Character Interview: Marley Rose McClain from Linda Broday’s TO CATCH A TEXAS STAR {giveaway}

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TO CATCH 

A TEXAS STAR

Texas Heroes, Book 3

by

LINDA BRODAY

  Genre: Western / Historical / Romance

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca

 

Date of Publication: July 3, 2018

Number of Pages: 352

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On her way to town early one morning, Marley Rose McClain finds a man unconscious and bleeding at the side of the road. She loads him in the wagon and takes him to her family ranch.

Drifter Roan Penny fights for his life, his one goal eating at him—to find the ones who murdered his best friend. As he recovers, he finds himself falling in love with Marley. She’s everything he wants and dreams of making her his wife even as he knows it’s impossible.

A terrifying stranger appears and a long-kept secret shakes Marley to the core. Roan helps her through very frightening times and they pledge their love for each other.

As Roan hunts down the hooded men who killed his friend and grows closer to learning the truth of the stranger’s identity, he finds both himself and Marley being stalked. Shocking events unfold, secrets come to light, and a love refuses to be denied in this cat and mouse game where danger lurks around every corner. Will Roan and Marley survive to see the future they plan?

 

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Praise for To Catch a Texas Star:

“Fans of the previous books will enjoy returning to the McClain clan, and new readers will appreciate the story’s layered mysteries, emotional depth, and believable scenes of attraction.” — Publisher’s Weekly

“I loved the twists and turns that this story takes. It is pretty interesting seeing this romance blossom and how much their relationship strengthens as they face danger and the truth together.” — Addicted to Romance

“Marley Rose has one of the most gentle and winsome souls; her affection and compassion for others and delightful creativity pour off the pages and you can’t help but adore her.” — Michelle (Goodreads)

 

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Today I’m with Marley Rose McClain from To Catch a Texas Star.

She’s a fascinating woman and I’m going to see if she will tell us a few things about the book. She strides into the room with confidence, a striking woman with dark hair and eyes. I see strength and pride in the way she carries herself and can’t wait to hear what she has to say.

Me: What did you think when you found Roan Penny lying half-dead beside the road?

Marley: I thought he was dead at first. Scared me when he moved. So I got him in the back of the wagon and drove back to the ranch. I think if he’d lain there much longer he would’ve died.

Me: I hear Roan stole your heart, and frankly he stole mine too.

Marley’s eyes sparkle: I tell you, that man makes me swoon. He’s sure handsome with dark brown hair and twinkling gray eyes. He’s quite the kisser too. When his lips meet mine, I get all hot and fluttery inside. He’s tall and lean too. I just love a man who makes me feel so protected and cherished and when he calls me his Texas star, I just melt.

Me: What was he like when he was dealing with that mob that murdered his friend?

Marley: Those gray eyes can sure turn to ice to match his voice when he’s angry. I found out Roan Penny can strike the fear of God in a man, but you know that’s what it took in the old west. More often than not, justice was only what men found for themselves. Criminals and bad men far outnumbered lawmen back then.

Me: Let’s talk about the secret Duel and Jessie kept from you. How did you feel?

Marley: I was deeply hurt, confused, and angry that they let me believe I was their child all these years. I couldn’t fathom being won in a poker game. Did I mean so little? But then I came to see that I meant so much. Duel saved me. If not for him, I wouldn’t be sitting here today. Even as hurt as I was, I couldn’t hate him. But for a while there, I didn’t know who I was anymore.

Me: Tell me about little Matthew and him calling you Mama Rose.

Marley grins big: That sweet, little boy has stolen my heart. He’s so sensitive and worries about everyone. The smallest things make him happy and the best part of my day is reading to him at bedtime.

Me: Speaking of that, I hear you write children’s stories and you read your own work to Matthew.

Marley: That’s correct. Writing stories that bring the children such enjoyment brings me great satisfaction and joy. The reward is seeing their faces light up.

Well, that’s all the time we had. I thanked Marley and left. She has an incredible story to tell in To Catch a Texas Star. It’s out now so grab a copy. I think you’ll like it.

Linda is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of full length historical western romance novels and novellas. She’s published over twenty books and short stories and resides in the Texas Panhandle on land the American Indian and Comancheros once roamed. On a quiet day, she can often hear their voices whispering in the wind. 

The love of this state and its people runs bone deep and she instills that into each book she writes. She sets all her stories in Texas because of the rich history and interesting people.

A mother, grandmother, and soon to be a great grandmother, Linda finds research fascinating and always looks for little known tidbits to add realism to her stories. When she’s not writing, she collects old coins and confesses to being a rock hound in addition to making herself a nuisance at museums, libraries, and historical places which inspire her.

WEBSITE   FACEBOOK     PINTEREST

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Grand Prize: Signed Copies of Full Texas Heroes Series

Five Runners-Up: Signed Copies of To Catch a Texas Star

 

(US ONLY)

  July 3-12, 2018

 

CHECK OUT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:

7/3/18

Excerpt

7/3/18

Bonus Series Spotlight

7/4/18

Review

7/5/18

Guest Post

7/6/18

Review

7/7/18

Character Interview

7/8/18

Review

7/9/18

Playlist

7/10/18

Review

7/11/18

Author Interview

7/12/18

Review

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Review: TANGIBLE SPIRITS by Becki Willis {giveaway}

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TANGIBLE SPIRITS 
by
BECKI WILLIS
Genre: Paranormal / Thriller / Suspense 
Publisher: Clear Creek Publishing
Date of Publication: May 13, 2017
Number of Pages: 316
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Reporter Gera Stapleton has a difficult choice to make: write the story of a lifetime or save the legacy of a town and a man she has come to love. Assigned to a piece in Jerome, Arizona about a once-friendly ghost gone on a crime spree, Gera stumbles upon an amazing tale of greed, deception, and family honor and murder. When the killer targets her as the next victim, an unlikely savior comes to her rescue. Smart dialogue, plenty of action, and a touch of the supernatural make this a must-read novel.
“Becki Willis blends bits of history with bits of fancy and weaves a tantalizing tale you won’t soon forget.”
2018 Best Paranormal Fiction
by The Association of Texas Authors 
2018 RONE Award Finalist for Paranormal Long
Crowned Heart Recipient from InD’Tale Magazine

 

CLICK TO PURCHASE


CHECK OUT THE TRAILER!

