Tag Archives: D.E. Stevenson

Our Trip To The UK Part~10

5 Feb

 A Slice of Life

By Bill Lites

Bill

 

Then it was up to the Moffatt Woollens Mill at Ladyknowe House, in Moffat, the most northern point of our trip, where I bought a really great Harris Tweed sport jacket and DiVoran bought a beautiful turquoise 100% Argyle sweater and matching pair of knee socks.  We both loved our Scottish items and wear them every chance we get, on those really cold (but very few) occasions we have here in Central Florida.  That is, until DiVoran washed her sweater in hot water and you know the rest of that story.  Boo Hoo! 

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While we were in Moffat, we just had to visit the home of Dorothy Emily Stevenson, DiVoran’s favorite author.  And yes, Robert Louis Stevenson was her grandfather’s brother.  It seems that D. E. Stevenson, who was born in Edinburgh, Scotland spent many years of her life with her husband James Peploe, in Glasgow, until Glasgow was bombed, in the early 1940s.  it was then that she and James moved to Moffat.  Like DiVoran, Stevenson had started writing when she was very young, but because of family duties, and WWII, didn’t start publishing her novels until later in her life.

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Not long after leaving Moffat, we saw the Scottish West Highland train moving across the famous Glenfinnan Viaduct, and what a sight that was!  Located at the top of Loch Shiel in the West Highlands of Scotland, crossing over the viaduct offers train travelers spectacular views down Lochaber’s Loch Shiel.  The view from the road wasn’t bad either.

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We had planned to travel North all the way to Inverness, Scotland but a huge Atlantic storm moved in from the West, and we decided instead to head back down the Eastern side of England.  This took us thru Newcastle and Durham, to our next stop in the city of York, as we tried to outrun the storm.  One of the things I learned on this trip was that a cup of hot tea will take the chill off of those cold windy English days.  And, one of the most popular teas used by our hosts in most of the B & Bs was called “Ty-Phoo Tea” brand English Blend, and I learned to drink it English style, with milk and sugar.  Of course, DiVoran already knew all this, having been the hot tea drinker in our family for years.

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The city of York is bounded on the North by the North Yorkshire Moors and on the West by the Yorkshire Dales, which is “Harriot Country” made famous by author, James Harriot (James Alfred Wight), who lived and wrote of his veterinary practice in the countryside around the town of Thirsk.   Also in this area is the famous Robin Hood Bay, dating back to medieval times.  A 15th century English ballad and legend tells a story of Robin Hood and his band of merry men encountering French pirates who had come to pillage the fisherman’s boats along the northeast English coast.  After a brief skirmish, the pirates surrendered to Robin Hood, and he returned the loot to the poor people in the fishing village that is now called Robin Hood’s Bay.

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We were told that a “must see” in York was the York Minster Cathedral of circa 1100, and they were right.  There is evidence that there has been a church of one type or another in this location since 627 AD.  The present cathedral now sits on the ruins of structures from at least three major time periods, and their structural differences can be seen.   There is Norman style 1070-1154, English Gothic style 1230-1472 and Perpendicular Gothic style 1730-1880.  Under Elizabeth I, there was a concerted effort to remove all traces of Roman Catholicism from the cathedral, and it became the seat of the Archbishop of York, the second-highest office of the Church of England.   It is an absolutely magnificent cruciform shaped edifice.  The outside is beautiful, but the interior is indescribably spectacular!  There isn’t room in this blog for all the beautiful pictures of the Cathedral, but you can Google the “York Minster Cathedral” and see it all for yourself.

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—–To Be Continued—–

 

What Was She Thinking? An Interview with Novelist, Poet and Painter, DiVoran Lites

11 Feb


I consider myself a reader rather than a writer. Not only am I a reader, I am a very curious one. I love knowing why a writer choses a subject or location and sometimes I just want to know “what was she thinking? To satisfy my unseemly curiosity I decided to offer author interviews.

For my first interview, I have chosen novelist, poet and artist, DiVoran Lites. She is a chief contributor here at OldThingsRNew and one of my dearest friends.

jungle divoranHer debut novel Sacred Spring was released on Amazon in November 2012.

DiVoran, I would like to welcome you as my first author interview and thank you for allowing me to practice on you.

 Thanks for choosing me. I feel honored. It will give me a chance to think through some of the motives, the trials, and the joys of writing novels. I love anything to do with writing for example, grammar books such as, Eats, Shoot & Leaves, by Lynn Truss, to listening in the car to Building Great Sentences, a college course from The Great Courses. In other words, I’m one of those who enjoy the nitty-gritty of writing, so this will be fun.

I know you love nature. Is that why you chose to set your first novel at a Florida spring?

As you’ve probably heard readers say before, the setting chose me. Many years ago, we camped at De Leon Springs. It was before it became a State Park, when it was a bit run-down and the word was that it was  slated to be sold for a subdivision, but I thought that would be a shame because De Leon is one of old Florida’s most beloved, beautiful and historical spots. My imagination worked as we swam, ate, slept and in general made ourselves at home and relaxed with our children. One friend said I took up my pen and created an alternate fate for the springs.

The Story of Sacred Spring could have been written without the faith element. Why did you choose to include faith?

Could it have been written without the faith element? Maybe, but I couldn’t have been the one to do it. Leaving God out is like leaving out the sun, the moon, and the stars. Way before there was ever such a thing as a “Christian Book Market,” there were writers who included their faith in their work. A great story is paramount, but to my way of thinking any book that turns out to be worthwhile is made up of what is called “moral fiction.” Moral is good, but why not take it just that logical next step and let God join the party. He wants a part in everything we do.

Do you have a work in progress?

My work in progress is the second novel in my trilogy of Sacred Spring, Living Spring, and Clear Spring.  My husband has read the chapters and marked things that needed clarification. It’s a big help, because when I know what I’m talking about I assume any reader would know, but that isn’t always so.

Writing your first book can be a challenge, why did you choose  to start out with a trilogy?

In a way, Living Spring is a sequel, to Sacred Spring, but in another way, it isn’t. My favorite author, D. E. Stevenson wrote seventy novels and you could be sure that when you started one you would again come upon someone you knew in a previous one. I loved that. It was always the most delightful surprise. The story goes forward with the lives from Sacred Spring, and the loose ends from Sacred Springs slowly tie themselves into tidy bows, but Living Spring is a full new story as well.

Many of the people who read Sacred Spring ask when they’ll learn what happens next. For those of us anxious to read Living Spring, when do you expect it will be published?

It is almost ready and  I plan a Spring release.

I know that you have been writing for a long time. How did you decide to publish through Amazon?

Some time ago, when I first wrote Sacred Spring I did all the things you’re supposed to do to get a book published. Far more people do their best to write good stories with great characters and follow all the rules in getting them published than those who actually get published. I had a good book. I won a writing contest with it and got a lot of great reviews and encouragement from various publishers’ editors I met at writer’s conferences. I had an agent, for a time, as well. However, for who knows what reason, no one actually bought it.

The publishing houses spend so much money and time getting books out there, they have to be sure they will make their money back plus a profit, so a lot of times they go with authors who already have the highest possible sales—the big ones like Nora Roberts and John Grisham. The competition, in other words for the publisher as well as for the unknown writer is fierce.

When I discovered I could publish with Kindle for free I grabbed the chance because I knew my books and my writing would be worthwhile to its particular audience. If I hadn’t tried one more time, it would have been like spending hours, days, money, toil and a lot of love on a huge banquet and then hiding it all in the kitchen where no one could taste it.

For our readers who might have a manuscript in a drawer or have always wanted to write but were afraid of the publishing process,  would you share your publishing journey?

First, I was advised to get a professional editor and given the name of Beth Lynne at BZ Hercules. Not only did she go several extra miles for me, but also she was consistently kind and encouraging. Her services were reasonable and she did it all very quickly. She prepared the book for Kindle (apparently Kindle speaks a different computer language) and she prepared it to be printed in paperback by Create Space. Beth has an affiliate who can and will do everything to get you a good cover whether you supply the images or she does. That was especially important, because I painted the covers for my trilogy myself and wanted them to show to the best advantage. I’ve been thrilled with the work of Laura La Roche at laura@llpix.com on Sacred Spring and can’t wait to see what she’ll do with the cover to Living Spring. I never dreamed publishing could be so easy, nor that self or indie publishing could be so inexpensive, especially with its print on demand through Amazon.

The theme of our blog is old things are new. Tell me something from your past that you feel has become new  or fresh again.Our blog is called Old Things R New reminding us that when we receive Christ as Lord and Savior all things in our lives, in our pasts, all mistakes, and sins, are gone because he atoned for them–paid for them, saved us from them. The new life that ensues is wonderful, full of surprises and serendipities.

One of the things in my life that was old, but has now become fresh and new is my friendship with Onisha Ellis. We met over thirty years ago and helped each other through a time of spiritual questioning. We were dear friends, then things changed and we were no longer running in the same circles or members of the same church. Onisha worked every day, I got busy doing my things and we fell out of contact, accidently meeting in the mall or the library and loving it, but not getting together again because of our busy lives.

One day I saw Onisha’s daughter, Rebekah Lyn,  in a big store and we got to talking about writing books. I knew she had always wanted to write a novel and I now had one I wanted to write too, so we agreed to help and support each other in starting those very books. We met for over a year, by end of which each of us had a brand new novel.

Onisha was tremendously involved in Rebekah’s writing career, and was starting her own blog site, Old Things R New. I wrote to her and she invited me to join the blogging team. She also offered to help market my novels and our friendship which, originally, was based on love and mutual respect lifted into new spheres, we had never dreamed of. We now talk almost every day via email. We love discussing so many things. We again have mutual goals and mutual friends and we have each other’s backs, which means so much in today’s society. Now we know that God can take an old, valuable friendship and make it new again. As a matter of fact, the same may be said of my relationships with Patricia Franklin, Judy Wills, and Charlene Gibson whom you probably do not know.

When my daughter was in Girl Scouts we learned a song that said, “Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver, the other gold.” I thank God now for my Old/ New friends and although I do have newer friends and truly love them, the old friends are newly precious to me, too.

From an Amazon review by author, poet and editor Mary H Sayler:

     This personally awaited book does not belong in the “First Book” category as that implies the work of a novice, which DiVoran Lites is not. For years she has patiently perfected her craft, working on all three books in this trilogy with great care in doing her research, writing, revising, and finally, releasing the novel at a timely time. Her credible characters carry us quickly into their story and the Florida story too, presenting an authentic and lively perspective that’s thought-provoking and well-told.

I would like to thank DiVoran again for agreeing to be my first interview. I hope our readers enjoyed it too. I would appreciate your  feedback.-Onisha

DiVoran Lites books can be found at Amazon

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DiVoran Lites aretwork can be viewed at Creative Art Works

        

The Next Big Thing

7 Feb

My Take

DiVoran Lites

DiVoran Lites

Hello, my name is Elaine Donovan. Because I am the main character in DiVoran’s book, Sacred Spring, people may think of me as a figment of DiVoran’s imagination. That’s okay, but DiVoran thinks of me as a real person, so if you wish, you may think of me that way too. She asked me to answer ten questions about writing my book.

First, we’d like to thank Rebekah Lyn for tagging us in this blog hop. Rebekah Lyn is a successful writer who has helped, supported, and encouraged DiVoran immeasurably as well as an excellent all-round writer and characterist, in her own right. Here’s where you will find Rebekah and her characters.

Question 1: Where did the idea for this book come from?

DiVoran and I first met when she, her husband, and two children started camping at Deleon Springs near Deland, Florida. It soon became their favorite place and when they wandered the grounds, they were enchanted by the history embodied here. We had the old hanging oak; where legend has it several people were hanged during the Civil War. There was the pavilion where tea dances were held in the 20s and 30s. An underwater passage allowed visitors to see below the surface through glass, and the old mill that had been there for a over a century and a half was still present and remains to this day.

Next Big Thing

The campground was run down and was slated to be sold for a subdivision to be built there. DiVoran couldn’t stand the thought of that so she dealt with it the way she deals with everything, using her imagination. That was when Granddad, Scotty, and I came to help. Hank and Raker came along too, but at the time we didn’t know whether they’d end up helping us or destroying all our dreams.

What genre does the book fall under?

Genres are such convenient things, are they not? Ours is considered either Inspirational Romantic fiction or Christian Romantic Fiction. I can tell you it has plenty of love in it, along with the conflict we got into trying to save the spring.

Which Actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

It would be impossible for either of us to answer that question at this time as I have never seen a movie or watched T. V. You see I’ve been too busy and poor to go to a show and we don’t have a T. V. because again we just wouldn’t have time or the inclination to watch it. I did go to college, though, and I wondered how my roommate and her friends could idolize the actors on the screen. This is not to say we would be averse to having a movie made of the book. DiVoran has a beautiful granddaughter she says looks just like me, tall and slender with long golden/red hair whose eyes have a smiling shape that won her the title of Miss photogenic when she was a baby. We would choose her tall handsome grandson to play my cousin Nick in Sacred Spring and in its sequel Living Spring. Both college age grandchildren have acting experience, so it would not be outside of the realms of possibility for them to star in the movie. The book has been described as highly cinematographic—well, for us nothing is impossible.

What is a one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Unless Elaine Donovan can find a way to save it, Sacred Spring Campground will soon be sold for a subdivision, which means a piece of Real Florida history and habitat will vanish forever.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

The book is self, or indie (for independently) published as will the others that come after it in the Florida Springs Trilogy.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

DiVoran won’t tell me how long it took her, sorry. It must have taken either a very long time or a very short time, but I happen to know she didn’t write it in a month as Rebekah Lyn did one of hers.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

DiVoran won’t mind if I tell you this: she’s an old-fashioned girl, so you may not know the authors she loves and tries to emulate, even though in some circles they are considered classics. Because her themes are family and love, as well as nature, her books might remind you of those by Gene Stratton Porter, Pearl S. Buck, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, and D. E. Stevenson. She has also followed the writings of John Steinbeck and is much enamored of the Bible.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

I can say this: We believe the Holy Spirit inspired us to get together and write this book. He has been with us all the way through, guiding and “musing” through us. It has been, on one hand, a somewhat stressful experience, because it is our first book, but on the other hand, a most exciting one, because it was through this book and the leading of the Spirit that DiVoran discovered her true calling in life. Without knowing and living in that she feels she would only be half a person. Of course without it, I would never have been created, so we are both thankful to the One who is our Lord and inspirer.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

I can answer this best by suggesting you read the reviews for the Kindle version of Sacred Spring on Amazon. Just look up Sacred Spring, by DiVoran Lites. That will give you an idea of what people are saying about the book. I’ll give you a hint, DiVoran is thrilled with the reception it has received. Everyone wants to know what happens next. That question will be answered in the next book, Living Spring, but more questions will arise, and you will need to go on to Clear Spring in order to get the whole story. DiVoran is also a painter and, because they all take place in gorgeous places that she loves, has found great joy in painting the covers for all three books.

I’ve been told we need to tag five more authors for The Next Big Thing. Since I am a fictional  character, I don’t know very many people.  I do know Linda Lewis who is an artist, a patron of the arts and a popular blogger. DiVoran reads her blogs and also displays  artwork with her .You can visit her website here: and  her blog: Creative Arts Works Blog

DiVoran’s artwork can be found at Creative Art Works

Sacred Spring is available on Amazon in eBook and Paperback

My Favorite Author and Other Important Matters

19 Aug

My Take

 DiVoran Lites

 

My all time favorite author is D.E. Stevenson and I believe she is still www.oldthingsrnew.com, blog mistress, Onisha’s all time favorite too. D. E. Stevenson’s father was first cousin to Robert Louis Stevenson. Many of her books have been long out of print, but Persephone is beginning to publish her again. This I find true: “Her books are avidly sought by discerning readers throughout the English-speaking world: readers who appreciate endearing characters, familiar yet intriguing situations, and darn good stories,” from the D. E. Stevenson official website. She was born in 1892 and died in 1977 at eighty-one years of age. She is buried in the Moffat cemetery on the Edinburgh road. I was in Scotland once and got to walk around the outside of the two-story, Victorian house she lived in. I think it should be a museum.

Her books are an exception to my routine of giving novels away. I made a grand effort to collect as many as I could find. I now have thirty-eight of forty-three. For a long time I was able to buy her books at garage sales and used bookstores, but eventually she became rare. I do read them all through every five years or so. It’s unusual for me to read a book more than once, so that shows you how much I enjoy them. She wrote about love, people, houses, and families.

If I read about books that sound good or if I particularly enjoy an author I try to order the books from the library system. I’m not sure all counties have the arrangement we have, but you can look at the online card catalog and find books and no matter where they actually live in the county you can order them and they’ll be sent to your local library for pick-up. I’m only ordering one or two at a time now and that gives me plenty of time in the three weeks allowed to finish them and get them back.

 

DiVoran is correct. D.E. Stevenson continues to be my all-time favorite author. I love the music of her words, the kindness and insight of her characters. If anyone knows an author of a similar caliber, please share with me.-Onisha

 

 

I’m Looking For a Few Good Authors

17 May

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

I’m looking for a few good authors. I’d like them to be no older than forty years of age. I’ve reached the time of life when the authors I spent my youth and middle age with are dying.  It just isn’t right.  One should never outlive their children or their favorite authors. I will tell you who my favorites are and you can tell me yours.

My all time favorite author is D.E. Stevenson. Here is what Wikipedia says about her. D.E. Stevenson was born in 1892 in Edinburgh, Scotland, and was educated at home by governesses. She started to write at eight, but because her parents and governesses disapproved she had to do this in secret. She later wanted to go to university but her father refused, concerned about having an educated woman in the family. Stevenson was married in 1916 to a captain in the 6th Ghurkha Rifles.

Isn’t that an  amazing bio? She died in 1973 after writing forty novels. It took me years to find all her books but I think I may have read almost all of them and she is one of the few authors I collect. Her books transported me to the gentle countryside of Scotland into the lives of everyday people getting into scrapes  and of course, food was mentioned a lot, which explains to some degree my fascination with her books.

After Stevenson there is no particular order to my favorite deceased authors. I do genuinely miss Eugenia Price. The St. Simon’s Trilogy was a favorite for myself as well as my daughter, requiring a girl’s weekend to St. Simons Island to visit the marshes and cemetery we felt a bond with. Even today all I have to say to my daughter is “John died” and we tear up. Now that is writing. Savannah Quartet is not to be missed either. I went to Goodreads to skim some reviews and refresh my memory and I was saddened to see how hardened some readers are. They can’t relate to a time when human honor and duty were valued.

Eugenia died in 1996 and was buried in her beloved Christ Church cemetery on St. Simon. I foresee another trip to the island to visit her grave. She is buried step away from the pastor she immortalized in her books.

Since I have a self-imposed five hundred-word limit for my blog posts, I can see this will have to be continued. I would love to hear from you. Which authors have you read for years and now they are gone?

: Christ Episcopal Church

: Christ Episcopal Church (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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