Riding on Comets: A Memoir

West Virginia University Press, 2015

Riding on Comets is the true story of an only child growing up in a working-class family during the 1950s and ‘60s. 

As the family storyteller, Cat Pleska whispers and shouts about her life growing up around savvy, strong women and hard-working, hard-drinking men. Unlike many family stories set within Appalachia, this story provides an uncommon glimpse into this region: not coal, but an aluminum plant; not hollers, but small-town America; not hillbillies, but a hard-working family with traditional values. 

From the dinner table, to the back porch, to the sprawling countryside, Cat Pleska reveals the sometimes tender, sometimes frightening education of a child who listens at the knees of these giants. She mimics and learns every nuance, every rhythm—how they laugh, smoke, cuss, fight, love, and tell stories—as she unwittingly prepares to carry their tales forward, their words and actions forever etched in her mind. And finally, she discovers a life story of her own. 

Available from West Virginia University Press, Tamarack in Beckley, WV;  Taylor Books in Charleston, WV; online at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Books-a-Million.

One Foot in the Gravy—Hooked on the Sauce: Recipes You’ll Relish

Mountain State Press, Inc., 2017

Everyone likes a fun cookbook and this one begins with a sense of humor in the title and you’ll find fun throughout! But it’s also serious business when it comes to gravies, sauces, and relishes, dips, icings, and dressings, plus a few more surprises. Each recipe is handed down through families, or tweaked to suit individual tastes, or dreamed up, but all are made and served with an eye toward good eating and finding the perfect addition to go “on top.” Included with each recipe are family stories or details that personalize the recipes or place them within a context of home, family, and love.

Dip in and try out some new and familiar recipes!

Available from Mountain State Press; Taylor Books in Charleston, WV; West Virginia Book CompanyEmpire Books in Huntington, WV; The Red Caboose in Huntington, WV; The Wild Ramp in Huntington, WV; also on Amazon.

Reflections on the New River

McFarland Press, 2015

Edited by Chris Arvidson, Scot Pope, and Julie E. Townsend

This collection contains my essay: “Wild and Wonderful.” Available from McFarland Press and Amazon.

Fed from the Blade: Tales and Poems from the Mountains

Woodland Press, LLC, 2012

Edited by Cat Pleska and Michael Knost

West Virginia, what an extraordinary place it is, as is all of Appalachia. And our land is known for its many storytellers continually bringing forward their enriching tales. In this unique volume, celebrate with us this diversity of offerings with twenty-eight Mountain State authors and poets. Allow yourself to be drawn to the characters, the settings, and the circumstances. Submerge yourself in the imagery, the language, the humorous and dark stories, the spooky and paranormal, the tragic romance, the drama, the rejoicing, the heartbreak, but what is most important, the tale well told. This collection represents the tip of the iceberg concerning the writing talent, in this case, amongst members of West Virginia Writers, Inc. A powerful selection of tales and poems from the Appalachian Mountains, it's time to be FED FROM THE BLADE.

Available on Amazon.