Tag Archives: friendship

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.



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




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


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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New Release: Fall On Your Knees — A Christmas Romantic Suspense Novella

fall on your knees 25

Reference librarian Karin Arthur’s quiet life changes forever when she accepts an invitation — A Christmas Eve blind date with a man she knows only from online research projects. Murali Nanda seems handsome, intelligent, accomplished, and passionate about Christian causes she also loves. Turmoil descends when Karin and Murali plunge into a plot to torture and murder espionage operatives and disseminate a computer infection that could bring vital intelligence agencies to their knees.

A courtship beyond whirlwind and a desperate race to stop a cyberkiller leave Karin reeling and feeling she has no choice but to accept the protection of this virtual stranger — whom she knew only in the safe, virtual world of her research work. Can Murali protect her and solve the mystery? Can she help him do what no one else has accomplished — root out the spreading threat that could lead to cyber destruction?

“I couldn’t have come this far without your help.” This was not a lie, and salved his conscience about the cover for the transfer of the information for this last operation.
“Almost finished,” Murali said to the library employee as she approached again. It was taking too long to make the transfer. Had something gone wrong? Was it being intercepted – rerouted –? “Ex Libris, please confirm you are receiving my package.” When Karin didn’t respond right away his panic started to build. No matter how many times he had done this, he couldn’t swallow the choking knot in his throat, the fear of theft, and of discovery, especially if it occurred on Karin’s end.

Only 99 cents!

Amazon http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B019EBKV9A?*Version*=1&*entries*=0

Smashwords https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/600776


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Spending the Night at the Principal’s

My Work in Progress — What Will you Die For? — Mary C. Findley


“Hey, not to insult you, but we could run down to the mall and get you some clothes – my treat. You’d have some clean stuff to wear, anyway, sans bubbles. Jo-Jo really soaked you. Sorry.”

“No, I always have extra clothes in my duffle in the car. I was just so tired I didn’t think about how I must look. I’ll go get it …”

“Oh, yeah, the Doomsday Dufflebag.” Keith seemed to be probing to Talia looked up at him and said nothing. He recovered the fumble pretty quickly. “No, please, let me get it. I just want you to know, I haven’t heard Joana laugh like that since she got sick. Dad and I didn’t think about how good it would be for her to have a real friend again. People get so creeped out by how she is. We never hear from her old friends anymore, except she chats with them online sometimes. They don’t come to see her.”

Keith bolted away. Talia started crying again, and barely got herself under control by the time Keith knocked and handed her the duffle. She stretched up and kissed him on the point of his chin. He kissed her back, just a peck, on the top of her head, like he had Joana. “Okay, good night, then,” he stammered, and fled.

The debate within herself didn’t last long. Talia tossed the duffle on the bed and headed into the bathroom, twisting the knobs on the whirlpool. The sound of sweet, tinkling brass camel bells sounded over the rush of water. She hurried back to the bed and dug in the bag for her tablet.

“Hey Talia, where are you? The GPS on the Tesla is showing a location I don’t know.” Talia loved hearing that bear growl voice, but his words made her temper spike.

“Uncle Remmy, you set the GPS to spy on me?”

“I’ve never spied on you, my baby niece, just looked out for you best as I could. What are you doing that would make spying necessary?”

Talia flushed. “Nothing! Some kids from school missed the bus and needed a ride home. One of them lives pretty far away. Another teacher came along, and then the principal invited me for dinner. I’m spending the night at his house.”

“You’re spending the night at the principal’s house? Really? Were you that naughty on the first week of school?”

“Uncle Remmy,” Talia started to giggle. “He has a handicapped daughter, and I helped get her ready for bed. It’s really late, and I’m really tired, so they offered to let me stay.”

“Yeah, it is really late, isn’t it. I’m sorry, Tchatchki. I never know what time it is. Any new information about the Testaments?”

“I keep finding the same stuff over and over again, Popo. It’s like there’s a wall around Spain, hiding everything new.”

“That’s good, though. That means they have something to hide.”

“That’s what I thought, too. I know they’re there. I knw they are. Anyway, how’s the dig going? I didn’t expect you to even have satellite there.”

“Don’t tell the government, but I’m bouncing off one of theirs. It won’t be in position long, so I’ll have to wrap this up. Any problems with that Bible course yet?”

“We just had the first class today. I almost messed it up really bad, Popo, but Keith walked in and fixed everything.”

“Who’s Keith?”

fitness model

“The principal said I had to have a co-teacher. His son, Keith, is the one he picked. It’s good, because he’s really strong in the Science areas. And he’s super-good at discipline, too, which is how he fixed my mess-up. Two kids go saved, Popo! Right after class!”

“Praise God. Praise God. But little one, you will tell me if there’s any trouble, and you know what kind of trouble I mean. We need this trip to Spain. We need it badly. But we need it hiding in plain sight. No one can know the real significance of these Testaments.”

“I understand, Popo. I remember everything we talked about. What I’ve told people makes it sound like they don’t really exist, or we don’t know for sure what they really are, anyway. They have no clue.”

“Peace, perfect peace, Natalia. Get some rest.”

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Friend, Foe, or What? — Post by Michael J. Findley

We all have friends. A few people are close friends, some more are friendly without being close and most people are on friendly terms without even knowing them very well.

We all have enemies. If we are faithful to the Word of God, then some people will have vile, hate-filled enemies who openly display their animosity. Some enemies attempt to hide their disdain and many people might simply dislike us without open hatred.

But how should we treat people who we simply do not understand? Some of these people we might simply need to spend more time with to truly grasp their intentions. But some people are difficult to “read.”

Jesus clearly said, “He that is not with me is against me;” (Matthew 12:30), but we are more like the servants attempting to determine if someone is a tare or wheat. A tare is a plant that looks just like wheat until is time to put forth grains of wheat. Our responsibility is to treat everyone who claims to be a believer as a believer.

At the same time “Vengeance is mine; I will repay saith the Lord.” (Romans 12:9) God knows and understands every heart. We are not to cast our pearls before swine, we are to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. We are to be kind and let our speech always be seasoned with salt.
We are also to be skilled in the Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God. As one Preacher said, God has given us the responsibility to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.

Directed by the Spirit of God we are to use the Word of God appropriately, with love and kindness. Yet at the same time we must be skillful and discerning in dealing with heresy.

We have the responsibility to be faithful to God and His Word. That means edifying and building up those faithful to the Word of God, rebuking heresy, and discerning the differences. Let all things be done in love means binding the broken but also standing up to the flaming arrows of the Wicked One.
The greatest problem I see is knowing the difference between friend and foe.


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Review of John Carter of Mars Movie

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Review of John Carter of Mars

If you haven’t watched this movie but plan to, keep in mind that Edgar Rice Burroughs is one of the “founding fathers” of modern fantasy and Sci Fi writing. His style is not as memorable as Tolkien or Verne or Wells, and it’s been a long, long time since I read any of the John Carter of Mars books, so I can’t tell you how faithful or unfaithful the movie is.

But I do know that this series has inspired many popular writers and movie makers. George Lucas called A Princess of Mars, the book on which the movie is based, the prequel to the whole Star Wars series. If you see some familiar stuff in the movie, remember that Burroughs said it long before George Lucas, or even Tolkien.

John Carter fights to be left alone. This is a man with serious intelligence, cunning, and combat skills, some of which are listed for us near the beginning of the movie. He’s also seriously heroic, which puzzles some people who need heroes for their causes. They think they see something noble and self-sacrificing in John Carter, but he acts like he does not care about anything but himself. Flashbacks reveal the reasons for his wanting to be left alone.

Once on Mars, or Barsoom, he gets a new skill, and becomes even more interesting to people who desperately need a hero. All the pleas and threats of Barsoom’s people can’t move John Carter to stop a world-conquering tyrant. But when he discovers powerful meddlers without compassion, honor, or justice in their plans for Barsoom, the buried hero quickly resurfaces.

Is it romance that drives John Carter? Deja Thoris is much more than a pretty face. She is a scientist, a warrior, an inventor, a patriot, but she is also a liar and a manipulator. She really gives Carter no reason to fall in love with her. The usual muddled understanding of Science and Religion features prominently in this story. It’s a serious flaw, since their religion is the basis for all the real technology on the planet.

There are so many subplots in the movie that it’s crowded and confusing. It’s easy to see the main focus, but bewildering to dodge through the obstacle course of who’s who and why he/she is important. The importance of family to people who hatch from eggs miles from the home village is one subplot that would have been worth a little more exploring.


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Cancer Lite is still Cancer Guest Post by Lora-Beth Barnett

Lora-Beth Barnett has been my (Mary’s) friend longer than I have known my husband. We are honored that she chose to share her story with us and our blog readers.

A few months ago I went to the doctor to get some prescriptions renewed.  I happened to mention that even though I was well past menopause I was having some period-like bleeding.  Before I knew it I was having a pelvic ultrasound that revealed extra tissue where a woman of my age should not have extra tissue.

The gynecologist did a D and C and when I went to his office for the results he said that he had good news and bad news for me.  The bad news was that he had found cancer cells in the lining of my uterus.  The good news was that it was in the early stages and a hysterectomy would take care of it. It seems to me that only cancer can make the need for a hysterectomy the good news. Within a month I was in and out of the hospital.   New procedures in robotic surgery make hysterectomies less invasive and one night short of out-patient surgery. Two weeks later I was back to work with only a small row of incision scars to remind me of the last three months.

Yes, just three months start to finish. Cancer Lite.  No pain, no chemo, no nausea, no hair loss, no t-shirt proclaiming survivor, no golf tournaments to raise money for my treatment.  It was a no muss no fuss cancer to be sure.  As someone told me, it was the cancer to get if you are going to get cancer.  So why write about this seemly boring cancer experience that really has none of the drama most cancer stories feature? Because there are still lessons to be learned.

The most important lesson is that this is not the cancer to get if you get cancer. It is a dangerous cancer because it has virtually no symptoms.  If I hadn’t already had a doctor’s appointment I would never have told her about the bleeding which by the time of my appointment had not recurred for several weeks.  My experience was fuss free because the cancer was caught early.  If it hadn’t been caught things would not have gone so smoothly.  I might have died as did the wife of one of my friends. She had the same cancer but it was not caught until it was too late. Get those screenings. They may save your life.

Since I was past menopause children were no longer an option.  When I told people that I was to have a hysterectomy the most common comment was “Well, you weren’t using your uterus or ovaries anyway.” No, I wasn’t and I laughed along with them.  I even suggested that maybe I could sell the good parts on the black market to pay for the operation. But the truth is that the surgery took away part of what it means to be a woman and part of what it meant to be me. The loss may not have been as visible as the loss of a breast but it was still a loss that was not only physical but emotional as well. It is also a loss that may have other physical consequences down the road.  We have to keep our sense of humor in these kinds of situations but we should always realize that sometimes real emotion pain is hiding behind that humor and needs to be addressed.

Just because I didn’t look sick didn’t mean I didn’t need to be babied now and again. Now I didn’t tell a lot of people the reason for my surgery because cancer will sometimes make people uncomfortable. They don’t know what to say or do. Neither did I. We don’t like to believe that we are self-centered people but there are just times in our life we want and need it to be about “me.” At those times a card, or balloon, or really big cookie can go a long way. Or a hug just to let someone know that they are not alone.  The Cancer Society or the Heart Society or any other society may not notice us, but it doesn’t matter as long as our friends and co-workers do.

Even going to the doctor’s office with a sick friend goes a long way in helping them face a serious illness.  Yes, they may be able to drive themselves, but it can be a lonely, lonely feeling entering that office by yourself especially when the sign on the door says Cancer Center. I am thankful I had my husband for all my visits except one. I know someone else who also had a supportive husband but he was not able to attend the office visits due to work.  She said it was hard to go alone even though she knew he was at work thinking and praying for her.

After the surgery it was assumed that because there were no casts or bandages visible that everything was ok.  People forgot that internally I had had major surgery and needed time to mend. This meant that I occasionally needed help with the small things of life like cooking and laundry. I had to remind myself that I was not superwoman and could not do what I normally did. If I did I would risk making my recovery time just that much longer.  We need to look beneath the surface when someone we know has been sick or had surgery. Appearances do not always give the whole story.  For the first week I was back at work, people could see me standing and talking but didn’t know how much effort it took to stand long enough to say hello. They probably never notice how closely I hugged the wall and for the first time ever took the elevator rather than the stairs. Notice the small things that tell us what our friends will never say out loud.

Yes, everything went well, there is little chance that the cancer will return, and I am back to work. I am still left with the aftermath to deal with. There are the bills.  Maybe not as many as those folks who have to do the chemo and years of treatment but for someone in my economic bracket the bills are no less daunting. So maybe no one needs to do a charity golf tournament for those of us with less advanced cancers but that doesn’t mean we don’t need a little help too. Insurance is great but doesn’t cover everything. Each bill that comes is a reminder of what might have been. Some are small but when you have many of them they mount up. My credit score has plunged in the last three months.  Consider the needs of your friends. Sometimes a surprise tank of gas or trip to the grocery store just may help them pay at least one of these “little” bills and ease some of their stress.

Intellectually I know that there is little chance that the cancer will reappear. Still for weeks after the surgery every pain, weakness, or sneeze put me on the edge of panic.  The occasional emails that let me know my friends were still out there went a long way to keep me grounded.  At least until someone just had to tell me in detail about their aunt or uncle or cousin that had also cancer.  Maybe those stories are best left for another time.

So I have now told my cancer story. I fought no battles. Endured no chemo. Enjoyed no medical marijana. Gave no interviews.  I doubt that I will ever wear an “I am a cancer survivor” t-shirt but I am a survivor nonetheless.  The people in my life who were with me are survivors too.  For it was an emotional time for them as well.

It is not easy to face the possible loss of a spouse or friend.  It doesn’t matter how “treatable” the doctor says it is, our minds inevitably go to that worst case scenario. I take two lessons from this experience.  Don’t skip the screenings and pay attention to the needs of those around us. Just because the disease isn’t newsworthy doesn’t mean the need isn’t great.


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