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Waking up to a Giraffe

I just had the most remarkable experience...I woke up staring at a giraffe. A special reader of West with Giraffes, zoologist and conservationist Rick Barongi, invited me to come visit his new Long Neck Manor. Rick, a former zoo director and designer of Disney's Animal Kingdom, has begun Phase One of his vision of having an experience much like Nairobi's Giraffe Manor right here in the states. Down a winding road out in the middle the hill country, yet only 5 minutes from charming, bustling Fredericksburg, Texas, Rick has brought 3 zoo-born giraffes and 3 zoo-born southern white rhinos to a 100 acre ranch and has opened the first phase of his dream of offering that kind of fun, conservation experience for those of us unable to travel around to the other side of the world. Right now, he's offering tours to meet the animals and learn all about the conservation efforts, and in my opinion, be blown away with what he's already done out in the middle of nowhere (but so close to a great little town full of fun itself). And if you have the wherewithal and/or desire you can spend the night in the barn's gorgeous, tall suite that puts you eye to eye with the giraffes the whole night. Frankly? I'm still on a giraffe high, and for those in love with rhinos, that was quite the fun, too.
Here's the website to enjoy even if you can't make it there, packed with Rick's bio that got him to Phase One of his dream, along with the LongNeck Promise and Mission, which outlines how the revenue and the donations are used, plus what a tour offers the lucky people who get to visit.


Dreaming is good.  Dreaming about giraffes is better.  Dreaming BIG about how to help save these and other flagship species is a marvel beyond words.  Thanks, Rick. 



Interested in the writing process of


It all started with a stack of yellowed newsclippings, a very old map, and a white board to fill up.  After awhile, it turned into the calculated mess above...until, finally, finally, I began to write...






Q: What's it about?
A: Inspired by a true 1930s story, it's a century-spanning tale with a dead man's diary, a hurricane, the Great Depression, a cross-country trip, a Dust Bowl farmboy, a mysterious woman, a crusty zoo keeper, historical figures and headlines, humor, drama, mayhem, unrequited love, miscreants, reprobates...


  ...and did I mention giraffes?



Available in Hardback, Paperback, Audio, and Ebook


Order from Amazon CLICK HERE


Faith Bass Darling's Last Garage Sale wins 2013 Writers League of Texas Fiction Prize

Happy to announce that Faith Bass Darling's Last Garage Sale has won the

2013 WRITERS LEAGUE OF TEXAS Book Award for Fiction.

Honored beyond words.

For a complete list of finalists and winners in other genres, click here:

2013 Writers League of Texas Book Awards Read More 
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Lynda's Twittery Writing Advice Column #10: RESIST

Column #10: RESIST

Want to be a writer?
•Master the art of the Resist:
•Resist expectations...
•Bad goal: Bestseller next year.
•Better goal: A book one fine day
• Best goal: Write for yourself and watch yourself grow.
•Resist comparisons to others....
•...the green-eyed monster prowls and devours.
•Resist distractions...
•...unless distraction is exactly what you need (and often it is).
•Resist excessive email/texting/facebook/twitter/social media du jour...
•...rule it; don't let it rule you.
•Resist limitations...
•...that's an editor's job.
•Resist the urge to tell your story to others...
•...unwritten oral rule: If you tell it, you won't write it.
•Resist the idea you'll never have another idea.
•Resist resisting the blank page...
•...brainstorm. Free associate. Doodle. It's all good.
•Resist others' expectations:
•Good goal: Just say "No" to timesucks.
•Best goal: Save some "yes" for yourself.
•Give in when you must, because that's life. But, daily, practice the writerly art of the:
•Resist.  Read More 
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Southwestern American Literature Journal Review

My inner professor is very proud that my novel Faith Bass Darling's Last Garage Sale was reviewed in a fine academic journal, American Southwestern Literature. Frequent book reviewer Dr. Herb Thompson of Virginia's Emory & Henry College reviewed it for the Spring 2013 issue. Thanks, Prof. Thompson, especially for calling it "one of the best books you've read in awhile."
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Lynda's Twittery Writing Advice Column #9: REPEAT

Column #9: REPEAT

Want to be a writer?
•Write something, then do it again. With gusto.
•Work on voice: Clear literary throat.
•Experiment. Write. Delete. Repeat.
•Give your inner smart aleck full rein, then rein it in.
•Channel inner smart aleck into dignified prose.
•Practice some pathos. Switch hitters play more.
•Get a job as a copywriter. That'll teach you.
•To wit: Try cutting that 3000 word masterpiece to 500.
•Result: Talk about zing.
•Have epiphany: First drafts are not fun; fun is in rewrite.
•Grasp meaning of Gertrude Stein's famous quote: "To write is to write is to write is to write is to write."
•Google Gertrude Stein: Yearn to live in 1920 Paris with young E. Hemingway et al.
•Remember Hemingway's answer when asked why he rewrote a last line 33 times:
•"To get the words right."
•To write is to write right:

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Texas Library Association -2013 Lariat List Winner

VERY happy to announce that Faith Bass Darling's Last Garage Sale has been named to the Texas Library Association's LARIAT LIST as one of the 25 Best Novels published in 2012!!!

Here's the entire winning list for others you might enjoy (because if you can't trust a librarian who can you trust, right? Bless them all.)

Texas Library Association's 2013 Lariat List Award Winners  Read More 
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Southern Living Magazine "Book Report"

Faith Bass Darling's Last Garage Sale was the subject of a "Book Report" in the April edition of Southern Living Magazine that even got a plug in for what is probably the biggest antiques fair in the country. An excerpt:
This Texas author's debut novel has us gearing up for the 45th annual Round Top Spring Antiques Fair this month. Set in Bass, Texas, the book centers around the wealthiest woman in town who after 20 years of hiding, comes out with a yard sale where Tiffany lamps and Louis XV clocks are sold for pocket change. There's high society drama and debaucherous family secrets that make for an enthralling Sunday read...."

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