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I Turned My Basement Into a Book-Themed Bar

I Turned My Basement Into a Book-Themed Bar

“This is what I want,” I said as I sipped a delicious Great Gatsby (champagne, orange bitters, orange peel, sugar cube) inside Battery Park Book Exchange, a champagne bar/bookstore in Asheville, North Carolina. In February 2019, I moved into a house that had a rather nondescript basement brimming with possibility: a wood-burning fireplace flanked by tall built-in bookshelves, a buffet space with cabinetry above and below, and plenty of empty space with which I had no idea what to do….

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A Look Ahead: Gearing Up for a Busy 2020

A Look Ahead: Gearing Up for a Busy 2020

It’s been a bit quiet on the website lately, but I’m happy to say it hasn’t been because of inactivity. Several past periods of quietness could have been attributed to that, but not this time! In fact, I’m heading into the most active time I’ve had since launching this writing career so many years ago. I thought I’d provide a few updates. New River Gorge Creative Residency I have been selected as one of three creatives for the New River…

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Tanya Tucker Albums Ranked

Tanya Tucker Albums Ranked

As the world awaits the release of the Texas Tornado’s first new album in 17 years, let’s take a look back at her long, storied recording career. From Delta Dawn to My Turn, every Tanya Tucker album ranked from worst to best.

Guilty Pleasure Reads

Guilty Pleasure Reads

I was recently discussing with a friend guilty pleasures in terms of entertainment – books, music, television, etc. The fact is, there isn’t too much entertainment I consume that I feel guilty about. I don’t shy away from my love of old sitcoms, folk music, and, as I’ve often been told, things little old ladies would like.  In fact, the older I get, the more abundantly clear it is that I inherited a lot of my personality traits from my…

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I Did a StoryCorps Interview. Here’s What Happened.

I Did a StoryCorps Interview. Here’s What Happened.

In September, I had the pleasure of stepping into an Airstream trailer in downtown Charleston with my friend, Tabitha Surface, microphones placed between us at a small table in a dimly lit booth with a silent facilitator in the corner watching over us, to record a conversation about being LGBT in Appalachia. It was part of StoryCorps, and it was truly moving. If you aren’t familiar with it, StoryCorps is a non-profit organization whose mission is to record, preserve and share the…

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Literary Tattoos

Literary Tattoos

a.k.a. “That Time I Got a Big-Ass Typewriter on My Arm” When I told my dad recently that I was getting a rather large tattoo of an antique typewriter on my arm, he asked, “Now, why do you do that?” It wasn’t judgmental or harsh in tone. It was simple inquiry. So simple, in fact, I didn’t know how to answer him. Mind you, both of my siblings have tattoos, so this was nothing new for my folks. My brother…

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Am I Even a Writer?

Am I Even a Writer?

Pity, party of one. I’ve been in one hell of a terrible slump for probably a year or more, trying and failing to pump some life into a lagging writing career. I’m happy to report that I’m emerging from it, but it’s been a rather dreary time. I thought I’d share a little about why I’ve been feeling this way. Perhaps it’ll help other writers trying to dig their way out of the hole. My slump came to a head…

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Best Books of 2017

Best Books of 2017

It’s been a while since I’ve compiled a “best of” list of the books I’ve read over the course of the year, but seeing as how I’m attempting to reinvigorate the blog, I thought I’d offer a list of my recent favorites. When looking back on my favorite books of the year, a couple patterns emerged. Apparently, this year I was really into politics, mystery and the musings of authors better known as actors. In random order, here are my…

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Remembering Ellen’s Coming Out

Remembering Ellen’s Coming Out

I watched “The Puppy Episode” 20 years later. Here’s what happened. I recently discovered that Ellen, Ellen Degeneres’s sitcom which ran on ABC from 1993 to 1998, is on Hulu! It’s funny as I’ve revisited the show how clearly I remember watching the episodes when they first aired – especially the infamous “Puppy Episode” from April 1997, in which Ellen’s character, Ellen Morgan, came out as a lesbian – just as Ellen Degeneres did herself in real life on the…

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Mountain Woman: Reflections on Life in the Appalachian Coalfields

Mountain Woman: Reflections on Life in the Appalachian Coalfields

On a typical Sunday morning drive through Omar, W.Va., about 10 miles south of the Logan County seat, there’s little activity along the two-lane road that winds its way through the community. Once a bustling coal town nestled between the mountains, empty storefronts and pothole-lined streets suggest a place whose best days may be behind it. Yet election signs dot front yards, people gather at the lone filling station to discuss the day’s news, and the parking lots of the…

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