Nancy LaPonzina

… writing women's fiction with a dollop of archaeology, the metaphysical, and alternative healing modalities


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Characters who heal

Today more than ever, thoughtful consideration of methods to increase well-being abound. This most likely reflects our growing awareness and appreciation for the mind-body connection … how a calm, positive and confident mindset can help ease discomfort and pain. My understanding of this is when freed from discomfort, the immune system has an enhanced ability to work toward returning the body to wellness. And this is, certainly, a low range understanding of the dynamic.

I’m interested in different modalities available for both healing and end of life transitioning and so it follows that within my stories, my characters practice some of these methods. It’s amazing at the variety of therapies now available.

In Nardi Point and A Path through the Garden, readers were introduced to holistic nurse practitioners, Reiki bio-energy practitioners, flower essence therapies, folkway health treatments and a very new concept for end of life transitioning, Golden Rooms.

Yellow Pansies in a Blue Cobalt Jar releases October 10, 2014. Heroine Rhose Guerin is a bibliotherapist who uses poetry, books and movies in her private practice. Clients in bibliotherapy may find it easier to work out their issues identifying with characters from literature first, before growing self-understanding.

Most recently, I’ve become aware of musicians who serve the ill and dying with live music to facilitate and promote healing or assist in the life/death transition. These musicians offer music therapy in hospice/hospital/home settings. The Mozart Effect, playing music to an unborn child, has been recognized as possibly increasing certain cognitive/spatial skills in a child. For the ill or transitioning, there may be a corresponding affect of the music to increase energy should the patient seem lethargic, or be calming if the patient is restless.

These are fascinating alternative options to explore and they represent many non-invasive, inexpensive, and therapeutic treatments my characters love to investigate!

 


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New release October 10, 2014

I’m excited to reveal my third novel, Yellow Pansies in a Blue Cobalt Jar releases October 10, 2014!

Bibliotherapist, silver-haired Rhose Guerin uses books, movies, plays, and poetry in her private practice. An advanced professional credentialing program removes her from friends and family in Yellow Pansies Cover!North Carolina to study in Westport, Connecticut where she reconsiders her fading marriage; a daughter in a relationship crisis; a parent challenged by health issues; and the reappearance of an old love.

Long held family secrets and relationships are revealed that beg intervention as Rhose second-guesses decisions made in her past. Was the path she turned from, the better one to have taken? Can she satisfy her need to grow both professionally and personally in order to find acceptance and romance in a life of her own?

There are no novels to show her how. She must be the heroine of her own story as she appraises and makes peace with life decisions boomer generation women face.


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Traveling for plots and refreshment

I’ve just returned from an amazing first visit to the Baltic where I finally got to meet dear Swedish relatives! How wonderful to share greetings and family spirit with about a dozen or so DNA-like individuals! We gathered at Hossna Church cemetery not far from Ulricehamn to visit great grandfather and other family member’s gravesites on a sparkling Swedish summer day, surrounded by forests of deep green spruce, purple lupines, white and yellow wildflowers.

DSCN1480On the return flight, new Scandinavian characters revealed themselves out of the blue and I’m adding them to my current work in progress. Here’s a secret, Brun’s name (Brun is Rhose Guerin’s husband in Yellow Pansies) is derived from the 300-year-old-plus family farm, Brunsered. Other Scandinavian named characters are sure to follow.

And of course once more I was surprised by the appearance of yellow pansies, appearing along the way in Tallinn, Estonia, and Ulricehamn, Sweden … yet more acknowledgement for Yellow Pansies in a Blue Cobalt Jar. DSCN1557Yellow Pansies


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Museum archaeology … and lunch! Oh my!

