Monday Mentions – The Commandment by Anna Kittrell

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Please welcome Anna Kittrell to The West Corner! She’s here today with her brand-new Christian futuristic sci-fi novel, The Commandment.

Book Description

The Commandment cover artTen years ago, Briar’s body rejected a government mandated vaccine known as SAP (Serum to Advance Progressivism), formulated to erase God from the mind. Briar was seven years old. She’s been on house arrest ever since.
Now, just weeks from becoming a legal adult, Briar remains non-responsive to her mandatory SAP injections. Along with her rapidly approaching eighteenth birthday looms a grim reality: by order of the Commandment, adulthood means institutionalization for those resistant to SAP.
In a matter of days, Briar will become a permanent resident of the ARC—a facility shrouded in dark rumors of torture, experimentation, and death. Her only alternative is to accept a last minute ultimatum to become a laboratory test subject for a new God-dissolving serum.

With a decade of solitude behind her and a lifetime of confinement before her—what does she have to lose? Except maybe her soul.

Excerpt

“It’s late September, not the middle of July,” Briar’s mother said, blotting her forehead as she clipped down the walkway toward the car. “Seems Mother Nature didn’t get the memo.”

“Can I drive?” Briar jogged to the driver’s side.

“We’ve already discussed this. You’re not allowed behind the wheel until that thing comes off your leg.” Her mother nodded toward the clunky black box strapped around Briar’s ankle.

The infamous ankle monitor—aka life destroyer. Briar’s electronic prison guard since age seven.

“But that’s so ridiculous. What am I going to do, pick up a bunch of other unlevels and start a crusade? Come on, please? Just to the clinic. They’ll never know.”

“Don’t argue, just get in.” She aimed the key fob at the car.

“You know, Mom, if you had a cuffphone, like the rest of the population, you wouldn’t need that old fob. The car would sense you coming and the door would pop open on its own.”

Briar drudged around to the passenger side and climbed in, the headachy sweet scent of floral air freshener hitting her between the eyes.

Her mom slid behind the wheel and clicked her seatbelt. “Buckle up,” she said, double-glancing at her daughter. “What on earth is that on your head?”

“You noticed?” Briar pulled the seatbelt over her shoulder and snapped it, catching a section of long blue hair in the clasp. “I was chatting with Mouse online, trying to cheer him up.” She plucked the wig from her head, freed the strands from the buckle, and pushed the wig into her bag, causing her furry keychain to fall out onto her lap.

“He was sad about losing his dad.”

The little boy’s face had crumpled as he’d told her he wanted his dad back. She’d known how to make him feel better but had swallowed the comforting Bible verse on her tongue—one of many her grandmother had taught her as a child—and put on the silly wig instead. Blue hair was acceptable. Reciting scripture would get her arrested. Sharing Christian faith was illegal by law of The Commandment. The crime carried an even stiffer penalty than skipping a SAP injection or disabling a fleshcard.

Not that either of those things meant anything to Briar. Her body repeatedly rejected the Serum to Accelerate Progressivism, meaning she had no need for the under-the-skin device that kept track of SAP levels in the brain. Her body’s intolerance of SAP was the reason she couldn’t take a walk around the neighborhood, or drive—or do anything that made life worth living.

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The Commandment is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Prism Book Group.

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Book Trailer

About the Author

photo of author Anna KittrellAnna works as a middle school secretary in her beloved hometown of Anadarko, Oklahoma, where she resides with her high school sweetheart-turned-husband, Tim. She has written for as long as she can remember, and still has many of her tattered creations—stories she used to sell on the playground for a dime, written on notebook paper. Her love of storytelling has grown throughout the years, and she is thrilled her tales are now worth more than ten cents.

Connect with Anna Kittrell online

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Wednesday Words – JoAnn Carter

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Please welcome author JoAnn Carter to The West Corner!

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I have been reading and praying over Psalm 86 for the past couple of days. It struck me how unnatural David’s Psalm is — and just how special his relationship with the Lord was. Why? Well, I am surrounded by family members who love me. If we go out to eat — they want to treat, if we want to do something together — they want to know what I want to do. They give, give, give of themselves in many different ways. However, when I want to pay the bill at the restaurant or do whatever it is they would like to do, it’s like I hit a brick wall. It’s hard to receive sometimes, isn’t it? Doubly hard to ask for help, when I want to think I can make it on my own.

