Thursday, September 21, 2023

I interview my anti-hero from Outcast Artist in Bretagne, by Diane Scott Lewis


To purchase the ebook or paperback, click HERE

I previously interviewed my heroine, Norah, to dig deeper into her character. Today it's my hero (who you'll think at first is an anti-hero) It's fun to talk to them out of the written context of the story. I hope you enjoy it.

Today I interview Major August von Gottlieb, the commandant of Southern Brittany.

Major, I understand that though you're in the German army, you don't care for Hitler's policies?

A tall, handsome man, with blond hair and blue eyes, the Major sits and adjusts his greenish-gray tunic with the Iron Cross. "I came to realize that Hitler is a madman. His policies are getting good people murdered. When I was assigned here, in this bucolic village, I found I wanted a different life. But it isn't so simple to leave the German army. I would be shot as a traitor, unless I plan carefully."

Have you set any of these plans into motion?

"First, unlike so many officers, I refused to starve the population by sending away the food supplies. I make certain the villagers keep their fair share."

Do any of your fellow officers resent this?

"Ja, they do, and are sure to make snide remarks to me. But I am in charge." He rubs his cleft chin, his gaze penetrating. "I was nearly killed in an incident having to do with Hitler a few years back. It's made me more determined."

I see the pain cross his features. Have your superiors complained?

"I was visited by one colonel, but I eased his mind. We need strong workers here to build the special port."

And what will this special port be used for?

His eyebrows rise. "I cannot divulge that yet. It is something I plan to, let's say, take care of so no further damage is done to England or France from this area."

A noble plan. I hear you have a young lady that you're interested in.

"I do. We are both in love." His eyes soften and he smiles tenderly. "She is English, so that is another strike against me. I hope we can manage a future together. I feel such passion for her. But there are many obstacles." He stares off for a moment. "She has had a rough time of it, and I want to soothe her and be a decent man for her."

The villagers have vilified Norah because of her relationship with you.

"I regret that. If I'm not destroyed by the peril to come, my wish is to escape with her to Switzerland and get married. I want to honor her. There are so many secrets and scheming around us." He fists his hand, his gaze troubled. "But I cannot tell anymore than that." Gottlieb stands and puts on his high-capped hat. "I have work to do. I must bid you good day, frau."

Well, thank you for speaking with me. I wish you both success. Hmmm, an officer working from within to sabotage Hitler. I'm intrigued how he will do it, and what needs to be 'taken care of.' Norah had mentioned a weapon in her interview.

Diane lives in Western Pennsylvania with her husband and one naughty dachshund.

Monday, September 4, 2023

On a More Personal Note, by Diane Scott Lewis

 Lately my husband has had a terrible cough. Doctors could not figure it out. Then his calcium levels went through the roof.

They put him in the hospital for major tests. His lymph nodes are swollen. More tests. We finally got the results. Cancer, the word you never want to hear.

It's thrown us all in disarray. He'll start radiation soon, at a hospital 40 minutes away. They have an excellent cancer center there. I'm still in a daze. He is emotionally up and down.

My sons will help drive him back and forth. Even our wine lady offered to drive. I'm speeding along a backroad.

How to cope? How to keep writing? It's literally one day at a time.

I must resurrect my off-beat sense of humor for a situation that is far from amusing. Plus comfort a man who is staring at his own mortality.

My friend in England is going through this with her husband. Her advice is a great comfort. Even my publisher is involved, her husband now deceased, was a great believer in help from the spirit world. We'll use any means possible to get through this.

My oldest (longest) friend has been there, too; by now she may wish she could hide!

Now I must get my head back into the YA novel I'm working on for publication next year. It's all surreal.

I'm a Type A who needs to dial down to a B.

Prayers if you got 'em!

Monday, August 7, 2023

N.N. Lights excellent review of Outcast Artist in Bretagne, by Diane Scott Lewis


N.N. Lights gave my novel an excellent review.

Outcast Artist in Bretagne is a powerful, multi-facet story of love, hate, war, compassion, and courage. It’s a love story, true, but it’s one set against the turbulent era of German-occupied France.

The year is 1940, and British citizen Norah Cooper finds herself trapped in France, a guest of her cousin and her husband. Not trusted by either the French or the Germans and carrying a past considered shameful at the time, Norah can’t deny her attraction to Commandant August von Gottlieb.

