Charm #5: Shooting Straight to the Heart #amwriting #reading #PNR #CommonElementsRomanceProject #fiction #books #paranormal #jewelry #research #relationships

My next book is Charmed Against All Odds, and it releases in 1 week! I’m really very excited about this story, which is Roxie and Leo’s story. Writing their story was a challenge since they must complete a quest spell in order to learn their true destiny. The challenge for me was that I had to figure out what the clues would be and what they would mean to my characters. Which meant lots of prewriting before I started writing the actual story.

It’s also one of many books included in the Common Elements Romance Project. More than 75 romances—historical, sci fi, fantasy, contemporary, paranormal, suspense—which include the same 5 elements. Those elements are a guy named Max, a lost set of keys, a tall stack of books, a haunted house, and a lightning storm. Visit the website for a listing of all the books by subgenre and for monthly giveaways.

Now, on to the enchanted charm bracelet…

I’ve been talking about the charm bracelet featured in Charmed. Each charm represents a characteristic I feel is important in order to have a solid relationship with the one you love. I’ve shared the reasons for why I chose the first charm, an open book, the second one, a Friend charm, the third, a handshake, and the fourth, a Comedy and Tragedy Theater masks charm. The next charm they must find is an arrow.

Charm #5: Arrow

Why, you may be wondering. Well, I think it’s very important to be honest with everyone, including yourself. Definitely when you’re in a loving, long-time relationship you want to be truthful with your significant other. And yes, it can be difficult to be totally honest! But I do believe it’s important to speak the truth.

I’m not talking about being cruel with your honesty. Not at all. If someone asks your opinion, and you don’t like whatever it is they’re asking your opinion about, then please consider your response before you blurt out something hurtful. I’ve always tried to phrase my criticism gently or with some kind of suggestion for improvement (to my way of thinking). I expect my hubby and my loved ones in general to be honest in return.

Now, I will say that a very dear friend of mine once asked me while we were out shopping if I liked the hat she was trying on. I gave her my honest answer: it looked good on her but I wouldn’t buy it. She put it back and later told me she hadn’t bought it because I said I wouldn’t buy it. What she failed to realize is that I don’t wear hats. Not unless it’s in the single digits and I have to put something on my head or freeze. But decorative ones? No, thanks. But then I felt bad that she’d denied herself the hat she liked because of my inadequate response. I should have just said it looked cute on her and left it at that. I don’t recall now, decades later, if she asked me if I’d buy it, and then I replied I wouldn’t, so she put it back. That may be the case. Either way, I learned something that day as well about how to respond to such questions going forward.

One lesson I learned as a young woman is one that has stayed with me, and which has guided my choices on whether to delve deeper or not. You know, do I ask whether something I’m wearing looks nice? Or what hubby thinks of some other aspect of my person? Or even something about my stories, if I’m still working on something. Anything intensely personal which may sting if criticized. The lesson, or realization, is that if I think it will hurt to hear a negative answer, then I don’t ask the question. I keep my mouth shut. That way neither of us are put into an awkward situation when we want to share honestly with each other.

When my dear father started living with us (he did so for 17 years), he asked me to not tell my hubby something my dad had said about my husband. Since it concerned my hubby, I wanted to make clear to my dad that his unkind words were not appreciated. My response was, we tell each other everything. We are a team, partners in our married life. We are honest with each other to the best of our abilities. The message was hopefully clear to him. I do not keep secrets from my husband. Besides that, I could see how condoning or encouraging my dad to tell me such things would put me in the middle between the two men in my life. Not a place I ever wanted to be, even though there were many times I did find myself right smack dab in the middle. But that’s another story…

While I am open and honest with my husband, I will not reveal a secret to him which doesn’t concern him. I value my friends and family and their privacy, so if they ask me to keep something in confidence then of course I will.  That’s not the same thing as hearing someone disparage my husband and then ask me to keep it to myself. The decision as to whether to tell my husband rests with me at that point.

It’s my firm belief that if two people in a relationship don’t feel comfortable sharing their day-to-day stuff, their decisions, their futures, their lives, then they probably shouldn’t stay together. Honesty seems to me to be the foundation of trust. If you’re not sure whether your partner is telling you the truth, can you trust them? Without trust, how can you relax and be yourself with the other person? The rest of the characteristics I’m talking about all rely on each other.

So, that’s why I included the arrow charm, with the imagery of being honest and true with your significant other, your spouse, even your friend. It’s also vital that you are honest with yourself. Understand the impact and the effect of the decisions you make, both for yourself and those you love. Note that decisions can be as small as what you’re going to drink with dinner or huge like where you’re searching for your next job. The first choice may have no impact on others, while the second one could have life-changing ripple effects.

Five charms down, one more to go! And it’s a really, really important one, too.

So what are your thoughts on these characteristics? Do you disagree? Have others you’d like to add to the list?

As always, thanks for reading!

Betty

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

Visit www.bettybolte.com for more on my books and upcoming events.

Charmed Against All Odds releases November 11 and is available for pre-order now!

Loving her brings out the magic in him…

Wedding bells are ringing, but not for Roxie Golden. If she can survive another round of wedding plans, then her life can return to normal. She’s perfectly happy running the bookstore and weaving helpful magical spells. Then one stormy day, her ex-fiancé strolls back into her life with a gift neither of them wants.

Leo King wants to flee the small town for the big city. Forget about the shame he brought upon himself when he abused his magical powers. First, to satisfy his warlock father’s final wish, he must deliver the mysterious box to Roxie’s bookstore.

But when Roxie opens the box, revealing an enchanted bracelet and a quest spell, their plans and their lives are changed forever. Trapped in a reluctant partnership with the woman he once loved, he risks everything—including his heart—for a second chance.

Books2Read     Amazon     Barnes & Noble     Kobo      Apple

Top 5 Lessons Learned from #HNS2019 #amwriting #histfic #historical #fiction #history

I’m a life learner. I can’t imagine going through a single day without learning something new. In fact, that was advice my dad used to give me. He’d jokingly say that once I learned something new at school each day, my day was complete and I could come home. Which, of course, he didn’t really mean. Little did he realize, that I soak up new information like a dry sponge!

As a professional author, it’s important to me to continue to hone my skills, my writing technique, and to explore new subject matter. One way to do a bit of all of this is to attend writers’ conferences, like the Historical Novel Society conference last week in Maryland (my home state). Through a combination of workshops, panel discussions, and networking, I gleaned a lot of information during the several days of the conference.

Exposure to the wealth of knowledge and experience represented by the attendees and the keynote speakers alone proved an education. Jeff Shaara gave a wonderful talk about how he came to write Gods and Generals, for example. I came home with a long, long list of historical fiction titles I want/need to read! My hubby has requested I use my library card more often as a result… <grin>

Here’s my top five lessons:

Lesson #5: Book club fiction needs lots of themes and issues to discuss. In order for a great discussion over pizza and wine, for example, you need a story that has personal transformation at its heart, or personal growth to confront an obstacle. Think about what makes for thought provoking entertainment. This tells me I may want to dig a bit deeper into some universal themes to highlight more in my stories. I believe they exist in the story, but maybe not with enough clarity.

Panel discussion about the State of the State of Historical Fiction on opening day of the conference.

Lesson #4: Discoverability remains one of the most important and yet difficult aspects to selling books. Publishers are focusing their marketing efforts on social media presence. So I guess my efforts on that front may eventually pay off. I probably need to look more closely at devising a strategy of some kind, but at least I have a social media presence.

Lesson #3: I studied the supernatural stories of Edgar Allen Poe and Henry James years ago, but I attended a session about Neo-gothic Novels since I’m currently working on a supernatural historical series, Fury Falls Inn. What are neo-gothic novels, you may be asking. (I know I did!) Well, neo-gothic novels focus on the power of the heroine instead of her being a victim or passive in the story. James and Poe often included females who were the “other” or the seemingly “uncanny” element in the story. Neo-gothics also feature subtle fears, are less overtly political, include either a reliable or non-reliable narrator, and have an explained or unexplained paranormal element. I came away thinking my series falls within these parameters nicely!

Interesting and authentic portrayal of George Washington. Wish I’d gotten a picture with him!

