It’s a Mad, Mad Murder: Book Blitz and Giveaway

IT’S A MAD, MAD MURDER A Maddie Montgomery Mystery by CINDY VINCENT

Cozy Culinary Mystery / Women Sleuths / Amateur Sleuths
Publisher: Whodunit Press
Date of Publication: November 15, 2021
Number of Pages: 303 pages
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Things are a little too hot to handle for famous culinary-mystery author, Maddie Montgomery, in her normally quiet neighborhood set in the Houston suburb of Abbott Cove. Especially after her neighbor, Randall Rathburn, has a heart attack and rams his vintage car into a light pole. Though his death is ruled an accident, another of Maddie’s neighbors insists that Randall was murdered, and he implores her to investigate. But Maddie isn’t on board with the half-baked idea, not until she attends the over-the-top funeral where she develops some suspicions of her own. That’s when she decides to take the leap from crime writing to crime solving. After all, she doesn’t exactly want a killer running around her cul-de-sac . . .
But the murder of her neighbor isn’t the only mystery she’s got cooking. When her publisher goes belly-up and her agent happily dumps her in favor of younger, dystopian authors, Maddie boils over into a full-blown career crisis. And while she tries to simmer down, her new role as amateur sleuth only stirs the pot even more. Then from car chases to stakeouts, and from a neighbor who owns a suspicious amount of spy gadgetry to a widow who seems a little too merry, Maddie’s first case has her head spinning like the beaters on her handheld mixer. And soon Maddie finds that solving a crime in “real life” is a lot more difficult . . . and a lot more dangerous . . .
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Cindy Vincent is the award-winning author of the Buckley and Bogey Cat Detective Capers, and the Tracy Truworth, Apprentice P.I., 1940s Homefront Mysteries. She is also the creator of the Mysteries by Vincent murder mystery party games and the Daisy Diamond Detective Series games for girls. She lives in Houston, Texas with her husband and an assortment of fantastic felines. Cindy is a self-professed “Christmas-a-holic,” and she starts the planning for her ever-expanding, “extreme” Christmas lights display sometime in the early spring.
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Signed copy of It’s a Mad, Mad Murder, a sweetheart-neckline apron, a set of multicolored, Farberware measuring cups, and a set of stainless steel, oblong measuring spoons.
2ND & 3RD PRIZES:
Signed copies of It’s a Mad, Mad Murder and novella, Yes, Carol…It’s Christmas!, which features a heroine trying to get back home to Texas (US only; ends midnight, CDT, 5/26/2022)

Fatal Code: Interview and Giveaway

 


FATAL CODE
The SNAP Agency Series, Book 2
by
NATALIE WALTERS
Fiction / Christian / Suspense / Romance
Publisher: Revell
Date of Publication: May 1, 2022
Number of Pages: 320 pages
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In 1964, a group of scientists called the Los Alamos Five came close to finishing a nuclear energy project for the United States government when they were abruptly disbanded. Now the granddaughter of one of those five scientists, aerospace engineer Elinor Mitchell, discovers that she has highly sensitive information on the project in her possession–and a target on her back.
SNAP agent and former Navy cryptologist Kekoa Young is tasked with monitoring Elinor. This is both convenient since she’s his neighbor in Washington, DC, and decidedly inconvenient because . . . well, he kind of likes her.
As Elinor follows the clues her grandfather left behind to a top-secret nuclear project, Kekoa has no choice but to step in. When Elinor learns he has been spying on her, she’s crushed. But with danger closing in on all sides, she’ll have to trust him to ensure her discoveries stay out of enemy hands.
Natalie Walters sucks you into the global race for space domination in this perfectly paced second installment of her SNAP Agency romantic suspense series.
PRAISE FOR FATAL CODE:
Fatal Code is reminiscent of cold war spy thrillers and riveted me to the page as I rooted for Kekoa and Elinor to expose secrets, survive danger, and fall in love.” — Elizabeth Goddard, bestselling author of the Rocky Mountain Courage series
“Warning: once you pick it up, you won’t be able to put it down!” — Andrew Huff, author of the Shepherd Suspense series
“Enough suspense to make you need warm milk and a cozy blanket to calm you down.” — Jaime Jo Wright, author of The Souls of Lost Lake and the Christy award-winning novel The House on Foster Hill

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INTERVIEW WITH NATALIE WALTERS



How does your book relate to your spirituality or life path?

One of the themes in Fatal Code deals with shouldering guilt and responsibility for things that were never ours to carry in the first place. Personally, this is something I have struggle within my own life, and I didn’t intentionally start with this theme when I began writing but as I started to see what was holding my character back it became clear and I loved being able to remind myself of the freedom that can come when we hand back to God what was always His. 


What was the hardest part of writing this book?  

Intially, it was discovering what my bubbly, fun-loving, Hawaiian hero was hiding. His personality didn’t give anything away and I really had to dig to find out what his backstory was. The next hardest part of this story and the thing that gave me nightmares was understanding the science behind pseudocodes, algorithms, cryptology. *shudders* still have nightmares about that.


What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

I loved being able to share more of Kekoa’s heritage. My husband is Hawaiian, so it was really fun to include some of my favorite characteristics into the story. I also really enjoyed working with my brother and his love of comic books to come up with a top-secret weapon. 


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

Yes! As I was researching the roles of my Los Alamos Five, I was really excited to learn about the African American contribution to the continued development of nuclear projects for our country. I also discovered that there was a top-secret design plan stolen from the Los Alamos National Laboratory…eerily similar. 


Which character from your book(s) is most or least like you?

I’m the least like Elinor. Science was my worst subject in school so I really had to lean into my experts to help me make sure I had all of that correct for the story. 


What is something you want to accomplish before you die?

I would love to see the Northern Lights and visit Ireland. 


What do you want your tombstone to say?

“Her legacy was that she loved Jesus, her husband, and children more than anything.”






Natalie Walters is the author of Lights Out, as well as the Harbored Secrets series. A military wife, she currently resides in Texas with her soldier husband and is the proud mom of three. She loves traveling, spending time with her family, and connecting with readers.
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Turn to Me Blitz

TURN TO ME
A Misty River Romance
by
BECKY WADE
Contemporary Romance / Christian Fiction / Clean & Wholesome
Date of Publication: May 3, 2022
Number of Pages: 416 pages 
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His promise will cost him far more than he imagined.
Guilt has defined Luke Dempsey’s life, but it was self-destructiveness that landed him in prison. When his friend and fellow inmate lay dying shortly before Luke’s release, the older man revealed he left a string of clues for his daughter, Finley, that will lead her to the treasure he’s hidden. Worried that she won’t be the only one pursuing the treasure, he gains Luke’s promise to protect her until the end of her search.
Spunky and idealistic, Finley Sutherland is the owner of an animal rescue center and a defender of lost causes. She accepts Luke’s help on the treasure hunt while secretly planning to help him in return–by coaxing him to embrace the forgiveness he’s long denied himself.
As they draw closer to the final clue, their reasons for resisting each other begin to crumble, and Luke realizes his promise will push him to the limit in more ways than one. He’ll do his best to shield Finley from unseen threats, but who’s going to shield him from losing his heart?
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Becky Wade is the 2018 Christy Award Book of the Year winner for True to You. She is a native of California who attended Baylor University, met and married a Texan, and moved to Dallas. She published historical romances for the general market, then put her career on hold for several years to care for her children. When God called her back to writing, Becky knew He meant for her to turn her attention to Christian fiction. Her humorous, heart-pounding contemporary romance novels have won three Christy Awards, the Carol Award, the INSPY Award, and the Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award for Romance. Becky lives in Dallas, Texas with her husband and three children.
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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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Odd Birds: Author Interview and Giveaway


ODD BIRDS
by
SEVERO PEREZ
Genre: Literary Fiction
Publisher: Texas Christian University Press
Date of Publication: September 24, 2019
Number of Pages: 278 pages 

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Synopsis
The year is 1961. Seventy-year-old Cosimo Infante Cano, a Cuban-born artist in need of inspiration, follows his lover to Texas in what was to be a temporary sabbatical from their life in France. Unexpectedly, he finds himself stranded in San Antonio, nearly penniless, with little more than the clothes on his back and an extraordinary pocket watch. His long hair and eccentric attire make him an odd sight in what he has been told is a conservative cultural backwater.
Cosimo’s French and Cuban passports put a cloud of suspicion over him as events elsewhere in the world play out. Algeria is in open revolt against France. Freedom Riders are being assaulted in Mississippi, and the Bay of Pigs debacle is front-page news. Cosimo confronts nightmares and waking terrors rooted in the horror he experienced during the Great War of 1914–1918. His friends—students, librarians, shopkeepers, laborers, lawyers, bankers, and even a parrot—coalesce around this elderly French artist as he attempts to return to what remains of his shattered life.
His new friends feel empathy for his impoverished condition, but his unconventional actions and uncompromising ethics confuse them. He creates charming drawings he refuses to sell and paints a house simply for the pleasure of making a difference. In the process he forever alters the lives of those who thought they were helping him.
PRAISE FOR THE BOOK
“A pitch-perfect picaresque tale” –John Phillip Santos, Texas Monthly
“Judge this book by its cover. It’s a stunning… captivating read.” –Alice Embree, Rag Radio Blog
An “elegantly conceived tale–boasting a culturally and historically astute plot–that demands to be read.” –Kirkus Reviews

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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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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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