Martha Washington Slept Here: New Windsor #history #NewYork #AmericanRevolution #HistoricalFiction #HistFic #amwriting #amreading #books #novel

Martha Washington had not traveled much if at all before she married George Washington. Her move from southern Virginia to northern Virginia, to Mount Vernon, was the farthest she’d journeyed. Until the American Revolution started and George was appointed as Commander of the Continental Army. The next location for the Continental Army’s winter camp and George Washington’s headquarters was in New Windsor, New York, in 1780-1781.

In case you’ve missed the earlier posts, so far I’ve covered these camps:

The first winter headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1775.

The second winter headquarters in Morristown, NJ, in 1776.

Then Valley Forge in 1777-78.

Next at Middlebrook from 1778-79.

Next at Morristown, NJ from 1779-1780. 

I don’t know much about this winter camp in New Windsor, to be honest. In fact, although I strive to be as accurate as I possibly can, when I wrote Becoming Lady Washington I made an error as to its location, confusing it with a later encampment in the same area in 1782-83. I’ll get to that in a minute.

What I have found in doing the research for this post is that while George Washington wrote many letters from “New Windsor” in December 1780, he didn’t specify where his headquarters was actually situated. Could he have used tents instead of residing in a house? It’s possible but wouldn’t be ideal to winter in New York in tents. I would think he would be in a house. I don’t know that for certain. I did find one mention related to his headquarters in a December 14, 1780 letter to the Marquis de Lafayette:

“I am in very confined Quarters—little better than those at Valley Forge—but such as they are I shall welcome into them your friends on their return to Rhode Island.”

This implies he may have been in a house since he was in a stone house at Valley Forge. I suspect he didn’t specify the location of the headquarters to protect everyone from the British surprising them. However, I also know that during this encampment the British intercepted letters from George and Martha and as a result a gift was sent under a flag of truce to Martha, who had been ill, so they (the British?) already knew the location.

Martha arrived at the camp by December 15, 1780. George was fretting about the mail route because his letters kept being “taken” by the enemy and the army didn’t have the money to replace the horses for Express riders to carry the mail. As I mentioned above, a lady, Mrs. Martha Mortier, the widow of a British army paymaster, sent quite an extensive amount of foods to Martha because she learned Martha suffered from an illness, which was a gall-bladder attack.

I can’t help but be amazed at the array and quantities of these items! According to the editors of “Worthy Partner”: The Papers of Martha Washington, the gift consisted of “a box of lemons, a box of oranges, four boxes of sweetmeats, one keg of tarmarinds (medicinal seed from tamarindus indica), 200 limes, two dozen capillaire (to prepare a syrup from maiden hair fern), two dozen orgeat (used to prepare a syrup made from barley, almonds, or orange flower water), two dozen pineapples, and two pounds of Hyson tea.” George ordered for nothing to be landed but the detachment offering the gift under a flag of truce be sent away immediately. The editors go on to say that if George had permitted the gift to even have landed on shore he would have been subjected to “criticism in the tory and patriot press for having accepted favors from the enemy.”

These were tense times in the winter headquarters. Not only was the enemy trying to trick him into missteps, the supplies and clothing for the troops were nearly nonexistent.

As to my gaffe, which I apologize for again, this headquarters was not located in the William Ellison House as noted in the following excerpt. I have not identified the actual house or place where the camp was located. Please forgive me for confusing these two winter camps. I obviously made an assumption that, since the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and the National Park Service only referred to the Ellison and Hasbrouck houses, both winter camps occurred in the same locations. Lesson learned! However, my description of the house being “tiny” apparently was accurate.

The following takes place in June 1781. From Becoming Lady Washington:


I laid in my bed, a light cover keeping me warm enough, wondering whether the bilious fever and jaundice I suffered would end me. The tiny William Ellison House where headquarters had been established provided little comfort in its cramped interior. Not a place where I’d ever thought I’d die. Yet, at that moment, it seemed a distinct possibility. I didn’t want to die, of course. Not really. But I’d been ill for weeks and didn’t know how much longer I could tolerate the illness. I had intended to leave camp for home in May, but I fell ill around the twenty-first while George was away in Connecticut.

