Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Death on the High Lonesome {+ Giveaway}

Death on the High Lonesome by Frank HayesAuthor Frank Hayes takes readers back to Haywood in DEATH ON THE HIGH LONESOME where Sheriff Virgil Dalton faces more than the coming winter.

Hayes has crafted realistic, likable characters that are well-developed. His characters have traits, faults and problems readers can relate to. The small-town, western-style atmosphere draws readers while the suspense and mystery holds them captivate until the end.

The sleepy town of Haywood is growing and Sheriff Virgil Dalton knows all the growth isn’t good. Virgil’s deputy is almost killed when his patrol car wrecks after a woman’s body crashes onto it from an interstate overpass. A longtime resident is reported missing by his wife and then she’s found dead on her porch a few days later.

Things seem to be coming at Virgil from all sides, professionally and personally. He has to put the pieces together before more bodies turn up dead.

DEATH ON THE HIGH LONESOME moves at a brisk pace while giving you a sense of a relaxing atmosphere. Filled with twists and turns, the author keeps readers wondering what’s going to happen next. The author’s vivid descriptions places the reader in the hill country as the sheriff tracks down a ruthless killer.

The second installment in the Sheriff Virgil Dalton series, this book can be read on its own. New readers won’t be left in the dark when prior events are discussed, but may be tempted to catch up by reading the first book.

With a flare similar to (Craig) Johnson and (Tony) Hillerman, Hayes creates a rugged lawman that will get under your skin. With a feel for a western mystery, Hayes delivers complex characters, beautiful settings and a mesmerizing tale.

Death on the High Lonesome by Frank Hayes, A Sheriff Virgil Dalton Mystery Book #2, Berkley, @2015, ISBN: 978-0425274309, Trade Paperback, 304 Pages 

FTC Full Disclosure – A copy of this book was sent to me by the publisher in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review. The thoughts are completely my own and given honestly and freely.


Thanks to Danielle and the wonderful folks at Berkley, I have a print copy of DEATH ON THE HIGH LONESOME to giveaway. The giveaway is open to residents of the U.S. only and will end at 12 a.m. (EST) on Thursday, Oct. 15.

To enter, just click on the Rafflecopter widget below and following the instructions. The widget may take a few seconds to load so please be patient. A winner will be selected by the Rafflecopter widget and I’ll send an email with the subject line “Thoughts in Progress High Lonesome Giveaway.” The winner will have 72 hours to reply to the email or another winner will be selected. PLEASE be sure to check your spam folder from time to time after the giveaway ends. If you win and you’ve already won the book somewhere else or you just decide for whatever reason you don’t want to win, once again PLEASE let me know.

Thanks so much for stopping by today for my review. Do you enjoy books that have a western-theme or western-feel to them? 

*This post contains affiliate links.

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Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Redemption Road {+ Giveaway}

Redemption Road by Katie Ashley - Thoughs in ProgressAuthor Katie Ashley is on a blog tour this week for her latest release, REDEMPTION ROAD, the second installment in her Vicious Cycle novel series.

As part of the tour, Katie is offering an awesome giveaway that involves the first two books in her Vicious Cycle novel series. Please see the end of the post for more giveaway details.

Here’s a brief description of REDEMPTION ROAD (A Vicious Cycle Novel):

Looking for a walk on the wild side, Annabel Percy, the daughter of a powerful politician, gives in to an attraction to a sexy biker she meets one night. But she finds herself living a nightmare when she’s kidnapped and transported into a hell on earth she never could have imagined.

Born and bred into the Hells Raiders MC, Nathaniel “Reverend” Malloy lives and dies for his brothers. But when he becomes the unexpected savior of a rival club’s captive, Rev makes it his personal mission to nurse Annabel back to health—and to shelter her from the nightmares that torment her.

Once Annabel heals, she’s stunned to realize she is falling for the seductive man who saved her. Faced with their impossible attraction, can she accept the life he leads, or will Rev walk away from the only life he’s ever known for the woman he was never supposed to love?

