Gratitude: The Art of Being Thankful – Guest Post

GRATITUDE:
THE ART OF BEING THANKFUL
by
Vickie Phelps
Genre: Non-Fiction / Inspirational / Devotional
Publisher: Inspire Books
Date of Publication: July 11, 2017
Number of Pages: 92, 4.5″ x 6″
 
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This ninety-two-page gift book is a compilation of devotions, poems, prayers, and lists of things to be grateful for. The difference between having what you want and having what you need is a principle some people never grasp. In the reading of this book, you may realize you have much more to be grateful for than you were aware of.  Use this little book as a daily devotional or pick it up at random times to remind yourself that you are a blessed individual.


PRAISE FOR GRATITUDE: THE ART
OF BEING THANKFUL:
This little gem of a book arrived before we left on vacation, so I took it along. It became our shared devotional and ‘thought for the day’ outlook…and colored our time away with gratitude. This unique discovery is one to treasure.” – 5 Star Review, Amazon verified purchase 

 

GuestPost

Guest Post by Vickie Phelps

For the past year and a half, I’ve been putting together a little gift book on the subject of gratitude. It’s a compilation of devotions, prayers, scripture, quotes, and lists of things to be thankful for. Before you think that I did this to teach you something, or because I think people aren’t thankful for what they have, let me assure you that I did this for myself as much or more than I did it for anyone else. I wanted to think about all the things I have to be thankful for. I wanted to remind myself of what I have. I wanted to jot down verses and quotes that I could whisper to myself in the middle of the night or when bad times come. I wanted to list those things that I sometimes take for granted and open this little book once in a while to refresh my memory.

For many years, we have lived in a country that has been prosperous and blessed. But I think we forget just how much we do have. It’s only when we experience some kind of loss or someone close to us does that we tend to think about our blessings. Often we think of blessings as big things, but sometimes it’s the little things that make us stop and think. Like the time a tornado swept through our town and left a lot of people without electricity. Suddenly, we couldn’t brew a cup of coffee, use our hair dryer, or turn on a light. If you’re a coffee drinker, like I am, you were fretting the next morning after the storm because you didn’t have that cup of coffee to start the day. You either had to do without it, drive to a restaurant or fast food place that still had power, or maybe hook up a generator for a limited power supply. And then Hurricane Harvey wreaked havoc on the Texas coast, and we watched those people suffer great loss. And it wasn’t just our state or country, but all over the world, people were losing their homes and sometimes family members as a result of storms or some other tragedy.

All of these situations made me take a second look at how blessed I am, and I wanted a record of it. I wanted to write down my thoughts about these blessings and what I had to be thankful for. And I wanted to share those thoughts with others. The result is a little 92-page book titled, “Gratitude: The Art of Being Thankful.” I hope it will bless you and maybe you will make your own list of what you have to be thankful for.

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 co-author with Jo Huddleston of the gift book, Simply Christmas, and Writing 101: A Handbook of Tips & Encouragement for Writers. 
 
 
 
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The Whole Damn Cheese: Character Interview

THE WHOLE
DAMN CHEESE
MAGGIE SMITH BORDER LEGEND
by
BILL WRIGHT
Genre: Biography / Texana 
Publisher: Texas Christian University Press 
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Publication Date: October 12, 2018
Number of Pages: 160 pages with B&W photos
Anecdotes about Maggie Smith abound, but Bill Wright’s The Whole Damn Cheese is the first book devoted entirely to the woman whose life in Big Bend country has become the stuff of legend. For more than twenty years, Maggie Smith served folks on both sides of the border as doctor, lawyer, midwife, herbalist, banker, self-appointed justice of the peace, and coroner. As she put it, she was “the whole damn cheese” in Hot Springs, Texas. A beloved figure serving the needs of scores of people in Big Bend country, she was also an accomplished smuggler with a touch of romance as well as larceny in her heart. Maggie’s family history is a history of the Texas frontier, and her story outlines the beginnings and early development of Big Bend National Park. Her travels between Boquillas, San Vincente, Alpine, and Hot Springs define Maggie’s career and illustrate her unique relationships with the people of the border. Vividly capturing the rough individualism and warm character of Maggie Smith, author Bill Wright demonstrates why this remarkable frontier woman has become an indelible figure in the history of Texas.
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Character Interview

Inside Maggie Smith’s Mind:

An Imaginary Interview with the Whole Damn Cheese

PART 2 OF 2

Click to read part one featured 10/18/18 with Lone Star Book Blog Tours

Q: Now tell us about one of the weddings you attended and how you conducted that wedding.

