A large chunk of it was at the local office of the Texas Department of Public Safety. My license to drive expires next month on my birthday so this year I had to physically go in and could not renew online. After standing by leaning against the building with my cane for about 30 minutes in the long line outside, I had
worked my way close enough to the entrance that the the DPS Officer working the door saw me and the cane. While I absolutely did not want to bypass anyone, he insisted and took me to the front of the line.
After bypassing about sixty folks, some of whom were clearly ticked off and said so, I was put with a clerk who took care of me. She, along with the DPS Officer, were incredibly nice and were a huge help. I am very much appreciative of how they helped me today.
After that I went to the local branch library and with no waiting at all, voted. So, my civic duty is done. I am also very glad, especially with how bad I hurt now, that we do not have the long polling lines I am seeing on television from various sites in the local area.
of the Bookblog of the Bristol Public Library is back today with another interesting guest post…
Legend is Born
Back around 1999, I had a young man come up and ask
for information about South Holston Dam. I figured it was for a school report, so we
went back to the Genealogy/Local History room and I pulled books on TVA.He gave them barely a glance.He wanted, he said, the real books about South
Holston.Puzzled, I asked him to be more
specific.“You know,“ he said, “the
ancient legends.” I must have continued to look blank, because he
finally clarified in a whisper.“About
Comprehension dawned.As you’ll see momentarily, that is a pun.
In 1991, a paperback book came out entitled Dawn
of the Vampire by William Hill which caused a minor sensation in the area
because it was set in this area—specifically, around South Holston.The book used the fact that during the
construction of the various dams and lakes in the system, a number of small
communities were relocated.The original
sites ended up submerged.Mr. Hill had
heard about the underwater towns from some friends while visiting the area and
immediately decided to change the setting of his work-in-progress vampire novel
to South Holston to take advantage of that creepy history.
“Ah,” I said, “you want the novel.”
“No, it’s a true story.I want the real legends that he based the
book on.My grandma told me about them
when I was just a little boy.”
I did the math.Yep, he would have been about nine or ten when the book came out so to
him they were old legends. That young
man was just the first of many to inquire about the “old legends.” The problem was that prior to Dawn of the
Vampire, there weren’t any legends about vampires.TVA construction on what became South Holston
began in 1942 and was completed in 1950, so any legends in connection to the
submerged towns would have had to have been twentieth century vintage, and we
had seen none among the collections of ghost stories from the region. Even a
letter from the author confirming that he just made it all up fails to convince
some of our more enthusiastic vampire hunters.They leave still firmly believing that somewhere there are ancient tomes
detailing vampire activity and the library is just part of the cover-up.
But at least we don’t have the problems of
Burkittsville, MD, setting of the “The Blair Witch.” After the movie came out,
they had hordes of people searching for the real story behind the events of the
movie.Believe me, I felt for those
love a good ghost story, especially local ones.However, sometimes it isn’t a good idea to probe too deeply—not because
of supernatural retribution but because of disappointment.A few years back some enterprising students
took on the legend of a ghost named Vera who was said to haunt a local
college.Vera had been an unhappy
student who committed suicide there.The
investigation led to Texas, where an elderly woman was quite surprised to find
out she was supposedly haunting her old school.
I’m just going to listen to the stories, believe or
not, and enjoy them for what they are.
Please welcome Larry
W. Chavis, Vice-President of The Short Mystery Fiction Society, with his first
review here on the blog. My hope is Larry will do many more…
Just the mention of the city name, New Orleans, conjures up
a kaleidoscope of scenes: the stately St. Louis Cathedral on Jackson Square,
dim and smoky bars where jazz musicians jam, phoenix-like resilience of a
people rising up from Katrina's devastation, hushed whispers of secret voodoo
practices, bayous rioting with life but familiar with death. What better place
to hold the 2016 World Mystery Convention, aka Bouchercon, and what better
theme for a companion anthology than Blood on the Bayou?"
As is the custom with Bouchercon, this anthology was released in conjunction
with the convention, and its proceeds all go to charity, this year the New
Orleans Public Library. Some of the finest writers of short mystery/crime
fiction working today contributed their stories to this anthology that explores
the myriad settings and characters that can be conjured in the Big Easy and the
Louisiana bayou country. O'Neil De Noux, himself a former NOPD detective, gives
us "The Blind Lagoon Misadventure," in which a savvy detective looks
outside the box to identify a most unusual killer. In "ebgdea,"
Scottish author G. J. Brown traces the tragic consequences of a sister's death
across the years. An escaped convict meets karma in John Floyd's "The Blue
Delta," while in "The Boggy Bayou Caper" by Terrie Fairley
Moran, a scorned lover seeks revenge on a singer with a gaudy guitar.
In addition, stories by Eric Beetner, Sheila Connolly, Alison Gaylin, R. T.
Lawton, David Morrell, Gary Phillips, Elaine Viets, and eleven more make this
anthology a showcase of good writing and satisfying reading. And, as noted,
it's for a good cause, too.
(Note: My copy was purchased at Bouchercon 2016, New Orleans, LA.)
Deciding at the advanced age of 44 to earn a physics degree
to complement his theological degree, Larry enrolled in the University of
Southern Mississippi, where he spent three exciting, if exacting, years,
accomplishing his goal with honors. Upon graduation, he entered the public
education system, teaching physics, trigonometry, and calculus. Semi-retired
now (although still teaching two classes), he has a bit more time to work on
writing. Larry has had stories published in "Crime
and Suspense Ezine," "Kings River Life Magazine," and the
anthology, Ten for Ten, edited by Tony Burton. Larry lives in
south-central Mississippi with his wife of 38 years and a severely spoiled
Shih-tsu named Sammie.
Not only was everything running nearly two hours behind at the doctor today, when we got out my Mom had a situation and needed us to go over and help. Now that all is good with her we are finally home.
The news on Sandi was/is stunningly good. Near as they can tell from the PET Scan the spinal tumor has shrunk about 50 percent. They can't tell exactly because there is still some sort of heat signature at the site and that makes it hard to image and measure. This could be caused by the radiation still leaving her body. It could be caused by the tumor trying to, basically, come back to life. They just don't know.
Not only is the spinal tumor smaller, there are not any other tumors. Except for the spinal tumor, she is free of cancer everywhere else! This means, while she is not considered in remission, she is as close to that designation as possible.
Blood work was also astoundingly good across the board. Not only are her numbers stable, they are trending upward month to month. in fact, today she had nearly normal blood work.
So, the current plan is to have her do an MRI sometime in the next two weeks. This will be done to accurately image and measure the exact size of the tumor.
For the next three months, starting on November 17, she will go in once a month to flush her port and do blood work as well as visit with the doctor. This is just to make sure that she stays stable.
At some point in late January or early February they will MRI her again and image and measure the tumor size. The hope is that it by the then the tumor will either have shrunk some more or not changed at all in size. There is a possibility that the tumor is dead and can not compact further. If that has happened the belief is that the tumor pictures should be the same then as well as what they get now.
All this is a very long way of saying that what has happened far exceeds anything that anybody thought was remotely possible. Everyone involved is stunned by the results. We are thrilled beyond belief and just blown away by this news.
By the time this post appears, we will be on the way to Texas Oncology at Medical City Dallas Hospital. Sandi has an appointment to do blood work, have her port flushed, and see the doctor. Today, we are supposed to get the results of the PET Scan.
Sandi's cancer fight is an elaborate game of whack a mole. She has tumor sites everywhere from head to toe. So, they do things and some tumors shrink and others grow. Then, things change and the original growers go away and new ones pop up.
Best case scenario is that the spinal tumor that was
radiated all of July has shrunk and the others in various places
have not grown very much. In that case, they may or may not
restart chemo today.
Worst case scenario is the radiation did not work AND other sites
have also exploded in growth. They would restart chemo with that
too though it most likely would be a more experimental type of
Her chemo options are increasingly limited as her body build up a
tolerance and then the chemo stops working.
So, we just don't know. We both are worried and upset though she
handles all this far better than I do.
Between all that and the financial stress as everything is past
due and we are facing cutoff of power and such in a week or so the
stress around here is pretty damn grim.
So, if you have a moment this morning, please keep a good thought in mind for us. Thank you.
in January 2011, I first told you just how good INHUMAN CONDITION by Kate Thornton was and that you should read
it. I am telling you again today. Make sure you also check out the full list of
reading suggestions over at Todd Mason's blog. It is Friday, but you have work to do.
Sometimes the blurb on the book
encapsulates the book in an excellent way. From the back cover of the recently
released collection, INHUMAN CONDITION written by Kate Thornton,
comes this explanation:
“Human beings tend to fear the things
they don’t know, and that is often sensible, given the lurking dangers that
confronted our distant ancestors. But sometimes we need to examine carefully
the things we think we know: the pet shop owner in town, the teenage girl who
lives next door, or the nice man who walks his dog each evening in our
neighborhood. The stories in this collection will drive that point home, and
perhaps give you reason to re-define the word “'inhuman.'”
As well as define “human.” With a
subtitle of Tales of Mystery and Imagination these twenty-one
tales set on earth and in space, frequently push at boundaries defining what it
means to be human. Frequently the tales are a bit disturbing, not in terms of
graphic depictions, but in the meaning of what has happened or will happen
thanks to the final twist at the end illuminating the dark working of a
character's twisted mind. In nature, the concept of “camouflage” keeps both the
hunted and hunter alive in the constant struggle to eat or not to be eaten.
That same concept, passed down in the hardwired code of humanity from our
distant ancestors is alive and well in these times. Make no mistake—this book
is about the hunters hiding in plain sight among us and the prey they seek for
a variety of purposes.
The anchor story in the collection is
the very good tale, “Nightwatch: Cardenio” (pages 83-154). Using characters and
other story elements originally created by Jeff Williams and with his
permission as noted, the tale takes the Nightwatch team deep into the Amazon. A
research site does not just vanish off the face of the earth in Brazil. But, it
has happened and the research site is gone without a trace. It is now to the
team to figure out what happened and why in this adventure tale.
Author Kate Thornton creates a sort of whiplash effect for the reader several
times in this collection and this is a case in point. After the above noted
adventure tale deep in the Amazonian jungle, she follows it with “Cell Phone
Call” starting on page 155. In five short pages, the author makes parental
nightmares all too real and leaves readers, at least those of us with kids,
thinking twice about using our cell phones in public.
That story is followed by “Vinnie's
Cargo” and readers are back to adventure and suspense. In this one, there are
shuttle runs between the Moon and Mars in the unspecified future. Despite the
rules and regulations, where there are humans involved there will always be
some who attempt to move contraband and make some ill-gotten gains. Usually,
nothing good can come of some attempts and that may, or may not, be the case
And so it goes through the entire book
that contains both previously published and credited work and new. Author Kate
Thornton consistently delivers through the entire book as each and every single
story is a good one. That rarely happens. Whether it is late in the
collection with the very disturbing mystery “The Eyes Never Change” or the strangely
amusing science fiction tale “One of the Family” or any other, the read is
constantly good and full of rich details in settings, characters, and
Not only is Kate Thornton to be
congratulated, so too is the publisher. Denouement Press is an imprint of
Wolfmont LLC owned and operated by Tony Burton. Known as a publisher of
anthologies and cozy style mysteries, this is a new venture for the publisher
and reflects the kind of book that might not have been published by Wolfmont
One hopes this is not the last
collection released by Kate Thornton. Simply put, INHUMAN CONDITION:
Tales of Mystery and Imagination is a very good book and one well worth your time and money.
October 1964 and for
Marjorie Trumaine the unthinkable has happened. No, her beloved Hank is still
alive, paralyzed, and holding his own. He still wishes that he had died in the
shotgun accident, but she is thankful he is still around. Despite the brutal
events in See Also Murder, life on her farm in rural North Dakota has
continued and she is managing to hold things together. The Knudsen boys,
Peter and Jaeger, continue to be a huge help to her, but they can’t make the
rains come. Rain is the lifeblood of any farm and Marjorie needs it to rain.
Indexing helps pay the bills, but that job can’t totally support the farm.
powers to hold things together are tenuous at best and do not extend to the
town library. Calla Eltmore, librarian resource when Marjorie has a question as
well as a longtime friend, has been found dead at her desk in the Dickinson
library. Marjorie is devastated by the news and can’t believe it. Not only the
fact that she is dead, but the police seem to think it was by suicide.
Despite voicing her misgivings,
she can’t seem to get anyone else to listen to her. Even when she spots a clear
clue that the police should have figure out.
The death of Calla is
one of several storylines at work in this complicated and very engrossing
read by author Larry D. Sweazy. Building on the character of Marjorie
Trumaine as well as several other ones, a complicated mystery read full of rich
details is constructed. Readers are again exposed to the difficulties of rural
farm life in the early 60s in North Dakota, Marjorie’s duties as an indexer, living
in a place where everyone knows your business day and night, and numerous other
themes and angles in this complicated mystery. See Also Deception: A Marjorie Trumaine
mystery building on the first book and is a very worthy second book in this
intense mystery series.
Highly recommended, as
is the first book, See
Also Murder. Because those events are referenced in this read, it
is also recommended that readers new to this series start with the first book.
Writer, Reviewer, Editor, Professional Chair and Table Controller
Those interested in discussing editing and other writing projects can contact me at kevinrtipple at verizon.net
Donations Very Desperately Needed!!!!
Sandi's cancer fight continues. If you can help and would prefer to donate directly, please contact TEXAS ONCOLOGY in SUITE 220 of Building D at Medical City Dallas Hospital in Dallas, Texas and arrange your direct donation in Sandi's name with Debra, the financial counselor. We thank you for your prayers, thoughts, and support as the battle continues.