Monthly Archives: March 2017

Meet Janetta Fudge-Messmer

Good morning!

I’d like to take a moment and introduce you to my friend, Janetta Fudge-Messmer. I met Janetta during the Amelia Island Book Festival and quickly found out that she is a lady who loves to make people laugh. Over the course of the day, we shared countless stories about childhood and unusual names (believe it or not, she was almost named Pickle instead of Fudge!) and everything in between. I’m delighted to take this opportunity to introduce her to my readers and I hope you’ll take a few moments to get to know her and her characters.

Happy Reading!

HI EVERYONE! Let me introduce myself. I’m Janetta Fudge Messmer and I’m an author of two Christian comedies (Early Birds and Southbound Birds). I also have a historical romance, Chords of Love, which is the book I’d love to share with you today.

Abigail Jane Thompson is sassy and certain she’s not singing. Anywhere. Imagine her delight when she spies the Central City Opera House in total ruin. Noah Presley, owner of Presley Mercantile, has a plan to restore the once-celebrated building. Fate throws Abigail and Noah together. Will they see beyond their differences, or will their love end on a sour note?

Everyone in the writing world tell writers we MUST make our characters memorable. From the first page of Chords of Love, Abigail tends toward sassiness. No one, including Abby, knows what will come out of her mouth as you will see in the excerpt below:

“Daughter, is there something you want to tell me?” Papa slowed his horse to a stop next to her.

Abigail had to tell him the latest or she’d burst at the seams. Without a moment’s hesitation she said, “Papa, we’ve only lived here a little more than a month, but what I heard Mama say to the owner of Presley Mercantile yesterday is sure to twist the ends of your moustache.”

Papa turned in his saddle. “What did she say this time?”

Abigail cleared her throat and sat higher in her side-saddle. “Now, remember, Papa, I’m quoting Mama. She said, ‘Mr. Noah Presley, I despise this dirty, desolate town of yours.’”

Her father’s eyes twinkled as he glanced sideways at her. Abby knew she’d gotten away with a little sassiness on their riding excursion, but when they returned to Central City, one of his stern looks would shush her right up.

“Oh, how I love that woman.” Papa chuckled, then his expression grew more stern. “But tell me she really didn’t say those things.” He stroked Dancer’s neck. His horse stayed steady on the rocky path leading out of the little mining town.

“Yes, and there’s more, Papa. You’d better hold tight to the reins for this one.” Abigail did the same, as if she needed to get ready, too. “Mama also told Mr. Presley, ‘You people can’t even keep your opera house running. It’s simply disgraceful.’”

As you can see, Abigail’s a tad feisty. What would you say your personality type is? Funny? Bossy? Introvert? Extrovert? For those of you who have never taken a personality test – I highly recommend it. It’s lots of fun.

Now it’s time to learn a bit about me. My dream from an early age was to write. With pen in hand, and now a computer on my lap, words come forth on the page. Truly, writing has been a love of mine from an early age.

Abigail Thompson, on the other hand, had to deal with her mother’s dream. She wanted her daughter to sing on the stage of the Central City Opera House. Abigail felt more suited for praising the Lord in song on her outings in the mountains of Colorado. Her new home.

Here’s another reminder that Abby’s a little high spirited:

Go ahead and laugh, Papa, you aren’t the one she expects to sing in front of everyone—if and when the opera house is refurbished.

A shiver ran down Abigail’s spine and continued clear down to her toes when the subject of her singing came into the conversation. She agreed to practice, but getting on the stage? Never. Falling flat on her face years ago had cured Abby from ever attempting a performance again.

Her parent’s encouragement didn’t alleviate her fears either. She’d told them, “I love you both with all my heart, and don’t mean any disrespect, but God Himself will have to carry me on the stage if He wants me to sing on it.”

DREAMS! We all have them. What are some of yours and have you accomplished any? Or hope to in the future?

Another snippet I’d like to share is an encounter between my main characters: Abigail Thompson and Noah Presley. When they bump into each other at the mercantile, more than sparks fly.

“Mr. Presley, excuse me.”

Noah’s jabbering came to a halt when he heard the female voice. Seconds later, something tapped him on the bottom of his boot. When he lay on his stomach to fill the lower shelves, he didn’t realize his size 12 feet stuck out from under the curtain between the back room and the front of the mercantile. He scrambled to stand up and flung open the divider and said, “May I help y—”

Miss Abigail Thompson stood smack dab in front of him, her nose a mere two inches from his chest. The only thing Noah could see of the new arrival was the top of her flowered bonnet and some blond curls peeking out from underneath the wide brim.  

He stepped back after he recovered from almost knocking the attractive girl flat on her behind. Abigail did the same, then tilted her head to look up at him.

“Yes, Mr. Presley, you can help me.” She scooted away from him and headed in the opposite direction. “I need you to reach something for me, if you please?”

Noah let her lead the way and could only imagine he resembled a dutiful pup following after his master. But in this instance, he made sure he walked far enough behind her that he didn’t step on the hem of her ruffled skirt.

He also couldn’t help but notice anytime Abigail entered the mercantile, her presence turned his mind to mush. His tongue stuck to the roof of his mouth, and what came out didn’t resemble words in the King’s English.

“Mr. Presley, ah, Mama’s in need of some, ah, let me see. There it is.” Abigail pointed up at the next to the top shelf at a row of kerosene bottles. “The hurricane lamps she unwrapped today need oil.”

Noah nodded and stepped up on the ladder to retrieve the merchandise. He wondered why it had taken her mother so long to unpack her lamps. Night had fallen more than once since their arrival. If he’d known, he’d have taken some to them the day he went to call.

He reached his long arms up as high as they would go, but he still couldn’t reach the bottles. Noah needed to talk to Adam about his placement of certain items. Top shelves. A location which required a ladder.

Help me, Jesus!

Taking another step up meant he would venture into uncharted territory…

Noah was about to take a step out of where he felt comfortable. Think of time you’ve stepped out of your comfort zone. Did you survive? I’d say you did, if you’re reading this, and you’re happy you did.

And as a writer, stepping out takes courage, gumption…and it takes an IDEA. In my case, Chords of Love came to me when a dear friend and I brainstormed about a story set in the 1800s. Of course, my love of Colorado inspired the setting. Visualize someone twisting my arm (wink, wink) when research called me to Central City, Colorado.

Those who know me, know I’m lying. I moved to Colorado in my early 20s and spent over twenty-five years in Boulder and surrounding areas. And loved every minute. If you’ve never visited, make it a point to go. GOD OF ALL CREATION LIVES THERE.

Hope you’ve enjoyed getting to know Abigail and Noah. Now I’m off to finish my next installment in the Early Birds series. You’ll never guess – it’s set in Estes Park, Colorado, and the female part of the Early Birds are visiting and they’re having quite a time. This novella holds more laughs than a monkey at a banana farm (you’ll have to read it to understand – )

All my books are available on Amazon: https://goo.gl/rd0X4T

E-mail: janettafudgemessmer@gmail.com

Website: http://janettafudgemessmer.com/

Blog: http://www.nettie-fudges-world.blogspot.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/janetta.fudge.messmer

Twitter: https://twitter.com/nettiefudge

 

Writer’s Block? Maybe It’s Time to Declutter

This morning I should be writing. I want to write. There’s a novel that’s dying to leap onto the page. I’m sitting here in the kitchen at table. A sky is beautiful outside. The birds are singing. My pen is poised over the paper ready to strike at any moment. And. . .

Nothing!

Not one single, solitary thing.

The pen and paper repel each other like oil and water, together in proximity but not in spirit. I can see the characters. I know the beginning and the ending. I even know most of the middle which for me is often the trickiest part. But the words won’t come. I’m stuck in quicksand and don’t know exactly where to begin. So how can I work my way out of this momentary lapse into writer’s block? It’s obvious the current path I’m on isn’t working. Time to change course a bit, I think.

I read about a trick some years ago in which a well published author suggested mentally opening up your character’s medicine cabinet. What do they have hidden in there and why? Not having a medicine cabinet in my home, I’ve modified that trick somewhat. I often dig through their junk drawer. You know the one I mean. That one drawer in the kitchen that’s crammed full of trinkets and what-nots that no one can exactly remember acquiring. There’s a box of matches in there from a long ago vacation to the mountains and a light bulb for over the stove. You find a bottle opener which used to play your college team’s fight song but now it only putters out a few miserable notes. And my personal favorite, mismatched birthday candles from parties past, leftovers from an eight piece packet bought for a six year old’s cake. The items are endless and there’s a story for each one. A uniquely individual story that helps paint a picture of who your character truly is.

Today, I have decided to let my mind wander a bit further. Thinking back to this past weekend when I was cleaning out some boxes in my garage, I decide to repeat the exercise with my character. The old box of photos she finds. A box full of books, very technical manuals from the age long before internet surfing. And last, but certainly not least, a Hawaiian floral shirt in vibrant orange and yellow.

It may be that I never use any of this. But it provides an important back story for my character and more importantly it gives me an opening with which to begin writing again. For me, this little trick works wonders. So please pardon me while I go and explore why this uptight teacher has a grass skirt hidden away in the back of her garage. I’m sure there’s a story in there somewhere.

Happy writing!!

Gift of the Blarney – Famous Irish Authors

Kiss me, I’m Irish!

Well, sort of. I married into a family of Irish descent. That counts, right? (We won’t worry about that divorce today. I mean, everybody’s Irish on St. Patrick’s Day!)

Admittedly, the vast majority of my family tree comes straight from jolly ol’ England. We’ve found records of our forefathers who were ship builders in Southern England before immigrating to the colonies. There’s even a mention of a great uncle who chose poorly in the War of the Roses. The jury’s still out on his actual ties to the family. For 364 days of the year, I consider myself somewhat of an Anglophile, albeit not as deeply immersed as some.

But, today, like so many other American’s, I’m a bit Irish and I find myself trying to greet everyone with a pathetic imitation of an Irish accent and wearing a bit of green to celebrate the Emerald Isle.

I can honestly say that as I’ve gotten older, I’ve fallen more in love with Ireland than I was in my youth. Not because I’ve been there, although that is on the bucket list, but because of the wonderful Irish writers that I’ve had the pleasure to read over the years. Through each work, I’ve been able to travel to Ireland without leaving the comfort of my home and venture down the streets of Dublin, going to university, and visiting the small country villages along the way.

And so, instead of dwelling on the insane amount of Genius that will be consumed today or commenting on the pounds of dye used to change the river in Chicago green, I thought it would be fun to take a look at some of the famous Irish authors and some of the works they’ve contributed to our literary fabric.

  1. Samuel Beckett (1906-1989) Considered by many to be one of the most influential novelists and playwrights of the last century. Was elected Saoi of Aosdana in the Irish Association of Writers. Notable works include Molloy, First Love, and Waiting for Godot.
  2. Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) Perhaps one of the most flamboyant of all Irish writers, Wilde is best known for his philosophy of aestheticism, or art for art’s sake. For much of his career, he believed and practiced a writing style that exemplified beauty of the word without searching for deeper meaning. Notable works include The Portrait of Dorian Gray, The Importance of Being Earnest, and An Ideal Husband.
  3. George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) A playwright whose influence can still be felt today, Shaw wrote over 60 plays, received the Nobel Prize for Literature, and won an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay. He specialized in combining contemporary satire with historical allegory. Notable works include Pygmalion, Saint Joan, and On the Rocks.
  4. Maeve Binchy (1939-2012) One of the most widely recognized Irish writers of modern times, Binchy wrote about human nature and small town Ireland like few others could do. With vivid and detailed character descriptions, Binchy captivated her audience. At the time of her death, her books had sold over 40 million copies and had been translated into 37 different languages. Notable works include Tara Road, The Glass Lake, and Circle of Friends.
  5. Frank Delaney (1942-2017) Noted novelist and journalist, Delaney was known for his epic works. His works Ireland and his non-fiction work Simple Courage: The Story of Peril on the Sea both earned him the distinction of New York Times Best Seller. Other notable works include James Joyce’s Odyssey and Tipperary.
  6. Bram Stoker (1847-1912) Best known for his dark romantic work Dracula, Stoker spent much of his adult career as the business manager for the Lyceum Theatre in London. Although he authored other works, none would ever compete with the success of his most famous novel. Other works include The Snake’s Pass, The Mystery of the Sea, and Miss Betty.
  7. James Joyce (1882-1941) His masterpiece Ulysses is considered by many to be one of the finest pieces of literature of the 20th Century. As a novelist, poet, and short story writer, he was best known for his contributions to the modernist avant-garde movement. Other notable works include Finnegan’s Wake, Dubliners, and A Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man.
  8. Jonathan Swift (1667-1745) Known as the foremost prose satirist of the English Language, Swift’s writing is often delivered in a deadpan, ironic manner and is still popular today. Notable works include Gulliver’s Travels, A Modern Proposal, and Drapier’s Letters.
  9. Liam O’Flaherty (1896-1984) Credited as a major figure in the Irish literary renaissance, O’Flaherty was a known socialist and dabbled briefly in politics with his family. He became a founding member of the Communist party in Ireland and is to reported to have laid siege to the Ambassador Cinema in Dublin for four days. Notable works include The Informer, Return of the Brute, and Thy Neighbour’s Wife.
  10. W.B. Yeats (1865-1939) A symbolist poet, Yeats is often considered one of the pillars of modern poetry. He mastered traditional form rather than working with free verse. In addition to his literary career, Yeats was a noted Irish nationalist and served as an Irish senator for two terms. Notable works include The Heart of Spring, A Prayer for My Daughter, and When You Are Old.

Of course, this is in no way a complete list of noted Irish writers. There are far too many to include here. Yet, I hope that you will join me in visiting the Emerald Isle through the written word. As always,

Happy Reading!

 

 

Best Little Coffee Shop in Georgia!

Victoria Hawkins and Jaimie Miller, Owners of the Best Little Coffee Shop in Georgia!

I’d like to take a moment and introduce you to two very dear friends of mine, Jaimie Miller and Victoria Hawkins, owners of Between Friends Coffee Shop located in Warner Robins, Georgia. A place that I like to call ‘The Best Little Coffee Shop in Georgia.’

That’s an unofficial title, of course, but one that is entirely fitting.

When you first walk in, Between Friends looks just like any other coffee shop. There are plenty of tables and chairs to sit at. There’s a couch in the far corner. You can easily see the large display of pastries available. There’s a table for kids to sit and color while mothers chat about the latest piece of juicy gossip. All the things you’d typically find in a locally owned coffee shop.

But that’s not what sets this little place apart.

No. These two ladies have created an establishment that is far greater than the sum of their parts. If you go there more than twice, you’re one of the family. They know you. In that way, it’s more like Cheers than Starbucks. If you want to go somewhere where everyone knows who you are and are happy to see you, go to Between Friends. If you need to take a break from the stressors in the world, go to Between Friends. If you want to relax and enjoy a good book or maybe laugh until your sides ache, go to Between Friends. Don’t have a book, you can borrow one of their’s from their lending library. They’ve got as many great recommendations for books as they have for coffee.

She said yes!

On any given day, you’re as likely to run into Jaimie’s husband Wes and her two adorable kids as you are a group of people laughing at the booth in the corner. You may get to witness a marriage proposal. It’s hard not to instantly feel better about the world with so much love in the air and you’re staring at a plate sized, homemade cinnamon roll. One of the two is bound to lift your spirits.

I first met Victoria years ago when we were both active in the local fencing club. She was a fierce sparring partner who easily outmatched my limited athletic abilities. (Although I did manage to get in the odd touch from time to time.) We quickly developed a friendship that has continued to this day.

It wasn’t until after the grand opening of Between Friends last August that I met Jaimie. I’m not one to normally make fast friends, but she has a way of disarming even the most cautious of souls to create deep-rooted, meaningful relationships. Our friendship quickly developed and continues to grow.

I’m proud to call both of these ladies my friends and I’m proud of the work they’ve done with their shop.

Cinnamon Rolls fresh from the oven.

Yet I’m not writing this post to merely speak about my friendship with two strong and intelligent women and the wonderful business they’ve created. No, I have ulterior motives for this piece. You see, they are currently in the running for a small business grant from FedEx. The grand prize is $25,000. For a small, independently run coffee shop, that could be life changing.

Too often, we find ourselves visiting the large, chain establishments and overlooking the little guy. But let’s not lose sight of the impact small businesses have on our communities. These establishments are the backbone of our economy. It’s estimated that 60-80% of jobs here in the U.S. are due to small business enterprises. Imagine what would happen if these businesses didn’t exist. The entire U.S. economy would plummet, followed quickly by the global economy. Small businesses provide huge economic growth for the communities they serve. Small businesses just like Between Friends Coffee Shop.

Jaimie Miller (left) and Victoria Hawkins (right)

And so my friends and readers, I’m asking that you take a moment out of your time and offer support to this growing small business endeavor. Please vote for Between Friends Coffee Shop in the FedEx Small Business Grant. Polls are open until April 5, and you can vote daily. Small businesses provide the heart and soul of our communities. Now we have a chance to support them in a big way.

And, if you’re in the Central Georgia area, stop in for your favorite cup of Joe and a fresh hot cinnamon roll. After all, coffee is better Between Friends.

Happy Reading!