Monday, July 31, 2017

Blog Tour: Review & Excerpt of Summer on Firefly Lake by Jen Gilroy

Author: Jen Gilroy
Publisher: Forever – Grand Central Publishing
Release Date: July 25, 2017
Series: Firefly Lake
ISBN: 9781455569601

Sometimes love is better the second time around.

Mia Gibbs spent her marriage putting her husband’s needs before her own. And now, after a painful divorce, she’s building a new life for herself and her two daughters back home at Firefly Lake. The last thing she needs is a man to complicate things. But former bad boy turned friend Nick McGuire has turned everything upside down.

Attorney Nick McGuire wasn’t meant to be a family man. His career has always been his focus, and after taking time out to help his mother, he’s ready to get back to the city…until Mia and her daughters arrive at Firefly Lake. Mia is beautiful and intriguing, and it doesn’t take long to realize being “just friends” will never be enough. As the summer nights turn colder, Nick will have to choose between the life he’s always wanted…and the woman he can’t live without.

Add to your “Want to Read” shelf:  Goodreads

Available at:  Amazon  |  Barnes and Noble  |  Kobo  |  iTunes
My thoughts:

Summer on Firefly Lake is the second book in the Firefly Lake series.  I hadn't read the first book, but I thought this one held up well as a stand alone.  The author gave enough background on things that happened in the first book so that I didn't feel like I was missing anything.  This is Mia and Nick's story.  It was a cute friends to lovers story.  Both Mia and Nick had been seriously hurt by love in the past.  Mia needed to learn that independence didn't mean you had to give up on love.  Nick had to learn how to open his heart and love without fear of loss.  They were sweet together and I did find myself rooting for their HEA.  

The other relationships in the story were equally as fun to watch.  I especially liked the relationship between Nick and Kiley.  We are also treated to a secondary romance between Gabrielle, Nick's mom, and a mysterious traveler. I only wish that there was more of them together in the story. It was seriously really adorable.   I am hoping that Cat's story is next.  I'm really intrigued at her reaction to seeing Luc again.  This is the first book by this author.  I look forward to reading more form her in the future.  

Enjoy this excerpt:

“I want this.” Mia lifted her face to his as a cloud scudded across the moon. “I want you.”
Even if it could only be for tonight, she was Mia, not a mom, not a sister, and not a wife who’d been tossed aside for someone younger and curvier. For this one moment, she didn’t have any responsibilities except what she wanted and needed.
I want you, too.” Nick took her hand and led her toward the car. “A part of me has wanted you since I was fifteen and you hung out at the town beach in that green bikini with the white flowers.”
Her heart lurched. He’d noticed her enough to remember the bikini she’d hidden from her mom. The one she’d bought because she’d heard Nick say he liked green. “You were always with the guys by the life guard station.” Everything about him was a lot sexy and a little bit dangerous.
“I wanted to see you.” His smile was forced, like the admission cost him more than he wanted her to know.
Mia curved her cold hand into his warm one. She’d guessed she’d hurt him the one time they’d gone out, but until tonight she hadn’t understood how much. She couldn’t regret the past, and she couldn’t predict the future, but she could do something about the present. “I want to be with you. Even though we’re not teenagers anymore and I don’t have that green bikini.
Nick’s gaze skimmed her body from head to toe and lingered at her breasts. Then he gave her a grin that was pure bad boy. “I was always a lot more interested in what was underneath that bikini anyway.”
He opened the passenger door for her to slide in.
She looked at him from under her lashes and flirted like she’d wanted to do all those years ago but had been too shy. “You were, were you?”
“Oh yeah.” He shut the car door and, in the sudden silence, panic rolled over her again. Except, there was excitement too…
Copyright © Summer on Firefly Lake 2017 by Jen Gilroy

Praise for Summer on Firefly Lake:

“Has charm to spare...The delightful supporting cast...and expertly plotted story add depth and richness to this tale, leaving readers eager for another visit to Firefly Lake.” – Publishers Weekly

“Gilroy’s second Firefly Lake novel encapsulates the quaint, busybody small-town feel and the slippery slope of friends becoming lovers quite well…Engaging...(a) fast paced page turner.” – RT Book Reviews

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About the author:

Jen Gilroy lives in a small town in eastern Ontario, Canada where her Irish ancestors settled in the nineteenth century. She's worked in higher education and international marketing but, after spending too much time in airports and away from her family, traded the 9-5 to write romantic women’s fiction to bring readers' hearts home.

Jen likes ice cream, diners, vintage style and all things country. Her husband is her real-life romance hero, and her teen daughter teaches her to cherish the blessings in the everyday.

The Cottage at Firefly Lake, the first book in her Firefly Lake series, was a finalist for Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart® award in 2015. It was also shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists’ Association Joan Hessayon Award 2017.

Website  |  Twitter  |  Facebook  |  Goodreads  |  Amazon

Sunday, July 30, 2017

July Mini Musings

Crashing Together:  I was a little disappointed that this didn't take place in Costa Rica.  But, it did make sense to move it to Silver Bay for this couple.    I loved Logan from the first book and also loved Kat's enthusiasm.  They were great together.  While I was rooting for them, their clear lack of communication made for unnecessary angst. Kat's independence was a bit over the top at times. Still, it was an enjoyable sequel.  I look forward to reading the next book.

Arm Candy: (September 5, 2017)  This one was kind of a fail for me.  I did read the whole thing, but I really didn't like either of the characters.  I thought the Davis "packages" were dumb and off-putting.  What would possess a woman to want to sleep with someone who has slept his way through the entire city?  Have some dignity!  I didn't really buy into their love story. In the end, it ended up being the same story I've read before hundreds of times.  I'm not really sure I can recommend it.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Books We Didn't Finish - July edition

By Your Side:   About 2 pages in, the main character says: "What did people do without cell phones" while standing in a library filled with books.  I knew it was going to go downhill from there.  I also have to ask, what library doesn't have a front desk with a working phone?  Her friends suck because they left without her and why didn't she pull the fire alarm when she first figured out she couldn't get out.  Finally, NO public building would only have one entrance/exit.  That would violate all fire safety codes.  I'm not sure what kind of libraries the author has been in, but I couldn't suspend my disbelief even for that.

Little Heaven:  I spent the first quarter of the book totally confused as to what was happening and the second quarter totally bored.  Honestly, I'm really not sure what was going on in this book.  This is the second book by this author that I have DNF'd.  I think I'll just chalk it up to being not for me.

Meddling Kids: While I loved all of the references to Scooby-Doo that made me feel nostalgic, it wasn't enough to save this story.  I really wanted to like this story, but DNF'd it at 50%.  I spent part of it confused and most of it bored.  I didn't like the format changes.  Adding in the screenplay like scenes in the middle of a chapter was weird and brought me right out of the narrative.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Blog Tour: My Sister's Bones by Nuala Ellwood

Author: Nuala Ellwood
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks  (HarperCollins)
Date of publication: July 11, 2017

The One Person You Should Trust Is Lying to You…
Kate has spent fifteen years bringing global injustice home: as a decorated war reporter, she’s always in a place of conflict, writing about ordinary people in unimaginable situations. When her mother dies, Kate returns home from Syria for the funeral. But an incident with a young Syrian boy haunts her dreams, and when Kate sees a boy in the garden of the house next door—a house inhabited by an Iraqi refugee who claims her husband is away and she has no children—Kate becomes convinced that something is very wrong.
As she struggles to separate her memories of Syria from the quiet town in which she grew up—and also to reconcile her memories of a traumatic childhood with her sister’s insistence that all was not as Kate remembers—she begins to wonder what is actually true…and what is just in her mind.

In this gripping, timely debut, Nuala Ellwood brings us an unforgettable damaged character, a haunting , humanizing look at the Syrian conflict, and a deeply harrowing psychological thriller that readers won’t be able to put down.

My Sister's Bones is a debut novel that shows sometimes you get it right the first time around.  I ended up flying through the book because it kept me engaged right through to the end.  I definitely didn't end up being what I was expecting, but that was OK.  What I got was a book I really enjoyed reading.

Honestly, this book is hard to review without giving anything away.  I'll just say that I liked the way the plot was laid out.  The reader spends the majority of the book not knowing if Kate is losing her mind or not.  She is a war correspondent who is suffering from major PTSD, not just from her job, but from her childhood with an abusive father.  She drinks too much and takes too many sleeping pills.  About halfway through the book, we get a different perspective from her sister Sally and the reader is left wondering the same thing about her.  She is a major alcoholic and was an abusive mom herself.  Were both of them losing it?  You'll have to read to find out.

I definitely recommend this debut.  The ending was a surprise twist that I didn't see coming. I think that this author has a bright future and I look forward to seeing more from her in the future.

Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

About Nuala Ellwood

Nuala Ellwood is the daughter of an award-winning journalist. Inspired by her father’s and other journalists’ experiences with post-traumatic stress disorder, she gained Arts Council Funding for her research into the topic and ultimately made it the main theme of My Sister’s Bones, her debut psychological thriller.Find out more about Nuala at her website, and connect with her on Twitter.

Tour Stops
Tuesday, July 11th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Monday, July 17th: SJ2B House Of Books
Tuesday, July 18th: she treads softly
Wednesday, July 19th: Readaholic Zone
Thursday, July 20th: Tina Says…
Monday, July 24th: A Bookish Way of Life
Tuesday, July 25th: Kahakai Kitchen
Wednesday, July 26th: Art Books Coffee
Thursday, July 27th: A Bookworm’s World
Friday, July 28th: From the TBR Pile
Monday, July 31st: Ace and Hoser Blook
Tuesday, August 1st: StephTheBookworm
Wednesday, August 2nd: Book Hooked Blog
Friday, August 4th: 5 Minutes For Books
Friday, August 4th: Jathan & Heather
Friday, August 4th: My Military Savings
Monday, August 7th: Wining Wife 
Thursday, August 10th: The Book Chick

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Spotlight of Like a Fly on the Wall by Simone Kelly

Author: Simone Kelly
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks 
Date of publication: July 11, 2017

Meet Jacques Berradi. Moroccan-born and Manhattan-raised, his genuine, sexy-smooth allure goes hand in hand with a unique gift. Since Jacques was young, he has had the ability to read peoples’ energies, communicate with spirit guides, and even catch glimpses of people’s futures. Now a professional “intuitive counselor,” Jacques’s clients pay him handsomely for his insight. 

Unfortunately, Jacques’s psychic abilities don’t come with an off switch to tune out the world’s noise, nor do they always provide him with easy answers; recently Jacques has begun having dark, alarming dreams about his beloved father, a Moroccan immigrant who died when he was a boy.

Meet Kylie Collins, an adventurous, Miami twentysomething who is trying to find her footing after being laid off from a cushy music industry job. When a mishap brings them together, Kylie is instantly mesmerized by Jacques’s cool demeanor and intuitive abilities, and he’s captivated by her outgoing charm and breezy good looks. Seeking to learn more about her family history—including the identity of the father she’s never known—Kylie visits Jacques’s office to gain some insight about her future, and about her free-spirited and headstrong Jamaican mother, True.

But on the night that they meet, a rolling blackout cuts off power throughout Miami. Kylie and Jacques, and a few of his clients, head to the only place in the neighborhood with enough light to see: Like a Fly on the Wall Detective Agency. There, Kylie serendipitously lands herself the perfect new job as an apprentice private eye.

Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

About Simone Kelly
Photo by Gregg Gibbs

Simone Kelly, CEO of Own Your Power® Communications, Inc., is an author, internet radio host & producer, holistic business, and intuitive life coach. Her previous books include a self-help book on marketing called, Jack of All Trades, Master of None?Her second book is a novel entitled At Second Glance that has set the stage for the smart and sexy Like A Fly on the Wall. It is now part of a two-book deal with William Marrow/Harper Collins and will be released Spring 2017. She currently resides in Hollywood, Florida.

To find out more about Simone, visit her website.

Tour Stops

Tuesday, July 11th: G. Jacks Writes
Wednesday, July 12th: All Roads Lead to the Kitchen
Monday, July 17th: Books and Bindings
Wednesday, July 19th: As I turn the pages
Thursday, July 20th: Writing and Running Through Life
Monday, July 24th: Thoughts On This ‘n That
Tuesday, July 25th: Rebecca Radish
Thursday, July 27th: From the TBR Pile

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Blog Tour: Review & Excerpt of Bliss by Lynsay Sands

Author: Lynsay Sands
Publisher: Avon
Date of publication:  July 25, 2017

No one blends humor and sensuality like New York Times bestselling author Lynsay Sands in this captivating story of feuding nobles forced to marry…and destined to fall in love

Love thy neighbor, ’tis said. A fine idea, except when the neighbor in question is Lord Holden. Lady Helen Tiernay has complained frequently about his treatment of his people. Too frequently perhaps, for the king intends to curb their constant bickering by ordering them to wed. Helen can’t refuse a royal decree, but she’ll do everything possible to drive away her devilishly attractive husband-to-be.
Holden has faced all manner of horrors on the battlefield. But marriage to “the tyrant of Tiernay” is still a worrying prospect—until he glimpses Helen in the flesh. What flesh it is…soft, lush, made for his touch. If she weren’t so intent on thinking up devious ways to prevent consummating their bond, Helen would see how perfect they are together, and that a marriage begun as enemies can turn to absolute pleasure.

Bliss was recently re-issued by Avon. I have always been a fan of Ms. Sands's historical romances.  Somehow I missed this one the first time around. Lord Hethe Holden and Lady Helen Tierney have been feuding neighbors for years.  King Henry is tired of getting letters of complaint from both of them and orders them to marry.

I enjoyed this one.  There were a lot of funny moments that made me laugh.  That is one of the things that I have always loved about this author.  She has the ability to inject a lot of humor into her stories. Hethe and Helen were fun to watch as they slowly began to like and respect each other.  There is also mystery to solve.  Someone keeps trying to kill Hethe. (How that poor man wasn't in a coma by the end is anyone's guess) While, it wasn't too difficult to figure out who the bad guy was, the reason was a surprise.

If missed this one the first time around, I definitely recommend it.  It was a lot of fun to read.

“Lady Tiernay,” Templetun greeted, jogging up the last few steps to come abreast of Hethe as he passed before their two hostesses. “May I introduce Lord Hethe of Holden. Lord Holden, this is Lady Helen of Tiernay and her aunt Lady Nell Shambleau.”
Hethe moved up another step so that his face and Helen’s were on a level, and managed a smile as he gazed into his fiance’s sky blue eyes that matched her gown. Actually, his mouth was responding to his nether regions, and it fashioned itself into a beaming grin of pleasure for the woman—until she smile back and said, “How do you do?”
His smile died an abrupt death, becoming a dismayed grimace. It wasn’t the woman’s words that affected him so but her foul breath that blew at him as she spoke. The shock of it made Hethe take a hasty step backward. He would have tumbled down the stairs had William not steadied him with a fist at his back.
“God’s teeth!” he gasped in horror, bringing a perplexed and even slightly offended look to their hostess’s face. It also brought him a rather sharp and confused look from Templetun, reminding him of his manners. Forcing a false smile of apology to his lips, Hethe turned his face slightly to avoid the noxious fumes and excused himself by muttering, “Nearly lost my footing.”
“Oh, well, you must be careful, my lord,” his betrothed breathed at him sweetly. Leaning closer, she snatched his arm through her own, presumably to save him from losing his balance again. She then smiled brightly and sighed gustily into his face. “Such a handsome man. We would not wish you to tumble down the stairs and break your neck! At least, not before the wedding, hmmm?” she teased, her eyes sparkling.
Hethe nearly whimpered. His head was swimming under the onslaught of her poisonous exhalations. Sweet Saint Simon! He had never smelled anything quite so raw or putrid. He hadn’t thought it possible for such a scent to come out of a human’s mouth. And the fact that it was coming from the sweet bow-shaped lips of the lovely woman before him just seemed to make the horror of it that much worse.
“Shall we go inside?” the woman’s aunt suggested cheerfully.
“Aye,” Lady Tiernay agreed. “I am sure you gentlemen are ready for a nice mug of ale after your journey.” She spoke the words to Hethe, her breath wafting over his face like an ill wind carrying the stench of death. Feeling his stomach roil, Hethe nodded faintly, more than eager for any excuse to move and avoid the situation he was in.

Lord love me, I have to marry this wench, he thought as he hurried rudely up the last step and into the keep, dragging her a step behind. She would be breathing this putrescence at him for the next fifty years or so, he thought faintly, too dismayed to even realize how rude he was being by pulling Lady Tiernay about and leaving her aunt and the others to follow.

