Charleston · Enchanted Series

The Enchanted: Magic Spark setting – Why Charleston, SC?

I lived in Charleston, South Carolina, for two years. I would have probably lived there forever, dying an old lady on a porch swing, but I met my wonderful Jake. Jake asked me to move, so I did because there was no way I was letting go of the best thing in my life.

I do miss Charleston, what with its seafood restaurants, Southern charm, and beach life. It wasn’t all oysters and champagne, though. I also developed my totally awesome anxiety disorder there. I battled heavy depression. A job that was terribly wrong for me proved something write. That’s not a typo. Charleston proved I was born to be a writer, and I finally embraced the mad career path, consequences be damned.

It was a whirlwind of a two years, during which everyone called me “Yankee,” but I still go back to Charleston whenever I can. It’s still one of my favorite places on Earth. It’s so beautiful as to be almost blinding … but there is a darkness there, what with its sordid history, ghost stories, and copious cemeteries.

For a story about a family of Southern witches, set to battle a dark witch who intends to end the world, Charleston just felt right, so I set my Enchanted trilogy on its gas-lit, brick streets. Read about the locations frequented by the characters of Enchanted: Magic Spark.

Broad Street

Arguably the prettiest street in downtown Charleston (followed closely by East Bay), most of the action in my story happens here, starting with a violent trolley explosion. Did I want to blow up my favorite street? No. But the palm trees will forgive me. It was an Enchanted plot necessity.

Oak Steakhouse

In Enchanted, I renamed this little gem the Broad Street Bistro, but Oak exists right in the center of Broad. It’s three stories of buttery seafood and killer steaks. I worked here for a hot minute before I remembered I’m terrible at customer service. It’s where Liam, my male lead, works in the book.

Pearlz

I didn’t rename this joint in the book because I just … couldn’t. I practically lived at Pearlz when I was in Charleston, and I always pay her a visit when I’m in SC. This is where I learned to eat raw oysters, and I am forever grateful. They also make the best Bloody Mary’s and is frequented by my female lead, Cyan, and her big, bad daddy, Drake.

Charleston Grill

Posh as you can get, I used to pretend to be rich and have martinis here. Back in my day, there was a jazz group that played every weekend. I had friends who worked here, which helped with the fat bill. Worth it. If you want real, old school, Southern charm, this is the place. Liam likes it, although it’s a little fancy for Cyan’s taste.

Circular Congregational Church Graveyard

No surprise: I have a thing for cemeteries, especially when the tombs are mostly above ground, like the ones in Charleston. Cyan visits her wise, dead grandmother here, hunkered beneath the beautiful Angel Oaks. It’s a quiet place high on Meeting Street next to a gorgeous church.

If you want to read more about Charleston, South Carolina, read the story of how I met my husband HERE.

We’re getting very close to the release of Enchanted: Magic Spark on January 9. Pre-order your eBook copy HERE, but rest assured, it’ll be available in print on release day. Have a happy New Year!

Charleston · Sara Dobie Bauer · Wolf Among Sheep

Sexy new cover reveal for Wolf Among Sheep

My scary-sexy novella, Wolf Among Sheep, was originally published by Hot Ink Press in 2016, but it’s just had an overhaul. The new cover is gasp-worthy, but before I share it, read all about this twisted tale. (It’s not for the faint of heart.)


“What exactly do you deduce we proposed?”
“That I enter into a sexual relationship with a married couple.”

Avery Collins is an ambitious young journalist in early 1900s Charleston, South Carolina, when exotic newcomers Timothy and Vonnie Duke spot him at a fancy gala on the Battery. The Dukes like bringing pretty playthings to their marriage bed, and with a promotion in mind, Avery entertains their advances not knowing lust can quickly turn to love — and love to murder.

Vividly atmospheric and told from three points of view, Wolf Among Sheep proves sexual prowess can get a man far in life in exchange for his soul.


