Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Public Safety Writers Association Conference

This is the last day for the Early Bird Fee for the PSWA Conference--$200 for three days of great speaker, panels, wonderful lunches, and the awards ceremony. You can pay by Pay Pal or check (send the check right now with your registration form and you will be counted as early bird.)

For more information go to http://policewriter.com/ 


Want to include the FBI in your novel? Do it right, using the proper context, and understanding how the Bureau operates. John Wills and Herm Groman will discuss FBI practices and terminology in their presentation: FBI Fact and Fiction.

JOHN M. WILLS.  John writes both fiction and non-fiction.  He has had more than one hundred articles published in various law enforcement magazines and websites, relating to police training, fitness, officer survival, and ethics.  He is a monthly contributor to Officer.com, the largest web portal for law enforcement, and is a former Chicago police officer and retired FBI agent.  His latest novel, Targeted, will be released in the Spring of 2011.  It is the third book in an exciting series John created, called The Chicago Warriors Thriller Series.  He also an award-winning author of short stories, many of which have been published in anthologies such as Randy Sutton’s,  True Blue to Protect and Serve (St. Martin’s Press), and Stories of Faith and Courage From Cops On The Street, part of the AMG Battlefields & Blessings series .  He is an authorized NCAA speaker on the topic of steroids and dangerous drugs
Herman GromanHerman Groman is a retired FBI Special Agent and is the current director of security at large Las Vegas casino/hotel.  While in the FBI, he specialized in working deep long-term undercover operations as an undercover agent in the areas of organized crime and narcotics.  He also served as the agent in charge of several high-profile public official corruption investigations.  Later on in his FBI career, he was a team leader of one of the FBI Special Operations Groups.  The specialized group conducted surveillances of major terrorist cell groups and their associates.  He served in the infantry in Vietnam and was awarded the purple-heart and bronze star for valor.  He resides in Las Vegas with his wife.  They have two adult daughters and four grandchildren.

John MadiingerJOHN MADINGER explores the history and operation of an activity that Business Week called, "the crime of the 21st century."  The art and science of making dirty money appear clean goes back a long way, and has become a key part of almost any crime committed for financial gain.  The program will look at the first recorded money laundering scheme (it's in the Bible), a money laundering scam that brought down a president, the techniques that terrorists use to finance their operations, and the evolution of modern money laundering, from Al Capone to Bernie Madoff.  Money laundering may be the third largest business in the world, and it is certainly a key part of every organized criminal activity on the planet.  We'll look at how law enforcement attacks the problem and what the criminals do to avoid getting caught (and losing their money), and will gain a clear understanding of how and why money is laundered today.  
JOHN MADINGER recently retired as a senior special agent with the Criminal Investigation Division of the Internal Revenue Service. In his 36-year law enforcement career, he also served as narcotics agent, supervisor, and administrator. He holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Indiana University, a master’s degree in history from the University of Hawaii, and was the honor graduate in the Treasury Criminal Investigation Training Program. He was the recipient of numerous awards and citations from the Internal Revenue Service, the Drug Enforcement Administration and Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces. Throughout his career, he had extensive experience in money laundering, forfeiture, and financial investigations; has developed training programs in these areas for the Treasury and Justice Departments; and has developed and presented money laundering training in the United States, Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean. 
John is the author of Money Laundering: A Guide for Criminal Investigators, 3rd Edition, 2011, and Confidential Informant: Law Enforcement’s Most Valuable Tool, both published by Taylor and Francis/CRC Press, as well as Death on Diamond Head, a mystery set in Honolulu, Hawaii and published by Watermark Publishing.  He is an active member of Mystery Writers of America and the Public Safety Writers Association.

Kathy CottrelKATHY COTTRELL,  forensic nurse examiner and victim advocate, shares her years of experience working in the trenches with sexual assault victims, dispelling the myths and misconceptions about sex offenders so that authors don't fall into the traps presented by print and electronic media.
KATHY COTTRELL R.N.  has a varied clinical background from the Operating Room, Labor and Delivery and clinical instruction to nursing administration, investigating allegations of medical malpractice and, most recently, a legal nurse consultant on personal injury and negligence cases. 
For twelve years she was affiliated with the Regional Rape Crisis Service of Rochester, New York, first as a volunteer advocate, then worked her way up the ladder to staff coordinator and eventually director of the four county crisis intervention program which served an average of 1,000 victims of sexual violence and their significant others. Her most recent role with RCS was as a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner, or SANE.
A published author in her own right, Kathy uses her experience in her books and also in professional workshops with the goal of helping authors to incorporate authenticity into their writing. Particularly, she speaks to the impact of sexual violence on victims, the community and advocates.
John BrayJOHN BRAY will share a few stories of cops who crossed the line and ended up in the Administrative Trial Room. The tale of the cop who shot his lover’s unarmed husband, the theft of 100 lbs. of heroin from the locker room, to the Medal of Honor winner who extorted money from “Sonny Red” Gambino.
JOHN BRAY retired as lieutenant after 17 years on the New York City Police Department. After acquiring a BS and Juris Doctor Degree he was admitted to the bar and worked for four years as lieutenant prosecutor in the Department’s internal disciplinary system. After leaving the NYPD, he practiced criminal law for 30 years. Currently he’s the President of the Chesapeake Bay Writers Club and the author of two novels, The Ballad of Johnny Madigan and The Confidential.

Tim DeesIf your favorite writing tools are a legal pad and a fountain pen, this session is not for you. Most of us use word processors like Microsoft Word to get our ideas into print. Tim Dees will discuss techniques within Word that can streamline your workflow and allow you more time for creating and composing. We’ll talk about use of styles, macros, annotations, footnotes and endnotes. Effective use of the tools within Word allow you to produce a publication-ready manuscript, complete with an automatically-generated table of contents, index, and list of references. We’ll also look at an inexpensive writer’s software application called Scrivener. Scrivener has provisions for tracking the characteristics or each person and place in your book, so you don’t confuse details that detract from your story. It even generates character names of user-selectable ethnicity and period.
All those in attendance will receive a CD with narrated tutorial “movies” taking you through each technique, and a trial copy of Scrivener.
Tim Dees has been writing, training and consulting on applications of technology for over 20 years. He spent 15 years as a law enforcement officer in Reno and the Pyramid Lake Paiute Indian Reservation in Nevada before teaching criminal justice at colleges in Nevada, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Georgia and Oregon. Tim has also been the editor-in-chief of Officer.com and LawOfficer.com. He serves on the PSWA board as the resident Alpha Geek. He holds a bachelor’s degree in biological science from San José State University and a master’s in criminal justice from The University of Alabama.

The publishing scene has changed.  There are many avenues an author can pursue to get their work in the hands of readers.  One of those is paths is self-publishing. In the first few months of 2011, KATHY BENNETT decided to self-publish her full-length novel, A Dozen Deadly Roses.  In June of 2011 the book was available as an e-book at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Smashwords making the book available to anyone with an e-reader, computer, tablet, or Smartphone. In October of 2011, A Dozen Deadly Roses was the #1 Police Procedural book at Amazon, and the #10 Suspense book, in the Top 20 of the Mystery/Thriller category, and in the Top 50 of all books being sold at Amazon.  The book also made the Top 100 of all Nookbooks sold at Barnes and Noble.  Over 40,000 copies had been sold. 
In this presentation Kathy will share with you her experience:  the good, bad, and the ugly in self-publishing her debut novel.  She’ll also discuss how her experience changed in publishing her second book, A Deadly Blessing (which she anticipates being available in early 2012).
KATHY BENNETT retired after twenty-one years as a Los Angeles police officer. Most of her career was working patrol in a black-and-white police car. She also served as a Senior Lead Officer, a Firearms Instructor at the LAPD Police Academy, a crime analyst in the “War Room”, a Field Training Officer, and worked undercover in carious assignments. She was named Officer of the Quarter twice and Officer of the Year once.

Peter KlismetPeter Klismet BS, MS, MPA, FBI (Retired) will discuss what the concept of criminal profiling involves, debunk some myths, identify some behavioral clues profilers are trained to seek, explain how going from the 'how' and 'what' differs from looking for the 'why,' at a crime scene, and review the differences between 'method of operation' and 'signature.'
After a 30 year law enforcement career, which included over 9 years with the Ventura (CA) Police Department and over 20 years in the FBI, Pete retired in 1999, the same year he received the National Law Enforcement Officer of the Year award at an International Convention in San Francisco. Pete's FBI offices included Los Angeles; Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Omaha, NE and finally Grand Junction, CO. He was selected as one of the original profilers in 1985 and in addition to considerable FBI training, trained and worked with law enforcement agencies on numerous homicide cases in the Midwest, in addition to his other duties. Pete is a graduate of Metropolitan St. College in Denver, received a Master's Degree from California Lutheran University and a second Master's from the Univ. of Southern California. He is currently an Associate Professor of Criminal Justice at a Colorado community college.


Monday, January 30, 2012

Thank You 1095-Take The Thank You Challenge

Thank You 1095-Take The Thank You Challenge

By Connie Ruth Christiansen, Inspirational Author, Teacher, Speaker

Connie Ruth Christiansen is a gifted public speaker and an excellent teacher who speaks and writes from the heart. Her stories will delight you! You will laugh, you will cry, you will believe that anything is possible! She offers her listeners thought provoking words of wisdom gained from her many years of knowing God and studying His Word; and from lessons learned by fighting life's battles.

In her new book Thank You 1095-Take The Thank You Challenge!, Connie offers readers the opportunity to experience one of those life-lessons; to experience the Power of a Thankful Heart! 
Take The Challenge Today!
It’s Easy! Every day for one year, read one page of inspiration
It’s Fun! Every day record 3 things you are thankful for, in the space provided on each page
It’s Life Changing! After 365 days, look back on 1,095 reasons to be grateful

To learn more about The Thank You Challenge, visit http://www.thankyouchallenge.org  or watch a video clip of the book @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3BuAi_Dlnek , or visit Connie’s blog, The Power of a Thankful Heart @ http://takethethankyouchallenge.blogspot.com/2012/01/say-thank-you-to-someone-by-actually.html

Invite Connie to speak at your next event. You will be enlightened, uplifted, encouraged, and equipped with powerful spiritual tools. Contact Connie via her website http://www.budbooks.org  or by emailing her directly connie@budbooks.org , or you can write to her @ Bud Books, PO Box 822153, Vancouver, WA 98682.

Read What People Are Saying About Connie:

“Connie is a speaker who draws us in immediately. What she shares from her innermost being connects to our own lives, emotions, and circumstances. She shares in such a way that we feel loved, accepted and included in God's purposes.”
~ Mari M., Conference Attendee

"Connie, you are such an amazing teacher!. You have helped me learn things about myself that no one else has! Thank you for that!"
~ A. K., Former Student

"Connie's words bring life to those around her. She is a woman full of love for everyone who crosses her path."
~ J. Schilling, Teaching Colleague

“Connie is a gifted motivational speaker who uses power, truth and conviction as a cornerstone for captivating an audience. She adds richness of character and good natured humor to build the perfect stage to give the gift of her message to her audience."
~ J. Jacobs, Teaching Colleague

“With clarity and practicality Connie reveals keys for identifying barriers to confidence. She reminds us that we are precious gifts of God to our world, and offers her listeners insight to overcoming obstacles, and to living beyond fear.”
~ R. Sandu, Event Attendee

See more endorsements by going to Connie's website: 

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Tell Me, Is It Really Worth It?

Got the statement for my quarterly royalties from one of my publishers.

It's enough to go our for a nice dinner. Oh my. Surely I could make more money doing something else that required fro less time. In fact, there is one job I do that take less time and I make far more money.

For years, I've been helping people write program designs for facilities for residential care homes for the mentally ill, developmentally disable adults, and the elderly. The problem is, the requests are sporadic. Of course it's better for someone to create their own design, but not everyone is capable of it.

Each regional center has it's own requirement about what ought to be in the design and how it's laid you. It's a tedious and exacting task. No matter how carefully you work, the regional center will send it back for changes. I should say, all but one regional center and it is usually happy with what I've done for them. They may ask more from the provider, but it will be something personal that I can't do for them.

So, why do I continue writing? Mainly because it's an addiction and I can't really help myself. I have fans who want to know what's going to happen to Deputy Tempe Crabtree and her pastor husband next, or what catastrophe will hit the Rocky Bluff P.D. and its officers and their family. And guess what, I want to know too.

So despite the fact I'm about a thousand light years away from being a best seller, I'm probably going to keep on writing until I can't anymore.


Saturday, January 28, 2012

Great Grandson Has First MMA Fight

Part of Brandon's cheering section

Was I thrilled about this? Absolutely not.

Great-grandson, Brandon, is a great kid. Besides wanting to be an MMA fighter (cage fighting) he also is in training to be a preacher. Now that, he's already good at--he preaches once a month at our church and does a terrific job.

His fight was last night at the local Indian casino. He certainly had a huge cheering section, not only at the casino, but at home praying for him.

Got the word this a.m., it was a TKO after only 17 seconds! Brandon went down. I know he's really disappointed as he had high hopes of winning.

With all the prayers for him, some may wonder why they weren't answered--frankly mine were answered, that he wouldn't be injured. After all, God does know best and his answers aren't always the way what we want. He says "No" often and the one we get most is "Wait."

I don't think Brandon is discouraged. He probably learned a lot from this and will do more intensive training for the next fight. Yes, I'm guessing there will be a next fight.

That's the news for today. I'm busy working on a huge project that I am being paid for. Always a good thing.


Friday, January 27, 2012

The Zoe Mack Mystery Series by K. Dawn Byrd

The Secret of the Love Letters

Zoe's cousin Emma thinks she's the recipient of some sick joke when an old boyfriend she thought dead shows up on the internet. Can Zoe solve the mystery that's causing Emma so much pain when her attraction to the town bad boy is so distracting?

When Zoe Mack moves in with her grandparents to start college, she's thrown into more mystery than she bargained for. Her cousin, Emma, is terrorized by a stalker who breaks into her house and leaves a photo-shopped image of Emma hanging from a tree. Nothing is as it seems and Emma soon learns that even the man she thinks she can trust is suspect.

Zoe can't wait to reunite with Nate, the bad boy who doesn't talk about his feelings much, but the passionate kiss he gave her last summer had to have meant something. When she arrives back in town and discovers that he's in trouble with the law, she must take matters into her own hands in order to clear his name. She has her hands full with a needy Emma, a cop who gives her the creeps, and Nate, the guy she desperately wants to call her own. Can Zoe solve the mystery, clear Nate's name, and make him fall in love with her?

How did this story come to you?
Sometimes I get the strangest ideas! I love a good mystery and I love romance, but you don't find the two together very often. Also, there are very few books available with college-age characters. I pitched the idea of combining all of the above to Desert Breeze and the rest is history.
Tell us about the journey to getting this book published.
I had already published several books with Desert Breeze when they opened a young adult line. I'm excited that they liked the idea for this new series.

Tell me three things about yourself that would surprise your readers.
1)      I own two hairless Chinese Crested dogs.
2)      I love sour things....pickles, lemons, sour candy.
3)      I used to ride a Harley, but gave it up in order to have more time to write. (My husband always wanted to stay out way too long and take the scenic route home. He still has his bike, but I don't miss mine at all.)
What are you working on now and what's next for you?
           I just finished the edits on my April release, Shattered Identity, which is the sequel to Mistaken Identity. I'm now working on the second book in the Zoe Mack series.

Parting comments?

Thank you for hosting me! For those of you who love Christian fiction, please check my blog for weekly book giveaways. I interview 3-5 authors a week who give away their books. www.kdawnbyrd.blogspot.com

K. Dawn Byrd is an author of inspirational romance and romantic suspense with five books published so far. Recently, she tried her hand at young adult fiction and found that she really enjoyed writing it. Three books in the Zoe Mack Mystery Series are scheduled to release January, June, and December 2012. Shattered Identity, the sequel to Mistaken Identity, will release in April.

K. Dawn Byrd is an avid blogger and gives away several books per week on her blog at www.kdawnbyrd.blogspot.com, most of which are signed by the authors. She's also the moderator of the popular facebook Christian Fiction Gathering group at http://www.facebook.com/#!/group.php?gid=128209963444.

When not reading or writing, K. Dawn Byrd enjoys spending time with her husband of 16 years while walking their dogs beside a gorgeous lake near her home and plotting the next story waiting to be told.

Twitter: kdawnbyrd

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Frustrating Jobs

I'm reentering names and addresses into a new mailing program for a newsletter that I send out.

I used the same mailing program for years and something has gone wrong. It won't print out all the names and address--skipping a few here and there.

For several months, I've written in the missing ones and then decided that was a real waste of time.

I found I had a newer version of this program stashed away, so I downloaded on my computer. I have no idea if there's a way to transfer the names from one place to another--so now I'm doing this very boring task of retyping.

I'll break it up by looking at my email and peeking at Facebook, but it's taking up a lot of my time when I'd much rather be planning my next Tempe book.

Oh well, this is important and I'll keep repeating that to myself.

What about you? Have a frustrating job ahead of you?


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

You've Got a Contract for Your Book, Now What?

Do you just sit back on your laurels and wait for someone to tell you what to do? Or do nothing?

I just heard about someone who had a book published and did absolutely nothing to promote it. Guess what happened, no books sold.

With all the information out there about promotion, that's hard to believe. But I was just with a group of authors, a few published, some who are writing but haven't gotten there yet, and it was obvious they really didn't know what all was expected of them.

Many publishers today want to know what your marketing plan right along with your query letter.

What does that mean? They want to know if you are going to be able to promote your book. What are you going to do?

What are you willing to do in person? A book tour? Go to book fairs and festivals? Maybe some craft fairs? Have you looked into what bookstores are available to you? How far are you willing to travel? Will you give speeches to writers groups, social and service clubs? How much research have you done to see what you can do in your area?

What about the Internet? Recently I heard that some writers aren't willing to use the Internet. Really? How foolish.

People can't buy your book if they don't know about it and the best way for them to find out is if you are spreading the word as many ways as you can.

At the very least you need a website and/or blog with information about you and your book. You should be on Facebook and other social sites. If you start before your book is out you can let people know things about you and they can get to know you. Then when your book is out you can let them know about it and they'll be interested in seeing what you've written.

I could go on, but I've written about promotion before, you can scroll back through my posts.

I know you'd like to spend your time writing, but the reality is, that a certain percentage of your time must be devoted to promotion. If your book doesn't sell, the publisher isn't going to be interested in the next one.

My point is you should be planning about promotion before you even get that contract. Pay attention to what other authors are doing and do what most appeals to you. Make a promotion plan.


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Pot Thief Who Studied Escoffier, Review

An advanced copy of the Pot Thief Who Studied Escoffier by Michael Orenduff was sent to me by the publisher at my request. Mike and I share the same publisher and we've met at several conferences, including the Public Safety Writers Association's Conference, and Epicon. I love this series, Mike is a terrific writer and I'd read anything he wrote. Here's what I thought about his latest.

The Pot Thief Who Studied Escoffier

J. Michael Orenduff

The Pot Thief books are known for making the reader hungry and this one is no exception. Herbert Schuze, better known as Hubie, is hired to design and make the prototype for  chargers (better known as plates) for a brand new restaurant soon to open in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The hitch is the Schnitzel restaurant is going to focus on Austrian cuisine.

From the beginning nothing seems quite right, from the owner to all the quirky people hired to cook and serve. Hubie gets to know these people better than he’d like because he must do his pottery work in the restaurant while preparation for the grand opening are underway. The cooks are trying out all the new recipes and everyone must try them out. None sound appetizing, and most of the time Hubie sneaks away to find more appealing meals elsewhere.

For followers of the Pot Thief books, Hubie makes plenty of trips back home and to Dos Hermanos Tortilleria in Albuquerque to discuss the happenings and the employees of Schnitzel with his friend, Susannah, over margaritas and chips. In between, he reads about the life and times of Escoffier.

The opening of the Schnitzel is disastrous. Austrian food is not a hit with the epicureans of Santa Fe. The descriptions of the menu items were explicit enough for me to know I would never try them. Never fear though, Hubie does plenty of cooking and eating of much more tantalizing dishes.

Though I haven’t mentioned it yet, there is a murder and of course Hubie is the prime suspect. Along with the quest to find out the true murderer, Hubie is romanced, threatened, creates new dishes, bar tends, attempts a bit of burglary and safecracking, and is nearly murdered. As with all the Pot Thief books, plenty of subtle humor abounds, and Hubie enjoys his Gruet Blanc de Noir.

There’s much to love in The Pot Thief Who Studied Escoffier. It has all the elements that endeared readers to Hubie and this series, good food and drink, unusual characters, great settings, a puzzling mystery and plenty more. Though I recommend that all the books be read, each can be read as a stand-alone.

Instead of awarding stars, I award this one 5 chilies. 

Marilyn Meredith

Monday, January 23, 2012

My Thoughts on the Golden Globes

When I was a kid I was totally enamored with movie stars. I read all the movie magazines--nothing like the stuff that's put out today--and learned everything I could about the stars. Of course now I know that during that time period we were fed only the positive stuff and much of that wasn't true. The gossip came from people like Hedda Hopper in the newspapers, or one particular paper that feasted on the bad things the stars were caught doing. But to my young mind, they were a magical bunch.

My father worked for Paramount Studios and worked around the stars and had a totally different opinion. According to him--and he told me this a lot--the majority of the actors and actress had no morals and weren't nice people. There were a few exceptions, but mostly he told us about the horrible antics of the stars he saw on a daily basis.

Watching the Golden Globes made me think of my dad's judgment of the stars--and what he said applies to today. You could see the celebreties getting drunker and drunker, watching their faces as they turned to comment about an award or a person giving it gave away a lot. The smart ones covered their mouths when they spoke to a neighbor which hid the snarkier of expressions.

I had some snarky thoughts of my own especially when it came to some of the facelifts of the older stars. Why can't women have wrinkles? We certainly earned them. And in some cases the facelifts are downright scary.
And the dresses--some are gorgeous, but others are odd and not the least bit flattering. Why would someone want to expose her boney back? When did women having big biceps become appealing? Bright red lipstick is not flattering to many women.

Enough of the snarky. I love movies. It probably takes a certain kind of person to be a good actor and put up with all the interviews and lack of privacy that goes along with it. I'm not sure that really excuses the bad behavior, but probably accounts for a lot of it.

What did I think of the awards themselves? I hadn't seen a lot of the movies so I can't really say, but anything to do with Hugo deserved the awards it received.


Friday, January 20, 2012

Classic Christianity,

I’d like you to meet my good friend, Patti Ediger who, with her sister embarked on an amazing adventure:

 Hi everyone! I'm Patti, the very slightly older sister (only 17 years). I'm a little nervous since this is my first blog encounter. My little sis, Cara, is the techie and lives in the world of cyberspace so she will feel very comfortable in this wonderful invisible universe, while I, on the other hand, would love to meet you face to face, give you a big hug, and chatter the day away about books.( Sorry, all you technophiles.)

 I started my love affair with writing in second grade with an assignment to write a story. It was typed by the teacher and placed into a red construction-paper cover along with all my other classmates' stories. Seeing my imaginings printed on paper for others to share opened doors in my mind and heart that were never again to close.  Since then I've worked as an R.N., gone on more than twenty medical missions, married, raised a son and daughter, gained three grand-daughters, and worked continually in my church. But writing has always had a favorite place in my life.

For the last ten years or so I've written three articles a month for the Global Prayer Digest which is translated into 29 languages. I attended Marilyn's writing class for many years where she taught me about writing and I completed a medical mystery Marilyn is still trying to goad me into publishing. (I tried, the publishers said it was "too exciting.")

Now that I've retired it's such a tremendous treat to have the time to lavish hours and days on some favorite things including hosting a weekly Bible study, organizing and planning anything and everything, (don't you just love to make lists?) and writing the first of what we hope will be an unending series of inspirational books to the glory of God.

Cara is an absolute hurricane of productive activity. The girl never stops! - She works three jobs: Creative writing teacher, tutor, and Facilities Director for her church. She has homeschooled two children who have gone on to university with an outstanding education and is in the process of homeschooling her third. She keeps her very busy husband organized and gives her time and love generously to family, friends, and
any total stranger who stumbles across her path. But most of all, she is a fantastic sister. I laugh with her more than anyone I know, and here's an amazing thing: I can dream up an idea and by the time I finish telling her it has run out of her fingers and into the computer and can be seen in a visible, tangible, and beautiful way.

 What gave us the idea for a book of devotions?

We were helping our elderly Mom move and ran across a big box of our grandfather's writings in the rafters of her garage. They were bundled so tightly together in packets and tied with string that it preserved them perfectly for about 50 years. He had written down his sermons from 1915 to about 1960, and had kept this selection of hundreds of his favorite messages.

When we sat down to read them we were pretty shocked. They were not only eloquently written, but spiritually deep. They were much too precious to be discarded. I remembered our Dad saying "someone should do something with Pop's old sermons." But when we actually read them we saw why Dad thought so.  We decided to trim the twenty-some page sermons into two-page devotionals. We called it "picking pearls."

When did you start working on them?

We actually started about 10 years ago. We had some intermissions while we figured out our next steps. This was new territory for us. The editing, revising, and writing was an enormous task, but the "besides that" things were the most difficult because we had to learn things like forms, fonts, cover letters, queries, and put everything Marilyn taught us in to actual action.

How hard was it to work together? How did you do it?

I hope my sister isn't rolling her eyes, but I found it so easy to work with Cara. For one thing the vision for the work was the same. We both had a clear view of what it should be like when it was finished. Also, and actually this was primary, we're both felt that the project was the Lord's and we were simply privileged to be a part of it. We prayed, He directed, we followed.

There was also a lot of mutual submission. We checked each other's portion of the writing and if we felt strongly about something we'd say it and each talk about it until we came to an agreement. I felt that we were both happy and excited about the progress we were making at every turn.

What was your journey to find a publisher?

Well, that was an experience all right. We were told explicitly to only send out proposals to one publisher at a time. If we had done that it would have taken100 years instead of 10. We ended up making a list of about 100 prospects. Needless to say, the postage would have killed us off if we had tried to mail our beautiful presentation packet to all of them. After much thought, we ended up making CD's of our proposal and book (not right for everyone, we just did a poor-man's copyright first,) then we designed CD labels with the editor's name on it, beautiful case covers and sent them out in batches.

We received 100 of the most beautiful, enthusiastic, encouraging rejection letters you've ever seen.  They told us they loved the work but unless we were already published, famous, or had a speaking ministry they couldn't take the risk of trying to publish us. During this time we also sent out letters to everyone we could think of
who was published, famous or had a well-known ministry. We included a CD of the work, and asked for recommendations for the book.

We hit the jackpot with that one as we obtained terrific recommendations which we eventually placed on the book cover for all to see. We finally accepted that if these wonderful words of our grandfather were ever to see the inside of a printing press we would have to publish it ourselves. After a lot of searching we discovered Crossbooks,
a division of Lifeway. We liked them because they worked in partnership with us. We paid a nominal fee, but that allowed us to retain the copyright. They did a great job of working with us on the production of the books. We ended up with the book in two volumes instead of four seasonal books, but their experience helped us out a great deal. We also liked the idea that they require a theological review before the work is accepted to maintain their high standards.

What are your hopes for these devotionals?

Our grandfather's life's mission was to see souls saved, lives mended, and Christians find their purpose in God. That is the purpose for these books. We've already heard wonderful stories of how these writings have blessed the readers. That's what makes everything so worthwhile. My dream is for these volumes to be timeless companions to the Bible alongside  My Utmost For His Highest, and Streams in the Desert, cherished for generations.

What are your plans for promotion?

We would love to give presentations in churches about our grandfather's life, ministry and writings. We plan to do as many book signings as we can line up and have
newspaper articles, radio interviews, posters, church bulletin inserts, in the area of the signings. We've already done this with good success in church, bookstore, and boutique settings. Cara's made a book trailer and is building our website which when it is completed will be Classicchristianity.net (Jesus hung around with fishermen, thus "net") She will be doing a blog there too!

What are some memories of your grandfather?

I remember sitting in his office watching him write his sermons with a fountain pen in his three-ringed black notebook with his bible at his side, probably some of the
same sermons we wrote about in the book. I remember him preaching with authority, and singing in a booming voice. I lived in the parsonage so I saw him pray with my grandmother over people's illnesses and problems. I saw him minister to men riding the trains looking for work in the depression, giving spiritual help and lots of good food.
He didn't care much for financial things. When a realtor came to the door asking if he wanted to buy his last two lots in Las Posas Estates for $200 he replied "what do I
want a lot on that old windy hill for?" The lots are now some of the most expensive property in Southern California.

But, most of all, when I think of Papa, I remember the day he called me in from playing outside when I was eight years old. He had me sit on his knee and he asked me if I wanted to ask Jesus into my heart. I said that I did and he helped me pray and ask Jesus to be the Lord of my life. It was the start of the greatest imaginable adventure of joy, fulfillment, testing, and victory. I still have the office chair he sat in that day. It's a wonderful reminder of all he meant to my life.

Patti and her husband, Eldon

And now, Cara Shelton:
 When I was a little girl, I shocked my mother by telling her I wanted to be a Baptist nun. That probably confused her, but to me it meant that I knew I wanted to dedicate my life to serving God, but thought I would prefer to remain protestant! That is still the goal- serving God. My name is Cara. My husband, Steve, and I have been married 32 years and are the parents of three. My family is my joy, and they are my best friends. In college, I changed my major annually because I just loved to study everything, and so now I teach classes for homeschooled students in Composition, Journalism, Literature, and anything else I find intriguing at the moment, and work as the facilities director at my local church, Camarillo Evangelical Free, to keep my hands busy!
 What gave you the idea for these books of devotions?
            I honestly think it took two years from the moment we found the original manuscripts to the time we knew what we were going to do with them! As we read through the study notes, the sermons, the outlines, that Papa had written, we knew they were blessed. We knew the Holy Spirit was speaking to us through the Scripture expounded on their pages, so how could we let that go to waste, how could we just lose that for time and eternity? We honestly prayed about how these writings could be used by God to further His kingdom. Two years down the road, we knew we had to write these books!
 When did your first start working on them?
            It was the winter of 2002-3, and we nearly froze in that old aluminum patio room I had on the back of the house! In the first years, Patti traveled down to me much more than I visited her, because our mom was living with me, and she loved to read over what we were doing as we wrote. Our mom was our biggest cheerleader! Every time we would get together to work on the devotions, mom would say, “Oh! I am just so glad you girls are doing this! Finally!”
 How hard was it to work together? How did you do it?
            Oh, it was easy to work together. It was hard to get together to work, however! Both of us have always been busy in our churches and families, and Cara has two part time jobs – so just the time element was a struggle. We are so different in some ways, I suppose it might have been easy to see that as a negative, but truly it was God providing a great team. Patti loves beauty and grace in the words and a simple elegance of presentation. Everything beautiful about the books is her doing! I am very practical, and I love the great ideas of theology, the history and wisdom from those who have gone before and see the truth in such a different way than we do today. The depth of concepts and ideas, and the literary impact of words – that’s what I love.
            We just split up the days and the notes, and each basically edited 10-15 days down into devotions, and then we would get together, exchange work, and critique each other’s presentations. I took out extra-flowery passages in her work, she sanded off the rough edges in mine!
 What was your journey to find a publisher?
            Oh, the journey to our publisher felt like an infinite stretch of lonely desert highway! We got dozens of the most sensitive, beautiful, appreciative rejection letters than you can imagine! Publishers from all across the country praised the content and presentation of this book, but they were united in refusing to publish a devotional unless the author had an active speaking ministry. Publishers insisted that the Christian public only wants to read the writings of active preachers or speakers. There were long periods of inactivity, but we always came back to the fact that God had laid it on our hearts to see this published for the furtherance of His kingdom.  We just could not stop, could not give up, until it was accomplished! To tell you the truth, it had taken so long, and we had so many false starts, that I didn’t really believe it until I saw it “live” on amazon.com!
 What are you hopes for these books of devotionals?
            Our prayer has always been that of giving over – we totally dedicate these books to God’s use. I guess my dearest hope is that they will be a vessel through which God speaks to many, to challenge, bless, teach, and deliver them. I am so humbled to be a part of this, thrilled to hear those who have already told us how God is using the devotions in their lives to draw them nearer to Jesus – that is really what it has always been about! 
What are your plans for promotion?
            We are just beginning to speak at churches as we are asked – you know this is really a story of God’s leading in our lives, and His preparation before us. We love to tell folks how it came about, and what we hope to see as a result – souls saved, lives mended, and people finding their place in God’s plan! We plan to continue to follow God’s leading in getting this book into the hands of people all over the world, whatever that means and wherever it takes us.
 And tell me, what are some of your memories of your grandfather?
            Oh – Papa! How can I explain who he was in a few memories? He was not a tall man, only about 5’8”, but somehow he filled up a room with his booming baritone voice and his big personality. He was so honestly sold out for the Lord, so truly His man through and through – friendly and winsome for the gospel. There was a sense of urgency about him, urgency to help people in the name of Jesus. I have never known anyone so able to make friends with everyone, to live his walk boldly yet humbly. I remember sitting on the organ bench next to Nana on Sunday afternoons with Papa behind me, all of us singing through the hymnal. I remember how he loved to go shopping with Nana. She went in to the stores, he went to talk with people, listen to them, and be with the crowd, – and he loved the crowds! He could talk with anyone, and in just the space of a few minutes he won their confidence. As I very little girl, I remember hearing people tell him their worries, their problems…while sitting on the edge of a fountain, or on a bench outside the store. The contrast of him in his customary three-piece suit with his arm around the husband of a young hippie couple, barefoot and desperate, is forever etched in my mind. 

Cara Shelton and family

About Classic Christianity:
With gentle humor, the Reverend Meade broaches topics throughout Scripture with an evangelist's heart, a scholar's insight,
and a grandfather's tender touch. His heart ached to see souls saved and lives mended. But, even further, his passion was to
see Christians fulfilling their place in God's plan.

Lawrence A. Meade was our "Papa."  His life spanned the changes of both world wars and Vietnam, yet he shook the hands of
Civil War veterans. In the days when the Rev. Meade preached, people were worried about impending war, financial problems,
cultural changes, and the uncertain future. The same things concern people today. Yet because he stood fast on the timeless
truths of Scripture, his words are as much for today as they were for yesterday, and they will be as much for tomorrow as they
are for today.

Gleaned from a lifetime of Christian service, these daily devotions will challenge and encourage, uplift and promote real spiritual
growth. Each day's devotion is conveniently laid out in a two page format with a key verse, an expanded suggested reading, a meditation,
and a prayer. The meditations provide profound insight deep enough for long-time Christians, plain enough for new believers and
challenging for everyone.

Classic Christianity is suitable not only for personal or family devotions, but also for teachers, bible study leaders, and pastors.
An exceptional resource, Classic Christianity, A Year of Timeless Devotions Vol. I and II  provides a foundation for spiritual growth
for all who are searching to walk closely with the Lord.

Links to the book:


Volume I

Volume II

To contact for interviews, speaking engagements or book signings:
  559 359-0221

Thursday, January 19, 2012

What Inspired Ultimate Justice, A Trey Fontaine Mystery

Author, Ryder Islington

I was fortunate enough to be a part of a wonderful critique group full of published authors, teachers, and women with vivid imaginations and vast experiences. I miss them terribly.

I had written three women’s fiction novels, three romances, and one western, and none were worth sending out. They had mostly viable plots and characterization and I was developing the skill of description and the senses, but none of them were really good. The first three didn’t have satisfying ending. The next two were very blah. The sixth one had a strong plot, but I just couldn’t make it interesting. The western ended up being more funny than adventurous. All seven of these books were historicals.

I’d finished the western and was due at the critique group but had nothing to share. So I sat in front of a blank screen and started with the what ifs. Being a big fan of mysteries and thrillers, I thought maybe I’d try something new. My what ifs landed on these questions: What if the bad guy was unique? Maybe very young? What if the good guys were very flawed?  I had a couple of other what ifs that worked out, but they would give the mystery away, so I’ll keep them to myself.

With these few questions in my head, I whipped out two pages, not even taking time to spell check or revise, and headed off to critique group. When it was my turn, I read the two pages aloud while the other members read their copies. I was stunned when I heard them say, “Why have you been wasting your time trying to write romance? This is what you’re supposed to write.”

And then there was the time I had an encounter with a serial killer. No kidding! At a time in my life when I refused to watch the news or read the paper because the world was so horrible. Had I paid attention, I would have known that there was a man who was drove a little white pick-up along Interstate between the town I worked in and the town I lived in. He would ram a car from behind, then stop to exchange insurance information. Always  late at night, or early in the morning. Always cars with a woman alone. Six women were raped and killed, and a seventh raped and left for dead. She gave a lot of details to the police.

I would have been number eight. But when he hit me, a voice said, “Don’t stop!” and I didn’t. I hit the gas, and didn’t follow his lead when he passed me and pulled over several times. Several law enforcement agencies later, I needed a drink. Let me tell you, I learned to pay attention to the news.

Those first two pages became the opening of chapter two. I went through thirty-five revisions before I had a product worth publication. I learned as much in the editing process with the publishing company, as I learned writing the first million words in my writing career. I call this success.

I wrote the kind of book I would read. I’ve only had one reader with a critical remark and that remark was about the vividness of a disgusting scene. And it’s published. I’m pleased to be working on book two with the same main character, and the ‘what ifs’ are piling up in anticipation of a possible series. Stay tuned for Ultimate Game, A Trey Fontaine Mystery.

 Ultimate Justice, A Trey Fontaine Mystery is receiving rave reviews from readers. http://www.ll-publications.com/ultimatejustice.html

The small town of Raven Bayou, Louisiana explodes as old money meets racial tension, and tortured children turn the table on abusive men. FBI Special Agent Trey Fontaine returns home to find the town turned upside down with mutilated bodies. Working with local homicide detectives, Trey is determined to get to the  truth. A believer in empirical evidence, Trey ignores his instincts until he stares into the face of the impossible, and has to choose between what he wants to believe and the ugly truth.

A graduate of the University of California and former officer for a large sheriff’s department, RYDER ISLINGTON is now retired and doing what she loves: reading, writing, and gardening. She lives in Louisiana with her family, including a very large English Chocolate Lab, a very small Chinese pug, and a houseful of demanding cats. She can be contacted at RyderIslington@yahoo.com or visit her blog at http://ryderislington.wordpress.com

Blog Tour Schedule can be found here: http://www.ll-publications.com/ 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Crazy Dreams and Cruise Ships

I've had wild and crazy dreams as long as I can remember. Some I can figure out what trigger them. If I'm going to be doing something that I'm worried about, I'll dream about the event and something will go wrong. People don't show up who are supposed to, I didn't bring the material I needed, and so on.

Last night I dreamed I was on a cruise ship. Not too hard to guess where that one came from--all the news about the cruise ship that ran into a rock and went over on it's side. Horrible. I can't imagine what those people went through. Recently, my husband and I were on a cruise and our cabin was one without a window/porthole. I figured when I was in my room I'd be sleeping not gazing out at the sea. The dining room had windows where you could see out, and there were many places you could sit inside and watch the ocean. And of course there were spots on deck where you could stand by the railing.

We were on the same cruise ship that caught on fire the year before. We'd been scheduled to go on that ship the week after its big problem but it couldn't be repaired in time, so our cruise was rescheduled. Yes, I did think about the problem they'd had while we were on the cruse. Fortunately, all went smoothly and we had a wonderful time.

Back to my dream. My sister and my mom and I were taking a cruise. (My mom has been gone for several years, but when she was in her 80s, my sis and mom and I flew to Hawaii for a vacation together. And more recently, my sister and her entire family plus mom and me went on a five day cruise. I mention this because I think dreams drag up old memories.) In my dream room, when we went to our rooms they were so tiny I couldn't believe it. Some cabins are tiny, but I've never seen any as tiny as this. Two bunks and a single with room to walk between them and NO BATHROOM. You had to go down the hallway to a community bathroom.

I guess I should confess, many of my dreams have something to do with bathrooms and when I wake up, I know why.

That was my latest crazy dream about a cruise ship.

What kind of dreams do you usually have?


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

So Busy I forgot My Own Blog

I've been so busy writing blog posts for my own blog tour for No Bells, I forgot all about my own blog.

Trying to write something new for this blog is challenging, but not nearly as challenging as trying to come up with something different for each of nearly 30 posts that will also at least tickle someone's curiosity to read No Bells.

Every authors writes their book with the expectation that someone is going to read it--and hopefully like it, and then tell someone about it. That's how books become popular.

Hopefully, after reading all the wonderful, imaginative posts I've written for my tour, people will rush to online bookstores and buy the book either in paper or as an e-book. Wishful thinking, but when I write any book, I'm not doing it for myself--I'm writing for a reader to enjoy.


Monday, January 16, 2012

My Sunday School Class

Besides writing, one of the other things I do is teach Sunday School. Yesterday I had three girls, some days I only have boys.

As you can tell, there is a variety of ages, but it doesn't seem to matter.

I've been teach Sunday School for years. I keep telling the church council they need to get someone younger than me. I like doing it, telling the stories from the Bible, talking about what they mean today with the kids, letting them come up with some great answers, praying with them about their concerns, and the reward at the end is playing hangman using words and phrases from the lesson.

Yesterday's lesson was from the Old Testament, the story of Barak and Deborah. Not one of those kids knew anyone else named Barak--until I gave them some hints.

It'a great story for girls. Deborah was a judge and God told her to tell Barak to take his Army to fight with the oppressing Army--of course it was much bigger and had iron chariots. Barak was afraid and would only go if she went too. Of course she led the way because if God told her to do it, then he would be right there with her. And of course Barak's Army not only conquered the enemy, but they fled at the sight of Deborah and Barak's Army.

I told the girls probably God sent an Army of angels along too.

Anyway, that's what we talked about yesterday in our Sunday School class.


Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Book of Lost Fragrances, Review

M.J. Rose has written a most elegant book that the publisher classified as a suspense novel is so much more than that.

It is a spellbinding book that touches on so many themes: reincarnation, Ancient Egypt and Cleopatra, Greece, Paris, the catacombs, China, triads, Tibets, monks, romance, intrigue, adventure, and of course, perfume. The plot weaves in and out of all of this and more.

It is a tale of intrigue and the most marvelous description of scents and their importance to our memories.

The plot is far too multi-layered to even begin to explain, it's enough for me to say that once you've read one or two pages you'll be hooked and have to keep on to the end. Needless to say, I enjoyed The Book of Lost Fragrances.



Saturday, January 14, 2012

What to do at Writers Conferences and Mystery Conventions

I've written about this topic before, but it won't hurt to repeat my advice since it's a new year and conferences and conventions are popping up all over the calendar.

If you're attending a writing conference, pick the topics that are most vital to you and your writing career. Take notes, collect cards, and pick up all the free material. And probably, most important, smile a lot and talk to everyone. You might end up with a critique partner--and a new friend.

For either con, wear comfortable shoes because you never know how far you have to walk. And, because meeting rooms always seem to be cold, be sure and take along a sweater or shawl. (It wouldn't hurt to have a few snacks to nibble on--hotel meals can be expensive.)

If you're a writer and going to a mystery con, there'll be many big-name authors around. Again, pick the panels and presentations that most interest you. If you have a book and are on a panel, you'll be expected to sit in the book room to autograph any books of yours someone might buy. Don't be depressed if you're next to someone famous with a long line and no one or only one or two people come to you. It happens to all of us.

Visit with everyone. It's wonderful if you can make friends with readers as well as authors. After all, readers buy books. Of course authors do too, but you might get a new fan or your books if you are genuinely friendly. Don't just hang out with people you know. Invite someone to join you at a table for a meal if they come in alone.

And again, take notes. Believe me, you won't remember what you wanted to, there's just so much going on it can be mind boggling.

Cons and conferences are expensive. Get the most out of them that you can.

And here's my favorite. The Public Safety Writers Association conference in Las Vegas. http://www.policewriter.com/

Check out the new logo, isn't that great?