The Carillon in Byrd Park, Richmond, VA

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The Carillon, Richmond, VA – photo: Tonya Rice

Standing high within the beauty of Byrd Park in Richmond’s West End, visible from various driveways of the city, is the Commonwealth of Virginia’s first memorial to Virginians who served in World War I: The Carillon. An illustrious landmark, this campinale is a beloved gathering area for local residents and visitors.

In 1924, several years after the end of the First World War, the General Assembly formed the World War Memorial Commission to determine the best way to honor those men and women. The City of Richmond donated an area of Byrd Park, located at the southern end of Blanton Avenue. After a lot of public discussion, which changed the initial proposal, construction on the tower began in 1931. It was completed in 1932.

On October 15, 1932, The Carillon was formally dedicated to the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Ralph Adams Cram, a noted Boston architect, had designed the structure, which stands at 240 feet. Cram was a favorite architect to the city, as he had also designed several buildings at the University of Richmond, which featured his trademark Gothic style. The bell instrument was designed by Taylor’s Bell Foundry, the world’s largest bell foundry. Known at the time of The Carillon’s construction as John Taylor Bellfounders Ltd, this company also cast Great Britain’s largest bell in St. Paul’s Cathedral of London.

At set intervals, the bells chime melodic patriotic hymns which sound throughout the park. Concerts at the Carillon usually take place on patriotic holidays, such as Memorial Day, Veteran’s Day, Flag Day and Labor Day. Most notably is the Fourth of July celebration with fireworks and the Richmond Concert Band. In the spring, the Carillon Civic Association hosts the renowned “Arts in the Park”, which helps to introduce the work of many national artists and artisans to the area.

The tower is a welcoming presence in the park and to its neighborhood residents. At the edge of a grass mall are crepe myrtles donated by the James River Garden Club. Other trees line the mall and the long, brick walkway. Quaint marble benches commemorate the gesture of 1937.

 

Prominently and sacredly featured is the grand star leading to the front of the Carillon which was laid in honor of the Gold Star Mothers. Their sons and daughters served from 1917 to 1918.

Visitors are welcome to climb the steps of the tower. Once visitors get closer, they will notice the ornate cast of the Virginia seal. Those marble steps lead to the imposing balcony which provides a dramatic panoramic view of the park and neighborhood. Lined by a stylish balustrade, the balcony allows one to take in the striking details much more closely as well as the opportunity to rest and take in the breathtaking view of the park from one of the benches along the walls.

Behind the tower is the Ha’Penny Stagewhere movies and plays are held. Also, next

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Dogwood Dell amphitheatre, Richmond, VA – photo: Tonya Rice

to the tower is the beloved Dogwood Dell Amphitheatre, where many concerts and plays are performed. After World War II, the annual Christmas production of “The Nativity” began on the steps of The Carillon; each year it is held on December 23rd at 7:00 p.m.

This coming Fourth of July, bring your picnic basket, blanket, and/or folding chairs and enjoy the Independence Day celebration, featuring music by the Richmond Concert Band and fireworks, all for free! Events begin at 6:00 p.m.

Originally posted on November 11, 2010 on examiner dot com.

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Summer Book Bash!

Summer Book Bash BannerThis month, another great gift card giveaway is going on!! From now until the end of the month, you can enter to win a $25.00 gift card when you sign up for some great free romance e-books in the “Summer Book Bash” gift card giveway! My short romance, Without Your Goodbye, is one of them! If you haven’t yet gotten your copy, hit the link below and get it now for free along with a host of other great romance e-books available there! If you have gotten my story, thank you so much, but please still click to get those additional books and a chance to win that $25.00 gift card!

What a great time to stock up, too… its a long holiday weekend!

Click here now to set up your free summer reading list collection AND a chance to win a $25.00 gift card you can perhaps use for even more books… just a thought! 🙂

Be sure to sign up now – contest ends July 31, 2019.

Living Vicariously Through My Character

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In the Author’s Note of my books in “The Boutique Series”, I point out just how Eden and her fashion shop, Josi’s Boutique, came about:

 

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Given my love for fashion and makeup, my high-styled life lived vicariously through Billy Eikhorn of Judith Krantz’s Scruples saga, and the long, unfulfilled desire to run my own dress shop, it’s only fitting that Eden take the helm for me.

It’s true!

During college, on breaks when I was home and part-time when the company opened a store near my college in my senior year, I worked for a major department store as a sales associate. The experience was great, especially as a “floater” since I had the chance to work in every department and therefore no spot was a stranger to me. That includes a stint in the gift wrap area which made me nervous as hell because having your packages wrapped at that store was of high-esteem and my skills were certainly not near such a caliber. Thanks to the Lord, I had a great co-worker, that afternoon, who took away the sting with her patient training and as a result, it’s been me, as a matter of fact, wrapping all the gifts for my family over the years!

After college, I was fortunate enough to move up to management of my own department with plans to move up even further to the special events department and travel to all the stores sharing the latest fashion and merchandising trends. Unfortunately, that never came to pass since all the stores were eventually closed and torn down, and my career path took quite a turn. I still believe an opportunity to work in Special Events would have given me the additional skills needed to open my own little boutique at some point. As a department manager, I learned a lot with inventory supervision, sales planning and forecasting, personnel training, etc, and could see myself taking it all with me to my own store. (I could still do this all with a bookstore I’m realizing now, but I’m really going on a tangent right now with that!) Working in a large store, however, wasn’t my motivation; it was this cute little, local dress shop owned and run by a woman. I’d only gone in there once, but it stuck with me for years and I soon fell in love with the entire concept of staying on top of the latest fashions with and for other women and running my own business as a way to do it.

I’m sure that my grandfather was my inspiration in this regard. As a locally (and quite a few places outside of the area) sought-after upholsterer and furniture repairman, he ran his own business and trained many of his employees (and his children, including my mom) his trade. His drive and passion to use his artistic gift as the means to support his family and the blessings to even be able to do so has long stayed with me. That little dress shop was my idea of doing the same in something I loved.

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Well, it didn’t really work out that way, but, I have another career – a family-run business with my husband – and the fortune to use my writing as a way to bring that old desire back and the ability to share my boutique owner and her adventures with everyone else. For that, along with Judith Krantz sharing Billy Eikhorn with me inspiring me to put Eden – a black woman at that – and her luxurious boutique to the page as well, I’m grateful. (Also, may Ms. Krantz rest in peace… I’m still saddened that we lost her this week and will long cherish the memory of reading Billy at a much too young age(!) and jumping right on out of children’s books with the rest of her stories and those of Jackie Collins.) Perhaps if my mom had known what Jackie Collins’s and Judith Krantz’s books were about long before they reached the TV and even before I’d bulldozed my way through them, I wouldn’t have had the chance – and then I probably wouldn’t have developed my own colorful language.

Click here for “The Boutique Series”.
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2019 Reading Challenge

Photo: Tonya Rice

As of now, I have read 5 of 10 books for the 2019 Goodreads Reading Challenge! I’m a bit slow going through my such-a-tiny list as books come in from the library (Overdrive and physical copies) and I have to read them as quickly as I can in case there’s a hold on them. Oh, problems that are actually nice to have!

Since I’ve been concentrating on my writing, my TBR for the entire year has been shorter than usual. However, I do expect to surpass it. I’ll keep you posted!

My list of books read this year, so far… http://www.goodreads.com/user_challenges/14858132

Currently reading:
Photo: Tonya Rice

The Widows Club (Book #2 of The Ellie Haskell Mysteries) by Dorothy Cannell. I recently read Book #1 – The Thin Woman so I was pretty anxious to get to this one. It’s a nice cozy mystery set in the English Countryside; my go-to light reading series right now. Will soon post my thoughts about both books. In the meantime, feel free to pass along suggestions! I’m always open to a book suggestion or two or three… 🙂

Thanks for reading! For immediate publishing updates, please stop by my website and sign up for my newsletter. My thanks to you is a FREE story – Without Your Goodbye!




First Writing Goal of the Year Achieved… Onward!

1achievedAt the start of this year, I had two writing goals in mind:

  1. To complete and publish Grand Opening: A Novella.

  2. To finish revising my historical novel for the upcoming #PitchWars event in September.

I’m thrilled to say that Grand Opening: A Novella was published last week. Yay! Writing Goal #1 for 2019 was achieved, but there’s no time to rest on my laurels. Number 2 has to be done – on time.

My historical novel is a story that’s been a part of me for nearly thirty years. As my thesis for my MFA in Creative Writing a few years ago, I was finally able to get it out of my head. It still requires a bit more work and polish for publication and will indeed be closer to query-ready for #PitchWars this fall.

#PitchWars is a social media event that brings agents to writers, with the aim of helping them get their novels query-ready. What better opportunity is there for an author to have a literary agent guiding them to get their stories ready for a fellow agent, knowing just what an agent is looking for and wants to see?!

Even though my other stories have been independently publishedmy desired path for this upcoming novel is quite different. It’s such an important story to me that needs to One down one to gobe told and shared, and since I believe a literary agent can reach the vast marketplace much better than I, it prefer to have it traditionally published.

I’ll share more details of the story as I approach the #PitchWars deadline.

Well, since Goal #1 was met – Grand Opening: A Novella, a romantic suspense story and the first book of my series, “The Boutique Series” – it’s out there for you to read!

Click here and get your copy today!

 
Thanks for reading! For immediate publishing updates, please stop by my website and sign up for my newsletter. My thanks to you is a FREE story – Without Your Goodbye!

Book Launch Day is Here! Now!

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Grand Opening: A Novella – Book #1 of The Boutique Series is available now!

New Release!! It’s finally here and I’m so happy to get it out there to you! Grand Opening: A Novella, a Romantic Suspense story, is the first book of my series, “The Boutique Series”, featuring Eden Harper and her esteemed, high-end fashion store, Josi’s Boutique, along with her boyfriend, Nelson Donnelly, son of one of Hollywood’s first black actors from its golden age and her family and friends.

I’m soooo excited! It’s been underway for quite some time and I didn’t realize just how long until I looked at the date of an early draft… we’re talking years! I’ll explain more on that soon.

Eden was first introduced in Burying the Bitter: A Boutique Series Short. For more about Grand Opening: A Novella, including the story info, please click below and get your copy today!

http://tonyarice.weebly.com/grand-opening-a-boutique-series-book-1.html

I really hope you enjoy it. In the meantime, I’m back at work on my historical novel. Details on that, too, up later!

Note: Grand Opening: A Novella is currently available for e-readers. Paperback edition will be out soon; I’ll definitely let you know when.

Thanks for reading! For immediate publishing updates, please stop by my website and sign up for my newsletter. My thanks to you is a FREE story – Without Your Goodbye!

Writing at The Round Table

2017-09-03 15.51.31A few years ago, my family and I took a long needed vacation to The Big Apple. For me, I was living a part of one of my literary dreams just by being there. A trip to 30 Rock, taking a tour of NBC Studios, and standing at the corner of Bedford and Grove (Monica and Rachel’s apartment building), seeing Wicked on Broadway (!!!!!!!) among so many other highlights were icing on the cake. However, when I realized how close our hotel was to The Algonquin, there was no way I was leaving that city without the opportunity to see The Round Table where Dorothy Parker, Robert Benchley, Tallulah Bankhead, and so many other writers and thespians gathered, played games, and pulled practical jokes on each other. It was a spot of a high echelon of the literati of the time and to even sit in its air was a plan to get some of that grace on my writing and me.2017-09-03 14.36.50

So, not only did we go there, we had lunch there – AT The Round Table! Now, the staff  – who was absolutely wonderful and accommodating to my, albeit, subtle excitement – did point out to me that it wasn’t the original table, but still… no matter really to me. It was in the same spot as the original and nevertheless, I was in there, at that spot!

Grand Opening: A Novella was still in one of its many drafts at that time. I made sure I had it with me to work on, or really to at least take a picture of me doing so. That I did and here it is to share!

Well, the book will be out any day now and putting it within that setting, to me, gave it a bit of that literary magic  I desired for it and I’m so happy it will soon be out in the world!

For publishing updates on Grand Opening: A Novella and my other books, please click here for my newsletter!

 

 

 

For immediate publishing updates, please stop by my website and sign up for my newsletter. My thanks to you is a FREE story – Without Your Goodbye!

Publication Date set!

Eden kindleGrand Opening, my next story, and also the first book of “The Boutique Series” will be published on June 14, 2019!

This romantic suspense story follows Eden Harper, owner of Josi’s Boutique, and her beloved Nelson Donnelly, son of one of the first highly-regarded black actors of Hollywood’s golden years. Eden and the boutique were first introduced in Burying the Bitter: A Boutique Series Short.

About Grand Opening:

After four years, Eden Harper’s esteemed fashion boutique is getting a makeover, an overhaul actually. Not only is she excited; so are her dedicated customers, the city, her family, and her beloved Nelson Donnelly. While the work’s being done, Eden discovers a major deficit in the renovation budget. The money had been stolen from her bank account! So, in addition to worrying about who stole it, concerns about paying for the work weighs her down more.

When the opportunity for getting the money repaid arises, she’s grateful, but she also discovers the additional costs – for the boutique and her life with Nelson as she knows and loves – that come with it are too much for her to bear. How much of that price is she willing to pay?

Mark your calendar and get your ebook reader available for the download!

 

Thanks for reading! For immediate publishing updates, please stop by my website and sign up for my newsletter. My thanks to you is a FREE story – Without Your Goodbye!

Romance e-book Giveaway

Romance Getaway share 3This month, enter to win a $30.00 gift card when you sign up for free e-books in the “Romance Getaway” giveway! My short novel, Without Your Goodbye, is one of them! If you haven’t yet gotten your copy, hit the link below and get it now for free along with a host of other great romance e-books available there! If you have gotten my story, thank you so much, but please still click to get those additional stories.

Click here now to set up your free summer reading list collection AND a chance to win a $30.00 gift card you can use for even more books!

Be sure to sign up now – contest ends June 30, 2019.

 

Coming Soon!

Eden - ebookpic1Seems like my hiatus from here took much longer than I expected. Even though I’ve been away from here, I’ve been writing my stories. Hooray! So, my historical novel is still in rewrite and my aim is to have that ready for PitchWars this fall – okay, so with that, I am now completely accountable. Besides, that’s a deadline written by them in stone, so I’ve no choice but to have it ready by then.

Also, at work, has been the first book of “The Boutique Series” that I got underway a few years ago. My short story, Burying the Bitter, was the introduction a bit to Eden Harper and her store. Grand Opening is the full-fledged story about Eden and her fashion boutique, set, of course, in my hometown, Richmond, Virginia. It was supposed to be ready by the end of May this year.. well, here we are – May 31, this year and it’s not out yet.

Needless to say, I’m devastated because I put the pub date out there as such and didn’t Eden bk ebk2meet it. However – the good news is that it’s just about ready and even though I missed my (self-imposed) deadline today, it’s only by a few days. It will definitely out as an ebook BEFORE June 15! The paperback will be available in July.

I’ve got a new newsletter coming soon which will feature news about Grand Opening as well as more about my upcoming historical novel and other bits and features surrounding it. My short novel, Without Your Goodbye, is FREE when you sign up for the subscription! I’d love for you to be a part of it and to let you know when Grand Opening is ready for you to read!

 

For immediate publishing updates, please stop by my website and sign up for my newsletter. My thanks to you is a FREE story – Without Your Goodbye!