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11.12.2017  David Bowles on the literature of the borderlands: Our lives are beautiful and startling blends"


David Bowles is a Mexican-American author and member of the Texas Institute of Letters. His thirteenth book, Feathered Serpent, Dark Heart of Sky: Myths of Mexico, will be coming out in 2018 from Cinco Puntos Press, and he was one of the featured authors at the McAllen Book Festival this past weekend. He spoke with us via email for Sunday’s Lone Star Listens.


LONE STAR LITERARY LIFE: Where did you grow up, and how did it influence your writing? Did you come from a family of storytellers?


DAVID BOWLES: I mainly grew up the Río Grande Valley, though my father was in the Navy, so we spent a few years in the Low Country of South Carolina. Interestingly, these formative years also mirror my family’s unique blend of ethnic heritage and storytelling traditions: Southern Gothic and Mexican-American leyendas. It’s inarguable that those sensibilities drew me toward storytelling, eventually finding their way into my writing. My dad’s side of the family was rife with storytellers, from my tíos to my father. Chief among them, however, was my grandmother, Marie Garza. I credit her and her dark legends of la llorona, las lechuzas, la mano pachona, etc. with inspiring my love of story … especially lush, creepy, timeless tales.



Was reading encouraged in your family/community? What books did you remember from your childhood?


My dad had been a big reader of pulp magazines, comics, and paperbacks since he was a kid, and my mother gave me arguably the best gift of my lifetime when I was four years old: she taught me how to read. By the time I was in school, I was well ahead of other kids. Librarians took my love of spooky legends and guided me toward adventure, fantasy, science fiction. I still remember being 7 or 8 years old and reading the Doc Savage books, the Chronicles of Narnia, and The Lord of the Rings.  >>READ MORE


Texas's only statewide, weekly calendar of book events
Bookish Texas event highlights  11.12.2017
>> GO this week   Michelle Newby, Contributing Editor



  • Odessa Shakespeare Festival, November 17-18
  • 2017 Wizard World Comic Con Austin, November 17-19


AUSTIN  Mon., Nov. 13  The Long Center, an evening with Annie Leibovitz, who will present a selection of defining works from her newly published Annie Leibovitz: Portraits 2005 – 2016, 7:30PM


HOUSTON  Mon., Nov. 13 Stude Concert Hall, Inprint’s Margarett Root Brown Reading Series hosts VIET THANH NGUYEN, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Sympathizers (in conversation with William Broyles, founder of Texas Monthly), 7:30PM [sold out; live-stream at Houston Public Media]


HOUSTON  Tues., Nov. 14 Brazos Bookstore, Joe Holley and Peter Brown discuss and sign HOMETOWN TEXAS, 7PM

ALSO SIGNING IN DALLAS  Sat., Nov. 18  PDNB Gallery, 6PM


AUSTIN  Wed., Nov. 15 The Long Center, Alec Baldwin and Kurt Andersen discuss their new book, You Can’t Spell America Without Me, with Evan Smith of The Texas Tribune, 7:30PM


DALLAS  Wed., Nov. 15 SMU - Fondren Library, Presentation of the 2016 Weber-Clements Prize for Best Non-Fiction Book on Southwestern America to David Wallace Adams for Three Roads to Magdalena: Coming of Age in a Southwest Borderland, 1890-1990 (followed by a lecture and book signing), 5:30PM


DALLAS Thurs., Nov. 16 First United Methodist Church of Dallas, Arts & Letters Live presents Dan Rather discussing What Unites Us: Reflections on Patriotism with Krys Boyd of KERA’s "Think," 7:30PM


HOUSTON  Fri., Nov. 17 Brazos Bookstore, James P. McCollom discusses and signs THE LAST SHERIFF IN TEXAS, 7PM


ABILENE  Sat., Nov. 18  Llano Estacado: The Assassination of J.W. Jarrott, a Forgotten Hero, 1PM


EL PASO  Sat., Nov. 18   IEl Paso Public Library - Memorial Park, Tumblewords Project Workshop: "Ripping the Veil: Images, Incantations, and the Creative Writer" with Daniel Chacón, 12:45PM

AUSTIN  Sun., Nov. 19   BookWoman, Poetry a’ Plenty: TORCH Reading Series featuring Natalie Graham, 2PM

A Poetry Reading with Natasha Sajé and Cyrus Cassells, 4PM


News Briefs 11.12.17

Troncoso endows new TIL award for fiction


On his blog this month, El Paso author Sergio Troncoso has announced a new award for Best Work of First Fiction ($1,000).


The Sergio Troncoso Award will be given to a first novel or short-story collection by an author from Texas or writing about Texas. The publication date of the work must be in 2017. The deadline for submission is January 2, 2018.  >>READ MORE


7th Annual Laredo Book Festival set for Dec. 9


The 7th Annual Laredo Book Festival will feature Matt de la Peña, a New York Times bestselling, Newbery Medal–winning author of six young adult novels (Mexican WhiteBoy, The Living and The Hunted) and two picture books (A Nation’s Hope and Last Stop on Market Street).


Sponsored by the Laredo Public Library and the Friends of the Laredo Public Library, the event will take place at the Joe A. Guerra/Laredo Public Library at 1120 E. Calton Road on Saturday, Dec. 9 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.  >>READ MORE


 ——­——— A D V E R T I S E M E N T —————

Lone Star Listens compilation available fall 2017, for readers, fans, and writers everywhere


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

Clay Reynolds

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.


  • Examination and review copies will be available fall 2017 in watermarked pdf format.












10.29.17  Finally — the writing community you’ve been searching for! Are you looking for experienced, published authors who will read your work, give you credible feedback, and help you on your path to publishing—affordably and efficiently?


Come be a part of the first-ever Paragraph Ranch Writers’ Workshop, brought to you from the creators of Lone Star Literary Life. This weekend workshop, Dec. 1–3, 2017, led by popular fantasy author Tex Thompson, will support writers in the development of their voices and the practice of their craft. Located in a picturesque Western setting in the caprock country of Spur, Texas, this retreat welcomes writers of all ages, levels of experience, and genres.


All lodging and meals are included (with optional discount for shared or off-site lodging).


Email info@lonestarliterary.com or for more information visit www.lonestarpublicity.com/product-page/paragraph-ranch-writers-weekend-2017-with-tex-thompson




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Too Far Down by Mary Connealy Visit with Mary Nov. 13–17, 2017

