Meet Leslie Hachtel #author of #historical #paranormal #romance #suspense #mustread #fiction

Today I’d like to introduce you to a fellow RWA author of three of my favorite genres. But I’ll let Leslie Hachtel tell you about herself and her books.

Leslie Hachtel was born in Ohio, raised in New York and has been a gypsy most of her adult life.  Her various jobs, including licensed veterinary technician, caterer, horseback riding instructor for the disabled and advertising media buyer have given her a wealth of experiences.

However, it has been writing that has consistently been her passion. She sold an episode of a TV show, had a screenplay optioned and has so far produced eleven novels, including eight historicals and three romantic suspense.  Leslie lives in Florida with a fabulously supportive engineer husband and her writing buddy, Jakita, a terrier.

Visit her at www.lesliehachtel.com or connect with her via Facebook, on Twitter at

@lesliehachtel, or at her Leslie Hachtel, Writer blog.

Betty: How many books have you written and published?

Leslie: I have written 12 plus contributed to an anthology. Eleven of those are published, as is the anthology.

Betty: What genre(s) do you write in and why?

Leslie: I write historical, historical paranormal, and romantic suspense. Why? Because I love them all.

Betty: What themes or motifs did you use in your recent release and why were they important to your story?

Leslie: Texas Summer is hot. Everything about it breathes heat. So the setting had to be in the desert.

What if your car broke down on a deserted highway in the middle of Texas?  Would you think it was fate and that it would change your life?

When Wylie Nichols walked toward the nearest town, his future was forever altered. The problem when you’re a stranger in a small town is you never know what you might discover. In this particular place, there is murder, greed, lust.

But waiting is earthy, sexy, enigmatic Kennedy. With her convoluted family history and the power to make his dreams come true. 

Amazon     Kobo     Barnes & Noble     Smashwords     Apple

Betty: Do you have a specific place that you write? Revise?

Leslie: I have an office upstairs in my house and my husband knows not to interrupt unless it’s the zombie apocalypse.

Betty: Do you have any writing rituals while you write? Did you have a special drink, or music, or time of day that you gravitated toward?

Leslie: I just like quiet so I can “get into the zone.”

Betty: What helped you move from unpublished to published? A mentor or organization or something else?

Leslie: Persistence! And RWA advice.

Betty: What do you think is your greatest strength in your writing?

Leslie: I think of myself as a storyteller and I believe my stories are my strength.

Betty: What comes first when you’re brainstorming a new story: setting, situation, characters?

Leslie: A situation. Like: What if I was kidnapped and taken to a harem in the 1700s? Or what if my car broke down in the middle of nowhere?

Betty: Do you have a structured time to write or is more fluid/flexible? Do you have to write between family obligations or do you set aside a block of time?

Leslie: I generally write between 6 and 11 am. Sometimes in the afternoons, but mornings are better for me.

Betty: What is one recent struggle you’ve experienced in your writing?

Leslie: Sometimes I get to the middle of a novel and wonder what comes next. So, I have to step away and figure it out.

Betty: Do you participate in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month)? Why or why not?

Leslie: No. I don’t do well when I have to produce words that way. Sometimes I write 50 words a day, sometimes 5000, but I never know when the words will flow, so I just have faith they will.

Betty: What are you reading right now?

Leslie: I just finished Blood Orange. Great read!

Betty: What is your favorite genre to read?

Leslie: Books. I mean that. I love all genres. I love books.

Betty: What are your keeper books? How often might you reread them?

Leslie: Anything by Kathleen Woodiwiss, the “key” series by Nora Roberts and Twilight. I read them once a year or so.

Betty: When you’re writing, do you read in the same genre as your work in progress or something else?

Leslie: Generally something else. I don’t want to worry about being influenced by someone else’s work because I just read it.

Betty: Do you have a “day job” or do you write full time?

Leslie: I now am able to write full time.

Betty: What do you wish readers knew about the publishing industry?

Leslie: It’s hard and you need a thick skin and a lot of patience!

Betty: What advice do you have for new writers?

Leslie: The best advice I ever received was: “Don’t give up.” If you have a story to tell, tell it and then be patient since publishing is a marathon, not a sprint.

Betty: Any hints of what you’re next writing project might be?

Leslie: Book Three of the Morocco series is coming up, as is a story about women in the Civil War.

