Author speaking on book tonight at Elizabethton Library

From Staff Reports

  Joe Tennis, author of "Southwest Virginia Crossroads: An Almanac of Place Names and Places to See," will speak on his history-themed novel at the Elizabethton/Carter County Library, 201 N. Sycamore St., tonight at 7 p.m.
  Tennis grew up in Virginia Beach, Va., but traveled to Southwest Virginia throughout his life. While attending Radford University and studying journalism, Tennis began to freelance write for the Roanoke Times and became attracted to the wonders of the region.
  Curiosity of the area and his love for quaint mountain towns inspired Tennis to write a book that he describes as a mix between coffeetable book and guide book. Tennis wanted to capture and preserve the history of mountain towns and their individuality stretching from the Blue Ridge Parkway to Cumberland Gap.
  Currently living in Bristol, Va., Tennis has worked for the Bristol Herald Courier for 10 years as a features writer, and in his spare time collecting data for his book since 1999. During interviews with folks around the mountains, he began learning about the area, and would come back at later times to learn why towns have names like Buttercup, Frog Level and Goose Pimple.
  Tennis focuses on putting a positive spin on the mountains "town by town place by place." Hints of local legends, descriptions of wildlife and information boxes after the chapters give readers a chance to learn about where they are traveling, and he even provides locator maps on how to get there.
  The book features photos of Mabry Mill, a view from Rocky Knob, a view from Rock Castle Gorge, Buffalo Mountain, Rakes Millpond, and Trail Cabin along with 138 waterfalls, lakes, historic buildings and outcrops.
  The magazine-size book covers 17 counties in Southwest Virginia, pinpointing how 750 places got their names, including two versions for Meadows of Dan, three versions for Bluefield and four versions for the Levisa Fork of the Big Sandy River.
  To order "Southwest Virginia Crossroads" from the Overmountain Press call (800) 992-2691 or visit the