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Just started my first Linda Rondeau novel last night. Now here’s a talented wordsmith. And she’s versatile, too, writing in each of her genres as if it were her sweet-spot. Here’s some info about her:

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Winner of the 2012 Selah Award for best first novel (The Other Side of Darkness/Harbourlight),  LINDA RONDEAU, writes for the reader who enjoys a little bit of everything. Her stories of redemption and God’s mercies include romance, suspense, the ethereal, and a little bit of history into the mix, always served with a slice of humor. Walk with her unforgettable characters as they journey paths not unlike our own. After a long career in human services, mother of three and wife of one very patient man, Linda now resides in Florida where she is active in her church and community.  Readers may visit her web site at www.lindarondeau.com.  Her second book, written under L.W. Rondeau, America II: The Reformation, Trestle Press, the first in a dystopian trilogy, is a futuristic political now available in ebook on Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble.  Print edition is coming soon. She is also contracted with Trestle Press for a prequel to her America II trilogy called Rains of Terror. This will appear in serial form. Volume One will be released soon.  An Adirondack romance will be released in October by Lighthouse of the Carolinas in time for the Christmas season and is called, It Really Is a Wonderful life. 

 After finishing Darkness, I want to read America 2, dystopian fan that I am. Linda has put together a little questionnaire related to this new novel. Check it out and have a little fun with it. The answers are at the bottom ;-)

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America II: The Reformation by LW Rondeau, is set in 2073, 61 years into the future. What will the world be like then? And what was the world like 61 years ago. Take this quiz and find out. Don’t cheat…answers are at the end of the article.

 

 

1.  What comic strip appeared in newspapers for the first time on March 12, 1951?

 

  1. Beetle Bailey
  2. Nancy
  3. Dennis the Menace
  4. Peanuts

 

In 2073, entertainment will be fed through a main computer, called EVE (external virtual educator). Viewers (only citizens) will project the feed. Viewers will have opportunity to take themselves into the feed and walk around.

 

2.  What was the average cost of a new house?

 

  1. $5000
  2. $7000       
  3. $9000
  4. $11000

 

In 2073 homes within the city will be hard to buy and only the very wealthy will afford individual family homes. Most will live in high rise facilities, small and condensed quarters. These homes will be equipped with scanners in every room and exterior hallways, monitored by EVE.

 

 

 

3.  What was the cost of a loaf of bread?

 

  1. 17 cents
  2. 19 cents
  3. 21 cents
  4. 23 cents

 

In 2073 there will be a huge food shortage. Only the very wealthy can afford fresh food of any kind. Most will subsist on cloned meats, often to the third and fourth generation, and cloned vegetables and fruits. The strawberry is especially rare and an extreme delicacy. Honey is almost unheard of since the bee is nearly extinct, raised only by the Border Community of the Western American outland.

 

4.  Cost of a dozen eggs?

 

  1. 24 cents
  2. 27 cents
  3. 30 cents
  4. 33 cents

 

 

In the future, meat is rare as are all dairy products.

 

5.  What was used to generate electricity for the first time?

 

  1. Coal Power Plant
  2. Hydroelectric Dam
  3. Natural Gas Power Plant
  4. Nuclear Power Plant

 

In 2073 solar power is the main source of energy. The cities are covered by domes that let in the solar light with engineered night glows during the dark

 

 

6. The first color broadcast transmitted in New York.  What network did it?

 

  1. ABC
  2. CBS
  3. NBC
  4. Westinghouse

 

In 2073 all entertainment is fed through a micro, a cube –like device that does everything through EVE.

 

 

7.  Who hit the “Shot Heard ‘Round the World”?  National League playoff game that was won in the bottom of the ninth inning with a walk off home run.

 

  1. Mickey Mantle
  2. Bobby Thomson
  3. Roy Campanella
  4. Ralph Branca

 

In 2073, public entertainment consist of defector parades, those people put on display and humiliated for their decision to defect, that is to leave the cities and live in the outland. They are paraded through the streets to the Defector’s Gate where they are expelled naked, their implants, or identification ornament, purged. Other pubic entertainment takes place in an arena where crowds may witness a repatriation event or a signing of a familial contract. There is no marriage in the future, rather groups up to six who agree to form a family.

 

8.  What was the average cost of a new car?

 

  1. $1000.00
  2. $1,500.00
  3. $2000.00
  4. $2500.00

 

In 2073, outlanders depend heavily on rovers, or hovercrafts that travel at high speeds. They are not permitted to use air shuttles. Only the wealthy can afford air shuttles or even allowed access outside the cities. There are some entertainment areas for nature walks within the walled area from the domed city to the outland called Subcity. But by and large, most citizens use public transport. Or arrange for private transport through transport services.

 

9.  The first NBA All-Star game was played.  What city played host?

 

  1. Boston
  2. Jacksonville
  3. Philadelphia
  4. Syracuse

 

In 2073, sport leagues are virtually non-existent.

 

10.  What North African country gained its freedom from Italy?

 

  1. Algeria
  2. Libya
  3. Morocco
  4. Tunisia

 

In 2073, the world is governed by a global entity called the Constitutional Government, divided into 21 provinces. Most of the world is inhabitable. Those who agree to follow the Articles of Constitution, may abide in the domed cities and will marked by an implant. Those who refuse to abide by the articles may defect into the outland. The Western America outland is the most organized, consisting of an illegal subgovernment called The Network, an interlocking representation of six communities (formerly known as states) also linking hubs or smaller residential neighborhoods.

 

What do you think of the year 2073?

 

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Answers: 1-c , 2-c, 3-b, 4-a, 5-d, 6-b, 7-b, 8-b, 9-a, 10-b

You can connect with Ms Rondeau via the following links. Highly advised; this is good stuff:

Website  http://www.lindarondeau.com/
 
Goodreads  http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6430341.L_W_Rondeau
 
PInterest  http://pinterest.com/lindarondeau/
 
Fb  http://www.facebook.com/booksbylindarondeau
 
Twitter  https://twitter.com/lwrondeau
 
Amazon author page https://authorcentral.amazon.com/gp/books?ie=UTF8&addBookNow=1

 

 

 

Does God Love Me Just Like I Am?

Sep 10, 2011

That, my friend, is a good question.  It is also a question I have spent quite a bit of time exploring.  In fact, I wrote a book titled If My Body Is A Temple, Why Am I Eating Doughnuts? .  Through this book the reader is led to discover scriptures telling us of God’s love for us “no matter what size we are or what size we are NOT”.  I know about this first hand.  I have lost 100 pounds, and I fight and struggle daily to lose the remaining 25 pounds that are clinging to my hips and thighs.

Yet, I am convinced of God’s love like I have never been before.  I love the way Craig Groeschel puts it in his book The Christian Atheist.  He says, “There is nothing you can do to make God love you more.  And there is nothing you can do to make God love you less.  Love is not something God does.  It is who God is.  And because of who God is, God loves you.  Period.”  That so clearly explains things for me.  Isaiah 49:15 tells us “Even those may forget, but I will not forget you.”  God loves us way too much to ever forget us.  That scripture did not say He would never forget us if we wore a size 8 jeans (which is what I wish I wore), or if our hair were a certain color and style.  The scriptures teach us, repeatedly, that God loves us just like we are.

The next time the mirror or the scales disappoint you, remember God’s love for us.  Yes, He wants us to be the very best we can be, but He loves us to pieces (that’s a good Southern phrase).  As Leighton Ford put it, “God loves us the way we are, but too much to leave us that way.”  Celebrate God’s love for you today!

 

Check out Carol’s latest book “If My Body Is A Temple, Why Am I Eating Doughnut” at Amazon.com and other fine retailers!

Guest Post by Gay Balliet

September 8, 2012

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Hi, friends.  My name is Gay Balliet.  As a guest blogger for David Stearman today, I have my own version of life lived under a tropical sun: that of Africa.  My own version of international intrigue, this is an excerpt about Sonny, an elephant stolen from the jungle and cruelly enslaved into several traveling circuses in the United States.   Sonny is a character from my yet unpublished manuscript The Celebrated Pet: How Americans Memorialize Their Animal Friends. 

I write creative narrative nonfiction about animals and veterinary adventures for adults and young adults.  My first book, published by New Horizon Press in 1999, is entitled Touched By All Creatures: Doctoring Animals in the Pennsylvania Dutch Country.  Then, Lowell: The True Story of an Existential Pig, a story about pot-bellied pigs,came out in 2000.  In 2004, RDR Books put out Lions & Tigers & Mares—Oh, My!  Pet and animal lovers laugh out loud as they read about veterinary medicine, a la James Herriot, in the fields and barnyards of the Pennsylvania countryside.

My latest tome is in ebook form with Trestle Press Publishing: There’s a Bear in the Basement- Vol. 1.  Find it on Amazon and Barnes and Noble and upload it to any ebook device.  In a few days There’s a Bear in the Basement—Vol. II will be out: more stories of tending horses, turkeys, sheep, cats and dogs in the small towns and fields of eastern Pennsylvania.

Anyone may purchase these books at http://www.amazon/author/gayballiet and at www.b&n.com.

The following is an excerpt from the story of Sonny’s kidnapping from his African home:

            The killing of Sonny’s elephant herd in Zimbabwe in 1983 resulted in the annihilation of his family and his sense of security.  In the settling dust along the river’s edge where the grand animals had been grazing one afternoon, eighty adult elephants, some shot through the head, others wounded in their legs and bellies, lay slowly dying.  The African bush glowed with fire-blood, and the river frothed tomato-red.  Though mortally wounded, a handful of bull elephants still struggled to rise in a last attempt to defend the youngsters.  Sitting on their haunches, blood streaming down their sides, they trumpeted in weak but insistent voices as other adult elephants shot in the throat and chest lay fighting for breath, barely able to answer the yearlings’ calls for help.  Most of those eighty adults had been luckier than those expiring by the river’s edge, for the humans’ aim had hit their targets well.  Shot in the heart or brain, most had dropped–stone dead–Sonny’s mother and many of his aunts among them.

            While the year-old elephant struggled to make sense of the chaos around him, the second phase of the attack began.  After the adult elephants had been eradicated, hundreds of two-legged creatures ran, yelling, jumping, and spitting like hyenas at the forty scared young elephants.  They leapt and charged Sonny and his brothers and sisters with an arsenal of hooks, spears, heavy chains, and ropes the diameter of grape vines.  Sonny feared this enemy more than those of the African bush.   Though he had never liked the lionesses as they eased, slinking, past his herd, their eyes watching intently for the sick amongst them, he knew they were seldom a threat.  Circling around him and the other yearlings, the adults, especially his mom and aunts, of which he had ten, had only to stomp their feet at the lioness and trumpet a warning.   Then she crawled away in search of easier prey.              

            The predator that had Sonny’s legs tied with heavy ropes was nothing like the lioness.  Unlike the solitary, hungry feline, these things killed in packs, like the wild dogs in the bush.  They maimed in large numbers–more lethal than a single large cat on the hunt.   And these comparatively small but agile creatures wielded weapons he had never seen before; their tools as sharp as the tip of a split branch, and when he got in its way, his skin ripped as easily as an elephant tearing a limb from an acacia tree.  When Sonny charged one of the two-legs, it flung something at him, and a shock of pain rippled along his back: a deep gash in his trunk gaped like a hippos’ mouth, and it leaked blood onto his front feet.

            These small nimble creatures, mostly black, some white, also knew how to use big moving steel things the size of Sonny himself.  Four round black things under each box, rolled, turned, and moved the steel compartments on top in any direction.  Those boxes could move as slow as a sick, elderly antelope, or they could dart as fast as a cheetah.  They were nightmarish–those walking, rolling vaults–and they slowly crowded him and his cousins, surrounding him, pressing them, into a tight circle. 

            Sonny leaned against the other young, panic-stricken elephants.  At least they had each other.  But Sonny longed for his mother.  She had always defended him against the other ill-tempered bull elephants and charged hungry lionesses.  Where was his she?    Why wasn’t his mother helping him?      

            The yearlings, pressed together, trumpeted balefully; some fell to the ground gasping, their trunks limp with exhaustion, and tears streamed down their skin-cracks.  This wily predator was tenacious.  Soon the baby elephants’ calls slowed, weakened. Defenseless without their elders, they massed together as one—alone and without any will to fight.  As the baby elephants leaned into each other, rigid with fear, the two-legged enemies disappeared inside their boxes—silent and staring with piercing white eyes.

              In two hours the young elephants found themselves huddled together inside those same dark containers, four elephants to each of the caravan’s ten boxes.  As each dark cave began to move, Sonny and the other yearlings braced themselves against its unforgiving metal sides.  For what seemed like days, the terrified animals hunched together to keep from falling, leaning against each other for balance as well as for courage.  The only sound was the rattling of steel beneath them and, inside, the gentle weeping of the elephants.

 

I hope all those who read and enjoy David Stearman’s international-themed adventure novels will find time to explore my animal adventure books, too.  Thanks.

Gay Balliet

Please visit and share: website: www.gayballiet.com

Blogsite: www.adventureswithanimals.blogspot.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/glballiet

Twitter: www.twitter.com/GayLouiseBallie

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/Glballiet

Amazon:  www.amazon.com/author/gayballiet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

C. S. Lakin

List of Books/Genre:

Someone to Blame: contemporary/general fiction/inspirational

Intended for Harm: contemporary/general fiction/inspirational

Conundrum: contemporary/general fiction/women’s fiction

Innocent Little Crimes: psychological mystery

A Thin Film of Lies: suspense/crime fiction

Time Sniffers: YA fantasy/sci-fi/romance

The Gates of Heaven fantasy series (for adults):

The Wolf of Tebron

The Map across Time

The Land of Darkness

The Unraveling of Wentwater

(Three more titles to come)

Website(s): www.cslakin.com ; www.livewritethrive.com, www.CritiqueMyManuscript.com

Twitter:@cslakin and @livewritethrive

Facebook: C. S. Lakin, Author

 

DS: What and who influenced you to become a writer?

CSL: I was raised by a mother who was a TV writer and was always surrounded by TV scripts and tons of novels. So, I was mostly influenced by all the great authors I had the joy to read while growing up. During my teen years I read a lot of Ray Bradbury and I fell for his writing (and hope his writing helped shape mine.) I didn’t think of becoming “a writer” until I was about thirty and had an idea for a novel. Once I wrote that first novel I realized I really loved that form over the poetry and short stories I’d written and so just kept going.

DS: Tell us about your very first novel and the process you used to write it.

CSL: I didn’t have a lot of “formal” training—meaning I hadn’t gone to writers’ conferences or read books on the writing craft so I winged it and relied on the models I found through my own reading experience. I wrote a lot of notes and ideas, and really, my methods going into my latest, novel #13, are not all that different. I brainstorm a lot to develop plot and characters and once I have the story down, I start writing. I did that with my first novel as well, although it’s structured so badly and has so much narrative and personal exposition that I will never publish it!

DS: Has your process changed or evolved over the years?

CSL: On that same note, now that I know so much more about structuring a novel, I take the next step after brainstorming ideas in a much more structured manner. I usually create charts, timelines, and index cards for all my scenes and put the whole (or a good part) of the novel down in a way that I can just pick up an index card and write my scene for the day, knowing the book has been well plotted out.

DS: I’ve been browsing your website and you are a very busy woman.  Writing, editing, mentoring, guest speaking!  How do you find the time for everything?

CSL: I don’t. And I often feel like I get little done! I don’t have any kids at home, only a pesky dog, so I do have more time, and I’m disciplined—get up at 6, run two miles, do an hour of email and marketing, then dig in to my editing jobs. I edit mostly full-time, and I try to teach workshops and help other writers as much as I can. I believe in giving and helping and doing what I can to see other writers succeed. It’s very satisfying. But I have no time to write!

DS: I see that you’re also a writing coach.  What does a writing coach do?  What are the benefits of working with a writing coach?

CSL: I wish I’d had one 25 years ago when I started my first novel. A writing coach teaches you lots of tips and technique to save you years of making stupid mistakes. One client told me he learned more from my four-page sample edit than he learned in four years of college English and writing classes. I am very encouraging to my clients but I’m honest and make them work hard to make their book the best it can be. Many of my clients have gone on to get agents, publishing contracts, awards, and movie deals. I highly encourage new writers to have a writing coach or editor to help them—preferably a published novelist, if they are working on a novel. Many editors and coaches don’t write fiction or don’t really know much about structuring a novel.

DS: When you’re not working on your own projects, what genre do you read? 

CSL: I love fantasy and sci-fi. I love good contemporary fiction of all kinds. I try to read a lot of highly touted best sellers to see why they are so successful. I like mysteries and crime/thrillers. I will even read an occasional Western. I do not, however, read romance or chick lit or anything overly fluffy. I like to be affected, changed, moved, inspired by what I read. I mostly read what friends recommend to me. I’m very picky and a snob, I’ll admit, for there are not a whole lot of authors or books I like, and I often can’t get past the first chapter, or sometimes even the first page. I also hate seeing tons of copy errors!

DS: Seems we have the same taste in reading material. So what are you looking forward to in the next year? New projects? Speaking engagements? Conferences?

CSL: I am teaching some workshops, attending a conference or two, but I mostly am looking forward to writing these last two fantasy books and then hopefully taking some time off writing novels so I can read, blog, and teach more. I have two nonfiction books in the works and want to get those done and selling.

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Write what you know. 

 

It’s conventional fiction-writing advice. As a result, readers have asked me about the events that motivated the storyline in After the Snow Falls. I’ve been asked if I’ve gone through the experience that Celia faces: a child suffering from a serious illness. One reviewer said, “Carey handled the writing of this book as if she had gone through the trauma of a terminally sick child…[she] made the harrowing scenes so real that your heart ached for the characters.” 

 

I’m thankful that I’ve never had to go through such a difficult experience personally, but when I was young, I lost a family friend to leukemia. The feelings of loss I experienced at that time were the inspiration for the subplot involving Caleb’s friend Michaela. 

 

More than anything, however, After the Snow Falls is a story of the healing power of forgiveness–a hard-won lesson that definitely arises out of my own personal experience. 

 

But what about the things a writer doesn’t know? How can she write about those? The answer, of course, is research. 

 

Writing After the Snow Falls led me into a lot of unfamiliar territory: 

 

  • what kinds of medical interventions are taken when a patient has difficulty breathing?
  • how late in the building season could one realistically expect to work in Southern Ontario, Canada?
  • does alternative medicine offer a cure for cancer?
  • what are some famous tourist stops on Route 66?
  • what kinds of sights and sounds is a visitor exposed to in Tijuana, Mexico?
  • how does an artist paint prophetically?

 

 I found some of my answers on the Internet, some in books. Occasionally, I made a phone call–always a nerve-wracking experience because it’s hard to imagine the impression you’re making on the person on the other end of the line: “Hi. I’m writing a novel, and I wondered if you’d have a little time to talk to me about what someone would be looking for if he bought a used transport truck?” One of my favorite experiences in researching this novel was meeting with the director of Toronto’s Ronald McDonald House and taking a tour of the common areas.

 

With each new research challenge, I had the opportunity to explore something I never knew about before. Aside from making words sing on the page, it’s my favorite thing about writing fiction.

 

 Carey Jane Clark is a homeschooling mother of three and author of After the Snow Falls. She and her family are expatriates living in China, where her husband is opening a business. She is currently researching two other novels and blogging at www.careyjaneclark.com

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Today I’m hosting my friend, suspense writer Pola Muzyka. Pola is an actress, model, producer, and novelist, who also shares great advice for aspiring writers. She writes edgy stuff, fearlessly broaching subjects most Christian novelists fear to touch, but her message is always inspired and uplifting.

Here’s Pola:

Hi there fiction suspense lovers. My name is Pola Muzyka and I’ve been writing on-the-edge novels for quite some time now. Two of these novels are set to release this year in four volumes. Find them at Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble and ebook stores throughout the world.

The release began with Abducted to Kill, Volume I, The Terror Regime. Purchase at Amazon: http://amzn.to/OAh1My or Barnes & Noble http://bit.ly/NY7HDq or other fine ebook stores.

See what AssistNews press has to say about me and my work: http://www.assistnews.net/Stories/2012/s12080129.htm

Be on the lookout for three more books planned to release before fall “falls.” They are: Abducted to Kill, Volume II, Sleeper Cells; The Freedom Inside, Volume I, Delicate Cargo, and The Freedom Inside, Volume II, Sober Vigilance.
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Today, I write about strongholds. But my life wasn’t always this intense–it used to be worse. As an actress, model, and producer I was on the edge most of the time, so naturally my writing follows suit–it keeps you moving forward. My books, Stronghold Smasher Suspense, where faith and hope shine a light on evil, unravel some of the basic laws of spiritual defense. Hope you’ll delve into them and discover how others overcome evil and how you, too, can be prepared for the unnatural disasters of this world while you learn about the world that lies beyond.

Okay, now onto the good stuff: I’m going to share something with you that I have been mulling over all week. We can only do so many things in life and when God guides us and we’re in the right place at the right time, everything seems to fall together–maybe not in our time, but certainly in His.

On the other hand, when we feel good about something, it might not be good, particularly if it goes against God’s word. Eventually whatever feels good that is against God will fail until or unless we get in line with His will. So here are five suggestions for you to be sure you’re writing/doing what he wants you to be writing/doing and not writing/doing just what feels good.

1. God tugs at our heart strings. He knocks and knocks. What has he been knocking you out over lately? Believe me, if you are irritated or emotionally disturbed over something, he is knocking on your door to open up your heart to correct whatever it is.

2.  God prepares us in advance. What is he preparing you for? Have you noticed the same patterns in your life? Then it’s time to write about it or tell about it somehow, somewhere.

3. God gives us the desires of our hearts if we are in Christ Jesus. What is your desire that lines up with His will? Move forward in doing it or writing about it.

4. What obstacles have you overcome? Books about victory are very popular. If you have suffered by the hands of someone or something, and have pushed through, then God wants you to share your formula for success in that area.

5. Do you consult with him? Believe me, when we submit to God and give it over to him–whatever it is–he does push, pull, and tweak us into victory in the area we might have avoided all our lives.

In conclusion, do submit to God, don’t go against his will, and do give him thanks and praise whenever you see that tiny spark of victory. If you praise God in the small things, he will bring more and more good things into your life.

Don’t forget to see my blog http://strongholdsmashers.com for more biblical advice on every aspect of life. Thanks for reading my work. God bless all y’all–that’s Georgian for all of you. –Pola Muzyka

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A Way in the Wilderness

August 22, 2012

I will make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert. (Is 43:18, 19)

The Children of Israel left Egypt’s lush NileValley to traverse one of the most inhospitable environments known to humankind. The Wilderness of Sinai is a desert rivaling the hostility of the Sahara, the Kalahari, or the Peruvian Sechura.
They entered this sandy oven with no food, water, or shelter from the elements. The Children of Israel believed so deeply in God’s Promised Land they stepped out into barren nothingness on His word alone.
And He did not disappoint. He brought water from a rock. He rained down food from the sky. He shaded them with a cloud, and kept them healthy and in abundance until they arrived at their dreamt-of Promised Home.
God can take care of you in a hostile climate too, be it literal or merely financial. He’s promised to provide all we need, in good measure, pressed down and shaken together and running over.
So no matter how things look now, trust God the way the Israelites did. You can count on Him to make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.

David

 

I’m totally pumped that my new novel Hummingbird has finally been released! It’s the sometimes exciting, sometimes sweet, sometimes scary story of Lexa Morales.

The back-cover blurb goes like this:
“She feels like a misfit. Who is she? Where does she belong? Is she Lexa, Alexandra, or someone else?
Forced to commit a crime, she flees south of the Border–and a vindictive bounty hunter follows her.
Will she escape? Find redemption? Learn who she really is and where she belongs?
The answer lies hidden in a tiny seaside village where wandering hummingbirds rest their wings.”

Lexa is Mexican by ethnicity and American at heart, but feels more like the dash between the words that compose the term Mexican-American than anything else. In her struggle to arise from the ghetto of her youth, Lexa commits a crime and flees south of the Border. While hiding from bounty hunters in a small fishing village, she encounters spiritual forces powerful enough to transform her perspective, identity and life.

It’s a fun and uplifting read I think you will enjoy. You can find it on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iBooks etc. Thanks for checking it out!

Good People

July 13, 2012

If you watch the News at all you’ve noticed that most of it’s about bad people doing bad things. Which is sad, since most people are basically good.

I found out the other day I needed a video trailer for an upcoming novel release. I’m pretty good on the computer, so I thought I’d take a stab at making one myself.

Most novel trailers are composed from photos. Lots of them. My generous model-friend Katie offered to pose gratis for the shots.

Good people.

But then another friend, a professional photographer named Dona, heard about my project and without even being asked provided me with a boatload of images. She and her model did the photo work outdoors in 105 degree weather, all for free.

That’s what I’m talking about. Good people battling to outdo one another in doing good.

But I also needed music. Yes, I’m a professional songwriter, but various publishing companies hold the copyrights to my tunes…meaning I can’t even use them myself without paying royalties. That’s OK, but I still I couldn’t find anything appropriate in my catalogue.

So I started surfing around the Net, looking for a better fit, and found a guy named Kevin who’d written the perfect melody. When I clicked on the “download” link, I discovered that he didn’t charge for the use of his music. His exact words were, “This material is free for anyone to use for anything.”

See what I mean? Really good people, doing good things all the time. And you know what? The whole world is full of folks like this. They don’t make the News broadcasts here on Earth, but I’ll bet in Heaven, little kindnesses like these are at the top of the Six O’Clock Report.

June 10, 2012

Well, I’m pumped. My first novel, published by Trestle/Helping Hands Press, will be available on Amazon and the other e-outlets within a couple of weeks. The print version will follow shortly afterward:

Actually, this isn’t my first novel, it’s my third, and I’m not ashamed to say that it took a few attempts to hone my craft. Thing is, I’ve been successful as a professional songwriter for years, but spinning tunes is a universe apart from penning novels.
I have people to thank–lots of them; successful authors and agents who took the time to teach me the techniques requisite for turning anecdotes into art. Props to my co-author, Christy Award winner C. Hope Flinchbaugh, who suggested injecting the illegal immigration issue into this story. You brought the magic, Hope. Also thanks to Jeff Dunn for perusing my first scribblings without laughing, and to my close friend, fantasy author Teri McLaren for teaching me the rudiments of style. I’m grateful to Steve Laube for calling me a “very good writer” when that was a bit of a stretch, and to Michael Hyatt for reassuring me that Hummingbird was indeed a quality read. Of course, always love to my buddy Tracey Bateman for encouraging me to write my heart, whether or not I thought a Christian publisher would give an international adventure half a glance. And extra, extra thanks to my agent Diana Flegal for her skills, friendship, and faith in my future. Diana, you’re the very best.
I’ve learned a lot so far in my quest to become a novelist: plotting techniques, word economy, pov; all those nuts and bolts. But the most important thing that I’ve learned so far is that I’m tallest when I stand on other peoples’ shoulders.