Cowboy, It’s Cold Outside: Review and Giveaway

Rating:


COWBOY, 
IT’S COLD OUTSIDE

A Twilight, Texas Novel

by
LORI WILDE
  Genre:  Contemporary Holiday Romance
Date of Publication: October 27, 2017
Publisher: Avon 
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Number of Pages: 400
Rating: 4/5

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New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Lori Wilde’s Twilight, TX Christmas novels are beloved for their emotional depth and ability to capture the sweetness of the holiday season. In her latest Twilight, Texas novel, COWBOY, IT’S COLD OUTSIDE, the holiday season is once again full of romance and surprises.
Everyone in town knows that Christmas in Twilight has a way of bringing lovers together . . . but will its magic bring this pair from “I won’t” to “I do?”
Wearing a too-tight “Santa Baby” costume held in by a double pair of Spanx, Paige MacGregor runs headlong into a gorgeous, grey-eyed hunk of a long, tall cowboy. And not just any cowboy, but country-western star Cash Colton, visiting Twilight to perform in a charity concert. Most women would melt at his feet, but Paige knows all-too-much about self-assured men with cocky attitudes, so she tells him to get lost.
Cash is in town, nursing his own broken heart, but Paige has knocked him off his feet. He’s convinced she’s perfect—someone to inspire his music and share his now-empty bed. True, he’s not marriage material, but he’s determined to convince her that they’re perfect together—at least for a while. But what he doesn’t count on is falling in love with the one woman who isn’t about to give him the time of day!
“When it comes to striking exactly the right balance between sweet and sexy, Wilde has the equivalent of perfect pitch.” — Booklist 

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Cowboy, It’s Cold Outside was the perfect Christmas read about giving love a chance. The story follows Cash Colton, a cowboy and famous country singer, and Paige MacGregor, a woman working three jobs just to make ends meet. Paige meets Cash when she’s working the theater to usher people to their seats. Unaware of who this cowboy is, Paige kicks him out of the theater, telling him he can’t enter until the doors open. Of course Cash is instantly drawn to her and for both, sparks sizzle between them. But to win Paige’s heart, Cash needs to work harder than just batting his dark eyelashes at her. His charm is enchanting, but it’s the kindness, friendship, and comfort in the man that draws Paige in.

Love is something hard for both. For Cash, he was told when he was little that love wasn’t worth the sacrifice. He puts his heart into his music, and love has become something foreign to him. Sure, he dates girls, sleeps with them, has the one night stands. Even had a girl friend for awhile, but Cash doesn’t really know what love is, until it hits him out of no where with Paige. As for Paige, she’s been hurt, bad, and refuses to give Cash the time of day no matter how charming and good looking the man is. But even so, he draws her to him and soon they begin their magical dance as they try to figure out what the other means to them and how their hearts will fit together.

Cowboy, It’s Cold Outside tugged on the strings of my heart. I’m sure I held my breath more than once reading this because Cash and Paige are just so cute together, and any wrench thrown in their path was an obstacle I wanted them to fix right away. They are perfect for each other! And I love how they each seem to bring out the best in the other, to change each other for the better. As characters, they continuously encourage each other to grow even if they didn’t realize it.

If you are looking for a charming, Christmas read, then this book is definitely for you. There’s so much to love about this book! And I simply loved seeing how their dance soared across the pages. It’s heartfelt, heart wrenching, and adorable. A lovely read!

One thing I absolutely loved in this books was their bickering at the beginning. Here is one of my favorite moments from the book:

“It was never my intention to embarrass or belittle you.”

“No? What was your intention?”

“It was supposed to have been a romantic gesture. I was trying to romance you.”

“Huh?”

“Stop looking at me like I’m a lunatic.” He growled, but it was a pleasant sound, more like a tomcat than a tiger.

“How in heaven’s name was that romantic?”

“As things turned out, it wasn’t. But most woman I know would be over the moon to get pulled up onstage-“

“Does it hurt?” she asked. 

“Does what hurt?”

“Carrying around such a gigantic ego.” 

