Category Archives: Guest Post

Cover Reveal: Perfect Payback by Bill Briscoe

PERFECT PAYBACK

The Pepperman Mystery Series
by
BY BILL BRISCOE
COVER REVEAL
Genre: Fiction
Categories: Mystery / Thriller / Suspense
Expected Publication: February, 2022
Number of Pages: 250 pages 

When Jim and Laura Pepperman find a musty German Olympic jacket and an old journal in their attic, they stumble onto a gripping pre-World War II story of a cousin Jim knows nothing about.

After a career-ending injury forces Hans Pepperman to lose his spot on the 1936 Olympic boxing team, he trades his athletic aspirations for a degree in mechanical engineering and secures his dream job working for the famous Willy Messerschmitt. Tasked to solve the stalling issues of the BF109 fighter plane engine, Hans finds himself smack in the middle of the Abwher Intelligence Service’s radar. Pro-Germany but anti-Nazi, he reluctantly agrees to help flush out the spy leaking secret information on the BF109 engine to foreign agencies . . . and finds himself a suspect of espionage and murder. Unsure who to trust, he must unravel the tangle of lies he’s caught in before he falls prey to the Nazi agenda slowly and stealthily taking over the country he loves.

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AVAILABLE NOW IN THE PEPPERMAN MYSTERY SERIES

Prequel – Pepperman’s Promise

Book One – Perplexity

Book Two – Panic Point

Award-winning author Bill Briscoe grew up in the oil and gas refinery town of Phillips in the Texas Panhandle. As his retirement was on the horizon, he had an idea about a book. That idea became Pepperman’s Promise, the prequel to The Pepperman Mystery Series, leading to Perplexity, Panic Point, and now Perfect Payback, books one, two, and three of the series. Bill and his wife of over fifty years live in West Texas.

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Deleted Scene & Giveaway: Before the Alamo by Florence Byham Weinberg

BEFORE THE ALAMO:
A Tejana’s Story
by
FLORENCE BYHAM WEINBERG
Genre: Historical Fiction / Texas History 
Publisher: Maywood House
Date of Publication: September 17, 2021
Number of Pages: 296 pages
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Emilia Altamirano, half Otomí Indian, half pure Spanish, is born in 1814, the year after the Battle of the Medina River, where her father fought as an officer in the Mexican Royalist Army. She grows up in Bexar de San Antonio unacknowledged by her father, raised by her Otomí Indian mother, and “adopted” as an unofficial ward by José Antonio Navarro, hero of the Texas fight for independence from Mexico. She learns to read, write, and acts as a page for the Ayuntamiento (City Council). She learns nursing during a cholera epidemic and later tends the wounded on both sides during and after the Battle of the Alamo. She survives, but as a Tejana, Spanish-speaking, and a loyal citizen of Mexico, she faces an uncertain future.

PRAISE FOR BEFORE THE ALAMO:
“Yesterday, I finished Before the Alamo, figuratively gasping for breath…Thank you for a joyful experience, so helpful in this time of disillusion and anxiety.” – reader Marti Nodine
Deleted Scene

From Before the Alamo: A Tejana’s Story

By Florence Byham Weinberg

 

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This episode followed Emilia’s encounter with the Comanche boy and her report to her mother. She is six-going-on-seven and shows her character in the midst of calamity. The flood of 1819 was a historical event, just as catastrophic as I depict it here. I got the details from the governor’s report as I worked in the Alamo Archive. Oddly, the Internet does not record that event as one of San Antonio’s catastrophic floods. Flood reports begin with the one in 1921. To find the earlier one, google “San Antonio flood of 1819.” Why did I delete the episode? Because, although it shows Emilia’s character, I had just done that with the episode of the Comanche boy. This episode did not further the plot, so out it went. Below is the first half of the deleted scene.

 

 

Before the Alamo

Episode cut from Chapter Two

 

Summer came. June weather was increasingly hot, and no rain had fallen since the end of the second week. July threatened to be even more unbearable. Flies swarmed through the kitchen windows, attracted by moist food smells; all sorts of creeping insects appeared, also in the jacal and even in the stone house, looking for cool shade. The river level fell, but typical for Béxar, humidity remained high.

María and Emilia went to bed on July 5, perspiring in the foggy air rising from the river. Far to the north, they could hear the growl of thunder.

“Maybe it will rain tonight, Mamá.”

“Maybe. But it has thundered before, and not a drop of rain here.”

They drifted off to sleep, but Emilia awoke when a blinding flash of light illuminated the jacal, followed almost immediately by an earth-shaking boom. She rose, trying not to disturb her mother, who had slept through the noise. She padded to the door and pulled the cowhide curtain aside. All was silent, and then a few huge raindrops began to plop into the dust beyond the threshold. Dawn light showed gray in the east. She was on her way to lie down again, when she felt the earth tremble beneath her feet. The hair on the nape of her neck and on her arms stiffened. Now she could hear a roar.

“Mamá! Mamá! Wake up! Something terrible is happening!”

María sat up, eyes wide, staring around her. “What’s that roaring?”

Then, abruptly, something struck the side of the jacal with great force and just as quickly rushed through the door. Water! Rushing, powerful water.

“Come, m’hija, we must warn our people in the house!”

They found they could not run the short distance to the back entrance; the force of the water was nearly irresistible. It reached their knees before they got inside the door.

“Señora Carmen! Juan Andrés! Get up! Flood! Water everywhere!” They ran through the rapidly filling house.

Andrés appeared in his nightshirt, sloshing toward his wife’s bedroom. “Come, Carmen, get up! We must save ourselves!”

The water now was knee high inside.

Carmen came to the door, a simple shift pulled over her head. “What shall we take?”

María shouted over the noise of the rushing water, “Yourselves. Nothing more!”

Andrés stopped long enough to pull on a pair of trousers, grabbed up Emilia, and ordered his wife and María to follow him. They heard a cracking sound from behind the house, over the continued roaring. María had made her way to the back door. “The jacal and the kitchen! The water swept them away.”

Juan Andrés shouted. “Out the front door! Now!”

He managed to keep his feet, carry Emilia, and somehow support his wife, the least able to withstand the current and debris hurled against them. He looked wildly for something solid to climb on.

“There’s no… way to reach… the old mission.” He gasped. “Look! That live oak… at the end of the street.”

They struggled in that direction, Juan Andrés and María keeping Carmen upright in rushing water halfway up their thighs and rapidly rising. Emilia wrapped her arms around Juan Andrés’s neck as he fought the current and batted away floating objects that became projectiles. They headed for the huge oak tree on Real Street. Its horizontal limbs drooped five feet above the water, so it should be easy to climb. Unless…

By some miracle, they reached it and Andrés perched Emilia in the crotch of a limb, then lifted Carmen beside her. Next, he turned to María, who had expected no help from her ‘master.’ A second low-bending branch offered a refuge, and she leaped, using the current to boost her, grasped the branch, and with the strength of desperation, pulled herself up until she lay with her body along the branch. Andrés joined her and their combined weight bent the branch within a few inches of the flood.

Andrés gasped. “We must… climb higher.”

Emilia gave a little scream and pointed. A dead body, a man, floated under them, dressed in a nightshirt. His face torn and disfigured by a collision with something—perhaps the wall of a stone house—he floated on too quickly for them to identify him. Emilia, in shock, did not cry.

By now, the sun had risen, illuminating the bizarre scene through heavy clouds, and they could see their town amidst the waters that had filled the valley of Béxar like a huge cup. Hardly anything other than the church still stood, and it, too, seemed heavily damaged. Jacales had been swept away, and the adobe buildings were melting ruins, collapsing before their eyes. Some stone houses were damaged worse than the church, walls partially tumbled or tumbling down, the mortar between the stones melting. Worst of all, they could see many bodies of the drowned, both human and animal. Any horse, cow, sheep, pig or goat that had been enclosed in a barn or tethered, had drowned. The water still rushed swiftly as it drained southeastward toward the Gulf, and the bodies of man and beast alike bobbed along downstream toward a salty grave. Here and there they could see another tree, loaded like this one with survivors.

Florence Byham Weinberg, born in Alamogordo, New Mexico, lived on a ranch as well as a farm and travelled with her military family during World War Two. After earning a Ph.D., she taught for 36 years in three universities. She published four scholarly books. Since retiring, she has written four books in the Pfefferkorn historical mystery series, three additional historical novels and one philosophical fantasy/thriller. She lives in San Antonio, loves cats, dogs, horses, and conversations with great-souled friends.
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Day 7 of the @ENIGMASERIES #ShortStory Journey

WELCOME to DAY 7 of the @ENIGMASERIES

#ShortStory Journey Dec 8th to Dec 15th

#GIVEAWAYS Available 

Please leave a comment below for a chance at a free gift

Gifts available for Day 7 are two ebooks of the featured short story plus one ebook of the newest release Hidden Target. That’s 3 winners.

