The Eerie, Snaky, Mysterious Obion River

If you’ve read any of my books, you know that the Obion River (that’s pronounced [o – BI (long I sound) – yun] flows through all of them and plays a significant role in the story line. My newest book, Toby, is no exception.

Although most of my stories are completely fictional, the Obion River is real.

The Obion River system, which has four separate streams, is the primary surface water drainage system of northwestern Tennessee. Those four forks are: the North Fork, Middle Fork, South Fork and Rutherford Fork (which is named after the town of Rutherford). The confluences of these forks are only a few miles above the mouth of the Obion’s discharge into the Mississippi River.

In Toby the South Fork of the Obion figures prominently.  If you take the Hinkledale Road out of McKenzie, TN,


you will soon find yourself enveloped in the verdant landscape and surrounded by thick woods, the closer you get to the river.20160630_122034



During the dry, summer months, the water level is often low enough that walking through the woods can be done with relative ease when compared to trying to navigate it when all the trees are standing in water and the mud is 8-12 inches deep.



This is no crystal clear stream.  It’s color always reminds me of the color of chocolate milk.

During the summer it is teaming with snakes, especially the deadly water moccasin, or cottonmouth, as it is sometimes called.  But in the winter it is home to ducks and occasionally to nesting Bald Eagles.












Symphony Nelson and Toby are completely at home in this area, having grown up hiking in it.  But even familiar areas become unfamiliar when a flood removes familiar markers or if you are there at nighttime (without a flashlight) which makes it impossible to see more than a few feet in front of you.

Join Symphony and Toby as they frequent this area on their journey toward discovery – discoveries that will change them forever.


Reelfoot Lake

Much of the action in my book “March On” centers on and around Reelfoot Lake, located in the far northwest corner of Tennessee.  Reelfoot Lake was created by a series of earthquakes that occurred during 1811 and 1812, with seismic waves so strong that they were felt in Quebec Canada.  Legend has it that the earthquakes caused the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia to ring. The Mississippi River actually flowed backwards and filled in the land that sank during the earthquakes, flooding the fields and forest, thus creating what became known as Reelfoot Lake.

I chose Reelfoot Lake because I find it:


mystical, 20150703_190012[1]0629131834b[1]

















dramatic, 20150703_200434[1]






















and beautiful.



It’s one of my favorite places to visit. 

Great fishing can be found in the waters of the lake, plus almost every kind of shore and wading bird.  And during January and February it is home to thousands of American Bald Eagles, a magnificent bird to see in the wild!  During the summer months there are pontoon boat excursions put on by the staff of Reelfoot State Park (I highly recommend these trips.).

And the shoreline of the lake is lined with Bald Cypress trees that have the unusual feature of knees, seen in the pictures below surrounding the trunks of the trees.






Oh, and the restaurant mentioned in “March On” – Boyettes, is a very real, very delicious place to eat!