BEYOND THIS RED EARTH is the second book of my fictional stories set in the rural South. Overarching the individual stories is the story of Amanda Cree, who immersed herself so completely in her fiction that she says, “At some point, the characters in my story became my life, and I became the story.”
One time a reader commented she couldn’t keep up with all the characters in the books. My answer is that she shouldn’t try because the characters reflect different time periods, cultural norms, and attitudes. Their kinship is the element of place. (I did include, however, a genealogy of sorts at the end of each book.) Their “place” is the land between the Little Pee Dee River and the Big Pee Dee River that forms in North Carolina and runs southeast until it empties into the Atlantic.
At any rate, the book is free on those two days. The following week, February 3 and 4th, I will offer the first volume of the series THIS RED EARTH free. Both eBooks stand alone, but they do continue the overall narrative.
The other news is that my play “The Elephant Kids’ will be presented as a reading by the children of Kathy Hunt’s class at Croninger Elementary in Fort Wayne. What a thrill it will be to listen to children read their parts. The play will be moderated by well-known playwright Ruth Tyndal Baker. I couldn’t wait to share that bit of news with my writer friends.
Finally, I had to report that Birdboy Brewing Co. (Fort Wayne) opened a taproom in the Village of Roanoke, Indiana, offering craft beers and a limited menu. The taproom and the Birdboy Brewing Company are named after Art “Birdboy” Smith, the famous daredevil pilot who thrilled audiences with his flying to the extent that the Emperor invited him to give exhibitions in Japan. By 1918, Smith was, as famous as any rock star is today! Had not WWI occurred, Smith’s name probably would be as recognizable as Lindbergh’s.
At any rate, across the walls of the taproom, located in a brick building near the Roanoke Public Library there on Main Street, are large murals painted by Penny French-Deal, depicting blue skies, biplanes, and scenes of the Panama-Pacific Exposition in San Francisco where Art Smith thrilled audiences with his aerobatics.
The significance of this information, I explained to my friends, is that I wrote ART SMITH, PIONEER AVIATOR (McFarland & Company), the definitive biography of Art Smith. Ben Thompson, owner of the Birdboy Brewery, wanted ten copies for his venue. I happily complied. On a recent snowy afternoon, my husband and I made the trek to the village of Roanoke.
The books now are available for purchase there as well as on Amazon and other places. Anyone interested in aviation or aviation history will enjoy the story of Art Smith, and anyone interested in craft beers and such will enjoy the taproom’s Draft List. The offerings include the Taildragger- Belgian Ale, the Loose Goose-Gooseberry Sour Ale, the Stovepipe- Smoked Lager, and the Wabash & Erie- Irish Stout among others. These tastings will be memorable, especially if accompanied by nationally award-winning food to fork restaurant Joseph Decuis’ Wagyu Beef Tamales, Mangalitsa Cracklin’s or Ted's Market’s Handmade Soft Pretzels.
Writing about food reminds me of my stint years ago as a restaurant reviewer. It was an interesting career, albeit the magazine eventually folded and by the time it was resurrected, I had accepted another assignment. It was a good gig. If people wrote “blogs” back then, I never heard about them. Back then, writers wrote “essays” or columns. I wrote a personal opinion column for more than fifteen years. Those were the days!
“You’ve got to write a blog,” my Summit Scribe writer friends told me, and so I have. Until my next one, cheers.