After taking a hiatus for the summer I am back in the saddle and writing again.
We have had our first snowstorm of the season at the cabin. Thankfully, it has melted but we know more will be coming our way.
I have some encouraging news to share. My short story, "Silent Mistress" has been accepted for publication in the Illinois State University digital journal, "Euphemism" in late November. I will put my nose to the grindstone and proceed on my newest writing endeavor, "The Rabbit Girl", which is another novel set in the North Woods. I will try to write more frequently as the winter season will be upon us very soon and I will be consigned to the indoors.
In my last letter dated February 2, 2020 I wrote that I would include a synopsis of my short story collection, "North of Nelson". Here is that synopsis as follows:
SYNOPSIS: “NORTH OF NELSON”; Hilton E. Moore
A collection of Eleven Short Stories from the Great North
This fiction collection is commonly referred to as a story cycle or linked stories in which the characters and events are intertwined in some manner, much like the popular and award winning commercially successful collections of short stories titled Olive Kitteridge and Jesus’ Son.
The setting for this series of short stories is a mythical village called Nelson in a remote area of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. This village in a vast and near-wilderness is the origin for a series of tales that span more than a hundred years and incompass a swath of humanity that live in or near Nelson. The characters and themes in this novel transcend a narrow geographical area and as such are universally accessible to readers both rural and urban.
In the first short story, A Beast Called Fate, Mark Johnson and his teenage daughter Kate have an idyllic life in a wilderness gorge until a developer threatens to close the road to their farmstead. A confrontation ensues and in a twist of fate the issue is resolved.
In the second short story, Woodsmoke, William Martin, a retired social worker must confront his own mental illness and the tortured delusions he has of a long dead classmate. Ultimately his poor health and his unpleasant memories push him to take his life.
In the third, Ditch Dog, Bryan’s young life and faithful dog Ellie May are entangled with Bryan’s irritable Uncle Al, a former pipeliner. Al had made a promise to Bryan’s late father, to instruct Bryan in the art of pheasant hunting. In the midst of a snowstorm Bryan must travel from the Upper Peninsula to Al’s hunting camp in Miller, South Dakota. Bryan’s former girlfriend and a tragic character in an old novel haunt him as he struggles to have a meaningful relationship with his uncle. In a fateful hunt Ellie May is shot by an angry farmer and Bryan returns heart sickened to the Upper Peninsula. Later, in a redemptive act Al tries to make up for the death of Ellie May.
In story four, A Shotgun Wedding, Cassandra relives her life as a reluctant prophet, unable to affect the outcome of her parents’ difficult relationship and the suicide of her biological father. She struggles throughout her life with her “gift” aware that the world never accepts the word of an unwilling soothsayer.
Story five, In a short story titled Silent Mistress, set during the Great Depression, Lizzie, a Native American, must deal with her disdain of Catholicism, abject poverty and finally, the tragic and fatal alcoholism of her husband.
Story six, Requiem For Ernie, opens in the village of Nelson where the young male protagonist, beset by untreatable polio, finds solace with his chubby friend Ernie and the game of baseball.
In the seventh short story, Ode To A Lone Wolf, Randy Johnson and his young son cattle farm in the isolated Sturgeon River Gorge near Nelson, where they are in a constant battle with the elements and the hated wolves that prey on their livestock. Randy’s girlfriend, Laura Kingsley, a conservation officer, assists in Randy’s arrest after he illegally shoots a protected wolf.
Short story eight, The Cell Tower, is a startling tale of incest and guilt set in a isolated cabin in the stark frozen winter. The female protagonist, Micah, is torn between saving herself from her own shameful acts, or saving her mentally ill brother, Edward, from the buffoon deputy sheriff Larry. Edward’s illogical obsession with shooting out the lights of a remote cell tower and consequent possible imprisonment come to a deadly head as Larry confronts Edward.
In story nine, A Dog Named Bunny, Robbie, a young man is incarcerated for murder of a neighbor lady and his younger brother Alan, both of whom he accidentally poisoned. The crimes were prompted by Robbie’s anger over Mrs. Larsen’s insistence that his dog Bunny be destroyed for killing her prize chickens. Robbie’s father, Reverend Hank Martin, a minister in the village of Nelson is deeply affected by an unfortunate lie that led to the tragic consequences and the fate of their pup and to Robbie’s fateful incarceration.
Short story ten opens in the year 1883 as The Irascible Pedagogue, Horace Nelson, a rural school teacher, becomes captivated by an intelligent and beautiful student, Lilith. A covert but unromantic courtship ensues as Horace privately teaches her the French language. Horace, who is unable to find suitable employment due to a charge of immoral turpitude at Yale sees a marriage with Lilith as an avenue of respectability. Horace and Lilith attend a dance at the Grange Hall and Horace rebuffs Lilith’s requests to dance. Lilith asks a young, handsome and prosperous farmer named James to dance and Horace’s fate is sealed. Lilith marries James, and in anger Horace has a small house built just up the hill from James and Lilith’s farmhouse. Lilith undresses seductively in front of her bedroom window, and over time slowly exposes her body to the unremitting gaze of Horace. Horace eventually becomes enraged by jealousy and murders James. Horace is sentenced to life in prison and Lilith sells her farm and sails to France. In a letter from a former lover, it is related that Lilith died of complications due to syphilis having spent her youth as a model for impressionist and passionate painters.
Short story eleven. Lust And Lightning, is set in the early 1970’s and chronicles a young college student, Duane’s life and loves in a tourist city in Northern Michigan. Duane is infatuated with a small town girl, named Judy as well as a wealthy college student named Heather. Duane buys an old sailboat from Heather and a relationship ensues despite his occasional sexual trysts with Judy. Judy’s boyfriend is Roger, Heather’s former boyfriend and a self-proclaimed poet. This entanglement in relationships plays its way over the course of the summer as all parties involved work out their respective needs. Judy is gang-raped by Roger and his cohorts and she disappears leaving Duane alone. Heather and Roger marry and Roger becomes an acclaimed poet. Duane, in turn opens a bookstore in the resort town and silently refuses to sell Roger’s books.
I hope this synopsis has piqued your interest. Please don't forget to subscribe to my website to keep updated on upcoming additions to my blog.