Today I am happy to have Kathy Pieper on my blog, introducing her book, Letters From Al, a story inspired by her great-aunt and her connections with Al Capone. Welcome Kathy!

Thanks for having me on your blog today, Charlie. I'm a born and bred Nebraskan and have always loved reading and ultimately writing, my first contemporary romances were published back in the 80's. I love a good mystery and romances seem to never go out of style, and altho' the technical world seems to be taking over, I still love to hold an actual book in my hand. One of my writer friends had a good point too, how in the world do you autograph an e-book? Made me laugh, but there's room for all. My favorite character is always the one I'm working on. 

As a teen my favorite book was Adventures of the Black Stallion(I was very horsey at that age) and "Christy" by Catherine Marshall, but I was also developing my love of mysteries and romance. Nancy Drew was fun and the old Jane Austin classics. In grade school I loved "Peach Tree Island" by Mildred Lawrence, and I just found a hard copy online which I snapped up and immediately read. Ahhh, contentment and getaway time just like before. Reading still affects me like that.

I write contemporary romance and romantic mystery for young adults, what used to be called 'sweet', I enjoy telling a story that makes my reader use their imagination and every sense. When you get so lost in a story you smell the flowers and hear the hoofbeats, you've succeeded. 

Letters From Al is my newest novel published by Treble Heart Books. It was submitted and rejected several times before I finally found a publisher. I never was tempted to give up because I was very wrapped up in the story. The photo on the front cover is actually my own great aunt Sophia who lived to be 104! I had admired the photo of a cute 'flapper' girl in my grandmother's living room for years and she finally gave it to me. While the story is not about her, her photo inspired my story of Madeline Morris and her connection with the infamous gangster Al Capone. One of my favorite scenes is the prologue where she must use her street smarts to get out of a precarious situation, then decide if she will warn the criminal to protect her friends and co-workers. How she handled it sets the tone for the rest of the story and the future of her own great niece. I like to think she would have approved. 

Writing has given me an outlet for my creative side, plus entertained me and others. My favorite part of being a writer is seeing the finished product, seeing my characters come to life and the enjoyment others get by reading what I put down on paper. 

My best advice on writing is, WRITE. Don't think too much, don't procrastinate but plan! Get up early, stay up late, write on your lunch hour or whenever the mood strikes you but if you don't pick up the pen or sit down at the computer, you won't write. And don't forget, if a laptop isn't available, plain old pen and paper always is. 

It's tough writing for publication these days if you don't study your markets and learn the craft. With all the technology out there available to us now, it pays to learn all you can from groups like the Nebraska Writer's Guild, and RWA, there's a smaller group for about any type of writing these days so take advantage of it. And don't forget about critique--having someone honestly review your work will save you lots of time and disappointment. Call your library or go online, you will find lots of information available. 

I'm online at my website kathleenpieper.com and if you want to contact me personally the email addresses are there. Thank you so much for this opportunity to visit with you. I hope your readers check out "Ghost Dog of Roanoke" and "Letters From AL". Thanks again, and happy happy holidays to all!

Thanks for joining us today, Kathy. It's been great to hear more about you and your books. Your writing advice is great. Everyone needs to be reminded of that! Thanks again for being here.
C.K. Volnek