The Widow’s Watcher: Notable Quotable

THE WIDOW’S WATCHER

By ELIZA MAXWELL

Genre:  Literary Fiction / Gothic

Publisher: Lake Union Press

Date of Publication: March 29, 2018

Number of Pages: 286

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From Eliza Maxwell, the bestselling author of The Unremembered Girl, comes a gripping novel about the mysteries that haunt us and the twists of fate that can unravel them…

Living in the shadow of a decades-old crime that stole his children from him, reclusive Lars Jorgensen is an unlikely savior. But when a stranger walks onto the ice of a frozen Minnesota lake, her intentions are brutally clear, and the old man isn’t about to let her follow through.

Jenna Shaw didn’t ask for Lars’s help, nor does she want it. After he pulls her from the brink, however, Jenna finds her desire to give up challenged by their unlikely friendship. In Jenna, Lars recognizes his last chance for redemption. And in her quest to solve the mysteries of Lars’s past and bring him closure, Jenna may find the way out of her own darkness. 

But the truth that waits threatens to shatter it all. When secrets are surrendered and lies are laid bare, Jenna and Lars may find that accepting the past isn’t their greatest challenge. Can they afford the heartbreaking price of forgiveness?

PRAISE FOR THE WIDOW’S WATCHER:

“There was a moment I had to tell myself that this is just a book…”

 Goodreads reviewer

 

“A well-paced story of healing, forgiveness and tragedy, with enough unexpected twists to keep readers guessing.”

— Amber Cowie, author of Rapid Falls

 

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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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5/22/18 Book Trailer StoreyBook Reviews
5/22/18 Review The Librarian Talks
5/23/18 Guest Post Texas Book Lover
5/24/18 Review #Bookish
5/24/18 Notable Quotable The Page Unbound
5/25/18 Review That’s What She’s Reading
5/25/18 Author Interview Dressed to Read
5/26/18 Review Tangled in Text
5/26/18 Notable Quotable Missus Gonzo
5/27/18 Deleted Scene Books and Broomsticks
5/28/18 Review The Clueless Gent
5/28/18 Author Interview Story Schmoozing Book Reviews
5/29/18 Top Five List Nerd Narration
5/30/18 Review Forgotten Winds
5/31/18 BONUS Review Hall Ways Blog

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Everything Under the Sun: Blitz

Everything Under the Sun
by Jessica Redmerski
Genre: YA/NA Dystopian
Release Date: August 28th 2017


Summary from Goodreads


Thais Fenwick was eleven-years-old when civilization fell, devastated by a virus that killed off the majority of the world’s population. For seven years, Thais and her family lived in a community of survivors deep in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains. But when her town is attacked by raiders, she and her blind sister are taken away to the East-Central Territory where she is destined to live the cruel and unjust kind of life her late mother warned her about.

Atticus Hunt is a troubled soldier in Lexington City who has spent the past seven years trying to conform to the vicious nature of men in a post-apocalyptic society. He knows that in order to survive, he must abandon his morals and his conscience and become like those he is surrounded by. But when he meets Thais, morals and conscience win out over conformity, and he risks his rank and his life to help her. They escape the city and set out together on a long and perilous journey to find safety in Shreveport, Louisiana.

Struggling to survive in a world without electricity, food, shelter, and clean water, Atticus and Thais shed their fear of growing too close, and they fall hopelessly in love. But can love survive in such dark times, or is it fated to die with them?

BUY LINKS

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About the Author

Jessica Redmerski is a New York TimesUSA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author, and award winner, who juggles several different genres. She began self-publishing in 2012, and later with the success of THE EDGE OF NEVER, she signed on with Grand Central Publishing/Forever Romance. Her works have been translated more than twenty languages.

Jessica is a hybrid author who, in addition to working with a traditional publisher, also continues to self-publish. The Portuguese rights to her popular crime and suspense series, In the Company of Killers, have been picked up by one of Brazil’s largest publishers – Suma de Letras; Paikese Kirjastus in Estonia; Ephesus in Turkey; Konyvmolykepzob in Hungary; Niezwykle in Poland; Bragelonne in France; Ahavot in Israel. The series has been optioned for television in the United States by actor and model William Levy, and a film exclusive to the Dominican Republic.

She also writes as J.A. Redmerski.

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Sins of the Younger Sons: Promo

SINS OF THE YOUNGER SONS

By JAN REID

Genre: Literary Fiction / Romance / Spy / Thriller

Publisher: Texas Christian University Press 

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Publication Date: February 28, 2018

Number of Pages: 296 pages

Sins of the Younger Sons has received the Jesse H. Jones Award for Fiction from the Texas Institute of Letters! 

Luke Burgoa is an ex-Marine on a solitary covert mission to infiltrate the Basque separatist organization ETA in Spain and help bring down its military commander, Peru Madariaga. Luke hails from a Basque ancestry that came with the Spanish empire to Cuba, Argentina, Mexico, and, seventy-five years ago, to a Texas ranch.

Neighbors consider the Burgoas Mexican immigrants and exiles of that nation’s revolution, but the matriarch of the family speaks the ancient language Euskera and honors traditions of the old country. Luke’s orders are to sell guns to the ETA and lure Peru into a trap. Instead he falls in love with Peru’s estranged wife, Ysolina, who lives in Paris and pursues a doctorate about an Inquisition-driven witchcraft frenzy in her native land. From the day they cross the border into the Basque Pyrenees, their love affair on the run conveys the beauty, sensuality, exoticism, and violence of an ancient homeland cut in two by Spain and France.

Their trajectory puts Luke, Ysolina, and Peru on a collision course with each other and the famed American architect Frank Gehry, whose construction of a Guggenheim art museum seeks to transform the Basque city of Bilbao, a decrepit industrial backwater haunted by the Spanish Civil War—and a hotbed of ETA extremism. Ranging from the Amazon rain forest to a deadly prison in Madrid, Sins of the Younger Sons is a love story exposed to dire risk at every turn.

PRAISE FOR SINS OF THE YOUNGER SONS:

Reid’s story is a fascinating blend of page-turning thriller and vivid tableau of Basque culture and the movement that battled the Spanish establishment for many decades. A reader can’t ask for more—a book that’s engaging, entertaining, educative, and unique.” 

—Thomas Zigal, author of Many Rivers to Cross and The White League

“What a fine book Jan Reid has written!  At once history—both cultural and political—and sensual love story, it reaches beyond genre to make for a magical and profound reading experience.  Don’t start reading it at night unless you want to stay up until dawn and then some.” —Beverly Lowry, author of Who Killed These Girls? and Harriet Tubman: Imagining a Life

“Page by page, Sins of the Younger Sons invites the reader to dwell for a while within its unique world, to suffer and celebrate with its unforgettable characters. It’s a trip that, if taken, is well worth the effort.” —Ed Conroy, San Antonio Express-News

“Sins of the Younger Sons vividly takes us into a world few of us have seen and into a bitter conflict most of us have never considered nor understood.” —Si Dunn, Dallas Morning News

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Jan Reid’s highly praised books include his novel Comanche Sundown, his biography of Texas governor Ann Richards, Let the People In, his memoir of Mexico, The Bullet Meant for Me, and The Improbable Rise of Redneck Rock. Making his home in Austin, Reid has been a leading contributor to Texas Monthly for over forty years. 

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5/17/18 Promo The Page Unbound
5/18/18 Review Hall Ways Blog
5/19/18 Excerpt Texas Book Lover
5/20/18 Author Interview The Librarian Talks
5/21/18 Review Books in the Garden
5/22/18 Promo Book Fidelity
5/23/18 Playlist The Clueless Gent
5/24/18 Review The Love of a Bibliophile
5/25/18 Promo Forgotten Winds
5/26/18 Review Reading by Moonlight

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Beyond Control: Excerpt

BEYOND CONTROL

The Texas Trilogy, Book 3

By Kat Martin

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Publisher: Zebra

Date of Publication: May 29, 2018

Number of Pages: 368  

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Present Danger

When Victoria Bradford got engaged, she told herself to give love a chance. Six months later, she’s on the run from her angry, abusive ex-fiancé with her four-year-old daughter and nowhere to go.

Seventy miles north of Dallas, the Iron River Ranch is pretty much nowhere. That’s what its new owner, Josh Cain, wanted when he came back from Afghanistan. Big skies, quiet nights, no trouble.

One look tells Josh the pretty redhead with the adorable little girl will give him trouble of the most personal kind. But he’s seen trouble before, and he doesn’t scare easy. Not when “accidents” start happening around the ranch. Not when Tory’s best friend back in Phoenix is abducted and brutalized. Not even when it looks like their current problems are only the tip of the iceberg.

But if he gets too close to fierce, determined Tory, Josh knows his nights are going to be anything but quiet. And that’s one possibility no amount of training can prepare him for…

PRAISE FOR BEYOND CONTROL:

“As the excitement in Iron Springs continues, two strangers with tragic pasts form an unbreakable bond. Beyond Control is the last installment in the Texas Trilogy. It’s delightfully fast-paced, riveting, and amazingly compelling. Martin has outdone herself with unpredictable twists and suspense that will leave readers panting for more. Definitely a must-read for readers who enjoy mystery, thrills, and romance to spice up their life.” – RT Reviews Top Pick

“Bestseller Martin brings her Texas Trilogy … to a hair-raising finish with the gripping tale of a single mother on the run and the Marine veteran who offers her a second chance at happily-ever-after. Martin has a consummate skill for developing the most loveable and the most despicable characters; readers will cheer when sadistic Damon meets his well-deserved end. Martin’s finely described Texas is a delight.” – Publishers Weekly

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EXCERPT, PART ONE

FROM BEYOND CONTROL

BY KAT MARTIN

Iron River Ranch

Iron Springs, Texas

Victoria Bradford drove the old blue Chevy Malibu along the two-lane road.  Up ahead, a sign hung above a narrow dirt track running off to the west, IRON RIVER RANCH.

“Are we there yet, Mama?”  Ivy, her four-year-old daughter, had asked at a dozen times since they’d left the Walmart parking lot in Iron Springs.  The ten-mile drive didn’t take long, but to a four-year-old who’d been in the car for days, they couldn’t reach their destination soon enough. 

“We’re very close, sweetheart.  This is the turn, right here.”  Tory checked the gas gauge as the wheels left the pavement and started rumbling over the bumpy dirt road.  Less than an eighth of a tank.  She hoped the ranch wasn’t much farther.

More than that, she prayed the job hadn’t already been filled. 

She sighed as the aging Malibu rolled along.  She was basically in bumfrick Egypt, ten miles north of Nowhere Springs, almost out of gas, with twenty-three dollars and thirty-three cents in her wallet. 

Last night, without enough money for a motel room and afraid to use her credit cards for fear Damon would somehow track her, they’d slept in the car in the Walmart parking lot.  As soon as the McDonald’s opened, she had pulled into the drive-thru and bought Sausage McMuffins, then driven out to the ranch to somehow convince the owner to hire a woman with a daughter and no actual ranching experience.

She thought of the ad in the paper she had spotted last night on the counter in the Iron Springs Café.  If she somehow managed to get the job, it would be perfect.  Besides a steady paycheck and the ranch being way off the grid, the position included the use of a double-wide trailer. 

After being on the road for the past three weeks, living out of motel rooms and suitcases, the trailer sounded like a palace.

“Look, Mama, there it is!”  Ivy pointed toward the cluster of buildings up ahead, a couple of barns, several fenced training arenas, and a two-story home with dormer windows and a covered porch running the length out in front.  A double-wide sat fifty yards away.

Vast stretches of open green pastureland surrounded the complex where horses and cattle grazed, and there were ponds and woodlands in the distance, and dense copses of trees.

The Chevy bumped over the last patch of road, pulled up in front of the house, and Tory quickly turned off the engine.  No use wasting what little gas she had left. 

“Mama, there’s a man over there by the barn.”

Her gaze swung in that direction.  There was, indeed, a man.  The noisy buzz of a saw covered the sound of their arrival, giving her time to assess him. 

Shirtless, he was working with his back to them, broad, tanned, and muscled above a narrow waist that disappeared into a pair of faded jeans.  The jeans hugged a round behind and long, powerful legs. 

  He was tall, she saw when he straightened away from his work and walked into the barn, with medium brown hair cut short.  She got her first look at his face when he walked back out, handsome, with a solid jaw and masculine features, at least three days’ growth of whiskers. 

The front of him was just as impressive as the back, a broad chest with solid pecs, muscular biceps, and six pack abs.

Unease filtered through her.  This was a strong, powerful male.  She knew firsthand what a man like that could do to a woman. 

Tory forced down the notion.  Not all men were like Damon.  Before she’d met him, she had been married to a good and decent man, the father of her child.  Jamie Bradford, her high school sweetheart, was one of the gentlest people she’d ever known.  Her father was a good man, before he’d fallen in love with his secretary and divorced her mother, leaving the two of them alone.

Tory took a courage-building breath.  “Stay here, sweetheart.”  Cracking open the car door, she slid out from behind the wheel.  “Don’t worry, sweetie.  Everything’s going to be okay.”

She hoped.

Ivy sank down in her booster seat, trying to make herself invisible.  Tory had survived the fights, arguments, and finally the brutal beating Damon had given her that had put her in the hospital.  Though he had never hurt Ivy, the little girl had seen the results of his mistreatment, leaving her with an unnatural fear of men.    

Tory glanced at the big, thick-chested male striding toward her, shrugging into a blue denim shirt.  Ivy would be terrified of him.  If there was any other way, she would climb back in the car and just drive away.

There wasn’t.  Tory started walking, meeting the man half way.  She glanced around but didn’t see a soul besides the big man in front of her.  Her uneasiness returned but she forced it away. 

Read part two of the excerpt on the Lone Star Book Blog Tours 5/15/18 tour stop with Books and Broomsticks blog!

New York Times bestselling author Kat Martin is a graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara where she majored in Anthropology and also studied History. Currently residing in Missoula, Montana with her Western-author husband, L. J. Martin, Kat has written sixty-five Historical and Contemporary Romantic Suspense novels. More than sixteen million copies of her books are in print and she has been published in twenty foreign countries. Kat is currently at work on her next Romantic Suspense.

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Texas Book Lover

5/12/18

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Missus Gonzo

5/13/18

Excerpt Part 1

The Page Unbound

5/14/18

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StoreyBook Reviews

5/15/18

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Books and Broomsticks

5/16/18

Author Interview

Nerd Narration

5/17/18

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Reading by Moonlight

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Harmon General: Cover Reveal Blitz

HARMON GENERAL

Misfits and Millionaires #2 

By KIMBERLY FISH

Genre: Historical Fiction / WWII / Spies 

Expected Date of Publication: June 16, 2018

Number of Pages: 330

Harmon General is book two in the WWII historical fiction series entitled Misfits and Millionaires—set in Longview, Texas. The novel picks up about two months after the story line in The Big Inch ended.

 

Familiar characters and locations get a shot of adrenaline from the biological hazard espionage going on at the U.S. Army’s new medical hospital treating diseased and wounded soldiers—a 156-acre pop campus created as part of a master plan to place U.S. Army hospitals around Texas specializing in long-term wound care for WWII soldiers. The Office of Strategic Services has one of its best agents in place as a nurse at Harmon General—Sgt. Emmie Tesco—and she’s soon up to her blood pressure cuff in intrigues at the hospital campus, particularly the mission to stop a culprit code-named “Dr. Death” who is accused of skewing the malaria test protocols being established at Harmon so that no one will notice him preparing to sell the malaria research to the enemies of the Allies. Heroes and villains circulate in Longview from the post at Harmon General, and Emmie ropes Lane Mercer into helping manage the overload of responsibilities. Readers of The Big Inch will better understand what drives Emmie Tesco and why poking at old wounds can be a messy affair. The backstory of Lane Mercer and her first husband gets a brutal airing too, and stakes grow dangerous for Lane and Zeke Hayes as the plans they’d wanted for their wedding are upended by well-meaning, Aunt Edith.

PRESENTING THE COVER 

OF HARMON GENERAL

PRAISE FOR HARMON GENERAL:

“The war that changed the world brought the world to East Texas through Harmon General, a significant US Army hospital that treated thousands of wounded soldiers in Longview.  In Harmon General, we meet again Lane Mercer, a World War II heroine, and we enjoy again how the drama of her secret service to the nation and her complicated personal relationships pull us into the vast impact of the world war.” — Dale Lunsford, Ph.D., President, LeTourneau University

Kimberly Fish started writing professionally with the birth of her second child and the purchase of a home computer. Having found this dubious outlet, she then entered and won The Writer’s League of Texas manuscript contest which fed her on-going fascination with story crafting. 

She has since published in magazines, newspapers, and online formats and in January 2017, released the first novel in the Misfits and Millionaires series set during the World War II years in Longview, Texas—The Big Inch. Her second book, Comfort Plans, was published later that same year.

She lives with her family in East Texas.

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HARMON GENERAL

COMING TO LONE STAR BOOK BLOG TOURS

JUNE 22-JULY 1, 2018

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Forgotten Winds

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ISAN Review

ISAN 
By Mary Ting 
Published by: Vesuvian Books
Publication date: May 1st 2018
Genres: Dystopian, Science Fiction, Young Adult

Synopsis

 

THE WORLD HAS CHANGED.SCIENTISTS WARNED IT WOULD HAPPEN.Meteors devastated the Earth. World Governments developed plans to help surviving citizens. The United States disbanded and salvageable land was divided into our quadrants—North, South, East, and West—governed by The Remnant Council.

Struggling to survive, seventeen-year-old Ava ends up in juvenile detention, until she is selected for a new life—with a catch. She must be injected with an experimental serum. The results will be life changing. The serum will make her “better.” To receive the serum, Ava agrees to join a program controlled by ISAN, the International Sensory Assassin Network.

While on a mission, she is abducted by a rebel group led by Rhett and told that not only does she have a history with him, but her entire past is a lie perpetuated by ISAN to ensure her compliance. Unsure of who to trust, Ava must decide if her strangely familiar and handsome captor is her enemy or her savior—and time is running out.

“Captivating from the very beginning…this thrilling dystopian drama has a splash of romance and tons of actions.” –School Library Journal

 

 

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Review

This is a great novel that highlights what first interested us all in dystopia novels. ISAN will gradually introduce you into a mix of complex characters, interesting surprises, and wonderfully depicted world-building. We follow Ava on her journey as a training assassin and discovery of this harsh world. It’s a survival of the fittest post-apocalyptic setting that evolves into wild abilities, action, mystery, and a bit of romance. Rhett is an amazing character with so many quotable lines and I so rarely enjoy the love interest right away. Well I did this time. I liked that the romance didn’t overshadow the plot as well. It was easy to read into and Ting really shines in her characterization.

Young women, like Ava, are taken in by ISAN and given an experimental serum to become elite assassins. It really drew me in from the start as it reminded me of Captain America mixed with Black Widow. As a big fan of comics, this book flew by and was over before I knew it. I was really surprised by certain turn of events and the secrets that Ava’s past revealed. This so-called government is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to this world. I enjoyed the gradual feel it took and learning everything from Ava’s perspective. Certain scenes and lines really conveyed a deeper meaning for myself and I really enjoyed Mary Ting’s style. I’m looking forward to another book in the series!

About the Author

 

International Bestselling Author Mary Ting/M. Clarke resides in Southern California with her husband and two children. She enjoys oil painting and making jewelry. Writing her first novel, Crossroads Saga, happened by chance. It was a way to grieve the death of her beloved grandmother, and inspired by a dream she once had as a young girl. When she started reading new adult novels, she fell in love with the genre. It was the reason she had to write one-Something Great. Why the pen name, M Clarke? She tours with Magic Johnson Foundation to promote literacy and her children’s chapter book-No Bullies Allowed.

