Thursday, July 20, 2017

Seven Threads ~ ~ Blog Tour, Author Interview, & Giveaway!

Book Title: Seven Threads: A Book of Short Stories
Author: Jason Atkinson
Category: Adult Fiction, 151 pages
Genre: Thriller and Suspense
Publisher: Mascot Books
Release date: July 4 , 2017
Content Rating: PG


In this collection of seven short stories from Jason Atkinson, follow a man accused of murder, a runaway girl on a train, a scientist at the heart of a government conspiracy, and more! Full of twists and turns, Seven Threads offers a selection of fast-paced stories full of heart and excitement.

Buy the Book:


Jason Atkinson lives in the Midwest with his wife and son. With a love of writing, this is his 3rd book but first book in the fiction category. Short stories are easy to digest and yet, this book still provides all the joys for the long haul reader. Jason wrote keeping every reader in mind when creating this piece and hopes you enjoy it as much as he did when writing it.

Connect with the author: Website ~ Facebook


Q: How do you balance your time when writing?

A: The balancing act used to be easy for me. Once upon a time it was just my wife and me, but now, I have a toddler running around, whom I cannot bear to stay away from because of how precious he is to me. I struggle sometimes pulling myself away so I can write, but I know that if I don’t, I will fall behind, or worse, just lose interest in the story I am working on. I have to stay committed. So I make sure at least 3 or 4 times per week I am solely devoting myself to approximately 1,000 words per session. At least then I can say I did something that would help my progress.

Q: Which story of the Seven is your favorite, and why?

A: The first story I wrote in this book is “The Gentle Man,” which coincidentally is also the first story you can read. This story was how the entire book got started in the first place and was also the most interesting for me to write. If other readers out there are like me, they will read this story and find themselves immersed in a movie just like I was when I wrote it. I think that is a part of why writing is so enjoyable for me. I don’t just get to write the stories, but I also get to experience first hand what they look like in my imagination.
Q: What is your next project?

A: My next project is currently underway. It will be a novel comprised of short stories. Each story will be its own spin on the overall book using different characters' perspectives to show the reader what is going on. Typically, a book would be from one or two characters' perspectives or just from a third person narrative. I intend to shake that up a little and use each story to tell different tales about the same “thing” that is occurring in this town.

I’d give away more details, but I don’t want to spoil it! I am very excited about this book and its potential. All I can say extra is that it is based in a town within the U.S. and has a sci-fi feel to it.
Q: Do you have a profession besides writing?

A: I do; amazingly publishing books isn’t a get rich quick type of deal! I actually have a career in Operations with a company based out of California, even though I am located in Iowa. I get to work from home and sometimes travel to work with different clients and because of that, I can soak in the new surroundings that I encounter and apply them to my imagination when writing stories for people like you.
Q: There are plenty of fiction books out there; what makes yours so special?

A: I realize that in this great big world that there are those who read a lot, and those only only read small portions. This book stands apart because it fits both audiences. My book of short stories is split into parts. Each story has parts that make up the entire story. If a reader wishes to read an entire story at once, she can. If another reader wants to digest smaller sections without getting lost – he can! It’s great.

Plus, my stories are just fun to read and have twists and turns all their own. Each story is unique, so you are bound to find a few favorites to read over and over again.

Enter the Giveaway!
1 Signed Copy!
Ends Aug. 28, 2017

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Wednesday, July 12, 2017

A Matter of Trust ~ ~ Blog Tour, Playlist, & Giveaway!

Montana Rescue Series, Book 3

  Genre: Contemporary Romance / Action / Christian
Publisher: Revell
Date of Publication: July 4, 2017
Number of Pages: 336


Champion backcountry snowboarder Gage Watson was at the top of his game when one of his fans crashed and died—a death blamed on Gage. After being sued for negligence and stripped of his sponsorships, Gage had no choice but to leave the limelight behind and search for a new life.

Although Gage is now working as a ski patrol in Montana’s rugged mountains, as well as serving on the PEAK Rescue team, he still can’t find peace—or forget the woman who betrayed him.
As a former attorney and one of the youngest senators in the country, Ella Blair is used to being in the public eye. But she does have one secret that has remained hidden—a secret that could have saved Gage his career. Wracked with regret, she’ll do almost anything to atone for her betrayal of him.
When Ella’s brother goes missing on one of Glacier National Park’s most dangerous peaks, the last thing Gage wants is to let Ella join the search. Not only will he have to find her reckless brother, but he’ll have to keep her safe as well. But Ella is undeterred, and suddenly Gage finds himself in a high-stakes adventure on a mountain with a woman who could cost him everything—again. In a world of dangerous heights, devastating injuries, and blinding snowstorms, Gage and Ella must put aside the past and learn to trust each other if they hope to survive.

