Thursday, August 20, 2015

NEWSFLASH! The TV show The Sidewalk Chronicles w/Patti J. Smith was just released on You Tube!

"The Sidewalk Chronicles" is a documentary film that will give a true and up close and personal account of what it is like to be associated with an unplanned pregnancy. From there, the story delves into the lives of numerous individuals who have answered the call to support and care for those affected. It is a true story of healing and hope. Helping Hands Press author, Patti J. Smith, shares some of her story in this documentary, along with several other women who have suffered the consequences of abortion.

To watch Patti and "The Sidewalk Chronicles" on You Tube just click and go!

The STORY behind the SONG "Birds Ballad" - Tony Hilling

When you study the early councils of the church, you begin to realize how important solid doctrine is. For instance, a philosopher named Arius claimed that Jesus was just a man like us. Arius then reduced the scriptures to bare ethical principles. So influential was this movement that Arianism as it was called, almost replaced orthodox Christianity in the early centuries of the Christian era. Now the Christian faith has an ethical component. But at its core Christianity is a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, crucified and risen, true God and true man, from which ethical conduct should flow. But it’s not just about keeping the rules. It’s about believing in the Son of God who substitutes His righteousness for our sinfulness and ultimately sanctifies us. So Jesus is not just another Moses or Abraham or Elijah: He is God Incarnate. This is unique in the religious Hall of Fame. No other faith teaches that God Himself came down to earth, took flesh and died on the cross for the sin of humanity. Yet today, we still see the truth of the Incarnation contested.

In the late Fall of 1991, I was reading an article in the Catholic Digest which told the story of a man who did not believe that God could take on human flesh. So, on Christmas Eve, he sent his wife and two children to go to the midnight service while he stayed at home. He dozed a little in his easy chair but awoke because of some birds that were flying against the window. He looked out and saw that a violent storm was driving them. He went outside and opened his barn and tried to gently shoo the birds in where they could take shelter. But they would not follow him. He put bread crumbs inside to attract them, but still they would not be led. Finally, he realized that the birds just did not trust him. But if he were able to be a man and a bird; have the intelligence of a man yet communicate like a bird, he could lead them to safety. Just as he thinks that thought, the church bells chime out that it is Christmas and the man suddenly comes to his senses. Jesus, the Son God had to become one of us in order to bring us to salvation. I retold this story in rhyme and in music, and entitled it, “The Ballad of the Birds”.

So, if there are folks out there who think Jesus was just a man, or a prophet, some kind of a demi-god, or perhaps even a “real, cool, guy.” Consider this: another human being broken by sin could not have helped us. Similarly, God coming without the human flesh would not have availed either. It had to be someone who carried our humanity and yet was innocent of all sin. We needed someone who was both God AND man. Jesus fit the job description perfectly.
“He had to become one of us
He had to become one of us.
He is Christ the One Lord,
Son of Man, Son of God.
And He had to become one of us!

To purchase this song, or any of Tony's other songs,just go to the Helping Hands Press Store:

Read the beginning of James J. Griffin's "Renewal of Faith" RIGHT NOW! What do you think?

“Boy howdy, we’re sure gonna have us some fun tonight,” Tom Claiborne said to his partner, Jake Holmes. They were both cowboys at the TRM Ranch, outside of Abilene, Kansas. “We’re gonna have us a whole bunch of drinks, then we’re gonna do a little bit of gamblin’, mebbe a whole lot of gamblin’, then we’re gonna find us some gals and go dancin’… and with any luck, those gals’ll let us do even more. And it’s about time. We’ve been ridin’ the range, chasin’ strays and lookin’ for missin’ cows, for weeks now. It’s been way too long since we got into town. It’s high time we had us some fun.”
“And after all that we might even find time for supper,” Jake said, with a grin. “I am a bit hungry, after all. In fact, it’s been so long since I ate my belly button’s plumb pressin’ up against my backbone.”
“You’re right, Jake. I clean forgot about supper,” Tom said. “We’ll do that first. My belly’s so empty it thinks my throat’s been cut. We’ll get us the biggest steaks, and the biggest hunks of apple pie, in all of Kansas, mebbe even in all of the West. And wash it all down with a whole pot of coffee.”
“Whatever you say, Tom,” Jake said, shaking his head and smiling at his friend’s enthusiasm. Both men were young, in their early twenties, tall and lean. Both had been working cowboys since they were sixteen, but that was where any similarities ended. Tom had dark brown hair and eyes, with a ruddy complexion, while Jake had blonde hair, and light blue eyes. Tom was gregarious and outgoing, always looking for a good time, ever ready for a prank. Jake enjoyed a good time as much as his partner, but he was quieter, more given to follow Tom’s lead. Tom usually started a conversation, Jake generally let other folks speak first, then would join in. There was only one other way both were alike… each of them was extremely fast, and deadly accurate, with a six-gun. Those Colts that hung at their right hips were always ready for action.
“That’s what we’re gonna do, all right, pardner,” Tom said. “Let’s go wash up.”
They grabbed soap, washcloths, and towels from a chest inside the bunkhouse, got their shaving kits and combs from the trunks at the foot of their bunks, then went outside and around the back of the building, to the washbench. Tom grabbed the pump’s handle and worked it like the barn was on fire, pumping water into the trough. As soon as that was filled, he pulled off his Stetson and bandanna, stripped out of his shirt, ducked his head in the trough, and pulled it out, shaking it vigorously. Water droplets flew everywhere.

“Whooee, that cold water sure feels good on a hot day like this,” he shouted.
“Yeah, I figure it does, but I don’t need you splashin’ it all over me so I can find out,” Jake said, laughing. “I’m already soaked, thanks to you, and I ain’t even had the chance to undress yet.”
He gave Tom a backhanded slap in the belly, causing him to grunt.
“I’m sorry, Jake,” Tom said. “Didn’t mean to get you wet. It’s just that this cold water feels so dadblamed good in this heat.”
“Well, if you’ll move over a little bit, and stop hoggin’ the whole trough, mebbe I can find out for myself, Tom,” Jake retorted.
“Yeah, I reckon you’re right, at that,” Tom agreed. He moved toward the end of the trough, leaving Jake room alongside him.
“That’s better,” Jake said. He also pulled off his hat, bandanna, and shirt, then ducked his head in the trough.
Both men washed thoroughly, getting out days of grime, scrubbing their skin until it turned pink. Once they were finished bathing, they lathered up and shaved, using a small mirror hanging from the bunkhouse wall to make certain they’d gotten every last whisker, Tom making sure his moustache was neatly trimmed. Once they were finished shaving, they combed their hair carefully in place. Their ablutions completed, they went back inside the bunkhouse. They beat as much dust as possible out of their denims and hats, donned clean socks, shirts, and fresh bandannas, then brushed the dirt and manure from their boots, spit-polishing the well-worn footgear until it had at least a semblance of a shine.

“Time to get our horses, and head for town!” Tom hollered. “We’re already way behind the rest of the boys. They left an hour ago. If it hadn’t been for those two stubborn stray dogies who led us over half the county, we’d have been with ’em.”
They headed for the horse corral, where their strings of horses were munching on hay. Very few working cowboys owned their own mounts, most using horses assigned to them by the ranch. Tom roped out a heavily muscled bay gelding named Night Train, while Jake just whistled, and a long-legged sorrel and white splotched pinto trotted up to the fence. He nuzzled Jake’s cheek. Jake gave him a leftover biscuit.

What do you think of the beginning of the series? Jim would love any feedback that you can give him! Please leave a comment here on the blogpost or use the "Contact Form" on the sidebar! Thank you very much!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Read the beginning of Patti J. Smith and Giovanni Gelati's "Shadeport" RIGHT NOW!

A chubby fingered hand reaches up and grabs an acrylic cube off of the fireplace mantle with care. The contents inside are very rare and worth north of 6 figures.
What is it? A weathered and aged baseball with a very important signature.
“Finally it’s mine. I should have never had to go to such lengths to possess it.” Says our foul evil doer aloud to the empty house. A wicked smile upon his face. The Grinch would be proud of his smile.
“No time to waste, I must make haste; it is off to the next house on the list, none of them can be missed.”
“Coming to you from Shadeport on the 5,000-watt flamethrower 540WDIP it’s time for another edition of “Your Landscape and You” with your hosts Deputy Dan and me, Sheriff Dan. If you are listening to the broadcast on the World Wide Web,, thank you, Hola! Welcome everybody, welcome! Today we are going to try to help everyone navigate the perilous paths of the dreaded weed! No, not the kind of weed one may inhale, make rope or sandals out of, but the one commonly found in your landscape beds or lawns.”
“Also Deputy Dan and I wish to thank everyone for their incredible feedback and questions during last week’s incredibly topical and emotional show: Mulch-when, why and how! What a barnburner last week, wouldn’t you say Dan.”
“Yes, Dan I would. Last week’s show really hit me hard in the gut. All I was thinking about as we drove around town doing our rounds was not only what type of mulch our neighbors should use but the color selection. I lost a lot of sleep this week. Talk about a conundrum. MY brain still hurts. BOOM! Weeds though, tough one, tough one. What’s your angle with this Dan? Where are going with it?”
“I feel you, Dan. I respect the respect you have for the weed. Before I open the show up to our callers, and, by the way, thanks to each and every one of you for taking the time to call in and share, what exactly is a weed, Dan? What is the definition if I may be so bold. Do you have one prepared for us?”
“Why yes, I do Dan. I try to do my research. We not only protect and serve here in Shadeport, but we also try to educate. So without further ado, here is the textbook definition of a weed…”
“Dan, what textbook if I may ask? Where did you glean these important pieces of information? The fine folks at home may wish to reference the information in the future.”
“Why Sheriff Dan the one you gave me to read. Unfortunately, I left it on my desk back at the Station. Would you like me to light the bubbles up and high tail back there and get it?”
“Deputy Dan, we will make a note to have it with us next week. Stay tuned for that info folks, it just gives you one more amazing reason to listen in next week.”
“Thanks, Sheriff Dan, The Deputy Abides. Let’s move on.”
“Excellent Deputy Dan. So tell me, as I am about to fall off of the edge of my seat, What is a weed?”
“Aha, I am about to blow some minds with this one! Boom! Okay, here goes: A weed is anything one may find undesirable in their lawn or landscape.”
“What a revelation listeners! Did you catch that,”Undesirable”! Let’s take some calls, Dan!”
“Great idea Dan, do it!”
“Good afternoon caller, you are on “Your Landscape and You.” What is your question, observation, or information to add?”
“ Hey Dan’s, this is Franklin, the insurance guy.”
“Hey Franklin, this is a first, what you got?”
“We have a problem. I need you to come down to my office and let me show you.”
“Do you see dead people Franklin? Sorry, that’s a departmental inside joke if you know what I mean. Is your query related to weeds, a certain variety perhaps?”
“No, not yet, and I would like to avoid it, seeing dead people. We also have no weeds here at the office as we have no grass or landscaped beds. Can you come down when your show is over?”
“You got it.”
Sheriff Dan passed the diner towards Franklin’s office, tempted to drop in for a quick cup of coffee and donut. Looking down at a belly that covered his belt buckle, he shook his head and continued walking.
The bell on the door chimed. “Hey Louise, Franklin wanted to see me?”
“Go on in Sheriff, he’s been waiting.” She sighed heavily. “Such a shame. Can’t trust anyone anymore.”
“What do you mean, Louise?”
“He’ll tell ya. Just a shame, that’s all.”
The office door was slightly ajar. Sheriff Dan pushed it open. Franklin was emptying glass from the dustpan into the metal trash can. The file cabinets stood open and empty, several high stacks of file folders on the floor leaned against the wall. “Thanks for coming, Dan.”
“What’s going on here, Franklin, did the maid quit?”
“Very funny, Dan, wish I could laugh.” He pointed towards the window behind his desk. “Someone broke in and rifled through my files, found them all over the floor. Must have thought I had money hidden in there. Even took the spare change from my top drawer. Glad Louise did the bank deposit yesterday. Otherwise, we’d …”
Dan shook his head, “Dang-it Franklin, you shouldn’t have touched anything. Didn’t the alarm go off?
Franklin rolled his eyes, “Hated that thing. Kept going off accidentally so I figured the sticker in the front window would warn people.”
“Don’t mean to be snide, Franklin, but maybe you should have put the sticker on your office window instead.” He turned towards the reception area. “Louise, is anything disturbed in there?”
“No, Sheriff, not that I can tell. Whoever did this must know Franklin doesn’t set the alarm anymore. But why on God’s green earth would someone want to break in here anyway? Myra’s dress shop would have more cash than we would and I know for a fact she doesn’t set her alarm either.”
“How about any strangers hanging around outside?”
“No,” she said, “just the normal foot traffic passing by or dropping in.”
“Well, I’m going to walk around the outside and see if there’s anything there and get Deputy Dan over here to dust for prints if there are any. After we’re done, you can go ahead and get the window fixed and Franklin, from now on, use the alarm, will ya?”

Sheriff Dan pulls his phablet from its leather holster on his right hip and dials the Sheriff’s office. The call gets an answer on the fourth ring,”Shadeport Sheriff’s office, this is Dan. What is your emergency?”
“Hey Danielle, this is Sheriff Dan.”
“Good Afternoon Sheriff! What can I do for you?”
“Can you send Deputy Dan and Deputy Dan out to Franklin’s Insurance office? Please ask them to bring their C.S.I kits and give his place the treatment.”
“Which of the Deputy Dan’s do you mean sir?”
“Dan Jr., and Trey, please. Dos should be on a stakeout still right?”
“Yes, he is still on the stakeout. None too happy about it, but still on it.”
“Okay then. I am going to drop by the Diner and question some of the folks there to see if they heard or seen anything. I will continue to canvas the neighborhood until I hear from you or Deputy Dan. Who is on call tonight?”
“Deputy Dan is.”

What do you think of the beginning of the story? Please leave a comment on this blogpost or use the "Contact Form" on the sidebar! Thank you!

TO HEAVEN AND BACK - Flora Reigada

Carlos took off on his roaring Harley-Davidson, never imagining the fate awaiting him. He stopped at an intersection, when the speeding pickup truck smashed into him, bulldozing Carlos and his motorcycle across the road.
In an instant, he went from bleeding on the asphalt, to a radiant meadow and the joyful welcome of loved ones who had gone before.

This glimpse of heaven is described in "Love's Sweetest Revenge," the first of my upcoming "Castle in the Sun" romance series. While based on actual accounts, Carlos' encounter with the beyond, is fictional.
But what happened to me is more real than the stars in the sky. I describe this glimpse of heaven in my devotional, "Where Your Heart Meets God's." I would need the comfort it imparted, because heartbreak and rejection would soon crush me to the core.

The unfolding situation bowed my shoulders as I trudged to bed that night and fell into a troubled sleep.
Suddenly, I found myself prostrate before a king on a throne and in the presence of love infinitely greater than any I had ever known. This love surrounded me like an embrace, yet it was not only external. Like the penetrating warmth from a fireplace, it reached into my every molecule. The love was more than emotion. It was alive and it had its source in the being on the throne.

Even though I couldn't see him, I never thought to ask why. Whatever happened, I knew this king had my best interests at heart and was committed to my care, like a father for his dear child. Kindness was at His core.
I immediately knew this King of Love was God.

As He spoke, tenderness filled His voice—a voice that in eons past, had thundered the universe into existence.
He issued two promises, one about my children, the other about the writing career of which I had always dreamed.
He issued a third, more personal promise as a wind lifted me into a tunnel that would transport me home. That's when I caught a parting glimpse of my surroundings, which seemed to be carved into a mountain. Massive stone walls illuminated in candlelight, were reminiscent of a grotto, or the holy hush of votive candles at a church altar.

Although my problems were still there when I awoke the next morning, I knew the love that had carried me to heaven and back, would never let go.
See Exodus 33:20
See 1 John 4:8

Amazon Author Page:

Read the beginning of William Tasch's "Armored Redemption" RIGHT NOW!!!!!!

