One-Eyed Man and Other Stories, by Geoffrey Craig

I promise to follow in the next few days with the final segment of my First Democracy review, but first a change of pace. The following review of Geoffrey Craig’s new collection of stories is by Sandy Raschke at Small Press Book Review. A few years ago, when I was managing editor at New Works Review, I had the pleasure of editing one of these stories, “Morocco,” which I still remember with some vividness, if that tells you anything.  I have previously reviewed his novel, Scudder’s Gorge, on this blog. Beyond that, I refer you to Raschke’s review:

One-Eyed Man and Other Stories by Geoffrey Craig, Golden Antelope Press, 300 pgs, ISBN: 978-1-936135-57-8. $21.95, paperback.

Geoffrey Craig’s new short story collection contains twenty-one stories, all of them an insightful look into the human condition. The book is divided into five sections, each with four to five stories. Most concern the lives of minorities—Latino and African-American, and one segment, The Carmichael stories, which have previously been published in Calliope, are about the descendants of Swedish immigrants. The one stand alone story, “Morocco,” lingered a long while after I finished it.

The Blue Heron Lake stories are about a community of Latino workers within the general population and how one, Pedro Sanchez, rises to prominence and becomes the mayor. When, in the story “Upheaval,” he suggests making Blue Heron Lake a sanctuary city, all hell breaks loose. After various threats and a “no” vote by the Council, Pedro thinks seriously about resigning and moving away, but then with the help of his wife, decides to stay and fight another day for what he believes is right.

            The Brandon Forsythe segment is about a young African-American man who is wrongly convicted of a crime. When he is released from prison, he can’t find work and ends up in a drug ring, eventually rising to the position of drug lord. Then he has an epiphany and after the death of his beloved wife from cancer, slowly transitions into a legitimate business person and philanthropist.

The Snake stories are about a struggling black family in South Carolina and follow them over a period of twenty years, from 1919 to 1933. It is the period of the KKK, lynching and burning, and Craig deftly reveals how hard it is to survive amid a “Whites Only” policy.

In the story, “Lying in Wait,” the narrator and his wife, Mary, find one of their children bitten by a snake; they rush him into town to be treated—and are refused service at the hospital. They are told to take the boy to the “Negro” part of town where there “might be” a doctor. Unfortunately, the boy dies just as they reach the “Negro” doctor’s office and the narrator compares his child’s death to the lynching of his brother James shortly after he returned from Europe after World War I.

“Morocco” is about two women, bunkmates on a freighter to Morocco. One woman, Abigail, has lost her entire family in a terrible house fire; the other, Tracy, is a hip young woman, who likes to smoke marijuana, but is grieving over the end of her last relationship, of which there have been many and never successful. The two women, a generation apart, at first don’t understand each other, but eventually lift the veils of their own disappointments and sorrows and end up visiting Morocco together, where they develop a bond after rescuing a little boy being carried out to sea.

In these stories, Geoffrey Craig has woven a rich tapestry of narrative and dialogue, to create three-dimensional characters, who reveal their strengths, weaknesses, their triumphs and failures, each within its own historical capsule of place and time. This collection spotlights Craig’s growing talents as a writer and the depths of his understanding of the American character.

Highly recommended.

A blast from the past: a mostly accurate profile of Golden Antelope's founder

Looking for information about Sanskrit professors, I happened upon this old (2010) article from Truman State University's student newspaper about this guy named Neal Delmonico--the guy I married.   Posting it is an ego trip; yes, of course it is.  I'll probably delete it in a couple of days.


"Snowflakes in a Blizzard" profiles SMALL BITES

Small Bites

THE BOOK: Small Bites


THE AUTHOR: Don Tassone

THE EDITOR: Betsy Delmonico

THE PUBLISHER: Golden Antelope Press

SUMMARY: This is a collection of 40 short stories. Many can be read in about a minute. The longer ones might take half an hour. Stories are divided into three sections — appetizers, entrees and desserts — to fit all tastes and appetites.

Stories touch on a range of themes, including love, loss, generosity, renewal and the power of imagination. The subgenres are diverse — from romance and drama to science fiction and spirituality. In this book, I hope there’s something for everybody.

Don TassoneTHE BACK STORY: One of stories featured in the entrees section, “The Beauty Inside,” is a sequel to a story in my first collection, Get Back. That story is called “The Beauty in Things.” It’s a love story. Many readers asked me to write a sequel. I am delighted to serve up this second course.

WHY THIS TITLE?: At some point, I began to think of all these stories as a meal. Thus, the title, Small Bites. I wanted each story to be “tasty,” and I wanted to offer enough stories to leave readers feeling nourished and wonderfully satisfied.

WHY SOMEONE WOULD WANT TO READ IT: We’re all busy these days, but we all love a good story. I created Small Bites with busy people in mind.


“Small Bites offers a menu of short stories that produce a tug-o-war for the reader. One end of the reading ‘rope’ says, ‘Read faster!’ because the stories are so appealing. Tugging at the other end, a voice says, ‘Slow down!”‘because you don’t want this book to end.”

“Small Bites offers small bits of wit and wisdom as it stirs readers’ creative worlds of wonder. Stories invite the reader to consider, “What might I do in that situation?” That’s a good reason to read slowly and allow Small Bites to lead into new realms of imagina-tion.”

“Small Bites extends an invitation to the reader to grow, to move beyond. Small Bites suggests new worlds to explore: tender love, sci-fi, politics and prayer, the possi-bility of the impossible, sunrise and sunset, the sound of God’s breath! Prepare for aha moments in reading Small Bites. Don Tassone rivals O’Henry in the art of surprise end-ings, often endings that are the beginnings of the reader’s journey into deeper thinking.” —  Patti Normile, author of Prayers for Caregivers.

AUTHOR PROFILE: After a long career in the corporate world, Don Tassone has re-turned to his creative writing roots, living the passion for the written word which first led him to earn a degree in English. Small Bites is his third work of fiction, his second col-lection of short stories. His debut novel, Drive, and debut short story collection, Get Back, were published in 2017. Don also teaches public relations at Xavier University in Cincinnati. He and his wife Liz live in Loveland, Ohio. They have four children.

AUTHOR COMMENTS: I write to make people think and feel more deeply. I hope the stories in “Small Bites” do that.


LOCAL OUTLETS: Joseph-Beth Booksellers, Cincinnati

WHERE ELSE TO BUY IT: Amazon, Barnes & Noble

PRICE: $15.95

CONTACT THE AUTHOR: My email is, and my personal web-site is