On Themes and the Tufa, Part 2

Coffin stayed in Tennessee

See part 1 here. When The Hum and the Shiver proved successful enough to warrant a sequel, I wanted to advance the themes as well as the story. I decided that the central recurring character would be the place, not Bronwyn Hyatt. Cloud County and Needsville held many other characters I felt could (and subsequently did) carry their own novels. I’ve said … Read More

On Themes and the Tufa, Part 1

Museum of Appalachia tools

When I wrote the first Tufa novel, The Hum and the Shiver, I had no plans for a series. I wrote it on spec, without a contract, just prior to the release of my first novel, The Sword-Edged Blonde. In that first Tufa book, I had a very particular, self-contained story in mind: circumstances force Bronwyn Hyatt to decide how … Read More

An announcement about The Fairies of Sadieville

Sadieville final cover

As I’ve said before, every book in a series is a balancing act between giving readers something new, and giving them what they already love. We’ve all read series that over time seemed unable to do the former and settled for repeating the latter. It’s common to say, “That series should’ve ended back at <insert series book title of your … Read More

Reader Question: Writing from a Woman’s POV

Catamount Cup and Wisp Book

Reader Jane Payne (a name I just may borrow for a character) asked on my Facebook author page: “Writing POV for female characters. You do well! Is it challenging?” First, thank you for the compliment. I appreciate that a lot. Is it challenging? I can’t deny that it was at first, mainly because I expected it to be. We’re taught … Read More

Edit Disasters and the Writers Who Cause Them (i.e., me)

Keyboard and coffee

Over on my Facebook author page, reader Susan Wachowski asked, “Any edit disasters after you turn in your manuscript?” In my usual process—and mine is really the only one I know—there are several steps before a book reaches a reader’s hands. First I typically do at least three drafts, possibly more, before anyone else reads it. That can clock in … Read More

Win the audio version of Gather Her Round!

Gather Her Round audio

So the good folks at Blackstone Audio have sent along a couple of copies of the audio version of my latest Tufa novel, Gather Her Round. Once again it’s read by Stefan Rudnicki, who makes my writing sound at least ten percent better. It’s a $35 value, but you can enter for a chance to win one of them FREE … Read More

Cover reveal for The Fairies of Sadieville

Sadieville final cover

Here we go: the cover for the sixth Tufa novel, The Fairies of Sadieville. This cover was designed by Jamie Stafford-Hill under the supervision of Irene Gallo, and in my opinion they’ve really outdone themselves. All the Tufa novel covers have been gorgeous (in my opinion), and this one is no exception. It also depicts a moment from the story, which … Read More

Interview: the Lucky Nows

The Lucky Nows

The music in the Tufa novels comes from three main sources: classic folk music, modern indie music, and me. By that, I mean that if I can’t find lyrics to quote from in the first two sources, then it falls back on me to create them. I’m under no delusions about being a songwriter, and I don’t necessarily consider my little … Read More

Presenting Rex Winters: the Story behind Gather Her Round’s Dedication

Stack newspaper

Sometimes dedicating a book is easy, as when a particular person inspires you to write it in the first place, as Tia Sisk did for my first novel, The Sword-Edged Blonde. Or when they’re instrumental in the writing process, the way my son Jake was for Wake of the Bloody Angel. Or when the stars just align, as they did … Read More

How a Springsteen Bootleg Inspired a Scene in WISP OF A THING

The back cover of the Fire on the Fingertips bootleg, with all the wrong song titles. For reference, they should be; SIDE ONE, Santa Ana, Bishop Danced, Seaside Bar Song; SIDE TWO, Zero and Blind Terry, Thundercrack.

Since today’s my birthday, I thought I’d bring y’all a little somethin’-somethin’: an example of how things end up the way they do in novels, along with an absolutely kick-ass song. It used to be a lot of work being a Bruce Springsteen fan. He notoriously wrote many more songs than he put on his albums, and if you wanted to hear … Read More