Mapping Charleston for Fictional Characters #Charleston #research #American #history #ReadIndie #AMorePerfectUnion

I’ve been talking about the historic sites I’ve toured as research for the A More Perfect Union series. You can read about the Heyward-Washington House and the Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon if you missed those posts. Today I’m going to talk about the map I used to layout where my characters live in Charleston.

My son actually helped me enlarge the map of the historic district from a reference book. I taped it to a piece of poster board. Then I copied photos from the Historic Walking Tour guide book and taped those in the approximate location I wanted the various characters to live. I also included the inspiration photos of what the characters look like. So then I had the ability to know what streets they’d be walking or driving on and approximately how long it would take to go from one place to another.

My map of where my characters live and work and worship

You’ll also notice that I added the location of the beef market, newsletter office, St. Michael’s church, and the location of Captain Sullivan’s shop for my reference. All of this visual aid is for the express purpose of being able to accurately reflect the travel of my characters. This is the first of several maps/layouts I’ve made when writing a story/series. I’ve done floor plans, for instance, for the Fury Falls Inn so I have a good idea of where the rooms are and what they’re used for.

Happy reading!

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 www.bettybolte.com for more on my books and upcoming events.

Introducing the lives, loves, and dangerous times of the men and women in the A More Perfect Union historical romance series! This prequel novella takes place when Charles Town, South Carolina, is about to face the British enemy during the American Revolution.

CAUGHT BETWEEN DUTY AND LOVE

Joining the revolutionary army was the honorable thing to do—but Jedediah Thomson hadn’t realized how long he’d be away from the lovely, spirited Miss Elizabeth Sullivan. They’d only begun their courtship when the occupation of Charles Town, South Carolina, trapped her in the city, making it dangerous to get to her.

Elizabeth Sullivan feared for her brothers, fighting for American freedom; for her father, pretending to be a loyalist; for family and friends, caught between beliefs; and most of all for Jedediah, the man she loves, who was doing his duty. She cherished every moment they had together, knowing how swiftly it could be taken away.

And that made her willing to risk everything to claim a piece of him forever….

Books2Read      Amazon     Barnes & Noble     Kobo     Apple  

Getting to know Mark Turnbull #Author #Historical #Fiction #British #CivilWar #Historian

Please help me welcome to the interview hot seat a fellow Historical Novel Society author, Mark Turnbull! A quick peek at his bio and then we’ll dive right into the questions. Ready? Let’s go!

After a visit to Helmsley Castle at the age of 10, Mark Turnbull bought a pack of ‘top trump’ cards featuring the monarchs of England. The card portraying King Charles I fascinated him.

Van Dyck’s regal portrait of the King and the fact that he was executed by his own people were the beginnings of Mark’s passionate interest in the English Civil War that has lasted ever since.

In the absence of time travel, he thoroughly enjoys bringing this period to life through writing. He has written articles for magazines, newspapers and online educational sites. He has also re-enacted battles with The Sealed Knot and for several years edited the Historical Novel Society’s online newsletter.

Website * Twitter * Facebook

Betty: When did you become a writer?

Mark: I finally published my first book, a historical novel, in 2019. In 2020, I have been lucky enough to sign a contract with Sharpe Books for a series of novellas and have started writing the first. Between my novel and the contract for the novellas, I also completed a non-fiction book and am currently searching for a publisher for that one.

Betty: How long did you work on your writing skills before you became published?

Mark: 33 years, but not continuously! I guess you could say that I started to write when I was around 7 years old and I still have a copy of some handwritten short tales that I penned about a children’s television show I used to watch. My plot and grammar left a lot to be desired, but that was my first stab at writing! What really gave me the desire to seriously attempt to become an author was my fascination with the War of the Three Kingdoms (more commonly known as British Civil War or English Civil War) which I discovered at the age of 10. I first started writing a novel set in this era ten years later and continued writing and editing, and then repeating this process. It was a long road and a steep learning curve, but I kept at it. I then began to exchange chapters with one of my friends who had also started working on a book and expanded my own scope by also writing articles about the civil war. The key, I found, was to keep on writing and reflecting. I started afresh with my novel and began rewriting it in 2009, after ten years of working on my writing skills, and between getting married and having two wonderful daughters, I continued as much as I could. In 2019, I decided to self-publish my finished novel and was extremely pleased and encouraged when it received two awards; The Coffee Pot Book Club Award and Chill With a Book Readers Award.

Betty: What authors or stories do you feel influenced your writing style?

Mark: Many authors have influenced my writing style over the years, but the main one would have to be my good friend, Keith Crawford, who has written a historical fantasy, as well as a Roman novel. For over ten years we held a weekly book club and read each other’s chapters to develop our writing. In the early days, we would adapt a mutual approach towards certain aspects such as scene setting, and then looked at our dialogues, before finally sifting out the clutter; basically, anything that was not needed, or just didn’t further each of our books. We certainly scrutinised every inch of our manuscripts. By writing, editing, writing more, and then further extensive editing, we began to find our own paths and styles. He would read many varied authors in between, such as Arthur Conan Doyle and Ken Follett, and mirror aspects of their style which he appreciated. One of the books that I read was Oscar Wilde’s The Canterville Ghost, and I enjoyed how scenes were vividly brought to life, as well as the way he injected humour into his story. I did limit the number of books I read so as not to skew the natural development of my own style and came out of the other end of these book clubs having realised just how personal writing style is – very much a journey of discovery! This prompted me to begin writing my book afresh and to make sure that my head and my heart was part of every chapter. If I couldn’t see it, feel it, and be part of it, then my style would be wooden. Something clicked for me in this rewrite; I felt as if my writing started to flow more naturally and my style came along with that.

Betty: What prompted you to start writing?

Mark: The answer is quite simply discovering my passion for the 17th century, Wars of the Three Kingdoms, at the age of 10.  That very quickly instilled in me a desire to one day write about it!

I’d always had a love of history, but the British Civil War spark came when my parents took me to Helmsley Castle, North Yorkshire. Like most children, I couldn’t wait to explore the gift shop and bought a pack of cards that displayed images of the monarchs of England on one side, and some details about their lives and reigns on the other. I must admit that some of the earlier ones with their grey tombstone effigies were rather dull, but above all others, the card of King Charles I stood out. The image was Van Dyck’s Charles I at the Hunt and I was immediately struck by Charles himself, the artistry, clothing and colours. When I read about his reign and found out that he had been executed that really did spur me on to find out more. It was like a historical whodunnit and I was eager to discover how this had come about. The more I learned about the history, the more I wanted to be involved with it and write my own book.

Betty: What type of writing did you start with?

Mark: I started by writing a novel. In essence, this developed over the time into Allegiance of Blood, which I published in 2019, 20 years later. The 17th century and the civil wars in England and Wales, Scotland and Ireland form the topic for all my writing, whether fiction or non-fiction. It’s a very overlooked period of history, but one which was absolutely pivotal and includes momentous events and drama galore. It surprises me that there are only a few films set in the civil wars, and not more novels about it. Perhaps being neighbours in history to the popular Tudors is one reason.

Betty: What do you most enjoy writing? Why?

Mark: I must admit to a preference for reading non-fiction but writing fiction. I enjoy learning from a good non-fiction, and then taking the facts and creating a world which I can visualise and become part of, as well as being able to get up close to the characters of the era and further appreciate what made them tick. It’s as close as I can get to time travel. It’s great to be able to recreate a bygone world that other people can also enjoy, and to keep the history and characters of the past alive in this way. I do like writing short stories, and during research for my books, whenever I come across an event which deserves to be further explored, I write a short story about it based on the historical facts. I’d one day like to publish all of these within one book to further allow study and enjoyment of the wars. Additionally, I have written a non-fiction which examines the opening of the civil wars in every region of England and Wales. Writing non-fiction was very different, but equally enjoyable.

Betty: How did you learn to write? A mentor, classes, conferences, craft books, or something else?

Mark: Apart from the book clubs already mentioned, I have attended the Historical Novel Society’s conferences, where established authors discuss the various aspects of writing with delegates in mini working sessions. Hearing their views and tips was priceless. Many years ago, when I had only just started writing, a few of us set up our own postal book club, where we would mail each other chapters. This meant that our work would gain feedback from three very different readers before returning to us and this was all vital and very helpful with learning to write and gaining critique that was essential to my development.

Betty: What do you wish you knew before you started writing/publishing?

Mark: What a great question! There’s so much I could put here, but I think the main thing would be knowing what I would need to do to be able to write and publish a book. It is daunting not knowing where to start, or where to go to next, so maybe a plan of approach would have helped guide me in the right direction. The other thing would be knowing that it would be ok in the end!

Betty: What other authors inspired you (either directly or through their writing) to try your hand at writing?

Mark: The first non-fiction civil war book I bought was Christopher Hibbert’s Cavaliers and Roundheads. It is a superb book, because the style is very informative, yet it also gives personal snippets and anecdotes, which helped me relate to the history and imagine it. For me, it’s these small, very personal facts, that often bring an entire battle, campaign or era to life and Cavaliers and Roundheads was a book I read many times. At the end, there are mini biographies of the main personalities which explained what happened to them in later life and this showed me just how much more there was to learn about the civil wars and beyond.

The first fiction I came across was at a church jumble sale. Margaret Irwin’s novel, Royal Flush, is the story of Minette, King Charles I’s youngest daughter. The whole style of the novel drew me quickly into that world and helped me begin to understand descriptive writing and storytelling as well as fuelling my growing interest in attempting a book of my own. Of course, it’s now an aged novel of a different style to those available today.

I’m also inspired by all of the other 17th century authors, and especially Andrea Zuvich (‘The Seventeenth Century Lady’) who brings the period to life through her weekly social media themed ‘Stuarts Saturdays’ which generate interest and discussion. Andrea’s latest book, Sex and Sexuality in Stuart Britain, has just had a fabulous review by Deborah Swift, an author who she had admired even when she was still dreaming of writing her own book. Inspiring, indeed!

Sir Francis Berkeley strives to protect his family from the English Civil War. Aside from the struggle between King and Parliament, the allegiances of family, friendship and honour prove just as deadly. Francis is drawn into a 17th century world of espionage and politics and fights in some of the war’s major sieges and battles. His bid to reunite his family opens up conflicts of a more personal nature. Can the Berkeley’s survive a parliamentarian onslaught as well as their own feud?

Excerpt:

She’d cried enough tears to fill the German Ocean and after her second attempt at crossing it, Henrietta Maria, Queen of Great Britain and Ireland, had finally made it home after a year’s absence. The anchor of her ship splashed into Bridlington Bay on the Yorkshire coast, despite bleak forecasts in both weather and horoscope. But never once was she put off by anything, especially when she had set her mind to it, and more so, when it meant being reunited with her husband.

With quick steps she danced across the deck of the Dutch flagship and ran to the rail to examine every inch of the English landscape. Beneath the scrubbed planking were arms, ammunition, money and men that she had brought all the way from Holland to aid her husband. One year of scrimping, saving and bartering, as well as anxiety and frustration during her war waged against Dutch officials and their government, who were not best pleased at her presence in their midst.

“May you scatter my enemies, Oh Lord, and be both my guide and safeguard.” She fired one of her renowned scowls westward, where in the expanse of ocean her Parliamentarian pursuers lurked.

“Your Majesty.” The Dutch Admiral Van Tromp gave a sigh of one ready and willing to hand a particularly petulant and demanding child back to its parents.

“My thanks for your good care of my person.” Henrietta usually spoke her mind, but in this, the hour of her victory, she put her true feelings aside.

Buy links: Amazon

Thanks so much for sharing your book with us today, Mark! It sounds like quite an interesting tale worth reading. Best of luck with it!

Happy reading!

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 www.bettybolte.com for more on my books and upcoming events.

Touring the Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon #Charleston #research #American #history #ReadIndie #AMorePerfectUnion

Last week I talked about the Heyward-Washington House which I toured on my first visit to Charleston. Today I’d like to talk about the Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon which I specifically returned to Charleston to tour because I had questions I couldn’t answer with online resources. It was a very good thing I insisted on going back, too!

Image of the Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon (Library of Congress)

In Emily’s Vow, the first novel in the A More Perfect Union historical romance series, I drafted a scene where she is taken prisoner by a loyalist major and kept in the Provost Dungeon. I’d looked at the virtual tour provided by the Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon site, but I couldn’t determine how the prisoners were held in the dungeon. How did you get into the dungeon? What did the inside of the dungeon look like in the late 18th century? Were the prisoners shackled? Chained to the wall? Were there cells? How many prisoners would have been kept there? So many questions without answers!

Hubby and I made a quick overnight stop in Charleston on our way to Myrtle Beach so I could hopefully find answers to several questions related to Emily’s story. Our tour was led by a former history teacher and he really knew a lot about the Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon. Thankfully, he knew about how the building had evolved over the couple of centuries of its existence, which answered all my questions, too.

You may be wondering what those questions may have been, so I’ll share three of them with you to give you an idea of what I learned and how it changed the story—from setting to action.

In the original draft (pre-publication), I had written, “Biting her tongue to keep from saying something she would regret, Emily endured the pushing and pulling into the Old Exchange, through the outer office, and down the dark stairs to the basement jail.” However, what I learned is that there wasn’t an outer office. You entered the dungeon through doors facing the street which were several steps down from the street. That’s not the case today because of the buildup of the road surface. So when you visit today, you actually go up the steps to the Exchange and then down some stairs at the back of the building that have been added for that purpose.

When you get downstairs into the dungeon, it’s pretty dark and cool. I had written in my scene that “She stumbled on the uneven wooden floor and the ropes around her wrists bit deeper. At least she had not fallen onto the hard surface.” First, the floor is actually brick and even, not uneven wood. The tour guide told me that only three women prisoners were ever held in the dungeon and then only for a couple of hours to “terrorize” them into revealing where there patriot husband/father/etc. was so they could imprison them instead. So I had to only keep Emily in the dungeon for a short period and then have her moved to a different place and detained in order to stick to the historical facts.

Finally, I had imagined there were cells, so had written, “Silently the man left, glancing over his shoulder before the heavy door closed behind him.” But the basement wasn’t divided at all. Instead it was one large room with posted guards. The prisoners were given straw to lay on and of course since it’s located near the harbor there were rats and mice and who knows what else sharing the dungeon with them.

Because of this learning experience, I try to visit the historical sites and tour them whenever possible. Especially when the site is a setting in one of my stories. Online resources can be limited in providing the evolution of the property so that I can depict it accurately and authentically to the best of my ability. See what you think in this short excerpt from Emily’s Vow:


Biting her tongue to refrain from speaking her mind, Emily endured the pushing and pulling down the steps into the Provost. Once used as the Harbor Master’s office and for storing the goods being shipped in and out of town, now only pirates and those who defied the king resided within the odoriferous walls. At one time the building had enjoyed the respect of the town. Now it reeked of the pungent odors of urine, spoilage, and decay. She gagged at the overpowering smells assailing her senses.

“Welcome to your home away from home.” John paused in the large communal prison.

Dim light leaked through the small windows situated near the ceiling. Several other prisoners stared at them from where they sat on the cold red brick floor or lay on beds made from piles of straw, but kept their distance. The scrabble of claws in the deeper regions of the space skittered chills down her back. John peered at her for a moment, a slow smile creasing his face. His leer frightened her and she shivered.

She stumbled when the soldier pushed her forward, the ropes biting deeper. He tugged at the knot and the rope slipped off her wrists. She rubbed the red skin on each wrist to ease the pain.

“You are dismissed,” John said to the soldier, keeping his gaze on Emily. Green eyes cold as a dead fish appraised her while he waited for the other man to heed his order.

Silently the man left, glancing over his shoulder before walking away.

Emily swallowed but maintained eye contact with John. He had a heart once, a deep compassion for animals and people. But, he had hurt her in the market, likely because of the sudden embarrassment when Tommy pulled his wig askew. She raised her chin, portraying a confidence she barely felt.

“First, I must search you for any contraband you might be hiding.” His eyes glittered in the dim light. He pushed his sleeves up as he walked toward her. “This won’t hurt. You may even enjoy it. Like old times.”


And in fact, in the new edition of Emily’s Vow that will publish next month, I’ve added a couple of new scenes at the second “prison” where she’s held against her will. I’ll talk more about Emily’s Vow next week. In the meantime, if you haven’t read Elizabeth’s Hope, now is your chance to begin the series. More about Elizabeth’s Hope is below.

Happy reading!

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 www.bettybolte.com for more on my books and upcoming events.

Introducing the lives, loves, and dangerous times of the men and women in the A More Perfect Union historical romance series! This prequel novella takes place when Charles Town, South Carolina, is about to face the British enemy during the American Revolution.

CAUGHT BETWEEN DUTY AND LOVE

Joining the revolutionary army was the honorable thing to do—but Jedediah Thomson hadn’t realized how long he’d be away from the lovely, spirited Miss Elizabeth Sullivan. They’d only begun their courtship when the occupation of Charles Town, South Carolina, trapped her in the city, making it dangerous to get to her.

Elizabeth Sullivan feared for her brothers, fighting for American freedom; for her father, pretending to be a loyalist; for family and friends, caught between beliefs; and most of all for Jedediah, the man she loves, who was doing his duty. She cherished every moment they had together, knowing how swiftly it could be taken away.

And that made her willing to risk everything to claim a piece of him forever….

Books2Read      Amazon     Barnes & Noble     Kobo     Apple  

Getting to know Megan Kelly #author #contemporary #western #romance #amreading #fiction #books

Today I’d like to introduce you all to another fellow RWA member. Megan Kelly has been writing long enough to feel comfortable as an author. But let’s let her tell you more. Here’s her official bio and then we’ll dip into the questions.

Megan Kelly writes heart-warming contemporary romance set in small towns. After selling four books to Harlequin, she ventured into self-publishing. Her “Love in Little Tree” series celebrates Montana cowboys, while her other romances are set in fictional Midwest towns. Quirky secondary characters often steal the spotlight, but romance is always center stage. Fortunately, she has a very supportive husband and two kids who don’t remember a time when Mom didn’t write. She lives in the St. Louis area, where the weather has an imagination (and sense of humor) of its own.

You can sign up for her Readers’ Group newsletter on her website page at megankellybooks.com.

Website * Facebook

 Betty: When did you become a writer?

Megan: Every day when I sit down to write I’m a different, hopefully evolving writer. I’ve been a storyteller since childhood. My Barbie and GI Joe had many romance adventures dreamed up in my eight-year-old mind. LOL But I first *felt* like a writer when I finished a full manuscript—and it was something I’d want to read.

Betty: How long did you work on your writing skills before you became published?

Megan: I learned so much from being a member of Romance Writers of America. I had submitted several manuscripts and entered many contests as well as attending workshops and joining a critique group. It took thirteen years between taking my writing seriously (a key step) to getting THE CALL that Harlequin wanted to publish my book. RWA allowed me access to business as well as craft workshops, so when THE CALL came, I was ready!

Betty: What authors or stories do you feel influenced your writing style?

Megan: I loved the emotional, sweeping historicals of Laura Kinsale and Kathleen Woodiwiss. Carole Mortimer, Betty Neels, Kathleen Korbel, and Nora Roberts introduced me to contemporaries. I love the humor of Jennifer Crusie, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, and Kristan Higgins.

