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Successful Houston trial lawyer profiled in new Hardy title


Michael Lee Lanning, author of more than twenty books, has written an interesting biography about high-profile Houston/Galveston trial lawyer Tony Buzbee.


Tony Buzbee: Defining Moments (John M. Hardy Publishing, $28.95 hardcover) focuses primarily on Buzbee’s success in winning multi-million–dollar verdicts or settlements for his clients.


Buzbee grew up poor in East Texas, graduated from Texas A&M in 1990 on an ROTC scholarship, served as a Marine platoon leader, and graduated second in his law class at the University of Houston before launching his practice in the Houston/Galveston area. A generous benefactor of Texas A&M, he was appointed to the Texas A&M System Board of Regents in 2013.


“This is a tough business,” Buzbee says. “I didn’t get into it to make friends. I got into it to make a small, sometimes large, difference in the lives of those who deserve it. Sometimes that means I, in some circles, am the bad guy, but so long as I do what I do with integrity and honesty, I don’t worry one whit about what others think.”


There are some parallels between the author and Buzbee. Lanning grew up poor on a farm in West Texas (Fisher County) in a house with no telephone or running water. He graduated from Trent High School in 1964 before going on to Texas A&M and a career in the Army. He lives on the Bolivar Peninsula across the bay from Galveston.


Lanning, best known for his books on military history, especially Vietnam, also published a book last year on his own battle with cancer, At War with Cancer ($14.99 paperback). Read more about his books on his website,


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Narrative Poems: Gwendolyn Zepeda, named Houston’s first poet laureate, has a new collection of sixty-two narrative poems titled Monsters, Zombies, and Addicts: Poems (Arte Público Press, $14.95 paperback). It is Zepeda’s second book of poems. She also is the author of a short story collection and three novels.


Her poems cover a variety of topics related to life in the modern metropolis, touching on such matters as ants, maggots, worms, shoes, fears, TV, paper dolls, animals, hurricanes, family and death. The poem “Sad Shock” begins: “A woman who worked in our building killed herself this morning.” Recalling that she had spoken with the woman just the day before in the ladies’ room, the poet reflects, “I wished aloud—offered the hundred dollars in my savings for the chance to go back in a time machine to yesterday, to somehow know what she was thinking, and to somehow change her mind.”

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Glenn Dromgoole is co-author of 101 Essential Texas Books. Contact him at

>> Check out his previous
Texas Reads columns in Lone Star Lit


Book NOTICES  5.17.2015

Received Jan-May 2015


At Lone Star Literary Life, we genuinely appreciate every title submitted to us for review consideration. Our goal is to help Texas readers, booksellers, and libraries discover books they’ll likely want to read or showcase. If a new title is about, or set substantially in, Texas, whether fiction or nonfiction, we’ll make every effort to review it in our pages. If it’s a book of poetry or short stories by a Texas author, we’ll give it coverage as we’re able. Other books received in our offices are listed here; current titles on this list may be scheduled for future reviews.


Baty, R. Gaines

Champion of the Barrio: The Legacy of Coach Buryl Bary



288 pgs., $24.95

Texas A&M University Press

February 2015


Bradley, Ed

We Never Retreat: Filibustering Expeditions into Spanish Texas, 1812-1822



344 pgs., $47.00

Texas A&M University Press

February 2015


Brandimarte, Cynthia, with Angela Reed

Texas State Parks and the CCC: The Legacy of the Civilian Conservation Corps



188 pgs., $25.00

Texas A&M University Press

January 2013


Brickhouse, Jamie

Dangerous When Wet: A Memoir


286 pgs., hardcover, $25.99

St. Martin's Press

April 2015


Cartwright, Gary

The Best I Recall: A Memoir


272 pgs., hardcover, $27.95

University of Texas Press

June 2015


Chaplo, Paul V.

Marfa Flights: Aerial Views of Big Bend Country


192 pgs., softcover, $29.95

Texas A&M University Press

July 2014


Chávez, Denise

The King and Queen of Comezón



328 pgs., paperback, $19.95

University of Oklahoma Press

September 2014


Dixon, Kemp

Chasing Thugs, Nazis, and Reds: Texas Ranger Norman K. Dixon



256 pgs., $29.95

Texas A&M University Press

February 2015


Fields, Tricia




288 pgs., $25.99

Minotaur Books

March 2015


Garcia, Elizabeth A.

