It’s RELEASE DAY! Yes, today is the official release of my first published historical, Slightly Tarnished. My fabulous editor was Allison Byers and my talented cover artist was Angela Anderson. Thanks so much ladies for making me look good! The buy link for the book is Slightly Tarnished is on the opening page!
Also, I’m participating in a blog tour this month. The tour starts June 6th and features several HCRW authors. My day to post is June 14. This will be a fun series of interviews in which a main character from the author’s book interviews the author. I think Nikki, my heroine from Slightly Tarnished, will interview me. After all, we are both from NC! And at the end of the tour, I’ll give away a digital copy of the book to one of my commenters. So stop by on the 14th, or visit one of the other authors participating in the tour starting June 6th:

Lyla Dune :
Carol Strickland :
Amy Corwin :
Lilly Gayle :
Rebekkah Niles :
Laura Browning :
Andris Bear :
Marcia Colette :
Nancy Badger :
Sarah Mäkelä :

June 7 is also my 31st wedding anniversary. But I doubt we’ll be taking any trips. We only recently traveled to Germany and Amsterdam.
When we flew out of RDU on April 19th, it was 88 degrees. But April in Germany is supposed to be much cooler. Luckily for us, there was a heatwave. We arrived in Nuremberg on the 20th to sunny skies and a warm 77 degrees. It remained warm and sunny for our most of our trip. It was even hot and sunny in Amsterdam. But, on our last day, the clouds rolled in and the temperature plummeted to 58 degrees. But that didn’t stop us form touring Beyreuth again.
We saw the catacombs, brewery, and Margravial Opera House on Day 2 of our trip. Son on our last day, Day 7, we visited the Margravial Palace known as The Hermitage or Eremitage in German, the grotto, and the New Castle and gardens.
After parking, we walked through tree lined paths toward the palace.
My son-in-law had to work, so my daughter played tour guide. Isn’t she beautiful?
When we cleared the trees, we came upon a small village. The village is to the left of the photo. The steps on the right led to the new castle and gardens.
Atop of a hill to the left, there was a spiral path leading to a pagoda-type gazebo.
So, we climbed to the top and posed for pictures.

And enjoyed the view…
Gold leaf statue of Zeus in a Chariot atop the New Castle.

We left the pagoda and headed toward the New Castle.

The New Castle is shaped in a semi-circle and inside the circle lies the gardens. The outside walls are overlaid with colored stone,seashells, and gold leaf. Inside, part of the castle has been converted into a cafe and gift shop. The rest of the New Castle is not open to the public. But the outside is breathtaking!

Inside the semi-circle we found a beautiful garden, statues, and fountain.

From the gardens, we followed a trail (and our tour guide) to the Old Castle.
To get to the Old Castle, we passed under a rock arch and followed a path.

Our tour guide led us into the Old Castle via the grotto.

Entering the grotto was like stepping down into a cellar…

But inside the grotto is a fountain house designed to look like an undersea cavern. The paths inside the grotto are narrow and a dozen hidden fountains. When the Margrave and his wife entertained, the felt compelled to invite many people they didn’t like. Close friends and confidants knew where the fountains were located and where to stand inside the grotto. Others did not, and so the Margrave would sit in a box above the crowd and when they entered, he would turn on the fountains, spraying those not on the path. The wet people went home. His friends stayed.
The Margrave’s box is above the crest.
Below are other pictures from inside the grotto and fountain house:

exited the grotto using these stairs.

Upon leaving the grotto, we toured outside the Old Castle.

Courtyard of the Old Castle. Women’s rooms are to the right. Men’s are to the left. Ballroom is straight ahead.

Outside Kitchen door of the Old Castle.

Backside of house.

Rear gardens.

Monument to the Lady Margrave’s dog. Apparently, the dog’s German name translates: Crazy Dog.

Greek style amphitheater.

 The inside of the castle was beautiful, but we were unable to take pictures. In fact, the only time I’ve ever seen anything more elegant than the castle and gardens at the Hermitage was on our last visit to Germany in 2008 when we visited Neuschwanstien, Hohenschwangau and Linderhoff.

When the tour was over, we left the Hermitage.

After leaving the Hermitage, we went to the mall in Beyreuthbanana splits. My husband had lasagna ice cream and I had spaghetti ice cream. With lasagna ice cream, the “noodles” are made with flatten strips of ice cream covered in colorful berry “sauce” and sprinkled with white chocolate for the Parmesan. The spaghetti ice cream used ice cream shaped like noodles and covered in a strawberry sauce and sprinkled with white chocolate.

Once we left the mall, we drove back through Beyreuth on the way back to my daughter’s house.

And passed a monastery near Eschenbach.

We stayed in that last night because we had to get up at 3:30 in the morning in order to get to Nuremberg and catch our 6:30 flight. The next morning was cold and dreary and my daughter was just as sad as her dad and I were…

But she and her husband are coming home for a visit in July and I can wait to see them again. My youngest daughter is also excited. Lauren didn’t get to go with us to Germany this trip and she really misses her sister. Also, Lauren’s birthday is the week before Jennifer and Mike’s visit and Lauren graduates from UNC’s radiation therapy school the week after they leave. So, it looks like July will be just as busy as June. And I’m lovin’ it!