My Google History Is Weird

I’m thinking of making this a series…

As a writer, I’m almost always writing something -whether it’s a novel, short story, finishing a prompt – I always have something going on and sometimes I have to turn to Google for help with research.

So, in this first edition of “My Google History is Weird” we have….

1.) “Anatomy of an aircraft carrier” – this is for a mystery/thriller that I’m working on where my narrator and main antagonist are both former Navy and served together on an aircraft carrier…of which I really only knew one thing, they hold planes and people. This search led to some very interesting results!

2.) “Who is the President of Panama?” – this search was for a research paper that I wrote for my Comparative politics class…(by the way, it’s Juan Carlos Varela)

3.) “Explain it to me like I’m five – image” – because sometimes this is the best reaction .gif to send to someone.

office-article

4.) “Character Name Generator” – because, let’s be honest, I’m awful at naming my characters…I think I should probably just bookmark the name generator…

5.) “What would be the rank of a navy fighter pilot?” – because I know next to nothing about military ranks…I should probably bookmark this page too, at least until I’m done with this project.

and finally, the strangest search in my history, the one that would probably make people scratch their heads the most…

6.) “Civil war battlefield medical techniques”– I knew what I was getting into with this one but I still don’t think I was prepared. This one as you can likely guess was for a civil war era historical fiction project that is still ongoing…however, thanks to google, much of the research is done!

I’m really thinking I might turn this into a series because as long as I’m still writing, I’ll be using Google for help with research and probably turning out more weird searches!

Until next time!

Megan

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I am NOT a planner

I am not a planner…at least not when it comes to my writing.

In other areas of my life I am almost an obsessive planner; I have three calendars (four if you count my phone) – this would be a wall calendar, a desk top Post-It brand calendar, and my Erin Condren (very aptly named) Life Planner. I write everything in these calendars – birthdays, meetings, volunteer work, football games…you name it. I. Am. A. Planner.

My writing is a totally different story.

Last semester, I had to write a term paper and two months prior to it’s due date I was required to submit an outline. That meant that I had to plan out each section of the paper, what I wanted to say, who I wanted to interview, and how I wanted it all to flow.

This is kind of a foreign concept to me. Everything thing else I’ve ever written, has been – fly by the seat of my pants – and not – meticulously planned out like this term paper had to be….let’s be honest, even this blog post was entirely spur of the moment!

My first major writing projects, the three (as of yet) unpublished novels on my computer that still need edits and re-writes, were not planned or outlined, they just sort of happened….

That’s why, this November I’m stepping WAY out of my comfort zone and writing something that basically demands to be planned. I’m stepping out of my usual romance/historical fiction/rom-com comfort zone into….Mystery/Crime Drama/Legal Thriller.

This means that I have to know who the victim and perpetrator are ahead of time; I have to know the who/what/where/when/why/how well before the story hits paper. It has already proven to be a challenge in that I have only planned two of my characters…they have wonderful backstories….but I need to move on to the rest of the outline. Wish me luck! This is going to be a very interesting NaNoWriMo as I embark on this personal challenge!

Blessings,

Meg

Regret

I have a project that I’ve been working on for 412 days – I started it on January 1st 2015 and it is now February 16th 2016….and I just deleted about 10,000 words of this project.

For a little over a year I’ve been keeping a diary as Hannah Bishop circa 1863 – a year long diary of a woman living in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania in the midst of the civil war. I’m still keeping the diary – April tripped me up a bit and set me back a while behind my planned writing schedule.

As well as using this “Civil War diary” I’m creating a modern day character following her own timeline of events. I came across my original notes for this book a few days ago and was reading through them and comparing them to the work I’d already done on this project and decided to scrap the new in place of the (better) old ideas….so about a third of what I’d written (and by written, I mean typed, this does not include what is written in the actual, physical diary I’m keeping) has been deleted…gone for good…and I can’t decide how I feel about that yet.

On one hand I’m glad that I’m going in a new direction because this new direction has a better flow and makes the story much easier to tell but on the other hand…I just deleted close to fifteen thousand words and set myself back several months…which kind of stresses me out.

