Between the Lines: Custom Perfumes #research #perfume #scents #PNR #paranormal #mustread #supernatural #romance #fiction

One of the quirks in my hero, Mitch Sawyer, in Veiled Visions of Love, is that he has a highly developed sense of smell. In fact, his family runs a perfumery which they hope he’ll become part of at some point in his life. A career path he’s resisting. His olfactory sense makes him both vulnerable to strong odors and aromas, which give him a migraine, but also able to match the perfect scents to a person.

When he meets Beth Golden for the first time, he’s accosted by her too-sweet perfume. He doesn’t believe she should wear such a sweet floral scent and eventually he takes her shopping for “her” perfume. An intimate gift from him to her, something to remind her of him even when he’s not nearby.

I should admit at this point that I don’t know much about perfumes. I’ve worn the same scent for decades and don’t really have any intention of changing. For Beth, I knew I wanted the scent to be more subtle but alluring, probably with some vanilla which I think of as a warm and comforting scent. But what do I know? So I had to do some digging as to what perfumes Mitch might suggest and why.

Over at the Perfume Review Guide site, I struck paydirt—er, the perfect scent based on the description. Turns out I was close when I said vanilla is comforting. According to two separate polls, “men prefer scents that remind them of comforting situations” and vanilla came in a close second on the list of scents that “drive them wild.”

After reading the descriptions on the Perfume Review Guide’s list of top vanilla based perfumes, I decided to go with the Novella Vaniglia by Santa Maria Novella. Here’s how they describe the scent:

Novella VanigliaThis scent is dark, smoky, and boozy, but is neither harsh nor sweet. The top notes fade fast and the perfume develops into a lush and rich woodsy fragrance that wears well in both the winter and summer. Another scent that is labeled for either men or women, it combines a non-sweet base of vanilla with light floral and warm spice fragrances.

Given that Beth is longing to be adventurous and daring, this seemed to fit the bill perfectly. Something that sexy and strong Mitch would love to inhale and easy to detect should the need arise. Which it does…

Subtle details like this are aimed at adding layers of meaning and sensuality to my stories. I hope you enjoy Veiled Visions of Love. Thanks for reading!

Betty

P.S. If you haven’t already, please consider signing up for my newsletter, which I only send out when there is news to share. News like new covers, new releases, and upcoming appearances where I love to meet my readers. Thanks and happy reading!

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 lifestyle 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?

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Between the Lines: Visiting an Air Show #research #aviation #PNR #paranormal #psychic #supernatural #romance #fiction

Let’s talk about the Tuscaloosa Airshow. I’ve been to airshows before, but it had been a long time. In fact the fondest memory I have surrounding one was a ride in an open cockpit airplane several decades ago with a longtime family friend of my in-laws. What a rush!

Anyway, when my character, Beth Golden, in Veiled Visions of Love decided to get involved in airplane repossession with Mitch Sawyer, the Air Force pilot who rolls into town on his Harley, I had to brush up on what little I knew about planes and airshows. So I found out that a show was coming to Tuscaloosa, Alabama, in April 2018. Hubby went with me, of course, because of three reasons: 1) we enjoy traveling together; 2) he knows far more about aircraft than I do; and 3) he likes to help me with my research. So off we went on a day trip!

We were fortunate that the rain that had descended earlier in the week had stopped before the day of the show we went to. But that didn’t mean the ground wasn’t sloppy with mud. Trust me on that! We had to pick our way around the field surrounding the runways and taxiways and buildings. I kept all my senses on alert, trying to absorb the atmosphere, the sights, the sounds, and of course the smells.

An area had been set up to one side where the food vendors were selling all kinds of food and beverages. Everything from hot dogs to barbecue chicken and corn on the cob, desserts like cotton candy and ice cream, and everything you can imagine at a fair or carnival. The onslaught of aromas created quite a heady mix.

We watched a couple of planes climb straight up into the sky, trailing white smoke so it made it easier to follow their movements against the white puffy clouds and blue sky above. Then stood and watched some other aerobatic planes perform with the accompanying roar of the engines and reverberation in the air which I felt in my chest. A pulsation from the sound waves, I guess?

The Blue Angels were going to perform at the show but I was more interested in talking to one of the pilots if I could. I needed to know whether two people could fly in an F-18 fighter jet or not. Luckily, as hubby and I strolled around, discussing what we were seeing, I spotted an Air Force pilot talking to a group in front of us. I waited until they’d finished their conversation and then I approached the pilot, who in fact turned out to be with the Blue Angels. Yay! I was able to ascertain that they have a trainer FA-18 that they use to ferry a pilot to his F-18, which only seats one pilot. So yes, there could be two people in the trainer fighter jet. I was elated to have that piece of the puzzle in place for the story arc of Veiled Visions of Love. Perfect!

