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Palo Duro: Excerpt

PALO DURO

By MAX L. KNIGHT

  Genre: Historical Fiction / Western

Publisher: Page Publishing, Inc.

Date of Publication: September 2, 2017

Number of Pages: 226

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Westward expansion following the civil war ushered in an era of increased conflict between the Southern Plains Indians and white settlers. Peace treaties offered temporary suspension of hostilities, but more often than not resulted in broken promises as the two cultures clashed over land. The construction of frontier forts and towns, the decimation of the buffalo herds, the movement of cattle through Indian lands to burgeoning western markets, – all of these forces threatened a way of life that had existed for centuries.

The Comanche, the Southern Cheyenne, the Kiowa, the Apache all fought to protect their customs and homelands. The clashes were characterized by savagery on both sides – Indian and white. However, finite numbers and options would ensure the tribes’ defeat; they faced certain death or forced relocation and their days were numbered.

Though the Indian wars are the focus of Palo Duro, the novel also captures the spirit of the “Old West” with its depiction of the great cattle drives from Texas into Kansas, New Mexico, Colorado and Montana, the cattle barons and the trail blazers, the outlaws and gunslingers, the lawmen and Texas Rangers, and the settlers and entrepreneurs who built this country. It chronicles an era characterized by heroism, brutality, and bold ventures while paying tribute to a genre that is fading from public consciousness – the western. It is the story of the Southwest United States towards the end of the nineteenth century and the rugged individualism that forged a nation.

5 STAR PRAISE FOR PALO DURO:

This book captured Central Texas in the post-Civil War era better than any other book I’ve read. It was well researched, well written, and easy to read. I enjoyed this book more than Empire of the Summer Moon, the standard setter. I recommend this to readers of any level, even if you dislike history, as this book is that good. – Jeffrey R. Murray, Amazon review

Max Knight brought to life the saga of how Texas tamed their frontier. He presents a colorful experience with characters effectively placed throughout his story. If you have any interest in Texas history this book is a must read. – AmazonJacki, Amazon review

Palo Duro is an exceptional novel, well researched; a must read. – Chuck B., Amazon review

Reading this book is a great way to deepen and appreciate one’s Texas roots – or if you are not a Texan to understand and enjoy what makes Texas, well, Texas! I found this novel to be especially entertaining as well as informative. Made me want to go back and read Lonesome Dove again! – Michael P., Amazon review

In the spirit of the old Western genre of Zane Grey and L’amour, Max Knight pays homage to our national heritage with this fictional but historically accurate labor of love that warms the heart with his vivid imagery and authentic tone of America’s illustrious and sometimes brutal past. – Chester Sosinski, Amazon review

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Excerpt from Palo Duro

By Max Knight

Quanah Parker was surprised to find his sworn foe standing in front of him. Charles Goodnight had been one of the Texas Rangers that had “rescued” Cynthia Ann Parker and her daughter from the Comanche and returned them to her white “family.” Cynthia Ann had been living with the Comanche since her abduction at the age of eleven. She’d married and bore several children (Quanah amongst them) during her time amongst the Indians, and her rescue had separated her from the only life she really knew. She had been unable to re-assimilate into white society and, after her little girl died from an illness, Cynthia Ann succumbed to inconsolable grief, dying from “a broken heart.”

Quanah Parker blamed the man that now stood in front of him waiting for his response.

“You know I’ve sworn to kill you,” replied Quanah.

“You can do that. But in spite of our pasts, I think you might want to hear me out.”

Quanah gestured to the entrance to his teepee and preceded Charles Goodnight inside. The smell of smoke permeated the air and, as Goodnight surveyed the interior, the scalps on the war lances lying against the hide walls caught his attention. Both men took a seat opposite one another.

“What is it that makes you think you’ll leave here alive?” asked Quanah.

“Well, your own sense of honor won’t let you kill me, at least not here anyway. And, I’ve come to believe you’re an honorable man that only fights for his people’s survival. If that ain’t true and you’re just the savage that others believe you to be, then I guess I’m a dead man.”

“Speak what’s on your mind.”

“I’ve a proposition for you,” Goodnight began. “The buffalo are vanishing and along with them your people’s food source. No matter how hard you resist, the white hunters aren’t going to stop killing them for their hides, and the Army will continue not only to protect those hunters from your warriors but they will pursue you to the ends of the earth. Your numbers are dwindling. However, there is no need for anyone to starve. I can offer you a way to feed the people without conflict.”

“Continue.”

“Let me graze cattle within the walls of this canyon and I’ll provide you with enough meat so your people won’t starve. I only ask that you leave the herd and me alone.”

“The white man has promised food to us before on the reservations. Those promises were lies,” said Quanah.

“I’m not negotiating for the government nor am I making promises on their behalf. I want to live here with my wife and raise cattle. In exchange for peace between us, I promise you meat. I’d rather find some accommodation between us than fight, but I’ll do the latter if I have to.”

“I know you can fight, Goodnight,” reflected Quanah Parker. “The Comanche can also fight, but time is not on our side.”

“War is coming to Palo Duro Canyon eventually,” Charles Goodnight continued. “But I’m not a party to what the military does or don’t do to the Comanche people. I can only speak for myself. I’ve seen enough killing on both sides. I lost my partner to these Indian Wars and I’m prepared to let that go, just as I hope you’ll see that seeking revenge for your mom and little sister won’t bring them back. Many Comanche may yet die holding onto your way of life, but the old ones, the women and the children should not starve to death because the buffalo are gone.”

Quanah sat silently for a time. The winter of 1873 had been brutal. There had been too few buffalo chips to heat the lodges and not enough food for everyone. The “swirling whiteness” had included sleet, snow and ice. The fierce winds had blown away shelters killing people within minutes; livestock had fared even worse. With no shelter the horses so important to the Comanche had frozen to death. Additionally, just as Charles Goodnight had pointed out, the U.S. Army was now relentless in its pursuit of the Quahadi and all the Comanche. Quanah Parker knew Goodnight was right in his assessment that war was coming to Palo Duro Canyon.

