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
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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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Interview with Uyless Black, author of Digital Societies and the Internet

Describe your book in one sentence.

Internet users can mold the “Internet of Everything” to be beneficial if they understand the Internet’s past, present, and issues that will affect its future; otherwise, users could lose control of the new extraordinary creation, which would be destructive.

Why did you choose to write about this particular topic?

Having written thirty-five (35) books on the Internet to supplement my lecturing and consulting in fourteen countries, I wrote a composite of those books for Internet users—business, government, and individual—to help fill their technology expertise gap, empower them to greater productivity, and to raise awareness of issues.

What did your research entail for this book?

I have been deeply immersed in the Internet since its inception. I specialized in wireless communications and cryptography while serving as a U.S. Navy Officer in Vietnam, started working with the Internet, then called ARPANET, wrote one of the first Internet books as well as a bestselling, acclaimed book titled, Voice over IP (VOIP), lectured and consulted in 14 countries on Internet protocols and architectures with my books being translated into six other languages.

Did your research for this book lead you into any other interesting discoveries?

My discoveries came from my career experiences wrapped around the growth of the Internet from software programming to owning three consulting companies to training international corporate leaders on the emerging Internet.

What question do you wish that someone would ask about your book, but nobody has? Write it out here, and then answer it.

Question: How does knowing about the components of the equipment and process used to make the Internet accessible help me protect the use of the Internet?

Terms such as broadband, bandwidth, metadata, Bigdata affect your use of the Internet. Profit drives vendors. Your cost for the use of vendors’ optical fiber, cables, and other equipment can cause conflict. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) considers issues between consumers and vendors, vendors and vendors, the government and vendors. Knowing what the issue is and how to seek resolution helps protect the use of the Internet.

How is your book different from other Internet books?

My book, not from research, but from my daily business experiences as a consultant for Internet users, is organized and presented so that non-technical readers can understand its components and the issues that will affect the Internet’s future use. Technical notes are available for the IT person, making it a book for a cross section of corporate leaders, employees, and individuals.

What do you want people to take away from reading this book?

Knowledge is power; this book provides Internet users the knowledge to protect this “extraordinary creation” for future generations, an inherent responsibility for each user.

For those interested in exploring the subject or theme of your book, where should they start?

The explorers need only look at their iPhones or their desks; without the Internet, businesses and individuals would be communicatively disabled, their entertainment, social life, and networking would be critically affected. The “brains” of their cars, pacemakers, heating units, and so much more would revert to earlier times.

What projects are you working on at the present?

I am currently working with my publicist to get my book into the hands of as many Internet users as possible. I believe that my book will give users the knowledge to keep the Internet usable without a high price attached to its use and without vendors or governments or organizations controlling its use.

What do your plans for future projects include?

My next book, Hot Wars, Cold Wars, and America’s Warm War does not seem to relate to the Internet; however, controlling the Internet controls communication, already shown to be the medium for calls to action, violence, emerging hostile groups, and dissident voices. Cybersecurity, piracy, hacking, privacy are a few of the many components that will contribute to hostile nations’ methods of shaping, controlling, executing, and investigating. Individuals must recognize that to recognize threats to the Internet requires knowledge about its use, components, and sources for resolving conflicts.




Front Cover Only

Purchase the book: AMAZON

The Internet has changed the way billions of people live. The system’s support of the Web, blogs, texting, games, video streaming and many other applications has revolutionized workplaces as well as how humans spend their leisure time. The Internet acts as the foundation for millions of user devices, such as computers and mobile phones. Yet most people have no idea about even the basic operations of this wondrous invention. This ignorance often handicaps their ability to exploit the power of the Internet. It also presents a dangerous situation: the loss of control of Internet usage, including the exposure of private data and the stealing of user information. The Internet is increasingly operating in more devices, such as kitchen appliances, automobiles, even heart monitors. The “Internet of Things” will soon be the “Internet of Everything.” Whether the Internet’s encroachment into your life is acceptable or disturbing is beside the point. The Internet is on its way into many facets of practically all humans’ lives. The Internet of Things will lead to more convenience. But at what cost? Will we be able to block the Internet from our lives? Will the Internet remain active in our devices, even when we wish to have some solitude and privacy? Will we find ourselves at the mercy of hackers who use the Internet to gain access into financial transactions, door locks, even heart monitors? These seemingly unlikely operations are already part of Internet activities. Whether we mold the present Internet to be a beneficial or harmful model is up to us. This book lays the groundwork to enable you to take measures to control your use of the Internet, not for the Internet to control you. How we humans deal with the Internet now will determine how the Internet will deal with us in the future.



Uyless Black, Digital Societies and the Internet

Uyless Black completed his undergraduate work in psychology, later earning graduate degrees in computer systems and banking/finance. As an officer in the U.S. Navy, he won the Navy Commendation Medal for his actions in Vietnam. He specialized in wireless communications and cryptography and wrote software for an ARPA project that dealt with submarine simulation models. After leaving the Navy, Black founded several computer firms, became an international lecturer, and wrote thirty-five books on the emerging Internet technology. For this past decade, he has devoted himself to investigating and reporting on the social, political, economic, and military climate of America. Uyless is an accomplished, award-winning author who has written forty books.


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Interview with Eric Wilson, author of Decades of Doubt

Describe your book in one sentence.

“Decades of Doubt” is about murder, yes, but it’s also about trying to discover the true nature of the crime instead of what the police simply wanted to believe happened.

What made you want to share your story and write this book?

The trial of Michael Ferreira has been the most notorious murder trial of my career; when the people at Waldorf Publishing approached me about writing a book about it, I thought it was a great idea.

Did your research for this book lead you into any other interesting discoveries?

As my co-author, John Turner, and I dug into the case to determine how (and why) the case would make a good story, I realized just how many twists and turns it had. I still stand by my beliefs about who actually committed the crime, but I also realize the possibilities are numerous.

What resources or tools did you find useful in writing this book?

There were over 2,000 pages of discovery materials from the murder trial. Luckily, we had digital copies of everything, so I sent it all to my co-writer, and we were able to together decide how to turn all that information into an engaging story.

How long did it take you, beginning of research to final product, to complete this book?

About a year, all told.

What do you want people to take away from reading this book?

The idea that thoroughness makes a difference. I did put everything in my power to represent my client. And I don’t think the authorities–well, certain individuals, anyway–did the same, which is why this whole case turned out like it did.

How did you become involved with the subject or theme of your book?

I spent about a year and a half preparing for the Ferreira trial, so while writing the book I knew pretty much everything there was to know about John McCabe’s murder.

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

As a defense attorney who has defended numerous murder suspects, it was natural.


What was the hardest part of writing this book?

