Discovering Old Winchester Road #Huntsville #Alabama200 #amwriting #supernatural #histfic #Alabama #history #historical #fiction

The best part of researching for a novel is taking day trips with my loving husband to explore and experience a place. Trying to imagine what life would have been like in a past era in a present location or house or, in this case, along a road.

The fictional haunted roadside inn in my upcoming new series, Fury Falls Inn, is situated along the Winchester Road that connects Huntsville, Alabama to Winchester, Tennessee. I invented a location and setting in the foothills of the Cumberland Plateau in northeast Alabama. But was my fictional locale at least plausible? I don’t mind a little poetic license but I strive to stick as close to what’s plausible and possible as I can.

So we went for a drive one pretty Saturday afternoon not too long ago. As I drove up the current busy road, I noted that the road stays away from the hills, sticking to the flatter terrain alongside.

But then we came across the Old Winchester Road and it turned to hug the base of the hills close. So we turned to explore where the older road would take us. We followed it up into the low mountains with homes here and there and forest all around. A river ran along the valley, bisecting a crop field at one point.

We wound up and around and eventually came out at a T-intersection with another highway. By that time we had crossed into Tennessee which is beyond the boundary for the location of my series. So we turned around and headed back, deciding to turn again to explore the Mountain Road that took us up and over the ridge and down the other side. All the while that I was driving through the steep hills I was trying to imagine walking or riding horseback along a more primitive dirt/mud road. Or driving a wagon pulled by horses or perhaps leading a team of oxen over the hills.

We even came across a small waterfall but not as steep a one as I imagined in my book. But there are points along the foothills that could possibly have a waterfall if conditions were a little different.

All of this experience gave me more confidence in the plausibility of the location and setting I’ve used in the first story in the series. The brick and clapboard inn, the stable and corral, the mineral springs and water fall with a river running across the property. All are inspired by my research into 1800s farms and homesteads.

By the way, after doing a bit more research into titles for this genre, I’ve changed the titles. The first book is now called The Haunting of Fury Falls Inn (Fury Falls Inn Book One). I think that’s a more descriptive title that speaks to the entire storyline perfectly. Although I often struggle with what to call a book, let me tell you! Titles are hard to choose.

One last note. Starting this Friday, I’ll be sharing some guest author interviews with you all. I’ve invited some authors of all genres to share not only their latest release but also more about themselves as authors and readers. I hope you’ll find some new books to read and enjoy!



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


A Bit of History of the Green Bottom Inn and Race Track #Huntsville #Alabama200 #amwriting #supernatural #histfic

When I started to research Alabama history, I came across the Early History of Huntsville, Alabama: 1804 to 1870 by Edward Chambers Betts, dated 1909 and revised in 1916. One side note caught my attention.

Apparently General Andrew Jackson not only frequently visited Huntsville, and purchased “vast areas of Madison county lands” but he also enjoyed some relaxation. He would stay at the Old Green Bottom Inn located 4 miles north of Huntsville in Normal, on property now belonging to the Alabama A&M University. There, General Jackson would race his horses and “fought his cocks.” If you’re curious, you can read more about his visits here.

The Old Green Bottom Inn, one of the first hostelries in Alabama, was built by John Connelly in 1815 along with the adjoining race track. The race track became a kind of mecca for sportsmen from across the entire state of Alabama (then part of the Mississippi Territory). By the way, the Alabama Territory was created in 1817, and the cotton economy and fertile soil attracted “cultured and wealthy Virginians, who brought with them large droves of slaves.” Only 2 years later, on August 2, 1819 the Alabama Territory was admitted to the Union as the State of Alabama.

Historic Huntsville Green Bottom Inn
Postcard Back

Sadly, the inn burned down in 1931 and only a portion of stone wall remains standing.

This discovery of an inn confirms the idea of a roadside inn in northern Alabama in 1821, the time period of my Cassie Fairhope and the Haunted Inn, which will release in the fall of 2019. My fictional Fury Falls Inn, though, is situated at the base of the foothills of the southern end of the Cumberland Plateau of the Appalachians, along the Winchester Road that ran from Normal to Winchester, Tennessee.

I enjoy digging into the real history of an area and then incorporating those details as authentically as possible into my historical fiction. All while providing an engaging and enjoyable story for my readers.

Next time I’ll talk about a recent road trip with my ever supportive husband to the foothills along the Winchester Road. Until then, I hope you’re reading something that you enjoy!


