Archive for October, 2006

Kathryn Tucker Windham's Spooky Southern Ghost Stories Praised on Halloween

Tuesday, October 31st, 2006 by Brian Seidman

“Kathryn Tucker Windham loves Halloween,” says the Florence Times-Daily newspaper. And Kathryn certainly does: she’s the author of eight books of Southern ghost story collections (along with her personal ghost, Jeffrey), including her newest, Jeffrey’s Favorite 13 Ghost Stories. Says the article, “Although she’s not sure if the South is more haunted than any other region of the country, Windham is sure of one thing: ‘We may not have more, but our ghosts are better.'” From the article:

As she’s gathered these bits and pieces of oral history, mostly from Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi and Tennessee, there have been those stories that have touched her more deeply than others.

“I couldn’t pick one, you understand,” she said. “That would be like asking me which of my children I like best.”

Windham made sure as she gathered pieces of the stories together to listen to as many retellings as possible. From them, she would write a version that was the most plausible.

“I’d write a version of the story, but all of them are based on fact, and I tried to create one that would work,” she said.

The author was also careful to avoid tales of gore and fright. As a result, her ghost stories have been the most popular with school children and get told time and again as the leaves on the trees fall, days get shorter and Halloween approaches.

“You don’t need a special time to tell these stories,” Windham said. “But there’s something special about a fall night with a full moon and a little wind blowing and strange noises on the periphery just outside the campfire.

“These stories can stand alone in any setting, and that’s why they’ve endured.”

Read the full article, “Author says South ‘may not have more, but our ghosts are better'” at the Times Daily.

Jeffrey’s Favorite 13 Ghost Stories is available directly from NewSouth Books,, or your favorite local or online bookseller.

Charlotte Observer Spotlights Grievances at Novello Festival

Monday, October 30th, 2006 by Mary Katherine

The Charlotte Observer featured¬†Grievances¬†author Mark Ethridge’s October 25 appearance at the Novello Festival of Reading in a Local Page article. As the Observer notes, Ethridge explained to the audience at the festival that Grievances is based on a true story of racial injustice from the 1970s. The article notes that, though the novel is a work of fiction, it is ‚Äúfull of details [Ethridge] absorbed as a third-generation reporter.‚Äù From the article:

Published by NewSouth Books,¬†“Grievances” came out earlier this year. At ImaginOn: The Joe & Joan Martin Center, Ethridge said his goal was to create a page-turner that took readers inside a newsroom. He said that at one point during the writing, his friend and fellow author, Doug Marlette, gave him a list of story-telling tips: Adverbs are not your friend. A narrator can’t know what he doesn’t know. And: “The world’s supply of semicolons is limited and not very many were allocated to me.”

Read the full article at the Charlotte Observer.

Grievances is now available from NewSouth Books,, or your favorite local or online book retailer.

Memphis Remembers Father of Shlemiel Crooks Author

Tuesday, October 24th, 2006 by Brian Seidman

The “Memphis Memories” section of the Memphis, Tennessee, Commercial Appeal remembered Berl Olswanger on October 12, 2006, twenty-five years after Olswanger’s death; he was the father of Shlemiel Crooks author Anna Olswanger. Berl, whom the Commerical Appeal called “a pop musician,” is the musical inspiration for Anna Olswanger’s story “The Chicken Bone Man.” As the Commercial Appeal wrote:

He was a child prodigy. He started playing the piano when he was 3. By the time he was 12, he’d landed his first professional job ‚Äì staff pianist for WMC radio. At 18, he was the leader of the station’s band. By then, he’d already made a name for himself at Central High School and nearby student hangouts. After serving in the Navy during World War II, Olswanger returned to Memphis, opened a music store on Union Avenue, married Edna, the girl he’d met at the radio station, put together a band and proceeded to become the most influential music man in the city. He maintained a store on Union until 1979, long after the nation’s musical appetites shifted from pianos to guitars.

Read the full rememberance at the Commercial Appeal.

Shlemiel Crooks is available directly from NewSouth Books,, or your favorite local or online book retailer. Shlemiel Crooks is a Koret International Jewish Book Award Finalist and a Sydney Taylor Honor Book.

In the Midst of Life Called Stunning by Southern Humanities Review

Monday, October 23rd, 2006 by Brian Seidman

The most recent issue of Auburn University’s Southern Humanities Review examines Charles Rose’s hospice volunteer memoir In the Midst of Life, calling it “stunning in its subtle juxtapositions of the sublime and the mundane, the ethereal and the earthly.” From the review:

Throughout [his] work, Rose brings inanimate objects to life while watching life seep out of the living. Rose masterfully blends poetic prose with journalistic detail. He writes about death–the inevitable, the equalizer–but does so in a way that he demystifies its power to destroy and emphasizes instead its ability to forge the least likely connections among people, reminding us in the process to celebrate the magic surrounding even the most ordinary lives.

Charles Rose taught English at Auburn University for thirty-four years. A native of Indiana, he holds degrees from Vanderbilt and the University of Florida and has published many short stories and articles. He is a past Hospice Volunteer of the Year, and in 2004 he was awarded an Alabama State Council on the Arts Fellowship for literary arts/fiction. In the Midst of Life is his first book.

In the Midst of Life is available directly from NewSouth Books,, or your favorite local or online book retailer.

