Fresh feasting for your famished earholes, hot off the audio griddle. Curtis M. Lawson, host of the podcast Wyrd Transmissions, has interviewed me. Listen to us chat a little about my writing and a lot more about other stuff.
Good riddance, 2020! For sure, this year has not been the all-around best of times. However, writing-wise, I’ve actually been doing pretty good this year. According to my annual custom, I will review last year’s achievements, then make a few goals to shoot for going forward.
This past Christmas, my brother- and sister-in-law got me the biography of George Orwell by Gordon Bowker that I had been wanting. Nineteen Eighty-Four has been one of my all-time favorite books since high school. It was the first assigned reading in High School that I remember actually liking. I devoured it then, and I have returned to it multiple times since. I considered George Orwell, whose actual name was Eric Blair, a favorite writer, though I had not read many of his works. Along with Nineteen Eighty-Four, Animal Farm was required reading in high school. Sadly, nothing else from Orwell was assigned, and I did not get around to reading more of his books until a few years ago, when Emily got me a two-in-one volume that includes Homage to Catalonia and Down and Out in Paris and London, plus a little booklet from Penguin that collects a few of his most famous essays. These works greatly confirmed my love for his writing, and created a greater desire to learn more about the writer.
“The Puddle Girl of St. George” is a unique kind of ghost story set in the beautiful, haunting St. George, West Virginia. I’m very proud that it was selected for publication in the annual Anthology of Appalachian Writers.
Even though this volume (Vol. XI), featuring guest editor Karen Spears Zacharias, was technically published back in June, I’ve been waiting to post about it until there was a working link for ordering the book. For some reason there was a listing for it on the Shepherd University Online Bookstore for a while now, but it has been listed as Out of Stock until this month. Well, better late than never—you can order it now!
I don’t listen to the radio as much as I listen to podcasts, but most of my favorite podcasts are derived from public radio, so NPR is dear to me. And they are piling on some major bonus points. Having polled readers for their favorite horror novels and stories, judges who are well-known within the horror fiction community sifted through the results and whittled them down to an expertly curated list of one hundred! Find them here and figure out what you need to add to your reading list. I’m happy to say that one of the works I nominated made it to the list: “The Repairer of Reputations”, which is one of my favorite short stories and the first in Robert W. Chambers’ unforgettable classic collection, The King in Yellow.
The results are finally in for Best Author in WV Living‘s Best of West Virginia 2017. First I want to say thank you to all my fans who voted for me. In the end, I didn’t win, but I think everyone will agree that the winner was totally deserving.
Congrats to Scott McClanahan! His book Crapalachia has been on my TBR list for a long time. (I haven’t gotten around to it yet as I have recently been focusing primarily on the works of WV writers Davis Grubb and Denise Giardina—I haven’t even read any Lee Maynard yet :/ … )
Scott’s new title, The Sarah Book, released this past July by Tryant Books, was picked as one of the Best Books of 2017 by LitReactor, as well as one of the Best Books of 2017 by NPR. To be honest, when I saw his name on the ballot, I didn’t honestly expect any other result. I mean, the guy was interviewed by Rolling Stone, for crying out loud! What an honor for West Virginia to have such a highly acclaimed author representing our state.
For the rest of this year’s Best of West Virginia, go to https://www.wvliving.com/bowv17/ (shout out to the Davis/Thomas/Canaan area where I grew up, pulling in multiple awards!), and don’t forget to follow WV Living on Twitter and Instagram.
Over the weekend I signed and sold my books at one of my favorite events, the Lewisburg Literary Festival. Lewisburg is up at the top of my favorite places in WV, and a big reason for that is their appreciation for books expressed in this fun annual event. (Re: the title of this post, Lewisburg was named America’s Coolest Small Town by Budget Travel in 2011). I took a few pics and thought those of you who weren’t there would want to see what you missed out on. Continue reading
My book signing at Empire Books & News in Huntington, WV was a blast. I lucked out as Huntington’s annual Hot Dog Festival was going on in Pullman Square during my signing, which I’m pretty sure resulted in even more visitors to the book store than normal. Before the event I ordered another box of books just in case I sold most of them at Empire, and it’s a good thing I did!
This weekend I’ll be selling and signing my books in the vendor area at the Lewisburg Literary Festival on August 4 & 5 (this Friday and Saturday). Along with many other great WV authors and publishers selling their books, there will also be workshops and speakers in the area. I’ve been to the Lewisburg Literary Festival as an observer before and it is a blast, believe me (and it’s free to attend!). Not to mention just walking around Lewisburg alone is pretty fun; it’s one of my favorite towns in WV. Come see us, and don’t forget to reserve tickets to the scheduled events (free, but necessary to hold your spot as seating is limited).
Guest speakers and workshop teachers for 2017 include Eliot Parker, Morgan Spurlock, Mesha Maren, and the featured speaker is #1 New York Times best-selling author Azar Nafisi! Find out more about it and reserve your tickets on the website or Facebook.