All Up in My E-Reader! (December 2015 Edition)

I think I went a little crazy this month. Scratch that, I know I went totally insane this month. Apparently, December is a great month to promote books, and I seem to have bought more than my fair share. Plus, authors get caught up in the holiday spirit and start giving away books all willy-nilly! Being that I’m a die-hard fan of anything discounted and/or free, I kind of went on an e-book shopping spree. Never mind that I’ve been too busy to actually read the books. It’s just weirdly comforting for me to know that they’re there waiting for me… I think that’s a clear indication that I might have a problem. It’s one I don’t mind having though  (Click on the pics or book title to read reviews, excerpts etc. via Amazon)

Right Package Wrong BaggageTitle: Right Package, Wrong Baggage

Author: Wanda B. Campbell

Genre(s): Urban Fiction/Christian

Description:

For five years, Pamela Roberts, has balanced the demands of being a single mother and a devoted Christian. She unselfishly places the needs of her son, Matthew, above her own. Although she tries to convince everyone that she’s happy with Jesus alone, Matthew hand-picks the perfect present for her—a husband. Everything about the man her son chooses is perfect, except for his past. Micah Stevenson is excited when he learns the son of the woman he has been praying about wants him to join their family permanently. Believing Pamela Roberts is his soul mate sent from God, Micah pursues her. Once he is certain of her love for him, Micah reveals his dark history, shaking the foundation of the once loving and stable relationship. Trust is broken as judgments and prejudices threaten to deny the couple’s destiny. Will the man he used to be prevent Pamela from loving Micah for the man he is now?

InsecureTitle: The Insecure Writer’s Support Group Guide to Publishing and Beyond (Currently free!)

Author(s):  Several Contributors

Genre: Publishing & Books

Description:

Tapping into the expertise of over a hundred talented authors from around the globe, The IWSG Guide to Publishing and Beyond contains something for every writer. Whether you are starting out and need tips on the craft of writing, looking for encouragement as an already established author, taking the plunge into self-publishing, or seeking innovative ways to market and promote your work, this guide is a useful tool. Compiled into three key areas of writing, publishing, and marketing, this valuable resource offers inspirational articles, helpful anecdotes, and excellent advice on dos and don’ts that we all wish we knew when we first started out on this writing journey.

Catch MeTitle: Catch Me If You Can (Book 1 in a Series)

Author: Christina C. Jones

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Description:

Diligence. Focus. Agility.

For Naomi Prescott, it’s not just a cute little saying. It’s a critical mantra, words to live by if she wants to retain her freedom, and more importantly, her life. Impeccable planning is the only way to ensure she sets off the small flutters that will trigger the big ripple she needs to pull off the score of a lifetime — no matter the stakes.

FBI Agent Marcus Calloway is a straight-shooter… if you overlook his sometimes unconventional, law-skirting, expensive ways of solving a case. A big arrest would do wonders to restore his reputation, and he has one woman in mind: Jolie Voleuse

Unforeseen circumstances force them into a closer proximity than either — especially Naomi — would like to be. Sparks fly, and as surely as fire ignites,eventually their undeniable chemistry combusts into a passion that neither expected as they join forces in the dangerous pursuit of a common bounty.

[PLEASE NOTE that Catch Me If You Can is the first title in a continuous series that will carry over three books. Book 2 will be released in February 2015, Book 3 in April.]

Unbound HeartsTitle: Unbound Hearts (Book 2 in a Series)

Author: Michelle-Lindo Rice

Genre(s): Christian/ African-American/ Fiction

Description:

Would you hire the person responsible for your losing both your legs?

Before he lost both his limbs, Jasper Orion was on his way to being voted Most Valuable Player in the National Football League. A man of faith, his faith in God remains unshaken and he starts his own business. With God’s leading Jasper decides to hire Charmaine Evans, the woman responsible for his demise. But, unexpectedly, Jasper develops feelings for his newest employee. He longs to hold her in his arms. Wheelchair bound, will Jasper’s love for Charmaine motivate him to walk again?

A backslidden Christian, Charmaine Evans’ ambitions left her broke, unemployed and a social pariah. Guilt-ridden, she returned home to Port Charlotte, FL to lick her wounds. To Charmaine’s surprise, Jasper not only offers her forgiveness but also a job when no one else would. Charmaine marvels at Jasper’s faith while grappling with her own. Bound by her past, will Charmaine learn to accept God’s plan for her heart and her life?

The AmenTitle: The Amen Sisters

Author: Angela Benson

Genre: Christian Fiction

Description:

Would you believe a friend who told you she was pregnant with your pastor’s child? Francine Amen doesn’t and it leads to drastic consequences for both her and her friend.

The Amen Sisters is a compassionate look at the lives that are forever changed when a pastor abuses his power with the women of his congregation.

Francine Amen burned a lot of bridges when she left her home town to join a traveling ministry. When she’s forced to return broken and alone, she finds that making amends is not easy. Her sister, Dawn Amen-Ray, is having her own set of problems. With her marriage to Francine’s ex is in trouble, she’s not ready to deal with Francine’s return.

The Amen Sisters is a story of love, compassion and forgiveness that will stay with you long after you’ve turned the last page.

Getting to Mr RightTitle: Getting to Mr. Right

Author: Carol Balawyder

Genre: Contemporary Women’s Fiction

Description:

Campbell’s research into the father/daughter dynamic and how it affects a woman’s personal choices proves that Prince Charming is nothing but a myth. In a few months, she will receive international recognition for her work.
As part of her study, Campbell gives workshops to help women still seeking Mr. Right. Her latest group is made up of three women: Missi Morgan, who can’t seem to let go of a philandering spouse; Suzy Paradise, a self-proclaimed queen of online dating; and Felicity Starr, whose life and career are dictated by a controlling father.
In the midst of her study, a charming and personable man enters Campbell’s life, putting her theories in shambles. Not only does she now question the validity of her research, but she must choose between her career and having her own Prince Charming. This personal dilemma makes it difficult for Campbell to give these women advice, as she encourages them to find their own paths to happiness and helps them set themselves free.

A shouldaTitle: A Shoulda Woulda Christmas (A Novella)

Author: Michelle Stimpson

Genre: Christian Fiction

Description:

After being fired twice in the same day, Chaka Stringer wonders how much worse her pointless life as the wife of an underachieving husband and mom of two musty pre-teen boys can get. If only she had finished college and picked a different husband, her life would be better…or would it?

Through a mysterious haze, Chaka gets her shot at fame, fortune and the passionate relationship with her high school crush who never quite left her heart. But what ugly truths about herself will be revealed in the process? And what about the life she left behind?

Anyone who has ever wondered what “shoulda” or “woulda” happened if they had made different choices will enjoy this funny, inspirational, faith-based Christmas novella by bestselling Author Michelle Stimpson.

Daisies are ForeverTitle: Daisies Are Forever (ARC from publisher)

Author: Liz Tolsma

Genre(s): Historical Fiction/Christian Fiction

Description:

In the final days of Nazi Germany, the strength of one woman’s heart will determine the fate of a family.

Prussia, 1945

The fall of the Third Reich is imminent. As the merciless Red Army advances from the East, the German people of Prussia await the worst.

Among them is twenty-year-old Gisela Cramer, an American living in Heiligenbeil with her cousin Ella and their ailing grandfather. When word arrives that the Russians will invade overnight, Ella urges Gisela to escape to Berlin—and take Ella’s two small daughters with her.

The journey is miserable and relentless. But when Gisela hears the British accent of a phony SS officer, she poses as his wife to keep him safe among the indignant German refugees. In the blink of an eye, Mitch Edwards and Gisela are Herr and Frau Josep Cramer.

Through their tragic and difficult journey, the fabricated couple strives to protect Ella’s daughters, hoping against hope for a reunion.But even as Gisela and Mitch develop feelings beyond the make–believe, the reality of war terrorizes their makeshift family.

With the world at its darkest, and the lives of two children at stake, the counterfeit couple finds in each other a source of faith, hope, and the love they need to survive.

Many Strange WomenTitle: Many Strange Women (1st in a Series, Gift from Author)

Author: Parker J. Cole

Genre(s): Romance/Christian Fiction

Description:

Solomon Greene made a deal with God.

If He’d send him an unattractive woman, he’d marry her on sight and do what was spiritually right. After all, he needed that kind of wife to help him escape from his sordid past.

Celeste Martin made a deal with Solomon. She’d be his ugly wife. All she wanted in return was his name. She was in love with her sister’s fiance and he would be the only man she’d ever love.

Solomon had no idea that he’d find his wife fascinating. Celeste didn’t know that one taste from her husband’s lips would have her wanting more. Yet many strange women were between them.

Could Solomon ever escape from his past?

Could Celeste ever love her husband?

Hush PuppyTitle: Hush Puppy (Won in a Give-A-Way)

Author: Lisa T. Cresswell

Genre(s): Literature & Fiction

Description:

Intelligent Corrine, abandoned by her mother, and artsy Jamie, forced to play football by a redneck father, both dream of leaving their podunk town and never looking back. Their shared love of literature and a dream of a better life bring them together and a romance blossoms between them in a secret place of their own in the steamy North Carolina woods. When Jamie is involved in the accidental death of a white girl, he’s terrified of his abusive father. Corrine takes the blame to protect Jaime, with dire consequences for herself and her dreams of the future. Her life in danger, Corrine’s left wondering if Jamie ever cared about her at all.

Yowza! I know, I know…it’s a tad bit ridiculous to have so many books waiting to be read. I’m thinking that I’ll need to put myself on restriction for the month of January. But who am I kidding? I won a $25 Amazon gift card (shout out to author Deana Lynn Sletten!), and it’s burning a hole in my pocket! 

What’re you readin’?

Book Blast & Amazon Gift Card Giveaway with Author Michelle Lindo Rice!

Lindo Book Blast
It’s only a few days ’til Christmas and I’m happy to host an author who wants to participate in the spirit of the season by giving away an Amazon gift card!  (Deets below).  It was just about a year ago when I first interviewed author Michelle Lindo-Rice on what was then, a brand new blog. Man, time flies! Michelle is back to tell us about her new release: Unbound Hearts. It’s an interracial Christian romance novel that I’m pretty sure will tug at your heartstrings. Grab a Kleenex ’cause the book description alone may have you twisted! 

