Sunday, September 25, 2016

Texas Books on Tour with Lone Star Lit Book Blog Tour

So, I haven't started with the tour yet, but here are some books that have caught my attention. Remember, to be included on the blog tours, these books all have at least one Texas link (location, author, publisher).

First, here is a video interview of Yvonne Georgina Puig, author of A Wife of Noble Character, which I thought was really good and made me want to read her book (especially after liking the first chapter). It's set in Houston! (Among other locations).  To learn more, click the link here:  Video on Texas Book Lover Blog    (AND THEN COME BACK FOR MORE).

Here is a link to a coloring book by Annette Bridges that I think is darling.  This tour is still open for about another 24 hours, so you could win a copy and some other swag!  (You can enter by clicking the link, and you can find out even more about it through the link).  Here is the excerpt of Oh How the Year's Fly By! on  It's a Jen's World

Now, last week I mentioned on my Facebook page the Tour for The Republic of Football, by Chad S. Conine. A couple of you Parisians entered and won copies.  This tour is over, but I've seen this book in great displays, such as at Bookpeople in Austin.  It looks good.  Here is a link to a great interview of the author posted on Blogging for the Love of Authors and Their Books

And finally, one that is on tour right now that looks like the perfect fun while we are waiting on those temperatures to dip.  Here is a review of Murder in G Major, by Alexia Gordon.  Review by Forgotten Winds, on the Texas Book Blogger Tour

El Paso, by Winston Groom (Of Forrest Gump)

Speaking of books about Texas, there are a few looming on the publishing horizon, such as Winston Groom's El Paso, which is expected to be published October 4.

Winston Groom wrote Forrest Gump, and a number of other war stories since then, including one I read in the last few years about how LaFitte, the infamous pirate, helped Andrew Jackson win the Battle of New Orleans in the War of 1812. (It was very good.)

I'm glad I got the Advance Reader's copy of El Paso, it was a fun read.

Groom writes war stories, and the war story of El Paso is none other than the Mexican uprising led by Pancho Villa.

This is the picture of Pancho Villa that I still see all over our Tex Mex restaurants. Ok, actually, its the picture with my alter ego reacting to reading about Villa, and trail drives just like it.

But its not just about Pancho Villa. In fact, the book takes a bit of time getting set up, as the many Americans who are swept into the story make their way to El Paso and beyond.  

One thing I found interesting about the book is the fact that there is an uprising as depicted above, all while man was already flying, and while World War I was a killing machine.  Somewhat like Texas, what you get in El Paso is everything from family life to Cowboys, and Indians, and Africans and Patton, and baron robbers, and horses, and airplanes, and snakes and bears, and guns and matadors, and love and loss.  A definite box of chocolates all wrapped up together. Its a fun, page turning read.

Here is the book blurb:

Long fascinated with the Mexican Revolution and the vicious border wars of the early twentieth century, Winston Groom brings to life a much-forgotten period of history in this sprawling saga of heroism, injustice, and love. An episodic novel set in six parts, El Paso pits the legendary Pancho Villa, a much-feared outlaw and revolutionary, against a thrill-seeking railroad tycoon known as the Colonel, whose fading fortune is tied up in a colossal ranch in Chihuahua, Mexico. But when Villa kidnaps the Colonel’s grandchildren in the midst of a cattle drive, and absconds into the Sierra Madre, the aging New England patriarch and his adopted son head to El Paso, hoping to find a group of cowboys brave enough to hunt the Generalissimo down.

Replete with gunfights, daring escapes, and an unforgettable bullfight, El Paso, with its textured blend of history and legend, becomes an indelible portrait of the American Southwest in the waning days of the frontier.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

On Joining the Lone Star Book Blog Tours Team

In addition to my regular posts, you'll soon be seeing me post blogs here and there about books written:

* By a Texas Author; 
* About Texas / with a Texas Setting;  or
* By Texas Publishers.

I'll be doing this as a part of the Lone Star Book Blog Tours Team.  I am excited about it, and here is why.  

I've noticed over a number of years that Texas seems to be pushed further and further from our national literary scene.  If I only obtained my book recommendations from the New York publishing scene and those that support it, I'm not even sure I would know there was much more to America than the come of age NYC story, with the occasional fiction or nonfiction current hip offering, the last Oprah pick, the last mega star memoir or biography, and the attempt to chase last year's big book. 

If I sound a bit bitter about this, I am.  

I love my country, and all those types of books I just mentioned, but I also think we Texans are not done exploring ourselves, and the world is also not done with us. But if we all can't find the material, if we don't know it is out there, then we have all lost out. Our voices are not heard and are disregarded.  We then become completely invisible to ourselves and to others.    

It seems that the mega literary scene answer to this is that they can't sell our books.  And yet, this year, with same book after same book being offered and touted by those folks, there isn't a national break out best seller.  

Hmmm.  I wonder why. 

I have also noticed that, for a while now, just about the only thing it is alright to be racist and bigoted about is the South.  This is disappointing at best.  

And the West?  It is just forgotten, or its history ignored and rewritten. We should resist this; we must fight this.  If we rewrite our histories, if we ignore them, then we have a chance of repeating our failures instead of growing from them.  We have a chance of not understanding our victories, and then we can't carry those "can do" moments with us. 

Take this example:  I recently was excited to pick up a non fiction book about the persons who were influential in making American a shore to shore country.  But, the above thought was already planted in my head, so I checked out the index before purchasing it, just in case.

Would you believe that Sam Houston isn't even mentioned?   

Unbelievable. I'm not quite sure how NY/California think they got connected, but I am without a doubt that without Sam Houston, they would never have been. He was not a fluke. He was the real deal.  His life experiences created him for the Texas moment, and for the US expansion moment. Texans, it is wrong to forget him or discount him, and we should not sit back and let it happen.  

And that is just one example. 

So, I have noticed this, but didn't know what to do about it other than to make a big effort to find books that speak to me and my fellow Texans, even while I am also reading the "popular" darlings. 

That is when Twitter somehow connected me with Lone Star Literary group, who run the Lone Star Book Blog Tours Team.   

I checked them out and really liked what I saw.  They are dedicated to helping the world know that Texas does still have literary offerings. They are dedicated to connecting Texas readers and writers with the publishing scene and all that goes with it.  I definitely want to be a part of that.  

My first official blog with the tour won't be until October.  But they are already re-broadening my horizons back home, so I've started sharing the material that I am seeing.  It's good stuff, books that I think you all will be interested in reading and seeing, probably even more so than the ones I work so hard to bring to you. Through these books, we will be able to connect to our own experiences, and know that we are not alone. 

So that is why I am so excited about it.

Here is a link to my new friend Kristine Hall's blog that shows what is currently on tour. Also you can check out the new blogs I am following that I found through this group.

The tours offer both freebies and information. Take advantage of those offerings because entering is a breeze, and you just might win one.  Even if you don't, you may end up deciding you can't live without purchasing that book, which will make me glad that together we've supported the literary scene of our great State. (Be sure to tell me if you read anything you end up loving!)

Our Texas is worth it.