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Thursday, April 9, 2020

LSBBT PROMO AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Destiny's Way by Ben H. English (Historical Fiction)

A Novel of the Big Bend
Ben H. English

Genre:  Historical Fiction / Suspense
Publisher: Creative Texts Publishers
Date of Publication: January 18, 2020
Number of Pages: 363

Kate Blanchard woke up one morning in a dream home she could no longer afford, with a young son who needed a man’s influence, and not a friend among those who had claimed to be prior to her husband’s mysterious disappearance. About all she had left was a ramshackle ranch along Terlingua Creek, sitting forlornly in the desolate reaches of the lower Big Bend. It was the only place left she could go. There she finds a home and a presence of something strange yet comforting that she can’t put her finger on or fully understand.

With that ethereal presence comes Solomon Zacatecas, a loner with his own past and a knowledge of her land near uncanny in nature. He helps her when no one else can and is honest when no one else will be, but she suspicions that he is not always completely so. Yet her quiet, unassuming neighbor proves to be more than capable in whatever situation arises. That includes when standing alone against those who would take everything else that Kate had, including her life as well as her son’s.


“This is one of those rare books that you simply can't put down. Ben English 's writing style is pure magic. He really brings this historical fiction book to life. Immediately, you are drawn to the main characters Kate and Solomon and feel as though you are right there next to them, experiencing what they are experiencing. Destiny's Way is one that would do well on the Silver Screen.” -- Catherine Eaves, published author

“Ben does a superb job with this book! Excellent characters, true-to-life environment that is part and parcel of the story, twists and turns enough to make you wonder what is going on, and a slice of life down in Big Bend that rings true. That area has historically been full of 'characters' throughout its history, and Ben brings those characters into the book, raising the hair on the back of your neck. Highly recommended!” -- J. L. Curtis, author of the Grey Man series

“Ben, I love how your words and your memories reach out and connect the past with the present and touch so many people along the way. You are the connector! Bravo Zulu, my friend.” -- Matt Walter, Museum of the Big Bend Curator

Amazon  ┃  Barnes & Noble  ┃  Books-A-Million  ┃  IndieBound  ┃ Bookshop 


Interview with Ben H. English

How has being a Texan influenced your writing?

Texans and those of like philosophy are the people I come from and the people I write for. If you are to be successful, you should know your reader and what is important to them. I try to write stories that would make those people proud of themselves, their communities, and their way of life.

Why did you choose to write in your particular genres?

Louis L’Amour once gave some very good advice about being an author. Never one to waste a word, his comment was concise: “Write what you know.” I have kept that foremost in my mind from day one, and that is how I choose my genres.

How long have you been writing?

About three years now. I had toyed with the idea before but believed one must first experience your chosen subject before you can really write about it. A good book is the result of life experiences and the ability to recreate them.

What do you think most characterizes your writing?

It matters little what I think, but what matters greatly is what my readers think. I have been told repeatedly that what sticks out most about my writing is authenticity. To me, that is a badge of honor and worth any number of positive reviews by literary critics.

Who are some of the authors you feel were influential in your work? 

I have had many influences, the biggest being what I came from and the life I chose to lead. But as far as books and writers, I would have to say Robert A. Heinlein, Rudyard Kipling, William Shakespeare, Louis L’Amour, Elmer Kelton, and the King James Version of the Holy Bible.

Did you first experience rejections when submitting this manuscript for publication?

No, ma’am. But there were some who wanted to change my style of writing or at least tweak it for a more academic audience. Their thinking was that I should appeal more to the genteel crowd to garner recognition. I demurred and sought my own path, leading to multiple offers and ultimately a long-term, multi-book contract. 

What are some day jobs that you have held? Have any of them impacted your writing?

In my time I have been a cowboy, a dish washer, a groundskeeper, and a general repairman. I have worked in a salt plant, as security in a hospital, sold newspapers, and been a high school teacher. I have also served two hitches in the Marine Corps, traveled to thirty different countries on four continents, and sailed many a blue sea. Finally, I put in a career as a Texas highway patrolman working Interstate 10 in West Texas. Each job was important in some way, and I learned something from each one that would benefit me later on.

My father had a saying: “If it is honest, it is honorable.” He was right.

Ben H. English is an eighth-generation Texan who grew up in the Big Bend. At seventeen he joined the Marines, ultimately becoming a chief scout-sniper as well as a platoon sergeant. Later he worked counterintelligence and traveled to over thirty countries.

At Angelo State University he graduated Magna Cum Laude along with other honors. Afterwards Ben had a career in the Texas Highway Patrol, holding several instructor billets involving firearms, driving, and defensive tactics.

His intimate knowledge of what he writes about lends credence and authenticity to his work. Ben knows how it feels to get hit and hit back, or being thirsty, cold, wet, hungry, alone, or exhausted beyond imagination. Finally, he knows of not only being the hunter but also the hunted.

Ben and his wife have two sons who both graduated from Annapolis. He still likes nothing better than grabbing a pack and some canteens and heading out to where few others venture.

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Tuesday, April 7, 2020

LSBBT BOOK BLITZ: Breakfast at the Honey Creek Cafe by Jodi Thomas (Contemporary Romance)

A Honey Creek Novel
Jodi Thomas

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Zebra
Publication Date: May 26, 2020
Number of Pages: 336 pages


From Jodi Thomas, New York Times bestselling author of Mornings on Main and Indigo Lake, comes this heartwarming new novel set in Honey Creek, Texas—a small town where family bonds and legends run deep, and friendship and love are always close at hand...

