Saturday, July 4, 2020

Happy 4th of July Birthday to My Dad

July 4, 1911

The Cornerstone: Gordy’s Poem
Written for My Father after His Death

"Then what is the meaning of that which is written:
The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone?”

Beneath the birding sky, cold-blue and safe,
bricks laid one to another, timeless bond and true,
by hands long learned and destined to this trade:
a world of walls and beauty, shelters made.

Unlost, unvanished, close beneath blue skies,
and yet somewhere a’wandered, biding still,
he built a hearth within our hearts held strong
in patterns made of mortar, brick, and song.

© Ramey Channell  

Friday, August 9, 2019

Good Reads from Goodreads!

Image result for Goodreads

Goodreads asked Ramey Channell:

What’s the best thing about being a writer?

   I've found that the best thing about being a writer is the connection to the reader, and to people who respond to the stories I'm telling. My poetry, short stories, and my books, Sweet Music on Moonlight Ridge, and The Witches of Moonlight Ridge, evoke an emotional response from the reader, and create a common ground for communication and sharing. I love the feedback I get from readers.


Where did you get the idea for your most recent book?

My own childhood is the basis for the Moonlight Ridge series. As a small child, I lived in the most magical, enchanted, and sometimes frightening place imaginable. And I had my best friend along for the adventures: my crazy cousin Willie T.!

What are you currently working on?

   I'm currently working on book three of The Moonlight Ridge Series. Book One is a summer mystery, Book Two, an autumn mystery, and Book Three is all about a cold, cold winter on the mountain and a Christmas mystery. If you enjoyed Earl Hamner's "The Waltons", Mark Twain's "Tom Sawyer" and "Huckleberry Finn", and Harper Lee's "To Kill a Mockingbird", you'll be a fan of Lily Claire and Willie T. and their adventures on Moonlight Ridge.


A good place to meet your favorite author and your next favorite book. 

Sunday, March 31, 2019

When the Wind is In the Trees . . .

     "As the story goes," Erskine told us,"Uncle Jasper says there was a famous robber that hid out in these woods. He robbed the stage coach on several occasions, and always got away with it. Rode a beautiful Andalusian horse he'd bought from the Moor, the inn keeper. For years he pestered travelers on this road, stole gold and silver coins and jewelry.
     "But, he finally got caught. A troop of soldiers was layin' for him out here in the woods, one night. Shot him right here, in front of the inn, with his sweetheart lookin' on.
     " They called him the Highwayman."

                                                     - The Witches of Moonlight Ridge

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Bringing Witches to Moon Lake Library

  And still of a winter's night they say

When the wind is in the trees . . .

The perfect pre-Halloween gathering: Monday night, October 29th, I read from "The Witches of Moonlight Ridge" to a wonderful audience gathered at the Moon Lake Community Library, on a dark and delightful night in Mentone, Alabama. Thanks so much to library staff and visitors! 

Evy, the beautiful witch of Moonlight Ridge

There she stood right before us, almost close enough to touch. And she was beautiful. She wore a long black skirt and a ruffled cotton blouse. Her black hair was tied with a red ribbon. And she wore one red earring.

"Who are you?" Erskine breathed, sounding like he couldn't find his voice.
There wasn't a sound, except the wind rustling through the dry autumn leaves.

“My name’s Evergreen,” she said. Her voice sounded like music. “Folks calls me Evy.”

Willie T.’s face broke into a wide grin, and he stepped toward the strange girl with his hand stretched out like he was going to touch her to see if she was real.

Willie T. couldn’t take his eyes off the pretty girl, whatever she was: ghost or human, one or the other.
“Do you live around here somewheres?” he asked.

She tipped her head slightly toward the woods and added, “Over on Cat Bluff.”

“Gyaah!” he exclaimed. “Up there with the panthers and the bob cats, and whatever and all? I didn’t know nobody lived up there! You ever seen a panther?” he asked, narrowing his eyes at the strange young woman.

“I seen plenty,” she answered. “They ain’t bother us none. We ain’t bother them.”

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

New Review of "The Witches of Moonlight Ridge"

Thanks so much to the very talented Alabama writer, Mike Burrell, author of  the newly published novel The Land of Grace, for this review. Here's what Mike had to say about The Witches of Moonlight Ridge:

The setting of Moonlight Ridge is a pervading force in this charming novel. It’s a believable setting, filled with loving parents and happy, adventurous children. But it’s also a mysterious land of ruins, a magical forest, witches, sinister lawmen, KKK, monsters, all swirling in history, legends, and myths that its characters can almost reach out and touch.

The timeline of the story is also important in that the tale unfolds back in the 
1950s in a Tom Sawyer/Huckleberry Finn kind of world when parents didn’t hover over their children and think it necessary that every movement of their children be somehow supervised. An example is when the grandmother prepared a picnic lunch for the children and told them to go find the cat, knowing they would be wandering the woods all day. I’m not sure this could happen today, and I can almost hear readers wonder “where are the parents?”

The first-person narrator, Lily Claire, is a young girl. She’s convincing in her narrative and the wonder she finds in the world around her. She is drawn so deftly that at no time does the author intrude on Lily’s story. Her sidekick is her cousin, Willie T. All of the characters are sharply drawn, and the dialogue artfully rendered so as to project regionalism without implying ignorance. My favorite character, and the most complex member of the cast, is Erskine Batson, the garbage man/reluctant school teacher who falls in love with the beautiful witch, Evy. 

A delightful and charming story for the young reader as well as certain seventy-two year old men who enjoy a little magic mixed with memories of a rural childhood.

About - Mike Burrell

Monday, July 23, 2018

The Highwayman of Moor's Gap

Here's how our fourth grade teacher, Erskine Batson, first told us about the Highwayman -  

“This place is full of history,” Erskine told us, shaking his head a little. “Surprising that nobody seems to talk about it.
“As the story goes, Uncle Jasper says there was a famous robber that hid out in these woods. He robbed the stage coach on several occasions, and always got away with it. Rode a beautiful Andalusian horse he’d bought from the Moor, the inn keeper. For years he pestered travelers on this road, stole gold and silver coins and jewelry.
He finally got caught. A troop of soldiers was layin’ for him out here in the woods, one night. Shot him right here, in front of the inn.
“They called him the Highwayman,” Erskine added as he snapped the stem off a dead weed and started scratching the back of his head with it.
“Uncle Jasper says he’d never harmed a soul. Stole a bunch of loot, though. President James Buchanan hisself had put out a warrant for our Highwayman, put a bounty on his head, because of this being an important travel route down through here to the southern shipping ports.”

It seemed to me like Erskine’s tale had finally jogged something loose in my brain. 
“The Highwayman? I’ve heard Papa Jasper sing that song about the Highwayman! It’s a sad song.” 

“Um hm,” Erskine agreed. “He sang that song for me just a few days ago, when I was pickin’ at him for information. It’s a sad tune, all right. But the song was originally copied from a poem written by an Englishman named Alfred Noyes, about a robber highwayman in old England. But it’s so close to the same story that happened here, Uncle Jasper says when he was a boy, everybody thought the song was written about the Moor’s Gap highwayman. The poem, too. A strange case of coincidence. King George’s army killed the highwayman in England, and it was the local militia killed our highwayman here on Moor’s Gap Road. Shot him dead, with his sweetheart lookin’ on.”

Erskine sighed and turned to face me and my cousin.

“The moral of the story is, crime doesn’t pay,” he concluded.

The Witches of Moonlight Ridge