Rod Raglin

This blog will touch on the experiences I have as a writer (not to be mistaken for my experience as a writer, i.e. how many books I've written, etc); the pleasure and the pain, the joy and the grief, the satisfaction and the frustration, the magic and the reality - have I left anything out, oh yeah, the rejection, rejection and more rejection,  the humiliation and the embarrassment, the jealousy and the resentment - that pretty much covers it, except for why I do it which perhaps I'll realize along the way. Are you totally confused? Good, let's begin.

Flashes of brilliance overshadowed by lack of craft

The Clay Head Benediction - Marty Rafter


“Thank you for writing this book, Marty. I appreciate your commitment and the time you put into this worthy endeavor.



Luke Kolbe is loner, a misfit, a person that makes miniature clay heads in the oven of his kitchen stove. He leaves these sculptures for people to find or gives them away, which is his way “of bringing a sense of wonder into the world.”


As the story progresses we meet some of the people Luke interacts with. None could be called friends. Some are just too weird to have a normal relationship with even for Luke, others are too normal. Though non-threatening Luke’s strange behavior and attitude make people wary and suspicious of him.


As the story progresses the reader begins to realize Luke has some real issues of his own, but despite his “idiosyncrasies” I found him sympathetic, though too eccentric to be likeable.


To be able to write convincingly from the perspective of a person who is mentally unstable is not unique, but certainly a challenge and one that Marty Rafter is up to.


The Clay Head Benediction offers good writing and a plot, when it finally becomes apparent, that is intriguing, but as sometimes is the case they are overshadowed by the lack of craft.


The beginning is so disconnected to the rest of the narrative I almost abandoned it after the first couple of pages.


I came to verge time and time again when confronted by numerous dream scenes presented in large blocks of intimidating solid type that did nothing to advance the plot or develop the character, at least that I could see. If they were metaphors I missed them.


Despite no real goal, motivation or conflict being evident until about two thirds of the way through, something kept me hanging in there. Perhaps it was the flashes of brilliant dialogue that left me as a writer envious, and as a reader wanting more.


They were, unfortunately, too few of them and too much of Luke’s everyday activities described in tedious detail.


Self indulgence with our work is a flaw of all writers. This can be addressed by engaging the services of a professional, dispassionate editor, but who can afford one of them. The next best thing is to recruit a stable of arm’s length beta readers or even an objective critique group to help us “kill our darlings”.



I downloaded this book free from Smashwords as part of an ongoing commitment to read and review the work of self-published authors.




My new novels, FOREST – Love, Loss, Legend and The BIG PICTURE – A Camera, A Young Woman, An Uncompromising Ethic are available as e-books or paperbacks on Amazon and as e-books at


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Visit my publisher’s website for excerpts from, and buy links to my Eco-Fi series ECO-WARRIORS, that includes Spirit Bear, Eagleridge Bluffs, and Not Wonder More – Mad Maggie and the Mystery of the Ancients


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