Wednesday, April 29, 2015



How do we, “win friends and influence people”? How does a writer or a speaker inspire his/her audience? How do we get hold of a listener’s/reader’s imagination? These are some of the questions I’ve struggled to answer. Perhaps this is the goal of any kind of Christian leadership: to be an influencer for God’s reign. But in particular, how do authors go about this?

When we look at the Lord’s methodology, he seemed to tell a lot of stories to the people of His day. There’s something about a story that draws in the reader or the listener. Even though they may be as mundane as a farmer casting seed on his land or as poignant as a father rushing out to embrace his errant son, the story beguiles us and somehow captures our attention. It has almost infinite applications. When the young prince Hamlet wanted to confront his murderous uncle, Shakespeare had him say, “The play’s the thing!” Aye, there’s the rub indeed, we might add. Systematics and didactic presentations have their uses, no doubt.

But the story is the thing: it is the way of the heart.

One of the first books I read was “St. Augustine and His Search for Faith”. He told his own story of how he wandered throughout his early life on a quest for meaning and understanding, finally finding rest in the great “Thee”. This has somehow marked my own life. Stories of redemption fascinate me. So, I have tried to tell some of my own. Aedistamen is a redemption story in another world where a people who have been unfaithful find themselves enslaved to a cruel and merciless race. They are trapped and exiled in an alien world where their very children are fodder for a demoniacal deity. But they have one thing going for them: the almost forgotten memories of an ancient faith that speak of a forgiving, loving and redeeming God. Will He leave them in their pit, or will He mastermind an astounding work of liberation?

Ultimately of course, Aedistamen is our story. In my bio, I stated that I wanted to tell some tales of a forgotten God in a godless world. As we read of and hear of riots in Baltimore, earthquakes in Nepal, and terrorist acts in the Middle East, we might just conclude that our own memories of an ancient faith need to be refreshed.

Tony Hilling is a retired pastor and writer. He was born in Glasgow, Scotland and now makes his home in Western Canada. “The Voice of Aedistamen” is his first novel.

Connect with Tony on:
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Listen to the FREE SAMPLE of Joseph Max Lewis audiobook "The Declaration of Independence-John Hancock" RIGHT NOW!

The audiobook sample of Joseph Max Lewis "The Declaration of Independence-John Hancock" is available in the Helping Hands Press Store right now!


Here is the link and a little more about the story:

Would you have signed?
The Declaration of Independence series asks all of us that one soul searching question. If you were rich, if signing meant defying the world’s superpower, if failure meant your family would be left destitute and you would be hung by the neck with your hands tied behind your back until you strangled to death, would you have signed The Declaration of Independence? Would you have risked your privileged life so that others might live in freedom?
That was the question facing John Hancock and in the face of overwhelming odds he answered, “Yes.”
“We must all hang together,” Hancock said, before almost choking on his disastrous choice of words. Men’s faces clouded. They realized they stood on the brink, but could still step back. As had so often been the case, it was Benjamin Franklin who saved him, who saved us all.
“Yes, we must indeed all hang together,” Franklin replied in an equally loud voice. He took a moment to push his spectacles up his nose. “. . . or most assuredly we shall hang separately.”
The hall burst into surprised laughter. Men now smiled, grimly perhaps, but they lined up and took their turn, signing the most important document in the history of the world. Only Franklin, Hancock thought to himself.
Join Hancock, Franklin, Jefferson and the other Founders on one of the most momentous days in human history, July 4, 1776.

Marta Burden shares her experience with Public Transportation!

Except for a short season way back in my college days, my public transportation experience was limited.
I’m from the burbs, and even downtown sees little public transportation. We all have cars. My city is a design of urban sprawl. Sure, I’ve had my fair share of blood pressure rising traffic jams, every city or town has one on occasion – even if it’s a mama duck escorting her little brood across Main Street or a loose cow planted in the middle of the road.

And then I went to Israel.

Although cars are plentiful, they are a precious commodity and not everyone has the luxury. Busses, taxis, taxi vans and trains serve the people. You want to get from point A to point B? Depending on the distance, you either hoof it or use public transportation. Everyone does it. It’s a way of life.

I spent my first Israeli adventure on a tour bus. For a newbie, this is the way to go. You gulp down your last shlook of coffee, hop on the bus and off you go for the day. Nice.

After that – my next trip to Israel was a solo affair. I boarded a plane for the 14 hour trek - alone. I arrived at my hostel in Tel Aviv – which is another story in itself, not knowing the language, or routine of the city.

My first public transportation venture was on a taxi van with a friend. I watched and learned.
If you don’t have exact change, 5 shekels, you give the driver your money, sit down fast, because he’s already pulled back onto the street, and wait. He makes change and hands it to the person behind him. Depending on where you end up sitting, your change gets passed back to you via hands reaching forward and then back to the next person. It’s quite a fluid dance.
And your change? It’s all there.
Taxis are quite another story. Be prepared to live the phrase, “if you don’t like how I drive, stay off the sidewalk”.

