Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Til The Cows Come Home by Christy Breedlove


Although most Georgians know that Highway 78 eastbound will eventually lead you out of Atlanta to Athens, most sadly miss the charm of this road in their quest to be a barker at a UGA football game. 
When you reach Split Silk in unincorporated Walton County on Highway 78, a change washes over you.  You’ve left the congestion and “city life” and you are now on rural time.  The clock ticks a sedate paste and seemingly stops when you ride through small towns you’ve never heard—Between, Mount Vernon and Good Hope to name a few.
            And happily, it’s not just the scenery that has altered.  The people have changed also and mostly for the better.  Parents instill a sense of respect of the land, communities and citizens in their children.  You can tell it in the attitude.  Neighbors are quick to help and in a crisis, everyone pulls together.  Sure, there is more kudzu to swallow the land but on the brighter side, it is the norm to hold your hand out the window to wave or even offer to open the door for a lady. Mommas and other ladies are still placed high on a pedestal and rarely fall off.  Although bigger communities have a reputation for “live and let live”, that is more apparent in the country.  Oddities are often overlooked and sometimes encouraged out here.
            My family and I were out cemetery hopping along this stretch of 78 when I spied flashing lights behind us when we tested these theories.
            “You looking for a cow?” was the first question when a Walton County deputy pulled over my husband. 
            My husband cut his eyes to me.  “Are we looking for a cow?”  He knew full well that we were indulging our macabre hobby of cemetery viewing. What can I say?  We like to view history through graveyards.
            “Nope, no cow hunters here.” I cheerfully informed the deputy.  “We’re just visiting cemeteries.”
            “Well, that’s good.” he said as if ghouls like us were an everyday occurrence.  The ‘well’ was drawn out into two syllables.  “It’s nice to see that respect for your ancestors hasn’t died.”  The deputy snorted at his pun and then went on.  “Iffen you do see that cow, call 911.  Mr. Thomas reported that one of his cows ran away.  Her name is Beulah but don’t call her by that name.  She hates it.  Just call us and we’ll finagle her back to the barn ‘cause if you try to force her, she’ll pee on you.  Mr. Thomas was trying to git her and she just plumb took off over yonder.”
            With that, the officer tipped his hat and wished us a good day.  My husband breathed a sigh of relief.  He wasn’t transporting drugs so I didn’t know why he was happy to see him leave.
            “I don’t want to be around when Beulah pees.”
            Understandable, but as a fellow female, I sympathized with the reticent cow.  Rural and urban ladies need a break from time to time. What gal doesn’t want to escape the confines of her home and children to get gussied up and have a night on the town or fields as in Beulah’s case? 
            We were leaving our last cemetery of the day and discussing the misfortune of Enoch McCollum who caught the measles and died during the War of Northern Aggression.  I glanced out the corner of my eye and saw a large spotted cow hiding in the kudzu.  She saw me, froze and stopped chewing her cud.  I knew that look better than Beulah.  Freedom if only for an hour is still freedom.  I slowly nodded in solidarity and Beulah quietly bowed back to be enveloped in the kudzu.
            All city and country girls have to stick together, don’t we?  Yep, loyalty and respect between girls till the cows come home.
About the author:

Visit Christy's blog for more fun stories! Click here to go to Having a Hissyknit.
Christy Breedlove has been writing snarky Facebook posts for some time and has made the transition to writing magazine articles.  She has lived in Walton County for 18 years with her very patient husband, two teen aged children and two lazy dogs. When she is not napping or ignoring housework, she likes to go geocaching, read and knit. 


Monday, July 27, 2015

Backyard Interviews with PEN, author of Nero's Fiddle

Meet Pen,the author of twenty-one books, including Nero's Fiddle. Pen is the creator and  host of Backyard Interviews and talks about her passion for writing. She is interviewed by fellow writer Connie Spruill. A native Georgian, Pen has been daydreaming since the age of four and writing since the age of ten. Visit her website Pen's Pen . If you are an author and would like to be interviewed contact Pen and she will get back with you quickly! Learn more about Nero's Fiddle on Amazon and check out Pen's author's page on Amazon. You can see the full interview below. Pen lives in Stone Mountain, Georgia.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Author KT Ashely on Backyard Interviews

Author KT Ashely
Meet author KT Ashely on Backyard Interviews, a new site for authors by PEN
Ashely discusses his novel The Pool.

Click below and see full interview.

Author KT Ashely is an American writer from the South whose genre is Historical and Realistic Fiction. A native of Louisiana, the writer also grew up in East Texas and lived several years in northern New England.

