Category Archives: Current Issues

Alpha/Beta Readers Wanted for Mapped Out Murders

I am requesting readers and helpers for my first contemporary “how will they catch them” murder mystery, Mapped out Murders, which is also to some extent a police procedural. I have completed a draft of almost 74,000 words and have the basic story, characters, and steps in the process mostly the way I want them.

Here are the basic elements so you can see if you are interested in reading:

Sarah and Don Groben are an ex-military couple married about 20 years, no children. She is a homicide detective. They lived in the Fargo, ND area but 5 years earlier transplanted to L.A. He is a pastor and director of Martyrs for Christ, a group similar to real life Voice of the Martyrs, specializing in the 10-40 window. Because they could not have children they have invested in helping troubled families experience godly home and family through Bible teaching and loving them in Christ.

Sarah refuses to work with a male partner or be alone with men. She does this out of respect for her father and husband. Her female partner gets the flu and she has to go alone to a crime scene where a Middle Eastern man was murdered. She finds her husband and a pastor friend there and learns that the dead man was building a small group of Middle Eastern converts from Islam to Christianity.

Don becomes her temporary partner as they uncover six murders and a conspiracy to wipe out these converts and people they may have influenced. A small version of a CAIR-like organization may be involved. Family bitterness and fear also plays a role.

Don’s expertise in Middle Eastern languages and customs and inside knowledge of the outreach plan for these local former Muslims helps but Sarah must ultimately sort through the complex mountain of evidence to get at the truth. Bitcoin, persecution, and attitudes toward Christianity in Muslim and American cultures factor in to making her job harder.

1. Setting is Los Angeles area, but I need help with determining a region in or near the city proper that has a smaller feel, with a police precinct and a neighborhood where you could buy a small house and get to know your neighbors. I need local color, takeout options, and generally things to make the setting real. I do not want to get into too much detail about life in the city or police procedures but don’t want to be clumsily out of date or too sparse, either.

2. Need help with realistic names, customs, and cultures for various secondary characters who are transplants from Middle and Far East countries. All come from Islamic backgrounds.

3. Positioning of some flashbacks (set off in italic in the text) doesn’t seem quite right, and would appreciate input on how much info to include and where the best place to place them would be.

4. Timeline of the murders vs subsequent events. 5 happen in one day (in fact, in one hour), but I need to properly place resulting funerals at a reasonable distance for investigation progress.

5. Generally, being up-to-date and authentic about people, language, and situations. Help in better understanding Bitcoin would be great!

If you can help in any way, general critique, specific suggestions, or the points listed above, please email me at mjmcfindley@gmail.com

Thank you!

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12 Days of Christmas: Authors want to meet readers and give you stuff!

Don’t let Christmas shopping get you down! You don’t have to get out of those fuzzy slippers to find great books and get to know great authors waiting to meet you!

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Please join us starting Monday December 10th and continuing through December 21st. Every day you can see what authors are up to. You could win a $250 gift card or one of two Kindles, not to mention authors will be having their own giveaways.

You’ll find Christian fiction and maybe even devotionals or nonfiction to warm your heart and draw you closer to the reason for the season. Romances will flourish, adventures will thrill you, and clean and wholesome stories will charm away the stress and give you a few less presents to worry about.

Join our facebook group here to be ready for Monday’s festivities.

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Enjoy, like, and share this video made by Samantha Fury

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Mapped Out Murders: a NaNoWriMo Project by Mary C. Findley

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My NaNoWrimo project for this year is called Mapped Out Murders. NaNoWriMo, by the way, is a project to write at least 50,000 words on a new novel project during the month of November. You need to write a little under 1700 words a day to reach that goal. I won’t tell you how far behind I am, because it’s very far. I used to get very stressed out about being behind, but right now I’m just happy to be writing pretty much every day, and to have this story to work on.

Mapped Out Murders is the story of Sarah Groben, a homicide detective. She has a very strange quirk that keeps getting her in trouble at the precinct. She won’t be alone with her male colleagues. That means no male partner. Yet Sarah has had the highest case closure rate of any detective in the department for years. When Sarah’s partner Rachel comes down with the flu, the captain orders her to go alone to the scene of a murder. The victim has been stabbed multiple times. When Sarah looks up to find the witness who called in the crime, she is shocked to see an old pastor friend and her husband, Don, who happens to be the department chaplain.

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Don becomes her temporary partner as they investigate a series of killings linked by Google maps taking them from location to location. All but one of the victims are middle eastern men. I got the idea for this story from two recent events: One is the scorn endured by Vice President Mike Pence over his refusal to be alone with a woman not his wife, and the #MeToo Movement. I wondered what would happen if a woman took the same stand against being in potentially compromising situations with men. The other inspiration was a recent Voice of the Martyrs conference, where an Iranian man told the story of multiple Christian leaders in Iran, including his father, being murdered and left with a paper in each pocket with an address where another body could be found.

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Detective Sarah Grobin and her police chaplain husband Don struggle to solve a string of murders featuring the brutal early morning stabbing deaths of middle aged men, all in the same day. Map printouts found on the bodies lead Sarah to each murder site but the third body doesn’t fit the perfect profile.

From mugging to hate crime against middleastern immigrants to a sudden dead end, the motive just won’t stay neatly pinned down. Worse still, Sarah and Don fear withholding evidence when they discover what appears to be the one sure connection between the first two victims. Revealing it might endanger a fragile work by hidden believers ministering to those who may have left Islam and embraced Christianity.

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Nasir Natal struggles to understand the murder of his father while grappling with a growing mountain of contradictions between the abusive, unfaithful man he knew and what he learns from those who knew a completely different man. Secrets kept by the victims and family members like himself muddy the already turbulent waters as the body count starts rising again. Nasir is forced to cooperate with his tempestuous sister Pira as well as the strange detective and her husband.

Sarah is at her wits’ end until a timid stranger constrained by culture breaks free to admit she may have the key to unmasking the Mapped Out Murders killer.

Excerpt:

“What’s your read on this guy?” Homicide detective Sarah Groben asked as she and her husband Don waited in the hallway. “I’m sorry. Maybe I shouldn’t ask you to help with this. You’re still trying to process his father’s death. At least someone is mourning for him.”

“No, it’s okay. And you’re right,” Don replied.” It’s hard to miss the fact that Nasir’s not grief-stricken. He was genuinely surprised, though, when he saw his father’s face. And he certainly doesn’t seem to be relieved, or happy, or anything that would suggest guilt.”

“I agree. That was a look of shock. Curiosity, too, maybe. But for a second, he looked angry. Why would he be angry at his father?”

“There had to be something seriously wrong in the family for Imar to leave them, and to leave Iran. That was another shock to his son, finding out Imar had come here. He never talked much about his past. We try to take the view that whatever happened to a person who comes to us, it’s under the blood, but it’s so strange that Imar wouldn’t tell us he had family members living.”

“That emergency contact card was fresh and new-looking,” Sarah pointed out. “If he’d found out where his son was, why did he never contact him?”

“Can I see the card?” Don asked. Sarah handed the white pasteboard to him. He turned it over and gasped.

“What is it?”

“It was dark, so I didn’t notice it when you showed me before, but this is one of the cards Imar had made up for his ministry. “It’s all embossing, with no actual ink. You can hardly tell what it’s for, but if you hold it up to the light, you can see he had it specially printed.”

Fears cast out,” Sarah read. “Tongues loosed. What does that mean?”

You can find all my books at major online retailers like Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/Mary-C.-Findley/e/B005SVXQW0

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Filed under Current Issues, Current Issues, Politics, Excerpts from our Fiction Books, Writing, Writing, Reviewing, Publishing, and about Blogging

What Is the Best Way to Learn What Your Opponent Believes? — post by Michael J. Findley

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In answer to a Quora question: What’s the best way to learn the opposing side’s arguments when it comes to politics?

