On Being Flexible and Caring #WritersLife #FamilyFirst #amwriting #books #romance #histfic

working-at-dennys-westminster-2016

There’s a saying that humans make plans and God laughs. He is probably in hysterics then, if that’s the case. I always make plans, but I know that they are subject to change with little or no notice. But having made the plan, I know where to adjust. To be flexible and adaptable. That’s the key for me.

business-planI’m very fortunate to have the kind of career that allows me to work wherever I am. (There are also drawbacks but that’s a different story…) I’ve posted before about creating my business plan to have an idea of when things need to be done. I’ve been working to that plan for several months and am on track to meet my goals.

But when my brother’s wife suffered a life-threatening situation that landed her in Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, I knew it was a matter of time before I made a trip back to Maryland. To be there to bolster my brother’s morale and do what I could to help them during this crisis. Automatically, I started contemplating whether I could flex my plans to accommodate a possible trip. I determined I could but kept to my plan until I knew for certain.

“Suddenly” then on the Saturday evening after Thanksgiving, I found myself packing for the 800+ mile one-way drive to my home state. Naturally, my laptop and manuscript I’m working on were added to the pile of clothes and books I took with me. I planned to arrive on Monday, stay a couple of days, then be home by Thursday. I contacted my dearest friend to see if I could stay with her and her family while in town, but their schedule was too crammed. So I made a reservation to stay at a hotel instead. Having my own space would allow me to work when not needed by my brother, too.

I arrived at my brother’s late Monday afternoon and dragged him out to dinner that evening. Where he could tell me what was going on. He didn’t know much except how worried he was about his wife’s condition and the uncertainty of her and their future together. She is his third wife; the second died from breast cancer so he was even more concerned.

We made plans to meet up in the morning and go see my sister-in-law. I wondered if his confusion was warranted due to lack of communication or if he wasn’t understanding the technical aspects of the treatment plan. But the situation was far more unsettled and unclear than I had anticipated. One thing I’m good at is asking questions and getting things done as a result. I quickly discovered they didn’t know what the nurses/doctors were actually doing to treat her condition, nor did they know what the treatment plan was. Before too long, we had answers to those questions. Trust me on that!

That’s when I found out a delicate, “difficult” procedure was planned to fix the “huge” hemorrhage caused by a brain aneurysm for Thursday afternoon. Which ended up being scheduled for 6 p.m. (really? that late?) and would last about 3 hours. Well, I couldn’t leave on Wednesday knowing that my brother would be waiting, alone, for hours while his wife had this surgery. So I extended my stay. Thankfully, my friend’s schedule allowed for me to stay with them, which was a nice bonus for making the trip.

working-at-dennys-westminster-2016Wednesday, after visiting my sister-in-law for several hours and dropping my brother off at his apartment, I snuck away from everyone for a couple hours at the Denny’s in Westminster. Amidst the chatter of the waitstaff and the few other mid-afternoon customers, I worked on the final revisions to Haunted Melody which will release next year. I kept my phone handy in case my brother should need me but focused on the story’s characters and interactions. Once my friend’s errands had been completed, I went to her house for the evening.

working-at-westminster-ag-center-2016On Thursday, I didn’t need to pick my brother up until 2 p.m., and my friend had errands to run, so I spent a couple hours at the local public library working and then after I had a quick stop at Subway for my lunch, stopped at the Ag Center to work for about 45 minutes before I needed to drive down to get my brother and go spend the rest of the day at the hospital. (I also slipped in a stop at Hoffman’s Ice Cream for a crave-worthy homemade raspberry scoop! Yum!)

Unfortunately, the procedure that evening did not happen – I feel for the patient who had complications requiring the surgeon’s continued attention. They were going to reschedule but there was no way to know when so late in the evening (it was 9 p.m. when we found out) on a Thursday. If they didn’t do it the next day, it would be the following week most likely. I couldn’t stay that long. So I reluctantly decided to head home the next day. But my brother kept me posted as to when she went into surgery at about 6 p.m. Friday evening and on Saturday morning called to tell me that everything went well even though she was in surgery for 6 hours instead of 3-4 hours.

While I was only able to stay four days with my brother, I feel like I did help him through the toughest part when she had been in the hospital for a week and had no clue as to how long she’d stay and what was going on. From my perspective, it made me feel good to be able to be there for my brother and his wife. To demonstrate through my actions, not just my words, that I love and care about them.

Family first is the motto that I live by and is a characteristic that I instill in my characters as well. Our ties to family are important. It saddens me that I have very tenuous ties to my eldest brother, but his service in Viet Nam really changed him in ways I don’t really understand. I rarely “speak” to him but at least I know he’s alive. (Thank goodness for Facebook messages!) I’m grateful to have contact with my two sisters and of course my other brother. As well as my hubby’s family and my cousins (I got to see one of them on my way home for a few minutes). Knowing where we come from is why I’m a genealogy fan, too. And why I did the research and paperwork necessary to become a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR).

Now it’s your turn. How do you stay in touch with your family? Is there someone you wish you could be more in contact with than you are now?

Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts and opinions!

Betty

P.S. If you haven’t already, please consider signing up for my newsletter, which I only send out when there is news to share. News like new covers, new releases, and upcoming appearances where I love to meet my readers. Thanks and happy reading!

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

By the way, Emily’s Vow is currently on 99 pennies for the ebook. Now’s your chance to get your copy at a discount it if you haven’t already!

Emily's Vow Finalist SealEmily Sullivan’s greatest fear is dying in childbirth, as did her twin sister and their mother. Despite her half-hearted protests, her father insists Frank Thomson is the perfect man for both her protection from the vengeful British and as a husband. Frank always loved Emily despite her refusal to return his affections. A patriot spy posing as a loyalist officer, when Frank learns Emily’s been imprisoned for her father’s privateering, he risks his own neck to free his love.

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Tasty Tuesday: Traditional Lamb Stew #dinner #recipe from #romance #author Cara Marsi

Last week I talked about how I learned I enjoy eating lamb. This week, Cara Marsi is going to share how her character fell in love over lamb stew.

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Thanks, Betty! In A Catered Romance, when Mary Beth explains to Tom that the lamb stew is for an engagement party for a couple who’d had lamb stew on their first date, Tom says that’s romantic. Mary Beth answers that she no longer believes in romance. Since Tom broke her heart once, this helps set up some of the conflict.

Traditional Lamb Stew

TOTAL TIME: Prep: 10 min. Cook: 1 hour

MAKES: 4 servings

Ingredients

1-1/2 pounds lamb stew meat

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

3 large onions, quartered

3 medium carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces

4 small potatoes, peeled and cubed

1 can (14-1/2 ounces) beef broth

1 teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

1-1/2 teaspoons minced fresh parsley

1-1/2 teaspoons minced chives

½ teaspoon minced fresh thyme

Directions

In a Dutch oven, brown meat in 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat until meat is no longer pink. Remove with a slotted spoon; set aside. Add the onions, carrots and remaining oil to pan. Cook for 5 minutes or until onions are tender, stirring occasionally. Add the potatoes, broth, salt, pepper and lamb; Bring to a boil.

Remove from the heat. Cover and bake at 350° for 50-60 minutes or until meat and vegetables are tender.

With a slotted spoon, remove meat and vegetables to a large bowl; set aside and keep warm. Pour pan juices into another bowl; set aside.

In the Dutch oven, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in flour until smooth. Gradually whisk in pan juices. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Stir in the parsley, chives, thyme, and meat and vegetables; heat through. Yield: 4 servings.

a-catered-romace-resized-for-sw-goodIn A Catered Romance, Mary Beth tells Tom she likes to roast the lamb first. You can do that if you want. Roast the lamb with some of the broth for about an hour, either the full roast or the cut-up pieces. Season as you like. Let the lamb cool before you cut it up. Follow the rest of the instructions. Also, you’ll probably want to double the broth and double the spices. I find that recipes are never quite spicy enough for me, and the amount of broth used in this recipe isn’t enough. Experiment. That’s what I do.

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I love to experiment with recipes, adapting them to our tastes. Thanks for sharing that amazing recipe for lamb stew, Cara! I’m always up for a new tempting lamb recipe, especially one so integral to a romance story. After all, we all have to eat, right?

Betty

P.S. If you haven’t already, please consider signing up for my newsletter, which I only send out when there is news to share. News like new covers, new releases, and upcoming appearances where I love to meet my readers. Thanks and happy reading!

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

Tasty Tuesday: Herbed Leg of #Lamb #dinner #recipe

img_2072I was a good girl, most of the time, and played by the rules and obeyed my parents. So when my dad told me that I had to use mint jelly on my lamb I refused to eat it. Why? Because while I like mint in tiny doses, I do not like it in jelly form. So it wasn’t until I met my future mother-in-law that I discovered that I really, truly love lamb.

The difference was that she didn’t even put mint jelly on the table. Instead, she made gravy from the juices, and such a lovely, rich gravy lamb makes, too.

Which all started me thinking about how my story characters might react to varying a favorite or a detested recipe. Switching things up on them might make some interesting dialogue and provide new insights into their personality.

So for today, I’m sharing my herbed leg of lamb which is very simple to prepare and delicious – or at least I and my family think it is. Note that I do not cook with salt, so if you really need it, you can add a pinch but I’d recommend trying it without first. We just enjoyed this the other night for dinner, along with roasted potatoes and a green bean/carrot mix of veggies. Followed by fresh baked brownies and vanilla ice cream. Everyone walked away happy according to the smiles and thanks. Enjoy!

Herbed Leg of Lamb

img_2069~1 Tablespoon minced garlic

~1/2 Tablespoon crushed rosemary leaves

~1/2 Tablespoon oregano leaves

~1 teaspoon Thyme leaves

~1/2 teaspoon ground sage

1 Tablespoon peanut oil

½ Tablespoon olive oil

Sesame oil (a few drops)

3-5 lb boneless leg of lamb

Mix all of the above ingredients except lamb to combine. (Note: Feel free to use other herbs you’d prefer if you don’t like any of those listed. I’d be sure to use the garlic, though.) Adjust the quantities to suit your taste as to which flavor(s) are strongest.

img_2070Rub seasonings onto surface of the lamb in a roasting pan or game dish. I don’t use a rack but you can if you’d prefer.

Place in a 325 deg F oven and roast until internal temperature reaches at least 160 deg F (medium/medium rare). For planning purposes, figure 30 min to the pound but check. I pull it out at that point and my hubby takes over to make gravy (I am not as proficient at that as he is!). Leftover lamb, if there is any, can then be reheated with the gravy and served over rice, or diced into curry or other dishes if not cooked to well done at this stage.

In theory, based on my attempts/observations, to make the gravy pour the essence from the roasting pan into a skillet and heat to a boil. Sprinkle with flour to thicken to a paste. Thin slowly with hot water until desired consistency, stirring frequently to eliminate lumps.

Slice the lamb and serve with gravy (or mint jelly…) and enjoy.

My mother-in-law taught me so much about cooking and entertaining which has served me well all my adult life. (My own mother passed away in 1989.) I miss her so much! That’s one reason I enjoy cooking, because it brings up memories of doing so with other family members, including my mothers, my father, and my children.

Are you like me and enjoy lamb? Or is there another food you didn’t like until you discovered a different way to prepare it?

Next week, I’ll feature another author and her recipe for a good story! See you then!

Don’t forget to order your copy of my next release, Undying Love. Thanks in advance for your support and reading my blog and my books!

Betty

P.S. If you haven’t already, please consider signing up for my newsletter, which I only send out when there is news to share. News like new covers, new releases, and upcoming appearances where I love to meet my readers. Thanks and happy reading!

www.bettybolte.com

undying_love_600x900Undying Love is available for pre-order now!

When architect Meredith Reed inherits her family’s plantation after the devastating loss of her own family, she must choose how to move on with her life. Keep the plantation? Not a good idea. Sell it? Better. Turn it into a memorial park? Better yet. But can she go against her family traditions and the hunky but irate lawyer?

Max Chandler needs two things to complete his life plan: become a senior partner and find his soul mate. He’s due a promotion once his legislation to protect the county’s historic properties is approved. The wife part he finds more challenging, having never met the right woman. If only the talented, attractive, aloof Meredith didn’t want to destroy the very property he cherishes.

While Meredith struggles to reconcile her past and future, will she learn a lesson from the spectral Lady in Blue in time to save both her family and home from destruction?

B&N: http://bit.ly/2fF4QTf

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2fnRyHK

Amazon CA: http://amzn.to/2fOyEdQ

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2eYDp5w

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Metamorphosis of Undying Love #writerslife #amwriting #fiction #books

undying_love_600x900Undying Love has been a real work in progress for me for several years. The story underwent several iterations before the one that will release in January. Curious as to how it morphed into a great paranormal romance? Here’s the skinny.

Back in 2007, I was taking a tech writing class as part of the requirements for earning a Master of Arts in English from the University of Alabama in Huntsville. I was bored, having been a tech editor/writer for at least fifteen years. When the professor said we had to research and write a paper on a technical topic I groaned inwardly. The only thing I wanted to research and write was a story I had in my head. A ghost story with a romance. So after class, I went to my advisor and talked to him about writing a thesis instead of taking the tech writing course. He helped me find a thesis advisor.

My thesis advisor, it turned out, was willing to consider a unique approach. Specifically, we discussed the novel idea (pun intended) of me researching the tropes and devices employed by two supernatural authors, Edgar Allan Poe and Henry James, and then incorporate them into the first few chapters of the story to demonstrate how to allude to them. Talk about excited! The university had never had a thesis based on fictional techniques before. I set to work, reading all of Poe and James in the process. Noting their devices and determining which of them to incorporate into my story, which I decided to call Traces. By the way, a “trace” is another name for a ghost, but it also referred to memorabilia and photographs as traces of a person’s history.

Now, the thesis version of Traces was the story of an army wife with her two children living in Huntsville, Alabama, while her husband is deployed. They’re living in an old house which proves to be haunted. I created a list of the elements I used and where they came from, for my memory’s sake and for the thesis reader’s information:

Allusion Concordance

Character or Element Title of Work / Author
Camille, character Poe
James, character Named after Henry James
Black kitten “The Black Cat” – Poe
A word signifies the entity but is not the entity itself Poe’s philosophy as stated in Uncanny American Fiction
Name of kitten, Jupiter “The Gold-Bug” – Poe
Mahogany doors and silver-plated doorknobs “The Jolly Corner” – James
“Hants” The Face in the Window and Other Alabama Ghostlore
Sherry (Amontillado) “The Cask of Amontillado” – Poe

 

The thesis ended up being half analysis of James and Poe and half the first three chapters of my story. My advisor’s comment, however, gave me pause when he said I was “brave to start with such a quiet opening.” Can you hear the death knell ringing?

