3: #HolidayTreeNovella #AppalachianElementals #FictionFriday Where do you Find Creative Inspiration?

10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3…This is the eighth day of my ten-day countdown to the release of my holiday novella, Mama, Me, & the Holiday Tree, #1.5 in the Appalachian Elementals series. Today, I’m talking about inspiration and where best to find it.


Inspiration (noun)

  1. An inspiring or animating action or influence: I cannot write poetry without inspiration.
  2. Something inspired, as an idea.
  3. A result of inspired activity.

(courtesy of Dictionary.com)

All artists, writers, and creative sorts, need inspiration. Ideas don’t generally manifest out of thin air. There has to be something to trigger creativity. An idea. An image. An emotion. A hallucination. A bender (not suggested).Insert your own trigger here.

There has to be something to set the creative juices to flowing.

The question is, what’s yours? (that you’re willing to share)

Me? Glad you asked. My major inspirations for the Appalachian Elementals series are below in a convenient graphic. (It’s like I was waiting for this, I know.)


Here they are in no particular order.

  • Road sign – this is where Centenary Rhodes’ name came from, believe it or not. I passed this sign for years believing it’d make a great character name, and I was right. Cent’s a great character, BTW. If you didn’t first meet her in Cleaning House, then please do so in Mama, Me, & the Holiday Tree. Both works stand alone quite nicely.
  • The town where I live – I live in southern Appalachia, in the Northeast Tennessee foothills. It’s my hometown. I’ve lived many other places over the years, including a city that’s about eight miles to the east, but the little town where I live is quite inspirational. It’s full of creative people and history. (Um, a bit of a rewrite. Some of my wonderment has come crashing down since I wrote the post. Seems the local media and residents are, shall we say, resistant to highlighting anything with LGBT characters in it or any author who writes such characters no matter their sexuality, even when the work highlights the region and paints the area in a positive light. I’ll keep choosing to focus on the wonderful things here because I’m not as, well, as touchy as others. Seriously, though, WTF? At this point I think I could top the New York Times bestseller list and still be edited out.  😠 Here’s a link to a poem expressing my frustration, which is mounting at this point – A Life Obscure. And the last line holds true. …you’ve shown me who you really are
  • Nature (a wild space like the creek) – My home is tucked back in the woods just outside of town. It’s quiet, and we’re frequently visited by wildlife. The Appalachian Elementals series is chocked full of the natural world with an added layer of magic. In my eyes, the series shows the part of nature that most of us can’t see, the Balance, the forces that keep the world in check. (The natural Balance is critically off, BTW, but I’ll not go into that here.)
  • The mountains – I’m surrounded by the Appalachian Mountains and at several points, I’ve lived high (or deep depending on your perspective) in these mountains. Though I wouldn’t admit it when I was younger, Appalachia has become part of my being. I (with some obvious exceptions) have a great deal of respect for the people who live and work here. We’re a unique culture, one I’m proud to be part of.
  • The window – it’s a window into the past, specifically Cent’s past. Perhaps it’s one of the homestead’s windows. Old meeting a new world. Past looking out at present. I could go so many directions with this line of thought.

My graphic isn’t exactly an inspiration board (though I do those too). Rather, it’s more of a post-inspiration board. It’s me putting my catalysts together in one image. A catalyst collage? Huh. Maybe.

I might be overthinking this.

Inspiration is truly wherever you find it. So I ask again… where do you find yours?


A dozen handmade holiday ornaments, that’s all, but it might be an impossible task.

Centenary Rhodes and her mother are at constant odds. It’s one of the many reasons Cent left home when she was eighteen. Mama’s difficult for anyone to manage, but now that Cent’s back home, she has to try. Mama, however, won’t acknowledge who Cent’s become, even though she’s repeatedly been shown the truth.

It’ll take more than popcorn strings and paper snowflakes to heal the rift that’s formed between Cent and Mama. It’s going to take bushels of patience, heaps of magic, and assistance from everyone on both sides of Embreeville Mountain to reset the Balance between them.

But with Yule and Christmas just around the corner, it might already be too late.

Mama, Me, and the Holiday Tree is available for preorder in both print and ebook formats.

AMAZON     BARNES & NOBLE   and elsewhere


  1. I get inspiration from all over. The other day it was the boys at the oil change place; or my ‘second’ hometown of the St. Louis ‘area’. Sometimes they are inspired by game characters or family members too. Or are a collage of facets of my own personality.

    Liked by 1 person

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