Originally created 08/21/05

Local authors have laughs, insight to attract readers



The Bottom Dollar Girls are back for more laughs and a little heartbreak in A Dollar Short: The Bottom Dollar Girls Go Hollywood, by Augusta resident Karin Gillespie.

In the second in her planned three-book series, Ms. Gillespie takes her quirky yet homespun characters into new territory. This time, Chiffon has lost her husband to a Hollywood superstar who keeps urging him to divorce his Southern wife.

The expected mudslinging and cat-fighting brings paparazzi to the fictitious town of Cayboo Creek.

When it comes to writing, an author has to draw on what she knows and, Ms. Gillespie said, she didn't go much further than a secret passion of hers.

"I'm a tabloid addict, what can I say," she said.

What she noticed was a lot of movie stars, such as Julia Roberts, who met, and later married, a hairdresser's husband while he was still with his wife, who took up and then took off with married men. Ms. Gillespie said she wanted to explore the situation, and her characters proved fun enough to take on the matter.

"I thought, what would it be like to be an ordinary woman and to have this beautiful woman after your husband," she said.

Her third book is set to be released next summer, and Ms. Gillespie is on a whirlwind, 35-city tour for her current title.

She will have a book-signing at Books-A-Million, 2834 Washington Road, at 1 p.m. on Aug. 29.

"People always say that these are 'laugh-out-loud' sorts of books," Ms. Gillespie said. "I'm excited about this one."

A Dollar Short (Simon & Schuster) retails for $19.95 and is available at bookstores and online at www.karingillespie.com.

IN HER COLLECTION of off-beat stories, There's a Possum in the House: Tales from a Southern Trailer Park, local author Jan Holt has captured the humor of the everyday.

Ms. Holt, a rental property owner, said she based the stories on events she's witnessed while running a mobile home park.

"Of course, you have to take some license with them, but everything is based on fact. It's based on actual happenings," she said.

It's quite simple why she would take the time to record the stories, which include how movers removed a large couch out of a small trailer and an Elvis impersonator who struck it big, Ms. Holt said.

"Don't you like to laugh?" she asked. "I think everybody does. It's so funny that in order to get through a lot of stuff, people have to have an outlet."

Not only do her stories allow that, she said, but they also help people share common ground.

"Everybody needs to know that these thing don't happen to people in a trailer park, they happen to all of us," she said. "Every single day there is a funny story. You don't have to own rental property to have a funny story. Of course, I have a wacky sense of humor anyway."

There's a Possum in the House (Publish America) retails for $12.95 and is available at Barnes & Noble Booksellers and Borders Books and Music. It's also available online at www.amazon.com and www.janholt.com.

WHEN HE MOVED to Atlanta, writer John Daryl Blouin was aiming to break into the acting scene. Instead, he ended up with a four-year stay in prison for a crime he says he didn't commit.

The number of black men in Georgia prisons and the rate at which they were going there, coupled with things Mr. Blouin said he encountered in prison, inspired him to write the book.

"I thought to myself, 'I have to write about what's going on in here,'" he said. "Georgia isn't the worst state or the only one, but this book is good for anyone, anywhere."

The result is How to Stay Out of Jail in Georgia. Mr. Blouin said his book, riddled with rhyme, newspaper reports and biblical verses, is aimed at exposing the ugly truth of the criminal justice system and how it's a web some simply get tangled up in.

His book could slip into controversial subjects but, Mr. Blouin said, he's not trying to create hostilities, only awareness.

"It starts out humorous, then it gets serious, then it gets sad and then it ends with a peace that surpasses all understanding," he said.

How to Stay Out of Jail In Georgia (The Rise) retails for $10.95 at Hamilton Bookstore and Art Gallery, 209 Ninth St., and at Jacob's Well Bookstore at Beulah Grove Baptist Church, 1434 Poplar St.. Copies also can be purchased online at www.outofjailingeorgia.com.

CREATING A LITTLE controversy is what the characters in Talk Radio are all about.

In the first novel by Augusta resident Mark Gelbart, a conservative talk-show host is held captive by a disgruntled, liberal listener. The kidnapper's purpose: to get the host to have a debate without hanging up the phone.

Mr. Gelbart said it took about four months to write the book, which he classifies as black comedy and political satire.

"It's a good product for a novice writer," Mr. Gelbart said.

Given the response he's had so far, readers from both sides of the political battleground have found an interest in the story.

That could be because he's created a book in which there are no good or bad characters, Mr. Gelbart said.

"Some people who are conservatives will sympathize with (talk-show host) Buck Bennett," he said. "And those who are more liberal will identify with (captor) Schmidt."

Talk Radio (Publish America) retails for $19.97 at Borders bookstores and online at www.mark-gelbart.com and www.PublishAmerica.com.

Also out

l The Frog and the Redneck, ($20.99, Xlibris) by Dr. Peggie Ward Koon. The personal story of an interracial couple who grew up near each other but somehow managed to live in completely separate worlds until love took over. Available online at www.xlibris.com, www.barnesandnoble.com, www.amazon.com and www.borders.com.

l Memories of a Mountain Educator: From a One-Room Schoolhouse to a College Classroom ($14.95, Publish America) by Dr. Paul F. Taylor. The memoirs of a local educator as he reflects on his profession and how he loved to teach as much as he loved his students. Available online at www.PublishAmerica.com.

Reach Kamille Bostick at (706) 823-3223 or kamille.bostick@augustachronicle.com.

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