Events, Programs, and Appearances in October

A busy October begins on October 1st with Octoberfest in historic downtown Newnan, Georgia–my hometown- and ends October 30th in Warm Springs narrating famous tales about graveyards, ghosts, and goblins while enjoying a Spooktacular evening among ghoulish dressed in black patrons.

Visit T. M. Brown’s Event Page for all the dates, times. and locations for events, programs, and appearances on tap in October. In the midst of the month he and his wife are racing north to visit grandkids too.

Hometown Novel Author Events in September

Hometown Novel Author Events are keeping busy as Fall arrives with author events in Newnan and Warm Springs. Catch the latest by visiting the Events tab.

Check back for upcoming events and appearances will be coming soon for October thru Christmas. You can also visit @TMBrownAuthor or @HometownNovelNights on Facebook as well.

Coming on September 16th at 6:30 PM, live at the Newnan Carnegie LIbrary’s spacious (socially responsible seating) Hometown Novel Nights presents Four Immensely talented and successful Rising Georgia-rooted Authors. Visit Hometown Novel Nights or Newnan Carnegie Library beginning right after Labor Day to register for this limited seating event. Books will be sold there so you can leave with signed copies in hand.

Register to attend in person for this outstanding lineup of Georgia-rooted authors:

Learn more by visiting @HometownNovelNights on Facebook
Enjoy the 90-minute HHNN Georgia-Rooted Author Program hosted at the Newnan Carnegie Library, simulcast on Facebook Live, September 16, 2021

September Guest Author–Kathy Nichols from Marietta, GA shared her latest novel, The Sometime Sister at Warm Springs Cellars

Brief 5-minute clip from the two-and-a-half hours Kathy Nichols and her husband joined T. M. Brown at Warm Springs Cellars in historic downtown Warm Springs, GA

Labor Day Weekend Newnan Art Festival & Newnan Fall Art Walk, September 17th HNN \

Are you a budding author looking for a writer’s group? Visit @HNNWritersGroup

2021 Kicks Off HNN Writers

Are you a writer who aspires to collaborate with other writers to improve your writing? Writers write in isolation but writers need not be isolated from opinions and advice along the arduous task of writing your story to reach your desired audience.

January 21st at 6:30 PM will be the first of four quarterly workshops co-hosted by the Newnan Carnegie Library and Hometown Novel Nights This first inaugural workshop will be broadcast live on Zoom – get your broadcast link by registering here to register on Eventbrite or go to HNN Writers .

Locally, author collaborative/critique groups will be available to meet on a monthly basis beginning in February. Share your latest scene or article with other writers for feedback and advice. Talk about editing, story elements, queries, publishing, event planning, etc. Share ideas and links to helpful websites to help one another become better writers.

There is no cost other than your investment in becoming the best writer you can be.

Shiloh’s History: Old Dixie Highway Impact

When I began researching my fictional South Georgia town, aptly named Shiloh, I wanted to understand how a county seat with a beautiful antebellum courthouse could lose its status. How could a revered courthouse become merely a symbol of the town’s past but become only a city hall as the power in the county shifted eastward to a more thriving and successful town full of tourists, shopping malls, and sprawling neighborhoods?

History revealed the political wrangling during the routing and building of the highways in Georgia decided the fate of many Georgia small cities and towns. The demographic of counties shifted within a decade or two after the highways snaked their way South a century ago. And, later again when in the 50s-70s, the Interstate Highway System sped tourists down its concrete corridors. Progress is most often welcomed without considering its long-term impact on the greater population left behind. Shiloh reflects such a left-behind community–scarred by the changes of its past–yet comfortable remaining a step or two behind all the changes of the 21st-Century. Understandably, the residents of Shiloh embrace time-lost traditions while creeping forward in time.

Might I suggest a little history lesson that might appeal to most folks about the changes brought on 100 years ago as highways and automotive travel reshaped Georgia and the Old South? http://georgiahistory.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/dixie_hwy.pdf

I invite you to fall in love with little old Shiloh. Though the stories are set in contemporary times, there’s a time-lost feel throughout that will assuredly draw your curiosity as to where Shiloh would exist if it were real today. Visit the bookstore for quick links to all three of the Shiloh stories. Fall in love with not only the colorful and memorable characters wrestling with deep secrets, conflict, threats, and of course modern changes creeping into their sleepy rural community but also discover how Shiloh also becomes a key character in each story.

Sanctuary, A Legacy of Memories (2017) – April 2020, Hearthstone Press release

Testament, An Unexpected Return (2018) – April 2020 Heartstone Press release

Purgatory, A Progeny’s Quest (revised release, May 26, 2020) – Hearthstone Press

Purgatory Kindle & Paperback editions coming soon… In the meantime, check out a couple of advance blurbs regarding the best and final book in the Shiloh series. Subscribe for advance purchase information and links.

Third & Final Novel in the Shiloh Mystery Series. May 5, 2020 Release

If you’ve never treated yourself to a novel by T.M. Brown, I recommend you start turning the pages of Purgatory, which in my estimation is pure literature. This story unfolds once again amid the patchwork of furrowed cotton and peanut fields of the South Georgia Christian community of Shiloh, where the townsfolk are getting ready to celebrate the annual Lightning Bug Festival — ol’ downhome country fun at its finest. But a storm is about to erupt. While folks fret they might lose their mayor to the Congressional swamp-water intrigue of Washington, an orphaned teenage girl appears on the scene in search of a mother who is long dead. But when one of Shiloh’s citizens purchases an armored limo with a checkered history at a Sheriff’s used-car auction, the town’s tranquility is shattered by the accumulation of dead bodies and broken hearts. Here’s a story that will keep you reading throughout the wee hours.

  • Jedwin Smith, author of I AM ISRAEL, Our Brother’s Keeper, and Fatal Treasure 

Mysteries beset the citizenry of a small southern town that exudes “contagious, country-fried wholeness.” T. M. Brown peels back the layers of those mysteries like one peels an onion. As you approach the finale, better hold on to your hat!

Jameson Gregg, Georgia Author of the Year, author of Luck Be A Chicken, a comic novel

The first two books are now available wherever books are sold, and advance orders for Purgatory will be soon available. Subscribe to my newsletter and then watch your email for exclusive offers or go on my Facebook or Instagram accounts for the latest news.

In the meantime, I hope you enjoyed Shiloh’s relevant history lesson and trust this current health crisis will end soon and business will gradually return to normal. I am presently praying for every small business and especially the bookstores struggling through this nightmarish calamity. I look forward to my upcoming book tour with optimism that will begin in early May (hopefully).

Mike, aka T. M. Brown

Shiloh Mystery Series began as Theo and Liddy arrive in town and discovers Jessie’s Story

JESSIE MASTERSON, BELOVED COACH AND TEACHER, SACRIFICED HIS LIFE SAVING THE LIVES OF TWO OTHERS THE NIGHT OUR HISTORIC COURTHOUSE BURNED TO THE GROUND…

Follow the link to a preview of Chapter One of Sanctuary, A Legacy of Memories and get introduced to Theo and Liddy as they first enter little old Shiloh for what had been intended to be their peaceful retirement.

After Sanctuary, A Legacy of Memories, read Testament, An Unexpected Return as Theo and Liddy attempt to sink deep roots in their new hometown only to discover their house has a link to the past they get drawn into the middle of a plot aimed to tear the Archer family and Shiloh apart.

Purgatory, A Progeny’s Quest –the third and final book in the series is coming May 5th. Theo and Liddy meet Pepper, a young girl on a quest to find the last member of the only family she has ever known only to discover family she knew nothing about.

Purgatory, A Progeny’s Quest will be the third in the Shiloh Mystery Series. It offers a twist as key characters in Shiloh adjust to the changes in their lives and new additions to lil’ ol’ Shiloh.

