5.35 | Monday, July 1, 2013
new summer book captures complex relationships
JULY 1, 2013 -- Three granddaughters. Three months. One summer house.
In this enchanting trilogy set on Sullivan's Island, New York Times bestselling author Mary Alice Monroe captures the complex relationships between three half sisters scattered across the country -- and a grandmother determined to help them rediscover their family bonds.
Mary Alice Monroe is one of my favorite Southern writers, and she hits another home run in her just released "The Summer Girls."
Set amid ancient live oaks and palmettos, overlooking the water, historic Sea Breeze is Marietta Muir's ancestral summer home. Her granddaughters once adored vacations there, but it's been years since they've visited. In her words, Mamaw is like an overripe peach, past her prime, and she fears once she is gone the family bonds will fray. The Muir family is one of Charleston's oldest and the blood of their pirate captain ancestor runs strong, so Marietta drops a subtle promise of loot -- pearl necklaces, priceless antique furniture, even the house -- to lure her "summer girls" back to the Lowcountry.
They all spent summers together at the beach but have become estranged and live very different lives. The grandmother insists that they all need to spend the summer at the beach together or be taken out of her will. No husbands, beaus or mothers allowed! Carson is the sister at the heart of the novel, along with her newfound friend, a dolphin that saves her from an attack while surfing. They befriend each other and Carson begins a journey about self-discovery, forgiveness and the true meaning of family and friendship.
Mary Alice beautifully brings awareness to the beautiful bottlenose dolphins that inhabit our waters and their fight for survival. She helps increase our knowledge and understanding of these dolphins so we can create a better symbiosis not only with the dolphins but with their habitat as well.
This is a fantastic beach read -- it will make you want to pack up and head directly for the nearest beach umbrella.
novelist on writing a thriller (and he's got a new one)
JULY 1, 2013 -- Charleston novelist Brad Taylor has had a pretty varied career for the last few years. Not too long ago, he was a commander of the elite Delta Force, an Army Special Forces detachment that does all kinds of secret missions like those described in his thrillers. ("I can't really discuss what I did.")
Then he took a posting as a military science professor at The Citadel, during which he wrote his first novel. And then he decided to try to retire from the military to see if he could make a go of it as a security specialist and novelist, the latter of which is taking up more and more of his time.
Okinawa when his father was in the service, Taylor grew up in Texas. After
he left the military and The Citadel in 2010, he said he stayed in the
Charleston area, in part, because his father now is here and he spent
a lot of summers here with grandparents.
Taylor, who lives with his family in Mount Pleasant, recalls that the first novel was the toughest because he didn't know how to write a novel. He got it all down on paper in about six months, but then had to spend lots of time writing and rewriting to get the point of view and tone right. He sent out lots of letters andsummaries to try to get an agent and when one agreed to represent him, he quickly got a book contract.
The first book, "One Rough Man," came out in January 2011, followed by two others in the series. The new book, highlighting how Taylor is now trying to do two books a year, is "The Widow's Strike." It focuses on a special group of operatives, of which Logan is leader, who try to stop a rogue state from unleashing a deadly biological weapon that could kill hundreds of millions of people.
An enjoyable, fast-paced read, "The Widow's Strike" gives insights into what special operations feel like from a writer who lived in that secret world for about a decade.
"At a gunfight level, it's as accurate as I can make it," said the 47-year-old Taylor, who was preparing for a five-city book tour last week. "Nothing in there I've actually done specifically." But then again, he can't go into past operations that he was involved in because the information is classified.
Taylor says he does a lot of research to support the books, including quick travel stops in exotic places like Thailand and Macau because they provide sights and smells for context in the book that you can't get from looking up stuff on the Internet.
Taylor encourages budding novelists to write -- a lot. "I wouldn't be here right now if I hadn't finished a book. Just trust your heart. If I had listened to how everybody told me to write, I would have never had a book."
These days, he's researching another book, making notes in an ever-present notebook to write down details, thoughts, scenes and scenarios. With the fourth book being unveiled 6:30 p.m. July 16 with a relaxed signing at the Rooftop Bar at Vendue Inn (19 Vendue Range Street), he's just finished the draft of his sixth book and seems well on his way to keeping his goal of writing two thrillers a year as long as the muse is with him.
Charleston readers might enjoy a detail that's in every book. The Charleston-based hero, Pike Logan, has a cold, adult beverage in every novel. In the fourth, it's at the Rooftop Bar (hence the book-signing location).
Trivia question of the week for a pair of RiverDogs tickets: What are the other three bars that make a guest appearance in Taylor's first three novels? Send your guesses to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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STATEHOUSE REPORT: The U.S. Supreme Court's decision to strike down
federal civil rights protections from 1965 to cure racial discrimination
at the voting booth in South Carolina and eight other states is a mixed
hand, it's about time we were treated like other states that don't have
to pre-clear election law changes with the federal government. On another,
having the power to make changes without federal oversight brings the
very real possibility of a scary, new world that could hurt lots of people
in the short term.
Send us your thoughts, reactions
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The public spiritedness of our underwriters allows us to bring Charleston Currents to you at no cost. This issue's featured underwriter is the Charleston RiverDogs. The Lowcountrys leader in sports entertainment, Charleston RiverDogs baseball is an attractive, affordable medium for your group or business. The RiverDogs develop the next major league stars for the 27-time World Champion New York Yankees at one of the finest ballparks in Minor League Baseball -- Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park. Three short words sum up the every day approach taken by the Charleston RiverDogs front office. The brainchild of club President Mike Veeck, the nine-letter phrase Fun Is Good is meant to be a guideline and daily reminder of how employees should approach their jobs and in turn capture the imagination of the fans to turn them into repeat customers.
common myths of elder law and estate planning
JULY 1, 2013 -- Today let's look at three common myths about elder law and estate planning:
Catherine LaFond, J.D., LL.M., of catherine e. lafond, p.a., is an elder law attorney accredited with the VA to assist veterans and their surviving spouses with the presentment of claims for Improved Pension and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 843.762.3554. She is VA Accredited Attorney #19668.
Look to the skies July 4 for a special salute
The federal budget sequestration couldn't stop the fourth annual Salute from the Shore on July 4, but this year's event will be a little different.
For the last three years, F-16 fighter jets from Shaw Air Force Base zipped along the coast from the Grand Strand to Hilton Head Island to the delight of beachgoers along the Palmetto State's coast.
This year, the jets are grounded because of the budget situation, but the show will go on -- with vintage planes from World War II.
The air parade will begin at 1 p.m. from the northernmost beaches in Myrtle Beach area, arrive in Charleston area around 1:45 p.m. and continue south to wrap up in the Hilton Head island area around 2:15 p.m., organizers said.
"It's really inspiring that despite challenges this year, we are flying anyway," said Salute from the Shore board president Andy Folsom in a press release. "This event is a reminder and celebration of our freedom and all the military does to ensure that."
YEScarolina gets $2,500 entrepreneurship grant
Youth Entrepreneurship South Carolina, better known as YESCarolina, has won a $2,500 grant from MeadWestvaco (MWV) to boost entrepreneurship education in the classroom.
"We truly believe in the organization's mission and feel strongly that they have developed a winning model to ensure each and every classroom in need has the proper tools to ensure today's youth will be tomorrow's business owners and business leaders," said Alyssa D'Orazio, MWV community relations specialist.
YEScarolina, a nonprofit organization to promote entrepreneurial education in middle and high schools, has influenced thousands across the state through its teacher training and mentoring programs. MWV's grant will support continuing growth of YEScarolina and its 2013 efforts that will allow for more opportunities for students and involve influential members of the community. YEScarolina has trained more than 600 teachers who, in turn, have trained more than 12,000 students about entrepreneurship.
UnLocking South Carolina with technology
Two local companies are trying to help poor South Carolina counties "unlock" technology to improve education in a crowdfunding campaign that kicks off today.
BiblioLabs, which has tablet- and web- based application that synchs technology with education, is partnering with crowdfunder Funding SC to start "UnlockSC" to raise money to give S.C. students access to the app.
"Schools in our state and across the country often fall behind the technological curve," said BiblioLabs founder Mitchell Davis. "We're born and bred South Carolinians, and we've developed this product that has tremendous potential to positively affect the way students learn. So, we thought, why not make a change here in South Carolina?"
UnlockSC's goal is to raise enough money for the three South Carolina counties with the lowest per capita income to receive access to BiblioBoard. First up: Dillon, Marlboro and Clarendon counties. "If we reach that goal, we'll keep adding counties," Davis said.
BiblioLabs says it hopes to cover nominal maintenance costs with the funds raised- they will be reducing BiblioBoard's retail price by 96.3 percent for the UnlockSC project. UnlockSC will be launched on local crowdfunding site, Funding SC, which is part of a larger system of localized crowdfunding sites founded by Charleston entrepreneur John Osborne in February.
DIG SOUTH festival seeks conference presenters
DIG SOUTH Interactive Festival is seeking conference presenters for its
April 2014 event from July 4 to Aug. 7, 2013. If you are interested in
presenting, you should apply at present.digsouth.com.
five-day festival, which starts April 9, will include a two-day interactive
conference with high-level presenters and innovative startups, a two-day
tech and creative industry expo, a one-day Culturama featuring the HACKCharleston
Challenge, national touring bands, comedians, "Space Walk" tours,
Deep Dive workshops, dine arounds, craft beer gardens and unlimited networking
for 2014 is #mobilize, according to DIG SOUTH organizers. Conference presenters
will explore the mobilization of digital tools and platforms and the global
workforce. General tracks include technology, business, marketing, gaming
is the first and only event celebrating the Southeastern digital economy.
Earlier this year, DIG SOUTH featured 134 presenters from across the nation,
454 Conference participants and 3,162 total Festival attendees.
The Palmetto Trail is South Carolina's first cross-state recreational trail. It is designed as an easy to moderate hiking and mountain-biking trail. When complete, the more than four-hundred-mile mountains-to the-sea trail will link Oconee State Park, near Walhalla, with the Intracoastal Waterway at Buck Hall Recreation Area, near Awendaw. Enthusiasts may choose to hike or bike the entire trail or accomplish one or two "passages" at a time.
the Palmetto Trail users visit South Carolina's forests, parks, historic
sites, wildlife refuges, the State House, a military base, and a variety
of private and corporate lands. Highlights of the trail include open vistas
of the Intracoastal Waterway, Lake Moultrie, the Wateree River, and landscapes
ranging from rolling farmlands to mountaintops. There are waterfalls,
boardwalks, historic sites, small towns, and barbeque restaurants. Hikers
and bikers may see ospreys, eagles, deer, turkeys, alligators, and a variety
of warblers, herons, snakes, turtles, butterflies, dragonflies, trees,
The vision for the Palmetto Trail began in 1994 through the efforts of the nonprofit Palmetto Conservation Foundation, working with the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism. The trail is supported by the General Assembly, numerous public and private landowners and land managers, and corporate and private contributions. Trail construction has been aided by the many land managers, the AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps, the South Carolina National Guard, Santee Cooper, Boy Scouts of America, and many volunteer groups and individuals.
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More than you might want to know
Last week, we gave you some ways to get rid of mosquitoes. This week, how about some fun facts about the pests?
"How can you say that I'm too old, when the angels have stolen my red shoes."
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IN THE WEEK AHEAD
Living's 2013 Showhouse: Open at various times now through Oct.
20. The magazine's newly-constructed home along the Wando River on
Daniel Island is open for tours with a portion of the $15 ticket proceeds
to charity. More
info and times here.
Reopening of Folly
Beach County Park: 9 am., July 3, Folly Beach. An hour after
the reopening, there will be a ceremony will be the day to celebrate the
stabilization of the shore at the park. Click
here for an update.
Fish, Fun and Fireworks: 7 p.m., July 4, S.C. Aquarium, Charleston. The attraction will offer evening hours leading to a great place to watch Independence Day fireworks. There will be barbecue, local beer, music and more. Tickets are $55 for adults, $30 for children. More.
Uncle Sam Jam: 7 p.m. to 11 p.m., July 4, Mount Pleasant Pier, Mount Pleasant. The pier will offer an excellent viewing area for fireworks. Dance to live classics by Permanent Vacation. Admission is limited. Tickets $10 in advance; $8 for Charleston County residents. More.
History fair: July 6, Magnolia Plantations and Gardens. The attraction will showcase more than 30 of the area's historic organizations, businesses and institutions. Among the activities: a brickmaker will make brocks, a storyteller will tell the tale of an enslaved worker and a historian will portray French botanist Andre Michaux. More.
AND IN THE WEEKS AHEAD
"The Practice Child:" July 11-21, Threshold Theatre, 84 1/2 Society Street, Charleston. What If? Productions will feature a world premiere production of Tyler Stuart's outrageous comedy that won the company's 2012 Playwrights Festival. Click here to learn more about tickets and times.
Book launch: 6:30 p.m., July 16, The Rooftop Bar at Vendue Inn, 19 Vendue Range St., Charleston. Local New York Times bestselling author Brad Taylor will launch his brand new Pike Logan thriller, "The Widow's Strike," at this event. More.
(NEW) Book sale, John's Island: Starting at 9 a.m. on July 26 and 27. The Charleston Friends of the Library will present the John's Island Branch Book Sale at the John's Island Regional Branch, 3531 Maybank Highway, Charleston. Great deals to be had on books and other media. More.
Great place for lunch: Every Tuesday and Thursday through the end of July (except during July 4 week), 181 Palmer, Palmer Campus, Trident Tech, Columbus Street, Charleston. For just $15 per person, you can get a great lunchtime meal by student chefs with the Culinary Institute of Charleston. Make reservations here or phone 843.820.5087 for more.
Through Sept 15, Gibbes Museum of Art, Charleston. In conjunction
with Spoleto Festival USA, the Gibbes will present watercolors created
in Charleston in the early 1990s by celebrated contemporary artists Stephen
Mueller and Carl Palazzolo, who will give an opening day gallery talk
at 2:30 p.m. at the museum. Art is from the collection David and Carol
Rawle. More: GibbesMuseum.org
Bird walks: 8:30 a.m. to noon, every Wednesday and Saturday. This is the time of year that a great variety of migrating birds fly through the Lowcountry so what better time to take part in one of the regular early morning bird walks at Caw Caw Interpretive Center in Ravenel. Pre-registration is suggested. Cost is $5. Walks also are conducted on James Island and Folly Beach.Learn more online.
Angel of Death