Joanne Easley Multi-Book Blitz and Giveaway

SWEET JANE, JUST ONE LOOK,
&
I’LL BE SEEING YOU
by
Joanne Kukanza Easley
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SWEET JANE 2019 Wisdom-Faulkner Award finalist 2020 Adult Fiction winner Texas Author Project 2020 Sarton Award Finalist 2020 Eric Hoffer Award Short List A drunken mother makes childhood ugly. Jane runs away at sixteen, determined to leave her fraught upbringing in the rearview. Vowing never to return, she hitchhikes to California, right on time for the Summer of Love. Seventeen years later, she looks good on paper: married, grad school, sober, but her carefully constructed life is crumbling. When Mama dies, Jane returns for the funeral, leaving her husband in the dark about her history. Seeing her childhood home and significant people from her youth catapults Jane back to the events that made her the woman she is. She faces down her past and the ghosts that shaped her family. A stunning discovery helps Jane see her problems through a new lens.
Family Saga / Women’s Fiction / Historical Fiction
Publisher: Red Boots Press
Pages: 279 pages
Publication Date: September 17, 2022
JUST ONE LOOK
May 2022 Pulpwood Queen Book Club Pick 2020 Shelf Unbound 2021 Notable 100 Best Indie Books 2020 Recommended by US Review of Books
In 1965 Chicago, thirteen-year-old Dani Marek declares she’s in love, and you best believe it. This is no crush, and for six blissful years she fills her hope chest with linens, dinnerware, and dreams of an idyllic future with John. When he is killed in action in Viet Nam, Dani’s world shatters. She launches a one-woman vendetta against the men she seeks out in Rush Street’s singles bars. Her goal: break as many hearts as she can. Dani’s ill-conceived vengeance leads her to a loveless marriage that ends in tragedy. At twenty-four, she’s left a widow with a baby, a small fortune, and a ghost—make that two. Set in the turbulent Sixties and Seventies, Just One Look explores one woman’s tumultuous journey through grief, denial, and letting go.
Family Saga / Women’s Fiction / Historical Fiction
Publisher: Red Boots Press
Pages: 293 pages
Publication Date: September 17, 2022
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I’LL BE SEEING YOU
The new release from Joanne Kukanza Easley, the multi-award-winning author of Sweet Jane and Just One Look
A saga spanning five decades, I’ll Be Seeing You, explores one woman’s life, with and without alcohol to numb the pain. Young Lauren knows she doesn’t want to be a ranch wife in Palo Pinto County, Texas. After she’s discovered by a modeling scout at the 1940 Fort Worth Stock Show Parade, she moves to Manhattan to begin her glamourous career. A setback ends her dream, and she drifts into alcohol dependence and promiscuity. By twenty-four, she’s been widowed and divorced, and has developed a pattern of fleeing her problems with geographical cures. Lauren’s last escape lands her in Austin, where, after ten chaotic years, she achieves lasting sobriety and starts a successful business, but happiness eludes her. Fast forward to 1985. With a history of burning bridges and never looking back, Lauren is stunned when Brett, her third husband, resurfaces, wanting to reconcile after thirty-three years. The losses and regrets of the past engulf her, and she seeks the counsel of Jane, a long-time friend from AA. In the end, the choice is Lauren’s. What will she decide?
Family Saga / Women’s Fiction / Addiction & Recovery / Historical Fiction
Publisher: Red Boots Press
Pages: 227 pages
Publication Date: August 28, 2022
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A retired registered nurse with experience in both the cold, clinical operating room and the emotionally fraught world of psychiatric hospitals, Joanne lives on a small ranch in the Texas Hill Country, where she writes fiction about complicated, twentieth-century women.
Her multi-award-winning debut, Sweet Jane, was named the adult fiction winner at the Texas Author Project and shortlisted for the Sarton Award and Eric Hoffer Award, among others. Just One Look, Joanne’s second novel was a May 2022 Pulpwood Queen Book Club Pick. I’ll BeSeeing You, her third novel, features characters from Sweet Jane. Her prize-winning short stories and poetry have appeared in several anthologies.
***
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Each receives an eBook of
SWEET JANE or
JUST ONE LOOK or
I’LL BE SEEING YOU
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Covey Jenks Audio Pop-up Tour: Blitz and Giveaway

THE COVEY JENCKS MYSTERIES:
LOVE AND MURDER DEEP IN THE HEART OF TEXAS
by
Shelton L. Williams
Narrated by: Stephen E. Lookadoo Jr.

