To Market, To Market in 1821 Huntsville #Alabama #research #American #history #FuryFallsInn #histfic #historical #fiction #books

Sometimes research happens without any planning on my part. A couple of years ago I went to downtown Huntsville to visit the owner of a unique local bookstore. I merely wanted to introduce myself as a local author and ask him to carry my books in the store. But I came away with something much more useful and interesting!

Shaver’s Bookstore is located in the Railroad Station Antiques & Interiors store on the second floor. By the way, the antique store is in the historic Lombardo Building which is on the National Register of Historic Places, so I was happy to see what they had on display. Shaver’s carries an eclectic mix of titles, many from local or regional authors. However, most are nonfiction titles, so my fiction didn’t fit in like I had hoped.

My copy of Civilization Comes to the Big Spring: Huntsville, Alabama 1823

While I was browsing, waiting for Mr. Shaver to finish helping a customer, I spotted a large sketch of Huntsville. The scene is of the downtown square in 1823, two years after the time period of my Fury Falls Inn historical supernatural fiction series. The sketch is the result of a historian researching the archives for descriptions of the buildings and streets of the city. There is actually an entire book, Civilization Comes to the Big Spring: Huntsville, Alabama 1823, written by the historian, Sarah Huff Fisk, to accompany the sketch. What a gold mine! I love coming across sources in a kind of surprise offering from the universe. I hadn’t yet started writing The Haunting of Fury Falls Inn (Book 1) so this was welcome information to have.

Naturally, I bought both the book and a copy of the sketch. I refer to them both as I write the stories in the Fury Falls Inn series. In fact, the third book which I’m in the process of writing, Desperate Reflections, includes a scene at a store downtown and the market place. Both required referral to the text and the image to make sure I had my facts correct and could have Cassie and Flint going to the right places to purchase cloth and then foods.

Closeup of the sketch of the artist’s conception of downtown Huntsville in 1823.

I learned from Ms. Fisk that, “The store directly south of the inn was designated ‘No. 5 Cheapside’ in all the ads placed by its 1820 and 1821 occupant, P. Yeatman & Co., who not only offered for sale ‘Salt, Stripe Linseys, and Leghorn Bonnets,’ but reminded the public (who in those years following the closing of so many banks must have been very confused as to what money was good, if any) that their store operated an:

EXCHANGE – The subscriber continues to exchange Tennessee and Huntsville notes, and to allow the highest premium for GOLD AND SILVER. Drafts on the Eastward, New Orleans, and Natchez Notes.

Yeatman’s was located in one of the row houses at the bottom right in the picture.

As for the market, Ms. Fisk had a detailed section all about the Public Market House. She mentioned that Wednesdays and Saturdays were the usual market days, held in the 1817 building near the northwest corner of the courthouse. What might a shopper find at the market?

“Town residents in general welcomed the opportunity to buy fresh vegetables, fish, tame and wild fowls, lard, tallow, eggs, milk, butter, cheese, meal, honey, nuts, apples, pears, grapes, wild fruits or berries for preserving, freshly-butchered meat, wild game, and other items as the seasons changed.”

That’s quite a large variety, don’t you think? That list was very helpful for me because in Desperate Reflections there is a cooking competition and I needed to know what foods were available in the area in the early 19th century. In the picture, the market was located at the upper left in and around the two-story Market House.

It’s also fun to study the people and animals in the artist’s rendering of what life might have looked like back then. She included a great deal of details including the modes of transportation and games the kids played as well as the kinds of jobs and businesses.

Thanks in advance for your support and interest in my books. And as always, 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.

Giles Fairhope reluctantly journeys to the Fury Falls Inn for one reason: his beloved sister Cassie needs him after their mother was murdered. His father and three brothers are far away, so she’s alone, without any family, in the wilderness of 1821 northern Alabama. He plans to find his mother’s killers, ensure Cassie’s safety, and then go home. Cassie begs him to stay until their father returns, but Giles has absolutely no desire to see him. When Cassie tells him their mother’s ghost haunts the inn, he suddenly faces his dead mother amidst shocking memories from his past and unexpected changes in himself.

His mother’s ghost insists he find not only the killers but a stolen set of keys. Keys which unlock more than an attic door but also surprising and dangerous family secrets. The revelations change everything he thought he knew about his family and threaten his sister’s safety and perhaps even her life…

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On Knowing Martha Washington #research #AmericanRevolution #HistoricalFiction #HistFic #amwriting #amreading #books #novel

Last week I mentioned that I would be interviewed by Cynthia Brian on the Be The Star You Are! radio broadcast. If you missed the live show, you can still hear the replay at https://www.voiceamerica.com/episode/126745/soil-and-leaves-becoming-lady-washington-cyberbulling-rising. It was a quick and interesting 30-minute conversation and I hope you’ll listen to it, too.

One of the questions Cynthia asked me was about how I could know so much about Martha if she burned her personal correspondence with George. She also said that Becoming Lady Washington read like an autobiography, a huge compliment to my mind.

Answering her question thoroughly would take a little while, so I gave a shorthand answer during the show. But I wanted to share here with you all a little more about how I went about really getting to know about her life and times, her attitude and concerns, and everything going on in her world.

The first thing I did in order to begin finding out more about this truly remarkable woman was to buy two biographies about Martha to read. They both provided good information, but I relied on Martha Washington: An American Life by Patricia Brady far more because it was so well researched and documented.

Two important references for getting to know Martha Washington: “Worthy Partner”: The Papers of Martha Washington and Martha Washington: An American Life

Then I created a timeline table where I listed key events by date. These events came from Martha’s life but also George Washington’s. I even included events I discovered by researching Dolley Madison’s life because Martha and Dolley’s lives intersected several times. Every source I used informed this timeline, too. My list of references is 7 pages long in 10-point font, by the way. It includes book titles (physical ones on my shelves and online archives), articles found online, information from National Park websites and other sites for historic places, and government sites with related information. Every time I found an event that impacted her life I added it to the timeline along with the source.

One of the most important books for really knowing how she thought, felt, reacted, acted, etc., was “Worthy Partner”: The Papers of Martha Washington edited by Joseph E. Fields. Although only 5 letters between Martha and George survive today, the collection of correspondence in this volume includes letters between Martha and many other friends and relatives and business contacts. This is where I could really get inside her head, so to speak, to hear her voice in the cadence of the words she used and to glimpse the concerns and desires she held dear.

I hope you’ll listen to the interview linked above and also read Becoming Lady Washington to also get to know and understand our first First Lady.

Thanks for reading! Happy Holidays!

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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How does your garden (fence) grow? #Alabama #research #American #history #ReadIndie #FuryFallsInn

When I started researching to write the Fury Falls Inn series, my husband and I visited Burritt on the Mountain in Huntsville, Alabama. This historic site reconstructs what houses and farms looked like in the 1800s, including from the beginnings of the state in the 1820s. That is the time period of my series, so I paid particular attention to the buildings and structures.

Fence enclosing what could be a corral or garden

I was impressed by the height and sturdiness of the fences around different areas. They looked strong enough to climb over without any fear of them collapsing. I decided to use a similar fence in my series to surround Cassie’s garden. Here’s a snippet that describes her garden and the fence protecting it in The Haunting of Fury Falls Inn (Book 1):


The rows of vegetables and flowers provided one kind of escape. She could lose herself while working with the soil, encouraging life from the rich dirt. Tending to the flowers. Raking the ground into mounds to plant seeds and bulbs. Pouring water on the new plants poking their green leaves up toward the sun and sky. Dragging the weeds out, roots and all. Cleaning up the debris and minding the tall, wooden-slatted deer fence and gate to keep them strong. With the large herds roaming the mountains and valleys, she’d had to resort to drastic measures to prevent them from eating her harvest.

The tall rail fence surrounding the sixty-foot square of ground had proved itself in keeping the deer on the right side of the fence. She’d had one of the stable hands fit rails tight together at the bottom to deter smaller critters like rabbits and possums from eating on her young plants. Not that they frequently ventured so close to the busy inn with its passel of dogs, but it would only take once to destroy all her hard work and make Sheridan’s job much more difficult. The other reason she enjoyed working in the garden stemmed from the fact her ma didn’t much cotton to working in the dirt, so Cassie could escape her criticism for a time.


You’ll notice that I modified what the fictional structure looks like as opposed to what is in the pictures because I think that’s what I would have done were it my garden. (Not that I’m a gardener, but I have worked with plants.)

Cassie’s garden is very important to her sense of well-being, so it appears in every book in this series.

Book 2 is Under Lock and Key and releases tomorrow, October 6, 2020. Early reader reviews have been very positive, one fan stating “I couldn’t put it down.”

If you haven’t read The Haunting of Fury Falls Inn, grab your copy now while it’s on sale for $1.99 at Amazon. And please get your copy of Under Lock and Key while you’re there. There’s more info about Book 2 below, too.

Thanks in advance for your support and interest in my books. And as always, 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.

Giles Fairhope reluctantly journeys to the Fury Falls Inn for one reason: his beloved sister Cassie needs him after their mother was murdered. His father and three brothers are far away, so she’s alone, without any family, in the wilderness of 1821 northern Alabama. He plans to find his mother’s killers, ensure Cassie’s safety, and then go home. Cassie begs him to stay until their father returns, but Giles has absolutely no desire to see him. When Cassie tells him their mother’s ghost haunts the inn, he suddenly faces his dead mother amidst shocking memories from his past and unexpected changes in himself.

His mother’s ghost insists he find not only the killers but a stolen set of keys. Keys which unlock more than an attic door but also surprising and dangerous family secrets. The revelations change everything he thought he knew about his family and threaten his sister’s safety and perhaps even her life…

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Mapping Charleston for Fictional Characters #Charleston #research #American #history #ReadIndie #AMorePerfectUnion

I’ve been talking about the historic sites I’ve toured as research for the A More Perfect Union series. You can read about the Heyward-Washington House and the Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon if you missed those posts. Today I’m going to talk about the map I used to layout where my characters live in Charleston.

