Halloween Flash Fiction: Haunting Beauty #amwriting #amreading #Halloween #Halloween2022 #shortstory #flashfiction #fiction #haunting #ghosts

October has finally come around bringing fall’s cooler temps and Halloween! In honor of which, Poised Pen Productions is hosting a flash fiction giveaway with a prize filled with books, gift cards, and swag. More on that in a moment, but first I’d like to tell you about my flash fiction written specifically for the occasion.

Last year I challenged myself—okay, my local writers’ group challenged each of us—to write a short story. That story, “The Perfect Birthday Gift,” appears only in the What A Day! Short Stories by Southern Authors anthology which released in April. It’s also linked to the Fury Falls Inn historical fantasy series, so you may want to get your own copy to read that exclusive story. (Hurry! The anthology will only be available through October 5! You can buy your copy here)

This year I was asked to write a flash fiction story for Halloween. Something under 1000 words. Now keep in mind I typically write novels, ranging in word count from 70,000-120,000. So, what the heck? The short story in the anthology was just under 5,000. Could I write a spooky story under 1,000? After some pondering, I drew from two events in my childhood—exploring a haunted building (or so I believed at the time) and having my dad scare us at a Victorian-style rental one fall—to write a 650-word romantic spooky story.

Writing short is much harder than writing long when you’re used to space to delve and explore actions, reactions, and motivations behind the characters. But writing short also hones the ability to cut to the essence of the narrative, sharpening the focus on what is important to the tale being told.

You can enter the giveaway simply by signing up with your email, and you’ll be given options for earning additional entries. Good luck!

My contribution follows:


Haunting Beauty

© 2022 Betty Bolte

A thump sounded overhead, then another. Footsteps? I shuddered. “We should…go.”

The ancient house moaned, wind whispering past like voices of ghosts in the dark.

“Not yet. I want to see where it happened.”  Cam grabbed my hand, and I squeaked in alarm. “Come on, Georgie.”

I planted my feet, but he tugged harder and drew me close. My heart raced so in my chest I could only hear its thundering in my ears. I stumbled along beside my fiancé toward a back room, stepping over a dropped pillow with what looked suspiciously like dried blood on its embroidered front. No, maybe catsup. I swallowed back the fear rising in my throat. Probably blood.

“They say she died in bed. That’s probably the bedroom, don’t you think?” Cam eased us closer to the scarred door, mostly closed as if trying to keep secrets from escaping but failing miserably.

“I…” I swallowed again instead of revealing the depth of my fear. He’d talked about invading the abandoned house for months to satisfy his morbid curiosity about the decades-old mystery surrounding the remotely situated farmhouse like fog. We do everything together, which I’m usually happy about. Even proud. This Halloween night? Not so much.

A thud behind me had me twisting around to stare into the dusky light of the hallway. Cam squeezed my hand and then let go as he strode briskly down the hall and with a flick of his hand told me to stay put. Alone. “Cam?”

“Shh.”

“Cam!”

He disappeared around the corner. I sucked in a shaky breath and tried to keep my knees from knocking together. I folded my arms across my chest as I stared down the empty hall. Suddenly, a light flared at the far end, illuminating a monstrous face floating in the darkness. Floating toward me slowly, inching closer with its open maw and glowing eyes. I screamed and the face vanished.

Cam guffawed. He clicked on his flashlight and swept the light over my face. “Gotcha.”

He sauntered up and I punched him on the shoulder. “Not funny.”

He pulled me into his warm, comforting embrace and held me tight for several moments. Kissing me lightly, he gazed into my eyes. “I’m sorry. I won’t do that ever again.”

I nodded and snuggled into his chest. “Thank you.”

He’s such a good man. Smart. Loving. Playful. His entire family loved to prank each other. If I weren’t so nervous about being in this reportedly haunted house, I would have laughed at myself. But something about the chilly and foreboding atmosphere of the place had every nerve on edge.

“Let’s just take a peek and then we’ll go have pizza. Okay?”

I nodded and squared my shoulders. “With extra cheese and jalapenos.”

“Jalapenos?” He noted the stubborn lift of my chin. “Fine. You win. Come on.”

Gripping his hand, I followed him through the squealing door as he pushed it open. He stopped just as the door bumped into something, sweeping his flashlight over the area. The bed occupied the center of the far wall, its mattress bare and…stained. The broken-out window let the sighing wind breathe through the bedraggled lace curtains.

“Looks like she really did die in bed.” Cam strode closer to the marred mattress, dragging me reluctantly along. He pointed to the largest dark red blotch. “I bet that’s where she bled out, too. It’s terrible to think about it.”

“See enough?” I hoped he had. I was more than ready to leave.

