Review: UNDERSTANDING CEMETERY SYMBOLS by Tui Snider {giveaway}

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UNDERSTANDING CEMETERY SYMBOLS

A Field Guide for Historic Graveyards

(Messages from the Dead)

by

TUI SNIDER

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

  Genre: History / Landmarks & Monuments / Iconography

Publisher: Castle Azle Press

Date of Publication: August 19, 2017

Number of Pages: 250

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Understanding Cemetery Symbols by Tui Snider helps history buffs, genealogists, ghost hunters, and other curiosity seekers decode the forgotten meanings of the symbols our ancestors placed on their headstones. By understanding the meaning behind the architecture, acronyms, & symbols found in America’s burial grounds, readers will gain a deeper appreciation for these “messages from the dead.”

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Praise for Understanding Cemetery Symbols:

“When I ordered this book I thought it would be good for information concerning cemetery symbolism. I was wrong. It is GREAT!!!! This has already become my go to guide for all types of cemetery information. By far the best book I have come across!”  – Amazon verified purchase, wearylibrarian

“Wow! What a great book! I got bit by the bug doing genealogy research. I always wondered what the symbols meant and could not find a reliable resource for the info. With Ms. Snider’s book along with the symbiology and great pictures, also a creative process of Tui’s, are plenty of interesting tidbits! Useful and entertaining! The book is small enough to keep in the glove box or your handbag or backpack!!” – Amazon verified purchase, Rev. Joy Daley

“I always enjoyed walking through a cemetery and looking at the stones. Now it will give it a much deeper meaning. I really enjoyed reading this book!”  – Amazon verified purchase, Deborah D.

“Perfect book to get an idea for symbols and meaning. Only glanced through it and already picked up a few facts! Welcome addition to our growing library…” – Amazon verified purchase, Toripotterfan

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Book  Graveyard Journal Workbbook Ghost Hunters Journal

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Check out the book trailer! Music by Tui Snider!

 

review

UNDERSTANDING CEMETERY SYMBOLS is THE most essential field guide for field genealogy research and cemetery hounds.

Sometimes you happen upon something that you didn’t know you needed, until you have it.  And then you can’t imagine why or how you ever managed without it.

That’s what UNDERSTANDING CEMETERY SYMBOLS is to me.

I began my genealogy and family history research sixteen years ago when I was pregnant with my first child.  Some of my most treasured artifacts from my research are the narratives that I have discovered or pieced together about an ancestor (who they were, and what was important to them).  This book gives me an exciting new tool to add information to those narratives, and I am SO excited to get to use the information to create a clearer picture of who my ancestors were, simply by checking out their gravestones.

UNDERSTANDING CEMETERY SYMBOLS is a comprehensive guide to the hidden or long-forgotten meanings behind the symbols and architecture of not only headstones but the cemeteries, as well.  The guide is filled with pictures and explanations of everything and includes a TON of narratives and examples (thrilling the history addict in me).  Everyone from the curious history buff to the avid genealogist, and including the ghost hunter types will find the content in this volume useful in translating the “message” that each headstone is trying to tell us.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!  You will not be sorry for grabbing a copy to take on your next field trip to a historic cemetery.  Also see the companion GRAVEYARD JOURNAL for note-taking on your trek, or the GHOST HUNTERS JOURNAL for keeping data on your investigations.

 

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Tui Snider is an award-winning writer, speaker, photographer, and musician specializing in quirky travel, overlooked history, cemetery symbolism, and haunted lore. As she puts it, “I used to write fiction, but then I moved to Texas!”

Tui lectures frequently at universities, libraries, conferences and bookstores. Her best-selling books include Paranormal Texas, The Lynching of the Santa Claus Bank Robber, Unexpected Texas, and Understanding Cemetery Symbols. She recently taught classes based on her books at Texas Christian University.

When not writing books, you can find Tui exploring the historic graveyards and backroads of Texas with her husband, Larry. 

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Review: LOVING LUTHER by Allison Pittman

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LOVING LUTHER

by
ALLISON PITTMAN
  Genre: Christian Historical Romance 
Publisher: Tyndale House
Date of Publication: September 1, 2017
Number of Pages: 432
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Germany, 1505
In the dark of night, Katharina von Bora says the bravest good-bye a six-year-old can muster and walks away as the heavy convent gate closes behind her. 

Though the cold walls offer no comfort, Katharina soon finds herself calling the convent her home. God, her father. This, her life. She takes her vows–a choice more practical than pious–but in time, a seed of discontent is planted by the smuggled writings of a rebellious excommunicated priest named Martin Luther. Their message? That Katharina is subject to God, and no one else. Could the Lord truly desire more for her than this life of servitude?

In her first true step of faith, Katharina leaves the only life she has ever known. But the freedom she has craved comes with a price, and she finds she has traded one life of isolation for another. Without the security of the convent walls or a family of her own, Katharina must trust in both the God who saved her and the man who paved a way for rescue. Luther’s friends are quick to offer shelter, but Katharina longs for all Luther has promised: a home, a husband, perhaps even the chance to fall in love.


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Praise for Loving Luther

[Pittman] pens an exquisite tale, capturing the emotions of a nun grappling with the faith she’s always known vs. a new and unfamiliar freedom in faith.  Simmering with tension of Katharina’s discontent and longings, the novel unveils a slow morphing that follows Katharina’s own personal transformation, from reverence to spirited determination in choosing her own way in the world. — Booklist
 
Loving Luther is a moving and rich historical romance based on Luther’s relationship with his wife Katharina.  In addition, it shows how their marriage was actually significant to the Lutheran faith.  Instead of dwelling on the couple’s courtship, the story goes deep into the roots of the Reformation.  Luther and Katharina interrogate their faith, living out their convictions in a way that is both inspiring and profoundly human.  Loving Luther has depth, and it is unexpectedly touching.  Katharina and Luther, in search of a happy ending, find one another.  Their love, Pittman shows, really did change the world. — Foreword Magazine
 
A historical novel with characters who are brave, strong and willing to take chances in times of persecution.  The plot is partially based on the teachings of Martin Luther and the many lives he changed, some for the better, some for the worse.  Pittman is a talented author who touches on topics that have been debated over the decades and are still being talked about today. — Romantic Times Reviews

Fascinating Historical Romantic Tale of one of history’s less-known heroines during The Reformation

Katharina Von Bora would one day become the wife of the Master of Reformation, Martin Luther, but the story of how she got there is a less-known tale.  

Upon her mother’s death at an early age, her father left her at a convent to be raised in the Faith by the nuns of the Order.  She was cloistered and taught the ways of the Catholic church, bonding with many of the Sisters of the convent.  As was expected, she took her vows at sixteen and joined the Order, despite questions and doubts.  

She happens upon a bit of parchment with translated scripture upon it, written by the outcast Martin Luther, and even though she is forbidden to read them, she takes them, and takes the words to heart.  This begins a reformation of her own being, and before long, she has left the convent and her vows.  The rest of the book tells the story of her relationship with Luther and role in the Reformation movement, by his side.  It is a wonderful story of faith, love and loyalty.

I recommend this book to historical fiction readers who like the glimpse at what the life of lesser-known heroes and heroines who supported large movements in history and larger historical characters.  Well-done.

Allison Pittman is the author of more than a dozen critically acclaimed novels and a three-time Christy finalist—twice for her Sister Wife series and once for All for a Story from her take on the Roaring Twenties. She lives near San Antonio, Texas, blissfully sharing an empty nest with her husband, Mike.
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Interview: Shawn Smucker, Author of THE DAY THE ANGELS FELL

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THE DAY THE ANGELS FELL

by

SHAWN SMUCKER

Genre: Psychological Fiction / Christian

Publisher: Revell

Date of Publication: September 5, 2017

Number of Pages: 320

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Cover Med Res The Day the Angels Fell     

Shawn Smucker will capture readers’ imaginations with this masterfully written debut novel that combines elements of mystery and magical realism.

It was the summer of storms, strays, and strangers. The summer that lightning struck the big oak tree in the front yard. The summer his mother died in a tragic accident.

Twelve-year-old Samuel Chambers would do anything to turn back time. Prompted by three strange carnival fortune-tellers and the surfacing of his mysterious and reclusive neighbor, Samuel begins his search for the Tree of Life—the only thing that could possibly bring his mother back. His quest to defeat death entangles him and his best friend, Abra, in an ancient conflict and forces Samuel to grapple with an unwelcome question: could it be possible that death is a gift?

Haunting and hypnotic, The Day the Angels Fell is a story that explores the difficult questions of life in a voice that is fresh, friendly, and unafraid. With this powerful novel, Shawn Smucker has carved out a spot for himself in the tradition of authors Madeleine L’Engle and Lois Lowry.

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Praise for The Day the Angels Fell

“Neil Gaiman meets Madeleine L’Engle. I read it in two days!”Anne Bogel, Modern Mrs. Darcy

“Shawn Smucker enchants with a deftly woven tale of mystery and magic that will leave you not only spellbound but wanting more.”Billy Coffey, author of There Will Be Stars

 

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AuthorInterview

Where did your love of writing come from?

I have an Amish great-great-grandfather, and there is a story about him that has been passed down. In his later years, he took to writing on the wooden barn walls at his farm. He wrote about things that happened in his community, little bits and pieces of news and gossip. One day there was a fire and the barn burned to the ground – some of the lumber still had his writing on it but it was all discarded. My great-uncle was just a boy when this happened, and he regrets not keeping a piece of that barn.

How long have you been writing?

I have been writing for many, many years. I’m 40 years old, and I can’t remember exactly when I started, but I know I was young. I started writing every day when I was in college, and I wrote fiction for 17 years before I signed a three-book deal that included The Day the Angels Fell.

What kinds of writing do you do?

I co-write and ghostwrite memoirs for individuals and publishers for a living. I love writing fiction, and I have a small, free eBook of poems called We Might Never Die.

What do you think most characterizes your writing?

When I’m writing well, I’m writing in a melancholy, reflective tone that brings out the best in looking back and remembering earlier times. I love to think about our relationship to time, and as I grow older I think a lot about how my memories have become more like legends. There are some deep truths hidden in the way we remember our lives, and I like to have my characters caught in the tension between how they remember things and how they actually happened.

Are there underrepresented groups or ideas featured if your book?

In my first novel, The Day the Angels Fell, the idea that death is a gift and the death-positive messages are certainly under-represented in our culture that seems obsessed with endless youth and living forever. It’s not something I can categorically say — that death is ALWAYS a gift. But I think it’s a valid question to be asking.

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

Madeleine L’Engle and Neil Gaiman have been huge influences on me in the way they write about surreal things happening in a very real world. I love how they allow their characters to be themselves, make gigantic mistakes, and then act with unexpected bravery. To me, that’s a reflection of the best lives each of us could live.

     

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Author Pic Smucker_Shawn1     

Shawn Smucker lives with his wife and six children in the city of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. The Day the Angels Fell is his first novel. 

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Spotlight: THE CURSE OF SACERDOZIO by Glen Aaron

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THE CURSE OF SACERDOZIO
a tale of judicial conspiracy
The Supremes, Book 1
by
GLEN AARON
  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

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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.

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

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KNIGHT ON THE 
TEXAS PLAINS
Texas Heroes Series
by
LINDA BRODAY
  Genre: Western / Historical / Romance
Date of Publication: August 1, 2017
Number of Pages: 352

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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.

CLICK TO PURCHASE
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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
review

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.

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Excerpt: COMFORT PLANS by Kimberly Fish

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COMFORT PLANS
by
KIMBERLY FISH
  Genre: Contemporary Women’s Fiction
Date of Publication: May 23, 2017
Number of Pages: 320
Scroll down for giveaway!
 

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

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.
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Books in the Garden
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Playlist
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Review
8/8
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8/10
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8/11
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8/12
Review
8/13
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Review
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Interview with Kena Sosa, author of KINDERTRANSPORT

What projects are you currently working on?

I am an extreme busybody, so I am always in the middle of a cornucopia of projects. Currently, I am promoting my latest release, Kindertransport-A Child’s Journey. This is my first middle grade chapter book, heavily influenced by interviews with actual Kindertransports, Jewish children who escaped to England just before the onset of WWII,  whom I was able to interview for oral histories at the University of Connecticut. Their generosity in sharing their experiences on the Kindertransport, coupled with the opportunity for trip with the Billie Levy Research and Travel grant, made this possible.  All of the interviewees shared a message of hope through the darkest times made this book a necessary and powerful story I couldn’t wait to write.

I am also awaiting the release of my third book, a new picture book called The Unhuggables, in early October. The Unhuggables is a fantastic action-packed tale about a boy named Oliver who doesn’t want to be hugged, and his mother who loves him through this wild, yet loving adventure. I look forward to sharing it with you soon!

I am also playing drums in a few local groups, specifically taiko for Dallas Kiyari Daiko, Goisagi Daiko and a fun, rockin’ cover band called Exactamundo.

And of course, I am adventuring with my awesome sons, Ale and Lucca, who inspire, entertain me and make me smile more than I can handle. My heart and my schedule are jam-packed. 🙂

What was the hardest part of writing this book?

The hardest part of writing Kindertransport – A Child’s Journey was hearing the heart-wrenching true experiences of the Kindertransports themselves. One broke down in tears as she told her story. I wanted to ensure they only told what they wanted to, knowing so many of the pieces of this would be unhappy for them. However, through it all, they persisted because overall, their experiences were ones of hope and they were grateful for the chance at life. They were fortunate, all three, in that they were reunited with their families after the war. I feared pushing them too much, making them relive sadness they didn’t want to remember, yet, surprisingly, they wanted to talk about it, even the saddest part. They wanted their stories told, and for that, I am forever grateful to all three: Rita Kaplan, Ivan Baeker, and especially Eva Greenwood, who attended my presentation in person at the end of the project. I had to honor them by telling their stories well and in the voice and eyes of a child. I think there are children who, although their experiences are very different, can identify with leaving home, or saying goodbye to a parent or loved one, or just living the unknown. This book brings a message of hope, that no matter how far away we are or who we are, we have the power to help others and in opening our hearts and doing so, we can impact lives. Each one of us wields this power, the question is whether or not we choose to reach out and use it.

What’s in a name?

Would a rose by any other name smell as sweet? Would I refuse thy name? The answer is yes and no. Names are so reflective and meaningful when you think about it. That was

Shakespeare’s Juliet’s dilemma because if she had any other name, she could have her Romeo. Names can indicate culture, gender, even class or status. I like names that reflect the personality more than anything else. A name that fits that particular person.

Names are always a challenge. I don’t like names that are too common for characters, because I want to picture a character when I hear a name. I chose the name Helen for the girl in Kindertransport – A Child’s Journey. It was my grandmother’s name. I think it sounds stoic, feminine and strong. When I hear a name I like, I jot it down in my notebook so that I can use it when I find the right character to fit it. I save the name I like for when that particular character is born.

Despite the frustration growing up with a weird name, having so many people spell it wrong or pronounce it wrong, I’m glad my own name is unique and unassuming. It suits me. Thanks, Mom and Dad!

What book do you wish you had written?

Just like names, I think some books were meant to be written by certain authors. I do secretly wish I had written Alice in  Wonderland because that story is just so timeless and wonderful. Yet, the story just wouldn’t be the same in anyone else’s voice. The books I wish I had written are yet to come. I do wish, however, I had the skills of some of

my illustrators though. Kudos to the artistic talents of those who’ve worked on my books, Jessica McClure on Rey Antonio and Rey Feo; Jeanne Conway on Kindertransport-A Child’s Journey, and coming soon, Alexis Braud on The Unhuggables.

I do dream of one day joining the ranks of author/illustrators and doing both jobs for a future book. Someday maybe I will!

What superpower do you wish you had?

When I lived in Japan there was a cartoon character I adored called Doraemon, a weird little blue, catlike guy who had a “dokodemo doa,” basically a door he could enter that would take him anywhere, kind of reminiscent of all the doors in the movie Monster’s Inc. I wish I had a “dokodemo doa,” then my fear of flying wouldn’t stop me from being anywhere I wanted to be. I could just turn the doorknob and go there-free, fast, and take anyone I wanted to with me! Til then, I am waiting for someone to build a transatlantic bullet train. Just putting it out there….

What jobs have you had?

Well, I still work as a school librarian, in addition to being an author. I have also been a teacher both here and abroad. I was a cashier at HEB grocery story in college in San Antonio. My first job was as a Sandwich Artist at Subway, so much fun and so many memories sandwiched into my early years. The worst job ever, I hope no one holds this against me but I was young and it paid the bills. I was a telemarketer for a while- I sincerely apologize to the world for that. Please, forgive me and read my books anyway! I promise, it built character in me and the unfortunate souls the computer called at random! I write much better scripts now!

Have you ever allowed a game of Monopoly to ruin a friendship?

Well, I have not allowed the capitalism of Monopoly to ruin anything, but my mom and I are known to play Scrabble to the death. We can play for hours and are fiercely competitive, but it’s part of the fun! My friend Sara and I also used to play air hockey until our fingers got bloody. I still challenge anyone on that, at the risk of injury to both their hands and their pride ;).

Chocolate or vanilla?

Oh chocolate any day, but only dark chocolate. The rest might as well be vanilla, which I tease my son who loves it, as the flavor which is the absence of flavor.

Tea or coffee?

Well, considering I have more coffee flowing through my veins than blood, I have to say coffee. I might actually need coffee rehab. I am allowed one vice. Yet, if you offer me bitter Japanese green tea, I will toss some coffee away. It tastes like memories of a place I miss. And if you offer me some authentic chai, I will take that too. Everyone needs some

spice now and then. If you want the perfect mixture of anything though, Turkish coffee reigns supreme. Wow, now I’m thirsty.

Roller coaster or Ferris wheel?

Hands down, put me on the Ferris wheel. I enjoy observing people and things around me. Not only will I not get bruises from the Ferris wheel but I can enjoy the scenery and the breeze and the slow happiness of it. It’s like running versus walking. I won’t run unless you chase me, but I will walk endlessly and relish what it brings to all the senses any day.

—   —   —

Thank you, Tabatha, for your thoughtful and delightful questions! I can’t wait to hear what you think about Kindertransport-A Child’s Journey and greatly look forward to sharing The Unhuggables with you soon. Readers can contact me directly through email or Facebook if they’d like a great deal on a personally signed copy mailed straight to them 🙂

 

abouttheauthor

37

A school librarian by day, and writer by night, Kena Sosa adores words. She also loves playing the drums. She earned her Bachelors degree from Our Lady of the Lake University and her Masters in Bilingual Education from SMU. She lived abroad in Japan and Mexico, experiences which instilled within her a love for culture and language, as reflected in her stories.
Her first children’s book, Rey Antonio and Rey Feo, was born of the celebration of her colorful childhood in San Antonio. Her second book, Kindertransport – A Child’s Journey is a middle grade chapter book about the hopeful escape of children on the Kindertransport train just before the outbreak of WWII. This book, The Unhuggables, is a fun story about love and the power of hugs. Sharing stories with her two sons and other eager readers has been her favorite adventure yet!

 

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Aboutthebook

KINDERTRANSPORT – A CHILD’S JOURNEY

written by Kena Sosa; art by Jeanne Conway

Audience/Genre: Middle Grade Chapter Book/Historical Fiction – Holocaust/WWII

Kindertransport - A Child's Journey - 9781940310596-Perfect.indd

 

Just before the outbreak of World War II, the Nazis pushed Jewish families to do something they never imagined they would. They sent their children away on a train to faraway places to live with strangers so that they would be safe until the danger passed. As she gets onboard the Kindertransport, a train to hope, ten-year-old Helen will never be the same.

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Author Interview: Lynette Eason (CHASING SECRETS) + {giveaway}

BNR Chasing Secrets PNG
CHASING SECRETS
Elite Guardians, Book 4
by
Lynette Eason
  Genre: Romantic Suspense / Christian
Publisher: Revell
Date of Publication: August 1, 2017
Number of Pages: 336
Scroll down for giveaway!
Intensity. Skill. Tenacity.
The bodyguards of Elite Guardians Agency have it all.
When a photo leads investigators in West Ireland to open a twenty-five-year-old cold case, Elite Guardians bodyguard Haley Callaghan’s life is suddenly in danger. Haley knows how to take care of herself; after all, she’s made a career out of taking care of others. But after she has an uncomfortably close call, Detective Steven Rothwell takes it upon himself to stay with her—and the young client she has taken under her wing. A protector at heart, he’s not about to let Haley fight this battle alone.
In a sweeping plot that takes them into long-buried memories—and the depths of the heart—Haley and Steven will have to solve the mystery of Haley’s past while dodging bullets, bombs, and bad guys who just won’t quit.
Praise for the Elite Guardians Series:
“A thrill ride from the first page until the last.”
—RT Book Reviews, top pick, 4½ stars for Always Watching
“Witty dialogue and a simmering attraction will have readers flying through this tension-laced thriller.”
—Family Fiction on Without Warning
“Fast, furious, and flirty, Lynette Eason’s relentless suspense barely gives her readers time to catch their breath.”
Relz Reviews on Moving Target
CLICK TO PURCHASE:

AuthorInterview

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

Full time…sometimes that’s good, sometimes that’s not. When I wasn’t working full time as a writer, I had specific time that was mine for just writing. Now that I’m writing full time, it’s easier to procrastinate.

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

I’ve worked in fast food, retail, and full-time teaching. I can’t say it’s really impacted my writing other than I’ve used the experiences to enhance it.

 
Why did you choose to write romantic suspense?

I’ve always love suspense stories and I’ve always loved a good romance, so choosing to write Romantic Suspense seemed like a logical step for me.

 
Is there one subject you would never write about as an author?

No, I’m pretty open to writing whatever is laid on my heart.

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

I think the most useful thing was just pieces of good advice. One of those was “Just write. Don’t worry if it’s good or bad, just get the words down. You can fix words, you can’t fix a blank page.” When I’m staring at a blank screen or the start of a new chapter, I just write. Then I go back and fix it. I think the most destructive thing—or a bad piece of advice is the phrase “finding time to write.” I’ll often hear pre-published writers say, “I just can’t find the time.” Well, no one can. We all have packed schedules. In my opinion, it’s not a matter of “finding time” it’s a matter of “making time.” Is your writing a priority? My morning looks like this most of the time when school is in session: Get up, fix my breakfast, sit at the kitchen table, have a quiet time, then open my laptop and work until my son comes down. So, before I even see my child in the morning, I’ve already written for about an hour or an hour and a half. Yes, I could have stayed in bed, but I chose to get up and make the time to write. That’s just one example. And everyone can do it. I don’t care what your hours are or whether you have one kid or six kids. So, I don’t accept the whining about not being able to find time to write. Because if you’re looking for it, you won’t find it. You have to carve out that time.

 

Readers have been devouring your Elite Guardians series. What makes Chasing Secrets, the final book of the series, different from the rest?  

I’m so thankful that readers have enjoyed the books! I must say, I’m truly sad to see this series come to an end. I’m thinking there might have to be a novella in the future to really wrap it all up. As for what makes Chasing Secrets different, I would say that it’s only different in that it’s a completely different story in and of itself. It takes you to Ireland and back to South Carolina. Haley, the heroine, learns who she really is when the past comes back to confront her. She has to work to protect herself as well as the client she’s taken under her wing. Not only is she chasing her own secrets and trying to find out about her family, but she also commits to raising two boys who need a home. This book is really all about family. Blood relatives or adoptives, we find out that it doesn’t really matter. All that matters is love.

 

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

Since I’m always putting a faith element in the story, I’m always looking up scripture that relates to the story. This keeps me in the word. And being a writer ALWAYS ensures my prayer life is active and consistent!

 

Many of the scenes in Chasing Secrets have readers racing to the next page. Were there any scenes that took you by surprise when writing?

What took me by surprise was the way the scenes all fit together. Finally! But, yes, there was one character I ended up killing off that took me by complete surprise. I didn’t expect this character to die, and when it happened, I was so sad!


Lynette Eason is the bestselling author of the Women of Justice, Deadly Reunions, and Hidden Identity series, as well as Always Watching, Without Warning, and Moving Target in the Elite Guardians series.

She is the winner of two ACFW Carol Awards, the Selah Award, and the Inspirational Readers’ Choice Award. She lives in South Carolina.




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Personal library kit & Set of the Elite Guardians Series
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$10 Barnes & Noble gift card and Set of the Elite Guardian Series
August 1 – August 10, 2017
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Review: BLOOD OATH by Melissa Lenhardt – Badlands Blog Tour

BNR Badlands PNG
BADLANDS
Sawbones, Book 3
by
MELISSA LENHARDT
!!NEW RELEASE!!
  Genre: Historical / Western / Action-Adventure / Romance
Publisher: Redhook
Date of Publication: June 27, 2017
Number of Pages: 416

Outlander meets post-Civil War unrest in the conclusion to Melissa Lenhardt’s fast-paced historical series.

Laura’s worst fears have been realized: Kindle has been taken into custody and she is once again on the run. The noose awaits her in New York, but Laura is realizing that there are some things worse than death. Finally running out of places to hide, it may be time for Dr. Catherine Bennett to face her past.
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review
I was eager to get my hands on this after having read the author’s first book in the series, SAWBONES.
I was not disappointed. Lenhardt’s writing is raw, gritty and doesn’t hold back.
As the story begins, Laura and Kindle are on the run again.  Their path has been wrought with death and violence, and they are running away from what has happened as much as the Army and bounty hunters.  Life in 1800’s frontier wasn’t easy and the author captures the sense of danger and desperation these characters faced and holds no punches.
Lenhardt really knows how to put her characters through the wringer!  Just about the time you think you’ve figured out what’s about to happen, she rips the story open and twists it in a whole new, white-knuckled direction.  So I guess I don’t need to tell you that I’ve already started BADLANDS, Book 3 in the series.  I’ve got to know how this all works out and if our hero and heroine get their day in the sun.
I highly recommend this book to lovers of historical mystery/thrillers and love the frontier setting.  Even though you don’t HAVE to read the first book, SAWBONES first, I recommend you do, or you’ll miss out on the tension and conflict at the beginning of the story.

Melissa Lenhardt is the author the Jack McBride mystery series, as well as the Laura Elliston historical fiction series. Her debut mystery, STILLWATER, was a finalist for the 2014 Whidbey Writers’ MFA Alumni Emerging Writers Contest, and SAWBONES, her historical fiction debut, was hailed as a “thoroughly original, smart and satisfying hybrid, perhaps a new subgenre: the feminist Western” by Lone Star Literary Life. A lifelong Texan, she lives in the Dallas area with her husband and two sons.

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Guest Post: Karen Witemeyer, author of Heart on the Line

BNR Heart on the Line PNG
HEART ON THE LINE
Ladies of Harper’s Station #2
by
Karen Witemeyer
  Genre: Christian / Historical / Frontier Romance
Publisher: Bethany House
Date of Publication: June 6, 2017
Number of Pages: 336
Scroll down for Giveaway!
 

Grace Mallory is tired of hiding. She hungers for a normal life, perhaps even a suitor like two of her friends in Harper’s Station have found. But when the man she believes responsible for her father’s death discovers her whereabouts, survival takes priority.

Amos Bledsoe prefers bicycles to horses and private conversations over the telegraph wire to social gatherings with young ladies who see him as nothing more than an oddity. His fellow telegrapher, the mysterious Miss G, has been the ideal companion. For months, their friendship—dare he believe, courtship?—over the wire has fed his hope that he has finally found the woman God intends for him. However, when he intercepts an ominous message and discovers her life is in peril, Amos must shed the cocoon of his quiet nature to become the hero Grace requires.

PRAISE FOR HEART ON THE LINE:
“Witemeyer blends history, suspense, and romance with touches of humor. Women will enjoy this story that proves heroes come in unexpected shapes and sizes and not always on a white charger.”Christian Market

“Online dating meets 1890s Texas in this charming, spiritually deep, laugh-out-loud funny romance!”—reader review on Goodreads
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GuestPost

 

Ten Fun Facts about Karen Witemeyer
  1. I live next door to my in-laws . . . and LOVE it! From built-in day care for the kids when they were smaller to easy family meals together, to shared grills and shared newspaper subscriptions, having my husband’s family move in next door a decade ago was an unexpected blessing.
  2. I once lost the diamond out of my wedding ring only to find it a week later (after searching everywhere at home and at work) when I pulled a tissue out of my bathroom tissue box. Somehow the stone had fallen into the box and when I pulled out a new tissue, I heard a tinkling sound and found the diamond on the Guest Post 2 Image 1counter. Never have I thanked God more for a runny nose!
  3. My oldest child (my only daughter) graduated from high school last year on my 45th birthday. No, I didn’t feel old or anything (OK, maybe a little). I was too proud listening to her valedictorian speech. Smart and sassy, just the way I like my heroines.
  4. I have a black thumb. Well, not literally. In respect to plants. I have a tendency to kill the majority of plants that have had the misfortune to come home with me. A few hearty ones have survived, like the aloe vera plant in the kitchen window that continues to survive despite my best efforts to do it in. And the roses on the side of the house have managed to pull through despite a run in with some sort of blight last year. I should post a sign on my back door that says, “If you contain chlorophyll, enter at your own risk.”
  5. My favorite animal is the hippopotamus. When I was in junior high, one of my friends and I decided we were going to have unique favorite animals. No cats or dogs for us. She selected the armadillo and I selected the hippo. When I was 16, I took a mission trip to Kenya, and was so excited to see my favorite animal in his natural habitat. I’ve been hooked ever since. This year for Christmas, my hubby got me a hippopotamus shirt and socks. Fun new outfit!Guest Post 2 Image 2
  6. I’ve ridden a mule in Bryce Canyon, swum with sea turtles in Maui, and when I was young and stupid, held a 13 pound boa constrictor around my neck. I recommend the first two but not the third.
  7. I was a band nerd all through junior high and high school but switched to choir in college because of the boy I was dating. Ended up marrying that fella, and now we have our own harmonizing quintet on the church pew every Sunday. Love it! (Though, I’m raising band nerds at the same time. My daughter plays my old flute, my older son plays the French horn, and my youngest plays the trumpet.)
  8. I don’t drink coffee. Ever. I know, I know. It’s shameful. Coffee’s supposed to be the elixir of life, right? Especially for writers. But I never developed a taste for it. I prefer a simple cup of Lipton hot tea sweetened with honey. Mmmmm.
  9. Whenever I have free time (a very RARE commodity), I love to cross stitch. Here’s a set of simple cameo silhouettes I made for my editors a couple years ago for Christmas.Guest Post 2 Image 3
  10. Even though I write historical romance, I hated history classes in school. Math was more my style. Maybe it was because my teachers always seemed to be coaches that got stuck in the history classroom, or maybe it was because all the textbooks emphasized wars and politics. Boring. Yet I loved historical novels. Little House on the Prairie, Anne of Green Gables, THAT was the history I fell in love with. So when you read one of my novels today, you won’t find a plot that centers around war or political intrigue or even key historical events. No, my books are focused on people and the lesser known, yet meaningful aspects of life in 19th century that shaped their lives and their loves.
 
Winner of the HOLT Medallion and the Carol Award and a finalist for the RITA and Christy Award, bestselling author Karen Witemeyer writes historical romance to give the world more happily-ever-afters. Karen makes her home in Texas, with her husband and three children. 

 





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