Under A Summer Sky: Excerpt


Follow Your Heart, Book 3

By Melody Carlson

Genre: Contemporary Romance / Christian / Inspirational

Publisher: Revell

Date of Publication: June 6, 2017

Number of Pages: 320

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High school art teacher Nicole Anderson is looking forward to a relaxing summer in Savannah, house-sitting and managing an art gallery for a family friend. The house is luxurious in a way that only old money could make it, and the gallery promises interesting days in a gorgeous setting. Yet it isn’t long before her ideal summer turns into more than she bargained for: a snooty gallery employee who’s determined to force her out, a displaced adolescent roosting in the attic, and two of her childhood friends—who also happen to be brothers—vying for her attention.

With the backdrop of a gorgeous historical city, incredible architecture, and even an alleged ghost or two, combined with the opportunity for romance . . . anything can happen! 

Bestselling and award-winning author Melody Carlson invites you to spend the summer surrounded by splendor . . . and tantalizing possibilities.



“Heartwarming and uplifting.”Library Journal on Once Upon a Summertime 

“Sweet, romantic, and endlessly entertaining.”Radiant Lit on Once Upon a Summertime

“This winsome romance [is] a perfect summer read.”Publishers Weekly on All Summer Long




Excerpt: Chapter 1, Part 3

continued from the 6/22/17 Lone Star Book Blog Tours stop

“Well, Vivian called me up this morning. Straight out of the blue. I don’t think we’ve had an actual conversation since her grandbaby was born.”

“Vivian has a grandbaby?”

“Oh, I’m sure I told you about it before. You remember that Alex got married—that was years ago. Poor Vivian was so disappointed they didn’t have a wedding. The selfish kids ran off to Vegas.”

“Oh yeah.” Nicole nodded, remembering how vexed her mom was that there hadn’t been a wedding. Nicole herself hadn’t been too pleased to hear that Alex had gotten married. “So back to Vivian, Mom. She called you this morning?”

“Yes. I couldn’t have been more surprised. Oh, we still exchange Christmas and birthday cards, but we haven’t actually spoken in years. Viv has encouraged me to join one of those online social clubs, but you know me, Nikki, I hate computers.” She snagged a parking place near the neighborhood Starbucks. “All that electronic stuff just gives me the heebie-jeebies. Don’t know how your father can waste so much time on his computer. It’s just plain silly.”

Nicole laughed as she pointed to her mom’s smartphone sticking out of her purse. “Well, at least you know how to use that now. That’s better than nothing.”

Caroline turned off the engine and reached for her phone. “That reminds me, I have to show you the pictures I took at JJ’s ball game yesterday—”

“How about you send them to me?” Nicole said as they got out of the car.

“Anyway, Viv and I had a very interesting conversation.” Caroline’s brows arched.

“That is somehow related to me?” Nicole held the Starbucks door open for her mom.

“Well, as it turns out, it just might be. You see,” Caroline continued as they stepped into the short line, “Vivian and Robert are celebrating their fortieth anniversary this summer by taking a world cruise. Can you imagine three months of being pampered on a luxurious ship that goes all around the world?” She sighed. “But then they’re rich.”

“What does this have to do with me?”

“I’m sure that Vivian called me to brag a little. Really, I can’t blame her. I’d tell everyone I know if your dad was taking me on a trip like that.” She paused to order an iced mocha, and Nicole followed suit, trying to make sense of her mother’s monologue about Vivian’s charmed life.

“But Robert comes from money. Old money. According to Viv, they inherited quite a sum after his dad passed away.” She shook her head. “I can only imagine.”

“You’re not exactly impoverished,” Nicole said.

“I know that. But we’re not the Grahams.”

Nicole smiled. “And I’m glad you’re not.”

As they picked up their iced mochas, Caroline continued to rattle on about how “fortunate” Vivian and Robert were. After they were seated, Nicole held up her hand. “Okay, Mom, can you please get to the part about why this involves me? I’ve had a long day and an even longer school year, and my brain is starting to get a little fuzzy.”

Caroline gave her a sly-looking smile. “Well . . . do you recall that Vivian owns a gallery in Savannah?”

Nicole tipped her head to one side. “That kind of rings a bell. Didn’t we look at a vacant building when we were in Savannah that last time? Vivian was talking about getting it for an investment?”

“Yes, that’s right. Vivian bought that building. A few years later she opened an art gallery—I guess it was about a dozen years ago. The Graham Gallery, she said it’s called. It took a while for it to catch hold, and then there was the recession. But apparently it’s fairly well established now. I guess it’s been kind of like her baby—even more so after her boys were grown and all. It actually sounds rather nice.”

“Uh-huh.” Nicole tried to imagine it as she sipped her iced mocha.

“Viv was telling me all about her gallery and these art exhibits she has lined up for the upcoming summer, complaining about how hard it would be to leave it all behind—to go off on her fabulous world cruise.” Caroline rolled her eyes, then laughed. “In the meantime, I got this brilliant idea.”

“Oh?” Despite her weariness, Nicole’s curiosity was piquing.

“It was slightly miraculous how this idea occurred to me—almost like a divine inspiration.”

“Seriously?” Nicole frowned.

Caroline nodded firmly. “Don’t be such a skeptic, Nikki. It’s entirely possible that God gave me this idea. Anyway, I suddenly realized that you, my dear, are exactly what Vivian needs.”

“What she needs?”

“To manage her gallery.”

“To manage her gallery?”

“Good grief, is there an echo in this room?” Caroline glanced dramatically around, then narrowed her eyes at Nicole. “Please, dear, stop repeating everything I say.”

Nicole just stared at her mom. Did she honestly think Nicole could simply drop everything, uproot her life for an entire summer, and relocate to Savannah? Furthermore, did she really think Nicole knew the first thing about running an art gallery?

Melody Carlson is the award-winning author of over two hundred books with sales of more than 6.5 million, including many bestselling Christmas novellas, young adult titles, and the contemporary romances Once Upon a Summertime and All Summer Long. She received a Romantic Times Career Achievement Award in the inspirational market for her many books, including Finding Alice. She and her husband live in central Oregon.




Grand Prize:

Print copies of the three books in the Follow Your Heart series, Thanks You’re A Peach Tea Gift Tin,12×18 Savannah travel poster, & Georgia Peach Cookies Tin

1st Runner-Up: Full series + $15 Barnes & Noble Gift Card

2nd Runner-Up: Full Series + $10 Starbucks Gift Card

June 17-26, 2017

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Sir Kay: Review


Sir Kaye the Boy Knight, Book 4

By Don M. Winn

  Genre: Children’s Chapter Book / Adventure / Medieval

Publisher: Progressive Rising Phoenix Press

Date of Publication: June 16, 2017

Number of Pages: 166, B&W illustrations 

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Kaye’s father is in danger! The young knight, Kaye, and his friends Reggie and Beau enter Eldridge in search of the only man who can save Kaye’s father. During their journey, they encounter and make a powerful enemy of Baron Thomas—the self-proclaimed heir to the throne of Eldridge—who also has his sights set on ruling the country of Knox.

Together, the boys dodge the baron’s henchmen and race against time to stop an assassination that would plunge the two kingdoms into war in this exciting conclusion to the series.


“This set of books just gets better and better. Yes, it’s a non-stop adventure, packed full of nasty barons and battling knights. But it’s also a story which is strongly-themed and where the bond between the characters is highly prized.” —The Wishing Shelf Awards Book Review

“Books of adventure and challenge that still offer an emotional component are hard to come by for middle-grade readers—and even more so for middle-grade boys—yet Don M. Winn hits the mark dead center with The Eldridge Conspiracy.” —Patricia Reding, 5-Star Readers’ Favorite Book Review

“This is more than just a fictional story; it teaches children about life, about friendship, making decisions, and about not putting too much stock in pride all the time – sometimes pride gets in the way of making the right decision. Great story. I would recommend that the whole series be read in order to get the most out of it and I think all kids will enjoy this tale.” —Ann-Marie Reynolds, 5-Star Readers’ Favorite Book Review

“The Eldridge Conspiracy was a rewarding read due to a wonderful writing style of incorporating dynamic characters, humor, relevancy, and the thought that even without superpowers, children can be heroes.” —Stacey Waltzer, Urban Mommies 



This was my first time reading about Sir Kaye, the boy knight, and it definitely made me more intrigued to read the others. This book brings a whimsical adventure that was easy and fun to read. As Kaye and his friends set off on their quest, the pages flew as they fought to save the kingdom. This story brings inner lessons of bravery and friendship. I can easily recommend it for children and really all ages as well. I personally love to read all forms of books, including children’s books. They remind us of our childhood and simpler solutions to tough decisions we face.  They show us fantastical worlds that push the limits of our imagination.

The illustrations really caught my eye as well. I remember when I first did a promotion for the third book and impressed with the style and maturity of the content. Also, the study guide was so cute and helpful, especially since I was new to the series. I felt like I was back in school right as my love for reading started.  I look forward to sharing this and the other books with some of my younger relatives. Enter the giveaway for an amazing chance to win this great series!

Don M. Winn is a multiple award-winning children’s author of eleven picture books and four children’s novels. His Sir Kaye the Boy Knight® series of novels for independent readers include The Knighting of Sir Kaye, The Lost Castle Treasure, Legend of the Forest Beast, and The Eldridge Conspiracy. Don’s picture books include The Higgledy-Piggledy Pigeon; Superhero; Twitch the Squirrel and the Forbidden Bridge; Shelby the Cat; Space Cop Zack, Protector of the Galaxy; and many others. 

Don has been writing for over 20 years. After beginning with poetry, Winn moved on to writing children’s picture books. Almost immediately, his growing young readers begged for chapter books, which led to the creation of the Sir Kaye series. As a dyslexic, who well knows the challenge of learning to love to read, Winn’s goal is to write books that are so engaging they will entice even the most reluctant or struggling reader. Winn lives in Round Rock, Texas.





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  June 14-June 28, 2017

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6/14 Book Trailer Chapter Break Book Blog
6/15 Review Margie’s Must Reads
6/16 Guest Post 1 Books in the Garden
6/17 Review The Page Unbound
6/18 Author Interview My Book Fix Blog
6/19 Excerpt StoreyBook Reviews
6/20 Review Reading By Moonlight
6/21 Scrapbook Page 1 Syd Savvy
6/22 Guest Post 2 Forgotten Winds
6/23 Review Hall Ways Blog
6/24 Character Interview Missus Gonzo
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Breakfast in Texas: Promo


By Terry Thompson-Anderson

 Genre: Cookbook / Southwest Cuisine

Publisher: The University of Texas Press

Date of Publication: April 18, 2017

Number of Pages: 312

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Texans love the morning meal, whether it’s bacon and eggs (often eaten in a breakfast taco) or something as distinctively nontraditional as saag paneer omelets, pon haus, or goat curry. A Lone Star breakfast can be a time for eating healthy, or for indulging in decadent food and drink. And with Texas’s rich regional and cultural diversity, an amazing variety of dishes graces the state’s breakfast and brunch tables. The first Texas cookbook dedicated exclusively to the morning meal, Breakfast in Texas gathers nearly one hundred recipes that range from perfectly prepared classics to the breakfast foods of our regional cuisines (Southern, Mexican, German, Czech, Indian, and Asian among them) to stand-out dishes from the state’s established and rising chefs and restaurants.

Terry Thompson-Anderson organizes the book into sections that cover breakfast and brunch libations (with and without alcohol); simple, classic, and fancy egg presentations; pancakes, French toast, and waffles; meat lover’s dishes; seafood and shellfish; vegan dishes and sides; and pastries. The recipes reference locally sourced ingredients whenever possible, and Thompson-Anderson provides enjoyable notes about the chefs who created them or the cultural history they represent. She also offers an expert primer on cooking eggs, featuring an encounter with Julia Child, as well as a selection of theme brunches (the boozy brunch, the make-ahead brunch, New Year’s Day brunch, Mother’s Day brunch with seasonal ingredients, teenage daughter’s post-slumber party breakfast, and more). Sandy Wilson’s color photographs of many of the dishes and the chefs and restaurants who serve them provide a lovely visual counterpoint to the appetizing text.

Praise for Breakfast in Texas:

**A James Beard Cookbook Award Finalist**

“Bring a Texas-sized appetite to the table for Breakfast in Texas! A combination of home-style cooking and favorite dishes from restaurants across the great state, Breakfast in Texas is packed with recipes for simple to spectacular egg dishes, creative cocktails, meat lovers’ feasts, and pancakes and pastries, as well as vegan breakfast and brunch ideas. Beautiful photographs, mouth-watering recipes, and great menu and party ideas make this a must-have for your cookbook shelf.”

-Virginia Willis, chef and James Beard Award–winning cookbook author 

“I thoroughly enjoyed Terry Thompson-Anderson’s latest cookbook, Breakfast in Texas. I’m sure many of these recipes are going to become signature dishes for my family, as well as my loyal restaurant customers. Relish every story; enjoy every bite. This cookbook is Texas at the breakfast table.”

-Monica Pope, chef and author of Eat Where Your Food Lives

“Terry Thompson-Anderson’s epic breakfast book spans the cultures of Texas, as well as its regions. With recipes that run from simple to more elaborate, and range from libations to pastries, there’s something for everyone. Plus, Breakfast in Texas is a good read, with all sorts of fascinating information about Texas and its rich and colorful history.”

-Paula Lambert, owner of the Mozzarella Company and author of The Cheese Lover’s Cookbook and Guide


Terry Thompson-Anderson is the author of nine previous cookbooks, including Texas on the Table: People, Places, and Recipes Celebrating the Flavors of the Lone Star State, which was a finalist for the 2015 James Beard Book Award for American Cooking.

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  May 30-June 13, 2017


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5/30 Promo Hall Ways Blog
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6/2   Review Books in the Garden
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6/5   Review Bibliotica
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6/7   Review Chapter Break Book Blog
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The Rebirth of Hope: Scrapbook


My Journey from Vietnam War Child to American Citizen

By Sau Le Hudecek

  Genre: Memoir / Inspirational

Publisher: Texas Christian University Press

Date of Publication: June 15, 2017

Number of Pages: 160 

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Born in a demilitarized zone during the Vietnam War to a Vietnamese mother and American soldier, Sau Le arrived in the United States as a young woman with only twenty dollars in her pocket. Though bullied and abused since childhood, she nevertheless came to her new homeland armed with courage and determined to build a decent life for herself, her infant son, and her traumatized mother.

This is the story of how she overcame every conceivable hurdle—significant culture shock, a daunting language barrier, serious illness, heartbreak, and betrayal—to become a landlord, a successful business owner, a joyous wife and mom, and a woman blessed with generous, loyal friends. She describes an arduous journey, both physical and emotional, from a place of terror and utter despair to a life overflowing with love and prosperity.

Ultimately, this is a story of hope, something Sau Le thought she’d lost long ago in the minefields of Vietnam. Her goal is both to uplift and to remind everyone born on American soil that anything in this land is possible for those willing to put dedication, faith, and passion to work.

Praise for The Rebirth of Hope:

“Sau Le has an innate abundance of beauty, wisdom, loyalty and dignity which led her to overcome unbelievable challenges and fully realize her dream in America. Thus proving once again that adversity builds character. I couldn’t put it down.” —Dan Jenkins, bestselling author of Semi-Tough

“Sau Le lifted her head and walked through years of hard work and determination, inspiring other women along the way! Every word of her personal journey was written to remind all of us!”  —Robin Sanders, Sanders Travel Agency

“An inspiring story of a Vietnam refugee’s journey to achieve the ‘American Dream.’ This book is a lesson for everyone.”  —Martin C. Bowen, financial executive

“To have written this remarkable story is one more example of the focus and tenacity that Sau Le Hudecek has shown in achieving her previous goals. You will remember this gripping tale of resilience and courage.”  —Gail Williamson Rawl

“A truly inspirational story of a fearless person who overcame unbelievable odds to make a better life and obtain the ‘American dream.’”  —Janie Beggs

Purchase Links

TCU Press    IndieBound    Barnes & Noble    Amazon

Sau Le Hudecek owns a successful salon in Fort Worth, Texas, while still serving her own elite clientele.  In 1993, she arrived in the United States at the age of 22 and was sworn in as a citizen in 2001. She lives with her family in Granbury enjoying the sunsets from their home on the lake.


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  June 7-June 16, 2017

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6/12  Excerpt  Missus Gonzo

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Breakwater: Review



By Catherine Jones Payne
Genre: YA Fantasy/Mermaids
Release Date: May 30th 2017
Fathom Ink Press

Summary from Goodreads

A red tide is rising.

As the daughter of one of the mer-king’s trusted advisors, seventeen-year-old Jade has great responsibilities. When her fiancé murders a naiad, plunging the underwater city of Thessalonike into uproar, tensions surge between the mer and the naiads. Jade learns too late that the choices she makes ripple further than she’d ever imagined. And as she fights against the tide of anger in a city that lives for scandal, she discovers danger lurking in every canal, imperiling her family and shattering the ocean’s fragile peace.

Can the city’s divisions be mended before the upwelling of hate rips apart everything Jade loves?

Buy Links

Amazon | B&N | Kobo

Author Links



Colorful haired mermaids and water manipulating naiads are a recipe of everything I wanted to read right now. Breakwater did an excellent job of bringing me an entirely different underwater world and keeping things very relatable. Tensions are high between the mers and the naiads with injustice and prejudice. It’s something we see everyday in reality. I’m sure with every story we read, the reader will always see similarities to their own world. Nothing is ever quite simple but this book brings something to light that is. Compassion.

The others characters like Pippa show that even with great loss, we can still find something for which to smile. Or Alexander who doesn’t fit in but works hard and eventually finds a home he enjoys. Even Jade’s mother shows acts of kindness despite the complicated position it would bring her. These characters and more come together in tragedy and upheaval and still persevere.

Jade’s compassion shines through a bleak and troublesome war brewing in her city and it what really drove me to loving this book. At one point, Jade describes heroic women from the past that jeopardized their lives but still persisted. This book is a great example for everyone, and especially young girls, about embracing differences and standing for what’s right. Even if you’re afraid. Well done Catherine Payne.

I enjoyed how mature this book could be while still keeping simple elements to the plot. It was an easy to read, fast paced, and thrilling story that I believe many will enjoy.

About the Author


Catherine Jones Payne is a Seattle native who loves the written word, international travel, crashing waves, and good coffee. Her earliest memory involves pulling up a rolling chair to her parents’ old DOS computer—while wearing a tiara, naturally—and tapping out a story of kidnapped princesses. By day she’s the managing editor of Quill Pen Editorial and the editor of Splickety Magazine. She lives in Waco, TX with her historian husband, Brendan, and their cats, Mildred and Minerva.


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Blood Oath: Showcase Tour


A Laura Elliston Novel, Book 2



  Genre: Historical / Western / Action-Adventure / Romance

Publisher: Redhook

Date of Publication: May 23, 2017

Number of Pages: 384

Outlander meets post-Civil War unrest in this action-packed follow up to Sawbones.

Laura Elliston and William Kindle are on the run — from the Army and from every miscreant in the West eager to claim the $500 bounty for Laura’s capture as their own. But the danger isn’t just from those pursuing them. Laura and Kindle have demons of their own and a past that won’t stay dead. Exhausted, scared, scarred and surrounded by enemies, neither realize the greatest danger is yet to come.


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Watch Lone Star Book Blog Tours for the Badlands tour starting June 27th – with reviews of Blood Oath, Badlands, and Special Features with the inside scoop!

Melissa Lenhardt is the author the Jack McBride mystery series, as well as the Laura Elliston historical fiction series. Her debut mystery, STILLWATER, was a finalist for the 2014 Whidbey Writers’ MFA Alumni Emerging Writers Contest, and SAWBONES, her historical fiction debut, was hailed as a “thoroughly original, smart and satisfying hybrid, perhaps a new subgenre: the feminist Western” by Lone Star Literary Life.

A lifelong Texan, she lives in the Dallas area with her husband and two sons.


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Before the Rain Falls: Guest Post



  Genre: Women’s Fiction / Historical / Family

Publisher: Lake Union Publishing

Date of Publication: May 16, 2017

Number of Pages: 334 

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After serving seventy years in prison for the murder of her sister, Eula, Della Lee has finally returned home to the Texas town of Puerto Pesar. She’s free from confinement—and ready to tell her secrets before it’s too late.

She finds a willing audience in journalist Mick Anders, who is reeling after his suspension from a Boston newspaper and in town, reluctantly, to investigate a mysterious portrait of Eula that reportedly sheds tears. He crosses paths with Dr. Paloma Vega, who’s visiting Puerto Pesar with her own mission: to take care of her ailing grandmother and to rescue her rebellious younger sister before something terrible happens. Paloma and Mick have their reasons to be in the hot, parched border town whose name translates as “Port of Regret.” But they don’t anticipate how their lives will be changed forever.

Moving and engrossing, this dual story alternates between Della’s dark ordeals of the 1940s and Paloma and Mick’s present-day search for answers―about roots, family, love, and what is truly important in life.

Check out the book trailer!

