Emma Tombs is not your average woman. The moment her husband was murdered she had to figure out something new to sustain herself. With an unusual talent and earning the name of “Angel of Death”, she starts hunting wanted outlaws to get some money. But with time, the cruel nature of the job starts to haunt her and give her nightmares. She tries to leave the bounty hunter life behind and searches for a normal life. She opens a diner, but her world is turned upside down when a mysterious man shows up. They meet each other and the connection is instant and intense. However, the lives of both are riddled with secrets, and they’ll have to overcome their own demons to build the relationship that their souls so desperately need.
This story might be short, but it isn’t missing anything. Smith’s ability to include so much in a few pages is incredible. As she introduces Emma, we get the idea of a strong woman that’s able to command herself in a group of powerful men. She’s voracious and skilled. She’s also quite vulnerable though, and realizes that she’s been hurt all throughout her life; a pain that will hardly go away. Then we meet JD, a mysterious man that’s new in town. From the beginning the intrigue is felt, not only because JD’s identity and past are completely unknown, but also because his connection with Emma is fiery and heartfelt, an undeniable bond that they clearly share.
The build up for this romance was skillfully done. With an engaging writing style that excellently portrays what the characters feel and hope for, a vivid picture is provided through which the birth of this unexpected romance can be seen. Readers can feel the tension and the desire, and will yearn to see where Emma and JD’s story lead. This, coupled with a few intense action scenes from the bounty hunter lifestyle, make for an all-around tense and powerful romance plot that will keep readers glued to the page.
When love feels like something unachievable, Smith’s story brings the tension and the magic that one longs for, using her storytelling skills to weave a passionate romance story where the lovers will have to fight to keep it alight.
Pages: 29 (Page 354-383 in the paperback anthology) | ASIN: B08VYQZ17H
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Warrior on the Western Waters follows a young woman who’s abducted and taken to an angry Shawnee village where she must survive the dangerous west to return home. What were some sources that informed this novel’s development?
I loved researching the Shawnee culture and history online during the 18th century. There are many resources available, and some have updated since my access. (Apologies if I’ve misused or misrepresented Shawnee in my book. I meant respect and educational purposes)
Thirteen Moons on Turtles Back Instruction Guide found at: https://cdn.shopify.com
Shawnee Moons-The Cycle of Life found at: http://www.fantasy-epublications.com
Shawnee Folk-Lore by J. Spencer found at: http://www.jtor.org/stable/534746
Shawnee Mythology [archive] found at: http://www.bigorrin.org/archive123.htm
Shawnee Language found at: https://estoo-nsn.gov/learn-shawnee/
Research related to the location of Fort Boonesborough came from online reports by Nancy O’Malley.
Archaeological Investigations at Fort Boonesborough found at: http://www.academia.edu/7374565/Archaelolgical_Investigations_at_Fort_Boonesborough
Searching for Boonesborough found at: http://www.academia.edu/20228734/Searching_for_Boonesborough
Books edited by Neal O’Hammon gave wonderful first-person accounts. Also, his book co-written by Richard Taylor.
Floyd, John, The Life and Letters of a Frontier Surveyor. Edited by Neal O’Hammon. Louisville, KY: Butler Books, 2013.
Boone, Nathan 1781-1856, My Father Daniel Boone. Edited by Neal O’ Hammon. Lexington, KY: University Press of Kentucky, paperback edition, 2012.
O’ Hammon, Neal and Richard Taylor, Virginia’s Western War 1775-1786. Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books, 2002.
I enjoyed Mary’s character evolution throughout the story. What were some obstacles that you felt were important to defining her character?
Mary’s persona at the beginning of the story is one of vulnerability due to past trauma. She expects protection from the Boonesborough settlement and her father.
When ripped from her family in the dark, she must recall survival skills and rely on herself.
No one can rescue her. She must overcome fear of the Piqua Shawnee before she can learn their language, customs, and worth. Respect grows into bonds of friendship, but she longs to be reunited with her family.
When tragedy strikes the village, an evil shaman blames Mary. Friends betray her, but she refuses to accept marriage to a vile loyalist trader. Mary risks death fleeing down turbulent rivers and creeks.
