Speaking of People: Home-grown authors, illustrators have works published
By Jim Turner


Posted on January 1, 0001 12:00 AM



"He was a book reader; book readers are smart," the unnamed narrator of "The Book Readers" observes.
Book writers and illustrators are also smart, and they are among us.
Since the holiday season is upon us, it's time for another book by Russellville author Algie Ray Smith.
In many ways, his Four-Hole Buick is similar to previous works by the educator and businessman. Mixed in are ample references to local businesses, the central character is a youngster who is Smith himself thinly disguised, literary references abound, an all-knowing old woman with Native American blood dispenses words of wisdom, and the central location is a gas station which doubles as an entertainment center. References to comic books and nature also have a prominent place in this book, as they do in his other works.
Greatly different, however, is that this is a novel and its scenes of murder, mayhem and semi-explicit sex keep it from being family reading fare. The 12-year-old boy is called Sammy, not the Joey of Smith's books  Joey Stories, Abe's Place, Class of '59. Limerence, Sixteen Candles, Home Folks and Back to the Fifties. 
Adding to the intrigue of Four-Hole Buick is a novelette included in the back of the paperback book. Taking place a half century later than the early fifties setting of the main novel, "The Book Learners" ultimately ties in to Four-Hole Buick.
The setting of the longer book is the Do Drop In, which is operated by S.O. Moore, known as 'So' and obviously representing the author's late father, A.C. Smith. The business is a gas station by day in the same location where Ray and Ken Smith still operate a service station at Russellville's East End. At night-- at least in the book, it doubles as a cafe where booze can be purchased in dry territory because So Moore is friends with a politically minded sheriff. The sheriff and undertaker/coroner make rxpedient cause-of-death rulings that would have been quickly overruled in today's 'CSI' world of forensic science.
The back lot of the business (where the old Sav-A-Lot building now sits empty) is used as the site for traveling shows, just as it was decades ago in real life. A carnival which sets up there provides much of the intrigue in the novel and even plays a role in the second book.
One of the central characters, Bull, is a tragic World War II veteran who loses everyone he loves and takes revenge on those he believes have wronged them and him, usually with Sammy watching. It is Sammy who brings it all to a conclusion.
Chapters alternate between the actions of humans and of other creatures of nature. The predatory nature of bigger animals toward smaller ones becomes symbolic of the way humans treat each other in Four-Hole Buick.
Former local businesses referenced in Four-Hole Buick include the dime stores Bentley's and Kuhns, the Kaintuck Hotel, Daniel's Hardware (Logan County Hardware run by Everett Daniel), the Dixie Picture Shown, Duncan's Durg Store, Kleins Department Store, City Cab, Clark Funeral Home, the pants sewing plant, and a Pennsylvania factory to be built here soon (Rockwell).
In "The Book Readers" reference is made to "Tell It and sell It" of WRUS. The Shady Oaks nursing center resembles what is now known as Creekwood Place with a manager named "Mrs. Stewart." Creekwood's current administrator is Elizabeth StuartGettings.
Illustrations in Four-Hole Buick are by local artist Sonny Green, a frequent contributor to Smith's works. Prints of his paintings, including his latest one featuring the recently razed Russellville Middle School, are available from Johnny Taylor on the Gallery on Main Street. Across the street, copies of Four-Hole Buick can be purchased at Riley-White Drugs.
If you would like to read a sample chapter of Four-Hole Buick, go to http://loganandbeyond.com and click on AR Smith in the Menu bar at left.

                                                                          The LoJo

Another of Smith's former Russellville Middle School students who is an artist is Duane Spurlock, now working in public relations and communications in Louisville. He did the illustrations for two of Smith earliest books, Alpha Tales and A Cartoon History of Logan County . And he illustrated the cover of my own first book, "Basketball County."
A newer book he illustrated, The Bleeding Horse and Other Ghost Stories, has been named winner of the 2008 Children of the Night Award by the Dracula Society. Among those competing with this one was a book by NY Times best-selling author Neil Gaiman, published by Mercier Press in Ireland.
The author, Brian J. Showers, is a native of Madison, Wisc., who lives in Dublin, Ireland. The dust jacket painting is by noted fantasy artist Scott Hampton. Spurlock provided the black-and-white pen-and-ink interior illustrations. Three of the stories received honorable mentions by fantasy and horror anthologist Ellen Datlow in her Best Horror of the Year (2008) listing http://nightshadebooks.com/discus/messages/233/31565.html?1254590964
The stories blend fact and imagination about a series of actual sites along the Rathmines Road, which runs through Rathmines, a Dublin neighborhood that Showers now calls home. Showers' creativity in melding truth with fiction leaves the reader wondering if these stories are really true.
THE BLEEDING HORSE is available through Amazon.com at  http://www.amazon.com/Bleeding-Horse-Other-Ghost-Stories/dp/1856355780/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1255538196&sr=1-1/thepulprack-20  
Showers and Spurlock have collaborated on other works, including Literary Walking Tours of Gothic Dublin, a nonfictional look at the lives and haunts of three famed Dublin ghost story writers -- including DRACULA author Bram Stoker -- and a story by each, illustrated by Spurlock. It was published by Nonsuch Ireland in 2006. GOTHIC DUBLIN is available through Amazon.com at  http://www.amazon.com/Literary-Walking-Tours-Gothic-Dublin/dp/1845885236/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1255538246&sr=1-1/thepulprack-20  
The two also have worked on hand-crafted chapbooks published by Showers through his Swan River Press. More information about those books is available at Showers' web site, http://www.brianjshowers.com/

                                                                          The LoJo

While Algie Ray, Sonny and Duane are graduates of Russellville High School, another published author is Logan County High School graduate  Wendy Mallory. A beautifican and businesswoman by day, she is a lover of art and a freelance author in her spare time.
She combined the two in a story she wrote about three Bowling Green artists. While profiling Misha Ambrosia, Andee Rudloff and Angela Kuprion, she showed great awareness of art styles and techniques in addition of knowledge what it's like to be a working businesswoman. Statements her prose includes are "her techniques combines both the fanciful and the precise," "admires the rich texture of Van Gough and the flowing palette of Monet," and "her studio features a blend of voices from subjects both ordinary and exceptional; her technicque tranlates what she sees into a palpable sincerity and sensitivity."
The article was published by House to Home Magazine in the category of Art and Philosphy under the title "Dazzling Artists in Our Backyard."
"I was at least published with no formal education in journalism. Proud of it if I never do anything else," she tells The LoJo, but with her sense of style and parallelism, it would be a waste if she doesn't continue to pursue writing.

                                                                          The LoJo

"Expert gardener Suzanne Shuffitt answers commonly asked questions so you can make your own garden grow. What can I do to prepare my garden for the upcoming cooler weather and frosts?" is a Google reference from Ocala Home Magazine. You can read some of her answers at                                                                                         h ttp://www.ocalahomemagazine.com/home_real_estate_articles/templates/default.aspx?a=119&template=print-article.htm 
Shuffitt is the former Suzanne Hunt, a graduate of Russellville High School who is the daughter of the dean of Logan barbers, Pete Hunt, and the late educator Sue Hunt. She lives in Ocala, Fla. and is a self-employed horticulturist after getting a degree from Western Kentucky University in horticulture in 1984.
She not only is a writer on gardening but also has a regular weekly radio on WOCA-AM 1370 called "You've Got to Garden."
As the lead for a feature in Ocala Style and Home Magazine, she wrote, "ONCE UPON A TIME IN A NOT-SO-FARAWAY LAND, John Gray had a dream to create two English-style cottages and surround them with carefree, informal gardens. After four years, he and his family turned that dream into a reality. The small plot of land gives host to two picturesque cottages complete with high-pitched roofs and vines clinging to the authentic, English-inspired stucco walls. Walkways canopied with lush vegetation lead to a backyard where utility and beauty are blended just like the English gardens of long ago." 
Pretty snazzy for a gardening writer, huh? Her environmental science teacher at RHS, the late Marie Turner, who was also an award-winning environmental columnist, would have been very proud.




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