Connecting Texas books and writers with those who most want to discover them
7.16.17 PEN Texas invites all writers in the Southwestern states to participate in the 2017 contest for excellence in writing in the categories of Poetry, Fiction, Creative Non-fiction, and Literary Translation. The winner in each category will receive a $500 prize, co-sponsored by PEN Center USA and PEN Texas. >>READ MORE
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8/15/17 Guest Post Forgotten Winds
8/16/17 Review The Librarian Talks
8/17/17 Character Interview Books and Broomsticks
8/18/17 Review Margie's Must Reads
8/19/17 Notable Quotable StoreyBook Reviews
8/20/17 Author Interview Reading by Moonlight
8/21/17 Review CGB Blog Tours
8/22/17 Scrapbook Page Missus Gonzo
8/23/17 Review Chapter Break Book Blog
8/24/17 Excerpt My Book Fix Blog
8/16/17 Hall Ways Blog
8/16/17 Chapter Break Book Blog
8/16/17 My Book Fix Blog
8/17/17 The Page Unbound
8/17/17 Reading by Moonlight
8/17/17 Books in the Garden
8/18/17 CGB Blog Tours
8/18/17 A Novel Reality
8/18/17 Texas Book Lover
8/19/17 Forgotten Winds
8/19/17 Momma on The Rocks
8/19/17 Missus Gonzo
8/20/17 StoreyBook Reviews
8/20/17 Margie's Must Reads
8/20/17 Books and Broomsticks
8/14 Review Syd Savvy
Bret Anthony Johnston is the author of the internationally best-selling novel Remember Me Like This, which was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection, and winner of the 2015 McLaughlin-Esstman-Stearns Prize. He is also the author of the award-winning Corpus Christi: Stories. After directing the creative writing program at Harvard University for eleven years, he is now director of the Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas at Austin. He spoke with LSLL via email about his books, skateboarding, the Michener Center, and the best fish tacos in Corpus Christi.
LONE STAR LITERARY LIFE: Congratulations on being named the director of the Michener Writing Center and welcome back home to Texas, Bret. Many of the people who know your best-selling fiction may not realize that you actually grew up on the Texas coast. What was it like growing up in Corpus?
Thank you! I’m thrilled to be coming back, and more than a little shocked.
In many ways, growing up in Texas was ideal. It’s a unique part of the country, with its own codes and culture, its own temperament and landscape, and in ways that have nothing to do with politics, I still view the world through the lens of where I was raised. What it lacked, though, was any kind of real interest in the arts, certainly the literary arts. My parents were always reading, so I was always surrounded by books, but when I stepped outside our house, no one really cared about reading or writing. That was disorienting, confusing. I had a few invaluable teachers along the way, though, and they gave me reason to hope, reason to believe that there might be some kind of life with books. >>READ MORE
DALLAS Mon., Aug. 14 B&N - Preston/Royal, Come meet author David Collins, as well as Mark Phariss and Vic Holmes, the subjects of his book Accidental Activists: Mark Phariss, Vic Holmes, and Their Fight for Marriage Equality in Texas, 7PMB&N - Preston/Royal, Come meet author David Collins, as well as Mark Phariss and Vic Holmes, the subjects of his book Accidental Activists: Mark Phariss, Vic Holmes, and Their Fight for Marriage Equality in Texas, 7PMDALLAS Tues., Aug. 15 Interabang Books, Joe Tone discusses and sigsn Bones: Brothers, Horses, Cartels, and the Borderland Dream, 7PMInterabang Books, Joe Tone discusses and signs Bones: Brothers, Horses, Cartels, and the Borderland Dream, 7PMHOUSTON Tues., Aug. 15 Murder By the Book, Lisa Scottoline will sign and discuss Exposed, the newest book in the Rosato and Associates Series, 6:30PMAUSTIN Wed., Aug. 16 BookPeople, RENEE CASTEEL COOK and TIFFANY HARELIK speaking & signing Best of Trailer Food Diaries, 7PMABILENE Thurs., Aug. 17 The Grace Museum, Joe W. Specht discusses and signs his newly revised and expanded edition of Abilene in Song: The Women There Don't Treat You Mean, 7PMAUSTIN Thurs., Aug. 17 Blanton Museum of Art, Writers' League of Texas Third Thursday: "Writing about Myth" with Sheila Black, Dr. Richard R. Flores, P.J. Hoover, and Dr. Helena Woodard, 6:30PMAUSTIN Fri., Aug. 18 BookPeople, WRITERS' LEAGUE OF TEXAS presents Summer Writing Workshop Showcase and book signing with instructors Carol Dawson, Charlotte Gullick, Donna Johnson, Sasha West, 7PMAMARILLO Sat., Aug. 19 Chase Building, Texas High Plains Writers workshop with Mike Akins and Tex Thompson, 9AM
Lone Star Lit toured North Texas last week, with stops at a couple of university presses as well as the new independent bookstore on Preston Road that’s sending readers scrambling for their dictionaries. (Look it up — you'll be rewarded with a rich history of the coined punctuation mark.)
Interabang Books swept onto the Dallas bookselling scene earlier this summer with a soft opening and has already hosted a number of events with big-name authors. They’re thrilled to have generous shelf space — as well as audience capacity for readings and signings.
Interabang’s 5,000-square-foot store at the southeast corner of Preston Road and Royal Lane carries titles in a wide variety of categories with a special focus on literature and children’s books. The well-curated children’s section hosts storytime at 11 am on Wednesdays. >> READ MORE
The present generation of Texas authors is the most diverse ever in gender, age, and ethnicity, and in subject matter as well.
