Small Towns Cover

By Ray Walsh for LSJ on December 2, 2009

Ledges writers combine for ‘Small Towns’

If you’ve ever lived in a small town or rural village, you’ll certainly enjoy an entertaining new book by a group of talented local writers based in Grand Ledge.

“Small Towns: A Map in Words” (Riley Press, $12.99) is a new collection of fiction and non-fiction by 14 members of Writing at the Ledges, which meets regularly in Grand Ledge.

It’s an intriguing literary anthology, including poetry, short stories, essays and a novella, smoothly capturing part of the flavor that makes life in small towns unique.

Co-edited by Rosalie Sanara Petrouske and Candy- Ann Little, the attractive self-published paperback is divided into seven subsections.

“At the Water’s Edge” includes the first of Randy D. Pearson’s powerful short stories, “Lasagna and Sex Therapy,” which offers insight into the plight of a local homeless man.

Distinctive poetry by Petrouske, Jan McCaffrey, K.L. Marsh and Diane Bonofiglio also appear; “Treasures Beyond Measure” by multi-media artist C.J. Tody, is a nifty tale dealing with childhood memories.

“Corner Cafe” provides more poetry by Little and others, with a brief humorous recollection by Marion Philip Kline dealing with unsettling rumors.

Little’s novella, “Death by Broken Heart,” focuses on a suspicious death in Grand Ledge and a hard-working private investigator seeking straight answers. It mixes a bit of romance into a straightforward crime tale in the best Ross MacDonald tradition.

“Country Roads” includes poetry with strong imagery by Kerry Tietsort, brief scenes of a hay baling experience by Jan Sykes and the first of four memorable autobiographical pieces by Alta C. Reed. “Main Streets” showcases a funny Halloween story by Pearson and an eerie tale by Donna-lee Pontius.

“Over the Garden Gate” features the first of three emotional short stories by Lori Hudson, who’s written popular children’s chapter books under the pseudonym Judith Wade.

The last two sections, “Steeples” and “Town Hall Meeting” offer a heady mixture of poetry, reminiscences and fiction by many of the contributing authors, closing with another intuitive tale by Pearson.

A brief biographical section denotes the many varied accomplishments of these local, talented writers. For more information you can visit their Web site at www.writingat

Ray Walsh, owner of East Lansing’s Curious Book Shop, has reviewed Michigan books and crime novels regularly since 1987.