Paper Targets: Interview and Giveaway

PAPER TARGETS

by Patricia Watts

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

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

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

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

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

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INTERVIEWS WITH 

ROANNE AND CONNIE, CHARACTERS IN 

PAPER TARGETS

BY PATRICIA WATTS



MC ROANNE is interviewed about Connie


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

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


Q What makes Connie a good friend?

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

 

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

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


Q. What is the worst moment?

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


Q. What is Connie’s biggest accomplishment?

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


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

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


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

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




MC CONNIE is interviewed about Roanne


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

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


Q What makes Roanne a good friend?

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


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

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


Q. What is the worst moment?

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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Deadly Keepsakes: Book Blitz and Giveaway!

DEADLY KEEPSAKES
A Tori Winters Mystery
by
ANITA DICKASON
NOW AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER!
MYSTERY
Publisher: Mystic Circle Books
Coming July 10, 2022
Number of Pages: 360 pages
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The past becomes the future. Secrets that can kill!
After someone tries to kill her, Tori Winters is on the run. Looking for a place to hide, a mysterious phone call about a vague inheritance seems to be the answer. After all, who would think of looking for her in Granbury, a small quaint Texas town. Instead, her life is about to spin into an existence where nothing is as it seems. The historic house she inherits has secrets. Ones she’s been warned can kill. A stranger in a strange town, who can she trust? There is the kindly lawyer and his son, or the disinherited step-grandson. What secrets do they hide? Tori’s newfound fortune may not be a blessing. It could become her death warrant.
Award-winning Author Anita Dickason is a twenty-two-year veteran of the Dallas Police Department. She served as a patrol officer, undercover narcotics detective, advanced accident investigator, tactical officer, and first female sniper on the Dallas SWAT team.
Anita writes about what she knows, cops and crime. Her police background provides an unending source of inspiration for her plots and characters. Many incidents and characters portrayed in her books are based on personal experience. For her, the characters are the fun part of writing as she never knows where they will take her. There is always something out of the ordinary in her stories.
In Anita’s debut novel, Sentinels of the Night, she created an elite FBI Unit, the Trackers. Since then, she has added three more Tracker crime thrillers, Going Gone!, A u 7 9, and Operation Navajo, which are not a series and can be read in any order, and Deadly Business, a crime thriller.
As a Texas author, many of Anita’s books are based in Texas, or there is a link to Texas. When she stepped outside of the Tracker novels and wrote, Not Dead, she selected Meridian, a small community in central Texas for the location.
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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.
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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


A person and person posing for a picture

Description automatically generated with medium confidence

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


Thank you for visiting. Please leave your comment below for a chance to win. 



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.

Gone to Dallas: Author Interview and Giveaway

 

GONE TO DALLAS: THE STOREKEEPER 1856 – 1861
by
LAURIE MOORE – MOORE
Genre: Historical Fiction / Texas Pioneers / Civil War
Publisher: Goat Mountain Press
Date of Publication: October 4, 2021
Number of Pages: 348 pages 
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Sara’s husband was a disappointment in life, but she had to admit he was a handsome corpse.
Climb aboard an 1856 Dallas-bound wagon train and join a plucky female protagonist for the journey of a lifetime in Laurie Moore-Moore’s richly entertaining new book, Gone to Dallas, The Storekeeper 1856-1861. Far from your average historical novel or western, Gone to Dallas is a compelling tale of migration, betrayal, death and dreams—peppered with real people, places, and events. With a cast of interesting characters and more bumps and hazards than a wagon trail, Gone to Dallas tells the unforgettable story of a formidable frontier woman in the context of true Texas history.
It had seemed so romantic when Morgan Darnell courted Sara in Tennessee, finally convincing her they should marry and join an 1856 “Gone to Texas” wagon train traveling along the “Trail of Tears,” through Indian territory, and across the Red River into Texas.
In a twist of fate, Sara arrives in Dallas a 19-year-old widow, armed with plenty of pluck, and determined to open a general store in the tiny settlement of log cabins on the Trinity River. Standing in her way as a young woman alone are a host of challenges. Can Sara (with the help of her friends) pull herself up by the bootstraps and overcome uncertainty, vandalism, threats, and even being shot?
Follow Sara as she strives to create her store while living Dallas’ true history — from the beginnings of La Réunion (the European colony across the Trinity) to a mud and muck circus, a grand ball and the mighty fire that burns Dallas to the ground. Dallas is a challenging place, especially with the Civil War looming.
Even with the friendship of a retired Texas Ranger and Dallas’ most important citizen — another woman — is Sara strong enough to meet the challenge? The risks are high. Failure means being destitute in Dallas!
In Gone to Dallas, The Storekeeper 1856-1861, author Laurie Moore-Moore spins a page-turner of a tale salted with historically accurate Texas events and populated with real characters. It’s Portis’ True Grit meets Texas history.

