Category Archives: Inspiration

Road Trip Part Three

This is the last of the road trip pictures from weekend before last. I haven’t posted half of what we saw because there just isn’t enough time on the blog, but needless to say the trip was well worth the time.

We left Donaldsonville and headed further north, taking roads neither of us had ever been on before. My mom used to drive truck so there’s a lot of the state she’s seen and it’s a major bonus to find a place she’s never been before.

Passing through the town of White Castle, we took a gorgeous picture of Nottoway Plantation. I’ve been to this plantation years ago and it looks like they’ve added to it. Gorgeous, huh? Ghost Lab did a paranormal investigation of this property a couple of years ago and I want to say they did find evidence of unexplained activity.

Next we found Tally-Ho Plantation in Bayou Goula which is a private owned residence. The house here was once the overseer’s home because the plantation burned down in 1945. It’s a gorgeous house, I think.

Somewhere in the Bayou Goula area (I can’t remember exactly where now), we stumbled across this little church. It was so unexpected, I stopped in the middle of the road so we could get a picture of it. This 8’x8′ church was built in 1903 by a poor sugar can farmer after he successfully prayed to the Virgin Mary for the recovery of his eldest son. Cool, huh?

Then we found our way up to Plaquemine, Louisiana. Plaquemine was settled as early as 1775. There are a lot of old homes in the downtown area and we managed to snag a couple of pictures. It isn’t so easy to stop in this area since the area is so busy. I was able to pull over so Mom could hop out and get this picture.

From there, we went up and around in what seemed like a never-ending loop until we ended up on the Morganza. The Morganza Spillway is where the flood control structure between the Mississippi River and the Atchafalaya River is located. If you recall last year with the flooding of the Mississippi, this area was creating national headlines as it’s the only thing that protected the lower Louisiana parishes from flooding completely. We couldn’t get out to take a picture, but we got one from the road on top of the flood gates.

And that’s the trip. It was a lot of fun. We went north following one river (the Mississippi) and came back home following another (the Atchafalaya). If you ever get the chance to visit south Louisiana, try to take some time out to explore the smaller areas. There’s beauty in nearly every corner of the state and we’d love to show it to you!

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Road Trip Part Two

Yesterday I talked about the start of our little road trip. Today I’m continuing with some really great pictures. We left the Sunshine Bridge behind and headed for Donaldsonville.

Acadians first began to settle in Donaldsonville in 1765. It was called something else back then, but in 1806, William Donaldson commissioned an architect to build the town. We took a few pictures of the buildings and homes found in and around the area.

This was a great old house we saw on our way into town. It needs a lot of loving, tender care and money to make it a showplace again.

Next on our pictorial tour is the Bank of Ascension. Donaldsonville is the parish seat of Ascension Parish and at one time served as the state capital when New Orleans was deemed “too noisy”. I just loved this building so much and could’ve spent hours staring at it, but Donaldsonville has lots of other buildings to ogle.

This building was the home of the oldest family-oriented department store in the state of Louisiana, B. Lemann & Brothers. This building was built circa 1877, but the department store seems to have been in operation since 1836. It’s now closed to the public, but it’s pretty darn nice!

This is a row of shotgun houses. We had to take this picture because I was reminded of New Orleans. The houses aren’t as fancy as those in the French Quarter, but you can tell they’re old and I think they look cute.

I’m not sure what this building is now, but we think it was probably some kind of store at one time. Maybe it was even a boarding house or something. The bus parked in front of it makes me think it’s either empty, or used for some after school programs or something. It looks like it was taken straight out of the French Quarter.

Now this old building had to have been a general store. Look at that steep roof. This one is no longer used as far as we could see, which seems like a shame.

The funny thing is most of these buildings aren’t even listed as having historical significance with the exception of the B. Lemann & Brothers building. There’s so much to see in this area, we probably could have spent a week in the area and found something new each time.

Stay tuned, I’ll be back Thursday with more pictures!

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Road Trip: Part One

I love to roder. Yesterday, with the sun shining brightly and it not being too hot, I kidnapped my mom and hit the road for a little sightseeing. She didn’t complain at all. She grabbed her camera and was ready before I was.

It’s funny really. I had no idea where we were going. That’s the best part of rodering, traveling without any destination in mind. At first, I thought we’d just explore River Road (the highway that follows the Mississippi River), but we ended up doing a lot more than that. In fact, we did so much and took so many pictures, I’m going to do this first road trip in parts. Yes, I said first because we decided we’re going to try to do this once or twice a month.

We headed east from our house, driving through the small communities of Choupic (pronounced shoe-pick), Chackbay, and Vacherie (vash-a-ree) to get to River Road.

This is a sugar mill we passed on our way to Choupic. Sugar cane is one of Louisiana’s endangered industries. At one time, there were more sugar cane fields than neighborhoods, but over the years, more land is sold for development. Sugar cane mills are slowly going out of business due to population growth and imported sugar. 

Then we were in the community of Choupic and Chackbay. Every year they have a Gumbo Festival, but I think we missed it.

 

 

 

 

It’s a pretty area with lots of traditional Acadian style homes and cypress trees.

 

 

If you ever get the chance to visit the area, you should take the back roads since they provide you with plenty of things to see.

 

 

Next we headed for River Road, which as most people know is where the big plantation homes are. We didn’t do any tours, but we did take as many pictures of the homes, public and private, as we could.

We actually passed on taking a picture of Oak Alley Plantation since they were having their festival and a race. The traffic wouldn’t allow for a stop and shoot (of the photographic kind). I think Oak Alley is popular enough though, that you’re not missing out.

This is, I believe, St. Joseph Plantation. This home is just before Oak Alley if you’re coming from the south. Apparently the home is still part of an active sugar cane farm and tours are available.

We followed River Road for several miles before taking a small break at the foot of the Sunshine Bridge. The Sunshine Bridge, named for Louisiana Governor Jimmie Davis, was the only bridge across the Mississippi River between New Orleans and Baton Rouge. Unfortunately, it emptied into a swamp. I remember one of my college professors telling us that before the Sunshine Bridge was built, the East bank of the Mississippi didn’t have Nutria Rats.

This is a nutria rat. No, we didn't see any on our trip.

We got back on River Road and wound our way along the crooked Mississippi, leaving the Sunshine Bridge far behind us. Except when we got about ten miles down the road, we looked back and saw this:

It just goes to show how winding the Mississippi River is.

So that’s the first part of our road trip. I have several more pictures during our trip to Donaldsonville, Louisiana and further north, but I don’t want to crash anyone’s machine. I’ll pick up the story again tomorrow.

Hope you’ll stop by to see more pictures!

 

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Cajun French: Rougarou

That’s right, I said rougarou,  not loupgarou. To be completely honest, I’m not sure if there’s a difference except in usage.

Rougarou is pronounced (roo-ga-roo) and loupgarou is pronounced (loop-ga-roo).

Most people have heard the word loupgarou, especially if they’ve read books, or watched movies pertaining to this part of the world. However, growing up, I’d never heard of a loupgarou. My mom used the rougarou to keep us in our places.

This is someone's interpretation of the rougarou at the Audobon Zoo in New Orleans. Scary, huh?

I was never entirely sure what the rougarou was except something I didn’t want to meet. Loupgarou is a werewolf and according to some sites, it seems that the rougarou is also a werewolf, the only difference is the word usage.

My mom used to say it was a swamp monster, never giving any specifics. She was crafty that way. I suppose the threats of being eaten by the rougarou as well as the hellacious ghost stories she used to tell me helped to make me a paranormal writer. I love writing about special beings whether they’re heroes or monsters.

Have you written about the rougarou or loupgarou?

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We Salute You

Today is Veterans Day here in the U.S.

I’ll be honest with y’all. When I was in high school, we had to take that ASVAB test…not sure what that all stands for, but when the scores came in, I had phone calls from the Air Force and Navy. Yeah, they wanted me. I probably should have joined the service because I had no idea what to do with my life, except I have a small…problem or two.

First, I’m bossy as all hell. It’s one of my personality quirks. I like to give orders. Joining the service wouldn’t have been a bad thing if I was able to be a commander starting out. You know, ’cause I do like to tell people what to do. But knowing I’d go in as a lowly grunt (or whatever they’re called), wouldn’t have sat well with me.

Secondly…I’m oppositional defiant. I absolutely hate being told what to do. It grates on my nerves like nothing else. Just ask my mother or siblings. If you tell me what and how to do something, chances are I’ll do it my way or do the exact opposite. I’m not alone in this, my whole family has the same quirk. But these kinds of personalities probably don’t belong in the military.

These reasons are why I so strongly admire people who do serve our country. I’m a patriot (the American kind, not the New England kind) and I strongly believe in protecting our values and way of life. They put their civilian lives on hold to train, to fight, to defend. Regardless of their personality types, they’re out there risking their lives. Their service to our country proves their strength of will and determination. Our soldiers, past, present, and future deserve our admiration, our respect.

So be sure to tell a veteran “thank you” for preserving the freedom our country was built upon. Give them a hug for the sacrifices they’ve made for us. Salute them for putting their lives in danger in the name of democracy. They’re true heroes and we should honor them as such.

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Fantasy Man Friday

Friday at last!

Okay, not much to report. I’m still without a title for my current WIP. I’ve decided not to let it bother me…much, lol. I posted a blurb about the story yesterday and asked my readers to help me come up with a title. After I get a few, I’ll post them in a poll for everyone to vote on. I’m not going to dwell on that.

No indeed. Not when I have today’s Fantasy Man ready for your hungry eyes! Since I am trying to find a title for this manuscript and I did give a short description of the story, I figured I should give y’all an idea of the inspiration I have for my hero, Mason Landry. Ready?

With this as my muse, is it any wonder I’ve written 39k words in a week? That’s right. I started this story last Friday and I’ve been hammering away at it every single day because Mason is a total babe. Like Mr. Fantasy Man Friday…with his rock hard abs and that interesting little crease between his waist and hip. And I have to admire a man this sexy who has wardrobe malfunctions. What would be even better, is if those pants would slide off and…okay, maybe I should get back to the manuscript.

Um, happy Friday! lol And please, if this inspires you to come up with a title, I’m all for it (serious ones, ladies, I don’t want to see “Tall, Dark, and Hung” in the comments) 😉

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Random Eye Candy

So I’m writing…or attempting to. It isn’t that I don’t want to write. I do. I’m just too easily distracted when I’m at home. I know I have all the time in the world (not really) to play around on the internet. Which is how I ended up writing about 1k words and deciding I needed some eye candy.

What can I say? I love a man with wood. Not THAT kind of wood!! I like bonfires…*cough*

So now I’m going to finish this chapter and get back to my Kindle. Monday I will write more. I swear!

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The Mentor – What I Learned from PR

I went shopping with my sister this weekend. We hit 8 stores before lunch. It was crazy, hectic, and I loved it. We’re very different when it comes to clothing, but at one store we both saw this top that was…simply stunning. It was designer, and not something we country-type girls had ever really seen in our hometown. Or at least in a store in our town.

This got me to thinking about Project Runway. I’ve mentioned before how much I love this show. I’m not fashionable in any sense, but I’m addicted to the show and have been since the first season. The main reason is that I love to see talented people using their skills to create something concrete. I suppose that’s what I like about Project Runway over American Idol. The singing is cool, I suppose, but you can’t see it. Clothing, on the other hand, is something that comes to life under the hands of designers.

The other part I love about the show is Tim Gunn. I love Tim. I love how calm and concerned he is for the designers under his care. He’s the best part of the show and since I started writing seriously a year ago, I took the advice he handed those designers and used them for my own.

You see, we all need some positive reinforcement, but sometimes having a friend or family member say “It’s good” isn’t enough. Hell, sometimes not even your CP’s constructive criticism and positive reinforcement is enough. For me, that’s where Tim comes into the equation. When I’m looking over what I’ve written and think, “God, this is utter crap.” I imagine him saying, “This is your vision, you know where you want it to go, so make it work!”. Make it work. That’s my mantra thanks to Tim.

And that’s what I do. When I see my story unraveling, I sit back and picture where the problem is. I suppose it’s a bit like designing clothing. I have to find the flaw in the design and fix it. In my case, my story is nothing but a few vague ideas, maybe a few scribbled sentences or phrases on a sticky note and somehow I have to bring it all together. Take those vague musings and compile them into a piece of art. Because that’s what it is. It’s art.

I’ll probably never meet Tim Gunn (although I do hope if I get to attend Nationals next year in NYC, I’ll run into him), but he’s done a lot for me without even knowing. Unless he reads this post. Tim, if you’re reading this, you’ve helped me with my creative process so many times I can’t even count. It’s writing, not fashion design, but hearing the words, “Make it work” in my head gives me energy to keep going, to find the flaw and iron it out.

How about you? Do you have a mentor who doesn’t know you exist? Is there some celebrity whose words you keep locked in your mind when you feel like your work is falling apart?

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Blank Slate

I’ve sat here for over an hour trying to think of something to blog about. Oh, I have ideas, but none of them are interesting enough to persue. Thankfully, I don’t get like this very often. I believe a combination of writer’s block, fatigue, and upcoming events has me feeling pulled in too many directions.

So, instead of forcing myself to write about something you’re not going to want to read about, I think I’ll just post a picture.

This…beautiful man’s name is Daniel Conn. I posted another picture of him last year wearing…a lot less. You can see it here. He’s quite beautiful, isn’t he? Who needs to run off at the mouth about nothing when they can spend hours drooling over him? *sigh*

I’ll think of something…well, not better, but at least something to actually blog about tomorrow I’m sure. In the meantime, enjoy his…drool-worthiness. I know I will while I try to break down the writer’s block in my head.

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The Lovely Blog Award

Well, I’m…stunned and very pleased. The lovely Goddesses over at The Naked Hero have honored me with The Lovely Blog Award. I feel all sniffly over it really. Sad, isn’t it? lol

I suppose I’m genuinely surprised when people acknowledge they actually read my blog. Oh sure, I try to lure people here, but the ones who keep coming back for every post? Well, they’re the best.

So, on to the award! *Drumroll*

One Lovely Blog, the rules for accepting the award include posting it on your blog together with the name of the person who has granted the award, and his or her blog link. Pass the award to 10 other blogs.

The blogs I’m choosing are the following:

1. http://www.blog.angelaaddams.com/

2. http://staceyespino.blogspot.com

3. http://KAKler.blogspot.com

4. http://curiouslytwisted.wordpress.com/

5. http://www.latessamontgomeryauthor.com/

6. http://www.darkangelauthor.blogspot.com/

7. http://southernsizzleromance.wordpress.com/

8. http://edenglenn.wordpress.com/

9. http://tammygallant.com/

10. http://mynfel.blogspot.com

Thanks to all of my fellow bloggers for sharing their thoughts with me. Y’all help me more than you know 🙂

So that’s a lovely start to a Monday, wouldn’t you say?

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