Category Archives: Writing, Reviewing, Publishing, and about Blogging

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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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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When Moving Day Comes: CreateSpace to KDP

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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.

  1. 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.
  2. You will have access to two more keyword slots. Be sure to take advantage of those.
  3. You can choose one more BISAC category. This helps with discoverability.
  4. You will want to check worldwide rights to potentially reach readers in more countries.
  5. 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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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

 

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The Write Stuff with Parker J. Cole: Interview Time!

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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.

http://tobtr.com/10972971

 

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The Men of the Realmlands: Finally a Series

If you look at The Baron’s Ring up on Amazon, it may shock you to discover that it was published in 2010. Yes, eight years ago I produced this Historical Romantic Suspense story of a handsome prince, Tristan, literally swept away from his father’s funeral to a land where a damsel in distress, enslaved by a sex trafficker, surely needs rescuing. But when the wicked witch comes back to haunt them and Tristan returns to his own land, he’ll find the price he’s already paid is not going to be enough to save his kingdom.

The Realmlands is a fictional place, rather than a historical setting, but the story otherwise has a medieval setting with spiritual warfare elements. At the time I wrote the first book, I envisioned a four-book series with men as the main characters. Eight years later, I have finally managed to finish book 2.

The Captain’s Blade takes up the story just after Tristan disappears.

After Tristan’s disappearance from his home country, his best friend Jonathan has no hope that Tristan survived an attack at the hands of his half-mad brother, the newly-crowned king Dunstan. Jonathan has responsibilities beyond Captain of the Guard, however, when he sails on a quest to fulfil Tristan’s long-held wish: To build a navy to protect their country from pirates.

Complications arise with that plan when Jonathan encounters an island kingdom in the grip of devilish wickedness and an exotic woman mercenary who demands information but keeps her own quest a secret. Another beautiful stranger claims she is a shipbuilder in a land where women are mere slaves and marriage chattel.

The creation of that marvelous navy of three ships costs Jonathan pain and turmoil he can hardly imagine. The shipbuilder vanishes and Jonathan is nearly killed, but the warrior woman and her six soldiers for hire rescue him and beg passage home with him.

Distrust of everything in that violent land makes him refuse her, but Jonathan will find more trouble and distress back home even amid the joy of discovering his lost friend is alive. What will happen when Jonathan sees again the beautiful mercenary his mother calls “his warrior woman?”

His navy will eventually return to the country where it was born, but will it be for a rescue or a war? Jonathan thinks he is prepared for spiritual warfare but he has no inkling of the grip demons have on the  kingdom of the South Crescentlands and the principal island of Kolt’Kutan.

For a limited time, you can get both books in the Men of the Realmland for 99 cents each. Don’t miss out on this clean, uplifting Christian series.

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Google Play http://bit.ly/2Ch6UfJ

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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:

  1. What personally identifiable information is collected from you through the website, how it is used and with whom it may be shared.
  2. What choices are available to you regarding the use of your data.
  3. The security procedures in place to protect the misuse of your information.
  4. How you can correct any inaccuracies in the information.

Information Collection, Use, and Sharing
We are the sole owners of the information collected on this site. We only have access to/collect information that you voluntarily give us via email or other direct contact from you. We will not sell or rent this information to anyone. At this time we only have access to emails for persons who voluntarily subscribe to our newsletter or who contact us via this site and desire a response.

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.
  • Have us delete any data we have about you.
  • 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.

Are You Missing Out On Free Stuff?

Be sure to subscribe to our newsletter for exclusive free offers you won’t see on our site! Just click on the link at the left side of the blog, right below the search window.

Image credit: User TBIT on Pixabay

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