Remembering the Meaning of Memorial Day #MemorialDay2020 #HistoricalFiction #HistFic #amreading #books #novel #ReadIndie

I’d like to take a moment to pause and reflect on the many men and women over America’s existence who have fought and died for our freedoms. Beginning with the thousands who died during the American Revolution under the leadership of General George Washington and the care of his wife Martha Washington. All the way through to today’s men and women serving in the many branches of the military service. Thank you to them and their families for the sacrifices made to keep our borders safe from invasion and to help protect us in times of crises such as the current pandemic.

The American flag at Glacier National Park in 2014.

I did not serve in the military, though I did apply and was turned down due to weighing more than they would accept. I had hoped that by enlisting they’d help me slim down, but they didn’t agree with my thinking. Perhaps it’s for the best as I’m not necessarily willing to follow someone else’s lead. But that’s another story!

I have family who has served as does my husband, who himself was a captain in the U.S. Army. Both enlisted and officers doing their best to serve their country in times of war and peace. I am grateful to them and everyone like them who had/have the courage to stand up and defend our way of life.

So my fellow Americans, as you go about having your holiday barbecues, picnics, and other outdoor activities, please remember the meaning behind Memorial Day.

Next week is the big day! Early reviews of Becoming Lady Washington are 4 and 5 stars with highly complimentary things to say about the story, too. Remember that I’m throwing Martha Washington a birthday party and you’re invited!

The party will take place on Sunday, May 31, 3-4 pm CDT, a few days before the actual date of her birth. I’m inviting all of you to join in virtually from your own computer or device, too. We’ll each put a single birthday candle in a baked good (cake, cupcake, cookie, brownie, etc.) or other dessert. We’ll sing “Happy Birthday” to Martha Washington and by extension her story, Becoming Lady Washington, which will release on June 2. Then we’ll blow out the candles and I’ll read an excerpt from the book and answer any of your burning questions about her life or my writing and research.

How will it work? After you RSVP here, the week of the party I’ll send out a newsletter to only the party guests with the party favors and the Zoom meeting invitation link. You can dress up in period costume (like me?) if you’d like, or just wear a party hat for the occasion. You might really get into the spirit and decorate a bit for a birthday party, too. I’m going to see what decorations I can scare up here. If you’re interested in attending the party, be sure to RSVP or you won’t receive the party invite! (Yes, it will sign you up for a newsletter, but only one time so I can send you the information. Then that group of subscribers will be deleted. Promise!)

Thanks for reading! I hope to “see” you at the party!

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.

Available for preorders now! Releases June 2, 2020…

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 Kris Jayne #author #contemporary #romance #paranormal #fiction #multicultural

My guest today has a very similar background to my own. Please help me welcome romance author Kris Jayne! Let’s take a glimpse at her bio and meet her pups, and then we’ll hop into the interview.

Kris Jayne is a devoted writer, reader, and traveler. She spends her days blissfully sweating out the writing process in the Dallas area with her dogs, Otis the Shih Tzu, Rocco the Terrier, and Red the Foxy Mutt.

Her passion for writing is matched only by her passion for the adventures of travel. In 2008, she let a friend talk her into sleeping outside for the first time in her life when she climbed Mount Kilimanjaro.

P.S. If you’re buying her a gift, she has a penchant for single-malt Scotch and scarves.

Website * Facebook * Instagram * BookBub

Betty: When did you become a writer?

Kris: I didn’t publish my first book until 2016, but I’ve been a writer my entire life. I wrote my first complete story in the fifth grade about how the old Chicago Bear Refrigerator Perry got so fat. That was circa 1985.

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

Kris: Since I’ve written since I was a child, I’ve been working on my writing just as long. I took creative writing classes in elementary school and high school. I majored in journalism and English in college and then earned a Master’s degree in American literature. I’ve always studied reading and writing as a discipline.

In 2014, I decided to get serious about fiction writing and joined some local writing groups. I worked on my first novel for over a year and then took a year off from working a day job to write full time, finishing my first four novels.

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

Kris: That’s a hard question because I read all kinds of stories that aren’t necessarily in my genre, which is steamy, contemporary romance. My favorite contemporary romance authors of all time are people like Jennifer Crusie, Rachel Gibson, and Carly Phillips, but I love historical romance as well and read Elizabeth Hoyt and Courtney Milan. The House of Mirth is my favorite classic.