Now, do you wanna see the cover? Thought so. Many thanks to designer Rue Volley for being so dang talented. I swoon every time I take a look …

What people are saying about Wolf Among Sheep

“Sporting sexy characters, erotic manipulations, and sensual settings, Sara Dobie Bauer’s new novella is riveting, delicious, and delightfully decadent.” -Jeff Mann, author of Desire and Devour

“Incendiary, sensual, and wicked, Wolf Among Sheep is a thrilling reminder that the ecstasy of lust can be peppered with dark and sinister desires. With crackling prose and tension aplenty, Dobie Bauer weaves a sumptuous picture of the American South, alight with characters that will lure you into their beds … and then won’t let you go.” -Tiffany Michelle Brown, author of Spin and Give It Back

“Sly and sexy, Wolf Among Sheep captures three beautifully fierce creatures straining against proper Southern society and shows what dangerous passions can happen when their lusts break them free.” – Cassie Alexander, author of the Edie Spence Series


IF YOU LOVE A BIT OF DARK ROMANCE, BUY WOLF AMONG SHEEP TODAY.
CLICK HERE!!!!!


 

Charleston · Entertainment in SC

I left my liver in South Carolina

A three-day there-and-back trip involving airports and road trips is not my idea of a good time. However, I was promised two things: Charleston, South Carolina, and time with my little brother.

Jake, a group of our friends, and I left Ohio Friday afternoon to head south via Cleveland airport, flying into Myrtle and then, driving to Charleston. By the time we finally arrived at our hostel Friday night, I was in desperate need of beer.

We went out that evening, did a quick tour of downtown—which had changed markedly since my time living there nine years ago—and headed back to the hostel for some sleep. Everything felt crowded thanks to the Charleston Pride Festival, an event taking place in conjunction with our trip.

The thing about hostels: you share the area, which meant six of us friends had to share the room with two strangers, one of whom snored like a grizzly bear. I acquired approximately three hours of sleep from 2 to 8 AM, which was when I finally admitted defeat and took a shower.

No wonder horror movies take place in hostels.

(I did, incidentally, chat with Grizzly Bear Saturday morning. I jokingly asked him if he slept well. He didn’t get the joke.)

Pretty quickly, I realized Saturday was going to be a good day, though. Jake and I ditched our still-sleeping chums and headed to Sunrise Bistro for the best breakfast bagel in history, followed by The Bearded Café for cold brew coffee, where we were charmed by the cheerful owner.

With “the kids” awake (Jake and I call our friends “the kids” because they’re all about ten years younger than us), we headed to Folly Beach in our rented minivan. We stopped on the way for Firefly—sweet tea vodka, a Charleston staple. Cocktails in hand, we attacked the beach … or maybe the beach attacked us. The height of the waves was alarming, but we dove in headfirst. I only lost my top twice.

My bro and his wife arrived, and off we went to Taco Boy for margaritas and Mexican snacks. Something I love about Charleston is the endless beach vibe. The music, the clothes, the décor: everything screams, “You are on vacation,” even if you live there.

By the time I returned to my friends on the beach, I had a stomach full of tequila and quickly realized that, despite this, I was one of the most sober of the group because my gang hit up a bar and did shots in my absence.

Back at the hostel, we met a dozen other party animals, including travelers from France, England, and India (by way of New Jersey). As a massive group, we Ubered our way to the Recovery Room, where shenanigans included foosball, dancing to 90s rap, and having drinks spilled all over us by drunken strangers.

Following the purchase of thirteen-dollar burritos—worth it—we went to bed around 3 AM and got up at 8:30. Overall, I slept a total of about nine hours over the course of two nights. Again: worth it.

Sunday was spent reminiscing as we walked the Battery and Rainbow Row, stared over the edge of the Pavilion Hotel rooftop, and ate pralines before rushing to make our flight and, yes, almost missing it.

Whether it was the bit of confusion in regards to my guy friends (“Y’all must be here for that gay pride parade”), fear of the minivan back seat, or the realization that we were in “the path of totality” all weekend, I laughed for two days straight.

Did I feel worse Monday than Sunday? Of course, which means I must have still been drunk all day Sunday and the hangover just kicked in Monday morning. Am I a little old to be doing shots and dancing until 2 AM? Nah. That’s like saying I’m too old to laugh, and the laughter, the inside jokes, the awkward TMI conversations … those memories are evidence of a fabulous trip.

Good friends are great, but friends who can make you laugh until you might vomit are priceless.

Charleston · Enchanted Series · Sara Dobie Bauer · writers life · Writing

Got witches? Enchanted: Magic Spark Cover Reveal and Giveaway

It may come as no surprise to you that I love witches. I’m a Halloween fanatic who adores Harry Potter and actually owns a magic wand. When Pen and Kink Publishing editor Cori Vidae asked if I wanted to be part of a series about witches, I was like, YES.

The Enchanted series is three parts:
Magic Spark
Magic Ember
Magic Flame

The first part, Magic Spark, comes out January 9, 2018.
(Enter the giveaway for a free copy on Goodreads HERE.)

My story is called “Destiny’s Dark Light,” separated into three segments. Read all about its witchy wonder …

In modern day Charleston, lonely white witch Cyan Burroughs has waited her whole life to lead the battle against dark witches and eventually meet the man she is fated to love. A tragic trolley accident brings Liam Cody into her life. He is her destiny, but he’s also in love with someone else. Now, Cyan and her magic family must find the dark witch who caused the accident while Cyan fights her feelings for Liam—a charming Irishman with secrets of his own.

So have I teased you enough? Urg, okay. Here’s the cover for Enchanted: Magic Spark!

I’m lucky to be joined in the Enchanted series by Wendy Sparrow and Em Shotwell, two women whose work I greatly admire (and whose Magic Spark stories are fantastic).

It’s too soon for me to give you an excerpt from “Destiny’s Dark Light,” but I will say it’s funny, sexy, and angsty. It features a witchy girl with blonde dreadlocks and a sweet boy with an Irish accent. In Charleston. It doesn’t get more magical than that.

For now, be sure to add Enchanted: Magic Spark to your Goodreads list by clicking HERE.  (You can read about Wendy and Em’s stories, there, as well.) Pre-order links coming in November, but you can enter this giveaway for a free copy. Blessed be!

“Destiny’s Dark Light” aesthetic.
Charleston · Mental Health · Sara Dobie Bauer · Writing

Light and Scales: Freaky Friday Fiction

There are people out there who would have you believe love cures mental illness. Find the right guy or girl, and your depression will go away. Your monsters will go away. Fact is, no one can heal you but YOU. Be wary of thinking otherwise …

Light and Scales (Excerpt)
by Sara Dobie Bauer
Featured in Twisted Sister Magazine

You meet him your second day in Charleston. More so, perhaps, you meet his violin. He’s wearing a suit you imagine cost as much as a car. As he speaks to you, he’s still holding his violin: a red piece of wood with scratch marks and a faded veneer. You wonder at the abuse the instrument has taken but soon think these are not marks of abuse but marks of love—of devotion.

You’re in a place called the Charleston Grill. Waiters scurry like albino beetles in white shirts and dark slacks. The restaurant smells of butter and fish but mostly butter.

After the jazz quintet finishes their last set, you find out his name is Graydon Kelly and he would like to take you to dinner. At first, you think you should say no. He has that look about him: the thorn on the rose, the sugared rim of a poisoned glass.

When he shows up to your date, though, you reassess. He’s in a pastel linen button-down and torn jeans. He has on boat shoes, and his curly black hair is a mess. He smells like pine.

“Rosin,” he explains. Something to do with his violin.

He takes your hand and leads you to a table in the courtyard. His left hand is callused against yours. Outside, winding, wrestling fig vines grow up the exterior wall, illuminated by white twinkle lights that mimic the stars. He pulls out your chair and sighs into his seat.

He must notice you looking at him, because he smiles. “I look different when I’m not on stage.”

You fall into conversation, and it’s not the usual, polite, getting to know you babble. Graydon Kelly says odd, irresponsible things like, “You seem like you’re running from something” or “You have an amazing mouth” or the worst, “What do you think of me exactly?”

You only respond to the last comment: a terse, “I’m not sure.”

He walks you home in a rainstorm, leaving you both soaked on the crooked front porch of the yellow plantation house you rent. He smells like rain and marinara sauce with the lingering touch of pine. He tastes like tiramisu.

Later, in your bed, you find him conversational. He makes himself at home. He is comfortable with pillow talk, even with an almost stranger. Again, you doubt your assessments.

He seemed so dangerous in his dark suit at Charleston Grill but so playful in his boat shoes with his messy hair: almost innocent. His comfort in your bed, though, is his tell, his admission. He does this all the time. He makes love to women he doesn’t know because they ask him to, because of his violin and his face and the strange questions he spouts over champagne.

When you ask about a white scar on his rib cage, he tells you his father used to beat him. One day, his father broke his ribs. One poked through the skin. In Graydon’s words, the bone looked like “a stick dipped in marmalade.”

His honesty makes you awkward. You feel a need to share something, too, so you tell him you’ve been diagnosed schizophrenic. He doesn’t know what this means, not really, so you explain to him that you see things sometimes—children in white light on sidewalks; grown men covered in red scales. You tell him things have been better since the medication …

Read the rest today at Twisted Sister Literary Magazine.

Charleston

Dear Charleston: A Love Letter

MSGI-charleston-savannah-multisport-12

Oh, city of raw oysters and lamplight,
Of uneven, brick sidewalks and Rainbow Row.
Dear haven of seafood cuisine and champagne,
Quiet jazz and Southern charm.

You embraced me—our two-year affair—
Welcomed a Yankee and called yourself “Home.”
In your arms, I felt love:
With you, with men, with myself.

When lonely, I walked the Battery.
When happy, I wandered East Bay.
When too hot, I hid in your restaurants.
When it snowed, I walked the Market in awe.

You were a place of love and loss—
But also of joy and never-ending beauty,
Of climbing vines and green gardens,
The smell of the sea and flooding streets.

I sang down your alleys.
I danced on your roofs.
I dawdled on street corners.
Cigarette smoke and a stolen kiss.

I left you too soon …
No longer did your sweaty summer arms surround me.
No longer did I hear the sound of the sea.

But even now, I hear you:
The tick of a quiet drum beat.
The clink of wine glasses.
The slide of an oyster, shucked.

From across the country, I cry for you, my beloved city.
I mourn the loss of peaceful walks, quiet talks.
Do dark alleys seem darker?
The music more subdued?

Don’t lose yourself, dear girl.
You are protected; you are loved.
The only red on your streets should be a spilled Bloody Mary.
The only scream … one of joy.

Charleston · Entertainment in SC · Restaurants in SC

Best Day in Charleston 2011

I could tell you about reuniting with “the girls” at Social. I could tell you about sand between my toes and Shem Creek dolphin-watching with my family. Or maybe the fact that Charleston left me a reminder: bronchitis and an ear infection. Fact is the trip was too chock-full of good stuff to tell you about the whole thing. So instead, I’m going to tell you about the best day: Thursday, June 23rd.

The day began with grocery shopping. Jake and I needed ingredients for mojitos. We headed to Crickentree: the apartment complex I first called home in SC, where I met current resident and amazing gal, Becky. Becky, her sister Mary, and I used to spend afternoons by the Crickentree pool, so in homage to those days, we did it again on Thursday. Although Becky was under the weather, Mary, Jake, and I concocted our beverages and spent the early afternoon floating around a clear pool. We talked as if not a day had passed, and we laughed (when was I not laughing with Mary?) until finally, it was announced Jake and I had to leave for our “date.”

Our “date” was simple—I told Jake we would go wherever he wanted to go in downtown Charleston, before heading to my brother’s gig at The Pour House at 9 PM. We began our tour at Magnolia’s on East Bay. Magnolia’s is a classic Charleston restaurant, known for expensive lowcountry dining, white tablecloths, and pleasant wait staff. Jake and I ordered a bowl of Blue Crab Bisque—a fancy name for She Crab Soup. She Crab is maybe the most famous dish in Charleston, and it should be. It’s damn delicious. The key ingredient? Crab eggs.  Although Magnolia’s Blue Crab was good, the best She Crab is at Mistral on Market, which tragically no longer exists.

Next, we were off to Pearlz, where we each did an oyster shooter, composed of Pearlz special blend of pepper vodka, cocktail sauce, spices, and a huge raw oyster. I did about a dozen oyster shooters last week, which still wasn’t enough. I also enjoyed a bubbly glass of champagne, while looking out over the slate sidewalks and pastel paint of lower East Bay Street.

Stepping outside, we took a moment to wander past Rainbow Row and into The Battery. I came to realize on this trip that I don’t miss Charleston as much as I thought I did. I don’t miss the tourist hubbub. I DO NOT miss the humidity. I don’t miss the packed bars and lack of taxis. However, I do very much miss walking through The Battery, up Church Street, and over to Broad. I miss the look and feel of Charleston, but I’m not sure I could ever move back.

We headed to dinner at Bocci’s, an Italian restaurant down Church Street off Market. The food wasn’t mind-blowing, but the ambience made the place, as did the sudden (and very Charleston-esque) thunderstorm that descended with no warning outside. I love this about Charleston. I love that it’s sunny one moment and a deluge the next. In Charleston, the streets don’t get wet when it rains; the streets flood. I’ve seen it, first-hand, and I even used to know which streets to avoid when driving home because I knew they’d be two feet under water.

Jake and I paid our tab and ran outside, having missed the lightning and thunder now that we live in the desert. We walked down to Amen Street (it’s a bar; not an actual street). We did two more oyster shooters and headed to McCrady’s—a classy pub hidden down an alley. When we lived in Charleston, Jake and I spent many a quiet pre-party evening sipping scotch, just the two of us. Even the smell of the place reminded me of conversations once shared when Jake and I were still just two semi-strangers, learning each another.

At 8:30, we headed across the water to James Island, where Matt Dobie and his band were set to play at The Pour House. Matt is the lead vocalist and guitar player for Gangrene Machine. They’re four crazy dudes who play funk/psychedelic/rock music, featuring creepy lyrics, occasional costuming, and a wild headman. Matt Dobie? Wild? You heard me. If you met my brother off-stage, you’d think he was a low-key, funny, shy guy. Once on stage, he becomes a head-banging, dancing, theatrical genius. Tom Waits, step down. A new King of Weird has taken your place. My favorite song? “Meat my Friends” about a group of “reasonable cannibals … they just take what they need,” which may include your belly fat. Even though my mom looked a little disturbed on occasion over Matt’s less than politically correct lyricism, my dad walked up to me after the show to say how impressed he was with my little bro. I agreed. In fact, when I saw the boys outside, I pulled a Wayne’s World. (“We’re not worthy! We’re not worthy!”)

Thursday, June 23rd, was the best day of Charleston 2011 for me. The trip in its entirety reminded me how much fun I used to have talking with my gal pals. How much I miss having my little brother down the street. How much I love the ocean and Spanish moss on Church Street. I did see the ghost of my past self—unavoidable in the same haunts, doing the same shots of Van Gogh, with the same girls I was once single with. I blame my past self for my present bronchitis. But it was worth it, and knowing I’ll be back again in April for Mary’s wedding puts a wide smile on this Phoenician’s face.