Posted in Giveaway, Historical, nonfiction, Spotlight on February 21, 2017

BULLETINS FROM DALLAS

Reporting the JFK Assassination

by

BILL SANDERSON

  Genre: Biography / Journalism

Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing

Date of Publication: November 1, 2016

Number of Pages: 280

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Thanks to one reporter’s skill, we can fix the exact moment on November 22, 1963 when the world stopped and held its breath: At 12:34 p.m. Central Time, UPI White House reporter Merriman Smith broke the news that shots had been fired at President Kennedy’s motorcade. Most people think Walter Cronkite was the first to tell America about the assassination. But when Cronkite broke the news on TV, he read from one of Smith’s dispatches. At Parkland Hospital, Smith saw President Kennedy’s blood-soaked body in the back of his limousine before the emergency room attendants arrived. Two hours later, he was one of three journalists to witness President Johnson’s swearing-in aboard Air Force One. Smith rightly won a Pulitzer Prize for the vivid story he wrote for the next day’s morning newspapers.

Smith’s scoop is journalism legend. But the full story of how he pulled off the most amazing reportorial coup has never been told. As the top White House reporter of his time, Smith was a bona fide celebrity and even a regular on late-night TV. But he has never been the subject of a biography.

With access to a trove of Smith’s personal letters and papers and through interviews with Smith’s family and colleagues, veteran news reporter Bill Sanderson will crack open the legend. Bulletins from Dallas tells for the first time how Smith beat his competition on the story, and shows how the biggest scoop of his career foreshadowed his personal downfall.

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Praise for BULLETINS FROM DALLAS

“So much of what we know about any story depends on how reporters do their work. Bill Sanderson takes us through every heartbreaking minute of one of the biggest stories of our lifetime, with sharp detail and powerful observations. As you read the book, you’ll feel all the pressure and adrenaline rush of a reporter on deadline.” —Neal Shapiro, former president of NBC News, current president of WNET

“The life and work of a noted White House reporter…. Focusing on [Merriman] Smith’s reporting of the Kennedy assassination, for which he won a Pulitzer Prize, Sanderson conveys the tension and confusion after the event, as Smith and other newsmen scrambled to ascertain facts.” —Kirkus Reviews

“To read Bulletins from Dallas is to touch the fabric of history, through Sanderson’s artful weave of many voices, from presidents across the decades to the last words uttered by J.F.K. Swept back through the corridors of time, we hear the urgent bells and clatter of the teletype machine: Merriman Smith’s first report to the world, ‘Three shots fired at President Kennedy’s motorcade today in Downtown Dallas.’ This compelling narrative takes us to that moment when our whole nation cried, and, even now, to tears of primal sympathy that never seem to end.” —Allen Childs, author of We Were There: Revelations from the Dallas Doctors Who Attended to JFK on November 22, 1963

 

photo by Annie Wermiel

Bill Sanderson spent almost two decades as a reporter and editor at the New York Post. His work has also appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Observer, and the Washington Post. Sanderson lives in New York City.

 

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CHECK OUT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR

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2/22 Review Hall Ways Blog
2/23 Author Interview Texas Book Lover
2/24 Book Trailer Forgotten Winds
2/25 Review Kara The Redhead
2/26 Video Interview The Page Unbound
2/27 Review Blogging for the Love of Authors and Their Books
2/28 Guest Post Byers Editing Reviews & Blog
3/1 Excerpt Books and Broomsticks
3/2 Review Reading By Moonlight

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Posted in Book Release, excerpt, romance on February 21, 2017
~ Release Day Blitz ~
A Way Back Into Love by Veronica Thatcher
21st February, 2017

Synopsis

Nothing is perfect. Life is messy. Relationships are complex. Outcomes, uncertain. People, irrational. But love… Well, that makes complicates everything complicated. When you are caught in a tangled web of secrets, lies, and complex affairs, someone is bound to get burned.

Emily Stevens is a spunky, spirited college girl whose life is turned upside-down when she realizes she’s in love with her best friend of fifteen years, Derek Thorpe. As Emily prepares to confess her feelings to Derek, something happens one night which changes her life forever. Five years later, Emily finds herself in Boston, alone and heartbroken.

Will she ever be able to forget the past? And what will she find when she returns home… to the man she left behind?

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Excerpt

Emily stepped back from him and shook her head. “Oh, you know damn well what I mean. You know what, Derek? I’m done having this conversation with you. I’m so done with this conversation and I’m so done with you,” Emily spat out angrily before brushing past him.

“Emily, wait,” Derek said, catching her by her arm. “Where are you going?”

Emily spun around and gave him a bitter look before looking down at his hand gripping her arm. “Leave my arm,” she said in a low yet threatening voice, “And why do you care where I’m going? It’s none of your business.”

Derek didn’t leave her arm in spite of her warning and said, “Em, you’ve had too many drinks. You can’t drive in this condition. I’ll drop you home.”

Emily jerked her arm free from his grasp and replied in a bitter voice, “Thank you, but no. I’m perfectly capable of getting myself home on my own. I don’t need you to drop me home. Do you get it, Derek Thorpe? I DON’T NEED YOU!” Emily yelled the last words, causing a few people to look their way.

About the Author

Veronica Thatcher is an exciting new contemporary romance author. Ever since she was very young, she’s dreamed of becoming a doctor when she grew up. While still forging ahead with that, majoring in pre-med in college, she unwittingly stumbled upon a new dream—becoming a published author. Some may call her an introvert or a wallflower, but she has always found she could express herself better in written, rather than spoken, words. However, never in her wildest dreams had she envisioned she would pursue writing as a prospective career, not just a hobby. Her love for writing goes hand-in-hand with her love for a good romance novel—whether it be a feel-good, sweet romance or a dark, suspenseful one. When she’s not studying, reading, or writing, she is usually found blasting her favourite songs, sometimes singing and dancing along to them.  She dabbles in a number of activities, including painting, karate, singing and dancing. She is a huge chocoholic – probably the biggest – and she is an ice-cream junkie too. She considers herself technologically handicapped forever and has no shame in admitting that. She also deems chocolates her boyfriend, Patrick Dempsey the love of her life, and Friends her life!

Her first book, A Way Back Into Love, is slated for release in February 2017, and she hopes readers will enjoy it as much as she enjoyed writing it.


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Posted in Giveaway, Interview, Monday, mystery on February 20, 2017

Synopsis

After months of marital bliss, Jessica Faraday and Murphy Thornton are still discovering and adjusting to their life together. Settled in their new home, everything appears to be perfect … except in the middle of the night when, in darkest shadows of her subconscious, a deep secret from Jessica’s past creeps to the surface to make her strike out at Murphy.

When investigative journalist Dallas Walker tells the couple about her latest case, known as the Pine Bridge Massacre, they realize Jessica may have witnessed the murder of a family living near a winery owned by distant relatives she was visiting and suppressed the memory.

Determined to uncover the truth and find justice for the murder victims, Jessica and Murphy return to the scene of the crime with Dallas Walker, a spunky bull-headed Texan. Can this family reunion bring closure for a community touched by tragedy or will this prickly get-together bring an end to the Thorny Rose couple?

Trailer

Interview with Lauren

What’s your favorite thing about the writing process?

Oh, it’s the creative process—coming up with the plotline and figuring out how the murder is committed, who done it, how they are caught—all of that! For me, it is as close to being an amateur detective as you can get. They have the committed crime and work backwards toward the beginning. I am at the beginning and working forward, through the crime, and right up to where the culprit is caught.

How long have you been a writer?

Let’s just say my whole life. I believe writers are born. If you’re a writer, even if you aren’t writing books, you’re a writer. You’re thinking up storylines in the shower instead of singing. If you’re late for work, you can’t just say traffic was terrible, you have to tell a whole story about it being a dark and stormy morning …

I remember rewriting The Bobbsey Twins when I was in grade school to make it more suspenseful. That’s what writers do.

For what would you like to be remembered?

For making everyone around me smile.

Are you an introvert or an extrovert?

Introvert. Most writers are introverts—that’s what makes personal appearances hard for many writers. That’s why I love virtual book tours. I can do the whole tour naked!

What is the most daring thing you’ve done?

Skydiving. I was nineteen years old and dating a great guy who had scheduled parachuting lessons for him and his buddy. Well, his friend backed out, so I asked to go. Thing is—I had never even been up in a plane before! When I told my mother, she said it was okay, but not to tell her what day I was doing it—instead, tell her that I was going on a picnic. So, a couple of days before the jump I asked her for eighty dollars for my picnic on Saturday.

On the day of the lessons, we have six hours of instruction before going up in the plane. Two hours was on how to jump and how to land. The next four hours was on what to do if something went wrong. One of the things they stressed was that when you hit the ground to stand up quickly so that they could see you were okay. If you don’t stand up, they’ll send out the ambulance.

So then, we went up in the plane for our jump. We were suited up with our parachutes and our reserve chutes and all of this equipment. Back then, I weighed about a hundred and ten pounds and I was wearing close to sixty pounds of chutes.

Then, we went up. Remember, I have never been in a plane before. I was more excited about that than the jump. Jon, my boyfriend, jumped out first. Then I jumped.

It was fabulous! I loved it. I could see Jon down on the ground waving and jumping up and down and I was waving back.

Then, I hit the ground beautifully and rolled just like they told us to do. And then … I couldn’t stand up because I was wearing sixty pounds of chutes and equipment. I remembered them saying that I needed to stand up. So, I’m rolling on the ground in the field like a giant turtle on her back trying to get to my feet. In the distance, I hear the ambulance racing across the field and Jon yelling.

By the time I stood up I saw about a dozen people and an ambulance racing across the field toward me.

Jon told me that the whole time he was running across the field he was trying to think of how to tell my mother that I did great … until I hit the ground.

It was five years later before I went up in a plane and actually landed in it.

What is the stupidest thing you’ve ever done?

Recently or over the course of my life? This morning I ate two bags of chocolate truffles while answering questions for interviews. Now I have a stomach ache.

What is your most embarrassing moment?

Telling my husband that I couldn’t meet him for lunch because I have a stomach ache from eating two bags of chocolate truffles.

What choices in life would you like to have a redo on?

Deciding between eating a nutritious breakfast and two bags of chocolate truffles.

What would your main characters say about you?

There are two main characters in A Fine Year for Murder, Jessica Faraday and Murphy Thornton. An heiress, Jessica is Mac Faraday’s daughter. She would say that I was obsessive about my writing to the point of being a workaholic. The solution would be spend a weekend at a spa without any Internet or technology.

On the other hand, Murphy Thornton would say that I had a brilliant mind—after all, I am the creator of three mystery series. However, it would do me some good to work on becoming more disciplined—especially when it comes to health and fitness. Cut out the chocolate truffles and go to the gym more.

How long is your to-do list?

I don’t know. You need to ask my husband. He’s the one who makes it up and keeps track of it.

What are you working on now?

Twofer Murder will be a treat for mystery lovers because it will be two mysteries in one novel. This book will contain all of the characters from the Mac Faraday, Lovers in Crime, and Thorny Rose mysteries. The guys go fishing and get embroiled in a murder mystery. Meanwhile, the ladies go off to a murder mystery writers conference and end up wrapped up in their own mystery when an up and coming mystery writer ends up dead! Can’t beat that! Two mysteries for the price of one!

As for Murphy and Jessica of the Thorny Rose, sorry, readers, but the next Thorny Rose Mystery is at least a year away. I’m now working on three series! The working title for the next Thorny Rose Mystery is From Rags to Riches to Dead. In this mystery, Jessica’s best friend Amy receives news that her leech of a husband was killed in a freak accident at an expensive resort, where he had spent the last several days living it up. Amy, and Jessica are still trying to sort out this news when Dean walks in—alive and well. Upon investigation, they discover that a killer has been stealing the identity of deadbeat husbands who have been living off their rich wives, and then luring them to expensive resorts to murder them.

Lightning round:

Cake or frosting? Frosting!

Laptop or desktop? Laptop because I’ll write anywhere. Desktops are just too awkward to carry in a case with a shoulder strap.

Chevy Chase or Bill Murray? Bill Murray. Ghostbusters is one of my favorite movies.

Emailing or texting? Emails. I tend to send long wordy messages (the writer in me) and the keys for texting are just too tiny.

Indoors or outdoors? Indoors with central air conditioning. I have seasonal allergies with every change of season.

Tea: sweet or unsweet? Sweet, of course!

Plane, train, or automobile? Automobile—with me driving. My husband and son claim I’m a backseat driver.

About the Author

Lauren Carr is the international best-selling author of the Mac Faraday, Lovers in Crime, and Thorny Rose Mysteries—over twenty titles across three fast-paced mystery series filled with twists and turns!

Book reviewers and readers alike rave about how Lauren Carr’s seamlessly crosses genres to include mystery, suspense, romance, and humor.

Lauren is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. She lives with her husband, son, and four dogs (including the real Gnarly) on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.

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Giveaway

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Ends April 22

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Posted in excerpt, Fantasy, Young Adult on February 19, 2017

Synopsis

What if you thought you could play a better god than God?

Mudmen is a story unlike anything you have ever seen before. It all starts with a half-crazed dwarf scribbling furiously on a piece of paper while the world outside his little cottage is ravaged by a great storm. There is an artifact in his possession which gives him power over all else, but that artifact is stolen by the very creatures that he gave birth to in his frustration – these creatures are what we come to know as the Mudmen.

Excerpt

And for the first time in days he dreamt. He was climbing up a hill. It was the dead of the night and moonlight was his only guide to what lay ahead. His short legs carried him up the hill at a far slower pace than he had expected to cover.

Wait! What had he expected to cover?

All of a sudden the ground beneath his feet began to shake and a grumbling sound emanated from the top of the hill. It was almost as if the great giant that rests beneath the earth had finally decided to move and he was standing directly over him.

Why were there no trees on the hill? Why was the ground so barren?

He saw a light at the top, an orange glow that seemed to be taking on a more solid form as each second passed by and every step he took brought him closer to it. It was almost as if the night sky was on fire.

Oh no! This was not a hill – it was a volcano, one that was about to spew forth molten lava and rocks.

He fell down as the earth beneath his feet shook even more violently. A black cloud of smoke blocked out the moon but he could see the world around him a lot clearer now in the light of the fire that rained from the skies above. He turned around, willing himself to run away but his feet would not obey him. And then he remembered that he had to get to the top of the volcano no matter what happened, for what waited for him at the top was the only thing that mattered.

About the Author

Shitij Sharma is a nineteen year old budding author from India.He is the author of the book – THE GIRL FROM ROSTOV. He believes that he can successfully explain the world’s current situation in this one paragraph

‘This world was a strange place to live in. It was disorderly and chaotic. Therefore, we had to find our way through this labyrinth of human emotions and actions to arrive at a place where there was some resemblance to order, order in the form of disorderly governments and a moral compass that does not always point north.’

He currently resides in New Delhi, India. He spends most of his time writing his second novel which he hopes to complete before this year is out.

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Posted in Spotlight, Thriller on February 18, 2017

Synopsis

Sarah Appleton has been kidnapped from her university campus in Cambridge, England. When she escapes, killing her abductor, she sets in motion a chain of events that has repercussions all across the world. Sarah and her father, Martin Appleton, flee the Russian mafia, from whom Martin stole twenty million dollars in bearer bonds, leaving authorities to unravel the threat of a terrorist plot using biological weapons of mass destruction stolen from a Russian lab and sold to Middle Eastern extremists. As the authorities scramble to unravel the scant clues left by people who make few mistakes, terrorists gear up for an attack that will leave millions of innocent people dead and the governments of several Middle Eastern nations in chaos.

About the Author

At the end of 2016 my first novel, ‘Disciples of Death,’ a terrorist thriller set in the Middle East, is being published by Black Opal Books in America. I’m currently writing my second thriller about the hunt for a British serial killer, called, ‘Soulmates.’ My second book has a main character, Detective Inspector Sarah Machin, who is also the main character in two follow up books I have planned, ‘Bailey’s Land’ and ‘Camden Town.’ I have only been drawn to theatre work recently, having a short play, ‘The Clearing,’ produced by Whoop ‘n’ Wail, at their event at the Waterloo East Theatre, April, 2015.

I’m also working on a few short 10 minute plays to enter in various short play competitions. My longer work consists of a play, ‘Death of the Slasher,’ about a 1950’s serial killer, in prison awaiting execution for his crimes. In his cell he is visited by the ghost of one of his victims. While he awaits the hangman’s noose he contemplates with the ghost his crimes and what made him do what he did.

Being a home carer for my disabled girlfriend, I try to pack in as much writing as I can between care duties, because I find writing, especially for theatre, opens up a whole world of possibility. I’m 52 years old, and my main ambition for my writing is to try and improve and become the best writer I can.

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Posted in 4 paws, Review, Romantic Comedy on February 17, 2017

Synopsis

Born with a silver spoon in her mouth, Manhattan upper-cruster Cecily Sinclair now uses that pricey utensil to dish up fancy French fare on her cooking show, Serving Romance. When there’s an executive shake-up at the network, she’s not worried. Not much anyway. Her show’s a hit after all. Why would the new CEO want to mess with success?

The driving force behind several buzzed-about networks, Devlin Hayes is considered to be a wunderkind in the television industry. Although his plans to rebrand CuisineTV and make Serving Romance more Millennial-friendly don’t thrill Cecily, her charming, blue-eyed boss is a hard man to say “no” to and she really wants to keep her job—even if that means sharing screen time with a loathsome blast from her past.

Mercurial Italian chef Dante Marchetti a.k.a. “Il Duce” was once Cecily’s boss, and she has the PTSD to prove it. Now the owner of one of the hottest restaurants in town, Dante’s egomania knows no bounds and his constant attempts to provoke and upstage Cecily make her want to conk him on the head with a sautééé pan. She thinks they’re toxic together, but viewers love their chemistry and clamor for more.

As Cecily battles to maintain the integrity of her show, she finds herself scheming and manipulating right along with Dante and Devlin. Is she fighting a lost cause? Does she really belong on TV, or would her culinary talent be better served elsewhere? And could one of the men who makes Cecily’s blood boil ignite a passion in her for something other than food?

Review

If you like hunky men, comedy, romance and food/cooking then this is the book for you.

Cecily is a multi faceted protagonist. She is wealthy but was trained at Cordon Bleu and worked in restaurants before becoming a television chef. She has a very wacky family including a cousin, Dina, that is a flower child long past the 60’s. And a grandmother that makes everyone toe the line.

Then you have 3 potential love interests for Cecily – her ex-fiance’ Boyce (because is he really an ex if they still have a good relationship? maybe, maybe not), Dante – a former boss of Cecily’s who happens to have a hot body and seems to rub Cecily the wrong way. Is it conflict or perhaps chemistry? And finally we have Devlin – her boss, who despite shaking up the network and making huge changes, sees something in Cecily. So who will she end up with? You’ll have to read the book to find out.

I really enjoyed the mix of characters and the interaction (whether good or bad) because it just added more dimension to the story. I was hoping Cecily would end up with who she did, but there were times when I wondered if other incidents might influence her decision. Dina is a crack up, I love her whimsical nature. Paige (the best friend) plays a minor role, but there are some interesting twists with her life near the end.

I also liked how Cecily’s character grew as the book progressed. Yes she may be formally trained and have had a “proper” upbringing, but she learns to bend and grows as a woman and even as a chef. I liked how down to earth she was despite her parents and grandmother. I think it is her and Dina having each other as best friends growing up (even though they are cousins) that helped ground both of them.

We enjoyed the book and give it 4 paws up.

About the Author

An avid reader and writer, Tracie Banister has been scribbling stories since she was a child, most of them featuring feisty heroines with complicated love lives like her favorite fictional protagonist Scarlett O’Hara. Her work was first seen on the stage of her elementary school, where her 4th grade class performed an original holiday play she penned. (Like all good divas-in-the-making, she also starred in and tried to direct the production.)

Tracie’s dreams of authorial success were put on the backburner when she reached adulthood and discovered that she needed a “real” job in order to pay her bills. Her career as personal assistant to a local entrepreneur lasted for 12 years. When it ended, she decided to follow her bliss and dedicate herself to writing full-time. Mixing It Up is her fourth Chick Lit release, and in it Tracie finally got to live out her fantasy of being a Cordon Bleu-trained chef.

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Posted in Middle Grade, Spotlight, Young Adult on February 16, 2017

Grow Up Messy!

(A Hilarious Coming of Age Series Book1)

Author  : Paromita Goswami

Genre :  Middle School, Teen and YA

Publisher :  Ficus India

 

Synopsis

Childhood is considered to be the best time of one’s life. What if you get a chance to live it once more with a five-year-old?

Misry, a naughty five-year-old girl, lives with her parents in a B.S.F border outpost near Indo-Bangladesh border. But with no schools and friends she feels very lonely. She tries to befriend some local village kids.

But they find her incompetent in their rural antics. They nickname her Messy as most of the time she messes up their plan. Can Misry really be a part of the gang?

Set in the early eighties, join Misry in the adventures of her life.

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Fun Facts about the book & the writing journey

      1. Misry’s character in the book Grow Up Messy! is that of an innocent child who depends more on her mother for her smaller needs. The best part is she expects her mother to be know everything just like the superwoman. She believes there is nothing which her Ma cannot do or hasn’t seen. So when she requests her mother to make Pinjiri, something which she had tasted for the first time elsewhere, it never occurred to her that Ma might not know about its preparation.  This particular scene from the book is very close to my heart. Although the entire episode is very funny but it actually depicts the trust of a child in the mother. Something which no one can ever challenge. I see my son in this episode sometimes.
      1. Children enjoy being dirty. We have done it so many times in our days yet as a parent if we see our child playing in the soil we try to stop him immediately. The same thing our mothers might have also done with us while we enjoyed. Isn’t it strange, when we grow up we follow our mothers so blindly.There is an episode in the book where Misry plays in the muddy pool and ruins her fresh clothes. No doubt her mother is mad at her.
      1. Children have a very special place for animals in their heart. Whether they have pets at home or not but whenever they get a chance to pet an animal they will never stop themselves. I wish as we grow up we shouldn’t lose this emotion within us. It actually makes us more humane.In the book, Misry befriends a sacrificial  animal as her pet what follows next is very heart wrenching.
      1. As kids, our relationship with our first cousins is very interesting. Once in a year, during the school vacation we go to visit them. Whatever, time we spent together is always fun. We use to share things, study together, fight with each other and even share our little secrets. These moments are recreated when Misry visits her Dadu’s house. It is so much fun to have so many family members living under the same roof. Have you ever lived in a joint family or visited one?
      1. It will be a lie if I say I never had any difficulties in learning or rather mugging up the multiplication tables. This was one part that I always hated in Mathematics and the fact is no one said before that this multiplication table I will be using throughout my life. Yet when it comes to our kids we never fail to tell them how easy it is to learn the multiplication table. Was it really???  The book has a chapter for that too. Seriously dedicated to the Multiplication Tables.    How Misry and her family copes with it is something to watch out for.

About the Author

Paromita Goswami is a writer and storyteller by passion and a rebel by choice. She says the world is full of stories and as a writer she loves to pen them down. Her work is not genre specific. From literary fiction to children book to upcoming paranormal thriller and women fiction, Paromita Goswami‘s books offer the variety of life to her readers. Grow Up Messy! is her second book. She debuted in 2015 with Shamsuddin’s Grave, a literary fiction. Besides writing, she is also the founder of reading club that enhances book reading habit in children. She lives in central India with her family.

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Posted in excerpt, Giveaway, romance on February 15, 2017

 

Title: Tangled in Texas

Series: Texas Rodeo, #2

Author: Kari Lynn Dell

Pub Date: February 7, 2017

ISBN: 9781492631972

Synopsis

It took 32 seconds to end his career.

But it only took 1 to change his life.

Thirty-two seconds. That’s how long it took for Delon Sanchez’s life to end. One minute he was the best bronc rider in the Panhandle and the next he was nothing. Knee shattered, future in question, all he can do is pull together the pieces…and wonder what cruel trick of fate has thrown him into the path of his ex, the oh-so-perfect Tori Patterson.

Tori’s come home after her husband’s death, intent on escaping the public eye. It’s just her luck that Delon limps into her physical therapy office, desperate for help. All hard-packed muscle and dark-eyed temptation, he’s never been anything but a bad idea. And yet, seeing him again, Tori can’t remember what made her choose foolish pride over love…or why, with this second, final chance to right old wrongs, the smartest choice would be to run from this gorgeous rodeo boy as fast as her boots can take her.

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Sortin’ the Herd—How a Real Cowgirl Cuts Off the Strays

Nowadays pretty much anyone can pop online and order up a full set of cowboy duds to wear to their nearest rodeo. Which I think is awesome, by the way. The companies that sell those hats, boots and peart snap shirts are also the sponsors that keep my favorite sport in business. I’d be thrilled to pull into the next rodeo and see a Stetson or Resistol on every head, and Justin or Ariat boots on every pair of feet. But it also makes it harder for a girl to tell…which are the real cowboys, and which are just playing the part?

Luckily, it doesn’t take long to sort off the bleacher buckaroos. I’ve put together a few never-fail tips to help you identify the wanna-be’s, like this one:

While at the bar, you witness an obnoxious drunk being escorted out the door by the bouncers. You turn to your would-be suitor and drawl, “I hate rude behavior in a man. I won’t tolerate it.” All you get in return is a blank look. Anyone who doesn’t recognize one of the most famous lines from Lonesome Dove is certainly not going to be capable of a decent debate about how The Cowboys is the only movie where John Wayne dies before the end (Oops. Spoiler.). Or know that littlest of those cowboys went on to become a seven-time world champion roper. He probably doesn’t even own a Chris LeDoux CD. So honestly, what’s left to talk about?

Take note of the word in bold face above. When you’ve finished reading about Tangled in Texas and enjoying the excerpt below, come on over to my blog, Montana for Real, to find the rest of my helpful hints. Collect all the of key words and you’ll get a free download of the unofficial soundtrack to Tangled in Texas.

 

Excerpt

They sat in the dark, staring at the television and taking comfort from the presence of another human being. A fellow refugee from reality, if only for a few hours. Crazy, to get even this close when she seemed dead set on leaving again, but as long as he knew, as long he didn’t let himself dream, he was safe, wasn’t he?

He woke to someone jostling his pillow. He forced his eyes open and found Tori leaning over him, trying to tug her coat from the arm of the couch, under his head.

“What time is it?” he mumbled, twisting around to look out the window. Pitch dark.

“After midnight. We both slept a while.”

She gave the jacket another tug, but it was pinned under his shoulder. He was warm and relaxed, still half asleep. Before his mind could fully engage, he reached up and caught her wrist. She froze, her eyes wide and wary in the dim light.

“What if I said I don’t want to just be friends?” he asked, his voice raspy with sleep.

She stared down at him, emotions flickering across her face so fast he couldn’t identify any of them. “I would say that’s probably not the smartest thing we could do, given the situation.”

“And if I said I’m willing to take my chances?”

She took her sweet time thinking it over. “I need some time to…adjust my expectations.”

He stroked the tender underside of her wrist with his thumb, watching as her lips parted on a swift intake of air. He might not know her mind, but he knew her body, and he remembered exactly how she liked to be touched. “How long?”

“I don’t know. This thing with my parents…”

“Will you let me know when you’re ready?”

She shook her head and his heart sank, but then she blew out a reluctant sigh. “Check back with me in a couple of weeks.”

“The middle of February?” he asked, unable to leave it alone.

She gave a halfhearted shrug, her gaze tracking to the door, though she still didn’t pull away from his touch. “Sure. Why not?”

He could think of a dozen reasons—things he’d done, and she’d done, and all the ways they could hurt each other all over again—but he stroked her wrist one more time before sitting up to free her jacket. She pulled it on, tugged the zipper clear to her chin, and stuffed her hands in the pockets.

“You realize I’m a lousy emotional bet.”

“Unlike me.”

She gave a low, short laugh. “Think of the magic we could make together.”

He didn’t have to imagine. He had a perfectly good memory. As if reading his mind, she said, “I’m not that girl, Delon.”

“You’re a lot tougher.”

She smiled slightly at her own words. “I’m also a lot more…difficult.”

No kidding. But he needed to borrow some of that toughness, from someone who’d gone through the worst and was emerging from the other side, singed around the edges but not destroyed. Tori understood the snarl of anger and guilt in his gut because it wasn’t so different than what she felt about how Willy died.

“I’d like to get to know this you,” he said softly.

“I might not be ready to decide who I am yet.”

“Decide?” He laughed, incredulous. “You just get to make it up for yourself?”

“Why not? Didn’t you decide who you wanted to be?”

His fists clenched in the plush throw. “We don’t all have the luxury of reinventing our lives.”

She gave him a long, level stare. His eyes dropped first. Her voice was low and surprisingly gentle. “Try it, Delon. You might be less likely to feel like punching strangers in bars.”

She brushed a fingertip as light as a kiss across his cheek, and left him to sleep on it.

About the Author

Kari Lynn Dell is a ranch-raised Montana cowgirl who attended her first rodeo at two weeks old and has existed in a state of horse-induced poverty ever since. She lives on the Blackfeet Reservation in her parents’ bunkhouse along with her husband, her son, and Max the Cowdog, with a tipi on her lawn, Glacier National Park on her doorstep and Canada within spitting distance. Her debut novel, The Long Ride Home, was published in 2015. She also writes a ranch and rodeo humor column for several regional newspapers and a national agricultural publication.

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Giveaway

5 print copies of Reckless in Texas

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Posted in excerpt, Giveaway, Young Adult on February 14, 2017

sketchy-TacosSketchy Tacos by Meg D. Gonzalez

Teenage artist Mila Gulick travels to Mexico to get away from warring influences and find herself. But life in the land of tacos is a far cry from her sheltered life back home. Mila must find the courage to step out from behind her sketchbook and get to know the people and culture around her. While her host family and the two boys vying for her interest are nothing but smiles, all may not be as it seems.

Soon Mila is questioning her choices and the beliefs she’s held dear. Her heart, her art, and even her safety are at risk as she struggles to find a balance between cultural differences, old assumptions, and strange romance. Will her trip end in disaster or will she find the strength for which she’s been searching?

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Praise for the Book

“This modern coming-of-age story has it all – humor, heart, genuine characters, and spiritual depth. I highly recommend it to teen readers.” – Krista McGee, Inspy Award winning author of First Date and Starring Me

“Meg D. Gonzalez gives us a vivid look at life for an American teenager in Mexico and an even clearer picture of what happens when you decide to embrace who God made you to be. No matter what. Great first novel. Great read.” – Nancy Rue, Christy Award winning author of the Real Life series

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Excerpt

The scent of sizzling quesadillas, bubbling soups, and slow-roasting meat made my mouth water. They dripped with flavor. I couldn’t wait to taste every single one. On the cordoned-off street, strings of flags crisscrossed the blue sky. Children laughed and kicked a soccer ball through winding legs. Everywhere the colors were so vivid they almost hurt. And the music… Ecstasy filled the notes. It’s no wonder I stopped and stared.

“A group of Folkorico, filled the main stage. Women wore dresses with huge skirts, each a different color. When the dance began, they lifted their skirts high and swished until the stage blurred with scarlet, saffron, tangerine, and amethyst. Their ribbons flew and shimmered in the sun. The raw beauty froze me to the spot.” I wished to pull out my sketchbook, but I knew the skills to capture the fluid movement eluded me.

“Julia stopped with me, but she was impatient. She couldn’t see what I saw. The rest of the class went ahead. When Mrs. Danphe found us, she didn’t scold us. Instead, she watched with me.”

She whispered, “It’s magical, isn’t it?”

 

MegAbout the Author

Meg D. Gonzalez is a tea-sipping, adventure-seeking, pug-loving kind of girl. She’s crazy for God and wants to share His love with awesome young women around the globe.

She started her first novel at the age of fourteen (it will never see the light of day and that’s best for everyone), but her writing really came alive two years ago after she moved to Mexico. The crazy, wonderful people and culture she encountered inspired the story of Sketchy Tacos.

When she’s not writing, she’s learning to play video games with her husband (she’s horrible), taking hikes in beautiful parks with her pug Pascal, crocheting, and watching way too much TV.

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$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Ends 3/5/17

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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Posted in 4 paws, excerpt, mystery, Review on February 13, 2017

Synopsis

Luke McWhorter is one strange dude. He is America’s only sheriff with a Yale divinity school degree. That means he is able to use everything from existential philosophy to holistic psychology to old-time religion to cow-country street smarts as he deals with law and order issues in the obscure “West of Fort Worth” Texas county where he grew up.

During the dreadful autumn week recounted in Dudley Lynch’s debut mystery, McWhorter starts to wonder if even this will be enough. Four religion professors in Flagler’s three small church colleges are murdered on successive days. Sheriff Luke begins to understand that he is dealing with mayhem driven by one of America’s richest men, by Armenian cyber-revolutionaries, by Flagler’s own homegrown power-hungry provocateurs and by back-country caprice itself.

The jolts in Dudley Lynch’s ever-shifting, ever-surprising debut mystery don’t end there. To his near-disbelief, Sheriff Luke eventually realizes that Flagler’s religious colleges have been turned into killing fields by events connected to an astonishing discovery on Mt. Ararat in Turkey (no, it’s not Noah’s Ark).

It will be the rare reader who guesses the final shoe to fall in the autumn week that changes Sheriff McWhorter’s future and the legacy of Abbot County, Texas, forever.

Excerpt

Excerpt from Chapter One of Beliefs Can Be Murder
by Dudley Lynch

I leaned in for a better view. I’d seen photos like this before. Usually, they were taken by an x-ray scanner mounted on a truck. Border patrol agents referred to the vans as “ice cream trucks.” They used them to spot illegals hiding in truckers’ sleeper berths or crouched between cargo shipments back in their trailers. In this x-ray, there didn’t seem to be any humans visible. Only one very large, longish, waist-high crate-looking object with indeterminate contents, if any. A cylinder that looked like a giant thermos bottle. An assortment of smaller boxes. And a jumble of what I took to be tanks, wires, hoses and other items although their vagueness made them hard to identify.

I cleared my throat. “What is it?”

“That’s certainly one of the questions.” Kane continued to gaze at me.

“What’s another one?”

Where is it?”

As was the case with many conference rooms, ours was like an aquarium. Lots of glass in the wall fronting the hallway. If the blinds weren’t lowered, passers-by could see in and the occupying fishes could see out.

As was my habit, I’d taken a seat that put my back toward the windowless inner wall. This allowed me to monitor activity in the hallway. That was why I was able to notice my long-legged, big-bellied chief deputy, Sawyers Tanner, as he strode by.

On an ordinary day, being briefed about what he found on his trip to a remote corner of Abbot County that morning would have been a priority. He and our C.S.I. team had been dispatched to investigate a gristly scene near a makeshift stone altar that contained the charred leftovers of a rancher’s most prized Angora goat buck. Well, most of the leftovers. The rancher had said the creature’s severed head was lying close by, abandoned in the dirt like a butcher’s bad habit. But my chief deputy’s briefing would have to wait. On this day, priorities were getting juggled.

Then, they got juggled again.

Shortly after Sawyers walked by, he reappeared from the opposite direction. This time, he was running. Hard. Another of my deputies was right on his heels. Both were clutching a Colt AR-15 Tactical Carbine in each hand. Usually, these light-weight, rapid-fire, military-styled rifles were locked up in a gun case. Four of them represented half of our department’s total supply. Our deputies liked them because, as one had once explained it to me, “they can take a lickin’ and keep on tickin’.” They were never unchained without good reason. Usually, the reason was that some of my people somewhere feared that the guns were going to be needed.

The burly F.B.I. agent hadn’t seen my deputies race by. But the concerned look on my face was all the tip-off he required to the new weather conditions in the room. Getting to his feet abruptly, he headed toward the end of the room where we had a large highway map of West Texas mounted on the wall. He took his brief case with him because he was still attached to it.

That was the precise moment that Helen charged back into the picture. The collision with the startled F.B.I. agent was a hard one, but it only slowed her. She shoved around him like he was a linebacker arriving a step too late and thrust a sheet of paper into my hands. The handwriting on it betrayed no urgency. I hadn’t expected it to. But the same was not to be said for her message. In her usual letter-perfect, schoolmarmish cursive, she had written: “Shooting in Bible Building at Hills U. Sawyers, deputies, paramedics en route. No other details.”

I read the note again—not for meaning but for its implications. Campus shootings were one thing that our department drilled for often with the university security departments in Flagler. A smart, pro-active thing to do, I’d always thought, when you have not one but three institutions of fairly decent size in your otherwise thinly populated, isolated, back-prairie-ish shallow West Texas county. One of the incidents we’d studied exhaustively was the one in Blacksburg. This was the one where a lone gunman had murdered 32 students and wounded 17 more at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. But we’d also combed through law enforcement analyses of the mass shootings at Columbine High, Sandy Hook Elementary School, Luby’s Cafeteria in Killeen, the movie theater in Aurora, Umpqua Community College in Oregon and a number of others. There was no reason why such shootings couldn’t happen in Abbot County—the Good Lord knew there were enough guns in the county. Now, it appeared one had.

Getting to my feet, I raised an index finger in the direction of Special Agent in Charge Patrick Kane. Told him that I didn’t mean to be rude, but he had 90 seconds. That was how much time he was being alloted to explain to me exactly why he was here. If he failed to do so, he and his compañeros would be promptly escorted to the parking lot and shown the way to the street. They’d each need a special pass before they’d be allowed to reenter our parking lot, much less our courthouse. Because this was still my conference room, my department, my county and my show.

To his credit, Special Agent Kane didn’t need 90 seconds. He finished in less than a minute.

For added emphasis, he tucked the X-ray photo of the cargo container under his chin with his free hand in his most earnest show-and-tell stance.

“We believe—or rather, we fear—this container is filled with weapons of mass destruction originating with terrorists in the Middle East. We lost track of it in Istanbul 22 days ago. Didn’t know where it was until today. We think it’s in Flagler or close by. The shipping industry’s computerized tracking system shows it was off-loaded in your rail yard about nine this morning by somebody, identity unknown. If we are right, there may be enough destructive power hidden away in your county right now to blow half this place to kingdom come. If not that, to poison nearly everything that breathes for miles around it.”

I studied him for a moment. “Do what you gotta do.” And bolted for the door.

Review

This was quite an interesting book and the concept of a small west Texas town being home to several bible colleges. There isn’t much in west Texas so I thought this was quite intriguing.

Luke may be the sheriff but he never planned to take that position, in face he wanted to be a minister and has a degree in divinity. It makes for an interesting back story for Luke and his dreams and education and I’m not sure it really fits in with being the sheriff…..but he was born into a family of law enforcement so it is hard to escape it at times.

The mystery was not easy to figure out, in fact I didn’t know who the killer was or why. It made sense as the story was winding down and the pieces all came together.

I did enjoy the story and the various story lines that intersected. And of course, the story line with Fresca (a dog) because I love dogs and there are some “oh no” moments when it comes to Fresca.

Overall we give it 4 paws up.

About the Author

Author/journalist/thinking skills expert Dudley Lynch says the abiding themes of all our lives are transition and breakout, which are two very different things.

Mr. Lynch grew up in small towns in the American southern Great Plains and southwestern U.S. He was the son of a fundamentalist Christian minister who moved his family, on average, about as often as military families move.

Dudley’s dad intended to be a transition for his son, expecting him to follow in his footsteps in the church. Instead, the son choose breakout and got (two) degrees in mass communication (with an extra major in religion) and moved into American journalism. For a time, he worked for newspapers, including The Dallas News and the Arizona Republic.

Again, break-out took over. Dudley decided he’d rather write for himself, so he chose to free-lance. In the next ten years, his by-lined articles were published in about 250 periodicals on six continents—Reader’s Digest, Business Week, Newsweek, Fortune Magazine (special sections), The New York Times, Christian Science Monitor, The Economist and many others.

In the late 1970s, Reader’s Digest assigned him a story on creativity. Shortly after the story’s publication, a major Manhattan insurance company invited Dudley to stage a half-day seminar in thinking skills improvement for fifteen of its senior executives, and he suddenly found himself at the helm of a management consulting business that he called Brain Technologies Corporation.

Then, more breakout! A voracious life-long consumer of mysteries, Dudley decided to write one about the all-encompassing themes of his life, transition and breakout, and about the mindsets and geographical trappings he knows best: churchy people in the red-dirt prairies and hills of shallow West Texas.

He sees a lot of himself in his POV character, Sheriff Luke McWhorter. Like his creator, McWhorter also trained to be a minister but in making the transition, one break-out after another got in his way. The latest, the murders of four Bible department professors at Flagler, Texas’ three church universities, requires McWhorter to use everything in his experience about transitions and break-outs—and religion—to restore order and a sense of calm to an excessively churchy community that never dreamed its citizens could commit such acts of self-destruction or that it would find itself the target of such mayhem from the outside.

Dudley now lives in Gainesville, Florida, where he and his wife, Sherry, continue to operate their company, Brain Technologies Corporation. He has written his acclaimed LEAP!psych blog for years.