My experience on a metro train happened on my last visit to Jerusalem with Hubster. Because they’re still a new thing, people are getting used to them. Israeli’s haven’t tackled the fine art of courtesy, so it can be a challenge, especially since they are crowded. Everyone wants to get on or off at the same time. And when the automatic doors close, you’d better have all parts of your person in or out.

Chicago West Line Metro has been around for a long time. Public transportation is old hat. And that’s where you’ll find Seth Haberman in West Line Encounter.
On his way home from a busy day at work, he meets Joshua Josephson. And not only that, he invites him home to meet the family, have dinner and eventually lets him stay for a week.
Where will this encounter lead?

Marta Burden is a published author with stories in Inspire Anthologies, including Faith, Victory and Promise.
Drawing from her many visits to Israel, Marta seeks to bridge the gap between the Christian and Jewish world.

You can visit Marta at:
Pinterest - Marta Burden
Facebook- Marta Burden

New Series to begin! "Downsized,Literally!"

It’s 2015 and the Dwarves have been summoned to the Palace of the King and Queen.

Why have they been summoned?

The King has decided to close the mine. It has not been producing the quantity and quality of jems and diamonds he is accustomed to.
There is also a much,much,much larger issue. OSHA, the Department of Labor, Mine Safety and Health Administration, the Secretary of the Interior, Mining Enforcement and Safety Administration (MESA), Mine Improvement and New Emergency Response Act (MINER Act) and a number of other Government organizations and laws are finding the Kingdom run mine to be in serious non-compliance.

What are a King and Queen to do?

They must separate the dwarves from their long standing positions and downsize them.

Are there any Golden Parachutes for the hard working cadre of skilled miners?

Do they leave with wonderful parting gifts?

Or do they get the shaft?

Voice Actor George Taylor's new Podcast- "Non-Profit Murders"

George's friend, Becky Wooley, has written a murder mystery/clerical crime/satire called Non-Prophet Murders which is full of spiritual ideas. While making you scratch your head trying to figure out “who-dun-it”, Becky challenges you to think about the Church and your beliefs and allows you to laugh, too. How does she do it? Well, you have to listen to the podcast to find out!!

Listen in to the PODCAST! Click the link!

Journey To A Play - Marcia Lee Laycock

Journey to a Play

“Are you sure you’ll have time for that?”

My husband’s words struck a cord. I already had several fingers in several different pies. As a pastor’s wife, my time and energies were often in demand; as a freelance writer, deadlines often loomed and kept the pressure up. And then there was that book I had to finish.

But this was an opportunity I had wanted to take advantage of for some time – an online playwriting course, working one on one with a woman whose work I knew and respected. As I read the syllabus and scanned the application I knew the course would be demanding. The information came with a warning from the instructor, that if you weren’t serious about doing the work, don’t even begin.

So I prayed about it. The ideas I’d had in the past that always seemed to show up in my head as plays began spinning feverishly, demanding to be let out. So I downloaded the application, outlining the ideas I had, selecting the writing samples I would send and updating my CV. When I hit send I had a definite sense of excitement and anticipation.
Then the doubts set in. Was my work good enough? Would I be accepted? I tried to prepare myself for a possible rejection, but found I just couldn’t imagine not doing this course. Receiving the email that told me I was in made me leap out of my chair. Yes! I couldn’t wait to get started.

Then the work began – exercises geared to helping us choose a story, exercises geared to honing the skills necessary to make a play come alive on a stage. And the slow but tremendously exciting exercise of beginning to build a one act play. I found the process both challenging and exhilarating. I’d been feeling that I’d reached kind of a plateau in my writing and this was pushing me to a new level.

After nine months of work an email came saying, “This is ready. Congratulations.”

I stared at the words and wept. The idea of seeing my play in the hands of professional directors and actors left me breathless. And now it was going to happen. There will be nine plays featured in the Budding Playwrights’ Festival at the Rosebud School of the Arts on May 3-4. A Pattern in Blue will be one of them.

Marcia is a pastor's wife, the mother of three grown daughters, a freelance writer and Christian speaker. She is a published author and editor, having written for Christian magazines and newspapers in the U.S. and Canada, as well as home-town newspapers. Her short stories, articles and poetry have won awards in Canada and the U.S. and been broadcast on CBC radio. Her work also appears frequently on the world wide web.

Marcia is a frequent speaker for women's groups of all sizes and has often taught writing courses for the Alberta Adult Education Department, Inscribe Christian Writers Fellowship, and The Word Guild (Write! Canada).

Drop by Marcia's Amazon Author Page and see all of her titles:

Friday, April 24, 2015

Collie Rescue - Fightin' over the females - Joseph Max Lewis

Fightin' Over The Females!!!!!

For over 15 years I’ve been involved in Collie Rescue including adopting the more difficult to place males that have gone stray. For those not familiar with the breed, Male Standard Rough Hair Collies (like Lassie) go about 80 to 85 lbs, so they’re pretty big boys.

