Connecting Texas books and writers with those who most want to discover them
When Baron Jerome Manchester Paget, claiming to be a fifth cousin to the Queen of England, steps off the stagecoach in Fort Griffin carrying a satchel full of money, life in the frontier town will never be the same.
Nearly everyone in town — and some who haven’t even arrived yet — start trying to figure how to get their hands on the $25,000 the baron proudly announces he has brought with him to start a buffalo ranch. A buffalo ranch? In a town where buffalo hides drive the local economy? The town residents hoot with laughter.
San Angelo author Preston Lewis spins quite a yarn with his comic western novel, The Fleecing of Fort Griffin (Wild Horse Press, $19.95 paperback). The novel recently won the Elmer Kelton Award from the West Texas Historical Association for best creative work on West Texas.
Creative, indeed. Colorful characters abound — a traveling evangelist huckster, his “crippled” accomplice, a woman who has already buried five husbands, an unscrupulous buffalo-hide buyer, a couple who run a seduction racket, a one-eyed gunslinger, a disenchanted colonel, a professional gambler — all trying to figure out how to bilk the baron of his fortune. But the baron proves remarkably able to take care of himself, thanks to his guard rooster and an orphan he befriended on arriving in Fort Griffin. If you’re looking for a delightful tale, check out The Fleecing of Fort Griffin.
Lewis is the author of about thirty books, mostly western novels, and has won the Elmer Kelton Award twice before and two Spur Awards. He has written under several pseudonyms, including Will Camp and Stephen Calder. Lewis’s series of innovative western novels — the Memoirs of H. H. Lomax — are being reissued by Wild Horse Press. I have read the first book in that series, The Demise of Billy the Kid, and can’t wait to get into the second one, The Redemption of Jesse James. Writing as Lomax, Lewis tosses around colorful similes and metaphors like a three-handed juggler at a Shrine circus.
Now in paperback: All of Leila Meacham’s Texas epic novels are now available in paperback. The latest, Titans, is $15.99 in trade paperback. If you haven’t read Roses or Somerset or Titans, treat yourself to a Meacham novel. They are all in the 500- to 600-page range, but the pages just fly by.
Titans is set in North Texas in 1900, six years after oil was discovered in Corsicana and a year before the first big boom would blow in at Spindletop, near Beaumont. As oil begins to be a factor in the Texas economy, ranchers face a new set of opportunities and challenges in how to deal with change and its consequences. Twins, adopted by different families shortly after birth, are now twenty years old and figure prominently into the drama.
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Glenn Dromgoole’s latest book is West Texas Stories. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
University of Oklahoma Press
Paperback, 978-0-8061-5501-2, (also available as an e-book), 208 pgs., $19.95; February 2017
“The lessons you’ve been taught about that golden land of promise called the United States sparkle before you like a glass of crystal cold water, and you marvel at your good fortune … becoming something mighty and tall with all that no one must ever doubt is right, becoming something you don’t know yet you hope will render you almost unrecognizable to who you are now, becoming one of them, becoming American.”
José Antonio Rodríguez grew up in McAllen, Texas, the youngest of ten children born to a homemaker and a citrus-farm field hand. On weekends, they crossed the river to visit family in the tiny Mexican village where Rodríguez was born. During the summers he worked Panhandle onion fields, as his mother told him to do well in school so he won’t have to pick onions when he is her age. Rodríguez excels and is placed in the Gifted and Talented Program in school. Eventually, he applies for naturalization because the scholarship he needs is only available to U.S. citizens. He’s conflicted when he swears the oath of loyalty, forsaking Mexico forever: “Up until this moment, that village over there across the river with its border guards and police dogs seemed like nothing but outhouses, sweat, and dirt,” Rodríguez writes. “Nothing to miss. Nothing at all.” >>READ MORE
Pamela Dorman Books
Hardcover, 978-0-3995-6209-9, (also available as an e-book and on Audible), 336 pgs., $26.00
March 14, 2017
‘“No one calls my daughter a liar,” [Polly] said, leaning on the word in a way that made me miserable because I was, in fact, a liar. And I had told some lies—and even worse, some truths—about my mother to my classmates. In my defense, she was great fodder, and this was years before she killed our neighbor.’
In a small town outside of Houston, Texas, Pauline “Polly” Perkins Havens, a fifty-eight-year-old widow, gives birth to a little girl, Willow, eight months after the sudden death of her husband. Never knowing her father and not really knowing her much older siblings, Willow is terrified Virginia Slims–smoking, margarita-aficionado Polly will die before Willow can get to know her (“It ruined the feel of guinea-pig fur and the crunchiness of popcorn”), leaving Willow unmoored in the world. Feeling cheated of her family and pressed for time, Willow is obsessed with learning Polly’s secrets (“The story was a blank stare and I wanted it to blink”). And Polly, having escaped her past in the swamps of Louisiana, does have secrets. >>READ MORE
A writer/photographer duo is making a splash with their latest book. The Swimming Holes of Texas, a collaboration between Julie Wernersbach and Carolyn Tracy, has released this week—just in time for our readers’ Memorial Day and summertime adventures.
If those names jog a memory, we’ll fill in the details. Wernersbach was for years the marketing director at BookPeople, and now’s she’s literary director of the Texas Book Festival, held each fall in Austin. The guidebook to Texas dive-ins is the second co-authored title from Wernersbach and Tracy, a former BookPeople colleague; their previous volume was Vegan Survival Guide to Austin. The team talked with us last week via email about their latest book and gave us some tips on their favorite cooling-off spots and what to take on a swimming-hole road trip.
LONE STAR LITERARY LIFE: Basic first question for you both, Carolyn and Julie — how long have you lived in Austin, and what brought you there?
CAROLYN TRACY: I’ve lived in Austin for about eleven years. I grew up in the suburbs of Houston, and I think it's a pretty natural trajectory for young people to escape from Houston to Austin. I specifically moved to Austin after applying, on a whim, for a job at BookPeople, which they hired me for. I had a brief two-year stint in Galveston where I opened a juice bar and then returned home to Austin.
JULIE WERNERSBACH: Books brought me to Texas. I moved to Austin six years ago from Long Island, where I was the publicist and events coordinator for an independent bookstore, to work as publicist and then marketing director at BookPeople, the largest independent bookstore in Texas. I love Austin. I'm never going back. >>READ MORE
SAN ANTONIO Sun., May 21 B&N - La Cantera, Camille Di Maio signing Before the Rain Falls, 2PMB&N - La Cantera, Camille Di Maio signing Before the Rain Falls, 2PMDALLAS Mon., May 22 The Wild Detectives, Women Galore Literary Festival: Deb Olin Unferth reading from her latest collection of stories, Wait Till You See Me Dance, followed by a conversation with Ben Fountain, 7:30PM
(Note other events throughout the week)The Wild Detectives, Women Galore Literary Festival: Deb Olin Unferth reading from her latest collection of stories, Wait Till You See Me Dance, followed by a conversation with Ben Fountain, 7:30PM (Note other events throughout the week)HOUSTON Mon., May 22 River Oaks Bookstore, Leroy Chiao discusses and signs One Orbit, 6PMAUSTIN Tues, May 23 University of Texas Press offices, Stephen Harrigan discusses and signs They Came From the Sky, 6:30PMHOUSTON Tues., May 23 Brazos Bookstore, Deb Olin Unferth reads and signs WAIT TILL YOU SEE ME DANCE, 7PMSAN ANTONIO Wed.., May 24 Witte Museum, Helen Kleberg Groves will sign her new book Bob and Helen Kleberg of King Ranch, 6:30pm (Cocktails 6pm)DALLAS Thurs., May 25 South Dallas Cultural Center, author Sanderia Faye hosts African Diaspora: New Dialogues with poet Douglas Kearney (plus Candy and Dallas Poetry Slam), 7:30PMLUBBOCK Fri., May 26 B&N, Why the Raven Calls the Canyon book signing with E. Dan Klepper, 7PMSAN ANTONIO Sat., May 27 The Twig Book Shop, Michael Corcoran discusses and signs All Over the Map: True Heroes of Texas Music, 2PMDALLAS Sat., May 27 Dallas Public Library, Interabang Books hosts Edward McPherson discussing and signing The History of the Future, 2PM
Lone Star Lit’s second annual Texas Readers’ Favorite Bookstores voting continues through May 27, 2017.
In Round 2, book lovers in Texas and beyond narrowed the list: from among the state's nearly 300 independent, chain, and specialty bookstores, your top 20 favorites are listed below, in alphabetical order by city, with store website in case you'd like to check them out. We received 444 votes for favorite bookstores in every corner of Texas, with top top 10 receiving vote counts in the double or triple digits and the second 10 making the list even with single-digit totals.
After this week's Finalist Round, we'll tally your favorite top 10 in order. We’ll announce your final Top 10 picks on May 28. So bookstores, rally your followers, and encourage them to vote online — one vote per reader per day, please. Here's the link to share:
Terry Thompson-Anderson, with photos by Sandy Wilson
311 pages, 8 x 10, 123 color photos
Texans love the morning meal, whether it's bacon and eggs (often eaten in a breakfast taco) or something as distinctively nontraditional as saag paneer omelets, pon haus, or goat curry. A Lone Star breakfast can be a time for eating healthy, or for indulging in decadent food and drink. And with Texas's rich regional and cultural diversity, an amazing variety of dishes graces the state's breakfast and brunch tables. The first Texas cookbook dedicated exclusively to the morning meal, Breakfast in Texas gathers nearly one hundred recipes that range from perfectly prepared classics to the breakfast foods of our regional cuisines (Southern, Mexican, German, Czech, Indian, and Asian among them) to stand-out dishes from the state's established and rising chefs and restaurants.
FORT WORTH — At the 2017 convention of the National Federation of State Poetry Societies, there will be music, poems, art, words, and more, as the organization celebrates “The Art and Soul of Poetry.” Convention headquarters will be the historic Hilton hotel, located in downtown Fort Worth, Texas.
The convention will feature an impressive lineup of speakers, including Urania Fung, instructor at Tarrant County College; Anne McCrady, poet and storyteller; Pat Stodghill, poet laureate of Texas, past president of PST, and NFSPS; Dr. Nathan Brown, poet laureate of Oklahoma—who now lives in Texas; Karla K. Morton, poet laureate of Texas; Beth and Mark Ayers, Magic Lantern enthusiasts; Scott Wiggerman of Dos Gatos Press; and keynote speaker Carmen Tafolla, poet laureate of Texas. >>READ MORE
AUSTIN — The Texas Teen Book Festival has announced the keynote authors for the 9th edition of the annual festival, which will feature New York Times bestselling authors Marie Lu and Jason Reynolds, and actress Mayim Bialik from the popular series The Big Bang Theory. The 2017 festival will take place on Sat., Oct. 7, at St. Edward’s University. >>READ MORE
WACO — The Texas Sports Hall of Fame announces its first Book Festival, to be held Sat., July 15, 2017, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Texas Sports Hall of Fame in Waco. Admission is free.
Sponsored by Texas A&M University Press, Texas Tech University Press, and Waco City Cable Channel, the one day event will showcase the best in books devoted to Texas sports, and many legendary authors and athletes will be on hand for the event. >>READ MORE
From the spur of Texas’s boot-heel to the tip of the toe, we’ve traveled the state in search of some delectable destinations for book lovers. Check out all ten on the map as you plan your literary travels! >>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.
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5.21.17 AFTER FIFTEEN YEARS as an editor, I know exactly what publishers look for in a book and I help my clients develop their work with this unique perspective in mind. I specialize in: manuscript development, revisions, book proposal writing, and consulting. Find more details at . Contact: email@example.com.
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