Everything in life has an ending, and today marks the last day of Lone Star Literary Life’s promotional tour for Palo Duro. My thanks go out to everyone involved in making it a success – the bloggers, reviewers, and coordinators, especially Kristine Hall who orchestrated the entire project.
The start of this journey began in 2015 when my wife and I made the trip to West Texas so that I could complete my research for the story. Visiting Palo Duro Canyon and the surrounding area left an indelible impression on me, and some of the memories of that trip are captured in the Scrapbook Page photos appearing in Books and Broomsticks.
If you have never visited the canyon or that part of the United States, I encourage you to go. Palo Duro Canyon is second only to the Grand Canyon in size and is just as majestic in its own right, and the West Texas plains are both vast and starkly beautiful.
The final entry in this tour is fittingly another review of my book by Ruthie Jones. For those of you considering whether to add Palo Duro to your reading list, look to the comments of other readers, not my own, as your guide.
The complete review can be accessed on Reading by Moonlight. Here is an excerpt –
“All the accounts in Palo Duro paint a bloody picture that the author neither sugarcoats nor glosses over. But the book also shows the many people on all sides who were filled with determination to build and preserve their culture and history (Native American) or promote and maintain their culture and way of life (white settlers, military, or just someone looking for a new life in the Wild West). And don’t skip the Afterwards as it provides a nice follow up on the real characters.
A big Thank You goes out to the author, Max L. Knight, for presenting this historical fiction of a volatile time in US History in such a unique and interesting fashion.”
Next to the last day. For me its been a fast and fun experience. I have especially appreciated the forthright reviews of Palo Duro. Someone once said “there is no pride in authorship.” That is not true… I certainly take to heart all comments about substance, style, and grammar. It is the only way to move forward as a writer.
Today’s review comes from Kristine Hall. The following is an excerpt from her website, Hall Ways Blog.
HALL WAYS REVIEW: ✪✪✪✪
“In Palo Duro, readers are given thirteen sub-books, each focusing on a historical event or person(s), as related to the Southwest of the 1800s. The events and people tend to weave in and out of the bigger novel because they are all connected in some form or fashion. While initially, some of the stories seem to be irrelevant (but highly entertaining and immensely interesting), author Max Knight makes sure readers know that nothing is randomly placed in Palo Duro.”
As a former school teacher, Kristine Hall does point out the misuse of semi-colons and quotation marks in the book, commenting…
“I don’t imagine there are many who are distracted by a misused semi-colon or quotation marks, but anyone who reads my reviews knows it’s my curse/blessing.”
Such attention to detail is not only warranted, but much appreciated!
There are only a few more days left on this promotion tour for Palo Duro. As we wind down there are always new projects to pursue and even a few more insights into past inspiration and future publications.
The Clueless Gent offers an interview in which I discuss my next book, Tarnished Brass, a look at U.S. involvement in El Salvador in the mid 1980s and the rise of the violent street gang, Mara Salvatrucha. Several news articles lately have addressed Justice Department efforts to eradicate gang violence in the United States, but little is known about this largely forgotten war and the origins of MS-13.
Finally, if you enjoy listening to Spotify, there is also a playlist in Tangled in Text where listeners can enjoy epic musical scores linked to the subject matter in Palo Duro. Though temperatures are expected to rise in Texas today, it is still frigid out there, so settle in another day and stay warm while listening to selections from some of the greatest movies ever made about westward expansion.
Conditions throughout Texas today are frigid. An arctic cold front blew in last night bringing freezing temperatures, rain, sleet and ice. So it is certainly a good day to stay inside, warm yourself by the fire, be safe, and enjoy a good book.
To that end, if a copy of Palo Duro has not yet found its way into your library, I offer the following excerpt from today’s review to peak your interest.
“Only one thing about her new life bothered Molly – the continued slaughter of the buffalo. The hunters killed the cows leaving the calves to starve to death. Their cries as they stayed by the dead carcasses of their mothers could be heard across the prairie and their pitiful bawling moved her to action.”
With that one paragraph Max L. Knight captures the wantless destruction of the buffalo from the Western landscape. In his novel, Palo Duro, he retells the horrific, savage wars and interactions between Indians and government soldiers. It also recounts cattle drives, Buffalo Soldiers, to the beginnings of the Texas Rangers.
Click on this link for the complete review from Forgotten Winds.
Homeward stretch, with two entries for you today…
If you read the review from Texan Girl Reads yesterday, it referenced two of the central characters in my novel, Charles Goodnight and Quanah Parker, and the deal struck between the Texas Cattleman and the Comanche War Chief.
“The thing that I found was very cool was the deal that Charles Goodnight made with Quanah. But y’all just have to read this book to see what I’m talking about!”
Spoiler alert! Today’s post in The Page Unbound contains an excerpt from the book that takes you to this meeting between the two antagonists and reveals their agreement. Of course, though you now know what she was talking about, I still hope you’ll read the book to put the event in context and understand how the arrangement turned mortal enemies into lifelong friends.
And, for those of you interested in more about me, A Novel Reality offers Favorites, Part 2, with entries on Destinations, Leisure Activity, Cuisine, Culture, Location, Sport, and Team. By the way, the last category shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. Gig ‘Em Aggies!
We’re at the midway point of the tour and today’s entry is another review from Texan Girl Reads.
Here are a couple of comments from her post –
“Palo Duro is the story of not just Palo Duro, the place, but of the people that made the entire area around it famous! The book is a fast paced read with tons of real-life action from the 1860s to the late 1880s.
If you are into history but most importantly, history set in the Texas Panhandle and Oklahoma, you have to read this book.”
Be sure to read the complete review by clicking on the above link, then check in tomorrow as the 2nd half of the tour gets underway!
I’ve commented before about the importance of reviews to authors who are relatively new to the publishing world; not just those that laud the finished work, but those that offer constructive criticism to improve any future endeavors. Some writers are “one and done,” but most aspire to continue offering their stories and knowing how readers perceive their efforts is important to the creative process.
Today’s blog tour entry is the latest review of Palo Duro. Here are some excerpts –
“Right off the bat, I noticed that this historical fiction novel reads an awful lot like a history book. Not one of those dry, fact-listing history books, but one that was written by an academic author with a bit of an imagination. When Knight is in this mode of writing, his descriptions go beyond the surface skimming details of most historical fiction books. The colorful descriptions range from the beauty and simplicity of Native American family life to the horrible, clinical depictions of warfare.
I have a few minor criticisms: Sectioning the novel into books and chapters was a little odd. And then there was the even odder decision to put all of the book and chapter titles in quotation marks. If it were up to me, I would have divided the novel differently so that some sections didn’t seem so sparse while others bloated. Overall, a great read wrapped in a beautiful cover. It’s not very often that I feel like I’ve learned so much from a historical novel.”
My thanks to Missus Gonzo. For the complete review, please check out her website.