Slanted Light: Lone Star Book Blog Tour – Author Interview

SLANTED LIGHT
Jackson’s Pond Texas Series, Book 2
by
Teddy Jones
 
Genre: Literary Fiction / Family Saga / Western Women / Rural Fiction 
Publication Date: August 21, 2020
Number of Pages: 275
 
 Scroll down for the giveaway!
 

Teddy Jones’s earlier novel, Jackson’s Pond, Texas, began the saga of the Jackson family. Now, Slanted Light continues their tale. 

 
Claire Havlicek’s late night call brings her brother Chris Banks from his home in New Mexico back to the town that bears their family name, Jackson’s Pond. She’s collapsed under the weight of threats to her thirteen-year marriage that have undermined her confidence and her will. Her husband, J. D., responds to seduction by a woman in need; theft and the threat of a forced buyout jeopardize Claire’s two medical clinics; drought imperils their ranch and cattle business; a teenage daughter turns to bulimia. 
 
When Claire admits her limits, her grandmother, Willa Jackson, and the other members of her family help her learn that being human, weaknesses and all, can be a source of strength and joy.
 
 
 
 

Interview with Teddy Jones, author of Slanted Light

 What made you decide to write a sequel?

Many people who enjoyed Jackson’s Pond, Texas commented that they wondered what happened next. At first, I answered that I had no idea. But after some time, I realized I wondered that, too.

What if? That’s the fiction writer’s most important question and a prime motivator for me. So, I began making notes, thinking about Willa Jackson, who was the focal character in Jackson’s Pond, Texas; about her daughter, Melanie; and about Claire, wondering what happened next in their lives. Of course, it wasn’t possible to think about those women without asking the same question about other family members. The only way to know what happened to that family, it seemed, was to write. As I wrote, the things that happened, the possibilities that events created, came to me almost faster than I could get them on paper.

I was never stuck without something to write about next; there was so much the characters “told me” that I had to begin keeping up with events and people on a story board of sorts. In the more typical sense of that term, the story board is a planning aid, a graphic organizer for planning a story. But my organizer was not a plan but a way for me to keep track of what was happening with the members of Willa’s family—not an outline, but a map of discovery.

What was the hardest part of writing this book?

The hardest part of writing Slanted Light was overcoming my tendency to make the characters’ lives easy, happy, having everyone get along. One of my mentors pointed to that tendency in my writing early on. He said, “You love your characters and want their lives to be happy. But lives that are constantly happy don’t make good fiction.” I took that guidance to heart. My stories have conflict and tough situations and even some peril and death. But it’s not easy for me to do that to the characters I’ve come to know.

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

I enjoyed a great deal of the background research for Slanted Light, and the process of seeing the whole come together from the parts is always invigorating. But to choose one thing I enjoyed most in writing Slanted Light, I would say it was seeing Claire develop as a professional and as a woman who, at thirty-four, has accomplished a great deal; watching her cope with the conflicts she encounters; and seeing her, with the help of her family, grow as a person. I admit it—I want her and her family to be happy.

Do you have a mantra for writing and/or life?

I do. Thanks for asking. It is this: Every day, the two most important things are to learn something and to do some good for others.

Teddy Jones is the author of three other published novels, Halfwide, Jackson’s Pond, Texas, and Well Tended, as well as a collection of short stories, Nowhere Near. Her short fiction received the Gold Medal First Prize in the Faulkner-Wisdom competition in 2015. Jackson’s Pond, Texas was a finalist for the 2014 Willa Award in contemporary fiction from Women Writing the West. Her as-yet-unpublished novel, Making It Home, was a finalist in the Faulkner-Wisdom competition in 2017 and “A Good Family” was named a finalist in that contest in 2018.
 
Jones grew up in Iowas Park, a small Texas town. She has worked as a nurse, a nurse educator, a nursing-college administrator, and as a nurse practitioner in Texas, Colorado, and New Mexico. For the past twenty years, she and her husband have lived in the rural West Texas Panhandle, where he farms and she writes.
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8/25/20
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8/25/20
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8/26/20
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8/26/20
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8/27/20
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8/28/20
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8/29/20
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8/30/20
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8/31/20
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9/1/20
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9/2/20
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9/3/20
Review
 
 
 
 
 
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All Things Left Wild: Lone Star Book Blog Tour – Review

ALL THINGS LEFT WILD
by
James Wade

Genre: Adventure / Rural Fiction / Coming of Age
Publisher: Blackstone Publishing
Publication Date: June 16, 2020
Number of Pages: 304 pages

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After an attempted horse theft goes tragically wrong, sixteen-year-old Caleb Bentley is on the run with his mean-spirited older brother across the American Southwest at the turn of the twentieth century. Caleb’s moral compass and inner courage will be tested as they travel the harsh terrain and encounter those who have carved out a life there, for good or ill. 

Wealthy and bookish Randall Dawson, out of place in this rugged and violent country, is begrudgingly chasing after the Bentley brothers. With little sense of how to survive, much less how to take his revenge, Randall meets Charlotte, a woman experienced in the deadly ways of life in the West. Together they navigate the murky values of vigilante justice.


Powerful and atmospheric, lyrical and fast-paced, All Things Left Wild is a coming-of-age for one man, a midlife odyssey for the other, and an illustration of the violence and corruption prevalent in our fast-expanding country. It artfully sketches the magnificence of the American West as mirrored in the human soul.

PRAISE for All Things Left Wild:
“A debut full of atmosphere and awe. Wade gives emotional depth to his dust-covered characters and creates an image of the American West that is harsh and unforgiving, but — like All Things Left Wild — not without hope.” — Texas Literary Hall of Fame member Sarah Bird, Daughter of a Daughter of a Queen

“James Wade has delivered a McCarthy-esque odyssey with an Elmore Leonard ear for dialogue. All Things Left Wild moves like a coyote across this cracked-earth landscape—relentlessly paced and ambitiously hungry.” — Edgar Award finalist David Joy, When These Mountains Burn

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Review
Five-Stars
     
     All Things Left Wild is a remarkable debut novel by a very gifted author. Written in a style reminiscent of Cormac McCarthy, it deals with issues of life and death in a world where people endure rather than prevail, where morality doesn’t exist, and where violent acts are so horrific that innocence is forever lost and salvation beyond reach.
     The story is set in Arizona, New Mexico, and on both sides of the Rio Grande in Mexico and Texas. It is a vast, rugged, treacherous, yet sublimely beautiful landscape. James Wade writes for visual impact and his descriptions of this part of the world conjure indelible breathtaking images of a pristine unchanging land corrupted only by the lawlessness and cruelty of man.
     There are but two natures, one is man’s – human nature – and the other is nature itself from which we have separated ourselves.
     Caleb Bentley and Randal Dawson are the two main characters in this exploration of men’s souls. Both are tragically linked by the death of Dawson’s twelve year old son. In a botched horse theft, Caleb accidentally kills the boy and now desperately seeks forgiveness and redemption as he flees across the American Southwest. If he can escape, he hopes to… never give another thought to all these things left wild.
     Randall is in pursuit, out for vengeance to somehow prove his manhood, but ill-prepared for the journey over unforgiving terrain or the lawlessness and violence that he encounters along the way that will change him into that which he loathes.
     He would become all things that he hated and thus grow to hate himself, and in that hate he would find the only solace left to him. He would let it fester and rot until every trace of his humanity became consumed by blackness. If the world was full of monsters, he would
become one.
     James Wade’s personal and direct style of writing, his passionate voice, elaborate dialogue, poetic language, and unapologetic graphic depictions of pure evil are hypnotic. There are passages with so much lyricism in them that I found myself reading and re-reading them over and over again.
     The novel doesn’t neatly fit into any particular genre or category. Though it takes place in the west, it is not your typical western. Set against the backdrop of the Mexican Revolution, it is not your usual action-adventure. Describing the loss of innocence, it is not your normal coming of age book. It is at once a beautiful elegy to the land and a profound look into our existence and our mortality.
     The world is of itself and nothing else, and it will be as it is and as it always was. There is no changing for the world, only for the man.
     Deeply fatalistic; evil is an inexplicable reality and death is inescapable, All Things Left Wild belongs in a category all to itself. In a word, it is extraordinary!
     I received an advance copy of this book in exchange for my review.

 

James Wade lives and writes in Austin, Texas, with his wife and daughter. He has had twenty short stories published in various literary magazines and journals. He is the winner of the Writers’ League of Texas Manuscript Contest and a finalist of the Tethered by Letters Short Fiction Contest. All Things Left Wild is his debut novel.
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6/19/20
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6/21/20
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6/22/20
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6/24/20
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6/27/20
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Why Stuff Matters: Lone Star Book Blog Tour and Review

WHY STUFF MATTERS
by
JEN WALDO
Sub-genre: Literary Fiction / Humor
Publisher: Arcadia Books
Date of Publication: June 4, 2019 (US)
Number of Pages: 212
When Jessica, a grieving widow, inherits an antique mall from her mother she also inherits the stallholders, an elderly, amoral, acquisitive, and paranoid collection. 
When one of the vendors, a wily ex-con named Roxy, shoots her ex-husband, she calls on Jessica to help bury the body and soon Jessica is embroiled in cover-ups, lies, and misdirection. Into this mix comes Lizzie, Jessica’s late husband’s twelve-year-old daughter by his first marriage, who’s been dumped on Jessica’s doorstep by the child’s self-absorbed mother and it soon becomes apparent that Lizzie is as obsessed with material possessions as Jessica’s elderly tenants. 
Why Stuff Matters is a compelling ode to possession, why people like things and the curious lengths they will go to keep them. Returning to her fictional Caprock, Waldo turns her wry wit on the lives of those afraid to let go.
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5128f-review
Five-Stars
     Jen Waldo’s latest novel, Why Stuff Matters, can be enjoyed on so many different levels. Set in Caprock, Texas the story focuses on an antique mall where the antics of the tenants will cause readers to smile while also bringing into focus the human condition and how people deal with aging, death, and abandonment.
    Both the building and the vendors are old. Layers of dust literally coat the shelves and merchandise, while figuratively the same can be said for the people. They’re resistant to change of any kind and will lie, scheme, conspire, and even commit murder to maintain things as they are. That layer of grime not only describes their surroundings, but their lives. They suffer from any number of maladies with almost everyone affected by respiratory ailments because they refuse to clean their stalls or replace the rugs that are so old they’re filthy, bug infested, and moldy. Most of them are involved in some type of nefarious activity vice selling the merchandise in their stalls. In fact, they so over value the items that there is little possibility that a would be buyer will not go elsewhere to make the same purchase. Their connection is not to people but to inanimate objects that should long ago have been, sold, replaced, or junked. Why do they hold onto things that have no intrinsic value and forgo meaningful relationships? Perhaps because everyone eventually dies or moves on leaving them alone with the “stuff” they’ve collected…  the sum total of their lives. They also refuse to consider what happens when they die. They don’t have wills or end-of-life designations; they leave that for others to sort out once they’re gone. Oh, they’ll split the merchandise or share equally in any money left behind by someone else because that’s just the way it’s always been done, but don’t ask them to consider any end-of-life planning for themselves. That requires an emotional attachment beyond just their possessions.
     The person left to sort things out and deal with these cantankerous old folks is Jessica, a grieving widow who has inherited the antique mall when her mother died. Her passing is only a small part of her grief. Parents most certainly die eventually, but the sudden death of her husband and children in an automobile accident has left her with emotions that alter her sense of normalcy and cause her to be complicit in the questionable and criminal activity of her tenants. She is no longer the caring wife, mother, or school teacher that she was before the tragedy. That person is buried underneath overwhelming grief leaving her to normalize immorality. She goes about the day to day requirements of running the business and arbitrating the grievances of her vendors with a detached, no nonsense, matter of fact impatience, yet not only overlooks drug sales and other unscrupulous activities that she’s aware of, but helps dispose of two bodies that the pink-haired, gun-toting Roxie has dispatched over a collection of baseball cards. She’s numb to the murders and lies to the authorities with incredulous yet somehow plausible reasons for their disappearance. She’s lost everything that she’s ever loved and is indifferent to life itself. Can Jessica ever care for anyone or anything ever again? She’s about to find out when her husband’s ex-wife unceremoniously dumps her twelve year old daughter on Jessica’s doorstep.
     Lizzie is the last thing Jessica needs at the moment. She’s been abandoned by a self-absorbed mother, leaving her to fend for herself at a time when she desperately needs a mother’s love and attention. After all, it was her father that also died in that crash. Lizzie needs parental guidance; the one thing that Jessica is unwilling to offer. To compensate, Lizzie begins accumulating stuff of her own. If it isn’t gifted by the vendors, she steals what she wants. She learns about sex by reading lusty pirate and cowboy romances, and takes ridiculous risks to her person by sifting through debris to see if there’s anything of value under the piles of rubble. She deludes herself that her mother is coming back to get her, while Jessica is left to house, clothe, feed and protect her with nothing more than a written consent to get medical treatment in an emergency. Lizzie is a manipulative screwed up teenager who is crying out for inclusion and belonging. She latches onto to Joe, a would be suitor to Jessica and the policeman investigating the missing persons. She also comes to Jessica’s aid when a threat endangers them both. Is there a permanent bond between these three that is in the offing? There’s certainly an evolution to their relationships, but don’t expect any definitive resolution in the end. I got the sense that everything will work out, but fittingly, the author leaves it up to each reader to decide.
     Jen Waldo juxtaposes tragedy and comedy with aplomb. She writes with a wit that captures life’s absurdities and creates locales and characters that will remind you of other small towns and individuals you’ve known. Some scenes will cause readers to suspend disbelief, some will cause them to laugh, some to question why people do what they do. All will leave them thinking about the vagaries of life and what they might do under similar circumstances.
     I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my review.

Jen Waldo lived in seven countries over a thirty-year period and has now settled, along with her husband, in Marble Falls, Texas. She first started writing over twenty years ago when, while living in Cairo, she had difficulty locating reading material and realized she’d have to make her own fun. She has since earned an MFA and written a number of novels. Her work has been published in The European and was shortlisted in a competition by Traveler magazine. Old Buildings in North Texas and Why Stuff Matters have been published in the UK by Arcadia Books. Jen’s fiction is set in Northwest Texas and she’s grateful to her hometown of Amarillo for providing colorful characters and a background of relentless whistling wind. 

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12/3/19
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12/4/19
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12/5/19
Author Interview
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12/6/19
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12/6/19
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12/7/19
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12/8/19
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12/9/19
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12/9/19
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On Wings of Silence: Afterword

ON WINGS OF SILENCE:
Mexico ’68
by
DEDE FOX
Genre:  Historical / Novel in Verse / Literary Fiction
Publisher: Lamar University Literary Press
Date of Publication: April 2, 2019
Number of Pages: 196Scroll down for the giveaway!


On Wings of Silence is the story of seventeen-year-old Diana Green, who travels from Texas to Mexico City searching for adventure, freedom, and romance. She finds all three. 
 
Then Diana’s first love Guillermo vanishes during the revolutionary chaos prior to the ’68 Olympics. Heartbroken, she searches for the truth about his disappearance. As police track, threaten, and abuse those who ask questions, she refuses to be silenced and risks becoming one of the missing.
 
Based on real events, On Wings of Silence uses historical details to bring to life the horror of the Tlatelolco Massacre, presented through the eyes of a young woman readers will care about and admire.
“This incredible story…is told in a masterful way that engages the reader with its protagonist and the other characters from the start. They are authentic. We know people like them and we care what happens to them. In Fox’s clear voice, mystery, romance and suspense build steadily to the end. Pitched toward young adult readers, this is a good read for any age.” — Dianne Logan
 

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Excerpt

AFTERWORD

From On Wings of Silence: Mexico ‘68

By Dede Fox

Some stories take fifty years to surface. On Wings of Silence is one of them.

The first readers to recognize the significance of this topic were Anne McCrady and 2008 Texas Poet Laureate Larry D. Thomas, who selected my poem “Chapultepec Park” for the 2008 Christina Sergeyevna Award at the Austin International Poetry Festival. When critique partner Joy Preble said she believed there was a novel hidden within that poem, I began to search for answers to lingering questions about the chaos prior to the 1968 Olympics. Dr. Cliff Hudder, my earliest Beta reader, directed me to Elena Poniatowska’s Massacre in Mexico, and Alicia Salazar, whose uncle survived the bloodbath, contributed as a sensitivity reader.

Other beta readers of the full manuscript included Dr. Molly McBride, Dianne Logan, Juan Paloma, and Kim O’Brien. Their insights, as well as critiques by Bob Lamb and Suzanne Bazemore, along with inspirations from Charles Trevino’s SCBWI “Critique Critters” at Lone Star College, improved my storytelling. Fellow author Kathryn Lane helped with the wording of the Spanish version of the Corrido. I am especially grateful to my mentor and friend Dave Parsons, 2011 Texas Poet Laureate, who helped me develop my poetic voice.

For a quarter century, the Tlatelolco tragedy remained buried. With increasing access to Internet data, I eventually confirmed my worst fears; Communist instigators encouraged the student protests and the United States sent weapons and ammunition to Mexico to quell any conflict.

When former Mexican President Luis Echeverria spoke up about the young victims of the massacre, he said, “These kids were not provocateurs. The majority were the sons and daughter of workers, farmers and unemployed people.” According to him, then President Diaz Ordaz ordered snipers to shoot the students. How tragic and ironic that Mexican leaders used U.S. weapons to kill students protesting for a more democratic government while agents from the Soviet Union encouraged the demonstrations.

Triggered by this knowledge and my memories of running across advancing troop lines on the Avenida de la Reforma in Mexico City, I created the fictional On Wings of Silence: Mexico, 1968 with details supported by primary historical sources–testimonies from Massacre in Mexico, photos, letters, and newspapers, some with my byline.

Diana’s friends and acquaintances are fictional, with one exception. The student leader with the white van was real and a total mystery. I suspect he was a U.S. government agent whose purpose was to destabilize student leadership in the American university during turbulent times.

And Guillermo? Like my protagonist, I grieve for him, for all of the Guillermos and Guillerminas, and their families. Their truncated lives and unrealized dreams will forever haunt me. Diana and I hope our voices will rise on the wings of their silence.

Half a century ago, Olympic posters read, Todo es possible en la paz. I share that belief, but now have the maturity to know that peace is only possible when we put away our weapons and listen to one another.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

MASSACRE IN MEXICO by Elena Poniatowska1968: THE YEAR THAT ROCKED THE WORLD by Mark Kurlanskyhttp://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=97546687http://nsarchive.gwu.edu/NSAEBB/NSAEBB10/intro.htmhttp://www.cnn.com/WORLD/9802/04/mexico.massacre/http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/october/2/newsid_3548000/3548680.stmhttp://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/11/world/americas/11students.html?_r=0

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/01/world/americas/mexico-tlatelolco-massacre.html

https://mexiconewsdaily.com/news/laques-honoring-president-are-coming-down/

http://www.latinorebels.com/2018/10/05/tlatelolcomassacrephotoessay/

 

Dede Fox is the 2017-2022 Poet Laureate of Montgomery, Texas. Since 2016, she has been the NEA/DOJ Artist-in-Residence at the Bryan Federal Prison Camp for Women, where she teaches creative writing. Through Houston’s Writers in the Schools, Dede also writes with hematology and oncology patients at Texas Children’s Hospital.
 
The Treasure in the Tiny Blue Tin, Dede’s first novel, was listed in the 2010 Best Jewish Books for Children and Teens. Her poetry books include Confessions of a Jewish Texan and Postcards Home. Dede’s poem “Chapultepec Park: September 25, 1968,” the catalyst for this novel, won the Christina Sergeyevna Award at the Austin International Poetry Festival.
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Aransas Evening: Excerpt

ARANSAS EVENING
Sequel to Aransas Morning
by
JEFF HAMPTON
Genre: Contemporary Literary Fiction
Publisher: Jeff Hampton, Writer
Publication Date: October 4, 2018
Number of Pages: 346 pagesSCROLL DOWN FOR THE GIVEAWAY! 

Life in Port Aransas was looking breezy and bright for Sam and his friends at the Dream Bean coffee shop. Shelly and Dave were talking marriage, Allie and Bo were tightening their family ties, and Sam was welcoming newcomers to town and falling for a new singer at the Sea Garden. But storms are never far away on the Texas Gulf Coast, and there would be none more destructive than Hurricane Harvey. Would Sam and his friends survive Harvey’s awful fury? And would life in Port Aransas ever be the same again? Find out in Aransas Evening, the sequel to Aransas Morning by Jeff Hampton.
 
 
 
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PRAISE FOR THE ARANSAS SERIES:
    “Hampton’s characters pulled me in; hook, line, and sinker.”
    “The pace of the book is slow and easy, and I slipped into its rhythm like the ebb and flow of the water lapping against the shoreline.”
    “A lovely story about community, and how family isn’t always the one you are born into.
    “Isak Dinesen once wrote, ‘The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears, or the sea.’  Jeff Hampton has illustrated that with grace, elegance, and excellent coffee.”

Excerpt

“Harvey Approaches”

Excerpt from Aransas Evening

              By Jeff Hampton          

The wind blew up clouds of rain mixed with grit off the pavement as Sam rushed toward the Dream Bean and climbed the front steps into the eye of a different type of storm.

“After we board up these windows we need to get off the island,” said Dave, dragging a sheet of plywood in front of the plate glass window.

“No, this is my home,” said Shelly. “You go if you wish, but I’m staying here.”

“But the mayor issued a mandatory evacuation. You’re just going to ignore that?”

“Yes. And I’m going to ignore you too, so you can go jump on the ferry with everyone else if you want, but I’m staying here.”

Dave exhaled loudly. “We could die if we stay, you know.”

Shelly stood firmly, hands on hips. “How do you know so much? Been through some hurricanes in Dallas, have you?”

“No . . . but have you?”

“Not directly, but . . .”

“But what? Allie’s the only one of us who knows anything about this.” Dave shot Allie a glance that said, “Need your help here,” but Allie, who had been drawn outside by the loud talk, wasn’t going to help the way Dave wanted.

“My mother was swept away by Ike because she went out in the storm,” Allie said. “We’ll be okay if we stay inside.”

Dave struggled to hold the sheet of plywood by himself and when he reached for the drill he lost his grip and the wood fell back against him. “A little help would be nice,” he growled at the women, but Sam stepped up to help hold the plywood in place while Dave drilled the screws into the corners and across the sides.

“Where you been? We were looking for you,” Dave asked after pulling a screw from his shirt pocket and pushing it flush into the wall with the drill.

