Connecting Texas books and writers with those who most want to discover them
Bower Yousse and Thomas L. Cryan
University of Texas Press, hardcover, 978-1-4773-0821-9, 287 pages, $24.95, September 2015
Reviewed by Si Dunn
Freddie Steinmark was one of his team’s smallest players when the University of Texas Longhorns battled their way to college football’s national championship in 1969. Yet, on the field, Number 28 seemed fearless as he brought down big running backs, broke up pass plays, intercepted throws, and returned punts.
“He was,” the authors note in this well-written book, “a master of extra effort, fighting for every play, battling for every inch, and that was what set him apart and contributed to so much to the Longhorns’ historic run of victories.” >>READ MORE
Buffalo Trail: A Novel of the American West is Fort Worth author Jeff Guinn’s second book in a historical fiction trilogy featuring Cash McLendon, who is on the run from a man who wants to kill him (G.P. Putnam’s Sons, $27 hardcover).
McLendon finds himself in Dodge City, Kansas, in the winter of 1873–74 trying to put together a stash so he can return to Arizona and win back the woman he loves and start a new life in San Francisco.
Buffalo hunters, led by Billy Dixon, are riding out the winter in Dodge before heading south in the spring to Texas, where the buffalo have migrated. McLendon’s pal, a young and reckless Bat Masterson, plans to join them. McLendon has no interest in hunting but finally signs up because he can earn more money quickly and get on with his life.
Meanwhile, Comanche chief Quanah Parker is mobilizing not only the Comanche but also the Cheyenne and Kiowa for an all-out war on the white settlers and hunters who continue to push them out and destroy their cherished buffalo.
Guinn tells the story in alternating chapters from Quanah’s and McLendon’s points of view as the two sides appear headed for a showdown at the Adobe Walls hunting camp.
“Buffalo Trail is history-based fiction,” Guinn tells readers. “With the exception of Cash McLendon, all the main characters really did exist.” He also recommends several nonfiction books about the battle of Adobe Walls and the life of Quanah Parker.
The first novel in his western trilogy, Glorious, came out last year, but both books are standalone reads. Guinn also has published three novels about Santa Claus as well as non-fiction accounts of Charles Manson and Bonnie and Clyde.
Caitlin Strong: Best-selling novelist Jon Land features fearless fifth-generation Texas Ranger Caitlin Strong in his series of murder mystery thrillers, now numbering seven titles.
I recently read the newest in the series, Strong Light of Day (Forge, $25.99 hardcover). It was the first one I have read, but I plan to go back now and read some more. If you want to start at the beginning, that would be Strong Enough to Die, published in 2009.
Or you can do as I did and just plunge in with Strong Light of Day. The reader gets to know Caitlin Strong right away as she puts herself in the middle of the action investigating an uprising by a rural Texas militia, the disappearance of a busload of youngsters from a Houston prep school, and the mysterious case of a whole herd of cattle being picked clean to the bone. Russian extremists determined to bring America to its knees and a ruthless Texas billionaire figure into the plot of this fast-paced tale.
Lisa Gardner, a best-selling mystery author herself, praises Strong Light of Day as “an adrenaline-packed, tension-soaked thrill ride that’s a top-notch addition to an already terrific series.”
* * * * *
Glenn Dromgoole is co-author, with Carlton Stowers, of 101 Essential Texas Books. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Texas Tech University Press
Hardcover, 978-0-89672-917-9, 256 pgs., $34.95, April 1, 2015
Bill Neal, writer, historian, and retired criminal attorney, gave a book talk in Canadian, Texas, a few years ago where a woman took him aside to quietly warn him not to “get into that Isaacs mess.” Naturally, as any proper writer, historian, and lawyerly type would be, Neal became curious. The result is Skullduggery, Secrets, and Murders: The 1894 Wells Fargo Scam that Backfired, the latest volume in Texas Tech University Press’s American Liberty and Justice Series, which is sort of ironic, because while there’s quite a lot of liberty, there’s precious little justice in this tale.
