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Tuesday, September 23, 2003

Secrets and Scandals in West Texas

Part 1

Lawsuit seeks to let gay student club meet

Bruce Garrett Cartoon

Superintendent Who Blocked Gay Group Was Having Affair on School Property

E-mails doomed Lubbock superintendent

Secrets and Scandals in West Texas
Part 2

House OKs release of Tulia drug-bust prisoners

Constables face probe into possible illegal use of funds

Former Market Lubbock Inc. Employee Under Fire

Secrets and Scandals in West Texas
Part 3: A press release about one of my books.

Just released in a second edition, Duane Simolke’s collection The Acorn Stories involves secrets and scandals in the fictional West Texas town of Acorn. With a tone that ranges from light-hearted humor to barbed satire to sweet romance to devastating tragedy, The Acorn Stories offers a frank and sometimes troubling view of West Texas life. From a brilliant artist who can’t stay focused on everyday tasks to a closeted gay mayor who strikes out against his one-night stand, these characters get under the skin of readers everywhere.

Some people take exception to the sometimes scurrilous events Simolke chronicles in this collection of interrelated tales. However, Simolke points out that public scandals happen fairly often in West Texas (many of them involving elected officials), though they quickly find their way under the proverbial rug.

In the book’s concluding story, “Acorn Pie,” the eccentric businesswoman Aragon Carson sums up that sentiment while discussing her family background: “Those are all very ordinary events: life, death, reproduction. You probably expect to hear about those, but not much else. Now there’s lots of things that you’d think only go on in big cities, but think again. Those things just happen more quietly here.”

For the book’s second edition, Simolke found ways to polish up the language even more, adding more description and dialogue where needed. The other major differences are that the book is now available in hardcover—instead of just paperback—and that bookstores will receive a deeper discount that they can pass along to their readers. Starting in late October, Bookstores and libraries can order The Acorn Stories through Ingram Books or Baker & Taylor, while readers can order it at most local or online bookstore.

Simolke also edited and co-wrote the spin-off The Acorn Gathering: Writers Uniting Against Cancer, donating royalties to the American Cancer Society, a charity he trusts and admires. That second Acorn collection starts with characters and settings from The Acorn Stories, then introduces new characters and settings, concluding by bringing one of Acorn’s characters across America, the country that Acorn encapsulates.

With a major in English, Simolke graduated from Belmont University (B.A., 1989), Hardin-Simmons University (M.A., 1991), and Texas Tech University (Ph.D., 1996). Stein, Gender, Isolation, and Industrialism: New Readings of Winesburg, Ohio was his doctoral dissertation at Tech.

He also wrote Holding Me Together: Essays and Poems and the science fiction epic Degranon. Readers can visit DuaneSimolke.Com to learn more about the author and his books, and to find related resources.

Sunday, September 21, 2003


I’ve just finished reading Crewel Lye: A Caustic Yarn, one of the Xanth novels by Piers Anthony. The action and the puns are relentless; Anthony ends by giving credit to the many readers who suggested those puns.

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

The largest publisher of print-on-demand books, iUniverse, just released a second edition of my book The Acorn Stories, as part of the iUniverse Editor’s Choice series. That new series features books that iUniverse sees as especially marketable and worthy of extra attention.

Friday, September 12, 2003

The following is a press release about one of my upcoming appearances.

Out in Writing

(Lubbock, Texas) Using resources from
StoneWall Society and The Human Rights Campaign Foundation's National Coming Out Project, Duane Simolke will lead a discussion on lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) books and writers.

This event will occur in Lubbock, Texas, on Tuesday, November 18, 7 PM, as part of a PFLAG-Lubbock meeting. PFLAG-Lubbock meets at St. John's United Methodist Church, 15th Street & University Avenue, across the street from Texas Tech University. Contact: 806-799-5466. It is part of the international PFLAG Federation. PFLAG (Parents, Friends, and Families of Lesbians and Gays) provides advocacy, support, and education.

Simolke, author of The Acorn Stories and Degranon, will start by discussing his own experiences as an openly gay author. Then he will branch into other books and authors that he finds helpful in dealing with coming out and other LGBT issues.

Next, attendees will break into four smaller groups, each lead by at least one person who frequently reads LGBT-friendly books. They will discuss other books that interest them, in relation to the theme “Out in Writing.” The event will conclude with the results of these small group discussions, and with a brief/question answer session.

Simolke plans not to promote any official list of LGBT books, but rather to promote an overall awareness of LGBT books and the themes they explore, especially in relation to coming out and being out. He encourages attendees to bring pens and paper, so they can write down the names of authors and works discussed at the meeting.

Majoring in English, Simolke received degrees from Belmont University (B.A., 1989), Hardin-Simmons University (M.A., 1991), and Texas Tech University (Ph.D., 1996). Stein, Gender, Isolation, and Industrialism: New Readings of Winesburg, Ohio was his doctoral dissertation at Tech. StoneWall Society gave him Pride in the Arts literary awards for his books The Acorn Stories, Degranon, and Holding Me Together.

Duane Simolke also edited and co-wrote the spin-off The Acorn Gathering: Writers Uniting Against Cancer, with all author and editor royalties going to cancer research. Simolke’s publisher, iUniverse, is releasing a revised second edition of The Acorn Stories as part of its Editor’s Choice series, in the fall of 2003.

Thursday, September 04, 2003

Now reading: Dragonworld, Crewel Lye.

I was reading Dragonworld by Bryon Preiss and Michael Reaves, and loving it! However, it’s an illustrated hardcover, and I needed something small and light-hearted that I could carry around in my back pocket for casual reading. I knew to turn to one of my all-time favorite authors: Piers Anthony. Crewel Lye: A Caustic Yarn, one of the Xanth novels, delivers the kind of tongue-in-cheek fantasy that only Piers Anthony can offer! Great reading! But when I finish this one, I’ll return to the intriguing epic Dragonworld.