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Category Archive: Books

The Mansfield Killings soon to be a major motion picture

Outer Banks Publishing Group author Scott Fields’ novel, The Mansfield Killings, based on the true story of the horrific murders of the Niebel family in 1948, will be made into a major motion picture in 2018.

Outer Banks Publishing Group, OBX PublishersProduced by Forbidden Tears Productions of Waldron, Arkansas, the movie will be filmed in Waldron and on location in Mansfield, Ohio and at the historic Ohio State Reformatory (OSR) also in Mansfield, where the story started. The Shawshank Redemption and Air Force One were also filmed at the reformatory.

Jennifer Anderson-Bounds, owner and producer Forbidden Tears Productions, was chosen as Female Producer of the Year 2016 and won the Humanitarian Award from WIND International Film Festival 2016. She was also awarded 2nd Place in Indie Film Festival 2015, along with a nomination for Best woman filmmaker 2015 in Barcelona.

Scott Field’s literary agency, Gilbert Literary & Film Agency International of New Zealand, secured the movie contract.

Scott, who was three years old when the killing spree occurred, said he had dreamed all his life of writing a story that would become a movie. When he heard about the murders, he became obsessed with writing the story into a novel and completed the manuscript in four months.

When asked about his reaction to the movie deal, Scott said,

“Without doubt this is probably the most fascinating and exciting thing to ever happen to me! When I was just a little boy, my parents took me to a movie, and instead of wishing that I could be an actor, I wanted to be the guy who wrote the screenplay. It was the beginning of a dream that has been with me for about 60 years. I am not talking about an occasional dream…it was with me practically everyday.”

“My mother wOuter Banks Publishing Group Author Scott Fieldsas a great writer, but she never pursued her talent. I inherited it but being a Kmart manager and raising a family of three kids, I had no time to write even a short story. Then after 30 years in management, I became a common worker and began to write. After having a few short stories published, I decided that it was time to try writing a novel. Since then I have had 16 novels published, but the dream was still there.”

He said at times it was difficult to write the novel because the killings were so atrocious and brutal.

The Mansfield murders was the worst two-week killing spree in Ohio’s history. On the night of July 21, 1948, Robert Daniels and John West, former inmates at the Ohio State Reformatory, entered John and Nolena Niebel’s house with loaded guns. They forced the family including the Niebel’s 21-year-old daughter, Phyllis, into their car and drove them to a cornfield just off Fleming Falls Road in Mansfield. The two men instructed the Niebels to remove all of their clothing, and then Robert Daniels shot each of them in the head.

The brutal murders caught national attention in the media, but the killing spree didn’t stop there. Three more innocent people would lose their lives at the hands of Daniels and West in the coming week.

The two parolees were captured after a 14-day manhunt in Ohio when West attempted to shoot it out with police and sheriff’s deputies at a road blockade north of Van Wert, Ohio. West was killed by police and Daniels was captured, tried and convicted.  He was executed in the electric chair on January 3, 1949.

The Mansfield Killings where the murderers were captured

The scene at the Van Wert roadblock, where West was killed and Daniels captured while sleeping in the car on the front top rack – July 22, 1948

Scott Fields tirelessly researched the killings, the capture and trial of Daniels and even interviewed a surviving member of the Niebel family to weave this tragic story bringing the reader back to those dark days in the summer of 1948. What led to these brutal killings, and why was the Niebel family singled-out to be savagely murdered? It has been more than sixty years since the tragedy, and, yet, this question still remains unanswered. The killing spree is not only remembered to this day, but is an important and dark part of Mansfield lore.

___________________________________

The Ohio State Reformatory

If you are ever in Mansfield, Ohio, be sure to tour the historic Ohio State Reformatory, the most haunted location in Ohio and one of the shooting locations of The Mansfield Killings.

Hauntings have been documented over the years by professional paranormal investigators and TV shows on the paranormal, including Syfy’s Ghost Hunters and the Travel Channel’s popular, Ghost Adventures.

Ohio State Reformatory

View the informative video about the OSR and its rich history.

Order a copy of The Mansfield Killings at our bookstore.

Ron Rhody, Concerning The Matter of The King of Craw

State Journal interviews Ron Rhody and his King of Craw

“It was a difficult book to write,” Ron Rhody said. “The stuff about Fallis has never been pulled together in a story. There are all these anecdotes, conversations and suspicions out there about the guy and the sort of things he did. My concern was that, in the writing, that I’m fair to the record that exists and fair to the man.”

Author Ron Rhody

Author Ron Rhody

Outer Banks Publishing Group author Ron Rhody interview was recently published on the front page of Frankfort, KY State Journal newspaper in anticipation of the launch of his new novel, Concerning The Matter of The King of Craw Nov. 5 at the Kentucky Book Fair in Frankfort, KY.

Read the rest of the story>

 

 

 

Concerning The Matter of The King of Craw

He brooked no insult, would not be cheated, would not be pushed around. He bent a knee to no man. He was the King of Craw and the powers-that-be wanted him gone.

Concerning The Matter of The King of CrawList Price: $16.99
6″ x 9″ (15.24 x 22.86 cm)
Black & White on Cream paper
288 pages
Outer Banks Publishing Group
ISBN-13: 978-0990679042
ISBN-10: 0990679047
BISAC: Fiction / Historical / General

Now $11.99 – Order here

 

 

John Fallis, main character of Concerning the Matter of The King of Craw by Ron Rhody

Meet the baddest of the bad on Nov. 5 in Frankfort, KY

One of Kentucky’s baddest bad men is being resurrected at the Kentucky Book Fair in Frankfort Saturday, November 5 —baddest of the bad if you believed the press of the day, but a hero to the downtrodden if you listened to the poor and the powerless.

John Fallis is his name.  He was the King of Craw—the notorious red-light district in Kentucky’s capital city that flourished during the Roaring Twenties and was famous all the way down to New Orleans for its wild and licentious ways. He was a political power, a gambler, a bootlegger, a legitimate merchant, and a charismatic Lothario who brooked no insult, would not be pushed around, who bent a knee to no man.

Concerning The Matter of The King of CrawThe men who ran the town thought him Lucifer unleashed. The common folk thought him their protector and benefactor. His rise and fall is the stuff of which legends are made. Which the new book Concerning The Matter Of The King Of Craw attempts, for the first time, to draw out and illuminate. Its formal release is set for the opening of the Kentucky Book Fair at Frankfort’s Convention Center, Saturday, November 5. Ron Rhody, a Pinehurst, NC resident, who wrote it, grew up in the Capital City where stories about John Fallis are still being told.

Concerning The Matter Of The King Of Craw is a work of fiction, for no formal biography exits, but it is based on fact and hews as close to the actual record as such a record exists The book begins with the night of the Big Shoot-Out when he takes on the entire city police force and ends with him dead on a craps table in Craw in what the newspapers deemed the aftermath of an argument over a game of dice, but which many believe was a hit ordered by powerful members of the city’s elite.

The Kentucky Book Fair, operated by the Kentucky Humanities Council and the Kentucky Book Fair Board, is one of the biggest in the Southeast. It regularly attracts a crowd of 3,000 or more and this year will host 170 regional and national authors. It is set for the Frankfort Convention Center, hours nine to four-thirty, Saturday, November 5, 2016.

CONCERNING THE MATTER OF THE KING OF CRAW can be ordered from our bookstore for $11.99.

He brooked no insult, would not be cheated, would not be pushed around. He bent a knee to no man. He was the King of Craw and the powers-that-be wanted him gone.

Concerning The Matter of The King of Craw

List Price: $16.99

6″ x 9″ (15.24 x 22.86 cm)
Black & White on Cream paper
288 pages
Outer Banks Publishing Group
ISBN-13: 978-0990679042
ISBN-10: 0990679047
BISAC: Fiction / Historical / General

Kentucky Book Fair logo

Discuss secrets of writing with novelist Ron Rhody

Want to know what it takes to write a novel? Talk with Outer Banks Publishing Group author Ron Rhody, who will be one of 170 prominent authors featured at the Kentucky Book Fair (KBF) on Saturday, Nov. 5 at the Frankfort Convention Center in Frankfort, KY.

Ron has written four novels, including the bestselling THEO trilogy, all taking place in Frankfort, Kentucky, where he grew up and was exposed to local lore, legends and its rich history.

Ron Rhody Women's Club

Author Ron Rhody

The Kentucky Book Fair attracts writers of all genres and patrons of all walks of life in a celebration of shared passion and mutual interest — the importance and promotion of writing and reading.

In its 35th year, the book fair attracts approximately 4.000 patrons from Kentucky and surrounding states. Each author has a booth where they sell signed copies of their books and talk with patrons about their work.

Net proceeds from the KBF fund goes to Kentucky schools and public libraries for local book purchasing and other literacy-related causes.

The KBF makes every attempt to invite writers of all genres, current events, fiction, children’s books, poetry, cookbooks, mysteries and other genres.

In recent years, KFB celebrated the attendance of authors Sue Grafton, Rick Pitino, Christy Jordan, Eleanor Clift, Laurien Berenson, Duffy Brown, Ann Ross, Mark Kurlansky, Mary McDonough, among others.

______________________________

Concerning The Matter of The King of Craw

He brooked no insult, would not be cheated, would not be pushed around. He bent a knee to no man. He was the King of Craw and the powers-that-be wanted him gone.

Concerning The Matter of The King of CrawList Price: $16.99
6″ x 9″ (15.24 x 22.86 cm)
Black & White on Cream paper
288 pages
Outer Banks Publishing Group
ISBN-13: 978-0990679042
ISBN-10: 0990679047
BISAC: Fiction / Historical / General

Now $11.99 – Order here

Kentucky’s Premiere Literary Event is this weekend

The Kentucky Humanities Council presents the
35th Annual Kentucky Book Fair
November 5, 2016
9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Frankfort Convention Center
405 Mero Street, Frankfort, Kentucky
Sixth Annual KBF Kids Day, Friday, November 4th

Each year, more than 170 local and national authors participate in the event, signing their latest books and meeting readers from Kentucky and surrounding states. On average, nearly 4,000 readers flock to downtown Frankfort to meet their favorite writers and learn about new authors.

Since its inception in 1981, the Kentucky Book Fair has been connecting readers and authors in a celebration of shared passion and mutual interest: the importance and promotion of writing and reading.

Kentucky Book Fair logoIn addition to the 35th anniversary of the Kentucky Book Fair, the organizers are celebrating the 6th Annual KBF Kids Day, on Nov. 4, where hundreds of Kentucky students are given the opportunity to interact with authors in a series of engaging presentations.

In addition, Pulitzer Prize winners Maria Henson and Joel Pett will be featured at the fair.

Contact Brooke Raby, Kentucky Book Fair Manager for more information.
brooke.raby@uky.edu or by phone at 859/257-5932.

Featured photo of the book fair courtesy of Hannah Reel/hreel@state-journal.com, the Kentucky State Journal

Ron Rhody at Buffalo Trace

King of Craw launches at Paul Sawyier Public Library

Frankfort native Ron Rhody’s newest novel, Concerning the Matter of the King of Craw launches Thursday, Oct. 27 at the Paul Sawyier Public Library in Frankfort, Kentucky.

Rhody, a resident of Pinehurst, NC, will be on hand to read from and discuss his new historical fiction release, with a book signing to follow.

Set in the Roaring Twenties in Kentucky’s capital city, the story spins around John Fallis, a handsome, charismatic grocer, gPaul Sawyier Public Libraryambler, bootlegger, and political boss, and the two boys who fell into his orbit.

Also featured will be Jim Wallace, well known oral historian of Frankfort’s Crawfish Bottom. Copies of the book will be available for purchase from Poor Richard’s Books.

Rhody was born and raised in Frankfort and attended both Georgetown College and the University of Kentucky. He worked as a reporter, a sportswriter, a broadcast newsman, and covered the Kentucky legislature before moving on to a career as a corporate public relations executive in New York and San Francisco, and later as a consultant to Fortune 500 companies on communications and public relations issues.

He is the author of The Theo Trilogy which includes Theo’s Story, Theo & The Mouthful of Ashes, and When Theo Came Home. Rhody currently resides in Pinehurst, North Carolina with his wife, Patsy.

This free event will take place in the Library Community Room. No registration is necessary. For more information, contact Diane Dehoney at 352-2665 x108 or by email at diane@pspl.org.

____________________________

CONCERNING THE MATTER OF THE KING OF CRAW can be pre-ordered from our bookstore for $11.99.

He brooked no insult, would not be cheated, would not be pushed around. He bent a knee to no man. He was the King of Craw and the powers-that-be wanted him gone.

 

Ron Rhody, Concerning The Matter of The King of Craw

 

List Price: $16.99

6″ x 9″ (15.24 x 22.86 cm)
Black & White on Cream paper
288 pages
Outer Banks Publishing Group
ISBN-13: 978-0990679042
ISBN-10: 0990679047
BISAC: Fiction / Historical / General

Mt. Ida College

OBXPG Author Mary L. Tabor to talk about her literary journey

Mary L. Tabor

Author Mary L. Tabor

Do you live in Boston or near Newton, Massachusetts?

Outer Banks Publishing Group author Mary L. Tabor will give a public talk this Tuesday, Oct. 18 at Mt. Ida College as their Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow this week.

 

 

Wadsworth Lecture: Mary Tabor on Business and Art
When: Tuesday, Oct. 18th
Where: Campus Center Theater
Contact: Jamie Elliott
(617) 928-7351

jelliott@mountida.edu

Mary will give a talk on her journey from high school English teacher to corporate
executive and the leap to creative work, to art. She will end the talk with a short
reading of one of her stories.

MARY TABOR
Author; former public affairs director, American Petroleum Institute

Mary Tabor published her first book of fiction at age 60 after a 16-year career in corporate
America, a senior executive, director of public affairs writing for the oil industry.

She was a high school English teacher who joined the business world, then made
a transition from the business world to the creative world, leaving her corporate
job when she was 50 to earn an MFA degree in Creative Writing.

Her first book, The Woman Who Never Cooked, won Mid-List Press’s First Series Award.

Ms. Tabor’s experience spans the worlds of journalism, business, education and fiction writing.
She was a visiting writer at University of Missouri in Columbia, and has been a long-time professor of Creative Writing at George Washington University and she works with the Washington, DC, library to reach less-privileged populations on how to begin writing.

Mary’s books will be available for sale at the event: The Woman Who Never Cooked: connected
short stories, (Re)Making Love: a memoir, and Who by Fire: a novel.

Or you can purchase any of them at our bookstore.

______________________________

Who by Fire
by Mary L. Tabor

Outer Banks Publishing Group, OBX Publishers

List Price: $17.95
6″ x 9″ (15.24 x 22.86 cm)
Black & White on Cream paper
248 pages
Outer Banks Publishing Group
ISBN-13: 978-0982993149
ISBN-10: 0982993145
BISAC: Fiction / Literary

Who by Fire breaks new literary ground.
Mary L. Tabor has written a complex tale of love, betrayal, discovery and the search for self.
The form of the novel itself breaks ground. A male narrator tells the story he does not actually know but discovers through memory, through piecing the puzzles of his marriage, through his wife’s goodness and her betrayal. He confronts paradox with music, science and a conflagration he witnessed in his native Iowa. Underlying his search is the quest for heroism and the search for his own father.
Quite simply, Who by Fire is like nothing else you have read and has earned its place among books that matter.

Preview Who by Fire

Buy a paperback copy for $7.99

 

(Re)Making Love
by Mary L. Tabor

BookCover6x9_Cream_290FINAL TO PRESSList Price: $11.75
6″ x 9″ (15.24 x 22.86 cm)
Black & White on Cream paper
212 pages
Outer Banks Publishing Group
ISBN-13: 978-0982993170
ISBN-10: 098299317X
BISAC: Biography & Autobiography / Women

When Mary L. Tabor’s husband of 21 years announced, “I need to live alone,” she cratered and turned to the only comfort she had left: her writing.
What resulted was (Re)MAKING LOVE: a sex after sixty story, a fresh, witty, funny and brutally honest memoir of everything she felt and did during her long journey back to happiness.
This deeply personal account of her saga takes the reader from Washington, DC to Missouri to Australia through the good, the bad and the foolish from Internet dating to outlandish flirting and eventually to Paris where an unexpected visitor changed the author’s life forever.
Her story offers hope and joy told with passion and brilliance that is highly refreshing with the single and most prominent message—it is never too late to find love—and oneself even after age sixty and beyond.

Preview (Re)Making Love

Buy a paperback copy for $5.99

 

The Woman Who Never Cooked
by Mary L. Tabor

Woman Who Never Cooked by Mary L. Tabor, Outer Banks Publishing Group

Series: First Series: Short Fiction
Paperback: 175 pages
Publisher: Outer Banks Publishing Group
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0922811687
ISBN-13: 978-0922811687
Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 0.6 inches

“The American adult woman is featured in this debut collection of stories about love, adultery, marriage, passion, death, and family. There is a subtle humor here, and an innate wisdom about everyday life as women find solace in cooking, work, and chores. Tabor reveals the thoughts of her working professional women who stream into Washington, D.C., from the outer suburbs, the men they date or marry, and the attractive if harried commuters they meet.”

Her collection of short stories The Woman Who Never Cooked, published when she was 60, won the Mid-List Press First Series Award. “Mary Tabor writes with astonishing grace, endless passion, and subtle humor,” one reviewer noted.

Preview The Woman Who Never Cooked

Buy a paperback copy for $16.00

Neo-Nazi Trump Supporters Are Going After YA Books Now

Reprinted in part from The Huffington Post

After author Laura Silverman dissed Trump on Twitter, white supremacist trolls went ballistic on her upcoming book’s Goodreads page.

What amazes me is that there are no copies of this book released anywhere, yet some people are attacking the book and the author. I thought this is worth reprinting here.

– Outer Banks Publishing Group Publisher

By Claire Fallon Culture Writer, The Huffington Post

Author Laura Silverman wrote a YA novel, Girl Out of Water, that’s slated for publication in May 2017. The book hasn’t fully made its way through the editorial process, and review copies have not been sent out.

Nonetheless, one day last week, Silverman heard from a fellow author that Girl Out of Water had been besieged with one-star ratings and reviews on Goodreads, a popular site where readers keep track of the books they’re reading.

“There’s zero chance those reviews could have been legitimate,” she told The Huffington Post in a phone conversation. Not only is the book still under wraps, but she and others noted that many of the nasty reviews were posted by brand-new accounts.

 

laura-silverman-tweet

 

So what was going on? Silverman, who is Jewish and frequently tweets about the election, had a good idea. Ever since this summer, her tweets calling out presidential candidate Donald Trump for his problematic statements had attracted bucketloads of anti-Semitic responses and threats from white supremacist accounts. After she tweeted her anger about Trump’s cozy interview on Jimmy Fallon last week, the trolls multiplied ― and, apparently, spread to other forums.

Read more>

Another Sneak Peek into Ron Rhody’s new novel

Author Ron Rhody

Novelist Ron Rhody

Outer Banks Publishing Group author Ron Rhody has agreed to serialize a few chapters of his newest novel, Concerning The Matter of The King of Craw,  giving readers a sneak peak into his book based the real life of John Fallis, a legendary figure, who was like a Robin Hood in Frankfort, Kentucky during the Roaring Twenties.

Each week, we will present a new chapter here or you can read it on Ron’s blog. Here is the second chapter Ron released.

Sketch by Karen Piedmont of the “Craw” section of Frankfort, KY in the early twenties.

CONCERNING THE MATTER OF THE KING OF CRAW will be released Nov. 5, 2016 at the Kentucky Book Fair, Frankfort, KY. You can pre-order a copy from our bookstore at the publisher’s pre-release price of $11.99.

By Ron Rhody

CHAPTER FOUR: RISE PEON

Monday came.

Collection day.

The day Tubby and his merry men would be expecting to collect their tribute, the day that would mark the start of my second full week of school in this town still strange to me, the day that would set the way my peers would think of me.

I knew they knew of Tubby’s shakedowns. They must have talked of it. The word must have gotten around. Not that they were likely to ostracize the timid and the weak among them. They’d just have no respect for them.

I understood that. If you don’t respect yourself, no one else will. To prove that you do, you can’t let others push you around.

While I was a boy, the only instruction I ever had in fighting came the afternoon Andy Charbonneau got beat up.

Jigger Swinson beat hell out of him. Jigger was the biggest and meanest boy in class.

We were playing marbles after school behind the swings. Jigger said Andy cheated. He grabbed Andy’s taw and wouldn’t give it back. Andy called him a liar.

“Don’t call me a liar you little bastard.” He took Andy apart.

When Andy couldn’t stand up any longer, Jigger kicked him in the side and walked away with Andy’s taw.

Jimmy D. and Winston and me helped him home. Andy’s dad, the guide, the elk hunter, was there. “What happened, boys” he said as he washed the blood from Andy’s face.

Mr. Charbonneau, Baptiste Charbonneau, was a cheerful man with an easy way and the build of a bear. His face was wind-burned and sunburned and his eyes crinkled at the sides when he smiled. No smiles now.

When we finished, Mr. Charbonneau said, “Did anybody help this Jigger Swinson beat on Andrew?”

“No, sir.”

He waited a moment or two, considering, then said, “I’m not for fighting, boys. But some things you can’t let pass.”Concerning The Matter of The King of Craw

He looked around to each of us. “I want all you boys to pay attention to this.”

Another long pause, waiting to be sure we were listening.

“I don’t expect you to fight unless you have to. But from time to time you’ll have to. Life works that way.” He seemed saddened by that, but continued.

“If there’s going to be a fight, don’t stand around jawing. Don’t waste time pushing or shoving. Knock the sonofabitch down and stomp on him. Hit him as hard as you can! Go for the stomach. Knock his wind out. When he bends over to try to get a breath, hit him behind the head with both your hands locked together. When he falls, stomp on his hands so he won’t be able to hit again for a long time. Don’t give him any quarter. Don’t give him time to collect himself.”

Mr. Charbonneau was a respected man. He had to master the mountains. Sometimes had to master the egos of the swells who could afford his skills but who drank too much or wanted to take a calf for the meat when it was bulls only season and he wouldn’t permit it.

We listened.

“Beat him so bad he’ll never want to fight you again,” he said. “Blow through him like a Maria and then stand over him and tell him if he ever sees you coming he damn well better get out of the way.”

We were gathered in his kitchen when he told us this. Andy was sitting on a stool by the sink with the bloodstained washcloth floating in the basin and we were ringed around him. Mr. Charbonneau was standing behind Andy with his hand on Andy’s shoulder.

“Understand, boys? Understand what I’m telling you? Don’t get caught up in ideas about fair fights. There are no fair fights. You hit first! Hit with as much force as you’ve got. Drop him down and stomp on him before he knows what’s happening. Make him never dare mess with you again.”

He ran his gaze over each of us, satisfying himself that we understood.

“Now, Andrew,” he said, moving around to stand in front of Andy. “I want you to go find this boy Jigger Swinson. I want you to give him that message. And I want you to get your taw back.”

He walked to the corner by the fireplace where he kept a staff that he used when he was scouting in the mountains, a long wooden staff of fire-hardened oak that had been shaved into round and varnished slick. He hefted it, swung it, slapped it against his open palm a couple of times, walked to the window and looked out. The afternoon was fading but there was still an hour or two to sunset. He walked back across the room to stand in front of Andy.

“This boy’s bigger than you. Take this to even that up. When you find him, don’t say anything.”

Mr. Carbonneau raised the staff above his head and swung it down in a sweeping arc.

“Smash him! Hit down, like you’re chopping a log. Hold the staff in both hands. Hit hard. Aim for a spot between the shoulder blade and the neck. Then switch your hold and swing like you’re hitting a baseball and hit him across the upper arm.”

He drew back, pivoted and stepped into the swing as if he expected to drive it out of the park.

“Then swing it down and bark his shins. Then stab it into his gut. When he falls, stand over him and jam the stick into his neck where the Adam’s Apple is. Not too hard. You’ll kill him if you press too hard.”

Mr. Charbonneau stood there, legs apart with the staff’s point shoved into the floor at his feet and him leaning into it, steel in his tone.

“Tell him give me back my taw. Tell him don’t you dare come at me again.”

He handed the staff to Andy. “Go now.”

And turned to us. We were breathless at what we’d seen, shocked at what we’d heard. “You boys go with him,” he said. “See that no one interferes.”

No one did.

Andy got his taw back.

Jigger Swinson didn’t mess with any of us again.

I remembered.

Tubby and his three merry men circled me when class let out for morning recess.

“Pretty boy, pretty boy, we’re waiting for you. It’s Monday morning and tribute is due.”

They were standing by the outside water fountain. You had to pass it on the way to the playground. Tubby made his little sing-song chant loud enough to be heard by those who were passing. Most of the class knew what to expect. They didn’t stop as they passed but began to gather in little groups just far enough away to be close enough to watch.

The morning was chilly. Tubby had on knickers again and a neatly knotted tie and a button- up sweater, with hair slicked back and an arrogant smile. He stood hands on hips, looking big and threatening. The three merry men grinned at each other.

He held out his right hand, palm up, smirking. I smiled right back and drove my fist into his gut with all the force I had. Tubby’s eyes widened. He folded over, gasping, and I hit him behind the neck with my interlocked hands. He splayed out flat, almost bouncing off the concrete pavement at the base of the fountain. I let him lay gasping for a minute, then rolled him over and knelt down with my knee in his chest. I grabbed his tie and forced his gagging face up to look me in the eyes. The surprise on his face was deeper than the pain.

“Wha….” he tried say but he was fighting too hard to breathe.

I tightened my grip on his tie. “Tubby, the peons have risen,” I said.

I dropped him down then and rose to deal with the merry men. But there was no need. Lucas was standing behind me, protecting my back.

Across the schoolyard kids were running in to get closer.

Tubby was still on his back gasping for breath. The merry men seemed dazed. Lucas nodded his head toward Tubby and said to them, “Your little shakedown is over, boys. I wouldn’t try it again or pretty boy might get mad. Now pick your friend up, clean him up, and get out of here.”

Then he turned to me laughing and shaking his head said, “Where’d you learn that!”

(more to come)

Author Ron Rhody

Novelist Ron Rhody gives sneak peek of his newest novel

Outer Banks Publishing Group author Ron Rhody has agreed to serialize a few chapters of his newest novel giving readers a sneak peak into his book based the real life of John Fallis, a legendary figure, who was like a Robin Hood in Frankfort, Kentucky during the Roaring Twenties.

Each week, we will present a new chapter here or you can read it on Ron’s blog.

CONCERNING THE MATTER OF THE KING OF CRAW will be released Nov. 5, 2016 at the Kentucky Book Fair, Frankfort, KY or you can pre-order a copy from our bookstore for $11.99.

By Ron Rhody

         King of Craw by Ron RhodyI’m not sure how to characterize it. It is a work of fiction, yes —  but it is based on real people and real events. A mystery? Yes, but not of the usual kind. This one has to do with a man of glaring contradictions —  a mercurial man of lethal temper and tender compassion  whose acts cause him to  becomes an iconic figure in Bluegrass folklore.

No one who knew him, not even he himself, could explain why he did the things he did.  He was either Lucifer let loose or Galahad  to the rescue of the poor and the powerless. The debate on whether the sum of his actions was good or evil was intense then and remains so now. And the matter of his death is still suspect.  Was it a fight over a game of dice  as the newspapers reported, or a killing ordered by powerful men who had had enough of the King of Craw?

The book is about all that, and friendship, and the odd turns love can take. Considering this, I thought it might be  good  to give prospective readers an idea of what the story is and how it unfolds. So over the next few weeks we’ll run a  few of the opening chapters here. The one that follows is the Prologue – the “overture” before the curtain rises. Comments and questions are welcomed.

“The essence of good and evil is a certain disposition of the mind.”

Epictetus

PROLOGUE

I have been able to reconstruct most of the facts of his life, but I still cannot explain the man.

The sudden explosions of violence.

Like the cutting of Semonis.

The surprising acts of compassion

Like the burial of the mountain child.

What drove him?

He and Semonis were friends. At a dance. A woman. A remark by Semonis that John Fallis thought insulting? The knife was out and in Semonis’ side before anyone could move.Some spark, some circuit in his mind connected and he reacted violently and without thinking.

That happened often.

Ted Bates.Not serious. The bullet missed the bone and the leg healed. Tubba Dixon had a pool cue broken over his head and would have had the jagged stump shoved down his throat if he hadn’t been pulled out of Fallis’s reach.

There were other shooting and cuttings.

Anger? Surely.Self defense?  Perhaps.

For the Semonis knifing, he was arrested, charged with cutting and wounding with intent to kill without killing, and jailed. But nothing came of it.

From his bed, Semonis petitioned the Judge to set John Fallis free. John is my good friend, he declared. It was a simple misunderstanding, as much my fault as John’s.  Please let him go.

The battered and the wounded often petitioned the court to let him go.

Because of acts like the burial of the mountain child?

A stranger, a man from the mountains, had come to town to find work and feed his family. No work could be found. While the man searched, his baby son caught the river fever and died.

The man knew no one. Had no friends or family to call on.  No job. No money. No way to bury his baby son, his only son. For a man like him, a man from the prideful culture he came from, the shame of it was damning, the despair of the loss of his son crippling.Then someone told him about a man who might help.

No need to belabor the story.

The stranger came to the grocery. Stood before the counter. Humble. Humiliated. Told his story. Promised somehow, someday, if only Mr. Fallis could see his way clear to lend him enough money to bury his son, he’d pay it all back, swear to God.

John Fallis listened quietly. Took the measure of the man. Didn’t lend him the money. Gave it to him. More than was needed.  And stood with the man and his wife at the burial so that they didn’t have to endure it alone.

Like the spark that set off the violence, there was a spark that triggered compassion.

I doubt he was aware of either.

Whatever the case, to most of those in that section near the river where the poor lived, that section where the bad-ass bars and the honkey-tonks and the cat-houses huddled, to most of the people in that part of town where John Fallis had his grocery, and to many others all over town that were poor and powerless, he was revered. He stood up for them.

To the proper folk of the city, though, he was Lucifer unleashed. He was a lawless, thuggish, un-intimidated insult to decency and the Powers-That-Be. They wanted him gone.

John Fallis was ten when he began to carry a knife.

The older boys, the bigger boys, picked on him. He fought back. They thought it was funny. Until he got the knife.

When he became a man, no one thought it would be funny to pick on John Fallis. He brooked no insult, would not be cheated, would not be pushed around. He bent a knee to no man.

He was the King of Craw and Lucas Deane was his acolyte.

I came to know Mister Fallis through Lucas. That’s how I thought of him—as Mister Fallis.

He was strikingly handsome. He had a charm that was almost magnetic. When he chose to use it, which was not always, he won friends easily and women became willing prey. Being around him was like being swept up in a vortex of energy where something exciting, something dangerous, something unexpected could happen, would probably happen, at any second. I fell gladly into his orbit. I was only a boy then. We were in the seventh grade, Lucas Deane and I, when we met. I was transferring in from a distant school. Lucas was already there. That year was nineteen-twenty. The Great War was over. The country was opening the door to the Roaring Twenties.  The Big Shoot-Out was a year in the future.

The Big Shoot-Out. The day John Fallis took on the entire city police force. You’ve heard of it. Everyone’s heard of it. Even the New York Times was appalled. But John Fallis was special to Lucas Deane long before that. Lucas and his mother would have starved but for John Fallis.

Lucas’s mother was ill and couldn’t work. They were penniless.  No money for food, no money for rent. Lucas was only seven at the time.  John Fallis heard of it. He found Lucas and gave him a job … things he could do, sweep up at the grocery after school, stock the shelves … and paid him enough that they could get by.

Later, Mr. Fallis kept Lucas on. He liked the boy. Lucas’s gratitude was endless, his admiration boundless. I could understand that. I came to admire John Fallis, too. But not to the point of blind devotion.

Lord, save us from our heroes.