Thursday, October 31, 2019

Not Guilty & Much More (+ Giveaway)

I’m delighted to welcome you to Thoughts in Progress as it is a fun-filled, jammed-packed day for me.

First, I’m thrilled to welcome Author C. Lee McKenzie here as part of her MC Book Tour for her latest release, NOT GUILTY. She is also offering a tour-wide giveaway. Much more on that fascinating story shortly.

Second, Happy Halloween to those celebrating far and wide. It’s a fun-filled day for kids of all ages. It’s a great time to dress up as your favorite character ad collect lots and lots of tasty treats (I’m talking about the kids of course). Today at work a group of us are dressing up as the case of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. I’m playing the Evil Queen.

Now let’s find out more about Lee’s new book.

* Not Guilty
* by C. Lee McKenzie
* Publication Date: October 25, 2019
* Genre: Young Adult

          A blood-smeared knife. One young man’s word against another. A lifetime dream crushed.
          The evidence points to Devon Carlyle. He was there when it happened. Everyone knows he had it in for Renzo Costa. And Costa says Devon was the one. In the judge’s rap of a gavel, Devon’s found guilty of assault. The star of the Oceanside High’s basketball team loses his shot at the one thing he’s worked so hard for—the championship game where college scouts could see how good he is.
          Now he makes his great shots in Juvenile Hall with kids far different from those that have always been in his life.
          Angry? Hell, yes.
          He’s bent on finding who did the crime. He’s bent on making them pay because he’s Not Guilty.
          But can he prove it?

Now an excerpt from the book to tempt you even more.

Chapter Three
It took less than fifteen minutes for his parents to arrive. And it wasn’t an arrival so much as an invasion. His mom barged into the sheriff’s office slightly ahead of his dad, her face as flushed as Mr. Miller’s.
Dad grasped Devon by the shoulders. “Is this about the ticket? Was there more to it than speeding?”
Devon managed to shake his head, but he couldn’t speak. A deafening audio loop kept repeating, “Somebody stabbed Renzo Costa. They think I did it.”
Underneath that loop, Adam Miller’s voiced droned while he explained what was going on, the attack, and how Devon’s presence at the beach and his earlier fight with Costa had triggered the questioning.
His dad stood his arms crossed, his back straight, and his lips one thin line. Devon couldn’t look at his mom, but her sudden intake of breath was loud.
“The next step is to have Devon released into your custody. I don’t think they have enough evidence to charge him and keep him in juvenile detention.”
Devon rested his arms on his thighs, his head down. Charge me? Keep me? Give me detention? Each of those sent his heart into his throat.
He looked up when the door opened and the sheriff stepped inside. “Devon, wait out there with my deputy.” The sheriff held the door open until Devon left.
In the outer office, he leaned against the wall and closed his eyes. This could not be happening. He could not be facing possible arrest for a crime he had no part in. He could not be waiting to find out if he was going home with his mom and dad or if he was going to be taken to Juvenile Hall. But that was exactly what was going on. That and the end of his basketball scholarship. He pushed away from the wall and shoved his hands in his pockets. No. That couldn’t happen to him. They’ll find out I didn’t do anything more than shove Renzo around, and I had a damned good reason.
Closing his eyes, he imagined Kristen. Her voice when she heard about him being hauled into the sheriff’s office. “I know you’re not guilty, Dev.”
The door opened and his mom followed Mr. Miller out. Her face was even more flushed and pinched with worry than before. Dad walked behind her with his hand at her back.
The sheriff waved his deputy inside his office, leaving the four of them facing each other.
“You’re to go home with your parents, Devon,” Miller said. “The sheriff’s investigation is ongoing, so we’ll have to wait until all the evidence is in before we’ll know the next step.”
“What evidence?” Devon asked.
“The victim’s statement, for one. And the fingerprint comparisons aren’t back from the lab.” He tucked papers into his briefcase. “Also, it seems their search of your room turned up nothing. Excellent news.” The lawyer shook hands with Dad but only nodded at Mom. She didn’t respond. Her eyes had a vacancy Devon had never seen before.
After the lawyer left, Dad guided Devon and his mom out the front door and into their SUV. The trip home was dense with silence. What had happened that morning scared Devon more with each mile they drove. It was like the time he was eight and he’d lost his footing on the steep edge of a trail. The moment he almost fell was terrifying, but it became worse afterward when he had time to think about it. The sheer drop of hundreds of feet. The rocks below. For months, he had nightmares.
Once they were in the living room, Dad faced Devon. “You couldn’t have done this. Your mother and I know that.”
“Sit down,” his mom said. “We need to hear everything from your side.”
He went back over that Wednesday, starting with Susan and ending with how he’d put the shoe on the picnic table.
“I’m assuming this is the same Susan you just broke up with,” Mom said.
Dad paced. “You know the boy who was attacked. That’s what the sheriff said.”
“I’ve seen him around, but I only met him once—that night at a party when I caught him with my girlfriend.”
“And this Costa.” Mom sat next to Devon, facing him. “Did you get into a fight over Susan?”
“I slammed him against the wall. A couple of times. He came back at me but changed his mind, and I walked out. She wasn’t worth a fight.”

Author C. Lee McKenzie
For those who aren’t familiar with the author, here’s a bit of background on her.

C. Lee McKenzie has a background in Linguistics and Inter-Cultural Communication, but these days her greatest passion is writing for young readers. She has published five young adult novels: Sliding on the Edge, The Princess of Las Pulgas, Double Negative, and Sudden Secrets. Not Guilty is her most recent one.

          Sometimes she likes to jump into the world of the fantastic and when she does, she writes for the middle-grade reader. Some Very Messy Medieval Magick is the third book in the time-travel adventures of Pete and Weasel, with Alligators Overhead and The Great Time Lock Disaster being the first two. Sign of the Green Dragon, a stand-alone, takes the reader into ancient Chinese dragon myths and a quest for treasure.

          When she’s not writing she’s hiking or traveling or practicing yoga or asking a lot of questions about things she still doesn’t understand.

For more information on Lee and her writing, connect with her on FacebookTwitterInstagram and at her Website

NOT GUILTY can be found Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo.

The author’s other young adult books include: Sliding on the Edge, Princess of Las PulgasDouble NegativeSudden Secrets


With Halloween celebrated this week, Lee’s giving away five digital copies of NOT GUILTY and a $10 Amazon Gift Certificate. This tour-wide giveaway will end at midnight on Tuesday, Nov. 5th.

To enter the giveaway, just click on the Rafflecopter widget below and follow the instructions. The widget may take a few seconds to load so please be patient. If the widget doesn’t show up, just click HERE and you’ll be directed to the widget.

Last, but not least, today is my 10th Blogiversary. Thank you, thank you for all your support throughout all these years, especially the last year when my posting hasn’t been on a regular schedule.

When I scheduled that first post 10 years ago, I never imaged it would continue for this long. It has been an amazing ride so far allowing me to (virtually) meet so many wonderful new friends. I have learned so much about authors and all the hard work they go through so that we readers can escape to magical places time and time again. I am in awe of how sharing and caring bloggers are. Bloggers (including those who are authors) are supportive and encouraging.

I’ve mentioned this before but must say it again. I started this blog due to the help and encouragement of Authors Elizabeth Spann Craig and Cleo Coyle. They were and continue to be extremely helpful in so many ways. By the same token, so many of you were super helpful in my project recently helping me to accomplish an adventure I never dreamed I would – writing a book (IT’S ALL ABOUT THE PEOPLE).

I can’t thank you all enough for your help, support and friendship. Thank you for stopping by today. Are you dressing up for the holiday? Have you checked out Lee’s latest book? Be sure to enter the giveaway below. Don’t you just love a character that grows as the story unfolds?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

The Brides of Purple Heart Ranch (+ Giveaway)

