Weather Report, Aug. 10

THE CURRENTLY FEATURED BOOK IS “SHOWING UP,” BY ERIC WEST. YOU CAN FIND IT BY SCROLLING DOWN DIRECTLY BENEATH THIS POST.

UPCOMING AUGUST 11-13 …

Katrina destruction“UNCHARTED TERRITORY,” BY BETSY ASHTON.

After the death of her daughter in the first book of the series, Maxine “Mad Max” Davies’ new role in life, full-time grandparent raising two grandchildren, takes her into post-Katrina Mississippi, nature’s newest wasteland. While she gets used to raising children again, she also learns to live in a region where most of life’s conveniences vanished in the storm and tidal surge. She must protect her grandchildren as well as help others in this new environment. Along the way, she encounters racism, murder, modern-day slavery and child abuse.

Explains Betsy: “I wanted to write about a female protagonist who was in her fifties, still sexy, still headstrong, still snarky occasionally. As a reader I was tired of reading about younger protagonists. Besides, if I had one with some mileage on her, some real-life experiences, I could take her into different situations.”

The second episode in a trilogy, this is thus far out only as an e-book. So hang onto your Kindle and let Betsy take you into uncharted territory.

“A REAPER MADE,” BY LIZ LONG.

As a change of pace (and that’s often what I shoot for in pairing books), Liz Long provides us with not only an intriguing fantasy, but a new take on that all-too-familiar villain, Death.

From the Amazon blurb: “Grace had finally gotten used to her new afterlife as a ‘Made’ – a Reaper who used to be human. When Made Reapers and souls begin disappearing, however, Grace and her mentor Tully suspect demons. Grace’s worst fears are confirmed when her living family is threatened. She’ll have to break every rule in the Reaper book to save them, including using a little magic to become temporarily human. “

FOR AUGUST 14-17.

THE GAP YEAR GIRL: A BABYBOOMER ADVENTURE THROUGH  21 COUNTRIES,” BY MARIANNE BOHR. 

For most of the fortunate and intrepid few who put the real world on hold after college in the 1960s and ‘70s, shouldered a backpack and set off for European or Asian adventures, there was no going back. Adult Responsibility, that familiar killjoy, was waiting at the airport for them when they returned, ensuring that any future travel would be more structured than free.

Except for Marianne Bohr and her husband Joe. Decades after their initial unfettered  wanderings, they decided to return to the same places as seasoned babyboomers. Even better, they wrote a book about it. So even if you are one of those who remain planted in that real world, you can at least relive your golden days vicariously through them.

“ROAD GANG,” BY H.V. TRAYWICK JR.

H.V. Traywick Jr., better known as Bo, had a 1970s Asian adventure of another sort – Vietnam. Unlike Marianne, he hasn’t been back, but he has revisited his two years as the commander of an engineering crew and allowed the rest of us to experience it with him.

Traywick’s work in Southeast Asia was quite similar to that performed by the people who toil on American highways. Generally, though, no one shoots at them.

There is a little bit of Hawkeye Pierce in Bo, though, and his account is not only richly detailed but often wryly humorous. It takes us from his days as a less-than-decorated student at Virginia Military Institute to his “in-country” interactions with men higher up the military pecking order.

“My Dad always used to tell us tales from serving World War II,” Traywick recalls, “and one day my mother asked me, ‘Why don’t you ever tell any war stories from Vietnam?’ I said,. ‘I didn’t think anyone would be interested.’”

I think you’ll agree that he was wrong.

NEWS AND NOTES.

  1. OK, Snowflakes followers, listen up. Beginning in two weeks, we’re going to initiate our long-promised monthly drawing. Each month, someone at a writer-friendly bookstore will pull one of your names out of a hat – or, something – and the winner will have his or her choice of any two books from a list compiled from the Snowflakes collection. Someone else will get to pick one book. I’ll give you the list of available books in next week’s Weather Report, just to whet your appetite.

That’s another incentive to follow the blog, and I’d appreciate your spreading the word.

  1. And finally, this from Tom Bentley, whose “How to Think Like a Writer” was a Snowflake feature last month:

“I don’t know if this is Weather Report worthy, but I won a fellowship (minus the lodging fees) to the Catamaran Writing Conference, which is at beautiful Pebble Beach, CA, so even if I don’t get much writing done, I can at least stare at the sea. And I published a long (15,000 words) collaborative short story on Amazon.

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writersbridgebridgebuilder

Recently retired after 35 years with the News & Advance newspaper in Lynchburg, VA, now re-inventing myself as a novelist/nonfiction writer and writing coach in Lake George, NY.

One thought on “Weather Report, Aug. 10”

  1. The upcoming August book reviews sound great. I am particularly interested in A Reaper Made since I write and research about the supernatural realm. I look forward to reading the more in-depth reviews on all of them. Congrats to Tom Bentley on the Fellowship!

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