Tag Archives: Politics

Review & Giveaway: Anahuac by William D. Darling

A Texas Story (Volume 2)
  Genre: Historical Fiction / Thriller
Publisher: Canned Peas Productions
Date of Publication: October 3, 2017
Number of Pages: 244

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The Anahuac of 1972 is more than just an isolated outpost on Texas’s Trinity Bay – it’s a place where greed and justice uncomfortably intermingle, where the evangelical fervor of charismatic preachers resonate, where blacks and whites navigate a fragile co-existence, and where a murder leads to even darker mysteries than murder. 
Jim Ward, introduced in Morgan’s Point as a young, idealistic Houston prosecutor, returns in Anahuac as an older, more conflicted, more complicated man, coming to Anahuac to defend a man who appears guilty of a horrible crime. His discoveries lead to entanglements in the very nature of good and evil, in a town that is at once of its time and timeless, steeped in a history that is unexpectedly but definitively drawing Ward in its narrative web.


“Austin writer William D. Darling’s second novel, Anahuac, is an entertaining, engrossing legal thriller that offers both darkly humorous and good-natured thrusts at life, love, and law . . . first-rate reading, especially for readers who enjoy legal thrillers, lawyer procedurals, suspense, Texas settings, and characters who live large.” – Lone Star Literary Life
“Darling draws vivid portraits of his setting while also bringing in historical currents like women’s liberation, the growth of container shipping, and the rise of the prosperity gospel, adding interest to what’s otherwise a fairly simple courtroom drama.” – Kirkus Reviews
I’m a Texan originally from the east coast who’s had occasion to meet some of these characters from another planet. Darling weaves us through the minds of lawyers with jealousies, insecurities, questions of faith, honor, and guilt as they tackle the case of a horrible crime that has the potential to put a man of God away forever. I held on tight as we went through the engrossing trial, which did not disappoint! If you love history, crime, passion, religion, and suspense, this is a must read! – Kristy Recker (an Amazon reviewer)
While certainly a period piece, I’m glad that this book didn’t delve too far into Texas history because it already has so much to offer on its own. There is no point in making a masterpiece of the backdrop when the main players, the main point of the story, are so captivating and brilliant already.
I suppose the history of Anahuac leading up to the novel’s present time in the 1970s does serve as a sort of primer before Darling paints his characters with broader and more colorful strokes. Rather than telling us about racial or gender tension, he shows how that strain originated in history and how it evolved into what it was in the 70s. He does the same thing when explaining why the residents of the small town are suspicious of outsiders, even those who are also from Texas but from another town. We’ve seen that trope in movies, but it’s never really explained.
Even before the detailed choreography of the courtroom scenes, one can sense that Darling is an attorney. How? The opening scene all but tells you who murdered Sarita and the main character, Jim, is not really trying to figure out who did it. Jim’s focus is to make sure that the jury can’t say for certain that Reverend Randall Clay killed her. As he builds his case, he might briefly wonder who was really behind it, but his laser-like focus is on making sure his client is found not guilty. And Darling writes the story with this same focus and mission, to let the reader in on what is known for certain and what is hypothetical, with the intent of having us draw the most logical conclusion.
The story of the impending trial is the main thread of the novel, but there are a few other strands woven in concerning the married lives of the couples and the people in their circle that add further tension. I don’t know if those storylines added much to the novel, but I’m pretty sure they carried over from the first book. I think that if I had read Morgan’s Point, I would be more interested in the subplots.
Growing up in a Christian home in Texas, I just had to also mention my specific thoughts on Reverend Clay. I found him fascinating because he struck me as a Billy Graham at first, or maybe I just got that vibe because his medium was radio. But then I definitely likened him to Joel Osteen because of the solicitation for money and the questionable financial practices of his operation. And then he went right back to being a Billy Graham because he could actually spout scripture and theology off the top of his head without stuttering. Anyway, he was a great character and I wouldn’t mind reading about what his deal really is.
My only critiques are production things: the text could use some proofreading and the cover could be less literal and maybe scaled down a bit.
Overall, I thought this was a great read. There is not a wasted word on the page. If you skim, you miss something significant. If you like courtroom dramas, this book is definitely for you.

William D. Darling is a lifelong storyteller and very nearly a native Texan, arriving in his beloved state as an infant in 1942. His first novel, Morgan’s Point, introduced readers to both the mid-‘60s rough-and-tumble world of the Houston courts where Darling came of age, and the Galveston Bay region that has long fascinated him. His latest novel Anahuac, serves as a sequel to Morgan’s Point as well as its own fascinating tale.
Darling, who has lived within the legislative bustle of Washington, D.C. and in the beauty of a Central Texas ranch, currently resides in Austin, where he and his wife have built a longstanding law practice.
January 12, 2018, 7:00PM

Anahuac Reading & Signing

Deep Vellum Books3000 Commerce StreetDallasTXUS 

January 20, 2018, 10:00AM

Anahuac Reading in Anahuac
William D. Darling brings it on home! He’ll read from Anahuac in the city where the new novel is set for the first time ever.
Chambers County Library202 Cummings StreetAnahuacTXUS 

February 17, 2018, 4:30PM
Anahuac Houston Release Event
William D. Darling will sign and read from Anahuac, celebrating the release of the book with friends and well-wishers in the city he once called home, as part of a multi-author event.
Murder by the Books2342 BissonnetHoustonTXUS 


January 5-January 14, 2018
(U.S. Only)


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Promo & Giveaway: A Witness to History by Janet M. Neugebauer

