Monday, August 31, 2015

Welcome Book Number 48!!!!!

True to my schedule this year, I now have published indie book number 8 for the year for sweettalebooks.com, which is a book a month.  This one is number 48 for my list.  YAY!  I'm just glad I made it, right under the wire for August.  :)

Enjoy this one...even though it's a contemporary romance, it's for all those WWII history buffs out there.


Faith in the Darkest of Nights, by Eryn Grace:




Blurb:

*** BASED ON CHRISTIAN MORALS--CHRISTIAN ROMANCE ***

For Becky Lewis and her three children, life isn't fair.  Now, with the death of her military husband, she knows she's stuck living in her parent's home with them.  However, in her last conversation with her husband while he was in the hospital overseas, he told her to meet his commanding officer, Captain Reese Simon.

Captain Simon, a confirmed bachelor, never knew about God's love.  However, PFC Bob Lewis told him a story that changed his life.  The story took place in a concentration camp in WWII Treblinka, Poland, and how, even when the night is dark and the outcome is bleak, God is with us all.


Can Captain Simon help Becky and the kids come to know the love of Jesus, given their circumstances?  Or will it take an extreme crisis for Becky to understand that she is also saved?


Excerpt:

Chapter 1



Captain Reese Simon stood in the hospital hallway, listening to a phone conversation.  He didn't want to interrupt, but the man in the bed had asked to speak to him.

The man sighed over the phone.  "Becky, don't be angry, please?  I'll be home as soon as I can, if I can."

Captain Simon hobbled into the hospital room from where he'd been listening.  He and Private First Class Robert Lewis were both patients in the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany.  They called his underling PFC Bob—but that was before he was flown to Germany along with most of their unit.  No need to change that nickname now.  He was still the same man as before, even though the guy's injuries seemed to indicate otherwise.

"I'll leave," Captain Simon whispered to PFC Bob, since the man was still on the phone. 

As Captain Simon turned to inch away on his crutches, PFC Bob motioned for him to come back into the room.  "Talk to my C. O.," he said, over the phone.  "His name's Captain Reese Simon." 

Captain Simon went toward the bed and took the phone held out for him.  "Hello?"

"Who am I really speakin' to?"  The woman's voice sounded tough, with a soft southern accent.  Bob didn't have an accent, so maybe he wasn't from the south, where they'd initially been stationed.

"This is Captain Reese Simon," he said.  "And who is this?"

"My name's Becky Lewis.  Tell me about my husband, Bob's, injuries?"

Captain Simon looked down the bed to where Bob's legs should have been.  "He'll live.  It'll take some time for him to come home, though."

"Will he walk?"

Captain Simon froze.  "What did he tell you, exactly?"

"He said he lost his legs, but won't tell me how or any of his other injuries.  He's called me every day for three days, but won't tell me anything else."

"That's confidential right now, until we can talk to our superiors, ma'am.  Just you hang tight and we'll get Bob home to you in no time."

"Considerin' he hasn't been here for years, that'll be a first."  She sighed, and Captain Simon heard a child crying.  "I have to go.  Tell him I'll call him tomorrow."

"Yes, ma'am.  I hope that child stops crying, too."

"Don't you worry about my kids.  They just miss a father they barely know.  Good bye, Captain Simon."

"Good bye."  He hung up the phone and looked down at the man in front of him.  "PFC Bob.  I think we have a problem."

PFC Bob smiled up from his bed, his face pale.  "That we do, Captain.  That we do."  He glanced downward.  "I do believe we hit a landmine."

"All of us."  Captain Simon looked downward at his own mangled leg, wrapped in bandages and a cast. 

"So was Becky nice to you?"

Captain Simon nodded.  "She's just frustrated.  She'll be fine and said she'd call you tomorrow.  It has to be a shock to hear her husband's in the hospital in Germany."

"Yeah."  He paused and took a breath.  "So how are you doing?"

The Captain looked downward again.  "They finally let me out of my room.  I'm shipping stateside when there's transportation, then I'll go through rehab."

PFC Bob shook his head with a frown, looking as if he might cry.  "Not me.  I'm not going home alive."

Captain Simon straightened as if at attention.  "You don't know that, soldier.  Never give up.  Your wife's expecting you home."

