Fatality in F: Author Interview

FATALITY IN F
A Gethsemane Brown Mystery,
Volume 4
by
Alexia Gordon
Genre: Paranormal Cozy Mystery
Publisher: Henery Press
Date of Publication: February 26, 2019
Number of Pages: 234

Scroll down for the giveaway!
 
Fresh from solving her third mystery—and saving Dunmullach’s firstborn males from a vengeful ghost—Gethsemane Brown’s ready to relax and enjoy her summer. Her plans include nothing more dangerous than performing in the opening ceremony of the annual rose and garden show and cheering on Frankie Grennan, who’s entered his hybrid rose into the competition.
 
But when a mysterious stalker starts leaving Frankie floral bouquets as coded messages, Gethsemane fears a copy-cat may be planning to recreate the still-unsolved murders of the infamous Flower Shop Killer. Then Frankie’s main competitor in the rose show—and the reason his marriage failed—turns up dead in Frankie’s rose garden. Frankie takes first prize in the category “prime suspect.”
 
So much for a relaxing summer. 
 
As bodies start dropping like rose petals, Gethsemane must judge the other suspects and find the real killer. Or rose bushes won’t be the only things dead-headed in Dunmullach.
PRAISE FOR THE GETHSEMANE BROWN MYSTERY SERIES:

Book 1, Murder in G Major
Winner of the 2017 Lefty Award for Best Debut Novel
2016 Agatha Award nominee for Best First Novel
Suspense magazine “Best of 2016” selection in Debut Novel category
Book 2, Death in D Minor
Runner-Up, 2017 Lone Star Bloggers’ Choice Awards, Best Mystery
Book 3, Killing in C Sharp
Starred review, Publisher’s Weekly, January 29, 2018
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AuthorInterview

INTERVIEW WITH ALEXIA GORDON

 Your book titles are cleverly related to your main character’s occupation. Can you tell us how you came up with your titles? Any titles that ended up on the cutting room floor?

I came up with my first title, Murder in G Major, because I wanted to let readers know it was a murder mystery and to let them know music played a role. And I wanted something alliterative since I couldn’t think of an outright pun. I thought the publisher would change it, but they didn’t.

The rest of the titles in the series had to follow the same pattern as the first. Killing in C Sharp originally had “A” before “Killing” (A Killing in C Sharp) but my publisher cut the “A.” The publisher also wanted me to put “Flat” after the “F” in Fatality in F because all of the other titles have a word after the note, i.e., major, minor, sharp. I argued that one because F-flat is the same note as E and it’s theoretical more than practical. With double sharps or double flats, it’s too complex for most musicians to play. F-flat also sounds, well, flat and I didn’t want my title to suggest a dud. I convinced my publisher to see things my way, but I did agree to have another title in the series without a word after the note, for consistency.

Do you now or have you ever considered writing under a pen-name? Why or why not?

I’ve never considered a pen name because I’ve always wanted to see my name on the cover of a book. Also, I couldn’t think of a good pseudonym.

Who would you cast to play your characters in a movie version of your book?

I want Thandie Newton to play Gethsemane and Prince Harry to play Frankie in the film version. Haven’t cast the rest of the characters yet.

What’s something interesting that most people don’t know about you?

I’ve won ribbons in State Fairs in weaving, knitting, and duct tape craft.

What is your favorite quote?

“If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”    –Toni Morrison

A writer since childhood, Alexia Gordon won her first writing prize in the 6th grade. She continued writing through college but put literary endeavors on hold to finish medical school and Family Medicine residency training. She established her medical career then returned to writing fiction. Raised in the southeast, schooled in the northeast, she relocated to the west where she completed Southern Methodist University’s Writer’s Path program. She admits Texas brisket is as good as Carolina pulled pork. She practices medicine in North Chicago, IL. She enjoys the symphony, art collecting, embroidery, and ghost stories.

 ║  Website ║ Facebook ║ Instagram  
BookBub  ║ Twitter  Goodreads

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One winner receives a signed copy of Fatality in F and 
a $30 Gift Card to David Austin Roses
FEBRUARY 26-MARCH 8, 2019

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Vortex: Lone Star Book Blog Tour Promo and Review

VORTEX
by
KIMBERLY PACKARD
Genre: Women’s Fiction / Psychological
Publisher: Abalos Publishing
Publication Date: January 31, 2019
Number of Pages: 308 pagesSCROLL DOWN FOR THE GIVEAWAY! 

Constant spinning, round and round and round, temperatures rise and fall from stifling heat to chilling cold, emotions run high in anticipation of what will happen next… there’s a fine line between surviving a tornado and falling in love.
A close encounter with a tornado, during the final months of her doctoral studies, jogs a lost memory to the surface. Desperate to relive the vision and find answers, storm chaser Elaina Adams continually puts her safety at risk by placing herself in the path of dangerous storms.
When betrayal strikes, Elaina is forced to pair up with Robert Tucker. “Tuck” owns a storm chasing tour group and only cares about two things: chasing tornadoes and making his next buck.
Seth Maddux was climbing his way to the top as the star meteorologist for the Forecast channel, but an embarrassing outburst on camera sent his career on a downward spiral. Hoping to reignite his career with a promising field assignment, he meets Elaina and a different kind of flame sparks.
Family secrets surface and passions explode in this twister of a tale.
Vortex is a story of family, love, identity and determination set against the thrilling backdrop of Tornado Alley. 

 

PRAISE FOR VORTEX:

“Set in the heart of America’s Tornado Alley, Kimberly Packard’s latest psychological fiction swirls with discovery and betrayal. VORTEX may make you question who among those closest to you are really your friends.” — Addison Brae, author of Becker Circle
“Vortex is a fast-paced story with a strong woman at its center. Readers will be in for a wild ride full of secrets, the labyrinth of memory, and the spark of romance. Definitely one to add to your reading list.” — Christine Brodersen, author of Lip Gloss, Shame and Murdered Tomatoes

“Kimberly Packard is an accomplished author who writes strong women characters. She blew me away with her Phoenix series (three books you don’t want to miss) and now in Vortex, we meet Elaina Adams, who, like all of us, struggles with her past, her career, and her family secrets. Action, and emotion-packed, this page-turner is a different kind of love story.” — Vanessa Foster, author of More than Everything

Review

Five-Stars

Welcome to the world of Elaina Adams, doctoral candidate and storm chaser, where unpredictability and the unknown have fueled an intense need to understand and confront her fears. As she attempts to complete her thesis on tornado genesis, repressed memories surface that could completely alter her conception of who she really is. Does she really want to reveal the secrets to her past? Will their revelation destroy her along with everyone and everything that she loves including her beloved yellow Labrador Retriever?

Kimberly Packard has written a riveting book that is part mystery, part psychological thriller, and part romance aptly titled Vortex. As her world circles around her, Elaina is drawn into the vacuum and becomes subject to its destructive forces. She will not be the only one!

Heath Bryant is her research partner. As Elaina’s determination to unravel the mystery of her past causes her to take unnecessary risks, how far is he willing to go and at what cost?

Seth Maddux is a newscaster who needs to salvage his career after an on-air meltdown. He and Elaina are drawn to each other romantically, but neither Seth nor Elaina are sure they should pursue their mutual attraction. Seth has been hurt in a prior relationship while Elaina doesn’t need the distraction from her research. Will they give in to their feelings?

Robert Tucker is a sleazy storm chaser who conducts tours for thrill seekers. He’s strictly in it for the money, but he does have an instinctive ability to predict tornadoes. Tuck also has secrets that are linked to Elaina’s past. He’s a menacing presence in an already dangerous situation. Should Elaina trust him?

Dr. Tom Pierce is the foremost expert on tornadoes and Elaina’s university mentor and financial sponsor. Crippled in a car accident during a severe storm, he can no longer conduct field research. Is there a hidden agenda behind his decision to advance the timeline for Elaina to complete her thesis even at the risk of personal injury to her and her partner?

Psychiatrist Harrington Preston treats individuals with repressed memories. In some cases those memories have been deliberately blocked by the drug “Retentamine.” Was Elaina given the drug during her childhood?

The answers to these questions are revealed in a climactic ending that forces each of these characters to face his or her reality and the consequences of their actions.

Kudos to Kimberly Packard for writing a thoroughly entertaining story that will definitely appeal to women and even to guys like me that normally do not read romance novels!

I received a free copy of the book in exchange for my review.

Kimberly Packard is an award-winning author of edgy women’s fiction. She began visiting her spot on the shelves at libraries and bookstores at a young age, gazing between the Os and the Qs. When she isn’t writing, she can be found running, doing a poor imitation of yoga or curled up with a book. She resides in Texas with her husband Colby, a clever cat named Oliver and a yellow lab named Charlie.

Her debut novel, Phoenix, was awarded as Best General Fiction of 2013 by the Texas Association of Authors. She is also the author of a Christmas novella, The Crazy Yates, and the sequels to Phoenix, Pardon Falls and Prospera Pass.

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FIRST PRIZE: Signed Copy  +  $5 Amazon gift card + Bookmark
SECOND PRIZE: Signed Copy + Bookmark
TWO WINNERS: eBook copies
FEBRUARY 19-28, 2019

(USA only)

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The Viking: My Review

The Viking Book CoverThe Viking by Marti Talbot is certainly not what the reader might expect. As a fan of the History Channel television series The Vikings, and the BBC production The Last Kingdom (based on the Bernard Cornwell books), I was looking forward to a saga focused on the Danish conquest of England. I definitely did not anticipate a love story.

The book begins with that promise. Stefan, a young Viking, is looking forward to his first raid alongside his father, Donar. But the foray into Scotland goes terribly wrong resulting in the death of his father, the retreat of the Viking fleet, and young Stefan stranded on Scottish soil.

Able to speak the language because his mother had been a Scot captured on a previous Viking raid, he finds refuge with a woman, Jirvel, and her daughter, Kannak, who are in desperate need of someone to till the land and help them survive. Jirvel’s husband has abandoned them to their fate, but the three bond out of necessity and form a family unit of sorts.

From there the story definitely shifts to the budding romance between Stefan and Kannak. As they grow and mature their filial relationship changes and the two eventually fall in love. However, just as the two realize their true feelings for one another, Stefan is kidnapped and sold into slavery. Stefan never gives up hope of freedom and returning to Kannak, and despite pressure to marry another, she holds onto her dream of a reunion.

In addition to this story of young love, Marti Talbot also writes of Jirvel’s yearning for Laird Macoran who is Kannak’s real father. Many years before, on the eve of their betrothal, war with the rival Clan Brodie threatens. The only way to keep the peace is for Laird Macoran to accept an arranged marriage with Agnes Brodie. It will be a loveless marriage that will also separate Jirvel from Macoran.

The reunion of Stefan and Kannak as well as Jirvel and Laird Macoran closes out the story and sets up Marti Talbot’s follow-on books about future generations. Younger readers will likely enjoy the storybook ending. For the more mature audience the abrupt plot resolution, its innocence, and the dearth of violence that characterized the historical period likely will temper their reaction to it. However, taken as a whole, The Viking is an easy read and enjoyable tale. It may not be anything that you expected, but it can and should be appreciated for what it is.

 

 

History and Legacy of the Buffalo Soldiers

In honor of Black History Month I thought it appropriate to revisit the history and legacy of the Buffalo Soldiers (see my post, Top Soldier, November 24, 2017.)

These all-black units were formed in the aftermath of the Civil War and served at posts stretching from the Texas frontier to the Dakota territories performing duties that included improving the nation’s infrastructure (the building of forts, roads, and telegraph lines), acting as rangers within our national parks, and participating in the Indian Wars.

