Connecting Texas books and writers with those who most want to discover them
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
SPECIAL EVENTS THIS WEEK
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
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
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
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.
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).
>>READ MORE CLASSIFIED LISTINGS
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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
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
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
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
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
11/12/17 Review The Librarian Talks
11/13/17 Sneak Peek A Page Before Bedtime
11/14/17 Review Forgotten Winds
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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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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
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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