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BLOGWORDS – Wednesday  20 September 2017 – REM GUEST POST at READING IS MY SUPERPOWER – THE FICTIONAL TOWN of SAISONS

REM GUEST POST at READING IS MY SUPERPOWER (http://readingismysuperpower.org/)  THE FICTIONAL TOWN of SAISONS

 

Stories come to me in different ways. Sometimes I “get” the gist of the story, sometimes I get character names. Sometimes I get the title first.

 

When Seasons came to me, the first thing I got was the names, and then the story titles. I therefore knew the series would then be Seasons. And I eventually got to the setting. I first thought it was current day, set somewhere north of here, somewhere that seasons are markedly different. Somewhere they get snow.

 

But as the story started speaking to me, I knew that a) it was not current day, but set in 1912 and 1913—very concise timeframe compared to my first series—and b) it was set in South Carolina.

 

“The southern town of Saisons lies at the crossroads between North and South, progressive and genteel antebellum life. Between East and West, between history and heritage, and new frontiers. Downton Abbey meets Gone With the Wind.

It’s 1912, in a world where slavery is dying and women’s rights are rising, and four young women who once shared a bond—and experienced a tragedy—question their own truths.”

 

When I get into the flow of a new story, I first see a vision of what the town is like. Then I go to Google maps to find a town to, er, borrow. And Lake City seemed just perfect. So I printed me a nice little map of Lake City…

… zoomed in…

… and promptly drew all over it.

Looks kinda like a spider web, doesn’t it?

 

Saisons is a crossroads town, with a statue of René Armand Dubois (1572) and a fountain in a quintessential town square in the center. A quarter of the town—and at least that much of its wealth—is owned by the Dubois family. Two other families, the Fontaines and the Marchands, also were part of the founding fathers of my little town. Ashley Santee, the Marchand estate is to the north, and Bastille House and Vineyards belongs to the Fontaine family.

 

I drew up a list of common places and businesses in a town and named them. The little red numbers on the map is the key to where each business is. They may never show up in the story, but in my mind, I know what’s there when Mercedes or Scarlett walk down Weatherbie Road or Tarleton Street.

The logistics, though, of Lake City didn’t fit some of the directional details and I moved the town a bit further south. It now sits on the Edisto River a little south of where Branchville is.

 

But what I had the most fun with—my interior interior designer voice—was designing the houses! I drew a floor plan for Saisons House (and later for Alés House, Mercedes’ townhome) so as I described clandestine meetings in the study—or in the secret room—tea in the parlor or dances in the ball room, I could see it all.

This is a fairly close representation of how I see Saisons House. (In the real world it is Magnolia Plantation in Charleston, SC.) Can you imagine how oppressive the heat would be in that tower in the summer?

 

Saisons house is designed as above, and functions as Downton Abbey. The Dubois family were not so strict with the rigors of protocol, but servants were expected to use the belowstairs entrances.

 

Inside the formal entry was a sweeping curved stair.

And that door there? The one that’s just cut off? That leads to Monsieur Dubois’ study—where the entrance to the secret room is oh-so-cleverly disguised!

There are, of course, also the parlor and music room

 

 

 

 

 

 

The dining room.

And the ballroom.

There was also a small chapel and loggia.

 

The grounds were a botanical feast, with angel oaks and magnolia trees.

 

 

There are cottages that were former slave shacks, and the barn and stables. The paddock, and of course, the fields of sugar cane and tea, the signature Saisons Plantation crops.

 

 

I hope you visit Saisons soon, and get to know Mercedes and her friends. The Long Shadows of Summer released just last month. Of all my main characters, Scarlett’s story most closely correlates to my own though not a true parallel. The Tilting Leaves of Autumn is her story and releases in November. Pearl has just gone MIA and The Silent Song of Winter will tell you why when it releases in February of next year. And finally, Simone, in a way the main character of the series, answers the last of the clues and questions in The Whispering Winds of Spring, in May of 2018.

 

And be sure to visit Carrie at http://readingismysuperpower.org/2017/09/20/guest-post-giveaway-robin-e-mason-tours-fictional-town-saisons/ to enter the giveaway!

 

http://robinemason.com

https://robinsnest212.wordpress.com/

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Robin-E-Mason-Author-Artist/224223274404877
http://www.amazon.com/Robin-E.-Mason/e/B00MR5IQ9S
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https://plus.google.com/u/0/108929134414473292325

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7808042.Robin_E_Mason

 

 

#BLOGWORDS, Guest Post, Reading is My Superpower, Carrie Schmidt, The Fictional Town of Saisons, Plantation, French Heritage, Downton Abbey, Gone With the Wind

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BLOGWORDS – 15 May 2017 – NEW WEEK NEW FACE – GUEST POST – CARRIE SCHMIDT

NEW WEEK NEW FACE – GUEST POST – CARRIE SCHMIDT

 

Mother’s Day has come and gone now.

And if you’re like me, the day is always a little bittersweet.

 

On the one hand, I love the chance to celebrate my Mom because a) she’s awesome and b) we’re great friends as well as being mother and daughter. This year, we attended a high tea just for something girly and fun!

On the other hand, I’ve been married for nearly 17 years and have no children. Given my age and my health issues, it is almost a certainty that no one will ever call me “Mom”. Except my dog Zuzu, of course, but she doesn’t really count 😉

I adore my nieces and nephews (a total of almost 10 now between my husband’s side of the family and my own) and I have fully embraced the “cool aunt” title, promising to always have gum. (To date, none of them have asked me for a piece of gum. But when they do, by golly, I’ll be ready!)

Still … being called “Aunt” doesn’t quite complete the heart like “Mom”, does it? And so Mother’s Day for me is always a bit painful in spite of the sweet. Maybe it’s the same for you. Or maybe your children are grown and gone and never with you on Mother’s Day. The ache is still there, either way, isn’t it?

 

Maybe what makes Mother’s Day bittersweet for you is instead the loss of your mother. Whether too soon or after a life long-lived, I’m told that ache never quite goes away either. Especially on days where everyone is treating their moms to special dinners and flowers and hugs. You would give anything to give (and receive) one more hug from your own mother, and so – while you enjoy the accolades from your children on Mother’s Day – you feel like something is missing. Like someone is missing.

 

If at least one of these scenarios applies to you, then today you may still be feeling the sting of the bittersweet. The emptiness of wanting to belong – to a mother or to a child – and having no one to belong to. Our hearts were created to never say goodbye (to people or to dreams), so it’s no wonder they break with every cruel reminder of this broken world.

 

May I encourage you, my sweet girlfriends?

God sees. And He cares. He loves you so tenderly.

You already belong to Someone.

Did you see those last few words? “You are mine.”

 

I can hear you though. The words forming right now on your lips. “Yeah, that’s great and all… but belonging to God isn’t the same as having my mother back. Belonging to God isn’t the same as having a child of my own.”

I know. I get it. I do.

 

But Isaiah wants you to know that God knew you would be missing your mother, missing her hugs, wanting the kind of relationship other daughters have with their mothers.

And He wants to draw you close and whisper these words to you –

He has not left you alone, my sweet friend. He longs to bless you beyond your imagination.  He takes great delight in you.

 

And Isaiah wants you to know that God knew you would be longing for a baby, for a child to call you “mom”, for a prodigal son or daughter to return home.

 

Listen, dear kindred heart. He is whispering words of purpose to you –

You may not have children that are physically or legally your own. But He longs to fill your heart – and your arms – to overflowing all the same.

And sometimes… in His great graciousness … He brings together someone who needs a mother’s hug with someone who longs to be a mom. As empty arms slip around empty hearts, both become curiously full.

A portrait of grace. A reminder of belonging. A glimpse of heaven.

A promise that one day all the sad things will come untrue.

And all hearts will be full forever.

 

 

Carrie Schmidt is an avid reader, book reviewer, story addict, KissingBooks fan, book boyfriend collector, and cool aunt. She loves Jesus and THE Story a whole lot. Carrie lives in Kentucky with her husband Eric and their quirky dog Zuzu and is a co-founder of the Christian Fiction Readers’ Retreat. She blogs at http://readingismysuperpower.org

 

https://www.facebook.com/meezcarriereads

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#Blogwords, New Week New Fact, #NWNF, Guest Post, Carrie Schmidt, Zuzu, Cool Aunt, Mother’s Day, You are Mine, Portrait of Grace

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