I would say I love emotional stories with humor and adventure and that I try to infuse a mix of those elements into my stories.

Betty: What prompted you to start writing?

Kris: In 2014, I decided I was done with corporate life and wanted a more flexible, creative existence. At first, I thought I’d write on the side and keep my regular day job, but my regular day job turned into a six-day a week time suck (only because I refused to work seven). I knew I needed to escape that if I were going to have the energy to write, so I quit my job.

I didn’t work on anything but my fiction for a year, and that was incredibly motivating. I now do other freelance writing and editing while working on my fiction.

Betty: What type of writing did you start with?

Kris: My jobs have always involved writing, so I’ve written academic work and published non-fiction books, articles, and blogs on technology and business. As I mentioned, I’ve written fiction since I was a kid, and I started writing romance when I was in high school.

Betty: What do you most enjoy writing? Why?

Kris: I love writing spicy contemporary romance because I enjoy telling stories about modern, independent women who have passionate adventures and creating sexy book boyfriends for readers. Flirty, witty banter is my jam.

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

Kris: Craft books and workshops are great for getting tips and new ideas, but I learn best by practicing and getting feedback from critique partners and my editor. I also think a good writer has to be a good reader. It’s as a reader where you find out what does and doesn’t work in a story. The more I read, the more objective I can be about my own writing.

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

Kris: Only I can know what the right writing process is for me. I can read a craft book that everyone loves and try to put it into practice, and it may not work for me because my brain works differently. I’ve learned to filter every piece of advice through the lens of my own working and thinking style. That also means that I’m never going to be the writer who puts out twelve books a year. With nothing else to do and no day job, the most I’ve written is four books in a year, and that’s okay. Authors, especially indie authors, face a lot of pressure to publish more books than is humanly possible for most people.

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

Kris: In addition to those I’ve already mentioned, I’d say Edith Wharton, Henry James, Toni Morrison, and Beverly Jenkins.

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

Kris: Two to Tangle started as a Christmas story. I wrote a novella called Christmas for Two for an anthology. I wanted to write about a 40-plus-year-old woman who has left her job and is starting over. Her old boss calls her, and she gets drawn back to working with him on a new project—only this time there’s an attraction between them. She invites him over for Christmas because he’s alone and sexual hijinks (my favorite kind) ensue.

It was going to be a simple, sexy holiday story, but I realized I wasn’t done with the characters. I liked their chemistry together and the dynamics of my heroine, Delilah, dating a guy who is ten years younger but who used to be her boss. I’d also given the hero, Griffin, way too much back story that needed to play out. I won’t give all the details, but Griffin’s college sweetheart ended up marrying his father. Once I’d written that detail, I knew there was more drama to mine, so I started plotting the new book.

Family betrayal haunts new love…

Delilah Johnston and Griffin Kelso ring in the New Year with revels and romance. But once the champagne runs dry, the differences between them crash the party.

With a divorce, raising her daughter, and a corporate job in the rearview mirror, forty-something Delilah is ready to indulge herself with passion and a new life. Yes, she agreed to help her ex-boss Griffin launch his new business, but that’s temporary. The tantalizing heat between them, however, isn’t—or so she hopes.

Nearly ten years her junior, Griffin jettisons his playboy ways and sets his sights on Delilah. He aims to build a personal legacy with her by his side. But when his father’s health problems—and the older man’s scheming wife—call him home, he can no longer ignore the betrayal and pain of the past.

He finds refuge in the always willing and wise Delilah. But the more he leans on her, the more she wonders: when is it her turn?

Family drama knocks the couple off course into a tangle of secrets. Can Delilah and Griffin find a path forward together? Or will a disconcerting revelation divide them forever?

Two to Tangle is a sexy, seasoned BWWM romance with family drama and a May-December surprise. It continues the love story of Delilah and Griffin that began in the holiday novella, Christmas for Two, but can be read as a stand-alone.

Excerpt:

“I like talking dirty,” Griffin growled. “Especially since I won’t see you for a few more days, and I miss you. But if you don’t, that’s okay, too. It’s too soon, maybe. We’re just changing our relationship.”

He missed me. My skin felt warm from head to toe. Reconnecting with him even over the phone titillated, but I didn’t want him to think… My mind blanked. What was it he’d think? That I was a tramp? There’s nothing I could say that would be any trampier than what I’d done with him on Christmas night.

On Jesus’ birthday! I snickered to myself.

I was already a tramp, and he didn’t care. I should let myself have fun.

“Okay,” I said. “I’m not reading my novel to you, but I’ll tell you what happens.”

“I don’t want you to do something you don’t want to. We can talk about anything you want. We can compare Texas and Carolina barbecue. I called because I wanted to hear your voice.”

“No. I want to.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes. I miss you too.”

I swallowed and took a deep breath, ready to lean in and let go.

Buy links: Books2Read

Can you see the similarities between our education and experience? Kris and I both started writing as children, worked in fields/jobs focused on language and writing, and now write fiction full time while doing some editing on the side. I think it would be fun to sit down with her over a glass of wine and compare notes! Thanks, Kris, for stopping in today!

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.

Martha Washington and Motherhood #HistoricalFiction #HistFic #motherhood #amreading #books #novel #ReadIndie

Martha Washington was fiercely devoted to her family. You can learn more about her first marriage and children here. Every letter I’ve read written by her to family members included her love and advice and guidance. She was known for sending little gifts with her letters, showing she thought about and cared for the recipient. While she didn’t have children with George, many people do not know that she had four children with her first husband, Daniel Custis.

George and Martha Washington with Martha’s daughter Patcy and son Jacky Custis.
https://www.loc.gov/item/2018697463/ Image courtesy of the Library of Congress.

Their first child was Daniel Parke Custis II who was born November 19, 1751 at White House Plantation upriver from Chestnut Grove on the Pamunkey. I can only imagine the worry Martha must have felt her first time with child. I imagine she summoned her mother and sisters as well as a midwife to assist with the delivery. Did she shoo Daniel out to wait downstairs? Probably, that being typical of the times, but we don’t know for certain.

Child number two was Frances Parke Custis who was born April 12, 1753 at the home plantation. While still a worrisome time, depending on how the first birth had gone, perhaps she wasn’t quite as worried. There’s no record, of course, of how easy or difficult the birth may have been.

Sadly, Daniel and Martha’s first born son, Daniel II, died on February 19, 1754. At under two-and-a-half years old, his death must have hit home with his parents. Even though deaths were a part of the fabric of life, losing your first child would have to be devastating. I don’t know the cause of death for him, but given the time of year, perhaps a virus or flu?

Next came John “Jacky” Parke Custis on November 27, 1754. Nine months after little Daniel had been buried. Martha now has an infant and a toddler to occupy her hands and time.

Finally, Martha “Patcy” Parke Custis was born sometime in 1756. I haven’t found anywhere that cites a month and day, not even at the Mount Vernon link above. Knowing how Martha felt about her family later in life, I imagine she was proud of her little brood. Three healthy, happy children (I presume) to call her mother and for her to dote on. However, later analysis suggests that this birth wasn’t an easy one which may have left Martha unable to bear more children. However, there is no evidence one way or the other.

(By the way, Daniel’s father, John Custis, put in his will that every descendent had to have “Parke” in their name in order to inherit anything from his estate. He was a crusty, angry, bitter man…)

But the following year, 1757, brought tragedy to Martha’s doorstep. First, little Frances died suddenly in April. My resources don’t include the cause of death, but I can feel for Martha. Two of her four children were now buried at the Queens Creek cemetery beside their grandmother Frances Custis. At least Martha still had her other two children living.

In June, possibly wishing to preserve the likeness of his remaining family, Daniel insisted on having the family portraits painted by the itinerant English Painter John Wollaston. His foresight ensured that Martha would have images to remember her husband and two of four children.

But by July, one month later, little Jacky became seriously ill and Daniel sent to Williamsburg for medicine. Soon, Daniel was also struck with a serious illness and took to his bed, from which he continued to manage the business of the plantation. This time Martha sent for medicine, but it did no good. Daniel died July 8, possibly of a heart condition, but it’s not clear.

What about little Jacky? He stayed in bed while they buried his father at Queens Creek on July 12. Dr. Carter stayed at the plantation after Daniel’s death to tend to Jacky, and slowly the boy recovered by the end of July. After all the strain, Martha herself had to ask for the doctor’s help in August. Can you blame her?

Martha was left the mistress and manager of thousands of acres of property and all of the buildings and people that occupied it. She also had two young children to raise and provide for. She managed the property with some guidance from her brother, Bartholomew, who was a lawyer in Williamsburg, but she ordered goods from her factors in London and oversaw the daily operation of the entire plantation. She was quite a remarkable lady.

Remember that I’m throwing her a birthday party and you’re invited!

The party will take place on Sunday, May 31, 3-4 pm CDT, a few days before the actual date of her birth. I’m inviting all of you to join in virtually from your own computer or device, too. We’ll each put a single birthday candle in a baked good (cake, cupcake, cookie, brownie, etc.) or other dessert. We’ll sing “Happy Birthday” to Martha Washington and by extension her story, Becoming Lady Washington, which will release on June 2. Then we’ll blow out the candles and I’ll read an excerpt from the book and answer any of your burning questions about her life or my writing and research.

How will it work? After you RSVP here, the week of the party I’ll send out a newsletter to only the party guests with the party favors and the Zoom meeting invitation link. You can dress up in period costume (like me?) if you’d like, or just wear a party hat for the occasion. You might really get into the spirit and decorate a bit for a birthday party, too. I’m going to see what decorations I can scare up here. If you’re interested in attending the party, be sure to RSVP or you won’t receive the party invite! (Yes, it will sign you up for a newsletter, but only one time so I can send you the information. Then that group of subscribers will be deleted. Promise!)

Thanks for reading! I hope to “see” you at the party!

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.

Available for preorders now! Releases June 2, 2020…

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 Molly Neely #author #paranormal #fantasy #inspirational #historical

Getting to know Molly Neely #author #paranormal #fantasy #inspirational #historical

While not every author began writing as a child, I’m finding more and more in my weekly interviews did in fact begin writing at a very young age. My guest today, Molly Neely, is my newest find, but let’s have her share her background after a quick peek at her credentials.

Molly Neely is the author of the Paranormal novel The Sand Dweller (Black Opal Books) as well as its sequel, The Orcus Child, to be released in 2020. Molly is a contributor to the Fall into Fantasy anthology, 2017 & 2019, (Cloaked Press) and her short story, “An Heirloom Spirit,” is in the collection CEA Greatest Anthology Written, which is a contender for a Guinness Book of World Records title.

Molly’s poetry can be found in anthologies from Z Press, Literary Alchemy, and Animal Heart Press.

Facebook * Twitter * Instagram

Betty: When did you become a writer?

Molly: I think I’ve always been a writer. Even as a child I loved to make up stories, play pretend that I was someone else, etc. I first put pen to paper in elementary school, and from that point on I was either buried in writing or buried in reading.

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

Molly: I took a few online courses before I was comfortable with writing anything serious. After 2ish years of that, I felt like it was time to take a deep breath and jump into the writing community. I queried my first novel for around a year and a half before it was picked up for publication.

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

Molly: I think the online courses had more influence than anything else. I originally wanted to write for children, so my training revolved around telling a lot of story, with few words. When I ultimately chose to write adult novels, that economic writing style carried over. My stories move quickly because of it.

Betty: What prompted you to start writing?

Molly: When you can’t find the story you want to read, it’s time to write one. That definitely was the case with me.

Betty: What type of writing did you start with?

Molly: Y/A which quickly feathered out into several areas.

Betty: What do you most enjoy writing? Why?

Molly: I turn to different things for different needs. If I’m blocked up, I turn to poetry. If I’m feeling salty, I write dark, longer pieces of fiction. If I see or hear a funny story, I try to incorporate it into a younger piece.

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

Molly: I took online classes, but I also plunged into conferences and workshops. There’s a ton of learning opportunity in them.

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

Molly: That I was going to need a lot of patience and that not everyone thinks what you’ve written is gold. You have to be willing to make changes to what you’ve written and you have to be willing to face constructive criticism.

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

Molly: I love James Owens. His Dragons series has been a huge inspiration for me.

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

Molly: The Sand Dweller is close to my heart for many reasons. It was an opportunity to share my faith, as well as a way to express my lifelong love affair with ancient folklore. The book gave me a platform to showcase both in the same space.

In the ancient mountains of the Sinai desert, a child is born. The half-demon son of the devil’s greatest general, Malachi grows up with one foot in the human world and one in the darkest pits of Hell itself. Soon, a power struggle will force him to choose. Will he claim the dark heritage promised to him by Lucifer? Or will he learn firsthand just how far evil will go to destroy mankind?

Buy links: Amazon

I love the combination of genres in your stories, Molly. Thanks for stopping in for a chat about your inspiration and experience!

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!

