A Day Out In Atlanta!

Downtown Atlanta at Night

Oh, Atlanta. City of humidity and grits. Of peaches and thunderstorms. How I do love thee.

Last week I told you all about the RWA Nationals Conference, so this week I’m sharing a bit of what we did when we weren’t at workshops or the bar. If you missed that post, click here to catch up!

Frankly my dear...

Frankly my dear…

You might say our day out was mostly about Margaret Mitchell and Gone With the Wind. Honestly, I had no idea how much Atlanta loves this woman and the book/movie. I remember watching the movie a long time ago, but not much else. Seeing the props and costumes made me want to see it again, so I got it on Netflix and sat down for all four hours of it. I’m pretty sure when I watched it the first time (probably 20 years ago), I stopped at the intermission because I didn’t remember any of Atlanta with Rhett and Scarlett being married! I thought it ended with Scarlett vowing to never be hungry again. Oops.

Kate ~ GWTW MuseumScarlett ~ Green DressTara

We visited a cool little museum called The Road To Tara. There were so many great items packed into this little train depot. It was as good as, if not better, than Margaret Mitchell’s House!

After the little museum, we got hungry and ate at this shack of a place called Dean’s BBQ. It was recommended to us by the museum lady and damn! This was one good BBQ place. Don’t let the looks fool you. If you’re ever in Jonesboro, head out past the gravel place and look for Dean’s on your left. You’ll be glad you did.

Dean's BBQ Shack

After BBQ, we went to Stately Oaks Plantation. If you ask me, Tara looks an awful lot like this plantation home. The closest Margaret Mitchell got to the place was the fireplace, though. Her great grandfather helped build it. We couldn’t take any pictures inside the house, but the grounds provided loads of photo ops.

Stately Oaks Plantation HouseStately Oaks ~ Fireplace

We also went to Margaret Mitchell’s House in Atlanta. It was cool to see the original door from Tara, as well as the portrait of Scarlett in the blue gown that hangs in her and Rhett’s home in the movie. I think what surprised me most was how tiny Mitchell’s home was! The kitchen is about the size of my guest bathroom. Which isn’t big at all. No photos were allowed inside the apartment, so you’ll just have to take my word for it.

Margaret Mitchell HouseMargaret Mitchell House ~ Scarlett Blue Portrait

The original doorway to Tara ~ Margaret Mitchell's House.

The original doorway to Tara ~ Margaret Mitchell’s House.

Having our fill of all things Margaret Mitchell, we ventured out to a creepy old cemetery ~ Oakland Cemetery to be exact. This place is fabulous. Some of the graves date back several hundred years. I could’ve stayed there all day, but it was way too hot and humid for this Southern California girl. I wilted within twenty minutes. Yeah, I’m a total wimp. I own that. ūüôā

Oakland CemeteryOakland Cemetery ~ Grave StructureOakland Cemetery ~ Raised Bed

You can see more of the pictures I took in Atlanta on my Pinterest board here. As always, feel free to repin or swipe any you enjoy.

In all, I loved Atlanta. The people there are so freaking nice. And the food! Oh my. Diet wasn’t even a word in my vocabulary the entire week. I had a food bucket list and checked everything off: grits, peaches, fried green tomatoes, greens, BBQ, and chicken and waffles. My breakfast at The Flying Biscuit was so good, I took Barbara, Patricia, and Kate back there for more! The grits were luscious. Mmmm, and the biscuits and gravy? To die for. I think I need to head back to Atlanta just for some more Southern hospitality!

Where’s someplace you’ve been that you want to return for either the food or the people? Have you ever been to Atlanta? What did I miss (I need to know for my next visit!)?

I adore traveling ~ where do I NEED to go next?

***Next week I’ll have the top five (or ten) dragon names for the final voting! If you haven’t picked your favorite name, do it now! The winning name will be announced when the website goes live mid-August. Thanks again for playing along.

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Our Summer Adventure ~ Week Six: The Plan

Image credit: outsiderzone / 123RF Stock Photo

Image credit: outsiderzone / 123RF Stock Photo

What an amazing week I had in Atlanta for RWA Nationals! There will be pictures and stories for you on Friday. We’ll also start the voting to name our lady teacup dragon.

But first… Hannah and Ethan are back! We left them in the director’s office, with Maxim wondering if Ethan had come there to kill him. To catch up on all the installments, you can click on the Our Summer Adventure page above, or click here for week five. Remember, this story is what you make of it, so leave a comment telling us where you think the story will go next.

Our Summer Adventure ~ Week Six: The Plan

The thought that Ethan had come there to murder her father never occurred to Hannah. As she stood stick straight, her back to the window, her gaze fixed on Ethan, she waited for his response. Ready to act.

“Kill you?” Ethan’s full lips pulled up at the corners in a friendly smile, “Not today.” Then he pushed away from the desk, his gaze going to her. “Ms. James, I’d like to go to my hotel now, if you wouldn’t mind driving me.” It wasn’t a question, but a command.

“You won’t be staying offsite, we’ve prepared a room for you here.” Maxim said before Hannah had a chance to refuse.

The smile widened, creating a little divot in Ethan’s right cheek. The impulse to kiss the dimple rocked her. The man was dangerous, assassin or no. She needed to keep her distance from him.

“That would be best for you, but I’ll stay at the hotel. I’m sure you understand my need for autonomy.”

The director regarded Ethan for several moments before he swore under his breath. “Very well. Hannah will take you wherever you like.”

“Sir, perhaps you should have someone else take Mr. Carmichael. As you said, I’m well-known to the governor. I shouldn’t be seen with this man.” Her pitiful argument fell on stone ears.

“You’ll stay with Mr. Carmichael as long as necessary.” Her father looked at her then, a silent order in the blue depths. She couldn’t deny him. Wouldn’t go against his authority.

“Excellent. Now that that’s settled, Ms. James,” Ethan held his arm out to the side, indicating she should pass in front of him. She kept her focus straight ahead, ignoring the warm scent of him. “Max, it’s been a pleasure. When will I meet with the governor?”

Her father ignored the informal address, which Hannah knew was difficult for the director. “Tomorrow night. You’ll attend a function he has planned. Hannah will be your date.”

Hannah spun around, “You can’t be serious. Roarke knows me. If he sees me with Ethan, he’ll suspect something.”

“Which is precisely why you’re going. It will unbalance him.”

A thrum of dread coursed through her. She wasn’t ready to see him again. Not after what he did to her. After what she stopped him from doing to her. Ethan moved closer and she wanted to lean into his strength, to feel his arms around her and know in her marrow she’d be safe. What had gotten into her? She didn’t need a man to protect her. Didn’t want one, in fact.

“Hannah, I won’t jeopardize your safety. Surely there is someone else.” Ethan’s breath fluttered across her cheek with each word. He was too close and yet not close enough.

She stepped away from him, from her traitorous thoughts. “No. There is no one else. Father is right, it must be me.”

Maxim watched her with those eyes that gave nothing away, but that she’d learned years ago to decipher. He was using her as bait. Again. “Tomorrow night, then.” He dipped his head in the odd way he had of dismissal. Before she turned, she caught the smallest movement of his lips. A frown, perhaps? Did Maxim Drake have some humanity after all?

She almost laughed at the thought. Of course he didn’t. Any man who could offer his daughter to someone like Roarke . . . ¬†she stopped herself. That was the past. Since returning from the governor, Maxim had been making an effort. It was a start.

They passed the two guards on their way out. Each stared ahead, but saw everything that happened around them. The briefest of nods passed between them. A silent acknowledgement between comrades.

“Hannah?” Ethan’s silken voice wrapped around her, “Are you well?” He took her elbow as they walked down the long corridor to the elevator.

“Fine, thanks.” She moved her arm out of his grip and jabbed at the button.

“You don’t seem fine. If tomorrow night is too difficult for you, we can get someone else. Rori, perhaps.”

The idea of Rori going anywhere near the monster ate at Hannah. He’d love her. She was perfect for him, which meant Rori might be better bait than herself. Except, she couldn’t do that to the girl. “You don’t know what you’re offering, Ethan. Keep your sister far from the governor, if you want her to stay alive.”

They were silent the rest of the way through the complex. When they reached the car, Ethan slid into the front passenger seat. His proximity unnerved her. “What are you doing?”

“What if I want you to stay alive? I know what the governor is doing, Hannah and I’ve a good suspicion why you didn’t turn up in any of the files on Maxim. I’m not really here to work out a truce, as I suspect you know. How can I protect you while accomplishing my task?”

“I’m fairly adept at protecting myself.”

A wicked smile crooked up his lips. “Yes, you are. But this is different. Let me take Rori tomorrow night. You can tell us about Roarke, things only you could know. I can’t risk sending you back there.”

Hannah’s stomach spasmed out of fear or desire, she wasn’t sure. “You don’t know what you’re asking, Ethan. He’ll want Rori and what Roarke wants, he gets. If you knew the horror of that man,” she pushed aside the images that swirled in her mind, “you wouldn’t be offering up your sister so casually.” The bitterness in her tone cut through her words to her anger at her father.

“Rori knows the risks. That’s why she’s here, Hannah.” His warm hand cupped her cheek and she stiffened lest she melt into it. His thumb stroked along her jaw. “We’ll talk at the hotel and you can decide after you’ve heard our plan.”

“What plan?” Perhaps he really was there to kill Roarke. Possibly her father as well.

“Not now. We have an audience.” His glance flicked to the doorway where one of Maxim’s guards stood watching them. Ethan settled back against the seat, leaving her skin cold where his hand had been.

She wasn’t sure what she wanted more, for him to tell her the plan, or to kiss her.

Now it’s your turn. Is Ethan there to kill Roarke? Maxim? Will Rori stand in for Hannah at the governor’s party? What happens next?

Dragon Names! RWA Prep! Movies! It’s all here today…

Hey Everyone!

I’m wicked excited today. Why? Because the website is going to be up and running soon! That means all of you fabulous readers will have to re-subscribe to the blog (boo!), BUT you’re going to love the new place and I’ve got so many fun things to share with you once the site is fully operational. (Did any of you just hear that dude from Star Wars? Good to know I’m not alone in my geekery). ūüôā

Laird has been working her sweet tail off to get the new website to look exactly how I want it. Think dragons and diamonds! Sparkles, castles, pink, yeah, it’s going to totally rock. I can’t wait for you all to see it.

Want a little teaser? This is the business card I had made up for Nationals…

2013 Tameri Etherton BIZ2

Awesome, amiright?

teacup-dragon[color]BUT FIRST! We need a name for our little teacup dragon. This will be the LAST week you can submit a name. Voting is going to start next Friday, so make sure you get your name in before then!

So far we have:

Blingaling         Annabelinda          Teodora           Mhegor             Twinkle            Isabela
Iremat              Jezebel                Tipsy            Earlie Grey       Darjeeling            Penelope
Blingling           Teavana               Pekoe
Larkspur          Zatima          Bob (short for Roberta)

What do you think she should be named? Add it to the list!

As most of you know, I’ll be in Atlanta next week for the RWA National Conference. Romance Writers of America puts on the best conference I’ve ever attended and I’m over the moon about going this year. Last year was my first time and, well, let’s just say I was woefully unprepared. This year? I’m on it.

If any of you feel overwhelmed like I did last year, here are some great links that will help ease your mind.

Angela Quarles has a bunch of posts about Nationals, and she has tips about the Marriott hotel, too. Check out this post for newbies and then make sure you read her other posts.

Are you pitching? Here are some great links for making the most of your pitch session. There are two from Angela, and another two from Laura Drake. Read them all. Trust me on this, it’ll ease your nerves!
Angela’s are here and here.
Laura’s posts are at Writers in the Storm here and here.

And lastly… packing. Ugh. That’s the bane of my travel existence. I always pack WAY too much. Well, Erin Knightley is here to save the day! And my back. You won’t believe how much she fits into one carryon, but since there’s a video to prove it, maybe you will. I’m in awe of Erin. Check out her blog here ~ make sure you watch the video. You too will be amazed!

The last bit of the blog today is about movies. Specifically, what’s your ‘Go To’ movie when you’re feeling down, or just want to escape for a bit?

Last weekend I went to see Much Ado About Nothing with my husband. I was psyched. Shakespeare, Joss Whedon, and my sweet Nathan? YES please!

But, well, I was underwhelmed.

So I went on Facebook and asked for recommendations of what I could watch that would erase the bad memories of the movie. As much as I wanted to love the movie, I didn’t, which put me into a funk. Hence, the question on FB.

The day before, I’d watched a super sweet movie called¬†‘The Magic of Belle Isle‘. My friend Kristy K James wrote a post about it and it intrigued me. Since it was available on Netflix streaming, I decided to give it a gander.

Well, I was smitten. More than smitten. I’m going to buy this movie to have on hand for those times I need a pick-me-up. Read Kristy’s blog here and let me know if you watch the movie if you love it as much as I did. Or, if you saw Much Ado, did you love it? Hate it? Were confused by it? I’d love to know either way.

I’ve given you loads to think about today! But don’t forget ~ I need dragon names and movie suggestions. I’ll be writing a future blog post about movies and need your help. Also, make sure you’re keeping up with the Summer Adventure story! Other than all that, I hope you have an amazing weekend. What will you be doing?