Anahuac #LoneStarLit tour concludes with spectacular reviews

I did a book signing at the delightful Deep Vellum Bookstore in  Dallas this week. That was an actual trip. While I was doing that, I was also traveling all over the state on the virtual #LoneStarLit tour. Ten professional bloggers covered my book in all: Some interviewed me, some printed excerpts from Anahuac and four provided professional reviews of my book. You can see those reviews in their entirety at Missus Gonzo‘s and the Forgotten Winds blogs, as well as Kristine Hall‘s and Ruthie Jones’ websites.

Reading by Moonlight

I am appreciative of the in-depth, honest and very positive reviews these critics gave the book. It is an amazing feeling to read a review of your work in such depth. I can truthfully say these reviewers got what I was trying to say. I didn’t start out to write a book that was heavily influenced by the plight of women in the work force in the early 1970s. The more I wrote, the more they edged their way into  the book. I suppose that its about time someone highlighted the barriers that women faced in the work force in the 1970s. Those of you who have read the book know this is not a book about sexual harassment. While that harassment was present in spades in those times, this book examines the difficulties women faced in just getting a chance to compete. Those difficulties are told in the individual stories of Sarita Jo, Cooper, Aurora and Chinky. The first step in gaining a semblance of equality was overcoming the idea that women didn’t have a real place in management and the professions. While the four strong women in Anahuac are a major part of the story, I don’t want the men in the book to get short changed. Jim, Reverend Clay, Maurice Marrow, Wells Wilson, Little Harry  and Sheriff Staunton all have their part in telling the story that has no easy answers. The blog tour was a blast. Next weekend the Chambers County Library System will hold an Author’s Event in Anahuac at the library on Saturday January 20th from 10-12. After the forecast of early week cold and snow, a weekend trip to see the world of Anahuac might be fun. Hope to see you there.

Chambers County Courthouse

Chambers County Courthouse where the fictional murder trial is conducted.

P.S. Sheriff Staunton says, “Drive slow now, you hear?”

Good Day for Anahuac

Reading by Moonlight

Finishing books, catching a typo, and being blessed with a new idea for a book are all good days. The best however is having a knowledgeable reviewer praise your work. Today is not a good day—it is a great day! As you may know I am on a virtual book tour through a group of professional bloggers who love books. Ruthie Jones’ Blog is Reading by Moonlight and she provided a review today that made it a great day. I hope you will look at her website

Review of Anahuac by Ruthie Jones  

“When you make your living with words it is hard to find moments to be silent.”

Thriller is definitely an apt description for Anahuac. The entire story is a fast train ride through the Texas legal system in the 1970s. What could be more thrilling than that?

Jim Ward is not a new character. You will find him among the pages of Book One in the A Texas Story series: Morgan’s Point. In Anahuac (pronounced Anna-whack), Jim finds himself on the defense team for a charismatic spiritual leader from Arkansas charged with the murder of someone who apparently willed an entire estate to his radio ministry. All the characters are incredibly dynamic and memorable, with nary an underdeveloped one in the bunch. Even the minor characters jump off the page!

Word of caution: the story does take place almost 50 years ago, so be prepared for a hefty dose of misogyny and some racism. Strong, successful women are treated as oddities, and a professional woman in a pantsuit is considered a disgrace; however, Anahuac has three such strong women who set the story on fire with their audacity to succeed in a “man’s world.” Welcome to Texas in the 1970s. I will say that Anahuac is unfortunately timely and timeless in its portrayal of the treatment of women in the workforce.

The story is told through Jim Ward who struggles to find his voice and purpose apart from his wife’s family’s wealth and prestige. Becoming a trial lawyer on such a high-profile case could be just what Jim needs to put his name on the map, instead of simply being referred to as Taylor Faircloth’s son-in-law.

The actual crime takes a backseat to the the events leading up to the trial and the trial itself of the Reverend Randall Clay for alleged murder. Clay is a piece of work and a thoroughly interesting character; I found myself vacillating between liking him and finding him completely frustrating. I can’t seem to make up my mind about this guy, which is a testament to William Darling’s ability to write a character that makes you laugh one minute and grit your teeth the next. And then there is Maurice Marrow, Clay’s manager. I did say the characters are dynamic!

As an added bonus, Anahuac is filled with greed, inflated egos, religious fervor, entitled attitudes, legalese, and a fair amount of humorous yet thought-provoking prose. The ending chapters, with the trial and the aftermath, are explosive, entertaining, and open for another Texas Story, I hope.   (Emphasis added)

Don’t worry readers, I won’t leave you hanging. The next book in the series is in the works!

 

 

Deep Vellum Book Store Friday January 12th Book Signing

Anahuac A Texas Story

I will be in Dallas next Friday evening January 12th from 7-9 for a reading and book signing at Deep Vellum Book Store. Deep Vellum is an iconic book store in the Deep Ellum area of Dallas at 3000 Commerce Street.

Here is an interesting history of the building I found on the Deep Vellum website.

OUR LOCATION
We’re located in the historic heart of Deep Ellum, our roots grounded in growth, tenacity, and expression. Gen X may remember our home as Club Clearview, the sign still perched in our store windows, or as the site of the inaugural Dallas Film Festival. Boomers may remember this building as a reputable storefront, or as home legendary blues and jazz artist Leadbelly, his music drifting through the alleyway at sunset. As for the Millennials – this was the site of an unregistered winery, our floors now pocked with meritage blends.

To us, it’s the site where it all begins. Where ideas are considered and discussed. Where the best & brightest mingle with the up & coming. Where Dallas unites in the vision to create a stronger, more vibrant culture.

I hope to see you at Deep Vellum.

 

Anahuac is becoming an Audio Book

I am reticent to tell you how little I know about audio books since many of you routinely “read” books in that manner. Everything I know I have learned in the past two weeks. Those of you who know me understand that holding a book in my hand is such a joy that I hadn’t explored the alternative. After listening to a few snippets from audio books I see the attraction.

Courtesy of The Block House Audio Studio.

As I told you in my last post we are working with Joel Block at his studio in Austin. I encourage you to click on the link to the studio if you have interest in seeing how audio books are produced. Joel and his wife are extremely knowledgeable and have been a delight.

I will be giving you regular updates of how Anahuac is becoming an audio book. The latest is that Joel has received several audition tapes from the talented people who do narrations. By Monday we will have tapes from everyone who is interested in being considered. The willingness of these talented narrators to vie for the job of bringing Anahuac to life is humbling.  Let me know if you have any questions about audio books.

Courtesy of The Block House Austin Texas

Anahuac now available in Book People in Austin

Book People  is a major independent book store in the heart of downtown Austin. As of today both Morgan’s Point and Anahuac can be found on the main floor both in the Texas Stories and Mysteries sections. I am honored to have the books of my series A Texas Story available in this prestigious Austin institution. Book People is a store that is noted for supporting local Austin writers and Texas based novels. This represents a big moment for me and it is much appreciated. Morgan’s Point and Anahuac are still available on Amazon in print and e-book.

Another exciting happening is the coming availabity of Anahuac in audio book. We met with Joel Block Studios here in Austin last week to begin the process. Anahuac will be recorded by a professional talent and be of the highest quality. The creation of an audio book is not as easy as it sounds. I will keep you up to date as recording progresses. If all goes as planned we should have a finished product in the spring of 2018.

Fort Anahuac Park

Fort Anahuac Park

Goodreads: Joining a Community of Readers During the Holidays

The holidays are fun, sometimes exhausting and upon us. When I find myself frazzled and unable to endure one more football game (never thought I’d say that) I plan to scurry into an unoccupied corner and read a book. It is almost as healthy as a mindfulness excercise. I guess the point of all this is if you find yourself getting a little holiday blues working, a book may be the answer.

I am not completely caught up in technology (I say as I blog) but it is amazing how technology can unite us — we can gather based on interests as well as geography.

One of the places I’ve found recently is Goodreads — it’s a community of readers (as well as writers) that does a great job of connecting people to books they might want to read. There are so many books out there, and so many good professional reviewers, but Goodreads provides a high-tech version of good, old-fashion word-of-mouth recommendations.

Of course, you can now find me on Goodreads. If you’ve enjoyed what you’ve read from me — or even if you just want to announce that you WANT to read either or both of my books — Goodreads lets you do that.

The page for Morgan’s Point is here, the page for Anahuac is here, and my author page (which includes my blog) is here. I am still learning how to navigate the site, but it is fun to see what your friends are reading even if they are a thousand miles away. If the holidays get overwhelming remember that a book is an excellent friend that won’t give you an ugly sweater. Happy Holidays to all.

Sundown on Austin December 23, 2017. Trail of Lights on the right.

Sunsets, Raptors and Living in the Sky

Living in a high rise has proven to be interesting. For a man who was never fond of heights it has been an adjustment. I am adjusting and can venture out on the balcony with impunity.  The picture is from a recent sunset out our window. It is surprising how many evenings are punctuated with beautiful sunsets. 

One thing that I have had to get used to is the absence of sparrows, mocking birds and the like. None of the song birds that I see at the ranch want to fly up twenty-six floors to visit. This morning there was an epic visit from a large raptor who crashed into one of our windows. After the crash I looked out and saw a raptor flying back and forth near the balcony. I was relieved because we had several owls and other large birds fly into a picture window at our former home, some with tragic results. I told Kathy the bird had flown away and all had ended well. She took a closer look out the window and reported that there was a huge bird on the balcony. To my horror I saw a giant raptor staggering around the deck looking as if he had been in a boxing match. I cautiously opened the door and it seemed to recover. It spread its wings and flew off seemingly no worse for the crash. We are doing research now to determine what it was. It was not a red tail hawk which we have seen before. It was larger than a red tail and all chocolate brown. Let us know if you have suggestions.

So when you think of friends  who live in the sky, don’t think that the wild kingdom can’t come visit them. I’ve had enough excitement for one day. I don’t think our friend was hurt, but doubt he will be visiting us again soon.

Lone Star Literary Life lauds Anahuac

Anahuac A Texas Story

Anahuac received a very positive review from Lone Star Literary Life that I wanted to share with you. Lone Star Literary Life is an online publications that focuses entirely on books by Texas authors, often on Texas subjects. It’s an honor to be in the company of authors writing about the “miles and miles of Texas” with different approaches and perspectives.

The reviewer called Anahuac “an entertaining, engrossing legal thriller that offers both darkly humorous and good-natured thrusts at life, love, and law in early 1970s Texas,” and I couldn’t ask for a better description! I encourage you to check out the site and learn more about how Texas writers like myself have been chronicling this great state.

Malvern Books Event-Austin Book Launch

Malvern Books in Austin hosted the  book event to launch Anahuac in Austin, Texas this past week. I was honored to read an excerpt from Anahuac to a large crowd that came out on a wet and cold night. Malvern Books is one of those great resources for local

Poster @ Malvern’s Book Store for Austin launch of Anahuac

Austin writers. The local independent book store keeps your reading options open to more than just the picks that large publishers choose to print these days. I encourage you to seek out these stores like Malvern and The Twig in San Antonio who assure that there is a wide diversity of literature available for your reading tastes. I will post a video of the Malvern event in the coming days when it becomes available.

There was a positive review of Anahuac that appeared in Lone Star Literary Review this week. Writing is such solitary work that feedback is welcome even is it is unfavorable. When it is favorable, it is icing on the cake.

Tomorrow Night in Austin at Malvern Books

Poster @ Malvern’s Book Store for Austin launch of Anahuac

 

For you who are attending tomorrow night’s book launch for Anahuac at Malvern Books, there are some things to consider. The store is in the University of Texas area just just off of Guadalupe (the Drag) on 29th Street. Those of us in Austin know that is a high traffic area and parking is at a premium.  The event starts at 7, but there is a great alternative parking area that opens for the book store parking at Breed’s Hardware at 7,  a half a block west of Malvern on 29th. Malvern is a decent sized store, but I am sharing the stage with Boyd Taylor who goes on first. I expect between the two of us it will be crowded.  There are several places for a pre-event supper close to Malvern that might ease the parking issue. The two pictures below give you an idea that Breed’s is going to be your best parking option.

Malvern Book Store and Oat Willie’s

Malvern Books is an excellent Austin Book Store and is next to Oat Willie’s, the iconic Austin store selling all kinds of interesting things. There is an Austin and UT vibe about the whole experience. Just understand they have not created any new parking in the UT area in the last two centuries. Come early, be respectful of the parking issue and have fun. I am looking forward to telling you about Sarita Jo Franklin. I think you’ll like her.

 

Malvern Book Store Austin Texas