Writing About Life Experiences by B. J. Robinson

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I am inspired to write through life experiences, God, and nature. For instance, for The Belle and the Officer, I remember my early Mississippi days spent in the red clay at my grandmother’s fascinated by the little doddle bugs that rolled up their tiny bodies and reminded me of Volkswagen cars. My father had a brother who had a cotton farm years after the Civil War. There were no slaves. He paid people to pick his cotton and gave me a smaller sack telling me I could pick, too.

He paid me twenty-five cents a bag, and I soon played out, so I didn’t make much, but I can say I’ve had the experience of picking cotton. I think I earned a dollar. Remembering this, made me want to set a novel in the small Mississippi town where my father grew up and their college became a hospital during the war. Until I conducted the research for this book, I had never heard about Whitworth College in Brookhaven, Mississippi.

Blurb for The Officer and the Belle

The Belle and the Officer

Historical romance. A Mississippi plantation. A southern belle. A Union officer. The turmoil of the Civil War rips a country asunder as lives are transformed. Four brothers. Three reared in the South, the other the North. Would they ever see eye-to-eye? One decides to cultivate souls instead of cotton.

Alice Caldwell is young and in love in the midst of the raging war that disrupts her world. She hopes to soon be married when the Civil War destroys her plans, and her beau leaves to fight. Her heart aches for the simple times before the war came to Brookhaven. A cold, metal key is all she has to show for their love.

Bert Russell, a Union officer, invades her life when his wounded men are moved to Whitworth College in Brookhaven, Mississippi, and he turns it into a hospital for his soldiers. When there is not enough room for his men and the Confederate soldiers, he confiscates Cotton Grove Plantation, Alice’s home, as a hospital for his remaining men and encamps on her front lawn.

Working in the hospital with wounded and dying men changes Alice’s once-sheltered life. She’s no simpering southern belle batting lashes behind a sandalwood fan, but becomes a woman who finds the courage to go on.

Through it all, the magnolia trees continue to bloom, majestic live oaks curtained with Spanish moss wave their limbs, the great Mississippi River continues to flow as the North and South battle for its control, and somehow, people go on with their lives.

Sonny, Lonnie’s brother says, “I changed the name and added the word plantation so this place will be a different type of plantation, one to cultivate souls instead of cotton. I think Lonnie would like that.”

A reviewer said, “I feel that I experienced the life of Alice rather than read about her in a book. The Belle and the Officer is a well-written book with a great story but also so much more. To me, it is an authentic experience of a woman in the Civil War era South trying to make sense of life, grow and love in an unsteady and dangerous world. I highly recommend this book, regardless of which genre you normally are interested in, to anyone that appreciates quality writing and storytelling.” P. Brown http://www.amazon.com/Belle-Officer-Battlefield-Romance-Book-ebook/dp/B00YQB58BK/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1433280984&sr=1-2&keywords=the+belle+and+the+officer

Except from Chapter 10 of The Belle and the Officer

A tall, slim officer with dark hair and brooding blue eyes barreled in the front door followed by his raging sea of men in blue. She stood to the side and looked on as the kindly old doctor tried to speak on the wounded soldier’s behalf. “Please don’t cause any problems here. We have sick, wounded, and dying men.”



“No, I don’t mean it’s good that you have sick and dying men. I mean I’m glad I’ve discovered a nearby hospital for my own injured men. As we speak Brookhaven is being captured. I’m Colonel Edbert Russell, and I’m confiscating this hospital for the Union.”

“You can’t do that. What about our soldiers?”

“I won’t turn them out. They can all heal together.” He turned and noticed her. “Nurse?”

“I assist the doctor.”

“Then please help me by preparing beds for about fifty more soldiers. I have men by the wagonload, but sadly some are beyond our help.”

Alice gasped. “I don’t know if we have fifty beds. The hospital is nearly filled with so many nearby battles surrounding us.”

“Make room. My men need and deserve help just as much as yours.”

“I’ll do what I can.” Alice strode off to see how many beds were available and wondered what he’d do if she had to report there weren’t enough. Russell. His last name is Russell. There are Russells in Mississippi, but he’s dressed in Union blue, and he’s on the wrong side. Must not be any relation to our Russells. She gave his name no more thought as she found bedding for the beds they had available and made them. She sighed. Now, she’d have to inform Colonel Russell that the hospital lacked at least twenty beds. Alice didn’t look forward to how he’d receive the information.

As blue-coated soldiers toted others into the hospital and asked where to place them, she sought out Mr. Russell. He stood in the hall speaking with the doctor and turned when he saw her approach. “Yes?”

“I’m sorry, but we don’t have fifty beds.”

“How many do you have?”

“About thirty.”

“What do you propose I do with the other twenty or so men? They all need help.” He sighed and rubbed a hand along his jawline as if in deep thought. “Is there another place that can serve as a makeshift hospital?”

“Not that I know of.” Alice twisted her hands in front of her and noticed the fire in his cobalt blue eyes and the way his blue uniform brought them out and made them an even deeper blue. She shook her head. What was she doing thinking about a pair of blue eyes? She loved a man with hazel ones. At a time like this with so many men desperately needing her help, she shouldn’t be thinking about anyone’s.

Colonel Russell stepped to the window and gazed across the street. “What’s that looming white building?”

Alice’s heart turned cold with fear. “That’s someone’s home.”

About the Author

B. J. RobinsonB. J. Robinson loves reading and penning Civil War era historical romance as well as various other genres to provide choice for her readers. You’ll find romantic suspense, sweet contemporary romance, mystery, short stories, novellas, and full-length novels from which to choose when you check out her Amazon page. She’s an Amazon best-selling author of over twenty books. Blessed with children, grandchildren, and pets, she pens her Christian, inspirational fiction from Florida where she lives with her husband. Visit her at: https://www.facebook.com/BJRobinsonHistoricalRomance, http://barbarajrobinson.blogspot.com, or at https://www.facebook.com/AuthorBJRobinson

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1 Comment

  1. I am honored to be a guest on this beautiful blog. Thank you for having me. BJ


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