Dark Intentions Book Blitz

70% DARK INTENTIONS
Bean to Bar Mysteries Book 2
by
AMBER ROYER
Categories: Cozy Mystery / Woman Sleuth / Romance
Publisher: Golden Tip Press
Date of Publication: July 20, 2021
Number of Pages: 260 pages
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An Idyllic Chocolate Shop. An island with endangered species. And a murder.
Felicity Koerber’s bean to bar chocolate shop on Galveston’s historic Strand is bringing in plenty of customers – in part due to the notoriety of the recent murder of one of her assistants, which she managed to solve. Things seem to be taking a turn for the better. Her new assistant, Mateo, even gets along with Carmen, the shop’s barista turned pastry chef. Felicity thinks she’s learning to cope with change – right up until one of her friends gets engaged. Everyone’s expecting her to ask Logan, her former bodyguard, to be her plus one. But even the thought of asking out someone else still makes her feel disloyal to her late husband’s memory — so maybe she hasn’t moved on from her husband’s death as much as she thought.

Felicity isn’t planning to contact Logan any time soon. Only, Felicity finds ANOTHER body right outside her shop – making it two murders at Greetings and Felicitations in as many months. That night, Mateo disappears, leaving Felicity to take care of his pet octopus. The police believe that Mateo committed the murder, but Felicity is convinced that, despite the mounting evidence, something more is going on, and Mateo may actually be in trouble.

When Logan assumes that he’s going to help Felicity investigate, she realizes she’s going to have to spend time with him – whether she’s ready to really talk to him or not. Can Felicity find out what happened to Mateo, unmask a killer, and throw an engagement party all at the same time?

PRAISE FOR 70% DARK INTENTIONS:
“Royer has concocted a sweetly dark confection with 70% DARK INTENSIONS, the second serving in her Bean to Bar Mysteries series…You’ll read this yummy treat late into the night.” –Amy Shojai, author of September Day & Shadow pet-centric thrillers
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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 blogs about creative writing technique and all things chocolate at www.amberroyer.com. She also teaches creative writing for both UT Arlington Continuing Education and Writing Workshops Dallas. If you are very nice to her, she might make you cupcakes.
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Making it Home: Excerpt and Giveaway


MAKING IT HOME
By Teddy Jones

Publisher: MidTown Publishing Pub Date: July 26, 2021
Series: Jackson’s Pond, Texas Series
Stand Alone: YES Pages: 275
Categories: Family Fiction / Racism / Ku Klux Klan / Texas Women’s Fiction / Rural Fiction
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In this third novel in the Jackson’s Pond, Texas series, fifty-five-year-old Melanie Jackson Banks encounters racism, intolerance, and violence both in her family’s distant past and in current day Jackson’s Pond. She leads family and community efforts to create reconciliation for past wrongs and also to demonstrate strength and defiance in the face of vandalism, cross-burning, domestic violence, threats to Jackson Ranch’s operation, and kidnapping. In the midst of this stormy period, she finds allies in her mother’s long-time companion, Robert Stanley; her mother, Willa Jackson; her daughter Claire Havlicek; and many others.

Praise for Making It Home “Making It Home could not be a more timely book… We live in an imperfect world, but it is still possible to think, imagine and make things better. The cast of characters in this strong family affirms this through their hope, decency, and tenacity!” —Eleanor Morse, author of Margreete’s Harbor “Jones’ talent for creating indelible characters endures, as does her way with a compelling plot. … This is a timely page-turner.”  Robin Lippincott, author of Blue Territory: A Meditation on the Life and Art of Joan Mitchell

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“LEGACY”

EXCERPT FROM CHAPTER ONE OF

MAKING IT HOME

BY TEDDY JONES


Albert Jackson had always thought of home as peaceful. After the war it seemed dull. But the article circled in this week’s Floyd County Tribune told him things were changing out there. He read aloud to Delia, his bride-to-be, as she sat on her parents’ living room sofa, straight as a poker, perched like a wren near the edge of the cushion.

 

“This is from last week, dated December 1, 1920.” He pointed to the article on the front page, making sure Delia saw it. “‘Sunday, C. C. Jackson contacted the county sheriff in Calverton saying that he’d found a body on his property that morning. The deceased was a Negro man, tentatively identified as Lincoln Berryhill, age thirty-four, from Bosley, Oklahoma. That identity was based on items found nearby. Deputy Asa Moore described the condition of the corpse as follows:  ‘completely naked, except for a tattered sock on the right foot. Appears to have been killed by a blow or blows to the back of the head, which has a bashed in appearance. Both legs are broken below the knees, with bone visible sticking out from both.’”

 

If Delia reacted at all to the gory details, he couldn’t tell from looking. The expression on her face, pleasant and somewhat distant, a carbon copy of her mother’s, had not changed since he began reading the article to her. Come to think of it, her women friends he’d met while visiting Longview all wore similar faint, far away smiles.

 

Wondering why he hadn’t thought before about that intentionally vacant expression, Albert hesitated. Today, exactly as he had each week since he and Delia Carson became officially engaged, Albert Jackson sat with her in the front parlor of her parents’ Longview, Texas, home. Doing his best to fit in, for the time being at least, with the way things were done in her family and in East Texas, he visited from Fort Worth. His Model T made the five-hour trip easily. But as far as he was concerned, the two towns were worlds apart. In Fort Worth, he could stretch his legs, hear talk of men dealing in cattle and land, feel the same as he’d always felt back home in the Texas Panhandle where he knew he was a man involved in the important work of helping feed the country. Everything about Longview felt cramped, a place more like the old South, full of manners and formal courtesies and open secrets.

