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Monday, July 12, 2010

Money Isn't Everything

Hello, and welcome to my blog. I have a special guest today. Her name is Billie Williams, and she’s the author of the bestselling novel Money Isn’t Everything. Billie, thank you so much for including me in your blog tour. I’ve read your work, and it’s fantastic. Readers, let me tell you about Billie.

Best Selling and Award winning Mystery/Suspense author Billie A Williams is a fiction, non-fiction and poetry author and has won numerous contests for her short/flash fiction stories, essays, and poetry with over two dozen works published. She is published in various magazines such as the literary magazine Thema; Guide, a Magazine for Children, Novel, Writing Etc., and Women In The Arts newsletter as well as Sister’s in Crime, to list but a few.

Her articles, columns and features have appeared regularly in newspapers. Short stories, Flash fiction, poetry and book reviews have appeared in Mystery Time, True Love Magazine and various anthologies and on line e-zines and web sites. She writes a bi-monthly column titled “Whodunit?” for Mystery Fiction’s Voices in the Dark and is a contributing editor for a Blueberry Press Newsletter. She also hosts her own writer’s group, Word Mage Writers and Readers as well as The Amberg Writers Group that meets at her home monthly. She is an active blogger; and A website for writers is at where you can find plenty of tips, tricks and good reads, as well as a current novel in progress serialized in her newsletter, “Printed Words.”

Williams is currently a member of The Wisconsin Regional Writers Association (WRWA) Upper Peninsula Writers Association (UPWA)National Association of Women Writers (NAWW) Sister’s in Crime, Women in the Arts Program, Electronically Published Internet Connection (EPIC), Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. (SCBWI) and Children’s Book Insider, and the Children Writers Coaching Club. Her website
She lives with her husband and Lady Slipper the Maine Coon Cat she received the day she got her contract for The Pink Lady Slipper bed and breakfast murder mystery from Wings ePress so of course the kitten got the name. Amberg, is home, a small Northern Wisconsin community where the winters are cold and long, but the people are warm and friendly.

Billie, that’s one impressive resume! To date, which of your books was the hardest to write and why?

It’s funny to think about this now, but I have not had any difficulty with any of my books as far as writing them goes. I think by the time I sat down to write them they had already been running around in my head long enough that they just wrote themselves basically. Not that I was consciously thinking about developing them, but somewhere I must have picked up and idea that was working in the back of my mind.

I think I had the hardest in terms of rewriting and the most rewriting I’ve had to do was with my first. and so far only, young adult historical adventure novel, Watch For The Raven. I was not as careful or knowledgeable as I should have been about writing historical fiction. I didn’t think about what kind of slang words a kid in the 1800’s time frame of Colorado might use. I didn’t know that phrases such as wagon train, or railroad train would not have the same meaning then, if any meaning at all, as it would later on.

Thank goodness for a marvelous writer/editor who caught the mistakes in that manuscript from the Wings ePress, Inc. editorial staff. The book started out from a statement my mother made to me “When Tag was a pup, and turkeys chewed tobacco,” and when I wrote that line down the book just took off. It never appears in the book at all. But, it is what started me writing that book. It was a phrase my mother’s grandfather used to use whenever he told them a story. I guess he was full of stories.

Which hero is your fave to date and why?

Since everyone of my novels to date have had a female accidental sleuth, I guess it would be a heroine…I loved Audrey Fletka Hroc in Knapsack Secrets, but I also loved the spunk of Chanetta in Small Town Secrets…Danielle in Death by Candlelight though shy and passive in the beginning makes some bold changes to her life. It really is hard to choose a favorite. The women in my Zodiac Sleuths series are really as diverse and interesting as the signs they represent.

My newest book that comes out in October, Diamonds, Death, Deceit, has a male protagonist the only other male protagonist was young Josh Avery in Watch For the Raven. It is fun to get inside a male persona and try to use my male side to design a believable person who is a strong male. That is an interesting experience, but since I was always a Tom Boy growing up, perhaps I have enough male traits that it was easier than it might have been. I do prefer the accidental female sleuth though {smile}

What makes a book a page turner?

I have been told that leaving one chapter at a critical point, so that the reader is nearly pushed into turning the page to see what happens next is the way it is done. It doesn’t have to be a major climatic point; you would wear your reader out if your book was a non-stop dash from one chapter to the next…Pace is important. But you can encourage a reader to turn the page by leaving them wondering – what will Danielle do next? How will Chanetta tell her daughter why she had to let her go for adoption? Audrey Woman of the Year one day, destitute, divorced, alone, what will she do? Leave the reader with a question at the end of the chapter, and if not a question per se, a question of what happens next in the context of the story. Fin, Fur and Fatal is a book that pushes the reader, so I’m told. Not at first, but before midway there are so many twists and turns the reader is never sure who is bad, who is just plain dumb, or if February England will make it to the end of the book with her life intact. She is the second accidental sleuth in the Zodiac series.

4.Which author would you most like to meet and why?

Oh my, this is a question with at least 20 answers. I can give you a list but it will be so long it will take a week to read it, there are so many. I’m from Wisconsin and they say you must meet Hemingway if you are a Wisconsinite. Or Agatha Christie because I write mysteries. Or Tess Gerritsen because I love her suspense. Writing Down The Bones author, Natalie Goldberg, because she just plain makes me want to write. Rob Parnell, because his manner of teaching – Easy Way to Write courses is so perfect for me. Jude Devereaux because she has a gift of language that just draws pictures in my mind. Patricia Cornwell, because she is so good at what she does-the clues a forensic expert could only know. Stephen King, because he knows how to find the fear hiding in everyone and bring it to the page. Brenda Ueland, Florence Scovil Schinn, Brian Tracy, Mary Higgins Clark, Janet Evanovich, and all the authors I’ve found at Wings, Whiskey Creek, Red Rose, BookStrand, and my own Word Mage group – so many wonderful writers that have so much talent. If only I could get a tiny fraction of that from some of them, I would be in heaven. And that isn’t even the list of those that have me reading long into the night. Thank you for asking though.

Billie, what is this new book about?

Mary March is a CNA in a nursing home (Idle A While) when she discovers patient abuse, she investigates and that leads to Jayde Blarney being fired. Jayde goes to work as a fitness trainer in a local health club, (Rainbow’s End). Now, she is out for revenge against Mary for two things. Getting her fired and for encroaching on her, as she perceives it, Doctor Tanner Irish who she is head over heels in love with. Tanner can’t see Jayde for dust as he is infatuated with Mary.

Tanner Irish is almost the proverbial cliché in Mary’s mind. She thinks Tanner is a spoiled little rich boy used to having everything his way, handed to him on a silver platter. He is filthy rich. He thinks money talks, she insists Money Isn’t Everything and she won’t be one of his conquests.

Mary uncovers a connection to the missing funds that lead to Edith Erhoes (Director of Nursing) and Fern Fish (Head of the Accounting Department). Edith’s attitude is the rich can afford it. And they have always gotten the wheat while she has always gotten the chaff, she wants the heart of the wheat and is angry that the young whipper-snapper with money, Dr. Tanner Irish, gets more money catering to old ladies and old men who’ll be dead soon anyway. Life is unjust—and fate is fickle, she is out to change the odds.
Mary will try to find where the abuse stems from and who is taking the money from the coffers as well as how.

Billie’s going to share chapter one of Money Isn’t Everything, but before she does I want to mention the prizes she’s offering. Each person who comments on my blog will have a chance to win either a $100 note pad, a $100 pen, or a $100 bookmark magnet. (They all incorporate the hundred dollar bills into their design. They are not real hundred dollar bills or items.)

4. Everyone that comments and leaves their email address (so I can get their address )will get a bookmark with the cover of Money Isn’t Everything and one lucky winner will get an autographed poster of the cover of Money Isn’t Everything. I'm also offering a couple of free booklets that can be picked up at The booklets are titled: Why I Write, How I Picked My Genere Or it Picked Me, and Why I Write. The booklets have information from all the authors on my blog tour.

