The Grave Tender: Review and Giveaway

Rating:


THE GRAVE TENDER

by
By Eliza Maxwell
  Genre: Women’s Fiction / Psychological Suspense
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Date of Publication: April 11, 2017
Number of Pages: 248
Rating: 4/5

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A chilling psychological suspense novel, The Grave Tender explores the dark boundaries people cross to save loved ones, and the limits of family bonds tested by the deepest of betrayals.
Endless questions from a shadow-filled East Texas childhood haunt Hadley Dixon. People said her mother, Winnie, was never quite right, but with one single, irreparable act, life as Hadley knew it was shattered. The aftershocks of that moonlit night left her reeling, but the secrets and lies had started long before.
When a widowed and pregnant Hadley returns years later, it’s not the safe harbor she expects. The mysteries surrounding a local boy’s disappearance remain, and the townspeople still whisper about Hadley’s strange and reclusive Uncle Eli—whispers about a monster in their midst.
But Hadley’s father and grandmother, the cornerstones of everything safe in her world, avoid her questions. If Hadley stays here, will she be giving her children the family they need or putting their lives in danger?

The hunt for answers takes a determined Hadley deep into the pine forests, in search of sunlight that will break through the canopy of lies long enough to reveal the truth.

 

“The Grave Tender will grasp you in its hooks from the beginning as you try to figure out the truth behind each character, because no one is truly what they seem … Addicting, easy to read, and hard to put down.”Shelbi LeMeilleur, Insite Magazine

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When I started reading this book I was anticipating it to be like the movie A Man Without a Face. And let me just saw, it was truly nothing like it. I knew this story was going to be dark, but I hadn’t expected the truly dark turn this story took. The Grave Tender is heartbreaking and deep, a gravestone of bones in its own making. The sinister shadows revealed, to me, were unexpected. It’s gritty and real and even though the book was very well done, I’m not entirely sure how I feel right in this moment as I write the review. I’m left with a mixture of turmoil for the main character, the pain she experienced, the secrets that surrounded her life were truly upsetting, but there is a glimmer of hope at the end of the story, showing that one can survive after such darkness. I can’t help but wonder after reading this, how does one go on from there? How does someone endure all those emotions that Hadley must have been feeling? I can’t even imagine living on the cornerstones of such a dark and tragic past.

I will say this, the story was very gripping. It delved in the past with ease and I found myself captured by the story telling of the tragic events that had transpired in the Dixon home. Maxwell moves through the story fluidly, jumping back and forth in the timeline, and it is very beautifully done. I was never confused by the shift in the story from person to person or from present to past. And I found myself eager and anxious to find out what had happened to this family. Their stories were tragic. Their stories were dark. They pulled at the strings of my emotions.

The characters were amazing. My favorite is Eli. I knew instantly that there was more to Eli than what there appeared to be. Eli was frowned upon by others in town because he was a recluse, kept to himself, and had scars on his face. And though others tried to blame Eli for misdeeds that happened, I knew he would be our Man Without a Face, and that his story would be heart wrenching. But each of the characters in this story have a heart beat of their own. Walker, Gran, Sam, Kate, Hadley, Jude…. so many effected by the acts that transpired in this small town. Like a tree burned at it’s root that slowly decays over time. But on this tree grows a small leaf, a small glimmer of hope, at least for most of them.

There were several times in this story where I wanted to yell at the characters and say “What is wrong with you, turn the person in!” I’m not excusing by any means what this person had done, but it shows us too how twisted people can become by horrible, horrific things. Perhaps I shouldn’t show a small ounce of compassion in that regard, but how can I not? When I know that if that person had been raised the right way, without being abused or molested, that they would have at least had a chance at a happy, decent life. Still, I wanted that person to be accountable for their actions. Regardless of what had happened to that person, they still needed to pay the consequences.

This story does deal with molestation of a child and abuse, for those of you that this might be a sensitive topic. But it’s a very well told story and the characters are very memorable. And it does give hope. Hope that in the darkest of times, justice will carry out, and through all the pain, people can find a way to live again.

Eliza Maxwell lives in Texas with her ever patient husband, two impatient kids, a budgie named Sarah, and a bird dog who lives a tortured existence.  She’s an artist and writer, an introvert and a British cop drama addict.  A former bookseller with a lifelong love of the written word, she can often be found barefoot on the front porch lost in a good cup of coffee and a great book.

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Evidence of Things Not Seen: Review and Giveaway

Rating:

EVIDENCE
OF THINGS NOT SEEN
by
By Lindsey Lane
  Genre: YA /  Mystery / Suspense
Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux
Date of Publication: December 16, 2015
Number of Pages: 240
Rating: 4/5
Scroll down for Giveaway!
  
Tommy Smythe is missing.
Fact: Tommy was good at physics and less good at basic human interactions.
Fact: Tommy recorded his thoughts and observations in a notebook.
Fact: Tommy believed in the existence of parallel universes.

Fact: Tommy was adopted.The facts are simple. The conclusions to be drawn from the facts are not simple. Did he run away to find his birth parents? Did he slip through a wormhole and enter one of the multiple universes he believed in? Did he simply wander off? 

Only one thing is certain: until a possibility is proven true, all possibilities exist.

Told through multiple perspectives, here is a story about how residents of a small town seek answers to the mystery of a teen’s disappearance. 

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PRAISE FOR EVIDENCE OF THINGS NOT SEEN:

“In her first novel for teens, Lane offers a gripping and genre bending mosaic.” – Publishers Weekly
“Complex and Rich” – Horn Book
“This is the kind of book you tuck in with and escape into, and it will stay with you long after you finish the last lines.  Haunting and beautiful.” – Jennifer Mathieu, author of The Truth About AliceDevoted, and Afterward
“The narrative jiggers between unexpected opposites—joy and fear, love and violence, grief and hope—all the while holding forth the constant idea that the world offers us credible evidence of what seems impossible if we only know where to look.”  J.L. Powers, author of AminaThis Thing Called The Future, and the forthcoming Broken Circle

“Ever look at a pearl and notice that its one color is, in fact, many colors? That’s the beauty of EVIDENCE OF THINGS NOT SEEN, the stunning debut novel by Lindsey Lane.” – Conrad Wesselhoeft, author of Adios NirvanaDirt Bikes, Drones and Other Ways To Fly

 

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Evidence of Things Not Seen was a very compelling read. I had been eyeing this book for several weeks prior to having the privilege to read for a review with Lone Star Book Blog Tours. And the novel did not disappoint. Lindsey Lane beautifully captures this almost surreal story of the disappearance of a boy named Tommy. Each chapter follows a different character’s point of view, and each of them either come in to contact with an item or a place that is connected to Tommy, or some of them are being interviewed by I assume police and answering questions about his sudden disappearance. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever read before. It’s poetry at it’s finest.

Each of the characters that Lindsey presented were refreshing and their stories instantly pulled me in. Some stories were so intensely written with a raw, pure voice that I couldn’t help but want to know more about those characters as well. At times, I was frustrated by this, because of how amazing their stories were written, but I can appreciate the artistic value this brought to such a uniquely written book. It allowed me to put little clues and pieces together to formulate my own opinion as what happened to Tommy.

My favorite thing about this story was the notes Tommy made on his scientific search for multiple universes. Tommy had such a curious mind and I found myself fascinated with his thought process and how he came to his scientific questions and possible conclusions.

This story almost had a supernatural, scientific element to it that I simply loved. What if Tommy HAD gone to another universe? The question lingered in the back of my mind the entire story. And it gave it this almost other worldly feel to it that is difficult to explain but one that I quite enjoyed.

I will caution parents of teenagers interested in reading this book, as it does deal with some pretty rough subject matters and it may be one you want to preview first before you let your child read it.

If you enjoy stories told by multiple points of view with mystery, suspense, raw stories and an air of science to it, then be sure to check out Evidence of Things Not Seen!

 

Lindsey Lane is the author of the young adult novel Evidence of Things Not Seen (Farrar Straus Giroux) and the award-winning picture book and iTunes app Snuggle Mountain (Clarion/PicPocket Books). She is represented by Erin Murphy Literary Agency. Before she received her MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts in 2010, Lindsey was a features journalist (Austin Chronicle and Austin American Statesman) and an award-winning playwright (The Miracle of Washing Dishes). Lindsey is a featured presenter at schools and conferences and universities and also teaches writing at Austin Community College, Writers League of Texas, and the Writing Barn. She lives in Austin, Texas but loves to travel, especially to the ocean. She loves books, films, good food and her cadre of dear friends. Her idea of a perfect evening is having a dinner party at her home with friends from around the world and discussing everything under the sun while eating, drinking, and laughing. 
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Sandpiper Cove: Review and Giveaway

Rating:
SANDPIPER COVE
A Hope Harbor Novel, Book 3
by
By IRENE HANNON
  Genre: Contemporary / Christian / Romance
Publisher: Revell
Date of Publication: April 4, 2017
Number of Pages: 352
Rating: 4/5

Scroll down for Giveaway!

 

  
Irene Hannon welcomes readers back to the enchanting seaside town of Hope Harbor, Oregon, in her novel Sandpiper Cove, releasing April 2017. Praised by Library Journal as a “master at character development,” Irene Hannon steps away from suspense writing once again to deliver another powerful, multifaceted romance that is sure to have readers coming back for more.

 

Hope Harbor police chief Lexie Graham has plenty on her plate raising her son alone and dealing with a sudden rash of petty theft and vandalism in her coastal Oregon hometown. As a result, she has zero time for extracurricular activities—including romance. Ex-con Adam Stone isn’t looking for love either—but how ironic is it that the first woman to catch his eye is a police chief?

 

 

Nevertheless, when Lexie enlists Adam’s help to keep a young man from falling into a life of crime, sparks begin to fly. And as they work together, it soon becomes apparent that God may have a different—and better—future planned for them than either could imagine.

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PRAISE FOR THE HOPE HARBOR NOVELS:

 

“Fan favorite Irene Hannon brings a whole new cast of characters to life in a charming Oregon seaside village. Emotional and heartwarming, this story invites reader to come home to Hope Harbor.”

Christian Retailing on Hope Harbor

 

“A place of emotional restoration that readers will yearn to visit.”
Publishers Weekly on Hope Harbor
 “Summer romance doesn’t get much better than this.”
Examiner.com on Sea Rose Lane
 

Sandpiper Cove follows the story of Lexie, chief of police, and Adam, an ex-con. There is so much to enjoy about this story. It’s filled with hope, first chances, and second chances. From just reading the synopsis, I knew this was a book I had to read. Lexie and Adam come from opposite sides, her being a police officer, and him being an ex-criminal. Who doesn’t love a good story about opposites attracting?

Hannon instantly gives us a taste of what Adam’s true character is like from the very first chapter: a tough guy, but with a soft heart. He is a man trying to do good, and turn his life around. He has a dog too, and they take care of one another (bonus points, I know!)

At first glance, I just loved Lexie. Here was a gal that saw people for who they were. I loved how she saw Adam as a man trying to do right, instead of focusing on the wrong he did in his past. It was refreshing to read a story like this where a female character isn’t persuaded by petty gossip.

On a side note, there is this scene… where they are at a this big event…. and there’s a dance… and it’s just AMAZING. By far my favorite scene in the book.

Okay… back to my review 🙂

I enjoyed how Hannon created a simple, yet lovable story with deep, thought provoking characters. Adam is a victim of vandalism and he helps Lexie when one of the kids responsible gets caught. Adam spends his time helping the kid do community service, and giving him the help and encouragement he wishes someone had done for him.

I’m not a huge religious person, but a good portion of this book centers on church going. I still found this book highly enjoyable and I felt like Hannon didn’t overpower the story with religion. I felt like it was a good balance and anyone that doesn’t mind a little bit of good Christian values in their books should read this. It’s a good, clean love story and has a really good message: to not judge people by their past. And to give love a chance.  It also shows that it’s never too late to make your life the way you dreamed it to be.

Be sure to check out Sandpiper Cove!


Irene Hannon is the bestselling author of more than fifty novels, including One Perfect Spring, Hope Harbor, and Sea Rose Lane, as well as the Private Justice and Men of Valor suspense series. Her books have been honored with three coveted RITA Awards from Romance Writers of America, two Carol Awards, two Reviewers’ Choice Awards from RT Book Reviews magazine, a Retailers’ Choice Award, three HOLT Medallions, two Booksellers’ Best Awards, and a National Readers’ Choice Award. She is also a two-time Christy Award finalist. In 2014 she was inducted into the Romance Writers of America’s elite Hall of Fame, and in 2016 she received a Career Achievement Award from RT Book Reviews for her entire body of work.

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Almost A Minyan Review

ALMOST A MINYAN
By LORI S. KLINE

ARTWORK BY SUSAN SIMON

  Genre: Picture Book / Jewish Traditions

Publisher: Sociosights Press & Facebook

Date of Publication: April 5, 2017

Number of Pages: 40

Scroll down for Giveaway!

Will she be the one to take Grandfather’s place? 

According to Jewish tradition, a quorum of ten adults is required for public worship. Almost a Minyan traces the story of a young girl whose father and grandfather are regular participants in the town’s minyan – until her beloved Zayde passes on.

Without him, it is even harder for her father to find enough people to make a minyan. Then one day, he brings Zayde’s tefillin to his eldest daughter. A striking new addition to the diverse books movement, Almost a Minyan shares important Hebrew terms and religious concepts through a compelling and beautifully illustrated story for children.

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PRAISE FOR ALMOST A MINYAN:

 “A warmhearted introduction to coming-of-age in a worship community.”

Kirkus Reviews

“A story of inclusion, belonging and equality. I loved the modern, egalitarian, and traditional values shared in this meaningful story. This is a wonderful modern story for our children and grandchildren!”

Cantor Deborah Katchko-Gray

Congregation Shir Shalom, CT

Founder of the Women Cantors’ Network

 

“A delightful read for girls and boys alike, this poetic family tale brings a wonderful sentimentality to daily Jewish prayers. Moreover, the beauty of the illustrations contributes additional warmth to this snapshot of Jewish life. A nice addition for all libraries and all ages.”

Rabbi Jimmy Kessler, DHL, DD

Congregation B’nai Israel, Galveston

 

The moment I started this book I was blown away by the art. Susan Simon has an incredible ability to bring warmth to every scene and bring a smile to my face. A beautiful symmetry and presence to every scene made this heartfelt tale a memorable one. As an amateur artist, I was really impressed by the different perspectives and subtle detail the artist included to capture the readers attention. The designs for each character and their expressions were unique and really showed their personalities. The greatest part is there is a signed giveaway for this book! I would highly recommend you enter and share this wonderful book.

The story itself is very heartfelt. In just a short amount of pages, you see the relationships of fathers, sons, daughters and people of faith. Before or after reading, there is also a helpful Glossary of words at the end for people not familiar with Jewish terms. I would actually recommend a phonetic spelling as well since this book is done in rhyme. However, it is easy to quickly get the hang of the phrases and really capture the story.

Almost a Minyan is the story of a young girl and her point of view. She looks up to her dad and his dedication, thinking of the day when she can become one of the ten adults that gather for prayer and rituals only performed in a minyan. With an unexpected loss, she struggles seeing her father become distant. That is until the day he comes to her early in the morning with a surprise. It’s through their faith, that she finds a part herself in the community and sharing a unique experience with her father. Don’t miss your opportunity to experience this book that has so much to offer.

Lori Sales Kline heralds from Squirrel Hill in Pittsburgh, PA, which hosts a wonderfully rich Jewish community that fueled her love for Jewish tradition, ritual and practice at home and at, “the shul.”  Following her undergraduate and graduate work at the University of Texas in Austin, Lori chose to make Austin her home, largely due to the spiritual connection she felt in the close-knit Austin Jewish community.  In her spare time, Lori enjoys camping, celebrating Judaism with her husband and son, and friends. She previously authored the children’s picture book,  Josiah’s Dreams.

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Susan Simon’s illustrations feature expressive children, humor, sweetness, and imaginative whimsy. She has illustrated seventeen children’s books. Susan lives in the Sonoran Desert of southern Arizona, with the saguaro cactuses, the coyotes, the Catalina mountains, and her husband, D.B., a music theory professor at the University of Arizona.

As a very young child, Susan both learned from and fell in love with the goodness and beauty readable in some children’s book illustrations. Without having words for it, she understood very young the power of a picture to inform deeply. When she’s not trying to give her all to share with children that kind of quality in her own work, she enjoys walking her two beloved rescued mutts – Oatcake and Peach – riding her giant green bicycle, and playing her growly old accordion.

She is a member of the Graphic Artists Guild, and is currently active in the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrator, serving as Co-Illustration Representative for Arizona.

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Stolen Heart: Author Interview and Giveaway

A STOLEN HEART
Cimarron Creek Trilogy #1
by
AMANDA CABOT

  Genre: Historical Romance / Christian
Publisher: Revell / Baker Publishing Group
Date of Publication: March, 2017
Number of Pages: 352
 Scroll down for Giveaway!

“Endearing characters, a tender love story, and intriguing mystery all work together to make Amanda Cabot’s A Stolen Heart a compelling and enjoyable read.”
—Margaret Brownley, author of Left at the Altar
Bestselling author Amanda Cabot takes readers back in time to the 1880s Texas Hill Country in her new historical romance novel, A Stolen Heart. This is the first book in a brand-new series packed with tension, mystery, and a tender love story that readers won’t soon forget.
Cimarron Creek seemed like an idyllic Texas town. But as soon as former schoolteacher Lydia Crawford stepped onto its dusty streets, she noticed a deep-seated resentment of Northerners—like her. 
That won’t get Lydia down, though. She looks forward to the day when she reunites with her fiancé—until she discovers her fiancé has disappeared without a trace and has left behind a pregnant wife. The handsome Cimarron Creek sheriff urges Lydia to trust him, but she is having a hard time trusting anyone in a town where secrets and suspense prevail.
Cabot weaves an elegant tale of pure love amidst heartache. With an absorbing plot and engaging characters, A Stolen Heart is a springtime showstopper fit for every historical romance reader.

What are some of the reasons you enjoy using Texas as the setting for some of your novels?

I spent my early childhood in a small town in Texas, and though my family left there when I was seven, the land of Spanish live oak trees and bluebonnets was firmly etched in my memory. There are so many wonderful things about Texas that I wanted to share with readers—everything from its turbulent history to the beauty of the Hill Country.

A Stolen Heart is set in 1880. What are your favorite things about this time period?

It’s not the bustles women wore! I have no idea who thought they were attractive or comfortable, but neither one is true. (I know, because I created a bustle-back gown to wear for book signings for my Westward Winds trilogy. Fastening a seatbelt when you’re wearing a bustle is no easy task. In fact, just sitting isn’t particularly easy.)

What I like about the second half of the nineteenth century is that it was a time of major change in America. We had westward expansion, the Civil War and its aftermath, the growing temperance and suffragette movements—all of which can be used to create a fascinating backdrop for historical romances.

What kind of research do you do to write a novel set in a different time and place?

For me, research involves two things: a lot of reading—mostly reference books from the library—and travel to the location. I begin with history books, getting a feel for what was happening in my chosen location in the year I want to use for the story, then expand to diaries of people who were alive then, if I can find them. That’s not always possible, but when they’re available, those first-person accounts provide little details that make books come alive.

I know some authors will disagree, but I consider actually going to the location essential. There’s only so much you can learn from the internet, but if you’re there in person, you can exercise all of your senses. At least for me, it’s important to see the trees and shrubs that are growing there, to touch leaves and bark, and to feel and smell the air. Those are the kinds of details that readers have told me they enjoy about my books, so it’s been well worth the trips. Plus, I enjoy traveling.

Is there a lesson or message you hope readers gain from reading A Stolen Heart?

The common theme to my books is the healing power of love, and that’s what readers will find in A Stolen Heart. Both Lydia and Travis have been hurt and despair of ever finding happiness, but their love for each other and—even more importantly—God’s love for them bring them the happily-ever-after romance readers crave. I hope that the troubles my characters endure and the way they resolve them will resonate with readers and will reinforce their belief in God’s mercy and the healing he alone can provide.

A Stolen Heart is book 1 of the Cimarron Creek Trilogy. What can we expect to see in books 2 and 3?

The story continues! There are so many interesting characters in Cimarron Creek, not to mention some strangers who’re coming to town, that I couldn’t write just one book. Catherine, a secondary character in A Stolen Heart, becomes the heroine of A Borrowed Dream, while Austin Goddard, a handsome rancher with more than his share of secrets, brings love and danger to town. All three books are tied together by a decades-old mystery that’s introduced in A Stolen Heart.

It was so much fun getting to know the residents of Cimarron Creek. I hope readers enjoy the town and its inhabitants as much as I do.

Amanda Cabot is the bestselling author of At Bluebonnet Lake, In Firefly Valley, and On Lone Star Trail, as well as the Texas Dreams series, the Westward Winds series, and Christmas Roses. Her books have been finalists for the ACFW Carol Awards and the Booksellers’ Best. She lives in Wyoming.

  

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The Big Inch Author Interview

THE BIG INCH

By KIMBERLY FISH

  Genre: Historical Fiction, WWII

Date of Publication: January 19, 2017

Number of Pages: 344

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Kimberly Fish’s debut novel, The Big Inch, was released in February, 2017 and it reveals the lengths to which Texas oilmen, state, and federal governments would go to get Texas crude oil to the troops fighting their first mechanized war. With Nazi threats (and a steady stream of oil tankers sunk by German submarines) speed was necessary, as was OSS intelligence. The Office of Strategic Services was often staffed with female spies and Longview’s World War II efforts were critical for success. 

Lane Mercer, sent to Longview, Texas in July 1942, is part of a select group of women working undercover for the fledgling federal agency, the Office of Strategic Services. Assigned to protect the man carrying out President Roosevelt’s initiative to build the nation’s first overland pipeline to hurry East Texas crude to the troops, she discovers there’s more to Longview than the dossiers implied. There’s intrigue, mayhem, and danger. Shamed from a botched OSS mission in France, Lane struggles to fulfill her mission and keep from drowning in guilt. Getting involved in local life is out of the question. Between family, do-gooders, and Nazi threats, she’s knitted into a series of events that unravel all of her carefully constructed, plans, realizing that sometimes the life one has to save, is one’s own.

 ***

PRAISE FOR THE BIG INCH:

“With an eye for detail, Kimberly Fish weaves a compelling story of a war widow who finds herself in Longview, Texas in 1942. Reading Kimberly’s novel was a bit like going back to a cloak and dagger time, and I enjoyed the local references. Longview was an amazing place to be during WWII.”   — Van Craddock, Longview News Journal, Columnist

“Kimberly Fish’s unique writing style snatched me out of my easy chair and plunked me down into the middle of her character’s life where I was loathe to leave when my real life called me back. Her descriptive visual writing drew me in on the first page. Can’t wait to read more stories by Mrs. Fish.” — Vickie Phelps  Author of Moved, Left No Address

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Author Interview with Kimberly Fish

What does your perfect writing spot look like? Is that what your ACTUAL writing spot looks like? I have an imperfect writing spot in an upstairs office in our home that I share with my husband (that’s not why it’s imperfect, really,) but its best qualities are proximity to the Internet router and my pantry—which I can raid without judgement. I also like to pack up my computer and drive to our cottage at Lake Cherokee and write there because it has no Internet router and an empty pantry—really better in the long run.

Do you have any strange writing habits or writing rituals you’d like to share with your readers? The process of writing is strange to anyone who doesn’t like to do it, because it involves a lot of staring into space. I have no special traditions beyond the usual obstacles to making myself sit down in a chair, put my fingers on a keyboard, ignore social media, the phone, laundry, possibly dinner, and write.

What book do you wish you could have written? Oh, without a doubt, the Mitford series, by Jan Karon. Or anything by Lauren Willig. Or Pam Jenoff. Or Mary Kay Andrews. Or . . ..

Is there any person you credit for being your inspiration for reading and/or writing? Jan Karon, she showed me that a writer could weave in a whole mixed bag of quirky people, tears, laughter, hope, faith, redemption, animals, art, and betrayal and still have an entertaining series that made sense and that readers would buy.

Who would you cast to play your characters in a movie version of your book? I do tape photographs of celebrities on my inspiration board to help me hear their voice and remember the character’s physical traits, but whether or not Matthew McConaughey or George Clooney would appear in my movie is up to their agents. Unless I stalked them, which, let’s be honest, wouldn’t really help my cause.

How important are names to you in your books? How do you choose names? I spent some time playing with names that I felt suited the people who’d be walking the path I set out for them. I enjoyed going back several generations to dust off names that are no longer in vogue.

Is there one subject you would never write about as an author? What is it? I don’t read a lot of science fiction or things related to the occult, so I’d probably not write about that. Or vampires.

What do you like to read in your free time? I read books my friends have written, biographies, historical fiction, romance novels, cozy mysteries, travel blogs, newspapers of all persuasions, philosophy, magazines, and cookbooks.

If you were a superhero, what would your name be? What costume would you wear? I’d probably be the one to go obscure but with wings that I had to keep hidden under a coat. I like doing a good deed and then getting out of the way before it’s noticed.

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

If you were an animal in a zoo, what would you be? Tell us why. Panda Bear, because seriously, who doesn’t think they’re adorable?

Do you have a mantra for writing and/or for life?  Be kind.

What do you want your tombstone to say? She loved her life.

 

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 a Texas manuscript contest which fed her on-going fascination with story crafting. She has since published in magazines, newspapers, and online formats, She lives with her family in East Texas.

Author Links

Pinterest | Twitter | Website | Instagram | Amazon Author Page

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3/9 Author Interview Reading By Moonlight
3/10 Excerpt Books and Broomsticks
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3/12 Promo Blogging for the Love of Authors and Their Books
3/13 Character Interview CGB Blog Tours
3/14 Review Syd Savvy
3/15 Guest Post Chapter Break Book Blog
3/16 Author Interview Forgotten Winds
3/17 Review Books in the Garden
3/18 Playlist My Book Fix Blog
3/19 Promo Margie’s Must Reads
3/20 Review StoreyBook Reviews
3/21 Author Interview The Page Unbound
3/22 Review Missus Gonzo

 


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Foy: On the Road Video Guest Post

FOY:ON THE ROAD
TO LOST
by
GORDON ATKINSON
  Genre: Literary Fiction
Date of Publication: March 1, 2017
Number of Pages: 194

 

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Gordon Atkinson, of the popular blog RealLivePreacher, brings us Foy, a recently- divorced, recently-resigned pastor in the midst of redefining personal meaning. As Foy travels to New Orleans, hoping to find a new identity separate from the church, he keenly observes the everyday, rendering ordinary moments unexpectedly significant. Atkinson’s own background as a preacher and blogger inspires Foy’s confessional voice, the voice which characterizes this story about how our own experiences impact the universal search for meaning. 
 ***

 

 

PRAISE FOR FOY: ON THE ROAD TO LOST:

“If the magnitude of difference between the stars and humankind is the purest of religions, reminding us of our insignificance (so thinks Foy), then that magnitude is collapsed in the hands of Atkinson, whose words elevate the most insignificant of objects, acts, and characters to startling heights. A key shifted on a desk, a communion cup offered to an old woman despite a philosophical mismatch, a baby’s bottle first ignored and then retrieved for a frazzled stranger on a bus. Each commands, each arrests, each persists. And we suddenly remember that what we create with mere words can be as lasting as the luminaries.”
— L.L. Barkat, author of Rumors of Water: Thoughts on Creativity & Writing, twice named a best book of 2011

“Few writers can match Gordon Atkinson’s ability to tell stories about the sacred in our everyday lives. Foy is a work of power, beauty, and clarity–I saw myself and the world more clearly after reading it. I think you will too.”

— Greg Garrett, author of The Prodigal and Entertaining Judgment

“I really, really like Gordon Atkinson’s Foy. I like the character Foy himself. He’s Everyman and he’s me and he’s Gordon, all at the same time. Nice trick. I like Gordon’s writing — straightforward, but with a simple elegance. But what I really like is the no-holds-barred honesty. This feels real because it is real. Foy at his worst, Foy at his best, Foy at his most wonderful/awful. It’s an on-going series, just like life. I look forward to the next chapter.”
— Robert F. Darden, author of Nothing but Love in God’s Water, Volume II: Black Sacred Music from Sit-Ins to Resurrection City
Atkinson is the author of the books RealLivePreacher.com (Wm. B. Eerdmans), Turtles All the Way Down, and A Christmas Story You’ve Never Heard.  He was a contributor for the magazine Christian Century and founding editor for the High Calling website, which brought together hundreds of independent writers and featured their work. 
His writing career started on Salon where he was among the most read bloggers on the site.  One of his essays was chosen to be included in The Best Christian Writing 2004 (Jossey-Bass) and his book RealLivePreacher.com won the Independent Publisher Book Award in the creative non-fiction category.
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Bulletins From Dallas

BULLETINS FROM DALLAS

Reporting the JFK Assassination

By BILL SANDERSON

 Genre: Biography / Journalism

Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing

Date of Publication: November 1, 2016

Number of Pages: 280

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Thanks to one reporter’s skill, we can fix the exact moment on November 22, 1963 when the world stopped and held its breath: At 12:34 p.m. Central Time, UPI White House reporter Merriman Smith broke the news that shots had been fired at President Kennedy’s motorcade. Most people think Walter Cronkite was the first to tell America about the assassination. But when Cronkite broke the news on TV, he read from one of Smith’s dispatches. At Parkland Hospital, Smith saw President Kennedy’s blood-soaked body in the back of his limousine before the emergency room attendants arrived. Two hours later, he was one of three journalists to witness President Johnson’s swearing-in aboard Air Force One. Smith rightly won a Pulitzer Prize for the vivid story he wrote for the next day’s morning newspapers.

Smith’s scoop is journalism legend. But the full story of how he pulled off the most amazing reportorial coup has never been told. As the top White House reporter of his time, Smith was a bona fide celebrity and even a regular on late-night TV. But he has never been the subject of a biography.

With access to a trove of Smith’s personal letters and papers and through interviews with Smith’s family and colleagues, veteran news reporter Bill Sanderson will crack open the legend. Bulletins from Dallas tells for the first time how Smith beat his competition on the story, and shows how the biggest scoop of his career foreshadowed his personal downfall.

***

PRAISE FOR BULLETINS FROM DALLAS:

“So much of what we know about any story depends on how reporters do their work. Bill Sanderson takes us through every heartbreaking minute of one of the biggest stories of our lifetime, with sharp detail and powerful observations. As you read the book, you’ll feel all the pressure and adrenaline rush of a reporter on deadline.” —Neal Shapiro, former president of NBC News, current president of WNET

“The life and work of a noted White House reporter…. Focusing on [Merriman] Smith’s reporting of the Kennedy assassination, for which he won a Pulitzer Prize, Sanderson conveys the tension and confusion after the event, as Smith and other newsmen scrambled to ascertain facts.” —Kirkus Reviews

“To read Bulletins from Dallas is to touch the fabric of history, through Sanderson’s artful weave of many voices, from presidents across the decades to the last words uttered by J.F.K. Swept back through the corridors of time, we hear the urgent bells and clatter of the teletype machine: Merriman Smith’s first report to the world, ‘Three shots fired at President Kennedy’s motorcade today in Downtown Dallas.’ This compelling narrative takes us to that moment when our whole nation cried, and, even now, to tears of primal sympathy that never seem to end.” —Allen Childs, author of We Were There: Revelations from the Dallas Doctors Who Attended to JFK on November 22, 1963

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Errol Louis interviews Bulletins from Dallas author Bill Sanderson on NY1, New York City’s premier cable news channel.

“58 Washington reporters on the trip – one mobile telephone” fist fight.

Bill Sanderson spent almost two decades as a reporter and editor at the New York Post. His work has also appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Observer, and the Washington Post. Sanderson lives in New York City.

Connect with Bill:

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Website

  

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2/27 Review Blogging for the Love of Authors and Their Books
2/28 Guest Post Byers Editing Reviews & Blog
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A Moonbow Night: Review and Giveaway

A MOONBOW NIGHT
by
LAURA FRANTZ

  Genre: Historical Romance / Christian
Publisher: Revell / Baker Publishing Group
Date of Publication: January 3, 2017
Number of Pages: 384

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After fleeing Virginia, Temperance Tucker and her family established an inn along the Shawnee River. It’s a welcome way station for settlers and frontiersmen traveling through the wild Cumberland region of Kentucky—men like Sion Morgan, a Virginia surveyor who arrives at the inn with his crew, looking for an experienced guide.

Though he balks when Tempe is appointed to lead his team through the wilderness, it isn’t long before Sion must admit that her abilities may outmatch his own. But can the tenuous tie they are forming survive the dangers waiting just around the bend?

With her signature sweeping style and ability to bring the distant past to vivid life, Laura Frantz beckons you to join her in a land of Indian ambushes, conflicting loyalties, and a tentative love that meanders like a cool mountain stream.

***
PRAISE FOR
A MOONBOW NIGHT:

 

“From the very first page, A Moonbow Night charmed me into its story, a story as earthy, rugged, and beguiling as the early American terrain upon which it has been laid. The book offers everything this reader wants: fidelity to history with rich, sensory details of time and place; names we’ve known fleetingly from the annals of the past who quicken on the page; fictional friends for whose happiness and romantic redemption we yearn. Tempe is a Kentucky heroine worth our time and heart’s investment—a waif on the outside, steel on the inside, kind in every situation. In Sion we find a hero worthy of the title, willing to grapple with his past to own his present and claim his lady. The plot is complex, tense, and layered and resolves in a most satisfying conclusion. This remarkable, elegantly written novel pulses with life and is a must-read for all who love historical romance.”

Sandra Byrd, author of A Lady in Disguise

A Moonbow Night captures the wilds of a young and unyielding American frontier with breathtaking action and Laura Frantz’s signature mastery in storytelling. The effortless merging of narrative with intelligent dialogue allows the spot-on historical research to shine. Sion’s understated valor is in perfect step with Tempe’s independence, making them a pairing that will keep readers turning pages and rooting for them to the end. This is an exquisite novel of love and loss, and a sweet reminder that even in an untamed world, the gentle grace of God heals all wounds.”
Kristy Cambron, author of The Illusionist’s Apprentice and the Hidden Masterpiece series

“As timeless as it is historical, A Moonbow Night is the shining embodiment of everything Laura Frantz does best, from her trademark attention to detail to the unfolding of rich and textured love in a setting no less complex. To read this novel is to take a journey along with the characters, inhabiting the story with all five senses. Truly, a book to savor and revisit.”

Jocelyn Green, award-winning author of The Mark of the King

 

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A Moonbow Night follows the story of Tempe, a server at an inn, and Sion, a surveyor looking for land. I’m often not a huge fan of pioneer stories, but this one caught my attention right from when I read the book summary and it didn’t disappoint. I absolutely loved both Tempe and Sion and I love how this story is told from both their points of view. I really enjoyed all the history. I honestly never thought about how people had to have gone out in the search for land, that it could have been a job, a way of income. I just figured the pioneers found a place to settle and settled. So surveyor was a new word for me, and it was exciting to learn something new. I enjoyed how well detailed A Moonbow Night was and the adventure it unfolded.The best part about this book is the characters. You can tell that Frantz spent a great deal of time developing these characters. They each have their own quirks and distinct personality! Sion was probably my favorite. He’s kind of quiet at times, like a man of few words. But he’s an observer and very calculating. By the end of the novel Sion will completely win your heart. Not to say I don’t love Tempe, she’s great too, perhaps a little bit on the fiery and fierce side, but she’s strong and determined.

The only thing I wished with this book was a little bit more of a love story. I mean, there is a love story, but it’s soft, on the side lines, and takes a back seat to the story. There’s plenty of history and adventure to capture anyone’s intrigue, but I felt like Sion and Temp had such good chemistry I was wanting more there between them. It was so subtle that I wasn’t as excited as I could have been for them. Now don’t kid me wrong, the love story was gentle and cute, but I was hoping for more of a love story that swept me off my feet. But the gentle and subtle love works well for this story. I don’t think the love story was meant to be the driving point of the book. I think the journey of these pioneers and what they went through was the beating heart of this book.

If you like history, pioneers, great characters, great story and a cute, subtle love then be sure to check out this book!


Laura Frantz is a Christy Award finalist and the author of several books, including The Frontiersman’s Daughter, Courting Morrow Little, The Colonel’s Lady, The Mistress of Tall Acre, and the Ballantyne Legacy series. She lives and writes in a log cabin in the heart of Kentucky.



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Of Bulletins and Booze: Author Interview and Giveaway


OF BULLETINS

AND BOOZE
  A NEWSMAN’S STORY OF RECOVERY
by
Bob Horton

Genre: Journalism / Memoir

Date of Publication: March, 2017
Number of Pages: 284

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Bob Horton began his journalism career as a reporter for the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. Innate skill and good fortune took him from a modest Texas farm upbringing to Washington, DC, where he was thrown into the high-pressure world of the wire service, first as a correspondent for the Associated Press, and later for Reuters news agency. The stress was intense, but he found the rush to be intoxicating.
From his early days covering the Dallas murder trial of Jack Ruby, through three colorful decades as a newsman, Horton often found himself witnessing history in the making. He covered the Pentagon during the early days of the Vietnam War, was on board a Navy ship in the Mediterranean awaiting Israel’s expected attack on Egypt, was witness to the Watergate burglary trial, and attended a Beverly Hills church service with then-President-elect Ronald Reagan and his wife Nancy.
The success Horton enjoyed as a journalist mostly hid the dark side of his career: a gradual descent into alcoholism. Of Bulletins and Booze candidly recounts the unforgettable moments of Horton’s career, as well as more than a few moments he would just as soon forget.


  

Author Interview with Bob Horton

 

How has being a Texan influenced your writing?

Being raised by and among plain-talking Texas farm folks left me inclined to express myself in a simple, sometimes quite blunt manner. Texans pride themselves in being independent and can be strongly opinionated. I tend to be that way as well, a trait that may be detected in my writing.

 

Where did your love of storytelling and reading come from?

Neither of my parents had a high school education. They grew up in the Depression and when work often disrupted schooling. I recall my mother reading stories aloud to help me nap. My father would come in from the fields for the noon meal and later read from the Bible as my brother and I lay listening on the floor. Relatives, especially my grandfathers and uncles, were lively talkers and story-tellers.

 

How long have you been writing?

All told, some 50 years of professional news writing. I began working part-time for a newspaper while a freshman in college. That led to careers spanning years with a second newspaper, two wire services, a news magazine, a syndicated news service, and a radio news operation.  Over the years I spent months of my spare time striving to write a decent novel (three completed but unpublished).

 

What kind(s) of writing do you do?

I’ve done all kinds, including the standard type of news at the local level, but also eventually high-level political, legislative, military, diplomatic …  I was a reporter in Washington, D.C. for almost a quarter-century; I covered the Pentagon, Congress, State Department, White House and various other federal departments and agencies.

 

What was the hardest part of writing this book? 

Striving to avoid sentimentality. I had experienced intensely emotional moments and situations as a reporter but I wanted to describe those times with a goodly degree of aloofness. I also sought not to sound self-aggrandizing, even though I had to “drop names” in recounting a career which had me associating with  people of prominence. I was known to such people not by virtue of my personality or talent but because of my connection to major media outlets.

 

How does Of Bulletins and Booze relate to your spiritual practice or other life path?

This book is about recovery from an addiction. Adhering to the twelve-step program of Alcoholics Anonymous helped direct me into a life style focusing on total abstinence from alcohol. I had found that I could not do this alone; the program stressed my need for “a power greater than myself,” sometimes referred to as “a God of my understanding.”  While AA is not a religious program, there is strong emphasis on the need for an alcoholic to have a “spiritual awakening” about the reality and nature of his illness (the American Medical Association labels alcoholism as a disease). Decades ago, a doctor prominent in the field of alcoholic treatment wrote in the first publication of AA’s “big book” of recovery principles that he was convinced that chronic alcoholics could only be helped by a “psychic change.” AA members came to speak of this psychic change as a “God consciousness.” The principles underlying the twelve-step program have steadily nurtured my spiritual growth.


Bob Horton has been in the news business for more than fifty years. In 1966 he received the Top Reporting Performance Award from the Associated Press Managing Editors organization, and in 1968 he and an AP cohort were nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for general coverage of the Pentagon during the Vietnam War. Today he is a radio news anchor with shows in Lubbock and Victoria, Texas. He lives in Lubbock.

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