Getting to know Richard W. Wise #author #novels #histfic #mystery #thriller #amreading #FReadom

My guest today brings a story with an anthropological nature. Please help me welcome author Richard W. Wise to the interview hot seat! Let’s take a look at his background and then find out more about his stories.

Richard W. Wise is the author of four books: bestseller SECRETS OF THE GEM TRADE, THE CONNOISSEUR’S GUIDE (originally published in 2001, second revised edition in 2016), THE FRENCH BLUE (2010)—an award-winning historical novel, and the mystery/thriller REDLINED: A NOVEL OF BOSTON (2020).  He lives with his wife, Rebekah, and their two cats (Charlie and Sammy) in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Author Social Links: Website | Facebook

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

Richard: The magnificent cave paintings at Chauvet Cave in Southern France.

Betty: What, if any, new writing skill did you develop while working on this story?

Richard: I think I improved my character development.

Betty: Did you struggle with any part of this story? What and how?

Richard: The personalities of the two protagonists, particularly the female Lada. She is kidnapped by Neanderthals and given a choice to marry one or remain a slave. How she deals with that choice and her conflicted feelings when she discovers she is pregnant with a child by one of the men who murdered her father and all her friends.

Betty: Which character(s) were the easiest to get to know? Why do you think?

Richard: Again, Lada. Writing about a woman who existed prior to the Judeo-Christian ethos.

Betty: What kind of research did you need to do to write this story?

Richard: I read a number of books on the Aurignacian Period in France. 40-30,000 BP. Also, books by archeologists detailing what we know about the customs, technology, physical morphology crafts and art of both Neanderthals and Cro Magnons. The climate, available plants and animals of the European Ice Age.

Betty: How many drafts of the story did you write before you felt the story was complete?

Richard: Seven.

Betty: How long did it take for you to write the story you’re sharing with us? Is that a typical length of time for you? Why or why not?

Richard: It took about four years part-time. I began it in 2016 just after finishing the revision (2nd edition) of my first book: Secrets Of The Gem Trade. I had almost finished, Redlined: A Novel of Boston (2019-20), but my agent suggested a number of revisions and I had to drop this book and concentrate on the former for a while.

Betty: What rituals or habits do you have while writing?

Richard: I have the habit of being erratic. I don’t have set days or times, but I do write quite a lot. I’m disciplined in an undisciplined way.

Betty: Every author has a tendency to overuse certain words or phrases in drafts, such as just, once, smile, nod, etc. What are yours? 

Richard: “Just and first.” My characters do smile and nod quite a bit. I also use “quite” a lot.

Betty: Do you have any role models? If so, why do you look up to them?

Richard: I admire a number of writers: Hemingway, Tolkien, Bernard Cornwell.

Betty: Do you have a special place to write? Revise? Read?

Richard: I have a separate office/library/reading room.

Betty: Many authors have a day job. Do you? If so, what is it and do you enjoy it?

Richard: I’m a retired goldsmith/gemologist/gem dealer. I was head of the company and wrote my first two books while I was running that business.

Betty: As an author, what do you feel is your greatest achievement?

Richard: Well, I guess I’d have to say, my first book. It had a major impact on the gem industry and made me quite well off.

Betty: What is your favorite genre to read?

Richard: Historical fiction.

Betty: Success looks different to different people. It could be wealth, or fame, or an inner joy at reaching a certain level. How do you define success in terms of your writing career? 

Richard: I’d like to be a good writer that people read. Improving my craft is important to me.

31,000 BC:

The Dawning tells an age-old story of deadly struggle, the heart-rending tale of young love—its aspirations, pain, disappointments and eventual triumph.

Ejil and Lada, son and daughter of a Cro-Magnon tribe (on the verge of adulthood) have begun to explore their maturing feelings when an encounter with a clan of Neanderthal hunters tears their Ice Age world apart. Lada is lost and Ejil finds himself embarked on a desperate odyssey to find the mother tribe.

The Neanderthals, a pale skinned people, occupied Ice Age Europe for three hundred thousand years. Dark-skinned Cro-Magnons, our direct ancestors, appeared forty-five thousand years ago. Five thousand years later, the Neanderthals had disappeared. What happened when our two ancestral peoples came face to face on the ice bound plains of prehistory?

Travel back 33,000 years into our deep past. Set against the backdrop of the fabulous painted caves of Southern France, follow the gripping tale of two young lovers and the sweeping narrative of ancient cultures met in bloody conflict.

Buy Links: Amazon

I applaud you, Richard, for tackling ancient history like this. I have studied anthropology in the 1990s and loved the Clan of the Cave Bear series by Jean Auel (well, most of the books in that series). I hope this one finds its audience! Thanks for stopping by.

Happy reading!

Betty

Award-winning Author of Historical Fiction with Heart, and Haunting, Bewitching Love Stories

Visit www.bettybolte.com for a complete list of my books and appearances.

Subscribe to My Newsletter to learn the inside scoop about releases and more!

Getting to know Matthew C. Lucas #author #histfic #speculative #fiction #fantasy #books #amreading #amwriting

Please help me welcome author Matt Lucas to the interview hot seat! Let’s take a gander at his bio and then find out more about what he has to share with us today.

Matthew C. (“Matt”) Lucas was born and raised in Tampa, Florida, and lives there now with his wife, their two sons, dog, and axolotl. He writes speculative fiction that ranges from dark and epic, to droll and historic, to a lot of stuff in between. His published novels include The Mountain (Montag Press) and Yonder & Far: The Lost Lock (Ellysian Press), with two more novels (including the next Yonder & Far adventure) set to be released in late 2023 or early 2024. Matt’s shorter works have appeared in Bards & Sages Quarterly, The Society of Misfit Stories, Sword & Sorcery Magazine, and Best Indie Speculative Fiction.

