Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Love Finds You in Groom, Texas

I had all intentions of putting this on yesterday, but life got in the way. I knew I needed to do it today because I start preparations for a test tomorrow.

Every time I read one of Janice Hanna's books (Janice A. Thompson), I think this is the best one ever, and then she comes along and writes another one that I consider better than the last one. This is true with Love Finds You in Groom Texas. I enjoyed it so much, and I know anyone who reads it will also.

This book is set in the Panhandle of Texas. a place I knew very little about. I enjoyed the reference to Palo Dura Canyon. In fact, I enjoyed it so much that I want to put it on a place to see, the next time we go to Texas.

Now to get back to the book. A train derailment occurs at Groom, in the early 1900's, and three people are left stranded, a nineteen year old girl and her two siblings. One of the railroad workers is dubbed "the last bachelor in Groom." That alone got my attention.

Jake, the last bachelor, falls in love with Anne, the nineteen year old sister, at first sight. He is also intrigued with her younger sisters. He takes the three girls to his mother's house to stay until the railroad is fixed. He had no idea what he was getting into.

It takes longer to repair the rails than they thought it would, which gives Jake more time to look at Anne. He is so shy. There are a couple of characters whose lives are changed and I loved reading about them. Can you fall in love at first sight? After reading the book, you answer the question for yourself.

Friday, June 24, 2011

A Healthy Writer

We should all try to be healthy, because a writer depends on his/her brain for their work. If your brain is not working properly, neither is your writing.

Get plenty of rest, 6-8 hours a night. Sometimes we get too much rest and can't function. For years, I have felt better with a fifteen minute nap in the afternoon. When I sleep for an hour, I know something is wrong. That is not my sleep clock working properly.

Get the right kind of food. My husband is a diabetic and I'm borderline. What we eat is very important and lately I have not been eating like I should. I've put on a few pounds and I must get them off. We are eating more veggies, less sugar and bread, and a good amount of lean meat and fruits. It's hard and you have to stay on track with what you're doing.

Exercise is one of the things most writers lack. I know I do. I sit too much and I have no excuse. There is a track across the road from me, but I'd rather go to the park and walk. The scenery is better. It takes effort to get in the car and drive the few miles to get there, so mostly I don't. Exercise also helps you to think better. The blood runs through your body better and your body works more smoothly.

Have a good attitude. How do you get that? You have to begin by having pleasant thoughts. No hatred or malice should be in your brain. As a Christian we shouldn't have that anyway. Study God's Word each day and pray about your work and other people will keep your mind focused.

The last thing to do is play. Take a day off and let your mind rest. It's hard to do sometimes, but we need to rejuvenate our bodies and soul.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


Character development should be the one of the first things we do when we begin to write a manuscript. To start, I like want to know what era I'm writing in. It helps to know if I'm in the country or the city. Then I can go with the face of the characters and their body type.

The book I have just finished, and am now re-writing, is set in 1804 in the mountains of Tennessee. Tennessee is a new state and the area is beginning to be settled. Susannah, the main character is a spoiled woman. Her family is wealthy and she has everything she ever wanted. She also spouts off and hurts feelings. She is about 5'5" tall, black curly hair, and brown eyes. Her complexion is very fair. Her clothes are the best she can fine and she likes to brag about them. During the story, she changes. In fact it begins in the second chapter. She will turn into a generous,  pleasant person. She is going to turn out to be someone we will all love and like to be around.

The male main character is Dr. Valentine Minor. He's a doctor and is practicing in the area. He is tall, dark complexion, almost black eyes. He is very humble. He loves what he does and he works endlessly with his patients in the mountains. His clothes are not the finest, in fact they are wearing out. Money does not come easily, but food is given in payment for his services.

There are several ways to keep records of your characters. I use a notebook. Susan Page Davis uses index cards. There is also a sheet you can find on the internet with one hundred character details. That takes a long time to do, but you know your character well when you've finished.

We should try to make our characters as believable as possible. Remember the time you are writing about. I would not have Susannah with a short hair style. It has to be long because no woman would be seen with short hair.The only time it would have been cut would be if they had lice.

Remember as you write the book, you'll have to refer to those notebooks or cards. It is so easy to forget what someone looked like. I've had to do that many times.

Tell me how you keep up with your characters.

Monday, June 20, 2011

My Dad

Yesterday was Father's Day and I really missed my dad. He's been gone for almost six years, but I still miss that gentle man.

My dad, Mack Anderson, was born into a very poor family. He had two older brothers, William and Walter. Later he had three sisters, Esther, Zetta, and Emily. He always said they were so poor he didn't get a middle name.

His dad farmed and raised turkeys to make a little extra money. They lived in cabins so drafty that he said he'd have to shake the snow off his quilt in the winter. But they were happy. My grandfather was one of the happiest men I knew. He always laughed and I loved walking to his house and visiting with him.

