Posts tagged ‘Blue Cottage Agency’



By Darrell Pedersen

236 pages

Published by River Place Press

ISBN: 979-8986268132

In CAMPFIRE IN THE BASEMENT, Darrell Pedersen proves you don’t have to be famous to write a successful and engaging memoir. Whether you’re a movie star, a professional athlete, a renowned international politician, or a retired pastor from northeastern Minnesota, you have a story to tell.

Darrell Pedersen’s book is filled with episodes of his life that give the reader insights to how he became the person he is.  There are the heartwarming tales of family events.  There are humorous situations that centered on young Darrell that led to his nickname as “Little Dickens”.  Darrell’s ancestors appear in several tales, revealing his deep respect and admiration for his past, which very well may be what inspired him to write his memoir.  There are milepost stories as the author crosses into new eras of his life that range from his early school years to finding his lifelong partner Jennifer.

Each story is a chapter are of a nice, readable length.  Pedersen’s tone is casual and conversational, as if the reader were sitting across the kitchen table listening to him over a cup of morning coffee.

The book spans the author’s lifetime to date – his childhood in the 1950s to into his adulthood, where the reader will meet his private life and his career as a pastor.  The pacing is fine – there is no dwelling on any specific event, whether tragic of enlightening.

Everyone has a story – yes, everyone.  Darrell Pedersen’s CAMPFIRE IN THE BASEMENT is a good one to bring home and enjoy.


THE GREAT TEXAS DANCE by Mark C. Jackson: A Book Review by Charles Johnson

By Mark C. Jackson
The Tales of Zebediah Creed, Book Two
Five Star Publishing/Cengage
297 Pages
ISBN: 9781432868505

With as much fervor, with as much energy and fast pace, and with characters that illuminate the story with incredibly animated foibles, Zebediah Creed again rides out an adventure that is just as exciting and fun as his first exploits in Mark C. Jackson’s first book “AN EYE FOR AN EYE”.

This adventure finds Zeb and his friend Grainger on an urgent mission. They have been dispatched from the Alamo, where Jim Bowie and friends are facing slaughter at the hands of Santa Ana. Zeb and Grainger must find Sam Houston and convince him to rally reinforcements to the famed small mission before it is too late.

And no errand goes perfectly. The pair must find decent horses to ride, which they manage to locate from a woman who runs a ranch with a strong hand – and a special connection with the cause. Our men find Houston quite easily, but he is not at all easily swayed by their mission. Zebediah and Grainger find themselves shuttling between Houston and other military officers, all of whom are reluctant to join in on the Alamo battle. Our two find themselves caught between factions that battle in the Mexican-
American war with what appear to be insurmountable chances of survival.

There are incursions with splinter groups from the Mexicans. There are secret plots, there are major battles, there are moments of reflection, and, as in the first Zebediah Creed book, there are moments where our hero escapes danger by what passes for the skin of his teeth.

Mark C. Jackson’s action scenes are crisp and clear. The author does a good job of avoiding too many details, making sure he keeps the focus on the action. The dialogues are clear, advancing the story. The pace lets the reader relax after a harrowing crisis, but never lets the reader dip into complacency as Jackson builds into the next adventure with a satisfying degree. Descriptions of the battles – the sounds, the sights, the smells – are filled with clear, concise images that paint a great picture.

As for characters – the military leaders are not the saints we usually get in such books as this – they are flawed, and therefore interesting. In addition to the ranch lady and the military figures, we meet other well-developed characters – a young lad who finds his way to manhood; a prisoner who is less of a prisoner than the reader may think. There are even characters from the first Zebediah Creed book (AN EYE FOR AN EYE) that once again cross paths with Zebediah.

By the way, that is not to say that it is necessary to read the first book before reading this one – each novel stands alone, but yet, there would be value in reading them in order.

Mark C. Jackson has found a solid protagonist in his Zebediah Creed. And yes, there are signs of a third novel to follow – I will pick that one up as soon as I can.

WEEK 27 – Rebekah and Rebecca

You see, there’s this young lady named Rebekah Soukup.  She’s maybe 10 years old.  Her mom, Krista, sees to it that Rebecca and her sister get to experience many things.  You will find the Soukups at a museum or at a play.  Maybe they’ll take in a class somewhere in town, like an art class or a writing class.  Sometimes that experience is just a walk in the woods or playing in the town park.

And then there’s another Rebecca.   Rebecca Yeh, that is.  She just finished a year as Miss Minnesota, which also included being a finalist in the Miss America Pageant.  She’s a scholar, a public speaker, and a musician.  All this, and she attends college where she is more than a student – she’s active in service organizations as well.

These two Rebeccas (or Rebekahs) are connected.   They grew up in the same town – and as a matter of fact, I recently learned that they were neighbors at one time.  The younger Rebekah always admired the other Rebecca in those years, and as Rebecca Yeh advanced into her young womanhood, Rebekah Soukup watched and admired and learned.

This past weekend, the Lakes Area Music Festival offered its first concert of the year.  The program consisted of performers from the area, including a string trio of high school students, a brass duet by a husband and wife, a local singing group that performed a set of madrigals, a cello solo, and a chamber orchestra…. and the concert concluded with Rebecca Yeh playing her violin on the last movement of the Mendelsohn violin concerto in E minor.

The young Rebekah was in the audience, and you can bet she took notice of her former neighbor.  The music was exciting, electric, classic.  Young Rebekah had already visited with Rebecca the violinist before the concert (see the picture) where they reconnected in a great moment even before the audience started filing into the auditorium.  (The audience by the way, numbered somewhere around 500…)


becc and becc


This photo, taken by Rebekah’s mom Krista, is captioned this way:

My Rebekah was elated to see and hear Princess Rebecca Miss Minnesota and LOVES holding the bragging rights to “Princess Rebecca used to live next door to me.” Ever since the Miss America pageant, my Rebecca has been counting the days to get her violin. Thank you Rebecca for your music and inspiration!

Now here’s the deal.  What a wonderful thing that these two have connected – not only as accomplished musician to aspiring musician, but neighbor to neighbor – and all the other ways you can say it.  This kind of connection is not merely idol worship or a young fan and her hero — it is a strong bond of respect.

For these two – and at least on this particular day – music was the generator – or maybe even the amplifier – of this respect.

So then, I can imagine a time in the not so distant future when Rebekah the younger will be on stage with her OWN violin, and Rebecca the Princess will be in the audience, watching and appreciating the performance.

How wonderful for them to have this bond, and how great for us to have the chance to see it.


The website for the music festival is  More concerts to come this month …. check it out.

Krista Soukup is a literary agent.  Her website is

PS – in a totally unrelated note,  I misnumbered my weeks, so here’s no. 27, out of order, but still a weekly journal nonetheless.  Next week will be 31, right back on schedule.