 
Unbound Hearts
Book Description:

Would you hire the person responsible for your losing both your legs?

Before he lost both his limbs, Jasper Orion was on his way to being voted Most Valuable Player in the National Football League. A man of faith, his faith in God remains unshaken and he starts his own business. With God’s leading Jasper decides to hire Charmaine Evans, the woman responsible for his demise. But, unexpectedly, Jasper develops feelings for his newest employee. He longs to hold her in his arms. Wheelchair bound, will Jasper’s love for Charmaine motivate him to walk again?

A backslidden Christian, Charmaine Evans’ ambitions left her broke, unemployed and a social pariah. Guilt-ridden, she returned home to Port Charlotte, FL to lick her wounds. To Charmaine’s surprise, Jasper not only offers her forgiveness but also a job when no one else would. Charmaine marvels at Jasper’s faith while grappling with her own. Bound by her past, will Charmaine learn to accept God’s plan for her heart and her life?

Read The First Chapter of Unbound Hearts HERE!

Unbound Hearts Book Trailer

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Michelle Lindo-Rice enjoys crafting women’s fiction with themes centered around the four “F” words: Faith, Friendship, Family and Forgiveness. Her first published work, Sing A New Song, was a Black Expressions featured selection. Originally from Jamaica West Indies, Michelle Lindo-Rice calls herself a lifelong learner.

She has earned degrees from New York University, SUNY at Stony Brook, and Teachers College, Columbia University. When she moved to Florida, she enrolled in Argosy University where she completed her Education Specialist degree in Education Leadership. A pastor’s kid, Michelle upholds the faith, preaching, teaching and ministering through praise and worship. Feel free to connect with her at michellelindorice.com

You can read her testimony, learn about her books, PLEASE join her mailing list, or read a sample chapter at michellelindorice.com

Tour Hosted by WNL Book Tours 
Write now Literary Tours
Amazon gift card
Michelle is offering Two $10.00 Amazon Gift Cards Giveaway!!!
Two Winners will be randomly chosen via Rafflecopter
Contest ends: December 24, 11:59 pm, 2014
Open: Internationally
CLICK To Enter———–> Rafflecopter Giveaway!!!

Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. A winner will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will then have 72 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. This giveaway is sponsored by the author Michelle Lindo-Rice and is hosted and managed by Paulette from Write Now Literary Book Tours. If you have any additional questions – feel free to send an email to Paulette @ pharperjohnson@gmail.com

Confessions of Faith: I Can’t Breathe

I sit here, a black woman born in America. I made my entrance into this world decades after the Jim Crow era, centuries after the emancipation of my ancestors. I’ve never been enslaved. I’ve never had to sit in the back of a bus. I’ve never been turned away from a hospital because I was the wrong color. I’ve never been spit on simply because I dared to seek an education. I’ve never had my babies sold away from me, while milk still leaked from my breasts. I’ve never had the body of a loved one laid at my feet, the features grossly disfigured, eyes bulging and neck broken, the twine from a rope still lodged in their shredded skin. I’ve never experienced any of that. But those images have haunted my dreams for the last few weeks. I can’t breathe.

The truth of the historical lack of value for black lives sits on the seat of my heart. I log onto social media and I see videos of one man being choked to death. I see the shaky image of another laying face down in the middle of an empty street, blood seeping from his bullet riddled body. I see photos of a boy, not yet a man, killed because he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. I see another boy, shot down because he played with a toy gun in a park. I see this images and my heart breaks. I can’t breathe.

Even more disturbing than the images are the comments beneath them. Comments like, “He shouldn’t have been selling cigarettes.” “He’s a criminal, and he got what a criminal deserves.” “If they’re so concerned about black lives, why don’t they work on not killing each other first.” “People always want to play the race card. If he had been white, we wouldn’t even be talking about this now.” “Here we go again with the racism. I’m sick of these people never being satisfied and making a big deal out of nothing.” “If you break the law, you get choked out. Stop breaking the law.” “He was no choir boy, so all of this protesting isn’t necessary.” I read these comments and I can’t breathe.

grand central

Protesters lie down in Grand Central station. Photograph: Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images

I wonder how anyone can have such a disregard for life that they actually attempt to justify the murder of unarmed people. I wonder how they can defend the actions of someone they never met, after having heard only one side of the story. I wonder how it can be okay for one man to act as prosecution, judge and jury, sentencing and execution, all within the span of a few moments. I wonder when selling cigarettes without a permit became a crime punishable by death. I wonder when vandalizing a convenience store became a crime punishable by death. I wonder when walking on private property became a crime punishable by death. I wonder when playing a prank in a park became a crime punishable by death. I wonder these things and I can’t breathe.

I remember being a young girl living in Long Beach, California, a suburb of Los Angeles. I remember watching the news and seeing three white police officers beat a black man almost to death. I remember not being able to go to school because people were setting my neighborhood on fire, breaking windows and stealing merchandise. I remember watching as two black men pulled a white man from a big rig truck and beat him, for no other reason than the color of his skin. I remember thinking how wrong all of these people were. I remember that I watched all of this unfold, and I couldn’t breathe.

Days after the Rodney King riots I walked home from school. I noticed that now there were bars on the store front windows. When I went to the corner store, the clerk told me to take my backpack off and leave it by the door. Suddenly, I was not to be trusted. I felt enraged that in a store I had frequented for years, I was viewed not as a customer, but as a potential criminal. I was a twelve year old girl and I told the store clerk that no, I would not leave my backpack by the front door. I asked him why he wanted me to do so and he said so that I would not steal. I asked him how did I know that he wouldn’t steal from me? Eventually, he waved me off and said fine, keep your backpack.

I used to pick roses from my neighbor’s yard. On my way home from school I would choose the largest blooms with the richest colors and pluck them. I’d walk home, delightfully inhaling their delectable fragrance. One day, the owner of the house rushed into her front yard and angrily demanded to know what I was doing. I happily informed her that I was picking flowers to make a bouquet to put in my room. I offered to make one for her too. She politely declined and told me that the flowers were private property and were not mine for the taking. I apologized and went on my way, only stopping to smell (not pick) the flowers from that day forward.

die in

Protesters staged a “die-in” Wednesday during the San Diego City Council inauguration ceremonies. Photo by Angela Carone

I share those stories because they could have easily ended another way.  What are nothing but minor incidents from my childhood could have meant the end of my life if the situations had escalated. I have to wonder if, had I been a young black boy instead of a young black girl, the stories would have ended differently. I think about the small choices that lead to tragedy. I think about how in the blink of an eye, a routine arrest can become a homicide.

I add my voice to the struggle for human rights, not to add to the dissension, but to help bridge the gap. I hope that what I’ve shared causes someone to pause and evaluate whether or not the tragedies of the last year are truly separate isolated incidences that don’t reflect the current state of American culture. I hope that they will take a few moments and think about whether the outcome of these tragedies truly reflect the value that all lives matter.

As for me, I’m holding my breath for my cousins, uncles, brothers, friends, nephews, father, probable future husband and sons. Because I won’t be able to breathe easy, until they can.

XoXo,

Faith

When life is heavy and hard to take, go off by yourself. Enter the silence. Bow in prayer. Don’t ask questions: Wait for hope to appear. Don’t run from trouble. Take it full-face.  The “worst” is never the worst. (Lamentations 3: 28-30, The Message)

Stomping down hard on luckless prisoners, refusing justice to victims in the court of High God, tampering with evidence—the Master does not approve of such things. (Lamentations 3: 34-36, The Message)

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere~ Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

“Every 28 hours a young black man is killed by police,” one young woman told the Guardian, referring to nationwide statistics. “Only 2% of police are indicted. Those numbers are crazy. It’s telling young black men that their lives don’t matter and their deaths can be passed over.” Source

A new report from ProPublica analyzes data from the FBI’s Supplementary Homicide Report on teenagers shot by police from 2010 to 2012. The report concludes that black teens are 21 times more likely than white teens to be killed by police officers..~ Source

Police officers, security guards, or self-appointed vigilantes extrajudicially killed at least 313 African-Americans in 2012, according to a recent study. This means a black person was killed by a security officer every 28 hours. The report notes that it’s possible that the real number could be much higher. ~Source

In Missouri, for example, African Americans were 66 percent more likely than whites to be stopped by police in 2013, according to the St. Louis Post Dispatch. A similar disparity exists in many other states and cities. ~Source

Author’s note: I respect and appreciate police officers who conduct themselves with honor. I’m an advocate for accountability and legislation that provides justice for senseless killing.

 

 

Book Review: “Acts of Contrition” by Jennifer Hanford

Acts of ContritionTitle: Acts of Contrition

Author: Jennifer Hanford

Description: 

Mary Morrissey is living the life of her dreams. She has a loving husband of ten years, Tom, two daughters, and twin boys. Her parents are just down the road. Her three sisters are nearby. Perfect—some might even say she is living the American Dream.

But beneath the shiny veneer, Mary hasn’t taken a calm breath in years. She lives in a constant state of panic, afraid that the secret she’s kept hidden for so long will be revealed, that it will shatter the life she’s worked so hard to build.

When Mary’s handsome and addictively charismatic ex-boyfriend Landon James reappears during his high profile Senate campaign, she feels the truth bubbling to the surface and knows she’s powerless to stop it. Mary has spent years trying to forget him, and now he’s on every TV she sees.

A conditional Catholic, Mary bargains with God, negotiating deals that will keep her happy life undisturbed for another day. She prays for strength and confesses her sins—anything that might let her sleep at night under the weight of the guilt she carries from lying to her husband and family for the entirety of her marriage.

When Tom learns what Mary’s been hiding, what once seemed unfathomable—a deep, heartbreaking divide between them—is now their new normal. Can they find a way to rebuild their life together? Is forgiveness possible?

Acts of Contrition is a richly drawn story of faith, family loyalty, and forgiveness, even in the face of moral ambiguity, guilt, and shattered trust.

My Review:

Family secrets…everyone’s got them. The secrets we keep can either tear our families apart or bind us together. For Mary Morrissey the coin has been tossed and she’s been waiting for over a decade to see which side it will land on.

“I’ve made my family a happy home, but it was a house built with stolen bricks.”

There was no need for me to judge Mary, she did a thorough job of that herself. She’s weighed down with the guilt of her deception but, despite her morally corrupt choices, I empathized with her. The reason I could identify with Mary was entirely due to Hanford’s brilliant skill at creating a distinctive narrative for her. Mary’s voice is honest and without guile, as if the entire novel was a diary of sorts.

“The truth wasn’t pinning me down, I was pinning it down, pushing is mercilessly against the wall with my hand over its mouth.”

What made this story interesting to me was the all access pass into the shifting dynamics and subtle nuances of Mary’s marriage. Hanford manages to show how completely a single bad decision can slowly eat away at a relationship in the form of the lies and omissions continuously needed to bury the truth.

I thoroughly enjoyed Acts of Contrition and highly recommend it! Check it out via Amazon here.

Have you ever witnessed the funk hit the fan over a family secret? Dish in the comments below! I’d love to hear all about it. 

 

 

Guest Blogger: W.K. Tucker (Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are)

It’s been a while since I read a short story that made me laugh, feel nostalgic, hold my breath in anticipation and gasp out loud. Well, now that I think about it, I don’t think I’ve ever had a short story cause that kind of reaction in me. If you’ve got a few minutes to simply lose yourself in a fantastic story, keep reading.

Come out, Come Out, Wherever You Are by W.K. Tucker*

“There’s something in Mrs. Treadway’s root cellar,” I said to Mama’s back. “Something gruntin’ and groanin’ like an old hog.”

Her paring knife stopped circling the tater in her hand. She turned around and looked at me, frown lines gouging furrows in the skin between her eyes. “April May Clark, didn’t I tell you to stay away from there and not be botherin’ that poor woman?” She jabbed the shiny blade in my general direction. “She’s got enough on her shoulders without you snoopin’ around, asking your silly questions. What with her husband up and leaving, and Jesse joining the Army right after. I don’t know how she runs that place by herself…course, truth be told, Jesse wasn’t much help anyway.”

“I ain’t said nothing to her.” I bit into the pear I’d picked out of the scrawny tree out behind Mrs. Treadway’s outhouse. Juice ran down my chin and I wiped it off with the back of my hand. “She didn’t even see me.”

Mama pointed the knife at the half-eaten pear in my hand. “Where’d you get that then?”

I sighed great big. “Off her tree, but she didn’t see me. I didn’t go nowhere near her house. But you know that old root cellar way out behind her garden…something’s in there. I heard it. And there’s a new lock on the door and—”

“April May, how many times have I got to tell you to quit making stuff up—”

“I ain’t making it up, Mama.”

“Or imagining it or telling stories, whatever you want to call it.”

I didn’t know why Mama just didn’t say I was lying—though I wasn’t, not this time. But she put stuff nicer than Daddy; he always said I was plain out lying. And most of the time I guess I was ‘cause the things I thought, well, they wasn’t always so.

“Go outside and play and let me finish supper,” Mama said. “And don’t you go telling your brother and sisters this foolishness when they get off the school bus.” She turned around to the sink. Another go-round of the knife on the tater. “And for heaven’s sake, don’t say nothing to your daddy either.”

“Mama, there really was…I mean…”

“April May!”

I stomped across the cracked, green linoleum and pushed open the backdoor screen, letting it thump shut behind me.

Sometime I got so mad. Why wouldn’t she believe me? Jeeze…

I clomped around in the back yard, every once in a while kicking the big piles of leaves Zack had raked up the evening before, scattering them all back out again. He’d be mad at me when he got home from school, but I didn’t care ‘cause I was mad too. Mama didn’t believe me, and this time I knew I’d heard something. And it didn’t matter if I told Daddy and Zack and Evie and Nora, none of them would go look in that root cellar and see I wasn’t telling no story.

What was in there? It’d sounded kind of like a pig, but maybe it was a dog and maybe it was starving. Maybe that was why it’d sounded so funny. Yeah, it was a dog, alright. I just knew it was.

I liked dogs. They licked your face and grinned and wagged their tails. But we didn’t have no dog ‘cause Daddy didn’t like dogs. But maybe if I got that dog out of the root cellar and he saw how hungry it was—probably its ribs was sticking out—he’d feel sorry for it and we could keep it.

But the root cellar had a padlock on the door with a keyhole in it and I didn’t have no key. How could I open it without going and asking Mrs. Treadway for the key? Mama would call that “bothering her”.

A picture jumped into my mind of Daddy sawing off a lock like that one. Last year, Grandpa had died and Daddy couldn’t find the key that fit the lock on the metal box Grandpa had kept under his bed with his important papers in it, so he’d used the hacksaw we kept in the barn to cut through it.

And I knew just exactly where it was.

It wouldn’t be very long before Zack and Evie and Nora got home, and Daddy a little while after. I didn’t have much time.

I ran into the barn, grabbed the saw off a big, rusty nail driven into the wall, and raced out the open back door and into the woods. I’d get that dog out. I’d show everybody I wasn’t lying.

In just a little while I was back at Mrs. Treadway’s place. Staying just inside the woods, I circled around the house, down the length of the garden that was now just a bunch of weeds and dying plants, all the vegetables picked and canned and stored away for winter. I stayed hidden in the edge of the woods until I was right behind the root cellar.

It wasn’t much more than a knee-high bump with a door and frame set into the grassy top of it. And just like I’d remembered, locked up tight. I didn’t hear no noise, but between the door and frame, I saw light.

And that made me see it was starting to get dark.

Better hurry. I was gonna be in trouble now for sure.

I hunkered down beside the door and starting sawing. And that’s when it started up again.

I stopped sawing long enough to say: “It’s okay, doggie. I’m gonna get you out of there and take you home with me.”

I thought that’d calm it down, but it only seemed to make it worse. Jeeze, it started carrying on awful, and now thumps and bangs joined the gruntin’ and groanin’. If it got much louder, Mrs. Treadway might hear it and it would bother her.

I put everything I had into dragging and pushing the saw blade against the lock, while around me night settled in.

Mama and Daddy was gonna be real mad at me for being out after dark. But maybe when they saw the poor, hungry dog…

With a loud clatter, the lock gave way. I pulled it out of its hasp and opened the heavy, wood door, settling it against the ground as quietly as I could. Light and a jumble of noises raced up the stairs and smacked me in the face.

I had to hush it before Mrs. Treadway heard and got bothered. “I’m coming, doggie.”

I clomped down the steps and into a root cellar that was mostly just a big hole in the ground. And in about the center of the dirt-room was a chair with a man tied in it. Not a dog. A man! He had a rag stuffed in his mouth, and jeeze, was he ever dirty and smelly.

He yelled behind the rag, shook his head from side to side. Then his wild eyes met mine and I knew who he was: Jesse, Mrs. Treadway’s son.

“Ohmygod, ohmygod…” I dropped the saw. “What…why?”

I stepped forward and pulled the wad of cloth out of his mouth.

“Help me,” Jesse said, his voice a raspy whisper. “Mama. She’ll come…”

I stumbled around to the back of the chair and tore at the rope tied around his wrists. Somehow, I managed to loosen it enough that he was able to pull his hands out. Then he leaned over and untied the loops around his ankles.

His legs trembling, he stood up. He braced a hand against the wall, then looked down at me. “Thank you…ah…you’re April May, ain’t you, Dave and Libby’s youngest?”

I nodded my head, “Y—yes.”

“Thank God you found me. I thought I was gonna die in here.”

“How did you…” I swallowed hard. “…get here?”

“Mama. She went crazy. Killed Daddy and put me in here.” He smiled. “If you hadn’t of come along—”

“Dear Lord above, what have you done, child?”

I sucked in a startled breath and turned toward the stairs. Mrs. Treadway stood halfway down the steps, a shotgun cradled to her breast.

I had bothered her and now she was going to kill me.

With a scream that didn’t even sound like it could come from a real, live person, Jesse Treadway pushed me aside and made for his mama. In his hand I saw the gleam of the saw.

“No, Jesse,” Mrs. Treadway said, backing up the steps. “You don’t know what you’re doing. No, son. Stop!”

I didn’t even see her try to raise the shotgun. Tears running down her cheeks, she stopped on the top step, and closed her eyes as Jesse took her down. “You bitch, bitch, bitch!” He screeched.

I heard gurgling sounds and tearing sounds. He was sawing on his mama like I had the lock. And if I didn’t get out of there, when he finished with her, he’d start on me.

Slowly, quietly, I climbed the steps. At the top I eased around Jesse who was still screaming, and his mama. She wasn’t screaming, though; her throat gaped open like a big red mouth.

When my sneakers hit the grass, I took off running. And as the woods closed around me, I heard Jesse Treadway call out: “April May…come out, come out, wherever you are…or I’m coming for you…” Then he laughed, but it wasn’t no nice laugh. It was a mean, lowdown, dirty laugh, so awful it made me wet my britches.

I had to get home. I had to warn Mama and Daddy and Zack and Evie and Nora. I had to tell them Jesse was coming and he was gonna kill me and them too.

Please, God, make them believe me. Please!

“Come out, come out, wherever you are…”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Bio: I grew up in the hills of Western Arkansas, a shy country girl who could barely speak to a stranger. But I loved books. Every night before turning off her bedside lamp and going to sleep, my mother read; and I knew that for my hard-working mother to crack open a “pocketbook” and steal a little time of much-needed sleep from between its pages, reading must be a glorious thing. I couldn’t wait to be able to decipher all those squiggly letters for myself. Continue reading here.

Faith Simone says:

I’ll give you a few minutes to blink and come on back from those woods with April May. I warned you that you’d lose yourself in this fantastic story. It’s a wonderful play on the boy who cried wolf and I loved every second of it!

Did this story bring back memories of your own childhood adventures? Are you as concerned about April May’s fate as I am? Maybe if we raise enough sand W.K. will tell us what happens next! 

Click here to check out W.K. Tucker’s blog and books!

*This story is featured in it’s entirety with permission from the author.

 

Author Spotlight: M. Ann Ricks!!!!

Fans of classic religious fiction such as the world-famous Left Behind series will enjoy this interview with an author determined to use her gift of writing to win souls for God’s Kingdom. Sit back, relax and prepare to be spiritually challenged!

What’s your name or pen name?  

My pen name is M. Ann Ricks, but you can just call me Melissa. 🙂

What are your genres?

Christian Fiction and Non Fiction

What have you written?

I have written: Awesome Wonder: The Gift of Remembrance,The Son,THE BLOOD DONE SIGNED MY NAME and THE SHIFT.

When did you begin your writing career?

Not until the pregnancy of my eldest son (almost eighteen years ago) did I feel a need to unearth my hidden love and write. I began to simply write about the way I felt about the child growing inside of me and the love that I felt for my husband.  When I resolved to reconnect with the Master and sought to draw nigh to Him, the desire to write became stronger and strangely, to my surprise, an urgent need. My yearning to please Him with the stories that I created increased.  It was then that I realized that writing would be my way of bringing souls into the Kingdom of God.

Are you a full-time or part-time writer? How do you make time to write?

I write full-time but am not a full-time writer. 🙂  My day is chock full of meetings and sometimes exercise classes as I am a Group Insurance Benefits Specialist and a part-time Group Exercise Instructor. I find time when the house is quiet and the Holy Spirit leads me to my office. Crazily enough, God always, makes it easy for me to steal away to fellowship with Him as He downloads a premise, new idea, plot twist or even a biblical lesson that should be incorporated.

What’s your writing process?

I haven’t a routine or even a specific process. I try however to sensitive to the Holy Spirit. When I hear him, I set aside time to sit and hear from God prior to starting.  I begin by simply worshipping and that allows the floodgates to open! I sit, listen and allow Him to download His message. After all, it’s His book. I’m simply the vessel. There are people who need to read what only He can dictate and that’s what makes what I do so important and even emergent. Lives are at stake. I simply allow God to use me, whenever…

What’s your inspiration?

The All-encompassing love of Jesus! Christ’s mind-blowing sacrifice that has ransomed our lives and the confidence that He answers our prayers with a YES and AMEN!

What kind of legacy do you expect your writing to leave?

God’s love is more powerful than anything one may face in life. He is the author of our existence and has already written our story. By trusting Him and leaning not to our own understanding we can be VICTORIOUS because He is VICTORIOUS!

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

I would certainly say that they need to really believe in their gift and talent. Rejection may be a bitter pill that they may have to swallow but if God has called you to do it, He will see you through it!  Trust GOD and Trust His process not man’s. Stand on God’s promises as He is obligated to finish what He has started in you!

What’s on your bookshelf or in your e-reader library?

Always Grace-Tim LaHaye, Waterwalker-Ted Dekker, The Warmth of Other Suns-Isabel Wilkerson and I, Saul,-Jerry B. Jenkins.

The ShiftLatest release and book blurb?

The Shift

There is a sense of urgency in the atmosphere as God is transitioning what the world has deemed impossible and unbelievable into the possible and the believable.  Pastor Douglass and his family have been chosen for such a supernatural transition but because of the dense fog of deception that seems to surround them, some in the Douglass family have created their own beliefs, fabricating their own sense of self; negating the truth, God’s truth, even when truth is staring them in the face. They, like many, are living lives devoid of the knowledge of who they really are and robbing themselves and those they love of their true identity and freedom. Deeply embedded lies from enemy have blinded eyes, impaired hearing and hardened hearts and Angels from the army of God have been deployed. Dreams, supernatural revelation and actual attacks from man’s ultimate foe will expose all and confirm God’s plan for Xion, Veronica, Zeborah, Bo and Pastor Douglas. Can they handle the truth and surrender? The lives of the Douglass family will never be the same and neither will you, because of THE SHIFT!

Tell us about your main character? What actress or actor would you cast to play him or her in a movie about your book?

There isn’t a main character in THE SHIFT because each character is considered vitally important to the story as a whole. However, my favorite character, Bo Pillar, would be played by Will Smith. 🙂

How can we purchase your work?

My novels may be purchased at any literary proprietor on line or otherwise. Amazon.com, B&N.com and the like.

M.AnnSummerHow can we stay in touch with you?

My Facebook Author’s page is https://www.facebook.com/pages/M-Ann-Ricks-Literary-Creations-Author-Melissa-Ann-Ricks/33259926513

On Twitter: @Hisblessings4me

For literary or speaking engagements, I may be contacted using the email address: Godsauthor@mannricks.net

My website address is: www.mannricks.net

 Faith Simone says:

It’s obvious that Melissa is a woman with a passion for God and writing! There’s a strong sense of mystery and supernatural occurrences surrounding The Shift. For some reason, I also think that fans of traditional fantasy might also enjoy this book. Let me know your impressions in the comments below. 

 

 

All Up in My E-Reader (November Edition)

Hey you guys, I hope you had a fabulous Thanksgiving with your friends and family. Despite feeling a little under the weather on Thanksgiving day, I had a ball and STILL managed to do some damage in the food department. I’ve got lots of books to share, so here goes!

Click on the pics or titles to get more info via Amazon.

The WayTitle: The Way (Volume l of The Vemreaux) Currently FREE!

Author: Mary E. Twomey

Genre: Dark Fantasy

Description:

In a world not divided by race, creed or color, but by blood type, Blue Anders finds herself on the wrong end of fortune’s mercy. Born with a lesser blood type, Blue is raised in The Way, a work camp for A-bloods.

Victoria

Title: Victoria’s Beginning (Breaking the Lines Book 1) Currently FREE!

Author: A’mera Frieman

Genre: Historical Christian Fiction

Description:

Set early in the time of America’s burgeoning Civil Rights Movement, Breaking the line: Victoria’s Beginning follows the life of young Christian girl, Victoria Roberts. Victoria is born to Black parents, Tess and Clyde who despise that Victoria looks more White like her wealthy paternal grandfather, Paul Roberts. Rejected at an early age by her parents, Victoria is sent to Dallas to live with her childless aunts, Charlotte and Mary. Charlotte is a wealthy widow, and Mary is clairvoyant. Mary has seen the difficult road ahead for Victoria if she makes the wrong choices. Because of this, Charlotte, Mary, and Victoria’s maternal grandparents, Chandra and Ed, shower Victoria with love and encourage her unique intelligence and talents to help keep her on the right path. However, Clyde and Tess, along with Clyde’s domineering, voodoo practicing mother, Betts, begin to spitefully interfere and attempt to crush and cower Victoria’s spirit. Can Victoria withstand the vindictive influence of Betts and her parents? Will she be able to remain true to her faith and herself to overcome the trials of her childhood and find her destiny as an adult? Or will she succumb to evil and find herself creating a line that she cannot break?

Stepping DownTitle: Stepping Down

Author: Michelle Stimpson

Genre: Christian Fiction

Description: 

Mark has been pastoring New Vision church for six years now, and all his hard work is about to pay off as the church approaches mega-church status. But while Mark has been busy building the church, his own household has been crumbling to pieces. After ignoring divine guidance, Mark finds himself caught up in the appearance of a scandal that threatens to tear the church apart. And his wife’s secrets only add insult to near-fatal injury.

Sharla would have done just about anything to be a mother…and, actually, she did. She was willing to pay the price for her mistakes, but she never dreamed someone else might have to suffer instead. How close can she come to confessing her past without jeopardizing her future?

Stepping Down is the eighth full-length novel from National Bestselling Author Michelle Stimpson.  As the granddaughter of a pastor and the great-granddaughter of a bishop, she explores a conflict many spiritual leaders still encounter today. Readers will enjoy this fast-paced, hard-hitting novel that addresses the ageless question: How can a man run the church if he can’t run his own household?

Just One ThingTitle: Just One Thing

Author: Holly Jacobs

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Description:

“Sometimes, you find yourself inadvertently in the dark. But I’d discovered that if you stopped fighting against it and just stood still, sometimes something marvelous comes along.”

Artist Lexie McCain spends her days literally weaving the story of her life into a gorgeous tapestry. But on Monday nights, she walks to the Corner Bar, drinks a Killian’s, and answers the same question every week from Sam the bartender: “One thing?” She starts with her name, then her cottage, slowly moving on to the devastating tragedies that tore her life apart.

Sam Corner’s smile doesn’t seem to hide any pain. One night, Lexie turns the tables on him, asking Sam, “One thing?” To her surprise, Sam reveals his own tragic history. Together, Lexie and Sam learn that, with good beer and a trusted friend, sharing just “one thing” might lead to the one thing they both thought was lost forever: love.

From award-winning author Holly Jacobs comes the story of heartache, hope, and the power of sharing just one thing.

My Wife's BabyTitle: My Wife’s Baby

Author: R. M. Johnson

Genre: Urban Fiction

Description:

Does the love for a wife and the jealousy for an infant, warrant murder?

After ten years of bad dates and worse relationships, Stan is in heaven, for he has finally found his soul mate, Erica—a beautiful, caring woman who shares all his beliefs, to include not wanting children. They discussed this over bottles of red wine the night they met and promised, if ever they became a couple, they would remain childless and forever the other’s priority.
One year after being married, Erica tells Stan she’s pregnant: news she’s very happy about. Stan considers talking Erica out of it, but that would mean aborting her child, something he knows Erica would never do.

Two months into the pregnancy, Stan notices changes: times he and Erica enjoyed as a fun-loving childless couple are no longer; Erica’s attention is occupied with all things related to the forthcoming baby, and Stan has gone without sex for months.

The child arrives and things get even worse; Stan feels like an outsider: a stranger living among his wife and her son. Erica gives all her time, attention and love to the infant, leaving none for her husband. Stan becomes envious; he looks at the newborn as a threat, tells himself something must be done—but what? He fights his jealous thoughts, knowing horrible things would happen if he were ever to act on them. But one night while drunk, Stan attempts to make love to his wife but is once again rejected. His pride hurt and feeling disowned, Stan stumbles into the baby’s room with intentions of eliminating his problem once and for all, knowing there can only be one man in Erica’s life. That is the promise his wife had made him on the night they met, and it is the promise he intends to make her keep.

I hope you saw something that sparked your interest. Apparently, I’m into series now. It’s either that, or the books were on free promotion at the time I downloaded them. If you plan to check out any of the books, or if you’ve previously read something by the authors, let me know in the comments below. Happy Reading!