Hurricane Matthew

Well…now I know what it is like to go through a hurricane. It is an adventure I hope I don’t have to go through again. The rain and wind howled and battered up against the house for almost 24 hours. Our little neighborhood of about 100 houses was told by Emergency Services to ‘hunker’ in place because we are 34 feet above sea level. So we didn’t leave. We were surrounded by other neighborhoods with mandatory evacuation orders.   As of a couple of hours ago we have electric – thank you Texas and all the states that sent their power companies to help out the more than 100,000 without power.
We hear from friends who did evacuate that they had to get all the way up into Georgia before they found one room left.

I know that the downtown district of Old St Augustine had at one time two feet of water in the entire area. The city is hundreds of years old with sewer systems patched and repaired over and over – the systems don’t drain well and the city is only about 5-6 feet above sea level. The water 8-9 foot surge from the ocean and the Intracoastal water way along with high tide caused water to flow all the way into town and out to the US1 highway – covering that important highway. We have five or six bridges in the area that were all closed so those that refused to leave had to stay.

Now, at noon we see that we are ok – nothing broken, a yard filled with debris but nothing we can’t handle. We can’t get into St. Aug because the crews want everyone to stay out of their way!

Thanks to all for your concern.

Beatrix Potter

beatrixpotter

Beatrix Potter

 

by Ann McAllister Clark

Wouldn’t you think that it would be easy – EASY to sell Peter Rabbit to publishers?  Well, before he became a household name to any little tykes between the ages of two and twelve he was not an easy sell.

peter-rabbit-illustration

Not until Beatrix Potter, the author and artist who created Peter and all his cohorts was into her thirties did she even think of publishing a book.  All her drawings were collected and stored away only hopping out to pretty up a note to a nephew or a young friend who she thought needed cheering up.  With a little encouragement she finally gathered enough of her artwork to approach publishers with an idea of writing a ‘tale’ for little children.  And can you believe it?  She could not find anyone, not one publisher to print her work.  She had studied biology, anatomy and art all her life.  She created little characters that charmed her young friends and family but she could not charm publishers enough to take a chance on her and Peter Rabbit. So she did what so many other frustrated writers did.  She published the book herself.  On a cold December day in 1901 Beatrix Potter had two hundred and fifty copies printed.  She promptly gave most of the books away. Now that the little rabbit was in book form it wasn’t long before a company in London, Frederick Warne and Company did take notice.

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Norman Warne, the youngest of the three Warne brothers in the company dealt most frequently with Miss Potter.  She trusted him and to him she took all her ideas and drawings.  He was treated to her proofs before anyone else viewed them.  He made sure that her ideas and creations were carried out to her exact directions. He was the person with whom she discussed her contracts. And he was the one that finally persuaded the Warne firm to publish an edition that was colorized. That edition was The Tale of Peter Rabbit.  At publishing time, October 2, 1902, there were  eight thousand copies that promptly sold out.

Not completely trusting the Warne publishing firm’s leader, Fredrick Warne, Beatrix decided to publish her second book herself.  She wanted her pictures to be accompanied by many of the rhymes she loved so much.  She thought he might cut these and put words to the pictures himself. With the money she had earned with The Tale of Peter Rabbit, she published five hundred copies of The Tailor of Glouster. tailorofglou She distributed these herself and sent one copy to Norman Warne.  Finally, the Warne company saw her vision and published The Tailor of Glouester in time for Christmas, 1903.  Two months later a third title was published, The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin. As their relationship developed, Beatrix and Norman found themselves admiring eachother and seeking out eachother’s company.  The couple soon fell in love and 1905 became engaged.  But love was not to stay in Beatrix’s life for long.  Several months after they became engaged, Norman died suddenly.

peter-and-his-friends

Beatrix used her earnings from the ‘little books’ to leave her over powering parents and and unhappy loss to purchase a small farm, Hill Top in the northwest area of England. beatrix-potter-critters Her love of sheep and breeding filled her life with farming. She again found love in her solicitor, William Heelis who shared her love of the Hill Top farm and farming.  They would enjoy a long and happy thirty years of marriage.

When Beatrix Potter moved to the country and began farming she painted exquisite watercolors for her books.  Most of these books depict the surrounding north-country farming life. But by the age of fifty-six Potter’s creative period was nearly over and she devoted her time to sheep farming.  Over the years she became well known as a breeder of Herdwick sheep. She purchased several more farms over the years until at the time of her death on December 22, 1943 she was a substantial landowner.

Sister Anne was the last of Potter’s books to be printed during her lifetime. Two more titles, Wag-by Wag and The Tale of the Faithful Dove were printed posthumously.

 

squirrel-nutkin

In their resource guide on Beatrix Potter, Sayre G. Turney, Michelle Frisque, Beth Kean and Elizabeth T. Mahoney explore the life and publishing career of Miss Potter.  Their site can be found at: http://yorktown.library.pitt.edu/libraries/is/enroom/illustrators/potter.htm It is a through site with color pictures, bibliography, biography, works by  Miss Potter and examples of her journal.

 

Why I Write Fiction

I write fiction because I am fascinated by the human spirit and how it ebbs and flows, twists and turns over a lifetime. I see so many social circumstances  I want to explore and have always found it freeing to explore these conditions in fiction. I see writing fiction as a delightful part of my future.

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Facing Up To Facebook

Today I published my first Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/Ann-McAllister-Clark-781121261996334/?fref=ts

It took me several starts and stops but I think it is up. It will take me time to get it where I would like it but its there!  I hope you will visit it.  I have many, many photos on my computer but I am having a time of getting the appropriate photos on the page. I tried it once and two relatives popped up on the banner! I don’t think they would like that. I did get them off and a picture of the St. Augustine Lighthouse up there instead.  I hope working on the Facebook page doesn’t keep me from the fiction writing.

On Wednesdays I am going to publish on the Facebook page WEDNESDAY WRITERS WISDOM and quote cleaver writers quotes.

Both Morgan’s Redemption: the first of the Morgan’s Bridge series and A Bone In Her Teeth: the first of the St. Augustine Mystery series are now available on amazon.com   I don’t yet know how to place the URL for the buy link but I’m learning! Let me try...http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_2?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=A+Bone+In+Her+Teeth   Oh I think I did it!   And here is the link to the Morgan’s Redemption book. http://www.amazon.com/Morgans-Redemption-Ann-McAllister-Clark-ebook/dp/B0176N78D0/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1446392328&sr=8-3&keywords=Morgan%27s+Redemption

Take time today to dream of something kind and quiet.

August in the semi-tropics

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photo by Ann M. Clark

http://climatecenter.fsu.edu/topics/thunderstorms

August 2015– a friend in Michigan asked how we cope with the summer heat in St. Augustine. Actually, Georgia and Alabama are usually hotter by a few degrees than Florida.

Florida is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico both of which help to cool the state. But I can’t deny that on that first summer after arriving from Michigan fifteen years ago I really thought there was a chance I might see some spontaneous combustion of little fires on the cement driveway! It was so hot I thought there must be an emergency and when I checked the local weather they just mentioned a hot afternoon. HA!  Didn’t they know the driveways were about to be in flames?

We usually stay inside with the windows and doors shut and the air-conditioning running until the temps go down a bit. WE do that but not everyone does. People play and work outside like anywhere else. They get used to the heat.  When the humidity is high it is harder to cope. 90* to 100* degrees is typical of St. Augustine’s July and August temperatures I think. And after about three years I didn’t look around anymore for little fires on the driveway.