I love being a writer.
I love it for so many reasons besides I get to do something I absolutely love to do. This past summer, I found another reason to love writing. Travel Research!
If you've read my Madison Creek books, you'll know Haley moved from Texas up to the arctic land of Michigan. Not that it's always cold up there. I've actually been up there a handful of times where I actually sweated. But I've also been up there in July and needed a winter coat, too. So there's that.
I love Michigan. My husband came from Yankee land, as I call it. Now, I'm not a true southern girl. I come from Southern California. Hollywood, baby. Or in that area. =)
We tell everyone that we met in the middle: Texas. My family originated from Texas and moved back just before I started high school. (Talk about a culture shock- but I'll have to tell you about that in another post.) My husband came down here on a whim with a group of friends seeking warmer weather and work. He's that kind of guy. (There's a good story there, too, but again, not in this posts.)
Anyway, during our many visits up north to see my husband's family, I've grown fond- kinda -with this state. And they sure have fun harassing me and my southern ways. But, we've introduced them to BBQ, grilled everything, jalapeno peppers, and Pico De Gallo as any good Texan would do for those unfortunates who haven't had the pleasure of tasting such delicacies.
Michigan is simply beautiful. In the summer. I spent one winter up there, came back a frozen pop-jackie suffering from bronchitis and refused to go back again. Texas just doesn't make shoes that can handle all that snow!! SIX FEET of it. No kidding. So, when I was up there this past summer, loving the plush greenery and open farmlands and forest I kept reminding myself of this honest to goodness truth: This was fleeting. Don't get suckered into the pretty scenery. In two months they'll be buried in snow!! You Yankees know I'm telling the truth, right?
Even in the summer, the temps can dip into the low 40s and that's just not right. At all. Which is why I sent Haley up north. Because I always have a blast when I do go up there. And I thought she would, too.
We decided to split this years vacation into a research/Family visit for our niece's graduation. So I was in charge of the first part of our two weeks and I wanted to go visit the lakeside towns running up along the pinky side of the mitten. When I was researching places to put Madison Creek, I found this one little town called Ludington and when I got there, I wasn't disappointed. Wow!
We also stopped in Muskegon, Holland, and a few other places in that area before heading up near the top of the mitten where his family lives.
Ludington captured my heart and was exactly what I pictured Madison Creek someday being. The people there are friendly and the B&B owners often meet together and help each other out which I loved hearing about.
Main street of Ludington.
My First B&B Stay...
See those very top three windows? I mean the very top, like on the 3rd floor. That's was our room. Ha!
Now, I've never been in a bed & breakfast, but I was enchanted by the Ludington House and the owners were wonderful about answering some of my questions about running a B&B. So here's my plug: If you, by chance, ever visit Ludington Michigan, then check out this pretty little B&B.
I'm going to admit, I'm more of a hotel girl. The B&B had little charming quirks; such as the tiny bathroom with the sloping roof that we kept banging our heads on. We knew it was there. But kept hitting it anyway. Or how about the three flights of stairs to get up to our room? Yeah, that was fun. But I enjoyed the history of the place, the homey feeling, and the quaint homemade breakfast in the pretty dining room.
If you're ever looking for a nice, quiet place to stay, I think a B&B is a nice alternative.
There's more coming! I have one novella I just released that takes place in Madison Creek.
Secretly in Love occurs right before the start of Raining Fools. This short is about Sage, Moi, and Nikolai who've been high school buddies and are now finishing up with college. They've made a pact to remain friends and only friends, but Nick and Sage's feeling have gone on a detour and neither knows how to tell the other. Until Nick comes up with an idea after hearing the girls talk about how romantic they think love letters are.
But so far, the only letters Sage ever gets are in the form of a big joke, so when they start showing up every day in her mailbox, she refused to be made a fool of again.
The Madison Creek B&B is also in this story. Haley is just opening her weekend restaurant and hires both Nick and Sage to help her get it started.
There's more coming over the next year.
Some of these pictures above might give you a little clue about what's to come.
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Blessings and Peace
And don't forget to be kind to one another!
Jackie Castle is an author, artist and dreamer. She lives in Texas with her husband, two grown children and her dog, Banjo. She looks for the extraordinary in the ordinary in everything she experiences.