Friday, December 31, 2010

Book Review: The Rewritten Word by Aggie Villanueva

A tiny book that is big on great advice is what you'll find in The Rewritten Word: How to Sculpt Literary Art, No Matter the Genre by Aggie Villanueva.

If you're looking for a book about writing, this isn't the thing for you. If, however, you are looking for a book dedicated to the art of rewriting, then you need to swipe this up right away. Bestselling novelist Aggie Villanueva takes you through five separate lessons that will show you how to rewrite with clarity. By numerous examples she'll teach you how to find the right words that will add punch to your art, no matter the genre.

I've worked with Aggie in the past to promote the authors she represents through Promotion a la Carte. This is the first time I've had the chance to read one of her books. Now I know why her work is so popular.

I enjoy rewriting, but even writers who would rather type, "The End", and not change a thing will be drawn in by Aggie's passion for whittling away the clutter that buries the art of their words. She also provides helpful information on working with editors. The final pages include a list of additional resources.

If you're a writer, you need this book!

Title:  The Rewritten Word
Author:  Aggie Villanueva
Publisher:  Cielos Rojos Publishing
ISBN-10: 098259142X
ISBN-13: 978-0982591420
SRP:  $9.97

How Many Books Did You Read This Year?

It's that time of year again--the time when I get to thinking about how many books I've managed to read over the last 365 days. There is no contest. I'm not trying to read more books than someone else, but I am usually astounded by the sheer number of books that remain in my TBR pile come December 31st: the few books I've bought, the many books I've won, and those books I've received as gifts.

This year, I've written reviews for 174 books between this blog, Book Tours and More, and The Children's and Teens' Book Connection. I have 2 more books sitting on my desk just waiting for me to have a few moments to type up reviews, I am reading a book that I am providing an endorsement for, and I also have another book that I should finish tonight. So, when all is said and done, I'll have read close to 180 titles this year. Wow!

Feel free to let us know how many you've read this year. What were some of your favorites? What books are you looking forward to reading in 2011.

Happy New Year everyone!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

List of Upcoming Events at The Book Connection

Here is a list of events scheduled right now through February. I will update my Upcoming Events page as more stops are added.

January 6th - Mike O.Mary, editor of the literary collection, Saying Goodbye

January 11th - Charlie Berrett, national book publicist and owner of The Barrett Company

January 14th - Review of Losing Your Only: The Parental Journey through Grief by Dr. Debi Yohn

January 21th - Rose A. Valenta, author of the humor book, Sitting on Cold Porcelain

January 26th - Amanda Wolfe, author of the auto-biographical novel, Beneath the Silver Lining

January 28th - David Richards, author of the women's fiction novel, Pairs.

February 3rd - Frank C. Matthews, author of the urban fiction book, Respect the Jux

February 14th - Review of The Innocents by Vincent Zandri

February 17th - Author Frank Edwards

February 27th - Review of The Secret Life of Emily Dickinson by Jerome Charyn

February 28th - Review of The Big Show Stopper by Ken Dalton

Two New Giveaways at Linda Weaver Clarke's Blog

If you haven't noticed by now, my friend, Lina Weaver Clarke always has great giveaways going on at her blog. I don't know how she does it all with her busy schedule.

Here is what Linda has for you this week!

The first is a book from J. Steve Miller that is timely and helpful. Enjoy Your Money!: How to Make It, Save It, Invest It and Give It has garnered numerous 5-star reviews. These are just a couple that I found on Steve's website:

“Had I read this book in my 20’s, I’d be financially independent today. It’s a remarkable blend of fabulous research with clear and lively writing. You’d pay an expert quite a sum for this caliber of counsel. That’s why I say that the best investment you make this year just might be this book. Your second best investment will be the copies you buy for your children.” (Dr. Dwight “Ike” Reighard, Former Executive Vice President and Chief People Officer of HomeBanc)

“As a practicing CPA and financial counselor for the past 35 years, I’ve read scores of books and periodicals on personal finance. Just when you think you’ve heard it all, something like this comes along. It’s rare and refreshing to find a book so enjoyable, so accurate, and so life changing. I’m purchasing 200 copies to give away to graduating seniors.” (Larry Winter, Winter & Scoggins, CPA’s, Certified Valuation Analyst, Certified Fraud Examiner, Personal Financial Planning Specialist)

J. Steve Miller – educator, investor, entrepreneur, and speaker – has taught audiences from Atlanta to Moscow. He’s known for drawing practical wisdom from serious research and communicating it in accessible, unforgettable ways.

Steve is the founder and president of Legacy Educational Resources, providing global resources for teachers of life skills in public schools, churches, and service organizations at A self-styled “wisdom broker,” he collects wisdom from many fields and packages it for teachers and writers via his published books and the Web. His wife, Cherie, and their seven sons continually remind him what works and what doesn’t. Connect with him at

The giveaway for Steve's book is running from December 27th - January 7th. This one is restricted to the U.S. and Canada, but there is also a Kindle version of this book available for you international readers who would like to pick up a copy.

The second great giveaway, which starts today and ends on January 6th, is for a copy of Freemen and Dreamers Vol. 4 Oh, Say Can You See? by L.C. Lewis.

During her interview with Linda, the author had this to say about the book:

"This volume takes readers right in the middle of the incredible events that surrounded the writing of the Star-Spangled Banner...Our beloved Willows characters are in the thick of the action, so we get a tender, intimate view of how Britain’s campaign of terror affected families as well as the nation."

As a lover of historical fiction, especially anything set during Colonial America or the Civil War era, I know I want to own a copy of this one.

Laurie (L.C.) Lewis was born and raised in rural Maryland, which is also where she and her husband Tom raised their four children. She is also the proud grandma of five. In addition to the her Free Men and Dreamers series, which includes the books Dark Sky At Dawn, Twilight's Last Gleaming, Dawn's Early Light, and Oh, Say Can You See, Laurie is also the author of Awakening Avery and Unspoken.

You can visit Laurie online at If you wander out there, and I suggest you do, you have to click on Laurie's bio page. The picture there is so much more fun than this professional shot.

The giveaway for this book is also restricted to the U.S. and Canada.

Visit Linda Weaver Clarke's blog at to find out how you can enter to win.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

New Year's Present for Followers of The Book Connection from Author Graham Parke

At the beginning of December, we celebrated the "No Hope for Gomez!" Birthday Party. In return, author Graham Parke is offering our followers a FREE download of his eBook, "A Gomessy New Year: Random Acts of Senseless Kindness".

This book comes with the following warning:

Clinical studies have shown that reading this novelette is likely to make you more attractive to the opposite sex and elevate your random luck by about 9.5%

(These statements have not been evaluated by anyone of consequence!)
You can pick up your copy at
For legal reasons Graham states that he is hereby granting The Book Connection digital distribution rights to this eBook from the 26th of December 2010 until the 16th of January 2011.

At the end of the period the page above will go offline, so if you link directly to it, that part is taken care of automatically.


Friday, December 24, 2010

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Author Interview: S.P. Wish, Author of Roses of Doom

Today we are interviewing S.P. Wish, author of Roses of Doom. S.P. Wish is a novel-writing duo made up of twins S. Wish and P. Wish. They published their debut novel titled Roses of Doom on where it is available for free download.

Welcome to Book Tours and More, S.P. Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

We are both twins and have been writing since childhood. We like to read romance, mystery and horror but sometimes read other genres too.
When did you begin writing?

We started writing when we were eight. At that time, we used to write illustrated books. We used to write the stories and then make pictures and color them.

Do you write during the day, at night or whenever you can sneak a few moments?

We write whenever we can and whenever we are able to. When the book is great, we cannot stop ourselves from writing more because we want to live more in the world of that book.

What is this book about?

Roses of Doom is a thriller/horror/children's novel. A major part of the book is also about friendship and good friends.Here is a summary-
When horror roses are left behind.

A school camping trip leads quirky middle schooler Mizu, her twin brother Kaji, her friend Akumu and school newspaper reporter Seiya to a mysterious mansion in Greenfire Forest. In the mansion, Mizu's friend is swallowed up by a hole that opens up and closes instantly! Many other unexplained happenings follow until Mizu discovers an old newspaper with information about a centuries old intrigue which has remained hidden till now..........and no person who knows of its existence is allowed to live.......

What inspired you to write it?

We have always been interested in supernatural stories and happenings. Creating a world different from the one we live in and a world which has more adventure, excitement was also a major driving force.
Who is your biggest supporter?

Our grandfather has always supported us to continue writing no matter what. We are thankful to him for believeing in us.

Who is your favorite author?

We have many favorites. Barbara Cartland, R.L. Stine, Linda Goodman and Judith McNaught are some of them.

Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?

The book is available on  and for FREE. The purpose of keeping the book free is so that as many possible can read it and enjoy it. Due to the recession, people are forced to cut down on expenditure but all the same, they need a good book to read. That's why Roses of Doom is available for free.
Do you have a website and/or blog where readers can find out more?

Yes, our website offers updates on the book as well as free chapters, which are posted every week.
Do you have a video trailer to promote your book? If yes, where can readers find it?

We have personally made the trailer of Roses of Doom. It is available at Please tell us what you think of it.
What is one piece of advice you would like to share with aspiring authors everywhere?

Believe in yourself and do your best.

What is up next for you?

We are currently working on a high-school comedy novel. It is supposed to be a series. It has progressed well until now and we will bring you more information as it comes.

Is there anything you would like to add?

Thank you for having us, Cheryl. We are glad to do this interview with you. And for everyone who is reading this, thank you too and hope you enjoyed it.

Thanks for spending time with us today, S.P. We wish you great success.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Book Review: Red Ink by Kathi Macias

Kathi Macais' powerful new contemporary international thriller series continues with Red Ink.

Based loosely upon the life of Christian magazine editor Li Ying, who is currently serving a ten-year prison sentence in China, Red Ink is the story of Zhen-Li, a woman raised to observe the party line, but whose life proves God is greater than any earthly government.

Zhen-Li falls in love with and marries a Christian man, Zhou Chi, and adopts his faith. When she becomes pregnant a second time and refuses to have an abortion in defiance of China's one child law, Zhen-Li's parents have her kidnapped and the baby aborted.

Now, Zhen-Li decides it is time to take a firm stand for her faith and she begins to teach children about Zhu Yesu ("Lord Jesus") and to distribute Christian literature.

Imprisoned and separated from her family, she soon catches the attention of an abusive prison guard who is determined to break her. Zhen-Li hopes her young faith is strong enough to survive the torture.

In the United States, two elderly women in a residential facility feel the call to pray for an unknown woman in China, who they are certain is in danger. They are also called to pray for a new resident, Margaret, who rebuffs their attempts of friendship at every turn, and for Margaret's granddaughter.

As the story unfolds and these people's lives intersect in unimaginable ways, the power of God shines through to a moving and satisfying conclusion.

New Hope Publishers has titled this series, "Fiction with a Mission." It certainly lives up to its name. While I enjoyed the first two books of this series--No Greater Love and More Than Conquerors--Red Ink is by far my favorite.

As in More Than Conquerors, Macias weaves the lives of many different people together and shows how God works, whether we understand His reasoning or His call. One can't help but sympathize with Zhen-Li and Zhou Chi, who have been separated by her imprisonment. Their young son misses his mother, but to Zhou Chi's dismay, he cries for her less and less as time goes on. Your heart bleeds for this family, despite the fact that you realize they are fictional. Macias pulls you right into their story, makes you feel the pain of their separation and the suffering they endure for following Zhu Yesu.

When you meet Julia, a former missionary to China, and her prayer warrior friend, Laura, their faith inspires you. They heed God's call to pray for this unknown woman in China. Here they are in the twilight of their lives and struggling with health issues, and yet, they focus not on themselves, but on this woman whose name and needs they don't even know. Then when Margaret comes along, God asks them to pray for her and her granddaughter too. Margaret wants nothing to do with their God or them and she makes that well known. Through the creation of Margaret and her granddaughter Maggie, Macias shows that we are sometimes called to do things we would rather not do, not unlike Jonah when asked by God to go to Nineveh. 

It took me very little time to read from beginning to end. I never wished to put the book down. While I don't often care for books that leave a character's future unknown, in Red Ink, I felt the story ended perfectly. It took me a little while to get down the pronunciations of the names, but this did not interfere with my enjoyment of the story. I was truly captivated by each and every character in this novel.

Kathi has been a client of mine for years, but even when she wasn't using Pump Up Your Book to promote her new releases, I read her books. Perhaps the most astonishing thing when I think of all the books of hers that I've read is that I've never come across a book where I felt disappointed. I've enjoyed her fiction and nonfiction. I've been captivated by her novels set in America and in places around the world I've never seen. She develops characters that make you want to know them and their stories. She writes with the knowledge and peace of a mature Christian, but she never comes across in a condescending way.

When Kathi emailed me to say that Red Ink had been voted the ACFW book club selection for April 2011, I couldn't say I was surprised. It is one of the most powerful books I've ever read. Not only does it remind the reader that even in our modern society Christians are persecuted for their beliefs; it also shows that even when we don't know why God calls us to do things, He always knows and our faith will be rewarded.

Title:  Red Ink
Author:  Kathi Macias
Publisher:  New Hope Publishers
ISBN-10: 1596692790
ISBN-13: 978-1596692794
SRP:  $14.99

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Guest Blogger: Anne Dreyer, Contributor to Life Choices: Putting the Pieces Together

We welcome today, another of the contributors to the Life Choices: Putting The Pieces Together anthology to discuss her contribution.

If life didn’t challenge us,how could we know how strong we are?

How would we learn who we are capable of becoming?

There is no such thing as life without struggle. No one comes out of a struggle the same as he or she was when it began. Everyone has to make choices between giving up or growing stronger.

These authors hope that by sharing their stories, you will realize no matter how many pieces your life is in or what they look like, you can fit them together into a picture of wholeness and success.

Meet the Co-Authors of Life Choices: Putting the Pieces Together:

Andrea Chestnut

Jasmine Freeman

Anne Dreyer

Kathy Jo Pollack

Vickie Lane

Gregory Lay

Jo Wilkins

Charlotte Foust

Joan Peck

Ginette Osier Bedsaul

April Aimee Adams

Darlene Mahon

Joy Huntsman

Myriam Lazo

Bea Goodwin

Eric Culverson

Cindy Hallam

Deborah Clark

Ann Parenti

Lori La Bey

Becky Buckley

Mike Levin

Peggy Vasquez

Derick Poremba-Brumer

Lynette Chapell

Fix it! by Anne Dreyer

About my story:

Life is a big picture, and each of the choices we make and what we experience is a stroke of a brush on the huge canvas of our years. I believe that the secret of mastering life is like the stroke of the brush - one stroke at a time. Do as much as much as you can, during that specific season, and leave the rest to God. And it is this divine partnership that finally gets us through it all!

Continuing my story in the series Life Choices (Class is a Choice), which tells the story of my late father, Peter Welgemoed, who lost his entire fortune; his womanizing, perhaps being one of the primary factors. Although left penniless, he still left a legacy because of how he treated people; and even today he is still remembered as being a true gentleman!

Adding now, in the new book, Putting The Pieces Together, these ‘brush strokes’ that formed the canvas of his years, and mine, are about Ivy, his first wife, and my beloved late mother.

This poignant story tells my personal journey to forgiveness and living a new life of freedom.

I was dealing with an unforgiving heart and so much brokenness, yet I was the only one that could fix it. This was a CHOICE I had to make..... I Chose to FIX IT –and now know that without God and His principles, there can be no true meaning to by putting the pieces together, you can experience a life filled with rewards!

Anne Dreyer lives in the coastal resort Ballito Kwa Zulu South Africa and is a sought after motivational speaker, author and image coach, who lives and teaches Coco Chanel's dictum:

"You can be ravishing at 20, Charming at 40 ...or

With her warm and stylish personality, Anne infects her audiences as she trains and inspires them from her personal life’s experience as a successful business woman and entrepreneur.

Anne, nominated Business Women of the Year 2008, is the founder of Colourworks international, as well as the founder of Foreign Ambassador of APICSA, The Association of Professional Image Consultants in South Africa , the appointed External Examiner for IBICA Singapore, and a Professional Member Professional Speaker Association of South Africa, as well as Global Speakers International.

Anne, Master Image Consultant and Etiquette Expert, knows and believes that every person can blossom where they are planted and can be irresistible forever!

To contact Anne Dreyer

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Book Review: The Christmas Chronicles by Tim Slover

Get ready to take a magical journey into the legend behind the jolly man in the red suit when you pick up a copy of The Christmas Chronicles: The Legend of Santa Claus by Tim Slover.

One day a father leaves his wife and two teenage sons to their duties while he drives up into the mountains to cut pine boughs needed for decorating the house for Christmas. That's where he hears the sound of silver bells jingling and his life is changed forever.

A mysterious road opens up and a man in a sleigh led by a scarlet reindeer disappears up the road, but not before a book drops from the sleigh. The father discovers that this book is known as "The Green Book" and it is the, "True and Authorized Chronicle of Klaus," compiled by Dunstan Wyatt, Court Historian and driver of the sleigh.

So opens The Christmas Chronicles by Tim Slover. And in this mystical, magical tale this father unfolds the story of Klaus, whose parents died when the Black Death came to their village in 1343. Little Klaus was adopted by the Worshipful Guild of Foresters, Carpenters, and Woodworkers, where he would become a master at his craft. His work would be well-sought after and his generosity led to his sharing his toys with children at Christmas.

Despite the fact that Klaus finds love with his beautiful wife, Anna, his life is not easy. Rolf Eckhof is jealous of the master woodworker and is determined to sabotage his good work. Eckhof's jealousy leads to an epic battle between good and evil on a frosty Christmas Eve.

I love Christmas almost more than my kids do. Ask my husband who usually has to suffer through nearly every room of the house being decorated and who was forced to string icicle lights on our gutters this year in the wind and cold.

I'm always on the lookout for a good Christmas story. A couple of years ago I found The Santa Letters by Stacy Gooch Anderson. This year, Random House contracted me to promote a book I know I will read over and again. The Christmas Chronicles by Tim Slover is composed of many elements, such as: the magic of Christmas, faith, and love. It is an adventure, an inspiration, and a love story blended together with many of the symbols we have come to associate with Santa Claus and Christmas.

You will laugh and you might cry--I did in a couple of spots--and when you are done, you'll want to read it all over again, sitting by the fireplace surrounded by your family so that you can share with them the legend of Santa Claus as told in a masterful way by Slover. The author has woven so much of what we've come to know about Santa Claus into his story, that you are certain every word of what is written is true. I would almost be bold enough to defy anyone who doesn't believe in Santa to read this book and see if it doesn't change his mind.

A beautifully told story that is destined to become a Christmas classic is what you'll find in The Christmas Chronicles by Tim Slover.

Title:  The Christmas Chronicles
Author:  Tim Slover
Publisher:  Bantam Books
ISBN-10: 0553808109
ISBN-13: 978-0553808100
SRP:  $16.00

Disclosure: I was not paid to review this book. I received it free of charge to provide my honest opinion.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Character Interview: Neeta Lyffe from Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator by Karina Fabian

Joining us today is Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator. Now, I’m not real big on zombies, so I’m glad sometime in the future (2040 to be exact) these exterminators came into being. Let’s learn more about Neeta and what she does so that this planet is safe for future generations.

Hi Neeta. Thanks for being with us today. I was concerned that your duties might keep you from speaking with us.

It's no big deal, really. You know, I'm just an exterminator. I spray for ants, set rat traps… Zombie extermination is just one of the things I do--and, thank heaven, there aren't *that* many zombies out there. I have free time, even when I was hosting Zombie Death Extreme, I managed to find time to relax and have fun.

I just caught the cover for your book on Karina’s website. Sure looks like you can kick some butt.

(Blushes) I hate that picture. There is no way I'd take on a zombie with my uniform half off, and trust me, if a zombie is down, his head is away from his neck. But people do like it, and I can kick butt, though most of the time, I'd rather slice off the head.

Recently heard that you got yourself into a spot of trouble—something to do with a zombie and a lawyer. What is up with that?

It's been in the news enough, but long story short: Lawyer decides to entertain guests with a backyard shindig, featuring all manner of strongly smelling foods, including (who knows why) pickled beets and something smothered in blue cheese dressing. Said lawyer lives behind a cemetery. When the undead started rising and following the smells, he doesn’t panic but depends on his electric fence to keep them out. Like a little zap is going to stop something already dead. By the time I responded to the 9-1-1, there was pandemonium everywhere--and one guy videoing on his phone. Me against nine undead? Even I'm not good enough to get in close. I used the flamethrower until I ran out of fuel. One flaming meat staggered onto the porch, probably in response to the video guy. A brilliant guest tossed vodka on it. Set the porch on fire. I was busy trying to unstick my chainsaw from one zombie's shoulder at the time.

I re-killed all the zombies before backup got there. Saved over a dozen lives. But Lawyer Larry sued me for wrecking his backyard. (shrug) Mom always said not to expect any appreciation for this job.

I’m not a fan of reality TV. I thought by the time 2040 came to pass it would have run its course. I hear it’s helping you out, though. What made you want to get into TV anyway?

I wanted to educate people about zombie extermination and defense. Despite everything, I think we accomplished that, though not as well as I'd like. I hope everyone will catch *The Zombie Syndrome* on the Discovery Channel when it comes out.

And, frankly, there was no way I was going to pay off that lawsuit on an exterminator's pay. It was reality TV or lose my house.

So, I hear the paparazzi are driving you a bit nuts. How are you keeping them in line?

Have I shown you my chain saw?

Now, you don’t have to answer this, but this is your chance to get Karina back for some of the mean stuff she’s done to you in this book. Tell us a secret about Karina that no one else knows.

I don't know Karina's secrets; I'm not sure she has many. Besides, I don't really feel the need for revenge. Now, if I can tell you about Lawyer Larry…

Here’s an important question: where can readers pick up a copy of Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator?

From the publisher: and

Do you have an online home too?  is where you can learn more about the book. Naturally, the show has its own website: They're going to make a subdomain for my business, Lyffe Undeath Exterminations, but we haven't gotten to it yet.

Thanks for making time for us today, Neeta. Any parting words?

Just remember: I'm a professional zombie exterminator with training and a license to re-kill. If you ever see a zombie, your best bet is to call 9-1-1, douse yourself in cleaning products and run. Don't be a hero.

Watch the trailer!

Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator Tour Schedule

Dec  Interview in newsletter

4-Dec interview

6-Dec Guest post: why write about zombies?

7-Dec Guest Post: what do you do with a zombie novel

8-Dec interview

8-Dec Guest Post : Building Neeta's World

9-Dec Guest Post: Why zombie fic?

9-Dec  Blog: Squee! Karina's Sister Poses as Neeta!

10-Dec Guest post

10-Dec interview

11-Dec review

12-Dec interview

13-Dec feature

13-Dec  Blog--The Zombie Death Extreme Website!

14-Dec Character interview

15-Dec review

16-Dec  Blog--Questions about Neeta Lyffe

17-Dec Character interview

17-Dec Catholics and Fantasy

18-Dec interview

19-Dec review + interview

19-Dec review + interview

20-Dec  Roundup of Reviews

20-Dec Review

Author Bio: From zombie exterminators to dragon detectives to nuns in space, Karina Fabian's universes make readers laugh, cry and think. Winner of the 2007 EPPIE Award for best sci-fi and the 2010 INDIE Award for best fantasy, she lets her characters take her where they will and is never disappointed. Karina Fabian is married to Colonel Robert Fabian. They and their four kids call home wherever the Air Force sends them. Learn more at

The Dawning of Power Trilogy by Brian Rathbone Giveaway at Linda Weaver Clarke's Blog

Linda Weaver Clarke is up to her tricks again. She's giving away more books at her blog this week. The first one you'll find is for The Dawning of Power trilogy by Brian Rathbone.

"The Dawning of Power tells the story of Istra's return to the world of Godsland after a 3,000-year absence. In book one, Call of the Herald, we meet Catrin Volker, a teenage horse trainer. While trying to protect a friend, she inadvertently fulfills the prophecy of the destroyer, which claims she will destroy the Zjhon nation. Catrin's quest begins as she must face those who believe she is out to destroy them.

In book two, Inherited Danger, all of Godsland is at risk as massive weapons left over from the last age of power become once again viable. If left to charge in Istra's light, the weapons will detonate. Catrin and her friends set out on what seems an impossible quest to save even her enemies.

Book three, Dragon Ore, Catrin must journey to the fabled Firstland to stop the Zjhon form gaining access to immeasurable power. There, she must face mankind's ancient enemies, and her only hope may lie with an age old alliance."

This sure sounds like a great giveaway for you fantasy lovers. Visit Linda Weaver Clarke's blog at for more details on how you can enter and win. This international giveaway only runs through December 20th, so don't wait.

Linda will have another great giveaway running on December 16th, so be sure to check our her blog laster in the week.

Brian Rathbone was born in New Jersey. He left Corporate America to work from home and write. The Dawning Power is the debut trilogy in The World of Godsland fantasy fiction series. You can find Brian online at or visit him on Facebook or Twitter.  

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Winner of Red Ink by Kathi Macias

Our congratulations go out to Janelle, winner of a copy of Red Ink by Kathi Macias. I just found out this week that Red Ink has won the ACFW book club vote for their April selection, so Janelle is getting her hands on a wonderful book. I finished reading my copy this morning and my review will appear on Friday.

I will email Janelle today or tomorrow and she will have 72 hours to respond with mailing information. If I don't hear from her after that time, I will select a new winner.

Thanks again to all who entered this giveaway. I hope 2011 will bring more great giveaways for my readers.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Author Interview: Lindsay Below, Author of Letters to Alice

Joining us today is Lindsay Below, author of Letters to Alice. Lindsay lives in Iqaluit, Canada with her supportive boyfriend and fat cat, where she writes young adult and middle grade novels. Under L. K. Below, she publishes romance and speculative fiction.

Welcome to The Book Connection, Lindsay. Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I think the word “writer” more or less says everything about me. I spend most of my time either reading or writing, although I love to get creative in other ways (such as making my own book trailers). I’m a voracious learner, and love to immerse myself in a factual book or website. Historical manuscripts, especially the classics, draw me in like bears to honey. I’m a total nerd that way.

When did you begin writing?

A short story project when I was in Grade Three sparked my love for crafting my own worlds, though I first remember writing novels when I was thirteen.

Do you write during the day, at night or whenever you can sneak a few moments?

I’d say “whenever I can sneak a few moments” but those who knew me would laugh. I write all the time. I’m lucky to be able to have time to devote to writing during the day, during the night, whenever I please. Because apparently human contact is something to be embraced, I usually get in about 60 hours a week while my boyfriend is at work.

What is this book about?

Letters to Alice is the tragic story of two teen girls who are shut away in their father’s basement each summer, and forced to communicate secretly through a hole in the wall.

Here’s the blurb:

Separated from her sister, Liz prepares for another mind-numbing summer shut indoors. But little does their father know that she and Alice have a secret. Their basement rooms are connected by one small hole in the wall, just large enough to stick their hands into. While they may be trapped in there, they won’t be alone.

But when Liz flunks her ninth grade English class and is forced into summer school to make up the credit, she realizes that their forced isolation isn’t normal. And then she’s determined to break herself and her sister free…

What inspired you to write it?

The characters popped into my head one night and wouldn’t leave until I started to write their story. It was very compelling for me to write, and they swept me away.

Are you a member of a critique group? If no, who provides feedback on your work?

I have two very important people who provide feedback on my work. My boyfriend, Travis, is always eager to read and give his honest opinion. And my good friend and critique partner, Gina Gordon, is a godsend.

Who is your favorite author?

I have many authors that I simply adore. My favorites in young adult fiction include Terry Pratchett, Lemony Snicket, and Tamora Pierce. I also enjoy Clive Barker, Jane Austen, Edmond Rostand, Julia Quinn, Edgar Allan Poe, and my wonderful critique partner Gina Gordon.

Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?

This book can be downloaded for free at

Do you have a website and/or blog where readers can find out more?

Yes, I do. In fact, I have both. My website is -- it branches off into two sections, one for my adult and the other for my young adult works. My blog is at

What is one piece of advice you would like to share with aspiring authors everywhere?

Don’t give up. Writing courses, workshops, and revisions will only take you so far. The rest is all persistence. Research your market and eventually you’ll find the perfect place for your novel.

What is up next for you?

I have a young adult science fiction novel, Lurkers, which will be released in July 2011. In the meantime, I’ll be writing the story for whichever characters grip me the most. Who knows, maybe there will be another free read in my future.

Is there anything you would like to add?

Happy holidays and thanks for having me, Cheryl!

Thanks Lindsay. It was wonderful to have you with us. Wishing you a happy holiday and continued success.

Author Spotlight: Red Ink by Kathi Macias

Yang Zhen-Li defies not only her Communist parents but the government as well when she marries a poor Christian peasant and converts to his faith. When she begins to distribute Christian materials, particularly to children, she is arrested and sentenced to ten years of hard labor. Will her husband and son wait for her and support her throughout their long separation? Will she even survive to return to them once again? Or will the evil guard Tai Tong, who has taken a personal dislike to Zhen-Li, convince her to deny her faith? Two elderly saints halfway around the world are determined to pray her through, though they’ve never met her and don’t even know her name. God’s faithfulness in the midst of unimaginable trials will bring about an ending that could never be anticipated—but will never be forgotten.

Read an Excerpt!

Yang Zhen-Li was nearing thirty but at times felt twice that old. Her back was becoming permanently bent forward from the heavy pails she carried daily, one attached on each end of the thick bamboo rod that stretched across her shoulders, mirroring the heaviness of her heart. There had been a time when she’d been acclaimed as a beauty, but she could scarcely remember why…or imagine that it would matter.

She tried to fight the encroaching darkness, tried to hold fast to what she knew was true, but the constant lies and propaganda were taking a greater toll even than the physical labor and abuse or the burning, gnawing hunger. If her situation didn’t change soon, she knew she would never live long enough to see her husband or son again. And with nearly eight years of her ten-year sentence left to serve, the possibilities of her emerging from prison alive grew dimmer by the day.

For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. She forced herself to focus on one of the many scripture verses she’d had opportunity to memorize between the time she accepted Zhu Yesu as her Savior and her arrest by members of the Public Security Bureau (PSB) on charges of teaching religion to children, including giving them papers containing religious writings. Even before her arrest, her parents had written to her—warned her, begged her, threatened her—and finally had her kidnapped in an attempt to convince her to go along with the government rules, especially the one limiting each family to one child. After all, she already had a healthy son. Why would she want another baby when they could scarcely afford to feed the first one? But though her abductors had forcibly aborted her second child, they had not succeeded in convincing Yang Zhen-Li to abandon the faith she had adopted before marrying her Christian husband. If anything, the ordeal had only strengthened her resolve to take a stand for the meaning of her name—Zhen-Li, “Truth,”—and spurred her to begin actively sharing the Good News of Yesu every chance she got. As a trained teacher, that quite naturally included talking with children about the gospel, a practice expressly forbidden by the government.

And now she was paying the price. Separated from her family and sentenced to ten years of hard labor and “re-education,” Zhen-Li struggled to survive against pain, exhaustion, and bitter loneliness. Worst of all were the times she felt God had abandoned her. It wasn’t enough to know in her mind that He promised never to leave or forsake her. She needed a visible reminder—soon—if she was to continue to remain faithful behind these prison walls.

Here’s what reviewers are saying about Red Ink!

“Red Ink follows a variety of characters on opposite sides of the world and shows their different spiritual journeys. It’s a beautiful and sometimes brutal story about the power of unconditional love, of ultimate sacrifice, and of the faithful, unshakable allegiance of several believers toward their one true God. Though there are many players in this novel, their lives intersect in an unseen tapestry of faith that is crafted by the loving hands of a merciful God. This is a life-changing story that is not to be missed.”

–Michelle Sutton, author of more than a dozen novels including It’s Not About Me, Danger at the Door, In Plain Sight, and Never Without Hope

"...Macias does a great job of putting readers into this  frightening world where even in the midst of incredible darkness, God continues to show His face to the ones He loves."

--Christy's Book Blog

"Five stars does not do this book any amount of justice."

--Book Reviews by Molly

Watch the Trailer!

We'll be announcing the winner of a copy of Red Ink (Extreme Devotion Series, Book 3) over the weekend.

Look for my review of this book coming on December 17th!

Kathi Macias is a blogtalkradio host and an award-winning author of more than 30 books, including her popular Extreme Devotion series from New Hope Publishers and Valeria’s Cross from Abingdon Press. A wife, mother, grandmother, and great grandmother, Kathi lives in Southern California with her husband, Al, where the two of them spend their spare time riding Al’s Harley—hence, Kathi’s “road name” of Easy Writer! Her latest release is Red Ink, the third book in her popular Extreme Devotion series.

You can find out more about Kathi and her writing/speaking at or her blog at

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Author Spotlight: Mo' Dirty by Darrell King

Peter Whiskey Battle is a 24-year-old enforcer for Peola, Georgia’s Bad Boyz II Syndicate, a dangerous street gang controlling the lion’s share of illicit narcotics coming into the bustling port of Savannah. After murdering two local snitches for David Ambrosia, the suave, smooth-talking leader of the syndicate and Whiskey’s best friend, he is given an offer he can’t refuse.She struggles to come to terms with her failing marriage and her sick mother as she watches her chance at a happy home with children slip away. Her two childhood girlfriends offer help and support but they have their own personal struggles. The old saying, “what’s done in the dark will eventually comes to light” has never been more true.

When tragedy strikes, Maxine will have to make the most important decision of her life. But will the lies and secrets her husband and friends harbor bring Maxine’s life crashing down around her?


Darrell King has been writing ever since the age of eight. His first published work of fiction was penned during the fall of 1976 as a student of Mary Field’s Elementary School on South Carolina’s Daufuskie Island. This effort, an adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit,” was both written and illustrated by Mr. King and was published in the school’s quarterly periodical, “The Daufuskie Kid’s Magazine.” Mr. King went on to write several unpublished stories and numerous poems, several of which were published in the 1995-1996 “Poetry Anthology” by the National Library of Poetry in Owings Mills, Maryland.

During the 90s, Mr. King was attracted to and inspired by the lurid tales of inner city crime and drama that he read on the pages of novels by great writers such as Donald Goines and Iceberg Slim. This, coupled with an enduring appreciation for the hard-edged, yet enlightened lyric of the era’s gangsta rap icons like Tupac Shakur, The Notorious B.I.G., Easy E and others prompted Mr. King to begin writing his very own stories of urban crime and inner city drama.

Mr. King resides in Washington, DC.

To find out more about Darrell or to learn more about Mo’ Dirty visit King or

Tomorrow, Darrell will be visiting As the Pages Turn at 

Author Interview: Rolf Hitzer, Author of Hoodoo Sea

Joining us today is Rolf Hitzer, author of the supernatural science fiction novel, Hoodoo Sea.

Rolf Hitzer was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. He attended Princess Margaret Elementary School, John Pritchard Junior High and Graduated from Kildonan East Regional Secondary School where he had majored in Culinary Arts.

He has several passions besides writing, they include: being at the log cabin on weekends; spending time on the water with a fishing pole in hand; wildlife viewing and especially Moose calling during the fall rut; playing a range of Poker card games and a variety of board games.

Rolf is a Member of the Winnipeg Real Estate Board, The Manitoba Real Estate Association and the Canadian Real Estate Association. Hoodoo Sea is his first novel.

Welcome to The Book Connection, Rolf. Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

Hmmm, not sure what I can say. I'm a male, a Cancer from the zodiac sign, which is a summer baby. I have two children that I love very very much. I'm also a Realtor; I enjoy reading, writing (go figure), fishing and mixing it up in a poker game. Oh yeah, and eating really good food.

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. It's a great city to be raised in.

What is your fondest childhood memory?

My summers were spent on Lake Winnipeg with my grandparents. To lived an entire summer break in the outdoors, and at a lake. As an adult I realize how lucky I was to have grown up this way. All of my memories of this part of my childhood are filled with great happiness.

When did you begin writing?

In my late twenties for work, but fiction writing I didn't begin until I was in my early forties.

What is this book about?

My book is about a new technology created by NASA, speed of light travel. The test flight enters the Bermuda Triangle and then goes missing. What happens next alters everything that the crew had ever believed in prior to vanishing in the Triangle.

What inspired you to write it?

It was one of my "to do" items on my Bucket List. It's now a scratch and on to the next.

Who is your favorite author?

My favorite author is Louis L'amour. I've read more books by him than anyone else.

Do you have an agent or are you looking for one?

I have an agent, Johanna Bates out of Calgary, Alberta.

Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?

Hoodoo Sea can be purchased on

Do you have a website and/or blog where readers can find out more?

Yes, I have a web site for the book and that can be found at and it is another place where the novel can be purchased.

What is the best investment you have made in promoting your book?

Having Ms. Tracee Gleichner from Pump Up Your Book be my promoter. She is awesome.

What is one piece of advice you would like to share with aspiring authors everywhere?

Just write, don't stop and persevere.

What is up next for you?

Hopefully this January I will continue with my second novel that I have ignored for the past few months.

Is there anything you would like to add?

Yes, what a wonderful Christmas or Holiday Season gift idea: buy someone you love a book.

Thanks for spending time with us today. We wish you the best of luck.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Guest Blogger: K.M. Daughters, Author of All's Fair in Love and Law

Today's special guest is K.M. Daughters, the sister writing team behind the romantic suspense Sullivan Boys series. The fourth installment in this series, All's Fair in Love and Law, will be released on Friday.

The enchantress on stage at an amusement park review captivates new Chicago Police Department Captain Patrick Sullivan. Stunned to learn she’s the infamous defense attorney, Charlie Demarco, who substituted for her twin at the performance, Pat battles Charlie in and out of the courtroom. With CPD cutbacks and a serial murderer to apprehend, Pat struggles to uphold the law and his reputation, while Charlie seems determined to undermine him. Chained to her job to restore her family’s finances, Charlie has no choice but to defend the criminals Pat wants behind bars. Her biggest battle yet involves defending her heart against Patrick Sullivan.

A K.M. Daughters Christmas

Since we have resided in separate parts of the country since Pat was twenty-five, we have only celebrated Christmas together three times: once when Kathie’s first born son was six months old (he’s married now and the father of her first grandchild, eight year old, Natalie), and twice at Pat’s house in the Chicago suburbs when all the kids were still single.

Although apart, Christmas celebrations in each “Daughter” household are quite similar stemming from cherished remembrance of Christmases past when both our parents were alive.

The season officially begins when Santa Claus “sleighs” into Herald Square at the conclusion of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The annual TV time slots are staggered, so Pat, the last to witness the jolly man’s entrance into the Square, telephones Kathie with loving Thanksgiving wishes – invariably two teary-eyed women cling to each end of the connection. We are sentimental Irish women and tears flow during the holidays and at each airport good-bye.

We load our Christmas music collection into CD players or play-list holiday songs through docked Ipods, despite overt groans from children who once shared our households, and now, still don’t avoid escape if they want their presents. :)

Christmas Eve is the “big deal” for us. Festivities always involve lots of food, beverages to suit, gift giving and our beloved family circuses. The season wouldn’t be complete without watching our favorite Christmas movies each year.

So here is our top ten list!

White Christmas
Holiday Inn
It Happened One Christmas (the remake of It's a Wonderful Life with Marlo Thomas...K.M. Daughters LOVES her and grew up wanting to be That Girl!)
Christmas Vacation
The Christmas Story
Frosty The Snowman
Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer
Bells of St Mary's
Going My Way
and Twilight.....every girl deserves to spend Christmas with Edward

We have one thing to add – since the publication of Against Doctors Orders, “The Daughters” have a favorite tagline: All We Want For Christmas Is A Sullivan Boy!”

Peace, love and cherished remembrances for all during this sacred season!

Sisters, Pat Casiello and Kathie Clare write as K.M. Daughters. Their penname is dedicated to the memory of their parents, Kay and Mickey, the "K" and "M" in K.M. Daughters. All's Fair In Love And Law is the fourth book in the author's acclaimed Sullivan Boys Romantic Suspense Series. K.M. Daughters writes romantic suspense for The Wild Rose Press, inspirational romance for White Rose Publishing and contemporary romance for Sapphire Blue Publishing. Contact K.M. Daughters at

Monday, December 6, 2010

Guest Blogger: Shari Bookstaff, Author of When Life Throws you Lemons...Make Cranberry Juice!

Today's special guest is Shari Bookstaff, author of the memoir, When Life Throws You Lemons...Make Cranberry Juice!.

Shari was 42 years old when she was diagnosed with a benign, operable, brain tumor. Doctors predicted a short hospital stay followed by a speedy recovery. Complications arose, giving her unexpected life-long obstacles.

Her life since that fateful day has been focused on regaining basic human functions: breathing, swallowing, walking, etc. Putting a positive spin on life’s disasters doesn’t always work, but looking for, and accepting, positive things in spite of life’s disasters works. Instead of making lemonade out of lemons, she adds life’s sweet sugar and cranberries to her lemons. When Life Throws you Lemons...Make Cranberry Juice! is her story.

What happens when your whole life changes drastically without warning? On July 26, 2006, something happened that changed my life forever. I had a brain tumor removed. What was supposed to be a short hospital stay followed by a complete recovery became a 9-month hospital stay followed by a life-long recovery. Every aspect of my physical being changed on that day. I had to train my body to do everything again, from breathing to eating to talking to walking. Through it all, my mind was clear. I was aware of my surroundings, even though I couldn't communicate my thoughts very well. How did a life-altering event like this change my perspectives? One thing that has changed is my sense of humor. It is more edgy, and I am very often the butt of my own jokes. This ability to laugh at myself has made others feel more comfortable around, lightened the tone of my situation, and, very often, made ME laugh instead of cry! I came up with a Top Ten list for my own amusement. If it also makes YOU laugh, even better!

Ten Best Things About Having a Brain Tumor by Shari Bookstaff

10. I can tell small children that I was attacked by a shark. They believe me and they think I’m cool!
9. People don’t complain to me as much about trivial problems.
8. People think I’m drunk anyway, so, why not drink?
7. I have no need to go to an amusement park–riding on an elevator gives me the same rush as a roller-coaster!
6. Rock star parking.
5. I get to say, “It’s not like it’s brain surgery,” and mean it!
4. I can write a new book called The Brain Tumor Diet and make a fortune!
3. I can fall into things and watch people around me looking at me like I’m crazy because I’m usually laughing! We went to lunch at a restaurant in Monterey, and I tripped and fell as I walked in the door. I tripped over the step and fell-right into a high chair! Rented surrey: $40; lunch: $25; the look of surprise on the parents of the baby whose high chair I destroyed: priceless!
2. I can use my cane as a weapon-and even bring it on an airplane!
1. If I say or do something stupid, I have an excuse!

Shari Bookstaff grew up in Milwaukee, WI, dreaming of becoming a marine biologist. She made it to California and is currently a biology professor, teaching at a community college near San Francisco. While her specialty is marine mammals, she recently expanded her course offerings to include a class on the human brain. Inspired by her own medical trials, Shari continues to merge her personal and professional interests.

Shari lives with her two children (and two dogs) in a small town just south of San Francisco, near the ocean. While her disabilities make life harder, she is determined to continue walking on the beach, attending concerts, and cheering at football games.

You can find more about Shari and When Life Throws You Lemons…Make Cranberry Juice on her website at

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Pump Up Your Book Announces December ‘10 Authors on Virtual Book Tours

Join a talented and diverse group of 36 authors who are touring with Pump Up Your Book Virtual Book Tours during December 2010.

Follow these authors as they travel the blogosphere from December 6th through December 17th to discuss their books. You’ll find everything from seasonal titles to self-help books, from mystery novels to historicals, from romance novels to humorous pet advice books, and more!

M.M. Bennetts returns this month with his historical novel, Of Honest Fame. Other returning authors include John L. Betcher, Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein, K.D. Hays and Meg Weidman, Mary Maddox, and Judi Moreo.

Award-winning author Kathi Macias is touring with the third book in her Extreme Devotion series, Red Ink. Mysteries come to you from Kathryn Casey, Shelly Frome, and Susan Wingate, and children’s picture books are being promoted by V.S. Grenier and Nicole Weaver.

Seasonal titles in a variety of genres come to you from Joel Andre, Kristy Haile, Cheryl C. Malandrinos, and Tim Slover. Nonfiction offerings this month come from Shari Bookstaff, returning authors Denise Burroughs and Nicolas Oliva, Mike O’Mary, Kandy Siahaya, and Stephanie Vlahov.

Other authors on tour include: Monica Brinkman, the sister writing team of K.M. Daughters, returning authors Rolf Hitzer, Darrell King, Bronwyn Storm, and Vincent Zandri, Nancy Carty Lepri, Shana Mahaffey, Gary Starta, Kimmie Thomas, Tom White, and Amanda Wolfe.

Pamela Samuels Young returns this month to promote two of her legal thrillers: Buying Time and Murder on the Down Low. And for the first time ever, we feature Sparkle the Cat, the world’s foremost feline columnist, who is touring with her cat-to-cat advice book, Dear Sparkle.

Visit  to view a video trailer introducing our authors on tour in December.

Pump Up Your Book is a virtual book tour agency for authors who want quality service at an affordable price. More information can be found on their website at

Author Spotlight: Stolen by Vivian Gilbert Zabel

When troubles and tragedies steal the joy and happiness from life, a person has two choices: to rebuild and find a way to continue living or to give up.

Torri faces adversity after adversity and finds a way to reconstruct her life. However, when the most drastic tragedy hits, she doesn't know if she can continue or not.

Read an excerpt!

Two weeks passed with Alice growing rapidly weaker. The disease ravaged her body until the sheet covering her barely rose above the mattress. The hospice at first provided nursing care during the day; then nurses stayed on duty around the clock. Torri spent part of every day at her friend’s bedside, taking Leann and Lyle to visit two or three times a week. The children’s faces became somber the minute they entered the house and remained so for hours after they left, but they insisted on visiting Aunt Alice.
Jason became thinner and his face more careworn as his wife began to leave this life. When the doctor from the hospice warned him that Alice had days rather than months, Jason took a leave of absence from the department. He left Alice only to coach his team, which she insisted he continue.
June 25 dawned sunny and warm. A gentle breeze stirred the leaves in the trees as Torri picked ripe and nearly ripe tomatoes with Lyle helping by carrying the basket. Leann played with her Barbies under a weeping willow at the edge of the garden. The early morning, drowsy and peaceful, signaled the start of another Oklahoma summer.
“Torri!” Bess called from the garden entrance, hurrying toward her granddaughter who stood shadowing her eyes with her hand.
“What’s wrong, Gram?” Torri asked when her grandmother reached her.
“I’ll finish the tomatoes. Jason called and asked for you and the children to come immediately.”
Torri placed her hand over her mouth, fighting darkness and suffocation. Forcing herself to take a deep breath, she asked, “Is it ... time?”
At Bess’ nod, Torri called Leann to meet her at the end of the garden, took Lyle’s hand, and nearly ran toward the house, knowing she needed to change from her shorts and tee shirt before leaving. When they joined Leann, Torri grabbed one of her hands without pausing.
“We need to hurry, kids. Uncle Jason called. Remember we’ve talked about how we would have to say goodbye to Aunt Alice before long? Well, it’s time, sweeties.”
The silent children hurried with her, the tightening grasp on their mother’s hands their only response. When they climbed the steps to the porch, Torri stopped. “Please wait here. I need to change my clothes. You look fine, but I don’t. I’ll only be a minute.”
Fifteen minutes later they pulled into Jason’s and Alice’s drive where several cars were already parked. They rushed into the house where Jason’s mother, tears pooling in her eyes, escorted them to the bedroom. Alice lay in the bed surrounded by her parents on the side of the bed closest to the door and Jason on the other side with Pastor John standing behind him. A nurse waited in the shadows.
When she saw Torri, a ghost of a smile flitted across Alice’s face. “Mom, Dad, would you ... mind if I ... talked with Torri ... her children?” the whispering voice from the bed, so soft, so weak, asked.
When Mr. Rogers led his wife, who sobbed into a hanky, from the room, Torri and her children moved to the vacant side of the bed. Alice feebly reached out her hand, which Torri clasped in both of hers. “I had to ... see you ... one more time.”
“Please, don’t exert yourself. I know what you want to say. I love you, too, and I will miss you so very much.”
“Yes ... one more ... thing.”
“Anything I can.”
“Continue to be ... Jason’s ... friend ... special friend ... help him continue living ... I made ... him promise.”
“Of course. You didn’t need to ask. Jason will always be a part of our family.”
“Good. Where ... children?”
Dropping Alice’s hand, Torri brought both Leann and Lyle to stand in front of her, placing Lyle’s hand in Alice’s.
“Why does Aunt Alice want to hold my hand?” Lyle asked.
“That’s the only way she can hug now, Lyle,” Jason answered from across the bed, giving both children an encouraging, if wan, grin.
“Why don’t you tell Aunt Alice about your last game, sweetie?” Torri kept her hand on Lyle’s shoulder as she drew Leann into the circle
of her other arm.
Lyle regaled Alice with a hit by hit, out by out replay of the game two nights earlier, including his home run and game saving catch. Finally looking up at his mother, he asked, “Why does Aunt Alice have to hug so long?”
Struggling to hide a startled laugh behind a cough, Torri glanced toward Alice whose face also showed a tendency to smile. A strange choking came from the other side of the bed as Jason rubbed his free hand across his mouth. Alice answered his question. “I ... won’t be ... able to hug ... you ... again for ... a long time.”
“Oh,” the young boy nodded as he spoke, “that’s okay then. You want to hear about last Friday’s game?”
“Maybe we should allow Leann to get her ‘hug’ now.” Torri smoothed his hair back from his forehead.
“Why don’t you come over here by me,” Jason suggested to Lyle as Leann moved closer to where Alice’s hand, with an IV attached and a bandage covering it, now lay on the sheet.
“Aunt Alice has a hurt hand, Mommie. I don’t want to hold her hurt.” Leann hid her hands behind her back; then taking Torri’s hand, she placed it on Alice’s, holding her mother’s other hand in hers. “There, you hold Aunt Alice’s hand, and I’ll hold yours.”
“My pretty ... Leann ... I will miss you ... and your ... brother.” Alice forced the words through her parched lips. “Remember ... I love you.” Looking at Jason, then at Lyle, she told the boy, “You make ... Uncle ... Jason keep ... coaching, okay?”
After swallowing around the lump forming in his throat, Lyle nodded, sliding his hand into Jason’s and leaning against his side. “I don’t want you to leave us, Aunt Alice.” Tears filled Leann’s eyes as she squeezed her mother’s hand.
“I know, but God make me ... all better if I ... go to heaven.”
“Oh. I want you to be all better, but ... ” After she laid her face against Alice’s and Torri’s joined hands, Leann whispered, “I love you, Aunt Alice.”
The quiet voice that didn’t seem to belong to Lyle whispered, “I love you, too. Would you tell, uh, Jesus I love him, too, I mean, when you see him?”
“Of course ... aah!” Quickly the nurse efficiently moved Torri and Leann to one side, bending over the dying woman while Jason gently pushed Lyle toward his mother.
“Goodbye, my ‘bestest’ friend,” Torri whispered before she removed her children from the room. Alice’s parents each briefly touched her shoulder as they returned to their daughter’s side.
A few minutes later, Jason with Pastor John beside him entered the living room gravely to announce, “She’s gone.”

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After a career in the business world and then twenty-five years teaching, Vivian Gilbert Zabel retired to devote her time to writing. A wife, a mother of three living children, a grandmother, and a great-grandmother, she uses family and life experiences in her writing.

You can visit Vivian online at and the Stolen website at

Purchase your copy of Stolen here!

This book is also available at and!