Five Books and a Funeral

by Rosa Lee Jude, Co-author of the Legends of Graham Mansion series

The five books of the Legends of Graham Mansion Series

The five books of the Legends of Graham Mansion Series

Squire finally stopped talking.

That may seem like a strange opening line for a blog post. It’s only strange if you don’t know who Squire is.

Revelation Book Cover

Book Five – Revelation

The final book, REVELATION, in the Legends of Graham Mansion series has just been released. This five-volume journey began when co-author and historian Mary Lin Brewer contacted me in March 2012. “I have this idea for a series,” she said. “I’ve got tons of research, legends, and stories. But, I’m not really a fiction writer. I understand that you are.” As they say, the rest is history, quite literally now. Two and half years and five books later, the series is complete. I finally shut up Squire.

For those of you who have not read the series, “Squire” is Squire David Graham. This mysterious, but brilliant, man was a powerful entrepreneur of the 1800s in Southwest Virginia. He amassed a substantial number of businesses and land holdings in a relatively short amount of time and was known for his ruthless business dealings and not-so-pleasant personality. The beacon of his success still stands today in the form of a historic mansion in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. Many say that he has never left his stately home. I say he has spent the last two and a half years living rent free inside my head.

While our central character and heroine was a lovely young lady and time traveler named Grae White, Squire seemed to be the one who truly haunted me. Through the many long months of writing the series, he visited me in my dreams. Sometimes so forcefully that I would have to get up in the middle of the night and pay homage to him on my keyboard. The grave scene in AMBITION was the result of three such nights in a row.

As I tied up the loose ends of the series in the finale, I reread the previous volumes. Even an author has to remind herself, at times, about what she has written. I couldn’t leave any key elements unresolved. The more I read the previous books (REDEMPTION, AMBITION, DECEPTION, and SALVATION), the louder Squire’s voice seemed to get. He was determined that I finish his story. But, one late July evening, as the final words were typed, he grew silent. I felt like I had been to a funeral, my emotions were spent. I had laughed and cried a lot through the final story. I had said goodbye. I had finished Squire’s story. He has been silent ever since.

Writing a series is a serious undertaking. It’s not just the beginning and end that are important, it’s all those words in between that link together to convey the world you have created for your readers. It’s a commitment. The characters become family. The readers become friends. You don’t want to let anyone down. Many readers have asked how I managed to write so many words (about 450,000) in two and a half years. The answer is simply dedication. Just about every night and every weekend, words were typed. While I was at work during the day, the story passed to Mary Lin who would fill in the historical matter, legends, and some of her own twists. Weeks turned into months and like the little engine who could, we built a series—one page, one chapter, one book, at a time.

And now, it’s over. All has been revealed. REVELATION is in the hands of those who will cherish it the most, the readers. Now in its entirety, we hope that it is embraced by legions of future readers for many years to come.

The journey is over. Or maybe, it’s only just begun.
Rosa

Introduction of Rosa Lee Jude

Rosa Lee Jude began creating her own imaginary worlds at an early age. While her career path has included stints in journalism, marketing, tourism, and local government, she is most at home at a keyboard spinning yarns of fiction and creative non-fiction. She lives in the beautiful mountains of Southwest Virginia with her patient husband and very spoiled rescue dog.

To learn more about the series, visit http://www.LegendsofGrahamMansion.com

If you would like to follow Rosa Lee’s writing adventures, like her Author Page on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/rosaleejudeauthor

You can also like her Author Page on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/author/rosaleejude


Thanks Rosa for another very informative post! We hope you will leave a comment or two and will follow Rosa as she begins a new journey in writing. Word is she is working on a new book. You should post questions to her and get her to share what she’s planning for her writing adventure!

 

Ikey

Today, I’m delighted to introduce Geanna Sowers, as our guest blogger. Geanna is a transplant to Wythe County after her husband talked her into moving. Geanna sees herself as an average country woman with an ancestral family made up of rebel women. The women of her family went their own way in life and she feels she follows suit, as she has always wanted to put her fictional stories out for others, mostly children, to read. Writing this blog post serves as a means to help Geanna push her boundaries in storytelling.

Geanna says, “I live with my husband, who is a superb partner for me. My most cherished daughter is my life’s work. We have a quaint little mini farm. We also have a hodgepodge of special pets. I hope you enjoy this story based on an experience from my life.” Read on…

Introduction of Geanna Sowers

IKEY

by Geanna Sowers

I walked into the store for my orders to make another run for my boss. I worked as a driver for an auto store in Bedford County. As I walked in the door, I noticed in a box on the floor, a kitten. It was a cute little, orange puff-ball. He looked up at me, mewed, which helped me to feel what a sad little creature he was. The way he sat looking up at me, his little yellow eyes let me know that he did not understand where his little mates had gone. I was a goner. I fell in love.

Milay and Ikey

Ikey (stretched out) with another cat friend, Milay

“He’s the last one. Do you know anyone who might want him?” an older man said.

I looked at the man and thought about my empty trailer I rented. My fiancé and I had recently split. A warm feeling filled my heart. “Yes, I would love to have him,” I found myself saying.

The drive home was an adventure. Little Ikey, I named him after my favorite candy, was everywhere. He was so small. Here I was, trying to drive a straight shift, and keep him in my lap. If you could have seen me, you would have laughed. We bonded immediately. Have you ever met an animal that stole your heart? He did mine.

After that first day, I took him everywhere. I took him to visit my old horse, Rosy, who was pastured down the road. One day, Ikey decided that he wanted to stay in the barn with Rosy. I was so worried about him. But, I had to let him live his own life. I knew I would be back the next day to check on him.

Before long, Ikey was a year old and lived most of the time with Rosy. Every day that I visited Rosy and Ikey, Ikey was always there to get his food. And, most days he left me presents on the path. Sometimes a mouse, other times a bird. I never knew with what he would surprise me. I loved Rosy and Ikey very much and they loved each other. They were always together.

One day, Ikey came up missing. I called and called for him. Later that day, he came crawling, actually more like dragging his hind legs. I freaked out. He’d been hit by a car. I managed to find a vet. After the vet treated him, I carried Ikey home in my laundry basket. His hind legs were splinted and wrapped up like a mummy. His tail was left to dangle freely. I wondered how he would do things, like grooming himself and taking care of general body needs.

Ikey was my smart kitty. He knew where the litter box was and how to use it even with his legs bound. He would balance on his front legs, tail in the air, and walk to his box. He learned to manage quite well. In some respects, it was rather comical. In others, I was surprised that he could adapt so well with little guidance from me.

We were to go back to see the vet six weeks later. As time went by, we grew closer. On my days off, while doing house chores, I would every now and then see an orange tail in the air. Ikey was doing his business while balancing on his front. As he continued to heal, he let me know that he wanted to be with Rosy. Later, after he was good as new, I let him out again with his buddy. He was happy and his old self again.

By the time I was ready to move from Floyd to Max Meadows in Wythe County, my Ikey had grown to be an old man. He was about 12 years old. One day while packing to move, he came to me, bumped my leg, and purred in his funny way. I looked down at him, picked him up, and loved on him. I noticed how much of a pot belly he had; almost like Garfield. After I set him down, he went off to explore, as was his habit. I never saw him again.

Ikey in his “Garfield” position.

Ikey in his “Garfield” position.

Now, living in my new home, I sometimes think of him. I still miss him. I think about that day he bumped my leg, he was saying his final goodbye to me. I remember how he came into my life when I was a lonely, single young woman. He was special. I miss his touch and his funny way of letting me know he was special.

In the last month since we’ve been living in our home in Max Meadows, a stray cat has adopted us. He is orange and golden eyed, much like my Ikey. We’ve named him Tom Tom. He is a quite wonderful and unexpected new addition to our family. I write this memory with tears in my eyes. I miss Ikey. But, I now have Tom Tom.

Who or what was your special pet? Do you have a favorite pet story from a time in your life when you needed a companion? If so, please share it in the comments. I’d love to hear from you.

I hope to tell you about Tabitha, the feral barn kitty, one day.

Until next time,
Geanna Marie Sowers

Pinstrip flourish

Congratulations Geanna on your first blog post! Thank you for sharing your story about your special companion, Ikey. The picture of him lounging is like the image I imagine when I think of Garfield. Great story!

If you would like to communicate with Geanna, you may contact her at geanna1974 [at] hotmail [dot] com.

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As always, we hope you liked this post enough that you will leave a comment and click the “LIKE” button. Thanks for stopping by and come back next week when we’ll have another guest blogger!

Write on my friends!
Pam