Tasty Tuesday: On Hold for a While #colonial #recipes #hiatus #IARTG

Tasty Tuesdays are a highlight of my week, and I hope they are for you too. After my recent surgery, it’s become necessary to scale back on my writing and all activities actually. Turns out the damage done to my rotator cuff was more extensive than the MRI revealed. The surgeon did a fantastic job of fixing it, but now my right arm is in a sling that immobilizes the arm. For 4-5 weeks! So I’m sadly going to have to pause in posting my cooking blogs for one month. But never fear! I’ll pick up again the end of August right where we left off: various ways to cook fish, especially salmon, duck, and lobster as soon as I’m physically capable of whipping up something delicious, both figuratively and literally!

One last thought. Evelyn’s Promise, A More Perfect Union book 4, is on sale through the end of July, so it’s the perfect time to grab your ebook copy for only 99 pennies! Blurb and links below.

Happy reading and I hope your summer has been fantastic!

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 historical romance series, with my subscribers. Thanks and happy reading!

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

Evelyn’s Promise is on sale until July 31. Grab your copy today and feel free to share with your friends and family. Evelyn’s story is one of my favorite in the series!

Evelyn's PromiseThe fourth and final story in the A More Perfect Union historical romance series follows the trials and decisions of Evelyn and Nathaniel as they try to adjust to life after the British occupation of Charleston.

Determined to make her own way in the newly independent America and live free of the dictates and demands of another husband, widow Evelyn Hamilton faces soaring post-war inflation as she struggles to provide for herself and her infant son.

Militiaman Nathaniel Williams visits Charlestown, where his heart is ensnared by a smart, beautiful widow, forcing Nathaniel to make the hardest decision of his life.

B&N: http://bit.ly/1SCcwTJ

Kobo: http://bit.ly/1nW5AEd

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1nifyz4

iBooks: http://apple.co/1UVyy1p

Google: http://bit.ly/1XbQsyc

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Tasty Tuesday: Fish Types and Cooking Techniques #colonial #dinner #cooking #fish #shellfish #IARTG

Tasty Tuesday time! Today we’re talking about the kinds of fish and shellfish colonial cooks had access to and what they did with them. Let’s start with some general observations about the kinds of fish and shellfish Hannah Glasse talked about preparing. We need to keep in mind that The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy, while printed in Alexandria, Virginia, in 1805 by Applewood Books of Bedford, Massachusetts, is based upon earlier cookbooks from England, so not everything we read from Mrs. Glasse will be available to the colonial cook. They had to wing it at times based on the available foods in their region.

Art of CookeryThe Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy includes the following fish and shellfish receipts by title, which gives us a good overview of both the kinds of fish she had access to and how she prepared them:

  • To Dress Fish
  • Lobster Sauce
  • Shrimp Sauce
  • To make Anchovy Sauce
  • To dress a Brace of Carp
  • To stew a Brace of Carp
  • To fry Carp
  • To bake Carp – I think she really likes this kind of fish…
  • To fry Tenchwhich includes instructions on how to clean and skin the fish, but this fish is not found in America as far as I can tell
  • To boil a Cod’s Head
  • To bake a Cod’s Head
  • To broil Crimp, Cod, Salmon, Whiting or Haddock
  • Oyster Sauce is made thus
  • To dress Little Fish – she notes little fish such as “smelts, roach, &c.” which are not widely available in America
  • To broil Mackerel
  • To boil a Turbot
  • To bake a Turbot
  • To broil Salmon
  • Baked Salmon – I’ll share my take on this next week
  • To broil Mackerel whole
  • To broil Herrings
  • To stew Eels with broth
  • To dress a Pike
  • To broil Haddocks when they are in high Season
  • To broil Cods-Sounds – I had to look this one up. It’s an English dish that features the bladder of the cod fish. Yum?
  • To dress Salmon au Court-Bouillon – Watch for this one on July 25
  • To dress Flat Fish

The list goes on and on! Other kinds of fish dishes she includes use Lampreys, Sturgeon, Cod, Scate (i.e., Skate), Soals (i.e., soles), Lobsters, Crab, Prawns, Craw-Fish (i.e., Crayfish), Oysters, Mussels, and Scollops (i.e., scallops).

Of the kinds of fish she includes, only the following would have been readily available to an American colonial cook: Carp, cod, sole, haddock, pike, eel, mackerel, salmon, etc.

