Tag Archive | family

Honeysuckle and Sagebrush Continued…

I’ve been pondering Spring time this week. Spring in the South and Spring in the Western desert have their differences and similarities. Spring time in the south always seemed to be very sudden, things could change literally overnight from cold and blustery to warm and green. I’ve known years when Spring got skipped altogether, the seasons would just go from winter to hot sticky summer in just a few days.

Out here in the desert Spring happens slowly, you get little subtle signs that things are changing. I think the doves are one of the first signs I’ve noticed out here, of spring. They get an early start on their work. Each year I’ve lived here, there have been a pair of doves that try to build their nest between a drainpipe and the house. Each year they fail, there’s nothing there to actually hold the sticks they bring to build with, so they leave a pile of sticks on the deck to be swept off for a few weeks, till they finally, once again, figure out that it won’t work.

It’s funny to me that they try so hard, for so long to accomplish something that just isn’t possible. And, that they repeat the same error in judgement in the same place every year. I suppose it’s the proving of the old saying, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you always get what you’ve always gotten.”

I do laugh at their futile efforts, but I also ponder the meanings for us “other birds” who have learned or are learning the next part of the lesson. The doves eventually go off and build a nest somewhere else and raise their family. Us “other birds” need to remember to try something different when what we’ve been doing isn’t working.

That’s what the characters in my books do… they try something very different when what they’d been doing didn’t work…

More Honeysuckle and Sagebrush

One thing I’ve found to be a certainty, is that things always change. The honeysuckle of my youth has become the sagebrush of my now… but in my mind, they both have a special place. I look at them a bit metaphorically, the sweet smell of the honeysuckle has become the useful wisdom of the sagebrush.

In quiet moments of pondering and staring off into the distance, memories of growing up in the “South” invade my mind. I remember my grandmother teaching me how to make biscuits, and teaching me to never devalue myself. She would tell me, “You’re just as good as anyone else, not better than them, but just as good.” We’ve all had someone in our lives who’s built us up and encouraged us. You know that voice that stays with us, the voice we hear repeating what was said, long after it’s said…

I’m drawn to that sage wisdom that sticks with you, and have found it in different places and people throughout my life. This is something I try to infuse into my characters as I write. Everything from “Don’t sit on your spurs,” to, “Don’t let a bad situation define who you are,” are included. With loads of humor of course!

We all have a journey to take, mine has been full of challenges that have helped me to become the person I am now. There have always been ways for me to find happiness on this journey, even if it was to stop and smell the honeysuckle or ponder the uses of sagebrush.

Honeysuckle and Sagebrush

Growing up in Georgia was full of lush green trees, honeysuckle and kudzu everywhere, and full of warm humid days and nights. Living in Arizona has some stark contrasts to my place of origin. Not many trees, there is a bit of honeysuckle growing in the back garden, (it has to be watered a lot), there is heat out here too, but, it’s not the humid sticky heat I grew up with. I’ve often pondered the commonalities and the differences between here and there when I’m writing my books. There are quite a few of both.

The south I grew up in was full of life, manners, and vivid culture. I try to infuse that into my southern ladies as they come to life in my stories. The ladies are spunky, feisty, and usually well mannered, most of the time. They do show the southern temper flare on occasion, but always seem to rein it in before things get too far out of control… well, except for Hannah, sometimes she seriously wants to punch someone.

When a southern lady meets a cowboy gentleman many odd things can happen…. And in my stories the odd things do happen. If that were the only differences between the girls and the boys it would still present loads of fun and lots of stories… but, that’s not the only difference. The girls grew up on a totally monogamous lifestyle and move to Arizona to meet the cowboy gentlemen and live in a polygamous lifestyle. This provides so much more opportunity for humor, culture shock, and exploration.

As I have asked before… have you ever wondered what polygamy would be like without the villains or media hype? In my books I explore what it’s like when normal people are simply living their lives in a normal way, polygamously.

New Parish Review

A recon trip to Vegas found this at the conference site.

A recon trip to Vegas found this at the conference site.

