Fun Friday with Maggie Blaine from Overkill by Sherry Fowler Chancellor #murder #mystery #romance #fiction

Another Fun Friday is upon us and this time Sherry Fowler Chancellor shares Maggie Blaine’s love of scrapbooking and a contest! Don’t forget to enter to win the prize… Okay, Sherry, take it away!


Thanks to Betty for letting me visit and introduce you to the heroine of the book Overkill and her hobby.

Maggie Blaine is a homicide detective who was called to the scene of a brutal death. What she didn’t expect was the victim was a former friend of hers who hurt her deeply. The victim went from backstabbing best friend (figuratively) to being literally backstabbed and dying on the grass in front of her office.

When the two of them were friends, they engaged in a couple of hobbies together. They would travel to fun spots like New York City, the Bahamas, and even took a trip or two to Europe. They both loved to try new foods and places and tour cities.

Upon returning home from their travels, they had marathon sessions where they’d create scrapbooks about their adventures. Maggie wasn’t picky about how artistic and perfect her creations were. She just loved spending time cutting and pasting. It relaxed her and kept her mind off her stressful job. Her former friend, on the other hand, was a perfectionist and would never allow a crooked photo or ink blot to stay on her pages.

Maggie hasn’t scrapbooked since she and the victim parted ways. It’s too painful for her to try to separate how the victim betrayed her and their friendship from her love of paper and glue. She still likes to travel, but the photos sit on her computer or in plain albums now.

Someday, she’ll rediscover her love for crafting. Perhaps when she solves this murder, she can finally lay to rest any bad feelings she has toward the former friend who didn’t know the definition of loyalty. But first…it’s time to work.

CONTEST! Overkill by Sherry Fowler Chancellor is available at all e-book retailers and published by Black Opal Books. For the chance to win an e-book copy, leave me a comment about your favorite place to travel. Either that you’ve been to or you want to visit.

overkillNo one liked Drusilla Isaacs. She spent a lifetime alienating people, as if making the most enemies was a personal goal. Now she’s dead. Shot, stabbed, and her neck broken…and that’s what the coroner can tell from a first look. It’s up to Maggie Blaine—former friend and one-time victim of the odious Drusilla—and Maggie’s partner, Jacob Brown, to figure out who, out of a seemingly endless list of suspects, would carry out such heinous acts. Their choices are varied. From Drusilla’s husbands—the former and the current—to the women in her life—her secretary, the mother of her husband’s son, or the new wife of her ex-husband. There’s also another option. A serial killer who randomly appears to insert himself into the mix. A tale of murder, gems, drugs, illicit sex, and a cast of villains who all have one thing in common—their hatred of Drusilla Isaacs.

Amazon: https://tinyurl.com/y86jvqpw

Barnes and Noble: https://tinyurl.com/y85ul22f

Head shot0037 (2)Sherry Fowler Chancellor is a lawyer living on the gulf coast of Florida- a little piece of paradise. She started writing fiction for escape from the day job- a way to decompress from the rigors of contracts and legalese.  After all, how much more fun is it to write exciting romances than dry legal pleadings?

When she’s not practicing law or writing fiction, she can be found spending time with her family, taking trips for inspiration or playing around with her other love, photography.

Sherry loves to hear from readers. Contact her at:

http://sherryfowlerchancellor.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Sherryfowlerchancellor-writer-571383902943755/

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/SherryFowlerchancellor

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Between the Lines: Interview with a Black Belt #JiuJitsu #BJJ #research #PNR #romance

No matter what time period my story takes place in, I always make every effort to ensure I am factually accurate. More than that, though, I try to make the reader’s experience as authentic as in real life. So when Beth Golden, the heroine in my upcoming release, Veiled Visions of Love (Secrets of Roseville #4), decided she needed to learn not only self-defense but Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, I had to go on a hunt for more information.

I confess that I have never taken any kind of martial arts training. The closest I’ve come is watching demos and of course The Karate Kid. I know, right? So I asked around and found a friend or two who could point me in the right direction. Learn about the basic differences and such between the disciplines.

But then…the instructor turned out to be a woman with a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. More digging to find out what she’d need to know, how long it takes to get that far, and much more. In my search I came across the Maverick Training Center in Huntsville, AL, and surprise…the owner/instructor is a woman with a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. I immediately contacted the Center to request an interview, and before long Suzanne Ramsden herself emailed me to accept. Much to my further surprise, the Center is located near to my house. The house where I just moved last year. Coincidence? Hmm…

A few days later we met for morning coffee at a local diner. Now, I had seen photos of her at the Center’s website, so I had an idea of who I was looking for. When she walked in, I recognized her immediately but was again surprised that she was rather petite, slim, and very muscular. She strode over to the table and ordered black coffee. Just like me. That’s where the similarities end though.

