Saturday November 20th was a fun day in Sumiton, Alabama. I signed copies of Sweet Music onMoonlight Ridge at Woni's Bookshelf, met some very interesting and friendly book lovers, and just enjoyed the beautiful day.
Here, pictured left to right: Rick Watson, Woni Lawrence, Grace Smith and Jilda Watson. I'm seated in the middle. Dale Short made the photo and we're all looking at him!
Woni's Bookshelf is owned by Woni Lawrence and located at 140 Hull Road, Suite 2 in Sumiton, Alabama. There's always something going on at Woni's: writing classes, book talks, visits from door-to-door veggie salesmen, etc. And the book selection is awesome, along with intriguing and irresistable gifts of all kinds. New books, old books, gift items galore!
Here we are, heading into the holidays, a perfect time for good books and good stories. Just out is a truly great review of Sweet Music on Moonlight Ridge, posted on Alabama Writers' Forum's First Draft website. I was thrilled by the comprehensive description, and the way the reviewer identified with both the story and the characters. I just had to share this!
Sweet Music on Moonlight Ridge Reviewed by Perle Champion
In Sweet Music on Moonlight Ridge, Ramey Channell doesn't narrate as Lily Claire, she is Lily Claire.
For those of you who've had no children, and/or have forgotten what it's like to be one, buckle up. This is not a slow walk of a book. Lily Claire's breathless detailed telling of just about everything that happens in her small world is told as if it was the most important thing in all the world, and you should know it.
Channell steps into Lily Claire's very person and stays there throughout the entire book. You, the reader, are her confidant as she learns of ordinary heroes, and ponders the serendipity of life. You are privy to the secret world of a childhood whose freedom few have known and many today would envy.
Around the mysterious map to an imagined treasure she and Willie T. find in an unlikely place, she weaves her history and that of all the diverse and sometimes eccentric folks and topics that inform her world. All are treated with that light childish and non-judgmental matter-of-factness that is so refreshing and true to the nature of the very young.
There is no heavy hand here about the "Ku Kluxes' " quick-to-lynch mentality or the superstitious nature of rural peoples that make the white lies Willie T. and Lily Claire tell necessary. It's just plain necessary to protect the slow one and the black one in their midst, who are the most likely scapegoats for a crime that was no crime at all.
Channell has the sure cadence of a storyteller that is not only simple, sincere, and to the point, but it's part of the music. Is there music on Moonlight ridge? Yes, but it is not just played, sung, or spoken aloud. It exists in the steady pace of the story, the people, the laughter, the polysyllabic names, and the language.
Having lived in the south off and on for many years, I didn't need the handy glossary at the back of the book to tell me that "boocoos" means "lots." Just goes to show that being raised in the South is useful. This book was not just boocoos of fun to read, it is a gentle reminder of my own idyllic summers when every day held the promise of adventure, just like Lily Claire's.
Perle Champion is a freelance writer and artist.
Thanks so much, Perle, for this wonderful and greatly appreciated review!
Tuesday, September 21st, it was my pleasure to meet with the ladies of the Castalia Literary Club. After an absolutely delicious and abundant lunch in the Family Life Center of the Leeds First United Methodist Church, I talked about how I came to write Sweet Music on Moonlight Ridge, and the characters from my childhood who inspired me.
There were lots of questions, discussion and laughter after I read a chapter, Coming Into This World, which relates the surprising hi-jinks that took place the day the main characters, Lily Claire and Willie T. were born in the little town of Eden, Alabama. Several of the ladies present were so familiar with the rural mountain area near our hometown, which was the inspiration for Eden, we all felt like we were talking about our own childhood home. There were lots of shared memories and stories from the past.
There is truly nothng I like better than sharing a story that brings enjoyment, laughter and joy, and these sweet, gracious ladies were the perfect audience. And rest assured, there was ample discussion about the beloved possums of Moonlight Ridge!
What kind of music drifts across the mountain ridge above the tiny rural Alabama town of Eden, and what are the secrets hidden on the mountain paths, under the ancient trees, and under the mysterious moon of Moonlight Ridge?
Discover a family history filled with a legacy of curiosity, courage and delightful eccentricity, in a setting where the natural fauna and flora of the woods of Alabama create a wonderland for two unusual children.
Can you hear children's voices, singing and laughing as they dance beneath sweet gum, dogwood, and sycamore trees, with the gentle Alabama breeze murmuring leafy music around them?
Wouldn't you like to see what these two precocious cousins see, hear the whispery secrets, and feel the ancient magic in the deep woods and on dusty red-dirt trails, as they look for answers and follow their hearts 'out on the mountain?'
All these secrets and mysteries come to life on the pages of
Sweet Music on Moonlight Ridge.
Read it and discover an enchanted world you'll not soon forget.