Follow by Email

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Thanksgiving Trivia

Little known facts about me: 
  • Personally, I love stuffing and prefer stuffing in the bird because it is more moist. 
  • Also, I prefer light turkey meat to dark meat, which is good, because I married someone who prefers dark meat, so it all balances out. 
  • My favorite dish to make for Thanksgiving is baked corn. 
  • My hubby and I have hosted several Thanksgiving dinners on our own. 
  • The secret to good turkey: buy an oven bag! 

Little known facts about my characters:
  • Bill and Tim Wilson, like to spend Thanksgiving and Christmas with their mom and dad in California.
  • Bill always carves the turkey (Tim would secretly like to have the honor of doing so).
  • Tim tried to talk his mom into making chip stuffing ( last year. Sadly, he was vetoed. Instead, his mom set out a bag of chips for him to eat with his stuffing. 
My favorite Thanksgiving-related quote from Dog Tags: "Who knew? By the time Thanksgiving rolled around, she might even have forgotten about what happened during her eighth grade year. Anything was possible."

A woman is shown with a hand over her mouth.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Christmas Traditions

When I was in high school, my friends and I would go to another friend's house in December. Her step-mom provided food, and we decorated their family's tree. Also, we'd watch White Christmas

A few years ago, I bought a copy of White Christmas and have tried to continue the decorating tradition with my husband. The movie reminds me of good memories with my friends. 

Speaking of traditions, at Christmas, Dog Tags character Beth Martindale likes to spend time in the kitchen with her mother, baking and making holiday treats and sweets, including chocolate and peanut butter buckeyes

Do you have any favorite Thanksgiving or Christmas traditions?

It’s a Holly Jolly Blog Hop

Friday, October 4, 2013

Recipe for Collard Greens by Author Margaree Mitchell

Collard Greens recipe

  • 3 bags Pre-Cut and Washed Collard Greens
  • 2 Smoked Turkey Wings
  • 3 quarts Water
  • 1 tablespoon Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Pepper
  • Hot Sauce

Place collard greens in a large pot.  Add water.  Cut each turkey wing into 3 pieces.  Add to pot.  Bring to boil, reduce heat and let simmer until tender, approximately 3 hours.  Add sugar, salt, and pepper.  Stir.  Right before serving, add a few dashes of hot sauce.  Serves 6.

Note:  This is a dish Lauren’s Mom from The People In The Park would serve.  On the cook’s day off, Lauren’s Mom would cook dishes from her childhood to keep Lauren connected to her African American heritage.  However, since these are modern times and Lauren’s Mom doesn’t have time to pick and wash greens, she uses the fresh pre-cut and washed greens in a bag.  Since she is also health conscious, instead of using the traditional ham hock for seasoning, she uses smoked turkey wings instead.

Submitted by:  Margaree King Mitchell, author The People In The Park

People in the Park. Young woman wearing sunglasses shown on cover.

Monday, September 30, 2013

My first book signing!

I will be conducting a book signing at Cedarville University in Ohio on Oct. 5th, between 11 am and 1 pm, at the college bookstore. :)

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Proverbs and My Writing Journey

I was reading Proverbs this morning, and I came across some verses that really speak to me as a writer (though I realize that was not the original intent), with regard to my writing journey. 

Proverbs 13:10
Where there is strife, there is pride,
    but wisdom is found in those who take advice.

When I first started writing, it's sad to say, but I was sort of prideful of my work and didn't take criticism well. As I learned to accept criticism and gained wisdom about how to write a novel, my writing improved. 

Again, God reminded me of my writer's journey. 

Proverbs 13:13
Whoever scorns instruction will pay for it,
    but whoever respects a command is rewarded.

Proverbs 15:32

Those who disregard discipline despise themselves,
    but the one who heeds correction gains understanding.

To grow as a writer, one has to accept instruction and correction from others. 

  • Not all revisions from other writers are necessary, but at least try to keep an open mind when receiving instruction from others. As you grow as a writer, you will learn which changes to make and which changes to reject. A good rule of thumb is if you receive the same comment on your writing from several other writers, then the comment is probably valid. 
  • Continually be open to learning more about the craft of writing. Read articles and books on writing, take classes on writing, and read books in your genre as well as other genres. Even published authors have to do this, or their writing suffers. 
My current WIP is about two federal agents in Cincinnati. I'm at a standstill, and I've given the manuscript to someone I trust to review it and point out flow/pacing issues for me. Why you ask? Because I'm too close to the manuscript right now. I need someone else to help point out my mistakes. Everyone does! 

Writers, be open to correction and instruction from others, and I think you'll see a difference in the way you write! 

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Viewing the World Through the Eyes of Your MC

For those of you who follow me on Facebook know that in the recent month, I’ve kidded about how I’ve eaten at local Cincinnati area chili and pizza places in order for character research. And to be fair, the MC of my WIP is a foodie, so eating for character research is not too far of a stretch. All joking aside, I do like to get inside my character’s mind and get a feel for him/her.

Some ways that I have done this include the following:

  • I’ve gone to a local shooting range and fired the specific weapon (Glock 19) used by the special agents in my current WIP. I’d never used a gun before, and I wanted to know what it was like. Also, one of my special agents is a female, and I wanted to know what it was like for a female to use a gun.
  • I’ve listened to music that helps me understand my character and feel like them and for them. My current MC has reasons to turn his back on God. Today I listened to Sinking by Jars of Clay in my car.  
This song makes me think of my MC, and maybe it sounds weird, but listening to the song helps me with character development. I’ve also done this with a party scene for Dog Tags. I listened to lively music and tried to imagine what the party would look like. 
  • I’ve corresponded with experts who can help me understand my character. I’ve written to a retired special agent and asked him questions pertinent to my WIP. I contacted the Agency mentioned in my WIP and asked them for help in locating research materials. I belong to a crimescenewriters forum on Yahoo, where I ask questions. I’ve called local SWAT, and I’ve had someone in law enforcement help review my story. BTW, Wes Harris, is a great resource; his Website is I’ve also contacted Jeannie Campbell, aka the Character Therapist, who is another great resource when it comes to character psychology. I could go on and on, but I have friends with medical, legal, and law enforcement expertise that I go to when I need help with research.
  • I read about real people similar to my characters. For Dog Tags, I read about Marines (especially books with different viewpoints) to help me get a feel for my MC, Mark Graham. For my current WIP, I read The Cyanide Canary.
  • I visit places that my characters visit. My WIP is set in Cincinnati. I live nearby, so I’m familiar with the area. I wanted to include a certain restaurant in my story, and so my husband took me there for our anniversary (plus, the food was good).
  • I uncover speech patterns. I have a British character in my WIP, and I’ve spent time online trying to learn colloquialisms that I can incorporate into dialogue. In Dog Tags, I made sure that Mark sounded and thought like a Marine, and Beth sounded and thought like a teacher.

Mark - He couldn’t blame her if she dishonorably discharged him from her life and never spoke to him again.

Beth - Mark sent her the same look as a middle school student who’d just received a detention.

How have you tried to view the world through the eyes of your MC?

Friday, August 9, 2013

Learn more about Karla Akins, author of The Pastor's Wife Wears Biker Boots

Karla Akins is a pastor's wife who rides her own motorcycle. She is the mother of four boys and one step-daughter, and grandmother of five. She lives in North Manchester with her husband who is the pastor of Christian Fellowship Church, her twin teenage boys with autism, mother-in-law with Alzheimer's and three rambunctious dogs. Karla and her husband have been in ministry together for more than 32 years. You can contact Karla for speaking engagements via her website at

Karla Akins

Pastor’s wife, Kirstie Donovan, lives life in a fishbowl, so when she hops on the back of a bright pink motorcycle, tongues start to wag at the conservative, century-old First Independent Christian Community Church of Eels Falls. 

Kirstie loves roaring down a road less traveled by most women over forty, but she’s not just riding her bike for the fun of it. Kirstie has a ministry. However, certain church members have secrets to hide, and when God uses Kirstie’s ministry to fill the pews with leather-clad, tattooed bikers, those secrets could be exposed…and some will stop at nothing to hide the truth. 

Join Kirstie and her motorcycle “gang”—two church matrons and a mouthy, gum-smacking non-church member—as they discover that road-toughened bikers are quite capable of ministering to others, and faith is fortified in the most unexpected ways.

women is shown with a motorcyle

Top ten ways to turn people away/toward church.

Top ten ways to turn people away from church. Please note that I am not condoning any of the following.

(1)    Invite them, and when they show up to an event, don’t talk to them. Or, during handshake/greeting time, ignore them.
(2)    Make everything a one-up game when someone visits. What car do you drive? Where do you work? What size house do you have? How many vacations do you take a year?
(3)    Hide all information about where the church meets. Do not readily post where classes/groups meet. Keep all such information secret.
(4)    When someone calls to ask for information about the church, blow them off. Wait six months to a year and then call them.
(5)    When someone visits, let them know their attire is inappropriate.
(6)    Roll your eyes at people with noisy children and babies.  
(7)    Tell jokes about other ethnic groups/homosexuals/other religions/people from other political parties/anyone else who is different.
(8)    Ask for volunteers, and then when people volunteer, don’t call them. 
(9)    Hide all your faults. Act as if you are perfect.
(10) Make salvation all about a list of do and don’ts and keep Jesus out of the equation.

Conversely, how to turn people toward your church, and hopefully, Christ.

(1)    Invite someone to church and stay with them. Introduce them to others. Make them feel welcome. Your church culture might be foreign to them. What can you do to help them fit in? During handshake/greeting time, talk to people standing by themselves.
(2)    Instead of focusing on things that divide (are you married, do you have kids, do you make a lot of money), focus on neutral topics of conversation. Hey, how’s the weather? Do you like sports? Do you see that Bengals game? 
(3)    Post information inside the church (maybe on the walls) and in the bulletin. Post it on the church’s Website. Make sure it is current.
(4)    Contact people as soon as possible. Don’t let people slip through the cracks.
(5)    God cares about our hearts. Okay, maybe someone is wearing something inappropriate. Let God be their judge. Just love them and show them Jesus.
(6)    Just as Jesus welcomed little children, accept children in your church. Make your church one that welcomes families (as well as those without children; it goes both ways).
(7)    Jesus loves everyone. Don’t say you love everyone and then tell jokes about others when they are not present.
(8)    If you want volunteers, then you need to accept help from others.
(9)    People need Jesus. If you pretend to be perfect, they will wonder why people need Jesus. And besides, they’ll soon find out you are not perfect. (None of us are, except Jesus.)
(10)Point people to Jesus and not your institutional preference. That is, Jesus is the way, and not the color hair you have or the type of music you listen to.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Review of I, Saul, a new international thriller by Jerry B. Jenkins

I, Saul, by Jerry B. Jenkins

I recently read I, Saul by Jerry B. Jenkins (with James S. MacDonald). This international thriller is being dubbed as a Christian Da Vinci Code. I, Saul is a different sort of novel, and kudos to Jenkins for originality. The story involves Augie, a professor, who travels across the globe to help find an artifact tied to the apostle Paul.

Jenkins is one of my favorite writers. I enjoyed the Left Behind series, Hometown Legend, and the Precinct 11 novels. I even drove three hours once to hear Jenkins speak at Taylor University. All that to say, I am a fan, and yet, it just wasn’t my favorite Jenkins novel. To be fair, I read this novel through the lens of a fellow author. I would have liked to have seen longer scenes, characters developed more, and POV handled differently. It is highly likely that readers (who are not authors) might not feel the same and would thoroughly enjoy the story.

What I admire is that Jenkins did produce an original concept. It is always more risky to step out and try something different because not everyone might like it. I enjoyed the parts that contained Biblical characters Luke and Paul the best because it was interesting to consider what Paul’s life might have been like (apart from what we already know). 

This book might appeal to those who enjoy Biblical fiction, international thrillers, or novels by Jenkins. To learn more about I, Saul, please view the trailer:

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed are my own. 

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Men and Christian Fiction

Today's post is all about guys! 

photo of a man and his son

What do men want from Christian fiction?

For example, I've heard that women (at least my age) want stronger (and less wishy washy) Christian heroines and more realistic stories (because life is not perfect). 

But what do men want? 

If you're a man, I'd like your thoughts on Christian fiction.

(1) Where do you purchase Christian fiction (online, Christian bookstores, secular bookstores, etc. [or maybe you don't buy it at all])?
(2) How do you find out about books/authors (word of mouth, book reviews online, blogs, etc.)?
(3) Why do you read Christian fiction/what do you like about it?
(4) Conversely, why do you not read Christian fiction/what do you dislike about it?
(5) Who are your favorite Christian authors?
(6) Who are your favorite secular authors?

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Learn more about historical romance author J.M. Downey

A Time to Say Goodbye. A woman is shown on the front cover.

Author Biography:

J.M. Downey lives in the South with her husband and daughter. She has been writing since grade school and she earned a master's degree in English 2005. In her writing J.M. Downey focuses on women overcoming great adversity.

A Time to Say Goodbye Blurb:

Cotton plantation daughter, May Lynn Whitley sees nothing wrong with owning others. After all how would they fend for themselves if it wasn't for gracious people like her family? But a handsome young preacher’s probing words and mesmerizing blue eyes unlock a new sense of justice and lead her on a journey that will change her life and soul. But she is betrothed and May Lynn’s controlling fiance’ will do anything to make sure they wed. Anything including destroying all that she holds dear. Set in Antebellum America, May Lynn’s adventure spans the Eastern Seaboard as she joins a movement she once scorned.

Purchase Link:

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Review of On Distant Shores

on distant shores. Lt. Georgie Taylor, a brunette, is shown on cover

Every word in Sundin’s writing is purposeful. Most books contain some sections complete with descriptive fluff but not Sundin. Every bit of prose is purposeful. Sundin takes historical facts and carefully interweaves them with delightful romantic fiction. Her characters are well rounded, and Sundin does a superb job of developing character arcs. Her characters face real problems and grow throughout the course of her novels.

On Distant Shores would appeal to all fiction readers but especially those who enjoy historical fiction. This is the second book in the Wings of the Nightingale Series. It is the story of flight nurse Georgie Taylor and pharmacist John Hutchinson, and the romantic tension between them; the story is set against the backdrop of World War II. In this story, Georgie has a few things to learn about herself; John has a few things to learn as well. This book includes characters from the first book in the series, With Every Letter (also a good story if you haven't read it). 

Monday, July 8, 2013

Inner Source with Fay Lamb

Today, on the Inner Source, I speak with Fay Lamb about grief, loss, and hope, and how they relate to my debut novel. ‎#infertility ‎#writing‎#ALS

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Review of Humble Orthodoxy by Joshua Harris

Humble Orthodoxy, by Joshua Harris, in its simplest sense, is nothing new. It's basically speaking the truth in love, and yet, I found this book to be a refreshing and timely message for society. The book is written for Christian laymen. I liked that it contained small boxes that highlighted key points throughout the text. Additionally, at the end of the book, Harris presents study questions. Orthodoxy sounds intimidating, and so, the small size of the book makes it portable and inviting. This book will appeal to Christians of all ages--new and long-time believers alike.

I liked many of the quotes from this book, but one of my favorites is on page 35: "One test for whether we're pursuing humble orthodoxy is this question: Are we giving as much energy to obeying and being reformed by God's Word personally as we are to criticizing its detractors?"

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a review, but this did not affect my review in any way. The opinion expressed here is my own.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Father's Day--Mixed Feelings

Father’s Day

Father's Day… Like Mother's Day, it can be a difficult time for some. For me, I have mixed feelings. I miss my father, who passed away 2 years ago from ALS. At the same time, after experiencing infertility, I am happy and thankful that my husband and I get to celebrate this Father's Day with a son of our own. 

What is a Father?

Fathers come in many forms. When my father died, people told my family that in many ways, my dad was like a father to them. So a father is about more than DNA. You can be a father to someone and not be biologically related to them. Likewise, someone can be a biological father, and yet, not act like a father figure at all. 

Yearning to be a Father

Maybe you're like my husband and me in past years, and maybe you yearn for a child of your own, but for whatever reason are unable to have a biological child. Maybe you had a child, but they passed away. Or maybe your children have all grown up and left home, and you miss the pitter patter of children in your home. Just as you yearn to be a father figure, there are children who yearn for a father. Let me repeat that so it sinks in. There are families who want children, and likewise, there are children who want families.  

Foster Care/Adoption

I'm writing this not because I'm trying to tell someone else what to do. But I want to share insights from my infertility journey. On the path of infertility, my husband and I pursued foster care/adoption. I'd like to share some of the information I discovered.

Did you know that some states, such as New Jersey, do not have an upper limit on the age of a foster parent? According to the state of New Jersey, foster parents just need to be in reasonably good health. So don’t let your age stop you from considering being a foster/adoptive parent.

Don’t let finances discourage you either. From my own experience, my husband and I paid nothing to become foster parents. I did fill out a lot of paperwork and go through training, but in most instances, the county will pay for your training. Also, I didn’t mind the background checks because I have nothing to hide, and I think it’s good that the state checks out parents in order to protect children in their care.

Many counties/states offer foster-to-adopt programs. So, for example, if you fostered a child and he/she became eligible for adoption, you could adopt them. Financial assistance is available to help parents adopt. Some children are already available for adoption, but if you are looking to adopt a younger child, I would suggest fostering first, because usually foster parents adopt younger children.

Orphan Hosting

Are you not ready to make the commitment to foster care or adoption? Perhaps consider orphan hosting. Usually, you host an orphan from another country in your home for several weeks.

Orphan Sponsorship

Still not your cup of tea? Perhaps consider sponsoring an orphan or providing a scholarship for someone else to host an orphan. 

Foster Care/Adoption Resources

Orphan Hosting Resources

Orphan Sponsorship Resources

Friday, June 7, 2013

Dog Tags Review and Character Tour and GIVEAWAY INFO!

Ralene Burke asked my characters some tough questions. You can read their responses here. 

Author Dora Hiers reviewed Dog Tags!

I'm giving away an ecopy on Ralene's blog and a paperback copy on Sleuths and Suspects.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Dog Tags--Bonus Scene

What is it? – This is a scene I deleted from the manuscript before I submitted it to the publisher, simply because it’s a flashback, and I didn’t have a good place for it.  The scene is referred to several times in the actual book. For those who haven’t read the book, I hope it sparks interest. And for those who have read the book, I hope you enjoy this extra scene.

Silver maple and white ash leaves littered the sidewalk as Mark Graham traveled in his wheelchair, pushing himself along Main Street of Beaumont, Ohio, to clear his thoughts. He rolled in front of the Hometown Café and peeked inside. A short, mousy-haired waitress poured someone a cup of coffee. Ten patrons total. Most he recognized.
Should he venture in?
The front door chimed as a customer walked outside, and Mark twinged. The hair stood on the back of his neck, like the day of the ill-fated reconnaissance mission and subsequent ambush he’d witnessed in South America. Routine. The word his commanding officer had used—the same superior who bailed out on the so-called simple, ordinary mission to procure intel about the whereabouts of several high profile political prisoners captured by guerrillas. As much as he’d like to, he’d never forget that day.
A second chime sounded as another customer exited the aging building, allowing the autumn breeze to waft the café scents in Mark’s direction. The pungent aroma of java reminded him of Dad, who’d start each morning out with two cups of coffee.
Mark wheeled inside. A “Seat Yourself” sign sat near the doorway. Pushing a chair aside, Mark maneuvered near the third table from the door, set a navy-blue backpack on the seat next to him, and shifted his gaze to the waitress, who now stood at attention before him, pad and pencil in hand. “I’ll take a cup of joe.”
The waitress brought his coffee then shuffled along to assist another customer.
Mark savored the rich flavor, which far surpassed any coffee he’d tasted in the military, and observed the mint green, aging wall tiles covering the interior of the café. He remembered when they’d seen better days. When had the café been built? 1940? 1950?
As Mark sat and relished his coffee, a loud bang sounded, like a gunshot. His hand shook, causing him to spill his coffee on the table. He released a sigh. Probably just a car backfiring. Using his napkin, he wiped up the spilled liquid. Had anyone noticed? No one appeared to be looking at him, but to be on the safe side, he tucked his dog tags and accompanying chain inside his t-shirt.
Would he ever get over it? The sights? The sounds? Everything that took him back? He peered out the window and across the street, toward the brick building housing the Marine recruiting office. Two teenage boys exited the office, crossed the street, and walked toward the pizza parlor. Mark shook his head and grunted, arms resting on his wheelchair. What did high school kids know about war and combat? Not like he’d known much when he enlisted a few years prior.
The waitress strode over to his table. “Would you like more…” Her eyes widened then avoided him once she looked at his wheelchair. A typical response, at least from anyone who knew him before. “Hey, wait, I know you. Mark Graham. You look just like your mom.” The waitress hung her head. The twinkle in her eyes subsided. “Sorry to hear about her passing.” She paused. “Would you care for more coffee?”
Mark nodded and studied the waitress for a moment. She seemed familiar. What was her name? He pointed to his cup. “Did you know coffee was discovered as early as the ninth century?”
The waitress smiled and shook her head.
Leaves whirled outside the window as the woman refilled Mark’s coffee and set his bill on the table. He looked at the total then out the window again. Horace Smith, his elderly neighbor, passed along the other side of the street.
Mark slumped in his wheelchair. He had to get out of Beaumont, needed a change in scenery. But where should he go? What was he going to do from his chair? It limited his options a bit.
Mark opened his wallet, removed a business card, and flipped it over, revealing a phone number scribbled on the back. He skimmed it and slipped it back in his wallet. It would have to wait until later. He picked up the bill and his backpack and wheeled over to the register.
The waitress rang up his order. “How long are you going to be in town?”
He handed her a twenty. “Not very long. Can we keep this little meeting to ourselves?” He winked. Word traveled fast in Beaumont.
The woman nodded as she counted and held out several bills and coins.
“Keep the change.” He headed toward the door.
As he left the café, a group of high school girls headed toward him: a tall blonde, a medium-height brunette, and a short girl with black hair. What had the blonde said to the brunette that caused her to giggle? It must have been amusing. The brunette laughed until she met his eyes then stopped. The blonde tugged at the brunette’s arm, and all three walked away. After wheeling a few feet in the other direction, Mark turned and found the brunette looking at him. Their eyes locked. She tilted her head—a puzzled expression on her face—then jogged away.
Mark recognized her—Private Martindale’s kid sister. How soon before the Martindales found out he was in town? The stubble on his face rubbed against his hand, and he realized his desperate need for a clean shave. Maybe Beth Martindale didn’t recognize him. He hardly recognized himself.
Mark wheeled south and stopped at the corner. If he crossed the street and went north, he could head over to the recruiting office. Perhaps Lieutenant Lance Bridges still worked there. Who else might understand what he endured except others who’d served as well? But a visit to the recruiting office would further announce his presence.
Going south two blocks, he moved toward a row house on Fifth Avenue and gazed at the aging edifice. Brick red paint peeled from the siding. It looked better when Dad had been alive.
Mark rolled past the vacant county dog-catcher’s vehicle parked along the side of the street and wheeled to the front door of the house. A yip sounded from an evergreen bush. He fixed his gaze off in the distance. No dog catcher in sight. Perhaps the man was around the corner. Mark reached down and petted a shaking, fuzzy black pup now standing beside the bush. The poor thing looked more like a miniature bear cub than a dog. Mark patted his leg, and the puppy jumped in his lap.
Jetting inside to the kitchen, Mark fetched the pup a bowl of water. He held up the dog and looked it in the eyes. “Guess you’re trying to lay low too. Well, you can hide out here, for now at least.”
The dog licked Mark’s nose then jumped onto the floor and lapped some water.
“Now what am I going to call you?”
The dog finished his drink then zipped around the kitchen floor and chased his tail.
“Hmm…How about Sparky?”
Sparky stopped running, looked up at Mark, and tilted his head to one side.
“Okay, I have other things to do now, so you’re going to have to entertain yourself for a while. Sorry, boy.”
Mark wheeled to his bedroom and began to pack his things. He’d call the realtor about selling the house tomorrow. How much junk did he have? He took a few small boxes, one at a time, out to his van. Its green exterior appeared a light shade of brown due to layers of dirt caked on the body.
Mark took a deep breath before heading back inside and opening the door to his mother’s room then scanned the living space and spied a yellow dress on the far right side of her closet. Wasn’t that the one she wore on Easter? Mark spotted his photo, on the opposite corner of the room, atop his mother’s dresser along with her Bible. She still kept it there? Mark wheeled over to the dresser, opened a drawer, found floral note cards inside, and stashed a few cards in his bag. He couldn’t talk to the Martindales, but his Mom would have wanted him to at least write to them. He could do that much.
After hours of packing, he stopped by the back door and let Sparky in the fenced-in back yard for a night-time run. While the dog took care of business, Mark identified constellations. Canis minor—Latin for smaller dog. How appropriate.  
Using his arms, Mark lifted himself out of his chair and into the bed. He punched his pillow a few times to achieve the desired softness. Still better than cots in the Corps. He set his cell phone, wallet, and dog tags on the nightstand, next to a small brass frame containing a photo of Mom and Dad. Maybe the last one taken of them together? He reached for the lamp switch, paused, and grabbed his cell phone and wallet. Then he removed the same business card from before and dialed the number on the back.
He ran his fingers through his hair. “Hey, Bill. It’s Mark. Mark Graham.”
“How are you?”
“Lousy. Are you still thinking of opening up a bait and tackle store?”
A deep chuckle echoed over the phone. “Yeah. You still thinking of helping us?”
Mark examined the business card. “I can be there in a few days.”
“Great. Do you know where to find us?”
He scratched his head. “Our old hangout when we were stationed in Riversdale?”
“Yep. See you soon.”
Mark replaced the card in his wallet, turned off his phone, and returned both items to the nightstand before switching off the light.
He settled under the covers. Sparky jumped onto the bed and nuzzled next to him. Mark scratched the dog’s head and glanced at the ceiling, still wide awake.
California, here I come.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Read E-books for Free

If you own a computer, you shouldn't need to own an e-reader to read e-books. Just download free apps to read Nook or Kindle books or your computer. 

You can obtain e-books for free in one of four ways:
(1) Check out e-books from a library. Even if your local library doesn't carry e-books, you may have access to a state-wide e-book library.
(2) "Purchase" books for free from Amazon or Barnes and Noble. On Amazon, you can look up the top 100 free Kindle books and then sort by genre. On Barnes and Noble, you can perform a keyword search for a genre and then sort by price "low to high" to find free books. Barnes and Noble also offers a page that shows free books by genre, but the page doesn't list all genres. Sometimes books are only offered for free for a limited time period, so check back often. Also, always check the price before downloading/purchasing to make sure the book is still free. In most cases, downloading should be free, but be sure to check on possible fees when downloading outside of the United States, or similar circumstances.  
(3) Obtain classics for free through sites like Project Gutenberg
(4) Enter free e-book giveaways

Before I purchased a Kindle, I tried out the Nook and Kindle PC programs on my computer. Please note that you usually have to keep a credit card on file with Amazon or Barnes and Noble if you choose to download from them. That way, if you decide to buy a book from them, you can do so easily. If you feel uncomfortable using your credit card on the Internet, please consider checking out e-books from your local library. However, I would encourage you to check out your credit card's policy for online purchases. In some cases, card members are not held liable for unauthorized purchases if reported to the credit card company (per cardholder policy--be sure to read the policy for your card or speak to a customer service representative). Also, be aware that shopping offline doesn't protect you from identify theft. My state lost a hard drive with taxpayers' social security information on it. Also, before online transactions, identify thefts stole carbon copies of credit card receipts. So you don't have to go online to have your identity stolen. Don't be afraid to go online. Just be cautious and use good judgment, just as you would when you make purchases offline. 

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Book Giveaway

I'm giving away an e-copy of my debut suspense novel, Dog Tags, on Bethany Macmanus's blog:

Please stop by! :)

Dog Tags -- Excerpt 2

The Knight’s mind clouded over, like fog settling over the local San Diego metro area. One thing was clear as he sat in his white, sparsely furnished living room: his goal. He must continue his quest to help damsels in distress, ones like Juanita. He hoped she’d listen to him, that she’d understand he only tried to protect her, that she’d appreciate his chivalry. But as he’d learned from experience, the women he chose to rescue might not always be cooperative. Being a knight in shining armor did not always prove an easy task. 

The finger in the jar atop the entertainment center served as a reminder: death was far kinder than the fate Juanita could have suffered at the hands of that other man. No matter what society thought, the Knight had done the right thing.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Dog Tags Excerpt

Do you enjoy suspense? If so, then you might like Dog Tags. In the story, a former Marine determines to protect the woman he loves at all costs, and yet his own secrets might turn her against him forever.

Cover shows a women with a hand over her face and a set of dog tags nearby. Text displayed is "You belong with me. You'll see. I'll prove it to you."

The novel is set for release on June 7, 2013. An excerpt from the novel follows:

He grabbed the notebook and took his time removing a page. The paper tore in one spot. A string of curses spewed from his lips, and he folded the first two sheets of paper. He couldn’t crumple them. The Knight stared at his clenched fists then took a deep breath. His hands trembled as he separated a perforated page from the notebook.

He took a moment to relight the candles surrounding his shrine to Beth. Gaining inspiration, he admired her photo. A chill ran over him. What if Beth refused his help?

He stared in the direction of his gun safe. Be a shame to waste such a beautiful life. Besides, Plot Fifty was taken.

To be fair, the Knight would warn Beth about possible repercussions of refusing his assistance. If she was smarter than Juanita, she’d take the hint. Sweat trickled down his face. He steadied his hand enough to compose the letter. Anticipation flooding over him, he could hardly wait to leave Beth her next surprise.

 The Knight's dining room table.

To learn more about the characters contained in the novel, please visit my Dog Tags boards on Pinterest.
Powered By LifeWidget
Powered By LifeWidget
Powered By LifeWidget