Category Archives: Lone Star Book Blog Tours

Excerpt: The Adventures of Miss Vulpe by Maria Elena Sandovici

THE ADVENTURES OF
MISS VULPE
A Coming of Age Story for Adults
by
MARIA ELENA SANDOVICI
  Genre: Contemporary / Women’s Fiction / Coming of Age
Date of Publication: April 7, 2017
Number of Pages: 160

Ana Petrescu (aka Miss Vulpe) is a troubled teenager determined to solve the mystery of her parents’ double suicide. Escaping the scrutiny of her legal guardian and the unwanted interference of several therapists, she starts looking up people from her mother’s past. Her sleuthing requires her to lie about her identity, her age, and her lack of experience with men. While impersonating Miss Vulpe is more fun than going to school, there’s bound to be trouble and heartache when her web of lies unravels.





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Excerpt from The Adventures of Miss Vulpe

By Maria Elena Sandovici


“Bucharest 2009”


I didn’t want to go to Louise’s party. But in the end I couldn’t stay away. And when I saw her I was glad to be there. She opened the door and smiled, not in surprise, but in acknowledgement that naturally, if she invited me, I’d come. She stood before me in her gold dress, almost a private joke between us, or maybe her way of making a point that she’d won an argument of sorts. She’d won more than that, in fact, she’d won a battle I didn’t want to see her lose. I was happy to see her like this, her cheeks slightly flushed, her glow restored. She was radiant again, the golden girl of days gone by, and as she grabbed my hand and led me into the room to introduce me I was mesmerized by her ability to rise from her own ashes like a phoenix. The rooms were lit by candles, jazz music was playing on an actual turntable, and the house seemed full of people, of champagne bottles, and of vintage ashtrays filled to the brims. All the windows were open, the curtains blowing in the linden-scented breeze of late spring in Bucharest, dancing dangerously close to the candles, and everything had an air of magic and mystery. I had no idea who most of the people were, or where she’d collected them from. It was one of her talents, wilting then re-blooming, dropping away from the world, then reigniting her social life out of nothing. The only one I recognized was her dentist – Louise had constant trouble with her teeth, and the man was an eminence of sorts to whom the old dragon paid a small fortune. He was supposed to be in high demand. I wouldn’t have been surprised to find out that Louise had met all the others in his waiting room, a place where even people with connections were reduced to spending hours.

I didn’t like this crowd, but I didn’t care. I didn’t like her portrait on the wall, something one of the guests, a pretentious fellow with an obvious drinking problem, had painted. I didn’t like that she hesitated in introducing me.

“This is Richard, my…” My what, Louise? My lover? “My husband’s friend, I mean my ex-husband’s friend.” I let it slide. In the end, I was grateful he wasn’t there, the current husband. By the look of things he’d been gone a long time, and I was hoping he’d stay gone forever. “Richard often comes by to see my girls,” she lied to no-one in particular as nobody was listening at this point. They were all drinking heavily. I also doubted they knew her well enough to know how many husbands or children she’d had. They were all blissfully unaware of the girls sleeping upstairs. I was sure the old dragon was of the school of thought that children should be seen and not heard, but the thing about Louise’s children was that one never got to see them either. It was as if they inhabited a parallel universe, and I knew more about them from Rogers then I ever did from visiting their mother.

I tried to put that out of my mind. I didn’t like the party, but I liked watching her. She was so in her element. She was putting on a show for her own amusement, and everything and everybody was part of it, from these people who barely knew her to the portrait on the wall that didn’t really look like her but that validated the role she chose to play that night. I knew this Louise. She was the lady of the manor, the centerpiece in a tableau vivant she had created for her own artistic satisfaction, like a director casting us all in a scene from a movie. I liked this side of her, the energy she put into weaving together elaborate fantasies to entertain herself.

She saw me watching her and she smiled. She looked pleased with how the evening was turning out, pleased with her own reflection in the mirror hanging above the improvised bar on top of the credenza. Maybe she wore the dress not so much as a symbol, but because it matched the sparkle of champagne in the glasses, and champagne seemed to be the theme of the evening. Somebody must have bribed the old dragon with several cases full of it, and Louise must have decided it needed to be consumed right away.

When people started leaving, she started making eye contact with me from across the room. I decided I’d talk her into coming back to my place. There wasn’t any way I’d spend the night here on the old dragon’s domain, and if Louise thought that was kinky in a fun way, I’d have to talk her out of it, which would be hard. But then I heard a key in the door, and Petrescu walked in. He looked like shit, pale and skinny and like he hadn’t showered or slept in a while. Louise’s face registered a look of surprise first. But then she flew to him. I felt like I’d been punched in the gut. The two other couples that were still there looked at him, and I wondered if these people even knew who he was.

“A party,” he said, “it’s nice to come home and find a party. But I have urgent business with my wife.”

The women in the room laughed, and one shoved her husband.

“Why can’t you be more like that? See, that’s hot!”

“Excuse us,” Louise said. “Please stay, we won’t be a minute.”

Among her guests, I was the only one who wanted to leave. The wife who’d misinterpreted Petrescu’s intentions with Louise was now busy using what she’d thought she’d seen to add passion to her own marriage, so she’d climbed onto her husband’s lap and was kissing him. The other couple were draining all the champagne bottles strewn across the room.

I pulled out my phone and called myself a cab. The only good thing about Louise’s guests was that they were drunk enough to be oblivious to anything that didn’t concern them. No one would notice my departure.

“Two minutes,” the dispatch said.

I got up and stepped into the hallway. I heard Louise’s heels clicking on the linoleum, saw her gold dress shimmering in the dark. She was coming from the kitchen. 

“Richard,” she said. “Don’t leave.”

She followed me outside.

“I’ll only be a minute,” she said, as if I were an unreasonable child clinging to her skirts when she needed to go use the bathroom. 


Maria Elena Sandovici lives in Houston with her dog. She travels to Bucharest often and also to Spain, but her favorite trip remains 45 South to Galveston. She has an art studio at Hardy and Nance in the Warehouse District, open the third Saturday of every month, blogs daily at havewatercolorswilltravel.com, and writes poetry in the voice of her dog. She is also the author of three previous novels about women who are struggling with finding their place in the world.




CHECK OUT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:
5/20
Review
5/20
Excerpt 1
5/21
Sketchbook 1
5/22
Review
5/22
Promo
5/23
Excerpt 2
5/24
Review
5/24
Guest Post
5/25
Review
5/26
Sketchbook 2
5/27
Review
5/27
Excerpt 3
5/28
Promo
5/29
Review
5/29
Sketchbook 3
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Promo: Nowhere Near by Teddy Jones

NOWHERE NEAR
Stories
by
Teddy Jones
  Genre: Short Stories / Literary Fiction / West Texas
Publisher: Midtown Publishing, Inc.
Date of Publication: May11, 2017
Number of Pages: 206
Scroll down for Giveaway!

Characters in the eleven stories in Nowhere Near act in ways that some might call “divinest madness.” Some of them have been pushed near their limits by years of stress. Others mourn and grieve and discover feelings they can’t admit aloud. A sense of duty drives another to believe in aliens, at least for a while. Some of their behavior is simply laughable, other flirts with death, and the rest ranges from dangerous to near heroic. These characters vary widely, yet all have in common that they live in or come from West Texas, where spaces are wider and tolerance for strangeness seems just a bit greater. Whether readers agree these characters are nowhere near crazy, they may admit they all are doing what humans do—what makes sense to them at the time.
Praise for Nowhere Near:
“Teddy Jones writes about plainspoken people whose lives are entangled and wrought and marked by routine—routines they cherish, routines they wish to escape—and who glimpse, now and again, a sense of something beyond their ability to reason. The stories in Nowhere Near are deep, honest, and unsentimental, and they pierce you to the bone.—Robert Boswell, author of Tumbledown & The Heyday of the Insensitive Bastards
There’s so much goodness in these stories, the kind of goodness that grows out of characters who endure hard lessons leading them to revelations and deep understanding. You’ll find real people here, with real heartaches and mistakes and regrets. With language as true as music, a steady and perceptive eye, and at times a blazing humor, Teddy Jones creates fully imagined and realized worlds. Subtly, she makes strangeness ordinary and the ordinary strange. You will recognize the people in this book the way you recognize your own neighbors and friends and co-workers and family: full of annoying quirks and surprises and, finally, a saving grace.”—Eleanor Morse, author of White Dog Fell From the Sky
“Teddy Jones is the real deal. With her characteristic wit and goodhearted characters, Jones draws a bead on West Texas life as it’s currently lived. Her precise ear for the rhythms of life and language guides the reader confidently from dry land farming to the double life of dreams and secrets. These stories stuck with me and left me wanting more.” –Summer Wood, author of Raising Wrecker


Teddy Jones has been a nurse, nurse practitioner, university professor, college dean, and occasional farmhand. She grew up in a small north Texas town, Iowa Park, and gained college degrees in nursing at Incarnate Word and University of Texas, a Ph.D. in Education at University of Texas at Austin, and an MFA in Creative Writing from Spalding University. She held nursing, teaching, and administrative positions in Austin, Denver, and Lubbock and as a family nurse practitioner in Texas and New Mexico. Writing fiction was her “when I know enough and have the time” dream all those years. Now she and her husband live near Friona, in the Texas Panhandle, where her husband farms and she writes full time.
 ————————————— 
GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!
FIVE WINNERS!
One Grand Prize: Signed copies of both Nowhere Near and Jackson’s Pond, Texas, set of 10 hollyhock notecards, and a 11×15 print of the cover art from Jackson’s Pond.
1st Runner-Up: Signed copy of Nowhere Near + choice of notecards or print
Next Three Winners: choice of notecards or print
 (US ONLY)
  May 11-20, 2017

CHECK OUT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:
5/11
Author Interview 1
5/12
Review
5/13
Scrapbook Page 1
5/14
Promo
5/15
Review
5/16
Excerpt
5/17
Scrapbook Page 2
5/18
Review
5/19
Author Interview 2
5/20
Review


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Author Interview: Bending Angels by Jack H. Emmott

BENDING ANGELS
Living Messengers of God’s Love
by
By Jack H. Emmott
  Genre: Memoir / Inspirational / Faith
Publisher: Carpenter’s Son Publishing
Date of Publication: January 1, 2017
Number of Pages: 176

Struck by polio at age six, Jack H. Emmott began learning the difficult spiritual lessons embodied in paralysis, shivering loneliness, and dark despair. Fortunately, Jack had help― people of all ages he calls his “Bending Angels,” those who have spread their wings of love and inspiration to walk the journey of faith as the devastated little boy became one of Houston’s celebrated attorneys, a loyal husband, and a devoted dad. Each chapter of this book will relate the story of a Bending Angel―from Brownie, the pup, to Mr. Ochoa, the baseball coach who understood how much of a heart it takes to win and how much of a soul it takes to lose your most precious dream. This book will inspire and uplift you as Jack H. Emmott, a life-long Christian, shares his spiritual wisdom and lessons learned.




CLICK TO RECEIVE A WEEKLY PRAYER EMAIL FROM JACK EMMOTT
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PRAISE FOR BENDING ANGELS:
“The power of ‘Let go and let God’ is personified in this inspiring story. Also, that we are given guidance in the most unsuspected forms when we but look, and that a flood of grace is behind every surrender. What a joy.”
Lindsay Wagner, actress, author
“With gentle humor and no small amount of faith, Bending Angels: Living Messengers of God’s Love tells the story of Jack Emmott’s life and of the angels who have appeared in his life, just when he needed them the most. 
Do I believe in angels? Absolutely.
Was Jack himself an angel to me during the darkest period of my life?  Absolutely.”
Debbie Adams, Past President, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Greater Houston/Galveston;
Chair, Advisory Council UTHealth School
of NursingTrustee, St. Edward’s University
Bending Angel is a beautiful inspiring book about faith and prayer and the angels that surround us. Jack shared his life journey of trusting in God and drawing strength that was needed to help him. I learned a great deal from this book and have thought about it over and over again since I read it.” 
Amazon reviewer
“If only I could get through a chapter without crying…very moving and touching stories.”
Amazon reviewer

PURCHASE LINKS
Amazon    
* * *
AuthorInterview

Jack Emmott is interviewed about Bending Angels on radio station KSBJ. (3 minutes)

Radio Interview Image

Click to listen to the radio interview.

Author Jack H. Emmott contracted polio at the age of six.  Before polio, he knelt at his bedside with his mother Lucile and said evening prayers.  With paralysis, Jack could no longer kneel.  But he could still pray to God for guidance, comfort and healing.  The grace and love of God transformed all the bad from polio and paralysis into good.  Jack is a life-long Christian and successful family lawyer in Houston, Texas.  He is married to his wife of over forty years, Dorothy, who works alongside him in his calling.  Jack is father to two children and grandfather to three grandchildren.
Jack is the author of Bending Angels: Living Messengers of God’s Love by (Carpenter’s Son Publishing, 2016) a memoir of the living angels that touched his life.  He wrote Prayerful Passages:  Asking God’s Help in Reconciliation, Separation and Divorce (Outskirts Press, 2016) to help couples in struggling marriages ask God’s help through prayer for the same guidance, comfort and healing he has received from our Almighty Father for over sixty years following polio.


CHECK OUT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:
5-May
Radio Interview
6-May
Review
7-May
Excerpt
8-May
Review
9-May
Author Interview
10-May
Character Interview
11-May
Review
12-May
Guest Post
13-May
Sneak Peek
14-May
Review
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Promo & Giveaway: A Witness to History by Janet M. Neugebauer

A WITNESS TO HISTORY
George H. Mahon,
West Texas Congressman
by
By Janet M. Neugebauer
Foreword by Kent Hance
  Genre: Texas History / Politics / Biography
Date of Publication: June 30 2017
Number of Pages: 576
Scroll down for Giveaway!
 
This is the story of George H. Mahon, a man who went to Congress in 1935, when the House Committee on Appropriations still allocated a small amount of money to buy military horses. Forty-four years later, when Mahon retired as Chairman of that same committee, the committee was debating funds to purchase a bomber capable of traveling at 2,000 miles an hour. With a career spanning nearly a half century—spanning almost the entire Cold War—Mahon grew from a West Texas country lawyer to one of the most powerful men in the US House of Representatives, serving twenty-two consecutive terms from 1935–1978.
During his time in Congress, Mahon worked easily with the giants of government, enjoying the friendship and confidence of seven of the eight presidents with whom he served. He worked just as comfortably with his constituents in the Nineteenth Congressional District of Texas. Mahon served on several Congressional committees, but it is through his service on the House Appropriations Committee and the Subcommittee on Defense Appropriations that he had the greatest national impact. He often bragged that under his leadership the Subcommittee on Defense Appropriations was the most non-partisan committee in Congress. Mahon led the subcommittee with a strong but gentle hand that earned him the respect of all who served with him.

Janet M. Neugebauer is deputy director of the Southwest Collection at Texas Tech University. Her many works include Lambshead Legacy and Plains Farmer.

Kent Hance is a former Chancellor of the Texas Tech University System and a former member of the US House of Representatives.

 ————————————— 
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 (US ONLY)
   April 26-May 7, 2017 

CHECK OUT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:
4/26
Review
4/27
Promo
4/28
Sneak Peek Images
4/29
Review
4/30
Promo
5/1
Sneak Peek Images
5/2
Review
5/3
Promo
5/4
Sneak Peek Images
5/5
Review
   
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Review & Giveaway: Deep Extraction by DiAnn Mills

DEEP EXTRACTION
An FBI Task Force Novel, Book 2
by
By DiAnn Mills
  Genre: Contemporary / Mystery / Christian
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
Date of Publication: April 4, 2017
Number of Pages: 413
Scroll down for Giveaway!
  

A pacemaker should have saved oil and gas magnate Nathan Moore’s life. Instead, it provided his killer with a seemingly perfect means of execution.

A bombing at one of Nathan’s oil rigs days earlier indicates his death could be part of a bigger conspiracy, a web Special Agent Tori Templeton must untangle. But her first order of business is separating the personal from the professional—the victim’s wife, her best friend, is one of the FBI’s prime suspects.
Clearing Sally’s name may be the biggest challenge of her career, but Tori finds an unexpected ally in the newest member of the task force, recently reinstated Deputy US Marshal Cole Jeffers. As Tori and Cole dig deeper into Nathan’s personal and business affairs, they uncover more than they bargained for. And the closer they get to finding the real killer—and to each other—the more intent someone is on silencing them for good.
Watch the book trailer!

Praise for Deep Extraction
“Combined with intense action and stunning twists, this search for truth keeps readers on the edges of their favorite reading chairs.”  Romantic Times

“Mills many fans will devour” Library Journal

Goodreads readers praise Deep Extraction
“This was truly an amazing, suspenseful read that can be held up as an example of what good Christian suspense should be.” 

“DiAnn Mills’ writing is evocative of an excellent crime show. Sharp and to the point. Just how I imagine law enforcement work, think and talk.”

“Mills’ has captured the rush of adrenaline along with a good romance. Suspense and adventure are the real stars of this book.  Her motto is, “Expect an Adventure,” and she achieves it in this book.”
 
300b2-review
Mills has a clear vision of who her characters are and what it is they go through precisely. This talent is what makes it very hard to put this book down. Every chapter propels you to the next, anxious to see what clues might surface or what danger might befall the lovely Tori or handsome Cole. Cole. Now that’s a name that makes you feel safe inside but you know that there’s more beneath the surface. And while we’re on the subject of names, you have a hunch that Tori is short for Victoria, and it makes you wonder why Mills went with the nickname Tori over the more popular Vicky. Answer: This chick is tough and a Vicky would not have cut it at all.
Even more impressive than these complex characters working together to solve a murder, Mills keeps surprising the reader with each new revelation about Nathan Moore. I can honestly say that I have never been more interested in a character whose actual living presence in the book is so brief. I found myself torn between not wanting to know more about the secret life of this respectable business and family man, and morbidly fascinated with just how far down the rabbit hole goes.
Mills is a master at making you question your gut feeling with subtle details sprinkled here and there. And before you can berate yourself for being so dense, she reminds you of the history and relationships between the characters. Even they couldn’t believe their eyes or ears. They can hardly trust their own decisions.
I have more of a tendency to focus on little things when I like a book as much as this one. Like a coach nitpicking his star player, I would like to share my constructive criticisms. The problem with having laser-like vision as a writer is that time is of the essence if you’re not making a particular adventure into a trilogy. We lose some characterization because there just isn’t any time for it. Even though I know it’s going to happen, the attraction and relationship between Tori and Cole feels a bit off. Their professions and personalities make it very easy to envision the two coming together, but it doesn’t ring as true as it should.
Strangely enough, while Mills is the farthest thing from an angsty teenage boy, I found the character of Lance to be most believable and interesting. Especially when you hold him up against his sweet and uncomplicated brother Jack, the kid is pretty amazing. I hope that Mills considers following him as an adult since I see a future detective or something equally cool brewing in there.
Without ruining the ending, I was pleased with finding out who did it and why. I have read some great mysteries over the years who fumble that last bit, but Mills brings it in for the winning touchdown. The motive is clean and the clues were subtle. Mills has a way of painting every person of interest as a viable bad guy. And when you see the true antagonist(s) and the inner workings of their minds, you will be equally bewildered and impressed.
Great read and really, truly hope to read a book about Lance in the future!

DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She combines unforgettable characters with unpredictable plots to create action-packed, suspense-filled novels.

Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne Du Maurier, Inspirational Readers’ Choice, and Carol award contests. Library Journal presented her with a Best Books 2014: Genre Fiction award in the Christian Fiction category for Firewall.

DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers; a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association; International Thriller Writers, and the Faith, Hope, and Love chapter of Romance Writers of America. She is co-director of The Author Roadmap with social media specialist Edie Melson where she continues her passion of helping other writers be successful. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country.

DiAnn has been termed a coffee snob and roasts her own coffee beans. She’s an avid reader, loves to cook, and believes her grandchildren are the smartest kids in the universe. She and her husband live in sunny Houston, Texas.

DiAnn is very active online and would love to connect with readers on any of the social media platforms listed at www.diannmills.com.
 ————————————— 
ENTER TO WIN ONE OF FIFTEEN COPIES!
 (US ONLY)
   April 20-May 4, 2017 
CHECK OUT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:
20-Apr
Review
21-Apr
Guest Post: 4 Agencies You Didn’t Know Worked With the FBI
22-Apr
Review
23-Apr
Excerpt: Chapter 1, Part 1
24-Apr
Guest Post: 4 Ways the FBI Assists Other Agencies
25-Apr
Review
26-Apr
Guest Post: 6 Ways the FBI Investigates a Potential Threat
27-Apr
Guest Post: 9 Crimes the FBI Investigates
28-Apr
Review
29-Apr
Guest Post: 10 Ways to Show Character Growth and Change
30-Apr
Promo
1-May
Review
2-May
Guest Post: 10 Ways to Show You’re a Strong Woman
3-May
Excerpt: Chapter 1, Part 2
4-May
Review
 
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Author Interview & Giveaway: Evidence of Things Not Seen by Lindsey Lane


EVIDENCE
OF THINGS NOT SEEN
by
By Lindsey Lane
  Genre: YA /  Mystery / Suspense
Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux
Date of Publication: December 16, 2015
Number of Pages: 240
Scroll down for Giveaway!
  
Tommy Smythe is missing.
Fact: Tommy was good at physics and less good at basic human interactions.
Fact: Tommy recorded his thoughts and observations in a notebook.
Fact: Tommy believed in the existence of parallel universes.

Fact: Tommy was adopted.The facts are simple. The conclusions to be drawn from the facts are not simple. Did he run away to find his birth parents? Did he slip through a wormhole and enter one of the multiple universes he believed in? Did he simply wander off? 

Only one thing is certain: until a possibility is proven true, all possibilities exist.

Told through multiple perspectives, here is a story about how residents of a small town seek answers to the mystery of a teen’s disappearance. 

* * *

PRAISE FOR EVIDENCE OF THINGS NOT SEEN:

“In her first novel for teens, Lane offers a gripping and genre bending mosaic.” – Publishers Weekly
“Complex and Rich” – Horn Book
“This is the kind of book you tuck in with and escape into, and it will stay with you long after you finish the last lines.  Haunting and beautiful.” – Jennifer Mathieu, author of The Truth About AliceDevoted, and Afterward
“The narrative jiggers between unexpected opposites—joy and fear, love and violence, grief and hope—all the while holding forth the constant idea that the world offers us credible evidence of what seems impossible if we only know where to look.”  J.L. Powers, author of Amina, This Thing Called The Future, and the forthcoming Broken Circle
“Ever look at a pearl and notice that its one color is, in fact, many colors? That’s the beauty of EVIDENCE OF THINGS NOT SEEN, the stunning debut novel by Lindsey Lane.” – Conrad Wesselhoeft, author of Adios Nirvana, Dirt Bikes, Drones and Other Ways To Fly
Check out the book trailer!
PURCHASE LINKS

* * *

AuthorInterview

Author Interview: Lindsey Lane
This book on the surface is about a boy who disappears; but at closer look it is about the people around him and how their lives are entangled. What kind of research did you have to do to prepare yourself to write Evidence of Things Not Seen?

Hmmm, research is tricky for me. Because I write fiction, I usually do a lot of fact checking after I’ve drafted the story. If I wander off into too much research, I can get really bogged down in it and it takes me away from the character development. For instance with Evidence, I did do research about physics’ principles but I used secondary sources. I needed to stay with the voice of a sixteen year old totally tripped out by physics. I didn’t want him to sound like a professor. So I understood the theories pretty well but I treated them somewhat simply through a journal. When I was satisfied, I had readers’ who were savvy about physics check my facts to make sure I had conveyed the ideas correctly.
How did your studies and experiences in life help shape who you are as a writer?

I used to think my writing career was a bit haphazard but now I can see how writing plays gave me an ear for dialogue and pacing a story so that action and exposition move together seamlessly. Later my work as a journalist was critical to my ability for developing characters. I loved interviewing people and finding out their stories. I got very good at getting them to reveal themselves to me. Even when they didn’t want to. From those interviews, I became aware of the lies that certain characters told. Often times, when I uncover a character’s lie, I will find their emotional arc. Finally, picture books pared down my writing a lot and gave me a new respect for verbs. I like leaving space for the reader to enter in and make connections within the story.
Okay, so I always like to see what authors read. What are your favorite books and why?

Anna Sewell’s Black Beauty because it tells the truth about love and cruelty in the human heart.

Neil Gaiman’s The GraveYard Book I love Gaiman’s storytelling voice. Haunting and masterful.

Sherman Alexie’s True Story of a Part time Indian -The honesty of the voice. Also, when I finished this book, I thought, “Man, this is what books are meant to do: open up worlds.”

Kate DiCamillo’s Because of Winn Dixie. Again, India Opal’s voice and honesty and her clear beautiful emotional want makes you turn the page.

Katherine Paterson’s Bridge to Terebithia-Someday I may write a paper about how that book always makes me cry no matter how many times I read it.

Three books inspired the form of Evidence of Things Not Seen: Kathi Appelt’s Kissing Tennesee; An Na’s A Step Toward Heaven and Sandra Cisneros’ House on Mango Street. Kathi’s book is linked short stories around a middle school dance and gives you a glimpse into each character going to the prom. Both Na’s and Sandra’s books stunned me in their spare writing. So much is told with so little. Good writing that breaks form allows us to pad along behind and write the best stories we possible can with greater freedom.
Night owl or early bird? How does it help with your writing process?

Most reliably, the early morning hours are the most spacious and quietest times to write. I will often do a lot of drafting then because my critical mind is still snoozing. But you know what? I’ve discovered a little trick to create morning writing at all hours. I do a reset with a little nap or a shower. I find that those two things can recreate quiet and I can sit down for another couple of hours and work. Even late a night.
Did you always know you wanted to be an author?

I knew I always wanted to be a writer. I thought writers were the smartest most magical people in the world. I could create whole worlds and explain how everything works. Yup. That seemed way better than being President of the United States.
If you could live in one ‘book world’ which one would it be and why?

I’m going to have to go middle grade. Polly Horvath’s Everything on a Waffle. I love that town where everyone watches over you and no one calls the police. I love being by the ocean. I love the freedom and the safety of that world.
And finally, what other projects, if any, are you working on?

I’m close to finishing a pretty good draft of a young adult novel. The working title is Truth Inside. It is about a girl who murders someone and then redeems herself by turning herself in. How do you redeem yourself when you have done the worst possible thing in the world? Here is a haiku I wrote to hone the focus of the novel:

She must trade her life

For the girl she killed one night

No win redemption

 

Lindsey Lane is the author of the young adult novel Evidence of Things Not Seen (Farrar Straus Giroux) and the award-winning picture book and iTunes app Snuggle Mountain (Clarion/PicPocket Books). She is represented by Erin Murphy Literary Agency. Before she received her MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts in 2010, Lindsey was a features journalist (Austin Chronicle and Austin American Statesman) and an award-winning playwright (The Miracle of Washing Dishes). Lindsey is a featured presenter at schools and conferences and universities and also teaches writing at Austin Community College, Writers League of Texas, and the Writing Barn. She lives in Austin, Texas but loves to travel, especially to the ocean. She loves books, films, good food and her cadre of dear friends. Her idea of a perfect evening is having a dinner party at her home with friends from around the world and discussing everything under the sun while eating, drinking, and laughing. 
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Excerpt and Giveaway: The Grave Tender by Eliza Maxwell


THE GRAVE TENDER
by
By Eliza Maxwell
  Genre: Women’s Fiction / Psychological Suspense
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Date of Publication: April 11, 2017
Number of Pages: 248
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A chilling psychological suspense novel, The Grave Tender explores the dark boundaries people cross to save loved ones, and the limits of family bonds tested by the deepest of betrayals.
Endless questions from a shadow-filled East Texas childhood haunt Hadley Dixon. People said her mother, Winnie, was never quite right, but with one single, irreparable act, life as Hadley knew it was shattered. The aftershocks of that moonlit night left her reeling, but the secrets and lies had started long before.
When a widowed and pregnant Hadley returns years later, it’s not the safe harbor she expects. The mysteries surrounding a local boy’s disappearance remain, and the townspeople still whisper about Hadley’s strange and reclusive Uncle Eli—whispers about a monster in their midst.
But Hadley’s father and grandmother, the cornerstones of everything safe in her world, avoid her questions. If Hadley stays here, will she be giving her children the family they need or putting their lives in danger?
The hunt for answers takes a determined Hadley deep into the pine forests, in search of sunlight that will break through the canopy of lies long enough to reveal the truth.
“The Grave Tender will grasp you in its hooks from the beginning as you try to figure out the truth behind each character, because no one is truly what they seem … Addicting, easy to read, and hard to put down.”Shelbi LeMeilleur, Insite Magazine
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4a231-excerpt

Most people, if asked, would tell you that Cooper Abbott had surely had some sort of accident.  Maybe he’d been bitten by a snake, or fallen into the river and hit his head on a rock.  There were as many rumors as people to spread them, and a thousand possibilities to choose from.

The one thing they all agreed on was that tropical storm Jolene had been a true misfortune, carrying off any clue to finding the boy.  Probably carrying off the boy himself, down the river toward the Gulf of Mexico.

No one suspected anything more sinister.

Not at first.

By Thursday night the skies had cleared.  On Friday, the clean-up began.

The Dixon’s power was still out, as it was in many places across town, but Hadley didn’t care.  She was happy to be outside, helping to haul downed branches into a pile and picking up dropped nails while Walker took the boards off the shutters.  Light slowly came back into the dim house.

It was just after lunch when the Sheriff’s car pulled slowly up the drive, gravel crunching under the tires all the way.

Ben Hammon was an old friend of Walker’s.  They’d gone to school together way back when, and still met up for poker night every other Friday.  But it wasn’t a social call that brought Sheriff Hammon out to the Dixon house that day.

The Sheriff wasn’t alone.  One of his deputies got out of the passenger side of the car.  The deputy looked forbidding in his brown uniform and hat, his eyes scanning the trees behind their home.  But he smiled and gave Hadley a wink when he caught her watching him.

“Hey, Ben.  Any news on the Abbott boy?” Walker asked.

The Sheriff shook his head.  “Nothing yet.  We’ve picked up the search again, but frankly Walker, I don’t expect to hear anything until we get a call from somewhere downriver.”

Walker cleared his throat and motioned in her direction.

“Hadley, you remember Sheriff Hammon, don’t you?”

She knew good and well the reminder was for the Sheriff, so he wouldn’t say anything else that meant something.  Cooper is my friend, Hadley thought, tired of being treated like a baby.

“Actually, Walker, we’d like to speak with Hadley, if you don’t mind.”

Walker’s eyebrows shot up.

“What’s this about, Ben?”

“Dan Abbott was in to see us soon as the weather let up,” the Sheriff said.  “He says the kids had a run in with your brother last weekend.”

The camp out.  An image of Eli looming over them in the doorway of the tent filled Hadley’s mind.

“Eli?” Walker asked, glancing down at Hadley, clearly confused.  She’d never told him what had happened last week, and so much had happened since.

“What’s Eli got to do with anything?”

The Sheriff tipped his hat back and scratched his head, not looking entirely comfortable in his own skin.

“Probably nothing, to tell you the truth.  But a boy is missing, Walker, and we have to do our jobs.”

All three men turned to Hadley then.  Her eyes went wide.

Walker squatted down next to her.

“Hadley, honey, you don’t have to be scared.  You’re not in any trouble.  Just tell the men here what happened.  Nobody can be hurt by telling the truth.”

Hadley knew that wasn’t true.  If it were, her father wouldn’t look so worried.  But she couldn’t see another option, so she did as he asked.  She told the truth.

 

Eliza Maxwell lives in Texas with her ever patient husband, two impatient kids, a budgie named Sarah, and a bird dog who lives a tortured existence.  She’s an artist and writer, an introvert and a British cop drama addict.  A former bookseller with a lifelong love of the written word, she can often be found barefoot on the front porch lost in a good cup of coffee and a great book.
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