A Glance at a Southern Story: My Sweet Vidalia by Deborah Mantella

Sweet Vidalia Collage

Southern writers and their stories are important and what makes them unique is the portrayal of the human condition, strength, over-coming struggles and braving a culture many don’t understand. Today I am featuring a unique southern story by Deborah Mantella that gives us a glance at a woman’s emerging voice and much more. I created this art piece-above- in honor of Sweet Vidalia and to Deborah who wrote this poetic story. -Stephanie M. Hopkins

My Sweet Vidalia by Deborah MantellaOn July 4, 1955, in rural Georgia, an act of violence threatens the life of Vidalia Lee Kandal’s pre-born daughter. Despite the direst of circumstances, the spirit of the lost child refuses to leave her ill-equipped young mother’s side.

For as long as she is needed―through troubled pregnancies, through poverty, through spousal abuse and agonizing betrayals―Cieli Mae, the determined spirit child, narrates their journey. Serving as a safe place and sounding board for Vidalia’s innermost thoughts and confusions, lending a strength to her momma’s emerging voice, Cieli Mae provides her own special brand of comfort and encouragement, all the while honoring the restrictions imposed by her otherworldly status.

Vidalia finds further support in such unlikely townsfolk and relations as Doc Feldman, Gamma Gert and her Wild Women of God, and, most particularly, in Ruby Pearl Banks, the kind, courageous church lady, who has suffered her own share of heartache in their small Southern town of yesteryear’s prejudices and presumptions.

My Sweet Vidalia is wise and witty, outstanding for its use of vibrant, poetic language and understated Southern dialect, as well as Mantella’s clear-eyed observations of race relations as human relations, a cast of unforgettable characters, an in-depth exploration of the ties that bind, and its creative perspective. My Sweet Vidalia is a rare, wonderful, and complex look at hope, strength, the unparalleled power of unconditional love, and a young mother’s refusal to give up.

Available on Amazon and various independent book Shoppes.

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L.A.P. it Marketing Giveaway Announcement

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As many of you know, I started a marketing firm for Literature, Art and Photography. Over at the L.A.P. it Marketing Facebook Page I will be holding a fantastic giveaway starting on February 1st. Several of my clients will be contributing to the giveaway and we would be delighted to have you enter and share about what’s to come. Please follow L.A.P. it’s Facebook for exciting content and giveaways!

Stephanie M. Hopkins

Giveaway Package to one lucky winner:

$25 Amazon Gift Card

A Set of Handmade Bookmarks by Stephanie M. Hopkins

A 5×7 Vintage/Abstract on mix media paper by Stephanie M. Hopkins

8×12 Print Photo of Edinburgh Scotland by WSM Photography

Print book: Heart Soul & Rock ‘N’ Roll: A Mid-Life Love Story by Janet R. Stafford

Print book: The Immigrant by Alfred Woollacott III

Print copy of The Believers In The Crucible Nauvoo by Alfred Woollacott III

Kindle edition of Owen (Book one of The Tudor Trilogy) by Tony Riches

300 Writing Prompts Journal

My Heart Is Like A Singing Bird Quotes to Color book

 

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Book & Art Spotlight: The English Wife by Lauren Willig

Book Art The English Wife by Stephanie Hopkins

My book review of The English Wife coming soon here on Layered Pages! Canvas art for the background created by yours truly. -Stephanie M. Hopkins

Book Description:

From New York Times bestselling author, Lauren Willig, comes this scandalous novel set in the Gilded Age, full of family secrets, affairs, and even murder.

Annabelle and Bayard Van Duyvil live a charmed life in New York: he’s the scion of an old Knickerbocker family, she grew up in a Tudor manor in England, they had a whirlwind romance in London, they have three year old twins on whom they dote, and he’s recreated her family home on the banks of the Hudson and renamed it Illyria. Yes, there are rumors that she’s having an affair with the architect, but rumors are rumors and people will gossip. But then Bayard is found dead with a knife in his chest on the night of their Twelfth Night Ball, Annabelle goes missing, presumed drowned, and the papers go mad. Bay’s sister, Janie, forms an unlikely alliance with a reporter to uncover the truth, convinced that Bay would never have killed his wife, that it must be a third party, but the more she learns about her brother and his wife, the more everything she thought she knew about them starts to unravel. Who were her brother and his wife, really? And why did her brother die with the name George on his lips?

Purple Irises With Hues Of Gold And Fragility – Poem by Chris Lane

Painting 12-18-17 II by Stephanie

The purple Irises glistened

in the morning stillness

with three tongues that lick

as if to catch a dew drop

upon each tip

Golden bearded and strong

these living gems

calling for those lucky enough

to scent and see them.

Rhizomes barely catch the earth,

with roots that serve as a place of rebirth

Dividing as they go

year after year, they double in show

Oh, this beauty with for my eyes to see

I cannot keep them for only me

with friends true I shall share.

and next year bring to them

this joy I find in

a purple world with hues of gold and fragile love.

© Calac

Chris Lane

Painting by Stephanie M. Hopkins

It’s Monday Again…

This weekend was pretty uneventful. I stayed home and read. worked on some art projects, blog posts, website content and watched movies. One needs those kind-of weekends sometimes, you know? Today I am sharing some pictures from my weekend. I’m still reading, Gradle Bird by J.C. Sassen and I will be through with it soon.

I love journals. I started back with it recently and I have such a busy schedule right now it helps keep me grounded.

Journal 11-20-17

I’m in the process of prepping the backgrounds for #christmastags I’ll be using for giveaways at Novel Expressions #Facebook Page in December.

Link to Novel Expressions Page HERE

Christmas Tags Prep 2017

My daughter painted on canvas and when I took this picture, she wouldn’t let me see what she was working on! By the way…. she doesn’t know I took this picture. Ha-ha… Her project turned out great.

Daughter creating 2017 I

I created this tag using Tim Holtz distress inks for the background.  I am so addicted to his products! They are amazing. I do believe the  paper flower is from his product line as well. The picture I took doesn’t do the tag justice but you get the idea…

Tag I Nov 2017

Two weekends ago now at a book event (BOOK EXCHANGE/MARIETTA, GA) I was sitting with author Kimberly Brock and she said she had a friend coming and her name is Emily, do I know her? I said she sounded familiar…. She sat between us and the three of us were having a great time listening to the four southern authors that were being featured at this event. It just now came to me that Emily is the author of The Weight of Lies! I reviewed that book and loved it. Darn it all, I didn’t get a photo with her! Total fan girl here! I am definitely going to include her in my southern writer’s series here at Layered Pages.

The Weight of Lies

Thank you for visiting with me today and be sure to come back this week for more fun posts.

Stephanie M. Hopkins

A Lovely Weekend To You

I’ve had a busy week and lots on my mind for new posts series starting soon at Layered Pages! As many of you know I posted about two giveaways and they are still open. Please don’t miss your chance to enter them. They are fabulous!

Gradie BirdieI’ve stared reading a southern story-Gradle Bird by J.C. Sassen- and I have fully embraced with the soulful sentiment in this story that reaches the core of a person’s heart. I am journaling passages that are making a profound impact on my journey reading this story. A story that touches you so…

So far, I am highly recommended this book. Hopefully I will be able to publish a review of the story soon. This will be part of my southern author’s series that I mentioned in a previous post. I was hoping to get a review up this week but yet again, it did not happen. I know my followers expect to see my book reviews and I need to be better at posting them. There is just not enough time in the day to get everything done!

Paper for book marksI’m also working on another project. I’ve got my paper selected for the 36 handmade bookmarks I’m making for a wonderful group of ladies. Can’t wait to see how they turn out! Bookmarks are so much fun to make. Normally I use scarp paper to make them but these I want to go all out. The ladies I am sending them to read Historical Fiction and I know these patterns are perfect for the genre.

I hope you all have a beautiful weekend and thank you for visiting me today! See you on Monday.

Stephanie M. Hopkins