Sometimes I (gasp!) read reviews

So many authors will tell you not to do it. Some even have friends who read reviews for them and only pass along the ones that are really stellar. Because even if there are only a handful of bad reviews, they tend to dent your confidence. Some will even batter your confidence and make you wonder if you really ARE a fraud. Even so, I read reviews. I LIKE hearing what people thought of my books. Once in a while I even learn something I can do better. One reviewer pointed out my tendency to use the word, “somehow,” which seriously weakens whatever it is I’m trying to say. I totally need to thank her! So, last week, I popped in on Goodreads and saw that The Sound of Rain had some new reviews. Mostly good (phew). But one . . . oh my. Sometimes, a reader will just get whatever it is I was trying to do in a way that clarifies it even for me. A reviewer named Kav did that last week. I try to be careful about “tooting my own horn” here on my blog, but this review brought tears to my eyes. So here you go. A review from someone who totally made my day and reminded me why I keep writing. “Sometimes the people who needed the most help didn’t look like they needed any help at all.” (p 290) Sarah Loudin Thomas has […]

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Appalachian Thursday – The Heirloom

On October 2 of this year, my latest work will release–as part of a collection titled The Christmas Heirloom (available for pre-order). As a follow-up to The Sound of Rain, I’ve written Hank’s story. You remember Hank–he was George Heyward’s right-hand man until Judd came along. And now he’s wondering where his future lies. Earlier this week, we got to release the cover! This collection has been SUCH fun. I was at a writing conference in 2016 when I sat down next to Karen Witemeyer and she looked at me and said, “You’re books are set in the 1950s, right?” Right! Karen, Kristi Ann Hunter, and Becky Wade (all favorite authors of mine!!) were hatching an idea to write a multi-generational series of novellas that would trace the women of one family from Regency England to modern day America. Their only gap was the 1950s. Oh, I was IN! And so, after lots of e-mails and a pretty hilarious Skype meeting, we set to work. The thread tying the stories together is a brooch that’s supposed to bring true love when it’s gifted from mother to daughter. Fun! Plus, I get to insert Appalachia into a series that includes Regency, western, and contemporary stories. Talk about variety! And my character is such fun–a mountain girl who’s much better at shooting than socializing. Here’s the brief summary for A Shot at Love: Fleeta Brady’s rough-and-tumble childhood means she prefers hunting to […]

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Social Media and REAL Community

I am generally on the side of believing that social media is NOT conducive to developing REAL relationships. What we see of our “friends” on-line tends to be superficial and sometimes even downright misleading. However. Every once in a while it turns into something compelling and wonderful Saturday evening I checked Facebook and stumbled across a comment from a writer-friend […]

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Ten Decorating Ideas for Christmas

I know lots of folks who jump on their Christmas decorations the day after Thanksgiving (or sooner!), but I always wait until December 1. Maybe because it’s my birthday. And even then, I start slow, with a few outside decorations, maybe the nativity. I gradually add decor around the house and finally get the tree up a week to ten days out from December 25. But this year, I have a new idea about decorating for the season. My pastor gave me the idea during yesterday’s sermon. What if we added a new kind of decorations this holiday season? What if, in addition to the greenery, tinsel, and lights, we decorated our lives with love? How does that work? I’m glad you asked. Here are ten ways to decorate with love this December: Send an actual, physical Christmas card that you WRITE in to special people in your life. Real mail is getting scarcer than hen’s teeth these days. And mail with a handwritten, heartfelt note is the unicorn of the postal system. Be sure to sign your card with LOVE. Now send an actual, physical Christmas card to someone you only know a little. Maybe someone who might not get many cards. Write them a sweet note, too. Say something nice to someone you don’t know. Maybe it’s a mom in the grocery store trying to shop with kids–tell her how cute her little ones are. Tell the clerk […]

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Appalachian Thursday – Deer Season

It’s almost holiday time in West Virginia. Oh, sure, there’s Thanksgiving and Christmas, but the REAL festivities begin on Monday. The first day of deer season. Many schools are out all week because, well, no one would come if they were open. Teachers, students, staff–they’re all out “celebrating” deer season. So how does one celebrate? If you’re a hunter, it’s obvious. You go hunting. But what about non-hunters? That was always me. I know plenty of women who enjoy hunting, but I don’t happen to be one. Even so, the week was a fun time for me growing up. First, we were out of school. Second, there was plenty of company. Friends and family would come to the farm to hunt, eat, nap, and tell tall tales. Which meant we got to indulge in junk food, questionable conversation, and interesting schedules. And when everyone else was out hunting, I got to curl up in a cozy chair and READ! One friend of Dad’s worked for Lays and would bring us an entire case of potato chips. We NEVER got potato chips. Hunters eat packaged cookies, processed lunch meats, soda–it’s kid heaven. There’d be a fire in the fireplace, funny stories we didn’t always understand, early mornings, and as soon as someone got a deer–venison tenderloin seared in butter. Here’s one of my favorite deer season recipes. My dad is the master of this one. Mmmm, I could eat a plate […]

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Halloween in the Hills

I LOVED Halloween when I was a kid. I’m still pretty fond of it even today. But when I was little it was all about playing dress up and eating candy. I was one of those little girls who wanted to be something pretty. An angel, a princess–something pink and sparkly. And Mom was a whiz at making gorgeous costumes. Although I’m still a little annoyed about having to wear a turtleneck under my princess dress (see photo–that’s just not right!). Never mind that it was 40 degrees. I could have toughed it out. But trick-or-treating was different when you lived in the hills of West Virginia. There was no running around subdivisions or shopping malls collecting candy. We piled into the car (angel wings rated the front seat) and drove from house to house. And we knew everyone we visited. Shoot, we were related to most of them. Aunt Dorothy had homemade caramel apples and popcorn balls, Aunt Bess had full-sized candy bars, Grandma had little piles of candy arranged on a TV tray near the door, Floyd had Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (hands off, Dad!). And at each stop–especially when we had masks on–there was a great to-do about guessing who we were. When my dad was a kid growing up in the mountains of WV, that was a BIG part of Halloween. You actually tried to disguise yourself so that friends and neighbors couldn’t recognize you. And there […]

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