Outlaw West of the Pecos: Excerpt and Giveaway


OUTLAW WEST OF THE PECOS
An H.H. Lomax Western, Book 7
by
PRESTON LEWIS
Western / Humor / Historical Fiction
Publisher: Wolfpack Publishing
Date of Publication: January 4, 2022
Number of Pages: 228 pages 
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Accused of cheating at cards on a Southern Pacific passenger train in far West Texas, H.H. Lomax is kicked off the train and finds himself at the mercy of the unpredictable justice of Judge Roy Bean, who calls himself “Law West of the Pecos.” After being fined of all his money, married, and divorced by the judge in a matter of minutes, Lomax discovers an unlikely connection to him.
Against a backdrop of a pending world heavyweight championship bout, Lomax heads to El Paso to interest someone in writing and publishing Bean’s biography. He winds up in an El Paso boarding house across the hall from Texas killer John Wesley Hardin. They despise each other, but Hardin fears Lomax’s straight-arrow Texas Ranger brother and treads lightly around Lomax. Because of Hardin’s crooked connections in El Paso, Lomax gets caught between him and corrupt constable John Selman.
El Paso is becoming the focal point of efforts to host a championship prizefight that everyone from the Presidents of the United States and Mexico to the governors of Texas, New Mexico Territory and Chihuahua have vowed to stop. Calling on his connections to his Ranger brother, El Paso officials and the promoter of the boxing match, Lomax uses his Judge Roy Bean friendship to pull off the oddest prizefight in heavyweight history.
Outlaw West of the Pecos stands as an entertaining mix of historical and hysterical fiction.

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EXCERPT FROM OUTLAW WEST OF THE PECOS

BY PRESTON LEWIS


“We the jury find the defendant guilty as charged.”

“This is the greatest legal wrong in the history of the State of Texas,” I cried.

“Another outburst and I’ll add a second contempt charge to your list of crimes. You best keep quiet for your own good.”

I sat there fuming, but silent.

“Okay, for carrying a concealed weapon, I’m fining you fifty dollars. There’s a seventy-five-dollar fine for contempt of court. I’m tacking on the five-dollar inquest fee I would have received from the county had you fallen from the high bridge.”

“I’ve got the money, so I’ll pay the fine and leave on the next train,” I offered.

“No, sir, I’m also incarcerating you for the next ten days to teach you respect for the laws of this great state.  That’ll be another ten dollars a day for a jail boarding fee.”

“What?” I sputtered. “Before I leave here, you’ll have all my money?”

Bean grinned at me. “That’s a good thought, Lomax. Now I want you to strip naked.”

I was as bewildered as a rat at a cat convention. This magistrate struck me as a lunatic, but I jumped down from the keg and unbuttoned my long johns.

The judge slammed his gavel against the bar top. “Not in here, not in front of Miss Langtry,” he shouted. “She’s a lady. Go out in the hall and throw your union suit and socks back in here.”

I hesitated.

“Move or I’ll tack another contempt charge onto your bill.”

Bolting out of the room, I did as ordered, standing in the hallway making sure that Lilly’s lifeless portrait eyes didn’t see my nakedness. Now I hoped not only that justice but also Langtry was blind as I questioned my future in Texas. I stood there maybe ten minutes before I heard Bean call me from the front porch. Slipping just my head outside the doorway, I saw him sitting on a burro with a double-barreled shotgun pointed my way.

“Come on out, Lomax. Let’s go for a walk.”

“Where?” I wanted to know.

“To the river to bathe.”

“I need my clothes,” I pleaded.

“I don’t have any shackles,” Bean answered.

“What’s that got to do with my clothes?”

“I’ve found I don’t need shackles for naked men. Now come on out or I’m fining you another hundred dollars.”

Damn if Bean wasn’t right. As soon as I stepped outside, my hands dropped to my groin and stayed there all the way to the Rio Grande. We walked past the tracks and beyond the more numerous buildings on the railroad’s south side, where folks had built their homes and stores to put some distance between them and the law west of the Pecos. As I ambled through town with the double-barreled shotgun pointed at my back, some men and women giggled, but most made the sign of the cross over their breast. “El camino de la muerte,” cried one woman.

Bean translated for me, “The walk of death.”

I suppose it was a half mile or less from his courtroom to the ledge overlooking the Rio Grande River, but it seemed like forever, me being naked and barefoot and trying to miss the cactus and thorns that littered the trail. At the canyon’s edge, Bean pointed me down a path that led a hundred and fifty feet to the water’s edge below. I followed it and Bean’s instructions to wade out to an island that appeared to be an acre or more in the middle of the river. Bean followed me; the shotgun always pointed at my back.

