Life as I know It

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San Luis Obispo, California, and South Bristol, Maine, United States
Author ~ Illustrator ~ Lecturer

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

To Dream a New Dream


"You are never too old to set another goal or 
to dream a new dream."
C.S. Lewis

Dear Friends,

I am dreaming a new dream and keep pinching myself to make sure I am awake.

Four years ago, I set out on a journey of discovery. I returned to Virginia where I once substitute taught in some schools and participated again in the Goose Creek Friends meetings. I walked old pathways, visited graveyards, dipped into vintage books about the Civil War, visited battlefields and museums, talked with locals, and fueled my dreams for writing a pre-Civil War novel for middle grade children.

I began writing my novel and reading it at my Cambria Writers group and with my Kiddie Writers. When I received their well considered critiques, I would zoom home and sit at my desk doing rewrites for hours. I plodded on and on, writing, rewriting, dreaming, doing research, and hoping that someday my book would become a reality.

Now, I am beyond happy to let you know that Random House/Delacorte Press has purchased my novel, which they will release in the fall of 2014.


I have a fresh stack of the absolutely necessary yellow tablets. When I am finished, there will be a stack of them filled with my field notes and footnotes.

So every day I am doing more rewrites, more research, and more little drawings for the book. I love this leg of the journey. Won't you join me as I work onward and upward?


Yesterday I visited our local AAA for a stack of maps. I cut them apart so that I could track my routes on the Underground Railroad.


Learning the names of the nearby rivers, creeks, and mountains. 


I lay out all the maps on the floor in Mockingbird Studio. I'll use a yellow highlighter to indicate roads, farms, villages, and possible sites for stops. I love research.

To celebrate my new beginning, I am so happy to offer some wonderful give-aways to readers who leave a comment on this posting. (Remember, if you leave a comment as "Anonymous," begin your comment with "Sharon." All others go to my spam filter.)



First, a double Mayan hammock (regular price $54.99), courtesy of Serenity Health and Home Decor. What a great place to welcome the coming of Spring.



And, an illustrated journal of the travels of the famed naturalist Carl Linnaeus will be added to the give-away if lucky winner is a member of The Grimy Hands Girls' Club. (Sign up for the club if you're not already a member). This is a delightful read with lovely illustrations. Drawing will be in a couple of weeks.


Sending love across the miles,

Sharon

P.S. Kathy (in comments) left a note about the AAA maps not cutting it because town names etc. change. She is right, but mountain ranges, river courses, creeks, etc.  don't change (unless a dam is built), but I use my trusty links to historic societies and primary sources to secure maps of the time such as this plan of one of the towns I am featuring. Actually, one of the main towns I'm writing about went through a name change during the times of the Civil War. Just wanted to make this clear to all of you.


102 comments:

Julie Marie said...

Oooh Sharon, I am SO excited for you!... what wonderful news!... I can hardly wait for your book, I know it will be absolutely fabulous!... I hope you will post updates all along the way... what a wonderful new chapter in your already beautiful life... sending you big congratulations and lots of love!... xoxo Julie Marie

Robin Hill Quilts~Eileen G. said...

How exciting for you! Please keep us posted on the details! What a labor of love! E

Lesa Smith said...

Wonderful news, Sharon! I'm so happy for you and can't wait to see the new book in print. I love that you are enjoying the journey.
Hugs,
Lesa Smith

Momgunter said...

Sharon,
I truly enjoyed this post. I taught middle school language arts and ESL for nearly 30 years. I still dearly love YA fiction and, especially the Underground Railroad. Sounds like there's quite a lot involved to finishing up a book. Hope all goes well for you. I'll be anxious to read the book when it comes out. I usually contribute such books to our little school library. Joan

Dani said...

How exciting, Sharon! Congratulations. :) http://nfromn.blogspot.com where you can see the GGirls widget. ;)

Darla said...

I'm the first to comment! Congratulations and yippee! I must extend a personal invitation for you to visit Cincinnati again. You will need to visit Ripley, OH and the many other sites of the Underground Railroad. The Freedom Center isn't far from where you made your Books By the Banks appearance last fall. So come on back to the beautiful banks of the Ohio River. And you must read Litsie of Cincinnati. I am thrilled to see where this adventure takes you.

Mary G said...

I am excited for you, Sharon. I had no idea you aspired to writing fiction, but I have no doubt you have a hit. A story that will strike a note with kids and encourage their absorption of history has my admiration and wholehearted endorsement.

Best wishes,
Mary Giambalco (the good Mary)

joey said...

Dear Sharon ... you are amazing! So enjoyed your journey to this point. Kudos dear blogging friend. Onward and Upward ... no stopping you now!

eidolons said...

Oh! I'm so excited for you! But also - for me! My oldest might be ready for civil war studies come fall of next year! How perfect! (:

Amy McDowell said...

Congratulations, Sharon!

cheris said...

How do you find the time? :)

Vee said...

How very exciting! What a gal has to go through to write...you're down on your knees! Ackk...

(When I wondered whether I would write the family history of a certain character... and that is not too strong a word... I decided against it ultimately because I do not like to do that much research. A little research here and there suits me better.)

So I am grinning to realize that you love it enough to be on your knees.

All the best with your new journey in pre-Civil War history. It sounds fascinating.

From the Kitchen said...

Sharon: I am so excited for your new adventure/book. I was born, raised and educated in Virginia. Assuming that you speak of Goose Creek in S.C., I know that area too, having lived in Charleston. Wishing you happy writing.

Best.
Bonnie

Nellie said...

How very exciting, Sharon! What a wonderful "journey" you are taking! I wish I could be beside you as you do this work!

Your giveaways are always remarkable! Who wouldn't love to be in on them?!?

Sending along best wishes for your progress on this project.

Nellie

Pondside said...

What a wonderful new project - a wonderful dream come true. I'll look for it as soon as you let us know it's available, as I have young nieces who are insatiable readers. Congratulations!

Linda Hoye said...

Wow! Huge congratulations, Sharon!

africanaussie said...

Oh what a wonderful journey you are on, and I can tell your heart is really in it. I love to read novels like that - I can remember more from novels I have read than I ever learned from a history book. what a lovely give-away - count me in if it extends to Australia!

Diana Schmied said...

Wonderful news -- can't wait to read your new book when it comes out! We have an Underground Railroad site here in Memphis -- and the Civil War is never too far beneath the surface of current events (unfortunately, in most cases -- currently a HUGE controversy over a park named for Nathan Bedford Forrest, founder of the KKK and whether the name of the park should be changed).

Lorrie said...

How exciting - research and a new book. You must be so pleased to have the book accepted. Maps are fascinating things to pour over.

Rachel Proffitt said...

Congratulations Sharon! How exciting :) And here in Virginia no less- my adopted home!
And what a fabulous giveaway too.

ReaderWoman said...

Hoping to win - but even more than that - I am honored to know you and revel in your writing - knowing that we share common interests, and love the garden, in all its myriad forms!

Congratulations on your newest accomplishment.

Marya Jansen-Gruber said...

Dear Sharon, this is so thrilling. Getting a book published at all is a minor miracle these days, getting one published by one of the giants is a real coup. I look forward to seeing the book when it comes out.
Marya

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Oh, Sharon, what wonderful and exciting news! I love reading historical fiction. Congratulations!

Love the hammock and journal!

taylorsoutback said...

What exciting news and will be waiting with great anticipation with everyone else.
You might check out Milton, Wisconsin and the Milton House - it is about the only site on the Underground Railroad that was truly "underground". Our quilt history history study group walked through the actual tunnel that connected the Milton House to a nearby log cabin.

Love all your maps!!

Annelies said...

This grimy hand girl is SOOOO thrilled for you. Having lived in VA for three years ( hated to leave ....it was so wonderful), I have a deep interest an appreciation for all things Civil War. Thanks for sharing your journey with us, and thanks for the generous giveaway too. Good luck to all. XXX

kj said...

I should win that fab hammock because I have a new beginning too :-)

Sharon, I eat up the way you describe and share your process. I can see you on the floor, thinking, playing.
Moving the pieces.

I love the research too. A person could get lost following the trail ....

Love
kj

Emma Reynolds said...

How wonderful Sharon!
You have always given me the inspiration to dream.
~Emma

Kim said...

Your books are wonderful and I am really looking forward to your new one :)
Thank you for all the inspiration you give, through your books and your blogs, and for the wonderful de-stressing hours I have spent with my nose buried in your beautiful, nostalgic gardening books. You'll find me in my garden: blankets, cushions, kids, flowers, bumblebees and cats. And of course books :)
Congratulations and best of luck x

Anonymous said...

Sharon - I'm so excited for you! Your dream coming true may stimulate the dreams of a young person who reads your book. Congratulations! Sharon from Maine

Comfrey Cottages said...

This is so very exciting, Sharon! And what a coincidence! I was just researching a home in my state which did a reverse underground railroad :( Even though Illinois was an anti-slavery state, this dastardly man had teams catch the runaways and either sell them back to the South or put them in his own salt mines..
There is a rest area in Iowa with the most wonderful display of the quilts used to hang on the wash lines to signal to others helping in the railway. Brings shivers down my spine to imagine the danger there was sometimes in helping these poor souls...
My home town had a huge mansion whose owner was involved in helping these poor slaves.When they had to eventually tear it down, due to decay, the underground hidden room where the owner would allow the slaves to stay before the next leg of their journey was revealed.
Anyway, I am rambling I am so excited about your project! A subject near and dear to my heart. This will be a very important book for everyone to have for the young ones in their lives!
BTW, I adore researching too ;^)
Love, Leslie

Lori said...

Hello Sharon! I am so excited for you and I can't wait for your new book. I will look forward to sharing it with my class too.

As the Crowe Flies and Reads said...

I'm so pleased for you, Sharon. Congratulations! I'll be sure to be on the lookout next spring for the RH Fall '14 catalog featuring your book!

Susan McCoy said...

Sharon, how much fun. A pre-Civil War Book. You know you are getting in to my part of the world - I'm from SC. There is a great book called Fighting for the Confederacy that might be a great reference for you. Congratulations. You must be so proud! We all are of you. Suzi

Susan said...

You are amazing! My grands just love your last book and I know my hubby will get a copy of this one. He's a Civil War enthusiast and we have walked many a battlefield. Congratulations, XOXO

grammie5 said...

How awesome! Will look forward to sharing it with my grandchildren. Having grown up and lived in areas of the underground railroad and learning why and how buildings and quilts were made as signals for the travelers, your book will be a wonderful way to share the heritage of this part of the country.

Kathy said...

Congratulations! May I suggest that if you wish to write a truly historical novel, maps from AAA aren't going to cut it. You need maps from as close to the time period you are writing about as you can find. As a hobby genealogist I know that place names and county lines--and even state boundaries--have changed many times over the years, and the creek known as Blodgett Creek today might have been known as Bear Hill creek 200 years ago.

peg said...

Sharon! I am so excited for you!!! What a process, a journey...with the best of rewards at the end! 2014 seems like eons away but I know it will be here before we know it!!! Maybe you can treat us with the tinyest of snippets from your new novel...just a tiny sneak peek? Keep us posted as you get closer to making it a 'wrap'! xoxo

Anonymous said...

Sharon how exciting that you are writing another book. Being a Virginian I am proud of the subject you have chosen. History is our link to the past, but also our lesson for the future. ♥
Martha Ellen

Sharon Lovejoy said...

Leslie dear, THIS IS FASCINATING news. Do you have somewhere I could research the "reverse" ugrr? I guess there will always be a rotten apple somewhere in the barrel, right?

Yes, I have used the quilts in this story too. I went to the same place in Iowa after we visited our friends. I had read the book, Hidden in Plain Sight. All research says that it can't be definitely known since nobody could keep written records in fear of being caught and prosecuted.

Bad chapters in our lives, but there was lots of love spread too.

S

Sharon Lovejoy said...

Hi Kathy,

Yes, I know about how things have changed regarding names, but the lay of the land, the creek pathways, the rivers, etc. are still where I want them to be.

One of the main towns in my story has had a name change, as have many of the roads. I have a big bulletin board tacked with maps from 1858 and before.

Cheers,

Sharon

Rachel - Mozart's Girl said...

Dearest Sharon, so thrilled to read this news...I will be so interested to follow this journey & read the result too! Much love, Rachel xoxo

Miriam Goldberger said...

Dear Sharon -
I am so very happy for you! The book looks like a great read! Looking forward to delving into your latest adventure.

with much fondness!
Miriam

FlowerLady Lorraine said...

Congrats to you dear Sharon. You will do a wonderful job.

I love the quote by C.S. Lewis

FlowerLady

Lori ann said...

gosh sharon, i'm in awe. this is incredibly exciting and random house is one lucky publisher to have you. i have always looked up to you and now i have to giggle, i'm looking down at you peering over those maps. i'm so happy for you!
and awesome giveaway!! a hammock and i must look for that book!
xxx lori

Joanne said...

Dear one....absolutely cannot wait to read YOUR book about one of my very favorite subjects...American history in the making!! But 2014? Oh dear! I will patiently wait.

Born and raised in the east,it wasn't until we moved to Indiana that I found that two of the houses in our neighborhood were part of the underground railroad. The houses were connected underground and have a fascinating history to go along with them. I will send you some pictures and tell you more.
Without a blog, I guess I can't hope for a book, but I have the perfect spot for a hammock...if I win will you come swing with me??

Love and hugs

Joanne

Lili said...

Fascinating! In Ohio our house was right next to one of the routes of the Underground Railroad, that led to the basement of our neighbor's house built in early 1800s. Congratulations Sharon, this is so exciting! xo

Patti said...

What wonderful news... congratulations!! I love old maps (almost as much as gardening)! Thanks for such fun giveaways!

Comfrey Cottages said...

I sent you an email with the details, Sharon. So nice you saw the same display about the quilts. I must read the book you mentioned. xxxx Love, Leslie

Lisa Cleveland said...

How exciting! I am happy for you and look forward to reading the book.


Tamara Merritt said...

How exciting! We don't have to be kids to read it do we?

Sharon Lovejoy said...

Tamara dear,

NO! You do NOT have to be a child to read it. I hope that many grown-ups will enjoy it. I know that I always love to read middle grade fiction. I guess I'm just a child-at-heart. How about YOU?

S

Tamara Merritt said...

I did a post but it is not showing up:-(

How exciting for you! We don't have to be a kid to tead it do we?

Tamara Leonard Merritt

Tamara Merritt said...

How exciting! We don't have to be kids to read it do we?

Shady Gardener said...

Many, many congratulations! "Just shows to go you" that if you have a dream and the desire to pursue it . . . Best wishes and keep us posted! :-)

Unknown said...

Sharon,
What a wonderful new path. I will read anything to do with history. I use the excuse that I am reading in order to make sure the kids will enjoy the books. Much like testing the chocolate chip cookies to make sure they taste good ;-)
Dawn

Rebecca said...

Sharon,
ConGRATulations! How positively exciting - and what a fascinating way to lay out the setting of your novel. Does it take you through Stryker OH by any chance? I used to know some people who lived in a big old home there and thought their home was on the Underground Railroad route....

Anonymous said...

Goose Creek is on our Bucket list for 2014, Planning to visit in the spring, Inspiring to hear of the Civil War History, maybe we will take a look at your map and see if we can visit a point of interest.

Can't think of a better scene than reading Carl Linnaeus's nature book from a hammock strung between some oak trees in our yard! Will be hoping for a chance to do that as well:)

Diana G

Gail said...

How exciting and I love the photos of you studying the maps! gail

Frances said...

Hello Sharon and thank you for your visit over at my place. Yes, it was a complete delight to meet lovely Lori last week!

Many congratulations to you on the upcoming publication. That's quite an accomplishment. It always seems to me that time passes by very quickly, so 2014 will be arriving very soon. (As a Virginia native, I definitely grew up with an appreciation of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.)

Best wishes.

Nan said...

I am SO very excited for you. And I can't wait to read the book. Just before you said that you love research, I was thinking that's what I'd really love. Not writing a book, but looking up things and studying maps. Bliss.

Catherine Love said...

How exciting!
Thank you for including us in your journey. Love the photos of you on the floor with your maps :) .
And that hammock ... perfect for this time of year.
Many Blessings,
Catherine

Sharon Lovejoy said...

Diana G,

Time in a hammock is always good (but rare).

If you are so inclined, do stop at the Goose Creek Meeting house. I love the silent worship there. The first time I attended, my son Noah was two. He wiggled and chattered during the silence. When I arose to take him outdoors (so as not to ruin the worship), an elder reached over to me and said, "It sounds like music to us, don't worry." So I sat back down and let him be a semi-quiet child.

Good luck,

Sharon

Farmhouse Blessings said...

I am rejoicing with you today, Sharon, and looking so forward to enjoying your fiction as much as I enjoy your gardening books.
Many blessings, Delinda

vicki said...

Sharon- I'm so excited and happy for you to have this great opportunity to fulfill your dreams-- again!! What a wonderful book this will be for children. I'm already knowing that your words will bring history to life throught the pages of this new book. I wish you every success on this new venture-- I'll be the first in line when your book is published!

Love
Vicki

Kay G. said...

I am very happy for you and will look forward to reading your new book.
My ancestor is from Culpeper County, Virginia, he fought in the American Revolution, will your map go anywhere near there?

Layanee said...

I wish you the best success with the new book. My little granddaughter and I are enjoying your Toad Cottages book. We have a sweet potato growing quite nicely due to your inspiration.

Aisling said...

I loved the glimpse of you fully immersed in your work. Will be so pleased to read your novel. Social Studies was my major in college, and I can so appreciate the amount of research involved in setting a story into a real historical situation. Congratulations!

Maura said...

Sharon, I am thrilled for you and can't wait to read your book with my son. Thank you for sharing a glimpse of the process with your blog readers. Have fun researching and writing!

Pom Pom said...

VERY cool, Sharon! I can't wait to read the book to my sixth graders.
How exciting!

hilary said...

Yea. Another book. I'm in the garden as I write rereading Trowel and Error. I love this book. It reminds me of such handy things. Boy, how I could love that hammock in this hot dry Texas sun and shade. It's already in the high 80's and Easter hasn't arrived. Good luck with your adventure. So fun to begin an exciting journey.
Hilary

Sandy said...

Dear Sharon,

I am blessed to have met you through your books. I love your writings and art. Your work helps my heart to dream. I dream of gardening, flowers and birds every day.
Dreams come true.

sandy

Alexa said...

And I have found you again, my dear! I'll bookmark this blog and visit regularly. Meanwhile, so excited about the book—as a friend of yours and as someone whose ancestors landed in Virginia in 16-something and whose family has been there ever since!

Dee/reddirtramblings said...

I am clapping my hands in delighted joy! I am so happy for you my darling friend. Sharon, I love reading about your writing process. We are all so different in our approach to writing. It gives me such happiness to read of yours. Have fun writing.~~Dee

It's Just Dottie said...

I HOPE I AM NOT TO LATE FOR THE GIVEAWAY. I ALWAYS ENJOY YOUR BLOG AND HAVE MOST OF YOUR BOOKS. Smiles, Dottie

Sharon Lovejoy said...

Hi Dottie,

No, you're not too late. I am letting things lag a bit as I work. Haven't even taken time to look up from the writing desk for the past few days.

S

ann said...

bless your dreams!

Teresa said...

Sharon, found your blog via f.o.s.b. and hope to get to read your new book! We have traveled to many civil war sites in the south and love the history of the U.S. Will keep and eye out for it. Teresa Jensen, CA

Becky Cook said...

So very excited to find your blog and about the book you are writing. I have been a fan of your books and articles about nature. Lucky me today!

Janice Badger Nelson said...

What a beautiful blog. Found you thanks to Susan Branch. Will be following from now on!!

schmorga said...

Sharon
So excited for you. So excited for me in finding your blog. ooking forward to getting to know you better.
Chris Morgan

carole said...

How exciting! And I would love to win the hammock and the journal. :)

Pax Saltysiak said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lynn Hunt said...

Congratulations on your new book, Sharon! I will look forward to reading it! Enjoyed stopping by your blog! Come visit me sometime at www.thedirtdiaries.com

Cheers,
Lynn

Gwen Sadowski said...

What a wonderful and exciting adventure! I am thrilled for you and look forward to reading the finished product!

Kylee Baumle said...

Really looking forward to this book! Congratulations! I think my husband will love it too, as he's a Civil War buff. So excited for you! I love research, too, and my next (possible) book will require some of that.