Stay tuned to learn more in the coming weeks leading up to the release of Purgatory, A Progeny’s Quest. As my publisher affirmed, this is the best of the three books. You can wait to read Purgatory, a suspense-filled mystery on its own, but you’ll only want to read the first two books after reading Purgatory… Subscribe today and be kept up to date as the launch date nears and the book tour dates are set!

The Appeal of Southern Novels, Past and Present

Why Are Southern Novels Borderless and Timeless?

How is it Margaret Mitchell, Flannery O’Connor, Harper Lee, William Faulkner, Robert Penn Warren, Erskine Caldwell, James Dickey, Pat Conroy and the legacy of so many other great Southern authors have endured long after they left us? And, today Southern authors like Fannie Flagg, Alice Walker, Kathryn Stockett, Jeswyn Ward, Charles Frazier, Greg Iles, Charles Martin, Rick Bragg, and even John Grisham are still securing their legacy for future generations.

Let’s not forget the endless stream of fresh literary voices beckoning us with new Southern-laced literary works that supply the timeless and borderless demand for memorable flawed heroes, victims, and villains depicted in colorful Southern settings dealing with 21st-Century challenges and changes.

The South offers fuller moons and windier back roads for a reason.

What constitutes a great Southern story?

First of all, truth be told, I don’t know how to write the next best-selling Southern Novel. Of course, if I did happen to know how, I’d be too busy writing it and more than likely have my eyes cast on writing at least three. Three best-selling Southern novels would leave the kind of legacy that any writer would only dream about. But at least I know one when I see one. That’s because really great best-selling Southern novels are discovered, not written. In fact, none of the aforementioned authors began writing the next great Southern novel. They merely wrote what resided within them to write. 

The indelible mark of Southern Author

Being reared in the South leaves an indelible mark on one’s soul where inspiration and motivation sprouts from fertile memories, the good and the bad, to write compelling stories. Aspiring writers with souls stained and strained growing up in the South cannot write anything else worthwhile. Southern stories are written experientially. An author might learn the mechanics of creative writing, but no classroom can replicate growing up and experiencing life in the South. There’s no better fodder for storytelling than lending an ear to the tall-tales of folks spinning yarns in the South. Such tales may be heard eating dinner, attending church, getting a haircut at a local barbershop, or at a beauty parlor for the women-folk, but let’s not neglect sitting on a neighbor’s porch.

So much of the South is found any evening on the front porch.

The Southern Author Is Too Polite to Name Names

I have learned one thing in my sixty-eight years, fiction is just the truth and reality wearing a mask and being stretched a might to be more palatable, and often more plausible. You see, more than not, the truth just ain’t as believable as the tall-tales that follow.

Now there are certain trademarks of any Southern story, they revolve around food, family, friendships, faith, and football. Right off, if any story fails to mention the sipping, swallowing, or gulping of sweet tea, consider it suspect right away. Also, in the South, a coke may not mean a Coca-Cola, and whiskey didn’t originate here, but it was perfected here. In fact, the tales of Cooter Brown’s perpetual drunkenness is a Southern-rooted legend.

Grits, gravy, and greens are menu staples, morning, noon and night. Anything else worth eating is also usually fried. Peaches, pecans, and peanuts are the foundation of many epic desserts too.

In the South, Change Arrives Reluctantly

It may be the 21st-Century, however, “Yes, ma’am” and “No, sir” are not derisive retorts but words of respect to our elders. Boys and grown men instinctively grab the door for a woman or young lady. Now, that’s not saying Southern gals don’t have spunk. Lord, just rile a Southern girl and you’ll learn right quick they invented sass. They also know, you know, you likely deserved it.

The 21st-Century Southern woman exited the confines of the kitchen and no longer remains in the shadows cast by men. She forges her own identity in society and dares men to catch up to her. 

Some Traditions Linger

Of course, when someone approaches on a backroad, there will be a casual exchange of raised fingers atop their respective steering wheels. It’s an evolution of the tradition that declares in the South no one stays a stranger for long. Handshakes and howdies transform strangers into friends whether visiting or just passing through. What has changed is the inclusion of women in those customary exchanges.

