Books

Alden BigelowOne day local author Alden Bigelow wrote a short story that dealt with animal cruelty and animal rights. Eventually it developed into his current novel, The Great American Mammal Jamboree.

“It just evolved into a novel as my characters and their thoughts grew larger and larger in my mind,” he said. The book is written from the perspective of animals, both wild and domesticated. Most of the book is told through the point of view of a springer spaniel named Jessie. Jessie is chosen partly because of his affinity and ability to bond with humans on a different level than most wild animals.

“My favorite character was Jessie, because he is a great narrator and a good dog and a close personal friend of mine,” said Bigelow.
The animals come together for a jamboree and, though some express their disenchantment with humans and their cruelty and misunderstanding of animals, Jessie cautions them that they need to be open to promoting peaceful, friendly compromise.

“This is about animals learning to work together in order to teach and persuade” humans, Bigelow said.

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altLake Monticello resident Cynthia Moore has already received praise for her book Live, Love, Lead: 10 Simple Skills to Transform Stress, a book focused on how to become conscious of joy and less inclined to stress. It features a short description of 10 skills that if practiced regularly can reduce stress and restore life’s balance.

“Although I thought some of these skills would be helpful to others in middle management – as they have been helpful to me – I recognize that for all of us, having more tools in our stress management toolkit is useful,” said Moore.

Moore believes that the daily stress of modern life weighs us down without the balance of rest and renewal, or the pauses nature intended in the midst of chaos.

“Increases in blood pressure and blood sugar as well as risk to the heart accelerate under those chronic stress conditions, contributing to disease development,” Moore said. “That is why it makes sense to intentionally add in some practices to balance the rest and renewal part of our nervous system. Those at a higher risk can benefit from these skills but they’re useful for most of us.” Add a comment

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Susan Carol KentA bookworm since childhood, author Susan Carol Kent (formerly Susan Snead) has a passion for books and writing which has finally led her to publish her first novel, a mystery set in the charming fictional river town of Potoma, Va., inspired by Colonial Beach, Va.

“I have written poetry and stories since I first learned to form sentences,” she said. Her debut novel, “Bad Neighbors,” highlights a sinister plot with unexpected twists and turns to keep the reader guessing as to who murdered a popular teenager in town. Her two protagonists, officers Katie Bell and Anna Madrid, are ideal for an ongoing series. Though Kent is pursuing other ideas, she hasn’t ruled out a series if the book takes off.

Kent said she begins her writing process with an idea, but has no set vision or outline to follow to the end. The story and the characters take wing and fly and she follows. Authors like Kent are known as “pansters,” a term used to describe writers who write stories by the seat of their pants.

Kent likes to use places she has been to or lived and use them in her stories. A historian, she is currently working on a different novel set at Maymont in Richmond. She focuses on the Dooley family, the prominent family who owned Maymont and functioned as the movers and shakers of their day during the latter part of the 19th and early 20th century.

“Nothing is known about the Dooleys, except he was a prominent lawyer who had many ties to the community, but Mrs. Dooley before her death in 1923 destroyed all letters, mementos and any personal items,” she said. “No one knows why and as a result no one knows anything personally about the family.”

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Compromise tax rate lacks supervisor support

Though there may be a compromise tax rate in the works, at least three members of the Fluvanna County Board of Supervisors say they aren’t sure they’ll be able to vote for it.

At a work session Wednesday night (March 23) supervisors discussed setting a fiscal year 2017 (FY17) real property tax rate of 91.4 cents per $100 valuation. Currently the tax rate is 89.9 cents.

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Beth Larson Sherk  with her brother Kevin Larson.Beth Larson Sherk has recently debuted two new children’s books, both short and meaningful. This novelist, playwright, director and theater teacher, currently has her novel, The River’s Bend on Amazon.com. But Sherk views writing children’s books differently and finds it a freeing experience.

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