When he’s not working, enjoying his family, writing, or playing the bagpipes (badly), he can be found at the neighborhood bowling alley, an enthusiastic if not especially talented regular.

Author Social Links: Website

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

Matthew: Yonder & Far: The Lost Lock came about after I had read Susanna Clarke’s delightful Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell (for the third or fourth time) and thought to myself how fun it would be to craft a historical fantasy in that same vein, but set in the United States … and told from the point of view of the fae … and with a dash of Casablanca. With that impetus, and after a fair amount of historical research, the book practically wrote itself.

Betty: What, if any, new writing skill did you develop while working on this story?

Matthew: Definitely historical research. This is my first novel of historical fiction, and I wanted to get the details as right as possible. I am not, however, a professional (or even an amateur) historian. So it took some time for me to find good sources that could provide a holistic overview of the late eighteenth century in the United States as well as more granular details about specific story points I wanted to flesh out (e.g., legal proceedings in post-Colonial Boston, the origins of Prince Hall Freemasonry, Age of Sail mechanics, and so forth).

Betty: Did you struggle with any part of this story? What and how?

Matthew: I’m a discovery writer (i.e., a “pantser”), so I usually go into a new novel with a good idea about what will happen in the beginning, a fair idea about how it will end, and no idea about the middle. Middles are where I spend the most time in my writing, and Yonder & Far: The Lost Lock was no exception.

Betty: Which character(s) were the easiest to get to know? Why do you think?

Matthew: John Yonder came pretty easily (although his partner, Captain Far, was a close second). Some of Yonder’s lines, I swear, I heard them spoken in my ear while I was writing. He’s a fussy, preening, pompous, lawyerly little fellow of simple pleasures. For some reason, I can channel him pretty easily. Make of that what you will.

Betty: What kind of research did you need to do to write this story?

Matthew: I read a couple of “general history” books, a couple of presidential biographies, some guy’s master’s thesis on Boston in the 1790’s (that was, fortuitously, posted online for whatever reason), and I looked at a lot of maps.

Betty: How many drafts of the story did you write before you felt the story was complete?

Matthew: As a discovery writer, my writing process usually has me going over the prior day’s work before writing anything new. So the first completed version of my drafts takes a little longer to complete, but it’s usually about 80% finished by the time I write “The End.” So, really, it only took two versions—the initial and the edited final—before I felt the story was complete. My editors (God bless them) had other ideas. We went through somewhere between ten and twelve passes of the whole manuscript before the book was released last year.

Betty: How long did it take for you to write the story you’re sharing with us? Is that a typical length of time for you? Why or why not?

Matthew: It took about a year. And that’s right on track for my method of writing. I’m a daily word-count writer (I try for around 500 a day, not including Sundays), which puts me on pace to finish a first draft of a 100,000-word novel in about twelve months.

Betty: What rituals or habits do you have while writing?

Matthew: I drink a lot while I write … Half a pot of coffee, at least.

Betty: Every author has a tendency to overuse certain words or phrases in drafts, such as just, once, smile, nod, etc. What are yours?

Matthew: Arching eyebrows, nods, and smiles. I end up editing a lot of them out because my first drafts have my characters communicating like mimes.

Betty: Do you have any role models? If so, why do you look up to them?

Matthew: I think Patrick O’Brian’s writing is superb. His Aubrey Maturin books are an amazing amalgam of flowing prose, richly drawn characters, high-stakes action, and impeccable historical research (that never overwhelms the story).

Betty: Do you have a special place to write? Revise? Read?

Matthew: For writing and revising, we have a small den with a window to the backyard and a framed picture of a peacock that I end up staring at a lot. That’s where I do my fiction writing. Reading can be anywhere, but usually it’s on the couch in the living room.

Betty: Many authors have a day job. Do you? If so, what is it and do you enjoy it?

Matthew: I do have a day job, and I love it. I’ve been a state appellate judge for the past eight years—a job that entails, interestingly enough, an enormous amount of reading and writing.

Betty: As an author, what do you feel is your greatest achievement?

Matthew: It’s been a few years, but honestly, I’m still on cloud nine each time I get an offer of publication from a publisher. That’s a thrill I don’t think any author ever forgets. More recently, I was proud that Yonder & Far: The Lost Lock took second place in the historical fantasy category of the spring 2023 BookFest Award.

Betty: What is your favorite genre to read?

Matthew: Right now, historical fantasy.

Betty: Success looks different to different people. It could be wealth, or fame, or an inner joy at reaching a certain level. How do you define success in terms of your writing career?

Matthew: For me, success is reaching an audience that enjoys the kind of stories I do: fantastic adventures told with a little bit of a literary flare; page-turning speculative fiction that also wrangles with the deeper issues of life. If I can entertain those readers, the time and effort I’ve put into my writing will have been worth it.

Boston 1798. John Yonder, Esquire has accepted a seemingly simple case. He need only recover a magical lock of hair for a spurned lady. She had given it to her lover, Wylde, who is somewhere in Boston. The problem is, neither Yonder nor his murderous, wine-soaked partner, Captain Far, have any idea how to find him. But Yonder has an idea: he tricks a fortuneteller, Mary Faulkner, into assisting with the case. With a whisper in her ear, he tethers Mary’s mind to Wylde’s, creating a terrible, but potent human compass.

Following Mary’s guidance, the trio sets out after Wylde. Hapless sailors, pirates, slave owners, and a host of others hinder the path to Wylde. In the end, Yonder, Far, and Mary learn that the man they’re after, the lock of hair he’s carrying, and the client who hired them are not at all what they seem.

Buy Links: Amazon | B&N | Smashwords

I’m always intrigued by pansters, being a “plotster” myself. Thanks for sharing with us, Matt!

Happy reading!

