I hope that from reading my books, you’ve figured out by now that I like people in general but most especially men in particular. And that’s a good thing, I’m thinking, considering I’ve been living in an all-male household for over thirty years. I’ve recently started getting some estrogen thrown into the mix from my sons’ girlfriends, and boy, have I learned a lot from these young ladies; anything from much-needed fashion help to what’s going on in young women’s minds today. (Which is another good thing, since there’s a danger I could have my heroines thinking like fifty-um-something grandmas.)
You also may have noticed that I have a tendency to populate my stories with characters of all ages, because I like children and old people, too. And animals; cats and dogs and horses and birds—especially crows—and wolves and panthers and orcas and … well, you get the idea. Weather often seems to be an ongoing character in my stories, likely because it plays a pretty big role in my own life. Outdoor activities such as hunting and fishing and snowmobiling and camping sneak into my books, as do some interesting careers, a little science, and a whole lot of Mother Nature.
But magic is my vehicle of choice for bringing you along on my journey into the realm of possibilities. I often compare telling a story to packing an SUV with my hero and heroine in the front seats, the back seats filled with a large cast of characters as they all head off on a road trip through a particular segment of their intersected lives. What’s going on outside the vehicle—oh, say the weather, terrain, other travelers they might encounter—certainly has an impact, but the real story is what’s happening inside that truck.
Ever find yourself trapped in a vehicle with someone you didn’t particularly like? Someone who scared you? Someone you hadn’t realized didn’t like you? How about being trapped with someone you thought you absolutely adored only to discover they weren’t exactly what they seemed? Yes, there’s nothing like a nice long road trip to slowly melt away the masks we all hide behind. (Trust me; Robbie and I spent five weeks trapped in an SUV and small camper with two teenagers headed from Maine to Alaska. We made it as far as the Canadian Rockies and turned around; my dear sweet husband saying Alaska would still be there when the boys finally moved out.)
I digress, but it was a very … memorable five weeks.
So back to my books and the role magic plays in my stories; I’ll admit I have a tendency to get a bit outrageous—say, like when I rearranged the beautiful state of Maine to create an inland sea—but there is a method to my madness. You see, I want to make you stretch really far to suspend your disbelief, so you’ll consider the everyday magic you encounter in your own lives to be real. Sound convoluted? Good, I got you!
The magic is real, people; as real as the sunrise, the ebb and flow of the tides, the haunted call of a loon, that unseen fish tugging on the end of a line, the birth of a baby, the death of a loved one. The problem, in my opinion, is that these things seem so everyday ordinary that we forget how extraordinary they are.
What guarantee do we have that the sun’s going to rise tomorrow? We assume it is, because it’s risen every day for the last … what, four and a half billion years? But what if it decided not to make an appearance tomorrow morning? What if the oceans stood still? What if every last loon on the planet suddenly lost its voice? What if babies stopped being born? What if we stopped dying?
What if we woke up tomorrow morning and simply decided not to get out of bed?
That’s what my stories are about; getting out of bed every morning—even on days we don’t want to—and seeing the magic around us instead of … well, I’m not sure what the opposite of magic is. Maybe hopelessness? Despair? Indifference?
As the god behind the machine of my stories, I refuse to let my heroes and heroines give up. If they find themselves stuck in a vehicle with someone they don’t particularly like, they’re going to have to deal with it. Nobody’s going to swoop in and rescue them by pulling that bogeyman out of the truck, or come along and change that flat tire in the pouring rain, or turn all the traffic lights green, straighten out all the curves in the road, and roll back gas prices to a dollar a gallon.
(Well, okay; Maximilian Oceanus could, but he’s not really real. I just made him up to make a point that you will have to figure out.)
And since I’m writing romance, I like for my hero and heroine to realize that if they would just team up, they could conquer the world. Or at least control—maybe even vanquish—most of those demons sitting in the seats behind them. (Didn’t I have one of my characters—a hero, I think—in one of my stories say his mom or gram told him that a problem or burden shared was cut in half?)
And the ‘love conquers all’ equation doesn’t always have to be between the hero and heroine, either, as we learned in Charmed by His Love; Duncan MacKeage’s love for young Jacob Thompson certainly had the power to vanquish little-boy demons.
We’re all in the vehicle, people; every one of us is on the same amazing journey and we’re on it together. Our hopes and dreams and struggles and disappointments are shared by the people in our homes, living next door and down the street, and on the other side of the planet. And like my heroes and heroines, if we would just realize that by teaming up we could conquer the world … well, woudn’t it be a truly wonderful world to wake up to tomorrow? So share the love; in your home, down the street, and across the world, then see if a good number of demons don’t suddenly disappear and burdens get cut in half. I promise it’s a gift that will keep on giving, and you’ll discover that smiles really are contagious.
Until later from LakeWatch, you keep reading about life and love and happily ever after, and I’ll keep writing it.
P.S. My dad passed away last fall, but before you start worrying that I’m sad, please understand that I’m really quite happy for him. He was nearly ninety-four and actually quite eager to head off on a new, fantastical adventure. The only reason I’m even telling you is because at his funeral, Dad’s sister said she had discovered just last year—at the age of ninety-eight!—that she can write poetry. Of course I asked her to send me some of her poems, then asked her permission to share them with you—to which she kindly agreed.
So if the magic not’s real, then explain a ninety-eight-year-old suddenly waking up one morning a poet!
Poems by Ethel F. Taylor
(Went to Aunt Ethel’s 100th Birthday Party this past March! (2013) Spry as ever and still cracking jokes. Her granddaughter read one of her poems–which she is still composing.)
They gathered round the table
These gals so fair and neat
And became busy with their craft work
‘Mid laughter gay and sweet.
Laughter and jokes were being exchanged
And gaiety flowed all around
With blissful feeling I watched them
Wishing it need not end.
Families are so endearing
More so as time goes by
May we all meet together in Heaven
And never have to say goodbye.
I’ll hold this picture in my heart
When I’m once more alone
And cherish every moment
‘Til the day that I’m called home.
Then at last the evening is ended
And we’ve exchanged a good night kiss
One day may we all meet in heaven
And not one of our numbers be missed.
Alethea is a beautiful maiden
With a heart as pure as the snow
She fell in love with a handsome Marine
Many long years ago.
Now she wears his engagement ring
And her heart is full of joy
She counts the months ‘til she graduates
Then she’ll marry her Marine boy.
With a bit of sadness
Dad looks at his little girl
He has given her to another
And together they’ll face the world.
The wedding feast has been eaten
And the guests have all gone home
Alethea and Steven run to their car
And the honeymoon has begun.
Mom and Dad wave their goodbyes
With a touch of sadness in their hearts
Their little girl has grown so quickly
And from her it’s hard to part.
They head across the USA
To their little home in the west
Where we all pray they’ll live happily
Like two turtle doves in a nest.
Red School House
The little red school house
Where I went years ago
Brings back fond memories
Of the days of old.
We walked to school in winter
Although it was windy as well
Then huddled round the heater
Until teacher rang the bell.
The Lord’s Prayer was always recited
Then Pledge of Allegiance too
Then out came our reading books
To show what we could do.
When the bell rang for recess
We’d all rush out of the room
The girls all played on one side
And recess was over too soon.
The sun shone with an unearthly beauty
On the glistering trees below
One stood in awe at their majesty
And to think that God made it so.
If God makes such beauty here below
What splendor must be up above
Why are we reluctant to leave this place
And dwell with God above.
The snow will soon be melting
Then spring will once more be here
A time to get out and enjoy the sun
And see the stars so clear.
The birds will soon be singing their song
The grass will be turning green
God has given us so much beauty
Let us open our eyes and see.