If the Creek Don't Rise
Tales from the South
by Nancy Hartney
A Creole beauty. Eccentric sisters and a black rose. One granny woman and a red button. Church
suppers and bingo nights. A poet out of his element. Dreams of Mexico. The shadowy world of
thoroughbred horse racing. If the Creek Don't Rise is a collection of hard-used characters,
tangled relationships, family angst, and fortitude. Step into the Deep South and experience the
lives and hardships, hopes and dreams, of folk who have nothing except grit—and sometimes
love—as their currency.
Eighteen tales and six postcard vignettes, highlighted with artwork by Susan Raymond, make this
collection a skillful and moving exploration of the commonplace, the hidden, and the unforgettable.
Praise for If the Creek Don't Rise:
If the Creek Don't Rise: Tales from the South features stories of unvarnished folks,
unapologetic about their rough edges—working-class people who speak in vernacular. The
book's slice-of-life pieces, set in the American South, take place in cafes, feed stores, and
horse racing tracks and tell tales of solitude, grit, and struggle, populated by images of
midnight freight trains, hay stacks, beans and cornbread, and collard greens.
This eclectic collection of sometimes dark, sometimes heartbreaking, yet hopeful stories is
populated by hard-edged characters not easily forgotten—a racetrack worker, an abusive
husband, a homeless poet, a woodcarver—and is written in concise, sparse language. Their
worlds are fishing boats and small towns, bayous and waterside places.
There is a stark realism to the stories in this regional collection. Many of the characters have
an unapologetic, fatalistic view of life, yet try to exert some control over their destinies.
The book includes several postcards and black and white illustrations that evoke quiet, slow-paced
rural life. This is a book to read piece by piece, not all in one sitting, savoring each of its 18
stories at a leisurely pace.
~ Debbie Miller, freelance New York journalist, author, winner of 2017 Mona Schreiber Prize for Humorous Fiction and Nonfiction
Hurricanes, chicken-leg stilt houses, spotted hounds, cornbread, coyotes, Luzianne coffee, poets,
drifters, whiskey drinking men and tenderhearted hookers color these deeply felt tales of the South.
~ Molly Giles, award winning author of Rough Translations, Creek Walk, Bothered, Iron Shoes,
and All the Wrong Places
I just finished your southern tales in If the Creek Don't Rise. I especially enjoyed the
lush description which provided a strong sense of place for the gritty characters and plots.
The Angie postcard interludes were an ingenious way to knit the stories together; they provided
the contrasting sunny voice of an outside observer to the same dark "doings" locales. Also,
Susan's delightful illustrations, and even the chapter typeface, added to the ambiance of the
South. I look forward to sending your books to my sister and friend for them to enjoy in the
~ SHZimmer, poet and author
An Excellent Read
This book contains a collection of wonderful stories that are Southern based of both settings and
characters. The author has deep southern roots that gave her the perfect voice to weave these
These stories capture the reader's imagination for a journey into a world that is sometimes raw and
unfair. Those of us who grew up in the South have met or seen people like some of these characters.
But one does not need to have a Southern heritage to enjoy these stories. Each story is told through
the character's sights, smells, sounds, touch, and various emotions felt while coping with what life
has dealt them. So well written, I felt like I was there with the characters. The dialogue is so
honest and real I was transported back to my youthful days hanging out in front of the country store
on a Saturday morning drinking a Pop Cola listening to the various conversations that took place.
I enjoyed each and every story. One Dollar and a Red Button was one of my favorites. I highly recommend
this book of excellent quality and value.
~ J.M. Davis on Goodreads