Saturday, May 31, 2014

The Scenic Route of a Writer by Cindy Noonan

I took the scenic route to get to this point. I never meant to be a writer. I grew up in a family of artists. My house is filled with my late grandmother’s paintings and a few of my own. Plans to go to art school got sidetracked when I met the man of my dreams (it was love at first sight). We were married, (45 years and counting), and raised five wonderful children.
Imagine my surprise when I felt a God-nudge to write a book. I plunked out the plot for a middle grade fantasy novel just before I started teaching full time at a Christian elementary school. Writing that first book felt like riding a Harley Davidson—uncomfortable and a little dangerous. I could feel every bump in the road. Like a driver with a learner’s permit, I honed my skills at writers’ conferences and critique groups. Although never published, my first book became my vehicle into the writing world.
In my quest to perfect my writing skills, I met author Joyce Magnin, who became my writing coach. Now I had a driving instructor to show me which way to turn. She suggested I write historical fiction for kids. It was a perfect fit. I wrote Dark Enough to See the Stars, a story about a twelve-year-old boy who escapes slavery on the Underground Railroad.
Now I’ve traded my Harley Davidson for a school bus. When my kids were growing up I drove a full-sized seven passenger van. The ten years we had it, I got pretty good at steering that behemoth and only blew a tire twice maneuvering corners. Now I want to drive busloads of kids down an exciting road of Underground Railroad history.
Late next week, Dark Enough to See the Stars debuts on Amazon as an e-book, thanks to Helping Hands Press. I don’t know where this bus is taking me, but it’s been a thrilling ride so far. History comes alive when kids read exciting historical fiction. Come on board, where history has a heartbeat.

Friday, May 30, 2014

"Savage Sojourner" - A New Release by Patti J. Smith!

Not even the tranquil surroundings of a spiritual retreat are immune to a psychopath's lust for retribution. Detective Dallas Keegan takes a leave of absence to reevaluate her future with the department and finds renewed faith with the help of her aunt, Sister Bernadette, and an attractive tenor in a local choir. That faith is once again challenged as a killer leaves a bloody trail in across-country trek to find her.
The Amazon Kindle link for the story is:
I am a married, grandmother of two. As a recently retired background investigator, I now care for my father and uncle, giving me time to pursue my passion of writing. Writing poetry and lyrics began at an early age; however the past few years I heard the calling to write devotionals. Through that work I hope to spread the message of God's endless love, mercy and compassion. I'm also venturing into fiction with light romance and suspense/thrillers. Variety is the spice of life!
Outside activities include singing in my parish choir, co-leading Rachel's Hope Post-Abortion retreats in San Diego County and serving as a Regional Coordinator for the Silent No More Awareness Campaign.
In my spare time I enjoy blogging, reading, travel and spending time with family and friends. I'm also a football fanatic (NFL and Fantasy) and a diehard Seattle Seahawks fan.
Please follow me at:
I'm also on Goodreads:
I love to Pin!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Joseph Max Lewis wants to know: "Would You Have Signed?"

Would you have signed?

The Declaration of Independence series asks all of us that one soul searching question. If you were rich, if signing meant defying the world’s superpower, if failure meant your family would be left destitute and you would be hung by the neck with your hands tied behind your back until you strangled to death, would you have signed The Declaration of Independence? Would you have risked your privileged life so that others might live in freedom?

That was the question facing John Hancock and in the face of overwhelming odds he answered, “Yes.”

“We must all hang together,” Hancock said, before almost choking on his disastrous choice of words. Men’s faces clouded. They realized they stood on the brink, but could still step back. As had so often been the case, it was Benjamin Franklin who saved him, who saved us all.
“Yes, we must indeed all hang together,” Franklin replied in an equally loud voice. He took a moment to push his spectacles up his nose. “. . . or most assuredly we shall hang separately.”

The hall burst into surprised laughter. Men now smiled, grimly perhaps, but they lined up and took their turn, signing the most important document in the history of the world. Only Franklin, Hancock thought to himself.

Join Hancock, Franklin, Jefferson and the other Founders on one of the most momentous days in human history, July 4, 1776.

The Amazon Kindle link for the story is:

Drop by Joseph Max Lewis website and say hello:

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Best-Selling author Murray Pura continues "Hawk & Skaytha's" quest in "Daughters of The Desert"!

The quest has taken Hawk and Skaytha and her three guardians across the world - over the ocean we now call the Atlantic, from shore to shore of the country we now call America, and from what we now call the Pacific coast to China and Mongolia. Yet there are still thousands of miles to travel while being assaulted by some of the most dangerous foes in earth or hell. But the most dangerous is the trackless desert - will Hawk and the four women be able to endure the scorching heat, the sandstorms, the lack of water, and the sand and the rock and the exhaustion or will their bones wind up bleaching in the desert sun for thousands of years, the quest never fulfilled, the human race never set free?
Murray Andrew Pura was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, and has traveled extensively throughout Canada, the United States, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. Ordained as a Baptist minister in 1986, Pura has served five churches in Canada and headlined numerous speaking engagements in Canada and the United States. He has over 60 stories published, was a contributor to the Life With God Bible, has been a finalist for The Paraclete Fiction Award, The Dartmouth Book Award, and The John Spencer Hill Literary Award, and has been shortlisted for the prestigious 2010 Kobzar Literary Award of Canada.

The Amazon Kindle link for “Daughters of The Desert” is:

Sunday, May 25, 2014

New Release: "Assassins Everywhere", Volume 4 "The Outlaw Unchained" series by William Tasch

Samuel Winchester is a man on the run. He was once an army officer with a spotless record, but wrongly convicted of a murder in Texas that he didn’t commit. Samuel endured great hardships in the worst military prisons possible and was whipped and chained to the floor every night. Sam, with the aid of an accomplice escaped prison after ten years. Sam took the chains that bound him and is desperately trying to clear his name, vowing to use those very chains on whoever set him up. He has made his way from Florida all the way to Kansas trying to maintain a low profile and see his most trusted Ally Colonel Adelman who is now in Fort Leavenworth. Sam believes he can aid him in proving his innocence. Colonel Adelman is also the father of Emmaline, the love of Sam’s life.
With the aid of his new Irish acquaintance Phillip who runs a secret underground railroad, Sam agrees to help Phillip get answers of his own if he will get Sam to Colonel Adelman. The plan seems simple enough, but when someone wants to hide the truth from you and wants you dead, assassins seem to come from everywhere.
William Tasch is a retired U.S. Army veteran who loves writing in his spare time. He is the author of Outlaw Salvation a gritty novel of two best friends who are ripped apart when one receives an invitation to join the local motorcycle club and finds out they are not just a bunch of fun loving motorcycle riding guys. He is also the author of Blister Creek a western taking place in 1865 long before Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday. The story centers around a young man who is a gun slinging, gambling, womanizing drunk who gets in a gun fight with the wrong family and has the opportunity to turn his life around as the Sheriff in a new town, but somehow the past always has a way of following you. He just finished writing Charlie’s Freedom a Civil War story for Murray Pura’s ‘Let Freedom Ring’ series that is due to be released soon. The story focuses on a slave named Charlie who wants nothing more than to be a free man. After an unsuccessful attempt at escape, the plantation owner’s son is forced to whip Charlie. He doesn’t like it and helps Charlie escape to freedom. Together they each join opposing forces in the Civil War and will meet on the Battlefield in Peachtree Creek Georgia. William is also currently one of the authors for the bestselling series Outlaw Unchained. He currently lives in California with his wife, son and their crazy dog Reese.
The Amazon Kindle link for “Assassins Everywhere” is:

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Part One - Q&A with J.T. Patten, author of "Safe Havens: Shadow Masters"

Q&A with J.T. Patten author of “Safe Havens: Shadow Masters (A Sean Havens Black Ops Novel)”
Part One

What can you tell us about Safe Havens: Shadow Masters?

Safe Havens is a black operations thriller series that blends aspects of crime, terrorism, war, and espionage. While that sounds cross-genre, it’s really how many actual conflicts are fought today. Especially the wars in the shadows. I further twist things by adding in the family aspects of these warriors as they battle enemies foreign or domestic, and demons in their battle weary minds. To me, it made the characters more lifelike and fallible. There are some great characters out in the fiction thriller world, but I am not so sure that most readers can really relate to being a Delta operative, Navy SEAL, or some CIA assassin. I think it creates a little bit of a barrier for the reader who may read military thrillers because they dreamed of being that action here but it was too out of touch. In the Safe Havens series, the main character Sean Havens has done a pretty decent job keeping his government black ops work separate from his family world in Chicago. Unfortunately, there is a conspiracy unfolding that has Sean caught in the middle. Whereas most books within the same sub-genres would have the guy hunt down enemies guns blazing, Havens is an intelligence operative, but most importantly his is a father and husband. So, as much as he may even want to do certain instinctive action hero things that we as readers have come to expect, the truth is he is a regular guy forced to draw upon unknown inner strength and critical thinking to make impossible decisions and find safe havens for those dear to him. That’s not saying that he may not lose his mind from time to time, but there is a bit more approachability when a reader can see themselves doing the same things or struggling with some decisions.

What inspired you to write this book? I am an avid reader of military fiction. I love espionage novels and a gripping assassin thriller. I found that most writers were so focused on researching the type of weapon that a character had and the speed that an ammo round traveled, that the actual character was left as an afterthought. Similarly, the plots were so linear that I could predict the outcome within the first number of pages. Since I have a background in the genre that I write, I took a challenge to write what I know. At first, I wanted to write it for my friends who are in the military and intelligence community to see if they could also appreciate the difference. I just wish that I was a better writer. All in all, the reviews state that the story was quite eye-opening and gripping. That is more than I could have asked for.
J.T. Patten has worked with the intelligence and special operations community in support of national defense and policy. He has a degree in Foreign Language, a Masters in Strategic Intelligence, graduate studies in Counter Terrorism from the University of St. Andrews, and numerous expertise certifications in forensics, fraud, and financial crime investigations. Patten shares these unique experiences with readers to give them a taste of "the black." But he’s also a dad and husband. If you read his books, that part can’t be hidden, nor does he try.
Twitter: @jtpattenbooks
Author Central: Amazon buy page

Recipe- Swartz's Potatoes and Meatloaf from Tracy Krauss

Swartz’s Potatoes and Meatloaf
1 small bag frozen hash browns
1 can mushroom soup
3 cups milk
1 and ½ cups cheddar cheese grated
2 lbs. ground beef
1 egg
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
¼ cup ketchup
1 Tbsp. prepared mustard
1 small onion chopped
½ cup milk
1 cup oatmeal
Swartz’s potatoes: Combine hash browns, mushroom soup, milk and cheese. Fold into a greased casserole dish and bake at 375 degrees for one hour.
Meatloaf: combine beef, egg, oatmeal, salt & pepper, ketchup, mustard and chopped onion, and milk. (Mixing with your hands works best) Put into a loaf pan and bake for one hour at 375 degrees. These two make a great combination because they can both go in the oven at the same time. Add a salad or a side vegetable and you have a complete meal.

Here is a little something about Tracy Krauss & her incredible series “Neighbors”:
Lester Tibbett has to leave his farm in Southern Alberta for the big city. It means starting over in an unfamiliar environment - a heavy burden for the guardian of a teenage sister full of angst. The apartment complex to which they relocate is a far cry from their spacious farmhouse and offers little anonymity for a man used to doing things his own way. During the process, he pushes his own loneliness aside in favor of looking after his sister. As Lester struggles to find a church that will meet both their spiritual needs, he quickly learns that neighbors come in many forms, some of them quite meddlesome. Still, he is happy to accept help from an overtly friendly neighbor named Jed who also happens to work for the same construction company. The two soon become friends, despite Jed’s habit of trying to set Lester up with every available single female, and end up frequenting a local pub where Lester is surprised to discover an ‘old school’ mechanical bull just waiting to be ridden. The former rodeo cowboy in him rises up, but not before he meets a mysterious woman who is out of his reach.

