Bragging Rights 1/4/13
Sideshow At Honey Creek got a 5 Star review on amazon.com yesterday:
Jan 03, 2013
Christoph Fischer rated it
“Sideshow at Honey Creek” by Steven Malone is a fascinating historical find about one of the lesser known stories of American History, at least it was for me, a European. It is no surprise that the author has a degree in History, the research he must have done for this book is enormous.
The big picture deals with the involvement of Kickapoo and Comanche Indians in Texas during the American Civil War. The smaller stories follow several groups of colourful characters and their personal ordeals during this time, too many to name individually but the plot lines are well chosen and skilfully developed and the connections between these people are nicely set up.
The book is a great achievement in research, execution and fleshing out of the scenes, it uses copious amount of detail, making it easy to picture the settings. It is an epic read with a lot of food for thought and has stayed with me for some time after I finished it.
Thank you, Mister Ficsher
Soldiers Rest review 1 10 13
I just posted a review at amazon.com and Goodreads for
Soldiers Rest, by
Kathryn Hohmann, is a ‘paranormal historical fiction’ novel set around the
border between Maryland and Virginia at the turn of the last century. I was not
familiar with the term ‘paranormal historical fiction’ before reading this
book. Ms. Hohmann taught me with her delightful novel of the people and area
around Soldier’s Rest.
I would like to give this book a 4 ½ Star rating if there
was such a thing. I enjoyed getting to know her main character, Tess, and all
the wonderful people that populate Tess’ world. And, I enjoyed the vivid
details of that world as Tess sees it and lives it.
Ms. Hohmann is at her best in describing this world and in
showing the ‘paranormal’ hauntings shadowing the aftermath of the great Civil
War battle of South Mountain fought near there.
The reader feels and lives those parts of the story as good fiction
should impart to him or her. However, though I enjoyed the leisurely pace of
touring her invention, she moved too slowly in getting to the paranormal
aspects of her plot and that put a drag on the story. Had I not seen that label
I would not have known that to be in the book until – what was it – chapter 3
or chapter 4.
If a reader relaxes and goes with it, Soldiers Rest, is excellent entertainment.
Ghosts 1 17 13
Ghosts came to visit
me recently – in a strange way. Within two days, I received a newspaper’s ghost
story and reviewed a novel that was a ghost story. Both dealt with tragedies of
justice or war. Both happened as the 19th century turned into the 20th.
Both, if closely inspected, grew from the residual horrors of the American
civil war. Both echoed out of our architecture. Coincidences enough to get me
thinking about the lives of the dead.
The first tells the story of frontier justice meted out to
men whose restless souls haunt the building where they were shot down in the
night after committing robbery in the west made wild by Reconstruction. That story is posted in the ‘Articles’
section of this site. The second tells the story of the restless souls of
soldiers that haunt the crystal edifice built near the death fields of the
battle of South Mountain. My book review of that story is posted in an earlier
blog of this site.
I’m not sure what I think about the dead. Is anyone? We have
our philosophies and our religious doctrines for our dead. We have places for
our dead. The Romans saw their dead in a dim and bitter place underground – an
unhappy place. The Vikings have their Valhalla – a place of brawling, feasting,
and wenches. Some Chinese burn ghost money so their ancestors can buy things in
a place not so different from the land of the living. If I interpret correctly,
some Buddhists fell the dead rejoin the universe and vibrate through eternity
in a resonant hum. My good Baptist preachers seem kind of split. Sometimes the
dead rot in their graves until the resurrection. Sometimes they translate
immediately to a place where they sit in awe of the bright shimmer of God. My
Mom, dead these many months, saw this heaven as a place of a great choir where
she sings this day as she selects wonderful grandchildren souls to give to my
son and nephew. Then there are those that, like the two stories, fell the dead
hang around to torment the living and wait the finishing of unfinished
I remain skeptical. I too am split. I have never seen a
ghost but I’ve lived in a house with a poltergeist. The house resembled
something in a Laurel and Hardy movie so I guess it was built in early decades
of the 1900’s – all flaking paint and gingerbread work. Cabinet doors and
kitchen drawers would open and close by themselves. Silverware would be thrown
across the room though no one was in the kitchen. Some entity no one could see
could be heard pacing from one end of the house to the other. Once I brought a
date home. As I took her coat, something made us turn to the bedroom door. As
we looked, the doorknob turned a quarter turn, the door opened part way, paused
a couple of seconds, the closed itself. Save for the two of us, the house was empty.
However, I never felt enmity from the place. I felt that I merely shared the
house with something.
I think, after pondering, that we all have it wrong. I give
that there is more under heaven than is found in our philosophy. But, I feel
that we have misinterpreted. We have committed the mistake of Anthropomorphism.
We have given the phenomena a human twist the same way we have turned God into
the bearded old man painted on the ceiling of the Chapel. Our heaven and hell
look like earth. Our apparitions become people we love or fear.
Whoever God is I do not think he looks like me. Whatever
heaven and hell may be I do not think it is earthlike. Whoever the ghosts are I
think that we are condemned to evolve them into us.
Still, they came to visit me recently.
out of 5 stars Absolutely Gripping!,
January 17, 2013
Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Sideshow at Honey Creek (Kindle Edition)
at Honey Creek by Steven Malone is a rare find, whether ebook or print. Western
and Texas history in particular has been a passion of mine for many years. I
love reading historical accounts written contemporaneously by people involved
in the words as they spoke at the time. With respect to fiction, I want a story
woven into actual historical events. Steven Malone has done a masterful job of
Honey Creek unfolds on the high plains of Texas during the Civil War. In the
days of the Republic of Texas and the early days of Texas statehood, pioneer
settlers had staked out tenuous toeholds in the Comancheria, the land west of
present day Fort Worth. Even before the war, the Comanches dominated the
plains, and exacted brutal punishment on those who dared trespass on their
territory. As the war progressed, drawing increasing numbers of able bodied men
away from the frontier into the Confederate army to fight east of the
Mississippi, the Comanches literally pushed back the "border",
leaving many settler farms and towns abandoned. The settlers who remained were
largely on their own to face the Comanche and other native peoples, agitated
and manipulated by Union mercenaries.
Honey Creek traces historical events leading up to and through a major
engagement between native tribes and Texan Confederate forces. In Malone's meticulously
researched tale, we hear the voices speaking in the way people did at the time,
and still get to see into their psyches from a modern analysis. As the
impending conflict rises, the author's depiction becomes absolutely gripping,
and he never lets up all the way to the end.
Thank you, Lance
Books End? 1 22 13
Do you think we are seeing the last days of the book? Many
do. The world of the future, it is said, has only place for the ebook.
If true, I will lament that passing. I love the feel – the
heft – of a real book. A book feels good in my hand. It feels good draped
across my lap. I like to turn the page with my fingers. I like to flip through
the pages with my thumb. I like the look of them stacked on my well-burdened
bookshelves. I would miss these things.
No so with the ereader. They are plastic things that I fear
to drop. They shatter. Their insides can be scrambled, dark, and dead though
their carcass looks perfect. Now, I hate
to drop paper books. That ruins the corners or creases the covers. However, I
don’t fear that. I know what you say –
think of all those dead pine trees. Pine trees quilt the East Texas highways
around here. I don’t fear that. Do you fear the mountainous dumps filled with
plastic, heavy metals, and dead batteries?
You hypocrite, you say. I saw your ebook on amazon, you say.
Well, you did see it there. Wait. My dead pine tree real book is coming. It
I’d love to read your thoughts. Do you like your Kindle or
Nook? Do you like your real book? There’s a ‘Comment’ page here somewhere.
Let me hear from you.
Today ( 25 January, 2013), I am being interviewed at Goodreads’ author Christoph Fischer’s beautiful site ‘writerchristophfischer ~ Just another WordPress.com’ web site.
I discuss my book SIDESHOW AT HONEY CREEK as well as my experiences as a writer.
Please go visit. There are several great writers also interviewed as well as many other treats.