Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Skyriders ~ Lone Star Book Blog Tours BONUS Character Interview & Giveaway!

Skyriders Series, #1
Polly Holyoke

Children's Fantasy / Middle Grade Readers / Mythical Stories / Adventure
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
Date of Publication: March 7, 2023
Number of Pages: 304 pages 

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Wings of Fire meets Pax in this epic fantasy adventure set in a world where human and skysteed share a deep bond of friendship. When monsters emerge to attack the empire, it's up to shy Kiesandra and her beloved winged horse N'Rah to prove to the imperial army that she has what it takes to lead them to victory . . . and to ensure the survival of their world.

Buzzing with action, heart, and friendship, this first book in the Skyriders series shows that kids can achieve the impossible--especially with flying horses on their side.

"Skyriders soars off the page and takes you along for an epic adventure that will leave you breathless and asking for more.”
—James Ponti, New York Times bestselling author of the City Spies series

"A breathtaking, mythical adventure. This is the kind of book I would have devoured and read over and over again as a kid."
—Liesl Shurtliff, New York Times bestselling author of Rump and the Time Castaways trilogy

"Kiesandra Torsun is an unforgettable heroine who never gives up, even when facing staggering odds against vicious three-headed monsters attacking her homeland. Her loyalty, courage, and kindness won me over and her bond with her winged horse left me dazzled."
—Mary E. Pearson, New York Times bestselling author of The Remnant Chronicles



I’m excited to have this opportunity to chat with N’Rah, one of the heroes of Polly Holyoke’s new fantasy novel Skyriders. I should mention in passing that N’Rah happens to be a flying horse, or skysteed, as his breed is known in the Empire of Prekalt. I also happened to know that this particular skysteed has a real fondness for honey and apples.

So, N’Rah, can you tell us a little bit about you and your human’s exciting work as sky couriers?

My human and I are very proud of the work we do flying the mail across the vast lands of Prekalt. Because I am mountain born and bred, I am happy to fly courier routes through the high peaks. I grew up dealing with the kind of strong winds and thunderstorms that can frighten other couriers, but not my skyrider. Kie trusts my judgement and my flying abilities when it comes to extreme weather.

Please tell us about the human you are bound to, Kiesandra Torsun.

My human is very brave, kind, and stubborn. I think she spends too much time by herself, caring for her family’s apple orchard. Her father died a year ago, and her mother left her when Kie was only six. Her Uncle Dugs lives with us, but he is so frail now, she looks after him more than he looks after her. The other students were awful to her at school because she was so shy and had problems learning to read. It is hard for her to trust others, but I am proud that she is gradually gaining good friends and a herd of her own.

I hear her Uncle Dugs was always pestering you two to practice skyfighting.

That is true, and now it appears to be a very good thing that he did! We would spend hours learning how to shoot targets that represented the three hearts of the chimerae, a terrible three-headed monster that once almost destroyed all of Prekalt. We also learned how to use triwires, a weapon made up of three razor-sharp wires that are four feet long, weighted with metal balls at the ends and joined at the center with a small wooden handle.  Skyriders throw triwires at a chimerae hoping to damage its wings or bind its wings to its legs.

How do you feel about the chimerae?

At first, I hated them, and I was shocked when they reappeared. Now I understand they were created from a terrible, dark binding magic that forced three separate creatures-- sand dragons, blood goats and lions-- into the same body. Mostly I feel sorry for the Foul Ones, but I will not let them harm my skyrider, or our world. 

How did you come to have such an important role in saving Pedarth, the capital city of Prekalt?

Kie’s uncle and his skysteed were terribly hurt fighting chimerae after the monsters returned. He made Kie promise that we would take his great grandfather’s manual on ancient skyfighting tactics to the capital and persuade people in power there to read it. That was such a difficult mission for a shy thirteen-year-old girl from the fringes of the Empire. But with my help and the help of new friends she made in Pedarth, I am proud to say my human was successful.

What do you think is next for you and your brave skyrider?

We desperately need more help in fighting the chimerae, so I think someday we may have to ask the wild skysteeds to join us in this struggle. Someday, too, someone will have to discover who is creating chimerae in this time and causing so much pain and suffering. That human needs to be stopped!

Thank you for taking the time to talk with me today.

My pleasure. Now, about those apples and honey cookies you mentioned?

Polly Holyoke is the award-winning author of the middle grade sci-fi Neptune Trilogy (Disney/Hyperion) and the new children’s fantasy series, Skyriders (Viking Children’s Books). A former classroom teacher, Polly loves doing school visits and getting students excited about writing.

Polly grew up in Colorado, where she spent her childhood skiing, camping, reading, and dreaming up fantastical stories. Polly went on to graduate from Middlebury College and become a middle school social studies teacher. She lives with her husband and their two daughters, as well as two cats, two Chihuahuas, and a beagle.