Lesson #2: Author Mary Sharratt wrote an intriguing book, Ecstasy, which I’ve ordered to enjoy and to study some ways of approaching how to include music in a historical fiction novel. I’m working on a WWII novel set in Baltimore that includes music in several ways so I felt her talk might prove helpful. She shared several concepts about music and fiction I jotted down to remember as I revise my story. Music is relevant to all historical fiction, providing a sense of time and culture. Sound and music are powerful for the senses. Music evokes a mood. She said that “the relationship between music and words is alchemical,” which is a fascinating comment. (I’m a huge fan of alchemist stories, by the way.) She gave examples of how lyrical poetry and prose can use musical allusion and terminology to create the mood and sense of a time and place. She also talked about how music imagery can be used visually and even somewhat orally in the text, like a “crescendo” of action and dialogue that peaks into the “silence of the end of a chapter.” My interpretation of her statement is that both visually and orally, the action and dialogue of the story ends/silences at the chapter break with white “noise” or space signifying silence of sound. The reverse, I’m thinking, is also true where the action of the chapter becomes darker and more sinister until the chapter break provides a kind of “silent death” to the story action. Or am I getting a bit carried away in my analogies?

And the #1 most important lesson:

I struggle with including enough conflict in my stories, since I tend to avoid conflict in my real life. So I attended a session on sustaining conflict presented by Alma Katsu, author of the NPR Best Horror Novel The Hunger, which was really helpful. In particular the concept of weaving conflict into every page of the story to provide not only tension but also a page-turning read. Most important to me was the definition of four kinds of conflict. This is a brand new concept for me, by the way. So let me dive a bit deeper here for clarity. Here are the four kinds of conflict and how they are applied to writing. As you read, you may find yourself spotting them in the stories your enjoy, too.

  1. Central conflict is the major conflict of the story that must be resolved. This is all about the character’s growth and makes for a better story. It’s very important to not harp on this one conflict too often, though, or the reader gets bored. Cue rolling eyes…
  2. Underlying/chronic conflict is an external conflict that is thrust upon the main character(s). One example is a chronic illness that interferes with the character’s progress of the central conflict resolution. The underlying conflict may or may not be resolved in the story.
  3. Internal character conflict is the flaw or mindset that complicates how the character interacts with other characters and events. This is a driving force for the action and reaction within the story. Focus is on internal issues only the character knows, whether consciously or subconsciously.
  4. Transient conflict is a temporary, brief hurdle that is not related to something the character has caused. For example, a snow storm or elevator out of service.

The idea of layering these four types of conflict so that there is something on every page to challenge the main character(s), provide hurdles they must face and overcome, is eye-opening for me. I really hope to use this going forward in my writing.

At the end of the conference was the Historical Fiction Readers Festival in the Atrium of the Gaylord Resort Hotel in National Harbor, MD. A crowd of fans of historical fiction flowed through the many tables of authors eager and ready to meet with fans. I even found a new mascot, Henry, named in honor of that fiery American Revolution orator Patrick Henry, to keep me company during the signing. I think he’ll be a happy companion as I travel around to different book events.

Other lessons learned came from networking, with lots of discussions about book reviews and their subjectivity despite their use to determine whether a reader might enjoy a book. Research methods when searching for information outside of the United States or if you don’t know exactly where to start (hint: footnoted sources). I’m sure there were many other far subtler lessons I absorbed without taking notes!

All in all, it was an educational, interesting, and worthwhile trip to the Historical Novel Society conference. I look forward to the next one in the USA in 2021!

Betty

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

Visit www.bettybolte.com for more on my books and upcoming events.

Coming October 1, 2019!

Innkeeper’s daughter Cassie Fairhope longs for only one thing: to escape her mother’s tyranny. But in northern Alabama in 1821 marriage is her only escape. Even so, she has a plan: Seduce the young man acting as innkeeper while her father is away and marry him. He’s handsome and available. Even though he has no feelings for her, it is still a better option than enduring her mother.

But Flint Hamilton has his own plans and they don’t include marriage, even to the pretty temptress. Securing his reputation in the hostelry business and earning his father’s respect are far more important. He did not count on having to deal with horse thieves and rogues in addition to his guests.