The doctor told me the abdominal pain searing through me was likely caused by a stone in my gall bladder. The biliousness and yellowing of my skin did nothing to make the strain and discomfort more bearable. Five long weeks dragged past with me fearing for my life.

George had agonized about acquiring the proper medications to ease my suffering, writing the last day of May to both Jacky and Lund to see what they could do to assist. Unfortunately, those letters along with a few others from George were intercepted. How did I know? Because a letter arrived on the twenty-first of June, dated the fifteenth, from Mrs. Martha Mortier.

She not only baldly stated that his letter had been intercepted. She had the audacity to send a gift of lemons, limes, oranges, pineapples, sweetmeats, tarmarind seeds, capillaire to make a medicinal syrup from maiden hair fern, orgeat to make another syrup, and two pounds of Hyson green tea from China. A bribe or war prize. Either way, we could not accept it. Fortunately, I had recovered my health by then so could with all honesty refuse it as no longer needed. Or wanted, but that was another matter.

“The vast amount of delicacies must have cost a small fortune, what with the outrageous inflation for even common articles.” I could see George’s concern in the set of his jaw and the anger in his eyes.

As the war had dragged on, his health had become more my concern. He brushed aside my worries, but I have eyes and could see the subtle changes. While we both wanted to be safely at home on our beloved plantation, his duty was to his role as commander of the army. Mine was to be by his side to support him and care for him through good and bad, sickness and health.

“I cannot tolerate this blatant attempt to trick me or any one on my staff to accept favors from the enemy.” George paced the office, rage pouring from him in waves. He stopped suddenly and glared at his staff member, standing rigidly at attention awaiting orders. “Major General Robert Howe, you will thwart any thing and any one from landing under such a flag of truce. I shall reject the items as politely as I can. I shall send a note thanking Mrs. Mortier but telling her you, my dear Patsy, have recovered and thus no longer need such assistance.”

“That is a wise plan.” In truth, while the whisper of temptation to enjoy the fruit existed for two heart beats, I’d never have succumbed.

The reason for George’s tirade stemmed from learning Lund, back home at Mount Vernon, had given refreshments to the enemy in April. Lund’s desperate measures proved misguided. The British had sailed up the Potomac, threatening to burn our beloved home to the ground. In order to save it, he’d offered food and drink on board the ship. He’d dared to ask for the surrender of some of our Negroes, asking a favor from the enemy! I had rarely seen my old man so livid and embarrassed in the twenty-two years we’d been married. He sent a reprimand to Lund, telling him of his displeasure with Lund’s ill-judged actions. We both feared that unhappy consequences and animadversion of the General would result. I hoped no one would criticize him, not after all our sacrifices in the cause, but we’d experienced naysayers already. Then to add to that outrage his concern for my welfare, and he proved troubled indeed.


I’ve checked my sources and they do not mention a site for the 1780-81 headquarters either. George only puts “New Windsor” or “Hd Qtr New Windsor” on his letters. I won’t make excuses for my error, only say that I will strive to avoid further errors in the future.

Until next time, when I’ll talk about Philadelphia, 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.

Cover of Becoming Lady Washington depicting the marriage of George and Martha.

Martha “Patsy” Custis manages an immense eighteenth-century plantation in the Virginia colony. But as a young widow she’s hard pressed to balance her business and to care for her two young children. They need a father and protector. She needs a husband and business partner…one she can trust, especially now as tensions rise between the motherland and the American colonies. Her experience and education have sustained her thus far but when her life veers in an unexpected direction, she realizes she has so much more to learn.

Colonel George Washington takes an interest in her and she’s surprised to find him so sociable and appealing. They form an instant bond and she is certain he’ll be a likeable and loving husband and father figure for her children. She envisions a quiet life at Mount Vernon, working together to provide for their extended family.

But when trouble in the form of British oppression, taxes, and royal arrogance leads to revolt and revolution, George must choose between duty to country and Martha. Compelled to take matters into her own hands, Martha must decide whether to remain where she belongs or go with her husband…no matter what the dangerous future may hold.

