Category Archives: Guest Post

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

PURCHASE LINKS:

Amazon ~ IndieBound ~ Barnes and Noble

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.

PURCHASE LINKS
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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;
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rd & 4th: eBook copy.

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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…

Purchase: Amazon | Front Street Books

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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
series spotlight
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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?

Purchase: *LouisBodnar | Amazon | Barnes and Noble

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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.

PRE-ORDER on Amazon

book+trailer

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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.)

Giveaway graphic Deadly Business Blitz

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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.
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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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First, signed copies of all three Covey books.
Second, audio books of books 2 & 3.
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Promo & Giveaway: To the Republic by Bruce Clavey

TO THE REPUBLIC
The Republic Series, Book One
BY BRUCE CLAVEY
Publication Date: October 26th, 2020
Pages: 394 pages
Categories: Hispanic American Fiction / Political Fiction

Scroll for Giveaway!

A novel for our times. A saga for the ages.


On the eve of passing landmark immigration legislation, the entire Texas Senate and its native Tejano leader, Diego Reyes, vanish suddenly from Austin. When news of the disappearance hits West Texas, cowboy Del Woodward isn’t shocked. He knows exactly where the lawmakers are, but he’s not telling. Woody’s been down on his luck, and a shady bargain he’s made puts him tight in the squeeze of Marcos Cepeda, north Mexico’s ruthless drug lord. And Cepeda’s furious with this new stall in the bill. It’s got a loophole he can exploit to add another quarter million square miles of exclusive turf to his cartel—but that territory goes back up for grabs if leader Reyes can’t pass the bill before the Senate session expires in mere days. The brutal kingpin wants what he’s bought and compels Woody to step up. How the cowboy swings the vote isn’t important to Cepeda, but this sure is: if Woody breathes so much as a word of reluctance, it’ll be his last. The prize is Texas, nothing less. It’s real, and it’s on.
The Republic Series launches from true pages of the Lone Star frontera story into a hauntingly modern arena of trade, trafficking, and tradition on the Rio Grande in To the Republic: BOOK ONE.
An Amazon #1 New Release in History of U.S. Immigration
PURCHASE LINKS:

Bruce Clavey of Round Rock, Texas writes with a passion for exploring the Latin heritage tucked in cultural corners throughout Texas, Mexico, and Central America. In 2017, Clavey’s research into perspectives on state history led to his onsite rediscovery of the Mexico City dungeon where the colonial “Father of Texas” was imprisoned, documented in his book “The Inquisition of Stephen F. Austin.” His interest to illuminate compelling historic junctures brought the creation of several feature dramatizations for state museum in-exhibit performance. Clavey’s release of Book One of The Republic Series in 2020 begins the journey of Texas and Mexican characters who confront the pressure points at today’s vibrant river border, a land that has functioned for centuries as both international gateway and barrier.

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GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY!

THREE WINNERS each receive a prize pack including: Autographed paperback copy of To the Republic; unisex tee with the “Texas Forever” design; baseball cap stitched with the “Texas Forever” design; ceramic lapel pin with the “Mano de Tejas” design; vinyl 5” decal with the “Mano deTejas” design.

US only. Giveaway ends midnight, CDT, May 7, 2021

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Blitz: The Takeaway Men by Meryl Ain

 
THE
TAKEAWAY MEN
By Meryl Ain
 
Publisher: SparkPress
Pub Date: August 4th, 2020
Pages: 265 pages
Categories: Historical / Jewish Literature / Sibling Fiction / Holocaust

With the cloud of the Holocaust still looming over them, twin sisters Bronka and Johanna Lubinski and their parents arrive in the US from a Displaced Persons Camp. In the years after World War II, they experience the difficulties of adjusting to American culture as well as the burgeoning fear of the Cold War.

Years later, the discovery of a former Nazi hiding in their community brings the Holocaust out of the shadows. As the girls get older, they start to wonder about their parents’ pasts, and they begin to demand answers. But it soon becomes clear that those memories will be more difficult and painful to uncover than they could have anticipated.

Poignant and haunting, The Takeaway Men explores the impact of immigration, identity, prejudice, secrets, and lies on parents and children in mid-twentieth-century America.

PRAISE FOR THE TAKEAWAY MEN:

“At a time when the darkness of the Holocaust is being whitewashed, Meryl Ain’s remarkable debut novel illuminates the postwar Jewish American landscape like a truth-seeking torch. An emotionally rich and lovingly told saga of survivors, with great sensitivity to what was lost, buried, and resurrected.” — Thane Rosenbaum, author of The Golems of Gotham, Second Hand Smoke, and Elijah Visible.

“The author’s tale is sensitively composed, a thoughtful exploration into the perennially thorny issues of religious identity, assimilation, and the legacy of suffering.” — Kirkus
Reviews

Purchase Links: 

Amazon | Bookshop | Barnes and Noble | AppleBooks | GooglePlay | Indiebound


Meryl Ain’s articles and essays have appeared in Huffington Post, The New York Jewish Week, The New York Times, Newsday, and other publications. In 2014, she co-authored the award-winning book, The Living Memories Project: Legacies That Last, and in 2016, wrote a companion workbook, My Living Memories Project Journal.  She is a sought-after speaker and has been interviewed on television, radio, and podcasts. She is a career educator and is proud to be both a teacher and student of history. She has also worked as a school administrator.

The Takeaway Men is the result of her life-long quest to learn more about the Holocaust, a thirst that was first triggered by reading The Diary of Anne Frank in the sixth grade. While teaching high school history, she introduced her students to the study of the Holocaust. At the same time, she also developed an enduring fascination with teaching about and researching the Julius and Ethel Rosenberg case. An interview with Robert Meeropol, the younger son of the Rosenbergs, is featured in her book, The Living Memories Project. The book also includes an interview with Holocaust survivor, Boris Chartan, the founder of the Holocaust Museum and Tolerance Center of Nassau County, New York.

Meryl holds a BA from Queens College, an MA from Teachers College, Columbia University, and an Ed.D. from Hofstra University. She is a lifetime member of Hadassah and an active supporter of UJA-Federation of New York.  She lives in New York with her husband, Stewart. They have three married sons and six grandchildren. This is her first novel.

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Blitz & Review: Stiff Lizard by Lisa Haneberg

STIFF LIZARD
by
LISA HANEBERG

Series: A Spy Shop Mystery
Publisher: Written Pursuits Press
Pages: 364 pages
Pub Date: March 13th, 2021
Categories: Women Sleuths / Cozy Mystery / Private Investigator / Humor

Rodent Roger, a popular Galveston Island exterminator, goes missing the day after he tells private investigator and spy shop owner Xena Cali about a concerning uptick in green iguana sightings on the island. They’re crapping in people’s boats and falling from trees. Are the lizards swimming over from Florida to escape the pythons, or is it something more nefarious? Can Xena help untangle the mess before the raucous reptiles take over Galveston?

Ultima Penelope Roger is a best-selling writer of romance novels. The Lizard Liquidators have set up shop on Galveston Island. Herpetologist Quintana Flores, PhD, works on a bizarre cruise ship that sails out of the Port of Galveston. Sasha Barlow is a driven junior reporter who’ll do anything to get the story. Ned “The Pelican Man” Quinn writes a column about bird necropsies. Captain Ethan Slaughter is the head of the Major Crimes team at the Galveston Police Department. Xena and her team will have to partner with and/or battle this cast of characters and others to solve what becomes a disturbing murder investigation.

Stiff Lizard is the third full-length book in the Spy Shop Mystery series. If you like fast-paced crime novels, clever satire, and gritty beach towns, then you’ll love Lisa Haneberg’s humorous and contemporary cozy caper.

 

PRAISE FOR STIFF LIZARD

“Lisa Haneberg has a wicked sense of humor. She can also write a fast-moving, totally original mystery.” — Alan Rinzler

Lisa Haneberg’s newest entry in the Spy Shop Mystery Series lives up to its predecessors. A good number of laughs, lots of intrigue, a bit of titillation, lots of interesting information, and lots of mystery make for a good read.” – Verified
purchaser from Amazon 

Review

Stiff Lizard by Lisa Haneberg was as cool and as funny as its protagonist – the amazing Xena Cali. I have said before that I would love to meet a book character in real life, but I have never meant it more than right now. Who wouldn’t want to spend time in a spy shop solving mysteries with a woman who practices parkour and lets people taze and pepper spray her for training?

And as if Xena’s character couldn’t be improved upon even further, I love that she is listening to Dale Carnegie’s classic, How to Win Friends & Influence People, and is seriously applying it to her personal and professional lives. (Side note: My mother has a certificate for completing the leadership training course in New York and has been harassing me to read the book since college. I can now pretend that I have read it, thanks to this wonderful book!)

Haneberg’s writing style is casual and I adore that she breaks the fourth wall repeatedly. I like how she talks about the local places in a way that assumes you know exactly what and where she is describing. I have yet to Google whether each place is actually real, but what I am most interested in researching before my next trip out to Galveston was piqued by this passage: 

“There are dozens of beautiful tree sculptures on Galveston Island carved to look like mermaids, dogs, pelicans, dolphins, angels, and other things. Most were commissioned by wealthier homeowners and nonprofit organizations after Hurricane Ike flooded the island in 2008.” 

I wonder how many of these sculptures I have walked by and never noticed. I will definitely stop by the visitor’s bureau to pick up the Tree Sculpture Tour map during my next trip.

In case you haven’t noticed, I’m a big fan of quirky characters – and this book has them by the bushels! Such a colorful (quite literally at times) cast from the spy shop employees and friends to the locals and, of course, the clientele and the suspects. There is also a character from Houston that I became quite fond of and sincerely hope plays a bigger role in upcoming books.

Haneberg does a great job of getting you up to speed if you haven’t read the previous books (I hadn’t) but she definitely dangles some great tidbits that make you want to go back and devour the entire series. The Spy Shop Mystery series is definitely on my TBR list and I will sign up for notifications so that I know when the next book drops!

 Purchase Links
 Amazon | Bookshop | Barnes and Noble 
 
 
 

Lisa Haneberg loves to explore Galveston Island’s gritty back streets, stellar seafood joints, magnificent natural areas, and all points in between. In addition to the Spy Shop Mysteries, she’s a blogger and has authored over a dozen nonfiction books. She earned an MFA degree from Goddard College and a BS in Behavioral Sciences from the University of Maryland.

Before writing crime fiction, she was a seasoned human resources professional with a strange attraction to gnarly internal investigations. She lives with her husband and dog in Lexington, Kentucky. Lisa once owned a home on Galveston Island and is a frequent visitor.

 

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Amazon Author Page | Goodreads Author Page

 

 

 

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