The Linnaeus book looks wonderful!

Thea said...

Sharon, you are such a busy writer! xo thea

Anonymous said...

Sharon, Oh, I do love maps. Such adventures, from the comfort of home. The book on Travels of Linnaeus looks fabulous. I believe I successfully joined the Grimy Hands Girls Club, but if not, I will try again!
Frederique

Joanne said...

Indiana is in the midst of a snowstorm... thoughts of spring have been covered with over an inch of snow in the past half hour...oh to swing in a hammock under the summer shade, reading your new book. Now THAT's the stuff dreams are made of!!

Enjoy your wonderful spring!!

Amy Ouchley said...

"Don't give up on your dreams and your dreams won't give up on you." Amy

Lydia said...

CONGRATULATIONS!

Rebecca Nelson said...

Huge congrats are in order for you sweet friend. You are incredibly gifted and I am so excited to hear you will be a PUBLISHED AUTHOR! God's blessings are flowing and have covered you.

I received my beautiful picture a couple of weeks ago and forgive me for being sooo tardy with my response. I had my only grandchild here for ten days and I got absolutely nothing done. I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE it and I so appreciate having the chance to win it. I'm in LOVE-JOY heaven!

Best wishes to you as you press forward. Dreams come true. They do.

Love to you~

Rebecca @A Gathering Place

Debra Howard said...

What a great blog post and giveaway. Inspires me to keep dreaming...some days I wonder if I am getting too old but you really inspire me to keep trying. Maybe someday...
Debbie

Sharon Lovejoy said...

Hi Rebecca,

So happy you like it. I loved how they presented it.

Lucky you for having your grand. Nothing better as far as I am concerned.

Cheers!

Sharon

Sharon Lovejoy said...

Debra Howard,

Hi dear, well, I was totally inspired to keep trying after I visited Laura Ingalls Wilder's home in Missouri.

I learned that she was 64 years old when she wrote her first book. Hurrah! That tickled me so much. So keep on keeping on!

S

Sharon Lovejoy said...

Debra Howard,

Hi dear, well, I was totally inspired to keep trying after I visited Laura Ingalls Wilder's home in Missouri.

I learned that she was 64 years old when she wrote her first book. Hurrah! That tickled me so much. So keep on keeping on!

S

Dani said...

Sharon, you might want to watch for Susan Wittig Albert's new novel based on the life of Laura Ingalls Wilder and her daughter, Rose Wilder Lane. It explains a lot about the Little House books and how they came to be written.

Deborah Jean at Dandelion House said...

Oh, you are a worker Bee dear Sharon and an inspiration... Love seeing you dig-in with your research and please except our hearty congratulations on your first novel...We are thrilled for you!
I see you are working away in California... will you be making a trip east this summer?
Much love and success!
Deb and Boz!

Laura said...

I love that C.S. Lewis quote and find it very inspiring. It also inspires me when I read about REAL people setting out on new endeavors- way to go! Sounds like a great project.
Warmly,
Laura

LindaCTG said...

Dearest one, you inspire me every day from afar! Your latest book reminds me, yet again, why I adore your adventure, spirit, and certainly hard work. I'm sure it's too late for the give-away, but that's not why I'm writing. I just want to tell you that you are in my thoughts every single day to encourage me, as you do so many others, to follow our dreams and do it with passion. Love you and Jeff.

LindaCTG said...

Dearest one, you inspire me every day from afar! Your latest book reminds me, yet again, why I adore your adventure, spirit, and certainly hard work. I'm sure it's too late for the give-away, but that's not why I'm writing. I just want to tell you that you are in my thoughts every single day to encourage me, as you do so many others, to follow our dreams and do it with passion. Love you and Jeff.

One Woman's Journey - a journal being written from Woodhaven - her cottage in the woods. said...

How wonderful
Can't wait to add this
book to my collection...

Hi.. I am Kaivi.. said...

Hi Sharon,I am a first timer and chanced upon you blog. Simply loved your posts (some of them which I could read today). It is an inspiration to see the level of passion you are engaged with your project. I believe doing somethings for kids fills you with the same level of energy they always have.. isn't it

I am sure I will be interested to know more from you.