“Yeah.” He swept his light around the room one last time and then froze. “Uh…”

I looked where he aimed the light, shining on a young woman’s otherworldly figure in a white nightgown, blazing gold orbs for eyes, dangling dark tresses shifting in the eerie wind. She summoned us with a mesmerizing sweep of her ghostly fingers.

I screamed then turned and ran without looking back. Cam’s footsteps followed me down the hall and out the door. We tumbled into his Jeep and sped down the driveway, never to forget the haunting beauty.


This was fun to write, but did you enjoy it? What challenges have you made for yourself?

Happy fall! Happy Halloween! 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.

Did you know… You can order signed paperbacks of any of my books at The Snail on the Wall   book store!

Fury Falls Inn in 1821 Alabama. A place for ghosts, witches, and magic. A place of secrets and hidden dangers.

Amazon Fury Falls Inn Series Page

The Haunting of Fury Falls Inn (#1)

Under Lock and Key (#2)

Desperate Reflections (#3)

Fractured Crystals (#4)

Legends of Wrath (#5)

Homecoming (#6)

A Birthday Surprise for Myrtle Marple #FuryFallsInn #amwriting #amreading #HistFic #languagefan #shortstory #fiction #books #novel

Only 9 more days! That’s how long you have to nab your copy of the short story anthology What A Day! And if you’re a fan of my Fury Falls Inn historical fantasy series (details below) you really want a copy of the anthology. Let me explain…

My local writers group decided to put together an anthology of short stories as a fundraiser. We centered each of the stories on a special day, a “red letter day” for a specific character. Our plan was to only make the anthology available for a limited time and then we’d each reclaim our rights to our stories to use however we choose. All told, there are 11 short stories by a variety of published and newly published authors in various genres. I chose a low-profile character in my popular historical fantasy series and what happens on her birthday.

In “The Perfect Birthday Gift” you’ll get to know kitchen maids Myrtle Marple and her sister Meg much better. For that matter, they learn more about themselves, too! In the Fury Falls Inn, which is haunted, these two gray-haired women work helping prepare the food for the busy dining room. But on Myrtle’s 21st birthday, which falls between the fourth and fifth books, they receive a surprise guest bearing gifts. The effects of those gifts are mentioned in the fifth book of the series, Legends of Wrath, and later called upon in the sixth book of the series, Homecoming, both of which just released last month to wrap up the series. I don’t want to spoil the surprise for you so I am refraining…barely…from sharing! It was such a delight writing their story.

You won’t find this short story anywhere else for at least 6 months, so if you’re curious then I highly recommend you pick up a copy of What A Day! soon. A little birdie told me it’s coming off the market after October 5.

Southern hospitality is alive and well. In this anthology you may find a little old, a little new, and perhaps some mysterious doings. How about a ghost — or was it a ghost pepper? Was that a witch, a sprite, an elf, or a seer? You may be looking for a beautiful garden, a mint julep, or a jazz festival. Come on down! Bless your heart, you may never want to leave.

What A Day! is a collection of stories about special, memorable days in the lives of an eclectic, quirky mix of characters. You’ll enjoy fantasy, romance, historical, and more by best-selling authors like Linda Howard and Linda Winstead Jones as well as newer authors, none of which you’ll want to miss! Come laugh, cry, gasp, and smile your way through these fun, light-hearted, suspenseful, and intriguing stories.

Books2Read     Amazon     Barnes and Noble     Apple      Kobo

I actually edited about half of the stories in the collection but of course they’ve each been thoroughly edited before being included. We all wanted to produce a quality product containing entertaining stories! There’s fantasy, romance, mystery, and even a bit of mayhem in the mix. And since each is under 5000 words, they won’t take long to read either.

Let me know what you think of my short story. I haven’t written many recently, although I did write a flash fiction Halloween story this fall. That one is “Haunting Beauty” and is only 650 words, my shortest short story ever! I’ll share that with you for Halloween…

Happy fall! 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.

Did you know… You can order signed paperbacks of any of my books at The Snail on the Wall   book store!

Fury Falls Inn in 1821 Alabama. A place for ghosts, witches, and magic.
A place of secrets and hidden dangers.

Amazon Fury Falls Inn Series Page

The Haunting of Fury Falls Inn (#1)

Under Lock and Key (#2)

Desperate Reflections (#3)

Fractured Crystals (#4)

Legends of Wrath (#5)

Homecoming (#6)

Musings on Generations Equating to Time Span #amwriting #amreading #HistFic #languagefan #fiction #books #novel #genealogy

Before too long, maybe even next week, I’m going to write a 15K story that is linked to Cassie and Flint Hamilton of my Fury Falls Inn series, which you may know is set in 1821 north Alabama. This currently untitled story will be included in a Rescued Hearts anthology along with 10-11 others that will release next fall, to benefit Hidden Acres Animal Sanctuary in Georgia. I’ve been doing the research, reading and interviewing falconers in Alabama, about Harris Hawks which are the featured rescued animal in my story. I’ve chosen a raptor because of Cassie’s familiar, Allegro, being a Merlin falcon. It seems fitting that her descendants would carry on her love of raptors.