11/13/17 Missus Gonzo

11/14/17 Books and Broomsticks

11/15/17 Books in the Garden

11/16/17 Hall Ways Blog

11/17/17 The Page Unbound



Lamar’s Folly by Jeffrey Stuart Kerr Visit with Jeffrey Nov. 13–23, 2017

11/13/17 Promo StoreyBook Reviews

11/14/17 Review Texan Girl Reads

11/15/17 Author Interview Tangled in Text

11/16/17 promo Texas Book Lover

11/17/17 Review Syd Savvy

11/18/17 Excerpt Missus Gonzo

11/19/17 Promo Books and Broomsticks

11/20/17 Review The Librarian Talks

11/21/17 Author Interview The Page Unbound

11/22/17 Review Reading by Moonlight



Sea of Rust by C. Robert Cargill Visit with Robert Nov. 17–30, 2017

11/17/17 Promo StoreyBook Reviews

11/18/17 Review Reading by Moonlight

11/19/17 Audio Clip Hall Ways Blog

11/20/17 Author Interview 1 Texan Girl Reads

11/21/17 Review Tangled in Text

11/22/17 Promo Chapter Break Book Blog

11/27/17 Excerpt Texas Book Lover

11/28/17 Review The Page Unbound

11/29/17 Author Interview 2 Syd Savvy

11/30/17 Review Forgotten Winds



Chicano Soul (10th ed.) by Ruben Molina Visit with Ruben through Nov. 18, 2017

11/12/17 Promo Books and Broomsticks

11/13/17 Review Hall Ways Blog

11/14/17 Promo Chapter Break Book Blog

11/15/17 Review Missus Gonzo

11/16/17 Promo Syd Savvy

11/17/17 Promo Tangled in Text

11/18/17 Review Forgotten Winds



To Marry a Texas Outlaw by Linda Broday Visit with Linda through Nov. 19, 2017

11/12/17 Excerpt Margie's Must Reads

11/13/17 Review Tangled in Text

11/14/17 Character Interview The Page Unbound

11/15/17 Guest Post StoreyBook Reviews

11/16/17 Review Books and Broomsticks

11/17/17 Top Ten List A Page Before Bedtime

11/18/17 Review Chapter Break Book Blog

11/19/17 Scrapbook Page Reading by Moonlight



Bombshell by Pamela Fagan Hutchins



One Night in Sixes by Arianne “Tex” Thompson

11/12/17 Review The Librarian Talks

11/13/17 Sneak Peek A Page Before Bedtime

11/14/17 Review Forgotten Winds


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William D. Darling

Anahuac: A Texas Story

CreateSpace Independent Publishing

Paperback, 978-19746-4540-4 (also available as ebook), 278 pages, $14.99

October 2, 2017


Austin writer William D. Darling’s second novel, Anahuac, is an entertaining, engrossing legal thriller that offers both darkly humorous and good-natured thrusts at life, love, and law in early 1970s Texas. Some brief bits of Gulf Coast Texana also help set the scenes.


A young lawyer takes on a case that snowballs into a death-penalty murder trial in Chambers County, just after he has gone into private law practice in La Porte with his barely reliable best friend and the best friend’s stunning wife. >>READ MORE


Texas Reads

>> archive


Book addresses unsolved 1902 West Texas murder case


Since his retirement as a West Texas lawyer, Bill Neal has forged a second career writing about famous and infamous murder cases on the Texas frontier.


Neal spent forty years in West Texas courtrooms, twenty as a prosecutor and twenty as a defense attorney, before putting his research and writing skills to work as an author. Neal, who now lives in Abilene, has written six books dealing with frontier justice, or the lack thereof, beginning with Getting Away with Murder on the Texas Frontier and Sex, Murder, and the Unwritten Law.


His latest historical true crime book is Death on the Lonely Llano Estacado: The Assassination of J. W. Jarrott, a Forgotten Hero (University of North Texas Press, $24.95 hardcover). Neal reopens a cold case from 1902 involving the “cowmen vs. plowmen” conflict that raged between the frontier cattle kings and the settlers who moved into the area to farm and ranch smaller plots of land.


Jarrott was a leader of the homesteaders, and on Aug. 27, 1902, a hired assassin gunned him down. Who was the assassin, and who paid him to kill Jarrott?


“Nobody was ever convicted, or even tried, for the cowardly assassination,” Neal writes, “and for decades thereafter nobody in the tight-lipped, South Plains frontier community dared speak openly about it.”


After thoroughly researching the case, Neal names names and resolves the mystery. He also points out that the assassination didn’t accomplish what it was supposed to. “Instead of stampeding the settlers into a mass exodus, it reinforced their determination to stand their ground.”


End of series: Diane Kelly wraps up her delightful Tara Holloway series with Death, Taxes, and a Shotgun Wedding (St. Martin’s, $7.99 paperback). The series, which mixes in ample amounts of mystery, romance and humor, began six years ago with Death, Taxes, and a French Manicure, and the “Death, Taxes” theme is repeated throughout the twelve novels, such as Death, Taxes, and a Skinny No-Whip Latte and Death, Taxes, and a Chocolate Cannoli.


Tara Holloway, an IRS special agent in Dallas, is excited about her upcoming wedding to fellow IRS special agent Nick Pratt. But as she drops the wedding invitations into a neighborhood mailbox, a white pickup swerves straight at her, destroying the mailbox. Tara is not hurt, but the next day she receives a greeting card at work with a death threat inside. As she investigates who might be out to kill her, Tara revisits some of the criminal cases covered in previous novels in the series. Could it be that someone she sent to prison wants her dead?


Meanwhile, wedding plans go on, and as the title indicates, a shotgun might be present at the ceremony.


If you have read the whole series, Death, Taxes, and a Shotgun Wedding brings it to a fitting conclusion. If you haven’t read any of the other novels in the series, you can easily follow the action anyway.



Glenn Dromgoole’s latest book is West Texas Stories. Contact him at g.dromgoole@suddenlink.net.


>> Check out his previous Texas Reads columns in Lone Star Literary Life


Friends of the Amarillo Public Library put the ”fun” in fund-raising with 7th annual Books to Broadway evening


AMARILLO — Kids’ Lit on Broadway was the theme of a bookish evening of entertainment Nov. 2 benefiting the Amarillo Public Library. In addition to a silent auction featuring ingeniously paired books and gifts, and free desserts, audiences were treated to a revue of musical selections performed by WTAMU singers Candace Carpenter, Peyton Kane, and Jayson Sanderson (ensemble member Christopher Meerdink had to bow out due to illness) and accompanist Jan Waller under the direction of Robert Hanson, director of music at West Texas A&M University.


The delightful program included songs from from children’s books that became Broadway musicals such as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Secret Garden, You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown, The Lion King, Seussical: The Musical, Finding Neverland, and Oliver. The audience was invited t sing along during perennial favorite "Tomorrow" from Annie, the musical inspired by the Little Orphan Annie comics. Library director Stacy Yates emceed the event.  >>READ MORE





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Lone Star Reviews


James Ward Lee

The Girls of the Golden West: A Novel

Texas Christian University Press

Paperback, 978-0-8756-5677-9 (also available as an e-book and in hardcover), 224 pgs., $22.95

September 11, 2017


Ninety-five-year-old John Quincy Adams the Second (no relation) is contentedly living his “platinum years” in fictional Bodark Springs, Texas. Wealthy due to inheritance, and rich due to a long career teaching English and history, John Q. opens his door one evening in 1971 to doctoral student Annie Baxter on his doorstep. Armed with a grant from the Texas State Historical Association and the Texas Folklore Society, Baxter wants to interview John Q. for an oral history of Northeast Texas. John Q., startled by Annie’s resemblance to Elizabeth Denney, his lost love of forty years ago, reluctantly agrees to participate in the project, with one proviso: Baxter must content herself with John Q.’s tales of others; his personal history is off limits.


Edward, a lawyer and John Q.’s oldest son, knows his father has secrets. John Q. did spend two years in California soon after the murder of his father and uncle. But Edward doesn’t know the facts and, suspicious of Baxter’s sudden appearance (“secret agent or a blackmailer or maybe a hit woman”), is concerned his elderly father, reminded of the love of his life, will introduce the skeletons in his closets to the fetching Annie. When anonymous notes and phone calls arrive, obliquely referencing his secrets, John Q. worries he may be called to account for a blood feud that may not be over.  >>READ MORE


Dan Rather, Elliot Kirschner

What Unites Us: Reflections on Patriotism

Algonquin Books

Hardcover, 978-1-6162-0782-3, (also available as an e-book and audio book), 288 pgs., $22.95

November 7, 2017

“Who can say definitely when and how it begins, that first, faint sense of place, of belonging; that trickle that eventually becomes a wellspring of deep emotional ties to one’s homeland?”


What is Patriotism? This is the question Dan Rather examines in What Unites Us: Reflections on Patriotism, the new collection of sixteen essays written with his longtime collaborator Elliot Kirschner. “It is important not to confuse ‘patriotism’ with ‘nationalism,’” Rather says. Then he separates Patriotism into what he believes are its five essential components: Freedom, Community, Exploration, Responsibility, and Character. These five components are further subdivided into such subjects as voting, dissent, immigration, the arts, service, and education. Rather feels that Americans are being tested and there’s a task before us. He also believes that we are up to the challenge. >>READ MORE

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