From the Amazon book description — “Explore the Beatitudes and Woes of the Bible through the stories of thirteen Christian authors in this uniquely powerful anthology. These science fiction and fantasy stories will bring you to the point of tears, make you laugh, surprise you, amaze you, and inspire you. ”
Contributions in this amazing work are by Travis Perry, C.W. Briar, Parker J Cole, JL Ender, Lelia Rose Foreman, Gen Gavel, Rachel Kimberly Hastings, Hillari DeSchane, Rebekah Loper, Andra Marquardt, RJ Conte, AT Hamlet, Steve Rzasa, Randy Streu.
I was privileged to design the cover for this anthology from Bear Publications, and I am excited by the reception it’s gotten. Already there are multiple five star reviews. The book got noticed at a recent conference by none other than Steve Laube and the cover is up for an award.
One thing a book needs to get even more notice is more reviews! That’s why the publisher is giving away PDF copies to willing readers. There are no strings attached. But whether you buy a copy or accept a PDF, we hope you’ll consider leaving an honest review. To request a PDF copy, please email me at email@example.com. It’s yours for the asking. If you prefer to support the authors and their publisher, here is the Amazon link: https://www.amazon.com/Beatitudes-Woes-Speculative-Fiction-Anthology-ebook/dp/B07TVYXN49
“Sorry. Sorry.” The EMT
shoved her hands inside her jacket. Eric tried to smile through his grimace of
“I guess that’s pretty
petty of me, complaining about your cold hands, Erin,” He whispered, reading
her ID badge as she went back to inserting the IV. “Considering you’re saving
“My husband always
complained about my cold hands,” she said with a smile. “And I don’t know about
saving your life. The doctors and nurses will work on that, when we get you to
“Wow, that was kind of
cruel – your husband should have been happy that you wanted to touch him. I’ve
met a lot of ice queens who didn’t want to touch or be touched.”
“My husband wasn’t complaining,
really,” Erin replied. “I do have cold hands. But he always said that meant I
had a warm heart.”
“You keep talking about
your husband past tense,” Eric said, struggling against his weakness to keep
talking, to keep from blacking out. “Can I be nosy and ask–?”
“He passed away.”
“Thanks. Okay, you should
have less pain now, right?”
“Yeah. Thanks. That is
“That’s the best part of
the job, when it’s that easy to make people feel better. So, you were all done
waiting for this day?”
“Yeah, they told me when
I described what was happening that it’s now or never. I should be thankful
this match came up at just the right time.”
“I’m sure it’s not easy
to come up with a match.”
“Yeah, and they tell me
I’m a rare type.”
“Wow. My husband was,
too. Small world.” Erin fell silent, apparently checking something out of
Eric’s field of vision.
“Hey, could you take over
on this for a minute?” Erin said to her partner. “I need to make a phone call.”
“A phone call? What can
be so important?” His badge read Jose, and he grumbled as he moved over to take
“Trust me. This is important.”
“Mr. Morrow! Eric!”
Eric climbed mentally out
of that deep white place of unknowing as the echoing voice called him.
Strangely enough, Eric
had found himself unable to let go of wondering why an EMT would interrupt her
care of him to make a phone call. Man, of
all the things for me to obsess over.
“You’re in recovery.
Technically we have to list your condition as critical, this soon after surgery,
but I’m authorized to tell you that the surgery and your responses couldn’t
have gone better. The team is very optimistic that you will be downgraded to
stable and out of Intensive Care in record time.”
“Great. That’s great.” As
glad as Eric was to hear that he was in great shape from a post-surgical
standpoint, he felt beat up and beat down and just plain beat. He slipped away
When he awoke, his mom
sat by his bedside. “Hi, sweetie,” she said, touching his hand very gently.
“Dad just went to get some coffee.”
“How long?” Eric’s words
stuck in the rasp of his paper-dry throat. His mother quickly got him a cup
with a bendy straw.
“Sip it slow, sweetie.
Just rinse a little and swallow a little.”
“The surgeon said you’ve
slept for twelve hours,” his mother said with a weary smile. “They said that’s
good. Even the bloodwork didn’t wake you.”
“When did you get here?”
His dad came back into
the room with two cups. “Four hours ago.” He apparently read the longing look
in Eric’s eyes. No, sir,” his dad said, grinning. “They’re telling us no
stimulants, no nothing that they don’t put in the IV for some time.”
“I’ve heard of mainlining
coffee.” Eric pouted. “Sorry to drag you guys all the way across the country.”
“Son, hearing that you
finally got a transplant match was worth traveling around the world.” Eric’s
father handed a cup to his wife and sat down on the other side of the bed from
her. “They told us this match came up very unexpectedly. Someone actually
called in to confirm that this was your perfect donor? How does that even
Eric didn’t answer,
because something reminded him of a certain phone call.
“Are you okay, sweetie?”
Eric’s mother started fidgeting with his covers.
“As okay as I can be with
somebody else’s heart inside me. This is the part when I start wondering who it
was, and how he or she died. Will who and what that person was change who and
what I am?”
“You watch too many sci
fi shows,” his dad grumbled. It’s a heart, not a soul. Who that person was has
no effect on you.”
“Is there any way to find
out anything about the EMTs who brought me in?” Eric asked after a longer
“The EMTs? Why would you
want to know about them?”
“Well … just one of them, really.”
Next time Eric awoke,
Erin stood beside his bed. She smiled down at him. “My fingers are itching to
take your vitals. How are you?”
“Good,” Eric said. “It
was your husband, right? He just
died? Right when I had to have the heart, or else?”
Erin made a gulping,
hiccupping noise and quickly turned away. Eric couldn’t do anything but wait
until she turned back around, red-eyed and sniffling into her sleeve. “Yes.”
“Well, I know one thing
he was right about.”
“That whole warm heart
thing. That has got to be the ultimate warm heart. That phone call you made?
You were checking on my match-worthiness?”
“Sort of. When you
mentioned that you were a rare type, I remembered how they had to make special
arrangements any time my husband needed care, so I wanted to make sure they
were completely prepared to take care of you.”
“That’s the best part of the job, remember? When it’s that easy to make people feel better.”
Please visit us at Elkjerkyforthesoul.com and find more faith-filled fiction and biblically sound nonfiction. Thank you for reading!
Sarah Groben is an LAPD Homicide detective and a pastor’s wife. She’s got six murders she wants to solve by Sunday. Members of a fledgling group for 10-40 window transplants seeking Christianity are being killed. A Muslim charity interested in better relations with Americans seems to be connected by the death of a former financial manager. Family members of the victims might also end up in the crosshairs if Sarah is right about a “Persecutor for Hire.”
Sarah’s partner is down with the flu and her husband Don seems like a tailor-made substitute with his knowledge of Middle eastern languages and cultures. But the case keeps getting more complicated by the minute, and Sarah and Don might not be able to crack it before the killing starts again.
Avoid the lines and crowds to be a first reader of this murder mystery with a twist. You can request pdf, epub, or mobi versions. Email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here are a couple of snippets:
“You cannot pretend to charge me with a hate crime,” Suleiman sneered. “Christianity is the only thing the whole world is allowed to hate and to discriminate against. Look at your own schools! You ban candy canes because they represent Jesus, and celebrate Muslim culture freely. Everything else is protected, taught, encouraged. Who these days hates Christianity more than Americans?”
“Raif Izzettin, my old friend,” Don said as a shrunken, twisted old man with a thick cloud of white hair and beard opened the door of a run-down efficiency apartment in North Hollywood. “This is my wife, Sarah.”
“Groben, Groben, welcome! This is your wife? You never told me she was such a beauty!”
“Well, her name is Sarah,” Don said with a grin as they entered the tiny but tidy dwelling.
“God bless you for putting up with this rascal, my dear,” Raif said as he waved them to seats. “I am making tea. Give me just a moment.”
Sarah looked around at the shelves and small tables crammed with Middle Eastern curios. “You have so many beautiful things,” she exclaimed as the man brought a tea tray.
“They are not mine. I keep them in trust until the day they are reclaimed,” Raif said as he served them tiny cups of sweet mint tea. “Perhaps Don has told you that we met when I was known in Turkey as the Moses of Istanbul. I do not boast to say that for many years God allowed me to hold a position in the government that I discreetly used to help the persecuted find safer places to live, or to leave the country altogether. All glory to Christ, that I was privileged to be used in that way.
“So many wanted to cling to their family possessions, but they could carry nothing past inspectors, so they entrusted the things to me. I still have people arrive at my door and ask for things. I praise God with them, that they still found refuge and safety after I was forced out. These are like sacred things to me. I know the story of each one of them.”
Sarah nodded. “I would love to hear some of those stories, another time, sir, with respect.”
Raif heaved a great sigh. “But of course, you are the detective. You are here about the deaths. How many now?”
Some people are dog people. Some are cat people. I am both, but for many years we have had only cats because we have so many outside the home responsibilities and cats are better with being home alone. For eight years I rode in a semi with my hubby around the 48 states and Canada and we had no pets. I have since settled with our adult hearing-impaired daughter in her apartment (not exactly by choice, but by God’s loving provision, and that is another story for another time). We built a house and now hubby has a place to come to when he can get off the road.
Victoria I have been blessed to become housemates with Ruth, a Siamese/Tabby mix she got from a shelter to be a hearing aid cat. If you’ve never hear of a hearing aid cat, you’re not alone. She hoped to be able to train this kitty to let her know when things are happening that she might not be able to hear. We also hoped Ruth would be a good friend and companion for Vicky as a single young woman.
Well, I’m not sure who is getting trained all the time, but this cat is daily a wonder and a blessing from God. She runs to the door anytime anyone is approaching or making noises outside. She always knows when it is time for “mommy” or “grandma” or even “Grandpa” to come home and sits waiting at the door for that happy occasion.
She even lets us know when it’s time to get up mornings with a jump on the bed or a pat on the face (or whiskers in the face or a lick on the eyelids). Ruthie is very vocal and lets us know by meows that sound a lot like words sometimes that we need to get ready for work or shut a window or door against loud noises (she doesn’t like mowers or trash trucks). When anyone is sick she will sit with them on a raised recliner seat sharing fuzzy warmth. And sometimes she goes off and leaves us alone.
So here’s what I’ve learned from Ruthie that I’m figuring out how to apply to my own life:
Service gives opportunities for praise and reward (All a cat asks for in return for being our living alarm is meals, treats, “rubbies,” and occasional “conversations” because she is so vocal).
Nobody’s perfect (she doesn’t like to be hugged or held but she is learning to tolerate it from “mommy.” And boy she does shed! She is also not a fan of Grandpa playing music on the computer. The high notes make her ears twitch.)
It doesn’t take much to be a mood-lifter (just seeing her on “bug patrol” by the front door or having her curl up next to you is enough).
Comfort doesn’t mean smother (She’ll sit at the very edge of the bed or seat and not intrude on what you’re doing).
Active time (running up and down the stairs was one of her favorites), social time, and alone time are all important. Life is about balance.
Ecclesiastes 3:11 says He has made everything beautiful in its time. So it is with Ruthie.
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.
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.
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.
Khalif Nour struggles to understand the murder of his father while grappling with a growing mountain of contradictions between the abusive, unfaithful man he thought 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. Khalif is forced to cooperate with his tempestuous sister Taif as well as the strange detective and her husband.
Sarah is at her wits’ end until a text by mistake may give her a “persecutor for hire” and a way to unmask the Mapped Out Murders killer.
“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 Fares to leave them, and to leave Iran. That was another shock to his son, finding out Fares 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 Fares 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 Fares 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?”
The book goes live tomorrow! Preorder yours while it’s still 99 cents!
Among my indie author friends, I am seeing a good deal of excitement and concern over the fact that CreateSpace, the go-to print book destination for many of us, is closing down. Our books will now be merged with Kindle Direct Publishing. I am going through this conversion now, and, with 50 titles in print, you can imagine it made me a bit nervous. For the most part the transition has been pretty smooth. I will share the steps in my process in order, and hope to help with what is easy and what is a bit tricky.
Most of us have gotten an email announcing the changeover. Some were able to go straight to CreateSpace and follow three easy steps to transfer books. Some of us, however, were a bit bewildered when we didn’t find any way to activate the process. I was able to take the first step, to verify and link up the two accounts. but that was as far as it went. I waited very impatiently, followed other author comments as they got the nod and did the switch. Nothing for me.
Then one day I had to send a question to KDP. That’s when I saw that one of the things you could ask them about was the changeover. When I clicked on that option, the ability to make the transfer blossomed before my eyes. So I took the plunge and made the transfer. Almost all the books came over very easily. Time will tell if there are problems with the books themselves, but so far it went very easily.
I saw that other people were still talking about the transfer. Some mentioned that there were a few things to be aware of. I wanted to share those here to try to get everything in one place.
You may need to link some print and ebook files manually. Just run through your bookshelf list and see if they all appear to be linked up on your KDP dashboard. If not, follow the instructions. It does a search for the same/similar title and links them up.
You will have access to two more keyword slots. Be sure to take advantage of those.
You can choose one more BISAC category. This helps with discoverability.
You will want to check worldwide rights to potentially reach readers in more countries.
Check your prices and royalties. KDP print figures them differently, especially on shorter works. Adjust as needed.
Here are a couple more items that won’t affect everyone, it seems, but they have affected me.
After changing my books over to KDP print, I got an email saying I would need to change my Benny and the Bank Robber study guides. They implied I wasn’t the author of the original works (I am), or that the original work isn’t included (it is). Happily, when I explained, they published the student and teacher editions without changes.
The first time I tried to publish a print book directly through KDP print, I couldn’t get it to accept my cover. I’ve been designing print covers for myself and others for years with basically very few problems. But the print preview for this kept showing that the cover was sized and positioned wrong, no matter how much I adjusted. I finally gave up and went back to CreateSpace. But now, there’s no going back. So, yesterday I wanted to redo a book already published on CreateSpace and ported over to to KDP. I had no real problem with the interior. The cover, however, kept coming out too high, text at the top outside the dotted line. But, after a few adjustments, I got it to work, I think. Still waiting for final approval, but it looks good. I am hopeful. I think KDP Print is improving its customer experience and they will get it right.
So take the plunge! Please comment about issues you have had with the changeover. We can all help each other get through this. That’s what the indie author community does best. I’d love to hear how the process went (or is going) for you.
Post by Mary C. Findley image from Pixabay User Fabianne1
Parker J. Cole has a radio show called The Write Stuff. It exists specifically to encourage and showcase writers of all kinds. Earlier this year she asked many authors to join a group to help her line up guests for her show. I had wanted to do this for some time, but when we lived in the truck bandwidth and minutes were scarce. Also, I was scared of doing a live interview, even just a voice one. So I took my courage in both hands and signed up for the list. Today was the day, and it was a great experience. I’m going to share the link here so you can listen for yourself.
The subject of my interview was mostly my newest series, His Sign. The first book is called The Wait Is Over. A few of the themes we talked about included people waiting for a sign to serve God. Drew Goddard got a sign nobody could ignore. We also talked about people who have left the church, especially if they believe it has hurt them. Some have left because they only got milk, never meat to help them get stronger and grow up in God. Another topic we covered was avoiding people we think may hurt us. We lose the ability to trust, and we run from those who, if we just took the time to listen to them, we might see mean to do us good.
God is in all these themes. He will tell us how to serve Him, in His way and His time, not ours. He is not responsible for the failures and hurt caused by sinful people in the church. He is perfect love, grace, and mercy.
Whether you are a reader or a writer, you need to become a fan of Parker’s show. She gives insight into so many kinds of books. There’s encouragement, faith, and great advice of all kinds on the show. Readers are going to hear about books they’ll want to read. Writers are going to hear that someone shares their struggles, their dreams, and their desire to get words out about God’s truth. Be sure to tune in, for more interviews than just mine.