In November of 1894, George Isaacs and a motley collection of outlaws and wannabes attempted to swindle $25,000 out of Wells Fargo. >>READ MORE
Hardcover, 978-1-63450-226-9 (also available in ebook and aduiobook formats), 288 pgs., $24.99
November 15, 2015
Jack McBride’s wife, Julie, has up and disappeared, abandoning McBride and their son, Ethan (“the proof they had once been in love and happy would walk in the room, ear buds in, the musty, sour smell of puberty following him like the contrail of a jet.”). Needing a fresh start, McBride has left his position with the Dallas FBI office and moved to the sleepy East Texas town of Stillwater with thirteen-year-old Ethan, to accept a position as chief of police. Stillwater has a freakishly low crime rate until McBride arrives to encounter murder, a fifty-year-old cold case, blackmail, rumors of the previous chief’s long-standing corruption, racketeering — and that’s just the first week. >>READ MORE
Looking for the perfect present for the Texas book lover in your life? We have armloads of ideas—from inspiration, romance to history and popular culture. Books make great gifts—especially Texas books! >>SHOP NOW
Author photo by Korey Howell
In her early forties, Mica Mosbacher married Robert Mosbacher, Sr., the man she describes as her prince and soul mate — only to lose him to pancreatic cancer, leaving her heart broken. But instead of wallowing in pain, she decided to “grieve forward.” Her brother, a race car driver, inspired her to learn to race a Ferrari. Testing her personal limits on the racetrack, she discovered her inner strength to move forward. In today’s Lone Star Listens she shares her story.
What an amazing life you have led, Mica — being front and center with some of the most powerful people in the world. How did you and your late husband meet?
Bob and I met at the Bayou Club in Houston, where I was co-hosting a work-related event for Louis Vuitton (I had been laid off from my job at Oppenheimer & Co. And was a single mom who needed a job). The event was in celebration of the Louis Vuitton Cup that coincides with the America's Cup — the worldwide premier sailing event. Bob was a two-time world champion sailor. His brother Bus was a two-time winner of the America’s Cup. Our guest speaker was Olympic sailor Buddy Melges, who was a friend of Bob's. We spoke on the phone. He asked me to invite Bob. So out of bad luck, I went on to meet the love of my life. Serendipity I believe. >>READ MORE
DALLAS Mon., Nov. 30, Aaron Family JCC, Mitch Albom presents The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto, 7PM (also reading in Austin Mon., Dec. 1)
DALLAS Mon., Nov. 30, Aaron Family JCC, Mitch Albom presents The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto, 7PM
Also reading Tues., Dec. 1, BookPeople, 7PM
IRVING Mon., Nov. 30, Irving Public Library - South, NaNoWriMo Wrap-up Party!, 6PM
Check your local libraries and bookstores for other NaNoWriMo wrap-up events — and update your success stories!
AUSTIN Tues, Dec. 1, LBJ Presidential Library, the Texas Book Festival welcomes Karl Rove to discuss his forthcoming book, The Triumph of William McKinley: Why the Election of 1896 Still Matters (book signing at 5PM), 6PM
LBJ Presidential Library, the Texas Book Festival welcomes Karl Rove to discuss his forthcoming book, The Triumph of William McKinley: Why the Election of 1896 Still Matters (book signing at 5PM), 6PM
DALLAS Tues., Dec. 1, The Wild Detectives: Katie Cortese and Kathleen Winter, 7:30PM
The Wild Detectives, Katie Cortese reads and signs Girl Power and other Short Short Stories and Kathleen Winter reads and signs Nostalgia for the Criminal Past, 7:30PM
EL PASO Thurs., Dec. 3, Best-selling author Gary Shteyngart reading and discussing his latest book, “Little Failure,” Undergraduate Learning Center on the University of Texas at El Paso campus, 7 pm.
HOUSTON Wed., Dec. 2, B&N - River Oaks, Paula Deen Cuts the Fat: 250 Recipes Lightened Up book signing, 11AM
SAN ANTONIO Thurs., Dec. 3, San Antonio Public Library - Central, Join Cappy Lawton and Chris Waters Dunn, authors of Enchiladas: Aztec to Tex-Mex, for the Enchilada Red Fest with the First Edition Society: cooking demo, cocktails and book signing, 6PM
SAN ANGELO Sat., Dec. 5, Tom Green County Library, John Osterhout will discuss and sign The Schnoz of the Rings and David Osterhout will discuss and sign OinK! Only in Korea!, 1PM
Love reading? Coffee and treats? Holiday cheer? Looking for the perfect present for that bibliophile on your gift list?
Then come by the Byrne-Reed House (1410 Rio Grande Street, Austin) for Humanities Texas’s seventh annual Holiday Book Fair. On Saturday, Dec. 12 from 10 am– 1 pm, talented Texas authors will visit with holiday shoppers and sign copies of their latest books, available for purchase at a discounted price.
Noteworthy authors participating in this year’s festivities include H. W. Brands, Ray Benson, Jan Jarboe Russell, Katherine Howe, Brandon Caro, Don Tate, Karen Olsson, Kirk Lynn, Sarah Cortez, Louisa Hall, Steven Moss, Antonio Ruiz-Camacho, Michael Barnes, Jacqueline Kelly, Chris Barton, David Gaines, Elizabeth Harris, Andrew J. Torget, Dave Oliphant, Javier Auyero, Chuck Bailey, Nikki Loftin, and Light Townsend Cummins. >>READ MORE
Early bird registration for Writefest Workshops lasts until December 1.
WHEN: All workshops meet Mon., Feb. 22–Thurs., Feb. 25, 2016, from 9 AM-12 PM
WHERE: Writespace and Silver Street Studios on Edwards, south of the Heights
HOW MUCH: $350 Early-Bird Pass until Dec. 1 (includes 4-day workshop + weekend programming);15% off for Writespace members. >>READ MORE
On Sat., Dec. 5, 2015, Dos Gatos Press editors Wade Martin and Allyson Whipple will host the last reading of the year from Texas Poetry Calendar contributors, 3:00 p.m., at Malvern Books in Austin.
Always the press’s biggest reading of the year, it features a lineup of poets from around the state: Ralph Hausser, Jerry Hamby, Cheney Crow, Katherine Oldmixon, Mary Lynn Stafford, Stan Crawford, Marcelle Kasprowicz, Joanne Holladay, Tina Posner, Beth Honeycutt, Christa Pandey, Shubh Schiesser, Lyman Grant, Julieta Corpus, Sarah Webb, Cindy Huyser, Ben Groner, Laura Pena, Amy Greenspan, and Diana Conces. >>READ MORE
There is nothing the Texas Book Festival folks
"like more than seeing The First Edition Literary Gala, held October 16 at the Four Seasons in Austin, raised $720,825! The Texas Book Festival raised an additional $325,000 in grants, sponsorships, and contributions," according to a recent Festival news bulletin.
This generous support keeps the annual Festival free and open to the public, brings books and authors to Title I schools through the Reading Rock Stars program, and helps public libraries buy books with Library Grants. Check out the Festival photos if you haven't yet had a chance.
Following the departure of Festival literary director Steph Opitz, the Texas Book Festival is accepting applications until next Monday, November 30 to fill this key position. Details may be found at
(From organization bulletin)
National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to creative writing.
On November 1, participants began working towards the goal of writing a 50,000-word novel by 11:59 PM on November 30. Valuing enthusiasm, determination, and a deadline, NaNoWriMo is for anyone who has ever thought about writing a novel.
According to DEAR Texas director B. Alan Bourgeois, a new book festival is scheduled June 11, 2016 in Wimberley, Texas.
The Wimberley Book Festival is being produced by Dear Texas, Inc., a not-for-profit organization that promotes reading for all ages. Applications are now being accepted. Authors should email info@DearTexas.info to receive a formal application.
This November, in partnership with Austin Community College's Creative Writing Department, the Writers’ League of Texas will again offer an opportunity for Austin-area writers to come together and enjoy a group write-in experience throughout the month.
Whether you are doing NaNoWriMo or just need a kick in the pants to finally finish that draft, this is the opportunity for you. One ticket for $25 gets you admittance to all write-in sessions. Come to as many as you need and stay as long as you can. There are 15 different sessions at three different locations. >>READ MORE
That recurring dream of walking across the stage and accepting the National Book Award for the novel you wrote in just one month could actually happen, says Sachse Library manager Mignon Morse. “It’s possible,” she said. “There just may be that exceptional writer out there.”
The Sachse Public Library is participating in the National Novel Writing Month campaign, providing support, guidance, inspiration, and motivation to local writers and non-writers who participate in the unique program. The month-long campaign, known as NaNoWriMo, encourages would-be novelists to start writing their novel on Nov. 1 and complete their 50,000 words manuscript by midnight, Nov. 30. >>READ MORE
The Houston Writers Guild has launched a Kickstarter campagin to support establishment of the HWG Press, an internal publishing press that works to bring undiscovered authors' works to the public.
Thr group hopes to reach its fundraising goal to provide the opportunity to produce a series of genre and theme-bases anthologies to be published biannually. These funds will not only finance the production of these books, but also assist in the promotion and marketing needed to publicize these authors' contributions while promoting literacy.
The guild hopes to reach its $2,000 goal by Dec. 3, 2015. Learn more at
The Houston Writers Guild is a community of writers of all skill levels striving to improve their craft and career through education, workshops, conferences and webinars. www.houstonwritersguild.org
(From organization's press release)
Becky Wade, Dallas-based inspirational novelist with Bethany House, discusses her path to publishing—and advice to writers. Wade is the Carol Award, INSPY Award, and Inspirational Reader's Choice Award winning author of contemporary Christian romances My Stubborn Heart, Undeniably Yours, Meant to Be Mine, and A Love Like Ours as well as Love Is in the Details and The Proposal, out fall 2015. >> LISTEN NOW (mp3)
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VISIT WITH DIANA NOV. 23–Dec. 5
Nov 23 - All For the Love of the Word promo
Nov 24 - Hall Ways promo
Nov 25 - My Book Fix promo
Nov 26 - Missus Gonzo promo
Nov 27 - Texas Book-aholic promo
Nov 28 - The Page Unbound promo
Nov 29 - Book Crazy Gals review
Nov 30 - All For the Love of the Word review
Dec 1 - Texas Book Lover author interview
Dec 2 - Because This is My Life Y’all promo
Dec 3 - Texas Book-aholic review
Dec 4 - Blogging for the Love of Authors and Their Books promo
Dec 5 - Missus Gonzo review
Dec 6 - Hall Ways review
Dec 7 - Bookishjessp review
VISIT WITH ANGELINA NOV. 30–DEC. 9
Monday, Nov. 30 - Bookishjessp promo
Tuesday, Dec.1 - Blogging For the Love of Authors and Their Books promo
Wednesday, Dec. 2 - All For the Love of the Word review
Thursday, Dec. 3 - My Book Fix author interview or promo
Friday, Dec.4 - Texas Book Lover promo
Saturday, Dec. 5 - Hall Ways author interview or promo
Sunday, Dec. 6 - Because This is My Life, Y’all review
Monday, Dec. 7 - Secret Asian Girl review
Tuesday, Dec. 8 - Missus Gonzo review
Wednesday, Dec. 9 - Book Crazy Gals promo
VISIT WITH JUDY NOV. 30–DEC. 9
Monday, Nov. 30 - Books and Broomsticks - author interview
Tues., Dec. 1 - Book Crazy Gals - promo
Wed., Dec. 2 - Bookishjessp promo
Thurs., Dec. 3 - The Page Unbound promo
Fri., Dec. 4 - Missus Gonzo - review
Sat., Dec. 5 -Blogging For the Love of Authors and Their Books promo
Sun., Dec. 6 - Texas Book Lover author interview
Mon., Dec. 7 - Because This is My Life, Y’all review
Tues., Dec. 8 - Hall Ways - review
Wed., Dec. 9 - Texas Book-aholic - review
VISIT WITH SUZANNE NOV. 30–DEC. 9
Monday, Nov. 30 - All For the Love of the Word - promo
Tuesday, Dec. 1 - Hall Ways review
Wednesday, Dec. 2 - Bookishjessp review
Thursday, Dec. 3 - Because This is My Life, Y’all review
Friday, Dec. 4 - All For the Love of the Word - review
Saturday, Dec. 5 - My Book Fix review
Sunday, Dec. 6 - Book Crazy Gals promo
Monday, Dec.7 - The Page Unbound promo
Tuesday, Dec. 8 - Missus Gonzo review
Wednesday, Dec. 9 - Blogging For the Love of Authors and Their Books promo
VISIT WITH B. J. NOV. 20–DEC. 11
Monday, Nov.29 - Bookishjessp - review
Wednesday, Dec. 2 - The Page Unbound - promo
Friday, Dec. 4 - Hall Ways - author interview
Monday, Dec. 7 - Missus Gonzo - review
Wednesday, Dec. 9 - Texas Book-aholic - review
Friday, Dec. 11 - Blogging For the Love of Authors and Their Books promo
VISIT WITH TOM DEC. 3–12
VISIT WITH LAURIE DEC. 8–22
VISIT WITH DIANA THROUGH NOV. 30
Nov. 30 Book Crazy Gals review
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