Author of Southern Stories



Latest Events and News Items.....


Coming Soon:  My Next Book
Lighthouses of the Georgia Coast
I am pleased to be able to say that the manuscript for my next book, Lighthouses of the Georgia Coast, has been completed and is at the publisher.  I was honored to be offered the opportunity of writing this book; the topic is a fascinating one.  Georgia has five existing lighthouses:  Cockspur and Tybee near Savannah, plus lighthouses on Sapelo, St. Simons and Little Cumberland Islands.  They are historical treasures, constructed in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, intimately involved in the trade and commerce of the coast through the early twentieth century.  In addition to focusing on the state's lighthouses, the book has sections on the history of lighthouses in general, how they were built, the technical aspects of their lights, and about lighthouse keepers, those brave men and women who tended these seaside beacons of hope. There is a interesting chapter on Georgia's lighthouses during the Civil War and--perhaps needless to say--a large number of photographs, diagrams and illustrations.  The book is scheduled for release by Mercer University Press in March 2021.  
Video of Web Program on Six Inches Deeper
On Thursday, June 18th the Georgia Center for the Book was kind enough to ask me to give a webinar on my latest book, Six Inches Deeper.  It was a good program, with a Q&A session at the end.  If you'd like to see the video, click HERE.
The Girl with Kaleidoscope Eyes

As an author, while you think your book might be good, it's a bit awkward to say that.  You hope others, perhaps more objective, will say that for you.  So..., with great humility I present a December 2019 review from the noted Jackie Cooper.  I hope his words say all that is necessary.

William Rawlings Barrels Back Into The World Of Fiction With


When I first discovered author William Rawlings he was writing mystery novels, really good mystery novels. But then he decided to concentrate on non-fiction books exploring the history of the South. He lost me there as I am not a fan of non-fiction but apparently others are as the books were very successful. Still it was with great pleasure and anticipation I discovered he had released a new novel with the title THE GIRL WITH KALEIDOSCOPE EYES.

This new novel takes place in Savannah, Georgia, a city that has longed intrigued me. The central character is a disbarred attorney and convicted felon named John Wesley O’Toole. Since getting out of prison he has returned to Savannah and is running the art gallery once owned by his grandmother. His wife divorced him while he was in prison and he has to pay child support for their two children. His finances are in worse shape than he is.

Things look up when he is contacted by a wealthy man who wants John to search for his missing granddaughter. He feels John is the perfect man to find out her whereabouts as his granddaughter Lucy took with her a somewhat valuable painting. By finding the painting John should be able to find Lucy. It sounds simple in theory but in execution it is much more difficult.

John’s investigation ends up putting him in the predicament of being accused of murder. He is alleged to have been connected with a burned up vehicle that had a body of a young woman in the trunk. Once again John’s life is careening out of control and there seems no hope of justice finding a way into his life.

In William Rawlings mind however there is a way, and his presentation of it is a wonderful read. We go through more twists and tuns than you can imagine, but imagination is key in Rawlings work. He is also adept at creating fully described characters, something that more famous authors seem to be unable to do these days.

THE GIRL WITH KALEIDOSCOPE EYES is a fast paced thriller that will hold you captive page after page. It is a complex and complicated story but Rawlings manages to sort it all out in the end with a conclusion you just didn’t see coming.

If you want a story you can settle into and enjoy for a few hours, this is the book you need. Rawlings might have left the fiction world for a few years but his story skills did not rust. He is back and better than ever.

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, some as far out as next year.  I have given up trying to keep up with the rescheduling, and will simply list those events for which I have a firm date.

10/22/20 5:00 PM
Roswell AWC Book Critique Group 
Zoom Meeting per Invitation only

January 2021--Details TBA
Lecture Series on Selected 
   Topics in Georgia History
Wesleyan Academy 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."

3/23/21 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.