Juggling Personal and Professional Obligations #WritersLife #moving #familyfirst

I know I’m fortunate to be able to work from home. It’s a comfortable place where I can relax and focus on what I need to do without having to dress up and drive to an office. Only when we’re moving, it becomes difficult to concentrate on my writing and the business side of publishing books. See, we sold our farm last week and so started the paperwork to buy the new house we hope to move to the middle of April. We had not planned to move so soon, though. After we put the farm on the market, I pushed through finishing writing The Touchstone of Raven Hollow (Secrets of Roseville Book 3) by the first week in March so that I can stay on track to release it in May. I will send it off on Tuesday to my editor to help me polish it.

Then my focus almost entirely will shift to sorting and discarding, donating, or packing. In addition to our upcoming move from a farm into a neighborhood near my father-in-law’s retirement community, we also have to clear out his assisted living apartment. He’s needing more care now, so will move into skilled care. Thus his other apartment needs to be vacated for another resident. So two moves over the next one month. And all the decisions and disruptions that comes with making such moves.

I’m grateful to have my book nearly done so I’ll keep on track, but I also rather long for the escape of slipping into the story world for a few hours. Ignoring all of those decisions for a little while.

IMG_2173Another task that has taken priority is putting together the raffle baskets and my author basket for the upcoming Heart of Dixie Romance Readers Luncheon on June 3. I’ll hand them over to the ladies in charge of the baskets so they don’t get damaged or worse lost during this transition. Which means gathering the goodies to put in them. I’m waiting for a few more things to fill them out and then can check off that task from my to-do list.

Easter Sunday falls between when we expect to close on the new house and when we close on selling our farm, so I’m not sure if we’ll gather for the holiday, or if we do which house it will be in. Another decision looming!

I may or may not have time during the month of April to write my weekly Monday post, but I will try. I enjoy touching base with my readers. Tasty Tuesday posts will continue as those are provided by some of my authors friends for your enjoyment. Starting in May, I’ll be sharing some historical recipes adapted to modern tastes, cooking techniques, and healthy eating options. More on that to come later.

For now, it’s only one more week until Haunted Melody releases on March 28. Have you ordered your copy yet? Links are below for your convenience.

Now I’m off to figure out what to do with all the stuff in my china hutch. Talk to you later!

Betty

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

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

haunted_melody_600x900Paulette O’Connell needs to build her home decorating business in order to give her unborn child a stable home. While exploring the mysterious attic of the antebellum plantation where she lives, she accidentally summons her grandfather’s ghost. But he won’t leave until she figures out why she needed him in the first place, putting her plans in serious jeopardy.

Zak Markel has been searching for the last ingredient to create the Elixir of Life he hopes will save his brother’s eyesight. But he discovers the woman of his dreams in the smart and beautiful Paulette, distracting him from his focus at the worst possible time, even though she staunchly refuses to allow him past her defenses.

Can he convince Paulette to open her mind to possibilities and follow her heart to true happiness before it’s too late?

(Updated and revised edition; originally published in 2014 as Remnants.)

Amazon USA: http://bit.ly/HauntedMelody

Amazon AU: http://bit.ly/HauntedMelody-AU

Amazon CA: http://bit.ly/HauntedMelody-CA

Amazon UK: http://bit.ly/HauntedMelody-UK

B&N: http://bit.ly/HauntedMelody-BN

Kobo: http://bit.ly/HauntedMelody-K

iTunes: http://bit.ly/HauntedMelody-iTunes

Between the Lines: Pursuit of the Elixir of Life in Haunted Melody #PNR #romance #research

I’ve talked before about how alchemy is woven into the background in my upcoming release, Haunted Melody. You can read about that in this earlier post. What I haven’t addressed yet is what alchemy actually entails. I think others will feel as I do that there is a sense of the mysterious, the mystical or sinister, surrounding the romantic notions of alchemists and their art. Even after doing research into the topic, I still come away with a fairly romanticized view of these early scientists.

First, let’s look at how alchemy is defined. Most historians agree that alchemy created products, through the act of producing changes which yielded new items, or specifically for monetary gain by selling new products. Historians have shown that some alchemists employed religious or spiritual allegories and allusions in their writings, which reflected their spiritual beliefs as much as their desire to obscure the secret techniques they used. For more on the techniques, read my earlier post here.