Everything I read influences my writing, whether it inspires me to entertain like the authors mentioned, or it serves as a cautionary tale when I read something not well written or a story not well told.

Betty: What prompted you to start writing?

Megan: I had read a lot of “old” books from the 1980s where the hero was a pig and the heroine a doormat. This didn’t mesh with how I viewed romance. At the end of the book, the hero almost always said, “I’ve loved you since I met you,” and I would go back to look for any hint of that in his words or actions. I knew I could write a better ending (where he’d grovel a lot). Then I decided I could write a better book (where he wouldn’t need to and where she wouldn’t have put up with that).

Betty: What type of writing did you start with?

Megan: I have old notebooks with opening scenes of contemporary romances that never went anywhere. I recently found lots of (very bad) rhyming poetry. I’ve always been drawn to mystery and romance, so I started writing contemporary romance for the reasons noted above.

Betty: What do you most enjoy writing? Why?

Megan: I used to primarily read historical romances because I found the eras and events fascinating. Very much an alien world I wouldn’t want to have lived in (no a/c, no electricity, no microwaves—pretty much in that order). However even then, I wanted to write contemporary romance because it’s harder to navigate a relationship with ever evolving societal rules. *In general,* male and female roles were clearly stated in the past. During the 1960s, women stepped out from behind men, changing both gender’s roles. Note: my books focus on the male/female relationship, but I acknowledge there are diverse romance possibilities.

Betty: How did you learn to write? A mentor, classes, conferences, craft books, or something else?

Megan: I truly feel I learned first by reading. The “old” books mentioned above were quality writing and publishing. When I learned of the local RWA chapter in St. Louis, I absorbed every workshop program they held. I attended other chapters’ conferences and their workshops as well as RWA National’s conference. I forced my way through Dwight Swain’s “Techniques of the Selling Writer,” which is great but heavy with knowledge. Most importantly to my writing, for many years, I would re-read Debra Dixon’s “Goal, Motivation, and Conflict” before I started a new manuscript.

Betty: What do you wish you knew before you started writing/publishing?

Megan: I wish I’d known how much of my essence was being a writer. That I hadn’t doubted I could do it and held myself back. While I still have that pesky internal editor making me doubt every word I write, I no longer doubt that I’m supposed to be a writer.

Betty: What other authors inspired you (either directly or through their writing) to try your hand at writing?

Megan: I love Kathleen Korbel’s romances. She is also known to us as Eileen Dreyer, writer of suspense and historical romance. If you haven’t read “A Rose for Maggie,” rush to your bookseller and buy it. I started reading romances as a teenager, and her hero, Joe, is still my favorite. Then the writers I’ve mentioned by name, plus any writer who sweeps me away.

Betty: What inspired you to write the book you’re sharing with us today?

Megan: I was sitting in a writing workshop, mind wandering. Two sisters popped into my head. One a bride, one her twin who had feelings for the sister’s fiancée. The bride tricks her sister into the wedding dress and then rushes out of the church. Then the workshop ended. So I had to write the story to find out what happened.

LEFT IN THE LURCH…
Rancher Jack Walker eagerly anticipates marrying the quiet, lovely artist who has agreed to be his wife and stepmother to his six-year-old daughter. Their union will mirror the peace and security of his previous marriage.

AT THE CHURCH
Veterinarian Lexi Marshall is tricked into her twin sister’s wedding dress minutes before the bride disappears out the back door. Now Lexi must tell Jack there is no wedding. But instead of “guess what?” she says, “I do?”

ACCIDENTALLY MARRIED
Covering for her sister by marrying Jack is a big mistake. But even Lexi’s confession can’t untangle the mess after she learns he could lose his ranch if they divorce.

Legal problems aside, how will they handle the attraction simmering between them? 

Excerpt:

Lexi stared at the beautiful wedding dress her twin sister held toward her. Lovely satin shimmered and beckoned, and pearls gleamed in the light of the church’s dressing room. Their mother’s veil lay on top, luring her closer with its lace and pearls.

“Go ahead,” Grace said. “Try it on.”

Lexi shook her head in denial of the gown’s promises. “I know what I’d look like. I’ve seen you in it.”

“It’s not just how it looks. A wedding dress feels different than any ordinary gown you’ve ever worn.” Grace arched a brow. “Although no one would say you wear many dresses, let alone gowns.”

A grin crossed Lexi’s face. Grace traveled the world painting, gaining renown for her outdoor scenes and use of color and texture. Lexi’s work as a vet kept her happy with her life in eastern Montana. As the crow flew, Little Tree lay three hours northeast of Billings, but it felt like a world away from everywhere.

“There’s no time,” Lexi protested.

Grace grabbed her purse and pulled out the watch Jack had given her for an engagement present. He’d hoped to curb Grace’s lack of regard for schedules. She glanced at it, sobered for a moment, then turned to Lexi. “There’s just enough time. Besides, if we run late, they’ll wait for the bride, right? Come on, sis, share this moment with me.”

Buy link:  Amazon

I love how the inspiration for this story came while in a workshop, Megan! Workshops can prompt a lot of good ideas and this one sounds like a great premise for your story. Thanks for sharing it with us.

Happy reading!

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 www.bettybolte.com for more on my books and upcoming events.

Visiting an Historical Georgian House #Charleston #research #American #history #ReadIndie #AMorePerfectUnion

Researching for the A More Perfect Union series of historical romances was a delight! My husband and I made two separate trips to Charleston, South Carolina in order for me to experience the historic settings and do some fact finding. I fell in love with the city and would go back again in a heartbeat!

Betty and hubby in Charleston, SC

On our first trip we stayed in a bed and breakfast in an historic home, The Rutledge House. Then we did the walking tour of the American Revolution era buildings and homes. The day was chilly but sunny so we ventured up and down one street after another, reading the guide book descriptions and the signs on the buildings. I made a point of touring the Heyward-Washington House in order to get an actual sense of the sounds and smells of an 18th century built house. More pictures of the inside of the house are available at the above link; I wasn’t permitted to take pictures inside the main house.

The rear view of the Heyward-Washington House with the kitchen on the left

The experience of walking the floors and climbing the steps, visiting the rear separate kitchen, all inspired the Sullivan family home in the series. Their home is not a replica of the Heyward-Washington House but certain aspects are similar. The front pair of windows in the parlor, for example. The wood floors that resound with the beat of shoes on their polish surface.

The kitchen out back is very similar to the one in my series as well. I try to imagine using the various tools hanging or resting around the fireplace. The danger of fire was very real which is why the kitchen was separated from the dwelling. Women in long skirts near a cooking fire surely was a recipe for disaster.

