hard quilter, painter, and reader. So that’s what I do when not writing.

How much of your personality and life experiences are in your writing?

I put some personal experiences in my books. Mostly it’s places and feelings I’ve experienced. I try to put my spin on things by having my characters look at or talk about their situations like I would. Some of my characters display some of my personality quirks. For instance, I cuss a lot when venting. Most of my heroines do this too.

Tell us about where you live!

I live in northern Utah. I was born here, but stay for my job and also my husband. We have a temperate climate and varied topography. I can be in the desert dune-buggying and in the mountains hiking on the same day. Sunny skies in the winter keep me here.

If you could travel anywhere in or out of this world, where would it be?

I would travel the entire US. I want to drive the length of the Gulf Coast, but also want to eat a lobster on the beach in Maine before I die. I’ve done the Redwoods and July 4th in DC. Hiking the Appalachian trail or getting to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan are other bucket list trips.

Where did you come up with the idea for your story?

I wrote Bum Lambs and Red Tractors based on the thought, “What could have happened to me if Mom had married a rancher instead of my CPA dad.” The whole book is a treatise on where I grew up and how I would live a rural lifestyle in today’s modern world.

What can we expect from you in the future?

I write constantly. Currently, I’m working on another contemporary romance where I explore a hero that pines for the girl he’d spent a no-promises, steamy week with. I am exploring the idea that “hot sex with no strings” could turn into enduring love. I also have a good start on a book redeeming my mad bomber from my first book. It speaks to redemption and how far can someone come back from being “evil.”

Where did you come up with the idea for “Bum Lambs and Red Tractors?

I wrote Bum Lambs and Red Tractors based on the thought, “What could have happened to me if Mom had married a rancher instead of my CPA dad.” The whole book is a treatise on where I grew up and how I would live a rural lifestyle in today’s modern world.

“Maddy has always been different, but lately she’s been lonely. Even those who love her avoid her because of her “gift” and the strange things it makes her do. Then one night, a ghostly visitor warns her to go with the handsome stranger who shows up at her door before dawn. Jacob needed a change in his life, so he quit his job. Before he could head out on his next adventure, his brother reached out to him for help. Will he ever know why a haunting dream told him to leave to help his brother now? On his way, he meets the beautiful Maddy. Together Maddy and Jacob help those they are called to help. Through triumph and tragedy they find their own way and try to blend two varying paths into one.”


Virginia’s books on Amazon:

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Linda Lingle, Author


Linda,  Welcome to the New Writing Hangout! Where did you get the idea for “Dear Heart”?

I awoke on the morning of my fortieth wedding anniversary thinking about all of the ups and downs my husband and I had survived, and about how love had changed for us as we weathered the bad times and the challenges of day-to-day living. Then, I began to wonder how life would have been if romantic love had lasted forever. The next thing I knew, I was sitting at my lap top, writing the first chapter of Dear Heart.   Since I couldn’t see how romance could survive the daily assault of pressures and problems, I knew when I started that the main characters would be separated for a long period of time, but would ultimately get back together because, well, when I read a love story, I want there to be a happily ever after.

Where does Sweet Heart differ from Dear Heart? 

Dear Heart is told from Deirdre’s point of view and Sweet Heart is told from Lee’s perspective, so right away, the voices of the narrators are different.  Plus, Lee’s story is much more soulful and melancholy. That’s not to say that it’s sad or depressing, but Lee’s life without Deirdre is harder than hers without him, and you get a good sense of that in the book.

Was it as exciting to publish Sweet Heart as it was Dear Heart? 

I was very excited and, frankly, relieved, that the rest of the  story would be published, but there was a lot less hoopla surrounding the publication of Sweet Heart than there was DearHeart.  I didn’t lose my mind and call everyone I knew, screaming, when Sweet Heart was accepted for publication and I didn’t have a big launch party for it.  I just posted the news on social media and sent out emails to close friends and family, which was much more low-key.

How do you write through writer’s block?

I don’t sweat it. There’s always research to do, or another book to work on. And on those rare occasions when I’m mentally exhausted and the thought of opening my laptop makes me want to run screaming from the house, I don’t force it. I say, why torture yourself? Conventional wisdom is that writing in 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration. But for me, writing is 100% about the inspiration, because when you’re inspired, you won’t have to break that much of a sweat. I’m not saying you won’t have to work, but the fact is that a truly inspired story will tell itself, while a story light on inspiration and heavy on perspiration will end up hopelessly contrived.

Do you have any advice for unpublished Writers?

More than anything else, believe in your story. Don’t listen to anyone who tries to dissuade you from writing it. Don’t let anyone convince you to self-publish if you believe you can place your book with an actual publisher. Don’t let anyone scare you about copyright issues or lawsuits. Don’t let anyone try to minimize what you’re doing. If the person you want most in the world to love it doesn’t want to read it, or the person you most want to share the experience with changes the subject every time you bring it up, shrug it off. It will be hard and it will break your heart, but don’t let it derail you. Believe in your story and believe in yourself.


DEAR HEART and SWEET HEART by Linda Lingle

Can love survive a nearly-forty-year separation? Can passion? And what happens to lovers who are separated for a life time? See how their destiny unfolds as the parted lovers dream about finding their way back to each other’s arms, and an unlikely guide emerges to light the path of their journey.

Deirdre Reid and Hartley (Lee) Tate feel an immediate attraction when they meet at the office where they will work together and fall in love.   There is only one problem:  they are married to others and Lee has four daughters to whom he is devoted.

For 15 months Deirdre and Lee carry on a passionate affair.  Then Lee’s wife is offered a big promotion across the country.  With his heart breaking, Lee leaves Deirdre in San Francisco and moves East with his family so his wife can advance her high-powered career.  

Soon, unforeseen circumstances have Deirdre second-guessing her insistence on a clean break.  She resists every impulse to fly to Lee’s side, but on the first anniversary of their parting, Deirdre grows increasingly regretful and melancholy. Then she receives a surprising Christmas present which sets in motion a 38-year ritual that, against all odds, keeps alive the love she shared with Lee. 


Get Deirdre’s story on Amazon


Heartbroken and resentful, Lee has a difficult time adjusting to his life without Deirdre and struggles to settle in to his new surroundings. Knowing he made the only decision a father could make does little to lessen Lee’s profound sense of loss. Although he tries to be upbeat and optimistic for the sake of his daughters, in the dark and quiet of his lonely nights, Lee relives the fifteen heady months that he spent with Deirdre and gives free rein to the anguish and bitterness he feels because he was forced to leave her.

Then, his youngest daughter enlists Lee to help her find an elusive Christmas gift for her favorite teacher and everything changes.

As if guided by fate, Lee stumbles across a poignant reminder of his time with Deirdre and sets in motion the 38-year ritual that eased his heartbreak and sustained his hope for the future.

In this companion book to Dear Heart, we meet the people who populate Lee’s world, and learn the shocking secret he promised never to reveal.




Get Lee’s story on Amazon

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Jeff Botzenhart, Author


Jeff Botzenhart, author of “Indestructible”, welcome to the New Writing Hangout! Tell us all about yourself and what you get up to when you aren’t writing.
I guess Clark Kent’s (aka Superman) artistic alter-ego could best describe me.  From 7 am to 5 pm, Monday through Friday, I’m a mild-mannered office clerk.  After 5, I become a writer and painter, when not spending time with my wife and sons.  Every August and September I coach soccer for autistic and special needs kids and will start this coming spring as an assistant for a Special Olympics track team.

How much of your personality and life experiences are in your writing?
I think a piece of me is in every story I’ve written.  In one story I loaned to a character my own experience with being bullied in high school.  For the most part, though, my imagination is the driving force behind my stories.  I’ve written many different genres, romance, fantasy, horror, dystopian, etc.  I haven’t lived even a fraction of these, but I’ve dreamed of them.  That’s what readers get from me, my dreams.

Tell us about where you live.
I live in Girard, Ohio, a small city in northeastern Ohio.  It’s a great town to live in, populated by awesome people. I live on a quiet street, surrounded by nice neighbors.  A few blocks away is my favorite place in town, our public library.

If you could travel anywhere in or out of this world, where would it be?
If I could travel, and someday I hope to, I would love to visit places like England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales.  Australia, New Zealand, and Canada would also be placed I’d like to visit.

Where did you come up with the idea for your story?
For my story, Indestructible, I was inspired by my love for the stories of master storyteller, Jules Verne.  And being a hopeless romantic, I had to include two star-crossed lovers in this tale.