Mystery / Amateur Sleuths / West Texas

Listening Length: 17hrs, 44 minutes

Publication Date: July 27, 2022

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Shelton Williams’s book The Covey Jencks Mysteries: Love and Murder Deep in the Heart of Texas is more than a collection of mysterious tales of murder and investigation. By bringing to life these characters, the author has highlighted the global issues of racism, drug abuse, political extremism, and women trafficking.
In the midst of it all is our protagonist, hell-bent on finding out what secrets he may find out if he stepped into the dark shadow of Odessa.
This omnibus edition of the Covey Jencks Mysteries includes newly edited versions of Covey Jencks, Covey and JayJay Get Educated, and The Chinese Murder of Edward Watts. It also includes a new preface from the author and foreword by Charles E. Morrison.
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Audiobook
| Kindle |
Paperback
Shelton L. Williams (Shelly) is founder and president of the Osgood Center for International Studies in Washington, DC. He holds a PhD from Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and he taught for nearly 40 years at Austin College in Sherman, Texas. He has served in the US Government on 4 occasions, and he has written books and articles on nuclear proliferation. In 2004 he began a new career of writing books on crime and society. Those books are Washed in the Blood, Summer of 66, and now the three books in the Covey Jencks series. All firmly prove that he is still a Texan at heart.
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Each receives an audiobook edition of THE COVEY JENCKS MYSTERIES:
LOVE AND MURDER DEEP IN THE HEART OF TEXAS
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Liberty Bell and the Last American: Notable Quotes and Giveaway

 


LIBERTY BELL AND
THE LAST AMERICAN
by
James Stoddard

Alternative History / Science Fiction
Pages: 347 pages
Publication Date: April 4, 2021
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Americans love their Constitution. In seventeen-year-old Liberty Bell’s era it has become a myth.
Centuries after the Great Blackout obliterates the world’s digitized information, America’s history is forgotten. Only confused legends remain, written in The Americana, a book depicting a golden age where famous Americans from different eras lived and interacted with one another during the same time.
Raised on the stories and ideals from The Americana, Liberty Bell joins secret agent Antonio Ice on a quest for her country. But in the Old Forest, forgotten technologies are reawakening. Historic figures such as Albert Einstein, Harriet Tubman, and Thomas Jefferson are coming to life.
The source of their return, a mystery hidden since before the apocalypse, lies waiting for Liberty. Her knowledge of The Americana holds the key to unraveling the riddles of the past.
Will the American continent return to the freedom of Liberty’s forefathers? Or will it descend into a dark age of tyranny? The choices she makes will determine its fate. For, as The Americana says, “Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it—and forfeit all coupons, discounts, and travel miles.”
Filled with quotations from exceptional Americans, here is a humorous and poignant celebration of America and its Constitution.
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NOTABLE QUOTABLES from

LIBERTY BELL AND THE LAST AMERICAN 

By James Stoddard



In this book, the heroine, Liberty Bell, and her traveling companion, Antonio Ice, meet a number of characters from the past. Much of their dialogue includes their actual quotes. Here are a few of them, along with other quotes from the book. Those quotations which I invented are in italics.


“In the days of the Founders, lightning destroyed whole cities; Pecos Bill the Stormchaser used to tame them, riding the winds on his winged stallion, Mobile.” —Liberty Bell

***


“Don’t hit a man at all if you can possibly avoid it, but if you do hit him, put him to sleep.” —Teddy Roosevelt

***


“We might see almost anything in the land of Lucy Anna: the Old Faithful One walked these woods, his breath blowing steam; the ancient mines, Carl’s Bad Caverns, are hidden here, long abandoned by Snow White and the 49ers. We might run across the White Sands of the Nuklars or the ruins of the Golden Arches.” —Liberty Bell

***


“Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.” —George Washington


***


“True patriotism is never misplaced, Miss Bell. It is the love of country tempered by an unswerving passion for justice.” —Jesse James (not the one you’re thinking of)

***


“If I could have convinced more slaves that they were slaves, I could have freed thousands more.”  —Harriet Tubman


***


“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” —Thomas Edison


***


“When we were kids, my dad used to tell us if we didn’t go to bed, Santa Claws would fly down from Canada and take us to the Twilight Zone.” —Antonio Ice




James Stoddard’s short fiction has appeared in science fiction publications such as “Amazing Stories” and “The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction.” “The Battle of York” was included in Eos Books’ Years Best SF 10, and “The First Editions” appeared in The Year’s Best Fantasy 9 from Tor Books. His novel, “The High House” won the Compton Crook Award for best fantasy by a new novelist and was nominated for several other awards. He lives with his wife in a winding canyon in West Texas.

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THREE WINNERS:
2 winners each receive a Signed Paperback copy of
LIBERTY BELL AND THE LAST AMERICAN
1 winner receives a $25 B&N eGift card
(U.S. only; ends at midnight, 11/4/22.)

