Day: February 22, 2022
#Excerpt “Monkeys on the Road” by Mary Hollendoner
One family’s vanlife adventure south in search of a simpler life
Narrative Nonfiction Travel Memoir
Date Published: November 28th, 2021
Thirty thousand miles driving from the USA to South America with a
6-year-old kid in a camper van. Will they make it?
After a decade in the corporate rat race, Mary was ready for a change. Too much stress and not enough time with her family left her feeling that her priorities were all wrong.
So she and her husband hatched a crazy plan to change their lives…
They quit their jobs.
They pulled their six-year-old daughter out of school.
And they moved into an old camper van to attempt a drive to the southernmost tip of the world!
What followed were three-and-a-half years of heartwarming personal encounters, breathtaking wilderness campsites, and occasionally terrifying situations…
Surrounded by an angry mob in Mexico, threatened by exploding batteries in Colombia, caught up in a political revolution in Bolivia – they grew closer as a family as they navigated through adversity. But what stuck with them the most was the endless generosity of the local people, from whom they learned invaluable lessons about happiness and priorities.
Will they survive whale sharks, police searches, and volunteering in local schools? What happens when COVID hits?
Find out in this heartwarming read about a family trying to find their
place in the world.
I climb up into the passenger seat of our big white van and click my seat belt with trembling hands. My heart is pounding like a drum in my chest. I take a deep breath and turn to look at my husband, John, in the driver’s seat. His grin is enormous, with just a touch of nervousness around his eyes, as he turns the key in the ignition. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry… I think I do both.
Are we really going to drive thirty thousand miles across 20 countries? Will we make it? What will we do next?
Our six-year-old daughter, Lilly, simply looks out the window and says, “Okay, let’s drive to Mexico.” Like it’s just another day!
On top of the excitement and nerves, I also feel relief. Relief to finally be on our way, after years of intense planning and preparation. It’s like I’ve been standing at the top of a cliff, anxiously waiting to jump into a beautiful pool below me, and am finally free to just do it and stop worrying. But then again, the free-fall is the most terrifying part of the jump.
Only two weeks ago I was getting cold feet. John and I had already quit our jobs, rented out our house, and missed enrollment for the next year of Lilly’s public school. But I was obsessively reading the news from Mexico, getting more and more concerned.
Highest number of homicides in 20 years! Mass graves discovered next to the road! Decapitated heads found in a cooler! Tourists poisoned at resorts! Are we completely insane to drive into this country with our little girl? I marked the dangerous areas on a large map of Mexico, assuring myself that we could weave a path around them.
But then, along came an abnormally strong set of hurricanes, hitting Mexico on both sides of the country. I don’t want to imagine hunkering down in our little van, arms wrapped around Lilly in futile protection, while a hurricane bats us around. So I convinced myself hurricanes could be avoided by keeping a close eye on the forecasts.
And finally, only one week before we planned to cross the border, there was an 8.2 magnitude earthquake with epicenter in southern Mexico! It was the largest earthquake to hit Mexico in a century. Is someone trying to tell us something?
What if Lilly gets seriously hurt, or kidnapped by Mexican drug lords? Or we have a car crash, or the van is stolen? Or what if we survive the trip but then we can’t find jobs when we return to the US? Or, one of us gets cancer and we can’t get US health insurance? There are 101 reasons not to do this trip, and I started thinking about all of them.
Ultimately, I turned to logic and probabilities – yes, it is possible that any of those things happen to us, but it’s more likely they won’t. The most likely outcome is that we’ll grow old and hope to have lived the lives we wanted. So we made the uncomfortably exciting choice to leave our safe path and venture into the unknown.
I remind myself of this as I turn around to check Lilly is buckled correctly into her car seat. For the third time.
We finally bump down the driveway away from our home, memories flooding past our windows, as the neighbors wave and cheer us on. My head is swimming with the to-do lists from the past few months, but at this point, it no longer matters what we forgot to do or pack or research. We are driving to South America! No turning back!
One mile down the road, I sheepishly turn to John, “I left all of our food in the fridge back at the house.”
And thus begins our journey of 30,000 miles. With a U-turn.
About the Author
Mary is passionate about travel and the outdoors. Originally from England, she moved to California for its rock climbing and sunshine, worked a season on the Yosemite Search and Rescue team, but then ended up climbing the corporate ladder at Google for a decade to fund her travel obsession.
She has bicycled across Central America, motorcycled across Mexico, driven the length of Australia, and backpacked around Europe, S.E. Asia, and Africa
– all as a prelude to the epic drive through the Americas that is the subject of this book.
She’s written for travel, climbing, and retirement magazines, and this is her first foray into a full-length book.
#BookReview “Trust Me” by Kelly Irvin
February 7 – March 4, 2022 Virtual Book Tour
Oh how I loved Hunter Nash! My heart broke for him so much early in the story.
Released after serving eight years for killing Corey Broward, his best friend and girlfriend’s brother, Hunter is looking for a fresh start. He’s always professed his innocence though no one believed him, including girlfriend, Delaney, didn’t believe him.
Now that he’s a free man, Hunter is determined to find Corey’s real killer.
Which could be a problem for Hunter when on his release day from prison, Delaney’s best friend, Ellis, is killed in the same manner as Corey.
So, does the same type crime involving the same circle of friends and the same overzealous detective also involve the same man convicted of the first murder?
Hunter Nash claims to be innocent of both murders and looks for a killer while everyone looks at him. A skeptical Delaney eventually joins him, unable to forget the man who attacked her after Ellie’s murder and told her to, “Stay out of it or you’re next.”
Irvin’s top notch suspense thriller makes us wonder if we can ever truly know anyone, and can there be redemption without grace.
When her best friend is murdered the same way her brother was, who can she possibly trust?
A decade ago, Delaney Broward discovered her brother’s murdered body at the San Antonio art co-op he founded with friends. Her artist boyfriend, Hunter Nash, went to prison for the murder, despite his not-guilty plea.
This morning, Hunter walks out of prison a free man, having served his sentence.
This afternoon, Delaney finds her best friend dead, murdered in the same fashion as her brother.
Stay out of it or you’re next, the killer warns.
Hunter never stopped loving Delaney, though he can’t blame her for not forgiving her. He knows he’ll get his life back one day at a time, one step at a time. But he’s blindsided to realize he’s a murder suspect. Again.
When Hunter shows up on her doorstep asking her to help him find the real killer, Delaney’s head says to run away, yet her heart tells her there’s more to his story than what came out in the trial. An uneasy truce leads to their probe into a dark past that shatters Delaney’s image of her brother. She can’t stop and neither can Hunter—which lands them both in the crosshairs of a murderer growing more desperate by the hour.
In this gripping romantic suspense, Kelly Irvin plumbs the complexity of broken trust in the people we love—and in God—and whether either can be mended.
Genre: Mystery, Suspense
Published by: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: February 8th 2022
Number of Pages: 384
ISBN: 0785231935 (ISBN13: 9780785231936)
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Christianbook.com | Goodreads
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#NewRelease “Does God Love Even Me?” by Jo Elliott
The beautiful illustrations are taken from our real life experiences with Tommy and serve to teach children that they too, like Tommy, are deeply loved by their creator God.
Does God Love Even Me? will inspire children to thank God for His affirming love by listening to their parents’ instructions and loving them back. A wonderful gift for birthdays, special occasions, or for when your child needs a special boost of self-esteem.
#TeaserTuesday “Gawain Unbound” by Rebecca York
Date Published: 2/25/22
When Killian returned alive after an enchanted captivity, his younger brother Prince Gawain was more than happy to step aside as heir to the throne of Abercarn. Now, though, Gawain is at loose ends — until Lady Catrin seduces him and secures his agreement to stalk Madrin, the evil magician who enchanted Killian and killed her father.
Posing as troubadours, the two battle adversity together and find that they are connected by more than their hatred of Madrin. Yet despite their growing longing for a life together, neither of them is willing to abandon their dangerous quest. Their confrontation with their powerful and wily enemy will be the ultimate test of their resolve and their love.
She collapsed on top of him, her sweat-slick body sliding against his for a moment before she levered herself away and collapsed to the moss beside him, leaving him breathing hard as he regained his senses.
What did I just do? He might have sprung away from her then, but her hand shot out to grasp his wrist, holding him in place.
He glared down at her. “What just happened?
“You had your way with me.”
“I believe it was the other way around. Did you bewitch me?”
“Then what in the names of all the gods happened?”
A smile played about her lips. “We fucked each other to a very satisfactory conclusion.”
His harsh laugh filled the glen. “Tell me, how did we go from conversation to fucking in the blink of an eye?”
“It was what you wanted.”
He considered her answer. “I might have wanted you, but I never would have acted with such haste.”
“I know.” She dragged in a breath and let it out. “My father, Simon Waller, was a mage.” Before Gawain could interrupt, she went on. “The skill passes from one generation to the next, sometimes strongly and sometimes with lesser effect. I have only a fraction of his powers, but I have one talent that serves me well. I can urge a man or a woman to do something that they are already contemplating. You wanted to fuck me, and I helped you go from thought to action.”
He couldn’t deny the desire he had felt and the unseemly way he had acted upon that desire. Realizing that they were having this conversation in the nude in a forest glen, he began gathering up the clothing he had discarded. When she saw what he was doing, she also reached for her drawers.
They both dressed quickly. When she finished adjusting her dress, she met his gaze. “And you would compel me to accompany you on your journey to find Madrin and punish him?”
She shook her head. “I would never compel a man to undertake a task that could lead to his death. A decision like that must be made without coercion.”
About the Author
New York Times and USA Today Best-Selling Author Rebecca York began her career as a journalist writing articles for newspapers and magazines, but after several years decided to try writing fiction. She’s a highly successful author of over 50 romantic suspense and paranormal novels and is the head of the Columbia Writers Workshop. Her many awards include two Rita finalist books. She has two Career Achievement awards from Romantic Times: for Series Romantic Suspense and for Series Romantic Mystery. Her Peregrine Connection series won a Lifetime Achievement Award for Romantic Suspense Series. She collects rocks, and enjoys cooking, walking, reading, gardening, travel, and Mozart operas.
Follow the Publisher on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter: @changelingpress
#ReleaseBlitz “Tour for Blaze (Steel Brothers Saga #21)” by Helen Hardt
Blaze by Helen Hardt
(Steel Brothers Saga)
Apple Books: http://apple.co/3bYCm1Z
Google Play: http://bit.ly/3efzOPV
#Blaze #HelenHardt #barenakedwords #releaseblitz #contemporaryromance #steelbrothers #waterhousepress
They’re in love…and in danger.
Donny Steel lives a charmed life. He’s a successful attorney, in love with the woman of his dreams, and a member of the Steel family. But while Snow Creek’s golden family seems perfect on the outside, how many skeletons lurk in the Steel closet? Each day, Donny finds more and more evidence of foul play while dredging up his own past—something better left forgotten.
Callie Pike never imagined Donny Steel could fall in love with her, and she desperately wants to revel in their blazing passion. If only her own past hadn’t returned to torment her. Why now? What does it all mean? Is it somehow related to the attempt on Talon Steel’s life? Or the fire that destroyed her family’s livelihood?
As scattered pieces of evidence crop up in unlikely places, Donny and Callie work to find the common thread to pull everything together. But someone clearly wants to destroy them, and laws, ethics, and locked doors don’t seem to be standing in the way.
Meet the Author
#1 New York Times, #1 USA Today, and #1 Wall Street Journal Bestselling author Helen Hardt’s passion for the written word began with the books her mother read to her at bedtime. She wrote her first story at age six and hasn’t stopped since. In addition to being an award winning author of contemporary and historical romance and erotica, she’s a mother, a black belt in Taekwondo, a grammar geek, an appreciator of fine red wine, and a lover of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. She writes from her home in Colorado, where she lives with her family. Helen loves to hear from readers.
Buy Links for all Helen’s Books: http://www.helenhardt.com/book/