Dec 192013
 

CD2C-2013x250

6 days until Christmas

 

tracihunterabramsonTraci Hunter Abramson was born in Arizona, where she lived until moving to Venezuela for a study-abroad program. After graduating from Brigham Young University, she worked for the Central Intelligence Agency for several years, eventually resigning in order to raise her family. And though Traci found her passion in caring for her family, she couldn’t manage to forget the action of the CIA, so she turned to writing about it. She has gone on to write a number of bestselling suspense novels that have consistently been nominated as Whitney Award finalists. She enjoys reading, writing, and coaching high school swimming.

Please take a minute to visit Traci at one of the links below:

WEBSITE | BLOG | TWITTER | FACEBOOK

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LDSWBR: What is your favorite Christmas song/hymn? Does it have special meaning to you?

TRACI: I love all Christmas music. I can’t say that I have one particular favorite, but two that I really enjoy are Silent Night and Angels We Have Heard on High. Both were ones I sang in choir when I was in high school and I think they just remind me of the true meaning of Christmas.

LDSWBR: Do you get together with friends/family to play board games on Christmas or New Year’s? What games do you like to play? Do you have a favorite game from your childhood?

TRACI: My family plays games all the time and holidays are no exception. Monopoly and Parcheesi were two of my favorites from my childhood and I still play those with my family. When we have our extended family over, we tend to play games like Apples to Apples or Boggle so we can include a lot of people at the same time. Cosmic Encounters is another one my nieces and nephews love to play at our house.

LDSWBR: If you could recommend only one book from those you read this year, what would it be and why?

TRACI: My favorite fictional adventure this year was actually a series I read with my son called the Ranger’s Apprentice series by John Flanagan. I enjoyed the adventure in these books and I was impressed by the author’s ability to challenge young readers to broaden their vocabulary without taking the reader out of the story. Most importantly, this series helped my son learn to love reading.

LDSWBR: Thank you, Traci!

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Lock & Key

AMAZON | KINDLE | NOOK | DESERET BOOK | SEAGULL BOOK

LockandKey

After years of hiding from her criminal family, Carina Channing is ready to start a new life in Virginia Beach. But cutting ties with the past proves impossible thanks to a mysterious key she received from her imprisoned father. After a warning visit from her uncle, Carina and her boyfriend, Navy SEAL Jay Wellman, begin an urgent search to discover the key’s purpose before their enemies intercede. With their lives and shared future on the line, Carina and Jay race against time to unravel the threat and the promise this one simple family key holds.

 Have you sung in a Christmas choir?

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**To enter the LDSWBR Countdown to Christmas 2013, leave a thoughtful comment below.**

Because this is a raffle-style drawing, commenting on each Countdown to Christmas 2013 post will give you more chances to win. Please click through to the website as only comments submitted directly on this post will be accepted.

Prizes include a $50 Amazon gift card and the author-donated books listed below. This is raffle-style drawing where all entries throughout the contest period are entered into the same “hat” for all prizes. US only. 18 years and older please. See all contest rules and restrictions below.

Following LDSWBR is not required but you may want to consider doing so during the contest so you don’t miss any posts or chances to enter the drawing. You can follow us through email, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Instagram, and Pinterest (links in our sidebar.)

If one of our LDSWBR reviews has ever helped you find a book you enjoyed, please consider helping us spread the word about the LDSWBR Countdown to Christmas 2013. A link posted to your friends and family either in email or on your favorite social network would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

By leaving a comment and entering the Countdown to Christmas 2013, you agree to the contest rules below:

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY; entrants must be 18 years or older; open to residents of continental US only; giveaway begins December 3, 2013 and all entries must be received by 12:00 Midnight December 23, 2013 Mountain Time; to enter, complete the required entry on each post and any additional entries of your choice if listed; LDS Women’s Book Review reserves the right to determine what is considered a thoughtful comment as per each post’s required entry; giveaway prizes include a $50 Amazon gift card and a variety of book prizes donated by featured authors; the number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning; LDS Women’s Book Review is not liable for technical problems which may affect entry into the giveaway; winner identity will be verified by email address; winner will be selected December 28, 2013 by use of a sequence generator on random.org; winner will have until January 4, 2014 to claim their prize; if any prize winner forfeits or does not claim prize, prize will be re-awarded to next winner in sequence; all prizes will be awarded; limit of two prizes per entrant; this contest/giveaway is not associated with Facebook, Twitter or any other entity unless otherwise specified; by entering the giveaway you give LDS Women’s Book Review the right to publicize your name on the LDS Women’s Book Review blog; winner agrees to release LDS Women’s Book Review from any liability as a result of winning; email comments and questions to LDS Women’s Book Review – ldswbr (at) gmail (dot) com; giveaway subject to Utah regulations; VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

**Book Prizes (as of 12/19/13 – more to be added to this list!)**

  • Rocky Road by Josi S. Kilpack (personalized copy)
  • Shannon’s Hope by Josi S. Kilpack (personalized copy)
  • The House at Rose Creek by Jenny Proctor (signed copy)
  • Penumbras by Braden Bell (signed copy)
  • The Reluctant Blogger by Ryan Rapier (personalized copy)
  • Just Ella by Annette K. Larsen (personalized paperback)
  • Longing For Home by Sarah M. Eden (signed copy)
  • Mile 21 by Sarah Dunster (ebook or signed paperback)
  • Blackmoore by Julianne Donaldson (audio CD)
  • Finding Sheba or Ruby’s Secret by H.B. Moore (winner’s choice; format of choice)
  • Pocket Full of Posies by Julie Coulter Bellon (or other Hostage Negotiation novel of choice in either paperback or Kindle)
  • Hadley-Hadley Benson by Jody Wind Durfee (personalized copy)
  • Lock & Key by Traci Hunter Abramson (personalized copy)
 Previous Countdown to Christmas 2013 posts:

Related Posts:

Jun 212013
 

CD2S2013_200

 

tracihunterabramsonTraci Hunter Abramson was born in Arizona, where she lived until moving to Venezuela for a study-abroad program. After graduating from Brigham Young University, she worked for the Central Intelligence Agency for several years, eventually resigning in order to raise her family. And though Traci found her passion in caring for her family, she couldn’t manage to forget the action of the CIA, so she turned to writing about it. She has gone on to write a number of bestselling suspense novels that have consistently been nominated as Whitney Award finalists and won her first this year. She enjoys reading, writing, and coaching high school swimming.

Visit Traci:  WEBSITE | BLOG | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | GOODREADS

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LDSWBR:  What books do you plan/hope to read this summer?

TRACI:  Since I have a daughter leaving for Taiwan in a few months, I’m sure I’ll be reading about that country as we prepare for her to leave. As for fiction, two novels that I’m really hoping to make time to read this summer are The House at Rose Creek by Jenny Proctor and Second Chances by Melanie Jacobson.

LDSWBR: Did you ever go to summer camp, and/or what is your most memorable camping experience?

TRACI:  Believe it or not, one of my most memorable camp experiences happened just last year when I was one of the camp directors for girls’ camp. Trying to be helpful, I had suggested that some of the girls use a tarp to sit on after a rainstorm. They weren’t too happy with me when they discovered a slug wrapped up inside of it.

That evening my friend Tami and I were doing bed checks and the girls commented on the slug again, insinuating that I might have set them up to find it. After insisting that I really hadn’t tried to pull any practical jokes on them, Tami and I turned to check on the next tent. And the beam of our flashlight landed on a tree…and a big slimy slug.

Words weren’t needed. Tami tried to use a stick to collect the slug, unfortunately knocking on the ground. While we were looking in the leaves for it, I found another slug. Using a leaf, I picked up the smaller slug. After all, slugs really are slimy. Then we found the larger slug and Tami followed suit. On the count of three, we pulled open the tent flap and tossed both slugs inside.

Needless to say, I never have to research what it sounds like when ten teenage girls scream simultaneously.

LDSWBR:  If you could have a summer home anywhere in the world, where would it be?

TRACI:  That’s a tough one. I love the Finger Lakes region in New York, especially since my family loves canoeing and boating. For me, I really enjoy Virginia Beach, although I prefer it in the winter when it isn’t so crowded. Another place I would love to summer would be at a lakeside house at Smith Mountain Lake, also here in Virginia. I guess the short answer would be somewhere near the water.

LDSWBR:  Thanks, Traci!

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Find Deep Cover

AMAZON (Paperback & Kindle) | DESERET BOOK (Paperback, ebook & CD) | SEAGULL BOOK (Paperback & CD) | GOODREADS

Deep Cover

Twenty-eight-year-old Kelsey Weber is one of the CIA’s finest undercover agents. After two years under deep cover in Salman Nassar’s desert compound, she’s unearthed vital information on the volatile Middle Eastern extremist sect. When her allegiance is called into question, Nassar teaches her a lesson she won’t forget—with a bullet to the leg. Kelsey is whisked out of the field to recuperate in the safety of her missionary parents’ empty Virginia home. But civilian life proves to be more complicated than Kelsey anticipated when she meets FBI agent Noah Cabbott, the handsome neighbor tasked by her parents with safeguarding the family home in their absence. As their relationship deepens, she’s torn by her inability to divulge who—and what—she really is.

In a twist of fate, their separate investigations converge in a horrifying plot that threatens the nation’s security, and Kelsey’s identity is revealed. She and Noah have been assigned as members of a secret task force, united with one common goal: to thwart Nassar’s impending terrorist attack. As the situation grows increasingly dire, she is horrified to learn that there is a traitor in their midst: An agency mole has been leaking information to the enemy. Kelsey’s world is thrown into chaos with the shocking realization that nothing is as it seems, and each step toward the truth draws her deeper into a web of conspiracy more intricate and deadly than she dreamed . . .

Do you have a funny insect/slimy creature story?

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To enter the LDSWBR Countdown to Summer 2013, leave a thoughtful comment below.

Comment on each Countdown to Summer 2013 post for more chances to win. Please click through to the website as only comments submitted directly on this post will be accepted.

Prizes include a $50 Amazon gift card and the author-donated books listed below. This is raffle-style drawing where all entries throughout the contest period are entered into the same “hat” for all prizes. US only. 18 years and older please. See all contest rules and restrictions HERE.

If you don’t already follow LDSWBR through email, Facebook or Twitter (those cute little book buttons on the sidebar) you may want to consider doing so during the contest so you don’t miss any posts or chances to enter the drawing. Following LDSWBR is not required but it is nice to know that our book reviews are useful to other readers.

If one of our LDSWBR reviews has ever helped you find a book you enjoyed, perhaps you would consider helping us spread the word about the LDSWBR Countdown to Summer 2013. A link posted to your friends and family either in email or on your favorite social network would be so greatly appreciated. Thanks!

Book prizes generously donated by the authors as of 6/21/2013 (more added throughout the countdown!):

  • A Blind Eye by Julie Daines (signed), a bookmark AND a Mind the Gap temporary tattoo
  • I, Spy by Jordan McCollum (choice of paperback or ebook)
  • Sworn Enemy by A.L. Sowards (choice of paperback or ebook)
  • Glimmer of Hope by Sarah M. Eden
  • A Change of Plans by Donna K. Weaver
  • Fairy Godmothers, Inc. by Jenniffer Wardell (signed paperback)
  • Esther the Queen by H.B. Moore (Kindle or Nook)
  • Belonging to Heaven by Gale Sears (or winner’s choice of another book by Gale)
  • Farworld: Air Keep by J. Scott Savage (personalized copy)
  • A Way Back to You by Emily Gray Clawson (personalized paperback)
  • Deep Cover by Traci Hunter Abramson (personalized paperback)

By commenting and participating in the Countdown to Summer 2013 you agree to the following:

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY; entrants must be 18 years or older; open to residents of continental US only; giveaway begins June 10, 2013 and all entries must be received by 12:00 Midnight June 30, 2012 Mountain Time; to enter, complete the required entry on each post and any additional entries of your choice if listed; LDS Women’s Book Review reserves the right to determine what is considered a thoughtful comment as per each post’s required entry; giveaway prizes include a $50 Amazon gift card and a variety of book prizes donated by featured authors; the number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning; LDS Women’s Book Review is not liable for technical problems which may affect entry into the giveaway; winner identity will be verified by email address; winner will be selected July 2, 2013 by use of a sequence generator on random.org; winners will have until July 10, 2013 to claim their prize; if any prize winner forfeits or does not claim prize, prize will be re-awarded to next winner in sequence; all prizes will be awarded; limit of two prizes per entrant; this contest/giveaway is not associated with Facebook, Twitter or any other entity unless otherwise specified; by entering the giveaway you give LDS Women’s Book Review the right to publicize your name on the LDS Women’s Book Review blog; winner agrees to release LDS Women’s Book Review from any liability as a result of winning; email comments & questions to LDS Women’s Book Review – ldswbr (at) gmail (dot) com; giveaway subject to Utah regulations; VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

Related Posts:

Dec 132012
 

12 days until Christmas

 

Originally from Arizona, Traci Hunter Abramson has spent most of her adult life living in Virginia. She is a graduate of Brigham Young University and a former employee of the Central Intelligence Agency. She enjoys writing what she knows and considers it a bonus when her research includes travel and attending sporting or cultural events.

Since leaving the CIA, Traci has written several novels including the Undercurrents trilogy, Obsession, the Royal series, and the Saint Squad series. Her next novel, Deep Cover, will be released in March 2013.

When she’s not writing, Traci enjoys spending time with her husband and four children. She also enjoys coaching North Stafford High School’s swim team.

Visit Traci:  WEBSITE | BLOGFACEBOOK | TWITTER | GOOGLE+GOODREADS

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LDSWBR: Do you top your Christmas tree with a star, angel, or something else? Does it have special meaning to you?

TRACI: When I was a kid, my sister and I took turns putting an angel on top of the tree and we both considered that to be the best part of decorating for Christmas. For my family, we don’t have really have a traditional tree-topper. For us, it’s the decorations that go on the tree that are special. When my oldest child was born, my mother decided to give each of her grandchildren a new ornament each year from somewhere she had traveled recently. We now have miniature Eiffel towers in four different colors, ornaments made from Hawaiian seashells, and all manner of eclectic adornments that the kids treasure hanging from the tree branches.

LDSWBR: What is your favorite Christmas movie? Why is it your favorite?

TRACI: I admit that I love all of the Hallmark Channel Christmas movies and enjoy watching a wide selection of those each year, but my all-time favorite has to be It’s a Wonderful Life. The message that each of us send ripples through countless lives is humbling and I think brings out the best in all of us, especially this time of year.

LDSWBR: What Christmas gift have you been most excited to give?

TRACI: A few years ago, a family I had become close to was facing their first Christmas without their twin boys who had recently passed away at a very young age. To get away from the difficult memories and the incredible pain the loss had caused, they had gone out of town for Christmas. At the time, they didn’t yet have a marker for the boys’ gravesite. I hated the idea of them coming back after the holiday to visit the grave, knowing they would face only the barren piece of ground.

With the help of a friend, I went out and got a large ceramic urn and filled it with different little toys and goodies that might have been given to the boys had they lived to see that Christmas. Then on the outside of the urn, we wrote the boys’ names along with the dates of their birth and of their death. We wrapped it all up in plastic wrapping, making it look like some sort of gift basket, and placed it on the grave.

Shortly after the family returned, they went to the gravesite and found the offering. Their four-year-old son delighted in the toys that had been left for his younger brothers. The other family members relayed afterward how touched they were that their precious little boys had been remembered. The question of who had left the gift became a frequent topic of conversation over the ensuing days and weeks. Often my silent partner and I sat in their home, listening to them try to figure out who could have been behind the anonymous gesture. Nearly a month passed before they finally figured out the truth.

The ceramic pot with the boys’ names written on the side marked the grave for several months following the holiday. I was always amazed at how strong the Spirit was there every time I visited and I found myself drawn to go to the cemetery often when I was in the area. The experience became a reminder to me of how many people in my church and community had poured out their love, time and energy to help this family deal with such a devastating tragedy. It also served to prove that people want to open up their hearts to those around them and are ready and willing to do so when needs arise.

LDSWBR: What a touching way to show your love and support for your grieving friends. Thank you, Traci.

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Purchase Code Word

AMAZON | KINDLE | NOOK | DESERET BOOK | SEAGULL BOOK

The media portrayed the military operation as a complete success, but Navy SEAL Jay Wellman wouldn’t describe it that way. He was there. As he tries to come to terms with his role that fateful night, he notices something different about his teammates and wonders if there may be more to their beliefs than he first thought. When she heard the gunshots, Carina Channing knew the past had caught up with her. She may have changed her last name, but she can’t change who her father is. Carina understands the evil that lurks in The Family, and she is determined to steer clear of that life and any other emotional connections. When they meet, it seems Jay and Carina have only two things in common, mutual attraction and the fact that they are both struggling to overcome devastating trauma. But when a member of The Family arrives and upsets the delicate balance in Carina’s life, Jay chisels away at the barrier Carina has erected around her heart and offers himself as her protector and friend. But can Jay’s Navy SEAL skills, military connections, and loyal Saint Squad friends keep Carina and her sisters safe? And with their different beliefs, can Jay and Carina’s friendship grow into anything more?

 Do you have any ornaments on your tree that came from far-off places? 

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To enter the LDSWBR Countdown to Christmas 2012, leave a thoughtful comment below.

Be sure to comment on each Countdown to Christmas 2012 post for more chances to win. Please click through to the website as only comments submitted directly on this post will be accepted.

Prizes include a $50 Amazon gift card and the author-donated books listed below. This is raffle-style drawing where all entries throughout the contest period are entered into the same “hat” for all prizes. US only. 18 years and older please. See all contest rules and restrictions below.

If you don’t already follow LDSWBR through email, Facebook or Twitter (those cute little book buttons on the sidebar) you may want to consider doing so during the contest so you don’t miss any posts or chances to enter the drawing. Following LDSWBR is not required but it is nice to know that our book reviews are useful to other readers. :)

If one of our LDSWBR reviews has ever helped you find a book you enjoyed, perhaps you would consider helping us spread the word about the LDSWBR Countdown to Christmas 2012. A link posted to your friends and family either in email or on your favorite social network would be so greatly appreciated. Thanks!

By leaving a comment and entering the Countdown to Christmas 2012, you agree to the contest rules below:

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY; entrants must be 18 years or older; open to residents of continental US only; giveaway begins December 3, 2012 and all entries must be received by 12:00 Midnight December 23, 2012 Mountain Time; to enter, complete the required entry on each post and any additional entries of your choice if listed; LDS Women’s Book Review reserves the right to determine what is considered a thoughtful comment as per each posts required entry; giveaway prizes include a $50 Amazon gift card and a variety of book prizes donated by featured authors; the number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning; LDS Women’s Book Review is not liable for technical problems which may affect entry into the giveaway; winner identity will be verified by email address; winner will be selected December 27, 2012 by use of a sequence generator on random.org; winner will have until January 3, 2013 to claim their prize; if any prize winner forfeits or does not claim prize, prize will be re-awarded to next winner in sequence; all prizes will be awarded; limit of two prizes per entrant; this contest/giveaway is not associated with Facebook, Twitter or any other entity unless otherwise specified; by entering the giveaway you give LDS Women’s Book Review the right to publicize your name on the LDS Women’s Book Review blog; winner agrees to release LDS Women’s Book Review from any liability as a result of winning; email comments & questions to LDS Women’s Book Review – ldswbr (at) gmail (dot) com; giveaway subject to Utah regulations; VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

Book Prizes (as of December 10, 2012 – many more to be added to this list!)

  • Tres Leches Cupcakes by Josi S. Kilpack (signed paperback copy)
  • Not Your Average Fairy Tale by Chantele Sedgwick (paperback or ebook)
  • Deadly Undertakings by Gregg Luke (personalized paperback)
  • Turning Pages by Tristi Pinkston (personalized paperback)
  • Athena by Heather B. Moore (autographed paperback)
  • The Kindling by Braden Bell (paperback, signed if desired)
  • Sudden Darkness by Margot Hovley (personalized paperback)
  • Code Word by Traci Hunter Abramson (paperback)

Previous Countdown to Christmas 2012 posts:

 

Related Posts:

Jun 042012
 

Royal Secrets

Author: Traci Hunter Abramson

Published Date: February 2012

Publisher: Covenant Communications

Softcover; 288 pages

Genre: Romantic Suspense

ISBN# 978-1-60681-868-2

Reviewed by: Shanda

FTC FYI: review copy in exchange for an honest review

Summary

Alora DeSanto and her sons, Giancarlo and Dante, survived the fire that killed her husband and extended family, but life would never be the same. When her friend, Janessa, needs a personal assistent with Alora’s security skills to help her plan her wedding to Prince Garrett, Alora and her sons move to the royal chateau in Meridia. Also at the chateau is Prince Stefano, on orders to relax as he recovers from a car accident and suspected attempt on his life.

Alora is awed by her surroundings and the warm welcome she receives from everyone at the chateau. A friendship soon develops between Alora and Prince Stefano, one that the prince wants to further into a relationship but Alora isn’t sure her heart can handle it. With someone out to destroy the royal family, can she and her boys risk losing someone they love again?

Review

Royal Secrets is the long-awaited sequel to Royal Target and picks up shortly after Royal Target ends. Those of you who follow the blog know that I am a big fan of Traci’s Saint Squad series and how Traci weaves romance into her suspense. Royal Target and Royal Secrets are my guilty pleasures, though, based more in romance yet with enough of Traci’s classic suspense to keep things moving at a good pace.

Royal Secrets (and Royal Target) appeal to me because for a little while, I get to suspend reality and experience something very different from my normal life. For example:

  • Meeting and falling in love with a handsome prince. (What woman hasn’t wondered what THAT would be like?)
  • A faithful LDS woman as a main character who speaks several languages, travels the world and knows how to handle a weapon.
  • A strong, well-trained security operative who can protect herself AND her man.
  • Life in a Mediterranean beach-side chateau with a closet full of ball gowns and plenty of opportunities to wear them.

Something I appreciated in Royal Secrets was that though the focus is on Alora and Prince Stefano, the reader gets enough of a continuation of Janessa and Prince Garrett’s story to tie them all seamlessly together without detracting from Alora and Stefano’s budding romance. We get to see how things go when Prince Garrett meets Janessa’s parents (though I think Janessa should have clarified with Prince Garrett much earlier the importance of keeping her CIA employment status a secret from her family), as well as how the royal family handles things when the truth of Prince Garrett’s conversion is revealed.

Because I read 100+ books a year and it’s been a while since I read Royal Target, I took the opportunity to re-read it before reading Royal Secrets and I’m glad I did. It was nice to have the characters fresh in my mind as I read through Royal Secrets. If you have not read Royal Target yet, I suggest doing so first as the characters and plot in Royal Secrets rely heavily on the continuation of events from the first book.

Royal Secrets is an enjoyable read that I would recommend to any fan of romantic suspense.

Royal Secrets is available for purchase at AMAZON | DESERET BOOK | SEAGULL BOOK

 

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Mar 122012
 

Smokescreen

Author: Traci Hunter Abramson

Publisher: Covenant Communications

Published Date: January 2011

Softcover; 249 pages

Genre: Mystery-Supense

ISBN# 978-1-60861-183-6

Reviewed by: Shanda

FTC FYI: reviewed a library copy but will be purchasing my own copy as soon as possible

Summary

From Goodreads:

Taylor Palmetta has spent the past year in Europe building her art career and hiding from Navy SEAL Quinn Lambert, the man who broke her heart. But Taylor can’t seem to hide from trouble. When Taylor seeks safety with her family in Virginia Beach, a series of threats puts her on high alert- and puts Quinn into protective mode.

Despite the private loss that continues to haunt him, Quinn can’t deny his renewed attraction to Taylor. But just as the romance heats up, a plot against the very foundation of the American way of life surfaces, and Taylor’s paintings may hold the key. The Saint Squad is back in action as the team frantically tries to protect their nation’s security-and Taylor and Quinn search for courage to unlock the troubled past.

My Review

Smokescreen is another great book by Traci. I have enjoyed every book in her Saint Squad series, but I especially liked this one. There’s something about Quinn that makes him so easy to love, and I really liked Taylor. She was a great match for Quinn. There was a great amount of suspense and mystery, and the description during the Saint Squad’s mission made it feel more like I was watching a movie than reading a book.

The romance between Quinn and Taylor was paced well and felt very natural. I really liked seeing the previous Saint Squad members and their wives throughout the story. I was (mostly) surprised by the twist near the end and I really loved how it played out. The suspense had me ignoring everyone and everything until I finished the book.

I highly recommend Smokescreen. Well done, Traci!

Buy Smokescreen: AMAZON | DESERET BOOK

 

Related Posts:

Feb 232012
 

Please help us welcome author Traci Hunter Abramson to the blog.

She is the author of several suspense novels, including her newest release, Royal Secrets, which is available now. Traci is a talented author, supportive wife and mother, and hard-working swim coach who  also used to work for the CIA. How cool is that?

Don’t forget to leave a comment!

Royal Secrets is available for purchase here: AMAZON | SEAGULL BOOK | DESERET BOOK

*  *  *  *  *

Publication is the dream. I have it. The authors in my writers’ group have it. Millions of prospective authors have it. And no, I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say millions.

Every published author who has ever interacted with fans can give you multiple accounts of someone asking the question, “How did you get published?” More often than not, the real question hovering between the lines is “How can I get published?”

I remember all too well wondering that exact same question. In fact, many authors who are already published still worry if their next creations will find their way into print or if they will face a dreaded rejection letter… or rejection email or phone call.

So how does one get published? It’s an excellent question, one I really don’t know how to answer. I got published by going to the nearest LDS bookstore and browsing the shelves in search of a publisher. Okay, maybe it was a little more complicated than that, but this really is where I started.

This is also when I had a revelation of sorts. At the time I was looking for any publisher that might help my work get into print, but what I needed to do was look for the right publisher, the publisher that would best fulfill my needs.

So what was I looking for? First, I wanted a publisher that was strong in fiction. Even as a beginning writer, I knew I was a novelist first and foremost. Second, I looked for a company who was open to sequels. I already had a sequel started and knew that I wanted to write a series. Third, I searched for a company that produced products similar to the novel I had written. The only LDS publisher that was a perfect match at the time was Covenant Communications. That was eleven books ago.

I’d love to say that I ran home that day, packaged up my book and sent it off, but that isn’t exactly how things happened. Even as an unpublished, inexperienced novelist, I knew I wasn’t ready yet.

I did rush home, within the posted speed limits of course, and start preparing my book for publication. I looked up Covenant’s publication guidelines, prepared the required submission materials, and edited my novel for the thousandth time. With a lot of prayers and anxiety, I finally put my beloved manuscript into the mail.

And then I waited. And waited. And waited some more. The four months that was posted as the turn around time came and went. Every day for months I watched and waited for the mailman to arrive, always rushing out to the mailbox hoping for news.

Finally, after my patience was long gone and my nerves were strained beyond all reasonable stress levels, I forced myself to pick up the phone, determined to find out where my book was in the review process. As it turned out, I spoke with our beloved Valerie Holladay who the publishing world was saddened to lose this past year. Valerie said that my book had just reached the top of her pile and promised to take a look.

We spoke a week later and I was a little unsure how to take her mixed reviews. She told me that my story was captivating, but that my characters needed work. She likened them to a ditch. I had taken them two feet down into the ditch, but she wanted to see what they looked like if I dug that ditch ten feet deep. So I started digging. And digging. For a year I dug, rewriting and editing until I felt like I couldn’t edit any more.

Finally, with the blessing of my longtime editor and sister-in-law, I put the manuscript in the mail. Exactly one month later, I received a phone call from Shauna Humphreys, Valerie Holladay’s successor at Covenant. Good thing I was sitting down, because I definitely hadn’t expected her to call me after only one month to give me the news. The publisher I had chosen had also chosen me.

That is my little success story, and here is the advice I have given to others based on my limited experience of trying to get published:

1. Find someone to read your work, someone who will give you HONEST feedback. If you only want people to tell you how good your writing is, only show it to your mother and then put it back in a drawer.

2. Edit, edit, and edit some more. Make your work the absolute best that you are capable of creating. An editor’s job is not to teach authors how to write, but rather to improve those who have already taken the time to learn to write.

3. Research the market to find a publisher who meets your needs, and one you think will be a good fit for your work. It is a waste of everyone’s time to send your fabulous novel to a publisher who doesn’t produce work that is in your genre.

4. FOLLOW THE PUBLISHER’S SUBMISSION GUIDELINES. This should be so obvious, but I often hear people in the publishing world tell me that authors frequently think they are the exception to the rule. Following the published guidelines is your first opportunity to show your prospective publisher that you are a profession, one they might be interested in developing a future.

5. Finally, enjoy the journey. No matter what the publishing world thinks of what you’ve created, the miracle of starting with an idea and ending with a completed manuscript is an accomplishment, one to be proud of regardless of what follows.

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Thank you, Traci!

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Do you have the dream of getting published? What steps are you taking to achieve that dream?

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