Monday, August 31, 2009

Distant Thunder, Prophetic Fiction by Jimmy Root Jr.

In Distant Thunder: Book One of the Lightning Chronicles, the unthinkable has happened. Iranian terrorists are poised to strike the United States and Israel with tactical nuclear weapons. How will the world respond? More importantly, how will a sleepy suburban Church in America respond?

Ty Dempsey is a young American pastor who finds himself in a trial of grief after the loss of his younger brother to the war in Iraq. During his darkest hours, God brings to life a series of passages in the Bible that Ty had always considered allegorical in nature. They aren’t. With a strong sense of urgency that the message must be preached to his congregation, Ty dares to go beyond anything he has ever done before. Most of his people are intrigued, but others begin to stir trouble. The result is a church conflict that threatens to destroy his ministry. His only reprieve is found in a budding romance with talented and beautiful singer, Blake Sieler.

Meanwhile, Moshe Eldan is an Israeli F-16 “Lightning” pilot who is faithfully doing his duty to protect his increasingly beleaguered nation. But things have gotten more complicated than normal. Beyond the fact that Hizbollah fighters are administering their cyclical rocket attacks across the border of Lebanon, neighbor nations are beginning to act provocatively, even after a Palestinian State has been formed. Worse, his wife confronts him with a startling prophecy from the Bible that seems to be coming true ten thousand feet beneath his wings. Never one to be anything other than a secular Jew, Moshe is forced into a journey toward faith. Then, his Lightning jet is shot down by a Russian Mig 29, and things get suddenly complicated.

Strangely, these two men, from totally different backgrounds and cultures are connected in ways that can only be orchestrated by God. This fast plausible, paced thriller never stops moving, and the end will be shocking.


Tel-Abib, Babylon 568 B.C.

The old man kicked at a clump of dried grass, while he wiped away the sweat that was burning his eyes. Just standing in this heat weakened his spindly legs, and a scorching wind seared his lungs. It was the season when relentless summer winds sucked the life out of just about everything in this “Heart of Babylon,” greatest of all kingdoms, center of the universe.

“Bah,” spat Ezekiel, the crusty old prophet. “There is only one King who will lay claim, and it is not Nebuchadnezzar!”

He wasn’t concerned about his words falling on the ears of a stray Chaldean; he was already known by most as a lunatic. In reality, only a handful of his own people actually listened to him. Mostly, he was mocked as a babbling fool, and that only sharpened his frustration.

He was meandering along the eastern bank of the Chebar Canal, alone with his tortured thoughts and nagging regrets. So many hopes and dreams had been piled up like refuse in a trash heap, sometimes he wondered if there was any point in continuing what seemed to be a fruitless ministry. Worse, Ezekiel knew he was nearing his last breath. The reality that he would not see his beloved Jerusalem again weighed heavily upon him.

Stolen away from his homeland by the King of Babylon some thirty years earlier, the prophet had nearly forgotten the beauty and blessings of Judah. Only images remained. Some were pleasant ponderings; others were memories of shattered possibilities. But most glaring were the remembrances of a greater invasion of wickedness that had consumed his people.

He’d cried out fervently while still in Israel, trying to awaken the people to the abomination of it all. Few listened. Wretchedness had been unleashed upon the people, and it came from the iniquities of the people themselves. No matter how passionately he’d challenged the depravity, there seemed to be no power behind his words. None of his pronouncements carried the necessary weight to bring about change. His desire to call upon the conscience of his nation was simply not enough. So, with the heaviness that accompanied a sense of failure, Ezekiel had left prophetic utterance to the prophets, to the few who claimed to have the power.

It wasn’t until he’d settled in the hovel called Tel-abib, situated beside this dirty river, that he first began to feel an odd stirring in his belly. Strangely, it signaled the arrival of a power that would energize his words. It was also when his dreams began to turn dark. He was shown things he, to this day, could not comprehend.

His visions were so horrifyingly real that he’d developed a tremor in his hands, and a slight twitch had become noticeable under his eye. Whenever he shared the dreams and visions, the quaking and twitching became so prominent that people would either discount him as sick or denounce him as a fool. But the inner stirring only intensified until it became a raging storm.

He lifted his head and looked toward a setting sun smeared by distant dust-filled winds. Slowly, his thoughts turned to his once lovely Jerusalem, and it made him mourn. Worse, his wild visions concerned that once great city. Over the last few weeks his waking dreams had disturbed him so much that he’d hardly been able to stomach his food.

Whenever the trance fell, a huge valley would be stretched before him, a valley filled with nothing but dust, dry bones and armor. It was a place of defeat and death, where all flesh had been picked clean by vultures and jackals. Some great battle had been waged and an army had met complete annihilation.

With each repetition of the vision, the prophet would end up puzzled and confused. But the last few times, something different had happened. What seemed to have been a messenger from the Almighty had appeared beside him. The figure was beyond comprehension, yet exuding a sorrowful compassion for the lost people lying before him.

“What do you see, son of man? Describe it to me,” the bronze-hued, light shrouded being commanded.

Ezekiel’s knees were banging together like drums being played at a wedding feast. “I see bones, nothing but bones. Bones separated from one another and piled high. Swords, helms, bucklers, and shields,” Ezekiel answered weakly.

“Can these bones live again?” the being asked. “Can there be life in place of death?”

Ezekiel strained his eyes out over the valley looking for any sign of a survivor, any life at all. Not even a bird remained to pick at the bones. Everything was desolate. With a shrug and a sigh, he let the question stand for a moment. How does one give answer to such a majestic being, when words fall short of holiness and are shrouded in trepidation?

“You know, my Lord, you know,” was the prophet’s feeble reply.

“I tell you, son of man, these bones will live again.”

Suddenly, a swirling wind blew outward from the messenger and passed down the entire length of the valley. It was accompanied by bursts of lightning as it rolled forward in raw, creative power.

A clicking sound could be heard, something far beyond Ezekiel’s knocking knees. It was the sickly pop of bone reconnecting with bone. He looked toward the nearest pile of death and gasped as a soldier was swiftly reassembled, then another. He witnessed a torrent of bones flying as if they were looking for the correct skeleton to connect to. Then, sinew and tendon began to form in joints and spread rapidly over each body. Flesh appeared. Clothing followed it.

Armor flew into place on one lone soldier nearby. The new man took his place among the hundreds of companies who were being formed across the entire valley. Then, silence. The army was standing, living, breathing, and ready to march to war. Sweat poured down Ezekiel’s face as he turned to the messenger.

“I tell you, that which was dead will come to life. My wayward people were crushed under my discipline, but they shall be restored. Jacob shall live again, and my servant David shall be king. I will make a covenant of peace with them. I will be their God, and they will be my people. Then the whole world will see my sanctuary standing in their company forever.” Then the man was gone.

It was the same nearly every night for the last moon cycle. Ezekiel grunted as he thought of how he was getting to the point where he could repeat the words with each night’s visitation.

However, this last part of the vision needed a bit more consideration before he shared it. The people were already raising their eyebrows, no need to confirm his lunacy just yet.

Suddenly, the prophet felt himself driven to his knees by the weight of a massive hand. He was pushed mercilessly downward until his sunburned forehead touched the parched earth he’d been kicking moments before. Then a voice said,

“Son of man, set your face to the north, to Gog of the land of Magog, to the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him…”

You can listen to the Prologue and the first two chapters from Distant Thunder by visiting the author's website.


Jimmy Root Jr., has served as an ordained minister with the Assemblies of God since 1982, including service in Nebraska, Missouri, and a seven year term as a missionary in Colombia, South America. Jimmy is the lead Pastor of Family Worship Center of Smithville, a growing suburb of Kansas City, Missouri. Married to his wife Jean for twenty-nine years, the Roots have three grown children.

Root is a 1981 alumnus of Central Bible College of Springfield, Missouri where he majored in Biblical Studies and Pastoral Theology. He is also an alumnus of Southeastern University, Lakeland Florida, where he majored in Intercultural Studies.

A lifetime student of Biblical prophecy, Jimmy is also the Professor of Eschatology, The Study of End Times, for Berean University through the Northern Missouri District School of Ministry. He is a featured speaker at Churches and other venues, and is the host of “The Bible Uncensored” radio broadcast heard on radio stations around the country.

His writings, both in book form as well as his blog, are purposed to be a wake-up call to a sleepy American church that seems to be losing a truly Christian World View. Distant Thunder and its sequels, A Gathering Storm and Then Comes Lightning, will reveal to the adventure/thriller aficionado the reality of the coming fulfillment of Biblically prophesied events. You can visit his website at or his blog at Connect with him on twitter at and Facebook at

Look for our interview with Jimmy Root Jr., coming later this month!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Let's Write A Novel Together Blog

My friend Jean from Storycrafters has started a new blog to empower writers to take up the challenge of writing a novel. She plans to start the sharing in September and there will be some talk of NaNoWriMo, but she's basically doing this so we all have support and encouragement while we write.

You can visit the Let's Write A Novel Together blog for more details.

I hope you'll join us!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Lose the Diet by Kathy Balland

You’ll discover your power to achieve and maintain a healthy weight naturally without diets. Food deprivation is uncomfortable and ultimately causes weight gain. Instead, enjoy the good health and joy that you deserve. Lose the Diet shows you how.

• Drop the diets and the weight in a healthy and natural way.
• Find out why deprivation doesn’t work.
• Learn about the mind-body-soul connection’s effect on weight.
• Discover that happiness leads to a healthy weight rather than the other way around.
• Insightful tools and information that help you to find balance — from the inside out!

Read a review of Lose the Diet here. You can listen to Kathy talk about her book in this interview.

Kathy Balland, an expert in the mind-body-soul connection, teaches people how to tap into their own inner power for success. Clinically certified in hypnotherapy, her publications and seminars provide deep insights into the true causes and their remedies that prevent people from achieving their goals. Balland is a graduate of the University of Phoenix and the Southwest Institute of Healing Arts.

She is clinically certified by the American Council of Hypnotist Examiners and certified by the American Board of Hypnotherapy. As president of Blissful Publications and author of “Lose the Diet: Transform Your Body by Connecting with Your Soul,” Balland provides information to enrich and empower people to achieve happiness and success.

You can visit her website at or visit her at Twitter at

Virtual Vice – a Virtual Book Tour by Jason M. Kays

Cheryl Malandrinos, ring master extraordinaire with Pump up Your Book Promotion (PUYB), shepherded me through a fairly intensive two month book tour concluding this week.

In the process, I learned a good deal about virtual book tours, and poor Cheryl learned more than she cared to about drug trafficking, Ponzi schemes, organized crime and prostitution – all of which are elements in my new gritty crime novel, Virtual Vice. An accomplished writer herself, Cheryl’s work focuses on daily life in the genteel Victorian Era. I imagine shifting cognitive gears from high tea to high times proved a slight genre shock. She doubled up on smelling salts and was a good sport about wading about in the muck.

There were a total of twenty-eight tour “stops” – interviews, book excerpts and guest essays featured on literary websites. Three of these stops were two day affairs. Ms. Malandrinos did an exceptional job of keeping both months populated with PR events. There was considerable preparatory and advance work required by both author and tour guide to make this a successful publicity campaign. The real work begins after publication of a guest essay in promoting the article through SEO techniques in order to encourage syndication. Cheryl is a recognized expert in time management. Her skills in this area were greatly appreciated by this author in keeping things running smoothly. Her performance was similarly exemplary in getting questionnaires and assignments to me well in advance of submittal deadlines. I never felt up against the wall in meeting timelines. She also did a good job detailing expectations of the various sites Pump Up partner with, so that I was able to tailor the writing to a given site’s tone and demographic.

With any first time author, branding one’s name is as important as getting the book’s title out there. Ms. Malandrinos was effective in accomplishing both tasks. My name and the book’s title now come up more frequently and with a higher Google page rank when an online search is performed for one or both.

While my publicist worked hard to ensure my tour blogs were indexed on search engines, I stress to authors not to forget that this is a collaborative effort. Each author must work as diligently as their publicist in getting the word out there: whether that be republishing articles on your own website to keep content fresh, or making sure you ping and index each and every new host-site blog post during the tour. SEO work (search engine optimization) is a science unto itself. I’m a neophyte in this area, but took the time to research and grasp the fundamentals so I might better the odds of article syndication and higher ranking on major search engines: that’s the name of the game in publishing these essays.

The only bump in the proverbial road was a critic who went off half-cocked and posted a review panning the book on my Amazon product page. No reviewer should be subject to prior restraint in expressing himself, but when retained by a PR firm – and PUYB is a PR firm – there should be an express, written understanding between agency and critic that any and all reviews are subject to the client’s approval before publication on the book’s product page. Any approach other than that and the dynamic with the PR firm is reduced to a high stakes game of craps . . . with the author stuck with any loss. If the critic chooses to publish a negative review on his personal blog, that is his prerogative, but to publish a negative review on a primary portal for book sales when the tour’s intent is to drive traffic to that very page – you take my point. Both Ms. Malandrinos and Ms. Thompson acted swiftly to petition for a retraction, but were unsuccessful in securing one.

I raise this issue not to assail PUYB, because overall they did a terrific job and should be commended. I raise the issue so that prior to retaining a PR firm – any PR firm – authors know to insist upon clarity and a clause in their service agreement addressing when, where and whether a review is posted, or they may find a good portion of their publicity campaign undermined. If a critic has any credibility, a good review cannot be guaranteed. But for a publicity firm to retain its credibility, the author must be an active partner in the vetting and strategic placement of all solicited reviews. Marketing a book is a business, not a college lit assignment; as such, the client is paying for advocacy, not objectivity. If PUYB makes that one revision in its architecture, I would unreservedly recommend them to fellow authors.

Jason M. Kays is an intellectual property attorney with fifteen years experience in both information technology and entertainment law. Kays is an accomplished jazz trumpet player and his passion has always been music, technology, and convergence of the two in today's digital age. This is his first novel. You can find Jason online at

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Book Review: Hearts of Courage by John M. Tippets

Hearts of Courage by John M. Tippets is a story of tremendous courage and faith against seemingly insurmountable odds.

In January 1943, the Morrison-Knudsen Electra piloted by Harold Gillam crashed on a snow-covered mountain in southeast Alaska. On board was Joseph Tippets, a radio electrical engineer for the Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) and the author's father; along with Robert Gebo, Morrison-Knudsen's Alaska general contractor; Susan Batzer, on her way to take a stenographer's job for the CAA; Percy Cutting, a Morrison-Knudsen mechanic; and Dewey Metzdorf, the owner of the Anchorage Hotel and apartments.

While the story of the Gillam crash has been described numerous times, this account, including new details and recollections, tells the story of Joseph Tippets and those aboard the fated Morrison-Knudsen Electra using personal research, historical photographs and the words of Joseph Tippets found in news accounts, interviews and published resources.

I approached Hearts of Courage with a tiny amount of trepidation. Often memoirs provide a one-sided version of events, and especially when an author is sharing memories of a family member the fear is that he is too close to be objective.

Such is not the case with Hearts of Courage. John Tippets provides a thoroughly researched, detailed account of the Gillam crash of 1943, a brief history of Joe and Alta's (Joe's wife and the author's mother) life, world events as pertaining to World War II and Alaska's strategic position in the Pacific Northwest, in addition to what the years following the crash held for Joe and Alta. Also included are excerpts from the official Civil Aeronautics Board Report on the crash, new equipment and supply guidelines that were put into effect after the crash and Joseph Tippets's letter to Susan Batzer's parents. Susan was the first victim to subcumb to her injuries.

The last few pages of the book include excerpts from the report completed after a 2004 site examination by the U.S. Forest Service and members of the International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery, along with photos and diagrams of the Lockhead Electra and the crash site.

Woven through this amazing story of survival is the deep faith that Joe and Alta shared; each confident that they would be reunited, even when others had lost hope and Alta learned the official search for survivors had been called off.

If every memoir was this well written, my bookshelves would be lined with them.

With Hearts of Courage, John Tippets has turned the story of the Gillam crash into a page-turning, engaging and heroic story of courage and faith. Anyone interested in aviation history, aviation disasters or inspiring and uplifting stories will enjoy Hearts of Courage. It is worth every penny!

