Indie self-published author CJ Daly was told by a well-meaning agent: “You have better luck being struck by lightning than making it as a writer today.” But Daly hails from the scrabbly plains of Eastern New Mexico, where lightning rarely strikes and hard work – not Instagram likes – determines who makes the cut. Armed with a riveting first novel, a deep-seated belief in herself and a Readers’ Favorite 5-star seal of approval, Daly decided to ditch traditional publishing and go at it alone.

Daly’s pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps mentality began on her family’s ranch. While she was supposed to be helping her six siblings with chores, Daly was sneaking behind dusty hay bales to read library books and stare at the jets streaking across the endless sky to Cannon Air Force Base. And dreaming of becoming a writer. After graduation, Daly moved to Dallas, where she quickly put herself through college while trying to rid herself of her country drawl. She had better luck with college, graduating cum laude with a degree in English literature. After a five-year stint teaching – and pausing to have back-to-back boys – she began writing in earnest. After a few years, The Academy's six-part fictional series was finally born.

Set against the backdrop of Clovis, New Mexico, a rural farming community with a Friday Night Lights feel, The Academy’s 17-year-old protagonist, Kate Connelly, fights against the forces of a secret military organization. Armed with nothing but her wits, a healthy sixth-sense and good old-fashioned country grit, Kate finds herself on the losing end of a battle with two of The Academy’s handsome ambassadors. Rolling in on the military red carpet, all the way from Marin County in Northern California, their mission is to obtain Kate’s gifted little brother … or else. Unfortunately, these “elite cadets” may have found their match in Kate, who doesn’t mince her twangy words or fall for their abundant charms. It’s a coming-of-age story that ends in redemption – for the lucky one – and comes wrapped in a love-triangle.

Maybe this on-going theme of battling against the odds is what has garnered Daly such glowing reviews from critics. That and the entertaining twangy dialogue Daly uses to bring her characters to life. Renown industry critic Kirkus remarks about her well-developed protagonist: “Daly crafts superb dialogue in a steady but not excessive Southern dialect.” New York Times bestselling author Jami Brumfield agrees: “The Academy is a story with compelling characters that pull you into the author’s world and keeps you reading to the end.” And Hollywood already has taken notice. Tony Jones, the executive producer of My All-American, raves: “Daly created an unforgettable story about a young woman caught up in a world of lies and deception and her struggle to save those dearest to her. … The Academy is a page-turning read that ends with a twist you might not see coming.”

If you would like more information about The Academy, visit its website at To receive a copy of the book for your review or to schedule an interview with author CJ Daly, please contact tas(at)ams(.)network

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