• writing advice

    Do You Suffer from Imposter Syndrome?

    My name is Renee, and I have Imposter Syndrome. It applies to a lot of areas in my life, but stands out the most when I discuss my writing. While on vacation a few years ago, I was telling a friend that I had applied to be a judge for a book publishing competition. The conversation went something like this. “I don’t know if I’m all that qualified,” I told her. “I mean, I have some experience in the publishing field, but I’m not an author.” She stared at me blankly. “What do you mean by that? Have you not had things written and published?” “Yes,” I said slowly. “I guess I mean…

  • True Crime

    True Crime Wednesday: The Mystery of the Boy under the Billboard

    It was a mystery that perplexed investigators in Orange County, North Carolina for years. In September of 1998, a grass-cutting crew discovered skeletal remains under a billboard off Interstate 85 in Mebane. The clothing found with the remains offered clues that the body belonged to that of a young boy who had not yet reached puberty. He had dark, straight brown hair and was initially thought to have been Hispanic and possibly a migrant worker. For years, no one knew who the boy was. Thanks to the dogged determination of an Orange County sheriff’s investigator named Tim Horne, the boy, Robert “Bobby” Adam Whitt, has finally been identified and his murderer brought to…

  • Travel

    A Weekend Itinerary for Charleston, S.C.

    My husband Daniel and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary last month. Originally, we had big plans to finally get away somewhere tropical for this milestone and had settled on St. Lucia. Then COVID-19 hit, the resort shut down and we were unable get on an airplane this summer. We put off the trip and decided to do something a little more local where we could still enjoy some quality alone time. In years past, we’ve headed to the North Carolina mountains because Asheville holds a special place in our hearts, but this time we opted to head south to Charleston, S.C. We’ve been to the city a handful of times over the…

  • True Crime

    True Crime Wednesday: The Murder of Grace Brown

    Does the ghost of Grace Brown haunt the Adirondack Mountains in upstate New York? The murder of this young woman was a scandal that rocked the country in the early 1900s. Grace, who hailed from Chenango County, met Chester Gillette while working at a skirt factory his family owned. She was immediately taken with the attractive and athletic young man who descended from one of the area’s wealthiest families. He took great joy in flirting with most of the available young women in the South Otselic area, and Grace was no exception. During that point in time, it was considered inappropriate for a unwed young woman to be in the company of a…

  • freelance writing,  writing advice

    What Does an Editor Do?

    The role of an editor is constantly changing, as technology enables us to complete tasks and perform our jobs remotely. As a freelance magazine editor, I wanted to offer an inside look on what this particular role looks like on a monthly basis for anyone curious about what takes place behind the scenes. I work as the editor for two monthly magazines based in the Lake Norman area of North Carolina—one is a lifestyle magazine (pictured above) and the other is a smaller publication focused on residents of the community who are 55 and older. For each issue, I’m responsible for planning out the content, getting approval for each article (from businesses, people…

  • True Crime

    True Crime Wednesday: Georgia Tann and the Tennessee Child Trafficking Scam

    As a parent, it’s an unimaginable scenario. You send your children out to play in the front yard of your rural home in the country, and they are never seen again. Because you are poor with no money and limited resources, no one seems to care that your children are missing. In fact, a social worker is sent to tell you that you’ve been a neglectful parent, and your parental rights are being stripped away. Your children will go to a much better home, a home with rich parents who will give them a better life. This is only one of the ways the Tennessee Children’s Home Society procured thousands of young children,…

  • freelance writing,  Lifestyle

    Writing Rituals

    Writers sometimes talk about writing rituals. While I can’t say I have that many besides grinding away at deadlines, I do have a few post-deadline rituals I thought I’d share. Since April of this year, I’ve been editing two monthly magazines. Both go to the printer around the same time, causing a whole lot of frenzy on my part about the third week of each month. Once I’ve finished wrapping up all the editing, writing captions, copywriting I’m responsible for, and proofreading Pdfs, I often look up and notice my house looks like a bomb went off inside of it. There’s dog hair everywhere, Post-It notes with scribbled notes lying around, along with…

  • True Crime

    True Crime Wednesday: Lesley Eugene Warren

    He was incredibly young and he had the face to match. But underneath his youthful demeanor lay  the heart of a killer. Lesley Eugene Warren murdered four women in three different states before finally being apprehended in July 1990. Although this all took place in my home state of North Carolina, I somehow had never heard of the man until recently. His case was the basis for an episode of the Investigation Discovery series titled “Handsome Devils” in 2014. Warren was born in Candler, N.C. and grew up in an abusive household. He only attended high school for a few months before dropping out. He eventually earned his GED, enlisted in the United…

  • True Crime

    True Crime Wednesday: The Unsolved Murder of Virginia Olson in North Carolina

    The University of North Carolina at Asheville will always have a special place in my heart, because it was at that small college that I came into my own as a journalist. The small class sizes afforded me the ability to work closely with other students and talented professors who wanted me to succeed. For three years I worked on the campus newspaper, The Blue Banner, honing my reporting skills, interviewing students and administrators, working late nights at the office with only my jumbled notes and a miniature coffee pot to keep me company. I eventually became the features editor and then the news editor, assigning stories to reporters and perfecting my copy…

  • Lifestyle

    This Time Last Year

    From the August 2020 issue of Lake Norman CURRENTS. This time last year I was returning from a vacation in Florida, about a month into working this job, scheduling meetings, helping my daughter pack for a weeklong sleepaway camp and making a list of which school supplies I should pick up at what store. There were also a few afternoons I snuck away to our neighborhood pool for a little relaxation. It’s now the Summer of 2020 and I spent the week anxiously awaiting news of what the beginning of the school year will look for my kids. I was nervous for both myself and for them, as I have a rising freshman…