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Martha Washington Slept Here: Ford’s Mansion in Morristown #history #NewJersey #AmericanRevolution #HistoricalFiction #HistFic #amwriting #amreading #books #novel

I’m continuing my series of locations where Martha traveled to be with George during the American Revolution. On a side note, some of you may remember that there used to be signs posted declaring “George Washington Slept Here” at various hotels and houses and such, which is why I decided to also share where Martha slept as well. At least during the war years. So this week we travel back to Morristown where she stayed at Ford’s Mansion on this trip.

In case you’ve missed the earlier posts, so far I’ve covered these camps:

The first winter headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1775.

The second winter headquarters in Morristown, NJ, in 1776.

Then Valley Forge in 1777-78.

Next at Middlebrook from 1778-79.

During November 1779, Martha began gathering items and preparing to leave to join George at his winter headquarters. Sometime around the end of November, he sent for her and she headed to Morristown, New Jersey. This time the widow Theodosia Ford invited George to stay at her house. Her husband, Jacob Ford, Jr., had died a few years earlier. Theodosia and her children occupied two rooms in the house while George, Martha, his aides, and their servants occupied the remainder. You can find out more about Ford’s Mansion here.

Note: The above images are all taken from the archives of the Library of Congress. They were taken by the Detroit Publishing Company in 1901.

In my notes, I estimate she left around December 1 and arrived around the 28th. Apparently it was one of the coldest winters ever, too, which could have only made traveling even more stressful and exhausting. All the layers of clothing to help keep warm would have weighed a good bit. Shivering would also wear on a person. I imagine they used hot bricks or stones to help keep the coach warm inside, perhaps placing them under the ladies’ skirts?

While Martha was in Morristown, several remarkable events happened. Nathaniel Greene’s wife, Kitty, gave birth to a son in January. In April, foreign emissaries from France and Spain visited, calling for a review of the troops and a ball. Apparently, Don Juan de Mirailles of Cuba fell ill that month and Martha helped to nurse him but by the end of the month the man had died. George had to break the news to the governor of Cuba. In May, the Marquis de Lafayette arrived with the news that his son was named George Washington Lafayette and that a fleet of six thousand men were on their way. This was a good thing as two of George’s regiments were near to mutinying due to the lack of supplies. Also in May, George was informed that Lord General Cornwallis had seized Charleston, South Carolina.

Martha finally headed for Mount Vernon in June 1780. After she arrived home, she wrote to her brother-in-law Burwell Bassett on July 18, 1780. In her words:

Dear Sir

            When yours and my dear Fannys letters came to my hands – I was in expectation of leving Camp every week – I left the General about the Middle of June – the last I heard from him he was going up the North river – I got home on Fryday and find myself so much fatigue with my ride that I shall not be able to come down to see you this summer and must request you to bring Fanny up – as soon as you can – I suffered so much last winter by going late that I have determined to go early in the fall before the Frost set in – if Fanny does not come soon she will have but a short time to stay with me – we were sorry that we did not see you at the Camp – there was not much pleasure thar the distress of the army and other difficultys th’o I did not know the cause, the pore General was so unhappy that it distressed me exceedingly

            I shall hope to see you soon after the assembly rises, with Fanny – please to give my love to her and the Boys who I should be very glad to see with you… I am dr Sir your affectionate friend & hmble sert

                                                                        Martha Washington

The Fanny she refers to is the daughter of Burwell and Anna Marie “Nancy” Bassett. Nancy was Martha’s sister who had died on December 17, 1777. Burwell was a lawyer and member of the Virginia House of Burgesses. Martha is asking him to visit after the current session ends.

I do not know specifically what was distressing George, but if his troops were threatening to mutiny because they didn’t have the supplies they needed, that would be a huge concern. I do know he wrote to Congress frequently requesting and demanding food, uniforms, ammunition and guns, etc. The other possibility is that he’d become aware of Benedict Arnold’s dissatisfaction with how he was being treated, leading up to his defection to the British in November of 1780. That would have worried him as well in the first half of the year. In fact, he tried to placate him by acknowledging Arnold’s contribution to the American cause, but it ended up not being enough for Arnold’s ego.

This stay in Morristown is the last time Martha goes to that lovely city. Next week, I’ll share some pictures I took when I got to visit New Windsor, New York where the headquarters and the cantonment were located in 1780.

Until then, I hope you find a good story to read by the pool or lake! 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.

Cover image of Becoming Lady Washington depicting the marriage of George and Martha Washington.

Martha “Patsy” Custis manages an immense eighteenth-century plantation in the Virginia colony. But as a young widow she’s hard pressed to balance her business and to care for her two young children. They need a father and protector. She needs a husband and business partner…one she can trust, especially now as tensions rise between the motherland and the American colonies. Her experience and education have sustained her thus far but when her life veers in an unexpected direction, she realizes she has so much more to learn.

Colonel George Washington takes an interest in her and she’s surprised to find him so sociable and appealing. They form an instant bond and she is certain he’ll be a likeable and loving husband and father figure for her children. She envisions a quiet life at Mount Vernon, working together to provide for their extended family.

But when trouble in the form of British oppression, taxes, and royal arrogance leads to revolt and revolution, George must choose between duty to country and Martha. Compelled to take matters into her own hands, Martha must decide whether to remain where she belongs or go with her husband…no matter what the dangerous future may hold.

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Martha Washington Slept Here: Middlebrook #history #NewJersey #AmericanRevolution #HistoricalFiction #HistFic #amwriting #amreading #books #novel

In honor of America’s Independence Day, Samantha’s Secret (A More Perfect Union historical romance series Book 3) is on sale for only $.99 through July 8. This series is set in Charleston, SC, mainly during the occupation by the British in 1782.

Healer Samantha McAlester faces the occupation of Charles Town by the British and the town’s new sexy doctor, Dr. Trenton Cunningham, who wants a hospital staffed with educated doctors. When a friend develops an infection, Trent is stumped. The only treatment will expose Samantha’s secret, risking all she’s come to hold dear… including Trent.

Amazon

I hope you give that series a try. It was one of my first set of linked stories, originally a planned trilogy of Emily’s Vow, Amy’s Choice, and Samantha’s Secret. Later I added Evelyn’s Promise at my publisher’s request. Elizabeth’s Hope was the last installment, a prequel novella. I hope you enjoy their stories!

Every fall, Martha waited for George to summon her to the winter encampment of the Continental Army. Again, I was surprised to learn that she ultimately went to him every winter. But once I understood her better I was no longer surprised. It was who she was.

So far I’ve covered three camps:

The first winter headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1775.

The second winter headquarters in Morristown, NJ, in 1776.

The third at Valley Forge in 1777-78.

Today let’s explore Middlebrook, NJ, during the winter of 1778-79. This camp was located at what is now the north edge of Bound Brook on Mountain Avenue in Somerset County. According to Revolutionary NJ the army “encamped from the vicinities of Bound Brook and Somerville northward to Pluckemin.” You can learn more about the importance of the location at that previous site as well.

On November 2, 1778, Martha wrote to her brother Bartholomew Dandridge about her concerns. In her words:

“I received your kind favor by Mr. Posey and should have wrote to you long before this but have everyday expected everyday Jack would be ready to set out, I am very sorry to hear that my mamma has been so unwell and thank god that she has recovered again – I wish I was near enough to come to see you and her. I am very uneasy at this time – I have some reason to expect that I shall take another trip to the northward. The pore General is not likely to come to see us from what I can hear – I expect to hear seertainly by the next post – if I doe I shall write to you to inform you and my friends.”

Martha was leery of the trip north due to memories of the bad roads and bad weather she’d encountered before. It didn’t help that her mother had been ill and she was worried about her health. But of course she did go, meeting George in Philadelphia the middle of December 1778. They stayed in that city until February 2 to go to Middlebrook, arriving on the 5th.

