Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Where was Cleveland?

Audio Book Review - "Dispatches from Pluto: Lost and Found in the Mississippi Delta"
Author - Richard Grant

By Darden North | September 5, 2016

I guess Grant never reached Cleveland during his tour of the Delta, that vibrant community an antithesis of this liberal discourse on Mississippi race relations, overall poverty, and crumbling education. Regarding the English narrator's cadence in the audio book, it was often repetitious, and he sometimes mispronounced words including names of Mississippi counties, such as Bolivar. The narrator could have spent a little time on research in that regard. Of course, I grew up in Cleveland and Bolivar County, so I guess I'm partial. Grant's own hours spent in research and with live interviews of his subjects sets the memoir apart. His description of race relations is clear and accurate, showing that we Mississippians may actually be very high on that positive list. I envy Grant's knack to describe physical appearances and settings so beautifully although in this well-written, wonderful piece (unlike in fiction), he has the advantage of looking across the table at his real characters and breathing the true air of each setting. While the treatise on race does get long and deep, a happy ending is always a relief.

www.dardennorth.com

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Easter is always a special time

I'm not sure what's going on with the Easter Bunny's left eye, but it was indeed a Happy Easter event at our neighborhood Easter Egg Hunt today. Our organizers for 2016 didn't have an area roped off for egg hunters in the 40-plus crowd, but there was plenty of socializing to make up for that slight. Anyway, I never was any good at finding Easter eggs.

It is a special Easter for me, and I hope for you, too. The weather through Saturday of this spiritual weekend in Jackson, Mississippi, is beautiful; my wife and I have had a chance to relax and enjoy our home; our two kids are busy and happy; and (Of course, only a writer would include this one) I have finished the draft of my fifth novel, "When the Bee Stings."
-----Darden North
       www.dardennorth.com

Sunday, January 24, 2016

From the Other Side

The new year 2016 brought a special gift to me, the "opportunity" to be on the other side of the healthcare delivery system--the care receiver rather than the caregiver.

Fortunately, I am blessed that my surgery went well. I only missed just over week of work, and a full recovery is expected. During those days away from my ob/gyn career, I spent time at home recuperating and was feed well by family and friends.

The surgery had been scheduled long before the Ole Miss Rebels finished a stellar football season, and since my wonderful physician is not an Ole Miss fan he did not mind skipping our second trip to the Sugar Bowl in over 40 years. Fully alert, status-post anesthetic trance and requiring minimal post-op pain meds on the evening of January 1, I watched Ole Miss trounce Oklahoma State on a fairly large, widescreen TV from the comfort of my den couch.

However, I missed being in New Orleans with my friends at the Superdome in what they described as great seats in an obviously well-spirited, happy atmosphere for University of Mississippi loyals.

That first week of January at home also gave me a chance to catch up on some things. Since I did not feel much like straightening out my closet or desk drawers and thinning out some stuff, I spent the time on another much needed project: completing revisions of the Kindle edition of my third thriller novel "Fresh Frozen" for its release as an audio book through audible. com. "Fresh Frozen" is now ready for audio download to "any electronic device" as they say.

In early January of 2016, I balanced my writing time between completing the audio book by working with narrator and voice artist Flora Plumb and finishing the draft of my fifth novel "When the Bee Stings." "WTBS" is a follow-up story to my current novel "Wiggle Room." I am on the final pages of "When the Bee Stings" with plans for my readers to like it a lot!

The other sliver of time devoted to writing was invested in watching television. My justification for reasoning that TV and authoring novels parallel is that some writing coaches (at least one I know of from an article I read in "Writer's Digest") advise structuring the plot of a suspense novel or thriller with the fast pace of a moving television drama.

So in taking that advice, I drew inspiration from binging on the most recent seasons of "Homeland," "The Affair," and "Ray Donovan." But that was not all. I plodded through another season and a half of "The Tudors" (but I'm still not caught up) and got totally hooked on the engrossing new series "The Man in the High Castle" and "Orphan Black."

I hope that my trip to the other side is indeed over. The holidays and the close of 2015 as it melted into 2016 were a joyous distraction. Leading up to my surgery, our house was happy and lively since both young adult children and their special friends and pets were at home with Sally and me for several days. We took day trips out-of-town (to a concert in Memphis and a pre-Sugar Bowl weekend trip to the Big Easy), patronized great Jackson, Mississippi restaurants, opened presents over a several day period, watched old family movies, played with a new corn


hole game, and enjoyed meaningful church Christmas music services. My mother and sister-in-law and her family were also by to visit. Having my family with me was fun and treasured leading up to my big event in the hospital on the morning of New Year's Eve.

Happily, except for follow-up doctor's visits, my trip back from the other side is over, I hope, although the memory will last a lifetime. I'm back practicing obstetrics and gynecology full time and writing books. Of course, I'm looking forward to the new television season of "Game of Thrones" and hoping for the return of "House of Cards."

-----Darden North
www.dardennorth.com
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My third novel and thriller "Fresh Frozen" is now available for purchase as an audio book on audible.com, iTunes, and Amazon. You can also download "Fresh Frozen" free with a trial membership to audible.com. If you enjoy medical thrillers or general suspense and fiction, I think you will like "Fresh Frozen." Actress and voice artist Flora Plumb narrates. 

I enjoy listening to audio books after downloading them to my cell phone. Since you own the download, you can also listen from your computer, iPad, mini-iPad or any electronic device.

Here is the link to download the audio book of "Fresh Frozen" from audible.com or take advantage of a free copy with a trial membership in audible.com. (That's a really great deal!)


Brief summary of FRESH FROZEN
Tinker Murtagh thinks his new job is simple, but he’s never robbed a medical clinic before—and he’s never dealt with someone like Dr. Henry Van Deman. In “Fresh Frozen” by Darden North, human reproductive tissue becomes a fatal commodity as a childless young policeman and his deranged wife meet Lucille Wax and her sales catalogue of human embryo and egg donors. Suddenly their Mississippi community faces grisly murder, the world of Hollywood celebrity, and a physician with a black-market agenda. The lives of Carrie and Wesley Sarbeck, international superstar Allyn Saxton, and southern socialite Cheryl Choice unwittingly collide at the Van Deman Center, a state-of-the-art clinic for the treatment of infertility, housed in a once decaying building complex in Canton, Mississippi. The facility is equipped not only with modern medical technology but also a network of secret security cameras hidden in unconventional places controlled by cyber thief, Tinker Murtagh. While Dr. Knox Chamblee, Van Deman’s younger medical partner, treats his patients, he unknowingly promotes the deception, which preserves the dark secrets of the Van Deman Center of Reproductive Technology. The fast-paced suspense and rich dialogue in “Fresh Frozen” reveal how medical ethics can easily be discarded for the right price. Practicing ob/gyn physician Darden North is a national IPPY-awarded author in Southern Fiction. “Fresh Frozen” is North’s third novel and is narrated by Flora Plumb, a professional actress and voice artist. Plumb has narrated over twenty audio books.


Sunday, August 23, 2015

A literary dream come true

For years, organizers dreamed of the first ever Mississippi Book Festival. Beginning at 9:00 am on Saturday, August, 22, 2015, that dream became a reality. Of course, they say that when the Mississippi legislature, Greg Iles, and John Grisham signed on to participate, corporate sponsorship followed and it was a done deal.
The Mississippi State Capitol Building in Jackson

And despite the expected summer heat that continued to deal a blow to downtown Jackson, Mississippi, an estimated crowd of 2500 to 3500 ascended the halls and grounds of the early 1900s State Capitol Building, the location of the festival billed as “A Literary Lawn Party.” 
"A Literary Lawn Party"
Mississippi Capitol Building packed at the Book Festival

About 100 authors participated in writing discussion panels in rooms filled to capacity by book lovers. I squeezed in to attend the author panel “Across Literary Boundaries,” moderated by Michael Farris Smith (“Rivers”) and featuring Jamie Kornegay (“Soil”), Michael Kardos (“Before He Finds Her”), R.B Chesterton – pen name of Carolyn Haines—(“The Darkling”), and Lisa Howorth (“Flying Shoes”). The highly entertaining discussion and question and answer session that followed explored these authors’ experiences in genre classification of their own novels ranging from crime fiction, thrillers, mysteries, and paranormal—even young adult fiction—although the author’s intent may not have been so. Jamie Kornegay and Carolyn Haines, in particular, jostled the packed room into erupted laughter with anecdotes of their personal writing journeys. No doubt 
after the presentations, everyone was drawn to read the panel's compelling fiction and would-be writers inspired to begin and/or complete their own novels. 
At this inaugural Mississippi Book Festival, it was also good to visit with some of my other author friends including Steve Yarbrough, Marshall Ramsey, Neil White, Robert St. John, Ralph Eubanks, and Curtis Wilkie. 
 Darden North and Steve Yarbrough (My mother Evelyn North taught Steve high school English in Indianola, MS)

I am grateful to Mississippi Book Festival organizer Holly Lange for my role in greeting and signing in other authors to the event. We all look forward to August 2016! 

----- Darden North     www.dardennorth.com 
     
Book lovers clamor for a spot inside an author panel discussion on such topics as  Southern Fiction
Lisa Howorth
Carolyn Haines 
There were many volunteers at the 2015 Mississippi Book Festival

Enthralled attendees of  the "Across Literary Boundaries" author panel

The Library of Congress provided an exhibit in the halls
     

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Inaugural Mississippi Book Festival - 2015

The inaugural Mississippi Book Festival is scheduled for Saturday, August 22, 2015. 


Events will be inside the rotunda and outside on the grounds of the beautiful, historic State Capitol Building in downtown Jackson, Mississippi, and along adjoining Mississippi Street. 


Among others, the author discussion panels will include: Contemporary Southern Fiction, African American History, Comics & Cartoons in Mississippi, Illustrated Children’s Books, Books for Young Readers, Civil Rights History, Romance, and Historical Fiction. Of course, the writings of Harper Lee and Eudora Welty will be discussed. 


Holly Lange and the other busy festival organizers have assembled an impressive list of invited authors and government representatives as well as many other interesting folks for the day long program. An attendance of 3000 to 5000 people is anticipated. Why don't you join me and make it 5001? 


Although event admission is FREE, there will be food vendors and books and other merchandise available for sale. The first program is posted to begin at 10:00 am but the energy should crank up about 9:00. Even the Jackson State University Sonic Boom will be there!


See you Saturday in downtown Jackson, Mississippi.
----- Darden North

       www.dardennorth.com
       IPPY award-winner in Southern Fiction for "Points of Origin"
       Current novel: "Wiggle Room"