Thursday, September 30, 2010

Defensive Tactics- Blog Tour- Jennifer Debenham

Today's stop on the blog tour takes us to Jennifer's blog at Write by Candlelight.

Jennifer had some nice things to say about the book but also gave some technical criticisms of the book, like shifting character point of view. She also noted that she would like some of the characters to be fleshed out a little more.

I have heard both of these critisms before and will be things I work on with my next books. As for the characters being more developed, I am a little bit torn on this. My original manuscript for this book was 100 pages longer than the final product. I cut a lot of detail about the characters, trying to avoid too much backstory in an effort to keep the pace moving. I think I was able to keep the pace speeding along, but at the sacrifice of character development. The nice thing about character development, is I can always add it through additional novels.

I've heard a number of people mention that they wish they knew more about why Emily joined the FBI, or had a clearer picture of what makes Paul tick. I think this is great. Perhaps they will get the change to learn more...later.

Here are a few of my favorite quotes from Jennifer's review.

"Westover gave the reader bigger picture ideas to think about in his book. As mentioned before, this book isn't simply a quick, action-packed read--though the pace does move along nicely. Westover seeks to show how everyday life can sometimes bring out the best and worst in each of us. And like any good book should, his ends with his main characters achieving real growth."

I also like..."Westover leaves the story with unanswered questions that could work nicely into a second novel with the same characters. I, for one, would want to read it if he does.

Overall, this is a great first novel, and Steve Westover shows promise in this genre. I look forward to his future work."

Thank you Jennifer. To read her complete review, please visit her blog.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Caldwell County Newspaper Article- by Anne Tezon

Book signing by local author Friday at Far West Store
By Anne Tezon

The premier novel of Kidder resident Steve Westover will be unveiled with a book signing this Friday evening, from 6:00 to 7:30 at Far West Country Store. “Defensive Tactics” is a fast-moving read set in Kansas City that pits two FBI agents against a corrupt federal judge, a crime syndicate and a “mole” inside the agency who threatens to get all of them killed.

The only thing this book lacks is sex and foul language. But that’s exactly what this Latter-day Saint bishop intended. Westover is an assistant manager at Bank Midwest in Cameron by day but on evenings and weekends, much of his time is devoted to answering the needs of the congregation of the newly formed Far West {Ward} for the LDS Church. When he began writing this first novel, he wanted to appeal to a niche audience hungry for an exciting read but without any compromising of high moral standards.

Westover admits he never thought about writing a book and doesn’t even read [many] books. He always watched movies and television. But one morning he woke up from a dream that featured three characters, and he jotted down some notes and let them sit for a while. His wife, Mica, finally urged him to do something with the characters. When he sat down to write, the instinctive novelists “what-if” exercise began. AS he wrote, with Mica reading behind him, she’d get excited and ask, “What’s going to happen next?” He had to admit he didn’t know. But it’s a wild ride that the three main characters take readers on.

Years after a family tragedy leaves him emotionally scarred, Jimmy finds himself homeless and jobless. He looks up an old friend who is an FBI agent in Kansas City. Paul is in a new relationship with Emily, a female FBI agent, and Jimmy comes between the two in his struggle to regain his identity. Emily draws them both into her undercover assignment and the three new friends fight to protect each other and evaluate who God wants them to be.

Defensive Tactics is fashioned around the intricacies of relationships and the choices all of us make in our daily lives. Westover questioned whether people [would] have to compromise their moral standards in order to function in stressful job and relationship situations.

In looking for a publisher, he wanted one that promoted the kinds of standards he’s trying to keep. The second largest publisher out of Utah, Bonneville Books, is known for its “clean fiction” and caters to families wanting good but clean reads. A reader not familiar with LDS culture would not make the connection, as Westover keeps the church background of the characters just under the radar. He didn’t want to be in a position of representing the church and ends up producing a great read without being preachy or doctrinal, posing universal situations that all of us confront, no matter our church background.

Westover already has a second book at the publisher’s, this one a kid’s fantasy book based in Crater Lake Oregon, where he grew up. A second adult novel is also in the hopper. Of his first work, friends and family members have read it and one family member expressed surprise, “Wow, that was like a real book!”

For Steve, the novel publishing process has taught him, “You can do things you never thought you could. It’s fun. It’s a nice hobby.”

This “hobby” has resulted in a read you won’t be able to put down until its exciting conclusion.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Defensive Tactics- Blog Tour- Cami Checketts

Here are a couple of my favorite quotes from Cami's review.

"Defensive Tactics was an engaging, fast-paced story. I really enjoyed Jimmy's character and seeing him overcome his struggles and give life a try. Emily was a tough but sweet heroine. Paul also grew throughout the story and learned to serve for something other than selfish reasons.The plot was interesting and kept me reading.

All in all Defensive Tactics is an interesting read."

Thank you Cami.

