First Things First

IMG_9580How I love summer! I use the time to do something different from teaching. Since I have completed the preliminary draft of a novel and submitted it to the publisher, I’ve been thinking and planning for my next novel. I spent a week in Charleston, S.C. with my sisters for four days then myself for three days. Beautiful, inspiring, lots of ideas!

I write historical fiction where the characters roam and live in a factual historical world. I always use a venue that I have traveled by walking the streets, visiting the sites, and researching. I’ve discussed my library before when I was writing the first four books in Revolutionary Faith Series–35 sources. On my latest venture to Charleston, I added more sources. I will have to scour the pages, formulating a plot, developing characters, outlining a historical backdrop. I’m so excited about this process.

IMG_9749So in the month of July, I’ll read and highlight my new books from Charleston. But the first book I am reading is an old 1906 book that will not receive any highlighting because of its value. Charleston The Place and the People by Mrs. St. Julien Ravenel is a treasure, one found in my parents’ library. I’m sure there are quite a few interesting observations discussed by Mrs. Ravenel.

I bought my books from two wonderful shops in Charleston–Historic Shops of Charleston on Meeting Street and The Preservation Society Shop on King Street. Time spent in both shops is a thrill. One book I bought is South Carolina and the American Revolution: A Battlefield History by John. W. Gordon. I’ve read another of his books for research and thoroughly enjoyed it.

As I advance in my plot for the next book, I decided to add A Gallant Defense: The Siege of Charleston, 1780 by Carl P. Borick. I want to know what it was like living in a city under siege by the British.

Two historical figures have fascinated me as I’ve researched and written them into my novels. One is William Moultrie, an American General in Charleston. I added  Crescent Moon over Carolina: William Moultrie and American Liberty by C.L. Bragg.

One of my favorite characters that I have already used in my novels is Francis Marion (the Swamp Fox).  I found The Life of General Francis Marion by Brig. Gen. P. Horry and Parson M. L. Weems. I’m hoping for some interesting insight into this extraordinary man.

IMG_9744Research–I LOVE the process. I’m rubbing my hands together in excitement wondering which book I’ll read first.

Do you have a project that you really anticipate with joy? 

Delays or Cancellations–It’s okay!

IMG_8707Happy Summer! Since I am a teacher, I’m enjoying every moment, storing up energy for the school year that is only seven weeks away. I started my summer vacation with a sisters’ trip to Charleston, South Carolina. The four of us spent four days eating, laughing, crying, sharing, walking, movie watching, eating more, shopping–forming memories that can never be taken away.

 

After my sisters returned to their homes, I stayed  three extra days to research, read, walk the streets, and make new “research” friends. So relaxing and so productive.

Then, the inevitable day arrived when I turned in my car and proceeded to my gate at the airport for a 10:06 departure to Atlanta. Let me offer a caveat here–I was traveling alone, no husband, no group, no children. Alone. My perspective will be a bit ashew with those perimeters. Anyway, I have traveled enough with children, family, and students enough to have experienced a few set backs.

This day ended up being one that I will remember as an eventful travel situation. Storms in Atlanta brought the flight world to a standstill. The 10:06 departure turned to 11:15, then 12:15, then a canceled flight and no departure time. For me, I knew there was nothing I could do. This was a weather condition that did not fall under the fault of the airport, the airline, the pilot, or the attendants.

 

Besides having the passengers from the Charleston cancelled flights, the airport had redirected flights that could not land in Atlanta. This small airport was packed. Luckily, I love airports and travel, most aspects of the journey. I read and finished a great book, The Girl on Legare Street by Karen White.  And I had to buy another book, The Tinderbox by Beverly Lewis.

With eight hours in the airport, I had time to walk, snack, watch people, and read. I loved it especially since I knew I could do nothing about it. It was sad to see couples fight and children, tired children, act up. The attendants did their best to pacify the passengers.

IMG_9643Once I left Charleston at 6:00 p.m. for Atlanta, I still had that monstrosity of an airport to maneuver and a ticket to secure. The attendant was very proud that he found a seat for me on the 12:17 a.m. to Jackson.

All fine, right? The plane carried 300 very tired and frustrated people, especially the parents and children. I was determined to make it through with a smile on my fatigued face.

You probably have guessed what happened once in Jackson. Right you are. The luggage had not followed all of us since none of us had this flight as our original connection. Once in my car with no luggage, I drove to my sister’s house thirty minutes away and crawled into bed for five hours sleep.

IMG_9663Twenty-four hours late, I arrived home (without my bag) and praised God for a safe journey, one with a few delays and cancellations. No harsh words or annoyed facial expressions. This is part of traveling.

Do you have a delayed or canceled travel story? How did you handle it?