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? 

Sister Trip to Charleston

Charleston 06 020Do you want to know a great blessing I have? Well, I have three younger sisters! We are the best of friends and love our time together. Yes, I’m the oldest, and I know that is the  best place to be! Haha! Any oldest siblings out there? I know all other positions think they are the best too. Anyway, the four of us like to choose a destination and meet there to relax, catch up, talk about everything–just exist together in the same place.

Charleston 06 022This year one sister suggested Charleston, South Carolina. Why? Because she had just finished Bring Me Near, my  Revolutionary Faith Book Three. “I want to see all those places in the books.” As well she should. Charleston holds her roots as much as mine. How could I refuse being a book tour guide to my very own sisters!

Charleston 06 042I plan on showing them the different houses featured in my books, including the Lestarjette house on Church Street. We’ll include a cemetery search behind St. Philip’s Church for Elizabeth Elliott’s parent’s tombstones. Also, on the tour are the college, the Exchange Building with the dungeon ,and most likely a house tour.

Charleston was voted the best Southern city in “Southern Living” recently. Of course, it is. And the food…we will eat and eat, soaking up the atmosphere. The city is very walkable, and we love exercise, especially since our house is in the historical district.

Charleston 06 086There is no way I will pass up a chance to research. I decided to stay an extra three days giving a few hours to research at the South Carolina Room in the Charleston County Public Library and the South Carolina Historical Society. A quick trip to Orangeburg will add an additional dimension to my research as that is where Louis and Elizabeth are buried.

I look forward to sharing tidbits about Charleston and my research. Since I’ve finished writing Draw Me to Your Side, I am anxious to start on As I Wait which involves another phase of the American Revolution.

Charleston 06 033Do you have a favorite city or destination to which you repeatedly return? Charleston is that for me. 

The Inn at Hidden Run Review and Giveaway

The Inn at Hidden Run FB Banner

Tour page on Celebrate Lit

About the Book

A Father-Daughter Genealogy Team Link Present to Past on Family Trees Meri flunksInn-at-Hidden-Run_COVER-197x300 out of medical school—and runs from her parents. Genealogist Jillian Parisi-Duffy’s digging traces the family long tradition of doctors to an ancestor saved during a yellow fever outbreak in Memphis in 1878. As Meri’s family closes in, Jillian gets the final puzzle pieces in place just in time for them all to learn the truth. The Inn at Hidden Run is the first book in the Tree of Life series. Readers will come back to backdrop of a lovely mountain town of Canyon Mines again and again to explore and celebrate unforgettable family stories that inspire them to connect with their own family histories and unique faith journeys.

Click here to purchase your copy!

My Review

I have never read a novel with a genealogist as a main character. What a fascinating job. Add an inn in Colorado and a mysterious runaway young woman, every chapter brings another layer to the girl’s history. I especially enjoy the historical aspect as the reader glimpses conditions in the past that mold the future.

Jillian, a genealogist, and her father Nolan, a lawyer decide to help Meri face her family and confront their disappointment in her career choice. Meri Davies has dreams that continue to steer her in a direction practically forbidden by her family.

The author follows the life of Eliza Davies in 1878 in Memphis during a yellow fever epidemic. Not until the end of the novel do the two stories dissect.

I’d highly recommend this novel if you like exploring the link between the present and the past.

About the Author

Olivia Newport’s novels twist through time to find where faith and passions meet. Her OliviaNewporthusband and twentysomething children provide welcome distraction from the people stomping through her head on their way into her books. She chases joy in stunning Colorado at the foot of the Rockies, where daylilies grow as tall as she is.

More from Olivia

Of Family Lines and Family Lore

I suppose it all started in a cemetery.

Once, while a group of relatives were visiting a cemetery, one of my cousins and I wandered off and looked at all sorts of graves, speculating about the names we read and the lives they represented. We were duly scolded both for separating from our families, which caused some consternation, and for being disrespectful—though I think the second accusation was a false one!

Just because we were young children didn’t mean we were disrespecting the dead. Quite the opposite. We were respecting lives long forgotten with our curiosity about who they were and what legacies they left.

These days a lot of people are interested in genealogy. Entire TV series spin around the theme, and DNA kits show up in Christmas stockings. Lost branches of family trees find the main trunk—sometimes with big surprises.

My new Tree of Life series is set in the backdrop of a lovely Colorado mountain town I hope you’ll want to visit often, where a father-daughter genealogy team link present to past on family trees and characters learn about who they are, where they come from, and their unique faith journeys as they discover their own Tree of Life.

It all starts with The Inn at Hidden Run. When Meri arrives in Canyon Mines because she wants to run away from her family, true answers come from understanding the past that generations have forgotten—the accounts from another time and place no longer handed down but that still form the backbone of the family’s story.

What’s the backbone of your family’s history? How is it shaping your own future?

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, May 18

The Avid Reader, May 18

The Power of Words, May 18

Daysong Reflections, May 19

Texas Book-aholic, May 19

Through the Fire Blogs, May 20

Lighthouse Academy, May 20

A Baker’s Perspective, May 21

To Everything A Season, May 21

Reflections From My Bookshelves, May 22

Pause for Tales, May 22

Hallie Reads, May 22

Bigreadersite, May 23

By The Book, May 23

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, May 23

All-of-a-kind Mom, May 24

Connect in Fiction, May 24

Maureen’s Musings, May 25

Seasons of Opportunities, May 25

Inklings and notionsMay 25

Tell Tale Book Reviews, May 26

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 26

Godly Book Reviews, May 27

janicesbookreviews, May 27

Retrospective Spines, May 28

Mary Hake, May 28

Quiet Quilter, May 29

A Reader’s Brain, May 29

Remembrancy, May 30

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 30

Just the Write Escape, May 31

Moments, May 31

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Olivia is giving away a grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of The Inn at Hidden Run!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/e1c1/the-inn-at-hidden-run-celebration-tour-giveaway

I look forward to reading your comments. Talk with you soon!

1001 days in May

IMG_7748I’m not one who usually exaggerates, but I am going to here. If you are not a teacher, I know you probably think “what is she thinking?” Well, the last two weeks before school gets out for the summer are the longest, for everyone. 1001 days in the ten days of school. If school let out in June, then the two weeks before that date would be long too. I can’t explain why, but I have a few suggestions.

IMG_7779I’m not complaining because I know the end will arrive like it does every year. Here is what happens. I teach in high school. The seniors leave, and the students have two more weeks of school. They think school is over and surprise, surprise it isn’t! They still face projects, tests, assignments, and finals. Each day seems to be 16 hours long instead of 8 hours.

IMG_7788What do I do to counteract the students giving up? With Spanish, it is fun! Create music videos or board games, make pinatas, sing, drama, read. It’s not bad at all, except the days are so long.

So, if your student is dragging or not wanting to work, it’s a real thing. Hang in there with me. Summer is on its way and surprise, surprise, a bit of boredom sets in, and all are ready to go back in August. What a strange phenomenon!

Are you ready for summer?

 

Reading is still alive!

IMG_7763 (2)I teach at an awesome public high school in Louisiana. Everyday I walk with a colleague by the English classrooms. This semester I have had the privilege of watching the students transform the hallway into an art gallery. Daily the images materialized bringing to life the books that the students have read.

Here are a few of the gorgeous, creative masterpieces. I’ve read most of the works, well all of them except I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. Now when I think of them, I can visualize what the students depicted.

I’m encouraged that students in schools do read classics and modern literature. They add research, acting, projects, art, a variety of mediums in order to experience the words in new ways. I love it!

What things inspire you to read?

Overwhelming May, Oh My!

IMG_7682It’s May, the busiest month of the year for me, even more so than December. How about for you?

I am a teacher. A High School teacher of Juniors and Seniors. Need I say more. Senioritis kicked in for them in January…even for the JUNIORS. I spend the month of May keeping the students on task as much as possible. Finals and graduation take me to the end of the month.

img_7681.jpgAlso, this year I have a writing deadline–Draw Me to Your Side, Book Four of Revolutionary Faith–due on June 1! I am so near the end, if my cat will let me use my computer. I’ll gladly share my major feat with you next week, I hope.  I spend my evenings and any weekend time writing, editing, and inputting. Since I am deadline driven, I know it will be done on time. Exciting but time-consuming.

The first weekend in May, I am a part of a local fun day in Mt. Lebanon, Louisiana put on by the Mt. Lebanon Historical Society. I will rush to do my part after a DAR meeting. What a day!

IMG_7672Oh, I can’t forget my niece’s graduation in Mississippi on Mother’s Day weekend. I’ll then enjoy an afternoon with my own mother back at home.

Of course, I will find some time to relax and read in order to continue to do all the things that May brings.

What plans do you have this month? Are you ever overwhelmed? Please share. Maybe then I will realize I’m not alone in this busy time.