Wednesday, August 30, 2017


If you're looking for ways to help in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, here are a few literary suggestions:

KidLit Cares: Our Hurricane Harvey Relief Effort

The Book Industry Charitable Foundation (BINC): Help for Booksellers

Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) will donate books:…

Scholastic will also donate from their "Possible Fund":

Simon & Schuster to the rescue:

Now there's a Hurricane Harvey Book Club:…/hurricane-harvey-book-club-helping-…

SCWBI North Texas online auction:

Texas Authors Hurricane Harvey relief fund:

Book Riot:


Go here to assist damaged Texas libraries: Texas Library Association Disaster Relief Fund


Buy Books! A percentage of the proceeds from sales at the following stores (and online) will be donated to Harvey relief:

Brazos Bookstore, Houston, Texas

Interabang Books, Dallas, Texas

Astoria Bookshop, Queens, New York

Coffee House Press, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Point Reyes Books, Point Reyes, California


If you live in Little Rock, go pay your overdue books fine:…/overdue-book-fees-being-do…/468976285

Y'all please use comments to add to this list. Thank you!

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Hurricane Harvey Disaster Relief for Texas Libraries


The following was lifted from the Disaster Relief Committee's page at the Texas Library Association website:

"The Texas Library Association stands ready to provide assistance to any libraries that are damaged by the storm. A list of recovery resources is posted on our website and our Disaster Relief Fund awards grants to libraries to help in recovery efforts. 
If you'd like to help fellow librarians impacted by the storm, please consider purchasing a TLA Coloring Book ($10 for a set of two). Proceeds from coloring books sales benefit the Disaster Relief Fund. You can also donate online directly to the Disaster Relief Fund."

Quick Links:

Disaster Recovery Resources

Apply for Disaster Relief Grant

Purchase TLA Coloring Book, benefiting the Disaster Relief Fund

Donate Online to the Disaster Relief Fund

Monday, August 28, 2017

Monday Roundup: TEXAS LITERARY CALENDAR 8/28-9/3

Bookish events in Texas for the week of August 28-September 3, 2017: 

Ongoing Exhibits:
Illustrator of the Century Garth Williams, Abilene, June 8-September 1

George Catlin's North American Indian Portfolio, San Antonio, June 23-September 4

Voces Americanas: Latino Literature in the United States (a Humanities Texas exhibit), Plano, September 1-29

Of Texas Rivers and Texas Art, San Antonio, September 2-November 27

Monday, August 28:
Blue Willow Bookshop, Cassie Beasley will sign her new book, TUMBLE AND BLUE, 5PM

Katy Budget Books, NYT Bestselling author Kerrelyn Sparks presents So I Married a Sorcerer, the sequel to How to Tame a Beast in Seven Days, 6PM

San Antonio
The Korova, Puroslam with DJ Donnie Dee!, 9:30PM

Wednesday, August 30:
Avant Garden, Write About Now Poetry Slam, 7:30PM

Murder By the Book, T. Jefferson Parker will sign and discuss The Room of White Fire, 6:30PM

Thursday, August 31:
Poison Girl, Poison Pen Reading Series featuring BJ Love, Elizabeth Lyons, and Daniel Pena, 8:30PM

Sugar Land
Brazos Bookstore, Sergio Pitol’s Trilogy of Memory: A Love Letter to Literature with translator George Henson, 7PM

Writespace, Workshop: "Jumpstart Your Writing" with Andreana Binder, 1PM

Half Price Books, Local Author Saturdays: Meet local Indie authors and pick up their latest release!, while supplies last

Round Rock
Round Rock Public Library, SCBWI-Austin presents "Picture Book Illustrators Writing Workshop" with Andy Rash, 8:30AM

San Antonio
The Twig Book Shop, Marcedes Fuller signs While You Were Out From Work - Life Application and Transformation, 11AM

B&N - Town Square, Paige Whitmire signing Success In the Face of Change, 1PM

Sunday, September 3:

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Review: THE BLINDS by Adam Sternbergh

I reviewed The Blinds: A Novel (Ecco Books) by Adam Sternbergh for Lone Star Literary Life. This novel is an original fusion of mystery, comedy, procedural, suspense, and western, seasoned with a bit of science fiction — The Sopranos meets The Andy Griffith Show meets The Twilight Zone. Seriously.

Adam Sternbergh
The Blinds: A Novel
Hardcover, 978-0-0626-6134-0, (also available as an e-book, an audio book, and on audio CD), 400 pgs., $26.99
August 1, 2017


Those are the rules in Caesura (rhymes with “Tempura”), Texas (aka The Blinds), population forty-eight, located somewhere outside Amarillo, enclosed by a fourteen-foot fence. A twist on the United States Federal Witness Protection Program (WITSEC), the population of Caesura are criminals (some are a “coiled trap,” others are “more like a malfunctioning valve, a faulty weld, a crack in a storage tank leaking toxins”). But they don’t know that. A shadowy organization called the Fell Institute has perfected a method to wipe our memories, and made a deal with the U.S. Marshals to conduct a cruel neurological and psychological experiment. All has been peaceful in Caesura for eight years, but now there are two bodies, both shot to death.

The Blinds: A Novel is the latest from Edgar-nominated author Adam Sternbergh. This novel is an original fusion of mystery, comedy, procedural, suspense, and western, seasoned with a bit of science fiction — The Sopranos meets The Andy Griffith Show meets The Twilight Zone.

Sternbergh has a lot of fun naming his characters: Each new citizen of Caesura is required to choose a new name using two lists; one list is the names of movie stars, the other is names of United States vice presidents. The result is characters named Spiro Mitchum and Doris Agnew, which had me giggling regularly.

These characters are numerous and diverse, but because of the lack of backstories due to the memory wipes, they can’t be complex, making identifying with them and caring about them challenging. There are a few exceptions. Sheriff Calvin Cooper, our anti-hero who’s never had to load his sidearm until now, is given to rambling interior monologues. Sidney Dawes is Cooper’s new deputy. She’s officious, ambitious, and insubordinate. Fran Adams, former love interest of Cooper, is the only resident with a child, eight-year-old Isaac, born in Caesura. Fran’s only memento of her previous life, other than Isaac, is a tattoo of a series of numbers encircling her wrist.

The Blinds takes place over five days, but Sternbergh takes too long building to the action, and when the action begins the unrelenting violence becomes tedious. But the plot is intricate and creative, the foreshadowing is hair-raising, the twists whiplash-inducing. And you have to appreciate a plot that employs Susan Sontag essays as a major clue.

Sternbergh can turn a phrase. During a town meeting, the “crowd pulsates in the heat, murmuring, fluid and combustible.” In the bar, “a defeated ceiling fan begins its exhausted rotation.” When the climactic action begins, “The silences after the shots are the worst part. Then more shots, sharp reports, getting closer,” a resident thinks, “Like the knock of a census-taker, stopping at every door on the block, approaching yours.” Channeling Davy Crockett, Cooper says, “Let me stress that, despite the perimeter fence and the various rules, your residency here is not a punishment. You are not in jail. You are not in hell. You are in Texas.”

The Blinds is about community, retribution (“a distant relative of justice”), the possibility of redemption, and the role memory plays in identity. There’s more than meets the eye to The Blinds.

Originally published in Lone Star Literary Life.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Monday Roundup: TEXAS LITERARY CALENDAR 8/21-27

Bookish events in Texas for the week of August 21-27, 2017: 

Special Events:
TEDx Sugar Land, August 26

Tulisoma South Dallas Book Fair & Arts Festival, August 26

Ongoing Exhibits:
Illustrator of the Century Garth Williams, Abilene, June 8-September 1
Monday, August 21:
Black Labrador, Houston Writers House social featuring author Kathleen M. Rodgers, 6:30PM

San Antonio
The Korova, Puroslam with DJ Donnie Dee!, 9:30PM

Wednesday, August 23:
Thursday, August 24:

Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, Words & Art: Reading featuring Houston-based authors and poets sharing new works inspired by the exhibition “A Better Yesterday”, 6:30PM

Murder By the Book, Christopher Brown will sign and discuss Tropic of Kansas, Patrick Hemstreet will sign and discuss The God Peak, and Marina Lostetter will sign and discuss Noumenon, 6:30PM

Sugar Land

El Paso
B&N - Fountains at Farah, Deep In The Shadows book signing with Hipolito Acosta, 1PM

El Paso Public Library - Memorial Park, Tumblewords Project Workshop: "Restoring Silence" with Kit Wren, 12:45PM

Galveston Bookshop, Elliott Turner signs The Night of the Virgin, 2PM

B&N - Firewheel Mall, Eddie Morrison and Bill Keith discuss and sign They Call Me Eddie Morrison: Cherokee National Treasure, 2PM

B&N - River Oaks, Joan Murray signs I MUST Pray, 2PM

Blue Willow Bookshop, Michelle Tam will sign her new cookbook, READY OR NOT!, the newest in her NOM NOM PALEO series, 1PM

Blue Willow Bookshop, annual Texas Poetry Calendar reading!, 4PM

Half Price Books - Clear Lake, Local Author Saturdays: Meet local Indie authors and pick up their latest release, while supplies last
UT - Stark Center for Physical Culture, Don Tate launches his new book, STRONG AS SANDOW: HOW EUGEN SANDOW BECAME THE STRONGEST MAN ON EARTH, 3PM


Friday, August 18, 2017

Promo: WHEELS OF JUSTICE by Vickie Phelps

The Redwood Series, Volume 2

Vickie Phelps

Genre: Christian Romantic Suspense
Date of Publication: July 18, 2017
Number of Pages: 324
Scroll down for Giveaway!

When Connie Knight applies for a job at McKinney’s Fine Cars in her hometown of Redwood, Texas, she has no idea what she’s getting into. Buford McKinney is a mean, evil bully who thinks women are the ground God made for men to walk on. The only reason she stays at McKinney’s is the fear of being without a paycheck and ending up homeless. And then there’s Rick McKinney, Buford’s son. In spite of his daddy’s contempt for Connie, Rick is attracted to her and Connie to him. But will their feelings for each other be enough to keep Connie safe? Just how far will Buford go to get rid of her?

"Great book, read it through in one sitting since I couldn’t put it down.  Very real, strong characters, and satisfying ending. An easy book to recommend." – Terry Burns, author of The Badge and the Bible series and The Sheriff.


VOLUME ONE IN THE REDWOOD SERIES: Postmark from the Past  
In November 1989, Emily Patterson is enjoying a quiet life in West Texas. She lives in the same house she grew up in, has a great job, and good friends. But emptiness nips at her heart. Then a red envelope appears in her mailbox. It’s a letter from Mark who declares his love for her, and promises to come to her if he makes it home alive. But who is Mark? She flips the envelope over, but there is no return address and it is postmarked 1968. Over the next few days more letters mysteriously appear in her mailbox and odd things start happening. Is someone playing a cruel joke? Her friends say it is the season for miracles. As Emily seeks to solve the mystery, can she risk her heart to find a miracle in the Postmark from the Past?


Vickie Phelps writes to encourage, inspire, and influence. She has published 200 articles, devotionals, and essays in more than fifty magazines and contributed to several anthologies. Vickie is the author of the novels, Postmark From the Past, Moved, Left No Address, Waiting for Joy, and a devotional book, Psalms for the Common Man. Vickie is coauthor with Jo Huddleston of the gift book, Simply Christmas, and Writing 101: A Handbook of Tips & Encouragement for Writers. 


THREE WINNERS: 1st: Signed copy of Wheels of Justice; 2nd: eBook of Postcard from the Past; 3rd: eBook of Wheels of Justice
AUGUST 16-23, 2017

blog tour services provided by: