Life in Baltimore during WWII #Baltimore #WWII #historical #fiction #books #amwriting #amreading @Baltimore_City #ReadIndie

When I decided to write Notes of Love and War, a story set in my hometown of Baltimore, Maryland, during World War Two, I knew I needed to learn more about what the city looked like during the 1940s. Imagine how delighted I was to come across Home Front Baltimore: An Album of Stories from World War II by Gilbert Sandler. For my purposes, this book is a researcher’s gold mine!

The cover of Home Front Baltimore showing dancing at a USO Club.

Not only did Sandler compile an array of historical photos of the people and the city, which was perfect for me to refer to when describing the place and the clothing. But he also included anecdotes and memories of people who had been living and working in Baltimore during the war. There really was a lot going on, too. Life, work, and play didn’t stop at home because of the war “over there.” Sure, there were concerns, with armed men patrolling the streets in fear of an invasion, for instance. There were all manner of drives, too: rubber; grease; nylons; metal. But some of the more minor details have found their way into my historical fiction.

Two street scenes in Home Front Baltimore.

Details like mention of a couple of guys stopping at Attman’s Deli for a sandwich on their way home from work also prompted me to search for the restaurant. Lo and behold, it’s still in operation today. In fact, my husband and I met dear friends there for lunch one afternoon in 2019 as part of my favorite thing: research.

Menu from Attman’s Deli

Another anecdote Sandler shared was that of the arabbers who sold produce and other foods from their wagons. They’d walk beside their horse and wander through the city streets calling out what they had to offer that day and residents and workers would flock out to buy apples or crabs or flowers from them. In fact, they still do. There aren’t nearly as many today as then, but there are a few. My brother, who is now retired from being a plumber, has seen them when he was working around the city.

If you are interested in a nonfiction collection of facts and images of Baltimore during the war years, I highly recommend Sandler’s book. And know that his work informed my fictional account in Notes of Love and War.

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.

Now available for preorder! Notes of Love and War will release on July 28, 2020, in honor of my dad’s 100th birthday!

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.

Check out the free sample (3 chapters) at https://claims.prolificworks.com/free/2A18n3Gj   

Amazon     Books2Read     Barnes & Noble     Kobo     Apple

Getting to know Cora Lee #author #regency #historical #romance #ReadIndie #summer #stories #anthology

My guest today is someone I’ve known online for several years and I think you’re going to enjoy what she has to say as much as her stories! Let’s take a peek at Cora Lee’s bio and then find out how she became a best-selling author.

Cora Lee is a National Bestselling author of Regency romance. She went on a twelve year expedition through the blackboard jungle as a high school math teacher before publishing Save the Last Dance for Me, the first book in the Maitland Maidens series. She then followed it up with five other novels and novellas ranging from sweet and traditional to spicy and suspenseful. When she’s not walking Rotten Row at the fashionable hour or attending the entertainments of the Season, you might find her wading through her towering TBR pile or eagerly awaiting the next Marvel movie release.

Website * Facebook * Twitter * BookBub

Betty: When did you become a writer?
Cora: I started writing when was about 12 because I thought it would be fun, and even tried to write a murder mystery when I was about 15 featuring thinly disguised versions of all my friends. 🙂  I started writing seriously, with an eye toward being published, in 2012 when I was on medical leave from my day job at the time—teaching high school math—and my first book was published in 2015.

Betty: What do you most enjoy writing? Why?
Cora: For me, it’s two things: doing research and creating something new.

Researching is something I do almost by accident, lol—I am the dictionary definition of a lifelong learner, and even when I’m reading or just watching TV, if something piques my interest I’ll jump online and start looking for more information about it.

Creating a brand new story with characters that didn’t previously exist in the world feels like making magic. 🙂

Betty: What do you wish you knew before you started writing/publishing?
Cora: I wish I had known that writing and publishing are really two full-time jobs (at least they are for self-published authors). I heard from my already-published friends about how much marketing they had to do for themselves on top of the actual writing, so I was somewhat prepared for that. But being self-published, I also have the responsibility for dealing with all the nuts and bolts of preparing the book for readers and getting it to them, and that has been a lot more work than I anticipated (though I really enjoyed learning how to do it all!).

Betty: What inspired you to write the book you’re sharing with us today?
Cora: I’d been thinking about writing a marriage pact story for a while now—the kind where the two main characters make a pact to marry at a certain age if they’re both still single. I’d never seen that particular trope in a historical romance (if there’s one out there, let me know so I can read it!) and wondered how it would play out differently in a historical than in a contemporary romance book or movie. Once we settled on the theme for this anthology, the plot started to form in my head like it had always been there 🙂

A delightful anthology of Regency Romance Summer stories from best-selling authors! Fall in love for Summer, with these wonderful romantic reads! Seven novellas to keep you reading all through Summer, each centered around Summer.

Buy link: Amazon

The anthology includes:

The Courtship of Lord Blackhurst by Regina Jeffers

A Lady promised to a man she has never met, who yet answers his request for assistance in preparing the home they will share, a Marquess unsure what to expect, an unplanned deception, a seemingly improper affection, misperception untangled to love.

A Hero for Harriet by Victoria Hinshaw

A young woman whose family want her to marry well, a gentleman, nobly born but uninterested in society, two matchmaking aunts, assumptions and misconceptions, the intervention of a donkey, love found despite it all.

Her Absent Duke by Arietta Richmond

A Lord and a Lady promised from birth, an avaricious uncle with plans of his own, an impossible choice which leads to disaster, an unplanned compromise, a love fulfilled despite all opposition.

The Magic Garden by Janis Susan May

A beautiful young woman, shut away in the country so that her less appealing sister may shine, an Earl set upon visiting a never seen estate, simply to escape the demands of his aunt and the pursuit of unwanted young women, an accident, a garden left to run wild, a new perspective on the world, a love which defies all expectations.

Grace’s Story by Summer Hanford

Trying to save her dearest friend from heartache will unravel a web of secrets that just might get Miss Grace Birkchester killed. Doctor Andrew Carter is determined to help those in need – but doing so draws him ever deeper into a web of danger. When their worlds collide, love may be the only thing which can save them.

What if I Loved You by Cora Lee

A man who needs to marry for his career, a woman who needs a new location in life, a proposal born of friendship, a shocking family secret which could ruin them both. Will love triumph, or will all be lost?

The Masked Wicked Duke by Sandra Masters

An opera singer who is cousin to royalty, a Duke with an artist’s soul, who is yet reputed as a rake, a chance meeting, an overwhelming attraction, a masquerade, a love which burns away all past resolve.

If you love Regency Historical Romance, you’ll love these! 

Jonas Blackburn is content with his life…until he discovers he must marry for the advancement of his career. Unable to strike out on his own professionally, Jonas proposes to the only person he could envision spending his life with: his close friend Nora.

When Nora Paget learns the brother she keeps house for is ready to marry, she finds herself at a crossroads: live with her brother and his new wife or set a different course for herself? Jonas’s proposal offers a potential solution for them both. She can have a home of her own with a man she’s fond of, and solve his employment problem simultaneously.

But Nora harbors an old family secret that could ruin both of them, just as they begin their new life together. Can they take the risk knowing the potential devastation that awaits them? Or will Jonas and Nora be forced to part ways to save their reputations?

Excerpt:

“What is it you’ve been trying to decide?” he asked, his voice quiet even though the nearest other person was several yards away.

She took in a deep breath then exhaled. “Only what to do with my entire future,” she answered, matching his volume.

“What?”

“Julian is planning to marry, and I am no longer needed.”

He bumped her shoulder gently with his. “Surely he didn’t say that.”

“No, of course he didn’t.” She kicked at a long blade of grass, but there didn’t seem to be any malice behind the gesture. “It’s simply the way things are. And it actually gives me the opportunity to re-evaluate my life, maybe do something else besides keep house for my brother.”

Jonas tried to keep his voice from rising in both pitch and volume. “Any idea what you’re going to do?”

She shook her head and a few loose strands of dark brown hair swished with the motion. “Nothing definitive yet.”

He cleared his throat, following the toe of her shoe as she poked it at a rock. “Perhaps I can offer a solution.”

“What might that be?”

She looked up and smiled softly and Jonas almost lost his nerve. Not because he couldn’t imagine spending the rest of his life with Nora, but because he didn’t want to tie her to yet another man who needed her more than she needed him.

But perhaps he had something to offer her other than physical comforts.

Buy link: Amazon

What a great anthology to be part of, Cora! I can imagine all the stories are worth reading and enjoying. Thanks for sharing!

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

Separation Anxiety Then and Now #BecomingLadyWashington #HistoricalFiction #HistFic #amreading #books #ReadIndie

Let’s talk about separation anxiety. I’ll start with my recent experience and then go back in time to Martha Washington’s own separation anxiety.

Last week I had a colonoscopy done at a local medical center. Everything went well, I’m glad to say. But I had a really hard time going into the hospital alone, my husband forced to wait in the car in the parking lot. Waiting for a phone call from the nurse to come pick me up outside.

Now, I don’t cry easily. Nor do I panic easily. But I lay there on the gurney/table, counting the ceiling tiles in order to try to not cry. (The prep room was about 11×13 square feet, by the way.) I struggled to not worry about going through the prep and procedure without my husband of 30+ years there for the very first time to anchor me emotionally. To trust the medical professionals would take care of me, which they did with care and compassion. Try as I might, though, it didn’t work. I still cried. For one thing, I thought of the stories of couples and families right now during this pandemic who can’t be together. Who haven’t seen each other in person for weeks or even months. Of the loved ones who died while in the hospital, separated from their spouses, children, siblings, friends. I cried harder, knowing how difficult such a separation must be. Heck, I’m crying now while I remember those emotions rattling my composure and cutting a swath of hurt through my heart.

I thought of Martha Washington then, and how she faced long spans of separation from her family and husband. One case in point is the following excerpt from a letter (included here with her original spellings) she wrote to her sister in August 1762:


My Dear Nancy

I had the pleasure to receive your kind letter of the 26 of July just as I was setting out on a visit to Mrs Washingtons [George Washington’s mother] in Westmoreland where I spent a weak agreeably I carred my little patt with me and left Jackey at home for a trial to see how well I could stay without him though we ware gon but wone fortnight I was quite impatiant to get home if I at any time heard the dogs barke or a noise out I thought thair was a person sent for me I often fansied he was sick or some accident had happened to him so that I think it is impossable for me to leave him as long as Mr Washington must stay when he comes down – if nothing happens I promise myself the pleasure of comeing down in the spring as it will be healthy time of the year


In order to understand her deep fears of her son falling ill or having an accident, we must remember that she had already buried a young son and daughter, as well as her first husband, by this time. Daughter Patty currently suffered from epilepsy, too, which is why she was not left home when Martha traveled. Indeed, many times they would take her to Williamsburg for treatments, ones that never worked, but they were trying everything under the sun even rumored to be beneficial. Jacky was the next heir to the Custis fortunes, as well. Much rested on his young shoulders.

Martha lost many a family member when she wasn’t able to be with them. Her brother Jacky died from yellow fever while she was out of the house. Her father had traveled to Fredericksburg, Virginia, for the horse races and died of an apoplexy (heart attack) in the heat. He’s buried there, not at the home plantation because the heat meant they couldn’t transport the body all the way back to Chestnut Grove. And her sister, Nancy, died at her home, Eltham, far away in New Kent County, Virginia. Martha was unable to even make the trip while her sister was ill because of her daughter-in-law’s advanced stage of pregnancy.

Of course, she also worried about George when he was off fighting the War for Independence or out and about as President of the United States of America. She didn’t like being separated from any of her family, truth be told. Of course, she couldn’t be with all of them all of the time. That was physically impossible with everyone scattered over several states. But her letters are filled with tender requests to be remembered to her friends and family, and hoping to hear all were well, or sad to hear they weren’t.

I consoled myself while in the hospital that my separation should only be for a few hours, not for even half a day. In fact, I arrived at 6:30 and left at 9:00 a.m. As planned, no doubt. My brief experience emphasized in my mind the reality so many others have faced, or are facing, or perhaps sadly will face. My thoughts and prayers go out to everyone in those situations. I have an inkling of what you’re going through.

I wish you all health and happiness! Thanks for 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.

Martha “Patsy” Custis manages an immense eighteenth-century plantation in the Virginia colony. But as a young widow she’s hard pressed to balance her business and to care for her two young children. They need a father and protector. She needs a husband and business partner…one she can trust, especially now as tensions rise between the motherland and the American colonies. Her experience and education have sustained her thus far but when her life veers in an unexpected direction, she realizes she has so much more to learn.

Colonel George Washington takes an interest in her and she’s surprised to find him so sociable and appealing. They form an instant bond and she is certain he’ll be a likeable and loving husband and father figure for her children. She envisions a quiet life at Mount Vernon, working together to provide for their extended family.

But when trouble in the form of British oppression, taxes, and royal arrogance leads to revolt and revolution, George must choose between duty to country and Martha. Compelled to take matters into her own hands, Martha must decide whether to remain where she belongs or go with her husband…no matter what the dangerous future may hold.

Amazon     Barnes & Noble     Kobo     Apple     Books2Read

Getting to know Laurie Alice Eakes #author #contemporary #romance #suspense #fiction #amreading #books

A good romantic suspense is a fast and entertaining read, and I think my guest today can offer up some stories that fit that bill. Please welcome Laurie Alice Eakes! Let’s get to know a little about her and then we’ll dive right into the interview.

Laurie Alice Eakes thinks maybe she got her storytelling from her great-grandfather, who used to tell her sister and her stories of Beansy and Peasy. Or maybe she was always an early riser and lying still telling herself stories was the best way to stay out of trouble.

Whatever the root, the only career she ever truly wanted was to be an author. Knowing that was impractical, she received a BA in English and an MA in Creative Writing, taught English, managed a medical office, and worked in the human resources department of a soulless corporation. A month before she was laid off from this job and before her husband began law school, she sold her first book. Family Guardian won the National Readers Choice Award, and was the beginning of many sales and honors for her books, including as a finalist for the Rita Award, with her first contemporary women’s fiction novel, The Mountain Midwife.

Alice now writes full time from her home in Chicagoland, where she lives with her husband, two well-behaved dogs, and four mostly well-behaved cats. Her husband fears they are the crazy cat people of the neighborhood, but Alice doesn’t care if they are.

Website * Twitter

Betty: When did you become a writer?

Alice: I have written stories since I was able to write, so don’t know when to give it a date. I sold my first book in 2005. I sold my most recent books as of last Friday. I signed a contract with Harlequin for three more romantic suspense books. Due to some personal things going on, I haven’t gotten a new contract for a while.

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

Alice: This is difficult to answer. Either three years or three decades. I started writing while teaching school, decided I didn’t know what I was doing, and went looking for other writers. Many stops and restarts followed as life priorities took over.

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

Alice: This makes me a nerd, and I will start with Charles Dickens. He taught me how to end chapters with a cliffhanger. So did Friday afternoons on the soap operas I wasn’t supposed to watch. Other than that, though deigning to say I write like them is being kind of prideful on my part, Laura Kinsale, Jo Beverley, Barbara Michaels, Mary Stewart…

Betty: What prompted you to start writing?

My own brain prompted me to start. A few teachers along the way encouraged me to keep it up and keep trying.

Betty: What type of writing did you start with?

Alice: I started with short stories and poetry, much of which got published in school literary magazines. Then I moved on to creative nonfiction that got published in anthologies, and some articles for magazines. I wrote my first novel sometime in the 90s, but kept rewriting it instead of doing much with it.

Betty: What do you most enjoy writing?

Alice: As to genre? Suspense. Whether writing historical, contemporary romance, or women’s fiction, I want some kind of suspense. As far as part of the story, I love to write the meeting between the hero and heroine. Something about that moment is magical. Or maybe it’s the first kiss. Talk about special in a romance!

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

Alice: All of the above. Mostly I learned from books and in grad school, where my mentors were people like Barbara J. Miller and Victoria Thompson. They taught me how to take an idea and turn it into a novel.

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

Alice: How to manage my career and that a bad agent is worse than no agent at all. I can’t really say more in a public forum so as not to bruise a few toes I’d be stepping on. I adore my current agent.

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

Alice: Kimberley Cates and Jessica Douglass (writing names) encouraged me a great deal. Others followed. Those two are the most special, esp. Linda/Jessica, who told me to finish something.

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

Alice: I like playing the “What If” game. I look at a situation and think “What if that car that was carjacked held someone really, really important?” We have a problem with carjackings where in Chicagoland the car is taken and used to commit a crime, then abandoned. I kept hearing the stories on the news and…. Voila!

A kidnapper with deadly intentions

…and a US marshal who must come to the rescue

The carjacking that ended with Kristen Lang running for her life—and her federal judge mother kidnapped—was a nightmare. The ransom, however, is worse: Kristen in exchange for her mother. Deputy US Marshal Nick Sandoval will do almost anything to safely recover the judge—except trade Kristen. But can he shield the woman he’s falling for and bring her mother home?

Excerpt:

Carjacking was all too common. People stole cars to commit a crime, but they didn’t usually hurt the vehicle owners. They left them beside the road. It was unpleasant but not life threatening if they didn’t fight back.

But these men were taking her and her mother, not the car. They had deliberately wrecked her.

She yanked one arm free and struck out for the man’s face. Missed. She kicked one kitten heel into the man’s shin. Connected. He grunted, then picked her up and tossed her over his shoulder in a fireman’s carry. Tires, a barely dented bumper on the SUV, wet pavement, Mom’s designer heels spun past in a nauseating blur. In another moment, she was going to be sick.

The man tossed her in to the back of the SUV. Her head hit the side. Stars exploded before her eyes. Dazed, she lay still for a fatal moment—a moment in which her mother landed beside her.

“Tie her up,” one man commanded.

He leaned into the back of the SUV and grabbed Mom’s hands.

Kristen surged up and bashed her head into his face at the same time Mom shoved both stilettos into his middle. He staggered back, fell against his companion, sending him reeling, but still held Mom’s hands.

“Kristen, run!” her mom cried.

Kristen ran, kicking off her pumps and speeding along the shoulder of the Eisenhower. Above the roar of traffic, she heard the slam of the SUV’s hatch—with her mother behind its tinted windows.

Buy links: Amazon * Harlequin

I think I’m hooked! What about you?

Thanks for sharing Laurie Alice! 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 http://www.bettybolte.com for more on my books and upcoming events.

What A Gown Says: Martha Washington’s Wedding Attire #BecomingLadyWashington #HistoricalFiction #HistFic #amreading #books #ReadIndie

British author L.P. Hartley’s The Go-Between gives us a popular quote: “The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.” In many ways that is true. On the other hand, there are similarities in those differences. The language of clothing is one of those areas where you can see similar desires and expectations between the 18th century and what we do today. For example, what we wear depends on what we’re going to do (workout at the gym, go to the office, graduate from college, etc.), how much we want to conform to society’s expectations of appropriate attire and modesty, and how much we can afford to spend on our apparel to meet that expectation. The same was true in the past.

I’d like for you to consider Martha Washington’s wedding attire as one example, but first let me share some insights into what clothing says about the wearer.

In the 18th century, how you dressed spoke volumes about your status in the community and society. The fashionableness of the style, the quality and hue of the fabric, as well as the wearer’s movements and stance combined to tell others the person’s status, whether high or low or somewhere in between. Keeping up with fashion trends then, as now, meant following the European fashion magazines which were sent to the colonies regularly. Indeed, it’s recorded that Thomas Jefferson sent Parisian fashion magazines to his daughter when he was visiting France.

The style could also indicate, though not always, where the person was from, either by American colony or another country. Clothing suggested the gender and occupation, how rich or poor, and what kind and amount of activity they engaged in. And much like today, what a person wears can also reveal their attitude toward the society they live in. Consider how differently a person would dress if she were a scullery maid versus a personal maid to a planter’s wife versus the planter’s wife, for instance. The same would be true of a field hand versus a dancing tutor versus a lawyer in town.

Image of Martha Washington as a young woman showing the lace, ruffles, bows, and hair decor.
Young Martha Dandridge Custis Washington. Courtesy Library of Congress.

At the time of Martha and George Washington’s marriage on January 6, 1759, women of a higher status preferred silks brocaded with colorful flowers on a white background. (Brocade is an intricate design on fabric, often raised.) Martha was no exception in preferring silk, especially on her wedding day. Who wouldn’t want the gentle swish and sway of silk, right? Another aspect of choosing her gown is that she would have wanted something she could wear again for other special occasions. They didn’t buy a gown to wear once and put away as a keepsake then. Nor would she have considered a white gown; that fashion came later, in the 19th century.

According to the Mount Vernon historians, Martha’s gown was made of yellow silk damask (meaning reversible) with a petticoat of cream silk highlighted with interwoven silver threads with (perhaps Dresden) lace trim. Her dainty high-heeled shoes were made of purple satin with silver ornamentation. The historians interpret the message of her outfit as, “The combination of expensive, imported yellow and purple silks with silver and gold decorations would have produced a regal appearance that conveyed her elevated social and economic standing.” You can see a photo of the dress and shoes at the above link. I’ve been to the museum where the outfit is on display and it is far lovelier in person than in the photo. But I do agree with their interpretation.

Here’s a short snippet from the book where Martha is preparing for her marriage ceremony, waiting for her sister to come and style her hair:


Where was Nancy? Soon I must go downstairs. I checked the lay of my deep yellow brocade overdress, arranging the silver lace trim at the edge of the bodice until satisfied with its appearance. A white silk petticoat with silver woven into the fabric peeked through the split skirt of the overdress. I stepped into purple satin heels, smiling with pleasure at the silver trimmings. I didn’t often have reason to don such finery, but marrying one of the most distinguished and respected men in the colony certainly justified my choice. Fortunately, the outfit had arrived from London in time to tailor the dress to fit my small figure. Why couldn’t the London factors send clothing meeting the measurements sent instead of sending garments either too big or, worse, too small?

A light rap sounded at the door to my bedroom. I turned as it swung open and Nancy beamed at me. “You’re beautiful, Patsy.”

“I’m glad you’ve arrived. Come, dress my hair for me.”

“I’m sorry for being so late. Now we must hurry. It’s almost time for the ceremony. Everyone is so happy for you.” Nancy pranced into the room and then stopped suddenly to perform a quick pirouette. “What do you think of my gown?”

I inspected the rich green dress with rhinestones sewn across the bodice, a cream silk petticoat visible through the sheer material brushing the tips of her gold satin shoes. “It’s quite lovely. But then you always dress divinely.”


The cover of my historical fiction story of Martha’s life, Becoming Lady Washington, includes an artist’s interpretation of George and Martha’s wedding, an image housed in the Library of Congress. It is not accurate, though, in portraying her attire. In 1759, there were no photographs (obviously) and no sketch artist or portraitist hired to create an image, at least not one that has been found to date. I imagine the man who created the image based it on other similar weddings he’d attended. I particularly enjoy the group of women to the right, apparently oohing and ahhing over the proceedings!

The wedding attire of George and Martha Washington is typical finery of the 18th century but is not accurate since the dress she's wearing in the image is not the same one in the museum.
Artist concept of the marriage ceremony of George and Martha Washington. Courtesy Library of Congress.

Another portrait in the LOC comes from the C.M. Bell collection, dated between 1873 and 1916, and shows how fashionably dressed Martha was as a young woman. Please note that Martha died in 1802. The LOC dated this image based on the fact that it is contained in Bell’s collection and those were the years he was a photographer. I think he likely took a photo of an earlier oil portrait. You can see in the picture the fine fabric and bows and lace, her posture and hair style all speak to her status. Women wearing such attire would not be working in the kitchen, but have the wealth necessary to support a more leisurely life style.

So while the styles and fabrics we wear today have changed, the way we interpret another’s position in society hasn’t changed all that much. We still tend to believe the clothes make the man/woman, that we “dress for success,” or to reveal our rebellion toward societal expectations by wearing clothing others deem in appropriate. I think that attribute of people will likely never change.

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.

Martha “Patsy” Custis manages an immense eighteenth-century plantation in the Virginia colony. But as a young widow she’s hard pressed to balance her business and to care for her two young children. They need a father and protector. She needs a husband and business partner…one she can trust, especially now as tensions rise between the motherland and the American colonies. Her experience and education have sustained her thus far but when her life veers in an unexpected direction, she realizes she has so much more to learn.

Colonel George Washington takes an interest in her and she’s surprised to find him so sociable and appealing. They form an instant bond and she is certain he’ll be a likeable and loving husband and father figure for her children. She envisions a quiet life at Mount Vernon, working together to provide for their extended family.

But when trouble in the form of British oppression, taxes, and royal arrogance leads to revolt and revolution, George must choose between duty to country and Martha. Compelled to take matters into her own hands, Martha must decide whether to remain where she belongs or go with her husband…no matter what the dangerous future may hold.

Amazon     Barnes & Noble     Kobo     Apple     Books2Read

Getting to know Carla Swafford #author #contemporary #romance #suspense #books #fiction #ReadIndie

My guest today is a very dear friend of mine, Carla Swafford. She’s a sweet and funny woman with a heart as big as the Grand Canyon. Let’s jump right in to read her bio and then find out more about her.

Carla Swafford loves romance novels, action/adventure movies, and men, and her books reflect that. And that’s not all, she’s crazy about hockey, and thankfully, no one has made her turn in her Southern Belle card. She’s married to her high school sweetheart and lives in Alabama.

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Betty: When did you become a writer?

Carla: I never considered myself as a true writer until my first book was published. It was number nine out of the ten books I finished. Hard to believe, but the other nine books are still unpublished. All of them.

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

Carla: When I was around 29, I tried to write a book. It was set in the Middle Ages. I’ve always been crazy about knights and their ladies. In fact, the first romance I ever read was set during that period. Bond of Blood by Roberta Gellis. My first book took me several years to finish. The next one was a romantic suspense. That took one year to write. I was gutsy enough to send it in to a contest. When I received a handwritten, eleven-page critique, that’s when I knew I needed help. So I bought several grammar books, took online classes, and joined RWA along with the local chapter.