One of the first things to understand when adopting ANY dog is their three major instinctive drives. Every dog has a Prey Drive, Pack Drive and Defense Drive. Prey drive in its most basic form motivates dogs to hunt and kill animals so they can eat them. It’s exhibited by high-pitched barking and pouncing. The pack drive enables a dog to work and cooperate with other dogs - and people - and is exhibited by play behavior and expressions of affection. Finally, Defense Drive is just what it says - it’s the dog’s instinct to protect itself and the pack, but it can become a problem if not properly channeled, ie guarding food or toys and growling at or attacking other dogs or humans.

When two large dogs get into a fight over territory or, what else . . . a female, what will most likely end the fight naturally and, if it does not end, how does the American Kennel Club recommend ending the fight? Two answers: first, “Social hierarchy,” when one dog signals submission to the other. Dog fights can appear terribly violent, but in the end dogs seldom cause each other serious harm – unless some donkey trained them to hurt each other. When one dog starts to win, when it becomes clear he’s the tougher dog, the weaker dog will signal submission by rolling over on its back and exposing its belly. The dominant dog will prance around for a while, growl, snip at and basically humiliate the other dog, but won’t hurt it anymore. On rare occasion two dogs that are both physically well matched and equally dominant will fight and that, especially if the conflict is over a female, can go on too long and get vicious.

So what do you do if a dog fight does not resolve itself?

DO NOT stick your hand in unless there’s no other choice. Instead, according to the AKC, dump a bucket of water on them. Seriously – preferably cold water. It’s hard to be a tough guy when you’re soaking wet, you know?

Joseph Max Lewis author of The Diaries of Pontius Pilate, Separation of Church and State and Baghdad Burning.


Amazon Author Page:

Joseph Max Lewis served as a member of an Operational Detachment in the U.S. Army's Seventh Special Forces Group, the storied Green Berets. During his service Lewis received antiterrorist training and his detachment was tasked to "Special Projects." Afterward, he served as an instructor at the Special Forces Qualification Course. Lewis attended the Pennsylvania State University, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, the University of Tel Aviv in Israel, and the University of Pittsburgh, receiving degrees in International Politics and Law while being certified in Middle East Studies.

After living and studying abroad, first in the Middle East and then Southeast Asia, Lewis returned home to practice law. He’s a columnist in the New Bethlehem Leader-Vindicator, author of The Diaries of Pontius Pilate and currently lives, writes, and practices law in and around Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

The REVIEWS are IN on Anne Baxter Campbell's "The Truth Trilogy"!

Anne Baxter Campbell is the author of a number of Christian stories.Her work spans the length of time-Historical and Contemporary.

One Theme though cuts through it all-Anne's HEART and deep love for GOD and the teachings of THE BIBLE.

Below you find a few of the incredible reviews she has gotten thus far.

If you interest is piqued after you have read the reviews and you have yet to read one of Anne's stories,please visit her Amazon Author Page to see all of her titles:

Five Star Review by D. Jones:
Well written. The an author has written a book that shows how people lived at the time of Christ. She weaves her fictional characters into the lives of the men and women found in the Bible. She leads the reader to the cross and the suffering of Jesus. I always wonder if it is right to add fiction to the inspired Word of God ;but, I also wonder how many people read Christian fiction and are encouraged to turn to the source of truth- The Bible.
People in our times, especially those who live in 'first world' countries such as the USA, often have little or no insight to the lives of people who lived in the era of the New Testament. The author explains how did the presence of Roman government influenced the Jewish people and Jewish leaders and led to the crucifixion of Jesus. She points out the fact that Jesus was loved and followed by many in the Jewish community, that He was recognized as the Messiah and that his death was caused not by the Jewish people but by a small group of Jewish leaders who feared for their elevated positions in the Jewish priesthood. The fictional characters are well defined and interesting. The reader will not know what the outcome of these characters will be unless the readers finish the book.

Five Star review by Delores Bublitz:
This was my first book by Anne Campbell. It was well blended as the stories moved through the lives and connections of relationships. The One True GOD revealed in and through lives and circumstances only He can be directing and protecting.

Five Star Review by embarnett:
Very well done! Made you feel as if you were there living the story along with them. Hated to see the novel end.

Five Star Review by Fay Lamb:
Anne Baxter Campbell has a knack for taking you back in time and bringing characters to life. Julius is a Roman soldier. He could most likely have any woman he wants, but he's fallen in love with a young Jewish maiden named Miriam.
Heroes often make sacrifices, and Julius is no exception. Through this man's sacrifice, he learns of a God who can move mountains, and more importantly circumstances.
You'll love this story. Anne's subtle humor, her way of weaving you into the time period, and her knowledge of the era will win your heart.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Road Taken by Mark Venturini

The Road Taken, by Mark Venturini

In his famous poem, The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost wrote:

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Even while I write this post, I sense the road before me forking, diverging. But unlike the traveler in Robert Frost’s poem, I have no sorrow, no regret. I know I cannot travel both.
As a person of faith, I believe God directs my path, that His word “is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.” (Psalm 91)

In a world full of forks and curves and potholes, there is only one correct road for each person to travel. The trick is determining which one it is.

