Friday, July 22, 2016


I reviewed The Dead Will Rise and Save Us: Stories by Paul Pedroza (Veliz Books) for Lone Star Literary Life. This is Pedroza's versatile and compelling debut collection. From the review:
Themes of boundaries, loneliness, identity, opportunity, and responsibility permeate this collection of contemporary short fiction set in and around El Paso, Texas. Paul Pedroza possesses a versatile voice, able to create a diverse cast of compelling narratives: young and old, male and female, Anglo, Mexican, and Mexican-American, immigrants and residents, and a variety of socioeconomic classes, even the dead—the encobijados, dead bodies wrapped in blankets and dumped by narcotraficantes. Pedroza is also equally at home with a variety of styles, from slice-of-life to the fantastical. 
The Dead Will Rise and Save Us: Stories by Paul Pedroza is Pedroza’s debut collection, although a handful of these stories have appeared previously in publications such as New Border Voices (Texas A&M University Press, 2014) and MAKE: A Chicago Magazine, Issue 12 (Winter 2012). 
“Subtle Shades of Green,” the first story, is a standout. Robert, whose mother is Anglo and father was Mexican, attends Bowie High School in El Paso, lives in the barrio, and gets into trouble, inadvertently worsening the situation, when he tries to stand up for his darker-skinned friends who are hassled by the Border Patrol during a pickup basketball game. When his friends subsequently abandon him, Robert feels the “constituent parts inside [him] beginning to pull away from one another, creating boundaries not unlike the one marked by fence and river.”
Click here to read the entire review.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

A Kineño's Journey: On Family, Learning, and Public Service

A Kineño's Journey:
On Family, Learning, and Public Service
(Grover E. Murray Studies in the American Southwest)   

Lauro F. Cavazos & Gene P. Preuss

Genre: Memoir / Education
Publisher: Texas Tech University Press
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Date of Publication: June 30, 2016
# of pages: 352

On September 20, 1988, the United States Senate unanimously confirmed Lauro F. Cavazos as the fourth Secretary of Education in President Ronald Reagan’s administration. A sixth-generation Texan and Kineño—a descendant of Mexican citizens who accepted work on Texas’s King Ranch in the 19th century—Cavazos was the first Hispanic appointed to a position in an American Presidential Cabinet.

The story of Cavazos’s journey leading up to his cabinet appointment is a portrait of a life devoted to the principles of education. In 1954, Cavazos married Peggy Ann Murdock; the couple had ten children, all of whom were educated in public schools. To enhance their children’s education, the Cavazoses traveled extensively, living out the principle that a holistic education includes exposure to others’ worldviews. During his service as Secretary of Education, Cavazos insisted that all children in America be educated to their fullest potential. A key tenet of Cavazos’s service was an emphasis on educating minority students—a passion Cavazos formed early on in his career, first as a faculty member at the Medical College of Virginia, then as a professor and Dean at the Tufts University School of Medicine, and later as President of Texas Tech University.

From the book:
My father told me when I was a young boy that he had three expectations of me. Dad said that I was expected to educate myself, serve my country, and never disgrace the Cavazos name. These three simple admonitions formed the bedrock of my future life, the foundation upon which my father told me to stand firm.



phone: 800.742.2982


Former Secretary of Education Lauro F. Cavazos was born on the vast King Ranch in South Texas, where his father was the foreman. He received an M.A. in zoology from Texas Tech University and holds a doctoral degree in physiology from Iowa State University. He taught at the Medical College of Virginia and at the Tufts University School of Medicine, where he was Dean for five years. Cavazos returned to Texas Tech University in 1980 to become its tenth president—the first Hispanic and first graduate of the university to hold that office. He is a professor of public health and community medicine at Tufts University School of Medicine. He and his wife divide their time between Concord, Massachusetts and Port Aransas, Texas.

Gene B. Preuss is an associate professor of history and Special Assistant to the President at the University of Houston-Downtown. He is the author of To Get a Better School System: One Hundred Years of School Reform in Texas.

Check out the other great blogs on the tour! 

7/15    Country Girl BookaholicReview
7/17    The Page Unbound 
7/18    Missus GonzoReview
7/19    Texas Book Lover 
7/20    My Book Fix Blog
7/21    Forgotten Winds Review
7/22    It's a Jenn World
7/23    Hall Ways Blog Review
7/24    StoreyBook Reviews

   blog tour services provided by


Monday, July 18, 2016

Monday Roundup: TEXAS LITERARY CALENDAR July 18-24

Bookish events in Texas for the week of July 18-24, 2016: 

Special Events:
10th Annual Writers' League of Texas Summer Writing Retreat, Alpine, July 18-22

Barrio Writers present a Week-long Writing Workshop, Austin, July 18-23

Summer Book Arts Studio, Houston, July 19-22

Gemini Ink Writers Conference, San Antonio, July 21-24

The Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference, Grapevine, July 22-24

Ongoing Exhibits:
Tuesday, July 19:

The Wild Detectives, Juan José Martínez D’aubuisson reads and signs Ver, oír y callar, 7:30PM [Spanish reading]
Saturday, July 23:

El Paso
Memorial Park Public Library, Tumblewords Project workshop with Mark Pumphrey: Funny as a Train Wreck: The Incomprehensible Poetry of John Ashbery, 12:45PM

Fort Worth
Half Price Books - Westover Village, local author Betty Kilby Fisher will sell and sign copies of her memoir Wit, Will and Walls, 1PM

LaMancha Business Center, Forth Worth Writer's Boot Camp workshop: Finish That Book! with Michael H. Price, 2PM

B&N - Vanderbilt Square,George Arnold signing Mulligan: Justice Reclaimed, 10AM
Blue Willow Bookshop, celebration of children's authors published by Bright Sky Press: Molly Whitney, Chris Bridge, Paige Clough, Pam Franks, and Dee Maner, 11AM

Southwest School of Art - Coates Chapel, Gemini Ink reading with Reyna Grande, Tim Seibles, Barbara Ras, and Texas Poet Laureate Laurie Ann Guerrero, 7PM

The Twig Book Shop, Jenn Mendiola reads and signs I Only Just Love You A Lot, 11AM

B&N - Town Square, Jack Knox signing Texas: Ghost Towns, Gas Stations, and a 20-Foot Cowboy, 1PM

Veterans One Stop Center, Writer's Garret workshop: Writing Your Story, 12:30PM

B&N - Baybrook, Brian McTaggart signing 100 Things Astros Fans Should Know and Do Before They Die, 11AM

The Woodlands
B&N - Woodlands Mall, Gwen Kirkpatrick signing Diary of a Decade, 2PM

Sunday, July 24: