It’s Monday night/Tuesday morning and I’d like to welcome Gail Z. Martin to Checkered Ramblings. Gail is the author of the Chronicles of the Necromancer Series, The Fallen Kings Cycle, as well as the two new series pictured below. She is my guest blogger today, so Gail, take it away!
The Charleston of Deadly Curiosities
By Gail Z. Martin
Charleston, SC is an amazing city. Nestled on the harbor, packed with historic sites, haunted locations, beautiful architecture and awesome food, it’s a pretty darn fantastic vacation spot. It’s also a fantastic, under-utilized setting for urban fantasy, which is why my Deadly Curiosities series decided to take up residence.
Charleston is one of the oldest cities in the U.S. at 350 years old. It’s a seafaring city, and its history is full of cotton and commodities, rum runners, blockade runners, pirates and slave ships. Like New Orleans, Charleston is a fascinating contradiction. Proper, pious and beautiful on one level–especially for those who had high status and wealth–and supporting that luxury, another level steeped in the blood of the slaves and catering to the dark passions of those upstanding folks with brothels, taverns and speakeasies, dueling grounds and slave markets.
Ghosts, pirates and duels abound in Charleston’s legends. Head down there, and you can take tours that highlight Charleston’s bloodiest duels, juiciest scandals and scariest ghosts. Read up on the city’s history, and you’ll find out that the truth is even more amazing.
Stroll down King Street, Charleston’s main downtown retail street, and it’s easy to picture Trifles and Folly, the antique shop from my books, tucked in among the jewelry stores and clothing emporiums. Walk through the Charleston City Market and see the fresh produce, locally-made food and craft items and of course, the sweetgrass baskets, and you can easily picture Cassidy, my main character, stopping to talk with Mrs. Teller and her daughter Niella at their basket display.
Visit some of the city’s landmarks, like the Old Jail, the Customs House and Dueler’s Alley, and see if you can’t easily imagine the ghosts of Charleston’s past, even if you’re not psychic or have psychometric abilities. Stop in at the Charleston Museum and take a leisurely stroll through the city’s history, or visit the H.L. Hunley submarine museum then think about what’s on display and you’ll glimpse why Cassidy’s talent for reading the history of objects by touching them makes museum visits difficult–and sometimes dangerous. Take plenty of pictures, and don’t be surprised when lots of spirit orbs show up.
A trip to Charleston wouldn’t be complete without gracious houses, whether it’s Middleton or Magnolia Plantations, the country’s only tea plantation at Wadmalaw Island or the Rhett-Akin house downtown. Imagine Sorren, Cassidy’s vampire business partner, mingling with the planter aristocracy over the centuries during which he and Cassidy’s ancestors helped safeguard Charleston and the world. Spend some time on the Battery looking out over the harbor, glimpse Fort Sumter, and drive out to John’s Island to see the Angel Oak.
Stroll the streets and take in the beauty of the Charleston ‘single houses’ like the one Cassidy lives in, turned sideways to the street with a door onto the piazza and a walled garden. Meander through the beautiful old cemeteries near the historic churches, like the fascinating burying ground at St. Phillips, or out on the edge of town at Magnolia, Bethany and St. Lawrence Cemeteries out on Huguenin Avenue, a veritable necropolis of a street with about a dozen different cemeteries side by side. If you’ve read Deadly Curiosities (and when you read Vendetta, coming in December), you’ll quickly realize where the action takes place.
Make sure you reserve time for a horse-drawn carriage tour of the downtown and a walking tour after hours of the city’s most haunted places. Then if you’re hungry, rove Charleston’s fantastic selection of restaurants ranging from bars to white-linen tablecloth establishments and find out why the Holy City is foodie heaven.
I’ve fallen in love with the real Charleston, and with the setting where Cassidy Kincaide, Teag Logan and Sorren keep the world safe from supernatural bad nasties and magically malicious objects. That’s just one reason I’m looking forward to returning to Atomacon, Charleston’s sci-fi convention, and the opportunity to do more research about one of the most beautiful and haunted cities in America.
Watch for Vendetta, the second book in the Deadly Curiosities series to launch in late December, 2015!
The Hawthorn Moon Sneak Peek Event includes book giveaways, free excerpts and readings, all-new guest blog posts and author Q&A on 28 awesome partner sites around the globe. For a full list of where to go to get the goodies, visit www.AscendantKingdoms.com.
Join Gail, Larry, and I at Atomacon, where we will be guests and doing panels / selling books / meeting folks. Not only will Gail be bringing the ghost stories of Charleston to life surrounded by the city itself, but her and Larry’s steampunk Pittsburgh will also be unleashed in the first of no doubt many Jake Desmet Adventures: look for Iron & Blood, coming soon!
Gail Z. Martin writes epic fantasy, urban fantasy and steampunk for Solaris Books and Orbit Books. In addition to Iron and Blood, she is the author of Deadly Curiosities and the upcoming Vendetta in her urban fantasy series; The Chronicles of The Necromancer series (The Summoner, The Blood King, Dark Haven, Dark Lady’s Chosen) from Solaris Books and The Fallen Kings Cycle (The Sworn, The Dread) as well as Ice Forged, Reign of Ash, and War of Shadows in The Ascendant Kingdoms Saga from Orbit Books. Gail writes two series of ebook short stories: The Jonmarc Vahanian Adventures and the Deadly Curiosities Adventures and her work has appeared in over 20 US/UK anthologies.
Larry N. Martin fell in love with fantasy and science fiction when he was a teenager. After a twenty-five year career in Corporate America, Larry started working full-time with his wife, author Gail Z. Martin and discovered that he had a knack for storytelling, plotting and character development, as well as being a darn fine editor. Iron and Blood is their first official collaboration. On the rare occasions when Larry isn’t working on book-related things, he enjoys pottery, cooking and reading.
Find them at www.JakeDesmet.com, on Twitter @GailZMartin or @LNMartinauthor, on Facebook.com/WinterKingdoms, at DisquietingVisions.com blog and GhostInTheMachinePodcast.com, on Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/GailZMartin free excerpts, Wattpad http://wattpad.com/GailZMartin.