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Archive for November, 2018

HeadshotRay Sutherland is a Kentucky native who grew up on a farm outside of Bowling Green. He served in the Army, spent two years in Germany, received his B.A. in religion from Western Kentucky University, and his PhD in the Bible from Vanderbilt University.  Ray has served of Professor of Biblical Studies at the University of North Carolina-Pembroke for over thirty years, pastored a small church for nine years, and is retired from the Army Reserve. He and his wife Regina live in North Carolina and have two sons and four grandchildren.

Find out moreAmazon / B&N / Kobo

INTERVIEW:

Q: Congratulations on the release of your latest book, Secret Agent Angel. To begin with, can you gives us a brief summary of what the story is about and what compelled you to write it?   

A: Billy Graham said that angels are God’s secret agents and I decided to write the fictional adventures of one of those secret agent angels. I wrote it in the first person from the angel’s perspective somewhat along the lines of the secret agent and detective novels of the 50’s and 60’s by Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, Mickey Spillane, and Donald Hamilton, which were often told in first person. Samuel the angel comes to earth in human form to help persuade some people to make right decisions in crises. He visits an accountant who is tempted to steal. He goes along with two truckers who befriend an abused boy. He helps a war veteran find forgiveness of his former enemies. He helps some porters on their trip down the Ho Chi Minh trail. All of these things come together in a snowbound truck stop where a fire demon comes to destroy one man’s faith. Or his life. Forty years of angelic work all come together for that one confrontation.

Q: What do you think makes a good inspirational suspense? Could you narrow it down to the three most important elements? Is it even possible to narrow it down?

front cover finalA: Suspense and inspiration, both of which are provided in “Secret Agent Angel.” Most importantly, it is a well-told story and highly entertaining. The suspense comes from the tense situations in which Samuel the angel and his companions find themselves. The inspiration comes from the people in the story learning about their spiritual talents and their ability to do what is right. Even the angel learns some things.

Q: How did you go about plotting your story? Or did you discover it as you worked on the book?

A: I don’t work from a written outline but I certainly have a mental one. I planned out the opening, the major turning point and the ending, including the climax. Then I wrote the whole book with those plans in mind. I keep a detailed plan in mind for the next couple of episodes.

Q: Tell us something interesting about your protagonist and how you developed him or her. Did you do any character interviews or sketches prior to the actual writing?

A:There are no real angels around for me to watch so I had to improvise what I thought about how an angel would act. There are a few short accounts in the Bible about angel’s appearing, but they are very short of details. Much more helpful was the apocryphal/deutero-canonical book of Tobit which features an angel appearing as a human, so I relied on that account fairly heavily. But I had to use a lot of imagination.

Q: In the same light, how did you create your antagonist or villain? What steps did you take to make him or her realistic?

A: I have known some people very much like the angel’s opponents in the story. So the villains are composites of people I have known.

Q: How did you keep your narrative exciting throughout the novel? Could you offer some practical, specific tips?

A: I mostly used my own reaction as a guide. If an episode excited and entertained me, I kept at it. If it didn’t, I didn’t write it and found another way which I found to be exciting and entertaining.

Q: Setting is also quite important and in many cases it becomes like a character itself. What tools of the trade did you use in your writing to bring the setting to life?

A: A standard writers’ adage is to write what you know and in Secret Agent Angel, I followed that advice. I haven’t yet met any real angels, but most of the situations in which Samuel the secret agent angel finds himself  are very similar to things I have done in my own life. I was assigned to tanks in the army. My first job was loading and unloading trucks. The owner of the truck company also owned a truck stop, so I spent some time in it and other truck stops as well. I have visited many hospitals in the course of my pastoral duties. All of those settings appeared in the novel. One part which does not come from my own experience is the chapter about porters on the Ho Chi Minh trail just before the Tet offensive. I had to do a lot of research for that, but I enjoyed that challenge.

Q: Did you know the theme(s) of your novel from the start or is this something you discovered after completing the first draft? Is this theme(s) recurrent in your other work?

A:The theme that the spirit world is at work in our world is that is one thing that I have seen in my own life and experience. I had that theme firmly in mind when I started the book. That God is at work around us is as much an underlying assumption of the book as it is a theme. It is very much present in my next book, a historical novel about King David, the biblical king of Israel.

Q: Where does craft end and art begin? Do you think editing can destroy the initial creative thrust of an author?

A:Editing is an absolute necessity, both self-editing and outside editing. Editing can be done in such a way as to be a problem with creativity, but I did not have that problem. My editor at Black Opal, Faith, did an excellent job and was very helpful.

Q: What three things, in your opinion, make a successful novelist?

A:Reading widely and learning from great writers is mandatory. Being persistent. Keep at the writing and finish the project. Write the book, then prepare the manuscript for submission. Be persistent in submitting it. Every writer gets rejection. Get over it and send it out again. And again. And again. Constant improvement  is a necessity. Learn as you go. Figure out what works. Learn to self-edit. Like any job, writing requires certain skills and attributes. Learn them, use them, and keep getting better.

