Old Qualla

Two 19th century photos of Qualla Boundary, Cherokee Reservation. One is of a woman pounding corn into cornmeal. The other is of a group of players getting ready for a stickball game. The children in my novel, Stone man and the Trail of Tears, could have been present as adults for these photos.


Moctezuma II 1466- 1520 was the Aztec emperor defeated by Cortes. End of the story, so I thought. Many of the Spanish nobility are his descendants. The current Mexican constitution does not allow nobility, but he has many Mexican descendants. Don’t be surprised if Montezuma gets elected President of Mexico. Tlazohcamati (Aztec/Nahuatl for thank you)

Portrait of Montezuma II (Moctezuma) (1466-1520)” European School, (16th century) Palazzo Pitti, Florence (Photo by Leemage/Corbis via Getty Images)

1835 Weapon of War

Springfield Model 1835 Musket

This is the flintlock musket used by the US Army during the Trail of Tears. It used .69 caliber round balls and could be either smooth bore or rifled. The army soldiers in my novel, Stone Man and the Trail of Tears, used this gun.

Not Asia

200 years ago, turbans were high Cherokee fashion for formal occasions. No one knows why they wore turbans, though there are lots of theories. The characters in my novel, Stone Man and the Trail of Tears, were on the run and do not wear turbans.

Salute to Veterans Day!

I honor all veterans, but I recently obtained a photo of my great-grandfather, Thomas Gillenwaters, who served in the Union Army during the Civil War. He was born about 1835 in Hickory Cove Tennessee, spent much of his life in Fountain Run Kentucky and died in 1912 in Jeffersonville Indiana.

One photo shows him as a soldier. He is holding a Colt revolver. My grandma played with it as a toy about 1910—she then tossed it into the trash.

The other photo is recent—it is the Gillenwater Mansion in Jeffersonville—where he died.


Louisville Writing Festival

The Writer’s Block Festival is scheduled for next Saturday (9-6) (11-16-19) at the Spalding University library and student center. The program includes panels with local authors, book readings and signings, writing workshops, agent pitches, and an exhibitor fair for writers and readers. Louisville born author Garth Greenwell is the Anne and William Axton Keynote Author. We also will have local literary agents Brent Taylor and Kenzi Nevins on hand to take 10-minute pitches. Brent represents children’s writers from PB-up. Kenzi represents illustrated books including picture books and graphic novels.

Fee required for agent pitches and workshops.



Terrapin Creek

The Tuckasegee River runs in western North Carolina near the Cherokee Reservation. Its name is Cherokee for Turtle Place. Nowadays it is a famed fly-fishing river. Part of my novel, Stone Man and the Trail of Tears, takes place along its scenic banks.


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