Posted in excerpt, Giveaway, romance, Texas on March 8, 2017

Synopsis

One cowboy. One cowgirl. One ranch.

Who will win the Double Deuce by the Fourth of July?

Adele O’Donnell knew that Double Deuce Ranch had to be hers the second she walked onto the property. Freshly divorced, she sees it as the perfect spot for her and the kids to start a new life. Remington Luckadeau was always a carefree playboy…until his suddenly orphaned nephews became his responsibility. The Double Deuce Ranch would be the perfect place to raise two boys. But some fiery woman is fighting him for it, and Remington is not sharing—no matter how the sparks fly when he and Adele are together.

Excerpt

The gleam in the old cowboy’s blue eyes and the way he rubbed his chin were Adele’s first clues that he definitely had something up the sleeve of his faded, old work shirt. He glanced first at her and then over at Remington Luckadeau.

She bit back a groan. The good old boys’ club was about to rear its head. They’d argue that ranching took brawn and muscle and that a woman couldn’t run the Double Deuce all alone, that women were respected in the ranching business these days, but when it came right down to it, he would feel better selling to a man.

No, sir!

She didn’t hold out any hope that the old toot would sell the ranch to her.

“Well, now.” Walter Jones gave his freshly shaven chin one more rub. “I expect we’ve got us one of them dilemma things, don’t we?”

That sly smile on Remington’s face said he already knew she would be going home empty-handed. With that mop of blond hair that kissed his shirt collar, those steel-blue eyes, and his chiseled face and wide shoulders—Lord have mercy—any woman would roll over and play dead to give him what he wanted.

But not Adele.

She wanted the Double Deuce, and she’d do whatever it took to get it so she could have a place to raise her daughters. Remington Luckadeau could spit on his knuckles and get ready for a fierce battle.

The Double Deuce Ranch was absolutely perfect in every aspect. The two-storied, four-bedroom house couldn’t have been better laid out for Adele and her two daughters, Jett and Bella. The acreage was big enough to make a living but small enough she could manage it on her own, for the most part. And it was close to her family—the O’Donnells over around Ringgold, Texas.

“You both want the ranch, but I can only sell to one of you. I talked to my lady friend, Vivien, about it. I talked to God about it before I went to sleep, and I talked to my old cow dog, Boss, about it this mornin’ before y’all got here.”

“And?” Adele asked.

“And not a one of them was a bit of help, so I don’t know which one of you to sell this place to any more than I did yesterday, after you’d both come and looked over the place and left me to think about it.”

Adele had known there was another person interested in the ranch. Walter had been up-front about that, saying he’d talked with Remington Luckadeau that morning and he was ready to meet Walter’s asking price.

“We can’t both buy it, so I guess you’ll have to make a decision,” Adele said.

Remington nodded.

***

Remington slid down in the kitchen chair so he could study the red-haired woman sitting in front of him. The hard Texas sunlight flowing through the kitchen window brought out every cute, little freckle sprinkled across Adele’s nose. Faded jeans, a chambray shirt worn open over a bright-yellow tank top, and cowboy boots worn at the heels said she was a no-nonsense rancher.

Those two feisty girls out there on the porch with his two nephews were dressed pretty much the same way as their mother. Any other time, he might have tipped his hat and given her the option to buy the Double Deuce, but not today. The ranch was the perfect size for what he had in his bank account. The house would be just right for him and his two nephews, Leo and Nick, the boys he’d inherited when his brother and sister-in-law were killed in a car accident several months ago. And besides, it wasn’t far from his Luckadeau relatives in Ringgold and Saint Jo, Texas.

So today, Adele O’Donnell was going to have to walk away disappointed. Too bad, because he’d always been attracted to redheads, and he’d have loved to see how she felt in his arms on the dance floor of the nearest honky-tonk.

“So.” Walter cleared his throat. “I’ve come to a decision.”

Remy straightened up in his chair.

“The Luckadeaus are my friends, but so are the O’Donnells. So I can’t sell this to either of you on the basis of friendship. Vivien and I have planned a monthlong cruise, and we are leaving in one week. We fly out of Dallas on the last day of May and get back home on the last day of June.”

“I’ll beat your asking price,” Remy said quickly.

“It’s not got to do with money. Here’s what I am willin’ to do, though. You both move in here on the morning that me and Vivien leave. Y’all take care of this ranch for me for a month. When I get back, whichever one of you is still here can have it. If you both still want it, we’ll draw straws or play poker for it. If you decide you can’t work together or that the ranch ain’t what you want, you can call Chet to come take over for you. His number is on the front of the refrigerator. Only rule I’ve got is that you’d best take good care of Boss. He’s been a good cow dog, and he likes leftovers from the table, so cook a little extra at each meal. He’s not real picky. He’ll eat most anything a human will, but he doesn’t like pizza. And you have to take real good care of Jerry Lee.”

“Who is Jerry Lee?” Adele asked.

“He’s my rooster. Pretty little thing, but he never has learned to crow in the morning. He’s a late riser, so he crows either in the middle of the day or about dinnertime. I named him Jerry Lee because he’s got swagger and he sings real pretty like Jerry Lee Lewis.”

“I’ll take good care of your dog and your rooster,” Adele said, shooting a defiant look right at Remy.

“So will I.” Remy nodded coolly. “What about the one who doesn’t win the luck of the draw?”

“Then that one gets a decent paycheck,” Walter said.

“I don’t need to think about it,” Adele said quickly. “I’m in.”

Remy nodded. “I don’t have to think about it either.”

Walter pushed back his chair and stood. “Good, then I’ll look for you both to be here a week from today. You’ve seen the place. There’ll be hay to cut and haul, fields to plow, and planting to do, as well as the everyday chores with feeding and taking care of the cattle and ranch. I’ve made a list of what I want done before I get back, and I’ll leave it stuck to the refrigerator door.”

“I’m not afraid of hard work,” Adele said. “One question, though. How does Boss feel about cats?”

“Strange as it seems, he loves them. My wife, God rest her soul”—Walter looked up at the ceiling—“used to have an old barn cat that had kittens real often. Boss thought he was their grandpa.”

“Then you don’t mind if we bring our cat?” she asked.

“Not a bit. You got a problem with that, Remy?” Walter asked.

Remy shook his head.

“Thank you,” Adele said softly.

Crap! Remy didn’t hate cats, and thank God the boys weren’t allergic to them, but that soft, sweet, southern voice could easily distract him from his mission. Remy would have to keep on his toes every day for the entire month of June, and that wouldn’t be easy. For years, every woman had been a potential notch on his bedpost. Six months ago, Remy had been the resident bad boy of the Texas Panhandle. He’d spent his weekends in local bars, dancing and sweet-talking the pretty girls into his bed. Then his whole life turned around when his two nephews were tossed into his life. Since he’d started taking care of them, dating had slowed down. Now, he’d be forced to live with a woman he was clearly attracted to.

Walter started toward the door. The meeting was over. “Just bring your personal things. When I sell this place, it goes lock, stock, and barrel—furniture, equipment, everything but my own keepsakes,” he said. “Vivien and I are leaving at nine o’clock. If one of y’all ain’t here, then the other one will automatically get the place.”