The deep sea fish would have been ordered from afar, either overseas or from the New England fishermen, as would anchovies and flat fish I’d think. I’m not an excerpt on the history and distribution of the various kinds of fish. I tried to figure out what “crimp” are but came up short, for example, so I don’t know what kind of fish it is or whether that species would have been available in the colonies and early America. Any ideas?

Methods of cooking the fish include frying, baking, broiling, and stewing. The number of recipes that call for breading or battering and then frying the fish I found curious, given the inherent risk of fire of such a cooking method. But I guess if you like your fish fried, it’s worth the risk. Also by adding a hot sauce to the fish, the dish would stay hot longer for getting the entrée to table and still being warm for serving. Surely the cooks knew this and that is why so many of the recipes include a heavy sauce? After all, I don’t think they’d want to serve cold fish after it was cooked.

The term “dress” according to the Oxford English Dictionary means the following:

  1. Specific and technical uses. a. To prepare for use as food, by making ready to cook, or by cooking (also intr. = passive); also, to season (food, esp. a salad).

To Mrs. Glasse this may mean frying the fish or adding a sauce. I’ve come to find that all of the sauces tend to be very rich and heavy, and thus complicated to make. I’ll try some of the sauces going forward, but hubby and I have found we’re not such big fans of them so watch for me to simplify and lighten the sauces when I do use them. Since I’m only cooking for two, I needn’t worry about how long the dish needs to stay warm. That’s one of the main advantages we have over the cooking methods and locations of the 18th century. Plus we have microwaves…

Next week I’ll share a salmon recipe with you. I’ve included two on my plan because it’s one of my favorite foods. Trying new ways of preparing an old favorite sounded like a fine idea. We shall see what we think!

Also, Evelyn’s Promise, A More Perfect Union book 4, is on sale through the end of July, so it’s the perfect time to grab your ebook copy for only 99 pennies! Blurb and links below.

What kind of fish is your favorite? How do you prepare it? Talk to me! I love to hear from you!

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 historical romance series, with my subscribers. Thanks and happy reading!

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

Like I said, Evelyn’s Promise is on sale for the next week or so. Grab your copy today and feel free to share with your friends and family. Evelyn’s story is one of my favorite in the series!

The fourth and final story in the A More Perfect Union historical romance series follows the trials and decisions of Evelyn and Nathaniel as they try to adjust to life after the British occupation of Charleston.

Evelyn's PromiseDetermined to make her own way in the newly independent America and live free of the dictates and demands of another husband, widow Evelyn Hamilton faces soaring post-war inflation as she struggles to provide for herself and her infant son.

Militiaman Nathaniel Williams visits Charlestown, where his heart is ensnared by a smart, beautiful widow, forcing Nathaniel to make the hardest decision of his life.

B&N: http://bit.ly/1SCcwTJ

Kobo: http://bit.ly/1nW5AEd

Amazon ebook: http://amzn.to/1nifyz4

iBooks: http://apple.co/1UVyy1p

Google: http://bit.ly/1XbQsyc

Planning Ahead – Surgically Speaking #writerslife #amwriting #planningfortheworst #hopingforthebest #IARTG

I’m a glass-half-full kind of gal. People who know me well – or probably even casually – know that I look on the bright side as much as possible. But that by no means should suggest that I do not see the other viewpoint and make plans accordingly. Detailed plans at times. I’ve talked before about my business plan and the detailed schedule I have for what I’ll write when, looking years into the future. Plans are not set in stone but on “paper” or computer file, both of which are changeable.

Today, July 17, 2017, I’m having shoulder surgery to remove a bone spur and clean up the bits and pieces it broke or rubbed off the surrounding tissues, like the rotator cuff. The surgeon has performed this procedure many, many times and is highly regarded for his skill. I’ve also had many operations myself and thus know the way it usually works. So I’m really not worried about the surgery and recovery. In fact, I’m anxious to be on the recovery side!

That said, I’ve been working on a 130,000+ word historical women’s fiction story, the first in a series my agent is shopping. One of my goals this week was to finish all revisions to it. I’ve been reading through the main character’s papers (she is a real, well-known, and beloved American woman) and taking notes from her letters as to what she was concerned about when and any other insights her own words might reveal as well as those gleaned from the historical footnotes. Then weaving the relevant tidbits into the story. I’ve finished the major revisions but not all the fine tuning. I’ve printed out the manuscript for a final scrub and assessment but not quite finished like I would have liked. But close.

