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Ranger captain’s short life was anything but boring


Ranger Captain Frank Jones was killed in 1893 on the Texas-Mexico border in a shootout with Mexican rustlers. He was thirty-seven.


Author Bob Alexander has penned a full-length biography (nearly 500 pages with notes) of Jones — Six-Shooters and Shifting Sands: The Wild West Life of Texas Ranger Captain Frank Jones (University of North Texas Press, $34.95 hardcover).


“Many well-read students, historians, and loyal aficionados of Texas Ranger lore know the name,” Alexander writes, “but not the man.”


Frank Jones joined the Rangers at age nineteen and served with the Frontier Battalion. “[His] law enforcing life was anything but boring,” the author says. “His biography is jam-packed with the hunts for dangerous desperadoes.”


Alexander is the author of several other Texas Ranger books from UNT Press: Riding Lucifer’s Line: Ranger Deaths along the Texas-Mexico Border; Rawhide Ranger, Ira Aten: Enforcing Law on the Texas Frontier; Bad Company and Burnt Powder: Justice and Injustice in the Old Southwest; and Winchester Warriors: Texas Rangers of Company D, 1874-1901.


Hungry dragon: Abilene author Penny Parker Klostermann’s first book, There Was an Old Dragon Who Swallowed a Knight, makes its national debut on Tuesday.


It’s rare for a first-time author — especially a children’s author — to land a deal with a major publisher like Random House. Not only that, but in a full-color trade magazine insert promoting its fall list of children’s books, Random House put Klostermann’s book on the cover.


The book, delightfully illustrated by Ben Mantle of London, tells the tale of one very hungry dragon who gobbles up almost everything in the kingdom. When he swallows a moat and begins to bloat, he roars, “I’ve had more than enough of this swallowing stuff.” But now what?


Klostermann, a retired teacher, has a second book with Random House scheduled to come out in 2017.


Cowboy poet: George Rhoades, a retired journalism professor from the University of Texas at Arlington, lives in Oklahoma now and has published two books of mostly cowboy poetry worthy of mention.


The first one, Along the Chisholm Trail and Other Poems, came out three years ago and won several awards and a lot of high praise from readers who appreciated his classic, upbeat approach to writing poems that have rhyme and rhythm.


Now he has produced a second volume, After the Chisholm, consisting of about a hundred poems dealing with cowboys, rural life, and other observations. One of my favorites is “The Last Newspaper,” about a future-day grandfather explaining to his grandson how newspapers informed people back in the day before everything became “short and quick and on a screen.”


Rhoades’s books, from, are $9.95 paperback and $5 e-book.


* * * * *

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

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


Are you ready for some football (books)?


Lone Star Literary Life’s Best Texas Football Books special section kicks off Sunday, Aug. 9


Two-a-days, the Twelfth Man, and the Cotton Bowl are just some of the iconic touchstones of Texas culture and by extension Lone Star literature.


On Sun., Aug. 9, we pay tribute to the best Texas football books by interviewing H. G. “Buzz” Bissinger, author of Friday Night Lights, as his publisher releases the 25th anniversary edition of the book. (See his fall event schedule in Texas, below.)





We’d like to bring you in on some coverage as well. (Zone, no blitz). We’re doing an informal poll of the best Texas football books through the years. Titles like Semi-Tough, The Junction Boys, The Hundred Yard War, and Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk come to mind. What are yours?


Email your suggestion to us at, and we’ll publish the poll results in our Aug. 9 issue. And you’ll automatically be entered in a drawing to win a free copy of Friday Night Lights 25th Anniversary Edition.


  • Fiction
    Texas Review Press, 978-1-68003-038-9, 344 pgs., $22.95

    July 15, 2015


    Pretty Enough for You is Cliff Hudder’s rollicking carnival of a debut novel.

    Harrison Bent is a self-absorbed, adolescent middle-aged ne’er-do-well immigration attorney in love with a twentysomething paralegal, married to a Filipino au pair who needed citizenship, with a girlfriend-stalker, whose philosophy is go-along-to-get-along. Playing hooky from responsibility, marinating in rum-Vicodin-Xanax cocktails and lying to his therapist, Bent is assigned a new case. “I knew I was not equipped to deal with the Leudecke case. I also knew I wouldn’t turn it down or hand it off to somebody better suited … what background did I have in eminent domain? Or with Mexican drug dealers? Or dead Mexican drug dealers?” Bent’s also deficient in pyromaniacs, witches, and the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, but he gets a crash course. >> READ MORE

