Bad Country: A Novel by CB McKenzie

Bad Country: A NovelBad Country: A Novel by CB McKenzie
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Well, it isn't a favorite and it took me some time to get through this short book of twists and turns, and somewhat odd characters for whom I felt no real concern. I guess I expected more from a book recently awarded The Hillerman Prize.

View all my reviews

Happy holidays to all ...

Merry Christmas to all my friends and family, near and far. 

Remember ya' got to believe to receive. 

Have a wonderful day!

Twas the Night Before Christmas - Read by Joe Scully, ProRodeo MC

Merry Christmas Eve!!

Thank you Joe ...

Gracie Video MLM

A beautiful voice, sweetly lyrical .... the message heartfelt and the tears just streamed down my face. 
Well done!

15% off all gift cards from Cowgirl Dirt December 19-20

December 19th-20th

Get your Christmas gifts today with this easy, always-thrilling Cowgirl Dirt gift card now 15% off! Discount applied at checkout.

Copyright © *2014 Cowgirl Dirt, All rights reserved.

This review of The Story Is the Thing by Amy Hale Auker

Chances taken, love lost, lessons learned, life moves on. The Story Is the Thing is the third book written by Amy Hale Auker and with each book her writing gets better, her words more lyrical, her story more heart-felt, more poignant. This book is written like a love letter.

It seems I’ve know a man like Uncle Bill before and I’ll bet you did too and that is what is wonderful about this book that we can find people we know in each of the characters. Julia is the spirited outsider trying to find her place and Charlie is the cowboy-girl who lives a life harder than most but only wants simple love like everyone else. Cody Jack is the type we’ve all heard about or known, the type we have no use for in this life. It’s Uncle Bill who weaves the story together for us so we can understand a time and a place and a thing that happened, a thing that changed everything.

… And all around Uncle Bill’s story is the story of a lifestyle, a story of the land, a story of hardships accepted, of joy and of love held and lost.

The author took a chance in the way she set her chapters and allowed her characters to reach out from the page but it was perfectly balanced with a beautifully smooth clarity to the reading.

It’s not hard for me to recommend The Story is the Thing to you. I hope you pick it up and enjoy it as much as I did. Amy is fast becoming one of my favorite independent authors. She recently wrote for this blog about the process around writing and publishing. Here is an excerpt:

This Bonus of a Day by Amy Hale Auker

Today I got a wonderful surprise from my publisher. I can’t tell you what it is, but I can promise you that it truly is something wonderful.
The cold wind is blowing in the Santa Maria Mountains of Arizona. Our fall cow move is almost over. And the publication date of my new book, The Story Is the Thing, is made of jello. We are aiming for December 1, 2014. Writing is one thing. Writing is my first love. Publishing is another. You can read the full article here

The Story Is the Thing is published by Pen-L Publishing and is available now from the publisher and direct from the author’s website.  The fabulous book cover artistry is by Steve Atkinson. Be sure to read about the story behind the cover art in Amy's blog post Collaboration and Celebration

All of Amy's books can be purchased directly from her website where all books are signed by her and at all the usual places including B&N and Amazon but if you choose to purchase at a store, I would suggest you support a local independent bookstore such as Amy's bookstore pick, Peregrine Book Co in Prescott, AZ,  my personal favorite Bookwork’s in Albuquerque  or one in your neighborhood.  

You can also purchase directly from Pen-L Publishing.

Save 25% off website orders at UNM Press books

It's a good time to buy your book presents directly from UNM Press since they are offering 25% off website orders. Fill up those stockings with some favorites like 

A Growing Season by Sue Boggio and Mare Pearl
$18.95 / Online Sale Price $14.21 paperback


Sunlight and Shadow (also) by Sue Boggio and Mare Pearl
$24.95 / Online Sale Price $18.71 paperback

You can read my recent interview with these two authors.

UNM Press is home to many excellent authors. Have a look at their website and enjoy this sweet sale.

"Established in 1929 by the Regents of the University of New Mexico, UNM Press is a well-known and respected publisher in the fields of anthropology, archaeology, indigenous studies, Latin American studies, American studies, Chicana/o studies, art, architecture, and the history, literature, ecology, and cultures of the American West. The Press imprint is overseen by a faculty committee, whose twelve members are appointed by the Faculty Senate to represent a broad spectrum of university departments.
With well over one thousand titles in print, UNM Press also serves as distributor for other local and regional publishers and is an important element in enhancing the scholarly reputation and worldwide visibility of its host university.

University of New Mexico Press participates in the Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Program."
~~From the UNM Press website


photo from
She played alone with the scratchy wool blanket she dragged from the bed and into the sitting room where the sun was shining brightly through the large window making everything in the room shine with just a tinge of gold. She was alone and didn’t have anyone to play with. Her mother rested on the bed in the room down the hall, a victim of depression. There was no thought to what a little girl might be doing awake and alone in an otherwise empty house.
She had her imagination, an imagination beyond her simple years. Invented friends and fanciful thoughts became her reality and ... 

She danced with God, she was sure.    
He looked like all the pictures on the walls in the church her father brought her to every week. He wore a long robe and his feet were bare, his hair was as white as snow. An old man, his smile not unlike her fathers and she brought him to life and they danced. 
He spun her as if she was a ballerina graceful and light; he held her and made her safe, and he let her rest in his arms. She believed she danced with God, could still feel his touch yet even at her tender age she knew not to share this with anyone. This was her delight to keep.
She didn’t want it to end but as a light pain traveled through her head, she felt sleep come. She rested on the blanket watching God as he watched her until her eyes fluttered shut. When she woke, he was gone but the memory stayed and she felt special.
And through the years, she knew he was always there, watching. She could mark the times when she knew he was shining light on her and her vivid memories of that morning stayed strong.

Now an old woman, she relives the dance in the quiet of her mind, alone again. She watches the sun fill the space; she always loved the gracefulness of a sun lit room. There is a tinge of gold and she knows her dance with God was real, she is sure. 

And then they danced.

©Copyright 2014 Whiskey Tales.  All Rights Reserved.