Tuesday, October 16, 2018

A Sparkle of Silver ~ Lone Star Book Blog Tours Promo, Author Interview, & Giveaway!

Georgia Coast Romance #1
Genre: Contemporary / Romance
Publisher: Revell
Date of Publication: October 16, 2018
Number of Pages: 368

Scroll down for the giveaway!

Millie Sullivan plays a 1920s-era guest during tours of a palatial estate on the shore of St. Simons Island, Georgia, where her great-grandmother was a real guest ninety years ago. When Millie learns of a lost diary that may contain the location of a hidden treasure on the estate and reveal the identity of her great-grandfather, she sets out to find the truth of her heritage—and the fortune she desperately needs. But it won’t be easy.

When security guard Ben Thornton discovers her snooping in the estate’s private library, he threatens to have her fired. Still, her story seems too ludicrous to be fiction, and her offer to split the treasure is too tempting to pass up.

Get ready for a romantic escapade through dark halls and dusty corners that will have you holding your breath and sighing with delight.

“A mystery, a treasure hunt, and a split-time romance—all set within a beautiful chateau. What more could we want?”—Katherine Reay, author of Dear Mr. Knightley and A Portrait of Emily Price

“A charming romance about real people triumphing over real problems. Add in a dash of mystery, a treasure hunt, and old family secrets, and you have a story that will warm every corner of your heart.”—Victoria Bylin, award-winning author of Together with You

“Lovers of history will enjoy this treasure-seeking adventure through a historic estate, and readers will appreciate a story that turns up riches of the lasting kind.”—Denise Hunter, bestselling author of Honeysuckle Dreams


Liz Johnson is the author of more than a dozen novels, including The Red Door InnWhere Two Hearts Meet, and On Love’s Gentle Shore, as well as a New York Times bestselling novella and a handful of short stories. A marketing manager for a Christian film company, she makes her home in Phoenix, Arizona.
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How long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing almost as long as I can remember. I recall very specifically being seven and sitting at my dining room table asking my parents how to spell certain words. My school assignment was to write two paragraphs about a bear. I wrote two pages. I’ve been writing ever since. For school, for fun, and finally for a career.

What kinds of writing do you do?
I get to do all sorts of writing between my day and night jobs. By night I write inspirational romances, getting to tell grand stories of love and forgiveness and redemption. By day I work in marketing, so I write all sorts of things—from press releases to online personality quizzes. I love getting to write such a wide range of projects.

What cultural value do you see in fiction?
Studies show that readers of fiction have more empathy than those who don’t read. When we spend time exploring what it’s like to walk in another’s shoes, we can empathize with their struggles and find compassion for their failings. Our world can use more of that right now. I may not know first-hand the struggles of some groups, but when I read and begin to understand their stories, I’m moved with compassion.

What did you enjoy most about writing A Sparkle of Silver?
The thing I enjoyed most about writing this book was also the hardest part about it. When Millie found her great-grandmother’s journal, I knew that I was going to have to write some of those journal entries, and I ended up loving them. It was so fun to explore life at the Chateau in 1929 through the eyes of one character. It wasn’t easy to find the right voice and syntax for that era, but I loved digging into it. For about half a minute I wondered if I should try my hand at writing an historical novel—and then I thought about how it adds another level difficulty.

What literary character is most like you?
I’ve been thinking about Little Women lately, and I’d like to say that I’m similar to Jo March. But maybe I’m not quite as tenacious as she is. But I do love a good story and have all the tendencies of a romantic. I completely identify with her when she doesn’t get to go to Europe with Aunt March.

What do you like to read in your free time?
Lately I’ve been getting into more nonfiction. I still enjoy a heavy dose of contemporary and historical and YA romances, but I’ve also been enjoying true stories. Seabiscuit and Unbroken are favorites.

What projects are you working on at the present?
I just finished writing the follow up to A Sparkle of Silver, called A Glitter of Gold. It releases next summer and is set in Savannah, Georgia. I can’t wait to return to the Georgia coast with readers.

GRAND PRIZE: Print Copy of A Sparkle of Silver, a Tin of Georgia Peach Cookies, a Handmade Wooden Treasure Box; SECOND PRIZE: Print Copy + $25 B&N Gift Card;
THIRD PRIZE: Print Copy + $10 Starbucks Gift Card
OCTOBER 10-19, 2018
Author Interview
Bonus Notable Quotable
Character Interview

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Monday, October 15, 2018

Joy to You and Me (at Work!) ~ Book Blog Tour Promo, Author Interview, & Giveaway!

by Amy Thornton
Genre: Adult Non-Fiction
Sub-Genres: Self-help, Business
Publisher: Tell-Tale Publishing Group, LLC
Pages: 179
Release date: June 5, 2018
Content Rating: PG (This book is for ages 16+, so there is the occasional mild profanity

Book Description:
Are you one of the 48% of employees worldwide who doesn't like their jobs? Do you feel constantly stressed at the office? Or maybe you're just feeling "blah" about your job and want to bring some life back into your workplace. If you talk to anyone about their careers or jobs these days, most of the time you won't hear positive stories or excitement. You'll probably hear words like "busy", "stressed", "exhausting", and "mind-numbing." And with the good old 40-hour workweek becoming a distant memory for many of us, this reality is just plain sad.

Joy to You and Me (At Work!) helps turn these situations around by giving the reader easy tips they can implement quickly to start making a positive difference in the workplace. Being joyful isn't just a "fluffy-cutesy-nice" thing to do each day - it actually increases productivity and is good for any company or organization. The book helps anyone learn how to:

- Be a more joyful person

- Bring joy to co-workers

- Bring joy to customers

- Bring joy to networking

This fun, easy-to-read guide shows people of all ages and personalities how to make a difference immediately to make not only themselves happier, but to spread that happiness throughout the workplace - and beyond!

By sharing stories from the author's 25+ years of making a joyful difference in the workplace and examples from truly kick-ass companies, Joy to You and Me (At Work!) is a life-changing, fun read for anyone who wants to improve their work life.

Buy the Book:


MEET THE AUTHOR: Amy Thornton Shankland, GPC, has been bringing joy to her workplaces for over 25 years thanks to her innate enthusiasm. She is a former Dale Carnegie instructor, has been a grant professional for 17 years, is a former columnist for the Noblesville Daily Times, and is current board member of Noblesville Main Street.

Connect with the Author: 


There are many books out there about how to become happy and successful at work. What makes yours different?
My book is easy to read and pertinent for anyone in the work world, from teenagers to those approaching retirement age. My ultimate goals when I wrote it were to help people not only be more joyful at work but also increase their productivity. I wanted to stay away from something long and complicated. Readers should be able to implement most any of the book’s suggestions quickly and easily, no matter their personality. 

I share not only my own experiences but also those of others in a variety of professions. The reader will see examples of joy in the workplace in small, medium, and large companies or organizations. And I don’t just write about office workers but salespeople, factory workers, and others.

Do you have another profession besides writing?
Yes, I’m a grant consultant. I currently help 3-4 non-profits to find and apply for grant opportunities. I also conduct training on the basics of the grant profession. I’ve been a grant professional for over 17 years now.

And, later this fall, I’ll be starting a weekly column for one of our local newspapers, the Hamilton County Reporter. “Sandwiched” will feature my adventures of being in the sandwich generation. For those of you not familiar with this term, it’s when you’re “sandwiched” between raising your own family and taking care of elderly parents, often while working and managing a household.

Do you write every day?
Almost! When I’m not working on a book, I save my weekends for volunteering, activities with family and friends, and reading. But Monday – Friday, you can most always catch me writing a grant proposal, column, or marketing piece for my book or any of the organizations I volunteer with.

If you’re a mom writer, how do you balance your time?
When my kids were babies/toddlers, I was able to work from home and did a lot on my computer with them at my side. My two sons took great naps, so I made sure to do most of the work that needed immense concentration during those 2-3 hours every afternoon.

When I worked as a grant coordinator for a Central Indiana municipality for nine years, my husband was at home with the boys until they both started school.  

Now, my sons are teenagers who have part-time jobs in addition to going to high school. Thankfully they both drive now, so I’m able to do my grant and book promotion work during the day without barely any interruptions.

When I’m working on a book, my husband and sons know that my evenings and weekends will be dedicated to writing, so they’re not surprised when I disappear for hours at a time. 

My bigger struggle now is getting work done while taking care of my mother. Thankfully, technology is a Godsend! For example, when I’m waiting in the lobby during a procedure for my mom, you can find me on my laptop proofing or working on projects. And it’s great to quickly check emails on my phone as well.

The biggest sanity savers on this topic include Amazon and the new grocery delivery services offered by many stores. Both of these are worth every penny! I’ve cut down dramatically on the trips to my mom’s assisted living facility.

Name a quirky thing you like to do.

I am a hoop dancer! Dancing with a hula-hoop is my number one exercise and meditative activity. If I don’t hoop at least twice a week, I get quite cranky.

Enter the Giveaway!
One winner: paperback copy of Joy to You and Me at Work + $25 Amazon.com Gift Card
Two winners:  each get a paperback copy of the book 
(open to USA only)
Ends Oct 27, 2018

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Thursday, October 11, 2018

The Encouragement Letters ~ Lone Star Book Blog Tours Promo, Review, & Giveaway!


  Sub-genre: Middle Grade / Historical Fiction
Publisher: Book Liftoff
Date of Publication: November 22, 2017
Number of Pages: 180

Scroll down for the giveaway! 

WILLIAM CROMWELL, at age eleven, knew what it was like living with new changes. In 1865, Manchester, England a new textile factory moved into town and after a tragedy that befell him and his mum, they struggled to live. With so many things going on in his young life he wanted to be the encouragement that his father was to him.

As everything changes along with terrible hardships, just maybe the hope he gives to the growing town will find its way to Will…

This was such an uplifting wholesome book! It was so nice to read something positive about a time when people were so willing to step in and help someone in need without expecting anything in return! I couldn’t put it down!-- 5 Stars, Kindle verified purchase reviewer

Excellent read!! This story speaks to people in all walks of life. It is encouraging, sweet, and funny at the same time. I would recommend this book to anyone needing to see what it means to “treat others as you want to be treated." -- 5 Stars, Kindle verified purchase reviewer

A very inspiring book from a great new author! -- 5 Stars, Kindle verified purchase reviewer

A charming tale of a simpler time. Yet, the message is ageless. I congratulate Ms. Spence on this her first effort and look forward to more entertaining reads from her in the future.-- 5 Stars, Kindle reviewer

HALL WAYS REVIEW: The Encouragement Letters by Shanna Spence is a breath of fresh air with an eleven-year-old main character who I want to take home and keep for my very own.

“My, worry sure can make you tired.”

That eleven-year-old is one William Cromwell, and he’s a fabulous model of what any person, young or old, should be. Will’s energy and emotions really come through via author Shanna Spence’s descriptive word choices, which show him as thoughtful, caring, and compassionate. He is not only aware of what needs to be done for his and his mother’s very survival, but he does the tasks without guidance or complaint. He is wise beyond his young years as he synthesizes the changes that the new factory has forced upon his town and each of the merchants. Readers see these impacts through Will’s eyes and interactions with the various tradespeople, which makes the story very personal.

“I can’t believe that these new tools have taken
the place of me mum and others.”

Set in England during the Industrial Revolution, The Encouragement Letters gives realistic snapshots of life in the 1800s and the hardships that people had to endure in the name of progress. Author Shanna Spence is subtle in including historical facts and information so that the story is informative without feeling like a textbook lesson. Stepping back in time and following Will as he goes about his daily routine provides a different perspective for readers, who will feel like they are part of this community.

"Sometimes you have to make the wrongs righted again."

As Will recognizes the generosity and selflessness of his town’s people, he is inspired to give back in some measure. He takes it upon himself to write encouraging letters of appreciation to the people who show kindness to others. This really is only a minor story line in The Encouragement Letters, but it is a satisfying one -- and more so because Will remains anonymous, never taking credit for the joy he spreads. There are so many important messages conveyed to readers through Will’s thought processes and actions. The world needs more Wills!

The Encouragement Letters is written for a late elementary to middle grade audience, and it’s a quick and easy book to read. The short chapters and plenty of white space will make it appealing to reluctant readers. The dialogue includes terminology of the times, which adds a layer of interest, and the author provides a helpful list of definitions. The result is readers hear the British accents and the story feels authentic. Unfortunately, the book needs significant proofreading and editing to correct errors. The grammar policewoman in me always struggles with this, but with a kids’ book, the librarian in me struggles more. However, the story is too good to miss, and the messages are much needed, so I still strongly recommend it. It would make a fabulous read-aloud and complement to classroom – and life -- lessons.

I received my signed copy directly from the author when I attended the AME Book Fest this past summer. Thank you to her for sharing her wonderful story with me in exchange for my honest opinion – the only kind I give. 

Shanna Spence is a wife, mother, and registered nurse of over twenty years. She has written poetry since the age of thirteen and always dreamed of writing books. Raised in a small East Texas town, she pursued a career of nursing in Dallas, Texas but eventually went back to East Texas to settle down and raise a family.

Now she finally has found the time to fulfill her dream of writing stories that will hopefully bring out the imagination in others -- as well as inspiration. She is currently living in Longview, Texas. 


1st Prize:
Signed Copy + Bookmark + $10 Amazon Gift Card
2 Runners-Up: eBook Copy
October 10-19, 2018
Notable Quotable
Notable Quotable
Author Interview
Character Interview

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