Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Excerpt: SEARCHING FOR PILAR by Patricia Hunt Holmes

SEARCHING FOR PILAR
by
PATRICIA HUNT HOLMES
Genre: Contemporary Suspense / Thriller
Publisher: River Grove Books
Publication Date: April 10, 2018
Number of Pages: 320 pages

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Pilar, an innocent young wife and mother, is abducted during a fake job interview in Mexico City and forced into sex slavery in Houston. Can she survive the horrors of a world—one which many good Americans don’t see or ignore—long enough for her brother Diego to find her?

Searching for Pilar breaks open the secretive and dangerous world of sex trafficking, while exploring human nature and our connections to each another. Diego’s guilt transforms him from a rudderless youth into a man of purpose, and courage. While he searches, Pilar finds a strength that could save herself and a young girl who needs her. The themes of family, love, faith and the law intertwine in this action-packed tale of the Bayou City.

PRAISE FOR SEARCHING FOR PILAR:
“Patricia Holmes fictionalizes the heartbreaking reality of cross-border sex trafficking in her novel, Searching for Pilar. This cautionary tale should be required reading for high school classes to foster awareness, understanding, and ultimately solutions to this horrific epidemic.”  --Joanne F. Phillips, author of Revenge of the Cube Dweller.


“In Searching for Pilar, Patricia Hunt Holmes makes us aware of the terrible nature of sex trafficking in the context of a fast-paced, exciting Houston story that moves from affluence and glitz to barrio cantinas and the federal courthouse. The charitable, can-do nature of Houston is reflected in the wide cast of residents who help a young man on an extremely dangerous mission to find his kidnapped sister.  This book will be an added weapon in our fight against sex trafficking.” –Sylvester Turner, Mayor, City of Houston




Mexico City
Chapter Three Excerpt from Searching for Pilar
By Patricia Hunt Holmes

     “I need to go to the Colonia Tabacalera, near the Monumento a la Revolución,” she told Diego.
     “I know where it is. It’s on the western edge of downtown.”
     Diego parked opposite the monument. “Um, do you need me to go with you, Pilar?” he offered, while he glanced at his watch.
     Pilar could see he was worried about having time to watch the professionals. She said, “I have directions. You can drop me off and pick me up here. At 4:00 p.m.?”
     “Are you sure you don’t mind?” Diego asked, his face brightening.
     “I don’t mind,” Pilar said, although she was terrified of walking on the streets of Mexico City alone and she hesitated before she got out of the truck.
     “Bueno!” he said. “Nos vamos esta tarde. We will meet again this afternoon!”
     Pilar stopped at a taco stand with a faded yellow umbrella for a quick bite to eat. The taco seller tried to start a conversation, but she just smiled. She kept checking her watch and fumbled for change to pay him.
     Pilar surveyed the neighborhood. It was filled with centuries-old, once-elegant homes. Office and apartment buildings had replaced some of the houses, but everything looked run down. Salsa music blared from a cantina down the block where two women in very short skirts and high boots stood outside talking to a group of men. The people sitting at the other tables did not look like her mental picture of business people. A dark young man dressed in jeans, sunglasses, and a black leather jacket with tattoos on his neck and hands stared at her. It made her uneasy. She avoided making eye contact. She wished she had asked Diego to stay with her, but she had no way to contact him. She didn’t want to stay where she was with the dark man staring at her.
     Pilar saw a shabbily dressed woman about her own age standing nearby, staring at the people eating at the tables. She looked hungry. A thin little boy was crying while he held tight to her hand. The pair made her remember why she taken the desperate steps she was taking. She wished she had some pesos to give the woman, but her purse was empty after buying lunch.
     At 12:55, Pilar found the building. It was a nondescript old concrete office building with several coats of red and black graffiti on the outside of the ground-level floor. She had never ridden in an elevator, so she took the stairway, although it had an unpleasant smell. Telling herself to be strong, she finger-combed her hair, said a quick Hail Mary, and straightened her crucifix. She entered suite 435.
     The only thing in the room was a row of five metal folding chairs lined up against the wall. Pilar hesitated, then took a seat and waited for something to happen.
     Shortly the door to the hallway opened again and a petite, pretty young girl with curly brown hair and hazel eyes came into the room. The girl smiled nervously as she sat down. Pilar guessed she was thirteen years old. I wonder why her mother is not with her?
     The door to the inner office opened and a tall, attractive woman with a stylish black suit, high heels, and auburn hair pulled back into an upsweep stepped into the reception area. She was the most sophisticated woman Pilar had ever seen, straight out of a telenovela. She wore a thick silver chain around her neck. Big silver rings covered her fingers.
     “Señora Chavez?” she asked.
     “Sí, señora,” Pilar spoke up, standing quickly.
     “Won’t you come into my office? I am Alma Diaz. It is good to meet you.” She motioned for Pilar to sit in a large overstuffed chair on the other side of her desk while she looked Pilar up and down, an approving smile on her face.
     Looking around, Pilar observed two gray upholstered chairs, a small wooden side table, a bookcase, and a desk. Paper shades covered the windows. Picture frames sat on Alma’s desk, but they were turned the other way, so Pilar could not see what she assumed was Alma’s family. The bookcase held very few books. A framed map of Mexico City provided the only color on the wall. A small vase with red roses sat on the desk; their sweet smell helped calm her nerves.
     “Perfect,” Alma said, smiling. “We are glad you came to see us. Can I get you something to drink? Café? Cocoa?”
     “No, thank you. I just ate something.”
     Alma’s brow wrinkled slightly. “Perhaps later,” she said. “Let’s get to know one another, shall we?”
     “Do you have siblings?”
     “Oh, sí, two brothers, Diego and Carlos. My older brother, Diego, drove me here today, and I am meeting him at the monument at four.”
     “How perfect,” Alma said. “You have a big brother to watch out for you.” 


Patricia Hunt Holmes spent 30 years as a public finance attorney with the international law firm of Vinson & Elkins LLP. She was consistently listed in Best Lawyers in America, Texas Super Lawyers, Top Lawyers in Houston, and awarded the highest degree by her peers in Martindale Hubbell. She was a frequent speaker at national public finance and healthcare conferences. Patricia has also served on the faculty of the University of Missouri-Columbia, University of Tennessee, and University of Texas Health Science Center Houston. She has written and published in the fields of intellectual history and law.

Patricia has been a member and board member of social service organizations in Houston that focus on helping women, including the United Way of the Texas Gulf Coast Women’s Initiative, Dress for Success Houston, and the American Heart Association’s Circle of Red. She was a founding member and first board chair of Houston Justice for Our Neighbors, which provides free and low cost legal services to immigrants. For the past five years, she has been taking writing workshops with Inprint, associated with the outstanding University of Houston Creative Writing Program. She began to write Searching for Pilar in a workshop after learning that Houston is one of the biggest hubs for sex trafficking in the country.


-------------------------------------
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THREE WINNERS! 
1st & 2nd Prizes: Signed Copy of Searching for Pilar + Mexican Necklace
3rd Prize: Signed Copy of Searching for Pilar + $20 Amazon Gift Card
(U.S. Only)

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VISIT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:

4/25/18
Excerpt
4/26/18
Review
4/27/18
Author Interview
4/28/18
Review
4/29/18
Guest Post
4/30/18
Scrapbook Page
5/1/18
Review
5/2/18
Excerpt
5/3/18
Guest Post
5/4/18
Review

4/25/18
Excerpt
Texas Book Lover
4/26/18
Review
Momma on the Rocks
4/27/18
Author Interview
Forgotten Winds
4/28/18
Review
Tangled in Text
4/29/18
Guest Post
The Page Unbound
4/30/18
Scrapbook Page
That's What She's Reading
5/1/18
Review
Bibliotica
5/2/18
Excerpt
StoreyBook Reviews
5/3/18
Guest Post
The Librarian Talks
5/4/18
Review
Missus Gonzo


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Monday, April 23, 2018

Monday Roundup: TEXAS LITERARY CALENDAR April 23-29, 2018

Bookish goings-on in Texas for the week of April 2-29, 2018: 

Special Events:
Lib-Con, Abilene, April 25-28

Rio Grande Valley International Poetry Festival, McAllen, April 26-29

15th Annual Mansfield Reads! with Carlton Stowers, April 26-27

ATX Bookstore Crawl, Austin, April 28

Authors in the Parks, various locations, April 28

2018 Dia De los Niños / Dia de los Libros, El Paso, April 28

Independent Bookstore Day, various locations, April 28

Northeast Texas Writers Organization Annual Spring Conference, Mt. Pleasant, April 28

Austin SCWBI 2018 Writers & Illustrators Working Conference, April 28-29

Austin Short Short Fiction Festival, April 29

Ongoing Exhibits:

Monday, April 23:
Arlington
Arlington Public Library, Kwame Alexander reading and signing Rebound, the sequel to The Crossover, 5PM

Austin

Dallas
Interabang Books, Masatsugu Ono reading and signing LION CROSS POINT, 7PM

Houston
The Black Labrador, Houston Writers House meeting featuring RD Vincent, author of the Donbridge Series, 6:30PM

Brazos Bookstore, Literary Couple Brendan Kiely (TRADITION; THE LAST TRUE LOVE STORY; co-author with Jason Reynolds of ALL AMERICAN BOYS) and Jessie Chaffee (FLORENCE IN ECSTASY) talk books, writing, and life with author Katherine Howe (CONVERSION; THE APPEARANCE OF ANNIE VAN SINDEREN), 7PM

Houston Advanced Research Center, World Affairs Council of Greater Houston hosts former CIA operations officer Charles Goslin discussing Understanding Personal Security and Risk: A Guide for Business Travelers, 7PM

University of Houston Hilton, Former Congressman Bill Sarpalius, author of The Grand Duke from Boys Ranch, in conversation with Jim Granato, executive director of the Hobby School (followed by a book signing), 6:30PM

San Antonio
The Mix, PuroSlam featuring Amanda Flores, 9:30PM

Wednesday, April 25:
Bazan Branch Library, Voices de la Luna hosting a "Writing Our Lives Senior Workshop," 1PM

Thursday, April 26:
Amarillo
Central Branch Library, Downtown Lunchtime Book Club with Jodi Thomas speaking about MORNINGS ON MAIN, 12:15PM

Arlington
UTA, Homerathon: A day-long oral recitation of Homer's epic poem, The Odyssey, 7AM

Austin
Brazos Bookstore, Joshua Wheeler discussing and signing ACID WEST, 7PM

Poison Girl Bar, Poison Pen Reading Series featuring Micha Bateman, Arna Bontemps Hemenway, and Antonya Nelson, 8:30PM

Lubbock
Texas Tech, the Creative Writing Reading Series presents poet, scholar, and teacher Stanley Plumly, 7:30PM

Odessa
Wagner Noël Performing Arts Center, Shepperd Institute Distinguished Lecture Series presents "Shale and Texas Energy: Past and Future" panel discussion, which includes Gary Sernovitz, author of The Green and the Black: The Complete Story of the Shale Revolution, the Fight over Fracking, and the Future of Energy, 7PM

San Antonio
Barshop Jewish Community Center, Leigh Olson discussing and signing The Joys of Jewish Preserving with a hands-on cooking demonstration with the author, 7PM

Memorial Library, National Poetry Month-Open Mic Readings, 6:30PM

The Twig Book Shop, Barbara Ortwein reading and signing her Texas trilogy, 5PM

Sugar Land
B&N - Westheimer Crossing, Harry A. Milman signing Soyuz: The Final Flight, 11AM

Blue Willow Bookstore, Ginger Zee, "ABC News'" chief meteorologist, will meet and greet fans and sign her books, 5PM

Brazos Bookstore, Jenny Molberg and Christian Bancroft will be joined by UH’s Michael Snediker for this evening of readings from ADELAIDE CRAPSEY: ON THE LIFE AND WORK OF AN AMERICAN MASTER, 7PM

Inprint House, The Poetry Lab at Inprint hosted by Poets Reading the News, 6PM

Rudyard's British Pub, Gulf Coast Reading Series featuring Carlos Hernandez, Katie Condon, and Jennifer Lowe, 7PM

Saturday, April 28:
Amarillo
Northwest Branch Library, Writing Round Table: Writing as a Career or Hobby? A conversation with Jodi Thomas who has spent 30 years in the game as a working writer, 10AM

Austin
Dallas

Denton
B&N - Golden Triangle Mall, Local Author Jim West signing Genocide by GMO, 2PM


El Paso
El Paso Public Library - Memorial Park, Tumblewords Project workshop: "What's the Matter?" with Gene Keller, 12:45PM

Fort Worth
The Dock Bookshop, Power Session and book signing with Sharetha Nicole, author of Purpose Defined: A Guide Towards a Renewed State of Mind, 5PM

Galveston
Galveston Bookshop, T. Felder Dorn will sign The Downfall of Galveston’s May Walker Burleson, 2PM

Houston
B&N - River Oaks, John Evans signing Catalyst, 2PM

Blue Willow Bookstore, Marshall Cobb, a former Nottingham Forest resident, will discuss and sign his novel THE PROMISE OF THE ORB, 11AM

Brazilian Arts Foundation, Writing workshop followed by a poetry slam hosted by Houston VIP National Poetry Slam Team, 7PM

Murder By the Book, Meg Lelvis will sign and discuss Blind Eye, 4:30PM

River Oaks Bookstore, D.F. Brown reading from and signing Ghost of a Person Passing in Front of the Flag, 3PM

Irving
Centennial Park, Poetry in the Park: A Celebration of National Poetry Month, 2PM

Irving Library - East, El Día de los Niños/El Día de los Libros (Children’s Day/Book Day): stories from award-winning author and illustrator Joe Cepeda, followed by children's crafts and refreshments, 2:30PM


Centennial Library, Jimmy Patterson signing Midland from A to Z, 1:30PM

Pflugerville
Pflugerville Public Library, National Poetry Month Contest Reading, 4PM

Plano
B&N - Creekwalk Village, Mark Stuertz discussing and signing Secret Dallas, 2PM

Richardson
Richardson Civic Center, Writers Guild of Texas workshop: "Troubleshoot Your Novel, Simplified: The Pitch as a Tool" with author Annie Neugebauer, 9AM

San Antonio

Collins Garden Branch Library, celebrate "Trafficking in Words" for National Poetry Month with Voces Cósmicas poets Fernando Esteban Flores, Jacinto Jesus Cardona, Alicia Galvan, Suzanne Green, Ed Cody, Liz Vera, and Stephanie Velasquez, 2PM

Dead Tree Books, Diana Anderson-Tyler signing Armor for Orchids, 1PM

San Antonio Central Library, MENTE REBELDE, CUERPO AUTÓNOMO: a writing workshop + open mic in recognition of Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month with Ana Ortiz Varela and Isabel Zepeda Ramos, 12:30PM

The Twig Book Shop, Byron Browne signing Spanish Missions of Texas, 11AM

Spicewood
Spicewood Community Library, Writer's League of Texas workshop: "Texas Writes" with presentations from former literary agent Becka Oliver and author Michael Noll, 10AM

Sugar Land
Half Price Books, local author Sonya Hurst will sell and sign her Christian living book, Prayers that Open the Portals of Heaven, 1PM

Sulphur Springs
The Bookworm Box, April Author Signing: E.K. Blair, Sierra Cartwright, Anne Conley, Tigris Eden, Misha Elliot, Nicole Flocton, Olivia Hardin, Barbara Blue Johnson, Wren Michaels, and K.D. Robichaux, 1PM

Webster
B&N - Baybrook, Shelly Brown signing Mustaches for Maddie, 11AM

Sunday, April 29:
Austin

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Interview: Chris Manno, author of BLOOD AND REMEMBRANCE

BLOOD AND REMEMBRANCE
by
CHRIS MANNO
Genre: Contemporary Literary Fiction
Publisher: Dark Horse Books
Publication Date: March 3, 2018
Number of Pages: 321 pages

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Blood and Remembrance is the prequel to the award-winning Texas novel, East Jesus. This new, stand-alone story rampages from the west Texas plains to Huntsville's Death Row and back. Cowboys, ranchers, driven oilmen, desperate convicts and headstrong women grapple with truths of the heart, of life, and the coming of age in a dramatic struggle you'll live yourself and never forget.

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MINI-INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR CHRIS MANNO

Q: Why a prequel?
A: Many readers and even a few critics suggested a sequel to East Jesus, but to me, the story felt like it was well ended, cataclysmically final at that. I talked it over with the publisher and we both agreed: if I felt the story was over, the matter was settled. 

But a prequel appealed to me, began talking to me as good stories do to receptive writers: who were these people, what forces shaped them, how did they grow to be the dynamic characters in East Jesus? And how did the next generation come about?

The story that unfolded burned hot and fast and became Blood and Remembrance.

Q: Do readers need to have read East Jesus to understand Blood and Remembrance?
A: Not at all—Remembrance is a stand-alone story. However, those who’ve read East Jesus will have “aha moments” throughout. 

Q: What was your goal in writing this story?
A: Exactly what I teach as a writing professor. That is, habitable prose, stories people live themselves rather than just read. Once you live the experience, the story—and the meaning— belong to the reader. 

Q: Explain the multiple viewpoints in Remembrance.
A: It’s simple; in fact, it’s the way we experience the world: variable, fast-moving and at the pace of modern life -- a virtual kaleidoscope of action and adventure we sort into meaning. Readers live the story through different characters and, in the same way our post-modern world unfolds, put the pieces together to create meaning. I trust the readers to do that; I give them credit for that ability to make their own meaning of the bricolage they live on these pages.





Chris Manno of Fort Worth, Texas, earned a doctorate in English from Texas Christian University and teaches writing at Texas Wesleyan University. 

East Jesus, his first novel, was named “finalist” (second place) for Best Fiction of 2017 by the North Texas Book Festival. The novel takes a close-up, visceral look at West Texas life in 1969 and the good folks who lived it, grappling with notions of family, patriotism and violence, both domestic and in a far-off, unpopular war. 

Blood and Remembrance is the prequel to East Jesus, tracing the roots of the main characters in both books, examining the harsh but classically All-American story of life in the Texas panhandle. 

Manno is also the author of a third novel, Voodoo Rush, winner for Best Fiction of 2018 by the North Texas Book Festival, and a collection of short stories titled Short Fiction for the Impatient Reader. Both books are available from White Bird Publications of Austin Texas. 


-------------------------------------
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THREE SIGNED COPIES!
(U.S. Only)



VISIT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:

4/20/18
Promo
4/21/18
Review
4/22/18
Author Interview
4/23/18
Promo
4/24/18
Review
4/25/18
Promo
4/26/18
Promo
4/27/18
Review
4/28/18
Promo
4/29/18
Review




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