I had brought my list of questions and we chatted our way down the page, with me taking brief memory-jogging notes so I could write up my observations as well as her answers when I returned home to my office.

A few of the interesting tidbits she shared:

  • Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is dominated by men. There are only a few women who participate and even fewer who earned a black belt like Suzanne.
  • Because Brazil is known for surfers and is located on the ocean, the sport attracts “macho men” and people who tend toward an outdoorsy mentality.
  • She was inspired by Bruce Lee and his philosophy of maximum efficiency in the smallest movements.
  • She had to overcome many challenges to succeed in reaching her goals. Just being a woman made the very macho men resent her presence let alone her achievements. Some coaches wouldn’t stand on the podium with her when one of her students did well, for instance.

I used my observations of her and the background information she shared to create two characters. First, Beth Golden and her struggles and successes with learning the sport. Second, black belt instructor and owner of Phoenix Training Center, Jo Walsh who has her own problems to overcome.

I learned a lot about the amount of time, effort, and dedication it takes to move up the ranks in Jiu-Jitsu. Next time I’ll talk about what I learned about the sport by watching a session for myself. Have you tried a martial art discipline? Or are you proficient in one? Any surprises you’ve encountered along the way that you’d like to share?

Betty

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

Veiled_Visions_of_Love_600x900His search for a home led him straight to her heart…

Psychic Beth Golden longs to live the life of a heroine in a suspense novel but knows she’ll die of boredom working in the bookstore in the small town of Roseville. Until a pilot rolls into town on his motorcycle with a secret mission. When he introduces her to a whole new world of daring and romance, she’s captivated by a life style filled with unexpected and dangerous surprises.

Major Mitch Sawyer, currently serving in the Reserves, has lived all over the world and wants nothing more than to have his own home with a wife and family. Forced to complete one more airplane repo job before he can afford to resign his commission and make his dream a reality, he entices a sexy book lover to help him by becoming an undercover biker chick. Only Beth’s hunger for excitement endangers both herself and an innocent bystander. Can he protect them—and his heart—before it’s too late?

Books2Read universal book link: http://books2read.com/u/mBP5yN

Amazon: http://bit.ly/VeiledVisionsofLove

Fun Friday with Jim O’Flannery from The Wild Mountain Thyme by Kathryn Scarborough #Irish #football #leprechaun #reporter #romance

Please help me welcome Jim O’Flannery to my Fun Fridays series. He is featured in Kathryn Scarborough’s The Wild Mountain Thyme. Take it away, Jim!

Hello Betty, my name is Jim O’Flannery, and I’m the main man, (Seamus, eat your heart out!) in Kathy’s new book, The Wild Mountain Thyme.  Kathy told me you’d like to know what I do for fun.  I am a big Patriots fan, the Patriots and Tom Brady.  I play at least one game of touch football a week, unless the snow or the mud is up to my ‘nether regions,’ (ladies present).  I really get into listening to the oldies, music from the 70s and 80s, like Eric Clapton, Cream, The Righteous Brothers, and hiking, especially around the Adirondack Mountains.

I’m a Boston Globe investigative reporter and even though that might sound ‘wicked good’, hey, I’m from Boston!, it’s no glamor job.  I have to put up with my editor, a total intimidating grouch, but he did send me on this trip to Ireland and I met the love of my life,  Megan Kennedy.  She is a rare woman, beautiful, and a damn fine journalist.  We’re running around the old Emerald Isle tracking down a serial killer who’s only after Americans, Irish-Americans.  Great!  And then, you’re not going to believe this, a pesky leprechaun nagging me to marry Megan.  He says he’s my guardian angel, not sure I believe that one!  Who ever heard of an angel drinking beer, interrupting my passionate kisses to Megan, and quoting poetry at every turn.

That’s it in a nutshell, I’m just a simple guy writing the best story he can, and kissing Megan whenever Seamus lets up on the “there’ll be no paddy fingers if you please!”  Thanks for letting Kathy get her 2 cents in on your blog.

 

perf5.000x8.000.inddThere’s a serial killer murdering Irish-American tourists all over Ireland.  Jim O’Flannery of the Boston Globe and Megan Kennedy of the Irish Times, are teamed up to report on the killings.  They want to work together, but stay clear of each other emotionally; there was A LOT of trouble with the opposite sex in the past.  But, Jim’s guardian angel appears, as a leprechaun, to pester and cajole Jim into getting involved with Megan.  Jim can see Seamus, Megan can’t.

