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Book Excerpt: “From Turkey Creek – A Memoir”

As many already know, From Turkey Creek – A Memoir is a long-term work in progress. It is my childhood memoir of growing up at the most remote, fun, and wacky place in the world: Turkey Creek, in Humphreys County, Tennessee. This is a short, transitional chapter I wrote, which describes the “general stores” that dotted the countryside near Turkey Creek back in the day.

 

ON COUNTRY STORES

Nearly every dirt road out in the country had a general store. Within an eight-mile radius of Turkey Creek, there was Nolan Sulley Grocery, Thomas Freeland Grocery, George Harris Grocery, Leonard Barnes Grocery, Clyde Rose Grocery, Harold Smith Grocery, Dudley Jones Grocery, and William Covington Grocery. Usually named for their retiree owners, these rural mom-and-pop institutions were the places where good country folk met, talked politics, and engaged in long, serious talks about the lack or overabundance of rain. Women bought what they needed and left; the men stayed and gossiped.

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Radio Interview – May 19th

Tuesday May 19th — 8p Central / 9p Eastern, I will be joining Michael Johnson and Steven LaChance for a discussion of the Sultana Disaster, the Bell Witch, and more! This will be on THE FEAR radio.

Click here to listen live!

Thanks for listening!

Photos From the Chattanooga, TN Lecture Event

Here are a couple photos from my lecture event in Chattanooga, TN on March 5th. The venue, a large retirement center, was situated atop a huge mountain. Talk about cold and windy…whoosh!

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More events will be announced soon!

Fall Update

I hope everyone had a great Halloween and is enjoying this creepy fall weather.

I’ve been involved with several projects as of late, one of which is more ghost hunting and paranormal investigation. If you write books about ghosts and the paranormal, you need to live the part. Right? I’ve been to several places over the past year, most notably The Thomas House in Red Boiling Springs, Tennessee. Why there? Why so many times? That’s because it’s one of those places where you will always be guaranteed action. I like action, lots of action. With its sordid past, the place stays active around the clock, every day. It’s also a short drive for me, the overnight room rates are cheap, the food is great, and the place makes an excellent getaway for reading, writing, or just relaxing and rebooting the old mind. It should come as no surprise that I am including The Thomas House in the sequel to Ghostly Cries From Dixie, which I am currently working on.

The sequel, still unnamed but using “MORE Ghostly Cries From Dixie” as its working title, will be released in the spring of 2015. As was the case with its predecessor, it will be a compilation of weird and ghostly tales from the South. Sound easy? Given the South’s reputation for haunted places and campfire tales, one would think it easy to find plenty stories for the book. Not so. Finding ghost stories for inclusion in a book is one the hardest projects I’ve ever worked on. The story needs to be rich enough in history to create a backdrop and backstory, yet creepy enough to be consistent with the book’s theme. Well-grounded ghost stories, especially those from the South, contain not only spooky elements, but also a strong sense of place.

During my search for bookworthy ghost stories from the South, I kept finding stories from the Natchez Trace, a footpath through the Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee wilderness back in the late 1700s and early 1800s. Apparently, some of the early travelers along the old path, who never made it home, are still wandering up and down the trail or lurking in the nearby woods after more than 200 years. There were a few Native American attacks, a couple disease scares, and a handful of natural deaths, but most of those who died on the Natchez Trace were murdered by outlaws and bandits. Money was not always the motive. Some “land pirates,” such as the Harp Brothers, killed people just for the sake of killing. They thought it was fun. The Natchez Trace is full of history, outlaw stories, and ghosts. So, guess what? In addition to the “Ghostly Cries From Dixie” sequel, I am also writing a book about the infamous ghosts and bandits of the Natchez Trace. Look for it in the summer of 2015.

Also, at some point, I will hopefully get From Turkey Creek – A Memoir and the Bell Witch update book done as well.

Later……

Year-End Thoughts

It was a busy 2013, with lots of promotions, writing, editing, and new research–the usual stuff. Ok, I’ll take some of that back. I didn’t do much writing this year; instead, I chose to concentrate on editing and promotion. Promoting my current titles and platform will build a stronger base from which to release my 2014 and 2015 titles. Likewise, editing moves those titles along to completion. Yes, my eyes are on the future. With 2013 being a paradigm-shifting year for authors, publishers, and most of all, readers, it was important to reevaluate, redesign, and rebuild my author platform. The REAL “three R’s.” I hope other authors have done this, too, as times are changing.

The final edit of From Turkey Creek – A Memoir is now complete, and I’m still looking for a suitable cover. I’ve been searching the past three years and haven’t found anything that comes even close to visually capturing the “Turkey Creek experience.” But then again, that’s why I’m writing the book in the first place–it was the most unique place on earth! I’m not releasing the book until I “get it right,” which includes the front and back covers. Regarding other titles, the new and updated Bell Witch book is coming along nicely; I’ll continue writing until June, and then I’ll do the pre-edit before sending it to a REAL editor. Also, several awesome short story and research opportunities have surfaced lately, and I plan to become heavily involved with all of them.

I have finalized the list of stories that will appear in my next ghost story book, which will be similar to Ghostly Cries From Dixie.

Over the next few days, however, I’ll be in Chattanooga, Tennessee, to research another haunted location–one that’s completely INFESTED with ghosts–and I might do a little writing, as well.

Twitter Chat for Authors and Aspiring Authors

Ever thought about writing a book? Ever wonder what it’s like being an author? Have you wondered what’s involved with writing and publishing a book?
Do you know the best ways to promote a book? Do want the lowdown on book signings and how to make them work for you?

Whether you’re an author or an author wannabee, come join historical fiction author Lori Crane, myself, and four other authors as we discuss our careers, our thoughts, our processes, our books, and the secrets (and pitfalls) that all aspiring authors need to know about!

Saturday, November 16, 2013 – 4p-5p Eastern, 3p-4p Central

Go to TweetChat (www.tweetchat.com) a few minutes before the chat, to sign up. Then, simply enter the following hashtag to follow and participate in the chat: #ellyhays

Radio Interview Reminder – The “Bell Witch” Book

Monday, April 22, 8PM Central / 9PM Eastern

Author Pat Fitzhugh joins host Alex Matsuo of Paranormal Insider Radio to discuss the infamous “Bell Witch” legend of Tennessee.

Known as “America’s greatest ghost story,” the legend centers on a pioneer family that endured four years of mayhem and terror at the hands of a sinister, demon-like entity named, “Kate.” She beat the Bell children mercilessly; she argued with the clergy; she told of people’s pasts and predicted their futures; she spoke in multiple human voices, sometimes even in tongues; and she inflicted a horrendous disease upon a man, which led to his slow and grueling demise. And now, almost two hundred years later, “Kate” still remains a mystery. Theories abound, but the truth eludes us. Kate’s lingering presence is still sometimes felt in northwestern Robertson County. Pleasant dreams.

The Bell Witch is the subject of the 2006 motion picture, “An American Haunting,” starring Sissy Spacek and Donald Sutherland (and in which I appear, also), and the 2003 movie, “The Bell Witch Haunting,” by Willing Hearts Productions. The Bell Witch: The Full Account was released in 2000, and updated in 2003 and 2009. The book’s Thirteenth Anniversary edition, which includes new information and a complete rewrite of the original book, is due October 13, 2013. For more information, including news and progress reports, make sure to “Like” the book’s fan page on Facebook.

Paranormal Insider Radio is an outlet of the Paranormal Research Society (PRS), from A&E’s “Paranormal State” TV show. The interview will last two hours.

Listen live at: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/paranormalinsider/2013/04/23/americas-greatest-ghost-story-the-bell-witch   Also, I’ll be taking questions by phone during the show. The listener call-in line will be: (347) 324-5969.

A to Z Challenge – G is for Ghost Stories

Lori is a great author and historian. I really appreciate this opportunity!

a day in the life of patootie

Blogging from A to Z April 2013 Challenge

G is for Ghost Stories 

I am delighted and overjoyed to announce the best collaboration in the history of publishing—well, in my little world anyway.

I am currently finishing a ghost story/Mississippi legend called “The Legend of Stuckey’s Bridge” and the foreword will be penned by none other than Mr. Ghost Story himself,Pat Fitzhugh, the author of “Ghostly Cries from Dixie” and“The Bell Witch: The Full Account.” I have been a long-time admirer of Mr. Fitzhugh and his ghost stories and am excited to share this story with you through his eyes as well as mine.

In his words, “Lori and I share a passion for Southern history and legends, and our works complement each other nicely. Lori writes about the people, places, and events that made history. I write about the spiritual residue they left behind. Our collaboration…

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Progress Report on Forthcoming “Bell Witch” Title

I’ve been busy typing away on the update and complete rewrite of The Bell Witch: The Full Account, scheduled for release on October 13, 2013. The book’s first edition debuted on Friday, October 13, 2000. Yes, Friday the thirteenth of October, in the year 2000.

The 2013 update, which is a full rewrite available in both paperback and eBook formats, coincides with the book’s thirteenth anniversary. There’s just something about that number–thirteen.

Two weeks have elapsed since I [finally] located the book’s original file–created in Word 97–and opened it for the first time in thirteen years. I could’ve sworn my computer’s screen turned yellow and began to smell musty, it has been that long. Here is what I’ve done over the past two weeks:

  • Reduced the page count from 406 to 348!
  • Removed three entire sections (not reflected in revised page count).
  • Added 24 new pieces of new information about the case.

The copy and developmental editing will continue over the summer. New covers, both front and back, will also be added. The promotional campaign will begin in May. Also this year, I have two more books to finish and a busy lecture/signing schedule. Please send prayers and coffee.