L.B. Simmons to Release Second Novel

June 12, 2013 at 5:48 am (Events) (, , , , , , , , , , )

The author of Running on Empty not only just got her first book trailer released into the ether, but tomorrow will start the publishing process of her second book. The release date for her next book is July 13th, 2013.

For those who loved L.B. Simmons’ Running on Empty, or merely want a small taste of her writing before diving into a full novel, comes the novella “Recovery.”

“It reads like a long epilogue to Running on Empty,” Simmons says about her latest book, “Let them know that they will need to read RoE to know what’s going on!”


The back jacket reads…

I have the perfect life.

I’ve finally found my happy ending.

I fought through the loss of one husband, lucky enough to be given a second chance at a lifetime of happiness. Settling into our new lives, however, may not be as easy as it seems.

What really happens after the fairytale ending? What happens after the prince rescues the princess? After he sweeps her off her feet and carries her off into the sunset? Do they truly live happily ever after?


This is our story.

Even though itL.B.Simmons is only 30,000 some odd words in length, both the author and her readers are excited about this new installment and her upcoming book signing tour.  Remember that you heard it here first… she will be in the Houston area signing copies of her books in early to mid August at two Half Price Books locations.

L.B. Simmons is a graduate of Texas A&M University and holds a degree in Biomedical Science. She has been a practicing Chemist for the last 11 years. She lives with her husband and three daughters in Texas and writes every chance she gets.
Contact her:
http://www.facebook.com/lbsimmonsauthor – Facebook
http://www.lbsimmons.wordpress.com – Blog
http://www.twitter.com/lbsimmons33 – Twitter
lbsimmons33@gmail.com – Email

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When I Am Not Reading – Comicpalooza 2013 Day Two

May 26, 2013 at 3:08 am (Events) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

DSC03563Started the day with the most awesome family ever!

DSC03571Fantastic costume!

DSC03584DSC03585DSC03586Alessandra Torresani is such a sweet person… and I think maybe a little in love with our David.  Click the last picture to “like” the Father of Dragons facebook page.

DSC03609My kiddo will be so jealous that Ms. Frizzle came to see ME!  Well, she came to stop by the HPB booth and see Erika… but I still got a picture with her rocking a near River Song look.

DSC03610I really love the Ood.

DSC03613Alan Dean Foster

DSC03614Gary Russell

DSC03615Kevin J. Anderson I told him I was one of those annoying book bloggers and he said book bloggers are never annoying – unless they recommend that you never read his books.  I like him, very personable.  Hope he’s there tomorrow, I might go back and get something signed.

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More Great Things from Chris Rogers…

May 18, 2013 at 4:36 am (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , )

slice of lifeTitle: Slice of Life

Author: Chris Rogers

Genre: Mystery/Suspense

Length: 390 pages

The fourth novel in the Dixie Flannigan series, Slice of Life is actually only the second Chris Rogers book that I’ve read.  I usually keep strict enforcement of the rule that I read a series in order, but I had it on good authority (from the author) that even though each book follows chronologically, the stories stand completely on their own.

Having enjoyed Bitch Factor so much, I took a risk and decided to jump ahead to the book that was sitting there in my hands rather than wait to come across the in between titles.

I’m glad I did.  Rogers was right about her work, each story stands alone quite nicely.  Sure, a lot of things had happened since the first book, but they were briefly alluded to and I didn’t feel like I had missed anything at all.  Nor did I feel like she was retelling a previous story (like some authors do in their flash backs to prequels) when referencing occurrences from the first title.

Rogers has an effortless storytelling style that fits well in the mystery/suspense genre.  She’s a true artist.  And not just in storytelling.  If I remember correctly, when chatting about her books at the signing we had at the Half Price Books Humble store, she paints and designed the picture used in Slice of Life.  The book is set in the Galveston art scene with a bit of gambling and a few dead bodies, so I thought the cover suited the story quite nicely and really shows off the talents of the author.

Even though I have broken the cardinal rule and ‘skipped to the end’ I plan to go back and read the second and third books when I find them.  Rogers has hinted at some interesting history between the characters that I’d like to know in more detail, without giving away any previous tales endings.


Chris Rogers at Half Price Books Humble




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Bitch Factor

April 23, 2013 at 6:59 pm (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , , )

bitch factorTitle:Bitch Factor

Author: Chris Rogers

Genre: Mystery/Suspense

Publisher: Bantam

Length: 293 page

To be honest, I probably wouldn’t normally pick a up a book called ‘Bitch Factor’ or even a book with bitch in the title.  I’m not morally opposed or anything, it’s just generally not my cup of tea.  Past my middle school years (when I was completely enthralled with all things John Grisham), I haven’t really been into many mysteries out side of cozy foodie/bookshop/coffeehouse kinds or the kind that aren’t always shelved in mystery like Carlos Ruiz Zafon and Kate Morton… literary awesomeness built in mysterious layers.

To be fair, Chris Rogers sucked me in with the cover of Slice of Life and her sparkling personality.  She is a fantastic lady, and I really enjoyed talking with her at the latest Half Price Books Humble book signing.  Getting a copy of Slice of Life made me a little leery, it’s a ways into the Dixie Flannigan series, and last time I did that was the Elizabeth George review for Believing the Lie and I felt like a fish out of water.  So I began Bitch Factor, the first of the series.


I’ll put that in regular font so it’s easier to quote, if anyone is feeling quotey: Chris Rogers’ storytelling is so riveting that when I read her book, I devoured it.

Dixie Flannigan is a bad ass.  She’s a believable bad ass.  As a female black belt Kung Fu instructor, I get a little frustrated with women who think they can handle more than they can.  Be confident.  Be awesome.  Stay fit, stay trained.  But sometimes you have to acknowledge the fact that at 120 pounds and five feet tall, there are some limitations you may face when dealing with 180-200 pound men – like size and strength.  In those situations, you have to think your way through.  You have to be careful, aware, and plan in numerous contingencies.  Dixie Flannigan is awesome because, for once, she does just that… without whining.  Whiny, helpless heroines are worse than over confident unrealistic ones.  Dixie is perfectly balanced.

Rogers took a story of a female bounty hunter, inspired by a chat she had with a taxi cab driver, and ran with it.  Often compared to Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series, there are two things about Chris Rogers and Dixie Flannigan you should know: 1. Dixie actually knows what she’s doing, where (at least in the first installment) Plum seems to flail around until something happens. 2. Rogers’ writing isn’t tainted by a history of writing romance novels, it’s higher quality work.  Oh, and, now I shall add a third… I have nothing against Evanovich or Stephanie Plum, I’m just deeply surprised it’s the more popular series right now.

On top of that, Dixie Flannigan (like her creator) is from the Houston area.  It’s so refreshing to have someone write Houston well.  Dixie Flannigan isn’t just kick ass, she’s kick ass from my home town.  She pops in and out of Spring Branch, she visits The Heights, she drives down 59.  The familiarity of it all is a lovely break from all the many, many mysteries set in Detroit,  New York City, and Chicago… places I’ve never been.  Even if you don’t read mysteries, if you’re from Texas – this book is for you.

I have it on good authority that you don’t have to read these stories in order, so I plan to skip onto Slice of Life since it’s sitting on my nightstand (that’s typically a cardinal sin in my house).  I do plan to collect and read the whole series though, it’s too fantastic not to.


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When We’re Not Reading – It’s Texas, It’s Friday, What do you think?

November 10, 2012 at 5:27 am (Education, Events, In So Many Words) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

Growing up in Texas, one thing is supposed to be as gold as the Gospel, and that’s what’s happening on Friday Night at high schools all over the state.  I was surrounded by this my whole life, but managed to only attend one game, and pretty much missed the whole extravaganza.  I never participated in the Homecoming business, never went to a dance, got one of those mums the south is famous for from a friend, but was just never into it.  Several times I showed up for a game, sang the national anthem with the choir, and then high tailed it out of there.  It wasn’t that I didn’t want to stay – I was just so damn busy.

I don’t want the kiddo to miss it.  Well, she can miss it if she wants, but I want her to at least have a chance to choose to not miss it.  But I also plan to home school.  So where does home school and good old fashion Texas High School Football have a chance to collide? In Andi-land, that’s where.  Also in many school districts where they allow home school students to try out for teams and be a part of the school’s organizations.

So… There’s a high school right down the road from our house, it’s Friday Night, my husband was out for the evening, and I found out there was a home game.  What do you think I decided to do?

General Admission Ticket: $7.00
Chili Cheese Nachos: $3.50
Watching Your 2 Yr. Old at Her First Football Game Ever: Priceless

(Actually, she stood in awe of the cheerleaders and then opted to color princesses while I tried to watch the game.)

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HPB Humble October Meeting Prep

September 30, 2012 at 12:42 am (Events) (, , , , , , , , )

Bill Bryson’s bestselling books include A Walk in the Woods, Notes from a Small Island, In a Sunburned Country, Bryson’s Dictionary of Troublesome Words, A Short History of Nearly Everything, which earned him the 2004 Aventis Prize, and The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid. Bryson lives in England with his wife and children. – from The Official Bill Bryson Website, http://www.randomhouse.com/features/billbryson/about.html

Discussion Topics for October 1st:

  1. “It must be very frustrating to have a truly unique experience.” – pg. 159 What unique experiences have you had lately?
  2. There is a Veblen reference on page 151, “conspicuous consumption.” How do you feel about this assessment of America?
  3. What did you think of Bryson’s description of the south?
  4. Have you ever stopped to read historical landmarks?  Do you know about the historical landmarks here in Humble?
  5. What was your favorite part of the book? What was your least favorite part of the book?

Below I have included historical landmarks of Humble, TX, taken from the Humble area website: http://www.humblearea.com/history/

Humble, Texas   Historical Markers

Humble Cemetery – Humble (227)

This cemetery is believed to be the town of Humble’s oldest. The   earliest documented burial is that of Joseph Dunman (1867-1879). Also   believed to be buried here in an unmarked grave is Jane Elizabeth Humble,   wife of the community’s founder, Pleasant Humble. The first legal record of   the cemetery appears in a deed transferring the cemetery property from Jonas   Altmont to trustees in 1914. Civil War veteran Houston Young and several   World War I veterans are also interred here. This cemetery serves as a   reflection of Humble’s pioneer heritage.

Humble Lodge No. 979, A.F. & A.M. – Humble (164)

Near the turn of the century, the town of Humble was home to   many Masons who were members of lodges located in nearby towns. With the help   of local Justice of the Peace F. K. Wise, Humble area Masons organized their   own lodge in 1908. Humble State Bank president and future Texas Governor Ross   Sterling (1875-1949) provided meeting facilities in the bank building which   formerly stood at this site. After the bank burned in 1912, the Masons bought   the property and built a new lodge hall. The Masons have been active in civic   programs over the years.

Humble, City of – Humble (164)

A pioneer oil boom town. Originated as crossroads community   named for settler Pleasant Smith Humble (1835?-1912), who lived here before   1889, hewing his timber into railroad ties, mining gravel from his land,   keeping store, and serving as justice of the peace. Neighbors included the   Bender, Durdin, Isaacks, Lee, Slaughter, and Williams families. Economic   bases were farms and sawmills. The post office opened 1902. In 1904 C. E.   Barrett (1866-1926) drilled for oil in this area, securing small production   on Moonshine Hill. On Jan. 7, 1905, he brought in the No. 2 Beaty Well which   yielded 8,500 barrels a day, opening the great boom. From a village of 700,   Humble grew at once into a town of 20,000. Field production– the largest in   Texas for the year 1905– was 15,594,923 barrels of oil. The field was named   for the town. A group of its operators, including Ross S. Sterling, later   (1931-33) governor of Texas, in 1911 incorporated a new oil company named for   the field, thus spreading into the annals of world commerce the town’s name.   Production from several strata here exceeded the total for fabulous   Spindletop by 1946. Known as the greatest salt dome field, Humble still   produces and the town for which it was named continued to thrive.

Moonshine Hill – Humble (105)

Early reports of natural gas seepages in this area were not   uncommon in the late 19th century. James Slaughter noticed such natural   occurrences near the San Jacinto River in 1887. Several years later, with S.   A. Hart, he set up a drilling operation in the area, but it proved   unsuccessful. Charles Barrett, a former Huston merchant, also drilled wells   here, but found the results limited. In 1904, the Higgins Oil Company brought   in a major gas well and the following year, the first successful oil well was   drilled. This area, known as the Moonshine Hill section of the great Humble   oil field, became the site of a boom town. Within months of the 1905   discovery, the population of the Moonshine Hill settlement increased to   10,000. Early operations associated with the site included the Moonshine Oil   Company of Walter Sharp, Ed Prather, and Howard R. Hughes. Although tents   comprised most of the early structures, Moonshine Hill eventually included a   church, school, postal station, stores, hotels, and saloons. Despite three   separate boom eras, the last occurring in 1929, Moonshine Hill declined as a   community. Its brief existence, however, had a dramatic impact on the   economic development of Humble and Houston. Texas Sesquicentennial 1836 –   1986

First United Methodist Church of Humble – Humble (86)

Founded in 1886, Humble was an oil boom town in 1907 when the   Rev. J. T. Browning of Houston began conducting Methodist worship services   for residents of the area. The services were first held in a building that   had housed a bottle factory. In 1908, this church was organized with 37   charter members. The following year, the congregation constructed their first   building, a small frame structure later destroyed by fire. Subsequent church   facilities have reflected the continued growth of the congregation and   community. Texas Sesquicentennial 1836 – 1986

Lambrecht’s Artesian Well – Humble (50)

An oil well drilled at this site in 1912 yielded not oil, but   free-flowing artesian water. The following year, German native Nick   Lambrecht (1855-1920) purchased the property. Lambrecht served as justice   of the peace and mayor during Humble’s oil boom days in the early 20th   century and in 1904 had installed a water system to meet the needs of the   many oil field workers who came to town. Lambrecht’s artesian well was used   to supply water to bathhouses and was also piped to nearby homes. In earlier   years, water had been hauled to town in barrels on horse-drawn wagons. Texas   Sesquicentennial 1836-1986

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Mid Week Thrifting

May 3, 2012 at 3:48 pm (The Whim) (, , , , , , )

I used to haunt thrift stores the way I currently haunt bookstores.  In late high school and early college, its where I picked up all my clothes.  There was nothing better than a 50 cent blouse and some $2 jeans.  Unfortuneately with the recession, thrift store clothing prices have increased to an amount that (unless its the world’s most awesome thrift store find) I can often find similar cheapy items for less at Wally World (sacriledge, I know).  In theory I hate WalMart, but sometimes a tight budget makes the decision for me.  But when my best friend says she wants to check out the newly reopened Goodwill Select in the Heights, I’m game.

Of course, I found dozens of things I wanted (there were piles of amateur paintings done by the same unknown person), but only came away with a few of the most inexpensive but longest lasting items money can buy: books.  I acquired a few nice copies of things off Ayla’s Classical Education list that I didn’t already have… Sophocles and such because I will need them eventually and haven’t seen copies in this nice a condition for this cheap.  It looks like someone dropped off an entire school library in mint condition.  And two things that aren’t as easy to find (not difficult, just not typically parading themselves around in large quanities):

Profiles in Science for Young People: Albert Einstein and the Theory of Relativity by Robert Cwiklik, perfect for ages 9-12, depending on your kid.  I want Ayla to grow up with accessible biographies.  I’ve already been collecting the DK biographies for kids and have about a dozen of them for various public figures, but its always exciting to pick up more, especially for 30% off $1.99.

Then, for me, I picked up The New Science of Strong Materials(or Why You Don’t Fall through the Floor) by J.E. Gordon. Also only $1.99, its from the Princeton Science Library and I can’t wait to read it!  I loved science as a child, and then had too many horrible public school teachers take all the excitement out of it (most of them seemed like people who wanted to do great things in their lives, but didn’t hack it in the science field, so decided to teach instead – and were very bitter about it).  So as an adult, I’m constantly seeking material to read that will help me learn the things I rebelled against as a teenager out of hatred, but in a way that I can enjoy the experience.  Therefore, a science publication in mint condition for $1.99 is Thrift Store Gold to me.