Jim and Megan trail the murderer to the west coast of Ireland, piecing together his motivation and where he may strike next.

An attempt is made on their lives, and only Jim’s quick wits saves the two.  Megan disappears.  Has the killer kidnapped her?  Can Jim, with Seamus’s help, save her from mortal danger?

http://bit.ly/2B8PsJf

http://amzn.to/2Cvbnr8

 

 

3860 Kathy Noyes Personal Branding Images Terrence Jones PhotographyThe Wild Mountain Thyme is the title of an Irish folk song (the Scots will say it’s theirs, but I suppose they all came from the same place).  Seamus sings the song in the book along with some other pieces. Seamus can whip an Irish harp out of the air to accompany himself.  My high school heart throbs, The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem sing it on this YouTube rendition.  Check it out. “T’will make ‘ya teary-eyed,’ as Seamus would say.

Liam Clancy – Wild Mountain Thyme – YouTube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JM7_rHdLZEk

Drop me a line!

Kathryn

www.scarboroughbooks.com

Kathryn@scarboroughbooks.com

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Twitter: @kathy60snc

Don’t Say That! Colorful terms in #historical #fiction #wordplay #amwriting #amediting #mustread #histfic

Color me a tad sad as today I’m wrapping up my Don’t Say That! series with one final post about words related to color: ecru, hue, luminescent, multicolor, and vibrant. Do any of those words surprise you as not entering English until after the 18th century?

I’ll start with one of my favorite words for a soft off-white color, ecru. I imagined Emily wearing an ecru colored night shift. Only, according to the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), the word didn’t enter English until 1869. Can you picture the color? The definition is “the name of a color; the color of unbleached linen.” Something lighter than eggshell but not white. It’s of French origin, so it does surprise me that it didn’t get picked up by Americans earlier than the middle of the 19th century.

The next one is a tricky one. The word “hue” has been around almost forever. It’s from Old English and meaning “form, shape, figure; appearance, aspect; species” first cited in 900 A.D. However, meaning “color” it had a bit of an interruption in use. The OED says, “Down to the 16th c. app. exactly synonymous with ‘colour’; but it appears to have become archaic in prose use about 1600.” The citation dates reflect the interruption: 971, 1050, 1225, 1375, 1450, 1576, 1616, 1694, 1791, 1808, etc. Archaic doesn’t mean it was never used, but given my A More Perfect Union series takes place in America in 1782-83, I had to consider whether my characters were likely to have picked up on it. I wrestled with this decision…but finally chose to use a different word. I’m certain beyond a doubt that most readers wouldn’t know the difference, but I would and that was enough of a reason for me to steer clear of “hue.”

But what about “luminescent”? Couldn’t the candlelight be such? Actually, no. Mainly because the OED defines it as “a. Emitting light, or having the property of emitting light, otherwise than as a result of incandescence. b. Pertaining to luminescence.” The citation is dated in 1889, a full century after my stories. And since it’s definition relies up production of light “otherwise than as a result of incandescence”—which by the way didn’t enter our language until 1794—I chose to describe the light in other terms. Keep in mind that my stories took place when light was produced by candles, oil, tallow, etc. No lightbulbs yet!

So what about a “multicolored” quilt? I’ve seen them in historic homes and displays of traditional quilt making. They exist. However, the word did not. The OED doesn’t include this word for some unknown reason, but my Webster’s New Universal Unabridged Dictionary does. According to Webster, the word “multicolor” became a word in 1840-50 as a back formation from “multicolored” which entered English in 1835-45. So again, I had to describe the quilt as having many colors, perhaps I even stated what they were.

Couldn’t my characters have a vibrant personality? Or wear vibrant clothing? Not by a long shot! The word has existed since the 16th century but meaning “Agitated with anger or emotion” or even “Brandishing, flourishing.” But as applied to colors that usage of “vivid, exotic. Also applied to other visual attributes, and to objects with an appearance suggestive in some way of vitality or the exotic” not until 1971. After I was born for goodness sake! So again, no to using that word in my historicals.

What all of this word sleuthing has taught me is first and foremost how to better describe what is happening, where it’s happening, and how it’s happening so I don’t rely on a single term to encompass the action or visual. My intent is to write a story that employs all of the senses so the reader can virtually experience the story playing in my imagination.

I’ve come to the end of my Don’t Say That! series, so next week I’ll start another round of Between the Lines posts where I share some interesting tidbits I’ve picked up while researching my stories, whether historical or contemporary. In fact, I’ll start with the research I did for my next paranormal/supernatural romance, Veiled Visions of Love, which will be available next month. More about that book next week. Until then!

