Traci Hall

About Traci Hall

With an impressive bibliography in an array of genres, USA Today bestselling author Traci Hall has garnered a notable fan base. She pens stories guaranteed to touch the heart while transporting the reader to another time and place. Her belief in happily ever after shines through, whether it's a romantic glimpse into history or a love affair for today.

Rainy Days

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I love the rain–and since I am in South Florida during storm season, it’s a good thing. Thunder and lightning mean that my furbabies are at my feet while I type. When not totally freaking out, they are napping. Snoring. Which makes me want to curl up with a book and a blanket. Sometimes rainy days are super productive. The sound of the rain works like a soundtrack to block out the world.

Today, I just can’t concentrate–what plot line? What word count? Forget the edits–I want to watch a movie. In fact, my horoscope today said to examine what work is important, and why I am working…maybe a big bowl of popcorn is in my immediate future and the epic Gone With the Wind.

What would you do, given the choice? Force a few more half-hearted pages, or shut down the computer…

Tomorrow is another day!

Traci

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Reading, reading, reading

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I was a reader way before I was a writer–but not by much. My mom saved my first illustrated story about the fictional character Tracie (instead of Traci) and her pet ant named Blip. I think I was six…it wasn’t a blockbuster but it had a beginning, a middle and an end. My ant looked like a baked potato–which is why I never pursued art.

In Stephen King’s On Writing, he is adamant that in order to be a good writer, you need to read. I think that because I write, and edit, I’d lost track of reading for enjoyment–audible really helps with a different way to get that story in! But for 2017 I made a promise that I would read again. Actual print books mixed with what I’ve got on my Kindle.

I forgot how much I love devouring a story. Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl and Sharper Objects–wow. The gorgeous sentence structure, the characterization and, oh yeah, subject matter, all are on point. I’ve read The Road, Cormac McCarthy, an awesome tale of dark hope. I’ve started Elizabeth Chadwick, The Greatest Knight, oh, and I’ve read Magdalen Girls by V.S. Alexander, a timely historical about the Catholic Church and the girls in the laundry–this book takes place in 1960 ish, and is climbing the charts.

What I thought might be a tough thing to follow through on has been a rediscovery and a delight. What books are you reading? Is that how you “escape” after a hard day?

Happy Tuesday, readers,

Traci

www.tracihall.com –read by the sea

 

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The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

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How many of you are theme park enthusiasts? Despite living in South Florida, it wasn’t until last year that I bought a season resident pass. This is a significant savings if you plan on going more than once, or to multiple parks. The year runs 12 months from the point of purchase rather than January to January. We chose Universal instead of Disney because of Harry Potter 🙂

The books are amazing, the movies are fabulous but the theme park takes it all to another level and makes it real. I am not big on rides and roller coasters are definitely out but the interactive wands and people watching are worth every (expensive) penny. The fire breathing dragon over Gringotts bank/ride expels flame every ten minutes.

We ate cottage pie and drank wizard brew at The Leaky Cauldron, where the wooden timbers of the tavern were all slightly askew. The wooden chandelier slowly rotated above the long dining hall tables. Of course there was butter beer (best frozen, in my opinion) and fish pie (that I didn’t eat but friends said was good) and toad in a hole. You could buy everything in Diagon Alley from wizard robes to wands to chocolate frogs. It was my third time this year and the magic remains–it is just as fun watching other people’s jaws drop with amazement as they pass behind the brick wall into another world as it was feeling that first-time joy. Well done, JK and Universal!

https://www.universalorlando.com/Theme…/Wizarding-World-Of-Harry-Potter.aspx

So–are you a theme park person? Disney, or Universal? Roller coasters, or simulation rides?

Share your stories in the comment section!!

Traci

Home

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Got Cork?

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I am a wine drinker—this comes as no surprise to anybody who knows me, lol. Well, I’ve been saving corks for the past year and I’ve decided to get crafty with them for Christmas gifts. (It should also come as no surprise that my friends and family are mostly wine drinkers, haha) I wanted to do a trivet, so I watched a few videos online. Wine corks-check. Glue-check. Sharp knife-check. Painting and framing are optional.

I ordered more wine corks just in case I didn’t have enough. Oriental Trading had a bag of fifty for 7.99, and right now they have free shipping for the holiday. Michael’s and Joanne’s were both expensive—12.99 for 30 at Michael’s, and 9.99 for 12 at Joanne’s. They have kits you can buy online that come with the wooden frame and corks if you don’t want to try it all yourself.

I discovered a few ways to do the trivets from creating your own wooden frame (make sure to keep it shallow enough that the cork is higher so the wood won’t burn) to repurposing an old picture frame, to ceramic tiles with felt or cork bottoms.

You can keep the wine corks whole, or slice them lengthwise, or dice them ten slices each and sew them with embroidery thread—this option allows you to do different shapes, and maybe even coasters. I don’t know that I want to get THAT crafty <g> I am excited to go through my picture frames…

cork-trivet-kit

So, are you doing handcrafted gifts this year? Share your ideas!

Happy Holidays!

Traci

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Russian Holiday

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Hi! We at the Author’s Billboard are blogging this month about some of the different food we make around the Christmas Holiday. When I think back to when I was little, I remember going to Greek Orthodox church with my grandmother, who was from Belarus. The gold and incense, the foreign language, the elaborate robes of the priests made church seem magical. Then we’d go back to her house and she would prepare a feast. There would be caviar (that I never did come to love), rye bread with butter, beet vinaigrette, perishky, lamb and roasted chicken, and these twists of fried dough that were covered in cinnamon and powdered sugar. Lots of laughter and music.

beet-salad

In Blue Christmas by the Sea, Tamsyn makes my grandmother’s baked pork chops with apple and potatoes. She would lightly bread them and pan fry them before putting them in a cast iron pot, and baking them for an hour in the oven with potatoes, onions and apples. That is still my all-time favorite recipe and it always reminds me of grandma and holidays.

pork-chops

Have a wonderful Sunday!  Traci

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Love Christmas Blog #5 – Blue Christmas by Traci Hall #mgtab

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blue-christmas-by-the-sea

Welcome to the Author’s Billboard blog, where this October we are celebrating Christmas—I know, I know, it isn’t even Thanksgiving yet but there is something so wonderful about the holidays that readers love these heartwarming stories no matter what time of year!

I know this because we had a contest back in April where readers got to pick their favorite Christmas carol or holiday song—I was fortunate enough to be paired with Linda Herald, who chose Blue Christmas. Did I mention that I am a HUGE Elvis fan?

I write a contemporary romance series, By the Sea, which takes place in a seaside town. The books are only connected by place, which makes it feel like a place you know and get to visit with each new release. Well, in Blue Christmas by the Sea, we meet Tamsyn, who waitresses at a local restaurant, and Evan, who had the misfortune of having his first book be successful. He’s been chasing his missing muse ever since…and finds Tamsyn instead. Determined to recreate the magic that went into his debut mystery novel, Evan leaves New York before the holiday and goes back to the same bar/grill that he wrote the masterpiece in—his career is on the line. Christmas is normally Tamsyn’s favorite season—family, food, and friends—but this year, her parents have decided to get a divorce after forty years and so she’s boycotting the holidays. She and Evan are unlikely friends. Will they accept the holiday magic of true love?

Find out in Blue Christmas by the Sea! It will be available first in Love, Christmas—a holiday collection of original romances.

 

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love-christmas

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Fill the Well

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Writing requires emotion—feelings are expressed: love, drama, hate, fear, sadness, joy etc. Once conveyed in the story, these emotions compel the reader to turn the page. We want the reader to laugh with our protagonists, cry during the sad parts and feel satisfied when the last page is read. Emotion can’t be skimped on.

So, when the last page is written, then edited and finally polished, I usually feel triumphant for a minute or two, and then wrung out.

wrung out

The source of all that emotion has got to be replenished through love, laughter and even tears. Romantic comedies are a good go-to for immediate relaxation.

I have always been drawn to the water for solace, despite being an air sign. The ocean is what recharges my batteries, fills the empty emotional well, brings peace and balance.

The sound of the waves is soothing, the rocking motion of the water energizing, and the expanse of blue, blue sea lets me know that I am part of something bigger.

I can be very social, but after writing a story, my mind requires solitude. The people I’ve written about are real for me, and we’ve just completed an emotional journey together. My favorite thing to do is walk the beach—it’s an exchange of energy, releasing the story so that I begin again.

well-w-bucket

It’s not just writers that need to take care of their emotional health. Caretakers, nurses, doctors, teachers, parents—anybody who expends emotion in a way that might be out of balance should be aware of finding a way to get back on track. Some folks exercise, some people hike, some people prefer the mountains, or need to be with others. There is no right way or wrong way—how do YOU fill the well?

XOXO

Traci

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Weddings Gone Wrong!

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Summer is all about the wedding. But what happens when weddings go wrong?wedding bellsI recently completed a story about two people who love each other dearly. Forever by the Sea is about Sinead and Christian…they’ve known they were soulmates since kindergarten. So, what to do with a couple like that in a romance?

The usual formula is to keep the protagonists from achieving the one thing they want most, which in this case is to be married in front of friends and family and share their special day with all of the bells and whistles!

This book was like writing backward. It was really fun, and yet I found myself on the verge of tears a lot as I brought these two to their goal, and then introduced an obstacle. I mean, this couple genuinely loves one another! And yet, they can’t get what they both want.

 

weddings gone wrong

http://www.ranker.com/list/funny-wedding-photos/ashley-reign

I adore weddings—the sharing of love and family as two people exchange vows, but whenever you get a group of folks together, life happens.

Research for this book required hours of fun video watching –I’ve included a link to a sample, but I warn you, it is difficult to pull away. https://www.wattpad.com/5599016-funny-videos-top-5-weddings-and-wedding-proposals

I’d love to hear your comments on any weddings you know of that have gone, well, sideways. I might contact you about using it in a future book!

Traci

www.tracihall.com

I’ve included a link to Always a Bridesmaid, an Amazon Short that takes a look at love from the perpetual bridesmaid point of view. Enjoy!

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00XK0YGDE

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