Friday, July 26, 2013

Author Spotlight: Boyd Taylor, Author of The Hero of San Jacinto and The Antelope Play

Set in present-day Austin, Texas, budding historian Donnie Ray Quinn stumbles upon an old letter in the musty bowels of the Texas State archives. Donnie has discovered Sam Payne’s not so valiant capture of Mexican leader Santa Anna during the Battle of San Jacinto. His findings are published in the local monthly magazine, Texas Today.

The article eventually becomes fodder in the gubernatorial race between Democratic upstart Bob Braeswood and Republican favorite Sam Eben Payne V, the great-great-grandson of the not so valiant Texas hero. Braeswood is intent on exploiting the past, while Payne will do anything to suppress it. In the ensuing battle, Donnie finds his beliefs, not to mention his relationships, stretched to the limit. Will he side with money and power or truth and integrity?

Taylor takes us on a scenic tour of Austin events and sights through the eyes of our 28-year old drunken playboy protagonist without asking his reader to deal with the atrocious Austin traffic.

Paperback: 192 pages
Publisher: Katherine Brown Press (September 14, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0615662471
ISBN-13: 978-0615662473


When Austin native Donnie Cuinn accepts a job as an associate in a Texas Panhandle law firm, his boredom and disdain for Velda, a sleepy Texas town, is forgotten when he gets caught up in a struggle over water rights, possible radioactive contamination of the nation’s largest underground fresh water supply, and the violence of an invading Mexican drug cartel. Along the way, Donnie learns to respect the local rancher, whose brother is at the center of the troubles, and to come to terms with the violent death of his young Mexican wife.

Paperback: 260 pages
Publisher: Katherine Brown Press (July 31, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0989470709
ISBN-13: 978-0989470704

Read an excerpt:

The full moon cast shadows from the bare trees that lined the gravel road on the other side of the cattle guard. The winter wind had died down into its midnight quiet, and the cold air was settling over the arroyos, covering the low indentions in the ranch land with a light frost. A black Cadillac SUV pulled up by the cattle guard. Two men jumped out of the back of the SUV. They wore heavy coats and their hats were pulled down low on their heads. Without speaking, they pulled the motionless man out of the back seat, bumping his head on the hard dirt. “Ten cuidado!” one said. “Lo queremos vivo.”

The man moaned. They took him, one by the shoulders, the other by the feet, and tossed him onto the road in front of the cattle guard. They stripped off his boots and socks and threw them in the back of the Cadillac.

“Vamos!” one of them said. They jumped in the SUV and drove away quickly; its black outline disappeared down the country road.

The sun was barely visible over the eastern plateau when the man awoke, shivering from the cold. He struggled to his feet. He hopped across the cattle guard in his bare feet and cried out in pain. When he was finally across, he rested a minute. Then, breathing heavily, he began his walk up the gravel road. He wiped blood from his nose and mouth, held his broken left arm with his right hand, and slowly walked home.


The address read, “Don R. Cuinn, Attorney at Law,” so it had to be for him. Don looked at the legal-size envelope and sighed. He recognized the scrawled Las Vegas return address. What now? He tossed the unopened envelope on the pile of documents that Faye had stacked neatly before leaving the office the night before. When the envelope hit the stack, the papers scattered.

He ignored the mess and swiveled in his worn leather chair, passed on to him when Jake got new stuff, and stared through the dusty window at the brown Texas Panhandle landscape. From his aerie on the top floor, the fifth floor of Velda’s tallest building, he could see the end of town to the north where it gave way to the flat land and canyons and dry creeks that stretched to Canada. He couldn’t see his apartment, back to the east, toward the Country Club, and it bothered him. Why do I care?

He couldn’t admit it bothered him because Jake, the Rosen of “Rosen & Associates” had the prime corner office, with windows to the east as well as the north, from which he could keep an eye on all of Velda that mattered: the business district, the city hall, the courthouse, the old residential district, the winding parks and dry creek, and the leafless trees. Not to mention the new developments, both of them, where wealthy Veldanians had built McMansions too big for the lots, like overweight teenagers with their exposed bellies overflowing their jeans at the Arcadia Theater or the mall in Amarillo.

But Don R. Cuinn, the associate in “Rosen & Associates,” could only see to the north, and like everything else today, it grated on his nerves.

Don could not see to the south, thank God, so he didn’t have to look every day at the old warehouse district and railroad tracks, the recently repainted depot reclaimed as a half-assed museum, where the early days of Velda were trumpeted to the five visitors a week. In a good week, he thought. The days when Velda was an important stop on the railroad; when early settlers came to try their luck raising cotton or wheat on the unforgiving Panhandle plains; when most of the farmers were ruined by flooding rains followed by unbelievable drought, forced to sell their land, in which they had invested their life savings, sell it for pennies on the dollar to cattle ranchers. The ranchers, over a decade or two, ended up with most of the land in Velda County, and with the land, the oil money when the boom came.

South of the tracks were the Flats, with its shanty towns and trailer parks, where Velda’s Hispanics and its few blacks and its oil field trash lived uneasily next to each other, huddled against the north wind all winter. And, during the rest of the year, were unable to escape the ceaseless southwest wind or the acetic acid fumes blown over them from the Crackstone Industries’ chemical plant.

Lovely, Don thought.

He shivered. The cold wind leaked into his office, even with the windows painted shut. There was no way to open them in the summer and fall, when the weather was mild and dry and the wind was light enough to be enjoyable. Almost. He selected an old wool sweater from the various pieces of outdoor clothing he kept on the hook behind his door. He put it on, and his corduroy jacket over it, but he was still cold. He had never been this cold growing up in Austin.

He thought of the warm days in Beaumont, where he got his diploma mill law license. Why did I leave? Oh yes, no job. Not even an offer. Law firms knew the worth of a J.D. degree from the Jefferson Davis School of Law. . . warm weather... an image of Mexico City flashed through his mind. Not that. Don’t think about that. Not for an instant.

In a former life, Boyd Taylor was a lawyer and an officer of a large chemical company. A native of Temple, Texas, he graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a B.A. in government and an LL.B. from the law school. He currently lives in Austin, Texas with his wife, Kitty.

Boyd welcomes inquiries and comments from his readers, who may contact him through:

Katherine Brown Press at


Visit the author's blog at


Anonymous said...

Thank you to Cheryl and The Book Connection for posting excerpts for the Donnie Ray Cuinn series. You offer a great resource for people interested in finding new reads.

Boyd Taylor, author

Cheryl said...

Great to have you, Boyd. Wishing you the best with your new release.

Anonymous said...

Hi Cheryl,

The Antelope Play is now available for purchase on Amazon. I wanted to let your readers know and thank you once again for hosting me!

Best of luck,