The forbidden love story is only part of the saga, as Lewis immerses us into the early years of World War II where the Americans have yet to get involved. Their love, complicated enough, becomes wrapped inextricably with the war when each keeps their own secrets of their clandestine activities—activities which could get them killed.

Lewis doesn’t just tell us about the conditions of the occupation, she paints a vivid narrative of the harsh lives the French lived under German rule. From the daily fear to the scarcity of food, to the mistrust citizens had for one another, this story gives the reader the privilege of eavesdropping on history.

The major strength of this tale lies with the characters. We can’t but come to empathize with the townspeople—especially the children—living under austere economic and societal conditions. But we’re also given a realistic view of the German soldiers, who very often are portrayed as buffoons or cartoon characters. Here we see they have families, fears, doubts, and desires. The full tragedy of the war is fully unveiled.

Typically, we see the history of World War II through a series of black and white newsreels. Lewis splashes shades of color on the time period and reveals a richer, more vibrant era.

Lewis has written a historical romance guaranteed to give you a book hangover unlike any other. My advice? Ignore your TBR pile and read Outcast Artist in Bretagne while you’re on the beach this month. You can thank me later.

My Rating: 5++ stars

Buy it Now:

Amazon US:

Friday, July 28, 2023

A Time Travel and a Spy Story, by Diane Scott Lewis


Can a sassy San Francisco gal from the 21st century survive when she's hurtled two hundred years into the past in a neglected cemetery? And what about the handsome farmer who may be a grain smuggler? After Tamara's nasty divorce, can she trust again? Caught up in England's turmoil during the French Revolution, can she ever go home?

To purchase BEYOND THE FALL, click HERE

"Colum and Tamara have become my favorite characters of all time! I absolutely will recommend this book to all avid romance readers who love fast, and intriguing plot!" ~ Mariola S. Librarian via Netgalley

Countess Trehearne returns to England in the midst of the French Revolution. She's determined to avenge the death of her companion in Paris. Her probing embroils her with a deadly spy and her childhood love, Robert. Will their passion heat up before she becomes the spy's next victim? Robert works for the new Secret Services. He discovers they stalk the same villain. Can he protect his old love before it's too late?
Tamara from Beyond the Fall makes an appearance in this novel.
To purchase, TO ENTICE A SPY, click HERE

"Ms. Lewis does an excellent job of keeping you invested in Eseld and Robert. A historical romance that is thoughtfully researched, features a couple that is older (late 30s), and a plot that is interesting and fascinating. So do yourself a favor and pick this little gem up. You'll thank me later." *Harlies Books*

Diane lives is Western Pennsylvania with her husband and one naughty dachshund.

Monday, July 3, 2023

A Male Reviewer says my Hero is too Virtuous? by Diane Scott Lewis


Can a German officer throw off the vileness of the Nazi Regime? That very vileness is why he strives to make changes in his life. But first August must destroy a killing-machine.

Meeting the exiled Englishwoman, the artist Norah, encourages him to act. He aches for the passion he's never experienced. Will they find their happy ending in the chaos of WWII?

To purchase, click HERE

Read the review (he doesn't mention this virtuousness in it, though)

All Is Fair In Love And War

Reviewed in the United States on June 29, 2023 FIVE STARS

"This is the rare book by a modern author in that it transports the reader to France of 1940, and it never feels false or contrived; you really feel like you're there because of Ms. Scott-Lewis's detailed descriptions and knowledge of and obvious intense research into the period and place. And you feel the anguish from the two main characters as they fall in love against the backdrop of the war and the fact that they're on opposite sides. That anguish turns to friendship, to lust, and finally to love as they carefully navigate the increasingly dangerous terrains of love and war. Historical romance is not my usual genre of choice, but I was riveted by the story which draws on other wartime romance novels and movies (Casablanca anyone/), yet tells the story in a new and refreshing way. I heartily recommend this great novel!" Brettw

Diane lives is Western Pennsylvania with her husband and one naughty dachshund.

Sunday, June 18, 2023

Norah tells us why she found a connection to Major von Gottlieb, by Diane Scott Lewis


To purchase Outcast click HERE

Interviewer. "I'm sitting here with Miss Norah Cooper in the small village of Saint Guenole in Brittany. Miss Cooper, you were trapped in France after the Germans invaded, visiting your cousin for personal reasons, and now you just want to go home to England. You're an artist and decided to draw the Major, the man in charge of the occupation. Why was that?"

"He offered me a great amount of money, and I needed to pay my way." Norah brushes a hand through her strawberry-blonde hair. "My cousin's husband threatened to demand I leave. I had no place to go."

"You didn't find this idea with the Major repulsive?"

"Yes, at first. But the Major surprised me." Norah smiles, looking a little embarrassed. "He was very kind, and then I learned a secret about him that really changed my mind."

"And what was that?"

"He hated Hitler's policies. Plus he brought more food to the village after I asked him to." Norah sighs. "He wanted the war to end and live a peaceful life."

"Then an attraction grew between you two?"

"Slowly." Norah gazes around. "When we got to know each other better."

"Weren't you afraid of being ostracized?"

"I am ostracized. The villagers, my cousins. It is very difficult. The Major, August, he told me a terrible weapon was on its way. And he planned to disable it so it wouldn't be used against my country."

"I see. Did you fall in love with him?"

Norah smiles again, though it's a little sad. "We fell in love. As crazy as that sounds. I discovered the man he really is, inside. We have a passionate relationship. But I knew it would be perilous."

"Do you have plans for a future?"

"He has to complete his sabotage. I got involved with forging documents. We kept secrets. But our love is strong." Norah presses her fingers to her cheeks. "We speak of escaping to Switzerland. But there are so many obstacles. Threats of arrest. I still hope we can have our happy ending. Or maybe I'm being naïve."

Interviewer. "I hope you can find a happy ending in the midst of war. Thank you for speaking to me."

Diane lives in Western Pennsylvania with her husband and one naughty dachshund.

Wednesday, June 7, 2023

A Brief Excerpt and a Brittany recipe, Outcast Artist in Bretagne, by Diane Scott Lewis


Click here to PURCHASE

August risks both their reputations by taking Norah to draw a castle, then lunch at an outdoor café. Their relationship exposed for all to see. A forbidden love that could end in heartbreak.

The waiter served steaming bowls of Cotriade, the local fish stew, made with bass, eel, mackerel, other fish, potatoes and onions. A rich smell with a hint of fishiness.

Norah dipped in her spoon and tasted. “Delicious. So much bounty. And the perfect spices.”

They each spoke of their childhoods and later years, trying to find common ground. He left out the growing chaos in Germany, the march toward totalitarian authority that corroded his youth. He almost told her of the day he was shot and nearly died, but didn’t want to ruin the pleasurable interlude.

“I’m surprised the Germans haven’t taken over this city with the expansive harbor.” She glanced down across the coastline. There were a few sentries.

“I couldn’t say if we have.” Many bunkers were being built here. He poured them another glass of wine. The wine relaxed him, and he wished they didn’t have to leave. He had the urge to trace his finger along her collarbone and lower.

She looked at him with a wry smile. “We each have secrets, though you know most of mine now.”

“That might be so. I still need to find out who murdered my landser.” August said it casually, certain she wouldn’t admit if she knew. He finished his stew. “I’m sorry, the commandant returns in me.”

“Are you trying to scare me off?” She ate more stew, her tongue licking juice from her lips, eyes sparkling. “I haven’t heard anything; that’s the truth.”

He laid his hand over hers. “I believe you. And again, forgive me for asking.” He curled his fingers around hers. “This is a perfect day with an exceptional woman.”

Norah drank her wine. “Please continue. I’m listening in earnest to your flagrant flattery.”

Recipe for Cotriade:
 Heat 3 oz butter in a large saucepan
Add one chopped onion and stir for two minutes
Add one chopped leek and two chopped garlic cloves, stir for another two minutes
Add three sprigs of thyme 
Add six medium potatoes, peeled and quartered.
Cover with one litre of cold water, season with salt and pepper.
Bring to a boil and cook for five minutes
Add three pounds of whole fish (monkfish, flathead, john dory, whiting), cleaned and cut into one inch pieces
Add the fish pieces and shake the pot. Simmer for five minutes
Add twelve mussels, cover with a lid, and cook for 2-3 minutes until the mussels have opened up.
Serve the stew in large bowls and sprinkle with half a cup of parsley

Diane lives in Western Pennsylvania with her husband and one naughty dachshund.

I interview my anti-hero from Outcast Artist in Bretagne, by Diane Scott Lewis

  To purchase the ebook or paperback, click HERE I previously interviewed my heroine, Norah, to dig deeper into her character. Today it'...