But Some Traditions Remain Steadfast in the South

Last but not least, it’s downright hard to distinguish faith from football conversations. They both can offer the same fervor. In the South, the Lord’s Day is Sunday and everyone agrees that God graces every church, small or large, but Saturday, God sports our team colors, sits on our side of the field and favors our victories.

Now there’s a heap more we could wrangle back and forth about on this subject, but I reckon you’ve got the gist. We may not always be able to plainly define it, but we sure know when we have read a great Southern novel. When we come to the last page and close the book we feel sad because it ended. 

T. M. Brown  

 

One earns the other on your shelf
Two books linked with their unforgettable setting and colorful characters

Coming May 5, 2020, Purgatory, A Progeny’s Quest, book three in the Shiloh Mystery Series. Watch for more news about book three in the coming weeks. But I can tell you, Theo just can’t seem to avoid being in the middle of the threats to the peace and tranquility of lil’ ol’ Shiloh. Some family trees get shaken and familiar characters face life and death decisions in the next story.

Decatur Book Festival 2019 Kicks Off a Busy Schedule of Fall Author Events!

September kicks off a busy Fall season of author events. My wife and I will be touring not only various venues in the Greater Atlanta area but also returning for a two-day author event with The Book Loft in Fernandina Beach and then back to my friends at The Bookshelf in Thomasville in the coming weeks. In the midst of it all, Hometown Novel Nights allows me to enjoy introducing and talking with new local authors before a growing curious audience in Hogansville and Newnan, Georgia. I also will be teaming up with my author-friend, Roger Johns in November for a discussion about Our Enduring Fascination with Mystery & Suspenseat the new Story on the Square Bookstore in McDonough, Georgia.

My newest bookstore addition is right in my hometown of Newnan, Georgia with Southern Fried Books. and I’ll be signing books there September 20th during the Newnan Fall Art Walk. They have the largest inventory of my books too… Well, they are my exclusive hometown bookstore too. You can order signed copies from them to mailed to you as well.

From panelist the last two years to moderator. I am grateful to three talented authors of Inspirational Non-Fiction books for making me look good! We had a blast in front of a large audience in the Marriott Conference Center Auditorium Sunday afternoon.
Giving back to the Atlanta Writers Club for all the excellent benefits it affords to authors. With over 1,000 members it is not only the oldest but also the largest author organization in the South. I am always amazed by all the published works that flow out from the members with many national best-sellers. We have a banner day recruiting new members during the festival.
Writers are better when amongst other authors.
Atlanta Writers Club updated brochure. AWC offers so much for every member. Grab a copy or click the image to go online to learn more.
Of course, you get to promote your published books too! Decatur Book Festival is always a great venue to begin the Fall book-selling season. With this being my third festival since the launch of Sanctuary, it always amazes me to be greeted by readers who are wanting to know when the next Shiloh Mystery Novel is coming out. I got stopped twice during the weekend without my author badge on–I’m still not comfortable responding to impromptu encounters, but it feels good afterward.

Here’s my updated and latest schedule of Fall Author Events which gets fast and furious from here until Christmas.

2019 Fall T. M. Brown Author’s Events

Aug 31 – Sep 1, 2019 

Sep 7, 2019 

12:00 PM, Atlanta, GA Ponce City Market – Posman Books – Author Book Signing 

Sep 14, 2019 

1:00 PM, Woodstock, GA Book Warehouse – Author book signing 

Sep 15, 2019 

3:00 PM, Canton, GA R. T. Jones Memorial Library – Inklings, Creative Expressions – Greet and Eat Fall Event Author Book Discussion and Signings 

Sep 19, 2019 

7:00 PM Hogansville, GA, Rogers Barbecue Banquet Room – Hometown Novel Night – Hogansville. T. M. Brown, Moderator

Sep 20, 2019 

5:00 PM Newnan, GA, Southern Fried Books – Author Book Signing – Newnan Fall Art Walk 

