Sunday, February 28, 2021

Lone Star Literary Life - Feb 28, 2021

Lone Star Literary Life is brand new, hot off the pixels, and nutritious. Follow the link for the latest Texas bookish news, reviews, interviews, and goings-on, then subscribe to the newsletter-it's free!







Monday, February 22, 2021

Monday Roundup: Texas Literary Calendar Feb 21-28, 2021

Bookish goings-on in Texas for the week of February 21-28, 2021, compiled by aTexasBookLover exclusively for Lone Star Literary Life.  

Special events this week include the annual Festiba and a Voices in Verse Writing Conference in the RGV, REELpoetry in Houston, Highland Park Literary Festival in Dallas, and the Peoples Poetry Fest in Corpus Christi. Most events are still online via Facebook Live, Instagram Live, Zoom, and other venues. 

For a complete calendar of bookish events in Texas this week, including special events, daily listings, and exhibits, visit the GO! Calendar at Lone Star Lit  



Sunday, February 21, 2021

Excerpt & Giveaway: NETWORK OF DECEIT

 
NETWORK OF DECEIT
An Amara Alvarez
Stand-Alone Novel
by
Tom Threadgill

Categories: Mystery / Suspense / Detective
Publisher: Revell
Date of Publication: February 2, 2021
Number of Pages: 384 pages


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She's following her instincts. They're following her every move. 

After her rescue of nearly fifty kidnapped children made international headlines, Amara Alvarez gets what she's worked for: a transfer to San Antonio's Homicide Division. But reality sets in quickly when her first case, the suspicious death of a teenager at a crowded local water park, plunges her life into chaos. 

As the investigation moves forward, Amara finds herself stalked online by cybercriminals who uncover her personal life in frightening detail. With few leads, she's forced to resort to unconventional methods to find the killer and prevent her first murder investigation from ending up in the cold case files. 

Tom Threadgill is back with another riveting page-turner featuring the detective who is willing to put everything on the line to see justice served and lives protected.


CLICK TO PURCHASE!


Excerpt: Chapter One, Part Two

of NETWORK OF DECEIT

by Tom Threadgill

 

Read Part One of the excerpt on The Page Unbound.

 

He nodded. “Zachary Bryce Coleman, seventeen-year-old Caucasian male. I have his file ready to, um, it’s right, well . . .” He moved his hand over his desk twice, then pounced on a folder. “Here we go. The young man expired in rather peculiar circumstances.”

“Yeah, it was on the news too.”

He shrugged. “Perhaps. I’m afraid I don’t spend much time watching television.” He dragged his finger down a sheet of paper. “The death happened two days ago. Exceptionally hot, if you’ll recall. The decedent and a group of friends planned to escape the heat at the water park. Have you ever been there, Detective?”

“Uh, no. Not that I recall.”

He tilted his head. “Is that something you’d forget? Of course, if you visited before the age of three, it’s unlikely you’d remember, and recent studies regarding Freud’s childhood amnesia theory indicate that most events occurring before a child reaches seven or eight fade as—”

“No,” she said. “I’ve never been there. You were saying the victim and his friends wanted to spend the day at the water park?”

“Yes, along with thousands of others. He had a blood-alcohol content of point-zero-eight. The final toxicology report may show a variance from that number, but he definitely consumed alcohol. Our initial theory was the combination of excessive temperatures and alcohol consumption led to heatstroke. The autopsy, however, showed no signs of petechial hemorrhages or—”

“English, please.”

“There was no indication of bleeding in the membranes surrounding some of the body’s organs. No congestion in the lungs or swelling in the brain. None of the symptoms we’d typically identify in a heatstroke victim. And before you ask, alcohol poisoning would exhibit many of these same indications, as well as others which also were not detected during the autopsy.”

She planted her elbows on the chair’s armrests and inched forward. “How did he die, then?”

“We don’t know. It will be four to six weeks before the toxicology tests are completed, so as of now, the cause of death is undetermined.”

“You told Lieutenant Segura it was suspicious. Just because you don’t know how he died doesn’t mean it’s a potential homicide.”

His eyebrows scrunched together. “What in the world?” He leaned back in his chair, pulled off his left shoe, and removed a tea bag from it before tossing the thing in the trash.

Don’t ask. Don’t do it. No wonder Sara broke things off. “I was asking why you think this might be a homicide?”

He slid a large photograph toward her. “Take a look at this. That’s from the water park’s security cameras. First image of Coleman on that ride. I requested video of him from the time he entered the water until he was pulled out. This is all they had. Something about camera malfunctions, but they estimated he’d been on the attraction for somewhere around two minutes at that time, based on the distance between the last working camera and this one.”

The cropped photo focused on the teen, though numerous people were visible in the water around him.

Amara glanced at the doctor. “Is he alive or dead here?”

“Hard to tell, isn’t it?”

“No video of him getting in the water?”

“What you saw is everything I received, but my request was extremely limited in scope. Beyond that, you’d have to ask the park.”

She scooted back in her chair and crossed her legs. “I get why you think this could be suspicious. Trust me, I’d love to look into this, but so far you haven’t said anything that makes me believe it might be a homicide.”

“I thought not.” He pulled another photo from the folder and passed it over. “Tell me what you see.”

She held the picture higher. “Bottoms of his feet? Nothing unusual as far as I can tell.”

“No? Think about it.”

Guessing games. What fun. “Dr. Pritchard, I’m not a medical expert. If there’s something here that might—”

“Do you ever shower? Take a bath?”

How did Sara last so long with this guy? “Now and then.”

He waved his hand in a circular motion for her to continue. “And your toes and fingers . . .”

She knocked her fist against her forehead. “They wrinkle. Pucker up. And Zachary Coleman’s toes didn’t.”

“Precisely. Our central nervous system triggers an involuntary reaction when we interact with water. Our capillaries shrink, causing the skin to furrow. As to why this happens, there are several theories. My favorite is—”

“I’ll cede the point,” she said. “So why weren’t his toes wrinkled?”

“It usually takes less than five minutes for the body to initiate the reaction to water. That didn’t happen with Mr. Coleman because his nervous system ceased functioning before the response could begin.”

Amara licked her lips. “You think he was already dead when he went in the water.”

“No, Detective. I’m certain of it.” 


 
 

  

Tom Threadgill is a full-time author and a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and the International Thriller Writers (ITW). The author of Collision of Lies, Tom lives with his wife near Dallas, Texas.
 


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ONE WINNER
Copies of both Collision of Lies
and Network of Deceit
+ note pad
Giveaway ends Midnight, CST, February 27, 2021
US Only

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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

2/17/21 Series Spotlight All the Ups and Downs
2/17/21 BONUS Promo Hall Ways Blog
2/18/21 BONUS Promo LSBBT Blog
2/18/21 Review The Adventures of a Travelers Wife
2/19/21 Review That's What She's Reading
2/20/21 Excerpt The Page Unbound
2/21/21 Excerpt Texas Book Lover
2/22/21 Author Interview StoreyBook Reviews
2/23/21 Review KayBee's Book Shelf
2/24/21 Review Librariel Book Adventures
2/25/21 Character Interview The Clueless Gent
2/26/21 Review Tangled in Text


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Thursday, February 18, 2021

Review: WEST WITH GIRAFFES

I reviewed West with Giraffes by Austin's Lynda Rutledges for Lone Star Literary Life! 

While conducting research in the archives of the San Diego Zoo, Rutledge came across a trove of newspaper articles about two giraffes that had survived a hurricane on the deck of a freighter and a cross-country trip, from New York to California, in 1938. Inspiration struck, and the result is this charming and wondrous enchantment of a novel.

Click here to read the entire review.

Monday, February 15, 2021

Monday Roundup: Texas Literary Calendar Feb 14-21, 2021

Bookish goings-on in Texas for the week of February 14-21, 2021, compiled by aTexasBookLover exclusively for Lone Star Literary Life.  

Special events this week include the annual Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators winter conference and the annual Festiba in the RGV. Most events are still online via Facebook Live, Instagram Live, Zoom, and other venues. 

For a complete calendar of bookish events in Texas this week, including special events, daily listings, and exhibits, visit the GO! Calendar at Lone Star Lit  



Sunday, February 14, 2021

Lone Star Literary Life for Feb 14, 2021

Lone Star Literary Life is brand new, hot off the pixels, and nutritious. Follow the link for the latest Texas bookish news, reviews, interviews, and goings-on, then subscribe to the newsletter-it's free!





Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Excerpt & Giveaway: GRAND OPENINGS CAN BE MURDER

GRAND OPENINGS 
CAN BE MURDER
Bean to Bar Mysteries Book 1
by
AMBER ROYER
Categories: Cozy Mystery / Woman Sleuth / Romance
Publisher: Golden Tip Press
Date of Publication: February 2, 2021
Number of Pages: 266 pages

Scroll down for Giveaway!


Felicity Koerber has had a rough year. She's moving back to Galveston Island and opening a bean-to-bar chocolate factory, fulfilling a dream she and her late husband, Kevin, had shared. Craft chocolate means a chance to travel the world, meeting with farmers and bringing back beans she can turn into little blocks of happiness, right close to home and family. She thinks trouble has walked into her carefully re-built world when puddle-jump pilot Logan Hanlon shows up at her grand opening to order custom chocolates. Then one of her employees drops dead at the party, and Felicity's one-who-got-away ex-boyfriendwho's now a copthinks Felicity is a suspect. 

As the murder victim's life becomes more and more of a mystery, Felicity realizes that if she's going to clear her name in time to save her business, she might need Logan's help. Though she's not sure if she's ready to let anyone into her lifeeven if it is to protect her from being the killer's next victim. 

For Felicity, Galveston is all about history and a love-hate relationship with the ocean, which keeps threatening to deliver another hurricaneright into the middle of her investigation. Can she figure it out before all the clues get washed away? FIRST IN A NEW SERIES!

PRAISE FOR GRAND OPENINGS CAN BE MURDER:

"With as many unpredictable twists and turns as the hurricane approaching Galveston, Grand Openings Can Be Murder is an intriguing cozy mystery set in a new chocolate shop along the island’s historic Strand. Readers will love learning about the bean-to-bar chocolate-making process while the store’s owner, Felicity, pursues truth, justice, and the perfect chocolate bar." 
Diane Kelly, Award-winning author of the Death & Taxes, Paw Enforcement, House Flipper, and Busted mystery series.

CLICK TO PURCHASE!


Excerpt from GRAND OPENINGS CAN BE MURDER

with introduction by author Amber Royer 

Grand Openings Can Be Murder is the first book in the Bean to Bar Mystery series. In it, Felicity is a craft chocolate maker who becomes a sleuth after her employee dies at her shop/factory’s grand opening party. I wanted to use this idea of grand openings and new beginnings as a metaphor for Felicity starting her character arc in this first book. She’s been dealing with grief and being stuck in the past, and I want the mysteries she solves to force her to move forward. 

As this is the first book, she has no background in any of the techniques sleuths use, and she’s trying the best she can to figure it all out–sometimes to comic effect. This scene is her first ever attempt to tail someone. She is joined here by Autumn, who has been her best friend since eighth grade. Autumn used to be a mystery writer, but her knowledge of sleuthing techniques is all theoretical. The person they are tailing is Carmen, Felicity’s surviving assistant–and the first obvious suspect in the case. Knightley is Felicity’s lop-eared bunny, who is pictured on the chocolate bars Felicity makes.

Like Rufus said in Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure: They get better.

____

“Look!”  Autumn is pointing ahead of us.

Carmen is running up the cement steps, her hair wet, wearing a rash guard, but she’s got on sneakers and is holding her cell phone. She hops into her car and takes off. If she had a surfboard with her, she’s left it on the sand. What could have created that kind of panic?

I pull out into traffic, following Carmen’s car. I feel ridiculous. Really, how hard is it for someone to realize they’re being followed by a catering truck?  But Carmen doesn’t seem to be trying to lose us. She’s driving in a clear path along the Seawall, and though she’s speeding – which means we’re speeding, which I rarely do – she signals her turn towards the center of the island well in advance.

“Where do you think she’s going?” Autumn asks.

“Maybe the hospital?” I guess. That’s the direction we’re headed. “If she got concentrated caffeine from her roommate, maybe her roommate figured out what she did with it and threatened her.”

“Mmmmm,” Autumn says appreciatively. “Maybe you should have been a writer. That’s a good plot twist.”

I laugh, even though the situation is serious. If Carmen is a killer, we could be stumbling into blackmail, a second murder in progress . . . all sorts of things I’m not prepared to handle.

“Here comes the hospital,” I say, but Carmen hasn’t put on her signal or her brakes.

We overshoot the building, and I’m less sure we’re right about Carmen. Which makes me feel even more ridiculous about chasing her. Autumn and I exchange a look, equally puzzled.

Carmen pulls up short at a squat white brick building. The sign has a stylized picture of a dog, a cat and a bird. She tries to get out of the car, but she hasn’t taken her seatbelt off. She takes a few seconds, struggling with it the way someone does when they’re in a panic. She looks up and notices us.

Autumn waves at her.

“I guess I have to park,” I say, heat in my face, despite the dropping temperatures.

What are we doing at an animal hospital?  More importantly, what are we going to tell Carmen we’re doing here?  We can’t exactly admit that we think she’s a murderer.

Carmen manages to get herself out of her car, realizes she’s forgotten to lock it. We catch up to her in the time it takes her to fumble out her keys. She doesn’t even ask why we’re here, without even having Knightley in tow.

 



   



Amber Royer writes the CHOCOVERSE comic, telenovela-style, foodie-inspired, space-opera series, and the BEAN TO BAR MYSTERIES. She is also the author of STORY LIKE A JOURNALIST: A WORKBOOK FOR NOVELISTS, which boils down her writing knowledge into an actionable plan involving over 100 worksheets to build a comprehensive story plan for your novel. She blogs about creative writing technique and all things chocolate at www.amberroyer.comShe also teaches creative writing for both UT Arlington Continuing Education and Writing Workshops Dallas. If you are very nice to her, she might make you cupcakes.
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---------------------------------------
GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY!
ONE WINNER
Autographed copy of GRAND OPENINGS CAN BE MURDER
and a $25 Gift Card to Dandelion Chocolate
(US only. Ends Midnight, CST, February 19, 2021)


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

2/9/21 Excerpt Texas Book Lover
2/9/21 BONUS Guest Post Hall Ways Blog
2/9/21 BONUS Promo LSBBT Blog
2/10/21 Top Ten That's What She's Reading
2/11/21 Review Missus Gonzo
2/12/21 Playlist All the Ups and Downs
2/13/21 Review StoreyBook Reviews
2/14/21 Author Interview Rebecca R. Cahill, Author
2/15/21 Review Forgotten Winds
2/16/21 Scrapbook Page KayBee's Book Shelf
2/17/21 Review The Page Unbound
2/18/21 Review It's Not All Gravy


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Monday, February 8, 2021

Monday Roundup: Texas Literary Calendar for Feb 7-14, 2021

Bookish goings-on in Texas for the week of February 7-14, 2021, compiled by aTexasBookLover exclusively for Lone Star Literary Life.  

Special events this week include the fourth annual Texas Literature and Language Symposium and the Pflugerville library's Romance Readers' Social. Most events are still online via Facebook Live, Instagram Live, Zoom, and other venues. 

For a complete calendar of bookish events in Texas this week, including special events, daily listings, and exhibits, visit the GO! Calendar at Lone Star Lit  



Thursday, February 4, 2021

Review: LONE STARS by Justin Deabler

I reviewed Lone Stars, the first novel from native-Houstonian Justin Deabler, for Lone Star Literary Life! This is a modern family saga, a historical sweep from 1950s South Texas, through the Houston suburbs of the 1980s and ’90s, to contemporary New York City. Lone Stars is an ambitious debut, tackling our most contentious social conflicts to tell a macro tale through the microcosm of one family’s story. 

There are many kinds of closets in Lone Stars—gendered, sexual, racial, religious, social, intellectual, political, philosophical. Even if you find the courage to emerge, there are still the masks to consider. 

Click here to read the entire review.

Monday, February 1, 2021

Monday Roundup: Texas Literary Calendar Jan 31-Feb 7, 2021

Bookish goings-on in Texas for the week of January 31-February 7, 2021, compiled by aTexasBookLover exclusively for Lone Star Literary Life.  

Special events this week include the Bookworm Festival, the Real Places 2021 Conference: Preserving Texas History, and the Will Rogers Medallion Award Weekend and Banquet. Most events are still online via Facebook Live, Instagram Live, Zoom, and other venues. 

For a complete calendar of bookish events in Texas this week, including special events, daily listings, and exhibits, visit the GO! Calendar at Lone Star Lit