Border Ghosts: Deputy Ricos #4

Fiction (Crime)


306 pgs., paperback, $18.95

Iron Mountain Press

July 2015


Holcombe, Larry

The Presidents and UFOs: A Secret History from FDR to Obama




St. Martin's Press

March 2015


Jackson, Ron J., Jr., and Lee Spencer White; foreword by Phil Collins

Joe, the Slave Who Became an Alamo Legend



352 pgs., hardcover, $29.95

University of Oklahoma Press

March 2015


Kent, Kathleen

The Outcast

Fiction (Historical)


352 pgs., $16.00

Little Brown

October 2014


Kibler, Julie

Calling Me Home: A Novel



352 pgs., $15.99

St. Martin's Griffin

January 2014


Koenig, Minerva

Nine Days




Minotaur Books

September 2014


Masters, Ben

Unbranded: Four Men and Sixteen Mustangs. Three Thousand Miles across the American West



188 pgs., hardcover, $40.00

Texas A&M University Press

January 2015


McKenzie, C. B.

Bad Country



Hardcover, $24.99

Minotaur Books

November 2014


Meyer, Kimberly

The Book of Wanderings: A Mother-Daughter Pilgrimage



368 pgs., $27.00

Little, Brown

March 2015


Moran, Jan

Scent of Triumph: A Novel of Perfume and Passion




St. Martin's Griffin

March 2015


Paulda, Mark A.

El Paso 120: Edge of the Southwest



128 pgs., $35.00

Texas Christian University Press`

October 2014


Ridge, Rachel, Anne; foreword by Priscilla Shiver

Flash: The Homeless Donkey Who Taught Me about Life, Faith, and Second Chances



254 pgs., hardcover, $19.99


May 2015


Riley, Gretchen, and Peter D. Smith with Stephanie Foresythe-Sword

Famous Trees of Texas (Texas A&M Forest Service Centenial Edition)

Natural History


188 pgs., hardcover, $35.00

Texas A&M University Press

January 2015


Shankle, Melanie

Nobody's Cuter Than You: A Memoir about the Beauty of Friendship



236 pgs., paperback, $15.99


April 2015


Sitton, Thad (narrative); photographs by Carolyn Brown

Caddo Lake: Visions of a Southern Cypress Lake

Natural History


188 pgs., $30.00

Texas A&M University Press

January 2015


Smith, J. Griffis

On the Road with Texas Highways: A Tribute to True Texas



244 pgs., paperback


Texas A&M University Press

September 2014


Wells, Lynn Chandler

Wink of an Eye, A Mystery



Minotaur Books

November 2014


Beings: Contemporary Peruvian Short Stories

Fiction (short stories)


212 pgs., paperback

Somos Libros

July 2015


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Best Texas Beach Reads & Travel Books

Lone Star Literary staff


Memorial Day is nearly here — and with it plans for rest, relaxation, travel, and a good book. What Texas reads will be going in your carry-on or beach bag? Let the staff of Lone Star Lit make your choices easier, with genres from historical fiction to YA. Our first installment appeared May 10 (check it out here) ; today we serve up some great guides to Texas destinations you'll want to read about—and visit. >> READ MORE



Enter our Great Texas Travel Guide Giveaway




It’s easy. Simply click here and enter to win.

No purchase necessary. Odds of winning depend upon numbers of entries.

The value of these beautiful books ranges from $18.95 to $39.99, but one of them can be yours to own. Gorgeous photography and lyrical descriptions of state parks, waterways, deserts, and canyons can be yours to savor and enjoy. >> ENTER

Backus retires as director at Texas A&M Press, Davies assumes post


Charles Backus, Texas A&M University Press’s Edward R. Campbell Press Director, retired from that position effective May 17. Backus came to Texas A&M in the fall of 1999, following previous assignments as director of the university presses at Vanderbilt (1993–1999) and Syracuse (1987–1993).


This month Shannon Davies steps up as the new holder of the Campbell press director’s chair. Davies, who earned a PhD in American civilization from the University of Texas at Austin, arrived at Texas A&M as senior editor in 2000, following a decade as science editor at the University of Texas Press. >> READ MORE

JUST FOR FUN  Try the History Channel's Texas history quiz—for a chance at a trip to the Alamo City. Click here


Texas Rising, A&E/History channel miniseries and book featuring work of Austinite David Marion Wilkinson, debuts Memorial Day 2015

Martha Louise Hunter, contributing writer


Austin novelist/screenwriter David Marion Wilkinson shared writing duties on Texas Rising, the ten-hour television series that premieres Memorial Day on A&E/History about the rise of the legendary Texas Rangers after the events at the Alamo. Wilkinson is author the of Not Between Brothers: An Epic Novel of Texas.


Credited as a co-producer for Texas Rising, Wilkinson came on board as a historical consultant and quickly began co-writing the script with Leslie Grief and Darrell K. Fetty. Wilkinson will also appear in the companion documentary, along with Texas historian H. W. Brands and series stars Bill Paxton, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, and Cynthia Addai-Robinson. The all-star cast of Texas Rising also includes Ray Liotta, Oliver Martinez, Brendan Fraser, and Kris Kristofferson.

