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BLOGWORDS – Monday 25 February 2019 – NEW WEEK NEW FACE – GUEST POST – STEPHENIA MCGEE

 

NEW WEEK NEW FACE – GUEST POST – STEPHENIA MCGEE

 

 

“Through the pages, we connect. Through the story, we see. Through the imagination, we live.”

 

 

 

The Value of Reading for Authors – The Worlds Between the Bindings

 

She sits huddled under a blanket, her tiny light smothered by cotton and thread. Outside, her room is quiet and bathed in shadows. The rest of the world sleeps. But inside her haven…oh, inside an entire world is born. It jumps from the pages of her hidden book, takes hold in her imagination, and is sparked to life.

 

It’s a beautiful partnership, the one forged between writer and reader. The book doesn’t exist without the words, but the world between the bindings doesn’t truly exist without the imagination of the reader.

 

Through the pages, we connect. Through the story, we see. Through the imagination, we live.

 

How many of us have been like the girl under the blanket? Swept away to another world, another place, or a new adventure. Beautifully crafted words make us forget we are reading, and suddenly, we are living the story. We fall through the rabbit hole, we take on a quest, and we are stirred with the emotions of the journey.

 

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” – Dr. Seuss.

 

What a luxury to see and experience so much even while waiting in the doctor’s office or snuggled on our couches. What an amazing blessing to experience the creativity that God has gifted to us with the synergistic dance of writer and reader.

 

To really write, you must also read. Steven King once said,

“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.”

 

In order to write well, we must also read. And I believe we should read far and wide. Each genre lends facets that can be incorporated into our craft.

 

Want to write beautiful scenery? Read fantasy. Need to craft tension? Read suspense. The books we read both shape and grow us. They challenge us. Some books provoke us to see the world in a new way. And if you are ever planning on writing more than one character, then this is a muscle you’ll have to exercise.

 

“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view … Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.” To Kill a Mockingbird

 

Without the influence of the classics, the freshness of the cutting-edge, and the thought-provocation of the different, our own stores of words and emotions are lacking. We must fill ourselves with the richness of the written word in order to take all of those feelings, thoughts, and experiences and use them as materials to craft something of our own.

 

Read everything you can, writer friend. Read books on craft, read books by writers you’ve never heard of. Read inside and outside of your genre. Read genres you don’t like. Read the classics and the trends. And just read for fun. Don’t forget in your quest to learn and grow the very thing that drew you to books in the first place.

 

The love of story. The adventure of the unknown. The relentless curiosity to see how it all ends or solve the mystery.

 

No matter how much you’ve written, how old you are, or how many libraries you’ve devoured…don’t forget to be the little girl under the blanket and let your imagination take you away.

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

With a rich blend of history and fiction, bestselling author Stephenia H. McGee delivers vibrant settings, endearing characters, and page-turning romance. You can find out more about her and her books at www.StepheniaMcGee.com

 

 

“Daughter of the Most High King. Beloved wife. Blessed mother. Author of historical fiction.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

#Blogwords, New Week New Face, #NWNF, Guest Post, Stephenia McGee

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BLOGWORDS – 26 February 2018 – NEW WEEK NEW FACE – GUEST POST – STEPHENIA MCGEE

NEW WEEK NEW FACE – GUEST POST – STEPHENIA MCGEE

 

The volunteer nurses of the Civil War.

 

Thousands of women set aside their daily lives to care for the sick and wounded during the Civil War. Women from both sides pinned on aprons and set to work washing, feeding, and bandaging the scores of men who would swarm into makeshift hospitals in their hometowns.

At the onset of war, there were fewer than 150 actual hospitals in the country, and no formal nursing schools. The profession was dominated by men, as women were thought to be too fragile to cope with the challenges of caring for the sick and wounded.

But as the fighting began, the sheer volume of wounded soldiers from both North and South soon overburdened facilities and resulted in a break-down of traditional gender roles in nursing.

One of these volunteers, famous novelist Lousia May Alcott records her first days of service in Hospital Sketches. She paints a vivid picture of endless, exhausting work, and gives a glimpse into the nature of the Victorian society with her account of how scandalized both the women and soldiers were when these new volunteers were asked to remove the men’s shirts and bathe them.

It wouldn’t be until later when women like Dorethea Dix set up standards and training that things would get a little more organized. But even then, many of the soldiers had to rely on the kindness of local volunteers to help keep them healthy.

While some nurses under the direction of Dorethea Dix were paid 40 cents a day plus rations, many were volunteers using shredded sheets from their own homes.

In the backdrop of my Liberator Series, Rosswood Plantation is taken over to serve as a hospital, leaving young Annabelle Ross to learn to tend the men who fill her home. Her duties would have included washing, feeding, changing bandages, writing letters, and trying to keep men’s spirits up. As a Southern lady with Yankee inclinations, Annabelle tries to care for all of the men to the best of her ability, regardless of the color of their uniform.

 

While Annabelle and her time nursing is, of course, fictional, Rosswood Plantation did indeed serve as a hospital for Confederate soldiers during the war.

In many cases, mansions like Rosswood were taken over by the armies because of their size and ability to house the officers or create makeshift hospitals, run by army surgeons.

The women that lived in these homes often faced a harsh reality as rooms that were once used for parties and balls were now filled with bleeding and suffering men.

In a tumultuous time of destruction with a nation pitted against itself, these women found strength and courage to bind the wounds. If not for their valiant efforts and the relentless determination of women like Dorethea Dix and Clara Barton (founder of the Red Cross) nursing wouldn’t be what it is today.

 

If you are interested in reading more about Annabelle and Rosswood, you can get the first novel in the Liberator Series FREE when you sign up for my newsletter. Get yours instantly here.

 

https://dl.bookfunnel.com/81eo2tc3lm

 

* Historical images from the Burns Archive, public domain, Rosswood and Annabelle pictures property of By The Vine Press

 

Brief excerpt from Leveraging Lincoln:

Let the dead bury the dead, Annabelle thought as the spade sank another few inches into the ground. She paused a moment to wipe the sweat from her brow with a dirty sleeve. Dead, indeed. Her arms were numb from digging, and her back and legs were starting to cramp. A heart hardened against the gristly task beat rapidly with exertion underneath what had once been the gown of a privileged heiress. But, that was before the war, her father’s death and…. Well, it didn’t matter now anyway.

She hadn’t had time for anything other than the soldiers from both North and South who at one time or another had filled her home to overflowing. Annabelle slammed the spade into the earth, her fingers so numb from the cold she hardly noticed the forming blisters. She gave these men the best she could—a too-shallow grave and a few parting words. She recorded every name, should their families ever come to look for them. Until then, Annabelle had no choice but to share her land with the dead.

“Miss Belle, you’s done enough diggin’ today.”

Annabelle looked up from the hard ground and into a face that looked as tired as she felt. The waning light of another long day cast shadows on Peggy’s dusky skin and made her look older than she should have. Peggy lowered the rear legs of the makeshift cart to the ground, giving a soft grunt as she finally released the weight. Annabelle mustered a smile she hoped would soothe away some of the worry lines creasing Peggy’s brow.

“I know. But I didn’t think we could stand to leave him out another day.”

Peggy pressed her lips together but said nothing. She was less fond of leaving dead men in the house than she was of Annabelle digging. Annabelle reached down and grabbed one of the worn boots, and gave the body a tug. He felt twice as heavy as when they’d loaded him in the cart. “Help me get him in.”

Peggy hesitated, and Annabelle wondered if this would be the time she refused, but, as usual, Peggy clamped her jaw tight and grabbed the other boot. They heaved and struggled until the body fell from the cart, scraped over the rough earth, and finally landed in the hole with an unceremonious thud just as the sun began to dip below the trees. Annabelle resisted the urge to place her dirty fingers under her nose in a futile effort to hold off the stench.

Peggy sighed. “It’s a right shame we ain’t got no preacher for them. You sure buryin’ them here is a good idea?”

Annabelle pinched the bridge of her nose and let out a weary sigh. “Peggy, you’ve asked me that question a dozen times, and a dozen times I’ve given you the same answer.”

“Still don’t like it.”

Annabelle nearly agreed, but she knew that would only give Peggy more footing to try to wear down her resolve. “Come on. It’s getting dark. We need to get him covered. Lord willing, he will be the last soldier we lay to rest at Rosswood.”

 

Stephenia H. McGee writes stories of faith, hope, and healing set in the Deep South. After earning a degree in Animal and Dairy Sciences, she discovered her heart truly lies with the art of story. She put pen to page and never looked back. Visit her at http://www.StepheniaMcGee.com for books and updates.

www.StpeheniaMcGee.com

www.Facebook.com/StepheniaHMcGee

@StepheniaHMcGee

 

 

 

#Blogwords, New Week New Fact, #NWNF, Guest Post, Stephenia McGee

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