My Healing Book is Now Digital

HEALING COVER FOR KINDLE - RESOLUTION UPJust a note to let my readers know that “Healing Is For You!” is now an e-book. The book (now in its third edition) has been used for years in churches, in Bible and Christian schools, and in personal and group studies. It’s a handbook for anyone who wants help in receiving healing from the Lord — or for those who want to learn more about what God’s Word says concerning healing in order to help others.

The book answers such troubling questions as the following:

Is it always God’s will to heal everybody?
What part does medical science play in God’s healing plan?
Isn’t man promised only 70 or 80 years of life on earth?
Is it God who determines when each person dies?
How can I die if I keep getting healed?
If it’s God’s will to heal, why do so many people fail to receive healing from Him?
If I don’t have faith for healing can I get that faith somehow?

You’ll find the e-book version at the Amazon Kindle Store for $3.99. And if you don’t have  a Kindle, you can download a totally free Kindle app for any device you use.

Check it out. If you don’t need it, purchase one for someone you love who does need it.

 

 

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Well, If You’re Shopping Online Anyway . . .

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Doing Your Christmas Shopping Online This Year?

Well, I have a great idea for all those friends and family who love to read.

Give them one of my digital books – or better yet – give them one of all of my digital books.

They don’t even have to own a Kindle device. Amazon offers a free Kindle app with a simple download that works on any PC, laptop, iPad, tablet or iPhone. What could be simpler than purchasing a library of inspirational novels and having them delivered postage free right to the recipients devices?

You’ll find all of my books HERE: listed with a link right to their individual ordering pages.

Happy Shopping!

 

 

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‘Cameron’s Rib’ – Sneak a Peek …

CAM'S RIB FOR FB - LARGERAnyone trying to describe Suzanne Peterson would not have called her pretty. She stood five feet, six inches in her stockinged feet, and all of those inches were undeniably feminine.

Her sculptured cheekbones and her coal black hair, which she wore in layered curls to just below her shoulders, she had inherited from her Cherokee ancestors on her father’s side. Her emerald eyes and the light dusting of freckles across her cheeks (she could cover them completely with properly applied makeup, but usually preferred to let them peak through) had been passed to her from her mother’s Irish bloodline.

And the truth was that when one considered all of these parts together – from head to toe – Suzanne Peterson was simply, strikingly beautiful.

Of much more importance was the fact that she was so beautiful in spirit that she had no vanity about her looks and hardly gave them a thought. So her beauty wasn’t at all sophisticated. There was an innocence about her – in her eyes – in her smile – in her manner – that made her charming, and most everyone who knew her found her a delight to be around.

At the same time, she felt most things passionately, and when her sense of injustice had been aroused, her eyes would flash fire, and her lovely voice would take on a ring of authority that seemed incongruous with that innocence. So potent was this combination that when Suzanne Peterson took her stand on any issue, most people listened –  whether they wanted to or not.

That fact gave her an advantage as a newspaper reporter. She was an accurate and truthful reporter, but every time she had an opportunity to do an article or a story that didn’t require her to be unbiased, she invested every bit of her talent and passion into persuading people to embrace what was right and good, and to abandon what was not.

But tonight, she wasn’t thinking about newspaper articles, or even about injustice of any kind. Rather, she was happily weighing the merit of packing her rose pink silk robe against that of taking the navy blue flannel as she prepared her luggage for tomorrow’s trip to Tennessee. She hummed quietly as she worked, stopping every once in a while to admire and smooth her hand over the ruby velvet bridesmaid’s dress hanging on her closet door.

“Oh, Lord,” she stopped to pray now, “how good You are to bring Maddison and Beth together as You have. I can’t imagine any two people better suited to each other. I know it took a lot of miracles to make everything work out for them, but You’ve certainly shown Yourself strong on their behalf. … It just swells my heart to see Maddison so happy after all he’s been through as a result of Matt’s death.”

Her eyes filled with tears, but she blinked them away. Her grief had to give place to her stronger joy for the man who would have been her own brother-in-law if things had gone as planned. She sighed deeply and sat down on the end of her bed in thought. Six months ago it would have been her own wedding she was packing for. …

(Excerpt, Cameron’s Rib, Chapter Two)

Pastor Cameron McDaniels had never felt his heart stop beating before. … Was that what was happening … or was he just forgetting to breathe in and out normally? … He couldn’t have answered either one of those questions, because his usually quick and concise reasoning abilities had just deserted him.

All he knew for sure was that he was looking at the most beautiful woman he had ever seen in all of his thirty-eight years on earth. … And her laughter … He had heard it as he came down the hall. Now, standing in the same room with her, it seemed to radiate from her whole being … rich and warm. It reached out and embraced him and drew him in … like a magnet. …

Somewhere in the back of his mind was the vague thought that this must have been what Adam felt when he first saw Eve. A foolish comparison perhaps, but he was used to thinking in Biblical terms after all. He knew others were in the room, but he couldn’t seem to focus on anyone but her.

