Ghost Hill Farms

Something that’s really important to the main character in my novel is her family’s farm in Lexington, Kentucky named Ghost Hill Farms. If there is anything that she truly loves, it is the horses her family is known for.

So why did I pick a horse farm? One, I’m from Kentucky and I think it’s a requirement to like horses (at least a little) or they kick you out. Two, the idea came from a Saturday trip with my good friend Karey while we were still in college.

I wanted something fun to do and decided why not go to downtown Lexington and see what we could get into? We both went to college in Richmond, which was only a short drive from Lexington, so it seemed like a logical trip to make. We really had so much fun, between the Old Kentucky Candy store (which has these amazing bourbon truffles to which my husband has a serious addiction), a cute dress shop and just some other really neat stores.

After spending some time in the shops we decided to drive around for awhile and look at all the pretty neighborhoods. If you’ve never been to Lexington, I highly recommend it, because it’s a laid back town in a beautiful area.

Anyway, we ended up on the side of town near Keeneland Race Track, which is right across from the air port. As we drove by, sitting on the runway was a big private plane (I mean probably the size of a 747) with the flag of the United Arab Emirates on the tail. We thought it was pretty cool and took pictures of it. Later when we got back, we found out that it was the Sheihk of Dubai’s plane and he was in town to buy thoroughbreds at the yearly sales at Keeneland.

For some reason that story stuck in my head and when it came time to write The Kings of Charleston, I thought about that trip and how interconnected horse racing community was with a lot of powerful figures (the Queen of England is also a big racing fan, owning her own thoroughbreds) and the influence that those who own and sale million dollar thoroughbreds could be. It created the perfect back drop for what would happen to Casper and how she ended up in the situation she finds herself in the book.

Besides, I’ve always had a love for horses and I had to bring in a piece of Kentucky to bring in some pieces of me to the story.

Ironically as I was writing this post, I found a video on YouTube of someone watching that same plane taking off from the Bluegrass air port. It’s not the most interesting video, but really neat to see that memory come to life. Here it is if you want to see the plane:

Oh and those amazing bourbon chocolates? They will ship them to your house, at least certain times of the year. Sadly if it’s above 72 degrees they won’t ship the chocolate, but they’ve become a Christmas tradition for our family to have several boxes shipped to South Georgia.  Here’s the website:

http://www.oldkycandy.com

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I Feel Like a Vampire

If you’ve ever met me in person there’s one thing you’ll notice about me. I’m pale as in ghostly pale. Actually considering the popularity of another supernatural character, I’m vampire pale. (Some kids have looked at me seriously contemplating whether I am or not…lol.) But it’s okay with me.

Growing up I was on the swim team through high school and a lifeguard and I was able to get pretty tan, but it left me with a lot of freckles. I wised up and realized skin damage and the possibility of skin cancer wasn’t worth changing what obviously wasn’t meant to be my natural color. Besides staying out of the sun will one day pay off in the form of less wrinkles.

But today I felt even more like a vampire than normal. I had an eye consultation in order to get Lasik surgery later this summer (I’m blind as a bat, which is pretty ironic considering the whole vampire thing). For the first time in years I had my eyes dilated. After the appointment, the doctor’s assistant asked me if I need some temporary sunglasses. I told her, “nah, it’s not too bright out”. It’s been overcast and gloomy all day. When she opened the door and I stepped out, I felt like the sun was going to burn my eyes out. I literally winced and covered my eyes (I even thought about hissing at the light). She laughed and went to get the sunglasses.

In un-vampire (if that isn’t a word, I just made it one…lol) like fashion my sight was pretty terrible afterward even with my glasses on.  I couldn’t see the computer screen at work for at least three hours after the appointment which made work very difficult since ninety-nine percent of what I do is on the computer. I kept staring at the blurry screen hoping I would magically be able to see the words on it, but I just ended up making myself feel sick. The drive home wasn’t fun either. I kept shielding my eyes with one hand, and I breathed a deep sigh of relief when I reached my garage and the darkness.

I’m finally able to see normal again, which is great news since I had a lot I needed to accomplish for my book today. I hope it’s a long time before I feel like a vampire again.

Cover Art, Edits and Pandora Makes for a Happy Day

I’m happy because today I got the final review of my cover art and all I can say is that I absolutely love it. It’s more than I could have ever imagined or come up with on my own.

Seeing the cover made the book seem truly real for the first time. I’ve spent plenty of time working on the story and imagining scenes in my head, but the cover gave the story a physical symbol. I can’t wait to share it with everyone.

I also got the final edits back from my editor and after a nice bike ride with my husband, I’ve been going over them while listening to the One Republic station on Pandora. All in all it’s been a good book day.

Rainbows and Black Dotted Golf Balls

This weekend wasn’t quite as exciting as last weekend since there were no crazy kayaking and paddle boat experiences, but doesn’t mean it wasn’t fun. We went to visit my husband’s parents in his hometown, which is something we do quite often. I always enjoy it because I really like hanging out with his family and his hometown  always brings great memories to mind. It played a big role in how we met in the first place (one day I’ll write that story). For that reason it holds a special place in my heart.

The drive up there is always pleasant and this weekend it was especially nice. The weather had been rainy all week and it was still raining some Friday when we left, but halfway there we had to stop and take a picture of one of the best rainbows I’ve ever seen. It was full and you could see it from end to end. I don’t know if you can tell in the photo, but if you look really hard there’s a larger rainbow above the brighter one.

Besides spending time with his family, we’ve decided to pick up playing golf on Saturdays. I played on the golf team in high school, but I was never that good. I understood the game and I knew how I should hit, but the little white ball rarely went where I wanted it to go (I knew right then I wasn’t going to be the next Tiger Woods).

I haven’t picked up a golf club in ten years until yesterday and today my right arm and lower back are pretty stiff after hitting a bucket of balls at the driving range. And for the first time I really enjoyed it (maybe because I actually hit every single ball, except two, on the first swing). I helped my husband with his swing and he’s pretty good even if he doesn’t think so. His cousin, Michael also came out and hit with us and it was just fun hanging out except for the gnats.

When I first met my husband, he asked me if we had gnats in Kentucky. I said “Of course we do.” Then I came to South Georgia. I was dead wrong. Kentucky doesn’t have gnats…or what I like to call the annoying swarm of bugs that make you wish you had a tail like a horse. They swarm around your eyes, buzz in your ears and try to go up your nose. How the heck do people play golf down here?

I’ve gotten used to them hanging around when I’m outside, but not while I’m trying to concentrate on something like golf. I get ready to hit and it looks like I’m seeing black dots all over the golf ball! Actually I’m not see things and the crazy bugs are  really are on the golf ball! Bug spray works some, but apparently dryer sheets are the way to go. Next time I’ll stuff some in my arm pits or maybe I could get my hands on one of those hazard suits you always see in the movies…lol.

Either way, gnats are not fun and I think they may be worse than mosquitoes, which love me. Sometimes I miss Kentucky for no other reason than it’s gnat (and fire ant) free. But South Georgia has some great points too. I love the big oaks dripping with Spanish Moss and the Cypress trees dotting the waters. There’s just something so mysterious and beautiful about them (even if they’re probably surrounded by gnats) 🙂