Monday, June 30, 2014

FINAL TRIMESTER, Book One in the Quigley Triplets Series by Dianna T. Benson

Final Trimester

Book One in the Quigley Triplets Series

by
Dianna T. Benson




Paramedic Jodi Duncan recognizes the work of a serial killer before the Myrtle Beach PD even suspects a connection between the deaths of two pregnant women. Despite the vast differences in the two cases, Jodi urges Detective Nate Quigley to think outside the box. After digging deep into the separate investigations, Nate finds no evidence to support a serial killer theory, and he warns Jodi to back off police business, which only fuels her passion for the cases.

When a third pregnant woman is murdered, Nate is named lead detective on the case and works to link the deaths in order to unmask and stop the serial murderer, a disturbed man who believes God and the devil battle inside his head to bend him according to their wills. As he fights both voices, his interest fixates on Jodi when he discovers her obsession with ending his rampage.



*~*~*



I am excited to have Dianna Benson on our blog today with her new book, Final Trimester.  Dianna was kind enough to share a little about herself with me and I hope you enjoy this short interview.


Lorilyn:  Why did you write Final Trimester?

Dianna: The idea for the killer’s character in Final Trimester sprouted to development the first month I worked in EMS due to an actual individual I encountered. I’m fascinated by intense human behavior that causes extreme chaos and destruction, and I love to see people step out of their comfort zones to stop that destructive person no matter how difficult the task.     

Suspense is my natural writing voice.
Being an EMT and a Haz-Mat and FEMA Operative for nearly a decade, I naturally implement my firsthand medical and rescue knowledge and experience into all my books.
Inspirational is a thread I love writing and it fits within my characterizations and plot lines like a key puzzle piece  

Lorilyn: What did you learn from writing Final Trimester?

Dianna: No matter how creepy a serial murderer’s method’s, the story can be written in a soft and inspirational tone yet with strong characterization and excitement.


Lorilyn: Who would enjoy reading Final Trimester?

Dianna:   The best way to answer that is to include here two fellow suspense author’s opinions after reading Final Trimester, and one of them was seven months pregnant at the time of reading:


“Grab your oxygen mask, you just might need it as you turn the pages of Dianna T. Benson’s latest novel, Final Trimester, a fast paced and psychologically thrilling suspense story with an unexpected twist. Though a dark tale at times, the story contains elements of hope and faith and points readers toward the Light (of the World).” – Heidi Glick, author of Dog Tags

More twists and turns than a mountain road! If you’re looking for a thrill ride, this book [Final Trimester] is it. Benson delivers not only a great story but one with wonderful characters and great dialogue. Along with that she has a unique writing style that keeps the book moving forward. Her real-life knowledge of medicine comes through time after time. All in all, a story not to be missed.” Lillian Duncan, author of Betrayed


Dianna: Thank you to Lorilyn and the John 3:16 Marketing Network for featuring me and for spotlighting my newest release, Final Trimester.


Dianna Torscher Benson is a 2014 Selah Award Winner, a 2011 Genesis Winner, a 2011 Genesis double Semi-Finalist, a 2010 Daphne de Maurier Finalist, and a 2007 Golden Palm Finalist. In 2012, she signed a nine-book contract with Ellechor Publishing House. She’s the author of The Hidden Son, her debut novel. Final Trimester is her second release.
After majoring in communications and a ten-year career as a travel agent, Dianna left the travel industry to earn her EMS degree. An EMT and a Haz-Mat and FEMA Operative since 2005, she loves the adrenaline rush of responding to medical emergencies and helping people in need.
Dianna lives in North Carolina with her husband and their three children.


Her releases are available wherever books are sold. Below are the links to Final Trimester at the three largest booksellers:

Friday, June 27, 2014

A Taste of Neighbors, vol. I by Tracy Krauss



NEIGHBORS – A Series
by Tracy Krauss

Forward

I love people watching. Airports, waiting rooms, shopping malls –these are ripe fields for the student of human nature. It was during one of these ‘research’ sessions that I started a list of possible characters that might make an appearance in one of my novels. As I began to flesh some of these people out, it dawned on me that I had an entire community. What if they lived in the same neighbourhood, or even an apartment building, where they could interact? I soon realized that several characters had their own unique story to tell, perhaps not long enough for a full-length novel, but perfect for a series. 

Thus NEIGHBORS took shape. I hope you enjoy meeting this varied, sometimes quirky, cast. Welcome to the neighborhood.

NEIGHBORS - Volume 1 - New in the Neighborhood

Lester Tibbett has to leave his farm in Southern Alberta for the big city. It means starting over in an unfamiliar environment - a heavy burden for the guardian of a teenage sister full of angst. The apartment complex to which they relocate is a far cry from their spacious farmhouse and offers little anonymity for a man used to doing things his own way. During the process, he pushes his own loneliness aside in favor of looking after his sister. As Lester struggles to find a church that will meet both their spiritual needs, he quickly learns that neighbors come in many forms, some of them quite meddlesome. Still, he is happy to accept help from an overtly friendly neighbor named Jed who also happens to work for the same construction company. The two soon become friends, despite Jed’s habit of trying to set Lester up with every available single female, and end up frequenting a local pub where Lester is surprised to discover an ‘old school’ mechanical bull just waiting to be ridden. The former rodeo cowboy in him rises up, but not before he meets a mysterious woman who is out of his reach. 

NEIGHBORS – Volume 2 – Stuck In the Neighborhood
NEIGHBORS – Volume 3 – Sneaking Around the Neighborhood
NEIGHBORS – Volume 4 – Working the Neighborhood
NEIGHBORS – Volume 5 – Back In the Neighborhood
                And more to come!


About the Author: 
Tracy Krauss is a multi-published author, playwright, artist and teacher, with several best selling and award winning novels to her credit. Originally from a small prairie town, Tracy received her Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Saskatchewan with majors in Art, and minors in History and English. Apart from her many creative pursuits, she directs an amateur theater group and leads worship at her local church. She and her husband, an ordained minister, have lived in many remote and unique places in Canada's north, and currently live in northern British Columbia. For more visit her website: http://tracykrauss.com

Links:



Friday, June 20, 2014

A Taste of Vanished by Barbara Derksen


Vanished, Barbara Ann Derksen, Createspace, May 2009

Prologue
The intruder shoved her up the stairs. Diane Michner stumbled. She grabbed the stair treads for support. Tears of fright blurred her vision.
“Hurry or I hurt the kid.” His rumbling threat released hot breath across her neck. She scurried faster. An arm, covered in monstrous tattoos that bulged beneath the sleeve of his dirty t-shirt, circled the tiny wiggling torso of her three year old son. Jeffrey whimpered. The thug pushed her again.
“Mommy!” Jeffrey screamed, large droplets of tears coursing down his pudgy cheeks.
“Quiet.” The man gripped the boy’s arm and squeezed. He shot a glance at the woman. She bowed her head in submission and headed toward her little boy’s bedroom.
“H-h-how long will we be g-gone?” Her eyes traveled over the little blue train stenciled on three walls of her son’s dream room.
“Never mind. Get the clothes.” He motioned with the boy’s body, whipping him toward the folded doors of the closet. Jeffrey whimpered.
She yanked the door open and snatched a large suitcase from the top shelf. Her tears dampened pieces of clothing from her son’s chest of drawers as she threw them into the case. With downcast eyes, Diane glanced toward her son and then back to the task at hand. In a haphazard fashion, she added some of the outfits hanging inside the closet door and seized his fluffy brown teddy bear from the bed. Jeffrey whimpered again.
Obediently she turned toward the doorway where the intruder fought to retain hold of her struggling child.
“P-please. Don’t hold him so tight,” she pleaded. “You’ll hurt him.” Her arms ached to hold her frightened son, to protect him from this man who didn’t care if he injured a small child. “It’s okay, Jeffrey. Please don’t cry.”
The man used his elbow to point her toward the next room. “Get a move on.” His grip on the child’s body enticed her to hurry.
The trio moved quickly down the hall towards the bedroom she shared with her husband of five years. She sucked in an anguished breath as she stumbled against the doorframe of the closet. She seized another suitcase and shoved in pants, shirts, and undergarments for both of them, then closed that case and looked at the man. Her eyes begged as her arms reached to hold the tiny boy.
The man thrust Jeffrey at her and grabbed the suitcase, as she wrapped grateful arms around her son’s trembling body. She could feel his terror. The thug pushed Diane toward the hallway. She shifted the boy’s weight to one arm but stumbled, almost losing her footing. She reached out with her free hand to steady herself against the wall.
Moving toward the staircase, the villain picked up the other suitcase standing just inside the boy’s bedroom. “Get going.” He motioned for her to descend the staircase toward the living room.
When she reached the first floor, Diane gasped. Two large men twisted a rope looped tightly around her husband’s neck. Another coarse length of rope tied Trent’s hands and wrists together, behind his back. The muscles of his upper arms stretched painfully beneath the sleeve of his cotton shirt. He grimaced, pain written on his face. Bright red oozed from a cut above his eye, the evidence of a battle lost. Blood congealed in his eyebrow and then trickled down his face to drip onto his collarbone. A jagged piece of cartilage stuck out from the bridge of his nose, blood coagulating near his upper lip.
A tormented groan escaped Diane’s lips, as if from the depths of her heart. She shuddered and cuddled Jeffrey, trying to shield him from the sight of his father. Her body churned with unfamiliar hatred as she looked on the three men who had invaded their peaceful home. She watched as they laughed. The one nearest caressed her cheek. Her skin crawled in revulsion. She yanked her face out of reach. The intruders laughed harder.
****
Trent struggled toward his wife. He watched anguish seep from her eyes, a torment that matched his own. Had he brought this to their home? What did they want? The thugs yanked him back as viciously as they would a dog on a leash. He twisted, desperate to reach her side. Jeffrey’s eyes seemed so large that Trent could almost feel his fright from across the room. His own eyes cautioned his wife not to arouse their anger. By the look on Diane’s face, he knew she wanted to scratch their eyes out, to inflict as much damage on them as they had on her family. He watched tears fall unchecked as Diane turned accusing eyes on him and then turn her head towards their son.
****
Diane glanced up again at her husband and saw a tear slide past the corner of one eye. His helplessness was evident in the slump of his shoulders. The men were too strong. “Diane...” His voice croaked. The rope strangling him ended further communication. He saw the slight nod of her head. She offered him understanding. He had tried to protect his family but failed.
Diane glanced around at the destruction of her tidy home, a sanctuary they had built together. Two plants dripped black dirt onto the carpet, evidence of her husband’s struggle. The coffee table lay at an awkward angle in splinters, and two sofa cushions exploded with feathers everywhere. She ached to have control over her life again as evening shadows crept from the corners of the room and the smell of overcooked food lingered in the air.
“Did anyone think to turn off the stove?” She made a move toward the kitchen but a large beefy hand stopped her.
Her subjugator grunted beside her. His nod told one of the others to check it out.
Diane’s focus switched. She watched the thug drop the bulky suitcases and then flex his muscles. His grin, when he caught her watching, caused her stomach juices to curdle.
“Now, we go outside to your car. I will hurt you and your son if you make a fuss or attract any attention. Understand?”
Diane nodded once. “Why are you doing this?”
“Not your business.” He pushed.
“Not my…” She stopped in her tracks but her captor raised his arm as if to strike her. Diane used her free arm to swipe at tears betraying her fright. Her eyes traveled down the sidewalk toward the SUV. Her husband groaned, loud enough for the neighbors to hear if they’d been home, as the butt of a gun connected with his right shoulder. She saw his knees buckle. They were defenseless against these men. Her husband stumbled against the side of the van but no longer labored to free himself.
Diane cried in anguish, not caring this time who heard. She stared as they grabbed her husband’s shoulder and squeezed. They lifted him bodily into the backseat.
“We take your car.” Diane jumped. Her escort’s hot breath drifted across her neck as he thrust her through the door. The thug let the front door slam behind them. He threw the suitcases into the backseat of the station wagon parked near the front entry of the house. He motioned for her to secure the little boy into his car seat.
“You drive. Follow them, and nothing will happen to you or your man. Make a wrong turn, and you won’t live to see him shot.” The brute spoke the last word as if a gunshot erupted from his mouth and then he sneered. He plunked himself in the passenger seat.
Diane’s eyes looked, maybe for the last time, towards the home she had come to love. She searched for any means of escape and then slumped in the driver’s seat. Her instincts told her they would carry out their threats. Her hands trembled as she inserted the key into the ignition. The motor roared.
She placed the car in reverse and swiveled her head to linger on the tear-stained face of her little boy. Her heart felt as if someone had punched a hole in it and all the blood drained away. Her mind filled with black hatred, hatred so strong that she knew if she’d had a gun in her hand, she’d use it. Instead, she backed out of the driveway and followed the SUV containing her husband. She made a quick study of the home her family had occupied for the last five years, longing to wake from her nightmare. Will we ever come home again?
*********
About the author:  Canadian born, and with 19 books to her credit, Barbara Ann Derksen works hard to give her readers the ride of their life when they pick up one of her books. Her favorite genre is murder mystery, but each book brings forth characters who rely on God as they solve the puzzle in their life. She also writes devotionals and children’s stories.

  

Friday, June 13, 2014

A Taste of Where Fitness Meets Faith by Kimberley Payne

WHERE FITNESS MEETS FAITH
 KIMBERLEY PAYNE



Resolutions
I did it all wrong. During the Christmas season, I stopped doing the things that I needed to do in order to be right with me, and to be right with the world, but most importantly to be right with God.
My first error was in going to bed much later than normal. Over the Christmas holidays, I would allow the children to stay up later than their regular bedtime, and then found myself eventually going to bed a few hours later. My body clock was thrown off. 
My second mistake was letting my body dictate when I felt like getting up. I know from years of experience that the process of waking up – no matter what time it is – is slow and painful for me. I will feel just as groggy and resentful about being yanked from my warm, cozy bed after a six-hour sleep as I would after a twelve-hour slumber. So, when I relied on my body to signal me to wake I would actually stay in bed extra hours then feel guilty for sleeping in. These two mistakes threw my physical and emotional state into alarm by changing my routine.
Then to further upset my system, I stopped taking my morning walk. Usually after bringing the children to the bus stop, I would continue on for a forty-five minute walk. It was a good time to get my body moving, my blood flowing and my mind thinking. Without this walk, I didn’t get my usual energy surge needed for the day. Without this morning boost, I felt like I was dragging myself, and so I also did not have the enthusiasm or desire to do my other exercise – strength training. I was on a downward spiral.
Physically and emotionally, I was out of sorts. Add to this the new chores and unique assignments of the holiday season. I was shopping when I normally would be reading. I was wrapping when I normally would be writing. In addition to this, I was cooking, cleaning and preparing for festivities.
As if that was not enough, I had two children home from school for two weeks. I love my children – let’s get that straight from the start – but they are kids. They bicker and argue and they complain and fight. And they love me. They want to spend time with mom. They want to help mom shop, wrap and cook (they never want to clean though). They want mom to play with them, to read to them, to be with them.
Too much sleep, no exercise and children all day -- they were the ingredients for a stressful holiday season.
However, there was one other thing that I had neglected that could have truly helped me. I did not spend time with God. Oh, I continued to pray at meals and bedtime, however, I did not spend quality, one-on-one, reflective time with Him.
On my morning walks, I do more than just look at the passing homes. I practice my walking meditation. It is a time when I connect with God and talk to Him through my thoughts and prayers. It is a mindful and special time between us that I have come to cherish. On my walks, I explore my life and give praise and thanksgiving for what He has given me. I open my heart and pour out my troubles. I give thought to others and pray for the needs of my family, friends and community. Without my morning walk, I not only missed out on the healthy physical benefits, but more importantly, I denied the spiritual healing it had provided.
Generally after my morning walk, I return home to hot coffee and my pen and paper. I spend one hour writing. I record any enlightenment God has shown me and I reflect on the prayers I had offered up. It’s a time for me to not only talk with God, but to listen for a response. For the entire Christmas season, I had not done this.
Lastly, I did not spend time in His Word. My usual routine affords me time each day to spend reading and studying the Bible. But because the time set aside was not given its usual priority, it was lost.
I enjoyed my holidays. No one was sick this year and we were able to visit many relatives. However, each day took a little bit more out of me and by the end of the month, I felt very drained. 
God is the only thing that really rejuvenates me. He feeds me each day. He gives me the energy and enthusiasm needed to get through the day. 
I will take this past Christmas season as a lesson for my life. My resolution is to pledge my life anew to Jesus. Although routines change, and life can throw me curves, I resolve to spend quality time with God first and foremost every single day in order to be right with me, to be right with the world, and most importantly to be right with God.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! (2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV)