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The Texas Panhandle beckons Western writers and anyone who writes about the American West for the 2015 Convention in Lubbock, Texas, June 23-27.
Western Historian Robert Utley (right), a past winner of the Wister Award and a 2015 inductee into the Western Writers Hall of Fame, will present a keynote address.
History presentations at the convention cover topics such as Buffalo Soldiers, the Alamo, Comanche Indians, and frontier ranch women. Other sessions will take place related to the craft of writing, book marketing, and research sources and techniques.. >>READ MORE
Now in its twenty-second year, the Writers' League of Texas Agents & Editors Conference is one of the nation's premier conferences for writers, an invaluable opportunity for attendees to discover new tools to strengthen their writing (craft), gain insight and perspective on the ever-changing publishing landscape while connecting with some of the industry's top players (business), and meet and network with fellow writers (community). Where else can a Texas writer network with industry professionals, learn about publishing tips and trends, and improve one's craft among so many experienced leaders? >>READ MORE
Two years ago, Brooklyn, NY–based indie publisher Akashic Books added a Dallas collection to its award-winning noir series. Launched in 2004 with Brooklyn Noir, the Akashic anthologies features stories set in a distinct neighborhood or location within the city of the book.
Dallas Noir, edited by literary agent David Hale Smith, features a list of contributing authors which reads like a “who’s who” of the Big D literary scene. >>READ MORE
Writespace Houston is throwing itself a birthday party— a celebration of its first year. They’ll have drinks, snacks, and other festivities Friday, June 26, at 7 p.m. at Silver Street Studios, 2000A Edwards #212, in Houston.
According to their social media invitation, “We’ve seen writers come together and collaborate in new ways. We’ve seen people who thought that they were just "dabbling" at writing become committed to putting writing first in their lives. Through the amazing support of the Houston literary community, we've been able to keep our doors open.” Founded in April 2014, Writespace is seeking ways to grow, including an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign. >>READ MORE
E. L. James, author of the erotic romance novel Fifty Shades of Grey, appeared at a sold-out book-signing Saturday, June 21, 2015, at the Bookworm Box in Sulphur Springs, Texas, Saturday. Yes, Sulphur Springs.
British author Erika Mitchell is better known by her pen name, E. L. James. The international publishing phenomenon appeared at the East Texas event as a result of the friendship between James and Bookworm Box owner and New York Times bestselling author Colleen Hoover, who is a Hopkins County resident. >>READ MORE
Above: Book signing at author Colleen Hoover's East Texas bookstore; below, authors E. L. James (left) and Colleen Hoover (right). Photos from Facebook.
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Austin novelist Amanda Eyre Ward visited immigrant shelters in Texas and California while researching her acclaimed new novel, The Same Sky (Ballantine Books, $25 hardcover).
The story involves two principal figures, with alternating chapters written in their voices. Carla is a young girl in Honduras who lives with her grandmother in abject poverty. She longs to be reunited with her mother who has fled to the U.S. and sends money home when she can.
Alice and Jake Conroe own Conroe’s BBQ, the hottest barbecue restaurant in Austin, where customers line up for hours in hopes of a plate or a sandwich. They work hard and have a good life, except for one thing — they cannot have children. As the story develops, Carla’s life gets so bad in Honduras that she is willing to risk her and her brother’s lives to try to cross the borders into Guatemala, Mexico, and the U.S.
Meanwhile, Alice becomes the big sister to a high school girl who does not seem to appreciate her help, and Jake resents her efforts on the girl’s behalf — creating a potential rift in their marriage.
The reader, drawn in by the quick pace of the two narratives, may wonder how, if ever, their stories will connect. But, of course, eventually they do.
At 270 pages, The Same Sky is an intense but fast read. I started it one evening and finished the next. Best-selling author Jodi Picoult calls it “the timeliest book you will read this year. This one’s going to haunt me for a long time.”
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More Harvey Houses: Book store owner Rosa Walston Latimer of Post has written her second book about the Harvey Houses that Fred Harvey developed along the Santa Fe railroad line in the late 1800s.
Her first, Harvey Houses of Texas: Historic Hospitality from the Gulf Coast to the Panhandle ($19.99 paperback), came out last year. The new book is Harvey Houses of New Mexico: Historic Hospitality from Raton to Deming ($21.99 paperback). Both are published by the History Press, which focuses on books on local and regional history.
“Many Harvey Houses operated in the red for years,” Latimer says. “Fred Harvey’s business philosophy was simple. He believed that profits would come in the long run if excellent service was provided and maintained.” When Harvey died in 1901 at the age of 65, Latimer writes, his empire included 15 hotels, 47 restaurants, 30 dining cars, and a ferry. His sons and grandsons continued to operate Harvey Houses into the 1950s and ’60s.
Harvey’s restaurants were staffed by Harvey Girls, many of whom left home for the first time to seek adventure, jobs, maybe husbands. Latimer’s books focus on the Harvey Girls. “My interest in Harvey Girls began,” Latimer notes, “when I learned that my grandmother had been a Harvey Girl in Rincon, New Mexico.”
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Glenn Dromgoole is co-author of 101 Essential Texas Books. Contact him at email@example.com.