Sep 21-22, 2019 

12:00 PM ATLANTA, GA, Cobb Galleria Center – Broadleaf Writers Conference

Oct 5, 2019

9:30 AM Canton, GA, Canton Farmers Market – Inkling Creative Expressions

Oct 10, 2019 

6:30 PM Newnan, GA, Newnan Carnegie Library Auditorium – Hometown Novel Nights – Newnan, T. M. Brown, Moderator

Oct 12, 2019 

12:00 PM McDonough, GA, Story on the Square Bookstore – Author Book Discussion & Signing

Oct 19, 2019 

12:00 PM Carrollton, GA, Horton’s Books & Gifts – Book signing at Georgia’s oldest bookstore. My favorite local bookstore venue.

October 24, 2019

6:00 PM McDonough, GA, Southern Crescent Literature & Libations, Story on the Square

Oct 26, 2019 

5:00 PM Newnan, GA, Artisans Heritage Guhttps://www.facebook.com/events/810254069369201/ild – Halloween Fundraiser Bazaar

Nov 8, 2019 

2:00 PM Fernandina Beach, FL, The Book Loft – Christmas in Shiloh Book signing

Nov 9, 2019 

12:00 PM Fernandina Beach, FL, The Book Loft – Christmas in Shiloh Book Signing 

Nov 14, 2019 

6:00 PM McDonough, GA, Story on the Square – An Evening with Two Georgia Mystery Authors: Our Enduring Fascination with Mystery & Suspense, Roger Johns & T. M. Brown 

Nov 21, 2019 

7:00 PM Hogansville, GA, Rogers Barbecue Banquet Room – Hometown Novel Night – Hogansville Holidays Book Panel with Mark Wallace Maguire, Tim Miller, Laurs Johnson, T. M. Brown, Moderator

Nov 23, 2019 

2:00 PM Thomasville, GA, The Bookshelf – Christmas in Shiloh Holiday book signing

Dec 7, 2019 

12:00 PM Atlanta, GA, Ponce City Market – Posman Books – Author Book Signing – Christmas in Shiloh 

Dec 12, 2019 

6:30 PM Newnan, GA, Newnan Carnegie Library – Hometown Novel Nights Christmas Celebration – Larissa Reinhart, Jedwin Smith, and T. M. Brown. Southern Fried Books

HUGE NEWS! Purgatory, A Progeny’s Quest coming Spring 2020! Theo Phillips gets drawn once again into the midst of the fray as a young girl drives into Shiloh during the town’s annual Lightning Bug Festival. Lives will never be the same for several characters in lil’ ol’ Shiloh.

Are you ready to join the hundreds of others who are eagerly waiting for book three?

Order both Shiloh Mystery Novels and save. Follow Theo and Liddy as they arrive in Shiloh and get thrust into dark secrets and scandals only lil’ ol’ Shiloh can fester, and then join them as they get caught up as victims when the past returns to haunt their new friends in town. “Things get curiouser and curiouser…” as one reviewer said about the Shiloh Mystery Series.

The First Page Matters

The First Page Matters in the Sensory Appeal Test

Right after a potential reader sets their eyes on your book cover, the next critical test to pique the interest of the reader is page one of the story. Does it beg the reader to read more?

For this reason, I begin and end writing and editing with the first page. Like in real life, “first impressions matter” in establishing relationships. We don’t often get many second chances. Neither do our books should the first impression fail to pique a curious reader’s interest.

As an independent author, my books do not have the advertising and promotional blitz advantage afforded by the top publishers hawking their stable of best-selling authors. T. M. Brown does not have the name recognition of best-selling authors, such as Grisham, Patterson, Baldacci, Karon, Blackstock, etc. Like the myriad of other new books published this year, the majority lacking the deep pockets and name recognition, success boils down to passing the sensory appeal test.

What is the sensory appeal test? Does the book cover stand out when on display amongst the notable NYC published best sellers, or does it shrink almost unnoticed, overshadowed by more noticeable book covers?

