Lone Star ReviewsMichelle Newby, NBCC,

Contributing Editor

Texas ReadsGlenn Dromgoole

>> archivePanhandle author’s mysteries set in Amish country

Texas author Linda Castillo writes fast-paced, best-selling mysteries set in the Amish country of northeastern Ohio and featuring Kate Burkholder, police chief in the small town of Painters Mill.

In her newest novel, After the Storm (Minotaur Books, $25.99 hardcover), a tornado rips through Painters Mill, and the police chief races to help with rescue efforts. Castillo dedicated the book to first responders “for being there when you are needed most.”

Burkholder’s attempt to rescue a baby trapped in a demolished home puts her in danger on the scene — and in even more danger later from the baby’s parents. After the storm, Boy Scouts helping with cleanup efforts discover a human skull and some other bones stuffed in a bag.

As Burkholder investigates, she reopens a thirty-year-old mystery into the disappearance of a young man who was about to wed an Amish girl against her family’s wishes because he was not Amish. The girl would go on to marry an Amish man and bear his children, but when the bones are discovered she begins to wonder if her whole life has been based on a lie.

This is the seventh book in Castillo’s Amish mystery series that began with Sworn to Silence. But if you haven’t read any of the other books in the series, don’t worry. After the Storm is a good stand-alone novel that will quickly put you in the middle of the action.

Castillo, who lives and writes and rides horses on a small ranch near Amarillo, will be featured at the West Texas Book Festival at noon Sept. 23 at the Abilene Public Library.  For more on the festival, go to abilenetx.com/apl.

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Dan Rhodes Mystery: The latest Bill Crider mystery featuring longtime small-town Texas sheriff Dan Rhodes is Between the Living and the Dead (Minotaur Books, $24.99 hardcover).

This is the twenty-second novel in the long-running Dan Rhodes murder mystery series, making Clearview, Texas, a pretty dangerous small town in my way of thinking. Well, it’s fiction!

And always a good read. In this story, Rhodes finds the body of a meth dealer who has just gotten out of jail, and there are plenty of people who might have wanted him dead, including the nephew of the mayor of Clearview.

Meanwhile, Rhodes’s math professor pal Dr. C. P. “Seepy” Benton is embarking on a new summer line of work as a paranormal investigator — a ghost hunter. Can he really communicate with ghosts?

For more, check out the author’s website, www.billcrider.com.

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Glenn Dromgoole is co-author of 101 Essential Texas Books. Contact him at g.dromgoole@suddenlink.net.

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

Bissinger Texas events for 25th Anniversary Friday Night Lights

In conjunction with Da Capo Press's Aug. 11 publication of the 25th anniversary edition of  Friday Night Lights: A Town, a Team, and a Dream author H. G. “Buzz” Bissinger returns to Texas for a series of events. The publisher announced the following schedule this week:

Buzz Bissinger Book Events, Fall 2015

  • 9/14/15, Hastings (Odessa, TX), 7 p.m., with support from the Odessa Council for the Arts and Humanities
  • 9/15/15, High School TBD (Midland, TX)—morning or lunchtime solo talk
  • 9/15/15, Midland County Public Library (Midland, TX), Centennial branch, 5:30-6:30 p.m., solo talk, B&N to sell books
  • 9/15/15, Yucca Theater (Midland, TX), 7:30 p.m.—panel moderated by Jay Hendricks, CBS 7 anchor; ticketed event as fundraiser for Midland County Public Library Foundation
  • 9/16/15, Brazos Bookstore (Houston, TX), 7 p.m.
  • 9/18/15, Abilene Public Library (Abilene, TX), 12 p.m., Texas Star Trading Company to sell books
  • 9/19/15, Half Price Books (Dallas, TX), 2 p.m.
  • 9/20/15, BookPeople (Austin, TX), 2 p.m.