Probably it was sifting through all the materials to figure out the best way to tell the story.

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

Re-examining this case was fascinating. There was just so much to it! When I looked over all the materials to prepare for my interviews with my co-writer, I was able to see it all from a new perspective, and doing so was really interesting.

What question do you wish that someone would ask about your book, but nobody has? Write it out here, then answer it.

Q: “Why are you a defense attorney in the first place?”

A: Two reasons: one, what I do is an important part of the legal system. It’s my job to make sure my client’s rights are preserved, and that he or she receives a fair trial. And two, criminal work is never boring. Criminal cases are like snowflakes–no two are the same.

What advice would you give to writers just starting out?

In my job as an attorney, being thorough really makes a difference. So I think it’s helpful for writers to know as much as they can about what they’re writing about.




Eric Wilson was born and raised in Nashua, New Hampshire. After first serving in the
United States Marine Corps, Eric began his legal career in 1992 as a trial associate working for a Nashua law firm. He focused and excelled in his new career as a criminal defense and litigation attorney. During that time he tried many cases for clients being charged with an
array of crimes from murder, negligent homicide to other major felony matters. In 1998 he became partner in his own law firm, Wilson, Bush, Durkin & Keefe. Through the years, Eric has represented thousands of clients after they have been arrested for a variety of offenses. He has also successfully obtained precedent-setting decisions in the New Hampshire Supreme Court. Eric is a prominent attorney in the area and due to his expertise he has lectured other attorneys on aspects of criminal defense litigation.  

When he is not busy with work, Eric enjoys spending time with his wife and two children. He is also an avid New England sports fan, enjoys coaching baseball and relaxing at the beach.



Decades of Doubt: the John McCabe Murder Saga

by Eric Wilson

ISBN: 978-1-94327-536-6

TRUE CRIME / Murder / General

Release Date: August15-2016


Decades of Doubt_7

A handsome, high-profile and tenacious defense attorney. Three elusive suspects. An investigation that stretches across four decades. And two frenetic murder trials. Decades of Doubt: the John McCabe Murder Saga is a gripping true-life mystery that follows the case of a 15-year-old boy bound and strangled in Massachusetts in 1969, the ensuing investigation that continues for over forty years, and the shocking events of the resulting trials.

As defense counsel for one of three men charged with the crime, New Hampshire attorney Eric Wilson undermines the State’s evidence, destroys the credibility of the prosecution’s star witness, and overcomes insurmountable odds in an attempt to bankrupt the prosecution’s case. And even before the verdict is rendered, Wilson again raises the question to which readers will beg for an answer: who really killed John McCabe?

This book is inspired by a CBS 48 Hours Murder Mystery.

“Decades of Doubt is a compelling, driving, masterful story of what can happen in our justice system when a family’s desire for justice, law enforcement’s need to convict somebody for a murder, and one brilliant attorney’s fight for the truth all meet in the crucible a courtroom. Eric Wilson provides a provocative insider’s view of how police and prosecutors can make ‘facts’ fit the crime, and what it takes to reveal the truth in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds. This story is heartbreaking for the loss of such a young life, but it inspires by reminding us that our criminal justice can and will work.” ~ Charles J. Keefe, Esq., Former Homicide Prosecutor and Current Defense Attorney

Fascinating account of our criminal justice system and the meaning of beyond a reasonable doubt! What makes it so compelling is that it is based on the actual record and is not a work of fiction. Perfectly describes the role of the defense lawyer in a difficult, tragic case. Well done! ~ Judge Cliff Kinghorn, New Hampshire Circuit Court


“Decades of Doubt illustrates a 45 year old tragedy from the many perspectives of the case. Wilson shares with his readers something rarely seen in a novel – the insight into how a defense attorney prepares for a high profile murder case!” ~ Christopher Peach, Deputy Police Chief, retired

Purchase the book at the following links:

Guest Post from Author Taylor Anne


Girls’ Weekend – Attempts at Writing…

As an author I, like many others, struggle with finding time to write. My normal schedule is stretched out between the day job, family, writing, and the business side of being an author. Yes, this is a business and you have to treat it like one. That’s a whole other topic. Another day. Right now I want to talk to you about finding time to write. Heck, I really want to talk to you about getting lost in a girls’ weekend with friends, music, food, wine, and still finding time to write.

What do you think of when you think of a girls’ weekend? Have you ever been on one? Let me tell you a little about the latest one I went on. (Writing this during that weekend.)

It usually starts when I, or one of my friends, needs that get-a-way from life. You know – your nerves are shot to hell and back because of the job, family, pets, and daily duties. You need some regrouping time. That’s when Brandy and I go into the planning stage. The date is set, the venue confirmed. COUNTDOWN begins.

Nita Rest 3Jump ahead to the day of. That is the longest day ever at the job. But, when that five o’clock bell rings, there is no stopping us. First comes the hugs. It may have been a week to several months since the last time we saw each other. Gotta have the hug. Then the unpacking – clothes, computers, camera, notebooks, food, oh – careful with that wine!

The first night is simply a gathering. We meet any newcomers, stake our claim on beds and working areas, eat a simple supper, and have a drink. This would be the most laid-back day. Take a walk outside to the screened-in porch. Feel the breeze blowing across your face. Ahhh…. Bliss….

Let the fun begin! Relaxation to the fullest! I’m talking, hair in pony-tail, make-up free faces, sweats, t-shirts. This is one reason we don’t post pictures of ourselves on social media over the weekend. Only pictures of the gorgeous sunsets, surroundings, work stations, and of course the wine. Maybe – and that is a big maybe – one day we make ourselves presentable and take pictures to share. Then again, maybe not. Who wants to take the time to dress up? Or dress at all – pj’s are a common attire all day long.

Nita Rest 1With the music playing all weekend, it’s easy for me to get in the groove of writing. Music plays a vital part in my concentration. Everything else I tune out. If the girls are cutting up or having a deep conversation, they have to get my attention for me to get out of my zone. Everyone comes and goes as they please. At any given moment Brandy (the photographer of the group) will jump up, head outside, and shoot some pictures. Rose goes in and out, snoozing in the hammock and cooking for us. At the retreats we attend in Galveston, there are scrapbookers – cutting, pasting, chatting. Me – if needed, headphones are in and I’m writing away.

It’s great because I can share scenes, get advice, run ideas by these people. Some are readers, some are not. So it really gives me good all-around input. And just being in the same place as so many different people with different hobbies, gets my creative juices flowing. A comment during a conversation can spark my imagination for the book I’m working on, or it can be filed away for a later one. Inspiration hits when you have such a diversified group of people together.

Nita Rest 2One of my favorite times is in the evening as the sun sets, sitting outside on the porch, breathing in the fresh air, sipping on a glass of wine. Laptop open, pounding away at the keyboard. Picture perfect and productive!

One of the funniest moments is whenever the owner of the retreat house calls to check on us and says, “I’m so worried you will be bored. There’s not a lot to do on the lake.” Our response is always the same, “You don’t understand, we don’t leave the house. This is perfect for us.” Even in Galveston, the only time we make it to the beach (only two blocks over) is to take pictures for our websites. We are not in it for the hustle and bustle… we are in it for the solitude (group solitude). If you’ve never experienced this, you may not understand – and don’t know the good time you are missing.

And that, my friends, is how I manage to be productive on a girls’ weekend.

Love, hugs, and kisses – Taylor

Photos courtesy of Dark Side Photography




Author pic

Wake up every day and decide to make it a great one! I do believe being positive is a choice we have to make. Do it. It can change you.

Besides trying to bring smiles to people’s faces, I enjoy living life to its fullest. Give me a glass of wine, some good music, cats, the beach, sunshine,… Well, I could go on and on. With all the trials and tribulations we face each day in our personal lives as well as the world, I find it is so much easier to deal with if you have a positive attitude, put your trust in your higher power (mine is God), and enjoy the life you have.

I live in SouthWest Louisiana (Bayou Country and great Cajun food) with my wonderful and supportive husband.  Our combined families include four great children; two daughters and two sons – and growing with in-laws and grandbabies.  Oh, and one cat, Oscar.  It is such a blessing to have the love, encouragement (and computer help!) from my family. I could not make it daily without each of them.

Growing up, I never went anywhere without a book in my hand.  Reading was my great escape, and still is.  Only now I’ve added the joy of writing to the mix.  Plotting scenes and envisioning different endings (always happily-ever-after) is where it all starts.  The challenge comes with converting the images into words and putting them on paper.  And I love a great challenge!

Everyone needs some way to escape the stress, trials, and even smiles of this world. Shopping, sewing, running, hunting, and golfing are just a few of those escapes.  Add reading and writing to my list above.  Nothing takes me away from it all like reading a good suspenseful or romantic book.  Writing stories would be next on my list.  I enjoy letting my imagination run wild by changing an everyday situation into something crazy, thrilling, or romantic. 

I am published with The Wild Rose Press and Amazon Encore.  I am a member of Romance Writers of America and Bayou Writers Group of Southwest Louisiana. I hope that my writing will give someone the escape they need in their world.

Love, hugs, and kisses – Taylor


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Drug deal and Murder: In her fight for justice, Abby Monroe is forced to flee to protect herself and her family, seeking out the only man she’s ever fully trusted. Seeing him again threatens not only her safety, but her heart as well.

Injuries and Betrayal: After a close call with death, Graeme Tucker made some changes. No women, no danger. Just him and his beach bar. Until Abby shows up asking for his help and twisting his heart. 

Lies and Deception: As Graeme and Abby struggle to stop a gang of ruthless criminals, old flames are rekindled. But all is not as it seems. Will Graeme stand by his word to protect Abby, or does he have a sinister agenda of his own?

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Lone Star Literary Life Blog Tour: SUMMER VACATION by Belinda Everette


The Adventures of Mackenzie and Cristen

 Book One, Second Edition

Belinda Everette
Genre: Middle Grade / Contemporary Fiction
Date of Publication: June 12, 2016
# of pages: 70
Scroll down for Giveaway!

It’s the beginning of summer and Uncle Mike and Aunt Melanie invite Mackenzie for an extended summer vacation in their hometown of Houston, Texas. On the first day, Mackenzie finds her cousins, Cristen and Chloe, helping their parents prepare a special meal. Come and learn about the holiday and celebration of Juneteenth with this first book in The Adventures of Mackenzie and Cristen, a cultural journey of joy, family, and fun! 
Summer Vacation is the first installment in The Adventures of Mackenzie and Cristen, a five part journey of family love and fun.  Each adventure finds the cousins learning history, exploring cultural themes and traditions, and discovering the joy in the world around them.

“I read Summer Vacation by Belinda Everette.  I thought it was educational regarding the true history of Juneteenth and portrayed realistic events in the lives of the characters.  I did pass it on to one of my daughters with a special interest in children’s books.  This seems to be a good moment for this kind of story, with increased interest in African-American history with readers of all ages.” — Ronne Hartfield, Co-Chair, Harvard University Arts Education Council, Executive Director, Art Institute of Chicago, Author
Summer Vacation is very good.  This book is entertaining and informative.  The author has given us a unique way of presenting history to our children.  This book should be published in Spanish and other languages to share this history with other cultures.”— Irma P. Hall, Academy Award nominated American Actress,  Poet, Author, Language Educator (ret), Dallas Public School System,  30 years.

Like most people, when life throws lemons, you make lemonade and that was certainly the case for Belinda Everette, the author of The Adventures of Mackenzie and Cristen book series.   After twenty-six years as a Senior Vice-President for several Fortune 500 financial institutions, life circumstances required a change.  Belinda put down her briefcase, enrolled in Rice University’s creative writing program, and began to pursue her lifelong dream of writing. 
When not writing, Belinda supports several of her favorite charities which focus on providing housing and improving living conditions for those in need, including Houston’s Star of Hope, Covenant House, and Houston Achievement Place.
“Family is my greatest joy,” Belinda adds “nothing is better than a houseful of family and friends with lots of children running around, enjoying a delicious meal and good Christian fellowship.”  Cooking, entertaining, and music along with daughter Ashley, son-in-law Ron, and grandchildren, Mackenzie and Evan, keep live full and happy.  Belinda and her constant companion, a four-year old Shih Tzu, reside in suburban Houston, Texas.
1 Grand Prize Winner wins:
Signed Copies of Summer Vacation  and It’s Just A Song, plus a tote bag
2 Other Winners each win:
Signed Copies of Summer Vacation plus mouse pads
  July 20 – July 29, 2016


Check out the other great blogs on the tour! 

7/20    Hall Ways Blog         Review
7/21    Country Girl Bookaholic – Excerpt #1
7/22    Reading By Moonlight  Author Interview #1
7/23    Margie’s Must Reads           Review
7/24    StoreyBook Reviews           Guest Post       
7/25    The Crazy Booksellers  Excerpt #2
7/26    Missus GonzoReview
7/27    Byers Editing Reviews & Blog  Author Interview #2 
7/28    The Librarian Talks  Promo       
7/29    My Book Fix Blog Review          
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Interview with Author Joe Schwartz

AuthorInterview (1)

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

I’ve always had two goals as a writer. First, to always entertain myself. I like finding something I can’t even remember writing occasionally in a drawer or notebook. It’s like seeing an old photo of yourself when you thought you were fat and realizing you were just young and enthusiastically vain. Second, I wanted to write exclusively about St. Louis. I’ve been to many other places, lived in a few different cities and have met many different people via my step-father’s military service and I can honestly say being from St. Louis is like being from New York or Chicago or LA, the environment is significant to the society that it produces. It is often labeled the most dangerous city by the FBI (which everyone in St. Louis, including myself, find ridiculous) when in fact what we really are is a city of extremely angry persons. If you have never been at a fight while sitting in your car at a fast food restaurant, I encourage you to call your travel agent at once. I call my work transgressive; that is my characters generally will use illegal or illicit means to accomplish their goals, but I’m at a loss when it comes to my genre. Basically, someone asks me what I write, I just tell them I write stories for men that women seem to love. I personally don’t know what the hell to call it anymore but I’m glad I get to do it and that people seem to like reading it as much as I enjoy writing it.

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

My mom invented a story for me when I was a kid. It was a blatant rip-off of Curious George and it was way better than anything the Man in the Yellow Hat ever did. I was about ten years old when I realized that she had wrote it and that always stuck with me. I did the same thing for a while, especially when Star Wars came out, inventing different adventures for the action figures I owned. As an adult, I found if you let your imagination roam, it’s basically worthless, but if you concentrate and insist on making the horrible tolerable, even the worst shit can be kind of funny.

How long have you been writing?

I consider myself going pro as a writer about ten years ago. But I’ve been writing stories, mostly for pleasure, since I was kid.

What kind(s) of writing do you do?

I love writing short stories. When they’re good, they’re great and that’s the wonderfully enjoyable drunken feeling you hope to get every time you read someone’s work.

What do you think most characterizes your writing?

Probably my blatant use of vulgarity but it’s not done for shock value. It is how I talk, how the people who surrounded as I grew up spoke, and when I realized that it truly was who I am, it felt so much better for me as a writer to use my natural voice, I gave myself a rare permission people sometimes live their whole lives without having, the freedom to say what I’m really thinking. Of course, I think about it. Should Mr. X say, ‘I don’t care what you do, Jenny,’ or ‘I don’t give a fuck what you do, Jenny.’ My answer comes down to the casualness of the conversation. I’d use the second, more profane answer, if the statement was meant to be light or sarcastic. On the other hand, I’d use the first if the tone was serious, that by saying it so frank it is actually more malicious.

What was the hardest part of writing this book?  

Although it is a cool idea to have five guys write five different short stories all with the same title, it can be a tough sell to a publisher. Fortunately, Grey Matter Press was on board with this idea from the beginning. Anthony Rivera was fearlessly behind all of us. Of course, having John Taff and Josh Malerman on board certainly didn’t hurt, but I think when people read this book they’ll realize something very important – we’ve written especially for an audience that ignores literature but craves and loves good storytelling.

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

A great thing about I CAN TASTE THE BLOOD is the fact I was on a team. Every guy is damn good by himself, but together, we’re practically a gang… well, as much as a bunch of dudes with keyboards can be. I’m seriously hoping we get old school leather vests and big fucking back patches so we can intimidate the punks at Barnes&Noble. REPRESENT!

Are there underrepresented groups or ideas featured in your book?  If so, discuss them.

Personally, my stories usually feature social outcasts. People without a hell of a lot of hope but still hungry for redemption, no matter how small. I was raised mostly by a single mom. She remarried when I was about twelve but it didn’t work out. My whole life until I became an adult was a precarious drama of always waiting for the other shoe to drop. Jobs, apartments, possessions are all things that I know can be gone in an instant and then what? I’ve learned to survive by using words, talking my way out of fights plenty of times and talking my way into jobs I shouldn’t have even been allowed to apply for. I understand what it is like to be in a mailroom and being asked to run errands for assholes for a little cash money on the side and I know the dread of having cops bang on your door on an otherwise sunny Wednesday afternoon. I’m writing stories for people who understand the enormous joy of finding twenty bucks on the street and the pain of watching others eat lunch when they can’t afford food because their kid needed some expensive ass eye or ear medicine and, well, something has got to give. You can have a pack of cigarettes and enough gas to get back and forth to work or you can have a tuna fish sub. Either way, you’re going to have to put your pride on the altar and choose a sacrifice that you can live with.

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

Big surprise – John Steinbeck. Every generation should be as lucky as to have one writer telling us in graphic detail just how fucked up life is being poor in America.

Are you a full-time or part-time writer?  How does that affect your writing?

I’m, at best, currently a part-time writer. I think many writers have to be if they want to have cool things like food and health insurance. However, I dream of becoming a smash best-seller like trailer trash dream of winning Powerball. Either way, it’s likely they’ll win the jackpot and shit it down the drain before I become even a thousand-aire, but so what. If I did it for the money, I’d already be suicidal.

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

I’ve worked on oil rigs and in kitchens. Been a security guard and a newspaper delivery driver. I’ve done laundry in nursing homes, been a plumber’s assistant, mowed grass and been a paralegal. However, I’m not a Jack-of-all-trades as that would imply I actually possess skill. Currently, I work for a public library, started as a custodian ten years ago and now have my own office. Would I clean a toilet tomorrow if they asked? Without question. Is it likely I will have to? Not so much. These jobs have indeed impacted my writing. I regularly write about people without much to lose. They say write what you know and I find even when I try to avoid these characters, they have a tendency to walk into the scene whether I invite them to or not. In a sense, I’m still doing what I’ve always done, following much more interesting people around and trying to figure out how in the hell they will ever survive the horrible bullshit called their lives.

What do you like to read in your free time?

Chad Kultgen is great and those Bachman books from the Eighties blew my mind. Cormac McCarthy and Donald Goines, Elmore Leonard and Truman Capote, Donald Ray Pollack and Antonya Nelson. But here’s a cool story about a good writer. I read Mule by Tony D’Souza and was knocked out. So, I found him on Facebook and sent him my compliments. Fast forward to about six months later, I’m sitting in a restaurant having lunch with Tony, by now he’s read some of my stuff, too, and thinks it pretty good. It’s that kind of accessibility anyone can have with writers that makes being a bibliophile so damn cool. Unlike all the other pop mediums of entertainment, we are generally low profile kinds of people that will shake your hand, sign your copy of our book, and sincerely say thank you for your support. If any of us wanted to be “famous” we’d long ago gone and tried to do something else.

What projects are you working on at the present?

I’m currently putting the finishing touches on my novel STABCO – You Need Nothing Else, the story of two loser brothers who find salvation and redemption through the sale of knives door-to-door. It has a wonderful Coen brothers feel and is the kind of story I dearly love to read so writing it was better than sex. That is if you like sex that lasts for about ten years fervently trying to ejaculate before you die. Apparently, I do.

What do your plans for future projects include?

I hope to work with the I CAN TASTE THE BLOOD guys again. Also, I’m usually noodling around with a short story or two. I got my start in the writing game with shorts and love them. They are the crack of literature. Quick, fast, cheap and rarely satisfy either reader or writer. Depending on how well STABCO does, I’ll likely put out at least another novel or two. No reason to disappoint the three people who think I’m a great writer.

Do you have any strange writing habits (like standing on your head or writing in the shower)?

Here’s one: If I’m having a creative problem with a story, I’ll go mow the grass to work it out. Maybe it’s the vibration or engine noise, but I find it to be a fine brain laxative for my imagination’s bowel movements.

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

My first and most unabashed love is John Steinbeck. Of Mice and Men changed me as a person and deeply influenced my values. As for just guys I plain think kick ass, in no particular order, Chad Kultgen, Charles Bukowski, Donald Goines, Tony D’Souza and Paul Nielan have all inspired me and made me want to write much, much better.


AboutTheAuthor (1)

My name is Joe and I write stories for men. Of course, some of my biggest fans seem to be women who seem to find my writing insightful, even a bit shocking, as to how men really think. I assure you no matter how awful a thing I’ve written about, worse things have been done by you friendly, next-door neighbor.”

joe use 2015 headshotJoe Schwartz has written three collections of short stories Joe’s Black T-Shirt: Short Stories About St. Louis, The Games Men Play, and The Veiled Prophet of St. Louis as well as two novels A Season Without Rain and Ladies and Gentlemen: Adam Wolf and the Cook Brothers – A Tale of Sex, Drugs, and Rock&Roll. In his spare time he likes to lose at video games to his kids, watch movies with his wife, and read police blotters. All of Joe’s stories happen to people in and from the City of St. Louis. According to Joe, you can walk in any direction for eight blocks in this city and everything will change. ‘It is not the evil men do that I find fascinating,’ he says, ‘but the almost dire, almost predictable outcomes.’


AuthorLinks (1)

Facebook   Twitter   Amazon
Grey Matter Press


Five Unique Voices.

From international bestselling author of BIRD BOX and Bram Stoker Award-nominee Josh Malerman — the newly minted master of modern horror — and Bram Stoker Award-nominated author of THE END IN ALL BEGINNINGS, John F.D. Taff; to the mind-bending surrealism of Erik T. Johnson; the darkly poetic prose of J. Daniel Stone and the transgressive mania of Joe Schwartz, I CAN TASTE THE BLOOD offers up five novellas from five unique authors whose work consistently expands the boundaries of conventional fiction.

Five Disturbing Visions.

I CAN TASTE THE BLOOD opens the doors to a movie theater of the damned; travels the dusty, sin-drenched desert with an almost Biblical mysterious stranger; recounts the phantasmagoric story of birth, death and rebirth; contracts a hit that’s not at all what it seems; and exposes the disturbing possibilities of what might be killing Smalltown, U.S.A.

One Nightmare.

As diverse as they are, in voice and vision, the work of the five celebrated authors assembled in this stunning volume of terror share one common theme, one hideous and terrifying nightmare that can only be contained within the pages of  I CAN TASTE THE BLOOD.

More about the anthology on FACEBOOK or at Grey Matter Press


PreOrder – Amazon   Grey Matter Press

Author Interview: Dana Glossbrenner, author of THE LARK

Dana Glossbrenner
Genre: Humorous Literary Fiction
Publisher: Boldface Books
Date of Publication: June 7, 2016
Number of Pages: 270
Scroll down for Giveaway!
You’re never too old to learn—or too young
Good-looking, good-hearted Charley Bristow’s the most sought-after hair stylist in five West Texas counties. He’s an expert on the dance floor and sharp at the pool tables, too—but when it comes to pick­ing cars, dogs, and women, luck hasn’t quite gone his way lately. And there’s the ever-present worry over his mother, whose own trailer-park plight he’d just as soon steer clear of. 
Just when he’s sworn off temptation of the female sort, an evening at the local honky-tonk drives two prime targets right into his path. Weighing the sudden wealth of options in his love life, while also searching for the right choice of wheels to suit his needs, Charley stumbles upon a long-hidden secret and an unforeseen road to re­demption. 
The colorful denizens of the Wild Hare Salon, Jarod’s Automotive, and Hopper’s nightclub, along with those of the Briargrove First Methodist Church and the Sulfur Gap Centennial Celebration, will two-step their way right into your heart, to music as familiar as Willie Nelson and Charley Pride. And you just might start to fall in love with an old Johnny Mercer tune, too, as Charley Bristow faces his past and embraces the challenge of his future.
Praise for The Lark
“Good-time Charley” Bristow is a popular twenty-something West Texas hairstylist who’s already dodged two bullets with two failed marriages (the second time, literally). . . . The Lark invites us to join Charley’s friends, the rural cosmopolitans of Sulfur Gap, and ride shotgun alongside this rogue with an honest heart . . . on a journey into his past.  Dana Glossbrenner has crafted a totally engaging quest for happiness, set it in a totally genuine contemporary Texas, and delivered up great characters for a great read. Cliff Hudder, author of Splinterville and Pretty Enough for You
Charley Bristow takes some things seriously–work, dancing, pool-playing, and women, but maybe not in that order. He finds the true importance of friends and family. — Rick Smith, San Angelo Standard Times

How has being a Texan influenced your writing?

It’s hard to say. It’s like being asked, “How does it feel, being a twin?” I wouldn’t have anything to compare it to. I’ve never not been a Texan. But I’ll try. Texas has its own distinct culture, and it comes out in my writing, through the ways that people talk and their qualities of independence and resilience. I find myself describing the sky often, and that’s from living in a place where the sky is big. West Texas is a land of far-off horizons—those appear in my settings. They’re a cliché, but I don’t care. It’s what I see all around me every day. Although I avoid stereotypes, I do have first-hand knowledge of ranchers, oil field workers, and cotton farmers, and they populate my writing.

Where did your love of storytelling and bookish things come from?

My mother was a great storyteller and she read to me a lot. She was offhand about telling her stories, not trying too hard to make an impression, but she had a way of telling me about things she remembered from her long life—the execution of the Rosenbergs, Lindbergh’s transatlantic flight, rationing coupons in World War II, and arguments she had with her sisters. She unwittingly made me appreciate narrative.

How long have you been writing?

Always.  I wrote awful poetry as a teenager and young adult and sometimes kept a diary. I eventually began trying my hand at memoir about important things—flying with my pilot father, remembering my grandmother. I fell in love with the idea of the short story while I was teaching English to high school students and discovered Edgar Allen Poe’s “rule” that the short story aims at a single effect. So I began trying it, very haltingly. I gained confidence and started churning out short stories in my 40s and 50s. Finally, I realized that a novel was coming out of some of the characters in my short stories, and I finished my first novel, The Lark, at 63. I always enjoyed writing research papers, from elementary school through graduate work. I still enjoy researching and writing about local history.

What kind(s) of writing do you do?

I write both fiction and nonfiction. I’m over half through with a novel that follows up with some of the characters in The Lark, and I have a local history project simmering on the back burner.

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

I liked the way the characters took on their own life, especially Charley. After a few chapters, Charley became very real to me, as did Lou, Darla, and April. Wayne came out of a short story, so he was there already. People ask me where these characters came from, and other than some of the minor characters, I’ve never known them before—they came out, landed on the page, and told their stories.

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

Larry McMurtry’s portrayal of modern Texans in some of his works inspired me, although I don’t imitate him. I think McMurtry showed me that a writer can let Texans be Texans and you can turn it loose from there. Elmer Kelton made a huge impression on me with The Time It Never Rained. I was born in 1951 and grew up during the times of the black sandstorms. I didn’t know it until I read Kelton’s work, but those early experiences jaded my view of nature. I wasn’t in the habit of looking for flowers along the road because there were sand dunes on the road around Monahans, where my father worked as a petroleum engineer in the early ’50s. Once Kelton brought out my memories of the drought of the 1950’s, I started noticing more of the beauty around me, and I woke up to those clichéd sunsets, mesas, and sunflower fields. Who wouldn’t want to write about that?

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

Most useful—reading. I couldn’t be a writer with being a reader first, and I’ve always been a reader. With all the exposure to books, I became a good judge of what made a piece of literature earn the title “good literature.” I read classics, murder mysteries, thrillers, biography, memoir, a little science fiction, and not much romance. I like fiction that doesn’t fit neatly into a genre. It allows for more surprise, and I intentionally avoided letting The Lark fit into a specific area of fiction. Also useful was sharing my work with people who appreciated what I was trying to do. I remember the first time—maybe 15 years ago—I read a short story aloud at a conference in honor of Elmer Kelton, and I could see people’s faces enjoying my story. That was huge.

Least useful was showing my writing to people who I knew would be critical, but I did it anyway, trying to win them over. I’ve learned that some people can’t be won over, that not everyone will like what I write, and I don’t need to pursue them.

Dana Glossbrenner’s debut novel, The Lark, features Charley Bristow, a successful young hair stylist in a small West Texas town. His misadventures provide humor, intrigue, and catharsis, as he discovers a lost family history. Women Behind Stained Glass: West Texas Pioneers, a historical work, recounts the lives of women who helped settle the area around San Angelo, Texas.

Glossbrenner taught high school and university English classes and worked as a guidance counselor. She grew up in Snyder, Texas, earned degrees from Texas Tech, Angelo State University, and Texas State University. She now lives in San Angelo, Texas.

She cites Larry McMurtry, Cormac McCarthy, and Elmer Kelton as major inspirations for writing about Texas.



   July 25 – August 8, 2016


7/25    StoreyBook Reviews– Review

7/26    The Librarian Talks – Author Interview #1

7/27    Texas Book Lover – Excerpt #1

7/28    Reading By Moonlight — Review

7/29    It’s a Jenn World – Author Interview #2

7/30    Country Girl Bookaholic – Review

7/31    The Crazy Booksellers — Promo

8/1       Missus Gonzo – Guest Post

8/2       Byers Editing Reviews & Blog – Excerpt #2

8/3       Kara The Redhead — Review

8/4       The Page Unbound – Author Interview #3

8/5       Margie’s Must Reads — Review

8/6       Books and Broomsticks — Promo

8/7       Forgotten Winds – Excerpt #3

8/8       My Book Fix Blog – Review


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Interview with 2016 RITA Winner Maisey Yates


AuthorInterview (1)

Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre? I got into writing romance because it’s what I love to read. Which I think is ideal. It’s important to love what you write.

How long have you been writing? I’ve been published for six years. But from the moment I first learned how to write I’ve been writing stories, and I’ve always made stories up in my head. I can’t ever remember not doing that.

What cultural value do you see in writing/reading/storytelling/etc.? I think it’s suc a wonderful thing to be able to share ideas through writing. And with fiction I think we have this wonderful opportunity to create characters that are unlike the reader, but who the reader can empathize with. I always hope that can teach us that we, as people, want the same things, mostly. That we’re more alike than we are different.

What do you think most characterizes your writing? Banter is a big part of my books. Dialogue is kind of my engine. I write very character driven books, so internal conflict is always the focus of my romances. The things inside the hero and heroine that they have to deal with before they can be together.

What was the hardest part of writing this book?  Balancing secondary characters and setting with the romance. I never want those other elements to overtake it, but they need to be present too.

What did you enjoy most about writing this book? Building the relationships with the characters. The main romance between the hero and heroine, but also the heroine’s friendships, and the hero’s really complicated family stuff were really fun to write.

What did you find most useful in learning to write?  What was least useful or most destructive? The most useful thing for me as a writer was being told to always write the next book. On submission? Write the next book. Get rejected? Write the next book. Bad sales? Write the next book. Always move forward. Always keep writing.

I think the worst thing for me was being in a creative writing class in college full of people who just didn’t write. There was more focus on sentence structure than story, and while that’s fine, the most beautiful sentence on earth doesn’t matter very much if it’s part of a book that never gets finished, and can therefore never be read. (Though ultimately I think seeing that was good for me!)

Are you a full-time or part-time writer?  How does that affect your writing? I’m a full time writer. Which means I get to immerse in my books while I work on them. That also means I can get obsessive and sometimes have to be dragged away from the computer.

What are some day jobs that you have held?  If any of them impacted your writing, share an example. My other jobs include: Barista and a bridal gown salesman, which was like Say Yes to the Dress. We actually dressed the brides. In both cases I think meeting people and hearing their stories has definitely impacted my writing. I’m a collector of other people’s experiences.

What do you like to read in your free time? I’m a Historical romance junkie. Julie Anne Long, Elizabeth Hoyt, Lisa Kleypas, to name a few. My favorite contemporary romance authors are Nicole Helm and Jackie Ashenden. Megan Crane for fantastic erotic dystopian Vikings, which are unlike anything I’ve ever read, and the world is captivating.

What projects are you working on at the present? I’m working on the next book in my Copper Ridge series, which introduces a new family, the Donnellys, and their cattle ranch.

What do your plans for future projects include? More Copper Ridge. Right now I’m contracted for two more full length trilogies, and four more Copper Ridge Desires, which are under 200 pages, and make for a nice quick read. I’m also continuing to write for Harlequin’s Presents line, where I’m doing a contemporary fairy tale series.

Just as your books inspire authors, what authors have inspired you to write? Harlequin Presents was really what got me into writing and finishing manuscripts. Miranda Lee, Penny Jordan, Sarah Morgan and Trish Morey to name a few of the authors who really grabbed hold of me.

Is there one subject you would never write about as an author? What is it? I sort of refuse to say never. The minute I say: I would never! Is the moment I’ll have to use a certain theme to serve the story/characters.

What do you want your tombstone to say? She hath done what she could.


AboutTheAuthor (1)

Author photo_Maisey Yates

MAISEY YATES lives in rural Oregon with her three children and her husband, whose chiseled jaw and arresting features continue to make her swoon. She feels the epic trek she takes several times a day from her office to her coffeemaker is a true example of her pioneer spirit. In 2009, at the age of twenty-three, Maisey sold her first book. Since then it’s been a whirlwind of sexy alpha males and happily-ever-afters, and she wouldn’t have it any other way. Maisey divides her writing time between dark, passionate category romances set just about everywhere on earth, and light, sexy contemporary romances set practically in her backyard. She believes that she clearly has the best job in the world. For more information on Maisey, visit her website at

Praise for Maisey Yates

 “Yates has multifaceted character development and complexly realistic characters down pat…Yates not only brings her characters to life, she also brings ranching and farm living to life in a big and realistic manner.”—Goodreads Reviews

“Once again Yates has created a quick, fun read that really packs a punch. It’s a fantastic read as a standalone and great addition to Copper Ridge.” —Amazon Reviews

“The main characters’ sarcastically fun repartee and super-hot encounters keep things interesting—RT Book Reviews

AuthorLinks (1)

Website  Facebook  Twitter  Instagram  Amazon 



Cover_Tough Luck Hero_Maisey Yates

by Maisey Yates

Harlequin; June 28, 2016
$7.99 U.S.; 384 Pages

Ranching heir Colton West knew his wedding would be the talk of the town. But he didn’t expect to get left at the altar—or to escape on the next flight to Vegas with Lydia Carpenter, the woman who gets under his skin like no one else. The only thing crazier than honeymooning with Lydia is waking up married to her. So why does he find himself entertaining his new wife’s desire to stay married—and fantasizing about a real wedding night?

As Copper Ridge’s prospective mayor, Lydia can’t risk a divorce scandal so close to election time. But pretending to be blissfully in love with her new husband is more confusing than she’d thought. For a man who’s always rubbed her the wrong way, Colton suddenly seems to know exactly what to do with his hands. And his lips. Now Lydia’s wildest mistake could turn out to be her luckiest move, if they’re both willing to take the ultimate gamble.




You can find all the links for the book in both ebook and print at this link.


Interview with author Kellie Coates Gilbert

Kellie Coates Gilbert
Genre: Contemporary Inspirational Romance / Christian
Publisher: Revell
Date of Publication: July 5, 2016
Number of Pages: 320
Scroll down for Giveaway!

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

What did you find most useful in learning to write?  

I read a lot, which is essential in learning to write well, in my opinion.  At some point, I quit reading solely for entertainment and novels became my textbooks. I underline, highlight, note literary devices that work, and those that don’t. My shelves are filled with great writing that pushes me to excellence.

Are you a full-time or part-time writer and does that affect your writing?

After nearly twenty-five years as a legal professional, I transitioned to full-time novelist in 2012. I know many authors who write part-time.  For me, I’m a “both feet in” kind of gal.  Every ounce of my creativity and business acumen is focused on being the best novelist I can be. . . and it’s my great joy!

What are some day jobs that you have held?  Did any impact your writing?

Years ago, while going to high school, I earned extra money as a maid at the Sun Valley Lodge (I made Ted Kennedy’s bed once).  The ski lodge and the surrounding resort area are the backdrop for my upcoming series featuring three sisters, scheduled to begin releasing in early 2017.

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

I don’t begin a book until I open an electronic file and fill it with photographs of celebrities that represent my characters.  I collect and store photos of locations, houses, cars, clothes…..and videos found on You Tube. This is how I visualize what I need to describe. This method also allows me to remain consistent throughout the book.  And somehow my brain starts firing up with story ideas when I am impacted visually.

Oh, and I drink FAR too much coffee in the process!  *winks*

How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning?

I worked with a story consultant when I wrote the first book in the Texas Gold Collection. He urged me to name my protagonist CLAIRE MASSEY because it sounded like her character journey…..from “clear” to “messy.”  That is the only time I used that device, but I found it interesting and many agree that the name issued a subliminal message.  Would be interested to know if readers agree. . .

What is something you want to accomplish before you die?

Okay, I admit it!  I would like to be a New York Times bestselling author.

What do you want your tombstone to say?

She loved well because she loved God.

Kellie 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.


Prize 1: Box of Texas Treats & Signed Book
Prize 2: $10 Starbucks Gift Card & Signed Book
Prize 3: $25 Barnes & Noble Gift Card & Signed Book
   June 11 – July 25, 2016


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 Reviews – Review

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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Guest Post by author Jami Gray

Exploring the Top 10 Writerly Terms

In a world where words are strung together into intriguing tales of heart-pounding adventure, soul-enlightening love, or instinct screaming mysteries, there exists a creative breed with a language all their own. Behold the writer, the one who tames the sentences into entrancing stories the captivate readers everywhere!

*end Movie Phone Voice*

My writing career started well after my reading career was in full swing, so imagine my surprise when I discovered an entire new language existed to discuss my fantastical musings. The most interesting thing about this new dialect was the fact there were specific terms for story parts that, as a reader, I instinctually understood, but didn’t know carried an actual name.

Now, some of these are no-brainers, things we picked up from our English courses, but hopefully I can offer some help for the next time you corner your favorite author and lure them into a conversation with a luscious cup of joe.

  1. Word count, or WC – When writers gather and discuss the progress of their current project, the term “word count” enters the fray. Readers measure a story by pages. Claims of “I flew through those first two hundred pages!” bring on competing urges of writers to grin widely or flinch. The first urge is easily understood—the story has well and truly caught the reader into our wily web. To understand the second urge of wincing in pain, you must understand that those 200 pages consisted of roughly 50,000 words. 50,000 words that might have taken the author close to a month or more to craft. This translates to anywhere from 1500-2000 words per day, depending on the writer’s personal goal. To convert to pages, that’s 6 to 8 pages a day.  For a reader to zip through our carefully crafted word art with such enthusiasm bring us both creative joy and creative pain.  Although I think most writers would agree with me, we can live with the pain, so long as you read the last 200 pages too.
  2. Novella vs. Short Story – In the writing world word counts gather into their own clichés, and when those word counts are reduced you find the Novella and Short Story groups. Attend any reader or writer conference and you’ll hear statements like, “The Grand-Pooh Bah of publishing houses says they are looking for 85K Romantic Suspense,” or “They want my Urban Fantasy, but said I needed to knock of 15K from my 120K count.” While there are no etched in stone rules about word counts in conjunction with genres, there are some unspoken rules most writers learn over time. First, a novel consists of a word count higher than 40K. As your word count slims down, you move from Novel to Novellas, whose words gather at a trim 18K-40K. Short Stories are the long-legged gazelles of fiction and take on a mind blowing range of 500 to 18K. Those closer to the 500 mark call themselves Flash Fiction. Again, these numbers fluctuate depending on who’s in the conversation, but I’m here to give you a rough starting point for your conversational safety.
  3. HEA – Happily Ever After. This acronym was introduced to me at my first writers’ conference. Up until that point, I stuck to my solitary confinement of libraries and fluorescent-lit rooms as I crafted my first Novel without the benefit of a critique group. During the conference there was much discussion around story crafting, and one of the many acronyms flying about was HEA. You would think this would be obvious, but my worlds are populated by fantastical beings, treachery, and reluctant heroes/heroines. The conference I attended was heavy into the hearts and flowers of romance. I actually had to ask for the definition. You see, writers understand we craft stories as escape vehicles for our readers. At the end of the escape run, we want our readers to disembark happy and content that all is right in the world they are leaving behind, hence ensuring your stories have an HEA.
  4. Plot vs. Sub-plot – Every good story connects with readers on multiple levels, and to achieve this a writer must use subtle crafting tools. Most readers get that each story contains a plot—a story-telling plan that gets the main character from point A to point C in such a way that the same character is forever changed when they land at the extraction point C. Yet, writers understand that in order for their characters to make such a drastic transition, they must undergo more trials and tribulations than meets the eye, hence the use of sub-plots. These are the story lines that wrap their talons into your imagination and linger long after you’ve finished the book. These subtle underlying stories determine why the character reacts the way they do, why they make the decisions they do that may or may not lead to further angst and self-realization. Sub-plots had a depth to your characters until you are sure you past the battle-worn hero on your way to coffee this morning.
  5. Story Arc – This is a close relative of Plot, but not so close as to warrant a personal loan without interest.  This term is the blueprint of every story ever told. It is a generalization of story elements that must exist to guarantee your reader won’t give up half way through your masterpiece in frustration of not getting their escapism fix. At its most primal level, the Story Arc consists of an inciting incident, an obstacle that must be defeated, the midpoint, which leads into the climax that slides into the dénouement. No matter your Plot, it must work in tandem with your Story Arc or disaster is sure to follow.
  6. Head hopping – This is the bane of existence for both writers and readers. Writers must decide which character tells the story, this is choosing a POV (Point of View). Once a writer makes that POV choice, they must share the story from that character’s eyes and emotional investment. Unfortunately, we sometimes get caught up in things and shift from one character’s POV to another because what’s happening on the page is better served from another character’s POV. This results in Head hopping, and if done incorrectly a reader will suffer from whiplash as they are torn from one character’s POV to another without warning.
  7. MC or Protag – This may seem straight forward, but this particular bugger goes by many names-Main Character (MC), Hero (H), Heroine (He), Protagonist (Protag), Lead Character (Lead). Whatever name they go by, they are the one character every writer is hoping their readers will personally connect to. This is the character who must still be standing in the end. They are the one we invest our time with because without them, major parts of the story fall apart. In some stories, you may find there is more than one on the board. Regardless, they are the foil to the darker side of the writer’s imagination, which leads us to…
  8. The Big Bad or Antag – This is the character who stands opposite of your MC, they are the Meanest of the Mean, the Villain, the Big Bad, the Antagonist. They will be the bane of your MC’s existence, the one manipulating your MC’s emotions and for while, readers will believe that they will win. They are the nightmare the MC must rise above, something they don’t get until…
  9. The Black Moment – That point in the story where your MC feels all is lost and there is no reason to continue fighting forward. They can’t see the light, only the darkness crafted by the wily Big Bad. In each story they pen writers bleed for this moment. Consider it our form of personal therapy, but I can guarantee there is nothing pretty or poetic about this point in our stories. It’s brutal, it leaves us drained and wondering why we put ourselves through it. Only when the HEA arrives do we admit the agony was worth it.
  10. Synopsis – Say this word near any writer and they will react like the Wicked Witch of the East, hands over our ears as we screech, “Noooo! I’m melting!” A synopsis is a writer’s version of torture requested by the harsh taskmasters known as editors and publishing houses. A synopsis is paring your beautifully crafted story into 1-2 pages (500-1500 WC) while maintaining a creative, unique voice and capturing all the major players and pivotal points of your story. Basically a writer is asked to tell their 90K story in 1000 words. Do you see the inherent challenge here? We took 90K to tell the story right, and you want it in 1000? *pulling up big girl panties with a deep breath* Right then, I’ll get right on that.

And there you have it, the Top 10 Writerly Terms. Feel free to use at will during your next writer run-in.

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Jami Gray

Jami Gray is the award winning, multi-published author of the Urban Fantasy series, The Kyn Kronicles, and the Paranormal Romantic Suspense series, PSY-IV Teams. Surrounded by Star Wars obsessed males and two female labs moonlighting as the Fur Minxes, she escapes by playing with the voices in her head.

Her latest release is TOUCHED BY FATE, the second of her PSY-IV Teams.



Touched by FateTOUCHED BY FATE, PSY-IV Teams #2

Trusting him with her secrets is dangerous.

As a specialized consultant for the Department of Defense, Risia Lacoste understands the bargaining chip of a well-kept secret. When her current assignment threatens to unearth her deeply buried skeletons, she’s forced into a high-stakes game of lies and loyalty where even her ability to foresee the future can’t predict the winner.

Trusting him with her heart could be fatal.

Darkness lies under the skin of every man, and PSY-IV Team operative and touch empath, Tag Gunderson, has the demons to prove it. Scarred by betrayal and disillusionment, he’s not Risia’s top pick for a partner in the game, but he’s all she’s got.

As the game draws them deeper into a pit of intrigue and their list of enemies grow, will Risia trust Tag with more than her secrets or will his demons destroy them both?  


Touched by Fate: Bk 2 of PSY-IV Teams Buy Links:


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