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.


Life Through the Eyes of a Puppy

Aren’t you amazed at what tiny, seemingly insignificant things can excite a puppy? Here’s a very early scene from my soon to be released book, “Toby”, when he is first taken in as an orphan:
From the corner of his eye Toby notices a small tear in one of the blankets he’s sitting on. He turns and looks more directly at the frayed threads ringing the edges of the tear. He shifts his weight and the blanket moves. Immediately he pounces and attacks the edges of the hole, grabbing a mouthful of the loose threads. Growling, he shakes the blanket furiously. Pushing backward with all four feet he tries pulling it toward him. When it doesn’t budge, he lets go of it and bounces at it with stiff legs while barking at the same time. He stops and waits to see what will happen. When nothing moves, he eases forward and sniffs of the saliva soaked tear. Just as he does, his foot causes the blanket to barely move. Believing his quarry is still alive, Toby jumps backward and barks as ferociously as his puppy voice will allow him.

(release date is July 26. Pre-order your copy today from Amazon.)