Nominated for Fix Her Crown Award

Thank you, Laleh Chini, for nominating me for the Fix Your Crown Award on her wonderful blog, A Voice from Iran. Here’s the link to her blog: Here’s a link to the blog post in which she nominated me, in case you’d like to see what she’s all about:

Fix Her Crown Award
Fix Her Crown Award.

The rules are simple:

Thank the person who nominated you and link to her blog.

Copy and paste these rules to your post and please include a link to the Fix Her Crown Award post:

Post three photos of just yourself and write a short caption beneath each about why you chose that photo.

Nominate seven women for the Fix Her Crown Award, women who lend a helping hand to the woman whose crown seems too heavy, who appreciate the sister who dares to be her own glorious self, who raise strong young women, who smile at the sister journeying alone and walk alongside her for a time, who stand with the sister whose crown has been knocked off her head time after time and women who shine as their own beautifully unique selves.

Link to the blogs of the seven nominees.

Here are three photos of me:

Silas and Janet were equally excited the day “their” vintage postcard book, The Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, arrived in July, 2014.
Janet with Penny Padgett, owner of The Book Shelf in Tryon, North Carolina. Penny and The Book Shelf bookstore hold a special place in my heart. Penny was the first (and only) book store owner who invited me to have a book signing after my vintage postcard book was published. That was in happier days for Penny and for me. Sadly, she has had to sell off her inventory and close the bookstore this year after not being able to find a buyer for her business in the wonderful small mountain town of Tryon.
This is a photo of my first local history column in 2005 in the now defunct weekly newspaper, Harrisburg Horizons in Harrisburg, North Carolina. I wrote a different local history article every other week for more than six years. It was the most enjoyable “job” I’ve ever had. Maybe someday I’ll be able to publish all those newspaper columns in a book!

That’s enough about me. Here are the women, in random order, I nominate for the Fix Her Crown Award:








This award nomination came as a complete surprise to me! Thank you again, Laleh Chini, for nominating me!

Until my blog post tomorrow

Everyone out there stay safe and well during this coronavirus 19 pandemic.


Mark de Castrique’s Mystery Writing Workshop – Part 1

Mark de Castrique conducted a mystery writing workshop at Lanier Library in Tryon, North Carolina on Saturday afternoon. Having heard this author speak twice in the last several years, I knew I would benefit from attending his workshop.

Tryon, NC

Nestled in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, Tryon is an inviting place to visit on a beautiful early fall day. There were lots of people out and about in the quaint downtown business district. Tryon is dog friendly. Some of the shops provide water bowls on the sidewalks to quench the thirst of local dogs on their daily walks.

The Book Shelf Bookstore

An added highlight on Saturday was visiting the new location of Penny Padgett’s The Book Shelf Bookstore in Tryon. The shop recently moved just a few feet down South Trade Street from its former location. I was delighted to reconnect with Penny. She graciously had a book signing for me (see “Book Signing at The Book Shelf in Tryon, NC” on my blog on April 14, 2015) to publicize my vintage postcard book, The Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. The new shop gives Penny more space for books and book signings. Visiting her shop also gave me a chance to purchase Mark de Castrique’s latest and sixteenth novel, The Singularity Race.


In the three-hour workshop, Mr. de Castrique covered Aristotle’s six components of a story:

  1. Plot
  2. Character
  3. Thought
  4. Language
  5. Melody and
  6. Spectacle.

He talked about sequence in plotting — how it has cummulative power. “A” must come before “B” which must come before “C.” He said the worst plotting for a novel is episodic, meaning the sequence of events can be in random order. (Think episodes of the old TV show, “Gilligan’s Island.” One episode did not build on the previous one.) That works for a TV program but not in a mystery novel.

What if?

Mr. de Castrique talked about the value of a writer asking, “What if?” to get his or her creative juices going. Other topics included write what you know and write from a sense of place.

Illusion of Authenticity

Mr. de Castrique talked about the different methods of research:

  1. Memory
  2. Imagination, and
  3. Fact

and how a novel needs the illusion of authenticity. If you’re writing something that cannot happen, you need to set it up so that it can possibly happen. It has to be believable.

Reader Response Theory

Mr. de Castrique talked about reader response theory, which was a new concept for me. It addresses the following:

  1. Real author
  2. Implied author
  3. Narrator
  4. Characters
  5. Narratee
  6. Authorial audience, and
  7. The reader

In my next blog post on Friday, I will write about the rest of the workshop, including descriptions of the two writing exercises we did. Until then, I hope you have a good book to read and, if you’re a writer, I hope you have productive writing time.