As you can see, I have made some changes to my blog. I wanted to show the world that I don’t just write horror novels but have other works up my sleeve as well.
I have decided to promote a book that I wrote and finished last summer called Weedmonkey.
It is the true story of my mother’s life growing up against the backdrop of Appalachia during the Depression.
She grew up in the coal mining camps of Kentucky and West Virginia and faced a hard life that no child should ever have to endure.
I was on the fence about whether or not to go the Indie route but I want to try to find an agent or a publisher for this project first.
I am hoping I can find one to take an interest in the story as I feel that since it was worth writing, it is worth reading.
The book contains 68,438 words and both the book and the proposal are in completed form and ready for submission.
I believe in this book with all of my heart and will do what it takes to get it noticed…not only for me but for my mother Victoria.
I don’t want to hurt anyone in my family by making this work public. That is not my intention. My sole purpose in writing this book and completing it for my mother, is to fulfill a promise I made to her as she lay dying and to simply honor her life.
A life worth remembering…
Thank you for your time and consideration.
The Story Behind Weedmonkey
The making of Weedmonkey has a unique history. The book was actually started by my mother when I was a child. The story is the truth about her mother, told through the eyes of young Virgie (my mother Victoria)
Weedmonkey is a Southern term for a loose woman, a whore, and what my grandmother had become during her time in the coal mining camps of Kentucky and West Virginia.
My mother grew up hating her mother and was ashamed of living in the shadow of being the daughter of the town whore.
It wasn’t until she was 16 that my mother fled Kentucky only after finding out her mother was having an affair with the boy my mother was in love with.
Afraid of scorn from her family, most of whom were still alive at that time, she found the book difficult to write. Therefore she stopped writing her story and hid the papers away in a secret place.
Years passed and I heard about Weedmonkey often and knew that the passion she had for the book had not died.
In 2005, she asked me to help her complete the story since she had put the book away and never finished writing it. She was afraid that since it was a true account of her hard life that many of her family members may be offended.
She was a good woman and did not want to hurt the ones who were still living by speaking ill of the dead. Well, in my opinion, they should have behaved better knowing that one day they might be in a book! 🙂
For one whole year, I began to interview her with the promise that she would give me at least an hour of her time every day. It could not be 20 minutes or 59 minutes, it had to be a full hour. If our time went over an hour, then so be it, and she agreed.
So every day for a year, we sat down and I listened as she poured her heart out to me about the horrible conditions of her ruined childhood. I listened as she recalled horrific details of abuse, child molestation, murder and even a terrifying encounter with the KKK.
At times, she cried reliving such memories, and often stopped to tell me that her intense pain was the reason she could not continue writing the book herself.
But after a year, the interview concluded and she was happy that she had it all written down.
A few months after the interview was complete, she became ill and diagnosed with terminal cancer. She was given three months to live.
This was February 2006.
On her death-bed, we talked a lot about the book and she asked me to take over the task of writing it for her. How could I say no?
I lovingly told her that it would not be finished “in time” and she said, “I know, it’s okay. You finish it when you can.”
However, somehow, that was okay. For she knew as she crossed from this world into the next, that I would keep my promise and write her life story, Weedmonkey.
She passed away on April 30, 2006.
It took a long time to get on the project and I suppose it was not only the pain of losing my mother that kept me from completing it, but the fear of doing it wrong. What if I didn’t do the story justice? What if I got the facts wrong or had a question that I could not ask her?
So, I did just that, I asked her…show me what to do…
That night I had a dream of me going into her kitchen, standing in front of her desk and opening the cupboard overhead. I saw this scene play over and over as I slept.
The next day, I did just that and found a ton of paperwork, bills, etc. I began to rifle through the massive amount of paper and I found the original beginnings of her book! I was ecstatic! Here in my hands was her book, in her own words, notes, dates, names… everything!
I smiled as I read them recalling her sitting at her desk with her old typewriter in front of her. Funny as I thought of how often she had to change the ribbon and made sure she had plenty of carbon paper on hand.
It was the beginning of a year-long project that I undertook and with her notes and my interview, I completed the book last summer. It was not an easy task by any means. The book was not complete and there was a lot of missing information. However, I was able to go over my notes and find small intimate details such as, did she call her mother, Mom or Mama? Was her father, Dad or Daddy? These little details were important to me and I wanted to get them right.
Purebred Cherokee Dicie Woodwind’s family was forced to flee their home in North Carolina in the Trail of Tears and relocated to a reservation in Oklahoma, therefore never trusting the white man and his “white man ways.”
Married at 15 to Dutchman Peter Hopkins, they become homesteaders in the hills of West Virginia. One of Dicie’s most prized possessions is a string of rattlesnake rattles or “buttons” taken from the snakes that had bitten her while clearing their land. Dicie and Peter produce 13 children. One of these children, a son, Jesse, falls in love with Maud Ward, while visiting his mother who had returned to her home in North Carolina.
Maud, the daughter of Robey and Mallie Ward, was born and raised on the plantation Tarragon on 3,600 acres of prime land in Valley of the Crosses, North Carolina. Tarragon is worked by 17 colored men, women and their families whose ancestors had been slaves to the Ward family.
At the age of 33, Mallie dies from complication of childbirth. In his sorrow, Robey blames himself “for loving her too much” and becomes an alcoholic, neglecting his children and Tarragon. The children are placed with members of the Ward family and the plantation is auctioned.
Eleven-year-old Maud is placed with an uncle who owns a boarding house. When she is 17, she meets 19-year-old Jesse, falls in love and they marry. Her family refuses to acknowledge her marriage and she is disowned for marrying a “half-breed.”
Jesse’s life with Maud was far from happy. Maud could not adjust to the difficulties of being the wife of a poor Cherokee. The only work available to him were jobs that the white man did not want. Cleaning out-houses and burying the dead were the types of jobs offered to him.
In their third year of marriage, Maud becomes pregnant and unable to find work in town, Jesse takes his wife and unborn child to find work on a farm. They are placed in a one-room tenant cabin. They awake during the night to find the cabin inhabited by dozens of snakes. Maud’s terror forces her into labor.
After 36 hours of hard labor, their daughter Virgie is born dead and brought back to life by Jesse’s mother, Dicie, who encounters the white doctor and blames him for allowing her grandchild to be born dead.
As a child growing up during the Depression, Virgie had a very difficult life. A life made even harder by the fact her father Jesse, a dirt poor Cherokee, was forced to take work as a coal miner.
Moving in and out of coal mining camps in West Virginia and Kentucky, Virgie’s mother Maud who was born and raised in the lap of luxury and wealth, has trouble finding common ground with the other women.
Unable to satisfy his lonely wife, Jesse takes solace in his work and Maud turns to other men for comfort. At first, these were harmless flirtations and Jesse pretended not to notice. He was secretly proud that he had the most beautiful woman in town and he was happy to hear her laughter.
He knew that he had not made her happy and that he had disappointed her in many ways. He had hoped that his love for her would be enough.
When he finds that Maud’s flirting has led to an affair, he took his knife into the woods to end his pain. However, filled with love for her and their family, he could not let go.
He took his family and made the first of many moves, but Maud’s affairs continue and he could not force himself to leave her. Several times he left, only to return to try harder to understand why he, who loved her more than life, could not make her happy.
Eventually, her affairs lead to the birth of a child who was not Jesse‘s. However, being a proud man, he forgives her and says nothing. His pain was far greater than hers was at the birth of her daughter.
When Virgie catches her mother and her lover in the throes of intercourse, Maud, ashamed, runs into the house with a loaded gun and locks the door.
Unknown to the nine-year-old Virgie, Maud tries to commit suicide and is taken away and put into a mental hospital where she is given electric shock treatments. Her memory is almost destroyed as a result.
While Maud is away, her two oldest children, Virgie and her brother Wade, are taken from school and put into foster care where they are starved and abused. Their younger sister is sent off to relatives and the infant daughter is kidnapped by the neighbors who were watching her.
Upon her return, Virgie is shocked at her mother’s demeanor and cannot understand why she does not know her family. No one tells the young girl why her mother is so different and this leads into a life long hatred and resentment of Virgie toward her mother.
Never completely regaining her memory, she is forced to live with a man and his children who she is told are hers. Virgie becomes the mother and cares for the children all the while resenting her mother for the change.
Another child is born to her and Jesse but this child is not his either. The baby dies at four months old.
Maud becomes more and more promiscuous. By now, Virgie has matured into a beautiful young woman whom Maud regards as a rival.
After 15 years of marriage, 34-year-old Jesse meets a 16-year-old mountain girl, has an affair and she becomes pregnant. Not wanting to divorce Maud, the love of his life, he is forced to by her family who threaten him with statutory rape charges.
Still in love with Maud, he divorces her and marries his child bride.
Maud moves into the “Rambler’s Roost; Rest Haven for Men“, which is the town whorehouse.
Maud takes up prostitution and is arrested for an untreated venereal disease while 14-year-old Virgie, her brother and sister are forced to live with their father and their 16-year-old stepmother in a two room trailer inhabited by several members of the mountain girl‘s hillbilly family.
Virgie drops out of school, obtains work as a student nurse and goes out on her own. She has great difficulty in surviving as the “daughter of the town whore.”
After her mother’s second arrest and a frightening encounter with the KKK, she makes the decision to leave town when she discovers that the boy she is in love with is having an affair with her mother.
It is not until Maud’s funeral, that Virgie finds out the truth about her mother and she is left to live with the guilt and regret of hating a woman for an illness that was not her fault.
I love to hear from my readers, whether good, bad or anything in between!
If you are interested in reviewing my books, interviewing me or being a guest on my blog, please contact me at Magicforest@peoplepc.com
Let me know if you want to be added to my distro list for upcoming book info!
I’ll also let you know about new releases, contests and other fun stuff and you’ll find out all the juicy stuff before anyone else does!
Smashwords Author Profile http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/lisavproulx
Groupie Blog, Lick and A Promise: http://lickandapromise.wordpress.com/
FaceBook Author Fan Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lisa-V-Proulx-Author-Fan-Page/223212131077410
And as always, thank you for your continued love and support! 🙂
*´¨) ¸.·*´¸.·*´¨) (¸.·´
“I have learned, as a rule of thumb, never to ask whether you can do something. Say, instead, that you are doing it. Then fasten your seat belt. The most remarkable things follow.” ~ Julia Cameron