(Crank up the sound!)
(Crank up the sound!)
Listen up, Children. If this don’t touch your heart, then you ain’t got one …
(Ben and Sam–you are great and glorious to hear, here!)
Possibly the greatest nourishment the human soul and spirit can receive in this life is from two lovers sharing a dream together. It rises as an irresistible frothy roux of sweet arousal and boundless joy in both hearts. But thereafter, as the days and years come to pass, as sometimes they sizzle, simmer, as sometimes they roil like stormy seas in a skillet, their shared struggle will be for neither heart to ever let go of the dream. Because it only takes one untrue heart, you see — it only takes one who loses heart for the dream to melt into a chillingly bitter puddle of sorrow, now no longer feeding or sustaining two lost and lonely shadows. And rare is the sweet aperitif that can revive this love, this dream, once its aroma and life enriching flavors have gone to vinegar.
Through this Thornhorn window …
Her heart was a Bonnie and Clyde
Forever being shot full of blood and bullets
Her body and soul riddled with fear
In an endless slow motion dance
Of deathly recoil
From all her imaginary scary places
Within the onward march of a
Real world with real uncharted
Roads and reckless cars
A real world of scars she seeks out
And needily needs
For her to pull the trigger
Boom Boom Boom
Splat and splat
She pulls the trigger inside her head
To keep her dying and dying
A little more
A little more
In her slow-mo delay
With the blood and the bullets
That tear her apart
In her trance
In her fugitive waltz
Her damnation’s dance
With each new lovely day.
Chosen as Best General Fiction Novel finalist by the 2015 Indie Book Awards! “An extraordinary work…” ~ William Peter Blatty “Captures the tragedy of romantic and familial love better than any story I have ever read.” ~ Janeiro Bento
The towering and incredible Southern love story The Kestrel Waters has now received 5-Star ratings from over 9 out 10 readers, including raves from celebrity authors and critics, and is a best Book-Of-Month pick by the largest online Southern book club, On The Southern Literary Trail (Goodreads).
===> Watch THE KESTREL WATERS Book Trailer <===
Hear the twilight song of Kestrel.
He has not always been this night-winged angel. He was once a star, a guitar star so righteous. He was once a lost boy in love.
In The Beginning were The Brothers Brass. In The End there is no end to what one wounded girl’s heart will give. And no end to what one brother will give for the other.
Raised in Savannah by the sea, together, The Brothers Brass voices chime like heavenly bells. The oldest brother Kestrel falls in love with a girl named Bettilia, a wild child who hides in the treetops—hiding from her bad daddy on a ghostly mountain called Riddle Top.
“I was haunted throughout by a sense of mystery and otherness. This book is a mesmerizing, wonderfully written and extraordinary work of the imagination…Thornhorn, where the hell have you been?” ~ William Peter Blatty (author of The Exorcist )
Soon all the Family Brass falls for Bettilia. She touches Kestrel, she touches everyone. And they touch sweet Bettilia, forever. Then comes that fateful day when Kestrel says “I do” to his dance with the devil—his devil within and without.
“Captures the tragedy of romantic and familial love better than any story I have ever read.” ~ Janeiro Bento
The Kestrel Waters is an eerie, heroic, and beautiful tale of human love, like none you’ve ever known. An epic fable of an epic family whose hearts are comic, profane, and profoundly true.
“Mellifluous, Lyrical…with a darkness that creeps like kudzu.” ~ Kirkus Reviews
The Kestrel Waters (A Tale of Love and Devil) by author Randy Thornhorn.
“One of the South’s wildest new voices…” ~ The Oxford American Magazine
“Randy Thornhorn has the talent to blend a kind of mystical backdrop with gritty southern realism that I didn’t think was possible … If I had to pick one thing that sets Thornhorn apart from other southern storytellers (beyond his ability to mix fantasy and realism), it would be the masterful way he sprinkles backwoods dialect into meaningful dialogue. You get the sense you’re learning a long lost language, one that is simple and alluring.” ~ R.W. Ridley (author of The Oz Chronicles)
More readers’ comments:
“I just finished The Kestrel Waters. I started it this morning and read it mostly in one sitting…I could not put it down. The language was beautiful. Honestly, I think it an amazing book…It was a profound experience.”
~ Rebecca Jacobson
“The Kestrel Waters is one of those books that leaves the reader with an emotional hangover. It’s difficult to start reading another book, because one’s feelings are still so influenced by the book just read. This emotional hangover doesn’t happen too often for me, and I’m a voracious reader. Indeed, it happens more often with music. But in a way I can’t explain, The Kestrel Waters is like music…”
~ Joy Williams
“I had no idea what to expect when I started reading The Kestrel Waters…I didn’t expect to care for the characters the way I do. I didn’t expect to be as concerned for them as I became. And I certainly didn’t expect to finish this book with a lump in my throat, tears in my eyes, and the sense of having experienced something profound.