Betty:  What kind of writing would you like to experiment with? Or what’s a different genre you’ve considered writing but haven’t yet?

Leslie: I would love to do historical women’s fiction.

We have much in common, Leslie! Thanks so much for coming by and sharing with us about your writing process and books.

Betty

P.S. If you haven’t already, please consider signing up for my newsletter, which I send out most every month, including news like new covers, new releases, and upcoming appearances where I love to meet my readers along with recipes and writing progress. Thanks and happy reading!

Visit my Website for more on my books and upcoming events.

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Woof! Dog Breeds from the 1800s #amwriting #histfic #dogs #research #Alabama200 #history

Last week I talked about the Florida Cracker Horse, a horse breed that I’d never heard of before and chose to include in my new supernatural historical fiction series, Fury Falls Inn. There are also some paint horses and Morgans, too. But there also had to be dogs.

I’m a dog lover, there’s no doubt about that. My family has had dogs all my life. I’ve been in the 4-H dog training project as a teen, winning ribbons for dog obedience and grooming way back in the 1970s. We have two dogs now, both Chow mixes, Zola (the golden one) and Sierra (the sable one). So I simply had to have dogs in my series! These dogs are all sensitive to ghostly presence, too. They confirm for Flint that he’s not imagining the ghosts when they appear to him.

Sierra and Zola after their bath and clip!

No self-respecting (I imagine, anyway) farm would be without either hunting dogs or herding/watch dogs to protect the livestock. But then the question arises as to which breed(s) were most likely to be found in 1821 Alabama?

A bit of online search yielded the Dogluvers site with Dogs Breads By Year of Origin, which answered my question nicely.

Given that the inn is out in the wilderness and foothills, it seemed logical they’d have hunting dogs around, so I perused the list until I found the ones I thought most useful for my story. Which did I settle upon?

I have four dogs, and three breeds in my series, all of which originated in the 1800s, though I don’t the precise date. Still, it’s better than having a breed that didn’t originate until a later century. Anyway, I chose to have a male Golden retriever named Red; a male chocolate Labrador retriever named Beau; a female black Lab named Pickles; and a female tawny and white Cocker Spaniel named Cocoa.

The Golden retriever is a large, active dog but “extremely sociable” and a “friendly watch dog,” as well as “good natured.” Those characteristics made it a good fit for a place catering to guests and people coming and going. It’s also easy to train. I think they’re beautiful, too, so wanted to include this breed in my story.

The Labs are also “friendly” and “responsive” as well as easy to train. They are very similar to the Golden retriever in temperament and they come in three colors: yellow, liver/chocolate, and black. So I could distinguish the two Labs by having one chocolate and one black. I like a variety…

Qualities of the Cocker Spaniel breed which made it a good pick for living at the Fury Falls Inn included that they are sociable and a moderately good watch dog. I also thought that since they are considered to be “affectionate” and “responsive” any younger guests at the inn wouldn’t be scared of her. On top of that, I have fond memories of Polly, our Cocker Spaniel when I was a little girl. Even when she piddled across the driveway when she was nervous or excited. She was very loving and friendly, though.

Writing any story, I’ve found, requires sleuthing out some answers to particular questions. Naturally, historical settings require more research than contemporary stories. Some of the questions I had to find answers for may surprise you… Until next time!

Betty

P.S. If you haven’t already, please consider signing up for my newsletter, which I send out most every month, including news like new covers, new releases, and upcoming appearances where I love to meet my readers along with recipes and writing progress. Thanks and happy reading!

Visit my Website for more on my books and upcoming events.

Getting to know Susan Carlisle #contemporary #medical #romance #author #mustread #fiction

I have a real sweet treat for you all today! I’d like to introduce you to a lovely lady who is also fantastic author, Susan Carlisle. I’ve been a fan of hers for years now, in real life not just her books. So let’s learn more about who she is and what she writes.

Susan Carlisle’s love affair with books began when she made a bad grade in math in the sixth grade. Not allowed to watch TV until she brought the grade up, Susan filled her time with books. She turned her love of reading into a love of writing romance. Susan has currently authored more than twenty-five books for the HarperCollins Harlequin medical imprint. Her heroes are strong, vibrant men and the women that challenge them.

In her past life Susan has been a full time mother to four children, a high school substitute teacher, and now when she isn’t writing she is busy being a fun grandmother. She lives near Atlanta, Georgia, with her husband of over thirty-five years. Susan loves castles, traveling, sewing, and reads voraciously. Visit her at www.SusanCarlisle.com or connect with her at Facebook, Twitter, or Goodreads.

Betty: How many books have you written and published?

Susan: I am currently working on my 28th. I have written a few more and the plan is to publish them this year.      

Betty: What genre(s) do you write in and why?

Susan: I write mostly contemporary romance for the Harlequin Medical line. Currently 24 of them. I have also written 2 nonfiction books. One about my son who had a transplant 28 years ago. It is call Nick’s New Heart. He will soon be 30. My other one is about a flight surgeon during WWII called A WWII Flight Surgeon’s Story.

I love writing romance because that is what I love to read. The nonfictions I wrote in the hopes that people would learn something.

Betty: What themes or motifs did you use in your recent release and why were they important to your story?

Susan: Trust seemed to always come through in my romances. I don’t always start them out that way but it just bubbles up. In The Sheikh Doc’s Marriage Bargain it is more about coming out of your shell and experiencing life. Yet, that requires trusting yourself and the person you love, doesn’t it? 

From shy Cinderella…

To convenient princess!

For sensible Dr. Laurel Martin, heading up a new lab for royal doc Sheikh Tariq Al Marktum is the chance to conduct the study of a lifetime. But to protect Laurel from the scandal her presence in his palace will cause, Tariq has his own condition—a paper marriage! Swept into his desert kingdom, passion overtakes the convenient couple, but can Laurel find her place in Tariq’s world—and his heart?

Amazon

Betty: Do you have a specific place that you write? Revise?

Susan: I kind of move around. When the weather is pretty I go out on my deck to write. I also get a lot done at my mother’s place on the lake. Sometimes I just have to make wherever I am work because the book is due.

Betty: Do you have any writing rituals while you write? Did you have a special drink, or music, or time of day that you gravitated toward?

Susan: Not really. I will have a glass of sweet iced tea nearby but then I always do.

Betty: What helped you move from unpublished to published? A mentor or organization or something else?

Susan: A mentor, a critique group, and joining Romance Writers of America. And a lot of hard work.

Betty: What do you think is your greatest strength in your writing?

Susan: I love romance. I love reading it. I love writing it. I love watching it. If you love your subject it never gets old.

Betty: What comes first when you’re brainstorming a new story: setting, situation, characters?

Susan: Setting. I travel places and think “What could happen here?” Next thing I know I have a story.

Betty: Do you have a structured time to write or is more fluid/flexible? Do you have to write between family obligations or do you set aside a block of time?

Susan: Fluid/flexible that moves into panic with butt in the chair all the time closer to my deadline.

Betty: What is one recent struggle you’ve experienced in your writing?

Susan: Time. I have a bunch of very small grandkids and they will only be small for a short time and I refuse to miss out on that, so I keep them as often as possible. That makes me have to work extra hard when I don’t have any extra sweet bodies in my house.  

Betty: Do you participate in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month)? Why or why not?

Susan: No, I don’t participate. It’s the wrong time of the year for me. I’m in holiday mode by then. I live by deadlines as it is, so I don’t like the idea of being given another.

Betty: What are you reading right now?

Susan: Elizabeth Holt’s The Raven Duke

Betty: What is your favorite genre to read?

Susan: Romance. All romance, all the time! I especially enjoy contemporaries and historicals.

Betty: What are your keeper books? How often might you reread them?

Susan: I really like Kathleen Woodiwiss. Caro Carson, Roni Loran, and Penny Reid. These are also people who I would love to emulate, I hope when I’m in the nursing home that someone will come re-read these ladies’ works to me! 

Betty: When you’re writing, do you read in the same genre as your work in progress or something else?

Susan: I don’t read medicals when I’m writing, but I do read romance, especially historicals.

Betty: Do you have a “day job” or do you write full time?

Susan: I write fulltime, or at least when I’m not seeing my grandkids.

Betty: What do you wish readers knew about the publishing industry?

Susan: That it requires work, hard work and to have a book that is publishable you have to pay your dues, and learn your craft.

Betty: What advice do you have for new writers?

Susan: They need to join a writers group and find a critique group. Listen to what people tell you. Understand that you will not be there with the reader to explain your work.

Betty: Any hints of what you’re next writing project might be?

Susan: I will be doing a duet with the fabulous Amy Rutten. It is about firefighters and EMTs. The book takes place in Austin, Texas. I can hardly wait to write this one.    

Betty: What kind of writing would you like to experiment with? Or what’s a different genre you’ve considered writing but haven’t yet?

Susan: I have always loved history so I think there will be a historical in my future. LOL I would be interested in doing one during the WWII period between a soldier and an Army nurse. There could be a lot of conflict during that time on more level than one.

Thanks so much, Susan, for stopping in and letting us get to know you better!

Betty

P.S. If you haven’t already, please consider signing up for my newsletter, which I send out most every month, including news like new covers, new releases, and upcoming appearances where I love to meet my readers along with recipes and writing progress. Thanks and happy reading!

Visit my Website for more on my books and upcoming events.

About the Florida Cracker Horse Breed #Alabama200 #amwriting #supernatural #histfic #horse #history #historical #fiction

I want to share what I learned about a new-to-me breed of horse: the Florida Cracker Horse. I love horses, have ridden and competed, and helped my daughter do the same until she became an adult. I had never heard of this breed, but when I was researching breeds of the 1800s, I came across this one.

Image courtesy Wikipedia.com

Horses were the main mode of daily transportation for many during the time of my story, 1821. Many were gaited breeds, and this one is no exception. The Florida Cracker Horse went by many different names: Chickasaw Pony, Prairie Pony, and Grass Gut to name a few. The “Cracker” nickname came from the sound of the whips the cowboys used to drive the cattle while they rode along.

This breed of horse was used mainly as a stock horse and ranged in height from 13.2 to 15 hands, so they are similar in height to a large pony. That height would have made it fairly easy to mount, too. You’d find a wide range of colors to choose from: bay, black, gray, dun, chestnut, roan, and pinto.

Naturally, there are horses in my series, Fury Falls Inn, and so I wanted to include breeds most likely to be found in northern Alabama during the time of my story. This one fits the bill, in my opinion, since they originated in Florida which is a neighboring state. I think they’d have been popular since they were known for speed and agility as well as being surefooted with a comfortable “coon rack” ambling gait. Perfect for a saddle horse.

Have you heard of this breed before? I wonder if there are any still in the state? If anyone knows, I’d love to hear from you.

Cheers!

Betty

P.S. If you haven’t already, please consider signing up for my newsletter, which I send out most every month, including news like new covers, new releases, and upcoming appearances where I love to meet my readers along with recipes and writing progress. Thanks and happy reading!

Visit my Website for more on my books and upcoming events.

Meet S.L. Hollister #contemporary #romance #author #readers #checkitout #familyfirst

I’m happy to introduce you to my next guest author interview with S.L. Hollister. I think you’re going to like what she writes and has to say about her writing process. First, let me share a bit about her background and then we’ll get into the meat of the interview.

About S.L. Hollister:

I wrote my first romance at the age of ten and dreamed of becoming a romance writer. My other childhood dream was to have my own Brady Bunch, I’m an only child. We’re not exactly the Brady Bunch, but I am the mother/stepmother to six sons. After only two years of marriage, my husband and I, gained custody of his three sons and discovered I was expecting number six. We went from two children in the home to six in a matter of a few months. (And people wonder why I’m so crazy.)

With my large family, I’m never at a loss for plot ideas, interesting characters or cheerleaders.

As a shy, insecure child, I struggled to find my voice. In writing fiction, I have found the courage to speak the truth. My characters are often flawed but it’s through their weaknesses they find their strength.

You can connect with her at any of the follow places:

S L Hollister – Home | Facebook

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sherrilhollister/

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B079FGXGBH

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Jeanelia1964

Betty: How many books have you written and published?

S.L.: I have two books out at the moment. They are part of a series, The Leeward Files, Chrome Pink and White Gold. I’m planning to launch the third book, Titanium Blue in May.

Betty: What genre(s) do you write in and why?

S.L.: Contemporary romantic suspense with strong female characters. My first love is historical romance but after losing my home and all of my books in a house fire, I started writing contemporary romance. My mind was in a different place and I’d developed a love of suspense and thrillers. Chrome Pink, the first in my series evolved from a couple of online workshops, events happening in my neighborhood and tragedies I’d heard and read about in the news.

Betty: What themes or motifs did you use in your recent release and why were they important to your story?

