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23rd of February

Monticello Beauty: a hometown meditation

Things which captivate me still, regarding my hometown, Monticello, Kentucky:


Blackberries growing along the edge of Sally Burnett Road

Cheeseburgers simmering on Main Street’s Pool Hall grill

Turtles stepping on one another to get pellets at Conley Bottom Resort

Shane Blevins shooting a 3-pointer, the subsequent swish

Cornbread recipes shared at Mill Springs Mill

The word ‘Pull!’ being shouted in a field, followed by shotgun blasts

Horses swimming in an open pond in summer

Church bells ringing at Elk Ridge Baptist Church

Harold Turpin preaching 1 Corinthians 13

Baptism with six friends in a creek one, crisp October

Dennis Wheeler leading a choir on Sundays

Cardinal couples darting from branch to branch at the park

A skier dropping a ski between New Fall and White Oak Creeks

Lake Cumberland reaching into the trees after a rain

Losing a teammate to that same pool one year

Kelda Stringer sharing the Wayne County Outlook with all

The doughboy looking on

Dad driving like Steve McQueen between Delta and Hwy 92

The roar of a Chevy Nova getting me to Bell Elementary

Grandma’s suppers on Tuesday nights

Family reunions at the Memorial Park shelter house

Bus rides to and from Cave Street with Ingrid Coffey

Basketball double headers on Fridays

Kickball tournaments in the Miniard auditorium

 Veteran’s Day parades and our pride in hometown heroes

Open lunch at South Creek Mini Mart

Paul Stringer reading Harper Lee aloud

Jimmy Cooper obsessing over his desk

Mountain View Camp and Chrysalis – God’s very movement

Menville Dishman on our family doorstep, inviting us back to church one more time



(*image by Mitchell McGuire, Art Deco rendering/design)

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15th of February

Write Your Story. Share Your Story.


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5th of February


Being an enigma is far from bad

Every finger print differing for a reason

Consider the differences in the Grand Canyon

And Mount Everest

Trenches and peaks falling and rising in varying proportions

A cave remaining dark all day

And snow lingering on precipices, up high

A bat needing a home during daylight hours

And man craving rest in the darkest reaches of night

Differences are awe-inspiring

Sameness is bland

Leonardo da Vinci was anything but mad

Van Gogh while mad was anything except boring

Hobbits were constructed in the mind of a world-builder

And Billy Graham preached like his soul was on fire

These are the attributes of difference

These are the joys of deliverance

From a world lacking season

From a dish missing salt

Difference is good


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5th of December

NEW Project Underway for 2018!

While it’s still very much in its infancy, I’m so excited about an idea I’ve been constructing of late!

It’s still too early to give much away, but suffice it to say it encompasses post-Civil War America. But not the parts in Reconstruction mode we all think about and get sentimental for.

It’s taken more research than I thought I’d put into a book, but hopefully that will pay off in bringing truth to light.

And most importantly, I hope you enjoy it as much as you’ve enjoyed other projects. Baptisms & Dogs, Wheelman, and Swimming the E. were all largely passion projects from personal experience and growth. This one isn’t memory-driven at all, but rather, an overflow of interest regarding a region. There. I’ve said too much.

It’s being composed as a quasi-illustrated novellette. (Say that 5 times really fast.)

And as much as I’d like to share sketches, plot, and a forthcoming title…it’s still too early in the game to do so.

However, my promise is to get these things to you soon. If you promise me, you’ll share the heck out of it once it becomes a real, living breathing thing.


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6th of November

That Time I Met Wendell Berry…

The SouthWord Literary Festival, 2017 – Chattanooga, TN.

Writers included some of my all-time favorites. A list as talented as the Golden State Warriors of present day. No. Better. Way way better. Forget the comparison. Just look at the list below.

In no particular order:

Wendell Berry (I could stop right here.)

Tom Franklin

Jim Grimsley

Tim Gautreaux

Ron Rash

Steve Yarbrough

Maurice Manning

Bobbie Ann Mason

Charles Frazier

George Singleton

Brad Watson

Allan Gurganus

Tony Earley

Lee Smith

Silas House

Richard & Robert Bausch

Now I understand why some obsess over Disney World/ Disney Land. This conference housed rock stars in the literary arena, and they all came together and discussed the craft of writing. I was star struck like a girl at her first Beatle’s concert. May the magic never wear off! I’ll probably never wash hand again.

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Categories:  thankfulness writing tips
28th of September

Event Pictures from Star Line Books – Swimming the Echo

Many thanks for the attendance at last week’s Q&A, Reading, & Signing at Star Line Books in downtown Chattanooga! It was a great return to that wonderful independent bookstore. Sharing Swimming the Echo and its construction with everyone was a fantastic time. The questions were thoughtful and welcomed! Hope to see you at the next event soon.

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19th of September

Chattanooga Book Signing, Thursday!

Book Signing with Brian L. Tucker

Star Line Books loves to have local writers in the shop, and Brian Tucker is no exception. A great friend of Star Line, Brian will be joining us in the shop for a reading and signing of his most recent novel, Swimming the Echo.  Born in Monticello, KY, Brian is an immense talent, who has lived in the foothills of the Appalachians, Houston, and eastern North Carolina. His fiction has appeared in more than twenty publications. He is an alumnus of the Eastern Kentucky University Bluegrass Writers Studio and was a finalist for the Linda Bruckheimer Series in Kentucky Literature Award for his collection, Baptisms & Dogs. He currently lives in Chattanooga, TN with his wife, LeahSWIMMING THE ECHO, was released May 30th by eLectio Publishing.


About the Book:

It’s an adventure of a lifetime. When a summer job to explore Mammoth Cave lands in Cade Rainy’s lap, he doesn’t think twice. The teen from Southern Kentucky makes a break for it. But when he finds his dad is connected to a man working at Mammoth, Cade discovers there’s more to this trip than meets the eye. AND THE CAVE IS JUST THE START. Cade sets out to map the real route of twisted lies through fissures and stalactites, battling claustrophobia and bats.



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30th of August

How to Publish In 2017

So you’ve written a book and it feels daunting to send it out into the world? Maybe even just looking at all of the options for finding a home for it are causing stress? You don’t want it to end up in the wrong metaphorical hands with a publisher seeking to do it harm. So, what do you do?

Here are a few of the things I’ve learned, as a writer seeking publication over the past few years:

Self-publishing can work

There are several good resources available for making this happen –

1.) Amazon alone makes the submission, editing, and publishing process simple with Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) & CreateSpace

Now Amazon even has its own line of publishing platforms you can get picked for and that’s largely how people are gaining recognition and getting 1000s of reviews (books which would’ve never been discovered just 7 years ago!)

Ex: Pines (Trilogy) from Blake Crouch released by Thomas and Mercer (Amazon imprint in 2011)


2.) Don’t feel you need to reinvent the wheel.

You might not even need an agent (oops! I said it), if you go a different route.

When in doubt, seek publishing databases supplied by places such as Poets & Writers at:



Agents can really help get you noticed


1.) A great “agent” resource, especially if you write Christian Fiction is at: Michael Hyatt’s website



2.) If you’ve already found the agent you dreamed of, finding/securing an established publisher is the next step. Please always remember there’s nothing wrong with small, indie, or even hybrid presses. And often, they can supply larger %, offer personal feedback, and run promotions much the same way as larger presses.


One last word – If you have the time (and budget) to attend a conference in your neighborhood definitely block time on your schedule to go. It can be a real boost to morale and help in that ever-so-helpful department of networking. You never know who you’ll meet.

Ex: I plan to attend one in Chattanooga this fall and it previously helped me get introduced to Ron Rash, Roy Blount Jr., and a bunch of other writers who’ve helped me immensely!


Happy hunting!

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22nd of August

If One Person could design your Book Cover, who would it be?


One artist to design your book.

For me, that’s a loaded question, because some of the best covers (EVER) have been released in just the past 3-5 years!

What’s your favorite cover of all-time?

And I’m not exaggerating. To the point where I lose focus of content and forget about the story itself.

I mean, I know we’ve gone gaga over visual images. Instagram is just one culprit. (Thank you 85 filters through which to view the same photo.)

Example #1: Here’s a cover I love from the terrific Seraphina series by Robert Beatty:

Set on the Biltmore Estate grounds, this novel has extreme beauty in its design and Disney Hyperion gets credit for that one.

#2, there’s Sara Pennypacker’s children’s book, Pax, with a beautiful illustration of the book’s main character by none other than Jon Klassen.

#3, To take it a step further, Klassen does another amazing job on Kenneth Oppel’s The Nest, with this amazing image:


#4, And finally, I love the cover design of this one by artist, Júlia Sardà. Absolutely breathtaking and spooky:


We love images so much that graphic novels are now outselling books. Yes. The graphic novel is outselling larger, fictional works.

Even better, the novel is being condensed and turned into the graphic novel form almost as soon as it’s released.

I’m happy people are reading. Even if the content is getting condensed year-to-year.


If one person could design your book, who would it be?





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9th of August

The Time Given

Last weekend offered something all of us pray for, whether it’s an audible, breathed prayer or not:

Time with people we love and care for and MISS as the clock pulls us forward

My hometown library hosted a book signing, and Lindsey S. Frantz (a childhood best friend) and I were able to attend, and sign, our newest works. That in itself was a great blessing. To be able to write and share our stories with others. But the best was still yet to come that day.

We had friends and family in attendance, when so many other things were happening in the lake community of Monticello. It meant so much that people chose to stop by and say, “Hello!”

We saw people we hadn’t seen since the days Monticello High School stood three stories high on Cave Street. And that in itself was also like walking into the wonderful past.

I saw teachers I respected and still talk to this day. Vicki York Davis. Carolyn Harris. Betty Hyden. Allyson Upchurch Tucker. Beth Brewerton. And family was there. And best friends. The library gave us a solid 2 hour window. And the reunion saw people staying well beyond that.

Then, the night held more reunions with best friends opening up their home in Somerset and allowing all of us to eat dinner together. And Sunday permitted my wife and I to see my grandparents, for the first time in many years. My brother, sister, and their families were also in town. I was able to see nine-month-old, Henry, for the first time.

Before we left, Mom packed up yellow and green tomatoes from her garden and put them in our car.

We were exhausted arriving in Chattanooga. But the time permitted us to see a microcosm of what I imagine heaven to be. It was worth it.

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