Sunday, September 9, 2012

Review: The Long Shooters by Daniel C. Chamberlain

From beginning to end, The Long Shooters is an incredible five-star read. The dialog got me hooked; the story kept me enthralled. This book so involved me I was genuinely sorry when my journey through its pages came to an end. I have never fancied myself a fan of westerns, but The Long Shooters is much more than a western. It is an intriguing mystery novel set in a western venue at a time during and shortly after the Civil War. It is also a novel that penetrates the thoughts and feelings of highly-skilled assassins of the time – perhaps of any time.

An excerpt posted by Mr. Chamberlain led me to request the book for review. Even in that short posting, the dialog pulled me in. It was so riveting I couldn’t help but wonder if the rest of the book would be that good. It was, and the book is impeccably edited as well. I love to read stories that are put together with such extraordinary care. The story dragged me into the era and kept me involved, almost to the exclusion of everything else. That’s what I hope to find when I read for pleasure, and this book delivered in spades.

In 1877, Shaw, a former Captain in the Union army and accomplished long-range rifleman, is hired to protect a mining claim. He does so with deadly force, killing a would-be claim jumper with a shot from across the valley. But Shaw is more than a hired gun. He is ethical, honorable and ensures his brand of righteous justice is only brought to bear in cases where the law can’t or won’t get involved. Thus it is that Shaw agrees to pursue the killer of Samuel Roark’s only son in 1878.

Samuel descends into deep depression after his son’s murder, and wants only one thing more than his own death – to be the one to kill the person who took his son’s life. As Mr. Chamberlain describes it, “Samuel was at the initial stages of something known as a death run. Not a physical death per se, but certainly an emotional one… A man like that may not commit the physical act of suicide, but he wouldn’t lift a finger to go on living either.”

Like peeling a delicious onion, the story reveals layer after layer of deception as Shaw follows subtle leads to find the man who did the killing … and all others involved as well. It is a masterful tale of suspense, punctuated with an exquisite knowledge of the weaponry and events of the time. The Long Shooters also intertwines a moving love story. In his depression, Samuel pushes his beautiful young wife, Sarah, so far away emotionally as to destroy the love they once shared. Sarah is attracted to Shaw because of his strong an upright character, but repelled by him because of the violence he represents. The dilemmas Sarah faces are as real as the story is fascinating.

Early clues indicate Samuel’s son was killed by another long shooter, a dangerous man named Ballou, and after Ballou kills Samuel in showdown in the mountains west of Denver, Shaw and Sarah are directly in his sights. Ballou is one of the most well-known and feared assassins in the world and the interplay of wits and skill between Shaw and Ballou play out as the story builds to a breathtaking conclusion.

I will not disclose how Sarah, a vibrant young woman locked in a dead marriage, deals with her longings for Shaw, or how the confrontation between Shaw and Ballou ends. I will only say this: you will not expect the outcome; the plot is far too complex. What I can say, without the slightest reservation, is that the characters will move you, the dialog is realistic and you will truly enjoy the intricate way clues are presented, almost subliminally. In my opinion, you will love everything about this book. I certainly did.

Reviewed by James L. Hatch, author of The Substitute

Sunday, September 2, 2012

"Invisible" by Jeanne Bannon

Today I welcome Jeanne Bannon who will present a little about her book, "Invisible." This one sounds like an intriguing read, so watch for my review in the next few weeks. I'll post that announcement on my facebook page and other announcement locations. I look forward to reading this book, and welcome Jeanne Bannon.

Thanks for having me as a guest today, James. It's always a pleasure visiting Miss Havana! Let's get right to it, the blurb for "Invisible." Lola’s not pretty. Lola’s not popular. Lola wishes she could disappear … and then one day she does just that.

For seventeen-year-old Lola Savullo, life is a struggle. Born to funky parents who are more "in" than she could ever be, Lola’s dream of becoming a writer makes her an outsider even in her own home. Bullied and despised, Lola still has the support of her Grandma Rose and her best pal Charlie.

Not only is Lola freakishly tall, she's a big girl too. And when forced to wear a bathing suit at her summer job as a camp counselor, Lola’s only escape from deep embarrassment seems to be to literally vanish. Soon after, she discovers the roots of her new “ability.”

Slowly, with Charlie’s help, Lola learns to control the new super power. The possibilities are endless. Yet power can be abused, too.

Then, when tragedy strikes, Lola must summon her inner strength, both at home and at school. She has to stand up for herself, despite the temptations and possibilities of her newfound super power.

"Invisible" is a coming-of-age story that will warm the heart. Here's the buy line:

I am posting a variety of different things to do during the summer as part of this blog tour, and what could be more appropriate for this particular blog than devilishly good cookiesI love to cook goodies to enjoy during  our time on the patio. It's nice to relax in the fresh air with good friends, family and good conversation. I save my favorite recipes for these special times, and want to pass one along to you.

Italian Bow Cookies


4 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons salt

6 beaten eggs

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup oil

1 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract

***Lemon Icing***

1/4 cup butter

1 pound confectioners' sugar

2 lemons, juiced

Blend beaten eggs into dry ingredients, following with all other ingredients. Knead until smooth. Roll into pencil lengths and tie in bow knots. Bake on greased cookie sheets in a 400 degrees F oven for 15 minutes.

For Lemon Icing: Cream butter, add remaining ingredients. Stir until well blended. If too thin, add more sugar. Too thick, add more lemon juice.
Thank you all for stopping by. Leave a comment and I'll get back to you. Finally, thank you, James, for having me as your guest today!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Hike Up Devil's Mountain by Penny Estelle

I am delighted to have Penny Estelle as my guest today to present a little about her book, "Hike Up Devil's Mountain. I will be reviewing the book soon, so please watch my facebook and other announcements for that. Welcome, Penny.

Thanks for having me here today, James. I am on a blog tour right now giving helpful tips on how  to promote your ebook for free. I will be stopping off at several blogs leaving one tip on each blog that I stop at. I hope to see you at all my stops.

But first, a short blurb from my book, "Hike Up Devil's Mountain."

Ten-year old Andy Thompson disobeys his mother and sneaks into the basement of an old abandoned house that’s due for demolition. He stumbles upon a mysterious box under an old cabinet. And his troubles begin when he looks inside.

The Crew brothers, twelve-year old Jason, and ten-year old Danny, also find their way to the basement. New to town, Jason has established himself as the school bully. A struggle ensues between Andy and Jason and the bully ends up as a toad.

Somehow, the boys must reverse the magical spell, and that means hiking up the dread mountain. This book offers a fast pace, fast action and just a few scares and surprises on the way! The lives of all three boys seem destined to change forever, if they survive…

And now for my tip of the day, and this is a good one: Start a blog. There are a few different free ones. You can try or www.wordpress.comBoth are free. Blogs are an excellent way to use a cross promotion marketing tool. You can guest blog on other author's blogs and you can have them guest blog on your blog. It's a great way to get the word out about your book to new followers. The blog I am on today,, is a good example. James took my advice many months ago and has been developing this site since that time. You can do it too!

For those of you who follow my books, I will be promoting "Billy Cooper's Awesome Nightmare" soon. Here is a short description of the book, a Short Middle Grade Time Travel Adventure Story

Billy Cooper's seventh grade class has been given a last minute, weekend assignment. They must draw a piece of paper out of a box and prepare an oral book report on the person or event they select. Billy draws the name, William Tell, whoever that is. He has a full weekend planned, but figures he'll do a ten minute search and then be able to skate right through the assignment, having plenty of time for his busy weekend.

His outlook changes when he finds himself in the fourteenth century, standing in front of William Tell's house. Billy's modern day style and lingo has William Tell thinking the lad is a bit unbalanced, but asks if he would like to go along with him and his son to the town of Altdorf. It is here Billy learns just who William Tell is and why he is a legend.

Thank you all for stopping by, and thank you, James, for having me as a guest today.