In order to push the boundaries of my own reading habits – I think like many folx I can get stuck in ruts – I joined two online/virtual book clubs during covid. I have found them an excellent way to encounter genres and writers I might not otherwise take a chance on.
Lawson’s book deals deftly with a topic that is hard to find the humor in – depression. Yet she keeps us laughing. . . when we’re not crying.
Groff’s book is of a very different nature: historical fiction set in a nunnery in the dark ages. An example of the range that book clubs can bring into one’s life.
Another set of different sort of books. The maid, while a murder mystery, tends to be a lighter read. The Survivors, a much darker suspense.
Book clubs can be an interesting way to stretch your reading in new directions. And many make their reading list public, so you don’t have to join the club to benefit from the ideas for new titles.
Today, a new addition that pays tribute to and builds on the Lovecraftian universe, written by husband and wife team Jim and Cassey Rudkin.
But first, a brief explanation for those who are not up to date on their H.P. Lovecraft. Cthulhu was introduced in 1928 with The Call of Cthulhu. A supernatural being, Cthulhu has a head like an octopus with multiple tentacles around his mouth; his figure is somewhat human, but he has significant claws for hands and feet, and a basic set of wings.
Their writing backgrounds include not just fantasy and romance, but also horror, and technical communication (not always the same – horror and tech comm – just sometimes an overlap.) They have an insightful interview with the Great Lakes Horror Writers Association from the Summer of 2021: http://glahw.com/friends-of-glahw-jc-rudkin/
Current projects include both a sequel to Cthulhu and a horror story. Updates will be featured here when available.
I personally will be following JC Rudkin’s writing and look forward to more from this dynamic writing duo; I’ve ordered a paperback to go with my e-book of Cthulhu, because I needed something for them to sign.
Being a writer is like so many things, both complicated and simple. First the simple – writers write. The biggest difference between a ‘real’ writer and everyone else is that others may want to write, but they don’t actually write. It isn’t enough to want, one must do. Just as one cannot be a lumberjack if they do not cut down trees, or a rancher if they never own cattle, one cannot be a writer without writing.
More complicated though, is first – who gets an opportunity to write? Who has access to the mentors, time, access to agents and publishers? Many of us who write have to do so alongside working jobs that pay the bills, many are also raising children and/or caring for other vulnerable family members. Writers have many obstacles between themselves and finding readers. Writing is in many ways the simple part, everything that comes afterwards is much harder.
When one doesn’t see published writers who seem similar to one’s self, it is easy to believe that publishing is a dream beyond reach. Or if one does not see other writers acknowledging the struggles one faces one’s self, then one may not believe that others would be interested in the kind of stories one has to tell. Or one may believe they do not belong.
As a writer who has several identities that are typically marginilized, I like to spend at least part of my time and money supporting other marginilized writers – or writers who started from a marginilzed position and have worked so hard they have become successful (by publishing standards at least. Personal life is just that – personal. We don’t necessarily know the struggles a writer continues to face.)
If you don’t know Roxane Gay, then you need to. She will be remembered as one of the significant literary figures of our time. And she’s just a very good writer.
Next to writing the most important thing a writer can do is read. Personally I think it helps to read good writing by great writers, which is another reason I recommend Dr. Gay’s work. She is both a writer of color and a member of the LGBTQ+ community, so she will either expose you to viewpoints you may not otherwise encounter, or share viewpoints that you already share.
I am among the many writers who live with mental health challenges; our community has a powerful advocate who informs and entertains with her humor. Jenny Lawson is also the owner of a thriving independent bookstore in San Antonio, Texas. (The staff is very responsive to online orders, of which I have made a number.)
Of course there are many more writers who write from positions in marginlized communities. Some have had the opportunity to become known, others are still trying to breakthrough. What I would like to see is the sharing of names and book titles so that we can help build each other up.
If you are a writer who is part of a marginilzed community, please say hello, so we can begin to recognize your name. If you have a book out, please share the title. And if there is a writer you particularly enjoying or that you’ve recently discovered, please share their name/book here in the comments. The more recognition we give each other, the more likely we are to connect with new readers.
Death, including murder, are part of western life. Especially in 1850 Wyoming territory. That doesn’t mean you have to take the loss of a friend lying down.
Annie and Luke Hunter along with their foster brother Joseph Peopeo, raise Appaloosa horses and cattle east of the Laramie Mountains. Annie’s beau, Adam, is coming home from the California gold fields to help run the ranch but the stagecoach he’s on is attacked, and Adam is shot.
Family is the bedrock of their life and soon Annie, Luke, and Joseph are trying to uncover who targeted Adam.
Was one of the other two men on the stagecoach part of the gang: Mr. Garrett the photo maker, or Henry Little Light who says he’s seeking work? Does the new woman at the saloon, May, know more than she’s saying?
Where are the shooters hiding now?
While Annie runs the ranch with the help of teen sister and brother Janie and Gerry Moran, Luke and Joseph follow the tracks through the prairie and foothills only to find themselves led back to their own ranch. But will they arrive in time to help Annie?
A few Reviews:
L’Amour Fans Will Enjoy Oslund’s Western Reviewed in the United States on July 6, 2019 Verified Purchase This story of good guys in pursuit of a murderer lopes along the rolling plains and rivers around Laramie with charm, warmth, and gunplay. Oslund shows a firm command of the genre, and readers who like westerns will enjoy this one.
Wonderfully written historical western mystery novel Reviewed in the United States on October 15, 2016 Verified Purchase Wonderfully written historical western mystery novel! Not your typical western, the characters in this book have depth and are very relatable. I love the fact that the author included so many diverse characters and tackled some of the social issues of the time. Refreshing to see strong female leads and males with a conscious. If you’re looking for an escape from your reality, this book is easy to get lost in. A must read!
A winter storm blows a new stranger onto the Hunters’ ranch. He claims to have bought-out the Hunters’ long time friend, Mr. McLennan, but the old trapper never mentioned moving. When Luke and Joseph ride out to McLennan’s cabin, a grave isn’t the only surprise waiting for them.
While the men are gone, Annie and her new helper Emma face their greatest challenge yet. The stranger steals a horse and kidnaps Emma, leading Henry on a desperate chase. Annie guards their home while minding her new baby and the teen brother and sister, Gerry and Janie Moran.
All this turmoil leads to one more first: a trial in Fort Laramie. Who will be called to give testimony and what will the outcome be?
The trial isn’t the only concern for the family, as Luke’s head seems to be turned from Doc’s daughter Caroline to Miss Hanson, the clerk at the Fort Laramie trading post. Will spring see a new house being built on the Hunter ranch?
A wedding, a trial, and an unexpected addition to the ranch are all possible before the winter is over!
Suicide is not something our society is comfortable talking about. Many of us, however, live with some version of a depressive disorder. We have periods in our lives when suicide seems like a legitimate alternative to the pain we are in.
This pamphlet is intentionally short. The 34 pages are divided into 9 quick chapters:
We Who Feel Alone
The Fight to Stay
Day to Day
Strength and Courage
Treatment when Needed
When Talk is Not Enough
When to Discard a Pattern
Designed to be life-affirming, readers are encouraged to continue battling for their lives and/or their mental well being. Readers are cheered on in as they are often literally fighting for their lives. Intentionally designed to be a quick and encouraging because experience has taught us that someone who is emotionally and mentally burdened does not want to work through a dense read.
This bound pamphlet is for those going through depression; those who have, or fear having, suicidal thinking; it can be given to a friend or loved one who needs encouragement; it can be kept on hand for yourself when you need a personal cheerleader.
Usually when you hear about Collie Dog Press, you’re going to be hearing about our Deadman’s series, our unique westerns that actually feature some of the diversity that was present on the frontier and that don’t shy away from showing that the women of the west were as tough and hardworking as the men.
Before Deadman’s though, the very first book Collie Dog Press published was a modern, non-fiction book focusing on a different kind of unique and quirky character: the English Bull Terrier known as Gracie. Along with telling Gracie’s story and sharing her exploits, the chapters alternate with information on how to train, care for, and transport dogs, along with some information on the history of the bull terrier breeds. And as a bonus – Gracie is still alive at the end of the book, so you don’t have to worry about falling in love with a goofball who dies!
It is now the 4 year anniversary of publishing this little gem of a book and it is high time Gracie’s story shared a place alongside its western cousins on our website.
If you enjoy dogs; if you know someone who would like to get a dog but would benefit from information on how to choose a breed; if you like a laugh; or if you just like to be reminded that you’re not the only person who has lived with a dog that makes you look silly – this book is worth a read!
Doc Johnson, friend of siblings Annie and Luke Hunter, is happily, if nervously, awaiting the arrival of his daughter, Caroline. Doc hasn’t seen Caroline since he moved to Fort Laramie four years earlier. When Doc is attacked, Annie and Luke are worried but believe it must be a case of mistaken identity. While caring for Doc, the siblings are shocked when the attacker returns to try and finish him off.
As if keeping Doc alive isn’t challenge enough, Luke and Annie’s foster brother, Joseph Peopeo, has unexpected news that threatens to turn their lives upside-down. While the siblings juggle the tribulations they face, their hired hand, Henry Little Light, has his own struggle – trying to keep the ranch running among all the chaos. Henry feels forced to accept help from a neighbor the Hunters do not want to be indebted to. In addition, add a new would-be suitor for Annie and the family has their hands more than full.
Once again, the Hunters are involved in a face-off that could have deadly consequences.