My son actually helped me enlarge the map of the historic district from a reference book. I taped it to a piece of poster board. Then I copied photos from the Historic Walking Tour guide book and taped those in the approximate location I wanted the various characters to live. I also included the inspiration photos of what the characters look like. So then I had the ability to know what streets they’d be walking or driving on and approximately how long it would take to go from one place to another.

My map of where my characters live and work and worship

You’ll also notice that I added the location of the beef market, newsletter office, St. Michael’s church, and the location of Captain Sullivan’s shop for my reference. All of this visual aid is for the express purpose of being able to accurately reflect the travel of my characters. This is the first of several maps/layouts I’ve made when writing a story/series. I’ve done floor plans, for instance, for the Fury Falls Inn so I have a good idea of where the rooms are and what they’re used for.

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.

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.

CAUGHT 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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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: Into a Cycle Shop #motorcycle #bikerchick #research #PNR #paranormal #psychic #romance #fiction

One thing I’ve never done is ride a motorcycle. Well, not really. My brother had a bike when I was a teenager that I tried to sit on and nearly fell over with it. I don’t think that counts! So when Mitch Sawyer rode into Roseville on his Harley, and Beth took an interest in both the bike and the man, I had to do some research.

What would a “biker chick” wear? Where would she shop for it? How much selection would there be in a real live motorcycle store? These were my burning questions. Of course, the only way for me to know was to leave the comfort of my office and venture to the closest bike shop.

Only the shop I went to didn’t carry much clothing at all. Helmets and gloves, jackets and chaps. But nothing feminine for a woman wanting to ride with her guy. The experience of being in the cycle gear shop left me with several impressions: the smell of oil and rubber was strong; the lady clerk said hello but otherwise didn’t try to sell me anything—probably because she could tell I’m not a biker chick, but that’s another story; and the store did not cater to women bikers. Obviously, I’d have to find a bigger store, and luckily a few days later I had reason to drive by the local Harley store.

This store was much bigger and had a larger selection of merchandise. Walking in the front door I was surprised—though in hind sight I shouldn’t have been—to see rows of motorcycles flanking the aisle stretching toward the back of the store. The sales staff desks were lined up against the left hand windows, behind one row of bikes. To the right was the clothing and accessories merchandise, including a section for women which I perused with interest.

The other surprise that greeted me as I made my way toward the clothing was the big popcorn cart with hot buttered popcorn for shoppers. I had not expected the smell of popcorn, let me tell ya! The staff at this store must have either been trained to not approach customers or they took one look at this 50-something, graying woman and new there’d be no sale. Either way, I wandered around drinking in the layout and the ambiance until I had what I needed for my story and characters.

Then I went home and the next day tweaked my scene to reflect the reality but also added in a few imaginative touches to distinguish the fictional bike store from the real one I visited. I want my readers to experience the story setting as close to the real life situation as I possibly can. Here’s what I ended up with, as a sneak peek at the story:

The aroma of popcorn and motorcycles greeted Beth as she stepped into the store. She inhaled deeply, drawing the intoxicating mix inside. Beth scanned the large, bright expanse of merchandise. She detected the pungent aroma of tanned leather which triggered images of adventure and daring. Western saddles used by the rodeo riders when the annual rodeo came to town. English saddles used by the huntsmen chasing after a fox over rolling hills and fences surrounding Roseville. Vests worn by men on motorcycles, like Mitch, as they roared down mountain roads.

 

One day, very soon, she’d be riding with Mitch on his bike. Her heart soared with eagerness to experience the wind in her hair and the rumble of the motor between her legs. Her hands on Mitch’s waist as they navigated the back roads and highway. Warmth flooded her cheeks, making her breath catch as she forced herself to focus on the store’s layout and not her wayward thoughts.

 

Roxie stopped beside her to get her bearings. Round racks of blouses and tops stood shoulder to shoulder with low tables of pants across the right half of the store, women’s to the back, men’s up front. She spotted wall racks filled with an amazing variety of jackets and helmets. A section in the middle displayed belts and gloves and other small items.

 

“This should be interesting.” Roxie let out a long breath and shook her head. “Never thought I’d be helping you become a biker chick.”

 

“Two weeks ago I’d have to agree with you. But I do think it’s fun.” Beth chuckled as she moved slowly toward the tops. “I’m thinking a tank top or something similar, to give me freedom of movement should the need arise.”

 

Roxie stopped her with a hand on her forearm. “I thought you said not to worry? That you’re just playacting to be a biker chick.”

 

Beth laid her hand on top of her sister’s and gave it a squeeze. “I’ll be fine.”

I hope you enjoy Veiled Visions of Love. Beth and Mitch’s story was a challenge to tell but so much fun, too. 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.

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

Veiled_Visions_of_Love_600x900Psychic 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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