Betty

Award-winning Author of Historical Fiction with Heart, and Haunting, Bewitching Love Stories

Visit www.bettybolte.com for a complete list of my books and appearances.

Subscribe to My Newsletter to learn the inside scoop about releases and more!

Getting to know Jerry Aylward #author #historical #fiction #truecrime #American #histfic #ghostmystery #thriller #suspense #books

My guest today writes during my favorite time period, the American Revolution. Please help me welcome Jerry Aylward to the interview hot seat! A quick peek at his bio and then we’ll find out more about him and his writing process.

Jerry Aylward is a retired police detective with thirty-two years of service with the Nassau County NY Police Department. He served another ten years in federal law enforcement with the United States Department of Homeland Security as a criminal investigator with OCSO (Office of the Chief Security Officer) at a high-level government research facility. Jerry has a bachelor’s degree in behavioral science from NYIT and is a New York State–licensed private investigator.

Jerry authored: Francis “Two Gun” Crowley’s Killings in New York City & Long Island, and a pictorial history of the Nassau County Police Department. Jerry’s first novel The Scarlet Oak was released on July 4th, 2022. Jerry’s genre has been mainly local history and true crime. With his novel The Scarlet Oak, he throws a twist of murder, spies, and spirits into an American Revolution mystery that takes place in Oyster Bay, on the north shore of Nassau County.

Author’s Social Links: Website | Instagram | Twitter

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

Jerry: A mixture of forgotten American history and real-life events.

Betty: What, if any, new writing skill did you develop while working on this story?

Jerry: I learned quite few as a matter of fact, though mostly, I think it would be developing a character’s voice as the story moved through the POV [point of view].

Betty: Did you struggle with any part of this story? What and how?

Jerry: I didn’t really struggle with any part of the story, as much as I needed to polish the storyline, which is always a bit of a struggle.

Betty: Which character(s) were the easiest to get to know? Why do you think?

Jerry: Finn was the easiest, we share a professional occupation.

Betty: What kind of research did you need to do to write this story?

Jerry: Reading a lot of local Long Island, New York American Revolution (Spy) history and visiting historical sites.

Betty: How many drafts of the story did you write before you felt the story was complete?

Jerry: I only made one draft…but tons of revisions.

Betty: How long did it take for you to write the story you’re sharing with us? Is that a typical length of time for you? Why or why not?

Jerry: The idea for this story came from a series of real-life (suspicious) human events that occurred from the same household, expanding many years. I took those events and developed it into an historical storyline occurring at an historical 18th-century American Revolution home (museum) located on the north shore of Long Island in Oyster Bay. Overall, it took about three years, which is much longer than other projects I’ve published. Mainly because of the research, all but one or two of the characters in The Scarlet Oak are a fictional account based on real historical people.

Betty: What rituals or habits do you have while writing?

Jerry: One of my required rituals besides lots of coffee, lol, is music. I have a constant thirst for (classical) music to stream my backdrop for all my writings.

Betty: Every author has a tendency to overuse certain words or phrases in drafts, such as just, once, smile, nod, etc. What are yours?

Jerry: At times I must catch myself using words and phrases I find myself overusing, such as the word that, and, and phrases like he said, or she said in dialogue, rather than using an emotional or facial expression to accent a voice.

Betty: Do you have any role models? If so, why do you look up to them?

Jerry: I don’t have any one role model when it comes to writing if that’s what you’re asking. Though I do like the voices of a few mystery writers like William Kent Krueger, Robert Parker, Agatha Christie, and C.J. Box to name a few.

Betty: Do you have a special place to write? Revise? Read?

Jerry: I have a small, quiet office space tucked away in a corner of the basement of my house, it’s finished, carpeted, and surrounded by items that encourage my thoughts and ideas.

Betty: Many authors have a day job. Do you? If so, what is it and do you enjoy it?

Jerry: I’m retired. Though I do have a couple of dogs that require a lot of attention.

Betty: As an author, what do you feel is your greatest achievement?

Jerry: My greatest achievement in writing has been to be published and recognized with a couple small awards.

Betty: What is your favorite genre to read?

Jerry: I enjoy reading many different genres, mostly for a change of pace. Though my absolute favorite would have to be mysteries, and whodunits.

Betty: Success looks different to different people. It could be wealth, or fame, or an inner joy at reaching a certain level. How do you define success in terms of your writing career?

Jerry: I would define success in my writings by someone who truly enjoys one of my stories, a win-win for both of us.         

In September of 2018 the bodies of two high school sweethearts are discovered beneath a venerable scarlet oak tree in a vacant horse pasture on the posh north shore estate of J. Barrington Cook, a wealthy, but secretive, Oyster Bay, Long Island landowner.

     With no forensic evidence to support his suspicions of a double murder, other than a hardened cop’s intuition, Finn embarks on an unsanctioned homicide investigation that soon exposes a long but skeptic thread of unexplained deaths dating back two-hundred and thirty-eight years, mixing with an enigmatic and beguiling apparition of a young woman residing in the same Revolutionary home of all his victims.

     Finn is mysteriously transported back to colonial Oyster Bay at the height of the American Revolution to the home of one of General George Washington’s covert Culper spies. It is here he must discover the motive for all the unexplained deaths along with the mystifying reason they have remained undetected.

     Finn’s life takes an unexpected turn when he meets the beautiful but cryptic Sally Townsend, forcing him to abandon a self-imposed protective shell of indifference to solve the mystery emanating from her Revolutionary home, while at the same time saving the life of his alluring confidant, and stopping a killer.

Book buy link: Amazon

It seems very appropriate for a former police detective to write murder mysteries, either contemporary or historical. Thanks for sharing with us, Jerry!

Happy reading!

Betty

Award-winning Author of Historical Fiction with Heart, and Haunting, Bewitching Love Stories

Visit www.bettybolte.com for a complete list of my books and appearances.

