Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Lunching at Belmont Mansion

I had the recent pleasure of meeting a bookclub at Belmont Mansion (the setting of my Belmont Mansion novels) for a delicious luncheon, wonderful sharing time, and then a tour of the mansion. I never tire of being in Adelicia Acklen's beautiful home.

Pay no attention to that woman in the background flashing us. Those Victorians and their naked statues… Sheesh!

A luncheon and tour package featuring Jerry Trescott (Belmont's curator and architectural historian extraordinaire) and moi was auctioned off in a fundraiser for Belmont Mansion, and the very generous Shirley Reynolds (seated third back on the right) won the bid! (Thank you, Shirley! What a pleasure to meet you and the other ladies yesterday.)

These gals were such fun! And I always enjoy providing color commentary to Jerry's marvelous "A Lasting Impression novel" tour he gives readers touring the antebellum mansion.

Here we are on the steps of the dual cantilevered spiral staircase.

I also got my first look at the beautifully reproduced detailed miniature of The Sleeping Children (by artist William Henry Rinehart), one of the statues Adelicia purchased on her grand tour of Europe in 1865—and a statue that's prominently featured in A Lasting Impression (Sutton and Claire's story).

The Sleeping Children in Belmont Mansion's front hall

Adelicia Acklen ordered this piece in Rome on February 27, 1866 and instructed that the names “Laura & Corinne” be carved on the front left, and “Twin Sisters” be carved on the back. This was a type of memorial to two of her ten children. Laura and Corinne Acklen died at the age of two of scarlet fever. Adelicia placed this piece in the Front Hall—in the same location where it is today.

And here's the detailed replica that's now available, and that I brought home with me yesterday!

Isn't it lovely?

Want your own? Contact Belmont Mansion and ask them about the replica of The Sleeping Children

I'm currently working with the mansion on a Christmas gift package which will contain this replica of The Sleeping Children, along with autographed copies of A Lasting Impression and A Beauty So Rare, and a choice of a Belmont Mansion coaster.

I'm so grateful for the many ways the folks with Belmont Mansion (and Belle Meade Plantation) partner with me in writing these stories and keeping history alive.

What's the last historical site you've visited? And by chance, did you bring home a souvenir of some sort, too? 


A Lasting Impression and A Beauty So Rare available now
A Note Yet Unsung releases February 2017

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

First Chapters of A Note Yet Unsung

It's always a great feeling to get the final galleys for a new book back in the mail to the publisher. 

A Note Yet Unsung was especially challenging to write, which makes me even more excited to share this story with you come February! 

I'll soon be sending the first chapters to my newsletter buddies, so be sure and sign up so we can stay connected! 

Saturday, October 15, 2016

The Molitor Stradivarius comes to Belmont Mansion, Nashville

Music is an important part of our lives and comes in many forms. Most definitely, the term "one size fits all" does not apply when discussing the vast number of styles in this time-treasured art form.

As can be said pretty much across the board when comparing the mores of current society to those of times past, what was taboo then—be it for better, or worse—has now become the norm. In nearly every country in the world today, women are welcome to participate in orchestras and their talent is lauded.

But such was not always the case.

In the 19th Century, women were not allowed to play in orchestras or symphonies. They were considered too genteel and delicate-natured for the rigors of practice and dedication required to master an instrument. (Oh ye of little faith…)

In my research, I came across a popular opinion of the time that not only supported the preclusion of women playing in orchestras, but that also set forth that a woman playing a violin in public would be scandalous. Far too sensuous and suggestive. No proper woman would ever consider doing such a thing!

And from that…the idea for a A Note Yet Unsungthe third and final Belmont Mansion novel, was born.

So now that I had a woman violinist, I needed a violin. And what better violin could Rebekah Carrington—heroine in A Note Yet Unsungplay than a Stradivarius?

Being a fan of concert violinist Anne Akiko Meyers, I naturally chose the Molitor Stradivarius, which Ms. Meyers has owned in the past. The Molitor, an exquisite $3.6 million dollar violin, was made by Antonio Stradivari in 1697 yet looks as though it was made yesterday. It's still in perfect condition.

Here's a peek of Anne Akiko Meyers playing the coveted violin that's part of Tate and Rebekah's journey in A Note Yet Unsung, which releases February 2017.

Are you a lover of the violin? Or of classical music? Did you ever play a musical instrument? If yes, what did you play and how long have you played it?


Friday, October 14, 2016

October is the month of GIVEAWAYS

To celebrate my new website design, I'm giving away some of my favorite kitchen tools along with a number of fabulous books—all during the month of October!

To enter: Subscribe to my newsletter. It's that easy! 

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