Woodstock: Susan Jimison and FoxTale Book Shoppe

September 6, 2016

Susan Jimison

Growing up in a military family and having married a navy pilot, I suppose I had a predilection for Susan Jimison and her story. We met at a book event hosted by Deeds Publishing where I heard Susan talk about Dear Mark, her first book. It’s the story of her brother, a helicopter pilot who was killed in Vietnam over forty years ago.  Just saying his name aloud brought tears to her eyes and a lump to her throat, and maybe mine and the others who sat listening that evening under the stars.

Susan wanted to tell her brother’s story, but struggled for a decade with the task of describing the Vietnam War and its horrors.  It was a world she had not experienced and could not fathom.  She was to the point of giving up when a writing class partner suggested she try to tell the story in epistolary style, as if she were writing letters to her brother. Susan went back to the drawing board and began Mark’s story again. The change made all the difference. The words flowed as if she were talking to her brother, telling him of the events he missed, good times and bad times.

Today, readers often write Susan to mention how moved they were by his story and how much they appreciate Susan writing the book to honor Mark’s service and sacrifice.  It’s a story that might not have been so well received in the 60s and 70s, Susan says, when the war was fresh and controversial. But today, it’s found an audience with survivors and families of those lost in our war in the Middle East.

After Dear Mark, Susan picked up the pen again, or perhaps more accurately, sat down at her computer to write the story of her cousin John Donovan, one of WWII’s Flying Tigers. John was lost in that war, amazingly, as Susan would discover, in the same country but one thousand kilometers away from where her brother had been killed. Though well known in some circles, Susan thought there was still much to say about the Flying Tigers, many of whom fought and lost their lives far from home. 

It would take Susan another decade to write The John Donovan Story. Once again, she turned to letters—ones John’s brother had saved and which are preserved in the Pensacola Florida Naval Air Station Museum. John’s brother and Susan had a common bond, both had lost brothers and neither wanted their legacy to be forgotten.

Despite the tragedies in Susan and her family’s lives, there is a silver lining to her personal story.  At a Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Reunion, Susan met Mike Jimison, a member of Mark’s company and fellow helicopter pilot. Soon after, Mike and Susan married and later Mike contributed a chapter to Dear Mark

Even after two successful books to her credit, Susan is still a much self-deprecating author. She tells audiences where she and I along with Valerie Connors and Connie McKee appear as The Book Widows that she wouldn’t know where to begin to write a novel.  We all laugh and just hope she’s working on something new, and that it doesn’t take a decade to come to market.

Susan and her husband Mike Jimison live in Woodstock, Georgia. Their children are grown but they have a furry one, Dude, who they claim is the best dog in the world. 

Look for Susan at one of our area’s many veteran gatherings where she often speaks about her stories. You can also read more about Susan Jimison and her books at susanclotfelterjimison.com

Featured Bookstore Nearby: FoxTale Book Shoppe


FoxTale Book Shoppe has been named the best bookstore in Atlanta by Atlanta Magazine. Take a drive over there, if you’ve never been. Look for the inviting store (some say “homey”) tucked away like a fox’s den in a half block of stores just the other side of the railroad tracks that mark downtown Woodstock. The “foxes” that own and operate and make things tick at FoxTale include Karen Schwettman, Jackie Tanase and Ellen Ward. Be prepared to find the store filled with other new customers as well as long-standing fans, well-known and emerging authors, and children discovering a first book. FoxTale is known for the many events the store hosts.

Click here for more information about this independent book store in Woodstock, Georgia.

105 East Main Street, #138, Woodstock, Georgia


Cumming: David Darracott and Humpus Bumpus

August 9, 2016

David Darracott

Is outspoken the right word? I think so, but I’ll also add knowledgeable and talented. Ask David Darracott anything about writing and he will not only have researched it thoroughly, he’ll have formed an educated opinion and give you his advice. Advice worth listening to.

I know. I joined North Atlanta Writers, a critique group he chairs and have benefited tremendously from his advice—often boiled down to just a word or two, but a thought that makes me pause and then head back to my manuscript for a thorough scrubbing.

For those who don’t know David, he’s the 2015 Georgia Author of the Year (GAYA) in the Detective/Mystery Category for his novel “Wasted,” which is much more than a mystery. Profound, good read, and riveting thriller are all words used to describe David’s second novel. His first was “Internal Security,” another thriller. Both books have received high praise. Besides the GAYA award, David has received several other awards, including a Hambidge Fellowship in 2009 and 2010. The Hambidge is a creative residency program offered to talented individuals selected from creative thinkers across the United States and around the world. In the peace and quiet of the north Georgia mountains, David concocted some of his most chilling scenes for novels, both written and planned.


“We writers often toil in the dark,” David has said, “with little reward or recognition for the work we do or the arduous careers we lead.” And if anyone is out to change that, it’s David. There’s not a day on his calendar when he’s not chairing a critique group, conducting a seminar or class for writers, making appearances, or teaching literature, composition, or writing at the University of North Georgia. Well, perhaps there’s a day or two here and there where he works in a game of golf or goes fly fishing.

David and his wife Donna have lived in Cumming for 14 years, though David is a native of Atlanta and Donna Statesboro.

Read more about David Darracott at  daviddarracott.com.

Featured Bookstore Nearby:  Humpus Bumpus Books

No matter what your GPS says, you might think as you drive up you’ve arrived at the wrong address. But you haven’t, you have “arrived,” as Siri says. Humpus Bumpus inhabits a red brick house with hardwood floors, fireplaces, and nooks and crannies everywhere, all of them chock full of books (and if you look, you’ll find a copy of one or two of mine). This Cumming fixture is an independent bookstore offering both new and used books and a popular book exchange program. If that weren’t enough, don’t miss the “Den of Deep Discounts” in the middle of the store with books available for as little as a dollar.

Click Humpus Bumpus for more information about this independent book store in Cumming, Georgia.


Know a talented Georgia author or good local bookstore that you would like to see on these pages?  Contact me at rona_simmons@bellsouth.net.

Introducing Acworth to Zebulon


August 9, 2016

Introducing a new blog post series on writing, writers, reading, books, bookstores, and other literary points of interest around Georgia. Come with me as I visit the people and places and read the stories that give life to our state in their words and deeds.

If you have a story to add a writer, book, or bookstore you’d like to read about here or if you would like to be featured in a future post on this site, contact me at: rona_simmons@bellsouth.net or leave a comment below.