For more on the exciting world of thrifting, follow Her Library Adventures, she too has a mid-week thrifting notice this week: http://herlibraryadventures.blogspot.com/2012/05/midweek-thrifting.html

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Brick and Mortar vs. The Online World

January 15, 2012 at 6:09 pm (In So Many Words, Reviews, The Whim) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

Inspired by: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/14/independent-bookstores-amazon_n_1201676.html?ref=books&ncid=edlinkusaolp00000008

Featuring the Best Bookstores inTexas

Despite being an Amazon.com affiliate, I truly believe in being a patron of a brick and mortar bookstore.  In my mind, online sales are a necessary evil for the true bibliophile who cannot afford to travel toWalesfrom theUnited Statesto pick up a copy of the next book in the Scarlet Pimpernel series.  (I shop abebooks.com every three or four months for this exact purpose.)  Online sales are for that student looking for the cheapest textbook because its that or don’t eat for a month, and where not eating for a day or two is fathomable, not eating for a whole month would counter the act of trying to improve your mind.  I shop online if I’m gravely ill and cannot expose my disgusting germs to the outside world for a few weeks and am dying to read that biography that is just obscure enough that my favorite stores wont have it in stock for months anyway.  I shop Amazon.com for Paul Collins books on the regular, because they are readily available there, but most his stuff is out of print and isn’t carried by Barnes & Noble (I really like the one at the Woodlands mall) and rarely seen at most used stores.

For this reason, I am signing paperwork on Tuesday to be an Event Coordinator at my local Half Price Books (Humble), my favorite family owned bookstore in the country and the easiest store to shop inTexas.  I’d like nothing more than to generate traffic at a place I love while mostly still being a stay at home mom, as this job is only 20 hrs. a month and is a bit like a consulting gig.

That being said, Half Price Books isn’t the only great bookstore inTexas.  I’m also a huge fan of Murder By the Book inHouston, mostly for the fact that they have become world famous and still manage to be the coziest place in the world.  Murder By the Book is right around the corner from a Half Price Books, and though I stop at HPB first, if they don’t have the latest and greatest in stock yet, I have no problem popping over and buying a current pub if I have to.  The real life story to this hypothetical scenario being when Carlos Ruiz Zafon’s Angel Game was first released.

Murder By the Book is great, but they are a bit of a drive for me.  So when I want the same cozy atmosphere, comfy chairs, and intimate shelving units, but not the drive, another favorite place for me is Good Books in the Woods in Spring, off Oak Ridge, almost to the Woodlands.  It’s a quiet little gem tucked away literally in the woods, a house turned bookstore.  They have their own book clubs and writing workshops.  They specialize in first editions, signed copies, and all that is old and interesting, but there are some run of the mill things you can find there too.  It’s a bit more expensive than HPB on most days, but sometimes worth it if HPB doesn’t happen to have what you’re looking for and you’re too impatient to wait for it to be shipped to you.  I say “a bit more expensive,” but their prices are always reasonable, I’m just used to my beloved HPB clearance section.  (Visit Good Books in the Woods here: http://www.goodbooksinthewoods.com/)

As I’m headed back home, often severely hungry because I’m always hungry, on the southbound side of 45 you can also find Once and Again Books, often mistaken as an HPB because its quite similar.  Honestly, I only shop there because its next to my favorite food joint: The Olive Oil, fabulous Greek Food.  And it’s on the way home.  But its nice, its clean, and in good order.

Now for myDallaspeeps:

I’m absolutely, positively in love with the Recycled Bookstore inDenton.  The entire shopping experience happens, literally, in layers.  There are stairs and cubbies and closets, all brimming with organized, clean, lovely used books.  They also function in an old school fashion and will negotiate prices with you, something most stores just can’t do anymore.  For my every day Dallas shopping, I stick to all the near by Half Price Books locations peppered all over the city, but on special day trips up the highway, a bookstore in an old Opera House is just the thing.

As for Dallas Half Price Books locations (and there are quite a few!), my favorites are of course the flagship for its enormity and coffee shop, and the Cedar Hill location for having been my college haunt and my first introduction to Half Price Books at all.

Now, Texans, really… with all these just moments away, why would you go online to shop unless you absolutely had to?  Amazon.com, abebooks.com, hpbmarketplace.com, all those fabulous .com bookstore – are tools when you need them, not your first go to.

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