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Guest Post #2: The Republic of Football by Chad S. Conine

THE REPUBLIC OF FOOTBALL
Legends of the Texas High School Game
by
Chad S. Conine
Genre: Texas Sports History / Biographies
Date of Publication: September 6, 2016
Publisher: University of Texas Press
# of pages: 288
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Anywhere football is played, Texas is the force to reckon with. Its powerhouse programs produce the best football players in America. In The Republic of Football, Chad S. Conine vividly captures Texas’s impact on the game with action-filled stories about
legendary high school players, coaches, and teams from around the state and across seven decades. 

Drawing on dozens of interviews, Conine offers rare glimpses of the early days of some of football’s biggest stars. He reveals that some players took time to achieve greatness—LaDainian Tomlinson wasn’t even the featured running back on his high school team until a breakthrough game in his senior season vaulted him to the highest level of the sport—while others, like Colt McCoy, showed their first flashes of brilliance in middle school. In telling these and many other stories of players and coaches, including Hayden Fry, Spike Dykes, Bob McQueen, Lovie Smith, Art Briles, Lawrence Elkins, Warren McVea, Ray Rhodes, Dat Nguyen, Zach Thomas, Drew Brees, and Adrian Peterson, Conine spotlights the decisive moments when players caught fire and teams such as Celina, Southlake Carroll, and Converse Judson turned into Texas dynasties.

“This is a wonderful, well-written book, full of compelling details and stories. A ‘must read’ for any Texas football fan.” —DAVE CAMPBELL Dave Campbell’s Texas Football

 
PURCHASE AT YOUR LOCAL BOOKSTORE OR
 University of Texas Press
GuestPost

The Memorable Moments

Guest Post

By Chad S. Conine

There are moments from writing The Republic of Football that resurface and make me wish I was still in the middle of the adventure of gathering all the material for the chapters.

I interviewed around 130 former and current football players and coaches during a 14-month period that was kind of a roller coaster. That 130-ish might sound like a big number, but the actual number of interviews doesn’t seem that high to me. It’s less than 10 a month when I could have easily and happily conducted 10 per week. The big number is the quantity of emails and phone calls I made to get the interviews. That anxiety I felt as I waited for returned calls or emails definitely proved the most difficult part of the project. Those are not the moments that I remember fondly. But they had their purpose.

In the summer of 2014, I was attempting to patch together an NFL training camp tour. This was a key part of the project because once the NFL season started, I knew I would have a hard time getting access to the players I wanted to include. Then, following the season, they would scatter, and I really wouldn’t be able to do any interviews until OTAs (optional team activities) in May and June of 2015. I was supposed to turn in the manuscript by the start of football season 2015, so it wasn’t going to be possible to turn 15 interviews from OTAs into chapters in that amount of time. It had to be in training camp.

Then things came together. I targeted a specific area of the country that had some of the biggest names from Texas — Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, Green Bay Packers kicker Mason Crosby, Detroit Lions quarterback Matt Stafford, and Indianapolis Colts defensive lineman Cory Redding. Others said “no” but the ones I listed are the ones who said “yes” by the last Saturday in July of 2014, when I got in my car and headed north. The next 12 days produced many of the moments I mentioned above, in the first paragraph. Moments like: driving into downtown Detroit and eventually all the way up 8-Mile Road, all the while listening to Eminem; playing golf in Chicago with my buddy Sean DelBacarro and his dad; making friends and having drinks with the person who checked me into my hotel in Mankato, Minnesota; looking out of my car window at the beautiful West Virginia state capitol (oh yeah, I ended up going to West Virginia too, more on that later); and turning a corner in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and discovering there was a massive Manchester United versus Real Madrid soccer match that sold out Michigan Stadium that day.

I haven’t made it back to Mankato, Minnesota, but it’s on my to-do list. That’s where I arrived after the first two days of driving because that’s where the Vikings were holding training camp. I checked into the hotel and asked the friendly person at the desk, whose name was Lindsey, where I should have dinner. She told me to go unpack and she would have some recommendations when I was on my way out. That’s what I did and we chatted for a few minutes before I headed for a local Italian place. When I returned to the hotel, she was still at the desk and it was a slow evening, so we must have talked for most of an hour.

