Boast-Worthy Authors, Literary Dogs, Craft Beer, and Music at the 24th Annual Southern Festival of Books in Nashville

Last weekend John F. Blair staffers headed to Nashville for the 24th annual Southern Festival of Books. As vice-president of sales & marketing at John F. Blair, Publisher, I always look forward to this book festival, which is as much fun as it is work. Each year, I know the festival will host plenty of Boast-worthy Authors, many of whom I will see in person, that I’ll see some of my favorite repeat customers and friends from the area, and that I’ll have a heck of a time enjoying all the city of Nashville has to offer—after hours, of course.

This year, quite a few Blair authors were part of the festival’s program, as well as some of our distributed publishers’ authors. Our booth’s location at the festival was fabulous—we had a corner booth next to the Chapter 16 stage and at the top of the stairs leading down from the plaza. A wonderful woman selling Izzi sorbet was set up nearby.

Corner spot!

The lovely independent bookstore Parnassus Books handled book sales for the festival. Margaret Couch, Trisina Dickerson, and I manned the Blair booth, where we sold $2 and half-price books. Friday started out rainy and cool and evolved into a lovely but chilly day that didn’t stop loyal festival fans from turning out in droves. Many festival attendees were in fabulous moods. (The previous evening, the Tennessee Titans beat the Pittsburgh Steelers in a major upset. We ran into several angry Steelers fans while we were checking into our hotel that morning.)

Legislative Plaza on Friday afternoon – don’t slip!

On the schedule for Friday were Tasia Malakasis, cheese-maker and owner of Belle Chevre and author of Tasia’s Table (NewSouth Books; $29.95 hardcover); Frye Gaillard, author of The Books That Mattered (NewSouth Books; $27.95 hardcover) and winner of the Clarence Cason Award for Nonfiction in 2012; and Judy Goldman, author of the acclaimed memoir Losing My Sister (John F. Blair, $21.95 hardcover), which has received fabulous reviews in Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, and the Charlotte Observer. We enjoyed catching up with Judy Goldman at our booth, where she entertained us with her story of a recent nightmarish hotel stay. A brutal fist-fight broke out in the hall outside her door at 2 a.m. in a hotel outside of D.C. Eek!

Judy Goldman speaks to the audience at her panel about the art of writing memoirs on Friday afternoon at Southern Festival.

Fun fact #1: Did you know Judy Goldman’s daughter designed her book jacket?

Ron Rash (Boast-worthy Author #1), author of Serena (soon to be a major motion picture starring Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence), The Cove, and the poetry collection published by Hub City Press, Waking, stopped by the Blair booth to say hello—and to take a look at Literary Dogs and Their South Carolina Writers (Hub City Press, $19.95). Ron Rash is a contributor to Literary Dogs and believes his dog is the ugliest in the book—maybe the second ugliest if you overlook the dog’s cataracts. He graciously offered to sign the copies of Waking we had on hand. (If you would like to order a signed copy of Waking, visit our website, and receive free shipping on individual orders of $30 or more. Be sure to specify in the comments area that you would like a signed copy. We only have ten signed copies left!)

Ron Rash, Boast-worthy Author #1

We have 10 signed copies of Waking – order now!

Friday started out chilly and damp, but that didn’t stop loyal festival fans from showing up to shop and see their favorite authors.

Friday night, Margaret and I took Trisina, our sales & marketing intern who recently moved to Winston-Salem from Tampa, on a short tour of downtown Nashville. We walked up and down Broadway and showed her around Second Avenue and Printer’s Alley. We dined at Big River Grille & Brewing Works on Broadway next to the Cumberland River and tried a couple of their house brews, their Oktoberfest and IPA, in particular. We were chatted up by a couple of older men while we sat at the bar, waiting for our table, and Trisina and I were carded! After dinner, we went to Diana’s Sweet Shop, a candy store, where to our amazement, Trisina showed us that you can ask for your candy apple to be sliced upon order! Who knew?

I must now take a moment to wistfully recall the many candy apples I’ve declined to eat throughout my life because I thought it would be too messy…sigh.

Saturday was a perfect day—warm and mostly sunny with slowly passing clouds. We sold a ton of books—almost literally—and met several festival authors. We have a system where we record each author that visits our booth by highlighting the author’s bio in the festival program. I’d like to tell you how many authors we saw, and which ones, but I lost the program (just like I do every year).

Blake Fontenay, author of The Politics of Barbecue, stopped by to visit with us before his panel with Ann Shayne at noon on Saturday. His event was standing-room only, and we sold quite a few books to people who were inspired to purchase a copy after hearing Blake speak about Mayor Pigg and his aspirations to build the Barbecue Hall of Fame in Memphis, Tennessee (where it rightfully belongs). Look for a fabulous review of The Politics of Barbecue in the upcoming holiday issue of Mystery Scene Magazine. I can’t reveal too much of the content of the review until the magazine hits shelves in mid-November, but I will say that the reviewer compares The Politics of Barbecue to William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying.

Michel Stone, author of The Iguana Tree

We met Michel Stone, author of The Iguana Tree, when Betsy Teter of Hub City Press and coeditor of Literary Dogs, came by our booth. I caught up with Michel Stone, Betsy Teter, and Judy Goldman again, later that day, at Gillian Flynn’s discussion of Gone Girl (Gillian Flynn is Boast-worthy Author #2).

Fun fact #2: Did you know Marshall Chapman’s sister is an artist and painted the image used on the jacket of The Iguana Tree?

Blair staffers Trisina Dickerson (left) and Margaret Couch (center) pose with Judy Goldman, author of the memoir Losing My Sister.

I’ve been a fan of Gillian Flynn since I read her first novel, Sharp Objects. If you haven’t read her books, stop what you’re doing right now and get to it. (Warning: You may call in sick for work the next day if you start reading one of her books on a weekday.) Gillian is adorable and funny, and I’m super jealous that she got to hang out with Johnny Knoxville and the rest of his crew of misfits on the set of Jackass 3—not to mention that whole awesome-suspense-writer thing she has going on. After Gillian’s event that afternoon, I persuaded Judy Goldman and Blake Fontenay to pose for a picture in front of our booth.

Blake Fontenay and Judy Goldman in front of the Blair booth at Southern Festival

Upon browsing our fine selection of half-price books at our booth on Saturday, one customer picked up a copy of Literary Dogs and remarked, “Hey, my dog is in here!” The customer was Mark Powell, the author of four novels and yet another contributor to Literary Dogs! He and his wife, Denise, were thrilled to see the book for the first time, and showed us the picture of their dog, Buddy. Mark says in Literary Dogs that he “wrote every word of four novels with Buddy snoozing at my feet, as much guardian as muse.”

Trisina attended Junot Diaz’s panel Saturday afternoon and got him to sign her copy of This Is How You Lose Her – hey, maybe she’ll end up with a signed copy of this year’s National Book Award Winner. (Junot Diaz is Boast-worthy Author #3.)

Trisina (left) and Margaret sell $2 and half-price books at the Blair booth at Southern Festival in Nashville.

Saturday evening, we headed to the reception for authors and exhibitors, hosted by Southern Festival at The Arts Company on Fifth Street. There, we mingled with Betsy Teter and Michel Stone and ate a “light” dinner of Goo-Goo Clusters, macaroni and cheese, deviled eggs, and watermelon salad. And we drank more craft beer, Yazoo Brewing Company’s Dos Perros, a beer which deceivingly looks like a dark beer but tastes like a lager—a cool trick which results in more beer for me. (Many people won’t try it because they think it’s a dark beer—not that there’s anything wrong with dark beer.) We met Robert Hicks, author of The Widow of the South and A Separate Country (Boast-worthy Author #4). Robert Hicks wrote the foreword to a photography book we are publishing this spring, Porch Dogs by Nell Dickerson—look for it in April 2013. His dog will be featured in the book! We also saw Padgett Powell, author of Edisto and another contributor to Literary Dogs (Boast-worthy Author #5).

After filling up on beer and candy (again), we headed to the Bluebird Café, where Sales Rep of the Month Jan Fairchild of Southern Territory Associates and her wonderful friend, Sheila Kennedy, reserved a pew for us in advance. (For information on how you can be considered for Sales Rep of the Month, refer to “Reserving seats for Blair staffers at the Bluebird Cafe,” and you must also be a sales rep for John F. Blair, Publisher.) Marshall Chapman, Silas House, George Singleton (Boast-worthy Authors #6, 7, and 8), and three-time Grammy nominated singer-songwriter Matraca Berg entertained the audience all evening in-the-round style, with songs, readings, and more songs. Matraca’s neice was celebrating her seventeenth birthday, and she and Matraca sang “Strawberry Wine” together—it was awesome. Matraca’s new album, Love’s Truck Stop, hits stores in the UK next month and in the U.S. next spring. Silas House read some of his fiction and sang a ballad; a friend of his accompanied Silas on a harpsichord. Marshall Chapman sang a song about a Buddha baby in the grocery store and his transcendental kiss. I laughed, teared up a little, and, thanks to George Singleton, choked on my beer a few times. (At the Bluebird Café, I tried Yazoo’s Pale Ale and Margaret had another Dos Perros. Trisina had water. She is the newest Blair staff member so we made her drive. Hey, it sucks, but one must pay one’s dues.) Oh, and George Singleton is another contributor to Literary Dogs. Have I mentioned that Literary Dogs is now available? (Tip: If you add Literary Dogs and a signed copy of Waking to your shopping cart at blairpub.com, you will receive free shipping.)

Literary Dogs is now available.

On Sunday, our good luck took a turn for the worse. We were expecting scattered thunderstorms but were met with 30 mph winds and collapsed tents when we arrived at Legislative Plaza that morning. One side of our booth was open where the plastic blew away overnight. Thankfully, our books were protected and safe. It quickly became apparent that we would not be able to open our booth for the day’s events. With much reluctance, wavering, and hem-hawing (mostly from Margaret – who almost blew away walking to the car), we packed up our booth and headed home early.  Unfortunately, we missed catching up with Stuart Dill, author of Murder on Music Row, who was scheduled for a panel on Sunday. We sold several copies of Murder on Music Row on Friday and Saturday. Despite the crazy weather, we still had one of our best years in sales.

Margaret, Trisina, and I stayed in Knoxville Sunday night on our way back to Winston-Salem. With all the extra time on our hands, we decided to go see Pitch Perfect, which turned out to be “occalarious” and a fitting end to our weekend. We got back to the hotel in time for me to catch the replay of the season premiere of The Walking Dead, while Margaret continued catching up on Friday Night Lights on Netflix, and Trisina watched a recent episode of Doctor Who. We didn’t have to fight over the remote!

This year at Southern Festival I saw eight Boast-worthy Authors, tried four new (well, new to me) craft beers, caught up with old friends and met a lot of new people, and I finally saw Gillian Flynn. (I wanted to see her at BOOKMARKS in Winston-Salem, but the festival date overlapped with the SIBA Trade Show this year.) And I created Blair’s Sales Rep of the Month Award. Not a bad weekend, I’d say, not a bad weekend at all.

Blog-reading bonus: The first person to respond with the correct number of times I mention Literary Dogs in this blog post will win a free copy of the book.

Summer Reading from Blair: Part I

The pool is open, half of my coworkers are out of the office on holiday, and it’s hot enough to enjoy a glass or two of sweet iced tea (or perhaps something stronger) on the porch. So here are a few of our favorite books to read when you’re taking a break from the real world this summer. Enjoy!

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Murder on Music Row: A Music Industry Thriller
Stuart Dill
2012 IPPY Award winner in the Mystery category

“Remember your first John Grisham? Country music veteran Dill (he served as a personal manager for Minnie Pearl, Dwight Yoakam, and other greats) doesn’t miss a beat in this debut high-adrenaline thriller full of twists and turns.”
—Library Journal, starred review

Judd Nix, a 23-year-old unpaid intern at Elite Management, welcomes the chance to become
the paid assistant of Simon Stills, one of country’s biggest managers, but he soon finds himself a witness to an assassination attempt. When a gunman takes aim at megastar Ripley Graham, Stills’s most important client and the last hope for the troubled recording industry, on stage at the Grand Ole Opry, the shooter misses and seriously wounds Stills instead. Nix and his co-worker, Megan Olsen, decide to investigate on their own, but with music executives plotting a major merger, they can’t be sure whom to trust.

Murder on Music Row leads readers through a maze of twists and turns that connect Nashville, New York, Los Angeles, and London in a behind-the-scenes look at an industry where there are no limits in the pursuit of money, power, and fame.

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God Bless America: Stories
Steve Almond
2012 ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year Award Honorable Mention

God Bless America is a meditation on the American dream and its discontents. In his most ambitious collection yet, Steve Almond offers a comic and forlorn portrait of these United States: our lust for fame, our racial tensions, the toll of perpetual war, and the pursuit of romantic happiness.

Each of these 13 stories is an urgent investigation of America’s soul, its particular suffering, its injustices, its possibilities for redemption. With deft slight of hand, Almond, “a writer who knows us as well as we know ourselves” (Houston Chronicle), leavens his disappointment and outrage with a persistent hope for the men and women who inhabit his worlds. God Bless America offers us an astonishing vision of our collective fate, rendered in Almond’s signature style of “precise strokes… with metaphors so original and spot-on that they read like epiphanies” (San Francisco Chronicle).

Still not sold on this book? I’ve got two reasons more:

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The Iguana Tree
Michel Stone

This isn’t your typical light read for the summer. This is a book of substance. It is a universal story of loss, grief, and human dignity.

Set amid the perils of illegal border crossings, The Iguana Tree is the suspenseful saga of Lilia and Hector, who separately make their way from Mexico into the United States, seeking work in the Carolinas and a home for their infant daughter.

Michel Stone’s harrowing novel meticulously examines the obstacles each faces in pursuing a new life: manipulation, rape, and murder in the perilous commerce of border crossings; betrayal by family and friends; exploitation by corrupt officials and rapacious landowners on the U.S. side; and, finally, the inexorable workings of the U.S. justice system.

Hector and Lilia meet Americans willing to help them with legal assistance and offers of responsible employment, but their illegal entry seems certain to prove their undoing. The consequences of their decisions are devastating.

If you’re looking for a book that humanizes the agony and elation of illegally entering the United States without politics, this is for you.

“Michel Stone’s first novel, The Iguana Tree, is an astonishing achievement, a daring but plausible leap into a world unnoted by most of us yet close around us daily. This story is at once a page-turner and a moving, psychologically genuine drama.”
—Rosa Shand, author of The Gravity of Sunlight, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year

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Hank Hung the Moon . . . And Warmed Our Cold, Cold Hearts
Rheta Grimsley Johnson

“Part whimsical memoir, part cultural anthology, Hank Hung the Moon is a celebration of the music, the man, the era, the lore, and the magic of the South’s most beloved songster. If I were stranded on a desert island with only one book that captured everything I know and love about the South, this would be the one.”
—Cassandra King (Conroy), author of The Sunday Wife

The dark story of America’s Pulitzer Prize–winning hillbilly singer has been told often and well, but always with sad country fiddles wailing. This latest Hank Williams paean will make readers laugh as well as cry. Hank hung the moon and left his fans behind to admire it. He transformed the musical landscape, as well as the heavens, with his genius. And that’s a good thing.

More a musical memoir than a biography, Hank Hung the Moon is the author’s evocative personal stories of ’50s and ’60s musical staples—elementary-school rhythm bands, British Invasion rock concerts, and tearjerker movie musicals. It was a simpler time when Hank roamed the earth. The book celebrates a world of 78 rpm records and five-cent Cokes. Hank provides the soundtrack and wisdom for this Last Picture Show of a book.

A Cajun girl learns to understand English by listening to Hank on the radio. A Hank impersonator works by day at a prison but by night makes good use of his college degree in country music. Hank’s lost daughter, Jett, devotes her life to embracing the father she never knew. A newly minted recording artist buys a belt from Hank himself at a Nashville store that country’s first superstar bought to pacify a nagging wife.

Finally, here are stories readers haven’t heard a thousand times before about people—some famous, some not—who loved Hank. This lively little book uses Hank as a metaphor for life. Readers will tap their toes and demand an encore.

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Murder on the Outer Banks
Joe C. Ellis

The perfect beach read!

Newly hired deputy Marla Easton and Sheriff Dugan Walton are amazed at the performance of Dr. Sylvester Hopkins in a local 5K footrace. At age 65, Hopkins posts a world-class time of 17:35, two minutes faster than he has run in the past few years. Walton suspects Hopkins has concocted some new performance-enhancing drug.

A trail of bodies from Frisco to Nags Head, North Carolina, leads Deputy Easton and Sheriff Walton to the discovery of the Methuselah serum—a new drug designed by Hopkins that reverses aging in human cells. A nefarious triumvirate of pharmaceutical CEOs known as “the Medical Mafia” wants the formula at any price. So do the FBI and the president of the United States. But Sheriff Walton believes that he and Deputy Easton have been divinely chosen to guard the formula and serum, and they take their mission seriously—much like the angels posted in Eden to guard the Tree of Life. Their mission turns perilous when Deputy Easton’s seven-year-old son, Gabe, is kidnapped.

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Well, that’s all for today. Want to know what else we’re reading? Check our our staff picks on Pinterest. And share your favorite summer reads with us in the comments section.

Happy reading!

Blair Publisher is at the Southern Festival of Books in Nashville

The Blair team is in Nashville this weekend for the Southern Festival of Books. Angela and Margaret will be at the booth all weekend, so stop by and say hi! Then mosey on over to our author events:

Dot Moore, author of No Remorse: The Rise and Fall of the Killer John Wallace (NewSouth Books), will appear in room 29, Legislative Plaza, today from 3:30pm – 4:30pm.

Christopher Coleman, author of Ghosts and Haunts of Tennessee, will be on the Chapter 16 stage tomorrow, Oct. 15, from 1 to 2 p.m. You might have seen him on WTVF’s Talk of the Town yesterday.

Distributed author Edith Pearlman (Lookout Books) will appear with Ann Patchett at the War Memorial Auditorium Saturday, October 15, from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. Her latest collection of stories, Binocular Vision, was just announced as a finalist for the National Book Award in fiction. Edith Pearlman and Ann Patchett--Southern Festival appearance

Country music manager Stuart Dill, author of Murder on Music Row, will be sharing the stage with mystery writer Carson Morton in room 16 of Legislative Plaza Sunday, October 16, from 2 to 3 p.m., to discuss “Monday, Power, and Fame.”

Stuart Dill--Southern Festival appearance

Roger Reid, author of Longleaf (NewSouth Books), will appear on a panel Saturday, 4:30-5:30 pm, in the Old Supreme Court Room. 

And of course, I couldn’t resist posting a photo of Angela and Margaret at the booth. If you swing by, mention this post, and these ladies might have a surprise in store for you. ;)

It looks like it’s going to be a great weekend in Nashville! Will we see you at Southern Festival?

Nashville celebrates release of Stuart Dill’s MURDER ON MUSIC ROW

Last week, Stuart Dill celebrated the release of his debut mystery novel, Murder on Music Row: A Music Industry Thriller, at ASCAP (the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers) in Nashville, Tenn., where anyone who’s anybody in the Nashville music scene celebrates his or her launch. Angela Harwood, Blair’s VP of Sales and Marketing, attended the event. Below is an excerpt of the post she wrote for Teresa Rolfe Kravtin, one of our sales reps. See the full post (and lots more photos) at Teresa’s blog.

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Stuart shared his launch event with his close friends and family in an atmosphere he knows best, although he’s usually attending parties at ASCAP in support of one of his many clients (Billy Ray Cyrus, say, or Jo Dee Messina), many of whose names are sprinkled throughout his novel. More than 200 people turned out in support of Stuart, and to my delight (I do work for the publisher, after all), most of them bought books!

The first thing guests noticed upon entering the party was the absolutely gorgeous miniature cupcake display, provided by Ivey Cake — the bakery that made the wedding cake for American Idol winner and country music superstar Carrie Underwood. Ivey’s delicious cupcakes were decorated in the same color scheme as the cover of Stuart’s book!

Guests mingled, ate cupcakes (the cupcake I chose was peanut butter and sported edible glitter), and sipped on coffee from Humphrey Street Coffee Co., while listening to background music played by Ryan Joseph, Charles Kelley, and Randy, who play with Laura Bell Bundy, Billy Ray Cyrus, and Craig Morgan.

At 5:30, Tim DuBois introduced Stuart Dill. Tim DuBois is managing executive at ASCAP and a major figure on Music Row. Tim discovered artists such as Brooks & Dunn, Alan Jackson, and Brad Paisley, and co-wrote “When I Call Your Name” with Vince Gill. Tim was followed by Laura Bell Bundy, star of Legally Blonde: The Musical, who told us about when she found out Stuart was a writer. She never knew!

Stuart spoke graciously about his friends and family and told a few humorous anecdotes before entering the adjoining conference room to sign books (this conference room just begs you to pretend you’re in an Austin Powers movie). Stuart tirelessly signed books for an hour and a half, while his guests continued to mingle (and buy books).