The story will be set in the present day but featuring descendants of Cassie and Flint. Which got me pondering how many generations would there be between 1821 and today.

Now I love doing genealogy research and building my family tree on Ancestry.com as well as making timelines in a document so I have ready access to the information without having to seek it out again. So when I wanted to determine the number of generations, I went to my tree and counted back in my own ancestry. For my family, it would be something like 5 generations, which told me the relationship of the present-day character, too. Flint Hamilton would be this character’s great-great-grandfather. But wait! There’s more!

A spin off to my musings along this line is the advertising statement I’ve heard all of my life. Something like “Such-and-such company has served the community for generations.” It got me wondering about how you equate a span of years to a group of people. Mainly because in my family, among my siblings, there are 12 years between when my oldest brother was born and when I was born. So even our single generation of siblings spans 12 years. Not every family has 5 children, of course, so how does one compute the number of years associated with one generation?

According to my handy OED (Oxford English Dictionary), “In reckoning historically by ‘generations’, the word is taken to mean the interval of time between the birth of the parents and that of their children, usually computed at thirty years, or three generations to a century.” So it’s averaged at 30 years per generation, which in my particular case works out exactly 30 years between when my parents were born and my oldest brother’s birth, which is ironic to me. But what the OED definition/explanation tells me is that I need to have 6 generations back, not 5, to be the typical span of time. So, Flint is now this character’s great-great-great-grandfather. I always knew Flint was a great man, but that’s a lot of greats!

The next step I need to do is identify the intervening generations of parents/grandparents in case I should ever want to write another story spinoff from that series. Hmm… Maybe I should make a family tree for Flint and Cassie’s descendants for fun and future reference. Probably just on paper though. I wouldn’t want anyone else using Ancestry.com to think they’re related to my fictional characters! Now where can I find a sheet of paper large enough to draw a family tree?

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.

Did you know… You can order signed paperbacks of any of my books at The Snail on the Wall   book store!

Fury Falls Inn in 1821 Alabama. A place for ghosts, witches, and magic. A place of secrets and hidden dangers.

Amazon Fury Falls Inn Series Page

The Haunting of Fury Falls Inn (#1)

Under Lock and Key (#2)

Desperate Reflections (#3)

Fractured Crystals (#4)

Legends of Wrath (#5)

Homecoming (#6)

Musings on Why I Write #amwriting #amreading #inspiration #fiction #books #novel #mustread

I’ve been musing about the publishing industry, first about the entertainment value of novels and then about author income. I was asked by one reader what makes me keep writing, so I thought I’d muse on that topic today.

First, you should know that I’ve been writing since I learned how to spell and make sentences as a child. My older sisters taught me the alphabet before I even started going to school. In first grade, the teacher asked me to read The Little Red Hen to my class. I also remember sitting at my dad’s desk, typing on his manual typewriter the weather report. Which of course I wrote based on looking out the window of his studio office. He was a master photographer and I loved to sit at his desk and pretend to be his secretary or someone else who worked with words, like the weather person.

One of the reasons for this is a love of language that my dad instilled in me by playing word games while we drove around town for him to take portrait photos of children. He’d give me a word from a billboard we’d pass and ask me to spell it. Which I would do while searching out the word on the billboard before we passed it. I had to be quick sometimes to see it!

My parents bought a set of encyclopedias that they proudly displayed in our living room. I would pull out one that had a particular animal in it, like a horse or dog. Then I’d compile my own report, including drawing and labeling the parts of the animal. You know, ears, neck, tail, paw, etc. I used tracing paper to trace the picture in the book and include it in my report.

I also wrote short stories that featured a girl and her horse. I loved horses and actually still do. I’ve written some—probably pretty bad—poetry, too. When it came time to get a college education, I naturally chose an English degree. I’ve earned both a bachelor’s and a master’s in English. I’ve put that degree to work for my writing/editing career, too.

Mainly I’ve written and published over my lifetime a lot of nonfiction types of pieces: articles, sidebars, essays, newspaper columns. I’ve also edited a ton of nonfiction: self-help books, technical manuals and reports, an insurance underwriters guide. Once I even proofread a Civil War diary for the Friends of Ft. Ward, Virginia. Plus all the highly technical documentation while working for SAIC and supporting NASA Marshall Space Flight Center and the Space Launch System (SLS) Program Office. I didn’t even try to count the number of documents let alone pages! So I did my small part to help get this massive rocket off the launch pad this year by editing the manuals, specifications, and guidance documentation.

