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When Silence Sings Launch Team

Do You Have Influence? If you’ve enjoyed my books and maybe even recommended them to someone, I want to talk to you for a minute. I’m in need of a few good influencers to help promote When Silence Sings, which releases this coming November. To be clear up front, an influencer is different from a reviewer. Influencers are people who want to jump in and help promote an author’s book. If you’re interested in helping me get the word out about my latest story, then please click through and take my Influencer Quiz to learn what that would look like. If you’re chosen, you’ll receive an early copy of the book and can help launch novel #5 into the wide world! For years Serepta McClean has towered over the coal-filled hills of West Virginia, taking more than her share of trade–legal and illegal alike. She’s intent on securing the future of the McClean name, despite two unreliable sons and a long-standing feud with the Harpe clan that’s once again exploded in violence. While many fear her and many more hate her, few dare stand against her. Especially not someone like Colman Harpe—a railroad man with dreams of being a preacher. And yet it’s a reluctant Colman, her sworn enemy, who finds himself in Serepta’s territory, supposedly sent by God himself to preach stories of love and redemption. With the feud growing ever more dangerous and the entire region at risk, […]

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Memorial Day – Remembering Veterans

Memorial Day is a day set aside for remembering those who have died in the service of our nation. Originally, it was proclaimed in honor of the Civil War dead by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic. The order became official on May 5, 1868, and was first observed on May 30 of that year. Memorial Day has also been called Decoration Day because it was the tradition to decorate the graves of those who died in the war. The day was moved to the last Monday in May in 1971 to ensure a three-day weekend. In 2000 a resolution was passed to try and help remind Americans of the true meaning of the day. Signed by Pres. Bill Clinton it includes the statement: “Encouraging individual department and agency personnel, and Americans everywhere, to pause for one minute at 3:00 p.m. (local time) on Memorial Day, to remember and reflect on the sacrifices made by so many to provide freedom for all.” So I encourage you at 3 p.m. this afternoon, to stop whatever you’re doing and say a prayer of thanks for those who have died to protect us and for those who are, even now, willing to do so.

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Appalachian Thursday – Decoration Day

Monday is Memorial Day–the unofficial start to summer. And in Appalachia it means time to start planning for Decoration Day. Usually held on a Sunday in June, this is a day when cemeteries would be tidied and flowers placed on the graves. I’m not talking about those silk monstrosities either. I’m talking roses and daisies and mountain laurel. Maybe some […]

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It’s Not the Weight Gain . . . it’s the Redistribution!

As I’m approaching 50 I’m realizing there are quite a few things about aging that no one tells you. I’ve heard plenty of talk about the way pounds creep on with middle age, so I’ve tried to keep an eye out for that. And I’m pleased to say that I actually weigh a few pounds less than I did a decade ago. However. While there may be less flesh overall, things have moved. My waist is not so trim as it once was. My hips–what IS that extra layer there?!? Upper arms are, um, softer. My chin isn’t quite so firm as it once was. Even my hands are more . . . well . . . gnarled. No one told me my body was going to readjust. Even my teeth have moved! My dentist told me it’s common among folks my age. Seriously?!? But my body isn’t the only thing to shift. It seems my attitude has as well. The upshot being that I don’t mind all this readjusting as much as I would have expected. As I look around at others in the vicinity of my age, I see that what I’m experiencing is what you might call common. It’s just that I hadn’t noticed it in anyone else until it started happening to me. Which just might mean that women younger than me don’t notice my shifting while women older than me ignore it because they’re too busy […]

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Appalachian Thursday – Time to Plant the Garden

I still have to work hard to resist them. The catalogs filled with beautiful, full-color images of corn and strawberries and squash and green beans . . . The displays of candy-colored seed packets at the store . . . I don’t even have a garden. Oh, sometimes I grow a pot of tomatoes on the porch or plant some herbs in the flower bed, but I don’t have a place to grow rainbow blend carrots no matter how gorgeous they are in that picture. All clean and perfectly straight. The problem is, I know all too well how wonderful fresh garden produce is. And it’s been long enough that I’ve mostly forgotten the agony of weeding, harvesting, and putting up. So when the catalogs start rolling in and the displays start going up, I begin to have delusions of grandeur. I can envision glossy, yellow ears of corn; watermelons that split open with a satisfying crack; and multi-hued peppers hanging like Christmas ornaments. Bush beans, sugar snap peas, heirloom tomatoes, and baby lettuces wilted in a little bacon grease. Oh, the seed companies have my number! When we were kids, Dad would sometimes let us choose something to grow in the garden. One year it was popcorn (which didn’t do well at all!). I always wanted watermelon, but the only time I remember it growing satisfactorily that far north was when we pitched rinds over the fence and the […]

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Facing Fears . . . By Accident

Over the weekend Thistle and I headed out for our usual hike. It was a rainy Saturday, but dogs don’t much care about a little wet and neither do I (so long as it’s just a little!). There was only one other car in the parking area and it belonged to a family with two dogs. They didn’t know the trails and I did, so we headed out together for an impromptu hiking party. Poking around in the woods with kids and dogs is always entertaining. They see things adults miss and they’re much more willing to stop and investigate. Which made hiking a trail I’d been on over and over again a whole new experience. At one point we stopped to check out a spot where the creek runs down a sort of rock slide. The older of the two girls threw sticks in the water for Reba—one of the dogs. Which meant Reba was faced with a quandary. She really wanted that stick, but she’s not a fan of water. She’d wade in ankle deep and stretch her neck to reach the stick, snatching it and running back to land. Most of us had moved on down the trail when the eldest daughter came running to join us with Reba by her side. “Reba faced her fears!” the girl crowed. “She went all the way in the water!” Then the girl added, “Well, by accident.” Reba’s desire to […]

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