Genre: Mystery / Thriller / Suspense
Publisher: Black Rose Writing
Date of Publication: April 26, 2016
# of pages: 230
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When a female body is found floating in the Houston Ship Channel, Annie Price, an investigative journalist for a struggling Houston newspaper, is propelled into a dangerous web of intrigue. She must solve a complex mystery that includes a corrupt strip club empire, a ruthless human trafficking scheme, and deadly competition between two separatist groups seeking to impose their twisted visions on the Lone Star State. As two murders hit close to home, Annie and a fellow reporter risk death to expose the hidden secrets of a Texas ranch.
PRAISE FOR WINNING TEXAS:
“Sex traffickers and guns-for-hire meet in a nefarious plot to see Texas secede and America shaken to its core. Witty, gritty and filled with brilliantly realized characters, this book is a pure delight for lovers of suspense as the ever-dogged Annie Price risks life and limb to uncover the truth.”
– Tony D’Souza, author of Mule
Winning Texas is a moody thriller, an ode to people with outsized dreams and the ones they prey on; to those who populate the city by day, and those who rule the night. In the wake of L.A.-noir and Florida glare, Nancy Stancill gives us Bayou City grime. In her pages, Houston seduces and leaves us breathless, begging for more.”
– Stefan Kiesbye, author of The Staked Plains
Nancy Stancill “captures a newsroom’s camaraderie and angst . . . while her descriptions of Houston and the whole of Texas make you feel the heat and see its beauty.”
— Mary Cornatzer, The News & Observer
From Nancy Stancill
Hi bloggers and readers,
I hope you enjoy my suspense novel, Winning Texas. I wanted to share with you how I came to write it and my first book, Saving Texas.
I was a newspaper reporter and editor for more than thirty years. I had so many interesting and sometimes disturbing experiences during my reporting years. For part of that time, I was an investigative reporter at the Houston Chronicle. I was often harassed, threatened and a few times, felt my life was in danger. One time, a community college president who feared exposure of his dirty dealings even made up a “wanted’ poster with my picture on it!
Luckily, I worked for a newspaper with editors who supported me in our mission to tell the truth and try to serve the public good. That president later resigned in disgrace and the community ended up with a leader who finally served their interests — instead of his.
I vowed that someday, if I ever had time, I’d write books about an investigative reporter and her adventures. I truly believe that investigative reporters are modern-day detectives with a cause. They are in a position to ask the questions that members of the public have a right to know. I wanted to create a female protagonist who’s not a superwoman, just a flawed human being who tries to summon up her courage and do the right thing.
That’s how my heroine, reporter (and later) editor Annie Price came to be. I’ll admit that she’s based in part on me and my experiences. Like Annie, I’m nearly six feet tall, a bit shy and worry a lot about doing the right thing (and what the right thing is!) But Annie has a much more provocative — and sometimes tumultuous — personal life. She’s a problem drinker and has quite a few love interests, but can’t seem to find the right man. My personal life is much calmer — I’ve been married to the same man for forty years.
I love creating characters and setting them in recognizable, authentic settings. I’ve traveled all over Texas, in my life there in the 1980s and 1990s, and since then on many visits. The place I know best is Houston — and I consider Winning Texas my love letter to Houston. Everyone who lives in a big city has a love-hate relationship with it — and so it is with me and Houston. For instance, I hated the heat and humidity when I lived there, but found that I missed the sultry climate after I left.
The people in the fictional Houston Times’ newsroom are very much like the newspaper folks that I knew and loved over the years, but like most writers, my characters tend to be composites. Newspaper reporters tend to be very smart, dedicated, perhaps a bit cynical at times, but they mostly love what they do. They know it’s a noble quest to represent the interests of the public and they worry about the growing threats to journalism. I tried to accurately portray the financial challenges of today’s journalism, which I personally feel is a threat to our democracy.
Secession is a big theme in both Saving Texas and Winning Texas. I originally got the idea to focus on secession when I heard some comments from Governor Rick Perry a few years ago. He said, in effect, if Texas didn’t like how the federal government treated the state, it could leave. At the time, his comments drew a lot of headlines, but weren’t really taken seriously. I researched secession and found that Texas has always had a secessionist movement of sorts, primarily because it was a republic for about ten years after winning its freedom from Mexico. Secessionist sentiment has waxed and waned over the years, but in the last few years, has become stronger and more visible. There’s a faction in the state that wants to go it alone — and thinks Texas would be better off.
I enjoyed researching the Texas Hill Country and its German roots and thought it plausible that a German-Texas movement might exist. As far as I know, there is no tangible interest in creating a German Texas, but people who live in that area seem to really value their German heritage. So it was easy to imagine people working toward such a goal. I think the most effective fiction is something that you can imagine being true, even though it isn’t!
I hope that readers can find a blend of things to enjoy in Winning Texas — the twists and turns of an interlocking political plot, the drama of relationships in Annie’s love life, an unvarnished look at today’s newspaper world and Houston and Texas in all of its glory and grime.
Enjoy the book and I thank you for reading with all my heart!
Nancy Stancill spent more than 30 years as a newspaper reporter and editor before she began writing fiction full-time. She was an award-winning investigative reporter at the Houston Chronicle and the Charlotte (N.C.) Observer and worked as a reporter and editor at other newspapers in Texas, Virginia and California. Stancill is a journalism graduate of the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill and received her master’s in creative writing from the University of Tampa in Florida in 2015. She and her husband lived in London for three years before moving back to the United States in 2012. She has a son in Virginia and she lives in Charlotte, N.C. with her husband, Len Norman, and black cat, Spud. Saving Texas was her first novel. Winning Texas is her second.
GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY!
TWO WINNERS EACH WIN:
* Signed Copies of Winning Texas and Saving Texas *
* $15 Starbucks Gift Card *
June 30 – July 9, 2016
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