Tuesday, December 24, 2013

50 States of Pray + Indie Book Review: The Hunted

My friend, Mark Koopmans, has come up with this wonderful blogfest 50 States of Pray, where on Christmas Eve hopefully people from each of the states will share our prayers, hopes, dreams, disappointments and whatever else for 2013 and onto 2014, all in about 100 words. Now, that’s a challenge!

From California, in 2013, I have:

  • Published my second book, Salted With Fire.
  • Learned to claim my genre, Christian speculative fiction;
  • Read and reviewed many indie books;
  • Started my journey for a healthier me;
  • Had a wonderful vacation in Hawaii and met Mr. Koopmans;
  • And I have found a new church that I’m falling in love with.
  • I've also spent too much money on a publicist;
  • And didn't get as many book sales as I'd wished.
  • But I do know that God has much more in store for me!

My prayer for 2014 is that I will:

  • Continue to grow in Christ;
  • Boldly and productively use the gifts God has given me;
  • Get my 3rd and 4th books published;
  • And start the beginning stages of my plan to develop an indie publishing/distribution business.

God bless you all, and have a Merry Christmas!

Karen Black's The Hunted


When Yvonne’s tranquil existence is invaded by nighttime terror, her days become haunted, filled with exhaustion and fear. From a garden lush with lavender to a forest brimming with danger, the Hunted will take you on a journey bursting with perplexity, incomprehension and disbelief. In the end, you’ll understand.

My Review:

A nicely detailed story of a hunted woman living in two worlds, one a dream, the other real. There is great characterization in this short tale. The intensity of the chase in one world, coupled with the relaxed lifestyle of the other world, draw the reader into the mystery of this story. The catcher is the ending that comes out of nowhere to give the reader that final-line joy.

Author Bio:

An unexpected twist is typically woven into Karen's stories, many of which a include a paranormal influence. She has published three individual short stories: "A Candle in the Darkness", "Mountain Justice," and "The Hunted." Those three stories, along with three others, are contained in the recently released "Stories for the Dead of Night," by The Seven Fates Writers.
Karen Black and her husband live in Pennsylvania, with two small, but delightful alien creatures, disguised as cats. One of the little critters is thought to be ET's second cousin, although that has not been confirmed. She believes in ghosts, and loves all things mystical and unexplained.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Celebrate! + Indie Book Review: Watcher

It’s been quite a while since I’ve posted on VikLit’s blog hop, Celebrate the SmallThings. but today’s a good day to re-indulge. It’s been a good few months. Though I've decided to slow down my blogging significantly, I plan to be involved with this meme at least once or twice a month.

**Last week, I was in Hawaii, and met up with a great blogger friend, Mark Koopmans. Here’s a pic (just be gracious in your comments.) He’s definitely a sweetheart, and my sister and I had a fantastic time in Honolulu. You can see his blog post of our visit by clicking here.

**The Kindle version of Anticipation of the Penitent is free on Amazon.com from today, 12/20 to Sunday, 12/22. Spread the word!

**An interview will be posted today regarding Anticipation of the Penitent at Indie Author Land, a free spot for promoting yourself.

**I’ve finished my Christmas shopping and even wrapping way ahead of time! First time in… forever. :)

 **And, here’s another indie book review:

Watcher - A Short Story Of Terror [Second Edition]
by Alen B. Curtiss


The stalker - spending his time observing, following, studying those who he calls his Play Mates. His victims - spending their time living their lives, going about their daily routines, oblivious to the fact they have been singled out, have been selected to participate in the End Game.

Driven by a need even he doesn't fully understand, the stalker is compelled to play his game until the very end, compelled to ensure he and his chosen Play Mate are locked together, as close as lovers, as the End Game concludes. It is his game. They are his rules.

But what will happen if one of his victims refuses to play his game, refuses to abide by his rules. Will the End Game be completed, as dictated by the stalker's primal urges, or will a new and even more sinister game be created?

My Review: 

A short story of horror, Watcher goes into the mind and acts of a grizzly stalker, rapist and killer. The killer's motivation are thoroughly hashed out, and how you think the story will play out, thankfully, does not. Instead, the story ends with a not-so-nice twist. Some of the storyline could have been developed and "shown" more instead of being "told." Lingering questions, however, keep you intrigued even after the story ends. In the whole, this was an entertaining story into a demented mind.

Author Bio:

Born in the southern counties of England, Alen has travelled extensively throughout the UK, living for a time in most of it’s various different regions.
Now settled in the Lake District, Cumbria (local to Penrith), he has decided to dedicate his time to one of his greatest passions – writing. An avid reader, and a big fan of horror, fantasy, sci-fi, adventure, and anything else in between, Alen has decided to write in all the various styles that he loves.
As he has said – “They say a journey of a thousand miles starts with the first step. I say a journey into the fabulous unknown begins with the first word on a blank page.”

Get your copy from Amazon.com for $1.50.
Alen B. Curtiss' blog.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

A Journal Past Blast with a date! + Indie Book Review: In The Beginning

For this Tuesday’s Journal Past Blast, I have a poem that is actually dated. Don’t know how good it is, but hey! It’s good to have a time reference, which was the winter before my study abroad in Italy after my first year in college. Anyone got any comments on this?

In my life
   I see only pain.
When my mind is free
   I dream fantasies.
But if my heart stumbles across
   the wines, then my eyes open
   to the truth.
I cry pure and loud. If only
   the gods could fee my sorrow,
   there would be no end to
But the gods see only my
   clear mind, and their actions
   are of peace!


In 1997, Justin Dickerson, a Biblical Archaeologist, jumps at the opportunity to attend the Fifty Year Jubilee commemorating the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls. The invitation to
Jerusalem could not have come at a better time. Her life is almost unbearable. Travel,
conversation with colleagues, and celebrating the find that stunned the Christian and secular world alike in 1949 promises a wonderful diversion from personal angst. 

However, in the bustling metropolis of Jerusalem she learns that some of the 2,000 year old manuscripts, once hidden in clay pots in the caves of Qumran, may have been purposely destroyed. Obsessed with the discovery, Justin determines to find the truth. Family and an abiding faith are her anchors as she discovers the answer to Earth's ancient mysteries: What
really happened In the Beginning...

My Review:

Extraordinary book, with realistic characters, in some cases, irritatingly so – purposefully mastered by the author – and the plot is unpredictable. Great storytelling. Though the writing needs quite a bit of editing, even without it, I found the book, especially the latter half, to be a joy and couldn’t wait to get to the end of it… and am looking forward to see whether I’ll learn the rest of our history in a sequel.

About the Author:

Born and raised in Ohio, Ms. Vandiver is a former lawyer and college professor of Economics. She holds a bachelors in Economics, a masters in Public Administration and a Juris Doctor. These days, Ms. Vandiver enjoys writing and endeavors to devote all her extra time to it.
Her debut novel, In the Beginning, an Amazon #1 BEST SELLER in its category was written on a whim, put in a box for more than a decade, and finally pulled out, dusted off and published in 2013. It has inspired her to write a sequel as well as start a series of books loosely based on her family.
Ms. Vandiver resides in Cleveland, Ohio and has three wonderful grandchildren, Gavin, Sydne and Riley.

In the Beginning can be purchased here for .99 on Amazon.com.

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