Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Make Me Stay by Aline Hunter


Do you believe in second chances? Check out this excerpt from such a story, Make Me Stay by Aline Hunter, and then download your own copy to see how Kamden and Everly do this. Make sure you let the author know what you think in the comments section. And follow the rest of the tour for even more. Best of luck entering the giveaway!

Believe in second chances.

After his heart was broken by his first love, Kamden Stone avoided romantic entanglements. He lives in the moment, taking partners who understand his desires and know things will end after one encounter. He's comfortable with the life he's carved out for himself, refusing to need anyone or anything until a young woman he can't stop thinking about changes the game.

Everly Mason moved to escape toxic family ties. All she wants is a fresh start and a new life. The house left to her is the perfect place to fall, isolated and in the middle of nowhere, providing plenty of work to keep her occupied. She's on the right path, taking things one day at a time, when she's introduced to a mysterious man she can't stop thinking about.

Despite everything, Kamden and Everly can't deny their chemistry. When they agree to a trial period, curious to see where things will go between them, they discover they need each other in a way they never thought possible. When the time comes, they'll have to accept what they want and need. To be together, they both have to find a reason to make them stay.

Read an excerpt:
"You wanted to bring me here, right? Things will stay like this unless you talk to me." When he didn't say anything, she took a chance. She reached out and placed her fingers on his forearm. His head turned, his eyes resting on her hand, then slowly inched up. She met his gaze, determined and unafraid. "I want you to talk to me. I want to understand." Because she felt like he needed to hear it, she told him, "You don't know me either, but when you do, you'll find out you can trust me."

Slowly, as though pained, he released the steering wheel and rested his hand over hers. She tried to place the look in his eyes. He was a good man. She'd learned that while visiting his parents. They told her he could have moved away a long time ago, going to live with his brother in Tennessee, but decided to build a small house on the opposite side of their property. He lived nearby to watch over them, always ready to make their lives easier, visiting them often to make sure they were taken care of.

He gazed down at their hands, brushed his thumb over her knuckles, and then his golden-brown eyes returned to her face. She wanted to crawl over, climb into his lap, and twine her fingers in his hair.

"We'll talk in Penny's," he said softly.

"Promise?" she asked, hoping she wouldn't scare him away.

His lips parted, and he almost responded.

Then he looked away and nodded. She wanted to understand the man who'd been on her mind for weeks. She'd been captivated the minute she'd spoken to him. If he was willing to reveal himself, she was more than ready to listen.

Buy Links
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Aline Hunter has written stories featured in horror magazines, zombie romance anthologies, and flash fiction contests. Her work has a dark undertone, which she credits to her love of old horror films, tastes in music, and choices in reading, and has been described as “full of sensual promise,” “gritty and sexy,” and “a breath of fresh air.”

You can visit her online at

Aline Hunter will be awarding,United States only, a Special Book Themed gift basket to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

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Review of Stealing Her Best Friend's Heart by Tara Randel

On Tour with Prism Book Tours

It's always sad when a series has to end. But sometimes, the author is able to create a spin-off series that is just as delightful as the original series. And that is what Tara Randel has done here. Check out Stealing Her Best Friend's Heart, featuring another member of the Masterson family. Read my entire book review and be sure to follow the tour for even more. Best of luck entering the giveaway!

Stealing Her Best Friend's Heart
(The Golden Matchmakers Club #1)
By Tara Randel
Contemporary Romance
Paperback & ebook, 384 Pages
July 27, 2021 by Harlequin Heartwarming

A home renovation…
Could change this friendship forever

Heidi Welch has her eye on the perfect home…until Reid Masterson buys it! Now Heidi has one last chance to get back the home of her dreams from her childhood friend and longtime crush. If she helps Reid with the renovations, he'll sell her the house. But “just friends” seems just about impossible…especially when friendship keeps getting in the way of falling in love.

