Glimmering, Leaving, and Cahas
Last month, I read The Glimmering of Scotch Whiskey, by R. Lee Tipton, whom I've met only via FaceBook and her blog, Song of the Rain Crow.
If you like the magical realism genre, you'll likely enjoy this book. For those unfamiliar with magical realism, Goodreads defines it thus: "Magical realism is a fiction genre in which magical elements blend to create a realistic atmosphere that accesses a deeper understanding of reality. The story explains these magical elements as normal occurrences, presented in a straightforward manner that places the "real" and the "fantastic" in the same stream of thought." And that's exactly what The Glimmering of Scotch Whiskey does.
The plot: Duncan Logan, a ne'er-do-well Scotsman, aspires to be a model but hasn't been able to achieve his dreams. Left at an orphanage when he was an infant, he's never quite been able to find himself—much less find love, a career that will support him, etc. After a particularly unsuccessful day, he happens upon Kenna Shaw, an American whose business as a PR person has taken her to Scotland. As she sorts through contracts, Duncan plops himself upon her work. Of course, she rejects the arrogant stranger. Later that evening, Duncan consumes a good bit of whiskey and has a brief run-in with a crone who sprinkles him with glimmery dust, and before long he finds himself only six inches tall. Kenna comes along, finds him, and soon smuggles him through customs as she returns to America. Kenna makes dollhouses, and soon Logan is ensconced in one. Eventually, he helps her build them, she uses him as a model for a doll, and they adjust to life with each other. Before long, Logan is falling in love with Kenna who has saved his life in more ways than one. And therein lie more complications. . . .
The other two novels I read were more realistic.
I met Melissa Powell Gay, the author of When Are You Leaving?, at the Franklin County Library in April and we exchanged books. Her novel is women's fiction—a "you can come home again" story, although it could also be considered a mystery. It's set in Mount Pleasant, a small town in fictional Fallam County (near Franklin County). If you enjoy books about about family dynamics and small towns, you'll likely enjoy this one.
The plot: Iris Lee, recently terminated from her high-power job, is summoned home to see to the affairs of her elderly parents. Her father has been letting his business interests slip and her mother is developing dementia. While going through her mother's things, Iris finds an ornate brooch that might have been a medallion given to Gen. Jubal Early while he was in Mexico. If it is, then the family financial problems are solved. But how to prove it, and how to lay claim to it? Therein lies the story. . . .
I've known Linda Kay Simmons for several years. She's a member of my writing group, Lake Writers, and had workshopped parts of her Appalachian novel, Cahas Mountain, through the group before self-publishing it last year. Set in Franklin County, Cahas Mountain—told in rotating first person narration by the main characters Rhodessa Rose, Willard Grimes, and Lily—covers several decades and the trials and tribulations of a mountain family from the 1930s to the1950s. If you like family sagas set in real places, this novel should appeal to you.
The plot (quoted from the back cover): "Cahas Mountain chronicles the love, heartbreak, and redemption of Rhodessa Rose and Lily . . . whose lives connect through Willard Grimes, a man with a mouth full of sweetness and broken promises. A small moonshine operator with big ambitions, Willard courts and weds Rhodessa Rose in the shadows of Cahas Mountain. But his ambitions take him into dangerous company . . . . Left alone, gutsy Rhodessa must battle a tuberculosis epidemic and her desire for the local sheriff against a backdrop of World War II and its aftermath. All this takes Rhodessa far from the mountain she loves so much. A fragile orphan, befriended by spiders, unexpectedly finds the way back. Lily leads those she loves to Cahas Mountain and the spirit of Rhodessa Rose." More about the novel and Linda are in this article.
These three novels—all available on Amazon as well as from the authors—should give you an idea of the variety of material to be found in CreateSpace books. Plus—and I'd be remiss if I didn't put in a blatant plug—there are my novels, Them That Go and Patches on the Same Quilt.