Between the Lines: Fay Fuller, 1st Woman to Climb Mt. Rainier #research #women #history

 

Fay Peak-Visit Rainier
Image courtesy  VisitRainier.com

Have you heard of Fay Peak in the Mount Rainier National Park in Washington state? I had not, until I started researching the girls in my award-winning Hometown Heroines: True Stories of Bravery, Daring, and Adventure. Edwina Fay Fuller embodies all three of those qualities: brave, daring, and adventurous.

 

Fay Fuller lived during a time in American history when women tended to be relegated to certain pigeon holes for appropriate behavior and activities. Only, Fay didn’t adhere to the restrictions. In fact, she decided to buck the system by not only riding her horse astride, but also by wearing men’s clothing for her most daring and adventurous escapade. See, Fay was 17 years old when she first climbed partway up Mt. Rainier. Three years later, she reached the summit. The first woman ever.

She climbed despite swelling she suffered from a charcoal mixture she wore on her face to attempt to prevent sunburn. She endured the pain on her face and on her wrist where the skin literally peeled off as a result of the failed mix. When they camped overnight in a steam cave on their way back down, she became sick from the smell of sulfur combined with the extreme cold and her exhaustion. Yet she had achieved her goal and would always carry that sweet feeling of accomplishment inside.

Fay inspires me through her commitment, determination, and sheer grit. When offered a hand by one of the men in the climbing party, she declined, preferring to reach the summit under her own power. The following day, though, the perilous nature of the trail made it necessary for her to permit a rope be tied to her waist in case of a slip or fall. A concession she reluctantly agreed to.

Her can-do spirit and belief in her own abilities humble me. She stood on her own two feet, literally and figuratively, and worked through obstacles to achieve her dream. If I ever get out to Washington state, I would love to climb up Fay Peak. I’d feel as though I’d followed in her footsteps, if only to a lower peak. I have no delusions of possessing the strength to climb to the summit of Mt. Rainier. Believe me!

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.

Literary Classics International Book Awards - Youth Award Winning Book
Literary Classics International Book Awards – Youth Award Winning Book

During the 1800s, daring and courageous girls across America left their unique mark on history.

Milly Cooper galloped 9 miles through hostile Indian Territory to summon help when Fort Cooper was under attack.

Belle Boyd risked her life spying for the Rebels during the Civil War.

Kate Shelly, when she was 15, crawled across a nearly washed-out railroad bridge during a ferocious thunderstorm to warn the next train.

Lucille Mulhall, age 14, outperformed cowboys to become the World’s First Famous Cowgirl.

These are just a few of the inspiring true stories inside Hometown Heroines—American Girls who faced danger and adversity and made a difference in their world.

 

B&N: http://bit.ly/2em4lh9

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2eNm5Ap

Amazon ebook: http://amzn.to/1nY0qXH

iBooks: http://apple.co/2em5Iw5

Google: http://bit.ly/2fFEQ6w

Between the Lines: Musicals and Memories in Haunted Melody #PNR #romance #music #research

I have to confess that I am addicted to musicals. There, I said it. When I first heard about the newest one, La La Land, I turned to my husband and told him I wanted to see it on the big screen, not as a pay-per-view movie on our home TV. I really longed to see the movie in the larger than life cinematic experience. As soon as it came out and we could align our schedules, we went to enjoy two hours of escape from reality.

The movie brought joy to my heart by its combination of story, singing, dancing, and the sweeping musical score. The story centers on an actress struggling to be discovered, to reach the level of recognition she dreams of attaining. Like Emma Stone said in a recent Time interview, the story reminds us of “the hope and importance of creativity, of still dreaming even when it feels like hope is gone.”

I understand what she means. I’m creative with my stories and enjoy singing, playing my guitar (when I have time), and crocheting. When I contemplate my career as an author and the state of publishing and readership, sometimes all I have is hope. Hope that people will read and enjoy my stories, and then share with their friends and family to help me build my fan base. Hope that my writing will continue to bring a few hours of escape from reality for my readers. Hope that I’ll be a best-selling author one day in the not-too-distant future; that’s my dream. I have no control over achieving my dream because I can’t make people buy my books. All I can do is write the best story I can and put it out there for others to read and judge its merits. That’s where my focus must be. Writing the best story in my ability. But what would happen if I didn’t have hope?

