Partners in Crime – 411 on Books

Beginning Writer – 5 Things You Should Know

1.  Learn the craft before you begin. It doesn’t matter what genre you choose, writing a novel is like nothing else you’ve ever written. Read as many self-help books from the masters, like James Scott Bell and Donald Maass. Pick up tons of books on sentence structure and the basics. Buy all of the Emotion Thesaurus books that you can afford by Angela Ackerman. Once you’ve exhausted English basics, then shoot for fine tuning your writing and know what your readers want in your genre.

2.  Authors must write for the reader, not themselves. It’s okay to write a first draft the way you want, but in your edited drafts, your writing must reflect what your reader is expecting from your genre. As an example: Romantic Suspense requires that your protagonist’s love interest can’t be someone she immediately flocks to. If your main character is a woman, she and her love interest must have a wedge between them. Something that keeps them apart or drives them from each other at the beginning of your novel. The plot has to continue to slowly work them back together for a finish with a Happily Ever After ending. Romance genre endings should be HEA or happy for now. If you plan to kill off a main interest in the book, remember that you will upset some of your readers. Never, ever kill a family pet or an animal in your novels, if you can help it. Readers will forgive a person’s murder, but most won’t stomach the killing of animals, especially those that are beloved.

3. Invest in the best editors you can afford. It doesn’t pay to skimp on the editing. I went through eight (8) drafts before I published Stolen Obsession. I used beta readers, developmental editors, critique groups, copy editors and proofers before heading to the formatter. Professionals will make your work shine. If you publish without perfecting your work, your book reviews will suffer.

4. Writing, Reading and Editors are all subjective. So are reviewers. Your written work will affect every person differently. Expect it. The empathy we are attracting to our characters will strike everyone who reads your work in a different manner. Some may not like the style or voice; others won’t like a character’s personality. Still others won’t be expecting romance even though your work is designed to include romantic interludes. Really! Grow a thick skin and shrug off your detractors. There will be some who won’t get your writing. It’s okay that some people criticize your work. The old saying, “You can’t please everybody,” holds true here. Please yourself with your reader in mind and you’ll be fine.

I also like to read my negative reviews, not just the positive ones. It’s amazing how much you can learn about your writing faults by hearing about what irks your readers. Not all criticisms are authentic or worth more than a few seconds of your time, but if several point to the same flaws in your writing, it’s time to address it! Try not to make the same mistakes in subsequent books.

5. Have fun writing and don’t kill yourself doing it! Typing for long hours in front of your laptop or PC takes perseverance. Everyone has a life beyond the keyboard. Take walks and read lots of books in and out of your genre. You’ll be amazed how reading helps with the writer’s block. Having a bad day writing means a better day reading. It’s where I go when the words won’t come smoothly.

Spent Identity by Marlene M. Bell Banner

 

 

Spent Identity

by Marlene M. Bell

on Tour August 1-31, 2020

Synopsis:

Spent Identity by Marlene M. Bell

Farm For Sale. 360-acre lot with ranch-style home. Refurbished barn. Corpse not included.

To find her missing aunt, she has to unearth the secrets of the past. But lies and deceit run through the very heart of their town…

What started out as a promising relationship with adventurer and tycoon Alec Zavos has fizzled into an uncertain future for antiquities expert Annalisse Drury. Returning to Walker Farm in Upstate New York to see her Aunt Kate should have been a welcome homecoming and distraction. Instead, she finds the childhood home she expected to inherit is for sale, without her permission. What’s worse, Kate’s ranch manager makes a gruesome discovery in the barn: the body of an unidentified man, dead by foul play.

Annalisse turns to Alec for help. She and her aunt shelter on his estate in the Catskills while the authorities canvass the scene. But when Kate herself disappears without a trace, Annalisse fears the worst: that one of the many secrets of her hometown has ensnared her family—a secret someone is willing to kill for to keep hidden.

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery

Published by: Ewephoric Publishing

Publication Date: December 11th 2019

Number of Pages: 378

ISBN: 0999539426 (ISBN13: 9780999539422)

Series: Annalisse Series #2 || This is a Stand-Alone novel but the reader may gain more about the character’s past if they pick up the first book.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