I’m sure she fell right back into the routines of camp life, forming the sewing circle with the other wives and socializing in the evenings. She even reportedly had her own regiment, Lady Washington’s Dragoons, to accompany her and keep her safe. But this time was different because she didn’t receive letters from her family as often as she might like. Indeed, she wrote to her son Jack and his wife Eleanor on March 9, 1779:

“My Dear Children,
            Not having received any letter from you, the two last posts – I have only to tell you, that the general & my self are well, all is quiet in this quarters; It is from the south ward that we expect to hear news. – we are very anxious to know how our affairs are going in that quarters Colo [Robert Hanson] Harrison is not yet arrived at camp we have heard that he is in Philad several days ago –
            I hear so very seldom from you, that I don’t know where you are or weather you intend to come to Alexandria to live this spring or when – The last letter from Nelly she now says Boath the children have been very ill, there were she hoped getting better – if you doe not write to me – I will not write to you again or till I get letters from you – Let me know how all friends below are they have for got to write me I believe.”

Martha was concerned about Eleanor because she was with child. In fact, Jack and Eleanor had a daughter on March 21, Eleanor “Nelly” Parke Custis. Her concerns proved well founded, because when she left Middlebrook and went to see Eleanor at her home Abingdon in Virginia the mother was ill and unable to feed the baby. Martha took Nelly to Mount Vernon to care for her while Eleanor recovered. But that reunion didn’t occur until around September.

In 1779-80, the camp returned to Morristown, but this time they set of HQ in a different place. 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.

Martha “Patsy” Custis manages an immense eighteenth-century plantation in the Virginia colony. But as a young widow she’s hard pressed to balance her business and to care for her two young children. They need a father and protector. She needs a husband and business partner…one she can trust, especially now as tensions rise between the motherland and the American colonies. Her experience and education have sustained her thus far but when her life veers in an unexpected direction, she realizes she has so much more to learn.

Colonel George Washington takes an interest in her and she’s surprised to find him so sociable and appealing. They form an instant bond and she is certain he’ll be a likeable and loving husband and father figure for her children. She envisions a quiet life at Mount Vernon, working together to provide for their extended family.

But when trouble in the form of British oppression, taxes, and royal arrogance leads to revolt and revolution, George must choose between duty to country and Martha. Compelled to take matters into her own hands, Martha must decide whether to remain where she belongs or go with her husband…no matter what the dangerous future may hold.

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Martha Washington Slept Here: Arnold Tavern #history #Morristown #NewJersey #AmericanRevolution #HistoricalFiction #HistFic #amwriting #amreading #books

The second winter camp that Martha Washington went to was in Morristown, New Jersey. Last week I talked about the first winter headquarters she traveled to in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1775. George Washington established his winter camp headquarters in Morristown twice: the first time in January 1777 and the second in December 1779. The 1777 headquarters was in the Arnold Tavern downtown.

According to Philip Hoffman in his 1903 History of “The Arnold Tavern,” Morristown, N.J.: and many incidents connected with General Washington’s stay in this place, as his headquarters in winter of: with views of historic buildings and places of Revolutionary interest “The building stood on a commanding position, facing the ‘Green,’ on which were situated the court house and jail, on the northeast corner in front of the present U.S. Hotel. On the other side of the road, and almost directly in front of the present parsonage, stood the old Presbyterian meetinghouse, afterwards utilized as a hospital for the sick and wounded soldiers. This ‘Tavern’ building stood on the same spot for about 150 years, and until 1886 when it was bought by Mrs. Julia Keese Colles, a patriotic lady of Morristown, as a genuine Revolutionary relic, and for its preservation, it was removed to another part of the town, where it now stands as the main portion of All Souls’ Hospital, having been much changed in outward appearance and enlarged.”

Sketch of 3-story tavern, 5 windows across on top 2 stories, 2 windows and 2 doors on first floor with a covered front porch.
Sketch of the Arnold Tavern as appears in Philip Hoffman’s History of “The Arnold Tavern” (1903)

You may notice that I skipped 1776. Why didn’t she go to him that year? George was a bit busy that fall and early winter fighting and defeating the British at Trenton and Princeton. So he didn’t set up his winter camp until January 1777. That winter was brutal, too. The soldiers had little to eat and suffered from the cold and snow and mud by turns. George spent much of his time writing letters of importance with regard to the need for sustenance for his troops, for new recruits to add to and bolster his army, and other such weighty topics.