A: Well here’s a story that combines a wedding and birth. I was invited to a wedding in Mexico. I was asked to be the “madrina” which is like a best man, except in Mexico, they have a best woman. And well, when we got to the little ranch for the wedding we were told that there was a woman who was real sick. She had rode twelve miles to come to the wedding, and she was expectin’ a child. So I went into this room where they had her and they had her tied up into the ceiling with a goat hide underneath her.

Q: Standing up?!

A: Yes. That’s some belief—I don’t know what—in Mexico. So, I had ‘em cut her down and I delivered a baby boy they named Henry after our 12-year-old Henry who was there that night. Well, the family took the baby home after the party that night. The woman rode the horse twelve miles home with that baby, back to Mexico!

Q: There’s a story about some cattle you saved. Tell us about that.

A: That was at Paisano Pass—a gap in the mountains in Presidio County. I stopped there during a blizzard while moving cattle. It was real bad weather and it took us five months to move the cattle from a ranch below Sierra Blanca, down on the river, to a ranch at Carrizo Springs. I was in my early 20s when I made that trip.

Q: You believe that you have the BEST treatment for a rattlesnake bite because it saved the life of your son-in-law, Madge’s husband, twice. Tell us how that story goes.

A: Well he and my younger daughter, Leila, were getting’ a boat out of the river and he stepped on a cottonmouth water moccasin that bit him twice on the foot—he was barefooted. There was no car—we had taken a part of our cart and sent it to town to have it replaced. So I took powdered alum and kerosene and put it in a five gallon can and packed his foot in that. I kept the mixture ‘til it would turn green, and then emptied it and put more in there. Of course, I had a LARGE sack of powdered alum! It was three days before the pickup came from town and we could git help. He went to the doctor in Alpine and the doctor said that it was perfect—that his foot was all right! He took a blood sample and most of the blood was clear. I guess that saved his life, because they said cottonmouth water moccasins have a deadly bite.

Another time I didn’t have anything like that, and they brought this Mexican in—he had been bitten by a rattlesnake on the back of the leg. They brought him from across the river at Boquillas. That time I took a live chicken and slit it down through the breast—I don’t have a queasy stomach—and wrapped this chicken around his leg. I believe the beating heart pulled the poison out. Anyhow, it worked!

Q: As you said yourself, you were “the whole damn cheese” in Hot Springs, Texas. You were also known to be an accomplished smuggler. What did you smuggle?

A: I prefer not to answer. And by the way, I really don’t like talking about myself. Can’t we talk about the country instead?

For thirty-five years Bill Wright owned and managed a wholesale and retail petroleum marketing company. In 1987 he sold his company to his employees and since then has carved out a remarkable career as an author, fine art photographer, and ethnologist. He has written or contributed to seven books, and his photographs appear in Fort Worth’s Amon Carter Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center of the University of Texas at Austin, and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC.
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The Encouragement Letters: Excerpt

THE ENCOURAGEMENT
LETTERS
by
SHANNA SPENCE
Sub-genre: Middle Grade / Historical Fiction
Publisher: Book Liftoff
Date of Publication: November 22, 2017
Number of Pages: 180
Scroll down for the giveaway!
 
WILLIAM CROMWELL, at age eleven, knew what it was like living with new changes. In 1865, Manchester, England a new textile factory moved into town and after a tragedy that befell him and his mum, they struggled to live. With so many things going on in his young life he wanted to be the encouragement that his father was to him.
As everything changes along with terrible hardships, just maybe the hope he gives to the growing town will find its way to Will…
PRAISE FOR THE ENCOURAGEMENT LETTERS: 
This was such an uplifting wholesome book! It was so nice to read something positive about a time when people were so willing to step in and help someone in need without expecting anything in return! I couldn’t put it down!– 5 Stars, Kindle verified purchase reviewer

Excellent read!! This story speaks to people in all walks of life. It is encouraging, sweet, and funny at the same time. I would recommend this book to anyone needing to see what it means to “treat others as you want to be treated.” — 5 Stars, Kindle verified purchase reviewer