I’m re-issuing Elizabeth’s Hope, after revising it and sprucing up the story using my shiny new writing tools. I hope you’ll give it a read and let me know what you think. I’ll be republishing each of the remaining books one per month, each all freshly revised with a few new scenes as well. Stay tuned for more as each book is ready to share.

Happy reading!

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 www.bettybolte.com for more on my books and upcoming events.

Introducing the lives, loves, and dangerous times of the men and women in the A More Perfect Union historical romance series! This prequel novella takes place when Charles Town, South Carolina, is about to face the British enemy during the American Revolution.

CAUGHT BETWEEN DUTY AND LOVE

Joining the revolutionary army was the honorable thing to do—but Jedediah Thomson hadn’t realized how long he’d be away from the lovely, spirited Miss Elizabeth Sullivan. They’d only begun their courtship when the occupation of Charles Town, South Carolina, trapped her in the city, making it dangerous to get to her.

Elizabeth Sullivan feared for her brothers, fighting for American freedom; for her father, pretending to be a loyalist; for family and friends, caught between beliefs; and most of all for Jedediah, the man she loves, who was doing his duty. She cherished every moment they had together, knowing how swiftly it could be taken away.

And that made her willing to risk everything to claim a piece of him forever….

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Getting to know Annmarie Banks #author #alchemy #historical #fiction #medieval #fantasy #magical #realism

Please help me welcome to the interview hot seat author Annmarie Banks! Let’s take a quick peek at her bio and then we’ll find out more about her writing inspiration and stories.

Annmarie Banks spent the first twenty years of her professional life as a bookseller specializing in out-of-print and antiquarian books. She currently resides in the state of Arizona.

Since then she has studied many books about the history of the quest for knowledge. Early Western scientists were alchemists and philosophers who were forced to learn about the secrets of Nature by hiding in locked rooms poring over encrypted documents. Their struggle was so fascinating to her that she wrote the book she had always hoped to find on the shelves of the bookstore, but never did.

Website * Goodreads

Betty: When did you become a writer? 

Annmarie: I wrote and illustrated my first book in kindergarten.  It was called “The Kitty Cat Got Lost” and was inspired by “Are You My Mother?”  which really was a terrifying book for a 5-year-old.  My mother kept the stapled booklet, and I still have it 50 years later.  More recently, I finished my first novel in 2001 and found a publisher for it ten years later.

Betty: How long did you work on your writing skills before you became published? 

Annmarie: I have been a reader from Dr. Seuss on.  I have a bachelor’s in English, and so as part of my coursework wrote thousands of words.

Betty: What authors or stories do you feel influenced your writing style?

Annmarie: The Mists of Avalon (Marion Zimmer Bradley), Outlander (Diana Gabaldon), The Lord of the Rings (JRR Tolkien)

Betty: What prompted you to start writing? 

Annmarie: I became increasingly dissatisfied with the novels I was reading.  They were predictable in plot, and clichéd in content.  I worked in a bookstore, so had access to an amazing diversity of titles, but could not find what I was looking for, so I wrote it myself.

Betty: What type of writing did you start with? 

Annmarie: I have always been interested in characters who stepped up to go beyond the roles society placed on them.  This type of development crosses all genres, but I found it more often in science fiction.  The wonders of discovery and the delight in learning something I did not know before as a reader always excited me. 

Betty: What do you most enjoy writing? Why?   

Annmarie: I truly enjoy spending time in my mind with the characters I create.

They become like friends and family, and while it might seem like I am their god, and with a click of the keyboard have them live or die, in reality they take on lives of their own, and often surprise me with what they have to say.

Betty: How did you learn to write? A mentor, classes, conferences, craft books, or something else? 

Annmarie: As a ravenous reader of a variety of fiction and non-fiction, as well as my course work in college made it easier to transition to writing professionally.  Currently I am a technical writer, so I have that experience as well.

Betty: What do you wish you knew before you started writing/publishing?

Annmarie: I came from the bookselling world, so was familiar with the publishing industry.  I knew that distributing my work would be a challenge, but the internet made it both easier and more difficult.  Easier because I can set up a website with links to my books, more difficult because there must be a million similar websites!

Betty: What other authors inspired you (either directly or through their writing) to try your hand at writing?

Annmarie: Bradbury, Tolkien, Bradley, Gabaldon, Heinlein, Lackey, McCaffrey.

Betty: What inspired you to write the book you’re sharing with us today? 

Annmarie: I read the history of printing and manuscripts as part of my job buying and pricing antiquarian books. The stories of the earliest writers and the struggles they faced trying to get the message of science and philosophy and magic out to other seekers was fascinating.  The risks they took to preserve and find these forbidden manuscripts was compelling!  The powers that be worked tirelessly to suppress new ideas and to destroy any writing that did not align with the Church’s teachings.  This sounded like the beginning of an adventure, and what if what was written in those manuscripts was true?  What a great ride!

1494 Barcelona. Thousands of books and manuscripts are lost to the flames as the Black Friars attempt to purge Europe of the ancient secrets of the gods and the bold new ideas that are ushering in the Renaissance. Words are Nadira’s life. She is pursued as passionately for her rare skill as a reader of Ancient Greek, Latin, Arabic, and Hebrew, which makes her valuable to men who pursue the Hermetica to exploit its magic. Kidnapped by Baron Montrose, she is forced to read from the Hermetica. Within its pages are the words that incite the Dominicans to religious fervor, give the Templars their power, and reveal the lost mysteries of Elysium. As Nadira begins her transformation from servant to sorceress, will she escape the fires of the Inquisition, the clutches of the Borgia pope, Alexander VI and the French king, Charles VIII?

Excerpt:

A strange look passed over the nobleman’s face. “When my brother spoke to you, what language did you hear?”

“He spoke to me in Greek, sir, and in what you call Moorish.”

Montrose exchanged a glance with his friend. “Do you read and write these languages as well?”

“Yes, my lord.” Nadira answered, puzzled.

“Do you read and write any others?”

“Latin and English. Some French. Hebrew.”

Montrose frowned at Sofir. “Where did you get this girl? Hebrew? Jews do not educate their women.”

The old man’s left eye twitched and Nadira felt him stiffen. “Surely you have made an error, my lord. I am a Christian. I attend mass twice a week. Ask my neighbors if you doubt me.” Sofir’s voice quavered. “And she is no Jew either. She was sold to me years ago with her mother, both of them Barbary moors.”

