Monday, August 31, 2015

Arctic Warriors ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Blog Tour Book Promo*


Arctic Warriorsa story about the struggle between the defenders of freedom and the forces of tyranny in America’s Northern most outpost.

The Bering Strait links the Arctic Ocean with the Bering Sea and separates the continents of Asia and North America. The U.S.-Russian boundary extends through the Strait. At the closest point 2.4 miles of open water separate the islands, thus the two greatest super powers on earth.

Arctic Warriors eimage.jpgThe importance as an invasion route is obvious. At the height of the cold war, the U.S. moved to block this invasion route by deploying naval, ground, and air defense commands throughout Alaska.

Eielson Air Force Base was a SAC facility located approximately 50 miles outside of Fairbanks, and some 200 miles from the U.S. border with the U.S.S.R. The fighters and B-52’s stationed there served to ‘check-mate’ those who would consider the Bering Strait as an invasion route.

The 562nd   Air Defense Artillery defended Eielson with a ring of five Nike Hercules sites. The missiles were armed with nuclear warheads.

These nuclear birds were a constant target for espionage. Military Police Officers, trained in special tactics designed for the defense of nuclear weapons, were charged with the protection of these sites, and the personnel assigned to them. Their focus was singular, protect those nuclear warheads, and their methods were aggressive.  Still, the chain is only as strong as its weakest link.

The Soviets recognized this and directed their efforts to breaking through the chain of defense. They flooded Fairbanks with spies, employing attractive women, who would prey on the lonely GI, gathering every scrap of information they could, in the effort to create a breach in the chain of security protecting our most effective weapons systems.

The author was a member of the Military Police Group that was assigned to the protection of the 562nd and it’s personnel. His novel, Arctic Warriors, is a fictional account of his experiences in this silent war between the world’s super-powers.  

The setting is Charlie Battery of the 562nd Air Defense Artillery, United States Army Alaska. The time is 1968-69.


J.B. opened his eyes as the slick slowed, banked left and began its descent. The doors and studded floor were covered in streaks of frost laid on by the ships dash through the frigid arctic air.

The nose of the Huey lifted a bit as the pilot flared the ship. The doors slammed back and they jumped into the night, landing on foreign soil. Scanning the tree line they waited. Nothing; the insertion was undetected.

J.B. thought, ‘their forest is no different than ours, just across the strip of water separating us, yet for me and mine this one is filled with danger.’ He gathered the squad as the Huey raced away across the Bearing.

Now they were alone. Trespassers, come to kill or retrieve a traitor.

Arctic Warriors full cover.jpg



Ken Bangs is a native Texan who grew up in the then small town of Plano. By the time he was ten years old he knew for a certainty that he wanted to spend his life as a police officer. Following high school graduation Ken joined the Dallas Police Department and was walking a beat in downtown Dallas at the age of 19.

Author - KBangs.jpgKen spent 35 years in law enforcement and public safety the last twenty five as the Director of Police and Security Services for the Plano ISD. After retirement Ken and his wife Trudy moved to a farm outside of New Boston Texas where they established a home for children who were in the care of the Texas Child Protective Services. For the next ten years they devoted their lives to these disadvantaged children. An ordained minister Ken also served as the Senior Pastor for Regions Christian Center in Texarkana.

A veteran of the United States Army Military Police Corps, Ken holds a B.S. in Criminal Justice, a M.S. in Human Relations and Business Management and a Doctorate of Ministry in Christian Counseling.

Ken and Trudy have been married 45 years and now live in McKinney, Texas.


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Aug 30 - Because This is My Life, Y’all
Aug 31 - Hall Ways
Sept 1 - Books and Broomsticks
Sept 2 - Blogging for the Love of Authors and Their Books
Sept 3 - Texas Book-aholic
Sept 4 - Book Crazy Gals Blog

**NOTE FROM KRISTINE at HALL WAYS: This is a book promotion that I've agreed to post because this is a Texas author and the book sounds interesting and like something I would enjoy reading. I have NOT read the book. The content of this promo post was provided by Lone Star Literary Life Blog Tours.  If you're a Texas blogger interested in joining the ranks of Texas Book Blog Tours, contact Tabatha Pope.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Death on Paradise Creek ~ ~ Blog Tour: Excerpt & Review

Death on Paradise Creek is a murder mystery seasoned with heartbreak, adventure, a little romance, and a touch of humor. It is the first in a planned three book series.

The Paradise Creek Inn is open for business in rural Wilbarger County Texas. Business is slow except for the occasional parties for family or friends, until a prestigious actor becomes stranded on the property. Suddenly Lizzie Fletcher and her family are booking parties and events left and right – a dream come true.

Things quickly change when the hired hand makes a gruesome discovery. Sheriff Wade Adams and his team are called to investigate. While evidence is being analyzed, another body is discovered. Long kept secrets revolving around these discoveries begin to unravel.

Death on Paradise Creek is a 60,929 word, 205 page murder mystery set in Wilbarger County Texas.

Paperbacks are $15.95 and ebooks are $6.99

It is available for purchase at: in paperback and for Kindle
Barnes and in paperback and for Nook
Black Rose Writing in paperback

Chapter 6
Lizzie woke Saturday morning to the smell of coffee brewing. She hadn’t realized how much she missed waking up to that smell. She always had coffee after she got to work. She went downstairs to find Ellen and Lois sitting at the kitchen table.

“Good morning, Mama. Good morning, Granny,” she said as she planted a kiss on each woman’s cheek. “Where’s Daddy?”

“He had to get started moving the cattle to the east pasture. He said he’d be missing a lot of work since we’ll be in town for Jan’s festivities later this week,” Ellen explained.

     “Lizzie, sit down; I want to talk to you about something,” Lois said.

“Okay. It sounds like something serious Granny.”

“Well, it is in a way. Is your job in Chicago the kind of job you always dreamed about?”

“No, it isn’t. It’s a work my way up the ladder and pay my dues kind of job.”

“Would you still like to run your own inn?”

“That has always been my dream, but I don’t see it happening anytime soon.”

“Alright then. I have a proposition for you. I’m getting too old to live in that great big house all alone. You’re parents and I have been talking about this, and we want to see what you think. We’ll turn the house over to you. You can renovate it and make it into the inn you’ve always dreamed of owning.”

“But Granny…”

“Now, let me finish,” Granny interrupted.” I’ll move in here with James and Ellen. You’ll manage the inn. I’ll fund the renovations, within reason mind you. Your parents and I will help when you need it. The old place needs fixing up anyway, and I see no reason to fix it up only for one old lady. It will become a family business.” Granny paused for a moment, and then said, “Well what do you think?”

Lizzie didn’t know what to say. She wanted to jump at the chance to design and run her own inn.

Based on her debut novel, Death on Paradise Creek, Dianne Smithwick-Braden looks to be a promising new Texas author.  Her writing is relaxed and easy to read making for an enjoyable story. What's great about Death on Paradise Creek is that it has multiple elements - mystery, clean romance, history, even natural disasters - and a super-interesting sub-plot that started over a hundred years earlier than the main storyline. Smithwick-Braden expertly weaves the separate storylines together and provides an unexpected and satisfactory ending. 

Death on Paradise Creek has a rich cast of characters, and Smithwick-Braden does an outstanding job of fleshing-out each of them. Readers think they have a pretty clear picture, and then the author throws in a detail that muddies what had seemed clear, which makes solving the whodunnit part of the story more difficult. 

Though the writing is mostly solid, I think the book could easily be taken to the next level with another pass at editing. There are some punctuation errors, a misplaced modifier or two, and too many extraneous details that didn't add to the story. I would have also preferred less of the play-by-play dialogue and more summarizing of scenes. 

Sensitive readers need not worry about any unsavory elements, as there are maybe four swear words (mild), only implied sexual situations, and the violence is not graphic in any way. Death on Paradise Creek is light and lovely. 

Thank you to the author and Lone Star Book Blog Tours for providing me an eBook copy in exchange for my honest review -- the only kind I give. 

Dianne Smithwick-Braden is a native Texan raised in rural Wilbarger County on the family farm. She is a graduate of Vernon High School and West Texas A & M University. She currently resides in Amarillo, Texas with her husband, Richard. She has been a high school science teacher in Amarillo since August of 1990.

Dianne is an avid reader of fiction but murder mysteries are by far her favorite genre. Death on Paradise Creek is her first novel. She has already begun work on a sequel.

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Aug 25 - The Page Unbound promo
Aug 26 - Bookishjessp promo
Aug 27 - TexasBookLover Author Q&A
Aug 29 - Missus Gonzo Review
Aug 30 - Hall Ways Review
Aug 31 - A Novel Reality  Author Q&A
Sept 2 - Texas Book-aholic Review

Click for Hall Ways Review

*NOTE FROM KRISTINE at HALL WAYS: The content of this promo post was provided by Lone Star Literary Life Blog Tours.  If you're a Texas blogger interested in joining the ranks of Texas Book Blog Tours, contact Tabatha Pope