The next day, after I interviewed Adrian Peterson, I went to a coffee shop that Lindsey recommended. I wanted coffee and I needed to record the interview and send some emails. One of the emails I sent went to the New Orleans Saints. Having had a great interview with Peterson, I was feeling momentum, so I inquired about speaking with Drew Brees. Within an hour, the Saints called and said Brees agreed to the interview. That meant that after I interviewed Stafford the following Friday in Detroit, I would then drive across Ohio to White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, where the Saints were holding camp. But it would be worth it.

Soon after I received the call from the Saints, Lindsey came by the coffee shop to hang out for a bit. We made plans to drink beer at a bar near the hotel called the Loose Moose. We ended up talking and playing pool until pretty late. That was a good day.

And that’s why, when I’m at the gym on a run-of-the-mill Wednesday these days, and certain songs come through my headphones, I wish I was still driving around the Midwest running down the interviews that formed The Republic of Football.

Conine is a freelance sports
journalist who has written for the Sports Xchange, Reuters, and Golf.com, among others. He has been covering Texas high school and college football since the late 1990s. He lives in Waco, Texas.

 

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9/5
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9/6
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9/7
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9/8
Guest Post 1
9/9
Author Interview 1
9/10
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Kara The Redhead
9/11
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Reading By Moonlight
9/12
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9/13
Guest Post 2
9/14
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Country Girl Bookaholic
9/17
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9/18
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9/19
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West Texas Middleweight by Frank Sikes

WEST TEXAS MIDDLEWEIGHT
The Story of LaVern Roach
(Sport in the American West Series)
by
Frank Sikes
Genre: Biography
Publisher: Texas Tech University Press
Date of Publication: June 30, 2016
Number of Pages: 288
Scroll down for Giveaway!
LaVern Roach, a skinny kid from the small town of Plainview, Texas, rose from obscurity to become one of boxing’s most popular figures during the 1940s. Roach’s rise to prominence occurred during an era when boxing shared the spotlight with baseball as the nation’s top two professional sports. As a result of Roach’s death—which marked the first nationally televised fight during which a boxer died from injuries received in the ring—the sport of boxing came under closer scrutiny by the general public than ever before.
West Texas Middleweight is the story of Roach’s all too brief journey from a West Texas amateur, to enlistment in the US Marines, where he captained the nation’s most successful military boxing team, to becoming a Madison Square Garden main eventer. He received the distinction of being named The Ring Magazine’s “Rookie of the Year” for 1947 and was considered a top ten contender for the middleweight championship of the world. This book chronicles Roach’s road to his final fight—and it explains why, as noted by legendary boxing trainer Angelo Dundee, “boxing changed because of LaVern Roach.”
PURCHASE FROM TEXAS TECH PRESS:
email: ttup@ttu.edu
phone: 800.742.2982
GuestPost
Sikes guest post pic 2

GUEST POST #2

By Frank Sikes

 

The Muhammad Ali-Angelo Dundee partnership created a boxing legend which lasted for over half a century. Ali, arguably the greatest boxer who ever lived, recently died on June 3, 2016 at the age of 74. His partner in fame, Angelo Dundee, arguably the best boxing trainer who ever lived, passed away on February 1, 2012 at the age of 90.

 

What does this have to do with West Texas Middleweight, the Story of LaVern Roach?

 

Angelo was a seasoned trainer, who had already produced his first world boxing champ in Carmen Basilio, when he first met 18 year old Cassius Marcellus Clay. The relationship got off to a rocky start. After Clay won his gold medal in the 1960 Olympics, all of the trainers were trying to sign him to a professional contract. All with the exception of Dundee, who didn’t want to take the time and trouble in helping turn an amateur into a professional fighter. Fate eventually brought the two together, forming boxing’s most successful boxer/trainer relationship and the rest is history.

 

Go back in time to 1945. World War II was over and the soldiers were coming home. Among them was twenty five year old Angelo Dundee, who in his own words, said “I had no idea what I was going to do with the rest of my life.” His older brother Chris had put together one of the largest boxing teams in the country, called Dundee’s Dandies. He offered Angelo a job, which Angelo best described as a “gopher” – running errands and doing whatever Chris wanted done. Chris discovered that Angelo had a talent for writing and soon had him writing publicity material to send to the young boxer’s hometown newspapers.

 

There was one boxer that he was really impressed with and had no problem in producing sporting clips to send back home. His name was LaVern Roach. LaVern, a twenty year old Texan, had gotten out of the Marine Corps, where he won a national Golden Glove championship, the best fighter to come out of the Marines in World War II, and was named the Amateur Boxer of the Year by Look Magazine. Just like Clay years later, LaVern’s ambition was to become a world champion boxer. Instead of going back to Texas, he decided to stay in New York City, which was the heart of the boxing world. He soon became the star of the Dundee Dandees, forming a friendship with Angelo. In Angelo’s own words, “I had the pleasure and honor to meet LaVern Roach as a person and a human being – great on both accounts – He would have been a fistic star at ‘any time’ – championship material. Walked like a champ in and out of the ring.”

 

Angelo’s skills working with the young boxers were soon recognized by bother Chris, and his duties expanded to where Angie began his training in the boxing ring as a bucket-man, then a cut-man for LaVern and the other boxers.   So before there was an Angelo Dundee, there was a LaVern Roach.

 

Angelo Dundee reached the summit of boxing with Muhammad Ali but received some of his earliest training with LaVern Roach.

 

Angelo’s first words to me were “Boxing Changed because of LaVern Roach.” His parting words were “Good luck with the book. Boxing is in need of a good story.” Angelo died six month later, but not before he attended Ali’s 70th birthday party.

 

Angelo (age 90) and Ali were reunited for the last time at Ali’s 70th birthday party. Angelo Dundee died about two weeks later.

 

Frank Sikes, a third-generation West Texan, grew up in Plainview, where LaVern Roach, along with Jimmy Dean, were hometown heroes.  Sikes graduated from Texas Tech in 1967, then was a US Navy Officer proudly serving aboard the USS Little Rock stationed in Gaeta, Italy from 1968-1970.  He attended the University of Houston School of Business, from 1973 to 1975, and got his master’s degree in religion from Wayland Baptist University in 2011.

Frank and his wife Nancy have been married for 50 years and have two grown children out of the house, and two Boston Terriers, Molly and Maggie (or as some suggest Boston terrorists) who rule the house. Lubbock has been home for the past 30 years with stops in Newport, RI; San Francisco, CA; Gaeta, Italy; Houston, TX; and Albuquerque, NM.  West Texas Middleweight is his first book.
Connect with the author on FACEBOOK.

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CHECK OUT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:
 

7/1       Country Girl Bookaholic  – Review


7/2       My Book Fix Blog – Author Interview #1

 

7/3       Forgotten Winds – Guest Post #1

 

7/4       Margie’s Must Reads Review

 

 

7/6       StoreyBook Reviews  – Author Interview #2

 

7/7       Book Chase Review

 

7/8       The Page Unbound Author Interview #3

 

7/9       Missus Gonzo  – Guest Post #2

 

7/10    It’s a Jenn World Review

 


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It Happened at the Book Fest

 

It Happened at the Book Fest
 
Two Books. One Wild Event.
 
On sale February 14 thru 23!!!
Welcome to the Lake Morgan Book Festival!
Each year, Mr. Denton McCray and his eclectic team of volunteers hosts the most anticipated, and the most mysterious, book fest in a cozy, lakeside community near the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. Though many accounts have highlighted strange occurrences, readers are drawn to the book fest each year by the hundreds, and authors are thrilled to receive a hand-delivered invitation to participate.
The season is autumn. The day is overcast. There’s an electric crackle in the air that foreshadows the arrival of approaching storms. Tops of trees sway under the weight of winds that bear more than the threat of rain.  The book fest takes place in an old building that once served as a high school.  It has been decades since students roamed the halls … living students, that is.    

 

The Lake Morgan Book Fest opens at 6 PM and runs until midnight.  So, grab a cup of hot tea, and dive in!
 
 
Within these pages, readers will discover just how weird the Lake Morgan Book Fest can get.  

Tales of time travel, science fiction, paranormal, speculative fiction, urban fantasy, comedy, and even a little romance await discovery!  

