High Treason: Promo and Giveaway

HIGH
TREASON
An FBI Task Force Novel, #3
by
DiANN MILLS
  
Genre: Inspirational /Mystery / Suspense / Romance
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
Date of Publication: February 6, 2018
Number of Pages: 416

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When Saudi Prince Omar bin Talal visits Houston to seek cancer treatment for his mother, an attempt on his life puts all agencies on high alert. FBI Special Agent Kord Davidson is the lead on the prince’s protective detail because of their long-standing friendship, but he’s surprised—and none too happy—when the CIA brings one of their operatives, Monica Alden, in on the task force after the assassination attempt.
Kord and Monica must quickly put aside interagency squabbles, however, when they learn the prince has additional motives for his visit—plans to promote stronger ties with the US and encourage economic growth and westernization in his own country. Plans that could easily incite a number of suspects both in the US and in countries hostile to Saudi Arabia. Worse yet, the would-be assassin always seems to be one step ahead of them, implicating someone close to the prince—or the investigation. But who would be willing to commit high treason, and can Kord and Monica stop them in time?  

“Compelling characters and a riveting plot that fits seamlessly with current events make this novel impossible to put down. Readers can count on being glued to the pages late into the night – as “just one more chapter” turns into “can’t stop now.”” – RT Book Reviews


CHECK OUT THE BOOK TRAILER! 

DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She combines unforgettable characters with unpredictable plots to create action-packed, suspense-filled novels. Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne du Maurier, Inspirational Reader’s Choice, and Carol Award contests. Library Journal presented her with a Best Books 2014: Genre Fiction award in the Christian fiction category for Firewall.
DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers and a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, International Thriller Writers, and the Faith, Hope, and Love chapter of Romance Writers of America. She and her husband live in sunny Houston, Texas. DiAnn is very active online and would love to connect with readers on any of the social media platforms listed.

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2/6/18
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2/10/18
Excerpt 3
2/10/18
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Aransas Morning: Interview and Giveaway


ARANSAS MORNING
by
JEFF HAMPTON
  Genre: Literary Fiction / Family Life
Date of Publication: September 22, 2017
Number of Pages: 304

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When Sam Barnes’ high-flying life in Dallas falls apart, he flees to the coastal town of Port Aransas, Texas and fades into the life of a reclusive beach bum. But things start to change when he meets Dave, a young widower working through his own loss; Shelly, owner of the Dream Bean coffee shop; Bo, a crusty old shrimper; and Allie, Bo’s free-spirited daughter. Together they are tested and forced to confront their own issues. In doing so they discover family and community.


PRAISE FOR ARANSAS MORNING:
“Engrossing characters that keep doing unexpected things. Strong sense of place along the Texas coast and deep knowledge of the culture. This book is about relationships and how ‘family’ and ‘community’ might be redefined.”

“In this heartwarming book, Jeff Hampton took me to a place I’ve never been and captured me with his delightful characters, seaside landscape, and deft use of words to portray a small group of people who came together to create and run the Dream Bean cafe. Great summer reading.”

“I loved the characters, with their flaws and their graces. It is an honest and heart-warming story of redemption coming through community. I’m really glad I read it.”

“Really nice character development, articulating in a very comfortable and readable style the messy, complex, joyous and hopeful ways we build, break and nurture ‘community.’”
“Very quickly in the story, the characters became like friends. The book is engaging and held my interest.”


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Interview with Author Jeff Hampton

How has being a Texan influenced your writing?

Texas is a big and colorful state – a country unto itself, really – and it inspires stories that are big and colorful.

Why did you choose to write in your particular genre?

I didn’t choose the genre; it chose me. I live in a real world with real people and I like real stories about real people. Science fiction and fantasy can wow us with amazing technology and powers; those stories only work and we only are attracted to them when the characters have emotions and challenges that we can relate to.

Where did your love of books and storytelling come from?

I’m not sure because it’s always been there in one way or another.

 

How long have you been writing?

My education and career have been in journalism and communications, so I have been writing in one way or another for more than three decades.

 

What kinds of writing do you do?

All of my published book writing is fiction, but I’ve also written essays and short memoir pieces and plan to publish them too. My fictional stories usually contain pieces of events and real emotions from my own life, so it makes sense to go ahead and share more of the details through non-fiction writing.

 

What cultural value do you see in books?

The traditional journalism I’ve worked in has been overtaken by social media, but books will never die as long as there are storytellers telling good stories. Movies and television put it all on the screen, but books still allow room for the imagination and that is so important.

 

How does your book relate to your faith?

Many of my stories are about people who are trying to figure out the meaning of life and how they fit into it. And they often discover the meaning of life through community – not acting and living as solo characters but as members of something larger than themselves.

 

What was the hardest part of writing this book? 

The hardest part of writing for me is knowing when to let it go and trust it to readers. I could edit and tinker forever, but if I do that then it never gets published and read.

 

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

Not knowing where the characters were going next. I had a broad idea of where the story was going, but my characters become real people, and they don’t always do and say what I think they will do and say when I first start out.

 

Which character from your book is most or least like you?

Dave is most like me. He has lost a wife to illness and is trying to rebuild his life. On the other hand, Dave is much more outgoing than me. I am more of an introvert and a potential loner like Sam.

 

What did you find most useful in learning to write for publication?  What was least useful or most destructive?

Because my fiction is embedded with real life, I had to live and experience more of life before I could write about it. In some ways, I wish I had started writing fiction years ago but the reality is I had to wait, so I would know how to clothe fictional characters in the real joys and sorrows of life.

Are you a full-time or part-time writer?  How does that affect your writing?

I quit a full-time job a few years ago to focus more on fiction and essay writing, but my writing today includes freelance articles for business and institutional magazines. The paid work is very different, so it is a good counterbalance to creative writing.

 

What are some day jobs that you have held?  Have any of them impacted your writing?

All of my day jobs have required writing – newspapers, magazines, corporate communications, etc. – and I think the newspaper work has instilled in me a brevity that keeps a story moving.

 

What does your perfect writing spot look like? Is that what your ACTUAL writing spot looks like?

I have a wonderful upstairs room with a big window looking out over the neighborhood. It’s a great place to write and was created for that purpose. But the truth is I write wherever I am and whatever I am doing. I’m always thinking, taking notes on an iPhone or iPad, scribbling on pieces of paper. But it all eventually comes together in my upstairs room.

Do you have any strange writing habits or writing rituals you’d like to share with your readers?

Some writers are very focused and disciplined and will tell you they sit down at their desk and hammer it out for hours on end. I start and stop and shift gears a lot. I get stuck on a scene or a conversation, and so I switch gears and work on a freelance project or go work in the yard or run an errand. Doing those other things always sends me back to my desk with fresh ideas.

 

During a 35-year career in journalism and communications, Jeff Hampton has covered and written about topics ranging from business and finance to history and faith. His bylines have appeared in publications ranging from The Dallas Morning News to The New York Times.
He attended Baylor University where he majored in journalism and was editor of the Baylor Lariat campus newspaper. He began his professional career at the Waco Tribune-Herald and has written for newspapers, magazines, businesses, non-profit organizations and government agencies.
Hampton has based his life and career in Texas where his interest in observing the people around him has led him to write essays, short stories, and novels that explore relationships and communities in their many forms.
Aransas Morning is his fifth book, following Grandpa Jack, When the Light Returned to Main Street, Jonah Prophet and The Snowman Uprising on Hickory Lane.
Watch for Aransas Evening, a sequel to Aransas Morning, in 2018. 
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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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January 2-January 11, 2018
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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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3rd Prize: Bluster’s Last Stand

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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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The Secret Room: Promo and Giveaway

 

THE SECRET ROOM
(Amber-Autumn Series, #4)

by
JOHN ALEXANDER
  Genre: Children’s Mystery / Chapter Book
Date of Publication: October 14, 2017
Number of Pages: 159

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Amber and Autumn, elementary school sisters, don’t seek out problems to solve, but they often find themselves engaged in uncovering truths, solving mysteries, and helping others in the process. Autumn’s natural curiosity, combined with her boldness, leads her to push for answers to anything she does not understand. Amber, her older sister, more cautious and easily spooked, prefers to let Autumn drive ahead to solve mysteries which come their way, but her keen skills of observation often lead to the resolutions they seek.

