Tag Archive | faith

“The Long Awakening: A Memoir” by Lindsey O’Connor (A Revell Tour)

The riveting true story of a life-threatening coma, a miraculous awakening, and the long quest to regain what was lost.

long awakeningThe day our baby came into the world was the day I left. A day that began all smiles and excitement and anticipation and joy ended with running and panic and blood and tears. And then coma.

I lay suspended in the deep, my newborn unknown. Nothingness. Layers where dark pulled from below, light called from above, and me, trapped in between, longing to break the surface.

To live.

Forty-seven days later when I first saw my husband’s face leaning close to me, I knew where, and who, I was. But other things took much longer to know. Learning to restitch life–and love–when everything’s changed, and finding who we are afterward, can be the longest journey of all.

See the Trailer:  http:  //www.youtube.com/watch?v=U6ZfT9R54Cw

I’m Lindsey O’Connor, and this is the story of my long lindsey

Lindsey O’Connor is an author, a freelance journalist, and a speaker who has contributed to public radio’s Weekend America, WashingtonPost.com, The Rocky Mountain News, Christianity Today, Writer’s Digest, Guideposts, and others. She has reported internationally, is a former broadcaster, was a finalist for an Audie Award, and is a member of The Association of Independents in Radio and the American Society of Journalists and Authors. She and her family live in Colorado.


“Be careful picking up The Long Awakening because you may be unable to put it down. With clear-eyed intelligence and heart, Lindsey O’Connor succeeds in taking her readers along on her journey through coma, awakening, and an arduous recovery aided by her family and, above all, her loving husband. This is a moving, intimate story, arrestingly written, that glimmers with a keen understanding of what matters.”  —John Biewen, audio program director at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University, and editor of Reality Radio: Telling True Stories in Sound

“Brilliant and renewing. A spectacular work of reflection, remembering, reconciling, and recovering. Substantial and wonderful. Memoir writing at its finest.”  —Patricia Raybon, author of My First White Friend and I Told the Mountain to Move

“For Lindsey O’Connor, surviving a 47-day coma was only prologue to a miraculous story of science, doubt, faith, and love. Hers is an astonishing narrative, courageously told.”  —David Schulman, former senior producer BBC Americana and creator of public radio’s Musicians in Their Own Words

Credits: Here.

My Review:

The Long Awakening is about Lindsey O’Connor’s recovery after the birth of her baby, Catherine, when she almost lost her life.  She dove into a 47-day coma, after almost bleeding out.

Lindsey’s account is a heart-wrenching story told in her own perspective that draws you into the infinite details of her coming out of the life-threatening coma (what it was like), what she does and doesn’t remember (I had a baby?), and how she coped with the aftereffects( Lord, help me.).  Since it is a memoir, it’s very personal yet uplifting in many ways.

It’s a superb book for those who have suffered a coma and how to rest in the Lord through the process.  It’s not a mamby pamby, everything-glows-afterwards type of book.  It’s realistic in dealing with the issues.  It’s also a book for loved ones dealing with a family member in a coma and it’s ramifications. It gives wonderful insight into communication, cooperation and tons of love throughout the ordeal.  True friends stayed for the long haul.

The touching part of the  story for me is how the family rallied together throughout the whole ordeal. Yes, there were definitely difficult times, but the unity of the family members is what family life is about.  Love abounded. Grace did, too.

Wonderfully written and extremely enlightening.  Get your copy today at this destination.

Thank you to Lanette Haskins, Assistant Publicist at Baker Publishing Group,for a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.  No financial compensation was received.


“Fearless” by Mike Dellosso (With GIVEAWAYS Starting Monday, May 6)

Who is This Gifted, Mysterious Girl?

fearlesscoverWhen nine-year-old Louisa mysteriously appears in the middle of a house fire with no memory of how she got there or where she came from, Jim and Amy Spencer agree to take her in.

Wrestling with the recent loss of their own child, they soon discover Louisa has a special gift. But when the same gift unknowingly puts her in contact with a serial killer, the grieving couple must unite to face all odds and save themselves and Louisa before it’s too late.  Available May 7, 2013.

mikedMike Dellosso is the author of numerous novels of suspense, including Darkness Follows, Darlington Woods, and Scream. He is an adjunct professor of writing at Lancaster Bible College and frequent contributor to Christian websites and newsletters. Mike is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers association, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance, the Relief Writer’s Network, and FaithWriters, and he plans to join International Thriller Writers. He earned his BA degree from Messiah College and his MBS from Master’s International School of Divinity. He lives in Hanover, PA, with his wife and daughters.

Find more about Mike here.

My Review:

From mystery/thriller author, Mike Dellosso, comes his newest book, Fearless!  It’s the story of one little girl, Louisa, who is fearless in the midst of evil.  When she prays, people are healed–at least most.  She first appears in the midst of Jake Tucker’s fire, which was almost done in by a pot of eggs.

With no knowledge of who she is and where she is from, Doug Miller, the local Chief of Police, ask Jim and Amy Spencer to take Louisa in until they find out who she is and where she belongs.  Though they have been foster parents for years, Amy and Jim are reeling over the miscarriage of their baby.  Amy is mostly spooked by the little girl’s actions, but Jim has taken a fatherly liking to her, which endears him to me.  She seems to be the daughter they lost.

After Louisa prays for and heals different children, the town’s people all want healing.  That opens the door to wreak havoc with the Spencer’s in more ways than one.  You will find that people aren’t always who they appear to be.

To up the ante in his book, the town of Virginia Mills has a serial killer on their hands.  The police have no clues, no evidence and no idea who the perpetrator is.  There are few common denominators amongst the victims. The murders happen once a day for seven days in a row.  The police are stymied.

Mike’s unique style of supernatural thrillers comes alive one more time in Fearless.  His use of metaphors opens your eyes to comprehend situations in a broader, more vivid view.  He touches on several issues that intertwine throughout the story–domestic abuse, revenge, murder, miscarriage, childhood abuse, miracle healings, faith, and respect.  Mike’s superb writing interweaves all these issues and more throughout the chapters and keeps you on the edge of your seat, trying to help the individuals that are being targeted.  But you are helpless, as are most of the victims!

If you love thrillers, you will enjoy this book!  It will intrigue you and set you on edge from page one to the very end.  But do be aware, there are gruesome scenes that may be disturbing.

This e-book was provided by the author through The Darlington Society in exchange for my honest review.  No monetary compensation was received for my review.


Mike’s newest thriller, FEARLESS, releases next Tuesday, May 7. You won’t want to miss this one! It’s a thrill ride from page one.

Join him next week Right Here, on Facebook, and Twitter, for giveaways galore. He’ll be giving away copies of FEARLESS, but also giving away some of his other books, including A THOUSAND SLEEPLESS NIGHTS, which he wrote under the pseudonym, Michael King, and copies of his e-stories, THE LAST HUNT, MIRROR IMAGE,  and REARVIEW.  Any of his books will knock your shoes off!

It’s going to be a giveaway bonanza!

Check Back Here Monday for the first round of giveaways.

“Poison” (Book Two of the Bloodline Trilogy) by Jordyn Redwood (A Kregel Publication Tour)

Can a Hallucination Become a Real Person?

PoisonFive years ago, Keelyn Samuels’s armed, mentally ill stepfather took her family hostage in their house in rural Colorado. She and her half-sister Raven made it out alive, but others did not. Authorities blamed the father’s frequent hallucinations about a being named Lucent, but in the end, even the best of the FBI’s hostage negotiators failed to overcome the man’s delusions and end the standoff peacefully.

SWAT team member Lee Watson was there that day. He watched it all unfold and was able to pull Keelyn and Raven from the grip of their demon-possessed father. Though partially successful, his team had still failed, and the outcome of that day–and that tortured family–has continued to plague Lee ever since. Though unusual for SWAT to reconnect with survivors, Lee bumped into Keelyn two years after the crisis, and they both found some peace in their budding relationship. But peace is hard to maintain when the memory returns . . . in the flesh.

Lucent is back, and he’s no hallucination. In fact, he is a very real person with dangerous motives. He has kidnapped Raven’s daughter, and–Keelyn worries–maybe has hurt Raven as well. Though she is estranged from her sister, Keelyn feels the immediate need to find Raven and save what family she has left. But when others who were involved in that fateful day start dying, some by mysterious circumstances, Keelyn wonders if she and Lee can emerge unscathed a second time.

The highly anticipated second installment of the Bloodline Trilogy explores the boundaries of faith and family and what happens when both are put to the test.

Watch the Trailer

About the author:

JordynJordyn Redwood is a nurse by day, novelist by night.

As a self-professed medical nerd, she reads medical textbooks for fun. This led to the creation of Redwood’s Medical Edge– a blog devoted to helping authors write medically accurate fiction.

Jordyn loves to weave medical mystery into her story lines and see how her characters navigate through the chaos she creates. Jordyn Redwood has specialized in critical care and emergency nursing for seventeen years.

A member of both the American Association of Critical Care Nurses and the American Christian Fiction Writers association, Jordyn lives in Colorado.


You can find Jordyn at:  Redwood’s Medical Edge and Jordyn’s Website.

My Review:

My first introduction to Jordyn Redwood came through Readers’ Favorites.  Her first book, Proof, was the book I reviewed.  What an introduction!

Jordyn brings us up to speed five years later in her second book, Poison.  I found Poison to be just as suspenseful, medically interesting, abounding with superior multiple twists intertwined into the plots, and fast-paced action, building angst within me, keeping me reading well into the night.  If you’ve read Proof, you will once again meet some of same characters, with new ones that are just as real and flawed.  If you haven’t, I would strongly advise you to check that one out first.

Secrets abound that stymie relationships and cause issues with the current investigations.  Trust and honesty, along with dysfunctional family backgrounds, brings more trauma to the scenes that pique your interest.  For you see, John Samuel’s hallucination, Lucent, has appeared as a real person.  How can that be?  That’s just part of the gist of the story!  Intriguing!  Add murder, kidnapping, and poisonous spiders, and you will be captivated by all the evil that man can imagine to ‘gain solace.’  About the time you think you have the murderer figured out and why, another twist changes your whole thought processing and analysis.

Jordyn has become one of my favorite medical mystery writers.  Pick up her books and get ready for a ride you’ve never been on before!

This book was provided by the author through Kregel Publications in exchange for my honest review.  No monetary compensation was received for my review.

“The Tutor’s Daughter” by Julie Klassen | Downton Abbey Kindle Prize Pack Giveaway and Facebook Author Chat Party January 31st!

Welcome to the campaign launch for Julie Klassen’s latest book, The Tutor’s Daughter. Julie’s book is already receiving critical praise. Publishers Weekly says, “[a] lovely addition to the genre…Regency/Klassen fans will love the mystery, romance, and drama.”

Julie is celebrating by giving away one of the new Paperwhite Kindles, Downton Abbey (season 3) and hosting a fun Author Chat Party on Facebook (January 31st).


One fortunate winner will receive:

  • A Kindle Paperwhite
  • Downton Abbey, Season 3
  • A Julie Klassen library (The Tutor’s Daughter, The Maid of Fairbourne Hall, The Girl in the Gatehouse, and The Silent Governess)

Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on January 30th. Winner will be announced at “The Tutor’s Daughter Author Chat Party on January 31st. Connect with Julie, get a sneak peek of her next book, try your hand at the trivia contest, and chat with readers just like you. There will also be gift certificates, books, and season 3 of Downton Abbey!

