Todd Parnell – An Unlikely Author

Todd Parnell is an unlikely author. This former banker began his writing career in the non-fiction realm with works originally intended to document some fascinating family history.

His books Postcards From Branson, Mom At War and The Buffalo, Ben, and Me helped earn him the honor of being inducted into the Missouri Writers’ Hall of Fame in 2012.

In 2013, Todd expanded into fiction, publishing the Ozarkian Folk Tales Trilogy. His fictional works use humor and fantastical storylines that raise awareness to environmental issues and call out actions that threaten water quality in his home region of the Ozarks.


The Children of the Creek Trilogy by Todd Parnell tackles important contemporary issues in the rich and colorful context of the Ozarks.

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Wellspring of Evil

Is existence a battle between good and evil or evil and itself? Hardlyvillains are about to find out.



The residents of Hardlyville, a small community nestled in the heart of the Ozarks, are a rollicking, friendly, loving bunch.
Hardlyvillains have seen it all. But now they’re up against something they’ve never had to deal with before: evil for its own sake.
What do you do when evil is consumed by even greater evil? Hardlyvillains only know one way to fight something that terrifying, and that’s with love, humor, and an overwhelming desire to help one another.

But will that be enough?

Rowdy, ribald, insightful and grounded in Ozarkian waters and history, Wellspring of Evil will always surprise, and generally raise an eyebrow or two.

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Stream of Life

What in the world is going on in the heat of the Ozarks?

From a fouled Skunk Creek to Presidential shenanigans, mass extinction, threats of secession, and bizarre infestations, Hardlyvillains have had plenty of reasons to be hoppin’ mad. Their town, their water, their very way of life seem always at risk—and now more than ever—as tainted water kills one of their own and the heads of murder victims start turning up around town. Is there a new yellow-eyed threat on the horizon?

Love, laughter, and hellbenders fill the void with hope and happiness as the Hardyvillans’ ever-resilient spirit rises to challenge after challenge.

Rowdy, ribald, insightful and grounded in Ozarkian waters and history, Stream of Life will always surprise … and generally raise an eyebrow or two.

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Life is a River

What if Hardlyville is a real? Really real?

What if fiction dies at her doorstep, and merges with reality through the portal?

What if an author can descend into her own creation and be greeted with the open arms by the children of the creek? Ma. Randi Plfander, author (fictional) of the Ozarkian Folk Tales Trilogy as well as Children of the Creek Trilogy, is about to find out.

From Presidential politics to Hollywood drama, Life is a River will surprise, engage, and stretch your imagination.

Rowdy, insightful and grounded in Ozarkian waters and history as always- hang on for a wild ride!

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Skunk Creek - An Ozarkian FolktaleSkunk Creek

A gruesome murder on the banks of Skunk Creek leads to a mystery and a rollicking adventure story. Populated by the crusading editor of a small town newspaper, an oversized Sheriff, a lovable band of merry misfits, and an evil cult, an Ozarks village is steeped in beauty, tragedy, love, and lust.

Hardlyville and her colorful, unforgettable Hardlyvillains bring laughter, tears, and celebration of life at every turn as they seek to prevail over natural and unnatural threats to their way of life.

Warning: Do not read if you blush or tire easily.

Skunk Creek grabs readers from page one and rushes on through each disaster and fiasco. In the end, love of place and people carry the day to an unlikely conclusion.

Skunk Creek is rowdy, ribald, insightful, and grounded in Ozarks waters and history. It confronts and entertains amidst the vexing questions of our times.

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Swine Branch by Todd ParnellSwine Branch

Who knows what lurks in the deep, dark corners of the Ozarks? The residents of Hardlyville! And what do a local environmental disaster of unprecedented proportions, a series of ghastly murders, corrupt state politics, a bedouin shivaree, crooked investment bankers, and Noodler’s Anonymous have in common? Skunk Creek!

For Sheriff Sephus Adonis, congressman Pierce Arrow, and his true love Lettie Jones, justice is no longer an intellectual concept . . . it’s a matter of life and death. From Hardlyville city hall to Washington, DC’s halls of government, to the international stage, resilient Hardlyvillains wage a fierce battle to protect their precious waters and way of life. Hilarity abounds in their madcap and unorthodox rush to remain alive . . . and relevant.

Swine Branch is rowdy, irreverent, insightful, and grounded in Ozarks waters and history. It confronts and entertains amidst some of the most vexing questions of our times. A worthy follow-up to Skunk Creek.

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Donny Brook by Todd ParnellDonny Brook

The colorful characters of tiny Hardlyville are thrown into a panic when brutal murders, environmental disasters, corruption, and threats to their beloved and pristine Skunk Creek arise and upend their bucolic lives. Larger-than-life Sheriff Sephus Adonis, devoted newspaper editor Pierce Arrow, libidinous librarian Billious Bloom, and Hardlyville’s most influential citizens are forced to contend with a community divided by greed and self-interest to solve the riddle of a mother’s love vs. inherent evil.



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Pig Farm

Pig Farm unfolds a sweeping and rollicking historical tall tale set in the context of a real life environmental tragedy alongside America’s first national river – the Buffalo. Brimming with humor and colorful characters, riddled with mystery and misfortune, tainted with prejudice and deceit, and laced with money and greed, fiction intersects with fact to paint a disturbing portrait of a “pig farm” over time.

“Pig Farm tells the stories of the early settlers of the Ozarks along the Buffalo River. Although the book is categorized as fiction, the author brings to life characters who colorfully illustrate aspects of his own ancestral history.

Sheer survival was top-of-mind as these hardy pioneers braved the elements to carve out an existence in a land they described as the most beautiful place on earth. With none of the resources we take for granted in modern society, intuition and common sense and passion guided their decisions. It is easy to imagine how deeply invested they were in nature, whose forces, both benevolent and malevolent determined their fate.

I loved learning about the evolution of the culture of the Ozarks and I became emotionally invested in the characters, whose lives unfolded in the various chapters of the book. For anyone who enjoys an entertaining book with insights into the history of the mystical Ozarks, this book is a must read.” AnneMarie Osborne

“A paradise found, in just a few generations, can all too easily become a paradise lost.  PIG FARM loudly sounds the alarm. John Dillon

Founding Member, Ozark Mountain Daredevils


The Buffalo, Ben, and Me

The Buffalo River in northwest Arkansas is one of the longest free-flowing, undammed rivers west of the Mississippi—and one of the most beautiful waterways on earth. Almost lost to development, it proved to be the perfect testing ground for a young boy almost lost to mediocrity.

Middle-schooler Ben is underachieving in school and lacking interest and motivation. His father, middle-ager Todd, wants to help his son gain self-confidence but is searching for his own identity. For twelve adventure-filled days on the river—all 125 miles of her navigable course, from Ponca to the White River—father and son discover the formative, curative, and redemptive powers of nature.

“A touching story, subtle and true, both symbolic and real, of a father and son’s search for passage into each other’s hearts.  Finally, it is the ancient language of the river itself that connects them, reminding us all of the secret values of solitude, sky, wind, water, and rock.  This is a beautiful journey and a wonderful book.”

John Dillon, founding member, Ozark Mountain Daredevils

This story bubbles up out of Todd Parnell like an Ozarks spring, pure and true.

David Ledford, Executive Editor, The News Journal of Wilmington, Delaware

“Todd describes his love for the Buffalo and his love for his son in great word pictures.”

Jack Herschend, cofounder, Silver Dollar City, Branson, Missouri

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Mom at War

In August, 1943, Jean Hogg Rayl lost her husband to enemy fire in Sicily. She confronted her anguish by enlisting in the American Red Cross in the spring of 1944, and traveling to Washington, DC for basic training.  She was transferred to Europe in July.  In November, 1944, she left for the front lines to support troops soon to be engaged in the Battle of the Bulge.  She celebrated V-E Day serving troops in Eastern Germany, before returning home to Springfield, MO, later that year.

Her personal letters, diaries, photos, and scrapbook remained tucked in a German ammunition box until she shared them with son Todd half a century later.  He has compiled her memories and memorabilia into a touching tribute to his Mother’s brave service to our country in World War II.

“This personal memoir is exactly what is needed to deepen our knowledge and appreciation of the Second World War.  It is filled with insights and honesty about one woman’s experiences in the greatest human conflict in history.”

Senator George McGovern, Presidential Candidate and WWII hero.

“In Mom at War I found bravery and true love exemplified in the letters written by Mrs. Parnell …Eloquently, Todd Parnell has captured this life story in a way that can be forever shared.”

Andy Williams, Entertainer

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Postcards from Branson

Peer through a unique personal window into the history of Branson, Missouri.  From dirt road at a bend in the mighty White River, to early resort community, to tourism capital of Missouri, Branson remains a national anomaly keyed to abundant water resources, old time values, wholesome family venues, and community creativity.  How she got from there to here is a tale of colorful characters and unpredictable outcomes.

Postcards from Branson lays out the Branson century in a warm and personal style, filled with humor, generational perspective, and love of place.

“This is narration of local history at its best; decade by decade, generation by generation, Branson’s fascinating history unfolds in the voices of the Parnell family.”

Janet Dailey, Author

“I was born and raised in Taney County but learned more about the history of our area from this magnificent book than I have ever learned in school.”

Leon Combs, Philanthropist, Businessman, Author

“This is a story worth telling, and a story worth remembering.”

Emory Melton, Missouri State Senator (1972-1996), Regional Historian

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Keynote Presentation

Adventures in Writing  – The Journey to Becoming a Writer

Have a group that needs a little inspiration? Book Todd for his keynote presentation that follows his unexpected journey from bank president to published author in both non-fiction and fiction genres.

 Book Todd now 



View this abbreviated version of the presentation.