Last weekend I went to Books in the Basin, a two-day book festival in Midland and Odessa, Texas. It was amazing–I had a bunch of books signed–old books, new books from favorite authors, and also discovered a few new authors to read.

I have now done terrible things to my TBR pile, and I’m not sorry!

Carrie Vaghan

The awesome Carrie Vaughn, who writes these funny books about a radio host werewolf named Kitty–because you can’t help what you’re named before a werewolf attacks you, right? Kitty is funny, snarky, tough, and has heard all the jokes already. Vaughn also writes a series about superheroes, and their family–the first about the non-super daughter of two heroes, the second about her daughter.

She read a Lovecraftian short story called Fishwife, which was excellently creepy. And then we had a nice relaxed chat over a variety of subjects, with her answering whatever questions the audience had. She brought up the issue of the seriousness of Science Fiction and Fantasy, which she spent a lot of time in school arguing that it’s real literature, a statement echoed by other authors. Entertaining doesn’t mean without value, which I agree with.

Peter Clines


Peter Clines writes books about superheroes fighting zombies (and some more horror-like ones I haven’t read yet)–with a lot of personal history and flaws of the heroes, and plenty of action. The action jumps back and forth from before the shambling dead arrived, and after, weaving in the personal revelations with the attacks and so on. And there’s several funny moments, always a plus.

He hadn’t planned anything for his reading, so when no one had questions, he started pointing to people who hadn’t said anything and demanding they ask one. A couple people couldn’t come up with something, even though I imagine he’s have answered anything, even ‘what’s your favorite color.’ Scary flashbacks to college classes!

I really couldn’t say what purpose the odd hand-waving he was doing while the picture was being taken, but he’s a quirky man.

Barbara Brannon, Kay Ellington

I saw Paragraph Ranch (Kay Ellington & Barbara Brannon) on the Books in the Basin website, and thought it sounded intriguing–a writer trying to get her life together when her mother gets sick, who has to juggle things to try to balance career and family. Though I couldn’t make it to their reading, I did get to chat with them and get the book signed. Now I just have to read it!

About Caitlin Stern

I have a MA in English, and have so many fantasy/urban fantasy WIPs it's not even funny. I'm an avid reader of science fiction, fantasy, mystery, romance, biography, fiction, and anything else that catches my interest. I collect books, and bookmarks I find that are visually appealing and useful.

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