But George developed a quinsy sore throat, “a malady to which the General was subject, and of which he finally died.” (He didn’t die in 1777, of course, but in 1797.) Still everyone feared he might die and so they sent for Martha who arrived at the Arnold Tavern on March 15, 1777. The tavern was quite a large place. Hoffman describes the building in his book:

“This large and commodious building was the principal hotel of the place…It was an imposing structure, three stories in height, divided by a wide hall running through the centre, with a front and back parlor on the south side, and barroom and dining room and kitchen on the other. A broad and winding stairway gave an easy ascent to the second floor. Washington slept in the second story, in the front room, over the bar-room; the room adjoining and back of it was used as his dressing room.

“Back of that, and over the dining room and kitchen, was a commodious ball room, in which the Assembly balls were held, and there the army Masonic lodge held its meeting during the time that Washington made his headquarters in this building, in the winter of 1777, and also again in the winter of 1780. Bed chambers filled up the rest of the house, five of which were in the third story.”

Photo of historic marker: Washington's Headquarters. Washington made his winter headquarters at the Arnold Tavern January 6, 1777 now a part of All Souls Hospital. December 1779 he established quarters at the Ford Mansion now maintained as a museum.
Image courtesy of Historic Marker Database at https://www.hmdb.org/m.asp?m=5949

Of course, where George slept so did Martha, so we know she slept on the second story and would have probably enjoyed the view of the bustling town Green out her window. I do wish the building was still standing, but after it was relocated to become part of the All Souls Hospital, it was eventually replaced with newer structures. Today there stands an historic site marker at the original location of Arnold Tavern, though, should you want to go pay a visit.

Next time I’ll talk about Valley Forge. 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.

Martha “Patsy” Custis manages an immense eighteenth-century plantation in the Virginia colony. But as a young widow she’s hard pressed to balance her business and to care for her two young children. They need a father and protector. She needs a husband and business partner…one she can trust, especially now as tensions rise between the motherland and the American colonies. Her experience and education have sustained her thus far but when her life veers in an unexpected direction, she realizes she has so much more to learn.

Colonel George Washington takes an interest in her and she’s surprised to find him so sociable and appealing. They form an instant bond and she is certain he’ll be a likeable and loving husband and father figure for her children. She envisions a quiet life at Mount Vernon, working together to provide for their extended family.

But when trouble in the form of British oppression, taxes, and royal arrogance leads to revolt and revolution, George must choose between duty to country and Martha. Compelled to take matters into her own hands, Martha must decide whether to remain where she belongs or go with her husband…no matter what the dangerous future may hold.

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Fun Friday with Tara Golden from The Touchstone of Raven Hollow #Thanksgiving #holiday #paranormal #romance #fiction

For Fun Friday today, I’m sharing Tara Golden’s favorite things to do to relax and have fun. She’s one of three sisters who run the Golden Owl Books and Brews store in Roseville, Tennessee.

As a result, it’s pretty obvious she must love books and reading them. Her favorite place to read is in the conversation corner in the backyard of their ancestral home. Cozied up with an afghan on chilly days, or enjoying the shade on warm ones, she spends some quiet time alone with a good story.

She also likes to dress up for costume parties, especially for Halloween. Mainly, she wears a sexy witch outfit, which honestly is more reality than costume for her. She hides her special talent, healing through touch, by being a healer and midwife by avocation. When she healed Grant Markel in Haunted Melody little did she know it would open up a whole new problem for her in The Touchstone of Raven Hollow! She couldn’t sit by and watch her future brother-in-law lose his eyesight, though. So she surreptitiously worked her magic on him without him being aware. But now he’s come back to Roseville looking for answers during the week of Thanksgiving.

Here’s an excerpt of when they see each other again when he comes back into town:

Edna’s Grocery bustled with customers in the late afternoon, the parking lot a steady stream of cars and pickup trucks coming and going. Tara strolled along the sidewalk, pulling a small wagon rattling over the seams and cracks as she made her way to pick up the ingredients for dinner. Since most of what she needed was perishable, she didn’t buy them until the day she would use them to have them at their freshest. Mulling the possibilities, she left the red wagon by the soda machines and grabbed a grocery cart. She had two hours until everyone would converge upon her, expecting a delicious dinner. She had an abundance of time, and yet she hurried inside as though chased by demons. Cooking demons.

Gripping the plastic handle of the metal cart, she strode to the produce section. Tomatoes, lettuce, avocado. She quickly snatched up the fresh vegetables and added them to the basket. What else? Ah yes. She turned the cart and headed to the international foods aisle, scanning the shelves for what she needed.

“Tara?” Grant’s voice sounded behind her. “Is that you?”

Stopping, she looked over her shoulder and then angled her body to watch him approach. Goodness. How had she forgotten how ruggedly handsome he was? His lithe, easy gait carried him to her side in moments. She swallowed, aware of a tingling in her entire body as his gaze skimmed her head to toe and back to meet her nervous regard. What was he doing in the grocery? She was not ready to face him. Not prepared to experience the rush of awareness that overwhelmed her when he stood so close.

A wave of memory swept through her mind. Beginning with the instant she’d met him and sensed the potential for a deep connection with him. Then Paulette’s revelation of his illness and why he’d ventured to the small town. She couldn’t bear the thought of him suffering, so had chosen to heal him without his knowledge. Or anyone else’s. Only, Paulette had guessed and confronted her after Grant had departed for his big city life. She’d hoped he’d stay away and not question the change in his health. What if he had found out what she’d done?

“Grant.” She swallowed again, her voice weak and breathy. Calm. Breathe. She could be an adult and talk with another one. Even if he was the most alluring man on earth. “What brings you to town? I thought you didn’t enjoy the quaintness of Roseville.”

“Small towns have never interested me because too many people know too much about everybody else’s business.” He raised both brows as a smile hinted he recognized just how unsettled she was around him. “I’m only here to do a little sleuthing. Do you mind?”

Mind? Absolutely. “Of course not. How long will you stay?” Really, Tara? How inane and rude can you be? She must restore her composure, her equilibrium, or she’d mortify herself before the man. “I mean, how long will you be able to stay?”

“I’ll leave after Thanksgiving. Head to the city and civilization.” He glanced at the package of taco shells in her hands. “Is that for dinner tonight?”

Placing the box in the cart, she reached for a second one and added it to the growing pile. “Taco dinner is one of the few meals I can usually fix without incident.”

Grant chuckled and rested his hands on the metal frame of the cart. “Sounds like you don’t much enjoy cooking.”

“We take turns, so I only have to do it a couple times a week.” She shrugged and pushed the basket into motion, forcing Grant to straighten and walk beside her. Dawdling would limit the time she had to chop and dice and, worse, prolong the amount of time she’d be alone with him. “Simple fare is my specialty.”

She paused to select bottles of mild and medium taco sauce and placed them into the basket. Pushing on, she slowed her pace when she saw a sudden roadblock ahead in the form of a mini family reunion. Annoyance shot through her. She needed to finish her shopping and retreat to her home, away from this man until her sisters could provide a buffer of sorts. His presence shook her to the core with awareness and longing. Beth had already as much as claimed him. As such, Tara wouldn’t interfere with her older sister’s choice. But that meant Tara must defend herself from his nearness.

“What kind of meat will you cook tonight?” He shot a sideways look her direction and then focused on the aisle ahead of them where the boisterous family had blocked their way.

She paused, waiting for the small group of animated people to notice her and Grant, and then with a word of thanks, she continued. Turning into the condiments aisle, she picked up the pace, skimming the bottles and cans of olives and pickles until spotting what she searched for. She selected a small can of sliced black olives and a can of sliced jalapenos. “Do you have a preference?”

Grant shook his head, watching her drop the cans into the cart. “What do you usually fix?”

