Rejection and My Road to Publication

When looking at an authors published book, its easy to only see what they accomplished and to forget that there were likely many failures before publication. I only know of a few authors who enjoyed success straight off with the first book they wrote. Those rare, fortunate birds are the exception to the rule. Most of the time, the road to publication is a long, bumpy one, with plenty of stops and starts. My journey was like this, complete with crushing disappointments and hundreds of rejections. I wouldnt change a single thing about it.

No one will ever read my first book. It was a dreadful adult paranormal romance with a vampire and C4 explosives and a weirdly awkward love scene that told me very clearly: you are not an adult romance writer. Message received, but not after a few more failed attempts. My first young adult novel, on the other hand, was the first manuscript I wrote where I felt like my writing, storytelling and voice, all leveled up. My critique partners loved the book. My mom loved the book. I started querying. Rejections came, but so did requests for the full, and then came a delightful little thing in publishing called a revise and resubmit. It was an edit letter, essentially, which if you make the suggested changes, the agent will consider your manuscript again. I dug in and revised the crap out of that manuscript. That agent passed, but the revisions paid off when another agent offered and I signed with her. At that point, I was so naive, I thought for sure the book would sell. I mean, the agent wouldnt have signed me if it wasnt a sure thing, right?

The book did not sell. It came close three times, but didnt make it through the acquisition meetings. This was the first time I felt the rejection as more than brief, generalized disappointment. My mistake was thinking this whole process was easier than it was. Let me back up a moment and explain my thing with rejection letters: They are form letters sent from a person who doesnt know you, essentially telling you that your book isnt what theyre looking for. Ive never taken this personally because there is nothing remotely personal about them. I have known writers who do take them to heart and it seems like a terrific expenditure of energy. Maybe I was sleep deprived, or maybe Im missing a brain component, but either way, when rejection letters came, I checked off that agent and went back to work.

Several books later, a manuscript did sell, but I wasnt out of the rejection waters yet. My hardest trial was to come several months later when the publisher closed its U.S. division, orphaning over fifty projects and five debut novels, including mine. Not long afterward, I began to realize that my agent and I werent the perfect fit any longer. After another failed submission on a new project, my agent and I parted ways on good terms and I took the first break from writing I had since Id begun writing in earnest, five years earlier. This was the first and only time I felt defeated. Maybe Id made a mistake, thinking I could do this. Maybe I should find something more productive to do with my time. I took up soap making as a hobbywhy, I dont know. I think I made about fifty pounds of soap, but while weighing out oils and water and lye, my brain started incubating a new story idea. Not long after that, I was back at the computer, doing what I loved most (although, I DO miss smelling like sandalwood and lavender).

The summer after my Soap Adventure, I received an offer on the orphaned book AND signed with a new agent. That book is my debut, Black Bird of the Gallows, and when I hold it, I feel my whole history as a writer under my fingers. Its all therethe triumphs and the disappointments; the hope and the anxiety. All the rejected manuscripts that perished in order to push me to write better, plot better, tell the story better, served a purpose. Im sure I havent seen my last rejection letter. Im not so naive anymore, and I am still not the writer I know I can be. Rejection can be a crushing blow, or it can steel your resolve. You really do have a choice in the matter. Then again, no one has ever rejected a pleasantly scented bar of handmade soap.





Meg Kassel is an author of paranormal and speculative books for young adults. A New Jersey native, Meg graduated from Parson’s School of Design and worked as a graphic designer before becoming a writer. She now lives in Maine with her husband and daughter and is busy at work on her next novel. She is the 2016 RWA Golden Heart© winner in YA.

Author Links: 

Website | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Amazon | Goodreads | Entangled Publishing




Black Bird of the Gallows 

Young Adult Romantic Fantasy/Entangled Teen – Entangled Publishing


A simple but forgotten truth: Where harbingers of death appear, the morgues will soon be full. 

Angie Dovage can tell there’s more to Reece Fernandez than just the tall, brooding athlete who has her classmates swooning, but she can’t imagine his presence signals a tragedy that will devastate her small town. When something supernatural tries to attack her, Angie is thrown into a battle between good and evil she never saw coming. Right in the center of it is Reece—and he’s not human.

What’s more, she knows something most don’t. That the secrets her town holds could kill them all. But that’s only half as dangerous as falling in love with a harbinger of death.




Interview: Ann H. Gabhart, Author of THESE HEALING HILLS

BNR These Healing Hills PNG
  Genre: Historical Romance / Christian
Publisher: Revell
Date of Publication: September 5, 2017
Number of Pages: 368
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Bestselling Author Transports Readers to the Appalachian Mountains for Adventure and Healing

Packed with history, These Healing Hills by bestselling author Ann H. Gabhart introduces readers to the fascinating and difficult life of frontier nursing.

When the soldier Francine Howard planned to marry after WWII writes to tell her he is in love with a woman in England, Francine is devastated and in need of a change. She seeks a fresh start in the Appalachian Mountains, training to be a nurse midwife for the Frontier Nursing Services.

It is in these mountains that Francine crosses paths with Ben Locke, a soldier still very much suffering from the horrors of war. With his future shrouded in as much mist as his beloved mountains, he’s at a loss when it comes to envisioning what’s next for his life.

While Francine and Ben find they are from completely different worlds and possess very different values, they both learn that things don’t always go the way we plan. Ann H. Gabhart invites readers to witness the healing power of love and step forward to tantalizing new possibilities. 
Praise for These Healing Hills:
“Reading These Healing Hills is like wrapping up in a beloved quilt and stepping back in time. Ann H. Gabhart captures a fascinating slice of Appalachian history in this tale of a mountain midwife and a soldier, bringing it to life as only a native Kentuckian can. Poignant and romantic, witty and wise, with enduring spiritual truths, this is my favorite novel of hers to date.”
—Laura Frantz, author of A Moonbow Night

“What a wonderful story! Filled with true-to-life characters (including some four-footed ones) and fascinating historical details, These Healing Hills is a beautifully written, heartwarming story of life in the Appalachian Mountains at the end of the Second World War. Ann Gabhart combines vivid descriptions, meticulous research, and a deep understanding of the human heart to create a story that will linger in readers’ memories long after the last page is turned. This is a book to savor, not just once, but over and over. A true keeper.”
—Amanda Cabot, bestselling author of A Stolen Heart

“Ann H. Gabhart delivers a rich tale set in Kentucky’s Appalachian Mountains at the close of World War II. Francine buries the painful loss of the man she loves beneath the difficult work of a frontier nurse-midwife. The mountain people touch a place deep in her heart, and she gladly sacrifices the life she always wanted in order to serve them. But can she ever be truly happy among the hills and hollows where modern medicine often gives way to ancient folk cures? These Healing Hills is a fascinating and beautifully crafted story that I highly recommend.”
—Virginia Smith, bestselling author of The Amish Widower

“You are sure to enjoy this endearing story of love lost and found in the enchanting hills of Kentucky.”
—Jan Watson, author of the Troublesome Creek series


Why did you decide to write about the Frontier Nursing Service?

While poking about for a new idea for a story, I happened upon a book about Mary Breckinridge, the founder of the Frontier Nursing Service. She was a woman with a vision. After losing her two children at young ages, she wanted to make a difference in the health of mothers and children. So after much training and research on the best place for her health initiative, she established the Frontier Nursing Service in the Kentucky Appalachian Mountains where very little medical care was available in 1925. At first, all the midwives were from England due to no midwife schools in America, but when WW II broke out in Europe, the English midwives felt compelled to return home to help with the war effort. So Breckinridge started her own Frontier Nursing School in the mountain town of Hyden, Kentucky, to train new midwives. She had always actively sought contributions to fund the Frontier Nursing Service, but now she and others also began recruiting applicants to the school. The more I read about the women, who came to the program from easier lifestyles but were enchanted by the mountains, the more I wanted to let my character be one of these women. And then I liked getting to know the mountain people through my research. Great history, mountain settings, and strong characters all made a great jumping off place for me to start writing this story.

How did you so vividly capture the Appalachian area? Did you visit?

I’m a lifelong Kentuckian and while I don’t live in the Appalachian area, I’m very familiar with that part of Kentucky. I have often visited the state parks in the mountains and have read many stories set in Appalachia. I did visit Wendover, Mary Breckinridge’s home in the mountains that was designated a National Historical Landmark in 1991. It’s a bed and breakfast now where people can visit and learn more about the history of the Frontier Nursing Service and the beauty of the mountains. The Frontier Nursing School is still actively training students in nearby Hyden, Kentucky. A book by James Still, The Wolfpen Notebooks, that I bought at a book fair many years ago was very useful in helping me capture a little of the mountain speak. It also helps that I grew up on a farm, and although it wasn’t in the mountains, farm folks everywhere have some similar ways and a like respect and love for the land.

What was the most interesting thing you learned while doing research for this book?

The firsthand experiences of the nurse/midwives as they treated their patients were eye-opening for me. I admired their dedication in fording flooded rivers and riding horses along icy trails and through snowstorms—or whatever obstacles nature threw at them—

in order to reach the homes of their patients. I also liked the family feel of the Nursing Service and how the nurses respected the mountain people in spite of their different ways. Then it was inspiring to think about the difference one determined woman with a vision made in the lives of so many. From the FNS beginnings in 1925 to 1975, the FNS nurse/midwives recorded delivering 17,053 babies with only 11 maternal deaths. That is an amazing statistic in an area that Mrs. Breckinridge chose for her service because of the high childbirth mortality rates.

Do you relate to Francine in any way?

I’m certainly no nurse. I do love a mountain vista, and Francine fell in love with the mountains too. I never think I base my characters on me in any way. My characters come to my stories as separate people with stories to share. That said, I’m sure my personality or feelings do sneak into my characters from time to time. Oh, and with Francine, there is how she loves her dog, Sarge. I’ve loved dogs ever since I begged my parents to let me have a dog when I was eight or nine.

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

I liked learning more about the Frontier Nursing Service and also about the Appalachian Mountain area and the history of the people who live there. The unique mountain speak was fun to sprinkle into my story. Things like saying someone is punying around which means they don’t feel well or blossom patch for a flower garden.

What lesson(s) do you hope readers will take away from reading your book?  

I don’t set out to write a story full of lessons. I write to share stories with readers. If they are introduced to interesting history or fascinating places or perhaps new ways to think or feel, that’s a bonus. I hope following along the story trail with my characters will encourage them in their own walks through life. Perhaps in this story, These Healing Hills, a reader might understand how the Lord continues to work in our lives even when things aren’t going the way we think they should. As Francine’s grandmother tells her, where one door closes another opens. Or if not a door, a window somewhere. Sometimes blessings await us on the far side of disappointments. And then I want readers to feel that rhythm of nature Granny Em tries to get Francine to notice in the mountains.

In what way would you say your faith is worked into the book?

My faith is an integral part of my life and my worldview. Not that I don’t stumble at times and have questions. Some of my characters are that way too with a sure belief even when they are challenged by life happenings. Other characters are exploring what they believe and either finding faith or strengthening their wavering faith. We are all on

different life paths. I feel blessed when I’m writing and a bit of a Bible verse or a Bible story comes to mind that perfectly fits my character’s situation. I try not to be preachy in my stories, but I do like weaving faith threads through the story in a way that seems a natural part of the characters’ lives.

How long have you been writing?

I started scribbling words in a wire bound notebook doing my best Hardy Boy mystery imitation when I was ten years old. That means I’ve been writing over fifty years. That’s a lot of words under the bridge of time. My first book, a historical romance, was published in 1978. These Healing Hills is my thirty-third published novel. I’ve had a great time walking story paths with so many different characters over the years.

What do you think most characterizes your writing?

Many of my stories feature characters you might meet on any small town street. I like finding ways to make my people come to life on the pages of my books and then letting them whisper their stories in my writing ear. I’ve been told by readers that they feel as though my characters are part of their families and that’s what I want to hear because those characters are definitely part of my fictional family.

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

Naming my characters is a big step in getting to know them, so yes, names are very important to me. While I’m testing out names by writing them down in a notebook and trying out different combinations, I get an early glimmer of my character’s personality. I choose both on how the names sound and what they mean. The sound and how their first and last names fit together trumps the meaning of the name, but it is fun when both the sound and the meaning work for my characters. I have an old baby name book that I’ve had for fifty years. It’s falling apart, but it’s still my go to place for naming new characters.

What projects are you working on at the present?

I just finished another historical novel set in a small town in Kentucky that centers on a true event that happened during the cholera epidemic of 1833. Louis, a slave was unaffected by cholera and he heroically buried the fifty plus victims of the disease after most of the citizens left town to escape the disease. Twelve years later when his owner died and it appeared as though Louis would be sold, the town bought his freedom. My story is how I imagine that might have come about. That story awaits edits as I consider a return to my fictional Shaker village of Harmony Hill for my next story.

If you were an animal in a zoo, what would you be?

A tiger. I’d be so graceful as I climbed around on the rocks and lay around in the sun. And if anybody bothered me I’d snarl and growl until they went away.

Ann H. Gabhart is the bestselling author of several Shaker novels—The Outsider, The Believer, The Seeker, The Blessed, and The Gifted—as well as Angel Sister, Small Town Girl, Love Comes Home, Words Spoken True, and The Heart of Hollyhill series. She lives with her husband a mile from where she was born in rural Kentucky. 
Grand Prize:
Copy of These Healing Hills + The Kentucky Snack Basket (11 items including a Derby Pie Tart, Bourbon Pecan Brittle, Bourbon Chocolates, Spiced Pretzels, Modjeskas, Coffee, Snack Mix, Candy Bar, Caramel Corn, and a Horseshoe from Churchill Downs!)
First Runner-Up:
Copy of These Healing Hills + $25 Barnes & Noble Gift Card
Second Runner-Up:
Copy of These Healing Hills + $10 Starbucks Gift Card
September 5 – 14, 2017
(U.S. Only)

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Interview with Dawn Ryder, Romance Author

What cultural value do you see in writing/reading/storytelling/etc.?

This is becoming a lost art. There is too much tech in the hands of children now. They aren’t learning how to use their imaginations. Books make you use that brain to envision the setting. This might be in fiction but when a child grows up, the adult will remember how to think outside the box and that’s how the next generation of new things and ideas will be born.

What do you think most characterizes your writing?

Realism. I want there to be a foundation of , it really could happen. Twists and turns are important to me. I want the reader to stick with the pages, knowing they will miss something if they skim.

How was writing this book different than your other books?

In the Unbroken Heroes, I’ve introduced my Shadow ops. They are an elite unit that works off grid. This book, Take it to the Limit, is where I illuminate what I’ve only talked about in the other books….the reality of one of their cases following them home. It’s why they live off grid. I didn’t want to just talk about it, I wanted to write one story where the reader sees it first hand as it unfolds.

What makes this book stand out from your other work?

Each Unbroken Heroes book is a challenge for me. I’ve been writing historical romance for a few years and this set of books just begged for a slot on my calendar.

What was the hardest part of writing this book?

Not killing my main villain…he really needs killing…

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

Okay, the Grandpa. He was a hoot to write and weave into the story line.

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

I’ve always been a story girl. Back when my Mom was telling me only one hour of television a day, she was a good mom for saying that, well, that wasn’t enough story time for me. My first real love of a book set was the ‘Little House’ books and it wasn’t too long after that I discovered romance. It was an era of no iPods and if you were lucky you had the radio to listen to. Books were my mental playground. It was also the way we entertained ourselves on camping trips. I’d tell stories to my younger siblings, we’d make up stories together…

A mom who had a firm one hour a night television rule….so if you wanted more entertainment, better crack a book. I did.

What kind(s) of writing do you do?

Historical romance and Contemporary. I’ve dabbled in paranormal too. In fact, my first published book was a paranormal.

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

Most useful was my mom taking me to the library. It wasn’t a choice. We went and stayed for hours. Like any kid, I thought books were boring but the truth was, my reading scores were low, so my mom made me read and I got those scores up to grade level. I used this same approach with my own boys.

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

Names are very important and I like them to reflect the culture I’m writing in. I’ve taken some hard comments over it in the past but I try to find unique names that fit what era I’m setting the story in….Sorry but Petunia was a very popular name at one time.

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

Full time writer…weekends…holidays….

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

Marital arts Instructor/ Master. training in this art has helped tremendously with fight scenes. It’s also really funny when my sons and I are at the movies, we are all advanced black belts, and we watch the fight scenes…

What do you like to read in your free time?

A little of everything. Last year I was re-reading the classics and discovering why I love Romance so much.

What projects are you working on at the present?

This week I am finishing up a Highlander romance that will release under my Mary Wine name and then I am going to head straight into the challenge of writing the last book in my Unbroken Heroes. It will be about Thais Sinclair.

What do your plans for future projects include?

After that, I will be submitting a new project to my editor in the hopes it is contracted. It’s a scary and exciting time for an author as a contact ends and you hope to gain a new one.

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

Yes. When I’m stuck, I will work on quilt blocks. Just piece them and for some reason this works. I can’t sew a costume piece, because I’m thinking about the construction of the garment. No, just piecing quilt squares. It results in boxes of half made quilts that drive my husband batty.

What do you think most characterizes your writing?

Complex story lines. I like there to be twists and turns and real reasons for my characters to be where they are.


What would your tombstone say?

No tombstone…no grave…. scatter my ashes at sea and I will be on to the next adventure. Leave the Earth for the next generation.

If you had a superpower, what would it be?

Healing. I’d love to be able to kill cancer and regrow healthy cells….

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


If you were an animal in a zoo, what would you be?

A Harpy Eagle. They are huge.

What is something you want to accomplish before you die?

Hit the New York Times list.

If you could have any accents from anywhere in the world, what would you choose?


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

I’ve been on a no carbs diet for a month now….I’m giving this question the stink eye look…..

How violently do you have to fight the urge to scream when you hear the ice cream truck coming?

That truck hasn’t come back since the day I had the Bankside sword group over and they charged after him with their rapiers and long swords….It was an honest mistake.

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?

Right now, I will run you down…enjoy seeing my step count increase and make you take them with you!

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

Training humans. And that they will probably kill us in the morning.


This or That?

Dogs or Cats?


Tea or Coffee?


Winter or Summer?

Winter in the Caribbean and summer in Alaska!

TexMex or Italian?


Vintage or New?

Both…but in clothing, Vintage wins.


I am a fourth degree black belt in Taekwondo. It’s the first rank where you are called ‘Master’. I started classes with my boys, to set a good example by not being a ‘Do as I say, not as I do’ sort of person and I was there with them at the studio…I never thought I’d stick with it this long or break bricks!




Take to the Limit cover.jpg

A hardened military machine, Bram Magnus is a tough, combat-ready, all-American hero who never surrenders. But the one thing he can’t fight? His smoldering, intense attraction to his girlfriend’s younger sister… He’s always kept his feelings locked deeply down but when his girlfriend betrays him the night before he ships off to Afghanistan, Bram has one chance to show the woman he’s resisted for years that he wants her as fiercely as the first day he saw her.

Ever since her older sister first brought home the soldier with steely hard muscles and piercing eyes, Jaelyn has wanted Bram, and when her sister casts him aside the night before he leaves, Jaelyn can’t resist one steamy hot kiss with him. But danger is not far behind, and even as a deadly enemy hunts them, their relationship only grows more explosive. It’s all Bram can do to keep Jaelyn safe, but with a threat this powerful, will they pay the ultimate price for their passion?





Dawn Ryder

Dawn Ryder is the contemporary romance pen name of a bestselling author of historical romances. Her official naughty inner child. She is commercially published in mass market and trade paper, and digi-first published with trade paper releases. She is hugely committed to her career as an author, as well as to other authors and to her readership. She resides in Southern California. Dawn’s Unbroken Heroes novels include Dangerous to Know and Dare You to Run.


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Interview with SD Grimm, YA Author of SUMMONER

Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre? I’m a geek to the core. I have fandoms. I have made a few costumes that I’ve worn to conferences. I have always loved Star Wars and Lord of the Rings. I still believe that unicorns could possibly exist. Fantasy and Science Fiction are my jam. I watch, read, write, and breathe these genres.

How long have you been writing? I started writing in grade school—a story about a lost sock that was actually an adventure story about a sock looking for his family. Since then, I really loved writing. But I started writing with the goal of getting published eight years ago.

What kind(s) of writing do you do? I write mostly fiction. I have written some articles, but by love and focus in writing is young adult fantasy and sci-fi. Mostly novels, because then I get to spend more time with my characters. But I have done a number of short stories and even flash fiction pieces.

What was the hardest part of writing this book?  To be honest, it was digging into my own emotional experiences that coincided with some of my characters’ experiences to get some raw, honest scenes. Yeah, the whole thing about writers pouring their blood, sweat, and tears into their work, it’s real. J

What did you enjoy most about writing this book? The characters. I LOVE Allie and Cody. I love their story. It was so much fun to write.

Are there underrepresented groups or ideas featured if your book?  If so, discuss them. Yeah. Cody, my main hero, is someone with a disability. It doesn’t define him, but it’s part of who he is. I got to talk to and learn from some amazing people while researching Cody’s specific disability, and one thing I took away from their openness and honesty that I wanted to make sure came through was that there’s no reason why he can’t. Yeah. Some things are harder. Some things are different. But a hero with a disability? Why not?

Who are some of your favorite authors that you feel were influential in your work?  What impact have they had on your writing? Maggie Stiefvater for one. I love her characters. There’s something lyrical in the way she writes. The feels. OMGsh the feels. Reading her stuff made me want to create amazing characters and emotions people could remember after closing the books. As a kid the Chronicles of Narnia by C.C. Lewis made me want to be a writer. I loved the imagination. The way he could whisk me into another world and open my eyes to things I’d never imagined existed. I wanted to be able to draw readers in like a partially opened wardrobe beckons adventurers.

What do you like to read in your free time? YA and adult fantasy and sci-fi. And I also love a good mystery as well as some horror and thrillers. I read more than one book at a time so I can pick and choose depending on my mood. I also read non-fiction if it has to do with personality psychology or animal behavior.

What projects are you working on at the present? Oooh. So many. I have two books coming out in the beginning of 2018 (book two in my Children of the Blood Moon YA fantasy series and the first book in a new YA urban fantasy trilogy). I just started plotting the start to a new magical realism series with some Greek mythology elements. I am putting finishing touches on my YA sci-fi. And I have a fairy tale retelling I’m delving into edits for. So a lot. lol

Do you have any strange writing habits (like standing on your head or writing in the shower)? If it’s strange to write out things on paper to involve one creative area of my brain, make lists of scenes and characters, etc., to involve another, and then put those lists and notes into two other programs (aside from the physical notebook) so that I can organize it different ways, then yes. I do.

What book do you wish you could have written? The Scorpio Races. I love mythological beasts and connections to animals.

If you could cast your characters in the Hollywood adaptation of your book, who would play your characters? I’d pick Anna Sophia Robb for Allie and Zach Roerig for Cody.

If you had a superpower, what would it be? Reading people’s minds and emotional states.

Where is one place you want to visit that you haven’t been before? So many! I want to go to Greece and Rome and the UK and Egypt.

If you were an animal in a zoo, what would you be? The red panda. Little, hides from view, cuddly-looking, but actually has really sharp teeth.

If you could have any accents from anywhere in the world, what would you choose? Irish or Scottish. Probably because I write out and think words like dinna and couldna but am always afraid of how they’ll sound if I were to actually say them.




S.D. Grimm’s first love in writing is young adult fantasy and science fiction, which is to be expected from someone who looks up to heroes like Captain America and Wonder Woman, has been sorted into Gryffindor, and identifies as rebel scum. Her patronus is a red Voltron lion, her spirit animal is Toothless, and her favorite meal is second breakfast.She is represented by Julie Gwinn of the Seymour Agency, her office is anywhere she can curl up with her laptop and at least one large-sized dog, and you can learn more about her upcoming novels at

Author Links: Website |  Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest | Goodreads | Amazon | Entangled Publishing



When Allie’s best friend dares their group to play a game in a cemetery—something she calls “witching”—Allie never expects what it might mean for her. When she plays, she doesn’t just find bodies, she summons their souls. But one soul wants more than Allie is willing to give.

And the boy next door could be the key to saving her.

Cody Burkhart. Straight from Montana, cowboy hat wearing, and smoking hot, he’s just the thing to help Allie become “normal” again after the death of her mother. And as her newly appointed Guardian, he’s also just the thing to help Allie ward off the vengeful spirit who’s after her soul. Except Cody has his own demons to slay that keep him closed off. But as the full moon approaches, so does their only chance to break the curse, and Cody will have to make the biggest sacrifice of all.


Spotlight: THE CURSE OF SACERDOZIO by Glen Aaron

BNR The Curse of Sacerdozio PNG

a tale of judicial conspiracy
The Supremes, Book 1
  Genre: Thriller / Suspense / Mystery
Publisher: BookBaby
Date of Publication: June 1, 2017
Number of Pages: 275
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In​ ​Supreme​ ​Court​ ​books,​ ​there​ ​is​ ​seldom​ ​the​ ​intrigue​ ​of​ ​murder​ ​and​ ​of​ ​crime​ ​and​ ​punishment within​ ​the​ ​chambers.​ ​The​ ​Curse​ ​of​ ​Sacerdozio​ ​takes​ ​the​ ​death​ ​of​ ​Justice​ ​Antonin​ ​Scalia​ ​on​ ​a fictional​ ​journey​ ​that​ ​keeps​ ​you​ ​turning​ ​pages.​ ​As​ ​President​ ​Trump​ ​takes​ ​power,​ ​this​ ​tale​ ​raises questions​ ​about​ ​what​ ​influences​ ​drive​ ​him​ ​in​ ​judicial​ ​appointments,​ ​while​ ​at​ ​the​ ​same​ ​time entertaining​ ​the​ ​reader​ ​in​ ​a​ ​political​ ​and​ ​legal​ ​thriller.

The​ ​issues​ ​of​ ​abortion, ​ ​marriage,​ ​and​ ​the​ ​conduct​ ​of​ ​Supreme​ ​Court​ ​Justices​ ​wrapped​ ​in judicial​ ​conspiracy​ ​to​ ​control​ ​the​ ​Court​ ​and​ ​Congress​ ​come​ ​into​ ​stark​ ​conflict.​ ​The​ ​power​ ​of​ ​the church​ ​and​ ​motivated​ ​thinking​ ​highly​ ​organized​ ​pressure​ ​groups​ ​like​ ​the​ ​Federalist​ ​Society​ ​and Opus​ ​Dei​ ​are​ ​revealed​ ​in​ ​this​ ​plot​ ​driven​ ​novel.

While​ ​the​ ​story​ ​of​ ​the​ ​protagonist,​ ​Tommy​ ​Jon,​ ​is​ ​a​ ​success​ ​story​ ​within​ ​itself,​ ​as​ ​he​ ​is​ ​the​ ​first Jicarilla​ ​Apache​ ​to​ ​graduate​ ​from​ ​Harvard​ ​Law​ ​School​ ​and​ ​clerk​ ​for​ ​a​ ​Supreme​ ​Court​ ​Justice, his​ ​downfall​ ​is​ ​in​ ​contesting​ ​the​ ​judicial​ ​philosophy​ ​of​ ​Justice​ ​Sacerdozio.​ ​When​ ​the​ ​judge​ ​is found​ ​dead​ ​floating​ ​in​ ​a​ ​hot​ ​mineral​ ​pool​ ​on​ ​a​ ​ranch​ ​retreat​ ​in​ ​West​ ​Texas,​ ​Tommy​ ​Jon becomes​ ​a​ ​target​ ​of​ ​the​ ​FBI​ ​in​ ​suspicion​ ​of​ ​murder.​ ​The​ ​climax​ ​of​ ​the​ ​novel​ ​is​ ​his​ ​trial​ ​in​ ​the Federal​ ​District Court​ ​in​ ​El​ ​Paso.

Underlying​ ​the​ ​plot,​ ​the​ ​reader​ ​will​ ​realize​ ​a​ ​serious​ ​concern​ ​about​ ​just​ ​who​ ​President​ ​Trump really​ ​is.​ ​The​ ​political​ ​conspiracy​ ​that​ ​has​ ​brought​ ​the​ ​religious​ ​right​ ​and​ ​the​ ​judiciary​ ​together​ ​is unfolding​ ​and​ ​coming​ ​to​ ​fruition,​ ​now,​ ​in​ ​Washington.​ ​The​ ​Curse​ ​Of​ ​Sacerdozio​ ​is​ ​fictional​ ​in​ ​its tale​ ​but​ ​realistic​ ​in​ ​its​ ​revelations.
Praise for The Curse of Sacerdozio:
“The Curse of Sacerdozio: A Tale of Judicial Conspiracy rings through with originality, a story that will have readers gripped from beginning to end.” – Romuald Dzemo for Readers’ Favorite
“The characters are all wonderful, and some are more than what they seem.” – Jay Snook
“Aaron has done his research!” – Jenn Jilks, Cottage Country Reflections
“The novel entertains as it educates allowing the reader to be both intrigued and informed.” – The Nerdy Girl Express
“Aaron displays a knack for describing and creating emotion in any event.” — Sharon Kurack, StarryMag


Glen Aaron was born in Big Spring, Texas and raised in Midland. In 1962, while attending Baylor, he ran for State Representative from Midland at he age of 21. He lost that election in a runoff by 42 votes. Deciding politics was not for him, he graduated Baylor with a BA and moved on to the University of Texas law school. There, he won the Moot Court competition arguing before the Supreme Court of Texas sitting en banc. After acquiring his JD, Glen spent forty years in trial law and international business and banking. Today, he lives in Midland with his wife Jane Hellinghausen and two rottweilers. He enjoys writing and working with the Permian Basin Bookies. Author of: The Ronnie Lee and Jackie Bancroft Spencer Morgan Story, a tale of people, greed, envy, manipulation — even crime; The Colonel George Trofimoff Story, the tale of America’s highest ranking military officer convicted of spying; The Prison Experience; The Prison People.

Three Signed Copies of The Curse of Sacerdozio
September 6 – 15, 2017
(U.S. Only)


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Guest Post: I AM NOT COMPETING WITH YOU by Randy Powers, Preparedness Author and Advocate



When it comes to my personal level of preparedness or my family’s level of readiness and resilience, you need to listen and hear me clearly when I say …. I am not competing with you.

So very often in the world of preparedness, in forums across the spectrum and in every specific area of interest, one of the realities is that those that are seeking to learn more about how to best prepare their families quickly become overwhelmed at the prospect of it all.  This is very common and virtually all of us have been there at one point or another.  This is because tackling the idea of personal preparedness is, indeed, quite a task.  I’m not re-inventing the wheel by pointing this out.  However, I point that out to focus on a more insidious and disheartening obstacle that makes everyone’s journey towards better preparedness more difficult, especially those new to the subject matter.  This obstacle presents itself in a myriad of forms, from the overbearing and extreme doomsday prepper that makes you question your sanity, to the know it all prepper that offers nothing more than a voice telling you that you’re doing it wrong, to the “look at all my stuff” prepper that takes a not-always-so-quiet glee in showing off their preparedness “stuff” and telling you all about how far behind the curve you are type prepper, to the zero sum prepper that let’s you know in no uncertain terms that it’s you or them.  There are others too.  Some are obnoxious, some are dangerous, and some are ridiculous, but ALL are counterproductive to the greater goal of advancing the idea of preparedness.

The “on the ground” reality of my level of preparedness, however great or small, doesn’t diminish or increase your level of preparedness in any way.  Rather, I hope any effort I choose to make to open a window into our journey that exposes all of our successes, as well as my failures, will help you as you travel your preparedness road.  No one can tell you the best way to prepare you and your loved ones for an uncertain future better than you.  My situation and circumstance is not your situation or circumstance.  My weaknesses are not your weaknesses.  My resources are not your resources.  How then can I expect to be able to tell you how to achieve your preparedness goals, and furthermore, why should you listen?  Now, by all means, take a look around, listen and learn from anyone you think has something of value say, show or share.  Take what works and leave the rest behind.  Just remember, at the end of the day, it comes down to what you want to accomplish and how best you can make that a reality.

What you’re doing and how you’re doing it should be absolutely comfortable for you.  Forget peer pressure.  It’s easy to get caught up in this trap, especially once you’ve got the basics covered.  Again, this is a common misstep, even among those of us that have given this topic a great deal of consideration.  Remember, no one will have to walk a mile in your shoes except for you, so make sure they wear well.

As you look around the landscape of the personal preparedness universe, you will undoubtedly find people with perspectives that you value and appreciate.  I hope you will seek to build beneficial relationships, maybe even from some of the people behind those voices and perspectives, and hopefully you can and develop a community of your people from those relationships.  You can think of this as your tribe.  You can’t, and shouldn’t, do this preparedness thing alone.  It will wear you down.  Building relationships and aligning yourself with folks that share the same moral and ethical perspectives as you, the same character type as you, and even the same general world view as you, will prove to be a tremendous resource in the long run.  Especially if they just happen to have a skill set that you may be lacking.  The cold, hard truth is you have to sleep some time, you can’t be everywhere at once, and certainly none of us know everything there is to know.  A strong community is a tremendous asset at any time, but especially during a time of crisis.  Start building yours today.

Finally, please remember to enjoy the journey!  You’re doing all of this work, research, and training to be ready when the occasion demands it of you.  It can become quite the anxiety triggering grind.  I would like to encourage you to look at the other side of the coin and remember that you are providing yourself with entertainment, social activity, physical activity, continued education, and perspective, just to name a few benefits.  And please don’t forget why you’re doing all of this in the first place.  Doesn’t that make everything you do worth it?  Never forget, you can handle this.

I am not competing with you, but I sure am pulling for you.

If you want to better understand my thoughts on personal preparedness, please check out my books ( ) or wander deeper into this blog.  I hope this website ( ) will help you along your way, especially if you’re just getting started.  Keep up with everything Practical Tactical by subscribing to our mailing list at our website and be sure to LIKE, SHARE and FOLLOW us on Facebook at and FOLLOW us on Twitter at ( @PracTac4U ) as well.



Randall S. Powers is a graduate of the Grady College of Journalism and the University of Georgia. A journalist with a career spanning over 20 years across all forms of media, including radio, print, digital and television. Since 1998, Randall has worked with an international broadcast media outlet with credits as a media manager, editor, producer, speaker and lead trainer and has been a contributor on three projects that were awarded the prestigious Peabody Award in 2005, 2008 and 2010.rp head shot black smile.jpg



Using the skills gained during his career as a journalist, Randall has also widened his focus to include disaster preparedness, becoming an entrepreneur as the founder and Chief Managing Partner of Practical Tactical. From this new platform, Randall works as a personal preparedness consultant, strategist, public speaker, and author.  


Additionally, when he’s not busy working around his north Georgia homestead, Randall is the producer and host of Practical Prepping. Period. on the Authors on the Air Global Radio Network, focusing on a “whole-istic” approach to personal preparedness that strives to help listeners better understand what’s going on in their world and why it matters to them.



Excerpt: THE CHESAPEAKE BRIDE by Mariah Stewart



11th in The Chesapeake Diaries series

by: Mariah Stewart

Published by: Pocket Books

Release Date: August 29, 2017

ISBN 9781501154355; $7.99



I love the changing of the seasons—and I think summer into fall might be a favorite, being as how I relate to the whole “autumn of my years” thing. That’s how I see myself, anyway. If sixty is the new forty, I believe seventy must be the new fifty, eighty the new sixty, and so on. Therefore, I fall into that third quadrant. Don’t try to change my mind or confuse me with facts.

One of the reasons I love this time of the year: the steady influx of tourists into St. Dennis begins to wane. Not that I don’t love our visitors. Why, without them, St. Dennis would have continued to languish and would never have become the Eastern Shore mecca it now is. But there’s something sweet about having your hometown belong to you and yours again, even if it’s just for a while. I know soon enough the holidays will be upon us and many will flock to town for all the beautiful festivities—the Christmas House Tour, the weekend of caroling, the tree lighting at the square on Old St. Mary’s Church Road, Christmas at the Inn (a favorite of mine), and, oh, yes, the shopping! But this little respite between the beginning of September, when the families leave to return their offspring to school, and the holiday madness belongs to us, we old St. Dennis folk who like a little downtime.

Not to say there’s nothing going on here! There are new babies to celebrate and a special wedding on the horizon, one that makes me especially weepy. My dear nephew, Alec, will be marrying his lovely Lisbeth in an event that will be the talk of both St. Dennis and Cannonball Island for a long time to come. I’m not privy to all the details, mind you, but since my daughter, Lucy, is planning the wedding, I’ve heard bits and squeaks of what she has in mind, and it will, no doubt, be perfectly wonderful.

When we were children, Mama told us that when good folks passed, they earned a star in the heavens where they could sit and shine down on all the goings-on here on earth. Our brothers scoffed, but we girls believed her, and so it is that I know my beloved sister, Carole, will be watching happily from her star as her son marries his bride out on the point in just a few more weeks.

Thinking about the point makes me think of all the changes that are coming to Cannonball Island soon. So much, it could make your head spin! For the first time in roughly two hundred years, new dwellings will be going up on what had once been barren land. I heard from one in the know that some of the older homesteads—mostly those that have fallen into ruin or have been abandoned—will be replaced with new versions more suitable to modern living. Some are up in arms about this, but frankly, it’s about time. Those dilapidated old shells offer no shelter and, if anything, detract from the beauty of the island. My good friend Ruby Carter—the island’s matriarch—has given her blessing, and that’s good enough for me. Besides, Alec will be serving as the environmental consultant, so I feel confident that all will be well. The new homes are being designed with the island’s history in mind, so the legacy of those early settlers will be well protected. The architect is a lovely young woman who is serious about this project, so I know, eventually, all will be well.

Of course I do.

I know, too, that a certain islander with a “rolling stone” reputation will be finding his rolling days coming to a halt


before too long. It will be amusing, to say the least, to see him meet his match. Will he be bested?

The smart money’s on the new girl. That’s all I have to say about that.

And so much excitement over all the goings-on at the mouth of the river on the other side of Cannonball Island! Who knew such mysteries lay beneath the water, waiting to be discovered—and now that they have been, well, the flurry of activity these days has my poor old head spinning like an old-fashioned top. I cannot wait to see what they find, and I’m more than happy that one of the principal players is staying at the inn. Not that I’d pry, but if one overhears a snippet of conversation now and then . . . well, let’s just say it’s good to keep informed. Now, how all this is going to affect the construction that was slated to begin in November, well, I suppose everyone will have to wait and see. Could be there will be delays, which will keep the new girl around for a while longer and will keep the rolling stone on his toes.

My, what fun this will be~

Grace ~


Praise for The Chesapeake Bride, Book 11 in The Chesapeake Diaries:

“Stewart succeeds in giving both Owen and Cass a smooth blend of strength and vulnerability, and the setting of this heartwarming romance will draw readers in with its island-life charm.”— Publishers Weekly

Strengths: Noteworthy historical content; Engaging characters; Strong Romance; HEA…Measure of Love: Teaspoon…Mood: Poignant and lighthearted…Why You Should Read this: Definitely will appeal to readers wanting a strong romance. And the genealogy and historical aspects are a perfect addition to a pleasing story!”— Heroes and Heartbreakers Women’s Fiction Best Bet for August 2017

“The Chesapeake Bride is a small-town romance which will leave readers wanting more of the charming characters and unforgettable story. I enjoyed this book so much that I am still running some of the scenes through my head, which shows how fantastic the story is. Another great read by an outstanding author. A Recommended Read!”— Romance Junkies, Five Heart Review

“The romance is slow and sweet…the lack of unnecessary melodrama, angst, and over-the-top gestures makes this a refreshing contemporary romance between two adults who act as such.”— Kirkus Reviews 

Praise for Driftwood Point, Book 10 in The Chesapeake Diaries:

“This second-chance-at-love romance is gentle and sweet…The colorful friendship between the family matriarchs…charms. Stewart seamlessly checks in with former series protagonists and introduces future romantic pairings without stealing attention from Lisbeth and Alec.”

—RT Book Reviews 

Praise for That Chesapeake Summer, Book 9 in The Chesapeake Diaries:

“[That Chesapeake Summer] deftly uses the tools of the genre to explore issues of identity, truth, and smalltown kinship…Stewart offers a strong statement on the power of love and trust, a fitting theme for this big-hearted small town romance.” — Publishers Weekly

“A touching story of self-discovery and homecoming that is sure to warm readers’ hearts…fans are sure to feel right at home in Stewart’s idyllic seaside setting and follow this emotional journey with avid interest.” — RT Book Reviews

 Praise for The Last Chance Matinee, Book One in The Hudson Sisters Series:

“The popcorn, the red velvet seats, the glittering Hollywood stars on-screen…I’ve enjoyed all aspects of going to the movies since I was a kid…so when I saw a vintage theater on the cover of this book, I quickly swiped it up…The tale was a sweet reminder of the importance of family. I can’t wait for the next book in this series!” — First for Women magazine, July 2017

“[This] lively, warmhearted series starter will have readers eagerly awaiting the second installment.” — Booklist

“A good read, with a nice blend of mystery, family drama, and romance.” — Library Journal




New York Times bestselling author Mariah Stewart returns to the cherished Maryland shores of St. Dennis withTHE CHESAPEAKE BRIDE (Pocket Books; August 29, 2017; $7.99), the charming story of a jaded architect who meets the one man who could finally melt her heart—if she’s willing to let him in.

Cassidy Logan has sworn off good-looking adventurers, having just divorced the one she’d married. Now working with her father’s construction company to build ecologically friendly, historically accurate homes on the Chesapeake Bay, she’s designing them for Cannonball Island. Knowing there’s been no new construction on the island in almost one hundred years, Cass is sensitive to the heritage and history of the sparsely populated island, and has come up with plans so perfect she’s determined to buy one for herself to live in. Even the fact that Owen Parker—whom she dismisses as a lightweight and a player— seems to be everywhere she goes isn’t enough to deter her from building her dream house.

Owen is and always has been sinfully handsome and wickedly clever, a magnet for mischief as well as the girls in St. Dennis. He’s also a rolling stone, going and doing whatever appeals to him, from flying a mail plane in Alaska to working on a cattle ranch in Australia and a shrimp boat in Louisiana, to surfing and diving in Costa Rica. When an old friend offers him a job salvaging a sunken ship in the Chesapeake, Owen gladly accepts. Something’s been telling him it’s about time to head home to Cannonball Island, and a job is as good an excuse as any. He’s totally smitten with the pretty architect, but it seems he’s finally met a woman who’s immune to his charms. Sooner or later, Owen will have to face the reason why he always runs, because this time, leaving just might be harder than staying.





Mariah Stewart is the award-winning New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of numerous novels and several novellas and short stories.  A native of Hightstown, New Jersey, she lives with her husband and two rambunctious rescue dogs amid the rolling hills of Chester County, Pennsylvania, where she savors country life and tends her gardens.  Visit her website at, like her on Facebook at AuthorMariahStewart, and follow her on Instagram at mariah_stewart_books.

Upcoming store event with Mariah:

Thursday, August 31st, 6:30 pm (Note: This event was rescheduled due to the storm.)

Bethany Beach Books

99 Garfield Parkway

P.O. Box 904

Bethany Beach, DE 19930



Look for Gallery Books’ second installment in Mariah Stewart’s all-new trade original women’s fiction series, The Hudson Sisters, following a trio of reluctant sisters as they set out to fulfill their father’s dying wish—and discover themselves in the process. Book 2, The Sugarhouse Blues, will publish March 2018!



We’re celebrating The Chesapeake Bride and Summer 2017 with one giveaway for Driftwood Point, 10th  in The Chesapeake Diaries Series by Mariah Stewart! The last day for entries will be Friday, September 22nd (the official last day of summer!) The winner will receive one copy of Driftwood Point. U.S. only, please. You can enter at the participating blogs listed below – but you can only win once!

a Rafflecopter giveaway







































































Interview with Mariah Stewart, author of the Hudson Sisters Series


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

I don’t think I actively made a choice – my stories just naturally fell into the realm of women’s fiction, often with an emphasis on romance (because love does in fact make the world go ‘round!).

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

I’ve always had a very active imagination!

When I was seven, I contracted whooping cough and was very sick for thirteen weeks – the entire summer! Every other day, my mother would send my older brother to our little town library where the kind librarian would load him up with a selection of books for me to read. By the end of the summer, I’d gone through the books for my reading level several times. My mom bought me a black and white composition book, and told me to write my own stories (anything to keep me busy and not thinking about the fact that every other kid in our neighborhood was having a great summer playing outside while I was confined to the house). My paternal grandmother’s stories about growing up in a tiny village outside of Edinburgh, Scotland, did a lot to feed my imagination.

How long have you been writing?

Since I was seven! See above! But my first published books came out in 1995 from Pocket Books.

What kind(s) of writing do you do?

I write mostly women’s fiction, sometimes with an emphasis on romantic relationships. I’ve also written suspense and romantic suspense.

How does your book relate to your spiritual practice or other life path?

I like to think my stories are about people who act morally and who try to honor their relationships and contribute to the world I create for them. Over the years I’ve had hundreds of emails from people who tell me they wished they lived next door to one of my characters, or wish a specific character was real so they could be friends. Even some of the villains in my romantic suspense novels had a redeeming quality or two!

What do you think most characterizes your writing?

Definitely character-driven novels with strong women protagonists that focus on the importance of relationships – family, friends, significant others. My books are all set within the framework and patterns of life in a small town, and explore the importance of friendship and how all our relationships impact our lives, how the past affects the present and the future, how our lives are often the product of our decisions.

What was the hardest part of writing this book?  

The first fifty pages! Always the hardest for me!

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

This book is the eleventh in the Chesapeake Diaries series. I love going back to my fictional town, St. Dennis, and the characters who inhabit that world. The last few books in the series have seen the setting move to Cannonball Island, which is across a narrow river from St. Dennis, so I could explore another families and a different culture than the one in St. Dennis. One of the things I love the most is making up the histories of places and families – so much fun!

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

I think the author who had the most influence on my writing was Lucy Maud Montgomery. Reading about Anne of Green Gables fed my imagination, and in some ways, Anne and I are soul sisters. She was the first character I read about who I felt expressed herself in ways that I totally related to!

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

For me, most useful – reading. Reading. Reading. Reading. The best way to stretch your mind!

Least useful? Self-doubt.

What do you like to read in your free time?

Free time? What is free time? Right now, I’m planning my daughter’s wedding and trying to keep the garden from getting out of control!

I do read every chance I get.

What book do you wish you could have written?

Absolutely anything by James Lee Burke – I think he’s brilliant.

Oh, and George R.R. Martin’s world building defies the abilities of mere mortals. I’d love to have written the entire Song of Ice and Fire series – because I’d know how it ends! Who will survive? Who will sit on the Iron Throne?

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

Again, Lucy Maud Montgomery.

How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning? Do you have any name choosing resources you recommend?

Odd though this might sound, 99% of the time, when my characters show up, they tell me who they are. But I always have characters show up I hadn’t planned for – they just walk into a scene and there they are. When I was writing Mercy Street, a woman showed up and just started talking. I knew she was an older woman, with some authority over the male protagonist who was a dot com billionaire, but she was bossing him around and he was fine with that. Not his grandmother, I knew, but someone close. And I couldn’t find a name for her. Tried out dozens, but none were right. So I had to leave a blank space for her name, like, “—- said.”

One day I got an email from a woman named Trula Comfort (is that the best name EVER?) and I knew right away it was The Name. I wrote back and asked if I could borrow her name, and she kindly agreed.

If you had a superpower, what would it be?

Since I hate – HATE – airplanes (total claustrophobic!) – I’d want to be able to fly. Without going through airports.

When my kids were little, I convinced them I had Mommy Magic. I guess that’s sort of a superpower!

What literary character is most like you?

Definitely Anne Shirley – still!

If you were an animal in a zoo, what would you be?

If I were an animal in a zoo, I’d be looking for a way to get out!


Book 1 in The Hudson Sisters series


The Last Chance Matinee by Mariah Stewart

Publication Date: March 21, 2017

Publisher: Gallery Books

Look for Book 2 in 2018 and Book 3 in 2019!

Praise for The Last Chance Matinee:

“The popcorn, the red velvet seats, the glittering Hollywood stars on-screen…I’ve enjoyed all aspects of going to the movies since I was a kid,” reminisces Lauren Gatcombe, FIRST assistant editor. “So when I saw a vintage theater on the cover of this book, I quickly swiped it up.” When famed L.A. agent Fritz Hudson passes away, his daughter, Cara, discovers she has two half sisters whose existence were kept secret from her. The other shock: In order for the three sisters to receive their inheritances, they must restore an old movie theater in Fritz’s Pennsylvania hometown. There are trials and tribulations along the way, but the sisters decide to work together to turn their father’s dream into a reality. “I identified a lot with Cara as I read,” says Lauren. “And the tale was a sweet reminder of the importance of family. I can’t wait for the next book in this series!” First For Women magazine

“The combination of a quirky small-town setting, a family mystery, a gentle romance, and three estranged sisters is catnip for women’s-fiction fans, and the backdrop of the faded movie palace adds a fascinating element to the story. Stewart’s lively, warmhearted series starter [The Last Chance Matinee] will have readers eagerly awaiting the second installment.” — Booklist

“A good read, with a nice blend of mystery, family drama, and romance. Readers will look forward to the next installment.”— Library Journal

About The Last Chance Matinee:

From the New York Times bestselling author Mariah Stewart comes the first novel in her all-new series, which follows a trio of reluctant sisters who set out to fulfill their father’s dying wish and, in the process, discover the truth not only about their pasts but about each other—and themselves—in a way that will forever alter their futures.

When celebrated and respected Fritz Hudson passes away suddenly, he leaves a trail of Hollywood glory in his wake—and two separate families who never knew the other existed. Allie and Des Hudson are products of Fritz’s first marriage to Honora, a beautiful but troubled starlet whose life ended tragically. As his relationship with Honora was unraveling, Fritz was simultaneously falling in love on the Delaware Bay with New Age hippie Susa—but while Fritz adored Susa and fathered daughter Cara with her, he never quite managed to come clean about his West Coast Family.

Now Fritz is gone, and the three sisters are brought together under strange circumstances: there’s a large inheritance to be had, specifically one that could save Allie from her ever-deepening debt following a disastrous divorce; allow Des to open a rescue shelter for abused and wounded animals; and give Cara a fresh start after her husband left her for her best friend; but only if the sisters upend their lives and work together to restore an old theater that was Fritz’s obsession growing up in his small hometown in Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains. Will the sisters come together to turn their father’s dream into a reality – and will they come away with far more than they bargained for?

About Mariah Stewart:

Mariah Stewart is an award-winning New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of numerous novels as well as several novellas and short stories. She lives with her husband and two rambunctious rescue dogs amid the rolling hills of Chester County, Pennsylvania, where she savors county life and tends her gardens while she works on her next novel. Visit her at and follow her on and on Instagram @mariah_stewart_books.

About the series:

The Last Chance Matinee, Book 1 (March 21, 2017)
The Sugarhouse Blues, Book 2 (March 20, 2018)


UNTITLED Book 3 (coming in 2019)

Note:  Mariah Stewart’s separate series, the bestselling Chesapeake Diaries, has been a favorite with readers since 2010. The eleventh installment, The Chesapeake Bride, will publish August 29, 2017.

Upcoming store events with Mariah:

Wednesday, August 30th, 6:00 pm:  Barnes & Noble, Concord Mall – 4801 Concord Pike; Wilmington, DE 19803

Review: KNIGHT ON THE TEXAS PLAINS by Linda Broday {giveaway}

BNR Knight on the Texas Plains JPG
Texas Heroes Series
  Genre: Western / Historical / Romance
Date of Publication: August 1, 2017
Number of Pages: 352

Scroll down for Giveaway!

Duel McClain buries his wife and infant son, climbs in the saddle, and rides off. Locked in grief, he drifts from one Texas town to another as the months pass. He rides into a border town and gets in a card game in the saloon. On the last hand, the opponent across from him runs out of money. The man reaches down for a baby and plunks her in the center of the table. Whoever wins the pot, gets her too. After Duel wins with the Deadman’s Hand, he tries to give the baby back. But when the man tells him he’ll sell her, Duel keeps his prize.
On the way back to his home, he runs across a woman covered in blood. She only says her name is Jessie and the blood isn’t hers. The deep fear in her eyes touches Duel and he has to do something. He strikes a bargain—he’ll take her anywhere she wants to go in return for helping with the child.
Jessie sees honor, respect, and kindness in his eyes. And the moment she holds the baby in her arms, her heart melts. Once they reach Duel’s home, she confesses she killed her husband and tells him the law will come. Desperate to save her, he offers marriage and she accepts.

They settle in and love develops. But each day grows more tense. Lawmen are coming and they can’t stop them. Soon, she’ll face the hangman’s rope.

Praise for Knight on the Texas Plains:
“Broday (the Men of Legend series) has a knack for capturing the hesitations of both Duel and Jessie and unfurling a twisting plot without resorting to melodrama. Through carefully deployed flashbacks, she slowly exposes the horrors of Jessie’s marriage, culminating in a truly grisly image of depravity without overwhelming the tender love story. Fans of historical romances will be pleased.”  ~~ Publisher’s Weekly
“The instant a sweet baby girl, an abused woman, a stray dog, and a reluctant hero meet, readers are drawn into a tender and tough love story that touches many emotions and will have them believing in the healing power of love.”  ~~ Romantic Times 4 ½ Stars Top Pick!
“Broday’s latest is a tender romance to touch the heart.”  ~~ Bookpage
“This story is simply endearing, packed with powerful message of humanity and the true healing power of family and love!!” ~~ Addicted to Romance
“Throughout the well-paced story, there was suspense, tears, fear, revulsion, and no shortage of laughter and joy. I didn’t want the story to end.” ~~ Teresa on Goodreads

Traditional Western Romance with a TON of Heart.
Duel McLain has taken to wandering the Texas landscape since he lost everything, except his honor.  A winning hand of poker sets his life on a path he never expected.  And now he has a child to see to safety.
Jessie Foltry is running for her life.  Hungry and battered, she stumbles upon Duel’s campsite, and his honor compels him to bring her along to safety back home.  
Duel and Jessie find a way to put their tortured pasts behind them and find salvation in one another, while making a life and a place in their hearts for the little girl, Marley Rose.  But the past is never far behind, and they must trust in each other to get through the trials ahead.
Linda Broday is an exceptional storyteller.  The scenery comes to life around her characters as she weaves the story of Duel and Jessie on the page.  The characters are truly unforgettable and are guaranteed to stay with me for a long time.  I absolutely adored this story.  It was a delightful tale of loss and redemption, and honor.  I highly recommend KNIGHT ON THE TEXAS PLAINS to those who love historical western romances with a sweet romance and an ending that will leave you warm and fuzzy long after the last page.

Linda Broday, Historical Western Romance Author  I’m a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of 8 full length historical western romance novels, with another set to release 2017, and 10 short stories. Watching TV westerns during my youth fed my love of cowboys and the old West and they still do. I reside in the Texas Panhandle on land the American Indian and Comancheros once roamed. At times, I can feel their ghosts lurking around every corner. Texas’ rich history is one reason I set all my stories here. I love research and looking for little known tidbits to add realism to my stories. When I’m not writing, I collect old coins and I confess to being a rock hound. I’ve been accused (and quite unfairly I might add) of making a nuisance of myself at museums, libraries, and historical places. I’m also a movie buff and love sitting in a dark theater, watching the magic on the screen. As long as I’m confessing…chocolate is my best friend. It just soothes my soul.



  August 15-24, 2017 

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Excerpt: COMFORT PLANS by Kimberly Fish

BNR Comfort Plans JPG
  Genre: Contemporary Women’s Fiction
Date of Publication: May 23, 2017
Number of Pages: 320
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Colette Sheridan is being remodeled.

As a San Antonio architect, she’d have vowed her career was to investigate the history and create new functions for the structures everyone else saw as eyesores. The old German farmhouse in Comfort, Texas, might be the screeching end of that dream job. The assignment seemed so ideal at the start; generous clients, a stunning location, and a pocketful of letters that were surely meant to explain the ranch’s story. All that goodness crashed louder than a pile of two-by-fours when her grandfather announced he’d lured Colette’s ex-husband back to San Antonio to take over the family architecture firm. Now, not only does Colette have to endure the challenges posed by Beau Jefferson, the client’s handpicked contractor, a house that resists efforts to be modernized, and letters that may hold the secret to buried treasure, but she also has to decide if she has the courage to fight for her future.
Set against the backdrop of the Texas Hill Country, Colette and Beau have to rely on plans neither of them constructed in order to navigate the changes of a house with a story to tell, and a future they couldn’t even imagine.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
“Kimberly Fish’s unique writing style snatched me out of my easy chair and plunked me down into the middle of her character’s life where I was loathe to leave when my real life called me back. Her descriptive visual writing drew me in on the first page. Can’t wait to read more stories by Mrs. Fish.”
–Vickie Phelps,Author of Moved, Left No Address


Excerpt, Chapter 1, Part 3

from Comfort Plans

Continued from the Lone Star Book Blog Tours 8/5/17 Stop

Scooping up a handful of chiffon, Colette scooted across the leather driver’s seat and wondered if her grandfather followed-through with a candidate, if a new president at Sheridan’s would gain much traction in the market. The boutique firm specialized in historical restoration and had a niche in South Texas. Since Nathan Sheridan was the guru of that style, she doubted anyone would ever replicate the success her grandfather had maintained in an industry that could change on the whims of the stock market.

Point number twelve for why he needed to groom a stronger replacement.

She backed out of the driveway but stole one last glance at the man who never went a day without Brylcreem. His custom-tailored shirt was rolled at the sleeves, and he was wearing his dress slacks on a Saturday night. The Big Ben of her world—he was classy, reliable, and just as unbending as any national monument London had ever produced.

He was flagging her to roll down her window.

Colette cranked the window below her nose. “Yes?”

“Aren’t you at all curious who I’ve finally selected to manage my empire?”

Empire was a bit of a leap. The last quarter-profits weren’t anything to get excited about. “Knowing that you would scour the face of the earth to find someone worthy of the Sheridan name and that it’s taken you years since the last serious candidate, I’m hopeful this man is capable of carrying your legacy forward.”

“That’s a lot of faith from the girl who questioned me about the wisdom of maintaining my breakfast ritual at Earl Abel’s.”

He did have a nasty habit of smothering all forms of nutrition with sausage gravy, which was another reason to force him into a doctor’s appointment.

“I’m looking out for your general health because I want you to hang around and torment me for years to come.” Which was true. She adored her resident curmudgeon and delighted in being one of the few people in the world who could make him laugh.

His lips turned down even more than usual. “I’m one of the short timers, which is why I want to know that you and my firm are going to be in good hands.”

She shivered. “Don’t talk like that. You know what Momma says about positive thinking.”

“Your mother is a flake.”

Colette sighed and knew she’d be even later to this wedding than was acceptable. “I can see you want to tell me who you’ve hired, so what’s his name? Or am I supposed to guess based on last month’s Architectural Digest article about the ‘it guy’ from Los Angeles?”

She’d seen her grandfather poring over those pages like they were printed in gold leaf. She hadn’t seen anything brilliant when she’d snatched the article from the breakfast table, but her inability to see modern trends was another excuse she’d offered as to why she’d make a lousy president of the firm.

Finish reading Chapter One on the Lone Star Book Blog Tours 8/13/17 Stop

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 2017, released the first novel in a series set during the World War II years in Longview, Texas – The Big Inch.
She lives with her family in East Texas.
July 31 – August 14, 2017
(U.S. Only)

Excerpt 1
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