Author of Southern Stories



Latest Events and News Items.....


NOW AVAILABLE:  Viral Literature--Alone Together in Georgia
I am thrilled to announce the release on Tuesday, December 1, of Viral Literature: Alone Together in Georgia, published by SFK PressSponsored by the Atlanta Writers Club, Viral Literature is a collection of the work of 32 of the best storytellers and poets in Georgia who have contributed non-fictional memoir, poems, and short stories (including my short story "Fourteen Days") as creative responses to the COVID-19 crisis. A hopeful, diverse book, Viral Literature is available for order on Amazon now in both paperback and e-book formats, and  will also be available for order at your local bookstore and on the SFK website. The proceeds will go to support The Wren’s Nest and Literacy Action, Inc.  I would love for you to order a copy for yourself and help spread the word to family and friends. This is a special collection.  I am pleased to share it with you as we all find a way to navigate these challenging days. 
The Girl with Kaleidoscope Eyes

Returning to my roots as a writer of suspense fiction set in my home state of Georgia, The Girl with Kaleidoscope eyes is a fast-moving tale of deception, intrigue and murder that takes place in Savannah.  The protagonist, John Wesley O'Toole is a disbarred attorney trying to get his life back together after being release from prison.  Having inherited an art gallery from his grandmother, O'Toole is struggling to  make ends meet when he is approached by Abraham Deign, a wealthy local businessman.  Deign wants O'Toole to recover a missing painting, one allegedly taken from his home by his estranged granddaughter, Lucy, and is willing to offer a substantial reward.  Seeing the possibility of financial light at the end of a dark tunnel, O'Toole takes on the quest.  All is going well until Lucy's body is found in a burned out car, and it appears that O'Toole may be the murderer.  Things go downhill from there--for a while at least.  Readers tell me this is one of my best fiction works to date, and it garnered great reviews.   I think you will like it!  Wm. R.

Want to See All of My Books?--Here's a Link to Amazon's Author Page

The Strange Journey of the Confederate Constitution
The Strange Journey of the Confederate Constitution, and Other Stories from Georgia's Historical Past. is a collection of 17 shorter pieces on Georgia and Southern history, ranging from the significance of the invention of the cotton gin and the Great Yazoo Fraud, to the true story of the Lost Confederate Treasure, to the Ku Klux Klan in the 1920s.  Somewhat more than half of these have appeared in Georgia Backroads magazine over the last decade, but have been reworked for this book.   Two of the pieces ("A Killing on Ring Jaw Bluff "and "The Second Coming of the Invisible Empire") were expanded to become full length books.

The Second Coming of the Invisible Empire

The history of the various "Ku Klux Klans" since the Reconstruction Era of the 1860s and 1870s is a complicated one, and often misunderstood by historians and the public alike.  In 1915 William Simmons, a former minister and fraternal order organizer launched a new "beneficial fraternal order" that he named "The Ku Klux Klan," based almost solely on the popularity of the then-current blockbuster movie, The Birth of a Nation.  Started primarily as a money-making scheme, and borrowing the movie props of the burning cross and white-hooded gowns, Simmons's Klan grew from a few thousand members in 1920 in Georgia and Alabama to as many as 5 million members in all 48 states by 1925,  Promoted by a pyramidal marketing scheme, it enriched its founders while attracting members from all social classes nationwide. Attempting to turn its membership power into a political movement, the Klan failed, and was essentially defunct by the 1930s, finally declaring bankruptcy in 1944.  It's a fascinating tale of this vile organization, and one that will surprise you.

A Killing on Ring Jaw Bluff

A Killing on Ring Jaw Bluff is a saga of two inextricably intertwined tales, the infamous Rawlings-Tarbutton murder case of 1925, and the crash of the cotton economy in Georgia (and the South) of the same era.  Sound like a strange combination?  It's not.  From about 1795 until the 1920s, the entire life of many of the southern states was based on the production of cotton.  Men became rich.  And when it all fell apart, lives were forever changed.  It was a fascinating and little known era.   In this popularly written account, I integrate local and regional history and economics that forever changed the South and Southern small towns in particular. 

Event Schedule
Upcoming events for the next few months are
listed below.  If you or your book or social club
are looking for a speaker, please contact me.  I am available for "virtual" events on Zoom or other videoconferencing programs. 

The COVID-19 Pandemic is causing events to be cancelled or postponed again and again, continuing well into 2021.  I have given up trying to keep up with the rescheduling, and will simply list those events for which I have a firm date.

January 2021--Wednesdays 10:00-11:00 AM
Lecture Series on Selected 
   Topics in Georgia History
    Wesleyan Academy for Lifelong Learning 
    at Wesleyan College
    Macon, Georgia
  January 6:  "Post-Colonial Corruption--
       The Great Yazoo Fraud and The Pine
       Pine Barrens Speculation"
  January 13:  "The Political Nature of 
  January 20:  "The Myth of the Boll Weevil"
  January 27:  "Reign of Terror--The Ku Klux
         Klan of the 1920s in Macon."
To sign up, please contact Alycia Ward, (478) 757-5233 

7/9/2021  2:00-4:00 PM
Presentation: "Lighthouses of the 
   Georgia Coast"
Center for Life Enrichment
Highlands, North Carolina

3/22/2022 10:00-11:00 AM
Book Club Discussion (Private Event)
Tuesday Book Club
Holy Nativity Episcopal Church
2200 18th Street
Plano, Texas

News and Notes

There is always something happening.  Here are the latest odds and ends that may be of interest to you:

A Change for Book Number 12!:  I had originally planned to do a book on tattoos for my twelfth book.  In fact, I have been reading extensively on the subject, and was about to begin writing over the 2020 Labor Day weekend when an irresistible opportunity arose.   

Pushing the tattoo book back to book number thirteen, I am now going to write on the Columbus Strangler, one of the most notable and horrific crime sprees in recent Georgia history.  During a seven month period in 1977 and 1978, a mysterious killer attacked and strangled seven elderly women in one of the finest neighborhoods of Columbus, Georgia.  And then the killings stopped.  The case went cold.

In 1984, through a fortuitous set of events, a thirty-four year old man named Carlton Gary was arrested.  He had been in and out of jail and prison for much of his life, and his history of criminal offenses spanned several states.  His case came to trial in 1986.  He was sentenced to death, beginning a thirty-two year legal saga that eventually culminated with his execution in March 2018.  It is a very complex and convoluted tale of one of America's most prolific serial killers.  This will be a difficult story to write, but I'm looking forward to the challenge.

And after that, the book on tattoos. Yes, I know that's a strange subject, but one that deserves attention as a sociological trend over the last two to three decades.  Body art, once considered correlated with sociopathy, is now mainstream--at least in some segments of society.  Why?  This will not be a picture book of tattoos, but more of a larger look at this change in attitude and the reasons behind it.