— SOUTHERN PASSAGE —
Based loosely on my personal experiences, this tale was the first venture into “serious” long-form creative writing for me. More or less as a means to reconnect to my youth of nearly fifty years ago at the time, I began jotting down recollections of times and places and people and events that took place in the momentous summer of my high school graduation in St. Louis County, Missouri. A logical ordering of my memories fell into place before I knew it and I soon discovered that I was actually writing a book about myself, rather than simply a compendium of historical snapshots. From that, fictional storylines developed in my imagination and intertwined with fact and the book evolved into a novel. With a research trip – accompanied by my brother – to locales from that summer in Texas and Louisiana where the story is based, broader historical perspectives were gleaned and added to the evolving plot to help round out the dramatic backdrop. Finally, with the help of beta readers – most prominently my wife – and my editor with TouchPoint Press, SOUTHERN PASSAGE became a published reality in July 2014…
…a journey back in time to innocence lost.
In his rite of passage in the summer of 1966, naïve, white eighteen-year-old Buster Gaines from St. Louis discovers the thrills found in being free to make his own decisions when he leaves home with the railroad to earn money for college, but he soon innocently discovers the dark side of 1960s southern reality and his life takes a surreal turn when he gets caught up in the unforgiving, punishing code of the Jim Crow South.
WHAT READERS ARE SAYING…
“I love the concept of Jim Yonker’s gritty and true-to-life tale, Southern Passage, which could well have happened. I believe the premise will be of great interest to college students who are researching one of the following areas: the history of the railroads, the divide between the North and South and/or the racial prejudices and appalling acts of racism by white people towards black people during the ’60s era. I also believe Southern Passage will appeal to avid readers who are 18+ and love first rate historical fiction books.”
“Southern Passage”… A great read, a must read! I look forward to reading more from Jim Yonker. Set in the 1960’s, the author brings out the personalities of each character so well that I found myself not wanting to put the book down.”
“I have already recommended this wonderful piece of work to several friends. I can imagine this being a movie some day with great reviews.”
“All will appreciate the coming of age of Buster in an era of change, with the same internal struggles that are timeless. The values in this story are promoted just strongly enough to create a genuine caring for the young main character (Buster) and the friends he finds along his journey on his southern passage.”
“A very interesting and unique coming of age story. The setting appealed to me as a baby boomer bringing to life a troubling time in our county’s history. The characters stayed with me long after I finished the book.”
“The lively characters’ strengths and flaws are prominent and they linger with you long after you put the book down. All in all a very memorable first effort from this author and a good and entertaining read.”
“Very enjoyable read. Giving to my grandsons to enjoy and learn.”
“For anyone who remembers or would like to know the life of railroad men in the yards in the 60s.”
* * * * *
You can find SOUTHERN PASSAGE here:
— THE EMISSARIES —
As I was wrapping up work on SOUTHERN PASSAGE I was already in the midst of planning my second novel. It actually began during a rambling conversation with my mathematically-gifted brother (a retired high school math teacher) about physical laws governing the speed of light and time travel, and from there, the notion of parallel universes and even the scenario of the implosion of our universe some day. It was from this conversation that ideas began firing through my intrigued brain about stories that could be developed based on any of these concepts. So much good, and not so good, science fiction has been written about time travel, parallel universes and worm hole travel that I wondered what I could write about that would be original in any way. It hit me that I could probably achieve that goal if I combined concepts and wrapped them into a story. All of those concepts we talked about that day have fascinated me for years and so I began the process of setting out storylines and narrowing focuses and conceiving of characters and backgrounds. Wanting to capitalize on my brother’s math mind, I asked him, “What do you think about the two of us writing a novel about the universe imploding?” Without any hesitation, he replied, “Whoa, I don’t think so. You’re the writer!” Well, I was a little disappointed but I understood where he was coming from. He’s always been more interested in looking for absolutes in things, such as math problem answers: there’s no gray area or room for argument. He volunteered to help me, though.
In the following weeks, some story ideas came into better focus for me and I immediately realized I was in way over my head. But that wasn’t going to stop me from writing a sci-fi novel, since writing is what I love! So, I sought the help of the Astronomy and Astrophysics Department of my alma mater, the University of Missouri at St. Louis. Thanks to the generous and cheerful education and mentoring of two students, one a senior level physics major and the other an astrophysics doctoral candidate, and the resulting extensive, guided reading I undertook, I was able to build an informed, fact-based platform for my completed story. I found myself on a fascinating and challenging journey, trying to imagine the unimaginable and trying to artfully and realistically fuse facts with fiction in the multiverse story-line. Who knows. maybe the handful of alternate, overlapping, competing and conflicting universes in my scheme of things will actually one day reveal themselves more as fact than fiction! — a story which will hopefully find its published way to lovers of unique fictional tales…
A journey into dimensions of the future…
In this near-future science fiction thriller, brilliant, veteran American scientist Charlie Nash leads his team from Lawrence Livermore Lab in creating a revolutionary, high energy weapon to counter the nascent doomsday device being built in northern China, but their first-of-its-kind high energy creation comes with an unforeseen, forbidding cost when its immense, special power opens terrifying – and yet alluring – parallel universes to Nash’s Emissaries and all others who dare enter the machine’s dimension-transfer chamber.
What Dave Reynolds of Yellow30 Sci-Fi Review says in his pre-published review….
“A very interesting story about a dark-matter supercollider project being developed and tested by the US government…It becomes a no-holds-barred, damn-the-torpedoes-full-speed-ahead project, thanks in part to the power-hungry vice president, who is effectively in charge as the president is incapacitated by illness. What ends up happening, however, is not exactly what was planned or hoped for……
“I did very much enjoy this book…a page-turner, fast paced with much descriptive action… quite an exciting adventure.”