This was a hell of a good read had I sought only an engaging yarn of good and evil, love and redemption, and a mystery solved. But it’s a lot more than that.
This is immersive, obsessive, and deeply affecting. Disorienting – in that way that a good book can connect you to something that leaves a tint on everything around you, an aftertaste… this is powerful.”
~ Jeffrey Lindner
“I found it masterful…I feel almost as haunted by [Bettilia] as Kes did. She’s a haunting, haunted little creature, but I fell in love with her. Her snappish wit, her obvious devotion to Mambly and Mama, her courage and strength, and her fears…The climax was riveting.”
~ Brianne Harris (Age 20, Illinois)
Herald the shadowed things, the hearth and tinder,
Lo, she comes, yon midnight madonna, newborn and beheld.
On AudioBook at last! Wicked Temper comes alive in voice, words, and song at Audible, iTunes, and Amazon.com. Narrated and performed by the author, Randy Thornhorn — in a production that you will swear is a full cast of stark and mesmerizing characters.
A rare, riveting, fast and ferociously funny fable …
“Unforgettable … An unnerving literary experience. The lovechild of William Faulkner and H.P. Lovecraft.” ~ Kirkus Reviews
“Thornhorn, where the hell have you been?” ~ William Peter Blatty (author of The Exorcist)
“An instant Southern Classic … Wicked Temper isn’t good — it’s great. In the vein of William Faulkner, Cormac McCarthy, Harper Lee, and Erskine Caldwell.” ~ R.W. Ridley (author of The Oz Chronicles)
“You ain’t strong because you suffer,” he said. “Not when you suffer for fool notions, you ain’t. Strong ain’t when you keep picking your prideful ass back up to keep trying at them same old easier ways that everybody likes. Them ways that ain’t never worked out healthy for you or for them you keep saying you love. Strong? Strong is when your ass finally gets up, gets wise, and gets humble and tough enough to make them hard damn changes. Them changes that hurt bad at first, changes that you may catch holy hell for, but are good for you and everybody else in the long run. That, my sweet darlin, is strong.”
Yes, we were there that wonderful winter’s eve …
Hey, folks. Please cast your eye upon the first annual East Alabama Book Festival to be held this coming Sunday, October 18. sponsored by The Gnu’s Room (Auburn/Opelika’s independent bookstore), Southern Humanities Review and The Republic.
I hope those of you in shouting distance will descend upon this do. It is sure to be a day filled with mighty good words, aromatic foods, and vendors peddling all manner of shiny baubles, strange roots, and sweet berries from the vine.
A certain Randy Thornhorn will be reading and signing along with many other writers and poets of note, from near and afar.
Here is hoping a peck of you can be there. Here, also, are a couple of links with more details and info about the festival:
Yours from the back of beyond,
(Crank up the sound!)
Here is the newly certified paperback edition cover for Wicked Temper, now available on Amazon.com (though their website can take a day or two to reflect the new cover change). The hardback edition is about a week away—and, personally, I always prefer the hardback cover because it’s not all cluttered with plot synopsis text or the barcode, since they all go on the inner dustcover flap, which leaves the artwork clean as it was truly meant to be seen.
Here is a song all you Thornfolk need to hear. The great Roxie Watson (If I Could Be There)!
Once was a magic woman.
Don’t know where she went.
Know she was heaven sent.
Gave her a magic ring,
Everything I had to give.
She still feels like home
A wild river.
Swollen and wild.
A spreading and
Now she wants none of me,
None of me or
So I leave her
With these blossoms,
With wind chimes,
And my prayer.
May, someday, there come
Another new Alice,
Another magic morning sky
Where she will fly unafraid
And set herself free.
Yes, I leave her
With a sweet bye and bye,
With love everlasting,
In the same tradition as The Brothers Brass in my new novel, The Kestrel Waters, here are two young men bound for glory.
Their songs are poignant and haunting, their harmonies are sublime. Treat yourself to The Zolla Boys!
(You can learn more about their background and the fast blossoming career of the Zolla Boys at www.thezollaboys.com)
Through this Thornhorn window …
There’s a jagged hole now
In my heart
So cold the wind blows through
Where once your heart within my heart
Your ring within my ring
Held an everlasting me and you
When we were one and two.
Forgive the lonesome whistle
Where my heartbeat used to be
The strain of the wind
Wringing through me
The sting of its cold refrain
No song of ours left
No song of ours left
No song of ours left to sing.
“An unnerving literary experience, like finding a fiddleback spider on one’s shoe or a copperhead snake coiled and ready to strike under one’s bed.”
Excerpted from the new Kirkus Review of Wicked Temper by Randy Thornhorn:
Two runaway teenagers go on a crime spree and get lost in a backwoods region of the southern Appalachian Mountains in Thornhorn’s (I Be the Christis, the Kid Beheaded, 2014, etc.) novel.
Thirteen-year-old Tizzy Polk’s father is a tyrannical preacher who’s repeatedly warned her about boys like Matthew “Rebel Yell” Birdnell. The son of a pig farmer, Birdnell sees no future for himself in the mountains and wants out of Cayuga Ridge in the worst way—and when he steals his father’s ’49 Studebaker pickup, Tizzy, searching for some kind of freedom, joins him with a little persuasion. With a stolen gun, the two runaways commit a series of crimes, culminating in a murder, and attempt to evade the law by driving up some backwoods roads that lead to Riddle Top, a “great black crag with bristle hairs” that “gave up sunlight like a jagged miser then quickly stole it back.” When they meet its creepy inhabitants, they quickly realize that the scary stories about the dark mountain are true.
A blend of Southern gothic and hillbilly noir, this story is utterly readable, in large part because of Thornhorn’s masterful use of dialect, rich description, and immersive use of atmospherics. The power of this story undeniably comes from the author’s darkly lyrical voice, and his sinister reimagining of Appalachia virtually comes alive on the page: “One tiny shack gave way to the next, each shack with its small barren field, desolate dead cornrows littered by blackbirds and autumn leaf.” Even minor plot inconsistencies … can’t detract from the overall power of this story. Like the lovechild of William Faulkner and H.P. Lovecraft, Thornhorn, with his unique narrative style and twisted insight into southern life, makes this novel unforgettable.
We be mighty pleased this morning. How about you?
Designed by award-winning graphic artist Dominick Finelle (whose clients have included AT&T, Harlequin, Penguin USA, Simon and Schuster, Scholastic, and Time Warner), here is the new hardcover, paperback, and e-book cover for The Kestrel Waters by Randy Thornhorn?
What do you think of the novel’s completely new look?
(The July Group)
AWARDS: Art Direction Magazine – Society of Illustrators – Directory of Creative Talent – Master Eagle Family of Companies -National Academy of Fine Arts.
Great News! We just received notification that THE KESTREL WATERS by Randy Thornhorn has been chosen as Best General Fiction Novel finalist by the 2015 Indie Book Awards. (www.indiebookawards.com)
It’s cold sunrise. I hope the coffee is hot for all you Thornfolk out yonder, wherever you or your yonder might be percolating. It’s a Roxie Watson morning here in Sugar Hill with my speakers cranked up hot and my frost-glazed windowpanes throbbing to Roxie Watson’s country-bluegrass calliope of heartsongs, hellbent boogies, and resurrection shuffles.
Last night was Roxie Watson night at the intimate Red Clay Foundry in Duluth, Gee-Yay. I was there with many other gleeful folk to bask in the musical glow of Roxie Watson as they performed for the pilot episode of Georgia Musication, a live performance and education program featuring local music acts working with Georgia educators. If you wasn’t there you shoulda been, because band members Beth, Lenny, Becky, Linda, and Sonia made a joyful noise, sang with sweet emotion, and rocked the house like only the most sensual and fiery-eyed minstrels can rock it. They were organic. They were road-tempered and welling with passion. They were free, wild, warm, and funny. They were everything they’ve been every time I’ve been graced with Roxie Watson’s wealth of musical gifts: Roxie Watson was as transcendent as a dear friend’s touch on a cold dark night in Georgia.
So. For you what ain’t heard, the news this new day is pure and it is simple.
Roxie Watson is the best damn angel band to come down from on high in nigh onto too many years. These good women wrap you up in gleaming harmonies and carry you on silver wings and strings to soulful places you surely want to go. Theirs is a rhythmic tapestry for all lovers, a tapestry woven with Bee-Wee’s deft mandolin, the pulse of Lenny’s bass guitar. Linda’s razor-sharp lead guitar, and Sonia’s ringing banjo, with Becky’s aching squeezebox (yes, I said squeezebox) to tease at your most tender places. Listening to them you are forever reminded that the wry strands of epiphany and wisdom they weave in song can only come from the knowing loom of lives fully lived and deeply felt.
Yep. I’m wide and awake and sober. And I am here to tell you now. It is sunrise and Roxie Watson is the best damn angel band this boy could ever hope to hear come this morning or any morning, as I kick back on the hindlegs of my dancing kitchen chair.
Well, with all due respect (and from this writer’s perch), you cannot “downgrade” or “debase” language (so you certainly cannot be forced to do it).
Language simply is.
The variance and progression of language throughout history—most notably in literature–proves that all words (with all their variations, bastardizations, and derivations) are simply colors in the palette, colors to be used when and whereever is appropriate or to achieve a desired effect. Yes, every word is a button waiting to be pushed, a tone to be struck or invoked.
The slang of today is often the codified usage of tomorrow. And slang is often the most rich and colorful language there is. It is not a debasement or a downgrade. It is actually language when it is most alive.
Nowhere is it more alive than in the marrow of Southern Literature. Of course, there are certain elite who consider Southern Lit itself to be a downgrading and debasement of language. I have my own choice words for them.