Author Insights

Multiple generations of the R-Group focused on helping those impacted by oppressors, power seekers, and thieves who steal wealth at the expense of the average person. The primary goal for this group is maintaining a high ethical ground when choosing the path for solving the problems. Jacob Michaels, a continuing character in the Enigma Series and one of the leaders of the R-Group, learned this from his grandfather, Wolfgang

The series as stories set in contemporary times where technology is todays weapon of choice. They were however founded by three men during World War II who fought tyranny at the hands of the Germans. Wolfgang was a founding father of the R-Group.

As authors, we received many questions about our cyber heroes and how they take the battle to their enemies. Jacob and Wolfgang often discussed the right choices to make on behalf of their private clients and the countries they serve. When Jacob learns more history of the R-Group, he discovers it is easy to see right from wrong at multiple levels.

When Jacob and his team mates take the leadership roles, he worries about sharing enough information in meaningful examples with the next generation. In The Enigma Beyond, Jacob held a heartfelt conversation with Wolfgang.  Jacob wonders what more he can do to instill the value for the next generation of the R-Group to maintain their integrity. YouTube link: https://youtu.be/Q-pprbk4-iY

This conversation led us to create a short story and then release a complete novella in 2021 to learn about the original men who escaped Poland in 1939. These men risked their lives to stop the German military machine. Out of Poland – Novella is a gripping tale that vividly paints the picture of war, pride, hope, and death for a country without support from its allies.  Out of Poland is about how great things come out of extreme adversity.

About the Short Story

Beneath the storm clouds of a deadly war, three men need to unlock the secrets to redeem the world.

The setting is Poland—1939. Germans are marching toward Warsaw, crushing everything in their path. The Polish people feel the crush of their defensives and their brave cavalry. Fighting against the Nazi military machine is a death wish realized all too clearly.

Death, destructions, pillage, and woman brutalized at the hands of soldiers with no honor marks the invaders’ path. As much as the citizens of Poland pray for a different outcome, everything they have known, loved, and grown up with is gone.

Three young men take on the task of finding and extracting the German military communications device, Baby, kept under heavy guard. Polish patriots die to aid the three in getting the information and then fleeing with the prize. The race is on as the Germans try to match wits with the clever patriots who risk detection at every turn.

Ambassador Ferdek Watcowski insists that his son Ferdek with Wolfgang and Tavius, flee with the families while there is still time to reach a border. Their goal—escape with Baby intact.

Hitler’s forces so outclass Poland’s military that survival is key to fighting another day. Facing great peril and odds against their survival, the men resolve to make a difference so those who died helping them would not have sacrificed in vain. They vow to undertake a lifetime of fighting tyranny.

Successful survivors must look ahead.

We consider this the prequel to the Enigma Series. It is available on Amazon https://bit.ly/OOPolandN  We look forward to your review and comments on our short stories.

About the Authors

Charles Breakfield and Rox Burkey are co-authors of the award-winning Enigma Series. Their characters demand that their stories are told. The storytelling began with a few heroes, then expanded to those with self-serving motives. We love storytelling and hope readers enjoy learning  more about our shorts. Looking forward to your feedback and reviews of our stories.

Breakfield is a technology expert specifically in security, networking, voice, and anything digital. He enjoys writing, studying World War II his­tory, travel, and cultural exchanges. Charles is also a fan of wine tastings, wine making, Harley riding, cooking extravaganzas, and woodworking.

Burkey is a25+ year applied technology professional who optimizes technology and business investments for global customers. She focuses on optimized customer experiences. Rox loves interviewing authors, writing white papers, reviewing books, and loves creating fiction.

Together they create award-winning stories that resonate with men and women, young and experienced adults, and bring a fresh new view to technology threats of today. Please visit their website, look around, and grab some free stuff https://www.EnigmaSeries.com.

Find us and Follow us

Website:      https://www.EnigmaSeries.com

Blog:           https://EnigmaSeries.com

https://RoxBurkey.com

LinkedIn:     https://www.linkedin.com/in/charlesbreakfield  and

https://www.linkedin.com/in/roxanneburkey

Twitter:       @EnigmaSeries and @1rburkey

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/TheEnigmaSeries/

YouTube:    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC6Vz4x5ctTnx3yUhZk1OJkw

For the other stops on this tour click here  https://www.enigmabookseries.com/

Thank you for visiting. Please leave your comment below for a chance to win.

