Three authors will be sharing books they have written with those who attend the June 4 Nescatunga Arts Festival.
Attending will be Louisville, Kentucky, author Rock Neelly, Woodward’s G.K. Davenport and Alva’s Douglas Davidson.
Neelly is bringing his fifth book, “The Salt Fork Stations,” to Alva for the First Friday Art Walk Friday, June 3, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Graceful Arts Gallery and also will set up a booth at the Nescatunga Arts Festival on Saturday, June 4, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The Hutchinson, Kansas, native grew up in the area spending weekends on family farms in both Oklahoma and Kansas. The son of teachers, he grew up shooting basketballs and pheasants.
The historical fiction novel was released in March 2022 and is the riveting story of the settling of the Cherokee Strip in what would become Woods County, Oklahoma.
The tale revolves around the Stations, a family with its life entwined with the Cherokee people and the “Five Tribes” attempting to set up a true Indian nation.
From the banks of the Salt Fork River on the fateful September day in 1893 when the land run homesteaded the territory with white settlers, to the Arctic Blast of 1899, to the beginnings of the world pandemic in 1918 that began in Kansas, to Haskell Indian Nations University in the days of student unrest in the 1960’s, and to the student demonstrations and the burning of the Union at the University of Kansas in 1970, this novel returns to the turbulent times and displaced peoples of the era.
Told through the eyes of characters from the author’s own past, the reader sees a family of faith, of vision, and of perseverance facing overwhelming odds. Can family survive? Is love eternal? Does fate play a hand in the future? “The Salt Fork Stations” delves with memory and history to determine these things.
Neelly said that this book took a little longer to come out than his other books because of the historical research in it. This book also is a bit of a departure for Neelly as he is known for detective novels and thrillers.
“I was home, like a lot of us, for much of 2019 and 2020, so it seemed a perfect time to take on a big novel with big ideas,” Neelly said. “My family hails from the Cimarron Strip of Oklahoma -- Woods County, just south of Kiowa, Kansas. That is the setting for the novel, although the folks who populate the book are not strictly family. There was great material to be mined, so I used the lockdown to write about the territory and the history.”
Neelly also noted that in his novels he always like to have a “knock-your-hat-in-the-creek moment,” and this one will not disappoint.
“I don’t think you’ll see it coming in ‘Salt Fork,’” he said. “One of my readers said he was thunderstruck.”
Neelly explained that the title of the book comes some from his family farm/ranch that was located on the north bank of the Salt Fork branch of the Arkansas River, but the word “stations” in the book has several connotations.
“First, it is the family’s last name,” he said. “Second, it is referenced in one character’s employment in Australia at one of the biggest ranches in the world. Australia calls cattle ranches by the term ‘stations.’ Three, the chapter designations follow the Biblical stations of the cross. There are 14 typically, but I’ve added ‘Resurrection’ as a 15th, a life-affirming ending after some tears.”
Other books penned by Neelly include “The Purple Heart Detective Agency,” “The Prince of the Border: A Purple Heart Mystery,” “Babylon Blues: The Purple Heart Mysteries Book 2,” and “River of Tears.” He also has written a collection of short stories and one novella. Neelly plans to offer a sequel to “River of Tears” and possibly begin research for a sequel to “Salt Fork” that will take place in New Mexico and Colorado. Neelly’s publisher is Hydra Publications.
Neelly attended college in Denver and began writing for newspapers, magazines and various other publications.
He currently is a professor of literature and film at Gateway Community & Technical College in Northern Kentucky near Cincinnati. He resides near Lebanon, Ohio.
Davenport is bringing her first book, “Dust of Lies,” as well as a watercolor painting of an Indian girl.
An excerpt from the book provided by the author follows:
“Kay, a reporter for the Barber Gazette, stood outside in the blistering heat, her nose scorched red by the blazing sun. Rivulets of perspiration trickled down her cheeks, but nothing could keep her from witnessing Skeeter’s old bulldozer crush the tar out of the abandoned county jail, not even the burning assault of a sultry Arkansas afternoon. She needed the story for the local paper.
“Once the building became a pile of rubble, she discovered words on a block of plaster, a haunting poem, written by a young man who died in his cell. His cry from the grave led her on a journey to find the truth about his family and rumored Confederate treasure. The quest, which led her from Arkansas to Texas and back through history, lay covered by the ‘Dust of Lies.’”
About this book, Davenport wrote in a blog post on her website about how this story actually chose her. She has a love for history and said she spends many hours poking around in the past.
“I stumbled across a poem scratched on the walls of a jail cell from 1919,” Davenport wrote. “The words of a young man found hung in his jail cell, haunted me. This poem begins my story. I felt compelled to take others on my journey of discovery as I tried to unravel the meaning behind his words. Many of the incidents in the story are true, but for the most part, it is purely fiction designed to entertain. I hope you enjoy the tale as much as I enjoyed writing it.”
A review written by Cheryl C. Malandrinos, an author and editor for 4RV Publishing, which published Davenport’s book, stated, “From the moment I first read this manuscript, I fell in love. While the lost Confederate gold has played a role in several novels, ‘Dust of Lies’ by G.K. Davenport weaves this myth into a family story that will captivate the reader from the first page to the last.”
Davenport is a member of the Oklahoma Writer’s Federation, Inc. (OWFI). Her manuscript won second place in her category at the OWFI Conference.
She holds a degree in chemistry from Oklahoma State University as well as a degree in accounting from Northwestern Oklahoma State University.
She recently retired after being the chief financial officer of an automotive dealership. She resides with her family in northwest Oklahoma.
Davidson, a research and instructional services librarian and assistant professor of library sciences at Northwestern Oklahoma State University, has written three books.
Davidson’s first book, “Jake and the Dynamo - The Wattage of Justice” is an illustrated, action-comedy novel for young adults based on a dream he had.
“The main character is a teenage kid who is excited about going to high school, and then there’s a computer glitch in the system that deletes part of his transcript information, and he gets sent back to fifth grade,” Davidson said. “The girl he sits next to in class is actually a superhero, and he ends up becoming her reluctant sidekick and fighting monsters. It’s a lot of action sequences and a lot of slapstick humor.”
The sequel to his first book is “Dead to Rites,” which brings back the two main characters, Dana Volt, the 11-year-old powerhouse, and Jake Blatowski, befuddled teenager, for more action-packed fun.
The book’s synopsis states: “Just when Jake thinks he might finally get a break, he has to face down a murderous kaiju with a skin condition and join the city’s hardest-rocking magical girl in an underground battle against an army of bloodthirsty pastry chefs. As if that weren’t enough, he also has to deal with Pretty Dynamo’s newest rival, a human Swiss Army knife who revels in rule-breaking.
“But behind the chaos of these latest threats to mankind’s existence looms a greater evil, for Lord Shadow’s baleful eye has again fallen upon the Earth. Now a conspiracy of monsters may awaken a mad god from the sea of uncreation outside the cosmos—and the only girl who could unite humanity’s defenders for a final stand is slowly succumbing to madness.”
Davidson’s third book is “Rags and Muffin (Deus ex Magical Girl),” which touts “an ancient city. A devastating power. A dark secret.”
The synopsis states: “In the sprawling temple city of Godtown, violent criminals rule. But in the walled Arx Ciceronis, the wealthy and powerful live in luxury. Only 12-year-old Miss Rags, cursed with superhuman abilities, can move freely between the two. Accompanied by her alcoholic, carjacking dog and a select group of friends, Miss Rags is on a mission to clean up the streets, but she cannot comprehend the devastation she leaves in her wake.”
For more information contact Davidson at (580) 327-8572 or firstname.lastname@example.org.