Monday, May 30, 2011

This Week's Special Guest - Betty Gordon

This week at the AuthorIsland Tiki Hut, we welcome mystery author Betty Gordon as she talks about Egypt and her new novel VALLEY OF OBSESSIONS.

Betty Gordon, a native Texan, moved from Dallas to Houston in search of her destiny. After careers as a dance instructor, sculptor, and legal assistant, she followed her dream to write books that would entertain and challenge readers.

Betty graduated from the University of Houston-Downtown with a B.S. in Professional Writing and from U of H-Clear Lake with an M.A. in Literature (Creative Writing), and an M.A. in Visual Arts. She attended law school for a year before leaving for the world of art and writing. She continues her education with on-line writing workshops and conferences.

A supportive husband, three grown sons, and a Maltese who thinks he's another son complete her family.

Publishing credentials: Murder in the Third Person, Deceptive Clarity, The Magic of Christmas (a mini-ebook collection of short stories for all seasons), Valley of Obsessions (Coming Soon), and The Common Thread (co-authored with CC Smith) Release date 2011. Numerous short stories in L&L Dreamspell's anthologies, Dead and Breakfast, A Death in Texas, A Box of Texas Chocolates, and Twisted Tales of Texas Landmarks.

Betty is a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, Writers' League of Texas, The Final Twist, Houston Writers' Guild, and Bay Area Writers' League.


by Betty Gordon

VALLEY OF OBSESSIONS and the delights of exploring ancient Egypt were just mustard seeds when I was trying to convince my husband to make San Antonio, Texas, our vacation spot some years ago. Beautiful scenery, festive restaurants, and shops await visitors as they follow the Riverwalk that borders the San Antonio River. We had been to San Antonio more times than you could count on one hand, but I enjoyed it every time.

My husband acted interested and said he would check on travel details. I was happy and began the imaginary journey during the days that followed. A few days passed. He hadn’t said anything about the trip and I couldn’t stand it one more minute. So, trying not to sound plaintive, I asked how plans for the trip were coming. He smiled but didn’t say anything. I’m not known for my patience, so this time – not caring if I sounded plaintive or not – I started in on him.

“If you don’t want to go, just say so.”

He hugged me and let me in on a secret he managed to keep from me. I’ll never forget his next words as they made a dream of a lifetime come true.

“How would you like to take a journey down the Nile?”

The rest is history. We went to Egypt and had the experience of our lives. I only wish I could go again and experience more, but with the unrest in that part of the world, I doubt it will happen. Truthfully, it doesn’t matter. I was there, I saw as much of Cairo and the monuments as possible., I made a voyage down the Nile via a boat that allowed passengers to disembark at historical sites, I saw King Tutankhamen’s Tomb, and I relived it all in VALLEY OF OBSESSIONS.

The concept for the story and characters began when I made this trip to Egypt some years ago. The pharaohs, the monuments – everything about the country intrigued me and had done so since childhood when I could only look at pyramids in picture books. I decided during this memorable trip to write about my adventures although the actual words wouldn’t come to life until much later. Many unbelievable things happened during my journey to this impressive country and these happenings are woven into the story. Of course, not ALL occurrences are real and even those that are have been fictionalized to a certain extent. Sketches of prominent story sites are included as well as one photo I took while in Egypt. I had numerous photographs, of course, but sadly they failed to transfer well. The history of this country, the majestic and memorable pyramids, and monuments wrapped themselves around me impatiently waiting to see print.

My characters usually evolve from my imagination when I first enter the twilight zone at night. Unfortunately, oftentimes these thoughts keep me from sleep and I end up at the computer describing a character or creating a budding plot. Desiree Roberts, the protagonist in Valley of Obsessions, is a natural for me as I wore a hat as a paralegal/legal assistant for many years. So, I understand this woman who searches for ways to unite with a fascinating country in a special way and find love at the same time.

Most of the time I am what one would call a “pantster.” I develop the story as I write, but this novel evolved in a way that required some outlining. Even though I write down the characters’ traits when I begin the story, their personality quirks develop much later and are capable of changing the direction of the story. My Muse usually takes over at this point and uses the personality quirks to create numerous tantalizing threads in the cast of characters. I think, and hope, that these tantalizing threads lead to a conclusion that is both challenging and surprising for readers.


Desiree's passion for ancient Egyptian culture leads her on a dangerous trip down the Nile.

