Tag Archives: Texas

Guest Post With 2 Poems from Annie Neugebauer

Annie Neugebauer’s blog post today sets a fitting tone for Americans who are reeling from the events in Boston, MA and West, Texas this week. Our hearts go out to the families of victims and first responders. Welcome Annie and thank  you for your words of consolation.
~Rich Weatherly

A Guest Post + 2 Poems

Annie is a short story author, novelist, and award-winning poet.

Posted on April 18, 2013 by admin

Hey guys,

It feels weird to continue on in such horrible news. First Boston and now West, which is a small Texas town about an hour and a half south of where I live. Everyone I know is sad right now, myself included. These are days to go dark, spend time with loved ones, and reflect. But of course I have no control over the timing of tragedy, so I hope you’ll understand where my heart is when I share my news and publications with you.

[I’m no expert, but I imagine that unless you’re a first responder or a trained disaster relief worker, staying away (physically) is probably more helpful than driving down to West right now. Last I heard they have serious traffic problems with all of the emergency vehicles. The best information that I’ve gathered, if you’re in the area and wanting to help: you can donate blood at any of these locations or donate funds to The Salvation Army. If you’re around Denton, you can also drop off water and goods at UNT.]

Click here to continue to the complete article by Annie.


Filed under Arts and Poetry, Poetry

Book Review — Saint of the Burning Heart

Author — Julia Robb

5.0 out of 5 stars Strong characters and a compelling plot make this a hit!, April 4, 2013
Review By Rich Weatherly
 This review is from: Saint of the Burning Heart (Kindle Edition)

Saint of the Burning Heart

The small west Texas town of Encedido in Hondo County had much in common with other communities on the southern plains. This story is centered around the lives of an orphan girl named Nicki and a powerful woman with ancestral ties to Spanish aristocracy, Doña Paulita.

Powerful rancher Frank Kendall and his family adopt Nicki after her father commits suicide in the county jail. Frank and Paulita share a ranch through common ancestry.

After Nicki graduates from high school, she is sent off to the university. This doesn’t suit her interests so she leaves school to compete on the rodeo circuit. By the time she returns to Encedido, Nicki has become a champion rodeo rider.

An old friend, David has been railroaded to the county jail. He’s in a desperate situation, having been sent to prison for 4 years in the past because someone withheld testimony that would have freed him. Now, David is fighting to prove his innocence again and he might have a better defense than in the past. Nicki sympathizes with David but Frank has other plans.

While David and Frank compete for Nicki’s affections, a county election of unprecedented proportions is getting underway. The stage is set for a stunning climax.

A corrupt county government run by powerful Anglos has managed to retain power for generations. David hopes to fight for the opposition and is determined to convince his Hispanic brothers and sisters to run against the corrupt government. He will also lead the fight for a voter turnout that should win the day. He just has to convince them not to cower in the face of opposition. This will require building up their self-esteem.

Julia Robb has delivered a rich, well crafted story about life and times in 1960s west Texas. At times, her lyrical descriptions paint scenes of beauty drawn from the sprawling landscapes and towns which she knows so well.

Julia has mastered the language of west Texas in ways similar to Larry McMurtry or John Steinbeck in their works. Don’t expect cookie-cutter characters. These characters are as complex as we all are. Some fail, bounce back and find redemption or retribution. Others stick to their die-hard ways and face the consequences.

While the story is told through the eyes of complex characters, it builds with a powerful momentum toward a climax that has plenty of twists, turns and surprises along the way. One character that isn’t listed in the book’s description is a former Pulitzer prize winning journalist who now runs the town newspaper. I found his actions compelling.

This review can now be read at Venture Galleries.

Pick up a copy of Saint of the Burning Heart. You will not be disappointed. Saint of the Burning Heart

Julia Robb Bio

Author of Scalp Mountain and Saint of the Burning Heart

Julia Robb was a journalist for twenty years, working at numerous newspapers in Texas and other parts of the nation. She now lives in Marshall, Texas, and is a free-lance writer, editor and novelist, having published “Scalp Mountain” in 2012 and “Saint of the Burning Heart” in February, 2013. Both novels are set in Texas. Julia is hoping to sell a screenplay based on her novel, “Scalp Mountain.”

Julia writes for venturegalleries.com and IAmATexan.com, and is published weekly. She can also be found at juliarobbmar@aol.com, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Amazon.com.
When asked to supply biographical details, Julia said her five-times great uncle was shot in the back on the square in Marshall.

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Filed under Book Review, Literary Fiction

Meeting Announcement — Denton Poets’ Assembly

Denton Poets’ Assembly will meet at 10am on February 16th, 2013 in the Emily DPA logo ProcessBlueFowler Central Library: 502 Oakland Street, Denton, Texas. Visitors are welcome!

DFW and North Texas poets and lovers of poetry are invited to join the Denton Poets’ Assembly for our February meeting. During the meeting, members will read blank verse poem assignments and poems of their choice in any form. J. Paul Holcomb will present a lesson on writing a dramatic monologue.

Blogger and DPA member Annie Neugebauer presented a lesson on how to create a personal website in WordPress. This a great way for poets to share their selected works with the public and poets everywhere!

J. Paul Holcomb has been invited to be a featured poet at the 21st annual Austin International Poetry Festival,  April 18 to April 21, 2013 in Austin, Texas. The festival features readings, workshops, open mikes, poetry slams, and a poetry symposium in various venues throughout Austin.

Final preparations are underway for the  2013 “Merging Visions” collaborative show with VAST. These Exhibits will be set up for display at 3 Denton public libraries starting March 28th, 2013.

Denton Poets’ Assembly meets on the third Saturday of the month, 10AM – Noon at the Emily Fowler Central Library, 502 Oakland Street, Denton, TX 76201. Free and open to the public. Everyone is welcome. For more information, visit www.DentonPoetsAssembly.weebly.com.

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Filed under Poetry

Poem — Small Town Homecoming

A month ago this small west Texas town
with a single crossroad and railroad track
looked empty and barren
except for Mary’s café and a small Czech bakery.

Faded letters on abandoned red brick buildings
hinted of better times long ago.
Wind tossed tumbleweeds danced along dusty
cobble stones, gone as soon as they came.
A spiny-back lizard scurried over crossties
and vanished behind a weathered log.

A little more than a year ago wildfires raged close by;
racing down from the ridge west of town.
Now a mosaic of white ash on gray scorched earth
mingles with black barren mesquite tree skeletons.
This near ghost town was almost lost to conflagration.

A few days ago I sped down the lonely road
past fields green from recent rains
to this little town with its six man football team
for a homecoming celebration.

Like butterflies from cocoons
cheering crowds lined streets while
proud parade participants jostled in queues
waiting for the grand marshal to wave them on.

Mounted riders waved to smiling faces and cheering friends.
Riders sat on saddles gleaming with silver Conchos
sitting tall and proud as hooves clip-clopped on cobble stone streets.

Out came motorcycles side-by-side,
boys on bicycles, tractors, golf carts, atvs and lawn mowers
and the procession inched on.
Along came cheerleaders in pickup trucks tossing beads
horded by bystanders who waved for more.
Next came, old cars and new cars, fire trucks and a stagecoach.
The procession inched on.

Last in line was the 1st Cavalry detachment,
its mounted soldiers riding two-by-two,
their captain led the way—
young men wearing wide brim hats,
blue shirts, gray trousers and black boots.

After the parade everyone moseyed
over to the town pavilion where
folks were meeting and greeting
recalling memories from long ago.

Barbeque, potatoes salad
and iced tea nourished those gathered
while talk returned to stories
of those who have passed on.

After hugs and handshakes
and encouraging words
the crowd dissolved
leaving a near empty town.

Mary’s Café siphoned off some
while kolaches at the Czech bakery drew away others.
Traffic trickled to an occasional passing car,
and the regular rumble of a passing train.

©2012 Richard L Weatherly


Filed under Poetry, Rail Roads, Texas

Book Review— Fighting the Devil: A True Story of Consuming Passion, Deadly Poison, and Murder

by Jeannie Walker (Goodreads Author)

Author’s Synopsis

“Fighting the Devil” – A True Story of Consuming Passion, Deadly Poison, and Murder is a true story about the murder of a Texas millionaire rancher, who was my ex-husband. I became a crime sleuth to help solve the murder. I wrote the story to speak out for the father of my children as he no longer has a voice. I also wrote the story to tell of the prophetic dreams and signs I had, along with the spine-tingling accounts I experienced of unexplained phenomena and episodes of fighting for my own life with the evil monster from hell that does exist called the devil.”

To be honest, this isn’t a genre that I usually read. That said, once I started reading, I was hooked from the beginning. Jeannie’s story is far more compelling than I anticipated. I finished it in two days.

Published Review

“ForeWord Clarion Reviews: Readers who enjoy suspense, strong female leads, and crime drama, like Law and Order, will cling to every word of Fighting the Devil. Those with weak stomachs are warned that this book contains graphic descriptions of slow death by poison. Read this nail-biter with the lights blazing!”

Walker, Jeannie (2011-02-19). Fighting the Devil . CreateSpace. Kindle Edition.

The author and I both hale from north Texas and are approximately the same age so that connection drew me in at first. It is an amazing story of a how this couple who started from humble beginnings became amazingly successful through hard work and smart business practices. The author deserves much of the credit for that success, having supported, and encouraged her husband to pursue his dreams. Over time the relationship deteriorated. Jeannie and Jerry Sternadel separated and eventually divorced.

I mentioned earlier that I won’t restate the synopsis. Suffice it to say, Jerry Sternadel died a terrifying death by arsenic poisoning. All evidence clearly pointed to his ex-wife Lou Ann and his bookkeeper, Debbie Baker.

Something I didn’t expect in the story involves supernatural events which the author describes in great detail. She experiences a premonition that a brother-in-law will die a premature death and he does so, soon afterward. There are scenes where she appears to be forewarned of danger on a lonely dark road only to be confronted by the face of a devil. Other scenes describe a host of demonic creatures. There are even a couple of ghost stories.

After Jerry Sternadel died, the author’s first actions were to protect the interests of her children and to give them the support they needed. As she learned more about the death of the father of her children, her sense of justice drove her to set the record straight. Jeannie Walker stopped at nothing when it came to helping her son and daughter through the tragedy. Her love is an open book.

It is hard for me to imagine living through so much tragic loss brought on by cold blooded murderers all because of greed. I felt much of the emotion experienced by the author and her family because the facts are presented so clearly. Jeannie’s loyalty to family and her ex-husband helped her to build support from friends and the officials she worked with.

Much of the book focuses on her conversations with witnesses, law enforcement officers, public officials and experts as she probed for evidence that would lead to a conviction of the guilty.

For me the story had a conversational tone with realistic and detailed dialog. It was like sitting in on a real conversation. From the onset, it is clear who the guilty parties are. Jerry Sternadel even pointed them out from his hospital bed, describing embezzlement and stating they were trying to kill him. As far as the prosecution was concerned, all the evidence was circumstantial. That’s where Jeannie Walker’s determination and persistence kicked in. She continued to dig for new evidence and when found pass the information to the appropriate officials. The trail was long and complex but she was relentless.

I have profound admiration for Jeannie Walker. One of the guilty parties went to prison; eventually. The one with the strongest motive and opportunity did not. To some extent, this is a story about justice denied. Something tells me that if more evidence is to be discovered, Jeannie Walker will find it.

Jeannie Walker, Author Website


Filed under Award, Book Review, Texas