What can we expect from you in the future?
As for the future, my next release from Solstice Publishing will be a post-apocalyptic story titled, The Edge of Night.  Blending in with end of the world themes are dystopian and steampunk elements which I hope readers will find unique.  After that, I’m hoping to get a techno-thriller featuring artificial intelligence, terrorism and murder to readers.


Soaring to the edge of Earth’s stratosphere, a 1912 scientific expedition traveling aboard a uniquely designed dirigible sets out for advanced observations of the moon and stars. Yet lies, hidden agendas and personal conflicts threaten the mission. Amidst all this, an unexpected love affair draws two passengers together. Daschle’s heart has been shattered by one who did not return his love for her. Irina could be his salvation as their journey takes them to the edge of Heaven and back.

Jeff’s links: .

Marie Lavender, Author


Marie Lavender, author of the recently-released “Blood Instincts”, welcome to the New Writing Hangout! Tell us all about yourself and what you get up to when you aren’t writing.

I read books, watch movies and TV in my free time, and hang out with my family and my fiancé. I am a creative soul, so I like to tackle fun projects at home sometimes. Right now I’m in the midst of redoing my bedroom into a writing inspiration room with airy colors and cool motivating and literary quotes on the walls.

What else? I tend to have a more sarcastic sense of humor. I love buying gel pens and pretty journals to help further my writing. I collect great landscapes and pretty flower pictures that feed my romantic side.

How much of your personality and life experiences are in your writing?

Definitely, I’m in there. At least the people I’m closest to can see me in a lot of my work. It’s true that some of my experiences have bled through my characters. Even though I changed names and certain details, the emotions I felt at the time somehow permeated the story. And yes, my sense of humor inevitably colors a bit of the text.

I was in a bad relationship several years ago – the guy was abusive – and some of those dark emotions I felt, not to mention the marks I wore then and on my soul now – came out in Directions of the Heart, a romantic drama collection about PTSD awareness which was released last year.

Tell us about where you live.

I live in the Midwestern U.S. with my family and two cats.

If you could travel anywhere in or out of this world, where would it be?

First of all, I’d like to visit Ireland, get in touch with my roots. My great-grandfather was Irish. But there are a lot of places I’d like to travel.

Beyond that, if I could see a planet like Endhivar – the one described in my sci-fi romance, Blue Vision– that would be awesome!

Where did you come up with the idea for your story?

Blood Instincts was born of the premise ‘what if you found out you were different than you thought’? The story was built on the idea that we often learn facts about ourselves we never knew before. Maybe your parents never told you about significant parts of your heritage, like me. I only learned about the Irish thing a couple years ago.

In this paranormal romance/urban fantasy, which is book two of the Blood at First Sight Series, Myah learns she may not be only human. No, she’s a hybrid. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg…

I’m in! What can we expect from you in the future?

First of all, I’m working on book one of a six-part romantic comedy series. It’s called Chasing Ginger. Next up is a romantic mystery collection titled First Target. After that? I’m not sure where the muse will direct me. Perhaps toward Awakening, a paranormal romantic thriller collection. Or Dark Secrets, a romantic suspense collection. Or…I could wrap up the Magick Series with Magick Sunrise, a romantic fantasy. On the other hand, I’ve been yearning to get back to my historical romance roots. Maybe a Victorian romance, or another time period entirely. The truth is I have so many works in progress – 125, to be exact – and I have to trust that fate will point me toward the tale I’m ready to tell then.

Blood Instincts - eBook Cover - Marie Lavender

Blood Instincts

Paranormal Romance/Urban Fantasy (with a Slight Futuristic Angle)

Enter the Other World at your own risk…

What if you found out that you weren’t exactly…human?

Myah Sullivan is suddenly living that nightmare. There are Others in the world, dangerous, supernatural creatures that make her mind spin and cause her to question the reality she’s always known.

Oliver King is her savior, a vampire who tries to show her the way. Through her journey she learns far more than she ever thought she would about herself, and about the past. Soon, she discovers that there is so much more to meeting Oliver than mere happenstance.

Can Myah accept her new reality, or will she retreat into that normal, safe world she once thought was her own?

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“You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.”
-Ray Bradbury

Cassondra Windwalker, Author

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Cassondra Windwalker, author of “Parable of Pronouns” and “Bury the Lead”, welcome to the New Writing Hangout! Tell us all about yourself and what you do when you aren’t writing.

