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A Star For Robbins Chapel

Disfigured by a striking birthmark on her face, Anina Cottrell lives a
gypsy life with her parents, traveling from town to town in southern
Appalachia to escape the cruel judgments of superstitious strangers.

When the Cottrell family comes to Lee County, Virginia in the fall
of 1905, Anina prays that the people there “won’t see ugly when
they see my face.” Conflict arises between Zechariah Jenkins, a
hostile member of the cove community, and his feisty daughter,
Ruby, who befriends Anina immediately.

Caught in a dangerous tug of war between those who want them to leave and those who want them to stay, the Cottrells must choose to save themselves or risk their safety by helping those who scorn them when fever afflicts the people in Robbins Chapel. Click here to read an excerpt of A Star For Robbins Chapel.



Just Beyond the Passage

This collection of fine drawings and meditations explores the passageways that open, and sometimes close, in people’s lives when they experience one of life’s important moments.  Deborah Zarka Miller is among many fine writers who contributed a brief narrative to this collection.  Accompanying these meditations are David Liverett’s beautiful pen and ink drawings of doorways, gates, arches, and other passages.

Available through Chinaberry House at





Questions for God

For this newest illustrated anthology, Liverett invited Deborah Zarka Miller and other writers to pose and then answer a question they’d like to ask God if they could sit down with him for coffee and conversation.  The questions range in topic and tone, but all suggest a rich dialogue between these artists and their Creator.  To accompany each meditation, Liverett drew portraits of the contributing authors.

Available through Chinaberry House at





Meeting Miss Margaret

This brief essay presents a profile of an elderly woman who lives alone in a small shack in Coal Creek, Tennessee.  The essay describes the author’s interactions with this woman and reflects on the effect this interaction had on the author’s attitude toward the woman and her current living conditions.  To read “Meeting Miss Margaret” click here.


Night Watch

This miniature narrative juxtaposes two moments in the central character’s life: a summer night when a bat gets trapped in his bedroom and a previous night when a homeless woman gets caught in the break room of the law firm where he works as a security officer. To read “Night Watch” click here.



Written in three parts, this poem considers some of the ways nature testifies to the presence of God in human experience.  To read “Visitations” click here.


Rooted in the Gap

When my great-grandmother, Mrs. Carrie Sprinkle Baker, died several years ago, I felt something only a little like grief.  Long before my sorrow bloomed, I felt a fluttering panic, like a startled bird trembling in my chest.  Her death made me see that my family history, and my own identity within that tree of faces, was disappearing.  With that knowledge came the certain astonishment a lover of woods feels when an acre of trees is felled, leaving a gap in the landscape too wide to comfort.  And the starling nested there, now caged by the panic of empty space, beat its wings against this loss of home.  To read more of “Rooted in the Gap,” click here.

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