A True-Crime Saga in Texas
Genre: Nonfiction / Texana / Texas History
Publisher: Castle Azle Press
Date of Publication: December 8, 2019
Number of Pages: 146 pages + black & white photos
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When Marshall Ratliff dressed like Santa Claus to pull a Christmas-time heist, he thought it would be easy. Unfortunately for him, when the citizens of Cisco heard Santa was robbing a bank, they came running – with loaded guns in hand!
But can you blame them? In 1927, the only way to earn the $5000 Dead Bank Robber Reward was to kill a bandit while the crime was in progress.
This bungled bank robbery led to a wild shootout and a getaway with two little girls as hostages. And that is only the beginning!
Tui Snider’s true-crime tale reads like a comedy of errors as the consequences of the Santa Claus Bank Robber’s actions escalate to include a botched car-jacking, one of the biggest manhunts in Texas history, and a jailbreak leading to a deadly conclusion.
Meanwhile, it’s up to readers to decide whether or not a mysterious blonde helped these gangsters escape. And if so, did she get away with murder?
Continue reading Santa Claus Bank Robbery
THE WATER LORD
Genre: Political Suspense
Publisher: Dead Tree Publishing
Publication Date: April 2, 2018
Number of Pages: 249
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A town has gone dry, and the general manager of a water district is found dead, presumably a suicide. His crazed widow is in denial and recklessly loose-lipped. Texas House District 100 is again in turmoil, and the interests of the landed class against urban sprawl are at odds.
Enter John David Dothan (The Representative). The world’s hippest legislator is back, but he is a changed man. Post-stroke Dothan dons an eccentric cane and is married to his former chief of staff, Tryphena Taylor. The two lovers reside peacefully tucked away in a country cottage with their rescued cat. But they are swimming against the tide.
Caught between the past and the future, the rural and the urban, the representative is trapped in a no-win situation both politically and emotionally. When a constituent brings to his attention a mysterious ‘retention pond’ things grow increasingly murky. The waters turn completely dark when Dothan learns his forbidden first love, former State Senator Rachael Logan has been hospitalized.
Armed with only his cane and sidekick, Mason Dixon (The District Manager), who serves as his new Chief of Staff, Dothan sets aside the ambiguities of politics and love in search of clarity and righteousness. But the cost of doing the right thing might not just be his young marriage…but Tryphena’s life.
Continue reading The Water Lord
A Journey Through Middle America, the Texas Oil Field, and Standup Comedy
Genre: Memoir / Drama / Humor
Publisher: Stay Strong Publishing
Date of Publication: March 20, 2017
Number of Pages: 412
This book is the celebrated prequel to the critically acclaimed, nationally award-winning and bestselling memoir, Never Give in to Fear. In her raw, vivid, and unabashed style, author Marti MacGibbon delivers a sometimes heartbreaking, often hilarious, always engaging account of her passage through trauma, betrayal, and loss in adolescence and young adulthood to discover her inner badass self. As one of the first women to work as a laborer in the Texas oil field, she set off explosives and staked oil wells before realizing her childhood dream of becoming a successful standup comic. Marti introduces readers to a wide range of characters in her life: from sleazy authority figures, wannabe Sixties musicians and crazed Corn Belt cult leaders, to Texas oil billionaires and wildcatters, to wild-eyed redneck coworkers who robbed banks on their lunch hour―in the company truck. The book includes scenes with iconic comedians, Hollywood entertainment industry moguls, and a legendary bluesman, and offers insights into resiliency, courage, and self-empowerment.
WINNER, 2017 Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Awards in Humor
WINNER, 2017 Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Awards in Women’s Studies
WINNER, 2017 National Indie Excellence Awards in Women’s Health
WINNER, 2017 Beverly Hills Book Awards in Women’s Issues
WINNER, 2018 Independent Press Award in Humor
WINNER, 2018 Independent Press Award in Women’s Studies
WINNER, 2018 New York City Book Book Award, Women’s Studies
FINALIST, 2018 Next Generation Indie Book Awards, Memoir (Overcoming Adversity)
Continue reading Fierce, Funny and Female
Misfits and Millionaires #2
Genre: Historical Fiction / WWII / Spies
Expected Date of Publication: June 16, 2018
Number of Pages: 330
ABOUT THE BOOK: Harmon General is book two in the WWII historical fiction series entitled Misfits and Millionaires—set in Longview, Texas. The novel picks up about two months after the story line in The Big Inch ended.
Familiar characters and locations get a shot of adrenaline from the biological hazard espionage going on at the U.S. Army’s new medical hospital treating diseased and wounded soldiers—a 156-acre pop campus created as part of a master plan to place U.S. Army hospitals around Texas specializing in long-term wound care for WWII soldiers. The Office of Strategic Services has one of its best agents in place as a nurse at Harmon General—Sgt. Emmie Tesco—and she’s soon up to her blood pressure cuff in intrigues at the hospital campus, particularly the mission to stop a culprit code-named “Dr. Death” who is accused of skewing the malaria test protocols being established at Harmon so that no one will notice him preparing to sell the malaria research to the enemies of the Allies. Heroes and villains circulate in Longview from the post at Harmon General, and Emmie ropes Lane Mercer into helping manage the overload of responsibilities. Readers of The Big Inch will better understand what drives Emmie Tesco and why poking at old wounds can be a messy affair. The backstory of Lane Mercer and her first husband gets a brutal airing too, and stakes grow dangerous for Lane and Zeke Hayes as the plans they’d wanted for their wedding are upended by well-meaning, Aunt Edith.
Continue reading Harmon General
UP NEAR DALLAS
Winds of Change — Book III
GINA HOOTEN POPP
Genre: Texas Historical Fiction / Romance
Date of Publication: November 12, 2017
Number of Pages: 307
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The year is 1934. Economic turbulence rocks the country. And record drought dries up crops, along with the spirits of every farmer south of the Mason-Dixon. Yet for sixteen-year-old Mick McLaren, life is good as he takes to the open road to chase his dream of being a musician. Riding boxcars, hitchhiking, walking and driving his way across Depression Era Texas, he finds not only himself, but the love of a girl from Dallas named Margaret. Along the way, they befriend Cowboy Larson, a Delta Blues guitarist. Together the three teens, from three very different worlds, come-of-age as their life-changing journey carries them through killer dust storms, extreme poverty, and the unprecedented gangster activity of the Dirty Thirties.
AUTHOR GINA HOOTEN POPP’S PLAYLIST
TO UP NEAR DALLAS
Since Up Near Dallas is about the revolutionary 1930s music scene happening in Dallas and across the state of Texas, of course I had music playing in the background when I wrote it. The following are just a few of the many songs that influenced me.The mournful, longing lyrics of tenor Chris Isaak came to mind when I was writing Mick McLaren’s character. I imagined that Mick’s ballad about the girl he loved would sound very much like some of the song’s off Isaak’s album, Heart Shaped World. In particular, the song “Wicked Game” and the lyrics: “The world was on fire, and no one could save me but you.”
Another song was Eric Clapton’s cover of Robert Johnson’s song, “Crossroads.” This song appealed to me since I read that the blues guitarist Robert Johnson had a big influence on Clapton along with many other modern musicians. Then, of course, more than a few songs from Johnson himself, including “I Believe I’ll Dust My Broom,” “Ramblin’ On My Mind,” and “Sweet Home Chicago.”
…followed by Sister Rosetta rock-influenced “Shout Sister Shout,” “Down By The Riverside,” and “This Train” just to name a few.
I also listened to songs that depicted the time period, including Woody Guthrie’s “Dust Bowl Refugee,” “Hard Travelin’,” “I Ain’t Got No Home In This World Anymore,” and “This Land Is Your Land.” Guthrie’s lyrics gave me a glimpse of the tone of America during the thirties.
And, two more songs stand out in my mind because I actually wove them into the storyline. The Carter Family’s version of “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” and the legendary jazz standard “I Only Have Eyes For You” that was so popular in 1934.
A native Texan, Gina Hooten Popp was born in Greenville and now lives in Dallas with her husband and son. Along with writing novels, Gina has enjoyed a long career as a professional writer in advertising. Her debut novel THE STORM AFTER was a finalist in the 2014 RONE Awards, and her just-released book CHICO BOY: A NOVEL was a 2016 Medalist Winner in the New Apple Annual Book Awards. Recently, her novel LUCKY’S WAY, about a young fighter pilot from Houston, was endorsed by the United States World War One Centennial Commission.
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