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Sandra Brown keeps the pages turning in "Friction"


Sandra Brown packs plenty of conflict into her aptly named novel Friction (Grand Central Publishing, $26 hardcover).


Wherever he goes, Texas Ranger Crawford Hunt seems to create or cultivate friction — defined as conflict or animosity caused by a clash of wills, temperaments, or opinions. He finds himself in court fighting with his in-laws for custody of his five-year-old daughter, the most important person in his life. Her mother was killed in a car wreck four years ago, and her parents have been raising Georgia while Hunt tried to get his life back together.


Now he feels he is ready to move forward as a daddy, but the grandparents feel otherwise — especially his father-in-law, who can’t stand him.


While Judge Holly Spencer is hearing the case, a masked gunman dressed like a house painter charges into court and starts shooting. The bailiff drops dead, Hunt leaps in to protect the judge, and the gunman flees. Hunt gives pursuit, and soon the matter seems to be resolved when the presumed suspect is killed by snipers.


But wait, it’s not that simple. Who — and what — was behind the shooting? And was the suspect who was killed really the shooter?


Judge Spencer is believed to have been the target, and Hunt arranges for her to have round-the-clock protection while the investigation intensifies. Hunt is in constant conflict with a long-time rival, the lead detective on the case, and eventually Hunt himself is a suspect. Did he really set the whole thing up?


Judge Spencer finds herself attracted to the Ranger, which creates all kinds of sexual and ethical friction. And there’s also friction between Hunt and his estranged alcoholic father.


Sandra Brown, who obviously knows how to keep the action flowing, is the author of about 70 novels with 80 million copies in print, making her one of the best-selling Texas authors of all time. She holds an honorary doctorate from her alma mater, TCU, and established a scholarship there for students who aspire to a career in creative writing.


Read more on her website,


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Brother missing: San Antonio author Catherine A. Winn, a former art and elementary teacher, has published her first young adult mystery, Beyond Suspicion (The Poisoned Pencil, $10.95 paperback).


When fifteen-year-old Shelby has to babysit baby brother Josh instead of going to her first boy-girl party, she is very upset. She pushes Josh to the park in his stroller, and someone sets off fireworks. When she turns around, Josh is gone. And soon she finds herself the primary suspect in his disappearance. In a race against time, she sets out to try to find the real kidnapers.


For more, go to


* * * * *

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

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


Llano to host Author Extravaganza Oct. 3


The Author Extravaganza and Fair will be an all-day free literary event set right in the heart of the Hill Country at the Llano Library in Llano, Texas, Sat., Oct. 3, 2015, from 11 M to 7 pm. Featuring two New York Times best selling authors, six authors scheduled for speaking sessions throughout the day, two writers’ workshops, more than twenty area authors, and several local organizations providing food and drink sales onsite, the event will be a celebration of authors, books, and the love of reading.


Featured authors include Celia Hayes, historical fiction; Scott Zesch, historical non-fiction; Karen Witemeyer, historical romance; Tiffany Harelik, cookbook author; Leila Meacham, author of the bestselling Texas historical novels Roses, Tumbleweeds, and Somerset; and Linda Castillo, author of the Kate Burkholder Amish mystery series.



Richardson Adult Literacy Center to host Buns & Roses Romance Tea for Literacy Oct. 4

by Lorraine Heath


October 4, 2015, will mark the tenth year that romance authors and readers have gathered for the Buns & Roses Romance Tea for Literacy in Richardson, Texas, to benefit the Richardson Adult Literacy Center. Hats, laughter, and the joy of talking books abound.


Katie Patterson, executive director of RALC, says, “For the Richardson Adult Literacy Center, Buns & Roses is an incredible expression by romance writers and readers from across the country of their passion for helping others improve their literacy. Because of this event, RALC is able to continue offering English as a Second Language instruction to hundreds of adults in our community who are eager to improve their lives through improved literacy skills.” >>READ MORE


Mockingbird Chapter, Poetry Society of Texas, presents inaugural poet Richard Blanco, Oct. 15 in McKinney


The Mockingbird Chapter of the Poetry Society of Texas, in partnership with McKinney Performing Arts Center (MPAC) and the Arts and Music Guild, is thrilled to announce “Rhythms of Pen and Brush,” a celebration of art, music, and spoken word, on Thurs., Oct. 15, featuring nationally acclaimed poet Richard Blanco.


Mr. Blanco (left) is the fifth poet ever to present at a president’s inauguration. >> READ MORE


5th annual Dobie Dichos slated for Nov. 6 in Oakville


On Friday, Nov. 6, 2015, the 5th annual Dobie Dichos storytelling event will take place at the Historic Oakville Jailhouse Lodge in Oakville, Texas, from 6:00 to 9:30 p.m. The cost of meal and performance is $15; admission for the performance only is $10.  Tickets go on sale in September


Presented by George West Storyfest Association, Inc., this event honors Live Oak County’s most famous son, J. Frank Dobie, to celebrate Dobie’s works and contributions to literature, folklore, and storytelling.  >> READ MORE




  • Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

    978-0-544-29008-2, ebook, 280 pgs., $12.99, 2015


    Thu Apr 5— 08: 31 [text]

    hello i am sorry to bother you but i need your assistance— i am hector— cesars friend— its an emergency now for cesar— are you in el norte? i think we are also— arizona near nogales or sonoita— since yesterday we are in this truck with no one coming— we need water and a doctor— and a torch for cutting metal


    The Jaguar’s Children is journalist and author (who cites as sources Luis Alberto Urrea and Charles Bowden; how could you go wrong?) John Vaillant’s devastatingly powerful first novel. Mexicans and Nicaraguans, men, women, and children, bakers, students and scientists, have paid coyotes (“They were talking fast all the time, but not as fast as their eyes”) to provide safe passage into the United States, welded inside a water truck (“like a bucket of crabs with the lid on and no place to go”). As the book begins, they’ve been abandoned for two days in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona (“la via dolorosa”). >>READ MORE

LONE STAR LISTENS interviews   >> archive

Carlos Nicholás Flores: On the writing bug— and writing about the borderlands

Carlos Nicholás Flores is a longtime contributor to the literary and cultural scene of South Texas. His work explores Hispanic culture and issues. We corresponded with him via email at the outset of Hispanic Heritage Month, both about his new work of fiction and the state of Latin American literature today.


LONE STAR LITERARY LIFE: Carlos, you are the director of Teatro Chicano de Laredo (Laredo Little Theatre), an instructor at Laredo Community College, and a writer. How does each of these pursuits inform the other?


CARLOS NICOLÁS FLORES: Teaching at Laredo Community College has allowed me to live and write on the Mexican-American border. Moreover, it has provided a platform from which to launch the popular Teatro Chicano de Laredo. The work of local playwrights has deepened my understanding of the border itself, while the experience as director has provided ample material for a collection of novellas or short stories about the theater.


What inspired you to become a writer, and when did this occur?


I picked up the virus at Austin High School in El Paso, in the midst of a profound depression. My friend John Stevenson, a gifted aspiring writer, one day suggested I read Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky. The book was a life-changing experience. I found a way to understand and deal with despair. Meanwhile, John became a successful art dealer in New York. >>READ MORE


Bookish Texas event highlights  9.27.2015
>> GO this week   Michelle Newby, Contributing Editor

  • HOUSTON  Tues., Sept. 29, Brazos Bookstore, Fiston Mwanza Mujila and Roland Glasser read & sign TRAM 83, 7PM (Also reading in Austin Wed., Sept. 30, and Dallas, Thurs., Oct. 1 and Fri. Oct. 2)

    Brazos Bookstore, Fiston Mwanza Mujila and Roland Glasser read & sign TRAM 83, 7PM



    University of Texas, Fiston Mwanza Mujila will read from his debut novel, Tram 83, assisted by his translator, Roland Glasser, 3:30PM


    Malvern Books, an evening with Congolese writer Fiston Mwanza Mujila, author of Tram 83, and the novel’s translator Roland Glasser, 7PM



    The Wild Detectives, celebrate Deep Vellum Publishing’s release of Congolese poet Fiston Mwanza Mujila’s first work of fiction, Tram 83, with the author and the translator, Roland Glasser, 7:30PM



    Richland College Library, Fiston Mwanza Mulila will read from his debut novel, Tram 83, assisted by his translator, Roland Glasser, 11AM


    SMU, Fiston Mwanza Mujila reads from his debut novel, Tram 83, assisted by his translator, Roland Glasser, 2PM

  • DENTON  WED., Sept. 30, Murchison Performing Arts Center, Anshel Brusilow will speak and sign Shoot the Conductor: Too Close to Monteux, Szell, and Ormandy, 5PM

    Murchison Performing Arts Center, Anshel Brusilow will speak and sign Shoot the Conductor: Too Close to Monteux, Szell, and Ormandy, 5PM

  • BULVERDE  Thurs, Oct. 1, Bulverde/Spring Branch Library, Texas Writes with authors Amanda Eyre Ward and Carol Dawson, 1PM

    Bulverde/Spring Branch Library, Writers' League of Texas program: Texas Writes with authors Amanda Eyre Ward and Carol Dawson, 1PM

  • EL PASO  Fri., Oct. 2, Sergio Troncoso Library, Sergio Troncoso will sign books at the renaming of the library, 2PM

    Sergio Troncoso Library, Sergio Troncoso will sign books at the renaming of the library, 2PM

  • FORT WORTH  Sat., Oct. 3, American Airlines C.R. Smith Flight Museum, Buzz Aldrin signs Welcome to Mars: Making a Home on the Red Planet, 10AM

    American Airlines C.R. Smith Flight Museum, Buzz Aldrin signs Welcome to Mars: Making a Home on the Red Planet, 10AM

  • HOUSTON  Sun., Oct. 4, Museum of Fine Arts, The Promise: A Conversation with Author Ann Weisgarber and the Houston Chronicle’s Lisa Gray, 3PM



Banned Books Week is the national book community's annual celebration of the freedom to read. Hundreds of libraries and bookstores around the country draw attention to the problem of censorship by mounting displays of challenged books and hosting a variety of events. The 2015 celebration will be held


Banned Books Week was launched in 1982 in response to a sudden surge in the number of challenges to books in schools, bookstores and libraries. More than 11,300 books have been challenged since 1982 according to the American Library Association.


Here are just a few events in Texas this week:

Houston, Wed., Sept. 30: The Printing Museum, Banned Books theme linoleum block printed postcards workshop, 6PM

Austin, Thurs., Oct. 1 Scholz Garten, Austin Public Library Friends Foundation presents Banned Books Bash 2015 featuring Badgerdog Teaching Artists who will read from banned and challenged books, 6PM



Texas Teen Book Festival draws record crowd in Austin Sept. 26

Story and photos by Michelle Newby, Contributing Editor


The seventh annual Texas Teen Book Festival was held Sept. 26 at St. Edward’s University in Austin. One of the largest teen book festivals in the country (organizers expected close to 5,000 attendees), this year’s was the biggest event in the festival’s history, with nine panels, a game show, writing workshops, several noted speakers, and book signings all day long.


More than thirty authors were in attendance. One of the university’s gymnasiums was given over to exhibitors, such as Penguin Teen, Macmillan, and the Writers’ League of Texas, and BookPeople was on hand selling books for signing by young adult authors. Numerous school districts provided buses to take their students to the festival, some from as far away as Louisiana. New to the 2015 festival was a writing contest for children aged 11 to 18, sponsored by Delacorte Press, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books. Three winners were announced, each winning a cash prize of $150 and a full editorial review by Delacorte.  >>READ MORE


West Texas Book Festival features full week of events; honors state historian O'Neal with A. C. Greene Award


The West Texas Book Festival marked its 15th annual festival this year Sept. 21-26 in Abilene, Texas. Along with presentations by West Texas authors of novels (including Abilene native Mary Helen Specht with her debut novel Migratory Animals), cookbooks, childrens' books (including Abilene author Penny Parker Klosterman with her illustrated first book, There Was an Old Dragon Who Swallowed a Knight), and more, the festival honored Abilene librarian Kristy Compton with its newly instituted top librarian award and state historian Bill O'Neal of Carthage as its A. C. Greene Award winner. O'Neal (below), whose most recent book is titled Texas Gunslingers, demonstrated the operation of replica firearms (unloaded, of course) at Friday's presentation and received his honor at the Saturday Books & Boots Luncheon.



Pulitzer winner Brooks featured at Friends of the Dallas Public Library gala Oct. 13; organization to honor Bob Mong


Geraldine Brooks, the journalist and author whose 2006 book March won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction, will be the featured speaker at the Friends of the Dallas Public Library annual gala on October 13. Her appearance coincides with the release of The Secret Chord, a novel about the life of King David.


Brooks, a native Australian and a former foreign correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, is the author of five novels and three nonfiction books with total sales of over 2 million. Her newest book is being praised by Booklist as a “gorgeously written novel of ambition, courage, retribution, and triumph” that “feels simultaneously ancient, accessible, and timeless.” >> READ MORE



300 authors at Texas Book Fest Oct. 17-18

20th anniversary lineup to feature Margaret Atwood, Taye Diggs, Nick Flynn, Linda Gray, Daniel Handler, Gary Hart, Chuck Palahniuk, and more


AUSTIN—A record 300 authors are coming to the 2015 Texas Book Festival, Oct. 17 and 18, the largest number in the Festival’s twenty-year history. Nationally renowned authors include Margaret Atwood, Taye Diggs, Nick Flynn, Linda Gray, Daniel Handler (Lemony Snicket), Gary Hart, Luis Alberto Urerra, Margo Jefferson, Attica Locke, Marie Lu, Chuck Palahniuk, Tavi Gevinson, and Adrian Tomine.  >>READ MORE


Atwood, Diggs, Simon to be featured presenters at Texas Book Fest Gala Oct. 16


AUSTIN—Acclaimed novelist Margaret Atwood (below, right); actor, Broadway star, and children’s book author Taye Diggs (center); and National Public Radio host and author Scott Simon (left) will be featured presenters at the Texas Book Festival’s First Edition Literary Gala at the Four Seasons Hotel Fri., Oct. 16, 2015. >>READ MORE



Spotlight on University Presses Fall Lists


University presses are a particular treasure, publishing important books that advance knowledge and increase understanding and enjoyment of our region, state, and world. The Association of American University Presses recognizes University Press Week each November. But we didn't want to wait that long to give you a glimpse of some of their recent and forthcoming titles. Here's a sampling from five of Texas's dozen university presses.




Bestselling author Lisa Wingate on The Sea Keeper’s Daughters and the Huckleberry Report


Lisa Wingate, bestselling author of 25 books, talks about her latest novel, The Sea Keeper’s Daughters, and publishing mainstream and Christian fiction. >> LISTEN NOW (mp3)



Christy nominee Allison Pittman and the shifting sands of a writing career


Alison Pittman, author of 13 Christian novels, three of which have been Christy nominees, talks about her latest novel, On Shifting Sand.

>> LISTEN NOW (mp3)




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Dr. Mütter's Marvels: A True Tale of Intrigue and Innovation at the Dawn of Modern Medicine by Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz




Oct 3 - Books and Broomsticks promo or GP

Oct 4 - The Page Unbound promo

Oct 5 - Feather Pens, Tartan Dreams promo

Oct 6 - Bookishjessp review

Oct 7 - Blogging for the Love of Authors and Their Books promo

Oct 8 - Texas Book Lover Author Q&A

Oct 9 - My Book Fix review

Oct 10 - Missus Gonzo review

Oct 11 - Because This is My Life Y’all review

Oct 12 - Hall Ways review



I Hate Pinatas: Surviving Life's Unexpected Surprises by Heather Maloy



Oct 1 - Books and Broomsticks promo

Oct 2 - The Crazy Booksellers promo

Oct 3  - Because This is My Life, Y’all promo

Oct 4  - Texas Book Lover author Q&A

Oct 5  - MissusGonzo promo

Oct 6  - Blogging for the Love of Authors and Their Books promo

Oct 7  - Hall Ways promo

Oct 8  - Book Crazy Gals review

Oct 9 - The Page Unbound promo

Oct 10 - My Book Fix review

Oct 11 - Bookishjessp review

Oct 12 - All For the Love of the Word Author Q&A

Oct 13 - MissusGonzo review

Oct 14 - Texas Book-aholic review

Oct 15 - All For the Love of the Word review



Ransom Canyon by Jodi Thomas



Sept 28 - The Crazy Bookseller  promo

Sept 30 - Missus Gonzo review

Oct 2 - Texas Book-aholic review

Oct 5 - My Book Fix review

Oct 7 - The Page Unbound (Author Q&A or guest post)

Oct 9 - Texas Book-aholic Review




Mysteries of Love and Grief
by Sanda Scofield




Sept 25 - Texas Book-aholic Review

Sept 26 - Secret Asian Girl Review

Sept 27 - Hall Ways Review

Sept 28 - Missus Gonzo Review




Fate's Betrayal by Beth Ann Stifflemire




Sept 28 - Book Crazy Gals Blog

Sept 29 - Texas Book-aholic

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


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