Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Tell Me About it Tuesday Welcomes

This week on Tell Me About it Tuesday, I am welcoming a good friend. Marsha R. West is one of the first authors I met when I joined my writing group, NTRWA and she's an overall fantastic person! 

I am so excited that she stopped by for an interview and to share with us her debut, an awesome romantic suspense Vermont Escape.

Meet Marsha!!
Marsha R. West, a retired elementary school principal, is also a former school board member and threatre arts teacher. She writes romantic suspense where experience is required. Her heroes and heroines, struggling with life and loss, are surprised to discover second chances at love.
 Marsha, who loves to travel, lives in Texas with her supportive lawyer husband. They’ve raised two daughters who’ve presented them with three delightful grandchildren. She admits to being at the beck and call of two dogs, who run her home.
She’s currently editing her latest work in progress. 

Thanks for doing my invasive interview, Marsha!

Q. Do you do any special research for your novels?

Depending on the book, I do. Vermont Escape deals with state legislation on gambling issues. For Texas, I keep up with all that, just by reading the paper every morning. (I know there aren’t many of us left, but I still like the feel of the newsprint.J) The main part of the story takes place in Vermont—DUH. You probably figured that out from the title. Anyway, I went on-line to Vermont.gov and found lots of info. They call their legislature the assembly. The body meets every year as opposed to in Texas, which meets every other year. Because of story issues, I had to know when the term ran. What were there gambling laws and their gun laws? I’d visited Woodstock two times and had maps and info on business and things like that. It really helped to have been there. (I just realized I failed to mention in my acknowledgements in the book the friend who several years ago introduced me to Woodstock. L Nothing is perfect, try as hard as we might.)

Even during the final galley edits, my heart stopped when I thought for a moment I’d messed up about electronic cigarettes. Quick search of the internet led to a big sigh of relief. What I’d written was okay. 

For other books, I’ve checked out how you join a police department, how/where can you do paternity testing in Fort Worth, info on gas leasing (easy for me with a DH and son-in-law as experts). I usually write about stuff that I’m familiar with. However, I remember on my third book, about a small town theater, a contest judge told me I was wrong on some specifics of what was going on in the theater. Really reamed me out for writing about stuff I didn’t know or research. Again, I called my resident expert, this time Daughter # 2, who’d worked in the particular theater I modeled the one in my story on, and in New York. She confirmed I was right. I refrained from writing the judge back to correct her, just filed it away so I’d not make the same mistake when I judge of telling the person they were wrong. When I notice something odd, I ask if they’re sure of their facts, but never tell them they’re wrong.

Q. What are you working on right now? Can you tell us about it?

Well I’m not writing anything new right now. Almost have book 5, TRUTH BE TOLD (SWAT member wants to stop her father’s blackmailer. Brother’s former partner struggles with physical limitations received saving her brother’s life.) ready to submit. This book is set in Fort Worth. Based on the kind of excellent advice I got on VERMONT ESCAPE from my MuseItUp editors, I could probably send TRUTH now. Plan was to send it in before VE releases. Running out of time. J It’s a stand-alone, as is VE, but in VE there’s a supporting character who earned his own book, and he’s in my 6th book SECOND CHANCES, which is the first in a series. As soon as I send off # 5, #6 will take center focus, so it can go off. Then it’s on to writing new books and resurrecting # 3, which will need quite some rewrites, but the story is good and I love the characters. 

Okay...enough with the business questions! How about some fun stuff. You know, just between the two of us.

Q. The opportunity to go on a surprise vacation arises. You have 90 minutes to pack and get to the airport. Where will you go and what will you pack?

I love this question. Anybody who knows me knows I’m taking off for New England, probably somewhere along the rocky coast of Maine: Camden, Bar Harbor, and York Beach (though this is a sandy beach). Moosehead Lake up northwest is also spectacular. Perhaps Booth Bay Harbor where we’re going in October will become my favorite. I love the history, the old homes and buildings, the gorgeous trees. Along that rocky coastline, the stone is amazing. Add in the crash of the waves and highs seldom in the 90s and I’m a happy camper. Even though, I’ve been fortunate to go there many times, in all honesty, I don’t think I can pack in 90 minutes. I’m a planner. I try to make outfits coordinate. Limit the number of shoes. That sort of thing takes a while. Let’s assume everything was clean and I could fit into everything J then…jeans, long & short sleeved Ts, sweaters, good walking shoes, probably car coat (regardless of the season, it can turn really chilly, though I have friends up there who say, it’s unseasonably warm right now), lap top, I-phone, Nook, and DH. Oh and skin care products so I stay young looking. LOL

Q. If they make a movie about your life, who do you want to play your part?

Sally Field. I really identified with her in Steel Magnolias and wore my hair the same way for 20 years. LOL But there have been times in our lives when Patty Duke and I really resembled each other. Both short but play strong women. Of course, I haven’t been as small as they are in many moons. I wouldn’t think it necessary for them to put on weight to play the role. LOL

Q. Tell us one thing about you that might surprise us...it can be a secret...we won't tell. :)

Well, only if you promise not to tell. When I was in 8th grade, I wanted to be a US Senator. Think I’d just learned about Claire Booth Luce. She was cool, and powerful, and she wrote the wonderful play, The Women.


Now for my favorite part!!!!! Tell us about that AWESOME new release!

VERMONT ESCAPE is available on from MuseItUp Publishing! It released Friday, July 19 at B & N, Amazon and all the other e-venues. I’ve loved this story. My heroine turns 50 in the story. Here’s the short 20-word blurb:   

Jill Barlow flees after husband & father are murdered. The syndicate will kill again for the damning evidence she possesses. 

 Based on the length of my responses, perhaps you can grasp how very difficult it is for me to get 85,000 words down to 20! LOL  

 Two years after the murder of her husband, someone guns down Jill Barlow’s father, a Texas State Representative. The authorities suspect a connection between the murders, but can’t find proof.

Jill longs for the peace she found when she visited Vermont after her husband’s death. With the perpetrators still at large, she returns to the small town.

Considering buying a crystal store, the attraction Jill feels for the owner’s son takes her by surprise. A Vermont State Assemblyman, Jerrod Phillips, seems to resent her presence in his town.

A terrifying series of break-ins shatter her peaceful new life and drive her to seek shelter with Jerrod. Jill shields her adult children from the knowledge violence continues to stalk their family.

Meanwhile Jerrod holds Jill responsible for his brother’s death, and she fears involvement with another politician. With the lives of her family at stake and having lost so much already, how many sacrifices must Jill make?  


Jill Barlow reached for her make-up kit and brushed against the one thing she’d been doing her damnedest to avoid. Her heart rate tripped into overtime.

The package she received days after her dad was murdered. One month ago, but she couldn’t face opening a reminder of the nightmare. 

Pictures of her vigorous father mixed with recent images of his closed casket. Nausea hit. Again. Damn. Why would someone blow off her father’s head? She didn’t stay to find out. She ran.

She’d pushed herself on a four-day trip from Texas to Vermont. Emotionally and physically exhausted, all she wanted to do was unpack her pajamas and climb into bed. Habit required she clean and moisturize her face. Habit provided comfort when life was chaotic. Habit could get her through the worst. Or not.

 In the Woodstock Inn suite, her hand trembled when she removed the package and dropped it onto the bed where it lay on the white coverlet like a scorpion. 

 Hands propped on her knees, she leaned over, drew in needed oxygen. A minute passed, and then she straightened.

“Okay, open this. Every time you’ve come across the thing, you implode, morphing into a quivering mass of mush.”  

Get it today!

More Marsha:

Last but not least, Marsha has a question for everyone!

So tell me where your favorite places to vacation are and why. Love to hear from you!!!



  1. Thank you for dropping by today Marsha! I thought I would answer your question! I don't often get to go on a true vacation. We always end up having to go help my in-laws in PA or I'm headed to a writers' conference. So if I had a TRUE vacation, I might now know what to do w/ myself! LOL! But I would love to go to Scotland someday. Maybe I could run away and write there *wink*

    1. Hey, Chrssy. Thanks for your very gracious welcome. Hon, vacations are good for the soul. I get only going to see family. That's all we ever did when I was growing up. So I never had a "real" vacation until after we had kids. We've been fortunate since then to take some great ones.
      Scotland would certainly inspire writing. Hope you get there one day.

  2. Great interview, ladies. Anywhere the ocean is calm and the water is clear enough to snorkel. Someday, I'd like to snorkel the Great Barrier Reef. But then having Scottish blood on both sides of the family, I'd like to see Scotland. But in the summertime!

    1. Hey, Jerrie. I hope you get to the Great Barrier Reef. Supposed to be amazing and for someone who loves snorkeling as much as you...well, I hope you make it. I'm not sure summertime in Scotland is warm enough for you, though. :) Thanks for stopping by.

  3. Hello everyone! We go to South Padre Island every year in the late fall. No crowds, and we can sit on our balconey and watch the sun rise every morning. Walks on the beach, good food and a little wine. Oh, and we go see a movie every afternoon. It is so relaxing!

    1. Hey, Molly. Yes, that's my time of year for the beach. I just like to watch the water and walk on the beach and listen to the sounds. Though we did take a real beach vacation twice to Tybee Island with all the family and met cousins there. This small town is off the coast of GA just east of Savannah. This is remarkable beach. I'll really have to write a blog about it sometime. :) Thanks for stopping, Molly.
      Now, if I can read these silly letters and numbers. Always a challenge for me. Two times to respond to Jerrie. At least we get several tries. LOL

  4. Fun interview, Chrissy. And Sally Field would be perfect for playing you, Marsha! You said, "When I notice something odd, I ask if they’re sure of their facts, but never tell them they’re wrong." So wise ... and I'm sure the contest entrants appreciate the consideration. Wishing you the best with Vermont Escape!

    Nancy C