Finally raising his gaze to look Goodnight in the eyes, Quanah nodded his head in agreement. Both men stood. Charles Goodnight offered his hand and Quanah Parker accepted the gesture and shook it to seal the deal.

Max L. Knight was born in Panama in 1949, and was raised both in the Canal Zone and in San Antonio, Texas where he now resides with his wife, Janet “Gray.” A proud member of the Corps of Cadets and graduate of Texas A&M University (Class of ’73), he received a bachelor’s degree in English and a Regular Army commission and served the next twenty-four years as an Air Defense and Foreign Area Officer before retiring in 1997 with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. After leaving the Army, Max spent the next five years working for RCI Technologies of San Antonio, becoming its Director of Internal Operations.

Separating from the company in 2002, he volunteered to be the first docent at the Alamo working within its Education Department before once again serving his country as a Counterintelligence Specialist in Europe, Central America, Asia and the Middle East through 2013. Max speaks several languages including Greek and Spanish. He also holds a Master of Science degree in government from Campbell University. He has written and published two books to date: Silver Taps, a personal memoir of his relationship with his father and a tribute to his alma mater, and Palo Duro, a novel focusing on the Indian wars in the southwestern United States at the end of the nineteenth century.

Blog ║ Twitter ║ Amazon Author Page ║ Pinterest ║ Facebook

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One Winner: Signed copy of Palo Duro + $20 Amazon Gift Card

Two Winners: Signed Copies of Palo Duro

JANUARY 10-19, 2018

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VISIT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR

1/10/18 Promo Texas Book Lover
1/10/18 Character Interview The Librarian Talks
1/11/18 Review Syd Savvy
1/12/18 Favorites, Part 1 StoreyBook Reviews
1/12/18 Guest Post Books in the Garden
1/13/18 Review Missus Gonzo
1/14/18 Review Texan Girl Reads
1/15/18 Excerpt The Page Unbound
1/15/18 Favorites, Part 2 A Novel Reality
1/16/18 Review Forgotten Winds
1/17/18 Author Interview The Clueless Gent
1/17/18 Playlist Tangled in Text
1/18/18 Review Hall Ways Blog
1/19/18 Scrapbook Page Books and Broomsticks
1/19/18 Review Reading by Moonlight

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The Phantom of New York, volume 1 – Peter and the Crown Promo and Giveaway

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The Phantom of New York, volume 1 – Peter and the Crown
by A.L. Janney
Genre: MG/YA Adventure
Release Date: December 2017

 

Summary:

‘This is a story about vigilantes and magic.

About prophecy and hope.

About a boy and his hotel.

When twelve-year-old Peter Constantine wakes up in the Crown Hotel with a new identity, life is over as he knows it. But perhaps that’s not such a bad thing…

A dangerous man Peter only knows as “The Client” is after his family, so they’ve relocated to New York City. With help from unlikely friends living at the glamorous hotel, including the ghost on the tenth floor, Peter’s new life begins. Soon, however, he learns of a plot to destroy his new home, a plot only the Phantom can foil.

Peter and the Crown is the first book in the Phantom of New York series, an adventure for readers aged ten and up. If you like smart, funny characters and “can’t put it down” escapades, then you’ll love Alan Janney’s Phantom of New York series.’

 

 

Excerpt:

Chapter Two – The Brown-Haired Baker Girl

On the morning of his fourth day at the Crown, Peter realized with a shock that someone was banging on his bedroom wall. From the other side.

Manos was working on Mr. Banks’s stove, and Jovanna had left for the Laundry, and Peter was lying in bed feeling sorry for himself when the soft banging began. Peter placed his ear against the wall.

A voice on the other side said, “Boy? Boy! Are you still sad?”

Peter jumped to his feet, standing on top of the bed. Unless this hotel was magical, walls didn’t talk. It had to be someone in another room. He pressed his face flat again to listen.

“Are you ever gonna come out? What’s so great about your room?” the voice asked.

Could this person be talking to Peter? It certainly seemed so because Peter was a boy and Peter had decided to never leave his room again. But who—

There was a sharp WHACK on the wall.

“Boy! Answer me!”

Peter gave the wall a soft tap with his knuckles and held his breath.

The wall answered him with a Knock Knock Knock.

“Come outside, boy!”

 

 

On sale for only $0.99 this week!

Buy Links: Amazon | Audible

 

About the Author

Winner of the 2016 National Indie Excellence Award!

You work hard.
I write adventures.
Let me entertain you.

My favorite adventurers: Ender, Frodo and Sam, Rand, Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin, Katniss, Spenser, Peter and Alicia and Amy (from The Passage), Jack Ryan, Dirk Pitt, and many others, including my two sons and my super hot wife.

 

 

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Missing Issac: Scrapbook Page and Giveaway

MISSING ISAAC
by
VALERIE FRASER LUESSE
  Genre: Southern Fiction / Christian / Coming of Age
Publisher: Revell
Date of Publication: January 2, 2018
Number of Pages: 352

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Isaac believed in luck. But from Pete’s point of view, Isaac’s luck had all run out.
When Pete McLean loses his father in the summer of 1962, his friend Isaac is one of the few people he can lean on. Though their worlds are as different as black and white, friendship knows no color. So when Isaac suddenly goes missing, Pete is determined to find out what happened—no matter what it costs him. His quest will lead him into parts of town that he knows only through rumors and introduce him to a girl who will change his life. What they discover together will change the small Southern town of Glory, Alabama—forever.
With vivid descriptions, palpable atmosphere, and unforgettable characters, debut novelist Valerie Fraser Luesse breathes life into the rural South of the 1960s—a place where ordinary people struggle to find their footing in a social landscape that is shifting beneath their feet.

