A question often asked to those interviewed by the Dames is “Where do you live? Tell us about it — we love to travel.”  We decided to ask that question of ourselves.

Laurel-Rain Snow:  When I think of the city where I now live, I remember how it all happened somewhat accidentally.Fresno, California

That’s how I saw it in the beginning.  It was the early 1970s and I had a new baby and two older kids to take care of…and my husband had just landed a job teaching in a small town in West Fresno County.

I remember driving there on that summer day when he had the interview.  Eight months pregnant, I felt truly helpless to direct my destiny.  Who has less power than a pregnant woman, barefoot or not?  Especially in the 1970s.

It would be a few months before I began working in that same town, for the County of Fresno.  Without realizing it, I had launched a career with that one defining moment.

Fulton Mall, Fresno, CANow, more than forty years later and after retiring from that career several years ago, I am thoroughly entrenched.  Yes, I could have moved elsewhere, but by the time I realized that I could, some of my grown kids were living their lives here and I had somewhat reluctantly attached myself to this place.

For awhile—actually thirteen years—I lived in a neighboring foothill community, but eventually found my way back to the city.  Not a small city any longer, with over 510,000 residents, Fresno sprawls outward into neighboring areas, like Clovis, a city of its own with 95,000 + residents.

Sometimes when I’m trying to justify why I still live here, I think fondly of former residences in San Francisco and Sacramento.  But then I realize, except for the downtown area of Sacramento, Fresno doesn’t feel that different to me.  And here’s where I’ve lived for more than forty years.

I like my current neighborhood of River Park, with restaurants and shopping centers surrounding me, like encircling friends.Fresno Nieghborhood

And within a short distance, I can travel to places like Shaver Lake orYosemite.  Beautiful mountains are very close by, and that fact also reminds me that nature has a wonderful display at almost every turn.  Two-and-a-half hours away, I can navigate to the coast, with Pismo Beach, Morro Bay, and San Luis Obispo—all at my fingertips.

Maybe home is where familiar sights and sounds surround us like a warm hug.  LAUREL-RAIN SNOW’S CREATIONS http://laurelrainsnowauthor.com/

*************************************************************************

Spring Creek from the other side.CC Tillery is the pseudonym of two of the Dames of Dialogue who also happen to be sisters: Christy Tillery French and Cyndi Tillery Hodges (aka Caitlyn Hunter). Christy lives in Powell, Tennessee and Cyndi lives in Hendersonville, North Carolina but they came together in Hot Springs, North Carolina, the home town of their great aunt Bessie whose story they told in Whistling Woman.

The beautiful little town of Hot Springs is the home of their collective heart and they feel as if they’re walking in the footsteps of their ancestors, the characters of Whistling Women, whenever they go there. Though the town has changed, there are still remnants of Bessie’s time:

The Dorland Chapel which was built in 1899 is now home to Dorland-Bell Presbyterian Church.Dorland-Bell Chapel

The Hot Springs Resort and Spa (in Bessie’s time, The Mountain Park Inn).

The Hot Springs Baptist Church where the Dorland graduation was held.

Spring Creek which plays an important part in Bessie’s life.

Hot Springs Resort and SpaTo find out more about Whistling Woman, Hot Springs, and the people the book is based on, visit  http://whistlingwoman.wordpress.com/.

Christy Tillery French is a multi-published, award winning writer who usually writes suspense and thrillers. She is the author of The Bodyguard series and four stand-alone suspense novels. To find out more about her work, visit her website,  http://christytilleryfrench.com.

Caitlyn Hunter is the author of the Eternal Shadows series and Winds of Fate, all paranormal romances based on Cherokee legends. She has also written several contemporary romance short stories and a fantasy novella. To find out more about her work, visit her website,  http://caitlynhunter.com.

********************************************************************************************

near Boone, NCMaggie Bishop:  Watauga County’s main town is Boone, North Carolina, where I’ve lived since 1993.  Boone is nestled high in the Appalachian Mountains at around 3200 feet; my home is at 3600 feet.  I truly live in the clouds on some days.  Deer and turkey are regular visitors who come up from the New River at the base of our property.

Grandfather Mountain, a biosphere and home of the NC Highland Games in July, is 40 minutes from my home, located near the Blue Ridge Parkway. Besides the long range views from the swinging bridge near the top, the profile trail is a challenge to hikers.

Appalachian State University is in Boone so the residents are a friendly mix of mountain families, professors, retirees, students, artists North Carolina Appalachians(home of Cheap Joe’s Art Stuff), Christmas Tree farmers and other merchants.  High Country Writers has encouraged writers since I started the group in 1995.  We currently have over 70 members, many are published.  Something about the clear mountain air, the forests, wild flowers and critters as well as the appreciation of craftsmanship that encourages music, painting, writing, woodworking, pottery, quilting and other creative endeavors.  Merle Fest is an annual event of mountain music which draws thousands of listeners.

Sugar Mountain Resort and Beech Mountain are two ski slopes in Banner Elk.  My parents ski patrolled at Sugar for over 20 years after they retired from the Air Force and I was a ski patroller for five years.  My second novel, Emeralds in the Snow, came from those experiences.  Lance Armstrong and other mountain bikers trained in the Banner Elk area.  Appalachian Ski Mountain is located closer to Blowing Rock.  Twice a year, the Blowing Rock  Charity Horse Show is enjoyed by riders and tourists.

Maggie Bishop with Black Jack, aka Brandy, in Murder at Blue FallsNext time you yearn to travel, come on up to the High Country.  Bike, hike, canoe the New River, picnic and drive the Blue Ridge Parkway in warmer weather.  Downhill ski in winter.

Visit my website  http://maggiebishop1.tripod.com  and learn about my novels (mystery and romance), all set in these mountains.

***********************************************************************

Betty Dravis:  Love from the Central Valley of California

I moved to the small Central Valley agricultural town of Manteca, California only three years ago. Manteca, known as the “Family City,” is charming in its quaintness and the people are very friendly. Since I lived in Silicon Valley for over fifty years, it’s more rural than I’m used to.

The bad news (for readers and writers) is that the only book store in Manteca is a used book store, but they have a lovely library…and the mandatory Target, McDonald’s, Foster’s, Penny’s and T. J. Maxx. J The good news is that it’s only 76 miles east of San Francisco and about an hour from Sacramento.
del webb clubhouseI’m fortunate to live in Woodbridge, an upscale Del Webb retirement community that has two pools, saunas, golf-course, tennis court and many more luxurious amenities, all surrounded by a picturesque man-made lake and activities 24/7. (Now that I’m too old to enjoy all of that. J ) But when I’m in the mood, I don’t need to wander too far from home for entertainment. In fact, with writing, reviewing and book promotion, I don’t take time to partake of the planned activities very often. This video will introduce you to my community. I hope you enjoy this sneak peek.

http://www.55places.com/california/communities/woodbridge

I love living here, but my heart is still in Silicon Valley because I lived there so long and most of my children still reside there. Luckily, the freeway goes both ways and it’s only an hour-and-a-half away.

Manteca,CAOne of the large murals in Manteca is on this building at the corner of Yosemite and Main.

Visit website:   http://www.bettydravis.com/

**************************************************************

What’s your favorite part of your own hometown?