Today's guest post is by someone I got acquainted with online through mutual writer friends before we ever met face-to-face at Hemingway Pfeiffer. I think you'll enjoy getting acquainted with her, too.
Gatewood lives in Rector, Arkansas, a retirement oasis in Northeast Arkansas:
peace and solitude within a small farming community. “It’s a marvelous place,
especially after an extensive career in the Memphis, Tennessee, area,” Jane
shares. An English and journalism teacher spending her final eighteen years as
a high school administrator, Jane finds retirement a remarkable adventure. Always
having enjoyed writing and with an early retirement goal of participation in
the Hemingway-Pfeiffer Writers Retreats at the Hemingway-Pfeiffer Educational
Center located 10 miles north of Rector in Piggott, AR, Jane found these
retreats to be inspirational and filled with new learning. It was at those
workshops and retreats that the flame was fanned, and she was encouraged to
write for more than pleasure.
See Jane Write
Jane has self-published two books. One is a
memoir, told with a pen name because she sought anonymity that never
materialized. She says that were she to write it again, she’d tell the stories
differently. Taking the chance on writing such a personal and candid memoir
came with a price. Because so many people said, “Jane, you’ve got to write a
book. So many women would be encouraged by your story,” she did exactly that.
The title is Sunrise in a Lemon Sky, published through Crossbooks, a
division of Lifeway. Crossbooks abandoned publishing services in 2015. The book
received good reviews for the most part because the outcome is positive and the
stories are engaging with one chapter’s events leading the reader into the
next. The book honors God’s activity in her life.
Sunrise in a Lemon Sky chronicles
twenty years of ups and downs, crisis and triumph. The story of infertility,
adoption, ovarian cancer, betrayal and finding the next love is told with
candor. God’s divine guidance is woven throughout the memoir. Included are
quotes, scriptures, reflection topics, and recipes, chapter by chapter.
Jane used the pen name E. J. Gordon (Ella Jane
Gordon) for the memoir. She was Jane’s great grandmother. E. J. Gordon’s strength
provided inspiration to survive and to write, telling the story to encourage
other women facing trials and heartache. Ella Gordon was a devout Christian who
remained resolute and humble in her own trials. She followed the concepts of
duty, obligation, and held fast to the understanding that “to whom much is
given, much is expected.”
second book is a family history told in the creative non-fiction style.
Eighteen months of research and decades of living among many family members culminated
in the book and accompanying CD (PDF files, Ancestry files, more photos, family
recipes, etc). This family history was written to combine the genealogy from
family members and breathe new life into names and dates on a timeline. The
House on Harrison Street title references not only “house” as a physical
residence but “house” as family, as the Bard of Avon once penned. The house
located at 134 Harrison is the generational home. Jane’s brother and she were
the last of the Gordon-Ritchie children to live there; they are the last family
members with first-hand knowledge of the stories belonging to the house.
The House on Harrison Street
was written to assure that the family story will not vanish. No one, prior to
publication of this book, knows the whole story, and there is still much that
will not be told. Cousins knew some of the story, Jane knew another portion of
the story, and together, the stories were written from these facts and memories.
The three portions follow relatives from the Virginia colony to south Arkansas
from 1620 in colonial Virginia to Camden, Arkansas, in 1959, when the house on
Harrison Street was no more. The Gordon and Ritchie families played a
significant role in the history of Camden and Ouachita County, Arkansas.
The House on Harrison Street
is dedicated to all the family members who shared life and love within the
hallways of the family home located on a prominent corner in Camden, Arkansas.
With great love, it is dedicated to the author’s mother, Margaret Horne Dansby,
and grandmother Mildred Gordon Horne. The women in the family provided the
central focus of the book – so many named Jane. “I thought my parents named me
Margaret Jane because Jane was an easy to spell middle name with a first name
of Margaret. What I learned is that Jane is a noble family name that I’m
honored to carry: Jane Elizabeth Tooke Gordon, Jane McBride Campbell Ritchie,
Ella Jane Ritchie Gordon, Janie Louise Gordon, Jane Horne. I am the last Jane.”
Everybody has a story to tell. Some have several. Those who choose to do so
through writing take a huge leap of faith. Both books carry personal
information and insight along with lessons learned.
Publishing with Crossbooks was an expensive mistake. While it is a beautiful book,
it is no longer available from this publisher or on Amazon because Crossbooks sent me my manuscript back,
but their cover, etc. was unavailable. I’ve republished it through createspace with a different internal
structure and a different cover.
I paid for internal setup with createspace for The House on Harrison
Street. It’s important that the book
have a professional appearance.
in a Lemon Sky is $12 with $3 for shipping.
House on Harrison Street is $20 with $5 for shipping.
Jane Gatewood – 154 N Woodland Heights Dr –
Rector, AR 72461
Check out Jane's blog, Lemon Pie Sunshine at http://lemonpiesunshine.blogspot.com.
Copyright © Reflections from Dorothy's Ridge 2016. All rights reserved
Labels: Arkansas Writers, Memoir