“This island is neither Texas nor Mexico. Nobody’s certain who has jurisdiction, so if I shoot you, I won’t be prosecuted by me as law west of the Pecos or anyone else. Now if I do shoot you dead, and you float away, make sure you land on the Texas side of the river so I can get my five-dollar fee for handling the inquest.”

I emerged from the water on the island and Bean came close enough that I could’ve grabbed the scattergun’s barrel, but I feared he’d earn five dollars if I did. He reached

in his britches pocket and tossed me a bar of soap.

Catching it, I asked, “What’s this for.”

“It’s soap. Don’t you know how to take a bath?”

“I do, but why do I need one?”

“Every man needs to be clean on his wedding day.”

“What?”

“You’re getting married when we return.”

Stunned, I looked from him to my naked flesh. At least I was already dressed for my wedding night.




Preston Lewis is the Spur Award-winning author of 40 westerns, historical novels, juvenile books and memoirs. He has received national awards for his novels, articles, short stories, and humor.
In 2021 he was inducted into the Texas Institute of Letters for his literary accomplishments. Lewis is past president of Western Writers of America and the West Texas Historical Association.
His historical novel Blood of Texas on the Texas Revolution earned a Spur Award as did his True West article on the Battle of Yellow House Canyon. He developed the Memoirs of H.H. Lomax series, which includes two Spur finalists and a Will Rogers Gold Medallion Award for western humor for his novel Bluster’s Last Stand on the battle of Little Big Horn. His comic western The Fleecing of Fort Griffin and two of his YA novels have won Elmer Kelton Awards for best creative work on West Texas from the West Texas Historical Association.
He began his writing career working for Texas daily newspapers in Abilene, Waco, Orange and Lubbock before going into university administration. During his 35-year career in higher education, he directed communications and marketing offices at Texas Tech University, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, and Angelo State University.
Lewis holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Baylor University and master’s degrees from Ohio State in journalism and Angelo State in history. He lives in San Angelo with his wife, Harriet.
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Charleston Conundrum: Guest Post and Giveaway

CHARLESTON CONUNDRUM
A Liz Adams Mystery
by
STACY WILDER

Cozy Mystery / Female Sleuth / Cozy Animal
Publisher: Wild Hawk Press Series: A Liz Adams Mystery
Date of Publication: January 15, 2022
Number of Pages: 235 pages 

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A Cozy Mystery with a Twist…
Liz Adams never imagined when she moved to Charleston with her truth sniffing Labrador retriever, Duke, that she would use her skills as a private investigator to avoid winding up on Death Row.
Liz’s life is upended when her best friend, Peg, is murdered and she becomes a suspect. Liz’s gun was the murder weapon. Tensions flare between Liz and the cops as she rises to the top of their suspect list.
At the request of Peg’s father, Liz agrees to take on the investigation. Riding a roller coaster of emotions, Liz uncovers many secrets Peg kept from her despite being best friends. The suspects include a cast of characters: the ex-husband, the boyfriend, a coworker, several neighbors and family members.
Charleston Conundrum takes the reader from Charleston, South Carolina to Paris and back in the emotional unraveling of Peg’s life and death to a killer ending. It is the first book in the Conundrum series.

Link to the YouTube Video


Recipes for foods found in

Charleston Conundrum

By Stacy Wilder



Liz’s King Ranch Chicken

Ingredients:

1 can cream of mushroom soup 8 oz. (2 cups) cheddar cheese

1 can cream of chicken soup 1 package corn tortillas

1 can Rotel tomatoes 1white onion diced

1 cup chicken stock 1 green bell pepper diced

rotisserie chicken 1 Tsp ancho chili powder

9×12 baking dish ½ tsp garlic salt 

Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Place corn tortillas in a bowl and cover with chicken stock. Soak until soft.

Shred chicken. Fine dice onion and bell pepper. Combine soup and cheese in a separate bowl. Use half of the tortillas to cover the bottom of the baking dish. Layer half of the chicken on top followed by half of the onion and green pepper. Follow with half of the cheese/soup mixture.  Season. Repeat. Pour can of Rotel on top.

Bake for thirty minutes. 

Enjoy!

Liz’s Oops Salad


Ingredients:

1 bag of mixed spring greens

I cup of strawberries diced

A few handfuls of blueberries

A few handfuls of raspberries

A few handfuls of blackberries

Wash and dry fresh produce. Toss and serve with your favorite raspberry vinaigrette. Garnish with toasted almonds.  


Charleston Conundrum Cookies

This recipe is compliments of Chef Amber Griffin, Vermont. Chef Amber baked these during When Words Count Pitch Week Competition XXI. She is an amazing chef. Thank you Amber for allowing me to share this recipe.


Ingredients:

2 sticks butter (softened) 1 cup chocolate chips

1 cup brown sugar 3/4 cup pepita seeds

1 cup white sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon salt 2 cups flour

2 eggs 1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 bag shredded coconut 1 bag Lays potato chips (crushed) 

1/2 bag heath bar bits

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter, sugar, and salt together. Add the eggs. Mix well.

Add coconut, heath bits, chocolate chips, pepita seeds, and vanilla. 

Mix and add flour and baking soda. Mix until just combined. Mix in crushed potato chips. Drop on a baking sheet and bake for twelve to fifteen minutes.

Enjoy!

Lou’s Favorite Egg Salad


Ingredients:

eight hard-boiled eggs

¼ cup mayonnaise

2 Tsp. dijon mustard

4 Tsp. chopped celery

4 Tsp. chopped red onion

2 Tsp. dill

garlic salt to taste

pepper to taste

¼ tsp. smoked paprika

fresh dill as garnish


Finely chop the eggs, celery, and red onion and place them in a bowl. Stir in mayo, mustard, dill, garlic salt pepper, and paprika. Garnish with fresh dill. Serve on your favorite bread. Enjoy!


The Conundrum Cocktail

This recipe is compliments of the team at Hugh O’Connor’s Irish Pub, Houston, TX. Hugh O’Connor’s served the cocktail during the book launch party for Charleston Conundrum. Thank you Hugh O’Connor’s team for creating the cocktail and allowing me to share this recipe.


Ingredients:

1 ounce orange vodka

.75 ounces vodka

.75 ounces St. Germaine

.25 ounces Malibu rum

.25 ounces lemon juice

.25 ounces lavender syrup (add more to taste)

Splash of grenadine


Pour ingredients into a martini shaker. Mix, add ice. Shake multiple times. Strain and pour in a martini glass. Garnish with a lemon wedge. Enjoy!


The Charleston Conundrum Playlist

Available on Spotify – Charleston Conundrum Playlist


  1.  Fire and Rain, James Taylor

  2. Dancing Queen, ABBA

  3. S.O.S., ABBA

  4. I Heard It Through the Grapevine, Marvin Gaye

  5. I Second That Emotion, The Miracles

  6. If I Could Turn Back Time, Cher

  7. If I Were a Rich Man, Robert Merrill’s version

  8. Hello, Adele

  9. Edge of Glory, Lady Gaga

  10. Wanted Dead Or Alive, Bon Jovi




Stacy writes mysteries, children’s stories, short stories, and poetry. Her debut novel, Charleston Conundrum, is the first in the Conundrum mystery series.
Stacy’s mission is to deliver a delightful story to readers of all ages while benefiting a larger community. She donates a portion of the proceeds from the sales of her books to causes that support wildlife conservation, and the homeless, both people and pets. A portion of the proceeds from Charleston Conundrum are donated to National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).
As well as writing, Stacy is passionate about her faith, family, Labradors, the causes that she supports, the beach, art, and reading books.
She and her husband live in Houston, Texas, with a totally spoiled Labrador retriever, Eve.
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The Catch: Scrapbook Page and Giveaway

THE CATCH
U.S. Marshals Series #3
by
LISA HARRIS
Fiction / Christian / Mystery / Suspense / Romance
Publisher: Revell
Date of Publication: April 5, 2022
Number of Pages: 352 pages 
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Everything hidden is eventually found
After a harrowing attempt on a judge’s life at the courthouse, Deputy US Marshals Madison James and Jonas Quinn are tasked with finding a missing woman and an endangered child in connection to the murder of the judge’s wife. What seems like a fairly straightforward case becomes hopelessly tangled when the marshals discover that the woman they are searching for is not who they think she is.
Madison and Jonas are forced into a race to find the woman and the child before the people who want her dead discover her location. And in a final showdown that could cost her everything, Madison will come face-to-face with the person who murdered her husband.

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Lisa Harris is 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 forty books, including The Escape, The Chase, 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 and currently are living there.
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The Traceverse Saga: Book Trailer and Giveaway


THE TRACEVERSE SAGA The Shattered Gate & The Two Gates
by
ERIC R. SWANSON

Categories: Science Fiction / Genetic Engineering
Publisher: Eric R. Swanson, LLC.
Date of Publication Book 1: March 22, 2020 Number of Pages: 394 pages Date of Publication Book 2: May 1, 2021
Number of Pages: 402 pages 


The Shattered Gate

They selfishly pillaged Earth and made him a hybrid. Will his split nature spell the end of intergalactic abduction?
Half-human, half-Ceran, Micah Trace yearns for something more. Though the repetition and isolation of living as a body double for the King of Ceres is crushing, he’s grateful to be treated better than the other genetically engineered humans. But when he discovers the ailing plight of his ancestors, he heeds the calling and cleverly insinuates himself into a dangerous mission across the galaxy.
Fearing their plan to repair a failing transportation gate might lead to disaster, Micah uses his experience mimicking the king to steal the forbidden authority he’s assumed for so long. But with ulterior motives darkening the depths of space, he may not survive to see the centuries-old connection between the planets repaired.
Can the royal mimic win control of the ship before they’re lost to the vacuum’s void?
The Shattered Gate is the thought-provoking first tale in the science fiction Traceverse Saga. If you like character-driven action, high-tech military defense systems, and intriguing political powerplays, then you’ll love Eric R. Swanson’s interstellar adventure.
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The Wonder of Color: Review and Giveaway


SCIENCE MAKES IT WORK SERIES: Secrets of the Snow Globe
& The Wonder of Color
by
CATHERINE STIER

Categories:  Picture Book / Science / STEM (ages 4-8)
Publisher: Albert Whitman & Co.
Date of Publication: March 1, 2022
Number of Pages: 32 pages 

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Secrets of the Snow Globe:
After starting to collect snow globes with the help of her grandmother, Lily has questions. She wants to know who invented them, what the snow is made of, and how the tiny scenes look so magical when she peers inside. As she researches and experiments, Lily learns about light waves, magnification, and density—all while gathering ingredients to make her own snow globe.
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The Wonder Of Color:
When Ms. Vega announces a mural painting contest at school, James can’t wait to draw a picture to fill the library wall. But as he explores color, he has a lot of questions about where color comes from and how our eyes see it. As he experiments and reads, James learns about prisms, the color wheel, and light waves—all while working on his colorful contest entry.

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What an adorable cute read about a boy James inspired by art and wanting to create something for the art contest! This exciting children’s story is a neat way to explain how colors work and how to create paint! It’s creative and engaging. There’s even facts to the story that I didn’t even know, like how white is actually comprised of all the colors of the rainbow. and how a red ball for example is made up of all the different color waves except for red and that’s why we see red. There’s even some neat experiments in it that could be replicated in a classroom, such as making a prism of water and see a rainbow reflected on white paper, or for an art class it discuss the color wheel, primary and secondary colors and how to make those secondary colors. As a teacher this book is incredibly resourceful for teaching young minds about paint and color!

As for the illustrations they are so beautiful and artistic! Each picture is so inviting and goes along well with the story. It makes it even easier to understand what the author is saying on each page. Perfect for little ones that are trying to understand the concept of color and how to make it with art. 

This is such an adorable read! Kids that are excited and want to learn more about art and color will really benefit form the details! It would also be perfect to use for a lesson as there’s so much to use for teaching purposes! Truly a creative artistic story!

Rating 5/5


Catherine Stier is the author of more than twenty children’s books including the SCIENCE MAKES IT WORK picture book series and the Kirkus star-reviewed A DOG’S DAY chapter book series. She holds a master’s degree in reading and literacy and has served as a magazine writer, newspaper columnist, and writing instructor. Stier resides in San Antonio, Texas.
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Autographed copies of both books, pin (for adults), snow globe socks, & a snow globe making kit.
(US only, ends midnight CST, 3/19/2022.)

Ghost Agents: Book Blitz and Giveaway

GHOST AGENTS
by
NITA DEBORDE
Categories: Science Fiction / Cozy Mystery / Paranormal / Texas History 
Series: The Ghost Agents Trilogy
Publisher: Mabelonia Press
Date of Publication: July 31, 2021
Number of Pages: 309 pages 
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An organization that has operated in secret for centuries… a mystery that threatens to burn it all to the ground… and she’s the only agent who can stop it…
To the residents and tourists of Galveston Island, Claire Abelard is the friendly young woman who works at the local candy store by day and leads ghost tours of the island’s haunted locations by night. They don’t realize this persona is a cover for Claire’s real job as an agent of the Bureau for Historical Preservation, a clandestine organization that monitors and assists energy projections, or the entities more commonly known as “ghosts.”
When projections begin disappearing from around the island, Claire worries that history may be repeating itself. She launches a dangerous investigation and uncovers a sinister, arcane organization whose agenda threatens not only Galveston’s ghosts, but everything she has worked her whole life to protect.
The truth behind the disappearances rocks Claire’s world to its core and shows her that ghosts aren’t the only things that can come back to haunt you.
Nita DeBorde is a published author and teacher from Houston, TX. Writing and teaching are her two major passions, though traveling and being dog-mom to a crazy Staffordshire-Boxer mix named Mabel are high on the list as well.
Nita has taught high school French for more than 20 years and absolutely loves her “day job” job (about 95% of the time). She loves to travel, and not surprisingly, France is her favorite destination, though her home state of Texas runs a close second.
She is also a huge history buff, which comes through in her fiction writing, and particularly in her latest novel, Ghost Agents, a genre-defying, cozy paranormal mystery with a little sci-fi and romance thrown into the mix. Ghost Agents: Revelations, the second book in the Ghost Agents Trilogy, is slated for release in March 2022.
Nita’s first novel, Project Lachesis, is currently available in both Kindle and hardcopy format from Amazon.com.
Her first published work, a Christian allegory titled Lessons from the Meadow, was published in December of 2013 under the pen name A.M. Ward. Stay tuned for more titles by A.M. Ward in the Christian fiction genre.
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Before the Alamo: Interview and Giveaway


