Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Bluff City

Yes, Memphis is Bluff City.  Who knew?

The Mississippi River!
It was great to make it to the banks of the Mississippi!  There is a lot of history here--and a lot of great barbecue.  I ate at the Rendezvous last night and those ribs are fantastic!

The famous Peabody Hotel is right across the street and is absolutely beautiful.  Ducks hang out in the fountain!

There are great burgeoning neighborhoods--like the South Main district.

And there are trolleys!  So wonderful!

I did some great media, thanks so much to Stephen Usery and Book Talk!  And a great event at the Booksellers at Laurelwood.  A really beautiful store.  Thanks to Charlotte, Jamie and everyone at the Booksellers!

 And here is Clovis, still on his napping jag!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Music City

Another city, another nickname!  Clovis and I had a long weekend with family in Nashville, but the mornings were still a little early for him.
Why are you waking me up??
One of the great finds of the weekend was this wonderful restaurant on Hancock Street in Murfreesboro.  Jeff Sowell's family restaurant--a fantastic "meat and three".  I'm obsessed with these places.  Real Southern cooking.  I had smothered pork chops with mashed potatoes and green beans.  Mom had fried catfish, some of the best she has ever had (and that woman has eaten a lot of catfish).  If you are ever around Murfreesboro, you should definitely check it out!

I stopped by the Nashville city cemetery, not far from Fort Negley.  The well-known Civil War embalmer Dr. Cornelius interred many soldiers in this cemetery.

I also had the great honor and privilege to be interviewed by John Seigenthaler of A Word on Words, a great man in every sense of the word.  He worked closely with Robert F. Kennedy, was a Freedom Rider in 1961, and a journalist, editor and publisher of the Nashville Tennessean.  To sit and discuss my novel with him was a humbling and moving experience.  The interview will air on Nashville PBS on May 13th!

Me,  John Seigenthaler and Mom.

 And then it was off to a truly wonderful event at one of the best (and newest) independent bookstores around.  The great Parnassus Books!  There was a great crowd, I had a great time talking, and Clovis got to hang out with us the entire time!

Young Clovis with the beautiful Tiffany!
Some of the wonderful attendees, many friends and family!

Check out this fantastic "Recommended" display at Parnussus!  They are truly the best!  Thank you Karen, Niki, Kathy, Andy and everyone else!  It was a phenomenal evening!

Clovis was so exhausted by it all, he had to take a long nap on our way to Memphis....

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Jeudi Livre

I missed Mardi Gras in Mobile by a day or two.  Too bad!  Looks like it was a good time!

Mobile has a little bit of New Orleans in it.

But it's got a lot of other things going on, too.  Some beautiful squares.

Bienville Square
Washington Square in the Oakleigh neighborhood
Amazingly diverse architecture.
The spectacular Egyptian temple of the Masons completed in 1922
Oakleigh Plantation, completed 1833
Amazing Spanish Colonial Revival Church on Government Street
This is a beautiful street in a neighborhood called Ashland, the location of the home of 19th century blockbuster bestselling novelist Augusta Jane Evans.  Her biggest hit was St. Elmo, whose heroine Edna Earle Ponder inspired the name for hotels, trains, steamboats and even a story by Eudora Welty!

Lanier Avenue
And across the bay in beautiful Fairhope, they have the amazing Page and Palette!

They were my host for an event at the Public Library in Fairhope.  We had a great group of people to talk about The Rebel Wife, including these two wonderful ladies, Jo and Sarah!

Jo, me and Sarah--it was a great lunchtime talk!
Check out this truly AMAZING TRW display at the bookstore!

Thank you so much to Stephanie, Doug and everyone else at Page and Palette for your incredible support and a great event!  I can't wait to come back for the next!!

On my way north to Nashville, I had to take a picture of these beautiful pines.

And of course a Stuckey's sign.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Rocket City

All these towns have such interesting nicknames!  So I was just in Huntsville and had a really great time.  Thanks must first go to Suzie Wiley at WYAM-TV in Decatur!  I had such a great hour with her and her crew on Valley Talk discussing The Rebel Wife.  And thanks, too, to Meredith Wood at WAAY-TV in Huntsville.  It was wonderful to talk on the afternoon news program!

I also had an incredible event at the Huntsville Public Library yesterday evening.  Thank you Ann Marie Martin and the Library for being such great hosts!  There was a good crowd who came for a talk about The Rebel Wife--and many of those present were neighbors from over 30 years ago when I was growing up in Huntsville.  It was amazing and so moving, so thanks go out to the Kings, Stiles, Irvines and Lesleys.  It was wonderful beyond words to see everyone there!

And to continue down memory lane, I visited the Burritt Museum up on Monte Sano mountain.  The curious and impressive house was built in 1938.

There are wonderful views.

The eccentric Mr. Burritt collected local art, including cobweb paintings, William Frye portraits and watercolors by Maria Howard Weeden.

There are historic pioneer homes like this old house with a dogtrot (breezeway).

And Mr. Burritt's custom-ordered mint green 1949 DeSoto.  Quite a car.

I also stopped by the great Books-A-Million on University Drive.  They have a great pile of The Rebel Wife's there--and they are signed!! :)

Here's an old country store in Lacey's Spring, Alabama.

 And here's a chair in the middle of the woods.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Magic City

I had a great day in the "Magic City" of Birmingham, once called Bombingham during the Civil Rights struggle of the early 1960s because of the number of bombings.  Birmingham was definitely a focal point of the Civil Rights movement and there is an incredible Civil Rights Institute that everyone should visit.

It is right across the street from the 16th Street Baptist Church that was bombed in September 1963, killing four African-American girls, a major moment in the struggle.

But Birmingham is now a thriving center of banking and insurance, but remnants of its iron age past remain.  The Sloss Furnaces, for instance.

And the famous Vulcan Statue, monument to the mining and steel industries that surrounded the city.

What?  The sun was on his back!!

And of course, one of the greatest bookstores in the South, Alabama Booksmith.

Jake, Mary and Clay are truly wonderful.  They showed me and Clovis true hospitality.  I enjoyed my time there thoroughly and look forward to going back again.

Jake, me and Clovis
Stephanie and David drove in all the way from Dalton, Georgia!

Stephanie, me and Clovis

And Clovis got to make the rounds!

Me, Clovis and Mary (I think he's kissing her!)
Clovis and Clay
And look who's coming in March!  One of my favorite new books, The Healing by Jonathan Odell!