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Friday, January 18, 2019

LSBBT GUEST POST: Dr. Arthur Spohn by Jane Clements Monday and Frances Brannen Vick (Non-Fiction)

Surgeon, Inventor, and Texas Medical Pioneer

Genre: Non-Fiction / Medical / Texas History / Biography
Publisher: Texas A&M University Press
Publication Date: September 12, 2018
Number of Pages: 352 pages. 78 b&w photos. Map. 4 Appendices. Index.

In this first comprehensive biography of Dr. Arthur Edward Spohn, authors Jane Clements Monday, Frances Brannen Vick, and Charles W. Monday Jr., MD, illuminate the remarkable nineteenth-century story of a trailblazing physician who helped to modernize the practice of medicine in Texas.
Arthur Spohn was unusually innovative for the time and exceptionally dedicated to improving medical care. Among his many surgical innovations was the development of a specialized tourniquet for “bloodless operations” that was later adopted as a field instrument by militaries throughout the world. To this day, he holds the world record for the removal of the largest tumor—328 pounds—from a patient who fully recovered. Recognizing the need for modern medical care in South Texas, Spohn, with the help of Alice King, raised funds to open the first hospital in Corpus Christi. Today, his name and institutional legacy live on in the region through the Christus Spohn Health System, the largest hospital system in South Texas. This biography of a medical pioneer recreates for readers the medical, regional, and family worlds in which Spohn moved, making it an important contribution not only to the history of South Texas, but also to the history of modern medicine.


The chapters in the book are mesmerizing...the photographs in the book are priceless and probably cannot be seen by the general public except in this book. This is much more than a biography of Dr. Spohn and his medical triumphs. It is a book about life in South Texas from 1865 to the 1920s and beyond. Dr. Arthur Edward Spohn was part of that history and his contributions to medicine and the development of South Texas have guaranteed his legacy for years to come. This book is the proof.
-- Dr. Manuel Flores, Texana Reads

This is no dry medical text. Even if you have little interest in the medical field, you'll be astonished at the life of this accomplished physician and surgeon. 
-- Allison Ehrlich, Corpus Christi Caller Times

Bowman/Lampman Loyalist Families Leave
Lasting Legacy: Dr. Arthur Spohn 
By Jane Monday, Dr. Charles Monday, and Frances Vick

(first published in the United Empire Loyalists’ Association of Canada Newsletter, August 12, 2018)

Loyalist son, Dr. Arthur Spohn (1845-1913), became a medical pioneer. He still holds today the Guinness World Record for the largest tumor (328 pounds) ever removed with the patient surviving. He performed the first successful caesarian hysterectomy on a malacosteon (severe scoliosis) in the United States and invented the rubber ring tourniquet for bloodless operations used in military field hospitals around the world. His snakebite remedy was requested as far away as India. In 1888 he carried a rabid patient to the Pasteur Institute in Paris, France, where Dr. Pasteur saved the patient's life and gave Dr. Spohn the rabies vaccine to bring back to America.

Who was Dr. Spohn and how did his Loyalist roots influence his remarkable achievements? Dr. Spohn's family survived the brutal treatment of British Loyalists during the American Revolution. His great grandfather, Jacob Bowman and his family, were attacked by American rebels in the middle of a winter's night. Their house was pillaged of every article except the bed on which his sick wife was giving birth and left them with only the bed and one blanket. Half an hour after they took Jacob and his oldest child captive his wife gave birth to his youngest child, leaving his wife with an infant and six children. They would all have perished if friendly First Nations had not administered to them. While Jacob and his son were imprisoned, the family endured many hardships including near starvation. They fled to Upper Canada to help establish a new nation, "with their axes clear[ing] the forests and with their hoes plant[ing] the seeds of Canada's future greatness." From these experiences this Loyalist family instilled the qualities of fearlessness, conviction and loyalty in their children while providing them all with an excellent education.

Jacob's son Peter married Loyalist family member Magdalena Lampman. Tradition has it that the song "Yankee Doodle Dandy" was composed by a British officer billeted in the Lampman home, written to mock the disorganized rebels. Peter and his wife moved to Wilson Mills, later Ancaster, and established a school and church and raised their daughter Elizabeth with the values of hard work, Christian values, and loyalty to England. She responded to Dr. Egerton Ryerson's request to chronicle "the cruel treatment by the professed friends of liberty, their privations, suffering, courage and industry in settling Canada." Her words were chosen to be used on the United Empire Loyalist monument in Hamilton, Ontario, entitled "For the Unity of Empire."

Elizabeth married Philip Spaun/Spohn and together they had eleven children. The Bowman/Spohn family continued their close ties with the First Nations people. Jacob had been in the Indian Department during the French and Indian War and spoke several dialects. Two sons, Peter and Adam, served with Butler's Rangers, wore Indian garments and also spoke several Indian dialects. Peter's grandsons, Henry and Arthur Spohn, spoke the Mohawk language. Every spring the Mohawks moved through the territory and camped on the Spohn fields where the children played together. Later both Henry and Arthur had strong feelings about the mistreatment of the Native Americans in Texas and the brutal treatment they suffered at the hands of the United States Army.

Arthur's family also played a major role in church history. They were strong Methodist who first hosted the church services, then helped establish Bowman Church, which served as the home base for Methodist ministers for sixty years. The Bowman Church hosted the first Canadian Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church held Aug. 29, 1829, where they decided to create a Book Room (later Ryerson Press); to establish an Upper Canada Academy (later Victoria College); to publish a church newspaper, The Christian Guardian, and organized Canada' first Total Abstinence Society. This church is also known as the "Sliding Church." One of the Spohn relatives said they were the only family to help build a church, helped steal a church, helped burn one down and rebuild another.

Of Philip and Elizabeth's children, three brothers, a sister and brother-in-law, and five nephews went to lawless Texas and made names for themselves. It is family lore that the Spohn men were doctors, lawyers and devils. These men and women brought their talents, skills and perhaps in some instances, their devilment to Texas. Dr. Arthur Spohn's strong Loyalist values that were passed on to him through the family led to his remarkable career and legacy. In South Texas, where he drove miles in a buggy to perform surgery in primitive conditions on kitchen tables by kerosene lamps, stands now a modern hospital system named in his honor. The Christus Spohn Health System has six acute care hospital campuses, chest pain center, cancer center, stroke program, women's health hospital, and six family health centers. This Loyalist family left a strong legacy and one that serves as a tribute today to the values instilled in them by their brave and fearless Canadian ancestors.

JANE CLEMENTS MONDAY is the author of numerous books and coauthor, with Frances Brannen Vick, of award-winning Petra’s Legacy: The South Texas Ranching Empire of Petra Vela and Mifflin Kenedy and Letters to Alice: Birth of the Kleberg-King Ranch Dynasty. She has served as chair of the Texas State University System Board of Regents and mayor of Huntsville, Texas. She resides in Huntsville.  

FRANCES BRANNEN VICK is the author or coauthor of numerous books, including Petra’s Legacy and Letters to Alice. She founded E-Heart Press and cofounded the University of North Texas Press. Vick has served as president of the Texas Institute of Letters, the Texas State Historical Association, and the Philosophical Society of Texas. She resides in Dallas. 

Frances Vick's Amazon Author Page

Many thanks to Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours and Jane Clements Monday and Frances Brannen Vick! It was a pleasure hosting! And be sure to check out the other stops on the tour for more opinions and extras!

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Tuesday, January 15, 2019

BOOK REVIEW + GIVEAWAY: The Wrong Boy by Cathy Ace (Suspense)

Cathy Ace

Genre: Suspense/Thriller
Publisher: Four Tails Publishing
Publication Date: January 9, 2019
Number of Pages: 307 pages


Perched on a Welsh clifftop, the ancient, picturesque hamlet of Rhosddraig has its peaceful fa├žade ripped apart when human remains are discovered under a pile of stones. The village pub, The Dragon’s Head, run by three generations of women, becomes the focal point for those interested in the grisly find, and it’s where layers of deceit are peeled away to expose old secrets, and deep wounds. The police need to establish who died, how, and why, but DI Evan Glover knows he can’t be involved in the investigation, because he’s just two days away from retirement. However, as the case develops in unexpected ways, it becomes irrevocably woven into his life, and the lives of local families, leading to disturbing revelations – and deadly consequences . . .


I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest and thoughtful review.

From the book's haunting cover design to the intriguing synopsis, I was instantly captivated and could not wait to delve into this one! The author's picturesque descriptions are utterly breathtaking and enhance the mood of this intensely atmospheric story. She captures the setting of this Welsh town in such amazing detail and interweaves its history into the narrative in such a gripping way that in a sense it becomes its own character as well. 

Spanning a realistic timeline and told in multiple yet seamless perspectives, this is a slow-burning and deeply twisted mystery that packs a powerful punch. A compelling array of discussions into mother-daughter relationships, generational insolence, obsession, and dueling investigative techniques opens up through the strong dialogue and each character's internal conversation. The author's deft storytelling created not just an unsettling and suspenseful read, but a masterful character study on family dysfunction and the unrelenting nature of law enforcement. 

This was also a fascinating exploration into the role of the unreliable narrator. You quickly discover that hardly anyone is being honest with each other let alone with themselves. Everyone has something to hide and very few of these characters have any insight into their own shortcomings, so it certainly becomes quite difficult to trust anyone or predict where the story is going to go. This definitely kept me on the edge of my seat and the pages flying! As each voice gradually converges towards complete understanding for the reader, it became increasingly obvious how skilled the author was at maintaining a clever plot through the smooth flow of what initially seemed so disparate. Ultimately, these convoluted and conflicted relationships unravel into an unforgettable and grisly conclusion that shouldn't be missed! 

Born and raised in Wales, now-Canadian Cathy Ace is the author of the Cait Morgan Mysteries, featuring her Welsh Canadian criminology professor sleuth who travels the world tripping over corpses, and The WISE Enquiries Agency Mysteries, featuring a quartet of female PIs, working from a Welsh stately home. Both series are traditional, entertaining, and have been well reviewed.



Many thanks to Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours and Cathy Ace! It was a pleasure reading, reviewing, and hosting! And be sure to check out the other stops on the tour for more opinions and extras!

January 8 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW
January 8 – Reading Authors – SPOTLIGHT
January 9 – The Power of Words – REVIEW
January 9 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
January 10 – MJB Reviewers – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
January 11 – Ruff Drafts – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
January 11 – The Book Decoder – REVIEW
January 12 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
January 12 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
January 13 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT
January 13 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
January 14 – Mallory Heart’s Cozies – REVIEW
January 14 – Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
January 15 – That’s What She’s Reading – REVIEW
January 15 – Cozy Up With Kathy – SPOTLIGHT
January 16 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT
January 17 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
January 17 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT
January 17 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

Saturday, January 12, 2019

LSBBT BOOK EXCERPT: The Water Lord by Matt Minor (Political Suspense)


Genre: Political Suspense
Publisher: Dead Tree Publishing
Publication Date: April 2, 2018
Number of Pages: 249 pages


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.


"Great pacing and a well-written storyline. I look forward to reading more from Matt Minor!" - My Reading Addiction

"Matt Minor has great attention to detail and makes everything from the setting to the characters feel very real. It makes for a wonderfully written and very suspenseful novel." - Momma and Her Stories

"A well-crafted suspense! The plot kept me turning the pages and I finished this novel very fast. Matt Minor's voice is a breath of fresh air, smart, witty and full of twists... I will read more books by this author!" - Indie Express

"Matt Minor has created a novel in which the main character shows growth...I like flawed characters and if they can overcome things, it really speaks to me." - A Life Through Books

Excerpt (continued) from Chapter 1, Part 1
The Water Lord
By Matt Minor

“What do you mean, was?” 
“They found him dead this morning.” 
“Oh my God! He was young!” 
“Just turned thirty-two last month.” 
“How did he die, Karl?” 
“He killed himself.” 
“Oh my God! That’s terrible. How, if I dare ask?” 
“He hanged himself from a beam in his den. His wife found him this morning. Police think he did it sometime yesterday.”
And his wife just found him this morning?” 
“She just showed up to get the last of her things. Chip and his wife were getting a divorce.” 
I paused as I remembered her and how she had fawned over my new husband that same night. Then I responded, “That’s just terrible.” 
“Yeah, I guess he just couldn’t take it. That and the other thing…” 
“What other thing? What do you mean?” 
“Are you familiar with what’s going on in Betsy?” 
“The town?” 
“Right!” Why is he shouting? “No, as matter of fact, I’m not.”
“It’s a mess, Tryphena. Look, I hate to be rude, but I need to call JD before he gets too far down the road.” 
“Oh, of course! I’m sorry, yes Karl, please call him. You take care now.” 
I placed the phone on the charger. I knew it would only be so long before I got a call from John David. I was too distracted now to study. I returned to my chores with a careful patience, like a woman waiting news from a war front. As I folded John David’s underwear, I suddenly found myself dwelling on a macabre thought: What if I were to find my husband dead? Numerous awful scenarios flashed through my mind. They were so dramatic that I felt compelled, along with the news I had just received, to pour myself a glass of cognac. 
As I sipped the sniffer, my thoughts were drawn back to a few years before. Back to when John David was in the hospital having suffered from both a gunshot wound to his abdomen as well as a stroke on the left side of his brain. The bastard doctors wouldn’t let me see him because I was not his spouse or immediate family. He was still married to that beast first wife of his, Jessica. She couldn’t have cared less. In my darker moments, I would grow angry when reflecting back on it, believing that perhaps the doctors were just being racists. They were mostly Indian, so it didn’t exactly line up with my own prejudices. (I later found out that his wife had left instructions prohibiting anyone but immediate family from visiting). It wasn’t until John David was cognizant that they let me see him. All of that was bad enough. I couldn’t imagine actually finding his corpse, particularly if it was my fault. 
The phone rang. 
“John David!” 
“Jesus Christ, I just got off the phone with Commissioner Cook!”
“I know. Karl told me what happened. It’s terrible.” 
“Chip and his wife have a young son, too.” 
“I can’t imagine killing myself, let alone hanging myself.”
“Yeah, I mean…Ian Curtis the lead singer from Joy Division did it that way, but he was in Joy Division. Chip was a general manager of a water district. Apparently, he just hung there until he was dead. The police don’t believe his neck was ever broken. It supposedly took a while. Goddamn, Tryphena.”
“Karl mentioned something else other than his divorce, as the culprit, I mean. He let me go so he could call you. What was he talking about?” I asked.
“The town of Betsy has gone dry…stone cold dry.”
“You mean they have no water?” 
“Not a fuckin’ drop.” 
“How in the hell did that happen?” 
“Mismanagement, plain and simple. The board members are desperate, so they started sucking it out of the ground like drunks.” 
“They can do that? Aren’t there statutes? I thought these water districts were created to protect and conserve the resource.” 
“They were created to serve the people with money, Tryphena.”
“Of course, stupid question.” 
“The board is all rich farmers. Chip was their plant. Wagoneer Water District was created by Halliburton Crane last session. Need I say more?” 
“And Chip is now their scapegoat.” 
“Sure looks that way. How convenient for them. It’ll be interesting to see how much they throw Chip Carlson under the bus to save their collective asses.” 
“Where are you now?” I asked, hesitantly.
“On my way home. I’m going to have to be excused from the floor tomorrow. I have to deal with this now. I’m meeting Karl in the morning, at his office.” 
“Oh,” I sighed. “I guess no MLK Day vacation?” 
“I’m sorry, sweetheart. Karl and the Commissioners Court are going ’round and ’round about this. I’m needed.” 
“I understand, baby.” 
“We’ll get our day in the sun. I promise. Will you tell Mason to call the speaker’s office in the morning and let them know I’ll be absent?” 
“Sure, I’ll text him.” 
After our call, I killed the cognac and looked out the window at the absolute night. Though I felt my short-lived hopes had been foiled, I couldn’t help but suddenly be a little excited about John David coming home for what appeared to be an extended stay, or at least another day. Who knows, I thought…maybe we can still fit a trip in?
I showered and put on my sexy peach negligee. I put on The Blue Nile, an obscure 1980s band he was currently obsessed with. We had spent the weekend making love and watching movies: Hitchcock; Reds; Woody Allen. Although I was a little sore, I just couldn’t get enough of the man. Yes, I pondered, if that same college girl were to see me now she would be so shocked. Living with a white man almost twice my age in a secluded cabin in the woods? 
In its own way, it was…idyllic. Maybe that’s why it couldn’t last. I had grown up with the notion that one’s plate should always be guarded. Leftovers were saved, never discarded. 

= = =

Matt Minor presently serves as a Chief of Staff in the Texas House of Representatives. In the Texas House he has served under the Pensions Committee, Government Efficiency and Reform, Investments and Financial Services, Bond Indebtedness, and Way and Means. He has worked as a political campaign manager and is a public speaker. Matt has authored official state publications, oversees syndicated editorials, (both political and cultural) and is a speech writer and district radio legislative commentator. Prior to his life in state politics, Matt was a professional musician and entertainer. Matt’s hobbies are centered on the arts, including the craft of poetry, an interest that has brought academic recognition and numerous awards.

His first novel, The Representative was an Amazon Political Fiction Bestseller the summer of 2015, and was accepted and archived into the Texas State Legislative Library. In April of 2016, The Representative won an IPPY Gold medal for Southern Fiction. In the summer of 2016 he released his second novel, The District Manager.

Matt Minor resides on his ranch property in Wharton County, Texas. He lives in Austin during legislative session. 



JANUARY 8-17, 2019
(USA only)

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Many thanks to Lone Star Book Blog Tours and Matt Minor! It was a pleasure hosting! And be sure to check out the other stops on the tour for more opinions and extras!

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