North To Alaska: Lone Star Book Blog Tour – Review & Giveaway

NORTH TO ALASKA

The Memoirs of H. H. Lomax, #6
by
PRESTON LEWIS
Genre: Historical Fiction / Western / Humor
Publisher: Wolfpack Publishing
Date of Publication: August 5, 2020
Number of Pages: 414

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WEALTH AND FAME IN THE WILD WEST ARE WHAT LOMAX SEEKS . . . HIS OWN BAD LUCK IS WHAT STANDS IN HIS WAY.
Swindled out of a mining fortune in Colorado and blamed for an ensuing murder, H. H. Lomax two decades later must finally face up to his past in Skagway, Alaska. Along the way, he encounters legendary madam Mattie Silks, suffragist Susan B. Anthony, novelist Jack London, and a talking dog.
To survive his previous missteps and avoid a prison sentence for theft, Lomax must outshoot infamous Western conman Soapy Smith, outwit an unrelenting Wells Fargo investigator, and outrun Shotgun Jake Townsend, the greatest frontier assassin who never was.
Four Stars

Many a tall tale and legend have their origin in stories of the Wild Wild West. Few, however, are as colorful, humorous, often outrageous, and thoroughly enjoyable as the adventures of H.H. (Henry Harrison) Lomax.

In the six novels by award winning author Preston Lewis, readers have followed the character’s journeys and escapades throughout the frontier from his origins in Northwest Arkansas to his latest efforts to find fame and fortune in Colorado and Alaska.

The recollection of his life and times are allegedly taken directly from Lomax’s memoirs found in the archives at Texas Tech University. Lewis admits that he “cannot vouch for their complete authenticity,” but also states that unlike many academic historians, rather than question Lomax’s credibility as an observer of historical events or his acquaintance with many famous icons of the Old West, he’s focused on Lomax’s ability as “a storyteller of the first rank… a chronicler of the historical and the hysterical West.”

North to Alaska picks up the saga in the year 1877. The previous year Lomax survived Custer’s ill-fated campaign against the Plains Indians at the Battle of the Little Big Horn, and settled for awhile in Deadwood in the Dakota Territory where he’s linked to Wild Bill Hickok who is gunned down in a saloon while playing poker. Since some observers believe that Lomax may have distracted the famed gunman allowing Jack McCall to shoot him from behind, he again hits the trail arriving in Denver, Colorado where he finds employment as a bodyguard to the famous Denver madam, Mattie Silks.

Certainly Henry Harrison is no shootist, but when he doesn’t discourage speculation that he was the one to teach Wild Bill Hickok the fast draw and how to shoot, he’s hired on to protect Mattie and her lover Cort Thomson from a rival madam, Kate Fulton, and a phantom assassin conjured from his own imagination, Shotgun Jake Townsend. With the help of Mattie’s cook and housekeeper, Lupe – Lomax describes her as having “the biggest heart of any woman he’d met in a brothel” – he devises an elaborate ruse that makes enough “protection money” to set her up for life and provide him with a grubstake for a mining venture in the town of Leadville.

It’s here that Lomax is introduced to Susan B. Anthony. “If ever a woman had been suckled on lemons and preserved in vinegar, she was it!” It’s only a brief encounter, but since rumors seem to spring up about anything or anybody Lomax is a party to, he’s forever romantically linked with the suffragist.

Lomax has never been good at holding onto money, and is soon scammed out of the mine and all his cash by an unscrupulous lawyer, Adam “Noose Neck” Scheisse, who, it turns out, works in cahoots with the notorious crime boss and conman, Jefferson Randolph “Soapy” Smith. Not only that, but after drowning his sorrows in a bottle of whiskey, Lomax wakes up to find himself accused of murdering the lawyer who bilked him out of his claim and money.

There’s an interlude at this point in the book that briefly describes Lomax wandering the West while constantly looking over his shoulder for anyone looking to collect the $500 bounty on his head. He then ends up in San Francisco where an unexpected windfall (courtesy of an unlocked Wells Fargo strongbox) is the money he needs to head to the Alaska gold fields. “Finders keepers is what I always heard, and I didn’t see any point in countering that adage.” Of course, now there’s a Wells Fargo Special Investigator on his tail, so Lomax assumes the alias Jessie Murphy.

It’s now the year 1897 and the Klondike Gold Rush is luring hundreds of travelers to the Chilkoot Mountains looking to strike it rich. Initially intent on trying his luck, he instead partners up with Roger Meredith, a thespian and ventriloquist, to open the Gold Dust Saloon and Grand Opera House in Skagway, Alaska. But with every honest citizen he meets, to include the writer Jack London who he remembers as “Jack Paris or Jack Madrid or something like that,” there are conmen, pickpockets, thieves, and scoundrels of every stripe. Organized crime and escalating violence aren’t far behind, which soon brings Lomax back in contact with Soapy Smith and his gang.

It also brings Mattie Silks to Skagway to scope out a location for her new brothel. Fortuitously, she overhears a conversation in which Soapy admits to framing Lomax back in Leadville, plans for his assassination, and plans to kill her as well. Mattie doesn’t stick around long enough for the plan to be carried out, but she does expose the corruption in Skagway on her return to Seattle which sets up the final confrontation and shootout on Juneau Wharf.

History records that Soapy Smith was killed on Juneau Wharf July 8, 1898. It doesn’t comment on the personal losses suffered by Jessie Murphy (his dog Buck and Ella Wilson, a “soiled dove” who plied her trade at the Gold Dust, were both victims of the violence.) Nor does it record the arrival of a Wells Fargo Special Investigator by the name of Dayle Lymoine, looking to recover the cash pilfered by H.H. Lomax.

Looking to get his name and reputation back, Lomax sells his stake in the Gold Dust and returns to San Francisco with the detective. Even after repaying the money, he fully expects Wells Fargo to press charges. Instead, he’s asked by the lawyers if the rumors are true that he had a relationship with the famed suffragist.  “As for pressing charges, we’ve decided courting Susan B. Anthony was punishment enough for a man’s lifetime.”

So ends this chapter in H.H. Lomax’s life.

North to Alaska contains many of the same elements that make Preston Lewis’ books both accurate in historical fact and fun to read for his reinterpretation of these events and the people involved. Was H.H. (Henry Harrison) Lomax an eye witness to history? Did he really live to write his memoirs or is he solely the construct of Lewis’ imagination? Readers might think it absurd to even ask these questions, but it’s a credit to a very talented author that the mere mention of Lomax’s name evokes statements from people like… “I’ve heard of him. Wasn’t he someone famous in the Old West?”

Each volume in this saga needs to be read and enjoyed, yet each stands alone. Preston Lewis does an excellent job of bringing new readers up to speed on Lomax’s past exploits, and he also summarizes his latest adventures and the people involved in the Introduction to each book. Knowing the plot before you open the first chapter may seem counterintuitive, but even my summation of North to Alaska doesn’t scratch the surface of what’s in store for readers. The joy is in the storytelling, not the historical facts. So, whether it’s H.H. Lomax or Preston Lewis that’s the master storyteller, the Old West is brought to life in a manner that makes you anxiously await the next release.

The archives tell us that H.H. Lomax passed away in 1933. This novel ends in 1898. I for one hope that there are many more adventures to come!

Preston Lewis is the Spur Award-winning author of thirty novels. In addition to his two Western Writers of America Spurs, he received the 2018 Will Rogers Gold Medallion for Western Humor for Bluster’s Last Stand, the fourth volume in his comic western series, The Memoirs of H. H. Lomax. Two other books in that series were Spur finalists. His comic western The Fleecing of Fort Griffin received the Elmer Kelton Award from the West Texas Historical Association for best creative work on the region.

———————–

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Abilene
2ND PRIZE: Signed Copy of North to Alaska.
OCTOBER 20-30, 2020
FOR DIRECT LINKS TO EACH POST ON THIS TOUR, UPDATED DAILY. 
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10/20/20

Excerpt

Texas Book Lover

10/20/20

BONUS Post

Hall Ways Blog

10/21/20

Review

Max
Knight

10/22/20

Character Interview

The Adventures of a Travelers Wife

10/23/20

Review

Forgotten
Winds

10/24/20

Series Spotlight

All the Ups and Downs

10/25/20

Author Interview

Reading
by Moonlight

10/26/20

Review

Book
Bustle

10/27/20

Review

It’s Not All Gravy

10/28/20

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10/29/20

Review

The Clueless Gent

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Low Water Crossing: Lone Star Book Blog Tour – Scrapbook Page

 
 
 
LOW WATER CROSSING
Book Two of the Sulfur Gap Series
by
DANA GLOSSBRENNER
 
Genre: Literary Fiction / Family Saga 
Independently published
Date of Publication: July 19, 2020
Number of Pages: 476
 
  Scroll down for the giveaway!

 
Low Water Crossing is a tribute to those who endure heartache and nevertheless celebrate, to those who wait—and live full lives while waiting.

A backhoe unearths a human skeleton buried on Wayne Cheadham’s West Texas ranch. The investigation points a grisly finger at Wayne’s first wife. And so begins the wild ride through twenty-five years of love and heartbreak. 
 