To read her full review please visit Cami's blog at

Monday, September 27, 2010

Defensive Tactics- Blog Tour- Alice Gold

When I decided to write my first novel, my desire was to write a story about friendship and personal growth. I had the characters firmly in my mind before I wrote the first word. The story of the FBI investigation was merely a way to convey the personal stories of my three main characters, and give them a vehicle in which they could be tested.

Each of us, whether we are floundering hopelessly like Jimmy, a little prideful like Paul, or lacking in confidence like Emily, has room for growth, and it is equally important for each of us to work towards self-improvement with the aid of the Savior.

I appreciate the review by Alice because her review focused on the core of WHY I wanted to tell the story. It is very rewarding to learn that someone experienced the book in a rewarding way.

Here are a few of my favorite quotes from her review.

"Who knew I could read a work of fiction to help me figure out this concept of boundaries? I guess I've always know that fiction crosses over, but it's always completely awe- inspiring when a work of fiction can help me with decisions I must make in my own life."

She continues..."I thought that this book was just going to be another action thriller about a couple of FBI agents, but it was so much more than that. It was a perfect example of what good boundaries can do for a person who desperately needs them. It was also a great lesson that boundaries alone are not enough; an adult, just like a child, has to have unconditional love to flourish."

And..."These three characters made a dynamic tale of love and friendship."

I really like this one. "This book was so much more than a private investigator story of mystery and action, it was a perfect love story. A love triangle that left everyone happy. Including this reader."

And finally..."My hat goes off to the author, Steve Westover, for his wonderful character development."

Thank you Alice. Those are very kind words indeed.

To read Alice's full review, please visit her blog...

Friday, September 24, 2010

Defensive Tactics- Blog Tour- Teri Rodeman from LDS Forever Friends

Another blog review for this weekend comes from Teri Rodeman at LDS Forever Friends. Here's what she had to say about Defensive Tactics.

"At the end, when Emily sets up Judge Craven and gets even, really made the story in my eyes. From the beginning, when they first met, Judge Craven was all sure of himself, thinking Emily was this little naive FBI agent who would do anything he asked. What an ending!!! And, Emily shows just how ingenious she can be for a young rookie agent with morals."

"Emily is not the naive patsy of an agent when she is able to cleverly outwit these low-life's and save her friends and team."

Teri also gives a nice summary of the book. Check out her full review at


My review for today comes from Dan Olsen on his blog "Thoughts on LDS". Here are a few of his comments about Defensive Tactics.

"The book had several well placed hooks at the end of chapters that compelled me to turn the page and keep reading. Steve’s book has it all. Good and bad FBI agents, good and bad cops, bad judges mingling with mobsters, and likeable protagonists. "

"Defensive Tactics is a solid novel by an up and coming writer."

"Interwoven into the suspense/thriller motif is a character struggling with his faith. Even the “true to the faith” characters make judgment calls that bring their ethics into question as they strive to accomplish the greater good by breaking a few rules. The story was very enjoyable, and devoid of overt sexuality and profane language that is very prevalent in much of today’s literature."

Thanks for the review Dan.

To read the full review, visit Dan's blog.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

DEFENSIVE TACTICS Blog Tour- Sandra Sorenson

I get the feeling from Sandra's review that Defensive Tactics wasn't exactly her cup of tea. She didn't hate it, at all, but maybe it wasn't the kind of book she is normally drawn to. That is Okay.

She had some nice things to say. "Defensive Tactics is the first novel for Steve Westover and he was able to tell a great story with all the things one could want in a suspense novel- corrupt officials, mob guys, chase scenes, sabatoge, narrow escapes, unexpected developments. What else could you ask for?"

With that said, she had a valid criticism of the book. "There was one thing that disappointed me in Defensive Tactics. One of the characters has a change of heart. I felt that the change was a bit abrupt- too fast. I would have liked to see the change and development as it happened to the character."

In Defensive Tactics, each of the three main characters experience a change of heart, though some changes are mightier than others. I can see Sandra's point in relation to Jimmy's change. The book is fast and so is his personal development. Maybe it was too quick. Honestly, I've wondered about that myself, but sometimes changes happen quickly when the perfect storm of circumstances combine to offer the proper motivation that we need. Jimmy was certainly placed in an unusual situation at a time when he had hit rock bottom, and to boot, there was a beautiful woman prodding him along.

Can change happen quickly? Absolutely. Does it always? Nope.

Was Jimmy's change of heart too quick? I think its a wonderful question. For Sandra, the answer is "yes". Each reader will need to decide.

I appreciate Sandra reading and reviewing Defensive Tactics and raising this question. Undoubtedly, some readers will agree with her.

To read her full review visit her blog, The Dance

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

DEFENSIVE TACTICS Blog Tour- Taffy's Writings

Here are some of my favorite quotes from Taffy's review.
"I was totally engaged in the book from the beginning."
And..."The book was well written and plenty intriguing to keep me reading."
And then there was..."The story is quick paced and exciting with a few twists. The characters are well crafted as is the storyline. Keep up the good work, Steve!"
Thank you Taffy! To read her full review, visit Taffy's Writings at

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Blog Tour- Character Relationships- Chantele Sedgwick

Todays stop on the Blog tour takes us to "There's always something to read" blog by Chantele Sedgwick.

Though suspense is not her favorite genre, I appreciate her taking the time to review the book and focus a little more on the relationships between the characters. Here are a few of my favorite quotes.

"All in all, a very clean read, full of suspense and even a little romance."

And..."The romantic tension between these two (Emily & Paul) was fun to read about. Especially with the introduction of Jimmy."

"I loved Jimmy and Paul's relationship. They were the best of friends, with a crush on the same girl. They both knew this fact, but didn't let it affect their friendship. Sure there was jealousy, but they both just let Emily decide between the two of them."

And finally..."Mr. Westover has written an awesome debut novel, and I expect great things from him in the future."

As a writer I don't expect everyone to love my writing or the story. Not everyone has the same interests or sensibilities, but it is rewarding to see how different readers take different messages from the book and have different experiences as they read. Defensive Tactics has a little bit of everything for the reader to hopefully engage them in some way, whether its the action and suspense, relationships or spiritual renewal.

To read the full review please visit

Monday, September 20, 2010

Book Review by LDS BookCorner

Today is the first day of my blog tour. I appreciate all the bloggers who are taking the time to participate in this tour. First stop, LDS BookCorner.

Here are a couple of my favorite quotes from Annie's review...

"Westover writes this exciting suspense thriller, my favorite genre, with the skill of a long time author."

And..."Westover knows his stuff when it comes to keeping his readers on the edge of their seat. I really enjoyed this book and I think you will too."

Wow. Very kind indeed.

One of the struggles I had when I wrote this book was including the gospel material without seeming overtly preachy and cheesy. I think many people shy away from LDS fiction because they assume the preachiness will club them over the head. I tried to strike a balance. Hopefully I succeeded in this. Here's one last comment from Annie's review.

"His characters walk the narrow line between the expectations of the FBI and their standards as members of the church.

This is a tricky balancing act in this kind of a novel. If the writer gets too churchy then the thriller aspect of the FBI doesn’t work, but if they get too deep into the darker world of crime and violence you lose the uplifting aspect of the gospel. Westover’s characters manage to be believable both in their careers and in their spiritual life. Well done!"

Annie, thank you for the kind review. I appreciate the time and effort of all my reviewers. To read the complete review, please check out LDS BookCorner at

You can also sign up at to join their first chapter club. Defensive Tactics will be featured next week.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Defensive Tactics- Book Review by Jennie Hansen

Jennie Hansen is a highly respected book critic in the LDS community. She writes for Meridian Magazine.

A good review from Jennie is a wonderful compliment. I am thrilled she likes my debut novel.

Here are some of my favorite passages.

"I like Westover's use of a setting different from the norm in LDS novels and I enjoyed several instances of originality, especially an escape scene that was both intense and humorous."

"Many male writers have difficulty writing from a female point of view, but Westover handled this quite well, making Emily believable"

"The plot is strong and well-developed with small resolutions that lead to telescoping problems that catch the reader unaware. Questions of personal and professional ethics are introduced and left open-ended for the reader to decide for themselves the answers concerning justice or the law, and to mentally weigh in on the choices made by various characters."

And the final endorsement, "Defensive Tactics is a novel both new and seasoned mystery readers will enjoy reading."

Thank you Jennie!

To read the full review, check out Jennie's post at the Meridian Magazine website.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Defensive Tactics- Book Review by Jeffrey Needle

Jeffrey Needle is a well respected book critic in the LDS community. He writes for the Association of Mormon Letters (AML) as well as As an author I would love to hear how marvelous and brilliant my work is, but lets be honest, that's not realistic. As a new author I have much to learn.

It is beneficial to hear fair and honest critique, including the bad and the ugly. I appreciate Jeff taking the time to review Defensive Tactics. Here are a couple of my favorite blurbs from the critique.

"Westover is a pretty good writer, and he knows how to keep things going. And he's really good at drawing characters out, giving us a pretty complete picture of each of the main players."

I also like..."Westover does a few innovative things with his work, including an ending that just screams that a follow-up is on the way."

And this isn't all bad...

"The plot moves along at a frantic pace, leaving the reader wanting to catch his breath." And "...we find ourselves cheering for the good guys and hoping the bad guys finally get what's coming to them."

And although there is criticism mingled with praise, I enjoy his conclusion.

"Defensive Tactics” is one of those books you read when you want to suspend your rational facilities and get lost in one heck of a good story. Yes, I actually enjoyed the book, despite my misgivings about predictable plotlines and contrived coincidences. Just remember to turn off your rational processes. It is, after all, fiction. Its intention is to distract and entertain, and this book does both."

To read the full review, check out at the link below.