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Texas History Hits the Road

I’d like to say that life is getting back to normal; however, I’m not sure what normal is anymore. Life at Borders has been busy due to the nearly 2-week interruption by Hurricane Rita, and I suddenly find it’s time for the Texas Book Festival and my first appearance on the “author’s list” and on a panel. I’ll be driving up to Austin Thursday and plan to attend Simon Winchester’s talk that evening. Having attended the book festival in the past as a book lover and then as a Borders Books employee, I must admit it’s a lot more fun to be on the list of attending writers and being listed as a panelist. I guess it’s one of those benchmarks that we sometimes have–but don’t always realize it.

Texas History Hits the Road will be on Sunday,Oct. 30th in the Texas State Capitol in Austin, in the Capitol Extension Room E2.014 from 1:30-2:30pm. The signing will be afterwards in the booksigning tent. Lori Moffat is the moderator, and she is an associate editor at Texas Highways magazine. Other panelists besides myself and my coauthor, Elaine Galit, are Mary Jo Powell and Jon McConal. If any of you are up around Austin, I hope you’ll stop by and say hello. (Brief bios on everyone is listed at the bottom of this post.)

Recent news includes the success of Houstonian author Deanne Gist whose debut novel A Bride Most Begrudging, published by Bethany House, is currently climbing three Christian bestseller lists. I’ve known Deanne for many years and am delighted to hear the good news of her first novel. This has been a long time coming for Deanne. So for all of you plugging away, keep writing.


Elaine L. Galit, coauthor of Exploring Houston with Children, Exploring the Arts and Culture of Houston with Children and Exploring Texas History: Weekend Adventures, is an award winning freelance writer. Her work has appeared in anthologies such as Chicken Soup for the Volunteer’s Soul, Women Forged in Fire, and Chicken Soup for the Working Woman’s Soul. Her more than 150 magazine and photo credits include Writer’s Digest, Houston Generation Magazine and Woman’s World. Elaine spent several years as a bookseller and Community Relations Coordinator for a local independent bookstore and has taught writing at the University of Houston, Cinco Ranch.

Born in Brownwood to peripatetic parents from a German Hill Country background, Mary Jo Powell grew up in Dallas, attended Trinity University in San Antonio and knocked around the United States for a while before returning to Texas. She settled in Austin, earned a Ph.D. in history from the University of Texas there, and raised two boys and a series of Labrador Retrievers. The boys have gone off to live their own lives and she has retired from the competitive work place to try to earn her bread by writing.

Jon McConal, a Texas native, retired from the Fort Worth Star Telegram in 2001. Before retiring , McConal wrote “Jon McConal’s Texas,” a three time weekly column about characters and historical places in small Texas towns. His book, Jon McConal’s Texas published by Texas Republic Press, is a collection of those columns. McConal has won some 40 writing awards, including being named Star Reporter of Texas by the Texas Headliner Association and three national medical writing honors. His book, My Years with Bob Wills, chosen by Publisher’s Weekly in 1978 as one of the top books of this region, is now in its third printing in paperback by Aiken Press.

Vikk Simmons, is an avid reader, writer, blogger, and photographer who is passionate about writing and traveling and loves to combine the two. Co-author of three travel books, including the recent Exploring Texas History: Weekend Adventures, and two young adult novels (Video Magic and Divided Loyalties), Simmons and her co-author, Elaine Galit, were named Barnes and Noble Authors of the Month for their first book, Exploring Houston with Children. She also spent four years coordinating book events and promotions for Borders Books, Inc. During that time she received a Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing from Vermont College. After a two-year stint as communications director for a local church, she recently returned to Borders Books to work in the corporate and educational sales program. Simmons is a sought-after speaker and often speaks on creativity, the publishing industry and the business and craft of writing.

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