Why was that my primary goal this week? Because stuff happens. Bad reactions to anesthesia can lead to complications that lead to things I refuse to focus on. But I know it might happen. I wanted to have my story complete enough that an editor could polish it up and it could be published. I haven’t spent years working on it to languish on my laptop unread by my fans!

I fully expect to back at work by Wednesday this week. Tuesday I know I’ll be in an arm sling, and start physical therapy the next day. I’m expecting two sessions of PT each week for 4-6 weeks. Plus the at-home exercise. That’s all I know about my recovery process. Until the surgeon gets in and looks around, he won’t know either.

But just like my hubby and I have set up a trust and wills and such for our personal property and finances, I wanted a plan for when things don’t go as expected for my writing. But stay positive! That’s my focus. I’ll be back in my chair working on my stories very, very soon.

In the meantime, tomorrow’s Tasty Tuesday post is already scheduled to post, so you all won’t miss out on the next adapted and tweaked colonial recipe.

Also, Evelyn’s Promise, A More Perfect Union book 4, is on sale through the end of July, so it’s the perfect time to grab your ebook copy for only 99 pennies! Blurb and links below.

Happy reading, folks! Thanks for following and supporting me in my writing career. And like Arnold Schwarzenegger famously said, “I’ll be back!”

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 historical romance series, with my subscribers. Thanks and happy reading!

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

Like I said, Evelyn’s Promise is on sale for the next week or so. Grab your copy today and feel free to share with your friends and family. Evelyn’s story is one of my favorite in the series! The fourth and final story in the A More Perfect Union historical romance series follows the trials and decisions of Evelyn and Nathaniel as they try to adjust to life after the British occupation of Charleston.

Evelyn's PromiseDetermined to make her own way in the newly independent America and live free of the dictates and demands of another husband, widow Evelyn Hamilton faces soaring post-war inflation as she struggles to provide for herself and her infant son.

Militiaman Nathaniel Williams visits Charlestown, where his heart is ensnared by a smart, beautiful widow, forcing Nathaniel to make the hardest decision of his life.

B&N: http://bit.ly/1SCcwTJ

Kobo: http://bit.ly/1nW5AEd

Amazon ebook: http://amzn.to/1nifyz4

iBooks: http://apple.co/1UVyy1p

Google: http://bit.ly/1XbQsyc

Planning for Success in 2017 #WritersLife #amwriting #amreading #romance #history #fiction

Happy New Year! I know you’ve heard that a lot over the last few days, but I truly hope 2014-11-12-13-41-282017 proves to be both happy and prosperous for each of you. Of course, how you define happiness and prosperity will vary based on your goals and desires.

As I look forward to the upcoming year, I am planning for success on several fronts. First, I’ll release 4 books this year. That’s one kind of success as an author. If you’ve been following my blog, you know that Undying Love releases in just a few days on January 10. I plan to release two more books in the Secrets of Roseville series, Haunted Melody in March, and The Touchstone of Raven Hollow in June. Then in December I’ll release the prequel novella for my A More Perfect Union historical romance series, Elizabeth’s Hope. I’m taking a page out of Charles Dickens’ publishing plan by serializing the novella to my newsletter subscribers throughout 2017, one chapter each month, leading up to the release of the entire book for sale in December.

Second, I’ve planned to attend several book signings where I hope to meet my readers in person. June will find me in Huntsville, Alabama, and Portland, Oregon. July I’ll travel to Orlando, Florida, and then in October I’ll head to Portland, Maine. Details of where and when can be found on my website. See, I write stories to share them with others and enjoy chatting with those of you who enjoy reading them. So if you can make it to any of the signings or luncheons that would be such fun!

successThird, I posted last year about my business plan and I intend to work to the plan as closely as possible in order to achieve my intended goals for the upcoming years. Doing so is another kind of success to my mind. However, I also realize that plans must shift at times, so I’ve built into my plan optional routes to reach the desired destination. I’ve learned to be flexible in my planning to avoid unnecessary stress and to stay on track to my ultimate goal.

Fourth, I’ll continue to read across several genres and nonfiction books in order to keep the writing well fresh and deep. Books will include research for my historicals as well as reading for fun. I intend to average one book a week this year, depending on the length of the books I choose. I know I want to finish reading the Outlander series, for example, and those books are on the longer side.