In my writing life, I often envision myself standing before a winter field covered in pristine, unbroken snow. Behind me are the only prints, my own, leading back to the place where I started. What lies ahead? I don’t know, the path is buried in the snow. Yet I sense the “still small voice” whispering to me not to be afraid, encouraging me to take the first step as it did with Elijah in the Old Testament book of 1Kings.

It’s just a whisper, though, a feather against my heart, gentle and unassuming. I strain to hear it, to feel it, in a world of clamoring distractions. Is this the direction God is truly leading me? Is this the path I am called to follow?

Events this week will help determine that question for me. The road diverges before me. I am nervous to see whether doors will open for me. Whichever fork I take, I know I am moving out of my comfort zone and stepping into pristine snow , , ,

“Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.”

I hope you will follow me on my journey!

My blog:
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We can also connect on LinkedIn and Google+

What do U think of Ch.1 of "Fire and Smoke" by Marcia Lee Laycock?

The Ambassadors - Book Two
Volume FourFire and Smoke

As he prayed, Eghan’s heart beat hard. Princes had been accused of treason for less than what he was about to do. It was Silhas who formed the plan. They would take the offensive. Khalwyd would distract Damon’s men while Eghan confronted the guards and demanded to see his uncle. As they hurried toward the cells, Eghan prayed the guards would respond to his authority as their prince. At the entrance to the prison he was relieved to see Silhas greet an old friend.
Jhonar’s smile was brief. “I have been expecting you, Silhas.”
Silhas nodded. “We have come to see the Lord Adlair, Jhonar.”
“An ambassador in chains.”
“Once again.”
Jhonar's eyes darted to Damon’s men.
“Circumstances are different, my friend.”
“But the Lord is with us.”
Jhonar nodded and opened the first door. As they stepped through, he leaned close and said softly, “I’ll keep these ones away from the door as long as I can. Be quick.”
There were not many guards in the corridors until they reached the level where Adlair was held. Khalwyd slipped away and hid himself. As Eghan and Silhas walked boldly toward Adlair’s cell, Eghan noticed there were two of Damon’s men for every Lhinian.
Silhas spoke first. “We have come to see the prisoner. Open the door.”
Two of the king’s men exchanged a look. Damon’s men took a step forward but before they could respond, Eghan spoke with authority.
“By the authority of the king, open it now!”
One of the Lhinian guards produced a key and swiftly unlocked the cell. As they moved toward it, Eghan heard Khalwyd’s yell. It was enough to distract the men for a moment and that was all they needed. Adlair was out and running with them in a matter of seconds.
Eghan glanced over his shoulder as they fled and saw his father’s soldiers holding Damon’s men at bay. They made the upper entrance easily. As they leaped into the open, Eghan’s heart beat with victory, but it was short-lived. They had taken only a few steps when they were surrounded by Damon’s men, swords drawn. Eghan saw Khalwyd start to raise his weapon, but Adlair put a restraining hand on his arm. Resistance was futile against so many. Eghan clenched his fists in frustration. They had stepped right into a trap. The row of soldiers parted and Damon himself was before them. He eyed each of them. His smile was smug.
“Well, well. Treason against the king by his closest advisors.” He smirked as he faced Eghan. “And even his own son.”
Eghan wanted to drive his fist into the glinting white teeth, but he was helpless as the guards separated him from the others and herded them all toward the great hall.
The room was crowded when they burst in, the guards dragging Khalwyd, who had attempted to break free and still wrestled with his captors. Gherin stood in silence as Damon loudly presented the charge of treason against Adlair, Silhas and Khalwyd. As he spoke, he slowly made his way toward the king, until he stood on the dais beside him.
“You can deny the truth no longer, Gherin. The proof stands before you. Even your own son has...”
The king turned on the duke and Eghan’s heart leaped. For a moment he thought his father had seen through the deception. But Gherin spoke coldly when he turned back to the three men on their knees before him.
“I have trusted you with my life, and the life of my son. You have repaid me with treachery and betrayal.”
Khalwyd lunged to his feet. “Sire, by all that is holy and good, I swear we meant no challenge to the rule of your kingdom, nor harm to you, nor to your son. We were only trying to thwart the plan of a devious enemy - a snake, who has brought evil among us.”
Damon stepped closer to the king. “The witnesses you have already heard will swear again that these men have conspired against you, Gherin. Secure your throne. Stop this treachery before it destroys what you have built.”
Gherin paused for only a moment. He seemed to sway slightly and his hand went to his head. Damon reached out and grasped his elbow. The king shook it off and stared down at the three men. “All of you will hang.”
Eghan surged forward. “No!”
Damon’s guards were on him, pinning his arms.
Khalwyd took a step forward, his voice a bellow. “I have served you all my life. I ...”
Before he could finish, a guard struck him with the butt end of a long lance. Khalwyd crumpled to the ground.
Eghan writhed in the arms of his captors. “Father, please, you cannot do this. You have been poisoned by this...Duke. You must know in your heart we are not against you.”
Damon leaned toward the king briefly and spoke too softly for anyone to hear. Gherin faced them and his look made Eghan’s heart stop. His father’s gaze fell again on the three kneeling at his feet. He waved his hand over them, as though over a pile of dung, and spoke to the guards. “Take them away.”
Eghan struggled again, but could not break free of the tight grip of Damon's men. The Duke leaned toward the king once more and Gherin’s eyes turned on his son. The anger faded, but what Eghan saw there wounded him more deeply than anything ever had. For the first time in his life, he saw the look of defeat in his father’s eyes.
The king stared for a moment, his eyes seeming to glaze over, then he gave a slight jerk of his head. Damon nodded and stepped away from him. With a wave of his hand and the command, “Follow me,” he led them out of the great hall.
Once they were away from the king, Damon ordered Eghan to be bound. Then he deliberately led them out through the courtyard and into the open square. In no time a crowd gathered, forcing the guards to make a path for them as they marched toward the house of prayer. At its entrance, Damon turned and smirked into Eghan’s face. “Fitting, is it not, Prince Eghan, that you will be held here? Your prison will be the very house on which you have labored.” He turned to the people still swarming about them and raised his voice. “Spread the word. Prince Eghan’s attempt to overthrow his father’s rule has been thwarted. His treasonous friends will hang and he will be held in isolation until we are convinced he has come to his senses and is free of the wizard’s spell.” He nodded at the guards and Eghan was pushed through the high wooden doors. He watched over his shoulder as Damon stood at the entrance, surveying the crowd for a few moments. Then he smiled, turned, and bolted the huge doors behind him.

Take a look at all of Marcia's titles, Twitter,etc on her Amazon Author Page:

"God never closes a door without opening a window."-Sue Badeau

"God never closes a door without opening a window."

I love doors – whenever I travel, I take photos of the unique doorways I find. Each door represents a possibility and a story – as a writer, I look at doors and wonder what stories lie behind them. What story will this door help me to tell today? Doors are rich with meaning, emotion, and possibilities.

A door says "welcome". A cheery door, open and surrounded by flowers. A painted door. A door with a well-worn doorjamb, a stoop for sitting on - these doors tell me I am invited in, welcome. I will find hospitality here.

A door says, "this is who I am - come, get to know me”. Doors are little palettes of self-expression. Whether it is artistic, hopeful, zany or wistful, a door sets each individual apart from its neighbors. My wreath, my flowers, my funky antique frog knocker, that little broken piece of glass where the kids’ baseball sailed through . . . . My door is a collage of me.

And yet, a door also connects me to my community. It is ordinary. We all have doors - to our homes, our cars, our schools, our jobs. Stepping out of our own doorways and into those of others provides connection, gives us the opportunity to link our lives with our sisters, brothers, children, elders, friends, even our enemies are no farther than a door or two away.

A door speaks of history. How many people has this door welcomed? Whose hands have turned this door knob? Whose feet have crossed this threshold? How many brides were carried across, how many babies toddled out? How many drunks stumbled in, how many workmen made repairs? A door is a slice of a thousand lives lived, dreams dreamed, hopes pursued.

A door speaks of possibilities. Opportunities. What journey will I begin when I cross this threshold? What lies beyond this door? Will I see the world differently? Will I be a different person when I return, weary, at the end of the day? Look how the light angles through, the reflections, even in a world of darkness, a door can be a ray of hope, a chance to be renewed, recreated, and reborn.

A door connects us to the world beyond - to God, to the Spirit. Doors are reminders of the rites of passages we cross as we traverse and travail throughout our lives. One door brings new life. Another door leads to death. A door takes us beyond ourselves, beyond the here and now, beyond our wildest imaginings, our fears, our mysteries. A door takes us home.

A door speaks of home. I am safe here. I am secure. There is a coziness, a comfort behind that door. The door keeps the wind and the rain and the cold out, and allows the warmth of love to fill my heart. A door speaks of love. My door says, "Ahhhhhhhh, it is so good to be home."

It’s time to close the door to my study and write that new story on my heart . . . .

Drop by Sue's Amazon Author Page:

Patti J. Smith's Goodreads GIVEAWAY is almost OVER!!! Take part! SPREAD the WORD!

Patti J. Smith's Goodreads Giveaway for "Grave Obsessions The Complete Series" comes to an end April 30th!

There is still time to sign up to win a signed copy.

Spread the word! Share the post and the link! Please!

Grave Obsessions Giveaway link:

Honey, This Ain’t My First Rodeo - Murray Pura and "Silver City"!

Honey, This Ain’t My First Rodeo

When I set out to write the series SILVER CITY I wanted to make it unique in several ways.

One was the border. Usually a western, old or new, set in America, if it needs to cross a border, that border is the southern border, the Mexican border. In SILVER CITY, when the lawman Grayden St. Cyr pursues a fugitive across a border, that border is the northern border. The hunts, the gunfights, and the showdowns all take place in Alberta and Canada, places full of the old west and the new west, places I know well and can write about well.