 

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The Way of Beauty: Author Interview

THE WAY OF BEAUTY

By Camille Di Maio

Genre: Historical Fiction / 20th Century / Literary

Publisher: Lake Union Press

Date of Publication: May 1, 2018

Number of Pages: 384

  

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Hearts and dreams evolve in the shadow of the once-magnificent Penn Station.

Vera Keller, the daughter of German immigrants in turn-of-the-century New York City, finds her life upended when the man she loves becomes engaged to another woman. But Angelo Bellavia has also inadvertently opened up Vera’s life to unexpected possibilities. Angelo’s new wife, Pearl, the wealthy daughter of a clothing manufacturer, has defied her family’s expectations by devoting herself to the suffrage movement. In Pearl, Vera finds an unexpected dear friend…and a stirring new cause of her own. But when Pearl’s selfless work pulls her farther from Angelo and their son, the life Vera craved is suddenly within her reach—if her conscience will allow her to take it.

Her choice will define not only her future but also that of her daughter, Alice.

Vera and Alice—a generation and a world apart—are bound by the same passionate drive to fulfill their dreams. As first mother and then daughter come of age in a city that is changing as rapidly as its skyline, they’ll each discover that love is the only constant.

PRAISE FOR THE WAY OF BEAUTY:

The Way of Beauty is a thing of beauty. The writing is gorgeous, the story is engaging, the characters are amazing. The amount of research that goes into historical fiction just astounds me. Add this to your TBR!”

“If you want to be swept away by a love story set in a fascinating and meticulously researched past, Camille Di Maio is the author for you. Don’t miss this one.”

“A captivating story of love and family that spans several generations.”

“The writing transports you to the time, not so long ago when women had to choose between love and their rights. Camille Di Maio’s dialogue, descriptions, and relationships create a complete picture of the era and struggles. Great book club book.” 

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CHECK OUT THE BOOK TRAILER!

INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR CAMILLE DI MAIO

What was your favorite childhood book?

I love this book called The King Who Rained for Forty Years. It was written by Fred Gwynne (Mr. Munster!), and it illustrated the way we hear language versus the way we read it. It is so clever! It made me fall in love with words.

Do you Google yourself?

I have done this a few times – mostly because I want to stay on top of any articles or posts about my books so that I can thank the blogger.

How do you select the names of your characters?

Since I write historical fiction, choosing era-accurate names is especially important. I figure out which year my characters would have been born in, and then I search for the most popular baby names of that year – I think the furthest I’ve gone back is 1890! I love that some of the old names are coming back – Violet, Iris, Hazel, etc. Naming characters is one of my favorite parts of writing!

If you didn’t write, what work would you do?

I was a Realtor for many years, and although I was kept quite busy with it, it wasn’t my calling. If I wasn’t writing, though, and wanted to choose another career I loved, I would be a travel agent. I love love love the research that goes into planning a trip, getting good prices, finding great coffee shops. I have done this for friends several times, just for fun.

Do you believe in writer’s block?

Yes! It happens all the time! Actually, I’d say that about 90% of the time I sit down to my laptop, I don’t know what I’m going to write. The key is to just DO it. Just get words on the page (or screen!) and things will flow. You can’t wait around for inspiration to strike.

Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?

My first book, The Memory of Us, was inspired by the Beatles song, “Eleanor Rigby.” So, there are definitely some “Easter eggs” in there that only the most devoted Beatles fans would know. All of my books have details of something in my life. For example, there is a wedding ring in the book I’m writing now that is fashioned after the one my grandmother wore. And the house in that book is inspired by my other grandmother’s house. My family would be the only people who know these things!

What’s the best way to market your book?

I’m not terribly polished or technical, so I don’t have a newsletter or Pinterest account that I keep up with. But I love just being personal with my readers. I’m very active on Instagram and Facebook, getting to know my readers and letting them know me. I don’t know if that’s marketing, exactly, but it’s being a real person and forming connections.

How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?

Having that book professionally edited was the best writing education I could ever have gotten. Instead of working with concepts, the process of digging in to the intricacies of my writing helped me understand what works and what doesn’t, and I’ve definitely carried that over into my subsequent books.

Do you read your reviews? How do you feel about the good and bad ones?

Eek! Yes! I do read my Amazon reviews. Of course, all authors wish they had five stars across the board, but that’s not realistic. Not every book is going to speak to every person in the same way. I love fours and fives. I think threes are very reasonable – they are often well-thought-out, being honest about the things they didn’t connect with and supportive of the things they did. I somewhat discount the two and one-star reviews. Personally, if I’m reading a book that I would rate a one or two star, I’m not going to finish it in the first place, and I’m definitely not going to review it and hurt the author. But those reviews can sometimes be humorous, too. Sometimes, they’re for the totally wrong book. “There was too much sex in it!” (I have none in my books – I’m a close-the-door kind of writer.) Or one of my favorites – (I’m paraphrasing here) – “I liked the book until the main character drank chamomile tea. Only eccentric people drink chamomile tea. So I have to give it two stars.”)

~Romance Writers of America Honor Roll Inductee~

Camille recently left an award-winning real estate career in San Antonio to become a full-time writer. Along with her husband of 19 years, she enjoys raising their four children. She has a bucket list that is never-ending and uses her adventures to inspire her writing. She’s lived in Texas, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and California, and spends enough time in Hawai’i to feel like a local. She’s traveled to four continents (so far) and met Mother Teresa and Pope John Paul II. She just about fainted when she had a chance to meet her musical idol, 

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5/1 Notable Quotable Forgotten Winds
5/1 Notable Quotable Books and Broomsticks
5/1 Notable Quotable The Clueless Gent
5/2 Review Hall Ways Blog
5/3 Review Books in the Garden
5/4 Guest Post Carpe Diem Chronicles
5/4 Excerpt That’s What She’s Reading
5/5 Review Reading by Moonlight
5/5 Promo+ Chapter Break Book Blog
5/6 Review Momma on the Rocks
5/7 Author Interview The Page Unbound
5/7 Top Five Story Schmoozing Book Reviews
5/8 Review StoreyBook Reviews
5/9 Guest Post Missus Gonzo
5/9 Character Interview The Librarian Talks
5/10 Review Tangled in Text

 

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The Crossover Review

The Crossover

By Heather Horst

Genre: YA Sci-fi

Release Date: March 10th 2018

Summary

It’s been 12 years since Ella has buried her brother Weston, today she buries her Father. Tomorrow she begins her life as an average University student. Unfortunately, much like Ella’s childhood, things do not go as expected. Before the semester can even begin Ella finds herself intertwined with eccentric peers, family ties, and an alternate universe.

Now Ella is thrust into the responsibility of keeping her personal life in order while saving another Earth from their impending doom, and potentially her own.

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Review

I enjoyed reading this book quite a bit. It was a fast read in my opinion. We’re just starting to know Ella before she is quickly thrown into this dilemma. It surprised me when I felt like I was just beginning her journey and realized I was already halfway through the book!

Horst has some very interesting characters and twists throughout the story. It definitely took many different turns then I expected, especially with how quickly things progress. Also, some details that would otherwise be surprising in the book are given in a completely normal context. It was a very refreshing way to develop characters and plot. It also has good representation, especially the progression of loss. Not only that, but the confrontation of helping an alternate version of a father she just lost? Plus a brother she never got to see grow up. I honestly was surprised by how well Ella handled all of that. That’s just the beginning of what’s in store.

I think this has the potential of becoming an epic series. Everything really seemed like it was on the cusp of getting even more wild. I liked the unique quality of writing that was represented as well. It made the reader feel very involved in the story and was easier to connect to the main character. It was a really fun read!

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Searching for Pilar: Guest Post

SEARCHING FOR PILAR

By PATRICIA HUNT HOLMES

Genre: Contemporary Suspense / Thriller

Publisher: River Grove Books

Publication Date: April 10, 2018

Number of Pages: 320 pages

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Pilar, an innocent young wife and mother, is abducted during a fake job interview in Mexico City and forced into sex slavery in Houston. Can she survive the horrors of a world—one which many good Americans don’t see or ignore—long enough for her brother Diego to find her?

Searching for Pilar breaks open the secretive and dangerous world of sex trafficking, while exploring human nature and our connections to each another. Diego’s guilt transforms him from a rudderless youth into a man of purpose, and courage. While he searches, Pilar finds a strength that could save herself and a young girl who needs her. The themes of family, love, faith and the law intertwine in this action-packed tale of the Bayou City.

PRAISE FOR SEARCHING FOR PILAR:

“Patricia Holmes fictionalizes the heartbreaking reality of cross-border sex trafficking in her novel, Searching for Pilar. This cautionary tale should be required reading for high school classes to foster awareness, understanding, and ultimately solutions to this horrific epidemic.”  —Joanne F. Phillips, author of Revenge of the Cube Dweller.

“In Searching for Pilar, Patricia Hunt Holmes makes us aware of the terrible nature of sex trafficking in the context of a fast-paced, exciting Houston story that moves from affluence and glitz to barrio cantinas and the federal courthouse. The charitable, can-do nature of Houston is reflected in the wide cast of residents who help a young man on an extremely dangerous mission to find his kidnapped sister.  This book will be an added weapon in our fight against sex trafficking.” –Sylvester Turner, Mayor, City of Houston

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TIPS FOR MEN WHO STILL DON’T GET IT

Guest Post by Patricia Hunt Holmes

I was having lunch yesterday after a round of golf with three professional women friends.  We were discussing things that we experienced or saw during the good old days in the legal and business world that would be considered inappropriate today.  I am a retired big firm corporate law partner.

“It’s amazing,” I said.  “Some men still don’t get it.”  I told them about how the marshal at Memorial recently paired my former law partner (let’s call her “Thelma”) and me with two men of our generation who were oblivious to the fact that old habits need to be re-examined.  They were pleasant, but when we did the customary self-introductions on the first tee, one of them addressed me as “honey” and Thelma as “doll.”  DOLL? I had visions of Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin with their arms around buxom blonds in Las Vegas.

I looked at Thelma, a big time, scary litigator in her day, to see if she would slug the guy.    I was afraid that if we made a fuss, these guys would tell the marshal that we were pain in the neck females who shouldn’t be given tee times at prime times when men like to play.  Since we had never been paired with women in the year and a half we played there, I feared we might never tee off again.  Our golf careers would die right then and there!  Thelma was probably thinking the same thing, so we smiled and patiently endured being addressed as “sweetie” and “baby” for eleven holes.  Finally, we said, “Enough!” and adjourned to the grill and a glass of wine.

Then one of my other friends related something that had happened to her just the week before.  Her team at a large commercial real estate company had an event where prizes were awarded.  She didn’t win.  Her boss, who was hosting the office Christmas party the next night, where he awarded prizes, was standing beside her.  Making light conversation, she told him that she didn’t win anything but hoped she would win something the next day.  He looked her in the eyes and responded in a low voice, “It depends on what you are wearing.”  Was that a sexist innuendo, a bad joke or what?  Did he realize it?  Probably not.

So, for those men who still don’t get it, I put together a list of things you might consider not doing in this time of heightened consciousness of inappropriate behavior in male/female relationships:

First, it’s probably not a good idea to address any woman with terms that are used in talking to children.  For example, anyone over the age of puberty who is not your significant other should not be addressed as “honey,” “doll,” or “sweetie.”  “Baby” should be reserved for talking with actual babies.   Use the woman’s proper name.  If you don’t know it, say “Miss” or Ma’am, like nice Southern boys used to do.  It’s respectful.

Second, never respond to a simple conversational sentence with a suggestive or flirty response.  It kills what could be a pleasant conversation or even a fruitful exchange of ideas.  Unless she is looking for a hookup (possible, but unlikely), she will try to avoid you in the future.  You will miss out on making a friend or loyal employee.

Third, if you don’t want to allow a woman to enter an elevator first or open a door for her, don’t editorialize that “I would open the door for you, but then you would say I was a sexist pig.”   Don’t BE a sexist pig — just get on the elevator first or let her open her own door without comment.  We all realize manners and civility are dying anyway.  But you might just impress people if you did the respectful thing.  Everyone appreciates gentlemanly behavior.

Fourth, don’t habitually close your office door when meeting with a particular subordinate woman unless you need to speak in private.  Otherwise, the rest of the office might suspect that something is going on in there.  That could make the trapped woman nervous and other women in the office resentful of her. It lessens her ability to be seen as a competent professional.   Besides, if the woman is unscrupulous (it does happen, alas!) you may be setting yourself up for a situation where you are accused of something inappropriate that you didn’t really do.   If the door stays open for men in a similar situation, it should stay open for women. 

Last, although hugging and air kissing when meeting is common in many social and business settings, trying to kiss subordinate women or colleagues on the lips is not appropriate.  It reminds me of “copping a feel,” as the boys in my high school in Jersey used to say.  Hug or kiss a woman you know in greeting or goodbye on the cheek.  If you are greeting both a woman and male clients or colleagues, don’t shake hands with the man but kiss and/or hug the woman. Greet them both the same way.  If you are meeting a woman for the first time, or someone you don’t know well, a handshake is appropriate.  If the woman has a stronger grip than you expected, don’t comment about it. 

Old habits are hard to change and often we don’t realize the effect of things we do.  But “the times they are a changing” and I encourage all you guys who are good people to be more “mindful” (to use a trendy theme) of how what you say or do could get you in trouble or rob you of the ability to have meaningful relationships with women colleagues. Above all, don’t let the current hysteria cause you to avoid working with women.  Just keep your interaction respectful and professional, the same as you do with other men. 

Patricia Hunt Holmes, Ph.D., J.D.

Patricia is a retired partner with Vinson & Elkins LLP.  Her first fiction novel, “Searching for Pilar,” will be available April 10, 2017.

Patricia Hunt Holmes spent 30 years as a public finance attorney with the international law firm of Vinson & Elkins LLP.   She was consistently listed in Best Lawyers in America, Texas Super Lawyers, Top Lawyers in Houston, and awarded the highest degree by her peers in Martindale Hubbell. She was a frequent speaker at national public finance and healthcare conferences.  Patricia has also served on the faculty of the University of Missouri-Columbia, University of Tennessee, and University of Texas Health Science Center Houston. She has written and published in the fields of intellectual history and law.

Patricia has been a member and board member of social service organizations in Houston that focus on helping women, including the United Way of the Texas Gulf Coast Women’s Initiative, Dress for Success Houston, and the American Heart Association’s Circle of Red.  She was a founding member and first board chair of Houston Justice for Our Neighbors, which provides free and low cost legal services to immigrants.  For the past five years, she has been taking writing workshops with Inprint, associated with the outstanding University of Houston Creative Writing Program.  She began to write Searching for Pilar in a workshop after learning that Houston is one of the biggest hubs for sex trafficking in the country.

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Tribal Affairs

Tribal Affairs
By Matt Dallmann
Genre: Ya Fantasy
Release Date: July 31st 2017

Summary

Dahlia, a centuries old genie, lies hopelessly trapped in a damaged golden locket charm attached to an ankle bracelet. Its owner, sixteen-year-old Liana, wears it for the first time during her father Jamison’s opening night illusion spectacular.

Not only does its presence cause Jamison to folly his performance, but it also starts a chain of bizarre events that lead to a showdown with Dahlia’s mortal enemy, Stefan, and an unsuspecting romance between Liana and his son.

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Excerpt

He slowly turned away, changing the stance of his feet as if preparing his body for motion. That was it? Liana felt her emotional capital building back up and could think of only one thing to spend it on: getting what she came for. She looked at the collar of Stefan’s turtleneck as he walked away. It was time to go on the offensive. Liana turned and followed him offstage.

Stefan entered the next room with the satisfaction of a hoarder returning to his nest. In fact, according to Jamison, the only reports of ever seeing him smile were at times when he was nestled comfortably among the scattered lumber, various tools, and bolts of muslin in this, his special room. Just as he was about to make another impression of his backside in a pile of sawdust on his chair, Liana bolted in like a superhero.

“Wait, Stefan!” she called.

He turned his head like an owl, and just as quick.

“I wanted to make sure everything was okay with the harness.”

“Oh, yes,” said Stefan. “I’m so sorry about what happened on opening night. It was a total fluke. I promise it won’t happen again. These brand-new harnesses are top-of-the-line.”

“Great.”

Liana began to notice the subtle tells in his body language and revealing tones of his voice. He was apologetic and submissive and would certainly help her.

“Also,” she started, “I know this may seem a little strange, but, that tattoo on the back of your neck; I think I’ve seen it somewhere else before. What does it mean?”

Stefan smiled. “That old thing? I got it back when I was in high school. I was a wild one back then.”

Liana smiled, insisting on another answer.

“It means about ten different things,” Stefan obliged.

“Really?”

“Yes, strange, isn’t it? Some ancient language, I forget the name of it. I’ve got a whole book of different translations in the back. Would you like to see it?”

“Sure. I’d love to.”

Stefan sauntered over to a large metal cabinet with Liana in tow. He seemed to glide across, around and through the mass of stuff about the room, while Liana dodged everything like navigating an obstacle course.

“My wife says I collect too much crap, so I’ve started keeping things here at the theater.”

He opened the large metal cabinet and began rummaging through piles of old dusty books. The search seemed to go on forever.

“I don’t want to be a bother,” Liana said trying to come up with a suitable excuse to leave.

“No, don’t be silly. It’s my pleasure.”

Maybe so, but Liana began to regret her actions. The wrestling match wasn’t over, and reality had started gaining ground. Without a struggle, Liana gave up her dominant position and started to back away from Stefan. Assuming her place as the submissive, she was afraid to turn away from him and didn’t notice the door behind her closing.

“You have her eyes, you know,” said Stefan.

“What?”

“Her eyes, the woman in your dreams.”

As Liana began to panic, Stefan continued rummaging through the old books.

“How do you know about—?”

“I know everything about you.”

He turned to look at her. He was different, no longer the slow-moving turtle but rather a dominant silverback gorilla. His shoulders bulged as his eyes pierced into Liana’s mind.

“What do you mean?” said Liana.

“You can see things with those eyes, can’t you?” he asked.

Liana backed away as he gained ground on her.

“Amazing things,” said Stefan. 

His eyes became black, and Liana felt herself going into a trance. Images of the beautiful woman from her dreams and the elder man flashed into her head, she standing on the cliff and he advancing on her. Still, Liana couldn’t see his face. Why couldn’t she see his face? The images continued to flash, faster and faster; the beautiful woman, the elder man, the hanging man, the laughing band of ruffians, the beautiful woman, the elder man, the beautiful woman, the elder man, the elder man, the elder man. The images stopped. Liana looked directly in front of her and saw his face. It was him.

“Xethalis,” she whispered.

Stefan smiled. Liana thrust out her arms and pushed Stefan across the room with the strength of twenty men. His back slammed against the opposite wall, causing it to collapse on top of him.

Liana’s trance broke. She looked down at her hands then across the room at Stefan, buried beneath the collapsed wall.

About the Author

Matt Dallmann has a background in acting and holds a BFA from Marymount Manhattan College in New York City. His films and screenplays have been featured at film festivals across the United States including Cinequest, Big Apple Film Festival, Seattle’s True Independent Film Festival, DragonCon and Zero Independent Film Festival. His piano compositions have been published for commercial use and he is a member of ASCAP. Matt is also the Co-Founder and Vice President of the boutique medical billing firm VGA Billing Services, Inc. in New York City. He lives in New Jersey with his wife and two daughters.

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