web analytics

Dog as Mrs. Santa

Yes, it is that time of year again – and for a wonder, the weather has finally decided to cooperate. One day we were running the AC because the temperature was in the 80s … and then the next morning, a chilly wind was blowing through the neighborhood – and we turned around on the doorstep to put on coats before we walked the doggies … because we had not expected it to be so suddenly cold!
So we were in the mood for Weihnachtsmarkt at the New Braunfels Civic center, and happy, happy, joy, joyful that it was an indoors venue! I don’t think we could have endured outdoors, as we did two weeks ago in Boerne, where it was cool and rainy, not ice-cold and windy. The author book tables are set up in the tall main hallway of the Civic Center, which runs from the front to the back of the building. There are three entrances from the front foyer and the hall into the rooms fitted out as for the market – and Santa is set up in the rear foyer. I am pretty certain it must be a tradition in New Braunfels to come and see Santa at Weihnachtsmarkt. Anyway, this is the third year they have had the author tables, and it’s just a short skip from home, it’s indoors, and most importantly, it draws people with money and the urge to shop, bit-time. I have lots of readers and fans in that area, too. And did I mention that it was indoors?

My daughter says, though – that if I write any more books, I will have to get another table, or at least a larger one. There’s only room for the seven, hardly any space for the various table-top attention-getting items or the little dish of candy that we like to put out … and it turned out that we had eaten all the dark chocolate and peanut-butter M&Ms anyway. This was supposed to be the official-official roll-out for The Quivera Trail – as I just knew that everyone who had read and loved the Trilogy would want to know what happened next!
All worked out as I had forseen – and we had much better results than at the Boerne Market; we came with three tubs and two boxes packed full of books, and brought home only two tubs. This recovered the table fee and the cost of the books themselves. One amusing sidelight was that on Friday afternoon, I realized that the author at the table next to us had a familiar name – and that I had used one of his books about the early history of Austin in researching Deep in the Heart – and that a good few of the incidents he included in his book I worked into mine. I even gave a credit in the notes at the back of Deep in the Heart. Jeffrey KerrThe Republic of Austin. This is not quite the first time this has happened to me; that was at the West Texas Book and Music Festival in Abilene a couple of years ago, when Scott Zesch was one of the headline guest speakers. I had read The Captured, and was moved to include a story-line in the Trilogy about the tragedy of a white child taken captive by the Comanche and returned – too late – as a young man, never able to re-assimilate to life outside the People again.

The gratifying thing is that the other vendors that my daughter talked to all reported having goodly sales – which is a relief after lackluster sales in Boerne. With this, we have hope that the economy will revive here, at least a little for Christmas. My daughter is already making lists for our own Christmas gift-giving, although some of that will involve going through the ‘gift closet’ to see what there is, and who it would be suitable for. In between the next Christmas Market – at Goliad’s Christmas on the Square, we have Thanksgiving to consider… a roast turkey breast and at least some of the traditional fixings. All good wishes to you – and thanks to everyone who bought books from me, or who will buy them this holiday season!

The last words of the final chapter of The Quivera Trail were written this evening at about 6 PM. And is it a load from my mind, to have it done in mid-June, leaving the time from here until November for final polishing, shaping, editing, tweaking and otherwise fine-detail work.

I hope to have The Quivera Trail  rolled out officially at Weihnachtsmarkt in New Braunfels, on Friday and Saturday, November 22 and 23rd, but it will be up on Amazon and B & N (and as an eBook in Kindle and Nook versions) by then for people who just can’t make the trip to New Braunfels.

An explanation of the title is here. The relevance to my story is that the plot concerns a number of characters who are all looking … looking for something; for love, acceptance, security, a future in 1870s Texas. I’ve described it as ‘Mrs. Gaskell meets Zane Grey.’ It might also be seen as a sequel to the Adelsverein Trilogy, as it picks up with Dolph Becker’s marriage to the very English Isobel Lindsey-Groves … a marriage not of convenience, but of pity and desperation. He feels sorry for her; a plump and rather awkward girl, bullied by her domineering mother  until she is absolutely desperate to marry … anyone at all. But Isobel does have qualities which might serve her well in Texas. On her journey to her new home, she brings her personal maid, Jane Goodacre … whose own talents and ambitions are suffocating under the limits and expectations of someone from a lower social class in Victorian England.

There’ll be some historical characters wandering in and out – although not as many as there were in Daughter of Texas and Deep in the Heart, which was rather a literary Grand Central Station of famous early Texans. A lot of scenes are set in San Antonio itself, which is a switch from previous books, in which I took my characters practically everywhere else. I have tried as much as possible to make each of my books free-standing, so it is not required to read all of them in sequence to make sense of anything – but those readers who have read my other books will find appearances by characters who are old friends; Magda, Liesel and Hansi, Peter and Anna Vining, Hetty and Daddy Hurst,  Jemima-Mary Fritche and Don Porfirio.

18. September 2012 · Comments Off on Guest Spot at ‘Unusual Historicals’ · Categories: Book Event · Tags: , ,

Ok, so I spoke too soon about no significant book events for me, until the Weinachtsmarkt – I will have an interview posted this weekend at the Unusual Historicals group blog. It’s based in the UK, so most of the other contributors and spotlighted books are based in England … so I might be rattling their cages a bit, eh?

Until I looked around at the Kendall Inn website, I didn’t know how well Boerne had flourished as a health spa and summer resort in four decades after the arrival of the San Antonio and Aransas Pass railroad. The little town on the Cibolo Creek was the summer retreat for wealthy San Antonians, for the families of high-ranking officers stationed at Fort Sam Houston – and for people seeking relief from all kinds of ailments. For a certainty, the Hill Country is usually cooler than the lowlands – and with the flowing creeks and green hills and stands of oak and pecan trees, it was as much a refuge from the big city as it is now.
The Kendall Inn was a part of that, even before the railway made it convenient. The original owners – who built a large house in classical Southern Colonial style out of cut-stone with walls twenty inches thick – often rented extra rooms to travelers and visitors, as there was no other accommodation for them until after the Civil War. The Kendall expanded – with the addition of wings built in the same pillared porch-and-gallery style – and early in the 20th century, the luxury of en-suite bathrooms.
So I was there on Friday last to do a talk for the local chapter of the Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War, on what had gone on in the Hill Country during the Civil War. Quite a few of the members were military retirees, arriving in Texas through the medium of a tour of duty – so the ins and outs of the whole mini-Civil War in Kendall, Gillespie and Kerr Counties was of at least some interest to the group. And I did the talk first, so that the luncheon was something that I could relax and enjoy.
The next big thing on the schedule for me, as far as events will be the Weinachtsmarkt in New Braunfels, November 16-18 at the Civic Center. We did so very well at it last year, that I will have a table for all three days, rather than just Saturday as we did last year. And – I have something new to ornament my official author table; my daughter and I found a model of a covered wagon at a sidewalk sale, which will be perfect to hold items like my business cards and postcards, and informational flyers about my books. Not bad for only $10!

07. November 2011 · Comments Off on All Righty, Then · Categories: Book Event · Tags: , , , , ,

How about a picture of Santa Claus … riding on a long-horn! Just the thing to get into the mood for Christmas … or maybe a cute picture of a German Christmas angel?
Yes – even though we are only a week into November, I am already working on my Christmas book events! I had hoped to be at the Huebner Oaks Borders Bookstore Christmas bash in mid-December … but the whole Borders chain closing down kind of put the kibosh on that plan. So, this leaves me presently with two Christmas events – the first being the New Braunfels Weinachtsmarkt, on Saturday, November 19th. The event is held in the New Braunfels Convention Center – and more information is here at this link.

And then on December 3rd, which is the first weekend in December, I’ll be in the Author Corral at Goliad’s Christmas on the Square – which is another big craft show/sale and community event … only this one outdoors, around the old Courthouse in Goliad. (shiver!) Hope the weather is nice… and hope to see you there. I should have copies of To Truckee’s Trail – (second edition) at New Braunfels, and Deep in the Heart at Goliad – which will be the launch event for the sequel to Daughter of Texas.