Alchemy breaks down into various subgenres, what I call separate spheres of practice:

  • medical (iatrochemical) along with pharmaceuticals known collectively as chymiatri;
  • household alchemy, comprising home remedies and even cooking skills;
  • cosmetics;
  • artisanal alchemy that encompassed efforts related to paints, dyes, gilding, etc.; and
  • natural and diabolical magic.

Note that housewives could be seen as a kind of alchemist given their recipes for foods and simples (home remedies). So anyone who whips up a stew or soup is carrying on the tradition in some sense.

We must be careful about how we perceive magic as it related to alchemists. Although it’s tempting to adopt the romanticized view of alchemists brewing up trouble like the three witches of MacBeth, the reality is far different. Depending on the alchemist’s role in society, knowledge of magic could be valuable. Indeed, in America, Puritan leaders and educated people clearly differentiated between what Walter Woodward calls natural magic as the “manipulation through natural means of the occult or unseen forces at work in the world” and diabolical magic which is the “manipulation of those same forces with the aid of the devil.” Thus, while studying natural magic was encouraged, delving into diabolical magic was not.

Sometime way back in the 3rd century AD someone decided to try to make real gold and silver, an idea believed possible at that time. Given that artisans knew how to tinge silver to look like gold, why couldn’t they take it farther, perhaps “give silver not only the color of gold but all the properties of gold?” Making gold in this way is referred to as chrysopoeia, from the Greek words chryson poiein (to make gold), while making silver using a similar process is referred to as argyropoeia. The general process of transforming one metal into another is called transmutation. Once this idea emerged and became popular, alchemists had a common goal in their application of alchemical principles to the “noble art.”

Most of all, alchemy is typically associated with the pursuit of the Philosopher’s Stone, a substance that enabled transmutation, and efforts to effect chryosopoeia and argyropoeia. However, more often alchemists engaged in a variety of practical, daily uses for the chemical manipulation of natural elements that they conducted. Principe argues that “There must also exist some body of theory that provides an intellectual framework, that undergirds and explains practical work, and that guides pathways for the discovery of new knowledge.”

So Zak, as a present day chemist in Haunted Melody, works to understand the ancient alchemical recipe so he can apply it to his brother’s medical condition, to attempt to heal his brother. Only Zak doesn’t possess that foundation to help him attain the new knowledge he seeks. But he’s also aware of his weakness and strives to learn what he needs to accomplish his ultimate aim. Does he succeed, you may ask? You’ll have to wait for March 28 when the book releases, but you can pre-order it now so you have the story as soon as possible.

Source: Principe, Lawrence M. The Secrets of Alchemy.

What are your thoughts on alchemists? Were they secretive sorcerers? Or mystical medicine men? The castle cook? Something in between?

Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts and opinions!

Betty

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

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

Haunted Melody is now available for pre-order and will release on March 28, 2017. Here’s more about the story…

haunted_melody_600x900Paulette O’Connell needs to build her home decorating business in order to give her unborn child a stable home. While exploring the mysterious attic of the antebellum plantation where she lives, she accidentally summons her grandfather’s ghost. But he won’t leave until she figures out why she needed him in the first place, putting her plans in serious jeopardy.

Zak Markel has been searching for the last ingredient to create the Elixir of Life he hopes will save his brother’s eyesight. But he discovers the woman of his dreams in the smart and beautiful Paulette, distracting him from his focus at the worst possible time, even though she staunchly refuses to allow him past her defenses.

Can he convince Paulette to open her mind to possibilities and follow her heart to true happiness before it’s too late?

Amazon USA: http://bit.ly/HauntedMelody

Amazon AU: http://bit.ly/HauntedMelody-AU

Amazon CA: http://bit.ly/HauntedMelody-CA

Amazon UK: http://bit.ly/HauntedMelody-UK

B&N: http://bit.ly/HauntedMelody-BN

Kobo: http://bit.ly/HauntedMelody-K

iTunes: http://bit.ly/HauntedMelody-iTunes

Between the Lines: Getting to Know George Starkey, #American #Alchemist in #Haunted #Melody #paranormal #romance #history #alchemy

I do a lot of research for my stories, whether historical or contemporary, to ensure I’ve got my facts right. Much of what I find never finds its way onto the story’s pages, but it plays in my mind as background information that resonates with my characters. In Haunted Melody (Secrets of Roseville Book 2), Zak Markel is following the steps within an ancient alchemist’s journal but doesn’t understand what he should be doing. What’s not on the page is the name of the real-life alchemist that the fictional alchemist is based upon. So I’d like to introduce you to George Starkey, a 17th-century American alchemist educated at Harvard University.

George Starkey was born in Bermuda, where he exhibited strong curiosity about how nature works, in particular insects. He eventually moved to America, where he graduated from Harvard College in 1646. While at Harvard, he seriously practiced alchemy, working with John Alcock and John Winthrop, Jr., who would later become the first governor of Connecticut. Winthrop had a keen interest in alchemy and represents the elite alchemical circle within which Starkey moved. However, after struggling for several years to obtain the furnaces and the other apparatus necessary to conduct his experiments, Starkey moved to London in 1650 where he had access to better equipment.

While in London, Starkey became involved with the Hartlib group, otherwise known as the Office of Address, led by Samuel Hartlib. This group emphasized “intellectual communication” and used the practical science of Francis Bacon and the didactic agenda of the Czech reformer Jan Amos Comenius to merge “productive natural philosophy” (useful science) with “pansophia, the Comenian ideal of universal learning.” This group was central to Starkey’s reputation and influence in England.

Starkey contributed many influential medical works while in England, but more interesting is the fact that he lived two lives. Writing under the pseudonym of Eirenaeus Philalethes, “A Peaceful Lover of Truth,” Starkey took on the role of an adept, that is, one who is capable of transmuting base metals into gold or silver. As Starkey, he became the student of Philalethes and told fabulous tales of his alter ego living in New England. Starkey refused to reveal the true name of Philalethes, claiming he’d been sworn to secrecy to protect the life of his friend. So cleverly did he lead this dual life, even after he died in London from the plague in 1665, people reported seeing Philalethes in other countries. That’s some serious effort he took to make sure people did not know of his pen name!

His most popular work under his pseudonym was the Introitus apertus ad occlusum regis palatium (An open entrance to the closed palace of the king). Indeed, Starkey, as Philalethes, was “likely” the “most widely read American scientist before Benjamin Franklin.” However, the early 18th century tensions that led to a newly defined separation between “alchemy” and “chemistry” as well as between alchemists and other “scientists” put a division between Starkey and his contemporary friend and alchemy student, Robert Boyle (1627–91). Starkey/Philalethes slipped into the “shadows beyond the fringe of scientific respectability” despite being “the last great philosophical alchemist” of his time, while Boyle became the “vanguard of the ‘New Chemistry.’”

Here’s what I find most fascinating about him. He kept laboratory notebooks and wrote frequent correspondence, both often using Latin and symbols, which have been translated into English, and have proven key to decoding the allegorical and secretive language he employed across a variety of his writings. The notebooks and letters also provide “an unprecedented glimpse” into the “mind and labors” of Starkey, who was acclaimed for his alchemical efforts as well as his potentially money-making inventions. His laboratory notebooks reflect the scholastic training he received as a student at Harvard, despite his railing against wasting time learning classical argumentation skills. His notebooks also show a blending of the two distinct “intellectual traditions” of “the experimentalism of the ‘New Philosophy’ and the formal Scholasticism of ‘the Schools.’” Thus, Starkey merged two unique yet complementary aspects into one combined entity, much like he and Philalethes. Starkey, as himself and his alter ego, also routinely spoke in his correspondence and treatises in allegory and riddles, for reasons I shared in an earlier post here.

By the way, if you’re curious to know more about George Starkey, here are a few references to get you started. Also, there’s a biography of him here and an interesting analysis of his influences and interactions here.

  • Newman, William R. Gehennical Fire: The Lives of George Starkey, an American Alchemist in the Scientific Revolution. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ Press. 1994.
  • Newman, William R. and Lawrence M. Principe. Alchemy Tried in the Fire: Starkey, Boyle, and the Fate of Helmontian Chymistry. Chicago: The Univ of Chicago Press. 2002.
  • Woodward, Walter W. Prospero’s America: John Winthrop, Jr., Alchemy, and the Creation of New England Culture, 1606-1676. Chapel Hill, NC: Univ of NC Press. 2010.

