A Bookish Anniversary

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 . . .

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Book Review – My Dearest Dietrich

When I saw that Amanda Barratt was tackling a novel about Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s ill-fated love, I knew I wanted to read it! While I was familiar with the pastor’s part in the conspiracy to kill Adolph Hitler and his ultimate martyrdom, I had no idea he’d been engaged. Let me begin by saying this was a HARD book. In the […]

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Appalachian Thursday – WV Quiz Results

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 […]

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An Anniversary Reflection

On Saturday, my husband and I celebrated 23 years of marriage. That means, as of next year, I will have been married for half my life. My wedding day feels like yesterday AND a lifetime ago. It wasn’t fancy–shoot, it was in the (literally) one-room country church I grew up attending. And if you want to know about the, ahem, […]

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Show Don’t Tell (a new take)

It’s a common refrain among writers. Don’t tell readers what’s happening–show them. Imagine the difference between watching a movie and having someone tell you about it. The telling can get tedious fast, but watching it . . . And so, when writing a story, the trick is to pull readers into the action so that they’re seeing it unfold in their imaginations. I try to keep that in mind as I’m writing my stories. But what about when I’m living my life? Last week I read I Peter 2:11-12 – Dear friends, I urge you . . . to abstain from sinful desires . . . Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us. And it occurred to me that this is the biblical version of “show, don’t tell.” Sure, it’s important to share the gospel. To tell people the good news. But it’s even more important to live it in such a way that people SEE the gospel. I can tell people all day long what God says about love, but how much more will they understand it if I, in fact, reflect his love through my treatment of them? We live in a world where people are eager to tell each other how to live. Everyone has an opinion and altogether too many platforms for sharing […]

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Live Like You’re Dying

You’ve probably heard the advice to live like you’re dying . . . because you are. And it’s true, so far as it goes. We’re all going to die one day. One day. You know it, I know it, we all know it. Or do we? I have a friend who has a fatal illness. She’s already lived longer than the doctors thought she would. She IS living like she’s dying. And it isn’t necessarily what I imagine when I think about living as though my time here were short. I visited her recently and she made an observation that really stuck with me. It  was about how we say we’ll do things, “for the rest of our lives.” As in, “You’ll need to take this medicine for the rest of your life.” Or, “I’m going to wear this ring for the rest of my life.” Or, “I’m going to live here for the rest of my life.” Well sure. But that assumes the medicine will be helpful right up until the moment you take your last breath. Unfortunately, medicines stop working. It assumes that the ring will always fit and you’ll always want to wear it. Grandma gave me her engagement ring when she could no longer slide it over her arthritic knuckle. It assumes you’ll be able to live in the same place until the end. Which would put a lot of assisted living and nursing homes out of […]

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