A very inspiring book from a great new author! — 5 Stars, Kindle verified purchase reviewer

A charming tale of a simpler time. Yet, the message is ageless. I congratulate Ms. Spence on this her first effort and look forward to more entertaining reads from her in the future.— 5 Stars, Kindle reviewer
Excerpt

EXCERPT FROM CHAPTER TWO

OF THE ENCOURAGEMENT LETTERS

BY SHANNA SPENCE

          Mrs. Cromwell was home cutting up a few vegetables that she managed to get that day. She had a couple of good days of work, repairing some work trousers for an older gentleman and made a few aprons that she sold. Work was getting harder to find. Most days, he thought she would skip eating just to make sure he could get enough to eat. After all, he was a growing boy!

          As she prepared a small meal, Will studied his mother for a moment. She had grown paler and thinner. She had dark circles under her eyes and hollowed cheeks.  Her dress hung from her thin shoulders. He felt a pang of desperation. I just don’t know what to do for her, he thought. Suddenly, a coughing spell hit his mother after she cleared her throat and had a sip of water.

          “Tell me what you are thinking, my son,” Mrs. Cromwell said.

          Will wasn’t good at hiding his emotions. Mrs. Cromwell looked at him and saw what she thought was fear. William’s father died with a cough; not his mother too!

          “Nothing at all, Mum. Why do you ask?”

          “Well, the look on your face is troublesome to me. I know you must be worrying again.”

          “I won’t lie, Mum, you look thinner to me. Have you been eating?”

          “Now, William, you know I do!”

          “You must not be eating much. You look like you have lost some weight.”

          “Tsk, stop worrying about me. I’m fine! Now, go wash up for dinner.”

          With that, he went to the wash basin and washed his hands, still feeling uncomfortable with his mother’s response. I will keep an eye on her.

          As the days passed, Will noticed that his mother took her tea and ate nothing for the mornings. He could not tell if she ate anything for lunch while he helped Uncle Henry. For the evening meal, she ate, but he was unsure if it was enough.

          He had to do something to get more food for them. He could not allow them to starve. It was one thing for his mother to have no work, but not to be able to eat was another thing.

          I know what I can do! I’m going to plant a garden! Will thought. At least we will have vegetables to eat. Let’s see, I have to figure out where to get some seeds.

          Will lay down after reading some of his father’s letters that evening. He knew he had to get another letter out and was wondering to whom he could write a letter. What I will do tomorrow is go to town to scout out some seeds for the new garden and I will look around for inspiration to write a letter. With that as his last thought, he fell fast asleep.

          The morning came early for Will. He jumped out of bed, dressed, and was out the door before the morning tea.

          “Have a good day, William. Don’t forget to pick up your school work for the day!”

          “I won’t, Mum. See you this afternoon!” Will said as the door was closing behind him. Will ran most of the way to town. Again, he stopped from time to time to get the pebbles out of his shoes. The holes in his shoes were getting bigger.

          I’m going to have to try and patch those holes soon.

Shanna Spence is a wife, mother, and registered nurse of over twenty years. She has written poetry since the age of thirteen and always dreamed of writing books. Raised in a small East Texas town, she pursued a career of nursing in Dallas, Texas but eventually went back to East Texas to settle down and raise a family.
Now she finally has found the time to fulfill her dream of writing stories that will hopefully bring out the imagination in others — as well as inspiration. She is currently living in Longview, Texas. 
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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
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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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100 Things To Do In Dallas Fort Worth Before You Die: Excerpt


100 THINGS TO DO 
IN DALLAS FORT WORTH
BEFORE YOU DIE
2ND EDITION

by
TUI SNIDER
Genre: Non-Fiction / Texas Travel
Publisher: Reedy PressTwitter   ⎸  Facebook
Date of Publication: September 15, 2018
Number of Pages: 160 with black & white images
Scroll down for Giveaway!
Have you ever drawn a blank when a friend or family member asks, “What do you want to do today?” Maybe you have visitors to show around the Dallas – Fort Worth Metroplex, or perhaps you’ve lived here for years but feel like you’re in a rut rather than experiencing anything new.
If so, Tui Snider’s new book is for you! If you live in, or are visiting, the DFW region, this list will inspire you to start exploring. If you’re hungry, flip through the Food & Drink section. Looking for entertainment or want to get outdoors? Dig into the Music & Entertainment or the Sports & Recreation sections. Want to barter for antiques or see a museum? Check out the Culture & History or the Shopping & Fashion sections.
This book is a playful bucket list of suggestions meant to spark ideas: everything from family outings, date nights, and solo excursions, to simply hanging out with friends on your day off.

Excerpt

 

Discover regional glassware and a unique saying from Decatur, Texas

From 100 Things to Do in Dallas Fort Worth Before You Die

By Tui Snider

0921 MAX image 01 decatur courthouse

Historic courthouse in Decatur, TX (c) Tui Snider

Look for Decatur Glass in Wise County Courthouse Square

Decatur’s Romanesque Revival style courthouse was completed in 1896 and features pink granite with terra cotta accents. There is more to its design, however, than just good looks; the corner entrances keep air circulating and help cool the building. A variety of Mom and Pop shops surrounding the courthouse will keep you entertained for an afternoon.

0921 MAX image 02 decatur glassware

Example of Decatur Glass, a regional specialty (c) Tui Snider

Keep an eye out for Decatur Glass in the antique stores. This hand- blown glass was produced in Decatur in the 1950’s and 1960’s at Tex Glass, Inc. a glass company started by husband and wife team, Bertha and Hermann Rosenzweig. Mr. Rosenzweig fled to the states after being persecuted by the Nazis. He eventually settled in Decatur and began producing a crinkle style glassware. It’s now a collectible unique to this region.

213 W. Main Street, Decatur, TX

940-704-7212

decaturtownsquare.com

decaturmainstreet.com

0921 MAX image 03 decatur mural

Mural celebrating the “Eighter from Decatur” saying (c) Tui Snider

Tip: Famous Saying – Eighter From Decatur

If you gamble, you probably know the saying, “Eighter from Decatur, county seat of Wise.” If you’re not a gambler, you will definitely notice banners with “Eighter from Decatur” all over this little North Texas town.

In the late 1800’s, a Decatur resident named Will Cooper fell in love with a gal named Ada. Every time he played craps, Mr. Cooper would chant, “Ada from Decatur, County Seat of Wise.” Before long, his catchy rhyme became popular and spread throughout the nation. Over time, “Ada” morphed into “Eighter,” and in 1949, Decatur mayor Sly Hardwick added the phrase, “Eighter from Decatur” to the city’s welcome signs, thereby securing its place in the local identity.

0921 MAX image 04 Vintage Sign

Vintage sign from Decatur, TX (c) Tui Snider

 

Tui Snider is an author, speaker, and photographer who specializes in hometown travel. As she puts it, “I used to write fiction – but then, I moved to Texas!” Snider’s work has been featured by a variety of outlets, including Coast to Coast AM, LifeHackeasyJet and Authentic Texas. Snider’s award-winning books include Unexpected Texas, Paranormal Texas, Understanding Cemetery Symbols, and more. Tui enjoys connecting with readers all over the globe through her WEBSITE.
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The Grand Duke from Boys Ranch: Lone Star Book Blog Tours Promo & Review

THE GRAND DUKE FROM BOYS RANCH
EUGENIA AND HUGH M. STEWART ’26 SERIES
by
BILL SARPALIUS
foreword by Bill Hobby
Genre: Memoir / Texana / Politics / Eastern European History
Publisher: Texas A&M University Press
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Date of Publication: April 16, 2018
Number of Pages: 336 pages w/50 B&W photos
As a boy in Houston, Bill Sarpalius, his brothers, and their mother lived an itinerant life. Bill dug food out of trashcans, and he and his brothers moved from one school to the next. They squatted in a vacant home while their mother, affectionately called “Honey,” battled alcoholism and suicidal tendencies. In an act of desperation, she handed her three sons over to Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch north of Amarillo.

At the time, Bill was thirteen years old and could not read. Life at Boys Ranch had its own set of harrowing challenges, however. He found himself living in fear of some staff and older boys. He became involved in Future Farmers of America and discovered a talent for public speaking. When he graduated, he had a hundred dollars and no place to go. He worked hard, earned a scholarship from the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, and obtained a college degree. After a brief career as a teacher and in agribusiness, he won a seat in the Texas Senate. Driven by the memory of his suffering mother, he launched the Texas Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse in an effort to help people struggling with addiction.

Sarpalius later served in the United States Congress. As a Lithuanian American, he took a special interest in that nation’s fight for independence from the Soviet Union. For his efforts, Sarpalius received the highest honor possible to a non-Lithuanian citizen and was named a “Grand Duke.”The Grand Duke from Boys Ranch is a unique political memoir—the story of a life full of unlikely paths that is at once heartbreaking and inspirational.

PRAISE FOR THE GRAND DUKE FROM BOYS RANCH: 

“The autobiography of Bill Sarpalius reads like a 20 -century version of the American dream – equal parts heartbreak and inspiration, culminating in an unlikely political career capped by three terms in the U.S. Congress.” — University of Houston Hobby School of Public Affairs
“The Grand Duke from Boys Ranch is an inspiring tale of perseverance and personal courage.” — Si Dunn, Lone Star Literary Life

 

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Texas A&M University Press

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Review

Former Congressman Bill Sarpalius’ memoir, The Grand Duke from Boys Ranch, chronicles a remarkable life that progresses from an illiterate child whose father abandoned him and whose mother battled depression, alcoholism, and suicidal tendencies, to Future Farmers of America President, to a brief career in agribusiness and teaching, to a position in the Texas Legislature, and ultimately to the U.S. Congress. It is at once compelling and inspirational, and should appeal to readers looking to overcome obstacles and accomplish their own dreams.

Each of the aforementioned touchstone events in Bill Sarpalius’ book is presented in one of five parts that correspond to the turning points in his life. Of these, the one that put him on the road to public service and convinced him that “God had a plan for him to help people” is Part I: Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch.

“It was at Boys Ranch where I learned how to dream and make those dreams come true.”

As a resident of Texas, I was certainly aware of the facility in West Texas. Each year about Christmas time I receive a mailing soliciting funding to support the ranch’s operational needs. However, I was unaware of the magnitude of its mission; one of the largest child care homes in the state, it has raised and educated thousands of boys who either had no family or whose families couldn’t provide for them, or who had committed violent crimes. I was also unfamiliar with the man responsible, Cal Farley, whose faith and compassion wouldn’t allow him to ever say “no to a boy in trouble.”

Of course, when Bill Sarpalius’ mother dropped him and his two brothers off at the Boys Ranch in 1960 in an act of desperation, it was at a time when childcare facilities in Texas were unregulated, licensed, or inspected (the Texas Child Care and Licensing Act wasn’t passed until 1975.) The volatile mix of boys and staff sometimes resulted in abuse, and Mr. Sarpalius candidly discusses corporal punishment, sexual assault, and the initial struggle to survive.

It is a testament to his character and determination that when he finally emerges from Boys Ranch he leaves with an education, self-confidence, profound faith, a work ethic, and lasting friendships. In fact he will attribute his time there as the reason for his later success.

“Everything I had ever accomplished, I owe to Cal Farley and his Boys Ranch.”

 The remaining four parts to the book were less compelling for me. The memories of his rise to political prominence and his accomplishments in office just didn’t resonate with me for reasons that I think had more to do with writing style than story. In many instances his stream of consciousness results in random thoughts and reflections that don’t seem to fit into the context or chronology of the situations being described. And, because the focus of any memoir is the author, all events, reactions, opinions, thoughts, feelings, and outcomes are filtered through that one viewpoint. There is always the danger that they may come across as less than objective, which is especially true in today’s political climate. The “I/me” perspective employed by Mr. Sarpalius definitely invites reader intimacy, but it also runs the risk of appearing self-aggrandizing.

Though not for everyone, The Grand Duke from Boys Ranch is a unique political memoir that many readers will enjoy.

I received a free copy of the book from Texas A&M University Press & the Texas Book Consortium in exchange for my honest opinion.

BILL SARPALIUS represented the Texas 13th Congressional District from 1989 to 1995, and from 1981 to 1989 he served in the Texas State Senate. He currently is a motivational speaker and serves as CEO of Advantage Associates International. He divides his time between Maryland and Houston, Texas.
MEET THE AUTHOR! 
BARNES & NOBLE, #2665
2:00 PM
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 1, 2018
2415 Soncy Road
Amarillo, TX 79124

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Tangible Spirits: Author Interview

  
TANGIBLE SPIRITS 
by
BECKI WILLIS
Genre: Paranormal / Thriller / Suspense 
Publisher: Clear Creek Publishing
Date of Publication: May 13, 2017
Number of Pages: 316Scroll down for giveaway!

