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

A Couple of More Questions on Writing

Editorial assistant Sophie

Here are some more questions from readers, with the same caveat at last week: my answers describe my process, which may be totally different from yours. Neither is “right”; what matters is what works for you. From Donald Kirby: When you have two openings that appeal equally, how do you choose? That actually happened to me on Long Black Curl. I wanted … Read More

Win an advance reader copy of Long Black Curl

Long Black Curl cover

The third Tufa novel, Long Black Curl, doesn’t come out until May. But you might win an advance reader copy right now by leaving a comment below telling me about your favorite folk song (new, old, original, traditional, it doesn’t matter). I’ll be giving away eight copies, so pass the word and let everyone know. Deadline is midnight on Sunday, … Read More

A Tale of Two Curls


Sometimes a song inspires a book. Sometimes a book inspires a song. And sometimes–okay, this is the only time I’m aware of this happening–a song inspires a book which inspires a song. There are two wonderful songs out there that share a title with my upcoming novel. Don’t ask me to pick a favorite, because I can’t. But I can … 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=””]  

Get Your Name (And Favorite Song) in a Tufa Novel


Anita Covington recently lost her husband to cancer and within two weeks was also involved in a near fatal motorcycle accident. She has massive injuries (detailed on the website) and is still in the hospital. Like so many people, Anita has no insurance. She is 62 years old. The band Tuatha Dea has organized an auction to raise money for her … Read More

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

First Official Tufa Swag


Fans of Wisp of a Thing and The Hum and the Shiver can now sip their morning Joe in a genuine replica of the coffee cups provided by Ms. Peggy Goins at her fine establishment, the Catamount Corner Motel, in Needsville, TN.  Being a stylish Southern woman of a certain age, she’d never accuse a guest of stealing a coffee … Read More

One more day until WISP OF A THING

One more day until the official release (in stores, online, on eBook platforms and on unabridged audio) of the second Tufa novel, Wisp of a Thing. Here’s a brand new trailer featuring new music, this time by James Travis, that focuses on a completely different aspect of the story. Hope you enjoy! [media url=”″]