Armored Redemption:
Salvation from sin through Jesus’ sacrifice.
Volume 1
The Plan
William Tasch
Kyle Compton sat in the cab of the big armored truck as the diesel engine rumbled idly below him; the noise was the only noise he’d heard for the last ten hours and he was ready to be done working today. He was trying his best to be patient while waiting to drive his truck through the gate of the Extreme Armored Transport, everyone called it EAT for short, the armored truck companies’ vault where he worked. It was one of those very hot days in May in the Inland Empire, a part of California which consisted of Riverside and San Bernardino counties that didn’t get any beautiful view of the Pacific Ocean. It was one of those days in which the weather was hot one day, cold the next and possibly warm on the next. May in southern California was always like that, hot, cold, warm, hot, cold, and warm. Today it was hot.
Kyle ran his hands through his sweaty hair and wiped the perspiration from his forehead. He reached down and grabbed a plastic cup filled with Sprite, the ice and coolness of the drink long gone in the sweltering confines of the cab. He had picked up the soda at one of the many gas stations along the route he drove. Most of the gas stations they picked up and dropped off money gave them free sodas. It was a nice benefit for an armored truck driver, especially on a hot day like today.
He squirmed and adjusted the 9mm pistol that was strapped to his side. He wasn’t used to wearing a gun yet. He’d only been working here for a few weeks and had just received his license to carry a weapon. He’d also just started driving on his new route this week. His supervisor told him this would be his permanent route until he either became a Messenger, the person who carried the money, or a Guard. The promotion could wait, he wasn’t sure he wanted to jump out of the truck with a bag full of cash or be responsible to guard that individual anyway.
Kyle’s real dream was to become a Cop. The only problem was that he had just turned twenty years old, and he was not the required twenty-one years of age. The police department had also told him that he needed more life experience before applying. Apparently high school and community college classes didn’t cut it. What was life experience anyway? He’d resigned himself to take the test once he turned twenty-one.

The gate was still not open and although the air conditioner was on high in the big cab, the sun beat through the window creating an almost sauna effect and putting out more heat than the air conditioner could possibly ever cool down.
The knock on the window from the rear of the cabin startled Kyle. It was Johnny. Johnny was the guard in the truck. He guarded the Messenger and basically ran everything that went on during their route to include giving Kyle directions on where to go and when to stop. Kyle leaned his head toward the gun port that separated the front cab of the truck from the back where all the money was stored. It was very difficult to hear the people in the back of the truck with the diesel engine rumbling, so most drivers opened the gun port for better hearing. It was against policy; however no one had ever followed that policy that he saw since he’d been there.
“What’s up?” Kyle yelled through the gun port.
“Did you radio them and let them know there are three trucks waiting to get in?”
“Yes, they already said someone has to reset the gate. The motor got stuck or something.” Johnny nodded his head. You’d think for a place that stored, transferred and dealt with multi-millions of dollars, that they could at least get a decent gate. At least one that didn’t have to be reset multiple times everyday Kyle thought.
Kyle looked around the cab of the truck while they waited to see how dirty it was. Nothing really, just his plastic cups from the gas station stops, but they were in a stack in the drink holder spots. It looked pretty clean he thought. No trash like he’d seen in other truck cabs.
Being the driver was a lonely job. You didn’t really get to talk to the guys in the back too much, you couldn’t listen to music, the windows didn’t roll down so there wasn’t any fresh air, oh and of course the big one, no cell phones were allowed in the truck. As bad as that seemed, it was a job. It may be a temporary job until he finally reached the tender age of twenty-one, but it was a job nonetheless. Maybe it could offer some of the much needed life experience along the way.
Another truck was pulling in behind the line of armored transport trucks now blocking any traffic from going around on either side of the road when a man finally came out to reset the gate. There would be a mad dash for these vehicles to pick a spot to pull into the vault once the gate opened. Kyle already had his eyes on a spot where he could pull in forward and not have to back in the armored beast which was a difficult at best
The gate was only half open when the first truck almost scraped the slow moving gate trying to make the mad dash to the vault itself. Kyle wiped the sweat from his brow again and drove the truck slowly in, coming within inches of the guard that was holding a shotgun at the ready in case anyone tried to rush into the vault.

William Tasch (1962-present) was raised in a small town in Wisconsin and was the youngest of five children. After graduating high school and working for a while, he joined the army and his world travels began. He also married his wife Deena and raised a family of three kids while traveling around the world. He finally settled down in Southern California where he works in law enforcement and enjoys writing in his spare time. He enjoys writing Christian fiction with everything a good book should have, suspense, love, action, twists, humor and a positive message.

Stop by William Tasch's Amazon Author Page,see all of his titles and connect with him on Twitter:

CHECK IT OUT! New Music from author Tony Hilling - "Birds Ballad"

This song tells the story of a man who did not believe in the Incarnation. So on Christmas Eve, he sent out his family to the Midnight service while he stayed at home. But a storm comes up and drives some birds towards his farm. They frantically try to get shelter. The man tries to lead the Birds towards his barn but they are too afraid of him. He then says to himself: “…if only I were a bird and a man, I could lead them to safety.” As the Christmas bells sound out, he suddenly realizes what he has said. Jesus, the Eternal Word, the Son of God, had to become one of us.

Tony now has four songs in the Helping Hands Press Store, each one is a $0.99 download.The buy link for "Birds Ballad" is:

Opening Prayer for the 8/20 "Thirsty Thursday" Party by Tony Hilling!

Read the beginning of Roger Rheinheimer's "Hardscrabble" RIGHT NOW!!!!!!

Jonathon was raised on a small, poor patch of hardscrabble at the edge of the Amish community. His was the last house before the double overhead power lines quit, just stopped, ending at the creosote pole, like long, skinny fingers pointing towards the Amish.
The dilapidated dwelling seemed perpetually in danger of falling down. The paint on the siding was long since gone, the bare wood turning dark gray, like a land-based shipwreck. The rocky ground hadn’t seen grass since his mother left when he was five. The run-down homestead was a stark contrast to the neat, fresh, well-kempt grounds and white, always white, houses, of his simple Amish neighbors a mile down the gravel road.
Jonathon hated the Amish. Even if he had stopped long enough to wonder why, the answer would have been elusive. His was the kind of visceral hatred the lion has for the weak gazelle; the need to destroy, to consume. And he particularly hated Ezra, “…that queer, that bookworm dweeb,” he would say to himself. “How can you be Amish and a bookworm?” he would mutter. And he would hate him even more. He took particular delight in tormenting Ezra. At first, the torment had been spitballs, a little shoving, and then expanded to the family, burning a few corn shocks. Soon it escalated to killing their chickens and slicing up leather harnesses. Ezra and his family never shoved back. “What a bunch of pussies,” Jonathon would laugh.

“Hey, Jon, how’s it going?”
Jonathon’s father tentatively creaked the grimy, bare-wood door open to his son’s room. He wanted to be his friend.
Last week, Tuesday, his father had discovered the plastic packets with the dried, off-green plant leaves in each of them neatly stacked in Jon’s top dresser drawer next to an equally neat stack of one-dollar bills.
Jonathon slowly turned from slicking back both sides of his black hair. He used Brylcreem like everyone. He slowly, deliberately, put the brush on top of the dresser, and stared at his father.
“What part of ‘Don’t ever come into my room again in your life’ do you not understand?”
Jonathon was not large, but at fifteen he was bigger than his father. More importantly, he was a bully, and with the instinct of a serial tormenter, knew when to press, when to back off. It was time to press.
“Look, Jon…” his father started his usual, tentative pleading, then stopped. It had all been said before, to no avail.
Jonathon’s face was expressionless, placid. He was relaxed.
“See that?” he nodded towards the shotgun hanging on the wall.
“I keep #4 shot in it all the time. #4 is especially good for bigger animals.” He continued to stare at his father, who was now looking at the floor, at his worn shoes. “Get out of my room. Don’t come back in here.”
His father opened his mouth to say something, closed it, turned and left without saying a word. He was shaken, and went out the front door and headed to the woodshed, the one he had fantasized about whipping his son in, knowing it was too late now. He picked up the double-bladed ax, looked at the house, and slowly, then furiously, began splitting firewood. Finally, exhausted, dripping with sweat, he crept back into the house, his house, and keeping a wary eye on his son’s closed door, pulled the key to his rusty, old pickup out of the kitchen drawer, crept back outside and slid behind the wheel. He pumped the gas pedal with his right foot, stomping on the floor starter with his left, sending small clouds of dust into the air around his feet, and the flat-head-six engine finally coughed to life, stuttering. He angrily ground the floor shifter into reverse, the clutch was nearly gone, backed onto the gravel road, slammed the shifter into first, spewed tire-launched gravel against the old mailbox, and disappeared over the hill.