* On His Bended Knee: a Sweet Marriage of Convenience series
* by Shanae Johnson
* (The Brides of Purple Heart Ranch, #1)
* Publication date: October 11th 2018
* Genres: Adult, Romance, Western
She needed a place to stay. He needed to save his ranch. Together they just might make a home.
Sgt. Dylan Banks lost more than just his leg in the war. His fiancée and family turned their backs on him as well. Now, he’s determined to create a safe place where wounded warriors like himself can heal. But a hidden zoning law requires all residents of the Purple Heart Ranch to be married. To save his dream, Dylan and his men will have to tie the knot—but can a man with such deep scars inside and out believe in love again?
Maggie Shaw lost both her job as a veterinary technician and her apartment on the same day. Who knew her unreasonable landlord would kick her out for being four dogs over the one pet limit? Now, she and her gang of special-needs dogs are in trouble. Fate puts her in Dylan’s path with a proposal that seems too good to be true—but can her heart bear a loveless marriage of convenience?
Dylan yearns to reach out for Maggie’s healing touch, but he keeps his distance, convinced his wounds are too deep for her embrace. Maggie sees past Dylan’s injuries, but if she fails to capture his heart they both could lose it all: her beloved animals, his ranch, and each other.
Find out if love can truly heal all wounds in this light-hearted, sweet romance of convenient arrangements that unfold into lasting love. On His Bended Knee is the first in a series of marriage of convenience tales featuring Wounded Warriors who are healed with the power of love.
Only 99¢ for a limited time!
The complete series:
“Wives? As in married? To women?”
“Unless there’s something about you that we should know, Ramos.”
Xavier Ramos reached over and tried to smack Reed Cannon in the head, but the other man raised his prosthetic arm to ward off the attack. There was nothing wrong with his reflexes. Ramos’s flesh hit Cannon’s metal and Ramos winced.
“Can’t we get the zoning changed?” asked Sean Jeffries. He had his sunglasses off now that they were all inside one of the ranch’s barns.
The men had converted the old barn into a gaming room complete with large flat screens, an old-fashioned record player and tape deck, and every gaming console including an antique Atari which Rees had brought back to life with his techno-genius.
“It would be a long process,” said Dylan. “And in the meantime, we’d all have to leave the ranch while the powers that be waded through all the red tape.”
The men were lounging in recliners or sitting on bar stools, but an anxious hum went around the room. The ranch was their haven, their home. Even for those who had somewhere that they could go, leaving was not an option.
Unlike with Dylan, Jeffries’s family hadn’t rejected him. They called the ranch on a regular basis. It was Jeffries who didn’t want them to see him. It wasn’t just the scar on his face that shamed him. He suffered from PTSD and was prone to flashbacks. He could be taken back to the war-torn deserts of the Middle East when he slept, or with loud noises he could readily identify. The men surrounding him knew how to manage his episodes. But Jeffries was terrified of hurting someone he cared about. And so he stayed away from his family and wouldn’t receive their calls.
“Aren’t you all missing the obvious?” They all turned to Reed and waited for his revelation. Reed took his time. The man had a bit of the flare for the dramatic at times. “We just need to get married.”
Eyes and heads rolled as everyone turned away from the proclamation. Except Fran.
“It’s not a bad idea,” Fran said. “People do it all the time. For green cards, for financial stability, some fools even do it for something called love.”
Dylan had been such a fool who wanted to get married for love. Or what he thought was love. He had no idea where the plan came from as his own parents hadn’t been in love.
Catherine and Charles Banks had married for social standing. The irony was that they couldn’t stand each other. Though the rest of society would never know it. At parties, they put on a show of devotion and compatibility. They used to put on the show at home for Dylan when he was a kid. But they soon stopped caring about what he saw behind the closed doors of their many homes, which they often occupied separately.
“Who would want to marry a bunch of broken soldiers?” asked Sean.
“Hey, we’re not broken.” Dylan almost believed the words coming out of his own mouth. “We served our country. We are highly skilled. We are loyal, dedicated men.”
Though the speech was impassioned, the faces around him looked doubtful.
“Frances might have a point,” said Xavier, using the feminization of the name to get under Fran’s skin like they all did from time to time. “There are a lot of hard-up women out there. Some probably need a place to stay, money in their pocket, or just a good lay.”
Now it was Dylan who rolled his eyes and neck at the preposterous direction the discussion was taking. He needed his men to focus on viable solutions to this very real problem. But the other men were listening to Xavier’s nonsense.
“Dr. Patel is always saying we need a good woman to heal our hearts.” Reed picked up the gauntlet of the insanity. He was a romantic at heart and still believed love was waiting to come into his arms. “Maybe now’s the time.”
“Patel had an arranged marriage,” said Fran. “And it worked for him.”
“This is the Wild West,” said Reed. “This kind of stuff happened here all the time. Remember the Gold Rush Brides?”
“That was California,” Sean said. The man was a walking encyclopedia. “You mean mail order brides.”
“It would be email now,” said Fran. “No one uses the postal system.”
“We are not finding women on Craig’s List,” said Dylan, pinching the bridge of his nose and squeezing his eyes shut in exasperation.
“Then how are we gonna stay here?”
Dylan wasn’t sure which man said it, but he knew they all were thinking it. He opened his eyes and faced the room full of men. They’d looked to him for leadership when they were in combat, and they looked at him the same way now. How would they win this particular war on the home front?
“We’ll petition the court,” said Dylan. “I have a few contacts in the government.”
“We have more recruits coming in a couple of month. What are we gonna do with them?”
Dylan didn’t have an answer for that. He didn’t know how he would take in another wounded soldier only to potentially turn the man away. As he prepared to turn around, a flash of fur ran through the room.
No, ran wasn’t exactly the right word. Two front paws ran. The two back paws were not there. Instead, two wheels acted as legs that the little dog used to propel himself onward.
Dylan wasn’t the only one who spotted the animal. The other soldiers turned and stared at the creature. The dog stared back. It also slowed down as it looked up at all the big humans eying it.
The dog had had a grin on his face, but under the close scrutiny, his muzzle closed. He pulled his lolling tongue back into his mouth and let out a low whimper.
Dylan bent down to be on the dog’s level. He rested on his good knee, which was a difficult feat for him after a long day. But he had to get a closer look at this dog and his apparatus.
The dog made a slow beeline for Dylan. Dylan put his hand out to the dog. The dog gave the back of his hand a tentative sniff and then a lick.
Who would do such a thing as to take a dog’s hind legs? But more importantly, who would take the time to make a contraption that gave the animal back a semblance of the life he once knew?
“I’m so sorry,” said a feminine voice. “That’s my dog.”
Dylan looked up into the face of the woman. She was dressed in a T-shirt and jeans. Her hair was pulled back in a messy ponytail. She wasn’t wearing a lick of makeup. She looked fresh, clean, capable.
She marched into the room, not like she was on a catwalk, but like she was on a mission. She reached for the dog and he saw her hands were un-manicured. When one of her rough fingers brushed the skin of his forearm, Dylan felt a spark. His breath caught and so did hers.

Author Bio:
Shanae Johnson was raised by Saturday Morning cartoons and After School Specials. She still doesn't understand why there isn't a life lesson that ties the issues of the day together just before bedtime. While she's still waiting for the meaning of it all, she writes stories to try and figure it all out. Her books are wholesome and sweet, but her heroes are hot and her heroines are full of sass!
And by the way, the E elongates the A. So it's pronounced Shan-aaaaaaaa. Perfect for a hero to call out across the moors, or up to a balcony, or to blare outside her window on a boombox. If you hear him calling her name, please send him her way!
Thanks so much for stopping by today. Doesn't this just tug on your heart strings?


Tuesday, October 29, 2019

The Brutal Time (+ Giveaway)

* The Brutal Time
* by Christina Bauer
* (Angelbound Origins #6)
* Published by: Monster House Books
* Publication date: October 29th 2019
* Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal, Young Adult
“I love the Angelbound Origins world and just can’t seem to get enough of it!”The Avid Reader
As the Great Scala, Myla Lewis is the only being who can move Purgatory’s souls to Heaven or Hell. It’s a big job. Too bad Myla goes through assistants faster than a hot knife through brownies. Not that it bothers her much; Myla’s always been a solo fighter.
Then comes the problem of the fading angels. Millions of Heavenly residents are dying. According to a prophecy, the only way Myla can save them is by traveling back in time, meeting King Arthur, and creating her own knights of the round table. The catch? Doing so might end the after-realms in a bloody demonpocalypse.
Myla and her main squeeze, Lincoln, aren’t afraid of taking a few chances (in between kisses). But with so much at risk, the stakes may be too high, even for them. And the biggest challenge of all? Finding those knights.

Because Myla Lewis doesn’t play well with others. At all. 

“These books don’t just capture your attention, they straight up demand it. Christina Bauer has created a fascinating and unique world that you do not want to miss out on.” – Bookhalolic Brittany

Now an excerpt for your reading pleasure. 

Sample Chapter – Arena Dressing Room

Lacing my fingers with Lincoln’s, I guide my guy off the Arena floor. The moving spotlights make it easy to slip off unnoticed into a nearby archway. Then it’s a matter of navigating through the back corridors until we reach small stone room. There’s not much to speak of here, outside of some hooks on the walls and a few large wooden trunks. 
I step into the center of the space and twirl. “Here it is. Changing room central.”
Lincoln slips off his jacket and sets it onto a nearby trunk. “Did you come here after we met?”
There’s a certain predatory gleam in my guy’s eyes that I’m enjoying very much indeed. “Oh, sure,” I reply. “I had lots of matches after we first met.”
My gaze lands on a particular trunk. Memories appear. My face turns eleven shades of red.
Lincoln notices the trunk in question as well as my blush. He steps up to the trunk and damn, my fantasies were all correct. The lid comes to just the right height at his waistline.
Lincoln runs his fingers over the lid. “And what is there about this particular piece of furniture, may I ask?”
“No point telling you that I don’t know what you’re talking about, huh?”
“Well, I might have thought about you, the trunk and, um, things.”
Lincoln steps closer. “Things?”
“I’d put on my dragonscale suit and wonder what would happen if you came into the dressing room or something.”
That predatory look returns to Lincoln’s mismatched eyes. It makes me feel all woozy inside. Not a bad thing.
“I love this story. So you’d be … what?”
I gesture toward the trunk. “Sitting here.”
Lincoln scoops me up and sets me right atop the trunk. “Like this?”
A knowing grin rounds his mouth. “So I could stand before you like this.” He rests his hands on my knees. His skin is all warm and rough at once. Little by little, Lincoln slowly guides my legs apart and presses my skirt up to my hips. Then he steps between my legs.
“Almost like that,” I say breathlessly.
At last, Lincoln presses himself against me. At this angle, his hardness hits all the right places. “Do you mean this?” he asks.
Fire sparks inside my core. “Exactly.”
“I can see the appeal.” Lincoln slowly trails his hands over my body. Wherever he touches me, there’s an electric zing of desire. Leaning in, he stops when his mouth hovers a breath above mine. “You know what I want.”
“I do.” I lick along the seam of his lips. “And I’m calling in my prize.”

Author Bio:
Christina Bauer thinks that fantasy books are like bacon: they just make life better. All of which is why she writes romance novels that feature demons, dragons, wizards, witches, elves, elementals, and a bunch of random stuff that she brainstorms while riding the Boston T. Oh, and she includes lots of humor and kick-ass chicks, too.
Christina graduated from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School with BA’s in English along with Television, Radio, and Film Production. She lives in Newton, MA with her husband, son, and semi-insane golden retriever, Ruby.
Be the first to know about new releases from Christina by signing up for her newsletter:
Thanks so much for stopping by today. Isn't it fun to open a book and travel to a different world filled with adventure?


Monday, October 28, 2019

A Texas Kind of Christmas

With less than two months until Christmas (I know hard to believe), I’m delighted to tell you about author Jodi Thomas’ latest historical short story ONE NIGHT AT THE ST. NICHOLAS will be released tomorrow (Oct. 29th) in A TEXAS KIND OF CHRISTMAS.

In addition, Jodi’s eBook version of ONE WISH: A CHRISTMAS STORY, will also be released tomorrow.

* By Jodi Thomas, Celia Bonaduce & Rachael Miles
* Kensington Books
* Trade Paperback/Fiction
* 978-1-4967-2130-3
* Setting: Dallas, TX - 1859

A TEXAS KIND OF CHRISTMAS is a holiday-themed collection of three connected stories set in 1859 Dallas and based on the true history of the St. Nicholas Hotel. Built and managed by Sarah Horton Cockrell, a Texan businesswoman known for her contributions to the development of the state, the famed St. Nicholas was one of the most fashionable, grand hotels of its time. The book celebrates the rich history, indomitable pioneer spirit and Dallas holiday traditions.

It’s Christmas Eve, 1859, and everyone who is anyone is headed to the glorious St. Nicholas Hotel for the most talked about ball of the season…

In the hands of Jodi Thomas, Celia Bonaduce, and the historian and novelist Rachael Miles, this real-life setting comes to life in three romantic tales infused with vivid imagery and witty prose. A TEXAS KIND OF CHRISTMAS evokes the grandeur of a bygone era and the indomitable pioneer spirit of the region and is sure to be the fan favorite romance collection of the Christmas season.


Sarah Horton Cockrell opened the St. Nicholas Hotel in 1859 under her own management, on year after her husband, Alex Cockrell, died at the hands of a Dallas sheriff. It was known as one of the most fashionable, grand hotels of its time until it burned down in the Dallas Fire of 1860. It was the first building constructed taller than two stories and the crowning social event Dallas society was the grand ball with which it made its debut. Sarah Horton Cockrell named the hotel after the man she chose as its manager – Nicholas H. Darnell, a captain in the Indian Wars of 1839, Speaker of the House of Representatives in the Texas Congress of 1842, and Lieutenant Governor elected in the first state election of 1846. Sarah Horton Cockrell (1819-1892)

An astute businesswoman, real estate maven and transportation pioneer whose wealth and power defied gender conventions of the time, Sarah Horton Cockrell went on to own nearly ¼ of Downtown Dallas, opening the Dallas Hotel (later known as the St. Charles), a number of flour mills and other businesses. She constructed the first iron bridge across the Trinity, leading to enormous economic development for the state.

After Sarah Horton Cockrell’s death in 1892, The Dallas Morning News’s obituary stated that her funeral procession and floral tributes were among the largest ever seen in Dallas.


Author Jodi Thomas
JODI THOMAS is a New York Times bestselling author and fifth-generation Texas who sets many of her award-winning stories in her home state, where her grandmother was born in a covered wagon. A multi-RITA Award winner and member of the prestigious Romance Writers of America Hall of Fame, she’s written more than 50 novels with millions of copies in print. Her most recent releases are The Little Tea Shop on Main and her historical anthology, A Texas Kind of Christmas. The first book in her new series with Kensington, Breakfast at the Honey Creek Café, comes out May 2020. You can connect Jodi by visiting her website at

Author Celia Bonaduce
CELIA BONADUCE, also the author of The Venice Beach Romances and the Welcome to Fat Chance, Texas series, has always had a love affair with houses. Her credits as a television field producer include such house-heavy hits as Extreme Makeover: Home Edition; HGTV’s House Hunters and Tiny House Hunters. She lives in Santa Monica, CA, with her husband and dreams of one day traveling with him in their own tiny house. She can be found online at

Author Rachael Miles
RACHAEL MILES is an acclaimed romance novelist and historian specializing in the 19th century, as well as a professor of literary history. A fifth-generation Texas and native of Dallas, she now lives and teaches in New York. Visit her online at

You can meet the three authors at several upcoming events.

Wednesday, Nov. 20, @ 6 p.m. DALLAS WOMAN’S FORUM at the Alexander Mansion of Dallas Cocktails and Hors d’oeuvres with Jodi, Rachel and Celia (author talk, followed by Q&A and book signing) 4607 Ross Avenue, Dallas, Texas.

Thursday, Nov. 21, @ 11 a.m. DALLAS WOMAN’S FORUM at the Alexander Mansion of Dallas Luncheon with Jodi, Rachael and Celia (author talk, followed by Q&A and book signing) 4607 Ross Avenue, Dallas, Texas.

Thursday, Nov. 21, @ 6 p.m. INTERABANG BOOKS, 10720 Preston Road, #1009B, Dallas, Texas

Saturday, Nov. 23, @ 11 a.m. DALLAS ARBORETUM – Rosine Hall, 8525 Garland Road, Dallas, Texas.

Thanks so much for stopping by today. Doesn’t Sarah Horton Cockrell sound like a fascinating lady that was ahead of her time?

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Splendor Before the Dark

I’m delighted today to share with you a recently released paperback by author Margaret George, THE SPLENDOR BEFORE THE DARK, a historical epic starring the Roman Emperor Nero as he faces the forces of nature to save the city of Rome.

THE SPLENDOR BEFORE THE DARK picks up where Margaret’s last novel, The Confessions of Young Nero, left off, with the naïve teenager becoming the Emperor of ancient Rome and securing his power. Now in his tenth year on the throne, during the ill-fated, final four years of his short life, Nero faces the biggest challenge to his authority yet: The Great Fire of Rome.

Known for his lavish parties, creative performances, and passion for high-stakes athletic competition, Nero has never been a typical emperor. Breaking the shroud of secrecy that normally surrounds the position, Nero is practically a Roman rock star—he performs his own songs in front of massive crowds, trains and competes athletically, and cannot resist the beautiful and powerful women that surround him. But when Rome is engulfed in the Great Fire, Nero must find a way to restore the artistic and cultural splendor of the city he loves. Challenged by his enemies, and unsure if he can even trust his friends, Nero attempts to outrun his own reputation and escape the web of betrayals that is the Roman court.

With the beautiful and cunning Poppaea at his side, Nero commands the Roman empire, ushering in an unprecedented era of artistic and cultural splendor. Although he has yet to produce an heir, his power is unquestioned.
But in the tenth year of his reign, a terrifying prophecy comes to pass, and a fire engulfs Rome, reducing entire swaths of the city to rubble. Rumors of Nero’s complicity in the blaze start to sow unrest among the populace—and the politicians....
For better or worse, Nero knows that his fate is now tied to Rome’s—and he vows to rebuild it as a city that will stun the world. But there are those who find his rampant quest for glory dangerous. Throughout the empire, false friends and spies conspire against him, not understanding what drives him to undertake the impossible.
Nero will either survive and be the first in his family to escape the web of betrayals that is the Roman court or be ensnared and remembered as the last radiance of the greatest dynasty the world has ever known.

For those who aren’t familiar with the author here is a bit of background on her.

Author Margaret George
Margaret George specializes in epic fictional biographies of historical figures, taking pains to make them as factually accurate as possible without compromising the drama. Her THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF HENRY VIII had its 30th anniversary this past September and continues to be popular. ABC-TV based its 1999 Emmy-nominated “Cleopatra” miniseries on her THE MEMOIRS OF CLEOPATRA. All of her books have been bestsellers, with twenty-one foreign translations.

Margaret’s father was in the Foreign Service and so she lived overseas for her early life, in such different places as tropical Taiwan, desert Israel, and cold war Berlin, all of which were great training for a novelist to be. She started writing ‘books’ about the same time as she could write at all, mainly for her own entertainment. It was a diversion she never outgrew. Her published works are: THE AUTOBIOGAPHY OF HENRY VIII, MARY QUEEN OF SCOTLAND AND THE ISLES, THE MEMOIRS OF CLEOPATRA, MARY CALLED MAGDALENE, HELEN OF TROY, ELIZABETH I, and an illustrated children’s book, LUCILLE LOST.

Margaret lives in Madison, Wisconsin, and Washington DC, and has a sextagenarian tortoise as a pet.

Thanks for stopping by today. Have you ever thought of Nero as a rock star?

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Hug Everyone You Know

It’s a pleasure to welcome author Antoinette Truglio Martin to Thoughts in Progress during her WOW! Women on Writing Tour for her latest release, HUG EVERYONE YOU KNOW.

Doesn’t the title make you smile and entices you to find out just what the book is all about? Well here’s a brief summary.

During 2017's National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, She Writes Press published Antoinette Truglio Martin’s touching memoir, Hug Everyone You Know: A Year of Community, Courage, and Cancer. It is a 2017 USA Best Book Awards Finalist in Non-Fiction: Narrative and a 2018 Next Generation Indie Book Finalist: Non-Fiction Women's Issues.

In 2007, Antoinette believed her call back doctor appointment was routine, maybe a scare, nothing worse. Her shock at receiving a Stage I breast cancer diagnosis was instantly compounded by her own deep fears. As a self-described wimp—afraid of needles and uncomfortable with sedation—how was she going to get through this?
Antoinette started her fight against cancer with words. She began by journaling and by writing emails to Her Everyone—the large close-knit family and circle of beloved friends wanting to offer their support, especially those who were fighting breast cancer alongside her. The emails not only helped to keep Her Everyone informed, they gave cancer less of a presence in Antoinette’s life, since she wasn’t repeatedly updating people or saying the word “cancer” over and over. The practice of writing calmed her and also gave her space to focus on living: on the house that wasn’t selling, an exciting new job, daughters in college, and summer beach plans. She signed every email with the reminder to “hug everyone you know.”
Those emails and journal entries are at the heart of this memoir, which gives the book an immediacy and raw power.

HUG EVERYONE YOU KNOW is a memoir about how Antoinette found the courage to navigate her first year of breast cancer treatment. It’s the story of how a community—colleagues, family, friends—rallied to support her. The book is moving, brave, informative, and occasionally funny—and it speaks to us all.

Print Length: 325 Pages
Genre: Memoir
Publisher: She Writes Press
ISBN-13: 9781631522628
ASIN: B07415341C

HUG EVERYONE YOU KNOW is now available to purchase on   Amazon.comBarnes and Noble, and  IndieBound.

Praise for Hug Everyone You Know

“…a well-written, concise telling of what it’s like to be hit with a cancer diagnosis and the human thoughts that accompany it, like ‘how do I tell the family?’ and ‘what do I tell them?.... In five words: she writes a good story…. Martin’s persona is optimistic; you just want to hang around her and it’s that attitude that got her through. Not surprisingly, gratefulness is part of her mantra. So are hugs.”—The Suffolk County News

“Filled with fresh air, light, and life, Hug Everyone You Know is an intimate conversation with an intelligent, funny survivor. The voice rings true, and the insights resonate well beyond the cancer moment. Highly recommended.”—Joni Rodgers, NYT bestselling author of Bald in the Land of Big Hair

“… a compelling memoir about the importance of community while navigating a life crisis such as cancer. As an oncology nurse and a cancer survivor myself, I found Martin's writing to be a refreshingly real depiction of life as a cancer patient. Her writing is a testimony to the endurance of the human spirit, the importance of love and community, and the need for hope every day of the journey.”—Lee Ambrose, StoryCircle Book Reviews

“Martin used journaling and emails to “My Everyone,” her group of close family and friends, to get through her diagnosis, treatment, and recovery from early-stage breast cancer….The account reveals the value of keeping a journal as a means of coping with one’s fears and acknowledges the support Martin received through sharing her experience rather than trying to shield others from her illness.”—Library Journal

For those who aren’t familiar with the author, here’s a bit of background on her.

Author Antoinette Truglio Martin
Antoinette Truglio Martin is a life-long Long Islander, teacher, wife, mother, daughter, and friend. She is the author of Hug Everyone You Know: A Year of Community, Courage, and Cancer—a memoir chronicling her first-year battling breast cancer as a wimpy patient. Personal experience essays and excerpts of her memoir were published in Bridges, Visible Ink, and The Southampton Review.

Antoinette proudly received her MFA in creative writing and literature from Stony Brook/Southampton University in 2016. Antoinette had also written the children's picture book, Famous Seaweed Soup (Albert Whitman and Company), and was a regular columnist for local periodicals Parent Connections (In a Family Way) and Fire Island Tide (Beach Bumming).

Her blog, Stories Served Around The Table, tells family tales and life's musings. She lives in her hometown of Sayville, New York with her husband, Matt, and is never far from her “Everyone” and the beaches she loves. Since being diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer in 2012, she strives to not let cancer to dictate her life. 

You can foll her at Facebook and her website.

You can follow Antoinette’s blog tour by visiting the following sites:

October 7th @ The Muffin
What goes better in the morning than a muffin? Join us as we celebrate the launch the blog tour for author Antoinette Truglio Martin's book Hug Everyone You Know. Read an interview with the author and win a copy of the book. 

October 8th @ 12 Books
Visit Louise's blog today to read her thoughts about Antoinette Truglio Martin's book Hug Everyone You Know. 

October 9th @ The Frugalista Mom
Stop by Rozelyn's blog where you can read her review of Antoinette Truglio Martin's book Hug Everyone You Know and enter to win a copy for yourself!

October 10th @ Choices
Visit Madeline's blog where you can read Antoinette Truglio Martin's guest post on how writing can calm your nerves.

October 13th @ Dunning Knicks Interviews
Make sure you visit Mzz Dunning's blog today where you can read a guest post written by Antoinette Truglio Martin about 5 reasons it's okay to not be okay. You can also enter to win an ebook copy of the book!

October 14th @ Bookshine and Readbows
Make sure you visit Stephanie's blog and read her interview with author Antoinette Truglio Martin. You don't want to miss it! 

October 15th @ The Burgeoning Bookshelf
You'll want to stuff your bookshelf today when you visit Veronica Joy's blog and read her review of Antoinette Truglio Martin's book Hug Everyone You Know.

October 17th @ Reading Whale
Visit Caitlin's blog today where you can read Antoinette Truglio Martin's guest post that will give you 5 tips for starting your memoir.

October 18th @ The Burgeoning Bookshelf
Stop by Veronica's blog again where you can read Antoinette Truglio Martin's guest post about how to help people help you. Don't miss this important guest post!

October 19th @ Bookworm Blog
Stop by Anjanette's bookworm blog and read Antoinette Truglio Martin's guest post featuring 5 tips for writing your memoir. Don't miss it!

October 20th @ Rachael's Thoughts
Visit Rachel's thoughts today where you can read her review of Antoinette Truglio Martin's book Hug Everyone You Know.

October 21st @ Writing Through Life
Visit Amber's blog and read Antoinette Truglio Martin's guest post featuring 5 journaling tips when going through difficult trials. You can also read Amber's review of Antoinette Truglio Martin's book Hug Everyone You Know.

October 22nd @ Karen Brown Tyson's Blog
Get inspired today at Karen's blog where you can read Antoinette Truglio Martin's guest post about 5 lessons she learned writing about her cancer journey.

October 24th @ Bookworm Blog
Visit Anjanette's bookworm blog again where you can view her video vlog review of Antoinette Truglio Martin's book Hug Everyone You Know.

October 25th @ World of My Imagination
Visit Nicole's blog today where you can read her review of Antoinette Truglio Martin's book Hug Everyone You Know.

October 26th @ Keeping it Real
Be sure to visit Lisa's blog today and read author Antoinette Truglio Martin's guest post that is talking about her ways to not let a difficult diagnosis run (or ruin) your life. Plus read Lisa's review of Antoinette Truglio Martin's book Hug Everyone You Know.

October 28th @ Strength 4 Spouses
Stop by Wendi's blog today and read her review of Antoinette Truglio Martin's book Hug Everyone You Know.

October 29th @ Bring On Lemons
Turn lemons into lemonade today by visiting Crystal's blog and read her review of the touching memoir Hug Everyone You Know. 

November 1st @ Bookworm Blog
Stop by Anjanette's blog again and read her interview with author Antoinette Truglio Martin.

November 3rd @ Ramblings of a Misguided Blonde
Visit Lindsey's blog today and you can read her review of Antoinette Truglio Martin's book Hug Everyone You Know.

November 4th @ Strength 4 Spouses
Visit Wendi's blog again where you can read Antoinette Truglio Martin's guest post about keeping a positive mindset during a health crisis.

November 5th @ Life Like a Galaxy Girl
Be sure to visit Alanna's blog where you can read her review of Antoinette Truglio Martin's book Hug Everyone You Know.

November 6th @ 12 Books
Stop by Louise's blog again where you can Antoinette Truglio Martin's guest post featuring 5 books to keep you motivated during difficult times.

November 8th @ Author Anthony Avina Blog
Stop by Anthony's blog where you can read his review of Antoinette Truglio Martin's touching book Hug Everyone You Know.

Thanks so much for stopping by today. Have you ever wrote in a journal and if so, was it helpful?