5. For the readers/commenters I will draw one name from all the blog sites to get an autographed copy of the print version of Fin, Fur and Fatal another Mystery in the Zodiac Sleuths Series. (That is stateside–if the name drawn is overseas or Canada-- it will be a download version.)

Billie, the prizes sound great. I've been on vacation, so the booklets will be availabe at the end of the day after my web master posts them. Where are you going from here on your blog tour?
You can find me at Annette Snyder’s blog at
Thanks so much for coming, and now let’s have a look at Chapter one.

Money Isn’t Everything,
By Billie A Williams
Chapter One
Mary March pulled into her parking spot at the Idle A While Nursing Home. The slush and ice of March trying to decide whether to be spring or winter created ruts where, depending on the time of day and the amount of sunshine, ice created a walking hazard or rivers of muddy water running in the ruts.

Skirting the puddles and ruts when possible, Mary was loaded down with treats for her favorite residents, her lunch bag, assignment book and her purse. Tanner Irish, that would be Doctor Tanner Irish to the public, whizzed by her in his not-meant-to-be-driven-in-the-winter blazing yellow Fiat Spider 124.

She thanked her lucky stars it was still ice this early in the day and not slush. Jerk, why did he think his money could make every woman fall at his feet? This one wasn’t about to. Money isn’t everything. Arms full, she returned his honk and jaunty salute with a nod. Nothing’s changed.

She went in the employee entrance of Idle A While, the halls were buzzing as day shift prepared to replace night shift. The exchange reminded her of Girl Scout Camp and the competition between the cottages for who was the ‘best’ that day.

The Charge Nurse of the night time CNAs and the Day Charge Nurse would meet with the others in the employee lounge to exchange information on the patients under their care before the day crew began their rounds. Mary wasn‘t looking forward to exchanging anything with Jayde Blarney. In her opinion Jayde was a mistake, but then she wasn‘t on the hiring committee. Jayde‘s credentials must have been good enough, but Mary was uncomfortable with her. She‘d felt bullied by the woman in their few encounters. Maybe she was just testing the water. Everyone deserves a chance.

Mary deposited her stuff in her locker, then she moved toward the employee lounge. Amid “welcome back” and “gee we missed you” from her crew, and glares from Jayde and her chief witch mate Dolly Sweetig and second in command Ebony Jane, Mary felt the stress of the previous weeks return in one fell swoop. The three had their heads together and that unnerved Mary. She felt there was trouble brewing but she wasn‘t sure what.

Edith Erhoes clapped her hands to get everyone‘s attention. “Welcome back, Mary, we‘re relieved to have one more pair of helping hands.”

Edith had been Director of Nurses since Columbus came over, Mary was sure. “Thank you, nice to be back.” Though the statement felt like a lie amidst the glares of Jayde and her team, she really did enjoy her job.

“We have gained residents, five to be exact, and lost three since you went on vacation,” Edith continued in her all business drill sergeant manner.

Mary couldn‘t help but wonder who they lost. Life, especially at the nursing home, was so fragile. It got harder and harder to watch people she had become attached to slip away. One day at a time, she told herself. She gave them all she could while they were at Idle A While. There was nothing else she could do.

The meeting broke up quickly. The night crew was anxious to break free for the day. The smell of breakfast carts arriving drew her attention to the task at hand, making sure those that could were showered and brought to the dining room. Those that needed help eating were assigned CNAs or orderlies to help them.

Mary noticed Audrey wasn‘t eating. She was slumped over on her chair. She laid her hand on Audrey‘s shoulder. Audrey winced and pulled away, pain and fear darkening her faded olive green eyes. “Are you okay, Audrey?”

Tears slid down her furrowed cheeks and her gaze darted around the room like a hunted rabbit. She didn‘t speak. Mary crouched down beside her and wrapped her arm around her shoulders, Audrey pulled away. She put her hands over Audrey‘s. “What happened, Audrey? Did you fall?”

This was so unlike the exuberant and talkative Audrey. Mary became worried. “Here, let me help you with this. Do you want jelly on your toast?” Audrey ate in silence, but at least she ate. She acted like she hadn‘t eaten in days. Mary made a note to have Dr. Irish look at her today. “I‘m going to have Doctor Irish come look in on you today. You be sure to tell him where you hurt, okay?”

Audrey offered a weak smile and patted Mary‘s arm. But, she didn‘t speak.

As Mary made her rounds she noticed more lethargy than normal. Something was definitely wrong here—or was she attaching flawed memories to the usually lively dining room that was only truth in her mind. Memory was such a fragile thing. And it had a tendency to be more about a hoped for truth then reality.

Mary couldn‘t wait to talk to her crew and find out what was going on. One of the CNAs called her to come look at a resident. Raw open sores on the woman‘s buttocks told her hygiene practices had been skipped more than once. She knew Maude was a difficult person. She swung at her caregiver, swore, and threatened all manner of repercussion at whoever was near. She was an angry woman. Part of it Mary knew was because her children forcefully removed her from her home. Now that Idle A While allowed pets, she thought Maude had become more docile. However, the cat that had adopted her was nowhere to be seen.

“We‘re going to have to get you into a bath tub to sit awhile, Maude,” Mary advised ready to be hit verbally and physically with all this used-to-be sheriff wanted to throw at her. Instead Maude merely blinked her eyes, and turned her head away.

The CNA shrugged. “This is the first I was assigned to her.”

“It‘s not your fault. I‘ll have a couple of the orderlies get her into the bath. You can comb her hair and do her nails whiles she sits. Make her feel pampered.” Mary felt her stomach churn. Maude might be a handful, even malicious, but her fighting spirit kept her going. This made Mary‘s heart ache. Clearly, she‘d been neglected.

“When she comes back use some A & D ointment on those sores. Be sure you wear gloves. Then don‘t diaper her. Let her be exposed to the air with just a puddle pad and sheet.” The CNA nodded. Mary made notes on her chart and went to the desk to page the orderlies. Anger was building up inside her. There were cases that flared every day. A fall, a misstep, resulting in a bruise, a patient would be bedridden and prone to bed sores, no matter how careful and well-cared for, but what Mary was seeing was not ordinary. She needed to talk to Edith Erhoes. As Director of Nurses she should be made aware, if she wasn‘t already. How could she not be, Mary thought as she slipped down the hall between housekeeping carts, wheel chairs with residents and CNAs going to and from rooms, appointments or lounges.

She knocked on Edith‘s office door. Edith motioned her to come in as she finished up a phone call. She jotted a name on a piece of paper and handed it to Mary.

“Her family…nothing but trouble. Always complaining. Wish they‘d just take her out of here. I may request they do just that if this keeps up.”

Mary glanced down at the name. The woman hadn‘t been there very long. Mary liked her. She always seemed congenial. She participated in all scheduled activities. “I‘ll check on her right away. What‘s the complaint?”

“Oh, some gibberish about rough treatment again. Same as last week.”

“There is something going on.” Mary cautiously approached the subject. Why should she be worried about reporting suspected abuse, those were state rules, the state demanded suspected abuse be reported immediately to a supervisor.

Edith‘s eyes flashed open wide and then narrowed into angry slits. “What do you mean?” It came across as more an accusation then a question in Mary‘s mind.

Mary listed the problems she had seen already that morning.

Edith fluttered her fingers as if Mary were a bothersome gnat she was trying to dispose of. “You‘ve been on vacation. After a while away from here you forget how most of these people deteriorate by the day. They go from ambulatory and lucid to bed ridden and dementia faster than you realize.”

“I really don‘t believe it‘s that.” Mary pressed on. “When a resident exhibits fear when you place a hand on their shoulder that signals a different kind of—“

Edith cut her off. “I haven‘t got time to deal with your fantasies. After you are back for a few days we‘ll speak again. Don‘t be stirring up trouble where there is none. Now, I have real work to do.”

Mary was angry. A scuffle down the corridor drew her attention and she hurried to intercede. Billy James‘ arms flailed the air. He was refusing to be taken anywhere. He demanded to be returned to his room. “Good morning, Billy. What seems to be the problem?”

“Ain‘t goin‘ nowhere. I‘m stayin‘ in my room where it‘s safe,” he said. His warm cocoa eyes wide with excitement.

It was then Mary noticed his bruised eye. “Who you been fighting with?” She bent to examine the eye.

Billy jerked back. “Ain‘t fightin‘ nobody.” He clutched his lap robe up to his chin and turned away.

“When did this happen, how?” She stood up straight directing her questions to the CNA, a new girl since Mary had worked last. The girl looked frightened, she let her shoulders rise to her ears and then dropped them, her eyes not meeting Mary‘s as she did so.
“I—I really don‘t know. I was assigned to take him to physical therapy.”

“If you don‘t do your physical therapy, you‘ll turn into a vegetable and have to spend all your time in bed.” Mary motioned to the girl to move on to Pearl‘s room and help her. “I‘ll take care of him,” she said softly.

The girl nearly ran down the hall away from her.

“I‘ll take you down today just to prove you are perfectly safe, okay?”

“If that‘s the case, I don‘t want no more shiners from the likes of her.”

“Who do you mean, Billy?”

“That other woman.” anger edged his raised voice.

“You mean the little gal who was just helping you?” Mary thought the tiny young woman who she had relieved of the burden of Billy couldn‘t give a mosquito a black eye, or shiner as Billy‘s colorful language explained it.

“Naw, not her—that Amazon woman.”

Mary searched her mind for a CNA whose stature would qualify her as Billy‘s Amazon woman. Most of the CNA‘s were her size, medium height and build. None of them were very imposing figures.

Dropping Billy off at physical therapy and asking them to treat him with kid gloves today, Mary made her way back up to the main floor nurse‘s station.

Idle A While seemed to have taken on a hostile and disjointed persona, if a place can have a personality. The warm friendly family atmosphere had evaporated in the three weeks she was gone on vacation. Janet had assumed her duties as her second in command. Very competent and motivated. She had been given three days off as compensation for the extra duty. Mary wouldn‘t see her until Wednesday. Already, Mary sensed an urgent need to get Janet‘s take on what she sensed in the atmosphere at Idle A While.


Word Crafter said...

Thank you for inviting me to your blog and for the great interview. I really enjoyed it. I appreciate all you've done to make my appearance here an occasion!
Thank you.
If anyone has any questions I'll be back later.

Lizzie said...

Abuse of seniors is something that happens way too often in homes that aren't what they should be. Great job in writing a book about it Billie.

Fran Orenstein said...

Great interview blog, Elaine. I learned a lot more about Billie and her writing.

Sylvia Kaye Hamilton said...

Interesting and entertaining interview, Elaine and Billie. Money Isn't Everything was a delight to read. Honestly, it's one book you don't want to miss. But then you have many books, Billie, that is a delight to read.
Congratulations on your best seller list.

Pee Wee (Sylvia)

Anonymous said...


Janice said...

Hi, Elaine and Billie,

I enjoyed the interview and the first chapter of Money isn't Everything. I can't wait to read it all. If I weren't so dumb broke I'd have it already. Nice job on your blog Elaine.

Janice Kaat

Word Crafter said...

Thank you ladies for you very kind words. Elaine did a great job in crafting the interview questions and in the whole spread she did on the book. I am truly grateful to her.
Thanks Lizzie, Fran, Sylvia,Janice and the others who tried to post but couldn't quite get in. I appreciate your support.
And Elaine a huge THANK YOU!

Anonymous said...

The world is graced with awe in the presence of Billie's work as she brings understanding and realization of worldly events that harm to bring beauty to those around us.

Anonymous said...

oops forgot to add email addy to the log

Elaine Cantrell said...

Thanks for coming, Billie. Your new book sounds great. I'm sorry that some of you had trouble leaving comments. I think it must be a blogspot flaw because the same thing has happened to me at several blogs lately.

Joyce Anthony said...

What a wonderful interview!!!! You ladies did great:-) I'm looking forward to the next stops on Billie's tour (and returning to see what other treasures you have here!)

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