Monthly Archives: June 2014

First Chapter Reveal: The Last Ancient by Eliot Baker

The Last Ancient 2Title: The Last Ancient
Author: Eliot Baker
Publisher: Burst Books, imprint of Champagne Books
Pages: 316
Genre: Supernatural Thriller, Historical Mystery
Format: Paperback/Kindle

Purchase at AMAZON

Around Nantucket Island, brutal crime scenes are peppered with ancient coins, found by the one man who can unlock their meaning. But what do the coins have to do with the crimes? Or the sudden disease epidemic? Even the creature? And who–or what–left them?

The answer leads reporter Simon Stephenson on a journey through ancient mythology, numismatics, and the occult. Not to mention his own past, which turns out to be even darker than he’d realized; his murdered father was a feared arms dealer, after all. Along the way, Simon battles panic attacks and a host of nasty characters — some natural, others less so — while his heiress fiancee goes bridezilla, and a gorgeous rival TV reporter conceals her own intentions.

First Chapter:

The deer’s blood catches the golden hour light. It radiates throughout the animal’s carcass in fall hues that reflect the island’s rustling red leaves and honey-colored needles littering the sand. Such eerie, blasphemous beauty. I fire shots from my Nikon.

“That’s six. Six deer mutilations this month,” I say to my experts. Click. Click. Click.

Branches partially cover the deer. Its eyes are wet brown marbles rimmed and veined in burning red, as though it had been hung upside down for a day. Its lips are peeled back above the gums in a grimace of broken teeth. Brain matter spills through a crack in the skull. Two yellowjackets buzz over the red pulp. Land. Feed. Hover above their feast. Click. The neck is attached to the body by a flap of hide. One of the deer’s forelegs is missing. Inside the hole in its torso I can see that its entrails have been removed. I get on my elbows and snap pictures from the cold, damp sand. The heart is gone, too.

Dr. Pauline Driscoll, Nantucket’s town biologist, is squatting beside the carcass. She’s furious at Sgt. Brad Fernandez, who is cursing and stomp-cleaning a gore-splattered boot into the sand. She affects his tar-thick Roxbury accent. “Nice shaht cut, ace!” Her silvering French braid swings out the back of her UMass baseball hat as she unpacks measuring tape, sample tubes, and baggies from her turquoise external frame pack. Sgt. Fernadez kicks bloody goo into the bushes.

“Maybe I wanna carry da machete fuh once, Doctor Driscoll,” he says.

Dr. Driscoll mutters and scribbles into her notepad. She is oblivious to her windswept beauty. Her dark eyes shine and sparkle, and she’s maintained her triathlete’s figure despite being on the other side of forty. She’s over a decade older than me, but I understand why Sgt. Fernandez wants to impress her.

Dr. Driscoll carves out an eyeball, coaxing it from the deer’s eye socket with a gloved hand. Tendons follow the jelly marble from the orbital cavity like melted provolone. She saws through the tendons with a retractable scalpel. Fernandez gags. It makes him look like a blushing Boy Scout in his green Environmental Police uniform and billed hat and bulky black utility belt. Driscoll smiles school-girl sweet, dropping the eyeball into a baggie. She offers Fernandez the instrument and baggie, asking him if he’d like to carry the scalpel for once.

Fernandez holds up one hand at her and balls the other over his mouth, gulps twice. “You’re one sick hippy,” he says.

Driscoll hums a macabre rendition of Melanie Safka’s Lay Down as she scoops bits of brain from the crack in the animal’s skull.

I sniff the shrieking wind. It’s bowing the barrens of pitch pines toward our clearing in the scrub oak like gnarled magnetic filaments. I can smell the ocean, almost hear it, but not see it. From our elevated bald spot in the suffocating brush, I can see the sandy path we just traversed. It cuts like a surgical scar through the open conservation land’s tufts of bladed grass and bristling patches of black huckleberry and pasture rose. It winds up Altar Rock into the reddening horizon, where a hunter stands silhouetted on the rim of the valley, binoculars pressed to his face. The strapped shotgun jutting from his shoulder makes him look like a fierce insect with an antenna.

“You poor baby,” says Driscoll, passing a black fine-toothed comb over the deer’s patchy fur. She taps the comb and a dozen ticks fall like grains of volcanic sand into a plastic dish. “Those teeth, that pelt–man, you were one sick fella.”

Fernandez breathes, gets down on one knee, and starts shaving samples from the spine with his own folding knife. He then slices off chunks of muscle and organs that he places into baggies under Driscoll’s direction. Click.

“I’m bustin’ heads, and you can quote me on that,” says Fernandez through clenched teeth behind his trimmed mustache. “Someone was huntin’ before dawn.”

“Or something,” I say, snapping close-ups of the spray radius. Drops of blood shine like rubies on wooden pendants in the foreground against a hazy cloud of thorns. The experts exchange looks and groans.

“Anyways, this is roundabouts where da Pike brothers said dey heard something freaky ’bout an hour ago,” says Fernandez. “Said it was like a deer cry, but kinda mutant, with loads a struggle.”

Dr. Driscoll stands and examines the sand and rocks for tracks. She picks up the machete she used to carve a trail here through the scrub oak. “Man, what is wrong with people?” she says and hacks at the thorny curtain with skills she picked up surveying birds in the Amazon and in Africa. She asks Fernandez if he can find any boot prints. He shakes his head.

I ask them to speculate on a predator. No dice.

“How about speculating on how it got in here then?” I say. “We lost the tracks and the blood trail way long ago.”

“Good point,” admits Dr. Driscoll.

The deer’s remaining foreleg suddenly stiffens as though saluting, hitting Driscoll’s thigh.

“Oh, fuck me hard on Sunday!” says Dr. Driscoll, jumping into Sgt. Fernandez’s arms.

He whispers, “Relax, it’s a fresh kill. And sure, Sunday’s good for me.”

Driscoll shoves Fernandez, and says to me, “Don’t you dare put that in the article.”

“I’ll think about it,” I say, and try to smile. Can’t. I’m shaken.

Shotguns crow across the windswept prairie of mid-island Nantucket. I swear and fumble my notepad. Scan the sky. Indeed, the staccato cracks are like iron roosters. They announce a sunrise as raw and ruddy as the November leaves rattling in their stunted trees. Twisting, African-looking things that recall whittled broccoli dipped in flaming tar. For hunters, the day has begun.

I gather my creased notepad and shake the sand off the New England Daily Tribune logo. Dr. Driscoll winks at me and says, “Don’t worry, I’ll protect you.” Between machete slashes at the scrub oak and the branches covering the carcass, she whispers about the feverish late fall and its effect on the island’s various micro-ecologies. She rolls roots and flowers between her fingers and tastes a wizened blueberry. Shotguns crackle from Squam Swamp behind us. I remind her I’m not channeling John Muir for this piece no matter how eloquent her reveries.

She slips into one anyhow. “Oh man, but can’t you see it? The beauty? The history?” Dr. Driscoll squints, hacks at something, and shrugs, continuing, “Wampanoag Indians shucking shellfish around campfires.” Hack. “Quakers praying at the meeting house.” Hack. “Thousands of sheep, just grazing the New World forest into treeless Scottish heathlands.” Hack. “Whalers dragging their kills to shore from longboats – whoa, baby!”

She jumps back, swinging the machete in front of her feet. I peer through my camera lens, snapping photos. Movement? Something big and soundless, deep in the brush, like a disembodied shadow. It’s gone before I flex my trigger finger. I blink away cold stinging sweat and look above my camera into the barbed-wire mesh of scrub oak.

“You saw that?” I say.

“Dude, how could I miss it?” says Dr. Driscoll. “That was an epic rat!”

“Oh. But… Never mind.”

Driscoll gets on one knee beside Fernandez and jots notes in her pad. I point out some coppery feathers on the other side of the clearing. She tells me to be quiet while she’s writing. I ask about the marks on the deer’s back. She says silence is gold. Fair enough.

They don’t know I dropped out of Harvard Medical School my fourth year. I’ve also been on safari in Tanzania. I understand trauma and slaughter. The slash marks in the deer’s neck and shoulders are deep and precise. Its back is torn up. Something mounted it and ripped its head off, like a giant hyena or a wolf or even an exotic hybrid, but with the strength of a bear. The missing limb and heart and the disembowelment are confusing, however. Those look surgical. Meanwhile, the skull looks bashed, cracked open; yup, there are blood stains on the boulder. And the marks on the animal’s back resemble puncture wounds. Click.

A sunray shoots through the sharp woody tangle. Lights up something beside the feathers. It glows like a golden strand of spider web. I point it out, but Fernandez tells me to zip it. I salute him.

A cloud passes over the sun. The golden thread dims. I pluck it from beside the feathers before it disappears. It lights up again in my hand. The thing’s weird resilience and luster is captivating. Probably a hair, but more like a small-gauge acupuncture needle. As I pocket it, something glows blue and then extinguishes in the brush ahead of me. Maybe the sun hit on colored glass or a butterfly or a blue bird.

Twigs snap in the distance. Then more. We share a silent what-the-hell? moment. The rustling and snapping gets louder. Closer. We discern growling. Something is crashing along the path that Dr. Driscoll just carved with her machete. I suck in breath and swivel my head. Fernandez is up, his hand on his Glock. No predators on Nantucket, right, Sergeant? Even Dr. Driscoll’s dusky face goes pale.

“Hello?” Fernandez keeps calling out. Dr. Driscoll and I join him. The crashing gets nearer. The snorting and growling is wet and urgent.

“Three people here,” says Fernandez. The snarls sound hungry. “Put your guns up, three people here.” His voice is high and strangled.

He unbuckles the holster on his Glock.

A Rottweiler and a blue hound burst through the opening on long vinyl leashes. Two shotgun-toting, orange-clad hunters follow them. Fernandez sighs, visibly relieved. I’m not.

“Oh hell yeah, now that’s a kill!” says Dennis Pike, struggling to hold back his big Rottweiler from Driscoll and the deer.

“Looks like a fuckin’ zombie piñata!” says his brother, Ramone Pike, pulling his own hound’s leash against his chest.

The Pike brothers. Local fishermen with scars and missing teeth above fishnet beards and burly shoulders. Ramone locks eyes with me. He doesn’t smile.

“Beautiful morning,” I say. He spits brown ooze into the sand.

We both remember the time they pulled fishing knives on me at a beach party. I was fifteen. The Pikes, a couple years older, informed me it was for locals only. I idiotically protested that I was a life-long summer kid. That a popular local girl had invited me. I didn’t know she’d dated Ramone in middle school. I remember my face feeling like it collapsed. Falling onto the sand. Looking up at them through a swollen eye in a kind of awe at the way the shadows of the campfire distorted their blockish teenage features into those of middle-aged convicts.