Praise for the Montana Rescue Series
“Exciting rescues and an old mystery offer a thrilling, roller-coaster plotline and plenty of drama to keep the pages turning.” 
—Bookpage on Wild Montana Skies

“A fast-moving, high-stakes romantic adventure set against the backdrop of Glacier National Park, which will leave longtime fans and new readers alike anticipating the next book in the series.” 
—Publishers Weekly on Rescue Me

iBooks  | Kobo | Lifeway 

Susie May Warren
A Matter of Trust Playlist

One of the things I love to do as I write is create playlists that inspire the themes, the action and the emotions behind my books.  I have a playlist on Youtube for every book that includes everything from inspirational music to country (which I love), hymns and even epic videos.  This time, the list includes a few epic freeriding runs that rose the gooseflesh and made me admire the courage of the crazy, talented, brave freeriders.  And, it also includes a 2-part documentary about the life of a freerider on his road to being a world champion. 

I hope you enjoy it as you enter the world of A Matter of Trust!
Click to Listen

Susan May Warren is the USA Today, ECPA, and CBA bestselling author of over fifty novels, including Wild Montana Skies with more than one million books sold. Winner of a RITA Award and multiple Christy and Carol Awards, as well as the HOLT and numerous Readers’ Choice Awards, Susan has written contemporary and historical romances, romantic suspense, thrillers, romantic comedy, and novellas. 


GRAND PRIZE: Huckleberry Coffee, Pair of Bookish Mugs, and Full Montana Rescue Series.
PRIZE TWO: A Matter of Trust + $25 Barnes & Noble GC.
PRIZE THREE: A Matter of Trust & $10 Starbucks GC
June 6-July 16, 2017
(U.S. Only)

Character Interview 1
Author Interview
Character Interview 2
Deleted Scene

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Monday, July 10, 2017

Hannah and Tamar Mystery Series

ABOUT BOOK ONE: Hannah and Tamar are looking forward to spending Thanksgiving break with their grandparents. On the long ride to Vermont, the sisters are quick to offer assistance when a fellow passenger – a girl in her late teens – is hassled by a rough-looking young man. Grateful as she may be for their help, Gwen is in no hurry to make friends, not even as she thrusts a mysterious package into Tamar’s hand and disappears in the Rutland train station. Puzzled by her behavior, Hannah and Tamar set out to locate Gwen and unravel the secret of the mysterious package.
Scroll down for Hall Ways Review!

ABOUT BOOK TWO: A simple request opens up a savory mystery.

Hannah never imagined her high school service project with the elderly would draw her into another mystery. Mrs. Tedesco, a lonely widow who loves to bake, has just one request -- that the teen retrieve her cookbook from her old house. Easier said than done. The house has been ransacked and the coveted cookbook is nowhere to be found. Eager to help the woman, Hannah and her sister, Tamar, are driven to locate the cookbook and uncover its secrets. But the teens aren't the only ones seeking the cookbook's hidden treasures, and the other side is playing for keeps.

Scroll down for Hall Ways Review!

INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHORS:  As we come up on the release of the THIRD book in this YA mystery series co-authored by Christa Nardi and Cassidy Salem, I decided I'd better get caught up.Since I've read several of each author's adult cozy books (see RELATED at the bottom of this post), I asked for an interview. SCOOP ALERT: Christa and Cassidy divulged that, like the main characters in the Hannah and Tamar series, they are sisters! Let’s start by filling in a few of the blanks.

Hall Ways: Cassidy, you told me a great story about your pen name, and I am still giggling about it. Please share.

Cassidy: Choosing a pen name is more challenging than you might think. I started with names that had some connection to family, sometimes even in different languages. It seemed every time I came up with a name I liked the sound of - it turned out there was a porn star or such with a website with the same name - not exactly a good match for someone who writes "clean" fiction. (Tip: Always Google a name before adopting it.)  Eventually, I came up with Cassidy Salem, which has subtle elements of family history and personal meaning for me.

Hall Ways: Christa, from your bio I know you are a professor/psychologist from the Northeast, now living in the Lone Star State. (Yes, my Lone Star Book Blog Tours radar is going wild!) What else can you tell me about yourself?

Christa: I have always been a voracious reader, and when I was younger, I wrote poetry and short stories in my spare time. Growing up my favorite authors included Carolyn Keene and Earl Stanley Gardner, although today I have shifted to reading more contemporary mystery/crime authors. For leisure reading, I generally opt for mystery, romance, and sci-fi/fantasy.  BTW, Christa is also a pen name. We both use pen names to separate our fiction writing from professional work, which for both of us includes other types of writing.

Hall Ways: Cassidy, what would you like to share?

Cassidy: Definitely avid reader. Especially mysteries (both cozy and traditional) and police procedurals. I also enjoy reading historical fiction focused on American and world history, as well as the classics. Unlike Christa, I dislike sci-fi. No longer living in New England -- or in the U.S. for that matter. I moved to Israel after spending a few years working in D.C. after college. 

Hall Ways: WOW. I have questions about that, but first -- how is it you both came to be mystery writers?

Christa: As kids we were both nerdy bookworms - devouring mysteries - Nancy Drew in particular.  I started working on the Cold Creek Mystery series 4 years ago.

Cassidy:  Then as adults we were constantly trading paperbacks.  Christa got the writing bug much earlier than I did. I wasn’t drawn to writing when I was young.  It’s been more of a recent undertaking for me.  My first mystery in the Adina Donati, Accidental Sleuth series came out just two years ago.

Hall Ways: Collaboration can be tricky even when geography isn’t a barrier. Texas and Israel aren’t even in the same time zone. How do you two manage to work together?

Cassidy: In a word – Skype.  We talk all the time.  Not just about writing, of course.

Christa: We bounce ideas off of each other and exchange drafts by email. Taking turns reworking and fleshing out our stories. When possible we meet up in person. Last year, a joint vacation in Barcelona (with husbands in tow) gave us a chance to brainstorm.

Cassidy: And earlier this year, I spent a week with Christa in Texas as we worked on finishing up Mrs. Tedesco’s Missing Cookbook and outlined a third book for the Hannah and Tamar Series.  Fun and productive visit.

Hall Ways: I have to ask – are Hannah and Tamar based on the real-life sisters?

Christa:  Not really.  Definitely not in terms of the story lines.  We didn’t solve mysteries as kids.

Cassidy:  But, in an effort to give them different voices – we try to give them each a different perspective/personality.  Of course, I give Tamar her voice. After all, we are both taller than our counterparts.

Christa: She loves to point that out, too. But I’m still the older and wiser.


HALL WAYS REVIEW: When two of my favorite cozy mystery authors told me about their collaboration to create a new YA series, the Hannah and Tamar mysteries, I was super excited and ready to review! I have read Cassidy Salem’s two books in her Adina Donati, Accidental Sleuth series, and two of Christa Nardi’s Cold Creek series, and I enjoy each author’s unique style and characters. (Click the covers at the bottom of this post for my reviews.) As Cassidy explained to me about the new young adult series featuring two teen sisters, I realized (and got confirmation) that the two authors are also sisters. The C-Sisters! That made reading the books even more appealing – how cool to write a series with a sibling!

I was a faithful Nancy Drew reader growing up and as an adult, I have even read some of the new iterations of that series.  I was expecting something along those lines in Hannah and Tamar, the main characters of the C-Sisters’ series. Though that influence is there (the C-Sisters are also Nancy Drew fans), the Hannah and Tamar books have their own vibe. The girls aren’t really as much sleuths as problem-solvers, and I like that each girl not only uses her own strengths to figure out dilemmas and get answers, but each also knows when to get help. The books are a quick read at around one hundred pages and so far, they are stand alone. Apart from the girls and their parents, there aren’t even any repeat characters from book one to book two. My hope is some of these same characters show up again in the next book, The Missing Dog (coming August 2017).

The C-Sisters do a great job at sliding in some subtle life-lessons, and as an adult reader, I appreciate that adults are not only present and important to the teenagers, but they are respected by the teenagers, and adult opinions are valued, even if disregarded. Hannah and Tamar and their immediate circle of friends (and romantic interests) are teenagers who model some great behaviors without being cheesy about it. Fear-not! They also have some fairly typical teenage concerns and fascinations.

The Mysterious Package is book one of the series, and readers are put into a crisp fall setting with Hannah and Tamar (high school senior and junior, respectively) riding a train to visit their grandparents over Thanksgiving break. Right away, I loved where things were going. As a Texas girl, for me a train ride in itself is a mysterious and interesting thing, and add in the allure of traveling sans parents – score! Quickly, there is some conflict, and I like how the girls’ response is a thoughtful and natural one. There is a nice balance between the serious (homework, college, career) and the fun of being a teen girl (clothes, boys, dreaming). There were a few things bothered me about this book including giving expired food to the homeless, a few helpless female overtures, and some inaccuracies about college residency requirements -- and the big mystery, when finally unraveled, was a little anti-climactic (but also very unique). Overall, I think it has good bones and enough going on that readers will stay engaged and satisfied without being bombarded by the ubiquitous underage drinking, sex, drugs, and violence found in many YA books. 3.5 Stars.

Mrs. Tedesco’s Missing Cookbook is my favorite of the two books. The mystery is more interesting, and there’s just a hint of danger running through it that keeps a nice behind the scenes hum. Again, the teens are modeling some great behaviors and adults are not regarded as idiots. Even better, adults living in senior communities are not illustrated as incapable or mentally incapacitated. The C-Sisters address something that is common in teens: a fear and/or discomfort with being around old people or senior communities. What is excellent is how they write-in a teen character who has good reason for her discomfort and show how to handle it. Hannah, who is more the main character of this story than Tamar, is observant and sensitive, and finds a way for the teen to be important and included in her own way. In addition to the mysterious story line, there is a low-key, blossoming romance (or two!). There is a lovely message in this book about second chances for young, old, and in between, and that’s what resonates with me. The resolution on this one was a little quick, with the details being summarized to the girls instead of readers seeing action unfold; however, given the nature of the information, that’s the realistic way it would be done. I have one niggling question that remains unanswered, but otherwise, I am satisfied and looking forward to the next book. 4 stars.

Both books need more thorough copy editing to correct errors in capitalization, punctuation, and usage, but that’s the beauty (some would say curse) of eBooks – they can continually be revised. As a Grammar Policewoman, I have only the utmost respect for authors who not only have great stories but who are brave enough to write them down and share them with the world. My goal in critiquing is always to help, not harm.

Thank you to the C-Sisters for sharing their books with me in exchange for my honest opinion – the only kind I give. 

Click for Hall Ways Review

Click for Hall Ways Review

Click for Hall Ways Review

Click for Hall Ways Review

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Guardian's Touch ~ Cover Reveal!

For a ghost there are only two choices. Heaven or Hell.

Coming August 1, 2017
Guardian's Touch, Touched by Afterlife, Book 2

Life has returned to normal for Tamara and Dex after helping a horde of ghosts cross over. Their brush with the afterlife affirmed one thing: happily ever after is real.

When odd pranks around the farm escalate to destruction,Tamara fears mischievous teenagers are vandalizing the neighborhood. Then Dex starts to act out of character. Meanness slips into his usually playful disposition. One day he even ridicules a co-worker publicly. Tamara watches helplessly as he seems to lose the ability to control his own actions. When Dex’s abnormal anger turns violent—toward Tamara—their happily ever after is
threatened. Desperate to help Dex and herself, she sends out a silent prayer for help.

She didn’t expect Cal to come to her aid.

Pre-order now!
Mark as to read on Goodreads:
Follow LA Dragoni on Amazon
or BookBub.

*** ***

Ghost Touch, Touched by Afterlife Book 1 ebook
is marked down to just $0.99 for a limited time.

For fifteen minutes each night a portal opens in Tamara’s barn and a horde of ghosts spills into her yard. Their leader, Cal, a quiet, unassuming cowboy, fulfills an aching loneliness the death of Tamara’s mother left behind. Tamara can help the ghosts cross, but can she let Cal go?

Available in ebook, audiobook, and print from Amazon.

Also available on Barnes and Noble, KoboiTunes, and other e-tailers.
But hurry before the price returns to $2.99.

About the author: LA Dragoni isn’t too particular about who falls in love or where they fall in love. Whether it’s paranormal, mythical, or time travel, LA simply considers it her job to divine their story and share it with you. She lives in Central Oregon with her husband and children, but haunts ghost towns and cemeteries throughout the west, in search of the next adventure to sift through her storytelling brain. Learn more about LA and her work at

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Badlands ~ ~ ~ Blog Tour, Bonus Review, & Giveaway!

Sawbones, Book 3

  Genre: Historical / Western / Action-Adventure / Romance
Publisher: Redhook
Date of Publication: June 27, 2017
Number of Pages: 416


Outlander meets post-Civil War unrest in the conclusion to Melissa Lenhardt's fast-paced historical series.
Laura's worst fears have been realized: Kindle has been taken into custody and she is once again on the run. The noose awaits her in New York, but Laura is realizing that there are some things worse than death. Finally running out of places to hide, it may be time for Dr. Catherine Bennett to face her past.


Melissa Lenhardt is the author the Jack McBride mystery series, as well as the Laura Elliston historical fiction series. Her debut mystery, STILLWATER, was a finalist for the 2014 Whidbey Writers’ MFA Alumni Emerging Writers Contest, and SAWBONES, her historical fiction debut, was hailed as a "thoroughly original, smart and satisfying hybrid, perhaps a new subgenre: the feminist Western" by Lone Star Literary Life. A lifelong Texan, she lives in the Dallas area with her husband and two sons.

BLOOD OATH, Book 2 in the Sawbones Series

This series makes me want to start a book club or fan club or SOMETHING where I can just sit around and talk about the stories -- and I haven't even read book three (yet!). I am thoroughly hooked. 

Melissa Lenhardt is a master at manipulating her readers. We're high! We're low! We're yes, and we're oh-hell-no! (Thank you, Train/Save Me San Francisco, for that inspiration.) As with book one of the series, Sawbones, Blood Oath is brutal in its depiction of the mentality of life on the frontier. Lenhardt weaves-in actual people and events from the 1800s to bring an extra level of realism, and both the truths and the fiction ain't pretty. Sensitive reader: consider yourself warned. 

At the very heart of the story is our main character, the woman who goes by Catherine or Laura or Charlotte or Sophia, depending on the situation. Though her name changes often, her strength and fortitude really stay consistent. No matter how mentally or physically beaten, bruised, and abused, she perseveres.  Less consistent is her love interest, William Kindle. He is also beaten, bruised, and abused, and he shows great strength and perseverance, but in Blood Oath, for me, he came dangerously close to losing his luster a few times. There is a huge cast of characters, old and new, and they are richly crafted to leave lasting impressions. From Native Americans to Quakers, priests to Pinkertons, readers are given insight into a variety of mindsets and attitudes towards women, as women were beginning their fight for rights and equality.

The action is non-stop, and even as Laura and Kindle are waging battles at every turn, it is Laura’s battle with herself that is sometimes the most damaging. She can’t escape or move on from the horrible memories of abuse and she can’t reconcile what she’s become – a killer – to the Hippocratic Oath she took. The reader must never relax while reading Blood Oath. All I will say about that is this: when you least expect it, expect it.

The book is well-written and cleanly edited. Lenhardt has a way with words and is deliberate in her word choices to convey specific impressions of character and place.  (Admittedly, there were a few words I had to look-up!) The book isn’t meant to stand alone, and I wouldn’t recommend trying it that way. The only way to truly make the journey with Laura is if you start it with her. Block out a few days, then read Sawbones and make sure you have Blood Oath and Badlands at the ready. Then block out another day or two to recover – this series will wear you out in the best possible way. 

I won a BEAUTIFUL signed copy of this book in a giveaway, so thank you to the author for my copy! And thanks to Lone Star Book Blog Tours for allowing me to post my bonus review on the tour in exchange for my honest opinion – the only kind I give.  

 Three Winners 
1stBadlands paperback;       2ndBadlands eBook; 
3rdBadlands audio download via Downpour
June 27-July 6, 2017
(U.S. Only)

Notable Quotable 1
Notable Quotable 2
Review: Blood Oath
Review: Badlands
Review: Blood Oath
Review: Badlands
Review: Blood Oath
Review: Badlands
Review: Blood Oath
Review: Badlands
Badlands Excerpt 1
Bonus Review
Bonus Review
Badlands Excerpt 2
Badlands Excerpt 3

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