McBee’s Bloody Boots

 TANGLED HONOR by Philip McBride, a book review.

There are more than enough accurately depicted battle scenes in TANGLED HONOR to satisfy the Civil War buff, but it’s also a compelling family story.

While Captain John McBee ably commandeers his men through bloody horrors, he also fights against his attraction to a beautiful woman he accepts shelter from one frightful night. Add to that his growing respect for his slave Levi, who has become indispensable to him as his aide, and is most likely his son.

TANGLED HONOR starts with a riveting bit of back-story from after the Texas Revolution when Comanche tribes were a major foe: The Battle of Plum Creek. Then the action jumps forward to Texas’ involvement in the Civil War where main character Captain John McBee fights for what seems at the time to be the upcoming victory of the South over the North.

No reader who enjoys realistic battle scenes will be disappointed in this historical novel. No reader who enjoys historical fiction from the Civil War era will be able to put this book down.

DISCLAIMER: I am part of the same critique group as Philip McBride, the author, and saw many chapters of this book as it was being written. Follow his blog at




WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:  Revival by Stephen King.

Photos by Roxanne Rix

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My favorite reads in 2014



I got this idea from Julia Tomiak’s Favorite books of 2014 blog. I’m going to share with you the 10 books I read in 2014 that I most enjoyed.

Here's Darwin telling me to put my book down and pay attention to her

Here’s Darwin telling me to put my book down and pay attention to her


THE SEVENTH MAN by Max Brand. It’s a western like no other, where the bad guys are the viewpoint characters. It will take your breath away.  

THE WALK by Lee Goldberg. Wildly entertaining catastrophe novel that should be a movie. I’ll re-read this book forever.

DEAD MONEY by Dean Wesley Smith. A thriller set in the world of gambling and high politics. I bet you can’t put it down once you start reading it.

GRAVE INDULGENCE by William Doonan. Loved it, loved it, loved it. An octogenarian private detective solving murder mysteries on cruise ships. I wish I’d written it.

MEDITERRANEAN GRAVE by William Doonan. Another splendid and rip-roaring cruise adventure that will have you falling out of your chair.

QUICKSILVER by Toni Dwiggins, one of her Forensic Geology thrillers. It’s absolutely riveting.

COCKTAIL HOUR UNDER THE TREE OF FORGIVENESS by Alexandra Fuller. The memoirs of a girl growing up in post colonial Africa. What a life!

REPUBLIC by Lindsay Buroker. The latest in the adventures of The Emperor’s Edge gang of Amaranthe, Maldynado, and everyone’s favorite conflicted assassin Sicarius. Fantasy/science fiction steampunk.

STREET JUSTICE by Kris Nelscott. Hard-boiled mystery from the steamy side of the street.

BROOD OF BONES by A.E. Marling. You’ve never read a fantasy like this one.


Someday I hope to see one of my  books on a list like this. The books above are what I strive to achieve with my own.






PHOTOS by Roxanne Rix

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:  The Before by Emily McKay.  Tangled Honor by Philip McBride.

My newest book Tea With A Dead Gal.  

A Boo Done It Mystery

A Boo Done It Mystery

Life Without Poetry




LIVE FROM LA PRYOR: The poetry of Juan Manuel Perez, a Zavala County native son, volume I

You know you're in Texas when ...

Big Disclaimer. I don’t read poetry, nor do I often enjoy it. I’ve got a book of the complete Lord Byron poems (never opened), ditto Shelley, and I’ve got the complete works of Edgar Allan Poe as well, and at best I read a couple of poems for Halloween before I give up.

But I read LIVE FROM LA PRYOR, The Poetry of Juan Manuel Perez, cover to cover.

It helps that the poetry is short. It really helps that the poetry’s really short. He uses small words, he writes about everyday experiences (and not in a flowery way). This is almost a book of poems for people who don’t like poetry.

Don’t mistake me, though. Some of his writing is quite angry. Combative. A lot of it is funny. It’s all offbeat. I can see what we used to call beatniks reading Juan Perez poems out loud at nightclubs. With music. But in this case it’d be mariachi music. Much of what he writes about comes from his experiences as a Mexican-American facing various sorts of barriers.

But then there’s that poem about lovely food, and then about comic books. He mentions Taco Bell in here somewhere, too.

This is volume I. I’m wondering if any of his Hooter’s poetry is in volume II. You know you're in Texas when ...







WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:  Live From La Pryor: The Poetry of Juan Manuel Perez, A Zavala County Native Son, Volume I edited by Dr. Malia A. Perez.  Want It Bad by Melinda DuChamp.


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Photos by Roxanne Rix

GHOSTORIA, the book review

GhostoriaGhostoria, Vintage Romantic Tales of Fright, is my friend Tam Francis’s first published short story collection, and I had a hand in it. (Aside: Though primarily a ghost story collection, it also contains horror stories. My hand is not literally in any of the stories, I promise you.)

Tam wasn’t anyone I knew when she started writing these stories. She submitted to the Scare The Dickens Out of Us ghost story contest my sister and I started and were preliminary judges for in 2010, then 2011, and then in 2012 when I thought she might actually win the thing. That story, Mrs. Franklin’s Night Out, is in this book.

We met finally through the Gaslight Baker Theatre where she’s an actress, and then when I joined her writer’s critique groups more than a year ago we became friends. I made editing suggestions to almost all the stories in this book (some of which I see that she ignored).

Enough of my disclaimer.

About three or four of the twelve stories in this volume are stunning ghost stories that I hope make it to a wider audience. I am so extremely proud of Tam Francis for these, and the rest of her tales are entertaining. (I’m proud of her for those, too). Many are stories of a more polite and refined era she’s calling vintage, and most of them have women protagonists.

They’ll send chills down your spine, or make you cry. They’ll while away the hours and take your mind off the nightly news. And to pay tribute to the United Kingdom’s Christmas ghost story tradition, I’ll remind everyone that Ghostoria would make a great Christmas present for someone.


Kindle           Paperback          Nook


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WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:  Ghostoria by Tam Francis.