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The Days of the Bitter End
The Days of the Bitter End

Linda Shelnutt, September 10, 2008

Bitter Times... Flavored With the Best Espresso... An Ending Better than Bogart and Bergman.

Being engrossed in a novel is all I ask, i.e., give me the opposite of a yawn. I know I will count no yawns when reading anything by Jack Engelhard. THE DAYS OF THE BITTER END, presently working toward a movie presentation, was as engrossing as other novels I've read by Engelhard. Yet, DAYS had something more. I'm not sure I'll be able to isolate that "more."

What continued catching my attention while reading DAYS was the STRUCTURE of this novel of the 60's, a story seen through the unique perspective of a Jewish immigrant, Ben Jaffa, though the surface format of the story follows the high-talent-for-imitation and depressed-mental-state of stand-up-comic, Cliff Harris, John F. Kennedy's doppelganger.

As is true for all Engelhard's composition, every word in DAYS paused slightly in pensive punch, as it flowed with neighboring words in a smooth-jazz literary-rhythm. That is the skill which usually impresses me first when I read one of Jack's books.

But DAYS had that something more, a subtle structure alternating between two main characters and among several subsidiary characters, all of whom danced through pages in variously timed steps. Usually the chapters featured one of these characters, often opening with the character's name and perspective. But, as the book progressed, Cliff and Ben gradually took over the main show... with Cliff the front stage man of tortured soul, and Ben the backstage guy, sotto voce, living a LIFE.

Cliff carried the opening. Ben carried the mundane reality (which is the true treasure of life), ultimately exposing the ethics and the end.

An intriguingly structured, enthralling treatise on the youth driven 60's, the perspective of that time coming through DAYS is not at all what you would expect. It is what you would hope for, though. Very much that.

I would recommend as high as I can reach that you read this novel in its original state, then go see the movie when it debuts, with hopes that the movie will translate the art of the book.

Moving now into some of the grit in the story, as said above, I again relished this author's applied writing rhythm, which in this case felt like a "beat" (excuse the pun, but it did feel that way and drew me right in without skipping one).

Again, I appreciated Engelhard's interesting takes on cultural conditions and especially the melancholic sense of the passing of this time even during the experience of its present... (You may have to read DAYS to understand what I mean by that.)

Swirling the subplots from the base of Cliff's reaction to the announcement of Kennedy's assassination was an exquisite literary maneuver which fully exposed the ironic flips and conflicts in Harris's attitude just prior to, then at and after the announcement. A great technique used effectively, that of opening with the pervasive mood at Cliff’s matinee performance at the time of announcement, then backtracking.

Also admired how the author brought in the graduated levels of dawning public awareness about Kennedy's death.

The book’s opening line is a syntax masterpiece:

>> Cliff Harris, America’s most popular comedic performer, was on stage and deep into his frolicsome Kennedy impersonation when word arrived upon the whisper of ravens that Kennedy had been shot. <<

As usual, I found a plethora of perceptive or pithy passages well worth quoting, but I’ll allow you the pleasure of meeting those as you read.

Character depth was created with deft precision, yet the effect was sensitive and smooth rather than edgy or sparse. The chapters easily slide into the various head-spaces of each character's point-of-view, the effect of which exposed a fascinating situation of the connections between Cliff, Ben, Richie, and Louise. The circumstances were so realistic that I wondered if the author was a basis for Ben, and a personal friend of Harris. Louise's attitude toward her youthful vigor was delightfully presented and believable, along with Richie's guitar smashing reaction to it. The contrasting personalities of Ben and Richie were well done, and the "bleed through" was fascinating, of what appeared to be snippets of the author's personal history.

At this point, I'm going to confess that I experienced an unusual reading-process-compulsion with this novel, which occurred when I was a quarter of the way into the text. I'll recount that process in a comment under this review, since those details do not directly pertain to a review of this novel, yet may be of interest to some readers. Also, that lengthy comment will give away whiffs of flavor of the novel's ending.

Here's another confession while I'm at it:

I've never been comfortable with, or attracted to relive, those times of the 60's, the philosophies and how they played out. It was Engelhard's perspective which allowed me to become a full resident in DAYS, his perspective brought forth through Ben as an immigrant who didn't forget where he came from and what he had here, his being gently appreciative of what so many were desecrating then.

Being brought up by a woman like my mother (as described in Coal & Coca-Cola, an Amazon Short), and having the family and cultural background I did, I wasn't prey to the rage against America which surfaced during the 60's and 70's.

This novel, though, allowed me to live in Greenwich Village, within the soiled and unsoiled foundations of the counterculture movement.

I should mention that John W. Cassell's novels of the counterculture movement (Odyssey:1970 featured among them) provide excellent parallels to DAYS, in literary quality and reader involvement, for different reasons, and in different styles (see my reviews).

In conclusion, I'll note that I align with Ben Jaffa's attitude toward these times, and I'm thankful that I lived through them where and how I did, at a distance from the rage. From this novel, though, I've broadened my sense of what occurred from the microcosm of Greenwich Village. I had no idea! Now I do.

Signing off with hat off to a fascinating historic re-enactment, with no yawns anywhere in plot or out of it!

Linda Shelnutt

Shelnutt is the author of several Kindle books, including MYRTLE’S ULTIMATE MYSTERY; including The Books of Gem: THE ROSE AND THE PYRAMID, FULL MOON RISING, NEW MOON BLUES, QUARTER MOON DUES; including in Amazon Shorts a serialized novel, MORNING COMES The Pre Dawn Blues (Book 2 in The Books of Gem); including a nonfiction series based off the Gem Books: MOLASSES MOON, and SLIDING DOWN MOON BEAMS; and including a VISCERAL HISTORY (Shelnutt's term) series of short true stories featuring the mining industry in a small town in Colorado.
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The Days of the Bitter End
The Days of the Bitter End

Linda Shelnutt, September 10, 2008

Continuing from what I had said I would in my review above...

When I was about a quarter of the way into the novel’s text, I suddenly had to read the ending, knowing that I would retain a high interest for returning to read each word leading up to the ending. Usually, I resist skipping ahead to the end of a novel, fearing (usually correctly) that the interest will die for reading the interim after I know the ending. As said, in this case, I knew I would have as much, maybe more interest in reading every word in this book.

I read the ending, then began backtracking toward where I had left off, sometimes reading backward by paragraph, other times backtracking a page or two, then reading forward again.

Why am I telling you this?

I suppose because this type of reading process is unusual for me, and somehow significant. In the rare times I've done this in the past, I've either been so strongly baited I had to know the ending immediately, or I had met a block in reading interest and felt it would help to skip to the end and move backwards for a while, or to skip ahead to a part which quickly re-kindled my interest.

In this case, neither of those reasons for skipping ahead were the motivation. I just felt that If I knew some of the later parts of the book, that knowledge would help me get more out of the earlier parts.

I read 1/4 of the ending, moving in reverse, then was ready to continue where I had left off in a normal forward reading.

This process helped me to more clearly see some of the artistic techniques applied, as well as how some of the historic and philosophical details played into the plot, into the characters' motivations, choices, and actions.

A major intuitive (hidden at first) reason for this process came to the fore as I began to see how the artistry in this novel could play into an artistry for the movie...

I’m hoping that this movie will be a blockbuster, even beyond INDECENT PROPOSAL's box office success; maybe it's time now for the artistry and thematic essence of a novel to translate perfectly into a movie version...

Returning to my commentary based on my change in reading pattern...

Suddenly, as I continued again reading forward in Days, I began seeing how the use of chapters alternately featuring each of the character's perspectives could work into fascinating movie techniques. Of course, a rhythm was created from the varying length of each chapter, and the length seemed to shorten as each perspective was worked into the culmination of Cliff's matinee parallel to Kennedy's assassination.

I began seeing each of those chapters having a multifaceted, psychologically-artistic "signature" relating to each of the characters, with each character's chapters having its uniquely identifying (though in subtle and somewhat subliminal effects) light/color filter... with each character's alternating chapters having its own uniquely identifying sound/musical score... each having it's own icon collections being flashed/repeated here-and-there in each chapter segment of scenic backgrounds... each character sometimes speaking in his own voice, from his thoughts (as classic detective fiction sometimes does), using verbatim some of the most literary lines from the novel.

A type of general focus for translation from any novel to a movie came to mind, related to retaining the Sanctity of the Artistry of the Novel, and doing that partly by working from the artistry already in place within the novel, when possible, in this case, using, developing the artistry developed with alternating chapter's working from each character's thought/motive viewpoint.

Something else I'd enjoy in this movie is some type of reading, maybe as a background voice from Ben (or possibly from each character's voice in alternate chapters), of some of the more literary passages, especially some of the astute and perfectly composed cultural comments, philosophical observations, historic event and attitude captures. That way, the literary voice and quality might actually translate into the movie... without resorting to a background voice reading the whole text along with the (7 hour) movie!!... and without losing the unique artistry of the language of film.

Some of my favorite scenes, which I see as vital to "downloading" the thematic truth of Days, and which I feel should somehow be featured or played up, include (in my order of thematic significance):

--- Ben's description and plotting of his REAL job with the navy on the ship's deck, and his various passages describing him as maybe not a Patriot, per se, but definitely as being grateful, from his perspective of a person who is an American citizen as a gift rather than as a birthright... featuring the differences between Ben's attitude Vs the attitude of his radical friends. To me, this is the main philosophical gift in Days, though there are indeed many gifts to readers in this novel.

--- Mr. & Mrs. Bell with Ben and Louise, telling them of Richie's death, followed by Ben's description of the cultural and spiritual VALUE of people like the Bells.

--- The scene of a fascinating and telling conversation among Cliff and friends, just prior to his matinee performance, in which they argued pro and con for Cliff's desire to descend his act into the dark side of human nature, thinking (falsely, though Cliff’s needs and motivations come through clearly and fairly) that this is what the public needs and should have from him, thinking (inaccurately) that this is what he was meant to do, thinking that this will place him on par with his idol, Lenny Bruce.

--- The scene in which Cliff notices the irritating distractions of the many faces of followers of his performances, from Soviets, FBI/CIA/SS, past flames, etc.

--- The ending, of course, with Ben and Louise parting at Penn Station, a high class, sensitive, artistic, even more sophisticated version of Bogart and Bergman's famous parting scene.

I've had many more thoughts about a movie translation and about the book itself, but I’ll stop here, looking forward to that movie debut!

For updates, stay tuned to Jack Engelhard’s web site and Amazon Profile Page!

****************

I’m not sure if afterthoughts on Jack Engelhard’s novels ever end.

Here are some contemplations on an additional main theme of DAYS to play up in the movie:

Jimmy Bleeds’ theft from the True Artist in the plot, Ben Jaffa.

From that perspective, this story, and those days in the 60's in Greenwich Village, is about the Art of Life as exposed in Art.

Cliff Harris never got to the point of feeling he had succeeded as a true artist.

Ben Jaffa had succeeded, in DAYS, in addressing the Art of Life. He also achieved a type of justice regarding the theft of his art. From this perspective, the scenes with Jimmy Bleeds focus a prime thematic statement to be translated from the novel into the movie, and should be added to my list above. I don’t know if this theme should be prioritized before or after the first item on the list.

In DAYS Ben did justice to the jobs of Doorman, Play-write, Soldier, Journalist.

Maybe he is still working toward receipt of true justice in acknowledgment, accolade, and fair financial return from his art. Maybe Ben’s True Job became that of an author/journalist. Maybe his true name is Jack Engelhard.

I wish him the success he has earned many times and ways.

According to the themes developed in DAYS OF THE BITTER END, how much were the youth-driven-60's about politics and philosophy... and how much were those Days about creative freedom and the individual ownership of art, ironically during a time when Capitalism, which supports the ownership of property, was being maligned.

I may be seeing a Mise em Abyme of IRONY (see my article on the MEA on Gather and my Amazon-Connect blog).

Irony within irony within irony, mirrored into infinity.

A good story loves irony!
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Soldier of Aquarius: 1969-1970 by John W. Cassell
Soldier of Aquarius: 1969-1970

Linda Shelnutt, September 3, 2008

Step Out Into a New Life

SOLDIER OF AQUARIUS is a great place to step out into a new way of life, with a fascinating literary hero.

As is obvious from my discussion topic (in the Amazon Shorts forum on the USA Amazon site) toasting John Cassell's HELL'S QUEST: 1971, I've read all this author's collection of works, following a surge in literary exploration which has caused that forum to evolve into a commentary on each of those novels, as well as into a seminar on novelists talking about their work and writing techniques, including how ghosts, poltergeists, and possession of an author by a quickened character are related concepts.

For the past several years I've been reading mostly mystery novel series as I enjoy the literary depth and continuity there. I escape into novels so thoroughly that I go through a minor grieving process when I finish a good one. Being able to follow a character through several books is a boon to that type of psyche, and to an author like me who also writes books in series.

Prior to becoming addicted to the unique voice of Cassell, I had made a study of Robert B. Parker's Spenser series, reviewing each novel in that series, then moving into his two other mystery series. Through Spenser I enjoyed comparing the 70's to present day, and following various details of the evolution of cultural change beginning in the 70's then pushing heatedly through the 80's, 90's, and 00's.

That craving led naturally, almost uncannily into Cassel's novels, which focus on the 1967-1973 seeding pivotal point of the huge number of philosophical, psychological, sociological changes which we're still sorting through today.

My problem with some of The Literary Classics has always been that reading them depressed me. I was usually left at the end of a read feeling that the best next course of action would be to leap off a cliff. I was always disgusted that such amazing literary skill, such exquisite syntax, such blood-rich character development, such balsamic plot complexity was used to elevate either the artistry of ennui or of horrifying tragedy... concluding with, "Is that all there is?" or "Life is NOT a bowl full of cherries; it is The Pits of Terror and Torture." The GREAT GATSBY was one such. The wordsmithing and storytelling ability in that novel are almost unsurpassable. Yet, I feel nothing but an empty, horrible depression when I get into that book or movie. Even so, Gatsby is one of my favorite examples of a truly good novel.

Too many of the Classics, for me, are the perfect promotions for Prozac. Given a choice, I'd rather read Cassell, Parker, and Jack Engelhard (THE BATHSHEBA DEADLINE, see my review) and keep my natural chemistry intact.

What I like about those guys is that they provide engrossing entertainment, then leave me as a reader with a feeling of being well grounded into reality, including the dark sides, yet ready to work even harder to get what I want out of life and to spark others to do the same with their lives, through my writing.

When I read I seek a spirit lift. I get enough daily drains on my life force from reality. I can't see welcoming them into my mind when I'm wanting the regenerating factor of an escape into an enthralling world created in my mind by another healthy mind.

It'll be a while yet, before I've come to the conclusion of indulging this wallow into the works of a great author stepping out.

I'm honored to say that my blurb has been included in this novel's publication, in good company with other authors raving SOLDIER OF AQUARIUS.

Linda Shelnutt

Shelnutt is the author of several Kindle books, including MYRTLE’S ULTIMATE MYSTERY; including The Books of Gem: THE ROSE AND THE PYRAMID, FULL MOON RISING, NEW MOON BLUES, QUARTER MOON DUES; including in Amazon Shorts a serialized novel, MORNING COMES The Pre Dawn Blues (Book 2 in The Books of Gem); including a nonfiction series based off the Gem Books: MOLASSES MOON, and SLIDING DOWN MOON BEAMS; and including a VISCERAL HISTORY (Shelnutt's term) series of short true stories featuring the mining industry in a small town in Colorado.
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Crossroads: 1969 by John W. Cassell
Crossroads: 1969

Linda Shelnutt, September 2, 2008

Kindling From Monkish Ecstasy. Seeds of a Saga. Future Classics in Literature.

>> I'd already begun the battle to secure a berth for myself in a seminary at Berkeley, having submitted the necessary applications and labored over the essay which was supposed to explain in detail why I wanted to become an Anglican priest. All my friends and family had their own ideas on the subject, ranging from the worst reasons to the best. Mine, I am afraid, would have probably surprised them all and could never have been included in the essay. In truth, I was looking for a dream world to inhabit, a small country parish in the west of England where I could write scholarly theological works, drink scotch, and go prematurely senile minding a turnip garden. <<

For me, there's no substitute for reading a passage of the author's own words, to get a sense of whether you'd want to read a book.

When I read that passage, I was already pulling for this warm, intelligent, spirited young man to succeed in living in that dream world, even though I feared that reality of pure scholarly theology might not even exist within some of the darkened political arenas of religious sanctuaries. I wanted that world to exist, if only for John Cassell to be able to cloister himself into that dreamed type of sacred luxury of religious ecstasy and intrigue.

As the novel's plot developed, and I saw how John was blocked from entry into that dream world, it was too clear that another world and path awaited this young man's footprints. It didn't take long before the author Cassell's words immersed the reader into subcultures of different paths and possibilities, each disallowed or road-forked-way for various reasons. Each time I fully shared John's disappointments, as I admired his ways of moving ever onward into whatever experiences he lived, through nightmares and joys, catastrophes and raptures, empty spaces and intrigues.

One thing John's life and his books do not provide is any whiff or hint of boredom. Enthrallment is in there!

In this case, the enthrallment was not only through a philosophical journey with fascinating directional changes; it's one of the most unusual, intimate travelogues you'll ever read about a USA citizen touring Europe and North Africa.

There are a few logical ways to approach a first step into reading the sequential counterculture novels of John W. Cassell:

-- One is to begin with CROSSROADS: 1969 (published 2005) and follow that with AN AQUARIAN TRAGEDY: 1970 (published 2006 under pseudonym James Mundell). [[ASIN:1592991920 An Aquarian Tragedy]]

-- Another is to begin with SOLDIER OF AQUARIUS (published November, 2007) [[ASIN:1592993206 Soldier of Aquarius: 1969-1970]] SoA is a compilation of the two above novels; the two component novels were formatted for each other in their original united state.

After reading the pair of books (CR & AAT) or the original manuscript which had both of those novels in one (SoA), the road fork would offer:

-- ODYSSEY: 1970 [[ASIN:1592991629 Odyssey: 1970]]

That novel gives a brief summary of CR, then covers the plot of AAT with a few chapters added to extend the protagonist's experiences through the whole year of '70, the effect of which broadens the view (through the expanded time structure and interjected research of major, news-breaking events) of what Cassell calls the Counterculture movement, with its multi-angle-motivations (realistically exposing dark and bright). Whereas CR & AAT focus on an individual's personal perspective of how he reacted to and worked within and through those timeframes; ODYSSEY presents a broader cultural perspective, looking outward into the world as well as inward into the psychological, sociological impositions and enhancements of the same individual.

John Cassel's suggestion is to read CR:69 + Odyssey:1970... or S of A.

Then, the sequence would be as follows:

-- HELL'S QUEST: 1971 [[ASIN:1592991971 Hell's Quest: 1971]]

This novel continues from the base of either of the above alternatives, through the same protagonist, based on the author himself. In HQ, however, the author adds extensive (and fascinating) fictionalized elements to some of his biographical base, whereas the other novels listed above are based strongly on autobiographical realities.

-- DEVILLIER'S COUNTRY BLUES: 1972 [[ASIN:1592992765 DeVilliers County Blues: 1972]]

This novel continues where HQ leaves off, including the addition of fictionalized elements into a biographical basis, with the balance of fiction continuing to increase.

-- UNCERTAIN PARADISE: 1973: Part 1 (Release scheduled for late December, 2007)

This novel continues where DCB leaves off, with the balance of fiction again increasing. This novel is a satisfying read in itself, even if Part 2 does not materialize.
You will want more of JWC's novels, no matter what books you read first.

Get in at the beginning of classic literature in the making,

Linda G. Shelnutt

Shelnutt is the author of several Amazon Kindle books and Amazon Shorts, including THE ROSE AND THE PYRAMID (also a collector's item in trade paperback), MYRTLE'S ULTIMATE MYSTERY, and MORNING COMES: the Pre Dawn Blues
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Hell's Quest: 1971 by John W. Cassell
Hell's Quest: 1971

Linda Shelnutt, September 2, 2008

Worth It's Weight in Diamonds

John Cassell's HELL'S QUEST: 1971 has a feel of literary majesty, high intrigue, and history X-Rayed. Iconic graphics and photo collages on the book's cover conceptualize the panorama. Of course the diamonds spilling out of the velvet bag were what I noticed first, then the playing cards.

The opening chapter taking place in 1914 immediately surged a historic intrigue among blood-warm (and chilled) characters. Style and mood stepped off the textual stage as news releases served as ambiance for contrast between the reality, the politically demonic twists of it, and the journalistic reporting of the twisted versions.

As chapter two opened, the 1971 stage eased into focus, fading the panoramic past into the quietly personal, easily growing connection between John and Toni in their present.

The first two chapters exposes HQ has a grand, magnetic presence which takes the reader beyond and into every day life, with more power and majesty than most saga-type novels.

I was impressed with the way Cassell presented the ugly political lies, fully exposing the true, casual evil in the opening chapter. I too easily forget that people exist who live to pursue that type of perverse manipulation with casual, effortless execution, with no concept of compassion. Humans are means to ends of whims, plots, or conspiracies. The twists were perfectly accomplished, as was the way Mullaney was entwined into evolving machinations. The contrasts of news reports with sequential events was fascinating, especially in the gossip column which captured the style of that type of "journalism."

The dream sequence on the sail boat was fantastic. Cassell had said it was a dream prior to describing it, but it was so vivid and captivating, that I had forgotten his preface and began seeing it as a reality in its setting. When John woke up I was surprised, then glad to remembered it was a dream. That's good writing!

I'm speculating that this author lives in his written worlds so vividly that they come alive in the book partially because of that all consuming mind-set. When a writer is in the story that far, the words come in service to the visions; words serve rather than calling attention to themselves. I don't mind, though, when a collection of words become a literary symphony, singing to be quoted with admiration. Reading was effortless, engrossing at a good level. I wanted to say at a comfortable level, but Cassell conjures so many intense emotions, that word seemed off. Yet, enough joy and compassion was shared that even the essential pain was felt as entertainment instead of being too heavy.

I had thought I was going to (and did) get a globe trotting, travel extravaganza of a story steeped into a rich panorama of a long gone history. Yet, I could have spent a lifetime reading the intriguing interchanges between John and Mrs. Seabrook, in her warmly haunting, cool, dark mansion; then holding her hand at the side of her hospital bed.

Talk about being willingly soaked up into a book. The storm scenes were mesmerizing, developing around John's history and connections at Stubbe's grocery; the flooding journey in his delivery truck; then the scenes and "THE SCENE" at Mrs Seabrook's (who turned out to be a highly significant character in both John's family life, his future, and the historic panorama opening this saga) dining table during a high tea of high historic revelation.

I was surprised and interested by the wisdom inherent in John's contemplations about the diamonds, particularly this:

"One thing I'd always liked about myself was my ability to be happy with very little. For better or worse, my refusal to develop any kind of lust for wealth or power had given me a very precious kind of freedom, one I liked. I knew all about the frustrations of poverty...I knew nothing about the frustrations of wealth. I figured I'd let the issue ride for a day or two."

Laura Christian entered to open a new saga, capturing Cassell as he captured her, with the reader willingly in the wings. That scene no sooner faded and Best Friend Roberta showed up on Cassell's mother's doorstep, with John leaping to open the door. As I've noted repeatedly, this story continues to capture with solid emotion engaged, and curiosity creaking with carefree abandon, when it's not catapulting the reader further into Cassell's sagacious panorama.

I enjoyed observing John's personality complexity applied to women friends; it's refreshing encounter a male character who's not a womanizer, yet who relates beautifully with various types... after getting through his initial stumbling shyness (which, endearingly, he overcame in each case).

The quality of writing comes through HQ-71 so strongly, it feels like it's been written at a level of GATEWAY potency. One doesn't open the pages of John's novel ready to expend an initial effort to seat words into mind for a short period prior to book coming alive. When one opens the pages of HQ, a gateway opens automatically. This type of immediate "in" to a read is a strange, uncanny effect which I attribute to those types of authors who are in regular touch with their souls, writing from there, slipping into a visionary state of living what they're writing.

Is this novel worth the ten million in diamonds which moved through time and trial to get to the fictional hero of John W. Cassell (a take off from the reality JWC who delightfully named his hero after himself)? The fact says something worth noting, that I had to give pause to seriously consider that question after posing it, and that I'm still contemplating that this story might truly be worth more than ten million in diamonds.

Linda Shelnutt

Linda Shelnutt is the author of several Kindle books, including MYRTLE’S ULTIMATE MYSTERY; including The Books of Gem: THE ROSE AND THE PYRAMID, FULL MOON RISING, NEW MOON BLUES, QUARTER MOON DUES; including in Amazon Shorts a serialized novel, MORNING COMES The Pre Dawn Blues (Book 2 in The Books of Gem); including a nonfiction series based off the Gem Books: MOLASSES MOON, and SLIDING DOWN MOON BEAMS; and including a VISCERAL HISTORY (Shelnutt's term) series of short true stories featuring the mining industry in a small town in Colorado.
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