But now I write fiction for the love of it. I love to write a great story with a bit of history woven into it. I believe we need to understand our past in order to appreciate—really appreciate—where we are today. Or to avoid repeating past mistakes today. Not every novel I’ve written is set in the past. My contemporary series, Secrets of Roseville, is set in a small town in Tennessee in the present but there are some historical facts mentioned here and there.

Despite all the negatives surrounding writing and publishing in today’s market, I keep writing my stories. Why? Because the stories keep coming and I have fans who are waiting for the next book(s) from me. I don’t think I will stop writing for some time yet, although I am starting to think about when that might be. Years from now, not days though. I mean, writing is a big part of who I am. I’ve been writing all my life, essentially. It’s not the writing that wears me down but the marketing and publicity efforts required.

I appreciate every single person who reads my books. I write them for my readers after all.

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.

Did you know… You can order signed paperbacks of any of my books at The Snail on the Wall book store!

Fury Falls Inn in 1821 Alabama. A place for ghosts, witches, and magic.
A place of secrets and hidden dangers.

Amazon Fury Falls Inn Series Page

The Haunting of Fury Falls Inn (#1)

Under Lock and Key (#2)

Desperate Reflections (#3)

Fractured Crystals (#4)

Legends of Wrath (#5)    

Homecoming (#6)     

Musings on Book Piracy and Author Income #amwriting #amreading #fiction #books #novel #mustread

Last time I talked about my thoughts on the value of a novel from the perspective of its entertainment value. I suppose the fact that people do love to read means books and their authors are worth trying to scam and for unscrupulous actors to copy and sell for themselves. Should we be flattered??? I think not!

There’s an old saying among authors, money flows to the author not from the author. This is particularly true of those published by traditional publishing houses. Not so much for hybrid or indie published authors. However, all authors who write for publication do so for one of several reasons: to share their vision or viewpoint, establish their credentials, or to try to earn a living. They do not write so that others can copy, in whole or in part, and then publish their knock-off edition to unsuspecting readers.

Believe me, there are many piracy sites out there, most not even based in America so they are difficult or impossible to prosecute under U.S. Copyright Laws. Most authors I know feel like we’re playing whack-a-mole chasing down pirated copies. I ignore them now because most of the time if they’re offering a free version of my book, or at a low price, they don’t actually have the book but they’ll be happy to take the would-be reader’s credit card details. I don’t think they’re hurting my sales since I don’t believe they actually have the content they’re phishing with. I urge readers to buy their books from known retailers instead of shady websites with their own agendas.

Contrary to what many readers seem to believe, most authors are not millionaires living the high life. In fact, the vast majority of published authors do not make a living from their book sales. Just check out this summary by the International Authors Forum of the Authors Guild 2019 income survey and the full AG report here. The fact that the “median incomes have fallen to a historic low of US$6,080 in 2017, down 42% from 2009” should widen some eyes, I think. Put that next to this rather unnerving tidbit: “50% of full-time authors earn less than the federal poverty level of $12,488 (figure of 2019). Other data shows that 80% of all authors earn less than what most people would consider a living wage.” And those numbers are not getting better as the years pass. Trust me on that.

The romanticized view of a published author is that of someone living the good life, jet-setting about and doing book signings with lines of fans out the door. Or of the dashingly handsome author turned expert investigator because he writes murder mysteries, like Castle. (When does he find time to write the next best-seller?) Most authors I know live far more humbly and write nearly every day at home. In their comfy clothes. With a beverage of choice nearby, often a cup of hot tea.

In truth, I am a full-time author and I do not earn a living wage from sales of my books. I do have avid fans, which I’m forever grateful for! But it would take selling thousands if not hundreds of thousands of books to say I make my living from book sales. When you figure how much I earn per book—ranging from $0.30 to $1.75—and assume $13,000 to be above the poverty level, you get an idea of just how many books I’d have to sell. At the 30 pennies low end, my calculator says that would take 43,333 books; the high end, 7,429. But the average book only sells somewhere around 500 copies in its lifetime, so there’s that.

Of course, the best-sellers are outliers on this point. The celebrity authors like Stephen King, James Patterson (and his stable of co-authors), Nora Roberts, David Baldacci, Elizabeth Susan Philips, and the like, have huge followings that they started cultivating decades ago. King has been in the industry for 50 years, according to his recent testimony at the trial on the merger of Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster. Of course they sell more books mainly because they have more fans. I’m building my fan base one reader at a time, so perhaps one day I’ll have a list-making, international best-seller, too. #FingersCrossed

One other thing to consider when pondering how much authors make. I publish my own books under my own imprint, so I have to pay professionals to create the covers, editors to review my text, and formatters to prepare the book files properly (I’m still learning this aspect but I’m not there yet). All that is money flowing away from me, not to me. So the amount I earn from sales has to fill in that deficit from my bank account, too.

Thank goodness my husband totally supports my efforts in every way possible! He really and truly is one of my biggest fans. I have more stories to tell yet, so I best get busy.

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.

Did you know… You can order signed paperbacks of any of my books at The Snail on the Wall   book store!

Fury Falls Inn in 1821 Alabama. A place for ghosts, witches, and magic. A place of secrets and hidden dangers.

Amazon Fury Falls Inn Series Page

The Haunting of Fury Falls Inn (#1)

Under Lock and Key (#2)

Desperate Reflections (#3)

Fractured Crystals (#4)

Legends of Wrath (#5)    

Homecoming (#6)     

Musings on Novel ROI #amwriting #amreading #fiction #books #novel #mustread

I’ve been pondering the value of entertainment in all its forms. I mean, we have many options on how to entertain ourselves or to be entertained by what others do. This musing began while thinking about the huge amount of book piracy or more likely phishing scams out there, but that’s a topic for another day. The existence of book piracy suggests there is value in books, enough to run a scam to try to get potential readers’ money or personal info, depending on the scam. Anyway, back to my topic for today: entertainment value.

You all know I write books, so it shouldn’t come as any surprise they are my go-to for entertainment as well as research and education. I also enjoy movies, plays, musicals, concerts, etc. But which gives you the most or best kind of return on the investment into tickets and travel and meals to enjoy them?

I think by far the price of a book provides more hours of immersive entertainment than any other option. I love settling in with a favorite genre novel to lose myself in the world the author created. Historical romance, classical fiction, historical fiction, romantic comedy, cozy mystery, all sound good to me! I love the depth of the written story, the immersive quality of being in that other world, the one dwelling in your own imagination and thoughts, that you can’t get from watching a movie or play. The various media affect the type of experience, for me at least.

I know I can only read one or maybe two smaller books each week because each takes several hours to read and enjoy. I tagged on “enjoy” because while I know how to speed read or skim the text that’s not enjoying it for me. So for the $3-15 spent on a novel, I probably receive entertainment for something like 4-8 hours depending on the length. Of course, the price of a book is the cost of one copy of the story among many, the cumulative of which money received by the publisher offsets the expense to create the book in the first place. In other words, for the publisher to make it worthwhile to create the book, they have to guesstimate how many copies they need to sell to see a profit. Most books do not make a profit although there are some that are best sellers that do. Again, that’s a topic for another time…

Compare the 4-8 hours entertainment value of a book to the length of a movie or stage performance, which typically last 2-3 hours, at prices far higher. I mean, movie tickets for a matinee are $9 in my area, with regular prices starting I think at $16. Going to a play or concert, etc., is many times that. Being entertained by others means having to pay the entire “cast of characters” for their efforts, so it makes perfect sense that ticket prices are significantly higher than the cost of a single copy of the book. (Although I question the spike in the price of performance tickets lately.) It also depends on how many tickets are sold as to the cost per ticket in order for the production company and talent to make a profit off the event. They must calculate how much they need to earn to make it worthwhile to hold the performance. Nobody wants to work/perform for little to no compensation, after all. Even if donating funds to a charity, you need to have funds to donate, right? But the ROI for live performance yields a shorter span of entertainment value.

All that said, judging which form of entertainment to choose comes down to cost, time, and perceived value which is strongly tied to personal preferences. I’ll happily read in my favorite genres for hours but please don’t ask me to read thriller or spy novels. I’ll watch the movie or play, etc., based on the book to get the quicker payoff, thank you. Which also brings up the point that many of the other forms of entertainment are spinoffs or interpretations of a well-written, well-told story in a book. And how many times have you heard “the book was better”?

What do you think? How do you calculate the ROI on your entertainment spending?

Happy 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.

Did you know… You can order signed paperbacks of any of my books at The Snail on the Wall   book store!

Fury Falls Inn in 1821 Alabama. A place for ghosts, witches, and magic.
A place of secrets and hidden dangers.

Amazon Fury Falls Inn Series Page

The Haunting of Fury Falls Inn (#1)

Under Lock and Key (#2)

Desperate Reflections (#3)

Fractured Crystals (#4)

Legends of Wrath (#5)    

Homecoming (#6)     

Writing and Wrapping Up A Series #FuryFallsInn #HistoricalFiction #HistFic #amwriting #amreading #books #novel #mustread

Writing a series of stories is common among novelists. Most of the time the stories are merely set in the same world with some common characters so you can read the books in any order. When I set out to write the Fury Falls Inn series, I had no idea how challenging it would be. I knew I wanted to write six stories, the first one introducing the ghost haunting the inn followed by Cassie’s four brothers coming to the inn, and then ultimately the sixth book bringing the family all together.

One little known fact: when I finished writing The Haunting of Fury Falls Inn, Book #1, I had absolutely no idea what Mercy had done to the family. I mentioned it frequently in that first book, but even when one of my beta readers asked me, as in after I’d written The End, I still had no clue.

Days later, I was watching some movie—I don’t even recall which one—when Mercy suddenly whispered in my ear the truth of what she’d done to break up the family unit. I was shocked! But then I realized just what a treasure trove of storylines could spring from that revelation.

Then the real planning and strategizing began. I had to define each of my characters, both who they are and who their family was. I needed to understand the backstory of everybody in order to write their current story. I needed a timeline of who was born when, who married whom and when, who died when and how. All the minutiae of a person’s life that could impact their future choices and decisions.

The six books in this series are closely coupled stories, spanning June through October 1821, so you’ll want to read them in order. I researched the happenings in north Alabama during that same span of time in order to weave in historical details to give the stories authenticity. I went to Burritt on the Mountain living museum to research the architecture of buildings of that time period, and visited Constitution Park in downtown Huntsville to learn more about the history of Huntsville, too. I even bought a detailed book and accompanying sketch of what downtown Huntsville looked like then, what businesses were in which buildings, so I could more accurately depict the city in my writing.

This is my most popular series to date! If you haven’t read these books, you might want to give them a try. I had one reader demanding Book #4 immediately after she’d finished reading Book #3—unfortunately I was still writing that story so she had to wait. But you don’t have to! You can buy all 6 books now and binge read through to the end. In fact, that’s why I’m releasing Books #5 and #6 on the same day—so nobody has to wait any longer to read the conclusion of the Fairhope family saga. Enjoy!

Happy reading! I’m off to celebrate my book launch tomorrow!

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.

The final 2 books Legends of Wrath and Homecoming release tomorrow, August 9! Binge away!

Did you know… You can order signed paperbacks of any of my books at The Snail on the Wall book store!

Fury Falls Inn in 1821 Alabama. A place for ghosts, witches, and magic. A place of secrets and hidden dangers.

Amazon Fury Falls Inn Series Page

The Haunting of Fury Falls Inn

Under Lock and Key

Desperate Reflections

Fractured Crystals

Legends of Wrath: Books2Read     Barnes & Noble     Amazon     Apple     Kobo  

Homecoming: Books2Read     Amazon     Barnes & Noble     Kobo     Apple

Meet Reggie Fairhope – Character Interview #FuryFallsInn #HistoricalFiction #HistFic #amwriting #amreading #books #novel #mustread

One more character interview is coming your way… and that is to introduce you all to the lead character in Homecoming, Reginald “Reggie” Fairhope, the patriarch of the Fairhope family. The most frequently asked question I’ve heard about Reggie is why hasn’t he returned to the inn? Let’s ask him that and a few other questions. Ready?

Betty: How would you describe your parents?

Reggie: They are the most supportive and loving parents I’ve ever known. Even if they both are powerful witches in their own right. They made sure to teach me and my brothers and sisters how to use our might in all its forms for right. They loved each other with a purity of heart not often witnessed through actions toward one another.

Betty: The burning question round-about the inn is, why has it taken you so long to start the trek back home. What’s been occupying you so that you felt you couldn’t come sooner?

Reggie: The short answer is that Beck was being Beck and insisting, or trying to, on doing everything his way instead of how I’d requested the furniture to look. I didn’t trust him to not mess with the design and even the mystical aspects of the pieces. He likes to put too much of himself into his work, if you get my meaning.

Betty: Do you know how to swim? How did you learn, if so?

Reggie: No, that’s one skill I never got around to developing. I wish I had because maybe then I could have done something—anything—to intervene when my nephew drowned. It wasn’t that I hesitated for my own sake but I hesitated out of fear for my family. The repercussions of using my magic out in the open against an unknown adversary stayed my wand. If only I knew what—or who—I might have been able to change how things played out for little George.

Betty: What do you think is your greatest failure? Why?

Reggie: That’s easy. Not protecting my wife and daughter from harm. But I’m heading home now to see to things. My sisters in marriage will need to be packing their trunks… And if I catch that no-good devil hunting my family he’ll pay a dear price. That’s a promise, not a threat.

Betty: What is the most wonderful thing that has happened to you?

Reggie: Meeting the love of my life, Mercy. She brought a light and a joy to my heart.

Betty: If you could change the past, what would you change?

Reggie: I’d not leave the inn to have furniture made. I’d find somebody closer to home to make it so that I could prevent the death of my wife. But then of course you have to ask, would I have ever had the chance, the one I have now as I head toward home, to see my sons again if she hadn’t died and Cassie asked them to come? We’ll never know, of course. I just have to be grateful for that chance even as I confront the sadness and grief waiting for me.

Betty: What’s your greatest fear? Who else knows about it?

Reggie: I’d like to think I’m not afraid of anything but that wouldn’t be entirely true. I fear losing my family. With a witch hunter preying on them, I feel like I need to be home as soon as the oxen can drag the furniture home. Which should be very soon, thank goodness.

Betty: What’s your favorite game to play?

Reggie: I used to play a mean game of eight ball but it’s been a while. I used to best my older brother, Beck, on a regular basis when I was a much younger man.

Betty: Do you have a favorite sibling? Who?

Reggie: That’s a good question… I love both my brothers and my two sisters equally. But I guess if I had to pick one it would be Scarlet. She’s such a firecracker and smart as a whip. She won’t let anyone take advantage of her or her family either. I’m so pleased she’s making the trip back with me, too. I think she’ll fall in love with Alabama.

Betty: If you could live anywhere, where would you live?

Reggie: The Fury Falls Inn is my home and always will be. They’ll have to bury me out back because I’m not leaving again.

Betty: How do you like to relax?

Reggie: Sitting on the back porch of the inn, watching the cloud shadows dance across the mountains and sipping on some fine whiskey. If Mercy could be at my side, then my life would be perfect.

Betty: What genre of books do you most enjoy reading?

Reggie: I don’t get much time for reading. When I do, I prefer to read a history or biography. I like to learn something when I read.

Betty: How do you like to start your day?

Reggie: With a rousing discussion with Sheridan over the day’s menu and orders necessary. That really gets my blood flowing. He’s not only an excellent cook but a good friend after all these years working together. I’m so happy for him to be reunited with Pansy, his wife, after so many years apart, too. A happy ending to what could have been a tragic love story.

Betty: What kinds of friends do you have?

Reggie: Most everyone I meet is a friend in some way. We’re all on this earth together so we have to find a way to get along as best we can. It irks me no end when people willingly hurt each other. My blood boils just thinking on it. And trust me, you do not want to see me when my temper gets away from me. People die. So, please, just shake my hand and be on your way if you have a grievance with me. It will be better for everyone concerned.

Um, okay. Well… Thanks, Reggie, I will spread that word around. I’m sure you’re relieved that the inn is almost in view now and looking forward to seeing Cassie again.

Happy 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.

The final 2 books Legends of Wrath and Homecoming
will release on August 9 and are up for preorder now!

Fury Falls Inn in 1821 Alabama. A place for ghosts, witches, and magic.
A place of secrets and hidden dangers.

Amazon Fury Falls Inn Series Page

The Haunting of Fury Falls Inn

Under Lock and Key

Desperate Reflections

Fractured Crystals

Legends of Wrath: Books2Read     Barnes & Noble     Amazon     Apple     Kobo  

Homecoming: Books2Read     Amazon     Barnes & Noble     Kobo     Apple

Meet Silas Fairhope – Character Interview #FuryFallsInn #HistoricalFiction #HistFic #amwriting #amreading #books #novel #mustread

I’d like to do something a little different this week and that is to introduce you all to the lead character in Legends of Wrath, Silas Fairhope. Silas is the youngest of the four brothers in the family. Like me, he’s a writer and knows how to address a topic to a given audience. So, let’s put a few questions to him and see what he has to say, shall we?

Betty: How would you describe your parents?

Silas: For years I’ve thought of them as mean spirited and unloving. Until I came to the Fury Falls Inn at my sister’s request. That’s when I discovered the truth behind their seemingly uncaring actions that sent me away from home to fend for myself for years. Now I understand how much they cared and loved all of their children, even if it appeared on the surface that they didn’t.

Betty: Do you know how to swim? How did you learn, if so?

Silas: My oldest brother, Giles, taught me how to swim when we were younger and still living at home. Me and my brothers would go to the lake down the road from our house and spend all afternoon splashing around and jumping in off the rope swing. What a fine memory. Up until the day my cousin drowned and everything changed.

Betty: What do you think is your greatest failure? Why?

Silas: I think not seeing what was happening to my family, or at least not fathoming the causes. I was still young, just entering my teen years when the tensions began and the relationship began to fray.

Betty: What is the most wonderful thing that has happened to you?

Silas: That’s easy. Being reconnected with my sister, Cassandra, and my brothers. I’ve been on my own, feeling a bit lost and floundering about in search of something I couldn’t define. Turns out, that something is my family. It’s good to find a home again.

Betty: If you could change the past, what would you change?

Silas: I wouldn’t change the past because the situations we confront and the choices we make all define who we are. Changing the past would undo the lessons learned from them. Still, I do sometimes wish my cousin hadn’t died. I miss him and his easy grin when he was about to do something stupidly daring.

Betty: What’s your greatest fear? Who else knows about it?

Silas: I didn’t realize it until I came to the inn at Cassie’s request. My greatest fear has to be living alone for the rest of my life. I thought I handled the isolation from my family but I was fooling myself. I can see clearly now how I hid that truth from myself for years. Acting as if traveling around the country could fill the void left by my sister and brothers.

Betty: What’s your favorite game to play?

Silas: I enjoy a game of cards now and then but who has time to play when you’re on the move every day of one’s life? Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy seeing the sights of America and meeting fascinating people to write about for the newspapers. I just don’t have a lot of time to play games.

Betty: Do you have a favorite sibling? Who?

Silas: Shh, don’t tell anyone, but I adore my sister. I’ve missed her beautiful smile and her sense of humor. I was so glad to hear from her even if her news was so sad, that our mother had died. She didn’t tell me until I arrived just how our mother had been murdered, so that was a surprise. But I’ve always felt close to her on a different level. Now I understand the connection is more than simple affection but has magical undertones to it.

Betty: If you could live anywhere, where would you live?

Silas: Of all the places I’ve visited, I’ve enjoyed the mountains most. If I could have a cozy mountain cottage on a pretty piece of land, I’d live right happily I think.

Betty: How do you like to relax?

Silas: With a good novel, of course. I like for a story to transport me to places I can’t travel to on my own. I can pretend for a short period to visit other countries, for example.

Betty: What genre of books do you most enjoy reading?

Silas: A good adventure tale is always enjoyable to read. I thoroughly enjoyed Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift, and Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe was excellent. Anything along those lines will entertain me for hours.

Betty: How do you like to start your day?

Silas: I put down a few lines each morning in my journal to help me focus on priorities for the day.

Betty: What kinds of friends do you have?

Silas: I don’t really have any since I’m on the move so much. Perhaps now that I have what I’d like to think of as a home base here at the inn I can also begin to make a few friends. We’ll see.

Thanks, Silas, for taking time away from your writing and travels to talk with me for a few minutes. Your story, Legends of Wrath, really answers many questions posed during the earlier stories in the Fury Falls Inn series.

Happy 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.

On sale during July 2022!

The first 4 books in the Fury Falls Inn historical fantasy series set in 1821 Alabama in a haunted roadside inn are reduced! The final 2 books, Legends of Wrath and Homecoming will release on August 9 and are up for preorder now!

Fury Falls Inn in 1821 Alabama. A place for ghosts, witches, and magic. A place of secrets and hidden dangers.

Amazon Fury Falls Inn Series Page

The Haunting of Fury Falls Inn – $.99

Under Lock and Key  – $1.99

Desperate Reflections – $1.99

Fractured Crystals – $2.99

Legends of Wrath: Books2Read     Barnes & Noble     Amazon     Apple     Kobo  

Homecoming: Books2Read     Amazon     Barnes & Noble     Kobo     Apple

Menu Planning for Historic Gathering #FuryFallsInn #HistoricalFiction #HistFic #amwriting #amreading #books #novel #mustread #review

One of the most fun things I do when writing my stories is coming up with historic menus or individual foods to include. In Homecoming, the 6th and final book in my Fury Falls Inn series, there is both a wedding supper and an Allhallows Eve party in need of delicious entrees and desserts. So I pulled out my colonial recipe books—I have 3 of them not including Martha Washington’s recipe book—and perused the offerings within their covers.

Some of the items I’ve prepared in my own kitchen over the years. You can find a couple of them on my Book Club page at my website. Some of the items on the menu were typically served even if I wouldn’t serve them to my husband today. Curious as to what I envisioned for the two important menus?

Apple-stuffed acorn squash

Wedding Supper

Roast turkey with cranberry relish

Asparagus dinner rolls

Apple-stuffed acorn squash (this is one I’ve made and will make again. See the recipe for Legends of Wrath)

Martha Washington’s White Cake

Allhallows Eve Feast

Gazpacho

Stuffed roast hare

Scotched and colloped venison steaks

Turnip greens with bacon/vinegar

Stuffed eggplant

Sweet potato pudding

Beets in orange sauce

Relish, pickles, olives, etc.

Pumpkin bread

Molasses gingerbread

Burnt custard (known today as crème brulee)

Brescia cheesecake

Pound cake (made this 1824 recipe and it’s so yummy! See the recipe for Homecoming)

So what do you think? Sound like a tempting array of goodies?

Now I’m hungry! Until next time, happy 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.

On sale during July 2022!

The first 4 books in the Fury Falls Inn historical fantasy series set in 1821 Alabama in a haunted roadside inn are reduced! The final 2 books, Legends of Wrath and Homecoming will release on August 9 and are up for preorder now!

Fury Falls Inn in 1821 Alabama. A place for ghosts, witches, and magic. A place of secrets and hidden dangers.

Amazon Fury Falls Inn Series Page

The Haunting of Fury Falls Inn – $.99

Under Lock and Key  – $1.99

Desperate Reflections – $1.99

Fractured Crystals – $2.99

Legends of Wrath: Books2Read     Barnes & Noble     Amazon     Apple     Kobo  

Homecoming: Books2Read     Amazon     Barnes & Noble     Kobo     Apple