Michael K. Brantley

Writer of Creative Nonfiction & Fiction

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Saturday is the first reading/signing event for Memory Cards

I hope you can come out and join us on Saturday at The Nashville Exchange, a landmark eatery. I’ll be reading, followed by a meet and greet and signing. We’ll have plenty of copies of Memory Cards on hand, and I hope to see some old friends and make plenty of new ones. Lots of people have asked, and yes, we will have the ability to take credit cards.BrantleyBookSigning

Reviews needed

If you’ve been kind enough to buy and read my first book so far, I ask one more favor: please take a minute or two to leave a review on Amazon and/or Goodreads. I’d greatly appreciate it, and it will help get the next book going. Thanks!

First Reading Set for Nashville, NC




It’s official. First reading is scheduled!

Where to buy the book

Memory Cards: Portraits from a Rural Journey is now available from the publisher, Black Rose Writing, Amazon and from my website. All copies ordered through the website will be signed (and personalized, if requested) at no extra charge. Just click the purple order button.

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Teaser #1

I’m going to post excerpts of “Memory Cards” leading up to the release. This comes from Chapter 1:

“We walk across an old, but clean gray-painted concrete floor and stand in a line that is nearly ten deep with customers, cooled by a single, ancient ceiling fan. A few stray flies work the room. I groan to myself, fearing a long wait and a soon-to-be-impatient first grader. But two young men, probably still in their teens, work the register with precision. They turn their ears towards the customer, scribble orders on a stubbed pad, ring up totals, collect cash, give change and pass the details to a waiting crew member. Another dozen boys work an assembly line in the background, tightly packing barbecue, vegetables and trimmings into plastic containers, and then double-bagging each order. McDonald’s wishes they could turn orders that fast.”

Only 2 days left to get discount



Use this link and use the code below to get 10% off. Offer ends Thursday.


I’ll be listing events here as they are finalized.

Memory Cards is now available for pre-order

I just got word that my book is now available for pre-order from my publisher. Memory Cards can be purchased at Black Rose Writing by clicking here. If you use the code PREORDER2015, you’ll receive 10% and get the book right around the release date of June 11.


The book will be available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other sites around the end of June-early July, and there will be Kindle and Nook versions. I’ll have copies for sale as well, but this is probably as good a price as you’ll see.

Here’s the Cover!

Memory Cards full cover

“Memory Cards” release date set

My first book, Memory Cards: Portraits from a Rural Journey will be out on June 11. It is being published by Black Rose Writing. The cover art has been approved and it will be available for preorder soon. I’ll keep you posted here, and on the new Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/michaelkbrantley?notif_t=page_new_likes.

I’d love to speak to libraries, groups, colleges, organizations, writer’s groups, etc. in addition to the speaking engagements being lined up now. Just contact me through this page or on Facebook.


I found some old blog posts from a Folklore class I took in graduate school. I thought a couple of these might be of interest still … and maybe generate some discussion.

I realize this may be a tired old topic for those of you originally from North Carolina, but I have to say the first thing that came to mind is Eastern North Carolina Barbecue.

I don’t want to insult anyone here who might be an expert on the topic, but if you don’t know what it is or why it is different, the short version is that ENC Barbecue is made from chopped pig (not an old hog) meat, usually and primarily from the shoulder and seasoned with red pepper and vinegar. An excellent example of this is served daily at B’s Barbecue in Greenville, on the edge of town, appropriately enough on B’s BBQ Road (which should lend some idea of how important an institution this cinder block dive is to local culture).

Most everyone from the coast to about Raleigh calls this dish “North Carolina Barbecue.” Any point west of that, they do different stuff to it, usually something closer to Western North Carolina Barbecue — same cuts of meat, except they are doused in ketchup. Each region repulses the other with its version. Some people — usually spineless — claim to like both. Impossible. And, improbable.

If you go on further west to Tennessee, they often take the same cuts of meat and douse it with mustard. Texans use beef. Kansas City uses beef ribs. There are more examples and they cause rivalries. Of course, it is an argument no one can win and everyone wins, because each person’s “region” does it right.

So who is right? It all depends on where you are from. It is interesting how most people, no matter how cynical they might be to their area, town or state, are very loyal when it comes to local food. How else do you defend chili on top of spaghetti noodles?

I always thought of this as a “regional rivalry” issue and never considered it as part of a larger genre of “folklore” … until these assigned readings. This type of thinking has driven me crazy over the last week as I am now having to look at some many things as part of folklore — which I believe that most people like me consider to be comprised of old wives tales, superstitions, home remedies, primitive art, songs, expressions, sayings and urban legends.

As a creative writer, I am excited about the color and flavor this will add to my writing … and all the ways I can — and already have — annoyed my friends by interrupting their stories by pointing out what part of what he/she is talking about is actually folklore. So, bonus!

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