Tuesday, April 13, 2010

SHE-RAIN: AUTHOR ARTICLE, REVIEW, AND GIVEAWAY

GIVEAWAY ENDED
SHE-RAIN

A Story of Hope
BY MICHAEL COGDILL

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 hard yet beautiful world they know. They grow it from steep ground of poverty, ignorance, and violence. A landscape so brutal it can kill hope long before claiming life.

Bloodshed years later finally sends Frank Locke on the run, deep into wilderness, abandoning his extraordinary love, Mary Lizbeth. When a whitewater river washes this desperate soul into the hands of Sophia, he discovers a luminous 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, they 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. Through the most graceful longing, two women in love with one man ultimately prove the power of human hearts to answer high callings. They show us all how to heal -- and thrive -- to the very end.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


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.

For more information, view Michael Cogdill's Web site.

AUTHOR ARTICLE:

A Dog's Inspiration to a Writer and the World:
How the Life and Death of a Golden
Retriever Might Save Us From Ourselves


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

MY REVIEW:

Michael Cogdill, author of SHE-RAIN, explains what the title means in the beginning of this remarkable book. She-Rain is defined as “Scraps of fog, on the ridges of Appalachia. It appears as lacy mist blown off the clouds of a high-mountain rainy day.” He tells that it comes from his grandmother, Docie Ella Crowe Keys and from folklore. So it is understandable that the story is set in and around the Appalachian Mountains. Here readers meet Frank Locke, growing up in the 1920’s, as the abused son of a hard working mother and a drug addicted father.

Frank is a sad youngster without much hope until Mary Lizbeth enters his life. She is his first, genuine love and he has secretly felt this way for a very long time. They have many things in common including both coming from modest upbringings. When the deep feelings Frank has for Mary are cut short because he has no choice but to run from home, he is devastated. He tries to get to Asheville but winds up by accident with the mysterious Sophia Proctor.

Sophia was adopted as a child by the Proctors who lived a very isolated life. They chose this for Sophia’s sake as they wanted to shelter her from bigotry and they gave her anything she could ever want except for friends. They saw that she was educated and because they were the local mill-owners, could afford the best. Sophia is rejected by society because of her skin color, and now is a charming, delightful adult, but lives a lonely, solitary life in the Proctor house until Frank comes along. Together they form a bond and love that is forbidden by society but they manage to get through the difficulties together and one at a time as they come their way. Their story is one of sadness and heartache while at the same time filled with hope and love.

Cogdill’s writing is superb with his southern slant and compelling story. Filled with emotions and love, it is an amazingly different story than I have ever read. I found myself feeling I knew the characters so well as he developed them and the story captured me so much it was hard to put down. Emotionally, I read with joy one minute and sorrow or horror the next. The ups and downs of the characters’ lives and connection between the three people, Mary Lizbeth, Sophia, and Frank is so believable due to the superb writing. It is truly a hard book to explain but certainly one you must explore for yourself as I imagine great discussion can be had with those who have read it.

GIVEAWAY

THANKS TO CAITLIN AND MY GOOD
FRIENDS AT FSB ASSOCIATES, I
HAVE ONE COPY OF THIS EXCITING
BOOK TO GIVE AWAY!


--U.S. RESIDENTS ONLY
--NO P. O. BOXES
---INCLUDE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS
IN CASE YOU WIN!
--ALL COMMENTS MUST BE SEPARATE TO
COUNT AS MORE THAN ONE!
HOW TO ENTER

+1 ENTRY: COMMENT ON THE AUTHOR'S ARTICLE OR WRITE A QUESTION YOU WOULD WANT TO ASK HIM ABOUT IT

+1 MORE ENTRY:
COMMENT ON SOMETHING YOU FOUND INTERESTING ABOUT THIS REVIEW AND DESCRIPTION ABOVE ABOUT SHE-RAIN

+1 MORE ENTRY: BLOG OR TWEET ABOUT THIS GIVEAWAY AND THEN COME BACK AND LEAVE A LINK

GIVEAWAY ENDS AT
6 PM, EST, APRIL 28 !

GOOD LUCK!
*******************************************
VISIT LUXURY READING TO WIN A COPY OF
GET LUCKY
BY KATHERINE CENTER
GIVEAWAY RUNS UNTIL APRIL 27

36 comments:

Anonymous said...

I would like to ask, would you ever write a story with a dog as one of the characters?
debp
twoofakind12@yahoo.com

Tore said...

I would love to be able to read this book. It sound like a wonderful love story. I love reading romance and suspense novels. I also see how much the author loved his dog. Pets hold very special places in our hearts. Please enter me in contest. Thank you. Tore923@aol.com

Glenn said...

Your review that it's an amazingly different story than you've ever read makes it sound very interesting. Thanks for the giveaway.

glenn_pessano AT yahoo DOT com

Margie said...

We had a black lab for 16 years, so the article really touched me.
mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com

Margie said...

The location of Appalachia and the somewhat mystical quality of the love story make this book sound very appealing.
mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com

bermudaonion said...

Michael Cogdill is a local author for me - he's on one of our local news channels! I wish him much success.

Sandra K321 said...

People do get so attached to their pets. They are a member of the family that is there every day to greet you, to just keep you company. They steal your heart, no matter how many bad things they do. Ours is a big yellow lab that has to be related to Marley, but just like Marley he is loved very much and will be missed as a member of the family when he is gone.
seknobloch(at)gmail(dot)com

Sandra K321 said...

I have not heard of the phrase She-Rain before. Interesting.
seknobloch(at)gmail(dot)com

Colleen Turner said...

Thank you for the review! I love that you describe it as a wonderful read while being different from anything else you have read...I love to find a novel with a new spin I haven't seen before.
candc320@gmail.com

Colleen Turner said...

What a beautiful tribute to his dog! I loved the article, which reminded me a lot of Marley and Me. It is amazing how we can so totally intertwine our pets into our families so they don't look any different then our own children. Beautiful...thank you very much for sharing it!
candc320@gmail.com

traveler said...

We have two adorable dogs who are part of our family and provide us with love and devotion. This book reinforces that importance. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

traveler said...

This review was captivating, unique and wonderful. The premise is special and memorable. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

Kitty said...

Interesting idiomatic expression--She-Rain is defined as “Scraps of fog".

misskallie2000 said...

Michael, I enjoyed your interview and I understand how you felt when Savannah passed away. I had a St. Bernard, Ally Oop, 10 yrs old who got out to highway and was hit by truck. Neighbors saw him and call me. I still think of all the good times we shared and the bad times at vet. He died 81' and I still miss him.
I fell in love with your book. I would love to win so I can read now and not have to wait. Thanks for the opportunity to enter.

tweet(@misskallie2000)

Latest: Win SHE-RAINA Story of Hope BY MICHAEL COGDILL, http://bookinwithbingo.blogspot.com less than 5 seconds ago

misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

Linda Kish said...

I lost my first min pin to kidney failure when he was 8 1/2. He seemed to be holding on for me and that was so hard for me to see so I had to put him to sleep also. I did get another min pin who is just as loving and crazy but in different ways. He is now 8 1/2 too so I keep him near and dear to me.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Linda Kish said...

This sounds like a wonderful story I would like to have the privilege to read.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Martha Lawson said...

I loved the article about his pet. We had a black lab who was dearly loved. she is buried in our back yard. We now have 2 more "puppies" (even tho they are long past the puppy stage), they will not respond to being called a dog!! They are also much loved.

I would love to read this book, it has me seriously intriqued.

mlawson17 at hotmail dot com

Misusedinnocence said...

I love stories set in the mountain and would like to read this.

misusedinnocence@aol.com

Misusedinnocence said...

I always ask authors about their favorite musical. I like to know where they get inspiration from and I think musicals tell so much in story i'm always interested by the answer. :)

misusedinnocence@aol.com

bison61 said...

I am a lover of dogs the author's article touched me

tiramisu392 (at) yahoo.com

Pamela Keener said...

As someone who had to help a beloved Golden Retriever to the rainbow bridge a year ago, I really treasure Michael's article.
Love & Hugs,
Pam
pk4290(at)comcast(dot)net

Pamela Keener said...

I like that you said it was a different story than you have ever read. That intrigues me
Love & Hugs,
Pam
pk4290(at)comcast(dot)net

MRWriter said...

*Sniff* as I wipe away my tears after reading such a moving memorial for his beloved dog, Savannah. If his article can drum up such emotion I have to wonder what's in store in his new novel. Very touching. I have forwarded this to many of my dog-loving friends.

AlexDean03@yahoo.com

MRWriter said...

My interest is picqued by the location which sounds very Walden-esque and the love triangle aspect to the storyline. Sounds lovely.

AlexDean03@yahoo.com

Christine H said...

I'd like to know. All the review are so good. One person said He paints a picture in your mind.I'd like to know where the story came from and how long did it take to write?

chirth7@yahoo.com

Christine H said...

I tweeted the giveaway
http://twitter.com/Romantic73

chirth7@yahoo.com

Sarah E said...

Reading the author's article made me teary-eyed. I have cats, not dogs, and have gone through saying goodbye to several sick cats, with now another 20 year old household cat at home making me wonder when the next farewell will be. The sadness is heart-wrenching and will always stay with me.

Please enter me in this giveaway!

saemmerson at yahoo dot com

Sarah E

Sarah E said...

That the story is set in the North Carolina mountains makes this a very interesting book description to me!

saemmerson at yahoo dot com

Sarah E

Sarah E said...

I tweeted:

http://twitter.com/saemmerson/status/12743975820

saemmerson at yahoo dot com

Sarah E

Colleen Turner said...

BONUS ENTRY! I am an official fan on your FB page.
candc320@gmail.com

Jenna said...

I think the book seems interesting because you described it as being written with a southern slant (which Id enjoy) and about all the emotional pull this story has. I love books that can push and pull on every emotional capacity I have.

papajm25 @ gmail . com

Jenna said...

Okay, so my question for Michael Cogdill is... how on earth did you not go crazy writing a book for 10 years?! I would love to write, but I cannot imagine spending so many years on one piece.. how did you not get lost while writing it?

papajm25 @ gmail . com

Debbie F said...

What a wonderful love story. Sounds like a great read and I too loved the article he wrote about his pet. I have a cat and the love I have for the little thing amazes me sometimes!

Thanks for a great review

dcf_beth at verizon dot net

Nancye said...

This question may have already been answered, but I am curious why it took him so long to write the book.

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

Nancye said...

Tweet! Tweet!

http://twitter.com/NancyeDavis/status/13028429023

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

Nancye said...

The article sounds very intriguing and sweet love story. I believe I would like it very much.

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

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