Should we sing Happy Birthday to Martha Washington? #birithday #song #party #HistoricalFiction #HistFic #amreading #books #novel #ReadIndie

People have held celebrations throughout our existence, though naturally the extent and tone of them not only varied but also morphed over time. Today I want to talk about birthdays, Martha Washington’s – well, Martha Dandridge’s – in particular.

Martha was born on June 2, 1731 at Chestnut Grove, a middling plantation on the Pamunkey River in Virginia. In the 18th century, the pregnancy of the mother and the birth of a baby was a time filled with fear and anxiety. Many pregnant women made out a will in case they died during the ordeal of birthing the baby. Complications could take her life even after the baby had been born. Reproduction may be a natural occurrence, but it doesn’t come without difficulties of one kind or another. Think about all of the precautions and preparations made today when a child is on the way. They didn’t have those same medicines and apparatus to use to safely deliver the child.

I’ve read that many parents didn’t name their children until their first birthday, a superstitious failsafe against the child not living to be one year of age. I try to imagine what the parents might have been feeling, thinking, worrying during that 12 months. Today we would celebrate that first birthday with a cake and balloons, perhaps. Maybe invite friends and family to gather and share in the celebration of life lived for one (more) year. Back then, not so much.

Apparently, birthday parties didn’t become a thing for the average folks until well into the 1800s. The Victorians are credited with borrowing a German tradition in the early 1800s to influence the creation of birthday parties. The making of birthday cakes didn’t become widespread until the invention of a freestanding cookstove in the 1840s. Cakes could be baked in a falling (cooling) bread oven but not as easily as after the cookstove was invented.

So did they celebrate Martha’s first birthday? Or any birthday? Her early years are not part of the historical record because she was a young girl/woman and not famous or wealthy. As far as I know, she didn’t keep a diary or journal or commonplace book. It’s possible that the family may have served her favorite dish on her birthday, or even baked a cake or pie for her. I doubt there would have been gifts, definitely not balloons!

What about singing “Happy Birthday”? Didn’t they at least do that? Well, no. “Happy Birthday to You” wasn’t written until the 1890s when two kindergarten teachers (Patty and Mildred Hill, apparently wrote “Good Morning to All” to be sung in class each day. When a student had a birthday, they switched the lyrics to “Happy Birthday to You.”

I believe later in life Martha’s birthday would have been celebrated with a special feast and token or luxury gifts (handkerchiefs, chocolates, etc.). I do know that the king’s birthday as well as the governor’s was celebrated every year, just like Queen Elizabeth’s is celebrated today. And they celebrated George Washington’s birthday annually while he was a general of the Continental Army and beyond. So I could imagine they did some kind of celebration for hers as well.

To make up for not ever having been sung to for her birthday, I have decided to throw Martha a party for her 289th birthday. The party will take place on Sunday, May 31, 3-4 pm CDT, a few days before the actual date of her birth. I’m inviting all of you to join in virtually from your own computer or device, too. We’ll each put a single birthday candle in a baked good (cake, cupcake, cookie, brownie, etc.) or other dessert. We’ll sing “Happy Birthday” to Martha Washington and by extension her story, Becoming Lady Washington, which will release on June 2. Then we’ll blow out the candles and I’ll read an excerpt from the book and answer any of your burning questions about her life or my writing and research. I’m throwing the party on a Sunday mid-afternoon because I’m hoping more people will be able to attend as a result of the party not being on a weekday. I’m really hoping most everyone will be back to work by June, though we’ll have to follow the expert guidance. But I hope having the party will be a bit of a distraction and a lot of fun, too!

How will it work? Glad you asked! After you RSVP here, the week of the party I’ll send out a newsletter to only the party guests with the party favors and the Zoom meeting invitation link. The party favors include another excerpt and several 18th-century recipes I’ve remade as well as the recipe for Martha Washington’s Great Cake. I might even throw in a game or puzzle, too! You can dress up in period costume if you’d like, or just wear a party hat for the occasion. You might really get into the spirit and decorate a bit for a birthday party, too. I’m going to see what decorations I can scare up here. (If you need help with using Zoom, email me at betty@bettybolte.com and I’ll help you figure out how to work with it. It’s easy!) If you’re interested in attending the party, be sure to RSVP or you won’t receive the party invite! (Yes, it will sign you up for a newsletter, but only one time so I can send you the information. Then that group of subscribers will be deleted. Promise!)

