(above photos, starting top left, clockwise: author Kathi Appelt, Kristine Hall, and author Susan Fletcher; College Station area authors' books featured -- and to be featured -- on Lone Star Lit Book Blog Tours; the Texas A&M University Press warehouse; upcoming release coming from College Station author Eliza Maxwell; Kristine and author Becki Willis; Texas A&M University Press's Christine Brown, Kathryn Lloyd, and Kristine show some new & upcoming releases; Eliza Maxwell and Kristine; Kristine's book haul.)
Aggieland was calling to Lone Star Literary Life's Kristine Hall but not solely for the usual reason. It wasn't just the A&M football season opener that drew her to town; it was the plethora of bookish connections to be made around College Station. In roughly thirty hours, Kristine drove from DFW to College Station and back, and in between, she was able to meet with, eat with, and chat with four authors and the staff of a university press -- and also enjoy some mighty fine coffee.
With a home-brewed cup o' java in hand, Kristine drove to College Station and to lunch at Mad Taco with Eliza Maxwell, author of The Grave Tender, The Unremembered Girl, The Widow's Watcher, and The Shadow Writer (Lake Union Publishing), all books featured on Lone Star Book Blog Tours. After the initial squeal-fest over the cover reveal of her next book, The Caretakers, coming spring of 2020, the author shared a bit about her early days as a bookseller for Walden Books ("the best job ever"), her latest audio book recommendation, (You by Caroline Kepnes), and her nod to Lady Luck as a major contributor to her success. Though Kristine and Eliza have worked together electronically for several years, it was the first face-to-face meeting for the pair. Kristine noted that she expects it won't be the last.
After a stop at Starbucks for another cuppa caffeine, next up for Kristine was a visit to the home of Kathi Appelt, whose latest book, Angel Thieves, her first young adult novel, will be featured on Lone Star Book Blog Tours later this month. (The LSBBT Blogger Team went wild over Kathi's Max ... Attacks earlier this year. Fabulous.) A prolific writer and bibliophile, Kathi shared bookshelves full of her own and many other authors' books -- and Kristine was loaded-up with a stack of signed copies to add to her own library, including the French translation of Kathi's book, The Underneath. Kristine's fangirling had barely subsided when author Susan Fletcher arrived to join the others for dinner (and more fangirling from Kristine). Susan moved to Texas from Oregon (she got here as soon as she could) and is bringing her dreamy book, Journey of the Pale Bear, to Lone Star Book Blog Tours in October. Kristine admitted she was in awe of all she learned from Kathi and Susan and their combined industry experiences, but that spending time with them felt like time with forever friends.
Day two of Kristine's road trip started with fabulous coffee and breakfast with the Appelts before heading over to Texas A&M University Press's office, where she was treated to a behind-the-scenes tour (the warehouse! the books!) and then met with the TAMU Press marketing team, Kyle Littlefield, Kathryn Lloyd, and Christine Brown. Lone Star Lit and the blog tours have featured many of TAMU Press's amazing books over the years, and plans are in the works for more to come. (Watch for an exciting addition to Lone Star Lit's Texas Talks and a special feature to celebrate University Press Week in November.) Kristine was seen pawing the editor's pre-publication copy of Bill Wittliff's SunriseSunset and had to be distracted by dangling copies of other upcoming releases and the promise of lunch and dessert at Cafe Eccell.
The icing on the bookish cake was actually coffee, found at Sweet Eugene's, where Kristine and author Becki Willis met to caffeinate, chat, and catch-up after the June Lone Star Lit Reviewapalooza of all eight books in Becki's The Sisters, Texas series. Discussion ranged from the handsome boys Becki had spent her morning with (her grandsons) to whether Becki had any ghostly encounters in researching for Tangible Spirits (also featured on LSBBT). Kristine lamented the fact that she'd forgotten to bring her copy of Wildflower Wedding, which she wanted the author to autograph (fangirling again), and she forgot to give Becki a Lone Star book bag before they parted ways, so it was decided another get-together was in order.
Nothing beats making and meeting bookish friends, so Lone Star will keep doing it. What's next? Out and about in San Antonio for the Women Writing the West Conference!