Montrose cocked his head, suspicion in his eyes. In two long strides he was upon her and had her right arm in a painful grip. He twisted her wrist with one hand while opening her palm with the other.  Her fingers had been ink-stained for years; she could not remember a time when they were not.  He was not exactly hurting her, though the grip was uncomfortable.

Montrose released her hand, but shifted his grasp to her upper arm. “We want to take the girl with us.”

Buy links: Amazon

The history of alchemy and natural philosophy are indeed fascinating! I’m intrigued by the concepts behind this story, Annmarie. Thanks for sharing!

I touched on alchemy in Haunted Melody (Secrets of Roseville Book 2) with Max as a modern day chemist dabbling in the use of it to try to save his brother’s eyesight. I had done some research into the history of alchemy in college which provided a fair understanding of how it evolved into chemistry. That story is set around Halloween, so this time of year is a good time to read it.

Happy reading!

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 www.bettybolte.com for more on my books and upcoming events.

Saying goodbye to McCrady’s Tavern #research #American #history #ReadIndie #AMorePerfectUnion

Earlier this year I shared my research trip to Elsing Green Plantation which closed to the public last year. I was sad to read about the death of one of the owners and even sadder that the beautiful historic property was no longer open. Today I’m going to share the sad news about a tavern that had been in operation since George Washington was president. When I visited their site to write this post I found this message:

A favorite restaurant closed!

This is very sad to me. McCrady’s Tavern is listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places as it had been in operation since 1778. When I was doing the research for my American Revolution historical romances, the A More Perfect Union series, my husband and I spent a weekend in Charleston. I was ecstatic to find out about this historic tavern. What a cool and interesting place to go!

The four novels in the A More Perfect Union historical romance series

We went there and had a fine meal and I just enjoyed being within its walls, knowing George Washington had also been entertained there on his southern tour of the states in 1791. I would have been even happier had Martha joined him on the tour but she had declined as the travel was too difficult and tiring to her by that time in her life. As a result, I included McCrady’s in my A More Perfect Union stories as a frequent meeting place for my characters.

Me standing outside of McCrady’s Tavern

I hope that someone will reopen the famous and historic tavern. It is, to me, a national treasure not to be shut down and forgotten.

Over the next five months I’ll be reissuing and republishing the five stories in the A More Perfect Union historical romance series. I’ve revised all five of the stories to improve them using my more mature writing skills learned since 2014 when the first and second books, Emily’s Vow and Amy’s Choice were published. Those were followed by Samantha’s Secret and Evelyn’s Promise. Then I decided to write a prequel novella, Elizabeth’s Hope, that shares Elizabeth and Jedediah’s hopeful yet doomed romance. One reader called it a lovely story but suggested that it would be better to read Elizabeth’s Hope last, as a result. Other readers were fine with reading them in chronological order and enjoyed each of the stories.

The prequel novella for the A More Perfect Union series

Next week I’ll talk a bit more about Elizabeth’s Hope. Until then, happy reading!

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 www.bettybolte.com for more on my books and upcoming events.

Audrey Harper needs more than home and hearth to satisfy her self-worth despite being raised with the idea that a woman’s place is in the home. Working as a music critic for the city newspaper in Baltimore, Maryland, during the Second World War, she’s enjoyed both financial freedom and personal satisfaction in a job well done. When she uncovers evidence of German spies working to sabotage a secret bomber plane being manufactured in her beloved city, she must choose between her sense of duty to protect her city and the urgings of her boss, her family, and her fiancé to turn over her evidence to the authorities. But when her choices lead her and her sister into danger, she is forced to risk life and limb to save her sister and bring the spies to justice.

Set against the backdrop of the flourishing musical community during the 1940s in Baltimore, Notes of Love and War weaves together the pleasure of musical performance with the dangers of espionage and spying.

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Getting to know Lainee Cole #author #contemporary #romance #mystery #poetry #books #fiction #amwriting #amreading

My guest today is a fellow author from a group project, but I’ll let Lainee Cole tell you more about all of that after we take a look at her bio. Ready? Here we go!

Lainee Cole is a Midwestern girl who writes in the company of a husband always trying to talk to her. Lainee’s goal is for her stories to make readers laugh and cry, give them hope, and encourage them to believe in the power of love. When she’s not writing or reading, Lainee enjoys spending time with family and friends; hiking, camping, and traveling with her husband; and consuming daily doses of chocolate.

Facebook * Twitter * Instagram

Betty: When did you become a writer?

Lainee: I’ve been a writer as long as I can remember! I’ve been working on several romance novels for more years than I should admit, but I found myself rewriting my rewrites and quickly going nowhere. With my kids grown and out of the house, I finally became serious about finishing those novels and publishing them in the last five years. Finally!

Betty: What authors or stories do you feel influenced your writing style?

Lainee: My writing style has been influenced by the many Harlequin and Silhouette contemporary romances I’ve read over the years, as well as by authors such as Sherryl Woods, R.C. Ryan, and Kat Martin. I’m a sucker for continuity series books, and these authors do them well! Future author goals for me!

Betty: What type of writing did you start with?

Lainee: As a young girl, I started with short stories featuring the horses I dreamed of owning. Then in junior high and high school, I wrote poetry. I was rather embarrassed when my friends starting sharing my poems with everyone else, including the boys I wrote about! Around the same time, my best girlfriends and I started trading Harlequin romances back and forth. But it wasn’t until I was in my 20’s that I started writing romance. I definitely found my home here!

Betty: What do you most enjoy writing? Why?

Lainee: I most enjoy writing sweet contemporary romances. While I occasionally like to pick up something heavier, I really enjoy light reading. I want to get lost in the books I read. I want to fall in love with the characters and ride along as they journey to their happily-ever-after. I hope to entice readers to do the same with my books.

Betty: How did you learn to write? A mentor, classes, conferences, craft books, or something else?

Lainee: All of the above! I learn best by doing, and I enjoy learning. Craft books are a great place to start, as are classes. Conferences are exciting and exhausting at the same time, but offer some great resources. A couple of trusted mentors have been great at nudging me when I need nudging. Contests can be a source of feedback, too, as long as you remember they are subjective. But the best way to learn to write is to keep writing; keep trying different methods until you find what works for you. I feel like I learn something new with each new writing project!

Betty: What other authors inspired you (either directly or through their writing) to try your hand at writing?

Lainee: I used to be a voracious reader. I’ve slowed down a bit now, devoting more time to my own writing. Susan Mallery, Maggie Shayne, Sherryl Woods, Linda Lael Miller, R.C. Ryan, and Kat Martin are authors I admire and whose books inspire me to keep writing. I’ve recently enjoyed books by Jane Porter, Kaylie Newell, and Minette Lauren, finding new inspiration in their stories.

Author Lynn Crandall is one of my best friends. I love the depth of her writing! She has been instrumental in my growth as a writer. She is always encouraging but I also trust her to provide honest, constructive criticism or suggestions when I need them.

Betty: What inspired you to write the book you’re sharing with us today?

Lainee: While surfing the internet, I stumbled on some pictures of hidden stairways and rooms. I’ve always been fascinated with castles and the idea of hidden rooms, so I really wanted to include one in my book. About the same time, I learned of the Common Elements Romance Project through authors I follow on Facebook. The idea was for participating authors to write and self-publish their own book, but the book was required to include five common elements: a lightning storm, lost keys, a haunted house (really haunted or rumored to be), a stack of thick books, and a person named Max. Over seventy authors participated in the project, which you can learn more about here: https://commonelementsromanceproject.wordpress.com/. It was the perfect fit for my hidden stairway/room story with just a touch of mystery!

After the perfect storm that devastated her family, Emerson Lane fled the suffocating small town of Twin Creeks, her uncle, and her crush on Max. Seven years later, she returns home to make amends with her uncle and help him with the town’s Centennial, only to learn that also involves working with Max.

Sheriff Justin “Max” Lomax has had enough of small-town life and his overbearing bully of a grandfather. He plans to resign and move to the big city as soon as the Centennial celebration is over. There’s only one problem. Emerson Lane has returned. Seven years ago, he felt sorry for the young girl who’d lost her family, but now she’s all grown up and he’s tempted to explore new possibilities.

In the week before the Centennial, storms abound—both emotional and literal. As Emerson and Max unravel mysteries of the past, they just might find their future.

Excerpt:

Emerson held fast to the small twinge of satisfaction. Taking charge fed her illusion of being in control, and it was better than falling apart. Especially in front of Max.

She urged Irene into a chair at the table, then set the lantern on the island and reached for the folded note. Neither Max nor Irene said a word, but she could feel them watching her.

IRENE was scrawled across the paper in her uncle’s familiar handwriting. With her heart in her throat, she unfolded it. CONFIDENTIAL. Called away on urgent business. Tell anyone asking, I’m not to be disturbed. Counting on Emerson and Max to handle displays. Hope to return for Centennial. W.

“That’s it? But—” Her pulse pounded in her ears, drowning out everything else. I don’t want to work with Max!

She bit her inner lip and reread the note. Uncle Wayne was really gone. And he wanted her to work with Max.

She dropped it back on the island.

“Candles,” she muttered, checking the island drawers. She needed time to think. “We need candles.”

Max wasn’t part of her ‘making peace with the past’ plan. She’d come home to mend fences with Uncle Wayne. A pang of sadness pierced her heart when she found tapers in the center drawer, in the same place her aunt had kept them prior to her death.

Buy links:  Amazon * Books2Read

Thanks, Lainee, for sharing that intriguing excerpt of Storms of the Heart. I’m going to have to get my own copy since I also love hidden passages and rooms. Sounds like my kind of story!

My contribution to the Common Elements Romance Project is Charmed Against All Odds (Secrets of Roseville Book 5), which is up for a Rone Award next month. I enjoyed telling Roxie and Leo’s story so much, and apparently readers enjoyed it as well.

Happy reading!

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 www.bettybolte.com for more on my books and upcoming events.

Sending Letters in a Time of War #Baltimore #WWII #research #history #ReadIndie #NotesofLoveandWar

Letters during WWII kept soldiers fighting oversees aware of what was happening at home. How their families and loved ones were faring. Letters remained a vital part of communication even after the fighting ended. But the interesting thing to me is the many forms of communication that I found in my dad’s collection of correspondence.

Not only penned letters on stationary, but also telegrams, post cards, greeting cards, and the most intriguing Victory Mail (V-Mail). There is a complete history and explanation at that link about the format and uses of V-Mail. Including a tutorial of sorts on how letters should be written to be upbeat and positive to bolster the reasons for why the men were fighting. It’s an interesting online exhibit to poke around in.

I’ve been slowly working my way through transcribing my dad’s correspondence so I thought I’d share a few examples of the kinds of ways he sent and received letters. Note that I started with the year they married, 1948, as that has the bulk of the exchange since they were getting reacquainted after not contacting each other in years. As you can see in this photo of all his letters, sorted by year, month, and day, there are a lot of letters to get through.

Hundreds of letters! Not even counting the V-Mail…

My mother’s stationery varied over time but here’s an example from July 1948:

Upon occasion, Dad started typing his letters on the letterhead for the photography company he worked for:

Dad sent a postcard to my mother in September 1948, but included within the folded letter in an envelope:

Mom sent Dad a telegram to confirm when she’d arrive in Miami in June 1948 for a visit with him, bringing her sister along for the vacation:

But seriously look at the number of V-Mail letters my dad received! They are each a little bigger than a playing card, or maybe about the size of a tarot card.

V-Mail letters to my dad. The first one is from his mother.

The V-Mail letters are from his friends, fellow soldiers, brothers and sisters, and mother. I didn’t find any letters between father and son, though. Which isn’t surprising because they really didn’t see eye-to-eye. Dad harbored some hard feelings toward his father to the last of his days.

In Notes of Love and War, you’ll find letters, telegrams, and V-Mail being exchanged between Audrey and her brother, father, and Charlie. The formats within the book are designed to reflect, though not exactly replicate, each form of communication. It’s more apparent in the paperback than ebook, of course, since the medium allows for anchoring the text to the page in ways that a digital book cannot. My aim was to provide a feeling for the varying kinds of communication and thus lend a sense of the times to modern day readers.

Happy reading!

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 www.bettybolte.com for more on my books and upcoming events.

Audrey Harper needs more than home and hearth to satisfy her self-worth despite being raised with the idea that a woman’s place is in the home. Working as a music critic for the city newspaper in Baltimore, Maryland, during the Second World War, she’s enjoyed both financial freedom and personal satisfaction in a job well done. When she uncovers evidence of German spies working to sabotage a secret bomber plane being manufactured in her beloved city, she must choose between her sense of duty to protect her city and the urgings of her boss, her family, and her fiancé to turn over her evidence to the authorities. But when her choices lead her and her sister into danger, she is forced to risk life and limb to save her sister and bring the spies to justice.

Set against the backdrop of the flourishing musical community during the 1940s in Baltimore, Notes of Love and War weaves together the pleasure of musical performance with the dangers of espionage and spying.

Amazon     Books2Read     Barnes & Noble     Kobo     Apple

Getting to know Regina Kammer #author #historical #contemporary #erotica #romance #librarian #historian

Today I’m welcoming a fellow Common Elements Romance Project author, Regina Kammer. I’ll let Regina explain more but let’s look at her bio before we get to the meat of the interview.

Regina Kammer is a librarian, an art historian, and an award-winning, best-selling, multi-published writer of provocative historical romance and contemporary romance with a touch of history. Her short stories and novels make history sexier, whether the era is Roman, Byzantine, Viking, American Revolution, or Victorian. She’s even sexed up contemporary settings, Steampunk, and Greco-Roman mythology. She began writing historical fiction with romantic elements during National Novel Writing Month 2006, switching to erotica when all her characters suddenly demanded to have sex.

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram

Betty: When did you become a writer?

Regina: Like many bookish young adults, I wrote stories, plays, and epic poetry in my teens. I put all that aside in college and graduate school, probably because I was writing so many research papers. I got the bug again decades later, in 2006, when I read about National Novel Writing Month in my college alumni magazine.

Betty: What prompted you to start writing?

Regina: In 2005, I had a super long commute to my job via transit, so I was reading tons of books. I had just finished reading a book I thought was absolutely terrible – the history was wrong, the romance was flat – and I audaciously thought “I could totally write a better novel!”

So, after reading about National Novel Writing Month, I started to do a bunch of historical research in preparation for November 2006, with the idea in mind that I would write that historical novel.

Betty: What type of writing did you start with?

Regina: Teenage me started writing historical fiction inspired by the books I had read. Somewhere in my files I have notebooks with stories based on Caddie Woodlawn and 1940s-set Ellery Queen mysteries.

Jump ahead to 2006, and adult me did a very similar thing. I had read all of Jane Austen’s works, in order, and was greatly intrigued by the concept of entailed property in Pride and Prejudice. I started researching British property law and decided I would write historical fiction with romantic elements set during the passage of the Married Women’s Property Act of 1882.

Well, I was greatly surprised when my characters took over and my story transformed into historical erotic romance!

Betty: What do you most enjoy writing? Why?

Regina: I prefer to write historical romance, although I have also written contemporary romance. As a historian myself, I enjoy research, and I love how what we think we know about history is being challenged. I also like the speculative nature of historical writing, using history as the spark to set a plot in motion.

Many of my contemporary romances include history, usually because a character is a historian. So I even have to do historical research for my contemporary romance stories.

Betty: What do you wish you knew before you started writing/publishing?

Regina: I come from an academic background of writing art historical research papers and theses. That sort of writing is very different from fiction, and usually includes a lot of background information. So, of course, my early fiction efforts (unpublished) were heavy with backstory!

Other technical aspects of fiction writing I did not know about were point-of-view, especially deep third POV. So, again, early works were filled with head-hopping and filter words.

Betty: What inspired you to write the book you’re sharing with us today?

Regina: I am passionate about historical and environmental preservation, and we’re living in a time when so much of our natural landscape is threatened. I set Resistance: A Common Elements Romance in a fictional national historic park where both the park’s history and its resources are threatened.

I had been working on a story for a boxed set with the requirements that it be a contemporary romance involving a military or ex-military hero. When the boxed set project was put on hold, I still had a half-finished book. I was thinking about pitching it to publishers when I heard about the Common Elements Romance Project. I joined the Project and edited my story to include the five common elements.

Resistance has a very, very contemporary story line. I wrote it almost in real time in 2018. Every day brought changes to the political landscape and my story reflects much of that.

Even though Resistance is a contemporary romance, the story incorporates a lot of history. The hero, Kace Jaager, was an archaeological field commander in Iraq during Operation Desert Storm tasked with preserving cuneiform tablets. The fictional national park, Fort America, has a unique and very American history – I won’t give that away.

Resistance is my final contemporary romance. I have too many historical romances waiting to be finished!

Passions flare when duty confronts ambition…

Kace Jaager, former Army archaeologist, now Superintendent of Fort America National Park, has a duty to preserve and protect the natural beauty and cultural heritage of the United States.

Madison Danes, ambitious CEO of Danergy Mining & Hydraulics, has a government contract to conduct fracking at Fort America National Park.

Sparks ignite as ideologies collide. Yet uncontrollable attraction compels a truce in bed. Opposites may attract, but can they put politics aside to form a more perfect union?

Resistance is an enemies-to-lovers contemporary seasoned romance with a 53-year-old silver fox hero and a 42-year-old heroine in her prime. The short novel is part of the Common Elements Romance Project, where over seventy romance authors have come together to write stories with five things in common. Stories are not connected in any way, except for having five elements: a lightning storm, lost keys, a haunted house, a stack of thick books, and a person named Max.

Excerpt:

He studied the framed photo in his hand, a gift from a reporter friend. A casual action shot of him in Iraq dressed in camouflage—shirt unbuttoned, sleeves rolled up—examining an artifact, his hair—back when it was brown—windswept, desert sandstone hills and army jeeps in the background. He looked a bit like a romantic archaeological adventurer in an action flick.

The kind of guy chicks would swoon over.

He placed the photo prominently on his desk. All was fair in love and war, and this was going to be an all-out war. If he had to use a sexual stratagem, so be it. At the very least, an image of him in his army days might soften the heart of a conservative businesswoman.

A quick rap on the door precipitated Becky’s entering. “Kace—”

Ms. Danes pushed passed, her exotic perfume flaring his nostrils. He swept his reading glasses into the top drawer of his desk.

“I’m here on official business. Mr. Jaager is expecting me.”

Kace waved at Becky. “It’s all right.” He nodded when Becky motioned as to whether to close the door.

Ms. Danes plopped her purse on an empty sliver of desk and rummaged in its depths. She produced a thumb drive. “Everything’s here. Just plug and play.”

He grabbed it, his fingers sliding along her slick lacquered nails, a frisson of interest nagging his crotch.

Buy links:  Amazon * Apple * B&N * EdenBooks * GooglePlay *

Kobo * Smashwords * Books2Read

Sounds like quite a conflict to overcome, and one that is very timely, so that should be a great story! Thanks for sharing it today, Regina.

As a reminder, my contribution to the Common Elements Romance Project is Charmed Against All Odds (Secrets of Roseville Book 5), which is a contender for a Rone award this fall. Visit https://www.bettybolte.com/paranormal-romance to find out about all the books in that series.

But don’t overlook Regina’s story either! There are many romance novels across all genres to try associated with the Common Elements Romance Project. Several of my guest authors also participated.

Happy reading!

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 www.bettybolte.com for more on my books and upcoming events.