Monday, October 28, 2019

If You’re Fascinated With the Salem Witch Trials...

We all read Hawthorne's stories and books THE SCARLET LETTER and THE HOUSE OF THE SEVEN GABLES in school, but did you learn what made the handsome brooding genius tick, and what haunted him?
I’ve always been fascinated with Hawthorne’s dark stories, but never knew he wrote out of his own fears and demons until I began researching my story about him and his wife Sophia. This was a true love story.


Salem, Massachusetts witnessed horrific and shameful events in 1692 that haunted the town for three centuries. Accused as witches, nineteen innocent people were hanged and one was pressed to death. Judge John Hathorne and Reverend Nicholas Noyes handed down the sentences. One victim, Sarah Good, cursed Noyes from the hanging tree: “If you take away my life, God will give you blood to drink!” She then set her eyes on Judge Hathorne. “I curse you and your acknowledged heirs for all time on this wicked earth!” Hathorne was not only Sarah Good’s merciless judge; he also fathered her son Peter and refused to acknowledge him.

In 1717, Nicholas Noyes choked on his own blood and died. Every generation after the judge continued to lose Hathorne land and money, prompting the rumor of a family curse. By the time his great great grandson Nathaniel was born, they faced poverty.

Ashamed of his ancestor, Nathaniel added the ‘w’ to his last name. His novels and stories explore his beliefs and fears of sin and evil, and he based many of his characters on overbearing Puritan rulers such as Judge Hathorne.

When Nathaniel first met Sophia Peabody, they experienced instantaneous mutual attraction. Sparks flew. He rose upon my eyes and soul a king among men by divine right, she wrote in her journal.

But to Sophia’s frustration, Nathaniel insisted they keep their romance secret for three years. He had his reasons, none of which made sense to Sophia. But knowing that he believed Sarah Good’s curse inflicted so much tragedy on his family over the centuries, she made it her mission to save him. Sarah was an ancestor of Sophia’s, making her and Nathaniel distant cousins—but she kept that to herself for the time being.
Sophia suffered severe headaches as a result of childhood mercury treatments. She underwent routine mesmerizing sessions, a popular cure for many ailments. Spirits sometimes came to her when mesmerized, and as a spiritualist and medium, she was able to contact and communicate with spirits. She knew if she could reach Sarah and persuade her to forgive Judge Hathorne, Nathaniel would be free of his lifelong burden.

Sarah Good’s son Peter had kept a journal the family passed down to the Peabodys. Sophia sensed his presence every time she turned the brittle pages and read his words. John Hathorne’s legitimate son John also kept a journal, now in the Hawthorne family’s possession. Living on opposite sides of Salem in 1692, Peter and John wrote in vivid detail about how the Salem trials tormented them throughout their lives.

Nathaniel finally agreed to announce their engagement, and married Sophia on July 9, 1842. They moved into their first home, The Old Manse in Concord, Massachusetts. Wanting nothing else but to spend the summer enjoying each other, we became Adam and Eve, alone in our Garden of Eden, Sophia wrote in her journal.

As success eluded Nathaniel, they lived on the verge of poverty. After being dismissed from his day job at the Salem Custom House, he wrote The Scarlet Letter, which finally gained him the recognition he deserved. But the curse he believed Sarah cast on his family still haunted him. In the book he asks for the curse to be lifted.

                      The House of the Seven  Gables, Salem, MA, built in 1668
                                                            Photo by Me

Sophia urged Nathaniel to write a novel about the house, knowing it would be cathartic for him. While they lived in Lenox, Nathaniel finished writing The House of the Seven Gables. The Gothic novel explored all his fears and trepidations about the curse. He told Sophia, “Writing it, and especially reading it aloud to you lifted a tremendous burden off my shoulders. I felt it physically leave me. I carried this inside me since my youth and couldn’t bring it out to face it. And I have you, and only you, to thank.”

But he did not believe the curse could be lifted.

Sophia invited renowned spiritualist John Spear to The Gables. She explained that she needed to complete one final step to convince Nathaniel the curse was lifted.

