• Lifestyle

    Talking Turkey

    This letter originally appeared in the November 2020 issue of Lake Norman CURRENTS. I have a confession to make. I’ve never cooked an entire holiday meal all by myself. I wonder if this is a predicament a lot of women my age are in—they spend years either partially hosting a Thanksgiving gathering or traveling to another family member’s house while never being fully in charge of the preparation and planning until the baton gets passed, so to speak. My childhood memories of the holiday include running around my grandmother’s house with my cousins while the fragrant smells from the kitchen began to waft through the air. I might have taken a break from…

  • Mystery,  podcasts,  True Crime

    The Most Downloaded Episode of “Missing in the Carolinas”

    I was looking over the stats for the podcast and discovered the most downloaded episode so far has been Ep. 14: South Carolina Cases Featured on “Unsolved Mysteries.” I can see why people would be interested in that one, as it’s full of intriguing stories. Here’s an overview in case you haven’t listened yet. I share the story of Jock and Jane Doe, an unidentified couple who were found shot to death on a country road in Sumter County in South Carolina in 1976. 1976. That’s a long time to remain unidentified, and it’s heartbreaking. Not only does their murder remain unsolved, no one has ever come forward with any clues to the…

  • Mystery,  Travel

    Who Was “Mostly Harmless?”

    On July 23, 2018, two hikers came across a small, yellow tent at a place called Nobles Camp in the Big Cypress Yellow Preserve in south Florida. When they saw a lone pair of boots outside the tent, coupled with a decaying smell, they felt something was off. Peeking in through the wind screen they discovered an emaciated and lifeless body staring up at them. The mystery of who this lone hiker was is enduring and frustrating for both the investigators with the Collier County Sheriff’s Office and internet sleuths. Plenty of people encountered the hiker, who began his trek at a state park just north of New York City. He traveled on…

  • True Crime

    True Crime Wednesday: Was Lavinia Fisher Really a Murderess?

    She was young, beautiful, beguiling and liked to poison the guests at her boarding house in Charleston, S.C. with oleander tea. For centuries, legend had it that Lavinia Fisher was one of America’s first female serial killers, but have the misdeeds of Mrs. Fisher been greatly embellished over time? If you take a tour of Charleston’s Old City Jail, you can be sure to hear tales of the time period during which Lavinia Fisher and her husband John were imprisoned there. Author Patty A. Wilson’s book Cursed in the Carolinas: Stories of the Damned, shares some of the enduring stories about the Fishers that have been an integral part of Charleston’s history throughout…

  • 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,…