FOR DIRECT LINKS TO EACH POST ON THIS TOUR, UPDATED DAILY,
OR VISIT THE PARTICIPATING BLOGS DIRECTLY:

10/25/22

Hall Ways Blog

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10/25/22

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10/26/22

Bibliotica

Review

10/26/22

LSBBT Blog

BONUS Promo

10/27/22

It’s Not All Gravy

Guest Post

10/27/22

Boys’ Mom Reads!

Review

10/28/22

The Book’s Delight

Excerpt

10/28/22

Reading by Moonlight

Review

10/29/22

StoreyBook Reviews

Review

10/30/22

The Plain-Spoken Pen

Review

10/31/22

Shelf Life Blog

Review

11/01/22

Forgotten Winds

Author Interview

11/01/22

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11/02/22

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11/03/22

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The Lost Melody: Deleted Scene

THE LOST MELODY
by
Joanna Davidson Politano
Historical Romance / Christian Fiction
Publisher: Revell
Pages: 384 pages
Publication Date: October 4, 2022
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When concert pianist Vivienne Mourdant’s father dies, he leaves to her the care of a patient at Hurstwell Asylum. Vivienne had no idea the woman existed, and yet her portrait is shockingly familiar. When the asylum claims she was never a patient there, Vivienne is compelled to discover what happened to the figure she remembers from childhood dreams.
The longer she lingers in the deep shadows and forgotten towers at Hurstwell, the fuzzier the line between sanity and madness becomes. She hears music no one else does, receives strange missives with rose petals between the pages, and untangles far more than is safe for her to know.
But can she uncover the truth about the mysterious woman she seeks? And is there anyone at Hurstwell she can trust with her suspicions?
Joanna Davidson Politano casts a delightful spell with this lyrical look into the nature of women’s independence and artistic expression during the Victorian era–and now.

PRAISE FOR THE BOOK: “Haunting. Riveting. Filled with hope. The Lost Melody is all these things and more. Author Joanna Davidson Politano delves into the dark world of Victorian mental health, and it’s the reader who comes out the winner after being enchanted by this tale of identity lost. After you read the last page, the characters will live on in your mind. Truly a fantastic read!” — Michelle Griep, author of Lost in Darkness “Joanna Davidson Politano’s stories go on my bookshelf as a favorite! The stories she pens entice my Gothic-loving senses, thrill my literary soul, and inspire the dark romantic inside my spirit. I cannot emphasize enough how strongly I adore each story from this vivid and insightful author, and how badly I wish for all readers to experience her tales!” — Jaime Jo Wright, author of The Souls of Lost Lake, and Christy Award-winning The House on Foster Hill
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THE LOST MELODY

Deleted Scene from

by Joanna Davidson Politano

Context: At the start of the story, Vivienne Mourdant, a concert pianist, has just lost her musician father and received a surprising inheritance. She isn’t sure what to do about it yet, until her manager slips in and tells her what she shouldn’t do. This was originally the second or third scene of the book, in the first chapter or two.

Reason for deletion: I ended up rewriting most of the book after the first draft and totally reordering the way the mystery unfolded and the timing of each piece of information being laid out. The beginning also stretched for far too long before she was onto her quest, so I deleted a lot of the lead-up scenes and got into the action a little quicker.

When the solicitor departed, shrugging into his shabby coat and top-hat, before I’d calmed my nerves, another knock sounded at the study door. “Come in.”

The peculiar and erratic Marcel Beauchene bowed low in the door, his dark curls falling over his face, then flying back as he popped up. “You’re holding up well, are you?” He eyed me as he said it, approaching the desk where I sat.

“Well enough to maintain my performances.” 

His expression melted into a broad smile. As my longtime manager, he was an honorary uncle of sorts but Marcel loved the way a scientist would. He went out of his way to keep me safe and flourishing, a machine he kept oiled and maintained, but he never descended into flowery shows of affection. It was always about music for him, and exposing the world to its beauty at any cost. It was not me but my musical talent he looked after with such care.

He slipped into the chair opposite me and set his hat on the desk. “Forgive the intrusion, but I happened to be standing outside, waiting on an audience with a most sought-after young lady, it would seem. Your father’s solicitor, I believe?”

I leveled my gaze at him. “You sneak.”

“Concerned party.” He threw his hands up, palms out. “A family friend looking out for a newly orphaned client.”

“I’ve always held my own.”

He exhaled. “Yes, but you needn’t. Not while I’m around.”

I eyed this man I’d known for so long. Perhaps he did care after all, just a tad under his passionate love for beautiful art.

“You won’t be concerning yourself with this ward of his, I hope, will you?”

My skin went cold. “You heard that part?”

“Because if you do, people will begin associating your name with an asylum. You know what that’ll do for your career, and I don’t want you becoming all tangled up in whatever mess your father has left behind.”

“Marcel, I wasn’t—”

“Now, don’t let’s argue about it. I know you’re a sensible girl who’ll keep clear of all these family secrets and odd goings-on now that your father is gone, so you can focus on your performances.” He sat back, watching me. “Night has gone and it is day now, isn’t it? Time for music at last. For beauty.”

“Yes.” I took a breath, but he spoke first.

“And time for a whole new beginning for you.” He patted my hand and rose, plopping his hat over his curls again. “Come next season, we’ll have you on the most glorious—”

“What about this season? It’s barely spring.” Awareness of those unpaid notes tightened my chest.

“Tsk, and your father barely in the ground. I’m your manager, my dear, and that extends to managing your reputation as well. How unseemly it would be, parading around the continent giving performances while you’re meant to be in mourning? Rest for the summer, enjoy the scent of flowers, and we’ll meet in a few months to discuss what comes next.”

“And until then?” Emptiness sliced through me. Not even one performance? “How will I make my living?”

“You’re a clever woman, Vivienne Mourdant. I’m positive you’ll manage something.” The Frenchman bowed low, dipping his hat then rising to pop it back on his head. “Well, then. You know where to find me if you need anything, yes?” His gaze searched my face. “He spoke fondly of you, that last time I saw him. He was quite aware of your immense talent, even if he wouldn’t say it to you.”

I clamped my hands into fists in my lap. “I think perhaps you misheard him.”

“I may be aging, but my hearing is impeccable. He always knew you had immense talent.” He offered a quick smile. “And I’m glad I can count on you to stay out of this mess with his ward. You’re nothing if not sensible, dear Vivienne, and I know you want nothing to do with this sort of thing.”

Few people actually knew me, as it turned out. I was a Chopin Nocturne—surprising, complex, and impossible to master. Many tried. I’m happy to report that they all failed.

Well, nearly.

Joanna Davidson Politano is the award-winning author of Lady Jayne Disappears, A Rumored Fortune, Finding Lady Enderly, The Love Note, and A Midnight Dance. She loves tales that capture the colorful, exquisite details in ordinary lives and is eager to hear anyone’s story. She lives with her husband and their children in a house in the woods near Lake Michigan.
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Receives a Sterling Silver Treble Clef pendant necklace
+ Copy of The Lost Melody
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A Time to Fly!: Review

A TIME TO FLY!
by
Diann Floyd Boehm
Illustrated by Nancy Hoover
Children’s Picture Book
Publisher: Texas Sisters Press
Pages: 28 pages
Publication Date: August 2, 2022
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This baby bluebird will capture your heart as he shares with his momma why he doesn’t want to leave the nest and join his siblings.
The momma listens to her baby bird and, with gentleness, helps him build the courage to fly and join the rest of his family.
So come along for the journey and become excited for the baby bird as he discovers he can fly and soar through the sky.
It is a heart-warming story and beautifully illustrated with a powerful message of “I Can Do It.”
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This story focuses on the last baby bluebird leaving the nest while it’s mother encourages them. I like the concept of the book. The example of gentle teaching and opportunity to think about a decision before acting quickly. Even though it’s siblings have readily left, this bluebird needs more time and that’s not seen in the negative.

This relatively short story doesn’t lack in the emotion involved with leaving the nest (or experiencing new things). Change can be scary, maybe not as comfortable as a current place. However, with listening to each other and positive encouragement, this baby bird has good things in store.

The illustrations have a great sense of color and perspective that is perfect to keep a child entertained. One of the reasons I love to review these types of books are to see the different art styles and grow in my own art. Nancy Hoover did a great job at accompanying the story with a sense of motion and detail in her art. I loved the note about her grandchildren reading this book one day.

Overall, this is a great story to read to children in that bedtime routine!

Diann Floyd Boehm is an award-winning international author, community volunteer, humanitarian, and former classroom teacher. She is passionate about storytelling. She has nine published books for children and young adult historical fiction. Diann is the cohost of four shows on USA Global TV. She is married, a mother of three, and has one grandchild. She loves to help young and old to Embrace Imagination!
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1st: Autographed hardcover copy of A TIME TO FLY!
2nd: Signed paperback copy of A TIME TO FLY!
3rd: Kindle copy of A TIME TO FLY!
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Whiskers Abroad: Review

WHISKERS ABROAD
Ashi and Audrey’s Adventures in Japan
by CARRIE CARTER
Graphic Designer: Stacy Vickers
Fiction / Travelogue / Japan
Publisher: Bayou City Press
Pages: 170 pages
Publication Date: October 6, 2022
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Whiskers Abroad is a lively and charming travelogue featuring a trip to Japan shared by two main characters, Audrey and Ashi, who alternate recounting their versions of events. Audrey, having won the chance to write a magazine article about traveling in Japan, takes along her cat, Ashi. Over the course of a twelve-day trip, the pair visit Tokyo, Wakayama, Shirahama, Kyoto, and Miura Peninsula. Food is of great interest to both, as they sample typical Japanese dishes from ramen to sushi to tuna specialties. They also explore Japanese culture, including food markets, a family farm, temples, and Tokyo nightlife.

Adventures abound, from Audrey losing Ashi in the fish market to Ashi slipping out of the hotel at night to go to a cat café, where he meets an alluring feline. Audrey is still trying to find her place in the universe, while Ashi believes Audrey would sink beneath the waves were he not present to rescue her time and again. Audrey is a dedicated reader of her horoscope, and the prediction for each day offers tantalizing clues as to what’s in store for the pair.

Written by author Carrie Carter and beautifully designed by Stacy Vickers, Whiskers Abroad is both an amusing travel story with unforgettable characters but also a useful guide for tourists going to Japan about such basic travel issues as how to get from the airport to central Tokyo, how to purchase a rail pass, what to visit in Tokyo, and what to eat. Lavishly designed with full-color photographs and arresting page layouts, Whiskers Abroad will delight both your eyes and your sense of adventure.

PRAISE FOR WHISKERS ABROAD:

Whiskers Abroad is simply a delight, offering respite and reflections that bring readers into Japan from different perspectives, capturing a writer’s journey through new foods, a different culture, and a cat’s eyes. It’s very highly recommended for its ability to reach beyond the usual travelogue audiences to immerse all ages in its fun adventure.” The Midwest Book Review

Whiskers Abroad takes off with a woman in the ultimate moral dilemma. How can she possibly leave her cat behind for weeks?! Simple answer, she doesn’t. In fact, she takes it upon herself to travel to Japan with her cat in tow. Though, along the way, she and Ashi discover they are their best as a team.

First of all, this has to be one of the most energetic books I’ve read. It’s filled with creative storytelling on every page; horoscopes, candid photos, amazing views, and of course Ashi. It was honestly a work of art and you could see the feat that went into creating this book.

As a pet owner (dog mom), it’s always been in the back of my mind to take her on my trips. Whether that is across the country or just a few hours away. I’ve even researched camper vans with dog accommodations inside. Who knows…it may happen one day! Suffice to say, this book, while fiction, shows the opportunities possible. Pet passports are a thing!

The different purrspectives of this journey makes Whiskers Abroad an easy and quick read. The daily journal style and graphics create an easy pace and have you looking forward to the next experience. I enjoyed the down-to-earth way of traveling, history sprinkled in, and travel tips as well.

I’d love to see Carter write another adventure with Audrey and Ashi, or perhaps other amazing duos!

Carrie Carter has a profound love for Japan, cats, sumo, dioramas, and eating unusual foods. She has traveled with her husband Jim to Japan fourteen times, so her numerous holidays across her favorite country were the inspiration for her first book, Whiskers Abroad: Ashi and Audrey’s Adventures in Japan. Carrie has run multiple marathons including the Tokyo Marathon, and as expected, Carrie and Jim live with an adorable cat named Frenemy, who was unhappy at not being selected as the model for the book.
Carrie lives in Houston, Texas, and graduated from the University of Texas at Austin. At home, she loves to cook, design/create Halloween costumes, and daydream about meeting Jacques Pepin. She dislikes overly dramatic music used in reality TV shows. Currently, Carrie is working on her second book, a sequel to Whiskers Abroad, where Audrey and Ashi explore further into Japan and get themselves into even more interesting predicaments.

Love And The Dream Come True: Guest Post

LOVE AND THE DREAM
COME TRUE
State of Grace Trilogy, Book 3
by
TAMMY L. GRAY
Contemporary Christian Fiction / Clean Romance
Publisher: Bethany House
Pages: 368 pages
Publication Date: August 2, 2022
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The Anticipated Series Finale to the 2021 Carol Award-Winning Novel, Love and a Little White Lie Their faith will face its toughest test yet.
Four years after getting the biggest break of his life, Cameron Lee’s music career has taken a nosedive, leaving him two options: become a sellout or give up on his lifelong dream. He reluctantly returns home for his sister’s wedding, hoping to avoid his past and find his love for music again.
Single mom Lexie Walters has suffered her fair share of tragedies and setbacks, but she has finally scraped together the money to achieve her dream of going into business with her cousin as an interior designer. When Lexie’s life is at an all-time high, she runs into her teenage crush, Cameron Lee.
Lost in the emotional turmoil of failure, Cameron is immediately drawn to Lexie and her infectious smile and optimistic spirit. Moreover, he adores her mouthy, no-holds-barred daughter. But fantasies only last so long, and soon Lexie and Cameron must face the real world, the one fraught with heartbreak, disappointment, and questions that sometimes can only be answered by a leap of faith.
“Cameron and Lexie’s chemistry is palpable, and readers will root for their happily ever after. This tender tale hits all the right notes.”Publishers Weekly
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The Bravery of the Young

Guest Post

by Tammy L. Gray

I’ll never forget the first time I met Tayler. She was barely nineteen, recently engaged, and had just accepted a position as the receptionist at our church. In her lap was a squirmy seven-month-old little girl. I asked the girl’s name and, after a few inquiries, learned that little “Lilli” was Tayler’s niece. What I didn’t learn until a while later was that only three months prior, Tayler had taken full guardianship of her sister’s daughter after finding her niece in a state of severe neglect. This girl, barely out of high school, took on the responsibility of raising a child when she was still a child herself. What amazed me more was that her fiancé, Luke, accepted that responsibility as well and became a full-time parent before he was even twenty. I asked Tayler what it felt like to make that decision knowing it would forever alter her future. She just shrugged and said, “There was no decision. She needed me.” In that moment, I saw more bravery and commitment in Tayler’s eyes than I’d seen in the eyes of men and women three times her age.

I also knew in that moment that one day I wanted to write a version of her story. So, ten years later, I sat down again with Tayler as she walked me through the fight they were still in to gain custody of Lilli, of the struggle she’s had watching her sister’s life crumble due to continued addiction, of the fear she constantly dealt with of losing her daughter, and of the challenges of being a mom in every way but one. But never in that conversation did she question her choice or the gift God had given her. Thus, the inspiration for Love and the Dream Come True was born, and soon my heroine, Lexie, and her daughter, Morgan, became as real to me on paper as Tayler and Lilli were in real life.

But Lexie and Morgan’s journey isn’t the only one inspired by real events. My hero, Cameron, was also inspired by my own struggles as an artist. As I questioned the gifts God had given me and struggled with the pressure of perfection and sales and marketing, those dark moments of doubt found their way onto the pages of the story.

And what I realized in writing both character arcs was that each one of them was at their bravest when they were young, when they hadn’t yet suffered defeats and disappointments. They were willing and open and ready for the challenges God threw their way. And I began to ask myself, when did I lose this freedom? When did I begin taking each step forward with doubt and caution until I couldn’t even see the path ahead anymore? There’s a reason Jesus applauded the faith of children. They are willing, pliable, and fearless.

Love and the Dream Come True isn’t a story about fighting to make your dreams happen; it’s a story about surrender. Surrendering your dreams to the path God has for you. It’s about recognizing that God doesn’t want perfection. He wants real, true faith. He wants you to say yes when your fears are saying no. And when you do, wow, does He ever bless you for it.

I’m so thrilled to say that on December 10, 2021, after a ten-year-long legal battle, Lilli officially became the adopted daughter of Tayler and Luke. I was in that courtroom when the judge declared them a family, and I literally thought my heart might explode. This is the promise fulfilled. This is what happens when faith overcomes fear.

Since that day, God has asked me to take some mighty steps. And with each one, I remind myself of His faithfulness even when it’s hard, and some of them have been. But my hope as I age in years is that my faith and heart stay young and brave. Because the journey only ends when we become unwilling to step forward.

Tammy L. Gray lives in the Dallas area with her family, and they love all things Texas. Her nine modern and true-to-life contemporary romances include the 2017 RITA Award-winning My Hope Next Door. When not taxiing her three kids to various events, Tammy can be spotted crunching numbers as the financial administrator at her hometown church.
Bethany House
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ONE WINNER:
Complete STATE OF GRACE SERIES in paperback!
(US only; ends midnight, CDT, 9/2/22.)
FOR DIRECT LINKS TO EACH POST ON THIS TOUR, UPDATED DAILY, OR VISIT THE PARTICIPATING BLOGS DIRECTLY:

8/23/2022

The Page Unbound

Guest Post

8/23/2022

Hall Ways Blog

BONUS Series Spotlight

8/24/2022

Book Fidelity

Review

8/24/2022

LSBBT Blog

BONUS Promo

8/25/2022

The Adventures of a Travelers Wife

Notable Quotables

8/26/2022

Carpe Diem Chronicles

Review

8/27/2022

The Clueless Gent

Excerpt

8/28/2022

All the Ups and Downs

Excerpt

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The Flower Enigma: Book Blitz

THE FLOWER ENIGMA Magnolia Bluff Crime
Chronicles, Book 5
by CHARLES BREAKFIELD
& ROX BURKEY

Small Town Mystery / Suspense / Amateur Sleuths

Publisher: ICABOD Press

Pages: 198 pages

Publication Date: August 20, 2022

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Imagine a romantic getaway in the Texas Hill Country JJ, a cyber guru, whisks his girlfriend, Jo, away for a vacation. No paparazzi. Magnolia Bluff is the perfect destination. Flower B&B is prettier than the pictures on the website.

The evangelizing podcast creators are demanding answers about the town’s newest resident, Mateo Hernandez. The enormous wall he erected has convinced the ladies he’s hiding nefarious activities behind a dubious attorney. Local authorities don’t believe laws are broken and discount the women as meddling gossips.

When the couple checks into Flower, the podcast show-in-progress is interrupted by a cyberattack. JJ, the techno-geek, can’t resist helping. At each subsequent event in the series, he uncovers more serious issues than cyberwarfare.

JJ and Jo can’t avoid this roving series maelstrom. It gets personal when they’re attacked and warned to leave town. No one can conceive the depth of the crimes behind Mateo’s walls.

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Breakfield is a technology expert in security, networking, voice, and anything digital. He enjoys writing, studying World War II history, travel, and cultural exchanges. Charles is a fan of wine tastings, winemaking, Harley riding, cooking extravaganzas, and woodworking.
Burkey is a technology professional who excels at optimizing technology and business investments. She works with customers all over the world focusing on optimized customer experiences. Rox writes white papers and documentation, but found she has a marked preference for writing fiction.
Together these Texas authors create award-winning stories that resonate with males and females, as well as young and experienced adults. They bring a fresh new view to technology possibilities today in exciting stories. Visit their website for more information and free stuff.
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Paper Targets: Interview and Giveaway

PAPER TARGETS

by Patricia Watts

Suspense / Literary Fiction / Women’s Fiction Publisher: Atmosphere Press Pages: 324 pages Publication Date: May 3, 2022

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Everyone knew that Roanne never got angry­—until the night she killed her ex-husband and herself.

Roanne, a nice, suburban lady in her sixties who works at a Hallmark shop and volunteers at the Food Bank in Round Rock, Texas, calls her lifelong friend, Connie, confesses to murder, then puts the gun to her own head. Connie, spurred by Roanne’s last words about a lifetime of unspoken rage, sets aside her work as a cozy mystery writer and cupcake shop owner to confront the men who have stolen her dignity while she remained silent, including a bully brother, a rapist, and an ex-spouse.

On a journey to reclaim her inner power and to make peace with the loss of her treasured friend, Connie’s mission is to avoid the same tragic path as Roanne, but she takes along a gun, just in case.

With pathos and humor, Paper Targets, by Patricia Watts, calls us to speak our own narratives, even when it is uncomfortable or risky, and shows us the magnificence of a friendship that transcends time.

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INTERVIEWS WITH 

ROANNE AND CONNIE, CHARACTERS IN 

PAPER TARGETS

BY PATRICIA WATTS



MC ROANNE is interviewed about Connie


Q. Roanne, if you had to pick one word to describe Connie, what would it be?

Brave. She stood up to all those guys: the ones who bullied her, abused her, betrayed her, let her down. She did what I couldn’t do.


Q What makes Connie a good friend?

She’s never judged me. I cheated on Johnny. I ended Johnny’s life, for God’s sake. I wrecked my relationship with my kids. I didn’t stick around for her. She’s loved me through it all, just the same from beginning to end.

 

Q. What is the best moment you have had together?

Every moment! I don’t see a scene in my life —or even afterlife—when she’s not there. 


Q. What is the worst moment?

That night on the phone, of course. The night I couldn’t live anymore.


Q. What is Connie’s biggest accomplishment?

First, she’s a great mom. Look at Daniel. Who could ask for a better son? And a wonderful grandma. And, also first, she found her powerful self, took her a while, but wow!


Q. What is something you regret or wish you could change about your relationship?

I wished we could have stayed close, not in miles, necessarily, but close the way we were as girls, safe with each other.  I know that’s naïve, but… 


Q. What is the one piece of advice you would like to give Connie? 

Take a chance on love. Fall head over heels, no matter if you land on your face, smash yourself up. It really is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.




MC CONNIE is interviewed about Roanne


Q. Connie, if you had to pick one word to describe Roanne, what would it be?

Nice, nice, nice. If it’s possible to be too nice, that’s Roanne in a nutshell. She always puts everyone else first without asking for anything in return. 


Q What makes Roanne a good friend?

She’s always there for me, no matter what. We don’t always agree on things, but we never fight. Who could fight with Roanne? It would be like kicking a puppy.


Q. What is the best moment you have had together?

This is going to sound crazy because maybe it was the stupidest thing we ever did together, but I’ll always remember that night of the Queen concert in Houston, just before Roanne married Johnny. Yes, we got stoned, maybe not a brilliant choice, yes, it was not the best of ideas to shack up with those guys. Eating that whole apple pie not the smartest decision either. But up to that night, we had been together since we were fifteen, just us, going back and forth to each other’s houses when we were girls, sharing an apartment after we left home. Our lives were inseparable, and it seemed impossible that could ever end, but it was about to end. It wasn’t going to be just us anymore. That night was the last time. It was the most precious moment. I can still see Roanne sitting across that table from me at that diner, and I can taste every bite of that pie, like savoring all the times we had together.


Q. What is the worst moment?

That night on the phone, of course. The moment she fell from the world, and I couldn’t catch her.


Q. What is something you regret or wish you could change about your relationship?

I’m ashamed to admit it, but sometimes I was jealous of Roanne. She would’ve never guessed, never seen herself as anyone to be jealous of. She was so pretty, tall, blonde, Barbie doll. She got the attention from the guys. I was the sidekick. She had the ideal life—or so I thought—a man who loved her, kids, home, and it was all enough for her. She was always counting her blessings, not agonizing over what she didn’t have. That’s what I envied most about her. What a horrible thing for a friend to feel!


Q. What do you think is Roanne’s biggest accomplishment?

She’s a great mom. In spite of the rift between her and Zoe, she never stopped reaching out. That is truly unconditional love with no bounds.


Q. What is the one piece of advice you would like to give Roanne? 

Be nice to yourself for a change. Make it all about you just once. Stand in your spotlight. Mother Teresa gave and gave and never asked for anything for herself, but she did get the Nobel Peace Prize, didn’t she? 


Patricia Watts worked as a journalist for more than 20 years for newspapers in Texas, Hawaii, and Alaska. Following her news career, she tried her skill as a paralegal and then spent ten years investigating discrimination cases for the Alaska Human Rights Commission. Her novels include: Ghost Light and The Big Empty, crime mysteries co-written with Alaska author Stan Jones; The Frayer, suspense noir; and Watchdogs, a steamy thriller. Her home base is San Diego. She earned her B.A. in journalism at Humboldt State in California. She is the mother of a son and daughter and has eight grandchildren.

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A Shot in the 80% Dark: Book Blitz and Giveaway

A SHOT IN THE 80% DARK Bean to Bar Mysteries, Book 4
by
AMBER ROYER
Cozy Mystery / Culinary Mystery /Woman Sleuth
Publisher: Golden Tip Press
Date of Publication: July 15, 2022
Number of Pages: 285 pages
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Felicity Koerber’s bean to bar chocolate shop is thriving. Despite everything she’s been through with the murders she’s helped solve, Felicity is ready to take on new challenges. So when a local museum offers her a contract to create a chocolate replica of a gigantic sailing ship sculpture for a gala celebrating Galveston’s history, she jumps at the chance to combine chocolate-crafting with art.
The project is fun – right up until there’s not just one but two dead artists on the scene, and Felicity has to change gears back to detective. Logan, Felicity’s business partner and previous bodyguard, and Arlo, Felicity’s ex who is now the cop investigating the case, are split on which victim they think was actually the intended one. Felicity may have to take some chances, both emotionally and in luring out a killer, to determine the truth.
Can she find out how Galveston’s history relates to the murders, unmask a killer, and prepare 2,000 chocolate desserts for the gala all at the same time?
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Amber Royer writes the Chocoverse comic telenovela-style foodie-inspired space opera series and the Bean to Bar Mysteries. She is also the author of Story Like a Journalist: a Workbook for Novelists, which boils down her writing knowledge into an actionable plan involving over 100 worksheets to build a comprehensive story plan for your novel. She also teaches creative writing and is an author coach.
Amber and her husband live in the DFW Area, where you can often find them hiking or taking landscape/architecture/wildlife photographs. If you are very nice to Amber, she might make you cupcakes. Chocolate cupcakes, of course! Amber blogs about creative writing technique and all things chocolate.
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Autographed copies of A SHOT IN THE 80% DARK
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