Unique, Famous, & Historic Graves in the Lone Star State
(Cemetery Tales Book 1)
Genre: Nonfiction / Texana / History / Texas Travel
Publisher: Castle Azle Press
Date of Publication: August 15, 2020
Number of Pages: 250 pages
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Explore the cemeteries of Texas with Tui Snider as she reveals overlooked history in these fascinating open-air museums.
Along the way, you’ll meet fascinating characters, including a whistleblower who died in suspicious circumstances, an oilman who added a phone line to his mausoleum, and the events that caused two “frenemies” to be chained together in death.
I was very excited to get my hands on 6 Feet Under Texas: Unique, Famous, & Historic Graves in the Lone Star State by Tui Snider for two reasons. Reason one, I loved Paranormal Texas – Snider’s writing style is so fun to read and you can really tell that she did her homework. Reason two, I’m too much of a weenie to actually go to haunted places, but I can handle visiting graves in broad daylight.
Although the subject material has changed, Snider has not. She still writes like that fun friend who shares the best stories at every party. And these stories – not matter how fantastical they seem- are not pulled out of thin air. She will give you websites and books to reference, and encourages you to fact check her or share your own theories and findings.
The gravesites are organized alphabetically by the city they are located in and each chapter is preceded by a simple Texas map with a star on the featured location. Snider picked a lot of cities that I’ve never heard of, but I hope to someday stop at some of them on my next road trip. I really appreciated the variety of graves that she selected – from fun stories like a space alien in Aurora, to reverent ones from historic times, to more recent tragedies like the namesake of the Amber Alert – Snider approaches each story with respect and aims to give us the most accurate information possible. If she hit a dead end or had multiple theories that are yet to be proven, she tells us.
In true guidebook fashion, Snider gives us the address, website if available, and markers to go by. As someone who had to track down a famous writer’s grave for creative writing eons ago, I am a big fan of the markers and photos of significant landmarks that help the readers locate the graves. Speaking of photos, I really wish that they had been printed in color. “Graves in color?” you might ask. Not all of the photos are gravestones. There’s a huge stamp mural that I would have loved to see in color and some interesting structures with details that are lost in black and white.
Despite the array of stories told, some even intertwining to great effect, I finished this book wishing there was more. It turns out that COVID-19 threw a wrench into Snider’s tour across Texas. But on the upside, we will be getting a volume two! Be sure to let Snider know on social media if there is anything in particular that you want her to check out.
The timing of this book couldn’t have been better with Halloween just around the corner. I recommend this book to people who like history, travel, and quirky books.
Tui Snider is an author, speaker, photographer, YouTuber, podcast host, and musician who researches historic cemeteries and symbolism, offbeat Texas travel, overlooked history, and haunted lore. As she puts it, “I used to write fiction–but then I moved to Texas!”
Snider’s best-selling books include Understanding Cemetery Symbols, 100 Things to Do in Dallas-Fort Worth Before You Die, Paranormal Texas, and many more. Snider has several books in progress and enjoys connecting with readers all over the globe through social media, her weekly newsletter, and website: TuiSnider.com.
PARANORMAL TEXAS Your Travel Guide to Haunted Places Near Dallas & Fort Worth 2ND EDITION
Genre: Travel / Haunted Places / Texas History
Publisher: Castle Azle Press
Date of Publication: September 19, 2019
Number of Pages: 210 with 100+ black & white images
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More Haunted Places and True Ghost Stories!
Tui Snider’s popular travel guide to haunted places in North Texas is back with a fully updated 2nd Edition featuring more haunted places and true ghost stories!
What’s new in Paranormal Texas, 2nd Edition?
Just like the original travel guide, Paranormal Texas 2nd Edition gives readers haunted history and directions to sites where paranormal activity is reported in the Dallas – Fort Worth Metroplex.
The 2nd edition now includes:
• Photos: Readers asked for photos of haunted places. Paranormal Texas, 2nd edition has over 50 photos of haunted towns, haunted hotels, and more.
• Ghost hunting tips: Tui Snider explains what she has learned since she began attending paranormal investigations with Texas ghost hunters.
• More haunted places: Several new venues (including a haunted doll museum!) with fascinating haunted history were added to Paranormal Texas, 2nd edition.
• Firsthand accounts: Readers asked for more true ghost stories and hauntings. (She even shares personal experiences with paranormal activity, including a strange encounter with her doppelganger at a haunted hotel!)