Buy Links:     AMAZON | B & N | GOOGLE | ITUNES | KOBO
Goodreads Link: 

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Author Info 
Lynsay Sands is the nationally bestselling author of the Argeneau/Rogue Hunter vampire series, as well as numerous historicals and anthologies. She's been writing stories since grade school and considers herself incredibly lucky to be able to make a career out of it. Her hope is that readers can get away from their everyday stress through her stories, and if there's occasional uncontrollable fits of laughter, that's just a big bonus.


Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Blog Tour: Well Built by Carly Phillips & Erika Wilde

Authors: Carly Phillips & Erika Wilde
Publisher: CP Publishing
Date of publication: July 2017

When it comes to women, sexy, well-built Kyle Coleman has always been a lover, not a fighter.  His one exception?  The sassy, tempting, smart-mouthed Ella Fisher.  Her family and his are sworn enemies, which make the two of them off-limits—despite the fact that she's inspired some of his dirtiest, most erotic fantasies for years. But when the lines between animosity and lust become irrevocably blurred one fateful evening, their one night stand leads to a very unexpected consequence—that changes everything between them forever.

Add to Goodreads

Well Built is the third book in the Book Boyfriend series.  This is Kyle's story.  Kyle and Ella were high school sweethearts until one night when it all ended.  Now 10 years later, Kyle is back home to make a dream come true for his mother.  Unfortunately, it means that Ella can't fulfill her dream.  

While not my favorite of the series, I still enjoyed it. Ella and Kyle still had a lot of chemistry even after 10 years.  Their feelings for each other had not dwindled  My biggest complaint about the story was its length.  I felt like it was too short.  Ella and Kyle get together and then it's three months later.  I would have liked to see more of them together.  Instead, we are just kind of told what they were up to over that time. I would have bought into the romance a bit more had I seen their interactions as adults.  Don't get me wrong, I still liked the two of them together.  I just wanted more.

This can definitely be read as a stand alone.  The other characters from the first two books make an appearance, but it's not necessary to have read those to enjoy this one.  I definitely recommend this one as well  as the others in the series. I look forward to Connor's book next.

Buy links:
About the Authors:

***About Carly Phillips***

Carly Phillips is the N.Y. Times and USA Today Bestselling Author of over 50 sexy contemporary romance novels featuring hot men, strong women and the emotionally compelling stories her readers have come to expect and love. Carly is happily married to her college sweetheart, the mother of two nearly adult daughters and three crazy dogs (two wheaten terriers and one mutant Havanese) who star on her Facebook Fan Page and website. Carly loves social media and is always around to interact with her readers. You can find out more about Carly at

Website  Goodreads  Amazon  Facebook  Twitter

***About Erika Wilde***

Erika Wilde is the author of the sexy Marriage Diaries series and The Players Club series. She lives in Oregon with her husband and two daughters, and when she's not writing you can find her exploring the beautiful Pacific Northwest. For more information on her upcoming releases, please visit website at

Website Goodreads  Amazon  Facebook  Twitter 

Monday, July 24, 2017

Blog Tour: Spotlight of Dark Saturday by Nicci French

Author: Nicci French
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks 
Date of publication: July 11, 2017

Enter the world of NICCI FRENCH with Dark Saturday, an electrifying, sophisticated psychological thriller about past crimes and present dangers, featuring an unforgettable protagonist…

A decade ago, 18-year-old Hannah Docherty was arrested for the shocking murder of her family. It was an open-and-shut case, and Hannah has been incarcerated in a secure psychiatric hospital ever since.
When psychotherapist Frieda Klein is asked to meet Hannah and give her assessment, she reluctantly agrees. But what she finds horrifies her. Hannah has become a tragic figure, old before her time. And Frieda is haunted by the idea that Hannah might be as much of a victim as her family — that she might, in fact, be innocent.

As Hannah’s case takes hold of her, Frieda begins to realize that she’s up against someone who will go to any lengths to keep the truth from surfacing — even kill again.

Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

About Nicci French

Nicci French is the pseudonym of English wife-and-husband team Nicci Gerrard and Sean French. Their acclaimed novels of psychological suspense have sold more than 8 million copies around the world.
Connect wtih the authors on their Facebook page.

Tour Stops
Wednesday, July 12th: A Bookworm’s World
Wednesday, July 12th: The Book Diva’s Reads
Thursday, July 13th: Comfy Reading
Thursday, July 13th: The Ludic Reader
Friday, July 14th: Booked on a Feeling
Friday, July 14th: Reading Reality
Monday, July 17th: A Chick Who Reads
Tuesday, July 18th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Wednesday, July 19th: I Wish I Lived in a Library
Thursday, July 20th: A Bookish Way of Life
Friday, July 21st: Dreams, Etc.
Monday, July 24th: From the TBR Pile
Tuesday, July 25th: StephTheBookworm
Wednesday, July 26th: Readaholic Zone
Thursday, July 27th: Art Books Coffee

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Blog Tour: Q&A with Zach Boddicker author of The Essential Carl Mahogany

Author: Zach Boddicker
Published: Last Chance Press
Date of publication:  July 2017

What can an award-winning Nashville singer-songwriter learn about himself by agreeing to a best-of tour in a beat up old van? If it means getting out from under the thumb of a label that considers him washed up, he’s willing to find out.  At least until an ex-lover wants to come along for the ride.

Carl Mahogany’s not your average protagonist. In the practiced drawl of the aging country singer, and echoing Edward Abbey’s Henry Lightcap, Boddicker takes us across the country in an Americana-steeped journey through Mahogany’s roots. Encounters with old friends and lovers, including the Eisenhower Interstate System, a firecracker tenured professor, former bandmates, and a down-to-earth small town mechanic, shake the dust out of Mahogany’s creases to revision his life.

If a lifetime of travel, songwriting and performing equates to learning to work with the monsters inside us, The Essential Carl Mahogany is that journey. Grab a six pack, settle into the cushions, and come along for the ride. 

Q&A with Zach Boddicker

What inspired The Essential Carl Mahogany?
The answer to this may be lost to history. I do remember having gotten to the point where I refused to watch any more musician/artist biopics and documentaries. So many of them follow the rise-fall-redemption paradigm, focused on industry pressure and substance abuse.  There are so many other ways to depict the complex trials of a successful, working artist. Having written several short stories in college, and unaware of any novel written about a professional songwriter, I decided it was time to go for it.

Where did the moniker and personality of Carl Mahogany come from?
The name “Carl Mahogany” came from a quip made at a backyard 4th of July horseshoe tournament I attended in 2005, and it just stuck. When I started the book, I wanted an artist-protagonist who could feasibly reach the top of their game with no college degree, trust fund or traces of nepotism; someone who could still move about the general population without being noticed. If I were to run into a real version of a songwriter like Carl, I’m not sure I would recognize them - even with being familiar with their work.

The Essential Carl Mahogany  is the first novel published by M12 / Last Chance Press. How did you two connect - and what made them decide to publish your book?
Richard Saxton (Creative Director of M12) happened to be at a 4H Royalty show at the Lion's Lair several years ago. I didn't meet or speak with him that particular night, but we eventually connected, and with their company focus on rural art and artists,  I insisted that we collaborate. I contributed a short story to their first publication A Decade of Country Hits: Art on the Rural Frontier. After Carl won an unpublished novel contest a few years ago and made the finals in another, Saxton said “why don't we put out your book?”

Do you see yourself in any of your characters in the book?                 
Definitely - there’s some aspect of all of the main characters, except Lloyd. Bill, Carl and Rhonda are all pretty good improvisors when it comes to handling the disruptions and chaos of life. Their sense of humor enables this more than anything. Carl takes several more beatings than anyone else in this story, but he keeps grinding forward with his new project. Bill and Rhonda have gone through their own messes previously and have earned their ability to see the humor and absurdity of all of the knuckleballs that have come their way. I suppose this is why I identify with these characters the most. It’s an ongoing aspiration, at least.

Are any of those six a favorite of yours?
It depends on my mood. I’d probably choose Rhonda as my go-to character. She’s naturally non-judgemental, an improvisor, focused, highly-skilled and unapologetically passionate about what she does.

You’re a musician, as well as a writer. How long have you been a musician and what type of music do you play?
I've been playing guitar since I was 10, and then picked up pedal steel at 19. I started playing bars at 18 with a “modern country” cover band, which led to me starting a “classic country” band with Ben O'Connor (Halden Wofford & the Hi-Beams, Matt Skinner Band). No one was doing that up in Fort Collins at the time, so people started coming to check it out.

One of these individuals was Karl Alvarez of Descendents / ALL fame. He brought me on board with Drag the River, which to that point was just an acoustic duo. We got the full-band version of DTR going, and I spent about five years recording and touring with them.

My main project since 2008 or so is a four-piece band called 4H Royalty. It’s been more of a long-term art project than a working band. People have described our sound as a combination of the Replacements, Billie Joe Shaver, Thin Lizzy, Meat Puppets and late-seventies Springsteen. 
So, given your history in music, were any parts of your story inspired by real-life events?
From the start, I anticipated receiving accusations that this story is just a thinly-veiled autobiography, so I over-compensated by making sure nearly everything that happens in this book is made from scratch (to the best of my ability). None of the major plot points have happened to me, or to anyone I know personally, but several minor plot points, characters, details, and locations are based on, or influenced by, real-life experiences, hearsay, and unreliable memories. Several!

What do you think will surprise readers most about your book?                                
The depiction of small-town/rural humans as creative, dynamic individuals with complex lives and diverse opinions.

What fascinates you about writing?                                
I like the act of smashing conflicting or disparate ideas/philosophies/conventions together and seeing what happens.

What about music?
Same as above, though a three or four-minute song isn't the ideal vehicle for a complex story. It's more of a flash-fiction exercise, with some elements of poetry involved.

What authors do you like to read? Any that have been a particularly strong influence on your own writing?                                
Kent Haruf, Kurt Vonnegut and Larry McMurtry have been consistent favorites over the years. I’m currently working my way through the Goodreads Literary Westerns list, and researching the lesser-known pulp western writers of old.

Do you have any plans for more books in 2017 and beyond?     
I have a handful of somewhat-developed ideas for future novels and short stories. One seems to be wanting more attention than the others, so I’m in the outline stage with that. It will involve a younger protagonist and his escape from a quasi-religious commune, and his adventures thereafter. I’m anticipating there’ll be truck drivers, journalists, motorcycle club folks and all sorts of local color scattered about.

Praise for The Essential Carl Mahogany

“With internal dialogue to match Nick Hornby at his best (see High Fidelity), and external dialogue that’s reminiscent of early Don DeLillo (See Great Jones Street, possibly the only musician-novel that I dare to compare to this one), author Zach Boddicker has crafted an elegant, oddball, and unapologetically funny tale of ex-Nashville, ex-famous, and ex-boyfriend Carl Mahogany and his existential mission to recover his soul in a tumbleweed junction on the Great Plains of Eastern Colorado. Rarely have I seen so much wit mingle so comfortably with such an honest portrayal of rural America's anarchic spirit."
Gregory Hill - author East of Denver, The Lonesome Trials of Johnny Riles, Colorado Book Award recipient

"The story of a successful country songwriter trying his best to live a hassle-free existence, of which he is only marginally successful. Full of great dialogue, humorous observations and dry wit, The Essential Carl Mahogany is a strong debut."
— Chris Auman,  Reglar Wiglar Magazine

About the author:

Zach Boddicker grew up living the country life north of Laporte, Colorado.  Ever more interested in rock bands and art than hunting, sports and other traditional red-blooded American activities, it was when he finally got his hands on a guitar that his journey into a life of music was catapulted into action.

In his formative years, Boddicker listened to and learned from everything he could get his hands on, but found direction one Monday night at a poignant performance at The Continental Club in Austin, Tex. by country guitar legend Junior Brown. This steered the author and musician toward honky-tonk, country and western swing.

Boddicker holds a B.A. in English and a MFA in Fiction from Colorado State University, which have proven useful for his endeavors into publishing. In 2014, his short story “Equipment” was published in “A Decade of Country Hits: Art on the Rural Frontier(Jap Sam Books / M12 Studio). His first book “The Essential Carl Mahogany” (2017), which has been deemed evocative of Nick Hornby, Hunter S. Thompson and Don DeLillo, is the first novel to be published by M12 Studio / Last Chance Press.

In addition to his work as an author, Boddicker has been a staple of the Roots Music scene along the Front Range for 20 years as a member of 4H Royalty, Cowboy Dave Band, Drag the River, and many others. He currently resides in Denver with his wife and two daughters.

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