Subscribe to My Newsletter to learn the inside scoop about releases and more!

Introducing Lucius Sestius from The Emperor’s Servant by Fiona Forsyth #character #author #historical #Roman #mystery

I’m so pleased to welcome our guest, Lucius Sestius, from the pages of The Emperor’s Servant! He has quite a tale to tell, too. First, let’s peek at author Fiona Forsyth’s bio to find out why she wrote this particular story, and then we’ll chat with Lucius.

From the age of six when I was introduced to the myths of Greece and Rome, I wanted to explore the differences between our world and theirs, because the people of ancient Rome are alien to us. Curiosity led me to study Classics at a time when most people told me that Latin was not useful: I then earned a living teaching it for 25 years before a family move to the Middle East gave me the opportunity to write about the people, events, themes and stories which had fascinated me for so long. A book from me will take you as close as I can – but still I don’t think it is possible to completely understand the world of Rome. And I know I split an infinitive there…

Author Social Links: Website * Twitter

Betty: How would you describe your parents?

Lucius: My father and mother are both dead. I don’t remember my mother, as far as I am concerned the woman who brought me up was my stepmother Cornelia and she died in one of the autumn plagues that Rome is always going through, about six or seven years ago. She was lovely. My father – well, he was kind and a lot more intelligent than people gave him credit for. He lived through the fall of his beloved Republic, and he bore everything as well as can be expected.

Betty: Who taught you to tie your shoes?

Lucius: My nursemaid, I think. Or it might have been Decius. Decius seems to have run our household since we got him. He is freed now, of course, but still works for the family. In fact, I cannot imagine life without him. I’m dictating this to him now.

Betty: What do you think is your greatest failure? Why?

Lucius: I failed to restore the Roman Republic. Not to sound dramatic, but that is why I joined Cassius and Brutus after Julius Caesar’s assassination. I got through the Battle of Philippi, unlike both Brutus and Cassius, and twenty years later here I am, obediently serving as consul under our beloved leader Augustus. I failed completely there, didn’t I?

Betty: If you could change the past, what would you change?

Lucius: If Caesar had never been born, he would not have forced a civil war on us, become Dictator and been killed and we might still be a Republic. I don’t know. It depresses me to think about it. Can we go on to another question, please?

Betty: What’s your greatest fear? Who else knows about it?

Lucius: My greatest fear? I think, having lost what I was fighting for at Philippi, I don’t really have much to lose now. Worry about the children occasionally of course, and I suppose if the family estate were taken away from me, that would be awful. It isn’t something I talk about with anyone, though I think Decius and my sisters would know, if you asked them.

Betty: Do you have a favorite sibling? Who?

Lucius: Are you kidding? Choose between my sisters? The one I put second would kill me. Let me just say that both Albinia and Tia are amazing, and I adore them. Albinia is my full sister and a distinguished poet, and Tia is my younger half-sister. I worry about them both but particularly Tia. She has never married – her fiancé was killed in a street fight in Rome. We know that the attackers were supposed to target me, but they got my friend instead. I am not sure Tia will ever get over that. I was glad my father didn’t try to pressure her into marrying again. It wouldn’t have worked anyway, both my sisters do as they like.

Betty: If you could live anywhere, where would you live?

Lucius: On my family farm in Cosa, north of Rome. It is very ordinary and I love it. The vineyard I set up there is the thing I am most proud of. Oh – Decius says I ought to have said that I am most proud of my children first. He is probably right. Decius tends to be right. But my vineyard is very fine and my vines manager, Titus, while always pessimistic, manages to produce something drinkable every year. We are now exporting our wines all the way up the coast and into Gaul. There is a real market there, hardly surprising. Have you tried beer? It’s revolting.

Betty: How do you like to relax?

Lucius: I drink. Preferably wine I’ve made myself.

Betty: What kinds of friends do you have?

Lucius: Sadly, my best friends are people who have been through terrible experiences. I’m not sure that there are many people my age who haven’t. I was at Philippi with Horace, the poet. I expect you’ve heard of him. I’m quite proud of him, but don’t tell him I said that. Did you know he wrote one of his odes to me? Haven’t a clue what it’s about but everyone tells me I should be pleased. My other great friend is Marcus Tullius Cicero the younger. Yes, his father was that Cicero, killed by order of our beloved Augustus. Makes you think, eh? We have to pretend to forget all this now.

Betty: Who would you like to meet? Why?

Lucius: I never met Cleopatra. I saw her in Rome once, from a distance. Well, I saw the crowd surrounding her. I wish now I could have seen her close up, got to know why – why people raved about her. I wish she had never met Caesar and had his son. That’s the real reason we had to fight her and Antony you know. That poor kid. Killed by Augustus at the age of seventeen, because he was Caesar’s son. No other possible challenger to Augustus could be allowed to live.

Er – Augustus isn’t going to read any of this, is he?

In the depths of serious illness, the emperor Augustus is forced to rethink how he governs the city. He calls upon the most unlikely helper. Lucius Sestius has made it through conspiracy and civil war and wants nothing more than to drink himself happy in the Italian countryside. Now he, the last of the Republicans, is invited to step up to public service. To Lucius’ consternation, he is catapulted into office just in time to deal with a pestilence sweeping through Italy. Thousands of people are dying, and the river Tiber is riding dangerously high. But Lucius is not just fighting floods and an epidemic. A conspiracy centred on the disgraced general Primus is threatening the emperor, and Lucius is expected to choose a side. Lucius’ idyllic life on his family estate is overshadowed by intrigues in which he wants no part, but a naïve act of kindness brings the wrath of the Emperor down upon him.

Redemption in the eyes of Augustus comes at a heavy price.

Buy Links: AmazonUS * AmazonUK

You’ve faced quite some challenges, Lucius. I appreciate you taking time to answer my questions today. And thanks to Fiona for giving you some time away.

Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays! Happy reading!

Betty

Award-winning Author of Historical Fiction with Heart, and Haunting, Bewitching Love Stories

Visit www.bettybolte.com for a complete list of my books and appearances.

Subscribe to My Newsletter to learn the inside scoop about releases and more!

Getting to know Katerina Dunne #author #historical #medieval #history #shortstories #amreading #HistFic

I’d love to take a road trip to visit my next guest! Please help me welcome author Katerina Dunne! She lives in a beautiful country I’d go back to in a heartbeat… Let’s take a look at her bio and then find out more about her and her writing process.

Katerina Dunne is the pen-name of Katerina Vavoulidou. Originally from Athens, Greece, Katerina has been living in Ireland since 1999. She has a degree in English Language and Literature, an MA in Film Studies and an MPhil in Medieval History. While she used to write short stories for family and friends in her teenage years, she only took up writing seriously in 2016-17, when she started work on her first novel. 

Katerina’s day job is in financial services, but in her free time she enjoys watching historically-themed movies and TV series. She is passionate about history, especially medieval history, and her main area of interest is 13th to 15th century Hungary. When it comes to historical fiction, her favourite authors include Elizabeth Chadwick, Kate Innes, Christian Cameron and Bán Mór (the Hungarian author of the Hunyadi series of books) Although the main characters of her stories are fictional, Katerina uses real events and personalities as part of her narrative in order to bring to life the fascinating history of the medieval Kingdom of Hungary, a location and time period not so well-known to English-speaking readers.

Author Social Links: Facebook * Goodreads * Amazon

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

Katerina: It all started because of my love for medieval history and my great interest in Hungary. This story was inspired by the border lords of the fifteenth-century Kingdom of Hungary. These men of middle and lower nobility were the backbone of the feudal armies of the period. Very few of them made it into the chronicles and history books. Their lives must have been hard; a constant struggle to run their own estates and protect them from the relentless Ottoman raiding as well as from attacks by other local lords while also leaving home for long periods to campaign with the king and his barons.

Betty: What, if any, new writing skill did you develop while working on this story?

Katerina: I am completely new to writing, so I learned and developed many skills. Probably the most important ones would be understanding the POV of a scene and the elements of showing (as opposed to telling) This last technique was the most difficult because I was fresh from my academic studies, where the writing style is completely different.

Betty: Did you struggle with any part of this story? What and how?

Katerina: I think the hardest part was “embedding” my fictional main characters into the real historical events. Their interactions with real life personalities were the products of my imagination, but I had to base them on research of primary and secondary sources so that they appear realistic and appropriate.

Betty: Which character(s) were the easiest to get to know? Why do you think?

Katerina: I suppose my protagonist and his wife because they play the major roles in the story. I created them with many flaws and shortcomings, and so I had to delve a little deeper into their personalities in order to bring forth their development journey.

Betty: What kind of research did you need to do to write this story?

Katerina: Primary sources for the actual historical events (battles, politics, etc.) and the timeline. Secondary sources which provide analysis of these events from a scholarly perspective and also an overview of the social, political, economic and cultural life of the time.

Betty: How many drafts of the story did you write before you felt the story was complete?

Katerina: Too many. I have lost count!

Betty: How long did it take for you to write the story you’re sharing with us? Is that a typical length of time for you? Why or why not?

Katerina: It took me nearly six years because I am not a full-time writer. I have day job, and I also spent one year doing my MPhil in Medieval History in-between. I also worked with two editors and a number of alpha and beta readers and did so many revisions. I hope that my future novels will not take such a long time as I now have a better idea of the writing craft as well.

Betty: What rituals or habits do you have while writing?  

Katerina: I am not sure if that is considered a ritual or habit, but before I write a scene, I visualize it, even rehearse it in my head as if I am part of it. This helps me put myself in my characters’ minds, speak their words and feel their emotions.

Betty: Every author has a tendency to overuse certain words or phrases in drafts, such as just, once, smile, nod, etc. What are yours?

Katerina: There are too many I think! “as if”, “suddenly”, “only”, “said”, “asked” to name a few which I later revised.

Betty: Do you have any role models? If so, why do you look up to them?

Katerina: I admire a number of historical fiction writers, mostly those writing medieval historical fiction. I enjoy the novels of Elizabeth Chadwick and Kate Innes, but I try to learn a little bit from every book I read.

Betty: Do you have a special place to write? Revise? Read?

Katerina: It may sound strange, but I do most of my writing and revising in bed, on my laptop. It just makes me feel very comfortable and relaxed.

Betty: Many authors have a day job. Do you? If so, what is it and do you enjoy it?

Katerina: I work in the financial services full time. It’s a hard job requiring a lot of attention to detail. I can’t say I enjoy it, but I think it’s an OK job, and it pays the mortgage and the bills.  It also gives me the financial security to engage in my writing without having to worry about how many books I sell.

Betty: As an author, what do you feel is your greatest achievement?

Katerina: Definitely the publishing of my debut novel, Lord of the Eyrie.

Betty: What is your favorite genre to read?

Katerina: Historical fiction.

Betty: Success looks different to different people. It could be wealth, or fame, or an inner joy at reaching a certain level. How do you define success in terms of your writing career?

Katerina: I think the satisfaction of completing a novel and publishing it is the most important thing. The feeling of creating a story that people can relate to, and of seeing my work out there in the outside world. The comments of the readers who appreciated the novel are great encouragement as well.

