Tag Archive | SC mystery novel

Guest Hope Clark talks about #beachvacation #guestpost #SCbeaches #Edisto

This guest post is by C. Hope Clark from www.chopeclark.com

The Atypical Beach Vacation for the Atypical Tourist – Edisto Island

Beaches conjure visions of motels, neon, souvenir shops, lifeguards, and a sea of visitors strewn across the sand. Partying, maybe. All sorts of floats and rafts in the water, close enough to bump at the next wave. To some, that’s the typical beach vacation. To others like myself, the more atypical tourist, those are the opposite of what makes for a great getaway.

And the ultimate atypical beach vacation is hands down Edisto Beach, South Carolina.

 

One hour south of Charleston, down a long two-lane highway that ends in the Atlantic. No motels. No franchises. No buildings allowed over 41 feet tall. Porch lights off at dusk to keep from confusing the turtles. One old grocery store that’s a far cry from a rambling, neon Publix. The tap water tastes salty, and there isn’t any room service. You might have to bring your own sheets and towels.

There’s you, the beach, the jungle of the island you go through reaching the beach, breezes, and no traffic noises. You usually rent one of the worn-out houses, none of which are more than three blocks from the ocean on one side, and the marsh and its jaw-dropping sunsets on the other.

The Edisto mantra is that you leave your problems on the other side of the Big Bridge, which is otherwise known as the McKinley Washington Bridge over the Dawhoo River. And few people go back across at the end of the week without wishing they could remain on that beach forever. Very few. But there’s one time of year, that doesn’t involve summer, that attracts the Edisto faithfuls, and that’s in October for the Edisto Museum’s annual Edisto & Beyond Tour of Historic Plantations, Churches and Graveyards.

Unbeknownst to most, Edisto Island families pre-Civil War once rivaled the richest of Atlanta, Charleston, and New Orleans. Sea Island Cotton amassed what today would be millions for the Seabrooks, the Jenkins, the Townsends, and a dozen or more other old families. Edisto’s history is long and rich. The Edisto Museum, via its tiny white house on the corner of Highway 174 and Chisolm Road, with its fierce graciousness, preserves this history in all its dignities and atrocities, preserving the past of the white and black cultures that gave the island its magic.

I belong to the museum not to support it, but also to receive early access to the Edisto & Beyond Tour each October. No two years are alike with different plantations, graveyards and churches opened to the public. Amidst the shadows of oak trees hundreds of years old, dripping in Spanish moss, you envision the people who preceded you on that island, picture the enchantment, sweat, and strife while you stand where others stood. Seeing where they worked, dined, and ultimately rested in peace. Ghosts, lovers, patriots, and rogues.

I was lucky enough to serve as a docent at Middleton Plantation, also known as Chisholm Plantation at one time and The Launch at another. These family properties sometimes changed titles as families passed them down. It offers a divine open view of the Combahee River.

 

 

Most folks in South Carolina can appreciate Middleton Place in Charleston County on Highway 61, the home of then Governor Henry Middleton. The Governor’s son Oliver built Middleton Plantation on Edisto.

Assigned an upstairs bedroom that belonged to one of the Middleton children, I’d spent much time investigating my assignment. I could tell you that the brass knobs on the doors, though antique, weren’t original because Union soldiers stripped the house of its valuables. That the handmade desk was a gift to the daughter, and the sea trunk used for European treks. That the plantation gained a reputation for its long-staple cotton only viable on the sea islands of South Carolina and Georgia, varieties developed and transported by land barons and slaves alike.

As an author of two mystery series, one centered in the rural reaches of South Carolina and the other on Edisto, my research served me well as touring visitors asked questions about the time period, the families, and the architecture. Thank goodness for my agriculture degree from Clemson, enabling me to answer questions about the cotton.

Another docent handled the bedroom at the other end of the short hallway who turned out to be the sister to Lowcountry author Dorothy Benton Frank. What a joy to share literature, history, and a love of Edisto with someone equally infatuated with all three realms.

Each locale on the tour comes with a docent or two, each equipped to answer questions, each carrying a deep reverence for the graveyard, church, home, people, or in some cases, ruins and gardens that they are entrusted to teach about.
And the entire island embraces that day. You’ll find art shows in parks, and usually an author signing at the Edisto Bookstore. The museum opens its doors with remarkable and fresh displays to aid to your knowledge along with gifts of handcrafted jewelry, indigo, paintings, and more, each distinctively tied to Edisto.

There’s a reason people return to Edisto rather than bounce from place to place for their vacation needs. There’s a reason your watch changes to Edisto-slow time when you cross the Big Bridge. This is a beach where they define calm, promote simplicity, and accept visitors seeking that lifestyle, if only for a week. Like Shangri La, Edisto is a permanently happy place, isolated from the world, and deeply grateful to each generation that came before for creating such a haven.

BIO

BIO: C. Hope Clark’s latest release is Dying on Edisto, Book 5 of the Edisto Island Mysteries. She has also authored one other award-winning mystery series and is working on another. She founded FundsforWriters.com, selected by Writer’s Digest for its 101 Best Websites for Writers for 18 years. Her newsletter reaches 35,000 readers. www.fundsforwriters.com / www.chopeclark.com

LINKS

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/44089103-dying-on-edisto

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1130656357

Edisto Island Mysteries

 

 

BOOK BLURB

One death. Two detectives. And unexpected backup.
A Callie Morgan and Carolina Slade crossover, standalone mystery!

When a renowned—and now dead—travel blogger washes ashore on the banks of Indigo Plantation, Edisto Beach Police Chief Callie Morgan agrees to head the investigation as a favor to the county sheriff, whose reasons are as questionable as the death itself. When death turns to murder and a watchdog from the county makes her investigation difficult, Callie reluctantly turns to Carolina Slade and Wayne Largo, vacationing agents with the Department of Agriculture.

Because poison is growing on this plantation and someone knows how to use it well.

 

TESTIMONIALS

Murder, corruption, and page-turning intrigue are usually the elements that shine the brightest in mysteries like Hope Clark’s latest Dying on Edisto. But it’s the characters that bring a vivid literary element to Clark’s prose and create a strong emotional response to their tangled lives. The scenic town of Edisto Beach is peopled with a modern-day pirate claiming to be a descendent of Blackbeard, a degenerate travel blogger, a yoga teacher who drives a baby blue vintage Benz convertible, a mixed race waitress and her matriarchal grandmother, and a whole slew of wealthy and crooked good ole boys. Leading the cast are two strong female protagonists—a police chief and an investigator with the Department of Agriculture. Did someone say hemlock? —Susan Cushman, author of Cherry Bomb and editor of Southern Writers on Writing

“In a plot as complicated as the numerous waterways that create Edisto Island in South Carolina, C. Hope Clark has combined the characters from her two series to solve the murder of a renowned travel blogger. They mystery requires all of their detective skills and blends the two mystery worlds in a page-turning standalone. The story opens with a floater and progresses with edge-of-your-seat action. Prepare to be absorbed by Clark’s crisp writing and compelling storytelling. This is one you don’t want to miss!”— Carolyn Haines is the USA Today bestselling author of three mystery series. She is the author of over 80 books and has received numerous writing awards.

Hope Clark converges her sleuths, Carolina and Callie Jean, on Edisto Island for the finale, Dying on Edisto, concluding her two murder mystery series. Slews of fans always awaited these highly addictive and superbly penned novels – grabbing you from the first page and not letting go until the last. A pristine, sleeper sea island, two determined masters of law who butt heads, a mystery corpse from Atlantic waters, a few idiosyncrasies along the way – the absolute best cast and plot for an intense coastal thriller. ~Karen Carter, Owner, Edisto Bookstore

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Guest Hope Clark talks about #journaling #guestpost

This guest post is by C. Hope Clark from www.chopeclark.com

Q&A a Day: Five Years of Finding Yourself

                     When I hear that someone has journaled for years, I instantly admire them. For no other reason than they held themselves to a regimen, I find them incredibly in tune with themselves. They are living life, noting its lessons, and probably improving themselves in the process.

Presidents do it. Many authors do it, which makes me feel guilty since I’m an eight-book published mystery author, with a couple of nonfiction books thrown in for good measure. I’ve been writing for years, yet I could not find the discipline to write at the end of the day when I’m spent, probably having already written a couple thousand words for some story or feature.

Yet I’ve beat into my sons’ heads that journaling is a mental vitamin. I like to think I set an example, though abbreviated ones. I kept a journal for each of them, noting the year before they graduated high school, recording their highs and lows, and my accompanying highs and lows, my opinions and observations. Then I wrapped it and gave it to them when they went to college. One son continues to journal to this day, probably has for over 15 years, putting me to shame.

Then one Christmas, scrounging for a gift for my sons and nephew that reflected on my beliefs about writing and reading, I stumbled across Q&A a Day: 5-Year Journal in a Barnes & Noble.

Each day the journaler answers a question, almost in Twitter-style. With only four lines to post on, and the book being 4.25 x 6 inches in size, brevity is key. In other words, no excuse not to keep up with it. And you get to keep up with it for five years, each year answering the same question on the same day.

However, don’t dismiss short as lacking depth. For instance, January 1 (no year)’s question is “What is Your Mission?” In 2015, I spoke of enjoying life peacefully via writing stories and nature. No controversy.

Five years is a long time, and regardless our stage in life, we shift, bend, regroup and grow. That’s the magic of this journal, in my opinion. Taking the same question and watching how I advance through the years.

In 2016, I showed an eagerness to write prolifically, go to my favorite beach more often and research my new mystery series that’s set there.

In 2017, I set quite the goal of writing two novels and two nonfiction books in a year. Oh, and land a cable television deal.

Then in 2018, I wrote about how 2017 drained me with my parents’ diagnosis of Alzheimer’s and shredded my 2017 goals. Time to “define a new normal,” I said, “involving family and those I love.”

I look forward to seeing how I answer 2019. And no doubt that I’ll buy another book and start another five years. Q&A is the perfect journal for the non-journaler.

And there are derivations of the Q&A journal, as well.

All of these books are by Clarkson Potter, or Potter Gift. They are durable, which is nice considering you’ll handle these books daily for multiple years. There are copycat titles out there but look for the Potter Gift name.

Whether you’re a non-writer just eager to record the passing of time, or the writer who’s to spent to write epic journal entries, the Q&A a Day journal is a jewel for yourself and makes for a remarkable gift. I’ve given three in addition to purchasing my own, and all of us are still journaling away!

C Hope Clark

BIO: Mystery author C. Hope Clark’s newest release is Newberry Sin, set in an idyllic small Southern town where blackmail and sex are hush-hush until they become murder. The fourth in the Carolina Slade Mysteries. Hope speaks to conferences, libraries, and book clubs across the country, is a regular podcaster for Writer’s Digest, and adores connecting with others. She is also founder of FundsforWriters.com, an award-winning site and newsletter service for writers.  She lives on the banks of Lake Murray in central South Carolina with her federal agent husband where they spin mysteries just for fun. www.chopeclark.com

BLURB from Newberry Sin:

When a local landowner’s body, with pants down, is found near Tarleton’s Tea Table Rock—a notorious rendezvous spot, federal investigator Carolina Slade senses a chance to get back into the field again. Just as she discovers what might be a nasty pattern of fraud and blackmail, her petty boss reassigns her fledgling case to her close friend and least qualified person in their office.

Forced to coach an investigation from the sidelines, Slade struggles with the twin demons of professional jealousy and unplanned pregnancy. Something is rotten in Newberry. Her personal life is spiraling out of control. She can’t protect her co-worker. And Wayne Largo complicates everything when the feds step in after it becomes clear that Slade is right.

One wrong move and Slade may lose everything. Yet it’s practically out of her hands . . . unless she finds a way to take this case back without getting killed.

All links embedded in blog are TOW Amazon affiliate  links 

To buy on other platforms:

Kobo link https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/newberry-sin

B&N link https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/newberry-sin-c-hope-clark/1128369562

Google link https://play.google.com/store/books/details/C_Hope_Clark_Newberry_Sin

Apple link https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/newberry-sin/

Lowcountry Bribe @hopeclark #southernlit #mystery #whodunit

Lowcountry Bribe (A Carolina Slade Mystery Book 1)

4heart

Synopsis

Slade is a South Carolina Agriculture Department manager in the low country. She deals with handling loans to local farmers. When a farmer tries to bribe her, Slade follows rules on reporting, but things do not go as expected.

Wayne is a Federal investigator special agent assigned to the case.

The bribe was in the beginning and now it seems that Slade’s life is in danger. Together, they have to figure out how to eliminate the threat while dealing with governmental bureaucracy.

Opinion

I enjoyed this book for a 3 main reasons

1. It was fast paced. From the moment Slade was propositioned, there was some sort of action happening.

2. I knew a lot of the locations where the action was taking place. I am acquainted with the area because I go down to the low country area often to go to the beach and buy seafood. It made the story more realistic.

3. I could relate to some of the bureaucracy that Slade was up against. In the story, it seemed like an exercise in “What’s the worst thing that can happen?” And then it did.

It was hard for me to rate this story. I loved the plot but I cannot say that I liked Slade as a person. She was very brusque with a gruff, terse manner. However I did feel sorry for her. She tried to be a good wife, mother, and government employee. At the same time, she is an unhappy person. It seemed that everything she tried to do for the right reasons got twisted and things would go wrong.

Since I think that the author did not write Slade to be likable, I feel like I should give “points” for that. Times like this I wish I did half points. I think this is a solid 3.5. Since my rating does not have a 3.5, I gave this book 4 hearts.

I thought there was enough suspense, as I was on the edge of my seat trying to figure out who was the mastermind behind the entire conspiracy. As the reader, I knew early in story who was the briber but you get the impression that he was not working on his own. The author wraps up the story in a way that satisfied my need for justice.

Notable quotes

Rules were absolute; that’s the way I was raised. If I followed the rules, I’d be just fine.” – Slade

Instinct told me to forget the conversation. Federal law told me I didn’t have that option.” – Slade

Should you buy? If you like suspense and thriller, you will like this. If you like Southern literature, especially novels that are set in the Low country, you will appreciate the references in this book even more. I am ready to read the next books in this series to see what else happens to Slade.

Book details from Goodreads
File Size: 1442 KB
Print Length: 274 pages
Publisher: Bell Bridge Books (January 31, 2012)
Publication Date: January 31, 2012
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Book 1 of 3 in A Carolina Slade Mystery (3 Book Series)

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