Tag Archives: shenandoah valley

Early Gift from My Valentine

I never know what my wife is doing in her art studio. Occasionally I hear some clunks and rattles, but basically she paints in silent seclusion. Frequently, she emerges to share her progress on a painting. Studies it for a while and then scampers back upstairs to her studio. Today, she brought me an early Valentine’s gift with special meaning. The painting is from a scene at Orkney Springs, Virginia. In past articles, I have shared my love for this historic spot. In the 19th century, it was a resort for the wealthy in search of the healing powers of the […]

PFC Polk was that Good

Characters in stories must be believable. Even amazing superheroes have flaws and weaknesses. Case in point…Kryptonite and Lois Lane make Superman weak and stupid. So, when I decided to write a book about my childhood hero, I was determined to find the holes in his perfection. The star of Farewell PFC POLK is Charles F. Polk, Jr., my Uncle Buddy. He died when I was 7-years-old, which means that I have little recall of the actual man. Most of what I know about him was advanced by my family, the best PR firm ever. Did I want to risk knocking […]

The Valley of Hope

What inspired a series on the Valley of Hope?  What is it?  Where is it?  Why is it important? To be clear, the Valley of Hope is a real place but the concept is a state of mind.  The place is the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.  It was where early settlers came, many of them immigrants, with hopes and dreams for a better life in a new land. I grew up in that beautiful Valley with its rich farmland and breathtaking landscape.  The opening words to America the Beautiful capture the pristine beauty of the countryside.: O beautiful for spacious skies, […]

Truth in Fiction

Someone asked me recently, “How much is fiction and how much is truth?” Great question which I’ll attempt to answer by revealing some of my research. It is also important to define the genre, Historical Fiction:  Historical fiction is a literary genre in which the plot takes place in a setting located in the past That definition is a very broad stroke and leaves considerable room for sub-genres like romance, mystery, etc.  Personally, I am drawn to Historical Fiction because I’m old.  Just kidding. I like the genre because it creates mood, feeling, and color. When writing IN THE VALLEY OF HOPE, […]

A Magical Place Called Orkney

If you travel to Mt. Jackson, VA, which provides much of the setting for IN THE VALLEY OF HOPE, then hang a left (if traveling north) onto Highway 263, you will ultimately arrive in the community of Orkney Springs.  Just keep driving until the road runs out.  Takes just 20 minutes and, I promise, you’re in for quite a surprise. As you drive along 263, you’ll see a lot of farmland, and cows, and hay.  You get the picture. But then, right there in the middle of what you have decided is nowhere…there stands this impressive grand hotel.  Then you wonder, […]

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