Guest Post by Marissa Campbell, Author of the AVELYNN Series


As writers, it’s easy to wallow in uncertainty and doubt. Our brains seem hard-wired for this—it’s a creative curse. The road ahead is filled with valleys and peaks. But writing is a marathon, not a sprint. If we commit to this path, we are in it for the long haul. This is an adventure of epic proportions. One in which even The Hero’s Journey would approve.

We embark on this odyssey because we feel compelled to tell a story. Writing is a passion that burns deep in our hearts. To stop the flurry of tapping fingers on the keyboard, or still the sweeping pen in our hands would leave us lost, a gapping hole in our souls. That being said, it’s not an easy journey, but it’s one we must embrace and milk for every ounce of awesomeness we can find. We must not let the fear of rejection, or the fear of failure deter us.

Let me tell you about a recent phone call I received from my local newspaper. The editor/owner has known me for several years, and she had a proposition. In an effort to increase advertising revenue for the paper, for anyone who placed a half-page ad, she wanted me to visit their business, try their services, and then come back and write an article about it—kind of like an advertorial, but different. You see, I’m known around here as the Yes Woman. Why? Because I’m always up for an adventure. No obstacle is too large, no challenge too daunting that I will not at least attempt the journey. I may stumble, I may have to turn back, but rather than give up, I’ll always try to find another way around—unless the adventure involves risk of death… or snakes… or spiders. Seriously, there’s no going around that (shudder).  So, the idea morphed from a simple advertorial into a challenge to see what sort of situation I could get myself involved in and the resulting article about the mayhem.

I could have said, no. But where would that have gotten me? Life is an adventure. We thrive when we live our passions and follow our dreams. As it is with life, so it is with our writing. Even if we stumble across fallen branches, or become mired in a mucky trench in the road, we need to hike up our boots, lean into the wind, and keep on trekking.

My editor and champion at St. Martin’s Press left during the production of Avelynn. That meant when it came time to offer on Avelynn: The Edge of Faith—a new stand-alone historical fiction, and the second book in the series—I no longer had anyone invested in my story, or me as an author. They declined, and I was without a publisher. I could have let that stop the dream, but why would I do that when there are so many other amazing opportunities and options available to writers today? I’m the Yes Woman. Setbacks do not ruffle my feathers; they fuel the wind beneath my wings.

I made the bold decision to self-publish Avelynn because I owed it to readers to continue her story. It was not the easiest path—there were many scary creatures lurking about in the shadows of the unknown—but I am nothing if not stubborn. So, I set out on my noble quest with a brave heart. It was a fascinating journey, filled with wonderful people and sky-scraping towers of knowledge. There were epic battles against Doubt and Rejection, but I vanquished those demons and rose triumphant in the thrilling climax! The first road to publication for Avelynn: The Edge of Faith resulted in a dead end, but I found another way. I kept my passion alive and followed my dream. And thanks to that Yes Woman attitude, the second book in the Avelynn series will be in reader’s hands by the end of September, 2016!  

Keep writing, keep submitting, and keep sending your work out there. Don’t let the spectres of rejection or self-doubt thwart you! Write your heart out. Never give up on the dream.

In gratitude, 

Marissa xo


Avelynn Edge of Faith eBook Cover Amazon Extra Large.jpg

Avelynn: The Edge of Faith
Book two in the Avelynn Series

Now Available!

In a struggle that forces Avelynn to question her faith, her hope, and her
future, Avelynn and Alrik are thrust into the world of ninth century Wales and
must navigate magic, greed, and betrayal while the iron hands of fate threaten
to tear them apart.

Forced to flee England, charges of treason, murder, and witchcraft follow Avelynn into exile.

Arriving in Wales, Alrik and Avelynn find refuge amongst friends of the Welsh nobility. Cast out by his half-brothers, Alrik seeks to regain his honor and earn favor with the gods. When war threatens, Alrik embraces gold and the opportunity for Raven’s Blood’s crew to become mercenaries, aiding the Southern Welsh kings in their fight against Rhodri the Great.

Desperate to return home, Avelynn seeks to find a way to prove her innocence, pitting her against Alrik as their desires for the future clash. With battle looming, Avelynn’s faith in their relationship is further tested through a bitter struggle with Marared, a jealous lover from Alrik’s past. Marared’s threats turn deadly, and Avelynn runs afoul of magic and sorcery, causing her to question her beliefs and role as priestess.

When the very friends Avelynn and Alrik had come to trust betray them, Avelynn is captured and Alrik is charged with regicide. The two become separated, a chasm of greed, deceit, and ambition driving them apart. In an act of harrowing faith, Avelynn will stop at nothing to find her way back to Alrik and break them both free from Wale’s bloodthirsty grasp.

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Also available, the first book in the series, AVELYNN.

THE LIBRARIAN’s Readers Choice Best Books in Romance pick for BEST BOOK OF 2015



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Marissa Campbell is a published freelance author, and co-author of the award-winning, spiritual self-help book Life: Living in Fulfillment Every Day. Her debut historical fiction AVELYNN, was published through St. Martin’s Press, September 2015. Look for the second book in the AVELYNN series, releasing Fall 2016. She is a proud member of the Historical Novel Society, Romance Writers of America, Writer’s Community of Durham Region, and local critique group B7. When she is not writing, she is busy looking after her wonderful children, spending time with her fantastic husband, hanging out with her awesome friends, teaching yoga, dancing, laughing, and having fun!

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Join Marissa as she chats with The Librarian, Thursday at 7:30pm ET at this link.

She will be talking about her new release and Vikings! So be ready to call in with your questions!

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Guest Post by Alexia Gordon, author of Murder in G Major

Murder in G Major
A Gethsemane Brown Mystery
Alexia Gordon

Genre: Cozy Mystery / Suspense / Paranormal
Publisher: Henery Press
Date of Publication: September 13, 2016
Number of Pages: 268


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Monkey mind—

According to Wikipedia, “a Buddhist term meaning unsettled, restless, capricious, whimsical, fanciful …” According to me, a term meaning the deluge of ideas for stories I could be writing that invades my brain when I sit down to write the story I should be writing.

My Gethsemane Brown series is set in a fictional modern-day Irish village and stars an African-American classical musician and the ghost of a murdered composer. So, of course, when I take pen in hand or set fingers to keyboard I think,

“Hey, I could write a story set in post-World War Two London about an American hotel guest who teams up with the hotel detective to solve a murder.”


“How about a story set in nineteen-thirties Paris about an American art collector who’s secretly helping Jews escape from the Nazis?”

Or even,

“I know; I’ll write about a woman who has an affair with her brother-in-law then has to prove her husband innocent of his murder.” (That last one’s definitely not a cozy.)

None of which have anything to do with the task at hand: finish the next Gethsemane Brown manuscript.

How do I fight monkey mind? I don’t. Fighting monkey mind makes me anxious to the point of inertia. In the words of the borg, “Resistance is futile.” I’ve learned through experience (and a tip from Chris Baty in No Plot, No Problem) monkey mind must be accommodated. Instead of trying to ignore the flood of brilliant ideas for the next runaway bestseller I scribble the ideas down. I keep several small notebooks and a variety of pens handy. Whenever an idea unrelated to my current manuscript pops into my head I jot the idea in a notebook, take a deep refocusing breath, and get back to work. Acknowledging the intrusion seems to sate whatever dark recess of my brain is playing tricks on me.

As a bonus I have a catalog in case anyone ever asks, “What else have you got?” I can flip to a page in a notebook and say, “I’ve got this great idea about a hotel detective …”

How do you tame monkey mind?

Stranded in Ireland after losing both a gig and her luggage, African-American classical musician Gethsemane Brown hopes to win her way back to the States by accepting a challenge: turn rowdy school boys into a champion orchestra. She’s offered lodging in a beautiful cliffside cottage once owned by her favorite composer. The catch? The composer’s ghost. He can’t rest in peace until he’s cleared of false charges of murder-suicide. Desperate after a quarter-century, he begs Gethsemane for help. A growing friendship with the charming ghost spurs Gethsemane to investigate. Her snooping provokes a long-dormant killer and she soon finds herself on the wrong sort of top ten hit list. Will Gethsemane uncover the truth as she races to prevent a murderous encore or will she star in her own farewell performance?



“Gordon strikes a harmonious chord in this enchanting spellbinder of a mystery.” —Susan M. Boyer, USA Today Bestselling Author of Lowcountry Book Club
“Just when you think you’ve seen everything, here comes Gethsemane Brown, baton in one hand, bourbon in the other. Stranded in an Irish village where she know no one (but they all know her), she’s got just six weeks to turn a rabblesome orchestra into award-winners and solve a decades-old murder to boot. And only a grumpy ghost to help her. There’s charm to spare in this highly original debut.”  — Multi-award-winning author, Catriona McPherson
“Gordon has composed a masterful and magical debut. . .Murder in G Major captivated me from the first page to the last, transporting me to the windswept cliffs of Ireland.”  — Gigi Pandian, USA Today bestselling author of Michelangelo’s Ghost
“Alexia Gordon’s debut is delightful: an Irish village full of characters and secrets, whiskey and music – and a ghost! Gethsemene Brown is a fast-thinking, fast-talking dynamic sleuth (with a great wardrobe) who is more than a match for the unraveling murders and coverups, aided by her various –handsome – allies and her irascible ghost. Can’t wait to see what she uncovers next!” — J. Suzanne Frank, AKA Chloe Green, author of the Dallas O’Connor mysteries 




A writer since childhood, I won my first (okay, so far, only) writing prize, a copy of Shel Silverstein’s Where the Sidewalk Ends, in the 6th grade. I continued writing through college but put literary endeavors on hold to finish medical school and Family Medicine residency training. My medical career established, I returned to writing fiction.
Raised in the southeast and schooled in the northeast, I migrated to the southwest after a three-year stint in Alaska reminded me how much I needed sunlight and warm weather. I completed Southern Methodist University’s Writer’s Path program in Dallas, Texas then moved to El Paso, Texas where I currently practice medicine. If pushed, I will admit Texas brisket is as good as Carolina pulled pork. I enjoy classical music, art, travel, embroidery, and a good ghost story.
I am a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, and the Writers’ League of Texas. I am represented by Paula Munier of Talcott Notch Literary Services, LLC and published by Henery Press.
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September 20September 29, 2016

Author Interview #1
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Interview: Yvonne Georgina Puig, author of A WIFE OF NOBLE CHARACTER

Yvonne Georgina Puig

Genre: Women‘s Contemporary Fiction
Date of Publication: August 2, 2016
Number of Pages: 320

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Thirty-year-old Vivienne Cally is wealthy in name only. Orphaned as a child and raised by a cold but regal aunt, Vivienne was taught to rely on her beauty and Texas tradition, and is expected to marry a wealthy and respectable man who will honor the Cally name. Friends with Houston’s richest and most prominent families, she’s a beloved fixture at the social events big and small, and suffers no shortage of access to some of the city’s most eligible bachelors. Preston Duffin has known Vivienne and her set since childhood.  He’s never shared their social aspirations or their status but is liked and respected for his sharp wit and intelligence. About to graduate from a prestigious architecture program, he is both fascinated and repelled by this group of friends he sits on the cusp of. He’s long admired Vivienne’s beauty and grace, but isn’t sure he holds any place in such a traditional life. Intrigued by Preston’s ambitions and the extent to which he challenges the only way of life she’s ever known, Vivienne both courts Preston’s attention, and rebuffs his critiques of her predictable and antiquated priorities and values.

Inspired by Edith Wharton’s The House of Mirth, Yvonne Georgina Puig’s A Wife of Noble Character shares the original novel’s astute social commentary at the same time that it illuminates the trappings and rewards of coming of age that are wholly unique to the twenty-first century. Charming and shrewd at once, this Texas love story takes readers from Houston to Paris and Switzerland and back again, and will speak to both fans of Wharton and anyone who has every struggled to find their way in life.


“A fun take on Edith Wharton’s classic.”—Marie Claire

“A Wife of Noble Character is equal parts wry social commentary and heart-fluttering romance — an insightful journey for both the head and the heart.” —Refinery29

“This sharply drawn novel about Houston’s oil-money elite strikes a beautiful balance—rollicking at times while deeply felt at others.”—

“A compelling and complicated love story…The characters hearken back to Wharton’s while still not feeling like archetypes, and the interior narration matches the introspective style of Wharton’s writing.”—Book Riot

“A Wife of Noble Character possesses something that is intrinsically Houstonian: a sense of humor. . . Apparently, no matter how far you move, Houston sticks with you; Puig has the local milieu down cold.”—Texas Monthly

“In this vivid, socially acute novel of manners set in oil-money Houston society, Yvonne Puig charms us with prose and braces us with insight—a masterful, sharp-eyed and eloquent debut.” —Janet Fitch, author of White Oleander and Paint it Black

“A fresh, funny look at what it means to be an adult in the 21st century and a juicy Texan comedy of manners, at its heart, A Wife of Noble Character is a good old fashioned love story.” —Sarah Bird, author of Above the East China Sea

“A Wife of Noble Character is a wildly unique creation: A social novel that is simultaneously classic and utterly modern. I found it sharply insightful, lyrically written, and often laugh-out-loud funny; and could barely put it down until the last page. Puig is a talented satirist and a breathtakingly astute observer of character.”—Janelle Brown, author of All We Ever Wanted Was Everything



What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

I had fun a lot of fun with the secondary characters—Randal, the wannabe-Texan dermatologist, Kitty, the ex-pat in Paris from Beaumont, and Blad, Vivienne’s close friend, a gay man who grew up in conservative neighborhood in Houston.
How does your book relate to your spiritual life?

It relates deeply to my spiritual life. I believe writing is a spiritual practice. And I believe inner growth must be spiritual if it is going to stick – and that requires ‘walking that lonesome valley by yourself,’ to paraphrase Woody Guthrie. I’m interested in how struggle shapes people spiritually, and I wanted Vivienne, the protagonist, to experience that.
Are you a full-time or part-time writer?  How does that affect your writing?

I also teach essay writing at USC. I find the balance challenging because I want to give teaching my all, but I admit that writing is always there in the back of my mind, sort of tapping me on the shoulder.
What do you like to read in your free time?

Novels, psychology books, books about faith.
What book do you wish you could have written?

The Member of the Wedding by Carson McCullers. That book still blows me away and makes my heart ache.
Just as your books inspire authors, what authors have inspired you to write?

Larry McMurtry and Edith Wharton above all. I’m inspired by McMurtry’s sense of humor and I love Wharton’s sharp eye and wit. Edith Wharton was also such an inspiring and courageous individual, someone who grew so much in her lifetime and remained devoted to her sense of wonder. I could go on and on about both of them.
Who would you cast to play your characters in a movie version of your book?

I would love to see Kathy Bates as Kitty.
Is there one subject you would never write about as an author? What is it?

I don’t enjoy writing about myself. Never say never—but I can’t imagine writing a memoir.
What is something you want to accomplish before you die?

I would love to have a little bit of land to start a garden and create a sanctuary for rescued animals. I would also love to write a book that inspires children — a book that sparks their imaginations and helps them to believe in themselves.


Yvonne Georgina Puig’s fiction and essays have appeared in Salon, Variety, Los Angeles Magazine, and The Texas Observer, among others. She holds a Masters in Professional Writing from USC. She lives in Santa Monica with her husband.



Ends 11PM CST, September 25, 2016
Check out the other blog stops on the tour:
9/14 Video Guest Post 1 Texas Book Lover
9/15 Review My Book Fix Blog
9/16 Author Interview 1 Missus Gonzo
9/17 Excerpt The Page Unbound
9/18 Review Reading By Moonlight
9/19 Guest Post 2 The Crazy Booksellers
9/20 Video Guest Post 3 A Novel Reality
9/21 Review Hall Ways Blog
9/22 Author Interview 2 The Librarian Talks
9/23 Review It’s a Jenn World
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Interview: Romance Author Melanie Scott

Where did your love of books/storytelling/reading/writing/etc. come from?

My parents are both teachers, so I learned to read pretty young (I don’t actually remember not being able to). And they always read and my grandparents were readers so maybe it’s all genetic. I was the kid who always had her nose in a book and had to be shooed outside. Where I was big on playing games that involved making stuff up. The first story I remember writing down that wasn’t for school was when I was about eight, so the stories have always been there too.

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

I have too many favorite authors! On the romance side of things, when I had just decided to try and write a book and sell it, someone suggested Jennifer Crusie’s Welcome to Temptation to me and I loved that book and kind of had the “I want to write THAT” moment. Smart, sexy, a bit snarky, but still satisfying emotionally. On the fantasy side, my favorite authors are Terry Pratchett, Lois McMaster Bujold, Robin McKinley, Guy Gavriel Kay and Diana Wynne Jones. Who are all quite different but I think probably write a similar brand of character, which again is one who will use their brains, have a sense of humor and a sense of honor. They also lean toward more emotional fantasy (in different ways). There are fantasy writers who I enjoy but who write a shallower point of view, all about the action and the story and the world rather than the emotions but my favorites get the emotional side down too.

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

I think the two most useful lessons for me are that you learn by writing and that every writer does it differently (and that your process for every book will be probably be slightly different too). The least useful type of writing advice is the “this is the one true way” type advice. No. No, it isn’t. What works for one writer will absolutely not work (or be actively damaging) for a lot of others. Anyone giving a craft workshop or writing a book should be forced to put a THIS IS HOW I DO IT, YOUR MILEAGE MAY VARY disclaimer at the start and stick to that attitude when teaching. I do read craft books and go to conferences and workshops but learned early on that if I tried something and it didn’t work, or wasn’t helpful, or I hated it, then it wasn’t for me and that was okay.

What do you like to read in your free time?

I will and do, read almost anything but I read mostly romance and fantasy but also enjoy crime and science fiction. Occasionally I wander off into other genres. I’m also a stealthy reader of cookbooks and crafty books. I’m a fast reader but have less time for reading than I used to when I wasn’t writing.

What do your plans for future projects include?

Finishing my Four Arts series (at this stage it will be three books), working on some contemporary things I can’t talk about yet, finishing my urban fantasy trilogy then I have an idea for a new romantic fantasy series and a new slightly more futuristic urban fantasy series. Too many books, not enough time!

Do you have any strange writing habits?

I do have a waterproof notepad in my shower because when I’m stuck, that’s often where I seem to get answers. I also write in my head while on long drives. The trouble with that is that I haven’t yet mastered the art of dictation while driving so I don’t always remember it when I get to destination.

How many donuts are you capable of eating in one sitting?

ALL the donuts. Donuts are one of my favourite foods. So I need someone to invent a zero calorie just as tasty version.

What is your go-to method for getting rid of hiccups?

Drinking a glass of water backwards (as taught by my grandmother). Which isn’t really backwards but seems to work.

Do you have a favorite Girl Scout Cookie?

Here in Australia we don’t have the same Girl Scout cookies but, because I have kind American friends, I can tell you I like Thin Mints and Samoas.

How many times does it take for you to listen to a song that you love before you actually hate it instead?

I don’t think I ever start to hate songs I love. I might get tired of them and lose that first white hot crush feeling. I listen to music when I write and the muse often wants to listen to one song on repeat for parts of a book. I have songs I’ve listened to hundreds of times while writing a book. I still like them.

Finally, and this one is important, so please pay attention…What do you think cats dream about?

How to evolve opposable thumbs so they can achieve world domination? Or how to manufacture patches of sunlight that stay on their favorite napping spot? In the case of my particular current cat, I’m fairly sure she dreams of a human who never wants to stop giving her belly rubs. She is the most belly rub loving cat I’ve ever known (and never does the weird no-stop-suddenly-I’m-fighting-you-thing while receiving them).

THIS OR THAT? (because The Librarian is just a nosey bugger)

Tea or Coffee? Neither, Coke Zero.

Marvel or DC Comics? Based on the movies, Marvel forever and always.

TexMex or Italian? TexMex.

Fried or Scrambled? Scrambled.

Bond or Bourne? Bond. Too much shaky cam in Bourne.




Melanie Scott is an unrepentant bookworm. Luckily she grew up in a family that fed her a properly varied diet of books and these days is surrounded by people who are understanding of her story addiction. When not wrestling one of her own stories to the ground, she can generally be found reading someone else’s.

Her website is

She also writes fantasy and urban fantasy as M.J. Scott (

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PLAYING FAST is Melanie’s Latest Release in the New York Saints Series



When baseball bad-boy Finn Castro raises one eyebrow too many, the Saints send him down to the minors. He’ll have to earn back his major-league dreams with the Saratoga Springs Preachers,. Finn’s certainly never claimed to be a man of the cloth, and cleaning up his act isn’t going to be easy with stunning Eva Harlowe at the heart of the team’s administration.


Eva knows having a crush on Finn is about as sensible as wishing for an eighth day of the week, but seeing the gorgeously muscled player in person melts her resolve. If she’s planning to leave baseball at the end of the season, a hot fling could be a fantasy home run. But when no-strings sex begins to feel like a perfect partnership, will Finn and Eva choose the love of the game or real life together?

Read more about the book and find the buy links here!


Review: THE REPUBLIC OF FOOTBALL by Chad S. Conine

Legends of the Texas High School Game
Chad S. Conine
Genre: Texas Sports History / Biographies
Date of Publication: September 6, 2016
Publisher: University of Texas Press
# of pages: 288
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Anywhere football is played, Texas is the force to reckon with. Its powerhouse programs produce the best football players in America. In The Republic of Football, Chad S. Conine vividly captures Texas’s impact on the game with action-filled stories about
legendary high school players, coaches, and teams from around the state and across seven decades. 

Drawing on dozens of interviews, Conine offers rare glimpses of the early days of some of football’s biggest stars. He reveals that some players took time to achieve greatness—LaDainian Tomlinson wasn’t even the featured running back on his high school team until a breakthrough game in his senior season vaulted him to the highest level of the sport—while others, like Colt McCoy, showed their first flashes of brilliance in middle school. In telling these and many other stories of players and coaches, including Hayden Fry, Spike Dykes, Bob McQueen, Lovie Smith, Art Briles, Lawrence Elkins, Warren McVea, Ray Rhodes, Dat Nguyen, Zach Thomas, Drew Brees, and Adrian Peterson, Conine spotlights the decisive moments when players caught fire and teams such as Celina, Southlake Carroll, and Converse Judson turned into Texas dynasties.
“This is a wonderful, well-written book, full of compelling details and stories. A ‘must read’ for any Texas football fan.” —DAVE CAMPBELL Dave Campbell’s Texas Football
 University of Texas Press
Proof that Texas is, in fact, the Kingdom of Football.
In this fantastic collection of interviews and articles, journalist Chad S. Connie details the many stories and legends that make Texas the High School Football capital of the world.  The fresh approach to history through storytelling captures the sense of importance football has in this State, and how its evolution has shaped the communities and even the legislature here.  A wonderful book for all football lovers, especially those who love Texas!
Highly Recommended.
Conine is a freelance sports journalist who has written for the Sports Xchange, Reuters, and, among others.
He has been covering Texas high school and college football since the late 1990s.
He lives in Waco, Texas.
  September 5 – 19, 2016

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Check out the other great blogs on the tour! 

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Kara The Redhead
Reading By Moonlight
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Author Interview 2
Kara The Redhead
Country Girl Bookaholic
Guest Post 3


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Interview: Brett Burlison, author of RIVERSIDE

Brett Burlison

Genre: Thriller / Suspense / Action Romance
Publisher: Barton Creek Press
Date of Publication: January 4, 2016
Number of Pages: 348
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It’s summer 1993 in Austin. Two young lovers decide to move in together and open a cafe only to be hindered by their own pasts, drugs, and bad guys from New Orleans. Set in Austin, Texas in the early nineties.
Bobby Patrick, abandoned by his mother as a child and by his alcoholic father during high school, wants a better life for himself and his true love, Katie. The couple decides to open a café and chase their dreams under the radiant Austin sunsets. There, the long, hot days of summer in inspire their passion–but complications arise when Katie’s former love interest returns, bringing with him a whirlwind of trouble.
As Katie’s dark past reveals itself, Bobby fears it could threaten all they have been striving for. Along with Katie’s best friend, Sara, with whom Bobby has his own secret history, the couple becomes tangled up in a drug deal and falls under close watch by Austin police and New Orleans mobsters. 
Bobby must find a way to protect Katie, help Sara, and help himself to thousands of dollars from the ill-fated deal. If he can’t, his future with Katie could be shattered forever. 

Part romance and part suspense story, Riverside is a tell-your-friends-about-it, good old-fashioned crime novel about a young couple struggling for the American dream, and the lengths to which they will go to protect it.


“A steamy tale and beguiling thriller, with plenty of local color and some provocative twists.” – Kirkus Reviews


How has being a Texan influenced your writing?

When writing, the places you turn for material are the places and things you know. Having grown up, been educated, and lived in Texas a large portion of my life I have many places to turn to. Texas is a diverse place. I came to know much of that diversity before I started to write. I also think Texans, due to the influence of their experience and because of how that experience has been presented in art, view the world in a particular way. That view gets into your characters, your narrators, your vision. It’s nearly impossible to keep it out.

Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?

I write stories about individuals and couples struggling for the American dream — or at least the ideal of it. I believe that struggle defines us and our society and has for some time. It’s spiritual, and it influences most of the decisions we make in life. I don’t believe it to be strictly American, but our version of it is unique.

Where did your love of storytelling come from?

My love of storytelling began when I was nine years old and started entertaining my friends before school with stories I would make up. Some I wrote, some I memorized from notes, and some I simply made up on the spot. I was dyslexic; reading was a chore and nearly impossible until late in grade-school. And, never done for pleasure until college. My need to write stories and to share them with others came from within me.

How long have you been writing?

I followed other interests in school and became an attorney and still have a full time legal practice. I only began writing for publication with the release of my first novel in January 2016, though I’ve been writing stories and poems and thinking about writing since I was about ten.

What kind of writing do you do?

I write primarily about young couples and individuals struggling for the American dream.

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

Watching a story and vision that has been rattling around in your head for years come to life on a page, and then turn into a physical book that you can hold, and whose pages you can flip through, is nothing short of amazing. Watching whole sections improve, chapters run better, paragraphs become more clear, and sentences work, though boiled down to their essentials, is breathtaking.

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

Before I sit down to write I take a cold shower. Doesn’t matter the time. It’s great for the body in general and will wake up your senses like nothing else.

Where is one place you want to visit that you haven’t been before?


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

Castilian Spanish, from Spain.

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

I’m a huge pot-head. Just kidding. Actually, I’m a good juggler and can play a decent African drum.


Brett Burlison is a writer, lawyer, and Texan living in Northern California. He grew up in the piney woods of East Texas and went to school in Austin.

He practices law in San Francisco, and writes romantic suspense stories about young couples up against difficult odds.







September 13September 22, 2016 
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Character Interview: Tanyalee Marie Newberry from STEALING TAFFY by Susan Donovan

Hello, everyone…this is Tanyalee Marie Newberry of Bigler, North Carolina speaking. Now, I know ya’ll were expecting the author Susan Donovan to write something on this blog, perhaps even answer some of the nice librarian’s questions. I know ya’ll weren’t expecting one of her contemporary romance heroines to just barge in uninvited and start blabbering away! But I don’t always do what people expect. I’m complicated and flawed. My insecurities have led me to use people — especially  men — to get what I want. I’ve done a lot of things for which I am not proud. But here I am. Susan has often said that once I showed up in her head, she just could not get me to shut up!

I hear that a lot.

My story came out on August 30, 2016. It’s called STEALING TAFFY, which Susan’s publisher thought was a catchy title since I have a problem with theft. I’m on probation for it, to be completely honest. But now that I’ve returned from ten weeks in a swanky rehab center and have started community service hours volunteering at the Cataloochee County afterschool Girl’s Club, I’m sure my probation period will just fly by! There’s another reason for the title is STEALING TAFFY. There’s a man, a DEA Agent by the name of Dante Cabrera, who is trying to steal my heart. (Don’t tell him I said this, but I might decide to give it to him willingly. You’ll have to read the book to find out what happens, but let me just say this — Dante is one hot hunk of man! But that’s not all he is. He’s kind. Wise. Funny. And he likes his women “with an extra-large side of crazy sauce.” His words, not mine. So you can see the attraction.)

Now, let me address something that’s been a little concerning to Susan. It seems some of the advance reviews of my story are not very charitable. One reader said she threw the book across the damn room because she couldn’t stand me! Susan was a little shocked by this, but I can’t say I’m surprised. I’ve never been Bigler’s most popular woman. There were even some readers who said they didn’t even like me enough to find out what happens in my story! They didn’t stick around to see how I grow and change, how I make amends to those I’ve harmed, and how I figure out how to love and be loved. I’m sorry they felt that way, but you know what I’m not sorry for? Telling the truth about who I am. Being honest about what I’ve been through. And being brave enough to try to be a better person.

Lord knows none of us are perfect.

Susan wanted me to tell ya’ll that this is the third book in the Bigler, NC series. She’s writing a Christmas novella set here as well, entitled HIS CHRISTMAS COOKIE, which will be available in e-format by November 1. It’s the story of two strangers who meet at the Christmas Eve wedding of Thomas (Tater) Wayne and Kelly O’Connor. I’ll be there, and I hope you will, too!


Tanyalee Marie Newberry

P.S. (Since I’m here I may as well go ahead and answer a few of the questions the nice librarian had for Susan, since she’s busy watching Bachelor in Paradise.)

Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?

Susan started out as a newspaper reporter and decided to try writing fiction when she had young children at home. Since she was particularly interested in making a living at writing, she did some research and found that the best-selling fiction was genre fiction — like mystery, horror, sci-fi, detective, and romance. She decided she’d try her hand at romance, since it gave her the most storytelling freedom. She started writing in 2000, and by 2001 she’d written three books. Her first novel was published in December, 2002. In the years since, Susan’s had more than twenty-four novels and novellas published, many of which have been translated into dozens of languages.

Where did your love of books/storytelling/reading/writing/etc. come from?

Susan was born a storyteller. By kindergarten she was telling stories about the giraffes and zebras she met at the bus stop. Susan became very offended when her mother told her she had a wonderful imagination — since it was all completely true.  

What do you think most characterizes your writing?

Susan says she thinks her novels are known for their fully realized, imperfect characters and a funny, sexy, and suspenseful story.  Susan frequently gets told she has some of the best secondary characters in romance.

What was the hardest part of writing this book?  

Lord love a duck — this is a long story, one Susan hasn’t talked much about. Only lately has she opened up about what happened when she was writing this book. But I’m going to go ahead and let ya’ll know.

When Susan proposed the Bigler series to St. Martin’s Press back in 2010, they asked for two novels about best friends who lose everything in the real estate collapse and are forced to return to their hometown in the hills of western North Carolina. So Susan wrote the sexy adventures of my sister Cherise (Cheri) Newberry and her BFF Candace (Candy) Carmichael. I made an appearance in both books, and Susan’s editor liked me so much that she asked Susan to write my story, too.

Well, that sent her straight to the Merlot.

You see, Susan had already made me so hilariously over-the-top awful that she had no idea how to turn me into a heroine. It was a wild ride, but she did it, and now she considers me one of her all-time favorite characters. Susan says that this book is for those who enjoy a funny and sexy redemption story.

This is where things take a turn for the worse.

Susan was supposed to turn in my book early in 2012 for publication in 2013. As ya’ll know, it’s now 2016. There’s a reason for the delay. In early December of 2011, Susan thought she had the flu, and put off going to the doctor. She ended up riding in a Medevac helicopter to University of Maryland’s Shock Trauma Unit, where they determined she was in septic shock.  All Susan’s organs had failed. She had almost no blood pressure and a sky-high fever. Her heart went into tachycardia. The doctors said she was going to die.

Susan wants me to fast-forward to the punch line.  After three months of hospitalization and more than twenty surgeries, the doctors still didn’t know how she got an infection that spread from her left leg through her whole body. No one will ever know. But she was sent home with a pacemaker, one leg, and minor brain damage.  She couldn’t remember her own name let alone write a romantic comedy novel about yours truly. She tried many times to finish my story and failed. She found it impossible to return to a story she’d started in what now felt like a past life. So Susan set STEALING TAFFY aside and worked on another series. Finally, in early 2015, she decided to start all over, and it was a happy day in August of last year when she sent her editor a completed manuscript. Exactly a year later, we have publication!

Susan thanks her readers — and her publisher! — for being so patient.



Ten weeks in a swanky Arizona rehab center and Tanyalee Newberry, aka Taffy, is ready to give up everything that isn’t good for her—her forgery habit, taking (i.e., stealing) things that don’t belong to her, and, of course, men. But when her flight home gets rerouted, she finds herself in a hotel room with her smoking-hot travel companion. One night together is all it should have been. But passion is oh-so sweet…

Special Agent Dante Cabrera has been duped at his own love-’em-and-leave-’em game by this so-called Taffy. To forget she ever existed, Dante buries himself in his work…until a case leads him to North Carolina and, impossibly, right back to her. He has no business messing around with this felonious femme fatale, especially one who could be in more danger than she thinks. But Dante also knows there’s more to her than great looks and hot nights—a soul-searching woman who wants amend her past sins. Is he ready to take their desire to the next level…and steal Taffy’s heart?

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LBTC Bonus Clip – Susan Donovan – Starting to write romance from Laurie Kahn on Vimeo.


SUSAN DONOVAN’s novels are “the perfect blend of romance and women’s fiction,” according to Publishers Weekly. She is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of The Bigler, NC Series (CHERI ON TOP, I WANT CANDY, and STEALING TAFFY), The Bayberry Island Series (SEA OF LOVE, THE SWEETEST SUMMER, and MOONDANCE BEACH), and dozens of other novels and novellas. The former newspaper journalist has been nominated for two RITA Awards and received the Best Contemporary Romance award from RT Booklovers Magazine.

Susan loves to hear from her readers, so connect with her:
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Review: Texas In Her Own Words by Tweed Scott – LSLL Blog Tour

(Second Edition)


Tweed Scott
Genre: Texas / Texana / General Interest
Publisher: Tejas Publishing
Date of Publication: June 16, 2016
Number of Pages: 336
Scroll down for Giveaway!
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.


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
Amazon * Texas Trading Post * Tejas Publishing

Texas in Her Own Words is a enchanting examination of the spirit of what it truly means to be Texan.  The brief interviews with both native Texans and those who weren’t born here, but were fortunate enough to get here as fast as they could, are wonderful insight into the special space in the Universe that this great state occupies, and how it’s unique identity is the foundation for its occupants’ nature and pride.  
Born and raised in Texas, I found myself identifying with just about everything.  I love the format and extra “adornment” to the pages, including the fantastic quotes, and well placed pictures, representing Texas in all its glory.  The interviews are fascinating and clearly show how much this sacred space that we call home helps to shape our personalities and value systems, whether we were born here or came to call it home later.  I’m plan to recommend this book to every person who asks me why I think Texas is so darn special!  Highly recommended for those who already love Texas too!


Tweed 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.”




August 22 – September 5, 2016 



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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Character Interview by Romance Author PJ Fiala

I’d like to thank Tabatha Pope and the Authors on the Air group for having me here and posting my interview with Jeremiah (Dog) Sheppard. Jeremiah is my hero in Moving to Love. He’s sexy, smart, owns Rolling Thunder Motorcycles and he’s finally found love after 45 years.  He agreed to sit down with me and chat and I think you’ll see that he’s very much the alpha male while still an interesting man.

PJ:  Jeremiah, thank you for taking the time to sit and chat, I know you’re a super busy man, so we’ll be as brief as we can.

JS:  Yes, thank you, but I’ve planned for this interview, so ask away.

PJ:  That’s very nice of you.  Let’s begin shall we?  What is the biggest obstacle you’ve ever faced and how did you overcome it?

JS:  That’s a good one, over time your biggest obstacles change.  I’ve faced many in my 45 years, going to war, my obstacles were staying alive and keeping my men alive.  Being a single father, my biggest obstacles were raising good men, keeping them out of trouble and healthy.  Recently, my biggest obstacle is getting the beautiful but stubborn Jocelyn James to go out with me.

PJ:  What is the one place you’ve never been to that you want to see some day?

JS: I’ve never been to Hawaii and that’s a dream of mine. I’ve had friends who’ve gone and visited and they’ve told me about some of the fascinating things they’ve seen and done, like looking into a volcano. That’s something I’d never thought was possible but now that I know it is, I’d love to do that.

PJ:  Do you have a favorite kind of flower or plant?

JS:  I’m not much of a flower person and, honestly, if you’d came to my house a few years ago, you’d see, the landscaping leaves much to the imagination.  Raising my boys and building Rolling Thunder has been my focus for many years now.  At the urging of my mom I did hire a landscaper to come in a couple of years ago and he did a great job of adding plants of varying colors that certainly make my house look more inviting, but I couldn’t name a one of them for you.

PJ:  Fair enough.  Tell me about a time you succeeded at something you really wanted.

JS:  Well now, that’s an easy one.  I’d say that Rolling Thunder is something that I’ve wanted for quite some time.  I’ve worked my ass off building that business and making a nice living from it. But, now I have a new goal and that’s trying to break down the walls that Joci has erected around her heart. So, I’m very hopeful that the next time I see you, my answer will be very different than it is today.

PJ:  Hmm, she sounds interesting, maybe I need to interview her.  Now tell me about a time you failed and what you learned from it.

JS:  Laughing.  You should interview Joci, she’s incredibly interesting. Okay, to answer your question, I failed to bring my best friend home from war.  Lance and I have been friends since we were little.  We went into the Marines together, went through boot camp together and deployed to Iraq together, but, we didn’t come home together.  What did I learn from it?  Well, I’ve learned that life must go on for the living. That to honor his memory I need to help others in his name, it’s where the Veteran’s Ride originally started.  I met a local Vet who needed some assistance.  At the time, I didn’t have the money to help him, so I did what I could do, organized a ride.  We raised enough money to help that fella purchase a prosthetic leg, and accessorize his vehicle so he could drive himself around. That made me feel so good and I thanked Lance for watching over us and helping me figure the situation out.  I help Veterans all the time now.

PJ:  Wow, that’s sad and awesome at the same time, thank you for your service and your community philanthropy.  Okay, finish this sentence. “When I turn 60, I want to ….”

JS:  *Chuckling*  I honestly haven’t thought that far ahead.  I guess I’d say that by the time I’m 60 I hope to have grandchildren to play with, a loving wife to live with and that my sons are all happy and healthy and doing well in their lives.  Nothing earth-shattering there.

PJ:  Do you have a totem animal? If not, and you were going to choose one, what would it be?

JS:  Well, since my nickname is Dog, and my last name is Sheppard, I’d say that by osmosis my totem animal would be a German Sheppard.

PJ:  Makes perfect sense.  How about this, what is your relationship with technology?

JS:  My brother, Dayton, is and always has been a computer geek.  Because of him, I’ve been indoctrinated into the world of all geekdom.  I can say that because I say it to his face. (Laughs).  Dayton has set up a state of the art security system in Rolling Thunder, and I’ve been forced to learn how to use it.  I have a cell phone and I email, other than that, I don’t have the time to get too mired down in all the technical aspects of technology.

PJ:  Do you dream in color?  

JS: (Looking at the ceiling a soft smile played on his lips.)  I guess I do.  I hadn’t thought of it, but, I’ll say yeah.

PJ:  (Chuckling) Okay, last but not least; In three words, describe yourself.

JS:  Driven. Strong. Caring.

Jeremiah, thank you very much for sitting and chatting with me today.  I’m grateful for your time and I’m thrilled to have met you.

As you can see, Jeremiah is an interesting man, and you should see him. Tall, broad and built. Long blond hair pulled into a ponytail at the nape and green eyes that are difficult to look away from.  The total package. Joci, what are you waiting for?

You can read Jeremiah and Joci’s story in Moving to Love which is the first book in the Rolling Thunder series and my addition with the Duty, Honor & Love Box Set available November 7th.  

Thank you again for having me on your blog Tabatha, I appreciate it.




Available for a short time only.

Anyone’s happily-ever-after is never a given…it must be earned–something these military heroes have learned the hard way.

Sink into this sexy collection of binge-worthy reads from eleven of your favorite New York Times, USA Today, and a few new-to-you authors. Includes a bonus story from Dana Marton!

All proceeds will benefit the Semper Fi Fund (, a non-profit organization that assists post-9/11 wounded and critically ill vets from all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces.



Buy Now!



I was born in Bridgeton, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis. During my time in Missouri, I explored the Ozarks, swam in the Mississippi River, played kickball and endless games of hide-and-seek with the neighborhood kids. Spending summers in Kentucky with my grandmother, Ruth, are among my fondest childhood memories.Patti Fiala 2

When I was thirteen, myfamily moved to Wisconsin to learn to farm. Yes, learn to farm! Taking city kids and throwing them on a farm, with twenty-eight cows purchased from the Humane Society because they had been abused, was interesting, to say the least. I learned to milk cows, the ins and outs of a breeding schedule, feeding schedule, the never-ending haying in the summer, and trying to stay warm in the winter. During our first winter in Wisconsin, we had thirty-six inches of snow from one storm, and were snowed in for three days! Needless to say, I didn’t love Wisconsin. I am married with four children and three grandchildren. I’ve learned to love Wisconsin, though still hate snow. Wisconsin and the United States are beautiful and my husband and I travel around by motorcycle seeing new places and meeting new people. It never ceases to amaze me how many people are interested in where we are going and what we’ve seen along the way. At almost every stop they make, the locals ask us where we’re headed and offer advice on which roads in the area are best for travel and seeing the sites. They are also more than willing to share what others before them have told them about great rides and the best scenic routes to take.

I come from a family of veterans. My grandfather, father, brother, two sons, and one daughter-in-law are all veterans. Needless to say, I am proud to be an American and proud of the service my amazing family has given.

Connect with PJ Fiala online
Website  Twitter  Facebook  Instagram  Amazon Author Page
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Review: DEADLY ENCOUNTER by DiAnn Mills

(FBI: Task Force)
DiAnn Mills
Genre: Romance / Suspense / Christian
Publisher: Tyndale House
Date of Publication: August 1, 2016
Number of Pages: 376
Scroll down for Giveaway!
Airport Ranger volunteer Stacy Broussard expected a peaceful Saturday morning ride around the perimeter of Houston’s airport. What she encounters instead is a brutal homicide and a baffling mystery. Next to the body is an injured dog, the dead man’s motorcycle, and a drone armed with a laser capable of taking down a 747.
Though FBI Special Agent Alex LeBlanc sees a clear-cut case of terrorism, his past has taught him to be suspicious of everyone, even witnesses. Even bleeding-heart veterinarians like Stacy. But when her gruesome discovery is only the first in a string of incidences that throw her life into a tailspin, Alex begins to wonder if Stacy was targeted. As a health emergency endangers Stacy’s community, and the task force pulls in leads from all directions, Alex and Stacy must work together to prevent another deadly encounter.

Praise for the FBI: Houston novels

Deadlock: “This is a fast moving crime story with several interesting twists and turns. [Deadlock] is a page turner.” — Online Reviewer

“Mills does a superb job of character and plot development in this faith-filled series.”Christian Library Journal
“Mills’ writing is transparently crisp, backed up with solid research, filled with believable characters and sparks of romantic chemistry.” Novel Crossing
“Christy Award–winning Mills skillfully builds a menacing overall tone, and the tension level rises as layers of lies are peeled away in multiple plot twists. This novel, which takes off at a breakneck pace with a narrative arc that could have been ripped from today’s headlines, will greatly appeal to fans of James Patterson’s “Alex Cross” series and readers who enjoy psychological thrillers.” — Library Journal starred review
“Mills takes readers on an explosive ride. The terror is all the more chilling because it
could easily be a headline story on the nightly news, and Mills’ characters spring to life
through their fears, strengths, and quirks. A story as romantic as it is exciting, Fi
will appeal to fans of Dee Henderson’s romantic suspense stories.” —


I thoroughly enjoyed the page-flipping ride in DEADLY ENCOUNTER by DiAnn Mills.  

A day, just like any other, turns into the beginning of a dangerous and deadly day at work for volunteer airport ranger, Stacy Broussard.  After discovering a dead body, a possible terroristic threat and an injured dog, Stacy is thrown into the middle of a whirlwind investigation with FBI Agent Alex LeBlanc as the two are forced to work together to save those around them from a deadly bio-terrorist attack.  Both Stacy and Alex must learn to trust in each other and find the strength through their Faith.

Another gripping suspense from DiAnn Mills.  What I love so much about these books (FBI Series) is how quickly I get sucked into the story with the opening pages.  Mills keeps the snowball rolling all the way to the end.   Great story line, nail-biting suspense, action from beginning to end, and characters who authentically deal with their issues with themselves and in relationships with others.  A great read!

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

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

DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, Sisters in Crime, and International Thriller Writers. She is co-director of The Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference and The Author Roadmap with social media specialist Edie Melson where she continues her passion of helping other writers be successful. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country.

DiAnn has been termed a coffee snob and roasts her own coffee beans. She’s an avid reader, loves to cook, and believes her grandchildren are the smartest kids in the universe. She and her husband live in sunny Houston, Texas.
DiAnn is very active online and would love to connect with readers on any of the social media platforms listed at




   August 10 – August 24, 2016 

Author Interview
Author Interview
Excerpt #1
Guest Post
Author Interview
Excerpt #2
Author Interview

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