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The great state of Texas boasts many proud but curious traditions and trivia and, this third volume of my “Amazing America” series enumerates fascinating facts, entertaining tales, bizarre happenings, and historical oddities that give the Lone Star State its intriguing and distinctive character. Native Texans, history enthusiasts, curious travelers, and armchair aficionados of Texas lore will be delighted by the unusual aspects and sometimes-obscure details celebrated
in these pages. Specific locations and visitor information make this a useful guide to further explore the history, folklore, and folkways of this vast and diverse state, and I’ve even thrown in some favorite recipes from some of my favorite Texans.
Governor Rick Perry liked this book so much, he wrote the back-cover copy. PUBLISHERS PLEASE NOTE: The third in my “Lacey’s Amazing America” series, AMAZING TEXAS was originally published in 2008. It was well-reviewed in such publications as Southern Living and Texas Tripper, but in 2011 my financially-beleagured publisher was obliged to revert ALL rights back to me. All THREE “Amazing” books are for sale again–plus I’m working on AMAZING ALABAMA. Please contact me ASAP indicating your interest.
The following is an interview with travel journalist Paris Permenter of the Texas Tripper site.
She’s kindly given me permission to reprint it here:
What can you tell us about the writing of Amazing Texas? What inspired you to add Texas to your Amazing America series?
I love the series I began some years ago, and Texas just seemed a natural for the next in the series. To be more specific, though, Texas as a state has a culture all its own. Visitors from all over the globe are touched by their visit to Texas, and seem to take a bit of the Lone Star State with them when they leave. There was so much to write about Texas–so many fascinating stories and historical tales, my problem was when to STOP! Finally, half my growing-up years were in Texas–I attended Belle Aire Elementary School in San Antonio–so I developed a love for Texas early on.
There are a lot of bizarre things in Texas–but what one especially stands out in your mind as a really unique and bizarre sight?
The lights in Marfa would be one, but my early years were colored with beautiful and fascinating adventures, like fishing in Galveston and camping in the Big Bend area. I grew up hearing stories of Judge Roy Bean and some of our family, Cynthia Ann Parker and Bonnie Parker (of Bonnie-and-Clyde), so these were starting places for me.
Also, I’d like to stress here that my “Amazing America” series isn’t about merely the bizarre–you’ll find no story of a two-headed cow. My books are what I like to refer to as “Tourable History.” You can read about where something interesting happened, then go visit the site, since I also tell you what’s there now.
I also like to capture the fascination of a culture–as a state, Texas has a charm like no other.
As you researched Amazing Texas, what was your biggest challenge?
Texas has such a unique history–that, and its SIZE! I was daunted by both! (But, since I WAS half-raised in the Lone-Star State, like every other person from Texas I took up the challenge like any proper Texan).
In talking to Texans and travelers very familiar with Texas, what facts that you uncovered in the writing of this book seemed especially surprising to them?
My editor was surprised by quite a few facts and tales as she read the book. Raised in Texas herself, and a Texas history buff, I think she was surprised to learn quite a few things she didn’t know before.
A lot of Texans I spoke with were surprised to learn about stories of vast amounts of buried treasure in Texas. Others were surprised by the famous football player who donated an organ to another player so he could live a fuller life.
The stories that touched me personally were of disasters and how Texans coped with them. The Texas City explosion made world headlines, and decades later, the people of Houston helped reunite Hurricane Katrina refugees with their pets. The people of Texas have hearts as big as their state.
Amazing Texas sounds like a great armchair travel book for readers who might be watching the gas budget these days. What other readers will especially enjoy this guide?
Anyone who loves trivia would enjoy it, as I have created some little games within chapters, and have thrown in some Q&A for those who love quizzes. Chapters include those on the paranormal, the Civil War, prehistory, flora and fauna (as well as natural phenomenon), sports, etc. One of my favorite chapters, though, is on culture–in here, I have recipes indigenous to Texas, such as some great recipes for cooking cactus. My godmother gave me a few authentic recipes, and a friend from San Antonio gave me a great recipe for tamales. Southern Living hailed a previous Amazing America release as a gem. I think Amazing Texas will be a diamond.
Henry the Pelican
This is a true story of a man who rescued an orphaned pelican hatchling, mended its broken wing, and enabled it to fly. “Henry” now comes to the same pier every morning, to be hand-fed by a local man, James, who rescued and cared for the bird. The story is beautifully illustrated, and written in both Spanish and English.
Available at Xlibris or your local bookstore. A portion of the proceeds go to our local environmental-watchdog group, Mobile Baykeeper, and a local no-kill animal shelter, The Haven.
Obits And Deadlines: A Music City Usa Murder Mystery
Kirby Austin is a half-Ute girl. Growing up on the reservation, most of what she has learned has come from television sit-coms. She marries young, to a rodeo bronc-buster named Jake. Once he becomes abusive, in the middle of one violent night she packs up their two kids and leaves.
Nashville, Tennessee–also known as Music City, USA–is THE place for people who want to make it in the music business, and Kirby heads there. Finding a job writing Obituaries for a local newspaper, Kirby finally feels that the puzzle known as her life has the pieces falling into place.
Then something terrible and sinister happens. A serial killer is on the loose–and Kirby is the main suspect.
She finds herself falling for a young, half-Comanche man (Nick), then feels her safe and ordered life falling apart further when the unthinkable happens.
Jake shows up in town. Kirby is suddenly in a race for time, to protect herself, her new life–and her children.
A collection of inspirational stories, written by the New York Times bestselling author T. Jensen Lacey, that have been brought together for the first time. Originally published in the various Chicken Soup book series, Lacey’s storytelling abilities shine here, as well as her gift for brevity, and will delight, entertain and brighten the day of readers. Includes Foreword by Amy Newmark, Publisher, Chicken Soup for the Soul books.
You 101:: An ABC Pathway to a Teen’s Best Self Now!
With advice from life coaches, teachers and other inspirational people, YOU 101 delivers to teens what they need NOW to make their lives better. Lacey uses advice, anecdotes from and inspirational stories about luminaries such as Brendon Burchard, Andy Andrews and Oprah Winfrey, to help teens just like you improve their lives. This needs to be downloaded to every teens’ electronic device! It can also be helpful to parents of teens. Young people who read this (prepublication) said this: “I wish I had read this before I turned 13.” A must-read! “Lacey is a truly gifted storyteller.” W.E.B. Griffin, New York Times Bestselling Author “I found Lacey’s storytelling to be fun, poignant and uplifting.” John O’Melveny Woods, Award Winning Author.
Little Badger, Medicine Bear
Written in the poetic style of author Tony Hillerman, this YA Western novella is an accurate portrayal of the wild and free life of late 18th-century Plains Indians. A blending of coming-of-age, adventure and mystical elements, fans of the Western genre will love this story. The late Evalu Ware Russell, Kiowa tribal historian (and aunt of Pulitzer Prize-winning Native American author N. Scott Momaday) wrote of this novella, “With the beautiful descriptions and dialogue, it’s as if you are there. And I couldn’t put it down until I was through.” Adventure and thriller-writer W.E.B. Griffin wrote, “Lacey is a truly gifted storyteller.” The book is further enhanced with cover art by Tatiana Vila.