Wayne’s a highly eligible bachelor who runs into trouble, first because he’s naïve, and next because, well, life is unpredictable. He’s a loveable guy with a peaceful outlook. Just about anyone wants the best for him, dang it. To cope with sadness, he arranges for an old steel-girded bridge to be placed in the dry pasture in front of his house. Says it helps him adjust his perspective. Others say it’s the world’s largest yard ornament. He takes in stray emus and abandoned horses and becomes a mentor to a loveable little boy without much family. He sits and ponders his plight at a low-water crossing over the creek.

A cast of characters from the fictional small West Texas town of Sulfur Gap
the staff of a high school burger shop hangout on the Interstate, coffee groups at the Navaho Café, hair stylists from the Wild Hare, a local sheriff and his deputies, and the band at the local honky-tonkknits together the community surrounding Wayne, and all bring their own quirks. People you’d find anywhere, some with thicker Texas twangs than others. 

The town, the ranch, and familiar Texas cities such as San Angelo, Abilene, and Austin provide a backdrop for universal themes of love, grief, and loyalty.
                          
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Dana Glossbrenner’s Inspiration Scrapbook for Low Water Crossing

My husband, Jim, took all these shots in the last fifteen years or so. Each photo has been tucked into my memory bank and provided ideas for the story.

  1.  My aunt’s ranch is the site of an abandoned gravel pit mound, sprouting weeds. Production stopped for reasons unknown to me, but at the time I thought, “What a cool plot if a human skeleton were unearthed at a gravel pit.” The image fits with Wayne’s lament: “No oil wells. No wind turbines. Is it too much to ask to have a gravel pit without a skeleton?”
  2. My rancher cousin really did salvage an old bridge that was replaced on a county road. It became Wayne’s “World’s Largest Yard Ornament.” Ugly, but sentimental. In the book, it’s spruced up.
  3. My sweet Aunt Barbara inspired the character Katy Cheadham. Her ranch dogs became Rufus and Redneck in Low Water Crossing.
  4. A rescue horse like the ones Wayne adopted.
  5. The best dog I’ve ever known was Blue. I used his personality for Flo.
  6. An ordinary sight, a windmill, became a special place in both The Lark and Low Water Crossing. Long-recognized icons, over 80,000 windmills operate in Texas. San Angelo hosts the only windmill manufacturer and parts supplier in the United States. Aermotor, a company over a hundred years old, made all the windmills, some still operating.
  7. Big Bend vista. We fudged the geography a bit and used the image on the cover of The Lark.
  8. I kept my eyes peeled forever and finally found a suitable low-water crossing to use on the cover of the book. A bit of geographical cheating went on here, too, as this crossing is up the road from Fort McKavett State Historic Site, east of the desert vibe of West Texas.

 
Dana Glossbrenner has lived in West Texas all her life. She is the author of Women Behind Stained Glass: West Texas Pioneers (non-fiction) and The Lark: Book 1 of the Sulfur Gap Series.
 
 
 
 
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TWO WINNERS: 1st winner gets signed copies of both books in the Sulfur Gap Series; 2nd winner gets a signed copy of Low Water Crossing. 
 October 6-16 , 2020
(U.S. Only)
 
FOR DIRECT LINKS TO EACH POST ON THIS TOUR, UPDATED DAILY. 
Or, visit the blogs directly:
 

10/6/20

Review

Reading by Moonlight

10/7/20

Excerpt

Texas Book Lover

10/7/20

BONUS Post

Hall Ways Blog

10/8/20

Playlist

The Adventures of a Travelers Wife

10/9/20

Review

Bibliotica

10/10/20

Deleted Scene

All the Ups and Downs

10/11/20

Author Interview

The Page Unbound

10/12/20

Review

Chapter Break Book Blog

10/13/20

Scrapbook Page

Max Knight

10/14/20

Review

StoreyBook Reviews

10/15/20

Review

The Clueless Gent

 
  
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Mix-Up At The O.K. Corral: My Review

Mix-Up at the O.K. Corral Book CoverAsk anyone about the most famous shootout from the annals of the Old West, and invariably they will point to the “Gunfight at the O.K. Corral.” The brief thirty second confrontation between the Earp brothers and Doc Holliday on one side and the Clantons and the McLaurys on the other is arguably the most famous exchange of gunfire and gunsmoke ever recorded, and continued public awareness of the event that took place in  Tombstone, Arizona Territory on October 26, 1881 has been assured by numerous literary interpretations and movie depictions of the simmering feud that led to this moment in history.

One of the more original and outlandish accounts of the gunfight and the circumstances that led to it comes by way of author Preston Lewis in book #3 of the H.H. (Henry Harrison) Lomax memoirs. If you love western literature and especially western humor, you’re probably already acquainted with the series, but if not, I refer you to my earlier blog posts: The Demise of Billy the Kid, Jun 7, 2018; The Redemption of Jessie James, Feb 1, 2019; Bluster’s Last Stand, Aug 9, 2019; and First Herd to Abilene, Apr 29, 2020.

Invariably you’ll note that I previously bypassed this third entry into the account of Lomax’s adventures (the above titles should highlight the fact that he claims to have known many of the icons of the Old West and been involved in just about every pivotal event that ever occurred during the period.) At the time I wanted to jump ahead and read his take on Custer at the Battle of the Little Bighorn, and then I just naturally followed up that book with his telling of the first great cattle drive from Texas to Kansas. However, I knew that I would eventually return to the famous Tombstone shootout, and I was determined to have read all five books before the release of book #6, North to Alaska, due out August 5th.

Lomax’s braggadocio has always tempered historical accuracy with outrageous assertions of bravado, but he really lays it on thick in Mix-Up At The O.K. Corral. He claims to have spit into Doc Holliday’s drink and lived to tell the tale, to have fired the first shot in the faceoff at the corral, and to have killed the notorious gunman Johnny Ringo in the ongoing vendetta that occurred in the aftermath of the gunfight. In fact Lomax spreads so many rumors and tells so many lies in this entry into the series that you can fully understand why almost everyone in Tombstone is anticipating that not only will he be shot, but also openly betting on where the bullet will strike him… in the back, in the gut, in the head, etc. Even his own cat wants to scratch his eyes out, but somehow Lomax makes it out of Tombstone alive and hits the trail towards another misadventure, this time in Skagway, Alaska.

I’m obviously a big fan of Preston Lewis, and I’m always looking forward to the next chapter in the H.H. Lomax saga. His many exploits are told with humor, pathos, and a lot of historical detail (albeit stretched a good bit in keeping with Lewis’ ability to spin a good yarn.)  So, catch up if you haven’t yet read any of Henry Harrison’s memoirs and get ready for more action in the frozen North. You’ll be glad you did!

 

 

First Herd to Abilene: Lone Star Book Blog Tour – Review & Giveaway

FIRST HERD TO ABILENE

An H. H. Lomax Western, #5
by
PRESTON LEWIS
Genre: Historical Fiction / Western / Humor
Publisher: Wolfpack Publishing
Date of Publication: February 5, 2020
Number of Pages: 449

Scroll down for the giveaway!
 

HISTORICALLY SOUND AND HILARIOUSLY FUNNY! H.H. Lomax meets Wild Bill Hickok in Springfield, Missouri, and is responsible for Hickok’s legendary gunfight with Davis Tutt. Fearing Hickok will hold a grudge, Lomax escapes Springfield and agrees to promote Joseph G. McCoy’s dream of building Abilene, Kansas, into a cattle town, ultimately leading the first herd to Abilene from Texas.

Along the way, he encounters Indians, rabid skunks, flash floods, a stampede, and the animosities of some fellow cowboys trying to steal profits from the drive. Lomax is saved by the timely arrival of now U.S. Marshal Hickok, but Lomax uses counterfeit wanted posters to convince Hickok his assailants are wanted felons with rewards on their heads.

Lomax and Wild Bill go their separate ways until they run into each other a decade later in Deadwood, Dakota Territory, where Hickok vows to kill Lomax for getting him fired.

First Herd to Abilene is an entertaining mix of historical and hysterical fiction.

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Review

Four Stars

First Herd to Abilene is the fifth book in this series featuring the hilarious exploits of H.H. (Henry Harrison) Lomax, one of the most colorful characters to ever grace the pages of a western novel. If you’ve never read any of the previous entries into the outrageous circumstances and succession of adventures that puts H.H. at the confluence of every major event to ever be recorded about the Old West, don’t worry. Author Preston Lewis revisits those earlier escapades in Chapter One, while at the same time laying the groundwork for what is yet to come.

Lewis contends that he came across Lomax’s memoirs while conducting research at Texas Tech University, and though he “can’t vouch for their veracity,” these tales of encounters with the likes of Billy the Kid, Jessie James, Doc Holiday and Wyatt Earp, Buffalo Bill Cody, and George Armstrong Custer (to name just a few) are told with such insightful historical detail as well as wit and humor that readers will find themselves totally engaged. “While some may question his credentials as a credible chronicler of the occurrences Lomax claims to have witnessed, no one can doubt his abilities as a humorous story-teller of the first rank.”

First Herd to Abilene takes Henry Harrison Lomax from the end of the Civil War to three years past the turn of the century and, as in the earlier volumes, allows Lomax to weave another yarn about his encounters with some of the most memorable characters in the history of the Old West, folks such as James Butler ‘Wild Bill’ Hickok, Calamity Jane, Jessie Chisolm and Joseph G. McCoy.”

It begins with Lomax grousing about his disdain for all Texans, “a breed whose stupidity, greed, and depravity was exceeded only by that of politicians and lawyers.” His bitterness is really the result of a later tragedy, but at the outset of the book he begrudges Texans for making a fortune in the cattle industry while he “received nary a cent for all the hard work I put in and all risks I took to chart the course to Kansas.” Additionally,  Lomax feels slighted by Joseph G. McCoy, the entrepreneur who had the vision of transporting cattle by rail to Easterners starving for beef, but fails to give Lomax recognition and historical credit for being the first to blaze a trail from Texas to the stockyards and railheads in Abilene. That credit went to Jessie Chisolm, “an old coot who never traversed the route from Kansas to South Texas and back.”

It’s this bitterness that sets the tone for probably the most serious storyline of all the books in the series, with much of its 449 pages describing what it was like to be a part of the great cattle drives that defined this era in history. The arduous challenge of herding longhorn cattle over 700 miles from Texas to Kansas required months of backbreaking monotonous work that pitted cattlemen against the elements, disease, wild animals, hostile terrain, Indian attacks, and rustlers. It meant months of breathing in trail dust as well as the foul odors of the livestock, going without much sleep, eating the same food day-in day-out, no gambling or drinking, and very little human contact except between fellow trail riders… all of which grated on nerves and frequently resulted in the deaths of both man and beast. Preston Lewis certainly intersperses Lomax’s typical humor into this portrayal of a cowhand’s life, but he does so in a manner that doesn’t negate or gloss over the difficulties faced along the way.

Besides Lomax and the iconic historical figures mentioned above, Lewis creates a cast of characters that brings these hardships to life. Madlyn Dillon, an artist who has been spoiled and pampered her entire life, but the first Texan, male or female, to take an interest in Lomax and Joseph G. McCoy’s vision. Colonel Saul Dillon, her father. The Texas cattleman puts his trust in Lomax to get his cattle to Kansas and save his ranch. Ruth, orphaned by the Comanche but taken in and employed by Colonel Dillon. She falls in love with Lomax in an ill-fated relationship. Sainty Spencer, the ranch foreman who is sweet on Madlyn, and as trail boss is trusted to bring back the cash from the sale of the cattle in Abilene. Charlie Bitters, the cook, second in importance only to the trail boss, but whose cooking for the Army of Tennessee during the Civil War is said to have led to its defeat. Jose Munoz and Pedro Ramirez, Mexican hands that will tend to the remuda during the trail drive. Martin Michaels, a sketch artist on the side and the first cowhand hired, and Tom Errun, an Englishman with no experience pared up with Michaels to lead the herd. Silas Banty, a former slave, who looks to the future with optimism and learns to read from Lomax. Toad Beeline, little understood by his fellow trailhands because he tends to mumble when he speaks. He and Silas are assigned to ride flank. Trent Parsons, a former Confederate soldier wounded at Shiloh who spends his spare time with the Good Book, and Jurdon Mark, an affable sort who excels at the game of marbles, will ride swing. Lastly, Harry Dire, a skilled roper but a malcontent, Chuck Muscher, a Yankee troublemaker, and Bartholomew Henry O’Henry, another former slave angry about his past with a mean streak in him, will all be assigned to ride drag which only adds to their alienation and seditious attitudes. Their actions bode ill for the success of the cattle drive.

Bookending this description of the cattle drive and the fate of these characters is the story of Wild Bill Hickock and Calamity Jane told as only H.H. Lomax can, again putting himself right smack dab in the middle of the action over a span of years that begins in Springfield, Missouri and ends on that fateful day in Deadwood, Dakota Territory. But what does a “Rattle Jar,” head lice, an illicit game of poker at the library,  a stolen gold Waltham watch, cherry pie, an impromptu lynching, counterfeit wanted posters, and the “romance” between Wild Bill and Miss Martha Jane Canary and their final resting place  have to do with that narrative? For those insights, you really do need to read the book. In fact, once you do, I highly recommend that you go back and read the entire series. You won’t be disappointed!

Finally, to give a complete review of First Herd to Abilene, I need to mention errors in editing that I had not encountered in Lewis’ previous books. I seldom comment on SPAGs, but readers will undoubtedly come across them in the course of reading the novel. Preston Lewis is a great storyteller and a deserving winner of the Spur Award for western literature, but this book would have benefitted from a final edit before publication.

That said, as someone who once wrote that the “western genre no longer holds the public’s attention as it once did in cinema and published media,” I can definitely say that Preston Lewis’ books are the exception, helping keep western literature alive, vibrant, relevant and entertaining.

I received a free copy of First Herd to Abilene in exchange for my honest review.

Preston Lewis is the Spur Award-winning author of thirty novels. In addition to his two Western Writers of America Spurs, he received the 2018 Will Rogers Gold Medallion for Western Humor for Bluster’s Last Stand, the fourth volume in his comic western series, The Memoirs of H. H. Lomax. Two other books in that series were Spur finalists. His comic western The Fleecing of Fort Griffin received the Elmer Kelton Award from the West Texas Historical Association for best creative work on the region.

———————–

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Bluster’s Last Stand: My Review

Bluster's Last Stand Book CoverAuthor Preston Lewis returns to the exploits of one Henry Harrison “Leadeye” Lomax in this fourth installment into the series about his adventures in the Old West.

For anyone unfamiliar with the literary character, Lewis claims to have found his memoirs while conducting research at Texas Tech University. The assertion is definitely tongue in cheek, with Lewis presenting H.H. Lomax’s exploits with a lot of wit and humor in addition to historical detail.

As it has been some time since his last entry into the series, Lewis returns to this origination story before beginning the tale of how Lomax came to be at the Battle of the Little Bighorn. The explanation accounts for the break between novels featuring the colorful character and once again, with a wink and a nod, asserts the veracity of his eye witness account.

I must admit at this point that I somehow skipped Book Three, Mix Up at the O.K. Corral, as I was anxious to read this Spur Award Winner, but I’ll definitely be filling in the gap because each read has been an absolute hoot! (Be sure to check out my earlier blog posts… Book One, June 7, 2018 The Demise of Billy the Kid, and Book Two, February 1, 2019,The Redemption of Jessie James.)

In Bluster’s Last Stand H.H. Lomax brings levity to one of the most tragic events in military history, while also recounting the 2nd Battle of Adobe Walls and shedding light on the fame of such noted historical persons as Buffalo Bill Cody, Wild Bill Hickok, and General George Armstrong Custer. His wit and humor add context as well as nuance to such subjects as frontier prostitution, the discovery of gold in the Black Hills, the treatment of Native Americans, and the myth surrounding Yellow Hair.

The harsh realities of life aren’t glossed over, but the hilarity that Preston Lewis brings to these situations and characters makes them all the more human and entertaining.

I highly recommend the book and the series!

Max… Attacks: Lone Star Book Blog Tours Book Blitz & Giveaway

MAX … ATTACKS
by
KATHI APPELT
illustrated by Penelope Dullaghan
Children’s Picture Book / Humor / Stories in Verse
Publisher: Atheneum / Caitlyn Dlouhy Books
Date of Publication: June 11, 2019
Number of Pages: 40Scroll down for the giveaway!


 

Fish and birds and lizards and socks…is there anything Max won’t attack? 

 

Watch your ankles and find out in this clever, rhyming picture book about a very naughty kitty cat. Max is a cat. He attacks. From socks to strings to many a fish, attacking, for Max, is most de-lish. But how many of these things can he actually catch? Well, let’s just say it’s no even match.




Kathi Appelt is the author of the Newbery Honoree, National Book Award finalist, PEN USA Literary Award–winning, 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 Max … Attacks

 
She has two grown children and lives in College Station, Texas, with her husband and their six cats. She serves as a faculty member at Vermont College of Fine Arts in their MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults program.
Penelope Dullaghan is an award-winning illustrator whose work includes illustrations for ad campaigns, book publishers, magazines, newspapers, products, videos and most recently, children. Max … Attacks is her debut picture book.
 
Penelope works from her home studio in Indianapolis, Indiana where she also home schools her daughter, plays in the river behind her house, and tends to her front-yard garden.
 
She is especially interested in collaborating with brands that support sustainability, simplicity, and wellness. Connect with Penelope on her Website.
 
The real Max was neither blue, nor did he have a switchy tail. In fact, he didn’t have a tail at all. He was an American Bobtail, almost fire red, and in his prime he weighed in at over twenty pounds. For seventeen years, he served as best friend and roommate to the author’s oldest son Jacob Appelt, who adopted Max from the local animal shelter. Together they wrote music, traveled, entertained friends and family, and kept an eye on the neighborhood parrots. Even though Max was famous for attacking anything that moved, he was, and always will be, the biggest, sweetest cat ever! 
 
And many thanks to Jacob for the line: “a mighty nap attacked our Max.” Best line in the book!
————————————-
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Fierce, Funny, and Female: Guest Post

FIERCE, FUNNY,
AND FEMALE

A Journey Through Middle America,
the Texas Oil Field, and Standup Comedy

by
MARTI MacGIBBON
Genre: Memoir / Drama / Humor
Publisher: Stay Strong Publishing
Publication Date: March 20, 2017
Number of Pages: 412 pages
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This book is the celebrated prequel to the critically acclaimed, nationally award-winning and bestselling memoir, Never Give in to Fear. In her raw, vivid, and unabashed style, author Marti MacGibbon delivers a sometimes heartbreaking, often hilarious, always engaging account of her passage through trauma, betrayal, and loss in adolescence and young adulthood to discover her inner badass self. As one of the first women to work as a laborer in the Texas oil field, she set off explosives and staked oil wells before realizing her childhood dream of becoming a successful standup comic. Marti introduces readers to a wide range of characters in her life: from sleazy authority figures, wannabe Sixties musicians and crazed Corn Belt cult leaders, to Texas oil billionaires and wildcatters, to wild-eyed redneck coworkers who robbed banks on their lunch hour―in the company truck. The book includes scenes with iconic comedians, Hollywood entertainment industry moguls, and a legendary bluesman, and offers insights into resiliency, courage, and self-empowerment.
WINNER, 2017 Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Awards in Humor
WINNER, 2017 Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Awards in Women’s Studies 
WINNER, 2017 National Indie Excellence Awards in Women’s Health
WINNER, 2017 Beverly Hills Book Awards in Women’s Issues 
WINNER, 2018 Independent Press Award in Humor
WINNER, 2018 Independent Press Award in Women’s Studies 
WINNER, 2018 New York City Book Book Award, Women’s Studies
FINALIST, 2018 Next Generation Indie Book Awards, Memoir (Overcoming Adversity)
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PRAISE FOR FIERCE, FUNNY, AND FEMALE:

“Being funny is a survival skill. Fierce, Funny, and Female is not only a survivor’s tale but an inspirational story of overcoming the unthinkable, again and again…Her courage and comedy make Fierce, Funny, and Female a winner.” — Foreword Clarion Reviews

“An effervescently witty…chronicle of perseverance and the power to overcome the darkest of days…Perhaps the most rewarding chapter in this chatty, affecting book is the concluding one, where MacGibbon lists the tried-and-true pearls of wisdom that continue to sustain her…” — Kirkus Reviews

Fierce, Funny, and Female is a thoroughly engaging memoir packed with witty observations, high adventure, and a glimpse of behind-the-scenes Hollywood. Highly recommended!” — Midwest Book Review

“MacGibbon is a natural storyteller, and her life story is a most interesting one. The characters she has run across during her life journey are well-drawn and absolutely fascinating, particularly the good ol’ boys in the Texas oilfields.” — San Francisco Book Review

GuestPost

Build Your Creativity and Invite More Fun into Your Life

You don’t have to be born a genius, a gifted person, in order to be creative; you can develop and build your own creative genius. The key to creativity is action. A person who thinks of innovative, exciting ideas, and then doesn’t act on them, is an imaginative person, but not a creative person. The act of creation brings something into being.

Whatever you think, whatever you believe, you become. Believe in your creative abilities and motivate yourself daily. Sometimes staying motivated means taking one or two baby steps per day. Other days, you’ll accomplish two or three giant strides. The key is to stay in the game. Keep chipping away at your project and it will take shape before you know it. Your genius will emerge, one day at a time.

Let go of limitations — open yourself up to opportunities. Throw your brain a curve ball — try something new: make changes in your daily schedule, drive a different route to work, rearrange your furniture, wear different colors or clothes than usual. Learn a new language. Shake things up. Free yourself to think outside the box. Avoid negative self-talk that stifles innovation. Instead, make affirmations such as, “I am creative,” or “I’m a prolific writer,” or “I have a unique vision and voice.” These are self-enhancing statements that build confidence and switch on creativity and charisma.

When it comes to unleashing your creativity, go “crazy.” The primitive part of the brain speaks of fear, listing all the “shoulds and shouldn’ts,” and the “ought tos” and “could’ves,” which hampers creativity. Often the craziest idea, the one most feared, is the one to explore. Try embracing the things that unsettle you, or the things you’re inclined to immediately reject — you may discover a creative wellspring which will feed your productivity. Allow your imagination free rein, never giving in to the urge to downplay who you are. Stay loyal to yourself and your goals.

While you’re creating, remember to have fun. Fun helps you stay energized and enjoying the process. Here are 11 ways raise your fun quotient and build creativity:

  1. When you wake up, take a few moments to visualize yourself surrounded by love and beauty, and filled with purpose and the power to realize your dreams. You can see it in your mind as a movie, a still photo, or a series of images. This action primes your subconscious mind to the idea that wonderful things can happen.
  2. Get outdoors and into nature. Take a walk in the park. Sit under your favorite tree and enjoy a beverage. Step outside at night and spend some time star gazing or appreciating the moon.
  3. Laugh whenever possible. Watch funny movies and television shows. Call up an old friend and reminisce about crazy, embarrassing, or ridiculous past experiences you’ve laughed about together. Reading humorous memoirs will help you remember/recognize ways to see the humor in your life. Watch standup comedy¾live or on TV.
  4. Join a group and share new experiences with new people. Take an art class. (Paintnite https://www.paintnite.com/ offers a night out in a restaurant or microbrewery combined with oil painting on canvas. Sierra Club can connect you with a hiking group. Try taking an improv class. The rule of improv is: Always say yes! Agree with what your improv partner has created, and go with the flow. You’re saying, “Yes, and…
  5. Do emotional check-ins. During the day, take a moment to observe your emotions, then describe them to yourself. This keeps you in touch with how you’re experiencing life. Use creative words for your feelings, that is, don’t use “good,” “great,” or “okay,” but be specific. This can be a fun word search, even if you’re feeling peeved or frustrated. Finding synonyms for annoyance and frustration can lead to sarcasm, then on to goofy hilarity.
  6. Crank up the volume on your favorite music! Jump up and dance to it. Lean back and luxuriate in it. If you’re driving, sing along with it, even at stoplights, and especially if you’re stuck in traffic. Don’t sweat the drivers around you, even if some stick-in-the-mud eyes you with disdain. You rock, so rock your commute! Fun is contagious, you might even spark a sing along in the next lane.
  7. Just before leaving the house, look in the mirror and tell yourself, “Dang, you’re cute!”
  8. Take a meditation class. Mindfulness meditation is easy, and it’s fun. The number one rule of mindfulness is, “Refrain from judging.” This is a cool way to open-up your mind to new attitudes and experiences, right?
  9. Do nothing. Yes, give yourself thirty minutes or an hour a day that is absolutely free and is only for you.
  10. Be kind to yourself and others. Forgive yourself and others. Give freely of your time or resources, to someone or something that serves the greater good. These are “feel good” acts.
  11. Take gratitude breaks during your day. Make a gratitude list on paper or in your head. Express gratitude to a co-worker, a neighbor, or a friend. Begin and end each day giving thanks.

A compelling speaker and storyteller, Marti MacGibbon delivers high-energy presentations and writes books on overcoming adversity, addiction and recovery, and inspiration, with humor and a genuine, down-to-earth style. She’s experienced critical situations that no human being should have to face. In the past, she hit rock bottom in every possible way as a hard-core drug addict, was homeless, and was trafficked to Tokyo and held prisoner by Japanese organized crime. Her story of triumph is testimony to the power of the human spirit. Marti lives her message. She reveals simple, effective strategies that anyone can use to get back on track, build resiliency, reduce stress, and cultivate a sense of humor.
Marti is a bestselling author, inspirational speaker, certified addiction treatment professional, Gorski certified relapse-prevention specialist, and member of the National Speakers Association. She’s been interviewed in Entrepreneur, Investor’s Business Daily, on ABC-TV, CBS-TV, and numerous radio shows. And she’s funny: Marti traveled all over the U.S. as a professional standup comic and performed at the Hollywood Improv and Comedy Store. She is founder, producer and host of Laff-aholics Comedy Benefit for Recovery, an annual charity fundraiser in Indianapolis featuring nationally headlining comedians. She also serves on the outreach committee of IPATH, Indiana Protection for Abused and Trafficked Humans Task Force.
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Each of Three Winners Gets a Signed Copy of the Book PLUS:

FIRST PRIZE:
$100 Spa Finder gift card + $25 Starbucks gift card + Moroccan oil sample collection
SECOND PRIZE:
Estee Lauder Limited Edition Gift Set + $25 Starbucks gift card
THIRD PRIZE:
$25 Starbucks gift card.
DECEMBER 12-21, 2018
(U.S. Only)
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