Week in, week out, Lone Star Literary has interviewed a range of Texas-related authors with a cross-section of genre and geography. To capture this era in Texas letters, we're pleased to bring you
Lone Star Listens:
Texas Authors on Writing and Publishing
edited by Kay Ellington and Barbara Brannon; introduction by
Available in trade paper, library hardcover, and ebook Fall 2017
360 pages, with b/w illustrations and index
Featuring novelists, poets, memoirists, editors, and publishers, including:
Rachel Caine • Chris Cander • Katherine Center • Chad S. Conine • Sarah Cortez • Elizabeth Crook • Nan Cuba • Carol Dawson • Patrick Dearen • Jim Donovan • Mac Engel • Sanderia Faye • Carlos Nicolás Flores • Ben Fountain • Jeff Guinn • Stephen Harrigan • Cliff Hudder • Stephen Graham Jones • Kathleen Kent • Joe R. Lansdale • Melissa Lenhardt • Attica Locke • Nikki Loftin • Thomas McNeely • Leila Meacham • John Pipkin • Joyce Gibson Roach • Antonio Ruiz-Camacho • Lisa Sandlin • Donna Snyder • Mary Helen Specht • Jodi Thomas • Amanda Eyre Ward • Ann Weisgarber • Donald Mace Williams
As a collection of insights into the writing and publishing life, the book will be useful in creative writing classes (not just in Texas alone) and other teaching settings, as well as for solo reading and study—and a great Texas reference volume.
Longtime Texas Rangers catcher Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez tells the story of his Hall of Fame baseball career in They Call Me Pudge: My Life Playing the Game I Love (with Jeff Sullivan, Triumph Books, $25.95 hardcover).
Rodriguez grew up in a small town in Puerto Rico with one brother in a close-knit family where “everything in our house revolved around baseball.” He dedicated the book to his parents, Joe and Eva, “for all their love, inspiration, and sacrifice.” He was signed by the Texas Rangers at age sixteen and started playing in the majors at nineteen. In twenty-one seasons, thirteen of them with Texas, he caught more games than any catcher in Major League history, won thirteen Gold Gloves as the best defensive catcher, was the American League Most Valuable Player in 1999, and had more than 2,800 hits. He led the Florida (now Miami) Marlins to a World Series title in 2003.
Rodriguez was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame the first year he was eligible, only the second catcher so honored (the other was his childhood idol, Johnny Bench), and was inducted last month. Throughout the book, Rodriguez speaks with confidence about his baseball skills, but not in a bragging sort of way. He was just that good. His numbers and his leadership spoke for themselves.
So did his ever-present smile. “I wasn’t conscious of my smiling,” he writes. “I guess I was just happy. I was in my happy place, playing this game I so respected and adored.”
Songs about Abilene: In his revised, expanded edition of Abilene in Song: The Women There Don’t Treat You Mean, author Joe W. Specht tells about more than a hundred songs in which Abilene, Texas, either plays a role or is mentioned in passing.
The book (TexasStarTrading.com, $20 paperback) includes a CD of five of those songs, sung by Abilene musician Greg Young, ranging from the 1963 number one hit “Abilene” to “The Abilene Waltz,” recorded in 2016.
New novel: Laredo author Edward Swift gets right to the point in his new novel, Walking on Glory (CreateSpace, $9 paperback), killing off the main character in the first sentence.
Glory St. Michael is based on a Dallas millionaire who died penniless in 1991. Walking on Glory is Swift’s ninth book and eighth novel.
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Glenn Dromgoole’s latest book is West Texas Stories. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In last week’s news briefs, we incorrectly reported the award category for Texas author Weina Dai Randel. The correct information appears below. We regret the error.
The Moon in the Palace by Weina Dai Randel
Shana Drehs and Anna Michels, editors
Weina Dai Randel was born in China and grew up there. She came to the U.S. when she was 24 and has lived here more than 15 years. She received an M.A. in English from Texas Woman's University in Denton. She lives in Flower Mound.
Hollow: A Novel
Soft Skull Press
Hardcover, 978-1-6190-2940-8, (also available as an e-book), 240 pgs., $26.00
July 11, 2017
Oliver Bonds has come undone, losing everything after his arrest in the matter of the death of his toddler son, Miles. His wife has divorced him; he lives in a shack (currently padlocked from the outside) behind Jenny’s Beauty Salon in south Austin; the university (hasn’t officially, but has) suspended him from his position as a History of Religion professor; formerly a volunteer at the Agape soup kitchen, now he goes to eat breakfast, pick up a bus pass, and check his email—he gets missives from God; he no longer believes in the fairness and goodwill of the universe, which unmoors him. Oliver is vulnerable when he meets Lyle, conspiracy theorist, devotee of crackpot science, and member of the Hollow Earth Society of Central Texas. “The concept of the Hollow Earth was something better than factual; it was applicable. I was myself a hollow shell,” Oliver explains, “with nothing but a question at my core.” >>READ MORE
Paperback, 978-0-3165-0537-6, (also available as an e-book, an audiobook, and on Audible), 416 pgs., $15.99
June 27, 2017
SPOILER ALERT: Badlands is the third book in a trilogy. Proceed at your own risk.
Laura Kindle (previously Laura Elliston, originally Dr. Catherine Bennett) is on the run again from the law, Pinkertons, and bounty hunters, after the arrest of her husband, William Kindle. She and St. Louis madam Rosemond Barclay, who claims to be helping Laura at William’s behest, wash up practically penniless in the quintessential Western boomtown of Cheyenne, Wyoming Territory. Rosemond is determined to go legit, joining proper society and leaving her past behind; Laura waits to hear news of William’s court martial, creating yet another identity in another new place. But the past catches up to both women, and Laura knows she must finally confront the New York murder charge against her or forever be a dependent pawn in other people’s games. >>READ MORE
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