Dragonfly: Guest Post and Giveaway

DRAGONFLY
by
LEILA MEACHAM

  Genre: Historical / WWII / Espionage
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing 
Date of Publication: July 9, 2019
Number of Pages: 576

Scroll down for giveaway!



From the New York Times bestselling author of Roses comes a gripping new novel about five young spies embedded among the highest Nazi ranks in occupied Paris

At the height of World War II, a handful of idealistic young Americans receive a mysterious letter from the government, asking them if they are willing to fight for their country. The men and women from very different backgrounds-a Texan athlete with German roots, an upper-crust son of a French mother and a wealthy businessman, a dirt-poor Midwestern fly fisherman, an orphaned fashion designer, and a ravishingly beautiful female fencer-all answer the call of duty, but each for a secret reason of her or his own. They bond immediately, in a group code-named Dragonfly. 
Thus begins a dramatic cat-and-mouse game, as the group seeks to stay under the radar until a fatal misstep leads to the capture and the firing-squad execution of one of their team. But…is everything as it seems, or is this one more elaborate act of spycraft?

PRAISE FOR DRAGONFLY:

“Meacham’s impeccable pacing and razor-wire tension evoke the daily drama of life under a Reich whose French reign might have lasted little more than four years but felt like the thousand years that it threatened to endure.” ―Bookpage

“Meacham’s nail-biting tale will please fans looking for an intricate story of spycraft and deception.” ―Publishers Weekly
“Meacham ratchets the suspense ever tighter, while providing fascinating backstory on the intrepid five [American spies] as well as delivering a detail-rich portrait of Paris during the Occupation.” ―Booklist

“Complex, epic, and rich in historical detail-an uplifting story of finding friendship behind enemy lines.” ― Kirkus


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My Two “Careers” as a Published Author
Guest Post by Leila Meacham

In an interview with Lone Star Literary Life some years ago, I was asked to share the story of my two “careers” as a published author. My interviewer was correct to put the word careers in quotation marks because my first foray into fiction was a brief interruption of—or intrusion into—my real career, which was teaching. In the mid-eighties I accepted a bet from a colleague that I could not write a romance novel. She maintained I could and “elevate the genre,” as she called it. So one summer, I set out to prove her wrong. Lo and behold, I lost the bet and had to buy her a steak dinner. A local agent, again at the bidding of my colleague, took a look at the book, offered to represent it, and popped it off to a publishing house in New York City. Before I knew it, the book was published as Ryan’s Hand. There followed two more romances, coerced by the terms of my publisher’s contract, but when that obligation was fulfilled, I retired my fiction-writing pen and vowed never to pick it up again.

At age sixty-five, I had been retired from teaching for ten years and had run out of everything you wait for retirement to do. I had gardened, traveled, entertained, volunteered, lunched, tried new recipes, re-decorated the house. The dog had died. My husband was still involved in his career. We had no children, thus no grandchildren. One morning as I faced another day of un-stimulation, I asked God what he wanted me to do with the rest of my life, and clearly I “heard,” like a fragrance you’re suddenly aware of in a room, that I was to finish a novel I had dabbled at twenty years earlier during a year of debilitating illness when I had to take a sabbatical from teaching. I responded with what all Texans say when they haven’t heard—or don’t want to hear—something clearly. “Say what?!!” I said. That was not what I had in mind at all. But one does not argue with God, so down came the box from the top shelf of my closet, dust and all, and I plowed into it for over a period of five years, on and off. I intended to put the book right back on the shelf from whence it came with no thought of going through the impossible wickets to get it published. However, the Saturday after I wrote THE END (glorious day!) on the final page of the manuscript, a friend asked me if I’d finished the book.  I said yes. Monday, she called to say that her niece was married to David McCormick, a top literary agent in New York City and that she’d instructed her niece to tell David that he was to take a look at my novel. Long story short, he did and accepted it for representation.  After several months of making the revisions he suggested, he submitted it to various publishers and Grand Central Publishing made a pre-emptive bid for the book now known as Roses. I was seventy years old when it was released. I am eighty years old now, and since Roses, I have published five more books.




Leila Meacham is a writer and former teacher who lives in San Antonio, Texas. She is the author of the bestselling novels Roses, Tumbleweeds, Somerset, and Titans.
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Light from Distant Stars: Top Five and Giveaway

LIGHT FROM DISTANT STARS
by
SHAWN SMUCKER
Genre: Christian Fiction / Magical Realism / Rural Fiction
Publisher: Revell
Date of Publication: July 16, 2019
Number of Pages: 400
Scroll down for Giveaway!
 

When Cohen Marah steps over his father’s body in the basement embalming room of the family’s funeral home, he has no idea that he is stepping into a labyrinth of memory.

Over the next week, Cohen’s childhood comes back in living color. The dramatic events that led to his parents’ separation. The accident Cohen witnessed and the traumatic images he couldn’t unsee. And the two children in the forest who became his friends–and enlisted him in a dark and dangerous undertaking. As the lines blur between what was real and what was imaginary, Cohen is faced with the question he’s been avoiding:

Is he responsible for his father’s death?

Master story weaver Shawn Smucker relays a tale both eerie and enchanting, one that will have you questioning reality and reaching out for what is true, good, and genuine.

 
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TOP FIVE STRANGE-BUT-TRUE THINGS ABOUT ME

By Shawn Smucker

1 – My aunt is Auntie Anne, the founder of the soft pretzel franchise empire.

2 – My family and I once went on a cross-country trip in a big blue bus named Willy and we lost our brakes coming down the Teton Pass, forcing us to use a runaway truck ramp. The stories from our trip were immortalized in a book my wife and I put together called How to Use a Runaway Truck Ramp.

3 – My grandparents were all Amish until they were in their 30s.

4 – I lived in England for four years and loved it.

5 – My wife and I have six children and we are neither Catholic nor Amish.

Shawn Smucker is the author of the young adult novels The Day the Angels Fell and The Edge of Over There, as well as the memoir Once We Were Strangers. He lives with his wife and six children in the city of Lancaster, Pennsylvania.


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The Shadow Writer: Review and Giveaway

THE SHADOW WRITER
by
ELIZA MAXWELL
Genre:  Psychological Suspense / Domestic Thriller Publisher: Lake Union Press
Date of Publication: May 1, 2019
Number of Pages: 348 Scroll down for the giveaway!
Every writer has a story. Some are deadlier than others. 
Aspiring author Graye Templeton will do anything to escape the horrific childhood crime that haunts her. After a life lived in shadows, she’s accepted a new job as protégé to Laura West, influential book blogger and wife of an acclaimed novelist. Laura’s connections could make Graye’s publishing dreams a reality. But there’s more to Laura than meets the eye. 

Behind the veneer of a charmed life, Laura’s marriage is collapsing. Her once-lauded husband is descending into alcoholism and ruin and bringing Laura nearer to the edge. 


As the two women form a bond that seems meant to be, long-buried secrets claw their way into the present, and the line between friendship and obsession begins to blur, forcing each to decide where her loyalties lie. Running from the past is a dangerous game, and the loser could end up dead.
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║ AMAZON  ║  MURDER BY THE BOOK 
║ BARNES AND NOBLE 


Eliza Maxwell has done it again! Author of the incredible, dark, and thought provoking The Unremembered Girl, now she brings us an inky tale so shocking, it will keep you up at night thinking about it.

The Shadow Writer is an extraordinary, fast pace, whirlwind of a story! It will take you by storm and set you leaping through the pages. What is more exciting than murder, mystery, suspense, and the kind of dark, gut wrenching story that The Shadow Writer delivers. 

The story follows Graye Templeton, an aspiring author that is the TA to a professor that has written a book, and Laura West, the wife of the professor. Graye Templeton becomes fast friends with Laura. Graye is trying hard to keep the past in the past, even though it’s trying it’s hardest to find her, and to reveal all it’s grim secrets. 

This story is about so much more than a tragic past, and horrific truths. It’s about a friendship that runs deeper than blood. It’s about realizing all the truths about oneself, the good and the bad. And above all, it’s about fulfilling your dreams, no matter the costs. 

Maxwell delivers us such astounding characters. The kind that despite their darkness, despite their drive, they intrigue and fascinate you. They will pull you right in with their cleverness! 

I simply could not put The Shadow Writer down. And to top it all off, who doesn’t love a good story that leaves you asking “What was that?” And you answer… “well, that was… AWESOME!”



Eliza Maxwell lives in Texas with her ever-patient husband and two kids. She’s an artist and writer, an introvert, and a British cop drama addict. She loves nothing more than to hear from readers.
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Panic Point Review


 PANIC POINT Pepperman Mystery Series Book Two
by
BILL BRISCOE
  Genre: Mystery / Crime Fiction / Stand-Alone
Publisher: self-published
Date of Publication: March 26, 2019
Number of Pages: 248
Scroll down for Giveaway!
  
When Earl’s bride Morgan vanishes in the Smoky Mountains on their honeymoon, the former Navy SEAL is certain she’s been abducted. The park rangers disagree, and after a storm washes away any potential evidence, they call off the official search. Then another man loses his daughter in the same area. Can one last lead help Earl find Morgan before he loses her forever?




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Panic Point is definitely a read that puts you on the edge of your seat! Starting from the very first chapter when Earl finds his new wife, Morgan, missing from their campsite. Even with the flashbacks that show the sweet and tender moments of how Earl and Morgan met and their enchanting courtship, Panic point will leave your knuckles turning white as you flip through the pages to uncover what happened to Morgan. 

I love Early. He is as hard headed as they come and finds it difficult to sit and wait while the search team tries to find his missing bride. He’s strong, brave, and determined. He doesn’t think twice when it comes to uncovering what happened to Morgan, and his willingness to do anything to find her just proves how loyal of a guy he is. 

I was definitely expecting Panic Point to turn into some sort of secret, special ops mission. But the ending certainly packs a punch when the big reveal happens as to who took Morgan. There were definitely elements to this book that I wasn’t anticipating, and for that I quite thoroughly enjoyed being surprised. I thought the plot itself was so well developed. Panic Point could have easily been a movie with how well the scenes were written. 

Panic Point is perfect for those that love thrillers and action. Grab a bucket of popcorn and sit back! You’re in for quite a ride! 


My Rating: 5/5



Bill grew up in the oil and gas refinery town of Phillips in the Texas Panhandle. After graduating from college with a master’s degree, he spent most of his career working for a major insurance company as an agency manager and consultant.
As his retirement was on the horizon, he had an idea about a book. That story, Pepperman’s Promise, became the prequel to The Pepperman Mystery Series, and Perplexity and Panic Point, the next two books in the series, are now available.
Bill and his wife of fifty years live in West Texas.

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Heart of the Oak: Review and Giveaway


HEART OF THE OAK
by
J.L. NOVINSKY

Genre: Children’s / Nature / Life Cycle Publisher: Christian Faith Publishing Publication Date: November 15, 2017
Number of Pages: 36 pages

  SCROLL DOWN FOR THE GIVEAWAY! 



Heart of the Oak is a sweet story of the life of an old oak tree.   He’s old and weathered; his skin is rough and knotty.  But he has memories of joy, of love, and of tragedy.  He has endured many years and felt the sorrow of so much loss.  But his greatest joy is just ahead!  
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Praise for HEART OF THE OAK from Amazon reviewers!
“Such a great book with a heartfelt story!”
“My children and I LOVE this book. We had a wonderful and insightful conversation after we read it.”

Heart of the Oak is such a sweet story. As a special ed teacher, I’m always looking for good books that can be used for a wide range of teaching. This book has so much I could use. I love it because it tells the life cycle of a tree. It’s also a book about friendship and love, nurturing, and caring. The tree loves the boy that comes to see him, and remembers the moments they shared together. The tree also vows to protect the man and the boy. 

I love it because we don’t really think about all the years trees have. They live such a long time and so much can happen to them in those years. I love how the book is about the life of a tree, of his memories, and the pain and joy he had felt. 

I love the word usage in the book. It’s definitely a book that’s for families, for children and adults. The vocabulary in this is a little advance for children, but it can definitely be a good book to teach children new words!

What a heart warming story and a great one to share with others!


J.L. (Joan) Novinsky was born just outside of Chicago, but she got to Texas as fast as she could! Joan started college at age 55, and while taking a Creative Writing class, she wrote her first story, Heart of the Oak. Joan has now written a second children’s book, Horace and Giselle, available for on-line purchase January 2019. She was married to Bob in 1992, had a son, Stephen, in 1998, then in 2001, she and her husband took on the challenge and excitement of adopting a boy from St. Petersburg, Russia. Andrei joined the family in 2002, and the family resides just north of Dallas with their various and numerous pets.

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Covey Jencks: Excerpt and Giveaway

COVEY JENCKS
by
SHELTON L. WILLIAMS
Narrated by Kathy James
Genre: Mystery / Social Thriller
Publisher: Southern Owl Publications, LLC
Publication Date: February 10, 2018
Number of Pages: 229 pages
Audio Book Length: 6 hours, 38 minutesSCROLL DOWN FOR THE GIVEAWAY! 

Covey Jencks is a murder mystery with a social conscience. Set in West Texas with a cast of colorful and humorous characters, it follows a young lawyer from Washington, DC back to his hometown of Odessa, Texas. He wants and needs to solve a murder case from 1979 in 1993. The problem is that the Odessa Police Department has already found its man, and no one wants to re-visit the case of a black prostitute whose life was seemingly of no consequence to anyone. But Freddie Mae Johnson’s death matters to Covey, and eventually he discovers an old flame, JayJay Qualls, who also knew and loved Freddie. Together they undertake an investigation that uncovers not only the truth about Freddie but also the secrets of Odessa’s south side, Mexican gangs, a Boston mobster, and the fallacy of unexamined assumptions. Finding out who killed Freddie is one thing, but preventing their own demise is quite another! 
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PRAISE FOR COVEY JENCKS:
 
Williams seamlessly braids a murder mystery with a love story and a drama about the pervasiveness of racism in the South… The author’s prose is buoyantly eccentric, both insightful and self-effacingly humorous. And the clues Covey and JayJay track down are meted out to readers with impressive judiciousness: The author never prematurely surrenders so much information that the conclusion is rendered foregone while the tale’s swift pace prevents it from becoming tedious. An engrossing crime drama that’s both entertaining and provocative. — Kirkus Indie

EXCERPT FROM CHAPTER 68 OF
COVEY JENCKS
BY SHELTON WILLIAMS

(JayJay speaking)

Freddie said it best. “Men always leave.” They die. They take off for younger women. They get run out of town. They turn to drink. Best to stay away, keep uninvolved. Black or white, it doesn’t matter. At an early age, I made a pledge to myself: Never again will I get married. Never again will I depend on a man.

So, how did this happen? How did I end up not only loving this guy but trusting his judgment about life and death? All my instincts say to be cautious, protect myself, but all my thoughts turn to how to protect us against killers and racists. “The course of true love never did run smooth,” Shakespeare said. If we die, maybe our story will inspire a play or at least a country and western song.

Shelton L. Williams (Shelly) is founder and president of the Osgood Center for International Studies in Washington, DC. He holds a PhD from Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and he taught for nearly 40 years at Austin College in Sherman, Texas. He has served in the US Government on 4 occasions and he has written books and articles on nuclear proliferation. In 2004 he began a new career of writing books on crime and society. Those books are Washed in the Blood, Summer of 66, and now Covey Jencks. All firmly prove that he is still a Texan at heart.

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My first part time job while I was in high school was announcing at the local radio station, and I had fun being “on the air” and using my sarcastic sense of humor.  I worked in the radio business for more than twenty years. My favorite pastimes are teaching figure skating, getting lost in a great book, and watching movies.  I narrate and produce audio books in my home studio, and I truly enjoy bringing an author’s characters to life with an audio book. I currently reside in Minnesota with my slightly overweight cat and two childlike golden retrievers.  
 
 
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Mistletoe Miracles: Review

MISTLETOE MIRACLES
Ransom Canyon
by
JODI THOMAS
Sub-genre: Holiday Romance / Western
Publisher: HQN
Date of Publication: September 25, 2018
Number of Pages: 354
Scroll down for an exclusive giveaway from Jodi Thomas! 
A small-town Texas Christmas story, where hearts are lost, love is found, and family always brings you back home.
Griffin Holloway is desperate: the Maverick Ranch has been in his family for generations, but lately, it’s a money pit. He’d sooner marry one of his horses than sell the ranch. Marriage, though, could be a solution. If he can woo a wealthy bride, he might save the ranch—just in time for Christmas. Jaxon O’Grady likes his solitude just fine, thank you very much. But when a car accident brings the unexpected to his door, he realizes just how much one person can need another. Crossroads is the perfect place for Jamie Johnson: avoiding nosy questions about why she’s single, she’s happy to keep to her lakeside home. So she’s baffled when she gets the strangest Christmas present of all, in the form of a Mr. Johnson, asleep on her sofa. Who is he, and why does everyone think he’s her husband?

In this uplifting novel, three unlikely couples discover just what Crossroads, Texas, can offer: romance, belonging, and plenty of Christmas spirit. 
”Deeply poignant moments and artfully
rendered characters create a rich story that
transports readers to an idyllic place.”
Publishers Weekly
 
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Get ready to cozy up to this wonderful chimney side read. Mistletoe Miracles offers us 3 wonderful love stories told in alternating chapters. There’s Griffin, the handsome rancher looking to get hitched in order to save his ranch, Jamie, a school teacher who has invented a husband in order to keep others at bay, and Jaxon, a recluse wanting to mind his own business but ends up rescuing an injured dog and taking him in.

The three different stories are not connected in any way, but each story is heartwarming and uplifting. I enjoyed each of the main characters as their stories were told. It’s neat how in each story the characters meet up. For Jax, he rescued Mallory’s dog. For Griffin, it’s the ranch gal Sunlan. And or Jamie, she pretends she’s married to Wyatt.

Of all the characters, my favorite was Griffin. Right from the start, the cowboy rancher pulled me in. He is kind, compassionate, down to earth. I loved how instantly you could see how much he wanted to save his ranch and help out his brothers. I especially loved it when he stopped by Franklin sisters house to ask for match making help. It was so stinkin cute I kept giggling.

Each character though is incredibly well crafted. They each have their own unique tale and seeing them brought together is fascinating and enjoyable. Mistletoe Miracles is a thick book, but in my opinion a fairly quick read. Who doesn’t love a few adorable love stories?

If you enjoy love stories with a splash of Christmas, than these stories are for you. They are clean, fun, and adorable reads. The p

A fifth-generation Texan, New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Jodi Thomas chooses to set the majority of her novels in her home state, where her grandmother was born in a covered wagon. A former teacher, Thomas traces the beginning of her storytelling career to the days when her twin sisters were young and impressionable. 
With a degree in family studies, Thomas is a marriage and family counselor by education, a background that enables her to write about family dynamics. Honored in 2002 as a Distinguished Alumni by Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Thomas enjoys interacting with students on the West Texas A&M University campus, where she currently serves as Writer in Residence.
Commenting on her contribution to the arts, Thomas said, “When I was teaching classes full-time, I thought I was making the world a better place. Now I think of a teacher or nurse or mother settling back and relaxing with one of my books. I want to take her away on an adventure that will entertain her. Maybe, in a small way, I’m still making the world a better place.”
When not working on a novel or inspiring students to pursue a writing career, Thomas enjoys traveling with her husband, renovating a historic home they bought in Amarillo and checking up on their two grown sons.
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Magic Born: Guest Post and Giveaway

Magic Born
Rayanne Haines
(The Guardian Series, #2)
Publication date: June 6th 2018
Genres: Adult, Paranormal, Romance

Maria Del Voscova is a powerful witch with a past. When she’s asked to become a member of the elite Guardians she knows she can’t risk sharing the truth about her messed-up family. But we don’t always get what we want. Sometimes, we don’t always know what we want.

Though Mar absolutely knows she doesn’t want Neeren, King of the Parthen. She alone sees the darkness in him and it reminds her too much of the past. She knows better than to fall for his stoic, tortured soul façade.

She’s training to be a Guardian, a shadow; tasked with keeping the balance between good and evil in the world. It’s what she wants—to be better than her family was.

But the past has a way of catching up to Mar and the future has a morbid sense of humor. On her first mission, she’s kidnapped by the enemy she’s been running from her entire life. Thankfully the guardians look after their own. As it turns out, so does Neeren.

As Mar finds herself caught between the past and the future; between blood and bond; between the light and the dark, she realizes her only chance at surviving may be in trusting a man who is the most dangerous of them all.

Goodreads / Amazon

 

From the Author:

I remember being fourteen years old and being taken through a fence by my horse, Razzle. He was a good horse. But that day something spooked him and no matter what I tried, he decided there was no way I was staying on his back. He’d had enough.

 

As puberty hit, I started feeling that way about expectation. I wanted it off my back. The idea of finishing high school to go to college to get a 9-5 job ate away at the fiber who I knew I was. I wanted to chase wild horses and wild adventures. I’m certain I was an author before I knew what the word meant.

 

My parents raised me to be tough and independent, to work hard. Living on a farm, you worked – period. To this day, my mother is the strongest woman I’ve ever met. Her strength was a benchmark for me as I a struggled through divorce, single parenting, re-educating myself, and building the career I wanted, not what society expected of me.

 

When I began writing seriously I started with poetry. A great poet can change the world with one line. I write poetry to empower women. I soon discovered I wanted to write fun stories about kick-ass women and alpha men who loved them. Along came expectation. A serious poet, a true feminist couldn’t write romance. To that, I scoff. The women in my family, the strong women I know, have never been defined by expectation. Have never allowed the judgments of others to shape our path.

 

I write romance, where happily ever after is found because of the heroine’s strength and resiliency, not despite it. Everything I write is shaped by the experiences I had growing up surrounded by strong women and by the resiliency I discovered in myself when I became a single mom. If I had to go back in time and tell my younger writer self, anything, it would be—don’t change. Follow the path whatever it looks like. Life is going to be hard. It’s going to test you. You’ll be lonely sometimes. The world will expect things of you that you don’t have to give. You know who you are. Buy some good pens—The stories will come.

Rayanne Haines

 

Author Bio:

Rayanne Haines grew up on a small horse ranch in Alberta. She spent most of her youth re-enacting scenes from Anne of Green Gables to attentive audiences that included pygmy goats and roan stallions. The horses were thrilled. Her father could never figure out why it took her three hours to clean the barn.
Her mother is an avid reader and instilled a love of literature in her at a young age. She has always been fascinated with learning people’s stories.
She has a fondness for mountains and rivers and all the creatures that live within them.
She believes in magic and the search for great love. She loves to write about strong women who will accept nothing less.

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The Soul Keeper: Excerpt Giveaway

The Soul Keepers
Devon Taylor
Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication date: August 28th 2018
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

“A fantastic high-stakes adventure on a ghost ship sailing forever into eternity, where every soul is (literally) worth fighting for—what’s not to love? Devon Taylor weaves an endearing tale of friendship and loss with heart-stopping action and a whole lot of terrifying monsters. You’ll root for Rhett and his fellow reapers through every twist and turn!” —Rin Chupeco, author of The Bone Witch and The Girl from the Well

Full of danger, stormy otherworld seas, ghost ships, and terrifying monsters, this thrilling debut novel is perfect for fans of Taran Matharu and Neal Shusterman.

Death is just the beginning.

After dying in a terrible car accident, Rhett awakens in the afterlife and is recruited to join the crew of theHarbinger, a colossal seafaring vessel tasked with ferrying the souls of the dead. To where exactly, no one knows. But the crew must get the souls there, and along the way protect them from vicious soul-eating monsters that will stop at nothing to take the ship and all of its occupants.

Rhett and his new friends have a hard enough time fighting back the monsters that grow bolder and more ferocious every day. But then a new threat emerges, a demon who wants something that Rhett has. And if she gets it, it could mean the end of everything… for both the living and the dead.

Chosen by readers like you for Macmillan’s young adult imprint Swoon Reads, The Soul Keepers is a pulse-pounding, cinematic adventure by debut author Devon Taylor.

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Excerpt:

The light swallowed him up, and so did the ship.
Rhett waited for his eyes to adjust, but they didn’t need to. They didn’t burn or water from the brightness. He could see just fine. Nevertheless, the light was so intense that it hammered into his retinas, shining off the white metal of the walls. If he had been alive, he might have been blinded.
He stepped farther in, following the foggy shape of Basil’s shoul- ders into the brilliance. Their feet clanged on the floor. Rhett felt himself reaching out in front of him, prepared to slam into some oncoming mass.
Then he did run into something: Basil.
“Oy! Watch where you’re going,” Basil hissed. Rhett took a step back. He heard an iron screech and Basil’s voice again. “Through here.” And all at once the light was gone, replaced by an unsettled orange
glow that was constantly wrestling with the shadows. Firelight. Rhett shifted on his feet and heard the creak of wood beneath him. Whatever metal hallway they’d gone through to get inside the ship was gone. They were now standing in a large, open cavity.
There were splintered wood floors and wooden railings that went all the way around the periphery. The most curious thing was in the middle, jutting up out of the floor and connecting with the ceil- ing, almost like a support. It was a ship’s mast, complete with the worn-out, weather-beaten sail. Up at the top, where the mast met the ceiling, Rhett could see the crow’s nest, a rickety basket that leaned precariously to one side.
Rhett didn’t quite know what to make of it. And in the gloom of the torches that were leaning away from the outer walls, it was hard to say that he was still on the same boat. Had Basil performed an- other one of his party tricks and sent them somewhere else? To an- other point in time altogether? Was that even possible?
He didn’t know. He didn’t know anything about how any of this worked. Was this hell? Was this some kind of punishment?
All at once, Rhett wanted to weep. But when he imagined the pressure behind his eyes, imagined the tears falling down his face, it was only an image that floated up in his mind. His body stayed calm and still and . . . lifeless. There was no sweat on his hands, no tremble in his fingers. His body betrayed nothing of the chaos that was erupting in his head.
Desperately, he looked to Basil, who had given him that tiny bit of comfort back in the woods. But Basil was smiling, watching Rhett and allowing that internal panic to play out.
Basil said one thing, leaning in with his arms folded: “Welcome aboard the Harbinger.”

Author Bio:

Devon Taylor was born in Las Vegas, Nevada and currently lives in Pennsylvania with his wife and two daughters. His day job consists of sneaking around the house with ninja-like stealth to avoid waking up his kids. When not writing, reading, or tediously typing out text messages with all the correct spelling and punctuation, he spends his time with his family. THE SOUL KEEPERS is his debut novel.

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The Hope of Azure Springs: Book Blitz

THE HOPE OF
AZURE SPRINGS 
by
RACHEL FORDHAM
Genre: Inspirational Historical Romance 
Date of Publication: July 3, 2018
Publisher: Revell

Number of Pages: 336

ABOUT THE BOOK: Seven years ago, orphaned and alone, Em finally arrived at a new home in Iowa after riding the orphan train. But secrets from her past haunt her, and her new life in the Western wilderness is a rough one. When her guardian is shot and killed, Em, now nineteen, finally has the chance to search for her long-lost sister, but she won’t be able to do it alone.

For Azure Springs Sheriff Caleb Reynolds, securing justice for the waifish and injured Em is just part of his job. He’s determined to solve every case put before him in order to impress his parents and make a name for himself. Caleb expects to succeed. What he doesn’t expect is the hold this strange young woman will have on his heart.
Welcome to the charming town of Azure Springs, Iowa, where people care deeply for one another and, sometimes, even fall in love.
 
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PRAISE FOR THE HOPE OF AZURE SPRINGS: “In her promising first novel, Fordham assembles an endearing cast of characters in the rugged Midwest plains for a tale about surviving and thriving. . . .Fordham depicts heartbreaking emotional and physical suffering, while beautifully illustrating the power in simple acts of kindness to foster healing, hope, and happiness.”
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EXCERPT: PROLOGUE
FROM THE HOPE OF AZURE SPRINGS

Iowa, 1881

     She dead?”
     Em heard a man’s voice from somewhere above her. A strange thumping pulsed through her with each word he spoke. Her throat burned, screaming for water, but she could not cry out.
     “There’s life in her. Not much of it though,” a second, raspier voice answered. She felt a hand press against her throat and then move over her body, gently probing. “She’s bleeding pretty bad.”
     “Gunshot?” the first voice asked.
     If only her eyes would open, and she could see them. Straining, she struggled to pull her heavy eyelids open. Finally, bits of light darted in front of her eyes, but she could not focus. The faces above her were fuzzy and indiscernible.
     Fear swept through her, suddenly waking her battered body. Afraid the men from before had returned, she opened her eyes wide, finding strength that only moments before she had lacked. With thrashing arms, she flailed at the men. Her arms flopped about but offered little defense—she was too weak from blood loss. And then they moved no longer, subdued by large, strong hands.
     “Easy, girl. We aren’t going to hurt you. We just want to help. Take you into town, that’s all. There’s a good doctor there.” The man’s deep voice sounded gentle, but still she did not trust him. Voices could be deceiving. Arms could hurt as well as help. She knew these things well.
     Soon she felt her body being raised above the ground, and moments later the hard planks of a wagon became the resting place for her injured frame. Too weak to move, she lay looking at the sky, wishing there were a way to end the agony, but knowing that for Lucy she would fight on.
     Once the wagon lurched forward, she lost track of everything again. The wheels bouncing over ruts made her pain so intense that everything closed around her and then faded to black.
 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rachel Fordham started writing when her children began begging her for stories at night. She’d pull a book from the shelf, but they’d insist she make one up. She hasn’t stopped since. She lives with her husband and children on an island in the state of Washington.

 
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