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

Carla: Any author who I enjoy their books: Linda Howard, Anne Stuart, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Lisa Kleypas, Cherise Sinclair, Shannon McKenna, Mary Balogh, Lorraine Heath, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, and many more.

Betty: What prompted you to start writing?

Carla: At the time, all of my favorite writers were in-between publishing books, and I was having a problem finding a new author I liked. At night before falling asleep, I would make up stories in my head. You know, the type I wanted to read. Then I decided, what the heck, why don’t I give it a try. As you can imagine, it’s so much harder to write a book worth reading than to dream up a story. They have to make sense, have layers, a plot, and such.

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

Carla: Leading up to when my first book was published, I talked with a lot of authors and heard many tales about the good and bad aspects of being published. So I was prepared for the heart wrenching reviews when someone doesn’t like your baby to how it feels to lose your editor (my first editor moved to another publishing house and it was for nonfiction). Editors are your cheerleaders to the publisher. Losing one who loved your work is so traumatic. The next editor they assign to you may not be a fan. Plus I had an author warn me how some of your friends turn out not to be your friends after you’re published.

But the one thing I never heard anyone say or even thought about was how when you finally become published by a traditional house, you’re still a little fish in a little pond with big fishes. Those big authors who have been around a long time and hit the lists with each book. Some will be friendly and others not so much. You get treated by the publishing house exactly like what you are. A little fish. But you know what, I made a lot of new friends (other little fishes), had a lot of fun and enjoyed every second. It all has to do with mindset.

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

Carla: My love of romance and hockey. And I love stories where two strangers wake up married after a night of partying.

Two strangers wake up in the same bed after partying in Las Vegas to discover they are married.

Connor Ellison, one of Atlanta Edge’s best wingers and biggest prankster, is given an ultimatum by the coaches and the PR department. He must stay married until the end of the run for the Cup or be available for trade.

Lily Jones wants nothing to do with the insane demand. But he convinces her the best decision is to play along. If they remain married and pretend to be in love, he offers to save her family’s ice rink from bankruptcy. Anyway, it’s only until the end of the hockey season. Then they can go their separate ways.

Easy-peasy. No way will they go to the finals. No way will they truly fall in love.

Buy links: Amazon * Apple * B&N * KOBO

This is one of my favorite stories by Carla, too. Thanks so much for sharing it with us today, my friend! And I hope you all will give it a read!

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

My Dearest: Letters of Martha and George Washington #BecomingLadyWashington #HistoricalFiction #HistFic #amreading #books #ReadIndie

I want to talk today about the three letters known to exist that were written between George and Martha Washington.

That number may surprise you, as back in their time letters were the only means of conveying information and news. No telegrams, or faxes, or cell phones, that’s for sure! So why only three? When I first started researching Martha Washington’s life and times, I was dismayed to learn that there are only three because she burned all the rest shortly before she died. Here’s why, taken from the opening scene in Becoming Lady Washington:


Our love nestled in my hands. Pen and ink applied to linen pages were the only tangible evidence remaining of the love I shared with my husband. He called to me, softly, urgently. I sensed him more than heard his voice, but he summoned me nonetheless. Alone in my chamber, I knew the time drew near for me to answer his command, but delayed doing so until I’d done what I’d come upstairs to my bedchamber to do. I owed him that and so much more.

Voices along with the parakeets’ incessant chatter floated up from the portico below, the reassuring sounds drifting up and into my room. Another more subtle voice in my mind urged me to follow George’s private secretary’s circumspect example for far different reasons than to protect that awful Jefferson. I’d left everyone below to escape to my private space, using my ailment as an excuse to rest. I didn’t tell any one my true intention because I’m sure they’d try to stop me.

I gripped one of the many packets of letters stacked on my bedside table, each tied with a red satin ribbon faded to dusty rose. The papers were creased and stained from their travels from one state to another, from the multitude of hands which passed on the letters, and from the repeated reading of their contents. Words of love. Of private jokes between a man and his wife. Words of anger and dismay, of fear and courage, all kept mostly secure from the eyes of strangers. Safe from being abused and published in the paper, their meaning twisted and contorted to suit nefarious aims by my husband’s enemies. Men like that blasted betrayer, Thomas Jefferson. I shall never forgive him for intentionally working to defame my precious life mate. The wounds from Jefferson’s actions never healed. How could Tobias Lear have wanted to protect that man’s reputation? Nonetheless, I’d defend George’s reputation until the day I died. Maybe longer.

I looked around my bedchamber. Not the one I had shared for so many years with my love. No, that one I’d closed up tight upon his death three long years ago before moving into this third floor chamber. I smiled at the sight of the four-post bed with its pink roses dominating against a cheery yellow backing. They brought a bit of my garden inside to keep me company, now that I no longer had the interest or strength to work among the flowers. My gaze rested on the dark wood dresser, a looking glass framed above it. The fire snapped and crackled, its flames dancing merrily along the logs. The sound of the greedy flames reminded me of my mission.

Pulling a chair away from the writing desk, I positioned it close to the fire with one hand, clutching the treasured missives against my chest. Sitting, I tugged on the ribbon, freeing the folded pages to tumble into my lap. I leaned forward, and began feeding the letters into the fire. Watched the ancient pages burn and curl as they blackened into ash. As each letter shriveled and disappeared, my mind drifted back over my life. A life of love, grief, and peril. Starting with the precocious decision that set the rest into motion.


Now, although she burned all of the private correspondence in her possession, others retained their letters so we do have a collection of letters written to and from Martha. Joseph E. Fields gathered them into a book, “Worthy Partner”: The Papers of Martha Washington which is invaluable as a source for understanding what her concerns and worries and joys consisted of.

I am going to share the three letters, or parts of them, to give you a glimpse into their relationship and what I tried to convey in my depiction of their love for each other. The spelling and punctuation used within “Worthy Partner” are retained as I have to believe that is how it was in the actual letters.

The only letter written by Martha to George, however, is short and sweet. It’s dated March 30, 1767. George had gone to Williamsburg to attend the House of Burgesses and then on to the Dismal Swamp area before returning to Mount Vernon:

My Dearest

It as with very great pleasure I see in your letter that you got safely down. We are all very well at this time but it still is rainney and wett. I am sorry you will not be at home soon as I expected you. I had reather my sister woud not come up so soon as May woud be much plasenter time than April. We wrote you last post as I have nothing new to tell you I must conclude myself

Your most Affectionate
Martha Washington

I wonder if George may have been a bit disappointed in this short note while he was away. Talking about the weather and to request that her sister hold off visiting for another month. In contrast, Martha’s other letters included in the book were sometimes long indeed.

No letters from George to Martha exist until one dated June 18, 1775 from Philadelphia. George is explaining why he will not be coming home to Mount Vernon for the foreseeable future:

My Dearest

I am now set down to write you on a subject which fills me with inexpressible concern – and this concern is greatly aggravated and increased, when I reflect upon the uneasiness I know it will give you – It has been determined in Congress that the whole Army raised for the defence of the American Cause shall be put under my care, and that it is necessary for me to proceed immediately to Boston to take upon me the command of it. You may believe me my dear Patcy, when I assure you, in the most solemn manner, that, so far from seeking this appointment I have used every endeavor in my power to avoid it, not only from my unwillingness to part with you and the Family, but from a consciousness of its being a trust too great for my Capacity and that I should enjoy more real happiness and felicity in one month with you, at home, than I have the most distant prospect of reaping abroad, if my stay were to be Seven times Seven years. But, as it has been a kind of destiny that has thrown me upon this Service, I shall hope that my undertaking of it, is designed to answer some good purpose – You might, and I suppose did perceive, from the Tenor of my letters, that I was apprehensive I could not avoid this appointment, as I did not even pretend to intimate when I should return – that was the case – it was utterly out of my power to refuse this appointment without exposing my Character to such censures as would have reflected dishonor upon myself, and given pain to my friends – this, I am sure could not, and ought not be pleasing to you, & must have lessend me considerably in my own esteem. I shall rely therefore, confidently, on that Providence which has heretofore preservd, & been bountiful to me, not doubting but that I shall return safe to you in the fall – I shall feel no pain from the Toil, or the danger of the Campaign – My unhappiness will flow, from the uneasiness I know you will feel at being left alone – I beg of you to summon your whole fortitude Resolution, and pass your time as agreeably as possible – nothing will give me so much sincere satisfaction as to hear this, and to hear it from your own pen. …

I shall add nothing more at present as I have several Letters to write, but to desire you will remember me to Milly & all Friends, and to assure you that I am with the most unfeigned regard,

My dear
Patcy Yr Affecte
Go: Washington

I left out two paragraphs in George’s letter. His is a much longer one than hers because he had important news to share and he wanted to console her as much as possible over the upcoming separation.

Enclosed in this letter was his will because as he says, “As Life is always uncertain, and common prudence dictates” he wanted to ease her mind and any future aggravation of not stated his wishes should the worst happen. I can only image the mixture of relief and terror that swept through upon receiving a will from her beloved husband. Relief because she’d seen the outcome of having a husband who possessed a fortune die without a will, and probably hoped to never have to go through such an overwhelming situation again. Terror stemming from the fear she’d need to use the will, that her husband wouldn’t come home alive but in a box. If he came home at all.

Five days after that letter, George wrote again to Martha from Philadelphia…

My dearest,

As I am within a few minutes of leaving this City, I could not think of departing from it without dropping you a line, especially as I do not know whether it may be in my power to write you again till I get to the Camp at Boston – I go fully trusting in that Providence, which has been more bountiful to me than I deserve, & in full confidence of a happy Meeting with you sometime in the Fall – I have no time to add more, as I am surrounded with Company to take leave of me – I retain an unalterable affection for you, which neither time or distance can change. My best love to Jack & Nelly and regard for the rest of the Family concludes me with the utmost truth & sincerity,

Yr entire
Go: Washington

In fact, he didn’t step foot on Mount Vernon until late in 1781 before the battle at Yorktown.

I so wish I had had more of their correspondence to refer to in order to better understand their relationship, their feelings for each other and the separation they endured. On the other hand, I can totally understand her need to protect her beloved husband’s reputation in a time when personal letters were being printed in the newspapers, or quote out of context. Even from these few samples, though, it’s obvious that they loved each other very, very much.

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.

Cover of Becoming Lady Washington showing the marriage of Martha and George Washington

Martha “Patsy” Custis manages an immense eighteenth-century plantation in the Virginia colony. But as a young widow she’s hard pressed to balance her business and to care for her two young children. They need a father and protector. She needs a husband and business partner…one she can trust, especially now as tensions rise between the motherland and the American colonies. Her experience and education have sustained her thus far but when her life veers in an unexpected direction, she realizes she has so much more to learn.

Colonel George Washington takes an interest in her and she’s surprised to find him so sociable and appealing. They form an instant bond and she is certain he’ll be a likeable and loving husband and father figure for her children. She envisions a quiet life at Mount Vernon, working together to provide for their extended family.

But when trouble in the form of British oppression, taxes, and royal arrogance leads to revolt and revolution, George must choose between duty to country and Martha. Compelled to take matters into her own hands, Martha must decide whether to remain where she belongs or go with her husband…no matter what the dangerous future may hold.

Amazon     Barnes & Noble     Kobo     Apple     Books2Read

Getting to know Shirley Penick #author #fiction #amreading #contemporary #romance #books

Are you a fan of cowboys and firefighters? If so, then you’ll love my guest today, Shirley Penick. But I’ll let her tell you more!

I am a former techy turned writer. I am writing a small town contemporary romance series based in a fictional town on Lake Chelan in eastern Washington. I have lived in Colorado, Hawaii and currently Washington. I’m a member of RWA (Romance Writers of America) and the local chapters GSRWA (Greater Seattle RWA) and Eastside RWA.

I am a mother of two grown children and the grandmother of two adorable grand-daughters. I started reading at a young age with the Nancy Drew mysteries and have continued to be an avid reader. I primarily read romance in most of the genres.

My favorite past-time is playing with my grand-daughters. I have been a carnation grower’s worker, a trap club puller, a Pizza Hut waitress, a software engineer, an international trainer and a business program manager. And for something really unusual I once had a raccoon as a pet.

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Betty: When did you become a writer?

Shirley: I started writing on a whim in 2011.

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

Shirley: 5 years

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

Shirley: Funny you should ask. I gave the first 500 words of my very first story to an editor, who came back and said, you’re head hopping. I had no idea what that meant, so she explained and gave me lots of books to read, to teach me the craft. About a year later I realized my first writing attempt had been in the style of Nora Roberts, who can do whatever she pleases, because Nora Roberts, which includes head hopping. I also was influenced by Susan Mallery, Jill Shalvis, JoAnn Ross, and Julia Quinn.

Betty: What prompted you to start writing?