Title: Hearts of Courage
Author: John M. Tippets
Published with Publication Consultants
ISBN: 978-1-59433-077-3
SRP: $19.95

Mixing It All Together in Last Call by JD Seamus

When I read the synopsis for JD's latest book, Last Call, I couldn't believe how many different elements he had mixed in. I asked him to tell us how he did it. Here's what he had to say:

How did I combine hard-hitting crime, mystery with a splash of action, adventure and humor? Great question.

Almost impossible to do if you’re using major narrative but I write ‘in dialogue’ for the most part so I can pull it off. The narrative form would be too cumbersome and boring as hell.

A good friend gave me a tip that I’ve continued to use. His tip was to pick a star to use in character building.

My choice was easy in Last Call. A tough, sensitive, New Yorker who could do comedy. Fuhgetaboutit. Robert Freakin’ De Niro! Forget he’s not Irish but he’s perfect for the role of Jimmie Collins. Bar owner, tough guy, made enough money to go in business by stealing bearer bonds with a couple of rising mafia stars. Close to the church. Treats his bar patrons like family, all around nice guy but will ‘knock you on your ass’ if you cross him.

It was actually fun. My wife would hear me laughing loudly and come into my office to see what the hell was going on. I’d try to explain that it’s how De Niro interacts with Nathan, a small town guy (Randy Quaid-did I mention the guy was a lovable dufus)relocating to New York? She’d just stare and I’d explain it’s how he deals with a big mouth, short Italian (Danny DeVito—just too easy) bar regular who has the worst tailor in the world? Or how he would interact with two Manhattan North cops with career paths heading south-anyone from the old Barney Miller show. Or a long time bar patron who is witty, tough and has a problem picking men (Annette O’Toole from 48 Hours). De Niro lines her up with Nathan after telling Nathan to not hurt her in any way or he’s coming after him. My wife generally walks out around then and closes the door quietly. I guess unless you’ve banged out a book you can’t possibly comprehend.

Last Call was easy with De Niro. Even the slow times when you’re building characters. Even making his sick wife breakfast in bed is an adventure. Picture De Niro fussing over breakfast and toast is way over his head. He’s trying and trying hard. Got to be perfect-the De Niro way. Picture him walking out of the kitchen, remembering the sweetener at the last minute and putting it on the tray. He puts the whole box on the tray, takes a step then stops. He worries that the box is screwing up his presentation. He frowns. Throwing a leftover rose on the tray, he grabs a soup spoon and shrugs, “It’ll have to do. What the hell? I ain’t Martha Stewart.”

Forget narrative. With De Niro, it’s all dialogue. And that’s my favorite. That’s where I stick it to the competition in my genre. Me and De Niro. Those suckers don’t have a chance.

JD Seamus is happily at work on his sixth book in South Florida and dividing his time between his family and Braves and Jaguar games. You can visit his website at

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Coming for Money by F.W. vom Scheidt

How much money is too much? And how fast is too fast in life?

International investment firm director and author F. W. vom Scheidt, writes from his first-hand experience of the world of global money spinning with candor and authenticity in his remarkable literary novel Coming for Money.

As investment star Paris Smith steps onto the top rungs of the corporate ladder, he is caught between his need for fulfillment and his need for understanding; trapped between his drive for power and his inability to cope with his growing emptiness where there was once love. When his wife disappears from the core of his life, his loneliness and sense of disconnection threaten to overwhelm him. When he tries to compensate by losing himself in his work, he stumbles off the treadmill of his own success, and is entangled in the web of a fraudulent bond deal that threatens to derail his career and his life.

Forced to put his personal life on hold while he travels nonstop between Toronto, Singapore and Bangkok to salvage his career, he is deprived of the time and space necessary to regain his equilibrium.

In the heat and turmoil and fast money of Southeast Asia, half a world from home, and half a life from his last remembered smile, he finds duplicity, friendship and power --- and a special woman who might heal his heart.

A talented author, vom Scheidt has confidently crafted a fast-paced, highly readable and intelligent novel. His details are fascinating. His characters are real, and not easily forgotten. A deeply felt story about the isolation of today’s society, the prices great and small paid for success and the damages resulting from the ruthless exercise of financial power, Coming For Money is a taut literary page-turner about a man who refuses to capitulate to the darkness in his journey into the light.

Read Chapter One of Coming For Money at the First Chapters blog.

F. W. vom Scheidt is a director of an international investment firm. He works and travels in the world’s capital markets, and makes his home in Toronto, Canada. He is also the author of a new book, Coming for Money (Blue Butterfly Book Publishing), a remarkable and provocative novel about the world of international finance and the human quests for success, understanding and love. You can find out more about his book at

Phyllis Zimbler Miller and Anatomy of an Information Product Launch

If you had a great idea today for an online information product – something for which you’ve identified a definite niche market – would you know the steps to take to get the product launched online? Steps such as the right software, shopping cart, copywriting, and online promotion needed?

If there’s a possible online information product in your future – or if you simply want to learn more about internet marketing – come along with National Internet Business Examiner Phyllis Zimbler Miller as she explains in detail the steps she took in a one-month pre-launch for an online information product.

Phyllis pulls back the curtain to reveal everything she knew and everything she had to learn to fulfill her goal. And after reading this ebook ANATOMY OF AN ONLINE PRODUCT LAUNCH, you’ll be able to use this accumulated knowledge for yourself.

Phyllis Zimbler Miller started Miller Mosaic, LLC to provide the services she wanted for herself for online marketing. The publication of Phyllis’ MRS. LIEUTENANT: A SHARON GOLD NOVEL in April 2008 launched Phyllis into internet marketing, including using social networking such as Twitter and Facebook to market her book.

Phyllis hired her daughter Yael K. Miller – now the chief technology officer for Miller Mosaic, LLC — and together they have created the internet marketing company Miller Mosaic, LLC that helps people promote their brand, book or business.

In April Phyllis became a National Internet Business Examiner at, writing articles several times a week on effective internet businesses and internet marketing. Then in June, Phyllis wrote a month-long series on the steps of an information product launch in anticipation of the July 1st launch of the Miller Mosaic Internet Marketing Program.

This article series forms the basis of the just-released ebook ANATOMY OF AN INFORMATION PRODUCT LAUNCH: WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT THE LAUNCH OF AN ONLINE INFORMATION PRODUCT. In this ebook Phyllis has shared the trials and triumphs of launching an online information product.

Phyllis has a B.A in journalism from Michigan State University and worked as a journalist for several years. She also studied advertising design at the Philadelphia College of Art before earning an M.B.A. at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and working in marketing and web design in Los Angeles.

You can visit her website at to learn more about the Miller Mosaic Internet Marketing Program and you can read her articles at

Monday, August 17, 2009

Author Spotlight: Brett Battles and Shadow of Betrayal

The meeting place was carefully chosen: an abandoned church in rural Ireland just after dark. For Jonathan Quinn—a freelance operative and professional “cleaner”—the job was only to observe. If his cleanup skills were needed, it would mean things had gone horribly wrong. But an assassin hidden in a tree assured just that. And suddenly Quinn had four dead bodies to dispose of and one astounding clue—to a mystery that is about to spin wildly out of control.

Three jobs, no questions. That was the deal Quinn had struck with his client at the Office. Unfortunately for him, Ireland was just the first. Now Quinn, along with his colleague and girlfriend—the lethal Orlando—has a new assignment touched off by the killings in Ireland. Their quarry is a U.N. aide worker named Marion Dupuis who has suddenly disappeared from her assignment in war-torn Africa. When Quinn finally catches a glimpse of her, she quickly flees, frantic and scared. And not alone.

For Quinn the assignment has now changed. Find Marion Dupuis, and the child she is protecting, and keep them from harm. If it were only that easy.

Soon Quinn and Orlando find themselves in a bunker in the California hills, where Quinn will unearth a horrifying plot that is about to reach stage critical for a gathering of world leaders—and an act of terror more cunning, and more insidious, than anyone can guess.

Fast, smart, sleek, and stunning, Shadow of Betrayal is vintage Brett Battles: a gritty, gripping masterpiece of suspense, a thriller that makes the pulse pound—and stirs the heart as well.


Quinn could see them now. There were two of them, crouched low and half-hidden by the thick brush. As Quinn and Nate watched, one of the men sprinted forward, stopping only when he reached the outside of the church wall. He then moved down the wall until he came to what had once been a doorway, and peered inside.

"Are we going to play games, or are we going to meet?" It was Otero. He was still standing in the middle of the church, not concealing his presence. When there was no response, he said, "Two minutes and we're leaving."

The man who had been looking into the church from the doorway glanced back at his partner and waved for him to come over.

"Quinn," Nate said.


"I thought they were only allowed one companion."

Quinn shot Nate a glance, then looked at a monitor Nate was pointing at. It was the one covering the north approach to the church, the way Otero and Ownby had come.

"I don't see anything," Quinn said.

"In the tree," Nate said. He leaned forward and touched the screen.

For half a second, Quinn still didn't see anything, then a slight movement revealed the form of a man lying prone on one of the branches, facing toward the church.

A quick glance at a monitor that gave a broader view of that side of the church confirmed Quinn's suspicion that the man was high enough to see through the missing roof into the abandoned structure.

Quinn pushed the mic button again. "Peter, we have a problem."


"Check the feed to camera six. In the tree, near the top of the image."

There was a pause.

"Do you see him?" Quinn asked.


"Is he one of yours?"

"I played by the rules. Only two," Peter said. "He must be one of theirs."

Quinn wasn't convinced of that, but there was no time to argue the point. On another monitor the two newcomers stepped through the doorway, entered the church, and walked a couple paces before stopping. They looked nervous, like this was the first time they had ever done anything like this.

"You need to abort right now," Quinn said.

"We need that information," Peter said.

"Peter," Quinn said, "if you don't abort, you might not get anything."

At the church Otero said, "You guys are going to have to come a little closer."

The taller of the two men shook his head. "We are fine here. I think you have something to show us."

Otero smiled, then tossed a coin in the air so that it landed a foot in front of his counterparts.

"Your turn," Otero said.

The tall man tossed his own coin toward Otero. This was the prearranged recognition signal. Otero had been carrying a fifty-yen Japanese coin, and the informant a 1998 Canadian half-dollar.

"Peter!" Quinn said.

"The meet's already started," Peter said. "They won't answer their phones until they're back in their car."

"They might not even make it back to their car," Quinn said, then let go of the button.

"We can start the van," Nate suggested. "That should throw everyone into a panic. We could even fire off a shot."

It was an excellent idea, Quinn thought. He relayed it to Peter.

There was a pause, then Peter said, "Do it."

Quinn pulled his SIG Sauer P226 out of the holster under his left arm as Nate moved toward the back door to open it.

Several rapid flashes from one of the monitors caught Quinn's eye. It was the one showing the close-up of the man in the tree. He glanced at the view of the church. Otero, Ownby, and the man who had been talking for the other party were all on the ground and not moving.

The final man had just exited the church and was making a run for it. Then there was another flash. The man jerked to the left, his momentum dropping him into a bush at the side of the trail. Like the others, he didn't get up.

"Stop," Quinn said to Nate.

The door was already half opened.

"Close it. Quietly."

Nate shut the door as Quinn sat back down.

Quinn pushed the button. "Your op is blown."

"I can fucking see that," Peter said. "Goddammit! You need to keep whoever that is from getting to the bodies. One of those guys is carrying something we need."

"Don't know if you noticed," Quinn said, "but your men are probably dead. That guy in the tree's got a silenced rifle, and I'm not really interested in walking into his range."

"Do what you were going to do before! Scare him off. He's not going to want to get caught."

Quinn took a deep breath, then nodded at Nate to open the door again. He checked monitor six. The assassin was holding his position, waiting to see if anyone else was going to show up.

Quinn pulled one of the remote communication sets from a bag near the recorders. He slipped the receiver over his ear, then climbed out of the van.

"Talk me in," he said to Nate.

"You're going to try to take him out?" Nate asked, surprised.

Quinn shook his head. "I'm just going to convince him to go someplace else."

"You want your suppressor?" Nate asked.

Quinn paused for a second. If things went as planned, he'd need the noise of the shot to scare the guy off. But if things got off track?

"Toss it to me," he said.

Nate disappeared for a second, then stepped back into the doorway and threw a dark cylinder to Quinn.

Quinn stuffed it in the front pocket of his jacket as best he could. Once it was secure, he nodded back at the van. "Talk me in. You're my eyes, so try not to get me killed."

Praise for Shadow of Betrayal:

"The best word I can use to describe his writing is ADDICTIVE. Razor-sharp prose bites deep, cuts to a raw nerve, and leaves you… craving more. Just don’t say I didn’t warn you." – James Rollins, New York Times bestselling author

Brett Battles lives in Los Angeles and is the author of two acclaimed novels in the Jonathan Quinn series: The Cleaner, which was nominated for a Barry Award for Best Thriller and a Shamus Award for Best First Novel, and The Deceived, which was nominated for a Barry Award for Best Thriller. He is at work on the fourth book in the series.

You can visit Brett Battles online at

Friday, August 14, 2009

Author Spotlight: Eddie Godshalk and The Missing Keys to Thriving in Any Real Estate Market

The Missing Keys to Thriving in Any Real Estate Market - How to Create Wealth in Any Community Using Street Analysis Technology is a risk reduction blueprint for investors and real estate professionals who want to be experts in their local market and generate more sales. Readers will learn how to and where to get current accurate information, how not be mislead by the media and how to create wealth using break-through mapping technology.

The housing crisis and financial crisis was caused by a lack of current local information. Just ask your broker or banker, what was the job growth or migration in my Zip Code (or any Zip Code) last month or quarter, and see what they say. More importantly, ask them how will these variables, or any other micro-market variable affect price changes in the future. See what they say.

I am a leading authority on current, local real estate information and author of The Missing Keys to Thriving in Any Real Estate Market. My competition, Case-Shiller, costs significantly more and only covers macro markets, which has HUGE errors at the micro-market and block level. Consumers, investors and bankers can benefit with current local information and forecasts, and thus, make more profits.

With the assistance of PhD’s from UC Berkeley and others, Home Value Predictor has developed Future Value changes, on over 350,000 micro-markets, forecasting out as far as 24 months, with confidence levels. We expect to launch in August 2009.

Eddie Godshalk bought his first investment houses in 1987, where he was a licensed agent in the Eastern U.S. From those humble beginnings, Eddie has gained more than 20 years of real estate investment, business development and mortgage experience. Recently, Eddie gained praise for his ability to help average investors generate exceptional wealth using his revolutionary Home Value Predictor web-based real estate system.

Eddie received his MBA from San Francisco State University (SFSU) with a focus on building automated valuation models (AVM’s) and real estate finance. Using the Home Value Predictor technology, Eddie has purchased numerous properties with little money down, netting greater than two thousand percent return on equity investment per property.

After collecting more than four years’ worth of micro block data, Eddie and a team of SFSU and Berkeley PhD’s tested and back-tested algorithms. After testing more than eight mapping software applications, from Open Source to ESRI, the latest public version of Home Value Predictor was launched in mid 2009.

Eddie is committed to bringing the most accurate, reliable and relevant information to the real estate market Home Value Predictor is poised to redefine the way we think of real estate in the 21st century.

Visit his website at


THE MISSING KEYS TO THRIVING IN ANY REAL ESTATE MARKET BLOG TOUR '09 will officially begin on August 3 and ends on August 28. You can visit Eddie's blog stops at in August to find out more about this great book and talented author!

As a special promotion for all our authors, Pump Up Your Book Promotion is giving away a FREE virtual book tour to a published author or a $50 Amazon gift certificate to those not published who comments on our authors' blog stops. More prizes will be announced as they become available.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Shay Bills and Is Your Ghost Holy?

