Lone Star ReviewsMichelle Newby, NBCC,

Contributing Editor


Heath Dollar

Waylon County: Texas Stories

Sleeping Panther Press

Paperback, 978-0-9980661-4-1 (also available as ebook); $14.99

Waylon County: Texas Stories is a fresh-voiced, well-composed collection of thirty-one vignettes and short stories set in a fictional county in the Texas Hill Country.

Some of its characters include: a woman who fears Texas won’t let her get married a tenth time; a lowly state bureaucrat whose job is to write official letters of congratulation; a man trying to rekindle an old romance while claiming his pet monkey is a “comfort” animal; a linguist who wants to help keep alive the last remnants of the German dialect originally spoken by early Texas settlers; a young man sneaking beers and cigars into his dying father’s hospital room and pushing him outside in a wheelchair so they can share some final time alone; and a ranch hand hired by an aging, wealthy landowner to also serve as his personal philosopher.  >>READ MORE

Texas ReadsGlenn Dromgoole

>> archive

 West Texas writers produce collection of stories

A West Texas writers group, the Permian Basin Bookies, has published a handsome hardcover collection of stories titled West Texas Lore & Legend (Dust Devil Books, $24.95).

Proceeds from the project benefit the Recording Library of West Texas, which produces audio recordings for the blind and disabled. Twenty-six writers contributed 38 stories, some fiction, some non-fiction -- tall tales, biographical pieces, ghost stories, essays.

“We purposefully kept these stories short, to be read in a single sitting,” said Mark S. McDonald, who managed the project. “This is wholesome, PG-rated reading for the whole family.”

Fort Davis writer Lonn Taylor wrote about “Marfa Lights: Fact, or Fable?” while Glen Aaron told the story of the colorful Midland High football star Wahoo McDaniel. Carlton Stowers penned a surprisingly upbeat short story called “The Plan” about an old man who thought life held no promise anymore. Sally Giddens Stephenson offered a history of “The Avenger Field Fly Girls” of World War II, while husband Tom Stephenson chipped in a tale about the “Legend of Barefoot Bob.”

A few other mentions: David R. King on the history of wine in Texas; Joyce Shaughnessy on Apache treasure; Sara Bernard on a scary tale revolving around the song “Desperado;” Roger W. Manning on “My Life as a Water Criminal in Odessa, Texas.” You can read more about the Permian Basin Bookies and order “West Texas Lore & Legend” from the group’s website, pbbookies.com.

Rodeo star: Elaine Fields Smith has teamed up with Virginia Reger to tell Reger’s story, Ridin’ Ropin’ & Jumpin’ Over Cars: The Biography of Virginia Reger, A True Rodeo Star ($15 paperback). Reger was a top trick rider and roper in the 1950s and was inducted into the Texas Rodeo Cowboy Hall of Fame in 2007.  The book is filled with pictures, articles and memorabilia from her life.

Lions in Texas: Everett J. “Ebb” Grindstaff of Ballinger, who served as president of Lions Club International in 1982–83, has compiled Texas Lions: Celebrating 100 Years, covering the second fifty years of Lions activity in the state. An earlier book by Julien C. Hyer covered the first fifty years.

Big names: Two best-selling books by Texas-related authors I should have gotten around to this fall, but didn’t, are What Unites Us: Reflections on Patriotism by Dan Rather and Elliot Kirschner, and Sisters First: Stories from Our Wild and Wonderful Life by Jenna Bush Hager and Barbara Pierce Bush. I plan to read them early in the new year.

Meanwhile, I’m going to take a short break from the column. I still have a good stack of Texas books to look through, and more will be arriving soon. I’ll be back in a couple of weeks.

Happy reading in 2018.

* * * * *

Glenn Dromgoole writes about Texas books and authors. Contact him at g.dromgoole@suddenlink.net.

>> Check out his previous Texas Reads columns in Lone Star Literary Life

LONE STAR LISTENS interviews   >> archive

Author interviews by Kay Ellington

12.31.2017  Dallas writer and NYT best-seller Sarah Hepola tells it like it was, in her breakout memoir BLACKOUT

A new year is always timely for taking a step back and looking at what we’d like to change. In today’sedition we talk with Dallas author Sarah Hepola,New York Times bestselling author of the memoir Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget. Hepola talks with us about her memoir, her road to recovery, and her newest writing interests.

LONE STAR LITERARY LIFE: Where did you grow up, Sarah, and how did that location influence you?

SARAH HEPOLA: I grew up in Dallas, Texas. My family moved from the East Coast when I was three, and we were middle-class outsiders in an upper-class neighborhood, and probably one of the most influential aspects of my childhood was that I became an observer, someone living in her own mind and watching the party from the sidelines. That’s part of why alcohol called to me so powerfully — booze pulls you into the center of the action. But Dallas shaped me in other ways. Take a look at my makeup collection and hair products, for example. Dallas is a city of constant real-estate development, and you see a similar spirit in women’s attitude toward beauty: renovation, reshaping, fixing.

When did you know that you wanted to be a writer?

When I was in second grade, I won a writing contest. We were given the class period to write some Christmas story, and somehow mine was three times as long as everyone else’s, and it got me all this attention, so of course I kept writing.  >>READ MORE

Texas's only statewide, weekly calendar of book events
Bookish Texas event highlights  12.31.2017 >> GO this week   Michelle Newby, Contributing Editor


  • WITS Winter Slam Camp (5th-8th grades), Houston, January 2–4, 2018

DALLAS  Sun., Dec. 31  Half Price Books Mothership, Local Author Sundays: Meet local Indie authors and pick up their latest release, while supplies last

Mon., Jan. 1, 2018

Happy New Year! May 2018 bring you lots of amazing reading and writing.

AUSTIN  Tues., Jan. 2  Spiderhouse Ballroom, Austin Poetry Slam, 7PM

AUSTIN  Tues., Jan. 2  The Mix, PuroSlam with DJ Donnie Dee and Project Mayhem, 10PM

AUSTIN  Wed., Jan. 3 Bullock Museum, High Noon Talks: Professor Kevin Sweeney discusses Prelude to the Dust Bowl: Drought in the Nineteenth-Century Southern Plains, 12PM

HOUSTON  Wed., Jan. 3 Avant Garden, Write About Now Poetry Slam, 7:30PM

SUGAR LAND  Thurs., Jan. 4 B&N - First Colony, Story time with local author Maria Ashworth, 10AM

AUSTIN  Fri., Jan. 5 BookPeople, Gene Ames Jr. speaking and signing A Wildcatter's Trek, Boyd Taylor speaking and signing Necissities, and Catia Hernandez Holm speaking & signing The Courage to Become, 7PM

DALLAS  Fri., Jan. 5  Heroes Lounge, Dallas Poetry Slam, 8PM

HOUSTON  Fri., Jan. 5  Brazos Bookstore, Kij Johnson reads and signs THE RIVER BANK, 3PM

DALLAS  Sat., Jan. 6  Deep Vellum Books, Campfireball Dallas: The Los Angeles-based existential variety show with host, Cory Howard, weaves together performances from local comedians, musicians and storytellers with an immersive, audience driven storyline, 7:30PM

DENTON  Sat., Jan. 6  Wine Squared, Party On! with Spiderweb Salon: meet the new editorial team + performances and open mic, 7PM

AUSTIN  Sun., Jan. 7  The Writing Barn, Workshop: "New Year, New You! Commit to Your Creativity" with Claire Campbell and Bethany Hegedus, 3PM

SAN ANTONIO  Sun., Jan. 7  The Twig Book Shop, Catherine Nixon Cooke discusses and signs Powering a City: How Energy and Big Dreams Transformed San Antonio, 12PM

News Briefs 12.31.17

Bess W. Scott Scribes Scholarship open to applications Feb. 1

Application deadline is March 25, 2018

The Bess W. Scott Scribes Scholarship was established in 2000 to honor Bess Whitehead Scott, a pioneer Texas journalist and writer who died at age 107. She had a long career as a newspaper reporter and editor, publicist, teacher, ad agency manager and magazine writer. The $2,000 award (as of 2018) is granted annually to an individual age 40 or over pursuing study or a degree in journalism, writing or a related field. The scholarship program is intended to provide financial assistance to further educational objectives of individuals either employed or making career transitions in these areas.  >>READ MORE

Texas libraries named Star Libraries for 2017

Eleven Texas Libraries were chosen by Library Journal and Baker & Taylor as Star Libraries for 2017. This is tenth year that this selection process has occurred. Nationwide, there were 259 Star Libraries, each receiving three-Star, four-Star, or five-Star designations.

From 2009 through 2015, the four measures included were circulation, library visits, program attendance, and public Internet computer use. LJ Index scores are produced by measuring the proportional relationships between each library’s statistics and the averages for its expenditure category. Last year, circulation of electronic materials, or

e-circ, became the fifth statistic to contribute to a library’s LJ Index score.  >>READ MORE

Texas Writes at the Alvarado Public Library in Alvarado Jan. 13, 2018

Texas Writes is a statewide program that brings accomplished authors to rural libraries for a half day of presentations and panel discussions. Each event is free and open to the public.

This event will feature presentations from authors Jeramey Kraatz and Karen Witemeyer at the Alvarado Public Library in Alvadaro, Texas, Jan. 13, 2018, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.. More information on the presentations will be posted prior to the event. To pre-register for this event, contact the library at (817) 783-7323.

KidLit: Writing for Children and Teens

Writing for kids is a terribly rewarding endeavor, but can be tricky; How do you know what age group your story is for and ensure that your work is resonating with your audience? In this talk Jeramey Kraatz breaks down the differences between Middle Grade and Young Adult novels and focuses on strategies to make your kidlit stories as dynamic as possible.

Jeramey Kraatz is the author of The Cloak Room series and The Space Runners series from HarperCollins. He lives in Texas, where he writes scripts for the cartoon industry and teaches.

Tapping Into Personal Emotions to Create Unforgettable Characters

No matter what genre you write, the key to creating a memorable experience for your reader is to tap into that universal element that makes us all human—emotion. The good news is that you’ve already done all of the necessary research. You lived! This workshop will teach you how to take personal emotion and turn it into powerful prose that will grab a reader’s attention and capture their heart by developing a genuine author voice, utilizing a deep point of view with your characters, and mastering the aspects of narrative pacing.

Karen Witemeyer is a life-long bookworm, living her dream by writing historical novels. Her books have consistently hit bestseller lists and garnered numerous awards. She lives in Abilene with her family. www.karenwitemeyer.com

 ——­——— A D V E R T I S E M E N T —————

Lone Star Listens compilation available fall 2017, for readers, fans, and writers everywhere

The present generation of Texas authors is the most diverse ever in gender, age, and ethnicity, and in subject matter as well.

Week in, week out, Lone Star Literary has interviewed a range of Texas-related authors with a cross-section of genre and geography. To capture this era in Texas letters, we're pleased to bring you

Lone Star Listens:

Texas Authors on Writing and Publishing

edited by Kay Ellington and Barbara Brannon; introduction by

Clay Reynolds

Available in trade paper, library hardcover, and ebook Fall 2017

360 pages, with b/w illustrations and index

Featuring novelists, poets, memoirists, editors, and publishers, including:

Rachel  Caine • Chris  Cander • Katherine  Center • Chad S. Conine • Sarah  Cortez • Elizabeth  Crook • Nan  Cuba • Carol  Dawson • Patrick  Dearen • Jim Donovan • Mac Engel • Sanderia  Faye • Carlos Nicolás Flores • Ben Fountain • Jeff  Guinn • Stephen  Harrigan • Cliff  Hudder • Stephen Graham Jones • Kathleen Kent • Joe R. Lansdale • Melissa Lenhardt • Attica Locke • Nikki  Loftin • Thomas  McNeely • Leila  Meacham • John  Pipkin • Joyce Gibson Roach • Antonio  Ruiz-Camacho • Lisa  Sandlin • Donna  Snyder • Mary Helen Specht • Jodi  Thomas • Amanda Eyre Ward • Ann  Weisgarber • Donald Mace Williams

As a collection of insights into the writing and publishing life, the book will be useful in creative writing classes (not just in Texas alone) and other teaching settings, as well as for solo reading and study—and a great Texas reference volume.

  • Examination and review copies will be available fall 2017 in watermarked pdf format.



.26.17  The Texas Poetry Calendar 2019 seeks submissions of poems about the culture(s), geography or  iconography of Texas. Submissions open December 1st  2017-  February 20th 2018. We pay contributors for the work we publish. See www.kallistogaiapress.or for guidelines.



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