Guest Post: Our Safe Place and an Autographed Novel Giveaway!

A guest post  by writer C. Hope Clark about her new mystery, Lowcountry Bribe:

Carolina Slade was a government worker, a solid employee, an attentive mother.

To her a good life meant a comfortable setting, one in which the waves were few and routines many, giving her complete control over the highs and lows. Holidays and kids’ ballgames served as the highlights of her year, with maybe a promotion or an atta-girl or two from her employer. Diligent, she proved reliable at whatever she tackled.

Until fate ripped away her routine with a new challenge – someone offered her a bribe to abuse her position . . . threatening her children if she refused.

The novel Lowcountry Bribe addresses Slade’s personal choices as much as the mystery itself. Suddenly she faces a dilemma with two heads, neither of which is waveless, palatable, or fits into her comfortable life.

I initially designed Slade after myself. I was offered a bribe.

Priding myself on making correct choices and showing remarkable prowess at home and work, I operated by the book, thinking that such modus operandi served as the simple key to a happy environment.

But a sleazy, conniving client disrupted that elementary mindset. Suddenly there were no rules. People wondered if there was a bribe when the client twisted and turned and avoided capture. My boss questioned my loyalty. Some family turned their backs. The only person on my side was the federal agent, and ultimately, few believed him before it was said and done. The simple matter of doing the right thing by calling in the feds to corner a bad guy proved not so simple.

My scenario wasn’t as desperate as Slade’s, but our emotional upheaval ran parallel.

One of the most exasperating and upsetting times in my life, the bribe proved to be the most educational, and I painted those emotions in the story. The main character in any tale is supposed to exhibit growth by the end, endowed with lessons learned. Oh my goodness did she . . . we . . . grow.

Slade learns how the right decisions don’t always end triumphantly. Not everyone sees our decisions as the proper ones.

Not everyone can be trusted in time of need, but yet, we can see remarkable friends rise up amidst the fire.

In chaos, we come to know our inner core of resilience and unearth instinct and talent that can hone us into exceptional human beings. And it’s in these moments that we not only redefine ourselves but also redefine all who know us, and as painful as the journey may be, the end result makes us strong, capable, and oh so wise.

Such journeys are a combination of stimuli thrown in our path, and our decisions in dealing with them. For the most part, wives and mothers, ever in their protective mode, fight to avoid stimuli, at least the harmful ones, in hopes of weaving a pleasant world for themselves and the people they are responsible for.

That mindset sometimes even leads us to watch others from a distance with skepticism as they fight personal entanglements, as we wonder what they did wrong to bring such calamity upon themselves.

We have this misconception that good results are the product of our smart choices.

Until we get thrown into an unexpected battle, we do not understand.

But sometimes life hands you crap. Or we blindly step left when we should have stepped right. Then our substance is based upon choosing the lesser of evils while shouldering the judgment of others who aren’t involved and don’t understand.

We live in a world of blame. We blame others, God, fate, and most importantly, ourselves for all the ills in the world.

There’s something about not having a place to lay blame that drives us mad.

Some of our most defining moments appear, however, when we learn to drop the blame game, dig deep, and deal with the obstacle before us.

Our scars make us proud, but they also open our eyes and create a more 3-D world for us and our own. We fear childbirth before it happens, having heard all about the pain and suffering from others who’ve gone before us. Afterwards, we speak of it through the voice of experience, the pain not so much the focus as the result. We’d repeat the moment all over again. We’re more than willing to help those having their first.

What started as a way to turn my story into a fun mystery, morphed into an exorcism for me and a subtle lesson for other women.

We are better for having lived through turmoil. Even the right choices can land us in trouble, but how we fight our way out empowers us. We may never be the same, but then, we probably wouldn’t want to be.

Brain power is strong. Things get better if we will them to, but most importantly, it’s the proactive manner in which we choose to make them better that turns us into extraordinary women.

And this is how I designed Carolina Slade.

GIVEAWAY!!Leave a comment saying you would like to win by October 5 at noon E.S.T, and TWO winners will be chosen at random for a free autographed copy of Lowcountry Bribe.

C. Hope Clark and her federal agent husband have been married for 20 years and live on the banks of Lake Murray in beautiful South Carolina. From their back porch Hope spins stories from their real investigations, overlooking the water.

Lowcountry Bribe is the first in The Carolina Slade Mystery Series, released in February 2012, and the second, Tidewater Murder, is expected in early 2013 from Bell Bridge Books.  To visit Hope’s website, click on

Hope is also editor of, chosen by Writer’s Digest Magazine for its 101 Best Websites for Writers for the past 12 years. Her newsletters reaches 35,000 readers each week. Learn more here:

Hope’s  excellent newsletter, FundforWriters,  encouraged me to start blogging about menopause. She ran a notice that Woman’s Day was looking for a menopause blogger. I bopped out some posts, emailed them to Woman’s Day, and never heard a word. But the experience told me I love the topic, and Friend for the Ride was born. Thanks, Hope!

38 thoughts on “Guest Post: Our Safe Place and an Autographed Novel Giveaway!”

  1. I’m glad you found FundforWriters, too! Woman’s Day blew it, frankly. tee hee! Their loss is our gain. I’m happy you kept right on blogging here on FFTR. 😀

    Hope’s novel looks very interesting. I love regional stories/mysteries (have enjoyed Louise Penny’s 3 Pines series immensely) and look forward to learning more about this Carolina Slade series. Of course, I’d love an autographed copy, but will be reading regardless. Thanks for sharing, Barbara and Hope!


  2. Please count me in! This book sounds wonderfully insightful. The topic/emotion of blame has always intrigued me. Can’t wait to read it. Thanks for this post!


  3. Barbara–I too blog about menopause, along with writing and chocolate and other things women of our age have to deal with.

    I would love to win Hope’s book. I keep meaning to go out and buy it because—even though it’s not the usual genre I read—the plot line is compelling and since I get Hope’s Total Funds for Writers, I’m sure it’ll be a book I won’t be able to put down until it’s finished.


  4. I used to subscribe to every writers newsletter I could find. I’ve dropped almost all of them. One thing I know though is that I will keep Hope’s! It consistently has good advice, updated markets and contests.
    I’d love to win a copy of Low Country Bribe – it’s high on my reading list!


  5. I have read this book and enjoyed it so that I believe an autographed copy would make a wonderful gift for my neice. I think Carolina Slade makes a great role model for young women. She goes through emotional turmoil behaving rudely at times, but pulls herself together. There are also lessons about knowing who to trust and with whom to form alliances or friendships.
    I plan to read it again and write a review as well as write an article comparing the treatment of women in several of the novels I have read in the past year.


  6. What a beautiful post, Hope! I particularly loved this line: “But sometimes life hands you crap.” 🙂
    Ain’t that the truth! You may remember I’ve already purchased and read your book, but I would still love to win a copy to give as a gift. Best wishes for continued success!


  7. Thank you for this post, I can attest to what you are saying. Sadly my daughter faced a tough situation this month with a boy who tried to get fresh and touched her even though she told him she was not comfortable with what he was doing and she was a virgin. Her roommate brought this information to the dean of my daughter’s college and now there are proceedings happening that she wished would go away. I’ve tried to let her know that she is not at fault, the kid was, and that maybe her speaking forth would protect someone not strong enough for her. Her world got shaken. She ended up with strep throat and also stress affecting her grades somewhat. I am praying that she finds some peace in the midst of this. She learned she does not want to run with the crowd this kid runs with. I just wish her world wasn’t so shaken. Have a blessed day.

    HM at HVC dot RR dot COM


    1. It’s hard watching someone else’s world shake up and feeling impotent to take away the hurt. But she’ll come through, and be stronger as a result, mainly because she has a support structure in her family. My prayers go out to her!


  8. I’ve read “Low Country Bribe”. It is a great read, and gives women an insight in to one woman’s methods of overcoming life’s unexpected disappointments and challenges. It is proof positive that we all have grit – we just have to dig deep to find it sometimes! Thanks to Hope, I got in on the free downloaded copy! Good luck to whoever wins her book. You will be glad that you did.


  9. What a great post Hope. When I dreamed about “writing someday” over the years, I pictured a peaceful and quiet process. Now that I am following my dream, I have found out that it is gritty and pushy and frustrating and exhilarating and determined and bittersweet… anything but a peaceful and quiet process. Yet, I wouldn’t change a thing about it. I am finally “writing someday”!

    I would love a copy of your book…but your regular postings are the best gifts you could give me and I already receive them!


      1. You’re welcome Hope…I mean it…after I read your posts, I’m always inspired into some kind of action!


  10. Ever since I was a kid, I loved stories where a woman finds herself in a predicament and discovers she can be a kick-ass when she must. I have a feeling this Carolina Slade and I are going to become friends in the years to come. Thanks for all the years you–and your hubby–sweated blood over the book, Hope, as we agonized with you from a distance. Well done.


  11. I’m intrigued! I’d love to buy this from an independent bookstore, but so far there are none in Chicago that carry your book. If I don’t win, here’s hoping that you come to Chicago soon!


    1. Cyd
      The fact it has a regional setting in SC might be an issue, but also, indie’s only order where there’s an interest. They have such limited space. Ask them to order it! They might order a couple more while they are at it! If you send me the names of the stores, I can always try to call as well as see if they’d be interested in carrying it. Thanks!


  12. I missed the deadline for the drawing, but I did enjoy the post. I agree that we are better people for having lived through adversity. It can make us stronger and more empathetic to others. It can make us more appreciative of a lovely autumn day. It can knock the creativity out of us and bring out our sense of humor. Because, life, after all, IS short–and is meant to be lived.


    1. I received my winning book from Hope today! It looks great and I am looking forward to reading it. I am reading Ken Follett’s Winter of the World now, and Low Country Bribe is next on my “docket”. Thanks for the opportunity to win this book…I appreciate it very much.


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