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

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

Discovering Huntsville, AL in 1819 #amwriting #histfic #supernatural #books #Alabama200

I’m sorry it’s been so long since my last blog post. I’ve been trying to figure out a theme for a new series of posts, and finally struck upon one near and dear to my heart. I’ve been very busy the last couple of months researching and writing. I’ve written the first draft of the first book in my new Cassie Fairhope supernatural historical fiction series, which I call Cassie Fairhope and the Haunted Inn. I’m planning to release this book in October, so stay tuned for more info as it becomes available.

The series is set in north Alabama in the year 1821, three years after statehood. So I’ve been digging into the history of the state, including visiting a local living museum from the 1800s, visiting the Heritage Room at the local public library, and reading. Lots and lots of reading!

So I thought in honor of Alabama’s Bicentennial celebration this year, I’ll share tidbits of the research I’ve done and how that informs my storyline (characters, setting, etc.).

To kick off this new series, let’s talk about what Huntsville, Alabama, looked like when the Alabama Territory became a state in November 1819.

The journalist Anne Royall described the city in her Letters from Alabama as consisting of 260 brick houses, a bank, courthouse, and market house. She claims there were twelve stores that faced the square. She also notes with a sense of surprise that there wasn’t a church, but services were held in the courthouse.

Image from a brochure I found in the Heritage Room map archives of Madison County, Alabama published by the Huntsville Historical Society in the 1970s

In Alabama: The History of a Deep South State the authors describe the city as a “bustling community of cotton planters” and that while the big planters who had migrated largely from Georgia dominated all the social and financial aspects, most of the landowners in Madison County, where Huntsville is located, were in fact “small famers from Tennessee.”

In my story, the Fury Falls Inn is located on the Winchester Road which connects Huntsville to Winchester, Tennessee and runs along the foothills of the lower Appalachian Mountains. My characters visit the city upon occasion and have customers that stop in for a meal on their way to wherever they’re headed. So knowing what the kinds of businesses and the layout of the town in the early years helps me ensure I have representative ventures and opportunities for my characters. Since I’m writing fiction instead of a history of the town, I’m free to include some made-up locations to suit the needs of my story. With that in mind, though, I still strive to keep to facts as much as I can when I create a new business, like the livery that is mentioned in Cassie Fairhope and the Haunted Inn.

Huntsville has grown up quite a lot from its early days, with a thriving and diverse population, high-tech industries and arts and culture for all to enjoy. It’s still growing and the leaders have said the city will be the largest in the state within the next 5 years. I believe they must be right on that point.

I’ve much more to share with you all and look forward to your questions and comments as I work through the many interesting facts I’ve unearthed about the state where I live. Until next time!


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

Fun Friday with Avery Coleman from Her Snow White Christmas by #romance #author Cara Marsi #Christmas #magic #snowglobe

I have a special treat for the last Fun Friday post! Author Cara Marsi has allowed Avery Coleman from Her Snow White Christmas to stop by for a visit. Without further ado, here’s Avery…

Hi, I’m Avery Coleman. I write a style blog and sell Christmas trees for fun. The blog is fun. Selling trees in Vermont, not so much.

I grew up on a farm in Vermont. My parents, to make ends meet, ran a Christmas tree lot every year. My sister and I worked at the lot. Growing up, through the Christmas holidays I smelled like pine and couldn’t get all the sap off my hands until February.

I dreamt of escaping the small-town life for the big city. I imagined myself as an editor of a high fashion magazine. After college, I moved to Manhattan to work for a top magazine, but not as editor, as the assistant to the editor, a wicked witch of a boss. Writing my blog keeps me sane while I try to convince my boss to let me write a column or two.

Overworked and healing from a bad breakup, I agreed to help my sister at the Christmas tree lot so my parents could go on a cruise they’d won. Surprisingly, my boss gave me the time off. Sorry to leave Manhattan, which is magical at Christmastime, I trekked to Vermont, planning to work on my blog when I wasn’t selling trees. After all, nothing exciting happens in Vermont, right? Fate didn’t agree.

Mix Christmas trees, a hunky Santa, a very pregnant sister, seven extremely short male cousins, and a whimsical snow globe that may or may not be magic, and you just might believe in fairy tales.

I want to thank Betty Bolte for having me today and allowing me to tell you about my life-changing Christmas story. I also want to say I love Vermont. It’s a beautiful state.

WINNER 2016 EPPIE Award for Best Short Work.

A Christmas snow globe from a mysterious stranger swirls holiday magic for a sophisticated New York woman with a broken heart and a handsome Iraq War vet with a secret.