He never returned.

Someone had let the air out of Ezra’s bicycle tires again. He walked it the three miles to his house, hand-pumped the tires full of air, and leaned the faded red bike against the barn. He walked the short distance to the house, carrying his school books, and entered the back porch. He started to catch the rear porch screen door behind his back, and then let it slam instead. His mother looked up from the sink.
“Wie er an der Schule heute ging, Eshra?” she asked in Pennsylvania Dutch, a peculiar mixture of Low German, unwritten German, and English, a clipped, guttural language. She wore a pale-yellow, full-length dress, dark hose showing on barely exposed ankles. Her dress had the traditional modesty panel sewn over her chest, hardly disguising her ample figure. The work-day Amish bonnet hid her prematurely gray hair, and the long tie ribbons hung almost to her waist.
“School went fine Momma,” he answered in English. “Where's Father?”
Ezra's mother glanced at her son and then answered, also in English, “He went to town with Mr. Schilling.” Mr. Schilling made his money ferrying the Amish around in his old Chevy van.
“What kind of mood is he in today?”
“Are you alright?”
Ezra's mother was busy cutting up vegetables on a handmade cutting board. She finally laid the wood-handled knife down on the faded brown Formica countertop and turned to her oldest son.
“Yes, Ezra, I am fine. It has been calm today. Why don't you go upstairs and change for to do your chores so maybe we can have a peaceful evening?”
She wiped her hands on her dirty apron.
“Mrs. Herzog brought some more books by. I put them in the attic. But do your chores first.”
Ezra smiled at the mention of Mrs. Herzog. She was a retired schoolteacher and had lived in her modest white home at the edge of the Amish community for thirty years. To an alert observer, the most telling difference between the Amish and the English homesteads was the lack of electrical lines running from the road to the houses, and except for the wires, her place could have been Amish. In fact, her house was the last house before the Anabaptist community, and the public wood-cross power poles stopped at her driveway. Just stopped, ended. The city folks that occasionally came out to gawk at the Amish would comment about the power lines ending. And the horse droppings in the road, the “road apples.” Some of the fancy-car drivers tried to dodge the small, round clumps of horse waste strewn along the road. Some didn’t notice, carrying the country remnants back to their garages, wondering the next morning what that awful smell was coming from the fancy wheels of their fancy cars.
Mrs. Herzog had taught many Amish kids in her career, and had run her own small education-revolution, her mission to educate the world. She was appalled and fascinated with the Amish determination to live in ignorance, institutionalized ignorance, dependant on “Word-From-Above” for every detail of their lives.
Ezra was her latest target, but unlike so many before him, he was interested, even eager to learn. Ezra’s mother was nervous, and early on had asked the gray-haired revolutionary to please not come by the house. But Ezra had pleaded with his mother for more books, and so Mrs. Herzog still came, quietly, furtively, watching for Father, making sure he didn’t suddenly arrive at the door. Sometimes Ezra would stop at her house, risky business too, and then hurry back home, down the brown-stained road from their close neighbor, barely a quarter mile away, carrying the verboten books in a sack.
Earlier that day, Mrs. Herzog had come to visit. There was no doorbell, of course, not even a doorknocker, so she rapped on the sun-bleached front door with her knuckles. She heard footsteps growing louder, felt the front porch tremble slightly as someone walked towards the front door.
“Guten Morgen.” The schoolmarm taught eighth grade German and always greeted whoever came to the door that way. A flicker of a smile briefly lit up Rebecca’s face, and she replied, “Guten Morgen, Frau Herzog.”

To purchase Roger's "Amish Snow-V2-Hardscrabble" on Amazon Kindle:

Stop by Best-Selling Author Roger Rheinheimer's Amazon Author Page and check out all of his titles and much more:

Read the beginning of Janice L. Dick's Historical series "Other Side of The River" RIGHT NOW!

Other Side of the River — Volume I

The Winds of Change

By Janice L. Dick

The schoolhouse door burst open, ushering in a cold March wind and two Soviet officials, their guns directed at the group of young adults gathered for a Sunday afternoon songfest.
Luise Letkemann’s fingers froze on the neck of her mother’s violin, and her bow skittered off the strings as she whirled to face the intruders. From the corner of her eye she saw Daniel move across the room to her side. A frown had replaced the look of love that had lit his eyes a moment ago.
Luise slipped her violin beneath a pile of coats. These men harbored no respect for person or property, and she would not let them take the only keepsake she had from her mother.
“What are you doing here?” The sternness of Commissar Victor Magadan’s voice sent a chill up Luise’s spine, but it was the limping step of the second official that set her to quaking. Senior-Major Leonid Dubrowsky of the GPU—the dreaded Soviet secret police—had that affect on people.
“We have gathered to sing,” said Daniel. “Would you care to join us?”
Luise heart skipped a beat at Daniel’s insolence.
“You know there is a law against the German. You are breaking that law.”
Daniel stepped forward to stand before Magadan, and Luise’s breath caught in her throat.
“It is our mother tongue, the language of our hearts.” He said this in fluent Russian. “When we sing, that is what comes out.”
Dubrowsky elbowed his junior officer aside, his lip curled like a snarling dog as he stared at Daniel. He lacked the stature of Magadan, but the coldness of his eyes beneath their bushy brows more than made up for it. Even so, Daniel did not back down. Luise willed herself to breathe.
“Do not speak so freely to GPU,” said Dubrowsky. “It is not healthy.”
He turned from Daniel and limped to the food table where he helped himself to zwieback, platz, and barley coffee while the young people stood wide-eyed and waiting. Then, with a grunt, he heaved the table onto its side, spilling food and drink across the plank floor.

Gasps and whimpers traveled around the room like a gust of wind, but terror stole Luise’s breath when she felt Dubrowsky’s arm reach around her waist. She stood motionless, watching Daniel’s face as he struggled to free himself from Magadan’s firm grip. The GPU could do whatever they wanted. They lived beyond laws of state or conscience. Dubrowsky was a senior plenipotentiary; he made his own decisions.
Magadan looked none too pleased with the situation. It was his job to keep order in the village of Alexandrovka, but he could not overrule a senior-major.
Dubrowsky leaned so close to Luise she could feel his breath on her neck. “Another time, my little Mennonite sparrow.” And then he was gone, the echo of his uneven steps matching Luise’s erratic heartbeat.
The biting cold pushed in through the open door, and wrapped itself around her soul.
Later, while she mixed the biscuits for supper, Luise relived the disastrous afternoon. Consumed by the memory of Dubrowsky’s arm around her, she did not hear the voices outside until the door burst open. The cup of flour she held flew from her hand to the floor.
Anna Letkemann entered the house, all flutter and fuss, shooing her children before her. “Hans, take off your boots! Nela, you are shedding snow all over!”
Coughing, she slipped out of her coat and hung it on one of the pegs beside the door. “Luise! Wipe up the floor. It’s wet and there you’ve spilled flour all over when there’s none to waste. We can’t have your father coming home to a dirty floor.”
Luise swallowed the retort that formed on her lips, reminding herself of Tante Manya’s wise counsel not to allow the burrs of her stepmother’s meanness to fasten themselves to her soul.

“Supper will be ready soon, Mother, such as it is.”
Luise kissed Nela and helped her with her coat, then reached out to tousle Hans’ hair. In five-year old independence, he pretended not to like it, but Luise’s wink roused a grin. She reached onto a shelf for a rag and wiped up the floor.
“Did you have a nice visit with Tante Manya?” She did not mention the Soviet officials at the Sunday afternoon social. That would require endless explanation.
“Nice visit? How can one have a nice visit anymore? The Soviets have taken everything of worth and then they demand more yet.”
“They haven’t taken everything, Mother. We still have our family.”
Her stepmother’s sallow eyes burned into hers. “Do not contradict me, Luise. Just because your father allows you to speak so to him does not mean you may talk back to me. Someday, girl, you will realize that not every cloud has a silver lining.”
Luise turned away. Why did Mother insist on goading her? Of course there were hardships— hunger and fear and uncertainty—but as Papa said, every day on this side of the sod is a good one.
As if her thoughts invited him home, Papa entered the house and slapped snow from his pants before removing his boots. Luise detected heaviness in his step, but as usual, he masked it with good humor.
“Good evening everyone. Luise, I hear you survived an unannounced visit from the authorities this afternoon.” He smiled but his eyes conveyed concern.
Luise frowned at him. “All ended well, Papa.”
“What authorities?” Mother stood as if frozen, a plate held in mid-air above the table. “I didn’t hear about it. What happened?”
“Just a routine check, Mother.”
Papa bunched his lips together and Luise understood his silent apology. She steeled herself for her stepmother’s onslaught.
“No harm done, and we were spared again,” said Papa quickly as he crossed the room to wash his hands in the basin on the countertop. “Always something for which to be thankful.”

“You two and your false cheer. It’s enough to—” A deep, ragged cough cut off Mother’s retort and shook her slim form. She tried to finish her sentence but gave in to another fit of coughing. Luise read Papa’s concern and quickly brought the bean soup and biscuits to the table.
“Nela! Hans! Kommt essen.”
Her younger brother and sister could share her portion; she had eaten a zwieback at the schoolhouse before the officials arrived. Hans and Nela needed the food more than she did.

Janice Dick began writing intentionally in 1989. Her historical trilogy was released in 2002, 2003 and 2004, the first two books winning First Place in the Canadian Christian Writing Awards, and the third being shortlisted for the same. Besides writing historical fiction, she has also crafted devotionals, inspirational pieces and book reviews, and put in many hours of editing, mentoring, and speaking (workshops, presentations, readings). Her first contemporary fiction manuscript awaits either publication or extensive revision, and a new historical fiction series was just released (October 2013).

Janice was born and raised in southern Alberta, Canada into an ethnic Mennonite farm family. She was blessed with a loving and stable childhood, and lots of relatives who told stories of Russia, emigration and early life in Canada. After graduating from high school, Janice attended Bible college in Saskatchewan, where she met her future husband. They moved to a farm in central Saskatchewan after their marriage and raised three children there. They are now grandparents to ten amazing kids.

Drop by Janice's Amazon Author Page and see all of her titles and much more:

Read the beginning of Clay More's Western "Dead In The Saddle" RIGHT NOW!!!!!!

An Adventure from the Case Book of Dr. Marcus Quigley
Clay More

ISBN # 978-1-62208-352-7


Ted Brisby winced as his hand went to his jaw and he tasted the fresh blood in his mouth. He glared at Doc Quigley for a moment then leaned to the side and spat into the spittoon that the dentist had placed there in readiness just moments before he had relieved Ted of his left lower back molar.
“Ugly thing, isn’t it?” Doctor Marcus Quigley asked rhetorically, holding up the offending tooth remnant between the jaws of a pair of dental pliers. “No wonder you were in pain. This thing was rotten to its very roots. Do you want it as a keep-sake?”
“The hell I want it, Doc. The durned thing has been near killing me for two weeks. Do whatever you want with it.”
Marcus scrutinized it for a moment. It was a dark yellow, almost brown at the top from years of tobacco staining, and black in the center where the decay had eaten right down to the nerves. There was nothing of the tooth that could be salvaged, so with a shrug he dropped it in the spittoon.
A tall, dark-haired man in his mid-thirties, with a neatly trimmed mustache above a mouth that almost naturally broke into a smile, Marcus rinsed his hands in the china basin on his instrument table then carefully dried his hands on a towel. “Well Ted, that will be a dollar for the extraction.”
Ted had been probing the hole in his gum with the tip of his tongue and at the mention of money he retracted it and swallowed hard. “Darn it, Doc. There goes most of my drinking money,” he said as he heaved himself out of the chair and reached into a pocket for the fee. He handed it over with a shake of his head. “It don’t seem fair somehow, you with all of those pearly white teeth and me with barely anything left to chaw with at all.”
“Funny you should say that, Ted. Most of my patients complain of the same thing. The truth is that I take as good care as I can of my own teeth and I advise all of my patients to brush their teeth with the best tooth powder available. Indeed, for the meager sum of –”
Ted was already heading for the door. “I ain’t got enough money for them fancy things, Doc. I’ll just stick to my toothpicks and whiskey. Maybe I’ll see you later at the Arcade Saloon. Could be I’ll get a chance to win that money back.”
Marcus grinned as Ted rapidly exited. He had little doubt that his services would be called upon by Ted on a future visit to Hagsville.

He took a sip of a cup of cold coffee and stood looking through the window at the dusty street outside. He watched Ted amble along the boardwalk then stop and stare across the street. He had an idea where he would be heading.
With a grin he rang the small bell beside the basin. Almost immediately there was a knock on the door and another patient came in cradling his jaw in one hand. As usual when he came to town and set up his surgery in one of the side rooms of the rather grandly named Excelsior Hotel, he had been inundated with work. There was always work for a dentist to do.


Ted Brisby was one of the town’s loafers. That is, he was not over keen on work and did as little of it as he could. He had no regular employment, but picked up whatever sweeping, carrying or shoveling jobs he could whenever his funds were running low. He reckoned that his needs were simple enough. As long as he could pay enough for food, beer and whiskey, then he was happy to spend the rest of his life loafing around or sleeping.
His jaw ached and he stood on the boardwalk for a moment, jangling his money in his pocket as he considered whether he would be better having a pain-killing slug of whiskey straight away, or delaying it until later on when the craving for drink tended to get a good hold of him.
The sight of activity in the Arcade Saloon swayed him and he waited until a couple of riders walked their horses by him before stepping off the boardwalk into the street. He was halfway across when he glanced to his right and saw another rider coming slowly along the trail towards town.
He shaded his eyes from the sun and squinted. He grinned as he recognized the thickset figure of Jordan Parker, the Hagsville bank manager on his palomino. But he realized that something wasn’t right.

The palomino was walking real slow and the rider’s head was hanging forward, as if he was asleep. His hat seemed to be pulled down to shield his eyes from the sun.
Ted grinned. “Heh! Not surprised in this heat. Reckon old Jordan may be too tired to see to his horse. Maybe I can help him out there.”
And so saying he changed direction and ambled along the street towards the approaching banker.
He licked his dry lips in the hope that his willingness to help might be rewarded by enough to pay for that slug of whiskey that he felt so much in need of. He turned his head and spat out some more blood.
A couple of other loafers had come out of the shadows and started off towards the rider. Ted scowled and quickened his pace. He had seen him first and had no intention of being beaten by a bunch of no-account…
The horse was close now and seeing Ted and the others approach it, it stopped.
That was enough to jolt the rider. He slumped sideways and slid right off the horse to land on his back in the dust.
“Hey Mr Parker, are you hurt bad?” Ted cried, breaking into a run. ‘That was one hell of a …”
But his words died on his tongue. One glance at the unseeing eyes told him that there wasn’t a lot of conversation you could have with a dead man.

CLAY MORE is the western pen-name of Keith Souter, part doctor, medical journalist and novelist. He is a member of the Western Writers of America and is the current Vice President of Western Fictioneers.

His collection of short stories entitled The Adventures of Doctor Marcus Quigley has just been published by High Noon Press in both paperback and ebook. Doctor Marcus Quigley is a dentist, gambler and occasional bounty hunter who is on a mission to find the the man who murdered his benefactress. He is also one of the authors of the Remington Colt Wells Fargo series by High Noon Press.

The Amazon Kindle link for "Dead In The Saddle" is:

Monday, August 10, 2015

U R INVITED! 8/20! Helping Hands Press "Thirsty Thursday" Party!!!!!!

It is almost time for another “THIRSTY THURSDAY”

What is Helping Hands Press “THIRSTY” for:Your input! Your ideas! Your feedback!

The authors at Helping Hands Press will be ready to answer your questions, listen to your thoughts, and to help you have a great experience!

The Party starts @ 8PM EST, we hope that you can make it!

The HHP Facebook Page link is:

or join the party on Twitter:

The Party will be simulcast on blogtalk radio also, click the link and be part of the conversation:

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

"Maybe and Tillie" Times 2! Anne Baxter Campbell's Children's Books release on 8/20!

Anne Baxter Campbell will be releasing not one but two Children's Books during our next "Thirsty Thursday" Party,8/20!

One will be in full color, the other will be in Black and White for the kids to color.

There will also be extra pages for the children to draw their own Maybe and Tillie pictures.

What is the story all about?

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?

Anne Baxter Campbell is a writer with a deep love of God, family, and friends. She also has an overwhelming fascination with the Bible and biblical history. Add to that a basic romantic bent, and there you go.

Stop by Anne's Amazon Author and see all of her best-selling titles and much more:

Please help James J. Griffin pick a cover for his new Western series "Renewal of Faith"!

A young Kansas cowboy is forced to face down and kill his best friend. A Preacher is looking for answers. Is God with them? Welcome to Colby,Kansas!

Jake Holmes, a young Kansas cowboy, is forced to face down and kill his best friend, Tom Claiborne, in a showdown after a drunken Tom guns down a deputy marshal who is attempting to arrest him. After Tom's funeral, a disillusioned Jake leaves town heading west, with no destination in mind. Several hundred miles later, he comes across a burning ranch house. The entire family, except for an infant girl, has perished in the flames. Jake rescues the baby, and, not knowing what to do with her, heads for the nearest town, intending to turn her over to the local law. He reaches town on a Sunday morning, and happens to be riding by the local church. He decides to stop there, to see if the preacher would know who might take in the orphaned child. The preacher, who is finalizing his sermon, just before services start, has, like Jake, been questioning his faith in God, but has been unable to tell his wife what's bothering him. When Jake comes into the church with the baby, it's the answer to the preacher's prayers. He and his wife have been trying to conceive, unsuccessfully, for years. The infant girl is the answer to their prayers. The preacher and his wife finally convince Jake to attend the service. Jake takes a seat in the back pew, by happenstance right next to a pretty young lady, who smiles up at him. Jake decides maybe God is with us, after all, and decides to settle down right there in Colby, Kansas.

What do you think of the reading sample from Marcia Lee Laycock's Devotional "Northern Reflections"?

A Thimble Full by Marcia Lee Laycock

My friend Dennis let out a loud “yahoo!” and we all stared at the sky. We were on our way to our vehicles after a festive gathering on a frosty October night in the Yukon, when the sky began to light up. Earlier our conversation had centred on the fact that winter was coming quickly and there was still a lot to be done to prepare for it – a house to finish, wood to be cut and stacked, food to be gathered. But in that moment all our concerns faded away as we stood beneath the northern lights with our heads lifted, our mouths open and our spirits in awe of what we were seeing.

Huge swaths of coloured light shot across the sky. When Dennis hooted the light seemed to dart toward us. Then it swooped sideways in a shower of vibrant greens and blues. As we stood in silence the aurora dipped so low we could hear its electric crackle.

Every time I have seen the aurora borealis I feel as though I have stepped back in time, to the earth’s beginnings. Every time I have seen them I am aware that what I know about this planet, this solar system, this universe, can be contained in a thimble.

Scientists are still discovering new things about the planets, stars, asteroids and other things out there. Bigger and better telescopes have helped them see that the solar system is far more extensive than was once thought. The extent of it staggers the mind. Just the extent of our own galaxy is almost beyond what we can imagine. Scientists now say it is impossible to even design a scale model of it that would fit inside a massive building. And think of this – if the sun were a bowling ball with a diameter of 8 inches, Jupiter would be a chestnut, Neptune a coffee bean; the earth would be a peppercorn with a diameter of .08 of an inch.

Are you feeling small yet?

That’s how those northern lights make me feel – small and rather vulnerable. They also make me realize that what I know about the creator of this universe would likely fit in an even smaller thimble.
I am in sync with the Psalmist who wrote – “When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?” (Psalm 8:3,4).

Yet He does care, He is mindful of us.

Psalm 8 continues“You made them rulers over the works of your hands; you put everything under their feet; all flocks and herds, and the animals of the wild, the birds in the sky and the fish in the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas. Lord our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! (Psalm 8:6-9).

What do you think? Please leave a comment on the blogpost or use the "Contact Form" on the sidebar.Marcia would LOVE your FEEDBACK!

Are you ready for an INCREDIBLE Amish Historical series? Check out Roger Rheinheimer's "Amish Snow"

Are you ready for an INCREDIBLE Amish Historical series?

One that challenges you?

One that is not your run of the mill cookie cutter Amish Romance?

Roger Rheinheimer's "Amish Snow" is just that!!!!!!

You grab the story on Amazon Kindle or right from the HHP Store!

Amish Snow provides a rare insight into Amish culture as it clashes with American counter –culture during the late 1960’s. Deep faith clashes with religious persecution and personal identity. Rheinheimer weaves an engaging tale of loss, redemption and triumph of the human spirit, coming of age in a dangerous time. And in the face of evil that divides us, he clings firmly to the common bonds of human experience to show the truth that unites us.

Roger spent the first eighteen years of his life in northern Indiana, in the middle of Amish country. His father was the only doctor for a small town of a little over a thousand people, and had a hitching rail on a side street by his office for the Amish patients. His father bought an eighty acre farm, and Roger and his older brother worked it, raising cattle and growing crops.

While he was still in high school, Roger learned woodworking skills from Elmer Schlabach, his Amish mentor. They built houses in the old-fashioned tradition; hand-mixing the concrete for the foundations to building kitchen cabinets in Elmer's well equipped shop. To this day, Roger enjoys using his wood crafting skills, making acoustic guitars and furniture.

Roger earned an undergraduate degree in Behavioral Psychology from a small private college in the Shenandoah Valley, took a Creative Writing class, loved it, and published a short story called "My Brother." He was a regular contributing writer to the college newspaper.

After nearly thirty years living in Austin, Texas, watching it grow into a large city, Roger and his wife Ginny moved to a small farm in the Pacific Northwest.

What do you think of Chapter 1 of Tony Hilling's "Betrayal"? PLEASE leave a comment!

Unlike the Kamargan “wars”, the hostilities between the Davarenges and the Pintawab took place in one decisive battle. The Pintawab had for generations been subject to the Davarenges and had paid tribute to Davarensrod for the privilege of having their own state and monarchy. Xamindor, the Pintawab king, however, had an independent streak in him and had proved more autonomous than the Davarenges had liked. Malengus, therefore deposed him and appointed a puppet regime under Cheraktav, a rival to Xamindor. As soon as the Davarenge battalion had returned to Davarenspay, Cheraktav was assassinated and Xamindor was restored to power by his own followers. The token Davarenge battalion then retraced their steps but were met at the borders of Pintawab and Davarensrod by a large army of Pintawab warriors. They judged it prudent to hold their position until reinforcements arrived.

The Pintawab were native to the southern parts of Aedistamen. They were a very tall, dark-skinned people, with black hair, large, slanted eyes and delicate, pointed ears. It was generally agreed among the men of Aedistamen that the women of the Pintawab were the most beautiful of all. With respect to battlefield tactics, their warriors were mostly footmen, with long spears and small round heavy shields. They were more organized than the Kamargans and in battle deployed themselves in a large rectangular phalanx of spearmen. They also had a small division of light cavalry.

‘Eagle’ Corps of the Davarenge army, now under Vanus, was dispatched to reinforce the battalion of five hundred men, which had been held up at the border. Vanus, instead of taking the narrow coastal road, shrewdly turned inland and, after sending messengers to the local battalion, took up a position on the west side of the Broad Coulee, threatening Pintawab City to the south. Xamindor, had to turn eastwards in a frantic march to come between the Davarenges and Pintawab City in terrain they knew well, but not to their liking. The Davarenges occupied the desirable high ground in a wide descending slope, which would favour the deployment of cavalry.

There on the third Arc of the fourth Cycle in second Full Season of Malengus III’s reign, the two armies of equal strength met. The Pintawab had only managed to take their positions before the Mid-Arc, after a forced march during the Dark. Again, Vanus had chosen his position well, expecting that the Daystar would be beating down on the enemy during the last Sandfalls of the Arc. However, there was one matter that he was having difficulty controlling, and that was the Davarenge Lords in the Heavy Horse.

Technically, Vanus, albeit a recent appointment as general, was in command. Nonetheless, the Davarenge Lords being of the aristocracy, were jealous of their position and demanded of this young upstart that they drive the enemy from the field in a frontal charge. Vanus felt forced into a strategy that seemed imprudent at the beginning of a battle. He had insisted though that the Heavy Horse charge from the flanks only when the infantry and archers were in po sition to support. The exchange between himself and the Lords was worthy of a battle itself and could well have been the main event.
Vanus thought he had had his way: he had ordered that the Heavy Horse merely probe the Pintawab front line. But in this he was ignored.

The Heavy Horse managed to break the front line of the Pintawab spears but the phalanx held and the Davarenge cavalry ground to a halt at the second and third line. Vanus had felt pressed into joining the charge himself and was dragged along into going farther than he had originally intended. A spear caught him in the armour of the upper shoulder and a throwing axe hit him in the head. Luckily, his helmet took the brunt of the impact, but he was thrown from his mount. A young squire picked him up and brought him back to the Davarenge front line.

Owa’en saw the commotion as Vanus was brought back barely conscious. The squire informed him that not a few of the Lords had found their destiny at the end of the Pintawab spears. Without waiting for any battlefield commission, Owa’en took command and recalled the Horse to the flanks. Then, as the Great Star was now behind him in the west, he moved the whole Corps forward with the archers in the centre. At about three hundred paces from the Pintawab line he ordered his archers to fire in the air, aiming at the Pintawab centre. Volley upon volley rained down on the Pintawab phalanx. With the Great Star in their eyes and their small shields the Davarenge arrows began to find their mark. In addition, it did not miss the attention of the Pintawab warriors that the centre was the target and many began to move to the flanks. Owa’en then re-deployed the Heavy Horse in a narrow charge on the Pintawab centre.

He spoke without sparing to Lord Festa’an, the Cavalry Commander. “I want you to charge on their centre, do you hear me? Not at their shield wall, as you did before, but at their centre, where our arrows have made a passage for you. I want you to be an arrow at their heart, not the flat of a sword against a breastplate! Do you understand? Inform Lord Galandus now!”

Festa’an was taken aback, but had to acknowledge that the Cavalry had made no ground earlier on. He passed on the message and the Heavy Horse charged again as the last of the arrows poured down on the Pintawab. This time the Heavy Horse came from the flanks and converged in a “V” formation. They sliced into the remainder of the Pintawab phalanx. The Davarenge archers had done their work, and the cavalry were able to push right through and effectively cut it in two. Meanwhile, Owa’en moved forward with two of his infantry divisions and poured into the gap created by the Horse. The remaining foot soldiers spread out like the horns of a bull and engaged the Pintawab flanks. The long spears were somewhat successful at stopping the Horse earlier in the day but the Davarenge infantry just hacked them out of the way. Their shield wall held momentarily, but with their lines split and outflanked, the Pintawab panicked, turned and fled.

With little vegetation or rocks to hide, the Pintawab were slaughtered mercilessly on the open coulee. As the Great Star sank, the Davarenge Heavy Horse had to rest from the carnage such was their exhaustion from pursuing and slaying the defeated. Xamindor himself, was badly wounded and captured. Those that threw down their weapons fared better at the hands of the Davarenge infantry. About four to five thousand Pintawab were taken prisoner. The remaining five thousand had either fled or had been butchered.

The Davarenge Lords were exultant and felt that they had deserved the glory of the Arc, though Festa’an grudgingly acknowledged that Owa’en’s command was the real reason for the great victory. His success was dampened a little when the Lords insisted that they impale Xamindor. Owa’en bluntly refused. He explained why: the king had surrendered; the battle was over. The Lords then wanted to have sport with the prisoners, which Owa’en again refused. Lord Galandus, the Heavy Horse Assistant Commander questioned Owa’en’s authority, but Vanus, who had recovered consciousness, backed him squarely.

“Owa’en is in command even now, though I am somewhat recovered; you know the army order,” he declared to Galandus. “You know that I cannot even require Owa’en to return that command. It was legitimately taken while I was unconscious and cannot be restored without his approval. What is more, if I were him, I still would retain command until he is assured that I am fully able to function.”

Vanus was having not a little pleasure at the Lord’s discomfiture. He was lying on a canvas bed inside his tent, bandages about his head and shoulder.

Galandus was pacing with nervous energy. He was small for a Davarenge and disliked being off his mount, which accented his small stature. He was red-haired and green-eyed, with a choleric disposition, and given to great expansive hand gestures.
“But he did not even wait for a battlefield commission,” said the Lord, his hands flailing uselessly in all directions. “Does not the Army Order say that you have to relinquish command?”

“If the commander is unconscious, or even wounded and functioning with some difficulty, the second-in-command may assume command. This can happen even if hostilities have not commenced. And as you well know, we were in the midst of a battle. I was unconscious. Owa’en had no choice but to assume command and direct the army. His command continues and his decisions apply whether you like it or not.”

“But he wouldn’t even let us have our way with Xamindor, or the prisoners!” Galandus was still pacing, shaking his head and clenching his teeth, as if being denied a basic right.

“Owa’en has his reasons,” explained Vanus patiently. “He’s no doubt thinking of the future. Xamindor has been cowed. He’s easily the best leader and will probably cooperate with us. This will mean a smooth transition, more money in the treasury, Malengus happy at home and fewer problems abroad. And anyway, there are four thousand Pintawab corpses out there, My Lord, don’t you think that’s enough? How much more blood do you want?”

“We are the Heavy Horse, My Lord,” said Galandus, barely hiding his anger. “We are not accustomed to being reined in by some general fresh out of the Academy.”

“That fresh general won the Arc for you, Galandus, and probably saved your lordly hide into the bargain,” said Vanus, his patience now fully depleted by his fatigue and wounds. “I find myself growing tired, my lord, perhaps you would be good enough to raise these matters at the next meeting of the Davarenge Lords. As it is, Owa’en is in command and his orders stand.” The interview was clearly over.

Galandus barely saluted, turned and strode out of the tent in disgust.

What do you think of Tony Hilling's reading sample? Please leave a comment on the blogpost or use the "Contact Form". Tony would LOVE you FEEDBACK!

Coming Soon! Murray Pura's "Silver City-V3-AMARILLO BY MORNING"! READ Chapter 1 RIGHT NOW!!!!!