I don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to having a few friends “over” and celebrating the release of Becoming Lady Washington! Her story has been 5 years in the making and will finally be available to readers. Early reviews rate it 4 and 5 stars and are lavishing praise on the story. (Thank you so much, reviewers!)

Thanks for reading! I hope to “see” you at the party!

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.

Available for preorders now! Releases June 2, 2020…

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 Leslie Hachtel #author #historical #romance #suspense

My guest today has many skills in writing great stories. Please help me welcome author Leslie Hachtel! Let’s take a glance at her bio and then find out more about her.

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

However, it has been writing that has consistently been her passion. She sold an episode of a TV show, had a screenplay optioned and has so far produced fourteen novels, including ten historicals and four romantic suspense.  Leslie lives in Florida with a fabulously supportive (retired) husband and her new writing buddy, Annie, a terrier.

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Blog

Betty: When did you become a writer?

Leslie: Years ago, I was cleaning my house and thought ‘I can either change the sheets and finish dusting or I can write a book’. I have no idea where the idea came from. But, I wrote a book. It was not a good book, but it sparked the passion.

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

Leslie: I’ve always been a voracious reader and my degree is in English literature. Reading good books is an education in itself. And then I got a good editor who taught me so much.

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

Leslie: The first romance I ever read was by Kathleen Woodiwiss and I was hooked. But, I knew I couldn’t write the same way she did, so I learned to listen to my own voice as I told my stories.

Betty: What prompted you to start writing?

Leslie: Writing is so much a part of who I am and I now realize I was writing short stories as far back as first grade.

Betty: What type of writing did you start with?

Leslie: I actually started with scripts for television and moved on to movie scripts. I sold a TV script and had one of my movie scripts optioned, but novels were more appealing.

Betty: What do you most enjoy writing? Why?

Leslie: Everything! I love the research, the total immersion into the characters and settings, creating stories. Every part of writing is gratifying to me.

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

Leslie: I took classes and had mentors, but there is no substitute for a great editor.

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

Leslie: How hard it was going to be to get that first break.

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

Leslie: Every book I read inspires me in one way or another. But the first book I read that made me want to write, oddly enough, was ‘Salem’s Lot” by Stephen King. Such great characters, and such great insight as well as wonderful writing.

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

Leslie: Like so many others, I am fascinated with serial killers. This was originally inspired by an episode of “Criminal Minds” but the plot ended up going in a different direction.

A serial killer in her small town in Florida has Detective Liza Boone challenged. Luckily, FBI agent Nash Corelli is on medical leave and living across the street. Together they must find the killer. But, he cannot help her with the nightmares about her sister’s assault.  When Liza is terrorized, can Nash stop the threat? Can he protect the woman he has come to love?

Excerpt:

A drop of sweat slid between Liza Boone’s breasts. Blood pounded through her veins and her temples throbbed. The taste of death lingered on her tongue, so she swallowed what felt like razorblades, blinked, and forced herself to concentrate. Had it only been a few hours ago she was sitting on her dock, sipping coffee and looking forward to another quiet day?

The victim lay sprawled, a disjointed set of limbs spread out on the concrete in the deserted alley like a broken doll. His mouth was open and an even set of white teeth gleamed in the morning shards of light that peeked out through the threatening clouds. His clear blue eyes were wide and seemed to beg for mercy. Or since it was a little late for that, justice. His fly was down and the zipper split apart to reveal the hard to fathom. His private parts had been savagely hacked away. Brown smears of dried blood that had soaked through his pants told her all she needed to know about pre-mortem agony. Liza’s body shuddered and her fists clenched in an effort to remain unmoved. Why did she have to be so damn emotional?

Her partner, Grey Winston, had just knelt down next to the body to get a closer look and then quickly stood, shaking his head. This was a small town in central Florida and this kind of violence just didn’t happen. She had no doubt he, too, was appalled or even shocked. Men were very sensitive about their genitals. Then again, maybe he’d seen worse, though that would be hard to imagine. Of course, he’d never betray his own reactions.

For Liza, it was that moment of conscious disconnect, between the feeling and the working. It never got easier when what had just recently been a living human being was spread lifelessly at her feet. Liza focused to shift her brain into clinical mode. After all, this was not her first corpse and it wouldn’t be her last. She had to woman up. Luckily, the time it took to shift was less and less, even if the initial response was always the same.

I love my job. I love my job. She did love her job. She just wished she could be less reactive when it came to the staring corpses. No matter that she had been on the streets for going on four years until this recent promotion to detective. She never got okay with the vicious, violent, premature end to a person’s life. Which was why she chose this field. She wanted to solve these crimes and get the perps put away before they could cause more damage.

Buy links: Amazon * KOBO * Nook * Apple

Thanks for the inspiration and the peek at your story, Leslie!

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.

Where to Hold a Ball in Colonial Williamsburg? #ballroom #dancing #formal #HistoricalFiction #HistFic #ReadIndie #amwriting #amreading #books #novel

One question I have to ask when visiting an historic site today is, what did it look like during the time period of my story. I’ve mentioned that in my book, Becoming Lady Washington, I chose to have Daniel Custis ask to begin courting Martha “Patsy” Dandridge during her presentation to society. (This was my editorial decision since it’s not known when and how they began courting.) Martha was 15 at the time of her presentation in 1746, rather young to my way of thinking.

If you visit Colonial Williamsburg today you will find that the Governor’s Palace has an elegant ballroom within its walls. It would be easy to assume that is where she had her presentation. As I said before, my husband and I took dancing lessons while on a research visit to Williamsburg. Before our lesson we visited the Governor’s Palace, where I learned that the ballroom wasn’t built when Martha had her debut. It wasn’t added until Lt. Governor Robert Dinwiddie renovated the palace during his tenure 1751-52. The disparity in those dates begged the question…

Where was the ball held?

Several possibilities came to mind but I needed to find out for certain which place. So after the lesson, I asked the instructor if she knew where the balls and formal gatherings would have been held in the 1740s. Thankfully, she did!

Turns out the Capitol building has an upstairs room large enough to have a ball. They would remove tables and chairs and set up refreshments in the outer hall. While not as elegant as the palace ballroom, it still had respect and dignity to lend to whatever gathering was held there.

Here’s how young Patsy views the scene in Becoming Lady Washington:


The first strains of the musicians tuning drew my attention away from the array of colorful and bedecked ball gowns of the older women to the festively decorated dance floor. The large table and chairs used by the lower and upper houses of the government to discuss the colony’s legal business had been removed from the upstairs of the Capitol. Not that I knew from my personal experience. No, my father had to tell me since women were not normally permitted in the upstairs meeting room. I didn’t understand the reasoning behind such a silly restriction, but defying it was not worth the effort. I had little to no interest in politics. I’d rather select fabrics and ribbons for a gown than worry about ordinances and laws. …

I made my way through the throng of guests to stand by the open window. A cool breeze bathed my cheeks, bringing the scent of dried leaves and the smoke of many fires to tickle my nose. Moonlight splayed across the formal garden and the buildings of the town in the distance. Naked trees stood starkly against the deep black of the starry heavens in the soft light. In a few months snow would blanket the land, but for now the ground remained hard and dry, making road travel possible if not pleasant. Aunt Unity had graciously invited us to ride to Williamsburg with her in a fine coach pulled by four matched black horses. Arriving in such a high fashion leant a different level of elegance to the ensuing events I hadn’t dreamed of. Maybe one day I’d have my own coach-and-four to take me places.

Turning my back to the window, I observed the crowd. Through the arched door to one side, I spotted tables surrounded by seated card-playing guests. The music changed to a lively tune, announcing the beginning of the less formal English country dances. My parents eased through the crowd, stopping often to chat. They knew most everyone in the room as a result of their involvement in the colony’s church and government.

I surveyed the other guests, feeling part of the society in an entirely new way. Not as a child looking through the window, but as an active member with my own role. Then my heart leapt into my throat when Daniel Custis separated from a circle of men, probably assemblymen of one rank or another, and strolled in my direction. What did he want? What would I say to him? Oh, how I wished my mother were at my side. I wasn’t as ready as I’d thought.


It’s fun to try to imagine what her life would have been like while I walk the same floors and see out the same windows. Try to imagine what she might have been thinking about, who she spent her time with, what her concerns might have been.

Before I go, I’d like to share that Charmed Against All Odds has been nominated for the Rone Award at InD’Tale magazine in the Fantasy category. This first round is a reader’s choice voting. To vote, you will need to be registered at www.indtale.com. Then you can see all the books entered in that category and vote by going to https://indtale.com/polls/fantasy-6-finalists. Voting is open from May 4 through May 10 at midnight. Thanks in advance!

That’s all for now. Until next time, thanks for reading! And for voting!

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.

Available for preorders now! Releases June 2, 2020…

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.

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