Book Review: White Buffalo Gold

White Buffalo Gold is a book I had the pleasure of reading as part of the process for my good friend, Adam Fleming, to pursue publishing.  (Check out his Kickstarter project!)  White Buffalo Gold follows the lives of three girls as they come of age in a rural town.  Amy, Emily, and Melissa share a long history together.  Through the novel you see that history laid out through several decades.  You see how complex friendship can be, and the many faces people may wear as friends, but Adam dares to go deeper.  You see those three girl’s lives intertwined with other souls in the town and you see the interweaving of those souls as well.  Some people seem like the stereotypical “decent folks”. Other people betray the complexity of life through their actions, both good and bad.  Adam writes about how easy mistakes can be and how the repercussions can last throughout a lifetime.  Yet what resonates is not that there are “good” and “bad” people, but that we are more than the sum of what we do.

What I love the most about this novel is it’s honesty.  It never feels contrived, even when the spirit of a white buffalo starts haunting someone.  The characters all play out as very genuine, and the greater themes of small town identity, regret, aging, death, and starting over all get a fair shake.  You’ve got small town Nebraska, a gold rush mystery, and Native American spirituality all weaving into a coming of age story about the choices that make us leave and the choices that keep us close.  When I finished reading the novel I felt as if I’d just had tea with old friends and neighbors I hadn’t seen in a while, and I was so glad to have caught up on their lives.

If you like contemporary fiction that harks back to some of the great American narrative traditions, then this book is one you’ll enjoy reading.  It’s got small towns, rural America, big potential and simple dreams: all the Americana with none of the pretense or cloying sweetness that can make the genre turn sour.  I’m so proud and privileged to be a part of seeing it put into print.

***This review is not paid or coerced in any manner.  I volunteered it because I believe in Adam’s project.

Epic Life Studios: Where I’ve been the last few weeks

square-logo-medium I’ve been helping design, edit, and decorate the website for a friend’s new business, Epic Life Studios.

I’m posting about it here as a part of Adam and Megan Fleming’s online debut, but not just as an advertisement for my own services in web editing, layout and design (personal website to come as soon as work slows down enough I can make it, ha!) but also because I think some of my readers may be interested in learning more about Adam and Megan and what they do.

The first time I heard about Life Coaching my response was “why wouldn’t you just go to a therapist?”  Then, over time, as Adam and Megan completed their training and started developing a method for coaching artists to perfect their work, I saw the quality in getting help to control your life from a more wholistic and less therapeutic standpoint.  Coaching isn’t about cheering you on or helping you to come to terms with your past- (although it does do both those things) it’s about helping you to recognize patterns- good and bad ones- and helping you to control them.  It’s about helping you to fully evaluate your own goals, to set more reasonable standards for yourself, and to take control of your own destiny.

Anyone out there who is still saying “I wish I could write that novel” or “I wish I took more time for art/dancing/that creative path I’m interested in” or thinking, “I’m just not feeling fulfilled by my life right now” could really benefit from Adam and Megan’s skills.

And anyone who’s thinking, “life coaching?  No interest to learn more there” should at the very least go look at Adam and Megan’s stunning art.

Aside from the galleries on the website, you can find their art for sale at the following places:

Megan’s Koi series on Cafe Press

Adam’s Sculpture and Painting on Cafe Press

Megan’s Trinity Transformations series on Cafe Press

Megan’s Art Print Portfolio through ImageKind

Everyone should go look!  Adam and Megan Fleming are amazing people, gifted artists and coaches, and I wish them nothing but success!