Daddy had a lot of trials. He had colon cancer and a double bypass surgery on his heart. All of his brothers and sisters had heart problems and his mother also. It seems to run in the family. So far, I've escaped. He farmed on a hilly piece of ground where I grew up. It was hard work, but we survived.

He was a faithful man of God. He loved to go to church. He led singing each service in his younger days. I remember the last song he lead, about three months before he died. He was blind, but knew so many songs by heart. He voice at age 91 was still strong and beautiful.

He was also a character. He told the nurses one day that he was raised in Florida and he wanted some possum soup. My dad was raised in the hills of East Tennessee, but he had always wanted to live in Florida. He told the nurses they raised big possums in Florida. The nurses were laughing about it the next morning.

My dad was a gentle man. He was rarely angry and loved everyone. He enjoyed sitting on the porch and looking over the mountains. We bought him a rocking chair for the porch and that was where he would be in the mornings and at evening.

My sister and I were sitting with him shortly before his passing. We were talking and suddenly he said, "Ladies, do I have your permission to go to sleep in your presence?" I replied, "Yes, sir!" It was so formal and we laughed afterward. That was my dad and I miss him so much.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Rainy Friday

Today is a rainy day, but we need it. It has been dry the last couple of weeks and the rain is very welcome. My flowers needed it and our garden also.

What do you do on rainy days? I usually write, but today is a different story. Too much going on in this household to write until tonight. I hope it will still be raining then.

Do you have a certain amount of pages or words to write each day? I usually like to write 2,000 words or more in a day. Right now I'm going over a rough draft, so it is slow. I think I did about three hundred yesterday, but that was a lot of corrections and additions.

One reason we bought this house is because it has a metal roof. I could just image the sound of rain on that roof. Boy was I surprised! It doesn't sound any different that the shingled roof on our old house. The rain drops seem to be bigger here, maybe it's because the land is flat and I don't have mountains to absorb the drops.

There is a lot to do today and I need to get busy so I can write later. Hope you enjoy rainy days as much as I do.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Love Finds You In Prince Edward Island

Love Finds You In Prince Edward Island by Susan Page Davis is a very enchanting book. I was anxious to start it and then I couldn't put it down. Susan is a great writer and a wonderful friend.

The book is set in 1860. Price Albert Edward of England is making a visit to this tiny island. The governor's house needs extra workers for the visit of royalty. Girls from the island go for an interview and Molly Orland is hired as a maid.

She meets Peter Stark, who is employed by Lord Washburn. meets her in the hallway, and is attracted to her. Peter loves the island and wishes he could stay there, but he is dedicated to his employer.

A ball is planned for the prince. He has a reputation of a playboy and Peter is determined to keep him away from Molly. Molly is invited to the ball by the prince. We know his intentions are not good.

Well, I'll leave with just that much. It is such a good book. My husband read it. When he finished, he said, "That's a good book." He reads a lot of my books, but he was impressed by Susan's writing. It is one of those books that you are anxious to turn the pages.

I recommend this book highly. I would give it 5 stars!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Our Vacation

Don't you love going on a vacation? I do and I anticipate it for weeks before we leave. This year we went on a family vacation with our children and grandchildren. It was a first to have all the grandchildren together on a vacation and I learned many things. Our son-in-law had to work, so he is the only one who missed the trip.

We left last Friday afternoon to drive as far as we could to Jekyll Island, GA. We spent the night above Atlanta and then the next morning headed to the island. We arrived at our rented house about 4:00 p.m. and got settled before walking to the beach.

Jekyll is a beautiful island and I can see why the rich wanted to winter there. It is very peaceful. Our house was two houses from the beach but we could still hear the waves beat against the sand. I loved being sung to sleep by the waves.

There is a lot of history on Jekyll. One of the last slave ships to come to America landed there. It was against the law in 1858 to bring slaves in from Africa, but Charles and Henry DuBignon did just that. They owned the island, so I guess they felt they could do what they wanted. We went to where the ship landed and it was awesome.

The winter cottages of the rich were very interesting. They must have felt like they were roughing it since they only brought three or four servants. Their houses were large and beautiful. The Jekyll Island Club was known through out the United States and many rich, such as, Rockefeller's, Pulitzer's, Bell's, owners of Standard Oil and many other rich people spent their winters there. Our tour guide told us many interesting stories.

The part I loved best was the sea turtles. The Georgia Sea Turtle Center treats injured sea turtles that are found on the Georgia coasts. They have Loggerheads, Green, and Leatherback Turtles in their hospital. We got to see them feed two of the turtles and also watched the doctor operate on one. On Thursday night we went on a Turtle Walk. The turtles are nesting now and we hoped to see one come in from the ocean and nest, but we were not so lucky. That night, no turtles came ashore. We did see the nests of a Loggerhead and a Leatherback. Very interesting.

It was a great experience and I learned so much. I'm anxious to put my knowledge to work and tell more about this magnificent island.