Paulette O’Connell, in my upcoming release Haunted Melody, has forgotten about her love of singing. How she used to sing in the school choir and then in a small band for a while, pursuing her own dreams. Until she accidentally summons the ghost of her grandfather to the Twin Oaks Plantation. More importantly, it’s only after she meets Zak Markel that she slowly rediscovers her inner joy and begins to sing again. She remembers how important music had been in her life and determines to let it take a part in her present and future life. Indeed, singing plays a key role in sending her grandfather’s ghost back where he came from. Singing restores hope as a result of new love for Paulette, both Zak and her baby.

Musicals are one of my go-to movies. I really love the idea of breaking into song when strong emotions are in play. Song and story make a powerful combination, evoking so many memories and feelings all while being entertained.

What about you? Do you enjoy musicals? Why or why not?

Thanks for 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.

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: 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

Getting to know V-Mail #writerslife #research #WWII #letter #writing #familymatters

img_2120I have begun transcribing my dad’s V-Mail letters, which is very interesting. I talked about the mass of correspondence I’ve begun sorting and working my way through here. I decided to start with the V-Mail because I’m curious about what my grandmother and other wrote to my dad while he was in the U.S. Army during WWII. I think there must be at least 100 of the letters that my dad punched holes in and bound together with a metal clasp. The clasp left some rust marks on them, unfortunately, but they are still legible. Even after 70+ years.

As I’ve deciphered and typed the contents, I wondered about how the Victory Mail system worked. What did the original look like? How did each letter get transformed into a picture? So to the internet I went!

The history of this efficient and inventive system proved fascinating. The U.S. Postal Service created a standardized form that served as both letter and envelope. The letter writer filled in the To and From address within designated sections on the form, and then wrote a short letter within a specific box. You can see an example of a blank form here. Then the letter writer would fold and seal the paper and write the address again on the outside of the paper, or the envelope. Then affix 3 cents postage and pop it into the mail.

V-Mail was routed to specific stations in the United States where a new machine would convert the paper letter into a microfilm image. Based on the British Airgraph system, Kodak invented the Recordak machine that would take a picture of each standardized letter and save it on a synchronized 16 mm movie film. The rolls of film were then put into a mail sack and transported by the military planes to their destinations, where they were “blown up” to their original size as pictures and sent to the recipient. You can find out more about the entire system at the Smithsonian National Postal Museum site. If you visit New Orleans, Louisiana, you can also stop in at the National WWII Museum to see an exhibit about the war and V-Mail. The Museum is a great place to learn about life at home as well as the fighting.

img_2121The contents of the letters I’ve transcribed so far, which includes only 4 of the approximately 100+ V-Mail, are filled with what my grandmother was doing, what my dad’s siblings were doing, what she got for Mother’s Day, what she made for dinner, etc. Everyday happenings that gave my dad a sense of what life at home was like while he was away. As I read up on the need and use for V-Mail, I realized my grandmother was basically following the guidance from the War Department and the Postal Service regarding keeping the soldiers’ morale up by maintaining close connections to home and family. By giving the men a nuanced reminder of what they were fighting to protect. Home and hearth and all the people in our country and allies’ countries.

Grandmother often told Dad how much she loved him (“My dearest Murray”), how she looked for letters from him and worried when she didn’t hear from him, and often closed with “Be sweet”. She also frequently told him she’d send an “air mail” soon. I found the terminology interesting as well. She didn’t say she’d send a letter, but an “air mail” which cost twice as much as the V-Mail, at 6 cents postage. So, just like we send an “email” she sent V-Mail and air mail (two words back then).

img_2119See, for me, it’s not just the words on the page that is of interest, but also the methodology of how the overall mail system worked during war time, the innovations that enabled that system, and how people used them. One interesting side note, is that enclosures were not allowed at first. But then they did permit a picture of a baby under one year old or that was born after the father had gone back to his unit. Morale was all important during those terrible, trying years.

I’m sure our men and women in uniform today are ever grateful for email and cell phones that enable them to communicate much more readily than via the mail. But I’m so grateful to have this historic record to delve into, something that future and present historians don’t have access to with email and phone calls. Trade-offs always exist as technology morphs and improves.

I’m really looking forward to discovering what new information to me all the hundreds of letters contain. I should be entertained for quite some time.

One more thing. Three of the four books in the A More Perfect Union historical romance series are discounted through the end of January at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Amy’s Choice is only 99 cents, Samantha’s Secret is $1.99, and Evelyn’s Promise is $2.99. If you haven’t gotten your copy yet, now is a good time to do so.

Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts and opinions! 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.

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

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