The Wedge of the San Rafael

The Wedge of the San Rafael
Someone has to live here, in the middle of desert beauty. Might as well be the Kellys.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Wanted: Readers

First, some housekeeping: Marilyn Bown, two ward book clubs, a quilters club and a single ward have invited me to their book club meeting in West Jordan on Thursday, July 26. Should be fun. I promise to behave. On August 9, from 6-8 p.m., I'll be schmoozing at the LDS Booksellers Convention somewhere in Salt Lake City. On August 11 from 3-6 p.m., I'll be participating in a book launch at a South Jordan Seagull Bookstore. I like Seagull booksignings. On Wednesday, August 15, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., I'll be at the BYU Bookstore signing My Loving Vigil Keeping, and whatever else the company puts on the table. And then I'll crawl back in my writer's hole for a while and- ahem - write.

Second, a disclaimer. There's someone out there named Carla Kelly who has written at least one vegan cookbook. It's not moi. I once went vegan for about 20 minutes, and that was enough. I looked on Amazon, and that Carla Kelly's cookbook is nestled 'mongst my books, or vice versa, depending on which Carla Kelly I am.

Third, my interesting friends and their way-out books. We're friends with Barbara and Gene Strate. Barbara is a marvelous little lady who does reiki, and tells way better stories than I can. Her husband, Gene, is the Carbon County Attorney. If you say, "Gene, who?" that's the right answer, because people with an up close and personal acquaintance with Gene have usually been, uh, prosecuted. It's hard to imagine a more kind, gentlemanly fellow than Gene, so he doesn't fit the blood-in-the-water stereotype of a prosecuting attorney.

Gene's a voracious reader, and also a lender of interesting tomes. I just finished his loan of Tales of a Rat-Catching Man, by David Brian Plummer, a Welshmen with the hobby of, eww gross, rat-catching. It's a classic of the genre and the first of many books Plummer wrote about dogs. I returned the favor by sending him The Tiger:  True Story of Vengeance and Survival, by John Vaillant. Published last year, the book tells the tale of a man-eater in that lawless, neglected area of Russia that sits close to China. That book scared the brown spots off my hands.

Gene and I will probably start to challenge each other on who can produce the more off-the-wall read. I'll save my master stroke for a strategic moment, and spring The Ascent of Rum Doodle, by W.E. Brown, on him someday. Written in 1956, this mountain climbing parody is achingly funny, and worth every penny of whatever you have to pay. My older son loaned me his copy. Jeremy and I keep each other in good books.

I don't think Jeremy will be able to "best" me this Christmas, when we do our biggest gotcha books. I finally found him a reasonably affordable copy of The Album of Gunfighters, by J. Marvin and others. Published originally in 1951, this beyond-cool book shows page after gory page of gun fighters - their lives, their deaths, etc. For whatever reason, after a bad guy bit the dust, the townsfolk would line him out on the sidewalk and call in the photographer. Maybe it was as a cautionary tale.  Some of those bad-a**es were drilled right between the eyes, a testimony to someone's sharpshooting. Then there are the photos of hangings. Boy howdy, what a mess. One of the gents lost his head...

It's hard to imagine a more unpolitically correct book. I love it. Wish I had a copy of my own. I ordered it now, because I want to look through The Album of Gunfighters before I have to give it up for Christmas.

My very kind husband got me a great reference work yesterday from Deseret Industries for $50 , T. C. Romney's The Mormon Colonies in Mexico. As it turns out, it was the one book I have been needing to round out my research for my next novel. Thank you, Martin!

For fun and games, I've been reading Steven Havill lately, who writes about a crusty ol' undersheriff in a fictitious New Mexico county. Good stuff.

Yep, we love to read in our house. One thing makes me really sad: People who can read, but choose not to. I can't imagine that much poverty.


  1. Carla, I just finished My Loving Vigil Keeping, and I was so moved. It had all the elements I love about your novels--those characters that seem to really breathe, all that fascinating historical research, and a love story that keeps my heart aflutter--mixed with an extra dash of special. Congratulations on another stellar work to add to your impressive list!

    1. Sandy, I'm glad you enjoyed My Loving Vigil Keeping. It was a tough book to write, but a highly satisfactory one. I will always have an affection for what I have been calling "my guys." I have visited them several times at the Scofield Cemetery, so perhaps that is my own "loving vigil keeping."