Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Review: SEEING OFF THE JOHNS by Rene S. Perez II

My review of Seeing Off The Johns (Cinco Puntos Press) by Rene S. Perez II was published by Lone Star Literary Life. This is tough and touching YA fiction set in South Texas. From the review:
Tiny, fictional Greenton, set in South Texas, “a one-stoplight town built on cattle and railroads and killed by bypasses and super-ranches,” doesn’t have much going for it. What Greenton does have are “two crown princes,” John Robison and John Mejias, high school baseball stars signed to play college ball for the University of Texas at Austin. The Johns graduated from high school twenty-four hours ago and now they’re dead, killed in a rollover accident on their way to Austin, shortly after a ceremonious departure complete with police escort to the city limits and banners strung across Main Street. Greenton is stunned, especially beautiful Araceli Monsevais, “Goddess of Greenton,” long-time girlfriend of Mejia. Concepcion “Chon” Gonzales has been in love with Araceli for as long as he can remember. Will the town let Araceli move on?
Seeing Off the Johns, a tough and touching coming of age novel by Rene S. Perez II, is an intuitive and rather sophisticated exploration of grief and loss and coping mechanisms, both individually and collectively, told in the language of small-town teenagers, through the lens of Araceli and Chon. We follow the progress, and lack thereof, made by Chon and Araceli and the entire town of Greenton over the next school year as they all attempt to assimilate the worst tragedy the town has ever experienced.
To read the entire review please click here. Thank you!

Monday, January 25, 2016

Monday Roundup: January 25 - 31!

Bookish events in Texas for the week of January 25 - 31, 2016:      

Special Events:
Long-Bin Chen's The Book Garden sculpture exhibit, San Antonio, December 10 - February 20

Shakespeare in Print and Performance, Austin, December 21 - May 29

Encounters and Discoveries in Literature: Celebrating Arte Público Press and Twentieth Century Latina/o Literature, Houston, January 18 - June 30

Monday, January 25:
Horchow Auditorium, Dallas Museum of Art presents Arts & Letters Live! - Texas Bound I: Human Foibles & Hijinks with Octavio Solis, Owen Egerton, Chris Hury, and G. W. Bailey, 7:30PM

Cullen Theatre, Inprint Houston's Margarett Root Brown Reading Series presents Anthony Doerr, 7:30PM [SOLD OUT]

Tuesday, January 26:

Lucky Dog Books - Oak Cliff, SOUP'S ON: STONE SOUP SHOWCASE, 7PM

Fort Worth
The Dock Bookshop, Fort Worth Poetry Slam and Open Mic, 8PM

San Antonio

Brazos Bookstore, Bartee Haile discusses and signs TEXAS BOOMTOWNS, 7PM

Murder By the Book, Kevin Hearne will sign and discuss the newest Iron Druid book, Staked, 6:30PM

Poison Girl Bar, Poison Pen Reading Series featuring Kevin Prufer, Jonathan Moody, and Jeni McFarland, 8:30PM

South Irving Library, Daring Reads YA Author Panel and book signing with Julie Murphy, Jessica Brody, Lori Goldstein, Jenny Martin, and Morgan Matson, 7PM

Friday, January 29:

Murder By the Book, Reed Farrel Coleman will sign and discuss Where It Hurts, 6:30PM

San Antonio
San Antonio Country Club, Assistance League of San Antonio Lit 'n Lunch with Jan Jarboe Russell (Train to Crystal City), Sarah Bird (Above the East China Sea), and Catherine Stier (Welcome to America, Champ), 11:30AM

Saturday, January 30:

BookPeople, Austin Author EMMA VIRJAN speaking & signing What This Story Needs Is A Hush and a Shush, 1PM

BookPeople, MysteryPeople Presents Bestselling Author REED FARREL COLEMAN speaking & signing Where It Hurts, 5PM

BookWoman, Poetry Reading with Wendy Barker & Natalia Trevino, 6PM

Half Price Books - North Lamar, Melissa R. Hood will sell and sign Memoirs of an ADHD Mind: God Was a Genius in the Way He Made Me, 1PM

Cedar Hill

B&N - Preston/Royal, Dr. Bob Ward signs Building the Perfect Star: Changing the Trajectory of Sports and the People in Them, 1PM

Dallas Public Library - Preston/Royal, Dr. Michael Weisberg discusses and signs The Hospitalist, 2PM

Denton Public Library - North Branch, stories from visiting children's author James Martinez, 11AM

