I logged into Twitter one day and I was welcomed with notifications alerting me that some of my tweets/quotes had been re-tweeted and faved. Which, of course, always makes me smile. But to my surprise, I found that the person who was enjoying my tweets was Beth Albright. Instantly, I click on her profile to learn more about who this person was. (yeah, I was stalking)
Her profile loads and reveals a beautiful pink and yellow background and her header reads: “@BeththeBelle Author of The Sassy Belles Series from Harlequin Mira.” This got me excited and I had to know more. I followed the link to her website and I was greeted with the same lovely decor as her Twitter profile, but what got me was this: “Meet the Sassy Belles… They’re strong as mint julep, sweet as peach cobbler and no matter what, they stick together.” She had me. Hook, line and sinker.
Since then, I have had the pleasure of chatting with and getting to know Beth a little more, connecting with her via Twitter and Facebook. And I must confess…I love her. And I know you will too, which is why I invited Beth to visit us today. For those of you who liked Magic in the Backyard, this will definitely be a treat!
“Beth Albright has always been a storyteller. After spending nearly 15 years in talk radio (interviewing the likes of Bob Hope, Oprah Winfrey and Betty White), playing the part of a principal character on the soap opera, DAYS OF OUR LIVES, owning her own acting school and children’s theater, and raising a son who is a nationally ranked figure skater, Beth has decided to return to her roots; storytelling.”
Please give a warm welcome to the lovely Beth Albright as she shares…
The Journey of The Sassy Belles
What in the world am I doing thinking I can be a writer? I was writing to save myself…it was therapy. Oh I had always been KIND-OF a writer, entering little competitions when I was growing up, but mostly I was a talker. Such a talker that in the sixth grade my poor teacher moved me around so many times to keep me from chatting with my neighbors. But, each time, I simply made a new best friend and continued my interview, or my story-telling. Even when she moved my desk to the hall, I began chatting and story-telling with the teachers, making more than a couple late to class! In a last ditch effort she moved me to just outside the principal’s office, where I immediately assigned myself as the official “school greeter” chatting with everyone who came to visit the school.
Finally, the teacher had an epiphany that would change everything and set me on a journey to my destiny. She asked me to write my stories down, and if I was quiet all week, she’d let me stand in front of the class on Fridays to read my stories. A future talk-show host AND a writer was born that day.
I majored in journalism at my beloved University of Alabama, and decided to pursue a career in broadcasting, eventually landing my own talk show, which I hosted in many cities all over the US from Birmingham to Cleveland. I loved that. I love people and believe all of us have a unique story to tell. I interviewed Oprah, Betty White and so many others! I could write an entire book on my Talk Show Career alone!
I was married and my husband was ready to give Hollywood a shot so we packed it all up and moved to LA. I landed some bit parts on soap operas, like The Young and The Restless and The Bold and The Beautiful. Then I landed a part as a principle character on Days of Our Lives. Not as much fun as you’d think , if you’re like me and love real and genuine stories, kinda like the ones you tell on a front porch on a summer night while the lightening bugs twinkle around the yard.
Well, as they say, having a baby changes everything and I swore when that day came, I would drive my pregnant self straight back home to the Deep South and have my baby in what is Nirvana to me—Tuscaloosa Alabama. And I did. I never went back to the soaps either. I had a small stroke delivering the love of my life into this world and I knew he would be my only one. So I decided to re-create Norman Rockwell scenes and become the perfect home-maker.
Y’all this is so much harder than I even have words for! Especially when you’re husband’s a gypsy! Not really, but we did move constantly, all over the US for his television jobs. I followed behind, packing, unpacking and always helping my son re-settle. My son became a competitive pairs figure skater and we both began living daily for hours in a frozen ice-rink. I became lonely fast. I was busy but just needed to be closer to home, see my mom and girlfriends. I was craving those girlfriend-chats over some salty margaritas.
I remember one cold, rainy November night, sitting in my car as my husband ran into a grocery store for milk. I owned a children’s acting school at the time and after the Enron scandal in Houston, the school was falling apart. I was out of money and hitting rock bottom as sadness began to creep in…I took a notepad from my purse and scribbled the words that became the first words of my new novel, The Sassy Belles. Today those are the exact same words. “My name is Blake O’Hara Heart and boy do I have a story to tell. It wouldn’t be such a story if Vivi hadn’t done what she did.”
Y’all, I had no idea what in hell Vivi had done, but it sounded good to me so I went with it…listening to the voice in my head that wanted to tell a story. I wrote that entire novel in long hand…cause, you know…as a journalism major, I had NEVER LEARNED TO TYPE! I kid you not!
For the next few years I wrote, when I felt like it…only to transport myself back to Tuscaloosa where I was happy. By this time we had arrived back in LA for the third time and my son became nationally ranked and was literally skating for hours and hours everyday. It took over our lives and so I quit writing for quite a while. It made me sad not to write everyday, but I had no time with the tight schedule we kept, homework… skating. Skating… homework. I know so many of us live this way. Living gets in the way of our dreams sometimes.
My mother kept pushing me constantly to “finish the damn book” as she put it. If I did, she would send me to a writers conference. She was serious even if I wasn’t. But my mother was always encouraging to a fault of all of my many big dreams. I finally finished and gave her the book for Christmas in 2010 and she sent me to the 2011 San Francisco Writers Conference. There, I met my agent and she began sending the book out by August of 2011. On May 3rd, 2012 I got a call from her. She said pull over. I knew. My heart was racing as I heard her say, “Welcome to the literary world Beth, you have a book deal!” And immediately I burst into tears. I would be published! I was always so amazed that someone besides my mother loved the book!
Harlequin MIRA offered a three-book deal and I had ONE book. ONE. I refused to let anyone down. With my son now in college and needing tuition badly, (skating is THE most expensive sport outside of being an equestrian where you have to pay for a horse!) We were dead broke and crossing our fingers! The book deal was small but I was so very thankful to get three shots at getting readers! That was the best part for me.
I love writing and connecting with readers. I love meeting readers too and doing book-signings! Anyway to connect with the audience has always been such a fantastic experience for me, whether in talk radio, theater, or as an author. I can’t imagine doing anything else.
Believe me when I say, life can begin at any moment; take a sharp turn when we least expect it. For me it did. So wear your seat belt and go for it. Never let the naysayers in your head. The first advance came in just a week before we had the college tuition bill arrive. Whew…miracles actually do happen. Never ever give up. Never ever lose sight of those dreams. It’s only too late when we are six feet under, y’all. SASSY is an attitude, not an age, not a color, not a size. It’s attitude. “We take care of each other, stand our ground, and we do it in high heels, big hair and lots of lipstick” (The Sassy Belles)
Visit my website at www.TheSassyBelles.com
Follow me on twitter @BeththeBelle https://twitter.com/BeththeBelle
Join me on Facebook on my books page, The Sassy Belles https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Sassy-Belles/202653853110065?fref=ts
The Sassy Belles is available NOW, wherever books are sold from Harlequin/MIRA
Wedding Belles is available NOW for pre-order and will be in stores JULY 30th
Sleigh Belles is available NOW for pre-order and will be in stores September 24th