Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Excerpt and Giveaway: THE LARK by Dana Glossbrenner




THE LARK
by
Dana Glossbrenner

Genre: Humorous Literary Fiction
Publisher: Boldface Books
Date of Publication: June 7, 2016
Number of Pages: 270

Scroll down for Giveaway!


You’re never too old to learn—or too young

Good-looking, good-hearted Charley Bristow’s the most sought-after hair stylist in five West Texas counties. He’s an expert on the dance floor and sharp at the pool tables, too—but when it comes to pick­ing cars, dogs, and women, luck hasn’t quite gone his way lately. And there’s the ever-present worry over his mother, whose own trailer-park plight he’d just as soon steer clear of. 

Just when he’s sworn off temptation of the female sort, an evening at the local honky-tonk drives two prime targets right into his path. Weighing the sudden wealth of options in his love life, while also searching for the right choice of wheels to suit his needs, Charley stumbles upon a long-hidden secret and an unforeseen road to re­demption. 

The colorful denizens of the Wild Hare Salon, Jarod’s Automotive, and Hopper’s nightclub, along with those of the Briargrove First Methodist Church and the Sulfur Gap Centennial Celebration, will two-step their way right into your heart, to music as familiar as Willie Nelson and Charley Pride. And you just might start to fall in love with an old Johnny Mercer tune, too, as Charley Bristow faces his past and embraces the challenge of his future.

Praise for The Lark

"Good-time Charley" Bristow is a popular twenty-something West Texas hairstylist who's already dodged two bullets with two failed marriages (the second time, literally). . . . The Lark invites us to join Charley's friends, the rural cosmopolitans of Sulfur Gap, and ride shotgun alongside this rogue with an honest heart . . . on a journey into his past.  Dana Glossbrenner has crafted a totally engaging quest for happiness, set it in a totally genuine contemporary Texas, and delivered up great characters for a great read.

-- Cliff Hudder, author of Splinterville and Pretty Enough for You


Charley Bristow takes some things seriously--work, dancing, pool-playing, and women, but maybe not in that order. He finds the true importance of friends and family.

-- Rick Smith, San Angelo Standard Times






THE LARK: Excerpt from Chapter 1, “Burned and Burning”

As soon as they stepped inside the club, Charley saw Dick Raney wave Wayne over to the bar for a neighborly chat. Charley headed for his favorite table. No stranger at the nightclub, he nodded to the guys at the pool tables. He saw the familiar look on their faces as they concentrated on their games, their body language telling him they weren’t in the mood to take a trouncing from him. He smiled as he remembered the old regulars who’d taught him to play at Hopper’s and the VFW. 

Mitch Teague, still haunting the tables, sat on a bar stool in a corner, arms crossed, watching a game. He lifted a hand to Charley. With a big, brushy mustache and bristly whiskers under a crooked nose that had been broken a few times, he looked rough. The scar over his left eyebrow hadn’t faded over the years, either. A smashed-up straw western hat he seldom removed, broken-down western boots, raggedy jeans, and a leather vest over his T-shirt of the day completed his ensemble. Since the age of twelve, Charley had considered Mitch a mentor in the game of pool—and of life. 

He nodded to his role model. 

“How’s yer mom these days?” Mitch asked. 

“Hard to tell. You know she’s not a big talker.”

 “I remember she used to be. Friendliest waitress in three counties.” 

“Yeah, she got lots of practice between working here and the VFW.” 

“She don’t get out much now, does she?” 

“Nope. Health issues, I guess.” Falling back on the mention of a woman’s physical condition tended to divert further questions. 

“Well, I’m glad you still come around.” 

“It’s good to see you, too, Mitch,” Charley said, clapping him on the back. It was a good thing people had never been too rule-conscious in Sulfur Gap, so that even when he was under age, Charley had been able to go with his mother for her daytime shifts and hang around afterwards while she caught up on her own drinking. Charley had better-quality supervision at the bars, playing pool with guys like Mitch, than he would’ve had staying home with his mother’s boyfriend of the moment. 

As he turned to walk away, one of the younger pool-playing regulars—Wes Farley, sharpening his skills at being a jerk—picked the moment to be a smartass. Overhearing Charley’s conversation with Mitch, he picked at a sensitive topic. “Last time I seen yer ma, she was drivin’ through the Party Warehouse gettin’ that van loaded with booze. I wonder how she affords that on her disability check?” 

Conscious of the audience of pool players, who had frozen in disbelief at the sniping remark, Charley took a deep breath and turned slowly to stare unblinking at his tormentor. “Well, Wes, not that it’s any of your business, but everyone’s different on how they field life’s curve balls.” 

Farley backpedaled. “Now, Charley, I didn’t mean nothin’ by that. I was just curious.” 

Charley gazed at him for a few seconds while the shorter man squirmed. “Forget it, Wes. Just give some thought before you talk about people’s mothers.”




Dana Glossbrenner's debut novel, The Lark, features Charley Bristow, a successful young hair stylist in a small West Texas town. His misadventures provide humor, intrigue, and catharsis, as he discovers a lost family history. Women Behind Stained Glass: West Texas Pioneers, a historical work, recounts the lives of women who helped settle the area around San Angelo, Texas.

Glossbrenner taught high school and university English classes and worked as a guidance counselor. She grew up in Snyder, Texas, earned degrees from Texas Tech, Angelo State University, and Texas State University. She now lives in San Angelo, Texas.

She cites Larry McMurtry, Cormac McCarthy, and Elmer Kelton as major inspirations for writing about Texas.

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July 25 - August 8, 2016







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