Genre: Humorous Literary Fiction
Publisher: Boldface Books
Date of Publication: June 7, 2016
Number of Pages: 270
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You’re never too old to learn—or too young
Good-looking, good-hearted Charley Bristow’s the most sought-after hair stylist in five West Texas counties. He’s an expert on the dance floor and sharp at the pool tables, too—but when it comes to picking cars, dogs, and women, luck hasn’t quite gone his way lately. And there’s the ever-present worry over his mother, whose own trailer-park plight he’d just as soon steer clear of.
Just when he’s sworn off temptation of the female sort, an evening at the local honky-tonk drives two prime targets right into his path. Weighing the sudden wealth of options in his love life, while also searching for the right choice of wheels to suit his needs, Charley stumbles upon a long-hidden secret and an unforeseen road to redemption.
The colorful denizens of the Wild Hare Salon, Jarod’s Automotive, and Hopper’s nightclub, along with those of the Briargrove First Methodist Church and the Sulfur Gap Centennial Celebration, will two-step their way right into your heart, to music as familiar as Willie Nelson and Charley Pride. And you just might start to fall in love with an old Johnny Mercer tune, too, as Charley Bristow faces his past and embraces the challenge of his future.
Praise for The Lark
“Good-time Charley” Bristow is a popular twenty-something West Texas hairstylist who’s already dodged two bullets with two failed marriages (the second time, literally). . . . The Lark invites us to join Charley’s friends, the rural cosmopolitans of Sulfur Gap, and ride shotgun alongside this rogue with an honest heart . . . on a journey into his past. Dana Glossbrenner has crafted a totally engaging quest for happiness, set it in a totally genuine contemporary Texas, and delivered up great characters for a great read.
— Cliff Hudder, author of Splinterville and Pretty Enough for You
Charley Bristow takes some things seriously–work, dancing, pool-playing, and women, but maybe not in that order. He finds the true importance of friends and family.
— Rick Smith, San Angelo Standard Times
The Lark: Excerpt from Chapter 5: “Stalked?”
Charley held his pool cue and watched as the band prepared to ramp up the sound. Wylie bent over an amplifier and turned some knobs, creating an ear-piercing squeal. Lou settled onto her stool, ready to put muscle into the next song. When Wylie got the sound balanced, he positioned his guitar and mic, the fiddler took his stance, and the rhythm guitar player nodded to the bass player. Wylie counted the intro, and the players jumped together into a new song. Most of the crowd recognized “Get Drunk and Be Somebody,” from the first few notes. Everything stopped—pool players left their games, barflies stopped gossiping, and waitresses froze with trays of drinks in midair. Mad excitement invaded Hopper’s. No one ever expected a Toby Keith hit to be played with so much assurance by a local band in this burg. Not until it was a few decades old, anyway. The delirium caught on.
The crowd rushed to the front of the bandstand to hold their drinks in the air and join in with the chorus. Some of the women climbed on the shoulders of their dates or stood on chairs. A few of the bigger guys planted themselves protectively in front of the pool tables to prevent the green felt from becoming a celebration platform for some of the revelers gone wild. It was pandemonium as never before seen at Hopper’s.
Lou tapped the rhythm and harmonized at the same time. A performer who could keep a beat and sing harmony like that was a true talent, to Charley’s way of thinking. He couldn’t hear her well because of the yee-hawing going on, but he, too, was caught up in the fun. He held up his beer with the rest of the crowd and admired Lou without any reservation.
The band played several standards. At some point, Darla sidled over to Charley and bumped against him with plain purpose. He looked down at her admiring face and succumbed to more dancing.
He wanted to find Lou during the break and tell her how much he liked the new songs the band had introduced, but Darla seemed stuck to him. He wondered what was happening to him. Any other time, he would have been engulfed with gratitude for a beautiful woman’s attention and left the dance with her by now. At the least, he would have wrapped a possessive arm around Darla’s shoulders as he peered around the crowd looking for Lou. But now, if she should appear, he didn’t want her to think he was seriously hooking up, so he kept his arm to himself. Finally, he spotted Lou coming out of the bathroom and started to walk toward her, but felt Darla’s finger hooked into his belt loop. This was awkward.
Dana Glossbrenner’s debut novel, The Lark, features Charley Bristow, a successful young hair stylist in a small West Texas town. His misadventures provide humor, intrigue, and catharsis, as he discovers a lost family history. Women Behind Stained Glass: West Texas Pioneers, a historical work, recounts the lives of women who helped settle the area around San Angelo, Texas.
Glossbrenner taught high school and university English classes and worked as a guidance counselor. She grew up in Snyder, Texas, earned degrees from Texas Tech, Angelo State University, and Texas State University. She now lives in San Angelo, Texas.
She cites Larry McMurtry, Cormac McCarthy, and Elmer Kelton as major inspirations for writing about Texas.
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