Monday, 11 December 2017

Tie Died by Kathryn Elizabeth Jones

Kathryn Elizabeth Jones has been a published writer since 1987. She started as a newspaper reporter, published her first novel in 2002, attended college in her 40s, and opened the doors to Idea Creations Press in 2012. She has published 12 books to date in the genres of Christian fiction, nonfiction (including Christian and business) mystery, YA and LDS middle reader. Kathryn offers opportunities for authors to get their books out into the world using her publishing services and loves speaking to authors about writing, publishing and marketing.

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About the Book

When 18-year-old Brianne James discovers a murdered young girl at Montgomery Park – a 15-year-old who has been left for dead in the icy snow – there is only one thing she can do: search for the killer.

Brianne has a nose for sleuthing. She can connect with people; even scary people. She has the smarts to solve even the most underhanded crime, and she can solve it with or without the help of the police or her parents.

When it comes to Conner Ryan, however, his unrelenting assistance is quite another story. When you’re in love with one of the hottest guys in school – who in the heck cares?

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Keep reading for an interview with Brianne James, a character from the book:

Where were you born, and what was it like growing up there?

I was born in New Jersey. My brother and I grew up with terrible parents, but eventually found our way to a new family who took us in.

Do you have a close relationship with your family?

Yes, and I'm grateful for that. Still, my mother is often in my business more often than she should be. Dad is more easy-going, but he isn't well, and I try to keep things as positive as I can with him.

What is the happiest memory from your childhood?

The day I was taken in by Susan and Henry. I still remember the first time I stepped into my new bedroom. It was actually pretty. I even had a bedspread and a place to hang my clothes.

Who was your best friend growing up?

My brother, Oscar. He and I took care of each other. Mom was not often among the living. She drank a lot, and so did Dad.

If you could compare yourself to someone from another novel, who would it be? 

I read mostly from the computer screen, but rarely novels. I'm more into finding the answers to clues, researching how people die, and stuff like that. I might look into what causes a person's skin at death to turn blue. Stuff like that.

Mom would say I'm a lot like her. She would say that she's showing me the ropes through her Susan Cramer Mystery series - a series that you can read right before this book. Because I'm not really blood related to either Susan or Henry, I would say that I'm my own unique person. Sure, I like solving murders like Mom, but Mom and I are totally different.

Who is your enemy?

Criminals. Did you know they come in all shapes, sizes and ages? I find that incredible. People who sneak around and take another life, may think they will never be found out, but they usually are. I'd like to think that I'm helping the police out. They might not like it either, but who cares?

Who do you most admire in your world?

As much as I tease her - my mom. She started this detective stuff out years ago, not really knowing what she was doing. People haven't always been kind to her. But she has always been kind to me, even in the beginning when I played with mud balls, and probably looked like one. She fed me and my brother when we were hungry, and took us in when we needed a place to crash.

Tell us a little about your world, and where you fit in?

Some might say I'm too smart for my own good. Maybe they're right, but my favorite subject in school is biology - and that's not just because Conner Ryan is my science partner.

What was the most embarrassing moment in your life?

Maybe this is more scary than embarrassing, but you'll want to pay special attention to the secondary characters in this book. Some of them are not what they seem to be.

What is your greatest fear?

I have more than one fear. One of them is that Henry will die. He's been so good to me and my brother. Another is that I will never have a boyfriend.

What is the most important lesson you've learned about life?

Love is more important than any investigation, but it's hard to balance the two.

What is the strangest situation you've ever found yourself in?

Too many strange situations to count. Not counting my younger years, I would say finding a girl lying dead at the local park.

What is the greatest obstacle you have ever had to face?

Letting go of my birth parents, and opening my heart to the future.

Do you have a secret you've never told anyone?

Okay. I'm not really as secure as I sometimes sound in the book. I mean, the past is always creeping up. Stuff I might not even share, but that you will more than likely see between the lines. How can a person be totally secure when their birth parents really didn't care about them?

Have you ever been in love?

Yes. Conner Ryan is the hottest guy in school. I'm not going to tell you if or how it worked out for me, however. You'll have to read the book.

Friday, 8 December 2017

The Renegade Series - A Beautiful Glittering Lie, A Beckoning Hellfire, A Rebel Among Us by J.D.R. Hawkins

J.D.R. Hawkins is an award-winning author who has written for newspapers, magazines, newsletters, e-zines, and blogs. She is one of only a few female Civil War authors, and uniquely describes the front lines from a Confederate perspective. Her Renegade Series includes A Beautiful Glittering Lie, winner of the John Esten Cooke Fiction Award and the B.R.A.G. Medallion, A Beckoning Hellfire, which is also an award winner, and A Rebel Among Us, recipient of the 2017 John Esten Cooke Fiction Award. These books tell the story of a family from north Alabama who experience immeasurable pain when their lives are dramatically changed by the war. Her nonfiction book, Horses in Gray: Famous Confederate Warhorses, has recently been published. She is currently working on another sequel for the Renegade Series. Ms. Hawkins is a member of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, the International Women’s Writing Guild, Pikes Peak Writers, and Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers. She is also an artist and singer/songwriter. Learn more about her at

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About the Book

J.D.R. Hawkins’ Renegade Series describes the trials, tragedies, and triumphs of several families during the Civil War. With colorful settings and vivid descriptions, the series portrays life during a tumultuous time in American history. From the spring of 1861 until the end of the war in 1865, the characters in this family saga come to life, experiencing pain and suffering, as well as joy and jubilation. The Renegade Series is astounding in its imagery, and truly one not to miss.

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Keep reading for an interview with the author:

Why did you decide to be a writer?

I've been a writer ever since I can remember, and have written everything from songs to poetry to short stories and novels.

What genres do you write?

Primarily historical fiction, but I have also written children's books and a nonfiction book.

Do you have a daily word or page count goal?

Five hundred words is a basic goal. When I'm writing a book, though, I shoot for a page a day.

If you could be one of your characters for a day, who would it be and why?

I would be Anna. She is strong and strong-willed, and although she has experienced personal loss, she has big goals and dreams.

What is the most difficult thing you've ever researched?

Battle scenes were the toughest. It gave me nightmares! I startled awake one time after I dreamt a bullet whizzed by my head. I drew a lot of description from actual journals and diaries, so the descriptions are real.

What are your goals as an author?

I would like to be an international best seller. I would also like to write three or four more books.

What is the best writing advice you've ever received?

Show don't tell. I fall into this trap frequently, which is easy to do when writing historical fiction. It helps to have a great editor to point these issues out.

How many books do you have on your "to read" list?

I'm really behind on reading some of the best sellers. I'd like to read The Girl on the Train and A Broken Kind of Beautiful.

Do you write in first or third person, past or present tense, and why?

Mostly I write in third person, but one of my books is in first person. They are all in past tense. I thought that would be the most effective way to tell the story.

How do you come up with the titles for your books?

I don't have a problem with coming up with titles. The first book in the Renegade Series, A Beautiful Glittering Lie, was taken from a quote a Confederate soldier wrote in regard to the Civil War, stating that it was "all a glittering lie."

Have you ever gotten an idea for a story from something really bizarre?

I wrote a book about my great aunt and uncle, who ran a hotel in my hometown, Sioux City, during the Depression. Supposedly, there was gangster activity going on there, and money was hidden behind the wallpaper!

What inspired your current work?

Seeing the Gettysburg battlefield was awe inspiring, because I had never seen a Civil War battlefield before. It inspired me to write the first book, which turned into a series.

What was the hardest part about writing your latest book?

It was nonfiction, which I hadn't done before on that large of a scale. There was so much research involved. It was exhausting!

Do you have any advice for other authors?

Write what you love and feel passionate about, and never give up!

Do you have anything specific you'd like to say to your readers?

I decided to write from the Southern perspective because it has nearly become lost to history. Slavery was an issue but it wasn't the cause of the Civil War. I didn't understand that because I grew up in Iowa and wasn't told about the Southern side. So I researched it myself and discovered the truth.

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