Praise for Before the Rain Falls:

Still wiping away tears! Before the Rain Falls is simultaneously heartbreaking, hopeful, and joyous: a story of complex characters with varied pasts and bright futures. Loved it! – Jennifer B. on Goodreads

This novel takes readers on an emotional, fast-paced, ride through one sister’s journey to self, redemption, and the true meaning of “freedom.” – Nicole W. on Goodreads

There is romance, mystery, and secrets that are kept till the very end that will have you not wanting this beautifully written story to end. – Carol B. on Goodreads


Inspiration for Before the Rain Falls

Guest Post by Camille DiMaio

A common question for an author is, “Where did you get your inspiration for your book?”

This was an easy one for my debut novel, The Memory of Us. It was inspired by the classic Beatles song, Eleanor Rigby. Immediately, people’s eyes would light up in recognition and it was a great starting point for conversation.

The answer for my second novel, Before the Rain Falls, is much more convoluted. Like the kind of dream where a red elephant tiptoes through a bed of nails blowing bubble gum.

Nothing there seems to be connected, but in your head, in your sleep, it all makes perfect sense.

So, how’s this:

A mysterious, possibly crying portrait.

A murder.

A grandmother who won’t let anyone buy her an air conditioner even though she swelters day by day in the Texas heat. (That was my grandmother. Wouldn’t let any of her ten children try to relieve this particular suffering.)

A journalist who is trying to resurrect his career after a scandal.

A doctor who is trying to find her purpose.

It did start with the portrait, however, and like the air conditioner, my grandmother was the inspiration. She was the sort who believe in every kind of Jesus-on-a-pancake apparition.

So, along with a documentary I caught on tv about whether or not various “miracles” were real or staged, the image of a portrait, reputed to be shedding tears, came to mind.

That begged the question:

Is it crying? Or is it a fake?

Which begs more questions, like one of those darned factor trees in middle school Math.

If it’s crying, why? How?

If it’s a fake, why did someone do that? What did they gain from it?

I mulled this over. And discovered that this seed of a story I had was not really about the portrait. The portrait was a launching point of something that I knew was bigger.

I do tell you, later in the book, about the tears. But, no spoilers will be had here.

Back to more questions, which I self-answer. This is how an author’s mind, or at least mine, works. We talk to ourselves.

Who is in the portrait?

Immediately, I thought of a beautiful young girl.

Why might she be crying?

She was murdered.

Why was she murdered?

Her sister did it.

Why did her sister do it?

Well, maybe she didn’t. She just went to jail for it.

Oh, new set of tangents.

If she did it, why?

If she didn’t do it, why didn’t she fight her sentence?

Ah! Now we have something.

(See? Conversations for one. An author would have no problem taking herself to dinner. The chatter is riveting.)

That last thread became the bones of my story, and I began to flesh it out.

If she did it, why?

If she didn’t, why didn’t she protest her imprisonment?

I thought on these questions. And thought. The ending came to me pretty quickly. Again, no spoilers. And early reviewers have told me that they didn’t see it coming.

It’s the how to get there that is fun.

And difficult.

And so my dual-timeline, triple-narrator story came into existence as I wove those unusual threads together into something that I hope will be a compelling read to you.

One more thing. I began writing it during a particularly hot and humid spell in a Texas July. So there’s a lot of heat, and I don’t meant the sexy kind. Because I was just too sweat-soaked and droopy to imagine any other kind of setting. All the reviewers who told me that they felt the heat, it’s because I was living it for you.

I took that bullet. If you need to warm up a bit in January, pick it up as a winter read and let it warm you up. Then, let me know what you think!

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,








  May 17-31, 2017 

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The Heart of a Texas Cowboy: Author Interview



Men of Legend, Book 2


  Genre: Western / Historical / Romance

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca

Date of Publication: May 2, 2017

Number of Pages: 384

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Three Brothers. One Oath.

No Compromises.


One bullet is all it takes to shatter Houston Legend’s world. He swore he’d never love again, but with the future of the Lone Star Ranch on the line, he finds himself at the altar promising to love and cherish a woman he’s never met—a woman whose vulnerable beauty touches his heart.

All Lara Boone wants is a name for her baby. The best she can hope for is kindness and acceptance. She never expected to fall in love with her own husband—or any man—after the heartache she’s endured.

In an effort to save the Lone Star Ranch, Houston decides to drive two thousand longhorns up the Great Western Trail to Dodge City. The day before he leaves, the cook quits. When he can’t find another on such short notice, Lara offers to go along and fill in. Over his best judgement, he lets her. Three days out, he notices riders trailing them. Things go from bad to worse and it’s an all-out fight to try to save themselves and the herd.

And when Lara’s troubled past catches up with them, Houston will move heaven and earth to protect his bride…and discover depths to a marriage of convenience neither realized could be theirs to claim.


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Praise for The Heart of a Texas Cowboy:

“Broday brilliantly captures Lara and Houston’s hesitations and growing love. The exciting plot, rich setting, and superb writing will delight fans of historical romances.” ~~Publisher’s Weekly *Starred Review

“This compassionate, poignant marriage-of-convenience love story demonstrates Broday’s ability to bring a wide range of emotions to her characters in a fast-paced plotline without losing a bit of the powerful love story. Add this to your Western romance collection!” ~~Romantic Times

“Ms. Broday’s conclusion of this phenomenal book is heart gripping, blood pounding drama at its finest. This one will keep readers revisiting again and again in years to come.” ~~ Tonya Lucas- Goodreads Review

“One of the best historical Western authors.” ~~ Fresh Fiction

“Broday will appeal to fans of such authors as Georgina Gentry, Leigh Greenwood, and Jodi Thomas.” ~~Booklist

Author Interview : Linda Broday

How has being a Texan influenced your writing?
Someone told me early on to write what I know. I know Texas. I know the plants, trees, landscape and more importantly—how we think. Texans are unique. Most scoff and say we’re nothing but braggers who talk big and carry a pistol on our hip. I beg to differ. We’re proud of our history. We know where we came from and we don’t mind sharing it. We’re all descendants of Sam Houston, Stephen F. Austin, William Travis, Jim Bowie, Davy Crockett—all those early men who fought for the right to live free and independent. Texans carry the torch for the rest of the world in a lot of ways which isn’t a bad thing. I love our people’s determination to survive and make things better for everyone. Those are the characters in my books. They have this pride and determination embedded deep in their souls. My characters are these early settlers who paved the way for us. They don’t give up. They work until they achieve their goals.

I love Texas and I’m so proud to live here. In what other state do people proudly display their state flag and hang symbols of it on their walls? I have reminders of Texas all over my house. I want my stories to have people with the same type of pride, to know who they are, where they belong, and what matters most.

What kind of writing do you do?
I write historical western romance. When I first started writing, I didn’t know where I fit. I tried various genres but they just didn’t feel right. Then I read several western romances and suddenly everything clicked. I immediately felt at home. And I’ve lived around cowboys most of my life, so it simply made sense to write about them.

Are you a full-time or part-time writer? How does that affect your writing?
I’m a full-time writer, and I approach it as a job. Most mornings, you’ll find me at my desk by 9:00 am. I stop for lunch, then write until around 6:00 pm. And that’s six days a week. I find that keeping that constant connection with my characters and story makes for a top-quality book, and that’s what I always strive for. Also, staying at it allows me to publish two 100k novels a year. I couldn’t do that if I was a part-time writer.

What is your favorite quote?
“Never compare yourself to other writers. Someone will always be better than you, and you’ll always be better than someone else.” Jodi Thomas

I’ve found this to always be true. It’s a waste of time and energy comparing yourself to others. Just be you and worry about how to make your books better. Saves a lot of angst.

How important are names to you in your books? How do you choose names?
Names are so important to me, and I can never begin a story until I have the main character’s name right. In this second book of my Men of Legend series – The Heart of a Texas Cowboy – the protagonist is Houston Legend. I named him and his brother Sam after Sam Houston. And I named the brother who died Travis. Their father fought in the Texas War for Independence, and he idolized those larger-than-life leaders, so it simply made sense.

I always give my characters names that were used during the time period I’m writing in, but I also keep in mind their ancestry as well as nationality. My #1 book to go to when I can’t think of a good one is The Character Naming Sourcebook by Sherrilynn Kenyon. It’s an excellent Writer’s Digest publication.

A name has to fit the character’s personality in addition to everything else. Often it pops into my head with no thought, and other times I may go through a dozen or more before I decide.

If you could time travel, what time period would you first visit?
I think that would have to be Texas in the 1830s. That was such an interesting time. The fight for independence was going on and the country was changing. I’d love to have met Sam Houston, Davy Crockett, Jim Bowie, William Travis and other notable figures. And it was when the Texas Rangers was beginning to get organized. I’d like to have seen that.

After I visited there, I would go to 1700s Ireland, which is where my ancestors lived.

If you had a superpower, what would it be?
Cloning myself, most definitely. In this business, writers have to wear such an assortment of hats and are often stretched beyond what is humanly possible. If I could clone myself, I’d put one of me to work doing nothing but social media. Another would answer these darn emails that I never seem to have time for. And another would run errands—grocery shop, go to the post office, etc. Then I’d do nothing but write, which is the part I love. That would be pure heaven.

What’s something interesting, fun, or funny that most people don’t know about you?
I believe in ghosts. Maybe that’s because I’ve seen quite a few. I don’t necessarily seek them out but neither do I shy away from where a ghostly presence is suspected to be. None have frightened me—so far. In fact, I got the feeling they were as curious about me as I was about them. Some ghosts have actually comforted me, and that was pretty darn cool.

Also, I know this sounds silly but…I can’t stand for a plastic shower curtain to touch my bare legs. I simply hate it. I tell myself that’s illogical but I just can’t stand the feeling. For one thing, it’s usually ice cold (and feels like bony fingers) and it just gives me the heebie-jeebies. So when I travel and stay in hotels, I often put the curtain on the outside of the tub then mop up the water once I’m done. What can I say? I’m weird.

What would you want your tombstone to say?
She wrote stories that speak to the soul and made the world a better place.

Linda Broday, Historical Western Romance Author

I’m a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of 8 full length historical western romance novels, with another set to release 2017, and 10 short stories. Watching TV westerns during my youth fed my love of cowboys and the old West and they still do. I reside in the Texas Panhandle on land the American Indian and Comancheros once roamed.

At times, I can feel their ghosts lurking around every corner. Texas’ rich history is one reason I set all my stories here. I love research and looking for little known tidbits to add realism to my stories. When I’m not writing, I collect old coins and I confess to being a rock hound. I’ve been accused (and quite unfairly I might add) of making a nuisance of myself at museums, libraries, and historical places.

I’m also a movie buff and love sitting in a dark theater, watching the magic on the screen. As long as I’m confessing…chocolate is my best friend. It just soothes my soul.







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Nowhere Near: Excerpt


By Teddy Jones

  Genre: Short Stories / Literary Fiction / West Texas

Publisher: Midtown Publishing, Inc.

Date of Publication: May11, 2017

Number of Pages: 206

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Characters in the eleven stories in Nowhere Near act in ways that some might call “divinest madness.” Some of them have been pushed near their limits by years of stress. Others mourn and grieve and discover feelings they can’t admit aloud. A sense of duty drives another to believe in aliens, at least for a while. Some of their behavior is simply laughable, other flirts with death, and the rest ranges from dangerous to near heroic. These characters vary widely, yet all have in common that they live in or come from West Texas, where spaces are wider and tolerance for strangeness seems just a bit greater. Whether readers agree these characters are nowhere near crazy, they may admit they all are doing what humans do—what makes sense to them at the time.


Praise for Nowhere Near:

“Teddy Jones writes about plainspoken people whose lives are entangled and wrought and marked by routine—routines they cherish, routines they wish to escape—and who glimpse, now and again, a sense of something beyond their ability to reason. The stories in Nowhere Near are deep, honest, and unsentimental, and they pierce you to the bone.—Robert Boswell, author of Tumbledown & The Heyday of the Insensitive Bastards

There’s so much goodness in these stories, the kind of goodness that grows out of characters who endure hard lessons leading them to revelations and deep understanding. You’ll find real people here, with real heartaches and mistakes and regrets. With language as true as music, a steady and perceptive eye, and at times a blazing humor, Teddy Jones creates fully imagined and realized worlds. Subtly, she makes strangeness ordinary and the ordinary strange. You will recognize the people in this book the way you recognize your own neighbors and friends and co-workers and family: full of annoying quirks and surprises and, finally, a saving grace.”—Eleanor Morse, author of White Dog Fell From the Sky

“Teddy Jones is the real deal. With her characteristic wit and goodhearted characters, Jones draws a bead on West Texas life as it’s currently lived. Her precise ear for the rhythms of life and language guides the reader confidently from dry land farming to the double life of dreams and secrets. These stories stuck with me and left me wanting more.” –Summer Wood, author of Raising Wrecker

Excerpt from “Between Us,” a short story in Nowhere Near by Teddy Jones

Author’s note: I tend to resist writing (and reading) stories in which the protagonist is a writer. For some reason they often strike me as tales of the misery some attribute to choosing to be writers. They belong in the same category for me as victim memoirs—perhaps therapeutic for the writer, but not entertaining to me. But this woman spoke to me and said to tell her story.

One hundred seventeen. Another record! Until now, the greatest number of new emails for a single day on her Gia Caraway fan site had been sixty-nine. That was three years ago when her third book came out. The writer, subject of the fans’ interest, wasn’t the only one who kept up with the numbers. Her editor had administrative access to her website and could see the incoming mail and Jean’s responses. Occasionally the editor furnished Jean, who used the pseudonym Gia, a report that showed the number of views of her website correlated with sales of her print and e-books. Website views demonstrated a weakly positive correlation with sales. Fan e-mail numbers correlated strongly with sales.

Plus, now that Jean’s publisher supplied a person to tend to her social media presence, the reports also contained far more than she cared to know about the number of page views, likes, and followers for her author pages and/or her books on Facebook, Pinterest, Goodreads, Amazon, Instagram, and Twitter. For all she knew, her editor, Audra Camp, could also document a running inventory of the contents of Jean’s underwear drawer. 

What Audra didn’t know was that Jean was as much a fabrication as Gia. Johnnie Lyn Berry had created Jean Barlow just as surely as she had birthed Gia Caraway. Jean dealt with the editor, signed contracts, owned a telephone and a bank account of her own, had a g-mail address and a social security number, and employed her own accountant. Gia, whose name stood in bold print on more than 400,000 copies of paperbacks and electronic books, had no time for those details. She lived an exciting life that her fans were certain was the source of the erotic, romantic escapades her heroines enjoyed.

If Johnnie Lyn hadn’t done another smart thing in her life, deciding to create Jean qualified. Johnnie Lyn thought of Jean as the buffer who represented her in the world of romance fiction. Since the amazing numbers of sales of her first book with the publisher, Jean had complied with all of Audra’s wishes, accepted all her guidance. Audra used the words “guiding your career development.” Jean thought about Trilby and Svengali.

So far, the only disagreement between her and her editor had been about having a social media person at the publishing house respond to her fan mail. Jean preferred to do that herself. …..So here she was, at nine o’clock on a perfectly beautiful Monday evening in June, 2011, sitting in her writing room, dealing with fan mail. She should be outside enjoying the West Texas sunset. The first one she opened said, “Dear Gia, I’m sixty-two this year and have read every one of your books since the first. You’ve outdone yourself with this eleventh one. I love that you’re telling MY story without our ever having met. I don’t know how you do it, but it’s clear to me that somehow you know about the adventures I had in my earlier days. I often said I should write an autobiography. Thanks to you, honey, I don’t need to. Keep up the good work. Your fan always, Carla in Ft. Worth.” 

This wasn’t the first fan who was certain she was the subject of Gia’s novels. Her template file held a response which she quickly personalized, assuring Carla in Ft. Worth that it was all fiction and congratulating her on having led such an interesting life.

The next email in the queue replaced Jean’s smile with a wrinkle between her eyebrows. Not fan mail, it was from Audra, who usually wrote to her Jean Barlow email address, or just called Jean’s phone. (Gia didn’t have a phone.) This email, here in Gia’s fan mail, was flagged High Priority—in red letters.

It didn’t even begin with Audra’s usual gushy greeting Dearest Jean, my star of stars. This one opened with Jean, This is important for both of us.

Jean scanned the first paragraph. Her publishing company had wangled a spot on the program at a romance fiction conference coming up in San Antonio in September. It was to be a huge event, bringing together fans and authors—presentations for writers on the first day, the next day open to fans, also. THINK STAR TREK CONVENTION! THINK SALES OPPORTUNITIES!! Audra had been assigned, as Editorial Director of Body Heat, the company’s line of erotic romances, to make a major presentation. 

Gia didn’t attend conferences and neither did Jean, ever.

Teddy Jones has been a nurse, nurse practitioner, university professor, college dean, and occasional farmhand. She grew up in a small north Texas town, Iowa Park, and gained college degrees in nursing at Incarnate Word and University of Texas, a Ph.D. in Education at University of Texas at Austin, and an MFA in Creative Writing from Spalding University. She held nursing, teaching, and administrative positions in Austin, Denver, and Lubbock and as a family nurse practitioner in Texas and New Mexico. Writing fiction was her “when I know enough and have the time” dream all those years. Now she and her husband live near Friona, in the Texas Panhandle, where her husband farms and she writes full time.







One Grand Prize: Signed copies of both Nowhere Near and Jackson’s Pond, Texas, set of 10 hollyhock notecards, and a 11×15 print of the cover art from Jackson’s Pond.

1st Runner-Up: Signed copy of Nowhere Near + choice of notecards or print

Next Three Winners: choice of notecards or print


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The Glitch: Review


Author: Ramona Finn

Narrator: Genevieve Kaplan

Length: 6 hours 28 minutes

Publisher: Relay Publishing⎮2017

Genre: Science Fiction

Series: The Glitches, Book One

Book Summary

On the brink of extinction, being human means more than just surviving.
In Lib’s world, it’s dangerous to stray from the Norm. In fact, for someone who doesn’t live up to the AI’s standards, it’s practically a death sentence. Lib learns this the hard way when she wakes up with her memories erased in a barren wasteland, and only one thought lodged in her mind:

It’s all her fault.

Lib is a Glitch—an imperfect human component of the utopian Norm. Utterly alone, she’ll have to team up with her fellow Glitches Skye and Raj and the mysterious Rogue Wolf and his clan to survive. Wolf only cares about the survival of his group, but Raj thinks they can hack the AI and change the Norm for the better.

Now, Lib will have to decide which path to choose—whether to go with handsome loner Raj or stay with Wolf and his tight-knit group. Her heart is drawn to both, but she’s carrying a deadly secret that could jeopardize them all. Will she be able to save her newfound family and stop the AI before it’s too late?

Buy Links

The Glitch on Audible | Amazon

Audio Excerpt



My Review

I love audiobooks for all the benefits it has. I can listen to an entertaining story while doing other things like driving and cleaning. This book, however, floored me and I spent a good portion of the end completely involved in listening and nothing else. Despite it’s fast pace, it offers a variety of genres in action, mystery, betrayal, and love. It definitely leaves the listener, or reader, wanting more in the sequel.

Lib is an interesting character. Although she wakes with no memory of who she is, her instincts immediately help her and keep her focused. She soon finds out she is a Glitch and the brief memories of a voice tell her to find the other glitches. With this goal, she observes her new and sometimes unwelcoming surroundings and does her best to determine the person she will become. Her own reactions to the leader, Wolf, confuse her and start a chain reaction to branching off and distracting her from her mission. This book has an interesting play between human and machine. For a while, when it described the AI that controls the Norm, I believed it to be run solely by machines. Instead, it is filled with people and even families that serve the AI. Willingly or unwillingly it seems. Lib discovers there is so much more than just a war between the tyrant AI and the Clans.

Lib continues to stay with a Clan after saving a fellow Glitch and quickly shows her value to them with her efficient skill at hacking the Norm. Just when it was starting to development these characters more, the action starts. I am not kidding when I say this book is a whirlwind. When I first started listening, I thought it was actually longer and assumed where it was going. In a flash, another Glitch named Raj convinces Lib to go with him back to the Norm and fix the AI. Together they set off into the Norm and Lib discovers more about herself and her mission. Kaplan does a great job at narrating. While there are certain errors like volume changes, she continues to speak clearly and attuned to each character. I especially liked the subtle ways she brought excitement to each scene and the action as well. I only wish it had been longer so we could get more character development and backstory. I will definitely be getting the next installment!


About the Author

Ramona Finn

Ramona Finn writes about courageous characters who fight to live in broken, dystopian worlds. She believes a person’s true characters is often revealed in times of crisis, and there is no greater crisis than the worlds that she drops her characters into!

She grew up sitting cross-legged on her town’s library floor–completely engrossed in science fiction books. It was always the futuristic world or the universe-on-the-brink-of-extinction plotlines that drew her in, but it was the brave characters who chose to fight back that kept her turning the pages.

Her books create deep, intricate worlds with bold characters determined to fight for their survival in their dystopian worlds–with a little help from their friends. And, of course, romance is never out of the question.

Author Links


About the Narrator

Genevieve Kaplan

For the past fifteen years I have received extensive training in lyric diction and classical voice. Various experience includes lead roles in multiple opera production through Santa Clara University with semi-professional recording obligations. For a minor in Lyric Diction at Santa Clara University I was required to take 6 units of Lyric Diction learning the correct pronunciation of languages including Italian, German and French (and of course English) as well as four years of private vocal training. Outside of musical endeavors I have experience with various characters and voices of my own creation included in my stand up comedy set.


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