For Zak, it takes quite some time for him to find a book at the Golden Owl Books and Brews store that helps him figure out how to solve the puzzle that is the alchemist’s journal. The book I’m alluding to is none other than Geheniccal Fire along with several articles by Newman. You’ll notice that none of this is spelled out in my story, for two reasons. First, I figure most readers probably won’t care about George Starkey; they’re likely more interested in Zak and Paulette. Second, I didn’t want to distract my readers from the actual story by including too much of the historical references and allusions.

I don’t know about you, but I was not aware that America had any alchemists. I had thought they were all in Europe, so that was a cool surprise to me. Thus I wanted to share with my readers but only in an entertaining way. At least, that was my intent. Did I succeed? Only you, my readers, can answer that question after you read the story! See below for how you can pre-order your copy.

Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts and opinions!

Betty

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

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

haunted_melody_600x900Haunted Melody is now available for pre-order and will release on March 28, 2017. Here’s more about the story…

Paulette O’Connell needs to build her home decorating business in order to give her unborn child a stable home. While exploring the mysterious attic of the antebellum plantation where she lives, she accidentally summons her grandfather’s ghost. But he won’t leave until she figures out why she needed him in the first place, putting her plans in serious jeopardy.

Zak Markel has been searching for the last ingredient to create the Elixir of Life he hopes will save his brother’s eyesight. But he discovers the woman of his dreams in the smart and beautiful Paulette, distracting him from his focus at the worst possible time, even though she staunchly refuses to allow him past her defenses.

Can he convince Paulette to open her mind to possibilities and follow her heart to true happiness before it’s too late?

(Updated and revised edition; originally published in 2014 as Remnants.)

Amazon USA: http://bit.ly/HauntedMelody

Amazon AU: http://bit.ly/HauntedMelody-AU

Amazon CA: http://bit.ly/HauntedMelody-CA

Amazon UK: http://bit.ly/HauntedMelody-UK

B&N: http://bit.ly/HauntedMelody-BN

Kobo: http://bit.ly/HauntedMelody-K

iTunes: http://bit.ly/HauntedMelody-iTunes

Between the Lines: Moonshine and Moontinis in Undying Love #PNR #romance #research #moonshine #history

Max and Meredith enjoy some adult beverages while they work out their relationship challenges. For Meredith, she’s a fan of wine. But Max is a bit more hard core. His go-to drink is a Moontini, a martini made with moonshine. Straight up white lightning with a dash of dry vermouth and a large green olive as a garnish. It’s his favorite drink for a very precise reason.

Why is this important? To Max, he’s continuing a tradition although in a legal capacity (he is a lawyer, after all) rather than in bootlegger fashion. He’s not only giving a nod to the centuries-old occupation but supporting his state’s and country’s heritage. Those two ideas are very important to him. See, he is a preservation lawyer based in Roseville, Tennessee, and he’s all about carrying on the historical and heritage aspects of the area.

So when Meredith contemplates tearing down the Twin Oaks plantation buildings you can well imagine how many Moontinis Max is tempted to reach for. Thankfully, he gets a grip on himself and makes a plan.

Researching the history of making moonshine, I discovered the impact and influences this once legal, and then illegal and violent, and now legal again occupation has had on America and its citizens. NASCAR is a direct result of the need to drive fast and, well, creatively to avoid the feds trying to catch up to the tax-evading bootleggers. You can find out more about the interesting history of moonshine at Cool Material.

osm_original8Moonshine is now sold by liquor stores. We even found a distillery in Gatlinburg, TN, when we went there a year or two ago on vacation. One of my favorite cocktails is a classic gin martini, so I bought some ’shine to try Max’s fave drink. I found the original non-flavored kind from Ole Smoky  Tennessee Moonshine has more bite than regular gin but tastes pretty much the same when substituted. It’s a little higher proof, too, so I didn’t use as much quantity. Maybe Max can handle that difference, but I didn’t want to take the chance.

What is your favorite adult beverage? Are you tempted to try some white lightning? Or have you enjoyed some in the past?

Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts and opinions!

Betty

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

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

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

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

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

Only 99 cents for Kindle and iTunes!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2fSnDL6

Between the Lines: Solving #Alchemy Riddles in #Haunted #Melody #paranormal #romance

 

alchemist-bega
Courtesy Alchemy Pictures

In Haunted Melody (Secrets of Roseville Book 2), Zak Markel has arrived in Roseville, TN, in search of the missing ingredient to make the Philosopher’s Stone, or Sorcerer’s Stone. According to legend, the resulting substance has the power to cure among other properties. He’s hoping, a Hail Mary attempt, that it will cure his brother’s brain tumors threatening his eye sight. Zak is following the steps within an ancient alchemist’s journal, but does not adequately understand what he should be doing.

 

There’s a very good reason why this present-day chemist is struggling. Here’s a bit about the ways alchemists obscured and hid the procedures and ingredients from the “unworthy.” I’ve pulled from a paper I wrote for grad school, but have tried to make it less academic and thus easier to read.

First, Decknamen or cover names served an important function for the alchemist. They are code words that replaced the usual name for a given substance with a word “that has some link, literal or metaphorical, with the substance intended.”(1) Such as, a symbol for silver might be the moon because of its light properties, and a symbol for gold might be the sun since the sun has golden light. This practice enabled the alchemist to protect the valuable content of his writings so that only the true alchemists could access the knowledge. The American alchemist, George Starkey, for example, protected his findings by using secretive language in his literature as well as employing his own Decknamen, writing many of his books under the name of Eirantheus Philalethes. Starkey is a very interesting person, by the way, who used all of these techniques in his own journal, much like the journal Zak is referring to in Haunted Melody. See what I did there? <grin>

The secrecy that obscures alchemical literature is well known, if not well understood. Secretive writing is often associated with activities before the advent of modern science and people often view these writings “as nonscientific or …largely or purely fictitious.” Yet for the alchemical writers, like Starkey, “secrecy…marked out the items of greatest value.”(2) The alchemists’ wanted to protect the information from those who were not worthy as well as from those who could profit from the knowledge. Not too different from today, don’t you think? Protecting our discoveries from others who could copy it and sell the resulting products or whatever?

Alchemistic language has always used words and symbols in such a way that they created a complex allegorical language. Other devices alchemists used to obscure yet reveal their meanings include riddles linked to images; riddles answered by a conundrum; and “dispersion de la science”—providing pieces of the whole solution in separate sections of one work: “At a crucial point of the discussion, the alchemist would break off or change the subject, only to resume it at some seemingly unrelated or distant locus.”(3) That left the reader to solve the riddle through careful reading of the texts, a process fraught with the specter of misinterpretation and thus failure.

Alchemical authors also used syncope and parathesis. Syncope shortened the actual process, often leaving out one or more steps or ingredients. Parathesis used the idea of multiplication of ideas, seemingly needlessly calling a specific item by a multiple of synonyms. Often these techniques are used in tandem.

  1. Principe, Lawrence M. The Secrets of Alchemy. 18.
  2. Newman, William R. and Lawrence M. Principe. Alchemy Tried in the Fire. 179.
  3. Newman, William R. Gehennical Fire. 116–17.

For Zak, it takes quite some time for him to find a book at the Golden Owl Books and Brews store that solves the riddle for him. TOnce he understands, how will he use his new-found knowledge? Will he succeed in his desperate attempt to help his brother? Find out when the book releases March 28. See below for where you can pre-order your copy so it will be in your inbox as soon as possible.

Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts and opinions!

Betty

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

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

Haunted Melody is now available for pre-order and will release on March 28, 2017. Here’s more about the story…

haunted_melody_600x900Paulette O’Connell needs to build her home decorating business in order to give her unborn child a stable home. While exploring the mysterious attic of the antebellum plantation where she lives, she accidentally summons her grandfather’s ghost. But he won’t leave until she figures out why she needed him in the first place, putting her plans in serious jeopardy.