Review
A fine blend of mystery, suspense and romance with a touch of the unknown.
Journalist Gera Stapleton becomes part of her story as she visits the infamous town of Jerome, Arizona to investigate its paranormal legacy.  Fluff story turns big time as she rolls into town on the heels of a murder.  What she uncovers is greed, power and a sick sense of family honor, but there is more to Jerome than just crooks.  Gera goes from skeptic to believer over the course of her stay all the while falling in love with her host and the history of this wonderful town.
TANGIBLE SPIRITS lives up to it’s awards!  Like a perfect recipe, it blends a bit of mystery and suspense, fabulous descriptive scenery, a pinch of history, vivid characters and a dash of romance.  The result is an excellent storytelling experience.
I was immediately drawn in by Gera’s voice as she arrived in Jerome and dove into her work.  The story kept its pace and the plot soon thickened.  I did guess the ending but that never stopped me from enjoying a really good read, which this was.  As a die-hard romance lover, I was THRILLED to see Gera get a happy ending, as a good cozy should be. I highly recommend this fun but suspenseful story, even if you aren’t a “ghost” person.  There’s plenty more to the story to keep you reading!
To the delight of readers around the world, Becki Willis writes memorable characters in believable situations. Best known for Forgotten Boxes and  The Sisters, Texas Mystery Series, Becki has won numerous awards, but says her biggest achievement is her family and her loyal reader base.

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6/27/18
Book Trailer
6/28/18
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6/29/18
Review
6/30/18
Author Interview
7/1/18
Review
7/2/18
Author Video I
7/3/18
Review
7/4/18
Author Video II
7/5/18
Review
7/6/18
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Interview: Mary Hogan, author of LEFT: A LOVE STORY

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

I was a nerdy, chubby, lonely kid who felt like the only nerdy, chubby, lonely kid in the world. My middle school librarian took pity on me and introduced me to books about girls like me. I devoured them! Back then, there were so few young adult novels I felt bereft when I’d read them all. So, I started writing stories about girls like me. And women like me. And families like mine.

What do you think most characterizes your writing?

I like to think my work is a nice blend of humor and heartbreak. Like life.

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

I’m obsessed with the “Anns”: Ann Patchett, Anne Tyler, Annie Proulx. I read my first Anne Tyler novel, “Searching for Caleb” one night in my college dorm room. I found it in the lounge. Wow. How could a person write so well? That night I decided to aim for the pinnacle: to be an Ann. Still working in it.

FUN STUFF

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

I walk my dog in the park with my ear buds in and the other end tucked into my pocket so people will think I’m talking to someone when I’m actually plotting the next chapter aloud.

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

Capable or willing? Capable: Numerous, especially if hot. Not pretty.

Willing: None.

Say there’s like a whole box of your favorite snack in a room all by themselves. Say I left them there and told you not to eat any until I got back. How long would it take you to disobey my wishes?

I would never disobey you. My parents taught me that bad girls go to hell.

If I gave you a pencil and piece of paper and told you to draw something funny, what would you draw?

This sentence: Ifs, ands, and butts. Then, I’d draw a bottom. See, you’re smiling, aren’t you? 

Do you have a favorite Girl Scout Cookie?

I LOVE anything with the word, “butter” in it. So, I’d have to say Butter Cookies.

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

My favorite song is still, “Call Me Maybe.” Nuf said.

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

No idea. I have a dog. But I DO know that dogs dream about running because their feet wiggle in their sleep.

This or That?

Tea or Coffee? Strong, black coffee

Winter or Summer? Winter

Chocolate or Vanilla? Vanilla (with chocolate chips)

Vintage or New? Vintage

Fried or Scrambled? Fried, over medium

 

Aboutthebook

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It started as a dream vacation in Spain, with Fay and Paul Agarra enjoying all the delights of a European holiday. A respected New York City judge, Paul has always been the man Fay can rely on, no matter what. When he inexplicably disappears from a Barcelona street corner, Fay knows something is terribly wrong. Once reunited, Paul shrugs off the episode as a simple misunderstanding—but Fay suspects her almost perfect life has taken a dark and sudden turn. Soon there are more signs that Paul is beginning to change. Bouts of forgetfulness lead to mistakes in the courtroom. Simple tasks cause unexplainable outbursts of anger. Fay’s worst suspicions are realized when she learns her husband—her rock, her love, her everything—is succumbing to the ravages of dementia. As her husband transforms before her very eyes, Fay copes with her fears by retreating into a fantasy life filled with promise instead of pain. In Fay’s invented world, she imagines herself living a glamorous life free from heartache, with a handsome neighbor she barely knows rescuing her from a future she can’t accept. Poignant and beautifully crafted, Left is an unforgettable tale about life’s aching uncertainties—and a woman who discovers that somewhere between hope and reality, an unexpected future will find its way forward.

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PRAISE FOR LEFT

“A touching novel. The book poignantly portrays Faye’s struggle to come to terms with…uncomfortable yet necessary questions about the conditions of love.”—Publishers Weekly

“Hogan (The Woman in the Photo, 2016) does a good job of mixing humor and heartbreak in this sharply observed novel, drawn from her own experience.”Booklist

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

MARY HOGAN is the bestselling author of Two Sisters and the historical novel, The Woman in the Photo. Previous novels include the young adult titles, The Serious Kiss, Perfect Girl and Pretty Face (HarperCollins).

Mary lives in New York City with her husband, actor Robert Hogan, and their Catahoula Leopard rescue dog, Lucy. Find out more at MaryHogan.com 

Review: CINCO DE MURDER by Rebecca Adler {giveaway}

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CINCO DE MURDER

A Taste of Texas Mystery, #3

by

Rebecca Adler

Genre:  Texas Cozy Mystery

Date of Publication: April 3, 2018

Publisher: Berkley

Number of Pages: 304

Scroll down for the giveaway!

 

 

Tex-Mex waitress and part-time reporter Josie Callahan serves up more Lone Star justice in this spicy mystery from the author of The Good, the Bad, and the Guacamole.

It’s fiesta time in Broken Boot, Texas, and tourists are pouring into town faster than free beer at a bull roping for the mouthwatering Cinco de Mayo festivities. Tex-Mex waitress Josie Callahan, her feisty abuela, and even her spunky Chihuahua Lenny are polishing their folklórico dances for Saturday’s big parade, while Uncle Eddie is adding his own spicy event to the fiesta menu: Broken Boot’s First Annual Charity Chili Cook-off.

But Uncle Eddie’s hopes of impressing the town council go up in smoke when cantankerous chili cook Lucky Straw is found dead in his tent. And when Josie’s beloved uncle is accused of fatal negligence, she, Lenny, and the steadfast Detective Lightfoot must uncover who ended the ambitious chilihead’s life — before another cook kicks the bucket.

 

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PRAISE FOR CINCO DE MURDER:

“I enjoyed every minute of this high fa looting Texas escapade. The authentic Texas sayings had me rolling on the floor. I’m a Texan and boy did I relate to the towns and chili cook-off so well.” –Texas Book-aholic

“I enjoy the Texas flair and touch while all the food talk just makes me hungry. If you enjoy a good cozy mystery that features an adorable dog and a culinary touch then this is the book/series for you.”~Books a Plenty Book Reviews

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Review

Josephina Callahan is back in this third installment of Berkley Prime Crime’s Taste of Texas Mysteries, by Rebecca Adler.  Preparation is underway for the small West Texas town of Broken Boot’s first ever International Chili Association sponsored Chili Cook-Off.  Josie’s Uncle Eddie is in charge of organizing the event, and he’s determined to impress his new colleagues on the town council. But things don’t go as planned as Josie discovers one of the contestants murdered in his tent the morning of the event.  She teams up again with Detective Quinton Lightfoot to try to get to the bottom of the crime and gets in over her head with her faithful long-haired Chihuahua companion, Lenny. Twists and turns complete this fun read with a satisfying and heartwarming ending.

I love a good cozy mystery, and this one fit the bill.  Josie is a honest likable character, and her sidekick, Lenny makes the story fun.  I enjoyed the complex relationship she has with her grandmother, Senora Mari, and their love and loyalty to family.  Josie’s curiosity keeps her knee-deep in the middle of the unfolding mystery, and as Lightfoot allows her more and more access to the investigation, their relationship grows.  The ending took me by surprise, as a good mystery should, but wrapped everything up nicely. I have to add that reading this book made me incredibly hungry for Tex-Mex, and I was thrilled to see the family recipes included at the end of the story.  Bravo! Though this is part of a series, and I’m sure the reading experience could have been enhanced by reading the two previous books, I read this one as a standalone and it was great. If you love cozy mysteries and small town Texas, you’ll love this one too. Highly recommended.

 

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

She’s currently content to pour her melodramatic tendencies into writing the Taste of Texas culinary mysteries from Berkley Prime Crime: Here Today, Gone Tamale; The Good, the Bad, and the Guacamole; and Cinco de Murder. Set in far West Texas, her humorous stories are filled with delicious suspense and scrumptious Tex-Mex recipes. Her alter ego, Gina Lee Nelson, writes contemporary romance with a sweet, Southern-fried flavor.

A former president of North Texas Romance Writers, Rebecca is currently a member of Sisters in Crime and Romance Writers of America. When not writing, she spends a great deal of time on her other favorite pastime, directing high school theater.

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Grand Prize: Signed Copies of the Full Taste of Texas Series + $10 Amazon Gift Card

Two Runners-Up: Signed Copies of Cinco de Murder

JUNE 20-29, 2018

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VISIT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:

6/20/18

Author Interview

6/20/18

Guest Post

6/21/18

Review

6/22/18

Top 5 List

6/23/18

Excerpt

6/24/18

Review

6/25/18

Bonus Review

6/26/18

Character Guest Post

6/27/18

Review

6/28/18

Guest Post + Bonus Review

6/29/18

Review

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Interview: Dr. Stuart Lemming, Colonel, U.S. Army Medical Corps, from HARMON GENERAL by Kimberly Fish

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HARMON GENERAL

Misfits and Millionaires #2 

by

KIMBERLY FISH

Genre: Historical Fiction / WWII / Spies

Publisher: Fish Tales, LLC 

Date of Publication: June 16, 2018

Number of Pages: 330

Scroll down for giveaway! 

In 1943, Lane Mercer and Emmie Tesco had nothing in common. Well, nothing stronger than a town neither of them chose and careers they couldn’t advertise as agents within the Office of Strategic Services. During the days of Longview, Texas’s Friendly Trek Homecoming Parade, Lane was gearing up for the grand opening of a bookshop that also disguised an espionage safe house, and Emmie was chasing a criminal with evil intent through the US Army’s new medical facility, Harmon General Hospital, treating diseased and amputated soldiers. Emmie ropes Lane into international threats at Harmon General, making it increasingly hard for the two spies to navigate the Junior Service League, church life, or anything else that might be considered normal for a town sizzling with oil boom wealth. A friend from Lane’s past arrives and pushes against the fiction she’s created to distance her spy history from the wedding bells ringing her future. Emmie flirts with the idea of finding a life outside of the OSS but justifies the danger as a way to make amends for those she’s betrayed. Connecting the two women, to their surprise, is a rogue agent who targets them for crimes he believes they created. For better, or worse, they have to put aside their differences to share responsibility for stopping “The Grasshopper” before he blows apart the Big Inch Pipeline project and Harmon General Hospital. The hope of malaria treatments for US soldiers depends on it, and justice of the heart demands it.

 

PRAISE FOR HARMON GENERAL:

 

“The war that changed the world brought the world to East Texas through Harmon General, a significant US Army hospital that treated thousands of wounded soldiers in Longview.  In Harmon General, we meet again Lane Mercer, a World War II heroine, and we enjoy again how the drama of her secret service to the nation and her complicated personal relationships pull us into the vast impact of the world war.” — Dale Lunsford, Ph.D., President, LeTourneau University

“Harmon General is a brilliant story for historical fiction readers! Set in World War II, the female spies, Army hospital setting, and drama amongst the Longview townsfolk kept me riveted and engaged until the very end.” – Jody T. Morse

CLICK TO PURCHASE

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SPECIAL PROMOTION: FREE BOOK!

 

For the first five days of the Lone Star Book Blog Tours promotion of Harmon General, the Kindle  e-book of The Big Inch is FREE!!  That’s right, from June 22-27, the e-book that started the whole Misfits and Millionaires adventure costs nada!

Click to download your copy!

 

 

 

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Harmon General Character Interview:

Dr. Stuart Lemming, Colonel, U.S. Army Medical Corps

 

Setting: the lobby of the KFRO Radio Station in Longview, Texas. May, 1943

Dr. Lemming is sitting in a straight back chair, flipping through the pages of the Longview Morning News—not reading the headlines, just looking for something to do while he waits for the production assistant to take him back for his radio interview. The receptionist brings him a cup of coffee.

“I hope I got it right. Just a splash of milk?” the woman in a pink blouse asks as she wipes her hands on her brown skirt.

Stuart holds the cup close, letting the steam warm his cheeks. “You have a good memory.”

“It comes from having to remember all the yahoos who roll through the station week-after-week.” She smiled as if to imply a man in uniform didn’t qualify for the same treatment as those giving the farm reports and sports broadcasts. “You’re not from around here?”

“I’m stationed at Harmon General these days, but I call North Carolina home.” He sipped the dark roast. “Boone, actually. In the mountains.”

She smiled wistfully. “I’ve only ever seen mountains in the movies.”

“Where I’m from, they’re a little more tamed than the ones you see in the westerns.” He stood because the receptionist hadn’t moved on and his mother had taught him to stand when speaking to ladies.

“Well, what must you think of Longview then after being in the military and travelling all over the world?”

“I haven’t been allowed off our shores yet, but I’ve done most of my schooling and training on the east coast. Spent a lot of time in Washington, D. C. That’s a bit different from here.”

“We’re just country bumpkins compared to all the folks you’d meet in Washington.”

Stuart’s expression softened as if he was enjoying replaying the faces of people he’d met during his medical training and Army career. “I met Clark Gable once.”

She gasped. “I adore Clark Gable.”

“He was learning medical procedures for a movie role, and I actually explained to him how to read slides under a microscope.”

She fanned her face. “Did you get his autograph?”

Stuart didn’t have the heart to tell her the actor was rather grumpy and had bad breath. “I forgot to ask.”

The woman let her gaze take new inventory of Stuart’s beige uniform and military brass. “I know you’re here to do one of those “Heroes of Harmon” radio interviews that everyone is raving about, but if you’re not busy after—would you like to grab a sandwich together? We could walk down the street to Deb’s?”

He smiled. It had been a long while since someone—outside Harmon—had shown much interest in him, and now with Lane Mercer out of the picture it was time to get back out in the mix. “Sure. If the interview doesn’t go too long.”

The receptionist gestured to the thick door leading back to the production studios. “They’ve been whipping those soldiers in and out of here all week. It shouldn’t take more than half an hour for them to ask you about your work, how you got here, who you want to say hi to back home, and what’s your big heroic moment from the war.”

Stuart froze. He didn’t have a big heroic moment, short of what happened in the chapel—and that was more of a reflection on Lane than it was him. “I’m a pathologist, not a hero.”

She brushed away his humility. “Anyone who suits up for this war is a hero to me. Come on, I’ll take you back and show you the green room. Babe Ruth once ate a hot dog in there—he was here as a guest of our old baseball team, The Cannibals.”

Stuart followed the woman and worried about the notion of naming a local baseball team after a people-eating subset of humanity—but that’s how his brain worked. Where most folks took things at face value, he was always consumed by the details beneath.

 

 

A WORD FROM THE AUTHOR:

Kimberly Fish started writing professionally with the birth of her second child and the purchase of a home computer. Having found this dubious outlet, she then entered and won The Writer’s League of Texas manuscript contest which fed her on-going fascination with story crafting.

She has since published in magazines, newspapers, and online formats and in January 2017, released the first novel in the Misfits and Millionaires series set during the World War II years in Longview, Texas—The Big Inch. Her second book, Comfort Plans, was published later that same year.

