About Traci Hall

From cozy mysteries to seaside romance, USA Today bestselling author Traci Hall writes stories that captivate her readers. As a hybrid author with over sixty published works, Ms. Hall has a favorite tale for everyone. Mystery lovers, check out her Scottish Shire series, set in the seaside town of Nairn, or the Salem B&B Mystery series, co-written as Traci Wilton. Her latest project is an Irish Castle cozy as Ellie Brannigan. Whether it's her ever-popular By the Sea romances, an Appletree Cove sweet romance, or a fun who-done-it, Traci finds her inspiration in sunny South Florida, living right near the ocean. Traci wants to hear from you! Traci@TraciHall.com

Authors’ Billboard Blog Traci Hall August 2023

Summer Heat

Cause, baby, it is HOT outside. The craziest temperatures are breaking records and not in a good way. It’s dangerous. People die.

But, it’s been hotter. In 1936 there was a record-breaking temperate of 121 degrees in Steele ND. That July was the hottest on record in the US.


Children on Mulberry Street in New York City turned a WPA street excavation site into a temporary swimming hole using water from a fire hydrant as temperatures rose to the highest point in city history on July 9, 1936.

UNTIL: July 2023

There are places in the US—Arizona—117 degrees. Las Vegas, Nevada—116!! And if you can help it, avoid Furnace Creek, California. 129 degrees!! How do people survive?

In 1936 most homes didn’t have air conditioning. Folks had to use fans, if they were lucky. This was during the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression. There wasn’t food available because crops had been ruined. I read one report that said 5000 people died due to the extreme heat.

In 2023, people are dying because they are—get this—HIKING. Yep, it’s summer, so they are heading out to the trails even though it is so hot. I read that it only takes twenty to thirty minutes for your body to be affected by such heat. It just shuts down. The National Park Service can’t stop a person from going out. If it’s too hot, they won’t risk their lives to rescue someone out tempting fate.

Please, be careful. Find shaded areas to be cool if you want to be outdoors. Drink water! Be smart. I’ve been getting up at 7 in the morning to walk rather than wait until the afternoon. It’s still in the eighties but the walk is shaded which makes a difference.

Okay—time for a lighter subject.

Back when I was focused more on romance in my writing, Summer Heat would bring to mind an image of a sexy guy: tan, buff, possibly dripping wet from the ocean in low-riding swim trunks over sculpted muscles. My heroine would be equally sexy and ready to rock the waves. In my By the Sea contemporary romances my protagonists ran the gamut of dive shop owners to florists to a bait market at the marina.

I’m super excited because I will be writing (at long last) book 3 in the Billionaire by the Sea trilogy. There world was so fun and I’m looking forward to continuing the mystery with the triplets. It’s Mindy Kohl’s turn to find love—and, wrap up the whole Moriaki debacle. The bad guys will pay bwahahaha. It will be titled Billionaire’s Baby by the Sea.

Another cool thing to do inside is READ. I’ve been tackling my TBR pile like a champ. I’m thirty-five books in since January. And you won’t find a better deal for books than those here on the ABB page. The ladies are talented!

Warning—grab an icy beverage before you begin.

Thank you for reading!


Word for 2023: Pivot

July Blog ABB 2023 AI

Pivot seems to be my word for 2023—I think things are cruising along one way and then WHAM, or rather not wham, but crawl, which is the speed of the publishing world, there is another hurdle to overcome. Publishing contracts are harder to come by, and then to keep. Being a hybrid author allowed me to balance traditional contracts with indie publishing to make a modest income.

Something in the game changed drastically and I’m making 1/3 on my indie novels that I used to. AI generated books? Authors using the AI tool to be faster? The indie market is flooded and I’m at a loss as to how I can compete. I’ve read some articles touting that authors will still be necessary for the emotion and creativity we put into a story. My bet is that those AI programs will get better all the time. I’ve attached a link to an article on Authors Guild.


I was recently at a conference in New Orleans—Heather Graham’s Writers for New Orleans—I highly recommend it. The venue is intimate which allows for wonderful networking. Compare a hundred or so participants to the over 1600 that will be at Bouchercon in San Diego and I’m glad I met with the editors in NOLA rather than in San Diego where they will be completely overwhelmed, lol.

Because, as uncertain as the future of publishing is right now, there is only one thing that I have control over—writing MY stories, the way that I want to tell them.

Networking with other authors is such a huge part of my career success (as you on ABB know—networking is key) so I’m headed to four conferences this year as well as B and N for signings 3 times. Connecting with readers and getting them on my email list is important because they know what they are getting from Traci Hall—a NL from you is personal, and not computer generated lol. It will be very interesting to see where this all ends up.

It was very much affecting my outlook, until this conference in NOLA. Writers are gonna write!

Readers, I hope you are taking advantage of the amazing books on the Authors’ Billboard homepage.

Have a great day,

Traci Hall

Hurray for May

Authors’ Billboard Blog Traci Hall May 6th 2023

Word Choice

As writers, we know that it’s important to get just the right word. We are painting a picture for our readers that brings them into a scene and makes them feel like they are right there with our characters. In a romance, there is an expectation of a happy-ever-after.  We want to know about those chiseled muscles and deep-blue eyes, the sculpted chest just the right height for our heroine to lay her head upon. If we are writing a mystery, that sculpted chest should preferably be noticed on a dead body 😉

I know quite a few of us that write romances as well as mysteries—because our romance readers rock and are voracious in the variety of things they will consume. I am a huge reader to this day. I love stories in all forms…except maybe poetry. I wrote angsty stuff in high school, but I haven’t touched it since, lol.

When I read, there might be a word I’m not sure of, but I get the gist in the context of the story. I will look the word up later—I enjoy stretching my brain muscles.

Word choice can also help when setting a scene. In Maine, the use of “wicked” is everywhere, even on the park signs. (Portland, Maine lighthouse, for example) So, when creating a character from that area, it would add flavor to have them use wicked in a sentence. Patrice Wilton and I are writing a mystery series in fictional Sandpiper Bay, Maine, and our ferry boat captain, Wyatt, has a heavier accent than Chief Barnes, who has only been on the island for a few years.

I’m writing a series that takes place in Scotland. My editor and I decided to use the Scottish accent in dialogue only, not the narration. My heroine, Paislee Shaw, was raised with her gran as a schoolteacher, so her accent is light. Grandpa’s is heavy.  Book four, Murder at a Scottish Wedding, came out earlier this year. If you get a chance to read it, let me know what you think of the direction we went.  

Here are just a few Scottish slang words that I’ve included in the stories as seasoning:

dreich—meaning dull and damp, usually pertaining to the weather

dafty—meaning an idiot

braw—meaning fine, or excellent

scran—refers to food

feartie—means a scaredy-cat

numpty—means a fool, or idiot

clipe—means to snitch

blether—refers to gossip

The idea is to pepper the words in and make the reader feel like they are there without jarring them from the story. You don’t want to give them a reason to shut the book.

The word choice that I use in my romances also varies from my By the Sea east coast romances, which are light and tropical compared to my west coast romances, which are a little darker, like the weather there too.

I’ll be writing another West Coast romance for this year’s Unforgettable Christmas boxed set collaboration, but until then, I highly recommend any of the books on the Author’s Billboard home page. Be sure to sign up for the newsletter for the latest going on 😊

Sign up for the newsletter! Choose amazing books!

Thank you so much for reading,


World Building Tips!

ABB April 6th 2023 Blog Traci Hall

World building tips

Happy April!

I just returned from two weeks in San Diego visiting family and came home pumped about a new series idea. Creative juices gushing—where to start?

I love world building. When I begin a new book, I have a general idea of my character, of place and time. The genre, and the community. (Who, where, when, what, and why.) I want my characters to grow and become their best selves. Often this means that they begin the story on shaky ground. I learned early in my writing days that you can’t be too nice to your characters, which is hard because we love them so much. They are family.

In contemporary romance, it’s usually a heroine and hero coming from a broken heart of some kind to heal and love again. In a cozy mystery, the protagonist is often starting over in some fashion. The why in my story equation is referring to why the reader should care…and whether it’s a small town or particular neighborhood, belonging to a community is something most of us want. (Doesn’t have to be a spot on the map, even, but a group like theater or writing, diving club etc. Think of the groups you belong to!)

In my By the Sea romances, the small seaside community is where they all heal and learn to love again. In my Scottish Shire mysteries, Paislee Shaw has had to earn her place in a judgmental Victorian-esque shire to raise her son without a father. In the Salem B and B series, Charlene Morris is a widow starting over after the death of her soulmate. The Salem residents embrace her as she finds her footing. In the Irish Castle series, Rayne McGrath is at the top of her bridalwear designer game, only to be taken down by deceit and forced to begin again in Ireland, a place dear to her dead father. Thanks to the inhabitants of the castle, she finds a home where she least expected it.

Community often becomes a character, which is why I think that world building is so important. I lived in Lauderdale by the Sea when I was writing my contemporary romances. After my divorce, the ocean held healing properties and allowed me to be open to love again. The series books are stand-alone romances that all happen in that particular place. The palm trees, Aruba’s, the pier—blue skies, and white sand. Anglin’s. Sand dunes. The smell of the sea, the tang of salt on my skin. These details bring readers into the tropical By the Sea world.

It helped that I lived there, but not so for Salem, MA. When Patrice Wilton and I started that first book, Mrs. Morris and the Ghost, we relied on the internet and read lots of books. By book 2 we’d been to Salem and realized that we hadn’t included things like the friendliness of the locals to tourists, or how the sky was overcast and gray, or how the water had a dank smell around the bay. The feel of the wind when we stood by the lighthouse, the taste of lobster, or the architecture of the buildings—all claimed to have a ghost. Our character Kass came from a tour guide we really liked. Book 7, Mrs. Morris and the Wolfman, will be out in September!

You can imagine that I am lobbying hard to my DH that we need to visit Scotland in 2024, and Ireland, so that I can get the feel of the place, lol. Those tiny details that one might miss if you aren’t careful add a wee bit more spice.

Not to say that you can’t overcome that! I’ve watched hours of home videos from bloggers, or YouTube videos, I’ve talked to people from the areas I’m writing about, I’ve listened to the music by locals, I’ve immersed myself by reading the “local” news. When we were creating Charlene’s bed and breakfast, I signed up for Zillow for a particular house that I still get notifications on when it’s on the market. I get a daily news bite for Salem. I am signed up for the Daily Independent for Ireland, and I subscribe to Scottish Scran blog.

This is a lot, so let me boil it down—

World building to me is about creating community with sights, scents, touch, sound…and then portraying how your character fits into that place, at first not comfortably, but as the story and series progress, they fit.

I am always happy to answer any questions, and can be reached at traci@tracihall.com

Don’t forget to enter the ABB contest and check out the multitude of hits on the ABB home page!

You can find a list of my books on my Amazon author page…be sure to give it a like while you’re there <3