All of this experience had taken only a few seconds, but he had lost track of time. Finally, he shook his head to clear it, deliberately took a deep breath, just to prove that he still could, and reminded himself that men didn’t really fall in love at first sight – particularly men who were ministers of the Gospel.

He squared his shoulders, taking another deep breath, glad that the others were still gathered around his secretary’s desk, intent on what they had been talking about that had them all laughing. They hadn’t seen him enter the office, so he had a moment to collect his thoughts.

So this was the young woman who had been engaged to Maddison’s brother and was now becoming a partner with Beth. Suzanne Peterson. … The name suited her, he thought.

The laughter of the others stirred him out of his reverie again, and squaring his shoulders once more, he moved forward. “Hello everyone. I’m sorry I’m late. The meeting with the other pastors ran longer than usual.”

Beth hurried toward him, her arms outstretched. “It’s about time you got here; we’re starving!” she said as they hugged each other. By that time, Maddison had crossed the room, beaming from ear to ear. “Don’t pay any attention to her, Cameron,” he said. “She’s always ready to eat. And can she put away the hotdogs!” he added, sliding his arm around Beth and squeezing her shoulder. She responded by punching him gently in the stomach.

“Now, Honey,” he said shaking his finger at her, “if you don’t behave, I’m going to have to arrange some more counseling sessions with our Pastor here before the ceremony.”

“All right, enough of that, you two.” The words came from across the room, and Cameron looked beyond Maddison to see Suzanne approaching them.

“You must be Pastor McDaniels,” she said, extending her hand to him.

“That’s right,” he answered as he took her hand. The luxurious sound of her laughter already had him mesmerized; now the feel of her hand in his disrupted his concentration even more. He had to get his thoughts together; he was the pastor after all; he needed to act like one! “And you’re Suzanne, of course. It’s so finally to – I mean – It’s so good to finally meet you.” He almost never stumbled over his words. Why now, of all times?

Suzanne spoke again: “I’ve heard so many good things about you from these two, that I feel I already know you.”

Let go of her hand, Cameron, he told himself. “Good … I mean … I … uh … I feel the same way.” He shakily drew in a long overdue breath. No woman had ever made him almost speechless before!

(Excerpt, Cameron’s Rib, Chapter Three)

With Suzanne in Honduras to interview the pastors, Cameron felt lost and uptight. This being in love was a whole new experience, and he was only beginning to get used to its ups and downs. But by Monday, with only four more days to go before her return, he was able to focus on his regular schedule a little more earnestly.  He even congratulated himself because he felt like he was finally getting back into his stride. But it all came to a crashing halt on Tuesday night with a phone call from Juan Cordoba that began the worst nightmare Cameron would ever experience in his life.

When he first heard Juan’s voice speak his name, he assumed he had called to give an update on Suzanne’s visit, but when the only thing following the word “Cameron” was silence, he knew something was wrong. His heart started pounding, and he cried out silently … not Suzanne … not Suzanne!

“What is it, Juan?” he asked in a strangled voice.

“I don’t know how to tell you this in a way that will make it easy to hear, so I’ll just give you the bold facts. Suzanne went out with two of our medical team in the mobile clinic van. They were going pretty far into the more primitive areas, and she wanted to get some pictures and talk to the people that were receiving help. But the van never arrived at its destination.”

“You mean it’s just disappeared!”

“Nobody’s heard from any of the team since they left here very early this morning. They should have had time to visit both of the villages they were scheduled to work at and be headed back by now.”

There was silence on both ends of the line. Finally Juan Cordoba spoke again.

“You know what probably happened.”

Cameron let out a groan. He felt as if something were choking the breath out of him. Juan was again quiet on the other end of the line. He knew without words what kind of pain his friend was in, and he hurt for him, as well as for the family members of the other people on his medical team.

Finally Cameron was able to get enough breath to let out an agonizing sigh. “You think the van was hijacked for the drugs.”

“That seems most likely. I’ve called the authorities, but you know how hard it is to get things done very efficiently in these cases. They are on the job, but I think we’re going to have to keep our trust in the Lord for this one.”

Tears ran down Cameron’s cheeks and dripped from his jaw, but he wasn’t paying attention. He had picked up a pen, and started making notes. “Tell me everything you know at this point … and I mean every detail, Jaun. Don’t try to spare me any of it. I have to know.”

There wasn’t much more to add for the time being. Juan told him their own people were trying to track the van, and might be able to come up with some kind of lead before the authorities. He promised to call back as soon as he knew anything.

“Well, I’m going to call our congregation to a special prayer meeting right now, but I’ll be on the first plane out of here tomorrow morning,” Cameron said. “If I haven’t heard anything from you before I board the plane, I’ll give you one more call, so if you’re going to be away from the house or office, will you be sure somebody’s there who can give me the latest information?”

“Sure, Cameron. But I’ll be back in touch tonight yet; I promise.

“I’d appreciate that, if you don’t mind … even if you don’t have any more news.” Juan could here the tears choking his friend’s voice, and his heart broke for him.

“You can count on it, my brother.”

Cameron cleared his throat of the thickness caused by the tears. “Thank you, Juan. I’ll be waiting to hear from you, and you can be sure we’ll be praying with all the faith we’ve got for all of them.”

