March 2019 Month-in-Review

Check out the most popular posts at Hillbilly Highways in March, learn what I’ve been reading, and see why I think I may have a steel guitar player on my hands…

Every Day Should Be Tuesday

I only thought real life would slow down for me in March.  But where one aspect slowed down, I was playing catch up everywhere else.  I did manage 18 posts, right in between the 21 in January and 15 in February.  I really would have preferred to get a couple more out.  I still have a backlog of EDSBT posts, especially my Game of Thrones season-by-season reviews.

My great Game of Thrones rewatch continues.  A big break at the beginning of the month and another big break at the end of the month put me behind, but I still have high hopes of finishing before the final season premieres on April 14.  If an HBO subscription on Hulu Live works out,[1] I plan on bringing back my weekly recap posts.

The really big news, though, is that I started a new Facebook group as an adjunct to Hillbilly Highways…

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Oddments: Announcing the Gravel and Guts: Grit Lit and Country Noir Books Facebook Group

Announcing the Gravel and Guts: Grit Lit and Country Noir Book Facebook group:

Hillbilly Highways already has a Facebook page.  You can find it here.  But Facebook pages are, frankly, a crude tool. Groups in particular are much better for conversation.  So I have started a Facebook group focusing on the same sort of gritty stories I talk about here.  You can find it here.

Check out the relevant passage from the description:

Home for all things grit lit, hick lit, rough South, country noir, Appalachian noir, Ozark noir, hillbilly noir, rez noir, neo western…even Southern Gothic.

Think Ron Rash, Daniel Woodrell, Cormac McCarthy, William Faulkner, Charles Frazier, Bonnie Jo Campbell, Flannery O’Connor, David Joy, Brian Panowich, Robert Parker, Joe Lansdale, Tom Franklin, Frank Bill, Smith Henderson, Taylor Brown…

Continue reading “Oddments: Announcing the Gravel and Guts: Grit Lit and Country Noir Books Facebook Group”

A Cruel Mathematical Symmetry

I am 36 years old.  My dad died when I was 18.  That means I have lived roughly as long on this earth without my dad as I did with him.  My brother died when I was 11.  Seven years later my dad died.  Seven years after that my sister died.  It has been 11 years since she died.  I have now gone roughly as long as I have ever gone in my life without losing an immediate family member.

That is one hell of a mathematical anomaly.

Should I be going through a midlife crisis?

Continue reading “A Cruel Mathematical Symmetry”

January 2019 Month-in-Review

Check out which posts were most popular at Hillbilly Highways last month and see what I’ve been reading.

Every Day Should Be Tuesday

There ain’t no month like Vintage Science Fiction Month.  I took full advantage of the five Thursdays in January and published five Vintage SF Month posts: a guest post on “Shambleau” and “Black God’s Kiss,” a review of Alec Nevala-Lee’s account of John W. Campbell’s editorship of Astounding, a review of Heinlein’s Space Cadet, and reviews of collections of short stories by Isaac Asimov and C.L. Moore.

Speaking of Thursdays, though . . .  Guys, I’ve got some bad news.

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How to Make Authentic Snow Cream

You can spend four years in Houston and not see snow once.  In the snowy Rust Belt they remain ignorant.  But in between where the proper snow is a rare occurrence exists a magical treat known as snow cream.  Snow cream is, simply put, an ice cream substitute made from fresh, powdery snow.

And I, a hillbilly transplanted to a Rust Belt ready with veritable feet of good snow, will teach you the trick to making perfect snow cream.

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Top Ten Tuesday: New-To-Me Favorite Authors of 2018

My top ten new-to-me favorite authors from 2018 includes three country noir writers.

Every Day Should Be Tuesday

This is my favorite of all Top Ten Tuesday posts.  To the point that you can find favorite new-to-me authors posts going back past when I actually started participating in Top Ten Tuesdays.  Some blog prompts are so great you have to go back in time to maximize their potential.  (Check out my prior posts for 2017, 2016, 2015, and 2014.)  I must admit that it was kind of a tough year for me, reading-wise, but I still managed to find some great authors.  Even if I did have to count both members of a writing couple to get to ten.

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

A picture of my Kindle because I read most of the books below in electronic fashion

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Recommendations for Serious Downtime

Some recommendations for the person with lots of time on their hands, including some country noir recs.

Every Day Should Be Tuesday

A dear friend of mine recently had major surgery and is looking at a long recovery.  Which sucks, but CAN YOU IMAGINE THE TIME TO READ?!?  And watch movies and stuff, I guess.  She is fishing for recs, and lacking options simply will not do.  Besides, I have a history of being there for long convalescences and reading recs is kind of what I do (and watching recs too, I guess).  Not all of these may be to my friend’s tastes, but then neither was country music once upon a time, and it only took a decade for her to come around.  Without further ado, some recommendations for someone with a lot of time on their hands…

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2019 State of the Blog: Hillbilly Highways Edition

Hillbilly Highways officially launched on June 6 of this year, and it has been a tremendous experience.  It was a bit of a leap of faith to start a new, second blog after spending three years building my SF blog, especially one so different and so personal.  I have been gratified to entertain and enrich some fans of the old blog (“I’m beginning to like highways better than your other blog. The topics are far closer to home. I love Americana, and nothing is better than Appalachian tales, folk heroes, honest struggles, and a touch of mystery.” – Oghma), attract new fans (most notably the inestimable Jim Cornelius at Frontier Partisans), and even have some small measure of numerical success.

My most personal posts, and four of my favorite posts, were on Chris LeDoux’s This Cowboy’s Hat, Chris Stapleton’s Was It 26, Joan Williams’ White Working Class, and Charlie Robison’s Photograph.  I’ve got another one coming this month that I’ve had a hard time writing.

Establishing a fresh beachhead on the war-torn internet mainland is no easy task, but, while I may not be getting the numbers I get at Every Day Should Be Tuesday, Hillbilly Highways has done better in its first seven months than Every Day Should Be Tuesday did during its first seven months.

Thank you for joining me for 88 posts and contributing 254 comments and 276 likes.

You can find my State of the Blog for Every Day Should Be Tuesday here.

no-angel knows what I need to review next.

Continue reading “2019 State of the Blog: Hillbilly Highways Edition”

Top Ten Tuesday: Best Books I’ve Read This Year – Hillbilly Highways Edition

I didn’t read nearly as much this year as I did last year, or as I wanted to, but I wound up reading some damn good books.  Enough so that I decided to do two of these posts.  You can find my list of the ten best speculative fiction and related books over at Every Day Should Be Tuesday.  This is my list of the best of the rest.

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the Artsy Reader Girl.

Continue reading “Top Ten Tuesday: Best Books I’ve Read This Year – Hillbilly Highways Edition”

November 2018 Month-in-Review

Check out my November month-in-review to learn the five most popular posts at Hillbilly Highways for the month and to see what I’m reading!

Every Day Should Be Tuesday

Another month, another month in review!  We enter that time of year where things wind down, our tolerance for Christmas music and our gratitude already expended for the year.  Or at least it should.  I have a major work project that I need to finish by mid-February that will heavily effect my reading, my blogging, and my ability to relax over the next two months.

Why I remain very busy, and my reading remains way off—I only finished two books in November!—it was a great blog month.  November was my best month ever for blog views at Hillbilly Highways by a wide margin, and it was my second best month ever at Every Day Should Be Tuesday.  Gratifyingly, much of the traffic was driven by a handful of really strong posts rather than just search traffic spikes (even if those posts were boosted by outside links or Facebook promotion).

I…

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