G.R.I.T.S. stands for Girls Raised In The South.
Hey y’all! For those of you who don’t know me and for those of you who have heard of me but have forgotten who I am, my name is Lissa Matthews. I write for Samhain Publishing, Ellora’s Cave, and Loose Id. I am also venturing into self publishing this month. My books are primarily contemporary, male/female sexy, naughty, Southern erotic romances.
The Southern part is going to be the focus of this post.
I’m a Southerner. I was born and bred in the South. NASCAR and College Football are my religion. I put peanuts in my coke (that’s the Southern Redneck in me). I lower my head in deference to Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Sweet Home Alabama.
When I was a little girl, we would rent intertubes and float down the river in the Summers. RC Cola’s and Moon Pies were a reality. Bless your heart is as much a sympathetic phrase in proper situations as much as it is an insult with smile in all others. Blackberry pickin’ for the best homemade jam made by my grandmother. Grits with salt and pepper and melted butter…Mmmm mmmm mmmm.
And, Southerners have the sweetest, sexiest drawls and twangs. We can make you shiver…
Of course, you’re probably wondering why I’m writing about this. It’s because I just came back from spending a week in the Blue Ridge Mountains.
I write a series for Samhain Publishing titled Blue Jeans and Hard Hats. It’s set in the non-fictional town of Blue Ridge, Georgia. I hadn’t been there until last week, but I have to tell y’all, I. Fell. In. Love. It was one of the most beautiful areas. Very big on wine there which was definitely something I did not know. The historic downtown area is bustling with high end boutiques, gourmet food stores, book shops, candy shops, a cupcake bakery called The Sweet Shop which is going to be featured on an upcoming episode of Cupcake Wars, a delightful Christmas shop, and antique stores.
It was fun, alive. And I couldn’t have been more in awe with the perfection of the little town. It was almost exactly as I’d imagined it to be in my head when I first started writing my series.
The surrounding countryside was breathtaking. Green trees, some of which were just starting to turn for the season. Mountains. Waterfalls. Hiking trails. Lake Blue Ridge. National Forests. Rivers. There was so much to do, so much to see, so much to take in. One week didn’t even scratch the surface, but I’ll be going back again, and again, and likely again.
We rented a cabin and the view from the back was of the mountains. The master bedroom had a picture window without curtains or blinds or shades and when I woke up in the mornings, the first thing I saw was the sun coming through the trees and the mountains in the distance. I’d drink my coffee or eat my oatmeal out on the porch while staring at them and it was peace… Peace settled inside me, calmed me, allowed me to just exist. I hadn’t felt that in a very long time. Nothing else gives that to me more than being in the mountains.
When I come home from conferences, I feel like I need a vacation. I feel stressed and harried and needy for sleep. The trip to the mountains is different. I feel re-charged. I feel rejuvinated. I feel calm and ready to get back to work, if only so I can make enough money to go back…smiles.
It’s almost like those mountains, those Blue Ridge Mountains are a part of me. I feel at home among them. I look out and feel as though I know myself. It can be life-altering. And I think I needed that. I feel more certain of the direction of my writing, of my life. It’s a in-touch moment with my Southern self and I wouldn’t trade that for any other getaway.
I feel the the South and it’s many pieces and parts need to be part of my books, need to be something I am connecting with each day that I write. It’s that peace and that place inside that I’m striving for, that clarity of mind and ability to focus. I think my writing will be better for it… I think I will be better for it, too.
I’d like to thank Leah for allowing me some space on her blog. I have to say, this is the second time I’ve written this blog. I wrote about three-fourths of it last week before I left the mountains, but either I didn’t save it or word was just having a crappy day, but it got lost and so I’ve had to re-write it!
You can find me in the following places: