Come Rain, Come Shine. By Jack B. Bedell.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
The Texas Review Press, over at
Myths of Electricity. By Kevin Meaux.
Meaux, born and educated in the
Three Perfect Men. By Evelyn Palfrey.
Evelyn Palfrey, a successful novelist of
A murder victim washes ashore. The usually self-contained women scream, shoot at the neighbors, drop lures and reject the men's lines and bobbers. The ensuing mystery provides a plot-line of small town politics and drug-trade, with twists and surprises, while the novelist performs the more intriguing task of revealing each of the sextet's personages, each with a secret wound only a true love can heal.
Three Perfect is the first of a trilogy of three college roommates, 25 years later. The next two are The Price of Passion, and Dangerous Dilemmas via Simon & Schuster. Palfrey's contribution to East Texana fiction draw from her nativity, SMU and UT Law School education, and, one presumes, some natural feminine wiles acquired by life. Readers beyond the Pine Pale will enjoy her tales representing a fuller range of life in the trees in this pluralist social ménage.
The German Settlement of the Texas Hill Country. By Jefferson Morgenthaler. Boerne: Mockingbird Books, 2007. 214 pages, notes, bibliography, index, softbound, 6" x 9", ISBN 978-1-932801-09-5 http://mockingbirdbooks.com $18.95
A quick survey of the volume may lead the awkward reader to some conclusions with some inaccuracy. For instance, as the
So several hundred Germans invaded at Matagorda Bay, drove up the Guadalupe River, tried to settle in at the designated locale, found they'd been "baited" with good advertising to a harsh land with loud neighbors (the Comanche just wouldn't abide by the neighborhood association's deed restrictions), "switched" to preferred locales, established New Braunfels, Fredericksburg, Boerne, Sisterdale, and Comfort, did rather well, even with a few Freethinkers along the way, found themselves beset by ruffians who wished to force acceptance of slavery and rebellion against the Union, got into a serious dust-up on the Nueces followed by a massacre, emerged from the scrapes, did rather well, and now populate the Texas Hill Country, finding freedom, education, democracy, and assimilation into Texan culture quite okay, thank you.
A calmer survey reveals Morgenthaler has strung together readable chapters of the 1840s-1860's successful colonization lead by a few German aristocrats via their Adelsverein organization, and their usually more common Germans. Morgenthaler goes beyond the usual stories of Prince Carl of Solms-Braunfels, Fredinand Roemer, John Musenbach, and Henry Fisher. He gets under the Fachwerk housing, reads the Neu-Braunfelser Zeitung, and mixes with the Fortiers, the Forty-eighters, and Fourierists.
Folks will find many tales of their early families tucked into the story as evidence.
Lillie Davenport: Pioneer Mother. By Mary Lou Midkiff, with a foreword by Elmer Kelton.
If Elmer Kelton likes it, well, it's pretty good read. This grassroots family story is about Lillie (1877-1972), a Georgian woman in
Life for the
The author knows some about the Midkiff's because she earlier wrote Midkiff: A
John Kuhn is a founding co-editor of Fear and Trembling Magazine. His book's funny, quirky. Demonstrate how easily you can transition from your urbane, sedate lifestyle. Spruce up your conversation with references to over 100 eccentric Texans. And the categories are "Bizarre Businesspeople" with Jeff Bezos, Howard Hughes, H.L. Hunt, etc., "Peculiar Politicians" with Judge Roy Bean, Kinky Friedman, Ron Paul, etc., "Strange Sports Figures" with Mark Cuban, George Foreman, Dennis Rodman, etc., "Atypical Artists" with Gatemouth Brown, Janis Joplin, Anna Nichol Smith, etc., and "Other Oddballs" with Boxcar Willie, Wrong Way Corrigan, Carlos Esparza, Wolfman Jack, etc. And more you don't know, unless you're already kinda strange.
Or get the book for the kids, especially the normal kids. Each quick bio is headed by notes on the person's name, life dates,
See some of Kuhn's other publications at
The Sons of the
Joe Erickson provides the introductory essay on colonial history. Thereafter, a documented history on the Sons follows; along with the smaller group, the Knights of the Order of San Jacinto, with a directory of those members of 1941 onward. The bulk of the volume is a biographical directory of many, about 300, members of the SRT, old and new. These entries are enriched with photos of portraits, group shots, maps, headstones, historical markers, and homesteads. The biographies range from full pages to short memorial statements, including Robert Wynn Blanton (among the several cited Blanton Sons) who after World War II died, while still a young man and a sophomore student at SMU, of drowning in
Robert Reed has lived in the Piney Woods of Tyler for a life-time and took his education at
This pictorial book with its keen captioning takes the reader's eye on a journey from the 1850's to the 1960's.
The cover shows a parade scene with a float of eight
The captions are instructive in their approximate 50 word limit. Folks in
Golly! Look at this! I sure did. The first two times through the book I hardly read a single line of the text. The many movie posters, advertisements, book jackets, images of paraphernalia, comic book shots, theatrical playbills, Golden Book imagery, glamour shots, sheet music covers and the like just lure this viewer from page to page like I was a young boy back in
It's not just Gene Autry, Dale Evans, Trigger, the Lone Ranger, Cisco, and Hoppy. Barson goes back to Tom Mix, William Desmond, Errol Flynn, Randolph Scott, and the rest of the gang.
The text includes summaries of maybe 200 films and so forth, with industry history. Even John Wayne went through dry spell before his ascension to the throne. Surely you remember The Magnificent Seven came from the Japanese Seven Samurai. And that Hud came from McMurtry's first novel, Horseman, Pass By. Barson's essay on the once Western dominance of the small screen will leave any reader amazed.
Barson does miss reference to some main points. My father almost certainly was a consultant to the development of the character Ward Bond in the television show, Wagon Train, or so it seemed to me. Nor does he recount how each week at the opening scene of the televised Gunsmoke, young boys across the nation stood in the middle of the room, drew their gun against Matt Dillion, and crumpled to the floor, taken down in the showdown with the law. But forgive Barson such, and get this book before the
Saturday, May 2, 2009
The Dark Phanton begins the commentary with "
I have the greatest pleasure of introducing you today to Rebeca Gomez Galindo, author of the short story collection, Habitantes de mi tiempo (Inhabitants Of My Time). Rebeca is a former vice-president of The Society of Hispanic and Latino Writers of San Antonio and a member of The Writer's League of Texas. Currently, she's working on a romantic suspense novel in English.
Thanks for being here today, Rebeca. Why don't you start by telling us a little about your collection of surreal short stories, Habitantes de mi tiempo."
Read more at
Straight from Hel, Ginger begins her interview with Sylvia Smith by commenting, "Today, we welcome best-selling author, Sylvia Dickey Smith. She writes the Sidra Smart mystery series. Her series is set in Southeast Texas in the area where Sylvia herself grew up. That area of Texas is unique in its mix of people, from Cajuns to Dutch descendants to the Scots-Irish. As you might guess, her books are filled with lively characters and the area itself becomes something of a character."