February 23, 2007

My People

A nice East Tennessee daughter helping her Daddy work the farm.

New and Improved Writing Techniques

Gradually I transitioned to the much more “professional” and “elegant” way of creating a first draft — fast food napkins — these notes were clearly produced during a McDonald’s phase. : )

Early Stages of Heart in the Right Place

Large piles of scraps of paper with one-liners written on them — snippets of conversation, ideas…

February 18, 2007


Stephen King’s book “On Writing” is the second best book I’ve come across.  It is wonderful, expecially for understanding the magnitude of motivation some people have (see also the film 8 Mile to observe the same principle in action).

Surprising Number 1 Favorite Book on Writing

Secrets of Songwriting by Susan Tucker — this is the way I wrote Heart in the Right Place — like a country music songwriter. 

 It was a huge relief to find that I belonged to an honorable school of writing.  Until I read this book, I’d been embarrassed about my redneck writing style.

I’d hear snippets of conversation and jot them down on napkins from fast food drive-thrus (this is actually true).

Nearly the entire book was at one time scribbled on McDonalds, Hardees, KFC, Sonic, Taco Bell, Arby’s, Krystal, and Burger King napkins.

February 16, 2007

Book Tour Schedule

June 24, 2010, Jefferson City, TN, First United Methodist Church.

May 16, 2010, Knoxville, TN, Private Book Club.

April 28, 2010, Mason, MI, Private Book Club.

April 26, 2010, The Irving Club, Knoxville, TN.

April 19, 2010, One Community One Book, Annual Keynote, Lansing, MI.

April 17, 2010, Joseph-Beth Booksellers, Lexington, KY.

March 28, 2010, Friends of the Library Annual Keynote, Oak Ridge, TN.

March 9, 2010, Doctor Radio, 8 am, Sirius 114/XM Radio 119.

October 5, 2009, Knoxville, TN, Private Book Club.

October 1, 2009, Kingston, TN, Private Book Club.

September 21, 2009, Sauk Centre, Minnesota, Private Book Club.

August 11, 2009, Oak Ridge, TN, Private Book Club.

May 4, 2009, Gibson Island, MD, Private Book Club.

April 6, 2009, Knoxville, TN, Carpe Librum Booksellers, Webb School Teachers’ Book Club.

March 23, 2009, Lansing Michigan, Private Book Club.

February 20, 2009, White Bear Lake, Minnesota, Private Book Club.

January 20, 2009, Columbia, TN, Maury County Public Library Book Club, NEA Big Read Event, and Culleoka Unit School.

January 12, 2009, Roseland, New Jersey, Private Book Club.

January 10, 2009, Farragut, TN, Westside Unitarian Church Book Club.

January 5, 2009, Richmond, VA, Reger Book Club.

December 11, 2008, Johnson City, TN.

December 9, 2008, Oliver Springs, TN, Dewey Divas and Roane County Librarians, seminar, 12-3 pm.

November 20-23, 2008, Fairhope, AL, Southern Writers Reading. Also, taping of Bookmarks, Don Noble, host, Alabama Public Television.

November 13, 2008, Maryville, TN, Blount County Libarary, discussion and signing, 7-8:30 pm.

October 12, 2008, Nashville, TN, Southern Festival of the Book, panelist and signing, Legislative Plaza, 2:30-3:30, Room 29.

September 23, 2008, Greenwood, MS, Turnrow Books, discussion and signing, 5:30 pm.

September 18, 2008, Montgomery, AL, Capitol Book & News, discussion and signing, 4 pm.

September 12, 2008, Milligan College, TN, Faculty Book Club, 12:45.

September 6, 2008, Knoxville, TN, Carpe Librum Bookstore, discussion and signing, 2 pm.

July 18-19, 2008, Shreveport, LA, Author! Author!, Municipal Auditorium, Benefit for Louisiana Hayride.

June 14, 2008, Chattanooga, TN, Clarion Doubletree, Family Medicine Update.

April 20, 2008, Edwardsville, IL, St. Andrew’s Book Club.

March 25, 2008, Kingsport, TN, McKeehan Book Club.

February 9, 2008, Jacksonville, AL, Jacksonville State University, On The Brink: Emerging Southern Authors Conference.

February 8, 2008, Knoxville, TN, Messiah Lutheran Church.

January 23, 2008, Concord, TN, Concord United Methodist Church.

December 9, 2007, Knoxville, TN, Lawson McGhee Library, signing 1-5 pm.

December 4, 2007, Knoxville, TN, Carpe Librum Bookstore, Oak Ridge Book Club, 6 pm.

November 5, 2007, Knoxville, TN, Mended Hearts, William Bailey Room of Eye Institute across street from Baptist Hospital, 7:00 pm, discussion and signing.

October 30, 2007, Knoxville, TN, Carpe Librum Bookstore Tuesday Book Club, 6:30 pm.

October 26, 2007, Norris, TN, Knox County Public Library Training, Alex Haley Farm.

October 18, 2007, Millersburg [and Winesburg] Ohio, Holmes County District Public Library 10th Anniversary Bash, 7 pm.

October 7, 2007, Morris Town, New Jersey, Private Book Club.

September 25, 2007, Kodak, TN, Friends of the Kodak Library, Kodak Library, 6:30 pm, discussion and signing.

September 23, 2007, Johnson City, TN, Private Book Club, 1:00 pm.

September 10, 2007, Gatlinburg, TN, Gatlinburg Welcome Center, National Park Benefit Signing, 11 am-2 pm, on Spur/Parkway between Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg.

September 5, 2007, Knoxville, Private Book Club, 6:30 pm.

August 26, 2007, Knoxville, Private Book Club, 5:00 pm.

August 21, 2007, Knoxville, Knox County Public Library, Carter Branch, 6:30-7:30 pm, discussion and signing.

August 15, 2007, Knoxville, TN, Private Book Club, 12:00 noon.

August 4, 2007, Knoxville, TN, Private Book Club, 4:30-6:30 pm.

July 12, 2007, Tyler, TX, Pupwood Queens phone discussion, 8:30 pm (EDST).

July 7, 2007, Townsend, TN, Townsend Visitor Center, 11 am-2 pm, signing.

June 19, 2007, Jefferson, TX, Pulpwood Queens Book Club June Book of the Month Meeting.

June 18, 2007, Sevierville, TN, Sevierville Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center, 1.25 miles from I-40/81 Exit 407 on Hwy. 66, 11 am-2 pm, book signing.

June 17, 2007, Asheville, NC, Malaprops, 3:00 pm, Reading and Discussion.

June 16, 2007, Live National Radio Interview, Satellite Sisters Radio Book Club (XM Satellite Radio & ABC Radio Network), 10:30-11:00 am Eastern Time.

June 16, 2007, Knoxville, TN, Carpe Librum Books, 2:00 pm, Reading and Discussion.

June 15, 2007, Knoxville, TN, WBIR TV-10, Style, on-air interview.

June 14, 2007, Chattanooga, TN, Rock Point Books, 6:00 pm, Reading and Discussion.

June 13, 2007, Nashville, TN, Davis-Kidd Booksellers, 6:00 pm, Reading and Discussion.

June 12, 2007, Lexington, KY, Joseph-Beth Booksellers, 6:00 pm, Reading and Discussion.

June 9, 2007, San Jose, CA, Book Group Expo, McEnery Convention Center, Salon A, on a panel from 1:30-2:30 pm, Family Dearest: The Things We Do For Love, with Marisa de los Santos, Jennie Shortridge, Lolly Winston, and Susan Ito.

June 1-3, 2007, New York City, NY, Book Expo.

RADIO: On these radio shows (many are nationally and internationally syndicated)
Voice of America [worldwide, 200+ countries, 115 million listeners]
ABC Radio Network “Satellite Sisters”
World Talk Radio
Lifestyle Talk Radio “The Michael Dresser Show”
“The Lisa Birnbach Show”
“A Touch of Gray: The Talk Show for Grownups”
Leisure Talk “Be the Star that You Are”
Deborah Harper at www.PsychJourney.com
USA Radio Network “Daybreak” [syndicated to 250 stations]
WAMC “The Round Table” [syndicated to 500 NPR affiliates]
WJR “The Warren Pierce Show” [top clear-channel station in Detroit]
KSFR “The Journey Home” [winner of 5 AP broadcast awards] [NPR affiliate]
WPKM “Second Saturday Magazine”
KEEL “Strategies for Living”
KVON “Morning Edition”
WBAA “920 Magazine” [NPR affiliate]
KSRR “Healthy, Wealthy Wow”
WCQB/WHNC “The Alvin Jones Show”
KAXE “Real Good Words”
KCMN “Tron in the Morning”
KLPW “The Diane Jones Show”
KWMR “Parent Talk”
WDWS “The Gary O’Brien Show”
WGVU “Open Mind” [NPR affiliate]
WUNC “The State of Things” [NPR affiliate]
WJXB-FM Book of the Month (with Harry Potter) for B97.5
WUOT “Mumbledypeg” [NPR affiliate]
WILL “Afternoon Magazine” [NPR affiliate]
WUKY “Tonic: The Arts & Music Magazine with a Twist”

Official Pulpwood Queens Book Club Selection for August!!!

Heart in the Right Place was just given the great honor of being named the Official Selection of The Pulpwood Queens Book Club for August!
We are thus, now entitled to display the ultimate badge of honor — the Pulpwood Queens Stamp of Approval!

June (date not set yet), Jefferson, TX Pulpwood Queens Book Club June Book of the Month Meeting.

I am also invited to speak as part of a panel discussion on Saturday, July 14, and am happily attending every minute of the Pulpwood Queens International Book Club Author Extravaganza in Shreveport, LA, July 13-15.

February 14, 2007


February 9, 2007

Early Genius Displayed?

Already testing the limits at a very early age.

Embarrassing Moments Down at the Funeral Home

During my years of interviewing country doctors, it became obvious that many of their wildest stories involved the participation of the local funeral home in some way. 

Frequently in the doctor’s silly story involved the participation of a funeral home because, in the old days, the only “ambulance” available was a hearse. 

It used to be that hearses were “convertible” for live or dead occupants.  And the local funeral director lived in the commnity and knew where everyone else lived, so he could be relied on to be fast to reach the scene.  The dedicated vehicle we know as an ambulance is a relatively recent luxury. 

Other times the funeral home was involved for the more obvious reason that someone had passed away.  But, even then, it wasn’t as simple a case as it might have been.

I’ve accumulated an amazing collection of stories of picking up the wrong person, delivering the “body” to the wrong place, processions going astray…

What I learned was that the kids who grew up in funeral homes had childhood’s a lot like mine.  We bonded over the constraints of growing up serious and responsible and restrained right from the get-go.