BEFORE THE ALAMO:
A Tejana’s Story
by
FLORENCE BYHAM WEINBERG
Genre: Historical Fiction / Texas History 
Publisher: Maywood House
Date of Publication: September 17, 2021
Number of Pages: 296 pages
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Emilia Altamirano, half Otomí Indian, half pure Spanish, is born in 1814, the year after the Battle of the Medina River, where her father fought as an officer in the Mexican Royalist Army. She grows up in Bexar de San Antonio unacknowledged by her father, raised by her Otomí Indian mother, and “adopted” as an unofficial ward by José Antonio Navarro, hero of the Texas fight for independence from Mexico. She learns to read, write, and acts as a page for the Ayuntamiento (City Council). She learns nursing during a cholera epidemic and later tends the wounded on both sides during and after the Battle of the Alamo. She survives, but as a Tejana, Spanish-speaking, and a loyal citizen of Mexico, she faces an uncertain future.
PRAISE FOR BEFORE THE ALAMO:
“Yesterday, I finished Before the Alamo, figuratively gasping for breath…Thank you for a joyful experience, so helpful in this time of disillusion and anxiety.” – reader Marti Nodine




Interview with Dr. Florence Byham Weinberg


Why did you decide to self-publish?

At first, I tried for a major publisher in New York City. My agent worked hard but got refusals mostly on the grounds that my topic was “too local.” That effort lasted over a year. Trying one agent after another, one publisher after another might take many years and still yield nothing. I decided not to wait any longer but to go it alone. Self-publishing has been low in respect and prestige, but I think it is becoming more popular. The public, at least, has realized that the quality of self-published books can be high. It’s entirely up to the author—and the reader’s judgment. There are advantages, too. While the cost of self-publishing is considerable, still it is manageable, and profits from sales are all the author’s, not mostly to the publisher. Whether to publish or reprint is also entirely up to the author. I chose that route and so far, am happy with my decision.


What do you think most characterizes your writing?

I think placing my protagonists in a setting that can be visualized, touched and smelled. My people must move in a “real” world, not in some gray abstraction. Before the Alamo is set in the nineteenth century, when roads were not paved or even graded, where the only floor covering in San Antonio was either brick or tile or none at all, when Main Plaza was a stretch of dust or mud, dotted with piles of manure. Laundry was done by beating clothes against a rock with a stick; soap was homemade, a boiled combo of lard and ashes. The “dryer” consisted of convenient bushes where the clothes were spread to catch the sunlight. Water was carried into the house in buckets. Life was not easy, and my book shows how hard it was. I want the reader to feel those inconveniences as if s/he were there.


How do you decide if your main character(s) will be male or female?

I write from the point of view of either gender. My choice depends on the subject matter. I have written two historical novels about the Franciscans who founded San Antonio by establishing their missions along the San Antonio River, beginning in 1716. Those main characters were, of course, mainly male, although an Apache Woman Warrior plays a major role in Apache Lance, Franciscan Cross. And I wrote four murder mysteries starring a real, historical Jesuit missionary named Ignaz Pfefferkorn, who acts as my detective. I have written three books set in the French Renaissance. I chose to write about Emilia Altamirano in Before the Alamo because I wanted to present a woman’s view of conditions and events in Texas before—and a bit after—1836. Women had to struggle much harder than men to make their mark in the nineteenth century, even into the mid twentieth, when they could exercise the vote. That struggle made writing from Emilia’s point of view much more interesting.


In researching this book, did you learn any unexpected, unusual, or fascinating information?

Yes, two things: María’s story, which is factual, and the Battle of the Medina River in 1813. 


The historical María was bought by a Béxar de San Antonio native on the slave market of a border town, perhaps Rio Grande, which no longer exists. She’d been taken from her tribe (perhaps the Otomí) as a baby and raised by a Spaniard as his daughter. She learned to read, write. And learned all the graces of a Spanish lady. When she reached puberty, he could not resist her charms and he assaulted her. He blamed her for seducing him and sold her on the slave market. That is when the scion of a San Antonio pioneer family bought her. She became a slave in his household. 


A librarian in the Alamo Library handed me the statement about María, made by a descendant of that family. I at once recognized its importance. María, one of the protagonists in my story, is, of course, Emilia’s mother.


The Battle of the Medina River (or Battle of Medina) took place in 1813. Texas was a late entry in the fight to liberate Mexico from Spanish rule. Texas mustered an army of 1,800 men to fight the Royalist Mexican Army under the command of General Joaquín de Arredondo. They met at the Medina River. The Texas recruits were probably good sharpshooters and hunters, but they had little military training. Arredondo was a brilliant, though ruthless, military tactician. He sent an advance contingent to engage the Texan army. The Texans overwhelmed the Royalists, who fled. They followed in hot pursuit. Meanwhile, Arredondo had arranged the bulk of his 2,000+-man army in a horseshoe formation. When the Texans arrived within the arms of the horseshoe, all hell broke loose. They were mowed down, slaughtered to the last man. The few who escaped were pursued and killed. Arredondo moved on into San Antonio, leaving the corpses unburied. In San Antonio, he executed anyone suspected of independence sympathies. Many families had fled to New Orleans, but those who remained suffered many losses. Arredondo acted as governor of Texas for a while, continuing to kill independence sympathizers throughout Texas. He greatly reduced the male population, which guaranteed that the population in general could not bounce back. This is the main reason why Texas was considered too sparsely populated to stand as its own state when México created the united states of Mexico—it was merged with the state of Coahuila—Coahuila y Tejas. Texas was also open to Anglo immigration, Stephen Austin being the first to move in with 350 families. The Anglo influx became a flood, taking over property belonging to Spanish-speaking citizens, sometimes by force. Thus, Texas became an Anglo-dominated Republic of Texas (1837-1845) then joined the United States of America on December 29, 1845. In Before the Alamo, I maintain that Texas’s history from 1813 on was determined by the disastrous Battle of the Medina River.


Florence Byham Weinberg, born in Alamogordo, New Mexico, lived on a ranch as well as a farm and travelled with her military family during World War Two. After earning a Ph.D., she taught for 36 years in three universities. She published four scholarly books. Since retiring, she has written four books in the Pfefferkorn historical mystery series, three additional historical novels and one philosophical fantasy/thriller. She lives in San Antonio, loves cats, dogs, horses, and conversations with great-souled friends.

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Enigma Series: Promo and Giveaway

WELCOME to DAY 6 of the @ENIGMASERIES

#ShortStory Journey Dec 8th to Dec 15th  

#GIVEAWAYS Available



Please leave a comment below for a chance to win a free gift!



Gifts available for Day 6 are two ebooks of the featured short story plus one ebook of the newest release Hidden Target. That’s 3 winners.


Author Insights

Mathias, Dutch, and Halvorson market their cryptocurrency programs in economically challenged countries in The Enigma Source. Desperate governments trying to avoid the horrific outcomes of their economic free fall consider currency alternatives. Mathias discovered robust competition during their bid to gain favor the leaders in Venezuela. Mathias, a polished huckster, decided there was only one way to fight another day—survive. 

Our characters rise to the challenges. Technologist and Blockchain programmer, Dr. Halvorson, uses the programs he created to orchestrate their escape from the Venezuelan Police. Mathias’s normal mode of transport, a private helicopter, is not always available. Mathias is out for revenge at those who betrayed him. His plans of wealth and power end up on life support. The exit strategy, a key element of this story is provided from our audble story in this link. YouTube link: https://youtu.be/nXsPgYtJTog

We found the next stage of their journey was not needed for The Enigma Source, yet readers and fans wanted to know what happened. We had no intention of giving more words to these cyber crooks in another book, but they screamed to have their story told. The unanswered questions for this trio of misfits as their lives hit rock bottom drove us to create this short story.  Please let us know if you believe they chose the right path.


About the Short Story


Mathias and Halvorson are trudging toward the Brazilian border to escape the Venezuelan secret police who want to kill them.

Once they enjoyed the first-class service, today they wallow in third-world transport and lifestyle. Escape holds the promise of shearing more sheep to line their pockets.

Plans to cross the border get completely derailed as Mathias and Halvorson run into absolutely the last person they expected. Their hotly contested vendetta devolves into gunfire. The colossal distraction gives the three escapees time to flee. A non-negotiable bargain between the trio results in a risk-filled escape from Venezuela.

The hazardous journey takes this trio to a new opportunity. Mathias is a self-proclaimed leader with plans to get back on top. His methods are unorthodox yet highly effective.

Available on Amazon https://bit.ly/Nowhere_But   We look forward to your review and comments on our short stories.


About the Authors


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Charles Breakfield and Rox Burkey are co-authors of the award-winning Enigma Series. Their characters demand that their stories are told. The storytelling began with a few heroes, then expanded to those with self-serving motives. We love storytelling and hope readers enjoy learning  more about our shorts. Looking forward to your feedback and reviews of our stories.


Breakfield is a technology expert specifically in security, networking, voice, and anything digital. He enjoys writing, studying World War II history, travel, and cultural exchanges. Charles is also a fan of wine tastings, wine making, Harley riding, cooking extravaganzas, and woodworking. 


Burkey is a 25+ year applied technology professional who optimizes technology and business investments for global customers. She focuses on optimized customer experiences. Rox loves interviewing authors, writing white papers, reviewing books, and loves creating fiction. 


Together they create award-winning stories that resonate with men and women, young and experienced adults, and bring a fresh new view to technology threats of today. Please visit their website, look around, and grab some free stuff https://www.EnigmaSeries.com.

Find us and Follow us

Website:  https://www.EnigmaSeries.com

Blog: https://EnigmaSeries.com

https://RoxBurkey.com

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/charlesbreakfield  and

        https://www.linkedin.com/in/roxanneburkey

Twitter:  @EnigmaSeries and @1rburkey

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/TheEnigmaSeries/

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC6Vz4x5ctTnx3yUhZk1OJkw


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The Big Empty: Guest Post and Giveaway


THE BIG EMPTY
by
LOREN C. STEFFY
Genre: Western / Rural Fiction / Small Town
Date of Publication: May 25, 2021
Number of Pages: 304 pages 
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When Trace Malloy and Blaine Witherspoon collide on a desolate West Texas highway, their fender bender sets the tone for escalating clashes that will determine the future of the town of Conquistador.
Malloy, a ranch manager and lifelong cowboy, knows that his occupation—and his community—are dying. He wants new- millennium opportunities for his son, even though he himself failed to summon the courage to leave familiar touchstones behind.
Witherspoon, an ambitious, Lexus-driving techie, offers a solution. He moves to Conquistador to build and run a state-of-the-art semiconductor plant that will bring prestige and high-paying technology jobs to revive the town—and advance his own career.
What neither man anticipates is the power the “Big Empty” will wield over their plans. The flat, endless expanse of dusty plain is as much a character in the conflict as are the locals struggling to subsist in this timeworn backwater and the high-tech transplants hell-bent on conquering it. While Malloy grapples with the flaws of his ancestors and his growing ambivalence toward the chip plant, Witherspoon falls prey to construction snafus, corporate backstabbing, and financial fraud. As they each confront personal fears, they find themselves united in the search for their own version of purpose in a uniquely untamable Texas landscape.
PRAISE FOR THE BIG EMPTY:
“The Big Empty” captures a moment when Big Tech seemingly promised everything. By turns funny and painful, Steffy’s story builds like an accelerating freight train, reaching a fast-paced climax.”
The Epoch Times
“Like the titular land itself, Steffy’s novel is uncompromising in spotlighting the strains that the drive toward material achievement puts on the individual in the face of nature’s whims.”
Southern Review of Books

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BAR NONE: WHICH DITCH IS WHICH

GUEST POST BY LOREN STEFFY

Originally published July, 2021, on the author’s blog


In The Big EmptyI have several references to bar ditches — the trenches that run beside many rural Texas roads. The ditches are designed, at least in part, for flood control. They may also help to keep livestock from wandering onto the highway. 

My editor flagged the term repeatedly, saying she’d never heard it and most readers probably hadn’t either. I attributed to this to her living in Pennsylvania and being unfamiliar with the terminology of rural Texas. After all, she hadn’t heard of a gimme cap, either. 

As the manuscript neared completion, one of the readers I enlisted had grown up in West Texas and was familiar with the term. However, she pointed out that a journalism instructor at Texas A&M once admonished her for using it. He told her not only should she avoid it, but she shouldn’t use the more complete term, “borrow ditch,” either. 

I had always heard that the term comes from the road-building technique in rural areas. Crews “borrow” dirt from the sides to crown the roadway before paving. The practice left trenches on either side of the pavement. The term was latter shortened from “borrow” to “bar.” 

Well, it turns out, “bar ditches” are the subject of much discussion and controversy, and my editor isn’t the only one who doesn’t like it. Even people who live with bar ditches everyday don’t necessary embrace the term. There’s also a lot of debate about its origins. Some apparently believe it dates to road building in England. 

I’d be curious what others have heard about the term and its history. Have you heard it before? What did you think it means? 

Regardless, for The Big Empty, I insisted that “bar ditch” was a pretty common term in Texas, and I decided to keep it in. 

And yes, in some places, the bar ditches are wide enough that you can change a tire if your truck gets knocked off the road by a rented moving van. 


Loren C. Steffy is the author of five nonfiction books. He is a writer at large for Texas Monthly, and his work has appeared in newspapers and magazines nationwide. He has previously worked for news organizations including Bloomberg and the Houston Chronicle, and he is a managing director for 30 Point Strategies, where he leads the 30 Point Press publishing imprint. His is a frequent guest on radio and television programs and is the co-host of the Rational Middle podcast. The Big Empty is his first novel. Steffy holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Texas A&M University. He lives in Wimberley, Texas, with his wife, three dogs and an ungrateful cat.

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The Yes Dare: Author Interview and Giveaway

THE YES DARE
A Pies, Books
& Jesus Club Novel
by
KATHLEEN Y’BARBO
Genre: Clean Contemporary Romance
Date of Publication: July 15, 2021
Number of Pages: 246 pages 
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Have you ever wished for a second chance to fix something you’ve messed up or for the courage to say yes to something that just may change your life? Sometimes saying yes to the last thing you want can mean saying yes to exactly what you need.
Ryan “The Rocket” Sutton’s winning streak is legendary makes him the undisputed best quarterback in the NFL. However, thanks to one dumb mistake, he’s a failure as a husband to Coco, the only woman he’s ever loved. When a judge’s mistake in divorce paperwork means Coco is still his wife, Ryan makes up his mind to fix what he ruined. Ryan’s game plan doesn’t count on an internationally famous movie director’s camera crew following him as he competes for Coco’s love.
After spending most of her adult life as a football wife and mother to twin sons, fashionista Coco Sutton is learning how to be single and fabulous. Emphasis on Fabulous. The sports trophies, memorabilia, and heavy masculine wood furniture in the home she used to share with Ryan have been banished to the attic, and her home is now a cozy haven of plush candle-scented comfort. She’s got big plans that include owning a boutique or maybe an art gallery, but she never planned to take on the biggest challenge of her life: staying single. Then her best friend gives her a copy of a book called The Yes Dare, and all her plans are turned upside down.
From a Hollywood movie to the local spring event formerly known as the Cow Chip Toss Festival and a country crooner with a crush on Coco, will Ryan dodge the obstacles to win back the only woman he ever loved?




Interview with Kathleen Y’Barbo


Tell us about your publishing journey and how THE YES DARE came to be.

I’ve been publishing for 20 years as of 2021. Back when I started, traditional publishing was the only way to get a book in print. Over the years I’ve been blessed to have more than 100 books released by traditional publishers. In 2021, however, I went hybrid and released THE YES DARE, my first independently published contemporary romance novel. With more traditionally published books in the works, I plan to continue as a hybrid author.

Where did you get the idea for THE YES DARE?

THE YES DARE is the name of a self-help book that the heroine and her best friend are reading in the novel. The premise is to be brave enough to say yes to new experiences. The book itself does not exist, however.

You’ve said this book took a while to get published. How long and why?

Almost five years! The book was set to be published but the contemporary fiction line closed before the story could go to print. I was busy writing other books and didn’t get back to do anything with this one until earlier this year.

You’re not just a writer, are you? What else do you do and what do you enjoy when you’re not writing?

That’s correct. I’m also a certified paralegal specializing in wills, probate, and family law. When I’m not working or writing, I’m reading, enjoying photography, and taking long drives with my husband.

You’ve been published for twenty years. That’s quite a feat. What kinds of advice would you give to someone who wants to start writing?

Just do it. Literally. Just start writing. Figure it out as you go along, but get words on a page.

What is your favorite book? Favorite author? Do you have an author that inspired/inspires you to write?

No way I can name just one favorite author or book!! There are way too many! My first favorite—that I can remember—would be Laura Ingalls Wilder and Little House on the Prairie.

Are you working on anything now?

I’ve been editing and re-releasing books that have had rights returned to me. So far I’ve released a set of novellas called the 20th Anniversary Special Edition Novellas and put new covers on FIREFLY SUMMER and AUTUMN LEAVES, books 1 and 2 of the Pies, Books & Jesus Book Club series. Now I’m working my way through edits and new covers for my Bayou Nouvelle series of romance novels, both contemporary and historical, set in fiction Latagnier, Louisiana.

How can readers connect with you?

I love Instagram and also have a presence on Facebook and Twitter. I’m also available by email and send out a newsletter when I have something exciting to talk about. You can find all the details about social media, newsletter, etc. on my website at www.kathleenybarbo.com.



Publishers Weekly bestselling author Kathleen Y’Barbo is a multiple Carol Award and RITA nominee and bestselling author of more than one hundred books with over two million copies of her books in print in the US and abroad. A tenth-generation Texan and certified paralegal, she is a member of the Texas Bar Association Paralegal Division, Texas A&M Association of Former Students, Texas A&M Women Former Students (Aggie Women), Texas Historical Society, Sisters in Crime, Faith Hope and Love Christian Writers, and American Christian Fiction Writers. She would also be a member of the Daughters of the American Republic, Daughters of the Republic of Texas and a few others if she would just remember to fill out the paperwork that Great Aunt Mary Beth has sent her more than once.
Kathleen and her hero in combat boots husband have their own surprise love story that unfolded on social media a few years back. They make their home just north of Houston, Texas, and are the parents, grandparents, and in-laws of a blended family of Texans, Okies, and a trio of adorable Londoners.