Inspiration and “Copperhead Road”


When I teach writing classes, I often play the song “Copperhead Road,” by Steve Earle for the students. If you don’t know it, here’s the video.   When it’s over, I point out what makes the song so extraordinary. It tells the story of three generations of men named Conlee* Pedimore; grandfather was a moonshiner, father was a bootlegger, and … Read More

The Nature of Magic vs Science

Waterhouse Cauldron

Recently best-selling author Dave Farland wrote this article about the cost of magic. It’s an argument I’ve encountered before, and the short version is, everything must have a cost. If you cast a spell, the power has to come from somewhere. It’s the basic Law of the Conservation of Energy, one of the rules that keeps the universe ticking along. In other … Read More

Coming this fall: the ultimate Tufa event

Tufa albums

So here’s the big news: On September 18 and 19, 2015, the Enchanted Chalice Renaissance Faire  in Greenville, SC will present the ultimate Tufa event. For the first time ever you’ll have the music that inspired the Tufa, and the music inspired by the Tufa, at the same place as the guy (me) who writes about the Tufa. “Huh?” you say. … Read More

Help Plot My 2015 Reading Tour

Long Black Curl cover

Would you like to hear me read Long Black Curl to you this summer? Maybe ask me some questions in person? If so, here’s what you need to do.  Go to your local bookstore, ask if they’d be interested, and if they are, send me the contact info, including the name of the person in charge of author events. Don’t … Read More

Help fund Tufa Tales: Appalachian Fae


One of the best perks about being a writer is that you get to meet other artists. Most of them are fellow writers, but I’m lucky enough to also count visual artists, filmmakers, and musicians among my friends. I’ve connected with many of them through art, either theirs or mine, as well as through social gatherings like conventions and workshops. … Read More

Announcing the First Original Tufa Song


  There might be cooler things in the world than a band you really like, writing brand-new songs based on your novels. But at the moment, I can’t imagine what. Here’s Tuatha Dea premiering their original song, “The Hum and the Shiver.” [media url=””]  

Writer’s Day: A Visit to the Tufa Library

writer's day graphic

  Recently I had the honor of being invited to Rugby, TN, to do a reading and signing as part of their Appalachian Writers series.  Rugby is the inspiration for Cricket* in the Tufa novels, and the real Thomas Hughes Library shows up as the Roy Howard Library.  Here’s a glimpse inside. [media url=””]   *because I don’t work any … Read More

No More Heroines


I don’t like heroines. If you’re familiar with my work, you should immediately know I mean the word heroine, not the concept of the female protagonist. I’ve written one fantasy novel (The Hum and the Shiver) and a series of short stories (The Firefly Witch) with strong, tough female main characters, and I try to make the women in my Eddie … Read More

How Does Being a Southerner Affect My Writing?

Not an exaggeration; this is actually typical.

Recently fan Laura Kannard asked me, “How has being from the South affected your writing?” I got a similar question during my recent appearance at Poisoned Pen bookstore in Scottsdale, AZ, so it’s been fresh on my mind. And it’s one of those questions for which there’s no easy answer. It’s clear that the South certainly has more than its … Read More

Three Questions on Writing

Alas, his cat was no help.

Recently my friend Talis Kimberley, an amazing songwriter and musician, asked me a couple of questions I thought might be of more general interest. So I thought I’d answer them here. 1: What are you proudest of having written? That’s got a couple of answers. Every writer has, in his or her head, an ideal version of their book. It’s … Read More