Authors of This Volume:
Kimberley Montpetit
Tyber North
Belle Whittington
A.L. Kessler
Linda M. Au
H.A. Lamb



BUY for 99 cents!

 

 
Within these pages, readers will discover just how sexy things can get at the Lake Morgan Book Fest.

Tales of romance, paranormal, and erotica await discovery! 

This volume is for more mature audiences.
Authors of This Volume:
Alexia Purdy
Dicey Grenor
Mia Bishop
Lizzy Pope

J.L. McCoy


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AUTHORS’ PICK: Favorite lines from each story
 

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Carrying the Black Bag by Tom Hutton MD

Carrying the Black Bag: A Neurologist’s Bedside Tales
Author: Tom Hutton MD
 
Genre: memoir
Publisher: Texas Tech University Press
Date of Publication: December 7, 2015
# of pages: 240
 
In his thirty-plus years of practicing medicine, physician and neurologist Tom Hutton discovered that a doctor’s best teachers are often his patients. From these extraordinary individuals, Hutton gained a whole-hearted respect for the resourcefulness, courage, and resilience of the human spirit. Hutton’s patients—and the valuable lessons they taught—served as the inspiration for Carrying the Black Bag.
 
Carrying the Black Bag invites readers to experience what it’s like to be a doctor’s hands, eyes, and heart. Imagine the joy of witnessing a critically ill five-year-old who, against all odds, claws her way back from a coma and near certain death. Meet a lonely Texas widower with Parkinson’s disease who hosts elaborate pinochle parties for a pack of imaginary canines. Step into the surgical booties of the author when he attempts to deliver his own child amid heart-stopping obstetrical complications—during a paralyzing Minnesota blizzard.  
 
Through real-life patient narratives, Hutton shines light on ordinary people facing extraordinary challenges. Moreover, this captivating tale captures the drama of medicine—its mystery, pathos, heroism, sacrifice, and humor.
BUY LINKS
 
PRAISE FOR THE BOOK:
 
        Each story slipped into The Black Bag is a shining jewel, polished to perfection and written with empathy, sensitivity and humor. Hutton brings to life a doctor’s unflagging dedication to the human condition as a healer with utmost respect for each patient fortunate enough to be graced by his compassion and commitment. Every tale once begun, entrances.
        -Antoinette van Heughten, author of USA Bestseller Saving Max, and The Tulip Eaters
 
        Being a physician is a privilege, in no small part because of the powerful insight it provides into the human condition. Tom Hutton addresses themes of interest to all readers–love, loyalty, family, and mortality, and shows how he could affect a positive outcome, and how he, in turn, was changed by those for whom he cared.
        -William L. Henrich, MD, President, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio
 
        How many doctors have you come across who can write this well, especially for the lay reader? He’s a natural, that’s for sure! Carrying The Black Bag is a must-read for anyone interested in following a wonderful doctor on his rounds.
        -Bartee Haile, newspaper columnist and author of Texas Depression-Era Desperadoes, and Murders Most Texan
 
        A wonderful journey through the training, practice, triumphs, and travails of a dedicated physician.
        -D. P. Lyle, MD, author of Dub Walker and Samantha Cody thriller series.
 
Chapter 9
AT THE FURROW’S END
Heavy double doors banged behind me. I located the unidentified woman responsible for my stat page. A glance revealed a small body eclipsed by monitors, a wheezing ventilator, and a virtual spaghetti bowl of wires and catheters.
Somewhere across the intensive care unit, a ventilator alarm shrieked, a telephone jingled, and infusion pumps thrummed. Nurses with intent facial expressions scurried about the unit on rubber-soled shoes, providing care for these, the very sickest of the hospital’s sick.
(Her husband arrives and provides a surprisingly poignant description, transforming his wife in my eyes)
“Doc, do everything you can.” His voice cracked and faltered before struggling on. He finally blurted out, “I…I love that old gal.”
After his description I no longer could think of Maggie Croft as a shriveled old woman with failing physiology. She had become an energetic harvester who had struggled through desperate decades tightly bonded to her husband. She had evoked the strongest display of public emotion of which I felt Ned Croft capable.
And struggle to save her life we did. We addressed her brain swelling to eke out precious millimeters of space within her skull to buy time for the blood clot to recede. We tried every management strategy to salvage the life of Maggie Croft—but in the end our efforts came to naught.
I recall Ned’s slow pace as he departed the intensive care unit. He pushed at the swinging doors, opening them a crack. Ned glanced back at his deceased wife’s body, his eyes vacant. Ned Croft with his tattered appearance and pained emotions was abruptly lost from view as the doors slammed shut behind him. The complexity of love has baffled the wisest sages. But for me, Ned’s simple utterance said it best. “Doc, I love that old gal.”
Excerpt from Carrying the Black Bag: A Neurologist’s Bedside Tales (Texas Tech University Press) by Tom Hutton, MD
Review
 If you follow my blog, you know that I reviewed another book written by a doctor recently. I am pleased to say that this book is completely different. Hutton has a style that borders on quirky mystery (makes sense as he confesses to reading mysteries growing up). And funny/beautiful descriptions aside, the doctors in this book are in their profession to save people and better lives, not fatten their pocketbooks. (Hutton keeps it real by making side cash with ambulance and hockey game gigs.) They go out on the limb and try risky, new procedures to do everything in their power to help a patient get better, rather than sit back and play it safe to prevent lawsuits.  After several family members went through the grueling schedule and schooling of med school, I thought that I already had a healthy dose of respect for doctors, but this book prescribed me even more.
Such an array of emotions we are privy to, from feeding off a family’s faith in a situation that seems hopeless and beyond medical/scientific ability, to being faced with having no choice but to care for an admitted family member, to playing detective to find out who is behind continuous arsenic poisoning. I’m glad that Hutton has chosen to share these incredible stories and insight with the world.
Tom Hutton, M. D., is an internationally-recognized clinical and research neurologist and educator. The past president of the Texas Neurological Society, Dr. Hutton served as professor and vice chairman of the Department of Medical and Surgical Neurology at the Texas Tech School of Medicine. He now lives on his cattle ranch near Fredericksburg, Texas.

 

 

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Racing Forward by Mica Mosbacher

Lone Star Literary Life Blog Tours
presents
RACING FORWARD
by

Mica Mosbacher

 
Mica Mosbacher was barely hanging on. A single mother of a son, she worked in retail while she established a career as an award-winning writer. Feeling unlucky in romance after two failed marriages, she gave up on her dreams. In her early 40s, she met the love of her life, oilman mogul and 28th US Secretary of Commerce, Robert Mosbacher Sr. A modern day commoner who went on to meet and entertain heads of states and Royals, Mica turned out to be a kind of Houston Cinderella. Mica married her prince and soul mate only to lose him to pancreatic cancer leaving her heart broken. But instead of wallowing in pain, she decided to grieve forward. Her brother, a racecar driver, inspired her to learn to race a Ferrari. Testing her personal limits on the racetrack, she discovered her inner strength to move forward.Life brings losses on a regular basis. Whether it’s a garden variety loss or a life changing one―debilitating illness, divorce, death―it requires a resiliency, optimism and faith.
 
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Excerpts from Chapter 8: Racing Ahead

We were intent on making a difference. My daughter-in-law often says that I like to make waves. So does Ellen [Cohen]! Together we united to create a tsunami. A vocal defender of sexual assault victims… (pg. 95)

It was a splendid ceremony, one that marked a middle-class “commoner” proving she was worthy of a prince. Letizia Ortiz represented the future of Spain in a progressive world. (pg.96)

I suppose that’s what reality is: a dream-like experience shattered with the clanging of an emergency. No wonder we lose ourselves in fairy tales. (pg. 97)

I recall being dropped off within walking distance amid a sea of protestors. I admit I was nervous—the protestors seemed very hostile—but I was also upset. While they may not have agreed with Reagan’s policies and actions as President, making a scene at his funeral was, more than anything, disrespectful. (pg. 97)

We [also] saluted our country, which we both held most dear. It was hard not to be affected, after having so recently said good-bye to an American President beloved by many. I remain impressed with Ronal Reagan to this day. He was able to connect with people and bridge differences. In this era of partisan bickering, our country could use someone like him. (pg. 99)

Review

I’m embarrassed to say that I went into this one not having a clue who either Mica Mosbacher or her husband were. Maybe if I watched the Simpsons (gotta read the book to know what I mean by that) growing up… I approach memoirs by people I don’t know with caution, but my visor came up within the first page. Mosbacher is a great writer and you can really tell she has a background in journalism (she puts in relevant pop culture tidbits here and there to keep you interested). I was impressed with her personal and professional drive, as well as her ability to keep me from thinking of her as a gold digger. I don’t know what the high society pages in Houston said about her, but I’m guessing it wasn’t always nice. Either way, you know she made it out alive and continues to thrive. I was thrown by the cover of this book because the racing bit takes up very little space. (I actually thought she was some famous race car driver that I never heard of. Hmm…) And to be honest, that little bit was what underwhelmed me the most. Older woman having a mid- to late-life crisis buys a Ferrari (she’s kinda loaded because of her late husband) and gets into racing made me pause (although the cause it supports is AWESOME). But I thought her greatest achievements were as a supportive wife to a terminally ill husband, a caring mother, and a political fundraiser.

Michele (Mica) Mosbacher, widow of the 28th U.S. Secretary of Commerce and oilman Robert Mosbacher, Sr., was commissioned as an Honorary Consul of Iceland, Houston and Central Texas, in 2010 by the Foreign Ministry of Iceland. She is an author, motivational speaker and proud sponsor of Godstone Ranch Motorsports, a family professional motorsports team that races for charitable causes.


She currently serves on the boards of the Houston Ballet, University of


Houston; and was appointed by Governor Perry to the steering committee of the Aga Khan Foundation. Mica previously served as a director of the American Hospital Foundation, receiving the board’s highest honor presented by Ambassador Howard Leach at the United States Embassy in Paris.

Focused on education, Mica previously served as on the University of Houston’s Board of Regents and the board of Strake Jesuit Prepartory School. Mica implemented Best Friends, a character education program and the Raol Wallenberg Heroes program in the Houston Independent School District in the late 90s.

Mica has chaired numerous charitable fundraisers including Houston Ballet

Ball, Woodrow Wilson Gala, Museum of Fine Arts Costume Institute and American Hospital of Paris Foundation. With her husband Bob, she co-chaired the M.D. Anderson Milestones and Miracles celebration, honoring President George H.W. Bush, that raised more than $10 million (a record at the time). M.D. Anderson Cancer Center’s pastoral outreach group honored Mica, and she was named Pacesetter of the Year by the Cancer Assistance League.

In April of 2011, Houston Mayor Anise Parker honored her with “Mica Mosbacher Day” for her initiation of the prominent public art installation, “On Tolerance,” featuring sculptures by world-class sculptor, Jaume Plensa.

In 2013, Mica was appointed by Her Majesty the Queen to the Order of St. John; in 2012 she was awarded the Silver Good Citizenship Medal, the highest honor from the Texas Society, Sons of the American Revolution. She was named Philanthropist of the Year in 2007 by TAASA (Texas Association Against Sexual Assault). Mica was named Knight Commander of the Order of King Francis I.

In 2008, Mica was inducted into the Greater Houston Women’s Chamber of Commerce Hall of Fame along with Barbara Bush and other prominent Houstonians. A journalist, she has received prestigious writing awards for feature articles. Her career began in 1972, when as an intern at KPRC-TV/NBC in Houston, she was among the first female reporters on camera and radio and while an intern, Mica acquired an exclusive interview during a famous murder trial. She later pursued a career in print journalism and freelance writing.

A longtime horse lover, Mica is a former champion in the American Saddleseat Amateur Walk-Trot Division. She won her first horse show at the Dallas State Fair riding J Miller and was trained by Charles Smith at Tri-Oaks Stables in Houston.

Active in political fundraising, Mica has served as a co-chair on many statewide and national campaigns.

Born in Gainesville, Florida, Mica resides in Houston and Austin.

 

 

 

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Lucky Shot by B. J. Daniels

 

Lone Star Literary Life Blog Tours
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LUCKY SHOT
 
by
 
B.J. Daniels
 
He’s determined to uncover the truth behind a decades-old disappearance—even if it kills him.
When hotshot reporter Max Malone gets a rare shot of Buckmaster Hamilton with a blonde woman near Beartooth, Montana, he chases down one of the senator’s daughters to verify that the woman is his supposedly long-dead first wife. But Kat Hamilton won’t give him the time of day, let alone any information about her mother.
With his tousled blond hair, sexy stubble and an old straw cowboy hat topping off his long, lean frame, Kat can just tell Max isn’t used to female sources denying him anything. But when her own life is put in jeopardy, it’s Max who comes to her rescue. Seems someone is prepared to kill to keep the past in the past. Kat can’t deny she needs Max to find out what happened to her mother, but will getting closer and closer to each other lead them to the truth…or to danger?
Praise for B.J. Daniels
 
“Daniels has succeeded in joining the ranks of mystery masters.” —Fresh Fiction
“Daniels is truly an expert at Western romantic suspense.”
RT Book Reviews on Atonement
 
“Fans of Western romantic suspense will relish Daniels’s tale of clandestine love played out in a small town on the Great Plains.” —Booklist on Unforgiven
“Romantic suspense that will keep readers guessing. If you like Longmire, this is the book for you.” —RT Book Reviews on Forsaken

 

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Review
While Max Malone’s appeal is evident right away, Kat Hamilton’s is not. But I can buy his attraction to her since every other woman is easily taken in by his charms. Thankfully, these two are the meat and potatoes of this novel because the rest of the characters annoy me: the thick-headed senator, the petty current wife, the shady former wife, the former wife’s clueless lover, even the sisters. I can’t put my finger on what makes them less realistic and interesting to me than Max and Kat, but don’t let me sway you. And while the premise is a bit fantastical for me (sort of like a wimpier “Long Kiss Good Night”), it really got my wheels turning in trying to figure out exactly who Sarah Johnson is and who is responsible for all the murders and threats. Daniels weaves an exciting tale and I stayed up all night to finish it. Proceed with caution though. As one of the characters from my favorite TV shows says, “Loose ends make my ass itch.”
New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author B.J. Daniels lives in Montana with her husband, Parker, and three springer spaniels, Spot, Jem and Ace. When she isn’t writing, she quilts, snowboards, camps, boats and plays tennis. 
 
 
You can write to B.J. Daniels at PO Box 1173, Malta, MT 59538, or email her at bjdaniels@mtintouch.net
 
 

 

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Review: The Door of the Heart by Diana Finfrock Farrar

DoorToTheHeart

I had to read this with my mind set 6 months ago, when gay marriage was not yet legal in Texas. But I had to remind myself that the views of some people now are still what they were back then. I grew up in a home where gay jokes (and racist ones, too) weren’t a big deal. I think it might be a culture thing; Filipino films and media are notorious for casting a token gay man and making fun of dark skinned people. I don’t think my family has changed even though the world has. And while many of my beliefs are directly opposite of what I was brought up with, it didn’t stop me from marrying someone who disagrees with me on the issue of gay marriage. We didn’t talk about it before we were married, but knowing he was a devout Christian with traditional values, I had an inkling.

Farrar’s characters resonated with me because of this. The circumstances were different, Tammy wasn’t particularly a supporter of gay rights and Ed goes as far as trying to bully her into submission, but I could relate all the same. I know what it is to question the practices of traditional Christians who act cruelly or think callously about the oppressed in the name of Jesus. The dialogue in this book is very real to me and I will probably research more about the idea that “homosexual” is used in the Bible but it was a word that did not exist at the time of writing. Some may cry, “Semantics!” but my curiosity has been awakened.

I love that this book brings up PFLAG (formerly known as Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) and gives a behind the scenes look of how they help the community. The chat sessions with 15 year old Seth are particularly heart wrenching.

My only criticism is that I think the author overreaches on how many scenarios Ed faces at one time: his son bullies a gay boy in school, he’s fighting against gay rights in his political position, his trustworthy assistant comes out that she’s in a gay marriage, someone close to him passes away and the organs go to a gay recipient, his other close friend recently finds out his son is gay… It was a little overkill for plot’s sake. It made it a little less believable. But otherwise, a wonderful and eye opening read.

Check out my previous post for the excerpt and author information.

 

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