Sunday, August 27, 2006

Fighting madness in "A Dream Of Drowned Hollow"

For college student April Rue Stoner, life is becoming increasingly complex and it isn’t just college. Something is happening to her and she doesn’t understand it. She seems to sense and see things in the Ozark countryside in ways that others do not. The trees seem to actually “talk” to her and her abilities don’t stop there. What she sees makes her question her own sanity until she discovers that she can photograph what she alone sees and show others.

By doing so, she can visually prove what she has seen to have happened in the past or what will happen in the future. In this case, her photographs don’t lie and she can use them to show others that she is not mad. While she is able to see her long deceased mother at a nearby pond which brings her tremendous joy there is a flip side to her powers. She can see dark forces at work and she can see a possible nightmarish future where the land is destroyed and friends and family are dead. All done because of a greedy, developer determined to wreak havoc on the environment.

In this 532 page novel which won the “Andre Norton’s Gryphon Award” April Stoner seeks to save the land and all that it contains from a horrible fate. The land and its creatures are magical and so too is the author’s obvious love for the Ozark region. It is rare to read a novel that so powerfully captures the beauty of a region and the need to practice conservation and proper stewardship of the land. In a novel that gradually moves forward as months and years pass, the author weaves a spellbinding tale that entertains while reminding readers that once the magic is gone, it is gone forever. Destruction in the name of progress is never a good thing and sometimes the magic in the land fights back.

Book Details:

A Dream Of Drowned Hollow
By Lee Barwood
Double Dragon Publishing
Large Trade Paperback
ISBN #1-55404-320-4

Kevin R. Tipple © 2006

Tuesday, August 22, 2006


Upcoming Kick-Off Meeting

A group of Dallas-area writers is considering forming a local chapter of the Writer’s League of Texas (WLT). WLT is a nonprofit organization whose primary purpose is to provide a forum for sharing among writers, to help members market their writing and to promote the interests of the writing community.

WLT has approximately 1,500 members nationwide. Membership benefits include a quarterly newsletter, 20% discount on books and tapes, discounts on classes, retreats, workshops, conferences, and traveling courses available throughout the state. The current traveling course is: On Writing Memoirs. If you've ever wanted to be part of the largest writing organization in Texas, now is your chance.

Formation MeetingWednesday, September 20th 7-8:30 PMChristopher Parr Library6200 Windhaven Parkway PlanoInformation for the library is (972)

If you have any questions, please contact Laura Seaborn at

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The Mid August Update

It is August in Texas and a month I truly hate. The 100 degree days seem endless as is the running of the air conditioner and the air outside isn’t fit for man or beast. At least football is starting though I believe preseason is entirely too long in the day of the year around athlete. With all the mandatory voluntary minicamps in the off season, it seems to me that the preseason could easily be shortened to two games and then the for real games would start. But, sort of like true income tax relief, as long as the owners make money off the deal, it won’t happen.

As some of you may have read elsewhere I am the new Book Review Editor for the new website “Mouthfull of Bullets.” I will also be doing a column there titled “Target Shooting” in which I talk about the business of reviewing, and make no mistake it is a business, and a few other things. I am really looking forward to the opportunity which came about because author BJ Bourg asked me to be a part of it after reading so much of my work over the years. You can see the submission page and not much more right now at and the first issue will be up in early September.

This new venture does not mean I am giving up my column in Senior News. Far from it as I am very pleased with how things are going there. Just a reminder—Senior News is a print only venture and is available in Texas on some newsstands located in grocery stores as well as by mail for $12.00 a year. In case you missed it, below is a copy of my July column.

Challenger Park: A Novel
Stephen Harrigan
Alfred A. Knopf

Austin author Stephen Harrigan has followed up his novel “The Tales of the Alamo” with an engrossing tale of a shuttle flight and the astronauts and support staff that make it all work. Set several years ago, before the destruction of the space shuttle Columbia, the novel chronicles a mission more than a year in training and execution. Lucy Kincheloe has been picked to fly on that mission and though she yearns to fly in space, she is mortal and beset by earthbound problems. Her young children need her, especially her asthmatic son, her marriage is crumbling, and she is attracted to Walt Womack, head of the training team and symbolizing everything her astronaut husband is not. On top of all that there is the mission, a mission that has tremendous danger and will force her to confront everything she knows and believes as it tests her ability to survive. The result is a complex and very enjoyable read where an author attempts an epic type tale and succeeds tremendously.