Purchase For The Love Of Hawthorne on Amazon

Monday, October 14, 2019

Meet Award-Winning Historical Novelist Anne Easter Smith & Read About Her New Ricardian Title THIS SON OF YORK

About Anne

My friend and award-winning historical novelist Anne Easter Smith is a native of England, who spent part of her childhood in Egypt. Educated at an English boarding school, she arrived “for a two-year lark” in Manhattan as an executive secretary from Swinging ‘60s London—and never went back there to live. Somehow she wound up as the Features/Arts Editor at a daily newspaper in northern NYS, and went on to publish articles in several national magazines, which gave her the confidence to embark on her first best-selling novel, A Rose for the Crown. Anne’s muse is the recently re-interred King Richard III, whose life and times she has studied for fifty years, which led to a five-book contract about the York family during the Wars of the Roses with Simon & Schuster’s Touchstone Books. The King’s Grace won the Romantic Times Best Historical Biography award in 2009, and Queen By Right was nominated in the same category in 2011. Her latest book of the series is This Son of York, which finally sees Richard as protagonist. Known for her period detail, she has been a regular panelist at the Historical Novel Society Conferences and has taught workshops on researching for historical fiction at the San Miguel de Allende Writers Conference. Anne and her second husband, Scott, live in Newburyport, MA, where Anne is very involved in her other passion—theater.

A Note From Anne

I am delighted Diana has invited me to tell her loyal readers about my new book This Son of York. Diana doesn’t really need to read it as she is as loyal a Richard III fan as I am! But I am grateful to tell you all about my passion! After five books about Richard’s family, This Son of York is the last in the series about the Yorks in the Wars of the Roses, and Richard is finally my protagonist.

“Write what you know” was often advised when I plunged into the murky waters of literary endeavor and found myself floundering about in that terrifying first foray. So I did. 

What I “knew” centered on a king who died 528 years ago on a boggy battlefield outside of Leicester, smack in the middle of England. A history nut from adolescence, I came upon a book in my early twenties by English mystery writer Josephine Tey called Daughter of Time that repudiated everything I had learned at school about one of our “Bad” kings, Richard III. When I had turned the last page, I became a Ricardian fanatic. This Son of York is my homage to Richard and the book I should have written first but was too chicken to get into a man’s head! 

What they didn’t tell me about writing was that, along with your knowledge of a subject, a strong dose of passion would lift your book above the ordinary. I learned this when an editor recognized it in my first novel, A Rose for the Crown. She told me my passion for righting the wrong done to Richard shone through every page. But that was my protagonist Kate Haute’s perspective on him as his mistress, not Richard’s. This Son of York finally puts Richard front and center. 

As well as gaining the writing chops to tackle a man’s perspective, I became inspired to give Richard his due when they discovered his grave under a car park in Leicester in 2012. I was so moved when I stood on that grave (now enshrined in strong plexiglass, I hasten to add!) and a hologram faded in and out showing the position of the skeleton. After all the information gathered from studying those bones, I realized we now need a new look at Richard for the 21st century. And I was the one to tell the story. 


Concluding her best-selling Wars of the Roses series, Anne has made Richard III her protagonist in her latest book This Son of York. The much maligned Richard is brought into new focus following the discovery of his bones under a car park in Leicester in 2013. 

As the fourth son of the duke of York, Richard of Gloucester could not have hoped for much more than the life of a wealthy, but insignificant nobleman. Instead fate took him down a drama-filled, unexpected path to the throne. As York challenged Lancaster for the crown, early tragedies and betrayals, including by his faithless brother George, led the young Richard to count on none but himself. Imbued with the traits of loyalty and duty to family and country, he proved them time and again especially when he reluctantly came to wear the crown. Buoyed by the love of two women, he stayed true to one while cherishing the other, both helping him bear the burden of his scoliosis.

A warrior of renown, a loyal brother, loving husband and father, a king mindful of injustice yet beset by betrayal, and a man convinced his God has forsaken him by burdening him with crippling scoliosis, This Son of York has a compelling tale to tell. With her meticulous attention to detail—and the truth—Easter Smith’s compelling storytelling paints a very different picture of the king Shakespeare reviled as “…thou elvish-marked, abortive, rooting hog.”


