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Benny the Bat: Maurice Parsley Mallow of Brady is the author and Debra H. Warr of Fort Worth the illustrator of a wonderful children’s book about a bat who is afraid to fly.


Benny: The Bat Who Would Not Budge! (MasAir Publications, $10.99 paperback) is in black and white, which is very unusual for a children’s book but quite appropriate for the subject. Benny the bat lives in a cave with 20 million other Mexican free-tailed bats that only come out at night to hunt mosquitoes and other insects.


Benny, who is just eight weeks old, has a problem. He has a fear of flying, or rather a fear of falling. His mother tells him a secret, and that encourages him to give it try.


Twelve Cowboys Ropin’: When I first picked up Twelve Cowboys Ropin’ by Susan Holt Kralovansky (Pelican Publishing, $16.99 hardcover), I figured it was a Christmas book with a Texas theme, and I suppose it could be. But you don’t really have to wait until Christmas to enjoy it.


“On my first day in Texas,” it begins, “my pappy gave to me — a mockingbird in a pecan tree.” The second day in Texas comes with two horny toads, the third day with three butterflies — and so on, finishing up with twelve cowboys ropin’. Along the way are prickly pears, longhorns, bats, armadillos, dancin’ gals, and more. And the book even includes the tune, so everyone can sing along.


Kralovansky, a former elementary school librarian who lives near Austin, also wrote There Was a Tall Texan Who Swallowed a Flea (Pelican, $16.99), a fun takeoff on a familiar tale — illustrated by Deborah Ousley Kadair.

 The tall Texan swallows a toad to catch the flea, a snake to eat the toad, and so on until he has quite a bellyache.


Whistling Willie: New this fall from Pelican is Whistling Willie from Amarillo, Texas, by mother-daughter writing team Jo Harper and Josephine Harper, and illustrated by David Harrington ($16.99 hardcover).


Willie really wants to be a Texas Ranger, but Rangers are lean and tough and serious, while Willie smiles and whistles and is a bit on the chubby side. But when Sidewinder Slim and Corkscrew Slade steal all the soda pop and ice cream from the Fourth of July celebration, Willie and his whistle go into action.


Hound Dawg: Dallas librarian Patricia W. Vermillion is the author of Hound Dawg, about a lazy mutt who doesn’t pitch in to help around the farm but wants to reap the rewards of everyone else’s hard work (TCU Press, $21.99 hardcover, illustrated by Cheryl Pilgrim). But when he jumps in to chase away a bandit about to steal the cornbread, the other farm animals realize maybe Hound Dawg isn’t so worthless after all.


* * * * *

Glenn Dromgoole, co-author of 101 Essential Texas Books, has teamed up with Jay Moore to write a children’s picture book, Abilene A to Z, about the city’s history and culture – published fall 2015 by Abilene Christian University Press. Contact him at

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


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


  • Illustrated by Cheryl Pilgrim

    Texas Christian University Press

    978-0-87565-615-1, hardcover, 40 pgs., $21.95

    August 28, 2015


    Hound Dawg is librarian Patricia Vermillion’s retelling of the folktale “The Little Red Hen” with a Texas twist. Veteran illustrator Cheryl Pilgrim provides whimsical images in the tradition of American folk art. Lazy Hound Dawg lives on a cotton farm with his industrious friends: Bessie the Cow, Calico the Cat, and Penny the hen. Hound Dawg is the story of how this idle hound (“Why he never worked a lick. The only thing he did was bark and howl”) earns his nickname: Guard Dawg. >>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

Sandra Brown: the road from “Cowtown"
to the bookstore in your town



Native Texan Sandra Brown — whose popular thriller titles measure in the dozens and whose copies in print measure in the millions — has just wrapped up a tour of Texas book haunts where readers were doubtless familiar with her crime-plus-romance storylines and dramatically recognizable covers. We corresponded with her by email to learn how she became a household name in the Lone Star State and around the world.


LONE STAR LITERARY LIFE: You grew up in Fort Worth. You know, I’ve noticed a lot of Texas authors start life there. What was growing up in Fort Worth like? What makes it such fertile ground for authors? How did growing up there influence your writing?


SANDRA BROWN: Despite the fact that Fort Worth is a progressive city with its eye on the future, it somehow retains that “cowtown” feel of the past that attracts tourists . . . and inspires writers of both fiction and non. Legendary people have either sprung from this Texas city or spent time here. I grew up thinking that every place had its “characters.” What I didn’t learn until I traveled further afield was that Fort Worth (and, indeed, all of Texas) has the superlatives — biggest, strongest, meanest, wealthiest, weirdest, bravest, and so forth. What a rich heritage from which to draw stories and characters, such as Texas Ranger Crawford Hunt in Friction. >>READ MORE


Bookish Texas event highlights  10.4.2015
>> GO this week   Michelle Newby, Contributing Editor

  • DALLAS  Mon., Oct. 5, Dallas Museum of Art, Distinguished Writers: Joyce Carol Oates and Natasha Trethewey, 7:30PM

    Dallas Museum of Art, Distinguished Writers: Joyce Carol Oates and Natasha Trethewey, 7:30P

  • FORT WORTH  Tues., Oct. 6, TCU Library, Jeff Guinn signs Buffalo Trail, 7PM

    Tues., Oct. 6, TCU Library, Jeff Guinn signs Buffalo Trail, 7PM

  • HOUSTON Tues, Oct. 6, Writespace, The First Six Months: Creating Your Own Book Launch Marketing Plan with PAMELA FAGAN HUTCHINS (an IndieFest workshop), 6PM

    Writespace, The First Six Months: Creating Your Own Book Launch Marketing Plan with PAMELA FAGAN HUTCHINS (an IndieFest workshop), 6PM

  • AUSTIN  Wed., Oct. 7, Bullock Museum, High Noon Talk: Joe Holley discusses Slingin' Sam: The Life and Times of the Greatest Quarterback to Ever Play the Game, 12PM

    Bullock Museum, High Noon Talk: Joe Holley discusses Slingin' Sam: The Life and Times of the Greatest Quarterback to Ever Play the Game, 12PM

  • HUNTSVILLE  Thurs., Oct. 8, Sam Houston State University, Texas State Poet Laureate Carmen Tafolla presents “Where Ink Does Not Show: The Voices, Lives and Legends of Latino Culture,” 11AM

    Sam Houston State University, Texas State Poet Laureate Carmen Tafolla presents “Where Ink Does Not Show: The Voices, Lives and Legends of Latino Culture,” 11AM

  • AUSTIN  Sat., Oct. 10, Malvern Books, Malvern Books’ 2nd Anniversary Celebration: readings, live music, store-wide sale, and cake, 2PM

Highland Park presents Sinatra biographer Kaplan in Authors LIVE! Oct. 29


The Friends of the Highland Park Library, the Highland Park United Methodist Church, and the Friends of the SMU Libraries will host James Kaplan in an Authors LIVE! program 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 29 at Wesley Hall at Dallas's HPUMC.


Kaplan’s new biography, Sinatra:  The Chairman, will be signed and available for purchase before and after the program. The 7 p.m. program is free and open to the public. >>READ MORE



Winegarten receives Military Writers gold medal for Hobby biography

Texas author Debra Winegarten was named gold medal recipient by the Military Writers Society of America for her biography Oveta Culp Hobby: Colonel, Cabinet Member, Philanthropist (University of Texas Press, 2014). From left: Dwight Zimmerman, president of MWSA;  Winegarten; Gayle Lynds, New York Times best-selling thriller author; and Rev. Bill McDonald, founder of MWSA, at the awards ceremony in Phoenix, Arizona.


(Photo supplied)


Ellington & Brannon debut second novel in
Paragraph Ranch series


Kay Ellington (right), publisher of Lone Star Literary Life, and coauthor Barbara Brannon signed copies of A Wedding at the Paragraph Ranch (Booktrope, 2015), second in the Paragraph Ranch series, at Ruby Lane Books in downtown Post Sat., Oct. 3.


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


Lit Crawl at the Texas Book Festival, Oct. 17

Bat Scavenger Hunt, Nerd Jeopardy, Literary Death Match, Lit Crawl Against Humanity, LGBT storytelling, and more!


AUSTIN— Lit Crawl Austin returns to the Texas Book Festival on Saturday night, October 17, 2015. The annual literary pub crawl, a co-production of the Texas Book Festival and Litquake Foundation, features some of America’s most groundbreaking writers onstage at various East Austin venues in a series of offbeat readings, literary games, and performances.


Inspired by San Francisco's long-running Lit Crawl and produced with their participation, the 2015 Lit Crawl Austin will include Balderdash; the always-popular YA ghost stories in the Texas State Cemetery; tales about personal fiascos; Nerd Jeopardy; a LGBT storytelling showcase, Literary Death Match; Whose Line Is It Anyway; Lit Crawl Against Humanity (a literary version of the popular game Cards Against Humanity); a coloring contest (with cocktails) for adults; and more.


This year's Lit Crawl program will be designed by Festival author Zachary Thomas Dodson (Bats of the Republic) and will include a Bat Scavenger Hunt as a part of the design. The Bat Scavenger Hunt will be ongoing throughout the evening, and literary director Steph Opitz says the intricately designed program will be a collector’s item.  >>READ MORE



Texas Book Fest Gala sold out for 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



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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Stillwater by Melissa Lenhardt


Oct .6 - Books and Broomsticks promo

Oct. 7 - Missus Gonzo Q&A

Oct. 8 - Bookishjessp promo

Oct. 9 - Texas Book-aholic review

Oct. 10 - Blogging for the Love of Authors and Their Books review

Oct. 11 - Hall Ways promo

Oct. 12 - Because This is My Life Y’all promo

Oct. 13 - My Book Fix promo

Oct. 14 - The Page Unbound promo

Oct. 15 - Book Crazy Gals review



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



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 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




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




Fate's Betrayal by Beth Ann Stifflemire



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