Sunday, August 26, 2007

Civil War Reflections

I have stated and written in other places that I write in order to produce good quality work and to inform and to move people in a positive way. I like to make people think and to consider such things as their heritage and the sacrifice of their ancestors.

Civil War Novels often concentrate on the blood and battle, a romance back home, or the brother against brother theme. In Scarecrow in Gray, I tried to create a book that first of all honors the sacrifice of my ancestors, but secondly tries to inform the reader of just how desperate and full of poignancy was the America's holocaust.

I used a few thematic devices, especially the imagery of the crow and the owl, both harbingers of death. The image of the Scarecrow is seen as one who seeks to somehow defeat or delay death.

I tried to elevate the common man not to the stature of super hero, but to a plain where dwells honor and basic fidelity. I wanted my primary characters to behave in honorable ways while facing the most intolerable of circumstances. I hope by doing so I elevate both the memory of our forebears as well as the outlook of the reader. Doing the right and honorable thing is always the best path.

Friday, August 24, 2007

A Delightful Dilemma

I finished FJ Warren's book, Archelaus Hoskens' Dilemma. Ms. Warren is the "Shy Cornish Lady" I spoke of in a recent post. She is modest in the extreme and after reading her book I am quite convinced she is so for no good reason. She is a very fine writer.

Here is the review I just posted to Amazon, which should show up in a few days:

A young pick pocket finds himself in jail after being caught in the act and then is bailed out by a young lady who has plans for him that change his life in a dramatic way. This is a hilarious tale of scheming and subterfuge, of marriage and romance (in that order). The author brings to life a number of enchanting characters and has the reader smiling from the very first pages.

The book is written as though by an author from the early 19th century. So immersed did I become that I began to feel I was reading a book published in 1810 rather than one of recent vintage. The author has done a masterful job of weaving a clever tale using local color and the language of antiquity to remove the reader to another time and place.

The book is very brief at 109 pages, but is well worth the read. The author manages what very few do and that is to engross the modern reader without gimmickry, sex, or violence. Kudos to Ms. Warren for a fine piece of work.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

The Shy Cornish Lady

Another friend I have had the pleasure to meet through's discussion board is F.J. Warren, a young lady from Cornwall, England who has written four books, one of which I just ordered, Archelaus Hosken's Dilemma. I look forward to reading Ms. Warren's work and I will offer up my own humble critique of it on Amazon as well as here.

She is so shy that in her Amazon photograph, there is a scarf wrapped about her face. I told her that if I could show my not-so-Robert-Redford face, she surely could show hers. She is obviously talented and assuredly a very kind and gentle person.

Check out her work on Amazon. Perhaps someday they will mention her name in the same sentence with Rowling.

I want to again thank Dianne Salerni, author of High Spirits; A Tale of Ghostly Rapping and Romance, for starting the discussion group for self-published writers of historical fiction on Amazon. It has been both very enlightening and very gratifying to read of the trials and tribulations of self-published writers, as well as to share a few experiences with them. I believe this is now one of the bigger discussion groups I have seen on Amazon and many have benefited from it. Thank you, Dianne. You did a very good thing in starting this.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Great New Books

I just read a couple of fine books that I believe will be of interest to some.

The first is High Spirits, a Tale of Ghostly Rapping and Romance by Dianne Salerni. It is the story of the Fox sisters, who in the mid nineteenth century began perpetrating a fraud in which they pretended to be communicating with the dead.

They were able to fool a great many people and survive skeptical inquiries, until one sister fell in love with a worldly traveler. Well written with meticulous detail, this book will appeal to teenagers, women readers, and any who are interested in the spiritualist movement of the nineteenth century.

The second is Tales of a Texas Boy, by Marva Dasef. Ms. Dasef puts on paper the stories told to her by her father of his growing up in the Texas panhandle in the thirties. The stories are real, fresh and heartwarming.

The book is a very quick read and I would recommend it to anyone who appreciates reading about the real America in a much simpler time and place. The people are genuine and the stories are touching.

Stay tuned. As I read other interesting books, particularly from self-published authors or authors published by small presses, I will let you know.

Happy reading,


Monday, August 6, 2007

A Twice Self Published Author

A self-published author, Timothy Fish, dropped by and as promised I am adding him to the blog. Here is what he says about his books and self publishing...

"I am the author of two self published books. The first is Church Website Design: A step by step approach. The second is Search for Mom, a novel about a young girl who has never had a mother, but decides to do what it takes to find one. I think you are right that self published authors need to help each other. In many ways, it is an uphill battle for any self published author. Still, it is hard to know how best to help each other. I am hesitant to support authors and books that I have not read, but there are too many for me to read. "