Monday, November 26, 2012

Healing Notes: Guest Post by Maggie Jaimeson and a Giveaway

 Forgiving yourself is the first step, but helping others forgive may be just too hard.
Rachel Cullen grew up in Scotland with a fiddle in her hand from the age of four. She couldn't imagine life as anything but a musician. When her husband brought her to America she was immediately embraced by the Celtic and Bluegrass communities. But after her divorce, Rachel's life is a mess.

A year of trying to prove to herself that she's woman enough for any man, and then a vicious rape while on tour with the band, leaves Rachel reeling. When she meets Noel Kershaw, an English teacher who is poetry in motion, she is definitely attracted. But he has a young child and he's suffering from his own divorce. The last thing Rachel needs in life is more baggage.

First, Rachel must reconcile who she is, what she wants, and how to get there. Maybe then she'll know how to be a part of the family she's always wanted.

The Sounds of Writing
By Maggie Jaimeson

Many authors write with music in the background. Some choose a particular song that represents the theme or emotion they are tackling that day in their novel.  That’s not me. I’m one of those writers who must work in as much silence as possible.  Part of that is because I talk to myself while I write and I don’t need additional distractions.  Another part of that is that a say the words aloud as I write, and when I edit.  I need to hear them—especially dialog. I need to hear if the rhythm and sound are right.  Many times, in a tense scene, I’ll actually have to stand up and act out the part. I’ll say the dialog, point my fingers, stomp around the room, stare out the window in silence—whatever my character would be doing at that time.  Then I can capture it in writing the body language in the book. In case you haven’t guessed, my learning style is off the charts on the auditory side.  I have to work really hard on the visual side.  Sound, words, rhythm is what drives my writing.

As the oldest of nine children, I grew up in a house filled with music. My mother played the piano.  My father sang in the church choir. I played violin and piano, and once I entered high school I also sang in the church choir.  Other siblings took up clarinet, flute, drums. My husband plays acoustic and electric guitar. He plays everything from celtic to blues, and country to rock and roll. He currently plays gigs with two groups—one plays primarily celtic and folk. The other is a four-piece classic rock and roll cover band. Cat House, with the addition of a female vocalist. With all this music surrounding me, I couldn’t help but write about an all women band.

Even though my husband has played gigs as long as I’ve known him—he even jammed at a Ceilidh in Scotland on our honeymoon—he has never been with a band that goes on the road.  When I conceived of the Sweetwater Canyon band, I wondered what it would be like to be touring with a band just starting out—an all women band that played folk festivals and county fairs and maybe the occasional bar or club.  That is when I was fortunate to hear a  Misty River concert. Misty River is a band with four women, two of them mother and daughter. Their tight harmonies blend folk, bluegrass, country, Celtic and original music into a truly America sound. More than that each member is a strong, confident woman in her own right and the band has frequently played for charity events, church events, and has supported their community. 

After following them in a couple more local concerts I approached them, explained my idea for a series of romance novels and asked if I could do some interviews.  That is when they let me follow them on the road for a couple of weeks as they played a variety of gigs in the Pacific Northwest.  I had the opportunity to help sell CDs during an outdoor gig and ride in their motor home (called “Annabelle”). It is that time together, and their willingness to answer an incessant number of questions, that forms the foundational musical background of my novels. 

Of course, my characters are NOTHING like the Misty River women.  The Misty River women are much more centered in their lives and much more mature in their musicianship, and their romantic relationships, than my fictional Sweetwater Canyon band.  But without them, my book would not be as rich in the music, the sights, the sounds, and the rhythms of a group of women who choose to make music together every week.

Enjoy an Excerpt from Healing Notes
After she hung up, Rachel stared out at the river behind the house. She had goose bumps along her arms. She could listen to his voice for a long, long time. Why did this man intrigue her so much? Was it just because he didn’t seem interested? Yes, that must be it.  He was safe. He had a kid and he wasn’t interested.  That meant they wouldn’t get involved.

All conversation stopped as she entered the room and the women looked at her in anticipation. She had the urge to say nothing just to be difficult.

“Soooooo, who’s Noel?” Kat took the receiver from her. “I liked his voice. Sounded real sexy.”
Rachel took a deep breath and pasted a nonchalant smile on her face. “Remember the little girl at the last concert who wanted my autograph? Noel is her father.”

“I see.” Theresa drew out the word as an invitation for more.

“It’s not what you think. It turns out the little girl wants fiddle lessons. Since she saw us play, she’s gotten it in her mind that she wants to learn.  He had no idea who to call, so he thought he’d call the main number for the band to find me. He didn’t even think I gave lessons, just that I could make a recommendation.”

“Uh huh,” Michele said, a note of disbelief in her voice.

“But he is cute, right?” Kat insisted. “And you are interested, and something could be going on, right?”


“Ah, come on, Rachel.  How can you not be interested in that voice?”

“It’s just fiddle lessons for the little girl.  The girl is sweet. I’m happy to work with her. As for the father, nothing is going to happen. Believe me.”

The Giveaway 
Maggie will award one autographed cover flat to a randomly drawn commenter at each blog stop. In addition, she will award a $25 gift card to either Amazon or Barnes and Noble (winner's choice) as a grand prize to one randomly selected commenter on this tour, and a $25 gift certificate to either Amazon or Barnes and Noble (winner's choice) to a randomly drawn host.  You must leave an email address to be entered into any of the drawings.

Meet the Author
Maggie Jaimeson writes romantic women’s fiction and romantic suspense with a near future twist. She describes herself as a wife, a step-mother, a sister, a daughter, a teacher and an IT administrator. By day she is “geek girl” – helping colleges to keep up with 21st century technology and provide distance learning options for students in rural areas. By night Maggie turns her thoughts to worlds she can control – worlds where bad guys get their comeuppance, women triumph over tragedy, and love can conquer all.

HEALING NOTES is the second book in the Sweetwater Canyon Series of four books.  The final two books will be available in 2013.

Twitter: @maggiejaimeson


  1. I always enjoy reading about the author. I loved all your comments. The story sounds really good and different fromso many others.

  2. Loved the excerpt, thank you.


  3. I love music so much that I can't multitask with if, say, I'm in the grocery store and some song I hate starts playing, I just can't function!


  4. Thank you for having me on your blog, MK. It was great to have the opportunity to talk about the role of music in this series of books.

    MomJane, Ingeborg, and Vita. Thanks for stopping by. You've become some of my most loyal blog followers. I really appreciate it!

  5. Barbara Rae RobinsonNovember 26, 2012 at 5:00 PM

    Hi, Maggie--That sounds like a very intriguing story. I will have to read it. And I do write with music playing, an eTunes playlist of 710 all instrumental songs from a wide assortment of easy listening and new age sources.


  6. I wish I had grown up with music in my house. I never even picked up an instrument when I was a kid...or tried to sing.
    catherinelee100 at gmail dot com

  7. I love to hear what sparks an author's story. Thanks for sharing that, Maggie! And the fact you toured wiht the band as part of research is waaay cool!!

    meliaalexander at comcast dot net

  8. Barb, Wow 710 instrumental songs. That's amazing!

    Catherine, I am so happy I grew up with music. My mother played the piano at home and sometimes at church, and my father sang in the choir. So, I had to do something. :)

    Melia, It was cool hanging out with Misty River. They are amazing women, and even though they are not together except for the occasional reunion, they are each pursuing music in their own ways and with other groups.

    As I've learned with my husband, once a musician always a musician. He waited 40 years to get back in a band. But he continued to play his guitar all that time and did pick ups when he could or played solo. Music is truly an important part of the soul for many people.

  9. I enjoyed the background thank you. My Father came from a musical family & even though I had piano lessons for 7 years, I was hopeless.


  10. Maggie, good post about music and how you write. That would be fun following a small band around to learn the ins and outs. I'm half way through Healing Notes and enjoying it very much. I love how well you show the emotions and draw the reader in.

  11. My husband is an amateur musician and songwriter, so music is a natural part of our daily life at home. That being said, I'm unable to write while listening to music because I'll stop what I'm doing to listen to the words. I will, however, listen to Hawaiian music as I write my current project that's set in Hawaii, but I can do that because I don't know the Hawaiian language. :) I find the melodies very inspiring.

    I enjoyed your excerpt, Maggie. Best of luck with your book! :)

  12. Music, like storytelling, is part of the human experience, I think, so they go nicely together.

    And how fun that you got to be a roadie for a bit. I bet there were wild nights you're not telling us about ;)

  13. Mary, I hear you about the piano lessons. My mother began teaching me when I was about 6 years old. I was a decent sight reader through High School but then I did nothing with it for nearly 20 years. Now I can learn something, but sight reading is out of the question.

    Paty, I'm really glad you are enjoying HEALING NOTES. I did want it to be emotional, so thanks for sharing your reaction with me.

    Karen, interesting how you can listen to Hawaiian music. My problem with listening is that if it has words I hear them and if it's an instrumental it creates pictures in my mind that don't necessarily have anything to do with my story. :)

    Jessa, being a roadie was fun. However, I can unequivocally say there were NO wild nights. The women of Misty River are more like great friends with each other who happen to do music together. Nothing like rock and roll. :)

    Thanks everyone for stopping by and supporting me. I TRULY appreciate it.

  14. Congratulations to Rita Wray, commenter #78 for winning the reader $25 giftcard in this tour.

    Thanks to everyone for a wonderful tour of Healing Notes. I very much appreciate all of your support!