When tragedy strikes, Cassie and Flint must do whatever it takes to rid the inn of its newly arrived specter—who has no intention of leaving…

Adjusting to Post-surgery Limits #writerslife #amwriting #planningfortheworst #hopingforthebest #IARTG

I promised I’d be back, and here I am. The shoulder surgery went well but ended up being more extensive than hoped. The rotator cuff was torn like an onion, one layer at a time, until only 10% of it was intact. The surgeon grafted it back together and otherwise cleaned up the shoulder. I have staples in the outside area of the top of the shoulder and widespread greenish-yellow bruising. Pain was pretty intense to begin with, but has lessened day by day. So instead of wearing a shoulder immobilizer for 1 day I need to wear it for 4-5 weeks. Of course, it’s on my right shoulder/arm, which is my dominant hand. Challenges abound as a result but I’m determined to make some progress with my writing despite the limitations.

It’s amazing how much we use each body part without thinking twice about it. Until it’s injured or unavailable to use, that is. I’ve been on Percocet pain killer and a muscle relaxant since the surgery, but as of today am switching to using Aleve instead to manage the discomfort. I want and need a clear head to write and revise. I think it was Hemingway who once said, “write drunk, revise sober.” I’d rather be sober for both, personally!

I’m going to keep today’s post short so I’m not overdoing my arm and thus my shoulder. I merely wanted to let you all know that I came through the operation without any complications.

One last thing. Thanks for being there and reading my stories as well as my blog. I appreciate it!

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 through 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

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

In Honor of July 4th #giveaway #writerslife #readers #swagbag #American #celebration @LJWriter @HODRWA

In honor of America’s Independence Day, July 4, I’m going to give away this packed tote bag full of books and an array of swag. Everything from bookmarks to jewelry to lip balm and pens and much more! (Note: Due to postage costs, I must limit entries to the United States only.)

HOD Luncheon swag bagTo enter to win, be sure to follow my blog and comment below with your favorite couple from one of my books and why they’re special to you. Or follow my blog and comment with your favorite title of my books and why.

As a refresher, here are the titles and main couples in each.

A More Perfect Union historical romance series:

Emily’s Vow: Emily Sullivan and Frank Thomson

Amy’s Choice: Amy Abernathy and Benjamin Hanson

Samantha’s Secret: Samantha McAlester and Trent Cunningham

Evelyn’s Promise: Evelyn Hamilton and Nathaniel Williams

Secrets of Roseville paranormal romance series:

Undying Love: Meredith Reed and Max Chandler

Haunted Melody: Paulette O’Connell and Zak Markel

The Touchstone of Raven Hollow: Tara Golden and Grant Markel

And don’t forget Hometown Heroines: True Stories of Daring, Bravery, and Adventure. These real girls from the 1800s really are inspiring to me!

Plus, I’ll choose a second winner to receive this beautiful Bridesmaid gift bag author Linda Joyce handed out at the Heart of Dixie Romance Readers’ Luncheon last month with some cool goodies inside. The pretty scented soaps smell really nice! I was tempted to keep it for myself, but want to share the love! And I’ll even let the winner of the gift bag choose any one of my books that I’ll autograph to you or another person of your choice. Sweet, eh?

Linda Joyce gift bagI’ll choose the winners on Friday, July 7, to give people chance to enter since there’s the holiday tomorrow and I’d expect many folks will be outside celebrating rather than on their computers.

Also, look for another Tasty Tuesday post tomorrow on making a really yummy beef entrée you won’t want to miss.

Good luck! Happy Fourth of July!!!!

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.

The Touchstone of Raven Hollow (Secrets of Roseville Book 3) is available now! Grab your copy today!

The_Touchstone_of_Raven_Hollow_600x900He dug for the truth and found her magic.

Tara Golden has hidden her healing power all her life. But occasionally, she uses her abilities on people passing through town, sure they’d never figure out what saved them. Now a tall, sexy geologist is asking questions she doesn’t want to face, and he isn’t going to take no for an answer. There’s no way she would reveal her abilities and her gifted sisters for a fling.

The latest medical tests divulge geologist Grant Markel’s fatal condition is cured, but the scientist within him won’t accept it’s a miracle. When he meets the sexy, mystical witch who may hold the answer to his quest, he’s determined to prove she’s full of smoke and mirrors despite their mutual attraction.

When they are trapped in an enchanted valley, Tara must choose between her magical truth or his scientific beliefs. Can she step from the shadows to claim her true powers before it’s too late?

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

Kobo: http://bit.ly/Touchstone-Kobo

Amazon: http://bit.ly/Touchstone-kindle

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

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

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

iBooks: http://bit.ly/Touchstone-iBooks

Exploring Russell Cave National Monument #writerslife #history #caving #research

Have you ever driven past a historic site multiple times yet didn’t take the time to find out what the significance of the place might be? I’ve lived in the Tennessee Valley for almost 15 years now and have driven the highway that passes the Russell Cave National Monument countless times in that span. I wanted to visit to see what northern Alabama/southern Tennessee caves looked like since, in The Touchstone of Raven Hollow, Grant and Tara end up in one. My hubby and I almost stopped in on a return trip from Virginia a few months ago, but it was a rainy day and we decided to keep going. But we finally had a free Saturday on a beautiful day in June to make the short trip to investigate the monument.

We decided to make a day of it and packed a picnic and our books to read under a shady tree. We set out mid-morning and arrived at the National Park a little after 11:00. On the way in, I saw a sign that read, “Historic Shelter Cave,” and wondered what that meant. I would soon find out.

IMG_2358The cave is named after a Revolutionary War officer, Colonel Thomas Russell, who once owned the land known as the Russell farm where the cave is located. We browsed through the museum in the visitor’s center, learning about the people who once lived there. We saw a likeness of what a man of that period looked like as well as the kinds of weapons and tools they would have used. They mentioned the atlatl, a kind of leveraged spear that increases the speed and force of the thrown weapon. I was reminded of reading of the same kind of hunting spear in Jean Auel’s Clan of the Cave Bear series and wondered about the linkage. IMG_2362A quick search online revealed the history of the device. According to quart.us, they were first used in Europe (where the Clan books take place) during the Paleolithic or Stone Age around 17,000 BC. People migrating across the Bering Land Bridge brought them around 15,000 BC. The atlatls were used in North America during the Paleo-Indian and Archaic periods. I like to know the linkages between places and times to have a better grasp of the flow of history and how people moved about.

IMG_2366A stream flows into and through the sheltering cave where people lived and worked for thousands of years. That’s a ready supply of water without having to venture out of the cave. There seems to be some uncertainty as to whether people lived in the cave year round or only during the fall and winter, but thousands of artifacts have been IMG_2361found. Including the Russell point arrowhead which is a style only found in this cave. Baskets, pottery, spear points and other cutting and scraping tools, jewelry as well as the charcoal remains of fires were found inside during the archeological dig conducted by first the Tennessee Archeological Society and then by the Smithsonian Institution with support by the National Geographic society. Most if not all of the tools were made using limestone, an abundant kind of stone in the Tennessee Valley.

IMG_2369The cave itself seems to have some structural concerns as there are large bolts spaced across the ceiling to keep it from falling. Indeed it appears some erosion and rock fall has occurred. We saw swallows darting in and out of the shelter but no other wildlife. Overall, it’s a very peaceful place with the merry sound of the river flowing gently by and the birds calling to one another.

We ate our lunch out front of the visitor’s center where picnic tables were situated under several large deciduous trees and pines. We were surprised to be joined by an unexpected companion, an old black dog IMG_2371we later found out is named Scoot and is 17 years old and visits from a neighbor’s property. Scoot looks an awful lot like our Sierra dog, which was rather startling when I first saw him. He kept us company for a time, which was rather sweet of him.

After we’d finished our picnic, we packed up and headed on into Tennessee to the Franklin-Marion State Forest. Why? That’s another story I’ll share next week.

So what historical sites are in your area that you haven’t visited – yet?

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.

The_Touchstone_of_Raven_Hollow_600x900He dug for the truth and found her magic…

Tara Golden has hidden her healing power all her life. But occasionally, she uses her abilities on people passing through town, sure they’d never figure out what saved them. Now a tall, sexy geologist is asking questions she doesn’t want to face, and he isn’t going to take no for an answer. There’s no way she would reveal her abilities and her gifted sisters for a fling.

The latest medical tests divulge geologist Grant Markel’s fatal condition is cured, but the scientist within him won’t accept it’s a miracle. When he meets the sexy, mystical witch who may hold the answer to his quest, he’s determined to prove she’s full of smoke and mirrors despite their mutual attraction.

When they are trapped in an enchanted valley, Tara must choose between her magical truth or his scientific beliefs. Can she step from the shadows to claim her true powers before it’s too late?

Amazon: http://bit.ly/Touchstone-kindle

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

Kobo: http://bit.ly/Touchstone-Kobo

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

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

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

iBooks: http://bit.ly/Touchstone-iBooks

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Heart of Dixie Luncheon & My Big Surprise #writerslife #mentor #award #HODluncheon #grateful

I had a huge surprise at this year’s annual Heart of Dixie Romance Readers’ Luncheon in Huntsville, Alabama. My chapter celebrated 20 years of luncheons with the fabulous author Brenda Sue Novak as keynote speaker, and she didn’t let us down with her inspiring and touching speech.

As always, we had a room full of readers and authors getting to know each other, talking about their lives and their love of reading. Maybe about a few hunky book boyfriends here and there. Or about books we’ve read, life events that are touched upon in writing Everyone having a good timesome stories, and so much more.

I was happy to share hosting a table again with the awesome contemporary romance author Linda Joyce. She’s a dear friend as well as an award-winning author. Without consciously coordinating our efforts, our gifts for the Me and Lindareaders who shared lunch with us complemented each other. Perhaps we think more alike than I’d realized!

This year I had a few fans return from previous years at this and other reader events where we met and shared a good time. It’s a very flattering statement to have people who have read my stories want to sit with me, to get to know me better. I count those readers as more than fans, but as friends. A few ladies even squealed and hugged me when they saw me, which was a first for me. What a moment for me, to be “fan-girled” by a reader. Makes me smile even days later to think about.

Brenda Novak-Keynote SpeakerBrenda Novak’s speech touched on the lasting and universal feelings you’ll find in the Cinderella story. Specifically a desire to overcome obstacles to be a better person, or to reach your true potential, despite the naysayers in our lives. She emphasized the need to have dreams and to work to make them come true. She also shared the reasons for why she became a writer (her family’s financial crisis), where she gets her ideas for her stories (everywhere), and a few humorous anecdotes related to missteps as an author (her skirt hiked in her undies at one event, for example). Through it all, she showed just how human and down-to-earth of a person she is despite her acclaim as an author and her fundraising to benefit diabetes research to the tune of $2.5 million to date.

Me and Amy-receiving awardThe biggest surprise though for me was when the president of Heart of Dixie went to the podium to announce this year’s Mentor of the Year recipient and called my name. Who me? I couldn’t believe it, let me tell you. Tears threatened as I made my way to the podium to accept this beautiful award. People congratulated me all the way to the front of the room and back. Chapter mates told me how much I deserved this award, for being there to help them whenever needed. I’m honored and humbled as a result.

HOD Mentor of the Year AwardIn truth, helping others comes naturally to me. One of my mottoes has always been, ever since a little girl, “I’m here to help.” I believe in paying it forward by reaching back to give a helping hand, or a shoulder to cry on, or an ear to listen. Whatever I can do, I will.

Next year’s luncheon, our 21st, will feature as keynote speaker the NYT-bestselling author Lilliana Hart. So mark your calendars for June 9, 2018, to journey to the Rocket City, home of NASA Marshall Space Flight Center and the U.S. Space and Rocket Center, among other fun attractions. Destination: Huntsville, Alabama, my new hometown. See you then!

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!

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The Touchstone of Raven Hollow (Secrets of Roseville Book 3) is available now! Grab your copy today!

The_Touchstone_of_Raven_Hollow_600x900He dug for the truth and found her magic.

Tara Golden has hidden her healing power all her life. But occasionally, she uses her abilities on people passing through town, sure they’d never figure out what saved them. Now a tall, sexy geologist is asking questions she doesn’t want to face, and he isn’t going to take no for an answer. There’s no way she would reveal her abilities and her gifted sisters for a fling.

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