Monday, May 31, 2021

Deeper Than the Ocean

Happy Memorial Day to everyone who is celebrating. It’s always fun to find a new-to-me author and an exciting new series to follow. Today I want to introduce you to New York Times Bestselling author Julie Ann Walker. She has just released DEEPER THAN THE OCEAN, the fourth installment in her Deep Six series.


by Julie Ann Walker
Book Four in the Deep Six series
Release date: May 31, 2021

Ray “Wolf” Roanhorse took one look at Chrissy and knew she was the woman of his dreams. There’s a hitch, however. He screwed things up with her. Big time. Now all she wants is to be friends. He’ll have to be his most charismatic and charming self if he has any hope of changing her mind. And winning her heart.  

Christina Szarek knows all about sexy, brooding men like Wolf. She grew up watching her mother fall for – and be broken by – plenty of them. If she had her way, she’d avoid Wolf altogether. But they’re partners in the hunt for the Santa Cristina’s legendary treasure. Avoidance is impossible. And the longer she’s near him, the more he chips away at the walls she’s erected against him. 

The danger to Chrissy doesn’t only come from her burgeoning feelings, however. There are mysterious players who would see her silenced – for good. And Wolf, with his wicked grin and spec-ops training, is all that stands between her and a date with death in the deep.

Now please join me in giving Julie Ann a warm welcome to Thoughts in Progress as she answers some questions about her book and writing. Julie Ann, welcome.

What drew you to write this story?

Julie Ann:

I spent two months living and working in Key West, and I fell in love with the place. With the slowness of life, the wild chickens that roam the island, and the locals tooling around on their scooters, their open Hawaiian shirts flapping in the sea air. Key West is a character in and of itself, and I knew I needed to set a book there. While Deeper Than the Ocean is filled with good dialogue, likable characters, a satisfying romance, and a thrilling suspense plot, I think it’s the setting on Key West that really makes this story shine.

What was your writing schedule like? Did Covid play any part in your writing schedule or habits?

Julie Ann:

I’m fairly steadfast when it comes to writing. As the incomparable Nora Roberts likes to say, I “put my butt in the chair and do the work.” So, you would think that would be doubly true during a global pandemic, right? When there’s nothing else to do but work? Alas, I discovered the isolation from, and fear for, family and friends wasn’t great for my creativity. I struggled for the first six months. The cure came when I started hiking every day. Something about getting out in nature, just me and my trusty mutt, refilled the writing well and I was able to get back on track.

What was the most fun about writing this story?

Julia Ann:

Both the hero and heroine in this book are incredibly witty and quick with a quip. I had an absolute blast writing their dialogue. Also, the hero is known for mishearing song lyrics, and yet he loves to sing. As you can imagine, that made for some hilarious scenes.

What is something about this story and/or your writing you wish readers would ask, but never have?

Julia Ann:

It’s more what they do ask that I wish they wouldn’t. Ha! I’m forever getting asked what the characters of previous books are up to now. Like, “Did they ever get married?” “Have they had a baby?” “Did she ever finish school?” “Did he go back to his family’s ranch in Texas?” I know in the heads of readers these characters live on. But in my head, their story is over once I write “the end.” And then I’m on to the next book and the next group of characters. Does that make me fickle? I feel like that makes me fickle. *winces*

Julia Ann, thanks so much for joining us today and sharing this insight into your story and writing. I don’t think moving on to your next set of characters makes you fickle, but as a reader I find myself wishing there were follow ups to stories that have long since ended.

Meet the Author: Julie Ann Walker

A New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Julie loves to travel the world looking for views to compete with her deadlines. And if those views happen to come with a blue sky and sunshine? All the better! When she's not writing, Julie enjoys camping, hiking, cycling, fishing, cooking, petting every dog that walks by her, and... reading, of course!
Be sure to sign up for Julie's occasional newsletter at:

To learn more about Julie, visit her at or follow her on Facebook at and/or on Instagram at @julieannwalker_author.

Thanks everyone for stopping by today. Hope everyone is having a safe and happy holiday! How you do you think Wolf can win back Chrissy’s love? Do you wonder what characters are doing long after you finish a book?

Friday, May 28, 2021

The Hidden Princess (+ Giveaway)


The Hidden Princess
By Mira Crest
(Princess League, #1)
Publication date: April 16th, 2020
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

Penny is an ugly princess born to a family known for its beautiful offspring. To protect the royal bloodline’s reputation, the king proclaims her dead since birth and locks her away in the castle cellar.

But unbeknown to most, including herself, Penny has a gift: she can see the darkness within one’s mind through touch.

