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Lone Star Reviews


Wade Phillips with Vic Carucci

Son of Bum: Lessons My Dad Taught Me About Football and Life

Diversion Books

Hardcover, 978-1-68230-808-0, 209 pages, $25.99

May 2017

Reviewed by Carlton Stowers


The remarkable journey began with a seven-year-old accompanying his football-coaching father to Nederland High School practices, neither aware that their partnership was the opening scene of a Texas sports legend in the making. The coach, launching what would become a storied career, was Bum Phillips; the son, Wade, the team’s water boy back then, would grow up to follow in his dad’s footsteps, forging a sterling legacy of his own.


That father-son odyssey, which eventually saw Wade play for his dad in high school and college, then coach with him at the collegiate and NFL level for ten years, is warmly chronicled in Son of Bum, an entertaining and insightful tale the younger Phillips has written with the assistance of Buffalo News sportswriter Vic Carucci. >>READ MORE


Texas Reads

>> archive


 “Death, Taxes” series set to wrap up this year


The eleventh book in Diane Kelly’s engaging “Death, Taxes” series of novels featuring female IRS special agent Tara Holloway is Death, Taxes and Sweet Potato Fries (St. Martin’s, $7.99 paperback).


The series will wrap up with one more full-length novel, Death, Taxes and a Shotgun Wedding, due at the end of October, plus another e-book novella.


Kelly also writes the “Paw Enforcement” series starring a Fort Worth policewoman and her trusted canine partner. The sixth novel in that delightful series, Enforcing the Paw, is due June 27, and look for more to come.


In Death, Taxes and Sweet Potato Fries, Tara Holloway is in the middle of two ongoing investigations, the most serious of which involves human trafficking across the Texas-Mexico border. Three sisters are missing and the Border Patrol enlists Holloway’s help in solving the mystery. As usual, Holloway finds herself in grave danger before all is said and done.


Meanwhile, she’s afraid she has some awful disease because her skin has begun to turn orange. Could it be she has eaten too many sweet potato fries? And she has a wedding to plan — or rather to let her mother and future mother-in-law plan. Kelly mixes humor, romance and mystery together in another entertaining tale.


The “Death, Taxes” series debuted in 2011 and “Paw Enforcement” in 2014. So in the past six years, Kelly has turned out eighteen novels and another half dozen or so e-book novellas, and she hopes to have a new series in the works soon. She will be one of the featured authors at this year’s West Texas Book Festival in Abilene in September.


Nature guides: Texas A&M University Press continues to produce informative, colorful regional travel and nature guides as well as its impressive series of books about Texas rivers. Here are four new ones:


Certified naturalists Lynne and Jim Weber of Austin have produced Nature Watch Big Bend: A Seasonal Guide ($24.95 flexbound), a month-by-month guide to the natural wonders of the national park


From the Frio to Del Rio: Travel Guide to the Western Hill Country and the Lower Pecos Canyonlands by Mary S. Black ($24.95 flexbound) is a travel guide to Southwest Texas, with information about state parks, rock art, historic forts, hunting, towns, ghost towns and scenic trails.


The Blanco River by Wes Ferguson, with color photos by Jacob Croft Botter ($24.95 flexbound), explores the history, the beauty and the challenges along the 87-mile “White River” that flows through the Hill Country, with the concluding chapter focusing on the devastating 2015 flood.


The Nueces River: Río Escondido by Margie Crisp, with artwork by William B. Montgomery ($29.95 flexbound), is a personal tour of the South Texas river that flows into Corpus Christi Bay. It is the twentieth book in the press’s River Books Series, sponsored by the Meadows Center for Water and the Environment at Texas State University.


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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




Texas Center for the Book seeks applicants for 2017 Literacy Award


Austin — The Texas Center for the Book is seeking nonprofit organizations that have made outstanding contributions to increasing literacy in Texas. Qualifying organizations must be nominated by September 1, 2017.


The winning organization will receive a $1,000 cash award to assist in its future work promoting reading and combating illiteracy. This year as well, an honorable mention recipient will receive an $500 cash award. These awards provide public recognition to 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations committed to addressing the continuing need for literacy services and that increase public awareness of the importance of literacy. The 2017 Literacy Award winner will be announced during the 2nd Annual Texas Author Summit at the Texas Book Festival on Nov. 2, 2017.  >>READ MORE


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Bárbara Renaud González

Las Nalgas de JLo/JLo’s Booty: The Best & Most Notorious Calumnas & Other Writing by the First Chicana Columnist in Texas 1995–2005

Aztlan Libre Press

Paperback, 978-0-9897-7823-7, 290 pgs., $24.00; March 1, 2017


Bárbara Renaud González writes deep and wide: politics from the city council to the United Nations; culture and the appropriation thereof; the links between poor education and an ever-increasing prison population; the deference afforded to, and the outsized power of, big business; climate change, feminism, gender, sexuality, immigration, art, religion, identity—you know, everything. But above all and always, class in our supposedly classless society.


Las Nalgas de JLo/JLo’s Booty: The Best & Most Notorious Calumnas & Other Writing by the First Chicana Columnist in Texas 1995–2005 is the first collection of González’s writing. It includes columns, essays, poems, speeches, reviews, articles, and commentary from such outlets as the San Antonio Express-News, the Los Angeles Times, the Texas Observer, Z Magazine, the Dallas Morning News, Ms. Magazine, and NPR. Daughter of a Mexican mother and a Tejano father, González “tried to share the conversations [her] community was having around the kitchen table.”  >> READ MORE


Andy Davidson

In the Valley of the Sun: A Novel

Skyhorse Publishing

Hardcover, 978-1-5107-2110-4, (also available as an e-book), 384 pgs., $24.99

June 6, 2017


In the autumn of 1980, drifter Travis Stillwell washes up west of the Pecos in the fictional town of Cielo Rojo, Texas. After a surreal night at a local watering hole where he meets Rue, a young woman with “skin … light as bone, her hair as red as a fortunate sky,” Stillwell wakes covered in blood inside the camper on his rattletrap pickup, parked in the otherwise deserted lot of the Sundowner Inn, with no memory of the previous night. The old motel and its café are owned by Annabelle Gaskin, “solemn and pretty and not unlined by the life she had made here in the desert,” a young widow and mother of a ten-year-old son. She hires Stillwell to clean up the motel in barter for his stay. You’ll want to point and holler as danger walks among them unrecognized, while the Gaskin farmhouse sits atop a hill overlooking the Sundowner Inn like Norman’s manse in Psycho.  >>READ MORE

2017 Kids' Summer Reading: Check it out!

sponsored by Blue Wilow Bookshop


From read-to-me books to early readers, chapter books to middle readers to YA, you’ll find these terrific new titles at your neighborhood bookshop or online. >>READ MORE


LONE STAR LISTENS interviews   >> archive

6.18.2017  Kate B. Jerome of Arcadia Kids on the aha! moment in reading and creativity


This June, we're featuring authors of children’s books. The kids are out of school and we want to give parents, grandparents, and caregivers insights into books with Texas themes and the authors of those books. We’re delighted to interview someone who’s been a teacher, an author, a book editor, a publisher, and an academic expert of intergenerational dynamics — Kate B. Jerome. Welcome!



LONE STAR LITERARY LIFE: Kate, you began your career as a high school biology teacher but serendipitously entered the world of educational publishing when you moved to Chicago and joined Scott Foresman Publishing. Although you started as an entry-level science editor, your creative vision and leadership catapulted you through every editorial chair in the organization and within a short thirteen years you were named president of Scott Foresman, also serving as a senior vice-president on HarperCollins Publishers’ executive board in New York. A generation grew up seeing the name Scott Foresman on their textbooks. How would you describe your time at the center of the publishing world?


KATE B. JEROME:  The words “exciting” and “exhilarating” immediately come to mind. (Now...so many years later...I can forget about the “exhausting” and “exasperating” part!)


Seriously...it was an amazing time. During my tenure at Scott Foresman I had the pleasure of working with world-class subject matter experts with the goal of translating their best research into practical educational products that both students and teachers would actually use and enjoy. I remember the first elementary science series my team and I developed captured something like 75 percent of the market...which was of course, a huge business success. But the most gratifying aspect...even to this day... is thinking about how that program influenced so many kids. It’s such a tremendous responsibility to get it right...and a terrific legacy when it works.  >>READ MORE


Texas's only statewide, weekly calendar of book events

Bookish Texas event highlights  6.18.2017
>> GO this week   Michelle Newby, Contributing Editor


  • 11th Annual African American Book Festival, Austin, June 24
  • Dallas Author Expo, The Colony, June 24
AUSTIN  Mon., June 19  Dozen Street, Chicon Street Poets featuring Donna Hilbert (plus Haiku challenge and open mic), 7PMDozen Street, Chicon Street Poets featuring Donna Hilbert (plus Haiku challenge and open mic), 7PMAUSTIN Tues., June 20  BookWoman, Edie Jarolim discusses and signs GETTING NAKED FOR MONEY: An Accidental Travel Writer Reveals All, 7PMALSO SIGNING IN SAN ANTONIO  Thurs., June 22  The Twig Book Shop, 5PMAUSTIN  Tures., June 20  BookWoman, Edie Jarolim discusses and signs GETTING NAKED FOR MONEY: An Accidental Travel Writer Reveals All, 7PMALSO SIGNING IN SAN ANTONIO  Thurs., June 22 at The Twig Book Shop, 5PMDALLAS Tues., June 20  CBS Radio Performance Showroom, DFW World Affairs Council hosts Manal al-Sharif discussing and signing Daring to Drive: A Saudi Woman’s Awakening, 7PMIRVING  Tues., June 20  South Irving Library, Space Runners Scavenger Hunt with author Jeramey Kraatz, 2PMAUSTIN  Wed., June 21   BookPeople, LISA WINGATE speaking & signing Before We Were Yours, 7PMSAN ANTONIO  Wed., June 21 The Twig Book Shop, Gillian Thomas discusses and signs Because of Sex: One Law, Ten Cases, and Fifty Years That Changed American Women's Lives at Work, 5PMAUSTIN  Thurs., June 22  Carver Museum & Library, Angie Thomas discusses and signs The Hate You Give (in conjunction with the 11th Annual African American Book Festival), 6:30PMPLAINVIEW  Thurs., June 22  Air Race Classic, Sarah Byrn Rickman will be signing Finding Dorothy Scott: Letters of a WASP Pilot, 11AMAUSTIN  Fri., June 23  Malvern Books, I Scream Social reading series 2nd Birthday Bash!, 7PMHOUSTON  Sat., June 24  Rudyard's Pub, Public Poetry presents The PM Show: Poets & Musicians featuring poets Loueva Smith, James Trotter, and RJ Wright, and Grammy-nominated Fiddle Witch and the Demons of Doom (followed by open mic), 8:30PM

News Briefs 6.11.17

Above, from left: Liu, Thornton, Brickhouse

Writers’ League of Texas to host 24th annual Agents and Editors Conference June 30–July 2 in Austin


The 24th Annual Writers’ League of Texas Agents and Editors Conference will be held June 30 through July 2, 2017, at the Hyatt Regency in Austin. This conference always sells out, and there are a few openings still available. Registration costs $439 for members, $499 for non-members and can be done online at www.writersleague.org/calendar/2017ConferenceRegistration


Highlights of the conference include:


A conversation with Carrie Thornton, Editorial Director of Dey Street Books, who has over twenty years of experience in the industry. Her clients have included Amy Poehler, Alan Cumming, and Kate Hudson. >>READ MORE


Texas Book Festival reveals the first 12 authors for 2017 festival weekend

Festival to showcase acclaimed authors Claire Messud, Mark Bittman, and Angie Thomas


AUSTIN — The Texas Book Festival announced the first twelve authors in the lineup for the 2017 Texas Book Festival Weekend, Fri¬–Sat., Nov. 4–5, including artist, illustrator, and Caldecott Medal honoree Javaka Steptoe, bestselling young adult novelist Angie Thomas, and Top Chef judge Gail Simmons.


“Each year, we try to surpass what we’ve done before to engage and delight book lovers from all corners of the state who come to the annual Texas Book Festival to see their favorite authors and to discover new ones,” says Lois Kim, Festival executive director. >>READ MORE


 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.


Enter to win here, courtesy of the University of Texas Press.



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 31 and will ship around Aug. 1.
  • Examination and review copies will be available May 31 in watermarked pdf format.


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6.11.17  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 www.nickirichesin.com. Contact: nicki@nickirichesin.com.




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Heart on the Line by Karen Witemeyer Visit with Karen June 23–July 2, 2017

6/23 Excerpt 1 CGB Blog Tours

6/24 Promo Reading By Moonlight

6/25 Review Missus Gonzo

6/26 Guest Post 1 StoreyBook Reviews

6/27 Review My Book Fix Blog

6/28 Excerpt 2 The Page Unbound

6/29 Guest Post 2 The Librarian Talks

6/30 Review Books in the Garden

7/1 Promo Books and Broomsticks

7/2 Review Forgotten Winds



The Eldridge Conspiracy: Sir Kaye the Boy Knight, Book 4 by Don M. Winn Visit with Don through June 28, 2017

6/18 Author Interview My Book Fix Blog

6/19 Excerpt StoreyBook Reviews

6/20 Review Reading By Moonlight

6/21 Scrapbook Page 1 Syd Savvy

6/22 Guest Post 2 Forgotten Winds

6/23 Review Hall Ways Blog

6/24 Character Interview Missus Gonzo

6/25 Educators' Special The Librarian Talks

6/26 Review CGB Blog Tours

6/27 Scrapbook Page 2 Texas Book Lover

6/28 Review Books and Broomsticks



UNDER A SUMMER SKY by Melody Carlson Visit with Melody through June 26, 2017

6/18 REVIEW Momma On The Rocks

6/19 Guest Post CGB Blog Tours

6/20 Author Interview Books and Broomsticks

6/21 REVIEW My Book Fix Blog

6/22 Excerpt 2 StoreyBook Reviews

6/23 Scrapbook Books in the Garden

6/24 REVIEW Margie's Must Reads

6/25 Excerpt 3 The Page Unbound

6/26 REVIEW Reading By Moonlight



THE SWIMMING HOLES OF TEXAS by Julie Wernersbach and Carolyn Tracy  Visit with Julie and Carolyn through June 22, 2017

6/18 Promo Blogging for the Love of Authors and Their Books

6/19 Sneak Peek 3 Forgotten Winds

6/20 Review The Librarian Talks

6/21 Promo CGB Blog Tours

6/22 Review The Page Unbound






Breakfast in Texas by Terry Thompson-Anderson


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