So grab your copy of The Tutor’s Daughter and join Julie on the evening of the January 31st for a chance to connect with Julie and make some new friends. (If you haven’t read the book, don’t let that stop you from coming!)

Don’t miss a moment of the fun, RSVP todayTell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 31st!

Secrets That Could Cost the Livelihood of the Weston Family

Tutor'sDaughter_mck.inddEmma Smallwood, determined to help her widowed father when his boarding school fails, accompanies him to the cliff-top manor of a baronet and his four sons. But soon after they arrive and begin teaching the two younger boys, mysterious things begin to happen. Who does Emma hear playing the pianoforte at night, only to find the music room empty? And who begins sneaking into her bedchamber, leaving behind strange mementos?

The baronet’s older sons, Phillip and Henry Weston, wrestle with problems—and secrets—of their own. They both remember the studious Miss Smallwood from their days at her father’s academy. But now one of them finds himself unexpectedly drawn to her….

When suspicious acts escalate, can Emma figure out which brother to blame, and which to trust with her heart?

Filled with page-turning suspense, The Tutor’s Daughter takes readers to the windswept Cornwall coast—a place infamous for shipwrecks and superstitions—where danger lurks, faith is tested, and romance awaits.

About JulieA little about me…

I worked in publishing for sixteen years (first in advertising, then as a fiction editor) and now write full-time. Three of my books, The Maid of Fairbourne Hall, The Girl in the Gatehouse, and The Silent Governess have won the Christy Award for Historical Romance. The Maid of Fairbourne Hall and The Girl in the Gatehouse also won a Midwest Book Award and The Silent Governess was a finalist in Romance Writers of America’s RITA awards.

I graduated from the University of Illinois and enjoy travel, research, BBC period dramas, long hikes, short naps, and coffee with friends. My husband and I have two sons and live near St. Paul, Minnesota.


My Review:

Emma Smallwood has spent her later years (she’s only twenty-one, but taunted as an old maid) helping her widowed father run his boys’ boarding school academy.  With enrollment down, her father agrees to tutor Julian and Rowen Weston at Sir Giles Cornwall Ebbington Manor, Ebford, Cornwall, a cliff-side manor, for a year.  It would give him time to get away and grieve his wife’s passing.  He had already tutored the older brothers, Phillip and Henry.  It was during that time that Emma felt a connection with Phillip romantically, while Henry played merciless tricks on her.

Upon reaching the manor, Henry was already home working the manor in his father’s stead, and Phillip took a break from college and came home.  Shenanigans and mysterious episodes began to be played on Emma once they were settled in.  Who was behind it this time?  Were they trying to scare her away?  Which brother could she trust?  When her life is endangered, Henry makes it his job to expose the culprits.

Julie’s description of the countryside opens your eyes to a land of splendor and danger.  She piques your interest in her picturesque and intriguing style of writing, while you learn the customs during the early 1800s.  Her characters are so definitive and expressive that you can see the shenanigans and dangers being played out before your eyes.  Throw in Lizzie’s suspicious and precocious ways, and you have to determine who to trust.

But there is a secret that is being withheld from Emma and her father, one that threatens their tutoring livelihood at the Manor as Emma seeks to find the answer.  Danger lurks when Henry tries to avoid further shipwrecks and the lives of men offshore during dangerous storms near the rocky coast.   Romance is silently sizzling, but is Emma the real source of Phillip’s attention as she earnestly wants to believe?

Emma’s faith is tested subsequent to the death of her mother and the dangers that lurk at Ebbington Manor.  Will her faith sustain her?  Who will help her to stand?

I thoroughly enjoyed the book for the suspense, but I totally enjoyed learning the historical and social aspects of the times as well.

This book was provided by Amy Lathrop and Christen Krumm of the Litfuse Publicity Group in exchange for my honest review.  No monetary compensation was received.

“The Gilded Prospect” by Philip P. Thurman

Worth The Risk?

the gildedIf you only have seconds to choose between saving your estranged father’s life or your terminally ill seven-year-old daughter, who would you choose?  Charlie Sutcliffe knows the answer.

Already nearing a nervous breakdown from his daughter Charlotte’s medical treatments spiraling him into poverty, his grandfather’s recent death, and a pink slip receipt ending the only means of supporting his family, Charlie Sutcliffe questions his existence, identity, and faith.  Charlie’s world is collapsing around him, helpless to alter the momentum of events—almost.  His wife, Karen, discovers the nineteenth century Alaskan Gold Rush handwritten journal of Absalom Sutcliffe, Charlie’s great-great-grandfather, while they are settling his grandfather’s estate.

Charlie and his best friend, George, embark on a journey toward the Northern Wilderness to locate and retrieve Absalom’s gold.  Their prospect follows the same century-old gilded path, but what they don’t expect is someone else is seeking the same riches.  Along the way, Charlie might discover something more valuable.

Phil ThurmanPhilip P. Thurman:  This life has and continues bringing blessings most men can only imagine.  I’ve written several books but The Gilded Prospect is my first published novel. My personal and professional life has brought extensive domestic travel, international journeys in Europe and Central America, and childhood in the Alaskan and Canadian forests. I am an avid outdoorsman who enjoys hiking, camping, and fishing with a particular appreciation of North America’s remaining wilderness. An English major and graduate of Stetson University, I am employed as a manufacturing quality assurance executive.

Do you exist each day with no more hope than surviving this one until reaching the next sunrise? We aren’t here long enough to live that life of quiet desperation. Appreciate each moment. Relish each breath’s small victory pushed and pulled from your lungs. Pick up your pen. Sit down before that keypad or open a pad of paper and make your mark. Maybe no other eyes than your own will ever read the significance of your voice’s attempt. But the chance exists that one, just one, will understand and learn that you can love your wife just a bit more deeper, appreciate the rising sun’s brilliance as a gift of hope, or find tranquil moments to savor the quiet innocent breaths of your sons and daughters.

