Stinger takes readers on a caper full of entertaining twists and turns, failed intentions and human foibles. Navigating a rich landscape of crops and characters, Nichols and McEwen offer a tantalizing tale that reminds us of the possibilities of sweet revenge for the little guy who dares to dream.
Meet Tex Rainwater, a truck driver, who runs a bottled water hustle. With the help of college students and social media, he fools a public thirsty for any magic elixir to buy his Rain Water as fast as he can swap labels. Meet Allie Boyd, a beekeeper with a promising career teaching at the university, searching for an answer to the dwindling bee population. Her head is full of dreams to create her own brand of honey, one that delivers more than a little sweetness.
Meet Roland and Lisa Gold, owners of the Gold-N Corporation, a giant ag company gobbling up small farms and ranches in California’s vast Central Valley. They are fabulously rich living a luxurious life in Bel-Air, away from the dirt and dust of their farms.
Allie, her sister, Heather, and Tex are lifelong friends bound by a love for one another, the land, and seething contempt for the Gold-N Corporation. When Allie is offered a high paying job at Gold-N, she remembers how King Mithridates defeated the Roman Army by placing chunks of mad honeycomb along the soldiers’ path, making them intoxicated and easy prey for slaughter. With the legend of Mithridates fueling her on, she accepts the job and enlists the help of Tex, Heather, and Doc, Heather’s boyfriend, to find a way to bring down the Gold-N empire. Join this motley crew on their quest for revenge with a fast-paced, wild ride through the Central Valley, shattering dreams, tarnishing reputations, and finding fortune along the way.
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The Barber's Wife
Mayme Holloway knows how to keep secrets. Wounded outlaws often call on her medical skills and trust her silence. When Charley Floyd and his wife pay their old friends, Mayme and O.C. a visit, everything changes. Charley, aka Pretty Boy Floyd, is wanted for killing a lawman. His wounds require more help than Mayme can provide which forces her to break her silence and seek help from Dr. Joe Stern. While O.C., safely cuts hair at his barbershop, whistling hymns and telling jokes, Mayme and Dr. Stern venture out into the Cookson Hills to treat Pretty Boy Floyd. Over time, Joe and Mayme forge a strong bond as they care for other wounded men. They share dangerous secrets, dangerous lives, dangerous patients and a dangerous love.
The Barber's Wife is available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and various independent book stores. In Fresno, it is available at Clovis Book Barn and Kennel Bookstore. Please contact me for names of other booksellers in your area.
The Circle Game
Bernadette “Bernie” Sheridan, has the Carlos Luna case in the bag. She’s smart, confident, and fueled by personal tragedy. She knows all too well what’s at stake for the five-year-old, Mexican-American boy, who lost his parents to a negligent driver. After all, her own mother and father—her adopted parents—died tragically when she was only thirteen, and she’s been struggling with the emotional loss ever since. Now, nearing forty and jaded as ever, she’s adamant about saving Carlos from a fate similar to her own, even if only by winning him a healthy monetary settlement. Even if it means she must harken back to a painful childhood in order to do so.
There are other obstacles waiting for Bernie: a hotshot, misogynist defense attorney will challenge her case; her beloved grandmother’s deteriorating health will threaten her only semblance of family; and a handsome economist will begin to test her iron-clad vulnerability. Surely, she’ll be able to forge past all this chaos. For Carlos’s sake. But what will happen when her birth mother, Julie, tries to reenter the picture thirty-seven years after giving her away? Will Bernie decide to toss that aside too, on her martyrly mission for justice? Meeting Julie may be just the thing Bernie needs to win the Luna’s case in the end. And learning her harrowing story may also provide the missing piece in the tragic puzzle of her haunted childhood.
Told through the verging, alternating viewpoints of two broken women in two different eras, The Circle Game is at once a thoughtful commentary on female agency, racial bias, and domestic abuse, as well as a nuanced novel wrought with literary heft and profound psychological tension.
The Circle Game is available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and various independent book stores. In Fresno, it is available at Clovis Book Barn. In Santa Cruz, it is available at Santa Cruz Bookshop. Please contact me for names of other booksellers in your area.
Bulk purchases of Barber's Wife and Circle Game are available through Ingramcontent.com or email . Bulk purchases of Stinger are available through West of West Books.