Thursday, July 21, 2016

Painting the Southern Coast: The Art of West Fraser

Idgie Says:
What a beautiful coffee table book!  This showed up at my door this week and immediately went to a place of honor in my living room.  As I flipped through the pages I began taking mental notes of which pieces would look lovely on my walls.  I adore the coastal paintings, but the small town views were actually my favorites.  West does a brilliant job of making the locations in his paintings so very lifelike and welcoming.  I could take this book with me on a road trip as a travelogue - following the paintings to see the locals in real life.

This book is available as a gift worthy hardback, but also is available in a more affordable paperback. 


Painting the Southern Coast
The Art of West Fraser
West Fraser
July, 2016
USC Press
10 ½” x 12″
288 pages
264 color illustrations
The beauty and spirit of coastal landscapes and waterways captured and celebrated in art.

Painting the Southern Coast: The Art of West Fraser is a stunning collection of the works of West Fraser, one of the nation's most respected painters of representational art. A mastery of his medium and the scope of work ensure his place in Southern art history. A true son of the lowcountry, Fraser has dedicated much of his career to capturing the lush, primordial beauty of the Southeast's coastal regions that have been altered by man and time. The 260 works in this book are representative of the sketches, studies, and finished paintings he has generated over his nearly forty-year career, works that depict coastal locales from Winyah Bay, South Carolina, to St. Augustine, Florida, and include Charleston, Hilton Head, Savannah, and the islands of the lowcountry through the Golden Isles of Georgia.

Fraser's goal with each of his paintings is to create a portrait of what he calls "my country." He captures on canvas not only the visual beauty of the landscape, but the spirit and soul of each place. From the sultry streets of Savannah to the winding waterways and unique environs of the sea islands, the works included offer a view of the land he loves. Fraser augments his visual tour of the coast with original maps of the region and location coordinates of each painting, enhancing the viewer's knowledge and appreciation of the region as well as Fraser's artistic gift.

Painting the Southern Coast: The Art of West Fraser includes essays by Jean Stern, executive director of the Irvine Museum, and Martha R. Severens, Greenville County Museum of Art curator (1992–2010) and authority on Southern art. Fraser has also written an autobiographical essay in which he discusses the experiences and influences that have shaped his work and his life as one of America's noted landscape artists.

Author West FraserWest Fraser has been honored with seven solo museum exhibitions in the Midwest, the Southeast, and California. His paintings are in nine museum collections, including the White House Historical Association, and numerous significant private and corporate collections nationwide. He has been published extensively, including features in Art and Antiques, Plein Air Magazine, Robb Report, Southern Accents, American Artist, Nautical Quarterly, Charleston Magazine, South Carolina Wildlife, and Sandlapper. In 2001 the University of South Carolina Press published Charleston in My Time: The Paintings of West Fraser. Fraser lives in Charleston, South Carolina, with his wife, Helena Fox.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Desperation Road - Review and Trailer

Idgie Says:

This is the last of the three books that I desperately wanted to get my hands on this summer.  As with the other two - it did not disappoint me one tiny bit.   It gets a gold star from me.

This novel wrenched at my heart. I know this life and I know these people.  I lived in Lucedale and Purvis, Mississippi - both very similar to McComb.  I have seen boys run out of town for causing unintentional damage to others.  I've seen and felt the long standing hate of someone done a family wrong. I've seen and held those early, accidental babies.  I thought I had "escaped" those towns because I had a way to physically leave, but this book hits so close to home that I realize in my heart I will never completely be gone from them.

I was so very tense reading this novel.  I found that right from the start I really liked Russell.  He is a man who made a very poor decision early in life that will affect him forever, change his entire future, but he's not a bad man at all.  Therefore the building tension, the feeling of possible doom in the pages just set me on edge the entire way through.  I think my jaw still hurts from clenching.

Russell returns to his small town after 11 years in prison.  He's done his payment to society, but several people don't see it that way.  From the very moment he sets foot off the bus he is reminded again and again that there are still hates and grudges aimed at him and forgiveness is not a given.  He is also reminded of all that he personally lost, and who he lost, due to that one day of reckless stupidity.

When his life intersects with a mother and child who desperately need a way out of their own situation, his choices may help them, but they may also complete his own path to ruin.

The prose in this novel is tense and short and whip sharp.  It speaks true in the style and cadence of the Deep South.  You can feel the emotions fully in the characters, you are able to know them as much as if you were sitting on that bar stool or truck bed with them.

I highly recommend this book.

Read my review of Rivers, Michael's first full length novel, which was just as fabulous as his latest. 

This book sadly does not release until February of next year, but you can go read Rivers now if you haven't already!


Desperation Road

In the vein of Daniel Woodrell's Winter's Bone and the works of Ron Rash, a novel set in a tough-and-tumble Mississippi town where drugs, whiskey, guns, and the desire for revenge violently intersect.

For eleven years the clock has been ticking for Russell Gaines as he sat in Parchman Penitentiary in the Mississippi Delta. His sentence is now up for manslaughter, and he believes his debt has been paid. But when he returns to his South Mississippi hometown, he faces blood-thirsty revenge. Larry and Walt, older brothers of the young man Russell killed so many years ago, have had the calendar marked. They greet Russell the instant he steps off the bus with hard fists and dire promises.

On the same day that Russell comes back, a homeless woman named Maben and her young daughter trudge along the side of the interstate under the punishing summer sun. Desperate and exhausted, the pair spends their last dollar on a room for the night, a night that ends with Maben running down a desolate back road holding a pistol, and a dead deputy sprawled across the asphalt. When Russell later rides up on the scene with the loaded shotgun he's gotten for protection tucked behind the seat of his father's truck, the eyes of the law can't help but look toward him.

Along these dark back roads, lives twisted with regret intersect with violent and vengeful consequences as the differences between right and strong shift like the southern sky. DESPERATION ROAD, written in powerful and lyrical prose, is a story of troubled souls bound by a secret that stretches over the years and across the land.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Slow Way Home, now an Audio Book

Idgie Says:
Michael is a wonderful gentleman and author with a strong Southern writing voice. He has just released an audio version of one of his more personal books and I rather wish he had narrated it himself, but I'm sure the narrator chosen will do the job just fine.

Below you will find links giving you a chance to read the first chapter of the book, and to also  hear a sample of the audio book. Additionally, there are article links below on how the writing of this novel came about and how it relates directly to Michael's boyhood.

If you haven't read any of Michael's books, you have been missing out. Here's your chance to HEAR one!  Of course, you can also always buy the book itself.  :)

Read the first chapter HERE

Follow this link to buy and also sample the audio book.

Slow Way Home

Written by: Michael Morris
Narrated by: Michael Butler Murray
Length: 9 hrs and 50 mins 
Unabridged Audiobook

Michael and his Grandparents
Rather than follow a court order to return Brandon to his troubled, drug-addicted mother, the eight-year-old's grandparents "kidnap" him and assume new identities in a turbulent Southern town-until an unexpected chain of events shakes his new community to its core and throws Brandon back into a precarious life with his mother.

Slow Way Home is a tender yet completely unsentimental tale of survival and redemption. Readers will be gripped by its pitch-perfect evocation of the South in the 1970s, when the gains of the civil rights movement were still tested at every turn.

Read Two Articles about the writing and history behind this book by following the links below. 

Friday, July 15, 2016

Win Three Signed Books from Adrian J. Walker!!! You KNOW You Want Them!

Idgie Says:
Well this is exciting - you can now purchase 2 of Adrian's books via Amazon in the US for your eReader!  Then after you purchase them, you can write a review, send Adrian the link and be entered into a contest to win all three of his books with a nice autograph in each.  

As you all know, I absolutely adored The End of the World Running Club (link to my review HERE) and immediately snatched up these two books from Adrian the minute I discovered I could purchase them in the US.  Knowing me, I'll be buying the print copies too for my bookshelf. 

You can purchase the eBooks for Colours and From the Storm at the links below.

To enter the below contest - send your review link to the following address:


Contest info below from Adrian:

Afternoon all,

It's been over a month since the launch of The End of the World Running Club, and one of the things I've been doing a lot of during that time is signing books.

So, now that I have finally nailed my signature, how would you like to win signed copies of all three of my books?

If so, keep reading.

Now, the other thing I did in June was (very quietly) republish my other books: From the Storm and Colours. Both books have benefited from thorough re-editing and brand new covers.

I feel really good about these new versions. (And if you enjoyed Colours the first time round, then you're going to want to re-read the new one, that's all I'm saying.)

There's a fair chance you've already read one or both of these books on Kindle. If so, you should automatically get updated versions, if you follow these simple steps. If you haven't, then you might want to take advantage of the special price they're on at the moment: £1.99 in the UK and $2.99 in the US.

What these books really need now is reviews! And that's where you come in.

To be in with a chance of winning the signed set of paperbacks above, all you need to do is send me a link to your review (Amazon, Goodreads, wherever) of either From the Storm or Colours or both. I'll draw the winning name from a hat at the end of August. Done.

That's all for now, apart from to say that I'm very near to finishing final edits of my next book, The Other Lives, which I'm hoping to publish before the end of the year. It's taken a while, this one, but it'll be worth it, I promise.

Have a great weekend and don't forget to send me those reviews!

Bye for now,


Unholy Code - Spotlight and Excerpt

Marlborough Press  
July, 2016

Acclaimed novelist Thomas Waite shares this short excerpt from Unholy Code, the latest thriller in his Lana Elkins series.

“Look at the water, boy.”
Vinko peered at its smooth surface and saw his reflection.
            “Your face is white as the clouds, isn’t it? Just like everyone else you see around here.”
            Vinko understood. He’d never known anybody who wasn’t white.
They’d fished until sundown. After gathering up their gear, his father told him to look at the water again. The blood-red colors had appeared, darkening the boy’s face.
           “You’re no longer white. That’s what’s going to happen if we let the sun set on America. The white will disappear, and we’ll pay for it with blood.”
His father had been right. The men in his family had all known that the most important threat of all wasn’t a gun or a knife, or even the mongrel races raging to get everything that belonged to whites. But it was all about blood.

* * *

A seventeen-year-old is impulsive.
A seventeen-year-old feels immortal.
A seventeen-year-old doesn’t understand that death can come in a whisper.
Emma. I imagine my hot breath on her ear. I can help you.
So her parents will be right to shudder at the fact that Em is now vulnerable to the scores of terrorists stalking American cities and hinterlands, hunting for ever more horrors to visit upon the nation.
But don’t worry about all that.
Those are the exact words I would tell them if I could. They need only worry about me. And it’s too late for that. Their only child is trying to free herself of too much too soon, and all she’s really done is seal her fate.
The one I’ve planned for her.
And you shall share it, Lana.
The chainsaws are oiled and calling. Can you hear them? Here, I’ll start one.
How about that? Can you hear it now? The blade sounds angry, doesn’t it? Like it could cut through skin and bone and the last scraps of hope in a dying girl’s heart. I won’t let you die without seeing that, Lana. I promise.
That’s how a mother gets to die twice.

Excerpted from UNHOLY CODE © Copyright 2016 by Thomas Waite. Reprinted with permission by the author. All rights reserved.


The “Summer of Blood” explodes. The U.S. is under siege from foreign jihadists and domestic terrorists. When a brilliant exploit strikes at the heart of the National Security Agency’s own network, former NSA operative Lana Elkins discovers that it came from within the United States itself. More surprising still is the attacker: “Steel Fist,” a cyber-savvy radical white supremacist whose legions feed on his anti-Islamic exhortations. His popularity only grows when a jihadist team carries out a bold, but baffling, attack on the Louisiana coast, bringing ashore a lethal invader no one can see.

Most mysterious of all are Golden Voice, a hacker of unparalleled skill with a murderous agenda and a secret past, and Tahir Hijazi, a Muslim refugee from Sudan with his own shadowy history. When Tahir’s young nephew starts dating Lana’s daughter Emma, Steel Fist calls upon his fans to embark on a new mission: assassinate the entire Elkins family.

As extremists battle each other—with Lana fighting both ends from the middle—the conflict becomes deeply personal, the stakes tragically high.
In Thomas Waite’s edgiest tale yet, battles savage the American heartland, shaking the very foundations of the world’s mightiest nation.

Author Biography

Thomas Waite is the bestselling author of the celebrated Lana Elkins thriller series. Lethal Code was declared "Taut, tense, and provocative” by Hank Phillippi Ryan, the Agatha, Anthony, and Mary Higgins Clark Award-winning author, who quickly added “…this frighteningly knowing cyberthriller will keep you turning pages—not only to devour the fast-paced fiction, but to worry about how much is terrifyingly true." Trident Code followed in form. “Scary good,” according to King Features columnist Dale Dauten: “The science and technology are as convincing as they are chilling, with an original trifecta of cyber, nuclear, and environmental terrorism all worked into one wild ride of a plot.” Unholy Code now finds Elkins fighting enemies of all stripes in the heart of America, battles that rage on the ground, in the air, and in the ever-escalating violence of cyberspace.

Waite’s first novel, Terminal Value, reached #1 at Amazon. One reviewer wrote, “Terminal Value is to the corporate world what John Grisham's The Firm is to lawyering: a taut, fast, relentless thriller. A most impressive debut novel."

Waite is a board director of, and an advisor to, a number of technology companies. His nonfiction work has appeared in The New York Times, the Harvard Business ReviewThe Boston Globe, and The Daily Beast. He lives in Boston.