When Texas Ranger Brett Tucker accidentally derails a wedding, he’s determined to bring the estranged couple back together…but he never dreamed he’d start falling for the bride!
Texas Ranger Brett Tucker hates to break up a wedding, but the groom—notorious criminal Frank Foster—is a danger to any woman. So he busts into the church, guns blazing…only to find he has the wrong man.
STOP THAT WEDDING!
Bride-to-be Kate Denver is appalled by her fiancé’s over-the-top reaction to the innocent mistake and calls off the wedding—for good. Guilt-ridden, Brett’s desperate to get them back on track. But the more time he spends with Kate, the harder he falls…and the more he yearns to prove that he’s her true match in every way.
“Light and airy as cotton candy, this tale charms.”
Ten things you didn’t know about author Margaret Brownley
I collect teapots. This was not something I set out to do. I made the mistake of setting two teapots together on a shelf and people just assumed I collected them. I now own more than thirty-five teapots in all shapes and colors. Whenever I throw a tea party, guests each get their own teapots.
I’ve been to all fifty states. Alaska was the last state visited.
I flunked eighth-grade English. I didn’t do all that great in history, either (All those dates and battles—ugh!). Since my head was always in the clouds, I was probably better prepared to be an astronaut than a writer of historical fiction.
In my other life I was a teacher.
I have more than 2000 research books in my library. This explains why I can never find the book I want.
My office is painted Monet purple. Purple is said to insight creativity.
I do not sit on a chair when I write; I sit on a stability ball. These balls are great for building core strength but there is a drawback; A recent earthquake sent me flying.
I run a rescue shelter for Boston Ferns. Anyone having trouble with theirs knows to bring it to me.
All my best ideas come at three a.m. My worst ideas come at three a.m., too.
I probably shouldn’t tell you this, but I’m geographically challenged. If you give me directions to your house, you better also give me directions back to mine.
A secret pleasure of mine is sitting on the beach with a good book. (Did you ever notice how the beach makes every book seem good?)
I can’t count
New York Times bestselling author MARGARET BROWNLEY has penned more than forty-five novels and novellas. She’s a two-time Romance Writers of American RITA® finalist and has written for a TV soap. She is also a recipient of the Romantic Times Pioneer Award.
Her story, A Pony Express Christmas, will appear this fall in the Old West Christmas Brides collection, and book two of her Haywire Brides series will be published May 2019. Not bad for someone who flunked eighth-grade English. Just don’t ask her to diagram a sentence.
Have you ever drawn a blank when a friend or family member asks, “What do you want to do today?” Maybe you have visitors to show around the Dallas – Fort Worth Metroplex, or perhaps you’ve lived here for years but feel like you’re in a rut rather than experiencing anything new.
If so, Tui Snider’s new book is for you! If you live in, or are visiting, the DFW region, this list will inspire you to start exploring. If you’re hungry, flip through the Food & Drink section. Looking for entertainment or want to get outdoors? Dig into the Music & Entertainment or the Sports & Recreation sections. Want to barter for antiques or see a museum? Check out the Culture & History or the Shopping & Fashion sections.
This book is a playful bucket list of suggestions meant to spark ideas: everything from family outings, date nights, and solo excursions, to simply hanging out with friends on your day off.