Piper Jane Mackenzie, mayor of Honey Creek, won’t let a major scandal rip her quirky hometown apart or jeopardize her dream of one day running for higher office. So she’s willing to welcome undercover detective Colby McBride, hired to help solve the mystery behind her wannabe fiancé’s disappearance. Colby’s cover? That he is an old boyfriend now begging Piper for a second chance—always when there are plenty of townsfolk around to witness his shenanigans. Piper hardly knows whether to laugh or cry, especially when she finds herself drawn to the handsome rascal. He's not the only newcomer she has to deal with. There’s a new interim preacher in town, Sam Cassidy. Drifting from one assignment to another since his one love died, Sam isn’t sure he’s the right fit for Honey Creek. But as Piper knows, this is a place chock-full of surprises. And if she can keep her town—and her heart—from going completely off the rails, there may be a sweet, unexpected future in store . . .



With millions of books in print, Jodi Thomas is both a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over fifty novels and countless short story collections. Her stories travel through the past and present days of Texas and draw readers from around the world.

In July 2006, Jodi was the eleventh writer to be inducted into the Romance Writers of America Hall of Fame. With five RITAs to her credit, along with National Readers’ Choice Awards and Booksellers’ Best Awards, Thomas has proven her skill as a master storyteller.

Thomas was honored in 2002 as a Distinguished Alumni by Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas and served sixteen years as the Writer in Residence at West Texas A&M University in Canyon, Texas.

When not working on a novel, or inspiring students to pursue writing careers, Thomas enjoys traveling with her family, renovating an historic home, and “checking up” on two grown sons and four grandchildren.

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Monday, April 6, 2020

BOOK REVIEW + GIVEAWAY: The Missing Sister by Elle Marr (Thriller)

Elle Marr

Genre:  Thriller
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Date of Publication: April 1, 2020
Number of Pages: 299


In Paris, her twin sister has vanished, leaving behind three chilling words: Trust no one. 

Shayna Darby is finally coming to terms with her parents’ deaths when she’s delivered another blow. The body of her estranged twin sister, Angela—the possible victim of a serial killer—has been pulled from the Seine. Putting what’s left of her life on hold, Shayna heads to Paris. But while cleaning out Angela’s apartment, Shayna makes a startling discovery: a coded message meant for her alone… Alive. Trust no one.

Taking the warning to heart, Shayna maintains the lie. She makes a positive ID on the remains and works to find out where—and why—her missing sister is hiding. Shayna retraces her sister’s footsteps, and they lead her down into Paris’s underbelly.

As she gets closer to the truth—and to the killer—Shayna’s own life may now be in the balance…

Although they have been estranged for many years, Shayna rushes to France to identify the body of her twin sister, Angela, after it is presumed that she has been murdered. Their separation from one another following past events as well as a seemingly altogether new life in a different country convinces Shayna that she doesn't really know her sister; however, upon entry into her Angela's apartment, it becomes clear to her that something is truly wrong. As twins, they have always believed they share an inexplicable bond, and it is those very innate feelings that thrust Shayna into a personal quest to figure out not only what happened to her sister, but perhaps come to finally understand her as well. Though the story spans the course of only six action-packed days, this ultimately is a slow-burning mystery about the dysfunctional relationship that exists between two sisters. 

During this time of self-quarantining and lockdowns, this is an incredibly well-timed book to pick up due to its French destination. You'll travel extensively through the Paris Catacombs and visit the seedy underbelly of the red light district all while the Sorbonne, Notre Dame, the Louvre, and the Eiffel Tower sit within your periphery. The story does an amazing job of detailing the history of the Catacombs, but seeing is really believing if you've never seen it before, so please check out these articles from Atlas Obscura and the Smithsonian Magazine for visual reference and more information. Though it was not the trip you would like to find yourself in, it was fascinating to walk through this story with Shayna as she discovered so much about her sister's academic work in Paris as well as exploring a side to the city not typically discussed.

Angela's warning of "trust no one" is absolutely the best advice, especially as a stranger in a foreign country. Just as quickly as characters appear trustworthy, their actions suggest sinister motives, leaving Shayna with no one to turn to. This becomes all the more apparent as the pacing picks up to a shocking and horrific conclusion that will leave you with chills!

Overall, this is a fresh and original story within the genre. So much talent was shown within these pages and I look forward to so much more in the future!

Many thanks to Great Escapes Book Tours and the author for providing me with a free copy of the book. This is my honest and thoughtful opinion.

Originally from Sacramento, Elle Marr explored the urban wilderness of Southern California before spending three wine-and-cheese-filled years in France. There she earned a master’s degree from the Sorbonne University in Paris. Now she lives and writes outside Portland, Oregon, with her husband and one very demanding feline. When she’s not busy writing her next novel, she’s most likely thinking about it. 


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Many thanks again to Great Escapes Book 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 author extras!

March 25 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
March 26 – Baroness’ Book Trove – SPOTLIGHT
March 26 – The Book Diva’s Reads – SPOTLIGHT
March 27 – Elizabeth McKenna – Author – SPOTLIGHT
March 28 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – SPOTLIGHT– unable to post-illness
March 28 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – SPOTLIGHT
March 29 – Diane Reviews Books – REVIEW
March 30 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW
March 30 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT
March 31 – Gimme The Scoop Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
March 31 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – SPOTLIGHT
April 1 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – REVIEW
April 1 – Laura’s Interests – SPOTLIGHT
April 2 – eBook addicts – REVIEW
April 3 – Rosepoint Publishing – REVIEW
April 3 – Maureen’s Musings – REVIEW
April 4 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT
April 5 – Socrates Book Reviews – REVIEW
April 6 – That’s What She’s Reading – REVIEW
April 7 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT

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