Please help me welcome my friend Betty Bolté back to Preternatura. Betty is stopping by today to share the excitement of the release of her book, Traces. Traces was published April 26 by Liquid Silver Books and is the first book in her Ghosts of Roseville series.
Betty Bolté writes both historical and contemporary stories that feature strong, loving women and brave, compassionate men. No matter whether the stories are set in the past or the present, she loves to include a touch of the paranormal. Traces (4/28/2014) is a contemporary romantic women’s fiction novel set in a haunted plantation home in Tennessee. Hometown Heroines: True Stories of Bravery, Daring, and Adventure (2012) is a collection of short historical fiction based on the real-life achievements of 19 American girls in the 19th century, each with a landmark in the United States of America. The first edition won Honorable Mention in the 2003 Writer’s Digest International Self-Published Book Awards and 2000 Writer’s Digest Writing Competition, while the 2012 edition won the 2014 Literary Classics Seal of Approval. She’s the author of several nonfiction books and currently marketing a romantic historical fiction trilogy. You can learn more about Betty by visiting her website. on facebook or by following her on twitter.
ABOUT TRACES: Meredith Reed, a forty-year-old architect turned demolition expert, desperately searches for the means to bury her grief. When she inherits her family’s historic plantation home in Tennessee, she decides to start anew by razing the antebellum house and replacing it with a memorial garden. A plan met with outrage from her family and her grandmother’s estate lawyer. James Maximillian “Max” Chandler needs two things to complete his life plan: become a senior partner and find his soul mate. He’s been promised a promotion once his proposed legislation to protect all of the county’s historic properties is approved. The wife part he finds more challenging, having never met the right woman in all of his forty-six years. If only the talented and attractive Meredith weren’t so aloof toward him and didn’t want to destroy the very property he’s grown to cherish. Meanwhile, Meredith’s estranged sister moves in and refuses to leave. The memories of their childhood spent there causes turmoil between them. And while Meredith struggles to reconcile her past and her future, she learns a lesson from the spectral Lady in Blue that may save both her family and the family home from destruction.
And now, let’s hear from Betty…
Rocking Family History
Sitting in my family room is a blue gooseneck platform rocking chair that is older than I am. In fact, my dad bought the chair for my mom when she was pregnant with me. Originally, the upholstery featured a pattern (flowers or country scene, I think) but decades later my mom had it recovered in a blue velour fabric. Why is it called a gooseneck rocker? If you look closely at the photo, you’ll notice that the wooden handles of the armrest are carved to look like a goose bent to touch its bill to its throat. Here’s some background on their history.
As you can imagine, this chair holds many, many memories for me. It’s always been part of my life. My dad used to nap in this chair, legs outstretched, hands folded on his stomach as he snored in the afternoon. He and I loved to pull pranks on each other. While he napped, I’d untie his shoes and tie them together, giggling the entire time. When he awoke, he’d always act surprised and miffed, but of course he anticipated, even expected, the joke.
My mom, too, spent a lot of time in this chair, rocking as she crocheted, or sitting still while she worked on cross-stitching the top of a quilt or a picture as a gift. In fact I have a crewel embroidered picture she did of a train station with train in honor of my grandfather who worked as a railroad engineer. She also used to eat potato chips and sip on a cold beer occasionally while she watched her favorite shows on TV.
As a kid, I was prone to poison ivy, and I can recall clutching the gooses to keep me from scratching the bumps and clusters up and down my calamined arms. I also rocked my children in this chair, read to them, cuddled them when they suffered with a cold. Like mom, I’ve crocheted and snacked in it. After all these decades (5 and counting) it’s still a comfortable place to relax.
In Traces, which just released on 4/28, this type of chair plays a significant role:
Grandma probably hadn’t anticipated that Meredith would choose to seek solace through tearing apart her family home. Grandma didn’t know what Meredith had endured over the past five years, either. What would she have said if she were here? How would she have handled the loss of two dear loved ones in such a tragic way? The horror followed by anger and grief Meredith had endured was beyond her ability to describe to people who had not experienced it, and even more difficult for them to grasp.
Meredith paced through the house until she stopped at the wide doorway to the sewing room. Max had told her Grandma died in her rocker in the sewing room, head back, eyes closed peacefully as though taking an afternoon snooze. Only she’d never awoken from that particular nap. Meredith paused, mentally inventorying the contents of the room. Sunshine filtered through the sheers covering the oversize double-hung windows. A cut-glass bowl of lavender-and-mint potpourri sat on an antique table, a spiderweb glistening between the bowl and the wood surface. Two floral-print gooseneck-handled rocking chairs faced the windows, lace doilies pinned to their headrests. Meredith envisioned her Grandma taking her final nap in the chair farthest from the door. The same chair the woman had occupied every Sunday afternoon of Meredith’s childhood to do her mending for the week, or to add stitches to one of hundreds of gifts in celebration of a new baby or birthday or other milestone event.
Meredith swallowed the emotion threatening to sprout tears. The past was dead, just like Willy. Just like her Grandma. She could not permit herself to relive it. She could only press on with her life as she knew in her heart that Willy would want her to do, and pray for the day she joined all those who’d gone before her forever.
Of course, Meredith has a long life ahead of her before she’ll realize that eventuality. But with the history of this style of chair in America, and my own personal history associated with one, it seemed only fitting to include one or two in my story. Do you also see how I wove my own view of the chair into Meredith’s reality without it being my reality? No lace doilies ever graced my chair, for example. Usually crocheted afghans…
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You can purchase a copy of Traces by clicking on one of the following:
Leave a comment for a chance to win an e-book copy of Traces. I’m so excited that my first ever novel is finally out in the world and already has two 5-star reviews on Goodreads to boot. Good luck!
Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts and opinions!
Thanks, Betty. Congrats on the release of Traces and I’m very much looking forward to reading it. As Betty said, if you want to be entered for a chance to win an e-book copy of Traces, leave a comment!