All righty, then – we had a great time at the Evening with the Authors last weekend in Lockhart, Texas – sipping fantastic wines from Pleasant Hill Winery, and nibbling wonderful little noshes; the food and waitstaff were from the Austin Community College Culinary school, which has their own café and apparently does cater events like this.

I had only one opportunity to give a mini-lecture to a full table: how important it was to know our history, how I came to write historical fiction as a way to teach people about it  . . .  and the best way to teach history is to make a ripping-good and readable yarn (while still being historically accurate!) I also had the chance to face one of my greatest private dreads – a descendent of a villain.  Ever since the Trilogy came out and I began doing book events, I’ve met people descended from those historical figures which I  wrote about in it: C.H. Nimitz, Dr. Keidel, Herman Wilke, Louis Schultze and others. Those descendents I have met have been pleased with how I ‘wrote’ their ancestors, although one sniffed that she had never heard of CH Nimitz ever being called ‘Charley’. Anyway, one of the attendees was a descendent of the notorious ‘black hat’ J.P. Waldrip  . . .  and as she whispered to me, upon departing from the table it appears from the family records and memories – that he was pretty much as I wrote him.  I love it when I get things right – even if it comes through instinct.

The Barnes & Noble outlet, who supplied the books to be sold at this event, to benefit the Dr. Eugene Clarke library sold out entirely of Daughter of Texas, and a lot of readers were asking me – well, when is the sequel coming out?

The sequel will be called Deep in the Heart, which picks up the extraordinary life of Margaret Becker Vining during the Republic of Texas era – and will be available on the 19th of November, just in time for Christmas. I am taking pre-orders through my website – the copies bought will be mailed on the 15th.

 I am also taking pre-orders for the second edition of To Truckee’s Trail – which I always wanted to do, since the typo quotient in the original edition was embarrassingly high. That also will be released on the 19th, and purchased pre-release copies will be also be mailed on the 15th.

27. September 2011 · Comments Off on Evening With the Authors – Lockhart, Texas · Categories: Book Event, Old West · Tags: , , , ,

 Yea these many months ago, I was invited by the organizers to be one of those authors in a fund-raising event to benefit the Clark Library in Lockhart, Texas. This is the oldest functioning public library existing in Texas; and since Texas was not generally conducive to the contemplative life and public institutions such as libraries until after the Civil War, generally – this means it is a mere infant of a library in comparison to institutions in other places. But I was thrilled to be invited, and to find out that Stephen Harrigan is one of the other authors. There were two elements in his book, Gates of the Alamo which I enjoyed terrifically when I finally read it. (Well after finishing the Trilogy, since I didn’t want to be unduly influenced in writing about an event by another fiction-writers’ take on it.) First, he took great care in setting up the scene – putting the whole revolt of the Texians in the context of Mexican politics; the soil out of which rebellion sprouted, as it were. (And he also touched on the matter of the Goliad as well.) Secondly, he had a main character who experienced the Texian rebellion against Mexico as a teenaged boy and who then lived into the 20th century. I liked the way that it was made clear that this all happened not that long ago, that it was possible for someone to have been a soldier in Sam Houston’s army, and live to see electrical street lighting, motorcars, and moving pictures.

That just appealed to me, for as another author friend pointed out – we are only a few lifetimes ago from the memories of great events. For instance – my mother, who is now in her eighties; suppose that when she was a child of eight or ten, she talked to the oldest person she knew. Suppose that in 1938, that oldest person was ninety, possibly even a hundred. That oldest person that my mother knew would have been born around 1830 to the late 1840s; such a person would clearly remember the Civil War, the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, possibly even the California Gold Rush and the emigrant trail, the wars with the Plains Indians. Now, suppose that the oldest person that my mother knew and talked to as a child and supposing that person as a child of eight or ten had then talked to the oldest person they knew – also of the age of eighty to ninety in the 1840s . . .  that oldest person would have been born in 1750-1760. That oldest person, if born on these shores would remember the Revolution, the British Army occupying the colonies, Lexington and Concord, General Washington crossing the Delaware. All of that history, all of those memories, in just three lifetimes – three easy jumps back into time! Nothing worked better to establish how close we really are to events in the past.

Anyway, I am looking forward to this – and since my daughter and I will drive up to Lockhart around midday Saturday, and the event doesn’t even get started until early evening, we are planning to go to the Kreuz Market and prove to ourselves that it really is one of the five best BBQ places in Texas. She also wants to check out any thrift stores and estate sales going on. With luck we will return with about as much as we set out with.