Maybe its the competitive nature within me, but I desire my books to compete among the notables, the best-sellers. I prefer my books to be on the eye level front shelves in the bookstore; not relegated to shelves set aside in the back of the store. Why is that important? Okay, T. M. Brown is not a household name in the literary world, but when my book covers are displayed beside notable names that readers seek, Sanctuary, A Legacy of Memories and Testament, An Unexpected Return are exposed to more potential readers. BUT, now the sensory appeal test begins.

When either of my book covers catches the eye of a perusing reader and they pause to slide the book off the shelf for a closer look, the reader’s keen senses in the next few seconds decide the fate of my book. Without the notoriety of the more familiar author Dan Brown, it is the front cover which then earns an extended feel of the book.

My publisher utilizes heavier stock paper to print its books, and it is noticeable to the feel. The reader then flips to the back cover and peruses the carefully edited snippets about the book. If the book cover has passed the initial sensory appeal test the reader invests another critical moment and thumbs through the pages before eyeing the first page. Those first 200 or so words reign supreme over the next few seconds as the reader weighs the quality of the content of this interesting new author’s novel. Should by chance the reader flip the page or closes the book but runs their hand over the cover once again, chances are a decision is underway. In that brief moment, the weight of the first page matters.

Now It’s Your Turn

Now it’s your turn. What do you think? How much time do you give to selecting out a good novel to read? Are you narrowly focused on tried and tested bestsellers? Are you a reader who more often than not feels dissatisfied by the novels being hyped and peddled by the big New York City publishing houses.  Sadly, there is more and more pressure for the assembly production of novels by notable authors. They are easy to recognize because the author name takes up the top half of the front cover. They are promoting the author’s reputation, not the story inside.

So how do my books stack up? Do the first pages cause you to consider reading more?

Roebling Point Books & Coffee, Covington, KY

Sanctuary, page 1

Testament, page 1

To order either of these, if you are not able to find a copy at your local, go to TMBrownAuthor.com’s Bookstore Page

or follow the links below:

Find your next book or local bookstore

SIBA Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance – Authors ‘Round the South Supporter

For Kindle editions, go to:

Lightning Bugs v Fire Flies?

Fireflies or Lightning bugs?

Lightning bugs or fireflies, which is correct?

In the third upcoming installment of my inspirational Southern mystery series, little ol’ Shiloh will be hosting their annual Spring festival, but I have struggled in providing the right name for the festival.

I decided to put aside naming it the Shiloh Cotton or Peanut Festival – they usually are Fall events anyway after the harvest. Camilla, GA hosts their Gnat Days Festival; Thomasville, GA has their Rose Festival; Azaleas are celebrated in Valdosta, GA; Fire Ants are welcomed in Ashburn, Ga. So after researching all the Spring festivals in South Georgia, it’s come down to naming Shiloh’s annual Spring festival either the Lightning Bug or Firefly Festival. However, even Theo and Liddy are in disagreement about what to call them luminous nighttime critters…

According to a linguistic study conducted at NC State (see the map below), most of Georgia as well as throughout the peanut & cotton Deep South, its a coin flip which term is most prevalent, but, as Theo argues, most of the South refer to them critters as lightning bugs.

Help me to name Shiloh’s Spring Festival.

Are you a lightning bug lover or a firefly person?

 Green areas – predominantly firefly; Blue areas – predominantly lightning bug; Pink areas – interchangeable with names.

Your feedback will help Shiloh name its Spring Festival!

If you haven’t read either Sanctuary, A Legacy of Memories or Testament, An Unexpected Return, head over to the bookstore page and take advantage of the free shipping offer on the paperback editions.

Don’t forget to support the Georgia Writer’s Museum in Eatonton, GA.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Novel Idea Author Event

Here are some photos and a video from a recent participation as a part of a troupe of authors participating in Alpharetta, GA for “A Novel Idea – Author Evening.”

Here’s Chapter Two from Testament, An Unexpected Return that I used in the reading to the audience Sunday night.

Testament Chapter Two Reading

One earns the other on your shelf
Two books linked with their unforgettable setting and colorful characters