Archive for August, 2010


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.


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 –

or by contacting the author via this blog or the Appalachian Authors Guild (

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