Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Welcome to Dappled Hills!

by Meadow Downey from Quilt or Innocence, the first in the Southern Quilting mystery series by Elizabeth Craig

My name is Meadow and I like to think of myself as the Dappled Hills welcome wagon.

I love meeting new people, and Dappled Hills, North Carolina is such a small town that I don’t get the opportunity as often as I’d like to.  So when we do get a new resident here, I’m ready to get them threaded right into the fabric of the village as soon as I possibly can.

You might have noticed that I used a little craft terminology there.  That’s because I’m also the president of the very best quilting guild in Dappled Hills—the Village Quilters.  It’s been around for a hundred years and I feel like it’s my personal responsibility to make sure it’s around for a hundred more!

Photo courtesy Flickr--user Echo9er
That’s one reason why I drafted our new neighbor Beatrice Coleman into the guild.  We need new members and Beatrice needs to meet folks in Dappled Hills.  It was perfect! For some reason, Beatrice seemed to think she’d have more fun puttering around the garden or trying to get back into the kitchen to do some cooking. Apparently, she hasn’t cooked too much in the last couple of decades—says that in Atlanta she’d pick up meals at the grocery store’s deli.  She must be a little rusty—unfortunately, I’ve sampled some of her cooking. 

Good thing I always cook more than we can eat at my house! I’m planning on going to Beatrice’s cottage every single day with some hearty Southern cooking.  Fried chicken, cornbread, and string beans—mmm! We’re going to be best friends.  I know she’ll love that!

See, Beatrice thinks she’s come to Dappled Hills for a peaceful retirement—she sees the town as a sleepy village.  What she doesn’t know is that still waters run pretty deep here—and there might even be some trouble brewing in our little hamlet.  Soon, she could end up with more excitement than she thought this town was capable of!

No matter what happens, I’ll make sure that Beatrice feels like a part of Dappled Hills.  It’s such a wonderful place to live that I want to be sure she enjoys life here to the fullest!

How do you make newcomers feel welcome to your town or neighborhood?  When you move to a new town, how do you get involved and meet people? 

Find out more about Quilt or Innocence (releasing June 5) and Elizabeth Craig at


  1. Oh my...I hope Beatrice knows what she's in for.

  2. Oh, dear! Poor Beatrice. When I moved to Threadville, I already had friends here. Unfortunately, a few people were less friendly than others, and I got to know some folks I'd just as soon have never met... Conflict is one way of getting involved, but I don't recommend it.

  3. Willow--That's one thing about a small's hard to get away from people you don't like!

  4. I think the best way to meet people is to go to town functions, at the library, at the theater, the opening of a new shop, a cheese and wine tasting. Introduce yourself. Smiling is most important. If you're friendly, often you'll find people who are friendly right back.

    Good luck.

    ~Charlotte Bessette (from Providence, Ohio)

  5. Willow, Willow, Willo, you just can't leave things be. Beatrice seems like a very nice lady who just want's to enjoy her "golden years" and not get dragged into every little activity in the town.

    Myself, I prefer a quiet life also and feel sorry for the 'hegdish' she it going to be schlepped into.

  6. I've never really moved to a new town, but when folks come to Queensville, I think it's nice to make them welcome. When a new couple bought the bed and breakfast next to my house, I had a barbecue for them, so the townies could meet them!

  7. Charlotte--Good pointers! Smiling and looking friendly is the best way to meet people--they'll want to speak to us, for sure. :)

    Nora--Poor Beatrice! :) It's hard to be reserved sometimes.

    Jaymie--Now *that* is nice! I bet they really appreciated getting to know everyone. :)

  8. In Ashton Corners, half the mystery book club are newbies to town. It's a good way to get them involved and to help them meet new friends. Of course, there's usually a murder to be solved, too.

  9. Congats on the new release! It looks interesting!

  10. Lizzie--Ashton Corners sounds like my kind of place!

    Joyce--Thanks so much!

  11. Meadow, could you come to my home every day and bring some of that good Southern cooking?