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About Joan Donaldson
I love stories and listen for them when I share meals with friends or travel to wonderful historical location such as Rugby, Tennessee. Writing is how I share those narratives with others and hopefully offer insight into various situations. When not writing, I work on the organic blueberry farm that I share with my husband, John. I love weeding in my garden, playing my Celtic harp, and sewing quilts. I live a blessed life and am thankful for editors, readers and reviewers who enjoy what I write.
My latest news is that Indie Reader chose Hearts of Mercy as a September pick, and the novel won first place in the historical romantic suspense category of the 2019 PenCraft Awards.
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Titles By Joan Donaldson
When Viney Walker’s long, absent father arrives in the 19th century Utopian Community of Rugby, TN, he begs her to return with him to the Great Smoky Mountains. Viney’s sister, Lizzie urges her to go, because a new setting will help Viney heal from a broken engagement. Viney acquiesces and in her new home, she meets her Walker cousins, including handsome and brawny James. The couple’s romance angers the White Caps, a vigilante group that whips lewd women, and they warn Viney to mend her ways.
Seeking revenge and the freedom to love James, Viney joins a counter vigilante group. She plots a trap for the White Caps, but finds herself tied to a post, with a whip racing toward her.
Joan has been making maple syrup on her organic blueberry farm for almost forty years.
For more information about Joan, go to www.joandonaldson.com
“When we write, a unique neural circuit is automatically activated,” said Stanislas Dehaene, a psychologist at the Collège de France in Paris. “There is a core recognition of the gesture in the written word, a sort of recognition by mental simulation in your brain.” https://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/03/science/whats-lost-as-handwriting-fades.html
What most Americans do not know is that the handwriting they learned was created by a ten-year boy who lived at the edge of the Northwest Territory.
In 1810, Platt Rogers Spencer eyed the angle of the rolling waves of Lake Erie and the oval pebbles scattered across the strand. With a quill, Spencer transferred these common shapes found in nature into a new style of penmanship. Instead of only moving his wrist as Spencer wrote, he employed his shoulder muscles to move the quill. The young penman created a uniquely American form of handwriting that would reflect the vibrant spirit of his nascent country, and for the rest of his life, Spencer promoted the script that bore his name. The Father of American Penmanship published the first copy books that featured his script so that school teachers didn’t need to prepare small paper slips with examples of letters for their students to replicate. Spencer’s books were the most commonly used in American schools. Believing in practical education, he founded the first business college in Pittsburgh, PA and also enrolled women in his Log Cabin Seminary so that they could train to become clerks.
When not teaching Spencer also wrote and published poetry. A reformed alcoholic, he lectured on behave of the Temperance Movement and promoted the end of slavery. His artistic mind also envisioned how to utilize the shapes from his letters to create “off-hand flourishing”, a pen and ink folk art that creates graceful birds, cartouches and sometimes leaping stags. After his death, Spencer’s children continued to teach his script, publish new editions of his curriculum, and kept his legacy alive.
“We never give much thought to handwriting these days, especially as the ubiquitous keyboard has lessened the call for it and fewer children are taught penmanship. But in nineteenth century America, Platt Rogers Spencer developed a curriculum for legible handwriting that schools adopted. The Spencerian style, as it came to be known, provided an essential uniformity in communication. The story of the man, his method, and widespread influence he had in helping Americans make their written thoughts understood is neatly told in Platt Rogers Spencer. In the era before typewriters and computers, handwriting mattered and Joan Donaldson’s Kindle Single will provide deserved attention to Spencer’s achievement.”
—James McGrath Morris, author of Pulitzer: A Life in Politics, Print, and Power.
Whether shes writing about the staccato of a hairy woodpecker echoing through the woods, tapping sweet sap from a cluster of maples during a spring sugaring ritual or mourning the loss of her ox, Tolstoy, Joan Donaldsons sensuous prose shimmers and surprises. Her collection of essays, Wedded to the Land, peels back the skin of her blueberry farm with the precision and eloquence of a Wendell Berry, Edward Abbey, and other agrarian essayists who make us pine for the lost heart of the country.
George Getschow, writer-in-residence, The Mayborn Graduate Institute of Journalism, former editor for the Wall Street Journal
John thought he was building a garage when he erected a timber-frame building only a stones throw from the house we built on the back of our farm. While washing the dishes, I mulled over how pleasant it would be to look out our kitchen window and watch goats lounge in a paddock. If goats lived in the new shed, the walk wouldnt be far when milking in the winter or during kidding season.
Once outside, I scanned the sixteen-by-twenty-foot framework. You know, a couple of goats would fit nicely in here. Theres room for two stalls. Johns hammer paused. I continued. The aspens and honeysuckle on the north would shelter an outdoor pen. I tied on a nail apron and picked up a hammer.