Friday, October 2, 2015

Conjuror and The Poisoned Table - Mercer University Press

Idgie Says: 
Here are two new books from Mercer University Press that you need to check out!  Both are available now in stores. 

The Conjuror tells  a mystical tale of power, corruption and tradition through the eyes of  the Cherokee. 

The Poisoned Table clevery combines real life history with a fictional tale, allowing you to be entertained and educated at the same time. 


Within the tightly knit Cherokee community in the Smoky Mountains, a secret society of Snake Dancers is led by a group of elders, four of whom guard an artifact of incredible power. Guardianship has been passed from father to son for over 300 years. 

Theses artifacts belonged to Kanegwa’ti, a medicine man who controlled the power of Uktena (an evil spirit) in order to protect the tribe. Even the four guardians cannot reveal what they guard. The tradition of secrecy was set up by Kanegwa’ti to prevent anyone from awakening Uktena and bringing destruction. Grady Smoker, one of the Snake Dancers, has spent decades tracking the other guardians in order to pinpoint the location of each artifact. In a misplaced effort to regain power for the tribe, he unwittingly becomes the vessel for Uktena. 

Johnny, an outsider like Kanegwa’ti, has been under the watchful eye of the elders since he was a boy. Walker Copperhead is convinced Johnny is the long awaited Suye’ta, the next conjuror. While Johnny is committed to the Cherokee way of life, he isn’t buying into his new role. 

It isn’t until he comes face to face with Uktena that he realizes all the Cherokee myths are true.


THE POISONED TABLE portrays a passionate rivalry between fictional actress Isabel Graves and real-life Shakespearian stage sensation Frances Anne “Fanny” Kemble. 

In this tale of ambition, romance, and betrayal, Graves harbors early resentment, convinced that Kemble’s family theatre connections assured Fanny’s selection for the lead role in Romeo and Juliet despite Isabel’s superior beauty and talent. 

The novel traces their unconnected adventures and acting careers in the Old and New Worlds, as well as their introduction to the horrors of American slavery and to romance with one of the wealthiest men in America, Pierce Butler, owner of Georgia cotton and rice plantations and master of more than 800 slaves. 

Kemble, an ardent abolitionist, falls in love with Butler and marries him before she discovers his wealth derives soley from slave labor. Though glad to be separated from plantation life at her husband’s Philadelphia home, Kemble agrees to accompany him on his annual visit to inspect his Georgia investments. Butler assures his wife her apprehensions about slavery will be assuaged once she sees firsthand its humane daily operation. Instead, she is sickened and chronicles her visit in Journal of a Residence on a Georgian Plantation in 1838–1839. 

This account, published in England in 1863, is sometimes credited with dissuading Britain from aiding the Confederacy. Within the novel is a play written by Graves’ lover. Set on a slave plantation, the plot portrays a dinner at the master’s table and the poisonous conditions which produce its bounty, resulting in an attempted murder. In the controversy following this play’s opening night, Kemble and Graves are again at odds, and their rivalry continues as they change places on the stage of theatre and of life. 

State of the Heart - South Caroline Writers on the Places They Love

Idgie Says:
USC Press first released a compilation of stories by SC authors in 2013.  These stories tell of the places they grew up in, or grew to love as adults.   Not only sharing part of the author's heart and soul, but also sharing the beauty of South Carolina with us.

Now in 2015 we have Volume 2.  Look at the great list of authors that are involved in this project! I have both volumes shown below, check them out! 

State of the Heart
South Carolina Writers on the Places They Love, Volume 2
Edited by Aïda Rogers
Foreword by Marjory Wentworth
October, 2015
Diverse and distinguished storytellers celebrate the state's renowned and remote destinations 

South Carolina is a state of inspiration as well as recreation. Through its natural beauty, storied heritage, and curious character, the Palmetto State finds its way into the hearts and imaginations of every native, resident, and guest to set foot on its thirty-two thousand square miles of soil. Continuing the format of the popular original, this second volume of State of the Heart: South Carolina Writers on the Places They Love celebrates and commemorates the connections that the accomplished contributors have found in the well-known and far-flung locations most dear to them. With companionable charm and storytellers' spirits, editor Aïda Rogers and the thirty-eight contributors invite you to amble across South Carolina with them for a chance to see the state as they have come to know it.

For writers beloved places can captivate, teach, comfort, and occasionally haunt. In this collection contributors reflect on their hometowns, the rivers and roads that marked their lives' journeys, and the maligned neighborhoods they transformed just by living and working in them. Family beach vacations, churches and churchyards, athletic arenas modest and grand, a mountain vista, a quiet pond, a city park, an old-time produce market, Lake Murray, Brookgreen Gardens—these are just a sampling of the nearly three dozen private and public places favored by this diverse group of writers of fiction, memoir, poetry, history, journalism, and more. Photographs, artwork, verse, and even a few recipes accompany the essays, bringing readers further into sharing the writers' experiences.

While State of the Heart is rooted in the landscape of South Carolina, readers from anywhere will relate to its universal themes of growing up and growing old, recognition of past mistakes, returned-to faith, the closeness of family and friends, honoring those who came before, and setting our collective sights on the promise of the future for cherished people and places.

Marjory Wentworth, South Carolina's poet laureate, provides the foreword to this collection, which includes her poem "One River, One Boat."

Ron Aiken, Jack Bass, Nancy Brock, Jim Casada, Emily L. Cooper, Ronald Daise
Christopher Dickey, Tim Driggers, Sue Duffy, Pam Durban, Margaret Shinn Evans, Herb Frazier , Sammy Fretwell, Shani Gilchrist , Vera Gómez, Harlan Greene, Rachel Haynie
Tommy Hays, Josephine Humphreys, Thomas L. Johnson, Charles Joyner, Janna McMahan, Ray McManus, Ben McC. Moïse, Mary Alice Monroe, Patricia Moore-Pastides, Glenis Redmond
Rose Rock, Aïda Rogers, Valerie Sayers, Bernie Schein, George Singleton, Katie Stagliano, Michel Smoak Stone, Marjory Wentworth, Ernest L. Wiggins, Susan Millar Williams, Curtis Worthington 


State of the HeartState of the Heart
South Carolina Writers on the Places They Love
Edited by Aïda Rogers
Foreword by Pat Conroy
A collection of heartfelt recollections of place from a pantheon of Palmetto State writers

In State of the Heart, Aïda Rogers has crafted an artful love letter to our state, with contributions from a host of nationally and regionally recognized writers who have written short essays on the South Carolina places that they cherish. This anthology provides a multifaceted historical and personal view of the Palmetto State.

Thematically organized, this collection offers a geographic and emotional scope that is as diverse as its contributors. Sportswriters describe beloved arenas; historians reflect on church ruins and forts. A playwright recalls the magic of her first theater experience; a food writer revels in a coastal joint that serves fresh oysters. Backyards, front porches, a small library at a children's home, the Savannah River Site, and places that are gone except in the memories of the writers who loved them—these are just a few of the locales covered, all showing how South Carolina has changed and inspired people in a variety of ways.

State of the Heart evokes a sense of history and timelessness by bringing together heartfelt responses to South Carolina rooted in memory, drawing on reflection, inspiration, and love. The anthology reveals a state that is more than a playground for tourists; it is a state of human hiding places that echo in the hearts of its literary citizens. Though presented as a book about place, the collection is ultimately about our shared connections to one another, to a complex common past, and to ongoing efforts to frame and build a future of promise and possibility.


Aïda Rogers is a writer and editor whose feature journalism has won national and regional awards. She has worked in newspapers, television, and magazines. Rogers is the editor of State of the Heart: South Carolina Writers on the Places They Love, coeditor of Writing South Carolina: Selections from the First Annual High School Writing Contest, and coauthor of Stop Where the Parking Lot's Full, a guide to some of South Carolina's most beloved restaurants. She holds a B.A. degree in journalism from the University of South Carolina and lives in Columbia.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Child Garden

Idgie Says:
This is a lovely English suspense story where a woman quite on her own and not sure who to trust suddenly finds herself embroiled in a 20 year possible murder mystery - that could end up affecting herself and her child if she's not careful.  Who can she trust - and really, should she just keep her head down and pretend to know nothing?

As the bodies begin to be discovered via newspaper obituaries in addition to actual bodies in the woods, the mystery takes a very ugly turn.  Who is killing people from an event that happened 20 years ago, why are they doing it, and who is next?

The Child Garden
Catriona McPherson
Hardcover: 336 pages
Midnight Ink (September 8, 2015)
Book Description:

Eden was its name. "An alternative school for happy children." But it closed in disgrace after a student's suicide. Now it's a care home, its grounds neglected and overgrown. Gloria Harkness is its only neighbor, staying close to her son who lives there in the home, lighting up her life and breaking her heart each day.

When a childhood friend turns up at her door, Gloria doesn't hesitate before asking him in. He claims a girl from Eden is stalking him and has goaded him into meeting her at the site of the suicide. Only then, the dead begin to speak—it was murder, they say.

Gloria is in over her head before she can help it. Her loneliness, her loyalty, and her all-consuming love for her son lead her into the heart of a dark secret that threatens everything she lives for.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Saving Laurel Springs

Idgie Says:
I have had various Lin Stepp books pass over my desk for quite a few years now and I will say this about the Smokey Mountain Series, she has professional appearing books now.  In the past they had amateurish covers and I had mentioned that I felt that might stop readers from looking past them to the pages inside. But she has a new publisher and so far, they are doing right by her.  

Lin is a prolific writer and a very busy woman.  She has about 15 books under her belt, teaches and tours and much more. If you go to her website you get tired for her. 

This is apparently book 8 in a series surrounding an area of the world that she is very familiar with.  These books tell of the world she lives in, the beautiful Smoky Mountains.  I describe the books as wholesome, but not Goody Two Shoes. They contain all of the usual human emotions that come with living, along with a good dollop of romance.

Kensington Publishing
September 29, 2015

Book Description:

In a heartwarming novel set amid the lush splendor of the Great Smoky Mountains, Lin Stepp reunites two kindred spirits in a charming story of first love and surprising second chances…

See ya later—and love you forever, Rhea Dean. Those are the words Rhea’s childhood sweetheart, Carter Layman, used to say whenever they parted. Not that she places much stock in words anymore. After all, Carter drove off to college in California, promising to make a fortune to help save their families’ vacation resort. Instead he stayed there and married someone else. It fell to Rhea to keep Laurel Springs going and she’s done just that, working long hours on the campgrounds, buoyed by the beauty of her Smokies home.
Now a widower with a young son, Carter has achieved huge success as a games developer. But he always planned to return to the spring-fed lake and the soaring mountains, to the covered bridge where he and Rhea made wishes and traded kisses. He’s coming home to turn Laurel Springs into the place they planned to build together. And as he reveals the truth about his past, Rhea must decide whether to trust in the man—and the dreams—she’s never forgotten.