Human Rights Campaign Notes White Preacher's Message

Friday, October 20th, 2006 by Brian Seidman

The Human Rights Campaign‚Äôs Religion and Faith Program featured Reverend Robert Graetz’s A White Preacher’s Message on Race and Reconciliation in their October 10, 2006 newsletter. From the newsletter:

A White Preacher’s Message on Race and Reconciliation by Robert S. Graetz Jr. Graetz is an extraordinary advocate for human rights for everyone, including GLBT people, whom he sees as part of the ‚Äúbeloved community.‚Äù This book recounts Graetz‚Äôs experience as a Lutheran pastor during the Montgomery, Ala., boycotts and how it shaped a long ministerial career emphasizing equality and justice issues. In addition to Graetz‚Äôs boycott memoirs, this book discusses white privilege, black forgiveness and the challenges for GLBT people.

To learn more about the Human Rights Campaign, visit You can also sign up for their Religion and Faith newsletter at

A White Preacher’s Message is available from NewSouth Books,, or your favorite local or online book retailer.

NewSouth Announces Release of Ali Dubyiah and the Forty Thieves

Wednesday, October 18th, 2006 by Brian Seidman

NewSouth Books is pleased to announce the release of Ali Dubyiah and the Forty Thieves by John Egerton. With the November election just around the corner, now’s a great time to check out this startling and hilarious political fable.

Told from a vantage point of long ago and far away, Ali Dubyiah and the Forty Thieves reconstructs the tale of the ruler George W. “Dubyiah” Fratbush, son of the earlier monarch Wimpbush, and the Fall of the American Empire. After Ali Dubyiah ascends to the kingship, his lust for power draws him into a gambit to take possession of the world, together with his band of thieves—including Dick Chaingang, Donald Rumsfailed, and Paul Werewolf. Donning his warrior’s garb, Dubyiah battles the evil Saddam Gomorrah and Osama bin Hiden, but how long can Ali Dubyiah lie, cheat, and steal before his subjects rise up against him?

Ali Dubyiah and the Forty Thieves is available now from NewSouth Books,, or your favorite local or online book retailer.

Meet NewSouth Authors at Southern Festival

Friday, October 13th, 2006 by Brian Seidman

If you’ll be attending the Southern Festival of Books this weekend in Memphis, Tennessee, don’t miss our wonderful NewSouth authors, including Tony Dunbar (Tubby Meets Katrina), John Egerton (premiering Ali Dubyiah and the Forty Thieves), C. S. Fuqua (Music Fell on Alabama), Frye Gaillard (Watermelon Wine), Jennifer Horne (Working the Dirt), John Pritchard (Junior Ray), Carroll Dale Short (Turbo’s Very Life), and Sue Walker (In the Realm of Rivers).

The festival, sponsored by Humanities Tennessee, takes place at the Cook Convention Center and Main Street Mall in downtown Memphis. For more information, visit the Southern Festival official website.

Atlanta Journal-Constitution Reviews Tubby Meets Katrina

Tuesday, October 10th, 2006 by Brian Seidman

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reviewed Tubby Meets Katrina in their October 8 books section, calling it a “masterful job.” Reviewer Rheta Grimsley Johnson notes, “Verdict: It’s nice to have the pudgy good guy [Tubby Dubonnet] on the case.”

From the review: “[Author Tony Dunbar takes us to the Convention Center, to New Orleans’ interstate ramps and rooftops, and into the minds of those who stayed behind, or quickly returned to inventory their worldly goods. Tubby actually enjoys the survivalist surge he feels immediately after the storm. Slowly, quite movingly, realization and anger set in for the middle-aged hero. … There’s a bad guy, of course ���- an escaped psychopath ���- and a rescue or two. The best things about the book, though, are the details Dunbar gleaned from actually living through Katrina: the way the stars looked at night in a New Orleans with no electricity, for instance. And the odd concoctions stranded people ate to stay alive …”

Read the full review at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Tubby Meets Katrina is available directly from NewSouth Books, Amazon, or your local or online book retailer.

Kenneth Robbins to Host Louisiana Book Festival Wordshop

Thursday, October 5th, 2006 by Brian Seidman

As part of the Louisiana Book Festival, NewSouth author Kenneth Robbins will host a “Wordshop” titled “Action, Character, Dialogue: A Workshop in Writing for the Actor.” From 9 am to 4 pm on October 27, 2006, Robbins will cover the basic principles of dramatic structure, and then critique works submitted by the workshop participants. Robbins is a 2002-2003 Louisiana Division of the Arts Theatre Fellow in Playwriting, and recipient of a Kennedy Center Golden Medallion for his service to playwriting through the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival.

The Louisiana Book Festival itself is held on Saturday, October 28 near the Louisiana state capitol. This free event offers visitors a chance to interact with over one hundred poets, writers, and storytellers, as well as enjoying shows, demonstrations, food, and music. Visit for more information, or to register for Kenneth Robbins’ workshop; space is limited.

Kenneth Robbins is the author of The City of Churches from NewSouth Books. In the hot summer of 1963, a black handyman and a white cop are killed when dynamite explodes between them. Thirty years later, the sons of these men return, seeking clues to the fathers who were blown from their lives. The City of Churches is satisfying, compelling examination of race and human relations, the terrible cost of the sins of the past, and the promise of racial healing. Available directly from NewSouth Books,, or your favorite local or online book retailer.