Posted in Fantasy, Giveaway, Interview on October 17, 2017

Synopsis

Dahlia, a centuries old genie, lies hopelessly trapped in a damaged golden locket charm attached to an ankle bracelet. Its owner, sixteen-year-old Liana, wears it for the first time during her father Jamison’s opening night illusion spectacular. Not only does its presence cause Jamison to folly his performance, but it also starts a chain of bizarre events that lead to a showdown with Dahlia’s mortal enemy, Stefan, and an unsuspecting romance between Liana and his son.

Interview with Matt

How did you do research for your book?

I did most of my research online. I had a lot of ideas that I wanted to incorporate into the genie/djinn folklore, but I didn’t want them to be completely without foundation. My goal was to create a world that was intriguing to those who had no knowledge of genies, aside from Disney’s Aladdin, and true to those who hold may this folklore dear to their heritage.

In your book you make a reference to quantum physics. How did you come up with this idea?

While I was writing the first draft, I stumbled upon an online news article about a new discovery where particles seemingly knew what was going to happen before it actually happened. This theory more or less answered the question: If a tree falls in the woods and no one is there to see or hear it, does it still fall/make a sound? The answer, according to this theory is, No; the tree only falls/makes a sound if someone/something in the future knows that another will witness it. I used this theory as an explanation of genie powers and how they are able to make the impossible, possible.

There are many books out there about genies, what makes yours different?

I incorporated two things that I thought would set this story apart from typical genie stories: the idea of a half genie/half human entity and the very real possibility that the entire mythology of the djinn is a product of mental illness.

Your book is partially set in the Middle East. Have you been there?

I have not been there, but my brother in-law is from Syria, so I have a decent amount of exposure to the culture.

What is the last great book you’ve read?

While I’ve liked Kurt Vonnegut for some time, I recently read his “The Sirens of Titan” and loved it.  I think a lot of people feel that they have been used by others and feel that their worth is summed up by the cliché, “what have you done for me lately.” And while this sentiment may cause great despair, the book reminds us of the alternative: “The worst thing that could possibly happen to anybody, would be to not be used for anything by anybody.”

Do you have another profession besides writing?

Yes, I am the co-founder and Vice President of a boutique medical billing firm in New York City.

About the Author

Matt Dallmann has a background in acting and holds a BFA from Marymount Manhattan College in New York City. His films and screenplays have been featured at film festivals across the United States including Cinequest, Big Apple Film Festival, Seattle’s True Independent Film Festival, DragonCon and Zero Independent Film Festival. His piano compositions have been published for commercial use and he is a member of ASCAP. Matt is also the Co-Founder and Vice President of the boutique medical billing firm VGA Billing Services, Inc. in New York City. He lives in New Jersey with his wife and two daughters.

Amazon Author Page * Goodreads

Giveaway

Prizes: ​ Win a print copy of Tribal Affairs + $10 Amazon gift card, one winner will also get a print copy of Arabian Nights Tales (6 winners total, open internationally to any country where Amazon.com delivers)
(ends Nov 3)

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Posted in Interview, nonfiction on October 7, 2017

EQUAL OPPORTUNITY HERO

T.J. Patterson’s Service to West Texas

by

PHIL PRICE

  Genre: Biography / African American Leaders

Publisher: Texas Tech University Press

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Date of Publication: November 20, 2017

Number of Pages: 277

On April 7, 1984, T. J. Patterson became the first African American elected to the Lubbock City Council, winning handily over his four opponents. It was a position he would go on to hold for more than twenty years, and his natural leadership would lead him to state and national recognition.

Patterson grew up during a time of American social unrest, protest, and upheaval, and he recounts memorable instances of segregation and integration in West Texas. As a two-year-old, he survived polio when African Americans were excluded from “whites only” hospitals. When he attempted to enroll at Texas Tech after graduating from all-black Bishop College, he was not allowed even to enter the administration building–the president would speak with him only outside, and then only to say Patterson could not be enrolled. Two years later, his aunt would become the first African American to attend Texas Tech.

Patterson spent his whole adult life as a grassroots activist, and as a city councilman he understood how important it was to work in solid partnership with representatives from the predominantly Hispanic neighborhoods of the city. Over the years, Patterson took every opportunity to join African American and Hispanic forces, but with a few exceptions, the traditional geographic divide of the minority population limited his efforts–and yet Patterson never gave up. His brave public marches to homes of known drug dealers brought attention to their undesirable activities. Patterson also supported city investment in Lubbock history and culture, plus new development activity, from annexation to paved roads to water mains to fire stations. During his long career he truly was an equal-opportunity hero for all of Lubbock’s citizens.

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**Why did you choose to write about this topic? 

As a black city councilman who served his community for more than twenty years, TJ Patterson endured the Equal Rights Movement, the Vietnam War, and segregation. He made an impact on all he served.

**Are there under-represented groups or ideas featured if your book?

Black communities survived hardships with amazing resiliency. Despite laws and restrictions imposed upon their race… honor, dignity, and service prevailed. TJ Patterson led the way.

**What does your perfect writing spot look like? Is that what your ACTUAL writing spot looks like?

Large windows with seasonal colors outside. A large stone fireplace with a 52-inch TV above. Winged backed chairs to read and reflect. Bookshelves floor to ceiling. Food delivered to my desk. Thank you, wife, for making it a reality!

**Is there any person you credit for being your inspiration for writing?

My sister, (best selling author, Jodi Thomas), has the imagination and love for the written story. With my forty-two years as an advertising agency owner, I had to tell a story in 30 and 60 second commercials.

**What is your favorite quote?

“Jump!!! Grow wings on the way down.”

**What do you want your tombstone to say?

I would love to do it all over again!!

Phil Price has been friends with T. J. Patterson for more than twenty years. Now retired, Price was President and CEO of a marketing and design agency. Over the years he has served the Lubbock Independent School District, the Lubbock Better Business Bureau, the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce, and other city agencies. He lives in Lubbock USA, with his wife, Victoria.

CHECK OUT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR

10/3 Promo Tangled in Text
10/4 Review Bibliotica
10/5 Promo Missus Gonzo
10/6 Review A Page Before Bedtime
10/7 Author Interview StoreyBook Reviews
10/8 Promo Texas Book Lover
10/9 Review Hall Ways Blog
10/10 Excerpt Texan Girl Reads
10/11 Review Reading By Moonlight
10/12 Promo Chapter Break Book Blog

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Posted in Christian, Giveaway, Historical, Interview, romance on October 3, 2017

LOVING LUTHER

by

ALLISON PITTMAN

  Genre: Christian Historical Romance

Publisher: Tyndale House

Date of Publication: September 1, 2017

Number of Pages: 432

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Germany, 1505

In the dark of night, Katharina von Bora says the bravest good-bye a six-year-old can muster and walks away as the heavy convent gate closes behind her.

Though the cold walls offer no comfort, Katharina soon finds herself calling the convent her home. God, her father. This, her life. She takes her vows–a choice more practical than pious–but in time, a seed of discontent is planted by the smuggled writings of a rebellious excommunicated priest named Martin Luther. Their message? That Katharina is subject to God, and no one else. Could the Lord truly desire more for her than this life of servitude?

In her first true step of faith, Katharina leaves the only life she has ever known. But the freedom she has craved comes with a price, and she finds she has traded one life of isolation for another. Without the security of the convent walls or a family of her own, Katharina must trust in both the God who saved her and the man who paved a way for rescue. Luther’s friends are quick to offer shelter, but Katharina longs for all Luther has promised: a home, a husband, perhaps even the chance to fall in love.

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Praise for Loving Luther:

[Pittman] pens an exquisite tale, capturing the emotions of a nun grappling with the faith she’s always known vs. a new and unfamiliar freedom in faith.  Simmering with tension of Katharina’s discontent and longings, the novel unveils a slow morphing that follows Katharina’s own personal transformation, from reverence to spirited determination in choosing her own way in the world. — Booklist

Loving Luther is a moving and rich historical romance based on Luther’s relationship with his wife Katharina.  In addition, it shows how their marriage was actually significant to the Lutheran faith.  Instead of dwelling on the couple’s courtship, the story goes deep into the roots of the Reformation.  Luther and Katharina interrogate their faith, living out their convictions in a way that is both inspiring and profoundly human.  Loving Luther has depth, and it is unexpectedly touching.  Katharina and Luther, in search of a happy ending, find one another.  Their love, Pittman shows, really did change the world. — Foreword Magazine

A historical novel with characters who are brave, strong and willing to take chances in times of persecution.  The plot is partially based on the teachings of Martin Luther and the many lives he changed, some for the better, some for the worse.  Pittman is a talented author who touches on topics that have been debated over the decades and are still being talked about today. — Romantic Times Reviews

 

How has being a Texan (or Texas) influenced your writing?

I’m a transplanted Texan, but I’ve been here for almost 30 years—more than half my life now… I don’t have novels set in Texas (except my little Christmas Novella that is basically a love letter to San Antonio and HEB), but I like to think that I have a Texas attitude in my stories. Meaning this: Texans love Texas, without reservation, despite our flaws, regardless what other people think. My books don’t always feature the most loveable characters, but I love them. Fiercely. I’d love them if they never reformed, if they never reconciled their sins. I love them in the dirt and I love them when they’re all cleaned up—and all the miles and miles in-between.

Where did your love of [books, writing, reading, and/or storytelling] come from?

My love of all things reading and writing came from my mom. Long before I knew how to write, I would dictate stories to her and she would faithfully scribe them for me, without changing anything. And my earlies memories are of her reading to me. In particular, I remember my illustrated classic volume of Heidi. I remember thinking: She’s enjoying this just as much as I am! That meant something, to know that she wasn’t just reading to me, she was reading with me. Ever since, I’ve thought of reading as a shared experience.

What was the hardest part of writing this book? 

The hardest part about writing Loving Luther was the huge feeling of responsibility I felt for everybody who knew this story, who knew the characters and the circumstances of Martin Luther and the Reformation. I had some history hi-lights to work as bullet points in the story, but lots of free room for imagination. I’m good with the imagination part! And I had to take some fictional license in places. The thing is, I never really know where the line is. So, I’m praying that readers will experience the story in the same spirit I used in creating it.

What did you find most useful in learning to write for publication?  What was least useful or most destructive?

Most useful? There are so many people who know so much more than I do about so many things. Designers know how to design. Editors know how to edit. I have great story instincts and a certain level of writing skill, but that’s such a small part of making a book successful. I had to learn that not all great ideas make great books, and past success doesn’t guarantee anything for the next title down the line, so approach and write EVERY book as if it’s your first. After all, every book is a first of my books for someone! Least useful? Destructive? I’ve been fortunate enough to work with two VERY supportive publishers. I think overall the least useful adage in writing is the idea of “Write what you know.” If I did that, I’d never be able to write about baseball or dust storms, or Martin Luther, or flappers, or…anything. I’d have to center an entire cannon around enchiladas and 80’s TV.

What does your perfect writing spot look like? Is that what your ACTUAL writing spot looks like?

My perfect writing spot is the spare room/office in my house—walls are a soothing sage green, shelves displaying my books, photographs of friends and family on the desk and shelves. All of my research books are within an arm’s reach. My candle smells like Disneyland in the morning. The light is low and the AC is perfect. Now, my ACTUAL writing spot? Same house, just down the hall. In the living room, curled up on a corner of the sofa, with episodes of The Golden Girls barely audible in the background.

Do you have any strange writing habits or writing rituals you’d like to share with your readers?

I should probably acknowledge Twizzlers and coffee in all of my book dedications.

What book do you wish you could have written?

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. It is my absolute favorite novel. A dream-dream-dream project would be two write the love story of Officer McShane and Katie Nolan, through the eyes of the patient, lovelorn McShane.

If you could time travel, what time period would you first visit?

I would love to pop into the late 1920s. I want to see a Charlie Chaplin movie in a theater with an orchestra. I want to wear an amazingly cute hat. I love the post-war excitement and liberating mentality. As much as I love delving deep into the past for novel research, my research confirms that I wouldn’t want to live anywhere pre-indoor plumbing and cheeseburgers. The 20s has everything I love now, only fresh and new. Specifically, I’d want to zap onto a Hollywoodland Studio lot. I’d fetch coffee, carry scripts, whatever—just to see that world.

Allison Pittman is the author of more than a dozen critically acclaimed novels and a three-time Christy finalist—twice for her Sister Wife series and once for All for a Story from her take on the Roaring Twenties. She lives near San Antonio, Texas, blissfully sharing an empty nest with her husband, Mike.

 

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TEN SIGNED COPIES OF LOVING LUTHER

October 2-October 11, 2017

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CHECK OUT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR

10/2 Author Video #1 Texan Girl Reads
10/2 Excerpt, Part 1 Chapter Break Book Blog
10/3 Review Hall Ways Blog
10/3 Author Interview StoreyBook Reviews
10/4 Author Video #2 A Page Before Bedtime
10/5 Review Syd Savvy
10/6 Guest Post The Page Unbound
10/6 Scrapbook Page Books in the Garden
10/7 Review Books and Broomsticks
10/8 Author Video #3 Missus Gonzo
10/8 Excerpt, Part 2 Forgotten Winds
10/9 Review Reading by Moonlight
10/9 Review Margie’s Must Reads
10/10 Author Video #4 Tangled in Text
10/11 Review The Librarian Talks

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Posted in Giveaway, Historical, Interview, romance on July 13, 2017

Title: Lord of Lies

Author: Amy Sandas

Series: Fallen Ladies, #3

ISBN: 9781492618782

Pub Date: July 4, 2017

Genre: Historical Romance

Synopsis

“You do strange things to me, Dell Turner. Tell me I am not alone in what I feel.”

His voice was low and rough. His eyes burned. “You are not alone,” he said.

Portia Chadwick longs for a life of adventure. When a dangerous moneylender kidnaps her sister, she dares to seek help from a man known only as Nightshade. Soon she finds herself charging headfirst into his world of intrigue and danger—and unexpected passion.

Dell Turner grew up in London’s back alleys and gin lanes. Vowing to escape his low beginnings, he hires himself out to society’s elite. When he accepts a job from a beautiful debutante, he doesn’t anticipate her relentless determination to join his mad occupation…or her unnerving ability to inspire emotions he thought long buried. She’s as dangerous to him as his world is to her, and yet Dell can’t bring himself to turn Portia away—even if it means risking her life.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble |iBooks | Kobo | IndieBound

 

 

Interview with Amy

Elizabeth: What’s your favorite line from your new release, LORD OF LIES?

Amy: “He knew before he spoke, however, that a sensible lecture would only end in a roll of her fascinating eyes or a snort of derision before she went along doing exactly what she wanted to do anyway.”

 

Elizabeth: I know you have small children at your house just like I do.  What’s your number one tip for juggling mom life with author life?

Amy: The struggle is real! I don’t know if any mom feels they successfully juggle the many balls they have in the air. My number one tip to keep writing in the midst of mommy tasks is to set a routine and stick to it. The early morning hours of every day are for my writing. My kids still interrupt, but at least they are not surprised when I shoo them out the door.

 

Elizabeth: Let’s talk movies.  What’s the last movie you saw in the theater?  What’s your favorite movie? What movie are you embarrassed to admit that you love?

Amy: Last movie seen in the theater was the live-action Beauty and the Beast with my twelve-year old daughter. My favorite movie is constantly changing. Right now, it’s Wonder Woman. A movie I’m embarrassed to love—Bedazzled with Brendan Fraser and Elizabeth Hurley.

 

Elizabeth: When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

Amy: I’ve loved writing since I was a pre-teen, but it wasn’t until college that I knew I wanted to make a go of it as a career. It took many years after that to actually commit to a discipline that would make it happen.

 

Elizabeth: If you had to live within the world of any genre of romance, which one would you choose and why?

Amy: I’d have to go with contemporary. Specifically, the gritty, rock-and-roll, tattooed, dive bar contemporaries. Oh, to be young and rebellious again!

 

Elizabeth: Have any of your (adult) family members read your books?  Do you tear out the pages of the sex scenes? Or let them read the whole thing?

Amy: Yes, many of my adult family members have read at least one of my books. Even my grandpa! And, as far as I know, they read the whole thing. We just don’t talk specifics afterward…

About the Author

Amy Sandas’ love of romance began one summer when she stumbled across one of her mother’s Barbara Cartland books. Her affinity for writing began with sappy pre-teen poems and led to a Bachelor’s degree with an emphasis on Creative Writing from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. She lives with her husband and children in Wisconsin.

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Title: The Wicked Heir

Author: Elizabeth Michels

Series: Spare Heirs, #3

ISBN: 9781492621393

Pub Date: July 4, 2017

Genre: Historical Romance

Synopsis

The Spare Heirs Society Cordially Invites You to Meet Fallon St. James: The Mastermind

When the love of Lady Isabelle Fairlyn’s life is betrothed to her twin sister, Isabelle vows to find a suitable replacement before the end of the season. He must be a talented dancer, have a keen fashion sense, and be perfectly dashing in every way.

Fallon St. James is the farthest thing from perfectly anything. As head of the secretive Spare Heirs Society, he must stick to the shadows…even as Isabelle’s friendship pulls him reluctantly into the light.  But when Isabelle gets involved with the one man who could destroy Spares, Fallon must decide between protecting his life’s work—or risking everything to save the woman whose warm smile leaves him breathless.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble |iBooks | Kobo | IndieBound

Interview with Elizabeth

Amy: If you could be a character in any movie, which movie and what character would you want to be?

Elizabeth: Without a doubt I would want to be Mia Thermopolis in The Princess Diaries! She gets to learn to be a princess.  I mean, twist my arm, right?  Torture me with makeovers and learning to properly sip tea any day.  I won’t complain even a little. Mia Thermopolis has the bright future of one day ruling Genovia which looks a great deal like one of the countries in Epcot.  Again, it would be complete torture to have that to look forward to. 😉 And bonus—my grandmother would be Mary Poppins.  Not too shabby.

 

Amy: Who is your favorite musical artist of all time, and why?

Elizabeth: That’s such a tough question! I think I’ve now changed my answer on this 4 times, but in the end I have to go with Dave Matthews.  I’ve been to more of his concerts than any other band.  I can put on his live album with Tim Reynolds at Radio City Music Hall in the background at my house and be content to leave it on for hours.  I like any musical artist that tells a story or paints a picture with lyrics, so for me Dave Matthews Band is the perfect music…even if I did come really close to answering this question with Led Zeppelin.

 

Amy: Do you listen to music while you write? And if so, what do you listen to?

Elizabeth: I only listen to classical music and theme songs from movies while I’m writing because of the lyrics.  If I listen to a song with words, I stop writing to sing along, using the stapler on my desk as a microphone.  Yes, I discovered I have this problem the hard way.  I do, however, have inspiration music for each book.  I listen to it while I’m sipping my coffee or I’m in the car.

For THE WICKED HEIR, I listened to a mix that included the acoustic version of Everlong by the Foo Fighters, Everything Has Changed by Taylor Swift, Someone Like You by Adele, Crash Into Me by Dave Matthews, She Will Be Loved by Maroon 5, and a random selection of songs from Disney movies.  I blame my heroine, Isabelle, who is a bit of a princess for that last part.

 

Amy: If you could go anywhere in the world for a vacation, where would you go?

Elizabeth: London, of course! My house is in the country so I enjoy going to cities on vacation for a change of pace.  And what better city is there in the world than London, England? I love London, but I haven’t been able to go in years since I have a little one at home.  It seemed like a long flight for a wiggly little boy to sit through, but now that he’s getting older I’m hoping I can take a family vacation there in the coming years.  Until then I’ll just have to sip tea at home and dream.

 

Amy: If you had only one book to read for the rest of your life, what book would it be?

Elizabeth: Only one book?! Forever?! Man, ask me a tougher question, why don’t you, Amy.  Geez! I would have to go with the book that will always hold a special place in my heart: the one that hooked me on reading when I was a teenager.  There was a long list of acceptable books for summer reading that year.  I wasn’t a big reader at the time, so I sighed and looked down the list settling on a title that turned out to be AMAZING! After I read it, I wanted more and began devouring book after book for the first time in my life.  But that first one is still my favorite book of all time.  The book that changed my life: REBECCA by Daphne Du Maurier.

 

Amy: What is the strangest way that an idea has come to you for a story?

Elizabeth: LOL I definitely have to go with the plot of my debut novel, MUST LOVE DUKES, for this one.  I was in the shower one Saturday afternoon after working in my flower beds all morning.

It went something like this: shampoo, shampoo, shampoo… ENTIRE PLOT OF THE STORY SMASHING ME OVER THE HEAD! I gasped, didn’t even stop to rinse or repeat, and ran for a pen and paper before I could forget the details.  I wrote down a summary of the entire book with shampoo bubbles still dripping from my head.  And the rest is history.

 

Amy: Who is a favorite secondary character you’ve written, and why?

Elizabeth: Kelton Brice, Lord Hardaway! I love Kel! I can always count on him to go off on some tangent of complete randomness, and whatever story he tells, it always makes me giggle.  He’s one of those people who talks with his hands and is always in danger of accidentally back handing someone who gets too close when he’s mid tale of some adventure. I never know what he’s going to say, but you can bet that it will be slightly inappropriate and at top volume so that everyone on his side of town can hear it.  He’s awesome.  I want to be his friend.

About the Author

Elizabeth Michels grew up on a Christmas tree farm in rural South Carolina. After tip-toeing her way through school with her focus on ballet steps and her nose in a book, she met a boy and followed him a thousand miles away from home to Kansas City, Missouri, before settling down in North Carolina.

Website * Twitter * Facebook

Giveaway

Amy Sandas’ Fallen Ladies Series:
Luck Is No Lady
The Untouchable Earl
Lord of Lies

Elizabeth Michels’ Spare Heirs Series:
The Infamous Heir
The Rebel Heir
The Wicked Heir

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Posted in Cozy, Giveaway, Guest Post, Interview, mystery on June 26, 2017

Death on West End Road (Hamptons Murder Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Dunemere Books (June 20, 2017)
Paperback 268 Pages

Synopsis

Like a basket of warm cinnamon buns, an unsolved crime is something that Hamptons innkeeper and sleuth Antonia Bingham just can’t resist. Despite a busy high-season schedule and an inn booked to capacity, Antonia has agreed to investigate a cold case in her beloved adopted hometown, East Hampton, NY: the killing of Susie Whitaker, whose brutal 1990 slaying on a tennis court in the poshest part of town was never solved. And the person who has hired Antonia? Prime suspect Pauline Framingham, a manipulative pharmaceutical heiress from a powerful family. The crime scene is compromised, the circumstances are complicated, and former witnesses are cagey, haunted and very reluctant to revisit what happened on that sun-splashed afternoon decades earlier. As Antonia attempts to unravel the mysteries of the past she unearths even darker secrets and ultimately wonders if it would have been best to let sleeping dogs lie. To make matters worse, past acquaintances and love interests reappear in the Hamptons, disrupting Antonia’s world and causing her to scurry to the fridge for comfort.

Death on West End Road is the third book in the Hamptons Murder Mystery Series. Along with a colorful cast of supporting characters, the beating heart of the book is Antonia Bingham, restaurateur, gourmand, and nosy carb-lover.

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Guest Post

Antonia Bingham of “DEATH ON WEST END ROAD”

By Carrie Doyle

Sometimes you just need help finding the secret ingredient. That’s what happened to me in my quest to create the perfect hors d’oeuvres.  Despite all my best efforts, it was not until my friend Merecias Gandela, or “May” as she is more commonly known, came to visit me in my kitchen at The Windmill Inn, that I was able to complete the most delicious version of shrimp balls that I have ever tasted.

I had been asked to create a new hors d’oeuvres to present at the Ladies Village Improvement Society benefit. This is an important organization that, in their own words, ‘has been keeping East Hampton beautiful since 1895.’ The volunteers and employees there work hard maintaining the historical landmarks, as well as the ponds, parks, greens, trees and gardens in the village. They do a fantastic job and I certainly do believe we have the prettiest town in America!

With that in mind, I wanted to make sure I created a special dish that was both tasty and original. I like crab cakes, and they are always a crowd pleaser. But they are not the most innovative hors d’oeuvres. And I also hate to say it, but they kind of make your breath stinky after you eat them. It’s true! That’s why it’s kind of weird to me that they serve them at cocktail parties where people keep talking to one another. Maybe they would be better eaten in private. But what I love about shrimp is you don’t have that bad breath when you eat them and I think they are even tastier!

I had tried various batches of shrimp balls, always tweaking the recipe. At first I used rosemary and thyme, then I tried cilantro until I finally settled on tarragon as the herb of choice. Settling on seasoning was a head scratcher. I finally thought I had the recipe down—much to the relief of Marty and Kendra who work with me in my kitchen and were up to their eyeballs in shrimp balls—when May came to visit me. She took one bite before nodding and saying, ‘old bay.’ Of course! I needed Old Bay seasoning. With May’s help (Marty and Kendra were fed up) we quickly created a new batch. I have to say—fantastic! I’m including the recipe below and you can try it yourself. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed. The Ladies of the Ladies Village Improvement Society certainly weren’t!

May’s Shrimp Balls

1 pound of shrimp, peeled, deveined and finely chopped or blended in a Cuisinart

1 egg

2 tsps of Dijon mustard

½ teaspoon of salt

½ teaspoon of ground pepper

1/8 cup of chopped fresh tarragon

2 tsp of mayonnaise

3 cloves of garlic

1 bundle of scallions (mostly white part)

½ cup of panko (will be 1 cup total but ½ now)

½ tsp of Old Bay

Mix all together, then roll into individual balls 2/3 the size of a ping pong ball. Spread rest of panko bread crumbs on a plate and roll each ball in panko. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to one hour.  Then fry each one in olive or vegetable oil.

Serve hot with a horseradish sauce mixed with Siracha.

Q & A with Carrie

I was lucky enough to also get some insight from Carrie.  Some interesting information that you may never have known!

Q: How did you ‘get into a life of crime’? Writing, not committing crime?

A: I’ve always been drawn to stories of murder. Whether it be the big celebrity cases—like JonBenet Ramsey or Laci Peterson—or the less well known ones. I think perhaps because I have known people or met people personally who have committed a crime or been a potential victim of a crime. For example, the doorman in my apartment building where I grew up killed his wife. One day I was talking to him in the lobby and the next thing I heard he was doing 25 to life for killing her. So random. Also, my aunt Katie Mahon had a very close run in with Ted Bundy in the 1970s and almost was his victim. She wrote about her experience in her book The Miracle Chase. Her story is harrowing and always captivated me.

Q: What is it about it that captivated you?

A: I think the fact that an everyday person can be homicidal. Not just someone who in frustration says, ‘oh I want to kill her,’ but someone who actually does! I mean, one of the reasons the public couldn’t accept that O.J. Simpson killed Nicole and Ron was that we all felt like we knew him. It was like, ‘O.J. wouldn’t do that.’ But it turns out, we didn’t know him at all.

Q: I heard you had a connection to O.J.?

A: Not really a connection but a weird coincidence. OJ Simpson used to go jogging with my upstairs neighbor. And our doorman told us after the murder (not the same doorman who killed his wife I might add) that he saw OJ beating Nicole up outside our building. Then during the recent documentary ‘Made in America” about OJ they showed a picture of Nicole’s diary. She says the first time he beat her up was at the party in the apartment of my upstairs neighbor! I would have been 12 years old and sleeping right below the party. It is eerie.

Q: How did you pick East Hampton as a setting for your Hamptons Murder Mystery Series?

A: I have spent every summer of my life in East Hampton as well as most holidays and long weekends. For the past ten years I have also gone there every weekend. It is my favorite place on earth and I know it like the back of my hand. They say ‘write about what you know’ and so I did. You can tell if the writer really knows the location they are writing about so it was important to me that I not set it in say, Oklahoma, because I’ve never been there and it wouldn’t be authentic.

Q: Have there been a lot of murders in East Hampton?
A: Not really. Although now the bodies are stacking up in my books! But the case that really captivated people was the Ted Ammon murder in East Hampton in 2001. He was a wealthy banker who was good looking and well liked, and he was brutally murdered in his ten-million dollar home near the ocean. It ultimately came out that the boyfriend of his estranged wife—a local electrician—had killed him. It had all the elements—money, class warfare and murder. But at the end of the day, he had two small children whose life were ruined by his death.

Q: What’s next for Antonia Bingham, the heroine of your books?

A: The next book will be very straight forward and all about murder. Less of Antonia’s personal life, I’m hitting a pause button on that. Someone will arrive at the inn and they are not the person they say they are. It’s inspired by Agatha Christie’s Mousetrap, my favorite play.

About the Author

carrie-doyleCarrie Doyle was the founding Editor-in- Chief of the Russian edition of Marie Claire Magazine. She is currently a Contributing Editor of Hamptons Magazine and has written extensively for Harper’s Bazaar, Town & Country and has also written for Women’s Health and Avenue on the Beach. With Jill Kargman, Carrie co-wrote the film Intern (which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 1999), as well as several screenplays sold to Showtime, Paramount Pictures, Nickelodeon Films and the Oxygen Network. Carrie and Jill co-wrote five books together, including three teen books for HarperCollins and two bestselling women’s fiction books, The Right Address and Wolves in Chic Clothing (Broadway Books). Carrie also penned the popular novel The Infidelity Pact (Broadway Books). Carrie lives in New York City with her husband and two children and is currently at work on an animated series for broadcast as well as her new series, the Hamptons Murder Mysteries.

Webpage * GoodReadsAmazonPublisher Page * Twitter

 

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June 19 – My Journey Back – REVIEW, INTERVIEW

June 19 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

June 20 – deal sharing aunt – REVIEW, INTERVIEW

June 20 – Dee-Scoveries – SPOTLIGHT

June 21 – Community Bookstop – REVIEW

June 21 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – GUEST POST

June 22 – Books Direct – GUEST POST

June 22 – Books,Dreams,Life – SPOTLIGHT

June 23 – Brooke Blogs – GUEST POST

June 24 – Valerie’s Musings – INTERVIEW

June 24 – Island Confidential – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

June 25 – A Holland Reads – CHARACTER GUEST POST

June 26 – I Read What You Write – REVIEW

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June 27 – Queen of All She Reads – REVIEW, SPOTLIGHT

June 28 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW

June 28 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – INTERVIEW

June 29 – Socrates’ Book Reviews – REVIEW

June 29 – The Self-Rescue Princess – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

June 30 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

Posted in Book Release, Interview, Young Adult on June 25, 2017

Synopsis

Li Nguyen, aka Juice Box, has never really had a friend. That is, until he meets the ultra cool, super mysterious Shame. Though Juice Box feels certain this is his new BFF, Shame’s dark past and nefarious entanglements get them both into serious, life-threatening trouble. It doesn’t help that Shame inadvertently pissed off one of the baddest crime bosses in Baltimore, Anna Nguyen (aka Laoban), who also happens to be Juice Box’s cousin. Shame stirred up trouble with a rival game, putting Anna and her crew in a precarious situation. Torn between his love for Anna and his new, exciting friendship with Shame, Juice Box must choose where his loyalties lie.

Will he choose family and leave Shame out to dry, or will he choose the only friend he’s ever had, despite the danger?

Praise

“MIND BLOWING! From the first sentence, “I am ugly.” to the last sentence, “I see you.” this book had me glues to the pages. I read this book in one night.”

“Fantastic roller coaster of a book. VERY visual.  There were moments where I was too in the moment and felt as if I was truly there.”

“The ambiguity that surrounds the main character’s gender/sexuality is a welcome change. It allows you to get wrapped up in the character’s development.”

“It’s like Girl with the Dragon Tattoo meets Middle Sex.  The gender ambiguity coupled with the vague use of personal pronouns was bold and executed masterfully.”

“What a relief it is to not have a completely heteronormative main character with a love interest for once, and to also have it executed so damn well.  Shame’s identity is kept under wraps masterfully by the author and I almost hope she never reveals it.”

“This book sucked me in as soon as I opened it. I swung from feeling pity and heartache for Shame, to hating the character, and back again. After whipping through it in under a week, I can honestly say the novel didn’t disappoint in the least–my main problem is desperately wanting the second and third installments in the trilogy to be written NOW so I can read them!’

Q&A with the Author & Illustrator

I love the Comic Book vibe and illustrations you’ve incorporated into The Adventures of Juice Box and Shame! Can you tell readers what inspired this theme for your thrilling novella?

Liv Hadden: I grew up around comic books because my brother loved them. Some of that rubbed off on me! I was reading a Deadpool comic before bed one night. When I woke up the next morning, I had this vision of Juice Box and Shame on the cover of a comic book called The Adventures of Juice Box and Shame. I was so excited about the idea, I knew I had to make it real.

Mo Malone: I also grew up reading comic books when I was a kid. My dad would take my brother and me to a local comic book shop on a fairly regular basis and I was always excited to add to my collection. I always found the artwork to be striking and dramatic. It impressed me how line weight, perspective, and color theory can further the emotion and storyline of a comic. I was very excited when Liv asked me to join her on this project.

Liv, how did you find Mo Malone, and inevitably end up partnering with her on this project?

LH: I knew I was going to need an artist to pull off the comic book theme, and Mo popped into my head immediately. We met years ago when she started tattooing my entire back. Through that process, I got to know her and see what she was capable of. She’s a brilliant artist and a wonderful woman – she seemed like an obvious choice.

Mo, did you ever think you would contribute to publishing a book?

MM: I have always wanted to contribute artwork for a book and I’m elated with joy that I get to team up with such a talented and overall amazing person as Liv!

How has it been working as a ‘team’ with a co-author/illustrator, versus flying solo?

LH: As far as the writing goes, not too much different, other than having someone’s eyes on my drafts immediately. As a reader of the series herself, she was able to give me perspective I wouldn’t have had access to so early on. She caught some things and helped me fine-tune the characters, which was very helpful. It’s been amazing for me to see her bring the characters to life in her drawings. I love seeing her interpretations of things. It’s a good check for me to see if I’m illustrating the story well with my words.

MM: It can be a bit of a daunting task. To find that balance of vision between author and illustrator, you want to make sure you both are on the same page. Having Liv’s guidance through the drawing process has made it much easier to ensure that I carry out her vision for the book.

Mo, how quickly did you dream up your illustrations from Juice Box and Shame? Was there any specific part of In the Mind of Revenge that really influence how you saw these characters?
MM:
It was quite helpful having already read a book that included these characters. I think we all paint a picture in our mind, when we read. And Liv is so descriptive, that it came pretty naturally. It was important for me to choose scenes from each episode that would further the storyline and keep the reader guessing what might happen next.

What do you think will surprise readers most about The Adventures of Juice Box and Shame?

LH: Some things that weren’t revealed in In the Mind of Revenge get addressed. For some, it will be obvious, for others a surprise. There’s also a hint as to where to story will go from here!

Liv, you talk about some medical procedures in your story, as well as some of the advancements humans have made in metal. What was the most interesting thing you learned while researching for the book?

LH: I came across a type of metal that can disintegrate bullets on contact! As of now, it primarily has military applications, but I had to ask myself, “What if we could replace human bones with this material?” The answer was intriguing and leads me to some very exciting plot items for the future.

About the Author

Liv Hadden has her roots in Burlington, Vermont  and currently resides in Georgetown, TX with her partner and two dogs, Madison and Samuel, where she is an active member of Writer’s League of Texas. Her 2016 release In the Mind of Revenge received high praise from Blue Ink Reviews, Writer’s Digest, Kirkus ReviewsindieBRAG and five stars from Foreword Clarion Review.

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. It’s no wonder she teamed up talented tattoo artist Mo Malone (who scribed a majority of Hadden’s body work) to create her latest release The Adventures of Juice Box and Shame.

Find Liv Online: Facebook * Twitter * Instagram * Goodreads

About the Illustrator

Malone has been making art since she was a kid. Offered a tattoo apprenticeship while obtaining a B.F.A. in Sculpture from Virginia Commonwealth University. Malone briefly diverted from tattooing to be an elementary and middle school teacher,  an experience she greatly enjoyed, but ultimately came back to her artistic roots. She has tattooed at Rick’s Tattoo in Arlington, Virginia (where she got her start), Iron Age Studio in St. Louis, Missouri and Triple Crown Tattoo in Austin, Texas where she met Hadden.

A lover of travel, her craft has taken her all over the world, to include a dozens of tattoo conferences spanning from New York to Moscow. You can now find Malone back in St. Louis at Ragtime Tattoo. She has recently joined Evil Prints to expand into screen-printing, and when she’s not working her magic in the art world, you can find her feeding her adventurous spirit BMXing at her local skate park or wandering the Missouri Botanical Garden

Find Mo Malone Online: Instagram

 

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Posted in Giveaway, Interview, nonfiction on June 7, 2017

THE REBIRTH OF HOPE

My Journey from Vietnam War Child to American Citizen

by

Sau Le Hudecek

  Genre: Memoir / Inspirational

Publisher: Texas Christian University Press

Date of Publication: June 15, 2017

Number of Pages: 160

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Born in a demilitarized zone during the Vietnam War to a Vietnamese mother and American soldier, Sau Le arrived in the United States as a young woman with only twenty dollars in her pocket. Though bullied and abused since childhood, she nevertheless came to her new homeland armed with courage and determined to build a decent life for herself, her infant son, and her traumatized mother. This is the story of how she overcame every conceivable hurdle—significant culture shock, a daunting language barrier, serious illness, heartbreak, and betrayal—to become a landlord, a successful business owner, a joyous wife and mom, and a woman blessed with generous, loyal friends. She describes an arduous journey, both physical and emotional, from a place of terror and utter despair to a life overflowing with love and prosperity. Ultimately, this is a story of hope, something Sau Le thought she’d lost long ago in the minefields of Vietnam. Her goal is both to uplift and to remind everyone born on American soil that anything in this land is possible for those willing to put dedication, faith, and passion to work.

TCU Press * IndieBound * Barnes & Noble * Amazon

Praise for The Rebirth of Hope:

“Sau Le has an innate abundance of beauty, wisdom, loyalty and dignity which led her to overcome unbelievable challenges and fully realize her dream in America. Thus proving once again that adversity builds character. I couldn’t put it down.” —Dan Jenkins, bestselling author of Semi-Tough

“Sau Le lifted her head and walked through years of hard work and determination, inspiring other women along the way! Every word of her personal journey was written to remind all of us!” —Robin Sanders, Sanders Travel Agency

“An inspiring story of a Vietnam refugee’s journey to achieve the ‘American Dream.’ This book is a lesson for everyone.”  —Martin C. Bowen, financial executive

“To have written this remarkable story is one more example of the focus and tenacity that Sau Le Hudecek has shown in achieving her previous goals. You will remember this gripping tale of resilience and courage.”  —Gail Williamson Rawl

“A truly inspirational story of a fearless person who overcame unbelievable odds to make a better life and obtain the ‘American dream.’”  —Janie Beggs

You mention throughout the book feeling flickers of hope. Can you tell us about a specific time or event that you remember feeling this most strongly?

The first time I remember having a sense of hope after my sister died was my experience in the running rain (flash flood) when I knew at least God loved me enough to save me from being swept away in the flood.

Another time was when my mom’s friend said that my father came back to look for us. Whether this was true or she was just trying to make me feel better it did help.

I also had a strong sense of hope when I earned my beautician’s license here in America. My hard work and sacrifice paid off, and I knew that I could make a better life for my family and that anything was possible.

In the book, you say you wanted a job that made you feel valuable and connected to something important. How does that translate to working in a salon?

Because I was different from everyone else in my village in several ways, growing up, people tried to make me feel defeated by calling me a freak and always trying to make me feel “less than.” I still remember that hollow feeling, thinking that I was a freak just as many people were telling me. I knew how you look can have an impact on how you feel about yourself. Although while in Vietnam I didn’t know that that there was much I could do to help myself. I felt that if I could at least help others feel beautiful about themselves that I would feel I was worth something.

Once in America, listening to my clients talk, I found that everyone feels self-conscious or unhappy with something about themselves. Remembering my hollow feeling makes it natural for me to empathize with my clients, and if I can help them get past this negative feeling and allow them to feel better about themselves, I believe that it will make their lives better and that this positive energy will naturally be passed onto others as well.

Each time I see someone light up about how they feel about themselves I think that it also heals me a little bit.

How have your family members in Vietnam and your mother reacted to your story?

I don’t think my mom really understands. I’ve told her a few times about writing this book, but I don’t get the feeling that it registered with her. My mom didn’t have the opportunity to get an education, and she never read a book for pleasure or otherwise. She tries to read a Bible in Vietnamese, but other than that I don’t think she has the concept of a book that isn’t for instruction.

I haven’t told my brother and sister or anyone else in Vietnam.

What do you miss from Vietnam?

Two people who are now gone: my sister and my grandmother. They took care of me growing up. Other than them, only the few friends and neighbors who were kind to me when the easy thing to do was to act as the others who yelled at me, called me names, and were always trying to put me down.

There are also a few things I reminisce about, such as chewing on a good stalk of sugar cane.

When did you first feel like you’d found a home in America?

Day one! I woke up on June 4, 1993, and I felt I was home. It was like breathing fresh air for the first time. I had no clue what I was going to do for a job or what I was going to do to even survive, but I did know that now it was up to me. I felt home.

How has it felt to write and share your story with the world? What advice would you give others who might also want to share their stories, but may be a bit apprehensive?

Writing the book and then reading it back during the editing process were the first times I truly cried about many of the things that happened to me as a child because it freed memories that I had buried deep down below my skin and away from my heart just to survive.

Growing up, many people tried to ruin me, and I was lucky to find ways to cope and survive and not break and kill myself from feeling less than and hopeless.

I had originally started this book just for my children, hoping to teach them various lessons that I had learned without them having to live through the pain I did in order to learn what I have, but I found out that writing this book was healing many old scars that I had forgotten I had.

If someone has a feeling to share their story, chances are that they do have an important story to tell. Maybe as a book, but at least as a story to share with others. Maybe it will be painful, but telling your story won’t kill you. Not speaking up will kill you because your untold story will eat you up from the inside.

Tell your story—all of it. And be true to yourself. Don’t leave anything out just because you think it is uncomfortable. Those uncomfortable things are probably the parts of your story that you need to tell for your own self, for something in you that needs healing. Maybe it’s related to your skin color, hair, shape, weight, religion, beliefs, intelligence, clumsiness, speech, your past. No matter what, don’t be afraid. Don’t feel alone.

If publishing this book helps someone beyond my children who feels “less than” for whatever reason, it would be a blessing.

What do you hope your children learn from your story?

I want my children, and others, to stand tall and honor themselves. To be true to themselves and accept where they are at so that they can get where they need and want to be. To understand the importance of being polite and kind to others and to understand the damage that can be caused if they aren’t. To honor their country and be good citizens.

Sau Le Hudecek owns a successful salon in Fort Worth, Texas, while still serving her own elite clientele.  In 1993, she arrived in the United States at the age of 22 and was sworn in as a citizen in 2001. She lives with her family in Granbury enjoying the sunsets from their home on the lake.

 

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Posted in Giveaway, Guest Post, Interview, mystery, suspense, Young Adult on April 20, 2017

EVIDENCE OF THINGS NOT SEEN
By Lindsey Lane

 

  Genre: YA /  Mystery / Suspense

Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux

Date of Publication: December 16, 2015

Number of Pages: 240

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Tommy Smythe is missing.

Fact: Tommy was good at physics and less good at basic human interactions.

Fact: Tommy recorded his thoughts and observations in a notebook.

Fact: Tommy believed in the existence of parallel universes.

Fact: Tommy was adopted.

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

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

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

Amazon  *  BookPeople

Praise

“In her first novel for teens, Lane offers a gripping and genre bending mosaic.” – Publishers Weekly

“Complex and Rich” – Horn Book

“This is the kind of book you tuck in with and escape into, and it will stay with you long after you finish the last lines.  Haunting and beautiful.” – Jennifer Mathieu, author of The Truth About AliceDevoted, and Afterward

“The narrative jiggers between unexpected opposites—joy and fear, love and violence, grief and hope—all the while holding forth the constant idea that the world offers us credible evidence of what seems impossible if we only know where to look.”  J.L. Powers, author of Amina, This Thing Called The Future, and the forthcoming Broken Circle

“Ever look at a pearl and notice that its one color is, in fact, many colors? That’s the beauty of EVIDENCE OF THINGS NOT SEEN, the stunning debut novel by Lindsey Lane.” – Conrad Wesselhoeft, author of Adios Nirvana, Dirt Bikes, Drones and Other Ways To Fly

Check out the book trailer!

 

 

A Dead End That Changed My Direction

Guest Post by Lindsey Lane

In a way, the beginning and ending of every book must be discovered.

Let me explain. For Evidence of Things Not Seen, there were a few beginnings. There was the beginning when I woke up from a dream where I saw a boy standing in a pull out by the side of the road. I wondered what that boy was doing there, so I began writing into the dream, into the place by the side of the road, into that landscape and its people.

But there was also the beginning several years before when I wrote a play called The Miracle of Washing Dishes, which was a play about the epiphanies characters had while washing dishes. The epiphanies and the dishes held the play together. I think the play was a success because people like to witness epiphanies. They like to feel their world can be shifted even if they are too afraid to do it themselves.

There was also the beginning when Alexander Calder’s mobiles touched my work and I realized that I could fracture a storyline and that all the fragments would still hold together and tell a complete story with spaces for the reader to enter in and make it their own.

These few beginnings above informed me as a writer. They brought me to the place of telling this particular story. The boy led me into the world of the pullout where everyone who came there had some sort of epiphany. The characters each had their own gossamer thread and, because the center of the story was missing (Tommy), the threads wobbled (like pieces of a mobile) as they do when some thing has gone missing from our lives. Each time we come to the pages of our manuscripts, we bring our history as well our intention to tell a true and honest story. We quarry for the best nuggets and we line them up one by one leading the reader deeper into the world we have created.

But where do we take our readers once we have them traveling the bloodlines of our stories? Where do we want them to land? What feeling do we want them to have as they step away our stories? Comfort? Despair? Promise?

My original ending had a bow on it. Luckily enough, an agent was reading my manuscript and she was quite enthused about it. She kept emailing me all the way along, saying how much she liked each chapter and how deep and finely woven each character was. When she got to the ending, she wrote, “With the tenor of this book, I don’t believe you can wrap things up so neatly. “

I took another look.

If each story line shakes the characters to their core and brings them to a revelation, could I really wrap the whole kit and caboodle in a bow?

I knew that I didn’t want to land in a place of despair. That wasn’t the essential truth in each character. Each epiphany, each revelation was meant to be positive. You see, essentially, I believe that people treat people like they want to be treated and that given a choice, we fall on the side of good. But at the same time, there is a natural anxiety in being alive. We don’t know what will happen tomorrow. We don’t know what will happen when we wake up in the morning. We can feel afraid. Or we can live with the mystery and find the promise that something good might happen. That’s where I landed the book: there is promise in the mystery.

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

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Posted in Giveaway, Interview, romance, women on April 19, 2017

Title: My Kind of You

Author: Tracy Brogan

Pub Date: April 18, 2017

Publisher: Montlake Romance

Series: Trillium Bay, #1

Synopsis

Emily Callaghan never expected to spend another summer on Wenniway Island. Yet here she is, back in her quaint northern Michigan hometown of Trillium Bay, divorced, flat broke, and dragging along her precocious twelve-year-old. It’s a simple arrangement: Emily, a house flipper, will renovate one of her grandmother’s rental properties in exchange for a much-needed loan. Once a wild child, the reformed Emily also hopes to remodel her reputation and show her family she’s all grown up.

But coming home is never simple. Emily’s dad is more distant than ever. Her younger sister is dating a much older man, and Emily’s worried it’s a mistake. The cottage remodel grows increasingly daunting. And then there’s handsome out-of-towner Ryan Taggert…

Ryan has his own family drama. A smart, ambitious land developer, he’s come to Wenniway to rescue his father from the grips of a new girlfriend and protect their family business. But he’s quickly distracted by gorgeous, witty Emily Callaghan.

There’s no denying the attraction between Emily and Ryan. But will their conflicting interests destroy any chance at love? Or will Emily finally get the chance to rebuild her life—and repair her heart?

Interview with Tracy

1)    In My Kind of You, your heroine Emily Callaghan is returning to her small hometown of Trillium Bay in Michigan. Is this out of necessity or is she longing to get back to her roots?

She has actually been avoiding her roots! Or at least her father. They had a falling out when she ran away at nineteen to get married, but now she is back out of necessity. Emily is a house flipper and a bad business decision left her broke. Her grandmother has hired her to renovate a cottage back in Trillium Bay. Emily realizes this job was just a way for her Gigi to get Emily back home, but she’s willing to give it a try. Because she is THAT broke.

2)    She has a lot going on in her life including running her own business and raising a pre-teen. Does she think she has time for romance?

Emily is a busy, independent woman who has convinced herself she doesn’t have time for romance. Once bitten, twice shy. Her disastrous first marriage left her cautious and a little suspicious. She’s had some boyfriends but none of them have really gotten past her defenses.

3)    How does the handsome Ryan Taggert change her mind?

Ryan and Emily have a shared goal that causes them to work together. Time, proximity, great sexual chemistry, and things were bound to head in the direction. Neither one of them thought a fling was a great idea, but moonlight over the lake has a way of making people forget that.

4)    What first draws Ryan to her and visa versa?

Ryan is immediately attracted to Emily’s beauty, and as he gets to know her, he falls for her determination to do the right thing, and her self-deprecating sense of humor. He’s also drawn to warm, genuine affection he sees between Emily and her daughter. Of course, he doesn’t realize more of this at the time. He thinks his feelings are just about manly instinct. But we readers know better.

As for Emily, she fights her attraction to his “business-like hotness” because she really has no place in her life for romance, and she doesn’t want more heartbreak. When she finally decides to trust him, things go awry and he must prove himself to her all over again. Does he succeed? Of course he does, but the fun of romance novels is finding out HOW he succeeds.

5)    What is Emily’s family’s reaction to a new man in her life?

They keep their relationship a secret for quite a while because Emily’s family is so distracted by the relationship her younger sister Lilly has fallen in to. That one is pure scandal so Ryan and Emily are able to fly under the radar for a bit.

6)    You are really well known for writing realistic characters and settings that readers can relate to. Do you draw your inspiration for your writing from real life? Is there anyone in your life similar to your characters in Trillium Bay?

Thank you for saying that! I’m glad to hear it. As for inspiration and real life scenarios, I use everything around me. My friends and family all know that anything they say can and will be used in a book someday. I love taking a rather ordinary moment from life and writing about it in a way that will make people laugh. I also entertain myself by creating eccentric characters who do and say things that I would secretly like to say or do. There’s always at least one character in every one of my books who is brutally blunt or who has no filter.

7)    What can readers expect next from this series?

Readers can expect love, laughter, nostalgic family moments, and insightful growth from the characters. In this series they’ll find a May-December romance, a father and daughter learning to forgive each other, hot kisses at the top of a lighthouse, secret rendezvous, a crazy librarian, a martini-swilling grandmother, and a bee-keeper. Oh, and also horses, buggies, boat, bicycles, bats, the evil Mahoney sisters… yeah, there’s a little bit of everything in this series. I hope readers enjoy it!

About the Author

Tracy Brogan is an award-winning, bestselling novelist who writes fun and funny stories about ordinary people finding extraordinary love, and also lush historical romance full of royal intrigue, damsels causing distress, and the occasional man in a kilt. She has been nominated by Romance Writers of America for a prestigious RITA® Award for her debut novel, Crazy Little Thing, and was nominated by RWA for two Golden Heart Awards. She’s a Booksellers Best Award recipient, along with two Golden Quill Awards in both contemporary and historical romance. Unapologetically devoted to romance, Tracy lives in Michigan with her often-bemused husband, their gloriously above-average children, and their two intellectually challenged dogs.

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Posted in Giveaway, Interview, suspense, women on April 17, 2017

THE GRAVE TENDER
By Eliza Maxwell

  Genre: Women’s Fiction / Psychological Suspense

Publisher: Lake Union Publishing

Date of Publication: April 11, 2017

Number of Pages: 248

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A chilling psychological suspense novel, The Grave Tender explores the dark boundaries people cross to save loved ones, and the limits of family bonds tested by the deepest of betrayals.

Endless questions from a shadow-filled East Texas childhood haunt Hadley Dixon. People said her mother, Winnie, was never quite right, but with one single, irreparable act, life as Hadley knew it was shattered. The aftershocks of that moonlit night left her reeling, but the secrets and lies had started long before

When a widowed and pregnant Hadley returns years later, it’s not the safe harbor she expects. The mysteries surrounding a local boy’s disappearance remain, and the townspeople still whisper about Hadley’s strange and reclusive Uncle Eli—whispers about a monster in their midst.

But Hadley’s father and grandmother, the cornerstones of everything safe in her world, avoid her questions. If Hadley stays here, will she be giving her children the family they need or putting their lives in danger?

The hunt for answers takes a determined Hadley deep into the pine forests, in search of sunlight that will break through the canopy of lies long enough to reveal the truth.

“The Grave Tender will grasp you in its hooks from the beginning as you try to figure out the truth behind each character, because no one is truly what they seem … Addicting, easy to read, and hard to put down.”Shelbi LeMeilleur, Insite Magazine

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Please welcome author Eliza Maxwell to StoreyBook Reviews!  We wanted to get a feel for Eliza and her writing and so we hope this interview with her answers all those burning questions!

Where did your love of writing come from?

I’m a mom, and honestly, if I could get anyone to listen to me at home, I probably wouldn’t feel the need to write stories to send out into the world.  I wouldn’t trade it for anything, but sometimes I do feel a bit like I’d imagine the zookeeper at the monkey house feels.

What was the hardest part of writing this book? 

The Grave Tender was my first book, and the toughest part was learning a system that worked for me through good old fashioned trial and error.  There are as many different ways to write a book as there are voices to write them, and the advice of others can only take a person so far.  I took the long, hard road with The Grave Tender, but I hope I learned a few things along the way, about myself and about how to build a book.

What literary character is most like you?

I’ve always had a fondness for Agatha Christie’s Miss Jane Marple.  I think I’d be perfectly content in an English village, gardening, gossiping, and solving the occasional murder.  English villages do seem to have more than their fair share of dead bodies around, at least in fiction, don’t they?  Yes, when I grow up, I definitely want to be Miss Jane Marple.

What does your perfect writing spot look like? Is that what your ACTUAL writing spot looks like?

When the weather is willing, I prefer to write outdoors.  My amazing husband has helped me turn our deck into a bit of an oasis, and that’s my favorite place to write, hands down.  Occasionally though, when I need to leave the distractions at home, I like to sit at a bench in the local cemetery with a pen and notebook.  A bit odd, maybe, but it’s peaceful and it feels connected to the kinds of stories I write.

If you could time travel, what time period would you first visit? 

Funny, when I think of time travel, the first thing I’d love to do would be to go back and meet my family when they were young.  I’m fascinated by the idea that our parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, each led unique lives long before we ever came on the scene and how those lives influence the generations that came after.

If you could speak with any accent from anywhere in the world, what would you choose and why?

British.  No hesitation.  I’d love to be able to get away with saying things like, “Cheeky bugger,” and “Bloody hell”.  In fact, I might go around saying nothing but that.  All day.  Every day.  Perhaps with the occasional, “Murder is never simple, Inspector,” thrown in for good measure.

What is your favorite quote?

“You’ve always had the power my dear, you just had to learn it for yourself.” –Glinda the Good Witch

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

Website *  Facebook * Twitter *  Goodreads * Pinterest * Amazon Author Page

 

 

GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY!

Grand Prize:The Bookworm Basket ($150 Value)

Signed paperback copy of THE GRAVE TENDER

$50 Amazon gift card

Plush decorative throw blanket (Smoke Grey)

Greatest opening lines of literature coffee mug

Taste of Texas Coffee variety pack

Ferrero Rocher Gift Cube

Library card socks

Paperback copy of THE LIFE WE BURY by Allen Eskens

Paperback copy of SISTERS ONE, TWO, THREE by Nancy Star

1st & 2nd Runners-Up:

Signed paperback copy of THE GRAVE TENDER

 (U.S. Only)


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Check out the other great blogs on the tour

4/10 Promo Margie’s Must Reads
4/11 Review Hall Ways Blog
4/12 Excerpt Missus Gonzo
4/13 Review Books in the Garden
4/14 Book Trailer CGB Blog Tours
4/15 Review Momma On The Rocks
4/16 Promo Books and Broomsticks
4/17 Author Interview StoreyBook Reviews
4/18 Review My Book Fix Blog
4/19 Deleted Scene Texas Book Lover
4/20 Scrapbook Reading By Moonlight
4/21 Review Forgotten Winds
4/22 Playlist Blogging for the Love of Authors and Their Books
4/23 Promo A Novel Reality
4/24 Review The Page Unbound

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