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What, you expected sterling praise from famous writers? Sorry, I can't provide that because I am forced to publish Confederate Nation myself. Besides, I suspect that many of those testimonials are just favors from friends who may not have even read the book. And you never see a bad one, right?

Let's face it, the so-called mainstream publishing industry has become constipated and reluctant to do much more than recycle the gorp of mediocre but established writers. It is mostly unwilling to take a chance and discover new and exciting writers.

So, I am taking matters in my own hands and getting Confederate Nation in front of readers. Life is too short to wait for a break. I'm going to try and make it happen now.

Is this a great book? Probably not. There are very few great books published any more. But is it entertaining? Yes. Does it tell an odd story? Certainly. And I have always thought it should be a movie, too. With proper padding and makeup, Kurt Russell could again be Elvis.

A man is ultimately his own father because he keeps growing, if he's lucky, and as he grows he's the only person there every damn day to help get past the rough spots. We become our own fathers, and we should, and we must raise ourselves, even when a biological father has been there, but even more so when one has not. In the end we are solitary creatures. We're alone. The smart ones will make alliances and coalitions with others to make the trip sweeter and kinder, but it's a long and solitary trip and in the end the partners we make can't get us across the last barrier. That we have to do for ourselves.

-Michael Loyd Gray

Preview coming soon.
Michael Loyd Gray is the winner of the 2005 Alligator Juniper Fiction Prize and is the winner of the 2005 The Writers Place Fiction Award. His work has appeared in Arkansas Review, Potomac Review, Flash!Point, Viet Nam Generation, 1812, and Black River Syllabary.

He earned a MFA in English from Western Michigan University and a bachelor?s from the University of Illinois. He is an English professor at Illinois Central College.


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