At Last–Three Book Contract!

Signing the contract

I returned from a visit home to WV to find my three-book contract from Bethany House awaiting me. Last time I returned from a WV trip my agent contract was waiting. Seems like visits home are good for my writing career! Which is appropriate, because while my primary writing goal is to glorify God, I also hope to bring positive […]

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Seven Ways to ROCK Appalachia

creek rocks

When I was younger, people would ask my dad what we farmed in West Virginia. “Rocks, mostly,” he would say. And it was true. Every spring he would disc the garden and we would harvest a trailer load or two of rocks that would be broken up and added to the dirt road leading to the house. I don’t know how […]

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In Case of Emergency . . .

Our power was out for a little while yesterday afternoon. It was in the 40s with rain and WIND. (What happened to spring?!?) After reading, revising, cleaning, and watching my husband bounce around bored, I suggested we leash up Thistle and go investigate the outage. This was a foreign idea to my husband. But for a girl who grew up in West Virginia, it’s just what you do. If you see an ambulance or a fire truck, you don’t just hope everything’s okay. You jump in the car and go see who’s in trouble. Might be you can help. If there’s been a storm and trees are down, you put the chainsaw and a come along in the back of the truck and go see what you can do to clear the roads and help the neighbors. If someone is broken down on the side of the road, you pull over and see what you can do. Change a tire, drive them to the nearest gas station, poke around under the hood, shoot the breeze–there’s probably something. Now, this is NOT rubbernecking. Slowing down to watch someone else’s trouble is rude. This is about trying to find the problem so you can see if you can help. It’s neighborly. It’s friendly. It’s taking care of one another. Thistle and I did find the source of the problem. A tree was down in a neighbor’s driveway and the power company had […]

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Planting by the Signs in Appalachia

When I was a kid my father and one of the more mature ladies of the church would have pretty much the same “discussion” every spring. She believed strongly in planting by the signs and Dad was determined to convince her it was not only silly, but un-Christian to do so. As far as I know, neither one ever came around to the other’s way of thinking. I suspect it would have spoiled the fun they had talking about it every spring. There are still plenty of folk who plant by the signs in Appalachia. As I finish up the first round of edits on Miracle in a Dry Season I may even get Casewell to plant by the signs. He’s not superstitious, but it was very much a way of life in 1954 West Virginia. Here’s a quick primer, in case you want to give it a try: Plant ABOVE ground crops when the moon is waxing (getting bigger). Things like peas, lettuce, tomatoes, squash, etc. Plant BELOW ground crops when the moon is waning (getting smaller). Things like potatoes, carrots, turnips, etc. That’s the BASIC rule. Now, let’s look at the signs. Each month, the moon passes through each of the 12 signs of the Zodiac, which can be divided into four elements: Water – Cancer, Pisces, Scorpio Earth – Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn Fire – Leo, Ares, Sagittarius Air – Gemini, Aquarius, Libra Water and Earth are FERTILE elements while […]

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The Language of Place

Chuck's Mama's Place

Earlier this week when I wrote about going out on the Hogback on our family farm to think, read, and write, I realized not everyone knows that word. A hogback is simply a hill that slopes like the back of a hog, but on our farm it’s a specific place–The Hogback. It isn’t just any hill of that type–it’s a specific hill. […]

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