Zak Markel has been searching for the last ingredient to create the Elixir of Life he hopes will save his brother’s eyesight. But he discovers the woman of his dreams in the smart and beautiful Paulette, distracting him from his focus at the worst possible time, even though she staunchly refuses to allow him past her defenses.

Can he convince Paulette to open her mind to possibilities and follow her heart to true happiness before it’s too late?

(Updated and revised edition; originally published in 2014 as Remnants.)

Amazon USA: http://bit.ly/HauntedMelody

Amazon AU: http://bit.ly/HauntedMelody-AU

Amazon CA: http://bit.ly/HauntedMelody-CA

Amazon UK: http://bit.ly/HauntedMelody-UK

B&N: http://bit.ly/HauntedMelody-BN

Kobo: http://bit.ly/HauntedMelody-K

iTunes: http://bit.ly/HauntedMelody-iTunes

Between the Lines: Playlist for #Haunted #Melody #paranormal #romance

I have a confession: I love music! Not every kind, but a wide variety. So when I started writing Haunted Melody (Secrets of Roseville Book 2, I was happy to discover that my heroine Paulette and I share one thing in common: we both react to situations by thinking of songs. As a result, when she gets into her car to start driving, she hums “On the Road Again.” Sounds very familiar! With that in mind, I thought I’d share the playlist (linked to Spotify) from Paulette’s story, Haunted Melody, in the order in which they appear:

On the Road Again – Bob Dylan

It’s Raining Men – The Weather Girls

Good Morning from Singing in the Rain

I Will Survive – Gloria Gaynor

You Are My Sunshine

Getting to Know You from The King and I

Witchy Woman – Eagles

Sunshine on My Shoulders – John Denver

Singin’ In the Rain – Gene Kelly

Shall We Dance from The King and I

Celebration – Kool and the Gang

Back Home Again – John Denver

Unchained Melody from Ghost – The Righteous Brothers

I love the blend of ballad and musicals in this list. Some of my favorite singers and groups are included, especially John Denver and the Eagles.

In reviewing this list, it occurred to me that the song titles actually mirror the emotional journey that Paulette finds herself making. Very interesting! Do you have a go-to song that pops into your mind in certain situations? Or if you did, what would it be?

Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts and opinions!

Betty

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

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

Haunted Melody is now available for pre-order and will release on March 28, 2017. Here’s more about the story…

haunted_melody_600x900Paulette O’Connell needs to build her home decorating business in order to give her unborn child a stable home. While exploring the mysterious attic of the antebellum plantation where she lives, she accidentally summons her grandfather’s ghost. But he won’t leave until she figures out why she needed him in the first place, putting her plans in serious jeopardy.

Zak Markel has been searching for the last ingredient to create the Elixir of Life he hopes will save his brother’s eyesight. But he discovers the woman of his dreams in the smart and beautiful Paulette, distracting him from his focus at the worst possible time, even though she staunchly refuses to allow him past her defenses.

Can he convince Paulette to open her mind to possibilities and follow her heart to true happiness before it’s too late?

(Updated and revised edition; originally published in 2014 as Remnants.)

Amazon USA: http://bit.ly/HauntedMelody

Amazon AU: http://bit.ly/HauntedMelody-AU

Amazon CA: http://bit.ly/HauntedMelody-CA

Amazon UK: http://bit.ly/HauntedMelody-UK

B&N: http://bit.ly/HauntedMelody-BN

Kobo: http://bit.ly/HauntedMelody-K

iTunes: http://bit.ly/HauntedMelody-iTunes

Tasty Tuesday & Undying Love Book Birthday! Southern #Cornbread #recipe #paranormal #romance #mustread #fiction

It’s here! The release of Undying Love! I feel like celebrating! So I am happy to share Meredith and Max’s story with you along with a favorite recipe from my childhood that is included in the story. Southern cornbread features crisp bacon for added savory flavor. Everything is better with bacon, right?

Cornbread was one of my dad’s favorite breads. He used to grease the pan with bacon grease and add some cooked corn kernels and of course crumbled bacon to the batter. Sometimes he’d toss in chopped pimento for added color. Here’s a typical recipe from Betty Crocker that you can use to tinker with to suit your taste.

Here’s what Undying Love is about:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And here’s a short excerpt:

“What is it you do again?” Max aimed mirrored sunglasses in her direction.

“I’m an architect.” She slid her purse strap more securely onto her shoulder. She snatched the manila folder off the hood of the vehicle, a file Max had handed to her at his office. Inside were copies of the legal papers he’d reviewed with her across his massive mahogany desk. “Why?”

“Your grandmother said you were the perfect heir for this property.” He let his gaze drift away from her to scan the hundreds of acres of fields and trees, across the lake, and on to the various outbuildings surrounding the plantation house.

A circle of trees nearly hid the old gazebo from view, but they couldn’t stop the surge of memories of afternoons spent with her sister playing under its roof. Glimpses of white painted boards and black wrought-iron trim appeared through the dense branches and limbs sprouting with new growth.

Meredith dropped her attention to the folder, severing the thread of the past, and turned a page without reading it. Why did Max care what she did? She slanted a questioning glance his way. “I enjoy designing beautiful yet useful buildings.”

“Listen, I hate to rush this,” Max said, his words clipped, “but I have a client to meet in an hour. Let me show you around.” He indicated for her to lead up the steps.

Bristling at his tone, Meredith pinned him with a stare. “Look, you don’t need to. It’s been a while, true, but I have been here before. I know the layout. We can go.” Then she wouldn’t have to go inside and relive the happy, carefree days of her childhood through the weary eyes of an adult while Max watched.

He shook his head, his dark chocolate hair touched with gray sweeping his collar, watching her. “Things have changed. You may be surprised by what you find inside.” He tapped a hand against one thigh and cocked his head to gaze at her for a long moment. “Either way, you should take stock of what you’ve inherited.”

He didn’t appear much like a lawyer, truth be told. Didn’t lawyers wear prescription glasses and look nerdy? Not that she believed in stereotypes, but all that studying must make their eyes weak. Max was the other end of the spectrum. Perhaps her grandmother had a need for eye candy when she chose him as her estate planner.

He was delicious to contemplate, that’s for sure. Probably a couple inches taller than a cornstalk with a soccer player’s physique, Max could double for a cover model. She appreciated his classic good looks, straight nose, and strong jaw. Dressed in khakis and a deep red polo shirt, he seemed more ready for a round of golf than a client meeting. He represented the unattainable type of man for her. The kind embodying something too smart, too handsome, too much for her taste. Even if she were in the market for a man, which she was not. None of that mattered since she would be staying in the area for a short while. Despite her hard shell of indifference to the opposite sex, she couldn’t help a moment of succumbing to the temptation of drinking her fill of his appearance. But only for an instant. If she let her guard down, her personal destruction would soon follow.

Thanks so much for sharing in my happy release day! Hubby is bringing home Chinese takeout for our celebratory dinner this evening. A real treat indeed! Happy reading!

Betty

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

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

Unveiling My Family History One Letter at a Time #writerslife #research #family #history

 

rms-letters-2016
Letters to/from my father spanning 1940-1950

How well do you know your parents’ family history? My father lived with me and my hubby and children for 17 years before he moved into assisted living. That gave me plenty of time to hear his tales of growing up, of surviving bombings during World War II, and more. I’m fortunate to have inherited my father’s correspondence after he died in 2011. This year I’ve decided to transcribe all of his letters for posterity, which means reading each and every letter and typing what they say, along with the notations on the envelopes and postmark information. As I’ve started perusing a few of them, I’m amazed at how much is written on the exterior of what I’ve read to date. I’m also anxious to get to the letters to and from my parents during their courtship. What new insights will I gain from those love letters?

 

First, there are other aspects of the correspondence to ponder. Consider the postmarks for example. They vary somewhat by city and state as to what they contain. Some have the day of the week including the date. Others do not. The earliest letters start in 1940 and the postmark doesn’t include a zip code. Curious, I had to find out when the U.S. postal service began using them. Turns out it wasn’t until after I was born! Not until 1963 did they begin to appear and even then not uniformly. Click here for more information if you’re curious like I was.