Anytime I’m not writing, I’m listening to stories. The world is full of mysteries and wonders if we have the eyes to see them. I live on the southern coast of Alaska, so I spend a fair bit of time walking the beaches here and doing my best to learn from what I find around me: eagles and otters, bears and moose, fungi and ferns. And people-watching yields all kinds of tales.

How much of your personality and life experiences are in your writing?

I use everything, every experience, every emotion, that I encounter, whether my own or someone else’s. It would be difficult even for someone who knows me well to decipher them from my work, though – I ruthlessly dissect, disembowel, and reassemble the flesh and bones to make new monsters.

Tell us about where you live.

I live on the Kenai Peninsula of Alaska, in the salmon and halibut capitals of the world. Life here is much nearer to its origin. Few safety nets exist, and it’s the norm rather than the exception for people to risk life and limb for survival on a daily basis. While the community bands together in an instant whenever help is needed, individuality is prized, oddballs are welcomed, and the arts are a vibrant, pulsing energy. It’s a land of paradoxes and breathtaking beauty.

If you could travel anywhere in or out of this world, where would it be?
Ireland – for both in and out of this world. Can’t discount the Fae…

True. Where did you come up with the idea for your story?
Hmmm…which one? Parable of Pronouns was inspired peripherally by a series of dreams I had as a young child and informed by world mythologies. Bury The Lead came straight out of the headlines, and The Almost-Children was born out of a series of losses.

What can we expect from you in the future?
The Almost-Children, a full-length poetry collection, will be available as the inaugural book in the Portage Poetry Series from Cornerstone Press in May 2019. I just finished Preacher Sam, the first in a series of murder mysteries, and I’m beginning work on another piece of magical realism, this one narrated by the devil.

Tell us about your books.

Parable of Pronouns

Two women is a lot for any man to handle, but when one of them is a child-devouring demon and the other is Eve, Mother Of All Living, Harry Adams really has his hands full. An erotic contemporary fairytale that follows the reincarnations of Adam and Eve and, of course, the ever-hungry Lilith, throughout time, Parable of Pronouns finds the first dysfunctional family in what may be their final time. Harry Adams and Riann Haava don’t remember who they are, but that doesn’t deter destiny from catching up with them as they struggle to overcome their own demons and save Harry’s son from a fate worse than death.


Bury The Lead
Weekly newspaper editor Jeff Paine’s mind is filled with the detritus of newspaper clippings, presidential tweets, crossword puzzles, and horoscopes. When his artist girlfriend Ada Grigori announces her intention to leave him, he becomes obsessed with finding—or manufacturing—connections between otherwise unrelated events. Driven by professional curiosity and unrelenting cynicism, Paine uses his newspaper to manipulate the people of his hometown of Brisby, Colorado into revealing the ugliness lurking beneath their placid exteriors. A series of dog mutilations and two barely-noticed disappearances set the town on edge, till Paine is able to frame himself for Ada’s murder—even though her body has never been found, and there is no evidence of foul play.
Bury The Lead draws readers into the mind of a brilliant but highly unreliable narrator, forcing them to question their own perceptions of objective truth and the existence of a free press in a world where an unsubstantiated tweet can carry more power than an investigative report.



Cassondra’s links

Debbie De Louise, Author



Debbie De Louise, author of the Cobble Cove Cozy Mystery Series, welcome to the New Writing Hangout! Tell us all about yourself and what makes you tick when you aren’t writing.

I’m a librarian. I really enjoy getting into my characters’ heads and seeing where they lead me. I do minimal plotting. Most of it develops as I write.

How much of your personality and life experiences are in your writing?

There’s a good deal of my personality in my main character, Alicia, who is also a librarian and author. In all my books I weave my past experiences, but I fictionalize them to make them more dramatic and exciting.

Tell us about where you live!

I live on Long Island which is also home to quite a few famous authors. I’m not far from New York City, the publishing capitol of the world, although today you can write anywhere.

What can we expect from you in the future?

I have some great ideas for the 5th book of the series, but I like to alternate my series with a standalone novel. I have another mystery nearly completed that has some paranormal elements, and I hope to finish that in a few months. I also have two unpublished novels that I’m currently querying to agents. One is the start ot a new cozy series, and the other is a psychological thriller.

Tell us about the book.

I’m proud to announce the release of the 4th book of my Cobble Cove Mystery series, Love on the Rocks.