I live and write in Lake Mary, Florida with my wife, Donna, and three children, Matthew, Elizabeth, and Paul.  My daughter Ashley lives in St. Petersburg but regardless of geographic distance, I will always call myself her dad.

Q&A about Philip P. Thurmin:

Where are you from?  I entered this world at the Great Lakes Naval Hospital just outside of Chicago in 1968 after my father returned from Vietnam the previous year.  My parents, brother, and I lived in a trailer in the Ohare Airport parking lot.  My Great Uncle Bob built our first house across the street from their own home in Wasco, Illinois.  At the time, I don’t believe the town’s only intersection had a stoplight yet.  As a career military man’s son, we moved twelve times and I attended ten different schools through high school.  The farthest memories of my father are surrounded in fishing, camping, and hiking:  the same activities my family and I enjoy today.  He played the most active role in my appreciation of the outdoors.  We lived in fantastic places to be a kid like Alaska, Michigan, and California.  After thirty-two years of service, he retired and we settled in Deltona, FL where I graduated from both high school and college in Deland, FL (Stetson University).

Tell us your latest news?  I am diligently promoting and marketing The Gilded Prospect.  Many people do not realize that even after publication, authors are often required to commit a significant amount of resources and effort into their own promotion.  The launch has generated extensive excitement and the novel is receiving excellent  reviews.   
When and why did you begin writing? I’ve written stories almost as early as I began reading them.  I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to write.  Moving around the country so frequently and sharing the back seat of our Ford LTD station wagon with my brother, I was forced to keep myself occupied without the assistance of today’s electronic amusements.  So, I did what I thought everyone else did – read.  The earliest days were filled with small newsprint paperback cartoon collections of Peanuts comic strips.  I read and reread for hours straight, learning a vocabulary including such words as “opthamologist”, “agoraphobia”, and “wishy-washy” by the time I was seven years old.  I made friends with ease wherever we traveled but the one constant companion I always knew would be there regardless of geography was a good book.  Then, I graduated from comic strips to science fiction sometime around the sixth grade – Verne, Asimov, Bradbury, and my favorite Robert Heinlein.  The constant changing environments and new people entering and leaving my adolescence brought subconscious writing contributions.  Like most others who find a need to express themselves through the written word, I finally reached the epiphany where I believed that I could tell stories better or at least as well as what I read at the time.

When did you first consider yourself a writer? I’m still not a writer.  I don’t know if I can express it with anymore eloquence than already described on this website’s Author Bio.  Everyone today calls themselves writers.  If you have enough financial resources and public recognition, you can call yourself a writer.  I rather like to consider myself a compulsive story-teller.  Although there is some contemporary fiction I admire and appreciate, the vast majority of what is considered mass market fiction is filled with every conceivable form of dysfunctionalism and neurosis imaginable.  If I want to spend my time or invest my reader’s time in such a manner, I will turn on the news.  A distinct reciprocal trust exists between an author and his or her audience.  I am not only asking my reader to make a monetary commitment, I am also requesting an implicit spiritual trust that I am not wasting their time or squandering an opportunity to enrich their lives through my interpretation of fictional characters and events.

What inspired you to write your first bookAs this website mentions, I wrote my first novel (20,000 words) in penciled crude cursive on a spiral bound notebook when I was twelve and yes, I still have it to this day.  In later years, my tastes matured and developed more sophistication.  I read any novel I could find at used book stores.  During the summers between high school years, I literally read at least two fiction novels a day.  Then, one day, I read James Agee’s “Knoxville:  Summer 1915” as a school reading assignment.  I read those few brief pages over a hundred times.  I can’t recall if I was able to go to sleep that night.  Of the millions of words that already passed my eyes, this was something I never thought could be done.  Then, after more and more contemporary fiction, I finally read a few successive novels where a little voice inside my head said “You can write better than this guy.”  And so, I wrote a novella called “The Weeping Stone”.  It was over ambitious and much of the writing was horrible but as with the first one, I keep the original around when I need a good laugh and perspective of where this started.

Do you have a specific writing style? Writing manifests in fragmented scenes like puzzle pieces with edges that never seem to fit together.  In fact, the end picture usually won’t even end up like the box cover.  There are times when certain clarities roll across my thoughts and slow down long enough to record.  One of The Gilded Prospect’s first scenes actually appears half way through the novel with a main character wandering along a hillside and ended up with Charlie and George trying to find Uncle Tyler’s cabin.  If any serious author tells you that they can write a story from beginning to end with the final words you read before your eyes, they are lying.  This is a complicated, self-doubting craft.  If you offer even an honest surface scratch about what you do, you labor over every paragraph, word choice, and punctuation mark.  Even after exhaustion and a belief that you’ve done your best, you soon realize that it is not done.  That’s what keeps you writing. 

How did you come up with the title? The first title was The Golden Road.  Then, the word “gold” was too obvious.  The word “road” came from a personal belief that some of the best stories involve a journey, whether physical or spiritual (i.e., Huckleberry Finn, Heart of Darkness, On The Road).  I sent a list of ten alternative titles to my managing editor and we finally concluded contentment with the current title.  “Gilded” is an antiquated term and suggests a superficial sense of value – the closest possible metaphor of the novel’s central theme.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? I’ve always believed that writing should mean as many different things to as many different people as possible.  To some, the story is nothing more than a superficial action and adventure story of two individuals on a quest.  To others, it is a study in relationships between a father and son and a father and daughter.  To even more, it is an allegorical allusion between man and God with a foothold in the Book of Job.  Throughout the story, I use foils to contrast each relationship.  For example, the marriage between Charlie and Karen contrasts with the loneliness George experiences at the beginning of the story.  The closeness of Leaf and his father Creektoe juxtaposes what Charlie hoped the relationship between him and his father should have always been.  Then, after a time of adversity and reflection, Charlie recognizes his own inanity after witnessing Bill Stanton’s relationship with his children.  The story touches on multiple themes of forgiveness, sacrifice, faith, insecurity, and pursuit of a goal – many of the human frailties touching our lives on a daily basis.  These themes outline an epic struggle we all experience in questioning God’s Plan for our lives.  After analysis is complete, we don’t have control, we’ve never had control, nor will we ever have control.

How much of the book is realistic? Every word is realistic.  The specific events may or may have not actually occurred but that isn’t important.  What is important is that they are occurring in the mind of the reader enjoying the novel and how the events relate to their own lives.  As I mentioned, most of the stories I have always enjoyed involve a journey.  Life is dynamic.  A state of constant learning is the difference between living and existing.  Maybe it’s some sort of subconscious connection to the constant travel during my youth.

Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life? I thank God for the blessings He has and continues giving this life.  I am also grateful that I have never experienced the traumas confronted by the characters in this story.

What books have most influenced your life most? The Classics mostly with a few scatterings of 20th century novels.  Keep in mind; I am a child of the 70s.  While literature has always played a critical role, I can’t discount television influencing a creative effect on the story telling process.  Early family series like “Little House on The Prairie” and “The Waltons” possessed a unique innocence almost vanished from the medium today.  I will always believe that a good moral story with a spiritually reaffirming conclusion will never go out of style.  Maybe it’s the same reason why we still love “A Christmas Carol” or “The Wizard of Oz”.  There’s a part of every man or woman who never wants to forget that a fragment of childhood virtue remains no matter the physical age, knowledge, or wealth amassed over a lifetime.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor? A conglomeration of Hemingway, Agee, Faulkner, and Thoreau offer their own particular influences in terms of style and characterization.  However, this response does injustice to so many more too numerous to list.

What book are you reading now? I just finished My Life with Charlie Brown by Charles M. Schulz and M. Thomas Inge.  Prior to that was John Hart’s Down River and Dean Koontz’s Odd Thomas series.

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? Michael Modzelweski’s Inside Passage is a wonderful account of his interface and experience with the Alaskan wilderness and individual self-reliance.  While he isn’t a new author, his writing style and grasp of the natural world’s gifts transcend most other authors in the same subject.  He is the John Muir of our times.  Michael performs a parallel result in words as Ansel Adams did in photographs. I have also enjoyed John Hart’s recent works as well as David Wroblewski’s The Tale of Edgar Sawtelle.  Deen Koontz’s Odd Thomas series has provided significant lessons of writing in the first person.  His blend of metered humor and humility force the reader forward.

What are your current projects? Some have already suggested that I should start working on a sequel to The Gilded Prospect.  A few ideas are already swirling.  In addition, I may start some significant revisions to the other three manuscripts I have already completed.

Name someone who you feel supported you outside of family members. Michael Modzelewski’s Inside Passage is a lesson too often untold of his interface and experience with the Alaskan wilderness. He doesn’t so much as want to get away from a society as much as wanting to get closer to the natural wilderness. The sublime Alaskan salmon brimming brooks, shifting colored leaves in watermelon reds and gold dusted yellows, and the crisp gasp of a first Arctic breath are all gifts of a land that is in love with us although our preoccupations obscure the gratitude. Michael has penetrated and shattered that ingratitude for all who choose to listen and learn. For those of you who enjoy the solitude of nature that comes with hiking, camping, or hunting, then you already understand. There is a unique, self-affirming quality that can only be evoked in an environment where the basics of being alive are broken down to their most fundamental elements. An individual must take full control and personal responsibility for survival and sustainability without the assistance of technology.  Several years ago, my brother and sister-in-law took an Alaskan cruise up the Inside Passage where Mike Modzelewski was autographing copies of his first novel Inside Passage.  They had a copy signed for me.  After learning of The Gilded Prospect’s publication, I sent an e-mail informing Michael that I would return the favor.  He actually answered himself.  I was quite amazed since this industry tends to be very competitive and self-centered.  From the original cover concept, through publishing status (it’s a long development), we continued exchanging e-mails and he offered encouragement throughout the entire process.  I cannot state enough of my respect for him not only as an author, but also as a human being.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book? It’s a fine line – no artist ever feels that a work is done or completely states everything intended to express.  There must be a final conscious decision of no more.  I tell myself the next project will be even better.  If I felt that The Gilded Project was the perfect expression of everything I ever wanted to say, then I would have no reason to ever write again.

Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?If your imagination is profound enough and an abundant life already lived, you should have sufficient resources from where to draw.

Who designed the covers? I came up with the silhouette against the Alaskan mountain scape concept last spring while Donna, the kids, and I were vacationing up in Tennessee.  I did a rough concept sketch and sent it to my editor.   Atalie chose one of their artists, Nathan Morgan, to team up on the effort.  We exchanged a few ideas, I illustrated the silhouettes on the front cover, and he translated it using graphic editing software.  In addition, I wanted the sun rise to be positioned at the Golden Ratio with a hint of the aurora borealis wrapping from the back cover.  I wanted the presence of my own dad somewhere in the novel so I used one of his mountain scape photographs he took in the Kenai range, illustrated Uncle Tyler’s log cabin, and graphically manipulated it in front of a pencil converted photograph.  This is the illustration after the interior title page.

What was the hardest part of writing your book?I am husband to a better wife that I could have ever expected or even deserve, a father of three unbelievably perfect children, and a working professional.  Writing typically only occurs late at night after everyone goes to bed.  Something my dad instilled in my brother and I at the earliest ages and hope I never forget is staying faithful to your priorities.  My entire life is framed in God first, family second, work third, then writing, then various hobbies, and everything beneath that is a constant shifting swirl of minutiae.

