Synopsis | Reviews | Excerpt
Welcome to Mossy Creek, your home town. You'll find a friendly face at every window, and a story behind every door.
We've got a mayor who cleans her own gun, and Police Chief who doesn't need one. We've got scandal at the coffee shop and battles on the ballfield, a cantankerous Santa and a flying Chihuahua. You'll want to meet Rainey, the hairdresser with a tendency toward hysteria, and Hank, who takes care of our animals like they were his children. Don't forget to stop in for a bite at Mama's All You Can Eat Café, and while you're there say hello to our local celebrity, Sue Ora. Like as not, she'll sit you right down and tell you a story. People are like that in Mossy Creek.
Award winning authors Debra Dixon, Donna Ball, Sandra Chastain, Virginia Ellis, Nancy Knight, and Deborah Smith (Sweet Tea and Jesus Shoes) come together once again to blend their unique southern voices into a collection of tales about the South, this time focusing their talents on the fictional town of Mossy Creek, Georgia. Chances are, you'll recognize it. But even if you don't, you'll want to come back, again and again.
So welcome to Mossy Creek, the town that ain't going nowhere and don't want to.
"The Mossy Creek Hometown Series has struck a resonant chord." —David Minnich, Director Wead Library, Malone, NY
"Delightful." —Georgia First Lady Marie Barnes, wife of Governor Roy Barnes
"The characters and kinships of MOSSY CREEK are quirky, hilarious and all too human. This story reads like a delicious, meringue-covered slice of home. I couldn't get enough.”—Pamela Morsi, USA Today bestselling author of Simple Jess
"In the best tradition of women's fiction, Mossy Creek points to a genuine spirit of love and community that is our best hope for the future." —Betina Krahn, NYT bestselling author of The Last Bachelor
"MOSSY CREEK is as much fun as a cousin reunion; like sipping ice cold lemonade on a hot summer's afternoon. Hire me a moving van, it's the kind of town where everyone wishes they could live." —Debbie Macomber
"A fast, funny, and folksy read. Enjoy!” —Lois Battle, acclaimed author of Storyville, Bed and Breakfast, and The Florabama Ladies Sewing Club And Auxiliary
Source: Alachua County Library District, High Springs, FL
Reviewer: Renee Patterson
I read a terrific new book this weekend, and wanted to pass it along, as it fits into an often hard-to-fill niche. MOSSY CREEK by Deborah Smith, Sandra Chastain, Debra Dixon, Virginia Ellis, Donna Ball.
For patrons who like books with a strong sense of community and place, engaging characters, and stories that will take you from tears to laughter and back again. It's very 'Southern,' and very small town. :) The main character/narrator is different in each chapter, and there's a nice range of people of all ages and stages - something to appeal to everyone. This goes into my top ten of the year. I already have a list of patrons waiting on it, and it's not even in my system yet. (On it's way) :)
I'm pasting Deborah Smith's description below: ‘Mossy Creek is as comfortable as a warm quilt on a cold autumn day. Funny, poignant, romantic and uplifting, this is a unique "collective novel" by six veteran women authors writing about the citizens of stubborn little Mossy Creek, Georgia (the mountain town whose motto is "Ain't goin' no where--and don't want to.') You'll find a friendly face at every window and a story behind every door. Mossy Creek has a mayor who believes civil disobedience is part of her job description, and a sexy police chief who has more trouble with women than criminals. There's a scandal at the new coffee shop, battles on the softball field, a bittersweet Santa and a flying Chihuahua.
Those and many other stories make this lovely novel a sweet keeper for readers. A big plus: It's the first in a series. Mossy Creek ends with the unveiling of a nifty mystery which will be the rambunctious focus of its sequel, REUNION AT MOSSY CREEK, due out in spring of 2002.
Source: The Rock Hill Herald
Reviewer: Chloe LeMay
This is a book that, if you never lived in a small town, will make you wish you had...[Mossy Creek] is a book you will not lend for fear you won't get it back.
Source: Literary Guild
Reviewer: Kim Russell
This (Mossy Creek) came in the mail one afternoon and once I picked it up, I couldn't put it down! I even had it in the kitchen as I prepared dinner. My only complaint is it ended too soon, I can't wait for the next in this series.
Source: Southern Scribe
Reviewer: Joyce Dixon
Mossy Creek is the first book of the Mossy Creek series by the six authors and partners in BelleBooks, Inc. Set in a small north Georgia town filled with eccentrics with tales of heartbreak and renewal, Mossy Creek wraps the reader into a cozy quilt. The novel works where other of this format fail by harmony of storytelling in six voices – Deborah Smith, Sandra Chastain, Donna Ball, Debra Dixon, Nancy Knight and Virginia Ellis. As the reader moves from one story to the next, there is no jarring of change in voice, but more like a gentle nudge as each Mossy Creek citizen comes to the mic to tell their story.
The continuity on the novel is held together in the form of letters from Mossy Creek Gazette columnist Katie Bell to a local descendant Lady Victoria Salter in England. The Salter women always fall in love with Bigelow men, and their only choice is to run away or suffer a marriage tested by the community.
"Ida Shoots the Sign.” Mossy Creek Mayor Ida Hamilton Walker takes her role as protector of the town motto to heart. Her nephew Governor Ham Bigelow wants to change the motto from "Ain't Goin' Nowhere and Don't What to” to "The Town that is Going Somewhere, and Does Want to.” Ida is arrested for shooting the state green signs, but the trouble really begins when she joins the Foo Club.
"A Day in the Life,” is a whirlwind introduction to many of the Mossy Creek citizens through the morning of Sandy Crane as she heads to her job interview at the police department. Sandy stops a substitute home health care worker from snooping around Miss Lorna's house. Miss Lorna is fine as she greets them with her loaded shotgun. Sandy's hairdresser Rainey decides that Sandy must have a new do for her interview and starts the dyeing process. A commotion in the square leads everyone out to find Ingrid's Chihuahua Bob being captured by a hawk. The chase is on, as Sandy remembers she still has Miss Lorna's shotgun. Sandy saves the dog, but not her hair.
"Casey at the Bat,” is the tender and humorous story of Casey Champion Blackshear. Casey saw stars so to speak when she ran into Hank Blackshear. Her infatuation bloomed into love. Her goal as an Olympic soccer player was cut short by an accident on her wedding day. Hank with the help of spunky girls and a miniature horse, manage to get Casey back at home plate.
"The Hope Chest.” Maggie Hart owns Moonheart's Natural Living, a new age fragrance shop with candles, soaps, teas, and such. Her mother is the local kleptomaniac, taking glass slippers, a tiara, and a wedding dress. Maggie is ready to settle for marriage with a forest ranger, but a former pro football player and now a long-haired artist has caught her heart. Maggie's mother is pushing them together as she puts together the items for her unique hope chest.
"The Ugly Tree.” Stories of love in the December years are rare and true treasures of undying love. Ellie Brady is in the nursing home and each morning her husband Ed drives in to share breakfast with her. But Ed has cataracts and the police chief takes his driver's license away. The community comes together to make sure Ed makes his daily visits and that their Santa Claus will make his annual visit. But an accident with the governor's car as Ed drives a John Deere tractor into town put a twist in the plan.
This is just a sampling of the stories. "I hope to shout,” for more from Mossy Creek.
Source: The Cleveland Daily Banner, Cleveland, Tennessee
Mitford meets Mayberry in the first book of this innovative and warmhearted new series from BelleBooks, publisher of last year's award-winning southern anthology, "Sweet Tea and Jesus Shoes."
Join acclaimed veteran authors Sandra Chastain, Debra Dixon, Virginia Ellis, Nancy Knight and New York Times best-selling author Deborah Smith as they weave a tapestry of marvelous small-town characters into an unusual collective novel.
Welcome to Mossy Creek, where you'll find a friendly face at every window and a heartfelt story behind every door.
We've got a mayor who sees breaking the law as her civic duty and a by-the-books police chief trying to live up to his father's legend. We've got a bittersweet feud at the coffee shop and heartwarming battles on the softball field. We've got a world-weary Santa with a poignant dream and a flying Chihuahua with a streak of bad luck.
You'll meet Millicent, who believes in stealing joy, and the outrageous patrons of O'Day's Pub, who believe there is no such thing as an honest game of darts.
You'll want to tune your radio to the Bereavement Report and prop your feet up at Mama's All You Can Eat Cafe.
While you're there, say hello to our local gossip columnist, Katie Bell. She'll make you feel like one of the family and tell you a story that will make you laugh -- or smile through your tears. People are like that in Mossy Creek.
Mossy Creek is the town that insists it "ain't going nowhere and don't want to."
Source: Romantic Times
Reviewer: Jill M. Smith
Multi-talented authors combine their voices for a wonderfully original and extremely entertaining collection of tales. Set in the southern town of Mossy Creek, Georgia, these stories follow the adventures and misadventures of the local "Mossy Creekites,” and their ongoing battle against the encroachment of Bigelow County and the State Governor Hamilton Bigelow.
When Lady Victoria Salter Stanhope contacts Mossy Creek looking for information regarding her ancestor Isabelle Salter, local columnist Katie Bell is all too happy to oblige. For Isabelle's disappearance with Richard Stanhope a century earlier was the start of the Mossy Creek-Bigelow feud that continues to this day. As Katie brings Lady Victoria up to speed, readers also discover the humor, tenderness and orneriness of the locals. In each chapter, a different voice from the community shares a story regarding the town and its inhabitants.
This is one town I loved visiting and look forward to revisiting when the sequel is released next year. Take the time and make the effort to search out this unique and wonderful anthology, you won't be disappointed. (Now available, 360 pp., $14.95)
Source: Romance Reviews
Reviewer: Fatin Shukri
MOSSY CREEK was such a different read for me. One of the things I don't like in books is reading them in first person. I got halfway into Ida's story, which seemed to be going slow, then a week later, I picked up the book again and resumed reading and by the time I finished Ida's story, I thought, "OK, that wasn't as bad as I thought it would be." By the time I got to Sandy's story and the flying Chihuahua, I had laughed out loud a few times and the book just seemed to take off after that. Maybe I just wasn't in the mood to read it when I started, but when I really got into it, I enjoyed it. From Amos and his "Thank you. Glad to be here," which made me smile whenever I read it, to Millicent and her hope chest, to Ed and his undying love for Ellie--by the end of each story I felt this was a town I would love to live in. Oh, and the Foo Club, I can't forget about the Foo Club. Just thinking of it right now makes me grin.
This is not your average anthology. Each story has a title, but the reader doesn't know until the end of the book which author wrote which part, or in this case, which author was the voice of which character. Since I didn't know most of these authors before reading this book, it was easy for me to just read each story for what it was and then go back and consider the whole. Of all the characters, I think Ida, Casey, Hank and Ed were my favorites. Ida didn't care if she got in trouble for doing what she believed in, and she went after what she believed in with her whole heart. Despite being in a wheelchair, Casey redirected her dreams after Hank showed her she could still be part of the game she loves, even in her wheelchair. Ed's love for Ellie tugged at my heartstrings, as did his determination to give her the Christmas she wanted.
Deborah Smith, Donna Ball, Nancy Knight, Sandra Chastain, Debra Dixon, Virginia Ellis did the unimaginable; they had me reading a book written in first person and enjoying it.
For stories that will make you laugh, cry, grin in delight, and dream, enter the world of MOSSY CREEK.
Reviewed by: Heather Froeschl
The women at BelleBooks have done it again. I loved "Sweet Tea and Jesus Shoes" but I believe that "Mossy Creek" is even better! I adore small town, America. I grew up there, began my family in one and live in yet another today. Small towns are often full of people with big hearts and unusually large personalities. Mossy Creek, Georgia is no different. Well it may be a bit different, if just for the fact that this small town is full of extraordinary characters who are just too real and will have you looking at your own neighbors more closely, wondering what they might really be like.
I suppose with a town motto of "Ain't going nowhere, and don't want to" you might expect the mayor to be a colorful person. Living up to her namesake and her family history, Miss Ida begs for jail time, harasses her anger management instructor and challenges her nephew, the Governor, at every turn. Her shotguns are polished nicely though and she welcomes every new citizen with open arms.
One new resident in particular decides to open up a coffee shop - her effort at starting a new life for her widowed self and unborn child. But she has a feud to contend with, thanks to that mayor's welcome, in dealing with the neighboring bakery. The two could have the ideal business partnership if they could stop throwing potting soil at one another. The poor woman begins to wonder if she and her husband should never have visited Mossy Creek, and even more so, wonders if she should have come there in search of a new life after his death. A breakthrough is made when the newcomer digs up heartbreaking details of her neighbor's life. Sometimes the best of friends are found under the façade of an enemy.
Mossy Creek contains the stories of a town, interwoven like all lives are, through the voices of ten citizens. Each story is a gem in itself but together they add up to a priceless treasure to read. This entertaining book, threaded together by letters from the town gossip to a distant kin, offers insight to the human condition, an in-depth glimpse at southern hospitality and common lessons in life. These six authors know how to pull it all together. Superbly done! I look forward to more tales of Mossy Creek, Georgia!
Source: The Best Reviews
Reviewer: Kathy Boswell
"A truly down-home Southern collection of stories!"
Being the dyed-in-the wool born and bred Southerner that I am, I'm always on the look out for good southern books. MOSSY CREEK is one such book.
This book is a collection of stories about the fictional town of Mossy Creek, Georgia and the surrounding towns, especially Bigelow, Mossy Creek's biggest rival. We begin with the story of Mayor Ida Hamilton Walker, the town's matriarch who feels she must live up to her name. That's just the beginning of this truly magically charming book about the upstanding and not so upstanding citizens of Mossy Creek.
As I read these stories, I felt as if I were reading about my friends and neighbors. I was born and raised in a small southern town so I could relate to the down-home flavor of each and every story. All of the stories were just so true to life and told with just a touch of humor, including even the saddest of these truly wonderful stories.
I highly recommend this truly spectacular collection of stories told by such fabulous authors as Deborah Smith, Sandra Chastain, Donna Ball, Debra Dixon, Nancy Knight and Virginia Ellis. This is a truly 'make you feel good' book.
Posted May 13, 2003
From The Critics, KLIATT
Reviewer: Nola Theiss
Written in the tradition of Fannie Flagg and Garrison Keillor, but in the voices of six different authors, this collection of short stories describes the people and setting of Mossy Creek and will appeal to YAs and adults who will enjoy recognizing characters of their own small town or youth. The letters of Katie Bell, the local newspaper's gossip columnist, to Lady Victoria Salter Stanhope of Cornwall, England, who is enquiring about her distant American cousins, hold the stories together. Lady Stanhope gets more than she bargains for in the diverse adventures of various citizens of this little town. The six authors vividly describe the personalities that fill this imaginary, but true, hamlet that refuses to change just because the rest of the world has. Each author maintains a similar style to the others, but because they are writing about very special characters, the differences in their voices seem part of the character and maintain the thread of life in Mossy Creek. Many of the stories center on the long-running feud between Mossy Creek and the neighboring town of Bigelow. Mossy Creek's town slogan, "Ain't Going Nowhere, And Don't Want To," is in direct contradiction to Bigelow's desire to be modern and forward-looking. The two towns together characterize the South today where tradition and the demands of the modern world clash and meld, just as the families of the two towns do. KLIATT Codes: SA—Recommended for senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 2001, Berkley, 222p.
Excerpt from "PRODIGAL SONS"
Police Chief - Amos Royden
by Debra Dixon
Hiring Sandy had been an easy decision. Of course, her resume failed to mention one tiny problem. No one really "managed" Sandy. You just grabbed hold of a handful of the back of her shirt and did your best to slow her down. She had been as good as her word about making sure the office was clean. It had taken a couple of months before she was satisfied with the results.
Somewhere during the cleaning process, she'd adopted me as a project. I got "the eyebrow" if I had nothing more than a latte and scone from The Naked Bean for lunch. Sandy had no problems with my patronizing the local businesses, but she had particular nutritional ideas about what "her Chief" should eat. I was personal property in much the same way the department offices were now her personal property.
God love her, she thought the mirrored sunglasses the boys had taken to wearing were a new addition to the uniform. Truth was that after enduring a particularly bad patch of sunny winter days, the boys had gotten sunglasses to cut the glare from the newly scrubbed, blindingly-white counters and walls. No one had the heart to ask her to stop cleaning, especially since she did it all while digging her teeth into the clerical job like a territorial junkyard dog dispatching trespassers.
Word got around. It always does.
The County Sheriff hinted about taking her off my hands every time I ferried a prisoner over the county jail for lock-up. I always smiled, thanked him politely, and declined. Two weeks into her tenure, I had decided to take my chances with Sandy and wasn't likely to change my mind. Battle always said, "Better the devil you know than the one you don't."
All the same, the Sheriff still checked to be sure if I was happy. Just in case I decided we really didn't need a dispatcher after all. We didn't, but Sandy was an asset to the department in other ways. The woman always seemed to be plugged in to the nuances of life in Mossy Creek.
She hung up the phone and bounced up from her desk the moment my foot crossed the threshold. We reached the counter at the same time. A half-beat later she shuffled the four pink slips of paper in her hand.
"Those are my messages, I assume?"
"How do you want them?"
The first time she'd asked me that it had thrown me. By now I was used to her system. I could have them sorted by time, caller urgency, or Sandy's Picks--which meant she'd prioritized them. Of course the offer of choice was merely an illusion. I'd learned early on to trust Sandy's judgment. "Fire away."
"You need to hot foot it out to Miss Ida's. Stop by Disney Halbeck's on your way back into town. He wants you to talk some sense into his boy, Mickey."
"You've got to be kidding."
Sandy looked up. Her hair had grown a bit since the debacle with an over-developed color solution, but it still fought for its independence, making her look like a plucky urchin from an animated film. "Why would I be kidding? Somebody's got to knock some sense into him before the kid kills himself on these roads."
"Never mind. Next?"
"Hannah says someone's moving books in the library again."
"And the last one?"
"Bud Esterhaus thinks someone's trying to kill him. Says someone shot at him. Twice. He wants you to find out who it is."
The day just kept getting better. "Someone's reporting a murder plot, and yet it's number three on your list of calls I should make." I rubbed my temple, carefully keeping both the amusement and the irritation out of my voice. "You didn't radio me so I'm guessing Bud is still in one piece. They missed, and you've solved the crime."
"Well, not missed. Not exactly."
"Of course not. Continue."
"The black satin sheets on the clothesline took a couple of rounds." She made a gun with her hand, aimed, and made a firing noise. "Flat and fitted sheets--matching holes in the lower right corners. Bud's about as mad as I've ever seen him. Those sheets cost him sixty dollars." She sighed. "It's a real shame. Apparently he has fond memories of those sheets."
I reached for the messages. "I'm a little more worried about Bud than the sheets."
"Why? He's safe as a baby's butt in Pampers."
"Okay. I'll play. You know this...how?"
"I sent Mutt over to take Violet Martin's gun away. He radioed back and confirmed she'd done some shooting today."
Forget any personal quest in being the Chief of Mossy Creek. I'd have taken the job for sheer entertainment value alone. "How do you know who's shooting at Bud if Bud doesn't even know?"
"I doubt she was shooting at Bud per se. His back yard meets her back yard. There's about a six-foot privacy fence separating them."
Apparently my blank look conveyed my confusion. Sandy barely stopped herself from rolling her eyes. She despaired of me at times, but there wasn't a quitter's bone in her body. She gamely jumped in to play our version of Name-That-Crime.
"Garden? Scarecrow? It was windy earlier today?"
"Ah...the edges of the sheets--black sheets--got flipped up in the air. She thought the flapping sheets were crows."
"Exactly." Sandy beamed. "Violet's about seven hundred and four years old. Her eyesight's been terrible for centuries. I told Mutt to get her an air horn to scare off the crows."
I nodded, resigned. "Of course you did. In fact, anything less would have been disappointing."
"If Miss Ida calls again, tell her I'm on my way." I paused for a second before pushing open the door. "And, Sandy...someone did let Bud know he's safe, right?"