Does everything happen for a reason?

Last weekend Rhonda and I went to North Carolina for a much anticipated High School Graduation Class Reunion. We arrived at our reserved motel on Friday evening, and I settled in with a book of the county history from the motel office. As I gazed at it, my eyes suddenly began to cross and I was seeing double. I started to rise and felt dizzy. I lay down, thinking the problem would soon go away. I had had short episodes with this in the past.

Soon I felt some better and decided that a good night’s sleep was all I needed. At 4:00 AM I awakened to find that the symptoms had intensified. I asked Rhonda to drive me to the ER of the local hospital. Once there, they began immediately to treat me for vertigo. The nurse assured me I would be well and on my way to the reunion that evening. Not so. After hours of failing to improve and even after IVs with more meds, they decided they wanted an MRI, but had no tech on duty, so they called the larger city, Asheville, for permission to transport me there. Rhonda followed the speeding ambulance, almost losing them at times.

Late that evening they told me the MRI was normal, and that some cases of inner ear problems are slower to go away. I had not been able to eat all day, and finally at about 8:00 they brought me a box lunch. At 9:00 I was dismissed, as my symptoms were improving. So much for my reunion. Rhonda had been in touch by phone with one of my classmates who relayed my situation to the class. I had been scheduled to speak, and one of my books was given by our class president as a door prize.

I was really surprised by the outpouring of well wishes I have received over the past week. One of my best friends in elementary school called and told me of the rush of memories he had felt while reading Beyond the Thistle Patch, my book of childhood memoirs which I had dedicated to our class. We talked for quite some time. Several called, while others emailed. One, female classmate who is now a doctor, sent a card signed members of the church she attends.

“That must be why that happened,” Rhonda told me yesterday. “It brought you closer to some of your classmates than if you had been there.”

I don’t know about that diagnosis, but it may be right. I might not have realized how much some cared. It’s just good to see that after 50 years, the bonds still hold.

Meanwhile check out or see our books on Amazon.

Books of Historic Significance

Even before I became a publisher I was a book lover and collector. Something I inherited from my mother. I have a library on thousands of titles ranging in publication date from the mid-eighteen hundreds to date.

When selecting a book to add to my collection, I consider some important factors: age, condition and historic significance.

In writing my own works I could only make a stab at delivering a title which could be of historic significance. I feel that at least two are. Both were listed by Amazon as “hot new releases when they first came out.” The first was “Conspiracy in the Town That TIme Forgot,” a true crime drama which a co-wrote with my good friend, Ron Cunningham.  It caught the attention of a number of folks, perticularly in the legal and law enforcement professions. It was even offered by a junior college as recommended reading fro Criminal Justice students, and became a part of several pubilc libraries.

Now, Most Comprehensive Origins of Cliches, Proverbs and Figurative Expressions has proved to be of historic significance in that it has been ranked by readers as being such. Check it out on Amazon and read the reviews. I welcome your review there as well.


Live music anyone? Or not…

For live concert lovers who just live to hit the road in June, Middle Tennessee is your place. First, in Nashville the CMA Music Fest will run from June 6 through 9 headlined by such Country chart-toppers as Blake Shelton and wife, Miranda Lambert, Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood, Brad Pasley, Keith Urban, Lady Antebellum, and Kelly Clarkson along with the old favorites like The Oak Ridge Boys, Randy Travis, Sara Evans, Pam Tillis, Lorrie Morgan and the list goes on and on. Last year 71,000 fans were in attendance.

And as if that’s not enough, or if Country Music is not your thing, just twenty miles from my home, in Manchester, Bonnaroo kicks off the next week and goes from June 13 through 16. They expect 75,000 there. Headlined by superstars like Sir Paul McCartney, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and Mumford and Sons, this Festival presents artists of many genres from rock to hip hop and jazz. Other performers include David Burge and St. Vincent, Bjork, WIlco, Billy Idol and John Oates, just to name a few.

But then, around this neck of the woods there are a lot of folks like me…those who would just as soon stay home and find a good book to read. And St. Clair Publications offers quite a variety of them from children’s stories and rhymes to thrilling adventure, true drama and reference books. Whatever you are looking for in a book you can find at And we’re putting out more every month. All of our books are on Amazon, many on Kindle and a number on eVolve generic e book at our site. So if you’d rather escape the headbanging music and big crowds, you’ve got a good option. Most books ship within a day or two of your individual order.

Amazon special–get it while the getting is good

Amazon has a proven way of marketing that stirs up a lot of attention. When a new item comes out which shows promise they will sometimes offer an outstanding value to ‘get things moving’. This was the case with my initial cliche book, On the Origin of the Cliches and Evolution of Idioms. It became a top seller in its genre.

Now they have done the same for a limited time with my new, much expanded 730 page, small print tome, Most Comprehensive Origins of Cliches, Proverbs  and Figurative Expressions.

This book, containing a treasure trove of information, has been called ‘a masterpiece’ and ‘extraordinary’ by learned persons who have contacted me. It took me almost three years, including research on the previous books which was included in this one, to put it together. Now it is out in both paperback and Kindle versions. It can be had ‘for a song’. Suggested retail is $27.95 for the hard copy and it is now selling, for a short time only, for $17.84 on Amazon. The Kindle is a low $5.95, and if you are a member of Amazon Prime, you can borrow it FREE!

This carefully researched book, which dissolves myths and exposes misquotes, will never be less expensive. But without my loyal readers, who are my inspiration I could not have put it together in the first place. Get it while the getting is good!

Kent Hesselbein – Brilliant author and artist

Infidel Cover

Sometimes we don’t do enough to express to the really gifted persons in our life how good they really are. Perhaps we have been warned too much about giving others ‘the big head.’ We have some very gifted authors at St. Clair Publications, but I felt it was time to relay my absolute fascination for the work of one of our own team–one who carries great weight when it comes to keeping our cogs in motion.

Kent Hesselbein works long hours as a creative artist. And his work is some of the best I have ever seen. He is also our webmaster. He designed and keeps functional our entire web site.

As if that were not enough, he is a most gifted writer. His first book, Good to the Finish, is a frank revelation of the sometimes grueling adventures of his family as he grew up, on the home mission field in the American South. To understand the significance of how hardships can mold a character and form a personality, reading this book is a must. It is available at our website at as well as Amazon and other online retailers around the world. You may also order a copy from any local bookstore, as it is distributed by Ingram Books.

His latest offering, however, is entirely different, showing just how versitile his skills really are! Infidel, Legends of the Men of Iron: Book One, is a moving page turner. The first in a series of sequals to Howard Pyle’s classic mideaval knight’s tale, Men of Iron, it is truly a work of genius. I can’t say enough about how this book flows with amazing dialogue and adventure. See for yourself by obtaining a copy today at or Amazon worldwide.

Tales of Two Gails – amazing X 2

I’ve done it numerous times. As an author participating in a book signing at a library or museum with other authors it is common practice to exchange books with another author. But I wasn’t quite prepared for for what happened at the historical museum in Franklin, NC this past Saturday.

I met two delightful ladies, both named Gail, and exchanged a copy of my childhood memoirs, Beyond the Thistle Patch, for one of their collaboration, Tales of Two Gails. I learned that we all three had grown up in Macon County, NC, and,  I had attended a year of school with each of them, though they were both younger.   .

I brought the book home and began reading–wow! I could hardly put it down. Tales of Two Gales is a heart-wrenching story of the lifelong friendship of two girls from rural Appalachia who grew up under dire circumstances, not only lacking in many necessities, but with grossly trying family situations. In spite of all odds, the loving nurturing of grandparents and their faith and love for one another carried them both through to successful marriages and careers. This amazing true story consists of a series of short stories which, when combined, is both connected and engrossing. When I completed the book in less than a week it left me with a warm feeling, but with an empty spot in my heart wishing I had more to consume. This is a must read for anyone who feels that they faced trials growing up.

Tales of Two Gales is by Gail Shepherd Diederich, now a writer for the St. Petersburg Times, and Gail Kelly Lester, who presently serves as Executive Assistant to the senior pastors of Church in the City in Rowlett, Texas. It is available on their website at or at

Book signing a big success

It was such a great pleasure spending the day Saturday at the Historical Society in Franklin, NC with my good friend and co-author, Ron Cunningham and seeing some old friends and meeting new ones. The weather couldn’t have been more cooperative and the folks at the museum were such a joy to work with. I found that one of my high school teachers, Clayton Ramsey, was recieving an award that very day.

While there I saw some ladies with whom I went to school who are now also authors, Gail Shepherd Deitrich and Gail Kelly Lester. I have begun reading their delightful book, Tales of Two Gails and am finding that so many of our experiences as youth were parallel. After I finish I will be doing a review for my blog. It is available at their web site . I already know that I can highly recommend it.

Also, after the signing, we went to Mason Mountain Ruby Mine, and I was delighted to meet a young lady that is looking forward to working with her husband to write the story of their family’s ownership and management of the mine over the past several generations. I’m looking forward to that as well.

Beyond the Thistle Patch

Yesterday I arrived early for an appointment with my family doctor. It was drizzling rain–something badly needed because of our drought. I didn’t want to go in that early so I searched the car for something to read and came accross a proof copy of Beyond the Thistle Patch, the autobiographal memoirs of my youth. I was thinking about my upcoming book signing in the town where those adventures unfolded so many years ago as I flipped through its pages. My gaze lit on chapter 15 and I read to myself these words:

One crisp day that fall I got my 410 shotgun out which I had bought that summer, and with Scampy, headed for the woods. What a sharp little gun it was, with a highly polished knotty-maple stock and a soft plastic carrying case!

Rover was growing very old, and he and Dixie didn’t offer to come along that day. I walked through the old hog lot and lingered under the big weeping willow tree before climbing across the slumping hog-wire fence and strolling through the stubble field which remained from harvesting the corn crop. Daddy needed less now that the hogs no longer occupied their crumbling domain. Somehow it seemed lonely without them. A goat brushed my leg and stared up at me, letting out a pitiful bleat. The goats were being allowed to devour the remaining stalks which now had little other usefulness. As I ambled onward, the memories of my childhood glory days flooded my mind. For the first time in years I recalled that day so many years ago when I wandered far away and discovered the mystifying field with the thistles and the rambling rock wall. Why had this been blocked from my memory for all of these years? I must have gone near there while out with my cousins. Come to think of it, we usually hunted on the other side of the road, up past the site of Vinsonville, I reasoned. Just when we found the cave and the forest fire started, were we over this way, and then we turned right and went more north!

It had been too long. I couldn’t remember the way I had gone to that wondrous spot, but I knew that now that I had thought of it, I would somehow find it once again. A crow let out a startled caw and flew rapidly from a white pine to my right. Something looks strangely familiar about that pine! I shook my head. A white pine is a white pine, right? Wait! The trunk forked about half way up, forming two distinct new equal trunks! Yes! It seemed that the crow was speaking to me, “Caw! Remember this tree?” I thought of Poe’s prolific classic poem, “The Raven” producing in my mind a nostalgic sense of wonder, and on my arms, a startling cascade of chill bumps. At that point it seemed that I was guided by an inner power, leading me onward toward my goal. New markers appeared. Within fifteen short minutes the sun again revealed the opening I had seen as a child! Déjà vu! There was the site of the mystical thistle patch. No blossoms were present, of course, since the season of their dwelling was half a year away. The old rock wall seemed somehow not as prodigious as it did the last time I had stood in this spot. Nonetheless, I knew that I had found it!

For a few brief moments I merely stood there, as if hypnotized by the renewal of a feeling so long missing in my life. What was it about this spot that intrigued me as it did? Was it the fact that it had loomed so beautifully before me at a special time in my life, or the idea that it had been forbidden? Then, slowly I strolled around the wall and noticed a dull bit of metal burrowed beneath the soil. Reaching down, I scratched it loose and saw that it was an Indian-head penny dated 1898! Could it have been dropped by the Shopes as they crossed the mountain on their wedding night? Pushing anxiously forward, I picked up a distinctive arrowhead.

End excerpt.

If this makes you want to read further you may do so by ordering your copy at

or on Amazon at 

Good reading