SANTA CLAUS BANK ROBBERY

SANTA CLAUS BANK ROBBERY

A True-Crime Saga in Texas

By TUI SNIDER

  Genre: Nonfiction / Texana / Texas History

Publisher: Castle Azle Press

Date of Publication: December 8, 2019

Number of Pages: 146 pages + black & white photos

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 When Marshall Ratliff dressed like Santa Claus to pull a Christmas-time heist, he thought it would be easy. Unfortunately for him, when the citizens of Cisco heard Santa was robbing a bank, they came running – with loaded guns in hand! 


But can you blame them? In 1927, the only way to earn the $5000 Dead Bank Robber Reward was to kill a bandit while the crime was in progress. 

This bungled bank robbery led to a wild shootout and a getaway with two little girls as hostages. And that is only the beginning! 


Tui Snider’s true-crime tale reads like a comedy of errors as the consequences of the Santa Claus Bank Robber’s actions escalate to include a botched car-jacking, one of the biggest manhunts in Texas history, and a jailbreak leading to a deadly conclusion. 

Meanwhile, it’s up to readers to decide whether or not a mysterious blonde helped these gangsters escape. And if so, did she get away with murder?

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I’m continually impressed with Tui Snider’s reporting skills. The more I read her books, I find the vibrant energy of her writing urging me to go out and discover my own mysteries and little known events in history. With bank robberies, it always seemed a bit larger than life or comical in a way. I suppose TV and movies have done that throughout the years. It doesn’t really seem real with the crazy plans that go off the rails. Even now, when hearing about recent robberies of armored cars near me, I questioned how that could even happen. It seems insane and it is!

The insanity of this robbery in history seemed to compound more and more as events unfolded. I literally was reading through this account, my eyebrows raised and jaw dropped, at how this robbery affected so many people. It truly astounds me how anyone thought running towards the bank robbery or even handing out guns to anyone in sight would help. The chaos of hundreds of bullets flying around and hitting innocent bystanders made this all the more tragic. 

Along with Tui Snider’s own telling of this story is newspaper clippings and direct quotes from people at the time. I especially found this fascinating to hear directly in their own voice. Additionally, pictures and even maps were shown to give the reader a clear idea of the event. Even after reading the Santa Claus Bank Robbery, the bizarre events that took place seem like a chaotic tall tale. 

Snider continues with the events that happened after this robbery as well. I don’t like to reveal many spoilers but I can say that I knew I made the right decision in reading this book! Along with researched accounts, more mysteries unfold as to who was involved and why the stories became so confusing. Other retellings and accounts, such as A.C. Greene’s book, are given as example to this and just how they deviated from fact. It speaks to Snider’s tenacity in writing, that beyond researching these books, she finds facts and documentation to prove what really happened.

To those that enjoy a good mystery, who are eager to read a conversational historical retelling, and maybe aren’t scandalized by Santa with a gun…I’d definitely recommend this book!

about the author

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

Tui lectures frequently at universities, libraries, conferences, and bookstores.This fall, she will speak about the Great Airship Mystery of 1897 at this year’s UFO Congress and teach a course on Understanding Cemetery Symbols at Texas Christian University. She also shares weekly info-videos based on her research at her YouTube channel.

Snider’s writing and photography have been featured in a variety of media outlets, including WFAA TVCoast to Coast AM, LifeHack, Langdon Review, the City of Plano, Wild Woman WakingShades of Angels and many more. She has several more books in progress.

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Covey and JayJay Get Educated: Author Interview

COVEY AND JAYJAY GET EDUCATED

By Shelton L. Williams

Genre: Murder Mystery / Social Thriller / Amateur Sleuth

Publication Date: September 1, 2019

Number of Pages: 209 pages

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Amateur detectives, Covey Jencks and JayJay Qualls, are drawn into a triple murder on the campus of Baker College in West Waverly in the Texas Hill Country. Both end up taking positions at the college: Covey as an adjunct instructor and JayJay as a visiting actor. 

 Initially they believe that money is the motive for the murders, but over time they learn that the college is a cauldron of political and social intrigue. The college’s new president and his beautiful wife, various staff members, a prominent trustee, and parties not associated with the college have the motives, opportunities, and wacky agendas that might implicate them in the murders. It turns out that a white nationalist group may be using a college house for its nefarious activities, but are they more talk than action? 

The West Waverly police are little to no help in the investigation, and Covey himself has to depart the college to deal with his father’s death. JayJay takes over and makes a critical breakthrough. Upon Covey’s return, the couple must rely on deception, a bit of luck, and martial arts skills to solve the crimes and to try to prevent a high-profile assassination.

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Author Shelton Williams is interviewed by a former student 

Recently I was in Sherman, Texas, home of Austin College, where I taught for 38 years. A former student, Marc Parrish, interviewed me at an artsy place called Ideation Station, owned by another former student, Ruth Williamson. The audience, homecoming celebrants everyone, hardly knew me beyond my academic writings or my two memoirs that are really non-fiction novels. Marc is a writer himself (his first book is coming out in 2020 or 2021), so his questions helped the audience understand my new fiction and perhaps prompted me to explore my own writing journey. Here’s an edited version of Marc’s questions:

Marc: How does your 30 years of non-fiction writing affect your detective stories that are wholly fictional?

Shelly: In a sense I had to get over the one to write the other. Writing books about nuclear politics, war and peace, and foreign policy was part of my career, and I studied at Johns Hopkins where serious writing is for serious people. I learned to do that, and I am proud of it, but very few people other than policy wonks read that stuff. I tried the same style initially in writing about the death of my cousin in Washed in the Blood. A friendly publisher saved the project by saying, “You know, this is partly your story as well. You can use the word ‘I’ in telling it.” That liberated me to find my true voice. I went back to my roots in Odessa to research and write about Betty, my murdered cousin. Eventually that town, the people I knew, and the politics of a changing America allowed me to use my new style to tell stories.

Marc: Your characters seem like real people, and I often feel like I know a person or recognize a place. For example, in Covey and JayJay Get Educated, Baker College is clearly Austin College and many of the faculty and staff are familiar. 

Shelly: The look of Austin College informs the narrative, but so do other small liberal arts colleges I have visited in Michigan, Maryland, Virginia, and Pennsylvania. Many readers should feel at home even if they have never been to Sherman, Texas. The characters, especially the ones you like, from the students to the staff to the faculty, are inspired by Austin College folks, but their actions are wholly fictional, and they are in fact composite fictional characters. The bad guys have nothing to do with Austin College; the story arc is mine alone. The idea of murders on campus comes from the British TV series Morse or Endeavour based on the books by Colin Dexter.

Marc: Well, one thing we all did know about you back in the day was that you are a movie guy. You see more movies than anyone I know, and you review them on Facebook. Didn’t you write a couple of screenplays?

Shelly: I did, and they were not good enough. I wrote Washed in the Blood as a vehicle for a movie because Betty wanted to act. She died at 17, so it never happened. I wanted it for her. There is a TV docudrama called Bye, Bye Betty based on her story. I hope that soon there will also be a movie. I have been told many times that the Covey Jencks books would be a great mini-series. I have learned not to expect anything at all from my books. Writing them should be enough. JayJay, I mean actually my wife, Janell, on whose personality JayJay is based, says, “Be in the moment. Your story-telling will be better if you do so, and if anyone wants to do anything else with your books, that will be their moment and you can help, if asked.”

Marc: What is the greatest compliment you have received from your writing?

Shelly: Not long ago, my fourteen-year-old granddaughter, Clara, asked me, “Pops, I just wrote a story. Will you read it?”

about the author

 Shelton L. Williams (Shelly) is founder and president of the Osgood Center for International Studies in Washington, DC. He holds a PhD from Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and he taught for nearly 40 years at Austin College in Sherman, Texas. He has served in the US Government on 4 occasions and he has written books and articles on nuclear proliferation. In 2004 he began a new career of writing books on crime and society. Those books are Washed in the BloodSummer of 66, and now Covey Jencks. All firmly prove that he is still a Texan at heart.

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12/15/19Excerpt Part IIAll the Ups and Downs
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Singapore: Guest Post and Giveaway



SINGAPORE FLING
Carpe Diem Chronicles, #2

by
MAIDA MALBY

Contemporary Romance / Multicultural 
Publisher: EOT Publications
Date of Publication: October 21, 2019
Number of Pages: 267

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One alluring French-Filipina beauty. One sexy US Air Force officer. One torrid weekend affair.

Maddie Duvall should be living it up at her challenging new job in glamorous Singapore. But two months after her wild weekend with Aidan Ryan, she’s still yearning for him. She craves the passion only he can ignite in her.

Aidan’s job takes him around the world, yet he can’t get Maddie out of his mind. When he returns to his assignment in Singapore, he seeks her out with a proposition she can’t turn down.

Intensely enamored with one another, their relationship takes off. But when Aidan’s mission exposes treachery by someone close to Maddie, lines blur and wires get crossed. Can their growing love survive the intrigue?

Singapore Fling is Book 2 of Carpe Diem Chronicles, a series of multicultural contemporary romance novels. The stories celebrate the rich cultures of exotic Southeast Asian islands through languages, food, and festivals.

PRAISE FOR SINGAPORE FLING

“This second full-length volume in her Carpe Diem Chronicles is sexy, quick to read, and full of well-rounded, interesting characters. Family ties and female friendship add to the depth of the world and make you want more books.” ~ Catherine Stein, Award-winning Author of How to Seduce a Spy

“This book was great. Everything from the well-rounded characters to the interesting foods and exciting locale drew me in as a reader. I could clearly picture, hear, and smell/taste the story. The plot was perfect and the romance had just the right amount of intrigue and crisis. ~ Danielle Bellwood, Author of Daring (The Candomble Book 1)

“This book is a great deal of fun and the hero and heroine are both likable and realistic people. As usual, Malby’s writing shines best when writing about Singapore, particularly the culture and the FOOD!! ~ Gena Gilliam, Amazon Reviewer

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HAINANESE CHICKEN RICE RECIPE
FROM SINGAPORE FLING
BY MAIDA MALBY
Chicken rice is Maddie’s favorite dish in Singapore. Here’s what she has to say about it in Chapter Two of Singapore Fling:
“From the first time she’d tasted this particular meal—one of the country’s national dishes—Maddie was addicted. The plain poached chicken over rice looked simple. But the gingery, garlicky, oily, fragrant goodness of the white chicken meat—even without the skin she had removed from it—and the savory rice boiled in the same broth won her over. She had already eaten the dish five times since she’d arrived in Singapore.”
This recipe is my attempt to capture that deliciousness. It might not be the most authentic–different ingredients, the taste of the water, etc.–but if you make it with love, the meal is sure to satisfy.
Ingredients: 
– medium whole chicken (organic, if possible)
– Kosher salt
– 1 thumb ginger, peeled and sliced
– 3-4 stalks green onions, sliced 
– 2 cups uncooked Jasmine rice
– several cloves of garlic
– vegetable oil
– Sriracha
– lime
– soy sauce
– sesame oil
Instructions: 
For the chicken:
1. Exfoliate the chicken by rubbing salt all over until smooth. Rinse and pat dry. 
2. Season the entire bird inside and out with salt. This will also season the broth, so salt generously. Stuff the cavity with sliced ginger and scallions. 
3. Place in a big pot and fill with water up to 1 inch above the chicken. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer immediately. Remove the scum as soon as it rises. Simmer for 20-25 minutes until the temperature at the thickest part of the thigh not touching bone is 170 degrees Fahrenheit.
4. Prepare an ice bath and place the chicken in to stop the cooking process and tighten the skin. Set aside.



For the rice:
1. Clean the rice until the water is less cloudy (2-3 times). Soak the rice, then drain after 10 minutes. 
2. Sauté minced ginger and garlic in vegetable oil or chicken fat. Add drained rice and fry for one minute. Season with salt. Pour two cups of reserved broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover tightly, and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from heat. Keep covered and let rest for 5-10 minutes.
If you have a rice cooker, follow instructions up to the frying.



For the dipping sauces:
1. Combine Sriracha, lime juice, sugar, salt, couple of tablespoons of broth, garlic, and ginger in a blender. Give it a whirl. 
2. Grate peeled ginger and finely mince garlic. Combine with a dash of salt and vinegar. Cook in hot oil for a few seconds.
3. Mix light soy sauce and a dash of sesame oil.

Ready to serve!
Spoon rice on a plate. Cut chicken into serving pieces and place on top of the rice. Pour soy sauce mix over it. Garnish with cucumber or parsley. Serve with soup and dipping sauces.

        

Maida Malby writes, reads, reviews, and lives Romance. Through her multicultural contemporary romance stories, she takes readers on trips to her favorite places in the world and shares her experiences of their rich cultural heritage.

She is a member of the Romance Writers of America (RWA), San Antonio Romance Authors (SARA), Cultural, Interracial, Multicultural Special Interest Chapter of the Romance Writers of America (CIMRWA), and several romance book clubs. Her To-Be-Read Mountain and reviews of romance novels are featured on her website.

When not writing, reading, or reviewing books, Maida consults her husband on word selection, debates with her ten-year-old son regarding the Oxford comma, cooks the dishes she features in her stories, procrastibakes using Baileys as her secret yummy ingredient, and watches golf and food shows on TV.

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Kindle Fire 7 + Signed Copy of Singapore Fling
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Signed copies of Boracay Vows and Singapore Fling + charm bracelet
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Signed copy of Singapore Fling + spice paste packets (Hainanese Chicken Rice and Laksa)
4TH PRIZE (international)
 eBooks of all three books in the Carpe Diem Chronicles series
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A Texas Kind of Christmas: Review and Giveaway


A TEXAS KIND OF CHRISTMAS  
by
JODI THOMAS,   Celia Bonaduce, & Rachael Miles

Genre: Historical Fiction / Anthology / Holiday Romance Publisher: Kensington Books Publication Date: October 29, 2019
Number of Pages: 336 pages

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It’s Christmas Eve, 1859, and everyone who’s anyone is headed to the glorious St. Nicholas Hotel for the most talked about ball of the season. It’s the kind of Texas night where anything can happen—even love . . . 

ONE NIGHT AT THE ST. NICHOLAS by  New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Jodi Thomas

To escape her stepmother’s plot to marry her off, Texas heiress Jacqueline Hartman spends Christmas Eve sharing a hideout with an accused bank robber. After a night in Nathaniel Ward’s arms, Jacqueline is certain she has met her match after all. But will his heartfelt promise of love lead to his demise at the hands of the law? 

BIRDIE’S FLIGHT by Celia Bonaduce 

Seamstress Birdie Flanagan gets the surprise of her life when she receives a beautiful gown—and a sudden invitation—for the ball of the season! Birdie creates a stir from the moment she arrives, capturing the eye of the dashing Captain Douglas Fairbanks. But will a secret from her past keep her from her long-awaited happily-ever-after? 

SPIRIT OF TEXAS by  Rachael Miles 

When lovely spinster Eugenie Charpentier makes a trip across the Texas frontier with former Texas Ranger Asher Graham, she dreams of an adventure, and the rough-and-tumble cowboy is happy to oblige. But both Eugenie and the rugged lawman are keeping secrets. Can they find each other—and love—on the dance floor at the Christmas ball?

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I have to admit, I usually don’t like those love at first sight sort of stories, but I really enjoyed One Night at the St. Nicholas by Jodi Thomas. It’s the perfect kind of story to read this winter. To curl up with a blanket, drink some hot cocoa, and read next to a fire on a cold night. I really enjoyed the way Thomas sets up the stage for these characters. Cody is heading to a party to propose to a Jacqueline, a girl he has never met, while Nate has escaped the marshal’s clutches and is using the party to hide from the law. Meanwhile, Katie wears the dress that Jacqueline is supposed to wear, thus mixing and matching the couples and creating a lively story. Cody sees Katie and thinks it’s the girl he came to propose to, mean while Jacqueline heads to her hiding spot only to find Nate there hiding. It really is the perfect kind of love story for both couples. 

Birdie’s Flight by Celia Bonaduce had the perfect blend Christmas love and a dash of mystery. I enjoyed following Birdie’s story of finding work at the St. Nicholas and her love story with Captain Newcastle. There’s shameless flirting, there’s a handsome, swoon worthy captain, and a Christmas Ball. Plus the mystery of finding out why Birdie is on the run! Definitely some Christmas magic worth enjoying! 

Spirit of Texas by Rachael Miles is about the journey that Eugenie takes. She leaves her home from England and embarks on a journey that takes her all the way to Texas. I always enjoy books that have a destination in mind, and this book was very enjoyable! Eugenie is a bit of a spinster, middle aged, and unmarried. And also untrusting of men. Her path leads her to Asher though and there are many obstacles that they must overcome together that forces them to get to know each other and depend on each other. I also enjoyed the glimpses we get of the St. Nicholas staff while Lily, Eugenie’s mother, is staying there. 

Obviously this St. Nicholas hotel is quite enchanting! I wouldn’t mind booking my weekend there! All three stories are very enjoyable Christmas love story reads. All the characters are charming and could definitely be put a full novel and be a wonderful read. I will definitely be checking out these authors in the future and looking for more of their heart warming love stories!

Rating: 4/5


Jodi Thomas is a New York Times bestselling author and fifth-generation Texan who sets many of her award-winning stories in her home state, where her grandmother was born in a covered wagon. A multi-RITA Award winner and member of the prestigious Romance Writers of America Hall of Fame, she’s written over 50 novels with millions of copies in print. Her most recent releases are The Little Tea Shop on Main and her historical anthology, A Texas Kind of Christmas (Nov. 2019). The first book in her new series with Kensington, Breakfast at the Honey Creek Café, comes out May 2020. 

Celia Bonaduce, also the author of The Venice Beach Romances and the Welcome to Fat Chance, Texas series, has always had a love affair with houses. Her credits as a television field producer include such house-heavy hits as Extreme Makeover: Home Edition; HGTV’s House Hunters and Tiny House Hunters. She lives in Santa Monica, CA, with her husband and dreams of one day traveling with him in their own tiny house. She can be found online www.CeliaBonaduce.com.



Rachael Miles is an acclaimed romance novelist and historian specializing in the 19th century, as well as a professor of literary history. A fifth-generation Texan and native of Dallas, she now lives and teaches in New York. Visit her online at www.RachaelMiles.com.
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Longing for a Cowboy Christmas: Author Spotlight and Excerpt

LONGING FOR
A COWBOY CHRISTMAS
with stories by
ROSANNE BITTNER, LINDA BRODAY, MARGARET BROWNLEY, AMY SANDAS, LEIGH GREENWOOD, ANNA SCHMIDT

  Genre: Romance Anthology / Western / Historical Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca Date of Publication: September 24, 2019 Number of Pages: 528



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Find your very own cowboy to keep warm these long, wintry nights as you cozy up with six sweeping, epic tales of heroism, passion, family and celebration from bestselling authors Leigh Greenwood, Rosanne Bittner, Linda Broday, Margaret Brownley, Anna Schmidt, and Amy Sandas.


Fall in Love with Christmas

Whether it’s a widower finding an unexpected new start, a former outlaw and his new wife welcoming their very own Christmas miracle, a long-lost lover returning just in time for a special holiday celebration, a second chance at love between two warring hearts given peace at last, an unlikely pair working together to bring joy to a small Texas town, or a cowboy and his dark-eyed beauty snowed in one unforgettable wintry eve…every Christmas with a cowboy is filled with light, laughter, and a forever kind of love.



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PRAISE FOR LONGING FOR A COWBOY CHRISTMAS: 
“Greenwood is a master at westerns.” ―RT Book Reviews for Leigh Greenwood

“An emotional powerhouse! This classic historical western is destined for the “keeper” shelf.” ―RT Book ReviewsTop Pick for Rosanne Bittner

“Fun and sensual…great for fans of history, romance, and some good old Texas grit.” ―Kirkus for Linda Broday

“A great story by a wonderful author.”―#1 New York Times bestselling author DEBBIE MACOMBER for Margaret Brownley

“The perfect read.” ―RT Book Reviews for Anna Schmidt

“A genuine page-turner…electric and absorbing.” ―Kirkus for Amy Sandas




AMY SANDAS
AUTHOR OF THROUGH THE STORM
Included in Longing for a Cowboy Christmas Anthology



THE AUTHOR:  

Amy writes historical romance about dashing, and sometimes dangerous, men who know just how to get what they want and women who at times may be reckless, bold, and unconventional, but who always have the courage to embrace all that life and love have to offer.

About Through the Storm:

Though raised in seclusion, Lucy Jones is more than capable of taking care of herself. But when she offers shelter to a handsome outlaw stranded in a winter storm, the Scotsman’s flirtatious manner and smoldering glances spark an unexpected longing.

The outlaw known as Gentleman George for his fine British manners doesn’t know what to make of the intriguing woman living in seclusion high in the mountains. He only knows that he craves her smiles, dreams of her touch, and trusts her enough to share the truth of his shameful past.

In the midst of a Wyoming blizzard, can a charming outlaw melt the heart of a reclusive mountain woman and claim a love worth holding onto? 



EXCERPT FROM THROUGH THE STORM

Warmth.
It enveloped him as soon as the door closed behind him. For a moment he noticed nothing about the cabin interior beyond the healthy fire blazing in a stone fireplace that took up half of the wall opposite where he stood. He kicked off his boots near the door, then crossed the small cabin to get nearer to the roaring heat of the fire.
He’d never been so cold in his life. Even the couple winters he’d spent in northern Scotland couldn’t compare. Back home, he’d preferred to enjoy the colder months tucked safely in the comfort of his Lowland manor with a brandy in his hand or a warm woman in his bed.
Standing as close to the fire as he could get without crawling into it, he took a look around.
The cabin was comprised of a single room with a loft built in the rafters above and a ladder for access. The windows had been tightly shuttered, and the only light was created by the fire itself, but it was enough to see that the place was very sparsely furnished with only two overstuffed chairs set before the fire with a small table between. Cupboards lined the wall on either side of the door, and a little, black iron stove nestled in one corner. An enormous bear pelt was nailed to one wall, and the space beneath the loft held a couple trunks and some shelves that were overflowing with books.
The books surprised him, and he almost wandered over to see what sort of reading material he’d find in this rustic little mountain cabin. Before he could do so, the front door opened. The woman who’d likely saved him from being buried alive in the snow secured the door with a cross board and propped her rifle beside it before turning around and pushing her hood back.
Warm, dark eyes, thick black lashes, broad bone structure, and a lush, generous mouth.
Though his teeth still chattered and his hands and feet were beginning to ache as they thawed, George was amazed to discover that his blood was still capable of rushing quick and hot through his veins with the right inspiration.
And the woman wrapped in all those furs was stunning.
When she caught sight of him standing before the fire, her straight black brows furrowed over her coffee-colored gaze. “Why are you still dressed?”
The flames inside him leaped in reaction to her husky tone, not to mention the very suggestive words. But he quickly stomped them down. Though a man could surely hope, it was unlikely she’d meant the words in the way his suddenly unruly libido interpreted.
“Pardon,” he said with lifted brows.
“Strip down,” she ordered. “Once the snow on your clothes starts melting, you’re not only going to be freezing cold, you’re going to be wet and freezing cold. And I sure as hell am not going to nurse you though an illness.”
She removed her coat and hung it on a hook next to the door. Underneath it, she wore a flannel button-down shirt tucked into buckskin breeches with a hunting knife strapped high on her thigh. Her thick, black hair was tied back at her nape and brushed the small of her back as she turned to face him.
Her expression furrowed as she noted that he hadn’t moved to do as she said. Propping her hands on her hips, she repeated sharply, “Clothes off. Now.”


Coming October 29, 2019, The Outlaw’s Heart, book three in the
Runaway Brides series





Blog Tour Participating Authors (L to R): Rosanne Bittner, Linda Broday, Margaret Brownley, Amy Sandas

Rosanne Bittner: Website * Facebook * Twitter * Goodreads * Blog * Amazon Linda Broday: Website * Facebook * Twitter * Goodreads * Pinterest * BookBub * Amazon 
Margaret Brownley: Website * Facebook  * Twitter * Goodreads * Amazon
Leigh Greenwood: Website * Goodreads
Amy Sandas: Website * Facebook * Twitter * Goodreads * Instagram * Amazon
Anna Schmidt: Website * Pinterest&nbsp* Goodreads
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Logan’s Lady, Cowboy Charm School + $25 Amazon Gift Card
2nd Prize: Copies of:  LFACC, The Cowboy’s Honor, Logan’s Lady + $25 Amazon Gift Card
3rd Prize: Copies of: LFACC, Logan’s Lady
October 15-October 25, 2019 
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VISIT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:
10/15/19
Book Trailer
10/15/19
BONUS STOP
10/16/19
Review
10/17/19
Author Spotlight
10/18/19
Review
10/19/19
Author Spotlight
10/20/19
Author Spotlight
10/21/19
Review
10/22/19
Author Spotlight
10/23/19
Review
10/24/19
Review
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Journey of the Pale Bear: Review

JOURNEY OF THE PALE BEAR

By SUSAN FLETCHER

Middle Grade / Medieval Historical Fiction

(grades 3-7)

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books

Date of Publication: October 2, 2018

Paperback: October 1, 2019

Number of Pages: 302

Scroll down for the giveaway!

A runaway boy befriends a polar bear that’s being transported from Norway to London in this lyrical and timeless adventure story about freedom, captivity, and finding a family.

The polar bear is a royal bear, a gift from the King of Norway to the King of England. The first time Arthur encounters the bear, he is shoved in her cage as payback for stealing food. Restless and deadly, the bear terrifies him. Yet, strangely, she doesn’t harm him—though she has attacked anyone else who comes near. That makes Arthur valuable to the doctor in charge of getting the bear safely to London. So Arthur, who has run away from home, finds himself taking care of a polar bear on a ship to England.

Tasked with feeding and cleaning up after the bear, Arthur’s fears slowly lessen as he begins to feel a connection to this bear, who like him, has been cut off from her family. But the journey holds many dangers, and Arthur knows his own freedom—perhaps even his life—depends on keeping the bear from harm. When pirates attack and the ship founders, Arthur must make a choice—does he do everything he can to save himself, or does he help the bear to find freedom?

Based on the real story of a polar bear that lived in the Tower of London, this timeless adventure story is also a touching account of the bond between a boy and a bear.

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 ACCOLADES AND PRAISE FOR

JOURNEY OF THE PALE BEAR:

Honor Book, Golden Kite Awards, 2019
Vermont’s 2019-2020 Dorothy Canfield Fisher list
2020 Oklahoma Sequoyah Book Award Children’s Masterlist
School Library Connection highly recommended book
Junior Library Guild Selection
50 Must-Read Historical Fiction Books for Kids, bookriot.com


“…a stupendous coming-of-age-tale stuffed with adventure and laced with deeper questions… A richly satisfying story saturated with color, adventure, and heart.” –Kirkus, starred review

“I simply adore this novel. It has it all: gorgeous prose, fascinating history, riveting adventure. But it’s the unlikely tender friendship between a lonely boy and a polar bear that makes this a story to cherish. A lovely little miracle of a book.” 

–Katherine Applegate, Newbery Medal-winning author of The One and Only Ivan

“I loved every single thing about this large-hearted and riveting medieval adventure.” —William Alexander, National Book Award-winning author of Goblin Secrets

I have a bundle of emotions after reading Journey of the Pale Bear. It stands to reason that we know what end comes for Arthur and the bear. The very first chapter takes place in the future after all.

But how it ends beyond this short moment is more.

Arthur has run away from home and his loving mother to chase a dream. Feeling like a burden and unwanted, a letter from his home country gives him hope for more. However, in the harsh world and after desperate actions, he is employed to accompany a bear to the King of England. The journey and task aren’t tempting to Arthur except for the promise to make it to Wales. Arthur’s motives seem clouded with the memories of his father and the future he could have had. However, the home he chases and the path he goes down to make it there, will change him forever.

I was reminded a bit of Miyazaki’s films. I watched them growing up and as most of them are ‘coming of age’ films, there were similarities between the fantastical and real. There’s a sadness and happiness to all the films and also in this book. They can’t exist without the other, some say. The same can be said for safety and sacrifice. Surviving is to living as safety is to freedom. Arthur’s choices switch between these throughout his journey. Though he is still quite young, his abilities shape not only his fate but that of the crew and many more. Though he may not see it that way.

Beyond the kinship that Arthur develops with our pale bear, there are subtle changes to his relationships with other people as well. The doctor in charge of the bear is shrouded in his own hidden motives and tragedy. As the story develops, Arthur may grow to open his heart and trust to those around him.

This was a stunning fictional take on history that shined with memorable lines and imagery. While the writing could be melancholy, what truly captured my interest was the relationships found and fought for.

Do you ever wish you’d read a book years ago? This book is only a year old but I wonder what young me in middle school or even high school would have thought. How different my reading habits and moods would have been if books like these were assigned instead! It was after reading Journey of the Pale Bear, that I had to truly think through my experiences reading this. Most reviews, I can write within the day. However, here I found myself torn and deleting entire paragraphs so I could do it justice. This book is thoughtful and open to giving its reader many meanings. The writing can shift from a harsh reality to the nuances in old lore and fantasy. Mostly, I just felt so taken with this story of a boy and his bear. Like I was given a gift and already throwing into my mom’s hands for her to read, desperate to discuss her point of view.

I’d like to thank Susan Fletcher and Lone Star Book Tours for the amazing opportunity to read (and reread) this book. It was heartwarming from start to finish.

 Although Susan loves to write about long-ago and faraway places, she can’t bring those worlds to life without grounding them in the details of this one. To that end, she has explored lava tubes and sea caves; spent the night in a lighthouse; traveled along the Silk Road in Iran; ridden in a glider, on a camel, and on a donkey; and cut up (already dead!) baby chicks and mice for a gyrfalcon’s dinner. To research Journey of the Pale Bear, she explored the grounds of the Tower of London and went backstage at the Oregon Zoo, where, standing breathtakingly near, she watched polar bears Tasul and Conrad lip grapes from their keepers’ open palms.

 Journey of the Pale Bear is Susan’s 12th book, including the Dragon Chronicles series, Shadow Spinner, and Alphabet of Dreams. Collectively, her books have been translated into nine languages; accolades include a Golden Kite Honor Book, the American Library Association’s Notable Books and Best Books for Young Adults, BCCB Blue Ribbon Books, and School Library Journal’s Best Books.

Susan has an M.A. in English from the University of Michigan and taught for many years in the M.F.A. in Writing for Children and Young Adults program at Vermont College. She lives in Bryan, Texas with her husband, historian R.J.Q. Adams, and their dog, Neville.

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Amazon Author Page

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THREE AUTOGRAPHED COPIES OF JOURNEY OF THE PALE BEAR

OCTOBER 10-20, 2019

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10/11/19ReviewHall Ways Blog
10/12/19Guest PostChapter Break Book Blog
10/12/19Author InterviewThat’s What She’s Reading
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10/15/19Guest PostAll the Ups and Downs
10/15/19Deleted SceneStory Schmoozing Book Reviews
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10/17/19ReviewThe Page Unbound
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10/19/19ReviewLibrAriel Book Adventures

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Paranormal Texas: Review

PARANORMAL TEXAS

Your Travel Guide to Haunted Places

Near Dallas & Fort Worth

2ND EDITION

By TUI SNIDER

  Genre: Travel / Haunted Places / Texas History

Publisher: Castle Azle Press

Date of Publication: September 19, 2019

Number of Pages: 210 with 100+ black & white images

Scroll down for Giveaway!

 More Haunted Places and True Ghost Stories!

Tui Snider’s popular travel guide to haunted places in North Texas is back with a fully updated 2nd Edition featuring more haunted places and true ghost stories!

What’s new in Paranormal Texas2nd Edition?

Just like the original travel guide, Paranormal Texas 2nd Edition gives readers haunted history and directions to sites where paranormal activity is reported in the Dallas – Fort Worth Metroplex.

The 2nd edition now includes:

• Photos: Readers asked for photos of haunted places. Paranormal Texas, 2nd edition has over 50 photos of haunted towns, haunted hotels, and more.

• Ghost hunting tips: Tui Snider explains what she has learned since she began attending paranormal investigations with Texas ghost hunters.

• More haunted places: Several new venues (including a haunted doll museum!) with fascinating haunted history were added to Paranormal Texas, 2nd edition.

• Firsthand accounts: Readers asked for more true ghost stories and hauntings. (She even shares personal experiences with paranormal activity, including a strange encounter with her doppelganger at a haunted hotel!)

All the above, PLUS a paranormal activity evidence database:

See the paranormal activity for yourself: Readers can access an online database with links to EVPs, ghost photos, videos, and other evidence gathered by paranormal investigators who have visited the haunted sites in her book.

Continually updated: This database will be continually updated with EVPs, anomalous photos, videos, and other data gathered at haunted places featured in Paranormal Texas, 2nd edition.

Add your paranormal activity: Readers can contact the author if they have paranormal evidence to add!

Is Paranormal Texas, 2nd edition for YOU?

1. Ghost Hunters – If you want to plan a fun road trip to haunted places (with or without ghost hunting equipment) Paranormal Texas, 2nd edition can help.

2. Armchair Travelers – If you prefer reading about haunted history, Paranormal Texas, 2nd edition can take you on an exciting armchair tour through haunted towns of North Texas.

“Tui’s 2nd edition is spot on fun and thrilling for everyone to read as only Tui can tell it!”  – Greg Stephens, Paranormal Investigator (RIP)

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5 Surprising Facts about Haunted Places in Paranormal Texas

I’ve had my experience with the unexplained and unusual occurrence. However, this book will open up a whole new world. A mesh of history meets lore. Spooky and out-worldly events that even a skeptic can appreciate. (Sorry, I had to put spooky in there at least once.)

I’ll start with why this book interested me and my own paranormal but funny history. To this day, my mother (and family) talk about their old house in Galveston which just so happened to be haunted. The house was originally built by a ship captain who put parts of his ship in the construction and had amazing glass etched of his ship and wife. When my mother and her family lived there, it became pretty clear that the strange sounds, odd awakenings in the night, even eyes seen in the darkness were shared among them all. Flash forward, I took a trip to this house with the pretext of it being a history project and interest in a picture of the glass etchings. As my mother shared happy memories of her childhood, the woman who lived there couldn’t help but ask if she noticed anything interesting or odd about the house. We may have made a hasty retreat after that.

I suppose I couldn’t help but share a quick story after reading Snider’s book. It often felt like I was sitting by a campfire, sharing ghost stories with the Author. In fact, I actually did read this book entirely at night. Did I do this on purpose? No…but it was a happy coincidence.

It was easy to feel the excitement while reading. The ooh’s and ahh’s as page per page revealed interesting facts about Texas I never knew and the ties that bind it to the paranormal. So what makes this book different? I’m sure everyone has seen at least one episode of ghost hunters, been on a ghost tour, maybe even read a book. However, Paranormal Texas is filled with an energy in the writing. The excitement and respect towards this subject leaps across each page. The locations unknown were now open for discovery and places known could be seen again with new eyes.

Tui Snider did an excellent job at writing the cusp of an experience and a welcome invitation to go on your own. Consider this your challenge to visit a paranormal location and don’t forget your copy of Paranormal Texas: Your Travel Guide to Haunted Places Near Dallas & Fort Worth!

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

Tui lectures frequently at universities, libraries, conferences, and bookstores.This fall, she will speak about the Great Airship Mystery of 1897 at this year’s UFO Congress and teach a course on Understanding Cemetery Symbols at Texas Christian University. She also shares weekly info-videos based on her research at her YouTube channel.

Snider’s writing and photography have been featured in a variety of media outlets, including WFAA TVCoast to Coast AM, LifeHack, Langdon Review, the City of Plano, Wild Woman WakingShades of Angels and many more. She has several more books in progress.

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 October 1-October 11, 2019

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10/1/19Reading by Moonlight
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10/5/19Carpe Diem Chronicles
10/6/19Forgotten Winds
10/6/19Books and Broomsticks
10/7/19The Page Unbound
10/8/19The Book Review
10/8/19Chapter Break Book Blog
10/9/19Missus Gonzo
10/10/19All the Ups and Downs

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