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A Christmas Kindness by C. C. Gevry (Book Blast)

Title: A Christmas Kindness
Genre: First chapter reader
Author: Cheryl Malandrinos
Publisher: 4RV Publishing
Pages: 24
Language: English
ISBN – 978-0985266141

Eight-year-old Robert is eager to share his wish list with Santa at the mall on Christmas Eve. When he meets Glenn, who has only one request for Santa, Robert is confused over what he should do. Can he cast aside what he wants and ask Santa to bring his new friend a special gift?

Inside the mall, Christmas music and the tinkling of jingle bells tickled Robert’s ears. With his mother, Robert weaved through the crowd of shoppers. He smelled fried food from Burger Mart. The sweet scent of warm chocolate chip cookies from the bakery made his mouth water.

Watch the trailer:

Purchase your copy:

C.C Gevry is a children’s author from Western Massachusetts. A Christmas Kindness is her first book with 4RV Publishing. She is also a member of the SCBWI. Ms. Gevry is married with two young children and a son who is married. Visit her online at

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A Christmas Kindness Book Blast Schedule
December 4
Book review at IE Mommy
Book Blast w/ Giveaway at Blooming with Books
Book Blast w/ Giveaway at 4 the Love of Books
Book Blast w/ Giveaway at My Devotional Thoughts
Book Blast w/ Giveaway at Lynn’s Corner
Book Blast w/ Giveaway at Mayra’s Secret Bookcase
Book Blast w/ Giveaway at The Story of a Writer
Book Blast w/ Giveaway at Rose and Beps Blog
Book Blast w/ Giveaway at Naturally Kim

Thy Will Be Done VBT with Ronald Kirk

TWBD larger cover

About the book:

The world cries out for an imaginative but realistic Biblical guide to the life foreshadowed in Christ’s model prayer. No foolish utopia, here is a powerful, comprehensive portrait of a sinful world redeemed and transformed by Christ—including the tools needed to hasten the day.

The author weaves a tapestry of possibility–Christ’s people growing as salt and light, putting flesh on the Bible’s vision of blessing in every aspect of human life and endeavor, bringing joy to all peoples and glory to the One who came to save the world.

“Ron Kirk comprehensively applies the Lordship of Christ to all areas of life” (Peter Hammond, The Reformation Society, South Africa).

Purchasing information:

Nordskog Publishing:




Book excerpt:


Jesus said we know a tree by its fruit. What fruit might we expect when the world has fully given itself to Christ on His terms? How would the world then appear when Jesus Christ generally establishes in the highest degree His Gospel among a receptive mankind, and men systematically apply that Gospel to every area of life?….

Thy Will Be Done thus attempts to present a crafted approach to biblically directed living. In this, applied-faith thinking in each area of life uniquely expresses itself in real life upon Biblically defined life objectives. Everything builds upon a simple set of coherent Biblical principles that speak comprehensively to God’s goals for men in this life in anticipation of eternity….

Rather than seeing this present life as a mere holding tank for eternity, Thy Will Be Done views this life as the first fruits, the down payment on the promises of eternity with Christ.

About the author:


Jesus Christ confronted Ron Kirk with His salvation late in his college career at the University of California, Berkeley. Graduating in 1974, he became a professional landscape architect. In entering his first church ministry, a lack of a Biblical material on education led him to the Christian History Movement and the works of R.J. Rushdoony. Since 1980, Ron has studied and taught the Biblically and historically identified applied-faith theology and philosophy outlined in this book. Its principles have now long proven themselves in the curriculum and methods of pioneering day and home schools founded and administered by Ron. His work has been published internationally and translated into Spanish.  According to Jay and Vickie Dangers of New Hope Uganda Ministries, “Through what you have imparted to us, your lives have touched thousands of people on at least four continents, probably five, and the ripple effect is continuing.”[1] Gloriously married since 1971, Ron and Christina have five beautiful children, five more beautiful sons- and daughters-in-law, and twelve beautiful grandchildren, all walking with Christ.  American Heritage Christian Church ordained Ron as a minister of the Gospel in 1984. Ron has recently joined the foreign missionary staff of New Hope Uganda to assist in establishing a teachers college to supply the nation’s schools with a rigorously Biblical philosophy and practice of education.

Visit Ron online at or like his Facebook page at


[1] From an inscription in a copy of Jennie Dangers, The Long Road to Hope: a day of small beginnings (El Cajon, CA: Christian Services Network, 2006).



Thy Will Be Done VBT Schedule

December 2

Interview at Blogcritics

December 3

First Chapter Reveal at Maureen’s Musings

December 4

Interview at The Book Connection

December 5

Guest post at Cheryl’s Christian Book Connection


December 6

First chapter reveal at Read My First Chapter


December 9

Book spotlight at Literarily Speaking

December 10

Book club discussion at PUYB Virtual Book Club

Book review and guest post at Read For Your Future

December 11

Book spotlight at The Writers Life eMagazine

Interview at Paperback Writer

December 12

Guest post and First chapter reveal at Lori’s Reading Corner

December 13

Book spotlight at Review from Here

December 16

Interview at Broowaha


December 17

Guest post at The Story Behind the Book

December 18

Interview at As the Pages Turn

December 19

Book spotlight and giveaway at The Busy Mom’s Daily


December 20

Book review at My Devotional Thoughts

Guest post at Maureen’s Musings

December 26

Book review at Cheryl’s Christian Book Connection

Book review at A Simple Life, Really?

December 27

Book tour highlights at The Book Rack

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Character Interview: James Crofter from Mike Hartner’s Historical Fiction/ Romance I, Walter

character interviews logo

We’re thrilled to have here today James from Mike Hartner’s new historical fiction/romance, I, Walter.  James is a 40 year old detective living in London, England. It is a pleasure to have him with us today at Beyond the Books!

I, WalterThank you so for this interview, James.  Now that the book has been written, do you feel you were fairly portrayed or would you like to set anything straight with your readers?

There really wasn’t much time to portray me in Dad’s biography.

Do you feel the author did a good job colorizing your personality?  If not, how would you like to have been portrayed differently?

Given the information that Mr. Hartner has about my life, I think the colorization was fine.  But there is a lot still to be told.

What do you believe is your strongest trait? 

MY strongest trait is still my ability to think fast.

Worse trait? 

Probably my worst trait is one that insists that I must solve the puzzle, and not just walk away from it.

If you could choose someone in the television or movie industry to play your part if your book was made into a movie, who would that be (and you can’t say yourself!)?

I think there are several good artists out there to play myself.  But I wouldn’t presume that people like Brad Pitt would even be interested in my role/

Do you have a love interest in the book?


At what point of the book did you start getting nervous about the way it was going to turn out? 

The minute I was taken at the party.

If you could trade places with one of the other characters in the book, which character would you really not want to be and why?

I would really not want to be two people:  I wouldn’t want to be my father, since seeing one of your children disappear really is heartbreaking, and I hope that never happens to our family again.  The second person I wouldn’t want to be is my Uncle Gerald.., More than hate, I totally pity him.  I saw too many things that happened to hi,

How do you feel about the ending of the book without giving too much away?

I think the ending to I, Walter was nearly a perfect beginning to my story.  Hopefully Mr. Hartner will see fit to write it.

What words of wisdom would you give your author if s/he decided to write another book with you in it? 

Tell it all.  Yes, my life has been filled with pain, but whose isn’t?

Thank you for this interview, James.  Will we be seeing more of you in the future?

 I certainly hope so.

About the Author:

Mike Hartner is a father, son, author, patriot, geek (ret), and husband.

His love of all things genealogical led him to writing, and writing has now led him to fiction and a large epic saga.

He lives in Vancouver, BC with his wife and son.

His latest book is the historical romance, I, Walter.

Visit his website at

About the Book:

This is the life story of Walter Crofter, an English commoner who ran from home at the age of 11.  After two years living on the street, he ended up on a Merchant Mariners boat in the service of the Crown.

On his first voyage, he rescued a girl from pirates.  A very important girl, who stole his heart before she was returned to her home.

This is the story of his life.  What adventures he had at sea; what took him off the waters, and what happened to him as he lived his life and stayed true to his character.

Purchase your copy at AMAZON.

{First Chapter Reveal} Lion’s Head Deception by Chuck Waldron

Lion's Head DeceptionTitle: Lion’s Head Deception
Author: Chuck Waldron
Publisher: Booklocker
Pages: 318
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1626463689
ISBN-13: 978-1626463684

Purchase at AMAZON

In the prologue, the backdrop for Lion’s Head Deception is set, amongst rioting and unrest in a destabilized city.

Matt Tremain is a shy, private person who discovers a passion for writing blogs—a mission that propels him into investigative reporting. A tipster warns him of a diabolical scheme Matt simply can’t ignore. After the tipster is killed, Matt honors his memory by going forward to investigate the truth behind the conspiracy. He meets a television reporter and a cameraman also investigating the intrigue. Are they potential partners or rivals? A detective offers his assistance, but Matt is unsure of his true motivation. He is equally unsure of the allegiance of those in the top administration of police services. Matt Tremain and his friends are forced to go on the run, evading the newly-formed security teams. They must expose the truth before they are discovered, arrested and perhaps exterminated themselves…

The reader is introduced to Matt Tremain when a test message warns him of impending arrest. The first part of the novel provides an understanding of how he learns about a conspiracy, and the person behind it. A television journalist is investigating the same treachery. Will they be able to join forces? The end of part one introduces a police detective. Will he be friend or foe?

Part two takes place at a private retreat. The antagonist, the scheme’s architect, unveils the complete details of his plan and gets the backing of his three co-conspirators. The location is the Bruce Peninsula in Ontario. It takes place at Lion’s Head and gives the novel the working name.

In an action-packed run to the finish line, will Matt and his partners be able to face the challenges it will take to expose the lies and treachery behind Operation CleanSweep?

First Chapter:



“This story just in to our Action 21 News desk . . . police have tentatively identified the person who apparently jumped to his death from the City View Condominium building last night. According to a detective on scene it was Matthew Tremain, popular investigative blogger. No further information is available, but a source did say that Tremain was undergoing treatment for depression.

The suicide count is now up to fifteen, according to reports. Ever since the rioting began and the new regulations have been implemented, it has been difficult to access official records.

In other news, there is still no word on the whereabouts of Action 21 Television’s own reporter Susan Payne and her cameraman. Prior to her disappearance Payne was working on a background story regarding Operation CleanSweep and its connections to the rioting.”

He tried to ignore the Looky-loos, gathering faster than fleas eyeballing a dog’s back. Holding his badge up and crouching to step under the crime scene tape, he heaved a sigh. “Detective Carling,” the tone reflected his displeasure. “This had to happen at the end of my shift. There’s a paperwork hurricane heading this way, for sure.”

“It shouldn’t be too bad, suicide for sure. It’s been like this ever since the riots,” the officer holding up the tape replied. “Just this morning—”

Carling stopped him, not wanting to hear the rest. He sniffed the unpleasant, acrid smell, still lingering as reminders of the numerous fires during the week of rioting.

Hearing someone say, “That guy’s straight out of an old black and white movie with that hat,” Carling turned to glare in the direction of the comment and removed his fedora to wipe sweat from his forehead with his shirt sleeve. Stopping to talk briefly with another uniformed officer, he was pointed toward a woman who was trembling, coffee spilling over the rim of the take-out cup in her hand.

He put a hand on her shoulder and gently moved her away as the growing crowd leaned forward as one, trying to hear what was being said. Carling took a deep breath to conceal his irritation.

“I understand you saw the…uh…incident.”

She nodded with a look that could have been a yes or a no.

“Yes, it was an appalling thing to see,” she told him with a shiver.

He opened his notebook, ready to document the interview.

“I didn’t know bodies bounced,” she said and started to cry.

After finishing the interview he noticed a man holding a martini glass, empty except for a green olive nestled in the bottom. He called to a uniformed officer who lifted the tape and ushered the man over to be questioned.

“It’s quite unusual to see a man wearing a smoking jacket to a crime scene,” Carling’s tone implied his curiosity, hiding behind sarcasm. “What did you see?”

“I was sipping a perfectly chilled martini, about to say something to my wife, when I saw something falling past the window. It was most odd. I thought it was a man.” The witness looked down at the empty glass in his hand, as if realizing for the first time it was unfilled. “Like I said, it was most odd. I tell you it unnerved me to the point that my martini glass began shaking.”

Never stirred, Carling couldn’t help thinking.

“It was a man falling past the window, I was certain,” the witness continued. “I had just seen a man flapping his arms almost as if he could fly. When I told my wife she asked me if I was sure. She was quite correct with her question. We do live on the thirty-first floor, after all,” he said and then paused as if reliving the moment. “I thought it had to be my imagination until I saw people running towards our building,” the witness in the smoking jacket gestured toward his condominium.

“I do hope those dreadful riots aren’t starting up again,” the witness murmured as Carling watched him re-join the crowd standing in the smoky air, wrinkling his brow at the police barricades being erected in front of his condominium building. “Something like this just doesn’t’ happen here,” he said to a man next to him.

His fifteen seconds of fame, Carling decided.

“Look at that guy,” the detective heard again. “He has to be a cop with that hat,” an observation repeated to the amusement of the onlookers.

Ever since the rioting my city has had its back broken, it’s gone to hell in a hand basket, and all he can be concerned about is my hat?




Two weeks prior Matt had no way of knowing about that newscast in his future. It was almost a normal day, so far.

Matt Tremain didn’t consider himself to be brave, certainly not one of those superheroes having steely resolve in the face of danger. Being short and walking with a limp, he once said he wore a bull’s-eye target on his back when he was in middle school. Picked on and pushed around nearly every day, he finally took a stand to face down two of the largest bullies. He didn’t decide to stand up to them; it was more like he recognized he had no real alternative. He went at them like a pit bull, tenacious and unrelenting. When the fight was over, and the pain gradually subsided, his reputation was reshaped. Even though he lost, people openly admired his tenacity. It didn’t hurt to have a big brain, either.

Now, he would need both of those attributes again when his phone chirped.

Looking down at the text message, Matt felt like he had been hit with a sucker punch to his gut. Before his phone started to vibrate, it had been just a regular day. He later wondered how many people had a record of the exact time and date of such a turning point in their lives.

It was a Thursday morning, his least favorite day of the week, when he walked into Le Rôti Français, a trendy coffee house with a caffeinated menu filling an entire wall.

He tried to ignore the TV mounted high on the wall behind the service counter. Ever since the rioting, there was little news other than continual coverage of the destruction. Action 21 News was the only station back on the air, and they had been airing commercial-free, non-stop updates about the rioting. Many, like Matt, were beginning to feel anaesthetized by the repetitive stories and images.

Walking through the door, Matthew Tremain noticed a woman watching him walk with a slight limp. The limp was evident, but not pronounced. A speed bump in his DNA double helix caused one leg to be a bit shorter than the other. It was that way when he was born, and it was still that way 32 years later. He tried to pretend it didn’t bother him as he glanced over at the woman who wore a sympathetic look on her face. He knew he should be used to pity like that, but it still bothered him, a lot. He pushed his anger aside and walked to the counter.

Running late, and this morning, of all mornings! Fidgeting, he asked himself, why did I have to end up standing behind these two?

CleanSweep! The word came, uninvited, into his mind. When did I first learn about CleanSweep? Tanner’s email! Was it only a few weeks ago now?

He brushed the word, and his growing anxiety, to the side of his thoughts, overhearing the discussion in front of him.

“I’m going to have a latte,” the first young woman said, sounding hesitant.

“Are you sure?” her friend countered. “You were going to try a cappuccino,” she said. “If you aren’t going to have that, why not just get an ex-presso?”

It was all Matt could do not to shout, to tell them there was no ‘x’ in espresso.

CleanSweep! The word clawed at his memory again. He couldn’t get CleanSweep out of his head.

“I want to try something different,” the first woman insisted. “I just can’t make up my mind,” she said, sounding pouty. Finally, after what seemed an interminable wait, she said she was ready and pointed in a vague way, “What does a masha…mashia…”

“Machiatto,” the clerk –

Matt had been enjoying the clerk’s annoyance when his phone started to vibrate, his ringtone for an incoming text message followed. Struggling to get it out of his jean’s pocket, he flipped it open to look at the screen, his life-defining moment, time stamped at 9:56 a.m.

It was the warning he’d been hoping he would never get it. Now, as he was reading it, an emotional trap door opened under his feet.

His shock immobilized him as he gripped the phone, his breath and heart rate fast-tracking. Anyone looking would have noticed his eyes widen a bit, a silent primal scream starting from somewhere deep inside as he stared at the screen, not wanting to believe.

ST2MORO@7. GY6. 7FF. 14AA41.        

He translated the text-speak in his mind:

ST2MORO@7: same time tomorrow, at seven.

GY6: I’ve got your six.

7FF: seven friends forever.

14AA41: one for all and all for one.

The real message, however, was a hidden numerical code within the code. Three critical numbers were those following the number two. He scanned the message. The first critical number was 7, the next a 6, and the third another 7, SOS on a standard telephone keypad. It meant he was in grave danger; he was being warned.

How long do I have?

The simple code was never intended to be unbreakable, simply enough to frustrate anyone trying to poke around and sniff through e-mail, texts, and chats.

Will it be enough now? Does this give me time to escape?

A voice in his head urged him to run, although running was the worst thing he could do right now. Instead, he walked to the door of the coffee shop without ordering, his thumb clicking two letters in response, CX for “cancelled and going offline.” He pressed the enter key, letting his team know he understood the significance of the danger he was in. They knew he would contact them when it was safe.

Will I ever be safe again? He couldn’t help wondering.

His CX message also triggered a program on his primary computer, and he knew it was already at work eliminating all history of any documents, contacts and communications, along with all traces of his back-up system. His hand went up to his chest, an instinct to make sure he could feel the four media cards hanging on a lanyard under his shirt. Everything was on those media cards.