She lives with her family in East Texas.

WEBSITE   INSTAGRAM  FACEBOOK  

to see book reviews and behind the scene peeks

at places that have inspired the novels! 

From kissing couples to fabulous fedoras,

inspiration behind Harmon General!

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TWO SIGNED COPIES OF HARMON GENERAL

JUNE 22-JULY 1, 2018

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VISIT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:

6/22/18

Top Ten List

6/23/18

Review

6/23/18

Excerpt

6/24/18

Guest Post

6/25/18

Review

6/25/18

Character Interview

6/26/18

BONUS Review

6/27/18

Review

6/27/18

Top Ten List

6/28/18

Playlist

6/29/18

Review

6/29/18

Excerpt

6/30/18

Review

6/30/18

Guest Post

7/1/18

Review

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Misfits & Millionaires, Book 1

 

Guest post: Series Playlist by Jus Acardo, author of ALPHA, Book 3 in The Infinity Division Series

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If there was a soundtrack for my life, it’d be diverse. Everything from Elvis – I can’t help falling in love with you to Five Finger Death Punch – Battle Born. Other than books—and food—music is my thing. Oh. And animals. And the outdoors…

I have a lot of things.

When I think about my husband, it’s Vain – Without You. He played it for me one of the first few times we hung out. When I hear Loudon Wainwright – Dead Skunk—yes, I have this on my phone—I think of the trip Hershey Park when I was a kid. There was a skunk, a Nun, and some candy bars. Don’t ask.

When I hear Muse – Supermassive Black Hole, I think about vampires. Playing baseball.

You know you do, too. No one’s judging.

But music is more than inspirational for me—it’s essential, an integral part of my writing process. Scenes play out in my head like a movie. And everyone knows all good movies need a killer soundtrack. The right song can help set the appropriate mood and put me in the headspace that I need for a particular scene. Anything from a high-octane chase scene or blood pumping epic battle, to those tragic backstory moments or heartwarming, awe inspiring declarations of love.

I have playlists for each book, many scenes, and most characters. Usually I start off with a few general songs. Ones that fit the overall mood of the book and the picture I have of it all in my head. From there, I add as I go along. As relationships develop, the list continues to grow.

Each of the three main couples in the Infinity Division series have their own song. Usually it takes me most of the first draft of a book to pick the perfect one, but when it came to this series, I had songs chosen for all three couples right after the first draft of the first book!

Infinity – Kori and Cade: Hozier – Take me To Church

Omega – Noah and Ash: Hailee Steinfeld Ft Zedd – Starving

Alpha – G and Sera: Stone Sour – Song #3

Each character had their own playlist, but also a key song. Something that, to me, embodied their personality, situation, and/or struggles. Since the books are all told from different points of view, these songs helped me get inside the head of each narrator.

Kori: Raise Hell – Dorothy

Cade: Dangerous – Shaman’s Harvest

Noah: Do I Wanna Know – Arctic Monkeys

Ash: Roots – In This Moment

G: Bury Me With My Guns – Bobaflex

Sera: Supposed to be – Icon For Hire

Dylan: Bad Man – Bobaflex

I can’t fathom living—or working—without music. I’d be utterly lost. What about you? Do you have a particular artist or song that’s your go-to? What’s your current fave?

**You can view the entire playlist for the Infinity Division series here!**

 

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Sera has no memory of her life before. Before captivity, before experiments, before the only lifeline she had was the voice of a boy in the cell next to hers. Before G.

G wishes he could forget everything before Sera brought him back to life. Forget his memories as a ruthless mercenary on an alternate version of Earth. Forget that he was part of an experiment simply known as Alpha.

Now on the run from their captors and in need of an antidote to save his life, G and Sera’s clock is ticking. And they’ll have to gamble everything on the bond they forged in captivity if they want to survive.

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JusAccardo
Jus Accardo spent her childhood reading and learning to cook. Determined to follow in her grandfather’s footsteps as a chef, she applied and was accepted to the Culinary Institute of America. But at the last minute, she realized her true path lay with fiction, not food. Jus is the bestselling author of the popular Denazen series from Entangled publishing, as well as the Darker Agency series, and the New Adult series, The Eternal Balance. A native New Yorker, she lives in the middle of nowhere with her husband, three dogs, and sometimes guard bear, Oswald.
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Interview: Ann Mah, author of THE LOST VINTAGE

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A Conversation with Ann Mah, author of The Lost Vintage

You were inspired to write The Lost Vintage after volunteering for the wine harvest in France, which you documented in a travel piece for the New York Times. When did you know you wanted to write this novel?

I first visited Burgundy in 2010 to research an article on Thomas Jefferson’s favorite vineyards in France. The minute I set foot in the region, I was captivated by the vine-covered slopes and charming villages. And if I sensed ghosts there, hovering amid the beauty, they only added to my fascination. I think the seed for this novel was planted then. A few years later, I volunteered to pick grapes at the harvest in Champagne. Harvest volunteers are often given free room and board, and I was put up in an empty attic apartment at the vineyard house. The rooms hadn’t been touched since the 1960s: they were sparsely decorated with mid-century hospital furniture; the floors creaked; the wallpaper was peeling; and at night the rural silence was deafening – and bone-chilling. Even though I was exhausted from long days of physical labor, whenever I lay down to sleep, my imagination would cartwheel. And so, I slept with the lights on, and when I woke, I wrote in my journal. This story was born from those wild scribblings.

Kate, the protagonist in The Lost Vintage, is a wine expert and is studying for the prestigious Master of Wine exam. What is your own history with wine? Do you consider yourself an expert?

It was important to me to be able to write accurately about the wine world, so as part of the research for this book, I took classes through the Wine and Spirits Education Trust, which is the same organization that administers the Master of Wine program. I learned just enough to know I’m definitely not an expert! As part of the class we did blind tastings, in which we smelled and tasted different wines and identified flavors from the wine aroma wheel. People would call out things like “dill,” “petrol,” or “green peppers,” and everyone would argue until the teacher came down with the final verdict. My fellow classmates were really competitive. I used to joke that it was like a blood sport.   

As a food and travel writer, of course, you’re always weaving narrative into evocative sensory descriptions of what you’re tasting or seeing, and that skill is apparent in The Lost Vintage, as well. How did you find writing about food and wine different in fiction, if at all?

When I’m writing an article, I’m trying to accurately relate an experience. But for fiction, I can’t imagine two better metaphors than food and wine – they speak to our deepest desires (or disgusts), our most visceral memories. You can communicate so much through a character’s favorite foods. As well, the dinner table remains my absolute favorite setting to write a scene of family conflict – everyone is tidily in one place, but each person has their own motivations and distractions.  

Much of your book deals with history, in particular that of World War II in Europe, and how people reconcile their family legacy with their own values. What prompted you to challenge your characters in this way?

As I mentioned, I was captivated by the beauty of Burgundy – but I felt something ominous there, too. I didn’t really understand it until I started researching World War II and learned more about the “épuration sauvage,” the spontaneous “wild purge” that punished thousands of women throughout France in the days and weeks following the Liberation. Accused of “horizontal collaboration,” or sleeping with the enemy, these women were targeted by vigilante justice and publicly humiliated. Their heads were shaved, they were stripped, paraded through town, smeared with tar, stoned, kicked, beaten, and sometimes killed. Yes, some of them had slept with Germans. Some of them were prostitutes. But some had been raped. Some were women who merely worked for German soldiers, as was the case with one cleaning lady. Some were framed and falsely accused out of jealousy. Many were mothers desperate to feed their starving children. In almost every case, their punishment was far worse than their male counterparts. These women – over 20,000 of them! – were the most vulnerable members of society, and they became scapegoats for a humiliated nation. I felt it was important for their story to finally be told.  

The Lost Vintage shows that though there were many French résistants acting during the war, there were also many French people who essentially supported the Nazis through complicity, often for survival’s sake. As Rose says at one point, “It’s much safer to do nothing.” Do you think these actions are wartime phenomena, or are there ways in which we can show courage or remain complicit in a similar way in day to day life?

I think World War II is ultimately a morality tale and so many years after it, we’d all like to believe we’d have fought for the right side. Of course, the reality is always more complicated – and wartime complicates things even further. I think a lot of regret and shame about the war still lingers in France. If I learned anything while researching this book, it’s that small actions can have unforeseen and lingering consequences.

Aboutthebook

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About THE LOST VINTAGE

Kate has spent years building her career as a sommelier in San Francisco, despite a weakness for identifying Burgundian vintages. While she’s carefully managed to avoid them thus far, she can no longer do so as she faces her final attempt at passing the notoriously difficult Master of Wine Examination. With the test only a few months away, she travels to her family’s vineyard in Burgundy—a place she has purposefully avoided for nearly a decade—to help with les vendanges, the annual grape harvest. While there, she does everything she can to bolster her shaky knowledge of Burgundian wine, while also ignoring both the bittersweet memories of her childhood and Jean-Luc, her first love.

While Kate helps her cousin, Nico, and his wife clear the enormous basement of the vineyard house, she discovers a hidden room containing a cot, dozens of Resistance pamphlets, and an enormous cache of valuable wine. As Kate digs into her family’s history, her search takes her back to the dark days of WWII and introduces her to a relative she never knew existed: a great–half aunt who was a teenager during the Nazi occupation. As she learns more about her family, the line between resistance and collaboration blurs, driving Kate to question who, exactly, her family aided during the difficult years of the war and the fate of six valuable bottles of wine that seem to be missing from the cellar’s collection.

 

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abouttheauthor

The Lost Vintage Ann Mah authorphoto_credit Katia Grimmer-Laversanne

Ann Mah is a food and travel writer based in Paris and Washington, DC. She is the author of the food memoir Mastering the Art of French Eating and Kitchen Chinese, a novel. She regularly contributes to the New York Times’ Travel section, and has written for Condé Nast Traveler, Vogue.com, BonAppetit.com, Food52, and others.

You can learn more at www.annmah.net.

 

Interview: Terri-Lynne DeFino, author of THE BAR HARBOR RETIREMENT HOME FOR FAMOUS WRITERS

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Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?
I write in several genres–literary/contemporary fiction, fantasy fiction, romance, and women’s fiction. I even wrote an original fairy tale. I write in the genres that interest me. As far as I’m concerned, there are no lines that can’t be crossed. All my romance/women’s fiction have “ghosts” in them. My fantasy has a literary bend. My contemporary has a bit of whimsy in it. Anything goes.

What did you find most useful in learning to write?  What was least useful or most destructive? The most useful thing for me was honesty. Complete, brutal, ultimately kind honesty. No matter how innate your knowledge, how lovely your natural voice, no one comes into this writing thing an expert. And no one learns anything about this craft by having one’s ego stroked. Back in the beginning, I had plenty of friends, family, and critique partners telling me what a good writer I was. Nice? Yes and no. I was blind to my own shortcomings–until a pro who’d gotten one cringe-worthy manuscript too many opened my eyes to all I was doing wrong. He shredded the fifty pages I sent, pointed out every single mistake, and explained why it was oh-so-wrong. He didn’t have to do that. A form rejection would have sufficed. Whether he’d finally snapped or saw something worth his time, he was brutal. It hurt like hell. I’m grateful to him to this day. The least helpful for me, as you might guess, was the praise. It got in the way of learning. There was no room for my ego in this process. I let it go, and whew! Was it liberating. My motto in life is “Modesty is for suckers,” largely because of that literary ass-kicking. I know what I’m good at–show me what I’m doing wrong.

What do you like to read in your free time?
Mostly Women’s Fiction, Literary/Contemporary Fiction. I do love dystopia, and fantasy of all kinds. I’ll read anything by Sarah Addison Allen, Fredrik Backman, and Patricia McKillip. Anything.

What projects are you working on at the present?
Currently, I’m working on Thirty Days Dancing on the Edge of the World. It has a dual timeline, 2009 and 1947 (and continues through the 1990s.) After the financial crisis of 2008, Mallory, a fifty-two year old Financial Advisor, has lost everything. After two suicide attempts, she winds up at Seaside, a mental rehabilitation facility (a once-upon-a-time beach resort) in the Pine Barrens of New Jersey. Seaside is nothing like the psychiatric ward; it’s a place to land, and to launch. There, Mallory meets others in need of a safe place to regain their balance, including Vonnie, the old woman who owns the place. Her past is the 1947-1990 part of the novel, showing the then and now differences between how mental health–and women–was viewed and treated.

What do your plans for future projects include? Since finishing The Bar Harbor Retirement Home for Famous Writers (and Their Muses) I’ve completed three novels. I’m hoping one (or more!) of these will be on my publishing horizon. I write nine to four, every day, five days a week, and have no plans to change that. Once Thirty Days is finished, there are several more sitting in files waiting for their turns. I’m leaning towards one about dragons in New York City–real or imagined? That’s what the reader gets to decide.

FUN STUFF

What is your go-to method for getting rid of hiccups?
Sugar on the tip of my tongue. Works every time.

If I gave you a pencil and piece of paper and told you to draw something funny, what would you draw?
There’s a little character I’ve drawn on restaurant placemats since my kids were little–a hillbilly guy with a big nose, looking over a fence. You only see his eyes, nose and straw hat. He’s always saying, “yo-ho!” like a pirate. I have no idea why I do that, who the hillbilly is, or why he’s my go-to doodle. Maybe a past life experience trying to express itself.

How many friendships have you ruined because you refused to play a game of Monopoly mercifully?
0. I’m the least competitive person of all time. I’d rather you win than upset you. Unless it’s Scrabble. Then, I will annihilate you if I can.

Do you have a favorite Girl Scout Cookie? Tagalongs!

Finally, and this one is important, so please pay attention What do you think cats dream about?
World domination. At least, household domination. They whisper in our ears as we sleep. No, really! I’ve caught them doing it. They pretend they were innocently cuddling close, but I’m savvy to their wily ways.

This or That? 

Dogs or Cats? Cats (my furry overlords are not making me say that. Send help. Please!)

Marvel or DC Comics? Marvel!

Winter or Summer? Winter

TexMex or Italian? Italian! As if there is any other rational answer.

Vintage or New? Vintage

 

Aboutthebook

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Alfonse Carducci was a literary giant who lived his life to excess—lovers, alcohol, parties, and literary rivalries. But now he’s come to the Bar Harbor Home for the Elderly to spend the remainder of his days among kindred spirits: the publishing industry’s nearly gone but never forgotten greats. Only now, at the end of his life, does he comprehend the price of appeasing every desire, and the consequences of forsaking love to pursue greatness. For Alfonse has an unshakeable case of writer’s block that distresses him much more than his precarious health.

Set on the water in one of New England’s most beautiful locales, the Bar Harbor Home was established specifically for elderly writers needing a place to live out their golden years—or final days—in understated luxury and surrounded by congenial literary company. A faithful staff of nurses and orderlies surround the writers, and are drawn into their orbit, as they are forced to reckon with their own life stories. Among them are Cecibel Bringer, a young woman who knows first-hand the cost of chasing excess. A terrible accident destroyed her face and her sister in a split-second decision that Cecibel can never forgive, though she has tried to forget. Living quietly as an orderly, refusing to risk again the cost of love, Cecibel never anticipated the impact of meeting her favorite writer, Alfonse Carducci—or the effect he would have on her existence. In Cecibel, Alfonse finds a muse who returns him to the passion he thought he lost. As the words flow from him, weaving a tale taken up by the other residents of the Pen, Cecibel is reawakened to the idea of love and forgiveness.

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abouttheauthor

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Terri-Lynne DeFino was born and raised in New Jersey, but escaped to the wilds of Connecticut where she still lives with her husband, and her cats. If you knock on her door, she’ll invite you in and feed you. That’s what Jersey Italian women do, because you can take the girl out of Jersey, but you can’t take the Jersey out of the girl. She is the author of the Bitterly Suite romance series published by Kensington Lyrical.

 

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Interview: Vivienne Lorret, author of HOW TO FORGET A DUKE {giveaway}

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

I come from a long line of storytellers, all gathered around a huge harvest table at my grandparents’ house. On Sundays (when I was a child), my dad and uncles would tell story after story of all the mischief they got into when they were younger. As a young spy in training (my chosen profession at the time), I was a stealthy eavesdropper and found myself enthralled (and sometimes horrified) by their tales. Even so, I was hooked. A child story-addict. I guess I never outgrew it.  

What do you like to read in your free time?

Romantic comedies, mysteries, poetry, nutrition labels (I always have a good laugh over those), and the Starbucks menu.

What projects are you working on at the present?

I’m currently writing my 2019 release (book #3 in the Misadventures in Matchmaking series), tentatively titled THE ROGUE TO RUIN.

In addition, I’m putting together a proposal for a sub character in a previous book. I’ve received a slew of emails from readers, asking for Lord Holt’s book (he appeared in the novella, Just Another Viscount in Love). It’s such a wonderful blessing!

What do your plans for future projects include?

This December, TEN KISSES TO SCANDAL (book #2 of the Misadventures in Matchmaking series) will be available. And in October, I’ll be hosting a table at the Buns & Roses Tea for Literacy at the Hyatt in Richardson, Texas. So exciting! http://www.bunsandroses.org/

Fun Stuff…

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

Well, I don’t think it’s strange, but I typically wear a black sweater (my son calls it my “writing cloak”), and I start off my day with two big mugs of chai tea. I’ve also been known to partake in the sacrificial ritual of the scone, on occasion.

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

Holding my breath while drinking water in a bent over position, from the opposite side of the glass. Works every time.

If I gave you a pencil and piece of paper and told you to draw something funny, what would you draw?

I’d probably write the words “something funny” next to a smiley face. : )

Do you have a favorite Girl Scout Cookie?

Thin mints, fresh or frozen.

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

World domination.

This or That?

Tea or Coffee?  Tea, always.

Winter or Summer? Fall

TexMex or Italian? Italian

Chocolate or Vanilla?  There is only chocolate. What is this “vanilla” you mentioned?

Bond or Bourne? Bourne

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All Jacinda Bourne wants is to find a bride for a handsome, enigmatic duke. There’s only one problem: she’s certain he’s hiding something. Determined to discover what it is, she travels to his crumbling cliffside estate. Yet, by the time she washes up on his beach, she can no longer remember who she is, or why the duke is so familiar to her. All she knows is that his kisses are unforgettable—and she intends to use every skill she can to discover what’s in his heart . . .

When Miss Bourne can’t remember what brought her to his ancestral home, The Duke of Rydstrom intends to keep it that way. Yet as the days pass, his true challenge will be safeguarding his secret while resisting this woman who—confound it all—may well be his perfect match.

Praise for HOW TO FORGET A DUKE

“Lorret’s Misadventures in Matchmaking series starter and print debut sparkles with wit and passion. … A smart, fun charmer!” —RT Book Reviews

“…captivating, passionate, well-crafted … Simply divine!” — Romance Junkies

“This book is absolutely going on my top 10 of the year list.” — Book Besties

“Full of laughter, passion and some characters that fairly leap off the page in their need to be understood and cheered on – this new series from Lorret is sure to please many this summer.” — I Am, Indeed


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USA TODAY bestselling author Vivienne Lorret transforms copious amounts of tea into words. She is an Avon author of The Wallflower Wedding series, The Rakes of Fallow Hall series, The Season’s Original series, and the Misadventures in Matchmaking series. 

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Review: THE WIDOW’S WATCHER by Eliza Maxwell {giveaway}

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THE WIDOW’S WATCHER

by

ELIZA MAXWELL

Genre: Literary Fiction

Publisher: Lake Union Press

Date of Publication: March 29, 2018

Number of Pages: 286

Scroll down for the giveaway!

From Eliza Maxwell, the bestselling author of The Unremembered Girl, comes a gripping novel about the mysteries that haunt us and the twists of fate that can unravel them…

Living in the shadow of a decades-old crime that stole his children from him, reclusive Lars Jorgensen is an unlikely savior. But when a stranger walks onto the ice of a frozen Minnesota lake, her intentions are brutally clear, and the old man isn’t about to let her follow through.

Jenna Shaw didn’t ask for Lars’s help, nor does she want it. After he pulls her from the brink, however, Jenna finds her desire to give up challenged by their unlikely friendship. In Jenna, Lars recognizes his last chance for redemption. And in her quest to solve the mysteries of Lars’s past and bring him closure, Jenna may find the way out of her own darkness. 

But the truth that waits threatens to shatter it all. When secrets are surrendered and lies are laid bare, Jenna and Lars may find that accepting the past isn’t their greatest challenge. Can they afford the heartbreaking price of forgiveness?

PRAISE FOR THE WIDOW’S WATCHER:

“There was a moment I had to tell myself that this is just a book…”

– Goodreads reviewer

 

“A well-paced story of healing, forgiveness and tragedy, with enough unexpected twists to keep readers guessing.”

— Amber Cowie, author of Rapid Falls

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Review

Eliza Maxwell hits one out of the park with THE WIDOW’S WATCHER.

A tale of the bond formed when two lost souls find strength and redemption in one other.

 

Jenna Shaw has lost everything in one tragic moment.  Hopeless and defeated, she sets out across a frozen pond to meet the darkness.

Lars Jorgensen has spent half a lifetime in the shadows of an unsolved crime that took two of his children from him, and put his wife in a mental institution.  The curmudgeonly and reclusive Lars spots Jenna on the ice and stops her from ending her life, despite her determination to rid herself of guilt and grief.

Lars is undeterred by Jenna’s resentment for putting a halt to her plan, and the two form an unlikely friendship as she learns about his past and works to help solve the mystery of his missing children, all the while working through her own guilt and grief.

The twists and turns as Jenna begins to unfold the mystery of Lars Jorgensen’s missing children bring the story full circle and face to face with the truth, and learning forgiveness.  It is a roller coaster of emotions and satisfying tale of redemption.  Highly recommended to those who love a mystery with a lot of heart.

 

 

Eliza Maxwell lives in Texas with her ever-patient husband and two kids. She’s an artist and writer, an introvert and a British cop drama addict. She loves nothing more than to hear from readers.

Twitter ║ Facebook  ║ Instagram ║ Website

 

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