Capitol of Texas Rotary Club book talk/signing 2.7.2018

8 Feb

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OLLI/LAMP Presentation 1.30.2018 at UT’s Thompson Center

30 Jan

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Humanities Texas Holiday Book Fair Dec. 9, 2017

2 Jan

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Waterloo Records book signing Nov. 6, 2017

2 Jan

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Texas Book Festival Nov. 4, 2017

2 Jan

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My LIVE interview with Dear Texas Radio

23 Oct

DMMiller book cover for launch 4-22-2017Please listen to the recording of my LIVE interview by Dear Texas Radio host Roxanne Burkey at 7 p.m. (Central Time Zone) Tuesday Oct. 24, 2017.  

I discussed my book, The Broken Spoke: Austin’s Legendary Honky-Tonk, published by Texas A&M University Press. (John and Robin Dickson Series in Texas Music, sponsored by the Center for Texas)

James and Annetta White opened the Broken Spoke in 1964, then a mile south of the Austin city limits, under a massive live oak, and beside what would eventually become South Lamar Boulevard. White built the place himself, beginning construction on the day he received his honorable discharge from the US Army. And for more than fifty years, the Broken Spoke has served up, in the words of White’s well-worn opening speech, “. . . cold beer, good whiskey, the best chicken fried steak in town . . . and good country music.”



I’ll be speaking at the Texas Book Festival

23 Oct

DMMiller book cover for launch 4-22-2017Please come out to the Texas Book Festival to hear me speak on a panel inside the Texas Tent located near the 700 block of S. Congress in Austin at 11 a.m. Saturday Nov. 4, 2017. Cari Clark will moderate. Here’s the LINK: 

“The Good Old Sound Of Austin” panel
Location: inside the Texas Tent, near 700 S. Congress
Followed by book signing: inside the Main Book Signing Tent (approximately at Congress near 10th Street)
Adult biography/historical genre

Donna Marie Miller
Jesse Sublett
Eddie Wilson
11:00 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.
How did a sleepy college town and state capital become known as the Live Music Capital of the World? In 1964, James White was searching for the best place for a big country western dance hall where his hero Bob Wills could play. In the summer of 1970, Eddie O. Wilson searched for a music hall where hippies could go to dig psychedelic art, culture and music. The results of their search: The Broken Spoke and Armadillo World Headquarters. Legendary musician and author Jesse Sublett and co-author Eddie Wilson (Armadillo World Headquarters: A Memoir) sit down with James White, owner of the Broken Spoke, and author Donna Marie Miller (The Broken Spoke: Austin’s Legendary Honky-Tonk) to talk about the history and evolution of Austin’s live music scene.

Moderator: Cari Clark

Donna Marie Miller, author of The Broken Spoke: Austin’s Legendary Honky-Tonk, published by TAMU Press; Jesse Sublett, co-author of Armadillo World Headquarters: A Memoir by Eddie Wilson



Reviews of my book

5 Sep

Si Dunn reviewed my book, The Broken Spoke: Austin’s Legendary Honky-Tonk, for Lone Star Literary Life newsletter Sept. 5, 2017. Link:






Trilla Pando reviewed my book, The Broken Spoke: Austin’s Legendary Honky-Tonk, for The Story Circle Network July 23, 2017. Link:

Doug Freeman reviewed my book, The Broken Spoke: Austin’s Legendary Honky-Tonk, for The Austin Chronicle, June 16, 2017. Link:


My Game of Thrones article posts to Creative Screenwriting magazine

17 Jul

Few people on the planet have not heard of Game of Thrones, the award-winning show based on George R.R. Martin’s best-selling books.

To date the series has received 38 Primetime Emmy Awards, including “Outstanding Drama Series” in 2015 and 2016.

Speaking at the 2017 SXSW panel moderated by Sophie Turner (Sansa Stark) and Maisie Williams (Arya Stark), showrunners David Benioff and Daniel “D.B.” Weiss talked about writing the record-breaking show, creating characters who resonate, and the portrayal of women on television.

Note: This article contains plot spoilers for previous seasons.

Who was the first actor to be cast?
Benioff: Peter Dinklage (Tyrion Lannister) definitely said yes first. The only two people that we knew we wanted were Peter and John (Bradley who plays Samwell Tarly). Those two were easy.

I think casting the Starks were tough ones, particularly because they started so young. But we knew that if we kept going, if the show endured for a couple of years, it was going to an extremely dark place. So it was tricky casting people and hoping that they would blossom into the women that they’ve become.