Shirley: Extreme boredom at my day job, I was severely underutilized for a few months. So, while I sat in front of my computer waiting for something to do, I thought I would give writing a try, with the stories I had in my head.

Betty: What type of writing did you start with?

Shirley: Fiction, romance, it is my favorite.

Betty: What do you most enjoy writing? Why?

Shirley: I really only write romance, contemporary. Romance because it is my favorite genre, contemporary because I don’t have to do ‘as much’ research. About half my stories are about volunteer firefighters, my dad was one and we lived just a few houses from the firehouse. The other half is cowboys, lots of cowboys in my family.

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

Shirley: Craft books and conferences, primarily. I also submitted my first book to a small publishing house, the editor there worked with me a lot to understand scope, that was invaluable.

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

Shirley: That even if what you write is crap, keep doing it. You can edit it into something worthwhile, but you can’t edit a blank page. I would have started about ten years earlier if I had known that. I had started a project many years ago, and decided it was garbage, so didn’t pursue it. I wish I had.

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

Shirley: Jill Shalvis is one of the authors I followed before I started writing. She mentioned the RWA conference she was attending. I went out and looked at the website to see what she was talking about and found some local chapters, so I went to a meeting. They were so welcoming and encouraging, it really helped to make me realize I could do it.

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

Shirley: Well I have this whole firefighter series, but the prequel to the series was about a widowed rancher and his meddlesome eight-year-old daughter, named Alyssa. People loved that story so much, that my daughter said, “Why don’t you keep writing cowboys? Start with Alyssa.” So, I did.

A Cowboy for Alyssa is the first book in the Burlap and Barbed Wire Series, set in the mountains of Colorado. Alyssa Jefferson and her cowboy get off on the wrong foot, when Beau Kipling assumes she’s the arm candy of an older man. Beau must earn her forgiveness and trust, while he also interns her on the practices of a veterinarian on a working cattle ranch, during the busy calving season. Tempers flare, right along with desire.

Excerpt:

Alyssa interrupted, “Beau, I think you’ve mistaken me—”

“Oh, no mistake about it princess. I just don’t like women who—”

Beau’s younger brother, Chase, came into the barn, speaking before they could see him. “Beau, Drake just called and said he and Mary are running late and will be here in about a half hour.” He rounded the corner and stopped and looked at them. Then he grinned, “You must be Alyssa, I’m Chase. Welcome to the Rockin’ K, I’m glad you made it. Whatever are you doing holding every grooming tool we own?”

He started taking them from her hands and hanging them back up, while Beau stood there trying to figure out what in the hell he’d missed. Mary and Drake? Who was this Alyssa, if not Drake’s girlfriend?

“He was showing them to me,” Alyssa said simply.

Chase laughed out loud. “Like you’ve never seen them before. I’m guessing you started using them before you were out of grade school.”

“Yeah, I think I was in third grade when my father finally started letting me groom my own horse without assistance. Of course, I was probably five when I started trying, if I was old enough to ride, I was old enough to groom,” she said.

Beau frowned. Third grade? Her own horse?

“Was he giving you a test or something? What a kidder you are, Beau.” Chase slapped his brother on the back.

Beau was still confused. Who in the hell is this girl?

Buy link: Amazon

I love a good cowboy or rancher romance! Thanks for sharing the excerpt, Shirley. Looks like a great story!

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

Witnessing America’s First Aerial Flight #BecomingLadyWashington #HistoricalFiction #HistFic #amreading #books #ReadIndie

Can you guess when and where America’s very first aerial flight took place? I have to admit I was very surprised to come across mention of the balloon launch while researching for Becoming Lady Washington. I was reading a (to me) fascinating book by Frank E. Grizzard, Jr., entitled George Washington: A Biographical Companion. This book is comprised of encyclopedia-style entries on various topics and individuals important to George Washington. The entries provide some insights into the people and events associated with him. Under the “Balloons” entry, is the following:

“Washington was especially pleased when during his presidency another French aeronaut decided to fly a balloon in Philadelphia, offering him a chance to actually witness firsthand these amazing feats against gravity. The Frenchman, Jean Pierre Blanchard, appealed to Washington for a ‘passport’ on the day of his flight, 9 January 1793, which Washington gladly provided:

“To all to whom these presents shall come. The bearer hereof, Mr. Blanchard, a citizen of France, proposing to ascend in a balloon from the city of Philadelphia at 10 A.M. this day to pass in such direction and to descend in such place as circumstances may render most convenient.

“These are there to recommend to all citizens of the United States and others that in his passage, descent, return, or journeying elsewhere, they oppose no hindrance or molestation to the said Mr. Blanchard: and that on the contrary, they receive and aid him with that humanity and good will which may render honor to their country and justice to an individual so distinguished by his efforts to establish and advance his art in order to make it useful to mankind in general.”

During my reading about Martha Washington and her life and times, I found mention of her taking the children up to the roof to watch the fireworks for Independence Day while George was president. So, knowing the details of the balloon flight, I included her watching the balloon launch from the roof of the President’s House in Philadelphia. Here’s how I envisioned the scene:

The new year of 1793 brought a unique opportunity for the residents of Philadelphia. On a cold day in January, a French aeronaut, Jean Pierre Blanchard, launched a hydrogen-gas balloon from the center of the city. Actually, he launched from the center of the yard of the Walnut Street Prison a few blocks away from the presidential mansion. Although the ascension wouldn’t occur until ten in the morning, two field artillery pieces fired every fifteen minutes beginning at six to remind everyone of the event. I took the family up onto the roof of the kitchen, to listen to the brass band playing the martial music from within the court yard of the prison and to watch the yellow silk balloon inflated with gas. We had a wonderful view of the massive crowds gathered for the event.

George went in his coach to deliver a handwritten pass to Blanchard, asking on his behalf for any one he met to provide assistance as needed. The pass was a necessity since Blanchard spoke little English and didn’t know where exactly he might land. Once on the ground, he’d need help to bring the balloon safely back into the city. I suppressed a giggle as I imagined some startled farmer in a panic at the strange sight of a flying man in a balloon. What I wouldn’t give to witness such a sight for myself.

Fifteen cannon boomed, acknowledging the president’s arrival at the launch site. Another blast of the cannon several minutes later announced the launch of the apparatus, and in another minute we could see the yellow balloon gently rise into the air. Blanchard stood in the basket, waving a flag in one hand and holding his hat in the other as he nodded to the crowd’s exclamations.

Indeed, every roof and steeple surrounding us teemed with astonished people, waving and mouths open in awe. The streets appeared to be impassable with the thousands of onlookers. Blanchard rose slowly in a vertical fashion until a light breeze took charge and carried him toward the Delaware and eventually out of sight. January 9, 1793 would go down in the history books as the day of the first-ever aerial voyage in our young country’s history. The entire family relished witnessing history in the making. And yet my heart longed for our imminent journey home in a few short months.