100 Things to Do in Dallas – Fort Worth Before You Die
by Tui Snider
My new book, 100 Things to Do in Dallas – Fort Worth Before You Die, is divided into sections covering Food & Drink, Music and Entertainment, Sports and Recreation, Culture and History, and Shopping and Fashion sections. Even though there was no specific section called “Weird and Quirky,” I couldn’t resist adding a few off-ball items onto the list. Here are three of the most unusual travel destinations included in the book:
#1 Munster Mansion Replica in Waxahachie, Texas While you can’t set your GPS for “1313 Mockingbird Lane,” you can visit an incredible replica of the Munster family home in the town of Waxahachie. In 2001, Sandra and Charles McKee built a replica of the creepy home depicted in the 1960s-era TV sitcom. The pair carefully rewatched all seventy episodes of The Munsters to perfect their design, which includes a fire-breathing creature under the staircase. Despite the effort the McKees put into creating their Munster Mansion, it is not a year-round tourist attraction. For them, it is simply a fun project. Even so, since 2002, the McKees occasionally host charity events and private parties. To see photos from my visit to a Munster Mansion Open House, drop by my website: http://tuisnider.com/2014/10/08/visit-the-munster-mansion-replica-in-waxahachie-texas/
#2 Da Vinci’s “Wax Supper” In 1955, oil tycoon Bill Fleming commissioned a version of Leonardo Da Vinci’s masterpiece The Last Supper. Instead of a painting, however, Fleming paid for a life-sized sculpture made from wax. To complete this project, Fleming hired the mother/ daughter team of Katherine and Katherine Marie Stubergh, a duo well known for their wax sculptures. After eighteen months, their “Wax Supper” was done, and Bill Fleming gave it to the city of Fort Worth. For the next forty years, the waxwork made the rounds from churches to a shopping mall. In 1997, it was placed in storage, and for a while all seemed lost. In 2009, however, the wax display was restored. The Stubergh’s “Wax Supper” is currently on display at the Christian Arts Museum in Fort Worth, where entry is free of charge. To see more photos of the “Wax Supper,” drop by my blog: http://tuisnider.com/2016/01/22/quirky-texas-life-size-wax-sculpture-replica-of-the-last-supper/ 3221 Hamilton Ave., Fort Worth817-332-7878facebook.com/ChristianArtsMuseumFW
#3 Space Alien Grave in Aurora Cemetery In April 1897, the Dallas News reported a UFO crash in the Wise County town of Aurora. According to the reporter, although the petite alien was “not an inhabitant of this world,” his or her body was buried in the local cemetery. This bizarre legend remains popular among mystery seekers and is even mentioned on a Texas State Historical Marker at the site. In recent years, the city of Aurora has embraced its strange legacy by hosting an Aurora Alien Expo, incorporating a bug-eyed alien into the city logo and even erecting a sculpture of a crashed spaceship as you enter town. Keep an eye on the city’s website for tours of the crash site and grave as well as alien-themed festivals throughout the year. For more about this bizarre slice of North Texas history, check out my article here: http://tuisnider.com/2012/07/09/alien-gravesite-in-aurora-cemetery-the-roswell-of-texas/
Tui Snider is an author, speaker, and photographer who specializes in hometown travel. As she puts it, “I used to write fiction – but then, I moved to Texas!” Snider’s work has been featured by a variety of outlets, including Coast to Coast AM, LifeHack, easyJet and Authentic Texas. Snider’s award-winning books include Unexpected Texas, Paranormal Texas, Understanding Cemetery Symbols, and more. Tui enjoys connecting with readers all over the globe through her WEBSITE.
It’s Elvis Week in Memphis, and homicide detective Rachel Sloan isn’t sure her day could get any stranger when aging Elvis impersonator Vic Vegas asks to see her. But when he produces a photo of her murdered mother with four Elvis impersonators—one of whom had also been murdered soon after the photo was taken—she’s forced to reevaluate. Is there some connection between the two unsolved cases? And could the recent break-in at Vic’s home be tied to his obsession with finding his friend’s killer?
When yet another person in the photo is murdered, Rachel suddenly has her hands full investigating three cases. Lieutenant Boone Callahan offers his help, but their checkered romantic past threatens to get in the way. Can they solve the cases before the murderer makes Rachel victim number four?
“The third installment of Bradley’s Memphis Cold Case series focuses on a cold case related to a homicide detective’s past…Bradley includes the unique character of Erin who seems as if she is a real person and takes great care to portray her respectfully.”
I looked from my computer to the doorway. Lieutenant Boone Callahan leaned against it, a frown on his face. “A little. Do you have a problem?”
He rolled his broad shoulders. “No. I just want to hang out.”
I hate it when characters won’t tell me what’s wrong, when I have to drag it out of them. I closed the top on my MacBook. “Spit it out.”
“Spit what out?” Nevertheless, he stepped into the room and moved a research book from the Queen Anne chair beside my desk before he sat down. Of course, his 6’2” frame looked ridiculous in it.
“Hold on a sec,” I said, and changed places with him. My leather chair suited him much better. “Now, what’s wrong?”
“Nothing.” He crossed his arms and stared out the window.
I waited, tapping my toe.
After two minutes of staring, he turned to me. “Why did you put Rachel in homicide? I mean, why didn’t you leave her in burglary?”
“You don’t like working with her?”
“I didn’t say that.” He smiled. “Actually, she’s great to work with. She’s smart, determined, pretty…” Boone bit his bottom lip. “Maybe too pretty. I can’t keep my mind on my job. It’s driving me crazy.”
He didn’t know how that warmed my heart. I pressed my lips together to keep from smiling. “Exactly what do you want me to do about it?”
“It would help if she wasn’t so independent.”
I eyed him. “And how do you propose I do that? You two have taken over the story…I try to get you to do one thing and you do the exact opposite.”
Boone pointed to himself. “Me? Nah…you know I’m a by-the-book person. Say, couldn’t you make her a little more like that? I mean, she goes off on these tangents, and I don’t have any control over her. I’m afraid she’s going to get herself killed.”
I doodled with my pencil. “And that would bother you?”
“Yeah! I love—I…I mean, she matters a lot to me, but we’re all wrong for each other. Besides, we’re in the same department, and I’m her supervisor—no way can we fall in love. One of us would have to leave Homicide.”
“Really?” I tap my finger to my lip, thinking.
His eyes widened. “Uh, uh. You’re not going to—” He jumped up and palmed his hands up. “No. Don’t you dare try to get us together. Not happening. Not in a million years. I don’t want to leave Homicide and neither does Rachel.”
“If you say so.” I took my chair back and shooed him out of my office. I’d just figured out another way to torture the both of them.
Patricia Bradley is the award-winning author of Justice Delayed and Justice Buried, as well as the Logan Point series. She is cofounder of Aiming for Healthy Families, Inc., and a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America. She lives in Mississippi.
In 1943, Lane Mercer and Emmie Tesco had nothing in common. Well, nothing stronger than a town neither of them chose and careers they couldn’t advertise as agents within the Office of Strategic Services. During the days of Longview, Texas’s Friendly Trek Homecoming Parade, Lane was gearing up for the grand opening of a bookshop that also disguised an espionage safe house, and Emmie was chasing a criminal with evil intent through the US Army’s new medical facility, Harmon General Hospital, treating diseased and amputated soldiers. Emmie ropes Lane into international threats at Harmon General, making it increasingly hard for the two spies to navigate the Junior Service League, church life, or anything else that might be considered normal for a town sizzling with oil boom wealth. A friend from Lane’s past arrives and pushes against the fiction she’s created to distance her spy history from the wedding bells ringing her future. Emmie flirts with the idea of finding a life outside of the OSS but justifies the danger as a way to make amends for those she’s betrayed. Connecting the two women, to their surprise, is a rogue agent who targets them for crimes he believes they created. For better, or worse, they have to put aside their differences to share responsibility for stopping “The Grasshopper” before he blows apart the Big Inch Pipeline project and Harmon General Hospital. The hope of malaria treatments for US soldiers depends on it, and justice of the heart demands it.
PRAISE FOR HARMON GENERAL:
“The war that changed the world brought the world to East Texas through Harmon General, a significant US Army hospital that treated thousands of wounded soldiers in Longview. In Harmon General, we meet again Lane Mercer, a World War II heroine, and we enjoy again how the drama of her secret service to the nation and her complicated personal relationships pull us into the vast impact of the world war.” — Dale Lunsford, Ph.D., President, LeTourneau University
“Harmon General is a brilliant story for historical fiction readers! Set in World War II, the female spies, Army hospital setting, and drama amongst the Longview townsfolk kept me riveted and engaged until the very end.” – Jody T. Morse
For the first five days of the Lone Star Book Blog Tours promotion of Harmon General, the Kindle e-book of The Big Inch is FREE!! That’s right, from June 22-27, the e-book that started the whole Misfits and Millionaires adventure costs nada! Click to download your copy!
Reading this book for review came at an interesting time for me–we had just returned from a short getaway in East Texas. While we hadn’t quite made it as far as Longview, it was still neat to have the story set so close to where we had been.
In one word, Harmon General is Captivating. It kept me interested and intrigued and needing to know what happened next.
Lane Mercer is trying to figure out what she wants in life, and it isn’t easy. Being an agent, even semi-retired, certainly makes figuring things out a lot more difficult, especially when it seems Longview has become a hotbed for those willing to sell secrets for a pretty penny. Also complicating matters is the fact that Lane hasn’t exactly dealt with her past, and it’s keeping her from moving on.
Lane isn’t the only one this book focuses on, but she is the main one. That’s not to say Emmie Tesco doesn’t have her own things to work through (that epilogue was so emotional!).
The entire cast of characters in this book is unique–each a thoroughly believable individual with their own motivations, agendas, secrets, and prejudices. The setting (location and time period) were very well-researched and represented in these books.
Truly, I had no idea where this book was going to lead me. I remember being almost exactly at the halfway point, and my heart was breaking for Lane, and I had no idea how the situations were going to play out–and that was just the middle! While I feel I can’t really comment on anything past that halfway point, I will say it was a great ride!
I really loved Lane’s scene at the golf course. I’d have to say, it’s certainly a wonderful way of dealing with Lane Mercer’s Pet Peeve, being underestimated because you’re a woman.
If you enjoy historical fiction, espionage, or women defying social norms/expectations, I’d highly recommend picking this book up.
*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Kimberly Fish started writing professionally with the birth of her second child and the purchase of a home computer. Having found this dubious outlet, she then entered and won The Writer’s League of Texas manuscript contest which fed her on-going fascination with story crafting.
She has since published in magazines, newspapers, and online formats and in January 2017, released the first novel in the Misfits and Millionaires series set during the World War II years in Longview, Texas—The Big Inch. Her second book, Comfort Plans, was published later that same year.
Gilly O’Connell’s nightmares aren’t just bad dreams; they’re glimpses of terrifying realities to come. Gilly has spent her entire life trying to suppress the foreboding visions. So when a dismissed premonition leads to her husband’s murder, she buries the guilt and pain of the unsolved crime in the only way she knows how—she runs from it.
Three years later, after overcoming a battle with addiction and starting over in a small Texas town, Gilly dares to believe the worst is over. That is, until another crime rips her heart open: the abduction of a three-year-old girl. Gilly knows more about it than anyone…
She’s dreaming again.
Gilly is convinced that if she tells the police she dreamed of the kidnapping before it happened, there’s no way they’ll believe her. But when she finally gets the courage to come forward with what she saw, people don’t see her as crazy—they see her as a suspect.
Now, in order to help a desperate single father save his child, Gilly must first clear her own name. But as the nightmares of the past catch up to her, Gilly’s only chance for salvation might be the dreams she’s spent so long trying to ignore.
PRAISE FOR WHAT LIES BELOW:
“Infused with heart-stopping suspense, emotional resonance, and startling imagery, What Lies Below swept me along a river of urgency and dread. Barbara Taylor Sissel effortlessly weaves together prescience, regret, grief, love, and revenge—all wrapped in the mystery of a young girl’s abduction. Beneath the breathless immediacy of the story lie deeper questions: How do we forgive ourselves—and others—for remembered transgressions, and can we ever break free of the past?” —A. J. Banner, #1 Amazon and USA Today bestselling author of The Good Neighbor and The Twilight Wife
“Barbara Taylor Sissel’s What Lies Below is suspense at its finest—heartrending, compelling, and beautifully written. If you’re looking for your next up-all-night read, look no further.” —Jessica Strawser, author of Almost Missed You and Not That I Could Tell
“I cannot emphasize this enough: you must read What Lies Below. Barbara Taylor Sissel manages to combine an unreliable narrator, twisting plot, and well imagined characters to create a world where nothing is as it seems and secrets abound. I had intended to savor the novel’s lovely prose but wound up devouring the book in a day. Simply fantastic.” —Karen McQuestion, bestselling author of Hello Love
I was often the one fighting tears, listening to the stories, the often-heartbreaking ways in which a family’s life was altered by their son’s crime. I hadn’t ever thought of crime in terms of collateral damage before, especially when it came to the families of the perpetrators.
When my first son was born, and we brought him home to the prison, a few days later, when I was asked to come down to the dining hall on a pretext, I was reluctant. I looked awful for one thing. I was the picture of the exhausted new mom. But when I got there the scene that greeted me brought me to tears.
Those guys had collected gifts for my baby. They’d had one of their moms make a quilt, chipped in to buy a savings bond, booties, a box of diapers. They’d made dinner for me and baked a cake. Inmates, in a prison! Now that I had my own child, a son, I thought about it—how despite the way he was raised, things could go wrong. I might one day be the mother of an inmate. I’d met a few such mothers; I knew firsthand they weren’t different from me.
After I finished my first novel, I saw an article in the Houston Chronicle about a relatively young guy on death row, located then at the Walls unit in Huntsville. He was labeled a volunteer because he had declined further appeals and asked the judge to set the date of his execution. It sent a chill through me.
I wondered how it must be to know the date of your death, what it must feel like, watching the days pass until that day arrives. And then I thought: What must it feel like to be his mother? I wrote the book, the second book, exposing my idea of that journey and how it might unfold. I couldn’t stop myself.
After we left Kentucky, we received Christmas cards from several of the inmates through the years. Most of them turned their lives around. I think being segregated in a rural setting with lots of one-on-one counseling from gifted counselors like my husband was key to their success.
At the time the program was in place, the inmate recidivism rate dropped a significant amount. And a seed was planted in my brain, one that I continue to nourish, or possibly it continues to nourish me.
The books I’ve authored aren’t the ones I planned to write. They evolved out of my experience, where I was given a bird’s eye view of the indomitability of the human spirit and the heart’s capacity to love and to forgive. Along the way, I conceived of a tagline, which pretty much sums it up: At the heart of every crime, there’s a family, someone you love. In every book, I search for the place where it’s impossible to forgive, impossible to allow love to heal. I haven’t found it yet.
Barbara Taylor Sissel writes issue oriented, upmarket women’s fiction that is threaded with elements of suspense and defined by its particular emphasis on how crime affects the family. Born in Honolulu, Hawaii, she was raised in various locations across the US and once lived with her family on the grounds of a first offender prison facility. The experience, interacting with the inmates and staff, provided a unique insight into the inmate’s lives, the circumstances behind the crimes they committed, and the impact on the families that were affected. The bestselling author of nine novels, her stories focus on the family at the heart of the crime. An avid gardener and the mother of two grown sons, Barbara lives in the Texas Hill Country. She’s represented by Barbara Poelle at the Irene Goodman Literary Agency.
*Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Awards Finalist*
*2018 Reader Views Readers’ Choice Award for Historical Fiction*
*Winner of the Tyler R. Tichelaar Award for Best Historical Fiction*
*Official selection of the Pulpwood Queens Book Club*
Scroll down for the giveaway!
May 1940. The Germans invade France and the course of three lives is upended. Annelle LeMaire is a French refugee desperate to contact her Legionnaire brothers. Mabry Springs, American wife of a wealthy Brit, is struggling to come to terms with a troubled marriage and imminent German invasion. And Reid Carr, American representative of French champagne house Pol Roger, brings more than champagne to Prime Minister Winston Churchill. Their paths entwine when Churchill and his entourage take refuge at Wickwythe Hall, the Springs’ country estate hidden from the full moon and German bombers beneath a shroud of trees. There, as secrets and unexpected liaisons unfold, Annelle, Mabry, and Reid are forever bound by the tragedy they share.
Part Downton Abbey, part Darkest Hour, Wickwythe Hall was inspired by an actual confrontation between the British and French navies in July 1940 and is a story of love, loyalty, and heartrending choices.
PRAISE FOR WICKWYTHE HALL:
“…a riveting and enlightening mix of history and fiction that puts a human face on the costs of war…engaging…” — Foreword Reviews
“Little’s characterization of Churchill is so well done. She makes his personality and presence so real. Mabry was a character to be admired for her decisions and actions. A good read with a satisfying ending.” — Historical Novels Review
“Judithe Little tackles war and masterfully boils it down to personal moral dilemmas. Beautifully written and rich with atmosphere…Wickwythe Hall is a stellar achievement.” — Ann Weisgarber, author of The Personal History of Rachel DuPree and The Promise
“…an emotional and touching story about the lives of three people during World War II, at the time of Hitler’s invasion of France in 1940. Inspired by real people, places and events in history, this whirlwind novel will no doubt leave an imprint on your heart long after you finish reading.” — Reader Views
“If you love history, beautifully rendered characters, and stories that will tug at your heart, add Wickwythe Hall to your list.” — Book Perfume
In May 1940, Germany invaded France. In June, 1940, France surrendered. Under the terms of the surrender, France was required to turn its warships over to the Germans. At that time, the bulk of the French fleet was across the Mediterranean at Mers el-Kebir, an Algerian port. Winston Churchill was Prime Minister of England at the time, and he knew that if the Germans got possession of the French ships, it would be just a matter of time before England would have to surrender. The US wasn’t in the war yet and wouldn’t be for another year and a half. Roosevelt had promised not to send any more American boys to fight in foreign wars. It was an election year, and Americans wanted nothing to do with the war in Europe.
Churchill was desperate. The survival of his country was at stake. He came up with a plan he called Operation Catapult. In the middle of the night, the Royal Navy set out for Mers el-Kebir. They arrived on the morning of July 3rd just as the sun was set to rise over the brown, sandy hills, the French ships glittering in the distance. There, the British presented options to the French. One—destroy your ships by your own hand right here and right now. Two—if you won’t do this, then we’ll be forced to do it for you. It was a bitter task, as the British considered the French their friends. Just days before, they’d been fighting the Germans alongside each other.
The French didn’t take the British ultimatum well. They were humiliated after having to surrender in just one month. They were resentful toward the British after Dunkirk where the British evacuated themselves all the way across the English Channel and left the French to face the Germans on their own. And the British were supposed to be their allies. Now here they were, kicking the French when they were down.
The French naval officers told the British they would never let the Germans use their ships against them and that they should trust the French word of honor. The British replied that they trusted the French; it was the Germans they didn’t trust.
It was an impasse. The French ships tried to escape the harbor, but they were fish in a barrel. The British opened fire and destroyed almost all of the French warships, killing over 1,000 French sailors in the process.
I first heard of this incident by happenstance when I was reading a biography of Coco Chanel. It was just a short paragraph in the middle of the book, but it stopped me. At first, I thought it might have been a typo or an error. I couldn’t imagine the British and the French firing at each other during World War II. I asked friends and family if they’d heard of it, and most of them had not. I couldn’t believe that such a heart-wrenching story wasn’t common knowledge.
But it wasn’t. And it isn’t. Winston Churchill called what happened at Mers el-Kebir Greek tragedy. The British newspapers called it a horrible necessity. The French called it murder. I wanted to bring this forgotten piece of history to back to life.
Judithe Little grew up in Virginia and earned a Bachelor of Arts in Foreign Affairs from the University of Virginia. After studying at the Institute of European Studies and the Institut Catholique in Paris, France, and interning at the U.S. Department of State, she earned a law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law where she was on the Editorial Board of the Journal of International Law and a Dillard Fellow. She lives with her husband, three teenagers, and three dogs in Houston, Texas, where she’s at work on her next historical novel set in France.