In The Secret Room, the girls, during their stay at a  B&B, discover a long-forgotten room in the attic and uncover its secrets. The story takes place at the House of Seasons, a bed-and-breakfast in historic Jefferson, Texas. Their quest to uncover secrets takes the girls on a journey through Jefferson history including a cemetery, a river boat tour, and even an evening ghost walk.




PRAISE FOR THE SECRET ROOM:
“Great book, really enjoyed reading.  I’d guess a target audience would be 7 to 13-year-olds. Thank you for allowing me the honor to preview your book.  I look forward to purchasing your published work.” — Joseph (Teen Beta reader)

The Secret Room is a fun read. Not only is it a mystery; it also contains some of the history of Jefferson, Texas, and the surrounding area, as well as pictures of some special places there. Children and adults will enjoy reading it, just as I did.  — Carol (Adult Beta Reader)

“Overall I thought it was a great book. I would be excited to read the next book in the series.” –Madeline (4th grade Beta Reader)

 “The whole time I liked the suspense and the mystery side of it.” – Beta Reader

“I relate more to Amber because she doesn’t like a situation without light and she doesn’t like doing scary things first. She sends her little sister in to do it first and I do that. Amber is the older sister and so am I.” – Beta Reader

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CLICK TO PURCHASE

John writes chapter books that appeal to elementary school children to capture their imagination and help them discover the love of reading early in life. John lives in Frisco, Texas with his beautiful wife and his King Charles Cavalier Spaniel, Charlie Brown.
John spent his childhood in a small town in east Texas. He attended college at the University of Texas earning a BS in Physics and a BA in Math (minor in Computer Science). His years in the high-tech industry, most of it on the “bleeding edge,” allowed him to develop new technology with software.
John had the privilege of co-authoring two editions of CallManager Fundamentals. The two books sold over 23,000 copies, exceeding the publisher’s goal of 8,000. Having discovered his love for writing while still working in high tech, he began writing fiction in his spare time and published The Enclave, a mystery / suspense novel, in 2010.

After leaving high-tech in 2014, he now spends full time pursuing his writing passion. He loves writing books that help children discover early in life that reading is a fun adventure. He recently released illustrated editions of the first three books in the Amber-Autumn mystery series: Christmas Garden Illustrated, Grandfather’s Blessing Illustrated, and Golden Campout Illustrated. The Secret Room is the fourth book in the series.
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11/27/17
Book Trailer
11/27/17
Excerpt
11/28/17
Review
11/29/17
Author Interview
11/29/17
Guest Post
11/30/17
Review
12/1/17
Notable Quotable
12/1/17
Notable Quotable
12/2/17
Review
12/3/17
Review
12/4/17
Sneak Peek
12/4/17
Excerpt
12/5/17
Review
12/5/17
Author Interview
12/6/17
Review
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Lamar’s Folly: Author Interview

LAMAR’S FOLLY

by
Jeffrey Stuart Kerr
  Genre: Texas Historical Fiction
Publisher: Texas Tech University Press
on Twitter  ┃ on Facebook
Date of Publication: November 15, 2017
Number of Pages: 320

Mirabeau Lamar seeks nothing less than a Texas empire that will dominate the North American continent. Brave exploits at the Battle of San Jacinto bring him rank, power, and prestige, which by 1838 propel him to the presidency of the young Republic of Texas and put him in position to achieve his dream. Edward Fontaine, who works for and idolizes Lamar, vows to help his hero overcome all obstacles, including the substantial power of Sam Houston. Houston and Lamar are not only political, but personal enemies, and each man regards the other with contempt.

Edward’s slave Jacob likes and admires his master, but cannot share his hatred of Sam Houston. The loyalties of both Jacob and Edward are tested by President Lamar’s belief that a righteous cause justifies any means necessary to sustain it. Lamar becomes infatuated with a married woman who resembles his deceased wife. He sends the woman’s husband on the ill-fated Santa Fe Expedition, the failure of which humiliates Lamar and provokes a crisis in his relationship with Edward, who in turn jeopardizes the trust that Jacob has placed in him. Edward laments the waste of Lamar’s genius, while Jacob marvels at the hypocrisy of both men.
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What did you find most useful in learning to write for publication?  What was least useful or most destructive? Most useful: ultimately, it is up to you to decide what goes into the manuscript. I can’t think of any destructive lessons along the way.