31 Gifs That Perfectly Sum Up The Struggle Of Writing Motivational Letters

(.gif via Buzzfeed)

I need someone to tell me that I’m going to be okay and that I did what needed to be done because now that the changes are made and saved….I’m regretting it….

31 Gifs That Perfectly Sum Up The Struggle Of Writing Motivational Letters

(also via Buzzfeed)

….even though I KNOW that this is good for me and is what absolutely needed to be done!!

The Aftermath…

….no one ever talks about it but as a writer I like to imagine the days that followed….

Three days of bloody battle…

7,363 men lost their lives….

17,224 were wounded….

but what happened to the quiet town of Gettysburg when the armies cleared out?

On July 1st, 1863 The Civil War made its way to the town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania where the battle lasted until July 3.

I’ve always been fascinated by the Battle of Gettysburg – the men involved – Chamberlain, Lee, Pickett, and Buford.

Chamberlain’s defense of Little Round Top, Pickett’s charge.

I am reminded on this anniversary that these weren’t the only men in town…the town was occupied, there were people left behind when the armies rolled out…what about them? Who is telling their stories?

Well, the history buff/writer in me has decided to answer this question that I’m always asking myself, so tonight as I sit down to work on my first historical novel, I’m asking myself this question (again) and trying to put myself into the shoes of the townspeople:

What would I have done on June 30th if I saw the cavalry ride into town and set up camp?

Or on July 1st when the battle started on the fields outside of town, or out behind my orchard?

What would I have done on July 4th if I woke up and in my backyard was the aftermath of a bloody battle?

What happened to the dead and wounded? Did life go on as usual in town in the days that followed?

These are the questions (and believe me there are more where these came from) that I’m asking myself as I work on this new project and I have to say it’s been very interesting to really explore Gettysburg’s history a little more in depth than I have before and sort of put myself in the shoes of an inhabitant of the town.

I’m enjoying working on this project so far even though it’s sort of taken a turn from my original plan but that’s okay…I’m going to go with the flow and see what happens from here!!

The Risk of Predictability

I don’t want to be predictable….more specifically, I don’t want my story line to be predictable and I’m struggling with that tonight.

I’m working on a piece where the main character is searching for something – at the risk of giving away spoilers for those of you who know what I’m working on, I’m going to leave it at that…she’s searching for something.

For the majority of the novel she runs into dead-ends, she gets turned around, and takes some detours…is it ‘predictable’ if in the end she finds what she was searching for?

Is is too “happily ever after” if she finds what she was searching for all along? Or as a reader would you be more inclined to read a story where they don’t necessarily find what they are looking for?

Is it too hard for readers to identify with or relate to a character who gets exactly what they want.

These are the many questions I’ve been asking myself ever since this scene for my novel popped into my head last evening.

I guess what I’m asking is this – as a reader, would you be satisfied at the end of a novel if the main character gets what she spent the novel looking for – if I wrap the story up in a nice little bow, happily ever after style…

OR

If the character spent the entire novel searching in vain and coming up short?

Let me know what you think…I’m still hard at work on this novel and things can still change but I think for the ending I’d really like feedback from readers.

Thanks!

Blessings,

Megan

Heroes and Villains

Today I would like to do something a little bit different than my usual posts – I would like to share a writing sample with you (other than what I usually write in this space). Here is an essay that I wrote for my composition class that I am comfortable sharing with you now that it has been submitted and returned with a grade…. 

Villain – Misunderstood Hero or Misunderstood Nanny?

What do Darth Vader, Saruman, and Loki have in common? Other than being in my favorite movie franchises, they are the villains of those franchises. On a number of occasions I have been asked to play Darth Vader only to be cut in half by my own lightsaber (a tree limb in the back yard). I’ve played Saruman and his army of Orcs only to be brought to an end by three Hobbits and their Nerf guns. My favorite role to date however has been Loki, the God of Mischief…of course I met my demise at the hands of three – yes, three – Captain Americas…with Spiderman’s web slingers.

Why have I been playing these villains you may ask? For the last seven years I’ve been babysitting and working as a nanny. Kids like imaginative play and I have found that more often than not they enjoy being the heroes, even if it means all three brothers playing Captain America…or Frodo. When everyone wants to be a hero that leaves only one logical choice for the villain and that would be the adult in the room, be they parent or babysitter.

It doesn’t take much to play a convincing villain, in fact depending on the audience all you have to do is stand still and get whacked with plastic lightsabers…or sticks from the backyard. Sometimes it means joining in the fun and arming yourself to the teeth with foam darts and a gigantic Nerf weapons. Sometimes a convincing portrayal will be required if you find yourself asked to play Darth Vader and the six year old pretends to cut off your legs it is helpful to fall to your knees and remain there until the ten and twelve year old have vanquished you, their enemy.

There will be times when you as a villain will still have to take care of responsibilities including but not limited to diaper changes, lunch making, and the occasional load of laundry. It is possible to remain the villain while taking care of these responsibilities, you just have to know how to play the cards in your hand. While making lunch, take the middle child hostage with use of a Nerf sword and require them to set the table to gain their freedom, all the while fending off an attack from their brother and sister who’ve ambushed you from the basement stairs.

Depending on the age of the heroes you’ve been facing off against you may find yourself playing the most powerful card you have in your hand: nap time. This is your super power – forget making kick-butt mac n’ cheese, making a mean pillow/blanket fort, or designing backyard obstacle courses, nap time is the Kryptonite you hold in your hand. Use the Kryptonite only if need be, you’ll know when you need it – when the heroes begin to turn on each other – verbal disagreements, physical tussles, or occasionally one or more of your esteemed heroes dissolving into tears; This is when you as the villain (and responsible adult) have to bring temporary peace to The Universe, the Death Star, or Middle Earth.

Usually this temporary laying down of arms will take place in the afternoon, anywhere from two o’clock to three o’clock depending on how grouchy your young foes are. While the heroes go to their separate fortresses to rest and develop strategies for how to overtake you post-nap, use this time to do a little resting and strategizing of your own. You might consider dividing up the hundreds of Nerf darts into equal piles for each hero (maybe a few extra for your own stash…just in case). You could make some repairs to the ramshackle pillow fort – couch cushions make a more stable foundation – or prepare a few snacks…in my experience young heroes enjoy cheese and crackers, various fruits and peanut butter but will turn their little hero noses up at celery or carrots.

Before you know it, nap time will be over and you – the unsuspecting, villain who was only trying to read a chapter in the novel you brought along with you for your own bit of quit time – will be ambushed from all sides with various calls for snacks, or shots to the head with foam darts that you thought to stashed away somewhere they couldn’t be found. This is the time that you employ the strategy you devised during nap-time – redirect your heroes’ course – if the weather is nice, send them on a quest for the mystical object they are in search of outside; if you find yourself dealing with a cold and rainy day lead them to the basement and their revamped pillow fort (also, this may be the biggest, most open room in the house giving you and your heroes ample room for play with minimal risk for accidental injury).

You will soon find your time facing the young heroes winding down and they may be getting restless for a solution, preferably a peaceful one. Determine what your heroes want– are they looking for a peaceful capture of you the misunderstood villain or, do they want you vanquished, brought down by your foolishness and pride? Once your outcome has been determined, ready yourself for defeat – pack your bags, set your things by the front door, and load your pockets with spare darts…now you are ready to face your doom (the heroes have chosen vanquish you).

It is time for your final campaign, you are Loki facing The Avengers, Darth Vader facing off against two Han Solos and an Obi-Wan Kenobi (because who wants to be Luke Skywalker?), you are Captain Hook against two Peter-Pans and Belle (favorite princess always wins out against the movie’s actual heroine) be prepared to face your final minutes with dignity – don’t go down without a fight but please, no cheap shots: don’t shoot anyone in the back or head, or threaten an extra nap-time for the next day. This is probably the most important part of being villain for a day – retain your dignity – you will find yourself in the company of these heroes again and you want them to know that you are a worthy adversary…don’t fall on your sword.

You walk down those stairs with your head held high, your Nerf gun heavily loaded, and you unleash your wrath. Don’t worry if the majority of your shots miss – the heroes are fast, they are dodging your shots – finally you are out of darts, it’s time. You move out from your protected spot between the pillow fort and doll house, surrounded by heroes…they unload their weapons on you, and you fall. Die with dignity…and by that I mean, put on a show because that is what the heroes are after.

Stagger to the pillow fort, clutch at your chest, then fall to the ground – make sure when you fall that you point your body toward the pillow fort, it will soften the fall a bit, you may be the villain but you are not getting any younger…a fall straight to the floor will hurt you. Once you’ve reached the ground play dead. I cannot stress this part enough: Play. Dead. If you play dead they will celebrate and stop shooting you. If you struggle to stay alive or try to crawl away they will reload (possibly steal your weapon) and continue to shoot.

The battle is now over – the villain has been vanquished, the Ring of Power is in the hands of the Hobbits, Darth Vader is dead, and Loki is on his way to an Asgardian prison. It is time now for the villain and heroes to form an alliance, to work together as a team…it is time now to clean up the mess. Have the young Hobbits return the couch cushions to their rightful place, ask The Avengers to return any and all weapons to the bin from which they came, and ask the young Jedi to fold up the roof of the pillow fort and return it to the blanket basket by the couch.

You and the heroes fought valiantly but now it is time to hang up your capes and caps, put the weapons and foam ammunition away and get ready for the return of the parents. You work together to clean up the house, put everything back in its rightful place and before you know it mom and dad are home and you are on your way out the door.

Don’t worry, you’ll come back…and when you do, the kids will have a Nerf gun loaded and waiting for you when you walk in the door. Good luck.

Thoughts on Writing — Finding Your Voice

I’ve been working lately on a lot of professional writing — papers for school, letters to department heads, mind numbingly dull writing if I’m being honest, but writing that I hope will make a difference when it gets put into the right hands.

I’ve found that my writing changes depending on what and where I’m writing — for school I use short, clipped language – according to my professor my writing belongs in news magazines – I get to the point, use easily read language, and my writing is accessible to all audiences.

When writing professional letters I age about twenty years and take on a whole new — hyper-professional voice.

My fiction is very dialogue driven (almost to a fault if you ask me) — each of my characters has their own distinct and unique voice (at least in my head they do, sometimes I don’t translate it well enough from my head to the page).

This — and an assignment in my writing class — has really gotten me thinking about my voice as a writer and what I want it to be. The more I thought about it the more I’ve realized that my ‘writer’s voice’ changes depending on the material in front of me and the situation I’m in — there is kind of this duality in all writers, we write things we’d never say, situations we’ve never had to face…that to me is the beauty of writing and finding your voice as a writer…a writer can take on several different ‘voices’ conducive to their style and the situations they face.

My voice here in this space is even different from any of my other writing — it’s more personal, more intimate than an academic paper or professional letter. I think we do a disservice to kids as they learn to write by telling them that they need to find a specific voice when from what I’ve learned as a writer there is no ONE voice that you take on as a writer, you find several voices in your writing.

Find your voice — voices — and use them to the best of your ability in all you write…have fun with it!

Blessings,

Megan

The Mark of a Good Character

I first saw the movie Mona Lisa Smile when is was about 13 years old, mom was watching it, and I was sitting on the floor with my nose in a book (what else is new?)…I remember not really paying much attention to the movie back then but that there was one character in particular that stood out to me, and that my odd, nerdy, 13 year old self was able to identify with…Connie Baker, played by Ginnifer Goodwin (Once Upon a Time’s Snow White/Mary Margaret).

Connie is a somewhat awkward character who clearly has (though it’s never stated outright) some self-esteem issues, is introverted, and relies very heavily on the opinion of her friends played by Kirsten Dunst, Julia Stiles, and Maggie Gyllenhaal.

That was me to a T…still is sometimes. I’m still kind of nerdy and introverted…and sometimes have a low opinion of myself, and put too much stock in to what people think of me, even though I know that I shouldn’t.