“Fishing . . . so . . . what’s the latest forecast?”

Dave brought Sam up to date as they finished covering the windows at the Dream Bean: Harvey’s path was still uncertain but he was gaining strength so everyone was preparing for the worst. The rain and wind were coming in waves now, and Dave and Sam went next door to the Cassie and covered the windows on the boat, and then moved tables and chairs from the Sea Garden into the pilothouse and inside the Dream Bean. Standing inside the Cassie with the rain blowing hard outside, Sam had a flashback to that night on the boat with Bo and Allie. He recalled the helpless feeling that they wouldn’t survive and yet they did. With his feet on the firm ground this time he didn’t feel lost like he had but he was still anxious knowing there were a thousand ways this could go bad.

Inside the Dream Bean, with everything stowed away, Shelly looked around while unconsciously wiping the counter with a dry cloth. Dave put his hand on Shelly’s and stopped her movement.

“I think we’ve done all we can,” he said. “And I’m sorry if I’m edgy but I just don’t like taking risks when there are other options. If it were up to me I’d have us a hundred miles north of here. But I guess if I’m going to live here with you then I better start learning how this is done.”

The ferry wailed from its landing down the street and everyone looked at each other. Dave shook his head knowing they wouldn’t hear that much longer.

Shelly looked around the room and changed the subject. “Thanks everyone for helping here. I know you all have work to do at your own places so better get going. I’ll be fine here.”

Nobody moved. Shelly made a shooing motion with her hands but nobody would shoo.

“I’ve done all I can do,” said Allie.

“Me too,” said Dave. “I got everything up off the floor this morning and I’ve got shutters so I’m protected . . . sort of.”

“What about you Sam?” Shelly asked.

“The house is okay. I’ve got nothing worth protecting . . . just my vinyl records, and they’re waterproof. I could use a hand at the Pier Association, but then so could a lot of folks down here. Why don’t we spread out and see what we can do.”

“I’ll go with Sam,” said Allie.

“And we’ll check on some of the other shops,” said Shelly. “We’ll keep the door unlocked and meet you back here later.”

When Sam and Allie got to the office they found the windows already boarded up.

“Looks like you’ve taken care of everything,” Allie said.

Sam shook his head. “It wasn’t me.”

“Well you’ve got people watching your back,” she said.

“Yes, and we should do the same,” he said, and for the rest of the afternoon and on into the evening they meandered from business to business, boat to boat, house to house, lending a hand wherever they could.

Jeff Hampton has based his life and career in Texas writing for newspapers, magazines, businesses, and institutions. His interest in observing the people around him has led him to write essays, short stories, and novels that explore relationships and communities in their many forms. Aransas Evening is his sixth book, following Aransas Morning, Grandpa Jack, Jonah Prophet, When the Light Returned to Main Street, and The Snowman Uprising on Hickory Lane
║ Website ║ Goodreads ║ Twitter Instagram ║ Amazon Author Page 


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2 Winners:
Signed Copies of both Aransas books + Grandpa Jack + a pack of Texas Themed note cards
2 Winners:
Signed Copies of Aransas Evening & Grandpa Jack + a pack of Texas Themed note cards
JANUARY 17-26, 2019

VISIT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:

1/17/19
Author Interview
1/17/19
BONUS Promo
1/18/19
Review
1/19/19
Excerpt
1/20/19
Playlist
1/21/19
Review
1/22/19
Guest Post
1/23/19
Review
1/24/19
Review
1/25/19
Scrapbook
1/26/19
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Old Buildings in North Texas: Excerpt

OLD BUILDINGS
IN NORTH TEXAS
by
JEN WALDO
  Sub-genre: Literary Fiction / Dramedy
Publisher: Arcadia Books
Date of Publication: April 1, 2018
Number of Pages: 213
Scroll down for the giveaway! 
After rehab, Olivia, a 32-year-old cocaine addict, is required to move back in with her mother and pregnant sister. Having left a promising career in journalism in New York, she’s now working as a sales assistant for a family friend in her home town in North Texas. 
Under pressure from her court-mandated counselor – an old high school friend – to take up a hobby, Olivia decides on “urbexing.” Soon she’s breaking into derelict homes, ex-prisons, and old drive-ins across North Texas, and it’s not long before she’s looting state property and making money off the possessions, fixtures, and fittings that have been left behind.
 
Old Buildings in North Texas is about a modern woman’s search for personal equilibrium and wild adventure — the attempt to find stability in existence without losing sight of what makes life worth living. Jen Waldo’s style modulates effortlessly from domestic nuance to taut adventure, tackling social and moral transgressions with incisive observation and vivid humor.
PRAISE FOR OLD BUILDINGS IN NORTH TEXAS
“A lot of Jen Waldo’s debut novel takes place out on the porch of Olivia’s mother’s house. […] With its casual, confidential tone, Old Buildings in North Texas puts the reader in one of those porch chairs, reclining on a warm evening with a cool drink.” — The Skinny
Old Buildings in North Texas is an amusingly written and well worked book” — Trip Fiction
 
“This novel is an absolute blast. There are serious moments of course, but Jen Waldo looks for the comedy in everything to create a memorable scenario that reminded me very much of the style of Six Feet Under.” — Shiny New Books
 
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Excerpt

EXCERPT FROM

OLD BUILDINGS IN NORTH TEXAS

BY JEN WALDO

“What are the twelve steps?” my sister asks.

“Six steps. One, accept that you’re out of control; two, lean on a higher power; three, confide in a sponsor; four, make amends; five, replace the old life with a new one; and six, help others though their addiction recovery.”

“Are you doing all that stuff?” she asks.  “Is it working?”

An honest answer would disappoint her. The stripped-down truth is, I’m a broken-down truck in a country driveway. I doubt my sincerity as regards the recovery steps. I try to communicate with a higher power, but it seems hypocritical when I’m not even sure I believe in one. I’m in debt and I’m stashing secret money. I’m keeping secrets from my mother and my therapist. I’m disingenuous with my parole officer. I’m sneaking and stealing.

Am I making progress? Yes, in my recovery, I am; and it’s slow and it’s difficult.  But my goal is to get better, not to be better. Maybe in the future I’ll be wise, generous, and productive; but at this point, I am what I am—a self-absorbed addict with murky morals. Chloe was right when she said I’ve traded one addiction for another. Slipping into buildings, taking things and selling them, watching my bank account grow—these aren’t things a good person does. But they’re things I do.

Jen Waldo lived in seven countries over a thirty-year period and has now settled, along with her husband, in Marble Falls, Texas. She first started writing over twenty years ago when, while living in Cairo, she had difficulty locating reading material and realized she’d have to make her own fun. She has since earned an MFA and written a number of novels. Her work has been published in The European and was shortlisted in a competition by Traveler magazine. Old Buildings in North Texas and Why Stuff Matters have been published in the UK by Arcadia Books. Jen’s fiction is set in Northwest Texas and she’s grateful to her hometown of Amarillo for providing colorful characters and a background of relentless whistling wind. 

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1st Prize:
Signed Copy of OBiNT + $10 Amazon Gift Card
2nd Prize:Signed Copy + $5 Amazon Gift Card
3rd Prize: eBook Copy of OBiNT
October 2-11, 2018
(US ONLY)

CHECK OUT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:
10/2/18
Excerpt
10/2/18
Guest Post
10/3/18
Review
10/4/18
Author Interview
10/5/18
Review
10/5/18
Excerpt
10/6/18
Guest Post
10/7/18
Review
10/7/18
Notable Quotable
10/8/18
Notable Quotable
10/9/18
Review
10/9/18
Guest Post
10/10/18
Sequel Spotlight
10/11/18
Review
10/11/18
Review
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