Of Ashes and Dust – a Book Review

Of Ashes and Dust by Marc GrahamTitle: Of Ashes and Dust by Marc Graham

Genre: Currently #54444 in Best Seller’s Rank in Books, Literature & Fiction, Literary (Historical)

Publisher: Five Star Publishing

Publication Date:  March 2017

Of Ashes and Dust – Cover conveys roughly the subject of the second half of the book.

In this debut novel by Marc Graham, he has created a heart-rending, soul-searching story of a man reflecting on his life as it literally ebbs away.

Of Ashes and Dust follows James (JD, or Jade) Robbins as the son of a poor sharecropper, more comfortable with the Negro slaves in the fields of Arkansas in 1846 than that of his close, but upper class landowners.

Growing into his teen years, he falls hopelessly in love with the daughter of the owner of the land on which his family works, and gives his heart and soul to her, pledging his undying devotion until they are split by the Civil War. He is forced to leave his family and his love, finally changing from a beautiful, passionate young man into a world weary, combat wounded veteran. The emotionally charged descriptions of the Civil War battles stab at the heart and cries with the protagonist, until he is finally mustered out to heal and rejoin his love. But things have tragically changed back home as well.

Graham poignantly paints a deeply ravaged person mourning the loss of his soul mate to another, reducing the reader to helpless tears.

Seeking to leave that grief behind, Jim Robbins finds work and leaves the state with his buddy Dave to join the railroad expansion effort toward the west. He and Dave continue their work toward the Pacific after they successfully join the rails at Promontory Point.

The author provides rich descriptive detail of the struggle laying the rail west with unerring historical accuracy, the interaction and tragedy of confronting native peoples, and the immigrant Chinese working the railroad; human lives deemed expendable. It is out west that Robbins eventually finds another love with whom he believes he can share a mutual passion and life philosophy, but it seems that Robbins is again to be denied an enduring love. Dave forces him to go on and together they sail for Australia to help complete railroad construction there.

The characters are fleshed out so well, you ache to have them somehow survive–where is my “happy ever after?” Jim Robbins is immensely empathetic. The dialogue is so natural; the author might have taken it from civil war reports or newspaper accounts along the way.

This story grabs you by the collar from the beginning, and inexorably builds upon itself until, while you know what is going to happen, don’t know exactly how until the end…and then it’s soul crushing. Sometimes you read a book that stays with you after “the End.” This is one of those.

Bullseye!I was given the book in exchange for an honest review. It is packed with intense sensitivity, love, power, loss, regret, and triumph. Recommended for anyone interested in a book that won’t let you go.

Marc Graham - authorRosepoint Publishing: Five of Five Stars

The Author: Marc Graham is an “actor, singer, bard, engineer, Freemason, and whisky aficionado.” If he is not actively hiking the Colorado’s Front Range with his wife and dog, he is either on his computer or on the stage. ©2017 Virginia Williams I Love Likes and Comments--Please Share!

Gone on Sunday-A Cotton Lee Penn Mystery – a Book Review

Gone on SundayTitle: Gone on Sunday by Tower Lowe

Genre: Currently #10598 in Best Seller’s Rank in Books, Literature & Fiction, Genre Fiction, Historical, Mysteries

Publisher: Create Space IPP

Publication Date:  January 2017

Gone on Sunday – A Cotton Lee Penn Historical Mystery – Cover conveys mood

Gone on Sunday by Tower Lowe attempts to give us two distinct murder stories within the same book separated as has been previously noted by 40 years. Continue reading “Gone on Sunday-A Cotton Lee Penn Mystery – a Book Review”

10 Amazing Sub-Genre’s in Historical Fiction

10 amazing thingsHistorical Fiction as a literary genre is generously broad and notoriously ambiguous in that the beginning of man can be included in the same spectrum of writing as our own recent Wild West. It was bound to happen then that sooner or later sub-genres would be broken out.

What is Historical?

In that it depicts and closely associates the period social conditions, manners, clothing, and environmental factors, the story can capture any century or millennia from the dawn of man. Generally, “historical” refers to publications written at least 50 years after the event. Considering an extended time frame, therefore, an author would usually be assumed to be writing from research rather than from experience. (In the relatively unusual case of my grandfather’s manuscripts, however, they were written some time shortly after his “sailing, mining, prospecting, and cowpoke days,” over 90 years ago but only recently published by myself.)

So if it’s all historical fiction, what are the ten sub-genres? Continue reading “10 Amazing Sub-Genre’s in Historical Fiction”

Maggie Elizabeth Harrington-Review

Maggie Elizabeth HarringtonMaggie Elizabeth Harrington by C. J. Swykert

Genre: Currently #3071 in Best Sellers Rank for Kindle ebooks, Literature and Fiction-Historical

Publisher: Cambridge Books

Publication Date: March, 2016

Submitted by author for review

Maggie Elizabeth HarringtonMaggie Elizabeth Harrington Two Covers–One for print and one for Kindle. The Kindle cover includes a wolf in the background, but a modern-day woman.

This powerful story of thirteen year old Maggie Elizabeth Harrington was set in a copper mining town of Michigan in 1893. Maggie Elizabeth is the daughter of a miner who lives with her grandmother and her father (who against everything that Maggie Elizabeth believes in, drowns every new litter of kittens). Her mother passed in childbirth; the father barely speaks to her, the grandmother isn’t much better, and she attributes this to the death of her mother–which she considers must be her fault. Continue reading “Maggie Elizabeth Harrington-Review”

It’s Almost NaNo Time Again–Get Ready!

Nano CrestOn Sept 27, 2015, I wrote regarding my introduction to NaNoWriMo, the National Novel Writing Month website created by Chris Baty in 1999 and succeeded by Executive Director, Grant Faulkner in 2012. Think you still have a book in you? November is the month to find out. Just 50,000 little words, only 1,667 words per day in 30 days. Think you can do it? How about if you had help, a coach, or several coaches, hints, information, word count, encouragement, and other participants pushing to complete their book in the same month? It’s a band of engagement–join the fun!

National Novel Writing Month is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. The experience is free–yes–they’ll accept donations and getting into the spirit of the thing, you can order NaNoWriMo mugs, clothing, books, and posters. And it’s so simple: Continue reading “It’s Almost NaNo Time Again–Get Ready!”

Successful Blogging – What Is Your Niche?

So much talent out there to help, mentor, encourage, and push an entrepreneur into successful blogging. Or from successful blogging to successful freelancing, promotion, or sales. I love writing–one thing it’s not–is boring. There are so many creative ways to exercise the expertise or talent. And it is always a resourceful and satisfying outlet. Fortunately, now you can find so many experts out there, there is little you can’t satisfy by researching successful bloggers. I have several “go-to” bloggers that seem to have no limits on topical advice.

 

The Take Action WAHM

One of my faves is The Take Action WAHM (work at home mom). I spend a LOT Of time reading–that is in addition to my review reading. Always something new to study–here it’s the “niche.” Goodness! I’ve read numerous articles on identifying my target audience and to be honest, it is not something I can zero in. If the goal is sales of historical fiction novels, my grandfather’s books seem to cross all boundaries. Women buy for the men. Men buy for their…sons(?) The young buy for their grandparents; the elder for their grandchildren. Only those who have to study it in school do not love history. And McShane’s stories are full-on Irish blarney–hard to separate fact from fiction.

 

 

Kelly writes for stay-at-home moms, the pearls and perils. She contributes to her family’s finances through affiliate marketing and freelance writing. She has a vast archive of information on her pins “Blogging A to Z.” Kelly found her niche. Continue reading “Successful Blogging – What Is Your Niche?”

Just Enjoy Reading or Bibliophile Qualified?

Just Enjoy Reading or Bibliophile Qualified?

There are usually one or more bibliophiles in your life–besides yourself! Whether they are out having fun, reading, or just too busy for interviews is another whole subject.Roberta

However, I did get a response from my former Yuma RV lot-mate, retired librarian, Roberta, who wrote, “I do love books, but I’m not a voracious reader. I probably read a few books a month on average.  I belong to a book group, so I read what we’ll be discussing each month.  Depending on how long that takes me, I’ll read one or two books that I want to read.  I listen regularly to NPR & it’s a great source of recommended books for me.”

Roberta enjoys her book group and actively participates at times leading a book discussion. As part of that responsibility, she admits to doing quite a bit of research on the author and topic. RobertaReading for her own enjoyment, she gleans books from all the major sources: public library, Kindle and Barnes and Noble online, although she admits to be more kinesthetic, as she prefers the “real books”, soft or hard cover to digital or eBooks. Roberta

Not wedded to any one genre, Roberta enjoys historical fiction, mysteries, family sagas and psychological fiction as well as travel. Extending into non-fiction, topics that hold her interest are history, biography, and the arts, and that incorporates many of her favorite authors, including Ivan Doig. She will follow some contemporary authors on Facebook, but does not join e-mail lists and although aware of Goodreads, doesn’t use it. The librarian in her still makes notes to herself about books that she’s read, although she does not rate or review them publicly.

Roberta is married, has grandkids in another state and enjoys an active life outdoors including traveling, hiking, cycling, Jeeping, cooking, writing in her journal and keeping up with personal letters. While she is not sure she qualifies as a true bibliophile, I’m not sure there is an absolute number that would elevate you to the category. However–three or four books a month?? There are people who haven’t read anything since high school! I’d say she does very well!Virginia WilliamsResource Box