Finally, this year my loving hubby and I will begin the downsizing process by putting our 22-acre farm up for sale and looking for a house in a neighborhood closer to where he works and to where his father lives. I’ll miss our sanctuary in the country but am looking forward to a new home with more conveniences. The unknowns associated with moving always provide new opportunities as well as new challenges, so this year should be interesting if nothing else. Success on this front will be defined by finding a house with a view and an office for me. Right now I write in my family room which has worked but I’m craving some desk space to spread out on and walls to hang a write-on calendar and a bulletin board for plotting books. Or at least to hang inspiring pictures and any awards I might win over the years. I’m thinking positive!

What are you looking forward to this year? Do you have any big plans or changes ahead?

Wishing you all the best in the New Year!

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.

News! Books 2-4 of the A More Perfect Union historical romance series set in Charleston, South Carolina, during the American Revolution are on sale through the end of January. Now is a great time to catch up on the fight for independence in Amy’s Choice, Samantha’s Secret, and Evelyn’s Promise.

Amazon   Barnes and Noble

Amy's ChoiceAmy’s Choice

When Amy Abernathy’s childhood sweetheart, Benjamin Hanson, leaves to fight in the American War for Independence without a word of goodbye, Amy picks up the pieces of her heart and chooses independence. When Benjamin returns unexpectedly, Amy flees to the country to help her pregnant sister and protect her heart.

Benjamin Hanson knows he hurt Amy, but he also knows he can make it up to her after he completes his mission. Then he learns that Amy has been captured by renegade soldiers. Now Benjamin faces his own choice: free the sassy yet obstinate woman he’s never stopped loving or protect Charles Town from the vengeful British occupation.

SamanthsSecretCOVERSamantha’s Secret

Midwife and healer, Samantha McAlester returns from the front lines to find Charles Town under British siege and the town’s new doctor at war with its citizens.

Dr. Trent Cunningham intends to build a hospital staffed solely with educated doctors. What he doesn’t need is a raven-haired charlatan spooning out herbs and false promises to his patients, while tempting him at every turn.

Then a mutual friend develops a mysterious infection. Trenton is stumped. Samantha suspects the cure but knows treatment will expose her long-guarded secret, risking all she holds dear… including Trenton.

Evelyn's PromiseEvelyn’s Promise

Determined to make her own way in the newly independent America and live free of the dictates and demands of another husband, widow Evelyn Hamilton faces soaring post-war inflation as she struggles to provide for herself and her infant son.

Militiaman Nathaniel Williams visits Charlestown, where his heart is ensnared by a smart, beautiful widow, forcing Nathaniel to make the hardest decision of his life.

Tasty Tuesday: Ham and Cheese #breakfast #casserole #recipe from #romance #author Kathryn Jane

I so enjoy a hot casserole for breakfast, one chock full of ham, eggs, and cheese! Kathryn Jane shares her recipe and her stories today. Welcome, Kat!


The Meyers Security family is huge, and because their headquarters is the main house on the family ranch, there will often be upwards of ten people for a meal, and everyone pitches in.

One such morning Angie—a helicopter pilot and not exactly the domestic type—shows up early in the kitchen to give Consuelo a hand.

“How can I help?”

“Fill that big blue dish with ham and bread cubes, pour in a dozen eggs whipped with three-quarters of a cup of whole milk, then cover the top with grated cheese and—” Consuelo hesitated. “Better leave off the jalapeno bread crumbs, just in case the little ones want some.”

Angie laughed. “No self-respecting kid will touch a casserole when they know there’s sugar-coated cereal in the cupboard.”

HERE’S THE BASE RECIPE:

  1. Butter a casserole dish
  2. Cube enough ham to completely cover the bottom
  3. Add a generous layer of bread cubes
  4. Beat together enough eggs and whole milk to fill the dish one inch from the top. Add pepper to taste. The ham should provide adequate salt. (about 1/3 cup of milk to 6 large eggs for the average casserole dish)
  5. Pour the egg mixture into the dish and stir to make sure all the bread is soaked.
  6. Top with lots of shredded cheese and squish it down so the milk and egg mixture soaks up through the cheese.
  7. Bake until set and browned.

VARIATIONS:

  • Add jalapenos, cooked onion, green peppers, hot peppers, a variety of cheeses, spinach, corn, tomatoes, or anything else you can think of.

  • For convenience, you can cube your ham and bread the night before in an airtight container.

  • Put three casserole dishes on the counter and build three different varieties so you have something for everyone’s taste.

head-shot-from-rwa14Author Kathryn Jane is definitely not a domestic goddess, and her go-to food is toast, so this recipe is one she’s had to rely on a time or two and it’s always a hit with company.

More comfortable either outdoors walking alongside her beloved ocean, or hard at work in her writing cave, Kat has just completed a special project—a collection of short stories about stray and feral cats—and is currently working on book #8 of the Intrepid Women series.

These are full-length, stand-alone novels about women who step up and do what has to be done, even when it takes them far beyond their comfort zone. Kickass women and the men who dare to love them.

kathrynjane_dancewithme_2500pxDANCE WITH ME, book #7 in the series is very special as it is James and Julia’s story. They’re the oldest generation of the family, have been together for over forty years, and are fighting tooth and nail to get back together in spite of a rogue FBI agent and other crazy complications. It’s a great story, and I just love the cover! Find out more about my books at my Website:  http://kathrynjane.com/.


That’s an easy and delicious casserole recipe! I love base recipes that you can alter on a whim and with regards to what’s in the fridge or pantry. Thanks, Kat! Anyone want to share their favorite casserole dish?

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. As a special treat to my fans, I’m sharing a new novella exclusively to my subscribers one chapter each month through 2017 so you can read it before it goes on sale next December. I’ll be sending out the first chapter very soon, so sign up now!

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

Also, grab your copy of Undying Love while it’s discounted for only $1.99 before it releases on January 10. Here’s more about the first story in my new Secrets of Roseville series.

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: Swedish Ginger Snaps #cookie #recipe from #romance #author Rebecca Hunter

Anybody else getting excited for Christmas? The anticipation around here is high. The smell of cookies baking evokes many happy memories and now I have a new recipe to add to my arsenal. Help me welcome Rebecca Hunter and her tempting ginger snap cookie recipe along with several holiday romances!


Thanks for hosting me, Betty! I’m Rebecca Hunter, I write the steamy contemporary romance series Stockholm Diaries.

Since it’s December, I thought I’d share a holiday cookie recipe. In my Stockholm Diaries series, North American women travel to Sweden and find romance, adventure… and new foods, of course. The heroines try everything from cinnamon rolls to sandwiches with hard-boiled eggs and caviar paste!

rebeccahunter_stockholmdiariescaroline-cvr2_800pxStockholm Diaries, Alice is the next set of stories in the series (coming in early 2017). It’s a set of four novelettes and in the last one, New Years in Stockholm, Jonas offers Alice the classic Swedish treat ginger snaps. Here’s a sneak peek at the family recipe we use in our house to make these cookies every December. It was handed down from my husband’s grandmother – his “farmor” – which is where the name of this recipe comes from.

Here in the U.S., most gingerbread recipes feature molasses. However, Swedish recipes use a beet sugar extract called sirap instead. Outside of Scandinavia, you probably won’t find this ingredient in your local grocery store, but you can easily order it on Amazon under the brand name Dansukker. It’s worth the extra step, since sirap gives these ginger snaps a delicate, distinctly Scandinavian taste.

Farmor’s Swedish Ginger Snaps

125 grams (1/2 cup) sugar

125 grams (1/3 cup) sirap*

1/2 egg

125 grams (9 T) butter

3/4 deciliter (1/3 cups) whipping cream

1/2 T cinnamon

1/2 T ginger

1/2 t nutmeg

1 t baking soda

350 grams (2 3/4 cups) flour

* Sirap in Scandinavia is made of beet sugar, which gives these cookies a distinct taste. If you can’t find it, use “golden syrup” instead.

  1. Mix flour and baking soda. Cut butter into flour mixture.

  2. Whip up whipping cream until it forms stiff peaks Add sugar, syrup, spices and the (half) whipped egg.

  3. Work flour mixture into the wet ingredients and work it all into a smooth, even dough. Wrap tightly and let the dough stand in the refrigerator until the following day.

  4. To bake: Preheat oven to 350F. Flour a workspace and work the dough until it’s smooth. Roll out the dough very thin and cut into shapes. Bake on a greased cookie sheet until they are golden brown. Let cookies cool on the baking sheet before you remove them.

About the author:

rebecca-hunter630x800Award-winning author of sensual, emotional adventures of the heart.

Rebecca Hunter is a writer, editor and translator who has always loved to read and travel. Though she earned a Bachelor’s in English and a Master’s in English Education, most of what she learned about writing romance has come from other sources.

Over the years, Rebecca has called many places home, including Michigan, where she grew up, New York City, San Francisco, and, of course, Stockholm, Sweden. After their most recent move from Sweden back to the San Francisco Bay Area, she and her husband assured each other they’ll never move again. Well, probably not.

To sign up for news, sneak peeks and free stories, go to Rebecca’s website at http://www.rebeccahunterwriter.com.

Her first book, Stockholm Diaries, Caroline won the 2016 National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award.


So tempting! The stories and the cookies, truth be told. Baking cookies is a long-time tradition around my house, beginning when I was a child growing up. What’s your favorite cookie?

Merry Christmas, everyone!

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. As a special treat to my fans, I’m sharing a new novella exclusively to my subscribers one chapter each month through 2017 so you can read it before it goes on sale next December. I’ll be sending out the first chapter very soon, so sign up now!

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

Also, grab your copy of Undying Love while it’s discounted at only $1.99 before it releases on January 10. Here’s more about the first story in my new Secrets of Roseville series.

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

Crafting Christmas Letters #writerslife #holidaycheer #amwriting

 

2012-xmas-tree
Our tree in 2012. We used to cut our own when the kids lived at home.

It’s only a few days until Christmas and I’m so excited! After all the years I’ve celebrated, the anticipation of watching my family and friends receive their gifts still brings joy to my heart. One of the many annual tasks to prepare for the holidays is writing the letter to accompany our Christmas cards. It’s mainly been my task, since I’m the writer in the house, for the nearly thirty years I’ve been married to my loving hubby. He does the lights, after all, so I can handle perusing our year’s highlights and challenges and choosing which to share and which to skip or summarize. Then he’ll add his two cents and off it goes!

 

Some years are easier than others to write. My goal is to make it informative without being depressing (everybody has issues we must work through, right?) and yet not overly Pollyanna either. In fact, one friend wrote to us that after reading our letters over the years, when he’s faced with a challenge of his own he wonders to himself “what would Chris do?” to resolve the issue. Yep, we’ve most definitely faced our fair share of troubles and problems, but I always look for the positive outcome. Thus my desire to not sugarcoat the letter.

Not everyone receives the letter, either. I have to go through the list and decide who would want to know about our year, both accomplishments and adventures. I can only hope that I make the choice correctly since I don’t want to bother friends with our family and personal insights.

I thought I’d share a few lines from past years to see what you all think of them. To show the kinds of details I include in order to reach out and connect with family and certain close friends.

From 2012:

After a 4-day writers’ conference in Atlanta that Betty attended in early October, we left to journey back to Massanutten on October 12, taking a roundabout way through Athens, GA, to visit [our daughter], then across South Carolina, stopping at The Cowpens Battlefield and Brattonsville, both American Revolution historic sites for Betty’s research. We were excited to welcome Betty’s lifetime best friend and her husband to visit with us at Massanutten for a night there.

The day after we came home, the second edition of Hometown Heroines, with a new cover and subtitle (True Stories of Bravery, Daring, and Adventure), was released as an ebook. As we write this, the paperback version is days away from being available as well.

From 2013:

Meanwhile, September brought more doctor appointments and diagnostic tests for [my father-in-law] as he continued to feel worse over the summer. Finally it was decided he should have heart valve repair surgery, which they did robotically in Birmingham the end of October after we got home from Massanutten. We stayed at the hospital’s guest suites while he had surgery and during his longer than expected recovery: two weeks instead of the expected one week. He is recovering, after a couple setbacks and adjustments.

While we were “on the road” for three weeks, [our son] stayed at the house and took care of the animals and plants, brought in the mail and the newspaper, and ate our food <grin>. We had to make a couple of trips home to get clean clothes and more books to read, but we felt it necessary to remain with Phil and advocate for his welfare as long as he was admitted.

From 2014:

Holiday greetings to you and yours! As the year winds down, we hope you’ll take some time to reflect on the joys and positive moments you’ve enjoyed since last Christmas. Our year has been filled with beginnings and setbacks, but through it all we’ve been healthy & safe.

Our first setback occurred just before last Christmas when Chris’s dad had a stroke. He was in the hospital for 9 days before being released to skilled care. Chris has been very busy this year, juggling his job, a myriad of chores and tasks around the house, and caring for [hid dad]. Some of the burden around the house stemmed from a water pipe bursting in the pool house in January that we didn’t notice for 2 days, which meant totally redoing the interior of the building. New wallboard, molding, flooring, and heating system had to be put in, but Chris had to oversee what the contractors were doing. Thankfully, the home owners insurance covered most of the cost.

From 2015:

Betty continues to research and write historical fiction stories, both women’s fiction and romances. She signed with a literary agent in January, which will hopefully facilitate the sale and publication of many books to come. The 3rd book in the A More Perfect Union series and her 5th novel, Samantha’s Secret, released in April. The 4th and last book in the series, Evelyn’s Promise, will release in February 2016. The children’s Literary Classics organization presented Betty with a gold medal for best gender specific young adult book for Hometown Heroines: True Stories of Bravery, Daring, and Adventure in Las Vegas in October in conjunction with the Vegas Valley Book Festival. What a great and humbling experience, too.

Just a few snippets to share as this year winds down. I hope you have a very happy holiday season and enjoy time with family and friends, or doing what brings joy into your heart. Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year!

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! Only a few more weeks until it releases on January 10 and then the price will go up to $3.99.

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?

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

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On Being Flexible and Caring #WritersLife #FamilyFirst #amwriting #books #romance #histfic

There’s a saying that humans make plans and God laughs. He is probably in hysterics then, if that’s the case. I always make plans, but I know that they are subject to change with little or no notice. But having made the plan, I know where to adjust. To be flexible and adaptable. That’s the key for me.

business-planI’m very fortunate to have the kind of career that allows me to work wherever I am. (There are also drawbacks but that’s a different story…) I’ve posted before about creating my business plan to have an idea of when things need to be done. I’ve been working to that plan for several months and am on track to meet my goals.

But when my brother’s wife suffered a life-threatening situation that landed her in Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, I knew it was a matter of time before I made a trip back to Maryland. To be there to bolster my brother’s morale and do what I could to help them during this crisis. Automatically, I started contemplating whether I could flex my plans to accommodate a possible trip. I determined I could but kept to my plan until I knew for certain.

“Suddenly” then on the Saturday evening after Thanksgiving, I found myself packing for the 800+ mile one-way drive to my home state. Naturally, my laptop and manuscript I’m working on were added to the pile of clothes and books I took with me. I planned to arrive on Monday, stay a couple of days, then be home by Thursday. I contacted my dearest friend to see if I could stay with her and her family while in town, but their schedule was too crammed. So I made a reservation to stay at a hotel instead. Having my own space would allow me to work when not needed by my brother, too.

I arrived at my brother’s late Monday afternoon and dragged him out to dinner that evening. Where he could tell me what was going on. He didn’t know much except how worried he was about his wife’s condition and the uncertainty of her and their future together. She is his third wife; the second died from breast cancer so he was even more concerned.

We made plans to meet up in the morning and go see my sister-in-law. I wondered if his confusion was warranted due to lack of communication or if he wasn’t understanding the technical aspects of the treatment plan. But the situation was far more unsettled and unclear than I had anticipated. One thing I’m good at is asking questions and getting things done as a result. I quickly discovered they didn’t know what the nurses/doctors were actually doing to treat her condition, nor did they know what the treatment plan was. Before too long, we had answers to those questions. Trust me on that!

That’s when I found out a delicate, “difficult” procedure was planned to fix the “huge” hemorrhage caused by a brain aneurysm for Thursday afternoon. Which ended up being scheduled for 6 p.m. (really? that late?) and would last about 3 hours. Well, I couldn’t leave on Wednesday knowing that my brother would be waiting, alone, for hours while his wife had this surgery. So I extended my stay. Thankfully, my friend’s schedule allowed for me to stay with them, which was a nice bonus for making the trip.

working-at-dennys-westminster-2016Wednesday, after visiting my sister-in-law for several hours and dropping my brother off at his apartment, I snuck away from everyone for a couple hours at the Denny’s in Westminster. Amidst the chatter of the waitstaff and the few other mid-afternoon customers, I worked on the final revisions to Haunted Melody which will release next year. I kept my phone handy in case my brother should need me but focused on the story’s characters and interactions. Once my friend’s errands had been completed, I went to her house for the evening.

working-at-westminster-ag-center-2016On Thursday, I didn’t need to pick my brother up until 2 p.m., and my friend had errands to run, so I spent a couple hours at the local public library working and then after I had a quick stop at Subway for my lunch, stopped at the Ag Center to work for about 45 minutes before I needed to drive down to get my brother and go spend the rest of the day at the hospital. (I also slipped in a stop at Hoffman’s Ice Cream for a crave-worthy homemade raspberry scoop! Yum!)

Unfortunately, the procedure that evening did not happen – I feel for the patient who had complications requiring the surgeon’s continued attention. They were going to reschedule but there was no way to know when so late in the evening (it was 9 p.m. when we found out) on a Thursday. If they didn’t do it the next day, it would be the following week most likely. I couldn’t stay that long. So I reluctantly decided to head home the next day. But my brother kept me posted as to when she went into surgery at about 6 p.m. Friday evening and on Saturday morning called to tell me that everything went well even though she was in surgery for 6 hours instead of 3-4 hours.

While I was only able to stay four days with my brother, I feel like I did help him through the toughest part when she had been in the hospital for a week and had no clue as to how long she’d stay and what was going on. From my perspective, it made me feel good to be able to be there for my brother and his wife. To demonstrate through my actions, not just my words, that I love and care about them.

Family first is the motto that I live by and is a characteristic that I instill in my characters as well. Our ties to family are important. It saddens me that I have very tenuous ties to my eldest brother, but his service in Viet Nam really changed him in ways I don’t really understand. I rarely “speak” to him but at least I know he’s alive. (Thank goodness for Facebook messages!) I’m grateful to have contact with my two sisters and of course my other brother. As well as my hubby’s family and my cousins (I got to see one of them on my way home for a few minutes). Knowing where we come from is why I’m a genealogy fan, too. And why I did the research and paperwork necessary to become a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR).

Now it’s your turn. How do you stay in touch with your family? Is there someone you wish you could be more in contact with than you are now?

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. Thanks and happy reading!

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

By the way, Emily’s Vow is currently on 99 pennies for the ebook. Now’s your chance to get your copy at a discount it if you haven’t already!

Emily's Vow Finalist SealEmily Sullivan’s greatest fear is dying in childbirth, as did her twin sister and their mother. Despite her half-hearted protests, her father insists Frank Thomson is the perfect man for both her protection from the vengeful British and as a husband. Frank always loved Emily despite her refusal to return his affections. A patriot spy posing as a loyalist officer, when Frank learns Emily’s been imprisoned for her father’s privateering, he risks his own neck to free his love.

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Thanks to American Veterans! #VeteransDay #kindle #nook #book #sale

thankaveteran-1200x628
50% of my earnings will be donated to thank a veteran!

In honor of Veterans Day,  Hometown Heroines: True Stories of Bravery, Daring, and Courage is on sale for only $1.99 for the ebook (Kindle and Nook). But that’s not all. Fifty percent of what I earn on sales of this title from today through November 20th will be donated to Operation Gratitude as a way for me to thank some of the many veterans who have served America.

My family has a very strong history of serving our country. My father served in WWII as a tech sergeant on Guadalcanal. My brothers and oldest sister also served in the army, air force, and navy.

On my husband’s side of the family, his brother, father, uncle, and grandfather were all officers in the army, serving in many different countries all over the world. His mother’s father and grandfather were also officers in the army. In fact, his parents met while their parents were stationed in China.

I thank each and every man and woman who stepped up to protect and defend our country, our people, and the people of other countries under duress through no fault of their own. It’s a huge sacrifice to be separated from family and friends, from their “normal” routines, and all that brings them comfort. So thank you!

Please help me thank them by picking up a copy of Hometown Heroines— whether an ebook on sale or the paperback which is not discounted but that only serves to raise more money—to show the servicemen and servicewomen we care about them. Feel free to share this with your friends and family so we can work together to raise a bit of money to help this worthwhile charity.

Tell me about the veterans or active duty people in your life, or if you are a veteran or active duty. I’d love to hear from you!

Thanks! Happy Veterans Day!

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!

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

About Hometown Heroines: True Stories of Bravery, Daring, and Courage

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.