A fiercely independent, self-reliant young woman arrives at a patriot camp. Wounded, but not willing to wait for an escort from the scout she knows as William McGuire, she determines to make it back to her family. William insists on accompanying her. A confrontation on the way ends with a curse that threatens her future.
What were some ideas that were important for you to convey in this book?
I’m building my series by weaving in West Virginia and Kentucky historical events during the American Revolutionary war. In this installment, I’m showing the Shawnee side of things and how the British secured an alliance with them, thus seeding the devastating storm forming in the north and about to blow down from Fort Detroit in the real and fictional Mary Shirley’s future.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
Palisades of the Heart (Dangerous Loyalties Series Book Four) Sweet Historical Romance set in Western Virginia at Cooks Fort on Indian Creek. Strong-willed, Mary Shirley and the stubborn scout, William McGuire clash over Kentucky territory.
Mary says she will never return.
William desires her when she can wed, but longs to raise fast horses in the fertile grasses of Kentucky. A man from Mary’s past arrives to complicate matters. Mary must resolve the fear of a spoken curse before she can trust.
I hope to finish and publish by the end of the year.
In a sad note: My publisher died a few days ago, freezing her LLC company. I have no idea if my paperbacks can still be purchased from Amazon, or other places. I’m not sure when or if I’ll receive royalties from the eBooks or audiobooks.
However, I have eight sets of the series in my stock available on my Square Store called Book by Phyllis: Home | Books by Phyllis A. Still (square.site)
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Longing For You follows a wealthy and determined woman who goes to Montana to visit a friend and ends up finding romance while getting mixed up in his drama. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?
I always love writing about stubborn heroines. I guess this stems from my admiration for real career women who have the courage to enter the industries dominated by men, two names came to mind: Hilary Devey (logistics) and Sheryl Sandberg (tech). My aim for Longing For You, and in fact the whole Fearless Lovers series, is to showcase powerful women who have more than just deep pockets (move away, billionaire bad boys 😉).
Arianne is a strong character that knows what she wants in life. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?
Longing For You is the third book in the series, but I actually created Arianne Whiteley in the second book as a supporting character. There are three sides to Arianne—Arianne the businesswoman, the best friend, and the lover. The ideal behind Arianne the businesswoman is answered in the previous question. The second side of her is about being a sister to her best friend. I’m the only daughter, and so many times I wish I had a sister! Lastly, as a lover, Arianne is the epitome of loyalty and fierce love. It’s about being there for your partner through thick and thin. In the world full of temptations and scandals, I think these qualities are often overlooked.
What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?
I love complex, multi-layered characters who don’t always get it right. One of the important themes in Longing For You is that life is never black and white, and neither are people. Even a monster has a softer side. The story also highlights how adversity shapes and strengthens family bond.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
The two bodyguards featured in the Fearless Lovers series will have their own series! I’m working on an opening novella called Montana’s Bravest—showcasing how the two men start the company, Red Mark Rescue & Protect, while dealing with their own heartbreaks. It will be available August 23rd 2022. I’m also working on another romantic suspense novel which will be out later this year.
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Tags: Alessa Kelly, author, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, ebook, fiction, goodreads, kindle, kobo, literature, Longing for You, love story, nook, novel, psychological fiction, psychological thriller, read, reader, reading, romance, story, western, writer, writing
Warrior on the Western Waters is the third book in the intense and thrilling young adult Dangerous Loyalties series by Phyllis A. Still. Set in 1775 in Boonesborough, we follow a young girl named Mary Shirley who lives in a settlement that is supposed to be a safe haven from the Loyalists. Mary warns the people in the settlement of a traitor who is planning to attack them, but no one believes her. She is taken hostage by the Loyalists who seek revenge against her father and is taken to a Shawnee village where she stays while they await the surrender of her father.
What I have come to realize about Phyllis Still’s writing is that there is a simple eloquence to it. It has a way of leading you through a story with simple language which leaves your mind free to imagine the intriguing world that she is creating in her book.
This is an emotional roller-coaster of a story and the author effortlessly captures the intense emotions that each character is feeling; which reminds me of the emotional rumination of Suzanne Collin’s The Hunger Games. What drew me into this impassioned historical fiction story was the smart and nimble dialogue. The reader feels like they are alongside Mary, feeling the terror and worry she feels. The dialogue feels authentic and the characters are much more believable because of it. I was easily able to connect with Mary’s character as she starts out as an innocent child, but must be strong in order to survive.
A fun fact; the author is an eighth-generation descendant of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). Mary Shirley McGuire is the muse behind the Dangerous Loyalties series and our main protagonist. Even though this is a work of fiction, you can really tell that the author wanted to do her ancestors justice with this book, and I feel like she does exactly that.
Even though this book is part of a series, I think it can still stand on its own as an intrepid coming-of-age historical adventure story. I don’t think readers will need to read books one and two in the series in order to follow Mary through this absorbing story. The author expertly provides just enough background information to catch the reader up before setting them off on this new adventure.
Warrior on the Western Waters by Phyllis A. is a captivating historical fiction novel that is a must read for history buffs and will be an emotionally-resonant story for everyone else.
Pages: 197 | ASIN: B082TWBP3P
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Arianne Whiteley is a wealthy New Yorker, she has all that life can offer, but the dangerous men of this world are what she wants most. We see this unfold as she visits the state of Montana to visit a friend after they were kidnapped by their evil brother. While there, Arianne meets Lucas Grayson, a member of the notorious Pit Vipers. Lucas starts a tumultuous affair in hopes of using Arianne to his advantage, to the dismay of her bodyguard, Mark. But as their desire grows, so does trouble. Even with all the challenges they face, they won’t let anyone or anything come between them.
Longing for You by author Alessa Kelly has everything a good romance novel should have, suspense, lust, and angst. She hits all the elements without going into too much detail. The steamy scenes between Lucas and Arianne have enough description to get a feel for the moment without being over the top. Readers will find this is more than just a romance novel, there is a strong storyline that the romance is built into, rather than a romance novel with a flat backstory.
Kelly’s writing is entertaining, and there is never a dull moment with the characters she has created. The character development is well done and each of the protagonists is multi-layered and dynamic. There is action and suspense throughout the novel. I wanted to race to the end of the book to see what happens to our characters, but I also didn’t want it to end. I enjoyed Arianne’s character as she is a strong female that knows what she wants.
This fast-paced novel has an action-filled plot that will keep readers engaged from the beginning. The action and the story blend well together, giving the novel a cohesive feel while keeping readers on their toes as characters race from one dramatic moment to the next.
Longing for You is a well-written and exciting contemporary novel. Readers that are attracted to the genre of western literature with action and romance mixed in will find this book a great book to sit back and relax with.
Pages: 315 | ASIN : B09VD6PYR6
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Young Davy Crockett: The Wild Frontier with Dinosaurs follows a young hunter that must find out what is happening to the missing hunters. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?
A bunch of years ago, my mentor, Jonathan Maberry, sent me a message basically challenging me to write a middle grade horror book. This is something totally out of my genre. I normally write in epic fantasy, horror, urban fantasy, and paranormal romance. I was like…write something for kids? I don’t write for kids! Yet, at the same time, I’m not one to back down from a challenge.
I like history. So, I brainstormed historical figures. Who could I write about in their younger years? The answer came quick. After some research (I love research), I found my character: Young Davy Crockett.
How much research did you need to do for this book?
I did a lot of reading about Davy. Turns out he had a lot of adventures in his youth, so I was not stretching the facts. Most kids back then had to learn skills and put them to use in the towns and on the farms. Davy was a hard worker and being such a popular American historical figure, it was easy to find information about him.
What has helped or hindered you most when writing a book?
I had to remind myself…over and over…that I was writing for MG. I had to tone things down. Remember the language. And remember that, although brave and a skilled outdoorsman at a young age, Davy had to speak to adults like a kid. Not on par with them.
This was hard for me at times.
When my editor first read the book, she told me it read like YA writing. I tried my best to fix it to a MG style. Since then, I have had readers and reviewers come back saying it is MG and others saying it is YA. I’m proud of it regardless of which age range it lands more prominently in.
I found that trying to imagine the book as a cartoon helped. Like an 80’s cartoon. Remember the ABC WEEKEND SPECIALS? It was a series that featured a different kid’s books each week. I tried to paint it as one of those episodes back then. 🙂
Has writing and publishing so many books changed the way you see yourself?
I guess I look at myself as the grizzled old veteran now. I fought hard. I’ve had amazing victories and terrible losses. But I keep at it. My motto is: Write Makes Might! It means a lot of things to different people. Basically, to me, it means writing brings you strength. It can be helpful and cathartic. Do it for yourself above all others.
I have written nine books. Most of which are around 100,000 words or more. I am working on book ten and I recall, with great clarity, when I was on my first book and would see people on their tenth. I remember thinking, wow, I will never finish ten books.
Well, guess what? It turns out I will.
At one point or another, every book I have written has been, or is, published. But it was a struggle. It’s a battlefield out there. I have had deals with shady publishers, I have had publishers print and sell my books only to suddenly stop paying me. I have had books get published multiple times by different publishers. I have had an agent. I have had movie deals sent my way and offers to write TV shows. I have been nominated for huge awards and won smaller ones. It spins my head when I think about it all.
A wise man once said, “Life is like a hurricane…” This is very true for authors and artists. 🙂
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A Winding Path to Flat Water by Rob Soles tells the story of his great-grandpa, Henry Soles, who was taken from his parents when he was just a baby. Nishkiinzhig was Henry’s nanny and kidnapped him when she left with her tribe. Henry and Nishkiinzhig are forced to move around several times and to different places to get away from white settlers and other tribes. They stay at a home for widows and orphans where Henry, now known as Niniij, learns to hunt and help out around the home. Nishkiinzhig learns she has cancer, so she sends Henry out into the world to become a man and live his life. Soon after she passes away, Henry sets out to find the family he was taken from. He must also now reintegrate and reestablish himself in a white society.
Rob Soles has written an unpredictable, historical tale of Henry’s journey of finding a place for himself in society. The novel moves at a smooth pace and follows the different experiences that Henry goes through. Readers will love Henry as he is not angry at what happens to him, instead he still loves Nishkiinzhig and considers her his mom. His character is intelligent and capable and builds friendships with people along the way. Soles’ descriptions allow the reader to imagine what the characters in the story look like along with the surrounding areas. I enjoyed the many interesting characters in this novel; however, I would have liked to have heard more of what they were thinking and the motives behind their actions to connect more with them. The ending of this engaging novel leaves readers with much to think about, allowing them to take the story with them after they read the last page.
A Winding Path to Flat Water is a riveting story about American history, and western expansion told from a biographical fiction viewpoint. It gives readers an interesting look at Native American culture and what it could be like to live across two very different worlds.
Pages: 326 | ASIN : B09N8LH21H
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Tombstone: The Superhero of the West brings to life the adolescent journey of Morgan, a transgender person (born as a male who identifies as a female) finding her truth in the 1860-70s. Growing up with two sisters, a stereotypically masculine dad, and a loving mother, Morgan always felt something about her identity and sexuality didn’t feel right. Perpetually confused about why she feels the way she does and why she likes certain things. In this eye-opening, insightful read, author Missy M exquisitely explores the innocent musings and journey of an adolescent who just wants to live her truth without worrying about disappointing her family and crossing swords with society.
Initially, Morgan innocently questions gender stereotypes—why should having a particular body part make you enjoy a certain activity less?—and we get insight into her inner battles and conflicts. Since Morgan thrives on education, she turns to books for answers. Later in the story, through heroic adventures, we see how her knowledge comes in handy, which helps her family view her in a new light and thus become more accepting of who she truly is.
This beautifully written story has captured the inner voice of an adolescent coming to terms with her gender and sexuality. As a cisgender, I genuinely believe people who don’t respect gender identity and sexuality as struggles could really learn a thing or two from the author’s narrative of Morgan’s journey. However, I thought some musings and insights were repeated in the book, for example, her sadness about her father not accepting her and her confusion regarding why she liked the things Jenny did. Nonetheless, intrigue is born in the first chapter, which Waldron keeps ignited throughout the book. I’ll definitely be picking up the second book to get more insight into the life of the LGBTQ+ community in the 19th century. While this novel follows the journey of an LGBT young adult, this novel contains language that I think is better suited for an adult audience. Containing mature language and provocative scenes, I think this book is appropriate for mature readers.
Tombstone: The Superhero of the West is a captivating story combining stories of the old west with contemporary issues revolving around gender identity and gender stereotypes. This work of fiction will give readers a new look at a common story while opening their minds to non-traditional viewpoints.
Pages: 405 | ASIN : B09J8V76YS
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