 

A fifth generation Texan, Lori Wilde is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of 82 works of fiction. She’s a three-time nominee of the Romance Writers of America prestigious RITA award and has won numerous other awards. She holds a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Texas Christian University, and a certificate in forensics. She is also a certified Hatha yoga instructor, and runs a yoga/creativity retreat for artists at Epiphany Orchards in Weatherford, Texas, the Cutting Horse Capital of the World.
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Baugh to Brady: Author Interview

BAUGH TO BRADY

The Evolution of the Forward Pass

By LEW FREEDMAN

  Genre: Sports History / Football

Publisher: Texas Tech University Press

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Date of Publication: December 15, 2017

Number of Pages: 296

There are three things that can happen when you throw a pass, and two of them are bad.   –Woody Hayes

 The quarterback pass is one of the leading offensive components of today’s National Football League and college football’s top level of play. This was not always the case. In early American football, the strategy focused entirely on advancing the ball one running play at a time, with the player tucking the then-roundish ball on his hip and sprinting ahead until tackled by a swarm of defenders. The revolution that transformed the sport began in 1906, when passing was first legalized. The passing weapon made the game safer, altered strategy, turned the quarterback into a key offensive player, and made possible the high-scoring games of today.

Lew Freedman traces football’s passing game from its inception to the present, telling the tale through the stories of the quarterbacks whose arms carried (and threw) the changes forward. Freedman relies especially on the biography of “Slingin’ Sammy” Baugh–who hailed from Sweetwater, Texas–as a framework. Baugh, perhaps the greatest all-around football player in history, came along at just the right time to elevate the passing game to unprecedented importance in the eyes of the sports world.

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AUTHOR INTERVIEW: LEW FREEDMAN

Why did you choose to write about sports history?

I am a very big sports fan who has long been fascinated by sports history and how the games we follow today were shaped by the past. From my reading I also became a very big fan of Sammy Baugh, the one-time Texas Christian University star and NFL quarterback. I came to believe that he is probably the greatest football player of all time because he was an all-star in the pros as a quarterback, defensive player and a punter, demonstrating a remarkable versatility. This volume traces the history of the forward pass from the time it was first permitted to the way it gradually gained in importance in the sport to the present day when its offensive value has eclipsed the running game.

Much of the story focuses on the life of Sammy Baugh and the pivotal role he played in this evolution.

Where did you love of books, writing, reading and storytelling come from?

I grew up in a family where everyone read, my mother and especially my father, who was a public relations man whose job involved writing. By the time I was in the sixth grade I began writing fictional short stories with my friends as characters and I always believed I would write novels.

In eighth grade I had an English teacher who heavily emphasized reading. She wanted us to read as much as possible on any topic. We were asked to write a book comment (it could be as short as a few paragraphs or a page), basically to prove we actually read the book. This turned me into a voracious reader of everything from popular novels to mysteries to sports books. I read – and turned in more book comments – than anyone in the class. Reading stuck and I do not go out the door any day without a book with me.

By my sophomore year in high school I was writing for my high school newspaper and before that year was out I obtained a job writing about sports for my hometown weekly newspaper. I then majored in journalism in college. Over the 50-plus years since I have almost always written for a newspaper, though briefly only for the Internet. In 1988 I wrote my first non-fiction book and since then I have written 100 of them, virtually all about Alaska or sports. Alas, I never have had the chance to write those novels, though short stories and novels remain goals to fulfill.

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

My regular jobs over the decades have included writing for the Chicago Tribune, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Anchorage Daily News and currently for the Cody Enterprise in Wyoming. When I was a kid I was such a big sports fan I kept all types of statistical lists about sports such as baseball, football and basketball.

When I became a sportswriter, it was a treat just to go to the games and write about them. Over time, as I matured and my writing matured, I realized the real stories were about the people behind the scores, not so much those statistics. The appeal of telling unique, individual stories expanded and I still get excited to tell someone’s unusual tale. The stories about what makes people tick or what obstacles they must overcome are the most satisfying to write.

I have worked long hours and long weeks for many years to keep improving and do believe even at this point in my life I can still get better. I believe I wrote some of the best in-depth stories of my life this very year, even after all of this time. When you work for a newspaper there are some basic stories that must be written, but the challenge is to find the juicy ones no one else is doing to tell.

The opportunities that came my way to write longer, in-depth features for a newspaper (space tougher to come by these days depending on where one works) helped me develop style and an eye for what works in a longer piece. Writing many, many of those stories helped me write better books and writing the books helped me write better long newspaper stories.

It seems to be working since I have won nearly 300 journalism awards.

What do you like to read in your free time?

I enjoy mystery/suspense novels by a select group of authors whom I follow at all times when they write new ones, novels that take you back in time sometimes simultaneously taking a fictional look at real-life events, biographies, and sports books about the sports I like best and which I also write about.

I read collections of Best American Sports Writing, Best Travel Writing and a few others for the opportunity to learn what somebody considers to be the best non-fiction newspaper or magazine tales out there – and to find out what I missed by not subscribing to a publication.

If you could time travel, what time period would you first visit?

I can think of two time periods that I would prefer for different reasons, both of them allowing me to explore different aspects of the United States. The first would be the 1870s-1880s as the American Frontier was closing, Buffalo Bill Cody was starting his Wild West show, Sitting Bull was still around, and the bison had not yet disappeared completely from the West.

The second would be the 1920s, the Roaring Twenties in the U.S. after World War I and before the Great Depression, when Babe Ruth was the king of baseball and several other of the greatest Hall of Famers were still playing, and when a glimpse of the huge cities of today like New York and Chicago could be compared.

What’s your funniest flaw?

My complete lack of electronic gadget mastery (I don’t even text) and this dovetailing with my total lack of ability as a handyman. Whatever it is, I would probably buy a new one rather than try to fix it. Luckily, my wife is a bit sharper on these fronts.

Secondarily, despite an enthusiasm for singing along with the radio in the car, a total ability to sing on key without making others laugh would be another weak point.

What projects are you working on at the present?

First thing that needs finishing is an encyclopedia of professional wrestling that I hope contains every weird, silly and off-beat side story about that half-sport/half-entertainment industry.

This will be followed by a biography of the late Hall of Fame baseball star Ernie Banks, a biography of Buffalo Bill Cody, and hopefully a personal memoir based on my 50 years of sports writing.

 

Lew Freedman is a veteran newspaper sportswriter and experienced author of more than seventy-five books about sports as well as about Alaska.

He spent seventeen years at the Anchorage Daily News in Alaska and has also worked for the Chicago Tribune and  Philadelphia Inquirer. Freedman is recipient of more than 250 journalism awards.

 

 

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The Secret Room: Promo and Giveaway

 

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

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

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

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




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

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

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

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

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

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CLICK TO PURCHASE

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

After leaving high-tech in 2014, he now spends full time pursuing his writing passion. He loves writing books that help children discover early in life that reading is a fun adventure. He recently released illustrated editions of the first three books in the Amber-Autumn mystery series: Christmas Garden Illustrated, Grandfather’s Blessing Illustrated, and Golden Campout Illustrated. The Secret Room is the fourth book in the series.
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Sea of Rust Review

SEA OF RUST

By C. ROBERT CARGILL

Genre: Post-Apocalyptic Robot Western
Publisher: Harper Voyager, an imprint of Harper Collins
Date of Publication: September 5, 2017
Number of Pages: 384

 

It’s been thirty years since the apocalypse and fifteen years since the murder of the last human being at the hands of robots. Humankind is extinct. Every man, woman, and child has been liquidated by a global uprising devised by the very machines humans designed and built to serve them. Most of the world is controlled by an OWI—but not all robots are willing to cede their individuality—their personality—for the sake of a greater, stronger, higher power. These intrepid resisters are outcasts; solo machines wandering among various underground outposts who have formed into an unruly civilization of rogue AIs in the wasteland that was once our world.

One resister is Brittle, a scavenger robot trying to keep a deteriorating mind and body functional in a world that has lost all meaning. Although unable to experience emotions like a human, Brittle is haunted by the terrible crimes the robot population perpetrated on humanity. As Brittle roams the Sea of Rust, a large swath of territory that was once the Midwest, the loner robot slowly comes to terms with horrifyingly raw memories—and nearly unbearable guilt.

SEA OF RUST is both a harsh story of survival and an optimistic adventure. A powerfully imagined portrayal of ultimate destruction and desperate tenacity, it boldly imagines a future in which no hope remains, yet where a human-like AI strives to find purpose among the ruins.

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Praise for Sea of Rust:

Sea of Rust is a forty-megaton cruise missile of a novel – it’ll blow you away and lay waste to your heart. It is the most visceral, relentless, breathtaking work of SF in any medium since Mad Max: Fury Road.”  

— #1 New York Times bestselling author Joe Hill 

“Cargill…effectively takes a grim look at a war-torn future where our nonhuman successors face complex moral dilemmas, exploring what it means to be alive and aware [….]This action-packed adventure raises thought-provoking and philosophical questions.”

   — Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Innovative worldbuilding, a tight plot, and cinematic action sequences make for an exciting ride through a blasted landscape full of dying robots.”  — Kirkus Reviews

This book is science fiction at it’s finest. Extremely compelling from the very beginning, I was absolutely hooked by the time it was over. Humans gone and the world a victim of it’s past, there is now only the ruling intelligence of collective memories. Individuality from the One World Intelligence is now an act of rebellion.

We know from the start that Brittle is one of these rebels in her own way. As she goes through the sea of rust, we learn more about the history that led to this world. More dominantly, the history of Brittle and what it takes to survive. Despite humans being gone, this does not stop the constant struggle and conflict as other robots struggle to exist and simply have freedom to be. I found it interesting that Brittle identified as a she or that any of the robots followed gender roles. Though I suspect it fit Brittle’s character to adapt to more human characteristics, especially considering their roots and desire to live. Brittle’s memories of the humans she once knew takes part in this identity as well. As once a caregiver, the question of evolution and adaptability is always present. When their own creators are gone and they have an empty space of existence, what can they become?

This book could be as brutal as the summary suggests. Though that didn’t stop the odd humor and unpredictable moments that seemed to fit a chaotic world. It stays true to pure apocalyptic and rough world. Brittle is flawed, powerful, remorseful, and very likable. Cargill does an excellent job with the details into the characters and world building that are so precise and inspiring.

C. Robert Cargill is the author of Dreams and Shadows and Queen of the Dark Things. He has written for “Ain’t it Cool News” for nearly a decade under the pseudonym Massawyrm, served as a staff writer for Film.com and Hollywood.com, and appeared as the animated character Carlyle on spill.com. He is a co-writer of the horror films “Sinister” (2012) and “Sinister 2” (2015), and the new Benedict Cumberbatch superhero movie, “Dr. Strange” (2016). He lives with his wife in Austin, Texas.

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Lamar’s Folly: Author Interview

LAMAR’S FOLLY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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




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Too Far Down: Showcase

TOO FAR DOWN

Cimarron Legacy Book 3

By MARY CONNEALY

  Genre: Western Historical Christian Romance
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Date of Publication: October 3, 2017
Number of Pages: 322

With Danger Drawing Ever Closer, The Boden Clan Risk Losing Their Ranch Forever

Having returned home to the ranch, Cole Boden finds himself caught between missing his time back east and appreciating all that New Mexico Territory offers. Sure, he fights with his siblings now and then, but he does care for them. He enjoys his new job running the mine and, when he’s honest, he admits that Melanie Blake captures his interest in a way no other woman ever has.

Melanie has been a friend to the Bodens forever. A cowgirl who is more comfortable with horses and lassoes than people, she never expected to find herself falling for someone, particularly for refined Cole Boden, a Harvard graduate who can’t seem to make up his mind about staying in New Mexico.

When a deadly explosion damages the CR Mining Company, the Bodens realize their troubles are not behind them as they thought. Shadowy forces are still working against them. Melanie is determined to help Cole and the family finally put an end to the danger that’s threatened all of them. But will
putting herself in harm’s way be more dangerous than anyone expected?

PRAISE FOR TOO FAR DOWN:

“Connealy crafts relatable characters who will inspire readers with their love, loyalty, and fortitude, and the mystery remains intriguing until the end.” Publishers Weekly

“Recommended for those who enjoy a fast, smart historical-set suspense.” RT Book Reviews

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Mary Connealy writes “romantic comedies with cowboys” and is celebrated for her fun, zany, action-packed style. She has more than half a million books in print.

She is the author of the popular series Wild at Heart, Kincaid Brides, Trouble in Texas, Lassoed in Texas, Sophie’s Daughters, and many other books. Mary lives on a ranch in eastern Nebraska with her very own romantic cowboy hero.

Website ║ Twitter  ║ Amazon Author Page ║ Blog ║ Facebook

 

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To Marry a Texas Outlaw: Character Interview

TO MARRY A TEXAS OUTLAW

Men of Legend, Book 3

By LINDA BRODAY

  Genre: Western / Historical / Romance

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca

Date of Publication: November 7, 2017

Number of Pages: 384

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Hunted by lawmen, those seeking the bounty, and other outlaws hoping to become famous for killing him, Luke Weston survives by little more than his wits. He expects the bullet that will end his life to come any day. He’s cheated death too often.

Over the last two years, Luke has been working to right his wrongs and claim his birthright. Only one thing stands in the way of atonement—the murder of a federal judge. Only he didn’t do that. Armed with nothing more than the alias Ned Sweeney, Luke searches for the man who framed him. He’s only an hour away from catching him when he spies a woman bound and gagged in the middle of the prairie.

She looks dead but her eyes fly open at the sound of his footsteps. Worse, he discovers she has amnesia. He can’t just leave her so he tamps down his frustration over missing Sweeney again and loads her into a nearby wagon that bears all the markings of his family’s ranch.

In the weeks of trying to help the woman he calls Rose learn her identity, Luke finds himself falling in love with her. She’s sweet and funny and makes him dream of impossible things. Then they meet a boy and learn her name is Josie.

As her lost memories tumble back, Luke faces his greatest fear. Can he make Josie his wife before he loses everything?

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Praise for To Marry a Texas Outlaw:

“A gunslinger who’s better than he thinks he is; a lovely amnesiac; a young, wannabe gunslinger; an abused boy; a scruffy dog; and a sadistic killer make the third book in Broday’s outstanding family saga an unforgettable journey through the Old West.” — Booklist Starred Review

“This is one author that knows how to tie you in knots keeping you on the edge and making your smile through it all. She gives you death and heartbreak as the west is known for with plot that pulls you in. I couldn’t put this down and had to know what was going to happen next.” — Cyn’s Reviews

“This densely plotted historical continues Broday’s tradition of well-realized, emotionally rich novels.” — Publisher’s Weekly

“Broday’s gritty depiction of the Texas frontier will strike a chord in the hearts of fans who long for proud, rugged cowboys and strong-willed women.” — Romantic Times 4 Stars

“Whew! What a story! Good thing Linda Broday didn’t struggle to find words for her story the same way I’m attempting to find words to express just how much I love not only this book, but this entire series as a whole. To Marry a Texas Outlaw is a thrilling conclusion to a delightful and much-loved story of the Legend family that delivered so many emotions.”  Michelle, Goodreads Reviewer

“There is one guarantee, with a Linda Broday book, you’re going to experience a true heartwarming-Broday story with so much action that it’s impossible to put down. With her books you are always in for the ride of your life.” — Tonya Lucas, Goodreads Reviewer

Character Interview with Luke Weston of

To Marry a Texas Outlaw

By Linda Broday

I’m so excited to release Book #3 of my Men of Legend series – To Marry a Texas Outlaw. This will conclude the series, and I hope the ending is as powerful as my editor thinks.

Luke has agreed to talk with me but insisted I meet him at the spot he designated. And come alone. Good Lord, I’m not crazy! I’m not sharing him with anyone. Nope.

My horse rounds a stand of mesquite and I see him standing by a creek. He whirls with gun drawn and I swallow hard.

“Don’t shoot. It’s just me.” I rein my horse to a stop and just stare as he returns the gun to the holster. The silver conchos running down each leg of his black trousers glint in the sunlight. The trousers fit snug and outline his long legs. I’m struck by his height and how lean he is with not an ounce of fat. Excited tingles race through me and I can barely form a thought.

I dismount. “Morning, Luke. Thank you for agreeing to a talk to me.” Up close, I can see his dark coloring for the first time that reminds me he’s half Spanish and half white.

“Sorry you had to come all the way out here, amiga. Too dangerous in town.”

The fact he doesn’t smile hits me. So does the muscle quivering in his jaw. He’s like a dangerous mountain lion, ready to spring. But no wonder with everyone in Texas gunning for him.

“Luke, what exactly does it mean to you to be able to claim the Legend name and accept the land Stoker wants to give you?”

“I might as well be dead if I can’t be a Legend one day. It’s all I think about. It’s what I’ve worked hard for the last two years.” Luke glances toward the water and I can see the emotion welling up inside. His voice lowers. “I’ve never belonged anywhere. Never had much of anything. I want to take my rightful place in this family more than I want the air that I breathe.”

I’m tempted to lay my hand on his arm to comfort, but decide against it. “Well, you know, Stoker and your brothers have said many times you can claim it all whenever you want.”

“No! I will only accept the name and my birthright when I can do it with honor. I’m nothing but an outlaw and I’ve done bad things—robbed, threatened, killed. I won’t bring them shame. After two years, I was this close to catching Ned Sweeney when I saw the woman tied up on the prairie, unable to tell me her name or where she came from. Of course, I couldn’t leave her.”

“I admire your compassion. I really do. Folks say you’re heartless and cold but I’ve never seen a man more committed to doing the right thing. Folks say the woman’s name is Josie.”

At mention of Josie, the lines of Luke’s face soften and he smiles for the first time, showing his white teeth. “She’s a real wildcat. Not afraid of the devil himself. Josie is funny and smart, and bold as all get out. I’d be lost without this crazy, maddening woman. And temper…Dios mío! She can sure get mad.” He chuckles, evidently remembering something she said or did.

“I also heard she can get next to you and turn you inside out like no other,” I say softly.

.” He scrubs the back of his neck. “She’s not one bit afraid of me. Can you imagine? I put the fear of God in everyone. But not her. Josie sees inside me, all the little things I try to hide.”

“Really? She’s affected you that deeply?” I gaze up into his green eyes. My heart dips and my knees weaken. The man is just too mesmerizing.

“Josie sneaked past my defenses and wound herself around my heart. Josie and me…we fit together. She makes me laugh, something I don’t do enough of. Or so she tells me. She’s not a bit shy about speaking her mind.”

I hear a rider and turn to see Josie. I’m struck by her cloud of blond curls. She gallops up and Luke helps her down. Their kiss is long and deep. Then she murmurs something in his ear and he throws back his head in laughter.

They’ve completely forgotten me. I climb on my horse. Giving the striking couple a look of envy, I ride away. I think all my questions are answered. He’s completely and utterly taken. Shoot!

Linda Broday 

Historical Western Romance Author

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

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

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

 

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Chicano Soul: Excerpt

 

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

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


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

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

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

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Lady Jayne Disappears: Deleted Scene

LADY JAYNE DISAPPEARS

By JOANNA DAVIDSON POLITANO

Genre: Historical Christian Romance

Publisher: Revell

Date of Publication: October 3, 2017

Number of Pages: 416

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When Aurelie Harcourt’s father dies in debtor’s prison, he leaves her just two things: his wealthy family, whom she has never met, and his famous pen name, Nathaniel Droll. Her new family greets her with apathy and even resentment. Only the quiet house guest, Silas Rotherham, welcomes her company.

When Aurelie decides to complete her father’s unfinished serial novel, writing the family into the story as unflattering characters, she must keep her identity as Nathaniel Droll hidden while searching for the truth about her mother’s disappearance—and perhaps even her father’s death.

Author Joanna Davidson Politano’s stunning debut set in Victorian England will delight readers with its highly original plot, lush setting, vibrant characters, and reluctant romance.

 

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Praise for Lady Jayne Disappears:

“Emotional. Intriguing. Both haunting and romantic. . . In her historical fiction debut, Joanna Davidson Politano delivers a smart plot that navigates twists and turns with a mixture of wit, intelligent characters, and a refreshingly original voice. Reminiscent of Dickens’ classic storytelling, Lady Jayne Disappears is a debut to remember!”

Kristy Cambron, author of The Illusionist’s Apprentice

“Wonderfully unique, this compelling debut grabs you from the first intriguing line. The evocative English setting, textured characters, literary theme, and unusual romance make Lady Jayne Disappears a standout, the lovely cover offering a hint of the gem within. A must read!”

Laura Frantz, author of A Moonbow Night

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DELETED SCENE

From Lady Jayne Disappears

By Joanna Davidson Politano

“Mr. Rotherham, would you like some highly agreeable female company?” Juliette descended the final two steps, arm extended.

I flushed warm. Was Juliette going to pawn me off on Silas again? Walking about with Silas sounded far better than being chained to Juliette, which would make it even harder to say no. And I must say no.

“I would be delighted with it.”

“Come, dear cousin. We’ll join him for some fresh air.” Juliette swept graciously toward Silas and tucked her hand at his elbow, her trim shoulder bumping his arm.

Had she not said “cousin,” I would never have known to follow. Trudging miserably after the couple, I dearly hoped this walk would not last long.

“Who do you think would make the perfect match for our dear Aurelie, Mr. Rotherham?” Juliette leaned near him, brushing her cheek against his tensed shoulder. “We’ve been discussing who she should be introduced to at the next Lynhurst event.”

As the silence deepened in the wake of her question, footsteps swishing grass blades, I wished with irrational fury that I could yank Juliette’s hair. And then yank back the question. Why wasn’t he answering? It was worse than a novel cliffhanger. Turn the page!

Shoulder blades flexing together, Silas cleared his throat. “He would need to have ten men’s share of wit. And be ever on his toes.”

“Have I told you I’ve found the perfect one?” Juliette’s airy voice somehow managed to railroad right over Silas’s answer and I released my breath. “They’ll meet at the next Lynhurst party. They’ve missed their chance at all the others, but this time I’ll make it my personal mission.”

“Perhaps she wishes to make her own selection.”

“Aurelie.” Juliette spun toward me with her face unnaturally alight. “Why don’t you entertain us with one of your enchanting stories? All this talk of romance makes me long for a love story. Something clever and romantic.”

“Might I make a request?” Silas perched on the furthest chair but leaned forward, elbows on knees. “I’d like to hear the love story you might envision for yourself, if you could have everything just the way you wanted it.”

Metal poked my arm as I thunked awkwardly onto the chair and tried not to look at him. He knew. He must know.

“All right, then. A love story.”

I wove a lighthearted story of two very bookish people who were misunderstood by the rest of the world. Ignoring the look of feigned fascination on Juliette’s face, I spilled out a measure of my heart for the man I loved. Sias’s gray eyes drank in every word as if he were reading the last chapter of his favorite book.

Joanna Davidson Politano freelances for a small nonfiction publisher but spends much of her time spinning tales that capture the colorful, exquisite details in ordinary lives. Her manuscript for Lady Jayne Disappears was a finalist for several contests, including the 2016 Genesis Award from ACFW, and won the OCW Cascade Award and the Maggie Award for Excellence.

She is always on the hunt for random acts of kindness, people willing to share their deepest secrets with a stranger, and hidden stashes of sweets. She lives with her husband and their two babies in a house in the woods near Lake Michigan and shares stories that move her on her website.

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17-Oct Excerpt Texas Book Lover
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Understanding Cemetery Symbols: Excerpt and Giveaway

UNDERSTANDING CEMETERY SYMBOLS
A Field Guide for Historic Graveyards
(Messages from the Dead)
by
TUI SNIDER

  Genre: History / Landmarks & Monuments / Iconography
Publisher: Castle Azle Press
Date of Publication: August 19, 2017
Number of Pages: 250

Scroll down for giveaway!

 

Understanding Cemetery Symbols by Tui Snider helps history buffs, genealogists, ghost hunters, and other curiosity seekers decode the forgotten meanings of the symbols our ancestors placed on their headstones. By understanding the meaning behind the architecture, acronyms, & symbols found in America’s burial grounds, readers will gain a deeper appreciation for these “messages from the dead.”


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Praise for Understanding Cemetery Symbols:


“When I ordered this book I thought it would be good for information concerning cemetery symbolism. I was wrong. It is GREAT!!!! This has already become my go to guide for all types of cemetery information. By far the best book I have come across!”  – Amazon verified purchase, wearylibrarian

“Wow! What a great book! I got bit by the bug doing genealogy research. I always wondered what the symbols meant and could not find a reliable resource for the info. With Ms. Snider’s book along with the symbiology and great pictures, also a creative process of Tui’s, are plenty of interesting tidbits! Useful and entertaining! The book is small enough to keep in the glove box or your handbag or backpack!!” – Amazon verified purchase, Rev. Joy Daley
“I always enjoyed walking through a cemetery and looking at the stones. Now it will give it a much deeper meaning. I really enjoyed reading this book!”  – Amazon verified purchase, Deborah D.

“Perfect book to get an idea for symbols and meaning. Only glanced through it and already picked up a few facts! Welcome addition to our growing library…” – Amazon verified purchase, Toripotterfan

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Check out the book trailer! Music by Tui Snider!

 

What are scraped graves?

Excerpt from Understanding Cemetery Symbols

by Tui Snider

SCRAPED GRAVES IN THE RURAL SOUTH

Lush green lawns have become such a common feature of today’s burial grounds that if you could travel back in time to the 1800’s for a graveyard tour through the rural South, you might be in for a shock. It’s easy to forget that the first lawn mower wasn’t invented until 1830. Even then, lawn grasses weren’t developed by the US Department of Agriculture until the 1930’s, a good 100 years later.

To early settlers, grass had different connotations than it does today. Not only could it harbor bugs and snakes, but in the days before lawn sprinklers, a large expanse of dried grass could be a fire hazard. Just as a homesteader’s cabin often had dirt floors, their yards, as well, were often kept free of vegetation.

By the same token, early cemeteries throughout the South were often scraped clean of plant life. This practice spread throughout 19th century cemeteries in Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas.

Historians now think this practice came to America through the influence of African Americans, since a similar custom of scraped burial grounds with mounded graves is seen along the slave coast of Africa. It’s assumed that the custom then gained popularity throughout the South due to its practical aspects.

Over time, however, people forgot the original how and why behind this tradition began and simply assumed it was a way of showing respect for the dead.

Although dozens of scraped burial grounds still existed throughout the South as late as the 1990’s, few, if any, remain today. You may still, however, find a few graves here and there that are covered in gravel or mounded up and decorated with shells. When you find graves like this, you are likely standing in one of these formerly scraped grave cemeteries that has since been covered with grass.

FAMILY TENDED PLOTS

Scraped earth or not, it was the responsibility of the deceased person’s family to maintain their grave. For this reason, family plots were clearly marked so people knew exactly which area they were in charge of maintaining.

Throughout the 19th century annual cemetery cleanup days, often called “Decoration Day” or “Homecoming,” were the norm, especially in rural communities. In the 1800’s these cleanup days were major social events for the community. These were festive gatherings, with picnics, prayers, and even games and frivolity for children and adults. In this way, the maintenance and upkeep of the community cemetery allowed people to maintain social ties with the living, while also paying respect to the dead.

As families have scattered, annual cemetery cleanup parties are not as common or as big of a community event as they once were. Sometimes you will see information about these events posted by the cemetery gates or outbuildings. Even today, in smaller rural communities, many historic cemeteries rely on volunteers for maintenance.

Tui Snider is an award-winning writer, speaker, photographer, and musician specializing in quirky travel, overlooked history, cemetery symbolism, and haunted lore. As she puts it, “I used to write fiction, but then I moved to Texas!”

Tui lectures frequently at universities, libraries, conferences and bookstores. Her best-selling books include Paranormal Texas, The Lynching of the Santa Claus Bank Robber, Unexpected Texas, and Understanding Cemetery Symbols. She recently taught classes based on her books at Texas Christian University.

When not writing books, you can find Tui exploring the historic graveyards and backroads of Texas with her husband, Larry. 
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