Guest Linda Lovely #giveaway

NEWS FLASH: JSelbo is the lucky winner of Linda’s book! Please check your email, and congratulations.

Edith/Maddie writing from a full-summer north of Boston.

Linda Lovely has a new book in a new series out, and she’s here to share it with us!

High on the Lowcountry

It’s hard not to be high on the Lowcountry. My husband and I lived in the Lowcountry for twelve years and loved the small islands we called home. Well, our love did wane a bit during hurricane evacuations.

Depending on who’s drawing the map, the Lowcountry encompasses between four and eleven South Carolina counties, but always includes coastal Beaufort County, the setting for With Neighbors Like These, the first book in my new HOA Mystery series.

Why did I choose the Lowcountry as a setting? Did I mention I love the region? The landscape is gorgeous, and there’s water—everywhere. A major lure for my heroine, Kylee Kane, a retired Coast Guard investigator, who lives on a 38-foot sailing cruiser moored at the downtown Beaufort marina.

Beaufort County claims more than three hundred islands, including Hilton Head and St. Helena Island, two of the largest. While some “islands” are only surrounded by water at high tide, the diverse delta offers Kylee plenty of opportunities to sail off to island hideaways to discover clues and stymie killers.

My heroine works as a security consultant for a company that provides management services to homeowner associations. It’s owned by Kylee’s long-time family friend, Ted Welch. Ted’s hobby is restoring a mansion in Beaufort’s Historic District. His restoration project treats readers to a glimpse of Beaufort’s historic allure. Founded in 1711, the town boasts the same beautiful antebellum architecture as Charleston in a much more intimate setting.

Beaufort’s small-town atmosphere is another asset for a mystery writer. Like Kylee’s friend Kay, who owns a B&B, locals know the movers and shakers. This means there’s plenty of gossip to mine regarding the tourist trade, land development, and the business community. While the town has an Old South core, it also has a diverse population, thanks to military installations and its billing as a retirement Mecca. More good material for a mystery writer.

The homeowner associations featured in With Neighbors Like These are fictional. I have zero knowledge of any HOA disputes in the Lowcountry. However, I doubt any region is immune to HOA dust-ups, and dozens upon dozens of HOAs are scattered about the Lowcountry. An HOA’s potential for good or harm depends on the ethics, personalities and agendas of the people who serve on its board. Plus, one person’s ideal HOA may be another person’s nightmare.

I hope you’ll come visit the Lowcountry with Kylee and me. While it’s not my current home, I keep coming back. I hope you’ll be a frequent visitor, too.

Readers: Have you visited the South Carolina Lowcountry? If so, what’s your favorite memory? Do you live in a homeowner association? If so, have you witnessed/been involved in any neighborhood spats? My heroine lives on a boat? Could you? I’ll send one commenter an ebook of With Neighbors Like These!

A journalism major in college, Linda Lovely has spent most of her career working in PR and advertising—an early introduction to penning fiction. With Neighbors Like These is Lovely’s ninth mystery/suspense novel. Whether she’s writing cozy mysteries, historical suspense or contemporary thrillers, her novels share one common element—smart, independent heroines. Humor and romance also sneak into every manuscript. Her work has earned nominations for a number of prestigious awards, ranging from RWA’s Golden Heart for Romantic Suspense to Killer Nashville’s Silver Falchion for Best Cozy Mystery.

43 Thoughts

  1. Loved Linda’s pitch during More than Malice speed dating session and this got double starred on my TBR list.

    1. Thanks for the More than Malice mention. A one-minute spiel is tough! I’m glad mine intrigued you. There were so many interesting books. My TBR list grew, too!

  2. Linda – I’ve been to parts of the low country – and it definitely sparks ideas of intrigue, old grudges, lazy, hot days of people planning trouble. Just the vegetation gets one thinking of mysteries. HOA? Living in a large condo building – very pertinent to my life – during COVID – the mask policy was under contention, when board members decide to change the rules without the rest of the owner’s approval, where things are placed on the “fix it/make it look better” list, people who buy cars that are too big for their spaces so their car neighbor can’t get in or out of their car – and then the Florida tragedy – everyone wondering who exactly is “in charge”…. it goes on

    1. We lived on Fripp Island and Pat Conroy was one of our down-the-street neighbors. While I’ll never be able to describe the Lowcountry as poetically as Pat did, the visuals and variety are stunning and can help color the mood of a scene.

      Regarding your condo observations, a big yes. Whether it’s an HOA or a COA, homeowner associations are like small towns and even the most harmonious can turn toxic overnight with the right mix of rule changes or interpretations and one or two individuals ready to fan the flames.

    2. Jselbo, Congrats on winning a copy of With Neighbors Like These! Be sure to check your email so you can let me know what ebook format you prefer! Hope you enjoy it!

  3. Well, what a pretty name, Linda Lovely! Beaufort sounds darling – I love stories of the Old South! Fun to imagine living on a boat, too! I’ve never been to the Lowcountry, I have been to North Carolina and Savannah, though. Oh, HOA’s…I lived in one, was a nightmare! Constant watching each other, silly complaints, one lady absolutely refused to pay dues and had to get a lawyer involved…ugh. I absolutely would never live in one again. Good luck on your book!

    1. Yes, I like the name Linda Lovely. My husband (of 45 years) has Hooker as a last name. Since I was writing when we married, I wanted to keep my name and Linda Lovely Hooker didn’t seem a wise option.

  4. Congratulations on your new release.
    Yes, I’ve been to Charleston, SC. No, I don’t live in a HOA. No, I would not live on a boat.

    1. Thanks, Dru. If you’re back in the Lowcountry, be sure to visit Beaufort. In my opinion, it offers all the charm of Charleston but in a more intimate, accessible package.

  5. Congratulations on the new book and series, Linda!

    I have never been to the Lowcountry and, as a farm gal, never lived in an HOA. As for living on a boat, it sounds intriguing but I can’t swim so probably wouldn’t be a great idea.

    1. LOL. Yes, I think knowing how to swim would be a good idea if you lived on a boat. Of course, after reading your excellent Death By Equine book, I realize my swimming wouldn’t help me much in a stall with thousands of pounds of horseflesh!

  6. I’ve never been to South Carolina so I can’t comment on that aspect of the questions. I don’t live in a HOA either.

    However, in my neighborhood there’s been the usual spats between kids growing up. But the most memorable thing I’ve ever “witnessed” was a few years back. I was mowing the front yard and had to stop to empty the bag full of grass. When the sound from the motor stopped, I could hear the neighbors down the street arguing. The wife said something about the husband’s mother, the husband said “Don’t talk about my mother like that” and the wife came back with “Your mother’s a whore!”. I had to go into the house because I was laughing so hard over that. I mean I was two houses down the street from them and I could hear it plain as day.

    1. Yes, neighborhood spats aren’t confined to HOAs. It’s amazing how much potential dialogue a writer can pick up just listening to raised voices in any setting.

  7. Your book is on my TBR pile! My husband and I met in a boatyard, and we bought a sailboat together before we ever bought a house. But I don’t think we’d want to live on a boat full-time. (Too much work.) As for the other questions … I’ve never been to the Low Country nor lived in an HOA community.

    1. My husband and I also bought a sailboat together before we bought a house! The sailboat is gone now. But we have kayaks and a pontoon.

  8. How could I not love a book where one of the main characters is named “Kay”! 🙂

    “With Neighbors Like These” sounds like a marvelous read and one I’d love to get my hands on.

    I’ve never lived under a HOA. It’s been years since we have lived “in” a town. Living out in the country with no one close around, I’m not sure I could. As for a houseboat, I think it would be fun for like a vacation, but not on a permanent bases.

    Never been to South Carolina, but it is on our bucket list of places to go.

    Being horrible at reading ebooks, I’ll leave the giveaway to others in order to give the book justice. However, it’s on my TBR list and hope to read it soon.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

    1. When I spoke at a women’s club meeting some time back, Kay Barrett won a character-name-in-one-of-my-books prize. I waited for a character that would do Kay justice since she’s a dear friend. Haven’t met a Kay I didn’t like.

  9. I could never live in a place where there were rules about hanging laundry on the line! Thanks for joining us, Linda, and I can’t wait to read the new book.

  10. We have family in the beautiful low country–Charleston, McLellanville–kids, grandkids and great grands and love visiting there. Have not lived in a HOA but don’t think I want to. I have lived on a boat, loved it and would do so again happily!

    1. Being able to change your address whenever you decide to pick up anchor is a big advantage of living on a boat. Glad you enjoyed it.

  11. Congratulations on the new series and welcome back! I’ve never been to the low country and always hope to visit some day. My husband and I briefly talked about buying a small houseboat in the Seattle area. My daughter predicted one of us would have an “accidental” drowning if we tried to live in such a small space.

  12. I’ve driven through South Carolina but never visited but it’s on my list. I would vacation on a houseboat but I don’t think I could live on one for any length of time. I would never live in a homeowner’s association as I don’t want anyone telling me what I can and can not do on my property. We’ve had problems with neighbors here in FL where we moved. One didn’t like me feeding the stray cats and another we were having new windows put in and he drove by in his beat up pickup truck and was trying to steal the old windows that were on our lawn for the aluminum. It was part of the contract the the window company got them. Every one was out there screaming and swearing. We call him the junk man as that’s what he does for a living, drives around and picks up stuff people leave by the road. Thank you so much for this chance. pgenest57 at aol dot com

  13. The setting sounds wonderful. I haven’t visited in real life or fiction. I need to change that soon, I can tell.

    1. You should. You can have whatever type of vacation you want–beach, hiking in forests, visiting historic houses, and, of course, eating great seafood. I recommend Frogmore stew (sometimes called a shrimp boil) with shrimp, sausage, onions, potatoes and corn.

