When you make a spectacle of yourself…

70s glasses

My ten-year-old son recently got glasses. It’s not a surprise: my wife and I both wear them. And while two wrongs don’t make a right, apparently two nearsighteds make a farsighted. I was nine when I got my first glasses. I was in third grade, my first year in the old, long-gone Gibson Elementary School in Tennessee. Now, with the … Read More

Interview: Sean Grigsby, author of SMOKE EATERS


Dragons are ubiquitous, and as a result, it can be difficult for a writer to find a new way to present them. Sean Grigsby, a fellow west Tennessean, has found a great approach: he combines dragons with his own experiences as a firefighter in his first novel, Smoke Eaters. I was lucky enough to read an advance copy of it, and … Read More

A True Story of Frog-Gigging and Disappointment

Frog Gig on Stick

I wrote the following piece for a memoir class taught by Michelle Wildgen, best-selling author of Bread and Butter and You’re Not You (soon to be a movie starring Hilary Swank). When I was a kid growing up in rural Tennessee, my dad determined that I would follow in his footsteps and leave a trail of dead small animals behind … Read More

Announcing Firefly Witch Volume 3: Back Atcha

Back Atcha Front Cover

Available on Kindle as of right now, the third collection of Firefly Witch tales, Back Atcha. In these three new short stories, the darkest adventures yet for the Firefly Witch, Tanna and Ry encounter their most vicious, diabolical and dangerous foes. One is a redneck who intends to sell his girlfriend to the devil, another is a serial killer with … Read More

Firefly Witch news (includes a freebie!)

final Croaked Front Cover New Font

The new Firefly Witch e-book chapbook collection, Croaked: More Tales of the Firefly Witch, is now available for only $2.99.   Also, from now through Monday, July 2, 2012, the first Firefly Witch collection is available for FREE on Amazon.  So if you’re curious about this new character and her world, there’s no better way or time to check it … Read More

The "Don’t Say Gay" bill and being "tender-hearted" in TN

So Tennessee, my home state and the setting of many of my stories and novels, has again made the national news. The State Senate passed a law dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill which outlaws even mentioning the existence of gay people in elementary and middle school. I doubt this also includes not mentioning the various slurs and code words … Read More

Solving the Murder at the Cheatin’ Heart Motel

Longtime readers of this blog will know I have a somewhat unresolved relationship with my home region of West Tennessee. It’s not the most scenic area: the state of Tennessee slopes downhill from Appalachia in the east, so the western end is the lowest, muddiest and flattest part. Except for Memphis, there are no notable cities (I suppose you could … Read More

Giants of West Tennessee: Buford Pusser

NOTE: This is the first in an occasional series about notable figures from my home region. These are personal reminiscences and opinions; where available, I’ll include links so interested readers can find out more. There aren’t many heroic figures to come out of flat, muddy west Tennessee. Elvis is one, obviously, but he’s a special case. Tina Turner, born Annie … Read More

You can’t go home again (and really, who’d want to?)

Recently a family emergency required me to return to my tiny West Tennessee home town. How tiny? The population is roughly 300, and around 250 of them are related to me at some level. Later, doing research for a novel set in the region, I came across this vintage (1970) description written by Donn (sic) Munson in SAGA magazine: West … Read More