Book Showcase: TORTURED WITH LOVE by JT Hunter




Tortured With Love

The True Crime Romance of the Lonely Hearts Killers

by JT Hunter

on Tour August 1 – September 30, 2020



Tortured With Love by JT Hunter


Synopsis:



What is the price of passion? What is the power of love?

Meet Martha Beck, a young nurse dedicated to healing others, until her own hurting heart lured her down a darker path. Loneliness led her to Raymond Fernandez, but love led her all the way to the electric chair.

This is the tragic story of the Lonely Heart Killers.




Book Details:


Genre: True Crime
Published by: JT Hunter
Publication Date: May 15th 2020
Number of Pages: 210
ISBN: 9798646112720
Purchase Links: Amazon | Goodreads




Read an excerpt:





ONE

On an otherwise mundane March day, a peculiar piece of paper arrived in Martha Beck’s office mailbox. It came with the usual medical correspondence and junk mail, giving no indication of its importance. Yet, this one particular envelope would change Martha’s life forever.

The envelope arrived on a cool afternoon, the temperature hovering just below 60, the highest it had climbed all day in the Pensacola area of the Florida Panhandle. But Martha was not in the mood to enjoy the weather. She was still down in the dumps about her recently finalized divorce from Alfred Beck, a Pensacola bus driver who had married her when she was six months pregnant with another man’s child. Although she had been separated from Alfred since May 1945, nearly two years earlier, the formal entry of their divorce had the nearly 27-year-old Martha feeling like an old maid doomed to live out the rest of her life alone.

Martha was not unique in that respect in post-World War II America. With well over a million more women than men, the United States population of the mid and late 1940’s left many lonely women in its wake.

A visit from Elizabeth Swanson, one of the nurses she supervised at the Crippled Children’s Home, temporarily distracted Martha from feeling sorry for herself. She considered Elizabeth her closest friend. When Elizabeth knocked on her office door, Martha had just started going through the mail. As the two engaged in the latest gossip and friendly chit-chat, Martha resumed sorting through the assortment of envelopes. The first was an advertisement from a Jacksonville company selling medical equipment. She quickly flipped past it as well as a few other pieces of junk mail until a mysterious envelope caught her eye. It was made of thin, pale-brown paper with the name, Mrs. Martha Jule Beck, typed prominently on the front.

“What’s this?” she asked, the question directed more to herself than her friend.

“What is what?” Elizabeth replied, sipping from a mug of coffee.

“This . . . this odd envelope,” Martha said, holding it up to show her.

“Beat’s me,” Elizabeth remarked coyly. “I wonder who sent you that.”

“I’m sure I don’t know,” Martha remarked, her curiosity now piqued. She turned the envelope over to inspect it further, and seeing nothing hinting at its contents, opened it to find a thin, paper pamphlet inside. It was a promotional mailing and application for the Standard Correspondence Club, one of many “lonely hearts clubs” operating across the country. The return address gave Standard’s location as Grave Lake, Illinois.

LONELY?, the pamphlet asked in large, bold letters, Let us help you find that certain someone. Join old reliable Club, 50 years of dependable, confidential service. Correspondents most everywhere seeking congenial mates, proven results. Interesting photos, descriptions FREE. There were several pictures of women spaced throughout the page, each next to a testimonial about a happy marriage brought about by contacts made through the club.

“Now why on earth would they send this to me?” Martha wondered aloud, taking a little offense that such a “lovelorn club” would be contacting her.

Elizabeth’s coyness now morphed into a broad grin that spread across her face.

“Now why on earth would they send this to me?” Martha wondered aloud, “I have a confession to make,” Elizabeth said as she started giggling. “I wrote the club and asked them to send you information and an application.”

Martha studied her friend’s face, deciding whether she was serious.

“Whatever for?” she asked in a tone matching the astonishment in her eyes.

Still giggling, Elizabeth moved to a chair closer to Martha and sat down beside her.

“I originally did it as a joke,” she explained, “but the more I thought about it,  the more I decided that you should give it a try. Three of my daughters are writing to me that they have met men through this correspondence club, and this is the very same club that I met my husband through thirty years ago. And after all, what do you have to lose?”

Martha rolled her eyes.

“I may be a little lonely,” she acknowledged, “but I’m not THAT desperate.”

She glared with some annoyance at Elizabeth. “I swear, sometimes I really wonder what’s going on in that head of yours.”

Martha tossed the pamphlet onto a pile of papers stacked on the side of her desk and made no more mention of it for the rest of their time together. But the seeds of intrigue had already been planted in her mind.

Later, after Elizabeth had left, Martha retrieved the discarded pamphlet and read it more closely. Part of the pamphlet contained a form asking her to fill out information about herself and write a letter detailing what kind of men she would like to meet. Sitting down at her desk, she carefully completed the form and took her time crafting the letter, being sure to mention how people often commented that she was witty, vivacious, and oozed personality. She also emphasized that she was a trained nurse with her own pleasant apartment. When she was satisfied with what she had written, Martha carefully folded the papers, enclosed $5.00 for the required membership fee, and licked the envelope to seal it. That evening, she dropped it in a mailbox on her way home from work.

*****

Years later, when asked whether she had experienced any misgivings about joining a lonely hearts club, Martha candidly replied, “Yes, as soon as I’d put the letter in the mailbox, I began thinking I’d made a mistake.”

Questioned about what kind of man she hoped to meet through the club, Martha took a little more time before answering.

“Well, I don’t know,” she confessed. “I guess I hadn’t thought about it much.

But I sure didn’t think I’d ever meet anyone like Ray.”

***



Excerpt from Tortured With Love by J.T. Hunter. Copyright © 2020 by J.T. Hunter. Reproduced with permission from J.T. Hunter. All rights reserved.




Author Bio:


J.T. Hunter

JT Hunter is a true crime writer with over fifteen years of experience as a lawyer, including criminal law and appeals. He also has significant training in criminal investigation techniques. He enjoys being a college professor teaching fiction and nonfiction to his creative writing students.


Catch Up With J.T. Hunter:
JTHunter.org, Goodreads, BookBub, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook!



Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!








Enter The Giveaway!:

This is a Rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for JT Hunter. There will be 2 winners of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card each. The giveaway begins on August 1, 2020, and runs through October 2, 2020. Void where prohibited.


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Book Showcase: DON’T F*** THIS UP! by Fred Stuvek Jr.



Don’t F*** This Up!: A Guide for Students and Graduates or Anyone Making A Fresh Start by Fred Stuvek Jr.
ISBN: 9781732306042 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781732306059 (ebook)
ASIN: B08C5MQVSV   (Kindle edition)
Publisher: Triumvirate Press
Publication Date: July 7, 2020



The margin of error is shrinking…



Has the new normal just f***ed up the future for young adults? 

Thanks to a global pandemic, they’re entering adulthood, their college career, or the workforce during record unemployment, a terrifying economy, and social guidelines that have all but eliminated life as we knew it. 

And what about the millions of newly unemployed workers in America? As they look for a fresh start, how will they overcome the challenges of an economy decimated by COVID-19?

If having a strategy for the future was important before, now it’s critical. The choices new grads, young adults, or the newly unemployed make and the practices they adopt right now are going to shape not only their career but every other aspect of their life as well. 

Fred Stuvek, Jr. has some hard-earned life lessons to share with them. As a former athlete who served in the military and successfully started his own business, he has advice for those looking to thrive in this battered economy. 

In Don’t F*** This Up!, he explains how harnessing certain proven success principles will help guide those looking for a new start in a world where the margin of error is narrower than ever. He can explain the following in more detail:


  • Adopt high standards and become disciplined
  • Learn how to focus on goal setting from a Hall of Fame athlete turned soldier
  • Develop and improve essential relationships from someone who has built successful businesses
  • Establish a high level of personal integrity through the right actions and attitude 
  • Develop the resilience and grit to overcome adversity







Purchase Links: #CommissionEarned   IndieBound  |  Amazon  |  Amazon Kindle  |  Barnes & Noble  |  <Nook Book  |  BookDepository  |  Kobo eBook





Author Q&A



Don’t F*** This Up!: A Guide for Students and Graduates
or Anyone Making a Fresh Start



1.  Your book is titled, Don’t F*** This Up!. That is pretty direct. What exactly do you mean by it and how did you decide on it?

Due to this pandemic students and graduates will be facing one of the bleakest employment environments in generations. Opportunities will be limited, and the margin of error is much less than in former times. While the title is visceral, I wanted to emphasize the importance to my target audience that now, more than ever, it is critical to be prepared and get it right the first time.


2.  You have excelled in sports, the military, and in business. What is the key piece of advice you have gained from this trifecta of experience that you want to give to those making a fresh start in this bad economy?

Nothing gets accomplished without discipline, commitment, and a team working together. Your discipline will ensure you follow through on your plan; that firm commitment in your mission will ensure you have the resiliency to stay the course when adversity strikes; and everyone has each other’s back.  


3.  How is your book unique from other self-help books out there?

Success is not one dimensional, it entails a number of issues that must converge. The absence or weakness in one area of more will impact your ability to reach your full potential. To the best of my knowledge, there isn’t a book out there that comprehensively and specifically addresses the entire range of issues for someone to be successful by telling them WHAT is important, WHY it is important, and HOW you do something about it. 


4.  You say that your advice may be hard for people to hear. Why is that?

You are responsible for you and accountable for yourself. You are not a victim of circumstances. The life you are living is based on the habits you have formed, the decisions you made, and the people you associate with. If you want a better life, develop better habits, make better decisions, and re-evaluate who you are hanging out with.


5.  Can you go over a couple of the core ideas for success that you outline in the book?

In order to be motivated and fulfilled there are two issues that are important – alignment and filling in the gaps. When I say alignment you have to understand what motivates you and match those beliefs with your personality, skillset, interests, and values. The other issue is the gaps – you need to understand what areas you fall short in and work on improving your skills in those areas. You also have to be honest with yourself and don’t try to be something you are not. Otherwise, you have a mismatch which ultimately will result in dissatisfaction, stress, burn-out, and spill over into your personal life.  


6.  You say that the margin for error is narrowing for people starting out in the workforce. What do you mean by that?

Many companies are streamlining, cutting costs, or putting plans on hold until they are better able to gauge the impact COVID19 will have on the economy and their business. As a result, there will be fewer jobs available which will translate into fewer opportunities for them. This may also translate to new business models where companies revert to a hybrid version of their former self from both an expense and staffing standpoint. They say “you only get one chance to make a first impression.” The same holds true here.  


7.  COVID-19 has decimated the economy. For those who have been laid off, what is your biggest piece of advice as they look for a fresh start?

Your mindset, preparation, and commitment will carry you through. Be prepared, be positive, and persevere. Understand there will be rejection and frustration, don’t take it personally, it is part of the process, so put it behind you. Learn from it and move on. Your determination and zeal will ultimately resonate with someone, so never give up, never surrender, and always move forward, even if it is one small step at a time. 


8.  Ultimately, what do you hope readers take away from your book?

Your achievement in life will be determined by the belief and confidence you have in yourself and what you do. You need to develop the right mindset, develop good habits, and make good decisions. To make those decisions you need to know what questions to ask, how to get the answers, and a process to follow. This book is a roadmap to do exactly that and will be a valuable ongoing reference. 


9.  How/where can readers purchase Don’t F*** This Up!?#

It is available in hard copy and eBook through a number of sources such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Apple. You can also go to my website https://fredstuvek.com, where the purchase tab on my home page will direct you to a number of sources where you can purchase either version. 
(#NOTE: Purchase Links are also provided at the top of this post.)

10.  Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about the book?

What is laid out in my book is not based on theory. What I recommend is proven, it works. 




Meet The Author


FRED STUVEK JR. has achieved extraordinary success in diverse realms. He has been inducted into the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame for achievements in football, basketball, baseball, and track. He graduated from the United States Naval Academy, after lettering three years as quarterback for the Midshipmen. After serving as a Naval Officer, he transitioned to the business world where he has held senior leadership positions in private and public companies, both domestically and internationally. Key successes include an international medical imaging start-up that led to a successful IPO and forming a private medical services company, which he subsequently sold. From the playing field to the war room, to the board room, his leadership and accomplishments have given him a distinct perspective and a results-oriented mindset.



Connect to the author via his Website, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter, or YouTube.




Giveaway

Enter to win a print copy of Don’t F*** This Up! by Fred Stuvek Jr. This giveaway is limited to US residents only; non-US residents will be disqualified. Giveaway begins at 12:01 AM ET on 08/25/2020 and runs through 11:59 PM ET on 09/01/2020. The winner will be announced by 10:00 AM ET on 09/02/2020. Book will be provided by PR by the Book at the conclusion of the tour. Void where prohibited by law.


To enter use the Rafflecopter form below.

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This Q&A, giveaway, and tour brought to you by PR By The Book

Book Showcase: PARABLE OF THE BROWN GIRL by Khristi Lauren Adams



Parable of the Brown Girl: The Sacred Lives of Girls of Color by Khristi Lauren Adams
ISBN: 9781506455686 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781506455693 (ebook)
ASIN: B07VHP8M6Z (Kindle edition)
Publisher:  Fortress Press
Release Date: February 4, 2020


The stories of girls of color are often overlooked, unseen, and ignored rather than valued and heard. In Parable of the Brown Girl, minister and youth advocate Khristi Lauren Adams introduces readers to the resilience, struggle, and hope held within these stories. Instead of relegating these young women of color to the margins, Adams bring their stories front and center where they belong. By sharing encounters she’s had with girls of color that revealed profound cultural and theological truths, Adams magnifies the struggles, dreams, wisdom, and dignity of these voices. Thought-provoking and inspirational, Parable of the Brown Girl is a powerful example of how God uses the narratives we most often ignore to teach us the most important lessons in life. It’s time to pay attention. 






Purchase Links: #CommissionEarned  IndieBound  |  Amazon  |  Amazon Kindle  |  Barnes and Noble  |  B&N Nook Book  |  BookDepository  |  Books-A-Million  |  Books-A-Million eBook  |  eBooks  |  Google Play Books  |  Kobo eBook



Read an Excerpt


Chapter 1
Parable of the WEAK BROWN GIRL



Why would God make me a warrior when I’m really just weak?

—Deborah, age nine

For a nine-year-old girl, Deborah had a very sharp and opinionated mind. She was curious and perceptive, yet also quite innocent. About a week prior to Deborah’s ninth birthday, her mother brought her to see me for counseling. She wanted Deborah to have someone to share her inquisitive thoughts with outside of her family and friends. In the time we’d been seeing one another, Deborah and I talked about many things. She often described school as her “happy place.” One could feel the warmth of her big, bright smile when she talked about her friends and her classes. At school she felt safe, contrary to what she described as feeling trapped at home. She lived in a small, one-bedroom apartment with her mother and her mother’s boy friend, who was recently released from jail after two years. Before he returned, Deborah slept in a room with her mother, which she loved because of how close she felt to her mother physically and emotionally.

Now she slept in the living room on their big, dusty, brown couch, which she described as old and worn. The middle dipped low when she lay on the couch and she often awoke with her back aching, but her mother thought Deborah was being dramatic when she complained about it. However, Deborah’s grievances indicated she felt distance between her and her mother and no longer had a sense of security and safety at home. Deborah’s mother was usually tired from working most of the day to support herself, her daughter, and her boyfriend. It had been six months since her mother’s boyfriend had moved in, and Deborah didn’t feel comfortable with him in her home. When she told her mother this, her words fell on deaf ears, just like all her other complaints did. Her mother thought Deborah was jealous but also believed Deborah would adjust to the situation eventually.

Deborah had a black-and white-marbled composition notebook she used as her journal. She didn’t structure her thoughts in a particular way, filling the notebook mostly with pencil-drawn pictures and poems. Knowing these were her private thoughts, I told Deborah she did not have to read them to me. Sometimes, she would bring the journal and have it idly on the desk. Other times, she wanted to read her thoughts from the past week. One day as she read, I glanced into the notebook and saw a picture she’d drawn, but I couldn’t quite make out who or what it was.

“What’s that?” I asked.

Embarrassed, she tried to hide it, but I promised I wouldn’t judge anything she drew or wrote. When she showed me the picture more closely, I was horrified. It was a picture of a girl with a gun to her head and the words “What’s the point? No one cares.” Something inside of me knew Deborah was the little girl. I asked her about the picture and she said it was an old drawing. Upon seeing the concerned look on my face, she tried to reassure me she’d just been having a bad day when she’d drawn it.

We sat in silence for a moment while I tried to gather words. Deborah seemed more concerned with my reaction than the actual drawing, and I sensed she didn’t want me to worry. When I finally found the words, I tried my hardest to impress to her that her life was important and that although things were difficult, people loved and cared for her. I also told her she had a life with purpose just like everyone else and God hadn’t made a mistake when creating her. She paused to think about my words and then desperately asked one of the most profound questions I’d ever heard.

“Why did God make me a warrior when I’m really just weak?”

I’d explained to Deborah that we would journey through life’s questions during our time together. I’d warned I wouldn’t always have the answers, but we would do our best to find them. This was a time I had no answer. As our session for that particular day ended, I promised wewould revisit her question the next time, which would be the following week. As the intervening days passed, I grappled with her question, unable to get it out of my head. I was also ashamed to admit I had been in that exact theological crisis more times than I could count. Why did God make me a warrior, when I, just like Deborah, was simply a weak human being? Numerous challenging moments in my life have led me to question my abilities. When I would outwardly struggle, people would quote, “He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability” (1 Corinthians 10:13). However, my abilities felt like failures. It was—and still is—hard to admit to feeling this weakness, even though I had been in leadership positions before where I had to portray strength. I realized a nine-year-old could articulate one of life’s important questions in a way that I never could.

Nevertheless, I knew I’d have to tell Deborah something more than typical, “You’re not weak—don’t say that. You’re brave and strong.” Why did we respond with this comforting platitude even though it was not the truth for most of us? Adults especially give these types of fabrications when communicating with children, believing to protect them from painful realities. Was it better to tell a child uncomfortable truths at a young age or to lie so they can maintain unchallenged happiness? In this case, I did not want to lie. I had to tell Deborah the truth, which meant I needed to figure out an appropriate response to her question.

A week later, I went to our next session with the intention to pick up where we left off. I waited for her nervously and quietly. Deborah walked into the sparsely decorated room and sat across from me at our usual table. I couldn’t tell if she looked tired because of a long day at school or because of her sleepless nights on her couch at home. I told her I had been thinking about her question all week and I finally had an answer. As I looked into the face of that troubled yet innocent nine-year-old little girl, I said, “Just because you are weak, doesn’t make you less than a warrior. Warriors can be weak.” She might not have grasped the totality of that statement, but nevertheless, she looked relieved to know she could still be considered a warrior. Her weakness did not negate her strength.

If our truest selves are not always strong, why do we place such emphasis and privilege on constantly embodying strength? This quandary is a theological and human in nature, and one many black women and girls especially have to face throughout their lives.

We are human; therefore, we are strong and weak. Many of us, particularly black women and girls, have not been taught how to graciously give ourselves space to live with weakness. Weakness makes us acknowledge our inabilities and surrender to forces outside of ourselves for help. All of this contradicts our understandings of success and strength. We have difficulty seeing power in weakness.

Deborah’s struggles as a young black girl wrestling with a perceived mantle of strength reminded me of similar struggles I’d had my entire life. While I marveled at Deborah’s courage to ask her question, I later realized I’d had to garner my own courage to respond, to admit warriors can be weak and that I can be weak. I, a strong, independent, black woman, can also be vulnerable and fragile.

Black women have not had permission to be both. We need to be seen for all of who we are. I am proud of the strength in my DNA as a black woman and warrior, yet I am also grateful for the grace that gives me space to be weak when I need to be.

Deborah made me confront my own weaknesses. I still don’t know why God created us to have both weakness and strength. However, as 1 Corinthians suggests, God uses the weak things of the world to shine a light of truth on the strong. God chose to become incarnate in the weakness of Christ in order to present a powerful gospel of truth to the world. Weakness was the chosen one. Therefore, do not discount weakness. God resides with us in both our strength and our weakness; neither limits God.



Excerpt from Parable of the Brown Girl by Khristi Lauren Adams. 
Copyright © 2020 by Khristi Lauren Adams. Published by Fortress Press. 
Reproduced with permission. All rights reserved.






Meet the author

Khristi Adams is the Firestone Endowment Chaplain, instructor of religious studies and philosophy, and co-director of Diversity at the Hill School in Pottstown, PA. Previously, she worked as Interim Protestant Chaplain at Georgetown University Law Center & Georgetown University, Associate Campus Pastor for Preaching & Spiritual Programming at Azusa Pacific University, and former Director of Youth Ministries at First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens in Somerset, NJ. Khristi is also the Founder & Director of “The Becoming Conference” that began summer 2017, which is an annual conference designed to empower, educate & inspire girls ages of 13-18. Khristi is a graduate of Temple University with a degree in Advertising and a graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary where she obtained a Master of Divinity. Khristi is also currently an Associate Pastor at First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens. Her ministry and youth advocacy have been featured on CNN and her work has appeared in Huffington Post, Off the Page, and the Junia Project. When not in residence at The Hill School, she lives in East Brunswick, New Jersey.



Connect with the author via Twitter, Facebook, her website, LinkedIn, and YouTube




This excerpt and blog tour brought to you by PR by the Book

Book Spotlight: THE REILLY THANKSGIVING INVITATIONAL STORY by Brent Parrott and Bryan Renfro

The Reilly Thanksgiving Invitational Story by Brent Parrot and Bryan Renfro Stewart
ISBN: 9781697180015 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781697180015 (ebook – PDF format)
ASIN: B07YN7HYDH (Kindle edition)
Publisher: The RTI Story
Release Date: October 14, 2019


In 1960, on the front lawn of an elementary school in North East Dallas, a tradition was born. A group of seventh-grade boys captured the free time before Thanksgiving dinner to engage in a game of touch football. It was a good day to play. So good, in fact, that the game would resume each year at the same time in the same place.

Through the ebb and flow of lives, loves, and responsibilities, the Reilly Thanksgiving Invitational (RTI) continued for five decades. With my good friend Bryan Renfro, we have collaborated to memorialize and reminisce about our lives, the times, the game, and the traditions. The story is chronicled through text, photos, videos, and links; over 200 links 200 photos and 42 invitations.

The Reilly Thanksgiving Invitational Story offers a first-hand glimpse into an era long past and captures the essence of tradition, friendship, life lessons, history, culture, the ups and downs, happiness, and sadness for those lost, over decades.  Today, Alzheimer’s has touched most of the 22 members and a portion of the book proceeds will be donated to Alzheimer’s research.






Purchase Links:  IndieBound  |  Amazon  |  Amazon Kindle  


More about this book

Thanksgiving Team Picture – Old Team
Thanksgiving Team Picture – Bryan Renfro

For more than a half-century, a group of friends from Texas assembled to play touch football each Thanksgiving Day morning on the front lawn of their old elementary school. As the men aged, their determination and love of the game stayed strong. After the final game in 2009, reporter John  Anders noted:

“They arrived on walkers and in iron lungs…Grandchildren would drop them off and perhaps stay behind to serve as stretcher-bearers following the conflict.”


Team leaders Brent Parrott and Bryan Renfro collaborated to memorialize and reminisce about this incredible 50-year tradition, their lives, the times, and the game, in the book The Reilly Thanksgiving Invitational Story.



“(This Book) captures the era of growing up in the 50s and 60s with sensitivity and humor. Baby Boomers are a distinct group who experienced a large variety of social, political, and historical events and changes. We all can identify with the angst and joys of our teenage years…I recommend this fun coming-of-age read to anyone.” — Neilia West (Reviewer)




Meet the authors

Brent Parrott and Bryan Renfro
BRENT PARROTT is a writer, former technology executive, and teacher, and currently serves as Board Chairman for the charter schools of Pioneer Technology & Arts Academy. With his life-long friend, Bryan Renfro, he is the co-author of The Reilly Thanksgiving Invitational Story, a memoir about a group of friends who kept an annual touch football game going for 50 straight years.

He is also the author of two new books scheduled for publication in 2020, Jackpot: The Summer of ’69 and What Would You Do? What Would You Not Do? Brent and his wife Robyn (that’s right, two bird names) spend as much time as possible with their daughter Brynn, son-in-law Jacob, and two amazing grandsons. He has always lived, worked, and played in Dallas, Texas.


BRYAN RENFRO graduated in 1970 from the University of Texas at Arlington and was drafted into the Army the following year during the Viet Nam war. He was the editor and sports writer for Sound Off, the base’s newspaper in Fort Meade, Maryland. His work life followed an untraditional path for the times as he experienced a mix of endeavors through the years, including the furniture importing business.

For five decades, he served as the organizer and “Commissioner” of an annual Thanksgiving touch football game in Dallas, Texas. Known locally as the Turkey Bowl, Bryan chronicled his experiences in the book, The Reilly Thanksgiving Invitational Story, with co-author Brent Parrott. The 400-page memoir was published for the game’s 60th anniversary in 2019. Today, Bryan lives in Dallas with his wife LaDonna and enjoys bible study, photography, his woodshop, and nurturing long-time friendships.


Connect with the authors via Facebook or their website



This spotlight brought to you by Farrow Communications

Book Spotlight: LOST CHILD by Torey Hayden


About Lost Child


• Paperback: 352 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (September 24, 2019)

The first new book from the beloved therapist and writer Torey Hayden in almost fifteen years—an inspiring, uplifting tale of a troubled child and the remarkable woman who made a difference.

In a forgotten corner of Wales, a young girl languishes in a home for troubled children. Abandoned by her parents because of her violent streak, Jessie—at the age of ten—is at risk of becoming just another lost soul in the foster system.

Precocious and bold, Jessie is convinced she is possessed by the devil and utterly unprepared for the arrival of therapist Torey Hayden. Armed with patience, compassion, and unconditional love, Hayden begins working with Jessie once a week. But when Jessie makes a stunning accusation against one of Hayden’s colleagues – a man Hayden implicitly trusts – Hayden’s work doubles: now she must not only get to the root of Jessie’s troubles but also find out if what the girl alleges is true.

A moving, compelling, and inspiring account, Lost Child is a powerful testament once again of Torey Hayden’s extraordinary ability to reach children who many have given up on—and a reminder of how patience and love can ultimately prevail.

Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

About Torey Hayden

Born in Montana, USA, Torey Hayden has spent most of her adult life working with children in distress. Now living in Great Britain, she divides her time between writing and volunteer work with several British charities. Torey is the author of numerous internationally best-selling books about her experiences as a special education teacher and therapist. She has also written two novels and two children’s books.


Find her at www.torey-hayden.com and connect with her on Facebook.




This book spotlight brought to you by TLC Book Tours


Book 291: GRAVEL ON THE SIDE OF THE ROAD Review



Gravel on the Side of the Road: True Stories from a Broad Who Has Been There by Kris Radish
ISBN: 9781940716435 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781940716428 (ebook)
ASIN: B00M4SOVJW (Kindle edition)
Publication date: July 22, 2014
Publisher: SparkPress


A woman who worries about carrying a .38 special in her purse, nearly drowns in a desert canyon, flies into the war in Bosnia, dances with the FBI, tells Geraldo he shouldn’t put guests in hotel rooms with rats and spends time with murderers, has more than a few stories to tell.

Gravel on the Side of the Road-True Stories From a Broad Who Has Been There is a daring and revealing adventure itself.

Beloved novelist Kris Radish returns to her non-fiction beginnings with her first, but not last, book of autobiographical essays. Her writing career has spanned four decades and has included award winning newspaper work, magazine features, a national syndicated column, eleven books and enough stories and adventures to fill up many more.

Radish’s talent for telling it like it is, sharing the wit and wisdom of a life lived mostly on her own terms and her keen sense of humor are highlighted in these stories- some of them old- some of them new, but all of them a glimpse into worlds many never dare to enter. This author always lives in a world where nothing is sacred but the sweet emotions of the heart.

Kris is definitely a broad who has been there.



I normally don’t read a lot of nonfiction unless it pertains to topics I’m interested in (namely comparative religion, Islam, Muslims, tea, perfumery, aromatherapy, etc.), so when the opportunity came up to read Gravel on the Side of the Road – True Stories from a Broad Who Has Been There by Kris Radish I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. To say that I was pleasantly surprised while reading this book is a major understatement. 

Gravel On the Side of the Road is a collection of essays that spotlight different experiences in Kris Radish’s life. Each essay stands alone and all are quickly read. Some essays made me smile – “Jesus Drives a Thunderbird,” “The Turquoise Ring,” and “The One Thing I Wanted.” Some made me laugh – “Wong’s Silver Spur, Dead Deer, and the Dance-Floor Stabbing.” Others made me want to cry – “Even Now,”  “The Mothers in Bosnia,” “I’ve Picked Out My Husband’s New Wife,” and “I Will Always Be Their Mother.” All are presented without frills and unapologetically for a life lived without compromise. Each essay provides a fascinating glimpse into the amazingly wondrous experiences Ms. Radish has had over the years. I can’t say that there were any essays that I didn’t enjoy as they all provided me a little insight into Kris Radish, where she’s been and why. Having said that, as a true book diva I think the essay that tops my favorite list is “Eudora Welty” where Ms. Radish has a fan girl moment with Ms. Welty and then proceeds to overcome it and be the professional journalist she dreamed of being (not to mention the wonderful writing advice she received from Ms. Welty). Whether you’re a fan of nonfiction or not, Gravel on the Side of the Road is a wonderfully written collection of essays by an amazing woman and author. I highly recommend you add this to your TBR list . . . actually don’t just add it to your TBR list, grab a copy and read it. (NOTE: I guess I should give you a little warning that although the first essay is quite funny the last one may require that you grab some tissues.)

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book free for review purposes from the publisher via NetGalley. I was not paid, required or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”



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