Their record of outstanding military service begins in 1866 when six regiments (two cavalry and four infantry) were mobilized in concert with the peacetime restructuring of the Army. Eventually the four infantry regiments would be consolidated into the 24th and 25th Infantry, while the two cavalry regiments would be designated as the 9th and 10th Cavalry. All would adopt the name Buffalo Soldiers.

Native Americans originated the name. Its derivation has been attributed to their comparison of the soldiers’ hair to the hide of a buffalo, but it also reflects their admiration for their courage in battle.

The Indian Wars ended in the 1890’s with the capitulation of the Apache, however, the Buffalo Soldiers also fought in the Spanish-American War and in the Philippines. During World War I their duties were limited to patrolling the border with Mexico, and they did not see any action during World War II.

Military segregation came to an end in 1948 and the last all-black units were disbanded in the 1950’s. Today associations such as the Bexar County Buffalo Soldiers Association proudly carry on that heritage by dedicating themselves to the preservation of the Buffalo Soldiers’ history through educational programs and historical reenactments that inform the general public about their extraordinary record of accomplishments.

During their existence the Buffalo Soldiers have the distinction of having the lowest desertion and Court Martial rates in the Army. Many were recipients of the Medal of Honor. The nation’s highest award was bestowed upon eight members of the 9th Cavalry, four members of the 10th Cavalry, and six members of the 24th Infantry for acts of heroism from 1865-1899 during the Indian campaigns. Additionally, five members of the 10th Cavalry received the honor for their actions during the Spanish-American War.

I dedicated chapters of my book on westward expansion, Palo Duro, to their legacy. They are only now receiving the recognition that they so justly deserve.

 

The Redemption of Jessie James – Book Two of the Memoirs of H.H. Lomax: My Review

the redemption of jessie james book coverThere are few characters in the Old West as colorful as H.H. (Henry Harrison) Lomax. He claims in his memoirs to have been involved in most of the momentous events that occurred during westward expansion and settlement, interacting with the likes of Billy the Kid (see my review of Book One, The Demise of Billy the Kid, dated June 7, 2018) and now the infamous bank robber, Jessie James!

Author Preston Lewis uses his typical wit and humor to reintroduce us to H.H. Lomax as a young boy living in Arkansas with his family during the Civil War. Henry is twelve when the war begins, and sixteen when fate causes him to leave home and seek out Jessie and Frank James in Missouri.

Nearly two-thirds of the book is devoted to these five formative years and Henry’s memories as a boy. There are descriptions of the difficulties that were faced by families just trying to survive, boyhood pranks that have consequences far beyond that of just having fun at someone else’s expense, adolescent love, awakening desires, the loss of siblings and friends to the war, and the viciousness of unscrupulous individuals willing to use sex or any other means, including murder, to get their way.

What they want from Henry and his family is a hidden cache of gold from a Confederate payroll. Rumors of its existence result in constant harassment and threats by a former neighbor turned guerrilla leader, his promiscuous daughter, a Yankee deserter, and Jessie James!

The Redemption referenced in the book’s title hearkens back to Jessie’s hatred of all Yankees and Yankee sympathizers. When the war ends in 1865 the Drake Constitution grants amnesty to irregular units that fought for the Union while holding similar Confederate units and individuals accountable for their actions. Instead of uniting Missourians it further inflamed the biases, loyalties, convictions and prejudices that already existed and it will turn the James brothers into outlaws.

Henry Lomax gets inadvertently involved in the James’ first bank robbery… they threaten to kill him if he doesn’t help or if he ever turns them into the authorities.  He does, however, eventually escape and for the next sixteen years aimlessly wanders the American West in search of fame and fortune. Down on his luck and needing to finally return to his home in Arkansas, he once again runs into none other than Jessie James.