S.L.: White Gold, the sequel to Chrome Pink, has a beauty pageant fundraiser, a small town and a sex trafficking ring. Using pictures of my home town on some of the promos shows the inspiration for the setting, the fictional town of Leeward, North Carolina. For my Mother’s Day promo, I’ll be giving away a tiara. White Gold has only been out a few months, with Titanium Blue due out in May.

The sequel to Chrome Pink, White Gold tells Dana’s story as she struggles to keep from losing her dating club, Cupid’s Zone.

SBI Agent Jake Monroe’s career is hanging over a ledge, he doesn’t have time for romance. After discovering Dana’s dating program has been hacked and her clients threatened, he is determined to protect her.

As a cold case heats up, so does their passions. Dana and Jake must untangle the truth before they are ensnared in a web of lies. One wrong choice could cost them their lives.

The Leeward Files series is a small-town romantic suspense with edge of your seat excitement and drama.

Chrome Pink: https://books2read.com/u/4jaeBk

White Gold: https://books2read.com/u/brYpjA

Betty: Do you have a specific place that you write? Revise?

S.L.: I work full-time at an alcohol beverage store. While on break and lunch I write and revise in the backroom. I also have an office at home. In truth, as long as I don’t get nosy, I can write in the middle of a party. With six boys, writing was my escape and for a few minutes I could ignore the shouting and screaming as long as no one was bleeding and write.

Betty:  Do you have any writing rituals while you write? Did you have a special drink, or music, or time of day that you gravitated toward?

S.L.: Not really, I do like to have something handy to drink, coffee or water usually. If I’m trying to get into my characters’ head, I might drink something they would like. The same with music, if I’m channeling my characters, I might listen to some music that fits their personality. I do have my “sexy man” candle my husband gave me for Christmas. If I’m writing a very romantic scene, I might burn the candle or just have it open so I can smell of it. (It’s Seaside Mist by Bath and Body Works.)

Betty: What helped you move from unpublished to published? A mentor or organization or something else?

S.L.: I’ve been a member of RWA, and my local group, Heart of Carolina for several years. I’ve also been a member of the North Carolina Writers’ Read and the Pamlico Writers’ Group (now chairperson).

The leader of the Writers’ Read, Marni Graff, is my mentor. After my agent dropped me, she insisted the book was ready and I should Indie Publish. It was the scariest and most exciting thing I’ve ever done.

I am blessed to have several writer friends and reader friends, who have pushed and encouraged me to take the plunge into Indie Publishing. Three have been the most instrumental: my husband for his encouragement and push to be brave and fulfill my dream, my best friend for taking me to my first and second, Romantic Times Writers and Readers Conventions, and my mentor, award winning cozy mystery writer, Marni Graff.

Betty: What do you think is your greatest strength in your writing?

S.L.: I’m told I write good dialogue, but I think being able to see the story unfold like in a movie has helped me make my stories more realistic. Determination and dedication, I wanted to be a published author and even though I may not be as talented as someone else, I work hard. Having a good work ethic is key to any success.

Betty: What comes first when you’re brainstorming a new story: setting, situation, characters?

S.L.: I think for me it’s characters. I get a vague idea for a character and then a vague idea for a story. Then I ask a lot of questions. Why does my character have tattoos and piercings and a bad attitude (Chrome Pink)? What happened to her? What does she need to do to regain her power?

Betty: Do you have a structured time to write or is more fluid/flexible? Do you have to write between family obligations or do you set aside a block of time?

S.L.: I have some structured time but I’m the mother of six, grandmother of 19, I work full-time and I’m the chairperson for the Pamlico Writers’ Group. At the moment, I’m neck-deep in conference planning. Our conference is April 5th and 6th.

Betty: What is one recent struggle you’ve experienced in your writing?

S.L.: Time is my biggest obstacle, there’s never enough of it. I’ve got too many projects. I recently joined eight other women from around the globe to put out a spring anthology, Love in Bloom. All the proceeds will go to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. I have promos for it on top of my other obligations. It seems everything comes off at the same time.

Betty: Do you participate in NaNoWriMo? Why or why not?

S.L.: I have participated one time, I loved it and I finished a novel. I haven’t been able to do it again because of the timing. November is the worst month for me to write fifty thousand words. With my job and my large family, I’m already busy. Plus, November is when we kick off our conference planning. We try to have everything done before the holidays so we can start promoting after the first of the year. It’s a lot of work.

