Book Spotlight: The Knotted Ring by Myra Hargrave McIlvain

BNR The Knotted Ring Blitz

 

I’m thrilled to be spotlighting this book today. It looks like a moving story rich in history and character.

About the book, The Knotted Ring Cover The Knotted Ring

  • Genre: Historical Fiction / Family Saga / Historical Romance
  • Publisher: Next Chapter
  • Page Count: 412
  • Publication Date: December 7, 2023
  • Scroll down for Giveaway!

Susannah Mobley, expecting a baby by her lover, a slave owned by her family, submits to an arranged marriage to Hezekiah James who is headed to Texas to claim a Spanish land grant. Caught in a series of lies about the origin of a beautiful ring woven from her red hair and the circumstances of her pregnancy, Susannah embarks on the harsh trip to Texas, grieving for her lost love and determined to control her destiny.

On the wagon train journey, Hezekiah is tested by his beliefs and strengths with his slaves and Native Americans, as well as a strange Mad Stone. His determination to build a plantation as fine as Susannah’s home place and to make the best decisions for Susannah fails. Susannah will have to decide if she can live with the consequences of her lies and open herself to this man who shows every form of contrition or if she will allow longing for what she cannot have to destroy her life.

The Knotted Ring is currently a semi-finalist in the Laramie Awards for Western and Americana Fiction.

Praise for this book:

“An often engrossing and well-handled story of the 19th century.” —Kirkus Reviews

Buy, read, and discuss this book:

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About the author, Myra Hargrave McIlvain Author Photo McIlvain

Myra Hargrave McIlvain, a sixth-generation Texan, is a storyteller who has written Texas historical markers (yes, real people write those things lining Texas highways), articles for newspapers and magazines such as Texas Highways, and six nonfiction books about famous and infamous Texas characters and places.

McIlvain found her real love when she wrote her first historical fiction. All her tales take place in Texas during major periods of its history. However, The Knotted Ring was inspired by an old family story, and in her search to understand what may have happened, she imagined their lives set in a time that she knew well––the establishment of the first Anglo colony.

McIlvain views history as the story of a people; the people she knows best have made Texas home.

Connect with Myra:

Website | FacebookX (Twitter) | Amazon | Goodreads

 

 

 

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1st Prize: Autographed hardcover & tote bag; 2nd Prize: Autographed paperback + candle; 3rd Prize: Autographed paperback
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Book Spotlight: Amethyst, The Shallows by Kellye Abernathy

BNR Amethyst, The Shallows Blitz

I’m so excited to be bringing you this spotlight for Amethyst, The Shallows, the companion novel to The Aquamarine Surfboard. I read the first book last summer, and fell in love with the writing, the imagery, and the characters, so I know this book will be just as charming and dynamic.

About the Book: Amethyst, the Shallows Cover Amethyst, The Shallows

(The Companion Novel to The Aquamarine Surfboard)

  • Genre: Young Adult / Magical Realism / Coming of Age
  • Published: Atmosphere Press, February 6, 2024
  • Pages: 296 pages

“This is a night for being brave.”

In the aftermath of a devastating sickness that shatters their close-knit beach town, six lonely kids are drawn together during the unpredictable autumn equinox. Among them are fourteen-year-old Lorelei, who yearns to be an oceanographer, and her peculiar younger brother, Tad, who possesses an otherworldly curiosity.

When Lorelei has a strange and almost deadly encounter in a sea cave, her loyal boyfriend, Casey, cannot reconcile her fantastical experience with the rational world. Condi, Lorelei’s best friend, understands ocean magic but isn’t free to share what she knows. Kait, a girl from Ireland, regrets her impulsive move to America-all because of an odd occurrence involving her deceased boyfriend’s lost surfboard. When tides turn and the moon shifts, Isaac, the new kid in town who despises the ocean, is forced to face the truth-a profound and powerful magic lives in the deep.

Guided by a wise surf master, mystical old women known as the Beachlings, and an open-hearted grandmother, six kids embark on transformative adventures that challenge their beliefs about possibilities and the intense nature of love.

Amethyst, The Shallows is the brand-new companion novel to The Aquamarine Surfboard.

Praise for this book:

Amethyst, The Shallows’ sensitive and potent prose stirs the reader, leaving a lasting impression. Although this novel is the second installment in a series, it stands strong independently, welcoming newcomers and returning readers alike.” Literary Titan

Buy, read, and discuss this book:

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About the Author, Kellye Abernathy author photo Abernathy

Kellye Abernathy’s passions are writing and serving trauma survivors as a yoga teacher and practical life skills advocate. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Secondary English Education from the University of Kansas. Her home is in land-locked Plano, Texas—where she’s dreaming of her next trip to the sea!

Connect with Kellye:

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Cover Reveal and Pre-Order Opportunity: To Rescue a Witch by Lisa A. Traugott

BNR Teaser To Rescue a Witch Blitz

I’m so excited to be introducing the cover to Lisa A. Traugott’s forthcoming book, To Rescue a Witch,
which will be released on March 1 2024. It sounds like an excellent read, so don’t miss your chance to PREORDER THIS BOOK.

About the book, To Rescue a Witch COVER Tease To Rescue a Witch

  • Genre: Historical Fiction / Action & Adventure / Fantasy
  • Published: Coming March 1, 2024
  • Scroll down for the cover reveal

It’s 1739. An abused girl accused of witchcraft must be defended by a man married to an actual witch.

William MacLeod, a fierce Scottish lawyer with a kind heart, takes on a daunting task—rescue young Annaliese from the clutches of her tormentors in the untamed wilds of Virginia colony and deliver her safely to her aristocratic father in London. But lurking in the shadows are enemies eager to expose MacLeod’s own wife, Fiona, as a witch with a dark secret.

Their perilous journey takes an unexpected turn when their ship wrecks, and Annaliese’s haunting nightmares and unexplained “Devil marks” trigger suspicion among the crew. Tension peaks when MacLeod must become Annaliese’s unwavering protector in a witch trial, where Fiona’s clairvoyance and a murder are unveiled.

To Rescue a Witch navigates themes of betrayal and redemption, in a spellbinding narrative that blends history, magic and the unyielding resilience of the human spirit.

Pre-Order this book:

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About the author, Lisa A. Traugott author photo Traugott

Lisa A. Traugott is an award-winning author and World Championship public speaker semifinalist — who also spoke five lines on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. She lives in Austin with her husband, two kids and English bulldog, Bruno.

Connect with Lisa:

Website | Blog | Instagram | FacebookAmazon | BookBub

 


And Now, Here’s the Cover!

COVER Traugott_RescueWitch_Ebook


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Book Spotlight & Giveaway: Porter & Midge: Paws and Playtime by Jennie Chen and Giselle Nevada

BNR Paws & Playtime

 

I’m so excited to be part of this book blitz spotlighting the newest Porter & Midge book, Paws and Playtime. My own dogs, Teddy and Piper give it two tails wagging!

Cover Paws and PlaytimeAbout the book: Porter & Midge: Paws and Playtime

  • Genre: Children’s Picture Book / Pet Care / Dog Training
  • Series: Porter and Midge series
  • Publisher: Raise the Woof Press LLC
  • Page Count: 32 pages
  • Publication date: December 12, 2023
  • Scroll down for Giveaway!

Discover the enchanting world of Porter and Midge: Paws and Playtime – a rhyming children’s book that follows the heartwarming bond between two furry friends, Mastiff Porter and Greater Swiss Mountain Dog Midge, and their devoted companions, CJ and Lora.

On a sunny day, CJ’s thoughtful idea sets the stage for a joyful exploration of new ways to make Porter and Midge’s days even brighter.

Through rhythmic verses, follow their journey as they uncover imaginative games, canine enrichment activities, and thrilling dog sports, all while strengthening their unbreakable connection.

Buy, read, and discuss this book:

Purchase Link | Goodreads


Watch the trailer for Porter & Midge: Paws and Playtime


About the authors, Jennie Chen and Giselle Nevada

Author Photo Giselle NevadaGiselle Nevada has owned several mastiffs, acquired both from reputable breeders and via rescue. Fostering rescued mastiffs and helping them work through their issues led to a keen interest in socialization as a means of preventing future issues. She loves working with her dogs and has dabbled in carting, conformation, agility, rally, trick dog, nose work, and many other canine sports. Her puppy Porter is a testament to early socialization – he has achieved many performance dog titles and has done commercial work. He also has a role in a movie called Match Me If You Can directed by Marian Yeager.

Author Photo Jennie ChenJennie Chen is a homesick Austinite who founded Keep Austin Dog Friendly. Over the last 20 years, Jennie has owned Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs and Lowchen. She has earned numerous titles in conformation, competitive obedience, rally, herding, animal assisted therapy, and more. She is passionate about the relationship people build with their beloved canines, and she has been an advocate for people living with disabilities who need a service dog to live independently. She is active in various dog clubs and can be seen on AKC.TV from time to time.

Connect with Giselle and Jennie:

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Pawtographed hardcover copy of Porter and Midge: Paws for Safety

+ a series water bottle
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In Their Words: CG Fewston, author of Conquergood & the Center of the Intelligible Mystery of Being – with Giveaway

BNR Conquergood

 

I’m so excited to be sharing an interview (scroll down to read it) with the author of this book. It seems like a fantastic read, and his writing process really made me want to dig out MY old moleskines and get back to writing more in longhand.

About the book: Conquergood & the Center of the Intelligible Mystery of Being Cover Conquerwood

  • Genre: Science Fiction / Dystopian / Steampunk
  • Publication Date: October 17, 2023
  • Pages: 381
  • Scroll down for Giveaway!

One of resilience and transformation, Conquergood’s life-changing discovery explores the depths of family, memory, love, and the mysteries that lie at the heart of the universe.

In 2183, Jerome Conquergood is an outcast roaming the abandoned and crumbling skyscrapers of Old York City outside the Korporation’s seductive and dizzying headquarters, a post-apocalyptic security-city for the mega-rich. Despite his hatred for the techno-optimism and the Korporation, Conquergood is compelled to save his mysterious twin brother Vincent by joining the Korporation, a mega-corporate and governmental entity in a world oppressed to peace.

Buy, read, and discuss this book:

Purchase Link | Goodreads


About the author, CG Fewston Author Photo Fewston credit Thor

The American novelist CG FEWSTON has been a Visiting Scholar at the American Academy in Rome (Italy), a Visiting Fellow at Hong Kong’s CityU, & he’s been a member of the Hemingway Society, Americans for the Arts, PEN America, Club Med, & the Royal Society of Literature. He’s also been a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) based in London. He has a B.A. in English, an M.Ed. in Higher Education Leadership (honors), an M.A. in Literature (honors), and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing & Fiction. He was born in Texas in 1979.

Fewston is the author of several short stories and novels. His works include A Father’s Son, The New America: Collection, The Mystic’s Smile ~ A Play in 3 Acts, Vanity of Vanities, A Time to Love in Tehran, Little Hometown, America, A Time to Forget in East Berlin, and Conquergood & the Center of the Intelligible Mystery of Being.

Connect with CG:

Website | Instagram | Facebook | BookBub | Goodreads | Amazon | LinkedIn

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Author Interview: CG Fewston on the Writing Life

How do you write? Any backstory to your choice?1215 MELISSA Author Interview 2 of 5

I prefer to write longhand using a black uni-ball pen with a Moleskine notebook the size of my palm. In the front of the small notebook, I write the story. In the back, I write down notes and tidbits of research that I want to include later on in the story.

Writing longhand allows me more room to create and rework (fixing, editing, and smoothing out) the language and the flow of the dialogue and events of the narrative dream. I always read aloud what I write by longhand and if there’s something flawed or the wrong word choice, I’ll correct or change it and read again and again and again until the flow is sufficient for my level of perfection — until I am satisfied that the fictive dream flows without stumbling or breaking.

After many of these small notebooks have been filled, I will go to typing them and then printing the typed pages out (having the pages bound like a book) so I can then read and edit many times over, reading aloud as I go through the entire manuscript. I will have read the book aloud hundreds of times over before I am ready to let the book go out into the world.

 

Are you a full-time or part-time writer? 1215 MELISSA Author Interview 3 of 5

I’m a full-time writer who spends his days working on novels. First and foremost, however, I am a proud stay-at-home father who focuses on his son. I wake at 4:30 in the morning to do some writing before my son wakes up. Then as he showers, I make his breakfast and spend time with him. Then I take him to school and return home by about 8:30 am to focus on my writing; this includes writing new fiction for my novels. Usually this is either one or two novels because if I get stuck or slowed on one, then I switch to another and continue writing — in this way I can keep writing and remain productive.

I also work on author interviews or writing up blog posts about the books I’ve read and publish these on my author website. I enjoy sharing with the world the books I’ve read and it also helps me to reflect and have a deeper understanding of the books I’ve read. In the afternoon, I get my son from school and spend the rest of the evening and night focusing on him and family. I strive for balance between writing and family, and enjoy a more family-centered routine.

 

What did you find most useful in learning to write for publication? What was least useful or most destructive? 1215 MELISSA Author Interview 4 of 5

The most useful piece of knowledge I learned in writing for publication came from my mentor (if I’m allowed to call him that) the American novelist John Gardner. Through his amazing books discussing the craft and art of writing — On Moral Fiction (1978), The Art of Fiction (1983), On Becoming a Novelist (1983), and On Writers and Writing (1994) — John Gardner taught me the importance of the “fictive dream” and how writers should do everything to maintain that fictive dream throughout the story.

The most destructive aspect to writing would be for a writer to care too much about what’s going on in the world (at the time they are creating the story and writing it down) and what critics actually say or think about your work. Fiction should stand alone from critics and the events of the world. If the fiction does parallel, then let the fiction do that on its own. Writers should give little time and attention and energy to good or bad comments or reviews of their fiction. Strive to do your absolute best, don’t compare, and then let the fiction speak for itself.

 

Do you have any strange writing habits or writing rituals you’d like to share with your readers?

I have the ability to lose myself inside my work. Five hours can quickly become five minutes. When I’m writing, I’m connected to something greater than myself and Time becomes somewhat different. That’s when I know I’m doing what I was meant to do.

 

What does your perfect writing spot look like? Is that what your ACTUAL writing spot looks like? 1215 MELISSA Author Interview 5 of 5

The perfect writing spot, for me, is the spot that is most conducive to my writing, creating a productive writing session with the most ease. Now, it’s the kitchen table at 4:30 in the morning or my leather writing chair when no one is home.

So, yes, my perfect writing spot is my actual writing spot — it cannot be any other way. I’m not trying to make a million dollars. I’m trying to write a beautiful work of art. So, I take my writing seriously and with a fierce intensity that goes completely unnoticed because I write in solitude and in silence. And I love it that way.

 

 


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SIX WINNERS:

1st: $100 Amazon card + eBook or paperback of Conquergood

2nd: $50 Amazon card + eBook or paperback

3rd: $25 Amazon card + eBook or paperback

4th: Book Lover’s gift bundle + eBook or paperback

5th: Book Lover’s blanket + eBook or paperback

6th: Book Lover’s tote bag + eBook or paperback

(US Only; ends 12/21/23)

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Click to visit THE LONE STAR LITERARY LIFE TOUR PAGE for direct links to each post on this tour, updated daily, or visit each blog directly:

12/11/23 Sybrina’s Book Blog Excerpt
12/11/23 The Real World According to Sam Review
12/11/23 Hall Ways Blog BONUS Stop
12/12/23 The Page Unbound Notable Quotables
12/12/23 LSBBT Blog BONUS Stop
12/13/23 Boys’ Mom Reads Review
12/14/23 It’s Not All Gravy Review
12/14/23 Book Fidelity Review
12/15/23 Bibliotica Author Interview
12/15/23 Librariel Book Adventures Review
12/16/23 Forgotten Winds Scrapbook Page
12/17/23 StoreyBook Reviews Author Interview
12/18/23 Rox Burkey Blog Review
12/18/23 Rebecca R. Cahill, Author Scrapbook Page
12/19/23 Chapter Break Book Blog Review
12/19/23 Reading by Moonlight Review
12/20/23 Jennie Reads Review
12/20/23 The Plain-Spoken Pen Review

 

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Review: The Edge of Too Late, by Jan Sikes with Giveaway

BNR The Edge of Too Late

 

About the book, The Edge of Too Late harbor pointe blue cover JS

  • Series: Harbor Pointe (Book 5)
  • Genre: Ghost Suspense / Contemporary Short Stories / Action & Adventure Romance
  • Publisher: RiJan Publishing
  • Date of Publication: November 28, 2023
  • Number of Pages: 126
  • Scroll down for giveaway! 

Brandon Miller has his dream job, financial security, and he’s madly in love. Only one thing is missing—a commitment.

Angela Cooper’s ex-husband left her with deep scars, souring her on the concept of marriage. She’s not interested in a do-over. Not with Brandon or anyone. Her heart is locked securely away behind a thick wall.

With a ring in his pocket and hope in his heart, Brandon arranges a romantic getaway to the historic Harbor Pointe Inn, where he plans to pop the question.

Before they reach the inn, Angela’s got her camera in hand and ghosts on her mind. But they arrive to find a much more tangible horror.

Accident or foul play?

Someone is up to no good, and Angela is the next target. When suspects can be worldly or otherworldly, danger and secrets lurk everywhere.

Poised at the perilous edge of too late, Angela and Brandon face the fight of their lives.

Buy, read, and discuss this book:

Purchase Link | Goodreads


Watch the Trailer for The Edge of Too Late


About the author, Jan Sikes Author Photo Sikes

Jan Sikes writes compelling and creative stories from the heart.

She openly admits that she never set out in life to be an author. But she had a story to tell. Not just any story, but a true story that rivals any fiction creation. She brought the entertaining true story to life through fictitious characters in an intricately woven tale encompassing four books, accompanying music CDs, and a book of poetry and art.

And now, this author can’t find a way to put down the pen. She continues to write fiction and has published numerous award-winning short stories and novels.

Jan is an active blogger, an avid fan of Texas music, and a grandmother of five. She resides in North Texas.

Connect with Jan:

WEBSITE | BLOG | FACEBOOK | X (TWITTER) | NEWSLETTER | BOOKBUB | AMAZON | GOODREADS

 

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My Thoughts MissMeliss - 2023

As someone whose first memory is the sound of fog horns, I’m a sucker for any kind of coastal ghost story. There’s just something about cliffs, crags, and crashing waves that’s just meant for the supernatural. Picking up the Jan Sikes’s  entry in the shared universe Harbor Pointe series, a The Edge of Too Late, was a no-brainer for me, though now I have to find the time to read books one through four.

This novel works perfectly well as a standalone story, and it’s got a lot going on in only 126 pages: ghosts, accidental (or is it) death, and romance. The relationship between Brandon and Angela was the center of the story, of course, but it isn’t a fluffy one. Angela has been burned by previous relationships, and fears being able to fully commit to Brandon, and her worries work really well to heighten the overall sense of unease that author Sikes has crafted so well. From the opening scene, Angela is experiencing shivers and goosebumps, and both characters are trepidatious when the police who zip past them on their way to their inn, and more so when the realize the police are handling an accidental death (or is it) that occurred just before their arrival.

Angela’s photography and Brandon’s sense of romance and adventure really work well to balance each other. When the former is looking through her camera lens, she’s certain and secure. And Brandon encourages her. It’s a lovely relationship, but the choice to have Brandon refer to Angela as ‘Angi Baby’ felt a little creepy to me (and even more so in the audiobook version which I listened to after finishing the text. (Kudos to the narrator, Jessine Van Lopik, whose performance was both compelling and, at times, chilling).

The Harbor Pointe setting was essentially in the character in this story, the way fictional villages often are. I spent my teen years in northern California, and Harbor Pointe reminded me a lot of Moss Beach and Half Moon Bay in San Mateo County (which has a haunted restaurant). It had that breezy California vibe without ever feeling like a caricature, and I could taste the salt in the air as I read.

This novel, as mentioned above, is only 126 pages long, so it’s easy to read it in one sitting, and honestly, the story is so gripping, I can’t envision any other way to experience it. Jan Sikes has given us a story jam-packed with characters, settings, and ideas that beg to be revisited. Check me in to the Harbor Pointe Inn any time, I’m eager to visit again.

Goes well with: Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl and a glass of Fort Point Animal IPA.


Giveaway

FIVE WINNERS:

1st: $20 Amazon gift card

2nd & 3rd: audiobooks of The Edge of Too Late

4th & 5th: eBooks of Flowers and Stone

(US Only; ends midnight, CST 12/15/23)

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12/05/23 Jennifer Silverwood Review
12/05/23 Hall Ways Blog Excerpt
12/06/23 Boys’ Mom Reads Review
12/06/23 LSBBT Blog BONUS Stop
12/07/23 JennCaffeinated Review
12/08/23 Librariel Book Adventures Review
12/08/23 Chapter Break Book Blog Character Interview
12/09/23 StoreyBook Reviews Review
12/10/23 The Clueless Gent Review
12/11/23 Bibliotica Review
12/12/23 Rox Burkey Blog Review
12/12/23 Forgotten Winds Author Interview
12/13/23 It’s Not All Gravy Review
12/14/23 The Plain-Spoken Pen Review

 

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The Oxygen Farmer by Colin Holmes – Review & Giveaway

BNR Oxygen Farmer

About the book, The Oxygen Farmer  Cover Med Res Oxygen Farmer, The 1

  • Genre: Science Fiction / Space Mystery
  • Publisher: CamCat Books
  • Date of Publication: December 5, 2023
  • Number of Pages: 338 pages
  • Scroll down for Giveaway!

After 35 years of living on the Moon, cranky old oxygen farmer Millennium Harrison has stumbled onto a hidden facility in the shadows of the Slayton Ridge Exclusion Zone with a radiation leak and a deadly secret. Mil’s discovery leads to the death of a young astronaut, sabotage, murder, and cover-ups that may go all the way to the Chief Administrator of the space agency. Unfortunately, she happens to be Mil’s estranged daughter, busy trying to secure her own legacy—the first international mission to Mars.

With time ticking down to a limited launch window, enemies, friends, and even family may do anything to ensure the truth doesn’t come out. Or will history finally catch up with a deadly scheme that has the potential to destroy the moon and eradicate all life on Earth? It seems the planet’s only hope is a cantankerous guy who never really liked those people in the first place.

Praise for The Oxygen Farmer

“An action-packed thriller perfect for fans of Andy Weir and Jack McDevitt.” —Kirkus Reviews

“This space mystery is a page-turner rooted in its convincing and compelling protagonists and their well-written relationships . . . SF fans will enjoy this rich novel full of good world building, mysterious space intrigue, and dry humor.” —Booklist

Buy, read, and discuss this book:

CamCat BooksAmazonBookshop.orgB&N | Goodreads


About the author, Colin Holmes Author Pic Holmes

Before the pandemic, Colin Holmes toiled in a beige cubical as a mid-level marketing and advertising manager for an international electronics firm. A recovering advertising creative director, he spent far too long at ad agencies and freelancing as a hired gun in the war for capitalism.

As an adman, Holmes has written newspaper classifieds, TV commercials, radio spots, trade journal articles and tweets. His ads have sold cowboy boots and cheeseburgers, 72-ounce steaks, and hazardous waste site clean-up services. He’s encountered fascinating characters at every turn.

Now he writes novels, short stories and screenplays in an effort to stay out of the way and not drive his far-too-patient wife completely crazy. He is an honors graduate of the UCLA Writers Program, a former board member of the DFW Writers Workshop and serves on the steering committee of the DFW Writers Conference. He’s a fan of baseball, barbeque, fine automobiles and unpretentious scotch.

Connect with Colin:

Website | Instagram | Facebook | X (Tweitter) | BookBub | Amazon | GoodReads

Connect with CamCat Books:

Website | Instagram | Facebook | X (Twitter) | TikTok

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My Thoughts MissMeliss - 2023

The Oxygen Farmer has it all: a plausible near-future science fiction setting, compelling characters, family drama, and a mystery that catches your interest from the start and expands until the end. With perfect pacing, realistic dialogue, and a deep love of real-world space history that shows in every description, this novel is intriguing, entertaining, and truly satisfying.

As a space junkie myself, I loved the blending of real history and fiction that author Colin Homes used to make his version of the moon feel like a living place and not just a dusty rock we visited a few times, many decades ago. As someone who has watched  Apollo 13 and the HBO series From the Earth to the Moon countless times, and has devoured every account of the space race and many astronauts’ autobiographies, I appreciated the rich lore Holmes created on his personal lunar surface. I smiled the first time I read “Slayton Ridge,” because I understood the reference (Deke Slayton totally deserves to have a lunar landmark namesake) and that enhanced my enjoyment of the story, but there’s enough world-building and character work here to engage people who are less familiar with NASA history.

The story itself is as wonderful as the setting Holmes has created. Mil Harrison is the perfect protagonist. Cantankerous and aging, but still curious, he represents the contemporary world and the future in equal measures, and his status as the first baby born in the twenty-first century just adds to the created history in this book. Mil’s work as the titular Oxygen Farmer is interesting, but it’s also a mechanism to get us into the mystery of an undocumented lunar facility, among other things. The family saga aspect of this novel – Nique, Mil’s granddaughter, aspires to an assignment on  Mars, carrying their family further into space – really resonated with me, and I thought this generational storytelling was well-plotted. I felt like this was a real family, with real issues – Mil’s poking around adversely affects Nique’s career at one point – and grounded the science fiction in emotional truth. (Mil’s daughter Bailey is also exceptional – and may I just take a moment to compliment the author on writing fantastic female characters?)

Holmes has an exceptional ear for dialogue. The shifting between workplace banter and military professionalism was brilliantly executed, and helped to establish relationships between the character. Pacing, also, is a skill this author demonstrates ably. I never felt like there was too much exposition or that the mystery was solved too soon.

If you like family drama, mysteries, or solid science fiction, you will enjoy The Oxygen Farmer. If you enjoy all those things combined, or have a passion for any of them you will LOVE this book, as I did.

Goes well with: freeze-dried ice cream and Tang.  Just kidding. A bacon cheeseburger, french fries, and a chocolate milkshake.


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THREE WINNERS:

Signed hardcover of THE OXYGEN FARMER

(US only; ends midnight, CDT, 11/22/23)

Giveaway The Oxygen Farmer

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Visit the Other Great Blogs on This Tour

Click to visit the Lone Star Literary Life Tour Page for direct links to each blog post on this tour, updated daily, or visit each blog directly:

11/13/23 The Clueless Gent Review
11/13/23 Hall Ways Blog BONUS Stop
11/14/23 Reading by Moonlight Review
11/14/23 LSBBT Blog BONUS Stop
11/15/23 Bibliotica Review
11/16/23 Rebecca R. Cahill, Author Review
11/17/23 It’s Not All Gravy Review
11/18/23 Forgotten Winds Review
11/19/23 Boys’ Mom Reads Review
11/20/23 The Plain-Spoken Pen Review
11/21/23 StoreyBook Reviews Review
11/21/23 The Page Unbound BONUS Stop
11/22/23 Chapter Break Book Blog Review

 

 

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Good Talk… Good Talk, by Ginny Andrews – Book Review and Giveaway

BNR Good Talk

 

About the book, Good Talk… Good Talk Cover Hi Res Good Talk

  • Genre: Nonfiction / Humor / Comedy / Essays
  • Publisher: Ginny Andrews Comedy, LLC
  • Date of Publication: October 5, 2023
  • Number of Pages: 171 pages
  • Scroll down for Giveaway!

Raise your hand if you have ever run into a mannequin in a store and apologized. Continue to keep your hand raised if you want to pre-write thank you notes to those whom you anticipate attending your funeral because you suffer from chronic “way too nice” syndrome. Keep it up high if you have ever farted in church or yoga class. Man, my arm is getting tired!

Most people are awkward during the middle school years, grow out of it, and blossom into mature, well-functioning human beings…I’m still waiting for this to happen. Awkwardness is my hidden talent, although most who know me would tell you it isn’t hidden—it’s written on my forehead. My daily life is filled with epic failures. Sometimes I feel like I’m one big malfunction! As I have gotten older, I just try to embrace it.

After you read this collection of essays, hopefully you will be able to accept your imperfections too! Nope, probably not because I’m still not there! However, maybe my comedy will stick with you like that hemorrhoid you can’t seem to get rid of, like ever—Good Talk. . .Good Talk.

Praise for Good Talk. . .Good Talk:

“Reading Ginny Andrews’s Good Talk. . .Good Talk is a lot like hanging out with that girlfriend that invariably makes you laugh until you cry.” —Lauren Cassel Brownell, author of Zen and the Art of Housekeeping and Dying to Donate

Good Talk. . .Good Talk is a laugh out loud winner, filled with quirky stories reminiscent of Patrick McManus.” —J. Andersen, author of The Breeding Tree, The Gene Rift, and Legacy’s Impact

“Anyone with anxiety will totally relate to Ginny Andrews’ humorous tales of the struggle of day-to-day life in today’s world.” —John A.B., Amazon Reviewer

Buy, read, and discuss this book:

Click to Purchase | Goodreads


Watch the trailer for Good Talk… Good Talk


About the author, Ginny Andrews Author Photo Andrews

Ginny Andrews is a former high school teacher and coach, who is now an aspiring comedian, speaker, and writer. She would greatly appreciate it if you purchased her book! Door Dash, dog-sitting, used car sales, lawn mowing, and selling random items found in her house aren’t high paying gigs!

Connect with Ginny:

Website | Instagram | Facebook | Amazon | X/Twitter

TikTok | YouTube | Goodreads | BookBub

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My Thoughts MissMeliss - 2023

Ginny Andrews’s new book, Good Talk… Good Talk, is the perfect antidote to the rather dour early November. It’s breezy, it’s candid, it’s relatable, and it’s laugh-out-loud funny.

Presented as a series of essays – monologues, really – about everything from attempting meditation to fitness classes to an epic BenGay overload and beyond, and she does it all with self-deprecating humor that makes you empathize with her plight, murmur, “Same, girl, same,” and dissolve into hysterical laughter, often at once.

And yet, beneath the humor there’s a very real, very flawed (as are we all) human being trying her best to navigate a world that changes daily, seems to mock us as we age, and didn’t come with any kind of a manual. From her childhood experiences with religion to her confession that “Andrews is awkward,” there is a poignance that grounds her stories in the emotional truth of being a single woman in her forties. As she writes, “It’s cute to compare your ten-year-old self to your twenty-year-old self, but anyone thirty and above… it doesn’t fare well for us.”

If you like your humor with a side of insight, you will appreciate Good Talk… Good Talk. If you can look at yourself in the mirror and realize that, yes, you have bumped into store mannequins and apologized, that horror movies kept you awake at night as a child, and that you do take longer than others to catch on to the latest fads (or just basic household skills) you will not merely love this book, you will identify with the author.

Run, carefully lest you trip, to the nearest bookstore (or, let’s be honest, the nearest computer or tablet) and buy a copy of Good Talk… Good Talk. You will begin the month of November with a smile on your face, secure in the knowledge that you are not alone – Ginny Andrews is there to make sure.

Goes well with: Pizza, possibly a whole one, and Dr. Pepper.


Giveaway

ONE WINNER:

Signed paperback of GOOD TALK. . .GOOD TALK

+ $25 Amazon gift card

(US only; ends midnight, CST, 11/10/23)

Giveaway Good Talk

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Visit the Other Great Blogs on This Tour

Click to visit the Lone Star Literary Life Tour Page for direct links to each post on this tour, updated daily, or visit each blog directly.

10/31/23 Chapter Break Book Blog Notable Quotables
10/31/23 Hall Ways Blog BONUS Stop
11/01/23 Bibliotica Review
11/01/23 LSBBT Blog BONUS Stop
11/02/23 Reading by Moonlight Guest Post
11/03/23 The Plain-Spoken Pen Review
11/04/23 Carpe Diem Chronicles Author Interview
11/05/23 The Real World According to Sam Excerpt
11/06/23 A Page Before Bedtime Review
11/07/23 The Page Unbound Scrapbook
11/07/23 Forgotten Winds BONUS Review
11/08/23 StoreyBook Reviews Review
11/09/23 Reading by Moonlight Review

 

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Book Review & Giveaway – Finding Comfort by Kimberly Fish

BNR Finding Comfort

About the book Finding Comfort Cover Finding Comfort

Series: Comfort & Joy (Book 2)

Genre: Women’s Fiction / Contemporary / Cozy Mystery

Publisher: Fish Tales Publishing

Date of Publication: September 1, 2023

Number of Pages: 312 pages

Scroll down for Giveaway!

Even with all her experience, Gloria Bachman, retired banker and candy entrepreneur, didn’t see this coming.

Sweeties, the beloved Comfort chocolate shop, was ready for its cameo in advertising extraordinaire Jazzy Mezcal’s famous travel and food show! Comfort town folks had worked hard all summer to get their shops Hallmark-movie ready. On the eve of the TV crews overtaking the town, Gloria’s Chamber of Commerce welcome party gets drenched in a wicked rainstorm. Locals call it a “blue norther,” and a dreaded agent of change. Flooding seems like the worst of their problems until the celebrity TV host turns up dead.

In shock, Gloria’s friends turn to her to figure out who could be responsible for such a disaster. With the TV crew and guests in town for the 8th Street Market’s annual shopping event, suspects are endless. Reluctant to get involved, Gloria would much rather focus on the delicious romance with Mason Lassiter. And she would if a frenemy from Kerrville didn’t haunt her every step. Now as Gardner Rogers treads on her turf, everything feels suspicious.

With all eyes on Gloria to find the truth behind Jazzy Mezcal’s untimely death, she indulges her curiosity for problem solving while trying to disguise how unsure she is about the future with her boyfriend. Disruption in Mason’s world, mayhem in Comfort, and one epic chocolate disaster rouse Gloria to action and make her decide what’s worth fighting for. All she can say for sure, is that no one is finding any comfort in Comfort.

Buy, read, and discuss this book:

Click to Purchase | Goodreads


About the Author, Kimberly Fish Author Photo Fish

Kimberly Fish has been a professional writer in marketing and media for over thirty years, with regular contributions to area newspapers and magazines. As an accidental historian, she wrote two novels, The Big Inch and Harmon General, both based on factual events in Longview, Texas that changed world history. Kimberly also offers a set of contemporary women’s fiction novels and novellas, based in the Texas Hill Country, that reveal her fascination with characters discovering their grit and sweet, second chances; all four of the novels have won distinguished awards. Finding Comfort is her latest novel, the second book in the Comfort and Joy Trilogy.

Connect with Kimberly:

Website | Instagram | X (Twitter) | Facebook | Goodreads | Amazon | YouTube | Pinterest | BookBub


My Thoughts MissMeliss - 2023

I love visiting Comfort, Texas through Kimberly Fish’s books, and since the previous book in this series, Sweet Comfort, really resonated with me, I was excited to dive into the sequel. As ever, Fish’s storytelling does not disappoint. This novel is the perfect read for a crisp autumn evening, and since it starts in October and moves into the holiday season, it’s also a great way to escape from your relatives at Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, or Christmas when family togetherness gets a little overwhelming.

Revisiting Gloria Bachman, banker cum candy store owner, was a wonderful reminder that those of us who are past our thirties and forties still have a lot of life, and that romance has no expiration date. Seeing her continue her relationship with Mason Lassiter was fantastic. These two are my endgame, as the kids say, and I’m rooting for them. That said, I love that their romance is a little rocky. It just makes them feel more like real people, with doubts and fears to work through.

But author Fish did not give us only a second-chance romance. Instead, this novel is the quintessence of cozy mysteries: adorable small town with charming shops – check, community of friends and relatives who all have opinions – check, charismatic outsider who may not be a villain but is definitely an antagonist (I’m looking at you Gardner Rogers), distraught father  of the deceased – check. But while this book hits most of the genre’s familiar notes, there’s nothing formulaic about it. Every character in Finding Comfort feels like someone you know, and their lives are intertwined the way people who live in close communities really are.

What I always appreciate about Fish’s work, and is especially evident in this book, are the grace notes she adds to her work. She addresses some of the issues of aging – Will Wanda’s daughter convince her to move away from Comfort and give up some of her independence ? – without delicacy and care, and I found myself as intrigued by such side stories as I was with the main story.

I also love that Gloria has surrounded herself with a circle of women friends who laugh with her, cry with her, celebrate and mourn with her, and indulge her habit of sniffing out crime a little too much. It’s the richness of the world that Comfort, Texas represents that keeps me reading, and reading, the books set there.

One thing of note. While the story was perfectly paced and the characters well-drawn, there were more than the typical number of typos and grammar issues than I’m accustomed to seeing in published copies of any work – and especially in a Kimberly Fish novel. My heart goes out to her because these are things a proofreader or line editor should have fixed. I’ve never met Ms. Fish, but I can bet she’s less than pleased, and my heart goes out to her. I’m such a fast reader, and so good at closure, that my brain autocorrects most things for me, and they don’t detract from the reading experience. Slower readers may not be so lucky.

Despite this, I recommend this book, because everyone needs to find a little Comfort, and with this book, they will.

Goes well with: Ginger snaps, but not the commercial kind, and a cafe cortado.

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Giveaway

GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!

TWO WINNERS:

Signed copy of FINDING COMFORT + surprise bonus gift!

(US only; ends midnight, CDT, 11/3/23)

Giveaway Finding Comfort

 

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Visit the Other Great Blogs on this Tour

Click to visit the Lone Star Literary Life Tour Page for Finding Comfort with direct links to each post, updated daily,  or visit each blog directly.

10/24/23 Reading by Moonlight Review
10/24/23 Hall Ways Blog BONUS Stop
10/25/23 The Book’s Delight Review
10/25/23 LSBBT Blog BONUS Stop
10/26/23 Bibliotica Review
10/27/23 Jennie Reads Review
10/27/23 The Page Unbound BONUS Stop
10/28/23 The Plain-Spoken Pen Review
10/29/23 Rox Burkey Blog Review
10/30/23 StoreyBook Reviews Review
10/31/23 Carpe Diem Chronicles Review
11/01/23 Boys’ Mom Reads BONUS Stop
11/01/23 It’s Not All Gravy Review
11/02/23 Forgotten Winds Review

 

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The Brotherhood of Pandora, by David L. Nichols – Book Spotlight & Giveaway

BNR The Brotherhood of Pandora

Cover Med Res BrotherhoodAbout the book, The Brotherhood of Pandora

  • Genre: Historical Fiction / Nautical Fiction / Action & Adventure
  • Publisher: Moontower Press, November 14, 2022
  • Pages: 313
  • Scroll down for Giveaway!

To combat Napoleon’s increasing interest in the Caribbean and help pressure France to sell New Orleans to America, Vice-President Thomas Jefferson enlists the aid of friend and naval hero Captain Jacob May. He asks Captain May to wage a clandestine war against the French in the Caribbean not as part of the US Navy, but as pirates.

To accomplish this, Captain May uses the cutting-edge technology of 1799: Girardoni air rifles, Fulton’s self-propelled torpedoes, a submarine, cannons with rifling, and Pandora, a specially modified ship. Pandora’s crew also holds a secret—two women masquerading as able-bodied seamen. Captain May molds his crew into the Brotherhood of Pandora and gives Jefferson chaos in the Caribbean.

Buy, read, and discuss this book:

Amazon | Moontower Press Goodreads


About the author, David L. Nichols Author Photo Nichols

David Nichols has published three books and a number of articles on building small wooden boats and traditional sails. He also taught wooden boat building at WoodenBoat School and Great Lakes Boatbuilding School. In addition, he wrote and directed an hour-long “how-to” video on wooden boat building and has written many scripts for industrial and commercial films. This background allows him to accurately portray the boats and ships of the late 18th century and weave a cohesive and compelling story. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Texas, Austin.

Connect with David:

Website  |  Moontower Press  |   YouTube  |  Goodreads 

 

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Giveaway

GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!

 TWO WINNERS

Signed copy of THE BROTHERHOOD OF PANDORA
(US only; ends midnight, CDT, 10/26/2023)

 

Giveaway Brotherhood of Pandora

 

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Visit the Other Great Blogs on This Tour

Click to visit the Lone Star Literary Life Tour Page for direct links to each blog on this tour.

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