When Texas Ranger Brett Tucker accidentally derails a wedding, he’s determined to bring the estranged couple back together…but he never dreamed he’d start falling for the bride!
Texas Ranger Brett Tucker hates to break up a wedding, but the groom—notorious criminal Frank Foster—is a danger to any woman. So he busts into the church, guns blazing…only to find he has the wrong man.
STOP THAT WEDDING!
Bride-to-be Kate Denver is appalled by her fiancé’s over-the-top reaction to the innocent mistake and calls off the wedding—for good. Guilt-ridden, Brett’s desperate to get them back on track. But the more time he spends with Kate, the harder he falls…and the more he yearns to prove that he’s her true match in every way.
“Light and airy as cotton candy, this tale charms.”
Ten things you didn’t know about author Margaret Brownley
I collect teapots. This was not something I set out to do. I made the mistake of setting two teapots together on a shelf and people just assumed I collected them. I now own more than thirty-five teapots in all shapes and colors. Whenever I throw a tea party, guests each get their own teapots.
I’ve been to all fifty states. Alaska was the last state visited.
I flunked eighth-grade English. I didn’t do all that great in history, either (All those dates and battles—ugh!). Since my head was always in the clouds, I was probably better prepared to be an astronaut than a writer of historical fiction.
In my other life I was a teacher.
I have more than 2000 research books in my library. This explains why I can never find the book I want.
My office is painted Monet purple. Purple is said to insight creativity.
I do not sit on a chair when I write; I sit on a stability ball. These balls are great for building core strength but there is a drawback; A recent earthquake sent me flying.
I run a rescue shelter for Boston Ferns. Anyone having trouble with theirs knows to bring it to me.
All my best ideas come at three a.m. My worst ideas come at three a.m., too.
I probably shouldn’t tell you this, but I’m geographically challenged. If you give me directions to your house, you better also give me directions back to mine.
A secret pleasure of mine is sitting on the beach with a good book. (Did you ever notice how the beach makes every book seem good?)
I can’t count
New York Times bestselling author MARGARET BROWNLEY has penned more than forty-five novels and novellas. She’s a two-time Romance Writers of American RITA® finalist and has written for a TV soap. She is also a recipient of the Romantic Times Pioneer Award.
Her story, A Pony Express Christmas, will appear this fall in the Old West Christmas Brides collection, and book two of her Haywire Brides series will be published May 2019. Not bad for someone who flunked eighth-grade English. Just don’t ask her to diagram a sentence.
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.
100 Things to Do in Dallas – Fort Worth Before You Die
by Tui Snider
My new book, 100 Things to Do in Dallas – Fort Worth Before You Die, is divided into sections covering Food & Drink, Music and Entertainment, Sports and Recreation, Culture and History, and Shopping and Fashion sections. Even though there was no specific section called “Weird and Quirky,” I couldn’t resist adding a few off-ball items onto the list. Here are three of the most unusual travel destinations included in the book:
#1 Munster Mansion Replica in Waxahachie, Texas While you can’t set your GPS for “1313 Mockingbird Lane,” you can visit an incredible replica of the Munster family home in the town of Waxahachie. In 2001, Sandra and Charles McKee built a replica of the creepy home depicted in the 1960s-era TV sitcom. The pair carefully rewatched all seventy episodes of The Munsters to perfect their design, which includes a fire-breathing creature under the staircase. Despite the effort the McKees put into creating their Munster Mansion, it is not a year-round tourist attraction. For them, it is simply a fun project. Even so, since 2002, the McKees occasionally host charity events and private parties. To see photos from my visit to a Munster Mansion Open House, drop by my website: http://tuisnider.com/2014/10/08/visit-the-munster-mansion-replica-in-waxahachie-texas/