PRAISE FOR MISSING ISAAC: 
“Valerie Fraser Luesse’s beautiful story reveals the human heart that always beats beneath the headlines. In the process, she movingly illuminates not only the spirit of a special region but the soul of every human being who ever dared to care. Missing Isaac will break—and then heal—your heart.” 
J. I. Baker, journalist and author of The Empty Glass 

“Welcome debut novelist Valerie Fraser Luesse to the legions of gifted Southern writers before her. Missing Isaac is the first of what we hope will be many more tales from this talented writer.”—Nancy Dorman-Hickson, coauthor of Diplomacy and Diamonds and a former editor for Progressive Farmer and Southern Living magazines
“Valerie Luesse has an ear for dialogue, an eye for detail, and a profound gift for storytelling. She breathes life into these colorful Southern characters and this quirky Alabama town from the first page.” 
Sid Evans, editor-in-chief of Southern Living magazine
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Valerie Fraser Luesse is an award-winning writer and a senior travel editor for Southern Living. Specializing in stories about unique pockets of Southern culture, Luesse has published major pieces on the Gulf Coast, the Mississippi Delta, Louisiana’s Acadian Prairie, and the Outer Banks of North Carolina. She lives in Alabama.
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Grand Prize: Print Copy of Missing Isaac, Print Copy of Southern Living Annual Recipes 2017, Handmade Leather Journal (9“x5”); 2ND PRIZE: Copy of Missing Isaac + $25 Barnes & Noble Gift Card; 3RD PRIZE: Copy of Missing Isaac + $10 Starbucks Gift Card
January 2-January 11, 2018
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VISIT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:

1/2/18
Author Interview
1/3/18
Review
1/4/18
Top 15 List
1/5/18
Excerpt
1/6/18
Review
1/7/18
Guest Post
1/8/18
Review
1/9/18
Scrapbook Page
1/10/18
Playlist
1/11/18
Review
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Holding the Fort: Top Ten List

HOLDING THE FORT

The Fort Reno Series, Book 1

By REGINA JENNINGS

Genre: Historical Western Christian Romance

Publisher: Bethany House Publishers

Date of Publication: December 5, 2017

Number of Pages: 353

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With Miss Bell as the Teacher, Everyone’s Bound to Learn an Interesting Lesson


Dance hall singer Louisa Bell has always lived one step from destitution. When she loses her job at the Cat-Eye Saloon, she has nowhere else to go but to her brother, a cavalry soldier stationed in Indian Territory. But he’s run afoul of his commanding officer. Unsure what she can do to help him and desperate for a job, she doesn’t protest when she’s mistaken for a governess at the fort. How hard can teaching really be?


Major Daniel Adams has his hands full at Fort Reno, especially raising two adolescent daughters alone. If this new governess doesn’t work out, his mother-in-law insists she’ll raise the girls herself–far away from the fort. Miss Bell bears little resemblance to Daniel’s notion of a governess–they’re not supposed to be so blamed pretty–but he finds himself turning a blind eye to her unconventional methods. Louisa has never faced so important a performance. Can she keep her act together long enough to help her brother and to secure the respectable future she’s sought for so long?

PRAISE FOR HOLDING THE FORT & THE FORT RENO SERIES:

“The first book in Jennings’ new Fort Reno series is a delightful read that helps solidify what a wonderful and imaginative writer Jennings is. She manages to create unique stories with interesting and well-developed characters while combining humor, mystery and a sprinkle of faith.”

–RT Book Reviews

“In this character-driven series launch, Jennings offers a powerful lesson on the freedom of truth and forgiveness wrapped in a delightful story of love against the odds.”

Publishers Weekly


“This series launch is a charming historical romance set in 1880s Fort Reno, OK. . . . Jennings kicks off a new series with a light and enjoyable tale that will delight her fans as well as lovers of historical romance.”

Library Journal

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My 10 Favorite Things to Smell at Christmas

By Author Regina Jennings

I’ll admit it, I like smelling things. Maybe it’s because I’ve spent so much time around things that don’t smell good – stockyards, baby diapers, missing sippy cups with curdled milk – that I really appreciate the opposite. I always linger in the candle section of stores and if a friend pulls out an essential oil I haven’t heard of, I’ve got to take a sniff.

Luckily, Christmas is the season for good smells and nothing revives sweet memories like a whiff of the holidays.  So, here’s a list of things I hope you get to enjoy before the season is over:

  1. Peppermint – Nothing signals Christmas like the sight of the red and white candy, but the flavor is even more cheery. My favorite method of enjoying peppermint is Braum’s peppermint ice cream. A bit chilly, but so worth it.
  2. Cinnamon – Whether it’s cinnamon sticks simmering on the stove, or a pie in the oven, cinnamon means take off your coat and sit a spell.
  3. Fireplace – Smoke-filled rooms? If it’s a wood-burning fireplace, count me in! Let it burn so hot that we have to move the stockings to a safe place.
  4. Sugar Cookies – I love the smell of sugar cookies, but do you know what I hate? I hate candles or scenty things that try to replicate it. False friends, how dare you deceive me! Nothing is worse than walking into the kitchen and thinking there’s a plate of sugar cookies waiting for you. For real, people. Don’t do it.
  5. Burberry London – Because a few years ago my sweet husband got me some of this perfume. Whenever I wear it now, I think of opening nicely wrapped little packages.
  6. Snow – Snow has a smell. It’s a clean, earthy smell that lingers after you’ve been making snowballs. Not to be confused with the smell of wet wool mittens.
  7. Pine – Here’s a smell that I don’t mind counterfeiting. Yes, it’d be nice if our Hanging of the Green involved real pine boughs, but it’s just not practical. All the same, pine makes me think that someone just mopped my floor, and there’s no better feeling than that.
  8. Apple Cider – My favorite hot drink! I love holding a steaming cup under my nose until it fogs up my reading glasses.
  9. Pomander (Cloved Oranges) – Have you ever made these? They are easy and rewarding. Just poke some holes in an orange and push cloves into the holes. Viola, you have a sweet-smelling, natural air freshener. This is a great holiday activity to keep the kids busy while you wrap presents. Or at least I assume that’s why my mom always needed us to make them.
  10. Grandma’s House – Whenever I got a package from one of my grandmas, I could bury my nose into it (I’ve already admitted I like smelling stuff), and smell her house. And at Christmas, Grandma’s house was a magical mixture of most of the scents I listed above. Maybe your house is, too. Ask your family and see what they think.

So those are some of the things I’m looking forward to over the next few weeks. Here’s hoping that you will be surrounded by the scents of Christmas, but also by people who love you.

Sincerely,

Regina

P.S. What’s your favorite Christmas scent?

Regina Jennings is a graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University with a degree in English and a minor in history. She’s the winner of the National Readers’ Choice Award, a two-time Golden Quill finalist and a finalist for the Oklahoma Book of the Year Award. Regina has worked at the Mustang News and at First Baptist Church of Mustang, along with time at the Oklahoma National Stockyards and various livestock shows.

She lives outside of Oklahoma City with her husband and four children.

Website ║ Twitter║ Amazon Author Page ║ Pinterest  Facebook

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December 18-22 & December 26-30, 2017

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VISIT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:

12/18/17 Excerpt 1 Hall Ways Blog
12/19/17 Review Texan Girl Reads
12/20/17 Notable Quotable Books and Broomsticks
12/21/17 Author Video Forgotten Winds
12/22/17 Review StoreyBook Reviews
12/26/17 Excerpt 2 Tangled in Text
12/27/17 Notable Quotable A Novel Reality
12/28/17 Review Missus Gonzo
12/29/17 Top Ten List The Page Unbound
12/30/17 Review Books in the Garden

 

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Bonnie and Clyde: Excerpt

BONNIE AND CLYDE:

Resurrection Road

Book One in a New Trilogy

By CLARK HAYS AND KATHLEEN McFALL  

Genre:  Alternative Historical Fiction / Thriller

Date of Publication: April 22, 2017

Pages: 308

Publisher: Pumpjack Press

on Facebook

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In an alternate timeline, legendary lovers Bonnie and Clyde are given one last shot at redemption.

The story begins in 1984 when a reporter gets a tip to meet an old woman at a Texas cemetery. Cradling an antique rifle and standing over a freshly dug grave, the old woman claims to be Bonnie Parker. Turns out, she says, it wasn’t Bonnie and Clyde who were ambushed fifty years earlier. Instead, the outlaws were kidnapped, forced into a covert life and given a deadly mission—save President Roosevelt from an assassination plot financed by industrialists determined to sink the New Deal.

Thrust into a fight against greed they didn’t ask for, but now must win in order to save themselves and their families, will the notorious duo overcome their criminal pasts and put their “skills” to use fighting for justice for the working class?

Cutting back and forth between the modern era where the shocked reporter investigates the potential scoop-of-the-century, and the desperate undercover exploits of Bonnie and Clyde in 1934, Resurrection Road is a page-turning sleep-wrecker.

Bonnie and Clyde. Saving democracy, one bank robbery at a time. 

PRAISE FOR BONNIE AND CLYDE: RESURRECTION ROAD:

“Sex, danger and intrigue, coupled with just the right dose of cheeky humor,” — East Oregonian 

“A Depression-era tale timely with reflections on fat cats and a rigged economic system that still ring true. More than that, the story is an exciting ride, with tight corners, narrow escapes, and real romantic heat between Bonnie and Clyde. Outlaws become patriots in this imaginative, suspenseful what-if story,” — Kirkus Reviews 

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EXCERPT from Bonnie and Clyde: Resurrection Road

By Clark Hays and Kathleen McFall

This scene is from early in the book when the young Bonnie and Clyde regain consciousness after being kidnapped by the shadowy government organization. The year is 1934.

“Have you heard the news?” the woman asked. “The infamous Bonnie and Clyde are dead. Gunned down in an ambush. Cut to pieces by four Texas Rangers with Tommy guns.”

She tossed a thick, folded newspaper—a copy of the Dallas Morning News—onto the plain metal table in front of two shackled prisoners, a man and a woman.

“Can you both read?” she asked. “Allow me: ‘Posse kills Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow,’” she said, reading the headlines upside down. “‘Elusive Dallas desperadoes shot to death in Louisiana.’ The pictures really do you justice. You look—I don’t know—taller,” she said to Clyde. “And prettier,” she said to Bonnie.

Clyde bristled and tugged at the handcuffs. His eyes were heavy, his thoughts slow to form. He looked over at Bonnie, and she shrugged helplessly. He’d never seen her look anything less than certain before, even when things were going to hell.

“With so many bullets, your bodies are barely recognizable,” the woman said.

The photographs showed two bloodied corpses. A man and a woman. The bodies were spread carelessly across a greasy wooden floor. An army of excited gawkers looked through a storefront, palms pressed against the glass.

“They may be dead ringers for us, be we obviously ain’t dead,” Clyde said.

“I am the only person in the world right now who knows that to be true,” the woman said. “Take a moment and let the implications of that fact sink in.”

“Is this some kind of joke? Like one of them gag papers or something?” Clyde asked, his voice rising.

“I assure you it’s no joke,” the woman said. “In fact, this may be the most important few minutes of your sorry lives. You get to decide whether you’re really dead, like the papers say, or if you live.”

“Why are we even talking?” Clyde asked. “We killed people. Cops and regular people. We’re guilty as sin and you got us dead to rights.”

Clyde tried to make out where they were. The room was nearly dark. There were no windows, so maybe it was night. It felt damp and smelled like old dirt, used-up engine oil, and onions—a cellar maybe.

“If we didn’t think you were useful, we wouldn’t be having this conversation,” the woman said.

“What do you mean, useful?” Bonnie asked, the fire returning to her eyes. The last thing she remembered was being pulled out of the car.

“Ah, so the notorious Bonnie Parker has a voice,” the woman said. “I was starting to worry that maybe your vocal chords were broken.”

“I wish my ears were broken so I didn’t have to listen to you yammering on,” Bonnie said.

The woman pulled up a splintered wooden chair and sat down facing them.“You were a big slap in the face to the bullies trying to take over the whole damn country and ruin it for everyone except them and their cronies. We always knew it was going to end in a violent death—yours, I mean—but until then, you provided a level of excitement that made the fat cats nervous. But when you started killing cops, the story got away from us.”

“Who exactly is the ‘we’ in your story?” Bonnie asked, struggling to make sense of the rapid-fire words coming from this woman’s mouth.

“That’s not your concern. What is your concern is what we could possibly see in a couple of incorrigible lowlifes that would cause us to go to such great lengths to pluck you out of the very mouth of hell and put you in this room.”

“That was gonna be my next question,” Clyde said. “Maybe not in them exact words.”

“You probably wouldn’t have said ‘incorrigible,’ for one,” Bonnie said, amplifying Clyde’s bravado out of instinct. And habit.

“Turns out you’re pretty good at staying alive and getting out of tight spots,” she said. “Or maybe it’s dumb luck. Guess we’re about to find out. Your little crime spree ended two days ago. Now it’s time to give back and help this country of ours stay on track.”

“Fat chance, lady,” Clyde said. “We ain’t never gonna help the law.”

“Oh, I think you will,” she said, leaning back in the chair. “You’re about to earn your lives back.”

“Yeah, what makes you think that?” Bonnie asked, her head finally clearing.

A native of Texas, Clark Hays spent his early childhood there and then moved for a decade with his family around the world following the job of his father, a legendary wildcat petroleum drilling engineer, before finally landing on a Montana ranch. Kathleen McFall was born and raised in Washington, D.C.

Between the two of them, the authors have worked in writing jobs ranging from cowboy-poet to energy journalist to restaurant reviewer to university press officer. After they met in the early 1990s, their writing career took center stage when they wrote the first book in The Cowboy and the Vampire Collection as a test for marriage. They passed. Their debut novel was picked up by Llewellyn (St. Paul, MN) with a first edition published in 1999, making it among the earliest stories in the resurgence and reimagining of the undead myth for modern audiences.

Since then, Clark and Kathleen have published five novels together—the latest reimagines the life of the legendary outlaws Bonnie and Clyde.

Clark and Kathleen have won several writing awards, including a Pushcart Prize nomination (Clark) and a fiction fellowship from Oregon Literary Arts (Kathleen). Their books have been honored with a Best Books of 2014 by Kirkus Reviews, Best Books of 2016 by IndieReader, and a 2017 Silver IPPY Medalist. 

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Pumpjack Press

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12/18/17 Teaser Tangled in Text
12/19/17 Excerpt 1 Texas Book Lover
12/20/17 Review Momma on the Rocks
12/21/17 Guest Post 1 The Librarian Talks
12/22/17 Review Chapter Break Book Blog
12/26/17 Excerpt 2 The Page Unbound
12/27/17 Review Hall Ways Blog
12/28/17 Guest Post 2 The Clueless Gent
12/29/17 Excerpt 3 Books and Broomsticks
12/30/17 Review Forgotten Winds

 

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Bluster’s Last Stand: Excerpt and Giveaway

BLUSTER’S LAST STAND

The Memoirs of H.H. Lomax, #4

by
PRESTON LEWIS
  Genre:  Historical Western Fiction / Humor
Date of Publication: November 15, 2017
Publisher: Wild Horse Press

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Events on the Little Bighorn might have turned out better for George Armstrong Custer had he listened to H.H. Lomax rather than trying to kill him.  To save his own skin—and scalp!—Lomax must outwit Custer and his troopers as well as face hundreds of Sioux and Cheyenne warriors swarming Last Stand Hill. 
At least that is how Lomax in his inimitable style tells the story in this humorous romp across Old West history.  Lomax’s latest misadventures take him from the Battle of Adobe Walls to Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show.  In between, he’s a bouncer in a Waco whorehouse, a prospector in the Black Hills, a bartender in a Dakota Territory saloon and a combatant in the worst defeat in the history of the frontier Army. 
Along the way, Lomax crosses paths with Bat Masterson, Buffalo Bill, Wild Bill Hickok, General Custer, his brother Tom Custer and the troopers of the Seventh Cavalry as well as hordes of Comanche, Kiowa, Sioux and Cheyenne warriors, not to mention the most dangerous adversary of all—a newspaper reporter with ambition.

Told with Lomax’s characteristic wit, Bluster’s Last Stand puts a new spin on the Little Bighorn and its aftermath.  Whether you believe him or not, you’ve got to admire Lomax’s luck and pluck in both surviving one of the darkest days in Old West history and writing about the disaster in the latest volume of The Memoirs of H.H. Lomax.
=================== ║=================== 

PRAISE FOR THE H.H. LOMAX SERIES:

“A new series by Preston Lewis features a protagonist, H.H. Lomax, who isn’t much of a gunfighter, horseman or gambler.  Instead, he is a likeable loser who runs into old western celebrities like Billy the Kid and the Jesse James gang, and barely escapes.”  Wall Street Journal
“It takes a special talent to write first-person novels based on the premise of ‘lost papers,’ but Preston Lewis is an especially fresh and innovative writer and he knows how to do it.”
Rocky Mountain News
Fans of the Western as a genre will delight in Lewis’ ongoing spoof of many traditions which fiction writers from Owen Wister to Elmer Kelton captured well enough to turn into key parts of our myths and folklore….Lewis’s wit is at times Puckishly wry, at other times bawdy in the manner of Chaucer.  It is always engaging.  Texas Books in Review
Several Old West historians have blessed the Lomax books as expertly crafted fiction. Dallas Morning News

 

EXCERPT from Bluster’s Last Stand

By Preston Lewis

On Renewing Acquaintance with Buffalo Bill

Drawing up my horse twenty paces in front of Cody, I watched as he lowered his hand from his eyes.  A grin broke open between his mustache and beard.  He strode toward me.

“Well, I’ll be damned,” Cody said.  “If my sight doesn’t deceive me, it’s Leadeye Lomax, the worst buffalo shooter on the plains.”

“Your eyes are as sharp as ever, Bill,” I said as I dismounted.  “How the hell you been?”

