Thursday, September 12, 2013

Straight From the Mouth of 'The Mysterious Treasure of Jerry Lee Thorton' Mike Thomas

What does a guy do when his best friend starts doing things that are completely out of character? In the case of Luke McAllister, you can’t do anything - until you figure out exactly what it is that is different. The fact that his best friend is a girl complicates matters a heap. Nothing makes sense when RaeNell Stephens, the girl that has “the best curve ball he’s ever seen”, starts blushing and acting like a durned female. All of this at the beginning of the ‘summer to end all summers’ too. This is the summer that Luke, RaeNell, and their friend Farley Midkiff set out to locate, and cash in on a rogue Civil War soldier’s stolen one million dollar Union payroll.

Undaunted by thousands of scholars and fortune seekers having looked unsuccessfully for the treasure for a hundred years, the three twelve-year-old friends search diligently for themselves. What they find is an adventure that leads them on a spiraling path of discovery.

They discover newness in themselves, their families, and the closeness of a small southern community in the process. Luke wrestles with his morality, ethics, and his slowly emerging awareness of the difference between boys and girls. He also discovers that his late father left him an incredibly large legacy of duty, fidelity and caring for those around him.

The telling of the story takes place in imaginary New Caledonia County, NC in 1966. The deep rural traditions, vernacular, and ways of life of the region and community are portrayed in great detail as the story unfolds.

This is an adventure story, but it is also a story about making good decisions whether you want to or not... It is also a story of relationships. Family and community are underscored, but there is an underlying theme of male/female relationships. It's really okay for boys and girls to be buddies without always having to be boyfriends and girlfriends. It is also a story about innocence. NOT innocence lost, but innocence maintained.
  Purchase at: barnes and nobleamazon  
  Add on Goodreads: goodreads  

Writing Writers Write Right
Mike Thomas

 As I glanced through the local newspaper the other day, I stumbled onto a clever classified ad soliciting new writers. The ad read:

We need a writer with creativity in all media.
Our ideal candidate will have great
ideas and client contact abilities…

I have news for these folks…Everyone is a writer.
It seems that everywhere I go these days everyone is working on the G.A.N. (For the six or seven of you that aren't privy to this exciting, rewarding, career this means Great American Novel.) There are novelists, short story writers, and though you don't see them as much as you did in the '60's, there is still a smattering of poets. In fact, there are so many writers in this area of the country, I don't even tell people what I do anymore. It used to be that conversation at cocktail parties went something like this:

Candidate for AA: …and what do you do for a living?
                       ME:     I'm a writer.
                   CFAA:    Oh yeah? What do you write?
                       Me:     (somewhat humbly) A newspaper column, a few commercials, a book or two…you know.
                   CFAA:   You write books too???!!! I'll be a son of a gun! It's a small world isn't it? My book is about…

Three hours later this conversation has been joined by thirteen people swapping story lines and rejection slip tales with mirthful abandon. Of course, if you took a poll of the thirteen people involved, and totaled all of the writer's fees they had amassed over the years, you might have enough cash to make a down payment on a flashlight.

To avoid these types of traps, my conversations now go more like this:
CFAA: What do you do for a living?
                ME: I'm a typist.
CFAA: Oh. (Long pause with assorted stricken looks) Nice-weather-we're -having -isn't- it -excuse -me -my-wife/girlfriend/concubine-is-calling-me.
Of course I'm not as popular on the cocktail circuit as I used to be, but we all make our sacrifices.
To perform a public service for those of you that would like to avoid these conversational pitfalls, I have compiled a glossary of twelve terms to help you identify real writers on the cocktail circuit. 

  STATEMENT                                 DEFINITION
    1. I am a writer.                           I barely made it through school, but I have a dream.
    2. I am an aspiring writer.         I didn't make it through school, but I have a dream.
    3. I am a freelance writer.         I write, but not good enough to sell.
    4. I write short stories.               I don’t have enough in me to finish that novel.
    5. I'm a poet.                                I get so damned depressed that I just want to die.
    6. I write free verse.                    I can't get anything to rhyme.
    7. I write children's books.         I have the vocabulary of a 3-year-old.
    8. I'm working on a novel.         By the way, when does hell freeze over?
    9. I self-published a novel.         I have so much income that I have to get rid of it somehow.
  10. I published an article.            9 out of 10 times you're talking to a fiction writer, because this statement is fiction.
  11. I published a novel.               9.9 out of 10 times you're talking to a fiction writer, because this statement is fiction.
  12. I keep the kid's while           THIS IS A WRITER!
        my spouse supports us.

Now that you are prepared to sally forth and do verbal battle with the budding Stienbecks, Twains, and Fitzgeralds of the world, I'll give you one last tip.
  The same classified ad finished by saying:

If you can write right:
P. O. Box xxx
Cleveland OH

 This is known in the writing field as being cute…and insipid… and well, just a mite goofy.
 You may want to stay away from them too.


Mike Thomas is a southern writer. He grew up in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina where he learned a lot about family, traditions, and the genteel lifestyle most southerners enjoy. The richly eccentric folks of his youth have become his characters in today's books and stories. Mike began as a newswriter, editor, columnist, reporter, and speechwriter before switching to the role of Critical Care Registered Nurse. He traveled nearly every corner of the world as a vagabond contract nurse before resettling in North Carolina a few years ago. He lives with Bobby, his desktop computer, and Rachel his laptop, in Halifax County, NC. "That's all I need," He says, "Just my computers and a bit of focus. Then we can make up worlds we could only have dreamed of last week." You can visit him at 



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