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**My thoughts**
I always love a spinoff series for a series I have already enjoyed! The Golden Matchmaker series is a spinoff from the Meet Me at the Altar series by Tara Randel. This first one features Reid Masterson, whose brother Logan was previously featured. And we get to see Heidi again. The two of them have been good friends for a long time, but never really thought of anything more. But the Golden Matchmakers have something to say about that. 

The Golden Matchmakers start with Reid's grandmother and Heidi's guardian. They are determined to get their kids together and will do all kinds of scheming to make it happen. But while they are determined, they are also somewhat subtle about it. Normally I hate it when people interfere in my love life, so I understand how Heidi and Reid feel when they pick up on some of the matchmaking. But at the same time, these two women are so sweet, you can't fault them. And they get some other charming help as well. (Quick side note: I am sensing a possible romance blossoming within this group as well, no?)

And I love how the two of them come together. Again, they have been friends for a long time, but they get thrown together working on remodeling Heidi's dream home, which Logan beat her to purchasing in the hopes of flipping it. There is something about a man who can work with his hands, and something even more when you get to work alongside him and learn. Heidi is also super feisty and has been fighting to establish her own identity and independence, and I admire her tenacity. Reid has his own battles trying to decide what he really wants to do in life and how to still be loyal to his family. And the two of them are perfectly matched to help each other work through all of these life obstacles and trials. 

I was completely engrossed in this book on a rainy Sunday afternoon. I want to go back to reread the other stories from this delightful small town and can't wait to see what happens next. We do get a clue who the next matchmaking target is. And like I said earlier, I have a prediction for another possible match later on.

I received a requested review copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

About the Author

USA Today Bestselling Author Tara Randel has enjoyed a lifelong love of books, especially romance and mystery genres, so it didn't come as a surprise when she began writing with the dream of becoming published. Family values, mystery and, of course, love and romance are her favorite themes, because she believes love is the greatest gift of all. Tara lives on the West Coast of Florida, where gorgeous sunsets inspire the creation of heartwarming stories, filled with love, laughter and the occasional mystery.

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Prize #1: Signed print copy of Trusting Her Heart, tote bag, insulated cup and a $25 Amazon Gift Card (Open to US only)
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Ends August 11, 2021

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Thursday, July 29, 2021

Review of The Patron (Emerson Pass Contemporaries #2) by Tess Thompson

She’s afraid to take risks. He’s an incurable daredevil. When tragedy throws them together, will it spark a lasting devotion?

Crystal Whalen isn’t sure why she should go on. Two years after her husband’s death on a ski trip, she’s devastated when a fire destroys her quiet Colorado mountain home. And when she can’t keep her hands off the gorgeous divorcé who’s become her new temporary housemate, it only feeds her grief and growing guilt.

Garth Welte won’t be burned again. After his ex-wife took most of his money, the downhill-skiing Olympic medalist is determined to keep things casual with the sexy woman he can’t resist. But the more time they spend with each other, the harder it is to deny his burgeoning feelings.

As Crystal’s longing for the rugged man’s embrace grows, she worries that his dangerous lifestyle will steal him away. And although Garth believes she’s his perfect girl, the specter of betrayal keeps a tight grip on his heart.

Will the thrill-seeker and the wary woman succumb to the power of love?

The Patron of Emerson Pass is the emotional second book in the Emerson Pass Contemporaries small-town romance series. If you like lyrical prose, unexpected chances at happiness, and uplifting stories, then you’ll adore Tess Thompson’s sweet tale.

Book Links

Goodreads * Amazon *BN * Kobo * Google Play

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**My thoughts**

This is the story of Crystal and Garth. We’ve met them before in The Sugar Queen. You will want to go back to read that one if you want more details of the tragedy that brought them together. But it isn’t completely necessary to do so to enjoy this second installment in the contemporary branch of the Emerson Pass series.

I have to start off by acknowledging how Tess really has a way with words. She can poetically sum up life’s truths in such a way that you want to copy the phrases and hang them on your wall. We get this right off the bat in the prologue narrated by Crystal.

Both Crystal and Garth had come to Emerson Pass to escape the pain of the pasts. Crystal had lost her grandparents and her husband in accidents, plus lost her baby. Garth is recovering from a failed marriage. The tragedy of the fire that had destroyed their neighboring houses brought them together. But Crystal cannot convince herself to let go and give in to the relationship. And then fate steps in to shake things up on so many levels.

I admit that I didn’t have my usual warm fuzzies from Crystal and Garth as I usually do in Tess’s stories. But there are some other relationships going on, also related to past trauma, that made up for it in spades. I can’t really specify any more without spoilers. But I did shed a tear or two a few times throughout.

As with Sugar Queen, I enjoyed the nods to the historical branch of the series. I’m not usually a big fan of historical romance, but those hold a special place in my heart. Keep your eye out for references to a couple of Tess’s other series as well.

A fun addition to this book is an extensive collection of family recipes that were sent in by readers. I’m looking forward to trying some out.

Thank you to the author for a requested review copy. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Meet Chloe from Warwick's Mermaid by Ellie Gray


I love it when we get to know characters better outside of their stories! Today we get to meet Chloe from Warwick's Mermaid by Ellie Gray in this character interview. We also get to take a sneak peek inside with an excerpt. Leave more questions in the comments section and then follow the tour for more! Best of luck entering the giveaway!

Having escaped an abusive relationship, Chloe MacGregor is determined to put the past behind her. The little cottage high up on the cliffs overlooking the beautiful North Yorkshire town of Whitby is her safe haven, somewhere she is free to be herself.

When the arrival of her new neighbor and boss, Luke Warwick, threatens her peaceful, sheltered life, Chloe is forced to confront her past and to re-evaluate who she really is. Falling in love with Luke is not part of her plan but, to her surprise, Luke is falling for her too. The only thing preventing their happy ever after is Chloe herself. Will she ever truly learn to leave the past where it belongs?

Read an excerpt:
Luke paused in the doorway, a glass of lemonade in each hand, and a bottle of mineral water tucked under his arm. Chloe was already sitting at a table under the shady canopy of an old tree, its branches providing welcome relief from the relentless heat of the sun. Underneath the table, Jasper was panting hard as she, too, struggled with the heat. Unaware of his gaze, Chloe reached into her bag and pulled out the bubble bath, flicking open the lid and raising it to her nose to breathe in the fragrance. Judging by her smile it was obviously not that bad, and he felt an unfamiliar lurch in his stomach. She was unlike anyone he’d spent time with before. There was a gentle innocence, a goodness about her and, despite his better judgement, he wanted to get to know her better. As he made his way across the courtyard, she bent forward to drop the bottle into her bag. A further smile playing across her lips as she withdrew a small piece of pale green rock and slipped it into her mouth.

“Are you hungry?”

She jumped slightly and looked up. “No, no…it’s a piece of rock.” After a brief hesitation, she reached once more into her bag to withdraw the white paper bag. “Would you like one?”

He set the glasses on the table and retrieved a small plastic container from underneath the table, filling it with the bottled water for Jasper, and smiling in amusement as he did so. “Offered with such enthusiasm! I take it you’re rather partial to…what is it, anyway?” He peered into the bag.

“Edinburgh rock. Have you ever tried it?”

“Can’t say I have.” He shook his head. “Thanks for the offer, but no, I’m not really a sweet sort of a guy.”

“Don’t be so hard on yourself.” She teased. “I can imagine there are some people who might think you’re sweet.”

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Character Interview

Q: What's your story/back story? Why would someone come up with a story about YOU?