Tracy Krauss is a multi-published author, playwright, artist and teacher, with several best selling and award winning novels to her credit. Originally from a small prairie town, Tracy received her Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Saskatchewan with majors in Art, and minors in History and English. Apart from her many creative pursuits, she directs an amateur theater group and leads worship at her local church. She and her husband, an ordained minister, have lived in many remote and unique places in Canada's north, and currently live in northern British Columbia. For more visit her website:
Tracy’s story is available on Amazon Kindle, Kobo and Barnes & Noble Nook.
Here is the Amazon Kindle link for the story:
Tracy Krauss’ Amazon Author page:

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Who wants a recipe for Pecan Praline Cheese Cake? You can thank CQ Scafidi!

Pecan Praline Cheese Cake.
1-1/2 cups crushed vanilla wafers (about 45 wafers)
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup butter, melted
16 whole vanilla wafers
3 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 eggs, lightly beaten
25 caramels two
2 tablespoons milk/
1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted
Preheat oven to 325°. In a small bowl, mix wafer crumbs and sugar; stir in butter. Press onto bottom of a greased 9-in. springform pan. Arrange whole wafers, rounded sides out, along sides of pan, pressing lightly into crumbs.
In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Beat in sour cream and vanilla. Add eggs; beat on low speed just until combined. Pour over crust. Place pan on a baking sheet.
Bake 55-60 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool on a wire rack 10 minutes. Loosen sides from pan with a knife. Cool 1 hour longer. Refrigerate overnight, covering when completely cooled.
In a microwave, melt caramels with milk; stir until smooth. Remove rim from pan. Drizzle cheesecake with caramel mixture; sprinkle with pecans
About the YA “Hermie Thrice” series:
Christian Gideon was born with the ability to speak, apparently learned while in his mother’s womb. He was reading at two and had taught himself Spanish by four. His father, Stan Gideon, knew his son was special, but never imagined the destiny that lay in wait for his gifted progeny. As a former agent for D.A.R.P.A., Stan was now working deep undercover. In his years with the government, he had encountered others like his son. It was for this reason that he allowed his son to be mentored by those only known to Christian as “the immortals.” Within a short few years, Christian was writing peer-reviewed scientific papers on particle physics, while his father successfully got him employment at a secret particle accelerator in the shadows of Mount Shasta.
With his assignment to infiltrate the nefarious C.E.R.E.S. cabal, Stan was investigating their plan for global depopulation, while his young son was being schooled in the ancient arts of alchemy by his quirky project manager, Dr. Herman Thrice. Unbeknownst to Stan, Christian would soon be selected to hone his special talents as a Light Worker for the planet Earth. Via the power of Inter-Dimensional travel, Christian would join other “millenials” with similar talents at the Light Worker Academy located on a planet circling one of the Seven Sisters or Pleiades. It was here that they would learn that they are actually the next step in human evolution.
Using the top secret information uncovered by his father, Christian would soon return to Earth with his teammates, to stop the depopulation agenda and restore the planet to its original pristine condition utilizing their newfound alchemical skills. Will the father and son be successful at thwarting the ongoing attempts by C.E.R.E.S. to cull the human population through the systemic poisoning of the planet? Will they overcome the dark forces at work within the government to aid C.E.R.E.S.? Read the Herman Thrice series and follow the Gideons as they work in tandem to save the planet Earth from its ultimate destruction.
The Amazon Kindle link for “Volume 1- Light Worker Academy” is:

Saturday, May 17, 2014

"How to Cook Squirrel" - A Recipe - Big Jim Williams

Just a note before you get into the recipe: Big Jim is on the author team for the “Outlaw Unchained” series and he also released “Cattle Drive”, his first western novel. The link for “Cattle Drive” will be below the recipe.

Have fun reading this, I know I did!

The following squirrel-cooking recipe is suggested in keeping with what an escaped convict in 1840 in our “Outlaw Unchained “series may only be capable of doing based on his limited equipment and access to any kind of food or fuel for a fire, where smoke cannot be seen by his pursuers.
First, it’s imperative to catch, trap, shoot, impale, or persuade a squirrel (or multiple squirrels) to die for your dinner, because cooking something that is no longer breathing is preferred. Squirrels are small, so try to collect two or more for a full dining experience.
Your pursuit may include ground squirrels, tree squirrels, flying squirrels, or chipmunks, or marmots. They’re crafty critters, so take your time in trying to snag one.

Once the furry creature has been dispatched, then it must be skinned, gutted (yuck), and prepared for cooking. I suggest barbecuing.
Build a fire and let it burn until you’ve got a bed of red-hot coals for an even heat. (Does our escapee have matches or a fire-starter kit in his pocket, or a magnifying glass to concentrate the rays of a sun to start a fire, or should he simply rub two sticks together until creating fire?)

Find a long sturdy stick and whittle the tip into a sharp point (if one has a knife) or rub the tip on a rough stone until sharp.
Stick the skinned squirrel on the stick, making sure it is secure and will not fall into the fire.
Hold the squirrel-mounted stick over the fire and frequently turn until done to a golden brown. Some say squirrel meat tastes like chicken or rabbit, and others claim it tastes like rat. Oh, well, when one is really hungry…
Once the scrawny carcass is barbecued to your liking (time varies according to the size of the fire and rodent), remove squirrel from stick, place on a clean smooth stone, and eat.

And then run like hell so the prison trackers and guards mentioned in “Outlaw Unchained” won’t catch you.

The Amazon Kindle link for “Cattle Drive” is:

Friday, May 16, 2014

Jude Aaron Blackstone, The Devil, Angels,and an End of Times Speaker! It must time for a new "Preacher Man" story by Murray Pura!

Best-Selling author Murray Pura’s “Preacher Man” series hooked me from the very first story.
Angels, Devil Worshippers, Good Guys Vs. Bad Guys, Secret Government Agencies,…this series has it all.
I love it!
The newest story in the series just released-Volume 3 – “The Devil Drives”.
Here is the Amazon Kindle link for the story, the synopsis and a little bit about Murray Pura:

It's been a bad week for Pastor Jude Aaron Blackstone - he's at the centre of an FBI investigation, his girlfriend and him have split, a new sheriff doesn't want Jude to give him any trouble, and life just isn't what it should be. But things are about to get worse. A famous End Times speaker is coming to town and when he teaches something from the Bible, it becomes obvious that what he teaches goes - not only do people take it in hook, line, and sinker, but the events he talks about actually occur. Which would be fine if he was preaching about faith, hope, and love. But when he's teaching from the Book of Revelation about the seven seals, the seven trumpets, 666, and the Beast, it's a recipe for disaster. Especially when those events are not being orchestrated by God but by the devil himself. Jude is about to face a weekend from hell head on, and if hell has its way, there won't be a United States of America come Monday morning or a Jude Aaron Blackstone either.
Murray Andrew Pura was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, and has traveled extensively throughout Canada, the United States, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. Ordained as a Baptist minister in 1986, Pura has served five churches in Canada and headlined numerous speaking engagements in Canada and the United States. He has over 60 stories published, was a contributor to the Life With God Bible, has been a finalist for The Paraclete Fiction Award, The Dartmouth Book Award, and The John Spencer Hill Literary Award, and has been shortlisted for the prestigious 2010 Kobzar Literary Award of Canada.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Meet The Badeau Family!

Meet The Badeau Family
Susan and Hector Badeau, are high school sweethearts. Some call them idealists, some call them angels. Call them whatever you want, they are focused on one thing--the well being of children, all children. They started out together with a plan of having a few children and adopting a few children. They ended up having two biological children and adopting 20 children. Their adopted children came from many different states and countries. They are of all ages, races, and physical, mental, and emotional states of well being.
They have also served as foster parents for more than 50 children in three states, and as a host family for refugee youth from Sudan, Kosovo and Guatemala. They now have over 35 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. They have won numerous awards for their work, including being recognized by President Clinton with an “Adoption Excellence” award, by Congress with an “Angels in Adoption” award and recently as the recipients of the “Beyond Me” award bestowed upon them by best-selling author Kathi Macias..

The Badeau family is made up of many ethnicities and many personalities. Some children were adopted at birth; others were teenagers when they joined the family. Some are from the United States; others are from countries around the world. Some have mental, physical, intellectual, or emotional challenges.

Susan Badeau is a nationally known speaker and writer – addressing such topics as the impact of trauma on children, creating a healing family, and the value of permanence for all children. She has been working as a child welfare professional for over thirty years. Susan and Hector started two adoption agencies together, Root Wings and Adoption Resource Center. Hector has always been the stay at home Dad for the family.

In addition to their own children, Hector and Sue have served as surrogate parents for countless neighborhood and church children. Hector was recently named one of West Mt. Airy Neighbor's 50 Good Neighbors because of his charitable work in the community and with the youth of the community.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Mark Rubinstein Guest Post - "The Magic of a Novel"

The Magic of a Novel

We’ve all had the experience of reading a novel and being caught up not only in the story, but in the characters (think of Gone Girl and Catcher in the Rye). It’s partly a matter of having an interest in one or another genre, but most of us have enjoyed novels that are not from our preferred reading landscape.

There are probably several reasons why a novel can grab and hold you so you’re sorry the read is coming to an end.

First, there’s the story itself. It resonates on some level. It taps into something deep within you—perhaps the situation in which the protagonist is placed, or the twists and turns of the plot fire up your imagination, spurring you on to the next page—and the one after that. It may be the child’s wish, residing in each of us, to know what happens next. Plot matters greatly and shouldn’t be underestimated.

Equally important are the characters populating the novel. You want to care and feel for the protagonist. It matters what happens in his or her life. If he feels fear, you have that feeling. If she feels lust, so must you. If he’s in a jam, you want to sweat along with him. If she feels devastated, you want to feel her anguish. In other words, you want to identify with the character and be inside his or her head and heart while the person negotiates the rigors of the plotline.

The novel must tap into some universal (yet personal) experience. It must reach out from the page and clutch onto some human commonality that exists for all of us. When a novel resonates deeply, it’s usually because you can say I’ve felt that way…exactly that way. When that happens, the author has succeeded in capturing you into the world of his imagination.

Of course, there’s the power of language and dialogue. Dynamic language can describe so much while telling a story. It provides richness, and the scene comes alive. You can see, hear and even smell what’s on the page.

When a writer’s dialogue is crisp and real (think Elmore Leonard), you can actually hear the characters speaking. An old saw has it that dialogue isn’t just what people say to each other, it’s what they do to each other with words. Each word spoken in a novel can connote action, or intention; and add to the story’s narrative drive, its arc…its essence.

People have preferences formed by their individual natures, backgrounds, and cultures. But a good novel can transcend these differences and transport you to another world. It can make you live there and experience what that world is about (think of the Harry Potter novels, The Hunger Games or Game of Thrones).

Artfully written, a novel can make you leave behind your world—at least for the hours you spend reading—and enter the one unfolding on the pages before you.

Now that’s magic.

Mark Rubinstein
Author, Mad Dog House and Love Gone Mad

Mark’s Amazon Author Page link is :

I have Mark’s new release on my Goodreads “Currently Reading List”! Here is the Goodreads link to the novel :

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Patti J. Smith launches a new Mystery/Suspense series: "Grave Obsessions".

He noticed a strong odor as he moved the curtains to look inside. A vile liquid surged up his throat and spilled out on the grass. He grabbed his cell phone and called 911.
Thus begins the case that unnerves the most seasoned veterans on the force. A witness interview leads Detective Dallas Keegan and her partner to evidence that puts the investigation into overdrive. HE IS NOT DONE. Her personal life unravels as she hunts down this demon while fighting her own.
Patti J. Smith lives in Vista, CA, is married and the grandmother of two. She recently retired as a background investigator to care for her parents and uncle which provided her an opportunity to pursue her passion of writing. Patti has written poetry since childhood; however, heard the calling to write devotionals. Through her work she hopes to spread the message of God's endless love, mercy and compassion.
She sings in her parish choir, co-leads Rachel's Hope Post-Abortion Healing retreats in San Diego County and developed a follow-up retreat, "The Healing Continues". She also serves as a Regional Coordinator for the Silent No More Awareness Campaign.
The Amazon Kindle link for Patti’s story is: