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Tunnels in the Briar Patch
These stories follow the life of a boy named Roland McCray growing up during the massive social changes of the 1960’s in a southern town that’s immersed in Civil War history. Roland enjoys the things that all children do- rides his bike, flies kites, plays in the fields and woods, and catches frogs and salamanders in the creek behind his house… But Roland notices that the world he sees around him and the things adults do don’t match what he’d been told in school and church. He learns that people aren’t always honest and that prejudice between races and religions doesn’t seem to be any different than it was a century before. Doubts grow in his developing conscience about what to believe and he’s influenced by his grandfather’s way of life: faith isn’t a thing to be shown, the way it is at his church, but is a quiet, unwavering certainty that all things work out for the good of those who truly seek the good in life. Roland wants that same certainty his grandfather lives and begins to seek his own Path, his own way to finding the good in life and living the way God intends he should live. A nostalgic tale of a young man growing up in the south and losing his religion to find God. The “Roland McCray” books have been favorably compared to Salinger’s “Catcher in the Rye”, Ray Bradbury’s “Dandelion Wine”, and Faulkner’s Southern short stories.
“Tunnels in the Briar Patch” is suitable for readers of any age.
This book consistently ranks in the top 100 Best Seller (in the top 50, actually) in these categories:
Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Anthologies & Literature Collections > Short Stories
Kindle Store : Kindle eBooks : Literature & Fiction : Religious & Inspirational Fiction : Short Stories
And is among the top ten best rated books in those categories.Available at: Amazon, , Amazon UK , Smashwords
Buy in Print direct from Author and get FREE eBook or Audiobook! Also available at Amazon and CreateSpace
Audiobook edition available at Audible.com, Amazon and Apple iTunes

“This author opens his hands and reveals highly polished pearls– I look forward to seeing more of young Roland McCray’s story!”

“Told in a lyrical style through the wondered eyes of a child that makes the realistic life events feel like a fairy tale of a more respectful time but no less violent or judgmental time in the US South. I strongly recommend this book!”

5 of 5 Stars Delightful and thought-provoking.

“Blaine Coleman has written a collection of short tales (Tunnels In the Briar Patch being the first upon which I was lucky enough to stumble) that embrace an era gone by. It’s a simpler time devoid of the incessant hustling and bustling met every time we step past our front door. Coleman’s writing is both nostalgic and edifying, as Roland McCray, a precocious young boy the narrative revolves around, faces down his own dilemmas and, at times, frustration with the southern culture in which he’s immersed. These parables will tug at your heart, foment the qualms and skepticism you once had during your own adolescence, and now and again beggar your staunch idealism honed over the years into adulthood. Within these pages, Roland has both moments of triumph and humor, which greatly help to temper some very poignant reminders of our history’s travails, making for a well-rounded account of the contrasting lazy day and religious conundrums. I very much look forward to his subsequent collections about a curious boy named Roland.”

Carried back to the good

“The stories of Roland McCray are of a magical time, forever gone, but captured in this wonderful book. Tunnels in the Briar Patch (Tales of Roland McCray) by Blaine Coleman, is a sweet collection of stories about innocence, the trials and joys of life, how childhood shapes us and about what makes us who we are. It was a pleasure to read and I highly recommend it. Five-stars.”

5.0 out of 5 stars A time of innocence

“Blaine Coleman’s Tunnels in The Briar Patch is a collection of short stories as seen through the eyes of eight year old Roland McCray. Roland is growing up in the south in a time before children were constantly playing video games and watching television. Roland instead plays outdoors, rides his bicycle, goes fishing and many other outdoor activities. The innocence of the child comes through brilliantly throughout the stories. Roland has some adventures along the way, playing in a cemetery and finding relics on a Civil War battlefield but he must also deal with some dilemmas of his own; very real dilemmas for an eight year old boy. The story itself was very well written. I would highly recommend this book.”

5.0 of 5 Stars This book is classic Americana!

“While reading this book I felt all warm and fuzzy inside…that’s what real Americana writing does to me. Roland’s imagination and empathy, the vibrant descriptions and the way the story is told is what makes this book special to me. Specifically, I enjoy Roland’s ability to process situations and display his values in a very positive light. He’s a sharp kid and I really love that about him. It makes it easy for me to connect with him. Roland is not perfect, but that’s what makes him real to me.”

5.0 out of 5 stars Old Times

“I loved this book. This author is great! I love the way he brings to life childhood experiences in vignettes. It brought back memories of flying a kite, riding a bike, bible studies, going to church dressed up in Sunday clothes, and many of the things we did as children. I love to read more of his books!”

5.0 out of 5 stars Readers will be swept away by truth

With Tunnels in the Briar Patch, Blaine Coleman has created a work which makes him one of the most distinctive, talented, indie writes of our time. Told in a lyrical style through the wondered eyes of an eight year old child that makes the realistic life events feel like a fairy tale of a more respectful time but no less violent or judgmental time in the US South. At points, little caveats of the judgmental reality seep through like the grandma Adelaide not liking Mr. Genetti because he is foreign but as with most cultural and moral training, it is barely noticed by the character Roland like his uncle being in the KKK and being a preacher to dodge taxes. Still the same chapter presents a good story on how being greedy can cost you. A true treasure of growing up in America with its tales of everyday of like riding a bike, flying a kite and tragedies like a girl getting badly burned and having no hair, this is unforgettable story of a time much less rushed then today. It shares experiences we can all relate to from our own childhoods like playing in a cemetery or deciding whether or not to release a butterfly. Ultimately, the story of Roland is mature, reflective, and riveting. It sucks you in with tales of a child’s reaction to his surroundings from hearing of a civil war battle of Petersburg, Virginia and relating it to Vietnam to his hearing the story of Noah and his surprise over a wrathful God, so different from a loving Jesus to finding a dead dog and coming home to be with the dog he grew to love, before you know it, you as the reader are swept into a colorful, dramatic, and ultimately satisfying emotional truth.”

5 of 5 Stars The profound nature of simplicity

Last night at dinner, I asked my wife, “Was ‘Catcher in the Rye’ considered ‘young adult’ literature?”
She answered, “I read it when I was twelve. But, then I read ‘Lord of the Files’ then, too.”
So, I looked them both up. “Catcher” is frequently considered young adult but more so a coming of age novel. Never considered it in the same light as “Summer of ‘42.”
“Lord of the Flies” draws more conflicted answers. While some consider it simply fiction, others frequently call it allegorical. One contributor labeled it as “post-apocalyptic dystopian fiction.” (“Eraserhead?”)
Then my wife said, “Why do you ask?”
Now we’re back to the subject at hand. I suspect that in the last year, I’ve read more young adult books than I did when I was a pre-teen. I often tell friends that if it were not for cameras and mirrors, I’d still be seventeen. Perhaps I should include choice of literature?
Just as dinner arrived, I responded, “I asked, because I’m reading a book to review that is billed as young adult and it makes me think of ‘Catcher’ — although it has been thirty years since I read Salinger’s classic.”
Roland McCray is the creation of author Blaine Coleman, who like myself, is a boomer. I wonder if there are other boomers out there who read books about younger protagonists. Coleman writes in the first person with the authentic voice of a young boy. McCray tells a series of ten short stories, but not tall tales, called “Tunnels in the Briar Patch,” with which boomers can identify and pre-teens can learn. Who among us did not as a child learn to ride a bike, explore graveyards, vacant lots, and forgotten parts of town? Boomers in their youth had to deal with many of the same social issues then as we still do today. Some topics are classic. Roland learns about life and death, prejudice and love. Human nature rarely changes. Aren’t life’s most important lessons best stated simply?
The young mister McCray relives aspects of every person’s childhood with that profound simplicity upon which complicated issues rest. Why does a pre-teen girl have to wear a wig? Why does even a small town have so many different cemeteries? Why should a pre-teen be concerned with the rapture?
If I continue reading young adult books, my book case in our reading room will have a shelf labeled, “YA for Boomers,” and “Tunnels in the Briar Patch” will have a prominent place there.

A Fun Book to Read!
By ohwhaddanite
Reading these stories was like taking a journey through my own childhood. I remember doing the same sort of things Roland did- riding my bike, kite flying and playing in the creek in the woods. And like Roland, I wasn’t a fan of going to preaching every Sunday morning, either. I really enjoyed this book and recommend it to anyone wanting to take a nostalgic walk through what it was like being a kid! Five Stars!

5 Stars- Nostalgic and Thought Provoking!
By L. Goertz
Tunnels in the Briar Patch is a loose collection of short tales with a “slice of life” approach that is nostalgic of a much earlier era when life was simpler and kids played outdoors. The narrative is so detailed and realistic that it reads like an autobiography. The descriptive prose makes you feel as if you were there.
The story centers on Roland, an 8 year old boy, living in the South in the 60’s. He attends a summer Baptist school, wanders through the forest with his dog, bikes to an old cemetery with his friend, and visits his Grandma and Grandpa’s house, among other adventures. On an expedition to catch butterflies, he learns that the next door neighbor girl has to wear a wig because of an accident. He questions a preacher about “being saved” and the Rapture. He observes the inequitable treatment of black people in the area.
An interesting American literary collection that causes one to reflect on the differences of the modern world with an era in the past!

This story of a young boy growing up in the south is a fun read!
By marie vaughan
These stories reminded me of my own children when they were young and some of the things they did. I really enjoyed reading this book and recommend it to every parent!

Five Stars
By David Nelson
Childhood memories brought back to life!