Gone With The Wind is still worth your reading time today

February 27th. 2019

I’d recently been reading Pat Conroy’s memoir about his reading/writing life, and stumbled upon a beautiful tribute to the novel, Gone With The Wind. The words caught me up short because the book is well over 80-years old and, brutally, a southern novel about a lifestyle and mindset long since faded. But, as one who had never read the book and could barely remember the movie, I decided to take the paperback with me on a trip to the beach. I’m so glad I packed that brick. Not only because it was long enough (over 800 pages) to keep me entertained for five days of prime chaise lounge reclining, but because it reminded me of how brave writers are. Margaret Mitchell wrote an epic novel about a war, a culture, a mystique that was still quite fresh on the minds of her audience in 1936. The Civil War and it’s after effect was tangible and the generation who’d fought in that war, for those causes, were still alive. She took on a sweeping saga and personalized it through the eyes of four main characters, each with a unique POV. Scarlett and Rhett are iconic, but they’re as much anti-heroes as trailblazers. It’s going to take me a while to digest my final opinion on this novel, but it’s not the portrayals of blacks and whites, Yankees and Confederates, carpetbaggers and gentility, that’s so remarkable–it’s the interior life of two characters who resisted every box society tried to shove them into. Maybe it’s to prove that in those most unlikeable there is the grit it takes to survive.

A video chat about the history behind the novels, The Big Inch and Harmon General–with Texas Author’s Alan Bourgeois

February 16th. 2019

If you like knowing “the rest of the story” as Paul Harvey used to say, here’s a link to a video interview/chat talking the back story of the WWII Texas based projects that were so pivotal in changing the outcomes for Allied soldiers in the fight. I really need to sit on my hands. My hand gestures look like a bat dipping in and around my head. What is it with girls who can’t talk without their hands?? I hope I don’t ever have to find out–I may go mute.

 

 

 

Places These Books Take Me

February 7th. 2019

Because talking about books is almost a fun conversation, I am invited to speak to a variety of different groups about the books I’ve written and those that have influenced my writing. Playing in the world of words has been my happy place for a very long time, and I will stay there for as long as I can because there are always new people to meet on the playground. This month I’ve been invited to speak to a Rotary Club, A Ladies Lunch Group, a Garden Club, a Church Group, and be a part of a Valentines Sweets and Books event. That’s a lot of words about books.

Thank you to those who take a leap and invite me to be your speaker, and thanks to those who leave the events with my books in their hands. This beautiful friendship fuels me as a writer, and encourages me to go back to my desk and start again.

 

Binge Watching on Rainy Weekends

September 25th. 2018

Let me begin by saying, we needed the rain around here. I know those folks in the Carolinas would gladly share the overdose of rain they’ve received, but until the clouds burst over East Texas, we were looking peaked (that’s Southern-speak for sick, but in this case just means dry, withered, and lost all summer color.) SO, with steady rain, slippery streets, and humidity so thick you could slice it, it made good sense to stay indoors and binge watch some TV shows.

Since my husband is the only who has mastered the smart TV and it’s evil remote, I typically defer to his recommendations. I’m glad I did, because we’ve been indulging in a show that ran on the ScyFy network back in the mid-OO’s, Eureka. I was enjoying most episodes, but toward the end of the last season even I was going “seriously??”–and that’s saying something for a show written about the bizarre antics unleashed scientists might create. So, I’m glad we’ve now moved on to another TV series from the years my kids were in high school and I had no idea what was on main stream television-Chuck. Though only into season two, I’m charmed. I love the camaraderie between the characters –The Best Friend, Morgan, has reduced me to laughter-tears–and I’m rooting for them all to break free of their emotional chains. Although, in full disclosure, I have been known to yell to the TV my own directives for the plot (but that’s because, as a writer, I have strong opinions.)

If you find yourself bound indoors this season, and have opportunity to download TV episodes, give Eureka and Chuck a few minutes of your time. I hope you’ll be hooked, like I was.

Jack Ryan and Lane Mercer

September 10th. 2018

I’ve begun the Amazon Prime series, Jack Ryan. I’m hooked, but admittedly, in small doses. There’s a lot of blood and gun-fire. John Krasinski has done a wonderful job on inhabiting a well-known character and making him feel fresh (the show writers get a lot of credit for that as well.) But seeing this modern CIA and all the levels and layers of command and on-the-ground resources makes me wonder what Lane Mercer, Emmie Tesco, and Theo Marks would have to say about all this gun-play and computer savviness. Those three fictional characters came to life in the early days of the Office of Strategic Services, the WWII fore-runner of today’s CIA. Like their real counterparts, they had minimal physical training, few technical resources save Morse Code, some early camera devices, and a whole lot of code definitions. What they did have to have were sharp wits, quick reflexes, a highly-trained observation method, and a memory that could pick up and recall the smallest of details. Jack Ryan isn’t much different, just with better toys. I like that the basic human instincts for loyalty, survival, moralistic high roads, and justice, are still as critical today for creating a character one can root for, as it was back in the day when those were the key recruiting tools. Hope you enjoy this new TV show like I am, and salute those very real people who serve our country through some unconventional ways.

Love Connecting with Other East Texas Authors!

September 6th. 2018

Making Pins for You!

September 6th. 2018

Friends, I’m hoping you enjoy Pinterest as much as I do. I use it as a search engine for the things I want to see visually as well as things I’m researching at any given moment–house ideas? travel spots? what to wear to work on Friday? Pinterest answers most of my questions. I’ve created Pinterest boards on my Fish Tales page to help me remember what actor has inspired a character in a book, and I pin photos that will help me remember details of what I need to write about regarding the stories I’m creating. It’s like a photo encyclopedia for me–maybe for you too, if you like peeking behind the curtain of a writer’s world. Because my novels are doing well, I’m using Pinterest to reach other readers with my customized book pins. Feel free to visit my page, look through my boards, and re-pin photos I’ve tagged, or –wouldn’t this be lovely–repin the book posts of Comfort Plans, The Big Inch, and Harmon General so your friends can see that you’ve enjoyed the novels too. Because the books are available through my website, I can easily assist Pinterest fans with finding a version of my books that suit them–pretty much, in an instant.

Taking Storytelling to A Club or Convention Near You

August 1st. 2018

I’ve had multiple opportunities in the last several years to share with audiences messages about overcoming adversity, finding the value in a local story (and making it a goldmine for marketing,) and the value of plugging in to a community and contributing to its future. With positive affirmation from listeners, I’m going to expand my horizon of influence and make myself available to speak to regional groups, clubs, and organizations that need a positive voice sharing a message of doing something good for the greater good. Stay tuned, I’ll post photos and videos from recent events and you can decide if this is something I should pursue or dial it back to focus my words to paper and not microphones.

TV Interviews and Newspaper Stories

July 24th. 2018

It’s crazy that these books are picking up so much steam and resonating with not only readers–but reporters! Thanks to the fantastic Longview News Journal story about Harmon General (and its author) television stations have invited me in to talk about Texas history, the World War II years, and why it’s important to keep these milestones from our collective story alive for a new generation. If we don’t know our story, how will we ever see how far we’ve grown or the debt we owe our grandparents? There was a time when people didn’t think twice about doing good for the greater good. We’ve lost some of that spontaneity and zest, but it’s not entirely gone. If reading about what others have accomplished spurs us on, isn’t that the point of storytelling?

Me and Joe Lansdale

July 19th. 2018

Well, Joe Lansdale doesn’t know it yet, but he’s going to be sitting next to me at a book signing at the Bookstore in Kilgore next month. I’m sure he’d be thrilled, if only he knew. I actually am thrilled because he’s the Faulkner of East Texas. He writes with grit and poison, exposing both the stains of humanity and the thin thread of hope to make life (our culture) better. I’m currently reading his novel, The Bottoms, which pulls back the curtain on life in 1930s East Texas–before oil flipped this place on its head.

If you want to meet Joe Lansdale (also famed for many other novels, screenplays, and TV series) come to Kilgore, August 22nd from 2-4p. He’s written a new book with his daughter and they’ll be signing their books, and I’ll be there with mine.

Here’s the link to the bookstore so you can find your way:

https://thekilgorebookstore.com