Much of his writing is influenced by historical events from contemporary to ancient. The human condition and it's affects on society are often the theme. Plot lines involving prejudices, indifference, wealth disparities and military service are common. Visit his Amazon author page.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Backyard Interviews with PEN A Place For Authors To Share Their Books on YouTube

Home Page for Backyard Interviews.
Click here to go to the website to see all the features.
Contact PEN if you'd like to be considered for an interview!
The Backyard Interview tab at the top of this blog will have an ongoing list of links to all interviews.
Author PEN (Nero's Fiddle) is interviewing authors on YouTube.  Want to share your book? It's free for now and fun. Don't miss the opportunity to participate! Currently most interviews are being done in a lovely backyard in Decatur.
Below is an excerpt from PEN's Backyard Interviews website.
Backyard Interviews is the brainchile of writer, Pen. As a self-published author, Pen knows how difficult it is to promote and market her work. And getting an interview . . . almost impossible! By interviewing other writers and artists, she's helping them promote their work and themselves and making a name for herself. Without access to an actual studio or expensive equipment, she decided to give these interviews a more "homey" touch. What's better than being interviewed in the backyard? Relaxed, fresh air, a glass of iced tea (the House Wine of the South) and two creative people discussing creative endeavors. Perfect!
We are not professional videographers here at Backyard Interviews; I'm sure that much is evident (I'm using the "royal we" as in me, myself and I). And heaven knows, my face isn't meant to be on camera (I kind of resemble a turkey, don't I?) But I have a vision and a dream: to help other self-published and independent authors get the word out about their works.
Ergo, I will gladly put myself out there for that purpose. And hope those viewing enjoy the effort.

Tomorrow meet KT Ashely, author of The Pool, and watch his interview here!

Monday, July 13, 2015

Bley Pottery – Where Pottery Embodies a Time, Place, and Emotion by Tori Bailey

Clay caked hands held a drying face jug. The expression of a wide toothy grin, blank eyes, and flared nostrils seemed to be in a constant state of change. “Pottery embodies a time, place and invokes an emotional response.  Some pieces can create a feeling of inspiration, nostalgia, and intrigue in how it is made.  Then there are the face jugs.  People either appreciate the artistry or are bothered by the expressions.  The fact is a person will walk away with an emotional reaction.” Its creator, Bruce Bley, shared while he placed the jug on a shelf before covering it with plastic.

Bruce is the owner of Bley Pottery located in Monroe.  His studio is a garage filled with storage boxes, tools, and a myriad of items.  He doesn’t seem to mind the clutter.  A small sections has been dedicated for his pottery wheel, kiln, and a table that holds containers of glazes.  “I’ve dabbled in a lot of mediums ranging from painting to making jewelry.  But, my true passion has been to work with clay.”  That was made possible with the opening of a local art gallery in downtown Monroe. “Wild Child Arts provided the flexibility for me to take classes that did not interfere with my work schedule.”

 He pulls his inspiration from the traditional pottery of the North Georgia Mountains, often referred to as Folk Pottery.  “The mountains have always been an inspiration for me. The history of pottery is steeped in this area. It had a function in everyday life.”

While Bruce enjoys creating face jugs, he also makes a lot of functional pieces.  “This year I’ve tried to broaden what I make.”  Some of the new items include French butter dishes, wine glasses, and lidded casserole dishes. “I’ve allowed my creativity to lend itself to making guineas.  A lot of potters are making roosters and I wanted to try something in the same forum but different.”

His guineas and French butter dishes were a hit at the North Georgia Pottery Festival in Homer. This year has brought recognition for Bruce as one of four featured potters at the Fired Works show in Macon.  “To be selected as a featured potter was a definite high-point for me. This is a national show with a large following. The surreal moment was opening night when I saw three of my four pieces purchased within an hour of the show’s start.”  Bruce became humble in sharing his experience.  “I walked away that night in awe of the response to my work.”

While being a featured artist at a national show was definitely a highlight for him, Bruce is at home doing the pottery shows that have become a part of his annual schedule.  “After you do a few of the shows, it becomes like a social event. Friendships are forged with other potters.  I have also created bonds with some of the people that return each year to purchase a piece for their collection.”  Bruce sees the transaction of selling a piece of his pottery as more than just financial.  “You are creating an experience for the person making the purchase.  We get to talk with each other, share our enthusiasm for pottery, and discuss the inspiration or process for a particular pieces.

Bruce’s pieces are available in several galleries and pictures of his latest creations are often posted on his Bley Pottery Facebook page.  He has made commissioned pieces and donated some of his work to charitable events.


About the Author:

 Tori Bailey is a contributing writer for the Georgia Connector magazine.  She has published two novels, Coming Home – A Second Chance at Goodbye and Ethel’sSong.  Her third book, Love Made from Scratch, is set for release in May, 2016.  She lives in the Athens area with her two rescue cats.  Follow Tori’s Facebook page Tori Bailey Ink or visit her website . Learn more about the author on her Amazon Author Page.



Friday, July 10, 2015

Drink to Your Health A Quick View of Indian Springs State Park by PEN

I would warn you not to drink the water. But, if you visit Indian Springs, chances are the water is the reason you came. 

Before white man even considered setting foot upon this land, Native Americans benefitted from the proposed healing waters of Indian Springs. More than likely, though, those Native Americans – Creek Indians, to be precise – knew it by some form of the word Okfuskee; a word which, apparently, only the Creek Indians know the meaning of. 

Indian Springs is one of the oldest – if not the oldest – park in the Georgia State Park system. Sadly, it became the first as a result of an act of treason by Creek Indian Chief William McIntosh. 

On behalf of the Creek Indians, McIntosh signed a treaty which deeded a good deal of land between the Flint and Chattahoochee rivers to Georgia. He was assassinated a few short months later. 

Little time was wasted in creating a state park of Indian Springs. Rumors of the healing properties of the water were a fascination for people and drew visitors from all around. The ghastly smell and taste of the water – a sulphuric, “rotton egg” aroma and flavor – doesn’t deter those seeking its supposed healing properties. Visitors from all over bring gallon and five-gallon jugs to fill with the water from Indian Springs. 

The unique aroma and flavor of the water is a result of minerals from rock being picked up by water flowing through. The mineral-laden water eventually ends up collecting in pools until pressure forces the water to the surface via the spring. 

During my own childhood, my father would rouse the family early on Sunday mornings to head down south for the day. First, we’d visit peach orchards to pick some fruit to take home. Then we’d visit Indian Springs for a swig or two of the water. After that, we’d head over to Jackson, Georgia for Fresh Air Bar-B-Que. (See PEN's post June 22, 2015)
Tasting the water isn’t the only thing to do at Indian Springs. You can wade in Sandy Creek or swim in McIntosh Lake (named for the aforementioned traitor). There are also a museum and campsites, hiking and a ¾-mile nature trail. 

If you want to experience any water activities on Indian Springs Lake, go prior to September 2015. The lake will be drained to replace a gate valve and will remain dry through February 2016. 

And if you do visit Indian Springs, raise a glass to your health. 

Park Hours: 7 a.m. – 10 p.m. 
Office Hours: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. 
$5 parking. Annual passes available.

Indian Springs State Park
678 Lake Clark Rd,
Flovilla, GA 30216
(770) 504-2277
To learn more about Indian Springs State Park and see a list of events, visit
vintage postcard
Pen is a native Georgian and self-published author. Visit her website or check out her latest novel Nero’s Fiddle. 

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Meet Georgia Poet Karen Paul Holmes

Karen Paul Holmes is the author of the poetry collection, Untying the Knot (Aldrich Press, 2014), which tells a story of loss and healing “with grace, humor, self-awareness and without a dollop of self-pity,” according to Poet Thomas Lux.  Her publishing credits include Poetry East, Atlanta Review, Caesura, POEM, The Sow’s Ear Poetry Review, Every Day Poems, The Southern Poetry Anthology Vol 5: Georgia (Texas Review Press) and Anthology of Georgia Poetry (Negative Capability Press). Karen splits her time between Atlanta and the Blue Ridge Mountains. She hosts a monthly, open-to-the-public Writers’ Night Out in Blairsville, GA and has taught writing at the John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, NC
Below is a poem perfectly paired with our Georgia Home and Life blog and its peach logo!  See more links to connect with Karen's work below. Look for more of Karen's poems in future blog posts here!
Peach Stand
by Karen Paul Holmes

The deep-rooted farmer sits
on a folding chair next
to his fruit stand;
Wolfpen Ridge peaks
through clouds behind him.
Peach slices slip
into a white enameled bowl
with chipped red rim.
Juice drips down wrists.
He beckons with knife,
holds out a generous wedge,
“Tell me if this ain’t the best
thing you ever et.” 
Yes. Wet, ripe,
like the honeyed sunset
blooming over Lake Chatuge.
He picks out
an unblemished dozen for me
moving speckled hands
from baskets to brown bag.
I pay inside and start to leave
but the farmer beckons again,
presents another piece.

In these Blue Ridge valleys,
peach stands dot summer highways.
But I only stop for his,
somehow consistent
through drought and rain.
When Atlanta calls me back
each August end,
I buy as many as I can use;
two weeks of pies, sorbet,
or cut fresh atop Greek yogurt.

I rely on the old man’s stand
for three summers.
Then one season, a young man
sits in the folding chair, smiles
when I guess he’s the grandson.
The next year, the stand’s gone.
I test other peaches along GA 76
or from the back of a rusty truck
parked weekends at the hardware
but often bite into bland,
mealy disappointment.
When lucky, my tongue
swims in sweet juice
basks in that certain spice—
a peach equal
to the old man’s delight.

First appeared in FlycatcherJournal 

Links:  Karen Paul Holmes Poetry Facebook


               Untying the Knot Kindle and Amazon 

               Review from Blogalicious Featured Books

               Simply Communicated, Inc.