What did you enjoy most about writing this book? Imagining a world that has disappeared but that preceded us by only a few generations.

Are there under-represented groups or ideas featured if your book?  I wish I had been able to think of a way to include a more developed, strong female character.  

Are you a full-time or part-time writer?  How does that affect your writing? Part-time with the goal of becoming full-time.  The hard part about being a part-time writer is coming back to a project after being away from it for a week or more.

What are some day jobs that you have held?  Have any of them impacted your writing? I have been a physician for thirty years.  In my work, I have met a wide variety of people and heard all manner of speech.  This has helped tremendously in creating authentic characters and dialog.

How has your formal education influenced or impacted your writing? In my freshman history class at Rice, the professor, Frank Vandiver, hammered home the idea of avoiding passive voice.  That remains foremost in my mind when I write.

What does your perfect writing spot look like? Is that what your ACTUAL writing spot looks like? I need a desk with enough space on it for my laptop and beverage of choice in a quiet room free of distraction.  My actual spot is a little more cluttered than I would like but meets the other criteria nicely.

What do you like to read in your free time? Mysteries, spy novels, thrillers, historical fiction, and lively history books.

Who are some of the authors you feel were influential in your work?  Some of my favorites include John LeCarre, Elmore Leonard, and Craig Johnson, each of whom tells great stories but leaves much for the reader to figure out.  On the flip side, I enjoy Michael Connelly’s books for their straightforward style and well-developed, complex characters.  Two favorite writers of historical fiction are Robert Harris and Bernard Cornwell.

What book do you wish you could have written? Imperium, Robert Harris’s outstanding historical novel based on the life of the Roman statesman Cicero.

Is there one subject you would never write about as an author? What is it? The Holocaust.  It’s too painful and there are already a slew of excellent books about it.

What question do you wish someone would ask about your book, but nobody yet has? Why write a novel about Mirabeau Lamar?

What do your plans for future projects include? I would like to write more historical fiction set in the Texas frontier.  I also plan on writing “Lamar’s Folly” as a screenplay.

Who would you cast to play your characters in a movie version of your book? Mirabeau Lamar – Josh Brolin.  Sam Houston – George Clooney.  Edward Fontaine – Chris Pine.  Jacob – Daniel Kaluuya

If you had a superpower, what would it be? Flying

Where is one place you want to visit that you haven’t been before? Antarctica

What’s something interesting, fun, or funny that most people don’t know about you? I’m sixty, but I still fantasize playing center field for the Houston Astros.

What is something you want to accomplish before you die? Have a novel published by a major publishing house; see one of my screenplays turned into a movie.


Jeffrey Stuart Kerr is the author of several titles, including Seat of Empire: The Embattled Birth of Austin, Texas, winner of the Summerfield G. Roberts Award and a True West Best Western Book.




CHECK OUT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:

11/13/17
Promo
11/14/17
Review
11/15/17
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11/16/17
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Review
11/18/17
Excerpt
11/19/17
Promo
11/20/17
Review
11/21/17
Author Interview
11/22/17
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Chicano Soul: Excerpt

 

CHICANO SOUL
Recordings and History of an American Culture
(Anniversary Edition)

by
Ruben Molina
  Genre: Music / Chicano History
Date of Publication: September 15, 2017
Number of Pages: 160
In 2007, Ruben Molina published the first-ever history of Mexican-American soul and R&B music in his book, Chicano Soul: Recordings and History of an American Culture. Ten years later, Chicano Soul remains an important and oft-referenced study of this vital but often overlooked chapter of the greater American musical experience. Chicano soul music of the 1950s and 1960s still reverberates today, both within Chicano communities and throughout many musical genres. Molina tells the story of the roots of Chicano soul, its evolution, and its enduring cultural influence.
“Brown-eyed soul” music draws on 1950s era jazz, blues, jump blues, rock `n’ roll, Latin jazz, and traditional Mexican music such as ranchera, norteño, and conjunto music. With its rare and gorgeous photos, record scans, concert bills, and impressive discography (to say nothing of its rich oral histories/interviews), it is one of those rare works that speaks to both general and academic audiences.
As a teen in the 1960s, Ruben Molina used to take a bus to Hollywood to shop for records, and his passion for vinyl never waned. As a dedicated community historian, Molina interviewed dozens of the artists whose music he loves. Much of Chicano soul music’s recent recognition and renaissance can be traced directly to Molina. He has deejayed with the Southern Soul Spinners crew since 2010.


PRAISE FOR CHICANO SOUL:
“[Chicano Soul} is nada if not revelatory… Molina seeks acknowledgement of this under-the-radar genre. With this book, he’ll get it. By linking the trail of Chicano soul bands to the route of the Mexican-American migrant workers across the United States as well as the migration of south-of-the-border families into Texas after the Mexican Revolution, the author presents a compelling account of rock and roll heroes literally unsung. Molina makes a case for teenagers who took their parents’ musical traditions, the trappings of black R&B bands with pop sensibilities, and channeled them into a vibrant sound that helped define the culture it sprang from.” —Austin Chronicle

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EXCERPT from the Foreword by Alex La Rotta, in Chicano Soul
Oldies are forever. It’s a mantra. A credo. A maxim for diehard sweet soul enthusiasts from Los Angeles to London, Toronto to Tokyo, and beyond. Ruben Molina’s The Old Barrio Guide to Low Rider Music (2002) and Chicano Soul: Recordings & History of an American Culture (2007) — its sacred texts. Not since Paul Oliver’s The Story of the Blues (1969) has a Book and author so distinctively revived a vintage and marginal American music culture from obscurity to widespread and cult-like revelry. What was once a niche collector’s category in the aughts and prior is a recognized subgenre in the twenty-tens: Chicano Soul. In the decade since its publication, Chicano Soul — like the long-lost recordings it so lovingly documents and historicizes — has itself become a collector’s item. Original copies highly-prized and sought after by record collectors, music aficionados, DJs, musicians, fans, and others. And, too, like much of the music in question: finally receiving its due reissuance. (Only this: a legitimate, not bootleg, reissuance.)
Its long-awaited return is timely. A brief review of the past ten years in popular music culture must surely include the massive reemergence of the vinyl music format (and its swift cooptation by the music industry); roots and vintage pop music revival (film/television soundtracks, documentaries, compilations, cultural histories, etc.); and the (ongoing) digital music revolution. Most notably, as it concerns the latter, one might also note the ascension of streaming media and video-sharing websites in democratizing and disseminating “rare groove” music of the analog past for broader audiences of the digital present. Further still, YouTube- and social media based soulero (sweet soul) DJs and record collector cliques build notoriety as prized possessors of rare Chicano Soul records to wide acclaim — much of which builds on Molina’s foundation. While the diffusion of music and cultural history in the past decade has broadened, the appreciation of this specific brand of soul music has expanded in tandem. You know it as the West Side Sound, the East Side Sound, Brown-Eyed Soul, Latin Soul, Lowrider Oldies, even rock en español — all components of the vast domain of mid-century Chicano Soul music culture principally documented in Molina’s work. And a book that remains today the only single monograph devoted to the subject.
            More importantly, Chicano Soul challenges the assumptions and stereotypes of what “Latin music” could or should be in both popular culture and preceding musical-historical analyses: tropical, exotic, and almost always, distinctly foreign. Unequivocally, this music is none. It is, as the subtitle denotes, an American culture. Molina’s meticulous documentation of over 400 Mexican-American musicians/rock-and-roll combos spanning the American Southwest (née Aztlán) — and their collective thousands of independent recordings — deserves recognition if just for its impressive magnitude. But it’s the paradigm shift that Chicano Soul, and other recent works from such scholars as Deborah Vargas, Roberto Avant-Mier, Anthony Macias, Josh Kun, and Deborah Pacini Hernández, among others, provides for the current discourse on racial identity, hybridity, and the origins of American popular music that warrant as much praise. In part, a response to the tired narrative surrounding America’s supposed black/white racial binary and the forging of a national culture. Yes: Chicanos made soul music. Lots of it. And it’s damn good, too.

As a teen in the 1960s, Ruben Molina used to take a bus to Hollywood to shop for records, and his passion for vinyl never waned. As a dedicated community historian, Molina interviewed dozens of the artists whose music he loved. Much of Chicano soul music’s recent recognition and renaissance can be traced directly to Molina. He has deejayed with the Southern Soul Spinners crew since 2010.

Author Links:

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11/09/17
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Swan Song: Excerpt

Check out this awesome book entitled Swan Song by Charlotte Wilson. Be sure to check out an excerpt and author links as well!

 

Book synopsis:

LOVE AND LONGING IN THE BRIGHT LIGHTS OF LONDON

When iconic ballerina Beatrice Duvall died, a nation mourned – and a legacy was born. Sixteen years later, her daughter Ava comes to London to take part in a high-profile tribute to Beatrice, and to learn about the mother she never knew.

There’s just one snag: the tribute is a ballet, Swan Lake. Which is infinitely painful for Ava, because she can’t dance. Won’t dance. Not since she quit the Royal Ballet School last year and walked away from everything that defined her.

But this is London, colourful and crazy, and with actor Seb at her side, there’s so much to discover. Like Theatreland razzmatazz and rooftop picnics and flamingo parties. And a whole load of truths Ava never knew about her mother – and herself.

When the time comes to take the stage, will Ava step out of the shadow cast by her mother’s pedestal? And who will be waiting for her there, in the bright lights?

A coming-of-age novel about family and first love, in the city of hopes and dreams.

Book excerpt:

The Tube from Turnham Green is quiet, until we reach Earl’s Court, where it starts filling up. By the time we get to Victoria I’m in a scrum spilling out onto the platform. I find the Victoria Line platform and shoe-horn myself into a carriage; Seb would be proud of my elbow action.

At Oxford Circus I’m carried by a sea of shoppers up the escalators, across the foyer and up some steps to the street level. I’ve managed to come out the right exit, opposite the flagship Topshop. The massive store calls to me. Now that’s where to buy a dress for the tribute. Simple and trendy. I dread to think what Thisbe’s wardrobe department contact is going to make me. Something showbiz, I guess: long and loud and sparkly. Ugh.

But I don’t want to offend Thisbe, who’s called in a favour, apparently, to get me a dress sewn so quickly. So, with a sigh, I turn my back on Topshop and trudge down Argyll Street. When I see the Palladium, like a classical temple with massive columns, my mood lifts. At least I’m getting to visit one of London’s most historic theatres, where anyone who’s anyone has performed over the years, from Elvis Presley to Judy Garland, Frank Sinatra to Ella Fitzgerald, Elton to Adele – even The Muppets have taken to this stage. I wonder: will I get to stand on the stage?

Nope, is the answer. I don’t even see the auditorium. A security guard shows me from the foyer down into the underbelly of the theatre, to a small, windowless room made even smaller by its many contents: two dressmaker’s dummies, a hanging rail of costumes, shelves of fabric and haberdashery, and a desk for the sewing machine. I barely have time to make a mental comparison of this room and the wardrobe department at the Royal Opera House – in a big room overlooking the Piazza and flooded with light – before a girl springs out from behind one of the dummies and hugs me.

Hugs me?

Thankfully, it’s brief. She steps back and beams. I smile back automatically, and in a second I take her in: round, rosy face, electric-blue eyes, dark wavy hair. She’s a little older than me, maybe twenty, and wearing stylish jeans and a really unusual shirt covered with little embroidered seahorses.

“You’re Cara Cavendish?” I say, daring to hope that maybe my dress won’t end up being horrendously glitzy after all.

“The one and only,” she says cheerfully. “And you’re Ava-who-needs-a-dress. Thisbe explained. Sit, sit…” She pulls out a little stool from under the desk and I perch on it.

Cara walks around me in a circle, eying me up and down. “Easy-peasy,” she declares. “Dancers’ forms are so simple to dress.”

“Oh,” I say. “I’m not a dancer.”

She completes her circuit and leans on the desk, looking curiously at me. “But you’re Beatrice Duvall’s daughter,” she says.

The name gives me a jolt, but I manage to reply evenly: “That doesn’t make me a dancer.”

“’Course not,” says Cara. “I mean, my mum was an architect, and look at me! But I heard you were training to be a dancer like your mother. With the Royal Ballet.”

“I was. I… stopped.”

“Oh. Why was that then?”

I frown at Cara. She smiles back at me.

“Did Thisbe put you up to this?” I ask.

“Up to what?”

“All the questions.”

“Oh, no. That’s just me. My brother’s always telling me I’m blunt, because I don’t go in for all that evasive British crap – ignoring the elephant in the room. Better to lay it all out there and say, ‘My mum’s dead, and it sucks.’ You know?”

“Not really,” I reply honestly. I’ve never said those words in my life.

Cara nods like I’ve said something profound. Then, to my relief, she claps her hands and says, “Let’s talk dresses.”

After a quick-fire round of questions designed to establish my style, Cara hands me a scrapbook in which she’s pasted cuttings, photos and drawings of formal dresses, and she talks me through cuts, lengths, necks, sleeves and fabrics. Somewhere around the midi dress page I begin to come undone.

“What is it?” she says.

“Nothing,” I say.

“Something,” she says. “You look like you’re about to have a panic attack. Is it claustrophobia? This room is a little dinky.”

“It’s not that. It’s…”

She waits expectantly. I gesture to the scrapbook.

“It’s just all a bit real, suddenly, looking at these dresses. I mean, I’ve got to wear one and stand on a stage at the Royal Opera House in front of people. Lots of people.”

“Ah,” she says. “Yeah, I’d be a wreck doing that. But you’ve performed on stage before, right?”

“Sure. Plenty of times. But this isn’t a performance. I have to be myself. I mean…”

“You mean you have to be your mother’s daughter. And your mother was the legendary Beatrice Duvall.”

Startled, I nod. She gets it. I don’t even know this girl, but she gets it.

“So,” Cara says, plucking the scrapbook off my lap and leafing through the pages, “what you need, besides the strength to get on that stage, is a really kick-ass dress. A dress that makes you feel tall and powerful and goddam beautiful, like nothing can touch you while you’re wearing it. Ah-ha. Here. This one. What do you think?”

The dress illustration jumps right off the page. It’s bold, it’s simple, it’s glamorous, it shouts “designer”: a strapless bodice with criss-crossing satin ribbons and a flowing skirt with chiffon overskirt ending just on the knee.

“Wow,” I say. “You can make that? In time?”

She grins. “Hell yeah.”

“And you think I can pull that off?”

Her grin widens. “Hell yeah.”

Book link:

https://www.amazon.com/Swan-Song-Charlotte-Wilson-ebook/dp/B075D4XH1V/

Mini Interview With Author:

What is the inspiration for the story?

A kaleidoscope of ideas… Memories of performing on stage. The years I lived in Kensington, London. The many shows I’ve seen in the West End. A backstage tour of the Royal Opera House. The public reaction to Princess Diana’s death. My own experience of losing my mother.

What draws you to this genre?

Young adult: the time of life that most signifies discovery and sensation and freedom. Dreaming big; confronting reality. Being trendy; being quirky and out of step. Messing up gloriously; succeeding epically. First crush, first kiss, first love. Making memories that will last a lifetime.

Why do you write?

Because writing makes the blood sing in my veins; it makes me feel alive; it defines me. Because I’m a bibliophile, and the only thing better than having a book in my hand is having my own book in my hand. Because I want to entertain, inspire – and leave a legacy for my children.

About the Author:

Once upon a time a little girl told her grandmother that when she grew up she wanted to be a writer. Or a lollipop lady. Or a fairy princess. ‘Write, Charlotte,’ her grandmother advised. So that’s what she did.

Thirty-odd years later, Charlotte writes the kind of books she loves to read: romances. She lives in a village of Greater Manchester with her husband and two children, and when she’s not reading or writing, you’ll find her walking someplace green, baking up a storm or embarking on a DIY project. She recently achieved a lifetime ambition of creating a home library for her ever-increasing collection of books. She pretends not to notice that the shelves are rather wonky.

Author links

Website: http://bookishcharlotte.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bookishcharlotte/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/BookishLotte

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/bookishcharlotte/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15932269.Charlotte_Wilson

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Charlotte-Wilson/e/B00TDH4XLS/