David strips all this away. He lays out his heart knowing he needs God as he calls upon His name. He acknowledges who God is and how needy he, as a man is; so much so that it plainly states that in the first verse… “ I am needy.”

Do you feel needy today? This passage is a great reminder of God’s strength, His mercy and compassion. Don’t try to go it alone. The Lord is a good, good father who delights in you. He knows your needs, your hurts, your story. He also knows how He’s using these things in your life to draw you closer to him, grow your character, and give you an undivided heart.

About the Author

photo of author JoAnn CarterJoAnn Carter is married to a fantastic husband who has been in youth ministry for 27+ years. The Lord has blessed them with four children. Currently residing in Vermont, she enjoys being with her family & friends, writing, reading, exercising, and cooking. For her “day job” she works as a Licensed Practical Nurse. The love of writing was something she discovered after her children were born. Her main goal is to encourage readers of all ages and to strengthen their faith in our amazing God.

Please feel free to check out her Amazon author page

Daniella cover artBook Description

When Harrison Beckman meets his father’s secretary, Daniella Duncan, she’s shy and self-conscious. Harrison, however, is determined to get to know her better. Before he gets to do that a rival comes along to steal Dani’s heart as quickly and thoroughly as the company’s contracts, which have been disappearing. As the mystery unfolds, Harrison has to fight for the woman he loves, even though this means crossing swords with his father and his determined adversary. Will Harrison be able to find the love that could await them or will it be too late?

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Daniella is available from Amazon.

Monday Mentions – Luna’s Treasure by Mary L. Ball

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Please welcome Mary L. Ball to The West Corner! She’s here today with her Christian romantic suspense novel Luna’s Treasure, Celestial Investigation book 2.

Book Description

Luna's Treasure cover artLuna Kast, surveillance specialist at Celestial Investigation stays one-step away from danger. In her personal life, she treasures tranquility. She meets Kevin Hollings. He seems shy and levelheaded, but she’s been duped before and has no intention of making another mistake.

Luna and Kevin become cyber friends, but while their relationship grows, so do her problems. When her latest case turns deadly, and she finds Kevin in the arms of another woman, Luna’s hope for a peaceful life are once again, dashed. Can she stay planted in her belief that God leads those who are faithful?

“Luna’s Treasure,” Celestial Investigation, book two. A Christian romantic suspense based on three sisters. Their P.I. skills come in handy in the quaint town of Mercy, North Carolina, a place where romance and mystery unite.

Excerpt

“Maybe the thief has…” She stopped short with her rambling as a customer crossed the threshold. Luna semi-grinned at the young man who’d purchased chewing gum the night before.

The stranger’s navy blue pullover appeared to be too big for his skinny frame and just as before, his thick beard and attached hood hung down toward his face and made it hard to pick out any unique facial features. He ambled to the middle of the store, looked around and approached the counter. Blood-shot eyes focused on her.

Luna rubbed her neck and shivered as a chill crossed her arms. Engulfed with a sense of uneasiness she moved her hand closer to the underside of the counter where she’d stashed her revolver. “May I help you?”

“Sure.” He smirked. “Gimme the cash now.” Clenched teeth followed the harsh whisper as he pulled a gun from his pocket and waved it toward the register.

“Okay. Calm down. No one needs to get hurt.” Luna barely moved her left hand while her mind replayed tactics she’d been taught in target shooting. Any distraction will give you time to make a move.

“Hurry it up.” The robber exhaled. His cheeks flared.

“What’s that?” Luna glanced to her right and slightly changed her tone, as if excited. “Lady.” The man trailed her gaze.

The response was quick, but it gave Luna the second she needed. She grabbed her gun, stepped back and squeezed the trigger. A bang filled the room.

The robber lost grip on his firearm and fell to the floor.

He stretched out his hand to go for the revolver.

Another thunderous blast echoed in the room.

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Luna’s Treasure is available from Amazon.

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About the Author

photo of author Mary L. BallMary L. Ball is a multi-published Christian author. She resides in the heart of North Carolina.

When she isn’t working on her latest story, she enjoys fishing, reading, and ministering in song with her husband.

Readers can connect with her on her web page, Face Book or Twitter.

Connect with Mary L. Ball online

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Visit Mary’s singing ministry site: http://heirsofsalvation2.webs.com

Wednesday Words – Lisa Lickel

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Please welcome author Lisa Lickel to The West Corner! She’s here today to talk about how writers can stay motivated during the summer months.

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Five Tips to Stay Writing Motivated During the Summer Doldrums

Nobody works in France during the month of August, except service people who cater to crazy tourists. Just sayin’. Most of the publishing industry shuts down across the northern hemisphere during the summer months, at least until early fall. Books come out in late spring for summer reading, or anticipation is built for fall/holiday releases. Slush piles at publishers and agents grow like they’ve been fed atomic waste. When I was growing up in my family of public school teachers, my “year” began in September and ended in June. The ten weeks until school started again in late August or early September was a sort of innocuous nether time spent waiting, filled with camping, a few weeks of baseball and swimming lessons for the kids. During this odd “time out” how can we stay fresh and keep writing?

1. Plan Ahead as much as you can. Figure out when you need to fix meals, bake, clean, attend activities. Wil you be vacationing or hosting company? Even for SOTPanster writers, a general working schedule will help you use your time efficiently. Maybe you can use car or plane time to think about your work in progress, even if you don’t write well while in motion. It could be a good time to catch up on some reading and book reviews or learning the latest industry changes. Write a batch of tweets to automate or send when you have a couple of minutes.

2. Chart Deadlines in a way you can readily access them. I like to make lists and cross things off—gives me a keen sense of accomplishment. Maybe you like to use your portable phone and program chimes or make lists and email yourself reminders. Automating some of these goals helps unclutter your mind so you can grab free, unencumbered moments to write. Make three goals for the fall and winter, whether it’s to finish or start something new, or submit when publisher’s reading schedules reopen.

3. Think Small batches of time to spend with your story. Grab moments while waiting in line, after the kids go to bed or before they get up. Think smaller, as in 10 tweets instead of an hour roaming Pinterest; write 500 words, not conquer chapter 10. Write scenes or character motivations for a while to recharge yourself. Research two or three agents or publishers and study the better-selling books in your genre to see what attracts their audience. Note scene and setting details while you’re in a different environment than home or work, like the texture of the sand, smells at the picnic, the people who are visiting the park with you.

4. Network during this time. It’s not pushy sales time, but sharing time. Be able to answer coherently, So, what are you up to these days? And listen when you ask the question. Take some moments to research your audience hangouts and venues for promotion, find new groups to join, new writing opportunities. Writing is much more than putting words on paper. Pick up the latest books at the library, find a book discussion club to join, comment on interviews, read, read, read, and write reviews!

5. Give Yourself Permission to set work aside. If you’re anything like me, you feel guilty if you’re not multi-tasking or spending at least a full workday of hours on your manuscript. But the one Commandment Christians seem the most willing to fudge on is that Sabbath one—Number Three: REST from your labors, keep some holy time in your week. It’s okay. You’ll be more productive when your eyes aren’t drooping and your mind isn’t trying to solve four problems at once. God made it so. The least we can do is agree.

About the Author

Photo of author Lisa LickelLisa Lickel is a Wisconsin writer who lives in the rolling hills of western Wisconsin. A multi-published, best-selling and award-winning novelist, she also writes short stories and radio theater, is an avid book reviewer, blogger, a freelance editor, and publishing coach. She is part of Novel-in-Progress Bookcamp and Writing Retreat, Inc., mentoring writers from across the US.

Website | Facebook | Goodreads |Twitter | Amazon

Late summer read for you! Shhh…it’s free on Smashwords.

Requiem for the Innocents cover artRequiem for the Innocents

Justice, mercy, and humbleness collide when four people pray for different answers to the same situation. How will God answer all of them?

What is wrong with trying to cure cancer? Brother Able, hospice chaplain, asks himself that question every day. His boss, Dr. Rich Bernard, performs closet genetic experiments at Paradise House. He blackmails Able into keeping his secret. When a grieving husband asks Able to pray for his dying wife, Able finally breaks his silence.

Libby Davis might be prepared to accept death, to sacrifice herself for Rich’s greater cause but fails to comprehend the love of a husband who cannot let her go and the son who’s a whisper from the edge of reason. Brother Able wades into battle for those innocents in her life. If he wins, it won’t be only Libby’s family he saves.

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Requiem for the Innocents is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Kobo, and Smashwords.

Monday Mentions – Flowers from Afghanistan by Suzy Parish

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Please welcome Suzy Parish to The West Corner! She’s here today with her brand-new book, Flowers from Afghanistan!

Book Description

Flowers from Afghanistan cover artWeighed down by guilt following the death of his two-year-old son, Mac McCann accepts a year-long position training police officers in Afghanistan. Leaving his wife Sophie to grieve alone, he hopes the life-or-death distractions of his self-imposed exile will build a wall between him and his pain. As camaraderie builds between Mac and the men on base—including a local barber and his precocious little boy—Mac’s heart becomes invested in stories beyond his own tragedy and he learns he is not the only one running from loss. But when the hour of attack arrives, will he be able to see past his guilt to believe there’s still something—and someone—worth living for? With touching details based on true events, Flowers from Afghanistan is a redemptive journey of healing, a chronicle of hope in crisis, and a testament to the faithfulness of God through it all.

Book Trailer

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Flowers from Afghanistan is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo, and Pelican Book Group.

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About the Author

photo of author Suzy ParishSuzy Parish is an author at Pelican Book Group. Suzy wrote as a Community Columnist for the Huntsville Times. She is currently a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW). Her novel, Flowers from Afghanistan was a semi-finalist in the Genesis contest for 2013. Suzy discovered her love of books as a child in Richmond, Virginia when she took refuge from the summer heat in the local Bookmobile. She believes in the power of literacy to improve the lives of individuals and stewards a Little Free Library in a local park.

Connect with Suzy Parish online

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Wednesday Words – Ruth Buchanan

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Please welcome author Ruth Buchanan to The West Corner!

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Confessions of an All-Weather Christian

Florida’s the Sunshine State. At least, according to our state nickname. The truth, however, is that although Florida does see its fair share of (very bright!) sunshine, the expectations set by our nickname don’t exactly line up with reality.

Florida is not America’s sunniest state (it’s actually the sixth sunniest); and it also sees more partially-cloudy days than any other state in the continental United States. The warm surrounding waters of the Atlantic, the Caribbean, and the Gulf—along with high temperatures, humidity, and long rainy seasons—see to that.

It’s the reason why although the sun is currently shining and the birds tweeting, my entire neighborhood is still one giant puddle.

None of this is a problem if you’re prepared, of course, which is why smart Floridians arm themselves with sunglasses and umbrellas most of the year. We’ve learned that no matter what the skies look like when we leave the house, pretty much anything can happen at any time.

While living in Florida, I’ve discovered parallels to living the Christian life. If I launch into life expecting nothing but sunshine and mild breezes, I’d be flabbergasted when thunderclaps break over my head. But if I adjust my expectations to reality—that in this life I will have tribulation—then I can be of good cheer, knowing my Savior has overcome the world.

Our Jesus cautioned his followers that we will face storms. He shared this information not to frighten us but to give us peace.

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33, ESV)

We find our hearts at peace not when every situation is as we’d wish but when we’re prepared to face whatever comes.

So we turn our faces to the light, sunglasses in place and flip-flops on our feet, but umbrellas firmly in hand and hurricane shutters stacked in the garage—just in case.

Whatever’s coming, we’re ready.

About the Author

photo of author Ruth BuchananRuth Buchanan is a Christian freelance writer who holds degrees in ministry and theology. She writes fiction, non-fiction, plays, and sacred scripts. She’s an eager reader, an enthusiastic traveler, and the world’s most reluctant runner. Ruth loves Jesus, family, church, friends, and coffee. She lives and works in South Florida. You can learn more about her and her books by visiting RuthBuchananAuthor.com.

Collapsible cover artCheck Out Book 1 in the Collapsible trilogy!

Rachel Cooper has life under control: good job, good friends, and good plans for the future. All of that collapses one early morning when she falls and breaks her ankle. Now she must face the horrors of preparing for an upcoming move and handling her tenth year of teaching while clomping around on crutches. Worse, somewhere in the shadows, the Memento Killer lurks—a serial murderer who stalks women with four anonymous gifts before moving in for the kill. When unexpected presents begin arriving on Rachel’s doorstep, she fears that she’ll soon be crutching for her life. Check out Collapsible: A novel of friendship, broken bones, coffee, shenanigans, and the occasional murder.

Monday Mentions – The Last Detail by Lisa Lickel

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Please welcome Lisa Lickel to The West Corner! She’s here today with her book The Last Detail.

Book Description

The Last Detail cover artHope, love, and loss meld two polar opposite personalities. How long can they keep passion for their ministry and each other after the wedding?

Medical missionary and avowed bachelor Merit Campbell is wounded during a skirmish at his Mideast clinic and sent home to recover. Restlessness propels him to explore the happier moments of his childhood in Illinois where he meets Amalia Kennedy, owner of The Last Detail, who enjoys helping people prepare for their final years. Merit ushers in new life; Amalia ushers it out. Love? Obviously. Marriage? Check. Dealing with the family closet? Step back…

Excerpt

Seven seconds. Merit counted silently from the time the last missile whined past his ear. Senna’s goon needed seven seconds to reload. Merit ignored the flash on his right and kept his eyes on the child who sat in the dirt about a dozen long steps in front of him, waving her tiny fists.

After the next barrage of fire went silent, Merit took off in a crouching run, grabbed Tangra’s youngest granddaughter, Mardra, and rushed toward the nearest pile of rocks. The punch and stabbing sensation in his left shoulder, followed by a thud, let him know he had almost made it. As he was lifted off his feet, he thrust the child he’d delivered last spring into her father’s outstretched arms. As gravity reclaimed him his left foot plunged between stones. His ankle twisted viciously as strong hands pulled him to relative safety amongst the band of defenders.

The child began to scream when her uncle fired his weapon close to her little ears. Merit felt like doing the same as his ankle thrummed and ground with his every movement. Broken, at least. No competition for the shoulder wound. He took Mardra back into his arms so her father could aim his US-made hunting rifle, meant for small game—not humans—back toward Senna’s position.

Merit hunched over the little girl as a brilliant flame arced overhead. A ground-shaking explosion followed, then smoke and men’s shouts and the acrid scent of the rocket’s accelerant. He hoped he wouldn’t have to run, because he couldn’t. Nothing he could do but pray between the throbs of searing pain and deep anger at Senna.

The baby wiggled, tugging Merit’s heartstrings away from his fury. It wasn’t her fault her grandfather’s rival destroyed Merit’s life work. Both factions were going to miss the little missionary medical clinic Merit ran in the mountains of Nehrangestan, a tiny spot on National Geographic’s map of Asia.

Something tickled. Wha—oh, right—blood from the shoulder wound. He touched the front of his blue shirt then looked at the growing red stain flowing like a waterfall. Tentatively, he reached behind his collarbone and hissed at the gouge. Not serious. He’d probably get a nice scar out of it. Senna’s pound of flesh. Merit shifted the baby and tried to flex his ankle. He bit back a scream and panted while sparkles pulsed in the fringe of his vision. Yeah, broken.

Well, that answered that question. If he got out of here alive, the mission board would make him go home for treatment. Question was, how soon could he get back to rebuild the clinic?

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The Last Detail is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords.

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About the Author

photo of author Lisa LickelLisa Lickel is a Wisconsin writer who lives in the rolling hills of western Wisconsin. A multi-published, best-selling and award-winning novelist, she also writes short stories and radio theater, is an avid book reviewer, blogger, a freelance editor, and publishing coach. She is part of Novel-in-Progress Bookcamp and Writing Retreat, Inc., mentoring writers from across the US. Visit http://www.LisaLickel.com.

Connect with Lisa Lickel online

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Goodreads

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Amazon author page: http://amzn.to/2bPxi2X