Author Archives: Bev

Against All Odds – Christian Suspense

Here’s a fun new book from Becca Hart, check it out!

Summary:

Two years after a violent break-in left Elizabeth Seymour widowed and with blood on her hands, she’s finally starting over in the little town of Avalon, Ohio, with her daughter, Haley. She has the house of her dreams, a good church, and friends she can rely on. Everything seems to be falling into place—until she receives a threatening note from Veronica Sadowsky, the sister of the man Elizabeth shot, the same woman who tried to ruin her life once before. This time, though, Veronica won’t stop until she gets revenge.

When Elizabeth’s home goes up in flames, she turns to family friend, Doctor Gilbert Callahan, a widowed father of three. He invites her and Haley to stay with his family. As Veronica draws Elizabeth into a game of increasing stakes, she and Gilbert only grow closer, learning to trust and rely on one another. But Elizabeth’s presence in Gilbert’s home endangers his family and creates tension with his oldest son. Preserving peace in the house is hard enough, but when Veronica comes after Haley, Elizabeth will risk everything—including her life—to get her child back.

Meet Becca

A wife and mother of two, Becca Hart felt the calling to be a writer at the tender age of fifteen. She earned her Associate of Arts degree from Pikes Peak Community College in 2013. Though born and raised in a small town in northeast Ohio, Becca makes her home in southern Colorado in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains. You can visit her website at https://beccahartauthor.wixsite.com/website, on Twitter @BeccaHart16, and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/beccahartauthor.

New romance – “Blast From her Past”

Here’s a fun new release all you romance readers will enjoy:

“Fast-paced real world story line gallops between events, conversations and memories. Thoughtful narrative and believable dialogue give the story a sincere, unvarnished but interesting perspective from both sides of a budding romance. Funny in parts too :).”       Amazon reviewer

After a disastrously failed engagement, Sydney Hampson is leaving her past—and her faith—behind to focus on her career instead. However, following through with her new, albeit misguided, resolution proves easier said than done when a former classmate, and reformed bully, Grant Williams signs on with her company, and they must work closely together.

Grant Williams gave up his teenage antics years ago, and now he’s looking forward to a future that includes a strong relationship with God. When he realizes he’ll be working with none other than Sydney Hampson—the girl he had a secret crush on throughout high school—he couldn’t be more thrilled. Until he discovers she’s not the same caring, compassionate woman she used to be.

When a business trip gone awry leaves the pair stranded in the middle of a snowstorm, Grant sees his chance to make things right and put their past wrongs behind them…if only Sydney can get over her distrust of men. And with a conniving coworker intent on destroying Sydney’s happiness, no matter the cost, can she put her faith back in God and learn to trust in Grant before she loses her chance at happiness?

SAMPLE from Chapter One

Sydney glanced at the desktop where her cell phone vibrated. Her sister’s name showed on the screen. She was on a tight deadline for her boss, Linda, but frankly, she was thankful for the interruption to her mundane workday. She reached for the phone. “Hey, Kate.”

“Hi, Syd, how are you? Is this an okay time?”

“Well, I’m working, but I can spare a few minutes.”

“Great. I’m actually heading your direction as we speak.” Sydney thought fast. Why was her sister coming all the way from Aberdeen, South Dakota to her North Dakota town near Bismarck? “Oh, that’s right. You have the Snowball Reunion tonight, don’t you?”

“Yes, ma’am. And I’m looking for a favor.” She could almost hear the smile in her sister’s voice. “From me?” she asked suspiciously. “Yeah, sorry. Emma’s got a fever, so Chad needed to stay home with her. Which means I’m flying solo here. But I promised the committee there would be two of us to help with the concessions from seven to eight tonight.”

Sydney could tell where this was going, and she wasn’t thrilled about the prospect. Did her sister forget how much she disliked high school? Not to mention the actual Snowball Event. That was another story altogether. “Kate, I really don’t think—”

“Please, Sydney? I wouldn’t ask you if I wasn’t in a bind here, but I could really use your help. Besides, it starts at seven—that has to mean something, right?”