#2 Da Vinci’s “Wax Supper” In 1955, oil tycoon Bill Fleming commissioned a version of Leonardo Da Vinci’s masterpiece The Last Supper. Instead of a painting, however, Fleming paid for a life-sized sculpture made from wax. To complete this project, Fleming hired the mother/ daughter team of Katherine and Katherine Marie Stubergh, a duo well known for their wax sculptures. After eighteen months, their “Wax Supper” was done, and Bill Fleming gave it to the city of Fort Worth. For the next forty years, the waxwork made the rounds from churches to a shopping mall. In 1997, it was placed in storage, and for a while all seemed lost. In 2009, however, the wax display was restored. The Stubergh’s “Wax Supper” is currently on display at the Christian Arts Museum in Fort Worth, where entry is free of charge. To see more photos of the “Wax Supper,” drop by my blog: http://tuisnider.com/2016/01/22/quirky-texas-life-size-wax-sculpture-replica-of-the-last-supper/ 3221 Hamilton Ave., Fort Worth817-332-7878facebook.com/ChristianArtsMuseumFW
#3 Space Alien Grave in Aurora Cemetery In April 1897, the Dallas News reported a UFO crash in the Wise County town of Aurora. According to the reporter, although the petite alien was “not an inhabitant of this world,” his or her body was buried in the local cemetery. This bizarre legend remains popular among mystery seekers and is even mentioned on a Texas State Historical Marker at the site. In recent years, the city of Aurora has embraced its strange legacy by hosting an Aurora Alien Expo, incorporating a bug-eyed alien into the city logo and even erecting a sculpture of a crashed spaceship as you enter town. Keep an eye on the city’s website for tours of the crash site and grave as well as alien-themed festivals throughout the year. For more about this bizarre slice of North Texas history, check out my article here: http://tuisnider.com/2012/07/09/alien-gravesite-in-aurora-cemetery-the-roswell-of-texas/
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, LifeHack, easyJet 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.
It’s Elvis Week in Memphis, and homicide detective Rachel Sloan isn’t sure her day could get any stranger when aging Elvis impersonator Vic Vegas asks to see her. But when he produces a photo of her murdered mother with four Elvis impersonators—one of whom had also been murdered soon after the photo was taken—she’s forced to reevaluate. Is there some connection between the two unsolved cases? And could the recent break-in at Vic’s home be tied to his obsession with finding his friend’s killer?
When yet another person in the photo is murdered, Rachel suddenly has her hands full investigating three cases. Lieutenant Boone Callahan offers his help, but their checkered romantic past threatens to get in the way. Can they solve the cases before the murderer makes Rachel victim number four?
“The third installment of Bradley’s Memphis Cold Case series focuses on a cold case related to a homicide detective’s past…Bradley includes the unique character of Erin who seems as if she is a real person and takes great care to portray her respectfully.”
I looked from my computer to the doorway. Lieutenant Boone Callahan leaned against it, a frown on his face. “A little. Do you have a problem?”
He rolled his broad shoulders. “No. I just want to hang out.”
I hate it when characters won’t tell me what’s wrong, when I have to drag it out of them. I closed the top on my MacBook. “Spit it out.”
“Spit what out?” Nevertheless, he stepped into the room and moved a research book from the Queen Anne chair beside my desk before he sat down. Of course, his 6’2” frame looked ridiculous in it.
“Hold on a sec,” I said, and changed places with him. My leather chair suited him much better. “Now, what’s wrong?”
“Nothing.” He crossed his arms and stared out the window.
I waited, tapping my toe.
After two minutes of staring, he turned to me. “Why did you put Rachel in homicide? I mean, why didn’t you leave her in burglary?”
“You don’t like working with her?”
“I didn’t say that.” He smiled. “Actually, she’s great to work with. She’s smart, determined, pretty…” Boone bit his bottom lip. “Maybe too pretty. I can’t keep my mind on my job. It’s driving me crazy.”
He didn’t know how that warmed my heart. I pressed my lips together to keep from smiling. “Exactly what do you want me to do about it?”
“It would help if she wasn’t so independent.”
I eyed him. “And how do you propose I do that? You two have taken over the story…I try to get you to do one thing and you do the exact opposite.”
Boone pointed to himself. “Me? Nah…you know I’m a by-the-book person. Say, couldn’t you make her a little more like that? I mean, she goes off on these tangents, and I don’t have any control over her. I’m afraid she’s going to get herself killed.”
I doodled with my pencil. “And that would bother you?”
