We Write.

“We write every day, we fight every day, we think and scheme and dream a little dream every day. Manuscripts pile up in the kitchen sink, run-on sentences dangle around our necks. We plant purple prose in our gardens and snip the adverbs only to thread them in our hair. We write with no guarantees, no certainties, no promises of what might come and we do it anyway. This is who we are.” -Tareheh Mafi

Friday, January 31, 2014

The moon in the sky

Here's a weird shot of the moon through my greenhouse window. 

Not sure what made it turn this color, but I think it's amazing! 

How many ways we can find to take pictures of the moon!

Photo by Joyce Lavenewww.joyceandjimlavene.com 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Murray's Mill Historic site

There are places that you can't get out of your mind. One of those places for me is Murray's Mill. A grist mill has been operated here since 1863. The first time I visited here, there was a one-lane bridge that a car could barely fit through, and a timber-road. Since then, it has become a tourist attraction - a little. Still it has a nice feel to it. Very peaceful and beautiful.

I've never written specifically about Murray's mill - but the location has been in the Sharyn Howard Mysteries, Peggy Lee Garden Mysteries, and now in Sweet Pepper Fire Brigade Mysteries. Who know where it will end up next!


All streams lead to the mill.
This picture doesn't do the wheel justice. It's huge - the building is that much bigger.
The one-lane bridge I mentioned. It's closed to cars now.
The water wheel.
Photo's by Joyce Lavene

Friday, January 24, 2014

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Lucky Shots By Joyce Lavene

This is one of my favorite images. It was a fluke - a lucky shot - of an old footbridge crossing a small pond. Part of what makes it my favorite is a reflection you see in the bottom of the picture. The reflection comes from a tree that my camera caught in the car window as I took the shot.

The footbridge is close to my home and an image I enjoyed passing each day. Unfortunately, the land has changed, and I couldn't take this picture again today. I guess that makes it a lucky shot in more ways than one.

Joyce Lavene

Friday, January 17, 2014

Along the Illinois and Michigan Canal

Along the I & M Canal

The Illinois and Michigan canal provided the first complete water route from the east coast to the Gulf of Mexico by connecting Lake Michigan to the Mississippi River. The waterway was used by Native Americans and traders from the 1600s, until 1823 when Illinois created a Canal Commission to oversee design and construction of the canal. 

The canal was completed in 1848, at a cost of $6.5 million. It begins at the south branch of the Chicago River at Bridgeport and extends 96 miles to the Illinois River at LaSalle. Originally 60 feet wide and 6 feet deep, the canal has fifteen 15 locks. Commercial traffic was accomplished by barges pulled by mules or horses walking on the towpaths.

In 1933, the Illinois Waterway was completed and the I & M Canal was closed to navigation. Since then, the canal has been developed for recreation, with the addition of shelters and picnic areas and renovation of the tow path for hiking and bicycling.

Locks on the canal that took the barges from elevation to elevation.

History abounds!
Fortunes were made and lost here through the years
Abandoned factories which once supported growing communities on the canal.
The old mule barn
Water traffic is slower now along the canal but still exists.

Photos by Joyce Lavene

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Garden Statuary

"The hours I spend with you I look upon as sort of a perfumed garden, a dim twilight, and a fountain singing to it. You and you alone make me feel that I am alive.  ~ George Edward Moore

Garden Statuary has always fascinated me. The statues tell a story all their own.

Rose petals and a cupid from South Carolina
Duke Memorial Gardens
An unusual Roman soldier
Not unusual - a woman caught with her clothes in disarray
Chinese fish

Monday, January 13, 2014

Quilting - a simple gift

Simple Gifts

No one knows who made the first quilt - that's how long ago it was that some industrious woman took leftover bits and pieces of material to make something warm and welcoming for her family. It was important to make the most of what she had.

We might not know who the first person was who made a quilt, but the tradition continues. There are thousands of men and women out there today making beautiful quilts - just because they want to. 

for my friend, Dru Ann Love!

Antique quilt from Oakboro Historic society, Oakboro, NC

A child's quilt

A true lady in her day

Talented handiwork

A family heirloom quilt

Photos by Joyce Lavene

Friday, January 10, 2014

Behind the Scenes

Behind the Scenes

I like taking pictures of things that capture a mood or a feeling. Some of my favorites are from peeking around corners or looking in doorways, and taking shots of people who don't know I'm there. 

In this case, I always think of this shot when it's time to start the round of bookstores with a new release. It reminds me of what it feels like to sit at a table in a bookstore or library as people come up to talk to you about your book.

Behind the Scenes at an event for writers.

Joyce Lavene

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Lake Lure: earth and water

"Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers, the mountains and the sea, are excellent schoolmasters, and teach some of us more than we could ever learn from books. ~ John Lubbock

Photos from Lake Lure, North Carolina. Some of you may recognize this area as the spot where the movie Dirty Dancing was filmed. I'd love to set a book here. Just haven't found the right one yet!

The view from the house we stayed in was incredible.
Heading into night
Out for a boat ride

Twin fir trees and stonework
Lake Lure Inn, the scene of Dirty Dancing

from Joyce Lavene

Monday, January 6, 2014

Time for a new book!

It's time for a new Sweet Pepper Fire Brigade Mystery!
By Joyce Lavene (J.J. Cook)

This time, it's Playing with Fire, the second book in the series.
Doesn't Berkley Prime Crime have some wonderful artists?

First two book covers in the series.

Here are some images Jim and I have taken that go with these books.
They help us work, reminding us that the story is more than words.

my grandfather's firefighter badge
different ways to get to the fire
antique fire truck
pumper truck

ghost pepper

hottest sweetest peppers in the world

stairs in Stella's cabin
inside Stella's cabin
Eric's (Stella's) cabin
everything made from deer antlers
on the deck overlooking the Little Pigeon River
Smoky Mountain sunrise

Friday, January 3, 2014

Don't wait for your ship to come in ~

Don't wait for your ship to come in - swim out to it! ~Unknown

Random pictures of water.

Wilmington, NC
Waterfalls Park
Reed Gold Mine - the first place in the U.S. to find gold

Feeding the Gulls
Badin Lake, NC
South Carolina coast