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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Appalachian Thursday – Light for the Darkest Day

It’s the first day of winter. The darkest day of the year. Which, of course, has me thinking about LIGHT and all it’s sources. Even on dark days, there was lots of light on the family farm come December and not always electric. CANDLE LIGHT – We didn’t have all those fancy, scented candles, but there were Christmas candles out. On the table, in special holders in the window. But best of all were the angel chimes. The little spinner with four candles that propelled angels around and around, ringing the chimes. LANTERN LIGHT – Okay, so this was really only used when the power went out, but winter storms made that more common than Mom liked. Lamp oil, wicks that could be turned up and down, fragile glass chimneys–I thought it was fun! FIRELIGHT – Oh how a fire on Christmas Eve worried us! Would the chimney be too hot for Santa to come down? Still, those fires made the living room ever so cozy and it was wonderful to back up to the heat and then plop down on the sofa to feel how toasty our bums had gotten. STARLIGHT – I know there weren’t REALLY more stars back then, but we sure could SEE more of them. I still marvel at the infinity of stars that can be seen on a clear winter night from a remote hilltop in West Virginia. And, of course, LAMP LIGHT – […]

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Appalachian Thursday – Daddies & Daughters

Not long ago I posted a list of things Appalachian mothers and daughters should do together in response to a similar on-line list that I thought was a bit silly (spa trip, yoga, and a trip to NYC). Since then, I’ve been thinking I need to write the same kind of list for father’s and daughters. So here goes: Learn to drive a tractor. Ideally, the daughter should be about six or seven and sitting on her daddy’s lap. Not safe, you say? I always felt safest with my daddy’s arms around me. Milk a cow. Dad would do that thing where he lined us up against the barn wall and tried to shoot milk into our mouths. Moms do NOT like that. Read books together. Dad says I learned to read because he would fall asleep before finishing the story and I wanted to know how it ended. And speaking of sleeping . . . take naps. Dad’s are fantastic nap takers. Each winter my dad’s favorite spot was flat in the living room floor in front of the fireplace. Learn to hammer a nail. I never was very good at it, but it was fun to try! Churn ice cream. The great thing about doing this with your dad is that he’ll handle most of the cranking. That leaves daughters to sit on the churn to hold it still, to catch the salty water as it runs out of the spout, […]

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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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