Posted in Cozy, Giveaway, Guest Post, Monday, mystery on October 31, 2016



Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Publisher: Henery Press (October 25, 2016)
Paperback: 246 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1635110814
E-Book ASIN: B01J499OUE


Haunted houses are scary enough without knife-wielding clowns. Especially murderous knife-wielding clowns. So thinks Ellison Russell, single mother, artist, and reluctant sleuth.

Now death wears a red nose and Ellison is up to the blood-stained collar of her new trench coat in costumes, caffeine, and possible killers. Who stabbed Brooks Harney? And why? Money? Jealousy? Drugs?

With Mother meddling, her father furious, and her date dragged downtown for questioning, turns out Ellison’s only confidante is Mr. Coffee.

Books in the Country Club Murders Humorous Mystery Series, available on Amazon

* The Deep End (#1)
* Guaranteed to Bleed (#2)
* Clouds In My Coffee (#3)
* Send In The Clowns (#4)

Barnes and Noble – iBooks – Kobo 


Guest Post

Welcome Julie!  With today being Halloween and the title of the book includes the word Clowns – I started thinking about the recent clown coverage in the media.  I am pretty sure Julie didn’t plan this!  Today she is sharing escapades from her daughter’s after-party.  We all did stupid stuff like this when we were younger…what were we thinking is what I want to know?!

Recently I took leave of my senses and gave permission for my teenage daughter to host a post-homecoming after-party.

Homecoming fell on the night of my husband’s high school reunion.

I figured I’d go to the celebratory dinner with him then hurry home to chaperone the party. He could stay and catch up with old friends

Twenty teenagers.

I was a teenager once. How hard could it be to keep them in line?

By 10:00 I knew I was in trouble. I walked into the dining room and spotted a young man helping himself to my husband’s scotch.

Let it be known that he was pale and sweating by the time I got done reading him the riot act.

I returned to the upstairs.

At 10:30, I descended the stairs and let the dog out. As I stood in the driveway, I noticed that the party had moved to the front yard. And the street. And someone was driving with a boy spread eagle on the hood of his car.

“STOP! Have you lost your mind?” I had visions of smashed skulls, broken bones, endless lawsuits.

The car stopped. The boy on the hood slid off, ran to the side of the car, and jumped in. The car raced away.

At 10:45 the car was back. Parked in front of the house.

At 11:00 I made another pass through the downstairs. The song playing was (I kid you not) Dance like a Stripper. I bit my tongue, covered my ears, and went upstairs to text my husband.

Come home. Please.

He did.

The whole experience gave me a new appreciation for single mothers.

The heroine of The Country Club Murders is a single mother and in Send in the Clowns, Ellison is dealing with a questionable young man who Grace adores. Unlike me, Ellison can’t text the cavalry. There is no cavalry. Also, since Send in the Clowns is set in 1974, she can’t text.

My hats off to single mothers who—like Ellison—deal with a child who misses her curfew, crushes on a boy who’s totally unacceptable, and stretches the truth. I don’t know how you do it!

About the Author

Julie MulhernJulie Mulhern is a Kansas City native who grew up on a steady diet of Agatha Christie. She spends her spare time whipping up gourmet meals for her family, working out at the gym and finding new ways to keep her house spotlessly clean–and she’s got an active imagination. Truth is—she’s an expert at calling for take-out, she grumbles about walking the dog and the dust bunnies under the bed have grown into dust lions.

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October 24 – A Date with a Book – REVIEW

October 24 – Books,Dreams,Life – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT

October 25 – Sleuth Cafe – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT

October 25 – MysteriesEtc – REVIEW

October 26 – Mallory Heart’s Cozies – REVIEW, SPOTLIGHT

October 26 – Bibliophile Reviews –  REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW

October 27 – Queen of All She Reads – SPOTLIGHT

October 27 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, &, Sissy,  Too! – SPOTLIGHT

October 28 – A Holland Reads – CHARACTER GUEST POST

October 28 – Readeropolis – SPOTLIGHT

October 29 – Christa Reads and Writes – REVIEW

October 29 – Grace. Gratitude. Life. by Marie McNary – REVIEW

October 30 – Nadaness In Motion – EXCERPT

October 31 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST

November 1 – Cozy Up With Kathy – GUEST POST

November 1 – Island Confidential – CHARACTER INTERVIEW,

November 2 – I Wish I Lived in a Library – REVIEW

November 2 –  Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT

November 3 – Cassidy Salem Reads & Writes – GUEST POST

November 3 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW, INTERVIEW

November 4 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW, EXCERPT

November 4 – A Chick Who Reads – REVIEW

November 5 – Brooke Blogs – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

November 6 – Community Bookstop – REVIEW

November 7 – LibriAmoriMiei – REVIEW

November 7 – The Girl with Book Lungs – REVIEW, EXCERPT

Posted in Cozy, excerpt, Giveaway, Guest Post, mystery, paranormal on October 30, 2016


Genre – Paranormal Cozy Mystery
Series: A Dreamwalker Mystery (Book 3)
Hardcover – 292 pages
Publisher: Five Star Publishing (October 19, 2016)
ISBN-13: 978-1432832315 


Dreamwalker Baxley Powell can’t remember the last time she had such a crappy weekend. A twilight encounter with a ghost dog left her numb and disoriented, her dreamwalker abilities are wiped out, and the sheriff just summoned her to a double homicide.

With no access to the spirit world, Baxley bluffs her way through the crime scene where a movie star’s assistant and a charter boat captain were strung up and bled dry. In a haunted house, no less. Figuring out who killed these people will be a real challenge without her ability to speak to the dead.

Just when Baxley thinks her powers are returning, her dreamwalks malfunction. With the sheriff pushing her to solve the case quickly, Baxley teams up with a dognapping medium to boost her powers.

Suspects include the captain’s good-for-nothing brother, the assistant’s replacement, and, of course, his stalker. All of Sinclair County is on edge, and the media circus isn’t helping. At stake are the movie’s funding, the sheriff’s job, and Baxley’s senses.

Can Baxley safeguard her abilities and solve the case before the killer strikes again?

Haunted houses, lost pirate treasure, conniving in-laws, supernatural baddies, and a determined ghost dog test amateur sleuth Baxley Powell’s mettle in Book Three of Toussaint’s Dreamwalker Series.


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I stared at my best friend, alarmed. “We’re going in the haunted house? Count me out. I didn’t sign on for breaking and entering. I can’t do that. I’ll lose my job as a police consultant.”

Charlotte shone her light on the weathered façade of June’s Folly. “No breaking required, Baxley. The front door is open.”

I added my beam to hers. Sure enough, the paneled door with the centrally located doorknob gaped on its hinges. “Dang. You’re right. Still, this place belongs to someone. We don’t have the right to stroll inside. We’ll be trespassing.”

“Just a peek inside. If the ghost is here, it should repel us at the door, or so goes the legend. Speaking of ghosts, is anyone talking to you? Maybe shaking some chains or speaking in French?”

“All I’m hearing is a desperate reporter.” Cautiously, I touched the banister to see if it was secure. It was. I used the railing for support as I carefully trod the rotten, squeaking steps. Drifts of thickened air stirred my hair and sighed through the pines. Charlotte halted. “You hear that?”

Her voice sounded too high. “The wind?”

“Chains clanking. And a sad, mournful song in another language.”

“Truly?” I heard nothing of the sort. Was Charlotte’s imagination getting away from her? Was there a ghost?

Charlotte sank to the porch decking, her gear clunking as she landed heavily on her rear. “I, uh, need a minute.”

“Okay.” I sat on the top step beside her. Other than feeling dread and a shiver against the elements, I seemed normal with no sign of sensory overload. I marveled that I was still functioning. A little maturity and a little extrasensory training and I had a whole new perspective on this place.

“Don’t you feel it?” My friend’s teeth chattered. “I’m freezing.”

I estimated it was nearly eighty degrees and humid enough for spiders to dance on the air. Puzzled, I touched Charlotte’s arm. Her skin felt cold to the touch. Ordinarily, Charlotte would be griping about the heat and the humidity. Something was crossing her wires.

“Look at you! Working those earlier ghost sites must have unleashed a latent talent.” I gazed at her with frank admiration. “You’re the ghost detector tonight, Char. I’m not picking up anything.”

“Are you looking?”

She had me there. “Nope. I don’t want to have to call my father to come get me again. That would be embarrassing.”

“I thought you were doing this to prove yourself as a full-fledged dreamwalker.”

“My main thought is that you have your answer to the ghost question. Chains and mournful singing support the drowned slave legend. Time to go home.”

“There’s more to this, I know it,” she insisted. “Help me prove it. You can handle whatever it is I’m feeling. I haven’t passed out or anything.”

Like that would reassure me. But there was a certain logic to her claim. I was being a wimp by keeping my senses and my body shielded.

Charlotte had called me out. Worse, she was right. Just because I never heard ghosts before was no reason not to listen for this one.

My talents and my shielding abilities were much more finely tuned now. I’d been talking to the dead for months. I didn’t have to let childhood fears dictate my actions. And, the sooner I gave Charlotte what she wanted, the sooner we could go home.

With that, I closed my eyes and opened my senses to the night. Immediately, I plunged into a freezing fog bank.

Guest Post

Today I welcome Maggie Toussaint to StoreyBook Reviews.  She shares with us the friendship of Baxley and Charlotte in her books.  I have had many dear friends over the years and totally identify with them.


By Maggie Toussaint

Some of us are lucky to have best friends. It’s rare to have multiple best friends simultaneously, but I’ve been blessed to have two best friends my entire life. They are sisters, and they were my next door neighbors forever.

We grew up sharing scraped knees, Barbies, favorite songs, and chicken pox. We listened to rain on a tin roof, caught blue crabs in tidal creeks, and confided our deepest darkest secrets to each other. We forged friendships that have spanned more than fifty years.

So, when I decided to create a character foil for my amateur sleuth Baxley Powell, I wanted her to have the same rich and enduring friendship I’ve had. Newspaper reporter Charlotte Ambrose appears in every book of the Dreamwalker cozy mysteries, but she was in Baxley’s life long before the series.

In firming up their backstory, I decided this pair had been inseparable since grade school. Charlotte struggles with her weight, with confidence, and with upward career mobility. As a fulltime employee at a weekly paper, she can get title promotions, but the job remains the same, no matter the label. Meanwhile, Baxley struggles with her unusual skill of communicating with the dead, her burning desire to be normal, and her decision to suppress her psychic abilities for most of her life.

As children, teens, and adults, Charlotte and Baxley needle each other when they need an extra push. They support each other when things go wrong and cheer for each other’s successes. They’re in and out of each other’s houses all the time. Charlotte is the sister Baxley never had, and Baxley’s parents are Charlotte’s second set of parents.

This closeness works out well for best friends in real life and for characters in stories. For instance, when everyday things that happen to us, we turn to our friends first. Our friends are our sounding boards and our barometers. They tell us when we’re messing up, and they rat us out to our folks when we need it. The same goes for Baxley and Charlotte.

In book one of the series, Gone and Done It, Charlotte helps Baxley through the decision to become the Dreamwalker. She helps Bax when the admission of power totally whitens Baxley’s forelock. On the flip side, Baxley clues her friend into the first murder the county has had in forever. That’s solid gold and pure adrenaline for an ambitious reporter like Charlotte.

In the second Dreamwalker mystery, Bubba Done It, Charlotte gets first dibs on reporting the banker’s death, but her astute observations shape the overall police investigation. There’s a lot of give and take in their relationship and a squabble or two for good measure. As always, Charlotte remains the brains of the pair and Baxley the pluck.

And now we’re to book three in the series, the subject of this book release blog tour, Doggone It. With several months of dreamwalking under her belt, Baxley enjoys a more formal relationship with the sheriff’s department. The increased work and pay make her life as a single mom easier, but the more cop work she does, the less she can confide in Charlotte in real time. With Charlotte being a member of the press and Baxley on the side of law and order, a rift in their friendship threatens.

In addition, Charlotte’s reporting of two previous murder cases shakes up the pecking order at the paper and gains her notice throughout the state. She’s sure her next murder story will springboard her to a bigtime career. While Charlotte pursues fame and fortune, Baxley keeps a low profile. The people she meets are either dead, criminals, family of the dead, or cops. Her dreamwalking clients drop by at all hours of the day and night, leaving her little time for her friend.

Adjustments must be made if Baxley and Charlotte are to remain close friends.

Read more about Baxley and Charlotte in Doggone It!

For fun, share something you enjoy doing with your best friend. Also, remember to enter the giveaway.

About the Author

maggietoussaintFormerly a contract scientist for the U.S. Army and a freelance reporter, mystery and suspense author Maggie Toussaint has thirteen published books. Her recent mystery releases include Gone and Done It, Bubba Done It, Death, Island Style, and Dime If I Know. Her latest mystery, Doggone It, is Book Three in her dreamwalker series about a psychic sleuth.

Maggie won the Silver Falchion Award for Best Cozy/Traditional Mystery. Additionally, she won a National Readers’ Choice Award and an EPIC Award for Best Romantic Suspense. She was twice nominated for the Georgia Author of the Year Award and finaled in the Beacon and the Readers’ Crown Contest.

Maggie lives in coastal Georgia, where secrets, heritage, and ancient oaks cast long shadows.


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October 20 – Teresa Trent Author Site – REVIEW

October 21 – Books,Dreams,Life – REVIEW

October 22 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too! – REVIEW

October 23 – Island Confidential – INTERVIEW

October 24 – Community Bookstop – GUEST POST

October 25 – fuonlyknew – REVIEW

October 26 – T’s Stuff – REVIEW

October 27 – Brooke Blogs – GUEST POST

October 28 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW

October 29 – Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews – GUEST POST

October 30 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST

October 30 – deal sharing aunt – REVIEW

October 31 – Jane Reads – REVIEW

Posted in excerpt, Horror, Spotlight on October 30, 2016



“Mine is a tale of pain, hate, lies, murder, injustice, vengeance, and love unreturned. It began much like yours; a hopeful innocent born to a world of endless possibilities. But my journey has rarely been paved with opportunities of light. Confronted by those who sought to eclipse what light I had found, the darkness came for me. Wrapped in its intoxicating embrace, I have risen from the dead to reclaim my dignity and the life that was taken from me. I have begun my journey into the mind of revenge. Revenge for me. Revenge for those like me. Those who are shamed.”

In the Mind of Revenge, book one of The Shamed Series, takes a deep look at how monsters are born. Set in a society that glorifies “normal” and demonizes different, this dark tale takes its readers on an emotionally wild ride of vengeance, murder, pain and desperation. Though the reader is warned by its main character, Shame, not to develop an attachment, the first person narrative combined with Shame’s uninhibited vulnerability makes it nearly impossible not to do so. Raw, vivid, honest, fast-paced and beautifully vulgar, In the Mind of Revenge is sure to have you emotionally twisted from beginning to end.

This is a story for the shamed, by the shamed. The question is, are you ready for it?


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Praise for In the Mind of Revenge

“If a cat has nine lives, Shame has 29.  Liv Hadden leaves us in the dark as to whether this character is a girl or a boy.  As Shame often muses, why is gender that important? It’s reflecting on issues like gender that makes In the Mind of Revenge more than just a rather exciting read.” – Reader’s Favorite

A somber revenge tale, but fronted by a protagonist both absorbing and sublimely complicated.” – Kirkus Reviews

“In the Mind of Revenge tackles hot-button social issues in a way that forces the reader to rethink the importance of what society deems as normal.” – Self-Publishing Review

“An absorbing crime story…”  – Blue Ink Reviews

Listen to Chapter One

About the Author

liv-haddenDebut novelist Liv Hadden has been writing ever since she was a little girl. But, it wasn’t until 5th grade when her teacher said she’d one day write a book that she started taking it seriously.

Her Shamed series began in college, when Hadden employed her writing as an outlet for her feelings during a serious bout of depression. After a brief, yet impactful first night of writing, she dreamt of a shadowy figure, tormented and demonized by their own mind and realized this was the shadow of pain that hurting people everywhere felt.

She woke from her dream feeling more energized that she had in months, picked up her computer and began to write. “I felt if ever there was a story inside me and a character worth taking the leap, it was Shame and this story,” says Hadden. “This one in particular is personal in nature, and perhaps the very reason it’s so close to my heart.”

Hadden has her roots in Burlington, Vermont  and has lived in upstate New York and Oklahoma, where she went to college at the University of Oklahoma,, and earned her degree in Environmental Sustainability Planning & Management.  She now resides in Austin, TX with her husband and two dogs, Madison and Samuel and is an active member of the Writer’s League of Texas.

Incredibly inspired by artistic expression, Hadden immerses herself in creative endeavors on a daily basis. She finds great joy in getting lost in writing and seeing others fully express themselves through their greatest artistic passions, like music, body art, dance and photography. “I get chills when I have the great privilege of seeing someone express their authentic selves,” says Hadden. “I believe it gives us a true glimpse into the souls of others.

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Posted in Giveaway, Guest Post, nonfiction, Sports, Spotlight on October 29, 2016



Four Days in the Life of Texas Football


Mac Engel

Photos by Ron Jenkins

Genre: Texas Sports / Football / Photography

Publisher: Lone Star Books

Date of Publication: August 26, 2016

Number of Pages: 240

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You know what they say: Sunday in Texas belongs to God and football; not necessarily in that order. But game time now stretches well beyond Sunday, and Texas football is a phenomenon even bigger than the Lone Star State.

Over a magical four-day period in 2015, both of Texas’s NFL teams played at home on different days, a major high school rivalry played out on Friday night in West Texas, and a fierce regional rivalry came to the Cotton Bowl on Saturday afternoon.

In this first-of-its-kind project, veteran sports journalist and photographer Mac Engel and Ron Jenkins captured it all, and then some: from an illicit tour of the sealed Astrodome, to the locker room at Houston’s Yates school, to the tailgate at the Texans game, to sidelines at Odessa Permian (of Friday Night Lights fame), to the vaunted heights of the guest suite at Cowboys Stadium, bringing to life an amazing cast of characters and scenes. What they find isn’t all glitz and glory – but it’s all riveting, and it’s all essential info for any football fan.


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LSLL:  Mac, LSLL showcases Texas books and authors, and we have found that Fort Worth seems to be an incubator for authors — like Jeff Guinn, Julia Heaberlin, Sandra Brown, Gary Cartwright, Dan Jenkins, Bud Shrake, Larry L. King, and we could go on and on. As someone who has spent the greater quarter of a century in and around Fort Worth–and the Fort Worth publishing scene, what do think it is that makes the city such fertile ground for writers?

MAC:  I think it’s ambition combined with access to a lot of activity, and a lot of good people. Bud, Dan, and Sandra — all of the people you mentioned — are special people who are talented and were found. It should be noted that I don’t belong in any sentence with those people other than [that] I speak English and live in Fort Worth.

LSLL:  How has publishing changed since you both started in the business? What role does social media now play for you as authors and journalists?

MAC: Oh, God — this could be a thesis. Night and day. It’s made it quick, fast, rapid, and just reduced our attention spans. We have the time, but when there are eighteen million other things readily available and coming at you, to grab your attention for an extended period is just not easy.

RON: The world has changed so very much from I began shooting sports for the University Daily, the student newspaper at Texas Tech in the ’80s. The ability to promote a project like this on social media is pretty wild. The response has been overwhelming and the reviews have been really flattering.

LSLL:  Another question for you, Mac. Why do you think football dominates Texas culture?

MAC: History and tradition, and I don’t think you can dismiss success, either. Back when football was beginning — go to the ’30s — the college teams were nationally renowned names. Texas, A&M, TCU, SMU, Rice, etc. Then the Cowboys were invented and as TV was formed and games were televised, the Cowboys were good. It just bred more and more recognition, interest and youth involvement. Then it became an identity for the state, and the players.

LSLL: So, for readers whose appetites you’ve whetted, how would you describe Pigskin Rapture in your own words?

MAC: For me, it succeeds in encapsulating the cultural importance of the game to Texans. Often we are flooded with hype and hyperbole about something and it seldom meets the verbiage, but you really can’t over state the importance of football to Texans and its place in the subconscious of Texans.

RON: Pigskin Rapture: The ultimate Texas football long weekend road trip. With glorious words and dynamic images that fans of Texas football really should not miss.  It’s a one-of-a-kind look at the Lone Star state, its people and its favorite sport, football.

LSLL:  Mac and Ron: What’s next for you?

RON: Up next for me will be covering the MLB post-season, including hopefully the Texas Rangers in the World Series along with more football, including college and the NFL. I’ll be shooting primarily for Getty Images and the Associated Press.

MAC: Sleep, I hope. I wrote two books last year and that’s a lot. I am sure I will try another one soon, but not writing a book right now is welcome.


This interview first appeared on Lone Star Literary Life and Mac & Ron were interviewed by Kay Ellington.  You can see the full interview here.


about the author

mac-engelMac Engel is a columnist for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Since 1998, he has covered the Texas Rangers, Dallas Stars, and Dallas Cowboys as well as colleges, high schools, and the Olympics. His Big Mac Blog was named the best blog in Texas by the Associated Press in 2012.


pic-photographer-pigskinFort Worth/Dallas–based contract photographer Ron Jenkins specializes in sports,  covering the Dallas Cowboys, Texas Rangers, and Dallas Mavericks as well as NCAA, high school, and everything in between. His photos have been published all over the world, including in French sports magazine L’Equipe, premier German magazine Stern, and the USA’s Sports Illustrated.


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October 24 – November 2, 2016


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10/24 Page Preview Hall Ways Blog
10/25 Review Country Girl Bookaholic
10/26 Guest Post Texas Book Lover
10/27 Page Preview Kara The Redhead
10/28 Review It’s a Jenn World
10/29 Guest Post StoreyBook Reviews
10/30 Promo Blogging for the Love of Authors and Their Books
10/31 Review Margie’s Must Reads
11/1 Page Preview A Novel Reality
11/2 Review Reading By Moonlight

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Posted in Cozy, Giveaway, mystery, Spotlight on October 29, 2016



Murder in the Theater
(Cold Creek Book 4)
Series: Cold Creek
Paperback: 222 pages
Publisher: Self Published (August 13, 2016)
ISBN-13: 978-1535244268
E-Book – ASIN: B01J0050DW


The drama program has never been so dramatic.

It’d be the season to be jolly if only someone hadn’t set the stage for murder. When a student is arrested for the crime, Professor Sheridan Hendley is cast in the role of amateur sleuth. Tensions run high, friendships are strained, and the college administration is beginning to panic. As the plot thickens Sheridan is yet again drawn deeper into danger. Will she find the truth before the final curtain call?


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About the Author

ChristaNardiChrista Nardi is and always has been an avid reader. Her favorite authors have shifted from Carolyn Keene and Earl Stanley Gardner to more contemporary mystery/crime authors over time, but mystery/crime along with romance and scifi/fantasy are her preferred choices for leisure reading. Christa also has been a long time writer from poetry and short stories to the Cold Creek series, Christa has joined many other reader/writers in writing one genre she enjoys reading – the cozy mystery. The series started with Murder at Cold Creek College; Murder in the Arboretum is the second in the series. Murder at the Grill is the third. Christa Nardi is a pen name for a real life professor/psychologist from the Northeast who is well published in nonfiction and technical venues.

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October 19 – Books,Dreams,Life – SPOTLIGHT

October 19 – Back Porchervations – REVIEW

October 20 – Cozy Up With Kathy – INTERVIEW

October 21 – A Holland Reads – INTERVIEW

October 22 – A Blue Million Books – GUEST POST

October 22 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – SPOTLIGHT

October 23 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too! – SPOTLIGHT

October 24 – Pulp and Mystery Shelf – GUEST POST

October 25 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW

October 26 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

October 27 – Queen of All She Reads – REVIEW

October 28 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

October 29 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

Posted in excerpt, fiction, Giveaway, Historical, Spotlight on October 28, 2016

Written In the Ashes by K. Hollan Van Zandt

Written In the Ashes by K. Hollan Van ZandtWritten In the Ashes by K. Hollan Van Zandt

Publisher: Harper Collins (Sept. 27, 2016
Category: Historical Fiction,
Tour Dates: October/November, 2016
Available in: ebook,  554Pages

Written in the Ashes is one of those rare novels that sets ‘history’ afire, to bathe readers in the glow of a greater, hotter truth. Fans of The Mists of Avalon will find this romantic/alchemical/feminist/spiritual epic equally captivating.”—Tom Robbins, bestselling author of Tibetan Peach Pie: A True Account of an Imaginative Life, Even Cowgirls Get the Blues. and Villa Incognito

In the bloody clash between Christians and pagans in fifth-century Alexandria, a servant girl becomes the last hope for preserving peace in this evocative and thrilling tale—a blend of history, adventure, religion, romance, and mysticism reminiscent of The Mists of Avalon.

After she is abducted from her home in the mountains of Sinai, Hannah is enslaved and taken to Alexandria, where she becomes the property of Alizar, an alchemist and pagan secretly working to preserve his culture. Revered for her beautiful singing voice, the young slave is invited to perform at the city’s Great Library, where she becomes friends with the revered mathematician and philosopher, Hypatia, as well as other pagans who curate its magnificent collections. Determined to help them uphold pagan culture and traditions, Hannah embarks on a dangerous quest to unite the fractured pieces of the Emerald Tablet—the last hope to save the pagans and create peace.

On this odyssey that leads her to the lost oracles of Delfi and Amun-Ra and to rediscovered ancient cities and rituals, Hannah will experience forbidden loves, painful betrayals, and poignant reunions. But her efforts may be in vain. Returning to Alexandria, Hannah finds a city engulfed in violence, even as her own romantic entanglements come to a head. Now, it’s not only her future, but the fate of all Alexandria that is at stake.


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This excerpt is continued from The Musings of a Book Junkie on Oct 27th.

“Thank you, Alizar. Your words give me courage.” Hannah smiled as a flock of gold songbirds swooped over her head.

Alizar walked to the ledge, thinking to himself how all his life he had been one of those loquacious little fifes jabbering on and on about things that no one else bothered to consider. For a moment, he felt an ache of longing in his heart for the privacy of his tower, where the muse permitted him endless hours of uninterrupted contemplation and creation. This was something that Alizar had never been able to reconcile: when high in his tower, creating and inventing, he longed for adventure and the world; and when out in the world, he pined for his little tower and the universes it contained. He was nothing to himself if not this endless wheel of contradictions.

As the sun approached its zenith in the sky, the otiose caravan sought shade around the temple to escape the blaring heat. Without much else to do, they fell asleep. Late in the afternoon they awakened from their naps to devour the remainder of Jemir’s bannocks. As they argued about how long to keep waiting, a tall Egyptian in ceremonial regalia appeared beneath a slim archway in the outer wall. “The Oracle of Amun-Ra will see you now,” he said with a formal nod.

Hannah was the first to fly to her feet.

The stoic Egyptian led them through a high-walled courtyard and a narrow tunnel and into the first hall of the temple. It was a spectacle that no one could have imagined. Inside, the large rectangular limestone temple was supported by six massive columns set at even intervals around the room, and at one end, a gurgling spring bubbled cool water into a wide stone basin. “Fons Solis,” whispered Alizar, quoting again from Alexander’s journal. “The Fountain of the Sun. It feeds fresh water to the entire city.”

Seven steps led up through a tremendous archway carved of pale stone covered in hieroglyphs. Tarek translated the words set in stone above the steps. “Look down, not towards the step above, lest ye become proud.” Beyond the inscription stood the second hall, where high overhead, the body of the celestial goddess Nut stretched across the entire ceiling, her arms and feet reaching from one wall to the other, her mouth swallowing the sun. The columns, walls, and even floor had also been painted with colorful Egyptian murals, most of which depicted the god Amun-Ra interacting with his worshippers. But a few indicated the tasks of every day life. Women held blue lotus flowers before their naked bellies as men fished from small lateens encircled by crocodiles. Vertical lines of hieroglyphs bridged the images. Alizar instructed Tarek to make several quick sketches, hoping their host would afford them the time to linger a moment.

A sight at the end of the temple caught Hannah’s eye. There, beyond the swirling smoke of the thick incense, sat a long golden barge on a raised dais. Hannah looked up to the wall and noticed an identical barge in miniature captained by Amun-Ra and supported by twenty devotees, the weight of it set upon the shoulders of the god’s willing devotees. She pointed it out to Gideon, and as she did, she realized it was the first time she had thought to share something with him without wishing he was Julian… [edited for spoilers] …There were so many obstacles before them, it seemed unkind to add another.

While they marveled at the visual treasures of the temple, a door on the far side opened, and a flood of Siwans rushed in and found seats along the wall. Apparently the oracle required an audience. Alizar chuckled to himself at the vanity of the gods. The populace of Siwa was surprisingly quiet and reverent for such a large group, taking seats on the floor behind the columns to leave the center of the temple open as a playing field. When it seemed that everyone in the entire oasis was present, the temple door closed, and out from behind one of the columns stepped Omar-the-Goat clad in full-length white ceremonial robes. On his head he wore a pair of gilded ram’s horns, richly ornamented with emeralds and other precious stones, which curved around his narrow face and shoulders. He carried a long staff in his good hand, not dissimilar to the caduceus of Hermes, and approached them guided by two bare-chested young boys who led him forward by the elbows.

Alizar gestured for the others to keep silent and stepped forward to address the ceremonial hierophant.

Silence. Alizar and Omar-the-Goat bowed to each other respectfully. The remoteness of the oracle had made it all the more appealing to consult, but now, looking into the tired face of an old man, Alizar hoped they had not made the trek in vain. He held out a heavy black obsidian jar to Omar-the-Goat.

Hannah held her breath.

Omar-the-Goat unscrewed the lid, dipped a finger into the jar, and withdrew it covered in a viscous amber liquid.

Hannah smiled. Honey.

The priest accepted the gift and bowed.

This excerpt continues at Romance ‘Out Of This World’ on Nov. 16th.

Praise for Written In the Ashes by K. Hollan Van Zandt

“In her captivating debut novel, Written in the Ashes, K. Hollan Van Zandt brings to life a fascinating and forgotten woman of history: Hypatia of Alexandria, who may have been one of the greatest female minds of all time. If you’ve ever wondered what it was like to walk the streets of long ago Egypt, then look no further. You will be enthralled!”– Michelle Moran, international bestselling author of Nefertiti and Cleopatra’s Daughter

“Van Zandt’s vivid description of the Great Library instantly transported me to a lush fifth century Alexandria. Her lyrical writing style and breakneck storytelling kept me riveted to the very last page.”– Robin Maxwell bestselling author of The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn and Signora da Vinci.

“Going back so far in time leaves an author with little written record to rely on for fact. The burning of the Great Library at Alexandria was a monumental loss to humanity. The facts of the matter aside, this novel was truly arresting and I had a hard time putting it down to get anything done.
Ancient history fascinates me. Religion fascinates me. This book manages to tie both together in a story that resonates through time.
The book was fascinating. The characters were well developed and I really didn’t want to leave this world of ancient Alexandria. The imaginary, magical priests and the beautiful goddesses created by Ms. Van Zandt lent themselves to a mystical world that was quite believable within its context. As the story unfolded I was rooting for Hannah to fulfill her destiny and find peace with her past. I am looking forward to the next chapters in these characters lives.”-Patty Woodland, Broken Teepee

About the AuthorWritten In the Ashes by K. Hollan Van Zandt

Kaia Van Zandt is a celebrated author and teacher whose novel, Written in the Ashes, chronicles the events that led up to the burning of the Great Library of Alexandria, Egypt. Kaia’s spiritual journey began at age 14 when she founded the youth division of the Humane Society of the United States. Then as a junior in high school, she traveled to the Earth Summit in Brazil, where she taught meditation, and was given the opportunity to work with world leaders on the challenges facing humanity and the planet today, an experience that profoundly influenced her work.

She’s a graduate of Antioch University, where she focused on the intersection between the ancient Goddess traditions and modern culture. Her fascination with healing-both personally and collectively – led her to yoga. During her career she’s worked with thought leaders like Marci Shimoff and Deepak Chopra, actors like Ashley Judd, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Garry Shandling, as well as Sony ImageWorks, UCLA Medical, and the San Francisco 49ers. Her beloved writing mentor is bestselling novelist/humorist, Tom Robbins.



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Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus Oct 6 Guest Post  & Giveaway

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Books, Books, & More Books Oct 17 Review

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Posted in 5 paws, Cozy, Giveaway, mystery, Review on October 27, 2016



Body on the Bayou by Ellen Bryon

2nd in Series
Genre – Cozy Mystery

Series: A Cajun Country Mystery (Book 2)
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books (September 13, 2016)
ISBN-13: 978-1629537689
E-Book – ASIN: B01H082DPY


 The Crozats feared that past murders at Crozat Plantation B&B might spell the death of their beloved estate, but they’ve managed to survive the scandal. Now there’s a très bigger story in Pelican, Louisiana: the upcoming nuptials between Maggie Crozat’s nemesis, Police Chief Rufus Durand, and her co-worker, Vanessa Fleer.

When everyone else refuses the job of being Vanessa’s Maid of Honor, Maggie reluctantly takes up the title and finds herself tasked with a long list of duties–the most important of which is entertaining Vanessa’s cousin, Ginger Fleer-Starke. But just days before the wedding, Ginger’s lifeless body is found on the bayou and the Pelican PD, as well as the Crozats, have another murder mystery on their hands.

There’s a gumbo-potful of suspects, including an ex-Marine with PTSD, an annoying local newspaper reporter, and Vanessa’s own sparkplug of a mother. But when it looks like the investigation is zeroing in on Vanessa as the prime suspect, Maggie reluctantly adds keeping the bride-to-be out of jail to her list of Maid of Honor responsibilities in Body on the Bayou.


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This is still a new series (as this is only book 2), but what a great series. I will say that I have family that lives in South Louisiana in this general area, so I can relate to the crazy families, Cajun food and Zydeco music. But I don’t let that influence me….much!

Maggie is still trying to figure out her life but has somehow gotten roped into being Vanessa’s maid of honor. Now normally for most of us, that wouldn’t be a big deal…but Vanessa is just like those reality TV shows you see that don’t put brides in a good light, especially if they are Bridezillas like how Vanessa is acting. Maggie puts up with more than most people would for her.

That aside, the mystery portion has not 1 person being killed, but 2. Neither are good characters and when everything is revealed, maybe it isn’t such a bad thing that they are dead. The murderer was a little hard to figure out until we got near the end and I really had eliminated everyone but this character. I didn’t know the why, but we find that out as part of the reveal.

Then there is the budding romance between Maggie and Bo. It has its ups and down in this book, as most relationships encounter, but at least they are working towards figuring it out.

I do hope that Maggie does follow her dream of painting, she has talent but just hasn’t figured out how to market herself and her works. I think that could be coming in future books!

We give it 5 paws up.


Check out my review of the first book, Plantation Shudders!

About the Author

ellen byronEllen’s debut novel, PLANTATION SHUDDERS: A Cajun Country Mystery, has been nominated for an Agatha Best First Novel award, a Lefty for Best Humorous Mystery, and a Daphne Award for Best Mainstream Mystery.

Ellen’s TV credits include Wings and Just Shoot Me; she’s written over 200 magazine articles; her published plays include the award-winning Graceland and Asleep on the Wind. Ellen Byron is a native New Yorker who lives in Los Angeles and attributes her fascination with Louisiana to her college years at New Orleans’ Tulane University.

Website * Blog * Twitter * Facebook * Goodreads




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check out the other great blogs on this tour

October 21 – MysteriesEtc – REVIEW

October 21 – Island Confidential – INTERVIEW

October 22 – Books,Dreams,Life – SPOTLIGHT

October 22 – Shelley’s Book Case – REVIEW

October 23 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW

October 23 – Christa Reads and Writes – REVIEW

October 24 – Back Porchervations – REVIEW

October 24 – The Ninja Librarian – REVIEW

October 25 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW

October 25 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

October 26 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW, GUEST POST

October 26 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

October 27 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW

October 27 – Texas Book-aholic – REVIEW

October 28 – T’s Stuff – SPOTLIGHT

October 28 – 3 Partners in Shopping. Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too! – SPOTLIGHT

October 29 – LibriAmoriMiei – REVIEW

October 29 – Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

October 30 – A Holland Reads – GUEST POST

October 30 – A Blue Million Books – INTERVIEW

Posted in Giveaway, Guest Post, Spotlight, suspense, Thriller on October 27, 2016



A call for help from an old friend lands Bianca and the crew back in Boston. On a timeout with Dante, due to revelations in the aftermath of the showdown in Naples, Bianca is drawn to a mysterious new ally who understands the traumas of her past, and has some very real trauma of his own. Murder, designer drugs, and a hacker named Magician challenge our team, and Bianca learns that leaving Rendition behind might be much harder  than she thinks.


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Guest Post

Today we welcome author Gabriel Valjan to StoreyBook Reviews.  He gives us his insights about why he set his books in Italy.  Very fascinating read!

Why Italy?

I’ve been asked why I have set the Roma Series in Italy and not elsewhere. There is no doubt that my choice of country provides rich material for the writer. Whether Italy was Empire, a series of city-states, or at last united in 1861, it has given the world millennia of culture and history, splendid art, a republic and humanism. I choose Italy because it shares some not-so obvious similarities with the United States. I’m speaking in broad terms here.

First, The United States is not a democracy. Both Italy and the U.S. were founded as patrician republics. Both countries had an aristocratic class born of the mercantile class, unlike the British or French aristocracy, which drew its ranks from those who fought, the knights. Both Italy and the United States had profound regional differences. In America, those socioeconomic differences between an industrial north and an agrarian south would lead to the Civil War. Just as in America’s Gilded Age, northern Italy would have its own ‘capitani di ventura,’ venture capitalists who would control entire industries and territories. Southern Italy, where organized crimes started, would exist on and off again, with or without Sicily, as a united state from the Middle Ages to the Risorgimento. Unification came late to Italy in 1861; and yet the country, just as the United States, would emerge, after World War II, as one of the world’s leaders in manufacturing and scientific technology, with one glaring exception separating them: Italy had a viable Communist party. The Years of Lead, 1969 to about 1980, would exterminate that anomaly in Western Europe.

When Americans think of the mafia and organized crime, they think of glamorous movies such as The Godfather, with its emphasis on familial loyalty, honor, and silence. The reality is less Hollywood. The Camorra started around the time the Spanish occupied Naples. Did not Don Quixote have bizarre ideas about chivalry and honor? The Sicilian mafia began as hired enforcers to keep farmers afraid of landowners. Is there an American counterpart? Look to the Progressive Era and the violence between hired thugs and striking workers. Look earlier and the Democratic Party was synonymous with corruption and ward bosses.

There is one stark and fundamental difference between the two countries that I explore in the Roma Series, and that is the concept of society. While what constitutes ‘society’ in Europe is different from what we have in the U.S., I think it is more pronounced in Italy, which rates high in quality of life, and for long life expectancy. The ‘capitani di ventura’ may have faded into history, but in the U.S. the captains of industries and their corporations still affect every aspect of society, wielding inordinate power and influence, for better or worse. These imbalances breed crime at its worst, political activism and legislative reform at their best. The problem is when those in power, those captains of industry and their corporations, are the criminals.

American holds the rebel, the individual — the quintessential cowboy — in high esteem; it values the underdog; and yet, American society is Malthusian and Darwinian at its core, meaning fate is a function of individual choices. The Republican Party advocates the ‘Pull yourself up by your bootstraps’ philosophy life. I don’t know: Is this merely the Protestant idea of predestination dressed up in the Emperor’s New Clothes? Italy is a Catholic country — and Catholicism has its own tainted history — but the Christian ideal of looking out for ‘the least of your brothers’ does not mean that feeding them is encouraging the poor and less fortunate to remain poor and less fortunate. The ways Italy combats organized crime differ from the way the U.S. does – but that is another matter altogether.




Savvy forensic accountant Alabaster Black is hiding in Rome from her former employer, covert U.S. organization “Rendition.” While there under an assumed name she meets Dante, an investigator, erstwhile explorer and member of the Roma Underground, a band of amateur archaeologists who map the city beneath Rome. With Italian artifacts disappearing at an alarming rate, Alabaster and Dante search for answers and create a trap for the thieves. Through a mysterious online contact Alabaster learns she is being followed, and with her safety at risk she is forced to rethink her chosen alliances and discover hidden truths about herself.

“A provocative thriller with a riveting and surprising plot.” —M.J. Rose, International bestseller

“…the strong, captivating heroine and an allure of conspiracy and organized crime make this novel an undoubted success.”  –Kirkus Book Reviews

“Conspiracy, double identities, car chases and espionage, all against the backdrop of magical Rome, with its great food and marvelous art history, make this an entertaining, intriguing read.” —Blogcritics Book Reviews in Brief


WASP’S NEST (Book #2)

In the highly anticipated sequel to Roma, Underground, Bianca returns to the U.S. for her former employer, the covert organization Rendition, to investigate Cyril Sargent and Nasonia Pharmaceutical. Although ambivalent about the assignment and uneasy about her online “friend,” Loki, she is enticed into researching what Sargent is doing with insect genetics that might upset the world of cancer research and treatment. Old friends Farrugia and Gennaro uncover a twisted conspiracy from their past and join Bianca in Boston where they will experience conflicted loyalties, question allies, and confront uncertain enemies, as they’re drawn into the wasp’s nest.

“Again, Valjan successfully conflates multiple sophisticated narratives that bring the past and present together, which the archaeological theme of the last novel also helps accomplish . . . Black is back and just as entertaining as ever.”  —Kirkus Book Reviews

“…a compelling reading, action-packed and with intriguing characters. The plot had plenty of twists and turns, some surprising secrets, and it kept me on the edge of my seat, guessing until the very end.”  —The Book Junkie



Milan. Bianca’s curiosity gets a young university student murdered, but not before he gives her a file that details a secret weapon under development with defense contractor Adastra. Guilt may drive her to find justice for the slain Charlie Brooks, but she is warned by the mysterious Loki to stay away from this case that runs deep with conspiracy. Bianca must find a way to uncover government secrets and corporate alliances without returning Italy to one of its darkest hours, the decades of daily terrorism known as the “Years of Lead.”

“It is even more to Gabriel Valjan’s credit that with Threading the Needle he, as an American, was nonetheless capable of unusual insight into the Misteri Italiani, the Italian Mysteries, without taking any prejudicial standpoint, one way or the other, or putting the blame on anyone, but rather inviting readers to judge for themselves.” —Claudio Ferrara, Italian journalist and translator

“But after the first few pages, I knew I was committed to the end of the book … and would be reading the two earlier books…Characters, plot, ideas, background: In Threading the Needle, Valjan weaves it all into an international crime novel worth the read.” —Beth Kannell of Kingdom Books, a specialty mystery bookshop in northeastern Vermont.



Forensic accountant Alabaster Black has always been steps ahead of her former employer, Rendition, a clandestine and apparently lethal organization. Once the star investigator of financial crimes, she fled from the United States to Italy, under a new name: Bianca Nerini. She carries on her work with a group of trusted friends, although a mysterious contact by the name of Loki reaches out to her on occasion. In this fourth installment, Bianca is in Naples against the Camorra, a crime syndicate unlike the American or Sicilian mafia.


About the Author

gabriel-valjanGabriel Valjan lives in Boston, Massachusetts. He is the author of the Roma Series, available from Winter Goose Publishing. Gabriel has also written numerous short stories and essays found online and in print.

Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook



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5 winners get an ebook copy of CC

1 winner gets whole set of Roma series in paperback (signed)

1 winner gets whole set of Roma series in ebook format

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Posted in Cozy, Guest Post, mystery, Spotlight, Texas on October 26, 2016


The Good, the Bad and the Guacamole (A Taste of Texas Mystery)

Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Berkley (November 1, 2016)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425275948
E-Book ASIN: B01BK0SQ72


Tex-Mex waitress and part-time reporter Josie Callahan is about to serve up some Lone Star justice in this spicy Taste of Texas Mystery from the author of Here Today, Gone Tamale.

Tourists are pouring into the town of Broken Boot for the annual Homestead Days Music Festival. Opening the celebration at Two Boots dance hall is smooth-talking country singer Jeff Clark, the ex-boyfriend of Josie’s best friend, Patti Perez. When the charming Clark woos Patti onstage in an attempt to rekindle some sparks with his old flame, Josie fears her friend will end up as just one more notch on the singer’s guitar strap.

To impress her editor at the Broken Boot Bugle, Josie and her Chihuahua, Lenny, pursue the singer to Patti’s house, hoping for an interview. Instead, they discover Clark facedown in a bowl of guacamole with a bloodied guitar at his side. With Patti suddenly a murder suspect, Josie must use her reporter skills to find out who had a chip on their shoulder—before the killer double dips….



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Guest Post

As a blogger living in Texas, you can’t go to far without running into guacamole.  In fact, I used to not like the stuff…now, I can eat it by the bowlful.  My brother even taught me how easy it is to make a good tasting guac (as we like to shorten it).  So I thank Rebecca for stopping by StoreyBook Reviews today with her take on the yummy green stuff!


Guacamole: Too Good to Be Bad

by Rebecca Adler

Author of The Good, the Bad, and the Guacamole

When I set out to write the second installment of my Taste of Texas Mystery Series, I jumped at the chance to highlight one of my all-time favorite foods. Guacamole.

If you’re anything like my family you can’t get enough of this scrumptious spread. And we’re not the only ones. Americans consume approximately 1.2 billion pounds of avocados every year. On two special days those numbers soar into the stratosphere. Can you name them?

If you said Cinco de Mayo, you’re right. Now think tailgate parties, football…got it yet? If you said the Super Bowl, you’re an expert. Approximately 12 million avocados will be turned into dip on Super Bowl Sunday this year.

Guacamole, or ahuaca-mulli, and the Aztecs who created it were discovered by the Spaniards in Central Mexico in the 1500s. In fact, those explorers loved it so much they tried to recreate the dish when they returned to Spain. Alas, these delicious fruits grow best in the climate of South-Central Mexico.

The healthy avocado is loaded with vitamins, minerals, and good fats. And there’s enough fiber in this savory berry–yes, berry–to fight off hunger for up to three hours after eating only half of one for lunch.

Avocado trees were introduced to California in 1871. Recipes for guacamole began appearing in the 1940s; and by the 1950s, that fruit-bearing state was growing 25 different varieties. The rest, as they say, is history.

Delicious guacamole, the rich tradition of Tex Mex cuisine, the stark Chihuahuan Desert, and the highest mountain range in Texas are all part of the world inhabited by the characters in my new story, THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE GUACAMOLE.

I hope you’ll come and visit. Whether you swing gently in a hammock under a gigantic sky full of stars, or ride a mechanical bull named Diablo at Two Boots Dance Hall, Josie and the entire Martinez family will make you feel at home.

And they’ll cross their fingers no mysteries crop up while you’re in Broken Boot. Wouldn’t want to scare you away from a good time and all the Tex Mex, and delicious guacamole, you can eat.

¡Hasta luego!

Rebecca Adler

About the Author

gina-lee-nelsonRebecca Adler grew up on the sugar beaches of the Florida Gulf Coast. Drawn to the Big Apple by the sweet smell of wishful thinking, she studied acting on Broadway until a dark-eyed cowboy flung her over his saddle and hightailed it to the Southwest.

Prior to writing women’s fiction, Gina always found a way to add a touch of the dramatic to her life: dinner theatre in Mississippi, can-can club in Florida, and playing a giant Furskin in the New York Toy Fair, plus the occasional play and musical.

She’s currently content to pour her melodramatic tendencies into writing her Taste of Texas culinary mystery series. Set in far West Texas, her humorous stories are filled with delicious suspense and scrumptious Tex-Mex recipes. Her alter ego, Gina Lee Nelson, writes sweet contemporary romances with a sweet, Southern-fried flavor.



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check out the other great blogs on this tour

October 24 – Sleuth Cafe – CHARACTER GUEST POST

October 24 – Books,Dreams,Life – REVIEW

October 25 – View from the Birdhouse – SPOTLIGHT

October 25 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW

October 26 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST, SPOTLIGHT

October 26 – Grace. Gratitude. Life. by Marie McNary – REVIEW

October 27 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

October 28 – Shelley’s Book Case – REVIEW

October 28 – A Blue Million Books – INTERVIEW

October 29 – Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

October 30 – Cozy Up With Kathy – INTERVIEW

October 31 – Back Porchervations – REVIEW

October 31 – Readeropolis – REVIEW

November 1 – LibriAmoriMiei – REVIEW

November 1 – A Holland Reads – REVIEW, GUEST POST

November 2 – Brooke Blogs – REVIEW

November 2 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, &, Sissy, Too! – REVIEW

November 3 – Texas Book-aholic – REVIEW

November 4 – Cinnamon, Sugar, and a Little Bit of Murder – REVIEW

November 4 – Varietats – GUEST POST

November 5 – Community Bookstop –  REVIEW

November 6 – MysteriesEtc – REVIEW



Posted in excerpt, fiction, Literary, Spotlight on October 26, 2016



Title: Save The Last Dance
Author: Eric Joseph & Eva Ungar
Publisher: Hargrove Press
Pages: 360
Genre: Literary Fiction


A tale of the power and peril of first love rediscovered.

Adam Wolf and Sarah Ross were teenage sweethearts who grew up in Cleveland Heights, Ohio in the late 50’s and early 60’s. They set a wedding date when they turned fifteen. The day came and went. For most of their lives the two were out of contact.

With their 50th high school reunion approaching, Adam and Sarah reconnect. Email exchanges – after the first tentative “hi”, then a deluge- five, ten- by the end of the week twenty emails a day. Soon Sarah admits, “All my life I’ve been looking for someone who loves me as much as you did”.

Written entirely in email and texts, Save the Last Dance allows the reader to eavesdrop on Sarah and Adam’s correspondence as their love reignites. It also permits the reader to witness the reactions of significant others, whose hum-drum lives are abruptly jolted by the sudden intrusion of long-dormant passion. Can Sarah and Adam’s rekindled love withstand the pummeling they’re in for?


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From: Adam Wolf <>

To: Paul Bishop <>

October 12, 2014 4:54 pm

Subject: Finally saw Sarah, virtually

Oh Paul — “L’avventura” continues. No pauses for breath or thought. Since the last email, this thing with Sarah has detonated. We are now writing each other all day, every day, sometimes at night, on the way to work, at work, lunch, at intersections, on the back porch. I spend my days longing for her messages and panic when an hour goes by without. No more tentative phrases and innuendo. No more stuff about vague ambiguous longing. It’s full blown, Paul. Jesus H — it’s sweet passion and sexy -particularly exciting because we never had the chance in our first go-round way back when.

The day came. We decided it was the right time to finally see each other — to Skype. I was in Cleveland, alone. Sarah picked a time when I would call. I brought three changes of clothes and tried each of them on before we Skyped — stood back from the mirror and rejected them all. I finally settled on a button-down light blue shirt with one of those newfangled small-ish collars, and a dark blue crew neck. (I remembered that Sarah doesn’t like V-necks.) The pants, Izod chinos with the pleated front and room to grow. I was now prepared with my best Belmondo charm to woo Sarah into bed.

It wasn’t like that, though. I don’t know what it was, Paul. Maybe it was modesty, perhaps fear about what we must look like now to people who last saw us when we were young. The mask of age. Anyway, whatever it was, when the time came we both sat in the shadows in our respective rooms and just peered at the camera. First there was giggling over nothing. Eventually, I decided to thrust my face forward into the light, regardless of the consequences. Sarah leaned forward herself for a moment, her hand over her face, just briefly let her eyes show and stared at me nervously. Later she said she thought me so handsome still. I told her I would recognize those beautiful baby blues anywhere, if only she would let me see them clearly.

I couldn’t really see her face. The light was arranged so only a silhouette was visible. For a while she resembled someone being interviewed in the witness protection program. I expected her voice to sound shrill and electronic. “I foist met Vinnie da Butcher Bugliosi in 1946 at a pizza parlor in Passaic. He showed me a good time. His last words to me were ‘keep your mouth shut’.”

As for the rest of her, I conjured up the worst — telling myself I will love her no matter what. I had visions of Sarah Ross now — cauliflower ears and 7 teeth, four of which dangled precipitously. I feared her neck would show signs of some old rope burns from 10 years ago, when she tried to hang herself in the mental ward.

When Sarah finally spoke, her voice was soft. Softer than I remembered, sweet, more confident, deeper. At first she spoke out of the darkness. She said, “It’s you. It’s really you.” The conversation deteriorated from there. And I said, “It’s you, really you,” but I wasn’t sure. Except for the voice it could have been Golda Meier there, for all I knew.
When she finally leaned into the light, I must have lost my breath. I saw her — and despite the few wrinkles, the face more set in place, she was immediately my girl, her smile now even sweeter. Her gestures were more refined and confident. She was dressed elegantly for me — a silky salmon top and a paisley shawl. The years dissolved, and the fears about age were gone. My Sarah and she beamed at me.

We talked softly, nothing sexually charged about it, just soft remembrance. We imagined that we were back in her sunroom, with the low red love seat — tamely making out — her hand caressing my belly but- ton, just under the belt — how we slept together at 15, quite literally, in that hot room, napping together in the heat — or about her head on my lap when we watched The Twilight Zone Friday nights — or the path we took through Cain Park when I carried home her books after school — or the people we routinely met along my paper route.

At some point, Paul, we stopped talking and simultaneously touched our fingers to our lips and reached toward the screen.

About the Authors

eric-johnson-eva-ungarEric Joseph and Eva Ungar (Grudin) were teenage sweethearts in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, who set a wedding date when they turned 15. The last time they saw each other they were 21 years old. Three years ago they reunited, around the time of the 50th high school reunion. Although their book is a work of fiction, it’s about a couple like them, who fall in love again, almost instantly, via email.

Eric is in public health, a consultant/educator at hospitals and clinics, concentrating his career on Native American health services across the country. Eva is an art historian who taught at Williams College in Massachusetts for 40+ years. She specialized in African and African-American art; the history of European painting: also Holocaust Studies – memorials and museums; In addition, she has performed in and written Sounding to A, a multi-media work about inheriting the Holocaust. It premiered at the Ko Festival of Performance in 2004.

Learn more about Eva and Eric and their history together by visiting their website below.  At the website you’ll find memories about their time together in the late 50s, early 60s, as well as interviews from today.

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