Watching it now as an adult and understanding more of the content of the film, I still identify with Connie – she’s the low woman on the totem pole that is her circle of friends but in the end Connie ends up being the happiest – she is their north star, she keeps the girls grounded, she is spunky, and in the end she gets what she wants…because instead of resting on her laurels, she gets up and goes after it despite the fact that (mean girl) Betty does everything in her power to put Connie down.

I knew a Betty – she was someone who would compliment you one minute and in the next point out everything that is wrong with you…it was someone that I considered a friend back then.

The fact that 13 year old me and now 21 almost 22 year old me can still identify with Connie is – to me – a sign of good writing and, the mark of a good character. In this movie the story is not about Connie at all…its about Katherine Watson, the art history professor but each of the girls is so well written, so striking that you can’t help but be completely taken in by the supporting cast as well.

Mona Lisa Smile is a movie that – when I watch it now – always makes me think; there are so many subplots dealing with social issues, societal norms, and a woman’s place in society. Many taboo issues for the time period – divorce, a woman going to law school, sex in general.

I will even go so far as to call this film timeless.

It’s a film that you can always learn something from, there are characters that will teach you something…

Connie Baker has taught me to get up and go after what I want…don’t back down regardless of what those around you think.

Even now whenever I see Ginnifer Goodwin in something I think back to this film, and to Connie Baker who will forever be one of my favorite movie heroines.

Friday Favorite’s: Snow Day!! Edition

Happy cold and snowy Friday to you all…and if you happen to be where it is not cold and snowy shout it out in the comments so I can dream of someplace warm!!

It is Friday and that means it’s time for Friday Favorites so I will be linking up once again with Andrea, and today, thanks to the bitter cold (think a wind chill of -10) I am staying in today and watching movies, baking cookies, and perusing the stack of cookbooks that I got from the library yesterday which brings me to my first favorite…

1.) Spike Mendelsohn’s cook book, The Good Stuff The name is not a lie…in the pages of this book is nothing but good stuff…burgers, salads, shakes, and sides…you guys this book is basically heaven for this Midwestern Girl, I highly recommend this book!

2.) Rachel Balducci’s Weekly Downton Abbey Recaps If you are a fan of the weekly (melo)Drama, Downton Abbey, Rachel’s recaps are a must read and really there isn’t much more I need to say about that!

3.) Favorite Posts On My Blog This Week aka, shameless self promotion! I’ve been participating in Andrea’s Show and Tell Tuesday series, however with this weeks I didn’t add my link to the list – simply because mine was not a traditional (non-fictional) love story. This week I decided (because I don’t have my own love story to share) to introduce readers to the stars of my latest novel, Hannah and Robert Bishopand I couldn’t introduce those two without also introducing Molly Williams. Check them out and let me know what you think! I’m working on developing a historical fiction series and these are the characters from the installment that centers around the Battle of Gettysburg but employs two timelines: 1.) 1863 and 2.) 2014/15. It has been pretty interesting writing the dual timelines and dealing with the historical research but right now the research is one of my Favorite Things. 

4.) It’s really no secret (to anyone who knows me) that I’m a bit of a nerd but, I’ve always had a deep love of history and researching the civil war – specifically the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863 – has been one of my favorite things. I’ve been doing lots of reading, researching both the Union and Confederate armies and their commanders…seriously, I’m considering really diving deeper into writing historical fiction!

Thank you so much for stopping by, have a great weekend, stay warm, and if you’re already someplace warm…enjoy it!

Blessings,

Megan

Follow-Up, and An Introduction

Good morning friends! On Tuesday I shared with you an introduction to two of my newest characters – Robert and Hannah Bishop, they are just two of the people you will get to meet in my newest novel (currently still being written) based around the battle of Gettysburg.

I’m doing something a little bit different in this novel by playing around with dual timelines. Part of the novel is diary style – told from the point of view of Hannah Bishop as she chronicles the year 1863; the other timeline is modern – it’s told from the point of view of Molly Williams, Hannah Davis’ great, great (I haven’t done the math yet so I don’t know how many greats) granddaughter.