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Promo & Giveaway: The Big Empty by Loren C. Steffy

THE BIG EMPTY

by
LOREN C. STEFFY
Genre: Western / Rural Fiction / Small Town
Date of Publication: May 25, 2021
Number of Pages: 304 pages 
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When Trace Malloy and Blaine Witherspoon collide on a desolate West Texas highway, their fender bender sets the tone for escalating clashes that will determine the future of the town of Conquistador.
Malloy, a ranch manager and lifelong cowboy, knows that his occupation—and his community—are dying. He wants new- millennium opportunities for his son, even though he himself failed to summon the courage to leave familiar touchstones behind.
Witherspoon, an ambitious, Lexus-driving techie, offers a solution. He moves to Conquistador to build and run a state-of-the-art semiconductor plant that will bring prestige and high-paying technology jobs to revive the town—and advance his own career.
What neither man anticipates is the power the “Big Empty” will wield over their plans. The flat, endless expanse of dusty plain is as much a character in the conflict as are the locals struggling to subsist in this timeworn backwater and the high-tech transplants hell-bent on conquering it. While Malloy grapples with the flaws of his ancestors and his growing ambivalence toward the chip plant, Witherspoon falls prey to construction snafus, corporate backstabbing, and financial fraud. As they each confront personal fears, they find themselves united in the search for their own version of purpose in a uniquely untamable Texas landscape.
PRAISE FOR THE BIG EMPTY:
“The Big Empty” captures a moment when Big Tech seemingly promised everything. By turns funny and painful, Steffy’s story builds like an accelerating freight train, reaching a fast-paced climax.”
The Epoch Times
“Like the titular land itself, Steffy’s novel is uncompromising in spotlighting the strains that the drive toward material achievement puts on the individual in the face of nature’s whims.”
Southern Review of Books
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Stoney Creek Publishing Group (Currently 25% off)
GuestPost

LIFE IMITATING ART IMITATING LIFE –

OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT

GUEST POST BY LOREN STEFFY

Originally published July, 2021, on the author’s blog

Perhaps I should have used a rocket company instead of a semiconductor manufacturing plant.

I found myself thinking that earlier this month, as all eyes were on West Texas for the launch of billionaire Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin rocket.

I started writing my novel, The Big Empty, almost 20 years ago, and the idea of a rocket factory in West Texas would have seemed even more over the top than a chip plant. Besides, I knew what chip factories were like. I had toured several of them, and I covered the semiconductor industry.

While my brother is in the private space business, the idea of making the outside company moving into the tiny town of Conquistador an aerospace firm never occurred to me.

At any rate, all this came rushing back to me with the Blue Origin launch, in part because of some excellent reporting by my old paper, the Houston Chronicle. Andrea Leinfelder has a thoroughly reported series on the impact of the private space on small-town Texas. She takes a deep look at both Boca Chica, Space X’s launch site in far south Texas, and Van Horn. The Van Horn piece, in particular, sounds eerily familiar:

This town, like a thousand other rural communities, has seen agriculture diminish and infrastructure deteriorate. Its local improvements often depend on grants. And with Blue Origin’s higher-paid workforce, the town no longer qualifies for citywide grants reserved for low- to moderate-income communities. Residents talk about the tight housing market and problem-plagued water system.

Still, people are excited to see what comes next, with the possibility that Van Horn will become a major launch site for space travelers.

Those were many of the same ideas I tried to capture in The Big Empty. It was what I saw first-hand in the late 1990s when, as I described in my recent guest essay for the Chronicle, I found myself on a sprawling West Texas cattle ranch to cover a tech story.

I’ve always been fascinated with how people live in different environments. When I visit a new place, I like to see what life is like for the residents. I’ve found myself driving through neighborhoods in the interior of Maui and walking through the residential streets of Riyadh (against the “advice” of my government handlers).

Of course, the issues facing small towns in Texas — and across the country — have been going on for decades. But with the Blue Origin launch in Van Horn, I was struck by the old idea of life imitating art (not that I’m ascribing the “art” tag to my book, but you get the point).

In a way, it’s happening again. I’ve been working on a sequel to The Big Empty, which could be described as “a billionaire comes to town.”

