Thursday, November 18, 2010

Some Little Town in Pennsylvania Called Gettysburg

I've had Rhett Butler's voice in my head all day, saying that. "Some little town in Pennsylvania called Gettysburg."

I have to say, it's a dream come true for me to be here. Some kids grow up wanting to go to Disney World. I grew up wanting to go to Gettysburg. :)

I'm not totally sure why I have always had such a fascination with the Civil War. I think it's a mixture of things. The human interest stories have always captivated me. The women who turned into nurses. The men who turned into heroes. The brothers who fought against each other. So many incredible stories of tragedy and triumph. And yes...someday, I hope to write a novel against the backdrop of the war. I've already done hour upon hour of research--just for fun.

My Gettysburg experience started out early this morning. I was so excited just walking into the huge visitor center--and even more so when I saw author Jeff Shaara signing copies of his books. I had him sign a book for me and told him about my ranger years at Shiloh. Come to find out, he's setting an upcoming novel there. Very cool.

After the movie and cyclorama (which were both totally worth the money), I spent a lot of time in the museum. Fantastic--but probably overkill for those who aren't really interested in the Civil War. I could've spent at least another hour in there, at least. After attending a ranger program in the National Cemetery, I set out on the 24 mile driving tour...

And I can't help but compare the experience to Shiloh. The battlefields themselves have a few similarities. But the outside stuff--way different. There is a lot more commercialization at Gettysburg. So many shops and hotels and things. In my opinion, all that outside stuff detracts a bit from the battlefield. Even the visitor center made me feel that way--it was so showy, so obviously high-tech and expensive...

But the battlefield itself was amazing. I would love to come back sometime and actually walk more on the actual field.The driving tour is nice and you get to see the high points, but just as with Shiloh--to really experience it, you need to be out on it, walking the same land that the soldiers did.

I left the field at dark, cold and exhausted. But happy. I'd seen a place that I've wanted to see for as long as I can remember. And tomorrow...on the anniversary of the Gettysburg Address...I'll be in the National Cemetery for a special program to remember.

And tomorrow night...I'm staying on a dairy farm in Lancaster County. Am a little afraid it will be like Schrute Farms...complete with Dwight and Mose!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

On the Road...Again

So clearly I don't write for the money--and don't really know any authors who do. I mean, I still have a full time job besides writing that pays the rent and provides health insurance. Even so, I'm living my dream by being an author--even if I never reach JK Rowling's financial status. But one of the perks of writing is that I can justify traveling to places I've never been in the name of research.

This week, I'm exploring Lancaster, Pennsylvania and the surrounding area.

First of all, Lancaster isn't pronounced the way you'd think. Or at least the way those of you from the South like me would think. Just trust me on this. I've been corrected no less than 3 times.

But the area is lovely. I had lunch at the charming Bird-In-Hand Farmer's Market, where I bought some yummy banana bread and a red velvet whoopie pie with cream cheese filling. I am, at this very moment, sampling these and I assure you, they are delicious.

I also went to the Mennonite Visitor Center where I watched a very interesting movie about the Amish way of life. I have such respect and admiration for them.

Side note: I ran to Target to pick up a couple of things that I'd forgotten...and had to smile at the sign that said horse and buggy parking was available at the side of the store.

Then I drove to Lititz, which is SUCH a charming town. Neat little shops and beautiful homes. I stopped by the oldest pretzel factory in the United States...yum! And they actually have a restaurant called the Chocolate Cafe.

I realize this entire post seems to revolve around food. :) But sampling local specialties is one of my favorite things about traveling.

And now...I'm in a place I've wanted to visit since I was a little girl: Gettysburg! I can see the monuments from my hotel and can't wait to tour the battlefield tomorrow. I'm hoping for lots of sunshine and dry weather.

One more thing--for those of you who haven't read "Love is Grand" here for your chance to win a copy.

Hoping that I'll have some fun adventures to report tomorrow!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Another weekend of book signings!

I'm thrilled to be a part of Freed-Hardeman University's Homecoming again this year. On Friday, I had the honor of speaking in chapel. And on Saturday (November 13) I'll be signing books from 11 - 1 in front of the Sports Center.

Following my signing at FHU, I'll travel to nearby Jackson, Tennessee, where I'll be at LifeWay Christian Store from 4 - 5:30. It's located on the campus of Union University, next to BanCorp South. They'll be running specials on all three books in the Walk in the Park series--and you can purchase my recent release, Love is Grand!

If you live in the Henderson/Jackson area, I'd love to see you at one of these events!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Arkansas Book Signings

Just one more reminder! I'm headed to Arkansas today for two days of book signings! Tonight (Friday, November 5) I'll be at the LifeWay Christian Store in Little Rock. I'll be there from 5:30 - 7:30. If you live near Little Rock, I'd love to see you there! They'll be running specials on all three books in the Walk in the Park series--and you can purchase my recent release, Love is Grand!

And tomorrow (Saturday, November 6) I'll be signing books as part of Harding University's Homecoming. It's a multi-author signing that will last from 11 - 1 in Ganus Athletic Center. It will be a great event and I'm really looking forward to visiting with attendees.


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