Weather Report, March 7

 

OUR CURRENTLY FEATURED BOOKS, “RESTING PLACES,” BY MICHAEL WHITE AND “THE HOLDOUTS,” BY SHERRY CLEMENTS, CAN BE FOUND — ALONG WITH THE CURRENT FIRST TUESDAY REPLAY — BY SCROLLING DOWN BELOW THIS POST.

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UPCOMING ON SNOWFLAKES IN A BLIZZARD, MARCH 8-14.

To me, one of the best things about reading is that it often exposes us to situations and ideas that may make us uncomfortable.

For we have to pay attention — that, or put the book down. What we’re reading may not change our minds, but we are forced to hear the author out without any countering arguments.

Therefore, I will always be willing to post books on Snowflakes in a Blizzard that deal with “touchy” issues or agendas. I don’t care if the slant is conservative or liberal, religious or anti-religious. As long as a book is not sociopathic, I’ll consider sharing it.

Which brings us to two of this week’s offerings:”Some Way Outa Here,” by Mark Lauden and “Faggot: An Appalachian Tale,” by Frank Billingsley.

The former may not be all that controversial any more — after all, the Vietnam War has been over now for more than 40 years — but there are still those who bristle at any mention of the anti-war movement of the late ’60s and early ’70s. Lauden’s book puts us back in that space and time, using a compelling story as its “wayback machine.”

Frank Billingsley’s contribution could be a little tougher to swallow.

To me, though, “Faggot” isn’t about debating or defending the gay lifestyle, wherever you may come down on that. The point is not that Billingsley is gay, but that so many of his youthful peers had such a problem with it. It provides an insight into what it’s like to be on the receiving end of blatant hostility, for whatever reason, and it says something about the way we treat and talk to each other.

With all the insults being tossed around on the presidential campaign trail these days, Billingsley’s perspective might be instructive.

The third book this week will stretch you in another way. In the long tradition of sci-fi seers, Rusty Coats provides an alternative window to the world with “Out of Touch.”

“SOME WAY OUTA HERE,” BY MARK LAUDEN

Writes the author:

“We all tell stories about growing up. I was lucky (or unlucky) enough to grow up in a time when young people took on the job of leading a battle to stop a terrible war. Some of the things that happened seem unbelievable now – even to people who were there. I wanted to capture the color and spirit of this era, along with the turmoil and confusion we all went through.
“Dylan’s All Along the Watchtower —  and Jimi Hendrix’ apocalyptic cover version —  epitomized the end of the 1960s. For me, the idea that ‘there must be some way outa here…’ drew me in from the first hearing. It’s the vision of being on the rampart in the middle of nowhere, with wildcats prowling, riders approaching, and the wind blowing hard…there must be some way out. Who hasn’t been there?
“The passage of years helped me understand that in 1969-70, I needed a way out of a time when nothing made sense, a place that was oblivious to the madness. Life in the late 1960s was like the place you would find if you fell down a rabbit hole, where nothing was quite real, and you wanted to find the way out, back into the sunshine. Dylan’s words and Jimi’s anguished voice and thrashing guitar said it best.”
“OUT OF TOUCH,” BY RUSTY COATS
The summary:  “For Jonah Morgan, the past and future run through people like lightning, throwing sparks on everything they touch, and Jonah’s hands catch those sparks — an ability his grandfather called ‘wicking.’ In Out of Touch, Jonah confronts his own gift — and the ambitions of a phony psychic named Perry Jahn — while saving a small Indiana town when its basketball team boards a flight doomed to crash.”
Rust writes: “This novel wrestles with fate and free will, ambition and redemption, grief and hope. It takes place over 24 hours, and I wanted to show how the lives of the protagonist – and everyone surrounding him – can be irrevocably changed in a day. “
“FAGGOT: AN APPALACHIAN TALE,” BY FRANK BILLINGSLEY.
To quote the author, the book is “a true story of tragedy, despair, and hope for the future after surviving a childhood of bullying.
“A teenager tries to make sense of his life. He has turned cold, withdrawn, and depressed. He is different, and everyone knows. He is gay, living in a town that does not understand him. He lives in a family that does not know how to support him. He is abused emotionally, physically, and sexually for years. No one cares. No one helps. Then on one dark rainy night, everything changes.”

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NEWS AND NOTES

I would love it if you would share these weekly updates, as well as the Tuesday posts, on your social media. That would amplify our voice considerably.

Last week, i mentioned that author Dean Robertson is willing to do free long-form book reviews. Mark Lauden, author of “Some Way Outa Here,” was one of Dean’s “customers.

Her e-mail (which I left out previously) is pdroberts1@gmail.com.

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Deborah Teller Scott, whose novel “Downfall” was featured on Snowflakes last year, just came out with a sequel. Her e-mail:

“Just wanted to let you know that the sequel to my novel Downfall is available. Titled Breakdown, it follows our intrepid Scotland Yard inspector to the Pacific Northwest in pursuit of romance and, of course, a mystery or two. I went with Smashwords this time, since it’s less restrictive than Amazon; but both books are now available for Kindle as well as Smashwords’ distribution outlets. For another two weeks, the books are on “pre-order” status, which Smashwords recommends to build anticipation and to promote your book in advance.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Published by

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.

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