All the above, PLUS a paranormal activity evidence database:
See the paranormal activity for yourself: Readers can access an online database with links to EVPs, ghost photos, videos, and other evidence gathered by paranormal investigators who have visited the haunted sites in her book.
•Continually updated: This database will be continually updated with EVPs, anomalous photos, videos, and other data gathered at haunted places featured in Paranormal Texas, 2nd edition.
•Add your paranormal activity: Readers can contact the author if they have paranormal evidence to add!
Is Paranormal Texas, 2nd edition for YOU?
1. Ghost Hunters – If you want to plan a fun road trip to haunted places (with or without ghost hunting equipment) Paranormal Texas, 2nd edition can help.
2. Armchair Travelers – If you prefer reading about haunted history, Paranormal Texas, 2nd edition can take you on an exciting armchair tour through haunted towns of North Texas.
“Tui’s 2nd edition is spot on fun and thrilling for everyone
With Halloween just around the corner, Paranormal Texas was a very timely read. In a strange and spooky coincidence, the last book I reviewed was about angel statues in cemeteries, and this book features the creepy image of one on its cover! While we’re on the subject of the cover, let me just say that I like the layout – it looks like a guidebook – but I found the font difficult to read (especially since it’s in white). I also appreciate that it informs you of the updates from the first edition: photos, evidence, ghost hunting, and experiences!
The thing I love most about this guidebook is Snider’s voice. I could tell immediately that I would enjoy her storytelling and hope to hear it in person one day. The introduction gives us the lowdown on what is in this second edition and how it came to fruition. I felt a little giddy hearing how an author actually listened to her readers and gave them what they wanted! I am also extremely pleased that she shares her Paranormal Texas Evidence Database with us. She could have easily kept that jewel to herself to be used for future editions, but she is so generous to share these experiences with fellow paranormal fans.
There were a few formatting issues and typos in the book, but nothing too distracting from the interesting subject matter. And while I appreciate that she gives us a key to ghost hunting jargon, it would have been good to have it from the very beginning before she actually used any of them. But for the most part, Snider does a fantastic job of explaining things in a way that even a non-ghost hunter like myself can be kept entertained and intrigued. Some might be put off by the black and white photos, but I thought that the lack of color contributed to the eeriness of the images.
I have read a fair amount of guidebooks and I think it is so cool how Snider can maintain the guidebook tone while covering quirky/spooky locales and experiences. Although I found a few of the backstory/history sections to be a bit on the long side, I found the majority of them to be interesting enough that I plan to research some of them in my spare time. But don’t count on me actually visiting these places – I’m a huge chicken. Strange, considering that I’ve never had a paranormal experience to traumatize me or anything.
For future editions, I would like to see Snider include symbols that indicate how “hot” a spot is (like 4/5 ghosts) and maybe how expensive ($$) a tour or stay at a hotel is. Speaking of hotels, why are there so many haunted hotels and libraries? I would like to hear the author’s thoughts on that question as well. Also, I would like to hear about a hostile ghost encounter since she only talks about friendly ghosts in this book.
I will close this review out with my favorite quote, “… where there’s history, there will be hauntings!” So if you’re into either, definitely pick up a copy of Paranormal Texas.
Tui Snider is an award-winning writer, speaker, photographer, and musician specializing in offbeat sites, overlooked history, cemetery symbolism, and haunted lore. As she puts it, “I used to write fiction, but then I moved to Texas!”
Genre: Memoir / Travel / Inspiration Date of Publication: October 27, 2017
Number of Pages: 232
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After building a successful business, Dirk Weisiger was ready for something new. But he wasn’t sure what. Maybe a motorcycle adventure, I’ve never done that!
What followed was a fourteen-month, solo motorcycle journey from Austin, Texas to Ushuaia, Argentina, filled with unexpected adventures, surprises, and lessons about life and travel.
In this book, you’ll not only enjoy Dirk’s adventure and insights, but find inspiration for your own journey.
(A portion of proceeds from this book help sponsor children at the Colegio Bautista El Calvario private school in Managua, Nicaragua.)
PRAISE FOR LEAVE TOMORROW:
I may not ride a motorcycle to the bottom of the world, but my soul comes alive when I hear about people smashing fear and following their dreams. This book will truly inspire you.
–Abigail Irene Fisher, traveler and speaker
Leave Tomorrow is a fun, engaging, and thought-provoking read. If you are looking for a blend of humanity, culture, scary moments with a medicine man, military police, attempts at extortion, and unexpected challenges–along with insightful observations and humor, this book will definitely spark your imagination to “live your own movie.”
–Steve Scott, business coach and author of Wings to Fly
This inspiring and entertaining book is just the tonic needed to get you up out of your chair and ready to “Leave Tomorrow.”
–Julie Mundy, Guidebook Author and Travel Blogger, Australia
For everyone thinking of a new adventure, a new life, or even a new venture: DO IT.
–Jim Rogers, bestselling author of Investment Biker and Street Smarts
This is not the first book I’ve read on riding to Ushuaia, but it is probably the most enjoyable. Dirk writes about his experiences in an upbeat manner, taking each experience and each day in perspective.
–Muriel Farrington, Ambassador, BMW Motorcycles of America
>>CLICK TO PURCHASE<< A portion of proceeds from this book help sponsor children at the Colegio Bautista El Calvario private school in Managua, Nicaragua.)
I’m not too proud to admit that I sort of begged to review this book. My husband owns the DVD boxset of The Long Round and The Long Way Down, and I was hooked right away. When I saw that Weisiger’s book was of a similar nature, I had to get my hands on it. I was ecstatic to see that he covered a different part of the world and completed the journey ALL BY HIMSELF! No camera crews to back him up if something went wrong or a translator was needed. And as I set the book down and got my notebook ready to take notes, my husband glanced at the cover and said, “Hey, I want to read that when you’re done with it.” I’m an avid reader and that is probably the second time he’s ever said that to me during our nearly 10 years of marriage!
What really stood out to me is the odd formatting of the book. Because the sections are quite short, I guessed that the blog posts he wrote during the journey were used for this book. Upon investigating his website, I noticed that there weren’t many blog posts, and that these travels were not among them. So if my hunch is correct, he probably took the posts down. No shame in the game. Plus, in case you missed the text below the CLICK TO PURCHASE link, a portion of the proceeds benefits the children at the Colegio Bautista El Calvario private school in Nicaragua. When I got to the part of Weisiger’s journey where he wanted to do something for those kids, I honestly smiled knowing that this book will do even more great things for people that Weisiger has met along the way.
The short sections work though because the story flows nicely. And even when he says something aside or pauses the story for a quick tip, it’s relevant to what is happening and doesn’t really take you out of the story. I really enjoy the variety of those tips because they are a tasting of what this book is: part memoir, part travel guide, part inspirational book. I don’t know where you are in your life right now, but this book was exactly what I needed.
Sometimes when life gets you down, belief in a higher power is the only thing that will lift you up. So I loved the imagery of his recollection of struggling to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro. How he wanted to give up on ever reaching the top, but knew that if he would just step right where his guide had step, then he would eventually get there. He uses that as a metaphor for his faith in God, but as he later says, “This book isn’t a Sunday School lesson, but might be a Monday-school lesson in pursuing your dreams” (p. 9). I loved that!
Weisiger doesn’t talk much about his artistic side, but he has a great eye for composition. I wish that the photographs in the book were color, but I guess this will encourage people to visit his website. (Toggling back to his page now…) Where you can actually buy prints. Well, there you go. Looks like he knows his photos are pretty darn good! I hope to one day take Weisiger’s advice and just plan that trip and go.
Something that might be slightly uncomfortable but I feel I had to mention: Weisiger’s compassion for the plight of illegal immigrants vs his intention to vote Trump (this was before the election, obviously). It really underlined for me how multifaceted politics and people’s political leanings can be. And it made me even prouder to live in a country where we can vote more than one way. That our only choices aren’t socialist or dictator, like many of the countries Weisiger visited.
This book also pointed out to me that these “scary” countries are 95% people just trying to provide for their families and the other 5% is what makes national news. If it bleeds, it leads is the saying, right? Also, this isn’t the first time that I’ve heard of people from other countries telling the U.S. traveler to spread the word that U.S. citizens are welcome in their countries. And lastly, a great nugget of wisdom: while learning the language isn’t necessary, it is much appreciated.
I really learned a lot about people and culture reading this book. I think that those who tend to only read blogs or short articles will be able to digest this very well. I am confidently passing this book on to my husband with the knowledge that he, too, will come away with something new as well. I look forward to talking to him about it. Leave me a comment once you read it too.
Dirk Weisiger is a travel trekker, trick roper, and storyteller. He’s the author of the new book, Leave Tomorrow: My Ride to the Bottom of the World. Dirk has always enjoyed speaking to groups, spinning tales, ropes, and offering lessons he’s learned in adventures of life and business. He’s traveled to five continents and climbed Mount Kilimanjaro. Most of all Dirk loves people and believes that making new friends is the best part of travel.
Amber and Autumn, elementary school sisters, don’t seek out problems to solve, but they often find themselves engaged in uncovering truths, solving mysteries, and helping others in the process. Autumn’s natural curiosity, combined with her boldness, leads her to push for answers to anything she does not understand. Amber, her older sister, more cautious and easily spooked, prefers to let Autumn drive ahead to solve mysteries which come their way, but her keen skills of observation often lead to the resolutions they seek.
In The Secret Room, the girls, during their stay at a B&B, discover a long-forgotten room in the attic and uncover its secrets. The story takes place at the House of Seasons, a bed-and-breakfast in historic Jefferson, Texas. Their quest to uncover secrets takes the girls on a journey through Jefferson history including a cemetery, a river boat tour, and even an evening ghost walk.
PRAISE FOR THE SECRET ROOM:
“Great book, really enjoyed reading. I’d guess a target audience would be 7 to 13-year-olds. Thank you for allowing me the honor to preview your book. I look forward to purchasing your published work.” — Joseph (Teen Beta reader)
The Secret Room is a fun read. Not only is it a mystery; it also contains some of the history of Jefferson, Texas, and the surrounding area, as well as pictures of some special places there. Children and adults will enjoy reading it, just as I did. — Carol (Adult Beta Reader)
“Overall I thought it was a great book. I would be excited to read the next book in the series.” –Madeline (4th grade Beta Reader)
“The whole time I liked the suspense and the mystery side of it.” – Beta Reader
“I relate more to Amber because she doesn’t like a situation without light and she doesn’t like doing scary things first. She sends her little sister in to do it first and I do that. Amber is the older sister and so am I.” – Beta Reader
At the risk of sounding ageist and/or sexist, I am impressed when authors can write from a completely different generation’s or opposite gender’s point of view. Alexander pulls it off effortlessly and tells a great mystery with some history woven in. Given the popularity of series such as American Girls and The Boxcar Children, I think he picked a great niche.
I don’t know if all of the books in the Amber-Autumn Series feature black and white photos like this one, but I love how they add more depth to the story and a bit of creepiness to it; much like the photographs in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. While the photos in the Ransom Riggs series are truly odd and creepy, I like how The Secret Room’s photos are just scenic but still somehow send a shiver down your spine.
I wonder if this series is similar to The Boxcar Children in that the first book is sort of the origin story and the following books just assume that you have read the first one. Either way, I found it interesting that this book doesn’t clue you in to what these girls look like, what their ethnicity might be. I don’t know if Alexander did this intentionally, but I could see how doing so would allow little girls to insert themselves into the story. The ambiguity distracts me as an adult, but as a kid I think I would appreciate it.
The writing style is clean and the characters are believable. I noticed that all of the main characters are women. As an adult, I can’t help but wonder if this was intentional and what it might be indicative of.
I recommend this book especially to kids who solve mysteries easily. I double dare them to guess the ending.
John writes chapter books that appeal to elementary school children to capture their imagination and help them discover the love of reading early in life. John lives in Frisco, Texas with his beautiful wife and his King Charles Cavalier Spaniel, Charlie Brown.
John spent his childhood in a small town in east Texas. He attended college at the University of Texas earning a BS in Physics and a BA in Math (minor in Computer Science). His years in the high-tech industry, most of it on the “bleeding edge,” allowed him to develop new technology with software.
John had the privilege of co-authoring two editions of CallManager Fundamentals. The two books sold over 23,000 copies, exceeding the publisher’s goal of 8,000. Having discovered his love for writing while still working in high tech, he began writing fiction in his spare time and published The Enclave, a mystery / suspense novel, in 2010.
After leaving high-tech in 2014, he now spends full time pursuing his writing passion. He loves writing books that help children discover early in life that reading is a fun adventure. He recently released illustrated editions of the first three books in the Amber-Autumn mystery series: Christmas Garden Illustrated, Grandfather’s Blessing Illustrated, and Golden Campout Illustrated. The Secret Room is the fourth book in the series.