Authors royalties

This morning was expended with accounting and paying royalties to those authors who have been successful in marketing their work. The turn of the month is a joy for me because I am able to return a large portion of the profits from sales of the books to those who deserve them–the authors. Being able to write well is a gift–one which our authors share with the world. I enjoy being able to help authors, both those who have been previously published and a good number who haven’t, but show great skill, to prepare their work for publication and get it out to the public at the most reasonable cost available. 

Our motto at St. Clair Publications is “Small Enough to Listen to the Author, Large Enough to Reach the World.” Our books, both paperbacks and e-books, are available worldwide. Promotional opportunities are available, simply because “No book sells itself.” Most successful authors set up book signings at libraries, museums, book stores and other outlets. A number of them have been on radio and TV promoting their work, and in newspapers and magazines. If you are a writer and interested in the opportunity to write and promote your own book. please contact me at, or .

Tales of Two Gails – amazing X 2

I’ve done it numerous times. As an author participating in a book signing at a library or museum with other authors it is common practice to exchange books with another author. But I wasn’t quite prepared for for what happened at the historical museum in Franklin, NC this past Saturday.

I met two delightful ladies, both named Gail, and exchanged a copy of my childhood memoirs, Beyond the Thistle Patch, for one of their collaboration, Tales of Two Gails. I learned that we all three had grown up in Macon County, NC, and,  I had attended a year of school with each of them, though they were both younger.   .

I brought the book home and began reading–wow! I could hardly put it down. Tales of Two Gales is a heart-wrenching story of the lifelong friendship of two girls from rural Appalachia who grew up under dire circumstances, not only lacking in many necessities, but with grossly trying family situations. In spite of all odds, the loving nurturing of grandparents and their faith and love for one another carried them both through to successful marriages and careers. This amazing true story consists of a series of short stories which, when combined, is both connected and engrossing. When I completed the book in less than a week it left me with a warm feeling, but with an empty spot in my heart wishing I had more to consume. This is a must read for anyone who feels that they faced trials growing up.

Tales of Two Gales is by Gail Shepherd Diederich, now a writer for the St. Petersburg Times, and Gail Kelly Lester, who presently serves as Executive Assistant to the senior pastors of Church in the City in Rowlett, Texas. It is available on their website at or at

Indian giver

Have you ever wondered where phrases came from? I have, as mentioned in earlier posts, been researching and recording this information for the past two years and have published two books on my findings. But sometime in 2013 I plan to publish a definitive work from this indepth research. One recent listing for the new book hit me as something many might want to know now, so I’m using it in today’s post. It’s ‘Indian giver.’ Here’s what I learned:

Indian giver

The figurative definition is a person who gives something then takes it back. The term evolved from ‘Indian gift’ which was first coined by Massachusetts Loyalist politician, Thomas Hutchinson, in 1765 during American colonization when Natives gave gifts to the white Europeans in anticipation of receiving a gift in return.

In 1848 historian and linguist John Russell Bartlett published his Dictionary of Americanisms which first cited the phrase ‘Indian giver’:

“INDIAN GIVER. When an Indian gives anything, he expects an equivalent in return, or that the same thing may be given back to him. This term is applied by children in New York and the vicinity to a child who, after having given away a thing, wishes to have it back again.”

Note the figurative application already existed by 1848. It is likely that some Europeans accepted gifts from Natives who expected something in trade, and when nothing was received, demanded the return of the gift. 

But many hundred other cliches, idioms, and catch phrases are in my first two volumes: On the Origin of the Cliches and Evolution of Idioms, and On the Origin of the Cliches. All New Book II. Hope you get them either in paperback or on Kindle ebook format.

Voting–it’s your right

We Americans are blessed to live in a free country where we have the privilege of voting for our officials to serve our best interests in government, locally, regionally, statewide and in a federal capacity. We here in Tennessee are two weeks away from our primary and local elections. Early voting is in progress and today Rhonda and I went to the polls and cast our votes. Several of the candidates, including our US Senator, I have met and spent a bit of time with. Knowing what the individuals who are elected to serve us stand for and how they fit the value system in which we believe is paramount to our selection process. If you have not yet cast your votes, please get out and take advantage of this great duty and privilege. Loosing it would be disasterous.

Book signing a big success

It was such a great pleasure spending the day Saturday at the Historical Society in Franklin, NC with my good friend and co-author, Ron Cunningham and seeing some old friends and meeting new ones. The weather couldn’t have been more cooperative and the folks at the museum were such a joy to work with. I found that one of my high school teachers, Clayton Ramsey, was recieving an award that very day.

While there I saw some ladies with whom I went to school who are now also authors, Gail Shepherd Deitrich and Gail Kelly Lester. I have begun reading their delightful book, Tales of Two Gails and am finding that so many of our experiences as youth were parallel. After I finish I will be doing a review for my blog. It is available at their web site . I already know that I can highly recommend it.

Also, after the signing, we went to Mason Mountain Ruby Mine, and I was delighted to meet a young lady that is looking forward to working with her husband to write the story of their family’s ownership and management of the mine over the past several generations. I’m looking forward to that as well.

Franklin, NC, here we come!

Tomorrow morning Ron Cunningham, Rhonda and I will be heading out for Franklin, North Carolina where Ron and I will be spending Saturday at the Macon County Historical Society signing books.

Franklin is a delightful historic town nestled in the Southern Blue Ridge Mountains near the Smokeys. It was there where I spent about ten years of my life while growing up, and about which I wrote “Beyond the Thistle Patch.”

But the main books we will be there to promote are Ron’s and my true trime dramas, Conspiracy in the Town that Time Forgot, Conspiracy Book II, In Pursuit of Justce, and Reflections of an Investigator, In Persuit of Justice, Book III. They are the stories of Ron’s exciting career in law enforcement and the contract out on his life when he was a sheriff.

If you are anywhere near Franklin this weekend, look us up.


When a loved one passes

When a loved one passes away our hearts are flooded with ambivolent emotions. First is sadness and grief, then sometimes the question, why? But those of us who have faith in the next life are comforted by feelings of hope in seeing him or her again. Often we join our family and friends in remembering and celebrating the loves one’s life and accomplishments.

I learned yesterday that a dear first cousin, Melissa Vinson Crain, had escaped the bondage and troubles of this life due to a troubling battle with cancer. I am saddened to know that I will not hear from her again this side of the next life, but my faith tells me that I will see her again. This is the hope that we have, for which I am eternally  grateful.

Kidding ourselves

A lot of the time we want to believe something just because it sounds logical or someone else told us. Perhaps a little bit of gossip. If it’s something that rubs our fur the right way, it’s easier to believe it than check it out.

The Internet is full of information: some true, some false. All sorts of books are published to help convence people of things that the author believes in. That’s why when I do research I dig deeper that the surface to make certain that I’m not just kidding myself into believing something because it sounded good.

In digging into the origins of phrases, something I have been dedicated to for the past two years for my books On the Origins Of the Cliches, both the original and Book II, and now for the compreshenive phrase origin editon which is due out fall of 2013, I have endevored not to kid myself. Many times I find that information posted on line, and even in other major dictionaries is incorrect. I want the 2013 book to be the most indepth and accurate one ever published in the English language. Look for it next year, and in the meantime, enjoy your own copy of my two cliche origin books, which are humerous and informative, bursting many common myths. They are also available on Amazon Kindle.

Thanking my Lucky Stars for the Rhythm of the Rain

For the past several weeks we had been in a severe drought and our lawn looked like death warmed over. Rhonda had said we needed to learn to do a rain dance. The first of the week I told her I had prayed for rain and it hadn’t yet come. I didn’t understand it because even the Bible says “It rains on the just and on the unjust.” The next day, Monday, the silvery drops started coming down. It rained the most of three days, then off-and on the rest of the week. The yard woke up as if to say, ‘”I’m alive!” I couldn’t help thinking of the classic song originally made popular by the Cascades, “Rhythm of the Rain.” But it was John Claude Gummoe who wrote it. And Willie Nelson’s “Blue Eyes Cring in the Rain”–that came from the magical pen of Fred Rose. What about Elvis’ “Kentucky Rain”? That was Eddie Rabbitt and Dick Heard. 

Which brings me around to this point. The other night Rhonda and I re-watched an old episode of Cold Case…the one where “Truck Sugar” played by Larry Bagley, sang “Thanking My Lucky Stars.” That ought to have been up for an award of some kind, because it is a monster song. But the genius behind that one is Texas singer-songwriter Mike Stinson.

The song was even recorded by Johnny Depp. Listen to it on YouTube. There are numerous versions. And if possible, purchase a copy. It blows me away every time I hear it. Songwriters deserve a lot of credit. They “Light up our Lives.”

Friday the 13th

Well, once again we have that day many folks dread. Some are probably watching more closely for black cats that might be contemplating crossing their paths and staying away from ladders and mirrors. Actually 13 has usually been a lucky number for me. Consider the fact that my parents were married exactly 13 months and 13 days when I was born.

There was one Friday the 13th which was quite grizzly for me, however. It was 13 August 2004 and Rhonda and I were moving the remainder of our belongings from our mountain-top chalet in Northeast Georgia, which we were selling, to our permanent home here in Tennessee. We decided that there was only about one truck load left since most of our belongings had been moved in May, so we rented a U-Haul and loaded them ourselves. Big mistake. The truck was packed to the limit and I was attempting to load a lawnmower that we simply didn’t have room for. The truck was high above a rock walkway and the long ramp extended its full length was between me and the walk. Teetered on the edge, I lost my footing and tumbled downward, striking my head on metal and my back thudding on the rock. Then here came the lawnmower, crushing my chest. I was crying bloody murder, and Rhonda rushed me to the ER where it took two strong doses of morphine to give me any temporary relief. But it wasn’t really Friday the 13th that caused that unfortunate mishap. Right? Have a safe day, and ‘don’t take any wooden nickels.’