Another unique angle in SILVER CITY is the importance of the Clint Eastwood film Unforgiven. It was primarily shot on locations in Alberta. The fugitive in SILVER CITY has a fixation with the film and one of the ways the lawman tracks him is by finding out where those locations are. However the fugitive is also living out aspects of Unforgiven and other Eastwood westerns adding several extra twists to the series.

Then there are the titles to each volume in the SILVER CITY story. They are taken from country and western songs. For instance, Volume 1, This is Where the Cowboy Rides Away, is a George Strait tune. And Volume 2 is entitled This Ain’t My First Rodeo, another C&W hit. Someone might say, That isn’t a C&W tune. You just used an everyday expression for your title. It is an everyday expression now but that expression only came out on the street after the song was released in 1990. Country western star Vern Gosdin had complimented the carpenters on the work they’d done on an addition to his house and one had replied, “This ain’t our first rodeo.” Gosdin wrote the phrase down and later built a song around it:

This ain't the first time this old cowboy's been throwed
This ain't the first I've seen this dog and pony show
Honey, This ain't my first rodeo

And it’s entirely appropriate to give Vol. 2 in SILVER CITY that title because it takes place during a rodeo and it’s one of the most action-packed volumes in the entire series. I enjoy writing SILVER CITY in part because of the unique takes I’m able to bring to the story, a few of which I’ve shared in this blogpost. I hope you give SILVER CITY a shot and if you do I think you’ll find yourself having a great ride.

Connect with Best-Selling Author Murray Pura on Twitter:

Sister Alexis,Patti J. Smith,Walla Walla and A Healing Visit!


When my mom became ill, we received many calls from friends and family for moral and spiritual support. One of the calls was from mom’s friend from her high school days in Walla Walla, Washington. I had never met Sister Alexis but knew of her from stories my mom would share about their time together. She maintained contact throughout mom’s illness and became a source of comfort for me, especially after mom passed.
Three weeks ago my husband and I took my dad on a road trip to Oregon, Washington and Nevada. There were many people we wanted to see and the list of who to visit was extensive. Unfortunately, we only had a two-week window so we had to shorten the list … but I insisted Sister Alexis remain. Even though we had never met, something deep in my soul pulled me towards her.

I told the receptionist at St. Joseph’s residence we were there to visit Sister Alexis. She made a call then told us Sister would be down momentarily. Now, the only picture I had of her was when she was a young nun in a habit so I didn’t know who to look for. It was a particularly busy day and many people exited the elevator while we waited but the minute she stepped out, I knew it was her. She walked up to me, gave me a long hug and I immediately felt an overwhelming calmness that drew me to tears.

We all sat down in a private parlor and talked about everything under the sun. She shared a few more of her and mom’s adventures including an impromptu trip to San Francisco that angered both of their parents. (Now I know where I got my need for spontaneity!) We lamented over the Seahawks Superbowl loss (she’s a big fan), discussed our enthusiasm towards Pope Francis and, of course, spoke of mom’s last days.
As we ended the visit and said our good-byes, Sister Alexis kissed me on the cheek and hugged me. Once again the tears flew. Although wrapped in Sister’s arms, I felt like I was in my mother’s, and for the first time since her passing I was at peace.
God knew the pain I still carried in my heart and used mom’s oldest and dearest friend to soothe it.
A little about Sister Alexis: Barbara Melancon entered the Sisters of Providence in 1949 and made her profession in 1951. She taught school for thirty-five years then managed Emilie House (low-income housing for the elderly) for sixteen. Between assignments, she took a sabbatical to Jerusalem, Israel, for nine months. At that time, she had a jeweler make a silver ring with old Hebrew letters that said, “I have loved you with an everlasting love.” She wears it to this day because it expresses the relationship she has with Jesus that was deepened and strengthened in her time in the Holy Land.

Please visit Patti's blog-Gridiron Granny Football Fanatic:

George Taylor,Week 2:Audiobooks with Spiritual Ideas!

This is the second week exploring the merger of audiobooks with spiritual ideas. While we may usually think of Bibles, books about the Bible, or devotionals containing spiritual ideas, there are other forms of writing which can be rich in spiritual ideas. In this episode, I take a look at two novels which explore spiritual ideas using the story of the birth of Jesus as their platform. Amber Shamel’s The Swaddling Clothes is a historical novel inspired by a Veggie Tales episode. Anne Baxter-Campbell’s Once Upon a Christmas Eve tells the story of a teenage who needs to learn a lesson or two. You’ll hear excerpts from both of these books.

Listen in to podcast by clicking on this link:

Thursday, April 16, 2015

It's TIME folks,TIME to grab a little taste of "Detectives Incorporated"!