“Making money and making do,” he answered.  “Much as I hate to admit it, I owe my good fortune to you.  If you hadn’t nicknamed me Buffalo Bill, I’d probably still be scouting for low wages rather than getting paid for leading expeditions for wealthy men and even performing my exploits on stage for paying customers.”

“Maybe I need a cut of your take if I’m the cause of your good fortune.”

Cody laughed, then walked up, grabbed my hand and shook it vigorously before grasping me in a bear hug.

“You don’t need a cut, Lomax.  I returned the favor by knighting you Leadeye Lomax.”

“The name’s yet to catch on but I’ll give you a quarter interest in the proceeds in exchange for a quarter share of the profits from your name,” I offered.

“No deal, but I’ll introduce you to folks that can make your name as famous as mine.”

When I escaped Cody’s bear hug, I turned around and motioned for Wolfe and Dreban to dismount.  The fear had drained from their faces, though I hoped it hadn’t reached the seat of their britches.  Dreban and Wolfe stepped beside me, very careful with their movement.  

“Fellows,” I said, “I’d like you to meet William F. Cody, better known as Buffalo Bill.”

With a dramatic gesture he must have learned from theater work, he yanked off his hat and bowed like a performer after a standing ovation.  That was Cody.  He craved attention and acclaim as well as the women that always seemed to be with him when his wife wasn’t.

As he straightened up and replaced his hat, I said, “Bill, these are my partners, Douglas Wolfe and Brian Dreban.  They’re telegraphers.”

Cody stepped to them, grabbed their hands and shook them vigorously.  “You boys won’t find many telegraph wires in these parts, smoke signals more likely.”

“You’re the Buffalo Bill?” Dreban stammered.

“Absolutely, friend.  I can’t afford to hire an imposter.”

“And you know, Lomax?” Wolfe wanted to know.

“Known him for years,” Cody replied.  “We’ve hunted together, fought Indians together, eaten from the same pot of beans and even shared the same woman on occasion.”

“We didn’t believe him,” Dreban said.

Cody slapped me on the shoulder.  “I’ve never known a man to tell more truths than Leadeye Lomax.  Of course, if he’s in a bind, he might stretch the facts a little.”

            Preston Lewis is the Spur Award-winning author of 30 western, juvenile and historical novels, including Bluster’s Last Stand published by Wild Horse Press.   
            Bluster’s Last Stand, a novel about Custer and the Battle of Little Bighorn, is the latest volume in Lewis’s well-received Memoirs of H.H. Lomax series of comic westerns that began with The Demise of Billy the Kid.  Subsequent books in the series—The Redemption of Jesse James and Mix-Up at the O.K. Corral—were both Spur Finalists from Western Writers of America (WWA). 
            Lewis’s historical novel Blood of Texas on the Texas Revolution received WWA’s Spur Award for Best Western Novel.  His western caper The Fleecing of Fort Griffin in 2017 earned him his third Elmer Kelton Award from the West Texas Historical Association (WTHA) for best creative work on West Texas. 
            His True West article on the Battle of Yellowhouse Canyon won a Spur Award for Best Nonfiction Article.  In addition to True West, his short works have appeared in publications as varied as Louis L’Amour Western Magazine, Persimmon Hill, Dallas Morning News, The Roundup, Journal of the Wild West History Association and San Angelo Standard-Times
         A native West Texan and current San Angelo resident, Lewis holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Baylor University and master’s degrees from Ohio State in journalism and Angelo State in history.  He is a past president of WWA and WTHA.  Lewis is a longstanding member of the Authors Guild and an associate member of the Dramatists Guild of America.  
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12/14/17
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Review
12/16/17
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12/17/17
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Dating the It Guy Blitz and Giveaway

Dating the It Guy by Krysten Lindsay Hager

YA contemporary

 

Blurb:

Emme is a sophomore in high school who starts dating, Brendon Agretti, the popular senior who happens to be a senator’s son and well-known for his good looks. Emme feels out of her comfort zone in Brendon’s world and it doesn’t help that his picture perfect ex, Lauren seems determined to get back into his life along with every other girl who wants to be the future Mrs. Agretti. Emme is already conflicted due to the fact her last boyfriend cheated on her and her whole world is off kilter with her family issues. Life suddenly seems easier keeping Brendon away and relying on her crystals and horoscopes to guide her. Emme soon starts to realize she needs to focus less on the stars and more on her senses. Can Emme get over her insecurities and make her relationship work? Life sure is complicated when you’re dating the it guy.

Booktrailer: 

 

Excerpt:

“So this is how the night ends—just the three musketeers,” Kylie said.

“Ooh, I could go for one of those right now. Let’s get the driver to stop at a drugstore,” Margaux said.

“I want it noted, for the record, my date didn’t puke,” Kylie said.

I laughed. “Not exactly something to brag about to your grandkids fifty years from now, but you do have us beat. Crap, I just got gravy on my dress.”

Kylie told me to be grateful it was just gravy after the night we had. We went into a convenience store to get snacks. I had a funny feeling I shouldn’t go in, seeing as my dress was stained, my face was greasy, and my hair was messed up from leaning my head back on the seat, but I ignored my intuition because I was afraid Kylie wouldn’t get the potato chips I wanted. Ignoring my intuition proved to be the wrong thing to do because who did I run into? Brendon, Lauren, Sam, and his date. I couldn’t turn around because they saw me walk in. Plus, Margaux had her hand firmly pushing me into the store. “Say ‘hi’ and act like you’re having fun,” she said in my ear.

“Hi guys,” I said, smiling so hard I probably cracked my makeup, and I put my purse in front of the stain on my dress. “Getting some snacks?” No, stupid, they were paying for chips and candy bars because they wanted to feed the birds. I’m so dumb.

“Yeah, we’re going to sneak it into the hotel,” Lauren said. “See ya.”

As soon as they cleared the doorway, the three of us said, “Hotel?” at the same time.

“Maybe they rented a room, and they’re just having a little party or something,” Kylie said.

“Or maybe after they leave their little party, Lauren and Brendon are going to stay in the room,” Margaux said. Kylie told her to shut up, but Margaux was probably right. Brendon wasn’t my boyfriend anymore, so it wasn’t like he was cheating, but it still felt like he had ripped my heart out, shoved it back down my throat, and then made me throw it back up.

We started to leave when Brendon came back inside. “Hey, I forgot to get some ice,” he said.  Margaux moved in front of me to block the view of my dress. Brendon picked up the bag of ice and said, “You guys can meet us at the hotel if you want. A bunch of us rented a room just to hang out. We’re at the Ainsley Inn on Woodward—it’s right across from the Marcus restaurant, and we’re in room one-thirty-one.”

“He came back just to let you know he and Lauren weren’t hooking up,” Margaux said. “And I think we should go to the Ainsley to make sure they don’t.”

“I look too gross to go anywhere.”

Margaux went over to the guy behind the counter. “I know the sign says customers can’t use the bathroom, but take pity on her,” she said, pointing to me. “Her ex just invited her to a party with his girlfriend and look at her dress. Please let her try to make herself look decent.”

The guy leaned over the counter and said, “Nasty. Okay, but just for a minute.”

The three of us tried to scrub the stain, but the gravy was not coming out. “This isn’t over. Come on, let’s trade,” Kylie said. “We’re about the same size, and I already have a boyfriend, so I’m not out to impress anyone there.” I hugged her, and we switched dresses.

The driver took us to the hotel, and I had to do deep breathing exercises before we knocked on the door. I don’t know what I was worried about, seeing as Brendon knew we might show up, but maybe I was afraid Lauren would answer the door wearing just a sheet. Instead, Sam answered the door. There weren’t a lot of people there yet, but Lauren was clinging to Brendon like a static-y sock. The three of us didn’t know what to do, so we sat on one of the couches, huddled together.

“Why are we here again?” I asked.

“Because you’re not over your ex, dummy,” Margaux said, rolling her eyes. “But I’m not going to sit here all night when there’s chocolate in the limo, so go talk to him or something.”

Like I could walk over to where Lauren was sitting in the same oversized chair with him, almost on his lap. How obvious could you get? I had this feeling he still wanted to be with me, but what if it wasn’t intuition but just some pathetic desperate thing?  “

 

 

Purchase Links:

Amazon / Barnes and Noble / iTunes / Kobo

 

Praise for Dating the It Guy:

“Dating the It Guy is an entertaining story that is as absorbing as it is hilarious.” Reviewed by Arya Fomonyuy for Readers’ Favorite

“A satisfying YA romance that is really about growing up and learning how to deal with life.” Writing Pearls book review blog

“There is so much to love about this book. Krysten Lindsay Hager knows how teens think and speak, and she understands why Emme would feel overwhelmed by everything about Brendon – his looks, his popularity, his feelings for her, his exes, his family.” Vox libris: the voice of books book review blog

 

Bio:

Besides mining her teen years and humiliating moments for her novels, Krysten is also a book addict who has never met a bookstore she didn’t like. Krysten writes about friendship, self-esteem, fitting in, frenemies, crushes, fame, first loves, and values. She is the author of True Colors, Best Friends…Forever?, Next Door to a Star,  Landry in Like, Competing with the Star (The Star Series: Book 2), and Dating the It Guy. Her debut novel, True Colors, won the Readers Favorite award for best preteen book and the Dayton Book Expo Best Sellers award. Krysten’s work has been featured in USA Today, The Flint Journal, the Grand Haven Tribune, the Beavercreek Current, the Grand Blanc View, the Bellbrook Times and on Living Dayton.

 

Author Links:

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Hinder Promo and Giveaway

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Book details:
Hinder 
by Kristin Ping
(Guardian of Monsters #1)
Publication date: May 15th 2018
Genres: Fantasy, New Adult, Paranormal
Synopsis:

Ethan Sutcliff seems like a normal seventeen-year-old—at least that’s what he’s trying to portray. In a secret society run by the Supernaturals, Ethan is what witches call a Bender. Benders are Witches’ Guardians, who are able to control a witches’ ability, bend it, or move it away from harming humans. In Ethan’s case, he is able to bend the Earth element. But at the age of fifteen, he lost all connection to it, and the reasons behind it could only mean one of two things: His Wielder is either dead, or hiding out somewhere.

Alex Burgendorf has been living in her aunt’s locket for the past sixteen years with her mother—a Fire Wielder, and her father—a Water Wielder. For sixteen years, her parents vowed to protect her, and they have, as she is the last Earth wielding witch. However, time is running out. Alex must find her Bender, or the fate of the Supernaturals might be at stake.

 

 

Excerpt:

Before Sentinels it was just earth Wielders. That was how powerful they were and Ethan was the lucky boy that was going to be part of that. He was going to become the next earth Wielder’s protector in every way possible.

Tears formed in Ethan’s eyes, but he refused to let them roll down his cheek. He tried so hard to live up to his element, to be strong and special.

Sad that the boy didn’t know how strong or special he already was. Maybe it was my fault as a father, as a parent.

I wanted to tell Natalie that she should stop making him feel so terrible. He was just exploring. But what good would that do? We would just end up fighting again. I was so tired of our fights. Shoulders slumped, I turned to go inside. That was when I heard the roar of engines.

The hair on my arms and neck stood straight. Adrenaline poured into my blood like jet fuel and my heartbeat skyrocketed as I turned to see Natalie running toward me across the yard, jerking little Ethan along by the hand.

“Get rid of them. Now.” She shouldered past me into the house.

No one had seen what Ethan had done, right? No, it wasn’t possible. Was it?

Three black Jeeps and a silver one careened into the driveway, spitting gravel behind their shiny black tires. I leaped off the steps but then composed myself. With great effort, I slowed to a sedate walk. I had to try to make this farmhouse seem like any other sleepy home on this continent—even though it was far from it.

Who are these people? What are they doing here?

They weren’t Necrocretors. Necrocretors didn’t use Jeeps or SUVs to make their entrances. Whoever they were, they were driving fast. Too fast.

As they pulled closer, the sun glinted off the tinted windows and blinded me. Then when they turned an angle, I saw it. It was the outline of a barrel.

I dove for the willow. Bullets shredded bark above my head. Splinters and sawdust flew everywhere.

My back was firmly against the tree, safe from the bullets, or so I hoped. Thank goodness he grew a fully mature tree, I marveled. Otherwise I’d be dead.

I recited words that hadn’t touched my tongue in years. I carried them in my skin on my tattoo, across my chest, close to my heart. A phrase scribbled in Latin that I’ve learned at a very young age: Estque vel me vel.

Its meaning was simple: It is either them or me.

If someone had to die, it wasn’t going to be me.

I took out the Zippo in my back pocket, closed my eyes, and used my diaphragmatic breathing exercises to calm my heart.

More gunshots sizzled overhead. Bits of the porch railing and the willow bar exploded. The air filled with the scent of sulfur and singed wood.

I took a deep breath.

Then I flicked the flint.

 

Pre-Order:

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AUTHOR BIO:
Kristin resides in South Africa with her husband, two beautiful girls and two bulldogs that tries to eat her house.
She has been writing for the past eight years and her first debut novel, Hinder: A Bender’s novel will be published 2018 by Fire Quill Publishing.When she isn’t writing, she is spending her time with her family, or trying to teach her two bulldogs to not eat her house. You can find more about Kristin at www.authorkristinping.com
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Cowboy, It’s Cold Outside: Review and Giveaway

Rating:


COWBOY, 
IT’S COLD OUTSIDE

A Twilight, Texas Novel

by
LORI WILDE
  Genre:  Contemporary Holiday Romance
Date of Publication: October 27, 2017
Publisher: Avon 
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Number of Pages: 400
Rating: 4/5

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New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Lori Wilde’s Twilight, TX Christmas novels are beloved for their emotional depth and ability to capture the sweetness of the holiday season. In her latest Twilight, Texas novel, COWBOY, IT’S COLD OUTSIDE, the holiday season is once again full of romance and surprises.
Everyone in town knows that Christmas in Twilight has a way of bringing lovers together . . . but will its magic bring this pair from “I won’t” to “I do?”
Wearing a too-tight “Santa Baby” costume held in by a double pair of Spanx, Paige MacGregor runs headlong into a gorgeous, grey-eyed hunk of a long, tall cowboy. And not just any cowboy, but country-western star Cash Colton, visiting Twilight to perform in a charity concert. Most women would melt at his feet, but Paige knows all-too-much about self-assured men with cocky attitudes, so she tells him to get lost.
Cash is in town, nursing his own broken heart, but Paige has knocked him off his feet. He’s convinced she’s perfect—someone to inspire his music and share his now-empty bed. True, he’s not marriage material, but he’s determined to convince her that they’re perfect together—at least for a while. But what he doesn’t count on is falling in love with the one woman who isn’t about to give him the time of day!
“When it comes to striking exactly the right balance between sweet and sexy, Wilde has the equivalent of perfect pitch.” — Booklist 

=================== ║=================== 

Cowboy, It’s Cold Outside was the perfect Christmas read about giving love a chance. The story follows Cash Colton, a cowboy and famous country singer, and Paige MacGregor, a woman working three jobs just to make ends meet. Paige meets Cash when she’s working the theater to usher people to their seats. Unaware of who this cowboy is, Paige kicks him out of the theater, telling him he can’t enter until the doors open. Of course Cash is instantly drawn to her and for both, sparks sizzle between them. But to win Paige’s heart, Cash needs to work harder than just batting his dark eyelashes at her. His charm is enchanting, but it’s the kindness, friendship, and comfort in the man that draws Paige in.

Love is something hard for both. For Cash, he was told when he was little that love wasn’t worth the sacrifice. He puts his heart into his music, and love has become something foreign to him. Sure, he dates girls, sleeps with them, has the one night stands. Even had a girl friend for awhile, but Cash doesn’t really know what love is, until it hits him out of no where with Paige. As for Paige, she’s been hurt, bad, and refuses to give Cash the time of day no matter how charming and good looking the man is. But even so, he draws her to him and soon they begin their magical dance as they try to figure out what the other means to them and how their hearts will fit together.

Cowboy, It’s Cold Outside tugged on the strings of my heart. I’m sure I held my breath more than once reading this because Cash and Paige are just so cute together, and any wrench thrown in their path was an obstacle I wanted them to fix right away. They are perfect for each other! And I love how they each seem to bring out the best in the other, to change each other for the better. As characters, they continuously encourage each other to grow even if they didn’t realize it.

If you are looking for a charming, Christmas read, then this book is definitely for you. There’s so much to love about this book! And I simply loved seeing how their dance soared across the pages. It’s heartfelt, heart wrenching, and adorable. A lovely read!

One thing I absolutely loved in this books was their bickering at the beginning. Here is one of my favorite moments from the book:

“It was never my intention to embarrass or belittle you.”

“No? What was your intention?”

“It was supposed to have been a romantic gesture. I was trying to romance you.”

“Huh?”

“Stop looking at me like I’m a lunatic.” He growled, but it was a pleasant sound, more like a tomcat than a tiger.

“How in heaven’s name was that romantic?”

“As things turned out, it wasn’t. But most woman I know would be over the moon to get pulled up onstage-“

“Does it hurt?” she asked. 

“Does what hurt?”

“Carrying around such a gigantic ego.” 

 

A fifth generation Texan, Lori Wilde is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of 82 works of fiction. She’s a three-time nominee of the Romance Writers of America prestigious RITA award and has won numerous other awards. She holds a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Texas Christian University, and a certificate in forensics. She is also a certified Hatha yoga instructor, and runs a yoga/creativity retreat for artists at Epiphany Orchards in Weatherford, Texas, the Cutting Horse Capital of the World.
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12/11/17
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Author Interview
12/15/17
Review
12/16/17
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Review
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