WITH WORDS WE WEAVE


WITH WORDS WE WEAVE

Natalie Bright

The Texas High Plains Writers brings you a new collection of short stories, memoirs, essays, and poetry from our talented members. One of the oldest writer’s groups in the country, we are celebrating our 100th anniversary next year in 2020. It’s amazing to me that a group of women who wanted to support each other in their writing under the name of Panhandle Pen Women, started an organization that has met continuously for 100 years. Our members today represent every genre from inspirational to horror, play writes, music, and everything in between.

Based in Amarillo, an anthology for this group is nothing new, but I am so glad the current Board of Directors made the decision to revive the writing contest and publish members’ works. In this new anthology, thirty-two authors — from New York Time’s bestselling to newly published — spin tales of laughter, love, and loss. A lawman on the western frontier, a go-kart race for the ages, a keening banshee in picturesque Ireland . . .These stories will make you smile, get your adrenaline pumping, and bring a tear to your eye.

Here’s the link on Amazon to buy. Click here.

https://www.amazon.com

For more information about THPW, visit their website here. http://texashighplainswriters.com/

Thank you for supporting our upcoming 100th year celebration through your purchase of this new book and thanks for reading Wordsmith Six!

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REDWALL BY BRIAN JACQUES


REDWALL BY BRIAN JACQUES

Lynnette Jalufka

 

Where has this book been all my life? I am very thankful to the friend who recommended it to me. It’s the type I love to read, full of action, adventure, and mystery. There’s even a little romance. It’s hard to put down.

Jacques creates a medieval world full of colorful animal characters. Matthias is a small novice mouse at the peaceful Redwall Abbey. But he desires to be brave like the Abbey’s co-founder, Martin the Warrior. When Redwall comes under attack by the rat, Cluny the Scourge, and his army, Matthias goes on a quest to find Martin’s legendary sword which he believes can save the Abbey.

This book has one of the best opening chapters I’ve read. I also like how Jacques describes the battle scenes. He gives enough detail without being gory.

I now have read several books in the series. Each one has kept me up well past the time I should have been asleep. This one remains my favorite.

Another Story, Another King


POST CARDS FROM THE MUSE

Another Story, Another King

By Nandy Ekle

I am truly a voracious reader. Not the fastest on earth, but definitely in the top when it comes to reading any and everything. And I remember nearly everything I’ve ever read. As a kid in school, of course I read the assigned readings (or at least scanned them). I ordered as many books as Mom would pay for from the scholastic reading order forms. I read biographies and ghost stories, fact books and mysteries, Little House on the Prairie, Encyclopedia Brown, Zilpha Keatley Snyder stories, and A Wrinkle in Time. In high school I read Harlequin romances and Braum Stoker’s Dracula… everything I could get my hands on.

So deciding which book to review for this blog is a heavy task. I’ve thought of all things Poe, a book I truly love by Diane Setterfield titled The Thirteenth Tale, all the Stephanie Plum books, all things Harry Potter (another absolutely brilliant story). And I’ve thought about the fantasy phase I went through which included Mary Stewart’s Merlin Series, and The Forever King by Molly Cochran and Warren Murphy, and Stardust by the extremely brilliant Neil Gaiman.

But I have to confess that I keep coming back around to Stephen King. And since I’ve already rambled on about The Shining (I’ll never stop rambling about The Shining), I’m going to talk about my second favorite of his books, The Eyes of the Dragon.

Now, while I don’t believe this book is on the same level as The Shining, it is, as I’ve stated, my second favorite King book of all time. 

Reason number one: the story of why he wrote it. His explanation is that his daughter asked if horror was the only thing he knew how to write. Couldn’t he write something nice for a change? So he came up with The Eyes of the Dragon, an original fairy tale, which he dedicated to his daughter, Naomi. 

Reason number two: his style of writing in this book is so totally different from all other books he’s ever written. When reading it, the narrator is actually telling the story to the reader, interjecting his own emotions at certain points. He does this very effectively, enhancing the story to the nth degree and adds to the atmosphere of the story amazingly. When you read the book, the writing style is actually reminiscent of JRR Tolkien’s The Hobbit.

Reason number three: Well, without saying, the way the story circles back around is pure genius. 

Read The Eyes of the Dragon by Stephen King. You’ll be so glad you did.

“The Way of Kings”


“The Way of Kings”

Review

by Adam Huddleston

I realize most book reviews are written after a reader has finished the work, but I wanted to let you know a little bit about the novel that I am currently reading.  

“The Way of Kings”, by Brandon Sanderson, is an epic fantasy novel.  It is the first in his “Stormlight Archive” series.  At the moment, I am only a quarter or so of the way through, but I can tell that this is going to be a massive story.  The overall plot is told through the experiences of a multitude of main characters, each with their own motivations and colorful back-stories.  The book includes several maps of the fantasy world as well as artwork created by one of the main characters.  

If you are a fan of epic fantasy, or of Brandon Sanderson (whose works include the last few “The Wheel of Time” books and the “Mistborn” series), I highly recommend “The Way of Kings”.  I can’t wait to see where the story goes!

Remembering the Classics


Outtakes 385

Remembering the Classics

By Cait Collins

 

Back in my school days there was a great emphasis on classic literature. I hated it back then, but rereading them with an adult eye can give us a new appreciation for the masters.

Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn are Mark Twain’s classics about two boys growing up in a turbulent time in American History. They paint a picture of the old South in a time when slaves were a part of the norm. The characters are so vivid. I can easily see Tom Sawyer sitting back eating an apple while watching his friends whitewash the fence. Getting lost in the cave with Becky Thatcher probably raised a few eyebrows.  But catching Injun Joe may have made up for it. Still, there was the importance of faith and community. Remember when Tom and Huck were lost and slipped into the church building during worship? The congregation stood to sing “Old One Hundred. I can hear the music and the song, “Praise God from whom all blessings flow…”

Jane Eyre also reflects a period when men and women were judged by their social standing. A man of wealth and position did not marry his child’s governess. Nor did he attempt to commit bigamy. While she loved Mr. Rochester deeply, she knew the relationship would damage his standing in society, still, she chose to commit herself to her employer. Needless to say, there was a separation and heartache but the love was true and strong. The couple defied the social mores and did live happily ever after.

As with Tom Sawyer, the characters are so vivid. And I can envision the old manor, the parties, and the country church where a wedding was called off because the groom was already married. I was easily removed from my comfortable home to Old England and to witness the shaming of a plain, innocent woman.

The list of great classics is long: Moby Dick, White Fang, Call of the Wild, Of Mice and Men; Wuthering Heights, Little Women, the Jungle Book, and Grapes of Wrath are just a few of the old books my friends and I groaned about. We were kids who were more interested in ice skating and boys or girls than in educating our minds. Maybe we should reread the old classics and see if the stories are more appealing than they were to children.

Provenance – Book Review 


Provenance

Review

Provenance written by Laney Salisbury and Aly Sujois a true story of John Myatt, an artist living on the edge of financial ruin, yet possessed the ability to recreate the paintings of Cézanne, Matisse, Giacometti.

Enters John Drewe, who becomes the biggest client and collector of Myatt’s “genuine Fakes,” and begins paying John Myatt large sums of money in appreciation to for his work.

Let me let you in on a little secret, Drewe was selling John Myatt’s work to the art world as real Cézanne, Matisse and Giacometti’s. John unknowingly becomes an accomplice through accepting the money Drewe makes selling the paintings. When the fraud is revealed to the artist, it’s difficult to quit.

Provenance is a truly suspenseful story of one of the greatest art frauds of all time. If you like suspense or art, this is a fantastic read.

 

Natalie Recommends – WRITER GET NOTICED


Natalie Recommends

WRITER GET NOTICED

 

 

Have you been writing for years, but feel like no one notices? Have you published your stories, only to gain a handful of readers? Do your marketing efforts feel like shouting into a void?

Veteran writer and motivational coach Colleen M. Story helps you break the spell of invisibility to reveal the author platform that will finally draw readers your way.

There are more books out there than ever before, and readers have many other things vying for their attention. A writer can feel like a needle in a haystack, and throwing money at the problem rarely helps. What does work is creating a platform that stands out, but in a sea of a million platforms, how is one to do that?

Writer Get Noticed! takes a new approach, dispelling the notion that fixing your writing flaws and expanding your social media reach will get you the readers you deserve. Instead, discover a myriad of strengths you didn’t know you had, then use them to find your author theme, power up your platform, and create a new author business blueprint, all while gaining insight into what sets you apart as a writer and creative artist.

 

THE BIG BLUE BOOK


THE BIG BLUE BOOK

Lynnette Jalufka

 

This is the nickname of a novel that changed the way I write. First off, the cover is blue. Second, the spine is two inches thick in hardback. It’s also an unusual read for me because it contains magic, which is not the type of fantasy I like. But an author who can write an 870-page magical fantasy and keep me hanging on every word did something very right. I got goosebumps when I finished it the first time. This is J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

The plot is rich with many twists and turns as fifteen-year-old Harry, who to this point has reacted to trouble, starts causing it. When the government takes over Harry’s school, he goes underground to teach his classmates how to fight in the coming battle against his enemy, Voldemort. Rowling does a remarkable job of weaving school life—exams, sports, and romance—into the bigger threat of Voldemort’s return to power and the government covering it up.

What impressed me the most about the book was the emotion in it. Rowling beautifully describes everything from the relief of a Saturday off after a disastrous first week of school to the wonders of a first kiss to the horrific depths of grief. I discovered that emotion was what I was missing in my own stories. Since then, my writing has not been the same.

I Must Start Here


POST CARDS FROM THE MUSE

I Must Start Here

By Nandy Ekle

Of course, I must do my first book review on The Shining, by Stephen King. I have said all kinds of things about this book from the first time I read it in the 70’s, all the way to where I am now, deep in the trenches of middle age. I have used this book as examples of good writing, good story telling, and good layering. I will once again say that, in my opinion, The Shining is Stephen King’s masterpiece.

Good Writing. This is actually a huge conundrum. If you pay attention to the mechanics and watch for all the rules of good writing, you will see that Mr. King violates every rule known to the written English language and story telling that there is to violate. But the truth is, you don’t notice any such thing because the tricks he plays on his readers in this remarkable tale are so complete that if he HAD followed the rules, the book would not be the masterpiece it is. One thing I remember from school is that in the creative realm, rules are made to be broken, but be sure you can tell why you are breaking them. 

All I know is that after reading The Shining for the 40th time, and I get through the scenes where I feel like I’ve swirled around in a water drain, I don’t care one iota about any rule—language, punctuation, point of view, or sentence length. I come out at the end feeling amazed at what I just experienced.

Good Story Telling. The best books are character driven. After all, it’s the characters who tell the story. The narrator should simply be a shadow in the back of the room while the characters do the work. In The Shining, this is most definitely true. You have characters (Jack, Wendy, Danny, Halloran) who each have their own motives and their own problems. And most of the story is internal, taking place inside the heads of each one of them, except the Hotel. The Hotel is also a character with a motive and a problem, but the Hotel is, really and truly, not a main character, but a second place—maybe even a third place—character. The entire role of the Hotel is to stir the four pots which are nearly overflowing with bubbling brew. And I believe that is the real genius of the book.

Good Layering. This is really a sub-folder to Good Story Telling. The four heads I spoke of in the previous paragraph are damaged before the story begins, and the damage is deep. And this is where the layers are. Every single time I re-read the book, I find a layer I had not seen before. In one of Mr. King’s introductions a few years after the first printing of the book, he states that he came to a point in the story where he had to consciously make a decision to stick with the same formula he had used before, or to do away with all boundaries and allow the book to write itself, which meant exploring deeper issues going on with his characters. He chose the deeper issues.

And this, Mr. King, is when my intense like of your writing changed to love. Bravo.

So, if you’ve never read The Shining, do so now. I guarantee you’ll be amazed.

 

“The Long Walk” Review


“The Long Walk” Review

by Adam Huddleston

As many of you probably know, Stephen King is one of my favorite authors.  Although he has written a multitude of top-selling books, my best-loved is “The Long Walk”.  

Written under his pseudonym, Richard Bauchman, “The Long Walk” is a tale set in a not-too-distant dystopian future.  Told in first-person point of view, the main character is a teenager who competes in a deadly marathon where those who fall behind are killed along the way.  King does an excellent job of moving the plot along while developing the main characters.  

If you are a fan of horror, or even dark thrillers, I highly recommend “The Long Walk.”