Resize_0228141152-01_01I recently joined about thirty other enthusiastic wanna-be archaeologists at the North Carolina Museum of Art to participate in their first hands-on archaeology lab. Staff archaeologist Dr. Caroline Rocheleau led us through a brief artifact-handling orientation, a hands-on study session of classical ceramics, and a short overview lecture. Resize_0228141152-03_01

My volunteer experience at the North Carolina State Archaeology Office dealt with Pre-historic Paleo-Indian artifacts, some ten thousand years old, and 18th Century North Carolina ceramics. Dr. Rocheleau however, is an Egyptologist, a Nubiologist (a geographic region located in the south of Egypt and North of Sudan) and the museum curator of ancient art. The focus of this event were artifacts from Cyprus and Turkey and I got a real appreciation for the depth of study and experience archaeologists must develop for different time periods and cultures. The differences I found from the Paleo-Indian pottery were quite interesting contrasted with the three thousand-year-old Cypriot artifacts.

Resize_0228141152-00_01 Each small group of participants had four artifacts to   examine in order to identify it, describe it, and determine what its use may have been. One of the four artifacts provided to each group was so old, only a special representative could handle it as we visually examined it. Then, like archaeologists out on a dig, we sketched the item, noted its color, construction, finish, decorations, and the presence of any traces of wear. We referenced a glossary to help describe the objects with such formal-sounding descriptors as burnished, applique, lip, neck, shoulder, slip, spout, wheel-made, and ellipsoid, ovaloid, hyperboloid, and cone.

Our  artifact assortment included two objects that possibly held a valued liquid such as precious oil and added to a burial site. So much to examine, so much to imagine from thousands of years ago. Before we knew it, our time was up and we were escorted to a lovely luncheon where we got to speak more with Dr. Rocheleau. Resize_0228141152-02_01

How exciting to ponder peoples from so long ago and why I love to add a dollop of archaeology to my stories for my characters to learn about and enjoy!

 


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Reflective Garden Walking … a therapy

A Path Through the Garden touches on the value and benefit of reflective walking while exploring a garden, meadow, or naturally forested area.  Many of us can remember a special day we enjoyed out in the fresh air when our minds developed an idea from nowhere, an idea that grew in resonance and supported a strong feeling for a plan of action. The idea was positive and meaningful and may have contributed to a whole new life path.

In Japan, this notion of walking through a garden or forest for inspiration is not new. Called shinrin-yoku, it literally translates to forest bathing or an immersion into nature and is recognized as being similar to natural aromatherapy.  Think about how the fragrance of spring, fall, Christmas, vanilla and cloves sends your thoughts dramatically to all kinds of events simply from the sense of smell.  Walking through a garden or forest brings the benefits of essential oils released from tree bark, plants, and flowers that enhance immune function and lessen stress and lower blood pressure.

Those undertaking forest bathing visit a forested area for relaxation. The science part is when visitors breathe in wood essential oils called phytoncides as they walk the forest. Phytoncides are antimicrobial volatile compounds from trees and other plants.

Leyla Jo in A Path Through the Garden walked her magical meadow and sought solutions to life-absorbing challenges. If you need solutions to problems served up by life, why not consider forest bathing?

Check out Reflective Garden Walking presented by Ruth McCaffrey ND, ARNP at the Morikami Museum & Japanese Gardens in Delray Beach, Florida. The program incorporates the Morikami Stroll as part of a Well-being program, and how to begin a meditative practice by creating a program of garden walking using reflective readings and journaling opportunities.

Leyla Jo would love it!


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Hands-on Archaeology lab at the North Carolina Museum of Art

Both my stories, Nardi Point and A Path Through the Garden include storylines rich in archaeology. Because I write what I like to read, I enjoy sharing what I’ve learned about ancient peoples who walked this earth thousands of years ago. That interest led me to volunteer at the NC State Archaeology Office in Raleigh where volunteers were trained in the proper handling and processing of valuable ancient artifacts. To hold a pre-historic relic in your own hands is such an amazing rush! museum

So, that’s why I’m looking forward to the Hands-on Archaeology lab presented by the North Carolina Museum of Art’s staff archaeologist Caroline Rocheleau. Planned for the lab is an artifact-handling orientation, a hands-on study session of classical ceramics, and a short overview lecture. Even a pair of white gloves worn when handling the artifacts will be provided!

I’m smiling because if you’ve read my stories, you know Leyla Jo will be there in spirit. Perhaps she’ll even whisper a new story into my ear. If she does, you all will be the first to know!

Ahhh, the writing life.

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