Thank you so much to all who joined me in celebrating the release of Notorious in Nashville at Parnassus Books this past Thursday night! I had such a great time, and I hope you all did as well!
The Library/Media Center at Nashville State Community College, where I taught for twenty years, always made a big deal of Banned Books Week–and it IS a big deal. I won’t even touch banning Dr. Seuss for children, but college should be a place where students can grow in their ability to examine, explore, evaluate–basically, think for themselves. Thank you, Faye Jones at NSCC, for sending photos of this year’s display!
An Unfinished Canvas Audiobook Available Now
Based on the true story of the Janet March murder in Nashville, the story of this riveting cold case is now available in an audiobook!
To access the discount code for this audiobook, see the link below!
Notorious in Nashville will be published soon. Watch for more information about release date and book event in Nashville!
Books for the beach, pool, or plane that will take you to Provence, Ireland, and Italy.
Look for the next book in the Jordan Mayfair Mystery series, coming this fall!
If you have 10 minutes, take a look at this video from the live storytelling event at Jackelope Brewing Co. on June 20. What an exciting event it was! There were about 100 people in the audience (standing room only!), and I was in the company of 8 other talented writers presenting their stories about “Home.” I hope you enjoy listening to my short story, “Have You Come to Take Me Home?” and be sure to sign up for my email list to hear more about upcoming events and giveaways!
I’m so excited to announce that I’ll be doing a live story reading with Tenx9 Nashville on June 20 at 6:30 pm! The event features nine Nashville writers who each read one ten-minute story focused on the theme “Home.” It’s such a joy to be able to attend events in-person again. How fitting that the Nashville live story reading will be held at Jackalope Brewing Company, a local favorite!
The address for Jackalope Brewing Company is 429B Houston St, Nashville TN 37203. I hope to see you there!
That’s right: I’m in a podcast!
If you love scary stories then you’ll love the Everyday Monsters horror podcast hosted by Donnie Lansdale, experienced voice actor and podcast host. Each episode features a spooky story written by a guest author, many of them award-winning, and I’m one of them! My story “What the Cat Knew” appears in episode two on Spotify.
Watch this trailer for a peek at the Everyday Monsters podcast, and be sure to give Donnie a follow to keep up with new episodes. Also, let me know what you think of the story in the comments below. I love to hear your thoughts!
We never had much, on our small Tennessee farm, tucked away in almost Alabama. But the crepe paper dress is a reminder that there was no needle my mother would not try to thread for me.
The second grade school play was coming up, and I was cast as Little Bo-Peep. Excited as I was to have the part, I am sure now that when my mother read the note from school, what I saw in her eyes was worry. Worry that we couldn’t afford the material to make the costume. No velvet. No satin. Not even cotton for a dress I’d wear just once.
But after a while, we went to town and bought crepe paper.
My mother made all of my clothes. Homemade was the best she could afford. She’d see a dress in the Sears catalog or in a store window in Florence, Alabama, and say, “I can make it.” From school clothes to formals, my mother had a gift for making something out of nothing. I was much older before I understood what a luxury it was to have my own personal seamstress through all my growing-up years.
All those creations exist only in memory now, except for one. The crepe paper dress.
I could not imagine how she would ever turn paper—the kind used for wrapping a present or decorating for a party—into a dream I could wear.
But my mother was an artist.
I can see it all, still. With pinking shears in hand, she cut crisp patterns out of newspaper and spread them on the dining room table. Leaning forward, she guided the crepe paper under the Singer’s clacking needle, treadle whirring softly, like a song. Late into the night, she bent over her needlework, straight pins clamped between her teeth, her fingers slip-stitching the hem of the nearly-finished costume. All of it, fashioning from thread and paper and love, not just a dress for the play, but a crepe paper memory that has endured for decades.
Every woman has had forgettable dresses, expensive brand names that have come and gone. My mother is gone now, too. But I can still remember the feel of the crepe paper on my little girl shoulders. Sometimes I still get the urge to look at the dress, just to marvel at my mother’s imagination and her exquisite handiwork.
I keep it close in a corner of an old bureau. And I keep it closer in a corner of my heart.
Crepe paper is fragile. But this most delicate work of art, a reminder of my mother’s love, has survived for all these years. So has my love for her.
Some things are one of a kind. This dress. And my mother.