Connecting Texas books and writers with those who most want to discover them
Lisa Wingate’s new novel, The Sea Keeper’s Daughters (Tyndale House, $19.99 hardcover, $14.99 paperback) revolves around family secrets that gradually come to the surface.
Whitney Monroe owns two restaurants in Michigan that are in financial trouble because a ruthless competitor is trying to drive her out of business. As she struggles desperately to save the restaurants, Whitney gets a message that her estranged stepfather in North Carolina is in the hospital after a bad fall.
So Whitney leaves her cousin Denise to run the restaurant while she inexplicably heads to the Outer Banks of North Carolina to check on her stepfather, Clyde, whom she loathes. After all, when Whitney’s mother died, she left the family-owned hotel to him as long as he continued to live there. Eventually it would go to her, but Clyde has been nothing but ornery and combative over the years.
Whitney would prefer to sell the run-down building and use the money to keep her restaurants alive, but she can’t as long as Clyde resides there. In the meantime, perhaps she can sell off some of her mother’s and grandmother’s antiques.
While going through them, however, Whitney discovers a letter from a great-aunt she’s never heard of. And then other letters begin to pop up, hinting at long-held family secrets involving the mysterious mixed-race Appalachian Melungeons, and Whitney is captivated. Even so, she would like to get Clyde situated in a nursing home so she can claim ownership of her building, dispose of it, and get back to her troubled restaurants in Michigan.
Meanwhile, two attractive young men with competing interests in the future of her hotel seem increasingly attracted to Whitney, and she to them.
As the family saga unfolds, Whitney is faced with tough decisions on two fronts:¬ what to do about the restaurants, and what to do about the hotel and her stepfather, not to mention the intriguing tale involving her ancestors.
Wingate has a strong following in inspirational fiction and has won a number of awards, but her writing career may be about to ascend to the next level. In an e-mail, she said her next novel, The Foundlings, will be coming out in 2017 after it was purchased by a major New York publishing house “in one of those deals you dream about but don’t think will ever happen.” Stay tuned.
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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
Alfred A. Knopf
Hardcover, 978-0-385-35133-1 (also available as ebook and audiobook), 400 pgs., $28.95
October 6, 2015
“As I write this, I’m ending my sixth decade. A new cycle in my life is opening and old one is closing. I wish to look backward and forward all at once.”
A House of My Own: Stories from My Life by Sandra Cisneros is an autobiography of sorts, an assemblage of nonfiction pieces spanning the years 1984 through 2014. Cisneros has always written about borders: personal, political, cultural, sexual, spiritual, geographical; she has always written about identity; and she’s always been searching for her true home. “I’m gathering up my stray lambs…and herding them under one roof, not so much for the reader’s sake, but my own. Where are you, my little loves, and where have you gone? Who wrote these and why? I have a need to know, so that I can understand my life.”
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
Lisa Sandlin, who will appear at the Texas Book Festival this coming weekend, has been publishing stories to acclaim for three decades. But her debut novel, The Do-Right, has introduced the Beaumont native to a much broader audience and rave reviews. Lone Star Literary caught up with the creative writing professor via email to discuss being named one of “Ten Writers to Watch” by Texas Monthly, among other accolades.
LONE STAR LITERARY LIFE: You’re a longtime writer and an author, Lisa, but The Do-Right is your first novel. What inspired you to make this your first full-length work of fiction?
LISA SANDLIN: I really, really enjoyed letting my imagination loose on Delpha Wade and Tom Phelan. (A paddle ball as a weapon! An alligator fight!) Bobby and Johnny Byrd of Cinco Puntos Press were editors of Lone Star Noir, the Texas volume of Akashic Books’ Noir Series. They invited me to write a dark story with a Texas setting. I picked my hometown, unsurprisingly, and wrote “Phelan’s First Case.” At a reading one night in San Antonio, John Byrd said, “This story has legs.” I listened to John. >>READ MORE
AUSTIN Mon., Oct. 12, BookPeople, bestselling author CRISTIN O'KEEFE APTOWICZ speaking & signing Dr. Mutter's Marvels, 7PM
BookPeople, Bestselling Author CRISTIN O'KEEFE APTOWICZ speaking & signing Dr. Mutter's Marvels: A True Tale of Intrigue and Innovation at the Dawn of Modern Medicine, 7PM
DALLAS Mon., Oct. 12 Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center, Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy’s 14th Annual Celebration of Reading Dallas/Fort Worth with Harlan Coben, Dana Perino, Jodi Picoult, Scott Simon and Markus Zusak, 7PM
Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center, Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy’s 14th Annual Celebration of Reading Dallas/Fort Worth with Harlan Coben, Dana Perino, Jodi Picoult, Scott Simon and Markus Zusak, 7PM
AUSTIN Thurs, Oct. 15, Avaya Auditorium, Michener Center reading series presents former US Poet Laureate Charles Wright, 7:30PM
Avaya Auditorium, the Michener Center for Writers reading series presents former US Poet Laureate Charles Wright, 7:30PM
DALLAS Thurs., Oct. 15, SMU, Kimbilio Litfest: five African-American fiction and poetry authors, 6PM
SMU, Kimbilio Litfest: five African-American fiction and poetry authors read excerpts from their upcoming novels, sign books and answer audience questions, 6PM
EL PASO Thurs., Oct. 15, B&N - Fountains at Farah, R. Gaines Baty signs Champion of the Barrio, 3PM
B&N - Fountains at Farah, R. Gaines Baty signs Champion of the Barrio, 3PM
HOUSTON Sat., Oct. 17, Murder By the Book, Jeff Guinn will sign and discuss Buffalo Trail and Reavis Wortham will sign and discuss Dark Places, 1PM
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.
Other headlining authors include Sandra Cisneros (the only 2015 author who was part of the first Festival in 1995), Steve Inskeep, Azar Nafisi, Leonard Pitts, Jr., Mary Helen Specht, Jonathan Lethem, Lauren Groff, John Sununu, Scott Simon, and Robert Christgau. The full list of authors and their featured books is available online at www.texasbookfestival.org. >>READ MORE
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
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
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
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)
Alison Pittman, author of 13 Christian novels, three of which have been Christy nominees, talks about her latest novel, On Shifting Sand.
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