So, I went back to the story and looked at it again, looking for ways to not have a quiet beginning. I pondered and rejected and reconsidered for weeks. Then I saw on the news the horrific shooting in a Colorado movie theater when the movie Dark Knight released. One of the survivor’s stories inspired a major change to my story. A young woman had been saved by her fiancé blocking the shooter from shooting her, but her future husband died in the act of shielding her. I wondered about how would you get through such a tragedy, the weight of survivor guilt? The loss of your future life with a man you loved?

LSB Cover Art Template for PhotoShopThe second edition of Traces took place in a fictional haunted Tennessee plantation and features an architect, widowed and childless, who wants to bury her grief and anger by destroying the manor she inherited from her grandmother. That version was bought by Liquid Silver Books in 2014, my debut novel. I was finally, after 20+ years, published in novel-length fiction.

As the last couple of years have passed, sales of the story didn’t live up to my hopes. I came to realize that the title was the problem since everyone who read the story loved it and told me about it. With the advent of indie publishing, the power to do something about getting the story out to readers rested in my hands. When I received the rights back from the publisher, I decided to revise the story, change the title and cover, and release it again. This time, the architect, still a widow and childless, isn’t determined to destroy the manor at the outset, but is pushed into the idea by a handsome lawyer despite his aversion to the idea.

Undying Love is the last edition of this story (I’m not going to revise it again but move forward to other tales to tell), but the first in a new series, Secrets of Roseville. This paranormal romance series will include haunting, bewitching love stories with ghosts and witches and other supernatural beings. I am intrigued by the idea of ghosts and spells, of hauntings and unexplained happenings. I’ve had some of my own during my life which may or may not find their way into the upcoming series. Only time and characters whispering in my ear will tell…

Undying Love releases January 10, 2017, but is available now for pre-order. I hope you enjoyed this behind the scenes peek at how it came to be, and also enjoy reading the story when it releases. That’s always my goal, to write the best tale I can to share with others for their enjoyment.

For my American readers, Happy Thanksgiving! I’m thankful to all of you who read my stories and I really enjoy hearing from you. And as always, thanks for reading!

Betty

P.S. If you haven’t already, please consider signing up for my newsletter, which I only send out when there is news to share. News like new covers, new releases, and upcoming appearances where I love to meet my readers. Also, I’ll be sharing one chapter each month in 2017 of a new historical romance novella, Elizabeth’s Hope, the prequel to my A More Perfect Union series, with my subscribers before it releases in December 2017. Thanks and happy reading!

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

 

undying_love_600x900When architect Meredith Reed inherits her family’s plantation after the devastating loss of her own family, she must choose how to move on with her life. Keep the plantation? Not a good idea. Sell it? Better. Turn it into a memorial park? Better yet. But can she go against her family traditions and the hunky but irate lawyer?

Max Chandler needs two things to complete his life plan: become a senior partner and find his soul mate. He’s due a promotion once his legislation to protect the county’s historic properties is approved. The wife part he finds more challenging, having never met the right woman. If only the talented, attractive, aloof Meredith didn’t want to destroy the very property he cherishes.

While Meredith struggles to reconcile her past and future, will she learn a lesson from the spectral Lady in Blue in time to save both her family and home from destruction?

B&N: http://bit.ly/2fF4QTf

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2fnRyHK

Amazon CA: http://amzn.to/2fOyEdQ

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2eYDp5w

Amazon AU: http://amzn.to/2eYzWUS

iTunes: http://apple.co/2fF4mfT

Tasty Tuesday: Oatmeal #Bread #recipe from #romance #author Michele Stegman

Ready for another Tasty Tuesday featuring a tempting bread recipe by author Michele Stegman? I haven’t made bread in a while but this oatmeal bread recipe has me itching to do some kneading. Tell us more about this recipe, Michele.


breadAll my heroes love bread. Maybe that’s because my own personal hero, my husband, Ron, and I both love bread. I make it two or three times a week and use a variety of recipes, sometimes making up my own.

In my book, Fortune’s Pride, the hero and heroine are at odds, but he starts caving because she makes such wonderful bread.

Let me tell you a little bit about bread. I often wondered why the Israelites didn’t have time to let their bread rise before their exodus from Egypt and had to make unleavened bread instead. It only takes a couple of hours for bread to rise. Why couldn’t they have made it while getting packed up? Reading up about yeast I learned that getting bread to rise before standardized yeast came along was quite time consuming. It could also be hit or miss.

Before the 20th century, yeast was obtained either from the beer brewing process or was a piece of dough kept from the previous batch of bread as a sour dough starter. Both could be contaminated with bacteria or wild yeast (there are about 1,500 species) and give bread a poor flavor or just fail to rise. And the yeast was slow. Women had to mix up their bread the night before, let it rise all night, and then make bread the next day.

It wasn’t until World War II that Fleischmann’s developed dry, standardized yeast. You know, those little ¾ ounce packets sold in the baking aisle. Well, I buy my yeast by the pound and right now have about five pounds of it in the house. Yeah, I make a lot of bread.

Sometimes I am in a hurry and make buttermilk bread from the Betty Crocker cookbook—less than two hours, start to finish. Other times I make an artisan bread, one of those loaves that rise overnight and then have to rise again the next day for two or three hours before baking. But, oh my! That bread it worth it!

Oatmeal bread is one of our favorites. Since I can never stop myself from changing recipes, here is my version of Oatmeal Bread from the cookbook More With Less by Doris Janzen Longacre:

Combine in a large bowl:

1 c quick oats

1 c whole wheat flour

½ c brown sugar

2 t salt

2 T margarine

Pour over:

2 c boiling water

Stir to combine and let cool to lukewarm.

Dissolve:

1 package (almost 1 Tablespoon) dry yeast in 1 c warm water.

When batter is cooled, add the yeast mixture to it.

Stir in:

About 5-8 cups bread flour, enough to make a stiff dough.

Knead on floured board until tough enough to spring back when poked.

Place in greased bowl and let rise until doubled (about 1 to 1 ½ hours). Punch down and let it rise again.

Shape into two loaves and place into two 9x5x3 inch bread pans.

Let rise for about ½ hour. Watch carefully! This last rise happens fast.

Just before baking, slash the top with a sharp knife. Very important!

Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 to 40 minutes. The bread should sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.

Thank you so much for hosting me on your blog today, Betty! I enjoyed talking about one of my favorite things—bread.

fortunespride2500Fortune’s Pride

As long as no one knows who Irish really is, she will be safe. But Tyrus Fortune seems determined to uncover all her secrets. Can she fully love him without revealing her true self to him? But if she does, will it also put him and his family in danger?

Tyrus Fortune returns home after two years determined to unmask the woman who has found her way into the hearts of his family. He is sure she is a fraud—until he begins to fall in love with her. Now he only wishes she will trust him with her secrets and her love so they can face the future together.

10151971_633987283679_4716031159509436_n-2Michele Stegman has loved history all her life. She lives in an 1840’s log cabin with her husband, Ron, and enjoys spinning wool into yarn then using it for her weaving or knitting projects. She has learned to make her own soap and bakes her own bread.

Although Fortune’s Pride is a sequel to Fortune’s Foe, each book can be read alone.

Visit www.MicheleStegman.com for information on her other books and to read excerpts. Or connect with her on Twitter or on Facebook.


Oatmeal bread may end up my all-time favorite bread to make! Thanks so much for sharing that recipe with me, Michele. And of course, the story sounds intriguing as well! Do you all love bread? Or is there another food that calls your name?

Betty

P.S. If you haven’t already, please consider signing up for my newsletter, which I only send out when there is news to share. News like new covers, new releases, and upcoming appearances where I love to meet my readers. Thanks and happy reading!

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

Why I Wrote Emily’s Vow (only 99 cents for a limited time) #writerslife #American #historical #romance #kindle #nook

Emily's Vow Finalist SealToday I’m going to talk about the kernel of information that sparked an entire series of books. First, you should know that Emily’s Vow is only $.99 for the Kindle and Nook books! But it’s only for a limited time, through November 18, so grab your copy now so you can sample the series for yourself. Also, I’m one of more than 100 romance authors who are throwing a Romance Writers Gone Wild Facebook party this week. Hop over there to find some new reads and new authors. There will be excerpts, snippets, and giveaways galore! Now on to today’s topic…

Story ideas come from all directions and experiences. They mix and blend into a “what if” kind of thought that then slowly builds into an interesting story to tell. That’s how the idea for the A More Perfect Union series started. Then I had to get to know the ladies and their goals and challenges they had to face and overcome.

Emily’s story is one that loosely mimics the career of an 18th century female writer Judith Sargent Murray (1751-1820). Born in Gloucester, Massachusetts, Judith was fortunate to have highly intelligent and progressive parents who allowed her to be taught alongside her brother by the local clergyman. She learned college prep topics such as Latin, Greek, and mathematics.

This background enabled Judith to argue effectively for the equal education of boys and girls and to advocate for “cultivating independent, intellectually alert women” in her essays and other works. Judith is best known for her compilation of her works, The Gleaner. It’s important to note that she used a pen name, Constantia, to write her essays, plays, and poems, until the release of this book. At the end of the book, she revealed she was a woman, saying she did so to hide her gender because “she feared that if she were known to be a woman, her writing would not be taken seriously.” (1) That last line prompted the idea of women of the late 1700s writing and beginning to turn the tide of opinion. Thus Emily Sullivan was born.

