Thursday, July 30, 2009

Biltmore Estate Asheville NC italian garden b&w

This is an older photograph (from 2007) but I decided to use it anyway.

I ended up not taking too many pictures during my recent visit to the Biltmore Estate. I was too excited about the Premium House Tour. And what an experience it was!! I've been on numerous Behind-the-Scenes and Rooftop tours but I was able to walk down into the Winter Garden, visit the den (behind the library - I'd already been in there twice, but I didn't say anything) and was able to actually do into another couple of rooms I had only been able to see by looking at them from the outside.

I'm so glad I did this new tour. I had some of my questions answered. I'll have to plan a new trip and more questions for the next time.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

My little band of time travelers...

...wants me to write about them again. They've been sitting quietly while I write about other things, but their patience is up with me.

I can hear Mac and Freddy, demanding to be let loose somewhere in history. But I've got to finish my NaNoWriMo for July first - which is going to be really hard.

I'm finally having to change the name of my character, Ginger. The name just isn't working out. So I've pulled out my copy of The Writer's Digest Character Naming Sourcebook (second edition - first edition is somewhere in a box) by Sherrilyn Kenyon. I suppose I could use any old baby name book, but I like this book. I can look by country for male and female names (listed separately) or use the reverse lookup in the back to look up a certain word - say "noble" and a list of names and page numbers will appear that use the definition of noble for each name.

There is also a list of top ten U.S. names by year, beginning with 1980 and ending with 2003. Should I decide to write a period novel, I can check the list of top ten names for 1908 to see that John and Mary were the top names for males and females, respectively.

Thankfully, MS Word has a piece that I can find and replace words - cause I'm gonna need it when I finally fine the right name for Ginger.

(The photo was taken in front of my house looking east.)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Premium House Tour at Biltmore Estate - Should I?

I've just discovered a new specialty tour at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC. I'm headed there next week. I've taken the rooftop and the behind-the-scenes tours many times - and learned something new each time - but this sounds like a great experience.

For $150 I get a personal tour guide for 2 hours. The areas seen in the previous tours I've been on are included, as well as the areas open to the public. Here is a link. I need to call in the morning and find out the details. I called tonight but the reservation was already closed.

If anyone has taken the tour, let me know how it went.

Friday, July 3, 2009

A trip as a reward

I just booked myself a weekend stay in Asheville, NC as a reward for writing at the end of the month. I've been here several times and joke with my friends that this is my second home. My reason for going is to see the new rooms that have opened up at the Biltmore Estate. I let my year round pass expire this past April so I'll have to renew it. How can I pass up unlimited daytime visits for a year?

I'm getting ready to settle down and write some tonight. I'm having a hard time meeting the word quota for the day, but I hope the Biltmore "carrot" will do the trip and get me writing. I'll go whether or not I meet the quota, but I'll be happier if I've reached it before I leave.

August also starts "blackout" in my office - no annual/vacation leave and sick time can be taken only if you have a doctor's excuse. So I need a treat before the madness starts.

I'll leave Friday after work and return late Sunday evening. The drive isn't too bad. I've got Sirius satellite radio to keep me busy and I may just throw in the Twilight audio book as well. All I need now is to plan what to wear and wait out the time.

I think I hear Ginger and Robert (hey - he finally has a name!) calling to me.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The start of my NaNoWriMo this July

Ginger is my heroine's name. She's got red hair, wears glasses to read, loves to knit even though she isn't very good and is a library school dropout. Don't let the dropout word fool you. She's quite canny in her thinking.

She works as the secretary for the local PD and does research for a famous mystery writer who lives nearby. A new chief of police comes on board, a man hoping for a nice, quiet place for retirement (he's only 48) when a series of murders begins. He still needs a name, but what I plan to write tonight doesn't concern him......yet.

The new series of murders will be based on an older crime, a killer who has so far gotten away with his/her crime. But I believe the time has come for some revenge.

My goal is to write the 1613 words per day (31 days in July, remember) and get back on track to writing every day like I was at the beginning of the year.

The picture above shows my current project, the Ishbel scarf/shawl. I bought it on Ravelry. The yarn came all the way from Scotland courtesy of the people at Old Maiden Aunt. The color is Hebridean from their Homecoming collection. 50% sure alpaca and 50% merino. Wonderful stuff.