A Boone Series Box Set

I’m pleased to announce the release of an ebook box set of all five books in the Boone Series. Stumbling Into Adulthood takes the reader from meeting Boone at 16, trying to survive in an abusive household, through the disintegration of his family and a long journey of learning how the adult world works and where his place is in it, to the beginnings of his realization of what family can mean in Book Five, Choosing Family

Also in the box set are essays by Sandra Jessel, Tilmer Wright, Jr., and Ann Hatmaker, looking at the series from the perspectives of an educator working in a regular school classroom, a writer exploring how Boone’s character was developed over the course of the series, and a teacher and advocate for at risk youth discussing the impact Boone’s story has on young people living out on the fringes of society. I contribute a couple of essays as well, and there are two bios, acknowledgments, and a listing of the other books in my catalog.

The box set is available only in ebook format and is currently listed on Amazon and Apple Books. Kobo, Barnes & Noble, and Google Play have the set in their review process and I expect the book will be available in those markets soon as well.

Book Five in the Boone Series

I’m pleased to announce the publication of Choosing Family, the fifth book in the Boone series.

A few weeks after returning from his road trip through the Southeast, Boone is feeling restless. He and Frankie are soon back on the road, heading to Virginia to visit some friends he made on the trip they just finished. When he gets word that his sister Hannah is in trouble he turns around, although he’s not sure if there’s anything he can do to help.

Renting a small house some distance away from his hometown, Boone starts to make his own way, out from under the shadow of his father’s reputation and influence. Meeting Molly helps him begin to understand that they can refuse to let either past history or present limitations define them. 

Obligations to the family he was born into compete with the life he is trying to build for himself, and he starts to realize that the word family can mean much more than he once thought it did.

Available now in ebook format on Amazon. For the print version, ask for Choosing Family at your local independent bookstore, like Union Avenue Books here in Knoxville. If they don’t have it they’ll be glad to order it for you (along with the rest of the series). Or you can check my website for the craft fairs and festivals where you can find me this year.

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Recently I was contacted by my printer/distributer and told that unless I raised the retail price, I would be sending them money every time they sold a book instead of the other way around. My apologies for the increase; it was necessary. I plan to continue selling the first four books of the Boone series at their original price at shows and festivals as long as my supply holds out.  

The Review That Matters

Over the last several days I’ve been participating in Zoom sessions with teens who have read or are reading the Boone series. I told them about my writing process, which is pretty organic and unstructured, and a little about the advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing (as I have experienced it; other’s mileage may vary); they asked questions and told me what they thought of Boone and the series.

The main reason I agreed to do this, and also the main reason I’m so very glad I did, was that the young people I was talking with are living out on the fringes of society, much as I portray Boone to be, and I wanted to get their opinions about how the characters came across and how Boone’s progress through the latter part of his teenage years sounded to them. I didn’t worry too much that they might be concerned with sparing my feelings; my career working with teens taught me that they would probably either give it to me straight or ignore me completely.

On the whole, they thought that Boone sounded like a real person, which was immensely gratifying and also a great relief. Like Boone, I spent my teenage years living in rural East Tennessee, but it has been a few decades, and Boone’s childhood was more dangerous and desperate than mine. I was never hungry, or beaten, and my family stayed intact throughout my childhood and far into my adult life; my mother died at 90 a few months ago, and my father (93) is still, as they say, alive and kicking. Much of Boone’s character was drawn from the issues faced, mistakes made, and resilience shown by the young people I worked with in treatment centers and residential facilities for the majority of my career. It was reassuring to hear that I mostly got it right.

I have always enjoyed writing for the pleasure of creation, the increased clarity of thought that is required when putting things into written form, and the satisfaction of having my characters take on lives of their own and let me know, in no uncertain terms, which direction they feel the story needs to go. I’m also insecure enough about my own abilities to place great value on the opinions of reviewers and judges. Now I find myself wondering why I worried so much about what they thought. The writer’s world is filled with people who are very comfortable using the yardsticks of number of positive reviews and number of sales to evaluate a book’s worth – and, by extension, the author’s – and having a legitimate reason to set aside those opinions is a pleasure. It’s an ego boost to read a positive review, unpleasant to get a negative one, and I won’t pretend that I’ll be completely ignoring either from here on out, but this experience has given me a more realistic frame of reference for them. These young people, largely ignored by society, have given me the most accurate feedback I have received to date, because they live the life I was trying to portray with Boone.

I can also say as a result of these sessions that I have received one review that is more meaningful than all the others I had gotten before, from Amazon or contest judges or anywhere else. The teacher I worked with during these sessions told me that one of the young men had never read an entire book before, but had finished the first three books in the series, was looking forward to reading the fourth, and wanted to know when Book Five was coming out. He said after reading the first few chapters he couldn’t put it down.

That’s where it’s at, folks.

The Boone Series is available in print or ebook versions on my website, housemountainviews.com or on Amazon. Also, I’m sure your local independent bookstore would be glad to order any of the books or the entire set upon request, so if you have a favorite, give them a little business. If you don’t have a favorite, there’s no time like now to find one.

Appalachian Fiction

Looking for an alternative to Hillbilly Elegy? The Boone series (three books; the fourth is in process) is a first person fictional account of the life of an Appalachian teen in the aftermath of his abusive childhood. Pushing Back, Matching Scars, and Keeping Secrets take Boone from 16 years old through 19, stumbling toward adulthood after his family disintegrates over the course of a single weekend. The fourth book (no title yet) is 40k words into the first draft.

Links on my website, under the catalog tab, along with links to my children’s books (available in English and Spanish).

Stay safe and keep in touch,