Cool Gus Book of the Week: Note by Note by Janice Maynard

Welcome Janice Maynard to the House!

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Thanks to Bob and Jen at Cool Gus for the invitation to “hang out” with all of you today! I’m sitting here in my little corner of East Tennessee waiting for the temps to drop and the leaves to change. Yes, I’m one of those people. J I love sweaters, what can I say??

Note by NoteMy husband and I live in the foothills of the beautiful Great Smoky Mountains. I had a feeling that sooner or later I would set a book here. Note By Note is the result. If you’re familiar with the area at all, you’ll probably recognize Statlerville as Sevierville, Tennessee. The names have been changed to protect the innocent. Ha…

 Statlerville is a fictional community like many small rural communities. The original downtown of the real Sevierville is anchored by a brick courthouse. The surrounding square is home to a number of shops and restaurants. On the lawn of the courthouse, you’ll find a statue of Dolly Parton, Sevierville’s most famous citizen, playing her guitar.

It’s not uncommon for a large bus to pull up and offload a group of tourists who want to take advantage of the photo op. It’s funny and kind of sweet to see men in their eighties giggling like school boys as they pose beside the statue with their hands on one of Dolly’s assets.

As an important aside, Dolly is phenomenally generous. Her foundation has provided all sorts of benefits to schools in the area. Her most famous project is the Imagination Library. Parents of a newborn can sign up their baby and begin receiving a book a month until the child is five. If you do the math, that 60 books! Not a bad way to introduce a little one to the joy of reading.

One other interesting thing about Sevierville is that you’ll find a core of natives who have grown up together. That was the theme I wanted to pursue in Note by Note. The hero and heroine have literally known each other since grade school. Their friendship has ebbed and flowed over the years. The heroine now has a romantic interest in the hero, but how can she tell him? What if he’s appalled? Or embarrassed?

On the one hand, similar backgrounds and shared interests can make for a solid relationship. But only if both parties feel the same spark. This struggle is “real”, because the hero and heroine have seen each other at their best and worst.

Small-town living has its good and bad. People tend to meddle in your business. Keeping a new relationship private is virtually impossible. But in a crisis, those same busybodies will come out of the woodwork to help you when your barn burns down or your house is flooded.

My husband and I don’t actually live in Sevierville. But we know it well. If you’re a resident, you’ll find yourself welcoming the hordes of tourists coming to see the area. Great Smoky Mountains National Park has an annual visitation of over 10 million! That’s more than any other park in the entire country.

As I write this blog, I realize that today (August 25th) is the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service. For our family, the parks really are a national treasure. Haven’t made it to all of them, but we’re making progress.

I enjoy writing contemporary stories about interesting characters in unique settings. I had a reader tell me once that she would like to be friends with my characters. I took that as a high compliment.

If you have a chance to read Note by Note, I hope you’ll enjoy getting to know Ethan and Jane. And if you haven’t visited eastern Tennessee, I predict you’ll be intrigued by these mountains that the native people called the Land of Blue Smoke.

Thanks for stopping by. As we say here in Tennessee, Happy Fall, Y’all…

Janice Maynard

Amazon | iBooks | Nook | Kobo | Google

Two Weeks Until . . .

publication of Nine-Eleven (Time Patrol). 

There are coincidences in history that, if you wrote them as a novel, would be unbelievable. But since I’m using actual history as the template for my Time Patrol books, I can use those coincidences. On 9-11-2001, the same day as the attacks in NY, the Pentagon and Pennsylvania, the largest aircraft in the world set a record that still stands for cargo lift to altitude. On 9-11-9, the Roman Empire suffered its greatest defeat. More Romans might have died at Cannae, but Hannibal never followed up his victory, so in terms of history, it didn’t have much effect. The Battle of the Teutoberg Forest on the other hand stopped the Roman Empire at the Rhine River.  Then there is the Mountain Meadows Massacre, on 9-11-1857, a dark day in our history, when 120 emigrants on the California Trail were murdered in cold blood by Mormons. One event, 9-11-1776, held the potential to entirely change our country’s history; indeed to keep us from ever becoming the United States: when Benjamin Franklin and John Adams met with Admiral Howe, to British Commander to discuss the possibility of peace. This happened right after George Washington lost the Battle of Long Island.

CGApprovedFor those interested in history, in learning about events both large and small and arcane (is the house on Staten Island where the peace conference was held haunted?) the Time Patrol books cover it all.

 Cool Gus approves this message!

TimePatrol2016

“I don’t know if it’s a good thing or a bad thing. It just is.” Life & Story-telling

indexSomething I tell my wife is: “It’s going to turn out how we least expect.”

Because that’s life. And that is also a key part of story-telling.

There once was a very poor man who lived in a kingdom. All he had was his son and six beautiful horses. One day the king rode by and saw the horses. The king offered to buy the horses for a very large sum of money. The man refused. His neighbors told him he was crazy not to take the money because the king’s offer was a very good thing. He replied: “I don’t know if it’s a good thing or a bad thing. It just is.”


Two days after the king made his offer and the poor man turned him down, the horses broke out and disappeared. His neighbors looked at the poor man and said now he should feel very bad because he not only didn’t get the king’s money, but he also no longer had his horses. He replied: “I don’t know if it’s a good thing or a bad thing. It just is.”


A few days later, the six horses came back with six more wild horses, just as beautiful. The poor man’s neighbors said: “What a good thing you didn’t sell them to the king. Now you have twelve horses.” He replied: “I don’t know if it’s a good thing or a bad thing. It just is.”


While trying to break in the six new horses, the man’s son was thrown and shattered his leg, crippling him for life. The man’s neighbors said. “What a bad thing those six new horses are. Now your son is crippled for life.” He replied: “I don’t know if it’s a good thing or a bad thing. It just is.”


A year later, the kingdom went to war with a neighboring kingdom, a war everyone knew they were destined to lose. When the levy came for young men to go fight, the poor man’s son wasn’t taken to go because of his crippled leg. The man’s neighbors said: “What a good thing that your son is crippled so he doesn’t have to go and die in this foolish war like our own sons.” He replied: “I don’t know if it’s a good thing or a bad thing. It just is.”

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