Betty

P.S. If you haven’t already, please consider signing up for my newsletter, which I send out monthly. You’ll find out about 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.

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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Fun Friday with Sophie Dubois from The Pirate’s Bride by Cathy Skendrovich #sailing #pirates #historical #fiction #romance

Today I’m kicking off a new series I call Fun Fridays, where guest authors will share the cool and fun adventures of their characters with you. Starting the series, is Cathy Skendrovich with some sailing fun from her book, The Pirate’s Bride. Take the helm, Cathy!

“I want to become a pirate. My father was a pirate captain under your leadership. I want to replace him. There is nothing left for me at home, thanks to my father’s death, my husband’s desertion, and my lack of children. I repeat, I want my own ship.”

So states one of my favorite heroines I ever created, Captain Sophie Dubois, from my historical romantic adventure, The Pirate’s Bride. Sophie has always wanted to sail ships more than marry “advantageously.” In my book, she gets that chance, through a “series of unfortunate events,” to quote a famous kids’ author. She also becomes a female pirate.

2014-08-08 08.47.40                I love the ocean. I love looking at it, walking along the shore, and yes, sailing on it. In a very large vessel, mind you. You see, I’m also afraid of the water. But large boats, or ships? They’re okay.

I took my love of the ocean and gave it to Sophie. The wind streaming through her hair, the bright sunlight dancing on the waves, even the thrill from the gentle bobbing of her ship beneath her; all that came directly from me. Sailing over the waves, looking back at where I’ve been and forward to where I want to go, there’s nothing better. Add no seasickness, and you can see why my husband nicknamed me “Captain Jack,” for a certain pirate we all are familiar with.

One vacation, we took the ferry out of Seattle (the faster one, without cars) to go to Victoria, B. C. My husband downed some Dramamine and lolled about in his seat for most of the trip, while I gambled and took nothing. I’d never had motion sickness before, I reasoned.

I didn’t need any drug. Once we hit the open water, lots of people began visiting the restroom. Not me. I went out on deck and embraced the speed, the salt spray, the breeze. I walked the ship, enjoying every moment of the three-and-a-half hours it took across the ocean to get to our destination.

Sophie compares sailing a ship to freedom, and I think she’s right. Isn’t that why we like to drive our own cars, after all? But streets have rules, while the ocean, especially back in the days of pirates, had no rules except to stay afloat.

Sophie’s in charge of her own destiny when she sails a ship, and that was unheard of in the 1700s for a woman. She doesn’t want to rely on a man, and for good reason, which you’ll have to read the book to find out. Sailing gives her that escape and empowerment that I think we all crave, and she embraces it.

I tried like heck to bring out this love affair I have with the ocean in the book. I researched and researched, as well as relied upon my own experience. Pirating was only one facet of Sophie’s story. Becoming a strong, free woman who could protect herself and make her own decisions was so much more important to me. And it all started with a love for the sea.

Here is an excerpt from The Pirate’s Bride, the scene when Sophie’s pirate father-in-law finally gives her the helm of her ship. Read her reaction. I hope it makes you want to read more. Enjoy!

Finally, the reward was nigh on hand, and she would be sailing the ship out into the open ocean at last.

 

The next day it really was everything she’d dreamed of, and more. With the wind blowing her hair free from its plait and drying the tears straight out of her eyes, standing at the helm was heaven on earth. Louis Dubois actually steered the ship, but she was close enough to feel the freedom, the power of being in command.

 

The old pirate appeared to enjoy the sail as much as she did. He pointed out places of interest along the rapidly disappearing coastline, jabbering away at her. Soon only sun-drenched, sparkling swells surrounded them.

 

 “Take her.”

 

Her gaze snapped to his. “Now? Really?”

 

At his nod, she gingerly placed her hands on the smooth spokes of the helm, felt the ship shudder and sway as if alive and sensing her trepidation. She snatched her hands back and stared at Dubois. “It…it feels alive.”

 

He hooted. “Of course it does, girl. Isn’t the ocean a living thing? Now, get your hands on it and keep us at a southerly direction. Tell the crew what you want done, sail straight ahead until the sun hits the horizon, then drop anchor. Philippe and I will be below, wishing not to be disturbed during our card game. Unless, of course, we come under attack.”

 

He paused in his departure, looking over his shoulder at Sophie. “Oh, and Captain Dubois?” Was he talking to her? He must be. He continued, “Figure out on my charts where we are when you drop anchor, and come tell me. Now, ‘Ta.” He strolled away.