REDEMPTION ROAD is available at the following sites: Buy links: Amazon, Kindle, Barnes and Noble, Nook, iBooks, Books a Million, and Kobo.


Author Katie Ashley
Author Katie Ashley
Katie Ashley is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of The Proposition Series, Runaway Train series, and several New Adult and Young Adult titles. 

She spent the last eleven years teaching both middle and high school English, but is now a full-time writer and currently lives outside of Atlanta.

For more on Katie and her writing, visit her website and her blog, as well as connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Goodreads.


Vicious Cycle by Katie Ashley - Thoughts in ProgressThis giveaway is tour-wide and is for 10 copies of REDEMPTION ROAD and VICIOUS CYCLE by Katie Ashley! That means there will be 10 winners, each receiving both of Katie’s books - 2 books each. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only.

To enter, just click on the Rafflecopter widget below and follow the instructions. The widget may take a few seconds to load so please be patient.

Thanks so much for stopping by today during Katie’s tour. Do you enjoy reading about ‘bad boys’ who are really good at heart? Do you shy away from reading a book just because it deals with motorcycle gangs?

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Monday, October 5, 2015

Journey from Writer to Storyteller {+ Giveaway}

moonlitI’m thrilled to welcome author Jadie Jones back to Thoughts in Progress. She makes a stop here today as part of her WOW Moonlit Trilogy Blog Tour. We get to revisit MOONLIT and learn about WINDSWEPT and WILDWOOD.

As part of her tour, Jadie is dropping by to talk about her ‘Journey from Writer to Storyteller.’ In addition, one lucky visitor will win a copy of WINDSWEPT. Please see the end of the post for more details on the giveaway and learn how you can win other prizes.

She's back with the entire enthralling Moonlit trilogy this time.

One day you’re a horse crazy teenager mourning your dead father and missing your grief stricken mother and the aren't. Turns out Tanzy has been hidden in our world and belongs to another realm. And they want her back! On one hand, some people want her to be Queen. On the other hand, some people want her dead. Tanzy is forced to navigate both worlds while trying to decide who to trust as she uncovers her new powers and searches for her lost love.

Title: The Moonlit Trilogy: MOONLIT, WINDSWEPT and WILDWOOD
Author: Jadie Jones
Genre: YA fantasy
Publisher: WiDo Publishing
Publication Date: April 16, 2013/July 8, 2014/September 22, 2015
Paperback: 310 pages/289 pages/312 Pages (also available as eBook)

Here’s a brief synopsis of all three books:

Moonlit is the story of eighteen-year-old Tanzy Hightower knows horses, has grown up with them on Wildwood Farm. She also knows not to venture beyond the trees that line the pasture. Things happen out there that can't be explained. Or undone. Worse, no one but she and the horses can see what lurks in the shadows of the woods.

When a moonlit ride turns into a terrifying chase, Tanzy is left to question everything, from the freak accident that killed her father to the very blood in her veins. Broken and confused, she turns to Lucas, a scarred, beautiful stranger, and to Vanessa, a charming new friend who has everything Tanzy doesn't. But why do they seem to know more about her than she knows herself?

windsweptTanzy's journey continues in Windswept, the second installment of the Moonlit Trilogy when Tanzy is the key in an ancient prophecy pivotal to the existence of all beings, both Seen and Unseen. Unseen who have waited a millennium for her birth are relentless in their efforts to see the prophecy fulfilled--whether for good or evil, depending on which side of the conflict one stands. Others have sworn an oath to end Tanzy's existence, permanently.

Already, Tanzy's body has been compromised by her enemies, her veins now home to the blood of a wild horse whose instincts are becoming impossible to control. While Tanzy's Unseen enemies work to draw her out of a remote safe house, her friends beg her to stay in hiding. Tanzy is torn, wanting to reunite with Lucas, who has loved her since her first incarnation, yet unsure whether fulfilling the ancient prophecy will protect those she loves or destroy them.

In Wildwood, the third book of the Moonlit Trilogy, Tanzy's journey races toward a final battle within the Unseen.

Tanzy Hightower has crossed the veil and entered the Unseen world to fulfill the destiny she has at last embraced, to either seal or destroy the veil between the Seen and Unseen worlds. She is the only mortal in a land teeming with creatures who want her dead. To stay alive long enough to stop Asher, the most powerful of the Unseen, Tanzy accepts his marriage proposal and seeks refuge inside his palace.

On the Seen side of the veil, Tanzy's allies are fragmented and lost, without leadership. They must gather forces and train an army of candidates to defend their world against unfathomable predators poised to strike should the veil holding them at bay dissolve.

While Tanzy has accepted her own inevitable death in fulfilling her destiny, her closest friends refuse to stop searching for the impossible: a way to save Tanzy's life. 

Now join me in giving Jadie a warm welcome as she tells us about her journey. Welcome, Jadie.

      Pretty sentences are my happy place. I love constructing a single line, especially if it’s a description. I will stuff every word with meaning, agonize over naming a shade of a color, insert a turn of phrase that manipulates the meaning of an entire sentence. There are two problems with this love of mine. 1. It’s exhausting, and 2. It’s not nearly as valuable as I once thought.
      For years, I wholly, vehemently disagreed with what I just said. I lived for the “darlings,” for the heavy-hitting sentences. Turns out, they’re mostly just heavy, and they were weighing my plot down. But still, I clung to them, and finally I realized: I have no idea how to plot a story. I write a pretty sentence, reach the end of it, and begin constructing my next pretty sentence. Sometimes, if I was feeling gutsy, I’d construct a pretty scene, and link it to the next pretty scene. But the action and my attention to it came a distant second to stuffing the scene/sentence with perfect words and vivid descriptions. This hit home for me even harder when I read this sentiment: would your book still hold the same potential value for a reader if translated into a different language?

If the power of a sentence becomes lost in translation, the power was never really there.

      Once I became a believer, I dedicated myself towildwood understanding the plotline of Wildwood, book #3, before I ever wrote a single sentence. I had to map out what actions set other actions in motion, and why the characters chose their paths. Wildwood covers a lot of ground, and is told from four perspectives. Every word had to propel one or more characters forward. There was no room for pretty-for-pretty’s sake.
      I had been depending on “pretty” to carry me through because I wasn’t confident in my ability to tell a story. It was hard to admit, but facing myself with this new knowledge was actually a relief. I deconstructed how I wrote and why I wrote. I grabbed the proverbial flashlight and shone it hot and bright on the holes in my writerly toolbox. I braced myself for the work to become harder. Instead it became easier because I knew what was coming next in the story and, most importantly, why.
      Story-telling still isn’t wholly natural for me. I catch myself focusing too hard on a sentence, and now I realize I’m wallowing in a single sentence because I don’t have a clear vision of what is coming next in the plot. So I will redirect my attention to sorting out whatever tangle or plot hole I hadn’t seen coming. I am so grateful that fans of Moonlit have followed me through this education, and I hope you all can see the development from Moonlit to Wildwood – not just in Tanzy, but in me.
      Thank you so much for having me and for all of your support!

Jadie, thank you for visiting with us and sharing this insight into writing. It’s always a pleasure to have you visit TIP. So glad that you’ve become a ‘storyteller’ even if it isn’t all that natural to you.

For those not familiar with Jadie, here’s a bit of background on her.

Author Jadie Jones
Jadie Jones wrote her first book in seventh grade, filling one hundred and four pages of a black and white Mead notebook. Back then she lived for two things: horses and R.L. Stine books. Fast forward nearly twenty years, and she still works with horses. It’s amazing how much changes... and how much stays the same.

​The dream of publishing a novel has hitch-hiked with Jadie down every other path she‘s taken (and there have been many). Waitress, farm manager, road manager, bank teller, speech writer, retail, and more. But that need to bring pen to paper refused to quiet. Finally, in 2009, she sat down, pulled out a brand new notebook, and once again let the pictures in my head become words on paper.

​Confession time: Jadie Jones is a pen name created to honor two fantastic women who didn't get the chance to live out their professional dreams. First, Jadie’s grandmother - a mother of four during post World War II America, who wanted to be a journalist so bad that even now when she talks about it, her blue eyes mist and she lifts her chin in silent speculation. And second, a dear friend's mother who left this world entirely too soon. To Judy Dawn and Shirley Jones, Jadie Jones is for you. It's been a pleasure getting to know her.

For more on Jadie and her writing, visit her website and blog, as well as connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

You can also connect with Jadie on her tour by visiting the following blogs (as well as more chances to win copies of her book).

*Monday, September 28(today!) @ The Muffin
interview/ giveaway of all three book in the trilogy
*Wednesday, September 30 @ Renee’s Pages
guest post/ giveaway of Book One on the Moonlit trilogy: Moonlit.
*Monday, October 5 @ Thoughts in Progress
guest post/ giveaway of Book Two in the trilogy: Windswept.
Wednesday, October 7 @ All Things Audry
guest post
*Friday, October 9 @ A Writer’s Life
interview/giveaway of Book Three in her Moonlit trilogy: Wildwood.
*Monday, October 12 @ Words by Webb
guest post.
*Wednesday, October 14 @ Building Bookshelves 
review/ giveaway of Book One: Moonlit.
*Friday, October 16 @ Lisa Haselton’s Reviews and Interviews
*Wednesday, October 21 @ JR Broner book Reviews
*Friday, October 23 @ Teatime and Books
*Monday, October 26 @ Around the World in Books
guest post
*Friday, October 30 @ The Road to a Dream


This giveaway is for one copy of WINDSWEPT, the second installment in the Moonlit Trilogy. The giveaway is open to residents of the U.S. only and will end at 12 a.m. (EST) on Tuesday, Oct. 13.

To enter, just click on the Rafflecopter widget below and following the instructions. The widget may take a few seconds to load so please be patient. A winner will be selected by the Rafflecopter widget and I’ll send an email with the subject line “Thoughts in Progress Moonlit Trilogy Tour.” The winner will have 72 hours to reply to the email or another winner will be selected. PLEASE be sure to check your spam folder from time to time after the giveaway ends. If you win and you’ve already won the book somewhere else or you just decide for whatever reason you don’t want to win, once again PLEASE let me know.

Thanks so much for stopping by today during Jadie’s visit. Are you a horse lover? Do you enjoy reading stories that involve other worlds? Are you a storyteller?

*This post contains affiliate links.
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Sunday, October 4, 2015

Show Off Spooky Nails This Halloween....#Julep

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

Halloween will be here before you know it and what better way to get in the mood of this scary holiday than with pretty spooky nails.

Check out this new Halloween nail art tutorial from Julep that uses colors from their Happy Halloween Welcome Box. Get this 4-piece beauty box featuring a trio of spooky polishes and a gel eye glider for FREE when you join the Julep beauty box subscription. 

nail poster
Here are the steps to this easy orange-and-black mani:

1. Paint one coat of orange 2/3 of the way up your nail. Let dry.
2. Using a striping tool (or a toothpick!) to polish on black points.
3. Polish the outline of the points with one coat of black polish.
4. Add a top coat and you’re done!

As a Julep Maven you’ll receive a box of brand-new, full sized nail color and beauty products each month – and you deserve it!
  • Julep Maven is affordable. Every month you get more than $40 of full-size products for just $24.99 per month (tip - prepay for three months at a time and save $15).
  • Julep Maven is the only customizable box of full-size, limited-run nail colors and beauty innovations. That means no surprises, no dupes or colors you don't like. You can see what is in your box each month and have the option of swapping out colors/products you already have or don't want.
  • Julep Mavens get 20% off all single product purchases, free shipping, early access to secret sales. If you are passionate about your polish, that adds up to some amazing savings!
Join Maven and get the 4-piece Pretty Spooky Welcome Box FREE ($50+ value) - just pay $2.99 shipping with code BOO. Want an even better deal? Pre-pay for your first three months of Maven and get the Welcome Box and shipping FREE. Either way, you are going to LOVE being a Maven.

Thanks for stopping by today. Hope you’re having a great Sunday. Does your nail polish coordinate with the season and holidays? Do you enjoy being a kid again and dressing up for Halloween?

Saturday, October 3, 2015

No Books..........Just Hair

Actress Farrah Fawcett pinup poster
It’s Saturday and raining in my neck of the woods. While this would be the perfect time to cuddle up with a good book and read, I’m doing something different again. Today I want to talk with you about hair.

No not Hair the movie or the musical, but those tentacles on top of your head. First, let me give you a little background on my hair.

I was born a blonde and am trying to stay that way despite nature’s insistence on making my hair darker in places and lighter (gray) in others. My hair is straight and I’ve always worn it long. The last time I had my hair cut in a beauty shop (that’s what we call salons in the South), I had it cut and styled in the most popular cut at the time…..the Farrah Fawcett.

Imagine my surprised when having my hair cut just like hers, I still didn’t look like her (the disappointment). I had the seven layers and it worked ok for a while. As time passed, I just let me hair grow back out and soon it was all the same length. In time I could have went trick or treating as Cousin Itt from the Addams Family or Lady Godiva. At the beginning of 2014 my hair touched my leg mid-calf. On April 1 of last year I had it cut to my waist and it’s been growing back ever since.

I’m telling you all this to explain the problems I have trying to keep my hair blonde. While I could go to a beauty shop and have it dyed, with my fine (texture) hair and the length, it’s not an expense I want to incur on a monthly bases. So my alternative is to color my hair at home.

Since the first time I was told it would be $150 to color my hair by a stylist, I’ve been using over-the-counter color treatment kits. These have worked okay for me and I’ve even tried several brands. The kits have been fine in that they do lighten my hair color for a short time, haven’t done damage to my hair and their not too pricey. They don’t color all my hair evenly, aren’t really healthy for my hair and smell so strong I usually get a headache after applying a treatment.

I came across a company this past week that intrigued me so I researched further. The company is Madison Reed and the more I read, the more I liked. In fact, I liked so much I applied to be an affiliate with them and was approved (see the right sidebar).

I haven’t had a chance to try their products yet, but I can’t wait. They don’t contain all the harsh chemicals that makes treatments smell, itch and burn. They even have treatments for sensitive skin and hair. In addition, their treatments are a 9-piece kit that provides you with everything needed for a salon treatment at home including cleansing wipes.

They have a step-by-step quiz to determine which of their products is right for you and the hair color you want. Better still, if you’ve never colored your own hair at home, Madison Reed has easy-to-use instructions, video tutorials and live support. They even have an iPhone app you can download for a hands-free audio tutorial on your phone. One other advance I discovered is especially good for those with long hair. You can purchase an additional color tube to go with your kit without having to purchase two complete kits. You can’t do that with over-the-counter kits.

When I first started reading I thought this process had to take hours to complete, but I was wrong. It takes around an hour total time, about the same as the over-the-counter kits I’ve been using.

Well, I’ve rambled on about my hair long enough. I’m looking forward to trying a Madison Reed Radiant Color Kit and you can be on the lookout (or forewarned) that I’ll let you know how my experience goes.

I know you come here to read about newly released books and hear from authors, but from time to time I like to change things up. I figure the weekend is a good time to share more lifestyle topics with you and see how things are going in your world. It’s something I’m thinking of doing off and on. Please tell me, do you like or dislike the change to something different on the weekends? Have you heard of Madison Reed before? If so, have you tried any Madison Reed products and what was your experience like? 

Thanks for stopping by. Hope you’re having a safe, dry and wonderful Saturday wherever you are.

*This post contains affiliate links. Just click on the following link if you’d like to Join the Madison Reed Affiliate Program.

Madison Reed Better for You

Friday, October 2, 2015

Finding Noah......#FINDINGNOAH #FLYBY

Finding Noah poster - Thoughts in ProgressA documentary film about the search for Noah’s ark will be released in theatres across the country for a one night event on Thursday, Oct. 8. It’s entitled, FINDING NOAH.

Here’s what’s being said about the film:

       For over 2,000 years, man has been searching for the final resting place of Noah's Ark. Though there have been many attempts, few have been able to fully explore the one place specifically noted in the Bible: Mount Ararat.  Located in Eastern Turkey, Agri Dagh or "The Painful Mountain" is the tallest mountain in the region and lies in the very center of a century’s old, geo-politically unstable hot spot.  With constant threats of deadly rock slides, hidden crevasses, and glacial ice falls, the Kurdish Rebel held mountain poses great risk to any explorer, let alone those performing a thorough scientific investigation. 
        Join director/producer Brent Baum and the FINDING NOAH film crew as they follow an expedition of intrepid explorers on a perilous trek up to Mt. Ararat's desolate summit. There, using state of the art technology and real-time satellite imagery, this team of archeologists, scientists and professional mountaineers will begin a grid work of exploration unlike any before, hoping to finally resolve the age-old question: did Noah and his Ark actually exist? 
        Shot in never-before filmed locations in the harshest of conditions, this unprecedented feature-length documentary shows just how far men are willing to go to discover the truth.  Narrated by Academy Award nominee Gary Sinise, FINDING NOAH is more than a quest for answers, it is a testament of the human spirit, where belief and the need for exploration transcend risk and limitation.  

Genre: Documentary
Rating: NR
Runtime: 116 minutes
Release Date (ONE NIGHT ONLY): October 8

You can learn more about the film by visiting its official website and connecting on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube Channel. You can PURCHASE TICKETS HERE. You can also find out more by following these hashtags: #FINDING NOAH and #FLYBY.

I was fortunate enough to preview this movie online recently and was amazed. So many questions surround the ark and the flood that supposedly destroyed mankind except for those inside the ark. While this movie doesn’t solve the mystery, it relates a lot of information both from a theological view and a scientific outlook.

The beliefs these team members had (from both viewpoints) was invigorating. Their ability to work together and support one another was inspiring.

For thousands of years man has searched for the remains of Noah’s Ark without much success. FINDING NOAH documents one group of explorers’ dedication to the effort.

Told from viewpoints of the various team members, viewers get an appreciation of the struggle, motivation, determination, dedication and hope these men share.
The movie, shot in documentary-style, takes viewers on the trek up Mount Ararat step-by-step. Seeing the conditions and extremes the team endures each time it attempts to locate just a piece of the ark is amazing. Returning each year with more zest, better equipment and knowledge of the terrain, the team labors on. 

Even when faced with injuries, mishaps and disappointment, the team feels good about their quest. This faith-based movie highlights the bond these members forge and their support of each other.

While all on the mission don’t do it for faith-based reasons, they agree it’s an experience they’ll never forget.

Providing bits of history on those attempting to locate the ark, the movie also tells of the land and people where the boat is believed to be located. The landscape is breathtaking and the movie’s style gives viewers the feel of being there.

Given permission by the Turkish government to explore for only a short period of time each year, the group makes the most of what they can year after year. However, permits were denied in 2014 and any further expeditions have been put on hold due to the conflict in the area.

No matter whether it is science verses theology or man verses the elements, this dedicated group remains determined to discover what, if anything, lies beneath the snow on Mount Ararat. 

You don’t have to believe in the Bible or any of the various reports of Noah and the flood to enjoy and appreciate this fascinating movie. This is a movie the entire family can enjoy together. 

Blending history, mystery and beliefs, FINDING NOAH is a movie that will stir your imagination and spirit.

Thanks so much for stopping by today. I hope you get a chance to watch this inspiring movie. Do you enjoy watching documentaries? Would you like to participate in a climbing expedition? If so, which mountain would you like to climb?

* FTC Full Disclosure –This is a sponsored post. I was provided the link to preview this movie by Propeller Consulting, LLC. However, the post was written solely by me and all opinions are my own given honestly and freely.

Finding Noah Banner - Thoughts in Progress