READER PRAISE FOR GONE TO DALLAS:
“Creative and captivating…five stars!”
“An unforgettable journey…superb writing.”
“I was hooked at the very first sentence.”
“Lovely work of historical fiction…can’t wait for the sequel.”
“Brilliant!”

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Interview with Laurie Moore-Moore


You call Gone to Dallas an historical novel salted with history. What does that mean?

The background in which the story unfolds is built around actual happenings in Dallas and in Texas at the time—thats what I call, salted with history.” For instance: a grand ball, the visit of a mud and muck circus, the collapse of the bridge over the Trinity, a plague of locusts, the fire that burns Dallas to the ground. I couldn’t make up more interesting events as a backdrop to the story! And although most of my characters are fictional, the book is also peppered with real people—from Sarah Cockrell, often called Dallass first capitalist, and certainly a brilliant businesswoman, to Barry Derrit, the slave who manned the toll bridge over the Trinity River. These characters play active roles in the fictional story. My goal was a really good read, rooted in history, with a spark of inspiration

 

It’s hot off the press . . .what early response have you had?

Here are three examples:

*Paul Hobby, former CEO of Texas Monthly wrote, “Laurie Moore-Moore projects a tale of decency and resourcefulness that is fundamental to the continuing identity of the American West in general and of Texas specifically.”

*Teresa Burleson, Director, Stockyards Museum, Fort Worth, said, “Sara was fascinating—a strong and enterprising young woman. She had the grit and moxie that Texas women are known for. A good fictional read with real historical events thrown in—an interesting twist. I come from a long line of strong Texas women, so I find Sara and the other women in this story inspiring.”

*Dr. W. Arthur Porter, former Professor and Associate Dean for Innovation at the University of Texas at Austin, used multiple exclamation marks in his review of the book. “A female protagonist who’s Tennessee Smart and Texas Tough! Gone to Dallas captures an historically accurate essence of early Texas and how committed and tenacious early settlers had to be to make it — especially the women!”      

 

Why is the novels title Gone to Dallas?

Back when Texas was part of Mexico, Americans fleeing the law, creditors, or other problems would sometimes flee to Texas, generally painting or posting signs saying Gone to Texas” or GTT on their doors or fence posts. The message became associated with law breakers and other rascals. When Texas won its independence, it began granting land to newcomers. People in search of homesteads and opportunity began to flow into the state. Signs were posted and wagons painted with Gone to Texas.” This time, the words were a symbol of available land and new opportunity. Some of those who were Gone to Texas” were Gone to Dallas”—Thus the novel’s name.

 

Gone to Dallas is book one of your Brave and Strong series. Why that name?

The name comes from the last phrases of the Texas state song:

            “God bless you Texas and keep you brave and strong

            that you might grow in power and worth throughout the ages long.”

It seemed to me that our Texas ancestors—men and women alike—were brave and strong. I wanted to recognize and honor that in the name of the book series and in my new Podcast, Texas Brave and Strong.

 

Why write about Dallas in this time (1856-1861)?

I chose Dallas because its home and also because the city has a fascinating history!  Gone to Dallas is keyed to the period when Dallas began to take shape and grow. It ends just as the Civil War is about to begin. Also, people all over the world seem to have a fascination with the city. Some of that goes back to the old Dallas TV series, and to the mystique of the Dallas Cowboys football team in Roger Staubachs era. I traveled in my business for thirty years and taxi and Uber drivers would almost always want to talk about some aspect of Dallas as soon as they knew where I was from.

 

What is your writing process?

Im what the publishing world calls a seat-of-the-pants writer. I dont outline the entire story in advance.  I just sit down and start to write. The first 54,000 words took less than a month to write. . . although they ended up being in the middle of the book! Feedback from very early readers was helpful in shaping the story, but the characters took control and I just followed with the words. I was sometimes surprised by the twists and turns in the story. I hope readers will be as well. Writing the novel was a joyful experience!

 

Any clues about the sequel?

The sequel—Cotton, Cattle, and Conflict starts with the Civil War and carries through Reconstruction. I was tempted to name it Camels, Cattle, and Conflict.



From the author: “My husband, Roger, and I have been blessed with many adventures in life—from trekking across India’s Thar desert on a camel (and sleeping in the sand on our camel blankets) to repeating marriage vows in a remote Maasi village in Kenya (my dowery was one cow and one goat). My favorite adventure? As a fifth generation Texan, it is discovering more and more Texas history and writing about it!
We live in Dallas, Texas but sneak away when possible, to a mountain-top cabin overlooking a lake in former Indian Territory (the Oklahoma Ozark Mountains) The cabin is unique—there is a nine foot chainsaw bear in our entry hall. The house was built around it. Never thought I’d own a piece of chainsaw art, much less a nine-foot bear. Life is full of surprises. . . just like a good historical novel.”
Laurie Moore-Moore is a retired entrepreneur who has built and sold multiple businesses and served on the Board of Directors of an international corporation.
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Once Upon a Camel: Review and Giveaway

ONCE UPON A CAMEL
by Kathi Appelt
Categories: Middle Grade Fiction / Historical / Friendship / Ages 8-12 Publisher: Atheneum / Caitlyn Dlouhy Books Pub Date: September 7, 2021 Pages: 336 pages
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Zada is a camel with a treasure trove of stories to tell. She’s won camel races for the royal Pasha of Smyrna, crossed treacherous oceans to new land, led army missions with her best camel friend by her side, and outsmarted a far too pompous mountain lion. But those stories were from before.
Now, Zada wanders the desert as the last camel in Texas. But she’s not alone. Two tiny kestrel chicks are nestled in the fluff of fur between her ears—kee-killy-keeing for their missing parents—and a dust storm the size of a mountain is taking Zada on one more grand adventure. And it could lead to this achy old camel’s most brilliant story yet.

CLICK TO PURCHASE Simon and Schuster ~ Bookshop.org




Once Upon a Camel by Kathi Appelt was purely a magical and spectacular read! We dive into the world of Zada, a camel from Smyrna, Turkey, and two young American kestrels named Perdita and Pard. This fable come to life is a tale of friendship and a journey based on real life events from the 1800’s when the US brought camels into Texas to transport supplies for the military. 

This was honestly the first I ever heard about the US bringing camels into Texas. I’m not a native to Texas and not as familiar with Texas history, but this tid bit of fact fascinated me. I think it’s fun and clever to base a work of fiction off of this historical fact!

Zada, who is lonely and missing her friends from Turkey, encounters a sandstorm that blows in. The kestrels are worried about their babies and Zada, courageous as ever, swoops in to help them. When the sand storm sweeps the kestrels away, Zada is left to take care of the little ones, and in so doing we learn about Zada’s life story. 

Zada is a gentle soul, and hearing her life story unfold was woven with imagery and a voice you can get lost in. 

