Friday, March 5, 2010

ARC Preview: She-Rain by Michael Cogdill


 Amazon Book Data:

  • Paperback: 360 pages
  • Publisher: Morgan James Publishing (March 31, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1600377025
  • ISBN-13: 978-1600377020
  • Genre: General Fiction 

    About the Book: 

    In the early 20th Century, a pair of North Carolina mountain children sow the seed of a love that becomes their only solace in the world. They grow it off steep ground of poverty, ignorance and violence so hard, it can kill hope long before claiming life.

    Bloodshed finally sends Frank Locke on the run, deep into wilderness, abandoning his extraordinary love, Mary Lizbeth. When a whitewater river washes this desperate boy into the hands of Sophia, he discovers a luminous young woman steeped in mystery, trapped in a tragically brilliant life. Far ahead of her time. Secreted from the world. As she awakens Frank’s mind, their souls rise to meet a love that binds three people for a lifetime.

    This love triangle forms a beauty no one sees coming. From the wilds of Appalachia, crossing nearly a century, it runs deep into a lush American fortune, and lives in letters of adoration and hope of the least expected.

    In a rhapsody of Southern voices, mingling hilarity and sorrow, She-Rain speaks of lives soaring beyond heartbreak, fundamentalism and self-destruction. Two women in love with one man ultimately prove the power of human hearts to answer high callings. They teach us all how to heal -- and thrive -- gracefully longing to the very end.

    Author Bio:


    Michael Cogdill is blessed as one of the most honored television storytellers in America. His cache of awards includes 24 Emmys and the National Edward R. Murrow for a broad range of achievement, from live reporting to long-form storytelling. His television credits as a journalist include CNN, CNBC, MSNBC, and The Today Show, and Michael's interview history crosses a wide horizon: The Reverend Billy Graham, Dr. Mehmet Oz of Oprah fame, Dr. Henry Kissinger, Abby Hoffman, Senator Hillary Clinton, Senator John McCain, Howard K. Smith, James Brown, Keith Lockhart of the Boston Pops and many other newsmakers. His coverage credits include Presidents and Vice Presidents of the United States.  

    Michael spent ten years writing She-Rain, letting it evolve into a world of fiction drawn from his upbringing in Western North Carolina but reaching far beyond. His other writing credits are Cracker the Crab and the Sideways Afternoon -- a children's motivational book, and a self-help volume, Raise the Haze. Michael makes his home in South Carolina with his wife, Jill (a publishing entrepreneur), and their second-generation golden retriever, Maggie. He's currently working on his second novel.

    To connect with the author please see his blog and on Goodreads.


    To get a feel of what the author’s writing is like, below is an article by the author.

    A Dog's Inspiration to a Writer and the World: How the Life and Death of a Golden Retriever Might Save Us From Ourselves
    By Michael Cogdill,
    Author of She-Rain: A Story of Hope

    On the morning of May 29, 2008, I lifted Savannah from her bed, carried her to the car, and made the longest seven-mile drive of my life. At the office of a veterinarian, welcomed by that profession's unique form of love, I soon lay on a cushioned floor beside a golden retriever who showed virtually none of her age, watching both my hands stroke the face that had welcomed me home for thirteen years.

    The answer to a yearning awaited us that morning. It was part of the quiet covenant I made with Savannah the day my wife, Jill, and I adopted her. When a sweet dog's bloodline comes in confluence with our own, we human animals take on a sacred devotion. As sickness comes on hard and takes down the joy of living, caring dog owners are committed to shouldering our beloved family member to a merciful death. On the floor that morning, I answered Savannah's courageous outreach for that death, allowing her to carry me. The peace that arrived in her final breath lifted the tide of my heartbreak. As I nearly drowned in sadness, Savannah showed me to the shore of a graceful goodbye.

    Later that day, a prominent friend in Hollywood, fresh from the same grief in his own family, shared with us some comfort, but also a spiritual yearning of his own: Why would God measure the lifetime of dogs, and other animals we love, by a virtual hourglass when we live by a calendar? Why so little time on earth for those so good and loyal? It seems a cruelty.

    After these months of healing, and the reporting of countless human tragedies on television, I've arrived at a conclusion: Savannah's too-short life, like that of all sweet dogs, calls us to a fine urgency dogs get after big living. They seem illiterate of worry, yet able to read joys that elude us. They quietly shout to us: Wag your backside to music instead of your tongue to malice. Wallow less in pity and more on the bed of the one you adore. Give yourself, extravagantly, away.

    I still fail her, of course. I live too much in my worries and sorrows and too little on the joy path she wore for me. Yet in these times of media-saturated human disaster, a thought of Savannah improves me as a man, recalls me to life as a writer. Her memory sets off some musing about the hope found in the life and death of a good dog. See if these truths make the news of your times easier to bear:

    Savannah feared nothing about death. She went to it with eyes full of gratitude for the way her life had been. Her eyes seemed to draw from some deep well of love, way beyond the crust of words. Even in her final hour, sick as she was, she lived as a divining rod to this love. No matter how I tried to comfort her, sheserved me -- right to her last moment. The kidney failure that was stalling her life was no match for the servant's heart within her.

    The high pitch of biased media, politics, and the vitriol of social debate held no allure for Savannah. She made grace her way of life. She ran from loud voices and bounded to gentility wherever she found it. We could trust her to be tender, even with the smallest child. Savannah taught me there's nothing so powerful in this life as a truly gentle woman or man.

    There is no vanity in such dogs. They split mud holes, then track adoration across the floors of the humans who forgive them. They surely wonder why we care so much for things and so little for helping one another have simple wellness and fun. Savannah never cared for the size of my car. She simply loved the ride. She measured none of my money in how she valued me. In times of my sorrow, she made certain to place her head under my hand, letting me read a sense of all-will-be-more-than-well in its Braille.

    With the too-often forgotten elderly in a nursing home, Savannah visited with no consciousness of herself. The sights and smells that repulse too many humans never seem to repel a good dog. Something innate about Savannah longed to care for everyone. She never appraised anyone by their politics, religion, or race. No human bloodline or job pedigree held any sway. Savannah treated the ignorant as kings and the malicious as queens. Even avowed dog haters valued what they found in her, and she loved them without pause.

    Such a dog will forgive to the point of endangering itself. Some may argue enough hatefulness will turn any dog, even the most generous and kind. Perhaps this forms a caveat to us as well. Maybe good dogs teach us we will eventually draw back what we put into the world. Or is it that forgiveness becomes a form of capital we spend to the great shock of our enemies, an investment from which we draw the interest of turning enemies into friends? After every trip to the vet, on the heels of cavity exams every sane creature loathes, Savannah forgave Jill and me. We never had to ask.

    In the afterglow of thinking of her, I adore considering how living so might change humankind. What might the news look like if everyone were so devotedly kind to everyone else? My job -- as a writer of news and fiction -- would so beautifully change.

    Within an hour after putting her into that permanent sleep, I sat weeping at our kitchen table and wrote an open letter to Savannah. It let my grief out to run, with the memory of her a comfort at my knee. I leave you with a passage of it here, and a wish that the news of our future days will improve, changed in some small way by the legacy of Savannah.

    "You tracked to the child who lives in me always. In this man you found a boy who loves you, sweet girl. Even in death, somehow you will always lead the boy in me home. I will follow your trail. And together, in the grand wet and muddy fun places of memory, we will be glad."

    © 2010 Michael Cogdill, author of She-Rain: A Story of Hope


  • Purchasing links for Amazon are US/UK/Canada, and The Book Depository in Euro/AUD.

    This book was sent to me for review by FSB Associates. Thanks Caitlin!

    Review coming soon!

    Thanks for reading Layers of Thought.


    Laurel-Rain Snow said...

    I've seen this book sounds completely fascinating!

    Thanks for sharing.

    Unknown said...

    Laurel -
    If you would like I can send it to you when I am done? Let me know?

    milo said...

    hye shellie.. i'm friend from Malaysia.. i found your blog at google forum about the comments disappear problem.. i have the same problem after i change my blog url.. all the comments are disappear! so, how about your problem? is it ok now? how to solve this problem?

    i dont know how to contact you so i just use this comment form..

    anyway, nice blog you have! ^_^

    Unknown said...

    Hi Milo -
    I have two comments in my comment moderation box right now I cannot delete. They have been there for months and appear and reappear. As well I have had people comment and I get no notification for them - but they are in the moderation section within blogger... does that help?

    Thanks - I work on it a lot. :)

    Charlie said...

    Strange things have been going on with comments lately. I had 4 posts that said "0 comments", but the comments were in fact there. A couple days ago, it fixed itself--or rather Google did. I think the problems lie (lay?) in Googleland.

    I'll be back later to finish the rest of your posts.

    Unknown said...

    Charlie -
    Yes - they are having problems - I had that happen several months ago....lets hope the whole thing doesn't crash.... and worse

    Recently - I have been getting comments which are not being sent to my email box - but they are in my comment moderation area. We also currently have 3 comments in the comment moderation box which will not delete - they are from August 09.

    I had a blogger from Malaysia find me through a post I made wanting my help with my comment problem - the one you are having now - wanting help with his current comment problem.... I could give him none. So apparently you aren't the only one right now.

    Word Press is always and option, but I know someone who's blog was not accessible for several hours the other day... yikes!

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