Thursday, January 29, 2009

Thursday, January 29, 2009 – Snippets

Thursday, January 29, 2009 – Snippets

January is, naturally, Setting Goals Month, so . . . For my goals, I did think about the following:

*Losing weight --but only if I can move to a place without a kitchen.
*Accepting myself --I particularly like this one since I can eliminate #1
*Accepting --that my hairdresser is dear to me for helping me lie about my graying hair
*Being kinder – if I’m in the mood - after all my middle name is Maxine!
*Writing more -- What writer doesn’t have that as a goal?
As a writer, one thing I like is that the story can take place anywhere!! Now, it may sound a little crazy, but one thing I consider when I buy a book is where it takes place. I like both the exotic and the familiar. Reading immerses me in the faraway, whether it is in the next town or in another country. Of course, if it is a fictitious location, the writer has more creative license. I also like to ‘hear’ the language of the region – accents and colloquialisms from the area. For example, we all know that Southern belles all say, “Y’all” now and then.

With all that said, the main setting for this book is the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of North Georgia. My inspiration for one of the characters was a great uncle who loved the mountains, and I loved his sense of humor and hearing him say, “If’n you got sump’en to say, spit it out.”

(The following scene shows the residual tension between Eugenia and Russ after her arrival at the remote mountain clinic and her first experience with a local.)

From a Work In Progress, Love Lost, Love Found by Maxine Davis:

Eugenia saw the old man sitting on the porch of his cabin in a rocking chair with his overalls unbuttoned on the sides and his shirt, wet with sweat. He had white hair and a few days’ growth of beard.

Russ had stopped the Jeep, but neither he nor Eugenia made a move to get out. Russ knew the older people were big on manners.

“Aren’t we getting out?” she whispered.

Russ quietly spoke barely moving his lips, “In a minute.”

The old man shaded his eyes with one hand as he spoke. “Hello there, Doc,” he then looked at Eugenia, “That the new doc with you?”

“That’s her.” Russ smiled. Wadell had no telephone and as far as Russ knew, it was seldom anyone stopped in to see him, but news never seemed to get past him.

The old man looked at Eugenia and spoke as if she couldn’t hear. “Yep, I heard she was a looker.”

“Yes sir, she is.” Russ couldn’t stop the grin.

Eugenia inhaled slowly as she turned a fake smile toward Russ. “Don’t mind me. I can’t hear a thing.”

Russ broke the silence. “How’s the leg?”

Wadell Collins leaned back. “It ain’t what you’d call well, but I still put the salve on it.”

“That’s good. I thought we’d take a look at it.”

“Well . . .” Wadell spoke slowly.

Russ held his breath. Eugenia hadn’t moved a muscle.

Then the old man shifted in his seat, squinted as he looked at Eugenia, and said, “I’m thinkin’ y’all might need your doctor-bag, less’n all y’all are gonna to do is look.”

Russ let his breath out with a smile. Eugenia grabbed the bag and jumped out of the Jeep.

Eugenia stretched out her hand, “Hello, Mr. Collins.”

“Ma’am.” He shook her hand. Eugenia noted he had a very firm grip. “And it’s Wadell, ma’am.”

Wadell seemed to speak to no one in particular. “She’s a tiny thing, ain’t she. And a looker.”

Eugenia shook her head and smiled as she set the bandages and medicine on the top of a nail barrel. It didn’t look like they were going inside. “How’d you hurt your leg, Mr. Coll, uh, Wadell?”

He spoke very calmly, “A mountain lion attacked me.”

Eugenia’s eyes got big, “Good Grief. I never would have thought . . .I mean, . . . Oh, my Lord, I’m surprised you’re alive.”

Eugenia was unwrapping his leg, when suddenly her eyes squinted, she raised one eyebrow, and her lips were slightly puckered to one side. She looked at the leg, then looked up at Wadell. Her voice was very cool, “And, would you like to tell me how this mountain lion managed to scald your leg?”

Russ was laughing, “I forgot to warn you about Wadell.”

Eugenia could feel the older man shake with laughter.

“Did I say mountain lion? Why, I meant coffee pot!”

“Yeah, I can see how you made that mistake. Coffee pot-- mountain lion, they do sound a lot alike.” She smiled at the older gentleman. “You’re a kidder, Mr. Collins!”

He winked at Eugenia. “And you’re a real …”

“I know,” finished Eugenia, “a looker.” This time she openly rolled her eyes at both men and shook her head.

For a sense of Place in this story, there seemed only one location—the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. They make the irresistible backdrop for this story of passion—between two people, for a profession, and for a region and its people.


Tami Brothers said...

I LOVE your goals, Maxine! Toooo funny. I should take a page out of your book and learn to accept myself, as flawed as I am….

Also, I love you thoughts on setting. I agree that setting has a large part in which books I buy. Great job on the excerpt. I can definitely see how the setting lends to the tone and feel of this story.

Keep writing!!!

Tami Brothers

Cinthia Hamer said...

Very nice, Maxine!

I've met several "Wadell's" in my travels to the mountains--they're a breed apart, that's for sure. :-)

Tammy Schubert said...

When I read your description, I felt like I was there on Wadell's porch. I love how you incorporated language into your work.

Debbie Kaufman said...

I left a comment earlier but I see that blog spot ate my comment! I must have forgotten to click something! I love your subtle use of dialect. So many writers load us down with dialect that is too overdone. You have just the right touch with it!

Cyrano said...

I loved your goals. I too need to accept myself for who I am, a flawed perfectionist with an insatiable lust for Oreos, broad shouldered Italian men and soft leather handbags. Even better would be a hot italian feeding me Oreos out of a Prada bag, heaven!!
And I wish more people would include an excerpt. I loved yours. Great use of place!
Give yourself a hug.
Have a great evening,

Ana Aragón said...


Great excerpt! I felt like I was up in Dahlonega talking with one of the locals. The dialect was spot on and your description perfect!


Linsey Lanier said...


I love your goals, too. I think I might swipe them :)

Your excerpt has a lot of homespun charm. Good luck with this project!


Susan said...

I like the sence of place. For me it is England. The place makes the story special.

Marlane said...

Your sense of humor and use of dialect are a winning combination. I agree that setting can be very important to developing characters and plot. I loved your excerpt, and it left me wanting more. Keep up the good work!

Anna Steffl said...

Nice use of dialog. Instant flavor, but not confusing! That's hard to do.

I enjoyed your post.