“Yeah! I love—I…I mean, she matters a lot to me, but we’re all wrong for each other. Besides, we’re in the same department, and I’m her supervisor—no way can we fall in love. One of us would have to leave Homicide.”
“Really?” I tap my finger to my lip, thinking.
His eyes widened. “Uh, uh. You’re not going to—” He jumped up and palmed his hands up. “No. Don’t you dare try to get us together. Not happening. Not in a million years. I don’t want to leave Homicide and neither does Rachel.”
“If you say so.” I took my chair back and shooed him out of my office. I’d just figured out another way to torture the both of them.
Patricia Bradley is the award-winning author of Justice Delayed and Justice Buried, as well as the Logan Point series. She is cofounder of Aiming for Healthy Families, Inc., and a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America. She lives in Mississippi.
ABOUT THE BOOK: Seven years ago, orphaned and alone, Em finally arrived at a new home in Iowa after riding the orphan train. But secrets from her past haunt her, and her new life in the Western wilderness is a rough one. When her guardian is shot and killed, Em, now nineteen, finally has the chance to search for her long-lost sister, but she won’t be able to do it alone.
For Azure Springs Sheriff Caleb Reynolds, securing justice for the waifish and injured Em is just part of his job. He’s determined to solve every case put before him in order to impress his parents and make a name for himself. Caleb expects to succeed. What he doesn’t expect is the hold this strange young woman will have on his heart.
Welcome to the charming town of Azure Springs, Iowa, where people care deeply for one another and, sometimes, even fall in love.
PRAISE FOR THE HOPE OF AZURE SPRINGS: “In her promising first novel, Fordham assembles an endearing cast of characters in the rugged Midwest plains for a tale about surviving and thriving. . . .Fordham depicts heartbreaking emotional and physical suffering, while beautifully illustrating the power in simple acts of kindness to foster healing, hope, and happiness.”
FROM THE HOPE OF AZURE SPRINGS
Em heard a man’s voice from somewhere above her. A strange thumping pulsed through her with each word he spoke. Her throat burned, screaming for water, but she could not cry out.
“There’s life in her. Not much of it though,” a second, raspier voice answered. She felt a hand press against her throat and then move over her body, gently probing. “She’s bleeding pretty bad.”
“Gunshot?” the first voice asked.
If only her eyes would open, and she could see them. Straining, she struggled to pull her heavy eyelids open. Finally, bits of light darted in front of her eyes, but she could not focus. The faces above her were fuzzy and indiscernible.
Fear swept through her, suddenly waking her battered body. Afraid the men from before had returned, she opened her eyes wide, finding strength that only moments before she had lacked. With thrashing arms, she flailed at the men. Her arms flopped about but offered little defense—she was too weak from blood loss. And then they moved no longer, subdued by large, strong hands.
“Easy, girl. We aren’t going to hurt you. We just want to help. Take you into town, that’s all. There’s a good doctor there.” The man’s deep voice sounded gentle, but still she did not trust him. Voices could be deceiving. Arms could hurt as well as help. She knew these things well.
Soon she felt her body being raised above the ground, and moments later the hard planks of a wagon became the resting place for her injured frame. Too weak to move, she lay looking at the sky, wishing there were a way to end the agony, but knowing that for Lucy she would fight on.
Once the wagon lurched forward, she lost track of everything again. The wheels bouncing over ruts made her pain so intense that everything closed around her and then faded to black.
A short review from me: I was fortunate to get to read The Hope of Azure Springs for this blitz. There’s a lot of pain but also a lot of healing. I found myself both smiling and crying while reading this book. It was very well written and captivated me from the start. There were beautiful messages spread throughout the book about living life, beauty, character, and hope. I hope you’ll get a chance to read it.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rachel Fordham started writing when her children began begging her for stories at night. She’d pull a book from the shelf, but they’d insist she make one up. She hasn’t stopped since. She lives with her husband and children on an island in the state of Washington.
In 1943, Lane Mercer and Emmie Tesco had nothing in common. Well, nothing stronger than a town neither of them chose and careers they couldn’t advertise as agents within the Office of Strategic Services. During the days of Longview, Texas’s Friendly Trek Homecoming Parade, Lane was gearing up for the grand opening of a bookshop that also disguised an espionage safe house, and Emmie was chasing a criminal with evil intent through the US Army’s new medical facility, Harmon General Hospital, treating diseased and amputated soldiers. Emmie ropes Lane into international threats at Harmon General, making it increasingly hard for the two spies to navigate the Junior Service League, church life, or anything else that might be considered normal for a town sizzling with oil boom wealth. A friend from Lane’s past arrives and pushes against the fiction she’s created to distance her spy history from the wedding bells ringing her future. Emmie flirts with the idea of finding a life outside of the OSS but justifies the danger as a way to make amends for those she’s betrayed. Connecting the two women, to their surprise, is a rogue agent who targets them for crimes he believes they created. For better, or worse, they have to put aside their differences to share responsibility for stopping “The Grasshopper” before he blows apart the Big Inch Pipeline project and Harmon General Hospital. The hope of malaria treatments for US soldiers depends on it, and justice of the heart demands it.
PRAISE FOR HARMON GENERAL:
“The war that changed the world brought the world to East Texas through Harmon General, a significant US Army hospital that treated thousands of wounded soldiers in Longview. In Harmon General, we meet again Lane Mercer, a World War II heroine, and we enjoy again how the drama of her secret service to the nation and her complicated personal relationships pull us into the vast impact of the world war.” — Dale Lunsford, Ph.D., President, LeTourneau University
“Harmon General is a brilliant story for historical fiction readers! Set in World War II, the female spies, Army hospital setting, and drama amongst the Longview townsfolk kept me riveted and engaged until the very end.” – Jody T. Morse
For the first five days of the Lone Star Book Blog Tours promotion of Harmon General, the Kindle e-book of The Big Inch is FREE!! That’s right, from June 22-27, the e-book that started the whole Misfits and Millionaires adventure costs nada! Click to download your copy!
Reading this book for review came at an interesting time for me–we had just returned from a short getaway in East Texas. While we hadn’t quite made it as far as Longview, it was still neat to have the story set so close to where we had been.
In one word, Harmon General is Captivating. It kept me interested and intrigued and needing to know what happened next.
Lane Mercer is trying to figure out what she wants in life, and it isn’t easy. Being an agent, even semi-retired, certainly makes figuring things out a lot more difficult, especially when it seems Longview has become a hotbed for those willing to sell secrets for a pretty penny. Also complicating matters is the fact that Lane hasn’t exactly dealt with her past, and it’s keeping her from moving on.
Lane isn’t the only one this book focuses on, but she is the main one. That’s not to say Emmie Tesco doesn’t have her own things to work through (that epilogue was so emotional!).
The entire cast of characters in this book is unique–each a thoroughly believable individual with their own motivations, agendas, secrets, and prejudices. The setting (location and time period) were very well-researched and represented in these books.
Truly, I had no idea where this book was going to lead me. I remember being almost exactly at the halfway point, and my heart was breaking for Lane, and I had no idea how the situations were going to play out–and that was just the middle! While I feel I can’t really comment on anything past that halfway point, I will say it was a great ride!
I really loved Lane’s scene at the golf course. I’d have to say, it’s certainly a wonderful way of dealing with Lane Mercer’s Pet Peeve, being underestimated because you’re a woman.
If you enjoy historical fiction, espionage, or women defying social norms/expectations, I’d highly recommend picking this book up.
*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Kimberly Fish started writing professionally with the birth of her second child and the purchase of a home computer. Having found this dubious outlet, she then entered and won The Writer’s League of Texas manuscript contest which fed her on-going fascination with story crafting.
She has since published in magazines, newspapers, and online formats and in January 2017, released the first novel in the Misfits and Millionaires series set during the World War II years in Longview, Texas—The Big Inch. Her second book, Comfort Plans, was published later that same year.
Gilly O’Connell’s nightmares aren’t just bad dreams; they’re glimpses of terrifying realities to come. Gilly has spent her entire life trying to suppress the foreboding visions. So when a dismissed premonition leads to her husband’s murder, she buries the guilt and pain of the unsolved crime in the only way she knows how—she runs from it.
Three years later, after overcoming a battle with addiction and starting over in a small Texas town, Gilly dares to believe the worst is over. That is, until another crime rips her heart open: the abduction of a three-year-old girl. Gilly knows more about it than anyone…
She’s dreaming again.
Gilly is convinced that if she tells the police she dreamed of the kidnapping before it happened, there’s no way they’ll believe her. But when she finally gets the courage to come forward with what she saw, people don’t see her as crazy—they see her as a suspect.
Now, in order to help a desperate single father save his child, Gilly must first clear her own name. But as the nightmares of the past catch up to her, Gilly’s only chance for salvation might be the dreams she’s spent so long trying to ignore.
PRAISE FOR WHAT LIES BELOW:
“Infused with heart-stopping suspense, emotional resonance, and startling imagery, What Lies Below swept me along a river of urgency and dread. Barbara Taylor Sissel effortlessly weaves together prescience, regret, grief, love, and revenge—all wrapped in the mystery of a young girl’s abduction. Beneath the breathless immediacy of the story lie deeper questions: How do we forgive ourselves—and others—for remembered transgressions, and can we ever break free of the past?” —A. J. Banner, #1 Amazon and USA Today bestselling author of The Good Neighbor and The Twilight Wife
“Barbara Taylor Sissel’s What Lies Below is suspense at its finest—heartrending, compelling, and beautifully written. If you’re looking for your next up-all-night read, look no further.” —Jessica Strawser, author of Almost Missed You and Not That I Could Tell
“I cannot emphasize this enough: you must read What Lies Below. Barbara Taylor Sissel manages to combine an unreliable narrator, twisting plot, and well imagined characters to create a world where nothing is as it seems and secrets abound. I had intended to savor the novel’s lovely prose but wound up devouring the book in a day. Simply fantastic.” —Karen McQuestion, bestselling author of Hello Love
I was often the one fighting tears, listening to the stories, the often-heartbreaking ways in which a family’s life was altered by their son’s crime. I hadn’t ever thought of crime in terms of collateral damage before, especially when it came to the families of the perpetrators.
When my first son was born, and we brought him home to the prison, a few days later, when I was asked to come down to the dining hall on a pretext, I was reluctant. I looked awful for one thing. I was the picture of the exhausted new mom. But when I got there the scene that greeted me brought me to tears.
Those guys had collected gifts for my baby. They’d had one of their moms make a quilt, chipped in to buy a savings bond, booties, a box of diapers. They’d made dinner for me and baked a cake. Inmates, in a prison! Now that I had my own child, a son, I thought about it—how despite the way he was raised, things could go wrong. I might one day be the mother of an inmate. I’d met a few such mothers; I knew firsthand they weren’t different from me.
After I finished my first novel, I saw an article in the Houston Chronicle about a relatively young guy on death row, located then at the Walls unit in Huntsville. He was labeled a volunteer because he had declined further appeals and asked the judge to set the date of his execution. It sent a chill through me.
I wondered how it must be to know the date of your death, what it must feel like, watching the days pass until that day arrives. And then I thought: What must it feel like to be his mother? I wrote the book, the second book, exposing my idea of that journey and how it might unfold. I couldn’t stop myself.
After we left Kentucky, we received Christmas cards from several of the inmates through the years. Most of them turned their lives around. I think being segregated in a rural setting with lots of one-on-one counseling from gifted counselors like my husband was key to their success.
At the time the program was in place, the inmate recidivism rate dropped a significant amount. And a seed was planted in my brain, one that I continue to nourish, or possibly it continues to nourish me.
The books I’ve authored aren’t the ones I planned to write. They evolved out of my experience, where I was given a bird’s eye view of the indomitability of the human spirit and the heart’s capacity to love and to forgive. Along the way, I conceived of a tagline, which pretty much sums it up: At the heart of every crime, there’s a family, someone you love. In every book, I search for the place where it’s impossible to forgive, impossible to allow love to heal. I haven’t found it yet.
Barbara Taylor Sissel writes issue oriented, upmarket women’s fiction that is threaded with elements of suspense and defined by its particular emphasis on how crime affects the family. Born in Honolulu, Hawaii, she was raised in various locations across the US and once lived with her family on the grounds of a first offender prison facility. The experience, interacting with the inmates and staff, provided a unique insight into the inmate’s lives, the circumstances behind the crimes they committed, and the impact on the families that were affected. The bestselling author of nine novels, her stories focus on the family at the heart of the crime. An avid gardener and the mother of two grown sons, Barbara lives in the Texas Hill Country. She’s represented by Barbara Poelle at the Irene Goodman Literary Agency.
Sins of the Younger Sons has received the Jesse H. Jones Award for Fiction from the Texas Institute of Letters! Luke Burgoa is an ex-Marine on a solitary covert mission to infiltrate the Basque separatist organization ETA in Spain and help bring down its military commander, Peru Madariaga. Luke hails from a Basque ancestry that came with the Spanish empire to Cuba, Argentina, Mexico, and, seventy-five years ago, to a Texas ranch. Neighbors consider the Burgoas Mexican immigrants and exiles of that nation’s revolution, but the matriarch of the family speaks the ancient language Euskera and honors traditions of the old country. Luke’s orders are to sell guns to the ETA and lure Peru into a trap. Instead he falls in love with Peru’s estranged wife, Ysolina, who lives in Paris and pursues a doctorate about an Inquisition-driven witchcraft frenzy in her native land. From the day they cross the border into the Basque Pyrenees, their love affair on the run conveys the beauty, sensuality, exoticism, and violence of an ancient homeland cut in two by Spain and France. Their trajectory puts Luke, Ysolina, and Peru on a collision course with each other and the famed American architect Frank Gehry, whose construction of a Guggenheim art museum seeks to transform the Basque city of Bilbao, a decrepit industrial backwater haunted by the Spanish Civil War—and a hotbed of ETA extremism. Ranging from the Amazon rain forest to a deadly prison in Madrid, Sins of the Younger Sons is a love story exposed to dire risk at every turn.
PRAISE FOR SINS OF THE YOUNGER SONS:
“Reid’s story is a fascinating blend of page-turning thriller and vivid tableau of Basque culture and the movement that battled the Spanish establishment for many decades. A reader can’t ask for more—a book that’s engaging, entertaining, educative, and unique.”
—Thomas Zigal, author of Many Rivers to Cross and The White League “What a fine book Jan Reid has written! At once history—both cultural and political—and sensual love story, it reaches beyond genre to make for a magical and profound reading experience. Don’t start reading it at night unless you want to stay up until dawn and then some.” —Beverly Lowry, author of Who Killed These Girls? and Harriet Tubman: Imagining a Life “Page by page, Sins of the Younger Sons invites the reader to dwell for a while within its unique world, to suffer and celebrate with its unforgettable characters. It’s a trip that, if taken, is well worth the effort.” —Ed Conroy, San Antonio Express-News “Sins of the Younger Sons vividly takes us into a world few of us have seen and into a bitter conflict most of us have never considered nor understood.” —Si Dunn, Dallas Morning News
This is certainly an intricately crafted, thoroughly thought out, and researched novel.
In the beginning it almost seems like a handful of only slightly-related stories, but as the novel progresses you realize just how tied together these stories are. It’s also a reminder that politics stretch over time periods, each with their fingers entwined in what has happened in the past, and what they want out of the future. Isolated incidents are rarely such, and sometimes the reasons reach far into the past.
I love how much of the language, culture, and explanations found their way into this novel. It was certainly an immersive experience in that way.
However, because of the use of Basque, Spanish, and sometime French dialogue, the reading was greatly slowed down. There were also times when the characters would slip into thinking about their past almost imperceptibly, and I’d have to go back and find the place where it changed so I could know it wasn’t the “current” time of the story. I found this book to be a but more challenging than what I typically choose; that’s not a bad thing, it just requires a different amount of effort and type of reading headspace.
I think the characters in this story are very human and want a lot of the same things most people do–a better world–even if the means to the end aren’t quite ideal. I didn’t really find myself empathizing with them though.
This book is a great choice for people who enjoy literary pieces that turn on the brain.
Jan Reid’s highly praised books include his novel Comanche Sundown, his biography of Texas governor Ann Richards, Let the People In, his memoir of Mexico, The Bullet Meant for Me, and The Improbable Rise of Redneck Rock. Making his home in Austin, Reid has been a leading contributor to Texas Monthly for over forty years.
Whew it’s been a while, but here’s an update! Really though, I’ve been working on this update for over a month, and I keep coming back and adding more, and putting off publishing it because of the work involved in the images (I like to resize them so they don’t use all my media storage on WP). Here’s a quick video update of the garden from April 23:
And a video from May 6:
I’ll eventually get the images added to this post, but if I don’t publish it now I never will. I think the fact I’ve been up to doing video updates but not blog posts shows that the same way doesn’t always have to work every time. I hope you enjoy getting to see the garden and how it’s doing.
On March 30 I DID A LOT in the garden.
I purchased this, a 2 pack of 50″ diameter 12″ deep plastic planting bags (way cheaper than the fabric ones), and filled it with 9 1.5 cu ft bags of gardening soil. Then I transplanted a zucchini plant, two eggplants, and planted seeds for 2 yellow squash plants, one more zucchini plant, and several marigolds and nasturtiums. The transplanted eggplants seem to be doing okay, but the zucchini not so much. The yellow squash and zucchini seeds have sprouted, as have the nasturtiums (but not the marigold). The second one I’m not filling right now. Maybe in the fall or next spring.
I also filled 4 5-gallon buckets and 8 5-gallon fabric planters with soil, and transplanted 2 of each of the following plants: beefsteak tomatoes, red cherry tomatoes, Yolo Wonder bell peppers, sweet banana peppers, cayenne peppers, and jalapeno peppers. Just a few days after doing this we had a cold front come through with strong winds and a day of at-freezing temperatures with rain, but the plants seem to have survived. An old fence panel fell on some of the peppers, with one Cayenne pepper taking the bring of the fall. But it’s still green, and it has a baby pepper on it, so I think it’ll pull through. I’m not sure if the tomatoes are doing well or not, I guess time will tell.
I also planted several flowers along the back of the house. The cosmos and allysum have survived and flowered a little, and the snapdragons look pretty good but still small/not flowering. It also looks like the seeds I’ve planted are sprouting. I also received some canna bulbs from a family member, and they’re shooting leaves up from the ground now too.
Written out, that sure doesn’t seem like much, but it was a whole day’s worth of work!
My greens bed seems to be doing… half-well? The arugula and kale have really taken off, but I’ve only got like 3 (out of 8) lettuce still trying and only 1 spinach, which seems to be getting eaten by something. The broccoli plant hasn’t done much but the cauliflower has put on several more leaves. And the baby onions… I’m not sure if something is eating them or they’re just not doing well. They’re still green and trying but some are broken and I just haven’t really seen any progress. As of May 6, the arugula has started bolting and I don’t think I’ll see anything but greens from the cauliflower, but I think it was worth the try.
The peas are doing alright, I think, and I’ve used some old branches to give them something to climb. They are now flowering and making pea pods!
My onion plants (planted from pantry onions that began growing inside) are GINORMOUS and soon to flower. My sage (started last year, survived the winter) is blooming and looking very good.
I’ve eaten a few sweet strawberries from my plants already, and there’s a wild dewberry bush by the back door that I’m keeping an excited eye on. However, something gets to about half of my strawberries before I do, and while I was thinking it might be slugs…one day I went out there and the strawberries were still juicy like they’d been eaten recently, and there were giant drops of strawberry juice on the leaves…do rats do this?
I’ve also had some flowers from previous years come back and bloom!
I noticed some (A LOT) of ants in my potato plants. My guess is that they are after the aphids and their sticky stuff. I guess that’s my next thing to figure out how to deal with. After a little while, the ants seemed to have disappeared. I’m not sure if I should be more relieved or worried.
In some ways I still feel so new to gardening. I feel like an imposter. I see other people’s pictures and how tightly placed and green and lush their plants look. Am I doing something wrong? Starting my plants too late or spreading them out too much? Starting some of them too early? Not watering right? I guess it’s all learned in experience, and I don’t have much of that yet.I get started with so many plans and so much excitement, but it doesn’t feel like anything pans out the way I’m hoping.