Among the guests seen at the party (the ones I recognized, anyway—everybody there looked like somebody, I just wouldn’t know who!) were Frye Gaillard, Stuart’s longtime friend who originally suggested Stuart send his manuscript to John F. Blair (thank you, Frye!) and Stephen Doster, the author of Lord Baltimore and Voices from St. Simon’s, both published by John F. Blair. Jan Fairchild of Southern Territory Associates posed for a photo with Stephen Doster and introduced me to Nancy Stewart, Blair’s buyer at Ingram, who has been doing a wonderful job juggling the inventory for Murder on Music Row as the book generates more and more publicity (Country Weekly, Library Journal, BookPage, MusicRow.com, CMT.com, and more). I also met Stuart’s longtime friend Brent Holmes, author of Island Tunes for Kids, who let me in on a little secret: Stuart has also written song lyrics! Shhhh.

It was nice to meet Stuart’s parents, Dr. Stephen Dill and Ruth Dill, who came all the way from Mobile, Alabama, to attend the launch party. They will also attend Stuart’s hometown signing at Page & Palette on Friday, October 21.

About halfway through the evening, a second wave of guests flowed in, and we found out that many of Stuart’s friends and acquaintances were unable to attend due to a neighborhood lockdown in Brentwood (a burglar was on the loose with a gun!). For those who missed the launch party, you can see Stuart Dill at Southern Festival, Sunday, October 16, or at the Cool Springs Barnes & Noble in Brentwood on Thursday, November 17. (For Stuart’s full event schedule, click here.)

The party hit just the right note, wrapping up, as planned, around 7 p.m. Blair sold around 100 books at the party, thanks to help from our summer intern, Morgan Hawk, and our current intern, Katie Saintsing—who came along in the spirit of Judd Nix, the 23-year-old unpaid intern at Elite Management, who finds himself witness to an assassination attempt in Murder on Music Row. (Interestingly, our interns are also unpaid—hmmm). I’d also like to give a shout out to Stuart’s intern, Laura Jo Blair, who was a great help directing guests to where they could buy books.

After the party, Katie and I joined Stuart and Maral for dinner at South Street in midtown, where we rehashed the night’s events and planned for more successful events in the future. For those who are interested in seeing what the fuss is all about, you can read an excerpt from Murder on Music Row. Books are available at your local bookstore, at online booksellers, including IndieBound.com, and at John F. Blair, Publisher. Ebook editions are also available.

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Thanks, Angela! Again, you can read the full post at Teresa’s blog. And don’t forget to follow Stuart on Facebook.

A sneak peek at Murder on Music Row by Stuart Dill

We’ve already teased you with photos of celebrities with the book (like this one of Billy Ray Cyrus) and rave reviews from Publishers Weekly and Library Journal, so today, we’re going to keep it simple. Enjoy this sneak peek at a chapter of Murder on Music Row, by Stuart Dill.

(And don’t forget to enter to win your free copy of Murder on Music Row! Check out this post to learn how to enter. Hurry, only one week left!)

A sneak peek for ghost-story lovers

Ghosts and Haunts of Tennessee by Christopher K. ColemanWe saved something special for our Halloween blog series today: a new book of ghost stories that we’re publishing in February of next year.

Christopher K. Coleman’s Ghosts and Haunts of Tennessee is a new collection of 28 tales of the supernatural. This compilation explores never-before-published legends that span the entire state of Tennessee, from the mysterious mountains of Appalachia to the haunted banks of the Mississippi River.

Those familiar with the state’s most famous apparitions will find new thrills in Ghosts and Haunts of Tennessee. Readers may have heard of the Bell Witch, but what of her sister, a vengeful spirit known to the folks on the eastern part of the Highland Rim as the Buckner Witch?

What about the phantoms of the Bijou Theatre in Knoxville, a restless troupe of ghosts who perform for unwitting audiences?

And what about Hampton, the well-dressed butler of Oakslea Place in Jackson? He often greets visitors, but he’s been dead for years.

Of course, this collection wouldn’t be complete without a look at the spirits of legends like Elvis Presley and the ghosts of famous music sites like Opryland and Music Row.

And lucky you–you don’t have to wait until February to read a story from this book. Enjoy a sneak preview right now, just in time for Halloween.

From all the Blair staff, have a happy, safe, and spooky Halloween!