I remember Dan and I were in Morocco scouting locations, and we could not find an Arya (Stark.) We probably looked at 300 different young girls in England and we could not find the right Arya.

Then we were sitting in this hotel lobby—-like the one place that we could get wireless—and we’re looking at the casting videos and there was a little thumbnail of Maisie Williams. It was just something about that little tiny thumbnail face that just seemed right—it seemed ‘Arya-ish.’ It looked like she was seven, but she was 12 years old going on seven.

So we clicked on the audition video and we had to wait about 40 minutes for it download, and we finally saw her first audition for it and she was fucking awesome. So we met her in London, she read again, and she remained awesome.
Can you recall any funny stories during the pilot shoot?

Benioff: There’s a scene in the pilot that’s probably the worst scene we’ve ever written. The Stark boys, Jon Snow (Kit Harrington,) and Theon “Reek” Greyjoy (Alfie Allen,) are all shaving each other. They’re getting their hair cut by Tommy Dunne, (weapons master and cameo barber.)

It’s a really weird scene; they’re all shirtless. They’re all standing around and if you look closely you can see that they’re all flexing, because they’re shirtless and they all want to flex their abs.

Weiss: They were all just sitting there doing crunches all day.

Williams: Talk about your writing process.

Weiss: Outline first.

Benioff: We have two other writers on the staff that we work closely with, Bryan Cogman and Dave Hill. The four of us get together in a room and we kind of break down the upcoming season, then we split up and write different sections of the outline.

This is the last one we’ll ever do, which is kind of sad. We have a 140-page outline—but it’s only going to be six episodes for this final season. We divvy up the episodes—Dave Hill will write the season premiere, Bryan will write episode two, and then Dan and I will write the other four.

Weiss: Usually it took two minutes to divide the halves. This time it took eighteen emails back and forth about “you take that scene and I’ll take this scene,” when we realized this was actually the last time we were going to be doing this.

So what happens?

Weiss: You want to know?

Benioff: But you guys can’t tell anybody…

Weiss: Should we just tell everybody now? Then we don’t have to do all the work. It’s a lot of work. We get like 300 shooting days. We could just throw all that away and just tell people what happens.

Talk about why Game of Thrones’ characters resonate so much.

Benioff: It’s different for every character. There’s something about Arya; Arya is a rebel, and people are drawn to people who rebel against whatever the societal strictures are, so that one makes sense.

For me, to be honest, even in the book readers would always hate Sansa, and I always loved her because to me she always seemed like a real person. She can be really annoying sometimes, she’s like a stuck up teenager sometimes, but a lot of us were annoying teenagers at some point.

She just seems really believable, and also she goes on one of the most interesting journeys, because she doesn’t start out as someone who is sharp, and shrewd and tough, but she becomes that person.

Arya is kind of always there—which is what’s great about Arya—but Sansa had to get there by painful experiences. She’s always been one of my favorite characters.

Weiss: In a way, Sansa has to face harder choices. Arya always has a pretty clear path, like: “What’s a cool, badass thing to do and I’m going to do that thing.”

Sansa’s choices in a way feel more real, and maybe resonate with people. She says, “This is not any easy decision I have to make here, and any decision that I have to make will have difficult or negative consequences, and I’m going to own the choices that I make.”

How difficult is it for you to say goodbye to characters? Has there ever been a time when you’ve written a death scene for someone and then taken that scene out and moved it to the next season?

Weiss: That did actually happen. Noah Taylor (Locke) was on the show in season three, and played a death scene where Nikolaj (Coster-Waldau who plays Jamie Lannister) was supposed to throw Noah Taylor’s character into the bear pit. We decided after working with Noah and hanging out with him for a while that he should stay on. We realized that he was just was too much fun to waste, so we kept him alive.

It hasn’t happened that often.

Benioff: Killing Momoa was another one. Jason (Momoa who played the character Khal Drogo) was great, but there was just no way of getting around killing him if we followed the books. Jason was just so fun. Jason played his part just larger than life, bigger than we figured, so we never truly recovered from getting rid of him.

What impact do you think Game of Thrones has had on the portrayal of women on TV?

Weiss: When we initially read the books, we realized that it’s an awful world that the story takes place in. But there were compelling female characters who had agency, and who were out there. They weren’t secondary to anybody; they weren’t somebody’s right hand, woman or wife. They were out there and they had their own storylines, more than in any show we’d ever seen.

This seemed like a very actress-centric show before we even started. That was a fun thing for us to explore and work on together.

Name your proudest Game of Thrones moments.

Benioff: I guess I’m just happy that we managed to somehow keep everyone together. I mean it’s hard enough in a series for any length of time to keep a cast together—especially for us because we have such a huge cast, and we haven’t really lost anybody.

We’ve had this sense from the first time we pitched the show to HBO that we wanted basically to tell a 70-hour movie. Actually it’s going to turn out to be 73 hours, but still it’s stayed relatively the same in terms of a beginning, a middle and now we’re coming to the end.

It would have been really tough if we had lost any of the core cast members along the way. So I’m very happy that we’ve kept everyone together and we get to finish the way we want.

How do you keep the show’s spoiler leaks to a minimum?

Weiss: Intimidation and murder.

Benioff: No, it’s virtually impossible—I mean look at what’s happening now—the CIA can’t keep information private.

Weiss: So what chance do we have?

Benioff: I’m the kind of viewer or reader who just doesn’t want to know about stuff, so it’s always weird to me that people want to find out spoilers. I understand that it’s curiosity, but I’m not someone who reads the last page of a book first just because I might die before I finish. I want to be surprised by things.

So I just kind of go with the assumption that a lot more people are like me, and people who are desperate to find out everything beforehand are probably going to find a way to do it.

What kinds of projects would you like to do after Game of Thrones?

Weiss: I’ve got this project that I’ve been planning called “sitting in a cool dark room for two months.”

We’ve discussed things, but honestly this show is such a 24/7 job. You have time for thinking about it, but as soon as we go deeper than that we realize there are 18 things that we really ought to have been doing while we were thinking about it.

Are you going to continue writing together?

Benioff: We talked about this when we had dinner together last night, and we decided that when this is over that we should all go do different things. Because there’s always going to be this temptation to keep doing it, to do like the spinoff show, or do the sequel.

I think that HBO might well do one, and I am looking forward to watching it and I think it will be great. But it’s better for them to get new blood in.

Please also see my article posted to Creative Screenwriting magazine’s website at:



My article about TV show ‘Preacher’ posts to Creative Screenwriting magazine

19 Jun

Actor and executive producer Seth Rogen (Superbad and Pineapple Express) and show runner Sam Catlin (Breaking Bad) did what fans of the comic book series Preacher thought impossible. They adapted Garth Ennis’s comic for the small screen and created season one as a prequel to Garth’s storyline on AMC. Season two airs on the AMC network tonight, June 19.

The show stars Dominic Cooper as Jesse Custer, a man possessed by a hybrid angel/demon, and his volatile hell-raising girlfriend Tulip O’Hare, played by award-winning actress Ruth Negga.

The writers crammed a lot of craziness, fire and brimstone into the first season. And this looks set to continue in season two, as the cast embarks on a road trip to find God.

Speaking at the SXSW 2017 “Making of Preacher” interview session hosted by Terri Schwartz, Seth Rogen, Sam Catlin and Garth Ennis discussed trusting your instinct, knowing where to draw the line, and translating the ideas in your head.

Schwartz: Welcome back to SXSW. You guys premiered the Preacher pilot here last year, right?

Rogen: Yeah, one year ago we showed the pilot here, and it was one of the most stressful days of my life. But it went well. Thank God we’re back.

What was the moment when you realized “Ok, this is how we can bring this to life in a way that no one has done before?”

Rogen: The truth is, we pursued it for years. The first meeting Evan and I had for Preacher was in our trailer while we were filming Pineapple Express in 2006. Then television went from being like the thing you watch on Thursday nights to like an amazing platform to do incredibly innovative things that you probably couldn’t even do in movies..

Ennis: A lot of executives who were further down the ladder the first time around, who were desperately trying to persuade their bosses that Preacher would work and it was the way to go, all of a sudden found themselves a bit higher up the ladder. And they were now able to say “This is the thing to do…Its time has come.”

Sam, you once described the comic as “profane, perverse and psychotic.” Did you break boundaries for the sake of breaking boundaries?

Rogen: I don’t think you ever want to do something just for the sake of doing that thing. We wanted a show that was audacious. I think when you’re reading the comics there are a lot of things that just can’t believe you’re seeing, you can’t believe you’re reading. You just can’t believe the story’s going in that direction. Those were things that we really wanted to have in the show.

When something is potentially on for years and years, it really has to have some emotional grounding, so it can never feel like you’re doing anything for the sake of doing it. It always has to feel like it’s born of character and story and emotion.

But once we feel like we have that, then we like to try to push it to the most original place that we can. Because there is so much on TV right now, originality is one of the beacons that calls people.

There are a lot of great things on TV right now, but there’s not a lot of great things that you’ve also never seen anything like them before. And that’s what we’ve talked a lot about trying to do.

Garth, what are your thoughts on some of the changes that were made?

Ennis: I think they made sense out of things in the comics that are just taken as given. I like the way that I can see that Jesse’s life as a preacher has grown over time. I like the fact that reasons are given for Tulip and Cassidy to be there, rather than just being coincidence.

In the comic book, everyone meets up by chance. I think I was just trying to get it rolling as fast as I possibly could. And also, I was 24 when I wrote that stuff. When you’re 24 you’re just thinking, “Let’s get on with it.”

On the show you’re going to need much more material. So it’s obvious there are going to be new things; there are going to be changes. I think they’ve come up with the right ones.

You set up many mysteries in season one. Did you have to stop yourselves from including too many?

Rogen: I think the first season deals with a lot with Jesse’s father’s side of the family. I think in season two we start to ask the question, “what was his mother’s side of the family like?”

How did you develop God as a character for season 2?

Catlin: It’s very challenging, because in Preacher God isn’t an idea, he’s not a way of looking at life; he’s a guy who’s out walking around. He’s missing and Jesse’s gonna be on his trail.

Have you guys received any notes from AMC telling you to lean away from some of these elements?

Rogen: We have not received a lot of that, honestly. They want the show to be good and they want it to represent what we all set out to make in the first place. We’ve had a couple of ideas that required like maybe a 10-minute phone call…But I do not feel like we are neutering our ideas, or holding back on the content that we want to be putting out there. If anything I’m shocked we are able to push it as far as we do.

Garth what has been your response to seeing some of these scenes coming to life, and knowing that some of the more controversial things are coming down the road?

Ennis: When we did the comic it was more by stealth. The imprint of DC Comics who did it—at Vertigo—had very sympathetic people in charge, but the actual publishers, the actual executives in charge of DC Comics overall, were not sympathetic. We got as far as we did by stealth, not by meaning to, but by not getting noticed by the wrong people. Now the right people are in charge, and that’s why the TV show is able to go as far as it can.

Do any of you have any concepts that you’d love to bring to life if you didn’t have to worry about backlash or limitations?

Ennis: Ninety percent of what I do is done without any restrictions but my own. In fact, in a couple of instances I’ve written stories where I’ve run into my own limits before I run into those of the publishers.

Rogen: Something I learned years ago is that the idea that you’re joking about between takes, when you say “no, we can’t do that,” that’s exactly what we should be doing. That’s the type of thing that people will really respond to. I’ve seen that happen first-hand, where there have been jokes between takes, and I’ve said, “You know what would be funny? If one of us said this: but that would be just too fucked up.” Then one of the other actors just says it the next day and it winds up in the movie, and being the line that people think we thought of for years and year and years.

If your instinct is “we can’t do that, but it would be really good to do that,” then you should do that.

Audience Member: How do you know where to draw the line?

Rogen: You’re asking a guy who almost started a war with North Korea! [The Interview in 2012.]

I guess you know I’m not the best person for knowing where that line is. I’ve found that you don’t know where the line is until you look back, and think “oh, that’s where the line was—a thousand miles back there?” Yeah, the line is not a deal. We talk more about, “Will the audience get this?” Or, “Have we done the work we need to do to translate this idea from our brains into the eyes and ears of an audience?” That’s what I think we do the most.

It’s almost like translating. The challenge has been taking into consideration every way they might not interpret it correctly, and taking into consideration every way that you might not do your job correctly in making them understand this thing that you want them to understand

But to me there is no idea that is not explorable. There’s only the limits of your abilities to articulate why you feel it’s an idea worth exploring, and articulate why you think the audience should be listening to your take on this specific idea.

Ennis: I would say when you’re talking about creativity, start with where you want to get to, and worry about the rest later. Because when you try to get published, or when you try to get your film distributed or whatever it is you’re doing, you’ll find out pretty soon where the limits are then. But you shouldn’t be thinking about that when you’re putting a story together.

There’ll be plenty of time to have people tell you “no.” But in the beginning, do what you want.

Please also read my article and see my photos on Creative Screenwriting’s website at:

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