She spun the cart around to head up the aisle toward the meat counter. Grant fell in beside her, much like a married couple. Whoa. Get a grip. She might be in a market but not in the market for a husband. And definitely not Grant. So stand down, libido, because the man beside her, no matter how lovely to look at and how smart, was not for her.

“Lean ground beef or chicken, most often. Sometimes I use steamed shrimp, but only when I’m feeling fancy.”

“You know how to steam shrimp?” Grant tilted his head as he glanced at her. “That’s impressive.”

Her cheeks warmed at the unwarranted compliment, and a flush of pleasure swept through her. She wished. “No, I buy them already cooked.”

“Keeps it simple, like you said, and yet still healthier than red meats.” He smiled at her, taking control of the cart. “You lead, and I’ll follow.”

Tara and Grant go on a memorable hike and stumble upon the mystical Raven Hollow where they discover each other as well as the true meaning of the holiday. I hope you enjoy The Touchstone of Raven Hollow! And for those of you in America, Happy Thanksgiving!

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.

The_Touchstone_of_Raven_Hollow_600x900He dug for the truth and found her magic.

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

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

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

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Between the Lines: Visiting an Indoor Shooting Range #research #shooting #pistols #guns #PNR #paranormal #mustread #supernatural #romance #fiction

When my characters get wild ideas, I sometimes have to go beyond my own comfort zone to help them achieve their goals. So it was with Beth Golden in Veiled Visions of Love when she decided she needed to learn how to shoot a pistol to protect herself and others.

I have fired a pistol before, and way back in the dark ages a BB air rifle. In fact, I love to tell the story about when I asked my father-in-law, a retired brigadier general, to teach me to shoot his pistol. He took me out back of his lakeside home and propped a target on the dirt cutaway wall of his steep driveway. Then he instructed me on how to hold the pistol, how to aim, and then let me have at it. I squeezed the trigger gently and it fired a bullet that was just off the center red circle. I adjusted my aim and fired again, hitting the bull’s eye. When we went back inside the house, he told my husband to not let me get angry with a gun nearby. I haven’t ever had any desire to own a gun let alone shoot it at anyone or anything for that matter. So my dear loving hubby is perfectly safe!

In order to have a better understanding of what a new shooter would need to do and learn, I took a deep breath and went to visit the Bullet and Barrel indoor shooting range near my home in Huntsville, Alabama. This place was awesome, too! I walked in the door to a huge retail store of clothing and accessories for hunters and everyday people who want to carry a gun safely. The salesman proved to be very helpful indeed when I told him I was there to research for my novel.

We talked about what kind of pistol my character was most likely to find useful for her situation—becoming an airplane repo agent. Something she could easily handle and manage. He helped me choose the right semi-automatic pistol, then talked about the ammunition and cartridges. I was offered the opportunity to take a free shooting lesson but declined. I know what a gun sounds like when it’s fired and while I’m pretty sure there are people who can detect the differences and then identify the weapon, my characters are not that savvy. So I didn’t need to know that bit of information. He did show me several styles of purses designed to conceal a pistol, which was something that never would have occurred to me. I’ve also found out since that several of my friends carry a gun. I’m honestly of mixed feelings about that, but of course, it’s not my decision. I can see pros and cons to carrying a gun, and I personally have decided it’s not for me.

I did watch the gun safety video required of all people who want to get a carry permit of any kind. That proved insightful for the kind of training Mitch would give to Beth, the kinds of cautions, too. I also asked about the licensing laws in Alabama vs. Tennessee. It’s rather intriguing how much they vary from one another but I suppose not all that surprising. In case you’re wondering, it’s easier to get a conceal carry permit in Alabama.

I was given a tour of the entire facility and was surprised to learn that they’d held a wedding reception in their conference room available for rentals. They also had a virtual shooting range where you could shoot laser-aimed “bullets” at various characters on the blue screen. That sounded kinda fun, actually, but I didn’t have time to take them up on the offer of a trial.

I came away from the Bullet and Barrel with new understanding and insights into the world of guns and those who choose to carry them. I hope you enjoy Veiled Visions of Love and the dangerous situations that Beth gets into—and out of. 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: 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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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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