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I was on the road for the past week. The first stop was Lynchburg, Virginia. Then I went on to Charlottesville, and from there to Asheville, North Carolina.

Partly I was checking out settings that I used in my novel, Fugue in Ursa Major. The book is still in the revision stage (new publication date May 30, I hope), so there was time to tweak descriptions of some of the settings, if necessary. Luckily, it won’t be necessary, though I may write in a few minor details. Google Earth, along with photos found on the web, are excellent resources for writers. An important scene occurs on the campus of the University of Virginia, so I spent a good bit of time there, seeing things with my own eyes and taking photographs. Also, when Jake, the young protagonist of the novel, goes stargazing, he drives south from Charlottesville on Interstate 81 toward the area of the Appalachians where the borders of Virginia, Tennessee, and North Carolina come together. I followed that route to Asheville.

Monticello is stunning. Photographs of Monticello usually fail to capture that the house sits on the crest of a small mountain, with amazing views in all directions. I also had never realized how Charlottesville’s hills are part of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The Blue Ridge Parkway extends north of Roanoke almost to Charlottesville, and I-81 shadows the route of the parkway for many miles.

The gardens at Monticello

The gardens at Monticello

The dome at the University of Virginia. The dome was visible from Monticello with a telescope, and Jefferson watched its construction from home.

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