I though today I might give you a little back story for Molly, and introduce you to her and an additional character…but first you have to know Molly’s history:

When Molly was a child she lost both of her parents in a fatal car accident and went to live with her grandmother in Lakeland, Florida. She lived with her Gram all through her school years before going off to college. Molly has a core group of friends that she relies on heavily – she met them all in college, Ellie, Erin, and Charlotte – they were roommates as freshman and got an apartment together for the last three years. (Trust me, this is very VERY important for Molly’s story going forward). All four of them in some way or another go into writing – Molly writes for Engel Travel, a magazine based in Lakeland. Ellie is a sports writer, covering baseball in Upstate New York. Erin is a novelist, introducing her friends and readers to brilliant characters and stories. Charlotte started out in media but worked her way up to being some big-wig baseball executive’s assistant (again, just trust me…this is important stuff!!).

Gram dies, leaving Molly everything – the house and all that comes with it – but also leaving her without any family.

Molly calls in the troops to help her sort through and clean out Gram’s things – Ellie, Erin, and Char show up bearing junk food and cheesy movies to help sort through the myriad boxes of things that Gram in all her wisdom never threw away.

While the girls set to work sorting through boxes – each of them tackling a corner of the basement – Molly comes across an antique trunk.

In the trunk she finds several quilts, an old sewing box, a dress, and a diary.

The diary of Hannah Bishop.

This discovery launches Molly on a journey to find her family (and possibly love along the way).

Molly’s first stop is Davis Plantation where she meets a young and dashing (somewhat snarky) museum director…


I make my way an hour outside of Atlanta’s city limits to the Davis Plantation; I wind my way up what seems like a mile long driveway, lined with magnolia trees, and catch a glimpse of the house beyond the trees – it’s a formidable looking home with giant stone columns and a sturdy wooden door, I take a deep breath and brace myself as I climb out of my car.

I walk up the front steps, pushing open the massive door and am immediately greeted by a young girl maybe eighteen or nineteen years old.

“Good mornin'” she drawls, her accent heavy, “you here for a tour? We have guided tours and self guided tours, whatever you’d prefer” she says, while handing me maps of the house and the grounds. Looking over the pamphlets she’s handed me I make my decision.

“I’ll do the self guided, thank you.”

“No problem, if you have any questions my name is Laurel, and I’d be happy to help you.”

I walk through the massive foyer, and start by looking at the family portraits on the wall, looking for Hannah Davis.  The first portrait is that of George Davis, the family patriarch – a man with a slim face and a bushy mustache above an intimidating scowl, he does not look like the kind of man you would want to disagree with.

Next in line is Mrs. Margaret Davis, Hannah’s mother; a slight woman with a weary and worn face – a small frown on her lips, and sad eyes.

There is a third and final picture – Jonathan Davis. A young man of nineteen or twenty, with bright eyes and a wide smile. There is no trace of Hannah Davis anywhere – which I suppose makes sense however I’d hoped that the historical society would at least tell the whole family’s story.

I wander around on the main floor a while longer, looking for anything that connects Hannah Davis Bishop to this house and family, but I come up short. Finally, after a fruitless search for Hannah, I make my way back to the front desk to ask Laurel “excuse me,” I interrupt, and she lifts her eyes from the pages of her book. “Am I in the right place? I’m looking for information about Hannah Davis Bishop and my research pointed me here but there is nothing about her mentioned anywhere in the house.”

“Yes, this is the right place, but hang on just a minute…” She says before bolting down the hall to an employees only area of the mansion. I’m left to my own devices for about five minutes before she comes rushing back down the hall toward me “okay, come with me.”

Garnering several curious glances from the other visitors here today, Laurel leads me down the hallway to the office of the museum director, “wait here, it will just be a moment” she says with a slightly nervous tone, before making her way back to the information desk.

“You know,” a smooth baritone voice intones from behind me “in the 1860’s asking about Hannah Davis was a punishable offense on these grounds.”

“Yes, I’m aware of that – thank goodness this isn’t 1863.”