“We’ve notified all of our sister churches, and the congregations are going to prayer even as we speak. The Lord won’t fail us, Brother.”

“I believe that, Juan. Good bye, my friend.”

Cameron’s first call was to Maddison Holt and his wife Beth, knowing they would call others on the prayer chain for him. But even more to the point, Maddison had become Cameron’s closest friend and was so much like his own brother that he knew he could count on the solid comfort and support.

“Hi, Cameron,” Maddison said, “what are you up to this evening?”

Cameron cleared his throat again, and took just long enough to get his words out that Maddison knew there was a serious problem. “Cameron … ?”

“I … I just got a call from Juan Cordoba, Maddison. There’s a problem, and we need to get the church together for prayer.”

“What’s happened?”

“Suzanne went out in the medical van this morning with their team that visits the outlying villages, but the van never arrived at either village. They’re all missing.”

“Oh, man! Do they have any idea what’s happened to it?”

Cameron cleared his throat again. He just couldn’t seem to get beyond this choking feeling. “The most likely explanation is that some local gang has hijacked the van in order to get the drugs it carries.”

“That’s pretty common down there?”

“Yes, unfortunately. It’s so common that I’m positive that’s what’s happened.”

“Do you have any idea what their attitude is likely to be toward the people on the van? I mean … are they likely to let them go?”

Cameron’s sigh was so weary that it almost broke Maddison’s heart just to hear it, knowing how much this man loved Suzanne. “It just depends. If they’re focused enough on the drugs only, they may just throw the people off and leave them stranded. But only God knows what these guys are like … if that’s what’s happened. There’s always the possibility that they’ve kidnapped them to hold them for ransom, of course, but I don’t think that’s as likely.”

“So you want us to call some of the others?”

“Yes, if you will. Call Uncle Matt and have him call a bunch, and then get Hilary, and have her call another group. Let’s ask them to come down to the church if they can, so we can all pray together. But any who can’t come down can at least be praying at home. I need to stop and call Suzanne’s parents next, so I’m going to let you guys handle the congregation.”

“Consider it done, Buddy, and we’ll be down to the church just as soon as we can get there. As a matter of fact, I think Beth and I will go on down there, and we can keep making calls from there.”

“That’s great. I’ll see you there pretty soon … and … Maddison …” he made a choking sound that barely held back a sob.

“I know, Buddy … I know. … We’ll be with you soon.”

(Excerpt, Cameron’s Rib, Chapter Eighteen)

The three excerpts above are just to tempt you. They’re from CAMERON’S RIB, the second book in The Smoky Mountain Series, which is finally available for e-readers. You can find a copy at Amazon’s Kindle Store right now.  If you’ve read Book # 1 and liked it, you’re sure to like this one as well.  Only $3.99

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Sneak a Peek at “Quenton’s Honor”

QUENTON FRONT COVER -- NICE AND SHARP FROM CD FOR KINDLEJust thought I’d tease some of you a little with an excerpt from the first chapter of my novel Quenton’s Honor.  Go ahead. Take a chance. Read it. Maybe you’ll decide that one chapter just isn’t enough. If so, you’ll find it for sale on Amazon’s Kindle Store, for only $3.99. And if you don’t have a Kindle, a Nook, an iPad, or an iPhone – no problem. Amazon has an app that you can download for free to turn your computer into a digital reader for any book you buy.  Enjoy ..….

QUENTON’S HONOR:  Chapter One

(Karachi, Pakistan)

“I hope you duly appreciate your cook, Mr. Ahmed,” Quenton said, addressing his Pakistani host as they walked from the dining room with the two other men who were also guests for the business dinner they had just finished. “That was one of the most delicious meals I’ve had in a long time.”

“Indeed, I do appreciate his talent, Mr. Sutherland,” he answered laughing. “Especially since he serves me meals just as delicious even when I am alone.”

“You’re a lucky man.”

Ranjit Ahmed turned toward a closed door and opened it into a cozy library, inviting his guests inside. “Please join me in here for some relaxing conversation now that our more serious business is taken care of.”

“If you wouldn’t be offended, gentlemen,” Quenton said, taking in all three men in his glance, “I’d like to be excused to check on my personal e-mail and perhaps answer some of the most pressing communications.”

“Certainly, Mr. Sutherland. This has been a very pressing trip for you, and I imagine you’re feeling the strain of it about now, and probably long for your bed and sleep as much as more conversation.”

“There’s some truth in that,” Quenton answered, laughing. He turned to shake the hands of the two other men. “Thank you so much gentlemen, for taking the time to meet with me this evening and answer my questions. Your information has been very useful in deciding what kind of help is most needed by the people here in your country.”

“It was our pleasure,” one of the men answered him.

“Indeed,” the other added. “We’re very glad to know that our information has been of benefit. We appreciate your generosity in orchestrating such humanitarian efforts, Mr. Sutherland.”

Quenton turned back to his host. “I’m hoping your offer of the use of the computer in your office is still open. It shouldn’t take long to access my e-mail and print out anything I really need.”