Adele pushed her chair back, and in one fluid motion, she was on her feet. He’d figured she was tall when he sat down across from her and his long legs almost touched hers under the table. But when she stood up, he got the full effect of the way her hips curved out from her small waist, and for a split second, he could feel her in his arms.

Remy shook the image from his head. He had a long, hot month ahead of him, and he needed to think of Adele as an adversary, not a potential date.

“Do we move?” Nick asked when Remy stepped out onto the porch.

“We are moving onto the ranch to take care of it for Mr. Jones for a month. If we do a good job, he might sell to us in time for the Fourth of July party we’re planning.” Remy told his fourteen-year-old nephew.

“Mama?” asked the smaller of the two girls that Adele had brought along with her.

“Same thing here, girls. We’ll be moving here in one week to live for a month. Then Mr. Jones will decide which of us gets to buy the ranch,” Adele answered.

“You”—the girl pointed at Leo and wiggled her head like a bobblehead doll—“are going down. You don’t know jack squat about a ranch, so you might as well give up before you even start.”

“Jett!” Adele chided.

“Well, it’s the truth,” Jett said. “He don’t even want to live on a ranch. He’s a city boy who don’t even know who Billy Currington is. He’d hate living on this ranch.”

“Just because you lived on a ranch don’t mean you’re that smart,” Nick shot back. “Uncle Remy can teach me everything about ranching in one afternoon. I’m a fast learner.”

“Me, too.” Leo combed his carrot-red hair with his fingertips and tipped up his chin three notches.

“Okay, boys. It’s one thing to say something; it’s another to do it. Let’s get on home and get our things in order so we’ll be ready to move next week. There’s only four bedrooms, so you’ll have to share.”

Leo, who had already left the porch, kicked at the dirt. “Uncle Remy, Nick gripes if I even leave a wrinkle in the bed. He’s so neat that he shoulda been a girl.” He sighed.

“No!” Nick raised his voice. “Leo never picks up anything and—”

“Enough,” Remy said. “Into the truck. We’ve got a lot to do and a short time to get it done.”

Leo crawled into the big, black, dual-cab truck. Just before he slammed the door, he caught Jett’s eye and stuck out his tongue.

“Young man, you’re going to have to live in the same house and work with those girls,” Remy said sternly.

Leo rolled his eyes upward. “They are so bossy. Living in the country isn’t going to be easy, but living around those two prissy girls…” He sighed. “Do we really have to do this, Uncle Remy?”

“We’ll come out stronger men,” he said.

A picture of Adele’s full, kissable lips flashed through his mind. Prissy wasn’t a word he’d use to describe any of the O’Donnell women.

Nick groaned. “If we live through it.”

“We are Luckadeau men. We’ll take the bull by the horns, look him right in the eye, and dare him to charge at us.” Even as the words came out, Remy wondered if he was talking to his nephews or himself.

“I’d rather fight a bull,” Leo grumbled. “And they ain’t bulls. They’re girls, and we’re Luckadeaus.”

“Daddy used to tell us that when a Luckadeau sets his mind, it’s set forever,” Nick said.

“Your daddy was right.” Remy nodded.

Moving the boys from their house in the middle of Denton, Texas, to a ranch would be tough on them, but Remy could not live in town. He’d been fortunate enough to sell his brother’s house for enough to pay off the existing mortgage and put a little into savings for the boys’ college funds.

Remy had worked for the past fifteen years on a ranch out in the Texas Panhandle. He’d started as a hired hand and worked his way up to foreman. Today, he had enough money in his bank account to buy the Double Deuce, and it was the perfect place for the boys to have a brand-new start. It damn sure wouldn’t be easy to live in the same house with a woman like Adele and not flirt, but it was doable with the ranch as a prize at the end of the road.

“So you boys going to help me make those women see that they don’t really want our ranch? Or are we going to let them win?” Remy asked.

“Ain’t no way I’m going to back down from them two,” Nick declared.

Leo chimed right in. “Me either.”

***

“Let’s look at another ranch. I don’t want to live in the same house with those two obnoxious boys,” Bella said as they drove away from the Double Deuce.

Adele smiled. “You must really not like those boys to be pulling out your four-dollar words.”

“That tells you how much, Mama,” Bella said.

“We don’t have time to train them,” Jett added.

Adele didn’t think they’d have to do much training. Not with a cowboy like Remy Luckadeau for an uncle. That man was comfortable in his skin, and there wasn’t a doubt in her mind that he’d know the business every bit as well as she did. In any other circumstance, there could be chemistry between them. He was exactly what she’d always been attracted to, with his blond hair, blue eyes, and cowboy swagger, but then he was also what she’d been running away from when she’d married Isaac Levy.

You see how that turned out, the smart-ass voice in her head said.

Yes, she did see how it turned out. Isaac was the only son of a family who had dealt in diamonds right in the middle of Dallas, Texas, for more than fifty years. When they’d married, he’d moved Adele into his penthouse apartment, and she’d lived the life she’d thought she wanted.

Right up until Bella was born two years after the wedding. And then she’d started to yearn for her country roots. A child needed fresh air and sunshine, not parties and nannies. Isaac had loved her enough to buy a two-hundred-acre ranch between McKinney and Blue Ridge. The commute wasn’t bad because he had a driver, but after Jett was born, he spent more and more weeknights at the penthouse.

“Why do we have to move from our ranch anyway?” Jett folded her small arms over her chest.

“The same reason we had to change our last name to O’Donnell,” Bella answered. “Father has a new wife and a son, and we don’t matter anymore.”

Her daughter’s tone created a lump in Adele’s throat that she couldn’t swallow down. Tears welled in her eyes, but she kept them at bay. Bella had put it into the simplest language possible, but the story was far more complex than that.

“Your father will come to his senses someday,” she said softly.

“But it might be too late,” Bella declared. “He’s mean, making us move off the ranch.”

It wasn’t the time or the place to tell the girls that part of the marriage problems had been her fault. Isaac thought he was getting a socialite who loved the fast lane, and he never would have asked her to marry him if he’d realized she wasn’t ready to break all ties with her country roots.

“We are going to love this new ranch so much that we’ll never look back at the old one. Even though they don’t have any ranching experience, I just wonder if you two are big and mean enough to show those two boys that nobody can outwork three tough O’Donnell women.”

Jett unfolded her arms, leaned up from the backseat of the bright-red, dual-cab truck, and patted her mother on the shoulder. “They ain’t got a chance in hell.”

“Jett!” Bella scolded.

“Well, Uncle Cash says that, and nobody fusses at him. Besides, I believe it. We’re tough and mean, and we can out-ranch any old boy in the state of Texas,” Jett said.

“We’ve got a week to pack all our things, put them in storage, and load up the truck with just what we need for a month,” Adele said as she turned east toward Gainesville.

Adele’s cell phone rang. She saw a picture of her sister, Cassie, smiling at her. She answered it on the fourth ring and hit the Speaker button.

“We have not bought the ranch yet,” she said and went on to tell her sister the deal that Walter had come up with.

Cassie giggled the whole way through the story.

“What’s so funny about that?” Adele asked.

“Those boys don’t stand a chance. Not any one of them—the grown one or the two kids,” Cassie said. “I’ll put my money on my sister and my nieces any day of the week.”

“Yes!” Bella and Jett squealed at the same time.

“Thank you, Aunt Cassie. We won’t let you down,” Jett said.

“What are you doing today?” Adele asked her sister.

“Haulin’ hay, but I’d rather be doing something else in the hayloft with my boyfriend,” Cassie said.

“Cassandra Grace O’Donnell!” Adele raised her voice.

“Don’t you double name me. Only Mama gets to do that, and I was talking about kissing my boyfriend. He’s really good at kissing.” Cassie laughed.

“I miss y’all,” Adele said wistfully. “If I get to buy this ranch, I’m having a big Fourth of July party to celebrate. Y’all had better be there.”

“Wild horses couldn’t keep me away. Is this new cowboy sexy? Maybe I’ll visit for a weekend between now and then,” Cassie said.

“No!” The girls’ loud voices bounced around in the truck cab.

“Why? Don’t you want to see me?” Cassie asked.

“We love you,” Bella said. “But we don’t want Remy Luckadeau in the family at all, and if he sees you, then he’ll fall in love with you. Besides, we like Clinton just fine. Go kiss on him in the hayloft, and stay away until the ranch belongs to us.”

“If you promise to work hard and show Mr. Jones that you are the right people to sell his ranch to, then I’ll stay away until you’ve run those old boys off your land. But, girls, Clinton and I broke up a while ago,” Cassie said seriously. “The new man in my life is Dusty Dillard. We’ve only been on two dates, but I like him a lot.”

“Is he as pretty as Clinton?” Bella asked.

“No, but he’s a lot nicer,” Cassie said.

“I thought Clinton was nice, and I like his name better than Dusty,” Jett said.

“Wait until you meet him. Are you taking Blanche?” Cassie asked.

“Of course,” Jett answered quickly. “We wouldn’t leave her behind. Mama, please tell me that man didn’t say we couldn’t bring Blanche.”

“I asked about bringing a cat and he said it was fine,” Adele said.

Cassie laughed again. “The old hussy would die if you left her. Besides, isn’t she about ready to pop out another litter in the next couple of weeks?”

“Yes, she is,” Bella said. “And I hope both of them boys hate cats.”

“And you, Sister Adele? How do you feel about living with a cowboy?”

“I’m not living with him. I’m sharing a house with him for a month. And don’t call me Sister Adele. I’m not a nun,” Adele said curtly.

“These past two years you have been. Promise you’ll call me often,” she said. “Got to go. The hay wagon is here, and it’s time to stack bales.”

Adele hit the End button, and the screen on the phone went dark. She caught a movement in her peripheral vision and glanced over to see two little boys glaring at her from the windows of a black truck. A whole month with those two smart-ass kids just might make her move all the way to Wyoming or Montana.

She looked in the rearview mirror, and there was Jett, giving the boys the old stink eye. In seconds, they sped on past her, whipped over in front of her truck, and moved on ahead pretty quickly. No doubt about it—this was going to be a long month!

About the Author

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author and RITA Finalist, Carolyn Brown, has published more than seventy books.  These days she is concentrating on her two loves:  women’s fiction and contemporary cowboy romance. She and her husband, a retired English teacher, make their home in southern Oklahoma.

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Posted in excerpt, Giveaway, romance, Texas on November 4, 2016

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Title: Left at the Altar

Series: A Match Made in Texas, #1

Author: Margaret Brownley

Pub Date: November 1, 2016

ISBN: 9781492608134

Synopsis

Welcome to Two-Time Texas:

Where tempers burn hot

Love runs deep

And a single marriage can unite a feuding town

…or tear it apart for good

In the wild and untamed West, time is set by the local jeweler…but Two-Time Texas has two: two feuding jewelers and two wildly conflicting time zones. Meg Lockwood’s marriage was supposed to unite the families and finally bring peace. But when she’s left at the altar by her no-good fiancé, Meg’s dreams of dragging her quarrelsome neighbors into a ceasefire are dashed.

No wedding bells? No one-time town.

Hired to defend the groom against a breach of promise lawsuit, Grant Garrison quickly realizes that the only thing worse than small-town trouble is falling for the jilted bride. But there’s something about Meg’s sweet smile and determined grit that draws him in…even as the whole crazy town seems set on keeping them apart.

Who knew being Left at the Altar could be such sweet, clean, madcap fun?

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Excerpt

Tommy grimaced. “Meg, I’m sorry, but I can’t do this. I can’t marry you.”

Meg stared at him, dumbfounded. This can’t be happening. “What are you saying?”

“I’m sayin’ I can’t be the husband you want. I can’t spend the rest of my life workin’ on watches in my father’s shop. All those hairsprings and gears and stems and— ”

“This is how you give me the news?” She gave him an angry shove. “Tommy Farrell, I’ve known you nearly all my life, and you’ve caused me plenty of grief along the way, but this takes the cake!”

“I’m sorry.” He slapped his hand to his forehead. “I’m goin’ about this all wrong. It’s not that I don’t want to marry you. I just can’t.”

“And you waited for our wedding day to tell me this?”

“I feel bad, I do.”

“You feel bad? How do you suppose our guests feel after being kept waiting all this time? And what about the town? Our fathers promised to end their feud— ”

“I know, I know.” He grimaced. “Right now, I’m only thinkin’ of you.”

“By humiliating me in front of the entire world?” She stared at him as if seeing him for the first time. For years, she’d made excuses for his lackadaisical ways and had even defended him to his own father. She’d forgiven him for forgetting her birthday— not once but twice! But this…this was by far the worst thing he’d ever done.

“I’d make you miserable,” he continued, his Texas twang even more pronounced than usual. “I’m not ready to settle down. I want to see the world. To travel to Europe and Asia and…and the Pacific Islands. I read somewhere that they’re real nice.”

“You’ve said some mighty dumb things in your life, but this has got to be the dumbest.”

“I knew you wouldn’t understand.”

“No, I don’t understand,” she cried. “I don’t understand how you could wait till today to throw me over for a bunch of islands!” She backed away from him, fists at her side. “I should have listened to Pa.”

“Meg, don’t look at me like that. It really is for the best. Maybe in a year, or two or three, I’ll be ready to marry and settle down. Maybe then we can— ”

“Don’t you dare say it, Tommy Farrell. Don’t you even think it! I’d sooner die a spinster than marry the likes of you.”

“You don’t mean that…”

“I mean every word. I don’t ever want to see you again. Not ever!”

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About the Author

MARGARET BROWNLEY penned her first novel at age eleven and has been writing ever since. She’s now a New York Times and CBA bestselling author and has written thirty-five novels and one nonfiction book. Margaret and her husband have three grown children and make their home in Southern California.

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

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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

Synopsis

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….

INCLUDES TEX-MEX RECIPES!

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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 Giveaway, Guest Post, nonfiction, Spotlight, Texas on August 27, 2016

TEXAS IN HER OWN WORDS

(Second Edition)

by

Tweed Scott

Genre: Texas / Texana / General Interest

Publisher: Tejas Publishing

Date of Publication: June 16, 2016

Number of Pages: 336

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synopsis

Tx in her own words cover

Texas in Her Own Words is a peek into the Texas psyche. It explains why Texans are the way they are . . . where all that attitude comes from. This work is the result of a statewide search for what author Tweed Scott calls the “T-Chromosome.” Texans are different but why?  Scott went statewide to find the answers to three basic questions. 1) What makes Texas special? 2) Why is this place so different than anywhere else on the planet? 3) If and when it applied, what does it mean to you personally to BE a native Texan?

Scott shares some remarkable answers with you throughout the book. In the end, he learned that all Texans share four traits or attributes. When you finish this book, you will understand why Texans are the way they are. IF you are a native Texan, chances are you will find some of yourself between the covers of this book. It’s a fun read.

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Praise for Texas in Her Own Words

“Searching for the soul of Texas, Tweed Scott has done a great service.  People and places and the cowboy poetry of the heart — Texas in Her Own Words is chockfull of all of these things.  It deserves a special place on your bookshelf. Say right between Larry McMurtry and J. Frank Dobie.” — Kinky Friedman, author and entertainer

“It’s a Texas thing, you either have it, or you don’t.  Few people can define such an emotion, a feeling, a pride that is embedded so deep.  This book made me cry and smile at the same time.  Texas in Her Own Words helps to explain what ‘Lone Star state of mind’ is. . .” — TJ Greaney, Publisher, Countryline Magazine.

“I [Patricia Spork] very highly recommend Texas in Her Own Words (Second Edition) by Tweed Scott to Texas researchers and historians, to any hopeful “wannabe” Texan or to any yee hawin’ boastful Texan, like me (a transplanted didn’t-know-it “wannabe”).”  — Patricia Spork, freelance writer and artist

guest post

The Journey to Marketing My Book

Guest Post by Tweed Scott

I have been blessed throughout my life and career. I may not have made a gazillon dollars but I did get to go places, do things and meet people I could have only dreamed of meeting when I was a kid—and some of those people are now friends. As many people as I met through broadcasting, I met just as many equally wonderful people through my writing.

It didn’t take a lot of thought for me to determine how I wanted to market Texas in Her Own Words. With my extensive broadcast background, I knew what my business model would be. If I could give a speech or presentation and run to the back of the room and sell my books there, it would be a more effective way to market Texas in Her Own Words. That has proven to be what has worked for me. We sold right at 6,000 copies and most of that was face to face marketing.

I started out as a writer who speaks but it wasn’t long before I saw my business model change to a speaker who writes. I love the model. People pay me to speak but then I get to sell Texas in Her Own Words in the back of the room too. I LOVE that business model.

about the author

Tweed ScottTweed Scott is a laugh-out-loud funny motivational speaker and corporate entertainer. He retired from broadcasting after 31 years. His broadcasting accomplishments include operating the highest rated FM station in America and later the 5th highest rated AM station in America. Tweed is an award winning speaker and the author of the three-time national award-winning book, Texas in Her Own Words. His book is sold at the Alamo, the state capitol gifts shops in Austin, the San Jacinto Museum & Battleground, and the Sam Houston Statue & Visitor’s Center in Huntsville.

He is the past president of the board for the Writers’ League of Texas serving some 1,300 members. Tweed now writes for several magazines and has built his own writing and speaking company, Tejas Publishing, LLC.  He is a graduate of Lamar University and a US Navy veteran. He continues to write and spread what he calls, “The Gospel of Texas.”

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Check out the other blogs on this tour

8/22 Guest Post 1 Margie’s Must Reads
8/23 Review Country Girl Bookaholic
8/24 Author Interview 1 My Book Fix Blog
8/25 Excerpt 1 Kara The Redhead
8/26 Review Chapter Break Book Blog
8/27 Guest Post 2 StoreyBook Reviews
8/28 Promo A Novel Reality
8/29 Review Forgotten Winds
8/30 Excerpt 2 The Page Unbound
8/31 Tweed’s Scrapbook Missus Gonzo
9/1 Review Book Chase
9/2 Author Interview 2 It’s a Jenn World
9/3 Review Reading By Moonlight
9/4 Promo Blogging for the Love of Authors and Their Books
9/5 Review The Librarian Talks

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Posted in 5 paws, Giveaway, Review, Texas, women on July 20, 2016

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WHAT MATTERS MOST 

(TEXAS GOLD COLLECTION BOOK #4)

by Kellie Coates Gilbert

Genre: Contemporary Inspirational Romance / Christian

Publisher: Revell

Date of Publication: July 5, 2016

Number of Pages: 320

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synopsis

Love and Politics Collide in This Emotion-Packed 

Fourth Texas Gold Novel

Kellie Coates Gilbert strikes gold once again in the latest book in the Texas Gold Collection. Readers will be drawn into the story through Gilbert’s deeply emotional writing that highlights the complexities of human relationships.

Out of her desire to care for her mother who is suffering from dementia, Leta Breckenridge drops out of college. Her next step means leaving her comfort zone. After learning that a delinquent account may force her mother into a less desirable facility, Leta takes a leap and lands a high-paying job at an Austin public relations firm. But her dream job soon turns into a nightmare when she learns that the firm she is working for is a front for a political opposition organization—and that the research she has been collecting will be used against Nathan Emerson, the handsome senator she’s swiftly falling in love with.

Nathan is a rising political star being pressured to run a bid to unseat the current governor of Texas. He’s already in a relationship with a woman much better suited to be a politician’s wife, but he’s never met anyone like Leta. Could this feisty woman hold the key to his heart—and his future?

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Praise for the Texas Gold Collection

“This tale of family and faith brings to light what truly matters in life.”—RT Book Reviews, 4 stars

 “Kellie Coates Gilbert delivers emotionally gripping plots and authentic characters.”—LifeIsStory.com

“Well-drawn, sympathetic characters and graceful language make this an engaging choice for readers.”—Library Journal

Review

I started this book before I had to go to work and read through 2 chapters…and then I had to go to work and wait about 12 hours before I could pick this book back up. Those were the longest 12 hours! I almost finished it that night but my body was telling me no…so if that doesn’t tell you anything it should! I loved the book and couldn’t put it down (well I could but not because I wanted to!)

The timing of the book is perfect too with the upcoming elections in November – it is based on the race for Texas governor and the detail to what goes on behind the scenes in politics was actually pretty scary when it comes to the negativity. However, I had great respect for Nate Emerson who said he would run his campaign on integrity, and he did.

Leta is a smart, independent woman that puts her trust and faith in God and that all things will work out as they should. It may seem naive, but it was spot on for her character. I also related to her because her mother has dementia and my father did too before he passed away. The scary thing is that the portrayal of the nursing home probably wasn’t too far off from what exist in this country, there are good and there are bad, it all comes down to management and who owns the facilities.

While reading the book I could tell where some parts of the story were heading, but don’t get complacent because there are several twists at the end that surprised me.

Definitely a book worth reading and we give it 5 paws up!

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about the author

KCG author photoKellie Coates Gilbert is a former legal investigator and trial paralegal, as well as the author of A Woman of Fortune, Where Rivers Part, and A Reason to Stay. Gilbert crafts her emotionally charged stories about women in life-changing circumstances in Dallas, Texas, where she lives with her husband.

 

author links

Website * Twitter * Facebook * Instagram * Pinterest * Goodreads * Kellie’s Reader’s Club

 

 

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CHECK OUT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:

7/11    Margie’s Must Reads  – Review
7/12
   Hall Ways Blog – Author Interview #1
7/13
    The Page Unbound – Excerpt
7/14
    Reading By Moonlight Review
7/15
    It’s a Jenn World Promo
7/16
    Country Girl Bookaholic – Guest Post #1
7/17
    My Book Fix Blog Review
7/18
    The Crazy Booksellers  – Author Interview #2
7/19
    Chapter Break Book Blog – Guest Post #2
7/20
    StoreyBook ReviewsReview
7/21
    The Librarian Talks – Author Interview #3
7/22
    All for the Love of the Word Promo
7/23
    Byers Editing Reviews & Blog Review
7/24
    A Novel Reality Promo
7/25
    Missus Gonzo Review

 

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Posted in Giveaway, Interview, nonfiction, Spotlight, Texas on July 6, 2016

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WEST TEXAS MIDDLEWEIGHT

The Story of LaVern Roach

(Sport in the American West Series)

by

Frank Sikes

Genre: Biography

Publisher: Texas Tech University Press

Date of Publication: June 30, 2016

Number of Pages: 288

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synopsis

west texas middleweight coverLaVern Roach, a skinny kid from the small town of Plainview, Texas, rose from obscurity to become one of boxing’s most popular figures during the 1940s. Roach’s rise to prominence occurred during an era when boxing shared the spotlight with baseball as the nation’s top two professional sports. As a result of Roach’s death—which marked the first nationally televised fight during which a boxer died from injuries received in the ring—the sport of boxing came under closer scrutiny by the general public than ever before.

West Texas Middleweight is the story of Roach’s all too brief journey from a West Texas amateur, to enlistment in the US Marines, where he captained the nation’s most successful military boxing team, to becoming a Madison Square Garden main eventer. He received the distinction of being named The Ring Magazine’s “Rookie of the Year” for 1947 and was considered a top ten contender for the middleweight championship of the world. This book chronicles Roach’s road to his final fight—and it explains why, as noted by legendary boxing trainer Angelo Dundee, “boxing changed because of LaVern Roach.”

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PURCHASE FROM TEXAS TECH PRESS

email: ttup@ttu.edu
phone: 800.742.2982

AuthorInterview

Who are some of your favorite authors you feel were influential in your work?  What impact have they had on your writing?

Harper Lee was probably my first favorite author.  Reading To Kill a Mockingbird as a teenager made me want to be a writer — or Atticus Finch.  My first constitutional law course quickly put an end to the latter.  While serving ship duty overseas while in the Navy, the best novel that I could hardly put down was Joseph Heller’s Catch 22.  So much of its satire was being played out in real life on board my ship.  Other favorites include Leon Uris, Hemingway, and more recently Laura Hillenbrand.

What literary character is most like you?

If American Graffiti were a book, the character most like me would be Curt (played by Ricard Dreyfuss).

What book do you wish you could have written

I just wrote it: West Texas Middleweight!  Two others are To Kill a Mockingbird and Catch 22.

Just as your books inspire authors, what authors have inspired you to write?

Harper Lee, Joseph Heller, Leon Uris, Laura Hillenbrand.

What did you find most useful in learning to write?  What was most destructive? 

Most useful – write it down as it comes to you, even if it is in the middle of the night.  Most destructive – the flip side of the most useful – if you don’t write it down when it comes to you, if is easy to forget the idea or thought.

What cultural value do you see in writing or storytelling? 

Preserving the past.

What are some day jobs that you have held?  If any of them impacted your writing, share an example. 

My daytime job is a real estate appraiser.  Each appraisal report requires a considerable amount of research, editing, and writing to produce a credible finished product, just like writing.

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

Most of my writing comes after midnight.

What’s something fun or funny that most people don’t know about you? 

When I chew ice, the sound resonates and fills the entire room according to my wife who suggests that is because I have a hollow head.

about the author

frank sikesFrank Sikes, a third-generation West Texan, grew up in Plainview, where LaVern Roach, along with Jimmy Dean, were hometown heroes.  Sikes graduated from Texas Tech in 1967, then was a US Navy Officer proudly serving aboard the USS Little Rock stationed in Gaeta, Italy from 1968-1970.  He attended the University of Houston School of Business, from 1973 to 1975, and got his master’s degree in religion from Wayland Baptist University in 2011.

Frank and his wife Nancy have been married for 50 years and have two grown children out of the house, and two Boston Terriers, Molly and Maggie (or as some suggest Boston terrorists) who rule the house. Lubbock has been home for the past 30 years with stops in Newport, RI; San Francisco, CA; Gaeta, Italy; Houston, TX; and Albuquerque, NM.  West Texas Middleweight is his first book.

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CHECK OUT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:

7/1       Country Girl Bookaholic  – Review
7/2       My Book Fix Blog – Author Interview #1
7/3       Forgotten Winds – Guest Post #1
7/4       Margie’s Must Reads – Review
7/5       Blogging for the Love of Authors and Their Books – Promo
7/6       StoreyBook Reviews  – Author Interview #2
7/7       Book Chase – Review
7/8       The Page Unbound – Author Interview #3
7/9       Missus Gonzo  – Guest Post #2
7/10    It’s a Jenn World – Review

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Posted in excerpt, romance, Spotlight, Texas on June 1, 2016

what happens in texas

Title: What Happens in Texas

Author: Carolyn Brown

Pubdate: June 6th, 2016

ISBN: 9781492638742

Synopsis

Carolyn Brown brings her unique voice to this tale of twin sisters finding love in a small Texas town

Cathy Andrews’s biological clock has passed the ticking stage and is dangerously close to “blown plumb up”. While her twin sister Marty thinks settling down with one man is just a waste of good cowboys, Cathy wants it all: the perfect husband, the baby, and a little house right there in Cadillac. But even as the town is laying bets on whose wedding will be next, Cathy doesn’t see happily-ever-after happening anytime soon.

Fortunately, Cathy and Marty have best friends who aren’t afraid to stir up a ruckus—and if it means Cathy’s got to bust out and set the town on its ear they’ll back her up—no matter how hot things get.

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Excerpt

If Prissy Parnell hadn’t married Buster Jones and left Cadillac, Texas, for Pasadena, California, Marty wouldn’t have gotten the speeding ticket. It was all Prissy’s damn fault that Marty was in such a hurry to get to the Blue-Ribbon Jalapeño Society monthly meeting that night, so Prissy ought to have to shell out the almost two hundred dollars for that ticket.

They were already passing around the crystal bowl to take up the voting ballots when Marty slung open the door to Violet Prescott’s sunroom and yelled, “Don’t count ’em without my vote.”

Twenty faces turned to look at her and not a one of them, not even her twin sister, Cathy, was smiling. Hell’s bells, who had done pissed on their cucumber sandwiches before she got there, anyway? A person didn’t drop dead from lack of punctuality, did they?

One wall of the sunroom was glass and looked out over lush green lawns and flower gardens. The other three were covered with shadow boxes housing the blue ribbons that the members had won at the Texas State Fair for their jalapeño pepper entries. More than forty shadow boxes all reminding the members of their history and their responsibility for the upcoming year. Bless Cathy’s heart for doing her part. She had a little garden of jalapeños on the east side of the lawn and nurtured them like children. The newest shadow box held ribbons that she’d earned for the club with her pepper jelly and picante. It was the soil, or maybe she told them bedtime stories, but she, like her mamma and grandma, grew the hottest jalapeños in the state.

“It appears that Martha has decided to grace us with her presence once again when it is time to vote for someone to take our dear Prissy’s place in the Blue-Ribbon Jalapeño Society. We really should amend our charter to state that a member has to attend more than one meeting every two years. You could appreciate the fact that we did amend it once to include you in the membership with your sister, who, by the way, has a spotless attendance record,” Violet said.

Violet, the queen of the club, as most of the members called it, was up near eighty years old, built like SpongeBob SquarePants, and had stovepipe jet-black hair right out of the bottle. Few people had the balls or the nerve to cross her, and those who did were put on her shit list right under Martha, aka Marty, Andrews’ name, which was always on the top.

Back in the beginning of the club days, before Marty was even born, the mayor’s wife held the top position on the shit list. When they’d formed the Blue-Ribbon Jalapeño Society, Loretta Massey and Violet almost went to war over the name of the new club. Loretta insisted that it be called a society, and Violet wanted it to be called a club. Belonging to a club just sounded so much fancier than saying that one belonged to a society. Loretta won when the vote came in, but Violet called it a club anyway and that’s what stuck. Rumor had it that Violet was instrumental in getting the mayor ousted just so they’d have to leave Grayson County and Loretta would have to quit the club.

Marty hated it when people called her Martha. It sounded like an old woman’s name. What was her mother thinking anyway when she looked down at two little identical twin baby daughters and named them after her mother and aunt—Martha and Catherine? Thank God she’d at least shortened their names to Marty and Cathy.

Marty shrugged, and Violet snorted. Granted, it was a ladylike snort, but it still went right along with her round face and three-layered neck. Hell, if they wanted to write forty amendments to the charter, Marty would still do only the bare necessities to keep her in voting standing. She hadn’t even wanted to be in the damned club and had only done it because if she didn’t, then Cathy couldn’t.

Marty slid into a seat beside her sister and held up her ballot.

Beulah had the bowl in hand and was ready to hand it off to Violet to read off the votes. But she passed it to the lady on the other side of her and it went back around the circle to Marty, who tossed in her folded piece of paper. If she’d done her homework and gotten the numbers right, that one vote should swing the favor for Anna Ruth to be the new member of the club. She didn’t like Anna Ruth, especially since she’d broken up her best friend’s marriage. But hey, Marty had made a deathbed promise to her mamma, and that carried more weight than the name of a hussy on a piece of paper.

The bowl went back to Violet and she put it in her lap like the coveted jeweled crown of a reigning queen. “Our amended charter states that only twenty-one women can belong to the Blue-Ribbon Jalapeño Society at any one time, and the only time we vote a new member in is when someone moves or dies. Since Prissy Parnell got married this past week and moved away from Grayson County, we are open for one new member. The four names on the ballet are: Agnes Flynn, Trixie Matthews, Anna Ruth Williams, and Gloria Rawlings.”

Even though it wasn’t in the fine print, everyone knew that when attending a meeting, the members should dress for the occasion, which meant panty hose and heels. Marty could feel nineteen pairs of eyes on her. It would have been twenty, but Violet was busy fishing the first ballot from the fancy bowl.

Marty threw one long leg over the other and let the bright red, three-inch-heeled shoe dangle on her toe. They could frown all they wanted. She was wearing a dress, even if it only reached midthigh, and had black spandex leggings under it. If they wanted her to wear panty hose, they’d better put a second amendment on that charter and make it in big print.

God Almighty, but she’d be glad when her great-aunt died and she could quit the club. But it looked like Agnes was going to last forever, which was no surprise. God sure didn’t want her in heaven, and the devil wouldn’t have her in hell.

“One vote for Agnes,” Violet said aloud.

Beulah marked that down on the minutes and waited.

Violet enjoyed her role as president of the club and took her own sweet time with each ballot. Too bad she hadn’t dropped dead or at least moved to California so Cathy could be president. Marty would bet her sister would get those votes counted a hell of a lot faster.

There was one piece of paper in the candy dish when Beulah held up a hand. “We’ve got six each for Agnes, Trixie, Anna Ruth, and two for Gloria. Unless this last vote is for Agnes, Trixie, or Anna Ruth, we have a tie, and we’ll have to have a runoff election.”

“Shit!” Marty mumbled.

Cathy shot her a dirty look.

“Anna Ruth,” Violet said and let out a whoosh of air.

A smile tickled the corner of Marty’s mouth.

Saved, by damn!

Agnes was saved from prison.

Violet was saved from attending her own funeral.

The speeding ticket was worth every penny.

 

About the Author

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author and RITA Finalist, Carolyn Brown, has published more than seventy books.  These days she is concentrating on her two loves:  women’s fiction and contemporary cowboy romance. She and her husband, a retired English teacher, make their home in southern Oklahoma.

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Posted in 5 paws, BEA, Children, Review, Texas on May 23, 2016

While at BEA I was very excited to find a publisher, Waldorf Publishing, that was very close to where I live in Texas.  Very small world if you ask me.  But was very glad I stopped by their booth because I love their logo – it’s a dog, and you know I love dogs!  Well I hope you know I love dogs since I give my book ratings in paws!

waldorf publishing

Review

There is a line of children’s books about Mr. Waldorf and he visits various places and always manages to lose his spectacles.  I think he needs to tie those to him so they don’t continually get lost! Each of the books tells you some facts about the country or state and the illustrations really make the the book more enjoyable.  I think it helps the kids learn more about the location Mr. Waldorf is visiting.  In the Alaska book, Waldorf’s spectacles can be found through out and it is a great interactive moment with the children to see if they can find them.  This was not available in the other books and that did disappoint me a little bit since I think it involves the children in the story. We enjoyed all of the books and give them 5 paws up.  Here are the 4 books due out this fall.

waldor in alaska

Synopsis

Mr. Waldorf is a loveable and inquisitive canine on a voyage to see the United States and International worlds of wonder. On this adventure, Mr. Waldorf discovers the Wild State of Alaska. The curious canine encounters fun new friends and places while fishing for salmon, discovering glaciers, panning for gold and visiting Eskimos.

Silly Mr. Waldorf has a tendency to misplace his favorite reading spectacles and can’t seem to find them while discovering “The Last Frontier”. Mr. Waldorf will learn all about Alaska, while seeking his missing spectacles. Will you help him find them and learn all about this amazing state?

Children will fall in love with curious Mr. Waldorf and they will also discover the world in a fun and exciting way. Mr. Waldorf invites you to join his “Whoofishly” fun adventures! Where will the curious canine end up next?

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waldorf in texas

Synopsis

On this adventure, Mr. Waldorf discovers the Great State of Texas. The curious canine encounters fun new friends and places while exploring the vast state visiting the Alamo, riding a bull for 8 seconds, making new friends in Dallas, exploring Austin and more. Children will fall in love with Mr. Waldorf and they will also discover the world in a fun & exciting way. Mr. Waldorf invites you to join his “Whoofishly” fun adventures! Where will the fuzzy canine end up next?

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Mr.-Waldorf-travels-to-the-Huge-Russia

Synopsis

On this adventure, Mr. Waldorf discovers the huge Russia. The curious canine encounters fun new friends and places while visiting Saint Petersburg, the Ural Mountains, Lake Baikai, Russian State Library & more.

Silly Mr. Waldorf has a tendency to misplace his favorite reading spectacles and can’t seem to find them while discovering the largest country in the world. Mr. Waldorf will learn all about Russia, while seeking his missing spectacles. Will you help him find them and learn all about this historical and enormous country?

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Mr.-Waldorf-travels-to-the-Mysterious-China

Synopsis

On this adventure, Mr. Waldorf discovers the mysterious China. The curious canine encounters fun new friends and places while visiting Beijing, discovering the Great Wall of China, climbing Mount Everest and traveling the Yangtze River.

Silly Mr. Waldorf has a tendency to misplace his favorite reading spectacles and can’t seem to find them while discovering The Peoples Republic of China. Mr. Waldorf will learn all about China, while seeking his missing spectacles. Will you help him find them and learn all about the ancient and beautiful country?

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About the Authors

Beth Ann Stifflemire is a woman who decided to make dreams a reality in 2010. She created a bucket list and never looked back.

To date Beth Ann has tackled many items on that bucket list: written a book, published a book, run a half-marathon, started a blog, changed careers and much more.

Beth Ann has been featured in the Austin American Statesman, Monster.com, Texas Wine Trail, Texas A&M University Communications Department Feature, Georgetown View Magazine, Hill Country News, Lonestar Literary Life and Nerd Girl Books.

Through her bucket list journey Beth Ann uncovered an underlying passion for writing and decided to tackle it head on. She is a published author with her next titles to be released the fall of 2015: Diverted Heart (August 2015) and Fates Betrayal (October 2015).

Beth Ann suffered a devastating and tragic loss in 2003 that changed the entire course of her future. This one single event changed her outlook on life and she knew she wanted to leave a mark on this earth. This ignited the desire to follow her passions and in 2010 after contemplating a way to personally document her life journey and aspirations the bucket list was born.

Beth Ann is from Texas and come from a family rooted in strong family values. She is the middle of three children and was forever affected when her parents internationally adopted her younger brother from Russia during the 1990’s. This amazing little boy was a dream of her parents and through their unselfish act demonstrated to Beth that you can achieve the dreams of your heart. After graduating high school she attended Texas A&M University and received a Bachelors in Communications in 2004. She married her husband one week prior to graduation and they’ve now been married ten years and have a son. Beth Ann jokes that her husband was the first person she ever went on a date with, but the one who stole her heart. She entered the business world working for the CLO and CFO of a local Austin Based Credit Union in 2005. It was only by an unexpected opportunity that she later fell into Human Resources and most recently spread her wings even further when beginning another career as an author.

When not writing, Beth enjoys spending time at home with her family, blogging, reading any self-help book or romance read she can get her hands on, likes trying out Texas wines, is an avid hot tea drinker, loves discovering all kinds of music and is adding a new pair of shoes to her ever growing closet inventory.

Barbara Terry is the founder, conductor, general, and head honcho of Waldorf Publishing has had a wild ride on her way to literary business!

She is one of the most sought-after Auto Experts, Columnists, Producers, Show Hosts and Authors in Television, Print and Radio. Barbara is a marketing, media, product integration and PR expert and has over 20 years in business ownership and management experience.

She has appeared on the cover of Kiplinger’s Magazine, has been featured in over 100 publications and has made more than 800 Television and Radio appearances since 2006 such as: Fox Sports, The CBS Early Show, Inside Edition, The Tony Danza Show, CNN, Maxim Radio, Oprah Radio, ESPN Radio, ivillage, SPEEDtv.com among a long list of others.

She wrote a weekly auto advice column for The Houston Chronicle for 6 years, has written for Examiner.com, First30Days.com, motorolaroadtrips.com, Men’s Fitness Magazine, New York Daily News and wrote a chapter in “The Experts Guide”.

Barbara has served as the Spokesperson/Representative/Host for numerous companies such as Ford Motor Company, eBay Motors, General Motors, Goodyear, NAPA, Pennzoil, Sylvania, Quaker State, Fix A Flat, FRAM, Prestone, Gillette, Volkswagen, Shell Oil, Liquid Wrench, Gunk, RainX, Duracell, GPS Protected, American Airlines, General Tire & Turtle Wax.

Barbara has served as Television & Internet host for Turtle Wax, About.com, US Auto Parts, AutoMD.com and Gillette. Barbara has also hosted live events for American Airlines, Volkswagen, Goodyear and was Emcee for GM Style Dubai Event in Dubai for General Motors.

Barbara has interviewed hundreds of A-list celebrities and professional athletes such as Sugar Ray Leonard, Rusty Wallace, Arnold Palmer, Michael Strahan and Richard Marx, many of which appear in her book,“How Athletes Roll”

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Posted in excerpt, Giveaway, Spotlight, Texas on May 14, 2016

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EAST JESUS

by Chris Manno

Genre: Contemporary Literary Fiction
Publisher: White Bird Publications
Date of Publication: March 8, 2016
Number of Pages: 314

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synopsis

In the summer of 1969, a small town in west Texas prepares to send one of their finest young men off to fight a faraway, controversial war. A parallel battle of domestic violence erupts at home as a younger generation struggles to reconcile older notions of right and wrong and even fractured family ties with the inevitable price that the fighting demands.

Much like today’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Vietnam war is little understood by those left behind, but the lessons of strength, commitment and duty are timeless, then and now. East Jesus, the story of that national struggle today as well as back in 1969, is a plangent, soulful journey lived through the eyes of a wide-ranging, colorful array of characters, with a conclusion readers will never forget.

There’s more.  “East Jesus,” said one editor, “is a message of hope for our children.” Too often, teenagers who’ve survived a young lifetime of domestic violence believe “this is the hell I was born into, this is the hell I must accept for life.” East Jesus turns that notion on its ear: though there’s a price to pay, there’s a better way that rises above the violence.

The novel is peopled by strong characters, particularly women, in a salt-of-the-earth, small town, west Texas community. The price of a far away, unpopular war always comes due in small town America, then (set in 1969) as well as now (Iraq and Afghanistan). But the lesson of hope, sacrifice and redemption is timeless.

To read East Jesus is to live that story, to transcend the fighting at home and abroad, and to embrace the hope and faith in what’s right above all else.

Experience East Jesus, live the story–you’ll never forget it.

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Excerpt

Excerpt from Chapter 2 of East Jesus

Pop had his back turned, pouring a jelly glass full of tequila. He held it up to the window, turning it back and forth with his fingers, looking through it to the street lamp cutting the darkness outside Mason’s.

He growled deep in his throat. “Get ready, Baby-Doll. Put on your pretty face. The Kang’s coming after you.”

Slowly, he put the glass to his lips. I breathed through my mouth, carefully, praying to God that Pop couldn’t hear the thudding of my heart that sent the blood roaring through my ears.

With noisy gulping swallows, Pop drained the glass, gasped and spat in the sink, then wiped his mouth with the back of the slap hand. The fingers on the club hand trembled ever so slightly, then groped for the bottle again, as Pop stared out the window.

He flinched, his shoulders hunched slightly, and the hand froze. I knew the black eyes had locked onto something, either outside or reflected from inside, in the filthy glass pane.

The hand moved toward the bottle again, steadily, and found it. Thick, grease-stained fingers closed around the bottle, lifted it, and poured the last few ounces of clear liquid into the drinking glass. He froze, eyes still locked on the window, bottle tipped toward the glass, thick shoulders tensed, a motionless freeze-frame save the tiny, colorless drops that plinked one by one into the amber pool in the glass.

My heart thundered. I fought a shiver that drew every nerve in my body tight.

The dark statue before the window gripped the bottle, frozen save the measured drip that slowed, and slowed, and finally came to one golden drop that stretched, but hung on just the same.

Faint strains of my mother’s ragged humming mixed with my own shallow breathing as I watched the cords on the back of the chop hand bulge and the finger pads whiten against the empty bottle.

I blinked. In that fraction of a second, the tiger leapt and spun, and I heard the air whistle over the mouth of the empty bottle just before the starburst of light and the dagger of pain exploded from my left cheekbone.

I flexed my knees and braced myself forward to resist the charge as Pop leapt over a laundry basket and grabbed my throat. He slammed me against the wall by the stove.

“Boy, you ain’t got the common sense to git while you could of.” His eyes bulged, and he panted short breaths sweetened with the afterscent of tequila and lingering traces of Red Man. “You jest got no sense at all.”

A thumb dug under my jawbone probing, then found its mark. My cheek throbbed, my ears hummed, and the room began to swim. A reedy voice fluttered up from somewhere deep in my heaving chest. “You… ain’t no father… to Bean. And you… ain’t no husband to—”

My feet left the floor, and I sailed across the room, weightless, catching a glimpse of my pale momma, jaw slack and eyes wide, frozen in the hallway. I dropped against the front door frame. Pop vaulted over the cluttered table and landed on his haunches square in front of me, his face in mine.

“You’re goddam right I ain’t,” he hissed, dotting my throbbing cheek with tiny flecks of tequila spit.

The slap hand whipped out of nowhere. Impact sparked another burst of light that made my ear ring and my nose burn somewhere down deep. A warm trickle flowed down my chin, but I ignored it, boring a hole in his eyes with my own.

His lips pulled back against brown teeth. “Who do you think I am a Pa to?”

Starbursts again, on the other side. My skin burned, and that ear rang. Still, I lanced him with my eyes but clenched my jaws tight.

Course hands lifted me and pinned me roughly against the door. Again, I said nothing.

Pop drew ragged breaths. “You best listen to me, boy.” He banged my head off the door. “Pa or no, I’d sooner burn in hell than rot here in East Jesus with the likes of you.”

about the author

Chris Manno matriculated from Springfield, Virginia and graduated from VMI in 1977 with a degree in English. He was commissioned in the Air Force and after completing flight training, spent seven years as a squadron pilot in the Pacific at Kadena Air Base, Okinawa and Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii. He was hired by American Airlines as a pilot in 1985 and was promoted to captain in 1991. He flies today as a Boeing 737 captain on routes all over North America and the Caribbean. He earned a doctorate in residence at Texas Christian University and currently teaches writing at Texas Wesleyan University in addition to flying a full schedule at American Airlines. He lives in Fort Worth.

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Posted in excerpt, Spotlight, Texas on May 7, 2016

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HOW TO BE A TEXAN: THE MANUAL

by

Andrea Valdez

Illustrated by Abi Daniel

 

Genre: Texas Customs / Social Life / Humor

Publisher: University of Texas Press

Date of Publication: May 3, 2016

# of pages: 208, 58 B&W Illustrations

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synopsis

There are certain things every Texan should know how to do and say, whether your Lone Star roots reach all the way back to the 1836 Republic or you were just transplanted here yesterday. Some of these may be second nature to you, but others . . . well, maybe it wouldn’t hurt to have a few handy hints if, say, branding the herd or hosting a tamalada aren’t your usual pastimes. That’s where How to Be a Texan can help.

In a friendly, lighthearted style, Andrea Valdez offers illustrated, easy-to-follow steps for dozens of authentic Texas activities and sayings. In no time, you’ll be talking like a Texan and dressing the part; hunting, fishing, and ranching; cooking your favorite Texas dishes; and dancing cumbia and two-step. You’ll learn how to take a proper bluebonnet photo and build a Día de los Muertos altar, and you’ll have a bucket list of all the places Texans should visit in their lifetime. Not only will you know how to do all these things, you’ll finish the book with a whole new appreciation for what it means to be a Texan and even more pride in saying “I’m from Texas” anywhere you wander in the world.

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Excerpt

Get Big Hair

Texas women may not have invented big hair, but they realized long ago the allure of the coiffed crown. Just consider Ann Richards, who made it her trademark and declared an official Big Hair Day in 1993. The style is powerful yet elegant, bold but surprisingly down-home. As Gail Huitt, the former governor’s hairdresser, who has been a stylist in Austin for forty-three years, points out, “Nothing is worse than a big-butted woman with a little head.”

Though the look never fell flat here, hair-up-to-there periodically sees style revival across the country. Jessica Simpson, the Texas-born-and-bred blonde bombshell, released a line of clip-on extensions in the 2000s; infomercials for the Bumpit, a leave-in volumizing insert, once dominated late-night airwaves; and Vera Wang has requested that her models wear modified beehives for her runway shows. Thankfully, you don’t need tons of hair to have big hair (Richards had baby-fine strands, Huitt says); all you need is a can–or three–of hairspray and a fine-toothed comb and you, too, can have the kind of ‘do that inspired this incredible Texas-ism: “the taller the hair, the closer to God.”

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Wash

Some hairdressers swear by dirty hair–the scalp’s oils are like a natural hair product–but Huitt recommends starting with freshly washed locks. Wick away moisture with a towel, and then apply a volumizing product at the roots.

Dry

Flip your hair upside down and blow-dry completely with a diffuser attachment, which creates even more volume. Using the pointed end of a rattail comb, part the hair about two inches back from either your hairline or bang line.

Tease

Back-comb the sectioned hair at the roots and spray each teased piece with a(n) (un)healthy dose of Aqua Net hairspray. Continue parting, teasing, and spraying your way back toward your crown. Gently smooth out the top with your comb.

Spray

Curl and pin the ends if desired. Set the hair into an impenetrable helmet by fogging down the ‘do one last time. “After that, don’t touch it,” says Huitt. “As soon as you put your hands in your hair, you break the fragile bonds of the product–or a fingernail.”

Excerpt from How to Be a Texan: The Manual by Andrea Valdez (c) 2016 by Andrea Valdez. Used by permission of University of Texas Press
Illustrations by (c) Abi Daniel. For more information visit www.utexaspress.com

about the author

 

Andrea Valdez by Abi DanielA native Houstonian who has worked for Texas Monthly since 2006, Valdez is the editor of TexasMonthly.com. She has written on a wide range of subjects, including more than forty columns on activities every Texan should be able to do, which provided the inspiration for this book. She also helped Texas Monthly launch The Daily Post and TMBBQ.com.

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