Fearing the worst, Henry is surprised when Jessie (now living under the name Thomas Howard) invites him to meet his wife and children and even buys him new clothes and gives him money to help him get back to Arkansas. Jessie admits to having looked for Lomax after his escape planning on killing him before he could identify Frank or himself, but when no authorities show up he figures Henry has kept his word to remain mum, and this is his way of thanking him. Of course, Jessie hasn’t totally changed his ways and is planning another heist with Charlie and Bob Ford. Fortuitously, Henry declines the invitation to join them. Jessie James will be shot in the back in his own home by Bob Ford for the $10,000 bounty on his head.

Henry’s Arkansas reunion is bittersweet. He visits with those family members still living in his old hometown, discovers that he is revered for killing the bushwhacker who tormented the countryside so many years ago, and apologizes to his childhood sweetheart for leaving her behind. All is forgiven and he is asked to stay. But there are adventures yet to live and stories yet to tell.

Preston Lewis has crafted another chapter in the H.H. Lomax saga that combines homespun humor with vivid historical detail. As to further adventures and recollections of the same, there’s a gunfight in Henry’s future at the O.K. Corral!

 

Rebel: My Review

rebel book coverBook One of the Nathaniel Starbuck Chronicles takes the reader to Manassas, Virginia. The year is 1861 and the first major battle of the Civil War is about to take place. The ferocity and carnage at Bull Run will shatter any illusions of a quick victory by either Union or Confederate forces and usher in the protracted four-year struggle that will literally tear the country apart.

Few authors can so vividly bring to life what that first battle between two untested armies must have been like. The horrors of actual combat had not yet registered with the men who would face each other that day. Both sides had drilled and played at warfare, but few had any concept of what it would be like when the artillery shells and minnie balls began to tear their ranks apart. Some fled in terror. Some found the courage to stand their ground even in the face of certain death. Most wept and invoked God or called on their mothers for consolation. Countless numbers cried out in pain or had their lives snuffed out suddenly. One moment they were alive, the next they lay dead or were blown to bits missing arms and legs, no longer even distinguishable as a human being. Bernard Cornwell puts the reader inside this chaos and makes you see, smell, and feel what war entails.

Of course, to be truly effective, his vivid account of battle would not have the desired  impact upon readers unless they identified with the people involved. Cornwell gives us flesh and blood characters, some historical, some fictional, that we care about. In particular, it is the story of Nate Starbuck, an impetuous young man who enlists to fight on behalf of the Confederate cause even though he comes from Boston, Massachusetts. Nate has been raised by an abolitionist father and educated to become a minister himself, but he rebels against his structured and scripted life. He falls in love with a young woman who jilts him for another man, finds himself at the mercy of a Yankee-hating mob, is rescued by a wealthy Southern aristocrat, and in gratitude volunteers to serve in the “Faulconer legion” against his own kind. Nate struggles with his decision to take up arms against the Stars & Stripes, is conflicted morally by the temptations of the flesh and his abandonment of the pulpit, the disgrace his actions have brought upon his family, and his allegiance to a vain power-hungry rescuer with visions of glory.

I often turn to Bernard Cornwell when I look to read good historical fiction, and Rebel fulfills that need. My reservation, however, when picking up one of his novels is that few are stand alone books. Rebel is the first in another series that includes The Saxon Tales, The Richard Sharpe Series, and The Grail Quest Series. All are compelling and from time to time I return to each. It’s just that there are so many books on my “to read” list.

It’s a nice problem to have!

ARANSAS EVENING: Book Giveaway

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Hurricane Harvey devastated the Texas Gulf Coast when it came ashore August 25, 2017. Especially hard hit was the beach town of Port Aransas. ARANSAS EVENING by Jeff Hampton takes the reader back to the days before the momentous storm made landfall at this favorite vacation destination.

Currently on tour by Lone Star Literary Life, readers can not only win a copy of this book but copies of all the books written by this gifted author.

Only a few days remain before the lucky winners are announced. For your chance to be one of five winners, register now at Rafflecopter.com