Betty: What are you reading right now?

S.L.: I’m reading Love in Bloom, the international anthology I’m a part of and I’m listening to Deanna Raybourn’s A Dangerous Collaboration.

Betty: What is your favorite genre to read?

S.L.: Historical romance or historical suspense are my favorites.

Betty: What are your keeper books? How often might you reread them?

S.L.: I love Sabrina Jeffries, Amanda Quick, Deanna Raybourn and Will Thomas, just to name a few.

Betty: When you’re writing, do you read in the same genre as your work in progress or something else?

S.L.: I read something else. I don’t want to be influenced by something similar to what I’m writing. But I also found as a novice writer learning from those writers I adored, helped me discover my own voice.

Betty: What do you wish readers knew about the publishing industry?

S.L.: That it is serious, hard work with little pay. It takes time to craft a well-written book. Some can write faster but it still work.

Betty: What advice do you have for new writers?

S.L.: Make time to write, take classes and learn the craft and business of writing, and above all else, READ!

Betty: Any hints of what you’re next writing project might be?

S.L.: I have at least one more book in the series I’m writing. He is the assistant fire chief for the local volunteer fire department.

Betty: What kind of writing would you like to experiment with? Or what’s a different genre you’ve considered writing but haven’t yet?

S.L.: I have a historical I’ve been toying with for several years I want to write. I’ve also written several short stories in which I experiment with language and style. I write really bad poetry but I have found that poetry can help you develop language and rhythm. I believe writing is like life, you have to do what scares you in order to grow.

Betty: Thanks so much for sharing about your books and your process, S.L.!

I hope you all enjoyed meeting S.L. Hollister and will join me next Friday for another guest author interview.

Betty

P.S. If you haven’t already, please consider signing up for my newsletter, which I send out most every month, including news like new covers, new releases, and upcoming appearances where I love to meet my readers along with recipes and writing progress. Thanks and happy reading!

Visit my Website for more on my books and upcoming events.

Roads in Early Northern #Alabama #Huntsville #Alabama200 #amwriting #supernatural #histfic #history #historical #fiction

One thing I’ve gleaned from writing The Haunting of Fury Falls Inn and other historical fiction: We take getting around by car for granted. The smooth (mostly – if you ignore potholes and such) surfaces we drive on enable us to drive from one city to another close by in minutes or hours. We don’t often think of it taking days or even weeks to reach the next city or the next state, for that matter. I’m reminded of driving from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to Mount Vernon, Virginia in a matter of two-three hours, while contemplating how envious George and Martha Washington would have been of such a speedy trip. For them, in the late 1700s, it could take weeks to make such a journey!

Back when the State of Alabama was the new kid on the block, the roads (dirt for the most part) were often treacherous on a good day and impassable due to heavy rain turning them into a quagmire on a bad one. In fact, most transportation occurred on rivers because it was far more comfortable and less laborious to float down the river than to travel by horseback or stagecoach.

There were roads across Alabama as depicted in the picture of an 1822 map of the state. I’ve included a close-up of the Madison County area which is where my series is set. But most people held the belief that rivers and streams which could be navigated and which were located close to a town, gave that town an advantage over other towns without a river nearby. Thus Huntsville held high hopes of becoming a major city because of the Big Spring near downtown.

1822 Geographical, Statistical, and Historical Map of Alabama
Closeup of the Madison County area of the 1822 map pictured above. Note that the Winchester Road arcs to the northeast from Huntsville and is not shown here crossing into Tennessee, but the road did and does today.

Still, the roads need a lot of work! In Alabama: The History of a Deep South State by William Warren Rogers, Robert David Ward, et al. (July 3, 2018, p55) the roads of north Alabama are described as “crude” and that people “literally bushwhacked their way across the mountains, often hopelessly lost and searching for creeks and streams to follow toward rivers and known points.” Further, the area was “the most broken mountainous country” with “the largest rattlesnakes.” In 1818 northern Alabama was a “roadless wilderness.” But that soon changed.

In Madison County, the effort to develop a better network of roads really took off after the second land sales in 1818. By 1828, roads connected all sides of the county with the rest of the state and the neighboring state of Tennessee. Many of the roads were either toll or turnpikes constructed by stock companies that were chartered by the Legislature.

The Federal Post Office Department at that time also would designate certain roads as post roads or mail routes, which then increased that route’s status as a main route between the larger cities. The earliest designation of a post road in Madison County, Alabama, was on July 16, 1822, when R.J. Meigs, Jr., the Postmaster General, ordered the creation of several routes with Huntsville at the center.

Most travel along the roads was accomplished by horseback or stage. The hotels and inns each maintained stage coaches or hacks for the use of their guests and the public. For instance, from the Early History of Huntsville, Ala.: 1804-1870 by Edward Chambers Betts (Brown Printing Co., 1916, p65), the following ad is cited, which apparently typically included a sketch of a stage coach drawn by four moving horses:

“A Four Horse Hack.”

“On reasonable charges rented for any length of time or for any distance. Apply Huntsville Inn.   I. Jones.”

Having discovered these types of facts, I’ve included the concept of the Fury Falls Inn having its own coaches and horses as well as mention the difficulty of travel in 1821, the time period of my series. Of course, when those horses are stolen, Flint Hamilton, the fill-in innkeeper, has his hands full trying to satisfy his distrustful employer and the guests! Imagining the hardships of traveling from one town to another across such terrain is difficult for me to fully comprehend. Especially when I think about having to bushwhack a path while fearing becoming disoriented and lost in the wilderness. Nope, traveling back then was not for the weak or faint-hearted!

As a person who loves to drive, I have a feeling I wouldn’t have been traveling very much under such conditions. Which means I’d have been more a homebody than I am now. But at least I have plenty of books to read…and write! Until next time, I hope you’ll find some new books to read and enjoy!

Cheers!

Betty

P.S. If you haven’t already, please consider signing up for my newsletter, which I send out most every month, including news like new covers, new releases, and upcoming appearances where I love to meet my readers along with recipes and writing progress. Thanks and happy reading!

Visit my Website for more on my books and upcoming events.

Getting to know #romance #author Nancy Holland #fantasy #magic #fiction #amwriting #amreading

Today I’m kicking off a series of author interviews to share some new authors and their books with you all. Please welcome Nancy Holland to the interview hot seat.

First, here’s a bit about her and then we’ll begin.

About Nancy Holland:

A college professor with over thirty years of teaching experience, Nancy Holland recently began to live her dream as a full-time writer. After being a finalist in the Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart© contest and publishing two short contemporary romances, she is thrilled to return to her first love and write fantasy romance for Tule Publishing.  

Despite dark pasts, heart-breaking betrayal, and a future that is always at risk, her fantasy heroes and heroines accomplish amazing feats of valor and magic to create a better world for everyone. More importantly, her characters refuse to give up on themselves, struggle to improve their lives, and learn to trust each other.

After years spent studying and writing about words written long ago and far away, she loves to travel with her husband to explore the cities where she can feel the lived experience behind the words.

You can connect with her at www.nancyhollandwriter.com, on Facebook or find her on Twitter @nancyholland5.

Betty: How many books have you written and published?

Nancy: Four published, three more in the pipeline, including the last book in the Witch King trilogy.

Betty: What genre(s) do you write in and why?

Nancy: Short contemporary romance, because that’s how I came into romance, and romantic fantasy, because I grew up on classic (and not so classic) fantasy books and always wanted more, better romance.

Betty: What themes or motifs did you use in your recent release and why were they important to your story?

Nancy: One common theme in all my books is trust (my tagline is “Always trust in love”), but Felyn’s Curse is also about the negative effects of toxic masculinity on men as they grow up and the positive and negative impact of family ties.

Can love and sacrifice conquer a curse?

When Felyn was a young, defenseless witch, she was cursed to live as a shape shifter—a deadly panther. She might have been rescued and raised by a noble and powerful leader, but she lives in fear she will hurt those she loves in her animal form so each full moon she hides deep in the forest. But how can she refuse her adoptive father’s plea for an arranged marriage with a new ally? After all, it’s temporary and in name only… 

Varz agrees to an arranged marriage reluctantly because he needs the military and diplomatic alliance. He has secrets and a growing power struggle back home. He’s relieved he need only marry the young witch for a year until he meets his bride. Felyn is beautiful and intelligent and not easy to ignore, but Varz is a man of his word. His vow to leave his bride untouched will be the hardest one he has had to keep.