Review of New Parish

“I did two reads of the book.  The first time in January and then I just read it again and made comments. Honestly, most of my comments were simply wanting more information. It sounds like a second book is in the works that it covers more culture which will be fantastic. Julie is a captivating author. After the first six chapters I spent more late nights reading than I should have. I found that I made comments in the first few chapters and then as I got caught up in the story I had less to say because I was just truly enjoying the story line. This story captured the magic of your community, it’s the kind of hometown we wish we all had, and the kind of community where we wish all of our children could be raised. I’ll be first in line to buy anything she publishes.

Jaclyn Knapp, M.S., ED.S – Weber State University, Ogden, UT

 

Now all I need is an agent and a publisher…. Going to Las Vegas April 29th for the writer’s conference. Wish me luck!

#LVWC

http://lasvegaswritersconference.com/

Synopsis for New Parish

Harvey Beach for websiteSarah the main character is a 27 year old, graphic artist. She lives in Atlanta but is originally from Savannah Georgia. She’s had too many bad dates over the years with guys that just weren’t quite what she wanted.

She does volunteer work at a children’s center, which she enjoys and it gives her a way to spend time with children while she longs to have her own. She meets a new friend at the children’s center, this new friend comes from a polygamous community which arouses Sarah’s curiosity, her new friend tells her about a different way of finding a companion which sets Sarah on a quest to find out the truth about this lifestyle as a viable option to dating. This leads her to consider making a decision that will affect the rest of her life… go live out west in a community where they live plural marriage or continue to date hoping to eventually find someone, maybe.

Through her investigations she finds out that the people living in the polygamous community use an old form of matchmaking. Their system sounded similar to what her grandmother described when she married her grandfather, only it involved prayer and church leaders not just parents.

She goes to New Parish to visit and asks some of the women in the polygamous community to tell her the whole story “warts and all” so she can make her decision with all the information possible. She hears some difficult stories about women who had been mistreated but also sees how happy other women living plural marriage are. Sarah struggles with both sides of this coin and finds it difficult to focus on work or anything else after she returns to Atlanta. The distraction of her new knowledge is so much that she needs to take a few days off from work and go to her family’s condo on Tybee Island to sort it out…

More later…

Next…

BabyI just finished Chapter 3 in my next book, although it’s a sequel it has a completely different feel than New Parish. Maybe it’s because of the new main character and her history… she is Sarah’s (main character from New Parish) little sister, she has a fiery temper, long curly auburn hair…. wait, I can’t tell you too much yet but her story is much different than her sister’s….

New Parish

I’ve finished my newest book! The name of my latest adventure is “New Parish”!

Now I’mCanyon 2 waiting on a smart, energetic, and resourceful agent to take on the challenge and walk through the rest of this adventure with me. So while I’m waiting, I’m of course, writing…

The “New Parish” story goes like this: Sarah, (main character) has had one too many bad dates, she has dreams of being a mom but she’s had all she can take with dating losers and jerks.

Sarah meets a new friend, Mary, at a children’s center where she volunteers, this new friend comes from a community where they use a very unique dating and marriage system. Sarah’s intrigued with Mary’s lifestyle and begins an extensive investigation trying to decide if this is a viable option for her.

Sarah gets the low down on how they live when she visits New Parish and asks some of the women there to tell her about the process “warts and all”.

Sarah meets two men in New Parish, one is very handsome, well mannered, well dressed and almost perfect. The other is a rough edged cowboy who completely blows her away at first sight, she never seems to be able to stay up right when he’s around. Sarah had never been a clumsy person until she met him, this annoys her to the enth degree!

This is not a mushy romance… it’s a romantic comedy adventure and I can’t wait till everyone gets to read it!

New Book

Canyon 4

I love writing!  I’ve been writing a new book that is more of a “grown up” book with some mushy stuff in it. I don’t usually write mushy stuff but I’m enjoying this one, okay when there is mushy stuff I usually put loads of humor in it to defuse the mushy… It’s the way I roll. So if there’s a romantic moment happening in a secluded cabin in the woods with candle light and a roaring fire in the fireplace and a wondering skunk comes strolling by and sprays the side of the house, do you think that would defuse the mushy? What about a young woman who meets the most beautiful man she’s ever seen and a cow knocks her over causing a chain of events that end up with her having a deluge of hot chocolate and red punch drench her completely? Yeah, I’m having a super fun time writing this book! More later!