Sgt. Fernandez buckles in his gun and exclaims that they scared the bejeezus out of him. More rustling and heavy breathing on the path. We look up. Thick hands slap at the shrub opening.

The fat man steps through and smiles and nods hello at me. Swears at the greedy talons of scrub oak clawing at his shoulder. I can only gape. He whistles at the deer and sidles his sweaty bulk beside Dr. Driscoll and Sgt. Fernandez, asking chummily what they think did this to the deer. His heavy working class speech and twinkle-eyed charm are disarming. Driscoll speculates on predators, scavengers, disease, and demented pranksters.

“Gorman–what the hell?” I say.

Norm Gorman’s belly heaves beneath his tattered cheap leather jacket and ill-fitting orange hunting vest. The unlit cigar between his thick Irish-Saxon lips wags like a wet, vulgar tongue. He wipes his brow with the back of his hand, holding a reporter’s notebook with the New England Daily Tribune logo.

“Oh, you know me; can’t stay away from Nantucket’s rugged beauty, historic charm, the thrill of the hunt, and all that other hackneyed crap you keep regurgitatin’,” says Gorman, sucking the air like a milkshake. “And when my new buddies here heard what good pals me and you was, they took the day off the boats to go huntin’.”

“You know Nantucket’s my beat,” I say. “This is my story.”

Gorman flashes his big, coffee-toothed grin and takes notes above Dr. Driscoll. My heart pounds. Harder and harder, then arhythmically.

The scrub oak closes in on me. I’m being sucked out of my skin from the top of my head. My vision darkens. My throat swells. My heart throbs. Panic rises, a dark, fathomless tide. The adrenaline sprays through my veins like a punctured artery. I’ll freeze if I don’t start moving.

“Poaching my story won’t solve your problems,” I say, frustrated with the weakness in my voice. “It’s not my fault you cozied up with dirty cops. I’m telling Maggie you’re here. She’ll get my back.”

Dennis lets his dog loose at me. Yanks the leash against his chest. The Rottweiler growls, inches from my face.

“Try that shit again and I’ll have your dog,” says Fernandez. Dennis curls the corner of his lip beneath his grizzly bear beard and says his hand slipped.

The samples have been collected.

“I’ll get these to Doc Mulcahey,” says Dr. Driscoll. “Guys, don’t molest the carcass in the meantime. Got it?”

Ramone Pike belches. Dennis Pike spits on the ground and mutters. Sgt. Fernandez shakes his head, says, “Your mother must be so proud,” and helps Dr. Driscoll into her backpack.

Dennis turns his shoulder into mine as he walks past me to the opening. I meet his glare; shrink away. His eyes–they’re not just blood-shot, they’re murky red, darting about like ping-pong balls. Wild. Crazed. His sinewy middle finger waves at me like a billy club.

“Don’t misquote me, summer kid,” he says with carrion breath. His shotgun dangles from one hand. “We gotta square up, you and me.”

“What are you talking about?” I say. But Dennis staggers away. Ramone follows.

“Stop using so many fucking adverbs,” says Ramone. His clear tenor conveys unexpected intelligence. He was almost good-looking back when he had a full set of teeth and starred as the high school football team’s bone-crushing middle linebacker. His older brother, Dennis, wreaked havoc on the defensive line like a shroomed-up berserker. “Write like you got a pair. Not all flowery and passive. Read some Bukowski.” I tip my Nantucket Whalers cap and say thanks for the tip. The brothers follow their dogs out of the clearing.

Driscoll and Fernandez disappear into the underbrush behind them. I try to follow, but Gorman grabs my elbow and wraps a pork-and-whiskey-smelling arm around my shoulders. He asks me about the mutilations. “Just curious,” he says. “Not looking to steal your byline, honest, kid!” Something about his flat-toothed coffee grin makes you fear its disappearance.

I yank my arm away. I’m trembling. The yellow acid floods my brain, frying my neural circuits. I tell him not to touch me. My voice cracks. He gets in my grill and tells me to go screw. My eyes twitch and bubble. The world flashes hot and dark. “Just leave,” I say. “Go home.” He pokes my chest and says he’ll do whatever he wants on his own time. I’m at the precipice. Darkness surrounds me. There’s something beyond that heavy black membrane but… I don’t know. I’ve never punched through it. The darkness always wins.

I open my mouth. Words die in my chest. I’m frozen. Gorman chuckles and says, “See youz.” He ambles back to the trail, humming Dirty Old Town.

I wait in the clearing for the panic to ebb, for my senses to return. A monarch butterfly flutters onto the deer’s ear. Click. The two yellowjackets buzz like tiny chainsaws over the brains, smashing and stabbing each other with their stingers. One tumbles to the sand, dead. Click. The other buzzes in a sickly circle over the snout, then drops lifeless to the earth. Click.

My phone trembles against my thigh. I look at the text message. From Judy. SUCCESS! reads the subject. My breath returns. She just locked in a time this summer for our wedding at the yacht club and a reception at the golf club. I don’t want to know what her father is paying. But I smile. I can’t wait to see her tonight. I picture clingy material hanging from her pale, soft skin–

A sharp gust kicks sand into my face. I look back at the deer as I shield my eyes. Something glints in the gathering pool of sunlight behind its head. Squinting, I walk to it. Metal, half-revealed. I prize it from the sandy earth. My lips part. I lick them. My chest catches fire. A coin. A very valuable coin. From Oenoe, capital of Ikaria, an ancient Greek island. It’s perhaps twenty-three hundred years old. Artemis, Goddess of hunting (among other things) and patron deity of the island of Ikaria, is on one side. A bull is on the other.

“What the hell?” I murmur.

A noise–not quite animal, not quite twigs snapping–rumbles behind the deer carcass. Blue sparks in the shadows. Tiny bolts of electricity zap through my chest. Not panic. I’m excited. Like a teenager glimpsing a flash of silk panties.

 

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Rebuilding Civilization on the Bible by Dr. Jay Grimstead – Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card

Rebuilding Civilization on the Bible coverTitle:  Rebuilding Civilization on the Bible: Proclaiming the Truth on 24 Controversial Issues
Author: Jay Grimstead
Genre: Religion/Theology/Instruction
Publisher: Nordskog Publishing, Inc.
ISBN:  978-0-9882976-5-4

Purchase at: http://www.nordskogpublishing.com/book-rebuilding-civilization.shtml

About the book:

False teachings threatening to corrupt the Church forced the leaders to join in councils, where they codified the orthodox teaching of the Bible into creeds received by the Church as faithful distillations of Scriptural truth and as a bulwark against future corruption. Error, heresy, and outright paganism are today common in churches that were once sound. Even many “better” churches have little depth to their teaching and are silent on critical issues of the day, and even in some paganism masquerades as Christianity.

This book is the fruit of the work of hundreds of theologians and Christian leaders working throughout a 37-year period to define and defend the key Biblical points on 24 controversial issues — which would not even be controversial if all believed like Jesus and Paul in the inerrancy of the Bible.

This book states the Bible’s position on 24 controversial issues and explains why each document needed to be written. It offers the global Body of Christ tools for reforming the Church and motivating Christians to live in obedience to Christ and to all commands in the Bible intended for us.

Excerpt:

“We heartily invite all Christians on this planet who desire to live in obedience to the Bible in all areas of life at all times, to form themselves and their local churches into “United Spiritual Armies” at the city and county levels, and to establish a network with other such churches and “spiritual armies” at their state and national levels with the goal of making Christ King of their cities and nation. We invite you to join with us in applying these 24 DOCUMENTS to the life of the Church and in making 2 Cor. 10:5 a reality. By that we mean that together we are called by God to destroy “speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.”

Grimstead photo color

About the author:

Dr. Jay Grimstead was born in Bismarck, ND. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Biology in 1957 from Sterling College in Sterling, KS. He graduated from Fuller Seminary in 1961 with a Masters in Theology (ThM) and later received a Doctor of Ministry (DMin) degree. He spent 20 years on staff with Young Life Campaign, a ministry of clubs and camping to evangelize and disciple non-church teenagers.

In 1984 he founded the Coalition on Revival which created the 17 World-view Documents which state the biblical principles for the various spheres of life and the “blueprints for how the Bible applies to the fields of: Law, Government, Economics, Education, Science, the Media & Arts, Medicine, etc.” Under his leadership, COR organized the International Church Council Project in 1992.

In 2004 and 2005 he organized theological committees in Guatemala, San Salvador, Costa Rica and Panama to discuss and defend certain of the 22 Theological Documents of the Church Council Project which had been translated into Spanish. A year later, Dr. Grimstead gathered national leaders from various fields to create the “24 Year Plan to Rebuild America upon the principles of the Bible.”

Dr. Grimstead now lives with his wife, Donna, a registered pharmacist, in Murphys, CA. They have two grown children, Julie and Guy.  Dr. Grimstead’s favorite hobbies are mountain climbing and playing jazz and blues on his trumpet.

To learn more about Dr. Grimstead and his work, please visit http://www.nordskogpublishing.com/book-rebuilding-civilization.shtml

Pump Up Your Book and Dr. Jay are teaming up to give away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Terms & Conditions:

  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • This giveaway begins June 2 and ends on June 27, 2014.
  • Winner will be contacted via email by July 2, 2014.
  • Winner has 72 hours to reply.

Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!

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Interview with Thomax Green, author of ‘The Shu: The Gnostic Tao Te Ching’

Thomax GreenOur guest today is Thomax Green, author of the spiritual, the shu the gnostic tao te ching. Thomax was born in 1972. After waking from a coma 10 years ago, he says he “was finally freed of the devilish manifestations that plagued me with a life of sorrow.” In addition to being a writer, Thomax is a visual artist. His media includes painting, drawing, and photography. He has published a previous novel titled “C.O.W.:   Creatures of War.”
His latest book is The Shu: The Gnostic Tao Te Ching.

Visit his website at www.thomaxgreen.com.

What made you decide to become a published author?

It wasn’t a decision it was in my blood and I have to do it.

Would you consider your latest book, the shu the gnostic tao te ching, to be a one of a kind? How so?

Yes, it is the first book with real answers to the questions we have all asked since the dawn of time. Plus 50% of the The Shuroyalties are going to UNICEF to help children in need. No other book really gives that much back.

Where is your writing sanctuary?

I have an at home office where I write, but half of writing is reading and I have a library in my house for that.

What do you believe a writer should not do as far as getting his or her book published?

As far as self-publishing goes don’t assume that once it is published your work is done. There is so much more to do than just that. When dealing with New York don’t be a needy writer you’ll just annoy people.

What inspires you?

Beauty and love. I have no biases when it comes to beauty and love. I see beauty and find love in everyone.

What is one thing you learned about your book after it was published?

That there is a strong interest in it being published in different languages in other countries.

Why do you love to write spirituality?

I love to write in many different genres but this book has a special place in my heart because it can really change the world for the better.

You’re concocting a recipe for a best selling book. What’s the first ingredient?

Give people what they need.

What’s one fun fact about your book people should know?

After you have read my book your biases about your neighbors will be gone. Love is more powerful than anything.

Did any real life experiences find their way into your book?

This will sound weird but there is a part in the book where I detail how desire can imbed negative emotions in people. That lesson was taught to me by the Virgin Mary.

Aside from writing, what’s your passion?

I really am a jack of all trades. I love everything creative. I hope artists will always prosper.

What’s next for you?

Right now I am trying to persuade DC Comics to pick up a couple of stories I am writing and I am also writing a book about Amelia Earhart.

 

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Interview with Meryl Ain, co-author of THE LIVING MEMORIES PROJECT

Meryl AinOur guest today is Meryl Ain, co-author of the non-fiction book, The Living Memories Project: Legacies That Last. Meryl wrote her first poem in the third grade and has been writing ever since. She is a blogger for Huffington Post and often writes about families, parenting, children, and education. After she lost both her father and mother within a year-and-a-half, she decided to research how others keep alive the memories of their loved ones. She enlisted her husband, Stewart, and her brother, Arthur Fischman, to join her in researching and writing The Living Memories Project, http://thelivingmemoriesproject.com/. Meryl earned a BA from QueensCollege, a MA from ColumbiaUniversityTeachers College, and an Ed.D. from HofstraUniversity. She began her career in education as a social studies teacher before she became an administrator. She and her husband Stewart live on Long Island and have three sons, three daughters-in-law and three grandchildren.

Her latest book she co-authored with Steward Ain and Arthur M. Fischman is the nonfiction, The Living Memories Project: Legacies That Last.

Visit their website at www.thelivingmemoriesproject.com.

The Living Memories Project 7What made you decide to become a published author?

When my mother died after a brief illness in 2006, I was bereft.

Although I knew she had lived a long life, there is never enough time with a loved one. In thinking about how best to remember my mother, I recalled advice she gave me more than once, “Get yourself a project.” So I decided to write a book — interviewing people about how they keep alive the memories of their loved ones. In doing so, I was hoping to get ideas to help heal myself.

I enlisted the support of my husband, Stewart, and my brother, Arthur, to research and write the book. Together we captured the stories of 32 individuals who created tributes – big and small – as living memorials. The project proved to be therapeutic and cathartic; not only did it give us wonderful material, but it turned into an inspiring book and an amazing tribute to my mom.

Would you consider your latest book, The Living Memories Project: Legacies That Last to be a one of a kind? How so?

Absolutely. When I was grieving, I searched for a book that would provide me with hope, comfort, and inspire me to action. The books I found discussed the stages of grieving, and the feelings associated with them, but they did not provide me with what I was looking for. I believe our book is unique. It begins with the notion that there is no such thing as closure. Those we love are with us forever, although they are not physically present. Through the stories of those we interviewed, we learn many different ways to keep alive the memories, passions, values, and traditions of our loved ones.

What inspires you?

The 32 people we interviewed for our book inspire me. They all transformed their grief into meaningful action and living legacies. For example, Liz and Steve Alderman established the Peter C. Alderman Foundation to honor the memory of their 25-year-old son, who was killed on 9/11 at the WorldTradeCenter. The foundation trains doctors and establishes mental health clinics on four continents to treat victims of PTSD.

What is one thing you learned about your book after it was published?

I learned that there is a tremendous thirst to speak about grief, loss, and death in our society that is not being met. We have been truly gratified that so many people have told us that The Living Memories Project is exactly the book that helped them move beyond mourning, and that they welcome participating in discussion about the topic. People tell us that they appreciate its upbeat and hopeful approach. All of our events have been well attended, and people have used words such as “uplifting” and “enjoyable” to describe them. We recently had an event where singer/songwriter Jen Chapin, the daughter of folk rock icon Harry Chapin, spoke about how she carries on her father’s legacy of music and eradicating hunger. We are glad that we have enabled people to confront and discuss these issues, using our book as a catalyst.

What’s next for you?

We hope to do a sequel. We are asking our readers to share their own stories of how they keep the memory of their loved ones alive on our website, http://thelivingmemoriesproject.com/

 

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Interview with Praying Medic, author of ‘Divine Healing Made Simple’

Praying Medic 2Our guest today is Praying Medic, author of the non-fiction / religion, Divine Healing Made Simple. Praying Medic is a paramedic and author living in Phoenix, Arizona. Since 2009, he has written about the miracles God has done through his medical practice. He is married to his best friend and business partner. His first book Divine Healing Made Simple was published in December of 2013. His life goal is to teach people to live as ambassadors of God’s kingdom. His books and articles are intended to inspire, challenge and if necessary, provoke readers into a deeper relationship with God. If you’re interested in connecting with him outside of Amazon, he has a personal blog http://prayingmedic.com/ where he writes about the miraculous. You can contact him there.

What made you decide to become a published author?

Unlike most writers, I never had aspirations of being a published author. I was Divine Healing Made Simple 7happy just being a paramedic and I thought I would do this kind of work until I was retirement age. But over the last few years I wrote over 30 articles on the subject of supernatural healing. I’ve also had a lot of dreams where the keys to healing were revealed. The articles I wrote and the revelation from the dreams helped people understand healing better. A number of friends told me that more people would benefit if I wrote a book, so I spent about a year turning the articles into a book manuscript.

Would you consider your latest book, (divine healing made simple), to be a one of a kind? How so?

I would consider it to be one of a kind for several reasons. Most if not all books written on healing have been written by professional theologians, but my book was written by an average guy who works an average job and I think that helps people relate to my writing style better. The other thing that makes it unique is that I’ve shared information from dozens of dreams that provide the answers to some of the most common, unanswered questions people have about healing.

Where is your writing sanctuary?

I do about half my writing from the cab of my ambulance between calls and the other half from an office in my home that I share with my wife.

What do you believe a writer should not do as far as getting his or her book published?

My advice to any author who wants to be published is to start a personal blog. If you’re new to writing, developing a regular habit of writing can be a difficult process. If you’re a veteran writer – the problem isn’t writing, but marketing what you write. Writing regularly on a personal blog solves both of these problems.

Most people who want to publish books never write them because they never develop a regular habit of writing. Blogging can give you the motivation you need to write regularly. Blogging also puts your writing in front of an audience that can give you feedback and feedback hones your writing skill.

When you post regular messages on a blog you’re creating an audience of readers who will likely buy your book once it is written. You do the writing and let search engines bring interested people to your blog.

Publishing a book is one thing, but marketing it is a completely different matter. Most authors go unnoticed simply because they have no marketing plan. A personal blog connected to social networks like Twitter and Facebook can be the marketing tool you need to get your books in the hands of a larger audience.

What inspires you?

One of my mentors once said, “There’s nothing more boring than religion, and nothing more exciting than God.” What inspires me is when I sit down at my computer and open a document expecting to hear from God and He fills up page after page with the most amazing thoughts I’ve ever heard.

What is one thing you learned about your book after it was published?

I could not believe how many people replied to me by e-mail to tell me how much my book impacted (and in some cases radically changed) their lives.

Why do you love to write non-fiction / religion books?

Most of what I write is aimed at helping people develop their spiritual gifts – In particular healing. I get a lot of positive feedback from readers who try my suggestions and find that they work. In some cases, terminal cancer patients have been healed. When someone is set free of some kind of bondage or illness because of something I wrote – it is immensely gratifying to me and it motivates me to write more.

You’re concocting a recipe for a best selling book. What’s the first ingredient?

Build a tribe of loyal friends who believe in you and your message. Serve them with your gifts and talents. Give away what you have expecting nothing in return. Then write your book. They will make it a best-seller. That’s pretty much what happened to me.

What’s one fun fact about your book people should know?

Most people don’t know that God speaks to them through their dreams and He’s trying to guide them on the path to their eternal destiny through them.

Did any real life experiences find their way into your book?

Most of what I’ve written about in my book has come directly from my personal experiences with healing.

Aside from writing, what’s your passion?

I’m the world’s biggest Facebook junkie, but don’t tell anyone. Let’s keep it between you and me, okay?

What’s next for you?

I have a pretty ambitious publishing schedule. My next book is a collection of personal stories about the supernatural work of God in my life. The title is My Top 100 Craziest Adventures with God. It should be out late this summer.

I’m also working on a book titled: Seeing in the Spirit Made Simple that should be out in the fall.

I’m working on a fourth book titled: Traveling in the Spirit Made Simple. I hope to have it out by the end of 2014.

I began posting a series of fictional stories on spiritual warfare on Facebook that received rave reviews from my friends. They immediately demanded a novel be written from the stories. That book will likely be my first project for 2015.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Interview with C.H. Maclean, Author of ‘One is Come’

C.H. MacLeanOur guest today is C. H. MacLean, author of the YA fantasy, One is Come. To young C. H. MacLean, books were everything: mind-food, friends, and fun. They gave the shy middle child’s life color and energy. Amazingly, not everyone saw them that way. Seeing a laundry hamper full of books approach her, the librarian scolded C. H. for trying to check them all out. “You’ll never read that many before they expire!” C. H. was surprised, having shown great restraint only by keeping a list of books to check out next time. Thoroughly abashed, C. H. waited three whole days after finishing that lot before going back for more.

With an internal world more vivid than the real one, C. H. was chastised for reading in the library instead of going to class. “Neurotic, needs medical help,” the teacher diagnosed. C. H.’s father, a psychologist, just laughed when he heard. “She’s just upset because those books are more challenging than her class.” C. H. realized making up stories was just as fun as reading, and harder to get caught doing. So for a while, C. H. crafted stories and characters out of wisps and trinkets, with every toy growing an elaborate personality.

But toys were not mature, and stories weren’t respectable for a family of doctors. So C. H. grew up and learned to read serious books and study hard, shelving foolish fantasies for serious work.

Years passed in a black and white blur. Then, unpredictably falling in love all the way to a magical marriage rattled C. H.’s orderly world. A crazy idea slipped in a resulting crack and wouldn’t leave. “Write the book you want to read,” it said. “Write? As in, a fantasy novel? But I’m not creative,” C. H. protested. The idea, and C. H.’s spouse, rolled their eyes.

So one day, C. H. started writing. Just to try it, not that it would go anywhere. Big mistake. Decades of pent-up passion started pouring out, making a mess of an orderly life. It only got worse. Soon, stories popped up everywhere- in dreams, while exercising, or out of spite, in the middle of a work meeting. “But it’s not important work,” C. H. pleaded weakly. “They are not food, or friends, or…” But it was too late. C. H. had re-discovered that, like books, life should be fun too. Now, writing is a compulsion, and a calling.

C. H. lives in a Pacific Northwest forest with five cats, two kids, one spouse, and absolutely no dragons or elves, faeries, or demons… that are willing to be named, at least.

His latest book is One is Come.

Visit his website at www.chmaclean.com.

What made you decide to become a published author?

Growing up, books were happiness, motivation and inspiration for me. (They still are, of course.) When I realized I had a great story, I thought of how many other people would love to read it. If I could give back to the stories what they gave to me, if I could give something to the readers out there, I knew I had to.

One is ComeWould you consider your latest book, One is Come, to be a one of a kind? How so?

I read a lot, and haven’t read anything just like it. It holds a scent of familiarity, but its combination of flavors is special. The combinations of magic and modern, ancient elements and new-age application take several writers and genres and mix them in a great combination. I also love how the story flows through character’s deep emotions but does so in a fast-paced plot.

Where is your writing sanctuary?

At the end of our lane, a little curve turns into a dead end. The trees cast shadows at all times of the day, slivers of sun sliding slowly past. It’s a tiny magical space in the middle of utter ordinariness.

What inspires you?

Unfortunately, almost anything. I see a story in the curve of a neck, the purring of a cat, or a flowering tree’s spicy-sweet aura.

Why do you love to write YA fantasy?

I love fantasy for having room to explore everything new again, for allowing world-building and touching the childhood space where all of life is magic. YA similarly finds characters at a crucial life step, the special tipping point between being someone’s child and being your own person. But that’s why I love reading the genre. I just write the stories in my head, which happen to be YA fantasy.

You’re concocting a recipe for a best selling book. What’s the first ingredient?

Desire, drive, motivation, whatever you want to call the energy that keeps the characters moving. That same energy is also needed to keep the writer moving and focused on the story for the readers.

Aside from writing, what’s your passion?

Reading, of course. I also enjoy being active in nature, whether hiking or gardening.

What’s next for you?

Two Empty Thrones, the second book in the Five in Circle series, is scheduled to be released in July. I am currently writing the third book in the series and hope to have it completed by this winter. I also just finished writing my first draft of Fire Above, a story about the young man who dared to dream and started the first human-dragon war. It should be out in the winter.

 

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Top Ten Best-Ever Healthy Weight-Loss Tips by Elle Eriksson, RHN Book Blitz – Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

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Top Ten Best Ever Weight Loss TipsTitle: Top Ten Best-Ever Healthy Weight-Loss Tips
Author: Elle Eriksson, RHN
Publisher: iUniverse
Pages: 122
Genre: Health and Wellness
Format: Kindle

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We all know that being slim does not always mean being healthy. In Top Ten Best-Ever Healthy Weight-Loss Tips, Elle Eriksson offers you sensible, effective ways to shed those unwanted pounds while improving overall health and wellbeing.

Blending personal wisdom with professional training and experience, Elle shares her insight and provides strategies for achieving and maintaining a healthy weight. Also included in these top ten tips is “a little food for thought” as the author explores some of today’s concerns around food quality and production.

With a variety of options for all body types, Elle guides you toward successful weight loss, using a whole-foods diet and realistic steps to attaining an active, balanced lifestyle. This easy-to-use guide includes a 21-Day Food/Weight/Fitness Journal along with real-life weight-loss success stories.

 

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Elle Eriksson, RHN, is a registered holistic nutritionist, nutritional  consultant, urban gardener, and cooking instructor. In her passionate concern for both the planet and animal welfare, she incorporates these issues into her down-to-earth approach to food, health, and weight loss. Elle lives with her family in Vancouver, British Columbia.

 

Elle is giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

 

Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $25 Amazon Gift Certificate or Paypal Cash.
  • This giveaway begins June 2 and ends on June 14.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on Monday, June 16.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.

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Making the Invisible Visible Book Blitz – Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

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9781491701416_COVER.inddTitle:
 Making the Invisible Visible
Author: A. Taylor, M.J. Hardman, C. Wright
Publisher: iUniverse
Pages: 172
Genre: Words/Language/Grammar
Format: Kindle

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All that is human is mediated through language. And because we learned the process of being human in a culture as we learned the language of that culture, much that we learned remains invisible to us. But even though invisible, it guides what and how we learn and remember, our perceptions, our behaviors, including communicative behaviors. Throughout our lives, that early language/culture learning affects us, all too often without our realizing. The discoveries about that early learning that this book makes possible enable readers to see through their language and learn to live productively and engage fully in mutually fulfilling relationships. This book talks back to the old adage, Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt. We show how words do hurt, of course not by breaking bones, but by damaging self-confidence, reputations, livelihoods–or provoking people to the point of breaking bones–or worse. We focus on the roles of gender in language in effective or failed communication. We direct attention to invisible impacts of daily language use. When the invisible becomes visible, readers can see the many ways daily talk and interactions create and reinforce genders. We explore how language functions, its sources of power, and why it resists change even when negative impacts are clear. We explore how, in part through hidden gendering, English disadvantages many of its users and point to how the problems emerge in the ways gender functions in this supposedly non-gendered language. We describe how gendered language guides us to create and reinforce behaviors and relationships we do not intend. We conclude with suggestions of how to use English to reflect egalitarian values.

 

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Anita Taylor, Professor Emerita of Communication and Women’s Studies at George Mason University in Fairfax VA, focused on understanding gender in communication for over 30 years. With PhD from U. of Missouri-Columbia and M.S. from Kansas State University, she has sought help people live and work more effectively in a variety of gendered worlds. To contact Dr. Taylor, email her at ataylor@gmu.edu M J Hardman is Professor Emerita of Linguistics and Anthropology, and affiliated with Women’s Studies at the University. of Florida. She has specialized in the Jaqi languages and in gender as manifested in language and culture. Dr. Hardman, has made a life-long study the Jaqi languages of Bolivia, Chile, and Peru; with her colleague and dear friend, Dimas Bautista, has published in print and on-line a grammar of the languages as well as making available bi-lingual learning materials and cultural resources. For more information, see http://clas.ufl.edu/users/hardman. Catherine K. Wright (PhD, Regent University, 2005) is the designer and primary architect of the web pages that provide support for this book. As undergraduate adviser and term Associate Professor of Communication at George Mason University she focuses on computer-mediated communication and the various means people use to transmit information to each other. Among other courses, she emphasizes media and society, business and professional communication, web development and communication. For more information, see http://classweb.gmu.edu/cwright5.

 

The authors are giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

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Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $25 Amazon Gift Certificate or Paypal Cash.
  • This giveaway begins June 2 and ends on June 14.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on Monday, June 16.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.

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Amanda, Perfectly Made: A Caregiver’s Journey by Laurel Rausch Greshel Book Blitz – Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

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Amanda Perfectly MadeTitle:
 Amanda, Perfectly Made
Author: Laurel Rausch Greshel
Publisher: iUniverse
Pages: 211
Genre: Religion/Inspirational
Format: Kindle

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On August 1, 1983, Laurel Greshel’s world changed forever after a phone call from her doctor. After receiving word that her unborn baby had serious health issues, Laurel was overwhelmed. As she and her husband, Ted, struggled to accept the diagnosis that their daughter, Amanda, would be born with spina bifida, they had to slowly learn to say goodbye to “normal” and embrace each of their tiny newborn’s accomplishments.

Without any instruction book on how to raise a child with spina bifida, Laurel and Ted must learn to survive countless medical issues and several near-death scares with Amanda by leaning on their faith in God. As Laurel candidly shares experiences—both good and bad—that she has with doctors, nurses, teachers, family members, and friends, she offers a heartfelt glimpse into her painful struggles as she gives entirely of herself to help Amanda grow to her full potential. With the help of God’s steady hand, Laurel manages to raise two other daughters, nurture her marriage, and cope with all the ups and downs of caring for a medically challenged child.

In this poignant memoir, one mother describes her unforgettable journey through her daughter’s difficulties, revealing the important message that God creates all of us just the way He wants us— perfectly made.

 

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Laurel Rausch Greshel grew up in Parma, Ohio, and later moved to southeastern Michigan, where she and her husband, Ted, raised three daughters. It is through her faith that Laurel faced and survived the challenges of raising her eldest daughter, Amanda, who was born with spina bifida.

 

Laurel is giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

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Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $25 Amazon Gift Certificate or Paypal Cash.
  • This giveaway begins June 2 and ends on June 14.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on Monday, June 16.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.

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The Soul of the City by John McMillan Book Blitz – Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

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9781491714386_COVER_FQA.inddTitle: The Soul of the City
Author: John McMillan
Publisher: iUniverse
Pages: 310
Genre: Literary Fiction
Format: Kindle

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The Soul of the City is a tale of two cities, Belfast and London, in the heady, liberating days of the late 1960s and early 1970s. Young Jim Mitchell moves through a succession of jobs, girlfriends and apartments in the quest for personal fulfillment and his dream of becoming a writer in the face of often dispiriting circumstances. There is the trauma of his affair with Maureen, an older, married woman, and the trap of his career on the unrelenting white-collar production line of the “Ministry of Truth”, against the background of civil rights protest and the onset of the troubles in Belfast.

Escaping to the space and freedom of London, Jim tries to live the dream of the bohemian writer but all too soon there is the pressing need to earn a living in the more mundane occupations on offer in the metropolis. Just when all seems lost, Jim meets and falls in love with the beautiful Anglo- Irish student Bridget and is drawn into an exciting student-hippy milieu of experimentation, idealism and fun.

However, such pleasures are by definition transient and the young couple, Jim and Bridget, must strike out on their own, exploring love, intimacy and enlightenment together in their ongoing search for the soul of the city.

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John McMillan writes with an unfailing eye for the telling detail and an irrepressible native humour. He balances an acute social awareness and sense of history with a strong lyrical feeling for the underlying meaning and beauty of life.

The search for the soul of the city is nothing less than the search for the soul of a man and a woman in our time.

 

Pump Up Your Book and John McMillan are teaming up to give you a chance to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

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Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $25 Amazon Gift Certificate or Paypal Cash.
  • This giveaway begins June 2 and ends on June 14.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on Monday, June 16.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.

Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!

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