Talking Book News Bulletin, Spring 2013

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Director's Report
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First Digital Book Series
Upcoming Book Club Selection

FAQ -  Magazines on Cartridge
Spotlight on Texas - Digital Cartridge

 (TXT), (PDF), (MP3)


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Loan Policy
Spotlight on Texas Books
Disability Information & Referral Center
National Library Service for the Blind & Physically Handicapped

Director's Report

Greetings! Here is the latest news:

Budget update:

The regular session of the 83rd Texas Legislature ended on May 27, 2013 with passage of the state budget.  The Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC) will have significant funding restored to its budget and no budget cuts.  The Talking Book Program (TBP) will go into the 2014-15 biennium with funding as requested by TSLAC.  Overall, this was a much better legislative session than the last time around.  Thanks to everyone who contacted their legislators and asked them to support the TSLAC budget request.

Two retirements from TBP:  Recently, two of our blind staff, Aundrea and Kathy, have retired from working in the Reader Services call center.  Aundrea retired at the end of January after working in the call center for eight years.  Kathy retired at the end of April; she worked for TBP for more than 30 years.  Both ladies look forward to a busy retirement , full of friends, traveling, and of course, reading.  We wish both of them the very best in this new period of their lives.

These two retirements have left a hole in our program.  We are interested in hiring reader consultants with visual disabilities, and plan to post one of these positions very soon.  At a minimum, applicants must work in the call center here in Austin, have excellent computer skills, have good interpersonal skills and a desire to serve people, and have a general knowledge of literature and reading interests.  Because these positions require talking to patrons on the telephone while simultaneously using a computer, extensive experience with screen readers and other adaptive technologies is a necessity.  Applicants who are proficient in Braille and who are successfully using BARD will be given preference in interviewing.  If you would like more information, please contact Stacey Hathaway-Bell, Manager of Reader Services, at 1-800-252-9605 or 1-512-463-5458.

The phone app is coming soon:  Many of you have been waiting for this development for a long time.  The National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) hopes to have at least one phone app ready for distribution in the very near future.  The current estimated time of arrival is late summer or early fall, but we want to caution everyone that the general testing of this new app has not yet begun, so further delays are possible.  Still, we’re actually talking about testing an app, and that’s a big leap for everyone.  The first app is going to be for i-Phones, i-Pads, etc.  An app for Android users also is in development but is not as far along; this app will likely not be available until sometime in 2014.

Digital magazines are here:  NLS is now distributing magazines on digital cartridge.  NLS will stop sending magazines on cassette in June 2013.  If you plan to read magazines, you will need a digital talking book machine (DTBM) or other authorized device in order to access the digital files.  Many magazines are available on the Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD) site right now, and if you would like to set up your BARD account, please complete the brief online application at  For more information on digital magazines, read the special insert in this newsletter.

We hope that three locally-recorded Texas magazines will soon be on BARD.  Texas Highways and Texas Parks and Wildlife are being recorded digitally here in the TBP studio in Austin.  Texas Monthly also is recorded digitally for TBP readers by the Recording Library of West Texas, located in Midland.  All three of these magazines are available on digital cartridge, and the cassette versions have been discontinued.

Please be aware that all magazines on digital cartridge must be read and sent back, regardless of the magazine or where it is mailed from.  There are a limited number of digital cartridges available for magazines, and these cartridges must be used by multiple patrons and then reformatted for future issues of magazines.  Please read your magazines in a timely manner and return them to the NLS distributor or to us, depending on which magazine you have.  Digital magazines from NLS come in a red mailing case with a letter “M” on the top of the mailing case, so be sure to get your magazine in the right mailing case, or it will go to a wrong location.

Helpful contact information for the Talking Book Program:

Until next time,
Ava Smith, Director, Talking Book Program


Texas Talking Books will be closed for these holidays.

Thursday and Friday, July 4-5 – Independence Day

Of course, you can leave a voicemail message or send e-mail on a holiday.      


Call the Disability Information and Referral Center toll-free at
1-800-252-9605 for information about disabilities and health conditions

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TBP Volunteer Recording Studio Completes First Digital Book Series

The Texas Talking Book Program’s Volunteer Recording Studio and Audio Operations department have just completed producing the entire Lucy Hatch Novel series for duplication onto digital flash cartridge. This is the first complete series we have made available in digital format.

Second Coming of Lucy Hatch (DT 6670) by Marsha Moyer.  Lucy Hatch is 33 and moving back to her hometown of Mooney, TX, because her husband of 14 years has just died in a freak accident. She is alone and must start over.  What worries her most though is that she's not as broken up over her husband's death as she thinks a good wife should be.  In fact, she's looking forward to the peace and solitude she expects her future life to hold.  So when local heartthrob Ash Farrell starts showing interest in her, Lucy is torn between the strong feelings she is developing for this persistent stranger and her resolve to go it alone for the first time.  Some descriptions of sex.

Last of the Honky-tonk Angels (DT 6716) by Marsha Moyer.  When we last saw Lucy Hatch, she had succumbed to the whirlwind courtship of Ash Farrell, day-job carpenter and nighttime singer of country blues at the honky-tonk in their small northeast Texas town. Three months later, Lucy and Ash are shocked by the arrival of Ash's 14-year-old daughter, Denny, who is dumped by her flyaway mom.  Lucy is knocked askew.  Not only is she suddenly a surrogate parent, she also discovers that she's about to become a mother herself.  Strong language.

Heartbreak Town (DT 6853) by Marsha Moyer.  Moyer's third book about Lucy Hatch takes her back to her hometown of Mooney, Texas, where she picks up her life with her young son Jude after leaving Nashville and her husband, Ash, a moderately successful country singer.  They both dreamed of Ash's success until he succumbed to alcohol.  Lucy is happy in her old life, then Ash shows up without warning after leaving rehab and losing his record contract.  Does Lucy want him back?  Can they fix what went wrong in their marriage?   Everyone in town seems to be offering advice or taking bets on their relationship.  Strong language and descriptions of sex.

Return of the Stardust Cowgirl (DT 6973) by Marsha Moyer.  Lucy Hatch's step-daughter Denny has run away from her fledgling music career in Nashville to escape marriage troubles.  Now back home in Texas, Denny learns that leaving her past behind won't be so simple:   she's pregnant.  Lucy is also at a turning point.  The flower shop where   she's worked for years is closing, and her husband, Ash Farrell, is having writers' block.  As Denny stops running and finally faces the music, Lucy works to regain her own footing by helping Ash find his.  Everyone has to shift their plans to embrace the future.  Some descriptions of sex.


Upcoming Book Club Selection

The Book Club is in a phone-in format; all you need to participate is a telephone.  Please contact Shannon at 1-800-252-9605 or by email at to RSVP.  Dates are subject to change.

July 16, 2013 (Tuesday), 7:00-8:00 p.m. Central

Night Circus (DB 73783) by Erin Morgenstern.  At the Circus of Dreams magicians Celia and Marco are pitted against each other in an epic magical battle.  Their mentors plan for it to have only one survivor, not foreseeing that Celia and Marco will fall in love.  Some strong language and descriptions of sex.  Bestseller.  2011.

You can always contact TBP by email at: Also, visit our new blog at for up-to-date information.


You can always contact TBP by email at:  Also, visit our new blog at for up-to-date information.


Frequently Asked Questions – Magazines on Cartridge

As part of the process of phasing out audio cassettes, the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) and the Texas State Library are converting audio magazines to digital cartridge. Soon magazines will no longer be provided on cassette. We’ve compiled a list of frequently asked questions about this change. Please contact TBP at 1-800-252-9605 or at if you have any questions regarding magazines.

Q.      I only have a cassette player. How will I be able to listen to magazines?

A.      Since magazines will no longer be produced on cassette, you may use a Digital Talking Book Machine (DTBM), loaned at no charge to patrons, or, you may purchase a commercial digital player. Contact TBP to request a DTBM or a list of compatible commercial digital players.

Q.      Will the magazine cartridges look different from book cartridges?

A.      Yes. NLS magazine cartridges are light blue in color and come in a red container imprinted with a distinctive Library of Congress flag logo and the letter “M” on the case. At this time, Texas magazines will be on green cartridges in light grey containers. The return process is the same as for digital books.

Q.      I receive several magazines. Will they all come on one cartridge?

A.      If you subscribe to more than one audio magazine, you may receive more than one magazine issue on the same cartridge. When a cartridge with more than one magazine is inserted into a digital player, you will hear instructions for navigating among the magazine issues on that cartridge.       

Q.      How do I get to the next magazine on the cartridge?

A.      Use the Bookshelf mode on the NLS player to access multiple magazines on a cartridge. To access the Bookshelf mode, press and hold the play/stop button on the digital player until you hear the word “Bookshelf.” Then use the fast-forward button to scroll to the next magazine in the list. Use the rewind button to scroll to the previous magazine in the list. Once you hear the title of the magazine you want to read, press the play/stop button. This takes you out of Bookshelf mode and puts you inside the selected magazine issue, where you can use the fast-forward and rewind buttons to move within the magazine. To move to a different magazine, go back into Bookshelf mode as described above. You can read your magazine issues in any order.

Q.      Can I keep the cartridge?

A.      No. You must return your magazine cartridges just as you return digital book cartridges. If you don’t return your cartridges, your magazine service will be disrupted. Due to the higher cost of cartridges, cartridges must be reused.

Q.      I’d like to get an issue of a magazine to keep. How can I do that?

A.      All digital issues of magazines are available at any time for download from BARD (NLS’ free Braille and Audio Reading Download service). Downloading gives you immediate access to over 47,000 digital books, magazines, and music scores in Braille and audio formats. If you do not have a BARD account and would like to download, complete the brief online application at .

Q.      Will Talking Book Topics come on a separate cartridge?

A.      Subscribers to Talking Book Topics will receive it on digital cartridge with other audio magazines. If Talking Book Topics is the only periodical you receive, it will be the only item on the digital cartridge. You will receive the order form in a separate mailing. Talking Book Topics cartridges must be returned like any other magazine.

Q.      What is the loan period for magazines on cartridge?

A.      The loan period for an NLS cartridge containing only weekly magazines is one week from date of receipt. The loan period for an NLS cartridge containing monthly, bimonthly or quarterly magazines is four weeks from date of receipt. If there is a mixture of weekly and monthly issues on the same cartridge, the loan period is four weeks from date of receipt. The loan period for a Texas magazine cartridge is one week from date of receipt.

Q.      I have not received some of my magazines. What do I do?

A.      Contact Reader Services at 1-800-252-9605 or at

Q.      I have an institutional account (school, assisted living facility, or other institution). I have not received any digital magazines yet. Why is this?

A.      NLS is not sending digital magazines to institutions at this time, as the loan periods and multiple-titles-per cartridge format are not well suited to institutional use. Institutions may choose one of the following digital magazine options:

1. Assist your students, residents, or clients in setting up individual TBP accounts so that they may receive direct digital magazine subscriptions; or,

2. Download digital magazines using an institutional BARD account for use by your eligible students, residents, or clients.

Spring 2013 Spotlight on Texas Books – Digital cartridge only

Ballad of Gato Guerrero: A Luis Montez Mystery #2 (DT 7047) by Manuel Ramos. Luis Montez, a Denver attorney perennially on the edge, has been getting his life together. So how did he end up in a ditch, his car twisted and smoking, a gun-wielding giant in a cowboy hat coming toward him? The answer: his friend Feliz "Gato" Guerrero. Trouble has always followed Felix, and it's up to Montez, again, to save him. Strong language.

Cotton Bowl Days: Growing Up with Dallas and The Cowboys in the 1960s (DT 6401) by John Eisenberg.  For a young boy growing up in Dallas in the 1960s, the Cowboys football team was a source of excitement and pride - even though the team was still years away from the celebrity of the Super Bowl era. Eisenberg, a third-generation Dallasite and life-long Cowboys fan, presents a nostalgic look at growing up with his city as it tried to cast off the dark shadow of the Kennedy assassination and with his team, a magnet for civic pride even in defeat.

Death Books a Return: A Scrappy Librarian Mystery (DT 7061) by Marion Moore Hill.  Juanita Wills, public librarian of Wyndham, Oklahoma, is researching for a local history when she comes across the 1959 unsolved murder of a black high school student on the then all-white high-school track. At first, determined to atone for the shameful failure of the local police to investigate the crime, she quickly discovers that her questions threaten a killer – or killers – still hiding within her beloved community. Strong language.

Harpsong (DT 7069) by Rilla Askew.  The author mixes fiction with legend and history in this novel of Oklahoma during the Great Depression.  Harmonica-playing Harlan Singer marries 14-year-old Sharon Thompson, and they immediately take to riding the rails.  Unlike many Okies, they never go to California but instead keep making figure eights, always returning to Oklahoma.  Sometimes they steal, but only needed food and clothing, and they always try to repay their debts.  This is a vivid portrait of an age and a place, of desperate poverty, near starvation, red dust, and strong biblical faith.  Some strong language.

Life of the Marlows: A True Story of Frontier Life of Early Days (DT 7044) by William Rathmell.  The story of the five Marlow brothers and their tribulations in late nineteenth century Texas is the stuff of Old West legend.  Violent, full of intrigue, their story was first related by Rathmell in a book published in 1892, shortly after the events it described in Young County, Texas.  Boone, the most reckless of the brothers, shot and killed a popular sheriff and escaped, only to be murdered later by bounty hunters.  The remaining brothers were jailed, escaped, were recaptured, and were attacked by a mob that killed two of the remaining brothers.  Some strong language.

Lone Star Lonely Hearts Club: A Debutante Dropout Mystery (DT 6971) by Susan McBride.  Wealthy Texas widows need loving too which is why Bebe Kent joined a dating service for “discriminating” seniors soon after relocating to the swanky Belle Meade retirement community. Unfortunately, Bebe didn’t live long enough to meet “Mr. Right.” And though doctors declared her death totally natural, extravagant blue-blooded Dallas socialite Cissy Blevins Kendricks believes her old friend’s demise was hastened and she’s ready to check herself into Belle Meade incognito to prove it. Cissy’s rebellious, sometime-sleuthing daughter, Andrea, has no choice but to join her mom in search of the truth – especially when more well-heeled widows start turning up dead.

The Meaning of Nolan Ryan (DT 6851) by Nick Trujillo.  Baseball pitcher Nolan Ryan retired after the 1993 season. His legacy is unmatched: 300 wins, 5,000 strikeouts, and a 27-year career throwing 90-miles-per-hour fastballs. No other pitcher in major-league history can boast a comparable record. Trujillo, a communications professor and former college pitcher, examines Ryan’s impact on baseball and society as a hero and role model. For many years, Ryan pitched in relative obscurity, registering consistent but unspectacular numbers and playing for mediocre teams. Only in his last 10 years did the country take note of his career. Ryan is self-effacing, humble, hardworking, conservative, happily married, and an off-season rancher. Trujillo examines Madison Avenue’s use of those traits and how Ryan became just another image rather than the hero he should have been.

Precious Dust (DT 5918) by Paula Mitchell Marks.  From the outbreak of gold fever in California in 1848 to the mad rush to Alaska at the nineteenth century’s close, this is the aspiring miners’ story. Historian Paula Mitchell Marks focuses on what propelled Americans and foreigners to the gold fields, how they endured the journey and the search, what kept them going or separated them from their dreams, and what sense they made of the whole experience. She also explains how the rushes hastened the development of the western regions and served as a “safety valve” for restless dreamers who wanted to reassert their individuality (both personal and economic) as the industrial age engulfed them.

Red, White & Blue Murder (DT 7032) by Bill Crider.  County commissioners in Texas wield extraordinary influence, controlling the purse strings for all roads and public works.  Even in rural Blacklin County, that's serious money.  Grat Bilson was a county    commissioner, at least until someone whacked him over the head and set him on fire in his isolated hunting cabin.  Some strong language.

Threading the Needle (DT 6983) by Clay Reynolds.  This novel pays tribute to the legacy of James Dean and the glory days of drag racing, telling the story of a North Texas racer whose legend dominates a small town in the post-WWII era.  This is a chilling story of Faustian bargains, drag racing, rock and roll, and a sister’s love for a brother who died tragically young.  Some strong language.


Talking Book Program
Texas State Library and Archives Commission
PO Box 12927
Austin TX 78711-2927
1-800-252-9605 (in Texas)
512-463-5458 (in Austin)
512-936-0685 (fax)


Page last modified: July 9, 2013