PB CoverFollowing a disastrous Coming Out season, Sophie Bellard vows never to become intimate with any man, preferring to sail the seas like her father before her. But an arranged marriage to a dangerous pirate changes her course forever.

Captain Andre Dubois enjoys pillaging, plundering, and seducing women. Settling down and producing an heir to continue his lineage in the Confederation of Pirates has never been important to him. Only when his inheritance is threatened does he reluctantly take a wife, a dark-haired beauty hiding a disheartening secret.

After a ruinous wedding night, Andre and Sophie spurn the attraction that ignites between them and go their separate ways, seeking the lifestyles they each gave up, and making enemies along the way. But, in a twist of pirate fate, their paths cross again, and they rediscover that spark, only to have it threatened by someone from Andre’s past. Can they fight off a murderous adversary, and rekindle an attraction too strong to be extinguished by time? Or, has it, and luck, run out for these two pirates?

Literary Wanderlust

Amazon

2018 headshotCathy Skendrovich has always loved a good story, and spent her formative years scribbling what is now called Fan Fiction. The current heartthrob of the time featured heavily in all her stories. Unfortunately, once she went to college, her writing took the form of term papers, written on typewriters instead of computer keyboards.

Upon graduation, Cathy took a job as an English teacher in a middle school. Along the way, she married her husband of now thirty-three years, had two sons, and moved to southern Orange County, California. She chose to work part-time in the school system there.

Now she has returned to writing. Prisoner of Love is her first published novel, followed closely by The Pirate’s Bride. The sequel to The Pirate’s Bride, The Pirate Bride’s Holiday Masquerade, came out Oct. 1, 2017. Undercover with the Nanny, came out on April 23, 2018.

She likes writing romance because she feels it’s lacking in today’s technological world. While she enjoys writing contemporary stories, creating romance in bygone times fascinates her. She hopes her ability to write in both genres will be the beginning of a long and satisfying writing career.

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Don’t Say That! Weather terms in #historical #fiction #wordplay #weather #amwriting #amediting #mustread #histfic

Ready for a few weather related words that folks in the 18th century didn’t use? Let’s look at four: downpour, seasonal, weather tight, and thunderhead. All four would seem to be natural to use, right? I thought so at least! Until I did a bit of checking. So let’s look at these terms and see when they came to be.

Who hasn’t seen and experienced a “downpour” of rain? Well, back in the 1700s, they didn’t call it that. Meaning “a pouring down; esp. a heavy, continuous fall (of rain, etc.)” didn’t enter English, according to the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), until 1811. I believe I used something along the lines of “drenching rain” instead. I’m sure readers have no problem with the meaning of either, but again, I simply want to create as authentic an experience of the 18th century as I can and still be understood by present-day readers.

What about a “seasonal” display of flowers? I’m thinking of vases containing flowers from specific times of the year appropriate to the season. So, meaning “pertaining to or characteristic of the seasons of the year, or some one of them,” the word didn’t exist until 1838. Five decades after my A More Perfect Union historical romance series of stories. So nope. But of course I could simply say “the flowers in the vases had been picked that morning, new buds of yellow daffodils and pink roses” in order to both describe the colors as well as the time of year. I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating. Not relying upon the single word helps me to paint a clearer picture for my readers. I’ll take it!

AMPU Covers-4So in Amy’s Choice, I wanted the boat to be “weather tight.” After all, Frank and Benjamin were facing a bad storm in a skiff-like boat on their way to visit the ship’s captain. Only, the OED tells me to hold up… The first citation for “weather-tight” didn’t pop up until 1832. So much for using that phrase. I likely said something along the lines of “the boat had been prepared to face all kinds of weather.” Creating the same impression but with different verbiage.

One last term to contemplate. Surely the storm clouds built into “thunderheads,” right? Well, let’s take a closer look. The OED lists it under “thunder” as the main entry. As a combining form, it means “(a) a rounded mass of cumulus cloud seen near the horizon projecting above the general body of cloud, and portending a thunder-storm; hence thunder-headed a., having, or of the nature of, a thunder-head; (b) nonce-use, a large head, as a whale’s head.” The first citation for the term is from Herman Melville’s Moby Dick, which is dated 1851, and is actually referring to the whale heads on the ship. As in, “Throw all these thunder-heads overboard, and then you will float light and right.” In 1861, L.L. Noble used the term in Icebergs: “An iceberg rises…after the figure of a thunderhead.” So am I to assume the term came from the shape of a whale head applied to the clouds? Maybe… Nonetheless, I couldn’t use it in my series, and that was the main concern at the time.