Another curiosity regarding the envelopes was the stamps. Or more specifically the missing stamps on many of the letters, though not all. I figured my dad must have cut them out, but why? I didn’t recall him collecting stamps. Maybe he tried to reuse them? Or gave them to someone else? While I was pondering this mystery, I happened to have a phone conversation with my oldest sister. I mentioned the missing stamps and she fessed up. Apparently Dad had given her permission to cut out the stamps she wanted for her collection! So that little mystery was solved quickly. The stamps themselves are also interesting, especially the price. It cost 1 cent to mail a “postal” or small postcard (left), and only 3 cents to mail a letter (right) in 1940 and 1941. And yet, the lady writing to my dad had to borrow a stamp from a friend in order to mail her letters because she didn’t have the money to buy one herself.

The stationary used is also varied and revealing at the same time. Lined note paper, folded pages written on like a booklet, letterhead from the nursing school where one of my dad’s girlfriends, or rather fiancée, attended (before he met my mother). Often the pages are numbered which was a necessity since the contents didn’t necessarily flow left to right as we’re accustomed today. The first letters are all handwritten, but some of the letters from my dad to his mother are typed on a typewriter while he was in the U.S. Army during World War II.

rms-letters-sorted-nov-2016

I’ve sorted the letters by year, except for the biggest collection which all were written the year my parents married in 1948, the two tall stacks in the back center of the above picture. Sometimes two letters a day from/to each of them! Those are sorted by month since my rubber bands had limits as to how far they’d stretch.

I wonder what I’ll learn about their courtship, about my family history, and about their plans and hopes for the future after their marriage. Obviously, this is a long-term project which will keep me occupied for months to come as I won’t be able to work on it every day. After all, I have books to write and research to do, trips to take and other family obligations. But my curiosity is truly piqued!

I may share some of my dad’s letters written during the war if they appear interesting. I imagine family doings would not be of interest, but his descriptions of where he was stationed and what happened on Guadalcanal would have more potential I think. We shall see as I go through them over the upcoming year.

Wish me luck! Tell me if you ever wonder about your parents’ courtship and how they met, etc. How much do you know about them?

I’m off to start typing!

Betty

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

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

Tomorrow is the official release of Undying Love! I am happy to share Meredith and Max’s story with you. Happy reading!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Between the Lines: Stumbling Upon the Unexpected #research #history #amwriting #histfic

 

250px-SpesutieIslandMD.jpg
Spesutie Island, Maryland Image courtesy of Wikipedia

Sometimes I stumble upon information that surprises me when I’m researching an entirely different subject or trying to track down the answer to a question related to my stories. One of the most recent examples of this kind of Easter egg in my research is “discovering” Spesutie Island in Maryland.

 

Never heard of it? Don’t feel bad. I grew up in Maryland and had never heard of it! My father-in-law had never heard of it and he had been stationed at Aberdeen Proving Grounds which now incorporates the island within its boundaries.

5734dfd78d4fd.image.jpg
Cecil Daily, courtesy of NSHSA

 

How did I stumble on this? I was trying to figure out what kind of house a ball in the 1800s would have been held in and who would have attended it. What did the island look like at that time? I wanted to be able to describe how a lady would travel to the house where the dance was held, so knowing the possible travel options was necessary. I was fortunate to find this article that included a map of the island. I was amazed to learn of the history of the island and then wondered why I had never heard of it. With its significance during the War of 1812 it should have been mentioned at least during history classes. But I do not recall ever hearing the name. I suppose, though, that much of the specifics of any location’s past are glossed over unless you do dig into them.

That’s one reason I like to visit historic sites and homes because of the details shared in those places that you do not find online or in books. Letters and journals of the people who lived in them, or visited them, include enlightening experiences and perspectives so the people who have access to the primary sources are a wealth of information.

What about you? Have you ever stumbled upon new to you places in your hometown?

Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts and opinions!

Betty

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

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

Remember to grab your copy of my next release while it’s only $1.99!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Herbed Leg of Lamb

img_2069~1 Tablespoon minced garlic

~1/2 Tablespoon crushed rosemary leaves

~1/2 Tablespoon oregano leaves

~1 teaspoon Thyme leaves

~1/2 teaspoon ground sage

1 Tablespoon peanut oil

½ Tablespoon olive oil

Sesame oil (a few drops)

3-5 lb boneless leg of lamb

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Betty

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

www.bettybolte.com

undying_love_600x900Undying Love is available for pre-order now!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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