My book published April 22, 2017

26 Apr

I held the launch party for my book, The Broken Spoke: Austin’s Legendary Honky-Tonk, published by Texas A&M University Press,  April 22 at the Broken Spoke, 3201 S. Lamar Blvd. in Austin. All night folks came and bought books and I signed them along the Broken Spoke’s proprietor James White and another photographer, Rick Henson. My son drove down from the University of North Texas in Denton and together he and my husband ran the cash register and printed receipts.

I had a cake decorated with an edible photo of the book and the room was filled with flowers that folks sent. 

My editors from Texas A&M University Press came and bragged about our rapid advance book sales. (Amazon sold out of their first shipment of books on the night of our book launch and ordered more!) TAMU Press editors expect a second printing soon!

DMMiller book cover for launch 4-22-2017.jpg

The Broken Spoke
Austin’s Legendary Honky-Tonk

Donna Marie Miller
Foreword by Charles R. Townsend
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.”

White paid thirty-two dollars to his first opening act, D. G. Burrow and the Western Melodies, back in 1964. Since then, the stage at the Spoke has hosted the likes of Bob Wills, Dolly Parton, Ernest Tubb, Ray Price, Marcia Ball, Pauline Reese, Roy Acuff, Kris Kristofferson, George Strait, Willie Nelson, Jerry Jeff Walker, Asleep at the Wheel, and the late, great Kitty Wells. But it hasn’t always been easy; through the years, the Whites and the Spoke have withstood their share of hardship—a breast cancer diagnosis, heart trouble, the building’s leaky roof, and a tour bus driven through its back wall.

Today the original rustic, barn-style building, surrounded by sleek, high-rise apartment buildings, still sits on South Lamar, a tribute and remembrance to an Austin that has almost vanished. Housing fifty years of country music memorabilia and about a thousand lifetimes of memories at the Broken Spoke, the Whites still honor a promise made to Ernest Tubb years ago: they’re “keepin’ it country.”
About the author: DONNA MARIE MILLER is a freelance writer, photographer, and videographer living in Austin. Her work has appeared in Alternate Root, Americana Rhythm, Austin Food, Austin Fusion, Austin Monthly, Creative Screenwriting, Elmore, Fiddler, and Texas Highways magazines.

What Readers Are Saying:

“There is a place where you can go, where Marilyn still dancin’ with Dimaggio, and Juliet with Romeo, and the name of the place is. . . The Broken Spoke” – Kinky Friedman, author and musician

“A great read that revived my memories of my favorite Austin venue”—Rosetta Wills, Author of The King of Western Swing—Bob Wills Remembered.

“If you’re feeling too tired to go to the Spoke and scoot your boots, the best way in the world to rest up is to read about it in this wonderful book.”—Eddie Wilson, proprietor of Threadgill’s.



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