Amazon US    Barnes & Noble     Apple     Kobo     Google Play     Amazon UK

Betty: Do you have a specific place that you write? Revise?

Nancy: I’ve been moving my workspace around the house lately from an ergonomically bad location to a crowded one and now to one I hope I can stick with. I also sometimes write or revise in a large recliner that is technically my husband’s.

Betty: Do you have any writing rituals while you write? Did you have a special drink, or music, or time of day that you gravitated toward?

Nancy: I do my best writing in the morning, while I drink my coffee, although I can write at other times given the opportunity and enough motivation. I do have rituals, but wish I had fewer because they easily become time sucks (e.g., social media).

Betty: What helped you move from unpublished to published? A mentor or organization or something else?

Nancy: Basically, RWA in several dimensions — my local chapter (Midwest Fiction Writers) and the critique groups that grew out of it helped me hone my craft, RWA chapter contests gradually convinced me I could do this, and finaling in the Golden Heart was a big boost. And, of course my agent, Scott Eagen of the Grayhaus Agency.

Betty: What do you think is your greatest strength in your writing?

Nancy: Envisioning an intriguing world and situation that others want to learn more about.

Betty: What comes first when you’re brainstorming a new story: setting, situation, characters?

Nancy: Always situation first, then sometimes character (usually the contemporaries), sometimes plot (the romantic fantasy books).

Betty: Do you have a structured time to write or is more fluid/flexible? Do you have to write between family obligations or do you set aside a block of time?

Nancy: Now that I’m retired I can write pretty much whenever I like, but I’ve stuck with early morning from when I had to rush off to work afterwards. I do need at least an hour at a time of more or less focused time to accomplish much.

Betty: What is one recent struggle you’ve experienced in your writing?

Nancy: My constant struggle is between keeping readers in the dark too long about things and telling them too much too early.

Betty: Do you participate in NaNoWriMo? Why or why not?

Nancy: I did in 2017 and won in less than the full month, which was cool (although the book never sold). Before that it just wasn’t feasible with the day job. 2018 was not a good year for me, so I sat it out. Whether I’ll participate this year depends on my health and where I am in my writing.

Betty: What are you reading right now?

Nancy: I read more than one thing at a time these days. Right now it’s The Obelisk Gate by N.K. Jemisin and An Unlikely Match, a duet of two short romances by Marion Lennox, plus two scifi/post-apocalyptic books I’ve gotten stuck in and a very long classic I’ve lost my enthusiasm for.

Betty: What is your favorite genre to read?

Nancy: Contemporary romance

Betty: What are your keeper books? How often might you reread them?

Nancy: I don’t reread very much anymore because I find great new authors. My keeper shelf is heavily tilted toward friends and chapter-mates, books I shared with my late mother and other old favorites, and recent books from AOC like Beverly Jenkins, Alyssa Cole, and Sherry Thomas.

Betty: When you’re writing, do you read in the same genre as your work in progress or something else?

Nancy: I generally don’t choose books that way unless a particular book is having a clear effect on my writing “voice,” in which case I’ll set it aside for a while.

Betty: Do you have a “day job” or do you write full time?

Nancy: I wrote with a day job for over twenty years, but am retired now.

Betty: What do you wish readers knew about the publishing industry?

Nancy: It’s not as much of a meritocracy as they probably think, and most published authors are neither rich nor famous (but it’s still a great thing to achieve).

Betty: What advice do you have for new writers?

Nancy: If you write romance, join RWA; if you write mystery, join Sisters in Crime; and read extensively, but not exclusively in your genre.

Betty: Any hints of what you’re next writing project might be?

Nancy: I have two contemporary Christmas-themed romances in the pipeline at Tule publishing.

Betty: What kind of writing would you like to experiment with? Or what’s a different genre you’ve considered writing but haven’t yet?

Nancy: I have ideas for a romantic suspense and maybe a women’s fiction, but I don’t have the plotting skills for romantic suspense and I don’t think my voice is right for WF.

Betty: Thanks so much for stopping by, Nancy!

I hope you all enjoyed meeting Nancy as much as I enjoyed having her visit today. Happy reading, everyone!

Betty

P.S. If you haven’t already, please consider signing up for my newsletter, which I send out most every month, including news like new covers, new releases, and upcoming appearances where I love to meet my readers along with recipes and writing progress. Thanks and happy reading!

Visit my Website for more on my books and upcoming events.