George H. Mahon,
West Texas Congressman
By Janet M. Neugebauer
Foreword by Kent Hance
  Genre: Texas History / Politics / Biography
Date of Publication: June 30 2017
Number of Pages: 576
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This is the story of George H. Mahon, a man who went to Congress in 1935, when the House Committee on Appropriations still allocated a small amount of money to buy military horses. Forty-four years later, when Mahon retired as Chairman of that same committee, the committee was debating funds to purchase a bomber capable of traveling at 2,000 miles an hour. With a career spanning nearly a half century—spanning almost the entire Cold War—Mahon grew from a West Texas country lawyer to one of the most powerful men in the US House of Representatives, serving twenty-two consecutive terms from 1935–1978.
During his time in Congress, Mahon worked easily with the giants of government, enjoying the friendship and confidence of seven of the eight presidents with whom he served. He worked just as comfortably with his constituents in the Nineteenth Congressional District of Texas. Mahon served on several Congressional committees, but it is through his service on the House Appropriations Committee and the Subcommittee on Defense Appropriations that he had the greatest national impact. He often bragged that under his leadership the Subcommittee on Defense Appropriations was the most non-partisan committee in Congress. Mahon led the subcommittee with a strong but gentle hand that earned him the respect of all who served with him.

Janet M. Neugebauer is deputy director of the Southwest Collection at Texas Tech University. Her many works include Lambshead Legacy and Plains Farmer.

Kent Hance is a former Chancellor of the Texas Tech University System and a former member of the US House of Representatives.

   April 26-May 7, 2017 

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Review: What Matters Most by Kellie Coates Gilbert







Kellie Coates Gilbert
Genre: Contemporary Inspirational Romance / Christian
Publisher: Revell
Date of Publication: July 5, 2016
Number of Pages: 320
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Love and Politics Collide in This Emotion-Packed 
Fourth Texas Gold Novel



Kellie Coates Gilbert strikes gold once again in the latest book in the Texas Gold Collection. Readers will be drawn into the story through Gilbert’s deeply emotional writing that highlights the complexities of human relationships.



Out of her desire to care for her mother who is suffering from dementia, Leta Breckenridge drops out of college. Her next step means leaving her comfort zone. After learning that a delinquent account may force her mother into a less desirable facility, Leta takes a leap and lands a high-paying job at an Austin public relations firm. But her dream job soon turns into a nightmare when she learns that the firm she is working for is a front for a political opposition organization—and that the research she has been collecting will be used against Nathan Emerson, the handsome senator she’s swiftly falling in love with.



Nathan is a rising political star being pressured to run a bid to unseat the current governor of Texas. He’s already in a relationship with a woman much better suited to be a politician’s wife, but he’s never met anyone like Leta. Could this feisty woman hold the key to his heart—and his future?


Praise for the Texas Gold Collection
“This tale of family and faith brings to light what truly matters in life.”—RT Book Reviews, 4 stars
Kellie Coates Gilbert delivers emotionally gripping plots and authentic characters.LifeIsStory.com

“Well-drawn, sympathetic characters and graceful language make this an engaging choice for readers.”Library Journal



Kellie Coates Gilbert is a former legal investigator and trial paralegal, as well as the author of A Woman of Fortune, Where Rivers Part, and A Reason to Stay. Gilbert crafts her emotionally charged stories about women in life-changing circumstances in Dallas, Texas, where she lives with her husband.


From the beginning, you feel compassion toward Leta without pitying her. Although her college aspirations were interrupted in the 11th hour, she didn’t waste time moping. She juggles two jobs (at one point, three!) to support a mother who doesn’t even recognize her most days. You have to respect someone who sacrifices so much to care for another person who doesn’t even realize what’s being done for them. I think that many people in Leta’s predicament would have chosen a cheap facility to put their parent in if it meant less financial strain in already dire circumstances.
Gilbert doesn’t dwell on Leta’s looks, but I’m guessing that they’re striking enough for some man (who turns out to be a senator potentially running for governor) to notice her while she arranges flowers at Central Market. And while her distress might have been enough for him to forgive her damaging his car without seeking any sort of compensation (or insurance information for that matter), you get the feeling that her attractiveness might have played a role as well. Of course, as their relationship goes from casual to personal, his appreciation of her looks become more evident. However, Gilbert makes it clear that the good senator is mostly infatuated with Leta’s heart, not her outward appearance.
While the circumstances of Leta being hired by a PR firm out to slam the senator’s reputation seemed too good to be true, I suspended my disbelief because I wanted to see where things were headed. Gilbert builds some great suspense as you see both Leta and Nate having to choose between their head and their heart. You don’t ever doubt for a moment that the heart will prevail, but it’s exciting to see how everything unfolds anyway. Throw in some dirty tactics (hey, this is politics we’re talking about, right?) and some chilly, reluctant assistance from the ex-girlfriend and you’ve got a wonderful recipe for complicated. Throw in some misunderstanding with a heaping dose of jumping to the wrong conclusions, and the recipe gets 5 stars.
While I like how things are revealed and how the end turns out, it all felt rather rushed. The novel has a great pace throughout – no meandering sweet nothings in this one – but then you get to the last chapter and BAM! The battle was won after a single volley of arrows. There was no grand rush of bodies slamming into each other and clanging of metal. I wish Gilbert didn’t speed through the satisfying takedown. And I especially wish she hadn’t rushed something else as well. But I’m not telling you about that. Just read the book. You’ll be glad you did.


Prize 1: Box of Texas Treats & Signed Book


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   June 11 – July 25, 2016



7/11    Margie’s Must Reads  – Review


7/12    Hall Ways Blog – Author Interview #1

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7/14    Reading By Moonlight Review


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7/16    Country Girl Bookaholic – Guest Post #1


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Racing Forward by Mica Mosbacher

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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.

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)


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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