A: If you had asked me that a couple of years ago, I would have said I had no idea why someone would come up with a story about me! But things have changed more recently, I’ve changed. I guess I’ve been through a life changing experience! Meeting Luke was a bit of a catalyst to me finding myself. It was only when I met him that I realised I was just coasting through my life, taking the safe option. So, I guess the story that Ellie has told has been one of hope, of believing in yourself, and taking a chance on love.

Q: Can you tell us about your hero?

A: Luke. Gosh, just thinking about him gives me butterflies. I have to see Luke in a special light. Without him, I wouldn’t be the person I am today; he believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself. He’s also the most gorgeous man I’ve ever met – both inside and out.

Q: Do you expect your hero to help or is he the problem?

A: I don’t expect anyone to help me, but over the last couple of years I’ve had to learn to accept help sometimes. There’s a point in the story when I tell Luke that I don’t want a knight in shining armor, and that I don’t want to be a damsel in distress, because I found myself being rescued by Luke on a couple of occasions – something he teases me about sometimes! But, I am most proud of the way I eventually stood up to Chris, my ex – he came back into my life and threatened me. A year ago I would have caved, I know I would, but this time I stood up to him and, like all bullies, he couldn’t take it. I now know just how strong a person I am, and I’m really proud of that.

Q: Where do you live?

A: I live on the beautiful North Yorkshire coast, just a few miles outside of Whitby, with its beautiful cobbled streets and Abbey ruins. My little cottage sits on the cliff top, with a winding path down to the private beach below. Luke’s cottage sits at the top of the cliffs at the other side of the beach – it’s very handy!

Q: During what time period does your story take place?

A: Modern day.

Q: How are you coping with the conflict in your life?

A: It’s been a struggle – learning to believe in myself and in Luke. Re-defining my relationship with my mother has also been so hard – for both me and for her. We’re still going through counselling together and it’s been strange trying to rebuild our relationship but I’m proud of Mum. She’s been through a lot too, and its lovely to see her starting to live her life and explore the possibility of a relationship. She deserves to be as happy as I am with someone.

Q: That’s all the questions we have for you. Thank you for speaking to us.

A: You’re very welcome. They were really good questions – quite thought provoking, particularly as I don’t usually like talking about myself!

I love to write heartwarming, contemporary romance, and romantic suspense novels, with characters I really want my readers to engage with. I live in the beautiful East Riding of Yorkshire in the UK and, although I work full-time in the public sector, my favourite pastime, when not writing, is wandering around old stately homes and castles, or sitting at a pavement café in the sun and watching the world go by – always on the lookout for something that might spark the idea for my next novel.

I enjoy engaging with both readers and other authors, and am a proud member of the Romantic Novelist Association. Feel free to contact me and chat about all things romance through my social media pages, which you can find at the bottom of this page.

Links for Ellie Gray, Contemporary Romance Author




Ellie Gray will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

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Monday, July 26, 2021

Review of Falling for Another Darcy (Love Manor Book 3) by Kate O'Keeffe


Don’t miss this laugh-out-loud, heart-warming story by USA TODAY bestselling author, Kate O'Keeffe. Perfect for fans of Sophie Kinsella’s Shopaholic series and Sinéad Moriarty.

First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes baby in the baby carriage. Raight?

That’s the way the song goes, anyway. For Emma Brady, marrying her Mr. Darcy was a road to happiness that is about to take a sharp turn to trouble. Creating a tiny Mr. Darcy isn’t exactly proving to be easy. Sure, being newly-weds mean they’re more than happy to give it a good shot, but as time ticks along, Emma and Sebastian’s efforts come to nothing.

It’s time to call in the big guns.

For Emma, that means mood swings, hot flashes, ovulation kits, and more needles than a haystack. Add that to an increasingly-disapproving granny, and Sebastian and Emma’s love is being put to the test in a way they never saw coming.

Will they get the family they so desperately want? And will their love survive? Or will Emma’s fairy tale ending with her Mr. Darcy slip between her fingers?

Book Links

Goodreads * Amazon

(affiliate link included)

**My thoughts**

I’ve been eagerly awaiting this book because I loved the first two so much. It dropped right before Mother’s Day, which meant I read it that weekend, which made it touch my heart that much more.

I first need to say a huge thank you to Kate O’Keeffe for tackling the difficult topic of endometriosis. So many of us suffer from this and yet we still don’t talk about it nearly enough. I felt seen and heard for one of the first times and understood all of Emma’s ups and downs. The emotions were real: the pain and frustration of diagnoses and trying and hating yourself and the jealousy when friends can pop them out. I also felt like readers were well-educated in the topic without it being a medical lecture. I cried many tears while reading this. And the epilogue itself made me sob for a solid 15 minutes after finishing it.

This was a different way of ending this kind of a trilogy, and in spite of all of my tears, I loved it. I think a lot more women than we realize are truly going to empathize with Emma and Sebastian.

And now I want to go back and reread all three books.

I know that one spinoff story from the series has already published in an anthology I have, and I believe more are to come in the future. I look forward to getting to know there other characters even better and revisiting this world.

Friday, July 23, 2021

Median Gray by Bill Mesce, Jr.


Today, author Bill Mesce is here to talk to us about writing and to introduce us to his police thriller Median Gray. Read his thoughts and an excerpt and then follow the tour for even more. Be sure to leave your questions and comments along the way. Best of luck entering the giveaway!

New York City, Summer 1963

Rookie beat cop Jack Meara is bleeding out on the dirty floor of a tenement hallway - next to the body of another cop. The eyes of the shooter burned into his memory. Meara watches and waits to see the shooter brought to justice, but, instead, "Tony Boy" Maiella climbs up the Mob ranks, slipping off indictments as easily as his designer overcoat. But on the eve of his retirement, Meara decides on one last kamikaze-like try to even the scales of justice.

New York City, 1983

Rookie detective Ronnie Valerio finds himself unknowingly pulled into the wake of Meara's quest. A go-go palace bartender is being stalked, a body turns up in a neighborhood dumpster, machine guns blaze in the night, a New York bookie turns up dead in the Jersey Pinelands and the only thing they all have in common is, in one way or another, they all tie back to Jack Meara.

How far does a cop go to even a score? How far does a brother cop go to shield him? Is justice worth any price when the line between right and wrong blurs?

Read an excerpt:
Then another explosion of metal on metal, a spray of red taillight glass as the El Dorado buried its tail in the New Yorker blocking the foot of the driveway.

Meara, on the ground against the stairs, getting his pistol up, pointed at the broad-shouldered silhouette behind the wheel, sending off a shot. The soft-nosed bullet grazed the heavy, raked windshield and winged off. Shattering glass somewhere. A fresh scream.

Meara pulled himself to his feet. The pain in his side kept him from straightening, from drawing a full breath. He felt sweat on his face, wiped at it with the back of his hand, came away with blood, not sweat, all those flying shards from the Caddy bursting through the garage door…

The El Dorado had shoved the New Yorker out into the street where both cars sat log-jammed. Joey Rocks – even through the smoked glass of the Caddy’s windshield, Meara could see where that big, no-necked pile of fat and muscle had gotten its name – was still trying to shake off the shock of the collision.

Meara held his breath so as not to provoke the pain in his side, raised his pistol again, took careful aim, and put two bullets through the dark glass.

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Thoughts by Bill Mesce, Jr:

I remember sitting with my first editor over twenty years ago and I forget how it came up, but I said to her, “I’m not big on plot.”

She smiled and nodded. “I know.” It was that apparent.

I wrote three novels for her, all marketed as legal thrillers, but I don’t think there was a one of them where any half-intelligent reader didn’t know who did what to whom pretty early on. In fact, in that very first novel, you know exactly who the killer is before the first chapter is over.

Don’t get me wrong: I like a good mystery and have always been awed by the ability of mystery writers to build their puzzles, lay out their clues, throw in plot twists. I don’t know how they do it. My head doesn’t work that way.

My interest has always been why people do what they do, and that’s why I spend so much time with my characters.

Alfred Hitchcock, that Master of Suspense, had an axiom of sorts: that the more complicated the plot, the less time you have for character. It’s why he frequently cast such huge stars as Cary Grant and James Stewart; so the audience could immediately identify with them.

But on the page, you don’t have that kind of instant recognition. Every character is an unknown entity to the reader. I’m willing to trade the kind of dynamic forward-moving energy you get from a driving who-dunnit type of plot for taking the time to let my readers get to know my characters and, hopefully, identify with them.

Because I do have time to spend with my characters, I can let the reader see them in non-plot-connected activities. In the case of Median Gray’s main character – a young police officer named Ronnie Valerio – it’s watching him deal with typical young-man-in-the-big-city stuff: annoying neighbors, the routine insanity on the streets that was so much a mark of New York at that time (the novel is set in New York City in 1983), even dealing with that bitter cold that seems distinct to the city (I’ve spent a lot of time in New England where it’s colder, but still not as bone-deep painful as New York cold). And there’s how Ronnie deals with other people: other cops, his boss, people on the street.

My main tool for building a character is to model them on an already existing person. Sometimes it’s a person I know; a friend, someone from one of my jobs, a relative, etc. Sometimes it’s someone in the news. On occasion, it’s even been another character from a TV show or a movie! Those novels I wrote for my editor? The main character in all three was modeled after the character of “Lou Grant” as played by Ed Asner on The Mary Tyler Moore Show.

I don’t know, maybe it’s lazy to work this way, but I don’t know how other writers create a character from the ground up without them coming off like a creation rather than a person. When I build my characters this way, it gives me a reference point: how they’ll move, how they’ll act/react in any given situation, how they talk and how they deal with different kinds of people. I know their strengths, but perhaps more importantly – and I think the thing that readers find particularly identifiable – I know their weaknesses. I know this because I’ve already seen the model in action. I don’t have to create anything, just follow my characters and record their words and actions.

I suppose what I most want is for my readers to feel the reality of a place and recognize my characters as the kind of people it wouldn’t be unusual for them to know. It’s all real to me; I want it to be equally real to them.

Bill Mesce, Jr. Is an award-winning author and playwright as well as a screenwriter. He is an adjunct instructor at several colleges in his native New Jersey.

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Thursday, July 22, 2021

Black Flag Journals: One Soldier's Experience in America's Longest War by Dennis John Woods


Black Flag Journals is a very personal book to author Dennis John Woods. Today he gives us more of the background of the book in addition to sharing an excerpt with us. Be sure to follow the rest of the tour for even more insights. And best of luck entering the giveaway!

The story of America’s longest war is complicated and difficult to convey, unless you were there. Dennis Woods was there. By following his stories in Iraq and Afghanistan, we can sense the enormity of his combat experiences. Originally written for his daughter, Black Flag Journals is taken from the author’s nine battle book journals. It covers his time from the fall of the Twin Towers through his last combat tour.

Black Flag Journals contains not just stories from the first war of the new century, but a day-by-day record of events that other veterans may use to relate their own experiences. All who enjoy real life stories, and followers of history will connect with this first person account of America’s longest war.

Read an excerpt:
Rules of engagement

At higher echelons of command, the rules of engagement were used as a rheostat. That rheostat could be dialed up or down to adjust the level of violence. The level of violence was often adjusted to achieve military and political goals. At the soldier level, the rules allowed one to “kill with a conscience, if necessary.” I mention this now as, over time, the rules of engagement and what constituted a legal engagement would change from time to time based on conditions.

Buy links

Background of the book

Any book, especially one covering open warfare- house to house fighting in Iraq, valley to mountain top battle in Afghanistan, understanding the historical background and cultural setting is critical to understanding of the subjects’ actions- reactions. Where it concerns combat at the personal level, (ground level – face to face) cultural aspects become far more important than they are in historical narratives using a 10,000-foot (broad picture) perspective. The most difficult and troubling battle experiences I share in Black Flag Journals often open their personal meaning and significance when the historical and cultural background of the combatants is grasped.

In sharing my personal experiences in America’s longest war, I also share the social emotional impacts on myself and within my family. In this way a reader gains an insight through stories often only related between veterans. To achieve this, I often start a battle vignette by painting a word picture employing local background history. Often the illusive why some combatants behave the way they do is revealed through an explanation of local customs. 

As a personal combat narrative Black Flag Journals was written from a series of 9 journals. My intention was to use them as a means of explaining my absence to my elementary school aged daughter. Based on my earlier wars, I assumed that the war of terror would last maybe two years tops. Little did I or anyone know that this would be our longest war. Prior to 9/11 my longest war was the 1st Gulf War which took 9 months. That time included Operation Desert Shield, which was followed by 30 days of small unit border skirmishes and air operations culminating in a 100-hour ground assault titled Desert Storm. So, on the day the Twin Towers fell I fully expected that I would be retired long before my daughter grew into an adult. The reality though was this war would carry us from elementary school to college and I would still be returning to Afghanistan.

CSM Woods combat tours include;

Operation Urgent Fury, Grenada, 82d Airborne Division.
Operation Desert Shield / Desert Storm, Saudi Arabia – Iraq, 82d Airborne Division.
Operation Desert Fox 1998, Qatar, 5th Group Special Forces.
OEF 2 Afghanistan, 82d Airborne Division.
OIF 1 Iraq, First Armored Division.
OIF 6 Iraq, First Armored Division.
OEF X Afghanistan, 173D Airborne Brigade Combat Team.
OEF XIII Afghanistan, 191st Infantry Brigade

CSM Woods civilian education includes a Master of Education, (training & leadership) from North Central University, Prescott AZ, and a Bachelor of Science from Excelsior, Albany, New York.

Military education includes the United States Sergeants Majors Academy class # 58, Army force management course, Jump Master, Drill Sergeant, US Army Recruiter, Infantry Small Arms Master Gunner, Artillery Master Gunner, Amphibious Warfare leaders’ course (USMC), Anti-Armor Leaders course, Machine Gun Leaders course, Artillery Mechanics repair course, Small Arms repair course, Nuclear Biological Chemical defense, and all levels of air load planning and hazmat certification USAF.

CSM Woods awards include; one Distinguished Service medal, one Legion Of Merit,( 5) Bronze Star Medals, 5 Meritorious Service Medals, 4 ARCOM, 4 AAM, 1 Humanitarian service medal, 2 Armed Forces Expeditionary medals, Afghanistan and Iraq service medals. German Jump Master Wings, Qatar Jump wings as part of 5th Group, Netherlands Jumpmaster wings. Other awards include; Department of Defense “Inventor of the year” (2003) with 45 separate inventions. CSM Woods saved the United States Government over one Billion Dollars through cost avoidance. He is also the first recipient of the GRUBER award for an outstanding field artillery professional.

CSM Woods is credited by the US Army Smart Ideas program as the inventor of;

• The 105mm Howitzer night direct fire sight system M913 GELON.
• The 155mm towed Howitzer night sight system.
• The dual use day/ night direct fire sight reticule.
• The Dual optic MILES Laser trainer.
• The Urban Assault kit (PALADIN) improved crew protection, 155mm system.

On his most recent tour to Afghanistan, CSM Woods pioneered the first use of artillery training rounds in combat as a form of scalable fire support designed to limit civilian death and collateral damage. He is the author of, ‘Black Flag Journals One Soldiers Experience in America’s Longest War’, and numerous magazine, newspaper articles, including training pamphlets concerning Artillery, night vision, and combat operations.

Twitter: @djwoodswrites

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