Stories, Novellas and Novels by Jamie McKenzie



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Here is a sample of the book's opening . . .

Chapter One

I am Nick Carraway - Nicholas B. Carraway, III.

Surely, if you read The Great Gatsby, you will remember my grandfather. He was the guy telling the story - Nick Carraway. Most people think of Gatsby as the main character, but for me, Grandpa was the hero of the story. After all, he went on to get married and raise a family, thanks to which I am here now to tell this new story. And Gatsby, well, we all know what happened to him.

My grandfather Nick put Gatsby's story ahead of his own, but if you read between the lines, it was really his story that mattered. Gatsby was an imposter, a crook and a hopeless dreamer, while my grandfather was at that stage of his life an observer who lifted Gatsby to mythic stature by virtue of his reporting.

Gatsby, his dreams, and his parties turned to dust, but my grandfather went on to build a solid business career and raise a family back in Minnesota. Unlike Gatsby and the Buchanans, Grandpa was a man of character. And no, he did not marry that golfer, Jordan Baker, the one who cheated at both golf and life. Jordan - the bad driver.

I have no intention of telling anyone else's story. This is my story and the story of my friends, my loves, my dreams and my stumbles. I am no Gatsby, that is for sure, but I have been known to throw a good party, drive an awesome car and chase a woman or two. That's pretty much where the resemblance will stop, as the reader will note as my story unfolds.

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Getting Lost in the Good Old USA





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Given the controversy over wiretapping, eavesdropping, e-mail reading and other kinds of snooping conducted by the CSA without court warrants, this novel is especially timely.

Magda Mirage is a dazzling red head well known to every TV viewer and talk show junkie. Forced to flee Manhattan by her dead husband's shady old friends, she dyes and cuts her hair, dons frowsy looking clothing, turns off her cell phone and heads for the wilds of Montana.

Will flight do her any good?
Is it possible for anyone to hide any more?
Is it possible to slip into oblivion or get lost?
Is privacy obsolete?

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The Coal Creek Rebellion

The story begins in 1891.
Location: Coal Creek, Tennessee.

The State of Tennessee has brought convict labor to Coal Creek* to break the miners' union.

Fifteen year-old Lent Harris and his family are being evicted from the company house they have occupied for years. Determined to take a stand and resist the eviction order, the family finds itself facing three men with shotguns who underline their final warning by shooting the family's prize rooster.

* Coal Creek is now Lake City, Tennessee, north of Knoxville, renamed after the TVA built a dam and a lake which covered much of the area.

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Fifteen year-oldLent Harris and his family are being evicted from the company house they have occupied for years. Determined to take a stand and resist the eviction order, the family finds itself facing three men with shotguns who underline their final warning by shooting the family's prize rooster. Recognizing the futility of resisting further, the Harris clan packs a wagon to head for the mountain cabin of Lent's grandfather where they remain for several months while the men seek new jobs.

During this time, tension builds between father and son as Lent joins a secret organization of rebellious miners and Charlie Harris, his father, bows to the inevitable by signing a "yellow dog contract" which means giving up any right to question the mine owners. As the owners contract with the State of Tennessee to provide convict labor to break the coal mining union, stockades are built at each mine to hold the new workers. When a group of rebels storms one of these stockades in order to send the convicts back to Knoxville, Lent goes along for the midnight raid and witnesses the miners' triumph. The convicts are loaded onto the first morning train amid miners' cheers of celebration and victory. It appears that the miners have regained control of the valley, but the sense of triumph is short lived.

Before long, the convicts are delivered back with a heavy guard of militia. The Governor pays Coal Creek a visit to promise better working conditions while warning of the consequences if there is any more interference with the convicts. Angered by this visit, the miners plan yet another assault upon the stockades and find themselves once more victorious, marching convicts again to the train station. Lent begins to wonder when the violence and conflict will end.

An uneasy truce settles over the valley as the Governor promises to involve the Legislature in reviewing the convict labor system. Lent finds a job in a dry goods store and begins falling in love with the store owner's daughter, Sarah Prebot. After a few months of waiting, the Governor's promises lead nowhere and the Legislature both reaffirms the laws allowing convict labor and strengthens penalties for interference. Leaders who had urged patience and negotiation step aside for men with a more violent frame of mind.

Lent picks up a rifle once again, but this time it is a Remington handed to him by Sarah's father. The older man shares his philosophy of restraint and his hope that Lent will not have to fire the rifle. Even though the night offers Lent opportunities, as the convicts are once more liberated and the stockade burned to the ground, Lent is able to report the next day that he did not fire a shot.

Sharing his anxieties with Sarah, Lent begins to question the seesaw of violence and retribution that has invaded the valley. The government sends Gatling guns and a large contingent of militia to establish order. An uneasy calm settles over the valley, and some mines begin rehiring the fired workers. Lent considers going back to work in the mines, but Mr. Prebot convinces him that the calm will last only as long as it takes the government and mine owners to regroup.

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