Benjamin Franklin Books Awards 2018

Benjamin Franklin Book Awards 2018

I am thrilled to announce that three of my books were honored by the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) with Benjamin Franklin Book Awards. Strings: A Love Story won gold in the Romance category, Full Service Blonde won gold in the Mystery & Suspense category, and Getting off on Frank Sinatra won the Bill Fisher Award for best first book by a new publisher (Imbrifex Books). Aaron Reed, whose book Fly Fishing Austin and Central Texas is due out in 2019, was kind enough to be on hand to accept the awards on my behalf, and he also took the picture above.

The Wolf, the Duck, and the Mouse

The Wolf, the Duck, and the Mouse: A Review

I have two favorite kinds of picture books: those that I’ve read so many times that I’ve memorized them, and those that, on the first reading, I know are destined to become the first kind. The Wolf, The Duck, and the Mouse by Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen (Candlewick Press, October, 2017) is now well on its way to becoming the first kind. The first time I picked it up, I read it three times, and I didn’t even have a child nearby to encourage me. Since then, I’ve lost count of how many more time I’ve read it, and a number of other people have read it, too. It would have been easy enough to hide it under other books on my desk, but I’ve been enjoying this one’s (more…)

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#VegasStrong

#VegasStrong and Even Stronger

“I can’t imagine.”

It’s a well-worn comment most of us have fallen back on when we hear about an awful event.

She lost her baby.
His wife was killed.
The whole family died.

“I simply can’t imagine what that would be like/what I’d do/how I’d feel.”

In the wake of the events in Las Vegas last Sunday, I’m sure the phrase was oft repeated.

But not by me. Because I can imagine. If I let my mind travel to the country music festival last weekend, I can easily picture the happy throngs in cowboy (more…)

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Used Cars, Lost Dogs, and Naked Ladies

Right after Hugh Hefner’s death was revealed the other day, posts began appearing in my Facebook feed. They came in a variety of flavors, but the most oft-repeated went something like this:

“Everybody claimed they read Playboy for the articles, but I really did.”

I won’t call these nostalgic Playboy readers liars. There’s no question that Hefner published good writing and paid his authors well. He paid his naked ladies (more…)

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An Evening of Strings to Celebrate a Book Called Strings

Strings: A Love Story got a kickoff like few others last Wednesday. Violinist Ethan Lee and cellist Marcus Lee filled the beautiful, two-story atrium at the Viewpointe Executive Suites in Las Vegas with music so lovely I swear I saw a tear or two. Oh, wait. Those were mine.

And there was more. Juan Soto, who is a luthier by trade, brought several of his most beautiful (and expensive) violins for everyone to see. He also brought a violin in pieces, so we could get a glimpse what it takes to craft one of these amazing instruments.

And The Goodwich, that wonderful restaurant downtown that fortunately will travel, provided (more…)

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Irma and Harvey: The Long Road Home

Irma and Harvey: The Long Road Home

As I watch news of Hurricane Irma’s destructive progress across the Caribbean and southern Florida, I can’t help thinking about what will follow. Like thousands of people in Texas in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, those in Irma’s path will soon be faced with the calmer but no less agonizing challenges of her aftermath.

Some will go home to houses that are broken but still habitable. Some will go home to rubble. Some won’t go home at all. All of this brings back memories of the day I lost my own home to a wildfire in southern California. Around 250 other houses also burned down in that fire, and hundreds more (more…)

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