What is best varies from person to person. I read Plato’s Republic, then acquired an audio version to listen to it many times. Rather than the Communist Manifesto, Plato is the real foundation of the left. Communism/socialism is older than Plato, but Plato is a good beginning. I also read the works of the French revolutionaries, such as Voltaire.

While they were influential in their day, they lack an overall depth of thought. Next I read the Communist Manifesto and Das Kapital, which I bought for 50 cents. When a dog ate them, I did not think they were worth replacing. Next I read the personal experiences of those who lived in countries where these religions where forced on the populace, such as Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s The Gulag Archipelago. 

I learned that the term “the left” came from the French Revolution. Revolutionaries took over the French Parliament and sat on the left side of the King. Everyone who opposed them sat to the right of the King. So the term “the Right” means opposed to the Left. “The Right” is not a specific belief or position. It simply means opposed to Communism/Socialism/Fascism. All are various versions of dialectical materialism; tyranny, to use the language of Thomas Jefferson. With Communism, dialectical materialism is god, controlled entirely by the government.

Socialism permits business to join the ruling class of government. Fascism permits anyone who is willing to join the party to rule over those who resist Fascism. Conservatism is quite different depending on the country. In the USA, it stands for private property, personal responsibility, free enterprise, and the understanding (belief), that these gifts are rights from God as explained in the Word of God. Government can only take rights away. It cannot bestow God given rights on anyone.

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We Respect Your Privacy but Have to Share What’s New and What’s Free!

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Privacy Notice: This privacy notice discloses the privacy practices for elkjerkyforthesoul.com. This privacy notice applies solely to information collected by this website. It will notify you of the following:

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Information Collection, Use, and Sharing
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We will use your information to respond to you, regarding the reason you contacted us. We will not share your information with any third party outside of our organization, other than as necessary to fulfill your request, e.g. to ship an order.

Unless you ask us not to, we may contact you via email in the future to tell you about specials, new products or services, or changes to this privacy policy.

Your Access to and Control Over Information
You may opt out of any future contacts from us at any time. You can do the following at any time by contacting us via the email address given on our website:

  • See what data we have about you, if any.
  • Change/correct any data we have about you.
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  • Express any concern you have about our use of your data.

Security
We take precautions to protect your information. When you submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected both online and offline.

At this time we only collect emails, but any information we do have or obtain is secure on this site. You can verify this by looking for a lock icon in the address bar and looking for “https” at the beginning of the address of the Web page.

If you feel that we are not abiding by this privacy policy, you should contact us immediately via email (mjmcfindley@gmail.com) or the form under “About Us.”

 

A New Venture or an Old Dream Reborn? You Decide!

Since beginning this Findley Family Video venture, Michael and Mary have had a vision to bring out works to life as videos. We have recently renewed our resolve to realize this vision. To this end, we are assembling updated programs and equipment for recording and creating video that combines music, sound effects, voice, live video, and 3D and other animated elements. This requires learning some new skills and researching how to be efficient and cost-effective. Stay tuned as we fine-tune the execution of this dream.

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Music In The Early Church — post by Michael J. Findley

lastsupperJesus and the disciples attended Jewish synagogues and temple worship. These services included stringed, brass, woodwind, and percussion instruments. The book of Psalms was the hymn book of the second temple. After finishing the Passover meal they sang a hymn, presumably not a Psalm, and presumably without instruments, before walking across the Kidron Valley to the garden of Gethsemane. Until forced out, first century Christians continued to worship in synagogues and follow Jewish customs.

Paul wrote to the new Gentile converts “Let the word of the Messiah inhabit you richly with wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, and singing to God with thankfulness in your hearts.” Colossians 3:16 and “Then you will recite to one another psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs; you will sing and make music to the Lord with your hearts,” Ephesians 5:19. This admonition was taken by some to mean antiphonal singing, with either two choirs or dividing the congregation into two parts and alternating the parts of the hymn or song.

Pliny the Younger wrote a letter to Trajan (61-113) about the proper punishment of Christians. “They had been accustomed to come together on a fixed day before daylight and to sing responsively a song to Christ as God.” (AD 112?)

Five times in the book of Revelation a song is sung in heaven; 5:9, 5:11, 14:1, 14:3, 15:3. Harps are played heaven. Revelation 5:8, 14:2, and 15:2. The musical instruments of Babylon are condemned, Revelation 18:22. Trumpets in heaven are sounded, but not used as musical instruments. Zechariah 9:14, Matthew 24:31, 1 Corinthians 15:52, 1 Thessalonians 4:16, Hebrews 12:19, Revelation 1:10, 4:1, 8:2, 6,7,8,10,12,13, 9:1,13,14

Justin the Martyr wrote (AD 155?) in his Apology to the Emperor Chapter 13 “to use [material possessions] for ourselves and those who need, and with gratitude to Him to offer thanks by invocations and hymns for our creation …”

“Chapter 41. The crucifixion predicted And again, in another prophecy, the Spirit of prophecy, through the same David, intimated that Christ, after He had been crucified, should reign, and spoke as follows: Sing to the Lord, all the earth, and day by day declare His salvation. For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised, to be feared above all the gods. For all the gods of the nations are idols of devils; but God made the heavens. Glory and praise are before His face, strength and glorying are in the habitation of His. Give Glory to the Lord, the Father everlasting. Receive grace, and enter His presence, and worship in His holy courts. Let all the earth before His face; let it be established, and not shaken. Let them rejoice among the nations. The Lord has reigned from the tree.”

Apostolic Tradition of Hippolytus of Rome, approximately AD 235? “Then, rising up after supper, the children and virgins having prayed, they shall sing psalms. Then the deacon, holding the mixed cup of the offering, shall say a Hallelujah Psalm. Then, the presbyter having commanded, ‘And also such-and-such Psalms,’ after the bishop has offered the cup with the proper thanksgiving, all shall say “Hallelujah” as the Psalms are sung. And they shall say: We praise Him who is God most high; Glorified and praised is He, Then, when the Psalm is completed, he shall give thanks over the bread, and shall give the fragments to all the believers.”

Music had only two purposes in the earliest Church. It was used to instruct, build up, edify, believers. It was also used in direct address to God to worship God. There are no recorded instances of performing music to please those who listened. Performing music just to please the listeners has been condemned as a sin by thousands of pastors for over 1500 years. At the same time, music to glorify God is essential to worship in the Christian Church. The Spirit of the prophet must be controlled by the prophet and this includes music.
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Fue la llamada “Ultima cena” el seder de Pesaj??? | Blog …

 

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Why I am, For Now, Staying on Facebook — post by Michael J. Findley

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Friends, other people; it really is that simple. If I could, I would leave. But the people I like and often love are not on these other sites. These are people I trust. Friends who supply better news links than the MSN, better sports analysis than ESPN, funny animal videos, wacky UFO/paranormal humor, touching military stories, interesting cars and hobbies, history and science links, and many other things I usually cannot imagine.

Facebook is public. Never, ever post anything you will not stand by in the future. And do not ever quote other people out of context. Like most of my friends, I wish Facebook was like it was ten years ago when I first joined. Every change (update) has degraded the Facebook experience. It used to be faster, easier to find what you wanted, and was not drowning in leftist political censorship.

Like many people, I spend too much time on Facebook. My tablet makes typing responses almost impossible. And I post things things I shouldn’t even think. But these are my sins. Facebook makes my sins public. Closing my Facebook account will not make me less of a sinner. It will make my sins less public. But I glorify God by confessing and forsaking my sins, not hiding them. Facebook, at least for me, is the opportunity to confront my sinful nature and ask the Spirit of God to both forgive me for the sins I post and to not commit the same sins in the future.

 

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