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A Love of My Life: Fallita, My Maternal Grandmother

The grandmother is a beloved stock character in Czech literature. It’s no wonder, because with the exception of the unlucky, a grandmother is a fixture of Czech family life. Not only does a grandmother often live with the family, as my mother lives with us, but she is an active, loving, and sometimes infuriating part of the power dynamic.

At least for the parents.

For the grandchildren, she is mostly joy, forbidden candy, folded laundry – crisp and ironed, sugery compliments, and the occassional embarrassing episode. A grandmother might think nothing of asking her teenage granddaughter – loudly and in public – if she’s still feeling constipated, for instance.

I, myself, had a grandmother with whom I shared a clausterphobic, crazy-loving, frustrating and blessed relationship. Without her, I would not be even be a sliver of the woman I am today.

This is a woman who taught me how to stand up for myself, and gave me the courage and encouragement to start a business, write books, fall in love, and ultimately leave my family and home to live for years in a foreign country. Leaving her behind to miss me terribly, while I went off in search of adventure.

Yet she never said a word about her own heartache, cheering me on and listening to my stories with rapt attention.

As a mother, I now understand how difficult that is, and how much love it takes to help raise a headstrong and independent child who will one day bid you adieu.

My friend Catalina understands that, too.

I consider Cattalina a soul sister. She’s a writer, fellow immigrant, and true romantic. She’s an early Cold reader, and she and I have a sort of mutual fan club going on. When I reached out and asked for readers love stories, she jumped right in, head first. I love that about her.

And here is her story.

“I grew up in Mexico with a clear understanding of the irrelevance of chronological age. My grandmother who was born in 1898 was always active, always young. The bond that was so special and transcended generations is one that to this day holds an important place in my heart.

For one school year as a child I lived with her and my step-grandfather in Pineville, Louisiana. A year filled with armadillos, squirrels, Southern traditions and country girl adventures. An immense change from the Mexico City routine of my childhood. She was seventy and tried to teach me how to do a headstand! I never succeeded, but my grandmother’s headstands were flawless.

We never called her abuela or abuelita, she was to us all always Fallita. A nickname for her Christian name Flavia. She had some interesting tales of our ancestry which included her assurance that we had the blood of German pirates dating back to the 1600s. Although a few years ago’s DNA test disputed that.

Her stories of the fun and frivolity of the 1920s piqued my curiosity and made my imagination dance as a teenager. The meals she cooked, she endeavored to whip up with the privilege of doing so only when she wanted, as she had a fabulous cook; Aurora.

Another of her gifts and hobbies was sewing. Only a machine stich could compete with her precise even-handed stitching.

And Fallita was as old-school tough as the Dowager Countess of Grantham in Downton Abbey. I liked even her pointed remarks, touched with mean-spiritedness. When we love someone, after all, we need to love them wholly; flaws and gifts alike.

She lived to be 88 and to date over thirty years after her death, I miss her and feel her loving presence at times. Love after all, real love at any rate is everlasting.” -MCV Egan

Reader Valentines: Because Sometimes Your Stories Are Just Better Than Mine

love-cloudSeveral weeks ago, I received an email from a woman who’d joined my Cold Readers Club. I receive emails from readers pretty much every day, and most people just write to say thanks, which I love.
But every once in a while, someone spontaneously writes to tell me their love story. Maybe it’s because love is a thru-line in almost everything I write – whether it’s a personal essay or a historical thriller. Even when I seem to be writing about something else – faith, parenting, war, literature – somehow, someway, readers will often link the theme to a love story in their own lives.
This touches me immensely, and has actually changed the way I look at my characters and how their lives unfold. Truth be told, it changes me as well. I find myself reflecting on the love stories in my own life, feeling grateful for every tender kiss, heartache, poetic romanticism and burst of goodwill that has ever graced my journey.
So starting today, and going all through February on Cold, I’d like to feature some of the love stories readers have been kind enough and brave enough to let me share.
And I’d like to start with the brief but passionate and hopeful story of the woman I mentioned at the beginning of this post. I’ll call her Larissa.
For those of you who are Cold readers or members of my email newsletter, Cold Readers Club, you might remember an essay I wrote about why men must start reading fiction again. In it, I lamented that 80% of all fiction readers are women and how over the course of a generation, men have all but abandoned the novel.
My essay was a call to action! It was a dare. I wanted it to light a fire in the hearts of people in our Cold universe, and urge them to start pestering the men folk in their lives to pick up a damned book and read a story that’s not about work, or politics or how to build a bookshelf.
What I got was a love story. The names have been changed to protect the innocent.
“When I was 41 years old, Mac, a young man I’d known for some time came to my house looking for a friend of his. Mac’s buddy, you see, was renting a room in my house and Mac had come over to hang out.
Mac, I should tell you, was twenty-one years old and far too young for me.
I had first noticed him at a party some months before and I can honestly say he took my breath away. Six feet four inches tall, wide-shouldered with slightly long golden hair and piercing blue eyes. I mean they are BLUE! It’s the first thing most people notice about him.  He’s a construction worker so he had the strong body to go with the gorgeous face. But, alas, he was way too young for me as I said, so I didn’t give it a second thought.
Then he showed up at my door.
As his friend was nowhere to be found, I pretty much shrugged my shoulders and asked if Mac wanted to join me and my roommate for a quiet movie night. Ours was a fun, casual home, where friends were always welcome to drink a beer and eat chips while lounging on the couch, so this was nothing out of the ordinary.
It was my roommate’s turn to choose the movie, and he chose “Alien vs Predator,” a movie he knew terrified me. I said there was no way I was watching that film unless somebody sat with me and held my hand. But before I could even finish the request, Mac jumped up and plopped down next to me. He not only took my hand, but put his arms around me, holding me to his chest. I WAS SHOCKED! And nervous, and didn’t know what to do. But I went with it. I was powerless not to.
Long story short, my roommate ended up skipping out to visit some friends, leaving me and Mac alone to watch the rest of the movie.
Only we didn’t.
As soon as my roommate left, Mac bent down and kissed me.
‘We’re not going to watch any aliens and predators, are we?’ I asked.
‘He looked down at me and simply replied, ‘no.”
At first, it was a casual thing and I didn’t allow myself to take it too seriously. But as we spent more time together, I came to see that Mac was a wonderful conversationalist, deep and complex for so young a man.
He impressed me by his knowledge and love of Bob Dillon and other musicians from my era. And as he spent more time in my house, I started to notice that he tended to disappear quite often. When I went looking for him, I usually found him in my library.
As a voracious reader and true bibliophile, I was intrigued.
Mac would have several stacks of books out on the library desk trying to decide which book he wanted to read next. And he almost always had a book with him wherever he went. So, over time, we got in the habit of getting up early on Sunday mornings to have coffee and read companionably on the loveseat on my front porch. He told me about his favorite authors – Tolkein and Pat Conroy. How much he loved “Prince of Tides,” and thought one of the best quotes to ever grace a page is, “My wound is my geography.”
I told him I loved George RR Martin, but that my favorite quote did not come from his books. He said, “One who reads lives a thousand lives, one who doesn’t lives one.”

Well, naturally I agreed to marry Mac despite our twenty year age difference.

And so you know, eight years later, we are still happily married and spend our evenings reading and listening to great music.

Our book collection has grown considerably over the years and the only time he has ever complained about all the books was when we had to move. Books are very heavy.  We still don’t have a TV. Haven’t had one since we got together. Our nights are spent reading with our cats curled up in our laps or talking, or talking about what we are reading.  Mac is reading the Sovereign of the Seven Isles series by David A Wells and is on the second book titled “Sovereign Stone.” He loves the series and we talk about the books and characters a lot since I read the series previously and recommended it to him. 

I’m reading some books by Scott A Combs – Galactic Guild Comedies titled “The Kili Wanna Affair” and “The Feel Good Affair.”  They are so much fun and I keep laughing out loud while Mac just looks at me over his book with his eyebrows raised. We know if there’s a book that that can do that to one of us, then the other is sure to want to read it next. 

Mac usually tells people he fell in love with me for my library, and my cooking. Since he’s a great cook himself, I think the former was probably what did it for him.

As for me, I can tell you there are not many men like him these days. Especially in the younger generations.  I am so blessed to have found him. He is still the best husband any woman could ask for. And I think I truly am the luckiest woman on the planet.”

Please join me next week for more reader love stories. And if you haven’t already, join my Cold Readers Club. You might just get lucky.



Calling All Lovers!

There is not one of us in the world who doesn’t wish for love to come and bust down our door. To run right smack into that person who napalms our very beings, then makes our dreams take flight.

This is why, in one way or another, I write about love in all of my stories. The dark ones like Welcome to the Hotel Yalta are punctuated with love’s longing – even when my characters are doing horrendous things that push any sincere entanglements ever further from their grasp.

It’s why I’m in the throes of writing an epic love story that is just turning me inside out. No, this will not be a romance novel in the spirit of Harlequin and Danielle Steele. All of my usual themes will be on full display – like killers, curses, and destinies.

And when you read it, I want you to taste blood and feel your heart pounding so hard it’s like a thundering coal train. When you put it down, I want you to ache.

Writing so blatantly about love has been an evolution for me. But a natural one.

Ever since starting Cold, so many of you have written to me about your love stories. Next to my children and my marriage, that trust has been the greatest privilege of my life. By opening your hearts, you’ve opened mine.

So, in honor of the coming Valentine’s Day holiday, and in celebration of how much meaning your stories have brought to my life, I want to showcase true-to-life love stories on Cold. Your stories. Reader stories.

You don’t have to constrain youself to telling me about a lover. It can be a story about your dad, your child, a beloved pet.

Just make sure to answer these questions: How did you find one another? How did you know it was love? Was it sudden, like love at first sight? Or did love wrap its body around you slowly like a python? How has your love story unfolded over the years? Where does it stand now? How has it changed your life? Take yourself there, and give up all your nitty-gritty details.

You can post your story in the comments section, or email me privately:

If I do write about your story, I will only attribute your name to it if that is what you specify. If you wish to remain anonymous, that’s fine, too. Just tell me. And if you wish to share your story with me, but do not want your story considered for a blog post – say so. I would never, ever betray your confidence.

I wish I could write about every story that will be shared with me. Truly, I know from experience that there will not be a single one that isn’t worthy of a post all its own. Time and the editorial process, however, are strict masters. Only a small handful will be chosen.

Thank you.


My stories:

The Bone Church – oozing with love.

Cold: Essays on LOVE, faith, family and Other Dangerous Pursuits

Welcome to the Hotel Yalta – bloodthirsty love!


When Pigs Fly: Thoughts on Slavs, Santa, and eating the family pet

I don’t usually reblog my own stuff, but this post is from a long time ago – just a month after I started COLD – and I thought it deserved a second go-around. Happy Holidays, everyone. And may the New Year bring love and bounty.


Let me tell you a little bit about my people…

Slavs are salty. Playful but intense, eccentric. We thrive on poetic double meanings, and can be as dark as we are passionate and sentimental. We believe in curses and we believe in that tiny, niggling feeling – the kind that prophecies are made of.  The soul’s equivalent of that barely detectable scratch in your throat just before a debilitating bout with the flu.

We’ve brought the world bawdy intellectuals, literary janitors, scientist priests and philosopher politicians.

And we are warm.  We welcome our guests not with a shake of the hand and a cold drink, but a kiss, an embrace, a plate of hot food and a glass of strong liquor that burns as it goes down.

It’s about this time of year that I get sentimental about being a Slav, because, well, I’m an American.  I married an American…

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Beaches, Sunsets and Butt-sniffing: The Best Vacation Romance Ever!


I was sitting on the beach in Costa Rica with my brother-in-law, Roberto, last week, when he leaned in, poised to tell a story.

I love his stories. They’re vivid, filled with humor, and even a little mean. Not because Roberto is mean – he’s not. What he is, is a keen observer of nature, human and otherwise. Of reaction and interaction, of the way the light reflects upon the sea, of the way a campfire can smell like winter even on the hottest day, and a young woman can smell like a summer night no matter what perfume, or lack thereof, she’s wearing. He’s also a Latin bon vivant – a man who taught himself French, just so he could read Victor Hugo and Alexandre Dumas in their native language. And the only straight man I have ever known who can credibly wear an Ascot.

His stories are filled with piquant details, and I’m always happy to put down whatever book I’m reading in order to listen.

“Look,” he said, pointing to two dogs wrestling on the beach. They were roughly the size of Golden Retrievers, but in form looked more like Dalmatians without spots. One was pale yellow and the other a rusty-brown.

“Cute,” I said. And they were. Frolicking, rolling in the sand, nipping at one another.

“I’ve been watching them all week,” Roberto told me. He and my sister-in-law, Sheila, had arrived a few days before my husband and I, settling into their time-share and stocking up on supplies: insect repellent, Spanish ham, fresh papaya, gin, tonic.

“The female, the light one, belongs to a family who’s on holiday, while the male belongs to one of the beach vendors and lives here all year.”


Lucky dog, I thought. Because if there is a dog heaven, it has to resemble Playa Hermosa in Costa Rica. Black, volcanic sand, tiny islands just off shore – easily swimmable to a gifted athlete, a sky so blue it makes rain seem impossible. And these dogs were chasing each other on it. Sniffing each other’s butts, trouncing on sand crabs, radiating joy.

“Yesterday, a man walked by and made friends with the male dog,” Roberto said. “He had treats in his pocket and was giving them to him. And when he continued on his walk, he beckoned the dog to come with him. He didn’t call the lady dog along for some reason. Perhaps he didn’t take to her. Only the boy.”

I could see why. The male dog seemed like a bit of a rogue. Free and handsome. The perfect partner-in-crime for a young, single guy with a pocket full of kibble.

“And the male with the brown coat, he ran after him, so happy, while the lady dog, she sat up, cocked her head. She sat right there on the beach.” Roberto pointed to a log and some driftwood next to a colony of volcanic rock. It was the only lonely place on Playa Hermosa and even people in search of solitude seemed to avoid it. Although the palm log there was one of many that had been downed by a hurricane the previous week, no one would sit on it, while the others were full of coconut salesmen, women in sun hats, and beach volleyball players anxious for a way into a full game.

“This lady dog looked after him with such sorrow,”Roberto told me. “She watched her lover run away and follow this man, chewing his treats. Forgetting all about her.”

1920x1080 Beach wallpaper

I looked over at the lady dog, with her pale yellow fur and one paw up, elegant, holding it the way a woman at tea might hold her pinky as she takes a sip of her Earl Grey. Then in the next moment, she crumbled, stretching out onto her back and taking playful swipes at her fickle beau. You’re too good for him, I wanted to tell her.

“And so it went for some time,” Roberto said. “The lady just sat there. She couldn’t even whine, she just looked on as he scampered away, oblivious to her suffering.”

“Typical man,” I said, and Roberto laughed, running his fingers through his thick, black hair, and scratching his scalp as if it were a decadent pleasure. The dogs were rubbing off on him.

“But every once in a while,” he continued, “The boy dog would stop and look back. The lady was still there, still looking after him. And this seemed to please him. Then the man would call him and he’d go. He’d take his treat and keep following this man down the beach. The boy dog was prancing, cheerful in the presence of his new friend, but then he turned around again. And still, there was the lady, longing for his company. She wouldn’t move. Such sadness.

Once more, the boy dog turned to the man, who gave him another treat, and he ate it. But as he started to go with the man again, the boy dog with the brown coat turned around one last time. Of course, she was there, faithful and heartsick, just as she had been.

And right then, he left his new friend and came running back to his lady. I have never seen such delight in the eyes of another being as I saw in that lady dog’s eyes. He ran to her and he jumped up and she sprinted towards him. And they have been in love ever since.”


It’s funny. Yes, they were in love – these two dogs. It was as clear to me as it was to Roberto and anyone watching them. I wondered how long the lady dog would cry once her family took her back to their home in San Jose. Or how long it would take before her vacation lover forgot her. Stopped gazing out over the water and moved on to another visiting canine, or another man with treats.

But that’s not the story, is it? The story is that he did come back. He chose his girl over his buddy, and over treats. That’s what this story is about. And while it probably didn’t end happily for the dogs – they are, after all, dependent upon their masters and will in all likelihood never see each other again. Their love, however, did inspire another story, as all great romances do.

It inspired mine.

My husband and I were having our first vacation alone, without our children, in fifteen years. Even Sheila and Roberto were leaving us after a couple of days, driving back to their home in San Jose.

Of course, we knew our romance wouldn’t last either. Soon, we would have to get back to our children and our jobs. Like the beach dogs, the week was pretty much it for us, and we relished our time together with the same, unbridled enthusiasm.

We got a couples’ massage right on the beach, took long walks, drank fruity drinks with little umbrellas, held hands, swam in a warm, frothy ocean, and kissed while watching a sunset that looked like burning embers.

We said I love you with real feeling, instead of tossing the words off in a hurry as we do when we’re on our way to another work event, another soccer game.

Sure, I whined for a couple of days when we returned. And my husband stared at his computer screen, barely able to move. Until a call came in and he had to take it.

Slowly, we moved on.







A Little Note of Thanks

1493This is a list – just a list of things I’m grateful for. Nothing more, nothing less. It’s stuff I don’t think about most of the time, but that undeniably bring joy and purpose into my life. Things that perhaps you don’t think about either, but might put a smile on your lips, conjure a memory, remind you of a dream…

I’m grateful for my mother, and our loving, annoying, complicated and sometimes strange relationship. And that there are a bunch of black-eyed Susans that grow in our backyard right around mid-summer. My daughter puts them in her hair, making her look like something between a fairy and hippie.

I love when wispy clouds wrap around the full moon like a piece of white linen around a fat auntie’s belly…dirty jokes, I love those, too…and the way footsteps echo inside of an empty church.

I”m grateful for my youngest daughter’s scars, which serve to remind me how hard she fought for her life and how hard her doctors worked to save her…for contrarian opinions that challenge my most staunch beliefs…for a peanut pie recipe that sounds great, but I’ve yet to make…for my son’s pet snake, Fellina, because I don’t have to do one damned thing to take care of her…for a son who takes care of his own snake…for the wasp I sat on that didn’t sting me…the red and green light bulbs we screw into our porch lanterns every holiday season…that my husband makes my coffee every morning, and my cocktail every night.


Cocktails in my husband’s office

In a grotesque way, I’m grateful for the swarm of houseflies that somehow got trapped between my office window panes and the storm windows just behind them…for the funny baby videos I watch with my twelve year-old daughter…and the smell of sweat and hormones that linger in our house after my teenage son has his friends over.

I love that my neighbors always say hi…that I speak Czech…that my husband told me I was pretty just last week…that there are ghosts in my house…that my nine year-old daughter is really into spaghetti westerns…that nobody in my family likes okra…but that we all love to dance to 1970s funk.

Then there’s the absolute insanity of our day-to-day lives – the sports, the Scout meetings, the school events, that create a rich flow and make us serve the greater good of our family…the fact that few things we truly care about have come easily…the taste of honeysuckle…the powerful combination of toothpaste and mouthwash that keep our teeth clean and our breath fresh…the invention of penicillin…and pasteurization…and vaccines…the space program…the human genome project…that Galileo, Michelangelo, Marcus Aurelius, America’s founding fathers, Ernest Hemingway, Winston Churchill, Oprah, Jonas Salk, Moses, David Mamet, Nelson Mandela, Vaclav Havel and Eleanor Roosevelt ever existed.

Great walking sticks – love those…the sun as it breaks through heavy cloud cover…the way the fall wind blows leaves in a cyclone…a good game of hide and seek…fake mustaches…southern accents and southern cooking…the Irish…the Jews…cringy disco songs…constructive criticism…nice butts…my best friend’s cat obsession and the songs she writes about it…a nagging conscience…lipstick…black licorice…campfire smells…yodling…ladybugs…insect repellent…candleabras…fiery sunsets.

And so much more, but I won’t put you through that.

Thank you for reading and for being a part of my life. And have a wonderful Thanksgiving!


Thanksgiving at The Doughertys, 2015



How Country Music Made Me a Better Writer

country-music-hee-hawI haven’t always been a die-hard country music fan.

Having grown up in Chicago, and subsequently moving to other cities like Prague and San Francisco, I was raised on a steady diet of screaming guitars, blues, a smattering of jazz, and the occasional hipster band.

Don’t get me wrong – I still love them all! They’ve been the soundtrack to some of the best times in my life and when a song like Jane’s Addiction’s “Been Caught Stealing” comes on the radio in my car, I go off like a firecracker – pounding my hands on the steering wheel and frightening my children.

It wasn’t until I was in my early thirties and actually moved to a rural area that country music made its way onto my radar. Then. like the wrong kind of man, wormed its way into my heart. A couple of years later, I wokr up to find honky-tonk had pretty much taken over my iPod, leaving The Clash, Bowie, countless British New Wave bands and Madonna lonely for play.

(The Rockabilly songs of the Stray Cats got to stay in the fold.)

I’ve got to admit that a lot of my city slicker friends have found my new taste in music questionable. Some have openly wondered if my move to central Virginia didn’t coincide with a minor head injury.

City slicker friend: “You actually like John Denver. Really like him. You don’t listen ironically?”

Me: “I think he’s one of the great songwriters of the twentieth century.” (I’m deadly serious here)

City slicker friend: “Oh.”

Country music just ain’t on the playlist in Yankee cities. Sure, a city dweller might enjoy “cool” country stars that have had Hollywood movies made about their lives. Singer-songwriters like Johnny Cash and Loretta Lynn come to mind. But for the most part, country music to a city person runs neck in neck with elevator music and polkas when it comes to their listening pleasure.

And I used to be right there with them.

It took changing my habitat dramatically to inspire me to learn an entirely new repertoire of songs that have little to no relationship with the good ole days of my teens and twenties.

I slowed down, started working out of my home office, and found myself noticing how the breeze would blow through so many leaves on a summer evening that I’d swear I was listening to wind chimes. Without even meaning to, I got to know – intimately – the movement of sunlight throughout the day and the phases of the moon. I can’t sleep when the moon is full, I’ve learned, so I might as well put on something soft. Maybe Willie Nelson.

It was finally seeing what a holler really looked like, and hearing the truly terrifying shriek of a fox’s mating call. Driving on roads called 22 curves (and for good reason), drinking whiskey in a rocker on my front porch (yes, we really do that), or hearing my daughter say her dream car is a pick-up truck (not kidding here).

Still, all of those genteel country living experiences led me to water, but they didn’t make me drink. What did was my congenital love of a great story.

Because in country music, I’d found some of the best lyrical storytelling I’d ever heard, and it was not confined to the usual trilogy of sex, drugs and teen angst that can make great music, too, but gets a bit repetitive. And frankly, loses its oomph after you’ve had a kid or two.

Even some of the schlockiest country tunes tend to have very adult themes that present a complicated set of circumstances. Like a good book.

A country singer will warn you not to come home a drinkin’ with lovin’ on your mind, tell you to stand by your man, lament that if their phone still ain’t ringin’, they assume it still ain’t you. They teach you how to play the game of life through a game of cards, fall into a ring of fire, and go to Jackson, Mississippi looking for trouble of the extramarital variety. They sing about their daddies and their wayward loves, their friends, their problems, the mountains they grew up drinking in like moonshine. They take you this close to their face, till you can smell their breath.

And over the past decade – more than poetry, even more than reading fiction – country music has inspired the way I’ve constructed the personalities of some of my favorite fictional characters.

Johnny Cash’s Delia, A Boy Named Sue and Number 13 colluded to help me create a bulimic Hungarian assassin with a penchant for rich food and sadistic murder…and a heart for only one woman.

Frankie Laine’s Wanted Man showed me how impulsivity and desire can spawn a fledgling outlaw.

Dolly Parton’s Touch Your Woman guided my hand in writing a heartbreaking love scene between two characters about to face their doom.

And Garth Brooks’s Friends in Low Places, about a regular guy who crashes his ex-girlfriend’s wedding to a high roller, always reminds me to give my characters a sense of humor – even amidst some of their most painful, cringy episodes.

Well, I guess I was wrong
I just don’t belong
But then, I’ve been there before
Everything’s all right
I’ll just say goodnight
And I’ll show myself to the door
Hey, I didn’t mean
To cause a big scene
Just give me an hour and then
Well, I’ll be as high
As that ivory tower
That you’re livin’ in

‘Cause I’ve got friends in low places
Where the whiskey drowns
And the beer chases my blues away
And I’ll be okay
I’m not big on social graces
Think I’ll slip on down to the oasis
Oh, I’ve got friends in low places –Garth Brooks

These artists have taught me not to waste words and to tell a compelling story in the shortest amount of time possible, so as not to bore a reader with competing descriptions and over-wrought emotions. They have reminded me that I don’t need a shoot-out or car chase or even a bunch of sex to put tension or excitement into a scene.

And they’ve shown me that having heart and brazen sentimentality can illustrate a powerful truth that kicks even the most cynical reader in the gut.

So, writers…and readers…next time you need to boost your imaginations, or just want to hear a great yarn – find your local country music station (I swear, even big cities have one), sit back, put your boots up and have a listen.

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