Everett is a dragon prince whose land is plagued by a deadly sickness in the form of black mist, capable of turning any fairy being it touches into stone. He comes to Penny’s kingdom seeking the one princess foretold to end the darkness.

The choice is clear, it’s either Penny’s cynical eldest sister, Tatiana, or her kind elder sister, Sarah, because Penny does not exist, not officially. But a twist of fate and Penny’s gift bring her to Everett’s attention, and she takes on a secret identity to aid him to trace the origin of the black mist.

What follows is a journey into a dark magical world within the minds of the corrupt, ruled by demons that plague on the dark aspects of the human psyche.

With the clock fast ticking, the prince must discover who the chosen one is in order to defeat the black mist before it turns him to stone and spreads to the rest of the world. But there are those who will do anything to keep Penny’s identity hidden.

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The shopkeeper grabbed the doll from among the top shelves. “Here you go.” He handed it to her. Just then, her fingers met his, and she heard the shopkeeper’s voice. “Where did this hideous and filthy-looking girl come from? Good thing I noticed her fast, lest she would get my dolls tainted with her hands. Let’s hope she leaves soon.”

She gazed at the shopkeeper, whose mouth remained closed. Those words stung. Even though the shopkeeper never said them, Penny knew they held more truth than those he said. These were his thoughts, and she was reading them when she accidentally touched him.

Then she felt dizzy, and a gloom fell over the store as if something had suddenly blocked out the sunlight from the windows. But it wasn’t the windows. It was the shopkeeper. His form emitted an ominous light and right above his head, she saw black mist rising, forming the shape of a face with eerie glowing eyes. It stared straight at Penny. “Penny…Penny….” Penny heard an insidious voice calling her.

Stop! Stop! She willed her mind to look away.

“Penny…Penny!” A force pulled her back and she almost crumpled to the floor if Thomas had not held her firmly. “Are you alright?” he asked.

“There’s someone–!” Penny pointed toward the shopkeeper, who was frowning at her. The eerie face and black mist were gone.

“What is it?” Thomas asked.

It took her a while before she spoke again. “I don’t know. It was there a while ago.” As she looked down, she saw the doll lying on the floor. She picked it up and slowly stroked any dust off it as if it were a real girl.

“How much is it?” he asked the beleaguered keeper.

“Four silver pieces.” Thomas handed the silver to the shopkeeper. A look of relief appeared on his face as he took the money. The horror of the black mist weighed heavy on Penny’s mind as she made her way out. She recalled the mean thoughts of the shopkeeper. For a moment, she had believed the outside world was different and she finally found a place she belonged. Penny blinked hard as her eyes began to water.

Suddenly, the streets seemed less joyful than before, and the sounds of the people and activities seemed drowned out by the memory of the black mist.

That voice. It called her name.

She knew for certain it was no hallucination. It was the first time such a vision had occurred. She never saw it when she touched others before, although there weren’t really that many, to begin with. There were only a few who could tolerate standing within inches of her.

She must have drifted off in her thoughts because the next thing she knew, she had fallen behind Thomas and someone bumped into her from the side.

“Watch where you are going, you–!” A rough-looking man said. “Hey, little girl, are you lost?”


“Don’t be afraid, I just want to help. Let me take you home.” He grabbed her by the arm.

“Stop it, let me go!” Penny tried to pry his fingers free.

“This must be my lucky day. I wonder how much this girl would fetch.” She heard the man’s voice, yet his mouth remained closed.

She stared at the man, who stood there, frozen in time. Not just him. The entire town had come to a standstill. A ball was floating in the air, as the boy who threw it waited an eternity for it to fall back down.

Then, the surroundings turned black, and the black mist appeared around the man’s frame. The eyes of the black misty face shone a pale white.

“Penny…Penny…” spoke the insidious voice.

“NO!” Penny screamed and forced her eyes shut. At once, the darkness lifted, and the sounds of reality replaced the heavy silence. “Get away from me!” she screamed with her real voice audible.

“Hey!” A familiar voice said, and the rough-looking man turned around, his face meeting head-on with a big fist. The man fell to the ground before Penny. “Touch her again, and you will never touch anything for the rest of your life!”

The man crawled to his feet and bolted. “Penny, didn’t I tell you not to—Penny? Penny!” Penny ran off before Thomas could finish his sentence.

Penny kept running. All she wanted then was to get as far away as possible from this place, from the prejudice, the black mist.

She didn’t know how long she ran before Thomas finally caught up with her. “Penny, it’s alright now.” He wrapped his hands around her head, and she tucked her head in his tummy. “What happened, Penny? Please tell me.”

Penny told Thomas about all that had happened. The black mist, the eerie face. Although Thomas understood little of it, he listened, for he knew there was always much truth in what she said. The world wasn’t as great as Penny thought out to be. It broke his heart she had to learn this fact on her first outing.

The outing had come to an end, and they returned to the castle. The one happy thing the outing brought her was the doll she bought. She gave her a name. Cinder. And she became Penny’s companion ever since.

She thought of the boy named Canyon, and how he was the only person without disdain for her, though, she wondered if it would be the same way if she touched him and read his mind.

But most of all, she wondered about the black mist. What was it? And that eerie face. Who, or rather, what was it? What disturbed her most was the fact that it called her name like it was reaching into her mind.

Meet the Author: Mira Crest

Since young, Mira loves fantasy romance with strong female protagonists and perilous adventures to magical realms and parallel universes to visit dragons, witches, shifters, and fairy tale creatures, bringing heroes and heroines together and aiding their epic fantasy battles against dark enemies so they can have the happily-ever-afters they deserve.
When she grew up, she takes a liking to young adult stories, which explains her passion writing in the young adult fantasy romance genre. Her books are clean romance with character development as the prime focus. Even now, she still journeys to fantasy realms whenever she's not writing.

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Thanks so much for stopping by today. Isn't this a beautiful book cover and doesn't this sounds like it should be made into a Disney movie?

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Thursday, May 27, 2021

One on One (+ Giveaway)

When it comes to music, I love to listen to a lot of different types, but I don’t feel I’m enlighten enough about the subject to do reviews regularly.

However, from time to time I’m introduced to a singer/songwriter and/or songs that I want to share with you. Today is just such an occasion.

I’m delighted to tell you about Gary LeVox, former lead singer of Rascal Flatts, who has just released his first solo EP, ONE ON ONE! The EP even features a duet with his sweet daughter, Brittany, who is also a singer/songwriter.

Gary's ONE ON ONE released Friday, May 21st, and fuses two of his biggest passions - music and faith! 

When asked about the role God has played in his musical journey, LeVox said, “I feel like God graced us with a platform where we can not only touch people’s lives through music, but by being men of God offstage too.”

“At those times when we are with fans that are going through something like cancer, it is so wonderful to not only sing for them but to hold their hand and pray with them,” he explained. “I want them to know that they have a friend in me. I’m not just some guy on the stage. I feel like Christ has put me in this position because He knew I could handle the obligation, which often means taking the time to lift someone up in prayer.”

My thoughts …...

The EP as a whole is very appealing and performed with great talent and heart.

When you break it down by tracks, each one can speak to you on different levels and depths. Several tracks are fast, upbeat and very moving. Several tracks have a slower, softer type rhythm that holds your attention and draws you in. Then there is one track that has a good steady beat where you catch yourself moving with the music as the words seeps into your soul.

The songs have great meaning and relate to various aspects of life that we deal with daily. The music inspires and leaves you with a lighter feeling.

Disclosure: Many thanks to Capitol Christian Music Group for providing this product/product information for review. Opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

The EP is out, so I encourage you to listen today!

Giveaway: One lucky winner can win a signed 8 by 10 poster of Gary LeVox. If you’d like to enter, just click on the Rafflecopter widget below. Sorry, but the giveaway is limited to US winners only.

Some other information about this EP is that it features artists MercyMe, BRELAND, and more! ● $1 of every purchase goes to fight human trafficking through the Tim Tebow Foundation.

Buy Links:

Official Hashtags: #GaryLeVoxMIN #MomentumInfluencerNetwork

Gary LeVox bio

Gary LeVox boiler plate

One On One track-by-track

● Gary LeVox website:

● Press Releases: Rascal Flatts website

● Music Row website

Thanks so much for stopping by today. Have you heard this EP yet? Are you a fan of Gary LeVox and/or Rascal Flatts?

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Tuesday, May 25, 2021

The Book of Lost Names

I’m delighted to take part in the influencer campaign to spread the pub-week love for the paperback release of author Kristin Harmel’s The Book of Lost Names

Publisher: Gallery Books (May 25, 2021)

Language: English
Paperback: 416 pages
ISBN-10: 198213190X
ISBN-13: 978-1982131906

An instant New York Times bestseller and a Goodreads Choice Award finalist when it was published in hardcover last year, THE BOOK OF LOST NAMES—inspired by astonishing true stories from World War II—tells the tale of a young woman with a talent for forgery who helps hundreds of Jewish children flee the Nazis. 

The book has been called a "fascinating, heartrending page-turner" by Kristina McMorris and "sweeping and magnificent" by Fiona Davis. The Publishers Weekly starred review said: "This thoughtful work will touch readers with its testament to the endurance of hope." And who couldn't use a little hope right now?!

Eva Traube Abrams, a semi-retired librarian in Florida, is shelving books when her eyes lock on a photograph in the New York Times. She freezes; it’s an image of a book she hasn’t seen in more than sixty years—a book she recognizes as The Book of Lost Names.

The accompanying article discusses the looting of libraries by the Nazis across Europe during World War II—an experience Eva remembers well—and the search to reunite people with the texts taken from them so long ago. The book in the photograph, an eighteenth-century religious text thought to have been taken from France in the waning days of the war, is one of the most fascinating cases. Now housed in Berlin’s Zentral- und Landesbibliothek library, it appears to contain some sort of code, but researchers don’t know where it came from—or what the code means. Only Eva holds the answer, but does she have the strength to revisit old memories?

As a graduate student in 1942, Eva was forced to flee Paris and find refuge in a small mountain town in the Free Zone, where she began forging identity documents for Jewish children fleeing to neutral Switzerland. But erasing people comes with a price, and along with a mysterious, handsome forger named Rémy, Eva decides she must find a way to preserve the real names of the children who are too young to remember who they really are. The records they keep in The Book of Lost Names will become even more vital when the resistance cell they work for is betrayed and Rémy disappears.

An engaging and evocative novel reminiscent of The Lost Girls of Paris and The Alice NetworkThe Book of Lost Names is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit and the power of bravery and love in the face of evil.

Meet the Author: Kristin Harmel

Kristin Harmel is the New York Times bestselling author of a dozen novels including The Book of Lost NamesThe Winemaker’s WifeThe Room on Rue Amélie, and The Sweetness of Forgetting.

She is also the cofounder and cohost of the popular web series, Friends and Fiction. She lives in Orlando, Florida.

Thanks so much for stopping by today. I hope if you haven’t already check out this book, you’ll do so now. Doesn’t this sound like a heart-pounding story?

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

The Clover Girls

It’s a pleasure to be taking part in a campaign to spread the good pub-week word for THE CLOVER GIRLS by internationally bestselling author Viola Shipman.

If you remember your childhood BFF and all the fun (and possibly trouble) you shared, then this is a perfect book for you. THE CLOVER GIRLS is an ode to friendship and dreams, as well as how each change our lives and how we too often let those friendships fade. Readers of all ages and backgrounds will love this story’s powerful, redemptive nature and the empowering message at its heart. 

Read the book that Kristy Woodson Harvey calls “a love song to long-lost friends, an ode to the summers that define us and the people who make us who we are.” 

Elizabeth, Veronica, Rachel and Emily met at Camp Birchwood as girls in 1985, where over four summers they were the Clover Girls—inseparable for those magical few weeks of freedom—until the last summer that pulled them apart. Now approaching middle age, the women are facing challenges they never imagined as teens, struggles with their marriages, their children, their careers, and wondering who it is they see when they look in the mirror. 

Then Liz, V and Rachel each receive a letter from Emily with devastating news. She implores the girls who were once her best friends to reunite at Camp Birchwood one last time, to spend a week together revisiting the dreams they’d put aside and repair the relationships they’d allowed to sour. But the women are not the same idealistic, confident girls who once ruled Camp Birchwood, and perhaps some friendships aren’t meant to last forever… 

Meet the Author: Viola Shipman/Wade Rouse

Viola Shipman and baby Wade Rouse

WADE ROUSE is the internationally bestselling author of nine books, which have been translated into nearly 20 languages. Wade chose his grandmother’s name, Viola Shipman, as a pen name to honor the woman whose heirlooms and family stories inspire his fiction. 

Wade’s novels include The Charm Bracelet, a 2017 Michigan Notable Book of the Year; The Hope Chest; and The Recipe Box.  

Wade’s books have been selected multiple times as Must-Reads by NBC’s Today Show, featured in the Washington PostUSA Today and on “Chelsea Lately” and have also been chosen three times as Indie Next Picks by the nation’s independent booksellers. 

His writing has appeared in a diverse range of publications and media, including Coastal LivingTimeAll Things ConsideredPeopleGood HousekeepingSalonForbesTaste of HomeCountry WomanWriter’s Digest and Publisher’s Weekly

Also, a noted humorist of four memoirs, Wade was a finalist for the Goodreads Choice Awards in Humor (he lost to Tina Fey) and was named by Writer’s Digest as “The #2 Writer, Dead or Alive, We’d Like to Have Drinks With” (Wade was sandwiched between Ernest Hemingway and Hunter Thompson). 

Wade earned his B.A. from Drury University and his master’s in journalism from Northwestern University. He divides his time between Saugatuck, Michigan, and Palm Springs, California, and is also an acclaimed writing teacher who has mentored numerous students to become published authors. 

Thanks so much for stopping by today. Did this make you think about your childhood BFF? Are you still in touch with them?