So next week I’ll look at my last class of words, color words such as ecru and multicolor. I hope you’re keeping cool and enjoying a great story! See you next week!

Betty

P.S. If you haven’t already, please consider signing up for my newsletter, which I send out monthly. You’ll find out about 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.

Introducing the lives, loves, and dangerous times of the men and women in the A More Perfect Union historical romance series! This prequel novella takes place when Charles Town, South Carolina, is about to face the British enemy during the American Revolution.

Elizabeth's HopeCAUGHT BETWEEN DUTY AND LOVE

Joining the revolutionary army was the honorable thing to do—but Jedediah Thomson hadn’t realized how long he’d be away from the lovely, spirited Miss Elizabeth Sullivan. They’d only begun their courtship when the occupation of Charles Town, South Carolina, trapped her in the city, making it dangerous to get to her.

Elizabeth Sullivan feared for her brothers, fighting for American freedom; for her father, pretending to be a loyalist; for family and friends, caught between beliefs; and most of all for Jedediah, the man she loves, who was doing his duty. She cherished every moment they had together, knowing how swiftly it could be taken away.

And that made her willing to risk everything to claim a piece of him forever….

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

Amazon CA: http://amzn.to/2yoixg2

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2wDNmv3

B&N: http://bit.ly/2mqq5KH

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

iBooks: https://apple.co/2FpuJRc

Don’t Say That! Family Ties in #historical #fiction #relations #wordplay #amwriting #amediting #mustread #histfic

I’ve been at the RWA national conference this week networking and learning more about all things related to being an author. But I didn’t want to leave you waiting for another quick round of Don’t Say That! In Evelyn’s Promise, family comes first for Evelyn. So today let’s talk about words linked to relationships: fiancé/fiancée, missis/missus, teen/teenager, and sibling.

Today we become engaged and then we introduce our “betrothed person” (the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) definition) as our “fiancé” or “fiancée,” depending on whether the other person is male or female, respectively. However, neither word entered English until 1853, so my characters all become the other person’s betrothed, which has been around since 1540.

Once a woman was married, then the husband might call her “missis” or “missus” as a dialect form of “wife.” But he wouldn’t have done that until 1833. However, if “used by servants…in speaking of their mistresses; spec. used by N. American Negroes and in India and S. Africa of a white employer, and loosely of any (esp. a white) woman,” then it’s possible but still rather unlikely until 1790. My historical romance series, A More Perfect Union, is set in Charleston in 1782-83, so close but not quite…

Once the newly married couple starts their family, the children will grow up to be in their teenage years. But my characters would not call those children between thirteen and nineteen their “teen” until 1818. Interestingly, the OED cites “teen” as short for “teenager” but then states that the first recorded date for the full form isn’t until 1941. Slightly confused, I went to Dictionary.com where they say its first recording was in 1935-40, so they basically agree for teenager, but Dictionary.com also says “teen” is first recorded in 1940-45 by shortening. That makes more sense, doesn’t it? Either way, my parents wouldn’t be using the term.

Our fictional children today would call each other “siblings” or “one who is of kin to another” but more like “each of two or more children of a common parent.” The first definition originated in 1000, but fell out of usage until revived in 1903 by K. Pearson in Biometrika using the second definition above. So while technically the word existed at the time of my stories in the 18th century, the folks living then didn’t use it. So of course neither could I, thus forced to stick with sister or brother instead.

Next time I’ll talk about weather words like downpour and weather tight. I hope you’re enjoying your week! I know I will be very tired by the time I finally get home again from conference, but I’ll also be highly motivated. Until next time!

Betty

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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.

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Don’t Say That! Playing Doctor in #historical #fiction #medical #wordplay #amwriting #amediting #mustread #histfic

Sometimes people become ill or have a baby in my stories so there are doctors and midwives involved. The best example is in Samantha’s Secret, where Trent is a new doctor in town and Samantha is a healer and midwife. But some of the conditions and expressions we use today wouldn’t apply to the 18th century. Take, for instance, life force, morning sickness, spasm, stressed, and peaked (as in looked peaked.

Let’s start with the essential element of humankind, the life force that sustains our being. The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) lists it as a “special combination” under the noun Life, meaning “vital energy” which is the definition I had in mind when writing my stories. But the OED doesn’t give an origin date, so I popped over to Dictionary.com and discovered it was first recorded in 1895-1900. That’s a century after my stories take place, so nope to using that one!

In a couple of my stories a woman is having a baby. I would have thought the terms used would be fairly standard, but yet again I was surprised. I think most folks know that “morning sickness” is the “nausea occurring in the morning, one of the earlier symptoms of pregnancy.” However, did you know we didn’t start using that term until 1875, according to Dictionary.com? Nearly a century after my stories time period. Sigh.

Okay, fine. Then when the woman went into labor her insides would surely spasm, right? Well, yes and no. It depends on whether it’s used as a noun, as in “A spasm tightened her stomach” which is fine as early as 1400. But if used as a verb, as in “Her stomach spasmed,” then no. Not until 1900, at least.

So then if this is making you feel a bit “stressed” you may be happy to know that while my characters could be “distressed, afflicted” as early as 1559, they couldn’t be “experiencing physiological, emotional, or psychological stress” until 1973. Whew. What a relief for them! But then how do I explain how they were feeling? Instead of saying they felt stressed, I showed the physiological signs of that stress. A little more difficult but makes for a better story experience.

One of those signs, however, couldn’t have been that they looked “peaked,” or “sharp-featured, thin, pinched, as from illness or want; sickly-looking.” The particular colloquialism wasn’t recorded until 1835. But honestly, the image of the person evoked in that definition is far clearer than if I had merely used the word. So my readers win out in the end and that’s what is most important, right?

Next time I’ll talk about relationship words like fiancé and sibling. I hope you find a shady or air-conditioned spot to stay cool while reading a great book!

Betty

P.S. If you haven’t already, please consider signing up for my newsletter, which I send out monthly. You’ll find out about 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.

SamanthsSecretCOVERIn 1782, the fight for independence becomes personal in the port city Charles Town, South Carolina.

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.

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Don’t Say That! Them’s Fighting Words in #historical #fiction #wordplay #amwriting #amediting #mustread #histfic

Let’s talk about fight scenes in fiction and the words used to write them, shall we? I don’t have many scenes where people actually fight one another, it’s not my bailiwick. That said, some of the words used to describe fighting can be employed figuratively in some situations. However, I discovered that the figurative sense usually evolves sometime after the word is used literally. Let’s look at six of them: backhand, jab, sic, slug, swat, and tackle.

I wanted to say that someone hit the other with the back of their hand, i.e., backhanded the other person. The word existed as a noun and adjective as early as the 1650s, but as a verb meaning “to take a backhander” not until 1857, while the meaning I had in mind of “to hit or stroke with the back of one’s hand” not until 1935. Now, I probably simply stated the character hit the other character with the back of their hand instead of using the one word. One other definition of “backhand” is “handwriting with the letters sloped backwards.” Which has nothing to do with the meaning I needed, but I learned something new in reading the definition, so thought I’d share.

So what about a jab? A move used in boxing. Could my character take a jab at something, or someone? Literally or figuratively? Sadly, no. The verb meaning “to thrust with the end or point of something; to poke roughly; to stab” entered English in 1825-27. By the way, there are several related definitions in the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), but I won’t belabor the point. For my 1782-83 stories, the word didn’t exist.

In Amy’s Choice, I hoped to have Amy sic the dogs on a threatening person, but the OED definition has more to do with the Scottish word meaning “such” than sending an attack dog after anybody. So I went over to Dictionary.com  and found the verb meaning “to attack (used especially in commanding a dog): Sic ‘em!” which is recorded as originating in 1835-45. Sigh. So much for using that word, then.

Could Frank “slug” somebody to defend Emily? He most definitely was prepared and willing to do so. In fact, he even fights a duel for her honor! I didn’t know there are four definitions of “slug” in verb form. The one I meant, “to strike (also, to drive, throw, etc.) heavily or violently; to slog” is the third definition. Unfortunately, it originated in 1862. So I guess he just punched him instead, which entered the English language in 1530. Whew.

Maybe they could be swatting a fly or swatting away somebody’s unwanted hand on their arm. Surely, they could kill a fly by swatting it. Almost but not quite. In 1615 the verb meant “to sit down, squat” but that’s not I was looking for. The “right” one, meaning “to hit with a smart slap or a violent blow; also, to dash. Now esp., to crush (a fly, etc.) with a blow” came about in 1796, 13 or so years after the stories in my A More Perfect Union series. Close but no cigar, as the saying goes.

Then let me “tackle” one last word I had originally written into one of the stories but found out upon revisions and editing I couldn’t leave in place. This verb existed since 1400 when used to mean “to furnish (a ship) with tackle; to equip with the necessary furnishings,” which is cool to know but not helpful for my story. I could have used it if they wanted “to harness (a horse) for riding or draught.” However, meaning “to grip, lay hold of, take in hand, deal with; to fasten upon, attack, encounter (a person or animal) physically” didn’t come about until 1828. The more figurative sense of “to ‘come to grips with’, to enter into a discussion or argument with; to attack; to approach or question on some subject” not until 1840. So, out of luck on that one, also.

