The MacGregor Legacy - From Scotland to the Carolinas

(Book 1 - For Love or Loyalty) (Book 2 - For Love or Country) (Book 3 - For Love or Liberty)

Path of Freedom, Quilts of Love series

1858 North Carolina - When Quakers Flora Saferight and Bruce Millikan embark on the Underground Railroad, they agree to put their differences aside to save the lives of a pregnant slave couple..

Highland Sanctuary, (Highland series - Book 2)

1477 Scotland - A chieftain heir is hired to restore Briagh Castle and discovers a hidden village of outcasts who have created their own private sanctuary from the world.

Highland Blessings, (Book 1 - Highland series)

1473 Scotland - The story of a highland warrior who kidnaps the daughter of his greatest enemy and clan chief to honor a promise to his dying father.

Awakened Redemption (Inspirational Regency)

1815 England - A story that pierces the heart and captures the Regency era.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Carolina Renaissance Festival

By Jennifer Hudson Taylor

This year was my first time attending the Renaissance Festival. My husband, daughter and I went with my sister-in-law, her daughter, granddaughter and grandson. We had a wonderful time. I had no idea this event was so HUGE! Even my husband enjoyed it.

All of the rides were authentic in that there was no electricity to run them (with the exception of the bungee jump). People actually had to use manual labor for the kids' rides and shows. Lots of folks were dressed up in period costumes and it wasn't just the people working there. Half the visitors wore period outfits. There were acrobats, fire eaters, music with harps, bagpipes, etc. The food was also from the Renaissance period with large turkey legs, bread bowl soups, steak on sticks, ear of corn, etc. For those soda drinkers, you could buy soda.

The Rides



The rocking horse was also pushed by someone. You may not be not be able to see them, but there are men pushing the boats around like a merry-go-round. They had it going pretty fast. My daughter got a little dizzy from it.






Below the kids are being carried like royalty. My daughter is in the middle between her two cousins. These poor guys were carrying kids all over the place. I know they had to be worn out by the end of the day. They get a huge workout. 










Below on the right is my daughter up in the air on the bungee jump ride. Adults were having just as much fun on this as the kids. If I hadn't been close to running out of money, I might have tried it.















The Games



There were so many games and activities, we couldn't possibly try them all. But I did find a few I enjoyed. They had some stick game that I couldn't figure out how to do, but it wasn't for a lack of trying. Then I bruised my arm up shooting archery, but after I got the hang of it, I began to hit the bulls eye in the target. My husband was so impressed, he's decided to buy me an archery set.



















The Music

I love music so I enjoyed listening to the harpist play, and the bagpipes have always intrigued me. I used them in my Scottish Medieval novel. Music was one of the best forms of entertainment during this time period. While music is still very important today, we incorporate it in all our electronic forms of media in movies, video games, websites, etc.




















The Knights in Shining Armor

And of course there was the jousting contest between the good and bad knights for England's king and queen. The competition was fierce, but the good knight won.

If you've never been to a Renaissance Festival, I would highly recommend it, especially if you love history like I do. Even when something isn't quite as authentic as it could be, I try not to be too critical as people who put things like this on are trying their best and put in a lot of hours of hard work. A couple of negative things were a few fortune teller booths and some dresses that showed a little too much at the top, but overall I thought this was a great event where families can enjoy themselves and learn a lot about the Renaissance Period.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Colonial Book Publishing at Latta Plantation



By Jennifer Hudson Taylor

Over the weekend we went to a Folk Festival at the Latta Plantation in Huntersville, NC. I discovered a few ideas for new novels I can explore. I've written several historicals, but I haven't written anything set on a plantation. I walked out with three new books from the gift shop that I can use as resources.

The house was a little different from other plantation homes I've seen in that the entrance and exit doors were on both sides of the house, not in the front and back. However, the kitchen was a separate building beside the house as I've seen before. This was a small/medium size plantation. The photo above shows a side view.

We also got an overview of colonial book binding. What a long and drawn out process it was to print and bind a simple book. They would lay out the pages and fold the paper so the pages would be in order. Then they would cut the pages and put them into a trimmer to trim each page one at a time. Talk about time consuming! Below is a photo of the binding and trimming equipment that was used.


When you think about the whole process they had to go through, and how slow it was to accomplish, I'm surprised any books were published at all. I can see why people didn't have many books, if any, in their homes. What a wonderful century we live in today. I'll try to remember not to complain about the slow process of publishing a book after it is in contract.


Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Devotion - The Author and Finisher of Our Faith

By Jennifer Hudson Taylor

I was a long distance runner in high school and I could run lap after lap at a steady quick pace, but toward the end I'd kick it in high gear and finish the race at a sprint. My dad taught me this strategy because a lot of times when my opponents finished running 8-12 laps, they were out of energy and didn't have a kick. If a race was close, this was my ticket to winning.

I write like this. I go at a steady pace scene after scene and chapter after chapter, but when I see the end I'm so tempted to sprint. I want to finish the book so I can type "The End" to my work. I know that I'm going to go back through it again and edit, so that makes the temptation so much greater.

Right now I can see the end to my manuscript, By His Plan and I have to keep reminding myself to slow down. Think about the consequences of each scene, the actions of each character, and every word that is said. What do I want the characters to accomplish? Toward the end of a book, the growth experience of the main characters is so important and it must be articulated in a way that is appropriate and impactful. It must be strong to make the reader close the book with a satisfied smile, but walk away pondering the meat of the story, hopefully inspired with the planting of more faith seeds.

Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1-3)