El Paso
B&N - Fountains at Farah, Brenda Drake signs Thief of Lies, 2PM

Monday, January 18, 2016

Monday Roundup: January 18 - 24

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

Special Events:
Long-Bin Chen's The Book Garden sculpture exhibit, San Antonio, December 10 - February 20

Shakespeare in Print and Performance, Austin, December 21 - May 29

Texas Seaport Museum Winter Lecture Series, Galveston, January 16 - 23

Encounters and Discoveries in Literature: Celebrating Arte Público Press and Twentieth Century Latina/o Literature, Houston, January 18 - June 30

Downs-Jones Library Information Literacy Symposium, Austin, January 22

Groundswell Playwrights Conference, Austin, January 23

Local Authors Fest, Lampasas, January 23

Monday, January 18:
B&N - Lincoln Park, Chris Hogan signs Retire Inspired, 6PM

City Performance Hall, The MLK Symposium featuring Teju Cole, 7PM

Brazos Bookstore, Public Poetry - ARTLINES, 7PM

Tuesday, January 19:
San Antonio
The Heritage Society, Finger Lecture Series: Famous Trees of Texas by Gretchen Riley, 12PM

Palestine Public Library, Tracie Peterson and Kimberley Woodhouse will discuss and sign Beyond the Silence, 11AM

Allan Shivers Library & Museum, Writers' League of Texas workshop: Texas Writes with Carol Dawson and Natalia Sylvester, 10AM

Friday, January 22:
BookPeople, Austin children's author VARIAN JOHNSON speaking & signing To Catch a Cheat, 2PM

Half Price Books - North Lamar, Angel Jefferson will sell and sign her motivational book, Unstoppable Steps: Whose Shoes Are You Wearing?, 1PM

B&N - Preston/Royal, Elizabeth Lawless signs Your Best-Seller Book: 5 Steps to Quicker Publishing Success, 2PM

Deep Vellum Books, Erik Marcus, author of Meat Market: Animals, Ethics, and Money, will present "Making Smart Food Choices on Every Level", 2PM

El Paso
B&N - Sunland Park, Beverley Blount signing The Blount Guide to Reading, Spelling and Pronouncing English, 2PM

B&N - Palms Crossing, Bob Dowell signs Papa, Tell Us About the Bible, 5PM

Monday, January 11, 2016

Monday Roundup: January 11 - 17

Bookish events in Texas for the week of January 11 - 17, 2016:      

Special Events:
Long-Bin Chen's The Book Garden sculpture exhibit, San Antonio, December 10 - February 20

Shakespeare in Print and Performance, Austin, December 21 - May 29

Pulpwood Queen's Girlfriend Weekend, Nacogdoches, January 14 - 17

Austin Book, Paper, and Photo Show, January 15 - 16

Texas Seaport Museum Winter Lecture Series, Galveston, January 16 - 23

Monday, January 11:
Half Price Books Mother Ship, Writers' League of Texas panel discussion: "Being a Good Literary Citizen," 7PM

Horchow Auditorium, Dallas Museum of Art - Arts & Letters Live presents Mary Karr & Mary-Louise Parker: Memoiristas, 7:30PM

Brazos Bookstore, Indie Press Night with publishers Archipelago, Tyrant Books, Restless Books, New Directions, and Open Letter, 7PM

Tuesday, January 12:
Houston Museum of Natural Science, HMNS Distinguished Lecture Series: Dr. Jeanette Peterson presents and signs Visualizing Guadalupe: From Black Madonna to Queen of the Americas, 6:30PM

Italian Cultural & Community Center, Dr. Ryan Calabretta-Sajder, author of Divergenze in celluloidi: colore, migrazione, e identita' nei film gay di Ferzan Ozpetek, presents Film Screening & Lecture - "From Wise Guys to Good Guys: Food as Aphrodisiac in Bob Grimaldi's Dinner Rush", 6:15PM

San Antonio
The Korova, PuroSlam! with DJ Donnie Dee, 10PM

Wednesday, January 13:
The Wild Detectives, Carlos Labbé reads and signs Loquela, 7:30PM

AvantGarden, Write About Now poetry open mic, 7:30PM

Murder By the Book, Tami Hoag will sign & discuss The Bitter Season, 6:30PM

Thursday, January 14:
Friday, January 15:


Lucky Dog Books - Oak Cliff, Poets On the X+ Soapbox open mic, 8PM

Murder By the Book, Val McDermid will sign and discuss the new Tony Hill and Carol Jordan novel, Splinter the Silence, 6:30PM

University of Houston - Dudley Recital Hall, Slavs and Tatars performance-lecture: "The 

San Antonio

Saturday, January 16:
B&N - Preston/Royal, Karen Blumenthal celebrates the release of Hillary Rodham Clinton: A Woman Living History, 2PM

El Paso
B&N - Fountains at Farah, Margaret Mooney signing Redneck Opera, 2PM

B&N - Sunland Park, Catherine Chagra signing and discussion of Dirty Darlings, 1:30PM

Memorial Park Public Library, Tumblewords Project workshop: "Lets Rave" with Sandra Torrez, 12:45PM

B&N - Firewheel Mall, Coloring Event With Artist and Author Cher Kaufmann, 11:30AM

B&N - West Oaks, Elemental Fate book signing with Gretchen Dee, 2PM
Recycled Reads Bookstore, Spoken Word Round Robin, 2PM

B&N - Preston/Royal, Richard Benjamin Cass signs Braniff Airways, Texas: Flying Colors, 1PM

Half Price Books - Mother Ship, Henry Cline will sell and sign Too Close For Comfort, 1PM

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Promo: RACING FORWARD by Mica Mosbacher

Lone Star Literary Life Blog Tours


Mica Mosbacher

Mica Mosbacher was barely hanging on. A single mother of a son, she worked in retail while she established a career as an award-winning writer. Feeling unlucky in romance after two failed marriages, she gave up on her dreams. In her early 40s, she met the love of her life, oilman mogul and 28th US Secretary of Commerce, Robert Mosbacher Sr. A modern day commoner who went on to meet and entertain heads of states and Royals, Mica turned out to be a kind of Houston Cinderella.Mica married her prince and soul mate only to lose him to pancreatic cancer leaving her heart broken. But instead of wallowing in pain, she decided to grieve forward. Her brother, a racecar driver, inspired her to learn to race a Ferrari. Testing her personal limits on the racetrack, she discovered her inner strength to move forward.Life brings losses on a regular basis. Whether it’s a garden variety loss or a life changing one―debilitating illness, divorce, death―it requires a resiliency, optimism and faith.


Excerpts from Chapter 8: Racing Ahead

We were intent on making a difference. My daughter-in-law often says that I like to make waves. So does Ellen [Cohen]! Together we united to create a tsunami. A vocal defender of sexual assault victims… (pg. 95)

It was a splendid ceremony, one that marked a middle-class “commoner” proving she was worthy of a prince. Letizia Ortiz represented the future of Spain in a progressive world. (pg.96)

I suppose that’s what reality is: a dream-like experience shattered with the clanging of an emergency. No wonder we lose ourselves in fairy tales. (pg. 97)

I recall being dropped off within walking distance amid a sea of protestors. I admit I was nervous—the protestors seemed very hostile—but I was also upset. While they may not have agreed with Reagan’s policies and actions as President, making a scene at his funeral was, more than anything, disrespectful. (pg. 97)

We [also] saluted our country, which we both held most dear. It was hard not to be affected, after having so recently said good-bye to an American President beloved by many. I remain impressed with Ronal Reagan to this day. He was able to connect with people and bridge differences. In this era of partisan bickering, our country could use someone like him. (pg. 99)

Michele (Mica) Mosbacher, widow of the 28th U.S. Secretary of Commerce and oilman Robert Mosbacher, Sr., was commissioned as an Honorary Consul of Iceland, Houston and Central Texas, in 2010 by the Foreign Ministry of Iceland. She is an author, motivational speaker and proud sponsor of Godstone Ranch Motorsports, a family professional motorsports team that races for charitable causes.

She currently serves on the boards of the Houston Ballet, University of
Houston; and was appointed by Governor Perry to the steering committee of the Aga Khan Foundation. Mica previously served as a director of the American Hospital Foundation, receiving the board’s highest honor presented by Ambassador Howard Leach at the United States Embassy in Paris.

Focused on education, Mica previously served as on the University of Houston’s Board of Regents and the board of Strake Jesuit Prepartory School. Mica implemented Best Friends, a character education program and the Raol Wallenberg Heroes program in the Houston Independent School District in the late 90s.

Mica has chaired numerous charitable fundraisers including Houston Ballet 
Ball, Woodrow Wilson Gala, Museum of Fine Arts Costume Institute and American Hospital of Paris Foundation. With her husband Bob, she co-chaired the M.D. Anderson Milestones and Miracles celebration, honoring President George H.W. Bush, that raised more than $10 million (a record at the time). M.D. Anderson Cancer Center’s pastoral outreach group honored Mica, and she was named Pacesetter of the Year by the Cancer Assistance League.

In April of 2011, Houston Mayor Anise Parker honored her with “Mica Mosbacher Day” for her initiation of the prominent public art installation, “On Tolerance,” featuring sculptures by world-class sculptor, Jaume Plensa.

In 2013, Mica was appointed by Her Majesty the Queen to the Order of St. John; in 2012 she was awarded the Silver Good Citizenship Medal, the highest honor from the Texas Society, Sons of the American Revolution. She was named Philanthropist of the Year in 2007 by TAASA (Texas Association Against Sexual Assault). Mica was named Knight Commander of the Order of King Francis I.

In 2008, Mica was inducted into the Greater Houston Women’s Chamber of Commerce Hall of Fame along with Barbara Bush and other prominent Houstonians. A journalist, she has received prestigious writing awards for feature articles. Her career began in 1972, when as an intern at KPRC-TV/NBC in Houston, she was among the first female reporters on camera and radio and while an intern, Mica acquired an exclusive interview during a famous murder trial. She later pursued a career in print journalism and freelance writing.

A longtime horse lover, Mica is a former champion in the American Saddleseat Amateur Walk-Trot Division. She won her first horse show at the Dallas State Fair riding J Miller and was trained by Charles Smith at Tri-Oaks Stables in Houston.

Active in political fundraising, Mica has served as a co-chair on many statewide and national campaigns.

Born in Gainesville, Florida, Mica resides in Houston and Austin.

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Monday, January 4, 2016

Monday Roundup: January 4 - 10

Bookish events in Texas for the week of January 4 - 10, 2016: 

Special Events:
Long-Bin Chen's The Book Garden sculpture exhibit, San Antonio, December 10 - February 20

Shakespeare in Print and Performance, Austin, December 21 - May 29

Sin Fronteras Independent Book Festival, McAllen, January 9

Texas Book Festival presents: Poets & Writers Live, Austin, January 9

Monday, January 4:
The Korova, PuroSlam! with DJ Donnie Dee, 10PM

Wednesday, January 6:
Bullock Museum, High Noon Talk: Bartee Hailie presents Texas Boomtowns: A History of Blood and Oil, 12PM

Malvern Books, Fantastical Fictions with Andrew Hilbert, 7PM

B&N - Lincoln Park, Jeff Abbott signs The First Order, 7PM

AvantGarden, Write About Now poetry open mic, 7:30PM

Brazos Bookstore, Sergio Waisman, translator, reads and signs TARGET IN THE NIGHT, 7PM

Thursday, January 7:
Cheer Up Charlie's, Everything Is Bigger Reading Series: poet J. Scott Brownlee presents his debut collection, Requiem for Used Ignition Cap, with Erin Belieu, 7PM

Malvern Books, an evening of poetry: Cecily Parks will read from O’Nights, Kristen Case will read from Little Arias, Stefania Heim will read from A Table That Goes On for Miles, and Marcela Sulak will read from Decency, 7PM

B&N - Lincoln Park, Sherrie Wilson signs Faith on Fire, 7PM

The Wild Detectives, Commemoration for Paris in Poetry, 7:30PM


Murder By the Book, Jeff Abbott will sign and discuss his newest Sam Capra mystery, The First Order, 6:30PM

San Antonio

Friday, January 8:
Saturday, January 9:

El Paso
BookPeople, CLANCY MARTIN speaking and signing Bad Sex and BRANDON CARO speaking & signing Old Silk Road, 4PM

BookWoman, Award-winning poet and short story writer, ire'ne lara silva, will be offering 30-minute manuscript consultations, 12:30PM

Malvern Books, Austin Writers Roulette presents “Leap & the Net Appears”, 4PM

The Writing Barn, Plot, Pulse, Story: Discovery-Based Writing with Visiting author Ashley Perez, 4PM

Half Price Books - Mother Ship, local author Paula Walker Baker will sell and sign her Christian Fiction book, The Conservative Congregant, 1PM

Writespace, Revision Made Simple Workshop with Matthew Salesses, 9:30AM

Half Price Books, local author Sheaniqua Clarkson will sell and sign her memoir, Life, Though I Walked Through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, 1PM

San Antonio