The Heart Blade Guide To Connecticut

Most of the first book in the Blade Hunt Chronicles is set in Connecticut, which – oh, hey! – just happens to be where I live. I moved here from Brazil almost four years ago, and was surprised at how heavily wooded the state is. I live in the Farmington River Valley, which although technically ‘suburbia’, gets plenty of wild visitors, like the black bears that like to make seasonal appearances in the area, besides coyotes, bobcats, foxes, beavers, and many others.

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Bear taking a casual stroll through my neighborhood

The Farmington Valley is where a good deal of Heart Blade takes place. I don’t specifically name the area in the book, but it was definitely the inspiration. In the stretch between New Hartford and Granby, the Farmington River meanders about in a wide U shape, adding grace to the small towns that nestle in and around its bend. If you want to get up close and personal with the river, Farmington River Tubing operates out of Satan’s Kingdom. And yes, that’s the real name of an actual State Recreation Area.

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A quiet stretch of the Farmington River

Heart Blade starts in Connecticut’s state capital, Hartford. Chapter 1 finds my character Del arriving at Union Station. She sets off along Asylum Avenue, which leads past the Connecticut Historical Society Museum and Library and on toward beautiful Elizabeth Park. The park straddles Hartford and West Hartford, and in summer runs a popular series of outdoor concerts.

Another scene in Hartford finds Del and Ash outside the Connecticut Science Center. This is a great place to visit, especially if you have younger kids in your group, as the museum has a huge range of interactive displays on a wide variety of subjects. The CSS is right next to the Connecticut Convention Center, where ConnectiCon takes place every July. Lots of con attendees end up over at the CSS for lunch, so if you time your visit right, you might end up sharing a table with a bunch of cool cosplayers.

Just over the state line into Massachusetts, Old Sturbridge Village shows up in chapter 2, when I introduce Ash and the sentinels. This living history museum provides a nice opportunity to step back in time and see how life used to be in the 1830s. If you want to experience Sturbridge at night, as Ash does, they have a fantastic event that takes place on weekends in December. It’s called Christmas by Candlelight, and recreates traditional Yuletide activities such as carol singing and ornament making. There’s a big bonfire on the green, and visitors can buy mulled wine and other seasonal treats.

Go Huskies! Ash’s dad expects him to remain nearby after high school, and go to the University of Connecticut or another local college. Established in 1881, UConn’s main campus in Storrs is home to some 30,000 students from the USA and around the world. UConn has the top women’s college basketball team in the country; they recently suffered their first loss after a record-setting winning streak of 111 games stretching back to 2014, including two national championship runs.

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UConn Men’s Basketball at the XL Center in Hartford

Famous for it’s pizza, New Haven, on the Long Island Sound, also makes a brief appearance in Heart Blade. Here, you can tour Yale University, and make a stop at the Peabody Museum of Natural History. If you drive a little further up the coast, near public beaches such as Hammonasset and Rocky Neck, you’ll find Mystic Seaport. Like Sturbridge, Mystic is also a living history museum, but this time centered on New England’s maritime heritage. For boat lovers, the yearly WoodenBoat Show at Mystic is a real treat.

It was so much fun including in Heart Blade some of the places I’ve visited over these past few years. Book 2, Night Blade (out later this year!), moves a little further afield – there are still scenes set in Connecticut, but we also get to go to Toronto, Canada, and the Adirondacks, in upstate New York. I’m looking forward to sharing some new book locations with you soon!

*all photographs used in this blog post are my own*

 

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What’s Your Character Watching?

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Someone asked me what my Heart Blade character Alex’s favorite TV show would be, and I immediately answered Star Wars Rebels. Because clearly when you’re an immortal vampire knight who’s taken a vow to never drink blood you’re going to be all about the Jedi, right?

Of course, I immediately thought, “Blog post!” So here it is: what shows all the Heart Blade characters like to watch.

Alex is a Star Wars Rebels fan. Kanan Jarrus is his favorite character. He’s also partial to Arrow and The Flash. He once met Stephen Amell at a convention and has the photo to prove it.

Camille loves sports. She’s a Packers fan and never misses a NHL game, especially if the Canadiens are playing. She owns all seasons of Gilmore Girls on DVD and has been known to quote lines from the show.

Diana likes to escape into Once Upon a Time. She’s also a Glee fan and has all the show songs on her playlist. She plays them loud to drown out the memory of her victims’ screams.

Rose never misses an episode of Supernatural. She’s cooled down on the show a little now she knows demons and vampires actually exist, but she can’t stay away from Sam, Dean, and Cas.

Ash loves Agents of SHIELD. He’s hoping they bring Bobbi back. She reminds him of his mom. He thought Agent Carter was really cool and doesn’t get why the network cancelled it.

Del will watch everything and anything. She’s fascinated by human TV shows and feels that with her memory loss she has a lot to make up for. One of her favorite characters is Arya Stark from Game of Thrones.

Jude always tells everyone that TV shows are a waste of time. But secretly he DVRs all the Reign episodes and then marathons them all at one go over a weekend with masses of pizza and junk food.

Dan likes The Walking Dead, even though Alex teases him mercilessly about it. He feels there is something marvelously simple about a world where all humans have to fear are zombies and each other.

Deacon says he only watches sports. But anyone who frequents his house knows he always has one of those home improvement or real estate shows on in the background. He’s mildly obsessed with Tiny House Nation.

What TV shows would your favorite characters watch? Let me know in the comments!

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