Sunday, June 30, 2013

Red, White and Bluegrass

What better name for a bluegrass festival during the Fourth of July week than Red, White and Bluegrass!

What better way to celebrate freedom than sitting under open skies, listening to music that comes from the heart of American life. 

What better place to be with my Lessons Learned book than in the heart of Burke County where the story is set and with the people who are real live characters in the book.

What better group to share five days under a tent with than fellow writers.
What better attraction to entice the festival crowd to our tent than the wonderful Sweet Things Bakery and Ice Cream Parlor! YES! They will have tempting cookies and cake slices and oh, my, chocolate chip cookie sandwiches.

Join us every day, beginning today at eleven, all the way through the fireworks on the fourth. Enjoy the bluegrass music (the lineup of musicians sounds fantastic). And drop by our tent.

Catch of the day,


Monday, June 24, 2013

Called to the Mountains

I can't seem to get away from them.


I was born in a town in the Alleghenies. I went to school at Appalachian State University, can't get much more mountain than that. I live in the foothills of the Blue Ridge. My daughter lives in the shadow of Taos Mountain in New Mexico and soon I'll be sitting on her back deck sipping a cup of steamy hot tea as I watch the morning balloon launches in the Rio Grande Gorge, flat top mesas in the background. Aah!

I wrote about a school in the South Mountains in Lessons Learned: The Story of Pilot Mountain School. I wrote about a boy moving to the tree farms on the mountain slopes of North Carolina in the yet to be released but coming soon, When Christmas Seems Like Home.



Presenting my newest book! Set in the mountains, go figure.

Called to the Mountains: The Story of Jean L. Frese.

Only this time those mountains are the Smokies, the Smoky Mountains of Western North Carolina. And there on the cover is the subject of the book, Jean Frese, also known as Lorraine. What a story she had. What a witness to faith and determination.

This is her memoir, her voice. I changed very little of the recorded interview during the transcribing to writing process. She's my mother's cousin, raised by my grandmother, so I look on her as my aunt, Aunt Lorraine, despite the subtitle of the book. Her name change from Lorraine to Jean was only a small part of this faith story. It's a story of her life at the Salvation Army Mountain Mission in Shelton Laurel, North Carolina. It's a story of answering God's call, her call to the mountains.

Available now on Amazon.  Kindle version will be available later this week.

The call to the mountains runs deep in our family.

Catch of the Day,


Friday, June 14, 2013

Author Visit to Salem Ruritan Club

A day in the life of a writer...Sit in front of the computer for hours and hours, writing a book proposal, researching books in print, more writing, more researching, you get the idea.

Then a break, a joyous break. I was speaker at the monthly meeting of the Salem Ruritan Club. Ruritan National is a civic service organization designed for small rural communities. Their motto "Fellowship, Goodwill, and Community Service" came through at last night's meeting at their clubhouse near Salem School in Burke County.

I felt right at home during the fellowship time and even more so when I realized the menu for supper included as the main course, livermush. I thought perhaps they had selected that as a courtesy to me and my Lessons Learned mention of livermush. But no, this was the "poor man's country fried steak," as the cook for the night explained to me, and one of their favorite meals.

Since this club is a part of the community where Pilot Mountain School was located, every person there was familiar with my book. I had not interviewed any of these particular men because none of them had attended there, but they recognized every name I mentioned in my speech. Their children's pictures were in the book. Their wives. Their former teachers.

I was preaching to the choir only this choir knew more about the school than I ever will.

The greatest discovery about the night? Not the new friends I made. Not the books I sold. It was the stove in the kitchen where the livermush was fried.

One member of the club who was present last night was also a member of the club the day the school closed. He was with the other members when they bought the stove from the school system and installed it in the clubhouse where the meeting was held last night, the very stove in the very cafeteria I had written about, lived with in my brain for three years.

Strange experience, eating livermush cooked on that exact stove. I felt, no, it's more like I tasted and smelled a connection to the children of that school like I had not felt during those years of fact finding research.

A powerful night. I was humbled.

Catch of the day,