Dark as a Dungeon: the music of the miners

Dark as a Dungeon CD

Part of The Fairies of Sadieville takes place in 1915, and involves two specialized occupations: making silent movies, which I’ll cover elsewhere, and coal mining. Sadieville is a new coal boom town, and I was determined to get it right. I did a lot of book research on it, to get accurate technology and terminology, but to get the feel, I turned, appropriately, to … Read More

Why fairies?

Don't look in the hole

One of the most basic questions I get about the Tufa series, which concludes in April with The Fairies of Sadieville, is also one of the hardest to quantifiably answer: Why fairies? It certainly wasn’t an obvious interest. I grew up in a tiny Southern town, surrounded by friends and family who had no time for matters of imagination. And even … Read More

“Sadieville” and The Fairies of Sadieville

Thermonuclear rodeo

I’ve written about the music of the Tufa novels many times, from many different perspectives. The songs quoted in the text tend to be classic public domain folk songs, or songs written by musicians who have given me permission to use them. I have on occasion written lyrics myself (most extensively in Wisp of a Thing), but I make no … 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

On Fairy Life

Dadd Fairy Feller detail 2

This is the second post adapted from a presentation I did at the 2017 Pagan Unity Festival. You can read the first post here. As I said in the prior post, if you’re here reading this, you probably already know that my Tufa novels are about a race of exiled fairy folk in the mountains of east Tennessee. The title of … Read More

What are fairies?

Dadd Fairy Feller detail

This is adapted from a presentation I gave at the 2017 Pagan Unity Festival. If you’re here reading this, you probably already know that my Tufa novels are about a race of exiled fairy folk in the mountains of east Tennessee. The title of the sixth and final book in the series, The Fairies of Sadieville, explicitly references this connection. And although they’re … 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

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 Addendum: When It All Goes Right

computer keyboard

This is a quick addendum to yesterday’s blog post about editing disasters, to show you an example of when things go right. Recently I sold the short story “White Hart, Black Knight,” to Uncanny Magazine. It’s a story about my character Eddie LaCrosse, inspired by an Arthurian tale of Sir Gawain. When I turned it in,  the editor very astutely pointed out … 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