"There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate's loot on Treasure Island." - Walt Disney

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

10 Literary Stops in San Antonio

I often plan vacations around my love for reading, writing, and history. Then I share my literary travels with you. (See a list of my previous literary travel posts at the end of this story.) This year, we spent time in San Antonio. While I have been here many times to visit friends and family, this was the first time I focused more on the literary offerings of the area.

The seventh most populous city in the US, second in the south, offers many historical and literary delights for tourists as well as locals to enjoy.

The Menger Hotel - Located directly next to the Alamo, this site is designated a Literary Landmark by United for Libraries, a division of the American Library Association, the Menger Hotel has hosted a number of literary legends since it opened in 1859 including “The Picture of Dorian Gray” author Oscar Wilde, “The Gift of the Magi” author O. Henry, Confederate soldier and poet Sidney Lanier and “Dinner at Antoine’s” author Frances Parkinson Keyes, as well as many others. It is even said that Robert Frost contemplated his famous poem “The Road Not Taken” during several stays here. This hotel also has a hauntingly wonderous offering for anyone interested in tales of the paranormal. We took a highly enjoyable ghost tour of the hotel, which is said to be haunted by no less than 37 ghosts - including President Teddy Roosevelt. I highly recommend this tour, or one of the city ghosts tours for anyone interested in historical sites and tales. 

University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) Library - Special Collections - we took my daughters on a tour of this campus. While many places were under construction the John Peace Library is home to an extensive collection of research materials documenting the diverse histories and development of San Antonio and South Texas. Its nationally recognized collection of more than 1,500 Mexican cookbook titles includes a selection of handwritten cookbooks, as well as a copy of the first cookbook printed in Mexico, giving an intimate view of Mexican culinary culture. Visit the website for information on public viewing of the collection.

San Antonio Book FestivalThe San Antonio Book Festival attracts bibliophiles from far and wide for a day-long celebration of reading, writing and imagination. Held at the San Antonio Central Library and nearby Southwest School of Art, this free event brings books to life through author presentations, cooking demonstrations, innovative panel discussions and book sales and signings. A great event for families, attendees will find children’s theater performances, a technology area, interactive art and play stations and a selection of San Antonio cuisine from some of the city’s best food trucks.

Gemini InkFor budding writers, San Antonio’s leading literary nonprofit Gemini Ink offers creative writing workshops led by published writers, in addition to free public readings by nationally and internationally recognized authors and open-mic nights throughout the year. The annual Gemini Ink Writers Conference offers a full schedule of workshops, readings, panel presentations and a small press book fair.

San Antonio LibraryThe 240,000 square-foot San Antonio Central Library was designed by renowned Mexican architect Ricardo Legoretta and opened in 1995. The brightly colored downtown building is a bold departure from traditional library design and is easily spotted thanks to its signature “enchilada red” exterior. In addition to an expansive art gallery, the Central Library is home to the recently expanded Latino Collection and Resource Center, the Texana/Genealogy Department and the BookCellar, a used book store operated by the Friends of the San Antonio Public Library.

Landa LibraryLocated in the charming Monte Vista historic neighborhood, the Landa Library originally served as the private residence of Harry and Hannah Landa. Built in 1929, the gorgeous Italian-style stucco home features ornate ironwork and mosaic tiles throughout. Following Hannah’s passing in 1942, Harry bequeathed the home and the surrounding five acres to the City of San Antonio for a public library and playground. The library celebrated its 70th anniversary in 2017 with a major interior and exterior renovation and continues to serve as a dreamy escape for readers of all ages.

The Twig Book Shop Since 1972, The Twig has been a destination for book lovers in San Antonio with a vast collection for children and adults ranging from newly released bestsellers to award-winning classics. Located in the popular Pearl district, The Twig frequently hosts regionally and nationally acclaimed authors for readings and book signings, as well as a weekly story time for kids. The shop’s extensive Texana section is a must-see for history buffs. (The Twig is also a great place to find books published by San Antonio-based Trinity University Press.)

Cheever Books - This is the place for those seeking rare and unusual finds. This cozy shop along the Broadway Cultural Corridor is stacked from floor to ceiling with first editions, leather bound classics and captivating novels. Get lost in their sprawling stacks or ask a knowledgeable staff member for help finding a one-of-a-kind treasure.

The Magik Theatre Young bookworms can see some of their favorite stories come to life with whimsical performances by this professional troupe, which produces live stage versions of children’s classics and contemporary literature in the historic Beethoven Hall at Hemisfair Park. The Magik Theatre also offers an introduction to theatre for children ages zero to five with its Theatre for the Very Young series and smaller, sensory-friendly performances for patrons on the autism spectrum.

Hotel Emma - Housed in a former brewery built in the 1800’s, the Hotel Emma is infused with rich detail, but of all the splendid touches, none is sure to delight readers as much as the property’s dazzling library.  A respite from today’s technology-driven world, the library houses a selection of historic brewing books from the Pearl Brewery collection and a diverse 3,700-piece collection acquired from novelist and cultural anthropologist Sherry Kafka Wagner.

We had a wonderful vacation with a large portion of our family. There are so many other literary and historical worthy sites to visit in San Antonio as well. 

What about you? Are there any sites in San Antonio you recommend? Did you go anywhere exciting this summer?

Other Literary Travels:

The Haunted Book Shop

6 Authors and Their Literary Stops in Southern California

17 New Orleans French Quarter Literary Hot Spots
26 Days of Literary Scotland
7 Austin, Texas Literary Locations
10 Italian Literary Hot Spots
10 Places You Can Drink Like Your Favorite Writer
10 Reading Venues Worth a Visit
7 Literary Locations to Visit With Kids
5 Writers Homes for Literary Vacations
Poe Museum
Presidential Library Visits

Monday, July 18, 2022

Apollo 11 Anniversary, Virgin Galactic, Blue Origin, and Interview a Day

Three years ago I shared an article on this blog: Apollo 11 Anniversary and the Lunar Library. I wrote about the 50th anniversary, Elon Musk and his space Tesla, and the new lunar archives. I also mentioned the (then) recently discovered black hole, and other space related events.

It's only been a couple of years since then, separated by a global pandemic, and yet our planet has only continued to reach for the stars. SpaceX continues their work with NASA. Check out this info on the Falcon 9 rocket and more here.

Last year, Richard Branson and the crew of Virgin Galactic successfully completed their first space flight. Branson hopes to make commercial flights s common possibility. His work and investments to that end have excited thousands. If you missed it, check out:

Curious what veteran space explorers thought? Check out:

Shortly after, Jeff Bezos joined the space race accomplishments when his Blue Origin launched soon after the previous post. This Amazon shuttle launch could have easily been overshadowed by the previous forays to space from Tesla and Virgin. However, it had one claim on my excitement that the previous launches had not. Wally Funk was aboard. 

For those who don't understand the significance of Blue Origin sending Wally Funk to space: she was one of the original Mercury 13 (April 1959), a group of women in an experimental, privately-funded program who underwent the same physiological training as male NASA astronauts, to see if they could handle it (spoiler, they could). These women were not NASA astronauts, and none of them ever flew.

Funk scored higher than John Glenn on many of the tests. Glenn even said women shouldn't go to space and once said "The fact that women are not in this field is a fact of our social order." But now, Funk fulfilled her lifelong dream. She flew to space, and she stole the record of becoming the oldest person in space right out from under John Glenn's feet.

I love that her dream finally came true. This is further proof that we are never too old to dream, or to accomplish our goals.

Since December of 2019, a friend of mine (Nathan Price) has been on a personal mission to interview a person a day about our obsession with the moon. He plans to continue through the end of 2024. His goal: to discuss the moon and keep video thoughts on what humans were thinking about the reach for space leading up to our return to the moon. His subjects include people who feel the whole thing is a hoax - Neil Armstrong never went to the moon, professional scientists, teachers, stay-at-home moms, and everyone in between. If you'd like to know more, view his interviews, or even participate in one yourself: Countdown to the Moon Interviews and His Daily Query

Please take some time to watch at least a few. There are interviews here with those who are excited about the modern day the space race, some who are ambivalent, and some who still do not believe any of it is real - very interesting variety of views available in 10 - 90 minute increments. You can also see my husband and I talking with him on the 52nd anniversary of the first man on the moon at: https://www.countdowntothemoon.org/2021/07/21/1258-bill-and-sylvia/

All of this was very exciting to me and put me in the mood to read some Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, and Andy Weir. 

Interested in fiction inspired by the moon? Check out Andy Weir's Artemis.

How about you? Are you interested in participating in an interview? Are you inspired by the human grasp for space? What has surprised you most about reaching for the stars? What are you most looking forward to in the future?

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Summer of Writing and a Vote

We're less than two months away from the official release of the First Love anthology!

However, writers never stop writing. If you'd like to get a glimpse at what the authors from our latest anthology are up to, please check out this page. I'm sure it will whet your appetite for a fantastic future read. 

If you're interested, you can also vote to help me decide which project I should focus on completing first. I've shared three stories I have started and hope to finish. Each one is vying for my attention at this time, but I'm tired of splitting my focus. If you get a chance, please visit the site above and leave a comment letting me know which one you prefer.

First Love officially releases September 6th and can be preordered here.

How about you? What are you writing this summer?

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

IWSG: My Book World

It’s time for another group posting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group! founded by Alex J. Cavanaugh. Time to release our fears to the world – or offer encouragement to those who are feeling neurotic. If you’d like to join us, click on the tab above and sign up. We post the first Wednesday of every month. Your words might be the encouragement someone needs. You can also join us on twitter using the hashtag #IWSG, or on the Facebook page.

Now, IWSG hosts have changed up the format in an effort to make it more fun and interactive. Every month, they will announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG Day post. These questions may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say. 

Don’t forget to visit others that day to see their answers. Want to join, or learn more? Visit our - Sign-up List.

If you could live in any book world, which one would you choose?

MY ANSWER - It's so difficult to pick just one! My immediate responses would be Harry Potter, or Peter Pan. The idea of magic, mermaids, adventure, games, etc. Both are very immersive worlds!

How about you? If you could live in any book world, which one would you choose?

Friday, July 1, 2022

Happy Independence Day!

Independence Day is a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the Declaration of Independence of the United States, on July 4, 1776.

This weekend, and Monday specifically, the United States of America celebrates our Independence Day.

This is my dad at 18. We have a family full of men who have served in various branches of the military.

Thank you to all of the men and women who have served our country in ANY way. You are appreciated more than you think.

I'm spending some time celebrating with family and friends. I hope you are all able to do the same.

Are you reading any great books this week?