Wednesday, February 1, 2012

"Drove me like a magnet to the sea..."

Song for this post: "Crystal" ~ Stevie Nicks

When I started writing our book series I spent a lot of time researching US cities so I could find one that had enough interest in it that the storyline would be planted in reality. I ended up choosing Thomasville, GA because it had been in a CNN poll the year before I started book 1.  It's listed in the top 5 cities to visit because of the INCREDIBLE gardens.  Thomasville is known for their roses (and paint according to the commercials, haha). As a result, we've spent a lot of time including little details in book one about gardens and the care and "pomp and circumstance" that Georgians give them.

What's my point in all this?

Well, my new house isn't just an adorable country home. The entire property is a designer, mature garden. There are carefully placed roses, irises, chics and hens, 4 o'clocks, a vast array of greenery, and a number of fruit trees including figs and quince. There are 3 planter beds in the backyard: 2 for fresh vegetables and one for fresh herbs. To top it off, there's an enormous grapevine in the back yard.  

We wrote a piece in chapter 10 about the main character enjoying her coffee in the morning and taking in the scent of spring in her garden.  Now I get to do that myself.

Goodbye busy, polluted, insensitive city.  I'm ready to welcome the joys of a 1950s kitchen, a cozy fireplace, and relaxing spring and summer gardening.  I'm going to grow and plow and bake and cook and love every single minute of it. 

I told myself when I came here that I wanted to know what it was like to live and work in a big city. Well, now I've done that. And I wasn't missing anything. I love working in downtown Seattle. I love my job. But I'm more than ready to go "home" at the end of the day.

Everyone needs a little balance in life and this new house is mine.

Excerpt from chapter 10:

With the cold winter melting away, spring's crisp bounty of new life was soon to give way to the oppressive heat of summer, and the balmy breeze was heady with the scent of growing things; chickory, roses, four-o-clocks, and lush greenery. Charlotte leaned back in her hammock chair and reveled in the sweet perfume of the changing seasons.

The people of Thomasville prided themselves on their roses, so it was no surprise to Charlotte when they began to bloom all over her yard. She took joy in gardening; turning the earth, pulling weeds, and seeing the fruits of her labors bloom and flourish. Nevertheless, she couldn't bring herself to understand the preoccupation with roses. So much fertilizer and pruning! Certainly, she felt, roses required much more work than any other garden flower. She much preferred peonies, with their delicate fragrance and lack of thorny stems, though it took a special hand to encourage their growth this far south.

Charlotte inhaled a deep sigh of content, the shadow of a smile playing across her lips. It was then, with the sun on her face and her mind adrift, that Charlotte was ripped from her reverie by some strange force, tugging at her mind.

She was still for a moment, trying to evaluate the strange feeling. And then it hit her: it wasn't just a feeling. She was hearing something... Something like soft whispers, mingling together, coalescing to form faint words. Where was it coming from? She scanned the yard, straining to find the source. But it wasn't coming from somewhere in the yard or on the street. It was coming from somewhere else altogether. It was all around her, yet within her. And then all she felt was fear.

The soft murmuring swirled in her head, becoming louder; more insistent. The soothing music of evening sounds faded away, until all she could hear were the misty voices and the thudding of her heartbeat in her ears. She closed her eyes, focusing, as the breathy sighs integrated, forming one voice.


Her eyes flew open, and her breath caught in her throat. She could make it out clearly now, though it was muted. As she listened, she had the feeling it had been calling to her for a while, and was now growing increasingly impatient.
"Charlotte!" There was no mistaking it.

"Hello?" Her voice quivered, and it sounded to her like it was coming from far away. Then, quite abruptly, the voice was gone.

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