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Wednesday, October 30, 2019

LSBBT PROMO AUTHOR INTERVIEW + GIVEAWAY: Tarnished Brass by Max L. Knight (Historical Fiction)


 Genre: Historical Fiction / Novella / War 
Publisher: Page Publishing, Inc.
Date of Publication: September 20, 2019
Number of Pages: 114

Scroll down for the giveaway!

The war in El Salvador as seen through the eyes of a U.S. Army officer, a guerrilla leader, and a refugee turned gang member.

Patrick Michael Moynihan finds himself returning to the small Central American country where, as a young impressionistic junior officer, he was thrust into the middle of a brutal civil war. Miguel Alejandro Xenias, once a member of the ruling elite in El Salvador, recalls his change of heart, advancement within the guerrilla movement, and his new-found hope for the country now that the FMLN is in power. Antonio Cruz, seeking a new life in America, finds only a different kind of hatred and conflict, joins the street gang MS-13, and returns home bringing with him a new kind of warfare. These perspectives spotlight an ongoing struggle in El Salvador that continues to impact the immigration crisis on our southern border and the spread of gang violence throughout the United States.

More than just a history of the war in El Salvador, a conflict that ended almost thirty years ago, Tarnished Brass gives voice to those who fought and those who only wanted to escape the violence.

Amazon ● Barnes& Noble  GooglePlay ● Apple iTunes ● IndieBound

Interview with Max L. Knight

Why did you choose to write Tarnished Brass?
Again and again, we hear the faint echoes of the past. The immigration crisis on our southern border and the rise of the violent street gang MS-13 have their origins in El Salvador’s civil war.  And, since I write under the mantra “Life is History. Our Past is Prologue,” I was encouraged by colleagues to put my experiences during and after the conflict into a story that might shed light on the legacies of U.S. economic, political, and military involvement in that country.

What is the significance of the book’s title?
In military parlance, “Brass” denotes senior military leadership. “Tarnished” implies actions taken by those leaders that sullied, stained, or disgraced their reputation. During the war countless innocent civilians were killed or went missing, and targeted assassinations were carried out by Death Squads on the orders of senior officers in the El Salvador Armed Forces. In the American military, certain officers were involved in clandestine support to the Nicaraguan rebels that resulted in the Iran-Contra scandal.

Why was it necessary to add a Glossary to the book?
Anyone who has served in the Armed Forces will be familiar with the jargon, acronyms, and weapons systems that are mentioned throughout the story. However, for those readers who have never served in the military, the terminology, abbreviations, and weaponry are probably foreign to them, and a ready reference guide should prove helpful.

What character in your book is most like you?
Like me, Patrick Michael Moynihan was assigned to USSOUTHCOM, with special duty in El Salvador during the war, and finds himself once again working with the American Embassy some thirty years later. His memories and actions are similar to my own thoughts and experience. 

Why did you give voice to perspectives other than your own?
Each of us identifies with our own reality, and that is particularly true of war. However, what we know or believe to be true is based on what we saw or experienced and may not take into consideration every facet or nuance that might put a different spin or context to the way we think about something.  History, in my view, can only be understood and judged by looking at the whole picture, so I wanted to include the guerrilla faction perspective as well as that of refugees fleeing the violence.

What was the hardest part of writing this book?
A flood of memories washed over me, to include the loss of a very close friend during the conflict. I think anyone who has ever been involved in a war, any war, looks back on that experience and asks what it all meant. What was actually accomplished, and was it worth the cost in human lives? My thoughts on those questions are in the Afterword and In Memoriam sections at the end of the book.

Why did you choose a Short Fiction format to tell your story?
As a writer I continue to try different formats. Prior to this book I had written a memoir and a novel. With Tarnished Brass I chose to write a novella to try something different, but also because I’ve heard or read comments from individuals stating that they simply can’t find the time to read lengthy books. The novella’s concise nature allows readers to complete a story in as little as one or two sittings, but it still permits the writer to explore detailed or complicated subject matter with more fully developed characters and plot than would a short story.

Max Knight was born in Panama and grew up in the Canal Zone and in San Antonio, Texas. He graduated from Texas A&M University in 1973 with a bachelor’s degree in English. A Distinguished Military Graduate, he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the United States Army and served twenty-four years in the Air Defense Artillery retiring with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. In addition to assignments within his basic branch, Max also specialized as a Foreign Area Officer in both the European Theatre of Operations (Germany and Greece) and within USSOUTHCOM (Panama, Honduras, and El Salvador). He received the Defense Superior Service Medal for his service in El Salvador during that country’s civil war. Max earned his master’s degree in government from Campbell University, and retired from the Army in 1997. Upon retirement Max was hired by RCI Technologies in San Antonio and became its Director of Internal Operations. He also was the first volunteer docent at the Alamo working within its Education Department. However, following the tragic events of 9/11, he became an Independent Contractor and spent the next ten years as a Counterintelligence Specialist in Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and Central America before cancer forced him to quit. Max has since published a memoir, Silver Taps, and a novel of westward expansion, Palo Duro. He resides in San Antonio with his wife, Janet “Gray.” They have three surviving children; Lisa, Brian, and Sean, and three grandchildren; Tony, Nicholas, and Cecilia Marie.

One Winner: Signed copy of Tarnished Brass + $25 Amazon Gift Card OCTOBER 29-NOVEMBER 8, 2019
(U.S. Only)

a Rafflecopter giveaway  Best of luck!

Many thanks to Lone Star Book Blog Tours and the author! It was a pleasure hosting! And be sure to check out the other stops on the tour for more opinions and extras!

Author Interview
Scrapbook page

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Tuesday, October 29, 2019

BOOK REVIEW: Dead Reckoning by Caitlin Rother (True Crime)

Caitlin Rother

Genre:  True Crime
Publisher: WildBlue Press
Date of Publication: August 27, 2019
Number of Pages:  504

“Rother gives readers compelling insight to an unthinkable American nightmare. A gripping read . . . frank and frightening . . . it sizzles.” —Aphrodite Jones, host of True Crime for Investigation Discovery Network

Tom and Jackie Hawks loved their life in retirement, sailing on their yacht, the Well Deserved. But when the birth of a new grandson called them back to Arizona, they put the boat up for sale. Skylar Deleon and his pregnant wife Jennifer showed up as prospective buyers, with their baby in a stroller, and the Hawkses thought they had a deal. Soon after a sea trial and an alleged purchase, however, the older couple disappeared and the Deleons promptly tried to access the Hawkses’ bank accounts.

As police investigated the case, they not only found a third homicide victim with ties to Skylar, they also uncovered an unexpected and unusual motive: Skylar had wanted gender reassignment surgery for years. By killing the Hawkses with a motley crew of assailants and plundering the couple’s assets, the Deleons had planned to clear their $100,000 in debts and still have money for the surgery, which Skylar had already scheduled. 

Now, in this up-to-the-minute updated edition, which includes extensive new material, New York Times bestselling author Caitlin Rother presents the latest breaking developments in the case. Skylar, who was ultimately sentenced to death row for the three murders, transitioned to a woman via hormones while living in the psych unit at San Quentin prison. Recently, she legally changed her name and gender to female, apparently a strategic step in her quest to obtain taxpayer-subsidized gender confirmation surgery and transfer to a women’s prison. Combined with Governor Gavin Newsom’s recent moratorium on executions, this only adds insult to injury for the victims’ families, who want Skylar to receive the ultimate punishment for her crimes.

I received a copy of this book for free. This is my honest and thoughtful review.

As a huge fan of the true crime genre, this book was one that I knew I needed to read. While I was not familiar with the case prior to picking up the book, the synopsis and cover image certainly made an impression, but the account laid out within its pages has undoubtedly stamped itself on my soul.

This is an incredibly well-written and meticulously documented account of an absolutely horrific crime. Readers are taken step-by-step from the past to the investigation and trials, and with this updated edition, to learning Skyler's present situation while on death row. Every person, from the victims to the perpetrators and their immediate family members, is given an extensive background, offering an attempt at understanding how such a tragedy could occur. Histories on the law enforcement officials and investigators are also presented that captures the extensive experience working to drop the hammer on the DeLeons and their accomplices. Surprisingly, with so much information to work through, there was never a feeling of being bogged down by all the details. In fact, the writing is so organized and deftly presented that it almost becomes a suspenseful thriller; unfortunately, this isn't fiction. Each piece of information enhances the tension and drives the pacing to breakneck speed. The pages will fly as you learn the shocking and heart-wrenching truth! You learn the unsettling circumstances right along with the families at trial, showcasing the author's ability to convey the horror of this crime without resorting to overly graphic or gratuitous narration.

Highly recommended as the definitive resource on the case, this is an excellent example of what compelling true crime looks like. Her completely unbiased perspective and tender treatment of the victims certainly has me looking forward to reading more.

New York Times bestselling author Caitlin Rother has written or co-authored 13 books, ranging from narrative nonfiction to memoir and crime fiction. Her latest titles are the true-life thriller Hunting Charles Manson and her memoir short, Secrets, Lies, and Shoelaces. A former investigative reporter at daily newspapers for 19 years, Rother has been published in Cosmopolitan, the Los Angeles Times, The San Diego Union-Tribune, Chicago Tribune, Washington Post, Boston Globe and Daily Beast. She has appeared more than 200 times on TV, radio and podcasts internationally, including Australian Broadcast Corp’s “World News,” “Crime Watch Daily,” “People Magazine Investigates,” “Nancy Grace,” “Snapped,” and dozens of shows on Netflix, Investigation Discovery, Oxygen, A&E, Reelz, C-SPAN and various PBS affiliates. Rother also works as a writing-research coach and consultant, leads writing workshops, and plays keyboards and sings in an acoustic group called breakingthecode. She is working on two new books, one titled “Justice for Rebecca,” about the Rebecca Zahau death case, and one about the San Diego Zoo’s Frozen Zoo.


Many thanks to Pump Up Your Book Blog Tours and the author! It was a pleasure reading, reviewing, and hosting! And be sure to check out the other stops on the tour for more opinions and extras!

Tuesday, October 1

Book Feature & Tour Kick Off at PUYB Virtual Book Club

Wednesday, October 2

Book Featured at Blogging Authors

Thursday, October 3

Book Teaser Trailer at YouTube

Friday, October 4

Book Review at The World As I See It

Tuesday, October 8

Book Feature at My Book Launch

Wednesday, October 9

Interview at The Dark Phantom Reviews

Thursday, October 10

Book Featured at As the Page Turns

Monday, October 14

Book Teaser Trailer Featured at The Writer’s Life e-Magazine

Tuesday, October 15

Book Review at Gimme the Scoop Reviews

Thursday, October 17

Book Review at Sefina Hawke’s Books

Friday, October 18

Book Review at Just Another Reader

Monday, October 21

Book Review at Momma Says: To Read or Not To Read

Tuesday, October 22

Book Review at Books for Books

Friday, October 25

Book Review at Cheryl’s Book Nook

Book Review at All Books Revealed

Interview at T’s Stuff

Monday, October 28

Interview at Jazzy Book Reviews

Tuesday, October 29

Book Review at That’s What She’s Reading

Thursday, October 31

Interview at Chapter Break

Book Review at The Book Connection


Haunted Bluffs Mystery Series, #2
Loretta Marion

Genre: Mystery (with elements of paranormal and whispers of romance)
Publisher:  Crooked Lane Books
Date of Publication: November 12, 2019
Number of Pages: 312

A deadly storm, a missing three-year-old child, a suspicious death, and the eerie presence of the spirits of the dead set the stage for the second mesmerizing installment of Loretta Marion's paranormal suspense series.

A powerful storm descends upon Cape Cod's Whale Rock at the peak of tourist season--and the weekend Cassandra Mitchell's and Daniel Benjamin's wedding is set to take place at The Bluffs, the magnificent Victorian mansion Cassie inherited from her family. In the wake of the storm's destruction, three-year-old Lucas Kleister goes missing--and the body of small-time drug dealer Lee Chambers is found in a restaurant dumpster. Now, the WRPD are faced with a murder to solve, a missing child to find, and the aftermath of one of the worst storms in recent memory.

While aiding with the clean-up and helping the displaced, Cassie has been receiving cryptic messages from the spirits of her great-grandparents, Percy and Celeste Mitchell, the original residents of The Bluffs. At first, the messages are benign, but soon, they begin to point to something more sinister. As Cassie works to decipher their meaning, the specter of a mysterious local legend surfaces. The tale of Barnacle Boy--and what happened to him during another destructive storm decades earlier--will weave through the desperate search to find Lucas and the identity of a killer.

"Modern and historic mysteries collide in Marion's bittersweet storytelling." Kirkus Reviews

“[A] gripping sequel...Marion seamlessly weaves the multiple story threads together. Fans of tales of regional intrigue will be satisfied.” Publishers Weekly

Purchase Links

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On the short walk to my car, a sparkle caught my eye on the ground near a temporary dumpster behind La Table, the new location of my old flame Billy Hughes’s catering business.

Later, I reflected on how different things would have been had I not been so curious.

What if I hadn’t had the dress fitting today? What if I hadn’t parked in Archie’s space? What if I hadn’t gone out the back door of his shop? What if I hadn’t gone over to examine what was glittering next to the dumpster?

“The what ifs and should haves will eat your brain.” It was a quote of John O’Callaghan’s, from his book of poetry entitled, Sincerely, John the Ghost—ironically, a gift from Zoe, who’d always eschewed the notion of Percy’s and Celeste’s spirits.

The point is, if I hadn’t done all those things, then I wouldn’t have seen that glint on the ground and gone over to check out what it was. Most crucially, I would never have noticed a hand through the rusted-out hole in the dumpster.

A very dead hand.

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A true bibliophile, Loretta Marion's affection for the written word began in childhood and followed her like a shadow throughout her life as she crafted award-winning marketing and advertising copy and educational brochures. She then applied her writing skills as a volunteer, establishing a Legacy Story program for hospice patients, which inspired her to create her own fictional stories. Her debut novel, The Fool's Truth, is a twisty mystery set in Maine. Her Haunted Bluffs Mystery Series is set on Cape Cod and was introduced by Crooked Lane Books in 2018 beginning with HOUSE OF ASHES. Her newest release, STORM OF SECRETS, is the second book of the series.

When not whipping out words on her laptop, she is traveling, enjoying outdoor pursuits, or is curled up with a delicious new book. Loretta lives in Rhode Island with her husband, Geoffrey.

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