2016 Debut Authors Bash: Dana Elmendorf


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Hi, everyone! Welcome back!

Today, I am super excited to introduce you all to Dana Elmendorf and her book South of Sunshine. Dana has created an amazing post (with pictures) about what you will need on hand to survive South of Sunshine. Take a look below and be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments section below!

Top 10 Items You’ll Need on Hand to Survive South of Sunshine.

Top 10 Items You’ll Need on Hand to Survive South of Sunshine.


  1. Glass of Iced tea, sweet tea to be exact.  Don’t sweeten with some sugar substitute. This needs to be the real deal sugar.  And if we’re being specific, it needs to be Lipton tea bags.  Go ahead and fix a gallon because you gonna love it so much you’ll want more.


  1. Pork Rinds – What the what are pork rinds, you ask? Do you know what the rind of an orange is?  The thick outer covering, essentially the skin of an orange.  Wellllll, that’s what pork rinds are, the skin of a pig with a little fat on it, fried.  Hey hey hey, don’t knock it until you try it.  If you eat bacon it’s the same difference. Lest I remind you what Dr. Seuss always said, “Try it.  You may like it.” They’re like salty crunchy airy chips with a bacony flavor. Like a cheese puff, minus the cheese plus the bacon taste. It is a southern favorite, and if you want your southern game to be strong, I suggest you get some.


  1. Instagram Account – In South of Sunshine there’s a “hearts in nature” theme.  Kaycee believes, “Hearts abound in nature. Love notes from the universe, asking you to pay attention.” After you read the book you’re going to start seeing accidental hearts out in the wild. (I’ve hand several friends text me pictures.) You’ll want an Instagram account to post these little beauties on once you start finding them. This particular “heart in nature” I saw on an unexpected plane trip back home to Tennessee.



  1. Nail Polish – Set of rainbow nail polish to be exact.  I suggest OPI because two coats of that with a clear topcoat will last you 10-14 days before it chips off your toenails. If you’re like Kaycee and you hate letting people pick at your feet, I suggest you can do the pedicure yourself. Either way, you might want to be prepared to impress your first crush.


  1. Southern Euphemism Reference Book – Southern people have some colorful colloquialisms that most people who aren’t from around our parts don’t have a clue what we’re talking about.  I’d suggest Butter My Butt and Call Me a Biscuit by Allan Zullo and Gene Cheek.  (In case you’re wondering, the title of the book is an expression of surprise.)


  1. CB Radio – Three or four to be exact. So why a CB Radio?  After you read about the game Cat and Mouse, you’re going to want to play with your friends too. I know you’re thinking (after you go Google what a CB radio is) why would I want one of those if I have a cell phone? The thing about CB’s is that you can chat with several of your friends at once. Besides, you don’t get cool CB handles on a phone.


  1. CB Handle – Now don’t rush into picking a name. Simmer on it a bit (which means think about it a while before making a decision.) It needs to be something to go with your personality.  A name right that when you tell your friends, they’re impressed with how clever you are.  If you’re not sure what to call yourself, I might suggest watching old movies like Smokey and the Bandit or Convoy*. Either will inspire a handle and get your CB skills up to par too. (*FYI, Rubber Duck has already been taken.) Here’s a CB handle pocket guide to help you out.


  1. Punching Bag – You’re going to want to punch something before this book is over.  You should!  Some of the bigotry and hateful things Kaycee has to endure will really upset you.  The painful abuse the LGBT community has to go through is horrendous.  And sometimes you just need to punch something to make you feel better.  And since I promote love and not hate, I suggest a punching bag to release those frustrations.


  1. Rainbow Attire – Now that you’ve got your frustration taken care off, lets arm you with rainbows.  You’ve already got the rainbow nail polish, now all you need is a rainbow shades, maybe a rainbow tank top, fancy bracelet, flashy leather clutch and if you want to round your whole outfit out, I suggest rainbow Chucks.
    1. Kleenex – By the end of the book I hope to have taken you on an emotional journey.  I hope you feel Kaycee’s pain and struggles, because empathy is important. I hope you cry tears of heartache, relief, understanding but most of all I hope you end the book crying tears of happiness.  Kaycee’s journey has a lot of roller coaster ups and downs, but by the end of the book you’ll be glad you took the ride with her.


What is Kaycee willing to risk for the sake of love?
And what will she risk for acceptance?In Sunshine, Tennessee, the main event in town is Friday night football, the biggest party of the year is held in a field filled with pickup trucks, and church attendance is mandatory. For Kaycee Jean McCoy, life in Sunshine means dating guys she has no interest in, saying only “yes, ma’am” when the local bigots gossip at her mom’s cosmetics salon, and avoiding certain girls at all costs. Girls like Bren Dawson.Unlike Kaycee, Bren doesn’t really conceal who she is. But as the cool, worldly new girl, nobody at school seems to give her any trouble. Maybe there’s no harm if Kaycee gets closer to her too, as long as she can keep that part of her life a secret, especially from her family and her best friend. But the more serious things get with Bren, the harder it is to hide from everyone else. Kaycee knows Sunshine has a darker side for people like her, and she’s risking everything for the chance to truly be herself.


Born and raised in small town in Tennessee, Dana now lives in southern California with her husband, two boys and her tiny dog. When she isn’t exercising, she can be found geeking out with Mother Nature or scouring the internet for foreign indie bands. After her family’s needs are met, you can find her dreaming up contemporary YA romances with plenty of kissing. Rep’d by Lauren MacLeod with The Strothman Agency.

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