 

He’d received an edition of the newspaper he held in the mail each week from his father, C.C. Jackson, since they reached their understanding. First, his father had sent that telegram letting Albert know in no uncertain terms that the fact he fought in the Great War didn’t mean it was the last work he’d ever need to do.

 

Right away, he’d gone home to Jackson’s Pond and explained to his father he was courting a woman he’d met in Fort Worth and had to be there to win her hand. After a long talk they reached an understanding that got him a bit of a reprieve. They both knew his mother’s dying last year had left the house in need of a woman.

 

Now that he and Delia Carson were engaged, plenty of things required his presence in her hometown. But his father let him know, with this regular news delivery, that he was watching, and the clock was ticking. After the wedding three weeks from today, Albert and his bride would make their way westward across the more than four hundred miles from Longview to the Jackson Ranch, home.

 

Albert straightened out a fold in the paper and read on, “Found nearby were overalls and a red union suit, an empty billfold, and a letter introducing Lincoln Berryhill. The letter stated Berryhill was working his way down to Fort Stockton, Texas, to stay with an elderly uncle who once had been stationed there as a Buffalo Soldier. The letter, torn into four pieces found scattered near the clothing, also said Berryhill was a good worker and trustworthy. It was signed Marshall Lee, President of the Bosley, Oklahoma, First National Bank. By press time, no relatives have been located to verify identification, and Mr. Lee has not replied to our inquiries.”

 

She asked, “What does that have to do with us?”

 

“Nothing, I hope. But it could mean the KKK is trying to stir up problems out there. They kill people for no other reason than being Negro. I’ve also heard they aim to get elected to office and run the big cities in the state. Dallas, Austin, even Wichita Falls.”

 

Delia leaned forward a tiny bit, deposited her teacup, still full, on the end table. She turned to face Albert and said, “That’s not necessarily a bad idea. Women right here in our town know we’re safe primarily because of the protection of the Klan. After a brief pause to retrieve and sip her tea, she said, “How can women feel safe out in West Texas if there’s no one keeping the order of things?”

 

“That’s what the sheriff’s department’s for. And courts.”

 

Delia said, “Justice sometimes must be swiftly administered. People who can’t or don’t want to live like the rest of us have to be taught a lesson. If I didn’t know better, I would think you were trying to start an argument with me. And here, so near to our wedding.”

 

“I’m trying to have a discussion, to understand what you believe. If that sounds like arguing, well so be it.” He stopped talking, made a show of checking his watch.

 

She said, “I think I am due an apology.”

 

“I have to go. I need to get out to the ranch. I’ll be back next week.”

 

Delia shot up from the sofa. “You’ll do no such thing. Critical preparations for the wedding and our honeymoon must be attended to.”

 

“This is more critical.”

 

She stamped her foot, noiselessly because of the thick rug, but he saw the movement. She said, her voice louder than he’d ever heard, “That’s debatable.”



Teddy Jones is the author of three published novels, Halfwide, Jackson’s Pond, Texas, and Well Tended, as well as a collection of short stories, Nowhere Near. Her short fiction received the Gold Medal First Prize in the Faulkner-Wisdom competition in 2015. Jackson’s Pond, Texas was a finalist for the 2014 Willa Award in contemporary fiction from Women Writing the West. Her as yet unpublished novel, Making It Home, was a finalist in the Faulkner-Wisdom competition in 2017 and A Good Family was named finalist in that contest in 2018.

Although her fiction tends to be set in West Texas, her characters’ lives embody issues not bounded by geography of any particular region. Families and loners; communities in flux; people struggling, others successful; some folks satisfied in solitude and others yearning for connection populate her work. And they all have in common that they are more human than otherwise.

Jones grew up in a small Texas town, Iowa Park. Earlier she worked as a nurse, a nurse educator, a nursing college administrator, and as a nurse practitioner in Texas, Colorado, and New Mexico. For the past twenty years, she and her husband have lived in the rural West Texas Panhandle where he farms and she writes.

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The Chase: Author Video Interview and Giveaway

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THE CHASE

U.S. Marshals Series, Book Two

By LISA HARRIS

Publisher: Revell Publication Date: July 6th, 2021 Pages: 320 Pages Categories: Fiction/ Christian/ Suspense

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US Marshal Madison James may not be sure who shot her three months ago, but she does know one thing–it’s time to get back out into the field. When her partner, Jonas Quinn, receives a message that a federal warrant just came in on a man connected to a string of bank robberies, Madison jumps at the chance to get back to work. What she and Jonas find is a bank robbery in progress that’s gone wrong–and things are about to get worse.
For these bank robbers, it’s never been just about the money. It’s about taking risks and adrenaline rushes and getting caught is not part of the game. When the suspects escape, Madison and Jonas must hunt them down and bring them to justice before someone else–someone close to them–gets hurt . . . or worse.
From Seattle to the San Juan Islands, bestselling author Lisa Harris takes you on a nonstop chase where feelings are complicated, and failure isn’t an option.


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Video Author Interview with

Honorary Texan, author Lisa Harris

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Lisa Harrisis a USA Today bestselling author, a Christy Award winner, and the winner of the Best Inspirational Suspense Novel from Romantic Times for her novels Blood Covenant and Vendetta. The author of more than 40 books, including The Escape, The Traitor’s Pawn, Vanishing Point A Secret to Die For,and Deadly Intentions, as well as The Nikki Boyd Files and the Southern Crimes series,Harris and her family have spent over 17 years living as missionaries in southern Africa. She is currently stateside in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

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Inclined Elders: Sneak Peek and Giveaway


INCLINED ELDERS

BY RAMONA OLIVER

Publisher: BookBaby
Publication Date: July 24, 2020 
Pages: 246 Pages
Categories: Nonfiction / Positive Aging

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THIS BOOK WILL BE INVALUABLE IF YOU: 

·     Have a desire to continue living a purposeful life, no matter what your age. 

·     Are interested in learning how to maintain a positive attitude from adulthood to elderhood. 

·    Want to learn how to create a living legacy and serve as a role model for future generations. 

 

WHY EMBRACE AN ATTITUDE OF INCLINE? 

For the first time in history we are not only living longer, everyone has an important choice to make: commit to a meaningful, purposeful life of “Incline” as we get older or believe that a new stage – one of steady “decline” – is inevitable. What is not helping is that in the media and society in general there continues the somewhat negative connotation surrounding the concept of aging. And while, at least not now, we cannot do anything about the chronological process of becoming 60, 70, 80 years and beyond, we can change the mindset for it. Embracing change and looking at life with a keener sense of curiosity will lead to living with increased courage to live life to its fullest. 

 

Inclined Elders is a call to action for you to opt for Incline. Not only for your personal fulfillment, but also to help fuel a social “legacy” that increases the number of positive older role models in everyday life. I have written this book to inspire, inform, and challenge you. By the time you reach the last page, I hope you will have made a new choice: to become an inspiring example of a life of Incline so our society relinquishes – once and for all – the notion that aging is synonymous with “decline,” “decrepit,” “senile,” and “over-the-hill.” 

 

In this book over 50 men and women ranging in age from 40 to 100 share their tips and techniques on how to live a life of Incline. Their strategies are supported by scientific evidence from the fields of Positive Psychology, Anthropology, and Sociology. 

 

WHO ARE INCLINED ELDERS? 

We are the women and men who have made a conscious choice to ignore society’s negative mindset of “decline” and “over-the-hill” as we age. Instead we embrace a positive mindset of continuing to Incline and climb ever upwards. 

 

Serving as vibrant role models, the Inclined Elders I spoke to for this book are leaving their own unique legacies of wisdom and inspiration for future generations. There needs to be more of us like them to effect real social change. So why not Incline too? There’s an amazing view from up here. Come with us and see for yourself. 

 

Purchase: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Apple Books

*Paperback Use Coupon: AUG31PB 
*eBook Use Coupon: AUG31EB 



MEET SOME OF THE INCLINED ELDERS

FROM INCLINED ELDERS

BY RAMONA OLIVER

 

Galen “The Magician” shares his “magic illusion” philosophy of life. He doesn’t view it as a time of decline. His philosophy is carpe vitum or “seize life” rather than simply carpe diem or “seize the day.” At 70, his second “career” is as a magician and he’s having a ball!


 The Amazing Miss Lee shares her “recipe for living to 95 and beyond” – highlights include having a positive attitude and keeping the inner child alive.


 Raymond “tunes out” the negative talk of decliners and follows the philosophy of “not letting the old man in.” An avid outdoorsman, Raymond shared that while he doesn’t climb mountains anymore, he still enjoys hiking around them. It’s simply a matter of modification.


 Carolyn tells you how she managed to “dance” even though it was not permitted by her religion and how she continues dancing today at the age of eighty by applying that same principle to other restrictions in her life.


 Kathy explains how she “laughed fear in the face” and how it helped her to find the courage to live the life she chooses.


 Dorie defines the importance of “relationships” and their positive impact on her life.


David explains how his philosophy on community and service has shaped his life and allowed him to be a “good man.”


Darlene shares how she refuses to be put into society’s “stereotypical box” about aging and how she has benefited as a result.


Dora shows how she triumphed over her cultural tradition of migrant farm work by earning a bachelor’s and then a master’s degree, leaving an ongoing legacy of empowerment for her family. 


Polly shares how she overcame her introversion and shyness, chose “self-empowerment,” and is now reaping the rewards of serving others by volunteering in her community.




Ramona Oliver has long been a passionate educator with former roles as a human resource manager/director, career coach, and director of outreach for St. Edward’s University. As a human resource director for many years, she championed the professional development of employees. While serving as president of the Austin Human Resource Management Association, she led a team that designed, developed, and implemented an award-wining leadership program. In addition, she launched a workforce readiness committee that partnered with community organizations to implement workforce readiness initiatives. At St. Edward’s University, she promoted lifelong learning and the adult undergraduate and graduate programs to older adults in the Austin community. 

Ramona currently serves as an advocate of positive aging. Rather than accepting a mindset of decline, she is passionate about living life with an attitude of Incline. Ramona has been published on the Changing Aging website, offering posts with titles such as “Can We Please Stop Calling It Aging,” “What Are We Missing When We Settle for Life Stages?” and “Leave a Legacy and Live It Now!”  

Ramona is a recipient of a Book Excellence Award for her current book, INCLINED ELDERS: How to rebrand aging for self and society. It has been recognized for high-quality writing style, book design, and overall marketing appeal. 

She earned her Master of Business Administration from St. Edward’s University. Ramona lives in Austin, Texas where she enjoys practicing yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi, and Nia and participating in various community groups. 

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 2 winners: autographed copies of 
Inclined Elders. 
2 winners: Kindle copies of 
Inclined Elders.
Giveaway ends midnight, CDT, 7/17/21; US only.

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7/7/21

Notable Quotable

It’s Not All Gravy

7/7/21

Sneak Peek

The Page Unbound

7/8/21

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The Plain-Spoken Pen

7/8/21

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LSBBT Blog

7/9/21

Author Interview

Chapter Break Book Blog

7/9/21

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Book Fidelity

7/10/21

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StoreyBook Reviews

7/11/21

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All the Ups and Downs

7/12/21

Review

Jennie Reads

7/12/21

Character Interview

Librariel Book Adventures

7/13/21

Guest Post

Book Bustle

7/14/21

Review

Hall Ways Blog

7/14/21

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That’s What She’s Reading

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The Adventures of a Travelers Wife

7/16/21

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Reading by Moonlight

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Review

Forgotten Winds


 
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River, Sing out: Interview and Giveaway

   

RIVER, SING OUT
BY
JAMES WADE
 
Categories: Contemporary / Literary Fiction
Rural Fiction / Crime Fiction / Coming-of-Age
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Date of Publication: June 8, 2021
Number of Pages: 315 pages
 

“And through these ages untold, the river did act as the lifeblood of all those things alongside it.”

Jonah Hargrove is celebrating his thirteenth birthday by avoiding his abusive father, when a girl named River stumbles into his yard, injured and alone. The teenager has stolen thousands of dollars’ worth of meth from her murderous, drug-dealing boyfriend, but lost it somewhere in the Neches River bottoms during her escape. Jonah agrees to help her find and sell the drugs so she can flee East Texas.

Chasing after them is John Curtis, a local drug kingpin and dog fighter, as well as River’s boyfriend, the dangerous Dakota Cade.

Each person is keeping secrets from the others—deadly secrets that will be exposed in violent fashion as all are forced to come to terms with their choices, their circumstances, and their own definition of God.

With a colorful cast of supporting characters and an unflinching violence juxtaposed against lyrical prose, River, Sing Out dives deep into the sinister world of the East Texas river bottoms, where oppressive poverty is pitted against the need to believe in something greater than the self.



PRAISE FOR RIVER, SING OUT

”With echoes of Jim Harrison, Cormac McCarthy (and perhaps a smidge of Flannery O’Connor), River, Sing Out is a beautiful, brutal meditation on survival and love in the face of nearly unspeakable violence and depravity in an East Texas community ravaged by the meth trade. Taut, lyrical, and precise, the prose soars in this important new novel by James Wade.” —Elizabeth Wetmore, New York Times bestselling author of Valentine

”If you read one novel this year, make it this one. James Wade’s River, Sing Out, is an instant classic filled with characters that will break your heart, lyrical prose as haunted as the river it evokes, and a Southern Noir undertow that wholly sucks you in and keeps you turning the pages until it’s searing, masterful conclusion.” —May Cobb, author of The Hunting Wives

”Wade, whose striking debut, All Things Left Wild (2020), traveled back a century in Texas history, uses an unlikely friendship to explore an equally wild present-day landscape…A haunting fable of an impossible relationship fueled by elemental need and despair.” —Kirkus Reviews




Interview with James Wade

 

How has your formal education impacted your writing?

When I started trying to break into the fiction world, I felt inadequate in a number of ways, but one of the biggest was my lack of an MFA. Everyone I knew or met or talked to was always asking where I’d gone to grad school. There was a time (and sometimes I still feel this way) where I thought every single writer in Texas had gotten an MFA at Texas State or UT. I had an agent at a conference tell me that I would only be taken seriously if I went back to school.

But then I was published a few times in literary magazines, and I won a couple of contests, and all of a sudden not having an MFA became like a point of pride– even a little bit of a chip on my shoulder that kept me working hard.

I’m an incredibly privileged person (far too privileged to complain as much as I do), and there are very few instances where I can claim the role of underdog, but the absence of a formal writing education gives me a little bit of that extra motivation.

 

Did you experience rejection when submitting this manuscript for publication?

I didn’t, but only because I had signed a three-book deal with my publisher (River, Sing Out being the second of the three books). However, I did receive several rejections for my first novel from agents I queried. When I finished All Things Left Wild, my wife and I sat down, and each made a list of ten agents we thought would be right for the book. My agent, Mark Gottlieb at Trident Media, was the top name on both of our lists. So I sent a query to Mark and about a dozen other folks. Mark reached out the same day asking for more, and he read the manuscript over a weekend and signed me the following Monday. I emailed the other agents and basically told them not to waste their time (which to an agent is like gold). Still, a few of them got back to me with rejection emails. Some were templates, others more personal (and brutal), and I couldn’t help but wonder how different that would have felt if I hadn’t already found Mark. In fact, Mark had secured a great deal with Blackstone Publishing before most of the agents had even replied. But I could see how devastating that might have been if I were receiving rejections up front, so I always tell new writers not to get too caught up on how long something is or isn’t taking. There is so much luck and timing involved, but at the end of the day you only need one ‘yes’ to be a published author.

 

What do you like to read in your free time?

My daughter just turned one, so free time seems like a hilarious and cruel concept. But in that great yesterday, when the house was quiet and my wife and I were free to lounge about at our leisure, I read as much as I could. First and foremost, everything Cormac McCarthy has written (novels, screenplays, essays, etc.). I also enjoy the novels of William Gay, Kent Haruf, and William Faulkner, as well as the short stories of Flannery O’Connor. Much of my reading time is devoted to religious and moral philosophy, political science, and histories, and more recently I’ve been fascinated with geology (Texas geology in particular). When I open a book, I’m looking to learn– learn about lyrical prose from masters of fiction, or learn about mercury mining in West Texas, or cattle ranching on the high plains, or how the Caddo Indians in East Texas believed the world was created.

 

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

Of course. It’s the one subject no author should ever write about: Mathematics.

 

What is something you want to accomplish before you die?

I think the appropriate answer is something like, “be a good father and husband,” or, “find peace and happiness,” or even, “write a NYT bestseller and win a Pulitzer.” But the only real goal, real desire, that I have is to write a novel that I’m happy with. Unfortunately, as is the nature of writing, that is almost guaranteed to never happen. So, here’s to a life of frustration.

 

What do you want your tombstone to say?

It has been a wonderfully strange privilege.

 

James Wade lives and writes in the Texas Hill Country with his wife and daughter. He is the author of All Things Left Wild, which is a winner of the 2016 Writers’ League of Texas Manuscript Contest, a winner of the 2021 Spur Award for Best Historical Fiction, and a winner of the 2021 Reading the West Award for Best Debut Novel. His fiction has appeared in various literary journals and magazines.
 

Deadly Business Cover Reveal and Blitz

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DEADLY BUSINESS

BY ANITA DICKASON

COVER REVEAL

Anticipated Publication Date: July 3rd, 2021 Pages: 324 pages Categories: Suspense | Thriller | Crime Thriller

Deadly Business PB-5-3-21

A Texas Multi-Billion Dollar Lure!

Following a tactical raid at an Oklahoma farm, a phone call sends U.S. Deputy Marshal Piper McKay rushing back to the East Texas cattle ranch where she grew up. Her grandmother, Jennie Layton, is near death from a crushed skull. When local authorities claim the cause of the injury was an accident, Piper isn’t convinced. Who wants Jennie dead and why? Is the reason connected to a dubious contract Piper finds in Jennie’s desk? Piper realizes her grandmother isn’t the only one in danger when she barely escapes a deadly attack. Thrust into the middle of a high-stakes, high-risk shell game, Piper’s become the target. The case takes a bizarre turn when Piper unknowingly crosses paths with a Special Ranger. If he can’t derail her investigation, it could cost him his life.

With millions of dollars on the line, nothing will stop a ring of cold-blooded killers, including the murders of a U.S. Marshal and a Special Ranger.

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Award-winning author Anita Dickason is a twenty-two veteran of the Dallas Police Department. She served as a patrol officer, undercover narcotics detective, advanced accident investigator, tactical officer and first female sniper on the Dallas SWAT team. Anita writes about what she knows, cops and crime. Her police background provides an unending source of inspiration for her plots and characters. Many incidents and characters portrayed in her books are based on personal experience. For her, the characters are the fun part of writing as she never knows where they will take her. There is always something out of the ordinary in her stories. In Anita’s debut novel, Sentinels of the Night, she created an elite FBI Unit, the Trackers. Since then, she has added three more Tracker crime thrillers, Going Gone!, A u 7 9, and Operation Navajo. The novels are not a series and can be read in any order. As a Texas author, many of Anita’s books are based in Texas, or there is a link to Texas. When she stepped outside of the Tracker novels and wrote, Not Dead, she selected Meridian, a small community in central Texas for the location.

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Giveaway on Anita Dickason’s Website!

Pre-order Deadly Business, and you could win one of three prize packages (value $40 each) containing a tote bag, mousepad, coaster, pen, & bookmarks!

Visit www.anitadickason.com/ for details!

(US only. Contest ends at midnight, CDT, July 2, 2021.)

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Gingerbread Kisses: Sneak Peek and Giveaway

GINGERBREAD KISSES
Hot in Magnolia Book 4
By Minette Lauren

Publication Date: April 30th, 2021
Pages: 275
Categories: Sexy Romance

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Hollywood actress Ginger Lynn Harding is broke, unemployed, and stuck in the glaring spotlight of a sex-tape scandal thanks to her lousy ex-boyfriend. Changing her coveted ginger-colored hair to brown, Ginger heads to small-town Magnolia, Texas, where she plans to hide out and wait tables at the Cupcake Diner and Dive.

As a Magnolia constable and possible candidate for mayor, Roland Karr prides himself on protecting the community. When he nabs a Lauren Bacall look-alike for speeding, Roland is surprised that he lets the sassy beauty off the hook, but he can’t help it. She looks like she could use a break.

As Ginger settles into life in Magnolia, she can’t stop thinking about the handsome and debonair cop, but can she risk losing her heart when she’s lost everything else?
 




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Sneak Peek Excerpt

from HURRICANE KISSES

the Forthcoming 5th Book

In the Hot In Magnolia Series

By Minette Lauren

**LANGUAGE ADVISORY – THE FOLLOWING EXCERPT CONTAINS PROFANITY**

Cecilia Lockwood grunted as she shimmied backward with the tall parrot cage in her clenched fists. “Of all the good and bad luck in my life, I’m not sure if my inheritance is the best or the worst.”

“Shut up!” The blue and gold macaw screeched.

“That’s it, you fancy blue chicken, I’m making parrot soup tonight, with a side of cockatiel!”

The green Quaker parrot, who had been out of his cage and resisting capture all morning, stared at her from where he’d perched on top of her computer monitor. “Um—that’s good!”

Cecilia blew at a stray lock of hair that escaped her long ponytail. Years ago, she’d worn it at a fashionable length. That was before she’d lost her prestige with the Magnolia Blossoms Ladies League.

 An IRS audit revealed some of her extra purchases with the non-profit money she’d earned, but she didn’t understand all the fuss. She was the one who raised the money for charity, so why couldn’t she enjoy a day at the spa or buy a new pair of shoes? At the time, she hadn’t thought she was cheating anyone out of anything, but according to the IRS and the whole flock of biddies in Magnolia, she’d done just that. After moving back to Dallas with her mother and father, Todd and Brenda Lockwood, she thought things would turn around. Celia felt she had better potential in a city like Dallas and was over her big-fish-in-a-little-pond syndrome. She could admit now that being the president of The Magnolia Blossoms wasn’t her destiny.

When her father put her in the accounting office of his oil company, she’d felt right at home. Taking up where she’d left off, Celia tallied columns of debits and credits, including a small account for herself to buy whatever she wanted. She worked hard for her father, so in her eyes, she was just rewarding herself with an extra bonus for all her effort. Unbeknownst to Celia, her father’s partner hired a spy. A very handsome co-worker named Steve, whom she’d taken out to lunch several times with her petty cash account, and had almost taken to bed once after a few too many martinis. Thank God, she hadn’t. It infuriated her that the ratfink ratted her out. She’d trusted him enough to share her secret, and he had sold her down the river for a promotion. When she was fired, Steve took her job and her dignity. She’d cried to her mother without much success.

Barbra Lockwood sipped her mimosa and petted Mimi, the family’s black teacup poodle. “Darling, why are you blubbering? You know your father. He loves you, and he wants you to learn important lessons in life, but I say go get your money the old-fashioned way. Find yourself a rich husband, like I did. Then you can visit with your friends and shop until your heart is content.”

As Celia pushed the cage into a corner, Chica, the blue and gold macaw, pinched her finger through the bars, letting out another ear-piercing screech.

Celia let out a howl of her own. “Ouch!”

“Shut up!”

Celia gave the sassy parrot a low growl. Macaws weren’t usually the big talkers of the parrot world, but this one wouldn’t shut up with the few words it knew. Since inheriting her grandfather’s exotic bird sanctuary, and it being the only source of income that she had, Cecilia had tried to catch up on understanding parrots and the necessary habitat they needed to survive. The sanctuary ran off regular donations, but it was barely enough to pay the utilities and have enough left over to buy birdseed. She needed more, and if she had to put up with a teenage macaw that hated her, so be it. When she started parrot adoptions, Chica would be the first to go, but before that, she needed to teach the saucy parrot some manners. Besides, repeating her name, hello, shut up and pretty girl were the only other words Chica knew.

Feathers floated in the air as Celia swept the floor. As she pushed the broom around the cages, she noticed Baby, the Quaker parrot, disappear into his cage. Just as Celia snuck close enough to shut the flap to the enclosure, a knock sounded on the door.

“Excuse me, Miss.” A man’s voice called out, startling her and Baby, who flew back out of his cage.

“Jesus H Christ!” Celia grabbed her chest and spun on her heel. Glancing at the man and then back at the cage, she scowled and then burst into tears. “Stupid asshole,” she sobbed.

She heard the door shut and the man’s boots on the hard tile as he approached. “Hey, sorry. I didn’t mean to interrupt. I closed the door so the bird won’t escape. I’ll help you catch him.” There was a pause as he put his hand on her shoulder.

She felt her body shudder as she tried to gain control of her tears. Celia didn’t even know why she was crying. She was tougher than this. A smarty-pants little bird would not, could not, best her.

His steady voice continued. “I promise. I’m not an asshole. I’ll make it up to you. Do you have a towel and a ladder?”

That made Celia’s tears turn to laughter. She was cursing the parrot who’d teased her all morning, not the man. As she finally looked up at her visitor, she was mesmerized by his clear blue eyes that were as light as Tiffany-blue glass. His features were symmetrical, and his sandy-blond hair was golden in the light pouring in from the window. He was the stuff of Greek God movie actors in those delicious romantic comedies. His smooth southern drawl sent tingles from the pit of her stomach to her toes. Even touching her shoulder, he was tender and stood his distance, careful not to invade her space. His smile was warm and showcased perfect white teeth.

Feathers still floated in the air around his head, giving him an ethereal look. Entranced, she reached out and touched the side of his face. “Are you real?”

He reached in his pocket and pulled out a handkerchief, offering it to her. Who carried a clean hanky in their pocket these days? As she dabbed at her eyes, it occurred to her that there was no guarantee that it was indeed clean, and she must look like a clown in her manic state. She quickly pressed the kerchief back into his palm. Celia stared at him and he seemed to look back at her with the same dazed look. Did he like what he saw as much as she liked looking at him? It was then that she remembered her messy hair that the cockatiel had perched in half of the morning, and the tired old gym clothes she’d been wearing to clean cages. She probably had bird poop in her hair or worse, and he was possibly contemplating how to tell her. Celia brushed at her shirt, as if it would suddenly turn into a beautiful ball gown, and he would sweep her up in his arms and carry her away from the cage she was living in. She snorted at the thought.

His hand shot out again, offering her the hanky.

Oh god. My life has got to get better than this!








Minette Lauren is an award-winning author who loves animals and writes humorous romance in a small Texas town. 



 



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A Witches Brew: Book Review and Giveaway

A WITCH’S BREW

Conquest of the Veil Book III

By Michael Scott Clifton

Publisher: Book Liftoff
Publication Date: April 14th, 2021

Pages: 318 Pages
Categories:

Sword & Sorcery / Magical Realism / Fantasy / Paranormal


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Intent on defeating the Dark Queen and destroying the Veil, Prince Tal and Alexandria arrive at Markingham to discover a city on the verge of collapse, its people starving, and children vanishing without a trace. Hopes of launching attacks from the city against the Dark Queen evaporate. To make matters worse, the tiny breach in the Veil allows only a trickle of soldiers and supplies to pass through. 

Before the city’s defenses can be restored, the Baleful, a vast army composed of melded humans and animals led by a giant centaur, sweeps across the land like locusts, leaving nothing behind. 

In the midst of turmoil and conflict, the love between Tal and Alex reaches white-hot intensity. But the leader of a ragtag militia group wants Tal for herself and will do anything to get him…even strike a bargain with a child-killing witch for a potion to make her irresistible. 

But every witch’s brew comes with a price. 

 

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It was fun getting to jump back into the world that Michael Scott Clifton had created! A Witches Brew is the third book in the series Conquest of the Veil. Our heroes, Tal and Alex, are back, along with some new characters both good an bad. The hunt for the Evil Queen is on, but is quickly delayed as they stumble upon a town in desperate need of aid. The citizens of Markingham are starving. The walls of buildings are crumbling. If the enemy were to attack the city, it would be easily lost. Prince Tal and Lady Alexandria do their part to help repair the town. Lighting a fire to their beautiful story arcs in this book. 

Tal and Alex’s relationship grows deeper, their love and understanding of each other clearly shown in each of their interactions. There is so much chemistry between Tal and Alex, and well written tension. I love their interactions with each other, and how much they really care about each other. 

But not everything can be perfect can it? 

Along comes Maggie, a new character to the story. She completely throws a wrench in everything! We are first introduced to her while she’s riding her horse and Tal demonstrates his magic. I wanted to yell at him to take his hand off of Maggie, but Maggie and to throw it off herself. This definitely sets the tone for the three. And though I absolutely despise any sort of love triangle, I couldn’t help but really enjoy Maggie’s character. She had a new dynamic to the story, and her arrogance and stuborness was actually a bit refreshing. 

May I also add that I love a good villain. Drusulla does not disappoint! 

The world building is wonderful. I love how Clifton’s story just seems to flow so easily. And how easy it is to be submerged into these beautiful world he has created. This story is filled with suspense, adventure, action, and magic. A fantasy world unlike any other. He has such a vivid imagination and it’s easy to get lost into the story and to pretend I can see it unfolding right before my eyes. 

The characters are so well rounded and multi-dimensional. It’s easy to fall in love with our heroes and easy to be awed by the other characters, even the villain. 

I cannot wait for future reads by Clifton!

If you enjoy fantasy, magic, adventure, and a dash of love, be sure to check this story out! I highly recommend it!


Rating: 4/5




Multi Award-Winning Author Michael Scott Clifton, a longtime public educator, currently lives in Mount Pleasant, Texas with his wife, Melanie. An avid gardener, reader, and movie junkie, his books contain facets of all the genres he enjoys—action, adventure, magic, fantasy, and romance. His fantasy novels, The Janus Witch, The Open Portal (Book I in the Conquest of the Veil series), and Escape from Wheel (Book II), all received 5-Star reviews from the prestigious Readers Favorite Book Reviews. The Open Portal has also been honored with a Feathered Quill Book Finalist Award. In addition, Edison Jones and the Anti-Grav Elevator earned a 2021 Feathered Quill Book Award Bronze Medal in the Teen Readers category. Two of his short stories have won Gold Medals, with Edges of Gray winning the Texas Authors Contest, and The End Game, winning the Northeast Texas Writer’s Organization Contest. Professional credits include articles published in the Texas Study of Secondary Education Magazine

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nd & 3rd Winners: eBooks of A Witch’s Brew. 
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The Paris Betrayal: Deleted Scene and Giveaway

THE PARIS BETRAYAL
By James R. Hannibal

Published by: Revell
Publication Date: May 4th, 2021
Pages: 352 pages
Categories: Fiction / Christian / Suspense

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After a rough mission in Rome involving the discovery of a devastating bioweapon, Company spy Ben Calix returns to Paris to find his perfectly ordered world has collapsed. A sniper attack. An ambush. A call for help that brings French SWAT forces down on his head. Ben is out. This is a severance–reserved for incompetents and traitors.

Searching for answers and anticipating a coming attack, Ben and a woman swept up in his misfortunes must travel across Europe to find the sniper who tried to kill him, the medic who saved his life, the schoolmaster who trained him, and an upstart hacker from his former team. More than that, Ben must come to grips with his own insignificance as the Company’s plan to stop Leviathan from unleashing the bioweapon at any cost moves forward without him–and he struggles against the infection that is swiftly claiming territory within his own body.

Award-winning author James R. Hannibal ratchets up the tension on every page of this suspenseful new thriller.


PRAISE FOR THE PARIS BETRAYAL
“A masterful thriller is created by a masterful writer, and James R. Hannibal is at the top of my list. I devoured every page with the lights on!” DiAnn Mills, author of Airborne

“James Hannibal once again displays his dazzling prose and ability to keep even the more experienced readers guessing. In The Paris Betrayal, Hannibal sets his hook deep and early, then drags you through a riveting, edge-of-your-seat story. Another gripping, high-octane book from one of the best thriller writers in the business.” 
Simon Gervais, former RCMP counterterrorism officer and bestselling author of Hunt Them Down

“Riveting and action-packed! The Paris Betrayal is everything you want in a thriller–suspense, intrigue, and white-knuckle action. Hannibal has a knack for keeping you guessing in a plot that moves at a breakneck speed. This is one you don’t want to miss!” 
Ronie Kendig, bestselling author of The Tox Files

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From THE PARIS BETRAYAL

by James R. Hannibal

 

The following scene didn’t make it into The Paris Betrayal. This impromptu meeting between Ben and his spymaster, the Director, was meant to be a humorous calm before the coming storm. It was also meant to be an allegorical come as you are moment where man meets his Creator. The Director shows up unexpectedly while Ben is in his boxers. Our Creator sees us and sees through us no matter how we dress ourselves up, and we serve His timetable, not the other way around.

In the end, though, the scene felt wedged into the story and required some technology that needed too much explanation. I clipped it out to keep the action moving for the reader and consolidated Ben’s run-in with Clara with another moment later in the story.


DELETED SCENE, CHAPTER SEVEN

A blue-haired girl came down the steps as Ben entered his apartment building’s stairwell. “Haven’t seen you in a while, Jacob.” Her Slovakian heritage colored her English, which—as she had told Ben when they first met—was better than her French. She knew him by his local cover name, Jacob Roy, a wool salesman from Montreal. She held a dachshund close to her chest. He looked as tired as Ben felt.

“Winter sales route. Lots of stops. Big time of year for wool.” He tried to squeeze past.

The girl, Clara, did not give him much room. “We could get something later, if you like. No need to cook if you’re worn out.” The dachshund lifted its head from her forearm, eyes pleading for the extra evening company.

“Thanks, but not tonight. Maybe another time.”

She always asked. He always declined. It felt like a sad game.

“Yes.” Clara set the dog down at the base of the steps. “Another time.”

Bed.

Ben dropped his bag on the floor of his flat and collapsed onto his king size mattress, eyes closed. Traffic had picked up on the streets outside, honking and beeping. A pounding above told him the upstairs neighbors were renovating. But he could easily have slept—if not for the file burning a hole in his smartphone’s case.

His eyes popped open, and he held the phone before them, frowning. “Stupid analysts.”

He threw open his wardrobe and divided his hanging shirts. A three-inch false panel at the back covered the slick where he kept his A19 Matchbox decryptor. Without the Matchbox to unscramble the data, the file was useless, and keeping the software in a separate device added an extra layer of security. Before digging it out, he hung up the jacket he’d bought in Rome and stripped down to his T-shirt and boxers. Might as well get comfortable.

The Matchbox had no switches and only one connector. He plugged it into his phone and waited. Usually charts and maps popped up on the phone’s screen in rapid sequence—new forms to fill out. The Company nerds liked an overabundance of detail. But the Matchbox decrypted only one page with one line.

channel two

“What on earth?”

Ben read the line again. Channel two. What was that supposed to mean?

His phone did not operate like a radio. There were no channels. And he had no other communication devices. He stared at the empty wall beside the bed for a long moment, then glanced at the TV. “Okay. Channel two.”

The TV always powered up on Channel 8. He’d never bothered to ask himself why. He waited for the backlight to warm up, giving him a clear picture, then pointed his remote and punched the channel down button. The numbers in the corner counted backward. 07, 06, 05, 04, 03.

02

The screen went black for a moment, then resolved to a video of a white-haired man with his back to the camera, wearing blue-jeans and wool coat with the collar flipped up. Ben cocked his head left, then right, taking a step toward the screen. This guy looked familiar—the back of him, anyway.

The man turned to face the camera, and Ben lost all doubt. “The Director,” he said under his breath. “It’s a video message from the Director himself.”

Many at the Company knew him as the Old Man, but the nickname didn’t fit, not to Ben. Sure, he had white hair—snow white—but the lines on his forehead spoke more of experience than age. And though he was tall, the Director never stooped. He eyed the camera with a look of mild surprise, then slipped his hands into the pockets of his coat and smiled. “Hello, Mr. Calix. Did I catch you at a bad time?”



James R. Hannibal is no stranger to secrets and adventure. This former stealth pilot from Houston, Texas, has been shot at, locked up with surface-to-air missiles, and chased down a winding German road by an armed terrorist. He is a two-time Silver Falchion Award winner for his children’s mysteries, a former Thriller Award nominee, and a 2020 Selah and Carol Award finalist for The Gryphon Heist–the opener for the CIA series that now includes Chasing the White Lion. James is a rare multisense synesthete, meaning all of his senses intersect. He sees and feels sounds and smells, and hears flashes of light. If he tells you the chocolate cake you offered smells blue and sticky, take it as a compliment.
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The Takeaway Men Blitz

 
THE TAKEAWAY MEN By Meryl Ain
 
Publisher: SparkPress
Pub Date: August 4th, 2020
Pages: 265 pages
Categories: Historical / Jewish Literature / Sibling Fiction / Holocaust

With the cloud of the Holocaust still looming over them, twin sisters Bronka and Johanna Lubinski and their parents arrive in the US from a Displaced Persons Camp. In the years after World War II, they experience the difficulties of adjusting to American culture as well as the burgeoning fear of the Cold War. Years later, the discovery of a former Nazi hiding in their community brings the Holocaust out of the shadows. As the girls get older, they start to wonder about their parents’ pasts, and they begin to demand answers. But it soon becomes clear that those memories will be more difficult and painful to uncover than they could have anticipated. Poignant and haunting, The Takeaway Men explores the impact of immigration, identity, prejudice, secrets, and lies on parents and children in mid-twentieth-century America.
PRAISE FOR THE TAKEAWAY MEN: “At a time when the darkness of the Holocaust is being whitewashed, Meryl Ain’s remarkable debut novel illuminates the postwar Jewish American landscape like a truth-seeking torch. An emotionally rich and lovingly told saga of survivors, with great sensitivity to what was lost, buried, and resurrected.” — Thane Rosenbaum, author of The Golems of Gotham, Second Hand Smoke, and Elijah Visible. “The author’s tale is sensitively composed, a thoughtful exploration into the perennially thorny issues of religious identity, assimilation, and the legacy of suffering.” — Kirkus Reviews

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Meryl Ain’s articles and essays have appeared in Huffington Post, The New York Jewish Week, The New York Times, Newsday, and other publications. In 2014, she co-authored the award-winning book, The Living Memories Project: Legacies That Last, and in 2016, wrote a companion workbook, My Living Memories Project Journal.  She is a sought-after speaker and has been interviewed on television, radio, and podcasts. She is a career educator and is proud to be both a teacher and student of history. She has also worked as a school administrator. The Takeaway Men is the result of her life-long quest to learn more about the Holocaust, a thirst that was first triggered by reading The Diary of Anne Frank in the sixth grade. While teaching high school history, she introduced her students to the study of the Holocaust. At the same time, she also developed an enduring fascination with teaching about and researching the Julius and Ethel Rosenberg case. An interview with Robert Meeropol, the younger son of the Rosenbergs, is featured in her book, The Living Memories Project. The book also includes an interview with Holocaust survivor, Boris Chartan, the founder of the Holocaust Museum and Tolerance Center of Nassau County, New York. Meryl holds a BA from Queens College, an MA from Teachers College, Columbia University, and an Ed.D. from Hofstra University. She is a lifetime member of Hadassah and an active supporter of UJA-Federation of New York.  She lives in New York with her husband, Stewart. They have three married sons and six grandchildren. This is her first novel.

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