My Books Are All Influenced by Maryland: #ReadLocalDC Blog Hop

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This photo was featured in a newspaper on the Eastern Shore when my last novel, Inn Significant, was released in 2017.

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Magical Maryland.

That’s what I like to call it. Our state has a lot to offer people who like variety—the mountains to our west, the beaches to our east, the Chesapeake Bay, nearby Baltimore and Washington, D.C., theme parks and casinos, pretty state parks and delicious Maryland crabs, the picturesque and historic capital city of Annapolis, and numerous quaint, tucked away towns and cities with charms all their own.

I’ve lived in Maryland since I was five. I grew up in Bowie and Annapolis. I went to college in Towson at Towson University. Along with my husband and children, we’ve lived in Baltimore City, Ellicott City, and Severna Park. I worked for the Baltimore Orioles for a total of 13 years, and I’m currently a professor at Stevenson University in Owings Mills.

And did I mention that I’m madly in love with living near the water?

Beautiful St. Michaels on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

Maryland is magical—and it’s why I enjoy featuring it in my fiction writing. In fact, people have told me that Annapolis is like another main character in Beneath the Mimosa Tree, much like New York City was the fifth character in Sex and the City. I love that. Being able to put people directly into a setting helps make the books more realistic, and it helps readers to be able to picture their characters walking the streets or attending an event at a notable locale.

And while Annapolis is the setting of my first novel, my third novel, Inn Significant, is set almost entirely on the Eastern Shore, with its start in Washington, D.C. The main character, Milly, has learned the devastating news that her husband and soulmate has been killed in a car accident. After struggling to move on from his death, her parents ask her to come to the beautiful Eastern Shore—to the town of Oxford—to run their inn while they head to Ireland for a spell. She reluctantly agrees, and her life begins to change in that setting and among the people she meets in that tight-knit town. Luckily for me, I got to spend time researching Oxford, and enjoyed days there with my mother and then with my friend, Elizabeth.

That’s me in front of Cal and Vi Ripken when I worked for the Baltimore Orioles. It was taken the night Cal Ripken broke Lou Gehrig’s consecutive game streak record. I escorted the Ripken Family that evening and got to see the festivities from the dugout! A great memory.

My second novel, Baseball Girl, which is loosely based on my life working in professional baseball for the Baltimore Orioles, is set in a fictitious town called Bay City, although most people who know me personally realize it’s modeled after Baltimore and its great harbor. That book was particularly fun to write because I pulled so many true stories from my working days and disguised them by not naming names and allowing my characters to have some fun among the pages. Plus, I enjoyed crafting the baseball quotes that began each chapter, trying to relate baseballisms and worldly knowledge to real life.

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I’m down to the final edits on this book–a collection of short stories, many of them set in the Maryland area, with a dash of magical brooms and witches tossed in for good measure.

My current collection of short stories, which will be available in the next week or two, includes many stories set in Maryland. One takes place in St. Michaels, one begins in Baltimore, and many other local influences will be noticeable if you are familiar with our pretty magical state.

I was thrilled that @ellensmithwrites asked me to be a part of this #bloghopdc, and am passionate about sharing writing tips, stories, and promoting other authors who do as I do—tell stories that move us in some way—through both my published books and through my blog, Steph’s Scribe (stephsscribe.com).

It’s been a pleasure “chatting” with you through this medium, and I hope you’ll connect with me at Steph’s Scribe, where I will soon make the announcement that The Postcard and Other Short Stories & Poetry is available for purchase on Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com.

Happy summer reading, writing, and blogging, everyone!

Thanks for reading! To return to the #ReadLocalDC Blog Hop on Ellen Smith’s website, click here: http://bit.ly/readlocaldc

 

 

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6 thoughts on “My Books Are All Influenced by Maryland: #ReadLocalDC Blog Hop

  1. Glad to get acquainted with a (formerly) Bowie author through this blog hop. I reposted a blog entry from my deceased husband, Richard Morris, on this blog hop. His novel, Well Considered, is set in Bowie and also travels to Annapolis. His novel, Masjid Morning, takes place in White County, an imaginary county between Montgomery and Prince George’s. Do any of your writings or your upcoming short story collection reflect your Bowie roots?

    1. My fiction writing doesn’t touch upon Bowie, but I’ve written some memoir pieces that do! At some point, I will post them. Thank you for connecting this morning and for letting me know about your late husband’s work. I will look into those books and will tell my parents, as well!

    1. Oh, wonderful! I hope you do use that gift certificate soon! You will love spending some time in my hometown. Let me know if you need some restaurant recommendations…and kayaking is a must for some beautiful views of the city from the water. There’s a place in Eastport, just across from the city dock that rents kayaks by the hour. My husband and I love doing that! 🙂

  2. I love how you show “magical Maryland” in your writing–it really is an amazing state! It’s incredible to me how we can drive such a relatively short distance and see so many different things. Each city in MD has its own character and I feel like we could explore any one of them for years and never run out of things to do!
    Thanks for joining up in the #ReadLocalDC blog hop! Can’t wait for The Postcard to come out! 🙂

    1. Thanks, Ellen, and thanks for asking me to join in the #ReadLocalDC fun! I look foward to reading your books as well…and what a great idea to get us connected and help us spread the word about this beautiful area in which we both live. xxoo

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