Happy February! It’s so good to leave 2020 behind, and it’s great to be just weeks away from the arrival of Cradle in the Oak, the debut novel by new Dogwood Press author Candace Cox Wheeler!
A work of historical fiction set in early twentieth century Biloxi, Mississippi, Cradle’s protagonist, Carrie Burns, is a young homemaker who wakes up one morning to discover that her husband, two young sons, and the family sitter all left in the middle of the night. It isn’t like the internet was available back then, so Carrie can’t exactly pick up her iPhone and track her wayward husband. Worse, she has no marketable skills and has never held a job before. How on earth will she find her kids?
Carrie begins by talking her way into an entry-level job with a Biloxi seafood company and learns enough to start a lucrative side business. Soon she has saved enough money to launch her own search, which takes her hundreds of miles from home. Not merely a page-turner, Cradle in the Oak is layered with the rich history of the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Like Dogwood Press author Valerie Winn, Candy immerses you in the era and makes you feel like you’re part of the story as you read.
Saturday, April 17 is the official kickoff. Candy will sign at Hillyer House in Ocean Springs from 10am-12pm before an early afternoon stop that day at the Maritime and Seafood Industry Museum in Biloxi from 2pm-4pm. The book will also be available at The Epitome (in Fine Cigars and Tobacco) in Biloxi’s Edgewater Mall. And that’s just for starters; quite a few in-person events are being finalized.
We had a good fourth quarter launch with Randy Pierce’s Missy, all things considered. Because of ongoing pandemic concerns (which continue today, of course), Randy only had several in-person events. But he did his usual excellent job talking up what I believe is his best novel; Missy is a powerful story of forgiveness and redemption that many readers, based on what they’re telling Randy and me, are plowing through in one sitting. For a writer, there’s nothing quite like being told, “I stayed up half the night reading your novel and just couldn’t put it down.” First edition, signed copies are available at Lemuria in Jackson, Square Books in Oxford, Main Street Books in Hattiesburg, Lorelei in Vicksburg, and Southern Bound Book Shop in Biloxi. You can also order directly from us at dogwoodpress.com for signed copies, and you’ll have your purchase in hand in just a couple of business days.
The pandemic sure hasn’t stifled the creativity of my man John M. Floyd. He has stories in the current issues of Strand Magazine, Black Cat Mystery Magazine, and Pulp Modern; he has stories in two anthologies that were published in January (Mardi Gras Mysteries and Winter’s Vindication) and six other recent anthologies; he has upcoming stories in the February 2021 issue of Mystery Weekly, the March/April issue of Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, the March/April issue of The Saturday Evening Post, and more than a dozen other publications in the coming year.
In case you missed it, John even has a story (“Rhonda and Clyde”) in the current (2020) edition of Best American Mystery Stories, edited by Otto Penzler and CJ Box. I’ve read the 2020 BAMS cover to cover, and there’s some tall cotton in there–authors Jeffrey Deaver, Tom Franklin, James Lee Burke, and John Sandford among others–and John more than holds his own. Best of all, “Rhonda and Clyde” is FUN!
If you missed Lighten Up a Little, John’s book of lighthearted, clever poetry in early 2020, you’re not alone. Released just as the shutdowns began taking place, Lighten has suffered from John not being able to do a single in-person event. Get this one at Lemuria Books of Jackson as well as through our website, dogwoodpress.com.
One of the best announcements I’ve heard in recent weeks is the 2021 Mississippi Book Festival being a go! Plan on joining us at the Mississippi State Capitol on Saturday, August 21, and meet Candy, Randy, Valerie, John, and me. We’ll be glad to see you, and know that if event organizers didn’t feel they would be able to put on a safe experience, it wouldn’t be on. Bold prediction: it will be hot and humid that day!
Thanks for your time. Be well, stay safe, and think of us when you’re in need of a good read!