Archive for August, 2010

NEXT AAG&A BOARD MEETING

August 29, 2010

The next  board meeting for the Appalachain Authors Guild & Associates is scheduled for Tuesday,  September 28 at 1 p.m. The meeting will be at the Cumberland Plateau Planning Commission office in Lebanon, Virginia. Board meetings are open to all AAG&A  members and they are encouraged to attend.

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Journey Through My Mind

August 17, 2010

There’s almost nothing that I can think of, to compare with  the feel of seeing your first book in print. Such is the case for Author Rodney Smith.
Journey Through My Mind is a story of Frontier life in the 19th Century as recorded by young  Benjamin, the oldest child of a Kansas prairie family,  in his  personal journal.
The journal is found years later and read by his granddaughter, Sarah.
If I had to think of one word to describe this story, it would be wholesome. “Journey” details the struggles of a Christian family in dealing with the hardships of frontier life – the bitter winters, the scorching summer heat, and the killer dust storms.
“Journey” is a story not unlike the “Little House on the Prairie” books – but this is a story which merits retelling. In this first effort by Rodney Smith, the reader is transported to pioneer times where we get a pretty accurate picture of the early days and of the people who had the grit and fortitude to make a home in the hostile environment of the American Western Frontier.
I highly recommend Journey Through My Mind, and eagerly await Rodney Smith’s next offering.

Journey Through My Mind is Available from LULU Press – http://www.lulu.com/product/paperback/journey-through-my-mind/11774567?productTrackingContext=product_view/recently_viewed/left/1

or by contacting the author via this blog or the Appalachian Authors Guild (www.appalachianaga.com).

August 7, 2010

Remember Me With Love, By Mary Ann Artrip

Mary Ann Artrip

The advantage to reading big-name, well-publicized writers is that you know (more or less) what you’re getting in advance. The advantage to reading a little known writer is the delightful surprise of discovering something eminently readable, perhaps even memorable. I think we writers live and die by the old Billy Joe Shaver couplet, “I’m just an old chunk of coal/but I’m gonna be a diamond someday.” The author of this book has already pressed her chunk of coal to a twinkle, judging by this enjoyable read.

At a recent writer’s organization board meeting, Artrip, winner of a 2007 IPPY award, held this book up and asked me if I’d like to read it. I said, “Sure.” And the book charmed me. She bills it as a mystery/romance, and that’s true – it’s a bit of both. How would I have cast it? Maybe in a genre as a latter-day Charlotte Brontë. Her protagonist, Kate Spencer, a hard-working woman meets rich bigwig, Jon Ames, and after the expected romantic foreplay, they become a couple – after a fashion. But there’s a lover’s triangle afoot here – something I was hardly prepared for. And there’s a murder, a courtroom battle, and something of a happy ending.

The author writes fluidly; her prose is smart, her dialogue snappy, and she knows how to pace a complicated story. Perhaps the characters don’t resonate in quite the way one might expect of edgy, modern fictional inventions, but the tone here is Gatsby, it’s Jane Eyre – a romantic melodrama from another era – so the characterizations are forgiven.

My only concern is that, given the style, I wish she had pushed her narrator a bit more to the forefront. But she was clearly taking chances here – chances that might flummox a few readers. Still, taking chances makes life interesting. The story works and, despite this not being a book I’d have picked off a bookstore shelf, I’m glad I read it.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Review by Bob Mustin