It’s February in the small town of Cobble Cove. Love is in the air . . . but so is murder!

When Alicia helps plan a Valentine’s Day Party at the Cobble Cove library that also includes a surprise for her newlywed friend, Gilly, things go wrong when a mysterious box of chocolates addressed to the director turns out laced with poison.

Clues Lead to A Dead Suspect

 Although Alicia promised John she’ll no longer meddle in crime investigations, she and Gilly set out to find the person threatening Sheila who murdered the courier of the deadly candy. The three people they suspect include the professor from California who’s been romancing Sheila while she assists him with research for his book; the obnoxious patron Rhonda Kleisman who threw coffee at the director after refusing to pay for a damaged book; and a visiting widow staying at Gilly’s inn who’s unnaturally curious about Sheila and earns the nickname of Madame DeFarge for her interest in knitting.

New Cat in Town

 While Alicia and Gilly are trying to solve this new Cobble Cove mystery, Sneaky is introduced to Gilly’s new kitten, Kittykai, a calico she brought home from her honeymoon in Hawaii. It’s not like at first sight, but the two cats eventually become friends. They also both play a part in foiling the killer’s murder attempts, but will Alicia and Sheila survive unscathed?


“Alicia, come with me to the Reference Desk. I left a few more decorations there and can use a hand putting them up.”

Alicia followed Sheila back to the desk admiring the paper hearts and flowers hanging from the library’s ceilings and the red streamers that lay across the stacks. Two huge red hearts graced a banner strung across the entranceway over the turnstiles. In the center of each, handwritten in glittery purple script were the names of her best friend and new husband – Gilly and Ron. She knew Gilly would be glad they used her nickname but wasn’t sure the sheriff would approve of the use of his first name. Most of the town resident’s knew him as Ramsay.

Sheila ran around the desk pulling out drawers. She reminded Alicia of a hen tending her chickens. “Gilly and Ramsay are going to be so surprised.”

Alicia agreed. The idea for a combination wedding and Valentine’s Day party was hatched up by Sheila, and it was a great thought. The rest of the staff was busy upstairs where the party would be held arranging more decorations there and putting out all the home-cooked dishes they’d prepared along with the red, pink, and white sheet cake that would be served for dessert.

“What’s this?” Sheila paused in her tossing of decorations atop the desk.

Alicia came over to see what had grabbed the director’s attention. A velvet shaped heart box sat by one of the computer stations. As Alicia came closer, she could see a post-it attached to it with the words, “To Sheila from your secret admirer.”

Sheila smiled. “That Ryan. He knows I have a sweet tooth and am particularly fond of chocolates.” She opened the lid. “My favorites. I know I should wait for the party, but these are just too appealing.”

Alicia watched as Sheila took a few pieces and bit into them. Only a few seconds after she swallowed, her smile faded. She began to choke and clutched her throat.

“Sheila, are you okay?” Alicia rushed over afraid she wouldn’t recall how to do the Heimlich maneuver, but Sheila had already passed out on the floor. “Help!” Alicia called racing to the stairs. The romantic music playing above her drowned out her voice. Just as she grabbed her cell phone to dial 911, Ryan Anderson walked through the door, a huge bouquet of roses in his arms. He stopped short seeing Sheila on the ground. “What happened. Oh, My God!”

“I’m dialing 911 right now,” Alicia said. “She ate some of your chocolates and then passed out. I’m not sure if she choked on a piece.”

“My chocolates? I didn’t get her any chocolates. I was bringing her these flowers.” He dropped them on the desk and then knelt down and started administering CPR to Sheila’s unmoving body.


Debbie De Louise biography.

Debbie De Louise is an award-winning author and a reference librarian at a public library on Long Island. She is a member of International Thriller Writers, Sisters-in-Crime, the Long Island Authors Group, and the Cat Writer’s Association. She has a BA in English and an MLS in Library Science from Long Island University. Her novels include the three books of the Cobble Cove cozy mystery series published by Solstice Publishing: A Stone’s Throw, Between a Rock and a Hard Place, and Written in Stone. Debbie has also published a romantic comedy novella featuring a jewel heist caper, When Jack Trumps Ace, a paranormal romance, Cloudy Rainbow, and has written articles and short stories for several anthologies of various genres. She lives on Long Island with her husband Anthony, daughter Holly, and Cat Stripey.


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