  • Fiction

    Sarah McCoy

    The Baker’s Daughter

    Read by Elisabeth Rodgers

    Audible audio edition, 11 hours and 47 minutes, unabridged, $21.95


    The Baker’s Daughter by Sarah McCoy is an entertaining and illuminating exploration of the false dichotomy between loyalty to country and personal conviction. Moving backward and forward in time between World War II Germany and present-day El Paso, Texas, McCoy draws parallels between those who did what they could to help the Jews and those who do what they can to help Central American immigrants.   >> READ MORE

LONE STAR LISTENS interviews   >> archive


Nikki Loftin: Back-to-back home runs for Austin YA author


Nikki Loftin won the 2014 Writers’ League of Texas award for best young adult/middle grade fiction for her novel Nightingale’s Nest (Razorbill, 2014), a pretty notable accomplishment in itself — but what’s remarkable is that she won the same award for 2013 for The Sinister Sweetness of Splendid Academy (Razorbill, 2012). She is a back-to-back best-in-state winner for middle grade and young adult fiction, genres in which Texas is rich.


LONE STAR LITERARY LIFE: There’s been a lot in the book media about what fertile ground Austin is for authors of children’s literature. What about Austin seems to attract and nourish children’s literature authors and illustrators? Who are some of your favorite Texas YA, MG and children’s authors?


NIKKI LOFTIN: It must be something in the water! (Barton Springs, perhaps?) Honestly, I think what is happening in Austin is similar to what occurs in other cities when a few very strong, very generous writers decide to use their energy to create a community. Their gravitational pull brings others to town, and encourages local aspiring writers to keep at it… and with enough encouragement, expert advice, and hard work, publication becomes much more likely for them as well.


Bookish Texas event highlights  8.2.2015
>> GO this week   Michelle Newby, Contributing Editor

  • AUSTIN  Tues., Aug. 4  Bullock Museum, Houston performance poet Emanuelee “Outspoken” Bean performs his one-man show, 7PM

    Bullock Museum, Texas Artist Series: Houston-based performance poet Emanuelee “Outspoken” Bean will perform his one-man show entitled Converse featuring Outspoken Bean, 7PM

  • HOUSTON  Fri., Aug. 7  Murder By the Book, Sara Paretsky signs and discusses Brush Back, 6:30PM

    Murder By the Book, Sara Paretsky will sign and discuss her latest V.I. Warshawski novel, Brush Back, 6:30PM

  • AUSTIN  Sat., Aug. 8  BookPeople, First Time Ever BookPeople Nation Carnival of Books!

    BookPeople, 185th Annual First Time Ever BookPeople Nation Carnival of Books! literary trivia, carnival games, scavenger hunt, free stuff + food, 11:30AM

  • DALLAS  Sat., Aug. 8  The Writer's Garret, "Getting Your Work Published" with Joe Milazzo, 1PM

    The Writer's Garret, "Getting Your Work Published" with JOE MILAZZO, 1PM

15th annual West Texas Book Festival, Sept. 21–26, 2015, announces featured authors


The West Texas Book Festival, which will celebrate its 15th annual festival this year during the week of September 21-26 at the Abilene Public Library in Abilene, Texas, announced its lineup of authors this week.


The festival seeks to celebrate books, literacy, and reading, with a special emphasis on local and regional authors. The event is community driven and provides the public with the chance to interact with local authors on a more personal level. The festival includes a number of meet and greet sessions as well as readings and talks. For more information contact Janis Test at (325) 676-6017.


Clockwise from upper left: O'Neal, Bissinger, Castillo, Kent, Thomas, Dearen, Specht (photos from Amarillo Public Library website)


A. C. Greene Award Winner

Bill O’Neal, Carthage, TX

O'Neal is the author of 42 books and more than 300 articles and book reviews on the American West. Having retired as a history professor at Panola College in Carthage, TX, he continues to teach periodically and maintains a writing career. O'Neal is a member of the Western Writers of America, has appeared in television documentaries on Turner Network Television, the History Channel, the British Broadcasting Corporation, the Discovery Channel, Turner Broadcasting System, and the Arts and Entertainment Channel. He has received several awards including being appointed the Texas State Historian in 2012 by Governor Rick Perry, receiving the 2005 National Association of Outlaw and Lawmen Association Award for The Johnson County War, named the Best Living Non-Fiction Writer by True West Magazine in 2007, and more.   >> READ MORE/FULL LIST

100 authors, creative writing experts, musicians, and performers slated for 7th annual East Texas Book Fest


The seventh annual East Texas Book Fest takes place on Friday, Aug. 21, and Saturday, Aug. 22, in Tyler's Harvey Convention Center, located at 2000 West Front Street, Tyler. The event is free.


One hundred Texas authors who write in many genres and for all ages will display their books and chat with readers.


Cynthia Leitich Smith (left), author of Tantalize, Eternal, Blessed, and more

Don Tate, author and Illustrator of Poet: The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton (Sept 2015), It Jes' Happened When Billy Traylor Started to Draw (2012), and more



Chris Rogers, author of Emissary (Nov. 2014), Here Lies A Wicked Man, Write the Scene 3 Easy Ways, Ramp Up Tension 3 Easy Ways, Plot Your Story 3 Easy Ways, and more



Dr. Rene Saldaña, author of Heartbeat of the Soul of the World, Dancing With the Devil and Other Tales of Beyond, ¡Juventud! Growing up on the Border, The Jumping Tree, and more





David Sedaris coming to Odessa Fri., Nov. 6


Odessa College  and the Odessa Council for Arts & Humanities are partnering to bring David Sedaris to Deaderick Auditorium on Friday, Nov. 6, at 7 p.m. The show is free to the public. Tickets will be available in August.


(Information from Odessa Council for Arts & Humanities)




Bissinger publisher announces Texas signings, events for 25th Anniversary Friday Night Lights


In conjunction with Da Capo Press's Aug. 11 publication of the 25th anniversary edition of  Friday Night Lights: A Town, a Team, and a Dream, author H. G. “Buzz” Bissinger returns to Texas for a series of events. The publisher announced the following schedule this week:


Buzz Bissinger Book Events, Fall 2015

  • 9/14/15, Hastings (Odessa, TX), 7 p.m., with support from the Odessa Council for the Arts and Humanities
  • 9/15/15, High School TBD (Midland, TX)—morning or lunchtime solo talk
  • 9/15/15, Midland County Public Library (Midland, TX), Centennial branch, 5:30-6:30 p.m., solo talk, B&N to sell books
  • 9/15/15, Yucca Theater (Midland, TX), 7:30 p.m.—panel moderated by Jay Hendricks, CBS 7 anchor; ticketed event as fundraiser for Midland County Public Library Foundation
  • 9/16/15, Brazos Bookstore (Houston, TX), 7 p.m.
  • 9/18/15, Abilene Public Library (Abilene, TX), 12 p.m., Texas Star Trading Company to sell books
  • 9/19/15, Half Price Books (Dallas, TX), 2 p.m.
  • 9/20/15, BookPeople (Austin, TX), 2 p.m.



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

Celebrate the Storybook Capital of Texas, Abilene, with Shannon exhibition


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." Visit
>> LISTEN NOW (mp3)




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Cliff Hudder, Pretty Enough for You (Texas Review Press, paperback, July 15, 2015, 344 pgs., 978-1680030389). Selected by Lone Star Literary Life as a Best Texas Beach Read 2015. Ne’er-do-well immigration attorney Harrison Bent is trying to juggle an angry wife, an inscrutable stalker, an obsessed girlfriend, and an unsolved murder, while trying to forge a successful outcome to a case that might revive his career and help pay for his autistic son’s special school, and his day has just started. Author Cliff Hudder takes Harrison’s story on the road in a Lone Star Book Blog Tour.


July 30 - TexasBookLover

July 31 - All For the Love of the Word

August 1 - Texas Book-aholic

August 2 - Blogging for the Love of Authors and Their Books

August 3 - The Crazy Bookseller

August 4 - A Novel Reality

August 5 - Bookishjessp

August 6 - Because This is My Life, Y’all

August 7 - The Page Unbound

August 8 - Books and Broomsticks



The Prison Trilogy by Glen Aaron (Amazon Digital Services, paperback, 2015).

The Ronnie Lee and Jackie Bancroft Spencer Morgan Story, a tale of people, greed, envy, manipulation... even crime. When Jackie Bancroft's husband died in 1952, he left her an heiress.

Almost fifty years later, Jackie would marry Ronnie Lee Morgan, a fifty-year old gay interior decorator. Morgan was one of many clients in the active law practice of author Glen Aaron. This unusual marriage lasted until Jackie's mysterious death five years later. Throughout that period, Aaron became entwined in the personal lives and demands of the couple, along with handling many of their legal affairs. This book in Aaron’s Prison Trilogy tells that inside story.

Watch for dates beginning July 30.


July 30 - Blogging for the Love of Authors and Their Books

July 31 -  Books and Broomsticks

August 1 - TexasBookLover

August 2 - Texas Book-aholic

August 3 - Hall Ways

August 4 - My Book FIx

August 5 - Literary Daydreams

August 6 - Because This is My Life, Y’all

August 7 - Blogging for the Love of Authors and Their Books

August 8 - All For the Love of the Word



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