Sound familiar?

Loren C. Steffy is the author of five nonfiction books. He is a writer at large for Texas Monthly, and his work has appeared in newspapers and magazines nationwide. He has previously worked for news organizations including Bloomberg and the Houston Chronicle, and he is a managing director for 30 Point Strategies, where he leads the 30 Point Press publishing imprint. His is a frequent guest on radio and television programs and is the co-host of the Rational Middle podcast. The Big Empty is his first novel. Steffy holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Texas A&M University. He lives in Wimberley, Texas, with his wife, three dogs and an ungrateful cat.
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Promo: Boo’s Shoes by Sybrina Durant

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Blitz & Giveaway: Under the Texas Mistletoe by Karen Witemeyer


UNDER THE TEXAS MISTLETOE

by
KAREN WITEMEYER
Genre: Holiday Fiction / Christian Historical Romance / Novellas
Date of Publication: August 31, 2021
Number of Pages: 304 pages 
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This historical romance novella collection presents “A Texas Christmas Carol,” where a town’s wealthy, Scrooge-like bachelor finds his world invaded by a woman set on earning his donation for helping the local poor, and the penetrating questions of three mysterious visitors. It also includes “An Archer Family Christmas.” When the Archer clan gathers for the holiday, they encounter an unexpected request for help that will require all their effort and a Christmas miracle to see them through. In previously published “Gift of the Heart,” a widow uses the family brooch as collateral for a loan from the local resort owner. But the more she comes to know the man behind the stern businessman, the more she hopes for a second chance at love this Christmas.
CLICK TO PURCHASE!

Voted #1 Reader’s Favorite Christian Romance Author of 2019 by Family Fiction Magazine, bestselling author Karen Witemeyer offers warmhearted historical romance with a flair for humor, feisty heroines, and swoon-worthy Texas heroes.

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FOUR WINNERS!
Grand Prize:

Autographed copy of Under the Texas Mistletoe
+ a decorative Christmas sign;
Three Winners:

Autographed copies of the book
(US only; ends midnight, CST, 11/4/21)

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Author Video & Giveaway: Since You’ve Been Gone by Tari Faris


SINCE YOU’VE BEEN GONE
Restoring Heritage Series, #3
by
Tari Faris
Genre: Fiction / Christian / Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Revell
Date of Publication: September 7, 2021
Number of Pages: 336 pages
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With her vision and his know-how, this thing just might work . . .

Leah Williams is back in the quaint town of Heritage, Michigan, and ready to try again to make her business a success. But blank slates are hard to come by, and a piece of her past is waiting for her there. Heir to the Heritage Fruits company, Jonathan Kensington is the guy who not only made Leah’s past difficult, but he also seems determined to complicate her present as well.

In order to avoid forcing a buyout of Leah’s building, Jon will have to strike a compromise. Can the two of them work together? Or will their troubled past set the tone for their future?

Author Video

Inspiration for Since You’ve Been Gone

The question author Tari Faris says she gets asked most often is: what is the inspiration for each book? Her response? “Although there are many pieces to that, here is a peek at the inspiration of Leah’s story in Since You Been Gone.

Tari Faris is the author of You Belong with Me and Until I Met You. A member of American Christian Fiction Writers and My Book Therapy, she is the projects manager for My Book Therapy, writes for learnhowtowriteanovel.com, and is a 2017 Genesis Award winner. She has an MDiv from Asbury Theological Seminary and lives in the Phoenix, Arizona, area with her husband and their three children. Although she lives in the Southwest now, she lived in a small town in Michigan for 25 years.
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A copy of the whole Restoring Heritage series,
a $10 Starbucks gift card,
and a bookish sticker pack!
(US only. Ends 10/22/21.)

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Blitz: The Last Trial of T. Boone Pickens by Chrysta Castaneda & Loren C. Steffy

THE LAST TRIAL OF
T. BOONE PICKENS
by
Chrysta Castañeda & Loren Steffy
Genre: Biography/Autobiography, Courtroom Drama
Publisher: Stoney Creek Publishing Group
Date of Paperback Publication: September 15, 2021
Number of Pages: 300 Pages
Finalist, 2020 IBPA Benjamin Franklin Award
T. Boone Pickens, legendary Texas oilman and infamous corporate raider from the 1980s, climbed the steps of the Reeves County courthouse in Pecos, Texas in early November 2016. He entered the solitary courtroom and settled into the witness stand for two days of testimony in what would be the final trial of his life.
Pickens, who was 88 by then, had made and lost billions over his long career, but he’d come to Pecos seeking justice from several other oil companies. He claimed they cut him out of what became the biggest oil play he’d ever invested in—in an oil-rich section of far West Texas that was primed for an unprecedented boom. After years of dealing with the media, shareholders and politicians, Pickens would need to win over a dozen West Texas jurors in one last battle.
To lead his legal fight, he chose an unlikely advocate—Chrysta Castañeda, a Dallas solo practitioner who had only recently returned to the practice of law after a hiatus borne of disillusionment with big firms. Pickens was a hardline Republican, while Castañeda had run for public office as a Democrat. But they shared an unwavering determination to win and formed a friendship that spanned their differences in age, politics, and gender.
In a town where frontier justice was once meted out by Judge Roy Bean—“The Law West of the Pecos”—Pickens would gird for one final courtroom showdown. Sitting through trial every day, he was determined to prevail, even at the cost of his health.
The Last Trial of T. Boone Pickens is a high-stakes courtroom drama told through the eyes of Castañeda. It’s the story of an American business legend still fighting in the twilight of his long career, and the lawyer determined to help him make one final stand for justice.
PRAISE FOR THE LAST TRIAL OF T. BOONE PICKENS:

“Think you know T. Boone Pickens, the larger-than-life business titan,
energy trader, and corporate raider? Think again. The attorney representing Pickens in his final major court battle and the business writer who covered him most over the decades reveal a whole other T. Boone that few people outside his bubble could have ever imagined.”
Joe Nick Patoski, author of Austin to ATX and host of the Texas
Music Hour of Power

“Chrysta Castañeda and Loren Steffy have accomplished the remarkable. They’ve taken issues most familiar to lawyers and judges, woven them into an incredible story and presented to all an enjoyable journey through The
Last Trial of T. Boone Pickens.
Craig Enoch, Former Texas Supreme Court Justice and founder of the Enoch Kever law firm

CHRYSTA CASTAÑEDA is a Texas trial attorney specializing in oil and gas disputes. She formed her own boutique law firm in 2014 after more than twenty years as a partner and associate in some of the world’s top law firms.

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LOREN STEFFY is a journalist and author of four other nonfiction books: Deconstructed: An Insider’s View of Illegal Immigration and the Building Trades (with Stan Marek) (Stoney Creek Publishing, 2020), George P. Mitchell: Fracking, Sustainability and an Unorthodox Quest to Save the Planet (Texas A&M University Press, 2019), Drowning in Oil: BP and the Reckless Pursuit of Profit (McGraw-Hill, 2010) and The Man Who Thought Like a Ship (Texas A&M University Press, 2012). His first novel, The Big Empty, was published in April 2021.
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Blitz: The Forgotten World by Nick Courtright

The Forgotten World
by
Nick Courtright
Genre: Poetry / Travel / Fatherhood
Publisher: Gold Wake Press
Date of Publication: August 1, 2021
Number of Pages: 88 Pages

In his third collection, poet Nick Courtright explores the world at large in an effort to reconcile selfhood as an American in the international community, while also seeking anchors for remembering a wider world often lost to view in our shared though increasingly isolated experience of reality.

Beginning in Africa with investigations of religion and love, The Forgotten World then moves to Latin America to tackle colonialism and whiteness. From there it travels to Asia to discuss economic stratification and Europe to explore art and mental health, culminating in a stirring homecoming to troubled America, where family, the future, and what matters most rise to
the forefront of consideration.

Through all of it, Courtright displays a deft hand, at once pained, at once bright, to discover that although the wider world seems farther away than before, the lessons it offers are more needed than ever.


“In The Forgotten World, Nick Courtright explores the intersections of being a citizen of one country and the desire to live as a citizen of the world…” – Octavio Quintanilla, author of If I Go Missing and 2018-2020 Poet Laureate of San Antonio

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Nick Courtright is the author of The Forgotten World (2021), Let There Be Light (2014) and Punchline (2012), and is the Executive Editor of Atmosphere Press. His work has appeared in The Harvard Review, Kenyon Review, and The Southern Review among dozens of others. With a Doctorate in Literature from the University of Texas, Nick lives in Austin with the poet Lisa Mottolo and their children, William and Samuel. Find him online and watching birds on his porch.
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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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