  14. This is the second house in our lifetime that we have owned. one in Texas (heaven) and now here in Georgia. This one has an HOA and if we ever move, we will not go to a house that is in an HOA. They just like to spend other people’s money. They don’t listen to anyone if it is not on their agenda. New people move in because it is a beautiful neighborhood, they get on the board and want to change everything. Kind of like what America is going through. Savannah is a favorite place of ours that we visit yearly (until covid) and all up the coast to Charleston is magical. Beaufort is a great place with great history. If you have never visited—go, especially before it gets too touristy. It used to be quieter and more laid back, but that is not so any more. I would love to live on a boat for awhile anyway.

    1. That’s one of my big frustrations with HOAs–people who move into a neighborhood for whatever reason but immediately make it their mission to change it. Why did they buy into the neighborhood, if it wasn’t to their liking?

  15. This sounds fabulous, Linda! HOAs, well, the only one I have been involved with put the fun in dysfunctional. I will chew my foot off before I live in another association development! I’ve not been to the low country, but it is on my bucket list. I think it sounds delightful! As for living on a boat. When I was in college my boyfriend and I wanted to build a sailboat out of pharaoh cement and sail the world. We never did it, but when I decided to see the Caribbean, I signed on as a cook on a fruit trawler. At the time, I couldn’t cook – boiling water was a challenge – but by the time my tour ended, I could make a meal for 20 people out of three ingredients and cook it in a kitchen on gimbles in rough seas! I loved sleeping on a hammock on a deck and watching the stars overhead. It was a special time.

    1. Wow, I’m impressed by your sense of adventure. And, yes, I think you would enjoy reading about the characters in my book’s fictional HOAs. They can put fun in dysfunctional!

  16. Welcome to the Wickeds, Linda! I haven’t been to the low country, but I have been to Charleston and thought it was so beautiful.

    We’re living in a seven-unit townhouse quasi-condo setting for the first time in our lives and it has been an education. Fortunately, the one crazy neighbor became convinced the rest of us were the crazy ones so she and her husband moved to a standalone house, which is definitely where they belong.

  17. Hi, this book sounds very intriguing and I love the book cover! We have never lived in an HOA development, and I really don’t think I could go with that. We have lived in our home for about 30 years and we can do to it whatever and however we want to. Have a great weekend and stay safe.

  18. It’s a great book! Wonderful start to Linda’s new series! 🙂

    I’ve never lived in a HOA, but have several friends that do and are members of their respective Boards. Three out of the four frequently regale me with tales of the latest blow-up (usually about outdoor decorations). The fourth left her HOA for parts north because of a dispute with a next door neighbor about her offending outdoor decoration.

  19. Yes, Patti. I’ve heard lots regarding various HOA policies on neighbors flying large political flags. In a number of cases, the rules and regulations limited political “signs” to just before and after an election. But the people flying the flags say they don’t count–they’re not “signs.”

  20. This sounds like a very cool book! Another new-to-me author- perfect, I love that! I’ve never lived in an HOA, I’ve been involved in a neighborhood spat. My direct neighbor at the time and his wife were awful alcoholics– they let their pets roam free 24/7– We lived off of a very busy road, and yes, one day I found their one dog struck in the very busy road. I lost my ever-lovin’ sh*t over that, called the police on them more than once, he retaliated and loosened all of the lug nuts on my one tire in the middle of the night, and after driving my (at the time) van with my family in it– including my child, the wheel flew off the van. Yup, another police call, and then we started making plans to leave that neighborhood. Sadly, months later we found that the horrible family lost their house and we didn’t really have to sell ours and move anyway, in the end. Oh, well– we had already had our fill. Another few months would have just been too much to handle. I’ve been to Myrtle Beach in SC only. I guess I need to visit again?

    1. What a horrendous ordeal for your family. So sorry. Yes, do visit other parts of the Lowcountry. Myrtle Beach has lots of activity but Charleston, Beaufort, Savannah and all the barrier islands have a totally different vibe.

  21. I have never had the opportunity to go to North Carolina. I love reading stories about the low country. I have never had to deal with a homeowner association. I have heard a lot of stories though. Before I became disabled, I think I could live on a boat. I do not believe that would be possible now. Thank you for the opportunity.

  22. I was secretary of our local HOA for 33 years but resigned when my husband was diagnosed with cancer in 2007. I think we’ve only met a handful of times since then and cannot remember when the last meeting was.

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