October 19, 2014

Revisit Harris Channing of Tennessee

Let's face the sad truth, "Hee Haw" did more damage to Tennessee than any other show in television history. (And allow me to dispel this awful rumor--the truth is, most all of us do indeed wear shoes!) With that said, from a strictly personal POV I remember when learning we were moving to Tennessee my heart sank and I asked, "Really? There are so many hicks there." 
I quickly learned not to believe everything you see on T.V.
Tennessee is a wonderful place to live, work, raise a family and learn. The people are some of the warmest people you'll ever happen upon. I believe the phrase, "I'll give you the shirt off my back," is proved out daily in these parts. 
Growing up a military brat made me an orphan when it came to having a home state. My family tree has roots all over the country. While I was born in North Carolina, when someone asks me where I'm from I tell them, "the great state of Tennessee." 
What's so great about it you ask? 
Well, let's start of with the obvious--music. Nashville is known as "Music City" and for good reason. Many artists flock to downtown Nashville to pick and sing their way to stardom…and for some it works and for others it doesn't. But there are always new people to hear and enjoy and new songs to touch your heart or make you laugh. 
But let's don't forget Memphis. The Blues love Memphis. If you don't believe me head to Beale Street. And you can't forget one of, if not the best singer to ever grace the air waves--Elvis Presley. Big E first swiveled his hips at Sun Records in Memphis. 
And as much as I love music, it's not the only thing that makes Tennessee a wonderful place to visit or settle. The land itself offers loads of diversity. Bordered by the Great Smokey Mountains on the east and the Mighty Mississippi on the west, the land in between offers much to see and do. Hiking to waterskiing, you won't be bored. And remember the old song about Davy Crockett? Well, it really is "the greenest state in the land of the free".
Music and nature's beauty not your thing? We've got sports--Tennessee Titans, Nashville Sounds, Memphis Grizzlies and the Nashville Predators. Not to mention some of the best college teams out there. 
Colleges and Universities? Well, Vanderbilt, UT, MTSU, Austin Peay…and those are just off the top of my head. Education may not have always been a major focus here in Tennessee, but with two kids in the public school system, I do see that times are changing. Some of the things my girls bring home have me heading to Google for answers! 
As you can see, I'm pretty smitten with my state. In fact, I've incorporated Tennessee in four of my books and short stories--Speed Trap, The Groupie and The Body Double all take place in the fictional town of White Springs, Tennessee and Yesterday's Indiscretion takes place in Hamilton City, Tennessee. In my current work in progress my hero is from Tennessee and I like to think that he would get on just fine with some of the great historical figures that come from here---wonder how he'd like Andrew Jackson, James K. Polk, Davy Crockett, Alvin York or Andrew Johnson?
And in honor of Halloween, I will tell you…there are no shortage of haunted antebellum homes to visit--Rippavilla Plantation, Elm Springs Plantation, Carnton Plantation and Lotz House just to name a few…
Visit Harris Channing's website for info on all work available http://www.harrischanning.com  
or check out the informative blog http://harrischanningauthor.blogspot.com

October 12, 2014

Flashback to 2012 with Sui Lynn

Sui Lynn from the great state of South Dakota writes:  Where we don't carve statues from mountain rocks but we carve mountains into monuments. I live in Rapid City, about 30 miles north of Mount Rushmore, on the edge of the Black Hills National Forest. Most of the year, I love it here, but the weather can be a bit unpredictable at times.
For the most part, South Dakota is a rural state, our main industries are farming and ranching. We also get a portion of our revenue from tourism of the Black Hills, Mount Rushmore, the Badlands and much more. If you want to see what we have to offer, I'd recommend visiting the South Dakota Tourism website. On a personal note, I'd recommend coming in the fall of the year, after Labor Day. The weather is more stable, most of the tourists have gone home and the Black Hills National Forest becomes a kaleidoscope of fall colors as the trees begin to change.
Being a South Dakota Native, many of my books are centered around the area or places I've visited, not because I write what I know, but because I truly love it here and believe that feeling comes through in my work. Wrapped in one state are pine forests, grasslands, canyons and open skies. What more beautiful backdrops could I chose to write. 
I write M/M Romance. Something about two strong men growing emotionally and overcoming obstacles calls to me as a writer. I can't get enough of it, both in my reading choices and my writing. I don't set ever story in South Dakota, but most of my work either has the characters based here or starting out from here and branching out. Kind of like I did in my own life, only to return to the place I call home.
The Changing Moon series, The Pauper Prince and A Royal Bind, both take place in the Black Hills. This series is a gay paranormal romance between two shapeshifters, add in some born vampires, some drone vampires, a police chase, a few misunderstandings, attempted murder and you've got a couple of busy stories. If you are interested in more, check out my blog, 2 Cents, for the blurbs and excerpts from the stories, or go to Silver Publishing for purchase.
My other works span the mix from M/M Contemporary romance, Dark Chocolate and Raspberries, to M/M Yaoi Romance, Blue Rose with Dreamspinner Press. These two stories were the first and gave me the courage to expand into my true writing love, paranormal and Fantasy.
My M/M Fantasy Romance, the Elements of Love series comprised of Adel's Purr and Nico's Fire was soon to follow and I couldn't be more proud of my work.
Feel free to check them out and let me know what you think. I love hearing from the people who read my work.
Wishing you Love and Butterflies,
Sui Lynn~~
(Pictures provided by author)

October 5, 2014

Eden Conner’s South Carolina

Shopping for a location for your next novel? I’ve never felt the need to look beyond my adopted state of South Carolina. As one of the original thirteen colonies, we have everything the historical novelist could ask for, from the early settlement of Charles Towne Landing to the Pirate House in Charleston, rumored to have hosted Blackbeard himself. Don’t forget, Charleston’s the birthplace of Rhett Butler, the most infamous of southern bad boys.

Prefer a mountain setting? How about a romantic wedding at Symme’s Chapel? Called Pretty Place by locals, the chapel is located near Caesar’s Head just outside of Greenville and offers a jaw-dropping backdrop of the Great Smoky Mountains.

Speaking as a former wedding photographer, it’s one of the most beautiful wedding chapels I’ve ever seen—despite my fear of heights.
Figure 3 Symme's Chapel, Caesar’s Head, Greenville County, S.C.

Want to write a military story? South Carolina participated in the Revolutionary War, and those who know nothing else about the state can tell you we started the Civil War.

If you write contemporary novels, Columbia is home to Fort Benning, and North Charleston was home to a massive Navy base until the late 1990s. In fact, the base sits unoccupied today. I’ve long thought the Admiral’s house looks like a tempting location for a story.

Speaking of unique settings, South Carolina is the nation’s second-largest peach producer. 
The state is dotted with massive peach farms. Driving down the back roads near my home, I often see this scene in springtime, so often that I set a series, Those Devilish De Marco Men, on an eight-hundred acre peach farm. 

Novels need more than location, of course. They need conflict and tension. The people of South Carolina are conservative, religious, and hard-working, but the state doesn’t have the best track record when it comes to civil rights. We still have three active klaverns of the Ku Klux Klan, and despite a Supreme Court ruling in 1967 that outlawed bans on interracial marriage, South Carolina’s anti-miscegeny laws stayed on the books until 1991. I’ve used all those facts in my interracial novels. 

The current state attorney general seems poised to back the state referendum that defined marriage as between a man and a woman, so any LGBT author could set a story here and not have to work hard to escalate the tension. 
The conservative mindset led state lawmakers to repeal the law allowing video poker parlors in 2000. To date, South Carolina stands alone as the only major jurisdiction to ever have allowed this type of gambling and then made it illegal. I, for one, don’t miss the jangling noise when stopping for gas, because rather than large casinos, the video poker industry was mostly confined to a few machines in the back of every convenience store, but the fact was unique enough to lead me to start a new series with a story, Rain on Me, centered around the ban on video poker. 

To make your story feel authentic, you’ll need to know that the common forms of address are ‘ma’am’, ‘sir’, and ‘y’all’. ‘All y’all’ is grammatically correct when referring to more than two. No one will bat an eyelash if you say ‘ain’t’. Sweet tea is the house wine. That’s black tea laced with enough sugar to start a cavity—and please add that sugar while the tea’s fresh-brewed, then pour it over ice. And if you visit, do ask a native to teach you the state dance, the Carolina Shag.

(All info provided by author)