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Texas artists interviewed about their work

Robert Craig Bunch, assistant librarian at the McNay Art Museum of San Antonio, has published a remarkable book that provides insights into the philosophies, imaginations, influences and insights of sixty-four Texas artists.


The Art of Found Objects: Interviews with Texas Artists (Texas A&M University Press, $50 hardcover) is presented in question-and-answer style, focusing on how the artists incorporate everyday found objects into their paintings, collages, and other artistic creations.


“Beyond the art itself,” Bunch writes, “no source is more primary to understanding art and artist than his or her words. “Amazingly enough, there exists no prior book of interviews with artists from across Texas. Since 2010 I have interviewed more than 60 of Texas’ finest artists with the intention of compiling my questions and their responses into a substantial, illustrated book.”


The volume includes more than 70 color plates. The interviews are presented alphabetically, beginning with Margaret Adie of San Marcos and concluding with Steve Wiman of Austin. Most of the artists still live and work in Texas, but a few have moved on to other locales.


These are no cookie-cutter interviews. The author obviously researched his subjects before posing the questions. A few examples:


To Paul Horn, Houston: “Why do you sleep with the TV on? How does this enter your dreams and your art?”

To Lance Letscher, Austin: “What role have quilts played in your art?”

To Kathleen Packlick, Houston: “Why have postage stamps been a recurring element in your work?”

To Ken Little, San Antonio: “How has music helped shape your art?”


Bunch posed one common question to conclude each interview: “Which artists have meant the most to you?”


Fourth book: Lubbock author Nathan Dahlstrom, writing under the pen name S. J. Dahlstrom, has produced his fourth novel featuring twelve-year-old Wilder Good, who loves the outdoors. In The Green Colt (Paul Dry Books, $8.95 paperback), Wilder’s grandfather gives him a young colt. Wilder names him Bluebonnet and begins working with him, keeping a journal about his progress, and learning the joy and the pain of loving a horse.


Dahlstrom, a protégé of Hank the Cowdog creator John Erickson, writes value-driven and action-oriented books for middle school readers encouraging them to get out and explore nature. A fifth novel, Black Rock Brothers, is coming soon. Read more about the series at wildergood.com.

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

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Bookstore briefs

Absolutely Fiction welcomes readers in Lufkin



During our Lone Star Literary Bookish Tour of Texas, we’re always pleased to discover new bookstores along the trail. On a recommendation, we stopped in at Absolutely Fiction in Lufkin, where owner Becky Jackson (above, center) gave us the nickel tour. Jackson’s store, which opened in July 2016, is the first bookstore to serve Lufkin, which lost its Waldenbooks six years ago. >>READ MORE




Edmundo Paz Soldán

Translated from the Spanish by Valerie Miles

Norte: A Novel

University of Chicago Press

Paperback, 978-0-2262-0720-9, (also available as an e-book), 312 pgs., $18.00; October 2016


‘In Spanish there’s an expression, “perder el norte,” which means to lose one’s way, to lose sight of a goal, to lose control, to lose the sense of where is up and where is down on a compass.’


Three tales are told in Norte: that of Jesús, a serial killer from Northern Mexico who rides the rails across the United States; that of Michelle, an aspiring graphic novelist and dropout from a Latin American literature doctoral program in Texas; and that of Martín, a schizophrenic artist locked in a California asylum, whose works eventually hang in the Guggenheim and the Smithsonian. Each of these characters have immigrant origins (some legal, others not): Argentina, Bolivia, Mexico. Everyone here is addicted to something: substances, sensations, emotions, people, power; and none of their American dreams are turning out as they’d hoped.  >>READ MORE



Kathleen Kent

The Dime: A Novel

Mulholland Books

Hardcover, 978-0-3163-1103-8 (also available as an e-book, an audio book, and on Audible), 352 pgs., $26.00

February 14, 2017


Elizabeth “Betty” Rhyzyk, a gutsy, smart, unconventional detective from a family of Brooklyn cops, moves to Dallas and joins the police department’s narcotics unit. The first investigation she runs in Dallas, involving Mexican drug cartels and East Texas meth cookers engaged in a turf war, spins out of control. As the bodies begin to stack up, Rhyzyk acquires a sadistic stalker, and the action takes a startlingly brutal turn.


The Dime, the first in a new mystery/suspense series, is also a change of genre for Kathleen Kent, best-selling author of historical fiction. Detective Rhyzyk‘s first-person narrative begins with a bang and doesn’t let up. Fast-paced and tightly plotted, The Dime serves up whiplash-inducing twists and an (unfortunately) politically timely white nationalist-supremacist element, with “Old Testament revelations … of such monstrous proportions that they would make even sleeping infants cry and feral dogs slink away in terror,” reminding me of Texas’s own David Lindsey. >>READ MORE

LONE STAR LISTENS interviews   >> archive

2.19.2017  Julie Baker Finck of the Barbara Bush Houston Literary Foundation talks about a first lady's wish for literacy and endless opportunity


On this Presidents’ Day weekend it seems only appropriate to learn more about the literacy support of Texas’s resident presidential family—the Bushes. While First Lady Laura Bush of Dallas, herself a onetime librarian, is widely known for her work with libraries and reading, her mother-in-law, First Lady Barbara Bush, of Houston, has also lent her support to a similar cause. The president of the Barbara Bush Literacy Foundation, Julie Baker Finck, took time from her busy schedule last week to talk about their organization and the family’s involvement.



LONE STAR LITERARY LIFE: I think I speak for all Americans when I say I was totally inspired by seeing President George Bush and Mrs. Bush at the Super Bowl, especially since they had both been so recently hospitalized. How are they doing now?


JULIE BAKER FINCK: President and Mrs. Bush are doing great, and continue to be grateful both for the exceptional care they received at Houston Methodist — and the many good wishes and prayers they received from their fellow Houstonians and friends around the world. Most of all, they are happy to be home and spending time with family and friends.


Tell us about the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation. How and when did it get started?


In 2013 Neil and Maria Bush formed the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation to carry forth Mrs. Bush’s legacy and focus deeply on the literacy cause in the Bush family’s hometown and the nation’s fourth largest and most diverse city. Founded on Mrs. Bush’s belief, “If you help a person to read, then their opportunities in life will be endless,” the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation is dedicated to improving the quality of life through the power of literacy and the breaking of the intergenerational cycle of low literacy in our city.  >>READ MORE


Texas's only statewide, weekly calendar of book events

Bookish Texas event highlights  2.19.2017
>> GO this week   Michelle Newby, Contributing Editor


SPECIAL EVENTS THIS WEEK: Austin, Johnson City, Dallas, Corpus Christi, San Antonio, Bryan, Alpine, Round Rock, Mission, Mount Vernon
  • Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center Children’s Book Fair, Austin, February 18-19
  • Texas Medal of Arts Awards, Austin, February 21-2
  • Johnson City Library 9th Annual Writers Conference, February 22
  • Symposium: THE RUSSIAN REVOLUTION OF 1917: A CENTENNIAL VIEW, Dallas, February 22-23
  • People's Poetry Festival, Corpus Christi, February 23-25
  • Wild Wicked Weekend, San Antonio, February 23-25
  • NAACS Tejas Foco 2017, Bryan, February 24
  • Artists Writings on Materials and Techniques: EODIAH Symposium, Dallas, February 24-25
  • 31st Annual Texas Cowboy Poetry Gathering, Alpine, February 24-25
  • Poetry Out Loud Texas State Finals, Austin, February 25
  • 2nd Annual Southwest Regional Slam, Austin, February 25
  • SCBWI Austin Book Marketing Boot Camp, Round Rock, February 25
  • Speer Memorial Library Book Festival, Mission, February 25
  • WordWyse 2nd Annual Marketing Workshop for Authors, Mount Vernon, February 25
  • One Day Jewish University, Dallas, February 26
HUNTSVILLE  Mon., Feb. 20  County Museum/Gibbs-Powell House, Gary Pinkerton discusses and signs Trammels Trace: The First Road to Texas from the North, 5:30PMCounty Museum/Gibbs-Powell House, Gary Pinkerton discusses and signs Trammels Trace: The First Road to Texas from the North, 5:30PMCOLLEGE STATION  Tues., Feb. 21  George Bush Presidential Library & Museum, Presidents Day with Kate Andersen Brower, author of The Residence: Inside the Private World of the White House and First Women: The Grace and Power of America’s Modern First Ladies, 7PMGeorge Bush Presidential Library & Museum, Presidents Day with Kate Andersen Brower, author of The Residence: Inside the Private World of the White House and First Women: The Grace and Power of America’s Modern First Ladies, 7PMHOUSTON, Tues., Feb. 21  Brazos Bookstore, Amanda Eyre Ward reads and signs THE NEARNESS OF YOU, 7PMALSO SIGNING IN AUSTIN Wed., Feb. 22  BookPeople, 7PMHOUSTON  Wed., Feb. 22, Brazos Bookstore, Karl Jacoby discusses and signs THE STRANGE CAREER OF WILLIAM ELLIS, 7PMAUSTIN  Thurs., Feb. 23, Texas State Library & Archives, an evening with best-selling author Ben Fountain in correlation with the Texas Center for the Book's Read Across Texas: The Veteran Experience, 7PMDALLAS  Thurs., Feb. 23  SMU - Fondren Library, Texas Man of Letters: Bill Wittliff/Virgil Musick Exhibit, Panel Discussion, and Book Signing, 6PMGRANBURY  Sat., Feb. 22, Hood County Library, Writers' League of Texas workshop: Texas Writes with Meg Gardiner and Susan Wittig Albert, 1PMSAN ANTONIO  Sun., Feb. 26  The Twig Book Shop, Rick Goff reads and signs A Gorilla Ridin' on a Half a Hot Dog, 2PM

News Briefs 2.19.17

Texas poets laureate Morton and Birkelbach embark on three-year arts project, “Words of Preservation: A Poets Laureate National Parks Tour”


Texas poets laureate Karla K. Morton and Alan Birkelbach, both award-winning writers with eleven published books, kicked off a joint three-year project titled “Words of Preservation: A Poets Laureate National Parks Tour” last year during the National Park System’s 100-year anniversary.



Texas Poets Laureate Karla K. Morton (above, left) and Alan Birkelbach will visit 50 or more of the 59 U.S. National Parks to commemorate the 100-year history of the parks. (Photos provided)


They will visit fifty or more of the U.S. National Parks during the tour, documenting their journey through poetry and photography, ultimately creating one or more books, to help celebrate the next one hundred years. Their plan is to donate a percentage of sales to the National Park Service. >>READ MORE

8th annual New Fiction Confab schedued for April 1, Austin


Dan Chaon, Patty Yumi Cottrell, Alexandra Kleeman, John Pipkin, Deb Olin Unferth and Yoojin Grace Wuertz will take part in  the Austin Public Library Friends Foundation’s 8th annual New Fiction Confab, which takes place April 1, 2017.


Each year, the Confab invites a handful of early- and mid-career authors to Austin to spend a day leading writing workshops, reading their work, and engaging in conversations with the Austin literary community. >>READ MORE


Writers’ League Celebrates “Texas Independents” with kickoff event at Odessa College Mar. 2


In March 2017 the Writers' League of Texas will partner with some of the state's greatest Independents—in conjunction with Texas Independence Day—to host a series of free and open events throughout the month of March in communities across the state.


These panel discussions (featuring authors and experts and including time for questions and networking) will focus on the great opportunities that Texas has to offer, from independent presses, to journals, to bookstores, and beyond, while also answering writers' burning questions about the publishing process, submitting to agents, catching the eye of an editor, and more.


“Celebrating Texas Independents: Our Great Literary State's Independent Presses, Journals, Bookstores & More” will kick off in Odessa, Texas, moderated by WLT Executive Director Becka Oliver and four great panelists (including Will Evans, founder and president of Cinestate, and Kay Ellington, publisher of Lone Star Literary Life; the full list of panelists will be available online soon.) >>READ MORE






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Visit with Bill February 21–March 2

2/21 Scrapbook Page StoreyBook Reviews

2/22 Review Hall Ways Blog

2/23 Author Interview Texas Book Lover

2/24 Book Trailer Forgotten Winds

2/25 Review Kara The Redhead

2/26 Video Interview The Page Unbound

2/27 Review Blogging for the Love of Authors and Their Books

2/28 Guest Post  Byers Editing Reviews & Blog

3/1 Excerpt Books and Broomsticks

3/2 Review Reading By Moonlight


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Lone Star Literary Archives

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• Announcement: LSLL Launches


Lone Star Listens compilation available Aug. 1, 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.


  • Lone Star Listens will be available for preorder May 1 and will ship around Aug. 1.
  • Examination and review copies will be available May 1 in watermarked pdf format.


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