Signed copy of SKYRIDERS, set of 5 flying horse necklaces
+ a $25 Barnes & Noble gift card.
(US only; ends midnight, CDT, 4/7/23)

a Rafflecopter giveaway 

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Far Out! ~ Lone Star Book Blog Tours Spotlight Video & Giveaway!

Anne Bustard

Children's Historical Fiction / Family / Mystery / Humor / Sci-Fi Inspired / 8-12 years
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Date of Publication: April 18, 2023
Number of Pages: 224 pages 

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From the author of Blue Skies comes a lively middle grade novel set in 1960s Texas about a young, alien-loving girl trying to clear her grandmother’s good name in this mystery that has humor, hijinks, and heart in equal measure.

It’s 1964, the Space Race is well underway, and eleven-year-old Magnolia Jean Crook and the other residents of Totter, Texas, are over the moon about UFOs.

The whole town is gearing up for the First Annual Come on Down Day—in just one week, they are hoping to host any and all space aliens who would like to visit Earth. But right before the kick-off party, a meteorite goes missing—and MJ’s beloved grandmother Mimi, who is the vice president of the Totter Unidentified Flying Object Organization, is the prime suspect.

MJ is desperate to show the town that this Crook is not a thief. The only problem is that there is a lot of evidence against her, and Mimi herself isn’t helping things. She’s acting suspiciously, pulling disappearing acts, and worst of all, can’t seem to answer any questions about where she was or what she was doing.

But much like UFOs, extraterrestrial visitations, and sending people to space, the impossible has been known to happen.


Anne Bustard is the former co-owner of Toad Hall Children’s Bookstore in Austin, Texas, and an MFA graduate of the Vermont College of Fine Arts.

She is the author of the middle-grade novels, Blue Skies and Anywhere But Paradise, as well as two picture books, RAD! and Buddy: The Story of Buddy Holly, which was an Ira Children’s Book award Notable and a Bank Street Book of the Year.

Hawaii-born, she divided her time between Texas and Canada. 

Signed hardcover copy of Far Out!
(US only; ends midnight, CDT, 3/31/23)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Murder's Legacy ~ Lone Star Book Blog Tours Video Excerpt & Giveaway!


A Tori Winters Mystery, Book 2
Anita Dickason

Mystery / Amateur Sleuth / Women Sleuths
Publisher: Mystic Circle Books
Date of Publication: February 17, 2023
Number of Pages: 378 pages 

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Secrets that defy time!

An inconceivable disaster brings Tori Winters’ plans for the historic house she inherited to a traumatic standstill. A section of the escape tunnel built by her great-grandfather, a notorious Dallas gangster, has collapsed. Within the rubble, there is a gruesome discovery. A skeleton with a bullet hole in the skull.

The shocking cave-in triggers an ominous scheme to condemn her property as accusations arise that the tunnel is dangerous.

Embattled, Tori soon discovers that more than the destruction of the house is on the line. It seems she can’t escape the past. It keeps clawing its way into her life with deadly consequences.

Who hides in the shadows with a motive for murder?  And … is Tori the target?

Award-winning Author Anita Dickason is a twenty-two-year veteran of the Dallas Police Department. She served as a patrol officer, undercover narcotics detective, advanced accident investigator, tactical officer, and first female sniper on the Dallas SWAT team.

Anita writes about what she knows, cops and crime. Her police background provides an unending source of inspiration for her plots and characters. Many incidents and characters portrayed in her books are based on personal experience. For her, the characters are the fun part of writing as she never knows where they will take her. There is always something out of the ordinary in her stories.

In Anita’s debut novel, Sentinels of the Night, she created an elite FBI Unit, the Trackers. Since then, she has added three more Tracker crime thrillers, Going Gone!, A u 7 9, and Operation Navajo, which are not a series and can be read in any order, and Deadly Business, a crime thriller.

As a Texas author, many of Anita’s books are based in Texas, or there is a link to Texas. When she stepped outside of the Tracker novels and wrote Not Dead and the Tori Winters Mysteries series, she set them in the small Texas communities of Meridian and Granbury, respectively.



eBook copy of Deadly Keepsakes, Tori Winters Mystery #1
+ tote bag & personalized coffee mug
(US only; ends midnight, CDT, 3/24/23)

Tuesday, March 7, 2023

Marva Cope ~ Lone Star Book Blog Tours Spotlight & Giveaway!

Jackson’s Pond, Texas Series #4

Rural Fiction / Small Town Texas / Literary Fiction
Publisher: MidTown Publishing
Date of Publication: February 5, 2023
Number of Pages: 281 pages 
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A stranger comes to Jackson’s Pond and everything changes.

Marva Cope, the fourth novel in the Jackson’s Pond, Texas Series, brings new elements to the story of the small town in the Texas Panhandle. 

Marva arrives as the new postmaster in 2017. She brings with her a lifetime of hesitancy to open herself to others. It is here, while living with her elder Aunt Violet, that she comes to appreciate the value of true friendships. With new relationships, long walks, and conversations with herself, she comes to terms with her difficult past...the loss of a beloved teenaged brother in a tragic farm accident, her father’s death from a broken heart, and a distant mother who had no love for the young teenager.

Troubled teenage years followed as a flawed young man lures her to New Mexico, then left her alone with their newborn daughter. With her newfound courage of trusting others as friends, she reconnects with her daughter and a college dorm-mate she had deserted in years past. In Jackson’s Pond, she finds the ability to consider what to do with the rest of her life. 

There is so much to admire in this wise and luminous novel. Marva Cope is written with abiding tenderness and compassion. -- John Dufresne, author of Storyville

The novel Marva Cope is a rarity— an artfully told “coming of age” story that morphs into a “getting on with life” saga that, in the end, celebrates the simple joys of human connection. -- Martha Burns, author of Blind Eye

Teddy Jones is the author of five published novels, as well as a collection of short stories. Her short fiction received the Gold Medal First Prize in the Faulkner-Wisdom competition in 2015. Jackson’s Pond, Texas was a finalist for the 2014 Willa Award in contemporary fiction from Women Writing the West. Her novel, Making It Home, was a finalist in the Faulkner-Wisdom competition in 2017 and A Good Family (not yet unpublished) was named finalist in that contest in 2018.

Although her fiction tends to be set in West Texas, her characters’ lives embody issues not bounded by geography of any particular region. Families and loners; communities in flux; people struggling, others successful; some folks satisfied in solitude and others yearning for connection populate her work. And they all have in common that they are more human than otherwise.

Jones grew up in a small Texas town, Iowa Park. Earlier she worked as a nurse, a nurse educator, a nursing college administrator, and as a nurse practitioner in Texas, Colorado, and New Mexico. For the past twenty years, she and her husband have lived in the rural West Texas Panhandle where he farms and she writes. 



A set of all 4 Jackson’s Pond, Texas books, a copy of Nowhere Near,
and a $25 Amazon gift card.
(US only; ends midnight, CDT, 3/17/23)
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, March 6, 2023

Sweet Comfort ~ Lone Star Book Blog Tours Pop-Up Blog-Hop Spotlight & Giveaway!

Comfort and Joy Trilogy, #1

Women's Fiction / Later-In-Life Romance
Second-Chance Romance / Cozy Mystery
Publisher: Fish Tales
Page Count: 359 pages
Publication Date: January 21, 2023

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Welcome to the hometown everyone wants to call their own.

Gloria Bachman, a retired bank executive, has eight weeks to flip a location on Comfort’s High Street into a boutique chocolate shop. Defying expectations for “women of a certain age,” Gloria rediscovers talents and a sharpening of skills. If only she could read people as well as she does a spreadsheet. Even with the renovation in good hands, the subsequent struggle to name the shop brings Gloria and her business partner into conflict with a shady citizen. While Gloria is capable of remaining in her retirement rut while opening a business, two competing social groups try to lure her into their networks, causing Gloria to wonder if she ever knew Comfort at all. A murder rocks the community and revives investigative instincts honed by years in the banking industry.

Mason Lassiter, a disgraced CEO, has his own dramas to escape and the offbeat town seems the perfect place to recover his self-esteem. What was to be a quick reversal of fortunes becomes a quest to right a deeply felt injustice. Fascinated by the women driving the energy of Comfort, he extends his stay to find out why the small town is the backdrop to their best tales. Tangling with his neighbor Gloria becomes his favorite pastime and the key to unlocking the mystery of his past—if he can convince her to trust him.

Chocolate and joy become the glue bringing an unlikely cast together, which just might change Gloria’s and Mason’s course for the better. With characters familiar from previous Comfort novels and introducing fresh names, Sweet Comfort will entertain those who like their stories seasoned with coziness and sweet, second chances.

Kimberly Fish has been a professional writer in marketing and media for over thirty years, with regular contributions to area newspapers and magazines. As an accidental historian, she wrote two novels, The Big Inch and Harmon General, both based on factual events in Longview, Texas that changed world history. Kimberly also offers a set of contemporary women’s fiction novels and novellas, based in the Texas Hill Country, that reveal her fascination with characters discovering their grit and sweet, second chances; all four of the novels have won distinguished awards. Sweet Comfort is her latest novel, the first book in the Comfort and Joy Trilogy.