As a child, Avery Coleman loved Snow White and dreamed of Prince Charming. The adult Avery no longer believes in fairy tales. She’d settle for a handsome prince as ambitious for success as she is. Then an eccentric woman gives Avery a Christmas snow globe, advising her that princes come in many disguises. But when family obligations call Avery from Manhattan back to her small hometown in Vermont, she finds there aren’t many princes to be found in the forest of her family’s Christmas tree lot. At least it’s a vacation from her wicked witch of a boss.

Iraq War veteran Josh Huntsman always did what was expected of him. Believing there had to be more to life than chasing money and prestige, he’d left the corporate world for life in the Army. But his stint in the military cost him more than expected. Back from Iraq, Josh hides his past, volunteering at the homeless shelter and working at a Christmas tree lot. He isn’t ready to rejoin the rat race, and definitely has no use for a bright-lights-big-city girl like the ambitious fiancée who dumped him.

Leaving New York to spend the holidays selling Christmas trees in Vermont might sound magical to some, but for Avery, it’s a return to the place she worked hard to escape. But it’s Christmas and magic swirls in the air like glitter in a snow globe. And a single kiss might awaken a lifetime of happily ever after.

Her Frog Prince Holiday (Snow Globe Magic Book 2), is now available.
Her Red Riding Hood Valentine (Snow Globe Magic Book 3) is now available.
2015 Finalist Oklahoma Romance Writers International Digital Awards
2016 EPPIE finalist (under original title Snow Globe Tales–Avery)

Buy Her Snow White Christmas (Snow Globe Magic Book 1) here:

An award-winning and eclectic author, Cara Marsi is published in romantic suspense, paranormal romance, and contemporary romance. She loves a good love story, and believes that everyone deserves a second chance at love. Sexy, sweet, thrilling, or magical, Cara’s stories are first and foremost about the love. Treat yourself today, with a taste of romance.

When not traveling or dreaming of traveling, Cara and her husband live on the East Coast of the United States in a house ruled by two spoiled cats who compete for attention.

Connect with Cara at:

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I love a good Christmas romance, especially one with a touch of magic! I hope everyone had a magical holiday season and is looking forward to a prosperous and happy New Year!


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

Fun Friday with Cara di Montessori from The Devil to Pay by #romance #author K.C. Bateman #Italy #medieval #arrangedmarriage

Today we’re traveling back in time to medieval Italy to find out how Cara di Montessori from The Devil to Pay by romance author K.C. Bateman has fun! Take it away, Kate!

Hello everyone and thanks to Betty for hosting! Today I’m going to imagine what the hero and heroine of my #1 medieval romp The Devil to Pay do for fun…

The Devil to Pay is set in the early 1400s in Renaissance Italy, a time of feuding city states, uneasy political alliances, and a huge wealth of artistic creativity. Think the Borgias, Leonardo Da Vinci, and the Medici.

Heiress Cara di Montessori is quite the tomboy. Educated at the monastery near her home, she loathes doing all the things a “proper” chatelaine of a castle should do, like sewing and cooking, and instead likes to dabble in alchemical experiments, especially those which contain gunpowder! Some have been less than successful; she’s infamous throughout Italy as “the girl who blew up the monastery.” In her defense, only the east wing was actually reduced to rubble…!

Cara’s determined to prove herself capable of running her own keep without a husband by her side, and she’ll do anything to gain the advantage over the sinfully sexy (but downright irritating) Alessandro del Sarto. She might need the handsome mercenary’s help to remove her murderous uncle from her childhood home, but that doesn’t mean she has to like it. We’ll probably find her in the bailey, learning hand-to-hand combat—so she can knock del Sarto on his far-too-attractive posterior.

Alessandro del Sarto, on the other hand, is a cynical, hardened mercenary. Now retired (thanks to a shoulder injury) and incredibly wealthy, he hates the political maneuvering he has to put up with at court. He’d much rather be spurring his trusty horse Saraceno into battle than dealing with the petty disputes of his subjects or fending off the not-so-subtle flirtations from the women. He longs for a challenge to relieve his boredom. Impetuous Cara di Montessori, the daughter of his old mentor, is the one woman he’s never been able to forget. She’s also the one woman in Italy guaranteed to drive him crazy.

Cara’s disobedience is utterly frustrating, but Alessandro loves thinking up ways of making her lose her temper. He finds her passion and ferocity both amusing and completely irresistible. He’s already thinking up ways he can maneuver her into a kiss…!

The Devil to Pay is a sexy, witty, romantic adventure set in Renaissance Italy.

A ruthless mercenary skilled in the art of conquest. 

An heiress who refuses to be tamed. 

The Devil’s own bargain . . . 

Cara di Montessori has a price upon her head. Her traitorous uncle has murdered her father and seized her home. Her only hope of survival, and of regaining her birthright, is an alliance with her childhood nemesis, the infamous mercenary Il Diavolo. The most irritating—and seductive—man Cara’s ever met.

Battle hardened and world-weary, Alessandro del Sarto has earned the sobriquet Il Diavolo. He needs a politically expedient marriage to secure the lasting peace he craves, but the simpering ladies of court hold little interest. More than anything, he longs for a challenge.

Headstrong beauty Cara has always been Il Diavolo’s only weakness, the one woman he’s never been able to forget. When she appears at his door begging for help, the two strike a devil’s bargain. In return for his assistance, for two weeks Cara must entertain his guests, relieve his boredom—and warm his bed. 

Cara has no intention of succumbing to del Sarto’s studied seduction, but the passion that simmers between them is more potent than her paper twists of gunpowder. Surrounded by danger and intrigue, she must choose between what she’s always thought of as her destiny, and what could be the greatest prize of all—her heart’s desire.

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Kate Bateman, (writing as K. C. Bateman), is the #1 bestselling author of Regency, Victorian, and Renaissance historical romances. All her books feature her favorite feisty, intelligent heroines (badasses in bodices!), wickedly inappropriate banter, and sexy, snarky heroes you want to strangle and kiss. 

Kate wrote her first historical romance in response to a $1 bet with her husband who rashly claimed she’d “never finish the thing.” She gleefully proved him wrong. When not traveling to exotic locations “for research,” she leads a not-so-secret double life as a fine art appraiser and on-screen antiques expert for several TV shows in the UK, each of which has up to 2.5 million viewers. She splits her time between Illinois and her native England, and writes despite three inexhaustible children/monsters and a number-loving husband who still owes her that dollar.

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A marriage of convenience story that sounds intriguing and loving all wrapped up together for the holidays… Thanks for sharing, Kate!

And to everyone, I wish you a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!


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

Fun Friday w/ Radolf, Duke of Wolferton from The Blue-Eyed Black-Hearted Duke by #romance #author Sandra Masters #histfic #regency #paranormal

For Fun Friday, let’s learn a bit more about the sixth book in The Duke Series by spicy Regency romance author Sandra Masters. Not only are we treated to revealing tidbits about Radolf, Duke of Wolferton himself, but Sandra wants to give away an e-book to one lucky visitor! Simply comment for a chance to win. Take it away, Sandra!

The duke held particular joy for the Black Roses which he cultivated.

The hobby grew into a passion and to him it was an all-consuming endeavor for his tormented soul. The utter joy these dark beauties gave him knew no bounds. Each day his interest became piqued by The Turkish Halfeti Rose which grew only in Turkey where these unusual roses prospered. The pitch-black rose appeals to women because of its rarity and also its association with darkness. It depends on whether you seek the dark side of the rose in its morbidity or the light side in its magic. 

We are told these roses appear black to the naked eye, and are grown only in small quantities in the village of Halfeti, Turkey, which our hero, Radolf, Duke of Wolferton, visited on occasion. Water seeps in from the Euphrates River which has a unique pH level. On a first viewing, the rose is black unless one takes a magnifying glass to inspect it. 

Black roses aren’t a natural variation that you can purchase from your local nursery; they’re much more elusive and EXPENSIVE than that. Sometimes called Black roses, they are also known as the Turkish Halfeti Rose, Arab Bride or Arab Beauty, and bloom in small numbers. 


Later, Jaclyn re-read the words on the page, Dear Diary: Not sure how but Wolferton’skiss was mysterious and exotic. His tongue swirled, simmered and I experienced a consuming flame that became a fire that demanded quenching. His fingers tangled my hair, and hands cupped my head. Sweet heaven, it was molten, heat everywhere—no, it flowed through every vein in my body, surging, exploring, and intoxicating. All sanity and restraint left my brain with one lovely thought. Please don’t stop. The maddening heat of him pulsed my heart, and the last wonderful slide of his lips again sealed my fate. The universe crashed around me, and I was lost in the wonder of him.  

Sweet heaven. Hell…I’m going to hell.

How do you tempt a sinner?—Offer him a saint!

Dark, dangerous, brooding and in his eyes unredeemable, Radolf Wolferton, Duke of Wolferton, doesn’t fear death but welcomes it. Guilt-ridden because of his sinful past, the tormented hero of theWaterloo wars, honor-bound, believes he is undeserving of love and closely guards his black heart against love though the family prophecy predicts otherwise.

Powerfully drawn to him, Jaclyn Moreux, his ward, cannot deny his allure and the sizzling attraction that grows. Lured by his seductive pull, there are danger and passion in his embrace.

Can Jaclyn help Radolf conquer the internal demon who threatens their future and recognize that a higher supernatural power destines their love?

Can Radolf surrender to the supernatural power that speaks through the stained glass portrait of his red wolf persona and the archangel to fight for the woman he loves despite the pitfalls?

Amazon U.S.:   

The Wild Rose Press:        

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Amazon Australia:    

Please go to and subscribe in the upper right-hand corner of the Home page and you’ll be able to download Chapter One of The Blue-EyedBlack-Hearted Duke as your introduction to this good tormented soul. Here’s a quick sneak peek at the opening…

Chapter One:  His own worst enemy, he opened the desk drawer, took out the locket, and flipped it open. A winsome girl with dark hair and beguiling violet eyes peered at him.

An earthen container of black roses he cultivated resided on the left side of his desk. Imported from Halfeti, Turkey, they were his pride and joy. Somehow, he knew Miss Jaclyn Moreux, his ward, would be the white rose to change his future.

Now he was to endure the supreme test. The devil had sent him a saint to torment him.

Privacy information: I do not share any email addresses….ever. You will receive two or three Shout Outs during the year related to my writing, my characters, and my novels. Feel free to interact with me. I enjoy my fans.

From a humble beginning in Newark, NJ, a short stay at a convent in Morristown, NJ, to the boardrooms of NYC, and a fantastic career for a broadcasting company in Carlsbad, California, to the rural foothills of the Sierras of Yosemite National Park, Sandra Masters has always traveled with pen and notebook. It’s been the journey of ten thousand miles with a few steps left to go. She traded NYC boardrooms for Regency ballrooms, left her corporate world behind and never looked back. Nothing she expected, but everything she dreamed. She lists her occupation as Living The Dream.

She is a storyteller. Gather round her and allow yourself to become transported you to Regency England in the early 1800’s where the men were charmingly arrogant and the women were there to tame them.

She has more yesterdays than tomorrows and has known many things…content to look through the lens of make-believe to bring Regency Romance into your life.




This series does sound interesting! Thanks for sharing with us, Sandra! I hope everyone is enjoying the holiday season and finding time to spend with family and friends. Happy Holidays!


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

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

Fun Friday with Rose Leeds from The Kiss of a Rose by #romance #author Augustina Van Hoven #PNR #ghosts #hauntings #secondchances #fiction

Fun Friday brings another cool story and an intriguing spectral character from Augustina van Hoven. I’ll let Augustina introduce Miss Rose Van Buren Leeds properly…

Thank you, Betty, for the opportunity to introduce my character, Rose Van Buren Leeds, from THE KISS OF A ROSE.

Rose was born in 1861.  She worked in her father’s dry goods store until the day she married John Leeds, who betrayed her. She died in1882. Rose’s first life is a sad story but with the second chance she is given, she makes choices that save the lives of many. Rose’s story flows through all three books of the Rose series.  For fun and relaxation, Rose likes to sew. In her own time, she designed and sewed her own clothes as well as shirts for her father. She creates her own gown for a ball in 1881 and makes her own wedding dress. In the second book, she draws from her experience and in modern time’s starts a dress shop where she designs and creates exquisite gowns for formal occasions with the elegance and flair of the 1800s. She doesn’t like the modern sewing machine her husband buys her but makes everything on a treadle machine. The dress shop becomes very successful. 


In 1882, Rose Van Buren loved the wrong man and paid for it with her life. Now, more than a century later, the angel Gabriel has granted her another shot at living. In exchange, she must convince a smart, handsome, up-and-coming lawyer to set aside his lofty ambitions.


Stephen Winship is headed straight for the governor’s chair. He has a brilliant career, solid allies, and a seemingly perfect girlfriend. But night after night he finds himself dreaming of a heavenly beauty, a luminous but long-dead girl. Like some altered Ghost of Christmas Past, she shows him her own tragic tale in order to “save him.” And he’s beginning to see Rose is risking her heart as much as baring her soul. Yet falling for her will cost him everything—and open him up to a happiness he never imagined.

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Augustina VanHoven was born in The Netherlands and currently resides in the PacificNorthwest with her husband, two dogs, and three cats. She is an avid reader of romance, science fiction, and fantasy. When she’s not writing she likes to work in her garden or in the winter months crochet and knit on her knitting machine. Get to know her at

Twitter:  @augustinavhoven


Pinterest: Augustina Van Hoven, Author

Another ghost story to add to my collection! Don’t you love it when life—or perhaps, in this case, death—gives us a second chance to make a difference in someone else’s life? I think it’s very noble of Rose to try to help Stephen make the right choices. Thanks for sharing, Augustina!


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

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