Q: A famous writer once wrote that being an author is like having to do homework for the rest of your life. Thoughts?

A:Homework was forced drudgery and basically useless, so I seldom did it, especially over Christmas vacation. Writing is work but it is enjoyable work. It is only forced on me by myself.

Q: Are there any resources, books, workshops or sites about craft that you’ve found helpful during your writing career?

A:Read great books, classics and current. Learn how the masters wrote, then find your own style. Dictionaries, use a good thesaurus, and follow Heinlein’s rules which are in the next question and answer.

Q:  Is there anything else you’d like to share with my readers about the craft of writing?

A: Robert A. Heinlein said it best. His Five Rules for Writers:

  1. You must write.
  2. You must finish what you write.
  3. You must refrain from rewriting, except to editorial order.
  4. You must put the work on the market.
  5. You must keep the work on the market until it is sold.

He is right and I can give no better advice.

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Title: Vita Antequam Mortem
Author: Brett E. Walker
Publisher: XLibrisUS
Genre: Fiction
Format: Ebook
This story is about a group of friends with very different personalities who party hard, do drugs, and go through life struggles together. Within this group of friends is Chase, who discovers what it feels like to experience true love at its finest. Throughout this tale, he endures undeniable pain both physically and emotionally, comprehends being alone for the very first time, and discovers what it feels like to have death in his family that takes away the meaning of his life. His mental state is tested throughout these series of events, bringing him to the brink of insanity. He is ultimately forced to make a decision that will stay with him for years to come, if not the rest of his life. Come take a hard look inside a weathered, imperfect, but genuinely beautiful mind.
 
PURCHASE HERE
My Review:

 

This was a hard book for me to read. Being the mom of teenagers, I could easily see how the friends in this book struggled through their different personalities and tried to experience as much of life as they could (I see it with my own children). But, by the end of the book I feel in love with Chase, and the author does a phenomenal job of taking you through his trials and triumphs to show you who he really is. This is a great book and one I highly recommend reading. 
Brett Walker was born and raised in Poughkeepsie New York. He is a first time author and is very excited about this story he has put together for readers to enjoy. What inspired him to write this story is the ups and downs people go through in life. Brett Walker is one of those guys who you don’t expect to make it very far- A product of the hood and the suburbs, the underdog, an everyday example of what it is to be human… but this is what is so appealing about his story. He is just like you, just like the rest of the world. He has fell in love suffered heartbreak, and lost loved ones who meant the world to him, but somehow he has survived. Somehow he has surpassed everyone’s expectations, and he has thrived

 

Monday, November 5
Interviewed at She Writes
Wednesday, November 7
Guest blogging at Harmonious Publicity
Thursday, November 8
Book reviewed at The Dark Phantom
Friday, November 9
Interviewed at Voodoo Princess
Monday, November 12
Guest blogging at Book Bloggin’ Princess
Tuesday, November 13
Book reviewed at A Title Wave
Wednesday, November 14
Interviewed at The Book Czar
Friday, November 16
Book reviewed at A Book Lover
Monday, November 19
Guest blogging at The Revolving Bookshelf
Wednesday, November 21
Friday, November 23
Book reviewed at I’m Shelf-ish
Monday, November 26
Guest blogging at My Bookish Pleasures
Wednesday, November 28
Guest blogging at The Literary Nook
Thursday, November 29
Book reviewed at Lover of Literature
Friday, November 30
Guest blogging at C’est La T

 

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Title: Ben Abdul-Malik Akran

Author: Sotonye Sagbe Boyle

Publisher: AuthorHouse UK

Genre: Fiction

Format: Ebook

When Akran suddenly surfaces out of the blue to cart Ben away to London, like a puppy in a chain, he knows things will never be the same for him again. ‘I don’t like white people,’ Ben tells his father, whom he sees as an ingredient in their evil manipulation. His classroom teacher teaches him, ‘white people perpetrate all the crimes in the world,’ a philosophy which implants in him, and earns him many adversaries–an orgy of killings. Ben joins the deadly Al Qaeda Network to seek for justice when his rivals kill his friends–Amafor, Dandy and beautiful Omar. For him, ‘justice delayed, is justice denied.’ But for his association with the Al Qaeda Network, death means nothing to him anymore…


PURCHASE HERE


BEN IS GIVING AWAY A $25 GIFT CARD!

  
Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $25 Gift Certificate to the e-retailer of your choice
  • This giveaway begins October 22 and ends on November 2.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on November 3.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone! 

 

ENTER TO WIN!

 

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

 

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

 

PURCHASE HERE

 

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

GIVEAWAY

Ken IS GIVING AWAY A $25 GIFT CARD!

  
Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $25 Gift Certificate to the e-retailer of your choice
  • This giveaway begins October 22 and ends on November 2.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on November 3.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone! 

ENTER TO WIN!

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

 

Monday, October 22

 



 

 

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