IS YOUR BOOK CLUB STUMPED FOR A WAY to CUT COSTS while NOT MISSING OUT on great reads under the radar?

Cedar Creek is offering book club kits at a special DISCOUNT (read phenomenal) to indies, and libraries a chance to purchase book club kits (8 copies) of either novel. WHITE LIES, 8 copies for $55, and WALTZING COWBOYS, 8 copies for $45. Both prices include shipping.

WHITE LIES was a 2007 nominee for the Library of Virginia Book Festival and WALTZING COWBOYS, just released in January, was an Editor's pick in December on

Place your orders at with a mailing address or send your check and mailing address to Cedar Creek, PO Box 113, Bremo Bluff, VA 23022.

Honenberger Reading Waltzing Cowboys
Honenberger reads from Waltzing Cowboys to a packed room on a book festival panel entitled “Men at Work … and at Play.”

About the Book
As in Tuesdays with Morrie, regrets over decisions made in our youth come back to haunt us. It’s a hard lesson that redemption requires more than forgiveness. After Rhue Hogan, an aging cowboy, buries his best friend, he stalks a wild mare for one last waltz on the prairie. When he wakes up in the hospital in a leg cast, he doesn’t remember what happened, but the urge to escape is overwhelming. With time running out, he decides to return to New York City to find the son he’s never met. By the time Rhue’s train arrives, his son Ford Hogan has left the city to bury his mother’s ashes in New England. But Ford isn’t traveling alone. On two separate journeys to a better understanding of family, father and son each follow his own journey. Curious about whether they find each other? Click any of the links above for more about the book.

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Discussion Points for Book Clubs
1. What character traits allowed Rhue to make a life for himself as a cowboy, a single person on the prairies? How do those same character traits impose difficulties on his desire to be forgiven by his son?

2. How do Ford’s memories of his childhood inform his own self-image as a man and as a potential lover?

3. What do you think defines a good parent?

4. If Rhue had stayed in New York, consider the likely outcome for Ford and for the Hogan family. Is any father/mother better than no father/mother?

5. Should a person who has abdicated responsibility for a child or a wife be allowed to come back and be involved in his family’s life? Are there limits on what that person should be allowed to share?

6. Were there things that Adrianna could or should have done to persuade Rhue to stay?

7. How does Rhue’s long-term commitment to the horses and to his friends change your perspective on his flight from the pregnant Adrianna?

8. What effect did Rhue’s absence have on Ford’s ability to fall in love or find a partner?

9. How important are the city boys to Rhue’s decision to wait for Ford to come back? How about Melanie?

10. How do the parallels between father and son contribute to the reader’s understanding of the challenges faced by parents who give up early on?

11. When is it that Ford finally realizes he can be a good partner for Evie? What does it have to do with his forgiveness of his own father, if at all?

12. Can a person be courageous and frightened at the same time? How does fear of failure affect one’s ability to face a challenge or an enemy, whether it’s an idea or a person?

13. What flaws, strengths or weaknesses, of the other characters change Rhue’s vision of himself? Or Ford’s vision of himself?

14. Is escape a remedy for fear?

Full Cover

Chapter 1 (partial)
Rhue stared at the edge of the freshly ditched ground. He thought maybe he’d died too, the colors all washed out in the bright noon light, and the silence so long and heavy it dragged his feet into a dirge of dust and dread. How close he felt to death. The longer he stared, the more comfortable it looked, that level dry earth with indentations for his hunched shoulders and his weary hips. Maybe he should leave Montana, go somewhere new, anywhere, not wait for death or the nursing home, not wait as if he’d conceded there was no future.

Forcing himself to leave Vince’s grave, he walked with more energy than he felt to the truck. Vince’s funeral had spoiled more than the afternoon. It seemed so long ago that he’d lifted the loose board that was Vince’s makeshift gate and whistled for his best friend. And now they’d buried him. A parade of old men, barely able to lift the coffin, had walked with Vince that one last time.

Forty years earlier when they’d met, Vince had been young and wild, and so had he, even at thirty-nine. Confused and angry, he’d left New York City and a pregnant wife without understanding why. He only knew he had to escape. After ten years in an office, with schedules and expectations, not only from Adriana but also from his parents, colleagues, clients, he’d been relieved to find a place where he could let go of the worry and burden of people depending on his happiness for their own.

He had regrets, and his boy was one of them, but staying would’ve soured them all. In this world he was a traveler, not meant for staking out a place and guarding it. Who knew what he’d be in the next world?

The truck coughed, but started. Probably time for a new battery. He tried to remember when he’d bought the last one. Where the cemetery’s rutted grass pathway ended, he turned onto the pavement and let the truck roll downhill. Without thinking about where he was headed, he made a left at the state road and wound down the valley from the county cemetery, a curling tail of blue-black smoke trailing in his wake. The truck needed more than a battery. Despite the cracked rearview mirror, he could see the sun hovering on the ridge. It quivered red and orange, as anxious to be done with this sorry day as he was...

Chapter 2 (partial)
Ford figured his mother would go ballistic when she discovered he’d been through the boxes in the attic labeled, ‘Rhue.’ He hadn’t told her the house had sold. It had been hard enough convincing her to move to the nursing home. Why had he never looked through the attic when he was younger? It wasn’t as if she’d hidden the boxes. He remembered playing cowboys and Indians in the attic, the perfect mountain hideaway in the Long Island suburbs. He’d probably stood on those exact boxes while he shot savages through the attic window.

In one box under a stack of starched dress shirts and a barely touched Holy Bible, he’d found an album of photos. It was this box, opened and immediately shut, that he had saved on moving day, carried it out to his car, looking over his shoulder as if it were contraband, and taken it to his apartment. He’d promised himself he’d sort through it the first rainy Saturday, and it had been ten months before he had the courage to open it again.

The photos fascinated him. In most of them his mother, younger, radiant, held hands and laughed, very different from the serious, formal woman he knew. And his father—the first picture Ford had ever seen because his mother had been so careful—with piercing brown-black eyes, draped his arm confidently about the woman who looked only at him in spite of the friends who crowded around them.

There was one photo of his parents, barefoot, eyes closed, dancing on a patio, the lampposts in the corners with their faint glow like aging fireflies. He wondered who could have taken that picture, who would have been a close enough friend to have been present at so personal a moment. In another more formal photo his parents posed in front of a white house with green shutters. The man squinting into the sun looked like his father but with gray at his temples—perhaps his father’s father.

While his mother had insisted his grandparents had known him as a toddler, Ford had only one vague memory of wide hands that pinned him in place so he couldn’t reach his mother and a freshly painted porch that glistened in the bright sun. The smell of paint, Old Spice, and perspiration were all mixed up in the memory.

His mother thought it must have been the country club in Connecticut, a Sunday afternoon when the senior Hogans had insisted she bring Ford to celebrate his third birthday. She had hugged the old man for a long time; that Ford remembered because he’d never seen her hug a man. And when, at thirteen or fourteen, he described the memory for her, she excused herself and went to her bedroom. Even through the closed door, he heard her crying. It was the first time he’d realized that his actions affected her happiness, the first time he’d understood the weight of responsibility that arose from relationships.

It was odd that his mother had never thrown away the boxes. They’d never been opened either. From the packing tape seams, still in place and set in such confident right-angled lines, they announced to any onlooker that the contents were meant to stay inside. The things in the boxes couldn’t have meant anything to his mother if she’d never opened them. He couldn’t begin to guess the meaning of play programs and books with margin notations in handwriting he didn’t recognize. And even if they once meant enough to his father to box them up, they’d been rendered meaningless if he’d never sent for them.

But the pictures shocked Ford. It was like looking at an old-fashioned version of himself, costumed for a time machine. Rhue wore a different suit in each picture; all the lapels broad and out of fashion. He had a beard in most of the photos. In all Ford’s fabrications of a father, the images rising from his mother’s bad-day rants, he’d never imagined a beard.

Here was a puzzle, starched shirts and striped ties with that beard. In rare weak moments his mother had criticized Rhue as selfish, immature, but never a daredevil. She’d never hinted at that grin from the photos that said, “I may live with a pregnant wife and work in an office like the rest of you, but I don’t belong here.”

His mother was seventy-nine now. A survivor of one heart attack and a minor stroke, she was too old to upset with questions about a man she’d never forgiven. For her, Rhue Hogan didn’t exist. Ford, though, was glad he’d found the photographs. They were a link to an unknown past, though he was damned if he was going to let the grinning man get away with that easy likeability...

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