Evergreen and Expectations: A Keowee Valley Christmas Story

Quinn and Jack are back in the Valley!

I am ever so happy to bring you “Evergreen and Expectations: A Keowee Valley Christmas Story.” Whether it’s your first visit, or a return, I hope you enjoy the 1700s, and the wild Carolina backcountry! It is Christmas, and it is snowing, and Quinn and Jack–and a few surprises–are waiting for you.

Available on Kindle for $0.99. Free to Kindle Unlimited members!

To buy, click here.

EvergreencoverIt is Christmas in the Keowee Valley. Over a year since Quincy MacFadden Wolf and her half-Cherokee husband, Jack, returned from adventures abroad, it should be a season of celebration and good cheer. Quite unlike herself, Quinn is surly and sad, longing for the good company of friends and family. But the Twelve Days of Christmas will bring surprising revelations and unexpected guests, and Quinn will discover she is capable of great purpose–and that she is more at home on the frontier than ever before.

Katherine Scott Crawford returns with a short story filled with characters from her awarding-winning historical novel. Set on the wild Carolina frontier in the years before the American Revolution, the Keowee Valley is still beautiful and mysterious, and Quinn and Jack a pair of lovers as rare and real as they ever were.

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A Keowee Valley Christmas Story … Coming soon!

My desk, with an old friend

My desk, with an old friend

So, dear readers. I’m doing this thing. I’m writing a Keowee Valley Christmas story: something I’ve wanted to do for years. I figure, if I put it out there that I’m doing so, it’s a way of contracting with myself.

Quinn and Jack are back, of course, and maybe Ridge Runner, too–and other characters old and new. It’s been lovely to wander the Valley again, to listen in as these two very different characters whisper in my head.

I’m hoping to publish online by December 1st, most likely via Kindle Direct Publishing for around 99 cents.

Now, all you need to do is cross your fingers that everyone leaves me alone so I can write.

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News: Winter MountainTop Writers Retreat 2020

wintersunsetWinter is my favorite season to be a writer. It’s a time to hunker down, to simplify. To let stories run like a waking dream beneath the frozen ground.

I write best in winter. Maybe it’s simply that, in winter, I let go of other things in my busy life. Maybe it’s because I have an excuse to hibernate.

This is why MountainTop Writers Retreat is happy to announce a retreat for writers and creatives in early 2020. Winter MountainTop 2020 will be open to all writers and creatives (ages 21 and older), hosted at gorgeous Earthshine Lodge in the mountains of Western North Carolina.

Details forthcoming within a week, so be sure to check back in! In the meantime, happy writing!

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What Would Quinn Do?

keowee graphic

To go directly to my guest post at Bell Bridge Books, “What Would Quinn Do?” click here

Fall may be my favorite season. It’s more than the trees and mountains around my town awash in red, orange, and gold, and the skies so blue they’re almost hard to look at for long–though these are highlights. It’s the shift in seasons. Fall, I think, is the most dramatic of the year. It hints at hunkering down–something I love to do. There is no denying life is changing, and the earth with it.

That being said, every Fall I can’t help but think about Quinn (Quincy McFadden, to be sure), the heroine of my historical novel, Keowee Valley. Quinn is an unusual woman: a bluestocking, ahead of her time but still of it; a woman who becomes a willing–and, at times, unexpected–adventurer. When she leaves the bustling port of Charlestown, South Carolina and journeys into the wild Carolina backcountry during the dangerous 1760s, her entire life and the lives of all with whom she comes into contact are changed, even upended.

Right now, Keowee Valley is on sale on all ebook platforms for only $0.99. (That’s 99 cents!) Get your copy beforeKeowee-Valley-screen the promotion ends on November 15th.

Because of this, I’ve found myself lately wondering, “What would Quinn do?” I’ve written about it over at my publisher’s blog. To access the blog post and read more, click here.

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MountainTop Writers Retreat in Bold Life magazine + Keowee Valley for a steal

Photo by Karin Strickland

Photo by Karin Strickland


























Recently I had the honor of being interviewed and photographed by Bold Life magazine, an awesome publication covering arts, culture, food and more in Western North Carolina. To read the article, which focuses on my goals for MountainTop Writers Retreat, click the title below:

A Twist in the Plot – Bold Life 

* Don’t forget my debut historical novel, Keowee Valley, is only $0.99 on all ebook platforms! Now through Nov. 15th. It’s the perfect time of year to curl up with a good book!

To buy Keowee Valley for only 99 cents, click herekeowee graphic

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Keowee Valley on sale now through 11.15.19 for only $0.99!

keowee banner

Frost has settled on the hills and mountains of the high country. Fires are burning bright. It’s the first of November, and Autumn is finally here. It’s the perfect time to cozy up with a good book!