The night before a battle affected men in various ways. Some spent it drinking and carousing with the camp followers; some spent it hiding in the woods and nervously emptying their bowels; others passed the time playing dice; others in prayer; and still more, like Richard, in contemplating the insignificance of their earthly lives. “No matter what the priests tell you about each of us being important to God,” Richard had once said to his wife, “How can one life mean any more than another among so many throughout the history of mankind? As an anointed king, I must be more important than the beggar in the street, but in truth, I know I am not. When we die and molder in our graves, who will remember us then, one any more than another?”

“God will,” Anne had said simply, “you must believe He will. And because you are a king, your grave will be marked by a fine tomb announcing to the world who you were.” She had laughed then. “If I am lucky, I will lie with you and be remembered, too.” Dearest Anne, he thought guiltily as he lay on his elaborate camp bed, I must see to it that you are remembered.

The night was warm, and his tent was open to any welcome breeze that might waft by. In the past on the eve of battle, Richard had recited his prayers, had a cup of wine with fellow commanders, and slept well. Tonight, he knew, was different. Tomorrow he must fight for his crown as well as his life. He could not quite believe it had come down to this moment. He had acted honorably all his days, he thought, done his duty to his family, England and, lately reluctantly, to God. 

A remark of the earl of Warwick’s occurred to him: “Scheming is a virtue if kings are to survive.” Is that what I have done—schemed? Nay, it is not, he reassured himself, it is not. The other part of his mentor’s homily had warned: “To be a great leader, you must learn the skills to be flexible in wooing allies to your side.” It was a skill that had come easily to Edward, but Richard’s reticence to trust had not charmed those he should have sought as allies. Was that where he had gone wrong? Instead of winning with words, friendship, and diplomacy, he had tried to buy men’s trust with land and offices. How many of his men understood him, he wondered.

Richard gave up examining his flaws, failures, and missteps, knowing he must concentrate on the morrow. He tried to close his eyes to the pricks of light from the hundreds of campfires and his ears to the drunken shouts, laughter and singing of the soldiers, the stamping and snickering of a thousand horses, and the clinking of the armorers and smiths making last-minute adjustments or repairs to harnesses. Everyone faced death in his own way, and Richard had no illusions that this might not be his time. He had a fifty-fifty chance, he decided, because in the end it would come down to him or Henry. Only one of them would wear the crown after battle, because the other would be dead—either in the field or later by the axe. I would rather die a king on the battlefield than as a traitor on the scaffold. Traitor is what Henry Tudor would deem him, Richard thought. Neither fate appealed, he mused grimly.

Part of him wished the two of them could fight it out alone and let all others return to their homes. He had no doubt he would run the Tudor through. Richard had trained hard since boyhood and fought in many battles to become the experienced soldier he was now; Henry of Richmond, wrongly claiming the crown, would be seeing battle for the first time, and, as Richard had heard, had not enjoyed the rigors of knightly training while languishing at Brittany’s court. Another part of him relished the thought of a glorious military victory and of extinguishing Lancastrian hopes forever.

He was suddenly jolted back to the other time he and Edward believed Lancaster had been vanquished, and, as was their wont, his thoughts returned to King Henry and his untimely demise. Lancastrian Henry VI, son of the great victor of Agincourt and Edward’s predecessor, had played a part in Richard’s life since he’d been in swaddling bands, Richard recalled. He sat up, pushing black thoughts back into hell, and reached for his book of hours—the very one given him as a gift by Henry when Richard was but a lad. How I wish I had listened to your advice, your grace, and never agreed to wear a crown. He groaned. Sweet Jesu, how has it come to this, he asked himself yet again. 

Paging idly through the prayer book, the gold and silver of the illuminations glinting in the candlelight, he indulged in pondering his life and began to wish he could return to the days when the worst of his troubles was being called the runt of York’s litter. It all seemed so long ago…

Purchase THIS SON OF YORK on Amazon (will be released November 10)

Connect with Anne

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

My Halloween Story and Favorite Halloween Recipe

My Halloween Story and Favorite Halloween Recipe

Old Schoolhouse, York Village, Maine--With Its Many Orbs
I do paranormal investigations with a group near where I live, and I attended my very first ghost hunt with them a few nights before Halloween. About ten of us visited Old Dunstable Cemetery where some victims of a 1702 Indian massacre are buried. It’s the oldest cemetery in Nashua, dating back from when the land was part of Massachusetts. The earliest burial dates from 1687. Researchers had found the victims’ names, so we were able to locate their gravestones. The only equipment I had at the time were my dowsing rods and a digital camera. While others in the group made their attempts to contact spirits, I stood before a gravestone that read: this Man, with Seven more, that lies in this Grave; was Slew, All in A day, by the Indiens.
Holding my rods, I asked a few questions: Did you die in the massacre? Were you born here? You can only ask simple yes or no questions and ask the rods to cross for yes and separate for no. I got answers to all my questions. I then stood before another stone reading: Rev. Thomas Weld, Born June 1653, Settled as the first minister of the church in Dunstable Dec. 1685, probably massacred by the Indians while defending the settlement June 7, 1702, age 49. All the while, I felt a strong presence, and immediately began feeling dizzy and lightheaded. I found that this happens quite frequently when I ghost hunt. I’ve never seen a ghost, but have felt presences near me, and always get dizzy when I sense someone is nearby. I took several photos throughout the cemetery, and some came out with brightly colored arcs among the tombstones. I didn’t dare visit that graveyard on Halloween night!

York Village, Maine, Graveyard at Dusk--See the Orb to the Right?


3/4 cup low fat cottage cheese
2/3 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
1 tbsp. white whole wheat flour
2 tbsp. honey
1/4 tsp. salt
4 egg whites
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1/2 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice, no sugar added


Place everything in your blender and blend until smooth. Pour into a greased or parchment lined cake pan or a mini scone pan.

Bake at 350 F for 50 minutes.

Optional : When cooled, top with whipped cream 


1 serving = 1/8 of the entire cake

Carbs: 13 gm

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

My New York Saga is Now on Audio--Quotes, Songs from Those Days, and the Dream Cast

My New York Saga is now on audio with the expressive voice of Nina Price.
Here are poignant quotes, songs of the day, and the dream cast:


The Band Played On – Dan Quinn
The Sidewalks of New York – Dan Quinn
The Liberty Bell – U.S. Marine Band
My Pearl is a Bowery Girl – Dan Quinn
My Best Girl’s a New Yorker – Edward M. Favor

Toiling over the mind-numbing work, Vita conjured up her favorite daydream: an elegant brownstone with lacy iron gates, bay windows, polished floors, marble fireplaces. No trash flung down air shafts, no shared toilets, no backyard privies...above Fourteenth Street.

Vita went to mass before breakfast. She sat way in back and didn’t pay much mind to the priest chanting away in Latin. This was her private time for praying and remembering her mother. She looked up in the familiar far corner. The image of an angel with dreamy blue eyes looked down at her. As she pretended that angel was Mama, a protecting comfort always warmed her.

“My cousin Mike was found shot to death next to this building. Your father and brother were arrested for his murder. I’m sorry, Vita. I’m so sorry.” Tom approached her with caution, longing to hold her, to cradle her in his arms. 
* *
 Dream Cast:
Vita Caputo – Rachel Weisz
Tom McGlory – Christian Bale
Rosalia Caputo – Marissa Tomei
Jadwiga Wisen – Debra Messing

Purchase FROM HERE TO FOURTEENTH STREET in paperback, Kindle or Audio (free with your Amazon Audible trial)


Just a Gigolo – Ted Lewis and His Orchestra
Minnie the Moocher – Cab Calloway and His Cotton Club Orchestra
Mood Indigo – Duke Ellington
Stardust – Isham Jones
I Got Rhythm – Red Nichols

Billy clasped Pru’s hand, dropped to one knee, and cleared his throat for the most important recital of his life. “You’re the essence of my being. I want to spend the rest of my life with you, and even after that. Now you’re carrying my child, and I want us to be a real family. Pru, will you marry me?”

“What did you name her?” Billy couldn’t stop staring. This breathing,
living child nestled in Pru’s arms was his flesh and blood. And he thought his songs were a divine creation!
“Nothing yet.” She looked up at him and smiled. “I thought I’d leave that to you.”
“Jumpin’ Jehoshaphat, I can’t even think straight.” He slapped the side of his head. “I might wind up calling her Zeppo or something. You better name her.”
“I have to go, Billy. It’s my time…”
“No, Pru. Don’t talk like that.” My heart started hammering. I removed my sweaty palms from her arm. “Please. I love you, Pru. You’re my whole life.” I struggled to keep my voice even as I sobbed. “Don’t leave me!” That was an order—the only one I’d ever given her. I turned my head so she couldn’t see me bawling and swiping at my tears.
* *

Dream Cast:
Billy McGlory – Leonardo DiCaprio
Pru Muller McGlory – Gwyneth Paltrow
Greta Schliessmeyer – Scarlett Johansen
Rosario Ingovito – Joe Pesci


Ring of Fire – Johnny Cash
From Me to You – The Beatles
You’re the Devil in Disguise – Elvis Presley
Louie Louie – The Kingsmen
Walk Like a Man – The Four Seasons


“Vikki, it’s Linc Benjamin.” His ragged voice came over the line. “I have terrible news. Jack is dead.”
“What?” She couldn’t have heard right. “What did you say?”
“Jack was found in the bathtub of his hotel room this morning—”
She dropped the phone and slid down against the wall. Her glasses fell off her face. The room spun. Sunlight glared. She smelled the new coat of wax on the kitchen floor.

Vikki read over her father’s transcript, Jack’s voice echoing through her mind. “I’ll find you, you bastard, whoever you are,” she said reverently, like a vow. “If I have to die doing it.”

Al lowered his lips to Vikki’s, and everything converged into a blur. Her arms wound around him. She wept, for her loss, for fear of the future, of the unknown, of this man whose mouth claimed hers. This time she didn’t ask Jack to forgive her. She hoped he was tripping the light fantastic with Marilyn Monroe right now.

Dream Cast:

Vikki McGlory Ward – Christina Applegate
Billy McGlory – Harrison Ford
Aldobrandi Po – Vincent Irizarry
Rosario Ingovito – Edward G. Robinson
Greta Schliessmeyer McGlory – Michelle Pfeiffer 

 * * *

An Interview About Me & Audio Books

Tell us about the process of turning your book into an audiobook. 
My publisher, The Wild Rose Press, auditioned some narrators and sent me samples. When Nina finished narrating it, Wild Rose released it and put it on sale with retailers.

Do you believe certain types of writing translate better into audiobook format? 
Adventure and suspense translate well, as long as the narrator has an animated voice. My books, with characters who have different actors, came out really well, because Nina does great accents and different voice inflections.

Was a possible audiobook recording something you were conscious of while writing? 
No, I never thought of it at the time.
How did you select your narrator? 
When I heard Nina’s sample, I knew she was the best narrator for my books.
How closely did you work with your narrator before and during the recording process? Did you give them any pronunciation tips or special insight into the characters? 
We spoke on the phone a few times, and discussed the characters and their backgrounds. When she had a question about the pronunciation of a word, I either spelled it out phonetically or sent her a video of someone saying the word or phrase.

Were there any real life inspirations behind your writing? 
Yes, FROM HERE TO FOURTEENTH STREET’s heroine Vita is based on my great-grandmother, a businesswoman, wife and mother. She was way ahead of her time. I always have historical events as backdrops for my books. BOOTLEG BROADWAY is set during Prohibition, and THE END OF CAMELOT is centered around the John F. Kennedy assassination.

How do you manage to avoid burn-out? What do you do to maintain your enthusiasm for writing?
I pace myself, I write 2500 words a day and sometimes more if I’m on a roll. My enthusiasm never wanes, because I’m a huge history buff, I love doing the research, and my passion for it comes out in my stories.
Are you an audiobook listener? What about the audiobook format appeals to you? 
I listen to audiobooks on long car trips. It’s convenient to listen to books while doing something else, driving, as a passenger in a car, doing chores, etc.

Is there a particular part of this story that you feel is more resonating in the audiobook performance than in the book format? 
The dialogue is very animated and authentic throughout all three books. Nina does great New York and ‘wiseguy’ accents.

If you had the power to time travel, would you use it? If yes, when and where would you go? 
I’ve always wanted to spend a week in ancient Rome, Greece, or Pompeii.
What do you say to those who view listening to audiobooks as “cheating” or as inferior to “real reading”? 
It’s as much cheating or inferior to ‘real reading’ as watching a TV show or a play instead of reading the script.
How did you celebrate after finishing this novel? 
I always celebrate by recharging my batteries—usually by reading my favorite genres, biographies, mysteries, and paranormal novels.

What gets you out of a writing slump? What about a reading slump? 
I’ve never been a slump; I make sure I reach my 2500-word goal every day, even if it’s not my best output. I can always go back and rewrite.
In your opinion, what are the pros and cons of writing a stand-alone novel vs. writing a series? 
A series allows the reader to get to know the characters and become familiar with them. Stand-alones don’t have that advantage.
Have any of your characters ever appeared in your dreams? 
Yes, but they’re historical figures—Richard III and Henry VIII.
What bits of advice would you give to aspiring authors? 
Keep writing. Keep practicing. Most of all, don’t ever give up on your dream. Just having a dream makes you very special. If you get impatient because it’s taking so long, just ask yourself this: Why does 16-year Scotch take 16 years? Some things are worth waiting for.
Do you have any tips for authors going through the process of turning their books into audiobooks? 
Ask your publisher if they do audio books, and if not, remind them that audio books are booming!

Thursday, August 8, 2019

My Italian Vampire Romance A BLOODY GOOD CRUISE is on Tour This Week!

A BLOODY GOOD CRUISE is touring with Audio Bookworm Promotions this week--every day, different bloggers feature an interview with the sexy-voiced narrator Anthony Lee, the 'dream cast' if it was made into a movie, fun facts about the story, how I got the idea, and audio excerpts.

What's it about?

When romance writer Mona Rossi's book sales are slipping, she needs new ideas and fast! Her vampire love, Fausto Silvius is a doctor aboard the Romanza, a luxury cruise ship. Holding a "Motion on the Ocean" writer's cruise sounds like a great idea. What better way to combine a career boost with romance?  

But they soon discover hunters on board who give chase to Fausto and his fellow vampires. While he longs to bring Mona into his world, how can he convince her to join him with fringe lunatics on the hunt? In the prime of her life she's not sticking her neck out for a shot at eternity.

Friday, July 26, 2019

Meet Maxine Douglas and Read About Elizabeth, Widows of Blessings Valley, Book 1 of American Western Historical Romance Series

About Maxine

Maxine writes in many genres and has found a love for the western historical romance. A Wisconsin native, Maxine resides in Chickasha. While Maxine may miss her family and friends in the north, she loves the mild winters Oklahoma has to offer. She has four grown children, two granddaughters, and a German Shorthair Pointer. And many friends she now considers her OK family.

Maxine’s western along the Chisholm Trail, The Marshal’s Bride, was a 2017 International Digital Award Finalist in the Western Historical-Short category.

Maxine is a current member of Romance Writers of America, Wisconsin Romance Writers of America, Oklahoma Writers Federation, Inc. and its affiliate Oklahoma Romance Writers Guild, Inc.

A Message From Maxine

While it is always a thrill for an author to start a new series, it is with heavy heart that I am compelled to write this one. I became a widow in April 2018 after a brief battle with cancer that took my love from me to be with our Lord. During those agonizing first few months so many questions flitted into my mind, along with the anger, grief, loneliness, and finally acceptance that my beloved was really gone from this realm. It was some of these questions that inspired this series. I hope that it will let other widows, and widowers, know that they are not alone with the crazy questions that come to mind. That as they wonder what is or isn’t appropriate, should they remove their rings, should they start dating, are they still married or now considered single, what is the proper mourning period in our modern times, when will the anger go away, and the list goes on and on. While I don’t expect this series to be the answers to the grieving, I do hope that I have somehow eased that feeling of being alone.

Webster defines grief as “emotional suffering caused by or as if by bereavement” and a widow as a “woman who has lost her husband by death and has not married again.” If these definitions were as simple as they sound.

To the Widows of Blessings Valley, these two words mean so much more. They mean living their lives without the one they gave their hearts and souls to. The one they vowed to love forever. It means crying themselves to sleep at night. It means trying to go on in a new life without knowing how. It means knowing no matter how much they try to heal they never really completely do. No matter how much they think they’ll never love again, they will but differently. 
They say time heals all things. That may be true or may not. All I know is the scab on my heart and soul was slowly peeled off and bled again over the months I wrote this book. But I had to write it regardless of my pain, tears, and sorrow.
 I cannot promise all the books in the series will be the same emotionally. I'm not sure I want to feel the heartache all over and over again. Regardless I will tell their stories...the Widows of Blessings Valley.


A mining accident has killed several miners in Blessings Valley. Some of the widows are struggling through their grief to answer a widow’s question. With Wilhelmina “Willa” Alexander’s guidance, they just might each learn to live again.

Two people scarred by life. She carries the scars on her heart. He carries the scars on his body. Can they find peace, healing, and love together?


Elizabeth paused at the fireplace on her way out of her house and, as she so often did, gazed at their wedding picture.
“Steven, I’m going to place the advertisement. It’s the only thing I can do.” Her eyes misted over. She sucked in a shaky breath. “I will not let them see me cry. I will be strong for both of us.”
Shawl wrapped snuggly around her shoulders, Elizabeth began on a journey she thought she’d never have to take.
“You can do this, Elizabeth. You have to.” She muttered softly, putting one foot in front of the other along the path she knew all too well.
“Hi, Elizabeth!”
Looking up, Elizabeth’s gaze settled on the open church door, and a warm shiver slipped down her spine. Fannie Rochester, who’d lost her husband the same day Elizabeth had lost her Steven, stepped out into the morning sun.
“Hello, Fannie,” Elizabeth called back, biting her tongue when all she wanted to do was lash out at Fannie. How could she find solace in church when God had taken their husbands from them?
“Won’t you come in and sit with me?” Fannie offered, stepping closer.
“Not today, Fannie, thank you.” Elizabeth waved as she continued on her way. She would never forget the pain of losing Steven. Not now. Not ever.
“Maybe I should move into Willa’s boardinghouse, so I don’t have to pass the church ever again,” Elizabeth mumbled. Feeling her heart race, stealing her breath, she paused for a moment. “Go ahead, take me to join Steven, and I will go willingly.” She took deep breaths until her heart returned to its normal cadence then continued on her way.
Elizabeth rounded the corner leading into the heart of Blessings Valley. She loved this little mining community that had become home. The thought of having to leave it broke what was left of her already shattered heart. If she didn’t find work soon, she’d be on the first stage at the end of the month.


Connect with Maxine

Monday, July 22, 2019

Meet Barbara Best, Author and Civil War Reenactor

I met Barbara when I read about her debut time travel novel THE LINCOLN PENNY. A huge Lincoln and Civil War buff, I couldn't resist buying a book with that title. See my Amazon review here.
I thoroughly enjoyed it, and now Barbara is my guest. 

About Barbara

Barbara began her career as a copywriter and artist with over twenty-five years in the fields of Marketing and Graphic Design. Beginning in 2014, she took her love of writing to new heights with her debut novel, "The Lincoln Penny." In the following years and as her loyal readers asked for more, "The Lover's Eye, Book 2" and "The Celtic Key, Book 3" were released in her time travel trilogy. Barbara's novels reveal her genuine passion for history and innate ability to blend authentic detail with imaginative speculation. Living history, firsthand, she is an avid American Civil War reenactor whose need to bring the past to life eventually formed the backdrop for her absorbing and heartwarming tales.


History geek Jane Peterson, a small-town girl with a passion for antiques, has hit the refresh button on her life. She breaks ties with her childhood home and gives up on love to live in Savannah, Georgia, a city she is drawn to like a moth to a flame.

Landing her dream job, Jane makes friends and takes up a new hobby. Participating in a weekend Civil War reenactment with her co-worker, Sophie Downing, a devastating event thrusts her into a raging siege with brutal consequences. The year 2012 suddenly resets to 1862, during the bloodiest conflict in American history.

Jane's ghostly appearance is a bad omen to the doomed Confederate soldiers at Fort Pulaski. In a chilling twist, the charitable heart of a handsome lieutenant and arrogance of a Union general decide her destiny. She must cross hostile enemy lines and seek shelter with strangers. Cradled in the antebellum home of Lieutenant Hopkins’ family, lost and homesick, she struggles with her unbelievable circumstances.

Testing her modern-day experience in a primitive environment, Jane finds the lack of simple hygiene and practices of nineteenth-century medicine appalling. She challenges the attitudes and restraints forced upon her and all women of the period. She puzzles over a mysterious force that is powerful enough to turn her life upside-down.

In a story of good and evil, murder, intrigue, and the supernatural Jane must find a way to survive one hundred fifty years from everything she knows. And there is no escape from the grim truth. Her existence in the past alters the future and puts lives in danger.

Jane Peterson has vanished without a trace! Bryce McKenzie, a hard-driving pre-med student at the University of Georgia in Athens, has been Jane’s best friend since third-grade. They share a unique bond. But when did she capture his heart? Refusing to accept the possibility Jane is dead, Bryce vows never to give up on the woman he loves. With help from Sophie Downing, the only witness to Jane’s freak disappearance, he searches for the key to unlock an impossible mystery.


The hearty male guffaw that follows jerks Jane fully awake. An involuntary “oof” leaves her lips as she props on one sore elbow. She takes a deep breath to draw strength and calls, “Hey, out there.”
Dead silence.
“Hell-lo,” she sings irritably. Rolling to her side away from the wall, Jane pushes up to her knees.
“Am I hearin’ things?” comes Jeb’s rickety whisper.
“Hush!” the other clips, all joking aside. “Not another word, Jeb, ya hear. Watch’is door. I’ll be back.”
Jane feels rocky. Her dress is all over the place, but she manages to stand. Sticky dampness makes her shiver. The chill creeps under her clothes and she hugs herself. “My cape! Good Lord, Sophie’s goin’ to kill me.” Jane searches blindly, using the toe of her boot and not wanting to stray too far. She suppresses the fear of something crawling up her leg.
“Not funny,” she croaks her frustration at the barrier between her and the outside. Her throat is scratchy and her mouth tastes bitter. Not caring to wait, Jane feels for a door handle and finds one. She tugs the outline of a cool iron ring. Leaning, she thrusts forward with her shoulder. Her weight is no match for the heavy obstacle. “Seriously, open up and let me out of here!”
Jane rests her head against the hard wooden surface. Fortunately, it is not long before there is an absurd amount of scrambling on the other side. Among throaty grunts and scuffing sounds, she can hear objects being shoved across the floor to make way.
“Stand ready,” a gravelly voice orders in a thick Irish brogue. “Well, go on. Quit acting the maggot and open it. Careful now, gentlemen.”
The door creaks ajar and swings wide. Dim, dusty light inches along the floor where Jane has instinctively planted her feet to brace herself. For what, she is not sure.
“Step out.”
Jane’s eyes slowly adjust to her predicament. A row of muddy men in shabby garb huddle nervously, looking every bit like a gaze of wide-eyed raccoons. Three, have rifles drawn, the tips of their lethal bayonets pointed in her direction. She cautiously steps into the adjoining room with her hands up and feeling totally ridiculous for doing so.

Coming Soon: Books Two and Three of the Trilogy

The Lover's Eye: A Time Travel Series, Book 2 — A heated clash between modern-day thinking and nineteenth-century ideals emerges as Jane Peterson and Bryce McKenzie struggle to exist in 1863 war-torn America. Follow Jane as she lets go of her past, endures great hardships and makes tough choices that will alter history, including her own, forever. Encounter shocking truths Bryce must face in his harrowing search for Jane and the ominous plot that involves him in an unbelievable event. Discover the dark secrets of a supernatural force that will sweep you back, once again, to the vibrant people of the past and bloody backdrop of the American Civil War.

The Celtic Key: A Time Travel Series, Book 3 — Hop times and span continents in this final journey that unravels an incredible mystery and turns the course of history upside-down. Answering a call to duty, Jane and her Confederate Major are compelled to carry extraordinary facts to a famous General. In the midst of a tumultuous event and raging Civil War, their plans go terribly awry. Hit hard by tragedy, Sophie Downing's escape from an age-old faction plunges her deep into the dangerous ploy of an unknown enemy. She is stunned to learn her real destiny lies in the life of another. Heartbroken and disease-ridden, Bryce McKenzie returns to the future. Because of dramatic revelations and unfathomable change, he becomes convinced of his deep-seated connection to Jane. Are their lives forever entwined? 


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