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Carolyn HowardJohnson

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Literary Fiction

Publisher:  PublishAmerica

Copyright:  Jan 1 2003

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Carolyn's Books Reissued in Inexpensive E-Book Format

Publish America/AmErica House
This is the Place

Both of my books, This is the Place and Harkening, were among the top-selling books selected by my publisher for inclusion in their new e-book library. What a great time to treat a friend or yourself to one of my books without spending much more than you would on a card!
       This is the Place won eight awards as a trade paperback.  It is a story about a young journalist who uses her writing skill to leave Utah in the 50s, a time when women had few options. It was among the first books named to Publish America's prestigious Mille Club.

       Harkening is a collection of stories about a loving but dysfuntional family with enough picadilloes among its members to keep the stories rolling to a novel-like conclusion.

       I've been going great guns, lately. My work has appeared in anthologies.  and some short stories and poetry have been selected for review journals.

       Each of these new e-books is $5.95 and may be ordered at:  After an order is placed, each e-book will be delivered with how-to instructions by e-mail. Books may be found easily with a search by title.

       If you haven't visited my site lately, I've added some new articles, Go to: I also now have a site at has a different selection of articles, poems and stories on it than my "regular" site.

Thanks very much for letting me share this exciting news with you. I love that my work is finally really "affordable."

If you would still rather have a hard copy, both books are still available on most of the book-selling sites like Amazon and B&N and they may still be ordered by your local bookstore if they don't have a copy. Let me know if you go this route and I'll send you a little gift and an autographed book plate.

Professional Reviews

This is the Place
Review by Connie Martinson, Nationally Syndicated TV Reviewer

It is interesting to learn how others live especially when you are reading a
well written book. Carolyn Howard-Johnson writes about today's Mormon world
in "This Is The Place"(America House). Sky Eccles' father was a Mormon and
her mother a Protestant. This was considered a mixed-marriage in Utah. Unlike
many of the other women who married Mormon men, she did not convert. Sky is a
reporter with the Salt Lake Tribune which is not a Mormon paper. Her
boyfriend, Archer Benson, is from an old important Mormon family who would
like to break off his engagement to Sky.
In the book we meet Gram Harriet whose life is her piano and great
grandmother Crystal who had been in a polygamous marriage. Sky ruminates
about the questions she would have liked to ask. "What was it like to have
your marriage outlawed and your children declared illegitimate ?" The book
ends with Sky going to New York City.
When we met , my first question to Carolyn was what happened to Archer? She laughed and told me she married him. The book is based on Carolyn's family but only as she pointed out as a jumping off spot. She does comment on the strength of the family life in Utah as long as you follow the rules. At one
point Sky is sent home from a college dance because she is wearing a pink
strapless dress. True, that happened to Carolyn. Carolyn's most recent book
"Harkening" follows some of the same characters in short stories

Harkening: A Collection of Stories Rmembered
Reviewed by Kristin Johnson (not a relative! Ha!)

Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s second book Harkening, “a collection of 19 gentle sequels” to her debut award-winning novel This Is The Place, won the Excellence in Writing Award from, and one of the stories won the Red Sky Press Award. If the story was up against the other 18 in this collection, the judges must have felt like they were deciding the 2000 Presidential Election. How do you choose among 19 rough-edged yet softly glowing polished gems?

Each story is a slice of reality transformed, from the introduction (which muses on those family stories that change as Uncle Bob or Grandma Edith grows older) to “The Way” (a vignette about families discussing directions that stands as a metaphor for roads to truth) to “A Different Generation” (a bittersweet story that is subtly feminist yet affirms the value of our moms staying home to raise us). The stories are not only ‘fact distilled into truth,’ but shaped into truer than truth stories told at family reunions. The stories remind the reader of conversations in a crowded room at Mom and Dad’s 50th anniversary, with cousins, uncles, aunts, and children talking over each other in order to be heard. Even within each family member, the voices vary and contradict. The representative of the youngest generation, Carrie, abandons piano lessons because her Gram says she “has the least talent but seems to enjoy [the piano] the most.” Yet in the last story, she has accepted her indifference toward cooking, and shows her Mom-Bertie that there is, indeed, more than one way to live. The beauty of Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s writing is not only in the exquisite lace-doily language (“Bertie and Harriet are not only of different religions but made of different textiles. Harriet is a burlap throw…Bertie is fuschia chintz”) but in the characterizations. In the end, Carrie realizes the value of her mother’s old-fashioned crafts, and the traditions that have defined her childhood in Utah.

Those who enjoy ‘straight’ stories with obvious but well-crafted conflict, climax and resolution may feel frustrated by the author’s snapshots of the deeply personal worlds of her characters. But the stories have quiet conflict, such as “What Isn’t Lavender,” a moving but not overdone story of Carrie the outsider cornered by an overzealous classmate. As science fiction writer Ben Bova notes in The Craft of Writing Science Fiction That Sells, “Slam-bang action is not conflict.” Neither are soap opera-ish devices, and the writing here is anything but shallow.

Venice, Carrie, Louella, Trisha, Mom-Bertie, and Nina remind us of paintings by Edna Hibel, everyday moments celebrated. This dysfunctional family becomes dignified, especially in the women’s devotion to their many secrets and to their tangled ties. Like Louise Erdrich’s Love Medicine, the stories jump from one family member to the other, forcing you to keep up with who is related to whom and whether or not what they reveal in one particular moment contradicts what they reveal in the next story. But this is the nature of families and of great characters. They are little bundles of contradictions, to borrow a phrase from Anne Frank.

In the television show “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine,” a young seemingly wide-eyed character named Doctor Julian Bashir asks his older, more mysterious alien friend Garak, “What I want to know is, out of all the stories you told me which ones were true and which ones weren't?” Garak answers, “My dear doctor...they're all true.” “Even the lies?” “Especially the lies.”

This dialogue seems to express thematically the point Carolyn Howard-Johnson makes in the introduction: “There are certain exigencies required to mold a tale into something you, my reader, will want to read. I might change the order of an event or the color of a dress to fit the need of the story. The writing of it might require me to imagine another’s point of view in order to capture the story’s full truth.” Also, as she writes of “Legacy,” her Mom-Bertie’s quintessential story, “Still, it is a real story, as most stories come filtered through glasses of one color or another.”

There is a discussion between a younger Bertie and her sister Trisha that even challenges the veracity of a photograph, “Portrait of Sisters.” In this collection of stories remembered, truth of memory has primacy, and even if the road ahead looks straight and flat and winding through Gunnison, there’s still more than one way to get to Salt Lake City. In Carolyn-Howard Johnson’s stories, you discover it’s the journey that matters, and you enjoy every minute.

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Reader Reviews for "A New Possibility for This is the Place and Harkening"

Reviewed by John Brown 11/19/2012
Seem like a very interesting book to read I will check it out. This sounds like a really good book. Women everywhere should read this book. Great Job on This

Books by
Carolyn HowardJohnson

Sublime Planet, A Chapbook Celebrating the Planet and Universe

The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward--Winner 3 Awards

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Amazon, more..

The Frugal Book Promoter: Second Edition

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Amazon, Barnes & Noble, more..

Blooming Red: Christmas Poems for the Rational

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Imagining the Future: Ruminations on Fathers and Other Apparitions

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Cherished Pulse--Give It to Someone You Love

This Is The Place, By Award-Winning Author Carolyn Howard-Johnson

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Amazon, Barnes & Noble, more..

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