…from chapter fifteen   She caught a glimpse of Bill’s scarred neck and considered prying. “May I ask a personal question?” “Sure.” He steered the next turn. “I’ll answer if I can.” “Did you get burned?” He rubbed the side of his neck as if to soothe a haunting memory. “I used to be a fireman. Got caught in a seven-story roof collapse. Almost bought it.” He tapped cruise control and slid his shoe off the accelerator. An injured fireman with a near-death experience turned private investigator made more sense to her now. Bill didn’t fit the cookie-cutter-investigator type. They hit smooth asphalt in the cross into Sullivan County. Annalisse relished the soothing hum from the roadway. At the county border, they passed a renovated eighteenth-century church refurbished into a modern brick farmhouse. The original belfry and bell sat atop the gable roof at the midpoint, with a new masonry chimney erected on one side near the redwood decking. She hadn’t noticed it the first time with Woody. “What a horrible experience for you, Bill. I’m sorry. Alec didn’t mention it.” “We don’t talk about it much. For a bunch of reasons.” Bill fiddled with a tabloid-size newspaper wedged next to the console. “My hours are better now anyway.” He chuckled, rolling the newsprint into a tube and blowing into it. “A gossip rag? Haven’t read any juicy dirt in a while. I could use a laugh.” She reached for the paper, expecting him to hand it to her. “Boring issue.” Bill tossed the roll over the headrest, wiping newsprint from his fingers to the seat. That was strange. She tried to grab it, but it landed just out of her reach. Annalisse unbuckled and twisted for a closer look at the huge headline, reading aloud, “THE HOUND CHASES ANOTHER FOX. Please people. Such original journalism. Who this time?” She laughed as she lunged for the paper. Bill’s arm moved in like a slingshot and bumped her sore cheek, blocking her. “Ow. Watch the road,” she exclaimed and bounced backward. “Walking wounded here. Just drive, Bill. Allow me to revel in someone else’s grief for a while.” He touched her elbow. “Please don’t.” Bill wasn’t smiling, and his skin had morphed to ashen of the dead. He had the look of a man who’d just lost his best friend and was about to lose his faithful dog too. It clicked. “What don’t you want me to see what thousands of other people have already seen?” “Wait till we get to Brookehaven so he can—” “Who can?” Annalisse hung over the seat and stretched her sore body far enough to snag the tabloid with her fingertips. She braced herself—the photo had to be disturbing. “The timing is bad. Really bad.” Bill stared at the road and in a low voice added, “I’m so sorry.” The pang of the unknown boomeranged through her heart, and she looked down at the front page of Reveal Reality. A couple with their backs to the camera, overlooking an ocean at sunset at some kind of event. She wasn’t sure where but expected the piece would say. The paparazzi photographer had zoomed in on a brunette in a skimpy, backless sundress leaning into a man with his elegant hand cupping her barely covered butt cheek. His chiseled profile and windblown curls were unmistakable. Say bye-bye to the mysterious, green-eyed Annalisse! Italian starlet Monica Corsetti on Italy’s Riviera with Greek magnate, Alec Zavos of the Signorile Corporation. They were… She covered her mouth. “Pull over, Bill. I’m gonna throw up.” *** Excerpt from Spent Identity by Marlene M. Bell. Copyright 2020 by Marlene M. Bell. Reproduced with permission from Marlene M. Bell. All rights reserved.

 

 

Author Bio:

Marlene M. Bell Marlene M. Bell is an award-winning writer and acclaimed artist as well as a photographer. Her sheep landscapes grace the covers of Sheep!, The Shepherd, Ranch & Rural Living, and Sheep Industry News, to name a few. Her catalog venture, Ewephoric, began in 1985 out of her desire to locate personalized sheep stationery. She rarely found sheep products through catalogs and set out to design them herself. Order Ewephoric gifts online or request a catalog at TexasSheep.com. Marlene and her husband, Gregg, reside in beautiful East Texas on a wooded ranch with their dreadfully spoiled horned Dorset sheep, a large Maremma guard dog named Tia, along with Hollywood, Leo, and Squeaks, the cats that believe they rule the household—and do.

 

Catch Up With Marlene M. Bell: MarleneMBell.com, Goodreads, BookBub, Twitter, & Facebook!

 

 

Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!

08/01 Review @ Book Reviews From an Avid Reader

08/03 Interview @ BooksChatter

08/05 Showcase @ Im All About Books

08/06 Review @ The World As I See It

08/07 Review @ Lynchburg Mama

08/08 Guest post @ The Book Divas Reads

08/09 Showcase @ EienCafe

08/10 Review @ sunny island breezes

08/11 Interview @ Quiet Fury Books

08/12 Guest post @ Reading A Page Turner

08/16 Review/showcase @ Our Town Book Reviews

08/17 Showcase @ The Pulp and Mystery Shelf

08/19 Interview @ CMash Reads

08/23 Showcase @ Eclectic Moods

08/24 Review @ Nesies Place

08/26 Guest post @ 411 ON BOOKS, AUTHORS, AND PUBLISHING NEWS

08/27 Review @ Archaeolibrarian – I Dig Good Books!

08/28 Review @ noorthebookworm

08/28 Review/showcase @ Just 4 My Books

08/29 Review @ A Room Without Books is Empty

08/30 Review @ Celticladys Reviews

08/31 Review @ Jersey Girl Book Reviews

 

 

Giveaway Image

Enter To Win!:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Marlene M. Bell. There will be 4 winners. Two (2) winners will each win one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card. Two (2) winners will each win a set of autographed books, a notebook, and silver jewelry. The giveaway begins on August 1, 2020 and runs through September 2, 2020. Open to U.S. and Canada addresses only. Void where prohibited.

 

 

 

Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

 

COVID-19: WHAT THRILLERS CAN TEACH US ABOUT OUR NEXT CHAPTER

In the wake of 9/11, the Department of Homeland Security gave some select thriller writers a mission: conceive the next big attack on the country. We’ll never know how prescient the project, called “Red Cell,” actually turned out to be. We do know, though, that while thriller writers may not be able to predict future, our work is based on anticipating it. And that’s just what any number of bestselling authors did in penning books centered on pandemics and their aftermaths.

Let’s start with the granddaddy of them all, Michal Crichton’s seminal The Andromeda Strain which imagines an alien microbe with the potential to wipe out mankind. The five scientists assigned to Scoop Mission Control as part of Project Wildfire dissect the killer organism with the best technology afforded by 1969 standards, only to learn once they thought they’d figured everything out, the microbe mutated leaving them at wit’s end and back at the starting line. As John Timmer wrote for Ars Technica on May 5, “When COVID-19 made the jump into humans late last year, it was remarkably well adapted to spread among us. But that doesn’t mean things couldn’t get worse, as the virus will undoubtedly pick up new mutations as its population expands, some of which might make it more dangerous to humans. In fact, a draft paper recently posted online claimed to have evidence that a more infectious strain of COVID-19 had already evolved.” Meaning things could get worse still, much worse. And, some would say, they have already with the discovery of the fatal inflammatory disease suddenly showing up in children with the disease, along with the very real possibility it will become airborne.

Taking that a step further, in Children of Men, P. D. James envisions a desperately dark world in which adults have lost the capacity to reproduce. Though no explanation is ever given, some sort of microbe here too is the most likely suspect, giving rise to a totalitarian state that seizes power with civilization on the verge of collapse. Sound familiar? As the New York Times reported on March 30, “In Hungary, the prime minister can now rule by decree. In Britain, ministers have what a critic called ‘eye-watering’ power to detain people and close borders. Israel’s prime minister has shut down courts and begun an intrusive surveillance of citizens. Chile has sent the military to public squares once occupied by protesters. Bolivia has postponed elections.”

In Stephen King’s The Stand, meanwhile, a world ravaged by the “Captain Tripps” virus turns to tribalism with the forces of Mother Abigail warring against the Las Vegas-based minions of the demonic Randall Flagg, the so-called “Walkin’ Dude.” In that respect, COVID-19’s widening of our nation’s already deep social and economic divisions, with even the reopening issue the subject of deep partisan divide. To that point, writing for the Social Sciences Research Council on April 23, president of the Social Science Research Council Alondra Nelson posed, “What should be our prevailing theory of society after pandemic intervention breaks what we thought we knew about economy, governance, and expertise, and confirms what we know, but failed to address about social inequality?”

The fatalist worlds envisioned by Richard Matheson in I am Legend and Max Brooks in World War Z go The Stand one better by presaging a societal breakdown on an epic level with survivors fighting for what’s left of their lives against vampires and zombies respectively. Those monsters are actually metaphors in the micro for the total collapse of civilization in the macro. “Complex societies are social structures which are susceptible to collapse because complexity increases vulnerability,” Major General SG Vombatkere wrote for the Decann Herald on March 25. “When a sub-system in a complex system breaks down, it can be ‘repaired’ to restore the system’s normal functioning. Simultaneous breakdown of multiple sub-systems can become critical, necessitating resuscitation measures. It is analogous to multiple-organ failure in a human body—beyond a point, resuscitation in intensive care fails.”

Which brings us to Emily St. John Mendel’s award-winning Station Eleven, a book that picks up in the aftermath of a virus that has wiped out 99% of the world’s population. That’s a body count at least on par with any of the previous books and maybe the most bludgeoning of them all. The difference? The book serves up optimism for mankind’s future in the form of a traveling, minstrel-like band of actors striving to return a degree of normalcy to the lives of the survivors they come across. To that point, “There is no minimizing the horrors of the Black Death,” wrote David Rothkopf for USA Today on March 30. “But for those who lived through it, survival demanded innovation and adaptation. We do not face anything so severe. But we do know that throughout history, serious crises resulted in innovation born of the optimism that somehow society would live on and ultimately recover.”

Of all these fictional scenarios, Station Eleven serves up the most likely one we are destined to experience in the wake of COVID-19. History has taught as much, trumping fiction when it comes to the overarching theme of the general goodness of man. Even in I am Legend, scientist Robert Neville’s cure for the virus works. The Stand features Mother Abigail’s forces ultimate triumph over Randall Flagg’s. And Children of Men evolves into a dystopic celebration of life from which mankind is destined to survive, providing one antidote above all others that can beat the coronavirus:

Hope.

Jon Land is the USA Today bestselling author of more than 40 thrillers, five of which deal with pandemics. His next, “Strong from the Heart,” publishes on July 28.

 

Strong From The Heart by Jon Land Banner

 

 

Strong from the Heart

by Jon Land

on Tour August 17 – September 18, 2020

Synopsis:

Strong from the Heart by Jon Land

Caitlin Strong wages her own personal war on drugs against the true power behind the illicit opioid trade in Strong from the Heart, the blistering and relentless 11th installment in Jon Land’s award-winning series.

The drug crisis hits home for fifth generation Texas Ranger Caitlin Strong when the son of her outlaw lover Cort Wesley Masters nearly dies from an opioid overdose. On top of that, she’s dealing with the inexplicable tragedy of a small Texas town where all the residents died in a single night.

When Caitlin realizes that these two pursuits are intrinsically connected, she finds herself following a trail that will take her to the truth behind the crisis that claimed 75,000 lives last year. Just in time, since the same force that has taken over the opiate trade has even more deadly intentions in mind, specifically the murder of tens of millions in pursuit of their even more nefarious goals.

The power base she’s up against―comprised of politicians and Big Pharma, along with corrupt doctors and drug distributors―has successfully beaten back all threats in the past. But they’ve never had to deal with the likes of Caitlin Strong before and have no idea what’s in store when the guns of Texas come calling.

At the root of the conspiracy lies a cabal nestled within the highest corridors of power that’s determined to destroy all threats posed to them. Caitlin and Cort Wesley may have finally met their match, finding themselves isolated and ostracized with nowhere to turn, even as they strive to remain strong from the heart.

Book Details:

Genre: Thriller

Published by: Forge Books

Publication Date: July 28, 2020

Number of Pages: 368

ISBN: 0765384701 (ISBN13: 9780765384706)

Series: A Caitlin Strong Novel, #11

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

CHAPTER 1 San Antonio, Texas Caitlin Strong pushed her way through the gaggle of reporters and bystanders clustered before the barricade set up just inside the lobby of the Canyon Ridge Elementary School building. “Look,” she heard somebody say, “the Texas Rangers are here!” She’d focused her attention on the six men wearing black camo pants and windbreakers labeled I-C-E in big letters on the back, glaring at her from the entrance to the school to which they’d clearly been prevented from entering. She pictured several more Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents stationed at additional exits in case their quarries tried to make a run for it. “We didn’t call the Rangers,” snarled a bald man, the nametag he was required to wear reading ORLEANS. “No, sir,” Caitlin told him, “that would’ve been the school principal. She told Dispatch you’d come here to collect some of her students.” She let her gaze drift to a windowless black truck that looked like a reconfigured SWAT transport vehicle. “Just following orders, Ranger. Doing our job just like you.” “My job is to keep the peace, sir.” “Ours too, so I’m going to assume you’re going to assist our efforts, given that we’re on the same side here.” “What side would that be?” Orleans snarled again, seeming to pump air into a head Caitlin figure might’ve been confused for a basketball. “United States government, ma’am.” “I work for Texas, sir, and the principal told me all the kids you came for were born on Lone Star soil.” “That’s for a court to decide.” “Maybe. And, you’re right, the both of us are here because we’ve got a job to do and I respect that, sir, I truly do. My problem is it’s never right in my mind for adults to involve children in somebody else’s mess.” Canyon Ridge Elementary was located on Stone Oak Parkway, part of San Antonio’s North East Independent School district and featured a comfortable mix of Caucasian and Hispanic students in keeping with the city’s general demographics. The building featured a rounded arch entry where Caitlin could see any number of faces, both child and adult, pressed against the glass. She also glimpsed a heavy chain looped through the double doors to prevent entry, although numerous chairs, boxes, and what looked like an overturned cafeteria table had been piled into place as well. Caitlin pictured similar chains and barricades barring entry at any of the other doors as well, the eyes of both children and adults alike gaping with hope at her arrival through the glass. “As a Texas Ranger,” Orleans responded finally, “you enjoy a degree of discretion I don’t have. I wish I did, but I don’t. And as long as I don’t, I’ve got orders to follow and that’s where my discretion begins and ends.” “Where are you from, sir?” “Not around here, that’s for sure. Does it matter?” “That ICE is about to take six US citizens, all under the age of ten, into custody matters a lot,” Caitlin told him. “Some might even call it kidnapping.” “Did you really just say that?” “Like I said, I’m only trying to keep the peace. Exercise that discretion you mentioned.” “It’s not your jurisdiction.” “San Antonio was still part of Texas last time I checked.” Orleans’ spine stiffened, making him look taller. “Not today, as far as you’re concerned. You don’t want to push this any farther than you already have, Ranger, believe me.” “It’s about the law, sir—you just said that too. See, the Texas Rangers maintain no Intergovernmental Service Agreement with ICE; neither does the city of San Antonio. And, according to the city’s detainer agreement, a local police officer has to be present whenever you’re staging a raid. And I don’t currently see an officer on site.” “That’s because this isn’t a raid.” “What would you call it then?” Orleans’ face was getting red, taking on the look of sunbaked skin. “There’s a local inside the building now.” “Right, the school resource officer. What was his name again?” Orleans worked his mouth around, as if he were chewing the inside of his cheeks. Caitlin cast her gaze toward the pair of black, unmarked Humvees that must’ve brought the ICE officials here. “You got assault rifles stored in those trucks, sir?” “Never know when you might need them.” “Sure, against fourth graders wielding spitballs. Report I got said those and the fifth graders helped barricade the doors.” “So arrest them and let us do our jobs,” Orleans sneered, his shoulders seeming to widen within the bonds of his flak jacket. “Be glad to, once you produce the official paperwork that brought you this far.” “We can give you the names of the students we’re here to detain, Ranger.” “What about warrants, court orders, something that passes for official?” Orleans shook his head. “Not necessary.” “It is for me.” Caitlin took a step closer to him, watching his gaze dip to the SIG Sauer 9-millimeter pistol holstered to her belt. “Don’t make me the bad guy here, Ranger. I’m doing my job, just like you. You may not like it, all these protesters might not like it, but I don’t suppose they’d disobey the orders of their superiors any more than I can.” “I know you don’t make the rules, sir, and I respect that, to the point where I have a suggestion: Why don’t you stand down and give me a chance to fetch the kids you’re after from inside before somebody gets hurt?” A skeptical Orleans nodded stiffly. “Sounds like you’ve come to your senses, Ranger.” “Never lost them, sir. You’re right about orders and mine were to diffuse the situation through whatever means necessary. That’s what I’m trying to do here. The lawyers can sort things out from that point.” Orleans hedged a bit. “I didn’t figure something like this fell under Ranger domain.” “This is Texas, sir. Everything falls under our domain. In this case, we can make that work to your advantage.” Orleans nodded, his expression dour. “The doors were already chained and barricaded when we got here, Ranger. That means somebody tipped the school off we were coming, even fed them the names of the kids we were coming to pick up.” “It wasn’t the Rangers,” Caitlin assured him. “No, but somebody in the Department of Public Safety must’ve been behind the leak after we informed them of our intentions as a courtesy.” “That’s a separate issue you need to take up with DPS, sir. For now, how about we dial things back a few notches so the two of us can just do our jobs?” “That sounds good to me, Ranger. The United States government thanks you for your support.” Caitlin stopped halfway to the school entrance beneath the curved archway and looked back. “Don’t confuse what I’m doing with support, Agent Orleans. When things go from bad to worse, blood often gets spilled. What do you say we do our best to keep the street dry today?” CHAPTER 2 San Antonio, Texas Caitlin watched the school’s principal, Mariana Alonzo, unfasten the chains after enough of the makeshift barricade had been removed to allow one of the entry doors to open. “Thanks for coming, Ranger,” Alonzo greeted, locking the chain back into place. “I’m sure your sister would have preferred intervening herself, ma’am.” Alonzo swallowed hard. “Did you mean what you said out there, that you’re going to deliver the kids to ICE?” “I also said I was here to diffuse the situation through any means necessary.” Mariana’s Alonzo’s sister Conseulo was a former San Antonio police captain and deputy chief currently climbing the law enforcement ladder at the Department of Public Safety in Austin. She’d called Caitlin immediately after first getting word of ICE’s pending arrival at Canyon Ridge Elementary, though not before alerting her sister to what was coming. “All six of these kids are honor students, Ranger,” the school principal noted. “This kind of thing would be just as wrong even if they weren’t, ma’am. I imagine your sister believed that more than anyone. I’m surprised she didn’t come here herself, instead of calling me.” Now, an hour after that call, the sister of DPS’s Deputy Police Commissioner was looking at Caitlin with the same hope she’d glimpsed on the faces of the kids pressed against the glass. “She wanted to,” Principal Alonzo said, “but I wasn’t about to let her throw her career away. Then she told me she had another idea. Nobody messes with the Texas Rangers, right?” “Your sister and I go back a ways, ma’am,” Caitlin told her, not bothering to add that not all their interactions had been positive. Alonzo steered Caitlin away from the throng of children unable to take their eyes off her badge and gun to a corner of the hall. They stopped beneath an air conditioning baffle blowing bursts of frigid air. “What now, Ranger?” “Where are the children, ma’am?” “In my office,” Alonzo said, tilting her gaze toward an open door through which Caitlin spotted a pair of school secretaries busy fielding a nonstop flurry of phone calls behind their desks. “Be nice to keep as much of a lid on this as possible.” Caitlin weighed her options. “That lid got blown off when your sister called me in on this. I don’t figure on ICE breaking down the doors, but they’ll wait us out for as long as it takes. Means we need to find a way to take these kids out of their reach.” “Is that even possible?” “I’ve got a couple of ideas.” *** “You want to do what?” D. W. Tepper, captain of Ranger Company G, blared over the phone. Caitlin pictured him reaching for a cigarette. “You heard me, Captain.” “Well, that’s a new one, anyway.” “First time for everything.” “Our necks better be made of Silly Putty, if we’re going to stick them out this far.” “Not the first time for that at all. And put down the Marlboro, D.W.” “Jeeze, Ranger, what are you, psychic now, like that seven-foot Venezuelan giant of yours?” “Speaking of Colonel Paz . . .” CHAPTER 3 San Antonio, Texas Twenty minutes and another phone call later, Caitlin inspected the three-page document Principal Mariana Alonzo had printed off an email attachment she’d just received. “You Rangers sure work fast,” she complimented. “Always been our way,” Caitlin told her, folding the document in thirds so the proper section was face out, “long before there was any such thing as email or even electricity.” “You ever wonder what it was like ranging in those days?” “Strongs have been Rangers almost as long as there’s been a Texas. I never really had to wonder, since I’ve heard all the stories about their exploits.” “I’ve heard of your grandfather, your father too.” “Well, ma’am, my great-grandad William Ray and my great-great-grandad Steeldust Jack had their share of adventures too.” “I’d love to have you back some time to talk about that history to our students.” “Let’s take care of the ones I came here about today first,” Caitlin said, pocketing the now tri-folded set of pages. *** “You sure about this, Ranger?” Mariana Alonzo said to Caitlin, after bringing the six students from Canyon Ridge Elementary that ICE officers had come to collect from her office to the main lobby, just out of sight from the barricaded entrance. Caitlin ran her hand through the hair of a trembling girl who looked all of ten years old, then used a tissue to wipe the tear stains from the cheeks of a boy who was all of nine. “As sure as I am that if we don’t do something fast, ICE might breach the building.” “What happens then?” “This is still Texas and I’m still a Texas Ranger, ma’am. Just ask your sister.” “I did, after she told me you were coming.” “What’d she say?” “To stay out of your way. That everything I’d heard was true.” Caitlin bristled. “I wouldn’t put much stock in those stories. The press is prone to exaggeration.” Alonzo nodded. “She told me you’d say that too.” Caitlin felt the boy whose cheeks she’d swiped clean tug at her sleeve. “Are you going to save us from the bad men?” She knelt so they were eye-to-eye and laid her hands on his shoulders. “What’s your name, son?” “Diego. I’m scared.” “Well, Diego, let me show you what happens to men who scare little kids.” *** The bald ICE agent named Orleans smirked when Caitlin emerged from the school entrance with the six children ICE had come to collect in tow, school principal Mariana Alonzo bringing up the rear. Cameras clacked and whirred, as she brushed aside microphones thrust in her face. “That wasn’t so hard, was it?” Orleans said, once Caitlin reached him, her charges gathered protectively behind her. “Good thing you came to your senses. If it makes you feel any better, I hate this part of the job as much as anybody.” “I hope that’s the case, Agent, I truly do.” Caitlin eased the document Captain Tepper had just emailed from her pocket. “Because this is a duly executed warrant naming these six children as material witnesses to a crime, subject to protection by the Texas Rangers until such time they are called to testify.” Orleans started to turn red. Caitlin could feel the heat radiating through his uniform, dragging an odor that reminded her of a gym bag with yesterday’s dank workout clothes still stuffed inside. “You lied to me, Ranger.” “No, I didn’t, sir. I told you I was here to diffuse the situation and that’s what I’m doing. I said I’d fetch the kids from inside before somebody got hurt, and that’s exactly what I did.” “You mean, nobody’s been hurt yet, Ranger.” With that, Orleans snatched the warrant from her grasp. “This is bullshit and you know it,” he said, having barely regarded it. “That’s not for either of us to say, sir. It’s for a court to decide now.” “You want to tell me what crime exactly these six suspects are material witness to?” “Did you just call them suspects?” “Answer my question, Ranger.” “I’m not at liberty to say, sir. It’s a confidential investigation.” Orleans turned his gaze on the imposing group of five armed men dressed in black tactical garb behind him, then looked back at Caitlin and smirked again. “So you think we’re just going to let you parade these subjects past us all by yourself? You really think we’re going to just back down and stand aside?” The blistering roar of an engine almost drowned out his last words, as an extended cab pickup truck riding massive tires tore onto the scene and spun to a halt between the ICE agents and their Humvees. The springs recoiled, as a huge figure with a pair of M4 assault rifles shouldered behind him emerged from the cab, towering over those he passed, including the men with I-C-E embroidered on their jackets. “This is Colonel Guillermo Paz,” Caitlin told Orleans, “an agent of Homeland Security, just like you, sir. He’s going to help me parade these ‘suspects’ past you.” *** “Colonel Gee!” a first-grade boy beamed, coming up only to Paz’s waist as he hugged him tight before Paz could lift him into the backseat of his truck. “You remember me from pre-school?” “Of course I do, Marcus.” “Do you still work there?” “No, I moved on. I do that a lot. Learn what I can from a place and then try another.” “I miss you, Colonel Gee. You never finished the story of what you did to those bad men who tried to hurt you when you went home for your mommy’s funeral.” “They’re not alive anymore, Marcus.” “Really?” Paz fixed his gaze on the ICE agents who’d edged closer, weighing their options. “It’s what happens to bad men.” *** “Thank you, Colonel,” Caitlin said through the window, eyes even with Paz’s in the driver’s seat. “’The purpose of life is to contribute in some way to making things better.’” “Robert Kennedy?” Paz’s eyes widened. “I’m impressed, Ranger.” “Just a lucky guess.” “Edward Bulwer-Lytton didn’t believe in luck. He called it a fancy name for being always at the ready when needed.” “Describes the two of us pretty well, I suppose.” Caitlin looked at the four kids squeezed into the big pickup’s backseat, Diego and Marcus in the front staring wide-eyed at the giant behind the wheel. “You know where to take them.” Paz cast his gaze back toward the ICE agents, frozen in place fifteen feet away with scowls plastered across their expressions. “And if they follow?” “They won’t get very far,” Caitlin told him. “Principal Alonzo yanked out the valve stems on their tires while we were loading the kids.” *** Caitlin’s phone rang with a call from Captain Tepper, just as Guillermo Paz was driving off and the ICE agents were discovering their flat tires. “Now who’s psychic, Captain?” she greeted. “Kids are safe and I didn’t even have to shoot anybody.” “Good thing you saved your bullets, Ranger, ‘cause there’s somewhere else you need to be right now. A town in the desert called Camino Pass, formerly with a population of two hundred and eighty-eight according to the last census.” “Formerly?” “Looks like they’re all dead, Ranger. Each and every one of them.” *** Excerpt from Strong from the Heart by Jon Land. Copyright 2020 by Jon Land. Reproduced with permission from Jon Land. All rights reserved.

 

 

Author Bio:

Jon Land

Jon Land is the USA Today bestselling author of fifty-two books, including eleven featuring Texas Ranger Caitlin Strong. The critically acclaimed series has won more than a dozen awards, including the 2019 International Book Award for Best Thriller for Strong as Steel. He also writes the CAPITAL CRIMES series and received the 2019 Rhode Island Authors Legacy Award for his lifetime of literary achievements. A graduate of Brown University, Land lives in Providence, Rhode Island.

 

 

Catch Up With Jon Land On: JonLandBooks.com, Goodreads, BookBub, Twitter, & Facebook!

 

 

Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!

08/12 Interview @ Blog Talk Radio

08/12 Review @ Just Reviews

08/17 Guest post @ BooksChatter

08/17 Review @ Book Reviews From an Avid Reader

08/17 Showcase @ Tome Tender

08/18 Review @ The Book Divas Reads

08/18 Showcase @ Our Town Book Reviews

08/19 Guest post @ 411 ON BOOKS, AUTHORS, AND PUBLISHING NEWS

08/20 Showcase @ the bookworm lodge

08/21 Review @ The Book Connection

08/23 Showcase @ EienCafe

08/24 Interview @ Quiet Fury Books

08/25 Showcase @ The Pulp and Mystery Shelf

08/27 Showcase @ Eclectic Moods

08/31 Review @ Nesies Place

09/01 Review @ sunny island breezes

09/02 Guest post @ Thoughts in Progress

09/03 Interview/showcase @ CMash Reads

09/07 Showcase @ Im All About Books

09/10 Interview @ Reading A Page Turner

09/14 Review @ Lynchburg Mama

09/15 Showcase @ Sylv. net

09/16 Review @ A Room Without Books is Empty

09/17 Review @ Celticladys Reviews

 

 

Enter To Win!:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Jon Land. There will be five (5) winners of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card each. The giveaway begins on August 17, 2020 and runs through September 20, 2020. Void where prohibited.

 

 

Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

 

Carnal Knowledge

by Rachael Tamayo

on Tour July 11 – August 14, 2020

Synopsis:

Carnal Knowledge by Rachael Tamayo

What do you do when you know you’re on a serial killer’s hit list?

Six women are dead, and Wren Addison is the next victim on the SMS Killer’s list—or so she’s been told after waking in a pool of blood with no memory of the events that have transpired.

Newly separated and struggling to start her life over after her husband’s infidelity, Wren tries to remember what happened to her, but nothing is adding up as more horrors unfold around her. With her life on a timer and the murderer taunting her, she realizes there is nothing typical about this serial killer.

Wren is pushed to the edge as she dances between knowing she’s likely to die and fighting to be the first to survive. As the truth starts to emerge, she rises to the challenge and decides not to go down without a fight.

 

Someone is going to die, and she’s determined it won’t be her.

Book Details:

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Published by: Tangled Tree Publishing

Publication Date: July 11th 2020

Number of Pages: 301

ISBN: 9781922359124

Series: A Deadly Sins Novel, #2 || Stands Alone

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

 

Read an excerpt:

You really don’t know how you feel about some things until they happen to you. You can guess. You can pretend you’d be strong, that you’d stand on the rooftops and shout your indignation as you shake your fist to the skies, but those are only guesses. Hopes. What we think we know about ourselves. They say no one ever really knows anyone. I think it’d be a safe bet to say that we don’t really know ourselves either. You think you do. The “Oh, I’d never do that! Look at how she’s acting. If I were in her shoes….” but you don’t. No one does. I said the same things to myself when I walked out on my husband, Ricky, months ago. Those thoughts went through my head as I closed the door behind me for what I told myself was the last time. I wouldn’t let myself cry as I said goodbye to him, only feeling the first tears fall when I heard the click behind me, the locking of the door to what used to be our home together. When he didn’t chase me and beg me to stay. I wept in that moment, wondering how much pain a person could take. Over the days that followed, it faded into something more akin to numbness as I found an apartment and got a new checking account. As I arranged to find movers to get my things while he was at work, all while thanking God that we had no children. Now I find myself in that place once more, though for an altogether different reason. Something has happened to me, something that leaves my body sore and my head feeling as if I have a hangover. These are the moments that tell you who you really are, leaving you exposed to your own darkness. I found that out about myself. No one ever imagines themselves in this position. You’re not prepared. No amount of self-defense can prepare you for the shock that is the next morning, waking up in a bloody mess, knowing you’ve been sexually assaulted. I can’t even say it out loud. I won’t. I refuse to do it. It makes it real, and I don’t want it to be real. I want it to be some horrible nightmare that I can wake up from. But it’s not. It’s the middle of the night. I’m sitting on the floor of my shower, the water finally not running pink anymore. My face feels puffy from crying as I carefully wash the wounds, the soap burning. I wince and then stand up before the water turns cold. Sitting here won’t accomplish anything. I look down at the mark on my left breast, swollen and purple. The definite outline of teeth, broken skin, tender to touch. It’s not the only place I’m hurting, but it’s the only one I can easily see. The only one I can’t really hide from. It’s a slap in the face, a calling card from someone I can’t remember. A face that won’t ever haunt my dreams. So, what do I do now? It’s about 4:00 a.m. Do I call someone? The police? My friend Lily? My husband? Maybe Alex? Surely she would believe me. I blink away tears, dipping my head back into the hot spray to wash the blood out of my hair. No, I won’t tell anyone. It’s too embarrassing. Too humiliating. This big foreboding thing happened to me. What they warned us all about. My drink was tampered with, and someone hurt me. I broke the rules, and I got this for it. I should have listened, I suppose. I feel sick knowing what someone did to me while I was asleep. Or was I? Maybe I did fight and just can’t remember. I’d fight, surely. I wouldn’t just lie there and take it, right? The thought gives me some minimal sliver of peace, like passing through the eye of the hurricane—you know it’s not real, not the end, but you relish it just the same. By the time I get out of the shower, I realize I haven’t really slept. My alarm will go off at seven for work so I can catch the bus and be on time for the morning meeting. I could get three hours of sleep before that, maybe. I shut off the water, suddenly a bit afraid. Knowing someone was here gives me the creeps. Makes me wish I’d gotten that gun Ricky tried so hard to get me to agree to, the one I refused. I wouldn’t give in, fearing some horrible accident. He kept his locked up, and I never bothered to learn to shoot. He begged to teach me, tried to get me to hold his Glock to “get the feel of it.” Nope. Now I regret it. In the months I’ve lived here, I haven’t been afraid to be on my own until now. Someone got to me. I’m without defense in my own home. *** Excerpt from Carnal Knowledge by Rachael Tamayo. Copyright 2020 by Rachael Tamayo. Reproduced with permission from Tangled Tree Publishing. All rights reserved.

 

 

Author Bio:

Rachael Tamayo

International Amazon bestselling author Rachael Tamayo is a former 911 emergency operator and police dispatcher. After twelve years in those dark depths, she’s gained a unique insight into mental illness, human behaviour, and the general darkness of humanity that she likes to weave into her books. A formerly exclusive romance author tried her hand at thrillers in her award-winning novel, “Crazy Love,” and loved it so much that she decided not to turn back. Born and raised in Texas, Rachael lives in the Houston area with her husband of almost fifteen years, and their two young children.

Catch Up With Rachael Tamayo: RachaelTamayoWrites.com, Goodreads, BookBub, Instagram, Twitter, & Facebook!

 

 

Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!

07/11 Guest post @ The Book Divas Reads

07/13 Interview @ BooksChatter

07/14 Review @ The World As I See It

07/15 Interview @ CMash Reads

07/16 Showcase @ delightfullybooked

07/17 Review @ Books with Bircky

07/20 Showcase @ the bookworm lodge

07/23 Guest post @ Its Raining Books

07/25 Showcase @ Airing My Dirty Laundry

07/29 Review @ Nesies Place

07/30 Showcase @ The Pulp and Mystery Shelf

07/31 Guest post @ Reading A Page Turner

08/01 Review @ Jersey Girl Book Reviews

08/02 Showcase @ Our Town Book Reviews

08/03 Showcase @ Im Into Books

08/05 Review @ Quiet Fury Books

08/06 Showcase @ Celticladys Reviews

08/12 Showcase @ 411 ON BOOKS, AUTHORS, AND PUBLISHING NEWS

08/13 Review @ Archaeolibrarian – I Dig Good Books!

08/14 Interview @ A Blue Million Books

Enter To Win!:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Rachael Tamayo. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card. The giveaway begins on July 11, 2020 and runs through August 16, 2020. Void where prohibited.

 

Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours