Babes On The Beach 2015, A Women’s Fiction & Romance Writer’s Retreat

Woman reading a book on a beach

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I’m in the throes of planning a writer’s retreat with several more on deck. Those of you who follow my blog probably know that I am a literary agent at Holloway Literary. So it makes sense that I would create an event for writers. However, someone who knows me personally, knows how super busy and oftentimes over extended I am wondered why in the heck I would add more to my plate. So, I thought I’d blog about my response.

First and foremost, I wanted to create a retreat that would benefit writers on many different levels, and I wanted it to be the kind of retreat I would want to attend if I was an aspiring writer looking for an agent. As a literary agent, I see firsthand the confusion many writers have about how to write a proper query and what should go in the first chapter.

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Ransom Hunter: Slave Turned Property Baron

A photo of the home that Ransom Hunter built along West Glendale Avenue when it was still in good condition in the 1960s or 1970s.
Originally published by the Gaston Gazette: Saturday, June 21, 2014 at 11:34 AM.

No plaques or memorials there state that he is strongly believed to be the first freed slave to have owned property in Gaston County. Nor that his home, livery stable and makeshift general store became the hub of a thriving black community known as “Freedom” in the 19th century.

Even his burial site, in a nondescript African-American cemetery along South Hawthorne Street, lacks a clearly visible gravestone.

But his family members have never forgotten his story, his importance in the community, nor the place where he was laid to rest in 1918 after he died at the ripe age of 93.

“When I was growing up as a little boy, we used to always go down there and put flowers on his grave,” said great-grandson Eric Wilson, 55, an architect who now lives in Greensboro. “A tree was planted down there to mark it.”

Over the last two years, a movement has grown to properly recognize Hunter’s place in local history. More than 200 of his descendants will attend a family reunion — their first in two decades— on July 5 at Tuckaseegee Park in Mount Holly. A day later, they’ll gather for a church service and then dedicate new, prominent cemetery markers above the graves of Hunter and four of his family members.

The inscription on Hunter’s new headstone will assert his achievement as a freed slave who broke the mold in owning property — and accomplished much with it — during Reconstruction. For Hunter’s blood relatives, the stately oak tree that has grown to overlook his burial site is a metaphor for the towering reputation of the man himself.

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The Meat and Potato Man’s Guide to Napa Valley – Where to Stay

James Dean looking like a meat and potatoes kinda man.

When you think of wine country vacations, lazy days of wine tastings, Michelin-starred meals and gatherings at art bars might come to mind.  This is what my U.S. Marine husband thought and why he distinctly did not want to go – at first.  After I promised to create an itinerary designed to please his “down-to-earth, I’m a simple man” temperament, he relented and decided to look forward to a vacation sans children.  And I eagerly went about researching the various ways a man, who does not like wine, loves comfort food, has a fetish for log cabins, and would rather join a pickup game of basketball than rub shoulders with elegantly dressed aficionados of the grape, could have a good time.

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Yes, this is what the Napa Valley looks like – gorgeous views everywhere.

First and foremost, where to stay?  There are literally hundreds of locations to choose from, bed and breakfasts with gingham curtains to sleek resorts with the latest gadgetry and everything in between.  When I did my research for my trip with my husband, I considered his likes and dislikes.  His dislikes? Granny-inspired decor, bright, busy colors, crowded spaces and anything screaming of pretentiousness.

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