Reporter Gera Stapleton has a difficult choice to make: write the story of a lifetime or save the legacy of a town—and a man—she has come to love. Assigned to a piece in Jerome, Arizona about a once-friendly ghost gone on a crime spree, Gera stumbles upon an amazing tale of greed, deception, and family honor—and murder. When the killer targets her as the next victim, an unlikely savior comes to her rescue. Smart dialogue, plenty of action, and a touch of the supernatural make this a must-read novel.
“Becki Willis blends bits of history with bits of fancy and weaves a tantalizing tale you won’t soon forget.”

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AMAZON    TEXAS ASSOCIATION OF AUTHORS
 SIGNED PAPERBACK 

2018 Best Paranormal Fiction
by The Association of Texas Authors 
2018 RONE Award Finalist for Paranormal Long
Crowned Heart Recipient from InD’Tale Magazine

AuthorInterview

What’s something interesting, fun, or funny that most people don’t know about you?

When I was in high school, I met and interviewed country superstar Kenny Rogers during the height of his popularity. I share a funny anecdote about it on my website, http://www.beckiwillis.com.

 How has being a Texan (or Texas) influenced your writing?         

I try to be as authentic as possible. Several of my books are set in our beloved state, so I try to share the flavor and spirit that is unique to Texas without being over-the-top. So often, I read a book that continually reminds readers that it’s set in the Lone Star State, with long, unnecessary explanations, or, worse, some over-the-top situation that comes off portraying Texas, or Texans, badly. I try to weave the flavor of Texas in naturally, making it part of the scene.

What is something you want to accomplish before you die?

Although I hope to reach many more goals in my lifetime, if the unthinkable were to happen tomorrow, I have already accomplished my primary goal in life: I’m the proud mother of two fine and extraordinary adults. They’ve made good choices in whom they married and are doing an excellent job of raising their own children. The bonus is that I’ve spent thirty-six years with a wonderful husband at my side, and I’ve realized my dream of being an author. Anything else I happen to accomplish is icing on the cake.

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

The research for Tangible Spirits was a lot of fun. The town of Jerome has a rich and colorful past, which I tried to depict within my story. Not only do I love history and learning about the past, but it was fun to go on the ghosts tours, especially with my daughter.

 Why did you decide to self-publish?

I can’t imagine doing it any other way. I’m a very hands-on person. (Some might call me a control freak.) After spending so much time and effort writing my books, I don’t like the thought of handing them over to someone else to decide their fate. By acting as my own publisher, I have full control of the entire project. Nice bonus: I also make more profit.

Are you a full-time or part-time writer?  How does that affect your writing?

I’m a full-time writer but also a full-time wife, mother, and Nana. My husband and I own a business and are active in our community. Wearing so many hats, I have to be flexible but dedicated with my writing schedule. I’ve finally learned to tell my family “I’m writing today” in order to limit intrusions.

What do you like to read in your free time?

I love to read but my bookshelves, whether virtual or real, cover many different genres. Mystery, cozies, women’s fiction, historical fiction, a few romances and westerns, occasional autobiographies of people I find interesting, and some inspirational non-fiction or self-help books, in that order.

What projects are you working on at the present?

I’m in the process of launching The Lilac Code, Book 7 of my most popular series, The Sisters, Texas Series. I have three other books started – a new non-mystery series, a stand-alone novel, and Book 2 of The Spirits of Texas Cozy Mysteries. In the very near future, I’ll need to select which project to concentrate on and complete first. Wish me luck.

What do your plans for future projects include?

I actually have a movie option for one of my series, so we’ll see what happens with that. I’m developing a new series that will be a good fit for television, and I have an idea for a non-fiction book. I’d also like to do more stand-alone novels.   


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To the delight of readers around the world, Becki Willis writes memorable characters in believable situations. Best known for Forgotten Boxes and The Sisters, Texas Mystery Series, Becki has won numerous awards, but says her biggest achievement is her family and her loyal reader base.

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1st Prize: Signed Copy of Tangible Spirits + $20 Amazon Gift Card
2nd Prize: Signed Copy of Tangible Spirits

JUNE 27-July 6, 2018

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