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

2021 In Review

by Traci Hall

So much has changed in the last twelve months. Yet another year where it wasn’t wise to stick your head up for too long or risk being noticed by the Powers That Be. COVID has had many variants and the latest is omicron—it is very communicable, but not as harsh. Everyone that’s had it, vaccinated or not, has said it is like a minor cold. Vaccinated, or not. As a species we are going to end up with that herd immunity one way or another. We lost our friend, Mark, to COVID, and it’s hard to believe he’s gone.

We have a new president in office. The riot on the Capitol happened a year ago today. It’s embarrassing that our country was so out of sync that this was allowed. I love the United States and believe that we are an example of democracy in the world. We are such a young country, 246 this year, and I think our youth showed. London is 2000, to put things in perspective. Mental health has been highlighted as so many of us struggled to adapt to things out of our control.

Our seventeen-year-old toy pom, Pippa, passed in June, and it took us until the end of November to decide we were ready for a new pup. We adopted Pazia and took her home from Big Dog Ranch Rescue on November 28th. She’s a chihuahua mix and turned a year old on 11/11/21. Cool date. She’s from a hoarding situation in Puerto Rico and didn’t have bathroom skills, or know how to walk on a leash. We think she was abused as she is very timid. We’ve had her for five and half weeks, and see improvement everyday but I can guarantee that having a puppy takes a lot more time (especially one that needs walked twice a day at least) than our old Pippa did. I’m learning to write from the couch on a TV tray so she can be next to me LOL.

In the summer we traveled to Maine to see the Friendship Sloop races in Rockland. We followed the coast via car and saw gorgeous scenery and lighthouses. In October, Christopher and I went to Greece for the writing retreat with Insiders Tours. We met mostly outside and really enjoyed seeing other people—this was between Delta and Omicron. It’s probably time to hunker down again.

After a long, long delay, where I wasn’t sure if I would get another writing contract, I did—there will be two more Traci Wilton Salem B and B books, at least, and a new Irish Castle series with Crooked Lane, writing as Ellie Brannigan. I turn in book 4 of the Scottish Shire series on Feb. 1, and hope that there will be more of those to come as well. This news all came in December lolol—way to keep me hanging, universe 😊 Patrice Wilton and I had two indie mysteries out in 2021, and the third, Deception in Sandpiper Bay, will be out this year.  What a long blog!! Last bit of news—Murder at a Scottish Social is out on January 25th. I’d appreciate if you’d grab a copy—book one, Murder in a Scottish Shire, will be on a BookBub January 8th for only 1.99.

Please be sure to sign up for the Authors’ Billboard newsletter—and I wish you a wonderful 2022!!! Thanks for reading,

Traci

Traci Hall – USA Today Bestselling Author

From Cozy Mysteries to Seaside Romance–I’ve got a story for you!
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Adopt Don’t Shop!

By Traci Hall

ChichichiChihuahua!

Did you know that there is more than one type of chihuahua? Growing up, my mom had an apple head chihuahua that fit in her robe pocket, named Pepi. My brother and I hated Pepi, because all she did was bark and we couldn’t play with her, and she was mom’s “baby”. I was ten, and my brother was five, and Pepi ruled the roost. I swore as an adult that I would never ever have a barking, yipping, unfriendly chihuahua. I had Pomeranians that I adored. And then my daughter brought home a golden chihuahua—just temporarily before she moved to college. Three months later, she joined the navy instead, and I had Benny. Benny proved to be a boon companion to Pippa, my toy pom, and changed my mind about the whole chihuahua thing. He was so loveable and sweet that after he passed, Christopher and I were open to having another one, so we joined some adoption websites, ideally searching for a mix of Pippa and Benny. After several months of checking out pictures and trying not to fall in love with each pair of canine eyes saying, “adopt me!” we found Aimee at Big Dog Ranch Rescue. She is six pounds, and the paperwork says that she is a mix, but we think she’s a deer chihuahua. I am tempted to get the fifty-dollar DNA test from Target. We have named her Pazia, which means golden in Hebrew, and call her Paz for short. This is day five of us all together and she is fitting in fine. Still skittish but I think she’ll relax the more that she understands that this is her new home, and we are her family. She loves to snuggle! While I was doing research on the deer head chihuahua, I found out that there is also a pear head, a fawn, and of course, the toy. We don’t think she’s a mix at all—not that it matters, because we adore her. She’s wagged her way into our hearts.