“I’m Eric,” he says, extending his hand, “Eric Lancaster, museum director.”

“I’m Molly” I reply shaking his hand “Molly Williams, writer and avid history buff…and I’m hoping you can help me.”

“Well, if it’s Hannah you’re interested in I can certainly help you out.”

At the quizzical look I gave him, Eric continued. “When I got here a few years ago, fresh out of grad school I made Hannah my project; it wasn’t sanctioned by the historical society but I wanted to find out for myself what happened to her. You grow up down here and all you’re told is that she died young, nothing more – no explanation, no elaboration – she just died. Sixteen years old with her whole life ahead of her.”

“But she didn’t die” I interject “her father sent her to Washington to live with her grandparents William and Margaret Russell”

“Where she met and married Robert Bishop, Captain in the Union Army” Eric volleys back.

“Robert died and his last wish was for Hannah to move north to Gettysburg Pennsylvania; at twenty three years old, a grieving widow, Hannah closed up the dress shop she inherited after the death of her grandmother, packed up all of her belongings and boarded a train bound for Gettysburg. She moved in with a sister she’d never met, and started a brand new life for herself in January of 1863.”

He stares at me open mouthed, at a loss for words “how can you possibly know all of that?” he asks, “I lost track of her in DC. As far as I know she stayed in DC until the day she died.”

I sit back in my chair, place my hand on my shoulder bag, feeling the heft of Hannah’s diary under the quilted cloth of my bag. I do my best to hide the smug smile I feel tugging the corners of my lips; I have information that the museum director doesn’t have, I still have cards in my hand I just have to figure out when to play them.

“What about her brother?” I ask him, remembering Jonathan’s own change of heart.

“Disinherited, just like Hannah. Charlotte Davis, Master Davis’ niece, inherited the plantation; she took over when George felt he was too ill to run the place.”

Cousin Charlotte…exactly as Hannah feared.

“Can you tell me how you know all of that” he asks again.

This diary is the only link I have left to my family, and I can’t let it go – I don’t know that at this point in my journey I’m willing to give it up – on the other hand I know that Eric is capable of helping me. Never one to mince words, I explain…

“My grandmother died a few months ago and my best friends and college roommates traveled to Florida to help me sort through Gram’s belongings and I came across a diary that I think may have belonged to Hannah Davis Bishop and there is some small part of me that wants to believe I’m related to her…I’m hoping you can tell me more. I’m actually hoping you can answer some questions I have as well.”

“Come with me.” He says by way of response. Eric pushes himself away from his desk and takes a key ring from his pocket. Leading me down the corridor, through the main foyer, past groups of tourists, and up the main staircase.

“I probably shouldn’t do this – but since I am the museum director I can,” he smiles at me as he tries to locate the correct key. “Aha!” he exclaims, holding up an antique skeleton key before sliding it in the lock. “At the request of the Davis family this room has never been open to the public but, I think you may benefit from this.” He opens the door slowly, and steps aside, guiding me gently into the room. In an almost reverent voice he tells me “it’s been preserved exactly as she left it when her father sent her away in 1856.”

I take a deep breath and step from the hallway into the dark room. Eric steps in front of me and walks to the windows, drawing open the heavy drapes allowing golden sunlight to fill the room. I can see dust swirling in the sun’s rays, the smell of dust and books fills my nose and throat, and I’m suddenly transported to 1856.

There are bookshelves bending with the weight of books, stacks of books on every flat surface – the desk, floor, and bed – and all manner of pens and ink wells littering the room.

I take it all in – the four poster bed, floor to ceiling bookshelves against one wall, heavy dust laden purple-ish drapes, books on every surface…it’s almost too much to process at once…


What?! Did you really think I would give you more than that?! No way! You’ll have to wait until the novel is finished and published, but stick around because there is a good chance I will introduce you to a few more characters (maybe from some other projects!!) in the future!

I hope that you’ve enjoyed meeting Molly and (what little bit I show you of) Eric, and Hannah and Robert before them! I look forward to being able to share a completed novel with you in the future!

Blessings,

Megan