Detectives Incorporated – Volume 1- The Client

“We’re BORED!” said Mildred.
“Bored?” said her husband Ed.
“Yes, the four of us are bored stiff and need to make a change in our lives.”
“Wait a minute here. This is the exact life you asked for, hook line and sinker,” Ed retorted.
“That may be true but none the less it has become very boring and dare I say pedestrian,” Mildred went a bit further.
“What brought this on ladies?” Ed looked around quizzically and posed the question to the other females gathered around his dinner table with a smirk and a wink.
Sherry chimed in first, “It just isn’t the same; there is little to no action here in middle suburbia and we are starting to feel disenfranchised and stiff.”
Maryanne follows Sherry’s comment up quickly, “The same old same old, Ed, ya know.”
Bernice starts to open here mouth and pauses, takes a breath, then lets it out ,“We miss our old life. We want some action.”
“Action?” repeats Jim, Sherry’s husband.
“So they want action now, hmmm,” says Bill looking at Ed.
“A-C-T-I-O-N they want ACTION! That’s the cheer right ladies?” Bob says sarcastically.
“Stifle it Bob, Mr. Girls’ Assistant Soccer Coach” Bernice jabs back.
“Okay,Okay, everybody take a deep breath. Would you be kind enough to expand upon your initial comment now Mildred? Do you have a solution for this BOREDOM and how do we,” Ed gestures at the men seated at the dinner table with his fork, “fit into your grand plan?”
“Very simply,” she says.
“Very simply. Hmmm, two words that mean absolutely nothing put together. Do you have an idea, a seed of an idea maybe at least, or do you have an actionable plan. I am betting on it being number three.”
Mildred’s face has a very sly smile. “We want to be detectives, you know Private Eyes.”
Ed rolls his eyes and looks at the others seated around the table. The women all have broad smiles and are nodding their heads yes. The men are looking down at their plates of pasta, meatballs and sausage shaking their head but in a different way.
“What do you four know about detecting anything? I mean no disrespect dear wife, but cut me some slack, please.”
“That’s where you and the guys come in.”
“Now we come in. How do we come in?”
“We want you guys to take care of things at the office, be the face of the Agency, and be there for us if we run into trouble.”
“Oh, run things at the office. Do I look like an office worker? Do any of us look like office workers? Wait scratch Bob from that; he is the computer geek. He is well, just a geek no matter how you cut it. No offense Bob.” Ed looks over at Bob, gives him the old buddy head nod.
“None taken Ed. I fully acknowledge and embrace my geekiness; you are totally on fleek with that statement.”
Ed’s eyebrows raise just a tick, “Bob do you and I have to have one of those conversations that involve you losing some blood?”
“No,no,no.” Using air quotations Bob continues, “ ‘On Fleek’ means that you are on point, you are correct, that you hit the nail on the head. It is current jargon. I thought we had gone over this.”
“Okay, got it, on fleek”. Sure. Really. Back to the matter at hand ladies: How do you plan to get this Detective Agency off the ground here in middle suburbia? It’s rather quiet and quaint here. You’re right there is no action. It’s pretty boring. But we thought that was the idea. Be boring, blend in, let go of the past.”
Mildred pauses for a brief moment, and then blurts out “We already have a CLIENT! Isn’t that awesome? And a storefront in the middle of town, business cards, and a name that we already incorporated.”
“Wait, wait, wait…you have a store?” Ed’s face begins to get flush, his face turning various shades of red.
“Yes and a client!”

Coming Soon : A Children's Coloring Book "Maybe Meets Tillie Again" by Anne Baxter Campbell and artist Jacqueline Click!

Maybe, a former feral kitten adopted by a farm family, fears the dog who chased him into his new family's yard. He knows the dog, Tillie, also lives with the family, Maybe and his two kitten friends Molly and Morris worry that Tillie will eat them. Was Tillie only teasing?

Read the 1st Chapter of Best-Selling Western Author James J. Griffin's "Which is Which?" RIGHT NOW!

Faith and the Law, Volume 6
Which is Which?
James J. Griffin

“Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. My last confession was six months ago,” the penitent said, from his side of the dark confessional booth inside St. Augustine’s Church.
“I understand,” Tad answered, from his side of the screen separating the two men. “All are sinners, each in their own way, myself included. And just exactly how have you sinned, my son?”
“These are my sins, Father. I’ve been angry, very angry, at a dear friend of mine. I have also been deceitful. I’ve lied to friends, acquaintances, and business partners. I’ve snuck around, looking for files, in order to obtain information I was searching for. In fact, I even stole, to get my hands on what I was searching for.”
“I see,” Tad said again. “And was there a particular reason you did all of this?”
“There was, Father.”
“And did you obtain the information you were searching for, information which might prove quite valuable?”
“I did indeed,” the penitent whispered.
“And where might this information be?” Tad asked.
“I have it right here, Father. I thought perhaps you could return these papers to their rightful owners.”
“Perhaps I could do that,” Tad answered. “However, I would need to examine them first.”
“Of course, Father.”
The penitent slid a folder through the small opening at the bottom of the screen. Tad took the folder, and placed it in his lap.
“Thank you, my son.”
“You’re welcome, Father. Will I be forgiven?”
“Of course you will be, Horatio,” Tad answered. He broke into a smile. “In fact, I have to ask your forgiveness, for having you arrested, along with Senator Wentworth and his cronies. I hope you understand I had to do that, to protect not only you, but also your family. I couldn’t have Wentworth, or any of the other members of his organization, become suspicious of you.”
“I’d already figured that out on my way to the jail,” Horatio Swenson answered. “There’s no need to ask for my forgiveness.”
“Thanks, Horatio,” Tad said. “And your sins in obtaining these papers were forgiven before you even brought them to me. In fact, considering what good this information will hopefully do, your actions would probably be justifiable in the eyes of the Lord, and not sins at all. If they contain the information which will convict Wentworth and his fellow conspirators, then the good you have done will far outweigh your minor transgressions in obtaining these files.”
“I’m glad, and relieved, to hear that,” Swenson said. “Can you tell me how Thomas Rafferty is doing?”
“As far as anyone knows, besides his physician and myself, Rafferty’s in a coma, dying, with no chance of survival,” Tad answered. “However, his wound, while bloody, was not that serious. The bullet mostly took off a chunk of Rafferty’s scalp, which is the reason he bled so profusely. And of course it knocked him unconscious for a while. He’s being kept in a safe place, until the time comes for him to testify.”
“You thought he was in a safe place once before, Tad,” Swenson pointed out.
“That’s true,” Tad conceded. “However, this time, he really is. Now, Horatio, your penance will be six Our Fathers, six Hail Marys, six Glory Bes, and buying me dinner and a drink at the Golden Palace. We’ll meet there tonight, at seven. Now, make your Act of Contrition, while I give you absolution.”
“All right, Tad, I mean, Father.”
Swenson recited the prayer, while Tad absolved him of his sins.
“May almighty God bless you, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.”
“Thank you, Father,” Swenson said. He exited the confessional, and the next penitent entered.
Tad barely heard any of the sins the rest of the penitents confessed. He wanted nothing but to get back to his room in the St. Augustine rectory, to start examining the papers Swenson had brought. However, it was a busy day for the Sacrament of Penance. The lines at all three confessionals were long. It was well over an hour and a half before the last person made their confession, and Tad, along with his fellow priests, could return to the rectory. Tad excused himself from supper by explaining he was meeting a friend for dinner. He went upstairs to his room, shut the door, lit the bedside lamp, took off his shoes and stretched out on his bed. He opened the file, took out the first sheet of paper, and began to read.
“Let’s see what we have here. Hmmm. It seems to start with Judge Morris Harvey. Why am I not surprised? Is it because he released each of those men brought before his bench on low bail? Or perhaps it’s because he seemed very friendly with each and every one of them. Or, could it possibly be that the good jurist seemed extremely prejudiced against Prosecutor Talbott, and the evidence he presented during the hearings? Harvey overruled every last one of Talbott’s objections. No, it was probably all of those reasons.” Tad shook his head, and smiled ruefully. “You know, Tadeusz Jankowski, it’s not right for a priest to become so cynical. You’re supposed to look for the good in all men and women, not the evil. That’s supposed to be Chaz’s department.” He shook his head again. “Speaking of my prodigal brother Chaz, I wonder how he’s doing. I haven’t heard from him, or his doctor, for a few days now. Well, I’ll just have to keep praying for him, and hope for the best. If I don’t hear from either of them by Wednesday, I’ll send a telegram down to Kerrville, to Doctor Lundgren. Besides, if there was any bad news concerning my brother, I’m certain I would have heard.”
Tad went back to his reading. The more deeply he got into the documents Horatio Swenson had procured for him, the more tangled he realized the web of deception his Texas Ranger brother Chaz was trying to unravel, a web of deception and crimes which threatened the very existence of the Lone Star State, was. There were false corporations, ownership of which was spread throughout other companies and individuals. Many of those companies, Tad became convinced as he pored over the files, were sham corporations, which only existed on paper. There were connections to captains of industry, owners of mines and ships, executives of railroads. And, most importantly, politicians, politicians who held some of the highest state offices. Men who could profit handsomely if this criminal scheme succeeded, and who were in position to make certain it did. They would be sure to use their power to quash any possible action brought against the crooked enterprise. The evidence was all right there, in Tad’s hands. Coupled with Thomas Rafferty’s promised testimony, it was enough to bring the entire organization crashing down around its organizers’ ears… if Tad could figure out who would take the evidence and actually use it, instead of, like so many others had done, including Judge Morris Harvey, either take a bribe to ignore the evidence, or collapse under the threat of violent death, to any judge or prosecutor who would dare take on the case, or their families.
“Lord,” Tad prayed. “I’m sure going to need Your guidance on what to do here. Either that, or a miracle. And we’ve got to work fast, Lord, You and I. The bishop’s not going to let me remain on leave much longer. I’ve been neglecting my work, and my parish, for too long now. Well, I reckon I’d best keep on reading. Perhaps there’s something more in these papers which will give me the answer I need. All I have to figure out is which strand to pull to unravel this web. And if there is something in here which will lead me to that thread, Lord, I sure hope You help me find it.”