A Target On My Back: Promo and Giveaway

A Prosecutor’s Terrifying Tale of Life on a Hit List
Erleigh Wiley
Genre: True Crime
Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing
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Date of Publication: October 3, 2017
Number of Pages: 176 with b&w photos

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Murders don’t happen in Kaufman County, Texas, a sleepy community where people raise their kids quietly and drive into Dallas for work and entertainment. In 2013, murder came to town when two professional prosecutors were slain in cold blood, simply for doing their jobs: one in broad daylight in plain view of the courthouse, and one in his home, along with his wife. Eric Williams is responsible for all the bloodshed—and he has a list of who to kill next.
A Target on My Back is the first-person true story of Erleigh Wiley, an accomplished lawyer who accepted the job as the new district attorney—after the death of her predecessors—which turned her into the next target on the killer’s hit list. This is her story of how she and her family endured the storm of the press, the array of Homeland Security agents assigned to protect them 24/7, and the weight of knowing she was someone’s prey. Though fearing for her life, she served as the prosecution’s final witness against the murderer, sealing his fate on death row. This chilling account of how she survived the hit list is a terrifying cat and mouse tale.


“A legal thriller with a twist: a crazed lawyer and his wife, believing they have been wronged, become a modern-day Bonnie and Clyde and go on a terrifying murder spree. Next on their kill list is the new DA, and her courage in confronting the killers makes this a fascinating read.”
Dennis L. Breo, coauthor of The Crime of the Century: Richard Speck and the Murders That Shocked a Nation 
“John Grisham and Scott Turow had better start looking over their shoulders. . . Wiley’s engaging, nimble style immediately draws you into the action and proves that sometimes truth really is stranger than fiction. It’s a good thing for us all that she lived to tell about it!”
David Dean, Dallas attorney, former Texas secretary of state and chair of the North Texas Crime Commission
“When murder comes to her town, Erleigh Wiley steps into the shoes of the slain district attorney and finds herself on the killer’s hit list. In A Target on My Back, Wiley tells her personal story of overcoming fear in order to carry out her duty to hold Kaufman County, Texas, together while the killer is brought to justice. Don’t miss it!”
Mike Farris, author of A Death in the Islands: The Unwritten Law and the Last Trial of Clarence Darrow
A Target on my Back is a unique first-person look into the world of crime-fighting in which the tables have been turned. The author takes the reader on an all-too-real journey into what it means to stand for justice when your very life is in danger. A must-read.
Robert Kepple, executive director of the Texas District and County Attorneys Association

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Speak to That  is a local talk show that speaks to relevant and inspirational topics and features innovative guests.  On a recent episode, Erleigh Wiley and her husband, Aaron Wiley, were interviewed about life on a hit list and Erleigh’s new book, Target On My Back.

Erleigh Norville Wiley was born and raised in Kaufman County. She is a graduate of Texas Tech University, Rawls College of Business; where she received a Bachelor of Business Administration Degree with a degree in Finance. She attended law school at Texas Law at The University of Texas in Austin receiving her Doctorate of Jurisprudence.
In 1990, Judge Wiley joined the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office. Her goal was to prosecute the criminals and protect innocent children and victims who have no voice. She was promoted to supervising attorney-training other new attorneys and managing fourteen different courts.
Wiley takes an active role in her community by volunteering. Some of her board work includes Chairman of the Kaufman County Juvenile Board, Trustee of Texas Health Resources- Kaufman, Kaufman County Children’s Advocacy Center and Kaufman County Children’s Shelter Board member.

Wiley has been lauded by various organizations for her work in the legal community as a Judge and as the Criminal District Attorney in Kaufman County. Some of the most notable were in 2013, from the State Bar of Texas, Outstanding Leadership-Profiles of Courage Award and Texas District & County Attorney’s Association, Lone Star Prosecutor Award; as well as the Dallas Black Police Officer’s Association with the Paved the Way Award in 2015.



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Killing in C Sharp: Excerpt


A Gethsemane Brown Mystery, Volume 3 

By Alexia Gordon

Genre: Paranormal Mystery

Publisher: Henery Press

Date of Publication: March 6, 2018

Number of Pages: 288

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She saved Carraigfaire—but can she save her friends? Gethsemane Brown fought off an attack by a sleazy hotel developer who wanted to turn her Irish cottage into a tourist trap.

Now she must face a vengeful ghost determined to exact revenge for her murder centuries ago. This ghost’s wrath spares no one—not Gethsemane’s students, Inspector Niall O’Reilly, fellow teacher Frankie Grennan, or a group of ghost hunters descended on Dunmullach to capture proof ghosts exist. Proof Gethsemane has to quash to keep Eamon, her resident ghost and friend, from becoming an internet sensation.

As if a spiteful specter wasn’t bad enough, a crooked music reviewer turns up dead in the opera house orchestra pit, a famous composer is arrested for the crime, and Gethsemane must team up with a notorious true-crime author to clear his name. If she doesn’t, friends will die, a ghost she cares about will never know peace, and she’ll star in a final act gruesome enough for any opera.


Book 1, Murder in G Major

Winner of the 2017 Lefty Award for Best Debut Novel

2016 Agatha Award nominee for Best First Novel

Suspense magazine “Best of 2016” selection in Debut Novel category 

Book 2, Death in D Minor

Runner-Up, 2017 Lone Star Bloggers’ Choice Awards, Best Mystery/Suspense

Short List, 2017 Lone Star Bloggers’ Choice Awards, Best Series

Book 3, Killing in C Sharp

Starred review, Publisher’s Weekly, January 29, 2018


  Amazon    Barnes & Noble    iBooks    Kobo 


By Alexia Gordon

“You don’t go out of your way to avoid them, either. I think you enjoy solving the puzzles, sussing out who done it.”

Did she? Was that why she involved herself in criminal investigations despite the exhortations of cooler heads and common sense? The challenge of answering a riddle? Or a desire—a need—to do the right thing, to be on the right side of the battle between order and chaos, good and evil?

“Solving puzzles is in Sissy’s nature, Niall,” Frankie said. “She’s the daughter of a mathematician.”

The urge to tell him to stop using that stupid nickname fought with the urge to thank him for taking her side. She silently recited Negro League baseball statistics until both urges passed.

“You encourage her, Frankie,” Niall said. “Don’t bother denying it. I know who aids and abets Sissy in her escapades. Breaking and entering, theft—”

“You make us sound like the bad guys.” Frankie laughed.

The inspector’s allegations didn’t appear to concern him.

“Not bad guys. More like mischievous school boys,” Niall looked at Gethsemane, “and girls. Except dead bodies are as far away from childish pranks as Earth is from Neptune. Keep poking your noses into criminals’ business and you might find yourselves listed in a police blotter.”

“Mischievous school girl?” Gethsemane came out of her seat. Niall had no right to reduce her rational, adult decisions—even when they were wrong—to instances of childish naughtiness, friend or no.

Before she could unleash her feminist ire, a high-pitched scream outside the pub ripped through the air and silenced all conversation just as Aed’s overture had. No one spoke or moved for several seconds. Frankie spoke first.

“What the bloody hell?” Niall knocked over his chair as he raced to the door.

“Stay here,” he called without looking to see if anyone obeyed.

A writer since childhood, I put literary endeavors on hold to finish medical school and Family Medicine residency training. Medical career established, I returned to writing fiction. I completed SMU’s Writer’s Path program in Dallas, Texas. Henery Press published my first novel, Murder in G Major, book one of the Gethsemane Brown mysteries, in September 2016. Book two, Death in D Minor, released July 11, 2017. Book three, Killing in C Sharp, comes out March 6, 2018. Murder in G Major won the Lefty Award for Best Debut Novel, was nominated for an Agatha Award for Best New Novel and was selected one of Suspense Magazine’s Best Debuts.

I listen to classical music, drink whiskey, and blog at Miss Demeanors, voted one of Writers’ Digest magazine’s 101 best websites for writers, and Femmes Fatales

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One winner receives a signed copy of Killing in C Sharp and 

a bottle of Koval Bourbon Whiskey

Winner must be at least 21 and shipping of alcohol permitted by laws of the state where prize is being delivered. In the event above conditions not met, an alternate prize will be awarded.

MARCH 13-22, 2018


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3/13/18 Notable Quotable Texas Book Lover
3/13/18 Promo Book Fidelity
3/14/18 Review Hall Ways Blog
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3/15/18 Notable Quotable Books and Broomsticks
3/15/18 Review Momma on the Rocks
3/16/18 Author Interview StoreyBook Reviews
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3/17/18 Review Reading by Moonlight
3/18/18 Review Forgotten Winds
3/19/18 Excerpt The Page Unbound
3/19/18 Notable Quotable The Librarian Talks
3/20/18 Review #Bookish
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3/22/18 Review The Clueless Gent

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Beneath the Surface: Top 5 List and Giveaway

Dive Team Investigations
Book One
Lynn H. Blackburn
Genre: Suspense / Romance / Christian
Publisher: Revell
Date of Publication: March 6, 2018
Number of Pages: 352

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Dive into the depths of fear with an exciting new romantic suspense novel, Beneath the Surface. This gripping tale from award-winning author Lynn H. Blackburn will capture readers from the first page and won’t let them go until the final, heart-pounding scene.
After a harrowing experience with an obsessed patient, oncology nurse practitioner Leigh Weston moves home to Carrington, North Carolina, to leave behind her troubled past. But when someone tampers with her brakes, she fears the past has chased her into the present.
Homicide investigator Ryan Parker finds fulfillment in his career, but his favorite way to use his skills is as a volunteer underwater investigator with the Carrington County Sheriff’s Office dive team. When the body of a wealthy businessman is discovered in Lake Porter, the investigation uncovers a possible serial killer—one with a terrifying connection to Leigh Weston and deadly implications for them all. 


“With this book, author Lynn Blackburn has moved from the status of an upcoming author to watch and cemented herself as an author to note. Her exceptional storytelling skills shine as she weaves an intricate plot, populated with characters we care deeply about. Another up-all-night-because-I-can’t-put-down-the-book read.”
Edie Melson, award-winning author, blogger, and director of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference
Beneath the Surface is a swoon-worthy romantic suspense that packs a punch from page one. The nonstop action will keep you guessing until the end.”
Rachel Dylan, author of the Atlanta Justice series
“Just when you think you can relax, Blackburn brings you back to the edge of your seat in this riveting, high-tension suspense story.”
Patricia Bradley, author of Justice Delayed

Baker Book House  ┃  Amazon  ┃  Barnes & Noble  ┃  iBooks
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Top 5 Things to Do on a Date

According to Character Leigh Weston

from Beneath the Surface by Lynn H. Blackburn

  1. Dinner and a movie. People have been doing it for years because it works.
  2. Whatever is going on in Downtown Carrington – food festivals, art festivals, music festivals. Carrington has a great downtown so an evening spent there is always a good idea.
  3. A day spent hiking in the mountains.
  4. A fancy evening at the theatre for a musical or a play.
  5. A boat ride at sunset. I’m probably happiest on the water.

Lynn H. Blackburn is the author of Hidden Legacy (Love Inspired, June 2017) and Covert Justice, winner of the 2016 Selah Award for Mystery and Suspense and the 2016 Carol Award for Short Novel. Blackburn believes in the power of stories, especially those that remind us that true love exists, a gift from the Truest Love. She’s passionate about CrossFit, coffee, and chocolate (don’t make her choose) and experimenting with recipes that feed both body and soul. She lives in Simpsonville, South Carolina, with her true love, Brian, and their three children.
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Grand Prize: Print Copy of the Book, Library Card Socks, 
Gone Reading Sign (wooden, 5″x7″), Reading Mug; 
2nd Prize: Print Copy of the Book + $25 B&N Gift Card;
3rd Prize: Print Copy of the Book + $10 Starbucks Gift Card
MARCH 6-15, 2018


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Why I Hate Green Beans: Excerpt and Giveaway

and other confessions about relationships, reality tv, and how we see ourselves
Genre: Humorous NonFiction / Memoir
Publisher: Revell
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Date of Publication: February 6, 2018
Number of Pages: 208

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Insecurity. As women, we all struggle with it. Our skinny jeans mock us. Our age-defying serums with flecks of gold refuse to erase our crow’s feet. Our social media feeds taunt us with everyone else’s picture-perfect lives. If you’ve ever felt uninteresting, unlovable, or unattractive, you’re ready for Lincee Ray’s particular brand of hilarious (and hard-hitting) self-reflection.
Like a trustworthy friend, she shows us that the fastest way to happiness is to embrace ourselves in all our imperfection and trust that God knew what He was doing when He made us. From maneuvering the muffin top to navigating the sketchy waters of singleness to walking the judgmental halls of the workplace, Lincee’s laugh-out-loud look at real life reveals many of the key truths she’s learned about her identity:
Yoga pants are your friend, Jesus sees you, and green-bean diets are never the answer.

“Lincee is a brilliant writer. She once described me as ‘smelling of worn leather, a vintage nine iron and swagger.’ She pretty much nailed it. She is definitely worthy of the final rose.” —Chris Harrison, host of ABC’s Bachelor franchise and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?
“I found myself laughing out loud, wiping away a few tears, and cheering her on every step of the way. Lincee is the best friend you wish you had. Get ready to fall in love with her and her fabulous debut book!”  —Melanie Shankle, author of the Big Mama blog 
“By the end of this book, you’ll think of Lincee as a favorite friend: someone who shoots straight, finds the funny in every situation, and reminds you what matters most. You are in for a treat!” —Sophie Hudson, author of Giddy Up, Eunice and cohost of The Big Boo Cast podcast

“Questionable Deli Meat”

An excerpt from Why I Hate Green Beans

by Lincee Ray

For ten years I waded through the ins and outs of the oil industry. As one of few females in that male-dominated world, I’ve had my fair share of eye-rolling exploits. I’ve kept my face neutral as crude jokes were shared. I’ve tried to look feminine in flame retardant overalls, safety goggles, and steel-toe boots. I’ve stood before a boardroom full of men who didn’t speak English, trying to convince them we didn’t need to wait for my boss—I was the presenter.

The international stories are the ones I like best because they sound so exotic. One of my more notable jaunts was a facility visit in the middle of Ukraine.

The guys from the Ukrainian company wanted to treat the Americans to a traditional dinner. I was seated at the middle of the long table for ten with my American colleagues on either side. The Ukrainian general manager sat across from me and motioned for the waiter to pour a round of vodka shots.

You’ve probably heard that Russians drink vodka like it’s water. In my personal experience, this is true. I can also attest it’s considered an insult not to drink with them. If offered vodka, you’d better partake, especially when the logistics of future million-dollar deals are circling the table.

The Ukrainian stood up and toasted everyone in the room. He spoke about the wonderful relationship between his company and the U.S. division and genuinely seemed proud to call us partners. This lasted for about five minutes. During this time, the waiter placed a plate of “something” at each end of the table. I’m no expert, but it looked like slugs.

Our host concluded his salute and pointed to the plate, explaining that this was a celebratory occasion and we would be chasing the vodka shot with herring and onions.

I suddenly craved green beans.

The man lifted his glass and toasted the table. We all slammed our drinks back and spiked the herring with little forks. Down the hatch.

Thank goodness the vodka was like rubbing alcohol, because it burned off the aftermath of the oily, slimy, fishy taste in my mouth. It may have burned a few taste buds, too, but that was a blessing in disguise.

Everyone cheered and high fived as the waiter presented a tray of cucumbers, tomatoes, and red bell peppers. I munched away like a pro, even though I can’t stand tomatoes. I have the palate of a sophisticated fourth grader, but I pressed through for the good of the company.

Suddenly the waiter started filling the shot glasses with vodka again. Number two Ukranian guy stood up and made his own toast that lasted forever. We cheered. We clinked glasses. We took the shot before chugging yet another herring.

Soon the questionable deli meat selection arrived. Being the smart connoisseur I am, I chose the two lightest meats. I mentally chanted in my head, “It’s turkey and ham. It’s turkey and ham. It’s turkey and ham.” I gobbled it up in three bites, ignoring the funny smell, only to find a plate full of rolled-up bacon thrust in my face.

You may be thinking, Oh good! Something she recognizes. Everyone loves bacon!

Dear friend. You are too sweet. It was bacon fat. Fat. The fat of bacon. All white, fat, bacon fat.

The waiter rushed over with a third shot. It helped to dissolve the roll of pork belly lodged in my throat.

At the beginning of the fourth course, I realized we were going to toast each dish. I tried to get the attention of the waiter, but I couldn’t lift my arms. He finally realized my joints were paralyzed from the vodka and came over to see what I needed. Once he understood what I needed, he brought me a bottle of plain old boring water. I begged him with my eyes not to rat me out as a poser Russki.

Everyone devoured what I thought of as potato ravioli and luckily, they never noticed me pouring water into my shot glass. The next course materialized, and I enthusiastically toasted everyone. By the end of the night, the Russians were toasting the vodka, the Brits were toasting the Americans who carry guns, the Americans were toasting the Revolutionary War, and nine men were toasting the little blonde girl who could hold her liquor.

All together there were seven courses. I had three vodka shots and four waters. I slept like a log that night. I also suspected my insides had been thoroughly cleansed. It’s a good thing, too, because I later found out the questionable deli meat was donkey tongue.

Any time I hear a Russian accent, my arms get heavy and it’s a good forty-eight hours before I can eat a turkey sandwich again.

Lincee Ray is an accidental blogging superstar from Texas who now writes for EW.com and the Associated Press. An active speaker, she can be found at her popular website ihategreenbeans.com, where she makes it clear that she believes it’s important to tell your story—even if it makes you seem a little crazy.

Connect with Lincee!
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FEBRUARY 13-22, 2018
Copy of Why I Hate Green Beans with a signed book plate, $50 Barnes & Noble Gift Card, and Lincee’s Loves Basket which includes: Rave travel hairspray, Minnie Mouse ears, Vodka*, Heartbreakers Candy, Dr. Pepper, chocolate rose, and green jelly beans.
2nd PRIZE:
Copy of Why I Hate Green Beans with a signed book plate, $25 Barnes & Noble Gift Card
3rd PRIZE:
Copy of Why I Hate Green Beans with a signed book plate, $10 Barnes & Noble Gift Card
(U.S. Only; *proof of age required for vodka)


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Lone Star Book Blog Tours: 2017 Bloggers’ Choice Awards

The Lone Star Book Blog Tours team has voted, and the results are in!  From Best Fiction to Most Engaged Author, we have seventeen awards to hand out to the awesome Texas books and authors featured on Lone Star Book Blog Tours in 2017.
From February 15-23, 2018, please join us as we hop around the LSBBT blogs and share the winners, runners-up, and shortlisted titles. Don’t miss it!

Click to learn more about:
2/14: Awards Announcement
2/15: Best Hook & Best Creative Concept
2/16: Best Non-Fiction History, Best Biography/Memoir, & Best Western
2/17: Best Children’s/Juvenile/YA & Best Series
2/18: Best Literary Fiction & Best Religious/Inspirational/Spiritual
2/19: Best Mystery/Suspense, Best Romance, & Best Fantasy
2/20: Best Cover & Most Engaged Author
2/21: Best Texas Book
2/22: Best Non-Fiction Book
2/23: Best Fiction Book

High Treason: Promo and Giveaway

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

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

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


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

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FEBRUARY 6-15 2018
(U.S. Only)


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Aransas Morning: Interview and Giveaway

  Genre: Literary Fiction / Family Life
Date of Publication: September 22, 2017
Number of Pages: 304

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

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

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

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

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

◾   Barnes& Noble  ◾   Jeff Hampton Writer   ◾   
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Interview with Author Jeff Hampton

How has being a Texan influenced your writing?

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

Why did you choose to write in your particular genre?

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

Where did your love of books and storytelling come from?

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


How long have you been writing?

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


What kinds of writing do you do?

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


What cultural value do you see in books?

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


How does your book relate to your faith?

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


What was the hardest part of writing this book? 

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


What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

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


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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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


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



  Genre: Historical Fiction / Western

Publisher: Page Publishing, Inc.

Date of Publication: September 2, 2017

Number of Pages: 226

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Westward expansion following the civil war ushered in an era of increased conflict between the Southern Plains Indians and white settlers. Peace treaties offered temporary suspension of hostilities, but more often than not resulted in broken promises as the two cultures clashed over land. The construction of frontier forts and towns, the decimation of the buffalo herds, the movement of cattle through Indian lands to burgeoning western markets, – all of these forces threatened a way of life that had existed for centuries.

The Comanche, the Southern Cheyenne, the Kiowa, the Apache all fought to protect their customs and homelands. The clashes were characterized by savagery on both sides – Indian and white. However, finite numbers and options would ensure the tribes’ defeat; they faced certain death or forced relocation and their days were numbered.

Though the Indian wars are the focus of Palo Duro, the novel also captures the spirit of the “Old West” with its depiction of the great cattle drives from Texas into Kansas, New Mexico, Colorado and Montana, the cattle barons and the trail blazers, the outlaws and gunslingers, the lawmen and Texas Rangers, and the settlers and entrepreneurs who built this country. It chronicles an era characterized by heroism, brutality, and bold ventures while paying tribute to a genre that is fading from public consciousness – the western. It is the story of the Southwest United States towards the end of the nineteenth century and the rugged individualism that forged a nation.


This book captured Central Texas in the post-Civil War era better than any other book I’ve read. It was well researched, well written, and easy to read. I enjoyed this book more than Empire of the Summer Moon, the standard setter. I recommend this to readers of any level, even if you dislike history, as this book is that good. – Jeffrey R. Murray, Amazon review

Max Knight brought to life the saga of how Texas tamed their frontier. He presents a colorful experience with characters effectively placed throughout his story. If you have any interest in Texas history this book is a must read. – AmazonJacki, Amazon review

Palo Duro is an exceptional novel, well researched; a must read. – Chuck B., Amazon review

Reading this book is a great way to deepen and appreciate one’s Texas roots – or if you are not a Texan to understand and enjoy what makes Texas, well, Texas! I found this novel to be especially entertaining as well as informative. Made me want to go back and read Lonesome Dove again! – Michael P., Amazon review

In the spirit of the old Western genre of Zane Grey and L’amour, Max Knight pays homage to our national heritage with this fictional but historically accurate labor of love that warms the heart with his vivid imagery and authentic tone of America’s illustrious and sometimes brutal past. – Chester Sosinski, Amazon review


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Excerpt from Palo Duro

By Max Knight

Quanah Parker was surprised to find his sworn foe standing in front of him. Charles Goodnight had been one of the Texas Rangers that had “rescued” Cynthia Ann Parker and her daughter from the Comanche and returned them to her white “family.” Cynthia Ann had been living with the Comanche since her abduction at the age of eleven. She’d married and bore several children (Quanah amongst them) during her time amongst the Indians, and her rescue had separated her from the only life she really knew. She had been unable to re-assimilate into white society and, after her little girl died from an illness, Cynthia Ann succumbed to inconsolable grief, dying from “a broken heart.”

Quanah Parker blamed the man that now stood in front of him waiting for his response.

“You know I’ve sworn to kill you,” replied Quanah.

“You can do that. But in spite of our pasts, I think you might want to hear me out.”

Quanah gestured to the entrance to his teepee and preceded Charles Goodnight inside. The smell of smoke permeated the air and, as Goodnight surveyed the interior, the scalps on the war lances lying against the hide walls caught his attention. Both men took a seat opposite one another.

“What is it that makes you think you’ll leave here alive?” asked Quanah.

“Well, your own sense of honor won’t let you kill me, at least not here anyway. And, I’ve come to believe you’re an honorable man that only fights for his people’s survival. If that ain’t true and you’re just the savage that others believe you to be, then I guess I’m a dead man.”

“Speak what’s on your mind.”

“I’ve a proposition for you,” Goodnight began. “The buffalo are vanishing and along with them your people’s food source. No matter how hard you resist, the white hunters aren’t going to stop killing them for their hides, and the Army will continue not only to protect those hunters from your warriors but they will pursue you to the ends of the earth. Your numbers are dwindling. However, there is no need for anyone to starve. I can offer you a way to feed the people without conflict.”


“Let me graze cattle within the walls of this canyon and I’ll provide you with enough meat so your people won’t starve. I only ask that you leave the herd and me alone.”

“The white man has promised food to us before on the reservations. Those promises were lies,” said Quanah.

“I’m not negotiating for the government nor am I making promises on their behalf. I want to live here with my wife and raise cattle. In exchange for peace between us, I promise you meat. I’d rather find some accommodation between us than fight, but I’ll do the latter if I have to.”

“I know you can fight, Goodnight,” reflected Quanah Parker. “The Comanche can also fight, but time is not on our side.”

“War is coming to Palo Duro Canyon eventually,” Charles Goodnight continued. “But I’m not a party to what the military does or don’t do to the Comanche people. I can only speak for myself. I’ve seen enough killing on both sides. I lost my partner to these Indian Wars and I’m prepared to let that go, just as I hope you’ll see that seeking revenge for your mom and little sister won’t bring them back. Many Comanche may yet die holding onto your way of life, but the old ones, the women and the children should not starve to death because the buffalo are gone.”

Quanah sat silently for a time. The winter of 1873 had been brutal. There had been too few buffalo chips to heat the lodges and not enough food for everyone. The “swirling whiteness” had included sleet, snow and ice. The fierce winds had blown away shelters killing people within minutes; livestock had fared even worse. With no shelter the horses so important to the Comanche had frozen to death. Additionally, just as Charles Goodnight had pointed out, the U.S. Army was now relentless in its pursuit of the Quahadi and all the Comanche. Quanah Parker knew Goodnight was right in his assessment that war was coming to Palo Duro Canyon.

Finally raising his gaze to look Goodnight in the eyes, Quanah nodded his head in agreement. Both men stood. Charles Goodnight offered his hand and Quanah Parker accepted the gesture and shook it to seal the deal.

Max L. Knight was born in Panama in 1949, and was raised both in the Canal Zone and in San Antonio, Texas where he now resides with his wife, Janet “Gray.” A proud member of the Corps of Cadets and graduate of Texas A&M University (Class of ’73), he received a bachelor’s degree in English and a Regular Army commission and served the next twenty-four years as an Air Defense and Foreign Area Officer before retiring in 1997 with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. After leaving the Army, Max spent the next five years working for RCI Technologies of San Antonio, becoming its Director of Internal Operations.

Separating from the company in 2002, he volunteered to be the first docent at the Alamo working within its Education Department before once again serving his country as a Counterintelligence Specialist in Europe, Central America, Asia and the Middle East through 2013. Max speaks several languages including Greek and Spanish. He also holds a Master of Science degree in government from Campbell University. He has written and published two books to date: Silver Taps, a personal memoir of his relationship with his father and a tribute to his alma mater, and Palo Duro, a novel focusing on the Indian wars in the southwestern United States at the end of the nineteenth century.

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One Winner: Signed copy of Palo Duro + $20 Amazon Gift Card

Two Winners: Signed Copies of Palo Duro

JANUARY 10-19, 2018

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Missing Issac: Scrapbook Page and Giveaway

  Genre: Southern Fiction / Christian / Coming of Age
Publisher: Revell
Date of Publication: January 2, 2018
Number of Pages: 352

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Isaac believed in luck. But from Pete’s point of view, Isaac’s luck had all run out.
When Pete McLean loses his father in the summer of 1962, his friend Isaac is one of the few people he can lean on. Though their worlds are as different as black and white, friendship knows no color. So when Isaac suddenly goes missing, Pete is determined to find out what happened—no matter what it costs him. His quest will lead him into parts of town that he knows only through rumors and introduce him to a girl who will change his life. What they discover together will change the small Southern town of Glory, Alabama—forever.
With vivid descriptions, palpable atmosphere, and unforgettable characters, debut novelist Valerie Fraser Luesse breathes life into the rural South of the 1960s—a place where ordinary people struggle to find their footing in a social landscape that is shifting beneath their feet.

“Valerie Fraser Luesse’s beautiful story reveals the human heart that always beats beneath the headlines. In the process, she movingly illuminates not only the spirit of a special region but the soul of every human being who ever dared to care. Missing Isaac will break—and then heal—your heart.” 
J. I. Baker, journalist and author of The Empty Glass 

“Welcome debut novelist Valerie Fraser Luesse to the legions of gifted Southern writers before her. Missing Isaac is the first of what we hope will be many more tales from this talented writer.”—Nancy Dorman-Hickson, coauthor of Diplomacy and Diamonds and a former editor for Progressive Farmer and Southern Living magazines
“Valerie Luesse has an ear for dialogue, an eye for detail, and a profound gift for storytelling. She breathes life into these colorful Southern characters and this quirky Alabama town from the first page.” 
Sid Evans, editor-in-chief of Southern Living magazine
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Valerie Fraser Luesse is an award-winning writer and a senior travel editor for Southern Living. Specializing in stories about unique pockets of Southern culture, Luesse has published major pieces on the Gulf Coast, the Mississippi Delta, Louisiana’s Acadian Prairie, and the Outer Banks of North Carolina. She lives in Alabama.
Grand Prize: Print Copy of Missing Isaac, Print Copy of Southern Living Annual Recipes 2017, Handmade Leather Journal (9“x5”); 2ND PRIZE: Copy of Missing Isaac + $25 Barnes & Noble Gift Card; 3RD PRIZE: Copy of Missing Isaac + $10 Starbucks Gift Card
January 2-January 11, 2018
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Holding the Fort: Top Ten List


The Fort Reno Series, Book 1


Genre: Historical Western Christian Romance

Publisher: Bethany House Publishers

Date of Publication: December 5, 2017

Number of Pages: 353

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With Miss Bell as the Teacher, Everyone’s Bound to Learn an Interesting Lesson

Dance hall singer Louisa Bell has always lived one step from destitution. When she loses her job at the Cat-Eye Saloon, she has nowhere else to go but to her brother, a cavalry soldier stationed in Indian Territory. But he’s run afoul of his commanding officer. Unsure what she can do to help him and desperate for a job, she doesn’t protest when she’s mistaken for a governess at the fort. How hard can teaching really be?

Major Daniel Adams has his hands full at Fort Reno, especially raising two adolescent daughters alone. If this new governess doesn’t work out, his mother-in-law insists she’ll raise the girls herself–far away from the fort. Miss Bell bears little resemblance to Daniel’s notion of a governess–they’re not supposed to be so blamed pretty–but he finds himself turning a blind eye to her unconventional methods. Louisa has never faced so important a performance. Can she keep her act together long enough to help her brother and to secure the respectable future she’s sought for so long?


“The first book in Jennings’ new Fort Reno series is a delightful read that helps solidify what a wonderful and imaginative writer Jennings is. She manages to create unique stories with interesting and well-developed characters while combining humor, mystery and a sprinkle of faith.”

–RT Book Reviews

“In this character-driven series launch, Jennings offers a powerful lesson on the freedom of truth and forgiveness wrapped in a delightful story of love against the odds.”

Publishers Weekly

“This series launch is a charming historical romance set in 1880s Fort Reno, OK. . . . Jennings kicks off a new series with a light and enjoyable tale that will delight her fans as well as lovers of historical romance.”

Library Journal


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My 10 Favorite Things to Smell at Christmas

By Author Regina Jennings

I’ll admit it, I like smelling things. Maybe it’s because I’ve spent so much time around things that don’t smell good – stockyards, baby diapers, missing sippy cups with curdled milk – that I really appreciate the opposite. I always linger in the candle section of stores and if a friend pulls out an essential oil I haven’t heard of, I’ve got to take a sniff.

Luckily, Christmas is the season for good smells and nothing revives sweet memories like a whiff of the holidays.  So, here’s a list of things I hope you get to enjoy before the season is over:

  1. Peppermint – Nothing signals Christmas like the sight of the red and white candy, but the flavor is even more cheery. My favorite method of enjoying peppermint is Braum’s peppermint ice cream. A bit chilly, but so worth it.
  2. Cinnamon – Whether it’s cinnamon sticks simmering on the stove, or a pie in the oven, cinnamon means take off your coat and sit a spell.
  3. Fireplace – Smoke-filled rooms? If it’s a wood-burning fireplace, count me in! Let it burn so hot that we have to move the stockings to a safe place.
  4. Sugar Cookies – I love the smell of sugar cookies, but do you know what I hate? I hate candles or scenty things that try to replicate it. False friends, how dare you deceive me! Nothing is worse than walking into the kitchen and thinking there’s a plate of sugar cookies waiting for you. For real, people. Don’t do it.
  5. Burberry London – Because a few years ago my sweet husband got me some of this perfume. Whenever I wear it now, I think of opening nicely wrapped little packages.
  6. Snow – Snow has a smell. It’s a clean, earthy smell that lingers after you’ve been making snowballs. Not to be confused with the smell of wet wool mittens.
  7. Pine – Here’s a smell that I don’t mind counterfeiting. Yes, it’d be nice if our Hanging of the Green involved real pine boughs, but it’s just not practical. All the same, pine makes me think that someone just mopped my floor, and there’s no better feeling than that.
  8. Apple Cider – My favorite hot drink! I love holding a steaming cup under my nose until it fogs up my reading glasses.
  9. Pomander (Cloved Oranges) – Have you ever made these? They are easy and rewarding. Just poke some holes in an orange and push cloves into the holes. Viola, you have a sweet-smelling, natural air freshener. This is a great holiday activity to keep the kids busy while you wrap presents. Or at least I assume that’s why my mom always needed us to make them.
  10. Grandma’s House – Whenever I got a package from one of my grandmas, I could bury my nose into it (I’ve already admitted I like smelling stuff), and smell her house. And at Christmas, Grandma’s house was a magical mixture of most of the scents I listed above. Maybe your house is, too. Ask your family and see what they think.

So those are some of the things I’m looking forward to over the next few weeks. Here’s hoping that you will be surrounded by the scents of Christmas, but also by people who love you.



P.S. What’s your favorite Christmas scent?

Regina Jennings is a graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University with a degree in English and a minor in history. She’s the winner of the National Readers’ Choice Award, a two-time Golden Quill finalist and a finalist for the Oklahoma Book of the Year Award. Regina has worked at the Mustang News and at First Baptist Church of Mustang, along with time at the Oklahoma National Stockyards and various livestock shows.

She lives outside of Oklahoma City with her husband and four children.

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