Eyes of the Storm: Hurricanes Katrina and Rita: The Photographic Story
By The Dallas Morning News
Taylor Trade Publication

Following a short section of small essays about the two hurricanes and their impact by writers and editors of the paper, are the colorful and intense photographs that tell the tale and make this book so good. The focus is primarily on the people involved and depicts survivors, either in solo shots such as the identified woman on page 20 sitting stoic in the Superdome, or the mass group of survivors photographed on page 47 as they wait for a National Guard truck to rescue them. That photograph is in stark contrast to the proceeding page featuring the photograph so many of us have seen of flooded school buses which were never used. There are photographs that serve to haunt as well. One depicts an empty wheelchair washed up on the sand on a beach off US Highway 90 (page 53) or the obliterated apartment complex with some rubble still burning in Long Beach, MS on page 55. Throughout the excellent book, which closes with a brief summary of the background of each photographer, are the many photos that showcase the best of the human spirit.

More next time and as always feel free to drop me a line at or here on my blog.

Kevin R. Tipple © 2006

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Book Review: "Absent The Soul" by B. J. Bourg

In the interests of fair disclosure I have to admit it that I not only respect BJ Bourg but I also consider him a good friend. While I got to know him because we were on several lists together, I also saw how he interacted with others. BJ is one of those rare folks that has a wealth of knowledge and isn’t afraid to share his knowledge with others. As will soon come out publicly, we are working on a couple of projects together. I received and read his book long before the other things came up. Like in all my reviews, the final judgment as to the quality of my reviews as well as the books themselves is up to you, the reader.

Reviewing an anthology or a collection is tough. Unlike a novel where one sets up the premise of the book and then comments on how the book works, an anthology or collection can’t be reviewed that way. Instead, the reviewer has to look for not only an overall theme of the work but two or three stories that illustrate that point.

“Absent The Soul” is a collection of short stories revolving around the theme of murder. Told through various character viewpoints, the stories often reflect the repercussions of murder on the families involved. It is hard to pick out any as being better than the rest as they are all very good. However, here are some selections which clearly are based on my own particular tastes.

“A Picture Perfect Murder” works off the idea of a cheating spouse as does many a country western song, movie of the week, or true crime book. Here murder is inspired by the cheating spouse and the story gives rise to the real question as to who is the real victim? The same premise or idea is also skillfully worked a few pages later in the story, “Hell Hath No Fury.”

It isn’t just spouses that serve as impetus to these stories. Children do too and one of the more powerful examples can be found in “My Daughter’s Keeper.” Sometimes speaking for the dead crosses boundaries with huge life changing implications for all. At nearly 40 pages in length, this story builds with relentlessness until that final shocking twist.

Another of the longer stories is “A Badge Like Mine.” A cynical internal affairs investigator finds out that a simple abuse case can lead to murder.

The final story packs a punch unlike any of the others. “Heartbeat To Hell” slides over the genre line from suspenseful mystery to horror for this reader. A category that I don’t read but before I knew where the story was going, I was two pages from the end. I couldn’t stop there and I promise this story will leave you shaking.

So, there you have it. My selections from a highly entertaining collection that stretches boundaries and view points. While murder is the common theme in each story, the repercussions of murder are a constant background component. From shattered families to honest investigator cops who may be driven to cross the line into vigilantism, to the cynical cop burned out cases ago and everything in-between, the repercussions are huge. In each story character development is highly effective as is the premise and plot which as a result brings the story alive for the reader. You can’t ask for much more and that makes this book good stuff.

Book Details:

ABSENT THE SOUL: A Collection Of Short Mysteries
By B. J. Bourg
Epress Online
Large Trade Paperback
ISBN# 0-9708635-6-X

Kevin Tipple © 2006

Thursday, August 03, 2006


My story "Opportunity Knocks" has been accepted for the September issue of the WRITER'S POST JOURNAL." I'm thrilled and can't wait for it to come out. You can read more about the journal at

I may have something else to announce in a few days that I am equally excited about but I have to wait for permission. Suffice it to say, I am really excited about this deal as well.