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Posts Tagged ‘Virginia’

Thomas Jefferson’s way with words gave him an important role in the founding of the United States of America. I’ve been to his beautiful home in Virginia, Monticello, and recommend visiting it. One of my favorite quotes from Thomas Jefferson expresses my feelings exactly:

“I cannot live without books.” – Thomas Jefferson

How about you? Could you live without books, or would it be like living without oxygen for you?

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lesson1b Thanks to author JM Johansen for stopping by and sharing her experiences when working with another author on a collaborative project. Enjoy!

Writing Chesapeake Bay Karma – A Tale of Teamwork by JM Johansen

When Narielle Living and I started writing Chesapeake Bay Karma – The Amulet, we weren’t certain if it would be a viable project. After all, we have always written our own novels in the solitary life mode most novelists and authors use. I get up at 4 AM to write; she locks herself away. We had published an anthology earlier which was quite successful. However, they were individual short stories, not a novel.

I had just finished reading Nikoo McGoldrick and James A. McGoldrick book Marriage of minds: collaborative fiction writing. Heinemann.ISBN978-0-325-00232-3. It made me ponder the barriers in our work-style compatibility.

Narielle and I approach things quite differently. She is a “plotter” who creates an outline and works from it. I am a “flyer” who flies around by the seat of her pants and lets the voices in my head guide me.

How in the world were we going to work together?

We started with an outline and then I added a whole new character and wrote about thirty pages without much thought. It impacted Narielle’s character, so she wrote a section that connected my new characters with her pre-plotted one.

After that I stuck to the outline. Pretty much, anyway.

There was a lot of give and take in this process. I love the period in American history from 1910 – 1935. She loves the ‘60’s. So we wrapped our characters around those eras. We did tons of research and relied heavily on Narielle’s vast knowledge of the Karma viewpoint. It was an enlightening experience for me.

The book came together quite nicely and is selling well. We have followers – groupies, I guess you would call them – who like our work.

And we enjoyed the experience so much we decided to make it a three part series.

karmanojackie We hope you’ll read Chesapeake Bay Karma – the Amulet. Here’s the setup:

Chesapeake Bay Karma showcases the three lifetimes of one amazing woman through a 150 year span. With terrifying recurrent obstacles thrust in her path, and unimaginable devastation at the hands of powerful men and a dominating political system, her soul struggles to defend the ones she loves.

1829, Gloucester, Virginia. Battered and pregnant, Margaret flees Williamsburg to take shelter with her Uncle Mike and protect her unborn son from his politician father, Albert. When Uncle Mike dies eleven years later, Quincy inherits enough land to become a voting landowner. When politician Nathaniel steps into her life, Margaret is torn by desire and distrust. Will Albert find a way to destroy Margaret and Quincy, or will Nathaniel become their savior?

1917, Deltaville, Virginia. Forced into a marriage by her father in order to save his shipping business, Nurse Margene uses her husband Alfred’s money to fund her relationship with lover, Nathan. Spurred on by the Suffrage Movement, she faces the Night of Terrors, only to learn there are crueler realities ahead. Are her son Quinn’s nightmares about a fire that happened 100 years ago a forewarning?

1963, Williamsburg, Virginia. Maggie and Nate share a love that has transcended lifetimes of upheaval. In the summer of ’63, they find their happiness shattered by a threat from Nate’s childhood friend, Al. Will Al manage to perpetuate an evil that has followed them through the folds of time and threatens everything they want in this lifetime? Or, will they finally find a way to end the conflict that began in another era? With the clock ticking, Maggie and Nate struggle to save their son from a darkness that could destroy them all.”

For more information about JM Johansen, visit her website: www.jm-johansen.com or blog: www.jm-johansen.com/blog.html You can find her books at: www.barnesandnoble.com/c/jm-johansen and at Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/jm-johansen-amulet

Thanks again to JM Johansen for her guest post. Watch Whimsical Words for more guests, blogs from me, and Readers & Writers Recipes. Have a creative day! – Vonnie

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 I’ve just returned home from a visit to my uncle in Laurel Springs. The journey back and forth to the North Carolina mountains was long, but the time spent with him was wonderful. And even in the most normal day-to-day activities, writing and art inspirations were present.

On the drive south (and on the return drive north), the forsythia, Bradford pears, redbuds, and crab apple trees contrasted with the ever-present pines and splashed the Virginia and North Carolina hillsides with color. In particular, I found the deep purplish pink blooms of the redbuds (also known as Judas trees) stunning. There were swatches along I-81 awash in vivid purple-pink from these small trees. And upon arriving at my uncle’s home, the trio of weeping cherry trees along his driveway greeted me with their gnarled trunks and streaming branches of pink blossoms.

How easy it is to believe in dryads – those lovely wood nymphs who are bound to their own particular tree, and carefully look after it. Typically shy, they will occasionally dance in the shadows of the forest or in the moonlight. The twisted trunks of my uncle’s weeping cherries did indeed have a womanly shape to them, and the strands of blossoms that sprang from the top of the trunks looked like locks of hair. Oreads, or mountain pine tree nymphs, seemed to watch from their swaying evergreens on the slope behind my uncle’s home. Known for being a bit testy – I let them be.

 Always careful to honor nature, and cherish her creatures whether animal or plant or something magical – I did not snip a few branches of cherry blooms to pop in a canning jar. Though they’d have been a cheerful addition to the kitchen table, I didn’t want to hear the tree’s spirit screaming as I cut through its flesh. Not to mention, the revenge for hurting (or worse destroying) a dryad’s tree can be quite dreadful.

Instead, I brightened my uncle’s kitchen with a bunch of narcissus that I’d plucked from the edge of the woods back home, and transported to Laurel Springs in a Mason jar. What a joy to celebrate Spring with her promise of new beginnings – even as I watch my uncle slip away.

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