Naked and Hungry

What happens when a former loan officer—yet another victim of the mortgage crisis—rejects materialism and moves to a one-room cabin in the woods? In the case of H.T. McMullen, the reluctant hero of Naked and Hungry, my darkly humorous suspense novel, he finds his favorite fishing spot tainted by dangerous pollutants. When he dares to complain he finds himself the target of a murder plot. And the only woman who can save him has a dangerous secret of her own that soon catapults them both into a fight for their lives.

Laugh Out Loud Funny, Southern Pines Pilot, November 4, 2012

Greensboro News and Record Review, March 18, 2012

Reviews from Goodreads.
Reviews from Amazon.
Reviews from Barnes and Noble.

More media mentions:

Arts & Sciences Magazine, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Spring 2012, page 31 

Carolina Mountain Life Magazine, Early Winter 2011-2012 edition, page 49

Asheboro Native Recreates Small Town Life in a Witty and Timely Tale: Asheboro Magazine, pages 68-69, November 2011

Ashley Memory interview on “The State of Things,” WUNC, October  26, 2011 

Naked and Hungry Named a Promising Debut Novel by The Library Journal, October 1, 2011

The Laurel of Asheville, September 2011

Willow Creek Rotary Club Bulletin, August 2011

Press Release 

Download a printable flier from Ingalls Publishing Group.

More Praise for Naked and Hungry

“Southern comedy and satire…Memory knows her territory. This book is really funny! I’ll be pleased if our unlikely environmental crusader finds himself muddling in more adventures in the future.” — Linda Brinson, Greensboro News & Record

“An entertaining and twisting first novel with a storyline pulled from today’s headlines. Bank loans gone bad, pollution for profit, unchecked law enforcement, reluctant heroes. With shades of Richard Russo, Memory’s characters are quirky and funny and often a little dangerous. And her sense of place—small town North Carolina—is vividly rendered.” — Justin Catanoso, author of My Cousin the Saint

“A motley cast of contemporary North Carolina characters who scheme, fight and love with all their Southern passion. The hero, H.T. McMullen, deals with a multitude of threats to his simple life in the woods, encountering friends and foes that could be torn out of today’s news. Propelled by laugh-aloud satire and a page-turning plot, this novel left me with hope that even good guys with a weakness for mean dogs can prevail over ignorance and corporate greed.” — Mary Lambeth Moore, author of Sleeping with Patty Hearst

Fasten your seatbelt for a nail-biting and utterly unforgettable ride through Yatesville, N.C., which is filled with vivid, funny and well-drawn characters. Memory is an astute and witty judge of character. She has her own literary voice, and it’s wonderful, but if I had to compare, I’d say she’s a supremely enjoyable hybrid of Larry McMurtry and Carl Hiaasen.” — Randall Rigsbee, The Chatham News

“Memory’s poignant prose on the environmental crisis at hand in a southern community is dead-on. She develops her characters with humor and style, and references to local landmarks in the Triangle and southern Piedmont region of her home state add even more color. Naked and Hungry is a fun, light read that also drives home some very real issues.”–Lynne Dardenell, North Carolina land trust community

About Henry Thaddeus (H.T.) McMullen The character of H.T. and his unique philosophies are inspired by my father, the inimitable  J. Gale Thomas.  Like my dad, who has undergone several major life changes, H.T. is also re-inventing himself.  In the wake of his divorce and the loss of his cushy banking job, H.T. has turned to a more modest career, that of a used-car salesman. His only obsession is his precious Harley-Davidson: a 2001 Road King Classic. In his second life, he has no intentions of accumulating any wealth. The conflict between H.T. and Margaret, his bossy young office manager, speaks volumes about his newfound independence. When she presses him to make some minor improvements for the sake of business (such as changing his T-shirt), he quickly chides her. “You’re forgetting that I’m not here to make money. There’s only so much success I’m willing to take on.” It’s this laissez-faire attitude that liberates him, and at the same time, makes him vulnerable to the capitalist forces closing in around him. When H.T., a man with a net worth of negative $543, refuses what amounts to a pay-off, the villains are perplexed, asking themselves: “What kind of man refuses cold, hard cash? He’s a strange ranger.” Indeed.

Other Primary Characters

  • Jessica Beane, a big city lawyer-turned-environmentalist with a dangerous secret
  • Earl Snipes, H.T.’s former boss at First Freedom Bank, a power-hungry baron who’s been playing fast and loose with the town’s savings for years
  • Michelle (Missy) Reeves, the young F.B.I. agent who has a big promotion riding on this investigation
  • Sheriff Wayne Logan, the politically minded law chief whose first loyalties are to maintaining his position
  • Julio Ramirez, H.T.’s mechanic and the man who helped construct his quirky little cabin. He’s a genius with cars but his libido is racing out of control.
  • Margaret Freeman, H.T.’s office manager and M.B.A. student, who much to the dismay of H.T. and Julio, is intent on turning McMullen Quality Pre-Owned Automobiles into a profitable business
  • Myrtle McMullen, H.T.’s Bible-toting mother who never goes anywhere without Bermadean, her champion pygmy goat
  • Roger Wolfe, D.V.M, H.T.’s childhood friend and his occasional physician
  • Shortsell, or Shorty, an ornery mutt named in honor of H.T.’s failed attempt to beat the stock market. Poor Shorty cheats death only to be impounded and taken away from his owner

The Setting
Ever wonder what’s happening to our small towns? In North Carolina, where urbanization is sweeping across our landscape like one of those self-propelled robo-vacs, our small towns are on the verge of extinction. If there is no tourism or large-scale industry, their main streets are a pastiche of floundering businesses or boarded-up storefronts. It’s heartbreaking, yet at the same time, quite uplifting to see how enterprising citizens abandoned by their government or long-time employers manage to keep their hometowns alive. In the case of the fictional town of Yatesville, the setting for Naked and Hungry, the major employers have all fled to Mexico in search of cheaper labor. The townspeople have resorted to some unorthodox–and occasionally illegal–means to earn a living. The town’s struggle makes for a fascinating backdrop to the novel, and one that has already inspired, you guessed it, a sequel or two.

Naked and Hungry was published by Ingalls Publishing Group in Boone, N.C. in November 2011 and is now available for purchase through your local bookstores or online booksellers. 

Order Naked and Hungry from Amazon. 

Order Naked and Hungry from Barnes and Noble.


41 thoughts on “Naked and Hungry

  1. Sarah Beth Robbins

    Having had the honor of being one of the first to read your manuscript – let me also be one of the first to congratulate you! As we’ve discussed I found the book to be highly entertaining; I often found myself laughing out loud! The tale was artistically spun and drew me in from the get go. The realness of your characters maintained a believability throughout the novel. Kudos! I can’t wait for November 2011!

  2. Melissa

    Congrats, Ashley! I am so excited for you – and for H.T. and this cast of characters to be introduced to the wider audience they deserve. November 1 will be here before you know it!

  3. Heath Nettles

    I’ve set my calendar reminder on Outlook. Here’s to hoping that I should I part ways with my current employer that I have a mental recollection of the release, which I’m rather sure will be lauded by others throughout the state much closer to November 2011.

    As a resident of the Tar Heel state and Western North Carolina as of late, I can certainly see aspects of these characters’ descriptions in the faces of many North Carolinians. And I cannot await the date they come alive on the pages of Naked and Hungry.

    Congratulations on the contract – I’m looking forward to getting to know H.T.

    1. ashleythomasmemory Post author

      Thanks all, for the kind comments. Heath, not only does H.T. indulge in the occasional Krispy Kreme, he is a big fan of that Southern standby, strawberry congealed salad. And the best part for the last…he’s a graduate of Western.

  4. Tonya

    Congratulations Ashley! How exciting for you. November will be here so quickly and your awesome novel will take everyone by storm.
    You will soon be added to the list of great North Carolina writers! NC residents will have a fresh new voice for their small towns and its quirks.
    Thank you for writing such a well thought out and current novel. Do you think I could get a signed copy?

  5. John Maxfield

    Congratulations, Ashley. As you know, Robert and I work together every year in the Command Center at Carter Finley Stadium during home Wolfpack football games. Robert mentioned that you were writing a novel, and I was intrigued. Through Robert I had the privilege of reviewing a version of the manuscript of Naked and Hungry early on. I enjoyed the read and look forward to reading the finished product when it is published. I hope you will autograph my copy. Football season is almost here and I look forward to working with Robert again this year.

    John Maxfield
    Sheriff’s Attorney
    Wake County Sheriff’s Office

  6. Ann Bodensteiner

    Ashley – Can’t wait to read the book in its entirety! I couldn’t help but laugh out loud when I read Myrtle’s character description! Congrats…Ann

  7. Amy Reed

    That is awesome Ashley! Many congrats to you! It will be on my “to read list” and you’ll have to sign it for me.

  8. John H.L. Mencken Graham

    Ashley, I cannot wait to read this! I imagine a great deal of it will be familiar to me, as your muse and his life have been a part of my life for quite some time! This is so exciting!
    Dorothea Benton Frank wrote her first book because her husband would not give her the money to buy her deceased grandmother’s beach house. She told him she would write a book and buy it herself…and she did! You’ve always had a book in you and now it has escaped. It is a festivus miracle. Please do not forget all the “little people” in your life who have stood with you.
    John “H.L. Mencken” Graham

    1. Ashley Thomas Memory Post author

      H.L., I am so honored! A comment from a true master 🙂 Seriously John, thank you SO much; you have been a great friend to me. You will definitely have one of the very first copies.

  9. Lisa Crawley

    Congratulations, Ashley! I’m so excited for you! I can’t wait to read it and I definitely want a signed copy too 🙂 You really inspire me to keep on writing!!

  10. Alicia Thompson


    I am so excited to learn this about you and would like to add my name to the list for a signed copy:)

    I cannot wait to read the rest of H.T.’s story. I am also glad that you chose to keep the setting here in North Carolina. I was born and raised in a small North Carolina town and every time I go back to visit, something has changed. It seemed that for years…nothing ever changed!

    I am very eagerly awaiting the release date!


  11. Ashley Thomas Memory Post author

    Alicia, thank you for this sweet comment and for signing up for the notification list. And I will happily sign a book for you!

    I, too, grew up in a small town, Asheboro, which served as the inspiration for the fictional town of Yatesville. Seems I was always making up stories when I was little, so I really enjoyed the opportunity to bring a community of “grown-up” characters to life. I do hope you like the book.

    And I look forward to watching you continue to make your dreams come true!

  12. Cindy

    Oh Ashley- congratulations!!! I cannot wait to read it! May I suggest that upon the release, we celebrate together over a bottle of pure vanilla! Good times, sweet memories!

  13. Ashley Thomas Memory Post author

    Cindy, thank you! What a great idea. But we don’t have to wait for the release to drag out the “good stuff!” We’ll celebrate when I see you again–maybe with a vanilla martini! Lord, I miss that snow cream, and you, too.

    1. Ashley Thomas Memory Post author

      Thank you Carolyn! I do hope you like the book. I love OIB — dare to dream! Thanks for all your support growing up. Those sleepovers at the Cox household are some of my favorite memories. 🙂

  14. Hayes T.


    Was thinking about you today, so thought I would look up the details of your new book. You and ALL of your accomplishments continue to amaze me! How do you have enough time in the day to do everything you do?! Looking forward to November 1, 2011 🙂

  15. Callie (Mary) Hammond

    I am bitterly disappointed that it didn’t come out THIS November. I was so ready to give it as a Christmas gift this year.

  16. Walter

    I look forward to reading this book. Although, I enjoy reading on my Kindle, I would be honored to have you sign my hard copy when I receive it.
    Although November will be here before we know it, I am eagerly anticipating this book and wish it were available NOW. 🙂
    (I’m jealous of SB who has already read it. )


    1. Ashley Thomas Memory Post author

      You are a sweetheart. I promise that you will have one of the very first copies–autographed with a very special inscription. When it’s ready, later this spring, I’d love for you to be a reviewer for the second book. Then you and SB will be equal!

  17. Cheryl Macon

    I loved what I read it is just up my ally. I love suspense and I would like for you to sign my copy when I get it. It would mean alot to me. Contgratulations again on your success!!!!!

    Cheryl Macon

    1. Ashley Thomas Memory Post author

      I wil happily sign it! FYI — I will have advance copies soon, so if you know of any book clubs or other gatherings that might be interested in hearing about it, let me know and I’ll see if they would like me to speak about it.

  18. Donnamarie

    If you go to and put in book club and your local zip code you will find a large list of book clubs along with the person who runs each one.

  19. Kathleen Sullivan (Sissy)

    I am soooo proud of you. Wow, I am excited and happy that your hard work is now showing the world how talented you are. Kathryn and I may have to skip school in the fall to come visit a “signing”? Mmmm.

  20. Ashley Thomas Memory Post author

    What a sweet message. Would love to see you and Kathryn — I’m hoping to have an event sooner than the fall so maybe you both could come sooner. 🙂 I hope all is well with you and all the Sullivans!

  21. Dani Courington

    I absolutely loved Naked and Hungry!!! This was a combination of all the books I love, a little bit of mystery, crime, romance, and a good story to boot… I laughed all the way through (in all of the funny parts, that is). So… when is the sequel going to be ready? 🙂

    Definitely rates a 5 out of 5 stars!

  22. Ashley Thomas Memory Post author

    Dani, I’m so glad! The fact that you’re an avid reader–and a mystery buff–makes your comments especially joyful to hear. It also makes working on the next edition even more fun. Stay tuned for more of H.T’s adventures–including a skunk encounter, tractor pull, and a medieval-themed exotic dancer. Hope to see you guys when I comet o Charlotte in the near future.

  23. Jeanne Jenkins

    I absolutely loved Naked and Hungry. From the moment that I read the first page, I was hooked. It was a fast read (I am a very slow reader, but I just couldn’t put it down).
    H.T. was sitting on his front porch with his dog Shorty, and was aware that they had both been shot. He certainly did not know what was going on, so what did he do, he found his toolbox and got his gas-powered King Ram T-200 nail gun! Don’t you just love it? Any self respecting ‘good ‘ol boy’ in North Carolina would have had a hunting rifle, but H.T. grabbed a ‘nail gun’.
    I loved that it had a bit of a love story. He met Jessica Beane who worked for the Grassroots Environmental Coalition. Jessica tracked down H.T. through an email that he sent about purple fish that he found in a pond that was near to where H.T. lived.
    Then everything gets really complicated! So much for the relaxed, private live that H.T. thought that he had.
    At one time H.T. was arrested and put in jail. He was advised by sheriff Wayne that he had one phone call. Did he call his lawyer, girlfriend, mother or a friend? No, he called the Winnabow County Library to see if the book that he had on reserve, My Comanche Moon, had come in yet. Since I am a book lover, I totally understand why he made that phone call.
    I loved the characters in the book, but my favorite was H.T.’s mother Myrtle. She always had Bermadean with her, which was a goat that always wore cute little outfits.
    I could go on and on about the story, but this is a book that you need to read yourself. You will find yourself smiling, laughing out loud, and just enjoying the people, place, and plot of Naked and Hungry. This is absolutely the most fun book that I have read.
    Good news everyone, I have it on good authority that there will be another book that features good ‘ol H.T. I will save a special place on my book shelf for Ashley Memory books.

  24. Ollie Cole

    Dearest Ashley,
    I have just finished ” NAKED and HUNGRY” . You have done a great job in character developement
    and flow of story.
    Judy Geary is a close friend of My wife and I. She suggested I read your book.
    I am an eighty one year old voracious reader (careing little for television) usually reading two or three books at the same time. Janet Evonovich is one of my favorite authors and when she was here in Nashville a couple of years ago for a book signing we were able to talk a bit.
    Keep up the good work and perhaps some time when we are visiting John and Judy I will get to meet you. Again thank you for writing such a delightful story.

    Ollie Cole

    1. Ashley Thomas Memory Post author

      Ollie, thank you so much for the kind comments! I am so glad you enjoyed the book; I always appreciate hearing feedback from serious readers! I know you have high standards.

      Best wishes always,

  25. Pingback: National Poetry Month: Featured Writer-Ashley Memory | The Practice of Creativity

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