Peep Rep: Oh Ghosts. We love ghosts.
Liza: Settle down Peep Rep. We don't know anything about these ghosts yet.
Peep Rep: Let's find out!
Liza: Well, I put you in charge of transportation. How is the book arriving?
Peep Rep: By pickup.
Liza: That will take days!
Peep Rep: Nope, I hired a Leprechaun. Their pickups are magically inclined. Here it is now.
Liza: That's either a giant book or a---
Peep Rep: Tiny Leprechaun truck.
Liza: Welcome Traces. Are you ready for my questions?
Traces: After bumping around and being buffeted by the wind, I’m not sure I even know my own name. But I’m curious. How do actually expect to interview me? It's not like you can read my thoughts or hear my voice.
Peep Rep: Hey, Traces, unless you want to be No Trace can be found, you need to nix the attitude. I'm sorry you had a rough trip, but Liza can hear you, and you are perilously close to becoming kindling rather than getting in a Kindle.
Traces: Oh dear. Am I going to die now and become a ghost book?
Liza: Now look, Traces is trembling. *pets book* It's okay. I'm not mad at you. I'd be a bit annoyed driving in a tiny truck, myself. And I will try to call you by your full name, Traces.
Traces: Well, actually, my full name is Traces, Ghosts of Roseville Book 1.
Liza: Don't push it.
Peep Rep: Yeah, keep it simple. Liza is a terrible typist. Your name would come out like: taceswGhoestw ofRovevilleook1.
Traces: So just use my nickname, Traces, then.
Liza: Great. Let's get this interview going. Tell me a bit about your heroine.
Traces: Meredith Reed is a forty-year-old architect turned demolition expert.
Liza: That's a weird twist in careers. She goes from creating things to blowing them up.
Traces: That's because she’s been desperately searching for the means to bury her grief.
Liza: Why is she grieving?
Traces: She lost her husband, but how and why will be revealed over time. But believe me, she has reason to grieve.
Liza: So tell me about why she's in Tennessee.
Traces: She inherited her family’s historic plantation home, Twin Oaks, in Tennessee from her grandmother.
Liza: That's nice. She can fix it up.
Traces: *Page flutter* That was her grandma’s plan, but no. She decides to start anew by razing the antebellum house and replacing it with a memorial garden.
Liza: Shouldn't this house be registered and protected by the Historical Society?
Traces: The paperwork is in the process, but it hasn't been registered yet.
Liza: Then she's going to destroy a beautiful antebellum mansion as part of her grief therapy? Is there no one in the book that thinks this is a horrible idea?
Traces: Both her family and her grandmother's handsome estate lawyer are outraged.
Liza: Handsome, eh? Tell me more about him.
Traces: James Maximillian “Max” Chandler needs two things to complete his life plan: become a senior partner of his law firm and find his soul mate.
Liza: Realistically speaking, neither of those are easy tasks.
Traces: True, but he's been promised a promotion once his proposed legislation to protect all of the county’s historic properties is approved.
Liza: Only one of them is about to be razed.
Traces: Yes, unless he can bring her to her senses.
Liza: You said he was searching for a soul mate. How's that going?
Traces: Far more challenging. He's never met the right woman in all of his forty-six years.
Liza: Any chance he might like Meredith?
Traces: Well, he thinks her talented and attractive, but she is incredibly aloof. Then there is the whole 'destroy Twin Oaks' thing.
Liza: Yeah, that might sink his chances for partnership.
Traces: It's more than that. He's grown to cherish the mansion.
Liza: So how do you stop her from razing it before sense can be crammed into her head?
Traces: Well, her sister moves in and refuses to leave. You cannot raze a building if people are in it.
Liza: Clever. And how do the two sisters get along?
Traces: You wouldn’t believe! Not only do they argue and fight, but the memories of their childhood spent at Twin Oaks causes even more turmoil between them.
Liza: She might be able to get her evicted. I'm worried for this old house. Please give me some hope.
Traces: 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.
Liza: Ghost to the rescue! I love Ghosts who help get us to the right solution. I can't wait to read it. Speaking of which, may I peek beneath your covers?
Traces: I suppose. Here is the first time the Lady in Blue attempts to reach out to Meredith.
The memory of a childhood dream floated into her mind. The Lady in Blue. Inspired by the belles in that old movie, Gone with the Wind, most likely. But the dream had replayed for her frequently as a child. It always started with a beautiful young woman dressed in a royal-blue hoop skirt, dotted with sequins twinkling with every step. Her blonde hair was pulled up with sausage curls dangling about her petite face. Funny how she could never espy the lady’s eyes, though.
An icy breeze blew through the half-open window, fluttering the lacy sheers. Meredith opened her eyes at the first blast. Griz lifted her head from where she’d laid it on her paws, staring at the window. Meredith stroked the cat, but the feline leaped up, the hair along the ridge of her backbone slowly rising.
“What’s the matter, girl?” Meredith looked at the cat, then the window. She pushed back the sheet and went to the window to close it. The sheers settled into place. “There’s nothing there. It was just the wind.”
Griz growled low in her throat, staring at the window.
Meredith slipped into bed, pulling up both the sheet and the lightweight coverlet. All was quiet except for the slowly fading complaints of her cat. “It’s okay, Griz. Now where was I?”
One, two, three…
Another icy breeze chilled her despite the covers draped across her body. The window remained tightly closed. Her brow tensed into a frown as she sat up and scanned the room. A flash of light drew her attention to the mirror on the triple dresser set against the far wall. She gasped as Griz jumped from the bed and raced from the room. The Lady in Blue appeared in the mirror, standing between the window and where Meredith sat on the bed, the lady’s hands reaching toward her. The lady’s silk skirt rustled when she stepped closer to the bed, sequins glinting.
Fear, sharp and intense, shot through Meredith. She spun around to confront the woman, only to discover she sat alone among her tangled bedclothes, sleep a distant thought.
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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 is a contemporary romantic women’s fiction novel set in a haunted plantation home in Tennessee, scheduled for release on April 28, 2014. 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. She’s the author of several nonfiction books and currently marketing a romantic historical fiction trilogy.
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