Emily starts out writing her thoughts down as essays in rebellion to the restrictions her father places on her. Her own declaration of independence, but she submits them to the newspaper secretly and using a pen name. Then as the series progresses and the situation becomes more and more unsettled, she ultimately openly submits the essays for printing though continues to use her pen name. I gave her a female pen name, by the way, on purpose so that she would in fact begin to change the way people thought about female intellect and reasoning. However, it was considered disrespectful to use a lady’s name in print, which is why in that time period you rarely see a woman’s name, and then usually only the lower classes. Which is frustrating for someone like me today who is researching for a story about a lady of that time period, but that’s another story.

I wrote Emily’s story to highlight the limitations placed upon females in the colonial and Early American Republic period of American history. The Declaration of Independence prompted everyone to rethink what it meant to be free from dictators and oppression. The American Revolution started, for many people, the push toward equality that America is still struggling with. That is why I write about that time and place, because of its catalyst to change.

What changes happened as a result of women sharing their thoughts in writing? What else needs to change?

(1) Quotes taken from The Norton Anthology of American Literature, Volume A, Literature to 1820. Sixth Edition. W.W. Norton & Co., New York. 2003. pp782-3.

Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts and opinions!

Betty

P.S. If you haven’t already, please consider signing up for my newsletter, which I only send out when there is news to share. News like new covers, new releases, and upcoming appearances where I love to meet my readers. Thanks and happy reading!

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

Thanks to American Veterans! #VeteransDay #kindle #nook #book #sale

thankaveteran-1200x628
50% of my earnings will be donated to thank a veteran!

In honor of Veterans Day,  Hometown Heroines: True Stories of Bravery, Daring, and Courage is on sale for only $1.99 for the ebook (Kindle and Nook). But that’s not all. Fifty percent of what I earn on sales of this title from today through November 20th will be donated to Operation Gratitude as a way for me to thank some of the many veterans who have served America.

My family has a very strong history of serving our country. My father served in WWII as a tech sergeant on Guadalcanal. My brothers and oldest sister also served in the army, air force, and navy.

On my husband’s side of the family, his brother, father, uncle, and grandfather were all officers in the army, serving in many different countries all over the world. His mother’s father and grandfather were also officers in the army. In fact, his parents met while their parents were stationed in China.

I thank each and every man and woman who stepped up to protect and defend our country, our people, and the people of other countries under duress through no fault of their own. It’s a huge sacrifice to be separated from family and friends, from their “normal” routines, and all that brings them comfort. So thank you!

Please help me thank them by picking up a copy of Hometown Heroines— whether an ebook on sale or the paperback which is not discounted but that only serves to raise more money—to show the servicemen and servicewomen we care about them. Feel free to share this with your friends and family so we can work together to raise a bit of money to help this worthwhile charity.

Tell me about the veterans or active duty people in your life, or if you are a veteran or active duty. I’d love to hear from you!

Thanks! Happy Veterans Day!

Betty

P.S. If you haven’t already, please consider signing up for my newsletter, which I only send out when there is news to share. News like new covers, new releases, and upcoming appearances where I love to meet my readers. Thanks and happy reading!

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

Literary Classics International Book Awards - Youth Award Winning Book
Literary Classics International Book Awards – Youth Award Winning Book

About Hometown Heroines: True Stories of Bravery, Daring, and Courage

During the 1800s, daring and courageous girls across America left their unique mark on history.

Milly Cooper galloped 9 miles through hostile Indian Territory to summon help when Fort Cooper was under attack.

Belle Boyd risked her life spying for the Rebels during the Civil War.

Kate Shelly, when she was 15, crawled across a nearly washed-out railroad bridge during a ferocious thunderstorm to warn the next train.

Lucille Mulhall, age 14, outperformed cowboys to become the World’s First Famous Cowgirl.

These are just a few of the inspiring true stories inside Hometown Heroines—American Girls who faced danger and adversity and made a difference in their world.

 

Tasty Tuesday: Herbed Green Beans #vegetables #sidedish #recipe from #romance #author Lynn Crandall

Time for another Tasty Tuesday featuring a wonderful and healthy side dish recipe by author Lynn Crandall. I think you’ll really enjoy her alternative to the traditional green bean casserole. I’ll give it a try! Okay, Lynn, you’ve got the floor.

herbed-green-beans


It’s early November, but can you feel it? The winter holidays are coming and what they mean to us individually is beginning to sift through the daily routine of your lives. There may be a tinge of heaviness and dread tinting our emotions about gathering with family. But if you’re lucky, there’s primarily anticipation, joy, and feelings of good will.

For Fierce Hearts series character were-lynx Kennedy Mitchell, the holidays have never meant anything special. Her adoptive parents gave her no sense of a family. Instead, they trained her to follow in their criminal footsteps, robbing her of healthy emotions and trust.

But a year ago, life changed for her when she was rescued by a colony of were-lynxes who now are her made family, who love her and support her for who she is. In Snowbound, a story in the Captured by Christmas anthology, for the present holiday season, Kennedy and fellow were-cat and lover Asher Monroe are planning the holiday of her dreams. In a beautiful cabin in the woods, Kennedy, Asher, and the other colony members are preparing a Christmas with glistening snow, twinkly lights, and delicious Christmas foods prepared together.

In my family, the holiday table is filled with traditional dishes and plenty of sweet treats. But the were-lynxes live very consciously, treating all life with respect. They eat healthy foods and occasionally enjoy the good stuff, such as Christmas cookies with colorful icing, chocolate peanut butter balls, and pumpkin pie. For Kennedy, this Christmas meal is another important aspect of her dream holiday. She and the other were-cats have traditional dishes planned, but some with twists. For instance, the fruit salad will feature persimmons, apples, and pomegranate seeds, sans whip cream and sugar. And instead of the traditional green bean casserole, they’ll eat Green Beans with Herb Dressing. This tasty and healthful version of bean casserole may appeal to your family’s wild side and set a new tradition.

Green Bean with Herb Dressing

Ingredients:

6 green onions, chopped

1 clove of garlic, minced

1/3 cup of olive oil

3 tablespoons of lemon juice

1 teaspoon dry mustard

¼ teaspoon dried basil

¼ teaspoon dried oregano

¼ teaspoon dried marjoram

2 pounds of fresh green beans, trimmed and snapped

Directions:

  1. In medium  bowl, mix green onions, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, mustard, basil, oregano, marjoram, and pepper.

  2. Place green beans in a steaming basket. Steam in a medium saucepan over boiling water for 5 minutes, or to desired tenderness.

  3. Place green beans in a medium serving dish. Pour dressing mixture over the beans and mix.

You’ll taste the healthy and it will be scrumptious!

captured-by-christmas-cover-ebookAbout Captured by Christmas, a Christmas Anthology

It’s Christmas, and the season of holly, Christmas trees, and goodwill is drifting on the air in merry holiday wishes. Romantic suspense and paranormal author Lynn Crandall and contemporary author Lainee Cole present in their own way two stories of love in Captured by Christmas. However it finds you—under a Christmas tree or drifted in snow in a backwoods cabin—the spirit of the season will wrap you in love.

In Snowbound, Lynn Crandall lets readers check in on favorite Fierce Hearts series were-lynx characters Kennedy Mitchell and Asher Monroe as they uncover the identity of the creature scaring the humans in Octavia, a small rural community in northern Michigan. Plans for an intimate getaway and family-style holiday are crumbling as the snow piles higher and Kennedy and Asher find themselves snowbound with a killer outside their door.

In The Mistletoe Effect, Christmas is second-grade teacher Tess McCall’s least favorite holiday, but she’s doing her best not to let it show. Learning he’s a father to seven-year-old Holly makes Alex Randle anxious about the upcoming holidays. When Tess’s class starts reading to shelter dogs, Holly and the antics of shelter dog Mistletoe lead them all to rediscover the magic of Christmas.

lynn-crandall-picLynn Crandall lives in the Midwest and writes in the company of her cat. She has been a reader and a writer all her life. Her background is in journalism, but whether writing a magazine or newspaper story or creating a romance, she loves the power stories hold to transport, inspire, and uplift. In her romances, she focuses on vulnerable, embraceable characters who don’t back down.

Visit http://lynn-crandall.com/ to get to know Lynn and find out more about her books.

 


The green beans sound really yummy and the stories just as delicious! Thanks, Lynn, for swinging by and jumpstarting the holiday menu planning, around my house at least. What do you all think? Worth a try? Will your family enjoy the switch up for the holiday dinner?

Betty

P.S. If you haven’t already, please consider signing up for my newsletter, which I only send out when there is news to share. News like new covers, new releases, and upcoming appearances where I love to meet my readers. Thanks and happy reading!

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

Rediscovering a piece of my own past #writerslife #amwriting #fiction

The mystery of my cedar chest has been solved. I’ve been pondering for months what exactly was in the chest sitting at the foot of my bed. See, I tend to put things in there that I don’t use very often with the intent that the cedar wood will help preserve the items, especially from moths and bugs. So last weekend I lifted the lid.

 

betty-w-teddy-bear
Me and my teddy in the 1960s

I found a lot of what I expected to find. Several crocheted afghans, including the infamous baby blanket that I worked and reworked and reworked when I was expecting our first child. For some reason, I kept dropping stitches so that it narrowed the longer I worked on it. Sigh. So I’d rip it out to the point of less width and try again.

 

There were also some throw pillows and a huge silver platter that won’t fit in any of my cabinets. Some special cloths for wrapping silver plate to prevent corrosion/oxidation, but they had actually blackened with mold. So they got pitched and I cleaned up the bottom of the chest.

But most importantly I rediscovered my “teddy bear.”

I carried this stuffed animal everywhere with me. At least around the house. Probably in the car whenever we left home for other places. I just remember it was always with me. I loved my stuffed bear!

 

bettys-teddy-bear-2016
Still hug worthy today!

Overtime, naturally, it suffered from my little girl hands. Bits and pieces of its expression fell off or wore away. The little peas or beads in the ears to weight them down fell out because I rubbed them around until the fabric wore thin and tore. The many washes faded and softened the fur.

 

Then one day I realized as I grew older that it wasn’t a bear at all. My teddy is actually a long-eared dog! Who knew? <grin>

I laid my teddy bear back inside the cedar chest on top of all the afghans, so he has a nice soft bed to rest on. There is no way that I will ever give him up. He meant safety, security, comfort, and home.

What about you guys? Do you have a treasured childhood stuffed animal or other memory-laden item you hang onto for sentimental reasons?

Thanks for reading!

Betty

P.S. If you haven’t already, please consider signing up for my newsletter, which I only send out when there is news to share. News like new covers, new releases, and upcoming appearances where I love to meet my readers. Thanks and happy reading!

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

Tasty Tuesday: Conkies #dessert #recipe from #romance #author Sandra Masters

Tasty Tuesday has arrived along with a decadent dessert recipe from Barbados by author Sandra Masters. Take it away, Sandra!


sandra_2014-50-percent-picturea-3Many thanks to Betty Bolte for offering me the opportunity to post on this blog. Many of my books feature recipes relevant for either my hero or heroine.

In this case, the Conkies are a favorite of my hero, Thorn Wick, THORN, SON OF A DUKE, as a young West Indies native who finds himself summoned to England to meet his father, The Duke of Althorn.

This 15,000-word prequel teaser is Book Three in The Duke Series. This story covers the hard life Thorn, and his mother has on the island of Barbados, where he’s considered a half-breed, even though his mother is descendent of the royalty of the Taino Tribe. She dies in his arms and tells him of his heritage and swears him to promise he will visit his father, the Duke of Althorn, who never knew of his existence.

The story covers Thorn’s trip from Barbados to London, England, and the rather large chip on his shoulder at the stunning revelation that he is a son of a prominent Duke. His father’s best friend, Sir Tomas, transports him and explains that the Duke never knew of his son’s existence, but that he wants him now that he knows.

A short excerpt:

“Sir Tomas, how long did you say you resided in Barbados when you first came?”

“About four months.”

“Just enough time to get a taste of our food?”

“Yes, my favorite was Cou Cou, Cornmeal, and Okra.”

Thorn smiled. “I especially like Conkies. It is a favorite treat.”….The thought of his beloved island rained over him. He closed his eyes for a moment and then relaxed. “What does my father look like?” he asked.

“Very much like you, but with a lighter skin color. You both have the same eyes. I’d know you anywhere in the world.”

thorn-cover-ok-use-thisThe last chapter of this prequel fast-forwards three years where Thorn meets the Duke’s ward, Alicia, and the twenty-one-year-old hero admires her from afar. The chemistry sizzles. Her fire, His ice, Collision bound.

Alicia’s and Thorn’s multi-cultural story continues in Book Four, THE DUKE’S MAGNIFICENT BASTARD by Sandra Masters, with a release date of November 4, 2016. Available at Amazon for pre-order now.

I include recipes in most of my books and those recipes can be found on my website. http://sandramastersauthor.com. If you’re worried about carbohydrates, you might skip this recipe, but it sounds decadently delicious.

Recipe for Conkies (Barbados)

Ingredients:

2 cups corn flour                                                                                            1 egg (beaten)

1 cup plain flour                                                                                             ¾ lb brown sugar

I cup grated coconut                                                                                      4 ozs raisins

¾ lb grated pumpkin                                                                                    1 tsp spice

½ lb grated sweet potato                                                                             1 tsp almond essence

6 oz melted butter or margarine                                                                1 tsp grated nutmeg

1 cup whole milk                                                                                              1 tsp salt

Fresh banana leaves

Substitutions: The Banana leaves can be substituted with wax paper or foil.

Mix the coconut, pumpkin, sweet potato, sugar, spices, raisins, flour, corn flour, and salt together in a large bowl.

Add the beaten egg, melted butter/margarine, and milk. Mix thoroughly by hand to combine. You should have a thick mixture that drops slowly from a spoon. Add more flour if the mixture is not thick enough. Add a bit more milk, if it is too thick

Fresh green Banana leaves are traditionally used to wrap the Conkie mixture. If you have these, strip leaves from the stalk with a sharp knife, then briefly singe them over an open flame to make them more pliable. Cut the leaves into individual 8” squares.  Spoon 2 to 3 tablespoons of the mixture into the center of the banana leaf. Fold the leaf around the mixture, taking care not to rip the leaf.

Steam the Conies on a rack over boiling water in a large saucepan for 1 hour or until they are firm.

Unwrap and enjoy!

Recipe Compliments of Barbados.Org


Wow to both the story and the Conkies! Did you find that recipe as tempting as I do? Thanks again, Sandra, for sharing your amazing recipe with us! I think I put on weight just reading the list of ingredients!

Betty

P.S. If you haven’t already, please consider signing up for my newsletter, which I only send out when there is news to share. News like new covers, new releases, and upcoming appearances where I love to meet my readers. Thanks and happy reading!

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