2015 WLT Writers and Editors Conference set for June 26-28 in Austin


The 2015 Writers League of Texas Editors and Agents Conference will be held June 26 through June 28 at the Hyatt Regency in Austin. Three days of panels, lectures, readings, workshops, and consultations give aspiring and established authors a chance to learn and grow in the writing profession. >> READ MORE

Sachse Author Con set for May 19


The Friends of the Sachse Public Library will host their first Author Con Tuesday, May 19, from 6 to 8 p.m. Sachse is six miles northeast of Garland, Texas.


A celebration of local authors showcasing works from children’s picture books to young adult, inspirational nonfiction, and thriller fiction novels, this event will provide attendees a chance to talk with authors, socialize with friends, and discover the services the library has to offer.


Award-winning writer and photographer Reavis Z. Wortham of Garland is the creator of the Red River Series, including Burrows and The Rock Hole.  >> READ MORE

Writing Poetry: Passion, Process, and Publication slated for May 21 at BookPeople


Join the staff of BookPeople Thurs., May 21, 2015, for a discussion about the craft and business of poetry, featuring four award-winning poets from varied backgrounds and literary traditions to give the panel a broad vantage point. Panelists are Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz, Derrick Brown, Carrie Fountain, and Sasha West. >> READ MORE


* * * * *

Geaux Behind the Spine with the men of
Miles Arceneaux


How did three Texans manage it—to write a thriller with a generous helping of humor together, and live to repeat their success? Author and host Ally Bishop talks with the personable trio behind the Miles Arceneaux novels, Brent Douglass, James R. Dennis, and John T. Davis, to learn the genesis of Thin Slice of Life, La Salle's Ghost, and now, Ransom Island. Tune in to our new monthly audio interview to find out how Arceneaux nearly wound up in the editor's wastebasket—but came back to life in an entirely new guise. >> LISTEN NOW (mp3)




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>> archive
Elizabeth Crook on a writer's family, past and present


Elizabeth Crook is the author of four novels, The Raven’s Bride, Promised Lands, The Night Journal, and the 2015 Jesse H. Jones Winner (Best Novel) from the Texas Institute of Letters, Monday, Monday, based on the aftermath of the tragic 1966 sniper shooting at the University of Texas. She has written for anthologies and periodicals, including Texas Monthly and the Southwestern Historical Quarterly, and has served on the board of directors of the Texas Book Festival. Lone Star Literary Life caught up with her via email, and she shared with us some of her own story.


LONE STAR LITERARY LIFE: Let's start with your Texas upbringing. You grew up in San Marcos. Did you ever go to Aquarena Springs and see the swimming pig? A lot of people lament "Old Austin," but San Marcos was different in the ’60s and ’70s as well. The former Southwest Texas State Teachers College, now Texas State University, was known for being LBJ's alma mater. What was it like growing up in San Marcos?


ELIZABETH CROOK: Beautiful. I love that place. My mother still lives there, so I make the drive from Austin regularly. I was there last weekend for a family wedding. I-35 has changed a lot and there’s certainly more traffic, but once I hit the downtown square of San Marcos everything feels pretty much the same. There are a lot more people—it's a city now and was a small college town back then, but it feels like home to me. I’ve written two memoirs for Texas Monthly about growing up there—“Dad vs. the Dress Code” and “Our House.”

Bookish Texas event highlights  5.17.2015
>> GO this week   Michelle Newby, Contributing Editor

  • AUSTIN  Mon., May 18, BookPeople, Michelangelo Signorile speaking and signing, 7PM

    AUSTIN  Mon., May 18, BookPeople, MICHELANGELO SIGNORILE speaking & signing It's Not Over: Getting Beyond Tolerance, Defeating Homophobia, and Winning True Equality, 7PM

  • RICHARDSON  Mon., May 18, Blake Kimzey on "Writing Out of the Wilderness," 7 PM

    Richardson Public Library, Author and University of Texas at Dallas Creative Writing teacher Blake Kimzey will present “Writing Out of the Wilderness: How to Survive Rejection and Forge a Path to Publication,” 7PM

  • DALLAS  Tues., May 19, First United Methodist Church, Anthony Doerr & Jim Shepard, 7:30PM

    Tues., May 19, First United Methodist Church of Dallas, Anthony Doerr & Jim Shepard: Compassion and Catastrophe, 7:30PM

  • ODESSA  Wed., May 19, Wagner Noel Performing Arts Center, An Evening with Neil Gaiman, 7 PM


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