Pazia in a Santa hat!

Some suggestions from the rescue center about welcoming a new pet that we found especially helpful have been to crate train. Our Pazia was rescued from Puerto Rico from a hoarding situation. She didn’t know bathroom habits and lived on a concrete floor. BDRR kept the pups in trailers with air conditioning and individual crates for the dogs, and had them on a feeding schedule and bathroom schedule. We are keeping that same time for Paz and so far she has not had one accident. She doesn’t bark, and we are so grateful for that. The rescue spayed her, gave her vaccinations, and microchipped her for us, all for only 300.00. I can’t recommend them enough! Pazia hasn’t been on a leash with a collar before, so that has been an adjustment. We live in an apartment and have sod on the balcony for her to use. She’s so smart and she understood right away. They have a name for the Puerto Rico rescues—they are called SATO.

I feel like one of my romance heroines, Crystal from Christmas on Misty Beach! I’m going to tout rescues and no-kill shelters. It’s been a terrific experience for us, and if you’re looking for a new pup to love, I hope you consider the adopt—don’t shop motto!

Happy holidays readers—don’t forget to enter our monthly contest!

Traci

It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas…

It’s seventy degrees in South Florida this morning and the chill in the air really does change the mood toward something a bit more, well, festive. I love the holidays as much as the next person however, I am happy to enjoy them as they come and I’m not a November 1st Christmas tree prepper. Writing Christmas stories in July for the Authors’ Billboard series also helps get in the mood. There is something romantic about the holidays, and in Christmas on Misty Beach, my contribution to Unforgettable Christmas Promises, Crystal and Joe are center stage.

She’s a nursing student, and he’s a fireman. He’s had his heart destroyed before and she’s told herself that she has but in reality, has been protecting her heart. I love this couple—like, I could hang out with them and have beers and play darts. Go to the beach for bonfires and marshmallows. And the dogs. Oh my goodness, the dogs. You see, Crystal also works at a shelter so saving pups is hugely important.

As some of you know, our Pippa crossed the rainbow bridge back in June. I’m ready to find our next pet. So, I am on many adoption sites so that we can find our pup. There are so many wonderful puppies and dogs out there that could use a home and it is so hard to say no to a pair of soulful canine eyes. In fact, I’m the one that is searching because my CH would adopt them all lol.

Meet Joe Mallory and Crystal Bishop! He’s a fireman, she’s a hot mess. Add dogs, a sick dad, and the holidays, and you’ve got a romance for the ages.

When fireman Joe Mallory answers a Thanksgiving Day emergency at a local residence, his guarded heart skips a beat all because of Crystal Bishop, a hardworking nursing student who’s the perfect mix of bold and shy. Her lightheartedness makes him question the single life he’s chosen. While rushing into a burning building comes with the job, romancing Crystal offers a whole different kind of risk. Will her laughter, dogs, and family, challenge his beliefs about forever?

https://books2read.com/UCPromises

Thank you so much for reading–don’t forget to enter our monthly contest!!

Traci

www.tracihall.com

Motivation!

Hey reading friends—just a short and sweet note from a writing retreat with Insiders Tours in Santorini, Greece. I wasn’t sure that we were going to be allowed into the country, so I wasn’t excited until we got here a few days ago. And now? We’re here, and the island is as beautiful as I remembered!!

I just finished doing a workshop on keeping motivated, so I thought I’d share it now with you all too—just in case you are feeling blah. I hope this helps!

In case you don’t know, I’m Traci Hall, author of the Scottish Shire mysteries, and I’m half of Traci Wilton, author of the Salem B and B mysteries. I have two romances with Entangled, and 20 By the Sea indie romances that Christopher has done the covers and editing on. I am part of Community Authors and truly believe that together is better.