For four years running, downtown Abilene has transformed into a childhood adventure, as the annual Children’s Art & Literacy Festival (CALF) celebrates the work of children's illustrated books. Through Sept. 25 the work of 2015 featured artist David Shannon (right), will be on display at the National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature in an exhibition titled "David Goes to the Museum." Shannon is the author/illustrator of Duck on a Bike, No, David! series, Good Boy, Fergus!, A Bad Case of Stripes, and more. The festival draws about 3,000 people each year from all over Texas and beyond. Learn more at www.abilenecalf.com.
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University of Texas Press
978-0-292-74907-8, hardcover, $27.95, June 1, 2015
The Best I Recall, the latest release in the Charles N. Prothro Texana Series from the University of Texas Press, is the much-anticipated memoir by Texan, journalist, novelist, screenwriter, and chameleon Gary Cartwright. During his fifty-year-career, beginning with the police beat for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram in 1956, Cartwright has written about everything from crime and politics to sports and travel (to name a very few), for the Dallas Morning News, Sports Illustrated, Texas Observer, Texas Monthly, Rolling Stone, Harper’s, and National Geographic Traveler, among many, many other publications. He is the winner of a Dobie-Paisano Fellowship and numerous awards, including an Edgar and the Lon Tinkle Award for lifetime achievement from the Texas Institute of Letters.
The Best I Recall is an earnest and painfully honest (“…that’s who I was – who I am – careless, self-centered, impulsive, and egotistical beyond all telling.”) but rather ordinary account of an extraordinary life. It’s the story of the evolution of an innocent. “We were a generation in which sex, drugs, and rock ’n’ roll had replaced sock hops, Juicy Fruit, and Patti Page.” The often sobriety-challenged Cartwright’s list of friends and acquaintances includes famous and/or infamous names every Texan recognizes.
Tyndale House, softcover, 978-1-4143-9748-1 (also available as ebook and audio)
256 pages, $15.99
April 7, 2015
Nobody’s Cuter than You: A Memoir about the Beauty of Friendship is San Antonio mom and blogger Melanie Shankle’s third book and third memoir. Inspired by watching her daughter navigate junior high friendships, Nobody’s Cuter considers the evolution of childhood friendships and recounts the history of the author and her best friend, Gulley.
Shankle wants us to engage in actually being there for each other, not settling for the “community” represented by Facebook and Twitter. She tells us that, “Real friendship requires effort. It’s showing up and laughing loud and crying hard” not merely “…liking one another’s beautifully filtered photos on Instagram and deluding ourselves into believing we have community.” >>READ MORE
The torrential rains of 2015 in Texas inevitably hark back to the devastating Galveston hurricane of 1900. Novelist Ann Weisgarber’s historical novel The Promise, a 2014 Western Writers of America Silver Spur finalist, tells the stories of those affected by the storm. It’s fitting that she agreed to speak with us this week via email as the 2015 WWA gears up to meet in Lubbock.
LONE STAR LITERARY LIFE: First, a little background, Anne. You grew up in a suburb of Dayton, and now you split your time between Sugar Land and Galveston. What brought you to Texas?
ANN WEISGARBER: Jobs! After graduating from college, my husband had an offer to work at Exxon in downtown Houston, and I landed a social work job at a rehabilitation facility for people who’d had amputations or strokes. We couldn’t resist the lure of Houston so we packed our few pieces of furniture and left Ohio. Texas quickly became home.
According to your bio, your undergraduate and graduate degrees are in sociology, and you’ve been a social worker and taught sociology. Did you write in your spare time while pursuing these professions? When did you begin writing?
While I was in school, it didn’t cross my mind that someday I’d write a novel although I liked writing papers. During my social work days, I enjoyed interviewing the patients and writing their case histories for the medical charts. These histories helped me understand that humans are complicated beings with complex motives, and the same should be true for my characters. >> READ MORE
HOUSTON Tues., June 23, Brazos Bookstore, Joe Milazzo reads Crepuscle W/ Nellie, 7PM
Joe Milazzo reads and signs his acclaimed novel Crepuscle W/ Nellie, 7PM
SAN ANTONIO Tues., June 23, The Twig, Brantley Hightower, The Courthouses of Central Texas, 6PM
The Twig Book Shop, Brantley Hightower discusses and signs The Courthouses of Central Texas, 6PM
SMITHVILLE Tues., June 23, Randy Fritz, Hail of Fire: A Man and His Family Face Natural Disaster
Smithville Public Library, Randy Fritz will discuss and sign Hail of Fire: A Man and His Family Face Natural Disaster, 7PM
LUBBOCK Thurs., June 25, Barnes & Noble, Patrick Dearen signs The Big Drift, 1PM
SAN ANTONIO Fri., June 26, The Twig, Katherine Center reads from Happiness for Beginners, 6PM
THE PRISON TRILOGY
Observer: The Ronnie Lee and Jackie Bancroft Spencer Morgan Story, a tale of people, greed,
envy, manipulation... even crime!
Observer: The Colonel George Trofimoff Story, the tale of America's highest ranking military officer
convicted of spying.
Observer: The Prison People; The Prison Experience
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