“Are you sure that GPS is working right?” asked Grayden.
“It’s working!” his brother snapped back. “What do you have to complain about? I’m the one that’s hurting.”
“We shouldn’t have dumped the truck.”
“We had to dump the truck and go cross-country. All it would do now is make us more of a target.”
Grayden stumbled. “Pitch black!”
“I’m glad for pitch black. They can’t see us.”
Voices carried to them through the night and they both crouched and froze.
“It’s our land!” a man cried out. “What do you think you’re doing?”
“You’re in the wrong place at the wrong time,” another man growled.
“Leave my kids alone. Leave my wife alone.”
There was the sound of a blow. A young girl yelled, “Dad!” and there was another blow. She did not yell again.
“What’s going on?” hissed Grayden.
“Family argument.”
“That’s no family argument.”
“We have to keep going, little brother. We have to clear these fields before the sun is up or you might as well paint bull’s eyes on our chests.”
Grayden crawled to the right on his elbows and knees, moving quickly and silently.
In a minute he reached a hollow where a large tent had been pitched next to a camper. A fire was at orange embers and near to the fire were three young girls, the oldest maybe 13 or 14, the youngest 8 or 9, a young woman in her 30s, and a man with a straw cowboy hat who had fallen to his knees. The 13 year old was bleeding from the mouth. About seven men in black stood around them.
“Will you leave it?” hissed Ty.
“It’s a kill team.”
“I know it’s a kill team. Sent out here to find and kill us.”
“And they found this family instead.”
“So they’ll make them promise to say they never saw the team and then let them go.”
“You know that’s not going to happen.”
“What I know is civilian casualties happen every day and it’s too bad but if we don’t move they’re going to nail us next.”
“Okay. Pop them.” One of the kill team jerked his head at the girls. “Then the parents.”
Grayden drew his pistol.
So did Ty. And shoved it into the back of Grayden’s head.
“Are you nuts?” demanded Grayden in a harsh whisper.
“No, you are,” seethed Ty. “You shoot and they’ll turn all their guns on us.”
“Not if you get off three or four quick shots to my half dozen. We can take them down.”
“Can’t chance it.”
“I won’t miss. Neither will you.”
“Nope. No can do. There’s too much riding on us. We have to stay alive.”
“I can’t just crawl away and pretend I never saw this.”
“You can and you will.” Ty dug the barrel of his pistol into Grayden’s skin and bone. “In case you hadn’t noticed the silencer is on my pistol.”
“So you’re going to blow the back of my head off quietly?”
“No, I’m going to hit you so hard with the silencer I’ll knock it off quietly. You’ll go to sleep until after the kill team has moved on.”
“Is that what you think?”
“It’s what I know.” Ty spat in the dirt. “You and your stupid old world heroics. When you were a kid you were Zorro. Then Batman. Then Clint Eastwood. When does it end? The 21st century doesn’t want heroes, Grayden, just cold hard cash.”
“On your knees like your old man.” One of the kill team pushed the wife down. “Everyone goes together.”
Grayden spat exactly like his brother. “You screwed up just one thing.”
“What one thing did I screw up?”
Grayden slammed his elbow into his brother’s face twice.
“I’m still Zorro.”
He fired once into the air, startling the kill team, stopping the man who had his pistol to the 13 year old’s head, and drawing all seven guns from the family to him and his brother and the flash from his SIG 45’s barrel.
“Well, just great, little brother!” yelled Ty, aiming his pistol into the hollow and squeezing the trigger. “So who am I? Zorro’s sidekick Bernardo?”
The kill team opened fire and bullets cut through the grass and brush like hot knives.
“Bernardo was mute. Which you’re not.” Grayden’s SIG blazed. “Maybe one of the horses. Phantom or Tornado.”
“I have a better idea.” Ty pulled out another pistol, jumped to his feet, and charged the kill team, limping and staggering and stumbling, both guns blasting. “Fill your hands!”
“Oh, for pity’s sakes!” Grayden jumped up and charged beside his brother. “John Wayne! And you call me old school!”
The father yelled at his daughters and wife to lie flat as the kill team started falling all around them with bullet holes in their heads and throats.
He saw the bullet strike one of them men running down the slope.
And spin him around.
Ty faced his brother, blood pouring from his mouth, fighting to stay on his feet.
“Wyatt Earp,” he choked out the words. “I should’ve been Wyatt Earp. No bullet even nicked him.”

What do you think of the reading sample for "AMARILLO BY MORNING"? Please leave a comment on the blogpost or use the "Contact Form" on the sidebar. Murray would LOVE your FEEDBACK!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

CONTEST! Giveaway! WIN a paperback edition of Patti J.Smith's "Grave Obessions"

Starting 8/6 and going until 8/20 Helping Hands Press will be holding a contest to win paperback versions of Patti J. Smith's "Grave Obsessions".

The Grand prize winner will receive the paperback and the audiobook of "Grave Obsessions".

Two more lucky winners will receive the paperback.

How do you enter to win?

Simply answer this question by using the "Contact Form" on the blog sidebar:
How many titles does Patti J. Smith have for sale on Amazon?

What is "Grave Obsessions" about?

Grave Obsessions reads like an episode of a television crime drama with its swift action and unexpected plot twists. Be it an elusive psychopath or child abductor, Detective Dallas Keegan pursues each with dogged determination and gut instinct while struggling with her faith and ghosts from the past. Chiseled Heart starts the series with a case that unnerves the most seasoned veterans on the force. A macabre signature is found on one victim, then another, sending the investigation into overdrive. He is not done. Savage Sojourner takes Detective Keegan to the tranquil surroundings of a spiritual retreat that becomes the scene of psychopathic retribution and an evil revelation. In Shackled Souls, children of prominent citizens become targets of a child laundering enterprise. Upset by the lack of recognition and respect due him, the “conveyer” redirects his attention, making the case personal and more heart wrenching for the department. The series ends with Unholy Vengeance. An old adversary resurfaces, intent on continuing his deadly game. The newest victim's condition left no question as to who was responsible. His obsession towards Detective Keegan accelerates, and with each ensuing victim, his method grows increasingly barbaric. As the body count rises, the department is blindsided by a twist of fate that refocuses Fredricks’ bloody vengeance on an unexpected entrant to his game.

Readers have been asking Tony Hilling -"WHERE DID YOU DIG UP THAT NAME “AEDISTAMEN” ANYWAY?"

Good question!

Where does such a name come from?

I suppose the same place that Narnia came from or Quidditch, or Silmarillion, or Tokay. “What’s in a name?” Shakespeare said. Most names in reality have some sort of provenance: Native American, Anglo-Saxon, Semitic, Celtic etc. Fantasy worlds are different. Aedistamen came from the same black hole that Dune came from, and has no other provenance except that it rhymes with Tutenkhamen! Amen, to that!

But the word, provenance, brings me to the connection between fantasy worlds and what we call reality. I’ve always had this conviction that fantasy worlds should at least doff their hats to the real world in respect of how it works. I realize I am being studiously vague, but what I‘m saying is that it’s great to have dwarves (or dwarfs, if you prefer) and dragons, but they’d better behave according to the rules. “What rules?”…you might ask. Well, the way things happen in our crazy domain, where “s--- happens”, as the bumper sticker declares, and good people sometimes get wasted without any apparent guiding moral hand. And isn’t that just the human condition? To play out your part without depending on the “dea ex machina” to rise up out of the ashes and sweep you into her protective arms. I remember when I was a little boy in Glasgow, I would visit my grandmother on Saturday afternoon. And we’d usually go past the Cinema (or the “picture house” as we called it) and about 11:00 A.M. or so, the matinee was playing which was usually about cowboys and their traditional opponents (I’m trying to be politically correct!) At that precise time, I always heard a resounding shout coming from the boys and girls in the cinema, signalling that the cavalry had finally arrived. We Scots are really into our happy endings.

In one of the paragraphs of my story, I have one of the characters say, “I would rather have some happiness before the endings!” Wouldn’t we all! I suppose what I’m trying to say is that the world I have created is authentic (in my view) in so far as it truthfully reflects the heart of our own world. Ergo, the rules! But I have a confession to make: I sometimes break them. Because in Aedistamen there is a “Deus”, and He doesn’t just rise out of the ashes. He’s there all the time, just like here. So, if you think our world is in a mess, don’t fret. The cavalry is a-comin’!

Tony (Anthony John) Hilling was born in Glasgow, Scotland of Scots/Irish parentage. He has spent time as a lawyer, priest, non-denominational pastor, and most recently as a writer. His first work, "The Voice of Aedistamen", tells the story of an enslaved people in a fantasy world who struggle for freedom. In their quest they rediscover an ancient faith in a forgotten God who calls forth a deliverer from among them. Tony is also working on another fantasy novel, "The Caves of the Kananaskis", and has written a biblical play called, "Imwas". He and his family now make their home in Western Canada.

Drop by Tony's Amazon Author Page: