Monday, November 12, 2012

Please Welcome Kathy Otten, Author of Another Waltz

About Kathy Otten:
Kathy lives in the rolling farmland of western New York. She has been making up stories since she was in grade school, creating such works as Lucky the Dog and the Lost Uranium Mine. With a dad who was a fan of John Wayne and a mom who loved antiques, Kathy's imagination soon became fascinated with the past, especially the period in American history from the start of the Civil War through the end of the free range cowboys.
Kathy has been married for 30 years and raised three children. When she is not at her computer she can be found walking her dog through the woods and pastures near her home, or curled up with a good book and one of her five cats.

Kathy Shares Her Writing Techniques:
When I write, some of the most fun I have is in doing research. It’s kind of a treasure hunt for me, setting off in search of buried facts.
Since most of my stories are westerns, I needed to set off on a whole new adventure, researching a monied society on the east coast. I knew Maddy’s family was old money, with original Boston bloodlines. That type of wealth included an expensive house on Beacon Hill. I searched the internet for Beacon Hill real estate and found a house that had been built in the early 1800’s. Since the house was for sale the site had posted several interior photos. I printed them out and suddenly had a glimpse inside the house where Maddy could have actually lived.
I have a book about early Boston and there was the house right on the map. There was even an old black and white photograph of the street and the park across from Maddy’s house. Suddenly my characters felt like relatives on an ancestory web site. My book also had old maps of Boston, and with my magnifying glass I could read the names of the actual streets Maddy traveled in 1870.
Next I researched hospitals, and discovered that the police used to take any sick or injured people they found lying in the street to Boston City Hospital. I ended up buying a book on the history of Boston City Hospital. There was a lot of information in it so I may write something in the future that takes place there. The book had old photographs and pages of description which I was able to use to make the hospital scenes as realistic as possible.
The most fun though, was researching all things Victorian, from ballroom etiquette to holiday decorating to the stuffing used in mattresses for the nursery.

About Another Waltz, plus an excerpt:
After a magical waltz in a winter wonderland with the only man who has ever made her believe she is beautiful, Madeline Winthrop doesn't think life could be anymore perfect--until the night of the Christmas ball when she learns everything James Sullivan has told her is a lie.
Revenge against Madeline's brother forces James to do whatever is necessary to get back what was stolen from him, even if he has to use Madeline to do it. But the one thing he doesn't count on is the way she makes him feel.

“Oh Miss,” Molly cried as Madeline pushed open the door.

Toys and books lay scattered across the area rug. Alex was jumping on his bed, and little Penelope sat in the middle of the floor screaming.

“I never touched the child.” Molly exclaimed.

“Yes, she did.” Alex argued as he jumped. The tails of his nightshirt billowed and sagged above his ankles. “I saw her. She hit Penelope.”

Madeline closed the door, pulled off her long white gloves, and laid them on a small table beside a china doll.

Disheveled strands of Molly’s red hair had pulled free from her bun and fallen around her face. Her normally pristine apron was wrinkled and stained
with food. Deep lines of fatigue sagged beneath her eyes and bracketed her mouth. Madeline recognized this look every time she gazed into her mirror at the end of the day.

Madeline marched straight to Penelope. “Stop your crying at once.”

“She wants to go to Mother’s party.” Alex explained as he continued to bounce up and down. Beneath his bare feet, a crater-like indentation had
formed in the center of the horsehair mattress.

“Alex, you will cease that infernal jumping.”

“No. I want a story.”

“Alex, do not argue with your elders.

“Penelope, you are too young to attend the ball, and all the tears in the world will not change that.”

The little girl snuffled and looked up, her lower lip protruding in a pout. Moisture glistened on her lashes and dampened her cheeks. No doubt half of
Penelope’s problem was exhaustion. The little girl should have been asleep hours ago.

Madeline extended her hand. After a moment’s hesitation, Penelope rolled to her feet, but instead of wrapping her sticky fingers around Madeline’s pinky,
she reached out with both hands and clutched two fistfuls of Madeline’s gown.

Gasping in horror, Madeline grabbed Penelope’s wrists and tried to pull the child’s fingers away from the taffeta.

“Oh, Miss, I’m so sorry, ’tis beets, from the children’s supper.” Quickly Molly pried the girl, who began screaming once more, away from Madeline’s gown.

Two wide smears of purple surrounded by a sunburst web of wrinkles remained where Penelope’s chubby hands had been.

Horrified Madeline stared at the stains. Tears welled in her eyes. Her beautiful gown was ruined, and James hadn’t even seen her wearing it.

Alex ceased his jumping and fell across his pillow howling with laughter.

Molly steered the little girl away from the dress toward the wash basin on the other side of the room.

Madeline wasn’t sure what happened, but the next moment Molly cried out, and Penelope began shrieking.

“She bit me!” Molly cupped her wounded hand to her breast.

Enough!” Madeline snapped, longing to scream herself.

Silence descended. Alex sat up. Penelope sniffed and stared wide-eyed at Madeline.

“Alex, please get into bed. There will be no stories tonight. Penelope, you will apologize to Molly, and if there is any more biting, you will lose desserts
for a week. Now go with Molly and wash your hands and face.”

“You can’t yell at us.” Alex said as he crossed his arms over his narrow chest. “Mother and Father won’t approve.”

“I assure you, your parents do not want their guests disturbed by your hooligan behavior.”

“They can’t hear us way up here.”

He was probably right, but it wouldn’t do for a six year old to know that.
“Are you certain?”

“It doesn’t matter, because Mother will blame you.”

“That may be, but it will be for the last time. I am leaving this place and when I do, there will be no one left for her to blame except you.”

Alex narrowed his eyes. “Where are you going?”

“I am to be married and will be moving far, far away.”

Alex fell back on the bed laughing. “You’re not getting married. You’re lying. No one wants you. You’re a ’barrasment. Father said so.”

Madeline stiffened as though she’d been slapped. She bit her lip against the pain. They weren’t close, but she never imagined her brother would betray her like that with a child. She slipped her hand into the pocket of her gown and removed her spectacles. Hooking them behind her ears, she pushed aside the hurt and stepped toward the boy, her hands on her hips.

“Get yourself into this bed right now, young man,
or I will…”

He glared at her defiantly.

Her mind raced. “I will march outside, cut a switch from the nearest tree, come back here, and apply it directly to your backside.”

“You can’t do that,” he declared though a shadow of doubt crossed his features.

A rapid knocking sounded on the nursery door. Madeline glanced toward Molly, who hurried past her to answer it.

Alex rolled off the bed. “Mother will never let you hurt us.”

“It won’t matter. I am leaving.” She watched Alex wrestle with this logic even as she wondered why she was arguing with a six year old.

“Miss,” Molly called.

Madeline turned.

Waving both hands, Molly urged Madeline to come quickly. Her heart skipped with excitement as she hurried across the room. James had arrived.

“Simms sent word, Miss.” The chamber maid, Bridget, stood in the hallway.

Her eyes wide, a sense of urgency radiated from the girl’s taut features. “You must come now.”

Dread turned Madeline’s heart to wood inside the hollow of her chest.

“It’s Mr. Winthrop,” Molly explained. “He claims your gentleman friend is a housebreaker and wants to have him arrested.”

Web site:
Purchase Link:

Please Welcome Kathy Otten to Sweet Not Spicy by leaving a comment.


  1. Hi Morgan,
    Thanks so much for having me here today. We've got some snow on our roof this morning so for me it's a good day to hang out on my computer.

  2. Hi Kathy,
    Thanks for being my guest today at Sweet Not Spicy. Also, thanks for sharing such a wonderful excerpt!

    Morgan Mandel

  3. That is a great excerpt! Well-written and given a lot of information about the characters in that small bit of space. It sounds like an intriguing book.

    Icy Snow

  4. Hi Icy,
    Thanks for stopping by. I'm glad you enjoyed the excerpt.

  5. Hi, Kathy,

    I met one of your fellow meeting members in Pittsburgh this weekend. Babs. She tempted me to stop by. But you know me...always on the run. Or at least on the treadmill :). Congratulations on your latest release...and it's a Christmas story, too! Won't be long now before the snow falls...a perfect time to curl up with Madeline and James...

  6. Hi Liana,
    Long time since we chatted. I can't get my guys to go to the Y lately. I see you on Book Spa frequently. Sounds like your editing business keeps you busy. Don't forget to keep writing, I'd like to read another one from you. :)