Can Desiree Roberts leave her law career in Texas and become a 1980's Egyptian?

Will the country that has captivated her since childhood embrace her, or will it lead her down dangerous paths fraught with deception and betrayal?

As Desiree follows her dreams and treks through shifting sands, she enters portals of pharaohs long since entombed. Her obsessions lure her into alien territory filled with suspicious characters - where someone wants to end her fantasies.

How far will he go?


WIN - Leave Betty a question this week at the Tiki Hut because TWO lucky readers will receive their choice from Betty's book list check out her website for your choices! Please leave your email address so we can contact you if you are one of this week's TWO winners!! Good luck!


  1. Welcome to the Tiki Hut Betty! What a wonderful story and a fabulous husband, if you don't mind me saying so!!! What a great surprise!

    I've often dreamed about seeing that part of our big world and as you said, with the unrest, it's looking less and less likely I'd ever get to see it, but you never know...

    It's great to be able to pull on those sights and experiences as you create a new book and I'll bet it was fun to relive you're trip with your husband when you wrote VALLEY OF OBESSIONS.

    Thanks for sharing your story and I hope the new book is your biggest seller yet!!

  2. It's a wonderful book. Betty, I loved it and I highly reccomend it. Happy Memorial Day,everyone.

  3. I envy you, I would love to go to Egypt. One day hopefully. Ancient Egypt is fascinating. VALLEY OF OBSESSIONS on my list.

  4. Cornelia, I'm glad you enjoyed the book and thanks for your recommendation.

    My best,

  5. Marybell, thanks for your post. Maybe a visit to Egypt will be in your future. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy VALLEY OF OBSESSIONS. Many experiences my husband and I shared in this country are explored in the book.

  6. You have such a great hubby! How totally cool to surprise you like that! memories like that stay with you forever. Congrats on the new release! You know I've got my copy! :-)

  7. Pauline, thanks for your comment. Tom totally surprised me and provided me with memories that will always remain with me. I still like San Antonio's Riverwalk, but the Nile Cruise takes No. 1 spot.

  8. Hello Betty and what a great story behind your book! I love that it started with a trip. How many years since your trip did you start your book? And have you any other books that were inspired by places you've visited?

  9. Betty I love books about the middle east!! Would love to visit it someday?

    Have visited all the places in your books?

  10. Hi, Betty,

    It's so great that travel inspired you to write an exotic mystery--at least exotic from my point of view. Congrats on this exciting novel's publication.

  11. What's the next book project?

    robindpdx (at) yahoo (dot) com

  12. With the Internet, it's possible to visit many foreign locations--view photos, read descriptions, scan newspapers, even chat with folks who live there. But nothing replaces BEING there and experiencing the smells, the food, the smiles (or scowls), the texture of the place. So glad you were able to visit Egypt and share your experience with readers.

  13. Hi, Jerry. I just posted a reply to your comment and it disappeard into cyberspace. If two hapen to come through???
    Quite a few years passed before I wrote this novel and I think it was a good thing because the memories were savored and grew richer.
    The novel I wrote before this one, DECEPTIVE CLARITY, touches a bit on Egypt but more on London and Rome. I visited both cities at the same time I went to Egypt. The memories only grow more vivid as the years pass.
    Thanks for your interest.

  14. Lilie, thanks for commenting. So far I have visited places I describe in my books. There will come a time, however, that won't be the case, but I'll always try to be as authentic as I can.

  15. Jacqueline, thanks for your congrats on VALLEY OF OBSESSIONS. I enjoyed writing it and hope others will enjoy reading it.\
    Thanks again.

  16. Hi, Robin, and thanks for the question. The next project? I have four I have started and I'm trying to decide which one grabs my heart. Time will tell. They are all various forms of mysteries -- paranormal, romantic suspense, and just plain mystery.

  17. Linda L., what a great comment. You are so right when you refer to the texture of a place. On the trip to Egypt, we also visited London and Rome which I involved in DECEPTIVE CLARITY. I can still 'feel' all the places.

    Thanks again.

  18. I love your book covers. Do you work closely with hte cover artists?

    Tracey D
    booklover0226 at gmail dot com

  19. Tracey, thanks for the compliments on my book covers. My publisher designs the covers and does a remarkable job of honing in on the subject of each book. She also designs for others. If you're interested, please let me know.