On the sidewalk he looked around to make sure no one was watching as he pried open the back of the phone, removing the battery and tossing it into a trash receptacle. He used a finger to pry out the SIM card, kneeling to drop it through the slots of a drainage grill. Cyberia warned him his movements could be tracked by the SIM card, even if the phone wasn’t being used.

            Is someone watching now? How would I know? He should have been thinking about that before now. He had to be more careful. Looking around again to see if anyone was looking, he let the phone drop, stepping on it hard until the plastic case shattered. Then he kicked the shards off the curb and into the street. He winced at a ticklish sensation—sweat droplets forming on his cheeks, tracing their slow path to his chin. As he walked to the subway entrance, it took all of his self-control not to run. Cyberia had warned him there would be teams of watchers, looking for exactly that type of panic. “Don’t let them see you sweat,” he had said. What Matt knew about the tradecraft of spies and undercover techniques was limited to what he read in books and watched in movies. This wasn’t make-believe though, not a game to be played at.

Will my clumsy effort at tradecraft be enough? Will it keep me alive? Oh, man. I’ve been looking over my shoulder like this ever since CleanSweep put a price on my head.

He did his best to imitate an oyster closing its shell for protection. He wanted to conceal his fear as shoppers and commuters rushed past him like the current in a river flowing around a rock.

“Morning, Buddy.”

Matt’s head snapped up.

“Filthy weather, isn’t it?” A man in a soiled army surplus jacket was standing next to a newspaper kiosk, clapping his gloved hands, his breath steaming. “Especially with all this smoke,” he said as he started coughing, a cough that soon turned to spasms, causing him to pull out a stained handkerchief to press to his lips.

“Morning…,” Matt managed to mutter, forcing himself ignore the man’s dirty rag and turned instead to examine several of the newspapers on display. He started to complain to the news vender, to ask him why he allowed a homeless man to hang around like that. He choked off the words, chiding himself for his lack of compassion. It has to be all this…the stress.

Instead, he tried to look like a man unable to decide on which newspaper to buy.

More importantly, he used the opportunity to look past the display racks, on the alert for anything out of the ordinary—a head turning away too quickly, or someone abruptly stepping back into shadows to avoid detection.

He was sure he read about doing something like that in a spy novel—how to spot if you were being tailed.

He reached for a newspaper, choosing one at random. Starting to sort through coins, he noticed a man across the street. Is he looking directly at me? Yes, straight at me. Matt froze, seeing the man holding his right sleeve up to his mouth.

Oh no, he’s whispering into a microphone!

Matt watched the man cough into the elbow of his coat sleeve, then turn and wave to a passing taxi. Matt let out a long, slow breath. It was nothing. As he exhaled, he did his best to maintain a puzzled look, to appear like he was curious—like a man with no purpose in mind—as he turned around to use a store display window as a mirror. He didn’t see anything suspicious and started walking again.

If I can only get to the subway, blend in at rush hour.

He saw the sign for the subway entrance and pulled his collar up against the falling temperatures. He shivered, knowing it was as much fear as weather, as he felt the first droplets of cold rain splattering against his face.

That’s when he saw them. A sharp pang of fear gripped him, like a lion raking claws across his chest. Two large men were walking towards him. This time, he knew the danger was real. They wore their suits like detectives, each man with dark circles under his eyes, badges of sleeplessness and too much coffee. They were poster boys for the guys he knew were coming for him. It took every ounce of his self-control to look calm. He wanted to run.

It’s hopeless. He was cornered. Oddly, he felt relieved, watching as they drew near. The taller one, the one on the left, pulled his hand out of his coat pocket. He was holding something in his hand, and he began swinging his arm up in a menacing arc. They flashed counterfeit smiles, recognition in their eyes. He flinched; they almost knocked him to the ground as they shouldered by, then he turned to see them shake hands with someone walking to meet them.

“We have a reservation,” he heard one of them say in a voice that hinted at annoyance, “I was just going to call you on my cell.”

Matt left the rest of their words trailing behind, a sensation of intense relief spread over his face as a short, wizened woman carrying a shopping bag gave him a puzzled look.

He pulled his jacket tight as icy pellets started to prick at his face.

Am I shaking from the cold or that near miss? He wanted to laugh at himself. Panic and paranoia were taking over and making him feel and look irrational.

Shaking off his emotions, he began to move. Daggers of ice pellets assaulted him as he fast-walked to the subway entrance. He fished a token from his jeans and pushed through the turnstile. Directional arrows pointed the way to the train platforms where he was greeted by an eclectic perfume of steamy clothes, garlic, and closely packed commuters. Standing on the platform, he felt a gush of wind signal the approaching train, pushing compressed air into the station. The grinding sound of its wheels sang a harsh song of metal on metal, like the gnashing of a giant’s teeth. He waited for it to come to a stop, standing to one side to let passengers disembark. A young woman with a backpack was the last exiting passenger. He darted through the open door and lunged for an empty seat. He waited for the doors to whoosh shut, and silently urged the train to move. When it did, he welcomed the familiar rocking motion, even the scream of the wheels making their ear-piercing racket as the train lurched around another curve.

He started to relax. I’m going to make it.

He looked up at the electronic advertising panels, flat-screen images scrolling around the car. It was a continuous looping picture along with a warning to call 711, the new hotline established for Operation CleanSweep. It was a video showing his own face, staring back at him from the electronic panels ringing the subway car, flashing hi-definition video displays of a wanted man.

Why didn’t Cyberia disable –?

Suddenly, the video images scrambled to snowy static, visual white noise, and went blank. Holding the back of a seat, he pulled himself up as the subway train braked to a stop and the doors began to open.

Mary Elizabeth The Spotless Cow on Sale in October!

The story of “Mary Elizabeth The Spotless Cow” takes us on the journey she travels to figure out how to get the cows at a new farm to like and accept her.

While she hopes to find friendship at her new home, instead she learns what it means to be different from everyone else. (Spotless!) Mary Elizabeth uses clever ideas and a sense of humor to help her on her quest for friends at the new farm.

This inspiring tale shows how perseverance in spite of obstacles, using a sound thought process to arrive at solutions and the importance of having fun, using humor and enjoying playtime can build friendships.

When you buy this book, 50% of net proceeds go to Phoenix Children’s Hospital Child Life Program to make a difference in the lives of children with critical and life threatening illnesses.


Once upon a time……..there was a farm in Ohio with lots of Cows. They all had many spots to be proud of. One day a truck pulled into the farm. The back door opened and out came a new Cow. The other Cows were so excited to have a new friend!

But as the new Cow came out of the truck the other Cows looked on in shock!!! “Oh My! What on Earth?!”

It seems the new Cow, whose name was Mary Elizabeth, had no spots!

“Where are your spots??!!” Demanded the Cow called Anna Belle.

“I don’t have any spots. I was born spotless, you see.”

Well, Anna Belle and the other Cows were horrified.

(Not mad, you had to be very careful about mad)

Purchasing information: During the month of October, purchase Mary Elizabeth The Spotless Cow from the Sweetles website for only $12.00 (List price: $17.99). When you buy this book, 50% of net proceeds go to Phoenix Children’s Hospital Child Life Program. Visit for more information.

Sal is the author and illustrator of “A Sweetles Dream”® book series. As the Creative Director for Hartman-Barbera llc, a family media & entertainment company, he is also an animator, sculptor, painter and all around fun guy. Sal lives the phrase: “A day without laughter is a wasted day”. To that end, he uses his writing, illustrating and animation skills to create endearing characters and comedic stories.

Sal’s sense of humor and empathy for his characters explore personal and social situations in ways that makes it enjoyable for both adults and children to experience together. Born in New York City, Sal moved to North Bergen, NJ where he grew up on a steep hillside neighborhood with his four older sisters. He currently lives in sunny Arizona with his wife and artistic partner, Sheri, who he defines as his inspiration. On any given day Sal might be painting, sculpting, drawing, animating, writing or enjoying one of his favorite pastimes: cooking, television, movies and golf.

Visit Sal Barbera’s website at

Visit Sal’s other tour stops at:

October 1st

Interview at Blogcritics

October 2nd

Book spotlight at The Writer’s Life

October 3rd

Book spotlight at As the Pages Turn

October 4th

Book review at Alicia Finn Noack

October 7th

Book spotlight at Literarily Speaking

October 8th

Book spotlight at Between the Covers

October 9th

Book spotlight at The Book Rack

Book review at Classic Children’s Books

October 10th

Book review at The Children’s and Teens’ Book Connection

October 11th

Guest post at Paperback Writer

Book spotlight at Review from Here

Book review at A Year of Jubilee Book Reviews

October 12th

Book spotlight at 4 the Love of Books

October 14th

Interview at Straight from the Author’s Mouth

October 15th

Book spotlight at Broken Teepee

Book spotlight at Beyond the Books

October 16th

Book review at Lynn’s Corner

Book trailer reveal at If Books Could Talk

October 17th

Guest post at The Story Behind the Book

October 18th

Interview at The Children’s and Teens’ Book Connection

October 21st

Book review at My Devotional Thoughts

Book spotlight at Deco My Heart

Book spotlight at A Year of Jubilee Book Reviews

October 22nd

Book review at 4 the Love of Books

October 23rd

Guest post at Mayra’s Secret Bookcase

October 25th

Book review at Mary’s Cup of Tea

October 28th

Book review at Thoughts in Progress

October 30th

Book review at Maureen’s Musings

October 31st

Book review at Blooming with Books

Guest post at Lori’s Reading Corner

Interview with T.J. MacLeslie, Author of Designed for Relationship

MacLeslie photo

T.J. MacLeslie is a follower of Christ, a husband, a father, a minister, a missionary, and an author. Since his first missions experience in 1990, T.J. has been involved in a variety of ministries: pastoring, church planting, leadership development, and spiritual formation. Through it all, his mission has always been, “To envision and train believers to go deep in their relationship with Christ and each other so that they can be a blessing to each other and the world.” His new book: Designed for Relationship distills the lessons learned along the way to help those longing for more. He currently lives in the UK with his wife and two children where he leads a team focused on prayer and spiritual formation for missionaries serving around the world.
Amazon Author Page:

Q: Welcome to Beyond the Books, T.J. MacLeslie.  Can you start out by telling us whether you are published for the first time or are you multi-published? 

A: I just had my second book, Designed for Relationship, published.

Q: What was the name of your very first book regardless of whether it was published or not and, if not published, why? 

A: My first book, Pursuit of a Thirsty Fool, was published 2 years ago.

Q: For your first published book, how many rejections did you go through before you either found a mainstream publisher, self-published it, or paid a vanity press to publish it? 

A: Actually, I was kind of hoping that my first book would be rejected, as I did not write it for publication. The first book was kind of an accident. I sat down to write the current book, Designed for Relationship, but Pursuit of a Thirsty Fool is what spilled out of my soul through my fingertips. Pursuit was a no-holds-barred story of God’s pursuit of me and my foolishness, which I hoped would never see the light of day. I wrote it primarily as a spiritual exercise, but a friend showed it to a publisher who was interested and eventually published it.

My experience of rejection in publishing was more about the editing process than the publishing one. I write in community. After every major revision, I invite a variety of people to read and offer feedback. This process is incredibly helpful but also vulnerable. Also, some people’s honest feedback was that they hated the book and wondered why I was wasting my time writing. Ouch! I realized that not every book is for every person, and while some loved it, others hated it. Books are very personal and will not appeal to everyone. This is true with readers, and also for publishers.

My first publisher loved the first book, but didn’t want to publish my second book. It wasn’t that they hated it, but they have their own publishing priorities and my first book fit while my second didn’t.

Q: How did the rejections make you feel and what did you do to overcome the blows? 

A: I was really hurt and discouraged by the negative feedback and rejection. That hurt turned quickly to anger and defensiveness. I got stuck there for a little while, and then I turned all of that emotion into prayer. I honestly talked it out with God during long walks alone through the countryside near my house.

He led me to a place of peace by reminding me that He knows what it is like to be despised and rejected. When Jesus walked the earth, He was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. That helped me to feel less alone.

Then He reminded me that writing is just another form of communication. And the acceptance or rejection of a message has something to do with the communicator, but is primarily about the person receiving the message. So, I guess what I’m saying is that I have learned that the acceptance or rejection of the book by a reader or a publisher is mostly about the person doing the accepting or rejecting.

Me writing, telling my stories is my part, and other’s reaction to it is their part. I’m only responsible for my part. Designed for Relationship cover

Q: When your first book was published, who published it and why did you choose them? 

A: Bottomline Media, a division of Pioneers, was my first publisher. As I mentioned, they chose me first. I seriously considered self-publishing instead because of retaining control of the work. But I thought that a small publisher would strike a good balance between creative input and bringing additional resources into the project. As a first time author I found it difficult to relinquish any control, but they were patient with me and we made it work.

Q: How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?

A: Publishing for me is a mixed bag. I am amazed that people believe in my work enough to invest in it and share it with others. It is such an honor to have others value your work and promote it. On the other hand, my first book in particular, was so honest and vulnerable that I felt apprehensive when it was first published for the world to read.

I still remember the day it went live on Amazon. That was the day I felt like a real author. Completing the text, or the publisher accepting the work, didn’t do it for me. Seeing it on the shelf was the day it clicked for me. I celebrated quietly with my wife and kids.

Q: What was the first thing you did as for as promotion when you were published for the first time?

A: The first official promotion was done by the publisher. Just before the book was available, the publisher reached out through their network and offered free copies of the eBook to bloggers and other potential reviewers. But I think the real promotion began when I started engaging others in the creative process. By the time the book was written, there were people who had invested something in the project and became advocates for the book.

Q: If you had to do it over again, would you have chosen another route to be published?

A: I have thought about this quite a bit. Every relationship has some struggles and the relationship between author and publisher is not an exception. That said, I’m glad I went with a small publisher as I find it strikes the right balance for me between creative control and bringing additional resources into the design, printing, and promotion parts of the project. I’ve gone with another small publisher, Parvaim Press, for my second book, Designed for Relationship.

Q: Have you been published since then and how have you grown as an author?

A: Yes, my second book, Designed for Relationship, was just published recently. I found that I did not need as many drafts to get to the final text this time; which is nice, because I hate editing! I guess I learned the lessons that my readers flagged in the first book, and many of the bad habits were self-corrected during the creative process. I think I’m also more confident in my own voice. I recognize that my voice is valid, and while others might not say things the same way, I’m okay with that now. With my first book I wrestled more and had a hard time finding the balance between being open and teachable and losing my voice in receiving the feedback of others. I think I did better with this on my second book.

Q: Looking back since the early days when you were trying to get published, what do you think you could have done differently to speed things up?  What kind of mistakes could you have avoided?

A: Knowing what I know now, I think a big part of the publishing process is expectations. If I expect to be published by a particular publisher or I expect for things to happen according to a particular timeline, I will likely be disappointed and/or frustrated. Particularly early in the publishing process I was really frustrated by missed deadlines, or what I perceived as missed opportunities. But, when I relaxed, did my part, and communicated clearly with my publisher, I found the process much more enjoyable and less stressful. Of course, my faith plays a big role in this too. I believe God is working all things together for good, for my good; that means I can relax a bit. (I’m still working on this!) He is in control so I don’t have to be.

Q: What has been the biggest accomplishment you have achieved since becoming published?

A: My biggest accomplishment has been to simply keep writing. Even after my first book was published I struggled with discouragement. I write because I believe God has asked me to, but I still want people to buy my book. My first book did okay, but it hasn’t made the New York Times best seller list. I watched the sales figures with interest and found myself taking some of my identity not just from being published but from the sales of the book. When it didn’t go viral I struggled. I felt jealous of the success of others. I found it hard to want to write again, and go through the whole process not knowing what the end result would be. But, God met me again, and reminded me that He has asked me to write. That’s my part. So, just continuing to write is an accomplishment and I still find the struggle a daily challenge. 

Q: If you could have chosen another profession, what would that profession be?

A: Actually, I have another profession. I’m a full-time Christian minister. I get to pray for, meet with, counsel, and encourage wonderful people serving the Lord all over the world. I love my job and the people I serve. My writing is an extension of my work with people.

Q: Would you give up being an author for that profession or have you combined the best of both worlds?

A: I don’t think I would want to give up writing or my profession. My writing helps me to crystallize and communicate the things God is teaching me, and my work with people keeps me grounded in the real world. 

Q: How do you see yourself in ten years?

A: I hope I’m still doing exactly what I’m doing now, but with more wisdom and kindness. I would love to continue to serve people, supporting and encouraging them to love and serve others. I would also love to still be writing.

Q: Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?

A: Nearly twenty years ago a mentor of mine, the first one to encourage me to write, told me to write something every day. He encouraged me to be a writer, and a writer is someone who writes. Publishing is a completely different question. A writer writes and a publisher publishes. Don’t worry about the publishing! Work hard at your craft. Write from your soul. Be curious. Investigate. Try new things. Share your work with your friends. Find, or develop, a creative community. Be open to constructive criticism. But above all…write!

Interview with Michael Bigham, Author of ‘Harkness’

Michael Bigham photo

Raised in the Central Oregon mill town of Prineville beneath deep blue skies and rim rock, Michael Bigham attended the University of Oregon and during his collegiate summers, fought range fires on the Oregon high desert for the Bureau of Land Management. He worked as a police officer with the Port of Portland and after leaving police work, obtained an MFA in Creative Writing from Vermont College. Michael lives in Portland, Oregon, with his wife, his daughter and a spunky Bichon Frise named Pumpkin. Harkness is Michael’s first novel. You can find him online at and His Twitter feed is @wassir.


Q: Welcome to Beyond the Books, Michael. Can we start out by telling us whether you are published for the first time or are you multi-published?

A: Harkness is my first novel, but I have had two short stories published: “American Clipper” in the anthology Coming Home and “Siren” in the anthology Aftermath.

Q: What was the name of your very first book regardless of whether it was published or not and, if not published, why?

A: My first book was called Springtime in Tunisia written 20 years ago. It was a spy parody, very rough, very much a first novel. I took it to a writer’s workshop with Jack Cady in Cannon Beach, Oregon. He said it was very funny and that I wouldn’t have any problem getting it published, but he also told me not to publish under my own name, to reserve that for my “serious work.” It sits patiently in a trunk in my basement waiting for me to return to it.

Q: For your first published book, how many rejections did you go through before you either found a mainstream publisher, self-published it, or paid a vanity press to publish it?

At least fifty rejection slips are in my desk. Shopping around a novel isn’t for people with fragile egos.

Q: How did the rejections make you feel and what did you do to overcome the blows?

A: Yeah, so my ego is a little fragile. No one ever trashed my prose, but it is a difficult process, especially the form rejections that I got. I relied on the positive comments I got from other agents and editors to bolster my spirits.

Q: When your first book was published, who published it and why did you choose them?

A: The publishing business is in a state of flux. Traditional publishers are in trouble, so it was time to try something different. A couple of writer friends and myself decided to start up a small publishing house, Muskrat Press. We’re going to publish our stuff first with an eye toward publishing other writers somewhere down the line.

Q: How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?

A: It felt great. I immediately sent copies to friends and family and set to work on promotion and the next novel.

Q: What was the first thing you did for promotion when you were published for the first time?

A: I’m still trying to figure out the promotion thing. The first thing I did was to announce my book on Facebook. Social media is great for self-promotion.

Q: If you had to do it over again, would you have chosen another route to be published?

A: I’m happy with this option, but for the next novel I’m going to have a self-promotion plan in place before publication. I’ve discovered that you need to make the publication of your book an event. That’s something I didn’t do and now I have to backtrack.

Q: Have you been published since then and how have you grown asHarkness cover an author?

A: Harkness was published a couple of months ago, and I don’t have my next book finished yet. I hope I’ve grown as a writer. I have more confidence in my prose and in developing my characters. My main challenge right now is to plot before I write rather than winging it.

Q: Looking back since the early days when you were trying to get published, what do you think you could have done differently to speed things up? What kind of mistakes could you have avoided?

A: There was a period when I stopped writing seriously. I had received some harsh criticism in a writing workshop and it shut me down for a couple of years. As a writer, you need to write constantly rather than suffer through long dry periods.

Q: What has been the biggest accomplishment you have achieved since becoming published?

A: I had a very successful reading in Portland a couple of months ago. Many of my friends and family were there, and I felt very proud of my book.

Q: If you could have chosen another profession, what would that profession be?

A: Tough question. I was a cop for 27 years. It was one of those love/hate things. Sometimes I loved my job, but at other times I didn’t. I seriously thought about going back to school for a degree in social work or psychology. Those interests reflect in the depth of my characters.

Q: Would you give up being an author for that profession or have you combined the best of both worlds?

A: I’m exactly where I want to be. After leaving police work, I got a Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Vermont College. It’s the best move I could have made, and I’m content with my decision.

Q: How do you see yourself in ten years?

A: Hopefully, I’ll have two series of mystery novels out in the world. I have an idea for a second series that will also take place in Eastern Oregon.

Q: Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?

A: Keep plugging away and remember that the publishing business is being turned upside down. The traditional path of getting an agent and shopping your novel to the big publishing houses isn’t the only path to your success as an author.

Book Blast for Lakesha Monqiue Ruise’s Thy Kingdom Come + Win $25 VISA Gift Card

After petitioning the Father for answers to basic theological questions about the universal church, she took an eight-year journey with the Holy Spirit to provide clarity for herself about His vision.

Thy Kingdom Come provides readers with that clarity.

For anyone wondering what has happened to the Church, for anyone whose faith in God has been diminished, for anyone whose life has been destroyed by the yolks of bondage, Ruise offers new answers. She encourages her readers to follow along in the Bible itself to see how each of her lessons is validated by the Word of God.

“We perish because we don’t know how to survive,” writes Ruise. Thy Kingdom Come offers not only an apt diagnosis of the problem, but equips readers with the cure, as well. It is an excellent source book for Biblical history and spiritual revelation and it prompts valuable internalizing and soul-searching for veteran Christians as well as for new converts.

Link to book on Amazon:

Link to book at B&N:

Lady Ruise is a native of Thomasville Georgia. She is the First Lady of Emmanuel Church of God in Christ in Macclenny Florida. She medically retired from the U S Navy in 2007. Since her retirement, she obtained a degree in respiratory therapy and works as a Registered Respiratory Care Practitioner. She has a strong Christian background. She dedicated her life to the Lord at the age of 9 and became a minister at the age of 14. She has been licensed through the Holiness Church and the Baptist church as a minister for the past 24 years. She has been mentored by countless Pastors and Elders in the COGIC, Holiness Church, and the Baptist Church. She currently labors in ministry with her husband Pastor Joe Nathan Ruise as a praise team leader. She is also the president and founder of the Baker County Circle of Sisters in Macclenny, Fl. Lakesha Ruise is a prayer-warrior and intercessor, who is holy-ghost filled with an assignment from Jesus Christ to build his church!

Website Address:

Twitter Address:

Facebook Address:!/lakesha.ruise.5

Pump Up Your Book and Lakesha Monique Ruise are teaming up to give you a chance to win some fabulous prizes!

Here’s how it works:

Each person will enter this giveaway by liking, following, subscribing and tweeting about this giveaway through the Rafflecopter form placed on blogs throughout the tour. This promotion will run from March 8 – Apr 8. The winner will be chosen randomly by Rafflecopter, contacted by email and announced on April 12, 2013. Each blogger who participates is eligible to enter and win. Visit each blog stop below to gain more entries as the Rafflecopter widget will be placed on each blog for the duration of the tour. Good luck everyone!

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If the Rafflecopter form doesn’t load, please visit the THY KINGDOM COME TOUR PAGE to enter the giveaway:

Thy Kingdom Come Book Blast Schedule


Friday March 8th
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Thursday, March 21st
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Monday, March 25th
Tuesday, March 26th
Wednesday, March 27th
Thursday, March 28th
Friday, March 29th – OPEN
Monday, April 1st
Tuesday, April 2nd – OPEN
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Friday, April 5th – OPEN
Monday, April 8th

January Justice by Athol Dickson Book Blast & $25 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway

Reeling from his wife’s unsolved murder, Malcolm Cutter is just going through the motions as a chauffeur and bodyguard for Hollywood’s rich and famous. Then a pair of Guatemalan tough guys offer him a job. It’s an open question whether they’re patriotic revolutionaries or vicious terrorists. Either way, Cutter doesn’t much care until he gets a bomb through his window, a gangland beating on the streets of L.A., and three bullets in the chest. Now there’s another murder on Cutter’s Mind. His own.

Link to purchase:

Athol Dickson’s mystery, suspense, and literary novels have won three Christy Awards and an Audie Award. Suspense fans who enjoyed Athol’s They Shall See God will love his latest novel, January Justice, the first installment in a new mystery series called The Malcolm Cutter Memoirs. The second and third novels in the series, Free Fall in February, and A March Murder, are coming in 2013.

Critics have favorably compared Athol’s work to such diverse authors as Octavia Butler (Publisher’s Weekly), Hermann Hesse (The New York Journal of Books) and Flannery O’Connor (The New York Times). Athol lives with his wife in southern California.




Pump Up Your Book and Athol Dickson are teaming up to give you a chance to win a fabulous prize!

Here’s how it works:

Each person will enter this giveaway by liking, following, subscribing and tweeting about this giveaway through the Rafflecopter form placed on blogs throughout the tour. This promotion will run from March 18 – Mar 22. The winner will be chosen randomly by Rafflecopter, contacted by email, and announced on March 25, 2013. Visit each blog stop below to gain more entries as the Rafflecopter widget will be placed on each blog for the duration of the tour. Good luck everyone!

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If the Rafflecopter form doesn’t load, please visit the JANUARY JUSTICE TOUR PAGE to enter the giveaway:

Monday, March 18th
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Friday, March 22nd

Interview with David S. Grant, author of ‘Blood: The New Red’

David S. Grant is the author of ten books including Corporate Porn, Bleach|Blackout, Hollywood Ending, and Rock Stars. His latest novel, Blood: The New Red, is now available. David lives and writes his weekly rock, travel, and NBA columns from New York City.

For more information on BLOOD: The New Red please go to  Follow David on Twitter: @david_s_grant



Q: Welcome to Beyond the Books, David.  Can we start out by telling us whether you are published for the first time or are you multi-published?

 BLOOD: The New Red is my tenth published book and my fourth with Silverthought Press.  I have also published books with Brown Paper Publishing, SynergEbooks, and Oak Tree Press.

Q: What was the name of your very first book regardless of whether it was published or not and, if not published, why?

Corporate Porn was my first book and was published by Silverthought Press.  The story intertwines two characters, one is a model turned adult film star named Mickey, who reappears as the lead narrator in my new novel, BLOOD: The New Red.

Q: For your first published book, how many rejections did you go through before you either found a mainstream publisher, self-published it, or paid a vanity press to publish it?

I have gone through the slush pile process and from time to time continue to reach out to agents and major publishing houses.  I have found a home with Silverthought Press, an independent press that appreciates my writing.  I’m always impressed and pleased with the output of my books.  To answer your question, MANY rejection slips; thankfully, I never kept track though.

Q: How did the rejections make you feel and what did you do to overcome the blows?

It’s frustrating for sure, and you have to decide if the time is worth it.  Really ask yourself what you are looking to get out of the process of writing and publishing your book.  If you are hoping to make a million dollars you may want to rethink your career choice.  I do believe that with anything in life, if you stay focused on a goal you can get there, in the end it’s really a question of what you want.

Q: When your first book was published, who published it and why did you choose them?

Silverthought Press was a new press (that had an online presence for years prior) that read my manuscript and wanted to make it part of their inaugural release.  Corporate Porn was published in hardcover format and can still be purchased as a hardcover through Silverthought Press.

Q: How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?

I was very pleased with the editing and overall output of Corporate Porn.  My next book was a double novel titled Bleach|Blackout that had dual topsy-turvy covers.  It was really cool, but nothing compares to my latest book, BLOOD: The New Red.  The “grindhouse” cover really begins to tell the story of what’s inside.  I mean who doesn’t want to read about an ex-porn star returning to New York City to model and get mixed up with a crazy designer who may or may not “take out” Oprah Winfrey on the runway?

Q: What was the first thing you did as for as promotion when you were published for the first time?

Probably a press release, I’ve dabbled in press releases, blog tours, and reaching out for reviews.  What I’ve found works the best is to establish an audience via a blog or online writing presence (writing a weekly column for example.)

Q: If you had to do it over again, would you have chosen another route to be published?

No, there was a lot of luck in the timing and I am very grateful for the work of mine that has been published.

Q: Have you been published since then and how have you grown as an author?

As mentioned earlier, BLOOD: The New Red is my tenth published book.  I’ve learned that being published is a very small part of the journey.  There is the writing process (most fun for me) and then the after published marketing which will take as much time as you have, plus more!

Q: Looking back since the early days when you were trying to get published, what do you think you could have done differently to speed things up?  What kind of mistakes could you have avoided?

20/20 hindsight I would have reached out to independent publishers first and not waste a large amount of time querying major publishers who are rarely interested in fiction from new authors.

Q: What has been the biggest accomplishment you have achieved since becoming published?

My latest book is definitely my biggest up to this point.  With BLOOD: The New Red I’ve (hopefully) created an entertaining read that moves the reader quickly through the streets of New York and into a fashion world where sex is used as motivation, wine is served by the year, and cocaine is back in style.

Q: How do you see yourself in ten years?

From a writing perspective, well, writing.  I enjoy the actual writing best, whether it’s jotting notes, creating an outline, or polishing prose, it’s all good to me!  Writing is cheaper than psychiatry, and MUCH cheaper!

Q: Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?

Embrace the process, don’t quit, and remember the actual reward is in the writing.

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