© Janet Smith Post  2011 COTTON ROCK, a novel by Janet Smith Post Like the White River that once forged its way across the formidable dome of Ozark bedrock, scraping back the forest and scratching off the wilderness to reach its destination with the sea, Cotton Rock traces the life-journeys of the people living along the river, their love and losses, their hope and heartaches, their glory and their shame. With generous helpings of Ozark folklore and humor, Cotton Rock is—at root—the story of Anna, who grapples with her guilt and with her God, who she says, “shot a hole in her heart.” She writes, “I’m going to put my life down in a notebook. I think writing it out will put it to rest, free me from thinking till my head is sore, keep me from traveling down worn paths leading into old, sad hollows up to new ridges where there are things I don’t know, down into sloughs so deep and dark, it feels like I’ll never find my way out.” COTTON ROCK, (paperback edition) is available starting November, 2011, and retails for $15.95. Place your order now. I wove these stories, my own and my family’s, into one. I placed it in the Ozarks, the home of my people. The stories changed in the weaving, but the love and the loss, the hope and heartache, the glory and the shame are all flesh-and-blood true: of my great grandmother who could name the medicine and magic of nearly every Ozark plant; of my great grandfather who was a circuit preacher; of my grandmother who ground sorghum into molasses and my grandfather who stole kisses from the girl in the burgundy dress—all intertwine as the river carves the land and the land shapes the river, a communal reciprocity traced most clearly in a small town like Cotton Rock. At root, it is Anna’s story: her grappling with guilt and with God, who she says, “shot a hole in her heart.” It is also the story of John, a professor on sabbatical, who fears his talent is too meager to finish his novel, of Leah, whose life teeters on the edge of a wine glass, and of little Harlo, who believes she can control her world if the teaspoons stack precisely or her shoe laces match.  It is the story of Lucy, who writes memoirs for the angels--little stories she calls "Angel Gossip," and Emmett, who gives the latest fishing news along the White River.  Cotton Rock is a story of secrets, revelations, and a glimpse of poetic justice, intertwining and defining lives, as the river carves the land, and the land shapes the river's journey.  Janet Smith Post
“Janet Post’s words lift off the page like the sweet memory of a song you fell in love with once that, hearing it now, fills your heart again. I’m stunned...It’s beautiful…The pacing of her writing, the lyricism… I wish I could write like that...” Paul Saltzman, Metropolitan Ed., Chicago Sun Times; winner, 2011 Pulitzer Prize for local Reporting “Although the plot is fictionalized, Anna’s story is authentic. Child and woman are interwoven with the fog/river; the blending of cover/title/author underscores the reality of the story’s heart: resonant, rich, archetypal.” Gabriele Rico, author of best-seller, Writing the Natural Way J.S. Post co- authored two children’s books, Barnyard Boogie and Jungle Beat, and numerous award-winning songs for children. Cotton Rock is her first novel. Raising eight children, earning her Master’s degree in English, Janet also cared for her mother, a victim of Alzheimers. This task, coupled with her Ozark heritage, inspired her to write Cotton Rock. Co-creator of Reading By Ear, Inc., a musical reading program for children, Janet lives in Illinois with her husband, Jim Post, well-known folk singer and composer of the 1960s hit song, “Reach Out of the Darkness.” Orders processed through Reading By Ear, Inc. I wrote my first little story when I was ten--in a diary given to me as a present. I wrote right through the designated days, about a princess and a magic buckle. (It must have been the first time I had a "place," literally paper on which to write. I was never taken to a library, nor read to as a child. I share this because writing, as with any talent, is born into our genes, and it is a cherished, God-given gift! I've worked hard at overcoming a meager beginning, and so, I say, "Persevere!" Never, never give up on the hard work that leads to developing your gift and reaching your dream!