Each Advent season my church puts together a book of daily devotions written by members. I LOVE it!! Our pastor assigns scripture to volunteers and they then share their thoughts about the verses. It’s such a beautiful, personal gift and look forward to reading advent insights from my church family each morning. And, of course, I look forward to writing my two entries each year! I’ve gotten into the habit of including at least one poem and a friend asked me how I come up with those. As I explained, she kept saying, “I guess that’s why you’re a writer.” Which made me feel pretty good. Of course, she has an incredible gift for music–something I do NOT possess. Which got me thinking about how we all have unique gifts. And how, I suspect, many of us wish we were good at something we’re . . . not. I would LOVE to be good at music. To be able to sing and play instruments. To delight people with song. But would I be willing to trade? Would I be willing to give up my ability to write–to communicate through story–if it meant I could sing and play? It didn’t take me long to come up with an answer. Nope. I think that might be a big part of recognizing our natural gifts. They’re the things we don’t really think about being good at. The things we do because they’re just […]
Last week I had the chance to do a reading and book signing at my hometown library in Buckhannon, WV. It was wonderful, but it was SO much more than a book event. So today I thought I’d share some of the REAL highlights from the day. My almost nine-year-old niece got her first library card! Seeing a child thrilled […]
I met Leanna at a book event in Flat Rock, NC. We were seated together behind a table piled with our books hoping attendees would flock to buy them! And when we weren’t being flocked, we got to talk and discovered much in common beyond being writers. Now, Leanna’s stories aren’t like mine–her latest features a serial killer! And yet, […]
Nope. Didn’t win. Except, maybe I did in a way. Oh, I don’t have one of those sparkly glass awards to sit on my desk, but I sure as shooting felt like a winner last week at the Christy Award Gala and in the days following. MY WINS: I got to wear a fancy dress. It’s vintage–from the 1960s–and it […]
We had friends over for supper on Sunday and I didn’t serve bread. It took nerve, I know. Whether you serve biscuits, cornbread, or light bread, there should ALWAYS be bread on an Appalachian table. Maybe because it helped simple ingredients go a long way. Maybe because it’s GOOD. Especially if you churn your own butter! Even when my grandmother stopped making her own bread, she would still put a stack of store-bought loaf bread on a plate and sit it on the edge of the table. Unlike that basket of biscuits or homemade rolls, it didn’t go in the middle of the table, but it was there. “Push bread” the men called it because it was handy to push the last bites of food onto their forks. I make biscuits for weekend breakfasts now and again. I like them split and buttered with maple syrup (I use a fork). Or apple butter! And I make my cornbread with creamed corn so it’s extra moist. (I also add a dab of sugar–blasphemy in the South, but common in Appalachia.) I never have been good at making light bread (yeast bread), but maybe that’s because I had too many ladies in my life who were masters at it. If you’d like to attempt biscuits, I highly recommend it. They’re pretty easy to make and they’re SO much better than what comes in those supermarket tubes. BISCUITS 1/2 cup self-rising flour per […]
This past weekend was GORGEOUS. Okay, it was a little damp and overcast, but after lots of typical August heat and humidity it was a refreshing change. On Saturday the temperature really didn’t rise much and the humidity disappeared as the day wore on. Some friends and I planned to pick apples and pears from a neighbor’s trees and it was as if the climate agreed to cooperate with our notion of apple-picking weather. It was a gift. And an unexpected one. One of my friends commented on how fall feels like such a revelation each year. We know it’s coming, we’ve experienced it before, and yet the first crisp day feels like a gift we didn’t really think we’d get. Summer and winter seem to arrive when I’m not really paying attention. I’ll be enjoying warmer or cooler days and then suddenly it will be full-on summer or winter. At that point I heave a sigh and resign myself to needing a shower every day or suffering with perpetually cold feet. And I’m usually looking so hard for spring that I celebrate each tiny, incremental change. But the first day that truly feels like autumn is as if a curtain has been whisked back on a stage. One moment you’re dreaming of cool, crisp mornings and the next they’re here making you want to snuggle under the covers with the windows wide open. I know some of you love […]
Five years ago today my first full-length novel released. On the Sunday before, I held a launch party at my church with a reading, book sale, beans & cornbread supper, bluegrass music, and even some square dancing. It was pretty awesome. And not just because I was finally an honest-to-goodness author. It was wonderful because of the people who came and the way they supported me in celebrating my dream-come-true. Here’s what I wrote on this very blog five years ago: “In Appalachian Serenade Delilah realizes that family is something deeper than blood kin. My FAMILY gathered around yesterday evening and we had a celebration. There was church family, work family, neighborhood family, friends family, family family–and it was one of those times when I felt love wrapped all around me like a soft blanket on a cold night.” Much has happened since then. Some of the dear friends who joined us that night have passed on. Both of my parents now have health issues that prevent them from traveling to NC. We have new friends who have become like family. And yet, some things are the same. Most significantly the love and support of my extended family which now also includes author friends and reader friends. It kind of makes me want to have a party and invite you ALL. Hmmmm. I’ve got another book releasing in November. I might do just that . . .