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Wednesday, November 14, 2018

New release: 'Manipulated' by John Ford Clayton



Genre: Political Thriller
Title: Manipulated
Author:  John Ford Clayton

About the Book:

Manipulated is a political thriller set during the 2016 presidential election season from January 2015 through January 2017. During these two years, a fictional account of the election is chronicled. The first half of the book provides a back story illustrating an American political system soiled by political parties, a misguided media, and lots and lots of money, all orchestrated by a clandestine organization known as Mouse Trap.
The second half of the book provides a glimpse at what the 2016 election might have looked like had a different candidate been introduced into the campaign. A candidate not bound to either political party, deep-pocket investors, or Washington insiders. A candidate who had absolutely no interest in the job but is drafted by those that know him best to fix a broken system. A candidate who personifies integrity, character, and humility. A candidate whose core values are guided by his faith.



About the Author:

John Ford Clayton lives in Harriman, Tennessee with his wife Kara, and canine companions Lucy, Ginger and Clyde. He has two grown sons, Ben and Eli, and a daughter-in-law, Christina. He earned a BS in Finance from Murray State University and an MBA from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. He is active in his East Tennessee community having served on the local boards of the Boys and Girls Club and a federal credit union, on church leadership and creative teams, and on a parks and recreation advisory committee. When he’s not writing he works as a project management consultant supporting Federal project teams. John is a huge fan of Disney parks and University of Kentucky basketball.

Connect with John Ford Clayton on the web:

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

In the Spotlight: The Water is Wide by Laura Vosika


THE WATER IS WIDE by Laura Vosika, Time Travel/Historical Fiction, 451 pp., $16.99 (paperback) $4.99 (kindle)


Title: THE WATER IS WIDE Author: Laura Vosika Publisher: Gabriel’s Horn Press Pages: 451 Genre: Time Travel/Historical Fiction

After his failure to escape back to his own time, Shawn is sent with Niall on the Bruce’s business. They criss-cross Scotland and northern England, working for the Bruce and James Douglas, as they seek ways to get Shawn home to Amy and his own time.

Returning from the Bruce’s business, to Glenmirril, Shawn finally meets the mysterious Christina. Despite his vow to finally be faithful to Amy, his feelings for Christina grow.

In modern Scotland, having already told Angus she’s pregnant, Amy must now tell him Shawn is alive and well—in medieval Scotland. Together, they seek a way to bring him back across time.
They are pursued by Simon Beaumont, esteemed knight in the service of King Edward, has also passed between times. Having learned that Amy’s son will kill him—he seeks to kill the infant James first.

The book concludes with MacDougall’s attack on Glenmirril, Amy and Angus’s race to be there and Shawn’s attempt to reach the mysterious tower through the battling armies.

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As the shadows lengthened, Shawn cleared his throat. “Any thoughts on where to spend the night? Is there a Holiday Inn around here?”
“There’s no inn of any sort.”
“Yeah, and that’s a problem,” Shawn said, “because last time I slept in the great outdoors, a wolf climbed into bed with me, and it didn’t really end well for either of us.” He rubbed his thigh, where a long scar would forever remind him of the night.
“You did well.” Niall cocked a grin at him. “It almost makes me glad to have you at my side, despite your infernal complaining.” The sky over the leafy canopy grew grayer as they climbed another hill.
“I haven’t complained for half an hour, and considering I’m stuck with you, that’s pretty impressive.” An owl hooted, low and mournful. “I’m pretty sure that knocks a couple months off any Purgatory time I’d racked up.” The river crackled, cold water splashing against thin ice on the edges, beside them.
Any time?” Niall chortled, a candle against the darkening wood. “You’ll be fortunate to get as high as Purgatory, and if you do, you’ve racked up so much time there, they’ll have to kick the rest of them straight into Heaven to make room for all the Purgatory you need!”
“I don’t think it works like....” Shawn stopped at the top of the hill, staring at the sight before them. “Holy ruins, Batman. What is that?”
Niall and his pony halted by his side. The animal tossed its head, and nuzzled Niall’s arm. Before them stretched a wide expanse of broken stone walls, stone buildings with mouths and eyes gaping wide in the twilight, on either side of a long road. One vast length of wall held numerous niches. Thirty yards away, crumbling walls enclosed rows of short, stout, stone posts. Beyond it, a stairway led down into a dark maw. Bushes sprang from cracks. Trees grew in and among the abandoned structures. Shadows stretched everywhere, as the sun sank, sending fiery orange and pink rays down the center road, lighting the mist that swirled along it.
“That,” said Niall with a smile, “is our inn. God provides.” He touched his heels to his pony, starting down the gentle slope.
Shawn coughed loudly. “Uh, yeah, He sure does. The question is what has He provided? What is this place?”
“A Roman fort.” Niall led his pony down the center path, the remains rising on either side. A bird called somewhere in the trees.
“The Roamin’ in.” Shawn used English for the last two words. “God has a sense of humor.”
Niall smiled, pointing to the stairs leading down. “There. ’Tis indoors.”
“It’s a pun,” Shawn clarified. “It’s a whole lot funnier if you see it spelled out.”
“No doubt,” Niall agreed. “Shall we gather firewood? Keep any more wolves from climbing in bed with you?”
“Yes, let’s. And what keeps away the ghosts of the Roman legionnaires? Or their victims?”
“One sight of your face ought to scare any spirits back to the underworld.”
“If that doesn’t work,” said Shawn, “your pathetic attempts at music will.”
“Perhaps you could brag of your exploits with women.” Niall grinned. “Even Hades is better than having to listen to that.”
Shawn laughed. “You’re jealous.”
They picked their way over the darkening path strewn with stones. In the trees above, an owl hooted.
“What happens tomorrow?” Shawn nodded at the limping pony.
Niall’s mouth was taut. “We hope he’s better. If not, we let him rest, and spend the time learning to play the lute. We’ve shelter, walls and a roof, which is more than we expected.”
They stopped before their intended room. Shawn sighed. It would do no good to stay in the open, but the stone structure, with its empty eyes and stone stairs descending into darkness, was hardly welcoming.
“We’ll need wood,” Niall said. They tethered the ponies to a tree springing up near the ruin, left the lute beside them, and set out to gather branches.
The sky was now deep blue, the ruins cloaked in shadow. A wolf howled in the distance. The air grew chillier as they worked, till a night among ghosts looked inviting, even homey, as long as it was warm. They piled the kindling on the lowest step outside their chosen abode, where it would warm the room, but send its smoke up into the sky. Niall scraped flint, and soon, they had flickering light by which to eat their hard bread and berries. Shawn settled back, content with his stomach less than empty, and pulled out the lute. He adjusted a couple tuning pegs, tried a few chords, and began one of the songs he’d played on guitar. Niall relaxed against another wall, watching his fingers, humming along. “Let me try,” he said at last. Shawn handed it over, giving instruction as Niall leaned over the strings, working his fingers into unfamiliar positions for chords, and picking out melodies.
Outside, a pony whickered. Niall and Shawn froze, looking to the doorway, where they could see only black night beyond the glowing fire. Niall laid the lute down gently. “We've been careless,” he said softly. They reached for their knives.
“I’m kind of hoping it’s only a ghost,” Shawn whispered back. The familiar tingle of adrenaline began, a tremoring of the nerves in his arms. His muscles tightened. “Do we wait for whoever it is to come in?”
Niall shook his head. “And wait for a whole army to come in on us? If I’m to die tonight, ’twill be fighting for my life.” He rose, back against the wall, and inched around till he stood pressed by the doorway, where the fire crackled. On the other side, Shawn did the same, his heart pounding hard. Niall pointed to his chest, then to Shawn, and held up fingers in a silent count: One. Two. Three.
He sprang over the small flames, into the night. Shawn leapt behind him, knife ready, heart beating triple time, nerves screaming! The fire threw shadows across the pony, who balked against his tether. Shawn saw nothing. But he heard the crack of a twig just beyond the light. He and Niall lunged. The single crack grew into a panicked flurry of rustling leaves, cracking twigs, branches snapping back in their faces as they gave chase. Shawn ducked and swerved, saw Niall ahead, veered, and suddenly, there was a pile of arms, legs. He dropped his knife.
“Get down!” Niall roared. Shawn threw himself to the ground, hands over his head.
All became silent for a heartbeat...two.
Then the forest erupted with sound!
“I didn’t mean you!” Niall said indignantly.
“I’ve done naught, Milord! Don’t kill me!”
Then Niall was laughing, great gusty roars of merriment. “Shawn, get up! You’re hiding from a boy!”
“Don’t kill me! I can help you! I can help your hobin, Milord!”
Shawn inched his hand from over his eyes to see the dark shape of Niall sitting astride a boy who managed to flounder, fight, and cower, all at once, while protesting. He climbed irritably to his feet. “You said get down!”
“I meant him.”
“You staged this because your lute-playing sucks!” Shawn threw back into the night. “You needed a distraction.”
“Thank goodness at least you can play a lute, because the way you fight, a mouse would have gotten the better of us!”
The boy looked back and forth between them. He stopped struggling. “Milord?”
Shawn realized both their faces were showing. He recoiled into shadow. Niall climbed to his feet, his knife at the ready. “Get up.”
“He’s just a boy,” Shawn sighed. “Put your knife away.”
“Aren’t we sending boys to war?” Niall asked. “What makes you think a boy can’t kill?”
Shawn had no answer. He could think only of the boys to whom he’d taught trombone, so many years ago in the future—boys in sports jerseys, with trimmed hair, worrying about who to ask to prom. This boy stood before them in tatters. He wrapped his arms around his skinny body. His hair hung past his shoulders. Clarence. His father’s killer, as he’d last seen him, flashed through Shawn’s mind. Yes, boys could kill. He didn’t want to believe this one would. He just didn’t want any more ugliness in his world.
“What’s your name?” Niall demanded.
“I have none,” the boy said.
“No name? How can you have no name?”
The boy shrugged. “My parents died long ago, my mother in childbirth, and my father in battle. A farrier found me and took me in. He didn’t know my name.”
“Surely he called you something?”
“Red.” The boy’s shivering increased.
“Niall,” Shawn said.
Niall pressed the boy, ignoring Shawn. “And why are you not with him now?”
“He was....” Red’s teeth clacked together. He clenched them tight, rubbing his hands up and down his arms, and tried again. “He was killed when the soldiers came through. I ran into the forest and hid. They were afraid to follow me into the ruins.”
“Niall, he’s cold.”
Niall’s knife remained pointed at the boy. “Which soldiers?”
“They were English, Milord. Meaning no offense, Milord.” His teeth clattered again. “If you’re English.”
“Niall!” Shawn stepped forward, his anger growing. “He’s just a kid! He’s about to....”
Before he finished, the boy collapsed. Shawn was under him, catching his sagging body before it hit the ground.












Laura Vosika is a writer, poet, and musician. Her time travel series, The Blue Bells Chronicles, set in modern and medieval Scotland, has garnered praise and comparisons to writers as diverse as Diana Gabaldon and Dostoevsky. Her poetry has been published in The Moccasin and The Martin Lake Journal 2017.

She has been featured in newspapers, on radio, and TV, has spoken for regional book events, and hosted the radio program Books and Brews. She currently teaches writing at Minneapolis Community and Technical College.

As a musician, Laura has performed as on trombone, flute, and harp, in orchestras, and big bands. She lives in Brooklyn park with 5 of her 9 children, 3 cats, and an Irish Wolfhound.

Her latest book is the time travel/historical fiction, The Water is Wide.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK



http://www.pumpupyourbook.com



 


Thursday, November 8, 2018

You Can't Force Love Available for Pre-Order! #mariedrake72


YOU CAN'T FORCE LOVE by Marie Drake, Realistic Fiction, 286 pp., $4.99 (kindle)



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

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

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

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

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July 1986
Crescent Hollar Trailer Park
Gloucester City, New Jersey

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





 






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


http://www.pumpupyourbook.com

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Five Questions with Ray Sutherland, Author of 'Secret Agent Angel'


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

Q: What’s inside the mind of an inspirational suspense author?

A: First and foremost in every novelist’s mind has to be telling an interesting story. That was my primary aim. I tried to tell a good story that would hold the reader’s interest. When the story is about an angel who works on earth in the form of a reasonably normal human, it made it a lot of fun to write, and took some hard thinking. Next, believable, likeable, and sympathetic characters are necessary. Trying to write the angel as believable took a lot of thinking and experimentation, but I think the angel comes off as very believable and heavenly, but not at all unapproachable or beyond comprehension. I also tried to inspire with my story by pointing out that God is at work in our world and that what you do as an individual matters, in ways that you don’t imagine.

Q: Tell us why readers should buy Secret Agent Angel.

A: I believe that I succeeded in my aim of telling a good, interesting story. I believe that readers will definitely like the characters and that you will truly be rooting for them as you read. The suspense isn’t terror inducing but it keeps you eager to see what comes next. There’s also a little bit of humor in the book. My humor tends to elicit smiles instead of belly laughs, but it is fun. Lastly, you will be uplifted by the book. It leaves you optimistic about life and humanity.

Q: What makes a good inspirational suspense novel?

A: Most importantly, a good story with interesting characters. Without that no novel can really succeed. I worked hard to make the story interesting and to make the people in the story believable and sympathetic, but they’re not saints-except for the angel, of course.

Q: Where can readers find out more about you and your work?

A:My Facebook page and my website: raysutherland.com

Q: What has writing taught you?

A:The value of hard workJ. It also highlighted the need for persistence. I had to write when I didn’t feel like it and would rather have been walking in the woods or reading comic books. It all paid off, both in the fun of writing and the enormous gratification of finishing the book and even greater satisfaction of seeing it published.



Name: Ray Sutherland
Book Title: Secret Agent Angel
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An imaginative and intriguing tale, Secret Agent Angel is a story about how sometimes even angels have to act on faith.

About Secret Agent Angel:  Samuel, a secret agent angel on earth, has to improvise when things go badly wrong—and sometimes, Samuel has to prepare people for a purpose unknown even to him.  From the jungles of Vietnam with porters on the Ho Chi Minh trail, to Omaha truck drivers who befriend an abused boy, to wounded veterans who need to learn to let go of the past, to an accountant tempted to steal, Samuel works with fallible people, trying to get them to see their true strength.

But forty years of angelic missions come to a head when a fire at a snowbound truck stop leaves one man’s faith—and his life—hanging in the balance. The only hope for success rests with the spiritual power of the humans Samuel has tried to prepare for the struggle.  But have they gained enough spiritual strength and awareness?  And if not, does God have a Plan B??

An extraordinary story that will stay with readers long after the final page is turned, Secret Agent Angel is irresistible. Tender and touching, thoughtful and thought provoking, heartwarming and filled with heart, Secret Agent Angel is a powerful story about faith, healing, and the redemptive power of love.