Book Review: Shadow Stalker

Do you guys remember the movie Jerry McGuire, when Jerry declares his love for his wife and she tells him “you had me at hello” That’s the best way to describe this book.  As a crime mysteries lover, this book just sucked me in. I dare you to read the prologue and not read the rest of the book. A little spoiler if you allow me. In that prologue there’s a scene and the author says something like…and she saw her mother’s head explode in front of her eyes. I was sold. I know, it sounds morbid, but it is that good.

I sat patiently for hours at a doctor’s appointment without complaining because I was so into the book that I was in no rush to be called in. I think has been a long time since I have been upset that a book ended, but the good news is that it’s a series so I’m definitely going for book 2, because I need to know what happens. So I take this opportunity to tell the author to hurry up and write it…LOL!

In a nutshell, this is the story of a woman who watches her parent’s being killed as a child. She’s protected by family members who adopt her for a while. She grows to become a private investigator, which sometimes gets her in trouble. The people who killed her parents are after her and now she needs to use her skills to protect herself, but also to protect her current investigation and the investigation of her new partner.

I give this one five stars with no hesitation.  I’ll keep you posted when I read the next one.

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CrossReads Book Blast: Carlene Havel’s “Here Today Gone Tomorrow”

Here Today Gone Tomorrow

By Carlene Havel

About the Book

Disappointed, dumped, divorced. Everything Casey Slaughter counted on is gone. While contemporaries start their families, Casey works two jobs to haul herself out of debt. Friends and family recommend a new husband to solve all her problems, but Casey resists their well-intentioned advice. Although she longs for a soul mate, the last thing her flattened self-esteem needs is more rejection—and comparisons to her beautiful, talented older sister do nothing to enhance Casey’s confidence. Unable to have children, she feels she has nothing to offer in marriage. Will bitterness and insecurity destroy her, or can renewed faith in God provide some measure of comfort for this wounded heart? Can Casey ever find love again, or will a string of disasters keep her forever on the run?

LINK to KINDLE | LINK to PAPERBACK

Carleen picCarlene Havel has lived in numerous US states, the Philippines, and Turkey. Like most writers, Carlene has always loved to read, and her taste is eclectic. Her other hobbies include sewing, knitting, crochet and embroidery. She especially enjoys Bible study, normally devoting one day each week delving into the scriptures with a small focus group. The Havels make their home in San Antonio, Texas, in the midst of a big, extended family.


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The Glamorous Life of an Author

By Rikki Strong

When I tell people I’m an author, I invariably get one of two responses. The first warms the heart: “Oh, you write books! How cool is that! What a great job!” The second… not so much. “Boy, it must be nice to have enough money to not have to have a real job.” (Coincidentally, those are the same two responses that I get when I tell people I’m a homemaker.)

But what is this glamorous job that allows me to stay home and do the two things I love best in the world? Well, here is a typical day for me:

7:00 a.m.: Alarm goes off. Since Hubby is working out of state, it’s up to me and only me to get Boy up, dressed, fed, and ready for school. Which, since Boy is six, that can take up to an hour and a half.

8:15 a.m.: Put the dog outside, let the chickens out, and Boy’s off to school. House is quiet.

9:00 a.m.: If I’m not out running errands, I’m home and the house is mine. This is my time. What’s it full of? Not writing. Nope. Marketing. Every author’s nemesis. This time is mostly full of Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and actual work. Not the fun kind of work, either. Books don’t sell themselves, as much as people want to believe that my life is just sitting at the writing desk watching the money come in. This is a particularly busy time for me as I have a brand new book out.

11:00 a.m.: Suddenly remember that I should probably eat breakfast, but I usually choose to write a little bit instead.

11:50 a.m.: Pick up Boy from school (he’s still just in half-day kindergarten).

12:00 p.m.: Lunch. Finally, something to eat… well, something that’s at least semi-nutritious.

The afternoon is usually full of house work. It’s very difficult, though not completely impossible, to write to the video games’ fight music or while also reminding a certain someone that he has homework obligations.

6:00 p.m.: Dinner.

7:00 p.m.: Skyping with Daddy. Since Daddy is far, far away, we Skype every evening. Fortunately, time zones work in our favor this time. Family time is not a time for working.

8:30 p.m.: Boy is in bed. We are currently reading The Complete Sherlock Holmes as a bedtime book.

9:00 p.m.: Mommy’s time. This is my time to write (or read) until the eyelids can’t stay open and the eyes won’t focus. Usually, it’s less than three hours.

So, that is the life half of the people I meet seem to aspire to; glamorous, huh? It’s not all bonbons and soaps. Neither is it late-night cocktail parties discussing the plight of the common man and how high school English students should interpret our book. It’s just kind of… life.

Sure, there are some fun months, like NaNoWriMo (http://www.nanowrimo.org/) or Camp NaNo (http://campnanowrimo.org/), where the goal is to write at least 50,000 words in 30 days. There are those weeks leading up to a book release that are full of marketing and the fun stuff—like this week, since I just released Flash (http://amzn.to/WNzPvV/). And there are other months—like when we will be moving to join Daddy—that very few days will have any kind of writing in them.

There will always be people who say, “Oh, that’s nice, but when do you plan to get a real job?” But this life is glamorous enough for me. Who needs a “real” job?

Rikki Strong has always been enamored with superheroes, and Flash6x9started writing the My Life as a Superhero series (currently Karis and Flash) when she was a sophomore in high school. She began writing for fun and profit in 2006 and has since written or ghostwritten more than 10 books and over 50 web articles. When not writing—which is most of the time—she is a stay-at-home wife and mom to a very active 6-year-old boy who is already about 500 words and 25 chapters into his own book.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/R-M-Strong/281097011925041

Twitter: @RM_Strong

Blog: http://rachelstrong.blogspot.com

Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/106319550273644506645/posts/p/pub

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/author/rmstrong

FLASH Borrow/Purchase Link: http://amzn.to/WNzPvV

Letter to the Unknown Author

By Karen Baney

Dear Unknown Author,

I know the blood, sweat, and tears you’ve poured into your book. The late nights. The early mornings. The crazy moments when the idea for your next chapter hits you and you can hardly wait to get time to sit down and pour it all out.

It’s your masterpiece, your joy. You wrote it with purpose and determination.

The happiest day of your life, next to your wedding day and the birth of your kids, was the birth of your book. Oh how you shouted for joy when you first saw your name on the cover of your book! Then when it became available in bookstores online or brick and mortar, you could hardly contain your excitement. Your baby, your masterpiece was finally out there in the world.

Then the excitement faded. Week after week you wondered if anyone would buy your book. Weeks turned to months. Months to years. The next book you wrote was with a little less enthusiasm—containing an underlying fear that maybe you aren’t really cut out for this whole writing thing.

I know what you’re saying. Reader, how can you know me so well? Where have you been? Did you read my book?

I would love to read it. I’m sure it is really good. I would love to go on the journey you so cleverly crafted with painstaking details.

Just one problem, dear unknown author: You are unknown to me.

You see, I only have a few minutes of time between picking up the kids from soccer and getting dinner on the stove—maybe we’ll just stop for fast food tonight—that it’s hard for me to take the time to find you. I have a blog that I read once every few weeks, and you’re not there. When I browse through my favorite genre, you’re not there. When I talk to friends, they haven’t heard of you either. You don’t show up in my Twitter stream.

I do like trying new authors, I really do. But with 18,000 other religious fiction authors vying for my attention, what have you done to get mine?

Maybe someday I’ll hear about you from a friend. Maybe my book club will bring you to my attention. Until then, you will remain an unknown author to me.

Blessings,

Busy Reader

What are you doing to stand out among the 18,000? Is your publish-it-and-they-will come strategy getting you nowhere? If so, unknown author, it’s time to stand out. It’s time to learn about marketing. Get out there. Be bold. Be seen. Be a name and not a number.

Karen_closeup_left_medBest-selling self-published author, Karen Baney, enjoys sharing information to help authors learn about the Business of Writing.  She holds a Masters of Business Administration from Arizona State University and has worked in various business related career fields for the past 20 years.  She writes Christian Historical Fiction and Contemporary Romance novels.  To learn more about her novels visit her website: karenbaney.com. Authors can find tips and information on self-publishing and marketing at: www.myauthorservices.com.

Karen and her husband, Jim, also run several online businesses.  They make their home in Gilbert, AZ, with their two dogs.

Connect with Karen on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.10 Keys Cover Med

Not sure how to start marketing your book? Check out Karen’s new book just for authors: 10 Keys to Ebook Marketing Success. Now available on Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/Keys-Ebook-Marketing-Success-ebook/dp/B00B2YUQ16

For great marketing and self-publishing advice, visit MyAuthorServices.com.

Psalm 119: Thy Word is a Lamp unto My Feet

So as we are reviewing Psalm 119, I found out that my good friend Debra Hutto Bateman has a book written on the subject. We will continue with our verse study next week, but I know you will be interested in this deep study of this wonderful verse. Enjoy!

Excerpt from Psalm 119: Thy Word is a Lamp unto My Feet

By: Deborah H. Bateman

119

Teach Me, O LORD

Lesson 5

Psalm 119:33-40

This portion of Scripture in Psalm 119 starts with the Hebrew letter HE. HE is the fifth letter of the Hebrew alphabet and represents the letter 5 or can be 5000 when speaking of years. The Psalmist cries out to God to teach him the statutes of the LORD. He asks God to give him understanding and he promises to keep God’s law and observe it with his whole heart. The Psalmist asks God to help his heart to be inclined toward God’s testimonies and not toward covetousness. He asks God to help him to walk in the path of God’s commandments, because he delights in the laws of God. He prays to God to turn his eyes from vanity and help him to walk in

the ways of God. The Psalmist fears the judgment of God. His desire is to be rooted and grounded in the word of God, so he can live righteously before God.

Daily Bible Scripture: Psalm 119:33-40

33 HE. Teach me, O LORD, the way of thy statutes; and I shall keep it unto the end.

34 Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy law; yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart.

35 Make me to go in the path of thy commandments; for therein do I delight.

36 Incline my heart unto thy testimonies, and not to covetousness.

37 Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity; and quicken thou me in thy way.

38 Stablish thy word unto thy servant, who is devoted to thy fear.

39 Turn away my reproach which I fear: for thy judgments are good.

40 Behold, I have longed after thy precepts: quicken me in thy righteousness.

Things to Think About:

  • Have you ever prayed and asked God to teach you His word?
  • How can we protect our eyes from seeing evil?
  • How can we protect our ears from hearing things not pleasing to God?
  • Do you long to be righteous before God?

Prayer of the Day:

Dear Heavenly Father,

We thank You for this Scripture in Psalm 119 where the Psalmist asks You to teach him Your ways. LORD, help us to understand Your word. Open our hearts, minds, eyes, and ears to see, hear, and understand Your will for our lives. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

*http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/He_%28letter%29

Bio for Deborah H. Bateman

debDeborah H. Bateman is a Christian author, publisher, blogger, and website designer. She is the founder of Christian Daily Resources a Christian online ministry, dedicated to “Sharing God’s Word.” She enjoys studying the Bible and sharing it with others. She wrote this book to share with you the importance of hiding God’s Word in your heart. You can connect with Deborah on her author blog at http://DeborahHBateman.com

Facebook: http://facebook.com/DeborahHBateman

Twitter: http://twitter.com/DebBat

If you want to get your copy of this book click on the link below or the book cover at the top.
Psalm 119: Thy Word is a Lamp unto My Feet (Daily-Bible-Reading Series)

Surviving 2012

I can’t believe we are at the doors of a new year. 2012 seemed to have lasted forever. This year has been one of a lot of growth for me, and of course with growth comes a lot of growing pains.

This past year brought me a new opportunity to start over again. I have taken my writing to a new level. Last year when I published Growth Lessons , in my head I knew that this was something that I wanted to do. 2012 taught me that this is what I was called to do and every day I’m more motivated to do even more.

CIMG5895I was given a new start in my health, when I went from being a pre-diabetic morbidly obese woman , to losing 40 pounds and gaining my health back. With my new body still in progress I’ve learned to eat differently, live differently, respect my temple in a total new way. (By the way it’s 60lbs, but the first 20 had been coming down here and there since the previous year until I got serious this past May)Went from a size 24 to a 14. So I have had to shop for clothes, what a drag, right? LOL!

On that note, I am finally using my gym membership. I’ve signed up for dozens of them, paid off the contracts and never went. This time I’m actually using it.

I have a new career path. God changed my 9-5 to remind me that my focus is in him and his purpose. In this new path, that is not so new because I’ve walked it before, I know he’s training me for the day when I’m able to fulfill my dream to be fully dedicated to my writing.

I published my first work of fiction, The Road Home (TRH) and my first novella, Season’s Greetings from Amelia (SGFA) in 2012. These two pieces have brought me many joys. I did 3 book signings for TRH and have received remarkable reviews. SGFA sold 5 copies within the first hour of publication.

TheRoadHomeFinalseason (1)

I lost my favorite aunt, Juliana. I lost one of my best friends and one of my spiritual mothers moved over 600 miles away.

My 81 year old mother got an IPad for her birthday/Christmas present, got on Facebook and requested a Twitter account. Yes, I can’t get over that one yet, LOL!

As I posted the other day, I’m working hard on getting my next book out hopefully February or early March. I’m looking forward to the opportunity of a new year, a new beginning.

Happy and blessed 2013!!

I HATE COMMAS, COMMAS, AND MORE COMMAS!

By Lillian Duncan

I gladly admit that I hate commas. I much prefer to ignore them when I write. Those kind souls who critique my writing are always pointing out my comma failings (and I so appreciate them).

So, I’ve decided to do something about it. Since I needed to write a post about writing tips, I decided to improve my own writing in the process, or so I hope. Instead of writing about what I know I’m on a quest to find out what I don’t know about commas!

I asked some other writers to give me rules about commas as a first step. Here’s what they’re saying:

Linda Samaritoni gives us RULE # 1: Use a comma in direct address, meaning names.

EXAMPLE : I’m here to help you, friend.

Gail Kittleson, author of Catching Up With Daylight (to be published 2013), gives us RULE # 2: Use a comma after a subordinate clause used as an introduction to a
sentence.
EXAMPLE: After we watched our team lose, we headed to the malt shoppe.

Louise M. Gouge, author of A Suitable Wife, December 2012, tells us about RULE #3: Use a comma to separate independent clauses (complete thoughts) when they are joined by these transition words: for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so.

EXAMPLE: We wanted to go to the movie, but none of the films caught our interest.

Amy Cattapan, aspiring author and a middle school English teacher, gives us RULE #4: When including a full date in a sentence (month, day, and year), put a comma after the year as well as between the day and the year.
Example: The conference held on September 21, 2012, was a great success.

I give you RULE #5: Use commas to separate a series of at least 3 objects or events.

EXAMPLE: She woke up, brushed her teeth, ate breakfast, and then left for the day.

I’m checking out the Chicago Manual Of Style, which is what many fiction writers use as the ultimate grammar and punctuation resource. I’ve spent more than an hour reading questions about commas and CMOS answers on their website.

A few things have become clear to me.

Commas are troublesome to lots of people not just me.

There are lots of ambiguous situations concerning commas, but the CMOS people have a consistent answer. If the comma helps to clarify a situation use it. If the sentence doesn’t need clarifying then don’t use it.

In many situations, commas can or cannot be used, and either way would be right. That makes me feel better. I guess it comes down to personal preference and what your editor prefers.

The CMOS website points out that good editing smoothes the way for the reader. And I guess that’s why writers need editors. My job is to create the story, and the editor’s job is to smooth out the bumps.

But I’m hoping my editor has a few less commas to add in my next story!

YOUR ASSIGNMENT SHOULD YOU CHOOSE TO ACCEPT IT:I purposefully left out some commas in the above post and possibly a few accidentally. Leave a comment if you find a sentence that needs a comma with an explanation why. You may refer to the above rules to make it easier.

Lillian Duncanwrites stories of faith mingled with murder & mayhem. She writes the type of books she loves to read—suspense with a touch of romance. Whether as an educator, a writer, or a speech pathologist, she believes in the power of words to transform lives, especially God’s Word.

To learn more about Lillian and her books, visit: www.lillianduncan.net. She also has a devotional blog at: www.PowerUpWithGod.com. You can also connect with her on Twitter as @LillianDuncan and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/lillian.k.duncan