Thursday, January 27, 2011

Southern Turf

The name of my book is "Southern Turf." Why? Because that is the name of the beloved building I work in, and the inspiration for my book. The idea for my book started with a door.

The door, located on the second floor of this building, must be 15 feet tall, and about 6 inches thick, made from a very sturdy and beautiful mahogany. It is scuffed and dinged, and shows its age well with a deep patina. I absolutely adore the hardware used for the keyguard and door handle. It is original to 1895, and is a very unusual scrollwork design, and I'm thinking this design will need to be incorporated in some fashion in the artwork for my book.

Another wonderful feature on the door is a little sliding panel, pocketed in the door at eye level, about 4x5 inches, with a metal finger hook on the interior side of the door. Since this is the only door in the building that still exists of this size, width, and made from such a strong and durable wood, I deduce that the office behind the magnificent door was used by the owner, or perhaps the person that handled the money for the gambling that took place on that floor in its heyday. Said person could use peer out the sliding panel to see if a friend or foe was on the other side of the door.

I have noticed a few semi-circular, crescent moon shaped indentations on the exterior side of the door, near the keyguard. Looks like old hammer marks to me - perhaps made by an intruder's vain effort to get in? That is purely a guess.

The other fact that leads me to believe that someone important was protected in that office by the sturdy door is that there is a secret passageway that looks like an unassuming closet, but in fact is a pass through to the office behind it. Perhaps if there was a bad person on the other side of the main door, the person in the office could skin out via the passage way.

I could go on and on. I love this building, and cannot wait to share it with everyone when my book is done!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Last week was wonderful and productive. This week? So far not so much. I've been busy busy busy. I'm hopeful I will find time to write towards the end of the week. I constantly tell myself that I need to take a full hour for my lunch break, but I think of all the tasks that need to be done, and invariably I delve right back in to my work.

Oh how I dream of a quieter life. This quieter life would certainly involve me winning the lottery - so far my luck in that department has not been great. But you never know right?

I've scheduled an entire week off at the end of February. I have great hopes for this week. No more writing on my lunch breaks, or evenings, or weekends. A whole week to peruse old newspapers on microfiche, to carefully examine photographs from years past at Metro Archives, to stare at my computer screen at the cursor that mocks me with its incessant flashing.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Naming Characters

I am thoroughly enjoying this writing process. I smile or laugh when I write something really clever, and I have had a lot of fun naming my characters.

My heroine is Josie Costello. I've always loved that last name, probably because I adore the comedy team Abbott & Costello. Josie's sister, Lucy, married Will Abbott. I'm so subtle...this I know.

Josie's love interest is Dan Finney. I wanted to include the last name "Finney" somewhere, because Jack Finney is one of my most beloved authors. He is best known for penning "Invasion of the Body Snatchers," but my favorite work of his is "Time and Again." If you haven't read it, and are fond of the time travel genre, it is a must-read!

Josie's boss is Tom Hartman. Hartman is my Grandmother Anne's maiden name. She was a lovely precious person, and it was just plain fun to use a family name.

Oh, there are more stories associated with my character names, but perhaps I'll save that for another post.

It snowed last night. It was that wonderful sort of snow that clings to every surface, much to the dismay of drivers. As I slowly inched my way home, on 4th Avenue South, I passed the Nashville City Cemetery. Usually I just zip by the historic cemetery, but last night I certainly had time to divert my attention from the road. It was just beautiful. The cemetery on a regular day is very pretty, resplendent with ornate headstones and surrounded by a fine old stone wall, but last night's snow blanketed everything in a silent white. It was just gorgeous, and gave me pause. How many beautiful things to we whiz by every day? We need to slow down, and see the beauty all around us.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

A Quiet Mind

It is amazing what a quiet mind will come up with. I was sitting in church last night, focusing on my Pastor's message, trying to leave my busy work day in the past, and it came to me - a fantastic new character for my book, that would explain my heroine's "ability" even better, and also flesh out her family even more. Too excited for words. I could not wait to get to my computer and blend it in.

And now it is in there, at least the beginning of fleshing out the character. My mind feels so very open right now. Does that make any sense? My book, right now, is very tightly constructed, and right now I feel like I have options, and can wander and meander through the story. The peace of a quiet mind - I have to get there more often.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


It's a rainy cold day here in Nashville. I work in a lovely building, but I do not love the caulking around the 1895 windows on days like this. The window in my area must be at least 14 feet high, and original, which means that it is extremely drafty. I have a space heater, a shawl, and a lap blanket, but I'm still cold!

My first job was in a building on 2nd Avenue. It was from the early 1900s as well. I used to walk up Banker's Alley to the Arcade on my lunch breaks. I would pass by this building every time, and look up at the lovely brickwork and beautifully detailed bay windows. I told myself someday, I would like to work in that building....and now I do!

I've work in modern building and skyscrapers, but it was so very boring. No charm whatsoever could be found amongst the fabric covered cubicles and drywall. I am so thankful I work in a building that still surprises me every now and then.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Back in the Saddle

As I said in my previous and only other post, I go through creative phases. I am absolutely out of my cooking phase, and am completely focused on my beloved book project. I am doing more research, reading whatever I can about the early 1900's in Nashville. I love this time period, and am so thankful that there are so many well-preserved buildings from that era for inspiration.

I went to the library (aka my second home) during my lunch, and on the way back I heard the bells at St. Mary's, ringing in the noon hour. That building has been a witness to many changes to the face of downtown, and yet it rings on. I believe the church dates to the 1850's. The bells will certainly make it into my book.

I cannot wait until February. I have scheduled a whole week off to devote solely to my book. I plan on visiting Metro Archives to peruse their photograph collection. I cannot wait for the immersion.