[editor's note: the following blog post is published in full on AssociationMormonLetters.org]
Today’s guest post is by Penny Freeman, editor-in-chief at Xchyler Publishing.
Although Andrew asked me to write a blog post for his site some time ago, the date of publication came and went with me still staring at the monitor, unable to formulate my thoughts—or, at the very least, unable to figure out how to adequately express my thoughts in a way that would communicate my intent. Then, I read an op-ed in the New York Times about university students who are so intent on protecting [insert special interest group of choice here] from any sort of offense or emotional turmoil, they are campaigning to restrict freedom of speech and the actual texts used in courses.
Huckleberry Finn had to go because of the N-word. Guest lecturers must be un-invited from speaking because they used the N-word in discussing the evolution of the N-word and its social acceptability. Euclid could not be taught in humanities classes because it might trigger emotional responses in victims of violent crime. Such persons may not feel safe or sheltered in such discussions, so those discussions must not occur. Anywhere. Ever.
I believe this is where we, as Mormon writers, too often find ourselves, and why the term “Mormon literature” causes some readers to roll their eyes in frustration. We are so intent on sheltering the reader from offensive material, we wrap them up in cotton and set them in a cozy egg carton, safely deposited on a high shelf. The problem: when readers happen upon stories that refuse to admit life rarely comes equipped with bubble wrap and packing peanuts, they find the writing shallow and dissatisfying, with little dimension and no color. . . .(cont)
Read the complete blog post here.
Book: WILD SECRET, WILD LONGING (A Front Range Series novella)Author: Charlene Whitman
Publisher: Ubiquitous Press
Book Source: author
Category: Historical Romance
Style: Sweet romance in historical Western setting reflecting the social mores of the mid to late 19th century; rich prose with well-defined action sequences and plot tension.
LeRoy Banks has no time for love or romance—he's busy breaking in horses at Whitcomb's ranch. But on the afternoon of his brother's wedding, a grizzly attacks the herd of horses, and though Whitcomb's ranch hands shoot him, the bear lumbers off, injured and enraged. LeRoy, the only competent tracker around, heads out into the Rockies after the bear before it kills again. But not before his ma, a Cheyenne medicine woman, gives him a warning. The mountain holds secrets, she tells him, and LeRoy must not be afraid of what he'll find. Unsettled by her puzzling words, he sets out, unaware of the dangers he is about to face—not just to his life but to his heart.
Geneviève Champlain has spent long, lonely years in isolation in the mountains, her life a trail of broken dreams, loss, and heartache. Her supplies running out, she is teetering on the edge of despair and madness as a snowstorm blows in, signaling an early winter. Her hope is failing—she knows she cannot face another winter alone. Yet she sees no way out. She can never leave her cabin and live a normal life like other women. There is no place for a tainted woman like her in frontier society. Before the storm blows in, she learns the killer grizzly is close by. She has no choice but to head out and try to kill it before it reaches her cabin. Yet when she tracks the bear, she finds something she never expected—something even more threatening than a grizzly.
In this novella, the fourth in a series of Western historical romances, Charlene Whitman proves once again her exceptional skill at combining a believable plot, realistic characters, and delightful prose to draw her readers into her worlds rich with color and texture, light and sound, for a deeply satisfying experience.
LeRoy Banks is a young horse wrangler who also happens to be of mixed race. Dealing with the prejudices of the day proves more difficult for him than his brother who more resembles their white father, rather than their Cheyenne mother, as does LeRoy. However, as Whitman introduces the character, the reader first gets to know the man. His physical features are almost an after-thought. The strengths of his mother and her particular skills figure prominently as the plot unfolds but are skillfully nuanced. While she is an adept healer and somewhat prescient, Whitman chooses to emphasize her love, support, and faith in her son, and his respect for her and dependence upon her wise counsel. There are no caricatures in this story, of any race.