Did you learn anything from writing your book? God has His plan for everyone’s life even though we may not be able to see it while occurring.

Do you have any advice for other writers? Writing is one of the most difficult challenges you will ever accept upon yourself.  It is as difficult as any physically demanding effort or seemingly ungraspable concept.  But, the euphoria of writing down and expressing your exact feelings, and seeing that same excitement in the realization of others reading your words, is an unmatched experience.  If you can’t handle rejection and criticism, this may not be your best choice of direction.  But, if your passion is profound enough, your belief in yourself and the importance of your voice that dramatic, then there is nothing more I can offer than the confidence in your own inherent spirit to write.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?     Enjoy The Gilded Prospect


My Review:

Charlie has lost his job, his daughter was hospitalized and the bills were piling up.  Charlie was losing his faith in God, since he couldn’t believe a God would allow this to happen.  After Charlie Sutcliffe’s grandfather’s funeral, Charlie’s wife, Karen, found an old journal of his great-great-grandfather, Absalom Sutcliffe, written about the Alaskan Gold Rush,  and detailing his hidden gold and thus a possible answer to prayer.

Charlie and his friend, George, decided to go to Alaska together and find the gold.  While they regrouped their plans, Charlie’s estranged father came by the house and stole some of the last pages from the journal.  But Charlie figured they knew the way well enough, and took a fishing ship up to Alaska.

Their adventures on the Triton Majestic, a 130 foot Eastern Rig Scaloper converted to a long line hauler, made for an interesting read, especially with all the ‘unique’ characters aboard ship.  Upon finding someone overheard their conversation and ransacked their bunks, they sneaked off ship in Juneau.  From there they had an unusual ride to Skagway that chills me to the bone just reading about it!

Upon reaching Uncle Tyler’s place, we are privy to the pristine, yet dangerous areas of Alaska that would hopefully take them to the gold.  We meet Creektoe and his family, whose son, Leaf, takes them to the area where the gold was allegedly stored.  The dangers of rain followed by snowstorms, wild animals, earthquakes, an estranged father, and sickness pique your interest through the balance of the book.

Once I got past the first two chapters, I was thoroughly entrenched in this adventuresome book.  For some reason, the story just didn’t connect very well for me in those two chapters.  But I did find it to be one great adventure book across the snowy plains and mountains of Alaska.  I found it entertaining and informative.  It’s not just a story of adventure, though, as it has a message of forgiveness and reconciliation and trust in God.

This book was provided by the author in exchange for my honest review.  No monetary compensation was received.

“Placebo” by Steven James (A Revell Blog Tour)

A Pharmaceutical Cover-Up Turns Deadly in New Jevin Banks Series

Award-Winning Author Steven James Pens New Thriller Series

Steven James, author of the bestselling Patrick Bowers Series, which by the way, has more sequels coming out, begins a new series rooted in ground-breaking science and inspired by actual research.  Placebo examines the sinister side of the pharmaceutical industry while also exploring the far reaches of science, consciousness and faith. James uses cutting edge scientific research and probes his own worst case scenarios in creating Placebo.  Known for his attention to detail, James’ writing continues to thrill readers as he develops complex plot lines and unforgettable characters.

Intrigued by research about human perceptions of reality, James immersed himself in investigating what would become the basis for Placebo.  “The more I looked into it, the more fascinated I became.  Not only does quantum physics support these findings, but so do psychiatric and psychological studies on depression and the brain, and medical research studies using placebos.”

For James, the next challenge quickly emerged.  “I needed to find a way to weave all scientific metaphysical and theoretical underpinnings on the power of belief into a high-octane science/medical thriller that would be rooted in actual research but would also take readers on an adrenaline ride they would never forget.  It took nearly a year, but when the story finally came together, I remember feeling as big a thrill as I’ve ever felt as a writer.”

Steven James’ writing continues to earn praise while keeping readers on the edge of their seat and eagerly anticipating the author’s next novel. He has written more than thirty books, including the bestselling Patrick Bowers thriller series. He is considered one of the nation’s most innovative storytellers and versatile authors, and is a contributing editor to Writer’s Digest. Steven lives in Tennessee with his wife and three daughters.  When he’s not writing or speaking, he’s rock climbing, playing disc golf, or (shh….) slipping away to a matinée.

Source credit.

Placebo introduces Jevin Banks, a former illusionist and escape-artist, now working as an exposé filmmaker who is drawn into a far-reaching conspiracy involving one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical firms.

Still reeling after losing his wife and twin sons, he refocuses his talent to uncover the truth in an exposé film-making project. Struggling to wake up from a nightmare he can’t escape, Jevin works undercover investigating a controversial program that explores direct mind-to-mind communication. He finds himself in the crosshairs of one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies and a killer who will do anything and dispose of anyone who gets in his way.  The truth must be uncovered before the brilliant killer makes Jevin his next victim and countless others pay the price with their lives.

Read Chapter One


“James writes smart, taut, high octane thrillers. But be warned—his books are not for the timid. The endings blow me away every time.” —Mitch Galin, producer of Stephen King’s The Stand and Frank Herbert’s Dune

Placebo delivers a thrill ride but also emotional depth and intriguing characters you’ll lock into immediately.  I devoured the story.” –James L. Rubart, bestselling author of The Chair.

Availability: Placebo by Steven James/November 2012/$14.99/Paperback/416 pages/978-0-8007-3425-1, is “Available November 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”

My Review:

The tragic deaths of Jevin Banks wife and twin boys jolt you at the outset of the book.  It’s senseless.  He tries to find someone to blame.  Maybe that someone is himself.  Though the story starts out as an emotional downer, the author jacks up the pace as Jevin changes occupations.

Once an illusionist and escape-artist, he has turned his talents to finding truth in expose film-making projects, debunking test results, exposing them as fakes and tricks to scam people of their money.  He works his new job with his former partners Charlene and Xavier. This particular project brings him into the manipulative world of a particular pharmaceutical firm who will stop at nothing to get what they want.

Steven James brings in the thriller aspects he is so well-known for, making for a gritty, suspenseful read.  One you can’t put down until you’re finished with the book.  The scientific aspects of mind-to-mind communicating, the use of tolerase, and quantum physics kind of left me scraping through the story for a while, leaving me a bit confused, but the author brings it to a point of understanding that makes all the medical and scientific terms necessary and more understandable to bring the story to its conclusion.  You get that ‘Aha’ moment and it falls into place. True Steven James writing!

Steven wove many different plot angles that kept me thinking on my feet.  I enjoyed his thriller cat and mouse story on all the different levels of action.  The characters definitely fit the scenarios and situations.  There are those you’d rather not meet.

The story of Riah Colette was most intriguing to me, as she lived her life without feelings or sensing consequences to her choices.  Having seen this type of behavior in person, I felt the author brought out a poignant look of dysfunctional family life and its effects on those involved, following them into their adult life.

I did have a problem with some of the language the author used that I don’t feel belongs in Christian writing.  Though it fits the scenarios of a non-Christian book, I think he could have woven it around differently to make his point.

Though I enjoyed the Patrick Bowers Files more, I think this series will be a hit as well for Steven James enthusiasts! I’m ready for the next book.

This book was provided by Donna Hausler, Blog Tour Coordinator for Revell, in exchange for my honest review.  No monetary compensation was received.

Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, offers practical books for everyday life.  For more information, visit www.RevellBooks.com.

“Dead Wrong” by Susan Sleeman (The Justice Agency)

Being a Control Freak Can Get You Killed!


When her client and old college friend is murdered, P.I. Kat Justice knows the killer will come for her next. Her survival depends on finding her unknown enemy first…and working with homicide detective Mitch Elliot, her onetime crush.

It’ll take all her professional skills to ignore the sparks between them, but Kat can’t allow the handsome cop to get close. She’s seen too many people she loves die, so she vows just to do her job without getting emotionally involved. Yet keeping her distance may not be the best way to protect her heart—or their lives.

The Justice Agency:

Family and law enforcement go hand in hand.

The Justice Agency – Book 2/Love Inspired Suspense/November, 2012/ISBN-10: 0373675356/ISBN-13: 978-0373675357

Buy It Now for e-book or in print:

Amazon     Barnes and Noble     CBD

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Something was wrong. Seriously wrong.

Kat Justice flipped the light switch again. Once. Twice. Three times. Click, click, click.


She held her breath and listened. No hum from the refrigerator on the other side of the wall. No bubbling of the aquarium. She couldn’t even hear the heater that should be running on this unusually cold Oregon day. Just silence, pulsing in the dark.

Someone had cut the power to Nancy’s house. Were they still here, hiding in the murky shadows? Should she continue going forward or back out of the house?

A fresh wave of concern sent a shiver down her back.

“Easy, Kat,” she whispered as she often had when she’d served on the Portland police force. But calming her nerves wasn’t so easy anymore. Not since she’d left the force to work as a private investigator in the family agency. Now she rarely faced danger.

But this new case was different. A man had followed her friend Nancy home. She feared it had to do with her brother Nathan’s recent death. She believed he’d been murdered.

Kat had told Nancy to call 911, but the police weren’t here. Had Nancy been unable to make the call? After finding the house dark, Kat called 911 herself, but she couldn’t stand outside and wait for them to rescue Nancy. She had to protect her friend at all costs.

Gun in hand, she slowly set off, putting one foot in front of the other and hugging the dining room wall to make herself less of a target. Her heart thumped wildly as she felt her way to the kitchen doorway.

“Nancy,” she whispered.

No response. She took another step, sliding her foot along the floor. It thudded into something soft yet solid. She knelt down and felt along the floor. A leg. A jean-clad female leg.

Her breath hitched in her lungs as she moved toward the spicy scent of her friend’s signature perfume.

“Nancy?” she whispered again, fear ripping open her heart.

She located her friend’s neck and checked her pulse.


For a moment, she could only sit in horror. Nancy was dead. Her old college friend, the woman she’d just reconnected with after seven years was gone. Kat had failed her.

No, God, no. Not this. Not Nancy.

A sound drifted through the darkness. The barest of sounds like a whisper. Kat held her breath and listened. Soft footfalls. One then another, moving on carpet in the next room. Step after slow step. Heading her way.

He’s still here.

Hands trembling, she jerked back against the wall.

Think, Kat. Think.

She couldn’t help Nancy now. She needed to retreat to safety and then apprehend the killer if she could do so safely.

She searched the shadows, straining her eyes. Darkness and more darkness split only with a slice of light from the open doorway. She heard the sound again. Slow yet stealthy. He was closer now. She had to move. If she sat here, she’d die.

She stayed low, crossed the room and followed the wall retracing her steps toward the door. She glanced around the corner.

A hulking male stood in a shadow cast from a street light. Dressed all in black with a ski mask covering his face, he closed the door behind his back, plunging them into complete darkness.

“So glad you could join our little party.” His voice was low and gravelly, yet oddly excited.

Her mouth went dry, and her throat tightened, cutting off her air. She had to get out of there.

The back door.

She rose and backed away, tripping over Nancy. Her arms flailed in the air searching for anything to break her fall. Her fingernails scratched down a wall, but she couldn’t grab hold. She landed with an oomph next to her friend. Her gun slipped out of her hand and skittered across the wood floor.

She turned over. The moon broke free of heavy cloud cover. Shivery light filtered through the window making her assailant look otherworldly. Large, muscular he took slow measured steps as if he had all the time in the world.

Father, please. Don’t let me die. The prayer filled her mind, but panic dragged it away in a flash.

Rolling over, she scrambled toward the kitchen.

His heavy footsteps followed, faster now. Clunk, clunk, clunk. Swift and sure. She felt him near her. Heard him breathing, raspy and harsh.

She risked a peek behind. He was close, standing over her. She gave one more lunge into the kitchen, the back door only a few feet away now. She clasped the cool doorknob, but a hand shot out and grabbed her by the ponytail, jerking her head back and dragging her toward Nancy.

“No!” she yelled and kicked, hair ripping from her head.

He slammed a knee in her back, forcing her face down into the ice-cold tile. Air rushed from her lungs and she struggled to gain a breath as he caught both of her hands behind her back.

“No,” she wheezed out and freed one. She grabbed for anything she could touch, connecting with latex gloves then reaching higher and clawing with her fingernails. Digging deep and hard.

He swore and yanked her hand away, wrenching her arm and pinning it next to the other one. She bucked, but he was too strong. He bound her wrists. The slash of thick tape pulling from a roll the only sound besides the thudding of her heart echoing in her ears.

Please, God! Please don’t let this happen!

Hard fingers dug into her arms as he flipped her to her side then straddled her hips holding her in place with iron muscles. “You’ll pay for that scratch, Kat.”

How did he know her name?

“Do I know you?” she asked though she was certain she’d never heard his voice before.

“Nancy told me all about you and your little part in this. So glad I can clean up all of her messes in one night.”

He thought she’d discovered something about Nathan’s death, and he was going to kill her before she could act on it.

“I don’t know anything,” she said filling her tone with as much conviction as she could, but it came out breathless and wispy.

“You think I believe that?”

“It’s the truth.”

He bent low. Got in her face and laughed. Rumbling. Horrible. Sadistic. His breath was stale with cigarette smoke and mixed with cloying aftershave. For some reason that made it all abruptly real, and she realized she was about to die.

Terror took hold. Terror beyond her wildest imagination. Her heart threatened to burst from her chest.

“No.” She bucked harder, upsetting him for a moment.

He had to grab the wall to steady himself. “Just like your friend. Fighting when you have no chance.”

He drew back and sent his fist barreling into her face. She felt her nose give. Blood poured freely down her cheek and into her mouth, tasting metallic and thick. He laughed as he wedged a small flashlight under his arm then pulled an elastic cord from his jacket.

“Nancy had no business talking with a private investigator. Your death is on her hands, not mine.” He aimed the light at her arm and secured the cord just above her elbow.

He pulled something else from his pocket and held it up. The beam from his flashlight shone through it.

A syringe!

A sob rose in her throat, wild and desperate.

“This is more fun that I thought it’d be,” he said thumping the vein at the bend of her elbow. “Don’t worry. You won’t feel a thing. You’ll just slip off to Never Never Land.”

She looked up at his blistering, angry eyes, and prayed. Prayed for Nancy, dear sweet Nancy, but mostly, mostly she prayed he wouldn’t succeed in killing her, too.

Credit Source.
SUSAN SLEEMAN is a bestselling author of inspirational romantic suspense and mystery novels. She grew up in a small Wisconsin town where she spent her summers reading Nancy Drew and developing a love of mystery and suspense books.

Today, she channels this enthusiasm into writing romantic suspense and mystery novels and hosting the popular internet website TheSuspenseZone.com.

Susan currently lives in Florida, but has had the pleasure of living in nine states. Her husband is a church music director and they have two beautiful daughters, a very special son-in-law and an adorable grandson.

Connect with Susan at:

Her Website – http://www.susansleeman.com
Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/SusanSleemanBooks
Twitter – http://www.twitter.com/susansleeman

My Review:

Private Investigator Kat Justice arrived at her friend Nancy Bodig’s darkened house. After calling 911 and leaving a phone message for her former partner, Tommy, currently Mitch’s partner, she goes inside without backup and trips over her friend’s dead body. She’s jumped by Nancy’s killer, who attempts to inject her with a syringe to silence her, too—which turns out to be propofol. When Detective Mitch Elliot arrives at Nancy’s house, he phones Kat.  The call interrupts the killer, and the car chase is on with Mitch, who loses the killer at a railroad crossing.

Nancy’s twin brother, Nathan, had died two months earlier in a car accident that landed him in a ravine. Nancy accepted the ruling of no foul play until the day she decided to call his cell phone and a strange man answered. Hiring Kat to investigate her brother’s death ended in her own death and the attempted murder of Kat.

Susan Sleeman proceeds to take us on a roller coaster ride of cliff hanging danger, mounting suspense, missing ‘threat’ files, countless ‘safe house’ changes, and multiple attempts on Kat’s life.  This all transpired while they tried to ID the perpetrator and Kat was in protective custody of the detectives.  As investigators, no lead was too small, which made the story credible. The characters grow on you, especially the tensive romantic relationship between Kat and Mitch, her former crush. Kat’s independent and controlling behaviors made it difficult to keep her safe, which added even more tension to the story.

Kat’s constant worrying fit the Scripture verse used at the beginning of the story.  Worrying doesn’t add a single hour to your life.  Once confronted, she worked on relying more on the Lord through prayer, which influenced Mitch back to his faith.  The author’s use of faith in the story wasn’t pushy, but gave testimony to how one’s own faith can influence another person.

I loved the unexpected outcome!  I kind of saw it coming, yet it wasn’t what I figured at all.  Susan has again hit another winner in her Justice Agency series.  I’ll be looking forward to her next book.

This book was provided by the author in exchange for my honest review.  No monetary compensation was received.