IMG_0682
The F-18s used by the Air Force Blue Angels.

We sauntered around the large area of taxiways in front of several buildings used, we assumed, for maintenance and storage. We didn’t go so far as to walk down there, but we did wander among the planes on display and open for tours.

We went into one smaller jet, and I took a few pictures of the cockpit as reference. However, that plane didn’t end up in my book because I wanted something a bit more posh.

By the time we left midafternoon, ready to drive the 2.5 hours home, we were hot and tired and thirsty. But I’d gotten the details I needed to make my story scenes come alive with accurate details and observations at a real major airshow. I hope you enjoy Veiled Visions of Love. Thanks for reading!

Betty

P.S. If you haven’t already, please consider signing up for my newsletter, which I only send out when there is news to share. News like new covers, new releases, and upcoming appearances where I love to meet my readers. Thanks and happy reading!

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

His 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 lifestyle 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?

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Fun Friday with Elizabeth Brenner from #author Judy Mollen Walters’ The Natural Order of Things #women #fiction #WF #books

Ready for some quiet fun today? Judy Mollen Walters shares how Elizabeth Brenner plays on today’s Fun Friday post. Take it away, Judy!


Elizabeth Brenner could spend every day just playing with her 4-year-old daughter, Lotty. In fact, she does. Lotty and Elizabeth do everything together from sunup to sundown—from baking to library runs to StoryTime to shopping for their dinner to meeting new people who shape their lives in ways Elizabeth can’t really imagine they will. At night they put their pajamas on early and watch movies and TV—sometimes TV you wouldn’t think interesting for a 4-year-old, like Wheel of Fortune and, in the mornings, Good Morning America. They love their solitude and quiet, but when Elizabeth gets a job on the library’s Bookmobile, which she and Lotty can do together, they discover how much they like to go out for lunch or visiting. It all sounds sort of quiet, but Elizabeth’s new friends are going to tell her their most private secrets, and Elizabeth will reveal some of her own.

ebook cover (1)When 22-year-old Elizabeth Brenner lands in New Jersey with her 15-month-old daughter, Lotty, she doesn’t know a soul. And she prefers it that way. She’s struggling with her own demons—her family in Utah, who essentially threw her out, her ex-boyfriend Evan and father of her baby, and just enough money so that she won’t have to work for a little while. Three-and-a-half years later Elizabeth is running out of money and needs a job. But what can she do without an education or any real work experience? When a job opening for a Bookmobile driver at her local library appears, she applies and gets the job. Now she begins to make friends: Estelle, a 95-year-old woman with a 70-year-old secret, Harper, a 16-year-old high school drop-out who isn’t homeless but might as well be, and Sabrina, a pregnant mother whose secret is so big that she won’t even tell her husband. As Elizabeth juggles all of her new friends’ needs, she meets her neighbor Jeff, and then she finds herself doing something she swore she would never do again….. Full of surprising people with surprising stories, The Natural Order of Things will make you laugh and cry, ponder and hope.

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judyauthor2After my stint as an editor in nonfiction book publishing, I became a Stay-at-Home Mother to my two daughters nineteen years ago. I always wanted to be a writer and finally became a published author when my first book, Child of Mine, came out in 2013. In 2014, I published The Opposite of Normal, which became an Amazon best seller, and in 2015, I followed that up with The Place to Say Goodbye, about an autistic young man whose thoughts only the readers are privy to.  In 2016, I published Start at the Beginning, featuring best friends who have to make an agonizing choice. In 2017, I published A Million Ordinary Days, the story of an independent woman who fights her Multiple Sclerosis to maintain her career and take care of her daughter.

Website: judymollenwalters.com

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/judy.m.walters.9


Being a single parent is never easy but apparently has its own rewards. This story does sound intriguing, doesn’t it? Thanks, Judy, for sharing a bit about Elizabeth and Lotty’s sweet relationship and the quirky friends they make. Enjoy your weekend, everyone!

Betty

P.S. If you haven’t already, please consider signing up for my newsletter, which I only send out when there is news to share. News like new covers, new releases, and upcoming appearances where I love to meet my readers. Thanks and happy reading!

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

Between the Lines: Airplane Repo #research #aviation #PNR #paranormal #psychic #supernatural #romance #fiction

Veiled Visions of Love is now available everywhere! It’s release day for my latest book and I’m excited to share Beth and Mitch’s story with everyone. (If you could see me now, you’d see me doing a happy little jig in my office as I’m writing this!)

The genesis for the hero of this story started with a question I asked on Facebook. I wanted to know what jobs or careers hadn’t been written about very much. One answer surprised me enough to have me go look into what it is and how it’s done: airplane repossession agent. Turns out it’s a highly dangerous job, too. Mainly because you can’t hook up a tow truck and take back the plane; you have to make sure it’s airworthy and then fly it out without being stopped by the person who defaulted on the mortgage. A typically macho male person who is never happy with his plane being taken.

The more I delved into the job description, the more excited I became because the guy who would do such a job was the perfect match for Beth Golden and her longing for excitement and adventure. Thus the character of Mitch Sawyer sprung into my mind.

IMG_0846The person who suggested the job to me also mentioned there is a reality TV series based on airplane repo, by that name even. So I found it and watched as many episodes as I could, taking notes all the while. The situations the repo agents find themselves in were indeed scary and pointed out the kinds of training, education, self-defense, and protection the agents need to have. This is why Beth decides to take Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and learn to shoot a pistol, so she can help a reluctant Mitch in his work.

One episode, in particular, provided the idea for a tailored situation in Veiled Visions of Love. In the TV episode, the repo agent pretends to be taking a flying lesson as a gift from his female coworker so he can take the plane up and then take control of the plane to repossess it. You’ll find a similar setup in my story, with Beth acting like she’s paying for Mitch’s first flying lesson when he is actually an Air Force fighter jet pilot. He knows what he’s doing, in other words. I loved the idea of the couple working together to repo the plane and give Beth a taste of the thrill of the chase and capture of the plane. The problem is she becomes addicted to the thrill, much to Mitch’s dismay.

Watching the shows also gave me the idea of having an airshow in the story. I’ve been to small airshows in the past but it had been a long time. So I went looking for one close to where I live in Alabama. Next week I’ll talk about the airshow hubby and I went to for research for my story.

I hope you enjoy Veiled Visions of Love. Thanks for reading!

Betty

P.S. If you haven’t already, please consider signing up for my newsletter, which I only send out when there is news to share. News like new covers, new releases, and upcoming appearances where I love to meet my readers. Thanks and happy reading!

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 lifestyle 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?

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Between the Lines: Observing a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Class #JiuJitsu #BJJ #research #PNR #romance

After interviewing the owner and black belt Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu instructor, I was invited to go to the Maverick Training Center to observe a class in action. I admit I’m somewhat of a chicken when it comes to sports, so I made it clear I didn’t want to participate but merely watch. (I was afraid I’d hurt myself if I donned a Gi and let someone sweep my feet out from under me, rubber mats or not.) Honestly, watching how the members of the class interacted was far more useful for my purposes.

The gym is very clean and organized, and has rules posted for acceptable conduct. I was impressed by the folded Gi hanging over the chin-up bar, something Suzanna Ramsden, the owner, had told me helped develop hand strength as well as arm strength when they did their chin-ups.

The class members went through a series of stretches to warm up for the actual session. One of the most surprising exercises they did was a modified push up, where they stood and dropped to a push up, then hopped their feet up to their ears and stood up and did it again, all the way across the mats.

The professor, Suzanne Ramsden, then demonstrated a new technique. How to grip, how to maneuver, and then ultimately how to hold their opponents.

 

Then the class practiced…

I was impressed by the dedication and commitment each of the class members demonstrated as they worked to help each other improve their individual techniques.

I used a lot of what I observed at the session in my story, Veiled Visions of Love, when Beth Golden decides to take up Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and ends up taking classes from a lady black belt, Jocasta Walsh, or Jo. After I’d finished writing my book, Suzanne graciously reviewed the BJJ related scenes for accuracy. She tweaked some terminology for me—I learned they don’t use “pinned” but “held” or “controlled”—but otherwise paid me the compliment that I’d nailed the descriptions and attitudes in those scenes. I still smile at how surprised she seemed that I had gleaned as much as I had from simply observing. But then, that’s what makes me pretty good at what I do, being aware of my surroundings and the people in them.

P.S. Veiled Visions of Love releases soon, on Labor Day, September 3, 2018. It’s available for pre-order now, though, so grab your copy and have it in your inbox on release day. Thanks!

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.

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 lifestyle 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?

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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

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.

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?

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Amazon: http://bit.ly/VeiledVisionsofLove

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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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….

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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

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.

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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