Next time I’ll talk about medical words like spasm and stressed. 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. Thanks and happy reading!

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

Amy's ChoiceWhen 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.

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Don’t Say That! Emotions in #historical #fiction #wordplay #wordorigins #amwriting #amediting #mustread #histfic

What would any story be without describing, or showing, how the characters feel? Whether some flavor of happy or sad, in love or hating an enemy, emotions drive actions and thus propel the story through the highs and lows. Yet some ways of saying how a character feels just weren’t used in the past. Let’s look at six I came across while writing my A More Perfect Union historical romances as well as another 18th-century story about Martha Washington. They are: happy-go-lucky, ambivalent, antsy, cantankerous, edgy, and excited.

First, “happy-go-lucky” in this instance is applied to people not events. According to the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) it was an adverb meaning “just as it may happen; as luck will have it; haphazard” as early as 1672. However, it didn’t become a noun meaning “a happy-go-lucky person” or “happy-go-lucky quality or character” until 1851 and then even later an adjective meaning “Of persons or their actions: Taking things as they happen to come; easy-going” until 1856. Sadly, I couldn’t use it to describe the personality or emotional state of my 1780s characters. I say sadly because it’s such an upbeat description and applied so well to Frank, in Emily’s Vow, at least his younger self.

Let’s look at “ambivalent” next. I was looking to describe one of my characters as not having a strong opinion between several options. I really thought ambivalent nailed it, but the OED informed me that I was off by a couple centuries. Specifically meaning “entertaining contradictory emotions (as love and hatred) towards the same person or thing; acting on or arguing for sometimes one and sometimes the other of two opposites,” “ambivalent” didn’t enter English until 1916. So I had to be creative with my word choices to show the character feeling both ways toward the situation.

All of this might make a writer a bit “antsy” when having to dig a bit deeper for the proper words to string together. However, my characters wouldn’t have ever described themselves using this term because it isn’t cited until 1838 to mean “agitated, impatient, restless; also, sexually eager.” A bit closer to my 1780s stories but not close enough.

I will admit that rarely the first citation date in the OED is a few years—within 10, say—after my stories time period, but I figure it’s close enough for my purposes. Especially if I use it in dialogue since words are created verbally long before they are put into writing and then into a dictionary of some kind. It’s rare that I found this to be the case, but I can think of a couple instances.

Next is a fun-to-say description of a person’s emotional state: “cantankerous.” I had wanted to use this word in my Martha Washington story, but her story stretched over 50 years, 1750s-1800. At the point in the story it was too early to use it. Meaning “showing an ill-natured disposition; ill-conditioned and quarrelsome, perverse, cross-grained” it entered written English in 1772. So it was fine to use in my A More Perfect Union series, but not in the early chapters of Martha’s story (which by the way, my agent is shopping around for a publisher; stay tuned!). In fact that was one of the “fun” challenges of writing, or rather revising, her story: ensuring that the word usage evolved over the decades of the story to incorporate other words and meanings of previous words. Yeah, that took some time…

What about a favorite word of today, “edgy” to mean unsettled or nervous? Well, it was a word as early as 1775, but it meant “having an edge or edges; sharp, cutting” so that wouldn’t do for what I had in mind. By 1825 it had started being applied to describe a painting, as in “having the outlines too hard.” The usage meaning “having one’s nerves on edge; irritable; testy” wasn’t in the lexicon until 1837, so again decades after my stories’ time periods.

Finally, everybody gets “excited,” right? Nowadays, sure, but not so much in the 18th century. People didn’t get excited, but electricity and magnets did as early as 1660. For people to be “stirred by strong emotion, disturbed, agitated” they’d have to wait until 1855. Well, not really, of course. I’m sure they felt excited as we think of it whether they called it that or not.

I enjoy researching the origins of words, whether for my stories or out of sheer curiosity. I’ve said it before, we use words and phrases every day that stem from obsolete technology and situations. Think “rolling down the window” in a car or “hanging up” the phone. There are many other examples out there!

Next week I’m going to “tackle” a few fighting words. Until next time!

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.

Amy's ChoiceIn 1782, the fight for independence has become personal…

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.

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2wuHGmQ

Amazon CA: http://amzn.to/2wtimT8

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2jEsN02

Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/ZHT9Pl

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