Welcome Readers, to the Storyteller’s Newsletter.
There has been a lot of activity since the last newsletter; here’s just a bit of what’s been going on.
All of the Richard, the Paperboy novels—-a seven volume series, have been published in eBook and paperback. They are available on internet book sites or from your local bookstore.
By far the most popular of the most recent books is The Yankee Doctor. It received over 2200 eBook downloads prior to being published as a paperback. The reviews on Amazon have almost all been five stars, and almost all of the readers, who have read others in the series, say it is by far the funniest of the group. I do concede the overall plot in The Yankee Doctor is full of some hilarious scenes, but I still think two other chapters—-one in Lyin’ Like a Dog, and the other in “I Will Drink Your Blood “ may top the Yankee Doctor. In Lyin’, the ‘near’ baptism of the bully Homer Ray is my favorite, followed by “The Jesus Coon” in I Will Drink Your Blood—-a coon that walks on water? Yes, when old Chigger see that coon and heads for First Baptist Church—-well things get a little out of hand.
The 7th book in the Richard Series was published only last month. It’s The River Rat and a Catahoula Hog Dog. The cover initially had a different twist when the graphic artist inserted ‘hot’ instead of ’hog’. I guess city dweller haven’t heard of Catahoula Hog Dogs . The story is based on the World Hog Baying Contest that is held in Winnsboro, Louisiana. In this novel I introduced two new characters, Catfish, an old river rat , who lives in a shack down on the Ouachita River, and Rabbit, a new friend of Richard’s. Of course, Catfish owns the absolutely worlds best hog dog—-according to Catfish—-and Richard and Rabbit and bound and determined to take her to Winnsboro and win the $1000 first prize. However, trying to contend with Catfish sniffing snuff and drinking Squirrel Whisky, it turn out to be a lot harder than they ever imagined. Of course, having to guide old Catfish to Winnsboro with him drinking and sniffing would be hard enough, but that’s only part of their problems. Mr. H. C. Ledbetter, the owner of a stable of Catahoula Hog Dogs is out to win the contest by hook or crook. It’s a great story full of colorful characters and resourceful boys.
The latest Richard novel is on my word processor right now—-and would you believe a vicious dog with green fur and six legs—-yeah, and some really bad characters come with that weird dog.
Until next time: Richard
I haven’t read the first book in this “Richard the Paperboy” series, but I loved the second one Lyin’ Like a Dog. It was fun and filled with the nostalgic, typical-little-boy antics of Richard Mason and his best friend John Clayton as they’re growing up in the small town of Norphlet, Arkansas in the ’40s. This took me back to my youth in the Midwestern state of Ohio. I can picture my brother Bucky and his little friends doing many of the things that these lovable, but mischievous boys do. (I was Bucky’s main sidekick, but I won’t tell what we got up to…) 🙂
But as much as I loved the first one, The Yankee Doctor is far more exciting. I could not put this one down. If you think Richard and John Clayton had trouble in “Lyin'”… well, their troubles in this book are much worse.
They’re just sitting around on the “breadbox” outside the country store, weaving their little-boy tales, worrying about Walter Winchell’s accounts of WWII and planning some innocent mischief when “The Yankee Doctor” moves into town.
Doctor Carl goes around charming everyone with his winning ways and donating large checks to the church, so everyone thinks he’s a saint. But Richard and John Clayton soon discover what a rat he really is when they overhear him talking to his nurse, Miss Tina. They know he’s up to no good, but with their penchant for getting into trouble, they also know that no one will believe them.
All hell breaks loose when Doctor Carl finds out they know “more than they should.” He and Miss Tina start a campaign to get them sent to reform school. It made my blood boil to see what that doctor does to those innocent boys…and how everyone lets him get away with it.
Even their own parents don’t believe they’re innocent when the doctor says he sees them do bad things. (One example, breaking out windows in an old, boarded-up hotel). The boys get repeatedly switched “to within an inch of their lives” by their fathers who believe every word the conniving doctor says.
Richard and John Clayton tell a few trusted people what they know and suspect, but no one believes them except a bar owner Peg and a “Hotel Girl” Emma. Both have personal reasons why they can’t step forward and help the boys. The situation escalates to the point that the doctor even threatens to kill them, so they are scared half to death.
With no help in sight, guess what Richard and John Clayton come up with to try to run the doctor and nurse out of town? It’s hilarious in a sad, twisted kind of way, but those boys are certainly ingenious. They bring in roaches, hornets and snakes to aid them, but…
Well, I can’t tell you any more without giving the entire plot away, but I will say that I could not wait for that mean old doctor to get his “come-uppance.”
This is a rollicking good read, reminiscent of a later-day Tom Sawyer. R. Harper Mason is a good writer and manages to keep within the parameters of a young boy’s voice. An easy read and a charming story. You will come to love these realistic characters and cheer for them every step of their growing-up years.
Even though this seems like a “boy’s book,” it’s not! I know a lot of men who have read it and loved the journey back into their own past. As for women and girls, well I’m a bit of both and I enjoyed it immensely, so don’t be fooled by the boy narrator voice of The Yankee Doctor. I think you will all like it!
That’s a question I’m frequently asked, and most of my readers will quickly answer it for me by saying; “Oh, it’s “The Blood” chapter in Lyin’ Like a Dog. Well, that chapter sure ranks near the top of my list. It’s about the ‘near’ baptism of the bully, Homer Ray.
However, as the author, I have another favorite that just might knock out ‘The Blood’ as number one. It’s from The Vampire Werewolf of Flat Creek Swamp. That book is the true story of how Richard and John Clayton saved Union County from a pack of Vampire Werewolves led by a 3000 year old man. Yeah, I’ll bet you are just like some of them Norphlet folks who didn’t believe us. But it’s the truth, even though Amazon wouldn’t let it be carried as non-fiction. Anyway, the story of ‘Chigger and the Jesus Coon’ is right up there with ‘The Blood’. Yep, it’s about a coon that walks on water, and old Chigger saw it. And…well, there was a revival going on….and you might just guess things got out of hand down at First Baptist Church of Norphlet.
The Richard, the Paperboy 7 book series, published by BWM Books is now available as eBooks and paperbacks at Jefferson Street Book, in El Dorado or they can be ordered by any bookstore or bought online from Amazon. com.