Hitting Us Where We Live

Hope St Simons3

Welcome C. Hope Clark to the ‘vert on this fine Fourth!  Hope is author of Lowcountry Bribe, a Carolina Slade Mystery, by Bell Bridge Books. She is also founder of FundsforWriters.com, chosen by Writer’s Digest in its 101 Best Websites for Writers for twelve years. www.chopeclark.com / www.fundsforwriters.com

Happy Fourth of July. Fireworks and burgers on the grill; homemade ice cream and popsicles; red, white and blue bunting on porch railings. It’s a rather huge, joyous celebration, when we enjoy our bounty, friends, relatives, and where we live.

That last one, where we live. Sometimes we take it for granted. I write about location as much as I write about characters in Lowcountry Bribe, the first in The Carolina Slade Series. My characters love their home turfs, which in my books are all found in rural South Carolina. Not the romanticism of Charleston or the steamy beaches along Hilton Head, but the fields, marshes, lakes and backwoods of the state. Acres that folks would almost kill for, and in a few situations in my stories, they do.

Hope Lowcountry Bribe - screen

What is it about where we live that makes us loyal? Since Scarlet clenched the dirt of Tara in Gone with the Wind, we’ve respected those who literally “stood their ground,” fighting for home soil. And none of us takes issue with the daring soldiers who service to protect our freedom. However, there are moments where we tend to wonder about the rest of us in the United States.

These days we tire listening to politicians squabble over healthcare, budgets, and taxes. As a 25-year veteran of federal service, a husband with 29 years, and parents with 25 years each, I enjoy being a patriot. We run the flag up the pole in the backyard facing the lake, for all in our cove to see. We never fail to vote. We celebrate Memorial Day, Veterans Day, and the Fourth. We know the dates for Pearl Harbor, D-Day, V-Day, and many, many more. One son majored in Southern History, minoring in English. While we try not to be fanatical about our country’s history, we are indeed proud of it. . . and sometimes ashamed at decisions and deeds that muddy our image.

But that’s who we are. Like any family, we have good days and bad, rocky moments and great, successes and failures. But when holidays come around, we try to set our differences aside and admire who we are and where we came from. Isn’t that what makes for the best books? Our flaws?

My protagonist, Carolina Slade, is proud of being a federal employee. She’s proud of serving the rural folk of South Carolina, but when one of the hard-working customers she serves offers her a bribe, she’s faced with a dilemma. Certain that following the rules are her only option, she reports it to the proper federal authorities, only for the government to turn on her. She does the right thing, for the right reasons, and pays a heavy price in terms of her health, safety, home, career, and even her children. It’s a mystery, set in what most people deem laid-back Americana, but readers soon learn that even homespun country has its devils. But Slade is still devoted to her rural South.

Today, as we celebrate the Fourth of July, we can also celebrate each other. Individually we are human, but collectively we are great. Despite our foibles and stupidity, we are who we are, and we live on soil we love.

So many famous quotes touch upon making mistakes to find greatness and success. Sometimes it takes looking back to see how far we’ve come. That’s what today is. Not remembering all the mistakes, but admiring who we’ve become because of them. And as writers and voracious readers, we ought to know that theme well.

I’ll be sending a copy of Lowcountry Bribe to one reader who comments here today, name to be drawn randomly.

Happy Fourth of July! Eat a hotdog for me! With lots of mustard.

flag-fireworks

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About Kathleen Eagle

Kathleen Eagle is the award-winning, New York Times best-selling author of over forty novels.
This entry was posted in Fourth of July, free book, mystery, prize, southern fiction, Suspense, women's fiction. Bookmark the permalink.

36 Responses to Hitting Us Where We Live

  1. Pingback: Hitting Us Where We Live | Hope Clark

  2. Stonehawk says:

    I tend to write stories in towns where i used to live in a state in the USA for my fictionalized characters. i also use the same description of what the home looks like for my characters if I already lived in them including some homes i’ve seen off the TV is when I would make my characters’ live there but the town name would be different. I also notice that I tend to favor a town where i graduated from high school by using the town’s actual name in some of my stories as a home place for some characters. i even used the city of New York City as a home location for characters and even used that city name too. But the description of what’s in New York city I would make up my own version instead of following along with whatever already’s in the city at the moment.

  3. TrishJ says:

    Happy birthday America!! We try so hard to teach our children to do the right thing, assuming everyone else will too. Sounds like Carolina Slade landed in a mess. I would love to win a copy of your book. Thanks for the opportunity.

    I’m having a cheeseburger with the works!!

  4. Georgia Hubley says:

    I grew up on a farm in rural central Ohio that was miles from nowhere and it has left an imprint on my heart. My fond memories of the July 4th holiday consist of my mother’s fried chicken, potato salad and sliced beef steak tomatoes from our garden, followed by catching lighting bugs and putting them in a Mason jar lantern in anticipation of keeping my bedroom aglow as I drifted off to sleep, and afterwards sitting on the chicken house roof, hoping to catch a glimpse or two of bursts of fireworks from a far away display. Just before bedtime my dad would light sparkler wands for my brother and me and he’d set off a string of fire crackers and shout, “Let freedom ring!” The 1950s were a simpler time in our history. I like to write about those days.

  5. soarswitheagles says:

    Great post, Hope. Enjoy your fourth as well!

  6. Cindy Gerard says:

    Love your post and your ideology. Much luck on the new release and yes, let freedom ring!

  7. Kathleen Ewing says:

    It’s not easy to write about regional pride without offending someone in a country so dedicated to political correctness. I wish I could do for Arizona and the other border states what you do for your South Carolina.

  8. Anne says:

    What a wonderful post today. Your outlook and ideology is something to be proud of. Sometimes it is hard to face what happens here daily. the 1950’s were so much more meaningful and sensible.

    • It is hard, Anne. but actually I believe all time periods go through what we’re going through now. It’s just in hindsight we remember selectively. But I do recall an easier time, and my memories are in the 60s and 70s – even with the Vietnam war. Loved my bell bottoms!

  9. ellie says:

    Excellent feelings and story. wish that things were different here now. What changes are not improvements. Many thanks for this day of freedom. Best wishes.

  10. Hey, Hope, thanks for cruising with us on this hot hot Independence Day. Speaking of Americana, I was an Andy Griffith Show fan when i was a kid, and I’m mourning Andy’s death today, celebrating the legacy he left us. Apparently the way the characters on Seinfeld greeted each other–“Hey, Jerry”–was a tribute to the greeting they always used on the Andy Griffith Show. Hey, Andy, America misses you already.

    • OH yes, I shall miss him, too. I always thought him a cool dad figure, and he always hated it when people thought he was. He lost a child to drugs and blamed himself. But he was a cool American icon.

  11. Ah, fireworks! Our town has its big display with Music In the Park on the 3d every year–the Twin Cities spread the celebration out–so we took the grandkids last night. Wasn’t the full moon spectacular? How did it look in your neck of the woods? It was still mid-80’s here at 10:00 last night, but there was a gentle breeze, almost no mosquitoes, gorgeous fireworks–display went on for a good half hour.

  12. rbtaleman says:

    The more I read of your work and opinions the more I like you C. Hope Clark. Another job well done and well said. Thanks!

  13. Tracie says:

    Great post, not only countries but individuals too should focus on where they are and where they’re going and less on where they’ve been. We can’t make the mistake of living in the past but have to find the balance to remember it so we don’t lose sight of how we got to where we are and where we want to be. Your post has given me something to think about, the questionable honesty of politicians and how they must struggle with some of their decisions…
    Good luck and happy writing!

  14. bn100 says:

    Happy 4th of July! Nice post.

  15. diane says:

    Thank you for your heartfelt message today. I needed a good dose of honesty and clear thinking.

  16. MaryC says:

    Happy 4th of July!

    Lovely post – unless we remeber mistakes from our past, we will repeat them in the future.
    Despite all that is going on, I would not want to live anywhere else.

  17. Jim Great Elk Waters says:

    Watching the marvelous fireworks and listening to the sound track of the many talented artists and composers… as the Marines say, “My eyeballs got sweaty.” With all this outpouring of love for our country by so many, over the last 236 years… I know the depths of my love for this beloved country. It became crystal clear… if one doesn’t love our America to the point of tears of pride, one hasn’t yet grown enough to appreciate what it really means to be a citizen of the United States of America. Real men cry and real American’s know why. G-d Bless America.

  18. CateS says:

    There are a lot of hard working people in all levels of government… unfortunately, a few bad apples get all the press. While I’m not always happy about how things are going…. I’m not looking to move to another country… If you don’t like it – work to change it…
    God Bless America…

    • Oh yes, CateS. You are so right. Thanks.

      • Absolutely, CateS. While i don’t consider teachers, firefighters, police officers and other public employees to be “government workers,” the value of people in those fields has taken some heavy, vociferous fire lately. Who in this world is more vital to society than teachers, firefighters, police officers? Not saying anyone else is less, mind you. But I can’t think of anyone who’s more. Laying a chunk of these people off and cutting the pay for the rest is like fiddling while Rome burns. Running them down as a group is just plain unconscionable.
        Patriots do more than wear flag pins. They build the fabric of the country up. The flag is made of fabric, not metal. It’s woven of people. Flesh and blood people.

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