Spotlight #NewRelease and #Giveaway “Saddled Hearts” by Jan Sikes

Yes, we all know what today is, but in this post, I want to highlight another big event. I have the privilege of spreading the word about a new novel! Saddled Hearts, has just been released by good friend, and fellow author, Jan Sikes.

It has a paranormal twist, perfect for a late night read, once the miniature goblins and ghouls have finished their visitations. All you have to do is click on the link below to purchase.

Oh, and by the way, don’t forget to enter for the chance to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

A Word From Jan Sikes

Thank you, Mark, for offering to host me on this blog tour to promote my new book, Saddled Hearts! I am deeply grateful!

Every story has side characters, and in Saddled Hearts, one of the most loved is Hank Griffin, the Double L Ranch foreman.

There is an air of mystery surrounding Hank, and Colt finds himself wondering if Hank is even his real name. I enjoyed creating Hank and could visualize him as a grizzled cowboy, maybe in his early fifties. He is loyal and trustworthy, but he has secrets, something he’s running from.

I’ll share a couple of short excerpts:

The men made small talk as they covered the miles. Colt knew very little about Hank. He’d showed up a few months back with calloused hands and chaps thrown across his shoulder, asking for work. Said he had experience with ranching. He hadn’t lied about that. And he’d stuck around. Colt made him foreman after a few weeks and trusted him to keep things running smoothly.

His many years on the rodeo circuit taught Colt not to ask too many questions. As long as Hank did the work, he didn’t pry.

A man’s business was his own.

***

Hank fell in beside him while Mattie and Sheila ran ahead.

“There’s a man in town I need to pay a visit, and I hate to ask, but would you mind riding along with me? I’d feel better if I have a witness in case he tries anything.”

“That Tompkins fellow?”

“Yeah. That’s the one.” Colt related the diner incident.

Hank let out a whistle. “Sounds like some dirty shit going on, for sure. I’ll ride along, but I can’t afford to get in any trouble.”

Colt studied his foreman’s set jaw in the dim light emanating from the barn. Hank had secrets. No doubt about it. “There won’t be any trouble. You have my word. I just want to get to the bottom of this and move on.”

***

Hank pulled to a stop in front of the ranch house and got out, tossing Colt the keys. “Again, I’m sorry, boss. If you want me gone, just tell me.”

Colt stared at the cowboy before answering slowly. “No, Hank. I don’t want you gone. I need you here. Don’t worry. I won’t say anything.”

Hank scuffed the toe of his boot in the dirt. “Thanks.”

“Goodnight.”

The cowboy trudged toward the bunkhouse, his shoulders sagging. Hank had troubles, and Colt hated that he’d brought it all to the forefront.

Universal Purchase Link HERE!

Let’s go on a scavenger hunt! Hidden within the blog posts are clues you will need to look for.

The theme is “Things You’d Find On A Ranch.”

When you find these clues, email your answers to me at

SaddledHearts@gmail.com

With CONTEST

In the subject line.

The person with the most correct entries will win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

The runner-up will receive an eBook of Saddled Hearts!

It Pays To Play!

Connect with Jan Sikes here ~

Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest | Goodreads | BookBub | Instagram | Amazon Author Page

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Review of, Veteran (Book Two of City Streets Trilogy), by Susanne Perry

As Fall settles in and with it, the cooler weather, I can’t help but think of those who lack the basic need of shelter. The book I’m reviewing today, though a work of fiction, touches on this wide-spread issue.

What’s the gist?

A Gulf War veteran haunted by his past and living on the street, is accused of a vicious crime. Although the evidence points in his direction, he claims to be innocent. Why does he refuse to aid in his own defense? Lieutenant Liz Jordan and Officer Kyle Connors want to believe him, but their hands are tied. Horrors from the past, social injustice, and political conspiracy come into play as the police try to vindicate a former soldier who remains true to his code of honor. Veteran is the second novel in the City Streets Trilogy.

Here’s My Take:

Book number two of the City Streets Trilogy, I highly recommend reading, Runaway, the first of the series. Veteran, has the same main cast of characters, all proficiently crafted with a fitting balance of flaws, quirks, and redeeming qualities.

While I appreciated the murder/mystery aspect of this tale, what stuck with me are the choice of salves that each character chose to apply, in response to the fires they walked through. While some chose to anoint their wounds with kindness, working tirelessly to make life better for the most vulnerable, others chose a toxic topical that they smeared liberally for their own gain. As in the everyday world, consequences or rewards were there to greet all in the end.  

Here’s an excerpt that sums it up. The guilty is being counselled by the detective after the arrest. Quinn and the guilty grew up on the street together. “Quinn had a lot to say about the hell that some street kids go through, how they have often been abandoned before they end up on the street. The street becomes a refuge for them. She talked about blame, blame and anger. How reactions can destroy a person. That’s why she does what she does with kids; she doesn’t want any kid to blame themselves for what the adults in their lives do to them. It’s not their fault. She’s doing great, by the way. And she wanted to let you know that we spoke. She’s not averse to talking with you, if you should want that.”

Veteran is more than a ‘who-dun-it.’ It’s a statement about rising from the ashes and channeling your emotions into a positive outlet that can benefit so many. Yes, even for the lost, there can be redemption.

I recommend this book for those who are concerned with social issues and enjoy a well-choreographed plot guided by characters who will leave a lasting impression.  

Here is a link to my review of, Runaway, the first of this series. Review of Runaway

Meet Susanne and grab your copy:

 Perry is the author of The City Streets Series–three mysteries set within the street community of the Pacific Northwest. An avid reader of mysteries, Perry chose to write in that genre, combining love of “who-dun-its” with experience working with people. Runaway, Veteran and Gutter Punk, the three titles in the series, include references to history, places, and culture specific to their Pacific Northwest settings. Perry is a native of Washington state and worked for a variety of non-profit programs serving children and families. Perry resides with her husband in Arizona.

Amazon Website

Review of, The Bones Of Amoret, by Arthur Herbert

I hope you’re all doing well on this Sunday morning at the tail end of summer. Yesterday, we did our annual apple picking road trip with a side of pumpkin harvesting. I can already smell ghosts of future apple crisp and pumpkin pie baking in the oven.

But from the post’s title, you can see that I’m not here to talk about pie. So, let’s get started, shall we?

What’s it About?

Amoret, Texas, 1982. Life along the border is harsh, but in a world where cultures work together to carve a living from the desert landscape, Blaine Beckett lives a life of isolation. A transplanted Boston intellectual, for twenty years locals have viewed him as a snob, a misanthrope, an outsider. He seems content to stand apart until one night when he vanishes into thin air amid signs of foul play.

Noah Grady, the town doctor, is a charming and popular good ol’ boy. He’s also a keeper of secrets, both the town’s and his own. He watches from afar as the mystery of Blaine’s disappearance unravels and rumors fly. Were the incipient cartels responsible? Was it a local with a grudge? Or did Blaine himself orchestrate his own disappearance? Then the unthinkable happens, and Noah begins to realize he’s considered a suspect.

Paced like a lit fuse and full of dizzying plot twists, The Bones of Amoret is a riveting whodunit that will keep you guessing all the way to its shocking conclusion.

My take:

The entire book is written in first person, Noah’s, with a folksy, “come sit on the porch for a spell,” narration. I found it quite appealing, almost endearing, in fact.

In his late eighties at the telling, Noah is a man conflicted and remorseful about the past . . . the moral fiber of his character is subjective, which for me, made him all the more realistic.  Personally, I think he’s a man with good intentions, but things just often got out of hand.

As the blurb suggests, there are some great plot twists, none of which I found to be “edge of your seat”, but well orchestrated with a bit of, “Gotcha!”

The writing style was river rock smooth, with plenty of creative slang that brought a smile.

I’d recommend this book to those who enjoy a good mystery under the backdrop of ‘Big sky’ country.

Meet Arthur:

Arthur Herbert was born and raised in small town Texas. He worked on offshore oil rigs, as a bartender, a landscaper at a trailer park, and as a social worker before going to medical school. He chose to do a residency in general surgery, followed by a fellowship in critical care and trauma surgery. For the last eighteen years, he’s worked as a trauma and burn surgeon, operating on all ages of injured patients. He continues to run a thriving practice.

His second novel, The Bones of Amoret, is set to be released on April 1, 2022 through Stitched Smile Publishers.

Arthur currently lives in New Orleans, with his wife Amy and their dogs. Arthur loves hearing from readers, so don’t hesitate to email him at arthur@arthurherbertwriter.com.

Grab a copy:

Amazon.com

Review of, The Prince And The Prodigal, by Jill Eileen Smith

As I look out the window, all I can see is brown . . . but that’s a good thing! Yesterday the ground was being struck by hail and sleet and today there’s nothing but clear skies. 🙂

Please let me steal you away to a place where snow never falls, and the earth bakes to a crisp under a hot desert sun. I’m talking about ancient Egypt.

The Details:

Joseph is the pampered favorite son of the patriarch Jacob. His older brothers, deeply resentful of his status in the family, take advantage of the chance to get rid of him, selling him to slave traders and deceiving their father about his fate. It seems like their troubles are over. But for Joseph and older brother Judah, they are just beginning.

While Joseph is accused of rape and imprisoned, Judah attempts to flee the memory of his complicity in the betrayal of his younger brother. After decades apart, the brothers will come face-to-face in a stunning role reversal that sees Joseph in a position of great power while Judah begs for mercy. Will forgiveness or vengeance win the day?

Bestselling and award-winning author Jill Eileen Smith brings her considerable research and imaginative skills to bear in this vivid retelling of one of the most popular stories found in Scripture–a story of jealousy, betrayal, and a reconciliation that only God could bring about.

My Thoughts:

I am extremely familiar with the Biblical account of Joseph’s life, so I was excited to read this book. Let me tell you, I’m glad I did.

This was an excellent ‘behind the scenes’ story of what must have been the dramatic, and traumatic, lives of Joseph and his family. Jill cleverly weaves scenes throughout the story that bring these historical figures to life and through her words, those Sunday School lessons leapt from the pages to become three dimensional.

The book sticks to the main facts but allows the reader an insight into the possible mindset of people who lived thousands of years ago.

I’d highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in the Bible, history, the supernatural, adventure, or stories with great outcomes.

I’m giving this one Five Stars!

Meet Jill:

Jill Eileen Smith is the bestselling, award-winning author of the Wives of King David series, Wives of the Patriarchs, Daughters of the Promised Land, The Heart of a King, Star of Persia, Miriam’s Song, and the nonfiction When Life Doesn’t Match Your Dreams, and She Walked Before Us. Her research has taken her from the Bible to Israel, and she particularly enjoys learning how women lived in Old Testament times.

When she isn’t writing, she loves to spend time with her family and friends, read stories that take her away, ride her bike to the park, snag date nights with her hubby, try out new restaurants, or play with her lovable, “helpful” cat Tiger. Jill lives with her family in southeast Michigan.

Grab a copy of one of her works and connect with her:

Website Facebook Twitter Amazon.com

Please Welcome Authors Lisa & Tony Fisher

I’m sitting out on my back deck, finally enjoying a cool breeze as I peck away at this post. It’s quite a treat, really, considering the soupy humidity we’ve slogged through in the last three days.

Today I have the privilege of introducing Authors Lisa and Tony Fisher, who’s books delve into the systemic racism that is unfortunately still a part of today’s world. Lisa was inspired to write due to a painful personal experience. I’ll let them tell you their story.

The Manor Exposed book series is a nonfiction read about how this new age of computers social media has raised the platform of racism, specifically in the workplace and around the world. The connection between a racially charged environment and the internet. It also touches on the issue of cultural racism in a way never before seen or documented in the media.

Lisa Fisher, a Brooklyn, New York, woman is sharing her story of the unthinkable racist abuse she suffered. She’s an African American woman who was compared to an ape on Instagram.

Back in 2013 Lisa was discriminated against on her job at an assisted living facility located in Coney Island. Two coworkers took her picture without her knowledge and posted it on Instagram, along with a monkey and a nasty caption indicating that’s how she looked. These coworkers had located a picture of Ari (mistakenly referred to in the photo as Cornelius) from the 2001 movie, Planet of the Apes, and had placed her photo next to it.  Lisa did not find any sympathy or recourse when she reported the incident to her employer. Instead, she had ended up cutting back on her hours at work to try and avoid these coworkers who continued to harass her.

 From that moment on their lives were turned upside down. Eventually, Lisa went from being a victim to a victor.  She sued the job and won, making history by creating a precedent in the courts for this type of hatred.
     

Her husband encouraged her to write so that she could share the story of her pain. In 2019, Lisa and Tony became authors of, The Manor Exposed book series, a memoir that delves into the very essence of systemic racism in the workplace.

Lisa believes her book is a call to action and she wants to be an advocate or a voice for many who have remained silent through these painful acts. This is reality and she hopes that through her message hostile workplace experiences will come to an end.

We hope The Manor Exposed book series will help you find your way in seeking justice. All lives do matter, stand up and make a difference even if you stand alone.

A poem inspired by the need for solving problems of race discrimination.

My yesterdays were filled with exciting and new
Now the days are like thunder
So dark and so blue

With rainy nights as I dried my eyes and tried to sleep
I drowned in my thoughts like an ocean so deep

The sun use to shine with blue skies dancing in the wind
But now I’m reminded of how people sin

Like the gentle breeze sliding across my forehead as I float
in thin air
Is it now the new normal to treat people unfair

With no care in the world
But still I was worried
If the evilness of jealousy would ever be buried

I tried to imagine that things would get better
Then I got threatened with a termination letter

So far away
And too high to reach
It made the lessons I learned
so hard to teach

It was like for never
happening
and I became worse
This Instagram photo
was more than a curse

-Lisa and Tony Fisher

Meet Lisa and Tony

We’re Lisa and Tony Fisher, born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. We met in 1995. A year later, we became the two of hearts and got married on Valentine’s Day. Living life simple took us on great adventures from enjoying long walks across the beach to becoming authors. Together we get to explore our creative expression and what it means to reach the minds of others through written words. We would like to share with you how a great tragedy can change your life. 

We never aspired to become writers, but with love and understanding it all came true. As a message, we would like to say, when two people love each other, as we do, you can conquer just about anything. But most of all, when you have loyalty and trust there’s no limit to what you can achieve. If that’s where your heart is, just do it.

Connect with them and buy your copy:

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