Saturday, Carl and I were rare visitors to a fourth-floor view of a castle turret (see below), and as Carl looked out the window from the office onto the roofline between us and the turret, he got fired up and said, “Hey, you see that [–]? Well [character] could shoot it and then he could…” he looked around the office, spied what he would need, “grab the [–] and slice it and then  and kill off the [–],” and I was all, “Wow, yeah! Cool!” until we both realized that the very sweet lady who’d let us up there behind the scenes was starting to edge out of the room, looking at little nervous.

“We have to kill the bad guys,” I offered, trying to make things not so frightening.

“In her book,” Carl said, just so we didn’t have her running for security, regretting letting us up there.

I’m starting to suspect we are not normal people. 

One of the cool things about being a writer is that you can tell people you are researching something for your next book and they will suddenly give you access to the neatest things not generally available to the public. Last Saturday, we lucked up on the fact that the Old State Capitol, which is featured in a big action scene in book 2, was open for tours. Even better, when Carl told the woman in charge (Nancy C.) that I was working on book 2, she was very open to showing me areas of the building which are just awesome.

It’s so cool that I live just four miles from this gorgeous old castle (technically, they call it “Castlelated Gothic style construction):


 The first two floors are the only parts normally open to the public, but they are gorgeous for the rotunda:


(and that photo just cannot do it justice)… to the stunning stained-glass dome:


And as you look at that photo, realize that’s four stories up. What you can’t quite tell from this is that the dome is housed in a protective room — frosted white glass with a metal roof to protect it from debris or high winds, and what you also can’t see is that above it–inside that room–there is a catwalk around the perimeter of that stained-glass, (which they refer to as the ‘lantern’)… and I got to walk around that catwalk. Taking photos, which are still on my camera. And the entire time I was up there, I was thinking, “Please God, don’t let me do a Bobbie Faye and destroy 150 years of history. Please.”

We got to see a catwalk outside the building on the roof and other very neat things (which are going in the book).

And seriously, Nancy was the most wonderful, patient hostess. She made me feel like this building really did belong to us, the public, and was a very welcoming place. When we left, we noticed several families picnicing on the front slopes and off to the side, lots of kids were playing in the water fountain. I think the original builders would have been thrilled.