While I do not know if this is indeed how she watched, or even if she watched, I do believe if given the opportunity she would welcome the chance to witness this amazing feat. She went to plays and curiosities and wax museums and to see the elephants on multiple occasions. So why wouldn’t she go up on the roof with the children to let them also experience the thrill of seeing a man fly in the sky?

It’s frequently surprising to me what I stumble across during my reading and researching. I hope you enjoy this tidbit of American history, too!

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.

Martha “Patsy” Custis manages an immense eighteenth-century plantation in the Virginia colony. But as a young widow she’s hard pressed to balance her business and to care for her two young children. They need a father and protector. She needs a husband and business partner…one she can trust, especially now as tensions rise between the motherland and the American colonies. Her experience and education have sustained her thus far but when her life veers in an unexpected direction, she realizes she has so much more to learn.

Colonel George Washington takes an interest in her and she’s surprised to find him so sociable and appealing. They form an instant bond and she is certain he’ll be a likeable and loving husband and father figure for her children. She envisions a quiet life at Mount Vernon, working together to provide for their extended family.

But when trouble in the form of British oppression, taxes, and royal arrogance leads to revolt and revolution, George must choose between duty to country and Martha. Compelled to take matters into her own hands, Martha must decide whether to remain where she belongs or go with her husband…no matter what the dangerous future may hold.

Amazon     Barnes & Noble     Kobo     Apple     Books2Read

Getting to know Lynn Crandall #author #contemporary #romance #suspense #paranormal

My guest today is a writer by nature and preference. Please help me welcome Lynn Crandall to the interview chair. We’ll take a gander at her bio and then dive into the questions.

If variety is the spice of life, then Lynn Crandall has spice covered. An award-winning author of contemporary romance, romantic suspense, and paranormal, she cut her writing teeth as a reporter for newspapers and radio, and feature writer for commercial and trade magazines. Now a full-time fiction author, she enjoys taking readers on emotional journeys with relatable characters who refuse to back down, and face challenges and tribulations with heart and soul. She believes every love has a story, and hers is with one handsome husband and a large, beautiful circle of family, including her cat, Winter

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Betty: When did you become a writer?

Lynn: Boy, that is a good question. I don’t remember a time when I didn’t love words and stories, so I kind of think I was born a writer. But I didn’t start writing seriously until I was a young adult. I was always in search of what I wanted to be when I grew up and happened upon the book by John Garden title On Becoming a Novelist. Reading it was like going home.

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

Lynn: I wrote for newspapers and magazines for a number of years before one of my manuscripts in romance got accepted by Kensington. So I would have to say several years.

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

Lynn: I’ve read many of the Dresden Files books and I like the way Jim Butcher tells a story. Also, I appreciate the writing style of Kelley Armstrong. One of the first romance novels I read was Bitten and I was hooked.

Betty: What prompted you to start writing?

Lynn: I had an epiphany that I connected with my love of words, sentences, and phrases with writing.

Betty: What type of writing did you start with?

Lynn: I first wrote for newspapers and commercial and trade magazines, so I began with reporting. But while doing that I tried my hand at short stories and they got published so I was encouraged to keep developing my skills in fiction.

Betty: What do you most enjoy writing? Why?

Lynn: I have always explored ways of being creative. I first believed I would be an artist, but I gave up early on because I wasn’t satisfied with my abilities. But writing just clicked with me and I loved it from my first short story. I like the creativity of writing.

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

Lynn: In my first newspaper job I had an amazing editor.

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

Lynn: Writing has really changed while I’ve been writing. I wish I had known how to effectively promote my books.

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

Lynn: I like to write characters who have depth and deep seated woundings, so average people around me seem like heroes to me and I wanted to highlight them. They had problems and sorrows but managed to keep striving for a better, more meaningful life. I related personally to Cherish in Then There Was You because in the book she’s strong but is sort of lost in trying to make people in her life happy by suppressing her spirit. I believe strongly in people learning to unload their emotional problems and find peace because it is well worth the risk of rejection. I hope readers find Cherish an inspiration for creating a life worth living.

I liked the character of the hero in the book. Grayson loved his work as a newspaper reporter and holding public figures’ feet to the fire. But his passion got him in trouble, and he had to figure out how to build a new life. I liked his strength of character and his passion. I hope readers appreciate his sacrifices and path to freedom and true love.

Cherish Moss is well aware that most people would do anything for the life she has:
accomplished attorney, daughter of a wealthy family, and hours away from her wedding day. But on the inside, she is barely breathing and no one even notices. When she leaves her fiancé at the alter she waits for the feeling of remorse…so why as she runs out of the church and down the street does she feel like she’s reclaiming her life?

Grayson Steele is hiding out having left his dream job in Chicago as an investigative reporter. After exposing police corruption, the threats on his life came fast and furious and now he has to not only protect himself but his family too. He’s not interested in a relationship. He can’t be, because he won’t put anyone in danger. But after meeting Cherish at a local bar, his longing for
her is intense and it won’t go away.

The timing is all wrong for them both, but Grayson and Cherish must face the unwanted fate they helped create or follow their hearts to survive.

Excerpt:

Gray stepped back and gestured her in. “Come take the wheel.”

“You’re kidding me.”

“It’s easy and I’m right here.”

She bobbled her heard, but she couldn’t hide interest. “Don’t leave.”

“I won’t.”

Cherish slid past him and her hands hovered over the wheel. “Is it like driving a car? Hands at ten and two?”

“Here.” He took both her hands and gently massaged them. “Loosen up. Now put them where they feel comfortable.” His stomach clenched at the touch of her skin and whiff of her summery scent. “Remember. You’re the Queen of the World.”

“Queen of the Sea,” she corrected, grinning.

“Just keep it steady. The wind will take us to our destination, you just have to keep the boat on course.”

“I can feel the water under my feet. Not literally, of course. It’s an amazing feeling.”

“Yeah, I know what you mean. That connection to the lake is what makes a sailor great.”

The wind gusted and she shrieked as she lost control of the wheel. The boat listed enough to almost topple her over, but Grayson caught her. He stopped the wheel from spinning and nodded to her. “You’re okay. See, I got you.”

“I wasn’t prepared for that.”

His breathing deepened. Her body didn’t move away from his. He stamped on his urge to nuzzle her neck; it was so tempting. “Put your hands back on the wheel. That wasn’t fatal. You’ve got this, remember.”

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Betty

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