Saturday, February 19, 2011

Welcome to my new blog!

My new book, Standing on Stolen Ground is due out on July 18th from Secret Cravings Publishing, and I can't tell you how excited and happy this makes me! I wrote this novel almost ten years ago, mostly for myself, never really thinking that I'd actually get it published. Of course this was long before ebooks and nooks and kindles, and all the wonderful opportunities these inventions have opened up for readers and authors.
The story is actually very loosely based on my own grandmother, Lila. Lila died long before I was born, so I never knew her at all, but my mother told me stories about her home in what is now the Shenandoah National Park--about her family's cabin high up on Hazel Mountain, how she used to ride a horse to the mill in Sperryville when she was only a small child and how her mother, Lila had died when she was only two years old.I was fascinated by Lila's life, tragically cut short, and this began a lifelong love affair with everything about the mountains of Virginia, the beautiful Blue Ridge and the Shenandoah region. What better subject for my first novel!Many of the incidents in the novel, including all the ghostly legends and spooky incidents, are true. Certainly the tragic removal of the mountain families from their homes is a true, and I think, a tragic story. My own grandfather was forced to sell his land on the mountain and was never again to be a landowner. Others refused to sell, and were cruelly and forcibly removed, not even allowed in most cases to be buried in the mountain cemeteries beside their loved ones. These cemeteries were allowed to grow over, so that very little trace of the people who lived and died there remains today.The people who lived there have often been ridiculed and maligned--called hillbillies and moonshiners. In truth, they were normal American families, admittedly quite poor, who'd had their livelihood taken away from them by a terrible chestnut blight on the mountain and the coming of Prohibition.Prohibition turned men who were trying to make an honest living for their families by making apple and peach brandies and corn liquors into outlaws and criminals. Nothing could have been further from the truth.Like most Americans of this post-Depression era, they were only trying to survive and provide for their families the only way that was left to them.As we walk on the Shenandoah Parkland, we should remember these people, and realize that the ground we walk on is little more than Stolen Ground.[Image]

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