Sydney chuckled silently. It figured her sister would use her affinity for the number seven as a bargaining chip. Sydney was born on the seventh, had become a Christian at the age of seven, and had even started her current job on the seventh. The way the number kept weaving its way into significant events in her life, she had jokingly declared it her favorite number years ago.

“Look, I know you weren’t a fan of the Snowball, or high school in general, for that matter,” Kate continued. “But maybe try to forget about the actual event and instead see it as spending time with me while raising money for a good cause.”

Sydney almost laughed out loud. She had supported a lot of causes in her day, but funding a high school social event hardly qualified as a “good cause” in her book. Still, she did tend to be a bit antisocial, and Kate was one of the few people she enjoyed hanging out with, so attending this affair wouldn’t be the worst way to spend her evening. “What do you say, will you help your little sister out?” Kate begged.

As much as her gut told her to turn down the request, Sydney couldn’t say no to her flesh and blood. She did have mixed feelings about the Snowball event, but even so, it might be nice to get her mind off work for a change. And it wasn’t often she got to see her sister. Not only did Kate live almost three hours away, she also had two little kids that kept her busy. In fact, it had been a couple months since Sydney had seen her sister in person. She would try to view this as an opportunity to have fun and catch up rather than anything involving unpleasant high school memories. Besides, Kate had always been there for her when life got tough, so helping out at a fundraiser was the least she could do. “Oh, all right. But you have to help me figure out what to wear. What time will you be here?”

“Oh, thank you, thank you! I’m two hours out. We have to be at the school by six-thirty, so we should have enough time to get dressed and ready after I get to your place.”

Sydney glanced at her watch. It was almost three o’clock. “Sounds good. I have to get back to work, but I’ll see you soon.” She hung up and returned her attention to the brochure she was designing for her company. Thankfully, they’d allowed her to start working from home last year, which meant she wouldn’t have a commute ahead of her after completing her task. Like most people, Sydney had a few complaints about her job, but being able to work from home far outweighed the negative aspects.

Click here to go to  “Blast from her Past” on Amazon.

Author Bio:
Katy Eeten is a wife and mom to two boys, ages 7 and 9. She and her family live in southeast Wisconsin despite her dislike of cold weather. Katy works full-time in the business world, but her true passion is writing. She is a new author whose debut novel, Christian romance “Blast from Her Past,” released earlier this year. When she’s not working or writing, she can be found taking walks, baking goodies, dining out, or simply spending time with her family.
 
Buy Links:
Only available on Amazon (Kindle / Kindle Unlimited). Soon to be available in paperback format. 
______
Sounds like a fun, fresh new read! Let me know if you read it, and if you like it, please leave Katy a kind review on Amazon. Reviews are GOLD to authors.
Bev out!

Writing Believable Characters

Today I’m hosting SM Ford with some great advice about

Writing a Believable Christian Character

You may have read Christian fiction that was contemporary but felt like fantasy as the main character just wasn’t believable. He or she was too perfect. How do we make our Christian characters believable?

First of all, Christian characters should never be perfect. Instead, they should make mistakes, and, yes, sin. They might be busybodies, loud mouths, too shy to speak up, gamblers, addicted to too much wine, gossips, judgmental, easily angered, etc. They don’t have all scripture memorized either. Nor do they have an answer for everything.

When creating your character, plan for failure. Plan flaws. I’ve been a Christian for over 50 years and I still say things I shouldn’t. I still grumble. I still sin. Fortunately, God forgives me when I repent and that’s what you’ll show your main character doing.

As in real life there will be consequences for sin in your character’s life. If a character says or does something they shouldn’t, will it hurt someone? Betray a confidence? Break a friendship? Cost a job? Break a law? Hurt their Christian testimony? Or damage the main character internally? Yes, very possibly.

Sometimes the people we hurt most are the ones we love the most. We snap at our spouse because we are irritable. We yell at our kids because we are self-focused. Your Christian main character might do the same thing. And hopefully as we do in real life, will ask forgiveness from both whom they offended and our Heavenly Father.

Plan for uncertainty, too. There may be scripture your main character doesn’t understand. Issues that aren’t black and white. Lack of knowledge. I remember years ago when a new gal at our church who was not married to the man she was living with said, “no other church ever told me this was wrong.”

Make your character as real as you can. I still experience depression. I still get sick. I’ve not paid close enough attention and have failed to yield the right away. I’ve had others hurt me. Your character should have similar problems. Use what you know in your own life. It will make your characters better.

***

A little about SM Ford 

SM Ford writes inspirational fiction for adults, although teens may find the stories of interest, too. She uses the above techniques in her own writing.

Sue is a Pacific Northwest gal, who has also lived in the midwest (Colorado and Kansas) and on the east coast (New Jersey). She and her husband have two daughters and two sons-in-law and three grandsons. She can’t figure out how she got to be old enough for all that, however.

She loves assisting other writers on their journeys and is a writing teacher, speaker, mentor, and blogger about writing. Her website is smfordbooks.com. And you can purchase her book ALONE which is available as an ebook or audio book on Amazon.

Ready for adventure in the snowy Colorado mountains, Cecelia Gage is thrilled to be employed as the live-in housekeeper for her favorite bestselling author. The twenty-five-year-old doesn’t count on Mark Andrews being so prickly, nor becoming part of the small town gossip centering on the celebrity. Neither does she expect to become involved in Andrews family drama and a relationship with Simon Lindley, Mark’s oh so good-looking best friend. And certainly, Cecelia has no idea she’ll be mixed up in a murder investigation.

Will Cecelia’s faith in God get her through all the troubles that lie ahead?

Thanks for the great pointers, Sue! And ALONE looks like a great read.

Making your work an audiobook – guest post with KM Carroll

Welcome my friend, K. M. Carroll, who writes imaginative Fantasy books. She’s written an interesting short article about getting started narrating your own work. To find her books, go to her Amazon author page. Recommended! 

Audiobooks are exploding right now. There’s lots of articles talking about how everybody likes to listen to books on their phones, like this one. Listening to books on your commute is another one. I’m constantly seeing cozy mystery readers who are frustrated that their favorite series aren’t available on audiobook yet (especially people whose eyesight isn’t so good.)

I’ve been tossing around the idea of narrating my own books, for example, my cozy dragon mysteries. They have a female protagonist, and I think it would be a good fit. But I need to practice. So when somebody asked me if I planned to turn my fanfics into audiobooks, I thought, why not?

The fun thing about fanfics is I don’t have to mess with Audible. I can drop them on Youtube without worrying about Audible’s strict sound quality requirements. I can flounder around and make production mistakes and have volume issues and nobody cares because, hey, fanfic.

thunderhead_and_pirate_ship_by_ebineyland-d6ff3yz
Thunderhead and pirate ship by Ebineyland

My hubby gets up at 4:30 AM most mornings for work. I get up with him, and after he leaves, I have about an hour before the kids wake up. Beautiful, beautiful silence. So that’s when I sit and record a chapter, which usually takes about ten minutes. My hubby has a very nice microphone that I commandeer.

I still had a bit of echo after my first few attempts, so I scoured the internet for workarounds. A lot of people record in their closets, where the hanging clothes muffle the sound. My closet is about eighteen inches deep and filled with junk, so that’s not an option. Then I found a podcasting tips website. This podcast is more like a radio drama. They recommended recording with a duvet draped over you and the mic. I tried it, and my background echo vanished. People are so brilliant.

Over the course of several weeks, I recorded all fourteen chapters of a fanfic. I learned to repeat a phrase if I stuttered or coughed or something, which made clipping it out during editing so much easier. I used an old, free version of Adobe Audition. I had used it years ago, when it was Cool Edit Pro, before Adobe acquired it. I know how to use the program well enough to remove background noise and things like that.

Then I actually listened to my recording. Egads, I thought. I’m BORING. I read like a robot. I enunciate very carefully, and I do the voices decently, but the straight narration! It’s so dull! How do professional audiobook narrators pull it off?

Well, the best ones are all actors, for one thing. You’re giving a performance.

I went ahead and posted my boring performance–it’s just a fanfic and it’s good practice–and now I’m starting on a second one. This time I’m trying to be more expressive and really perform. It’s quite a bit harder than just reading!

I thought I’d put this out there for other authors who are considering narrating their own audiobooks. Practice first! What sounds good as you read it may sound pretty dull when you’re playing it back.

K. M. Carroll has been writing fantasy since her teen years. Her current project is the Spacetime Legacy series, a YA urban fantasy about teens with time and space magic. In the mundane realms of real life, she is a stay at home mom with four fantasy-loving children.

Find her blogging at kmcarroll.wordpress.com or on Facebook

This article has been reposted from the author’s website by permission.

Bev out!

Sin Is Not Breaking A List Of Do’s & Don’ts, by John Mendis

Sin is Not Breaking a List of Do’s and Don’ts 

Today I’m pleased to have a guest poster. John’s written a 17 page essay that sounds intriguing.

Here’s the summary:

“I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ” said, Mahatma Gandhi. Could it be possible that many Christians are so unlike Christ, because they never understood how sinful they were? And because they didn’t understand how sinful they were, they never understood how deep God’s grace was to sinners like them. And since they never experienced this amazing grace, they never could extend the same kind of love and grace towards others. After all, how can you give someone Grace, when you haven’t received Grace?”

Available on for $2.00. Let me know if you read it, and what you think!

Misdirect, A Novel of Spies, the Sahara, and Searching for God

A disgraced CIA operative goes rogue to regain her professional credibility and encounters challenges larger than she’d imagined while crossing Saharan dunes to stop
a terrorist attack larger than 9/11.

In 2015 when The Kaleidoscope released, I thought I was finished writing long form novels. They’re tons of work, hard to sell among the millions of books out there, and did I mention lots of work? I wrote some short stories, worked as the editor for a literary journal and did some freelance theater reviewing for the newspaper. And thought I was done.

In the back of my mind, though, the germ of another novel kept nagging at me. When we had been on a car trip a few years, my daughter Lindsay and I, to pass the time, brainstormed a novel plot. Yeah, you know you’re a writer when…

Those details were so interesting to me that they became the foundation of the book that I called “the one that kicked my keyboard to the curb.” The title gives a hint at why it was so challenging to finish. In order to get to the conclusion and its twist, which I think you’ll enjoy, I had to read, rewrite, and read again many times to make sure I got it right.

As it grew, the story took on a deeper level as Eve, the main character, revealed her flaws and strengths. Add in a camel ride through the desert, a young Muslim teen with questions about God, and I hope you’ll agree it’s both an adventure and compelling spiritual journey for the characters and you, the reader.

Here’s a summary, I hope you like Misdirect releasing on June 27th in paperback and Kindle.

A mission failure has confined CIA covert operative Eve Parker to desk duty and she’s left to pick up the pieces of her broken personal life. But when her daughter’s fiancé is taken hostage, Eve must return to the Middle East armed with rusty tradecraft, and dubious credibility shrouded in her peers’ skepticism. Will she get it together in time to thwart the biggest threat to America since 9/11, or will her old-fashioned ways cause her to fail again?

And if a suspected mole, a missing thumb drive, and a camel ride through the desert weren’t challenging enough, a young Muslim boy with questions about God cause Eve to struggle with her own faith. As the most important assignment of her life draws near, events unfold to demonstrate that, particularly in espionage, things are not always as they seem. 

Join Eve Parker as she confronts her past, a national threat, and a crisis of faith in this spy thriller layered with intrigue, suspense, and surprise ending from an award-winning author reviewers call “a master storyteller.”

Bev out.

“Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus” by Nabeel Qureshi

Nabeel was raised in a devout American Muslim family. When he became interested in defending Islam when challenged by a Christian friend in college, he began a journey toward the cross. What I found most compelling was the fact that he found Muhammed’s life to be one of the turning points.

In the video below, he also speaks to the Muslim belief that God only speaks through dreams, an element I used in Misdirect.

A very well written book that also has a study guide for small group, homeschoolers or devotional time.

Summary:

In Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus, now expanded with bonus content, Nabeel Qureshi describes his dramatic journey from Islam to Christianity, complete with friendships, investigations, and supernatural dreams along the way.

Providing an intimate window into a loving Muslim home, Qureshi shares how he developed a passion for Islam before discovering, almost against his will, evidence that Jesus rose from the dead and claimed to be God. Unable to deny the arguments but not wanting to deny his family, Qureshi struggled with an inner turmoil that will challenge Christians, Muslims, and all those who are interested in the world’s greatest religions.

Engaging and thought-provoking, Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus tells a powerful story of the clash between Islam and Christianity in one man’s heart?and of the peace he eventually found in Jesus.

“I have seldom seen such genuine intellect combined with passion to match … truly a ‘must-read’ book.”—Ravi Zacharias

 

 

“The Girl Who Could See” by Kara Swanson

Today I’m pleased to introduce my friend and very talented fellow author, Kara Swanson, whose newest book, The Girl Who Could See, releases this week and has already earned some five star reviews. I asked Kara some questions about the story, and I’m sure you agree it sounds like a great read. Definitely on my TBR!

Bev: Tell us a little about yourself.

Kara: I’m 20 years old, and I spent the first sixteen years of life in the Jungles of Papua New Guinea, as the daughter of Christian missionaries. When I was 17, I coauthored and published a fantasy novel called Pearl of Merlydia. Now, a few years later, I’m releasing my own novel, The Girl Who Could See.

Bev: What inspired you to write “The Girl Who Could See”?

Kara: The inspiration for my stories usually comes in vague ideas, or a character pops into my head, or from the lyric of a song. The inspiration for TGWCS however, was not nearly so vague. Two sentences appeared in my thoughts that had me desperate to find out what story lay there:

They say every child had an imaginary friend. Mine never left.

Bev: Tell us how you came up with the beautiful cover, and what the images mean.

Kara: That cover is the brilliance of my designer, Jenny at Seedlings Design Studio (). She is fantastic to work with and so talented! I gave her the basic details about my novella and what themes I pictured being shown on the cover, and after some back and forth, we had the basic comp down for what you see! Then Jenny finessed it, and voila!

The cover has a combination of several images overlaid and sculpted. We’re seeing it all through Fern’s (my main character) silhouette. The idea was to show the contrasting worlds that Fern sees, by having them displayed through her. Looking through her eyes, if you will.

Fern is basically treading this thin line between modern LA and a parallel world that is a desolate wasteland. Little does she know, by opening a “rift” between these two worlds, she is letting something into hers. A creature that wants to destroy earth, just as it has destroyed the other world.

Bev: Is there a Bible verse that the story centers around?

Kara: Not necessarily, as this is speculative fiction. However, there are several spiritual themes/allegorical undertones, including blind faith, trusting in the impossible, accepting the existence of a savior the rest of the world refuses to believe exists, and self-sacrifice. Is this going to be a series?

Bev: Is this going to be a series?

Kara: Nope! It’s a stand-alone novella. However, I have tossed around the idea of doing an accompanying novella from the perspective of my main character, Tristan. The cover would be similar, but with a male silhouette instead of a female one, and with the landscapes switched. Her city world shown through his face, and his desolate world on the bottom. It’s just an idea at this point, though!

Bev: What are you working on next?

Kara: I have about six different novels that are either finished or in revisions. One of my favorites of those is called Skyridge. It’s an urban fantasy/paranormal about a girl who is the daughter of a fallen angel, born with wings on her back and a destiny to destroy the world on her shoulders—but she has other plans. It follows her journey away from the darkness of her heritage, and to join the very creatures she’s been bred to hate: the angels. 😀

Thank you so much for having me, Bev! It’s been such a pleasure <3

Bev: God bless, Kara, keep writing for Him!

***

Here’s the official summary of The Girl Who Could See:

All her life Fern has been told she is blind to reality—but, what if she is the only one who can truly see?

Fern Johnson is crazy. At least, that’s what the doctors have claimed since her childhood. Now nineteen, and one step away from a psych ward, Fern struggles to survive in bustling Los Angeles. Desperate to appear normal, she represses the young man flickering at the edge of her awareness—a blond warrior only she can see.

Tristan was Fern’s childhood imaginary hero, saving her from monsters under her bed and outside her walls. As she grew up and his secret world continued to bleed into hers, however, it only caused catastrophe. But, when the city is rocked by the unexplainable, Fern is forced to consider the possibility that this young man is not a hallucination after all—and that the creature who decimated his world may be coming for hers.

As the daughter of missionaries, Kara Swanson spent sixteen years of her young life in the jungles of Papua New Guinea. Able to relate with characters dropped suddenly into a unique new world, she quickly fell in love with the speculative genre. At seventeen, she released a fantasy novel, Pearl of Merlydia. Her short story is included in Kathy Ide’s 21 Days of Joy: Stories that Celebrate Mom. She has published many articles, including one in the Encounter magazine, and she received the Mount Hermon Most Promising Teen Writer award in 2015.

You can find Kara around the ‘net at Facebook, on her blog Read, Write, Soar, on Instagram, and Pinterest.

Bev out.

To order your copy, click on the link:

First Fruits- The 3T Challenge

If you’re looking for a book to challenge your walk with Christ, I suggest you check out First Fruits by Bran Duncan. Even though it’s fiction, First Fruits reads very real, as a pastor focused on numbers realizes his own faith walk could use some work. The challenges he faces transform him as he puts into action his own advice to serve God with time, talents, and treasures for a transformative faith.

Summary

Pastor Patrick Spakes is a huge success in the eyes of the world. He’s the husband of a beautiful wife, and dad to two healthy kids, and leads a large growing church. It appears he’s living a happy and blessed life, but appearances can be deceiving. Serving the church has drained him to the point his family feels abandoned.

Christy Spakes loves her husband but feels tired and lonely as her husband makes the church his priority.

Deacon Joe Smith loves the power and prestige he has acquired in his church being best friends with the church’s pastor.

What happens when the popular Pastor of a growing church is faced with a crisis of belief? When life spirals out of control where will he place his faith? How will his well-to-do congregation respond to the challenge of sacrificing for God? First Fruits is the inspiring story of what happens when everyday people are challenged to give their very best to God.

“I am so excited after reading First Fruits! I feel very humbled and blessed to be influenced by the simplicity and power of this story, and the open doors it allows for the working of God’s Spirit in my life, and in the life of the church I attend. Not since reading “In His Steps” as a teenager have I been so touched and move and inspired by a fiction book. I bought 4 more copies for leaders in the church I attend to read!” ~Pastor Tony Ellis

Bev out.

20 Short Ones

20 short ones

 

20 Short Ones by Dan Salerno  is a short story collection that focuses on human relationships. E-reader version – $1.99 on Amazon.

Each story is peopled with a new cast, usually just two or three characters, exploring a new friendship or beginning a romance. Salerno has sprinkled in many details that enrich the experience, such as lively bantering dialog and settings he’s described with intimate knowledge and a full range of senses. The stories are light in topic, but make you think about how the baggage of families, organized religion, and influences of culture impact our abilities to connect with one another.

Salerno draws from popular culture and literature, and because he casts each story with different characters and settings, none seem stale or cliche.

My only hesitation about the stories are that Salerno wrote them in a style that’s not used often these days. His use of the omnicient point of view takes a few paragraphs, if not a story or two, to settle into. I can understand his choice, though, because it’s an efficient way to quickly delve into each person’s inner dialog and backstory. And in the short amount of time and space you get with a short story, an author needs to include enough backstory and information about each character so you quickly get to know them, as Salerno’s been able to do. However, because of this style POV, it’s occasionally tough to determine who is speaking or thinking. That said, there is still a lot to like in this collection. After a few minutes adjusting to his style, I found myself absorbed and turning the pages to find out more about each intriguing situation and how the new relationships progressed.

If you like short stories, I recommend you check out 20 Short Ones. And keep an eye on this author, I predict he’ll be bringing us many more enriching stories and collections.

Summary:

20 Short Ones takes you from Northern Ireland to New York and places in-between. Each story offers a snapshot experience and an opportunity to emotionally relate to the age-old mystery of how friendships (romantic or otherwise) happen.

Meet Dan Salerno:

Dan SalernoDan Salerno has traveled to Northern Ireland five times and to Japan (once) on mission trips. This was before he lived in New York City for eight years, earning a master’s degree in social research while working for the National Coalition for the Homeless. After that he worked and lived at the Catholic Worker’s Joseph House near the Bowery, before moving back to the Midwest.

 

 

Bev out.