Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Book Blast: Helping Hands by Ken Saik






Title: Helping Hands
Author: Ken Saik
Publisher: iUniverse
Genre: Fiction/Romance
Format: Ebook

Jill Kreshky is recently divorced. She is doing her best to reclaim her life. After an accident causes her to spend six weeks alone in a hospital, she is haunted by the awareness that she must find a way to once again become part of her children’s lives. Unfortunately, Jill doesn’t have a car, her job is temporarily on hold, her bank account is empty. There is no question that Jill needs encouragement from someone she can trust. After she learns that a church friend, Bill Wynchuk, has been more loyal to her than she ever realized, Jill decides to invite him for supper. As he relies on his faith and skills as a psychologist to lovingly lead Jill to appreciate her inner strength and need for the Lord, she gains insights that propel her down a path of reconciliation that helps her mend relations with her son and return to Ontario to face her greatest fears about her family and unveil a deeply buried secret. In this inspirational story, a woman attempting to reclaim her life is led on an emotional journey, with help from a devoted friend, that ultimately reveals the truth and prompts her to seek forgiveness.

PURCHASE HERE


Ken Saik is a committed Christian who retired after thirty-one years of teaching social studies to pursue writing fiction and poetry. To date, he has published three novellas and a novel, Baggage Burdens. Saik currently resides in Spruce Grove, Alberta, Canada.

GIVEAWAY

Ken IS GIVING AWAY A $25 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 Gift Certificate to the e-retailer of your choice
  • This giveaway begins October 22 and ends on November 2.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on November 3.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone! 

ENTER TO WIN!

Ken Saik is a committed Christian who retired after thirty-one years of teaching social studies to pursue writing fiction and poetry. To date, he has published three novellas and a novel, Baggage Burdens. Saik currently resides in Spruce Grove, Alberta, Canada.






Spotlight and Filling in the Blanks with Linda Lo Scuro, Author of 'The Sicilian Woman's Daughter'




Genre: Mystery/Women’s Fiction
Author: Linda Lo Scuro
Publisher:   Sparkling Books
Purchase link:  
Follow the author: 


About The Sicilian Woman’s Daughter

When the novel opens, Maria, the novel’s protagonist is living a charmed and comfortable life with her husband, banker Humphrey and children, in London.   The daughter of Sicilian immigrants, Maria turned her back on her origins during her teens to fully embrace the English way of life.

Despite her troubled and humble childhood, Maria, through her intelligence, beauty and sheer determination, triumphantly works her way up to join the upper middle-class of British society.  But when a minor incident awakens feelings of revenge in her, Maria is forced to confront–and examine—her past. 

As she delves deeper into her mothers family history, a murky past unravels—and Maria is swept up in a deadly and dangerous mire of vendetta.  Will Maria’s carefully-constructed, seemingly-idyllic life unravel?  Expect the unexpected in this outstanding new mystery….

The Sicilian Woman’s Daughter is a brilliantly-plotted, exceedingly well-told tale.  Novelist Linda Lo Scuro delivers a confident and captivating tale brimming with tantalizing twists, turns, and surprise, a to-die-for plot, and realistic, multi-dimensional characters.  Thoughtful and thought-provoking, rich and riveting, The Sicilian Woman’s Daughter is destined to stay with readers long after the final page is turned.

Filling in the Blanks with the Author...


1.    The best part of writing is being engrossed in the story.
2.    The most challenging part of writing is finding the time to do it.
3.    My absolute favorite part of the writing process is being engrossed in the story, seeing how the characters develop and what they do.
4.    My absolute least favorite part of the writing process isediting.
5.    I seem to come up with the best writing ideas when ….the ideas come at different times, even when it's inconvenient so I have to rush off and write them down.
6.    If I ever get “stuck” when I am writing, I get through it bydoing some editing.
7.    Pride and Prejudice is the book that changed my life.
8.    Pride and Prejudice is the book I wish I had written.
9.    Life is better with a book.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Going for Broke Blog Tour @shannonmedisky #Christian #nonfiction




Going for Broke: How to Suffer Well, Christian/Devotional/Nonfiction, 110 pp., $8.99 (paperback) $4.99 (kindle)


Title: GOING FOR BROKE: HOW TO SUFFER WELL
Author: Shannon Medisky
Publisher: Independent
Pages: 61
Genre: Christian Nonfiction/Devotional

Hardship hurts and suffering sucks.
But there’s very important work—and rewards—we need to be occupied with in the middle of it all.
Suffering has a way of stretching us beyond ourselves. It prompts us to stretch outside of our current comfort zones. But no matter how we feel, we don’t have to be buried by our challenges and circumstances. Instead, we can recognize that God has planted us right where we are for a reason: It’s time to get growing.
Here’s how.

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INTRODUCTION
 
Einstein once said, "God doesn't play dice." He also made it very clear that he didn't believe in a personal God, but rather he trusted that there were underlying laws of nature that made perfect sense of some of the science (mainly quantum mechanics) that even he couldn't wrap his brilliant mind around.
Einstein was an incredible man of science, but he also appreciated that he couldn't make sense of everything. Yet, even in the midst of this, Einstein professed that there still had to be a rhyme and reason to it all. Even if he or current science couldn't make sense of it, Einstein held the belief that there was still a structure, an order behind it all.
I believe the same is true for suffering. I believe this because I've seen evidence of it firsthand.
To put it bluntly, I watch my son die a slow, painful death daily. He suffers terribly, and my heart suffers, too. My heart breaks each time he cries out to me for comfort and relief, and there's nothing I can do.
My head is weary of keeping tabs of his daily intake of protein. Too little and he becomes catabolic, metabolizing his own muscle tissue. Too much, and ammonia levels rise in his blood stream causing debilitating headaches and irreversible cognitive loss. There's no cure, and that's just the tip of the medical and genetic iceberg.
There's also the GRIN2B genetic mutation that causes my son debilitating joint pain, short and long-term memory loss and yet more metabolic issues. His specific mutation causes his body to convert the amino acid called arginine to histidine. This poor kid can't seem to eat enough food to ever really feel full because he can't eat more than about 15 grams of protein per day.
Think about that for a moment.
Imagine being underweight with low muscle tone, experiencing constant headaches and joint pain and then never feeling fully satiated…and that's when he actually feels up to eating at all.
It's hard enough to watch Mark suffer, to walk through all of this with him. I can't imagine how difficult it must be to be him.
Mark’s physical suffering alone is staggering to imagine. Prior to joining our family through adoption, Mark was subject to severe abuse and neglect. Deprived of basic nutrition, physical touch and comfort as an infant, it's not surprising that he suffered cognitively, developmentally and behaviorally as a result.
I share all of this because I've heard it said that one should write about what one knows. The last ten years have taught me quite a bit about suffering: how it feels, the toll it takes, and just how unsettling it is when looking ahead holds no promise of relief or respite. I know how it feels to not be able to quite catch your breath, to feel completely and utterly helpless, to vacillate between wondering if you're (really) strong enough to keep going or when exactly you're going to fall apart.
It's from this place that I write about suffering, an open, raw place of complete transparency, because frankly I don't think there's enough out there about it. Everyone experiences hardship at some point. Christ even told us to expect it (John 16:33). Yet most every blog post, podcast and article I’ve come across covers how to get out of it, how to avoid it or—even worse—does a tremendous disservice by quickly trying to sugarcoat it. Suffering is rarely if ever a choice. It’s a natural part of the human experience. So, why isn’t there more help out there on how to do it well?
I believe in the power of prayer. I know God can—and still does—move mountains. I also know that God allows suffering, too. Suffering is a part of His plan. If it weren't, Noah would've never been stuck on that big boat after watching everything he’d ever known be engulfed in water. Joseph never would've been thrown into a pit, sold into slavery and imprisoned. Jesus Himself would never have been ridiculed, tortured and crucified.
During my prayers for Mark's relief and the easing of my own emotional burden, none of this escapes me.
We don't have to relish suffering. We don't have to run after it. It's completely natural to want to avoid it. Even Christ prayed to the Father and asked that suffering be taken from Him if it was within God's will (Mark 14:36). But sometimes suffering is a part of the plan, a piece of the story that God is weaving together in our lives. If we know this is true, that sometimes suffering is a part of the Lord’s greater plan, then doesn't it make sense to prepare for it as best we can?
It has been said that misery loves company, so I took the hint. I dove into Scripture and surrounded myself with what felt like old friends, but I visited with them in different ways. While their stories were nothing new, I connected with what their emotional experiences must have been in brand new and very personal ways. I noted what they did and how God responded to their thoughts, words and actions. I found patterns and parallels. In my searching, I discovered evidence time and time again that God truly does meet us in our mess.
Jesus said, "What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops" (Matthew 10:27 ESV).
Jesus will tell us things in the dark when we're unsure and insecure. It is in this darkness where He whispers to us, sharing things that are only accessible when we're willing, able and waiting to hear.
Suffering is often the place of this darkness.
During suffering we're broken enough to stop listening to ourselves, and instead tune in more carefully to His whispers. Ironically enough, it's usually in the middle of hardship where our relationship with Jesus can truly grow the most. Whether we like it or not, hardship often pushes us out of our comfort zones. Suffering enables us to grow through what we go through.
From this perspective, what a tremendous opportunity suffering can be!
Yes, hardship hurts.
Yes, suffering sucks.
But there's very important work—and rewards—we need to be occupied with in the middle of it all. That's exactly how this book is different. In the pages that follow, you won't discover how to pray your way out of challenges and pain. Quite the opposite, actually. You'll be encouraged to go for broke, to face suffering head on in anticipation of meeting God personally in brand new ways. Suffering has a way of stretching us beyond ourselves. It prompts us to reach outside of our current comfort zones.
This book has been designed to help you take full advantage of this, to essentially help you not waste your pain. If God allows us to suffer, then we can rest assured that it isn't and won't be for not (Romans 8:28).
Suffering isn't just an experience or state we're in. It's a skill, too.
We can squander our experiences and energy trying to spin our wheels to get out of suffering as soon as we can (and sometimes futilely so) or we can choose to suffer well. We can be intentional about how we respond to suffering. We can work on ourselves, actively seeking to grow into all that God wants us to be. We can work on our listening skills, discovering how to quiet ourselves and the chaos around us. We can practice and grow in patience as we wait on God, His will, and His timing. In short, we can recognize with our choices and our actions that, yes, suffering is in God's plan for us, too.
If you're suffering now, I hope this book serves as a tool to help you feel less helpless. I hope that it helps you discover new opportunities to grow closer to and experience God in ways you've never known before. I hope that it helps you realize that you are not buried by your current circumstance or hardship even if that's exactly how you feel, but rather God has planted you right where you are for a reason: It's just time to get growing.











 








“Shannon’s writing is infused with an abiding passion, a marked sensitivity to the needs of her readers and a tangible wisdom gleaned from real life experience,” Danielle D.
Shannon Medisky is a leading expert in struggling with stress, screwing up and seeking God in the midst of it all. Sometimes funny but always real, Shannon’s writing is infused with practical ideas designed to help others create positive, real change in their daily lives. In short, Shannon writes about how to intentional move from simply “going on” to growing on—by God’s grace.
Shannon’s articles, insights and ideas have been featured in Exceptional Parents, Adoptive Families, Hybrid Mom, Mothering and Focus on the Family’s Thriving Family. For the past nine years, Shannon’s also worked as contributing writer and curriculum designer for OneHope, a global nonprofit ministry devoted to sharing the life-changing message of the Gospel with youth and children worldwide. To learn more, visit GraceToGrowOn.com.

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Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Darkest Before the Dawn by Mike Martin


DARKEST BEFORE THE DAWN by Mike Martin, Mystery, 266 pp., $14.99 (paperback)



Title: DARKEST BEFORE THE DAWN Author: Mike Martin Publisher: Ottawa Press and Publishing Pages: TBA Genre: Mystery

Darkest Before the Dawn is the latest adventure of Sgt. Winston Windflower, a Mountie who finds himself surrounded by a new family and a new life in tiny Grand Bank, Newfoundland. There are signs of trouble that may disturb his pleasant life, including a series of unsolved break-ins and the lack of supports for young people in the most trying time of their lives. But there are always good friends, good food and the sense that if we all pull together, we can find a way to get through even the darkest days.

Ghosts, mysterious deaths, and a new character enliven the pages as Windflower and Tizzard and the other police officers awaken the secrets that have been lying dormant in this sleepy little town. The deeper they dig the more they find as the criminals they seek dive deeper behind the curtains of anonymity and technology. But more than anything, this is a story of love and loss, of growing up and learning how to grow old gracefully. It is also about family and community and looking after each other. Of not giving up hope just before the dawn.

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Amazon

Winston Windflower was surrounded by women. Literally
and figuratively. At home, his beautiful wife, Sheila Hillier,
was busy minding the new joy of their lives. Amelia Louise was just
over a month old, and she was the most beautiful thing that the
RCMP sergeant had ever seen. Right in front of him was a gaggle
of ladies from the Grand Bank United Church Women. He was
finishing up the latest in a series of seminars the local Mounties
were conducting on how to make your home safer.
The sessions were in response to a series of break-ins around
the Burin Peninsula in recent months. There had been ten reported
in Grand Bank alone. This was concerning to the locals who were
used to living in a community where you never had to lock your
doors at night. It was disturbing to the RCMP as well because they
had no idea who was behind this latest crime spree. Usually, that
was the easiest part of their job.
Break and enters were often carried out by drug users looking
for quick money for hits or professionals who would stake out a
home or business that had particularly valuable assets. There were
random robberies for other reasons, too, but ten in one small town
was more than unusual. What was even stranger was that houses
had been broken into, and nothing appeared to be missing.
That had startled the RCMP and scared the local women
who had come out tonight to hear about double bolts and security
systems.
“We never had to lock our doors around here,” said Mabel
Bennett.
“Who is doing this, Sergeant?” asked Rachel Mahoney.
“Is it drugs?” asked Barb Pritchard.

Windflower was trying to respond but the questions kept
coming.

“They don’t know yet,” came a voice from behind him. Wind-
flower turned to see who had come to his rescue. It was Betsy

Molloy, his administrative assistant.
“The whole detachment is working on it, and they’ll find them,”
continued Betsy. “The Mounties always get their man,” she stated
confidently.
That seemed to assuage the gathered women, who parted to
let the RCMP officer slip through. He nodded and smiled as he
politely refused all offers for coffee and cake and squeezed his way
out of the church hall.
Outside, he exhaled a sigh of relief and breathed in the first
warm night air of spring. It was early June, but the weather had been
unseasonably cold for this time of year. There’d even been morning
frost up until a few nights ago. Tonight was calm and beautiful and
mild. Windflower hoped that would be a harbinger of warmer days
ahead. But he had learned from living in this part of the world that
unpredictable was the norm when it came to weather. The good
news was that if you didn’t like the weather at the moment, you
only had to wait about an hour and it would be different.
He didn’t really care about wind or weather tonight. He
couldn’t wait to get home to see Sheila and their baby. He drove
home quickly and was welcomed by yet another female in his life,
Lady, his five-year-old collie. She was still a puppy at heart despite
her age and wanted to jump and play with her master. Windflower
pacified her with a pat on the head and a Milk-Bone biscuit and
ran upstairs.
Sheila was putting a new pink onesie on the baby who was
looking at her mother.
“She knows who you are,” said Windflower, creeping in behind
her. The baby moved her eyes towards him.
“I think she knows you, too,” said Sheila. “Come and say hello.”
Windflower sat on the bed next to Sheila and grazed his baby’s
cheek with his finger. Then, he touched her tiny fingers, and it felt
like she was trying to grab on to him. It may have been reflex, but
Windflower was overjoyed at her reaction. Maybe she does know me, he thought.
As he was pondering this question, Amelia Louise closed her
eyes and was soon fast asleep.
“Put the kettle on, and I’ll be down in a minute,” said Sheila,
who picked up the baby and carried her to the bassinet next to the
bed.
“Okay,” said Windflower. “I’ll take Lady out for a quick spin
too.”
Windflower went downstairs where Lady was waiting none too
patiently for him. Her spirits lifted when he grabbed her leash after
plugging in the kettle.
“Let’s go girl,” he said. She didn’t need to be told twice. Lady
was quite happy to sniff and snort her way all along the roadways
in Grand Bank. She did her business and barked at dogs on the
route to let them know that she had the best master in town. She
was disappointed when Windflower took the short way back home.
But once there, she was quite content to lie at his feet as he sat in
the living room with Sheila.
“So, tell me all about your day,” said Windflower.
“It’s not very exciting,” said Sheila. “Eat, poop, sleep. Repeat.
But I’m not complaining. We have a beautiful, healthy baby girl.”
Windflower smiled. “Well, I couldn’t be happier, with her and
with you.”
“Thank you, Sergeant. What’s happening out in the big world
of Grand Bank? How did your meeting go at the church?”
“They’re worried. Can’t say as I blame them.”
“It’s a big shift. Especially for those who have lived here all of
their lives. What is going on?”
“Don’t know yet, but as Betsy says, we always get our man.”
Sheila laughed. “Good thing Betsy was there. She’s always
helping out with the church ladies.”
“She certainly helped me out tonight. We’ll figure it out. We
always do. In the meantime, lock the doors when I’m not around.
I don’t want anything happening to my two favourite ladies in the
world.”
“Make that three,” said Sheila, laughing again, as Lady pushed
herself up against Windflower for one more rub.

He started to stroke her when his cell phone rang. “Boss, it’s
Jones. We’ve got a situation. We got a call about a shooting up near
the seniors’ club.”
“Injuries?” asked Windflower.
“A teenager,” said Jones. “I’m on my way.”
“I’ll be over in a sec,” said Windflower.
“Bad news?” asked Sheila.
“I’ll call you,” was all he said back.

Sheila didn’t ask any more questions. They liked a layer of insu-
lation between his police work and their personal lives. He gave her a peck on the cheek and patted Lady as he left to drive to the
seniors’ club, hoping for the best and fearing the worst.
The reality was somewhere in between.











Mike Martin was born in Newfoundland on the East Coast of Canada and now lives and works in Ottawa, Ontario. He is a long-time freelance writer and his articles and essays have appeared in newspapers, magazines and online across Canada as well as in the United States and New Zealand. He is the author of Change the Things You Can: Dealing with Difficult People and has written a number of short stories that have published in various publications including Canadian Stories and Downhome magazine.

The Walker on the Cape was his first full fiction book and the premiere of the Sgt. Windflower Mystery Series. Other books in the series include The Body on the T, Beneath the Surface, A Twist of Fortune and A Long Ways from Home, which was shortlisted for the Bony Blithe Light Mystery Award as the best light mystery of the year. A Tangled Web was released in 2017 and the newest book in the series is Darkest Before the Dawn.

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