“Feel free to make use of it, Mr. Sutherland. I’ll not be using it again until morning myself. And if you find that there isn’t much that needs your immediate attention, please join us here when you’re through. Otherwise . . . I’ll see you in the morning.”

“Thank you. Goodnight.” Quenton turned and walked down the hall to the office he’d seen as Ranjit Ahmed had shown him around his beautiful home that morning. He entered the office and closed the door, going immediately to the desk and computer terminal.

As he moved the mouse, he was surprised to see a letter replace the screen saver. Hmm . . . must have been something Ahmed had been working on, and he had forgotten to close it out before he left the office. Quenton was a natural born reader, and he often found himself scanning any written material in front of him without even thinking about it, regardless of what it was. By the time he realized he was reading a letter that was none of his business, his eyes had scanned over a couple of lines where the mention of three specific time zones caught his attention, and he automatically started reading again from the top of the page.

“The main components will be in place by midnight in the Pacific Time Zone, which will make it 2:00 AM Central, and 3:00 AM Eastern. The product should have saturated the market within a few hours of the initial entry. Response should be almost immediate, so departure should be as early as possible after the business has been transacted. The last communication from here will take place twenty-four hours before the appointment time. After that, there will be no way for you to access this information or communicate with this site.”

Quenton shook his head slightly. “This is one odd letter,” he said, not even realizing he was talking to himself out loud. He leaned back in the desk chair, thinking and still mumbling out loud. “I had no idea Ahmed did business with anyone on both coasts too. I was sure he told me we were the only American company he’s been connected with for the past three years.” He shook his head again and re-read the words. For some reason he was unable to dispel a faint sense of something shady here. The terminology seemed almost purposely vague.

He shrugged his shoulders. Oh, well, it really had nothing to do with him if Ahmed wanted to do business with somebody else too. “It’s not like I’m trying to corner the market in his line,” Quenton said now, and started to open a new window in the browser to access his own mail.

But something just kept nagging at his mind so much that, instead of opening a new window, he found himself pulling up the information that would tell him who the letters had been sent to. He didn’t recognize any of the e-mail addresses, but he just couldn’t keep himself from pulling his notebook from his coat pocket and jotting them down.

Then he laughed quietly to himself. “This is stupid. I act like I’m in a spy movie,” he said, shoving his notebook back into his pocket and getting down to his own business. He found only one item he needed to print out, so within thirty minutes, he was back in his bedroom preparing to get some sleep.

He must have lain there for at least another hour before he finally dozed off, but it felt as if he were instantly awakened by the slamming of car doors close by. He rolled over in the bed and looked at the clock: midnight. Well, evidently, he’d been asleep longer than he thought. He supposed the car doors indicated the other guests finally leaving. But as he lay there, he heard voices in the courtyard below his room, and after several minutes, he realized he hadn’t heard any car engines running, or the sounds of any cars driving away.

He got up and looked out the window. He could see the courtyard easily, and he was surprised to see Ranjit shaking hands with a man who hadn’t been with them at dinner. The next thing he knew, Ranjit was turning and speaking to someone else who was already out of site in the doorway of a room that opened right onto the courtyard and driveway. Instinctively, Quenton stayed back far enough to be sure he was out of sight, which wasn’t too difficult, since he hadn’t turned on a light. He saw Ranjit and the first man enter the room off the courtyard also and close the door.

Well, he was wide awake now. He might as well put on his robe and go back down to the library and find something to read. Ranjit had told him to help himself to any of the books during his two-day visit. He didn’t encounter anyone else in the hallways, but for some reason, he walked especially quietly. He wasn’t sure why, but he didn’t feel exactly comfortable wondering around someone else’s house after midnight. It seemed a little creepy.

He shook his head at his own feelings and mumbled to himself. “I must be letting Steve’s warnings about the dangers of this trip get to me.” His vice-president had done everything in his power to change Quenton’s mind about making the trip, citing a number of possible scenarios that could end unhappily. He shook his head again and kept walking, determined to find himself something enthralling to read and get his mind off this foolishness. He opened the door to the library and turned on the light, crossing the carpeted floor to peruse the shelves. As he moved to the shelves on the back wall, he realized he could hear voices again, and glancing around, he realized the library was situated right next door to the room he’d seen the men enter a few minutes ago.

Well, he didn’t want to listen and get his mind bogged down with something that wasn’t any of his business, so he’d tune them out and get his book and leave. But the fact that they were speaking English worked against him. He couldn’t seem to not hear what they were saying … at least some of the time. One of the men had a softer voice, and Quenton missed his words, but he could hear Ranjit and one of his visitors pretty clearly.

Quenton pulled himself up short again with a mental lecture about minding his own business, but about that time he heard the words, “The system in San Francisco is more difficult to get into than the others. Do you think we should try a different avenue there?”

“There’s no other avenue that will reach nearly as many people,” Ranjit answered. “Tell them to keep trying.”

“But they’ve tried everything they can think of already, and time’s running out.”

“There has to be a way! A water system that large has to have a weak spot somewhere.”

WATER? Quenton’s hearing sharpened instantly. His heartbeat picked up speed, but he deliberately tried to settle it with deep breaths, because he was determined to listen now. Why would they be interested in San Francisco’s water system? He began to wonder if he had spent too much time the past year listening to talk about possible terrorist plots.

At that thought, his heart started pounding again so loudly that he had to walk right up to the wall and lean against it to hear any more words.

The soft-voiced man was saying something now, but he couldn’t make out any of it except the word Chicago.

“That’s right,” Ranjit said now. “If they can figure out a way to access the system in Orlando and Chicago, there is a way to take care of it out there too.”

CHICAGO!! ORLANDO!! Quenton’s mind jumped back to the letter he’d seen earlier in the evening referring to the three specific time zones. He’d wondered about the letter being in English, but he knew that was a common language for businessmen in this part of the world to use, and it hadn’t made him particularly suspicious. But now he realized that the letter must have been going to people in all three of those cities, and would draw less suspicion if it were in plain English, just in case it ended up in the wrong hands at some point.

He was having a hard time shutting down his own racing thoughts enough to listen to the rest of the conversation. But he could hardly hear anything clearly now. They must have moved to the opposite side of the room. He pressed his ear to the wall, but still couldn’t make out any of the words. But suddenly he noticed that the drapes at the library window that faced the courtyard were still open, and anyone walking toward the drive could see him in the room, leaning against the wall. He’d better grab a book and get back to his room. He’d find a way to get back to the computer after everyone else was in bed. He could surely find some answers there.

He quickly reached up and grabbed a book on the history of Pakistan and slipped out of the library silently. Once back in his room, he changed into jeans and a knit shirt. He couldn’t seem to stop pacing, waiting to hear the midnight visitors leave. When he finally heard car doors slamming again, about an hour later, he eased up to the window and looked out. Sure enough, both men were leaving, and Ranjit turned toward the house.

One of his servants came up to him and spoke in a rather secretive manner Quenton thought, but Ranjit’s only response for several seconds was just to nod his head as if he understood. Finally he glanced up toward Quenton’s window, but Quenton forced himself not to jump back. He didn’t believe Ranjit could see him through the lightweight drapes anyway, but even if he could, it shouldn’t be anything out of the ordinary for someone awakened by the cars to glance out of the window. Ranjit’s glance lasted only a couple of seconds; then he again moved toward the house, along with his servant.

Quenton sat down to wait. He’d have to give all of them time to get to bed and, hopefully, to sleep, before he ventured out again. He closed his eyes, weariness from the trip . . . and from his own troubling thoughts . . . weighing him down. He sighed heavily. He really didn’t want any part of this at all. Could he just ignore everything he’d heard and go on and finish his own trip and get back home? All he wanted to do was help some of the people in these countries, hoping to bring just a little bit of peace to some of them … even in the midst of almost unceasing conflict and turmoil.

His father had been diligent to teach him that a man blessed with much wealth had the responsibility to use that wealth to benefit mankind as much as he possibly could. James Sutherland had lived by the rule that if you give some of what you’ve been blessed with to others in need, you will continue to be blessed even more – and then can be an even greater blessing – and the cycle will continue. And to the best of Quenton’s memory, that policy had never failed his father at any time. So he had continued to live his own life the same way.

He smiled to himself now, his head resting on the back of the chair. He’d wanted to be just like his dad ever since he could remember – always following him around – begging to go with him to the office or to visit clients – to “help” carry his golf clubs around the green or to sit beside him on the boat with his own cane fishing pole hanging over the side, waiting for a nibble. And, of course, when his dad had become a believer, Quenton had always been ready to accompany him to church – at least as a very young boy.

But by the time he was out of high school and on his way to college, he didn’t figure he had time for God and church. He knew his parents were disappointed – as was his grandmother, who’d told him stories of faith from the time he was a toddler – but he had to start living his own life sometime, and the day he left for college seemed as good a time as any. Those feelings only intensified when he began to listen to the questioning ideas and attitudes that were so plentiful in his classrooms and among the people who became his friends.

He sighed again. Oh, well, religion just wasn’t for him, but he had to admit that it hadn’t done too badly by his dad. He had been an extraordinarily successful man, and Quenton was honored to have had him for a father. He would continue to live by the principles his dad had instilled into him – at least as far as business was concerned – to the best of his ability.

He glanced at his watch now. He’d waited long enough. It was time to slip down to the office.

As he stepped into the hallway thirty minutes later, the house was silent as a stone. He slipped easily down the corridor and turned to the left, heading quickly for the office. He had planned to use the excuse that he had forgotten to access his business computer’s e-mail, should he get caught at the terminal at such an unusual hour. But he hoped that wouldn’t be necessary.

He closed the door silently and eased his way around the desk to the chair in front of the terminal. He was thankful for an almost full moon, because it gave just enough light to avoid stumbling over something. He turned on the screen and found that it gave enough light to see the keyboard clearly. Now to discover the right password.

He was more grateful than ever that he had expanded the family company into the manufacturing of computer hardware and that he’d forced himself, in the process, to learn a great deal about how all of the various systems functioned. He’d learned more than one way to scour those systems for the information he needed. He worked quickly and as silently as the computer itself would accommodate, holding his breath almost the whole time. … Bingo! He had it. Now to get into the rest of the e-mails and possibly some related files. He checked the time, knowing he needed to hurry, but wanting to take the time to assimilate what he read so that he didn’t have to write it all down.

As he worked his way back through letters preceding the one he’d discovered tonight, he found more details. By now he felt sure he wasn’t imagining things. All these details had the makings of a thoroughly organized plan to infiltrate city water systems with a deadly substance. But what he couldn’t find were dates. His neck was rigid from the tension, and he reached back to massage it, closing his eyes for just a moment. He had to find the dates.

He opened his eyes again and pulled up another document. The wording was extremely odd, and just as he was concentrating on trying to decipher what must have been some kind of coded instructions, the office door swept open and the overhead light flashed on. Quenton jumped … just enough that his hand hit the mouse, and it slid off the desk to the floor. With that motion, his tiny window of opportunity for closing down what he had been reading dissolved into thin air.

~

(© 2004 Sandra Conner)

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Waking Up in the 21st Century

BOW & ARROW -- QUIVER COVER FOR KINDLE - beige - NARROWEDI don’t like to think of myself as old-fashioned or boring. I enjoy the fact that 21st-century technology has made our lives a lot easier and made communication a lot richer. On the other hand, I do begrudge the quiet time, face-to-face interaction, and just plain good manners in the company of others that were thrown out the window with the adoption of some of that technology.

However, I have faced the fact that the world has changed dramatically during my lifetime. Life is now digital with a capital ‘D.’ So I have finally come to the place that I am eager — okay maybe not eager — but I’m very WILLING —  to get involved in making all of my written work available for the readers out there whose lives are now 90% digital.

And there are so many of them. I’m completely outnumbered. I’ll never forget the day one of my editors (considerably younger than I) said, “Just e-mail me the manuscript.” I looked at him, shocked, and said, but then you’ll have to print it all out yourself.”  He looked back at me with what I’m sure was a mixture of impatience and pity, and said, “We read from the screen now.” I’m sure the words that were really going through his young mind were something like, “You poor, old-fashioned little thing. The world is passing you by, and you don’t even know it.” Now, about 10 years later, I’m finally used to the fact that people love reading words that are not delivered in the form of ink on paper.

That being the case, my publisher and I finally set up shop in the Amazon Kindle store this past week. And several of my books will be available through that market by the end of the month.

Now, don’t misunderstand; I’m not going overboard technologically.  I still have my little flip phone rather than a smart phone or an Android. And I still use my trusty old desktop PC with a tower that weighs nearly a ton. So I’m not going super modern here. But I do want all those folks out there who have been asking me for the past couple years if my books are available for e-readers yet to finally hear me say, “Yes, you can get them from Amazon.”

So, there we have it. You’ve heard it here first — well, almost. One or two other people who are excited about the fact that they can FINALLY read my books while they travel have been spreading the news around. But, other than those few, you readers and my Facebook followers are the first to know.

One of the novels that went up this week is A Quiver Full of Arrows, and many of you who were following me last year will remember it. I had written only half of it about three years ago, and I decided to write the rest of it in serialized form right here on the blog — one chapter a day — until I had made myself finish it. You were very gracious in your response to it, and I’m so glad you enjoyed it. It will no longer be posted here for a free read, however, since it is now in the Kindle store.

If you’re one the folks who read it and enjoyed it, I hope you encourage friends to buy it. And if you were not following at the time I posted it, then that’s a good reason for you to visit the Kindle store and take a peak.

Hint:  If you click on the picture of the book cover above, it will take you to the page where three of the books are already listed in the store.  There should be at least four more in the store by the end of May. You’ll also find the link to my Amazon author’s page in my right sidebar.

Progress is a good thing, generally, but it can also be just a tad poignant. I came close to shedding a tear or two when I said goodbye to my trusty old Canon typewriter several years ago. But I do like the ease with which I can edit and correct text with a computer document program instead. And I’m sure I’m going to enjoy the world of electronic books just as much  — now that I’ve finally gotten myself in gear. So look out, 21st Century: here I come!

~~~

‘Read’ Me A Story

Will you read me a story?” Just how many times I asked that question of parents and grandparents during my growing-up years I’ll never know. But ask it I did, because I loved stories. In fact, I loved the whole idea of someone being able to pick up a book of pages filled with letters, and being able to understand those letters to such an extent that they told a complete story that I could then understand and enjoy.

Reading. It was one of my fondest dreams and proudest accomplishments when still a very young child. Along with learning how to write those same letters on a page myself so that they would make sense for someone else. To say that I was fascinated with books would be an understatement indeed, and I have since spent my life pursuing the adventure of devouring written matter in virtually every form in which I could find it.

Now, in my middle-age season, as I work toward getting more of my own written work published, I’ve naturally been looking into all the various media currently available for getting written material into the hands of the public. With each passing day, I’ve become even more aware of the fact that I am now living on a new planet — Computer-World. Virtually every kind of transaction and correspondence is carried on via the internet, and even a good deal of our entertainment and recreation is now often found in the hallowed halls of the computer terminal.

But I’ve been especially concerned personally with understanding the whole electronic book media, since it is gaining more ground every year. One of the young men who was working with me a few years ago in the development of a publishing enterprise threw me for a loop when we were talking about my getting two or three manuscripts to him in order for him to help critique and edit the material. He suggested that I just send the manuscripts by e-mail. I looked at him in surprise and said, “But then you’d have to print them out yourself, because you wouldn’t want to have to sit in front of the computer to read whole books.” He gave me what I call a sympathetic but condescending look, smiled sweetly, and said, “We’re a new generation . . . we read off the screen.”

I’m sure my face registered my shock, and his words stayed with me for weeks after that conversation. (Now, I think I should add here, for the sake of any writers out there who are working on editing their work on the screen: Be sure you print out a hard copy of your manuscript and do at least one edit from that. Every good editor knows that you will inevitably find errors that simply do not come to your attention on the screen.) But back to my main thought:  I began to ask myself, “Is that what we’re coming to then … a time when nobody will want to pick up a book and hold it while they read the words printed on the pages?” Something deep down inside of me answered, “No.”

Shortly after that, I spent a couple of hours talking with the owner of three large independent bookstores, and I asked him if he thought there would be a total shift to electronic books soon. He said that he could see a slight swing in that direction, but he believed it would be another four or five years before it made any major difference. It’s now all those five years later, and it has made a definite difference, but it still hasn’t emptied the hardcopy bookshelves enough to see the dust on them.

So still the question has been hanging around in my head … and in my heart. I say in my heart because the idea had made me a little sad … like realizing that instead of sitting with friends and being able to touch them while you visited, you’d have to just listen to their voice over a phone line. There’s just something about picking up a book and holding it in your hands … feeling the weight of it … smoothing your fingers over the cover … whether it’s made of fine leather, soft paper, or some other material … it doesn’t matter … it’s a book. And then there’s the expectancy of opening it for the first time … or even the hundredth time … and moving through the pages, smelling the scent of paper and ink that no computer will ever be able to simulate.

Those experiences are the appetizers, leading me into the bountiful main course of the book itself, which is followed, of course, by the sense of being satisfied and replete at the end of a magnificent meal. Nothing else can quite compare to that sense of fulfillment and that gratified smile that accompanies the reading of the words, “The End” at the conclusion of a good book, and the feeling that I’ve truly completed something worthwhile when I close the back cover for the last time.

But then I thought, “That experience can’t be the only reason I prefer to hold a book while I read it.” And as I meditated on my reasons, I came to this conclusion: I enjoy television programs and movies; I see a real merit to using audio books if one has a vision problem, or is driving for long periods; and I can understand the value of e-books scrolling across my palm pilot if I’m sitting in a busy airport or bus terminal and don’t want the fuss of several heavy books to carry. However, it’s a fact that when I’m actually holding the book in my own hands and reading the material, I’m somehow absorbing what I’m reading and becoming a part of it more completely than I do when I’m just looking at the words or actions on a screen.

Then I began to think about how blessed I feel to be able to walk into a bookstore or a library and let my eyes feast on aisle after aisle of shelves covered in beautiful books. I thought about all of the excitement and joy of choosing from all of that bounty and wanting to hurry home, quickly getting other chores out of the way, so that I can sit down and open my treasure and … read.

So I’ve decided: No, I don’t believe that any other media will ever totally replace reading a real book. No other media will ever be able to give the joy and total gratification that is ours when we hold a book and let our eyes search out and devour what resides within it. Or when our children or grandchildren cuddle up with us and lean in close to see for themselvesthose printed words that make the special magic when we “read them a story.”

So now, although I’m going with the flow – Facebooking, blogging, online news reporting, and formatting my own books for digital readers – I’m also committing myself to help the “new generation of screen-readers” to discover and understand the unique satisfaction and thrill of picking up a book and reading it. I’m making it my job to encourage them not to get so involved with trying to get in touch with their computer that they get out of touch with books. Even those friends of mine who feels that man’s best friend is the “mouse” can benefit from taking a break and picking up a book.

So let me offer this personal invitation to one and all. Take some time to visit your nearest library or bookstore and wander through the aisles of beautiful books. Choose one; take it home; sit down in a comfortable chair and prop your feet up. Smooth your hands over the cover a few times; smell that sometimes new — sometimes musty — but always unique scent of a book. Open the cover, and turn the page. Give yourself the gift that no one else can give you: read a REAL book!

 

“Read” Me A Story

“Will you read me a story?” Just how many times I asked that question of parents and grandparents during my growing-up years I’ll never know. But ask it I did, because I loved stories. In fact, I loved the whole idea of someone being able to pick up a book of pages filled with letters, and being able to understand those letters to such an extent that they told a complete story that I could then understand and enjoy.

Reading. It was one of my fondest dreams and proudest accomplishments when still a very young child. Along with learning how to write those same letters on a page myself so that they would make sense for someone else. To say that I was fascinated with books would be an understatement indeed, and I have since spent my life pursuing the adventure of devouring written matter in virtually every form in which I could find it.

Now, in my middle-age season, as I work toward getting more of my own written work published, I’ve naturally been looking into all the various media currently available for getting written material into the hands of the public. With each passing day, I’ve become even more aware of the fact that I am now living on a new planet — Computer-World. Virtually every kind of transaction and correspondence is carried on via the internet, and even a good deal of our entertainment and recreation is now often found in the hallowed halls of the computer terminal.

But I’ve been especially concerned personally with understanding the whole electronic book media, since it is gaining more ground every year. One of the young men who was working with me a few years ago in the development of a publishing enterprise threw me for a loop when we were talking about my getting two or three manuscripts to him in order for him to help critique and edit the material. He suggested that I just send the manuscripts by e-mail. I looked at him in surprise and said, “But then you’d have to print them out yourself, because you wouldn’t want to have to sit in front of the computer to read whole books.” He gave me what I call a sympathetic but condescending look, smiled sweetly, and said, “We’re a new generation . . . we read off the screen.”

I’m sure my face registered my shock, and his words stayed with me for weeks after that conversation. (Now, I think I should add here, for the sake of any writers out there who are working on editing their work on the screen: Be sure you print out a hard copy of your manuscript and do at least one edit from that. Every good editor knows that you will inevitably find errors that simply do not come to your attention on the screen.) But back to my main thought:  I began to ask myself, “Is that what we’re coming to then … a time when nobody will want to pick up a book and hold it while they read the words printed on the pages?” Something deep down inside of me answered, “No.”

Shortly after that, I spent a couple of hours talking with the owner of three large independent bookstores, and I asked him if he thought there would be a total shift to electronic books soon. He said that he could see a slight swing in that direction, but he believed it would be another four or five years before it made any major difference. It’s now all those five years later, and it has made a definite difference, but it still hasn’t emptied the hardcopy bookshelves enough to see the dust on them.

So still the question has been hanging around in my head … and in my heart. I say in my heart because the idea had made me a little sad … like realizing that instead of sitting with friends and being able to touch them while you visited, you’d have to just listen to their voice over a phone line. There’s just something about picking up a book and holding it in your hands … feeling the weight of it … smoothing your fingers over the cover … whether it’s made of fine leather, soft paper, or some other material … it doesn’t matter … it’s a book. And then there’s the expectancy of opening it for the first time … or even the hundredth time … and moving through the pages, smelling the scent of paper and ink that no computer will ever be able to simulate.

Those experiences are the appetizers, leading me into the bountiful main course of the book itself, which is followed, of course, by the sense of being satisfied and replete at the end of a magnificent meal. Nothing else can quite compare to that sense of fulfillment and that gratified smile that accompanies the reading of the words, “The End” at the conclusion of a good book, and the feeling that I’ve truly completed something worthwhile when I close the back cover for the last time.

But then I thought, “That experience can’t be the only reason I prefer to hold a book while I read it.” And as I meditated on my reasons, I came to this conclusion: I enjoy television programs and movies; I see a real merit to using audio books if one has a vision problem, or is driving for long periods; and I can understand the value of e-books scrolling across my palm pilot if I’m sitting in a busy airport or bus terminal and don’t want the fuss of several heavy books to carry. However, it’s a fact that when I’m actually holding the book in my own hands and reading the material, I’m somehow absorbing what I’m reading and becoming a part of it more completely than I do when I’m just looking at the words or actions on a screen.

Then I began to think about how blessed I feel to be able to walk into a bookstore or a library and let my eyes feast on aisle after aisle of shelves covered in beautiful books. I thought about all of the excitement and joy of choosing from all of that bounty and wanting to hurry home, quickly getting other chores out of the way, so that I can sit down and open my treasure and … read.

So I’ve decided: No, I don’t believe that any other media will ever totally replace reading a real book. No other media will ever be able to give the joy and total gratification that is ours when we hold a book and let our eyes search out and devour what resides within it. Or when our children or grandchildren cuddle up with us and lean in close to see for themselvesthose printed words that make the special magic when we “read them a story.”

So now, although I’m going with the flow – Facebooking, blogging, online news reporting, and formatting my own books for digital readers – I’m also committing myself to help the “new generation of screen-readers” to discover and understand the unique satisfaction and thrill of picking up a book and reading it. I’m making it my job to encourage them not to get so involved with trying to get in touch with their computer that they get out of touch with books. Even those friends of mine who feels that man’s best friend is the “mouse” can benefit from taking a break and picking up a book.

So let me offer this personal invitation to one and all. Take some time to visit your nearest library or bookstore and wander through the aisles of beautiful books. Choose one; take it home; sit down in a comfortable chair and prop your feet up. Smooth your hands over the cover a few times; smell that sometimes new — sometimes musty — but always unique scent of a book. Open the cover, and turn the page. Give yourself the gift that no one else can give you: read a REAL book!