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 Baron creates quite a stir in Fort Griffin novel


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 g.dromgoole@suddenlink.net.


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




José Antonio Rodríguez

House Built on Ashes: A Memoir

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


Kathy Hepinstall

The Book of Polly: A Novel

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

LONE STAR LISTENS interviews   >> archive

5.21.2017  Wernersbach and Tracy head into the great wide open — inviting travelers to chill out in Texas’ favorite swimming spots


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


Texas's only statewide, weekly calendar of book events

Bookish Texas event highlights  5.21.2017
>> GO this week   Michelle Newby, Contributing Editor


SPECIAL EVENTS THIS WEEK: Houston, Austin, San Antonio, Lubbock
  • Austin SCBWI Authors & Illustrators Working Conference, May 20-21
  • Boldface: A Conference for Emerging Writers, Houston, May 22-26
  • Annual Meet the Authors: New Writers Event, San Antonio, May 27
  • Lubbock-Con 2017, May 27
  • plus fest: everything plus poetry festival, Houston, May 27
  • Texas Writer’s Month Workshops with Sisters in Crime, Austin, May 27
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

News Briefs 5.21.17

Vote for your Favorite Texas Bookstore: Finalist Round through midnight Sat., 5.27


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: www.lonestarpublicity.com/favorite-tx-bookstores-17-3


Readers’ Favortite Texas Bookstores 20 FINALISTS



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


Terry Thompson-Anderson, with photos by Sandy Wilson

Breakfast in Texas: Recipes for Elegant Brunches, Down Home Classics, and Local Favorites

Hardcover, 978-1-4773-1044-1

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.


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


National Federation of State Poetry Societies 2017 to convene in Fort Worth June 29–July 2, celebrate “The Art and Soul of Poetry”

Hosted by the Poetry Society of Texas, with entertainment, meals, open readings, contests, workshops, music, fun


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


Texas teen book festival reveals 2017 keynote authors

Young Adult book festival will feature bestselling authors Marie Lu and Jason Reynolds, and star of The Big Bang Theory Mayim Bialik


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


First annual Texas Sports Hall of Fame Book Festival announces lineup for July 15 in Waco


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


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.


* * * * *






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




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BLOOD OATH by Melissa Lenhardt Visit with Melissa May 23–27, 2017

5/23 CGB Blog Tours

5/23 Missus Gonzo

5/24 Reading By Moonlight

5/24 My Book Fix Blog

5/25 StoreyBook Reviews

5/25 Syd Savvy

5/26 Chapter Break Book Blog

5/26 Texas Book Lover

5/27 The Page Unbound

5/27 Books and Broomsticks



The Heart of a Texas Cowboy: Stories by Linday Broday Visit with Linda through May 24, 2017

5/21 Author Interview The Page Unbound

5/22 Review CGB Blog Tours

5/23 Bonus Short StoreyBook Reviews

5/24 Review Missus Gonzo



Before the Rain Falls by Camille DiMaio Visit with Camille through May 31, 2017

5/21 Promo Margie's Must Reads

5/22 Author Interview Chapter Break Book Blog

5/23 Review Syd Savvy

5/24 Promo Books and Broomsticks

5/25 Guest Post The Page Unbound

5/26 Review Reading By Moonlight

5/27 Excerpt 2 StoreyBook Reviews

5/28 Promo Missus Gonzo

5/29 Review Forgotten Winds

5/30 Deleted Scene CGB Blog Tours

5/31 Review The Librarian Talks



The Adventures of Miss Volpe by Maria Elena Sandovici Visit with Maria Elena through May 29, 2017

5/21 Scrapbook 1 StoreyBook Reviews

5/22 Review Reading By Moonlight

5/22 Promo My Book Fix Blog

5/23 Excerpt 2 Texas Book Lover

5/24 Review Forgotten Winds

5/24 Guest Post Chapter Break Book Blog

5/25 Review CGB Blog Tours

5/26 Scrapbook 2 Books in the Garden

5/27 Review Bibliotica

5/27 Excerpt 3 The Page Unbound

5/28 Promo Blogging for the Love of Authors and Their Books

5/29 Review Syd Savvy

5/29 Scrapbook 3 Margie's Must Reads



Nowhere Near: Stories by Teddy Jones



Bending Angels by Jack H. Emmett


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