PFC Bob's eyes grew weary, looking rather sad.  "Sir, the doc came to see me.  It's going to be a long haul.  With the loss of both of my legs…"  He trailed off and turned his head away.

The thought of one of his men dying made the captain a little sentimental, but he knew PFC Bob had it in him to make it.  He was a legacy—his grandfather and his father had both been in the Army.  PFC Bob didn't seem to have much drive, but wanted to follow in his family's footsteps, telling everyone in his unit he was made to be a military man.  He just didn't follow through with the actions to match his words.  PFC Bob could make it home, if he wanted to.

"There's a reason I asked to talk to you," PFC Bob said.  "I want you to send my widow a message, without her yelling at me."

Captain Simon pulled up a chair, and using his crutches, sat down beside the bed.  "You mean your wife, Becky.  Not your widow, because you're not dead.  She lives near the base in Georgia, right?"

"No, I mean my widow, because I'm not going to make it.  She doesn't live near the base, either.  She moved back home to be with her parents, near Dallas.  Anyway, I want to record something for my kids.  I never told anyone this story, and it's going to die with me if I don't tell someone."

"You're not dying, but I'll get a tape recorder just so you can sleep."  Captain Simon stood, hobbling toward the door.

"Thank you," PFC Bob said, calling after Captain Simon.  "And I'd like you to hear it in case anything happens to the tape."

"Yes, sir.  I'd be honored."  Captain Simon turned and headed out the door, figuring it would be the last will and testament of a man who wasn't dying.  If PFC Bob was that bad, they'd send him home immediately.  But if it humored Bob, so be it. 

Captain Simon greeted the people along the way to his room, trudging down the hallway.  He looked at it this way—he could be in his bed watching television or he could be listening to PFC Bob drone on and on about some story that probably wasn't even true.  For all he knew, Bob may be writing fiction, hoping his wife would sell it to make ends meet after he got back home. 

Bob's recovery would be an uphill climb, but he was the one who'd detonated the mine.  The guy had to go to the bathroom, and they just happened to stop at the right place on the road.  Bob hopped out and stepped on the mine, blasting everyone and everything in their way.  Captain Simon was driving.  When the truck overturned, Captain Simon's left leg was mangled against the door and whatever else it hit.  After that, things got hazy, in and out of consciousness for the entire trip to Germany.  But he remembered Bob screaming, and then saying one thing over and over again.  Something about hope in the Lord.  That was one thing Captain Simon didn't want to hear.  It actually ticked him off, because there was no God that he knew of.

Captain Simon sighed, getting the audio recorder from his room.  He'd requested it for himself, to pass the time away on a new melody going through his head.  The thing was digital and looked almost like a cell phone, able to record almost 400 hours to upload to a computer. 

After putting the recording device in his palm, he hobbled on his crutches to PFC Bob's room.  "I'm back."

"Captain.  Did you bring the recorder?"

"Sure did."  He took his seat and opened his hand to show it.  "I'm ready when you are."

"Turn it on."  PFC Bob waited while the Captain started it after his song, and then nodded.

Bob took a breath.  "I want to tell my wife, Becky, that I love her.  I've loved her since the moment I met her and have never stopped loving her.  I thank God that He put her in my life.  I never should've joined the military.  Granted, it's what I wanted to do—what I felt I had to do—but my heart's not in it.  Because of me, many fine soldiers are now wounded.  It's my fault we hit the landmine.  Actually, I hit the landmine, or so I'm told.  I don't remember any of it."

Captain Simon turned off the machine.  "Bob, it's not your fault.  That could've been any one of us.  We were told that area had been cleared already."

"Regardless, if it weren't for me, we'd all still be out there doing our job."  He motioned to the machine.  "Turn it on.  I'm not done—I've hardly begun."

Captain Simon flipped the thing on.

PFC Bob continued.  "Becky, if I don't make it back, I want you to find our kids a father figure so your parents don't have to raise our children.  I want him to be someone that will raise our kids in the faith and be a better father than I've been.  I also want our children to know God.  Becky, promise you'll teach them what I can't teach them with their new father figure.  Get them to church and have them memorize as much of the Bible as they can.  I especially want them to remember Psalm 118:6, which says, 'The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid.  What can mere mortals do to me?' and Psalm 31:24, which says, 'Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord.'  Those two verses helped my grandfather and my father get through their trials of war, when captured by the enemy.  At least that didn't happen to me."

His grandfather and his father were prisoners of war?  Now it made more sense.  PFC Bob didn't want to become a POW.  That's why he always hesitated to jump in feet first.

Captain Simon sat up, listening intently to every word.  Getting into the minds of his unit helped solidify his troops.  If he could get them to think alike and complement each other, he could have the best unit around.

"I also want them to memorize Psalm 23, and 2 Samuel 22: 2-4.  Those are two messages that will get them through so many things.  They need to commit them to memory if they're ever in trouble and don't have a Bible with them."

Captain Simon wondered what PFC Bob was talking about, since Captain Simon had never read a Bible.  His family was filled with angry atheists.  But he didn't want to be anything like them.  Maybe he needed to know more?  So he reached over, opened the drawer to the nightstand, and grabbed the Bible, 

"You don't know where that is, do you?" PFC Bob asked him.

Captain Simon shook his head.  PFC Bob took the Bible and showed him Psalm 23 and 2 Samuel 22.  "Psalm 23 lets my kids know that God is with them, even in the toughest of times, or the darkest of nights.  They should just have faith.  2 Samuel 22: 2-4 lets them know that God can handle any problem, no matter how big, and they'll be saved from evil and their enemies.  They're very powerful things to memorize.  I want my children and my children's children to know what's gone through the heads of their ancestors when faced with the terror of death.  I want to tell them what happened, starting with their grandfather, back in World War II."

Now it was getting good for Captain Simon.  He loved war stories, especially if the good guys won.  He leaned back and just listened, the Bible still in his hands.

"My grandfather, John Lewis, was born back in 1923.  He was a funny kid, always cracking a joke.  His father was rather strict and would force his kids to memorize parts of the Bible.  The guy believed anything could be taken from you except your memories.  So John learned much of the Bible from his father.  John didn't have any real skills for a job, and since there wasn't much money after the Great Depression, John joined the Army when he was 18.  Now back then, the Air Force, as we know it, didn't exist yet."

"That's right," Captain Simon said.  "It was called the Army Air Forces, but changed by President Truman through the National Security Act of 1947."

PFC Bob smiled slightly.  "You know your history."

Captain Simon shrugged, not wanting to say he had a college degree in history.  "It's a hobby of mine.  I like anything to do with the military."

PFC Bob took a breath and blew it out.  "He was put in the Army Air Forces and flew as a gunner in the Army, lying in the belly of the plane.  When John was 19, the United States had already been involved in World War II since January of 1942, after Pearl Harbor's attack on December 7, 1941.  They sent John's unit overseas, to help protect our allies.  His plane got into a huge fight with fighter pilots near Germany in July of 1943.  They fought with the other planes and were eventually taken down.  John was the only one to survive, but the German SS—the secret police—took him hostage.  Over the next five days, they beat John, who only recited his name, rank of Sergeant, and the Bible verses I told you about.  Psalm 118:6—'The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid.  What can mere mortals do to me?' and Psalm 31:24—'Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord.'  He was so happy to have been forced to memorize much of the Bible, because the Psalms gave him the most hope for the future."

PFC Bob paused, glancing down at the recorder.  Captain Simon joined him, making sure it was recording.

PFC Bob continued.  "Now, remember, he would've only been 19 at the time.  His 20th birthday was about a month away, in August.  He was scared, knowing he'd never see his family again.  But he knew God was watching out for him and had a plan for his life."

"Uh-huh."

PFC Bob stopped talking and stared at Captain Simon.  "You don't believe."

"I believe you and the story about your grandfather."

"No.  You don't believe God will save us through Jesus Christ.  You're not a Christian, are you?"

Captain Simon shook his head.  "I was raised to believe there is no God."

"You were raised wrong.  I think this is my mission in life—to save you from sin.  Captain, Jesus died on the cross, taking away our sin.  Have you ever heard that before?"

"No, sir."

He nodded toward the Bible.  "I have a job for you.  I want you to read that Book.  Start with the New Testament so you'll know who Jesus Christ is.  Read the book of John—all emotion is out of that chapter, I think.  It's just the facts and summarizes a lot of things."  He grabbed the Bible and leafed through it, showing Captain Simon the first page of the book.  "You'll learn about Jesus.  Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are the four gospels.  Read those for me before I die.  It'll make me very happy."

Captain Simon looked down at the words on the page before him.  Could he do this?  Could he read something he didn't believe in?  As he looked up at PFC Bob's smile, he knew he'd do it for his troops.  Maybe it would make more sense to him why some of his men wore a cross around their neck.

Captain Simon had to do something, wanting to hear more of the story.  If it could make PFC Bob tell more, he'd abide by PFC Bob's request.  "I'll do it, for you."

"By tomorrow.  I might die soon and I want to know you've read it."

Captain Simon nodded.  He was good to his word, even though he was sure PFC Bob wasn't dying.  "Tell me about your grandfather."

PFC Bob's eyes closed briefly.  "I'm really tired.  I think they're slipping me sedatives, because I'm not sleeping at night."

Captain Simon reached up and patted PFC Bob's arm.  "Get some sleep.  We'll talk again tomorrow."  He lifted the recorder and turned it off while Bob fell asleep.  Captain Simon put the Bible away, knowing he had another one beside his hospital bed.

He shuffled back to his room, deciding along the way to transcribe Bob's words for his wife, in case anything happened to the recording.  He got to his bed and opened the drawer to the nightstand beside the bed, seeing the Bible before him.  He pulled it out of the drawer, along with paper and a pen, and got to work.  At least it was better than doing nothing in that bed. 


 ~~~~~




Buy links (more will be shown on the web page as they become available):
 Smashwords
 Amazon

Have a great week!
Markee/Eryn

Friday, August 28, 2015

When Push Becomes Shove

Sometimes, we're forced to stand up for ourselves, or others walk all over us.  I see this in the writing industry a lot.  Publishers force writers to write a certain way, or create a certain book, or they won't publish anything from that author ever again.  Or people on social media harass authors to the point of them pulling books.

When does push become shove?  What's the limit to stop the pushing and  someone has to shove back?

I'm writing this because I know of quite a few people who seem to have no backbone.  They're unwilling to tell someone who's shoving them in a direction that it's not okay.  They don't know how to say 'no' in any instance.

Many of these people would make great characters because they never shove back.  I'm looking into this for my characters, to see how they react.  Is it normal to wait until the absolute breaking point before saying 'enough is enough'?

How far would you be willing to go before you push back?  Is it different in your personal life versus profession?  I'd love to have feedback on this, so if you can shed any light on what it takes to shove back, let me know.

Thanks!
Markee

Friday, August 21, 2015

Help! I've been 'timejacked'!

In all honesty, I thought I made up that word--timejacking. But there seems to be a way to timejack something with bitcoins.  Don't even ask me to explain it.

I looked up the term timejack and it's not listed on dictionary.com.  So I figured I'd give it my OWN definition.

We've all been timejacked, to some extent.  That's when you think you have time to do something and someone else comes along and sucks your time into their life.  It's like hijacking your time for themselves.

Here's an example.  I sit down to write, happy that I have a full day with nothing planned, thus I can do as I wish.  I wish to write.  Plain and simple.  No more than a second has passed than the phone rings.  It's one of my kids who wants to whine about being bored and they want me to entertain them.  I tell them I don't have time to entertain them, but they seem to suck an hour of my time away from writing for their own entertainment, saying pretty much nothing.  Right when I hang up, someone comes to the door trying to sell me something.  After arguing for ten minutes that I don't need another toothbrush from a door-to-door salesman and showing them the dozen or so that I already have, I close the door and sit down to write.  I no sooner get one more word written than the dog vomits on the floor and I have to clean it up.  Then I get an email from a friend who hasn't talked to me in MONTHS telling me all about their life and that they need moral support of some type.
Needless to say, there goes over two hours of my time--I've been timejacked.

This happens to me a lot.  I seem to lose precious time to others wanting my attention.  It's not that I don't want to help others, or that I don't care, but I just want a few hours alone, to write.

Do you have this problem?  Do you ever get timejacked?  I wish I had a private island to escape to, that had no Internet, no phones, no people, but just my laptop and peace and quiet.  Ever wish that?

I'm off to write...again.  I wonder how long it'll be before I'm timejacked yet again?  I should take out bets and make some cash on the idea.  LOL!

Have a great week!
Markee

Friday, August 14, 2015

Writing Organizations

Summer is conference time for various writing organizations.  People spend lots of money to travel to the conference, book a hotel, pitch a book to agents and editors, and buy the books on sale.  It's also a wonderful time to meet your favorite author and try to live up to their expectations.

I've seen many posts from various authors who are going to these conferences.  They think they have a chance at the golden ring.  But it's usually a pipe dream for authors, more like a 'get rich quick scheme' in my opinion.  Most of the published authors, in my opinion, were in the right place at the right time.  It had nothing to do with the writing organization or the conference.  Yes, an author can learn a lot from the classes, and I loved that part when I went to conferences, but thinking an author will get recognized at those things isn't going to happen.

So why belong to a writing organization if they don't help an author get noticed?  I asked myself that a few years ago when I belonged.  I took stock of what I needed from them, took classes online, and learned a lot.  I have that to be thankful for with the writing organization.  But otherwise, it was one of those 'good old boy' networks and I eventually dropped out.  I didn't need them anymore because in my opinion, I wasn't getting anything out of the money I had to fork out to belong.  Back then, if you didn't have a writing organization on your cover letter, you'd never be noticed by the top NY publishers.

But the times have changed.  As an Indie writer, I don't need writing organizations for a cover letter--I don't even need a cover letter or a synopsis for an agent or a publisher.

I also don't need to meet with other authors in a local writing group, because I've found it to be cliquish and rather snobbish.  The writers who have publishers look down on those who don't.  Just like at a conference, being at the right place at the right time is just luck.  And they got lucky to be with publishers, but they don't see it that way.

If you're paying to be with a writing organization and aren't getting anywhere, consider putting your well-earned money elsewhere.  Consider putting it toward marketing, covers and editing, or even feeding your family.  It'll work more to your advantage there than in an organization who is glorifying the big names instead of helping the small guy get noticed.

Have a great week!
Markee

Friday, August 7, 2015

Adventures in Storytelling

Something woke her from her deep sleep.  She listened for a moment, the noise mimicking a thick twirling rope.  Dare she raise the blind and look out the window?  The more she thought about it, the more she panicked.  The sound grew closer, the whirling louder as it neared.

Sucking sounds plucked at the air, as if something--or someone--was being taken away.  Distant slight screams accompanied the sound, but then nothing before another slight scream and the sound of a vacuum.

Should she glance outside, just to see?  Maybe she should take a peek?

She turned toward the clock.  It read 2:06.  Early morning.  Her mind turned at the thought of what might be overhead, for now, the sound was right outside her window.  She had to look.  A sudden blinding light filled the window beside her bed.

She didn't even have to move the blind, for she knew what the thing was.  Strange colors lit her room, in red, green, and yellow.  No one had to tell her what to do, for she knew.

With a quick motion, she slid out of bed and moved under the frame.  She had to hide.

The sound took only an instant longer, the lights brighter than ever.  She closed her eyes and whoosh...the thing was gone.  She was safe.

The woman moved back into bed but now couldn't sleep.  Would it return to claim her in its sucking sound, as well?  Would anyone hear her screams?  If she called the cops, she knew they'd laugh at her.  But who would get the last laugh when they'd receive other calls identical to hers?

Her mind drifted in and out of consciousness until about six, when her alarm woke her.  She got out of bed, took a shower, and made breakfast.  But she had to know.  What happened the night before?  Was it merely a dream or was it reality?

She flipped on the news.  There, on the television screen, was her worst nightmare.  Drawn images of a UFO showed how the thing sucked people into its grasp.

The alien war had begun and she was a witness.



I hope you enjoy this plot bunny crawling around in my head.  This one was created by my daughter, actually, who thought she saw a UFO in the sky.  Turns out, it was leftover fireworks someone was setting off.

Have a great week!
Markee

Saturday, August 1, 2015

August Newsletter

The Dog Days of August...


Summer's almost over, so I'm enjoying every last day of the season.  In the meantime, I'm waiting for our tomatoes to ripen, the raspberries to keep producing in our backyard, and the plum trees to give us some yummy fruit.

I'm also still keeping up with publishing a book a month this year, my personal challenge.

I hope everything's going well for you in your neck of the woods.  Enjoy August!

Have a wonderful month!
SweetTale Books





What Happened At
SweetTale Books
in July?


It's time for another Rick Shilling book by Paige Ryter.  This one deals with dust bunnies cloning people and sending them to a peaceful planet while their clones take over their lives back on earth.  I'm not so sure that's a bad thing, but Rick and Lyra seem to think so.  LOL!



Blurb:

Rick and Lyra have a new client who claims to have been cloned by dust bunnies under his bed.  The guy's weird, but it's not until they investigate that they realize they have a bigger problem than they anticipated, needing to get more help.

Rick Shilling to the Rescue Story 4—NOVELLA LENGTH

~~~~~

Chapter 1:

Someone rapped at Rick Shilling's outer door, waking him from a deep sleep. "Coming," he yelled. The idea of someone bugging him in the middle of the night ticked him off, because he was having a wonderful argument with Lyra in his dream. And for once, he was winning. He almost had her to the place where she could admit she was madly in love with him.

But in reality, it wasn't meant to be. She still lived in the big house next door and still dated Conor. Every night, Conor would visit until all hours of the morning and then would go home. They weren't doing anything out of the ordinary--mostly watching television and eating popcorn, but Rick was jealous. No, he was more than jealous. He was a stalker, watching her through her sliding glass windows to make sure Conor didn't do anything wrong. Thus, Rick always went to bed late, because he had to keep an eye on his neighbor and coworker, Lyra.

Rick shuffled in his bare feet down the stairs in his home to the front door. The doorbell rang and someone knocked, yet again. "Coming. Geesh! You'd think it was the end of the world or something."

"It is," came a male voice from the other side of the door. "Hurry up or they'll kidnap me again."

Oh brother. A client? That's all he needed. "Yeah, yeah, yeah. They all say that." Rick unlocked both locks on the door.

But before he could turn the knob, the door burst open and a man, dressed in pajamas, ran inside. "Quick. Hide me. I'll go anywhere you can store me, just to stay safe." He danced a bit, crossing his legs. "But first, do you have a bathroom?"

Rick pointed toward the downstairs bathroom, right off the foyer. "Hurry up. I want to go back to bed and can't be bugged with freaky-deeky clients right now."

The guy ran into the bathroom and slammed the door. Moans of relief came from inside the bathroom, but Rick wasn't impressed. Instead, he ambled into the kitchen and began making a few cups of coffee. He was going to need it. Reality descended into his brain. He realized he probably shouldn't be alone with a man dressed in pajamas, or the neighbors--and Lyra--might talk. So he grabbed the phone on the wall and made a call.

"Huh?" was the answer from other end of the phone.

"Neville, I have a client. I need help." Rick yawned.

"At 1:45 in the morning? What time did you finally come home from watching Lyra?"

"You're not to know about that."

Neville sighed. "Everyone in the neighborhood knows, considering the cops almost arrested you last night. What time?"

"The cops brought me back around midnight, then I was at Lyra's until after one. I'm tired. And this yahoo client wants me to hide him or something." Rick heard a noise and turned around.

The yahoo client stood in front of him with the knife from the kitchen wooden knife block in his hand. Rick wasn't impressed. "Get over here," he said to Neville over the phone. "Yahoo thinks he's Rambo or something and is wielding a knife." He ended the call and covered his mouth when he yawned. "Put that thing away. This isn't the time for heroics."

"Hide me or I'll kill you."

"Stupid man," Rick said. "If you kill me, everyone's going to be after you." He pointed toward the knife. "Your prints are on the handle." Didn't he watch cop shows?

"I don't have any prints. The dust bunnies stole them from me, to give to my clone."

Rick's brain kicked into gear and woke up. This guy just became a lot more interesting.




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Where to keep up with me

I have five blogs, posting them over six days out of the week.  See all the feeds here: http://sweettalebooks.com/mybloglist.html.


Come visit me!  You can also see pictures and videos of our dogs.  They're hilarious!



Have a wonderful month!!!
SweetTale Books