Moulin de Raslay

    Getting here from Paris was about as easy as anything could be. When I get to Gare Montparnasse, a mere five minutes walk from my apartment, I have to meander around a congregate of unresponsive travelers who stand evenly spaced–more or less– facing the same direction. I make my way to the departure board to find the platform for the train to Tours. France.  I see the departure but not the platform. At the information desk, a nice gentleman explains that the platforms don’t appear until twenty minutes before the train is scheduled to depart.

    Oh.

    So, I take my place among the zombies and face the big black and white departure board. The letters and numbers spin as the time and platform information is updated.  It will be ten minutes before I re-animate and join the herd moving towards platform six.

    After an hour and a half on the train, I arrive in Tours and pick up my adorable five-speed (trains don’t go to these tiny hamlets). I punch in the addy for my hotel in Moulin de Raslay and I am led through alternately quaint, stark and downright gorgeous countrysides. I have to resist the urge to stop my car on the edge of a field of rapeseed. Here the sun pours down in a sheen of honeyed light,  drenching the flower blossoms and the golden leaf oak tree which stands watch over them. The scene is a miracle of colors that at once evoke warmth and sweet taste on the tongue.

    The roads grow narrowerer and twistier until I arrived at my destination, a quaint farm house sitting on the edge of a stream.  I am greeted by honking geese. The chickens ignore me as they scratch the dirt for snacks. Two large dogs bark furiously and charge me as the hotel owner panics. But I remain calm. I stop in my tracks.  One of the dogs run to me, circles then licks my hand.

    Ew!

    …And awww!

    So… about this place. I doubt I will use it in my current series, but as charming and as beautiful as it is, this little B&B has all the markings of a horror movie or, perhaps a short story.  Note, for instance, the sinister window, facing the parking area. Could there be someone in the darkness watching me approach…

    This place is so quiet and secluded, no one would hear me scream…

    And the dark barn–oh my! The owner invites me to see freshly hatched ducklings– a great ploy, I think to myself, if they were going to go ‘Hostel’ on me.  I follow half because I am fairly sure these are good people and partly because I enjoy giving reign to my imagination. The stories I could make up about that barn….

    Oh, and the duckling is too cute.

    To tell the truth, this place is charming and quiet and full of light. The weather is nice, so I sit a the table next to the stream and I write and smoke cigars and drink green tea that the owner has so kindly offered me.

    It’s so wonderful here I can help thinking I would like to spend an entire vacation here. I wonder if my husband would like it at all…

    I think, also, this secluded gem has writers’ retreat written all over it. But who would travel all this way to the hamlets of France? I believe that I would again if only to enjoy the solitude and beauty and just write.

    Oh, I did ask about the abandoned castle, the Chateau de la Mothe-Chandaniers–my whole reason for coming here–and learned that the owners of that property are ‘crazy’ and are known to have pulled a shotgun on trespassers. So if you don’t hear from me in the next couple of days, I probably got caught going someplace I oughtn’t to have gone…

    Talk to you later… I hope.

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    Firsts

    The first hurdle along the journey to deliver my most prized creation d’art to the world is now behind me. Melissa Carrigee of the Loiacono Literary Agency has decided to take a chance on me and my work. This left me so gobsmacked, I held on the good news for a while. A part of me wanted to shout the news from the rooftops. Yet other parts, in equal measure, held me back.

    The realistic part of me said that this is just the first step. I don’t yet have a publisher or an editor so announcing that I have an agent might be celebrating too soon. Having published before, I know the agony and time involved in endless revisions. So, to me, to announce an agent would be like announcing ‘mission accomplished’ when the work had only really just begun. Would my non-writer friends get that? Did I have the energy to explain why getting an agent is such a big deal–even though I don’t have a publisher yet?

    So why is it so important to have an agent? Primarily, most publishers  will not accept an unsolicited manuscript. They only work through agents. And, from what I have gathered, landing an agent is like wrangling a unicorn.

    This brings me to another worry: Being excited and telling whomever would listen would be insensitive to the wonderful writers in my circles who are still struggling to find an agent. In retrospect, I feel silly harboring this particular misgiving. Once the cat was out of the bag, the warm support I received from my fellow Houston Writer’s Guilders was overwhelming. Where I had been retiring and even sheepish, my news was greeted with such enthusiasm that I realized that they were as excited as I was about this accomplishment.

    Now, I have the task of building platforms. I am quite introverted and the thought of encouraging friends and acquaintances and strangers to follow me and stick with me until that glorious day arrives when The First Daughter is in print. So, for a few weeks now, my finger has been on the button to publicize my website and social media pages. Once it’s all out there, I am behooved to keep all platforms current and enticing so that as many people possible know about the intriguing and thrilling novel that will be available to them.

    So, welcome to the first blog promoting The First Daughter, the first book in a series to come. And, let me tell you, this novel will take you on  a great ride through space and time.