Though this story is geared towards children, it’s easily enjoyable to read as an adult! And one I definitely recommend. This was exactly the kind of weekend read I needed! A purely enjoyable story!

Rating: 5/5


Kathi Appelt is the author of the Newbery Honoree, National Book Award finalist, and bestselling The Underneath as well as the National Book Award Finalist The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp, Maybe a Fox (with Alison McGhee), Keeper, and many picture books including Counting Crows and Mogie, the Heart of the House. She lives in College Station, Texas, with her husband and five gifted and talented cats.
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Creatrix Rising Tour


CREATRIX RISING: UNLOCKING THE POWER
OF MIDLIFE WOMEN By Stephanie Raffelock

Categories: Nonfiction / Self Help Memoir
Publisher: She Writes Press
Pub Date: August 24, 2021
Pages:176 Pages
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From the author of the award-winning book A Delightful Little Book on Aging comes a new self-help memoir Creatrix Rising: Unlocking the Power of Midlife Women. In her new book, Stephanie Raffelock liberates mold-defying midlife women, tired of the oft-inaccurate characterization of the “old crone,” to amplify the resounding strength within. Ever since Eve was banned from the garden, women have endured the oftentimes painful and inaccurate definitions foisted upon them by the patriarchy. Maiden, mother, and crone, representing the three stages assigned to a woman’s life cycle, have been the limiting categories of both ancient and modern (neo-pagan) mythology. And one label in particular rankles: crone. The word conjures a wizened hag—useless for the most part, marginalized by appearance and ability. None of us has ever truly fit the old-crone image, and for today’s midlife women, a new archetype is being birthed: the Creatrix.

In Creatrix Rising, Raffelock lays out—through personal stories and essays—the highlights of the past fifty years, in which women have gone from a quiet strength to a resounding voice. She invites us along on her own transformational journey by providing probing questions for reflection so that we can flesh out and bring to life this new archetype within ourselves. If what the Dalai Lama has predicted—that women will save the world—proves true, then the Creatrix will for certain be out front, leading the pack.

PRAISE FOR CREATRIX RISING:

“The perfect topic at the perfect time, Stephanie Raffelock’s self-help memoir, Creatrix Rising, identifies a new archetype, the Creatrix, that transcends the old archetype of Crone. Her stories and insights about how far women have come is nothing short of inspirational. A must-read for any woman who wants to embrace the strength and creativity of midlife.” -Marci Shimoff, #1 New York Times best-selling author of Happy for No Reason and Chicken Soup for the Women’s Soul

“Poetic and philosophical, Creatrix Rising will inspire readers to claim the courage and confidence that already lives inside of them. An intimate story of transformation, of journeying through life on your own terms without apology.”
Richard Blanco, 2013 Presidential Inaugural Poet and author of How to Love a Country

“The new archetype Stephanie Raffelock assigns to midlife women underscores the assets and wisdom older women bring to our culture and to the greater good. Creatrix Rising is an affirmation and celebration of the feminine story taking place in leadership and creativity throughout our country.”
Gabby Reese, volleyball legend, Nike’s first female spokeswoman, and New York Times best-selling author

Click To Purchase: Amazon ~ Indiebound ~ Bookshop.org



Link To The Book Trailer On YouTube

MARKING THE YEARS
GUEST POST
By Stephanie Raffelock
(originally posted to the author’s website May, 2021)



Recently, my friend Tara was taking some pictures of me in the park. In one shot, the light was just right, revealing how silver my hair is becoming. This is a desired effect. I stopped dying my hair over two years ago, a liberating action that gifts me a crown of silver to wear into my seventies. It seems to me to be an appropriate marker. In this last year of my sixties, there are a lot of markers, pointing the way to what’s next in the brave and bold adventure of getting older.

Embodying the role of an elder is upon me and it doesn’t look like what I thought it would. All of my best, saved up wisdom and advice means nothing to a younger generation. I certainly didn’t want the advice of older women when I was in my twenties, thirties and forties. The lesson is this: You don’t really become an elder until you learn to listen deeply to the younger people around you, and offer support, validation and goodwill. Then and only then, might you be honored with a conversation that will benefit each of you. A lot of being an elder is bearing witness to the process of youth as it struggles out of the chrysalis and unfolds it’s wet wings. Kindness, support and encouragement are powerful and empowering offerings to give to the next generation.

Another marker is the shift in energy that I’m feeling. I’ve lived a physically active life for all of my years. It’s a real blessing now. I know that most aches in my body can be transcended through a morning walk. I’m able to exercise daily, though some of my activities have changed. I no longer play tennis, but I walk for three miles every day. I do some stretching. A swimming allows me to have an easy range of motion. In spite of all of that, I’m feeling the need for quiet and rest. My Type-A personality can no longer go eight to ten hours a day. The disappointment I’m faced with is that the energy that once propelled me to meet all deadlines and be proactive in my work, has waned. This means that I have to choose the outline of my days more carefully so that it contributes to my health and not to burnout.

In the past couple of years, I’ve come to a deeper level of reflection, which has resulted in embracing past pain, joy, regrets, sorrow and love. My life has not been smooth. Most people’s aren’t. But the acceptance of my jagged edges has produced a tenderness that grows from a heart that cherishes the lessons and longings of life. That’s given me a great sense of peace.

As I embrace the years and the process of getting older, I’m drawn to the chairs on my back porch which overlook the forest. Nature keeps us alive after midlife for a reason. Obviously it’s not for the proliferation of the species. I believe that it’s for the purpose of reflection and contemplation upon the life we’ve lived and where all of that fits into the grand scheme of things. Aging brings a lot of outer changes — silver hair, waning energy and the emergence of a reflective heart.

At this age, I believe that I’m here to begin the slow, rolling surrender to some great, eternal love, some indescribable awe that pulls me into feeling that I am a part of everything. The stardust from which I was made is the same stardust to which I’ll return. And the knowledge of this particular marker fills me with gratitude. I love the accumulating years. What a wonder to evolve and grown psychologically and spiritually until the day we die.



Stephanie Raffelock is the author of Creatrix Rising, Unlocking the Power of Midlife Women, (She Writes Press – August, 2021). She also penned the award winning book, A Delightful Little Book on Aging.

A graduate of Naropa University’s program in Writing and Poetics, Stephanie was a contributor to The Rogue Valley Messenger in Oregon. She has blogged for Nexus Magazine, Omaha Lifestyles, Care2.com, as well as SixtyandMe.com.

A former i-Heart Radio host, she is now a popular guest on podcasts, where she inspires women to embrace the strength and passion of their personal story. Stephanie continues to build her speaker’s resume by giving presentations for groups like The Ashland Literary Arts Festival, Breaking the Glass, WINS at Charles Schwab and Southern Oregon University, Friends of the Hannon Library. Her commitment to uplift women extends to teaching personal development classes for incarcerated women and non-profits, including Dress for Success, Austin.

A recent transplant to Austin, Texas Stephanie enjoys an active life with her husband, Dean, and their Labrador retriever, Mickey Mantel Raffelock.

Website | Goodreads | Instagram | Facebook | LinkedIn


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FOR DIRECT LINKS TO EACH POST ON THIS TOUR, UPDATED DAILY.
Or, visit the blogs directly:

9/1/21

Excerpt

Hall Ways Blog

9/1/21

Review

Missus Gonzo

9/2/21

Review

All the Ups and Downs

9/2/21

BONUS Promo

LSBBT Blog

9/3/21

Review

The Plain-Spoken Pen

9/3/21

Review

Momma on the Rocks

9/4/21

Author Interview

The Clueless Gent

9/5/21

Author Interview

Book Bustle

9/6/21

Review

Reading by Moonlight

9/6/21

Video Guest Post

The Adventures of a Travelers Wife

9/7/21

Review

Chapter Break Book Blog

9/8/21

Review

StoreyBook Reviews

9/8/21

Guest Post

The Page Unbound

9/9/21

Review

Jennie Reads

9/10/21

Review

Forgotten Winds

9/10/21

Review

Carpe Diem Chronicles

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Trace of Doubt: Review and Giveaway


TRACE OF DOUBT
BY DIANN MILLS
Categories: Romantic Suspense / Christian Fiction / FBI Crime Solving Novel / Clean Romance Publisher: Tyndale House Pub Date: September 7, 2021 Pages: 432 pages
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Fifteen years ago, Shelby Pearce confessed to murdering her brother-in-law and was sent to prison. Now she’s out on parole and looking for a fresh start in the small town of Valleysburg, Texas. But starting over won’t be easy for an ex-con.
FBI Special Agent Denton McClure was a rookie fresh out of Quantico when he was first assigned the Pearce case. He’s always believed Shelby embezzled five hundred thousand dollars from her brother-in-law’s account. So he’s going undercover to befriend Shelby, track down the missing money, and finally crack this case.
But as Denton gets closer to Shelby, he begins to have a trace of doubt about her guilt. Someone has Shelby in their crosshairs. It’s up to Denton to stop them before they silence Shelby—and the truth—forever.

PRAISE FOR TRACE OF DOUBT :

“Filled with high stakes, high emotion, and high intrigue.” – LYNN H. BLACKBURN, award-winning author of UNKNOWN THREAT and ONE FINAL BREATH

Trace of Doubt is a suspense reader’s best friend. From page one until the end, the action is intense and the storyline keeps you guessing.” – EVA MARIE EVERSON, bestselling author of FIVE BRIDES and DUST

“DiAnn Mills serves up a perfect blend of action, grit, and heart. . . Trace of Doubt takes romantic suspense to a whole new level.” – JAMES R. HANNIBAL, award-winning author of THE PARIS BETRAYAL

“Well-researched . . . with some surprising twists along the way. In Trace of Doubt, Mills weaves together a tale of faith, intrigue, and suspense that her fans are sure to enjoy.” – STEVEN JAMES, award-winning author of SYNAPSE and EVERY WICKED MAN

CLICK TO PURCHASE

Link to the Book Trailer on YouTube


What a thrilling read!

For 15 years Shelby Pearce had remained behind bars for a crime she says she did not commit. She spends her time turning over a religious leaf and finding her heart in Christianity. Once she is released, she wants nothing more than to live a quiet life. But then her paths cross with Agent Denton McClure, a man with his own agenda, set out to prove that Shelby is a murderer and a thief. 

Over the course of the story, these two characters souls collide in a beautiful way. Shelby shares her faith with Denton a little at a time, which over the course of the book helps him to find his faith as well. The love that develops is a slow one, but it’s deep and real and gave me all the feels!

What I loved about this story was how gentle and patient Denton was. He gave her time to heal and grow until she was ready to be in a relationship with him. 

I also loved all the plot twists in this book and how over time Shelby’s story and her life slowly begins to unfold. The ending packs quite a surprise! One I didn’t see coming! 

You can tell Mills put her heart into this story, with its gripping plot and it’s deeply developed characters. The pace is a real page turner, and the story was so easy to get lost in. I was very impressed with Mills writing and would love to read more of her books in the future. 

If you are a fan of thrillers, suspense, and romance, this book is definitely for you! 

Rating: 4/5


DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She is a storyteller and creates action-packed, suspense-filled novels to thrill readers. Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne Du Maurier, Inspirational Readers’ Choice, and Carol award contests.
DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and International Thriller Writers. She is the director of the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference, Mountainside Retreats: Marketing, Speakers, Nonfiction and Novelist with social media specialist Edie Melson where she continues her passion for helping other writers be successful. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country.


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