Thursday, May 30, 2013


THEN LIKE THE BLIND MAN: Orbie's Story  by Freddie Owens Wegela

Regular $4.99 on Amazon. Free May 30th and 31st

A storm is brewing in the all-but-forgotten backcountry of Kentucky. And, for young Orbie Ray, the swirling heavens may just have the power to tear open his family’s darkest secrets. Then Like The Blind Man: Orbie’s Story is the enthralling debut novel by Freddie Owens, which tells the story of a spirited wunderkind in the segregated South of the 1950s and the forces he must overcome to restore order in his world. Rich in authentic vernacular and evocative of a time and place long past, this absorbing work of magical realism offered up with a Southern twist will engage readers who relish the Southern literary canon, or any tale well told. 

Nine-year-old Orbie already has his cross to bear. After the sudden death of his father, his mother Ruby has off and married his father’s coworker and friend Victor, a slick-talking man with a snake tattoo. Since the marriage, Orbie, his sister Missy, and his mother haven’t had a peaceful moment with the heavy-drinking, fitful new man of the house. Orbie hates his stepfather more than he can stand; this fact lands him at his grandparents’ place in Harlan’s Crossroads, Kentucky, when Victor decides to move the family to Florida without including him. In his new surroundings, Orbie finds little to distract him from Granpaw’s ornery ways and constant teasing jokes about snakes. 

As Orbie grudgingly adjusts to life with his doting Granny and carping Granpaw, who are a bit too keen on their black neighbors for Orbie’s taste, not to mention their Pentecostal congregation of snake handlers, he finds his world views changing, particularly when it comes to matters of race, religion, and the true cause of his father’s death. He befriends a boy named Willis, who shares his love of art, but not his skin color. And, when Orbie crosses paths with the black Choctaw preacher, Moses Mashbone, he learns of a power that could expose and defeat his enemies, but can’t be used for revenge. When a storm of unusual magnitude descends, he happens upon the solution to a paradox that is both magical and ordinary. The question is, will it be enough?

Equal parts Hamlet and Huckleberry Finn, it’s a tale that’s both rich in meaning, timely in its social relevance, and rollicking with boyhood adventure. The novel mines crucial contemporary issues, as well as the universality of the human experience while also casting a beguiling light on boyhood dreams and fears. It’s a well-spun, nuanced work of fiction that is certain to resonate with lovers of literary fiction, particularly in the grand Southern tradition of storytelling.

Then Like the Blind Man: Orbie’s Story 

"...grabs you from the very first page and carries you along,  breathless and tense, until the very last, very satisfying sentence. Freddie Owens has created something special."
- The San Francisco Book Review

“Reminiscent of To Kill a Mockingbird, this "sensitive and gripping" comingof age story evokes backcountry Kentucky in the troubled 1950's in prose that's spare yet lyrical -- a "special" novel worthy of joining the ranks of an illustrious Southern literary tradition.” 
- Kindle Nation


Freddie Owens is a poet and fiction writer whose work has been published in Poet Lore, Crystal Clear and Cloudy, and Flying Colors Anthology. The author is a past attendee of Pikes Peak Writer's Conferences and the Association of Writers and Writing Programs, and is a current member of Lighthouse Writer's Workshop in Denver, Colorado. As a licensed professional counselor and psychotherapist, he for many years counseled perpetrators of domestic violence and sex offenders, and provided therapies for individuals and families. He holds a master’s degree in contemplative psychotherapy from Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado. Born in Kentucky and raised in Detroit, Owens drew inspiration for his first novel, Then Like The Blind Man / Orbie's Story from childhood experiences growing up around Harlan’s Crossroads, Kentucky. His life-long studies of Tibetan Buddhism and Advaita Vedanta not to mention his encounters with Native American Shamanism are also of note in this regard.  

Stalk Freddie


You could say what happened to me happened to all of us.  It happened to Victor, to Momma and Missy, Granpaw and Granny, to Moses Mashbone, to Willis, to Nealy Harlan and that old cousin of his, Bird Pruitt – to all the folks that lived and worked around Harlan’s Crossroads, white and black.  And I suppose you would be right in putting it that way, though you would be wrong too, dead wrong, for what happened was also altogether particular to my person alone; particular and so elusive, so hard to get hold of that few in this world, least of all myself – though I had been given a glimpse to last a lifetime – would dare say it had happened at all.  
Some said it was magic.  Some said no.  Some said what destroyed the barn and tore the wheels off Reverend Pennycall’s police car was just a late summer storm, though of unusual magnitude, which at the time seemed a reasonable enough explanation.  But the thing that put the slice of worry permanently between Momma’s eyes and pointed out the path I was to take – the thing that sent the Devil to his grave – that was more than just a storm.  

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