LONE STAR LISTENS interviews   >> archiveKay Ellington, Editor and Publisher

Hammin' it up for kids with Austin author and TV script writer Jennifer Hamburg

If you have children, the likelihood is they’ve watched one of the TV shows that Jennifer Hamburg has written for —Doc McStuffins, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, Super Why!, Little Einsteins, Blue’s Clues, and more — an impressive body of work. But what’s even more amazing is that Hamburg is a mom and wife and has juggled her TV writing as well as children’s books from her home in Austin. She took time from her obviously hectic schedule to tell us how she does it in Lone Star Listens.

LONE STAR LITERARY LIFE: Your career as a children’s television writer has led you to two Emmy Awards and work with Disney Junior, Nick Jr, PBS, and Amazon. How did you first get started in this field?

JENNIFER HAMBURG: In grad school, I studied educational psychology with a focus on children's media. After an internship at Sesame Street, I knew I wanted to work in kids' TV (I actually wanted to live on Sesame Street but that wasn't an option). My first job after graduation was as a research analyst for a spinoff of Blue's Clues, a job I absolutely loved. As I got to know the writing process on that show a bit more, I expressed an interest in writing myself, and when the timing was right they gave me a shot. I had my first writing credit! From there, I started writing for other children's shows, then eventually moved into story editing and head writing. >> READ MORE

Hunter co-hosts KOOP's “Writing on the Air"

Author Martha Louise Hunter (below, left) is the new co-host of "Writing on the Air," the radio program in Austin purely devoted to the art of writing and creativity. Writing on the Air is broadcast Wednesdays from 6- to 7 pm CDT on KOOP 91.7 FM (Austin), and streaming live at WritingOntheAir.com.

Soon after appearing as a guest to discuss her novel, Painting Juliana, Hunter was tapped by outgoing host Françcois Pointeau to become the program’s new co-host, interviewing authors, poets, journalists, screenwriters, historians, and songwriters.


American Christian Fiction Writers Conference
Thurs., Sept. 17 – Sun., Sept. 20, in Dallas

Each year hundreds of veteran authors and those just learning the craft of Christian fiction come to ACFW. Lone Star Literary Life’s coverage of this national fiction convention in Dallas begins Sept. 6.

We’ll bring you:

  • Profiles of Texas Christian authors Lisa Wingate and Karen Witemeyer
  • Previews of key ACFW events in Dallas
  • Podcasts with Texas Christian authors DiAnn Mills, Allison Pittman and Lisa Wingate
  •  An overview of the state of Christian literature
  • And more.  >> READ MORE


Atwood, Diggs, Simon to be featured presenters at Texas Book Fest Gala 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

Permian Basin Writers’ Workshop
slated for Sept. 18–19 in Midland

The Permian Basin Writers’ Workshop will be held September 18–19, 2015. Sponsored by the Midland Library Foundation, the workshop has been designed to offer two tracks that attendees may move between at their discretion. One track addresses elements of the writing process, and the other will focus on navigating the industry.

Venues will be Midland Centennial Library and Midland College, and registration cost is $35.

Presenters include Sara Cortez, Stephen Graham Jones, Seth Fishman, Kay Ellington, and Barbara Brannon.


15th annual West Texas Book Festival, Sept. 21–26, 2015, announces featured authors

The West Texas Book Festival, which will celebrate its 15th annual festival this year during the week of September 21-26 at the Abilene Public Library in Abilene, Texas, announced its lineup of authors this week.

The festival seeks to celebrate books, literacy, and reading, with a special emphasis on local and regional authors. The event is community driven and provides the public with the chance to interact with local authors on a more personal level. The festival includes a number of meet and greet sessions as well as readings and talks. For more information contact Janis Test at (325) 676-6017.

Clockwise from upper left: O'Neal, Bissinger, Castillo, Kent, Thomas, Dearen, Specht (photos from Amarillo Public Library website)


Bissinger kicks off month of literary/literacy events in Midland and Permian Basin, September 2015

Buzz Bissinger, author of the classic Friday Night Lights, returns to the Permian Basin in September and will be an active participant in many literary and literacy events in Midland and Odessa. Midland has a rich schedule of literary events in September including Project Literacy and the Permian Basin Writers Workshop.  >> LISTEN NOW (mp3)


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The Neptune Challenge by Polly Holyoke

VISIT WITH POLLY Continuing through SEPT. 8

Aug 30 - Bookishjessp - promo

Aug 31 - Feather Pens, Tartan Dreams - Promo Post + Author Q&A

Sept 1 - A Novel Reality - review

Sept 2 - Book Crazy Gals - Guest Post + promo

Sept 3 - The Crazy Bookseller - review

Sept 4 - Secret Asian Girl - review

Sept 5 - My Book Fix - review

Sept 6 - The Page Unbound - review

Sept 7 - Hall Ways - Author Q&A


Death on Paradise Creek

by Diane Smithwick-Braden


Aug 30 - Hall Ways Review

Aug 31 - A Novel Reality  Author Q&A

Sept 1 - Blogging for the Love of Authors and Their Books Review

Sept 2  - The Crazy Booksellers - review


Hail of Fire by Randy Fritz

Sept 4 - Books and Broomsticks promo

Sept 5 - The Crazy Booksellers promo

Sept 6 - TexasBookLover Author Q&A

Sept 7 - The Page Unbound promo

Sept 8 - Because This is My Life, Y’all promo

Sept 9 - Bookishjessp Author Q/A or guest post

Sept 10 - My Book Fix Review

Sept 11 - Texas Book-aholic Review

Sept 12 - Missus Gonzo Review

Sept 13 - Hall Ways Review


Mysteries of Love and Grief
by Sanda Scofield

Sept 4 - Feather Pens, Tartan Dreams - promo

Sept 5 - Books and Broomsticks promo

Sept 6 - The Crazy Booksellers promo

Sept 7 - Because This is My Life, Y’all promo

Sept 8 - All For the Love of the Word promo

Sept 9 -

Sept 10 - Bookishjessp Author Q/A or guest post

Sept 11 - TexasBookLover Author Q&A or Guest Post

Sept 12 - Missus Gonzo Review

Sept 13 - My Book Fix Review

Sept 14 - The Page Unbound promo

Sept 15 - Texas Book-aholic Review

Sept 16 - Secret Asian Girl Review

Sept 17 - Hall Ways Review

Sept 18 - Blogging for the Love of Authors and Their Books Review


Dark Places by Reavis Z. Wortham

Sept 1 - TexasBookLover

Sept 2 - Feather Pens,Tartan Dreams

Sept 3 - Books and Broomsticks

Sept 4 - My Book Fix

Sept 5 - The Crazy Bookseller

Sept 6 - MissusGonzo

Sept 7 - Novel Reality

Sept 8 - Blogging for the Love of Authors and Their Books

Sept 9 - Texas Book-aholic

Sept 10 - Bookishjessp

Sept 11 -Hall Ways

Sept 12 - Because This is My Life, Y’all

Sept 13 - The Page Unbound

Sept 14 - All For Love of the Word

Sept 15 - Book Crazy Gals


Arctic Warriors by Ken Bangs


Aug 30 - Because This is My Life, Y’all

Aug 31 - Hall Ways

Sept 1 - Books and Broomsticks

Sept 2 - Blogging for the Love of Authors and Their Books

Sept 3 - Texas Book-aholic

Sept 4 - Book Crazy Gals Blog


Diverted Heart by Beth Ann Stifflemire


Aug 24 - Feather Pens, Tartan Dreams

Aug 25 - A Novel Reality

Aug 26 - Blogging for the Love of Authors and Their Books

Rosco Jack of Gateway Farm by Ken Bangs


Aug 24 - Blogging for the Love of Authors and Their Books

Aug 25 - Because This is My Life, Y’all

Aug 26 - The Crazy Bookseller

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