Category Archives: Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap

Hannah and Job

hannahSometimes you can’t cry, because once you start you will not stop.

Normally I’m a pretty natural crier, but I have not cried since COVID 19 became a reality in our lives. There’s too much to do.

The first weeks were getting protective equipment to medical people. Then it was looking at our lives and putting in a garden, getting in more supplies for clinics later, upping our game with local meat, egg, and dairy supplies, revamping what we thought was a fairly locally sustainable lifestyle to fit a harsher lockdown. Preparing, in essence, for fall to be worse than now, with more people needing help, and wanting to have that help ready.

And then one of our cats disappeared. Hannah, the tiny tortie with half a tail and twice the attitude, walked out Saturday morning and didn’t come home. We put up signs, walked the neighborhood, searched the ditches and culverts. Nada. She disappeared. Never mind, we told ourselves; life is full of so many people losing so much these days, it isn’t fair to have the luxury of tears over this smaller loss. Keep going.

Today the rain came down in buckets, and I woke this morning with a heart heavier with fear than looking for its usual hope. My devotions have been uplifting these past few weeks. I take a Christian worldview oddly informed by my many Muslim friends back in Britain; we are in God’s hands, for better or for worse (which is a very Muslim approach to God, not the Christian ideology that those who worship Him can expect preferential treatment from Him). The most important thing in life is not to come out on top but to be a living example of Jesus’ mercy on Earth. So what comes, comes; it’s how we deal with it that is most important. Job 13:15 and all that.

But this morning during my devotions I started crying. Over Hannah, our missing cat. Because sometimes everything one mourns–the sense of loss for a way of life taken for granted, the belief in my own efficacy to meet challenges–all those big things slide down into one little thing. I sobbed for my missing cat as though nothing else had ever mattered.

A few hours later, she walked in, dry and happy and not a scratch on her. Demanding lunch.

It’s okay to cry. It’s okay to mourn. We’re dealing with some heavy trauma, kids. Our times are in God’s hands, and sometimes the cat comes back.



Filed under animal rescue, Life reflections, Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap, Uncategorized, Wendy Welch


bad-boy2OK, kids, the new book is out! It is fiction, set in a bookstore (where did I get that idea) and based on a true incident. Jack came home from his prison visits one day with a napkin covered in drawings and figures. The prisoner he visited at Lee Penitentiary–a tunneler who had escaped several times– had drawn him a diagram of how to reinforce our bookstore basement. Jack felt this was safe because, “I didn’t tell him where we lived.”

I stared at Jack, “We’re the only bookstore for miles and I’ve never seen his face. What if someday he escapes again and comes here? He could pretend to be one of the Quaker prison visitors and I wouldn’t know if you weren’t here.”

Jack laughed, so that night I murdered him in this book. The rest, as they say, is history.

When you buy the book, you own the rights to sell it on. Seriously. You can put it on a platform of your choosing (Lisa Dailey, owner of Sidekick Press, can help but she’s a pro so value her time) and sell it from there. Or you can pass it on to a friend from your own download, but you cannot GIVE it away. The rules are simple: sell it for $4.95 if you sell it for money. You may also trade access to the book for a favor (someone going to the grocery store for you? Mowing your yard, dropping off meals?)

A lot of us have spare time right now and need something fun to read. Plus a lot of us have lost our jobs and need a little help. Lisa and I will be using 100% of the money paid for Bad Boy to help people in her native Seattle and my beloved Southwest Virginia. YOU can use the money for any good purpose – including keeping yourself afloat. Proceeds or barter, it’s yours to do with as you see fit. ENJOY

Purchase Bad Boy Here

Need a little enticement?

When Mary Ferguson’s beloved husband Henry dies, she quits her job at the college to run their bookstore and café in the tiny town of Bramwell, West Virginia. Resigning herself to the quiet life of a widow, Mary receives an email from an old friend of Henry’s–and something deep inside her catches fire. This friendly yet awkward and shy man says he was a fellow Quaker working alongside her husband, visiting lifers in prison whose families couldn’t or wouldn’t visit them.

He is still a good listener, and Mary soon feels alive again. Despite the dire warnings of everyone from her dog Ringo to the café’s cook Paige, Mary throws herself into a dark adventure that could have graced the bookshop’s “Romantic Fiction” shelves. Or was that “True Crime?” As her life plummets down a rabbit hole, Mary struggles to figure out what’s real, what’s imaginary, what’s literary, and what’s going to happen next.

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Filed under book reviews, bookstore management, Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap, out of things to read, publishing, reading, small town USA, Uncategorized, VA, Wendy Welch, writing