Transylvania, Kingdom of Hungary, 1440:

Finally home after five years away, warrior-nobleman Sándor Szilágyi is met by a dying father, a resentful younger brother, his child-bride all grown up and the family estate raided by the Ottomans. As he struggles to adjust to life as a landlord, Sándor’s authority is challenged by two strong-minded and fearless women: Margit, his faithful and righteous wife, determined to keep him on the straight and narrow; and Anna, his sister-in-law, a scheming temptress bent on ruining him in order to take his land.

After committing a mortal sin and desperate to win back the woman he loves, Sándor seeks absolution by accepting his overlord’s summons to fight the Ottomans. But his obsession with war will lead him down a perilous path.

Loyalties are tested, danger lurks around every corner, and Sándor’s struggle to balance his duty to protect his land and family from his relatives’ greedy hands, as well as his duty to defend his country on the battlefield, will come at a terrible cost.

Buy Links: AmazonUK * Amazon * B&N * BookDepository

You’re right that I don’t know anything about that time period, so I’ll add your story to my TBR. Thanks, Katerina, for stopping by and sharing your story with us!

Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays! And as always, happy reading!

Betty

Award-winning Author of Historical Fiction with Heart, and Haunting, Bewitching Love Stories

Visit www.bettybolte.com for a complete list of my books and appearances.

Subscribe to My Newsletter to learn the inside scoop about releases and more!

Introducing Gwyn, the heroine from A Gift By The Sea by Nancy Lee Badger #author #historical #holiday #romance #Scottish #Christmas #fiction #novels #amreading

Settle in with a cuppa and let’s meet a cute character, Gwyn, taking a break from her story to chat with us. First we’ll look at author Nancy Lee Badger’s bio and then we’ll find out more about our young guest, Gwyn.

Nancy Lee Badger grew up in Huntington on New York’s Long Island. After attending Plymouth State, in New Hampshire, she earned a Bachelor of Science degree and met and married her college sweetheart. They raised two handsome sons in Rumney, New Hampshire while she dreamed of being a writer. When the children had left the nest, and shoveling snow became a chore, she retired from her satisfying job as a 911 Emergency Medical Dispatcher and moved to North Carolina, where she writes full-time.

Nancy is a member of Romance Writers of America, Heart of Carolina Romance Writers, Fantasy-Futuristic & Paranormal Romance Writers, and the Triangle Association of Freelancers. She finds story ideas in the most unusual places, especially at Scottish Highland Games.

Author Social Links: Facebook * Twitter * Goodreads

Betty: How would you describe your parents?

Gwyn: My name is Gwyn. Mom died giving birth to my younger brother, York. Da’ is a great man, but we are curious why he made us move from the south shore of Loch Ness to the cliffs along the North Sea.

Betty: Do you know how to swim? How did you learn, if so?

Gwyn: Growing up on Loch Ness meant ye learned to swim early. Da’ taught us all to fish, but our tiny boat leaked.

Betty: What do you think is your greatest failure? Why?

Gwyn: I do not believe I am a failure. Rather, I have had little opportunity to show my true strengths. That all changes when I discover a not-so-dead naked sailor on our beach.

Betty: Do you have a favorite sibling? Who?

Gwyn: Sorry, but I canno’ choose between Tor and York. They have their faults. We three are rather young, but what happens when we meet Monroe makes all of us mature quickly.

Betty: What kinds of friends do you have?

Gwyn: (Gwyn blushes) I recently met a hurt sailor named Monroe. I saved his life on that beach then saved him again when he was kidnapped, and when I meet his da’. Monroe is A GIFT FROM THE SEA and we have become…close.

Grab some hot cocoa and snuggle under the covers this season with four all-new medieval romances by best-selling and award-winning authors Allison Butler, Aurrora St. James, Ria Cantrell, and Nancy Lee Badger. From friends to lovers to a marriage of convenience, hidden identities and his best friend’s sister, you’ll be swept away to the magic of Christmas in Scotland where braw heroes will do anything for the women they’ve come to love.

Buy Links:  NancyLeeBadgerBlogspot

Thanks, Gwyn, for telling us more about you and your family, and of course Monroe!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Betty

Award-winning Author of Historical Fiction with Heart, and Haunting, Bewitching Love Stories

Visit www.bettybolte.com for a complete list of my books and appearances.

Subscribe to My Newsletter to learn the inside scoop about releases and more!

Martha Washington Slept Here: Ford’s Mansion in Morristown #history #NewJersey #AmericanRevolution #HistoricalFiction #HistFic #amwriting #amreading #books #novel

I’m continuing my series of locations where Martha traveled to be with George during the American Revolution. On a side note, some of you may remember that there used to be signs posted declaring “George Washington Slept Here” at various hotels and houses and such, which is why I decided to also share where Martha slept as well. At least during the war years. So this week we travel back to Morristown where she stayed at Ford’s Mansion on this trip.

In case you’ve missed the earlier posts, so far I’ve covered these camps:

The first winter headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1775.

The second winter headquarters in Morristown, NJ, in 1776.

Then Valley Forge in 1777-78.

Next at Middlebrook from 1778-79.

During November 1779, Martha began gathering items and preparing to leave to join George at his winter headquarters. Sometime around the end of November, he sent for her and she headed to Morristown, New Jersey. This time the widow Theodosia Ford invited George to stay at her house. Her husband, Jacob Ford, Jr., had died a few years earlier. Theodosia and her children occupied two rooms in the house while George, Martha, his aides, and their servants occupied the remainder. You can find out more about Ford’s Mansion here.

Note: The above images are all taken from the archives of the Library of Congress. They were taken by the Detroit Publishing Company in 1901.

In my notes, I estimate she left around December 1 and arrived around the 28th. Apparently it was one of the coldest winters ever, too, which could have only made traveling even more stressful and exhausting. All the layers of clothing to help keep warm would have weighed a good bit. Shivering would also wear on a person. I imagine they used hot bricks or stones to help keep the coach warm inside, perhaps placing them under the ladies’ skirts?

While Martha was in Morristown, several remarkable events happened. Nathaniel Greene’s wife, Kitty, gave birth to a son in January. In April, foreign emissaries from France and Spain visited, calling for a review of the troops and a ball. Apparently, Don Juan de Mirailles of Cuba fell ill that month and Martha helped to nurse him but by the end of the month the man had died. George had to break the news to the governor of Cuba. In May, the Marquis de Lafayette arrived with the news that his son was named George Washington Lafayette and that a fleet of six thousand men were on their way. This was a good thing as two of George’s regiments were near to mutinying due to the lack of supplies. Also in May, George was informed that Lord General Cornwallis had seized Charleston, South Carolina.

Martha finally headed for Mount Vernon in June 1780. After she arrived home, she wrote to her brother-in-law Burwell Bassett on July 18, 1780. In her words:

Dear Sir

            When yours and my dear Fannys letters came to my hands – I was in expectation of leving Camp every week – I left the General about the Middle of June – the last I heard from him he was going up the North river – I got home on Fryday and find myself so much fatigue with my ride that I shall not be able to come down to see you this summer and must request you to bring Fanny up – as soon as you can – I suffered so much last winter by going late that I have determined to go early in the fall before the Frost set in – if Fanny does not come soon she will have but a short time to stay with me – we were sorry that we did not see you at the Camp – there was not much pleasure thar the distress of the army and other difficultys th’o I did not know the cause, the pore General was so unhappy that it distressed me exceedingly

            I shall hope to see you soon after the assembly rises, with Fanny – please to give my love to her and the Boys who I should be very glad to see with you… I am dr Sir your affectionate friend & hmble sert

                                                                        Martha Washington

The Fanny she refers to is the daughter of Burwell and Anna Marie “Nancy” Bassett. Nancy was Martha’s sister who had died on December 17, 1777. Burwell was a lawyer and member of the Virginia House of Burgesses. Martha is asking him to visit after the current session ends.

I do not know specifically what was distressing George, but if his troops were threatening to mutiny because they didn’t have the supplies they needed, that would be a huge concern. I do know he wrote to Congress frequently requesting and demanding food, uniforms, ammunition and guns, etc. The other possibility is that he’d become aware of Benedict Arnold’s dissatisfaction with how he was being treated, leading up to his defection to the British in November of 1780. That would have worried him as well in the first half of the year. In fact, he tried to placate him by acknowledging Arnold’s contribution to the American cause, but it ended up not being enough for Arnold’s ego.

This stay in Morristown is the last time Martha goes to that lovely city. Next week, I’ll share some pictures I took when I got to visit New Windsor, New York where the headquarters and the cantonment were located in 1780.

Until then, I hope you find a good story to read by the pool or lake! 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 image of Becoming Lady Washington depicting the marriage of George and Martha 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.

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Martha Washington Slept Here: Middlebrook #history #NewJersey #AmericanRevolution #HistoricalFiction #HistFic #amwriting #amreading #books #novel

In honor of America’s Independence Day, Samantha’s Secret (A More Perfect Union historical romance series Book 3) is on sale for only $.99 through July 8. This series is set in Charleston, SC, mainly during the occupation by the British in 1782.

Healer Samantha McAlester faces the occupation of Charles Town by the British and the town’s new sexy doctor, Dr. Trenton Cunningham, who wants a hospital staffed with educated doctors. When a friend develops an infection, Trent is stumped. The only treatment will expose Samantha’s secret, risking all she’s come to hold dear… including Trent.

Amazon

I hope you give that series a try. It was one of my first set of linked stories, originally a planned trilogy of Emily’s Vow, Amy’s Choice, and Samantha’s Secret. Later I added Evelyn’s Promise at my publisher’s request. Elizabeth’s Hope was the last installment, a prequel novella. I hope you enjoy their stories!

Every fall, Martha waited for George to summon her to the winter encampment of the Continental Army. Again, I was surprised to learn that she ultimately went to him every winter. But once I understood her better I was no longer surprised. It was who she was.

So far I’ve covered three camps:

The first winter headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1775.

The second winter headquarters in Morristown, NJ, in 1776.

The third at Valley Forge in 1777-78.

Today let’s explore Middlebrook, NJ, during the winter of 1778-79. This camp was located at what is now the north edge of Bound Brook on Mountain Avenue in Somerset County. According to Revolutionary NJ the army “encamped from the vicinities of Bound Brook and Somerville northward to Pluckemin.” You can learn more about the importance of the location at that previous site as well.

On November 2, 1778, Martha wrote to her brother Bartholomew Dandridge about her concerns. In her words:

“I received your kind favor by Mr. Posey and should have wrote to you long before this but have everyday expected everyday Jack would be ready to set out, I am very sorry to hear that my mamma has been so unwell and thank god that she has recovered again – I wish I was near enough to come to see you and her. I am very uneasy at this time – I have some reason to expect that I shall take another trip to the northward. The pore General is not likely to come to see us from what I can hear – I expect to hear seertainly by the next post – if I doe I shall write to you to inform you and my friends.”

Martha was leery of the trip north due to memories of the bad roads and bad weather she’d encountered before. It didn’t help that her mother had been ill and she was worried about her health. But of course she did go, meeting George in Philadelphia the middle of December 1778. They stayed in that city until February 2 to go to Middlebrook, arriving on the 5th.

I’m sure she fell right back into the routines of camp life, forming the sewing circle with the other wives and socializing in the evenings. She even reportedly had her own regiment, Lady Washington’s Dragoons, to accompany her and keep her safe. But this time was different because she didn’t receive letters from her family as often as she might like. Indeed, she wrote to her son Jack and his wife Eleanor on March 9, 1779:

“My Dear Children,
            Not having received any letter from you, the two last posts – I have only to tell you, that the general & my self are well, all is quiet in this quarters; It is from the south ward that we expect to hear news. – we are very anxious to know how our affairs are going in that quarters Colo [Robert Hanson] Harrison is not yet arrived at camp we have heard that he is in Philad several days ago –
            I hear so very seldom from you, that I don’t know where you are or weather you intend to come to Alexandria to live this spring or when – The last letter from Nelly she now says Boath the children have been very ill, there were she hoped getting better – if you doe not write to me – I will not write to you again or till I get letters from you – Let me know how all friends below are they have for got to write me I believe.”

Martha was concerned about Eleanor because she was with child. In fact, Jack and Eleanor had a daughter on March 21, Eleanor “Nelly” Parke Custis. Her concerns proved well founded, because when she left Middlebrook and went to see Eleanor at her home Abingdon in Virginia the mother was ill and unable to feed the baby. Martha took Nelly to Mount Vernon to care for her while Eleanor recovered. But that reunion didn’t occur until around September.

In 1779-80, the camp returned to Morristown, but this time they set of HQ in a different place. 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.

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Inspiration for Writing a Series #amwriting #Alabama #American #history #ReadIndie #FuryFallsInn

For many people, especially non-writers, trying to understand where the inspiration for a story comes from can be a puzzle. But trying to grasp how to imagine an entire series of stories can be even harder. So I thought I’d share today how I maneuvered my thoughts to create the Fury Falls Inn historical fiction series.

The first piece of this puzzle came in the form of a historical marker I pass when I’m heading to one of my RWA chapter meetings. It’s beside a two-lane by-way in a small, historic town in north Alabama. The marker reads:

Valhermoso Springs

“Vale of Beauty”

The restorative qualities of the mineral springs here attracted settlement in the early 1800s. Variously known as Chunn Springs (after Lancelot Chunn) and Manning Springs (after Robert Manning), the spot was named for early developers of the resort where a hotel and surrounding cabins were erected between 1815 and 1823. By 1834, when the first post office was established, it was called White Sulphur Springs.

Jean Joseph Glers acquired the hotel and surrounding property in 1856, renaming it “Valhermoso Springs.” Into the 20th century, travelers from all over the world came to the hotel and springs seeking relief from rheumatism, insomnia, consumption, and ailments of the skin, kidneys, stomach, and liver. The hotel closed in the 1920s and was destroyed by tornado in 1950.

Historical marker for Valhermoso Springs, Alabama

Now, this sparked an idea for having a story set in a resort in the 1800s. I specifically chose 1821 because of two reasons. First, the timing worked to include the ancestral characters from my American Revolution historical romance series, A More Perfect Union, thus tying the two series together in a subtle way. (Did you catch that hint?) Second, I discovered that Alabama became a state in 1819 so my stories could include the early history of my adopted state. I imagined at first having the individual stories focus on different sets of romantic couples and how they came to the hotel, what conflicts they may have to overcome, etc. Something along the lines of the 1983-1888 TV series, Hotel, starring James Brolin and Connie Seleca. (Man, did I love that series!)

The more I thought about the idea, though, the more I wanted to combine my three favorite genres of fiction: historical, supernatural, and romance. I enjoy delving into the history of a place or people and then recreating the past within a story to help readers experience what that time or those people were like, what they had to face, the limitations on their options, etc. The supernatural elements—ghosts and magic—intrigue me since I’ve had experiences that cannot be logically or perhaps even scientifically explained. I’ve also been told about inexplicable happenings and sightings by others, friends and strangers alike. And finally, I believe in love and romance and hope everyone finds their version of happily ever after.

So, all these musings finally led me to wanting to write stories that take place in a haunted roadside inn, which became the Fury Falls Inn. (Note that a “fury” is another name for a “harsh, domineering woman” which fits Mercy Fairhope’s character perfectly.) I decided not to use an existing historical place because it can be limiting. For example, since I don’t know much about the real hotel in Valhermoso Springs, making it a haunted inn might cause some concern or offense to those people who live there. So instead I chose to invent an inn along Winchester Highway north of Huntsville, rather than southwest of that city. The falls and springs the inn features are purely fictional as well. But I liked the alliteration of Fury Falls and the subtle double entendre of the name.

The first book in the series, The Haunting of Fury Falls Inn, is the story of how the inn became haunted and sets up the remaining stories’ conflicts and mysteries. The next several stories will feature Cassandra Fairhope’s brothers returning at her request and the surprise revelations they must face and adapt to. Book 2, Under Lock and Key, is now available and I’m writing book 3 to release in the spring of 2021.

Imagining the overarching story line for 6 books was a challenge, let me tell you! I’ve never planned out a 6-book series before. Now I have the fun of really getting to know each of the brothers and developing the story to weave their desires and needs toward a satisfying and unexpected conclusion in the last book. I’m not going to rush it, but I do hope to release books 3 and 4 next year, and 5 and 6 in 2022. Wish me luck!

Happy reading and Happy Halloween!

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.

Giles Fairhope reluctantly journeys to the Fury Falls Inn for one reason: his beloved sister Cassie needs him after their mother was murdered. His father and three brothers are far away, so she’s alone, without any family, in the wilderness of 1821 northern Alabama. He plans to find his mother’s killers, ensure Cassie’s safety, and then go home. Cassie begs him to stay until their father returns, but Giles has absolutely no desire to see him. When Cassie tells him their mother’s ghost haunts the inn, he suddenly faces his dead mother amidst shocking memories from his past and unexpected changes in himself.

His mother’s ghost insists he find not only the killers but a stolen set of keys. Keys which unlock more than an attic door but also surprising and dangerous family secrets. The revelations change everything he thought he knew about his family and threaten his sister’s safety and perhaps even her life…

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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.

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