It’s been five years since Miracle in a Dry Season first hit store shelves. Giddy days, those! And while I’ve been fortunate to see more stories published (and others yet to come), that first novel is the one that will always hold a dear place in my heart. And somehow, even after five years, readers keep falling in love with […]
My home state’s motto is: Mountaineers are always free. There’s a serious thread of independence running through the mountains I call home. And what better day to celebrate that than the Fourth of July? And what better way than by shooting off some anvils? Wait. What? Yes. Anvils. I wrote about anvil shooting last July, but couldn’t resist mentioning it […]
Last Thursday was WV Day. To celebrate, I sent out a quiz to help readers determine if they could pass as a Mountaineer. The results were interesting! The first question was whether or not you’ve ever used an outhouse. I was amazed that almost EVERYONE who took the survey had done so–92%. Only one person vowed that they never would. Guess it wasn’t as big a deal as I thought when we got married at a church with no indoor plumbing. Next, I asked readers to identify the state flower of WV. This was a little bit of a trick. The choices included Magnolia–wrong! Mountain Laurel–wrong, but doesn’t it sound right?? and Rhododendron–the correct answer with 35% of folks getting it right. Sixty percent chose Mountain Laurel. This was the second most missed question. Third, I asked if WV is The Mountain State, Hillbilly Nation, or Coal Country. Two thirds know it’s The Mountain State with just one smart aleck choosing Hillbilly Nation. Okay. The what does “watch out for deer” really mean question was also tricky. If you’d read my post about this, you’d know it’s code for “I love you” (just 14% chose that answer). But I gave out a point for “be careful” as well which tied for the obvious answer of “watch out for deer” at 43%. Question 5 also surprised me with 72% of quiz takers enjoying wild game. Only 10% would turn up their […]
Today is WV Day. But you probably already knew that. My home state is turning 156 and in honor of the day I thought I’d share some unusual facts about the Mountain State. The largest diamond ever found in North America was discovered in Peterson, WV, by the Jones family. They kept it in a cigar box for 14 years before realizing that it wasn’t just a piece of quartz, but rather a 34.5 carat diamond. About 75% of the state is covered by forests with nine state forests and 37 state parks. The New River in WV is actually among the world’s oldest rivers and runs from south to north instead of north to south like most other rivers in the U.S. The first woman to dunk a basketball in a college game was WV University center Georgeann Wells in 1985. In the northern panhandle the city of Weirton touches Ohio on one side and Pennsylvania in the other. In 1972 spelunker Bob Addis set the world record for stalagmite sitting in New World Caverns in WV. He stayed up there for 16 days. When it seceded from the Union, plans were to call the state Kanawha, but they went with a shortened version of Western Virginia since that’s what everyone was already calling it. And cursed natives to hear, “So you’re from Western Virginia–right?” from then on. Happy birthday, Mountain state!
Last weekend I had the pleasure of teaching at the WV Writers Conference in Ripley, WV. The last time I was at Cedar Lakes Conference Center I was attending Conservation Camp and I was 11 or 12-years-old. It was even better being there this time around! In addition to leading some classes, I got to take some. One was led […]
Do You Have Influence? If you’ve enjoyed my books and maybe even recommended them to someone, I want to talk to you for a minute. I’m in need of a few good influencers to help promote When Silence Sings, which releases this coming November. To be clear up front, an influencer is different from a reviewer. Influencers are people who want to jump in and help promote an author’s book. If you’re interested in helping me get the word out about my latest story, then please click through and take my Influencer Quiz to learn what that would look like. If you’re chosen, you’ll receive an early copy of the book and can help launch novel #5 into the wide world! For years Serepta McClean has towered over the coal-filled hills of West Virginia, taking more than her share of trade–legal and illegal alike. She’s intent on securing the future of the McClean name, despite two unreliable sons and a long-standing feud with the Harpe clan that’s once again exploded in violence. While many fear her and many more hate her, few dare stand against her. Especially not someone like Colman Harpe—a railroad man with dreams of being a preacher. And yet it’s a reluctant Colman, her sworn enemy, who finds himself in Serepta’s territory, supposedly sent by God himself to preach stories of love and redemption. With the feud growing ever more dangerous and the entire region at risk, […]
I’ve written before about how hard it can be to let go of a manuscript. It can be agonizing when I send that first draft to my editor. And the rewrites? Oh, how I want to keep shaping and polishing! But releasing the final read through of designed pages? That can be easier. At this point I’ve read and re-read […]