Grace’s Mythic Arts Meme

My, reflected in a broken Christmas bulb.

Me, reflected in a broken Christmas bulb.

My lovely friend over at Domythic Bliss Grace Nuth created this meme, and it seemed like a great way to return to making this blog happen.  A lot has happened in the past few months, including the fact that I have moved back into an office from the freelance world.

(I hope you’ve all cleverly ordered my new bourbon tourism book, Kentucky Bourbon and Tennessee Whiskey? Excellent! It’s perfect for your new year’s drinking and travelling plans. )

At any rate, the fact that I have set hours again hopefully means I’ll be able to get this blog going and making some upgrades and adjustments to it.  And far more entries finally.

Meanwhile, here are my answers, for Grace and anyone interested.

A Mythic Arts Meme ~ Utterly swiped from the lovely Grace Nu...

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Flaming June

Leighton’s Flaming June

Well, time has flown, and I’ve been desperately bad about adding things here. Time to remedy that. How did it get to be June, anyhow?

First, I hope you’re keeping up with me at other spots – notably my new weekly column at Gannett’s 12th and Broad, Broad Bits. I get a bit political there, and it feels great to have a proper forum where I have the option to talk about critical social issues. Of course, I’m inclined to have my tongue firmly in cheek, but even so, that’s the place to find my contemporary commentary. I’m unabashedly a feminist as well as a nerd girl, so if that’s not your thing, it’s probably not your column.

Marcia Masulla and Knight Stivender are doing a fantastic job with 12th and Broad, so branch out and read more...

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Hodgepodge of Books – Mythic March

IMG_20140405_105016_564Less than two weeks after the ice and snow shut the state down, we’ve got a balmy 70 degrees and sunshine here in Tennessee. Apparently we’re taking the “in like a lion, out like a lamb” thing very seriously, although there’s a possibility of a freeze Saturday night. In the wake of missing what was apparently a miserably hot, moist Gulf Wars, I’m going to enjoy what Tennessee’s doing right now, and hope it’s a harbinger of weather for awhile. It can stay out of the 90 degree ranges for a bit, if it wants to make me happy.

That being said, I am overdue for a post here, still on the Mythic March theme, but there are a hodgepodge of things going on in my brain.

To begin with, let’s start with reading material. First, here’s my piece from 12th and Broad last week about the release of Cinderel...

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Double, Double, Toil and Trouble – The Witch in the Woods

Queen of Wands

Welcome to my second post in Mythic March.

I just turned in a piece for one of my regular columns about the new Cinderella movie (which I haven’t seen yet), and I was surprised by the tangent it took when I was writing it. So much so that I kept aiming to rewrite, but never did. In it, I talked about the reasons, in my opinion, fairy tales have so much resonance with adults – especially adult women. And while I discussed issues of bravery, wit, and inventiveness that fairy tale heroines, even the supposedly weak ones, show, I kept coming back to the issue of the magical feminine.

Across time, place, and culture, women and magic are inexorably linked...

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Into the Myth

IMG_20131115_125324_196I’m going to make a genuine effort to keep up with Mythic March this year, in part to assuage my lack of travel to Gulf Wars with 5,000 of my friends next week, but also because it’s a topic that has always had meaning for me.

As I pondered exactly what I was going to write about last night – mythic books, mythic fragrance, mythic clothing, décor, art, ritual, poetry, gardening, camping out with my historical reenactor folks – as I was also looking through an assortment of other things, it occurred to me that the first thing to address is the fact that “myth” is something our culture seems to try to ignore.

IMG_20141122_135951_250It’s not that there aren’t plenty of good pieces of mythic fiction out there, or that Brian Froud isn’t still drawing, and Ren Fairs, cosplay and nerd culture don’t sti...

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New post at 12th and Broad!

If you’ve started following along again, I have a new post up this morning at 12th and Broad. My wishlist for Nashville and the greater city at large, extending down into Williamson and over into Rutherford Counties, as well as up into Madiosn and Donelson.

Thanks to Jules Wortman, Shawn Reed, and Dr Carla Retief for some of the inspiration!

You can find it right here!


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2015 and Onward

IMG_20140620_184243_303I’m overdue to update this blog, and tie it back into the other things I’m doing. Sorry for the long absence, I’ll try not to let it happen again. (Thanks web dude Andrew for putting up with me.)

The good news is, I’ve got my whiskey book completed, and I’ve got some some regular blog and article features elsewhere that have been fun to develop – most notably at and 12th and Broad (thank you to Natasha Lorens at Livability and Marcia Masulla at 12th and Broad). Hopefully, if you’re in Nashville, you’ve been following my pieces in Nashville Arts as well.

If you’re keeping up with Renaissance magazine, you’ve probably got the Princess article issue in hand, featuring some really amazing women who’ve been SCA queens in recent memory...

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Bourbon, Vikings, and Art

I realize it’s been a good long while since I’ve posted, but I really am still here. I’ve been in book jail, finishing up about 45,000+ words on Tennessee barbecue, and now I’m working on a book on Tennessee whiskey and Kentucky bourbon.  Hopefully, I’ll be back to serious blogging again now – so feel free to drop by.

Here’s the low down on what’s going on:

Town Branch makes a bourbon with the smoothness of Irish whiskey

* I just got back from a long weekend up in Kentucky visiting distilleries with my husband and our friends Paul and Anne (Duke Ullr and Duchess Anne). Had a blast, and especially fell in love with Town Branch distillery and microbrewery in Lexington. Do not leave this small batch craft distiller off your tours, you’ll regret it...

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Pretty, Please?

The scruffy outdoor life at Gulf Wars (photo by Margaret Sanborn, c. 2008).

The scruffy outdoor life at Gulf Wars (photo by Margaret Sanborn, c. 2008). Wow, that’s some messy hair on all of us – and I don’t have the excuse of a helmet.

Those of you who followed my old blog at LiveJournal got used to my occasional forays into writing about beauty and products. I’m going to try to keep that going here, and start by talking about how to deal with skin and hair when you’re living outdoors. At the moment, many of us in the SCA are headed off to Gulf Wars next week to live in period tents, but this is equally applicable for weekend events, the Faerie Festival, Ren Fairs, LARPS, and the like.

Camping is great, but inevitably, it takes a toll on your body. If you can at least keep hair and skin looking and feeling good, you’re ahead of the curve...

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Italian Adventures (Part 2 of the 15/16th Century Interviews)

Master Lorenzo Petrucci

Master Lorenzo Petrucci

A few days ago, I posted the first interview tied to my Renaissance magazine column for issue #95, with the remarkable Mistress Elena Edgar. As I hear the subscribers are getting their copies in mailboxes all over, and it’s starting to appear on bookstore shelves, I’m going to add the next interview for you – Master Lorenzo.

My friend Ben has been in the SCA a good long time. When I met him, he was Piotr, and his persona was Russian, but by the time I really knew him, his interest in Italian clothing and dance had very much overtaken his love of things Russian, and he became Lorenzo Petrucci. He and I were both made Laurels in the Kingdom of Meridies (most of Tennessee, a bit of Kentucky, Georgia, Alabama, and the Florida panhandle) fairly close together, both pri...

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The Elizabethan Experience – Part 1


Mistress Elena’s Laurel elevation

Those of you who follow my Renaissance magazine column know that in issue #95, I talked with four costumers who focus on the late 15th and the 16th century within the context of the SCA – an organization where we span more than 1,000 years of (mostly) European history (arguably more like 1,500, from the Iron Age to the end of the reign of Elizabeth I, and we sometimes expand to cultures of influence, from the Near East to Sub-Saharan Africa to China).

It seemed like a good period to look at for an audience interested in Renaissance Fair culture, which is largely grounded in the 16th century.

I put the same questionnaire to four individuals across the SCA, all Laurels in their respective kingdoms for their achievements as costumers.

Obviously, there is far...

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State of Mind

The Queen of Wands from the Robin Wood tarot deck – the resemblance is coincidental.

So, as I’m getting this blog up and running, all sorts of things suddenly start happening to change the way I do things. You know, like they do. So the beginnings are perhaps going to be a little – though not a lot – different than I’d planned.

The good news on that front is that my publishers at Globe Pequot Press have asked me to put together a book on Tennessee/Memphis-style barbecue.  I am, needless to say, really excited about this, both because it’s a subject dear to my heart and because it’s going to be an adventure to write...

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Cowboys and Cabaret

fashion affair

I’m pretty fearless about occasionally using this blog as a soapbox, and I’m about to do that – albeit in a fun way. I’m a big supporter of A Vintage Affair, the Williamson County (Tenn.) non-profit organization aptly managed by my lovely friend Ashley Roberts. Over the past decade, it’s helped local organizations that help primarily women and children in need to the tune of well over a million dollars.

Recently, the organization known for its glam, huge, three night wine event in April has produced a January fashion themed event, and this year it falls smack into the realms of this blog.

Styled by Ms...

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What’s New?


My friend Deanna and I at Fort Gaines on Dauphin Island, at an annual SCA event called Gatalop. We aim to misbehave. This should warn you. (Photo by Pamela Wade.)

For those who have started to read here, obviously the site is still a little bit under construction, but I thought I’d give you an update on where things stand and what to expect in the near future.

* First, if I don’t know you, but you’ve started following along via Renaissance Magazine, where I am the SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism) media liaison, welcome.  I’ve already popped up the full version of my interview with Duke John the Bearkiller from issue #94 (find it below). Issue #95 – out soon – talks about folks with an interest in 16th century costume within the SCA, and you’ll be able to find the full interviews I d...

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The Modern Medieval Experience: John the Bearkiller

Duke John and Countess Falada, 2013

Duke John and Countess Falada, 2013


An interview with the SCA’s Duke John The Bearkiller

* Note: this is the complete text of the interview that appeared in trucated form in Renaissance Magazine # 94, Dec./Jan. 2013-’14. Photo copyright by Bob Williams/Baron Gwydion ap Llewellyn.

The SCA emerged from a 1960s University of California costume party. Since then, it’s grown to tens of thousands (or more) of participants worldwide. To get a sense of what keeps us coming back, I asked a long time member, John Fulton, better known as Duke John the Bearkiller (the title earned with many reigns as king). He has played the game for 40 years and taken on nearly every possible major role the Society offers, including multi-time member of the Board of Directors.

When and where did you join the...

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About Us

Border Raids 2011 159

Me in my 14th century underclothes

At the moment, “us” is mostly me. I’m Stephanie; I’m a journalist by trade, but I’m also an actor, costume designer, teacher, artist, and many other things. I live in Tennessee, just south of Nashville, with my husband Seth and our pets – currently two cats named Sigrun and Castiel.

I have a book out, The Nashville Chef’s Table (published Dec. 2013 by Globe Pequot Lyons Press), which tells you I do a lot of writing about culinary and similar topics.

Prior to leaving to write my book, I spent six plus years as editor and primary writer at Nashville Lifestyles, which taught me plenty about the world of lifestyle journalism and how to write it well...

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