To hear what folks like Pat Conroy, Ron Rash, Adriana Trigiani, Beverly Swerling, and more have to say about Keowee Valley, click here.

Get Keowee Valley now for only $0.99! Available on all ebook platforms. To buy, click here

keowee graphic


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Last day for the Early Bird Special to MountainTop Writers Retreat’s inaugural retreat for women writers and creatives!

picToday at 11:59 PM is the last time to register with the Early Bird Special for Fall MountainTop, MountainTop Writers Retreat’s inaugural retreat for women writers and creatives, hosted Nov. 8-11, 2019 at beautiful Earthshine Lodge in the mountains of Western North Carolina.

  • Don’t forget to use the code MTNWRITE for an addition 10% off the weekend. 
  • Also: registration has changed so that you will pay half the fee for the weekend upon registering, and half upon arrival.

Fall MountainTop is for women writers and creatives seeking a weekend of peace, reflection, inspiration, quiet, and time. This is a true RETREAT from the world and from your busy life. There are no classes or workshops, and any time you spend with others–whether at night around a roaring fire, while dining, on a hike in the forest, or under the stars–is your choice. You can hole up in your gorgeous rustic-elegant room all weekend if you like, and not talk to a soul. It’s completely up to you. 

Earthshine Lodge is an incredible, 76-acre property located at 3,000 feet in Lake Toxaway, North Carolina and IMG_5323bordered by the Pisgah National Forest. For more information about the weekend, see the MountainTop Writers Retreat page on this website, and the subsequent tabs beneath for Frequently Asked Questions, Director Bio, and more. To register for Fall MountainTop, click here.

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MountainTop Writers Retreat News: Early Bird Special extended, new (additional) discount, and more!

IMG_6853I’m thrilled to announce three changes to MountainTop Writers Retreat’s inaugural retreat for women writers and creatives: Fall MountainTop, November 8 – 11, 2019.

  • First, we’ve extended the Early Bird Special through 11:59 p.m. October 17, 2019. 
  • Second, we’ve added an additional discount code. At registration, use MTNWRITE for 10% off. 
  • Third, you will now pay half the retreat fee when you register, and half when you arrive at the retreat.  

It’s going to be a glorious Fall weekend in the mountains. A perfect getaway before the rush of the holiday season, which keeps many of us writers from being able to write as much as we’d like.

And it will be quiet … oh, the lovely quiet. Please share with your creative friends!

For more information about the retreat itself, see all the information beneath my MountainTop Writers Retreat page, above. To register for 2019 Fall MountainTop, click here

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Last day for the Early Bird Discount to MountainTop Writers Retreat, Nov. 8 – 11, 2019

earlybirdHi, all!

Today is the last day of the Early Bird Discount for MountainTop Writers Retreat’s inaugural retreat for women writers, Fall MountainTop: Nov. 8-11, 2019

Invest in your writing. Write your book. Give yourself this gift of uninterrupted creative time in a gorgeous, peaceful, and inspiring place.

Come write in the mountains this Autumn, high among the trees, ancient mountains at your feet. Breathe deep. Open yourself to the mystery. Write. Write more. 

For more information, see our MountainTop Writers Retreat page (and subsequent pages beneath). If you still have questions, I’m happy to answer them. Contact me at thewritingscott at gmail dot com.

To register for Fall MountainTop, click here


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My novel anniversary: Seven years later + a GIVEAWAY


* If you’re looking for information about MountainTop Writers Retreats, click here. And don’t forget the Early Bird Special for our inaugural women’s retreat, Fall MountainTop, runs now through Sept. 30th!

Seven years ago today my debut novel was published. It was September 27, 2012, and my life looked very different than it does now. For one, I had a toddler, and I was pregnant. My old trail dog, Scout, was still alive. I was a college professor slogging through graduate school, with a traveling husband.

It was a big day for me. My novel, Keowee Valley, had been a dream whose fruition I’d spent years working towards–with my mind, body, and heart. The novel was steeped in a history (the 1760s), in a place (the wild Carolina frontier), and in a people (the Cherokee and colonial settlers of Charleston, South Carolina and the Southern Appalachians) I’d spent a lifetime studying. Particularly during the two years I was researching and writing the novel, when I hiked, paddled, horseback rode across, and drove the settings in my story–not to mention the hours I spent in museums and libraries.

Many writers like to say a book or a novel they’ve written is “a love letter” to a particular place or age in their lives. But Keowee Valley really was my love letter to the South Carolina Upcountry and the Western North Carolina mountains. It was an outpouring of gratitude and awe for the place where I was born and raised, and where I still to this day feel my soul is most itself.

Here’s a bit from the Prologue. Maybe you’ll see what I mean:

Some of the gorgeous ink drawings at the headings of Keowee Valley's chapters. Done by the artist James Pharr.

Some of the gorgeous ink drawings at the headings of Keowee Valley’s chapters. Done by the artist James Pharr.

My story begins before the fall, in that Indian summer time when the hills are tipped with oncoming gold, and the light hangs just above the trees, dotting the Blue Ridge with gilded freckles. The mornings and the evenings are cool, but it is the mornings I remember most: waking before the men, wrapping a shawl around my shoulders and slipping out through the fields, the dry grass crunching beneath my boots. Drifting down from Tomassee Knob the mist would spread over the Keowee Valley in great, rivering pools of gray, the sun rising in the east flecking the horse’s breath–suspended in the air before their nostrils–with slivers of shine. It was then the whole world was quiet, no crows eating my corn, the peacefulness not even broken by the bay of some wolf on the ridge, calling to the still-lit moon in the western sky. The whole world was silent then, and the Blue Ridge breathed beneath the deep purple earth. I thought I could feel it, a great heart beating in the wilderness. 

I was 26 years-old when I began writing this novel, though it had percolated in my mind since I was a child. Now, I sometimes think I threw everything in it but the kitchen sink. (Probably, I’d've thrown that in, too, if kitchen sinks had been around in the 1760s.) I wanted an epic adventure story, a love story, a history story, a cultural story, a story steeped in place. I wanted horses, and Cherokee culture, and an early feminist heroine; I wanted colonial Charleston, the frontier, battles and blood and famous Americans; I wanted mixed-race heroes, humor, war. I even wanted Italy, where I’d traveled the summer before I began writing. I wanted, more than anything, to create a world so vivid readers could sink into and not want to leave.

All this is to say, there’s a chance (okay, a big chance) I was over-ambitious. First novel and all. Looking back now, there are so many things I’d do differently. There’s so much I would change if I could (including asking my publisher to place the Glossary of Cherokee Words and Phrases at the beginning of the novel, rather than the end, so readers would know it was there). This is why a novel becomes something an author must release, like a biologist releasing a wolf back into the wild after rehabilitation. The novel, like the wolf, never really was yours–it never really belonged to you–in the first place.

I was astounded by the many authors who agreed to “blurb” the book. This is a process by which a writer must beg other writers to read an advanced copy of their novel, and to say something nice about it, which the publisher then puts on the cover of said novel. I was a nobody, but I reached out to some of the authors I admired most, and they responded with nothing short of grace. Pat Conroy, Adriana Trigiani, Ron Rash, Beverly Swerling, Tommy Hays, Elise Blackwell, and the late Kathryn Stripling Byer (former NC Poet Laureate), said things I still can’t believe about Keowee Valley. New author friends with whom I’d corresponded while writing the book, like historical novelists Philip Lee Williams and the wonderful Darci Hannah wrote the loveliest things. And book reviewers–so many book reviewers–took the time to write about my books on their blogs, to interview me, and to ask the most incredible questions.

The friendships I have developed with other writers because of Keowee Valley were the greatest gift of all. If I had to

A rendering of the Keowee Valley, by artist James Pharr

A rendering of the Keowee Valley, by artist James Pharr

list them here, I’d run out of space with my gushing. I’ve bonded with writers from  my own backyard, from states away, and from Canada. When I worry about the long span of time it’s been since I’ve published another novel–and, trust me, there have been times I’ve wanted to tear my hair out over it–I think of these friendships and the joy and comfort they have brought me.

And if I even attempted to put to words what the support from family members and friends meant to me, I’d be a weepy mess.

It hasn’t been easy since Keowee Valley was published on Sept. 27, 2012. Life, as we all know, can be about as easy to predict as a tornado. However, here I am, 7 years later, and–for now at least–writing is going well. I’m nearly finished with the first draft of a new novel. I have plans for a book of essays based on the newspaper column I wrote for five years. And I’m enjoying writing.

All of this could end tomorrow, of course: the book industry is mercurial and trends change weekly, and editors are subjective about what they decide to take on (this is a massive understatement). But this is the writer’s life, and it’s one I’ve chosen just as it simultaneously chose me.

So. In celebration of Keowee Valley turning 7 years old today, I’m giving away a free copy. All you have to do is respond in the comments here with the following: Who is your favorite (or least favorite) character from the novel, and why? I want details!

You have until 11:59 p.m. on Sept. 30, 2019 to respond. I’ll put all the responses in a hat and let my kids draw a name without looking. And we’ll have a winner.

P.S. Keowee Valley is available in both print and e-book versions at Amazon, from independent bookstores (like my town’s wonderful Highland Books), and anywhere books are sold.








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