I write on average 6 books per year—at least one of those is a novella, around 20,000, but the majority are longer, around 85,000. This time includes edits and revisions from the publishers, and very limited social media.  I also edit for a small client base. When Christopher and I were in Greece in 2019, I think we were just beginning to take Sundays off for ourselves to avoid total burnout. We continue this practice and try not to even log onto the computer. When COVID hit and everything was canceled we were like—thank GOD lol—now we can catch up with ourselves.

So—how was I affected by the pandemic? A lot of writers couldn’t write. That wasn’t an option for me, because of DEADLINE. Def: the latest time or date by which something should be completed. How can a two-syllable word be so terrifying? That meant I had no choice but to tune out the news, and create my worlds. Not going to lie that it was tough. Writing for me has always been an escape—my characters are family, and it was great to be in their world rather than mine.

I am a big believer in self-care when it comes to keeping that motivation. Learn what you can do and still feel good. No numb hands, or sore backs. Working yourself to the ground is not a sign of success. This was a hard lesson I had to learn when Christopher was literally helping me up off the rug because I’d had to reach a deadline and worked too hard.

I’ve learned that it’s okay to say NO to a project. Repeat after me: No. Sure, be polite, but be honest with yourself too. For me, it was a scriptwriting project that tipped me over the edge. Learning another way to write is fine, and I did one script to prove I could, but I didn’t accept more because the aggravation quotient was too high for the money.

My time is valuable. That’s another mantra to practice. Whether writing is a hobby or a career, your time is valuable. Find like-minded folks who are focused on a similar path and make your way. Success is different for everyone and there is no one-size-fits-all. (Mimi’s Gang!)

When you are feeling out of touch or down, reach out to your team or critique partners and lift each other up with writing sprints. (Like the ladies in Authors’ Billboard!) You can choose to talk about how tough things are, or you can talk about how many awesome words you’re going to write. My suggestion is to find the positive. We have a friend who writes 2 pages a day—that’s it. He pumps out one 125,000 word book a year and his publisher loves him.

Find your own pace! Set goals. I set goals like a maniac from daily goals, to a five-year plan. There is so much out of our control that this helps me feel like I have a tiny bit 😊

I asked some friends for what they did during the pandemic, and one client told me about the tomato timer, which is also known as the Pomodoro Method. I don’t think the color or shape is that important but do whatever works for you. I’ve tried this myself—I write for an hour and my reward is checking out Facebook. Whatever carrot LOL –this was originally developed in 1980 by Francesco Cirillo.

Track page count or word counts—use an app, there are several free on your phones. You can use Word, like I do, or Scrivener. Scrivener also allows you to plot out your story, among other amazing tools that went over my head. Some people swear by it!

Text to dictation—you will have to check the document however, or you might end up with something really strange, other than what you meant to say.

White noise from YouTube videos—or amazon prime has music. When I am writing two different stories at a time, this allows me to switch my brain from one project to the other. Check out brain.fm.

Advice from Evan Marshall, agent extraordinaire: 

  1. Limit TV.
  2. Batch and consolidate tasks. For instance, save all of your errands for one day. Answer all your emails at one time.
  3. Deal with as much as possible instantly so things don’t pile up. For instance, if an email needs just a quick reply, do it now. Be terse if you need to—just say “pardon the quick answer but I’m on deadline!” Save the emails that need more considered replies, and batch them! See #2.
  4. Keep reading. For a writer, that could mean novels in your own area, as well as self-help books. I read for an hour or two before bed every night.
  5. Make lists. I make “visual lists” because I’m a visual-type person. I need to see something representing a task. So I line up sticky notes on my desk and label each one with a task; e.g., vet new contract, read new proposal, etc. Then I number them in order of priority, and rearrange the notes accordingly.
  6. Don’t drink too much. Not much good work gets done when one is even partially impaired.
  7. Take breaks and have fun. Tasks are always easier to tackle when you’re refreshed. Speaking of which, tackle the most onerous tasks in the morning when you’re well rested and ready to take on the world!
Thira, sunset

In closing, you are a creative being—so try and nurture that part of your life. For me, being in nature or by the sea gives me creative energy. Share any tips you might have—I would love to know!

Don’t forget to enter the monthly Authors’ Billboard contest—have a great day!

Traci

www.tracihall.com