Author Interview & Giveaway: Making It Home by Teddy Jones

MAKING IT HOME
By Teddy Jones
Publisher: MidTown Publishing
Pub Date: July 26, 2021
Series: Jackson’s Pond, Texas Series
Stand Alone: YES
Pages: 275
Categories: Family Fiction / Racism / Ku Klux Klan / Texas Women’s Fiction / Rural Fiction
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In this third novel in the Jackson’s Pond, Texas series, fifty-five-year-old Melanie Jackson Banks encounters racism, intolerance, and violence both in her family’s distant past and in current day Jackson’s Pond. She leads family and community efforts to create reconciliation for past wrongs and also to demonstrate strength and defiance in the face of vandalism, cross-burning, domestic violence, threats to Jackson Ranch’s operation, and kidnapping. In the midst of this stormy period, she finds allies in her mother’s long-time companion, Robert Stanley; her mother, Willa Jackson; her daughter Claire Havlicek; and many others.
Praise for Making It Home

“Making It Home could not be a more timely book… We live in an imperfect world, but it is still possible to think, imagine and make things better. The cast of characters in this strong family affirms this through their hope, decency, and tenacity!” —Eleanor Morse, author of Margreete’s Harbor

“Jones’ talent for creating indelible characters endures, as does her way with a compelling plot. … This is a timely page-turner.”  Robin Lippincott, author of Blue Territory: A Meditation on the Life and Art of Joan Mitchell

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Author Interview

Interview with Teddy Jones

 

What kind of writing do you do?

I write realist fiction, both novels and short stories. I do not confine myself to present day material but have never written about times earlier than the nineteenth century.

Has Texas influenced your writing in any way?

Yes. I respond deeply to places, not only the scenery and typical weather of a spot, but also the sights of life in that place, what’s present and what’s not. I also respond to the language of places and the idiom particular to people in those places. Because I have lived a large portion of my life in Texas, it’s the place (the mixture of the many places that Texas is) that I am drawn to have my characters respond to and reflect.

What do you think most characterizes your writing?

I strive to create memorable characters, not through detailed description of their appearances, but by putting them in situations that affect them and then showing from their points of view their reactions and actions, dialogue, and silences. Readers’ comments suggest that this depth of character is a quality they appreciate in my writing.

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

I am fortunate to have writing as my full-time occupation. By that I mean that I have no paid job waiting for my attention. As a result, I either work on an existing project (short story or novel) each day or when I don’t have a defined project underway, I write “bits.” Those bits may be thoughts prompted by reflection on some reading or they might be pieces of conversations overheard, or descriptions of a situation or a character. Those bits end up in notebooks that I keep and return to when I choose a project to begin. I may find something there for the new project. Then I write straight ahead on the chosen project until I’ve told myself the story of that full story. After that comes revision after revision. Being a full-time writer means I have the time to indulge that process. And it means I have no excuse not to.

What was the hardest part of writing Making It Home?

The initial conflict in this story began in the past before the present-day characters were born. Learning of the racial tensions that created that early stain on the family’s history is now reflected in and worsened by present day bigotry and escalating violence that threatens the Jackson family and the town of Jackson’s Pond. I labored because I set myself the challenge of ‘getting it right.” I didn’t want to deal in stereotypes; the characters with the most detestable of behavior had to be real people, not stereotypes. In real life, I want people to be happy and live in harmony. So, for me, dwelling in the lives of characters in conflict is difficult, but necessary to telling the story well. And I had to live there throughout almost this entire novel.

Teddy Jones is the author of three published novels, Halfwide, Jackson’s Pond, Texas, and Well Tended, as well as a collection of short stories, Nowhere Near. Her short fiction received the Gold Medal First Prize in the Faulkner-Wisdom competition in 2015. Jackson’s Pond, Texas was a finalist for the 2014 Willa Award in contemporary fiction from Women Writing the West. Her as yet unpublished novel, Making It Home, was a finalist in the Faulkner-Wisdom competition in 2017 and A Good Family was named finalist in that contest in 2018.
Although her fiction tends to be set in West Texas, her characters’ lives embody issues not bounded by geography of any particular region. Families and loners; communities in flux; people struggling, others successful; some folks satisfied in solitude and others yearning for connection populate her work. And they all have in common that they are more human than otherwise.
Jones grew up in a small Texas town, Iowa Park. Earlier she worked as a nurse, a nurse educator, a nursing college administrator, and as a nurse practitioner in Texas, Colorado, and New Mexico. For the past twenty years, she and her husband have lived in the rural West Texas Panhandle where he farms and she writes.

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Blitz & Giveaway: 70% Dark Intentions by Amber Royer

70% DARK INTENTIONS
Bean to Bar Mysteries Book 2
by
AMBER ROYER
Categories: Cozy Mystery / Woman Sleuth / Romance
Publisher: Golden Tip Press
Date of Publication: July 20, 2021
Number of Pages: 260 pages
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An Idyllic Chocolate Shop. An island with endangered species. And a murder.
Felicity Koerber’s bean to bar chocolate shop on Galveston’s historic Strand is bringing in plenty of customers – in part due to the notoriety of the recent murder of one of her assistants, which she managed to solve. Things seem to be taking a turn for the better. Her new assistant, Mateo, even gets along with Carmen, the shop’s barista turned pastry chef. Felicity thinks she’s learning to cope with change – right up until one of her friends gets engaged. Everyone’s expecting her to ask Logan, her former bodyguard, to be her plus one. But even the thought of asking out someone else still makes her feel disloyal to her late husband’s memory — so maybe she hasn’t moved on from her husband’s death as much as she thought.

Felicity isn’t planning to contact Logan any time soon. Only, Felicity finds ANOTHER body right outside her shop – making it two murders at Greetings and Felicitations in as many months. That night, Mateo disappears, leaving Felicity to take care of his pet octopus. The police believe that Mateo committed the murder, but Felicity is convinced that, despite the mounting evidence, something more is going on, and Mateo may actually be in trouble.

When Logan assumes that he’s going to help Felicity investigate, she realizes she’s going to have to spend time with him – whether she’s ready to really talk to him or not. Can Felicity find out what happened to Mateo, unmask a killer, and throw an engagement party all at the same time?

PRAISE FOR 70% DARK INTENTIONS:

“Royer has concocted a sweetly dark confection with 70% DARK INTENSIONS, the second serving in her Bean to Bar Mysteries series…You’ll read this yummy treat late into the night.” –Amy Shojai, author of September Day & Shadow pet-centric thrillers

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Amber Royer writes the CHOCOVERSE comic telenovela-style foodie-inspired space opera series, and the BEAN TO BAR MYSTERIES. She is also the author of STORY LIKE A JOURNALIST: A WORKBOOK FOR NOVELISTS, which boils down her writing knowledge into an actionable plan involving over 100 worksheets to build a comprehensive story plan for your novel. She blogs about creative writing technique and all things chocolate at www.amberroyer.com. She also teaches creative writing for both UT Arlington Continuing Education and Writing Workshops Dallas. If you are very nice to her, she might make you cupcakes.
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Notable Quotable & Giveaway: Deadly Business by Anita Dickason

DEADLY BUSINESS
by Anita Dickason
Pages: 324 pages
Publication Date: July 4, 2021
Genre: Suspense / Thriller / Crime Thriller


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With You I Am

A Texas Multi-Billion Dollar Lure!

Following a tactical raid at an Oklahoma farm, a phone call sends U.S. Deputy Marshal Piper McKay rushing back to the East Texas cattle ranch where she grew up. Her grandmother, Jennie Layton, is near death from a crushed skull. When local authorities claim the cause of the injury was an accident, Piper isn’t convinced.

Who wants Jennie dead and why? Is the reason connected to a dubious contract Piper finds in Jennie’s desk? Piper realizes her grandmother isn’t the only one in danger when she barely escapes a deadly attack. Thrust into the middle of a high-stakes, high-risk shell game, Piper’s become the target. The case takes a bizarre turn when Piper unknowingly crosses paths with a Special Ranger. If he can’t derail her investigation, it could cost him his life.

With millions of dollars on the line, nothing will stop a ring of cold-blooded killers, including the murders of a U.S. Marshal and a Special Ranger.

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About the Author

Anita Dickason

Award-winning Author Anita Dickason is a twenty-two veteran of the Dallas Police Department. She served as a patrol officer, undercover narcotics detective, advanced accident investigator, tactical officer, and first female sniper on the Dallas SWAT team.
Anita writes about what she knows, cops and crime. Her police background provides an unending source of inspiration for her plots and characters. Many incidents and characters portrayed in her books are based on personal experience. For her, the characters are the fun part of writing as she never knows where they will take her. There is always something out of the ordinary in her stories.
In Anita’s debut novel, Sentinels of the Night, she created an elite FBI Unit, the Trackers. Since then, she has added three more Tracker crime thrillers, Going Gone!, A u 7 9, and Operation Navajo. The novels are not a series and can be read in any order.
As a Texas author, many of Anita’s books are based in Texas, or there is a link to Texas. When she stepped outside of the Tracker novels and wrote, Not Dead, she selected Meridian, a small community in central Texas for the location.

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st: Autographed hardcover copy + tote back, mousepad, pen, & bookmark;
2
nd: Tote bag, coaster, pen, & bookmark;
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rd & 4th: eBook copy.

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Deadly Business Giveaway

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Review & Giveaway: The Nature of Small Birds by Susie Finkbeiner

THE NATURE OF SMALL BIRDS
BY SUSIE FINKBEINER

Publisher: Revell
Pub Date: July 6, 2021
Pages: 368 pages
Categories: Fiction / Christian / General

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In 1975, three thousand children were airlifted out of Saigon to be adopted into Western homes. When Mindy, one of those children, announces her plans to return to Vietnam to find her birth mother, her loving adopted family is suddenly thrown back to the events surrounding her unconventional arrival in their lives.

Though her father supports Mindy’s desire to meet her family of origin, he struggles privately with an unsettling fear that he’ll lose the daughter he’s poured his heart into. Mindy’s mother undergoes the emotional rollercoaster inherent in the adoption of a child from a war-torn country, discovering the joy hidden amid the difficulties. And Mindy’s sister helps her sort through relics that whisper of the effect the trauma of war has had on their family–but also speak of the beauty of overcoming.

Told through three strong voices in three compelling timelines, The Nature of Small Birds is a hopeful story that explores the meaning of family far beyond genetic code.

“Susie Finkbeiner has such an inviting and distinctive voice as a writer that you’ll gladly follow it–and follow her–to any setting.”–Valerie Fraser Luesse, Christy Award-winning author of Under the Bayou Moon

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Review

The Nature of Small Birds by Susie Finkbeiner is a beautifully written novel that spans nearly four decades and is told from the perspective of a father, mother, and their first born daughter. At first glance, this book is about the impact of adopting a Vietnamese orphan at a time when our nation was divided over its involvement in the Vietnam War. A timely narrative given our current state of affairs, definitely. But if the title of the book is a clue to the deeper meaning behind this story, I would say that this is more about how people in general are essentially the same; specifically, small children (the metaphorical small birds) and their inevitable departure from the nest.

The perspective and the timeline shifts every chapter. In 2013, we get Bruce’s point of view as a man providing emotional support to his family, particularly the women, as they struggle with their various stages of life. In 1975, we see things from Linda’s perspective as a woman who set aside dreams of being a musician to live a simple life – or so she thought. In 1988, we get Sonny’s delightfully angsty point of view as a teenage girl with a complicated but loving relationship with her adopted sister Mindy. 

Finkbeiner does an excellent job of differentiating between the characters and maintaining credible voices while driving the story forward. I really admire her choice to stick to one character’s viewpoint for each time period because it allows us to see how every character – not just the narrator at that particular point in time – develops as they interact with each other and face difficult times, both as individuals and together as a family.

As the story of Mindy’s adoption and integration into the family and their small community unfolds, there are so many wonderfully vivid moments that we are privy to that range from comical to frustrating, but with a constant undertone of sentimentality. My only real complaint about this story is the omission of certain details that I am sure other readers would want to know. I will not elaborate further on this because I do not want to spoil any of the plot. But I think it speaks volumes to the talent of an author when the only critique is that she should have given us more to read.

So who is this story for? I think that anyone who enjoys reading will love this book. But I think that this novel will especially speak to those who love books like Amy Tan’s Joy Luck Club and Nicholas Sparks’ The Notebook. I know I know, those books are completely different from each other, but I think that once you read The Nature of Small Birds, you will catch my drift.

Susie Finkbeiner is the CBA bestselling author of All Manner of Things, which was selected as a 2020 Michigan Notable Book, and Stories That Bind Us,as well as A Cup of Dust, A Trail of Crumbs, and A Song of Home. She serves on the Fiction Readers Summit planning committee, volunteers her time at Ada Bible Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and speaks at retreats and women’s events across the country. Susie and her husband have three children and live in West Michigan.

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Series Spotlight & Catalog of Books: The Uvalde Raider by Ben H. Engli

 

THE UVALDE RAIDER 

A Templar Family Novel

BY BEN H. ENGLISH

Publisher: Creative Texts Publishers
Publication Date: April 17, 2021
Pages: 229 Pages
Categories: Historical Fiction / Military / Texas

The time is the eve of the First Gulf War. The place an abandoned World War II emergency landing strip for heavy bombers, nestled amid the near countless miles upon miles of wide openness in West Texas.

Here a climactic battle will be fought, while the rest of the world focuses on what would become known as Operation Desert Storm.

But in some ways, the stakes here are even higher as men from other places and past conflicts gamble all that they are, and all they ever were, to prevent a catastrophic terrorist attack unthinkable before on an American city.

One group seeks wholesale slaughter, the murder of helpless civilians on a massive scale. The other strives to stop this evil in any way possible, and by whatever means necessary.

The key to either side’s success or failure?

One old Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress, an enduring symbol from another war and ensuing catastrophe of a different era. This relic of a not so distant past is named ‘The Uvalde Raider,’ and this is its story…

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Series Spotlight & Catalog of Books

By Ben H. English

Destiny’s Way

This was my first historical novel in the planned series of twelve framing the Templar clan. Set in the lower Big Bend; it is an adventure story, an old-fashioned romance, and a tale of the supernatural. Like my other historical fiction, there are a great number of facts contained of regional interest. When I write of a trail, creek, hill, fence line, tinaja, spring, pour off or abandoned ruin, most likely it is there.  Or at least it was. The manuscript led to a long term, multi-book contract.

The Uvalde Raider

Though the plot itself is fiction, most every element that makes up the story has a basis in fact. Many of my readers tell me this is my finest work yet and has set them to the task of learning more about those aforementioned elements. They also say the story made them proud to be a Texan as well as an American, and that pleases me most of all. You can’t go too far wrong with that kind of assessment.

Yonderings: Trails and Memories of the Big Bend

Yonderings was my first effort ever and was picked up by a university press on my first try. I wrote this book from memories of being raised in the lower Big Bend, and of some of my journeys there over the intervening years. Even after nearly four years the book continues to sell well, some have even used the word ‘classic’ in regard to it. But in reality, there was no work involved. It was a labor of love…

Out There:  Essays on the Lower Big Bend

One might consider this a follow on to Yonderings, but with nearly 160 color photos and sixteen area maps hand drawn by myself. The book has eighteen chapters, each speaking of a different locale or subject in the Big Bend. Most of the spots described are somewhat remote, and a couple nigh forgotten save by a very few. There were a couple of firsts involved here, it was my first book offered in hardbound and first adapted to an audiobook. My publisher talked me into being the narrator, so listen at your own risk.

Ben H. English is an eighth-generation Texan who grew up in the Big Bend. At seventeen he joined the Marines, ultimately becoming a chief scout-sniper as well as an infantry platoon sergeant. Later he worked counterintelligence and traveled to over thirty countries on four continents.
At Angelo State University he graduated Magna Cum Laude along with other honors. Afterwards Ben had a career in the Texas Highway Patrol, holding several instructor billets involving firearms, driving, patrol procedures and defensive tactics.
After retirement he decided to try his hand at writing. His first effort, Yonderings, was accepted by a university press and garnered some awards. His second, Destiny’s Way, led to a long term, multi-book contract.  This was followed by Out There: Essays on the Lower Big Bend and now his second fictional work, The Uvalde Raider.
His intimate knowledge of what he writes about lends credence and authenticity to his work. Ben knows how it feels to get hit and hit back, or being thirsty, cold, wet, hungry, alone or exhausted beyond imagination. Finally, he knows of not only being the hunter, but also the hunted.
Ben and his wife have two sons who both graduated from Annapolis. He still likes nothing better than grabbing a pack and some canteens and heading out to where few others venture.
Just as he has done throughout most of his life…
Find out more about Ben English’s Adventures on Facebook,Amazon Author Page, or visit Ben on his Website


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Series Spotlight & Giveaway: El Paso Sunrise & El Paso Sunset by Louis Bodnar

EL PASO SUNRISE
& EL PASO SUNSET
by Louis Bodnar
Pub Date: September 24th, 2019 | January 5th, 2021
Pages: 292 | 238
Categories: Thriller / Terrorism / Conspiracy
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El Paso Sunrise

From a Constitutional Republic to a Marxist Dictatorship led by a Muslim President in a Second American Civil War

“Kill him,” the gravelly voice said on the speaker to the cream of the Russian and Muslim terrorist assassination squad infiltrating America from Canada and on their way to El Paso to kill lawyer Steven Vandorol.  Steven was leading the Texas prosecution of Federal government corruption and with national implications before the fall presidential election. 

El Paso Sunrise is the first of two stand-alone novels that together tell a grand story of love, passion, intense hate, violence and horror all brought keenly alive against the intentional radical transformation of America in a Second American Civil War by progressives, Muslim radicals and the American Left from a Constitutional Republic.  It is also a portrayal of a future with the literal choking of Canada, Great Britain, Europe, the Middle East, particularly the sovereign State of Israel by Islamist radicals, ISIL, Hezbollah, Hamas and the spreading cancerous malignancy of a worldwide Muslim Caliphate. 

Steven Vandorol had it all but lost everything when he fell hard from grace in the ultra-rich Sunbelt.  Escaping to Washington, D.C., he found himself embroiled in evil, corruption, sexual obsession and addiction but, confronting his own demons, found peace and serenity in El Paso. 

Then stunning Vanessa Carson, Steven’s attorney friend and confidant amid the evil of D.C. brings her sunshine smile back into his life in El Paso and together as one, face their worst nightmares or rape, kidnapping and murder during the ultimate crises of a second American civil war started by powerful forces and only Steven and Vanessa stand in their way . . . 

While El Paso Sunrise is a graphic story of evil in this world, it is also a timeless love story about goodness, faith, grace and friendship blossoming during a national emergency — a clarion call to the world to remember what truly matters — asking the question . . . 

Can Steven force his own country and government to face their own demons before it’s too late?

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El Paso Sunset

Within El Paso Sunset, Steven and his friend, Vanessa Carson, face their worst nightmare of rape, kidnapping, and murder during the ultimate crisis of a Second American Civil War started by dark, sinister, and shadowy forces and only Steven and Vanessa stand in the way. El Paso Sunset is the second and continuation of two stand-alone novels that together make a story of love, passion, obsession, intense hate, pure evil, violence, and horror, all brought keenly alive against the panorama of the radical transformation of the great American Constitutional Republic.

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*Special Discount if you buy both books through Louis Bodnar’s Website

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Louis Bodnar is a retired attorney currently living in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, with his wife Joan. As a naturalized American citizen, he was born in Vilshofen, Germany, immigrated to Brazil with his mother and brother, and came to America in 1958.

He was educated in the United States in Oklahoma, receiving an undergraduate degree from Oklahoma State University, a Juris Doctorate from the University of Oklahoma, and was a candidate for an LLM in International and Comparative Law at Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D.C.

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Cover Reveal: Deadly Business by Anita Dickason

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DEADLY BUSINESS

BY ANITA DICKASON

COVER REVEAL


Anticipated Publication Date: July 3rd, 2021
Pages: 324 pages
Categories: Suspense | Thriller | Crime Thriller

Deadly Business PB-5-3-21

A Texas Multi-Billion Dollar Lure!

Following a tactical raid at an Oklahoma farm, a phone call sends U.S. Deputy Marshal Piper McKay rushing back to the East Texas cattle ranch where she grew up.

Her grandmother, Jennie Layton, is near death from a crushed skull. When local authorities claim the cause of the injury was an accident, Piper isn’t convinced.

Who wants Jennie dead and why? Is the reason connected to a dubious contract Piper finds in Jennie’s desk?

Piper realizes her grandmother isn’t the only one in danger when she barely escapes a deadly attack. Thrust into the middle of a high-stakes, high-risk shell game, Piper’s become the target.

The case takes a bizarre turn when Piper unknowingly crosses paths with a Special Ranger. If he can’t derail her investigation, it could cost him his life.

With millions of dollars on the line, nothing will stop a ring of cold-blooded killers, including the murders of a U.S. Marshal and a Special Ranger.

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Award-winning author Anita Dickason is a twenty-two veteran of the Dallas Police Department. She served as a patrol officer, undercover narcotics detective, advanced accident investigator, tactical officer and first female sniper on the Dallas SWAT team.

Anita writes about what she knows, cops and crime. Her police background provides an unending source of inspiration for her plots and characters. Many incidents and characters portrayed in her books are based on personal experience. For her, the characters are the fun part of writing as she never knows where they will take her. There is always something out of the ordinary in her stories.

In Anita’s debut novel, Sentinels of the Night, she created an elite FBI Unit, the Trackers. Since then, she has added three more Tracker crime thrillers, Going Gone!, A u 7 9, and Operation Navajo. The novels are not a series and can be read in any order.

As a Texas author, many of Anita’s books are based in Texas, or there is a link to Texas. When she stepped outside of the Tracker novels and wrote, Not Dead, she selected Meridian, a small community in central Texas for the location.

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Giveaway on Anita Dickason’s Website!

Pre-order Deadly Business, and you could win one of three prize packages (value $40 each) containing a tote bag, mousepad, coaster, pen, & bookmarks!

Visit www.anitadickason.com/ for details!

(US only. Contest ends at midnight, CDT, July 2, 2021.)

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Review & Giveaway: Gingerbread Kisses by Minette Lauren

GINGERBREAD KISSES
Hot in Magnolia Book 4
By Minette
Lauren


Publication Date: April 30th, 2021
Pages: 275
Categories: Sexy Romance

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Hollywood actress Ginger Lynn Harding is broke, unemployed, and stuck in the glaring spotlight of a sex-tape scandal thanks to her lousy ex-boyfriend. Changing her coveted ginger-colored hair to brown, Ginger heads to small-town Magnolia, Texas, where she plans to hide out and wait tables at the Cupcake Diner and Dive.

As a Magnolia constable and possible candidate for mayor, Roland Karr prides himself on protecting the community. When he nabs a Lauren Bacall look-alike for speeding, Roland is surprised that he lets the sassy beauty off the hook, but he can’t help it. She looks like she could use a break.

As Ginger settles into life in Magnolia, she can’t stop thinking about the handsome and debonair cop, but can she risk losing her heart when she’s lost everything else?

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Gingerbread Kisses by Minette Lauren is aptly named as the book is equal parts sweet and spicy. It takes a very talented author who can write a beautiful, wholesome love story and then flip the script mid chapter to treat the reader to a tantalizing, pulse quickening love scene.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. From the moment we meet Ginger Lynn Harding, we know that she is more than a pretty face. And like the old Hollywood starlets she physically resembles, the woman has gumption. She’s not one to feel sorry for herself and wallow like some fallen stars that have graced the cover of Us Weekly. To be completely honest, I knew that there was something special about this woman by the unusual, yet surprisingly practical, pet iguana that she dotes on.

As Ginger warily creates a temporary life for herself in Magnolia, the colorful townspeople are eager to bring her into the fold. This detail shocked me since I have more often read about or have personally known proud Texans who hold generational grudges. So to find out that Ginger has relatives with questionable reputations… Let’s just say that I had trouble believing that the locals would not hold that against her.

But the wonderful cast of characters made me forget about that slight hiccup quite quickly. Grudgeless Magnolia folk aside, I found the characters to be believable, interesting, and endearing. Maybe a little too endearing? I think it bothered me that there seem to be no unattractive people in this book. Perhaps the author is too kind to point out physical flaws? At any rate, the lack of ugly or even plain people had me imagining a movie shot with a soft lens (they used those in old Hollywood, right?) or those funny photo filters that make everyone look cute.

After I read the epilogue, I only then realized that this was book four of the Hot in Magnolia series. I’m not sure who the main characters are in the first three books, but I hope that the fiery Rosie Bush is featured prominently in at least one of them. Or perhaps in a future book? (Hint, hint. Nudge, nudge.)

If my previous comments haven’t made it clear, let it be known that this book can be read as a standalone. But why would you want to read just one when you could read all four? I intend to go back and read the whole series while eagerly waiting for the next book. Five stars for a scorching hot romance.

Minette Lauren is an award-winning author who loves animals and writes humorous romance in a small Texas town.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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Review & Giveaway: A Witch’s Brew by Michael Scott Clifton

A WITCH’S BREW

Conquest of the Veil Book III

By Michael Scott Clifton

Publisher: Book Liftoff
Publication Date: April 14th, 2021

Pages: 318 Pages
Categories:

Sword & Sorcery / Magical Realism / Fantasy / Paranormal

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Intent on defeating the Dark Queen and destroying the Veil, Prince Tal and Alexandria arrive at Markingham to discover a city on the verge of collapse, its people starving, and children vanishing without a trace. Hopes of launching attacks from the city against the Dark Queen evaporate. To make matters worse, the tiny breach in the Veil allows only a trickle of soldiers and supplies to pass through.
Before the city’s defenses can be restored, the Baleful, a vast army composed of melded humans and animals led by a giant centaur, sweeps across the land like locusts, leaving nothing behind.
In the midst of turmoil and conflict, the love between Tal and Alex reaches white-hot intensity. But the leader of a ragtag militia group wants Tal for herself and will do anything to get him…even strike a bargain with a child-killing witch for a potion to make her irresistible.
But every witch’s brew comes with a price.

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Review

A Witch’s Brew by Michael Scott Clifton is book three of the Conquest of the Veil series, which I am very pleased to find is not the last book of a trilogy. In true Clifton fashion, this book manages to surpass even the first two brilliant books of the series as we are further entangled in the battle between good and evil.

 

While books one and two paint the line between the two sides more obviously, I love how this book has you pondering the meaning behind “a means to an end.” Is breaking a promise so bad when you do it out of love? And are you willing to break someone’s heart over honor? Those are just a few existential questions that come to mind when I mull over this wonderful story. The other questions I had: where is the witch and what’s in her brew? Those answers come just past the halfway mark of the book. Normally that type of thing would bother me, but I was so wrapped up in the story that I did not mind at all! Clifton’s gift for painting a complete picture of a fantasy world is so great that you forget where you are and become fully immersed.

 

Escape from the Wheel left me hopelessly in love with Alexandria’s character. So beautiful but kind, delicate yet strong. And this latest book confirmed that she is worthy of all admiration. Of course, someone is bound to be jealous of such a shining light. As someone who identifies as more of a best friend than a leading lady, I felt compassion for the brash Maggie. Oh, Sir Clifton, why do you torture us with yet another love triangle in this series? My heart can only take so much! To be completely honest, you could get by without reading the first two books. But why would you? You would miss out on so much backstory and this exciting build of adventure and love.

 

I know that I will need to toughen up for the next book because things are only getting harrier for our heroine and her brave prince. Each hard-won victory has been exciting but you know that the worst is yet to come. And Clifton’s magical way with the written word assures you that every detail will be unveiled and you will see all – both the good and the bad – unwind in a cinematic cyclone.

 

The vibe of this book was interesting – sort of Game of Thrones meets Hocus Pocus. I really look forward to reading the next book, especially knowing that it will be even better than this one. If you are a fantasy reader, you definitely need to pick up the first three books of the Conquest of the Veil series so that you’re ready for book four.

by Michael Scott Clifton is book three of the Conquest of the Veil series, which I am very pleased to find is not the last book of a trilogy. In true Clifton fashion, this book manages to surpass even the first two brilliant books of the series as we are further entangled in the battle between good and evil.

While books one and two paint the line between the two sides more obviously, I love how this book has you pondering the meaning behind “a means to an end.” Is breaking a promise so bad when you do it out of love? And are you willing to break someone’s heart over honor? Those are just a few existential questions that come to mind when I mull over this wonderful story. The other questions I had: where is the witch and what’s in her brew? Those answers come just past the halfway mark of the book. Normally that type of thing would bother me, but I was so wrapped up in the story that I did not mind at all! Clifton’s gift for painting a complete picture of a fantasy world is so great that you forget where you are and become fully immersed.

Escape from the Wheel left me hopelessly in love with Alexandria’s character. So beautiful but kind, delicate yet strong. And this latest book confirmed that she is worthy of all admiration. Of course, someone is bound to be jealous of such a shining light. As someone who identifies as more of a best friend than a leading lady, I felt compassion for the brash Maggie. Oh, Sir Clifton, why do you torture us with yet another love triangle in this series? My heart can only take so much! To be completely honest, you could get by without reading the first two books. But why would you? You would miss out on so much backstory and this exciting build of adventure and love.

I know that I will need to toughen up for the next book because things are only getting harrier for our heroine and her brave prince. Each hard-won victory has been exciting but you know that the worst is yet to come. And Clifton’s magical way with the written word assures you that every detail will be unveiled and you will see all – both the good and the bad – unwind in a cinematic cyclone.

The vibe of this book was interesting – sort of Game of Thrones meets Hocus Pocus. I really look forward to reading the next book, especially knowing that it will be even better than this one. If you are a fantasy reader, you definitely need to pick up the first three books of the Conquest of the Veil series so that you’re ready for book four.

Multi Award-Winning Author Michael Scott Clifton, a longtime public educator, currently lives in Mount Pleasant, Texas with his wife, Melanie. An avid gardener, reader, and movie junkie, his books contain facets of all the genres he enjoys—action, adventure, magic, fantasy, and romance. His fantasy novels, The Janus Witch, The Open Portal (Book I in the Conquest of the Veil series), and Escape from Wheel (Book II), all received 5-Star reviews from the prestigious Readers Favorite Book Reviews. The Open Portal has also been honored with a Feathered Quill Book Finalist Award. In addition, Edison Jones and the Anti-Grav Elevator earned a 2021 Feathered Quill Book Award Bronze Medal in the Teen Readers category. Two of his short stories have won Gold Medals, with Edges of Gray winning the Texas Authors Contest, and The End Game, winning the Northeast Texas Writer’s Organization Contest. Professional credits include articles published in the Texas Study of Secondary Education Magazine.
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nd & 3rd Winners: eBooks of A Witch’s Brew.
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Character Interview & Giveaway: The Chinese Murder of Edward Watts by Shelton L. Williams


THE CHINESE MURDER
OF EDWARD WATTS
Covey Jencks Mystery, #3
By Shelton L. Williams


Publish Date: December 8th, 2020
Pages: 233 pages
Categories: Mystery / Humor

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for Giveaway!

Covey and JayJay travel to China and then return home to deal with shady characters, spies, gangsters, and other tough customers. In an exciting last act, they solve a murder most foul.
PURCHASE LINKS:
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Character Interview

Maggie Mae interviews JayJay Qualls from

THE CHINESE MURDER OF EDWARD WATTS

by Shelton L. Williams

Maggie: JayJay, you had lots of questions for me in The Chinese Murder of Edward Watts I am glad you’re allowing me to ask you some.

JayJay: Sure, but at the end, I have one more question for you. Deal?

Maggie: If I can answer, I will. Deal?

JayJay: Okay, fire away.

Maggie: Are you and Covey still sympatico? The FBI calls you the Love Birds, but you don’t ever seem to get jealous, and Covey calls you distant at one point in the book. Is there trouble in paradise?

JayJay: I don’t think of any relationship as paradise. I live in the moment and I am always ready to take care of myself. I have seen too many women fall into dependency on a man. That said, Covey and I very much a couple and I have made decisions to keep us a couple. Yes, we love each other.

Maggie: Can you tell us what decisions?

JayJay: Sure, Covey Jencks readers know that I did not move to Dallas or Ft. Worth to advance my acting career, and more than one old flame has tried to rekindle, especially now that I have got my own money. But I am stickin’ with Covey, at least for now.

Maggie: You like the detective business, don’t you?

JayJay: I do like it, but truth be told, I like solving mysteries with Covey. When we are working a case, we are equal partners. He includes me and listens to me. I push him to be bold and to think beyond the obvious. It’s pretty damned exciting. Besides, when he is working on oil and gas leases, you think he’s ever distant with me?

Maggie: That’s a good point. The books are more from his point of view and not yours even though you get your own chapters. After all, the series is called Covey Jencks Mysteries. Don’t you deserve your own book?

JayJay: My creative work occurs on the stage. I don’t need to sit alone at 6:00 a.m. trying to figure out what to say next before my real work starts. That sounds miserable. Maybe someday I’ll write my memoirs.

Maggie: You seemed to really be fascinated with Betty Williams and the Ghost of OHS story. Maybe you could write about that?

JayJay: Well, not long after the Chinese mystery ended, a book on the event called Washed in the Blood came out. Like many people out there, I have heard about the book but haven’t had time to read it. Maybe I will wait for the movie.

Maggie: What been your favorite adventure with Covey?

JayJay: By far, solving the mystery of the triple murder case on a college campus in Covey and JayJay Get Educated, but it was also fun to hook up with Covey to find out who killed Freddie in Covey Jencks.

Maggie: I have heard that lots of folks like Chinese Murder best. Comments?

JayJay: It’s a good story, for sure, but did I enjoy only being marginally involved and then — that ending. Who saw that coming? My role wasn’t exactly heroic, no?

Maggie: I hear ya, but I loved the book. I loved being the international woman of mystery in it.

JayJay: And you are a good one. West Texans would call you a sexy mama. I admit I was jealous of that first dress you wore in Odessa. I may go back to China to get me one of them. Time for my question.

Maggie: Okay, but I got that dress in New York. What’s your question?

JayJay: Will Covey and I ever see you again?

Maggie: I see what you are doing there. Sneaky. Will there be another Covey Jencks mystery?

Silence from JayJay. Maggie continues:

I think it depends on whether you guys stay stuck in West Texas or if you ever come back my way.

JayJay: To China?

Maggie: Hmm, no, the East Coast.

JayJay: Oh, that reminds me of my favorite part of The Chinese Murder of Edward Watts. The visit to Washington, D.C.  That was just as exciting for me as the mystery, and it was a stone cold turn-on as well. I’ll talk to the old man about that idea.

Shelton L. Williams (Shelly) is founder and president of the Osgood Center for International Studies in Washington, DC. He holds a PhD from Johns Hopkins School of Advanced
International Studies and he taught for nearly 40 years at Austin College in Sherman, Texas. He has served in the US Government on four occasions, and he has written books and articles on nuclear proliferation. In 2004 he began a new career of writing books on crime and society. Those books are 
Washed in the Blood, Summer of 66, and now the three books in the Covey Jencks series. All firmly prove that he is still a Texan at heart.


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Second, audio books of books 2 & 3.
Third, Kindle copies of all three books. 
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