Archive for December, 2007

Roger Reid Continues Longleaf School Group Talks

Monday, December 17th, 2007 by Brian Seidman

Author Roger Reid spoke in December with Andalusia Elementary School students about his book Longleaf and its upcoming sequel Space, as reported in the Andalusia Star-News. Reid answered questions both about the Longleaf novel and about his own life. From the article:

“The amount of knowledge these students possess about the national forest is amazing,” Reid said. “The fact that they live in such a rich environment and know what happens in the outdoors is commendable.”

Holly Krudrop, AES librarian, said day’s events were made possible through several grants.

“That we were able to provide this day for our students was great,” Krudrop said. “I want our students to learn about the environment, understand its role in our world and learn to protect it. Mr. Reid’s book is able to give students something to relate to.”

Reid’s visit to Andalusia Elementary School comes as part of programs he has held with school groups across the South. Read the full article at the Andalusia Star-News website.

Longleaf is available now from NewSouth Books,, or your favorite online or local book retailers. Space is scheduled for release in Summer 2008.

Billie Jean Young's New Civil Rights Play Performed

Thursday, December 13th, 2007 by Brian Seidman

“O, Mary, Don’t You Weep,” a new play by writer Bille Jean Young, has recently been performed at the Eutaw Activity Center in Greene County, Alabama. Young, author of Fear Not the Fall from NewSouth Books, is a poet, author, and playwright who’s performed her one-act play “Fannie Lou Hamner: This Little Light” around the word for twenty-five years.

Young’s new play tells of Margaret Ann Knott, hit by a car during a civil rights rally in Choctaw County in 1971. No one was charged in Knott’s death. Speaking with the Tuscaloosa News, Young said that Knott’s death “was on Saturday morning, September 11–our own 9/11. And it was indeed an act of terrorism. She was conscious when she got to the hospital, but she knew how injured she was and her last words were, ‘Tell them I died for freedom.’ That from a girl who was only 19 years old.”

“O, Mary” has been performed in Choctaw County as well as Green County. Read more about the play from the Tuscaloosa News.

Fear Not the Fall is available directly from NewSouth Books,, or your favorite local or online book retailer.

Ted Dunagan Reflects on Yellow Watermelon Publication

Monday, December 10th, 2007 by Brian Seidman

Ted Dunagan, author of the newly-released A Yellow Watermelon from Junebug Books, will be signing his novel this Friday, December 14, at the Monticello News office. Dunagan, author of the Monticello News’s “I’m Fixin’ To” column, wrote the following about having his book published:

I’m fixing to be a published author.

Now y’all all know I’m prone to just make up stuff, but this is real as rain.

I wrote this novel called A Yellow Watermelon, and it was rejected by St. Martin’s Press, Knopf, W. W. Norton, Little Brown, Panthelon, Simon & Schuster, Harmony, Holt, Vintage, McPherson, and Counterpoint Press, all eleven, giant publishing houses.  Please bear in mind all these rejections were through a literary agent, and it had taken me over a year just to get an agent to read my novel and represent me.

Well after two years I finally got sick of rejection, fired my agent, and paid out of my pocket to have the book self-published.  The problem with self-publishing is not only the money you pay to do it, but also the fact that marketing of the book, publicity, reviews, book signings, etc., have to all be performed by yourself since you are in fact the publisher.

Three or four months after publication I was plodding along, knocking on newspaper doors and trying to set up book signing, selling a few copies, when the most wonderful thing happened.  It was a phone call.  There were two people on the line.  It was the publisher and editor of NewSouth Books, Suzanne LaRosa and Randall Williams, with a publishing house based in Montgomery, Alabama and Louisville, Kentucky.  They told me they had read my novel and wanted to buy the rights to it and publish it.  Well I just about fell out, and you could have knocked me over with a humming bird feather.

The way it had come about was that another Suzanne, Suzanne Jackson, a sixth grade school teacher in Alabama had read the book and declared to her husband it was better than most of the books she read to her class.  Turns out her husband, Professor Harvey H. Jackson III, was a college professor at Jacksonville State University, and an author himself.  Consequently, he put a note on my book and sent it off to the smart folks at NewSouth Books.

After the phone call I immediately took the self published version out of print and sold the rights to A Yellow Watermelon to NewSouth Books, and waited two more years for this moment.

At first I thought the people in the book publishing business just don’t get in a hurry, that is until the last few months before the release of the book. That’s when the multitude of tasks necessary to launch a book was revealed to me and I realized they are actually very busy people.

The good news is that it’s finally happening!  NewSouth has edited, designed, printed and is marketing the book as juvenile fiction, getting blurbs, reviews, and all that stuff. 

I prayed over this book, and I want to tell y’all that the Lord does answer your prayers, but that He does it in his own good time.

I’m fixing to have a book signing at The Monticello News office just off the square, from 10:00 AM through 7:30 PM, December the 14th.  

I hope all y’all will be fixin’ to come on by.

Read more of Ted Dunagan’s columns at the Monticello News website.

A Yellow Watermelon is now available from NewSouth Books,, or your favorite local or online book retailer.

Junior Ray Named Memphis Magazine's Finest

Friday, December 7th, 2007 by Brian Seidman

Memphis Magazine has named John Pritchard’s Junior Ray to their list of thirty-two “finest literary works with a Memphis flavor,” in honor of their thirty-second year of publication. Quipped Pritchard, “Junior Ray made the cut. It’s on the list with Faulkner and Foote, John Grisham and Jay MacInerny, and, of course, also with others less luminous . . . and, to be sure, less numinous.”

In his review of Junior Ray, Memphis Magazine staffer Bruce VanWyngarden writes:

Pritchard, who grew up in the Mississippi Delta and now teaches college English in Memphis, wrote this provocative novella about a racist “good ole boy” sheriff from Mississippi a couple of years back. In his first work of fiction, he lets Junior Ray Loveblood tell his story in his own profane voice. It’s a Southern redneck tour de force — a dark and telling comedy, not for the squeamish.

Pritchard’s next book starring Junior Ray Loveblood, The Yazoo Blues, is forthcoming from NewSouth Books in Fall 2008. Read an excerpt now from The Yazoo Blues at the NewSouth Books website.

Junior Ray is available directly from NewSouth Books,, or your local book retailer.