Thursday, November 15, 2018

New Book! You Can't Force Love by Marie Drake







Title: YOU CAN’T FORCE LOVE
Author: Marie Drake  
Publisher: RedBird Books
Pages: 286  
Genre: Realistic Fiction

“A battered butterfly, he’d build Kimberly up, nurture her strength and watch her return to flight. He repressed the visions dancing in the back of his mind; her naked body brandished red flags and spurred him to stampede. Bulls and butterflies did not mix.”

Jordan Fry’s obsession is born in “You Can’t Force Love” by Marie Drake, Book I in the Locked Hearts Series.

From different towns and social backgrounds, Jordan Fry and Kimberly Orvine experience life-altering abuse, lose a parent and land in the same foster home. Angry, and self-deprecating, fiery redheaded Kimberly is deadset on lousy behavior and suffering the consequences, punishing herself for former sins. Scared by his inner darkness, pyromaniac Jordan has vowed to change for the better. He focuses on Kimberly as the key to his success, but she intends to make him break his promises. Unaware of Jordan’s atrocious actions in the past, she’s dangerously close to unleashing the evil he struggles to contain during their epic battle of wills. Can they both survive?

PRE-ORDER YOUR COPY:

Amazon


July 1986
Crescent Hollar Trailer Park
Gloucester City, New Jersey

Fresh, black pavement radiated visible heat; scorched grass crunched beneath Jordan’s feet; sweat drenched his shoulder-length, blonde hair, and it clung to his neck. The mobile home park’s road ended at a small store; he paid twenty-five cents for two ring-shaped lollipops, saved a pink candy, unwrapped a blue one and reclined on a canopy shaded bench.
A black and yellow butterfly fluttered toward him; sunlight clarified its translucent wings and turned it magical, otherworldly. Jordan stared at the creature hovering above his leg. It glided to his knee. Tiny feet danced on his bare skin, a slight tickle. Sparkling like gold dust; glowing, powdery residue transferred on his fingers. Airborn again, impulsively, he reached and knocked it to the ground; one wing beat up and down.
Humming distracted him, and he stepped on the butterfly as he crossed the road. Lily skipped across the grass in pink, canvas sneakers. Her long, cinnamon-colored hair billowed; it tapped her thin, white blouse below her shoulder blades and bounced with each step. A faint halo highlighted her lovely features. Enhanced by sapphire-colored stones in her ears, her blue eyes shined brighter than the butterfly. She smiled. Calescent stomach pain folded him in half. With gritted teeth, he straightened, took a step, smiled back at her, and offered the ring-pop from his pocket.
“Strawberry, my favorite.” She tugged the lollipop from its wrapper and slipped it into her mouth. Her eyes crinkled in the sun. She dragged the candy over her lips with a final sucking motion, lifted her hand and let the sunshine filter through the gem-shaped sugar. “Pretty,” she said.
Pain struck Jordan again, stronger. It radiated through his lower body. Lily held his hand and walked along the road’s edge. She stopped at a red and white toolshed at the corner of her backyard. Jordan peeked into her driveway, no car.
“Just one time, right?” Lily asked. She closed her eyes.
Jordan smothered her with his mouth; she panicked and struggled, but he closed in and restrained her. His mind emptied, his eyes went blank; a blinding drive took over, and he pressed her to the ground. Tear-filled eyes didn’t dissuade him.
A horn honked, and a door slammed near the house; he froze. Lily’s dad carried grocery bags. Jordan rolled. She ran toward home; he traced her body’s imprint in the grass and discovered a shimmering deep-blue earring.
A vice clamped his arm, and with a yank, he met angry eyes; he cowered inches below Lily’s father’s face.





 






Award-winning author, Marie Drake lives in a small town near Lake Ontario with her husband, four sons, and three rescue pups. With many years of experience in the Foster Care community and advocating for other victims and survivors, she specializes in realistic and psychological fiction depicting the lives of abuse sufferers; their obstacles, their triumphs, and their downfalls.



Wednesday, November 14, 2018

New Book! Going For Broke: How To Suffer Well by Shannon Medisky




Going for Broke: How to Suffer Well, Christian/Devotional/Nonfiction, 110 pp., $8.99 (paperback) $4.99 (kindle)


Title: GOING FOR BROKE: HOW TO SUFFER WELL
Author: Shannon Medisky
Publisher: Independent
Pages: 61
Genre: Christian Nonfiction/Devotional

Hardship hurts and suffering sucks.
But there’s very important work—and rewards—we need to be occupied with in the middle of it all.
Suffering has a way of stretching us beyond ourselves. It prompts us to stretch outside of our current comfort zones. But no matter how we feel, we don’t have to be buried by our challenges and circumstances. Instead, we can recognize that God has planted us right where we are for a reason: It’s time to get growing.
Here’s how.

ORDER YOUR COPY:

Amazon / B&N




INTRODUCTION
 
Einstein once said, "God doesn't play dice." He also made it very clear that he didn't believe in a personal God, but rather he trusted that there were underlying laws of nature that made perfect sense of some of the science (mainly quantum mechanics) that even he couldn't wrap his brilliant mind around.
Einstein was an incredible man of science, but he also appreciated that he couldn't make sense of everything. Yet, even in the midst of this, Einstein professed that there still had to be a rhyme and reason to it all. Even if he or current science couldn't make sense of it, Einstein held the belief that there was still a structure, an order behind it all.
I believe the same is true for suffering. I believe this because I've seen evidence of it firsthand.
To put it bluntly, I watch my son die a slow, painful death daily. He suffers terribly, and my heart suffers, too. My heart breaks each time he cries out to me for comfort and relief, and there's nothing I can do.
My head is weary of keeping tabs of his daily intake of protein. Too little and he becomes catabolic, metabolizing his own muscle tissue. Too much, and ammonia levels rise in his blood stream causing debilitating headaches and irreversible cognitive loss. There's no cure, and that's just the tip of the medical and genetic iceberg.
There's also the GRIN2B genetic mutation that causes my son debilitating joint pain, short and long-term memory loss and yet more metabolic issues. His specific mutation causes his body to convert the amino acid called arginine to histidine. This poor kid can't seem to eat enough food to ever really feel full because he can't eat more than about 15 grams of protein per day.
Think about that for a moment.
Imagine being underweight with low muscle tone, experiencing constant headaches and joint pain and then never feeling fully satiated…and that's when he actually feels up to eating at all.
It's hard enough to watch Mark suffer, to walk through all of this with him. I can't imagine how difficult it must be to be him.
Mark’s physical suffering alone is staggering to imagine. Prior to joining our family through adoption, Mark was subject to severe abuse and neglect. Deprived of basic nutrition, physical touch and comfort as an infant, it's not surprising that he suffered cognitively, developmentally and behaviorally as a result.
I share all of this because I've heard it said that one should write about what one knows. The last ten years have taught me quite a bit about suffering: how it feels, the toll it takes, and just how unsettling it is when looking ahead holds no promise of relief or respite. I know how it feels to not be able to quite catch your breath, to feel completely and utterly helpless, to vacillate between wondering if you're (really) strong enough to keep going or when exactly you're going to fall apart.
It's from this place that I write about suffering, an open, raw place of complete transparency, because frankly I don't think there's enough out there about it. Everyone experiences hardship at some point. Christ even told us to expect it (John 16:33). Yet most every blog post, podcast and article I’ve come across covers how to get out of it, how to avoid it or—even worse—does a tremendous disservice by quickly trying to sugarcoat it. Suffering is rarely if ever a choice. It’s a natural part of the human experience. So, why isn’t there more help out there on how to do it well?
I believe in the power of prayer. I know God can—and still does—move mountains. I also know that God allows suffering, too. Suffering is a part of His plan. If it weren't, Noah would've never been stuck on that big boat after watching everything he’d ever known be engulfed in water. Joseph never would've been thrown into a pit, sold into slavery and imprisoned. Jesus Himself would never have been ridiculed, tortured and crucified.
During my prayers for Mark's relief and the easing of my own emotional burden, none of this escapes me.
We don't have to relish suffering. We don't have to run after it. It's completely natural to want to avoid it. Even Christ prayed to the Father and asked that suffering be taken from Him if it was within God's will (Mark 14:36). But sometimes suffering is a part of the plan, a piece of the story that God is weaving together in our lives. If we know this is true, that sometimes suffering is a part of the Lord’s greater plan, then doesn't it make sense to prepare for it as best we can?
It has been said that misery loves company, so I took the hint. I dove into Scripture and surrounded myself with what felt like old friends, but I visited with them in different ways. While their stories were nothing new, I connected with what their emotional experiences must have been in brand new and very personal ways. I noted what they did and how God responded to their thoughts, words and actions. I found patterns and parallels. In my searching, I discovered evidence time and time again that God truly does meet us in our mess.
Jesus said, "What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops" (Matthew 10:27 ESV).
Jesus will tell us things in the dark when we're unsure and insecure. It is in this darkness where He whispers to us, sharing things that are only accessible when we're willing, able and waiting to hear.
Suffering is often the place of this darkness.
During suffering we're broken enough to stop listening to ourselves, and instead tune in more carefully to His whispers. Ironically enough, it's usually in the middle of hardship where our relationship with Jesus can truly grow the most. Whether we like it or not, hardship often pushes us out of our comfort zones. Suffering enables us to grow through what we go through.
From this perspective, what a tremendous opportunity suffering can be!
Yes, hardship hurts.
Yes, suffering sucks.
But there's very important work—and rewards—we need to be occupied with in the middle of it all. That's exactly how this book is different. In the pages that follow, you won't discover how to pray your way out of challenges and pain. Quite the opposite, actually. You'll be encouraged to go for broke, to face suffering head on in anticipation of meeting God personally in brand new ways. Suffering has a way of stretching us beyond ourselves. It prompts us to reach outside of our current comfort zones.
This book has been designed to help you take full advantage of this, to essentially help you not waste your pain. If God allows us to suffer, then we can rest assured that it isn't and won't be for not (Romans 8:28).
Suffering isn't just an experience or state we're in. It's a skill, too.
We can squander our experiences and energy trying to spin our wheels to get out of suffering as soon as we can (and sometimes futilely so) or we can choose to suffer well. We can be intentional about how we respond to suffering. We can work on ourselves, actively seeking to grow into all that God wants us to be. We can work on our listening skills, discovering how to quiet ourselves and the chaos around us. We can practice and grow in patience as we wait on God, His will, and His timing. In short, we can recognize with our choices and our actions that, yes, suffering is in God's plan for us, too.
If you're suffering now, I hope this book serves as a tool to help you feel less helpless. I hope that it helps you discover new opportunities to grow closer to and experience God in ways you've never known before. I hope that it helps you realize that you are not buried by your current circumstance or hardship even if that's exactly how you feel, but rather God has planted you right where you are for a reason: It's just time to get growing.











 








“Shannon’s writing is infused with an abiding passion, a marked sensitivity to the needs of her readers and a tangible wisdom gleaned from real life experience,” Danielle D.
Shannon Medisky is a leading expert in struggling with stress, screwing up and seeking God in the midst of it all. Sometimes funny but always real, Shannon’s writing is infused with practical ideas designed to help others create positive, real change in their daily lives. In short, Shannon writes about how to intentional move from simply “going on” to growing on—by God’s grace.
Shannon’s articles, insights and ideas have been featured in Exceptional Parents, Adoptive Families, Hybrid Mom, Mothering and Focus on the Family’s Thriving Family. For the past nine years, Shannon’s also worked as contributing writer and curriculum designer for OneHope, a global nonprofit ministry devoted to sharing the life-changing message of the Gospel with youth and children worldwide. To learn more, visit GraceToGrowOn.com.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK




 

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Interview with Rachel G. Carrington, author of The Early Years





Inside the Book:

Title: The Early Years
Author: Rachel G. Carrington
Publisher: iUniverse
Genre: Biography
Format: Ebook/Paperback
Author Rachel G. Carrington lays no claim to lofty jobs, higher education, nor grand accomplishments except for a love-filled, multifaceted, family-oriented, poverty-to-plenty life. In The Early Years, the first in a series, she shares her story.
As a young teenager, just entering high school in the small town of Denton, Kentucky, Carrington planned to attend college and become a teacher. With coursework geared toward college attendance, she was offered a lucrative scholarship that would help her to attain her goal. However, it took only a single event to send her down a different path. She met a returned World War II veteran who was attempting to pick up the pieces after finding his marriage in irreparable shambles and his children gone. As he struggled, Carrington was there, and they pulled together to clear the many hurdles before them.
In this memoir, she tells the story of their journey and how their love and dedication for each other kept moving them forward. Filled with the joys, disappointments, and struggles of a couple, The Early Years narrates how the love of the heavenly Father was the continuous thread that bound Carrington’s life together.




Could you please tell us a little about your book?

My book is about the life of a sensitive, very shy girl, starting with her teen years in the 1940's. She was firstborn to loving,
albeit, strict, religious parents, who put providing a good education for their children at the top of their priorities. A college
education was out of the question due to lack of funds but, high school attendance was realistic and encouraged. Rachel applied
and was to be awarded a scholarship which could make her dreams of becoming a teacher a reality. Then, an unexpected  
incident changed everything.

A few weeks after learning of the promised scholarship, Rachel and several girlfriends were attending mid-week prayer service at
her church. A common practice then in a hot southern Kentucky summer, was to have open windows for any semblance of comfort.
Open windows invited all night insects attracted to light, to come inside, especially large brown beetles. On this night, something
struck and clung in Rachel's hair. Thinking it was one of the dreaded beetles flying overhead, Rachel swatted at her
hair just as another one hit. She asked her girlfriend to help her get it out. Rachel’s girlfriend immediately told Rachel that it
was no beetle...  "This single, seemingly insignificant, minor incident was to have major impact on the rest of Rachel's life.

Rachel's story starts just as our nation is pulling out of the Great Depression and into WWII. It touches briefly on the war,
(mostly, its impact on the people), and, tells about the returning war veterans and the aftermath of WWII in small-town
Denton, KY. The geographical settings of Rachel's story include southern to northern Kentucky and the Cincinnati area.

The Carrington's early life is one of hardships, disappointments and uncertainties, yet, is a joyful, hopeful, faith-filled time.
A desire to, one day, "have something" (Brad's expression), the willingness to work as hard as need be toward his goal, and
an unshakeable faith that he has God's blessings in what he is trying to accomplish, makes it all worth it! From experience,
Rachel did not doubt that, one day things would be better, as her faith in her husband was second, only, to her faith in God.

My book/s/ are about family, a family accustomed to hard work, yet to a life of fun and joy. An inventive father and mother always
found ways to make time for fun and games, homemade board games, wheeled toys, puzzles, etc., Work became games.
Child's playtime games grew as the children did. Simple boxes with wheels became cars with motors; a board, pencil and sail
became a real boat and motor; a farm pond later evolved into a swimming pool, and, on and on. Family togetherness: "a family who
[plays] together, stays together"! (This later became our motto for a family waterski show—including four families--all part of my
story in the trilogy, Matters of the Heart, of which The Early Years: A Memoir is Book 1.)

Who or what is the inspiration behind this book?

The chief inspiration for writing this book is the happy, eventful life I have lived, one so fulfilled that, on
looking back, I can see very little that I would ever want to change. Each hardship I experienced, each hurdle I
encountered, each heartache that befell me, and each doubt I had along the way, I now see as building blocks
that shaped my existence into the life I have had and the memories I have attempted to portray in my book.

What cause are you the most passionate about and why?

Research and treatment of cancer in children

Do you have any rituals you follow when you finish a piece of work?

I perform no rituals other than to shut down my computer and for, at least a short length of time, try to get back into a
normal daily routine. I have not yet figured out how to do both.

Who has influenced you through your writing career?

Other authors whose work I admire, along with family, friends, and my readers continue to be my main influences.

What are your long-term goals?

My long-term goals are to finish the last two books of my ongoing series, Matters of the Heart.
Meet the Author:
Rachel G. Carrington, a transplanted Kentuckian, is a widow, mother of seven and grandmother to three generations. Included with her many other interests, she spends much of her time writing and lives in Hamilton, Ohio and in Honolulu, Hawaii.


Friday, November 9, 2018

Interview with Alastair Fraser, author of Forestry Flavours of the Month







Publication Date: May 20, 2016
Publisher: AuthorHouse
Formats: Ebook
Pages: 228
Genre: Biography
Tour Dates: September 4 - 15

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Forestry touches on all aspects of human welfare in one way or another, which is why foresters need to play an active role in determining our collective agenda. Alastair Fraser, a lifelong forester and the co-founder of LTS International, a forestry consulting company, explains how forestry changes with political cycles and how foresters can promote healthy forests at all times.

He explores critical issues such as:
• forests and their connection to coal;
• forest's role in combatting floods and climate change;
• illegal logging in Indonesia, Laos, and elsewhere;
• tactics to promote sustainable forestry management;
• plantations as a solution to tropical deforestation.

From pulping in Sweden and Brazil, paper mills in Greece and India, agroforestry in the Philippines, "pink" disease in India and oil bearing trees of Vietnam, no topic is off limits. Based on the author's life as a forester in dozens of countries, this account shows the breadth of forestry and makes a convincing case that forestry management needs to focus on managing change and achieving sustainability. Whether you're preparing to become a forester, already in the field, or involved with conservation, the environment or government, you'll be driven to action with Forestry Flavours of the Month.


INTERVIEW:


Can you tell us why you wrote your book?

I wrote it in an attempt to raise public awareness of what forestry is all about and how forests benefit mankind. The book describes some of the more interesting topics that I have been involved in, and places that I have visited over the past 55 years working as an international consultant in forestry.  It aims to describe some of the big issues facing forests and the environment such as illegal logging and deforestation, as well as some of the benefits that forests provide. 

Which part of the book was hardest to write?

No part was hard as it is based on my personal experiences and I have diries and field notebooks where I recorded everything.

Does your book have an underlying message that readers should know?

Yes.  The book is intended to raise awareness about the things that Forestry entails and show people how important forests are for mankind in so many ways (apart from timber and other forest products including biomass fuel (firewood) fruit, fodder medicines, oils and gums and fibres, forests are important as: a wildlife habitat, a place for human recreation and leisure. Improving the landscape, mitigation the effect of flash flooding and soil erosion, sequestering carbon to mitigate climate change and emitting oxygen, providing shade and shelter).

Do you remember when the writing bug hit?

I have always enjoyed writing since starting my professional career.

Besides books, do you write anything else?

I have written 128 scientific papers and technical documents and one technical textbook.


Alastair Fraser is a founder member of the archaeology group No Man s Land. He has worked as researcher and participant in a number of Great War documentaries. Steve Roberts is a retired police officer and an ex-regular soldier. He specialises in researching individuals who served during the war and is also a founder member of No Man s Land. Andrew Robertshaw frequently appears on television as a commentator on battlefield archaeology and the soldier in history, and he has coordinated the work of No Man s Land. His publications include Somme 1 July 1916: Tragedy and Triumph, Digging the Trenches (with David Kenyon) and The Platoon.


Thursday, November 8, 2018

Meet Ray Sutherland, Author of 'Secret Agent Angel'



Ray Sutherland is a Kentucky native who grew up on a farm outside of Bowling Green. He served in the Army, spent two years in Germany, received his B.A. in religion from Western Kentucky University, and his PhD in the Bible from Vanderbilt University.  Ray has served of Professor of Biblical Studies at the University of North Carolina-Pembroke for over thirty years, pastored a small church for nine years, and is retired from the Army Reserve. He and his wife Regina live in North Carolina and have two sons and four grandchildren.
Find out more: Amazon / B&N / Kobo
  
INTERVIEW:

Mayra Calvani: Please tell us about Secret Agent Angel, and what compelled you to write it.
Author: If angels are God’s secret agents then you know there are some really good secret agent stories they could tell, and my first novel Secret Agent Angel tells some of them in first person as told by one of the angels. Samuel is an angel who often comes to earth in human flesh and blood form to be God’s secret agent. Samuel specializes in persuasion and encouragement of people in a crisis, refers to God as “the Boss,” enjoys the unpredictability of humans, has a weird sense of humor, and is a junk food junkie. By design, he often is as unaware of the Boss’s real purpose as are the humans he comes to help and as a result has some significant misadventures along the way and even some failures. But he persists in the certainty that God will put it all to good use, even if humanity and even Samuel himself don’t see how.
My main purpose in writing the novel was to tell a story that was entertaining, exciting, and uplifting.  It takes a cue from Billy Graham’s book “Angels: God’s Secret Agents” and tells of the adventures of one of those angels who serves as one of God’s secret agents.
M.C.: What is your book about?
Author: Secret Agent Angel tells of the exploits and adventures of an angel who comes from heaven to earth to help some humans through various crises. Samuel the angel specializes in persuasion, but sometimes gets the chance to do a little more. Samuel comes to protect a porter on the Ho Chi Minh Trail in 1968, to persuade truckers in 1970 Omaha to take an interest in an abused child, to a World War II veteran in a dream to get him to forgive the Germans, to an accountant in the present U.S.A. to get the accountant to treat an account ethically, and they all come together in a contemporary truck stop where they have to oppose a powerful fire demon who threatens to undo all their good work. Unless Samuel has been successful in strengthening several peoples spirits.
M.C.:  What themes do you explore in Secret Agent Angel?
Author: God is always at work around you. You have a soul; take care of it. (Both of those statements are borrowed. Both are very good.)
M.C.:  Why do you write?
Author: I write as entertainment first, then to uplift. If I’m writing something and it doesn’t entertain me, I drop it. I also try for writing a story that is spiritually and emotionally uplifting. I want the reader to leave the story feeling good and with optimism.
M.C.:  When do you feel the most creative?
Author: When I’ve written six pages in one day. If they’re good.
M.C.:  How picky are you with language?
Author: I’m impatient with endless polishing and rearranging. I’m very picky about story and plot. I try very hard to write a scene correctly, but my goal is to get it right the first time. I don’t assume that my first draft is perfect and I am willing to make adjustments and, above all, to fix problems, but my goal is to get it right the first time and then leave it alone. Can’t always do that, but that’s the goal. Pretty language is good, but the story takes precedence.
M.C.:  When you write, do you sometimes feel as though you were being manipulated from afar?
Author: Very little and when I feel that, I strongly suspect that it’s my subconscious, not an outside power. I have to think too intensely and work too hard at writing to believe that some outside power is controlling me. Robert E. Howard, the creator of Conan, said that sometimes he felt as if he were simply relating someone else’s adventures as if that hero were telling them to him in random order. I seldom had any such feeling. My feeling was that the story was up to me and that it would succeed or not depending on how good a job I did.
M.C.:  What is your worst time as a writer?
Author: Rejection.
M.C.:  Your best?
Author: When Secret Agent Angel was accepted for publication. Another is when my wife told me that I had written a good book.
M.C.:  Is there anything that would stop you from writing?
Author: Death or dementia. Otherwise, I’ll keep on.
M.C.: What’s the happiest moment you’ve lived as an author?
Author: That’s a tie between finally finishing Secret Agent Angel and when it was accepted for publication.
M.C.:  Is writing an obsession to you?
Author: No. I enjoy writing and I love thinking up stories, but it doesn’t take over my life. In my regular job I’m a college professor and being obsessed with writing would be detrimental to that very important work. Still, when I’m deep into a writing project, I get into it so much that it gets difficult to do other things.
M.C.:  Are the stories you create connected with you in some way?
Author: All of the episodes in Secret Agent Angel relate to parts of my life. I have spent much time in hospitals, trucks, tanks, truck stops, and hamburger joints. The main exception is that I have never been on the Ho Chi Minh trail. That chapter took a lot of research.
M.C.:  Ray Bradbury once said, “You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.” Thoughts?
Author: Reality doesn’t destroy my stories, it informs them, even the fantasy part. Especially the fantasy part. Even though the main character in the book is an angel, he appears to people who are very realistic people and are in very realistic situations. I am firmly convinced that we have spiritual assistance more often than we think. I strongly believe that is reality, so from that perspective, even the angelic visitation element is reality.
M.C.:  Do you have a website or blog where readers can find out more about you and your work?
Author: raysutherland.com is my website.