Newsletter for January 2013


Book Giveaways for January

thefifthassassin.jpgOne random winner will be chosen to receive a copy of The Fifth Assassin by Brad Meltzer. Click on book cover for more information and to enter.

gunmachine.jpgOne random winner will be chosen to receive a copy of Gun Machine by Warren Ellis. Click on book cover for more information and to enter.



Book Giveaway Winners for December

Winner of Two Graves

Mary Chin - MA

Winner of The Black Box

Brad Heurung - IL

Winners of A Signed Copy of Pandora's Temple

Julie Cutshaw - IL
Amanda Kennedy - MT
Matt Roren - NY
Lance Saltzman - RI
Allen Sissman - OH

Featured Book - Then Like the Blind Man: Orbie's Story by Freddie Owens

thenliketheblindmansm.gifA storm is brewing in the all-but-forgotten backcountry of Kentucky. And, for young Orbie Ray, the swirling heavens may just have the power to tear open his family’s darkest secrets. Then Like The Blind Man: Orbie’s Story is the enthralling debut novel by Freddie Owens, which tells the story of a spirited wunderkind in the segregated South of the 1950s and the forces he must overcome to restore order in his world. Rich in authentic vernacular and evocative of a time and place long past, this absorbing work of magical realism offered up with a Southern twist will engage readers who relish the Southern literary canon, or any tale well told.

Nine-year-old Orbie already has his cross to bear. After the sudden death of his father, his mother Ruby has off and married his father’s coworker and friend Victor, a slick-talking man with a snake tattoo. Since the marriage, Orbie, his sister Missy, and his mother haven’t had a peaceful moment with the heavy-drinking, fitful new man of the house. Orbie hates his stepfather more than he can stand; this fact lands him at his grandparents' place in Harlan’s Crossroads, Kentucky, when Victor decides to move the family to Florida without including him. In his new surroundings, Orbie finds little to distract him from Granpaw’s ornery ways and constant teasing jokes about snakes.

As Orbie grudgingly adjusts to life with his doting Granny and carping Granpaw, who are a bit too keen on their black neighbors for Orbie’s taste, not to mention their Pentecostal congregation of snake handlers, he finds his world views changing, particularly when it comes to matters of race, religion, and the true cause of his father’s death. He befriends a boy named Willis, who shares his love of art, but not his skin color. And, when Orbie crosses paths with the black Choctaw preacher, Moses Mashbone, he learns of a power that could expose and defeat his enemies, but can’t be used for revenge. When a storm of unusual magnitude descends, he happens upon the solution to a paradox at once magical and ordinary. The question is, will it be enough?

Equal parts Hamlet and Huckleberry Finn, it’s a tale that’s both rich in meaning, timely in its social relevance, and rollicking with boyhood adventure. The novel mines crucial contemporary issues, as well as the universality of the human experience while also casting a beguiling light on boyhood dreams and fears. It’s a well-spun, nuanced work of fiction that is certain to resonate with lovers of literary fiction, particularly in the grand Southern tradition of storytelling.


Visit Author's Website for Sample Audio and Written Excerpts from the Novel

Featured Book - Travels with a Road Dog:  Hitchhiking Along the Roads of the Americas by R.K.

travelswitharoaddogmed.jpgAt the age of 20, R.K. gives away her belongings to embark upon an exciting journey of camping and hitchhiking with only a cooking pot, blanket, tarp, and matches. She began her four year adventure at Rainbow gatherings, a type of wilderness festival. She spends many months traveling and living within this little known nomadic subculture that creates its own form of utopian communalism. With little to no money, her travels take her around North America from the dangerous streets of East Hollywood Blvd to a little known beach on Vancouver Island in Canada and even to the warmer climes of Key West, Florida. Along the way, she picks up a Shepherd/Lab mix dog for a traveling companion. During the mid 1990's when U.S. tourists were warned to stay away from Mexico she and a companion enter illegally into Mexico and hitchhike down the East coast through Chiapas and return up the West coast where she finds herself in the presence of a Mexican cartel. Her unique travel experiences continue when she hitchhikes a sailboat ride to the Bahamas on a boat with no engine and on to Venezuela where she experiences student riots and the anger of a madwoman. Travels with A Road Dog are the true stories of a young woman who discovers herself and the world around her through her radical love affair with the road. Not only is hitchhiking considered an unconventional way to travel, but it is rarer still that this journey was completed by a woman.


Featured Book - The Sharpshooter 1862-1864 by Charles Phillips

thesharpshootermed.jpgJurian Becker is born in Germany in the early 1840s. His family emigrates, as part of an entire community, to central Texas in the early 1850s. Jurian's father is the community's Lutheran minister. However, shortly after their arrival in Texas, his father dies. Jurian remains on the family farm, helping his brother Ansgar, until their mother's death from the flux in the late 1850s. After her death, he goes out on his own, breaking and selling horses.

In 1862, the Civil War is raging. The South's conscription laws are the source of considerable friction between the Confederacy and Texicans. Jurian becomes aware that many men in his community have left central Texas headed to Mexico to escape the CSA. He also learns Confederate Cavalry and Rangers are racing to intercept the fleeing men. Jurian rides to warn his neighbors. The group is divided on the best course of action, and most of them make no change in their plans. Jurian leads two men to Mexico, but the Rebel forces kill many of his friends and neighbors while they are camped near the Nueces River.

Now in Mexico, Jurian begins riding with border gangs that steal stock from large haciendas in northern Mexico for sale in Texas. While in a cantina in Matamoros, Jurian listens to two Texas Rangers tell a new, younger Ranger about their participation in the Nueces Massacre. Jurian decides he can no longer avoid this conflict that cost his community so much.

Jurian goes to New Orleans, under the name Jake Baker, and joins the First Texas Cavalry of the United States. "Jake" is soon transferred east with others from the First Texas to become members of an elite Union regiment, Colonel Berdan's US Sharpshooters. He is accompanied by his new-found companion, "Slim" Williams.

The novel follows Jake and Slim's exploits as sharpshooters. They fight at Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, and in the Shenandoah Valley. During his time in the service, Jake rises from Private, to Sergeant, and finally to First Sergeant, the highest ranking non-commissioned officer in his company (approximately 100 men). In late 1863 in western Virginia, Jake is wounded in a skirmish and left in the care of Elder John Kline, a minister in the pacifist German Baptist Brethren. Jake falls in love with the member of Kline's congregation who nurses him back to health. As Jake returns to duty in early 1864, He and Slim confront a unit of the Virginia Home Guard that has been threatening Kline and his followers.


Visit Author's Website

Recent Interviews

Interview with Freddie Owens, author of Then Like the Blind Man: Orbie's Story.


Recent Reviews

Cat Bearing Gifts by Shirley Rosseau Murphy
Cold Light by Jenn Ashworth (Review #2)
Further Confessions of a Slightly Neurotic Hitwoman by JB Lynn
Gun Machine by Warren Ellis
Into the Dark by Alison Gaylin
Masscre at Bridal Veil Falls by Scotty V. Casper
Midnight Exposure by Melinda Leigh
Pansy at the Palace by Cynthia Bardes
Political Suicide by Michael Palmer
Out of the Shadow by J.S. Winn
Out of the Shadow by J.S. Winn (Review #2)
The Jaguar by T. Jefferson Parker
The Liberator by Alex Kershaw
The Right Hand by Derek Haas
The Sharpshooter 1862-1864 by Charles Phillips
The Snow White Christmas Cookie by David Handler
Then Like the Blind Man: Orbie's Story by Freddie Owens
Travels with a Road Dog:  Hitchhiking Along the Roads of the Americas by R.K.

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