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The Woodlake House by Chris James

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Chris James' new 7-chapter novella, The Woodlake House is now underway.

Prepare for dark mysteries to be slowly unveiled as this story progresses to a powerful surprise ending.

Oh yeah, it is also compelling young love story with fascinating characters.

Chapters will be posted each weekend.

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You are all just too kind for words. I cannot say anything about this story as there is only one chapter posted, but I appologize to those who wanted to see the whole thing at one time. I need writing time for a few weeks and with the holidays fast approaching, and too many things on my plate, I hope you feel it is worth the wait.

Besides, I am waiting for my new Christmas album to arrive so that I can have some inspiration behind my words. You can find these singing angels on Amazon:

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Chris,

One of the many things I love about your stories is their authentic locations. This one is particularly interesting to me, as I lived in Woodmoore for close to five years while I worked at the NIH. It was my first job, all those years ago. A lot has happened in the twenty years since we left - Montgomery Blair High School has been relocated to the last undeveloped tract on the Beltway, a forested plot of land known to us as the K-tract, the Woodmor Shopping Center has had a makeover and the roadways have all been widened, fortunately without the massive redesign once proposed. Still, the basic landmarks remain the same. Highway 29, also known as Colesville Road, still connects Downtown Silver Spring with White Oak, Columbia and Elicott City to the west of Baltimore. University Boulevard still connects the University of Maryland with the town of Wheaton. And the Northwest Branch of the Anacostia river still serves as the third boundary of the neighborhood where I once lived. I cannot help but wonder if it is the Northwest Branch that served as the inspiration for Woodlake and its environs.

Terrific writing, Chris. I can't wait to read next week's installment.

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Chris,

One of the many things I love about your stories is their authentic locations. This one is particularly interesting to me, as I lived in Woodmoore for close to five years while I worked at the NIH. It was my first job, all those years ago. A lot has happened in the twenty years since we left - Montgomery Blair High School has been relocated to the last undeveloped tract on the Beltway, a forested plot of land known to us as the K-tract, the Woodmor Shopping Center has had a makeover and the roadways have all been widened, fortunately without the massive redesign once proposed. Still, the basic landmarks remain the same. Highway 29, also known as Colesville Road, still connects Downtown Silver Spring with White Oak, Columbia and Elicott City to the west of Baltimore. University Boulevard still connects the University of Maryland with the town of Wheaton. And the Northwest Branch of the Anacostia river still serves as the third boundary of the neighborhood where I once lived. I cannot help but wonder if it is the Northwest Branch that served as the inspiration for Woodlake and its environs.

Terrific writing, Chris. I can't wait to read next week's installment.

It's a good story--I just read this week's installment. (Kudos to Chris!) However, as a former resident of White Oak, I'm pretty sure that Chris James has made up a lot of the geography. While the river seems loosely based on Northwest Branch (with perhaps a bit of Paint Branch tossed in for good measure--and "branch" is a local term for river or creek--it's actually the Northwest Branch of the Anacostia River)--there are no lakes in the area. The mill is possibly a romanticization of the Burnt Mills that used to stand on the Northwest Branch near where Colesville Road crosses it, but the Parsons farm is a complete creation of Chris James's wonderful imagination. The other fascinating architectural thing the area has going for it is the Polychrome Historic District (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polychrome_Historic_District) --five houses built out of prestressed concrete in the 1930s, a technique later used on big office buildings, but rarely used in home construction. The concrete had brightly colored aggregate embedded in the concrete, and with their art deco design, they are wonders to behold, although obscure to the world that lives beyond the immediate neighborhood.

--Rigel

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Good job, Chris -- very evocative. I like the rural setting and the details; it's definitely holding my interest.

Yes, the story has a very rural feel to it, but the real neighborhood on which it's based is anything but rural. Woodmoor is a dense suburb with quarter-acre lots and the intersection of Colesville Road, University Boulevard and the Washington Beltway is one of the most congested in Montgomery County. We lived there several years and couldn't stand to sit outside due to the sound of the traffic nearby. Otherwise it's a lovely, wooded area. Actually, there is a small lake behind the dam on the Northwest Branch, just west of Colesville Road, but everything else is fiction.

Great story - I'm looking forward to the rest.

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My thanks to all of you who read the story and made such kind and wonderful comments.

And yes, many of you were right about the location for the story. It was so much nicer to just reach back in my mind to the place I grew up and use that setting for my characters. Since writing a mystery story was something new for me I figured it was enough of an issue to concentrate on the plot and not worry about the ground where my characters were standing. I did manipulate the details for fictional purposes, but I doubt of much of that bothers anyone.

Mystery is a diffcult genre, I have to admit that. Tossing out subtle clues here and there allowed many of the readers to query me as the story was posted. I like that chance to exchange thoughts without giving anything away. But when the mystery ends so does the story and I am not planning any sequels for these characters.

Something new on the way in a short while. If you are afraid of the dark then I suggest you get some new batteries for your flashlight before you read this one. :closet:

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