Tag Archives: Mobile AL

SEARCH & RESCUE – My Hometown Romance – “To the Gulf” & “Over the Bay”

Sunset Through the Grass at Gulf ShoresIn one of the scenes of my contemporary military romance –Search & Rescue – which is set in Mobile AL, the hero and heroine discuss the family vacation home at Gulf Shores. Many Mobilians maintain a home at Gulf Shores or on Mobile Bay. In the “old days” of stay-at-home moms, it was not uncommon for families to relocate to the family house “over the Bay” or rent a cottage for the whole summer. Fathers would join the family on the weekends or for an extended stay. It was not unusual for the bay front summer homes to remain in the family for generations. Cousins would spend summers together playing on the beach, fishing, or crabbing until darkness forced them inside. Now, many cottages have been replaced by year-round home with roads that allow for quick rides into Mobile. Some families still maintain the summer traditions and divide out vacation time at the cottage among the many cousins.

Gulf Shores which was hit by several hurricanes (most notably Hurricane Frederick in 1978) in the last decades. Small family cottages with private beaches have been replaced with large condos and multi-home compounds. The sea oats and turtles are fiercely protected. The beaches remain pristine and the sunsets unmatched. A romantic location for Taylor and Lexie’s honeymoon. Check out the sunset at Gulf Shores with sea oats in the foreground. Click the Search & Rescue book cover graphic (on the left) to read an excerpt or buy.

Tomorrow, more on Gulf Shores.  Rita Bay

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SEARCH & RESCUE – My Hometown Romance – The Marriott Grand Hotel

Grand HotelIn Search & Rescue, my contemporary military romance, Spring Hill College student, Lexie Carter, meets Army Ranger Captain Taylor Jackson at a Career Day at the college. Two years and a steamy courtship later, Taylor is reported killed in action and Lexie must face a future without the love of her life. Lexie bids farewell to Mobile and travels across the Bay to The Grand Hotel where they planned to spend their honeymoon to kiss her old life goodbye.

Inside hotelThe Grand Hotel Marriott Resort, Golf Club & Spa is located on the Eastern Shore of Mobile Bay in Point Clear. The award-winning resort with its hotel, golf courses, and resort with all the luxurious amenities imaginable defines casual elegance. The original hotel which could only be reached by boat was built in 1847 by F.W. Chamberlain. The 150 Confederate graves located on the golf course serve as a reminder that the Hotel served as a hospital for Confederate soldiers during the Civil War. The hotel passed through a succession of owners and suffered extensive damage during the hurricanes of 1906, 1916, and 1978, but each time emerged better than ever.

Grand_Hotel_Marriott_Dining_LeftThe Grand Hotel is part of the Marriott family. While maintaining its unique character, the hotel has expanded adding a classic spa, several bars, and restaurants. Dress is casual throughout. The Sunday Brunch is a personal favorite that provides classic southern coastal cuisine with an unbeatable view. On another personal note, the Grand gumbo is well-named. Check out the The Grand Hotel for yourself HERE.

Tomorrow, More of My Mobile.  Rita Bay

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My Hometown Military Romance – Mobile, AL

Search & Rescue, my first military romance was released yesterday by Secret Cravings Publishing. This is my first book that I’ve located in my hometown, Mobile, Alabama. It was fun traveling the streets and visiting places that I knew so well. No location research necessary for this book. My hero (a hometown West Point grad) and heroine (a coed at Spring Hill College) even made a trip over Mobile Bay to Baldwin County to the family condo at Gulf Shores and hooked up at the Grand Hotel and dined on some of my favorites from the menu, though I usually prefer the seafood. Couldn’t fit the Sunday Brunch into the story but savored the memory anyway. The blurb about the hero and heroine is on the July 8th post below. Here’s a short excerpt, part of one of Taylor’s dreams about Lexie that kept him sane after he was captured in Afganistan:

     Taylor regretted he’d volunteered for the Hometown Recruiter Assistant Program. He’d wanted a long visit with his family, but he’d been away from Mobile for too long. After graduating from Murphy High School, he’d attended West Point, been assigned to the Infantry, completed a few rotations in Iraq, and then attended Ranger School. He’d found his home there. Several challenging courses and a couple of missions later, he’d become all that he could be—a well-trained agent and killer, one of the best. He didn’t belong at a Career Day at a Catholic liberal arts college in southern Alabama surrounded by innocents.
     The girl stood up and walked across the room toward the recruiter’s table, her long golden-blonde hair swaying with each step. She was petite, but had some nice curves. Her expensive clothing and jewelry screamed high-maintenance. Not the kind of girl who sought out men like him.
     Captain Jeffries, the recruiter, smiled, mumbled his standard greeting, and held out a brochure. She walked past Art as though he didn’t exist. She only had eyes for him. She stopped inches away. A man coming that close would have been on the floor, but she was either fearless or clueless.
     She looked up a foot and more and batted her leaf-green eyes at him. “I’m Lexie. What’s your name, Captain?”
     He was speechless, captured by a pixie half his size. She would be his—and no one else’s—forever.
   A kick in his ribs awakened him.
     “Eat, infidel.”
     The stale bread, his usual morning fare, landed on the filthy floor beside him. Hussein, the bearded, middle-aged Afghan farmer who’d been his captor for the last two months, slammed and locked the door.
   Hussein walked into the main living area. “We’ll soon be rid of the dog.”

I should mention that the book is rated  FOUR FLAMES for explicit language and sex AND battlefield violence. Didn’t say they were saints. Click HERE or on the Search & Rescue graphic on the left to read longer excerpts or download the ebook from Secret Cravings ($2.99).

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Joe Cain Day

Joe Cain

Everyone on the Gulf Coast is blogging about Mardi Gras, so we’ll meet Joe Cain today.  Joe Cain or Chief Slacabamorinico was responsible for the rebirth of Mardi Gras after the Civil War. 

     Mobile, Joe Cain’s birthplace in 1832, was founded by the French in 1703.  Although Mobile became an American possession in 1813, it has maintained a vibrant Catholic population to this day.  Catholics—especially in the 18th – 19th centuries—fasted during Lent for forty weekdays before Easter.  How often and what could be consumed were mandated by the Church.  In Europe, where Mardi Gras (Carnival) began, the days before Ash Wednesday (the first day of Lent) became a period of feast before the famine.

Slacabamorinico

 Mardi Gras was not observed during the Civil War.  In 1867, while Mobile was still occupied by Union soldiers, a young clerk, Joseph Stillwell Cain, Jr.  (Joe Cain), paraded through the streets of Mobile, dressed in improvised costume depicting a fictional Chickasaw chief named Slacabamorinico.  Joe was joined by six other Confederate veterans, parading in a decorated coal wagon, playing drums and horns, and the group became the “L. C. Minstrel Band”, now commonly referred to as the “Lost Cause Minstrels” of Mobile.

     Joe Cain’s masquerade, lifted Mobile’s spirits and revived the ancient French observance of Mardi Gras According to tradition.  Joe Cain was the first Folly to chase the Death round the pillar of life.  Joe Cain founded the Tea Drinkers (a now defunct organization) in 1846.

"The Merry Widows"

     In 1967, Joe Cain Day was established on the Sunday before Mardi Gras Tuesday.  What began as a walk at the head of a jazz funeral down Government Street to the Church Street Graveyard, where Joe Cain and his wife were reburied in 1966, evolved into a large People’s Parade.

     The Mardi Gras mystic society of “Cain’s Merry Widows” (a women’s mystic society) was founded in 1974 in Mobile, Alabama.  Each Mardi Gras, on Joe Cain Day (the Sunday before Fat Tuesday), members of this society dress in funereal black with veils, lay a wreath at Cain’s burial site in Church Street Graveyard to wail over their “departed husband’s” grave, then travel to Joe Cain’s house on Augusta Street to offer a toast and eulogy to their “beloved Joe,” continuously arguing over which widow was his favorite.

Tomorrow:  New Madrid: When the Earth Shook & The River Changed Its Course   Rita Bay

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