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October 31, 2016

THE NETTLE TREE

 

Title: The Nettle Tree
Publisher: Chase Enterprises Publishing
Editors: Kenneth Weene and Clayton Bye
ISBN (print): 978-1-927915-10-3
ISBN (eBook): 978-1-927915-11-0
Format: Trade Paperback and eBook
Pages: 166
Genre: Speculative western
Price: $17.95 (print) $3.95 (eBook)





                                                   
THE NETTLE TREE

I have always been a fan of Cowboy Cinema since the late 1940s when Papa and I would go see westerns at the nearby Lindy Theater in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Add to that delight all those Lone Ranger radio shows on Sunday, the comic books featuring favorite cowboys like Hopalong Cassidy, and the paperback westerns of A.B. Guthrie, Jr., Louis L’Amour, Max Brand, and Luke Short. Just imagine my joy when my Godfather Uncle Dominic gave me a two-gun holster set for Christmas which I wore at my hips like Billy the Kid.

I don’t believe I have ever grown too far away from my love of the Old West. A good friend of mine named Conrad Jenkins, whose grandfather belonged to the Catawba Indian Nation from South Carolina, once told me of the three Hopi Prophesies which, as a writer, I filed away in my head for a future story.

Then the opportunity came knocking when I was invited to write a short story with an otherworldly cowboy theme for an anthology that would eventually be titled The Nettle Tree. Remembering Conrad’s account, my fascination with cowboys as well as outer-space alien invaders, I let them all mentally roll like tumbleweed as I worked out a plot for my story “Old Cowboys Never Die.”

I am honored to be included in The Nettle Tree which I highly recommend to readers in search of entertaining fiction that will keep you on the edge of your saddle till the final page.

The book and pdf eBook can be purchased at: http://shop.claytonbye

It is also available on Amazon in print form.

Nothing like an excellent Western to make you want to kick up your spurs, especially one that features stories with other-worldly diverse plots like The Nettle Tree.



REVIEWS  

An extremely well written and engaging collection of stories, this book will delight fans of short stories with a bit of a dark edge and fantasy elements to them. The authors convey their characters’ personalities and motivations very well. I liked the combination of a variety of subjects and the way the stories seem to fit well together as a collection in terms of tone. While each author has a unique voice, these tales share an overall style and mood as they explore some unusual, baffling, and scary happenings in situations in which the characters find themselves. 

Reviewed by Hilary Hawkes for Readers’ Favorite, 5 stars!

What is it with the Wild West that conjures up so many daydreams and imaginative rides into the sunset, even for those who never really cared that much for the genre? For some, it's the endless vistas and open spaces; for others, the thrill and danger of measuring oneself up against a tall stranger who's new in town and reputed to be the fastest gun out there. The Nettle Tree's authors share Western visions that are not the stuff of your everyday frontier mentality. Zombies, mages, the trickster, and all manner of odd and unexpected treats await the reader.

-- Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers’ Favorite, 5 stars!

It is not very often that one comes across a genuinely unique book, but this is what editors Kenneth Weene and Clayton Clifford Bye created in The Nettle Tree. The titles in this anthology take readers through many different settings, characters, and elements that no one has probably taken them before, and in thirteen different stories. The major theme is western, but it comes in different forms and genres like horror, science fiction, fantasy, science fantasy, magical realism and even alternative history. 

--Reviewed by Maria Beltran for Readers’ Favorite, 5 stars!

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Sal Buttaci is an obsessive-compulsive writer whose poems, stories, articles, and letters have appeared widely in publications that include New York Times, The Writer, Writer’s Digest, Cats Magazine, The National Enquirer, and Christian Science Monitor. An English instructor at a local community college and middle-school teacher in New Jersey, he retired in 2007 to commit himself to full-time writing.

Two of his flash collections, published by All Things That Matter Press, are available at Amazon.com. Another of his books, still selling well, is A Family of Sicilians http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/ButtaciPublishing2008 

Buttaci resides in West Virginia with his loving wife Sharon.

February 16, 2015

REVIEW OF BROODY NEW ENGLANDER by Kenneth Weene



For most writers a threshold separates the reading rooms of poetry and fiction where each group finds its reading entertainment. I include Kenneth Weene in the gifted literary company of Dickens, Browning J.D. Salinger and others who infused fiction with poetry as well as poetry with fiction. Weene magically brings down the dividing wall, expertly delivering the best of both worlds in his book Broody New Englander

His writing is seamlessly smooth, a comfort to readers who prefer the comfort of enjoyable reading to that screeching annoyance of stop and go, of skipping sentences and paragraphs in an attempt to settle back into the ride. As one reader who savors every delicious word of an excellent work,  I say no to rapid reading, delighting instead in Weene’s ability to string words and sentences together the way a master painter blends colors in highlights and shadows and shades. 

Broody New Englander contains three stories, the longest of which, and my favorite, is entitled “The Stylite.” In it we meet the protagonist Putnam Williams who reveals his life with wife Jeannine, daughter Emily, and Delia, the other woman he loves. With the pen of Weene, he does so in a stark honesty missing from too many tales today. The local color of New England authenticates the dialogue and action. Like few other stories, readers find themselves present in the lines, nodding like New Englanders, marveling at Putnam’s tale and how cleverly the author weaves into “The Stylite” excerpts of a story within a story, Brane of the Hills, Putnam’s book about the adventures of extraterrestrials.

Readers will likewise for a long time remember the other two stories in Broody New Englander. “Mothers’ Teat” expertly presents the loss of innocence and “Hansom Dove,”  one of the best horror tales I have ever read. 

Few authors can pump life into a plot so that description, dialogue, narration, and conflict provide crystal-clear images in the minds of readers. It is no wonder at all that Kenneth Weene’s books are read by those who will settle for nothing less than high-quality writing. I highly recommend Broody New Englander and all of Weene’s books.

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Ken Weene’s poetry, short stories, and essays can be found in various print and electronic journals and collections. His novels, Widow’s Walk, Memoirs From the Asylum, and Tales From the Dew Drop Inne are published by All Things That Matter Press, which has also published his two electronic shorts, Two Tales of Terror and El Catrin. 

Ken co-hosts It Matters Radio an Internet show that airs live on Thursday evenings and also edits “The Write Room Blog,” an extremely successful writers’ blog.  

His newest book Broody New Englander just came out. Times to Try the Soul of Man is scheduled to be published by All Things…this year. Currently he is working on an historical fiction of the Native American experience, Red and White.

Ken’s website is http://www.kennethweene.com 

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Sal Buttaci is a retired teacher and professor whose two short-short story collections Flashing My Shorts and 200 Shorts were published by All Things That Matter Press and are available at Amazon.com.

Sal Buttaci lives in West Virginia with his wife and forever love, Sharon.