Discover how His Word shatters residue of doubt and uncertainty. Learn how to walk in the POWER of the Holy Ghost, by applying the WORD of God and trusting His promises. His Holy Spirit will awaken and reveal the hidden crevasses of your heart, mind and soul and fill you with His wisdom. Called by some, “a spiritual journey,” Bills’ leaves no stone unturned when removing the superficial layers of spirituality. Once read, you will walk boldly and confidently in the knowledge that your inner man is holy, therefore, you are called to holiness, according to Scripture. From uncovering Truth, to understanding your Purpose, you will conclude this book having gained more wisdom, knowledge and power of the Holy Ghost that dwells inside of you.

Is Your Ghost Holy?, will transform your mind.
Is Your Ghost Holy?, will renew the right spirit within you.
Is Your Ghost Holy?, will teach you to take the road less traveled.
Is Your Ghost Holy?, will encourage you to rise up and stand firm on the Word.
Is Your Ghost Holy?, will make your heart receptive to the leading of the Holy Ghost.

Is Your Ghost Holy? is now available on and is soon to be available in fine bookstores everywhere, and on numerous online bookstores.


“For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, the just shall live by faith” (Romans 1:17).

The Bible records many instances where faith plays a vital role in the manifestation of healing and deliverance. To say, “it is impossible to please God without faith,” is so engrained in the minds of His children that the depth of faith’s importance gets lost in the mental quotation (Hebrews 11:6). From the outside looking in, you would assume Christianity to be recitation of Scripture, random acts of outbursts, and a conscious attempt to look filled with the Holy Ghost.

So what does the Holy Ghost look like to you?

One thing “church” does well is look holy. Reigning with Christ is not summed up in your appearance of holiness. The church dresses in the finest of linens and fabrics with top hats, clutches, and shoes to match. The church acts dignified and speaks authoritatively while clothed in designer three-piece suits. The church looks pulled together, a force to be reckoned with, and a body exempt from stain. The church is the physical building made up of all sorts of materials perfectly placed together and yet symbolically misrepresents the “church” body of Christ.

His righteousness is not attained by your human ability to memorize the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, for He is much deeper than memorization.

The Holy Ghost within you IS the likeness of the image of God. You are beautifully and wonderfully made in His image. He is Holy. He is Sovereign. He is Upright. He is Truth. He is Love. He is the Light of the world. He is the Salt of the earth. He is Lord, strong and mighty. Tongues can not capture His beauty and grace. Worship can not describe His presence. He looks like you, and you look like Him, a sacrificial Lamb of God, sold out for His service. Only faith can bring you to this mind-blowing yet powerful revelation.

Shay Bills is an anointed woman of God, born and raised in Paris, Texas by her late grandmother Bettie L. King. Bills and her husband Terry have three children. Recognized by many as a powerful speaker, teacher, and motivator, Evangelist Bills is truly a chosen vessel of the Lord. She shares her insightful and thought-provoking message to women’s ministries and speaks to the hearts of both young and old.

Gifted in many areas, she wears many hats well. She is a natural educator, holding a Bachelor’s degree in English, a Master’s degree in Education Administration with Principal Certification, both from Texas A & M University in Commerce. She taught high school English for eight years and has experience as an Assistant Principal. She is a Texas Licensed Realtor with Century 21 Harvey Properties and Lighthouse Learning Daycare Center owner with Directors’ Credentials from the State of Oklahoma. Evangelist Bills obediently makes full proof of her ministry and is currently promoting her newly released book, Is Your Ghost Holy? Eight Principles for Evaluating Your Walk in the Spirit.

An entrepreneur at heart, Evangelist Bills continues to support the improvement and success of her community through the Lamar County Chamber of Commerce, the United Way, Diversity Task Force Committee, Leadership Lamar County, Paris I.S.D. Leadership, and the Paris Education Foundation. Bills is also the founder and director of ZION Daughters of Destiny, a mentoring program for young girls ages 15-18 that seeks to Instruct, Improve and Empower Young Girls to Excellence.

You can find Shay online at

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Sheryl Keen and Journal According to John

Our special guest today is Sheryl Keen, author of Journal According to John.

Following a nasty bar brawl, John, a twenty-eight-year-old man, follows a close friend’s advice and begins keeping a journal. He’s recently divorced from his wife, Debbie, and he hopes the journal will provide a tool with which to make sense of his brief, failed marriage and to determine why he is so emotionally challenged.

As a therapist specializing in behavioral issues, he knows he has to pull his own life together. If he tells people to clean up their own lives, modify their thoughts, and learn new, more appropriate behaviors, he knows that he’s got to step up and follow his own advice. Early on, he realizes that his mother, the curator of a gallery that specializes in steel art and other nontraditional works, has largely shaped his thoughts and actions. But just how much can he blame her for his current state of affairs?

Soon the words in the journal are flowing easily and quickly. When painful thoughts are no longer avoided and dreams provide fuel for his writing, the journal takes on a life of its own. Will John discover the reasons for his dysfunctional situation? Can keeping a journal help him improve his life?

I asked Sheryl to discuss what research she performed to make John a realistic psychologist. Here is what she had to say:

I tried to make John real for the reader by making his profession as a therapist as authentic as possible. Drawing on my own background knowledge that I had from having worked for an institution that dealt specifically with addiction and mental health, I was able to proceed with a bit of confidence. I was in a position where I was able to see psychologists and psychiatrists on a daily basis and I was able to see some of the issues that they dealt with and the analysis that they made about patients. The organization’s environment and culture were helpful in forming a framework in my mind that I able to use to form a backdrop to John’s practice. At the time I had no idea that this would be helpful to me as a writer but I have learnt that all experiences can become fodder for writing.

Of course, this background knowledge was not enough to make John as bona fide a therapist as I wanted him to be for readers. I had to delve deeper. So I did more research especially into what would actually happen in a session and the methods that a therapist would use to encourage patients to change. This was important because there is a parallel here. John is not just a therapist; he is also a man who is trying to make changes in his personal life. The question is, are there any techniques that he uses in his office that he can use in his own life?

I concentrated on behavioral therapy because the research clearly states that self destructing behavior can be altered by learning more appropriate actions. This research allowed John to act and speak in an authentic way about things like aggressive behavior, anger and anxiety. To take this a step further John could speak about and choose between various techniques of treatment. So, from time to time readers may hear John talking about treatment choices such as rehearsed behavior and role playing, modeling through observation, behavioral homework assignments and conditioning where a desired behavior is reinforced and encouraged by something like a gold star. At one point in the novel John contemplated this kind of conditioning for himself.

A major part of making John real was not just doing research at the library or on the Internet about his profession. It was the duality of showing him as a therapist who probably needed therapy himself. I think that made him more relatable and accessible to the readers who could identify with the frailties of the human condition.

Sheryl A. Keen has a bachelor’s degree in History with a minor in English Literature from the University of the West Indies. She lives in Canada where she works in Administration.

In addition to prose, Sheryl also writes poetry. When she is not writing, one of her other loves is painting.

You can visit Sheryl A. Keen’s website at

Friday, August 7, 2009

Douglas Carlton Abrams and Eye of the Whale

National bestseller Doug Abrams delivers a captivating ecological thriller about a marine biologist whose fate is altered after the unexpected appearance of a humpback whale sends her on a race to discover the meaning of its mysterious song and its implications for human survival.

Elizabeth McKay is a dedicated scientist who has spent almost a decade cracking the code of humpback whale communication. Their song, the most complex in nature, may in fact reveal secrets about the animal world that no one could have imagined. When a humpback whale swims up the Sacramento River with a strange and unprecedented song, Elizabeth must decipher its meaning in order to save the whale and ultimately much more. But as her work with the whale captures the media’s interest and the world’s imagination, many powerful forces emerge who do not want the whale’s secrets to be revealed. Soon, Elizabeth is forced to decide if her discoveries are worth losing her marriage, her career, and possibly her life.

As timely as today’s ecological challenges and as timeless as the whales themselves, this novel takes readers into the mysterious world of humpback whales and great white sharks. In writing Eye of the Whale, Abrams worked closely with leading scientists to uncover the shockingly true facts on which it is based. This powerful story will transform how readers see their relationship to other species and the fragile world in which we live.

Visit Doug's website to read sample chapters from Eye of the Whale. A portion of the proceeds from this book will be donated to charity. Visit this link for more information.

Douglas Carlton Abrams is a former editor at the University of California Press and HarperSanFrancisco. Abrams writes fact-based fiction that tells an exciting story while at the same time changing the world we live in. His first book, The Lost Diary of Don Juan, has been published in thirty countries around the world and was recently optioned for film.

Doug is also the co-founder of Idea Architects, a book and media development agency that works with visionary scientists, scholars, and spiritual leaders to create a wiser, healthier, and more just world. Abrams has collaborated with a number of the world’s great scholars, scientists, and moral leaders, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu, founder of EarthSave International and best-selling author John Robbins, primatologist Frans De Waal, and astrophysicist Joel Primack.

You can visit Doug online at

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Fear the Worst by Linwood Barclay

Your daughter doesn’t come home one night from her summer job.

You go there looking for her. No one’s seen here. But it’s worse than that.

No one’s ever seen her. So where has she been going every day? And where is she now?

In Linwood Barclay’s riveting new thriller, an ordinary man’s desperate search for his daughter leads him into a dark world of corruption, exploitation, and murder. Tim Blake is about to learn that the people you think you know best are the ones harboring the biggest secrets.

Tim is an average guy. He sells cars. He has an ex-wife. She’s moved in with a man whose moody son spends more time online than he should. His girlfriend is turning out to be a bit of a flake. It’s not a life without hassles, but nothing will prepare Tim for the nightmare that’s about to begin.

Sydney vanishes into thin air. At the hotel where she supposedly worked, no one has ever heard of her. Even her closest friends seem to be at a loss. Now, as the days pass without word, Tim must face the fact that not only is Sydney missing, but that the daughter he’s loved and thought he knew is a virtual stranger.

As he retraces Sydney’s steps, Tim discovers that the suburban Connecticut town he always thought of as idyllic is anything but. What he doesn’t know is that his every move is being watched. There are others who want to find Syd as much as Tim does.

But they’re not planning a Welcome Home party.

The closer Tim comes to the truth, the closer he comes to every parent’s worst nightmare—and the kind of evil only a parent’s love has a chance in hell of stopping.


Chapter One

"We've also been looking at the Mazda," the woman said. "And we took a—Dell, what was it called? The other one we took out for a test drive?"

Her husband said, "A Subaru."

"That's right," the woman said. "A Subaru."

The woman, whose name was Lorna, and her husband, whose name was Dell, were sitting across the desk from me in the showroom of Riverside Honda. This was the third time they'd been in to see me since I'd come back to work. There comes a point, even when you're dealing with the worst crisis of your life, when you find yourself not knowing what else to do but fall back into your routine.

Lorna had on the desk, in addition to the folder on the Accord, which was what Lorna and Dell had been talking to me about, folders on the Toyota Camry, the Mazda 6, the Subaru Legacy, the Chevrolet Malibu, the Ford Taurus, the Dodge Avenger, and half a dozen others at the bottom of the stack that I couldn't see.

"I notice that the Taurus has 263 horsepower with its standard engine, but the Accord only has 177 horsepower," Lorna said.

"I think you'll see," I said, working hard to stay focused, "that the Taurus engine with that horsepower rating is a V6, while the Accord is a four-cylinder. You'll find it still gives you plenty of pickup, but uses way less gas."

"Oh," Lorna said, nodding. "What are the cylinders, exactly? I know you told me before, but I don't think I remember."

Dell shook his head slowly from side to side. That was pretty much all Dell did during these visits. He sat there and let Lorna ask all the questions, do all the talking, unless he was asked something specific, and even then he usually just grunted. He appeared to be losing the will to live. I guessed he'd been sitting across the desk of at least a dozen sales associates between Bridgeport and New Haven over the last few weeks. I could see it in his face, that he didn't give a shit what kind of car they got, just so long as they got something.

But Lorna believed they must be responsible shoppers, and that meant checking out every car in the class they were looking at, comparing specs, studying warranties. All of which was a good thing, to a point, but now Lorna had so much information that she didn't know what to do with it. Lorna thought all this research would help them make an informed decision, but instead it had made it impossible for her to make one at all.

They were in their mid-forties. He was a shoe salesman in the Connecticut Post Mall, and she was a fourth-grade teacher. This was standard teacher behavior. Research your topic, consider all the options, go home and make a chart, car names across the top, features down the side, make check marks in the little boxes.

Lorna asked about the Accord's rear legroom compared to the Malibu, which might have been an issue if they had kids, or if she'd given any indication they had any friends. By the time she was on to the Accord's trunk space versus the Mazda 6, I really wasn't listening. Finally, I held up a hand.

"What car do you like?" I asked Lorna.

"Like?" she said.

My computer monitor was positioned between us, and the whole time Lorna was talking I was moving the mouse around, tapping the keyboard. Lorna assumed I was on the Honda website, calling up data so I could answer her questions.

I wasn't. I was on I was looking to see whether there'd been any recent hits on the site, whether anyone had emailed me. One of Sydney's friends, a computer whiz—actually, any of Syd's friends was a computer whiz compared to me—by the name of Jeff Bluestein had helped me put together the website, which had all the basic information.

There was a full description of Syd. Age: 17. Date of birth: April 15, 1992. Weight: approximately 115 pounds. Eye color: Blue. Hair: Blonde. Height: 5 feet 3 inches.

Date of disappearance: June 29, 2009.

Last seen: Leaving for work from our address on Hill Street. Might have been spotted in the vicinity of the Just Inn Time hotel, in Milford, Connecticut.

There was also a description of Syd's silver Civic, complete with license plate number.

Visitors to the website, which Jeff had linked to other sites about runaways and missing teens, were encouraged to call police, or get in touch with me, Tim Blake, directly. I'd gone through as many photos as I could find of Syd, hit up her friends for pictures they had as well, including ones they'd posted on their various Internet sites like Facebook, and plastered them all over I had hundreds of pictures of Syd, going back through all her seventeen years, but I'd only posted ones from the last six months or so.

Wherever Syd might be, it wasn't with extended family. Susanne's and my parents were dead, neither of us had siblings, and what few relatives we had—an aunt here, an uncle there—we'd put on alert.

"Of course," said Lorna, "we're well aware of the excellent repair records that the Hondas have, and good resale value."

I'd had two emails the day before, but not about Sydney. They were from other parents. One was from a father in Providence, telling me that his son Kenneth had been missing for a year now, and there wasn't a moment when he didn't think about him, wonder where he was, whether he was dead or alive, whether it was something he'd done, as a father, that had driven Kenneth away, or whether his son had met up with the wrong kind of people, that maybe they had—

It wasn't helpful.

The second was from a woman outside Albany who'd stumbled onto the site and told me she was praying for my daughter and for me, that I should put my faith in God if I wanted Sydney to come home safely, that it would be through God that I'd find the strength to get through this.
I deleted both emails without replying.

"But the Toyotas have good resale value as well," Lorna said. "I was looking in Consumer Reports, where they have these little charts with all the red dots on them? Have you noticed those? Well, there are lots of red dots if the cars have good repair records, but if the cars don't have good repair records there are lots of black dots, so you can tell at a glance whether it's a good car or not by how many red or black dots are on the chart? Have you seen those?"

I checked to see whether there were any messages now. The thing was, I had already checked for messages three times since Lorna and Dell had sat down across from me. When I was at my desk, I checked about every three minutes. At least twice a day I phoned Milford police detective Kip Jennings—I'd never met a Kip before, and hadn't expected that when I finally did it would be a woman—to see what progress she was making. She'd been assigned Sydney's case, although I was starting to think "assigned" was defined as "the detective who has the case in the back of his or her desk drawer."

In the time that Lorna had been going on about Consumer Reports recommendations, a message had dropped into my inbox. I clicked on it and learned that there was a problem with my Citibank account and if I didn't immediately confirm all my personal financial details it would be suspended, which was kind of curious considering that I did not have a Citibank account and never had.
"Jesus Christ," I said aloud. The site had only been up for nearly three weeks—Jeff got it up and running within days of Syd's disappearance—and already the spammers had found it.

"Excuse me?" Lorna said.

I glanced at her. "I'm sorry," I said. "Just something on my screen there. You were saying, about the red dots."

"Were you even listening to me?" she asked.

"Absolutely," I said.

"Have you been looking at some dirty website all this time?" she said, and her husband's eyebrows went up. If there was porn on my screen, he wanted a peek.

"They don't allow that when we're with customers," I said earnestly.

"I just don't want us to make a mistake," Lorna said. "We usually keep our cars for seven to ten years, and that's a long time to have a car if it turns out to be a lemon."

"Honda doesn't make lemons," I assured her.

I needed to sell a car. I hadn't made a sale since Syd went missing. The first week, I didn't come into work. It wasn't like I was home, sick with worry. I was out eighteen hours a day, driving the streets, hitting every mall and plaza and drop-in shelter in Milford and Stratford. Before long, I'd broadened the search to include Bridgeport and New Haven. I showed Syd's picture to anyone who'd look at it. I called every friend I could ever recall her mentioning.

I went back to the Just Inn Time, trying to figure out where the hell Syd was actually going every day when I'd believed she was heading into the hotel.

I'd had very little sleep in the twenty-four days since I'd last seen her.

"You know what I think we're going to do?" Lorna said, scooping the pamphlets off the desk and shoving them into her oversized purse. "I think we should take one more look at the Nissan."

"Why don't you do that?" I said. "They make a very good car."

I got to my feet as Lorna and Dell stood. Just then, my phone rang. I glanced at it, recognized the number on the call display, let it go to message, although this particular caller might not choose to leave yet another one.

"Oh," said Lorna, putting something she'd been holding in her hand onto my desk. It was a set of car keys. "When we were sitting in that Civic over there"—she pointed across the showroom—"I noticed someone had left these in the cup holder."

She did this every time she came. She'd get in a car, discover the keys, scoop them up and deliver them to me. I'd given up explaining to her it was a fire safety thing, that we left the keys in the showroom cars so that if there was a fire, we could get them out in a hurry, time permitting.

"How thoughtful," I said. "I'll put these away someplace safe."

"You wouldn't want anyone driving a car right out of the showroom, now would you?" She laughed.
Dell looked as though he'd be happy if the huge Odyssey minivan in the center of the floor ran him over.

"Well, we might be back," Lorna said.

"I've no doubt," I said. I wasn't in a hurry to deal with her again, so I said, "Just to be sure, you might want to check out the Mitsubishi dealer. And have you seen the new Saturns?"

"No," Lorna said, suddenly alarmed that she might have overlooked something. "That first one—what was it?"


Dell was giving me dagger eyes. I didn't care. Let Lorna torment some other salespeople for a while. Under normal conditions, I'd have tolerated her indecision. But I hadn't been myself since Syd went missing.

A few seconds after they'd left the showroom, my desk phone trilled. No reason to get excited. It was an inside line.

I picked up. "Tim here."

"Got a second?"

"Sure," I said, and replaced the receiver.

I walked over to the other side of the showroom, winding my way through a display that included a Civic, the Odyssey, a Pilot, and a boxy green Element with the suicide rear doors.

I'd been summoned to the office of Laura Cantrell, sales manager. Mid-forties with the body of a twenty-five-year-old, twice married, single for four years, brown hair, white teeth, very red lips. She drove a silver S2000, the limited-production two-seater Honda sports car that we sold, maybe, a dozen of a year.

"Hey, Tim, sit down," she said, not getting up from behind her desk. Since she had an actual office, and not a cubicle like the lowly sales staff, I was able to close her door as she'd asked.

I sat down without saying anything. I wasn't much into small talk these days.

"So how's it going?" Laura asked.

I nodded. "Okay."

She nodded her head in the direction of the parking lot, where Lorna and Dell were at this moment getting into their eight-year-old Buick. "Still can't make up their minds?"

"No," I said. "You know the story about the donkey standing between two bales of hay that starves because he can't decide which one to eat first?"

Laura wasn't interested in fables. "We have a good product. Why can't you close this one?"

"They'll be back," I said resignedly.

Laura leaned back in her swivel chair, folded her arms below her breasts. "So, Tim, any news?"
I knew she was asking about Syd. "No," I said.

She shook her head sympathetically. "God, it must be rough."

"It's hard," I said.

"Did I ever tell you I was a runaway myself once?" she asked.

"Yes," I said.

"I was sixteen, and my parents were ragging on me about everything. School, my boyfriends, staying out late, you name it, they had a list. So I thought, screw it, I'm outta here, and I took off with this boy named Martin, hitched around the country, saw America, you know?"

"Your parents must have been worried sick."

Laura Cantrell offered up a "who cares" shrug.

"The point is," she said, "I was fine. I just needed to find out who I was. Get out from under their thumb. Be my own self. Fly solo, you know? At the end of the day, that's what matters. Independence."

I didn't say anything.

"Look," she said, leaning forward now, resting her elbows on the desk. I got a whiff of perfume. Expensive, I bet. "Everyone around here is pulling for you. We really are. We can't imagine what it's like, going through what you're going through. Unimaginable. We all want Cindy to come home today."

"Sydney," I said.

"But the thing is, you have to go on, right? You can't worry about what you don't know. Chances are, your daughter's fine. Safe and sound. If you're lucky, she's taken along a boyfriend like I did. I know that might not be what you want to hear, but the fact is, if she's got a young man with her, already she's a hell of a lot safer. And don't even worry about the sex thing. Girls today, they're much savvier about that stuff. They know the score, they know everything about birth control. A hell of a lot more than we did in our day. Well, I was pretty knowledgeable, but most of them, they didn't have a clue."

Praise for Fear the Worst:

”What a story! Holds the reader in a tight grip, as good and evil match wits and wiles. Barclay pushes the envelope of suspense to the edge and beyond, offering a revealing peek into the human psyche, exploring every parent's worst fear. This is imaginative and scintillating, and you'll enjoy every page.” -- Steve Berry, New York Times bestselling author of The Charlemagne Pursuit

Linwood Barclay is a former columnist for the Toronto Star. He is the author of several critically acclaimed novels, including Too Close to Home and No Time for Goodbye, a #1 bestseller in Britain. He lives near Toronto with his wife and has two grown children.Visit Linwood's website at

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Author Spotlight: Pat Williams and Extreme Dreams Depend on Teams

Human beings are designed for teamwork, and teamwork is the only way to make seemingly impossible dreams and bold visions come true. Lance Armstrong won the Tour de France seven consecutive times, not by himself, but with the backing of his coaches, mechanic, and teammates. Charles Lindbergh may have been called “the Lone Eagle” because of his 1927 solo flight across the Atlantic, but he assembled a first-rate team to make his dream possible.

In his new book, Extreme Dreams Depend on Teams (Center Street, July 22, 2009), Orlando Magic co-founder and Senior Vice President Pat Williams says that teamwork is the key to making extreme dreams a reality. Named one of the 50 most influential people in the NBA (National Basketball Association) after following his dream and helping to build the Orlando Magic from the ground up, Williams gives inspiring accounts of the power of teamwork—many of them personal—in a book that leadership guru Patrick Lencioni calls “the most comprehensive and interesting collection of wisdom on teamwork I have ever read.”

In Extreme Dreams Depend on Teams, Williams points out that extreme dreams are only fulfilled when teams are led with characteristics like respect, empowerment, commitment, trust and passion. “Once you put teamwork into practice in your organization, these principles will begin transforming everything. They will transform how you view the world, including our society and its problems, and the political and environmental issues we face…you’ll begin seeing the world through a lens of extreme dreams, extreme possibilities, and the power of teamwork,” says Williams.

Pat Williams is the senior vice president of the NBA’s Orlando Magic. He is a popular motivational speaker averaging over 150 appearances a year. Williams has spent 45 years in professional baseball and basketball as a player and executive. He served as general manager of the 1983 world champion Philadelphia 76ers and managed the Chicago Bulls and Atlanta Hawks.

Williams is the author of 55 books. He and his wife, Ruth, are the parents of 19 children, including 14 adopted from four nations. He and his family have been featured in such diverse publications as Sports Illustrated, Reader’s Digest, Good Housekeeping, The Wall Street Journal, and Focus on the Family as well as all the major TV networks. Pat and Ruth recently received an award from the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute for their efforts in adoption. To learn more about Pat Williams, visit


Pat Williams's EXTREME DREAMS DEPEND ON TEAMS VIRTUAL BLOG TOUR '09 will officially begin on August 3 and end on September 25. You can visit Pat's blog stops at during the month of August and September to find out more about this great book and talented author!

As a special promotion for all our authors, Pump Up Your Book Promotion is giving away a FREE virtual book tour to a published author or a $50 Amazon gift certificate to those not published who comments on our authors' blog stops. More prizes will be announced as they become available.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Author Spotlight: Karin Slaughter and Undone

In the trauma center of Atlanta’s busiest hospital, Sara Linton treats the city’s poor, wounded, and unlucky—and finds refuge from the tragedy that rocked her life in rural Grant County. Then, in one instant, Sara is thrust into a frantic police investigation, coming face-to-face with a tall driven detective and his quiet female partner…. In Undone, three unforgettable characters from Karin Slaughter’s New York Times bestselling novels Faithless and Fractured collide for the first time, entering an electrifying race against the clock—and a duel with unspeakable human evil.

In the backwoods of suburban Atlanta, where Sara’s patient was found, local police have set up their investigation. But Georgia Bureau of Investigation detective Will Trent doesn’t wait for the go-ahead from his boss—he plunges through police lines, through the brooding woods, and single-handedly exposes a hidden house of horror buried beneath the earth. Then he finds another victim.…

Wresting the case away from the local police chief, Will and his partner, Faith Mitchell—a woman keeping explosive secrets of her own—are called into a related investigation. Another woman—a smart, upscale, independent young mother—has been snatched. For the two cops out on the hunt, for the doctor trying to bring her patient back to life, the truth hits like a hammer: the killer’s torture chamber has been found, but the killer is still at work.

In her latest suspense masterpiece, Karin Slaughter weaves together the moving, powerful human stories of characters as real as they are complex and unforgettable. At the same time she has crafted a work of dazzling storytelling and spine-tingling mystery—as three people, each with their own wounds and their own secrets, are all that stands between a madman and his next crime.


She squinted her eyes at the road ahead, deciding she should have her vision checked again. She was not so far from seventy herself, and her eyes seemed to be getting worse every year. Dusk was a particularly bad time for her, and her vision tended to blur on objects that were at a distance. So it was that she blinked several times before she was sure of what she was seeing, and only opened her mouth to warn Henry when the animal was right in front of them.

“Jude!” Henry yelled, one arm shooting out in front of Judith’s chest as he wrenched the steering wheel to the left, trying to avoid the poor creature. Judith thought, oddly, about how the movies were right. Everything slowed down, time inching by so that each second seemed to take an eternity. She felt Henry’s strong arm bolt across her breasts, the seatbelt biting into her hip bones. Her head jerked, slamming into the door as the car swerved. The windshield cracked as the animal bounced against the glass, then hit the roof of the car, then the trunk. It wasn’t until the car shuddered to a stop, spinning a full 180 degrees on the road, that the sounds caught up with Judith: the crack, thunk, thunk, all overlaid with a high-pitched screaming that she realized was coming from her own mouth. She must have been in shock, because Henry had to yell at her several times, “Judith! Judith!” before she stopped screaming.

Henry’s hand was tight on her arm, sending pain up her shoulder. She rubbed the back of his hand, saying, “I’m all right. I’m all right.” Her glasses were askew, her vision off-kilter. She put her fingers to the side of her head, feeling a sticky wetness. When she took away her hand, she saw blood.

“It must’ve been a deer or . . .” Henry put his hand to his mouth, stopping his words. He looked calm but for the telltale up and down of his chest as he tried to catch his breath. The air bag had deployed. A fine, white powder covered his face.

Her breath caught as she looked ahead. Blood had spattered the windshield like a sudden, violent rain.

Henry pushed open the door but did not get out. Judith took off her glasses to wipe her eyes. The lenses were both broken, the bottom part of her bifocal on the right side missing. She saw that the glasses were shaking, and realized that the tremor came from her own hands. Henry got out of the car, and she made herself put on her glasses and follow him.

The creature was on the road, legs moving. Judith’s head ached where it had smacked into the door. Blood was in her eyes. That was the only explanation she had for the fact that the animal–surely a deer–appeared to have the shapely white legs of a woman. “Oh, dear God,” Henry whispered. “It’s–Judith–it’s–”

Judith heard a car behind her. Wheels screeched against asphalt. Doors opened and closed. Two men joined them on the road, one running toward the animal.

He screamed, “Call 9-1-1!” kneeling down beside the body.

Judith stepped closer, then closer yet. The legs moved again–the perfect legs of a woman. She was completely nude. Bruises blackened her inner thighs–dark bruises. Old bruises. Dried blood caked around her legs. A burgundy film seemed to cover her torso, a rip at her side showing white bone. Judith glanced at her face. The nose was askew. The eyes were swollen, lips chapped and split. Blood matted the woman’s dark hair and pooled around her head as if in a halo. Judith stepped closer, unable to stop herself–suddenly a voyeur, after a lifetime of politely looking away. Glass crunched beneath her feet, and the woman’s eyes shot open in panic. She stared somewhere past Judith, a dull lifelessness to her gaze. Just as suddenly, her eyelids fluttered closed, but Judith could not suppress the shudder that went through her body. It was as if someone had walked over her grave. “Dear Lord,” Henry mumbled, almost in prayer. Judith turned to find her husband gripping his hand to his chest. His knuckles were white. He stared at the woman, looking as if he might be ill. “How did this happen?” he whispered, horror twisting his face. “How in God’s name did this happen?”

Praise for Undone:

“Slaughter’s plotting is brilliant, her suspense relentless.” – The Washington Post

Karin Slaughter is the New York Times bestselling author of eight novels, including Beyond Reach and A Faint Cold Fear, which was named an International Book of the Month selection; she contributed to and edited Like a Charm. She is a native of Georgia, where she currently lives and is working on her next novel, which Delacorte Press will publish in 2010.

You can visit Karin Slaughter’s website at

The Power of the Holy Ghost by Shay Bills, Author of Is Your Ghost Holy?

Today's guest blogger is Shay Bills, speaker, entrepreneur and author of Is Your Ghost Holy?: Eight Principles for Evaluating Your Walk in the Spirit. We reviewed this title here, and asked Shay to come discuss the power of the Holy Ghost with us. This is one of the eight principles she discusses in her book.

ALL POWER BELONGS TO GOD is how I begin chapter eight in my book, Is Your Ghost Holy?, because it is true and so profound that it still has people puzzled in the 21st Century. Saints of God do not have a hard time with the reality that in the beginning was God and God created all things including man and woman. But it is the undeniable power, the unquestionable ability and the unexplainable manifestation of His power that can not be expressed in words.

The Holy Ghost is absolutely necessary for saints of God to walk in the FULLNESS of Christ. There is no anointing without the Holy Ghost, there is no life without the Holy Ghost and there is no power as Paul describes in Phil. 3:10-11 when he says we will be made like Him in His resurrection power. Christians today have tried to take glory for who God is and what God does. Remember Christ made Himself no reputation, which ignited more power surrounding His being mere mortal man in the eyes of onlookers. But that same Jesus, coequal with the Father and the Holy Ghost, had all power. This being the same Jesus, when He ascended promised the Comforter would come, now resides in the inner man of Christians today and has ALL power. The Church, God’s church, has yet to see the manifestation of the power of the Holy Ghost. The power of the Holy Ghost is not in eloquence, delivery or knowledge. The power of the Holy Ghost is in the brokenness of humans so that all you see and hear is Jesus. Through brokenness the field is leveled and God’s people are on one accord and He can have His perfect work in our life, our ministry, our church, our family and this world. We live as if what happened on the Day of Pentecost ended in the book of Acts, not so. That same power is available and the Holy Ghost fire is still consuming souls today because somewhere people are tarrying, somewhere people are seeking Him and somewhere people are praying THY KINGDOM COME!


Shay Bills
Author of Is Your Ghost Holy?