5 ETWG Members Win Best of Texas Book Awards

Readers will love to fall into the pages and climb out with the greatest of satisfaction.

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Books written by five members of the East Texas Writers Guild in Tyler have won 2018 Best of Texas Book Awards presented by Texas Authors in Austin. They are, in alphabetical order, William Burgdorf, Caleb Pirtle III, Linda Pirtle, Patricia Taylor Wells, and Patty Wiseman, who was a dual winner.

B. Alan Bourgeois, director and founder of the organization, pointed out, “By any measure, the distinguished books from this year’s winners are of stellar quality. Readers will love to fall into the pages and climb out with the greatest of satisfaction.”

Winners of the prestigious awards will receive their prestigious awards at the Celebration of Authors Gala event in Dallas on July 28, part of the second annual Authors Marketing Event, scheduled for July 27-29.

William Burgdorf for the Arizonan Historical Western Series

The Arizonan

“What’ll we do with this huckleberry?” asks the Cowboy whose Winchester presses again Byron’s belt buckle.

“We take ’em to the boss. He’ll figure out what to do with him,” answers the Segundo.

The Bierman brothers deal with characters the likes of which only the West breeds and nurturers: the Earp brothers, Texas John Slaughter, Governor F.A. Tritle, Ike Clanton, Curly Bill Brocius, Al Sieber, and La Araña.

“If there are those who can’t defend themselves and wind up vulnerable, then Arizona Territory ain’t the place for them to stay,” says Byron. “It is what it is.”

Arizona Territory, 1880s, is enough to challenge anyone, but little do Byron and Braxton Bierman know that every turn on the trail brings them to defining moments. From Tombstone to Prescott, and Springerville to Phoenix, they face friends, foes, and nature. Braxton’s last line in the story is, “Brother, have I got a lot to tell you.”

Reader, The Arizonan has a lot to tell you too.

Blue Moon will be considered a romance or maybe a mystery but definitely historical fiction. But I worked hard on adding a literary quality to the writing. I wanted to reader to be glad that he or she came along for the ride.

Caleb Pirtle III for Historical Fiction Small Town

Back Side of a Blue Moon

Times are hard along the Sabine River, and the little East Texas town of Ashland is crumbling under the weight of the Great Depression. Families are broke and hungry. For many, their last meal may well have been their last meal. Families are giving up and leaving town. Everyone knows the fate that awaits the scattered farms. No one can save Ashland. It is as isolated as the back side of a blue moon.

Into town comes Doc Bannister wearing a straw boater and a white suit. He is the miracle man. He has a homemade doodlebug machine that, he says, can find oil and make them all rich. Oil, he swears, lies beneath the blistered farmstead of Eudora Durant. She thinks Doc is a flim-flam man. The Sheriff believes he is a con artist. Both are convinced that Doc has come to town to swindle every dime he can get before hitting the road again. Ashland knows Doc may be crooked, but he has brought hope to a town that had no hope.

Eudora has everything Doc wants. She is a beautiful woman who owns cheap land. In Ashland, she is known as the scarlet woman. Whispers say she murdered her husband. No one has seen him since the night they heard a shotgun blast on her farm. The town wants oil. Doc wants Eudora. But Eudora is too independent and stubborn to fall for the charms of a silver-tongued charlatan.

She holds the fate of Ashland in her hands. Will she let Doc drill? Is there really oil lying deep beneath her sunbaked land? Can Doc find it? Or is he more interested in finding love than oil? What happens when a man with a checkered past comes face to face with a woman whose past is as mysterious as his?

Linda Pirtle for Cozy Mystery

Deadly Dominoes

Bill knows his wife likes to travel. He also knows she won’t leave her white Standard Poodle named Eli behind, so for their fiftieth anniversary, he surprises Lillian with a brown and tan Forester RV. In late August, they drive away from Leisure Lake in their new RV and plan to visit Caddo Lake and nearby historic Jefferson, Texas. Lillian looks forward to a peaceful vacation, one not involving any kind of death. Fate, though, does honor her desire.

The setting for Deadly Dominoes is Caddo Lake. Situated in the Cypress basin of northeast Texas, Caddo Lake, with its cypress and ancient oaks dripping with Spanish moss, provides the perfect backdrop for mystery, murder, and militia mayhem. Lillian’s curiosity is piqued right from the start. She meets Brandon, a young man who sacks groceries at a convenience store and service station. He gives her a warning.

“You’d better be careful. Crazy things have been happening out at that RV Park at Caddo.”

Of course, Lillian questions him and learns that people have been disappearing.

Always the mother figure, Lillian adopts Brandon and invites him to dinner.

The Caddo camp director invites Lillian and Bill to the Friday night domino games held at the camp’s Pavilion. Lillian sees the camp’s maintenance man. He reminds her of someone. But who?

During a break in the domino games, a loud explosion is heard. Thus, begins a string of murders, mysterious curses with an attached domino, and attempts on the lives of other campers. Lillian is determined to answer the following questions:

Who is the person or persons leaving dominoes and notes on the bodies of one victim after the next? Everyone is a suspect.Does the explosion have any connection to the game of dominoes or with the murders or attempted murders?

Lillian must connect the dots. And puts them together, she does.

Patricia Taylor Wells for Family Life Inspirational/Spiritual

The Eyes of the Doe

In 1963, Holly Hendricks and her family moved from the small East Texas town where they have strong family roots to the impersonal city of Dallas.

Against a backdrop of local and worldwide turbulence, their once close ties are fragmented. Fourteen-year-old Holly returns to the small town to stay with her Grandma as she tries to cope with the loss of her brother.

Patty Wiseman for Children/Family Life

Rescue at Wiseman’s Pond

Rescue at Wiseman’s Pond is a tale of a daring rescue by a little boy named Ronnie and his dog, Cutter. A heavy rain storm floods the pond by Ronnie’s house and two baby foxes are stranded in the mud.

Ronnie’s friends work together to save the babies. Each character plays a part. Mrs. Barnswallow sounds the alarm. Cutter prods Ronnie to follow him. Fred the Turtle keeps watch by the pond. Working together they all help to save the babies.

A kind fireman gives Ronnie advice on what to do next, which results in a big surprise.

Beautiful illustrations and nimble rhymes help to tell the story of how teamwork saved the day.

Patty Wiseman for Romance

That One Moment

Ricki Sheridan traveled a long way to seek refuge at Wolf Den’s Lodge high in the mountains after a devastating betrayal. Heartbroken, she signed up for a survivalist backpacking trip to live off the land and forget.

An injury on the first day puts her in the capable hands of the handsome trail boss, Kory Littleton. The attraction is instant, mutual, and terrifying. She trusted her emotions once and vowed never to make the same mistake again.

Kory’s heart, trampled and bruised, is unprepared to ever love again, until his unexpected reaction to Ricki reveals some things are worth taking a chance on.

When evil finds its way back into Ricki’s world, their fragile bond is tested, forcing them to face their greatest fear: can a wounded heart ever trust anew?

Betrayal. Desire. Revenge. Which one prevails?

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