Guarding Candy Kane by V.B. Tenery ~ a review

Guarding Candy KaneChristmas novella, Mystery, RomSuspense

This is a wonderful Christmas mystery. I enjoyed reading the mystery driven part of it and the Christmas part of it. Loved the main characters. At points, the suspense was chilling, by the end it was uplifting and filled with Christmas cheer.

I loved the Colorado setting. In one scene we’re walking with the characters through the quaint village of Christmas Tyme, with all its cheerful seasonal decorations. Then in another scene, we’re in the snow-swept Colorado wilderness fearing for the characters’ lives.

The author is a skillful writer who takes the reader through a delightful Christmas mystery and adds that something additional that makes it a read that’s on more than one level. If I had one question to ask the author, it would be: “What’s next?”

Purchase GUARDING CANDY KANE on Amazon

Patterns and People that Bind ~ negative soul ties

Gate, Old City, Jerusalem
A remaining gate in the Old City, Jerusalem

 

And a man who had been lame from his mother’s womb was being carried along, whom they used to set down every day at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, in order to beg alms of those who were entering the temple. ~ Acts 3:2, New American Standard Bible [NASB]

 

We all have (or have had) patterns in our lives and relationships with people that bring (or brought) no, or very few positives into our lives.

This man in the Scripture was lame all of his life and was carried every day to the Gate they called beautiful in order to beg. He could not go into the Temple because he was not whole and in those days there were strict rules about wholeness and health. He had no access to what ‘normal’, successful people had access to, the inside of the Temple.

Usually we look at the man himself, but I wonder who were the ones who carried him every day to beg for alms? Were they corrupt greedy men who got a portion of what alms he acquired every day? Or, were they family and friends who could only see him as lame and with good intentions brought him to do what they thought was the only thing he was able to do? In either case, these were enablers with negative soul ties to the man.

This man had a negative pattern. He allowed himself to be carried to the gate to beg. Jesus came to him to break that pattern that had him bound. We all have or have had patterns that bind or have bound us. For some it’s alcoholism, gambling, pornography, self-mutilating, allowing physical abuse to continue, over eating (something prevalent in the church), anorexia, compulsive spending, overwhelming credit card debt. For others it might be excessive cleaning, or excessive running every morning even though pounding the pavement is injuring legs and feet. In these last two, the operative word is excessive.

What people do we have in our lives who enable us to be less than, support a very limited self-concept of ourselves? What patterns do we have that put walls up around us that might even look like a safety net, but keeps us bound. We all know, or secretly suspect what those things are. And before we take a step and do anything about them, we should ask the Holy Spirit to clarify who and what they are. We should pray about this, and whatever steps we take to get free of the limitations placed on us by others and the limitations of our own negative patterns should be done under the leadership of the Lord. And that will mean, there will be Scripture that supports what direction we feel led to take.

If a person has one of the patterns listed above, it’s quite possible the Holy Spirit will lead you to break the behavior off immediately and to speak with your pastor or a trusted leader in the church. The Holy Spirit may lead you to a treatment program, to Alcoholics Anonymous, to a weight loss group, to an accountability partner in the Church, or the like. Go, go, get help to break whatever pattern/habit/addiction is binding you. Take a step and then another step and then another out of bondage.

In the case of people who are enablers…if you are an alcoholic and a person is giving you alcohol, tell them to stop. If they won’t, cut them off. The same applies if you’re addicted to pornography or gambling, etc. and all your friends are into it too. Cut them off. These are super-negative soul ties. The end of the road with these ‘major’ addictions is sad, very sad. Often it’s jail, insanity, or untimely death. If you’re bound by one of these major addictions you must take immediate, firm, committed steps to get free. You also should have a human support system and the Holy Spirit can lead you to a good one. Please do NOT expect perfection from your human support system. Expect very human, caring support, capable of mistakes or being in error…while they hope they are supporting. There will be people in support groups who have become Pharisaical. Just pray for them.

Forgiveness is key. I’ve had to forgive people who were enablers, manipulators, and controllers in my life, people who sought to use me, people who were toxic. I’ve had to forgive them to be set free of them. This will be a constant. We will also have to forgive good, supportive people we add to our lives as we grown. They are only human. Remember, the final word on situations in our lives are not people, not matter how supportive. The One with the final Word is the Lord.

For perfect love and guidance turn often to the Lord.

But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. ~ Matthew 6:33, New American Standard Bible [NASB]

For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline. ~ 2 Timothy 1:7, New American Standard Bible [NASB]

Rebecca’s Legacy by Betty Thomason Owens ~ spotlight

Rebecca's Legacy

Historical Romantic Suspense/Inspirational Fiction

Betty is such an awesome writer, you just have to check out Rebecca’s Legacy, Book 3 Legacy series.

*****

Amy Juliana Emerson might be a cultured debutante, but she’s doing her best to follow her mom’s rebellious footsteps. Her desperate attempt to escape her father’s control, however, comes at the worst possible time.

Robert Emerson has received a threat against his family in an attempt to take over his company, Sanderson Industries. To guarantee his willful daughter’s safety, he sends her to work on a produce farm run by her Aunt Rebecca. Maybe her quiet strength and unconditional love can work on Amy, keep her from becoming the prodigal daughter she seems insistent on being.

Matt Wordsworth is the man Robert calls upon to make sure his daughter stays in line. His only interest in the beautiful girl is purely part of his job. Purely. Amy considers him a fuddy-duddy which suits the situation perfectly, allowing him to stay close to her without concern for her losing her heart to him. And his own heart … well, his feelings didn’t matter. This was business.

INTERVIEW:

Nike:  Tell us something topical, interesting, funny, or something we would not expect about the writing of this novel.

Betty:  Amy Juliana Emerson was born in Amelia’s Legacy, the first book in the Legacy series. I always wanted to tell her story. When her character began to flesh out in my writing, I loved her instantly. She made me laugh. The main antagonist in Rebecca’s Legacy, Thad Greene, was supposed to be a constant thorn in Amy’s side, but something happened as I was writing his character. He ran into a snag that changed the entire plot line and shocked the author. Yes, that’s right, I was surprised. So, now you know I’m not a plotter. I contemplated an adjustment to the story, but honestly, the pivotal scene just felt right.

Nike:  If this novel is part of a series, tell us about the series.

Betty:  The Legacy series begins with Amelia’s Legacy, Nancy Sanderson’s attempt to free herself from her grandmother’s iron-fisted control. In book two, Carlotta’s Legacy, Nancy’s best friend Rebecca Lewis feels compelled to enter into marriage with a man she barely knows, a young Italian count who owns a vineyard in Umbria. The ongoing theme of the Legacy series is discovering love through family.

Nike:  Can you give us a sneak peek or preview into the next work in progress (WIP) you’re working on? When do you expect to release it?

Betty:  I’m working on the final book in the Kinsman Redeemer series. The first book, Annabelle’s Ruth, is a retelling of the Biblical story of Ruth, set in 1950s rural south. I was able to use many of my childhood memories of the setting and actual people (fictionalized, of course) who lived then. Book 2, Sutter’s Landing, continues the story. In the final book, Annabelle (the Naomi character) struggles with her feelings for a man who’s pursuing her. I’m hoping she’ll overcome her objections and accept his proposal, but we’ll see. The working title is “Annabelle’s Beau.” I hope the book will be ready for release in 2019.

Nike:  Were you good in English as a student? Did you enjoy reading and writing back then?

Betty:  English and literature were two of my favorite subjects in school. I read all the time and enjoyed a variety of subjects and authors. My senior year of high school, I was a teacher’s pet—er—aid for my English Lit class. That was when I became interested in the classics. I read books by the Bronte sisters, Dickens, and du Maurier. When it came time to read Les Misérables for class, I was horribly bored. But a couple years later after high school ended, I was even more bored, and picked it up again. Wow. I was hooked. I read it through twice and loved it. I don’t remember writing, except when it was required. The desire to write came on suddenly in my early thirties. I often quip that I started writing to keep my sanity while raising three boys. A friend read one of my early stories and encouraged me to pursue it. I took a short story writing class at the University of Louisville. The professor loved my story and urged me to continue writing.

Betty Thomason Owens

BIO:

Betty Thomason Owens is an award-winning writer of historical fiction, contemporary fiction, and fantasy-adventure. She’s an active member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), where she leads a critique group, and is V.P./Secretary of the Louisville area ACFW group. She’s also a speaker, a mentor assisting other writers, co-founder of a blog dedicated to inspiring writers, and serves on the planning committee for the Kentucky Christian Writers Conference.

Her writing credits include the Legacy Series, and the southern historical Kinsman Redeemer Series (Book 1, ANNABELLE’S RUTH, is a 2015 Grace Award winner, and has recently been translated into Spanish). She has two fantasy-adventure novels, THE LADY OF THE HAVEN and A GATHERING OF EAGLES, in a second edition published by Sign of the Whale BooksTM, an imprint of Olivia Kimbrell PressTM.

Betty’s website 

Purchase Rebecca’s Legacy on Amazon

 

The Dividing Stone by Anita Estes ~ a review

The Dividing Stone

 

Margo’s intention was to discover more about her ancestors and her family’s history. Instead, she uncovered evil. THE DIVIDING STONE is a supernatural mystery/thriller, much along the lines of a Frank Peretti novel, depicting the forces of evil in a tirade against heavenly angelic forces.

Margo is a potter in the small town of New Coven, where she lives with her husband Chris. She discovers a note handwritten by an now deceased relative warning her there is great evil and danger in New Coven, which used to be named New Covenant. Immediately, she begins having troubling prophetic dreams. She discovers the existence of the Dividing Stone, actually two circular stones welded together. One half is in Egyptian hieroglyphics and the other in Celtic lettering. She learns the dark purpose of this stone is division: breaking up Christian marriages and causing church splits, even death to believers. At times the story has an eerie quality. Yet it also has the quick plot twists of a contemporary mystery/thriller.

A smartly dressed, sophisticated man comes to town. He’s known to Margo and Chris as Bill Guiles and begins attending their church. His real name is Bill Guiles Eville and he’s a fairly high ranking member of a dangerous, occult secret society. He fooled a number of townspeople and members of their church, including the pastor. Bill senses Margo has deep spiritual discernment and it enrages him. He vows to destroy her. The town has a group of very strong prayer warriors. As the struggle between good and evil supernatural forces plays out in the heavens, it became very stirring and vivid. This is a novel that will stir the soul of anyone interested in the supernatural, as well as anyone who loves a fast paced mystery.

‘Big Data’ Got It Wrong ~ epic fail

big-data

 

One of the things I love about America is the individualism of its people. I love quirky people with unique personalities who can’t be quantified and parceled into neat little marketing groups. I guess that’s why I’m not fond of focus groups. So, I wasn’t at all unhappy when ‘big data’ got it wrong about the 2016 election.

The fact that all the analysts couldn’t slice and dice and pigeon-hole the American people thrilled me, gave me hope for the future. I’m not speaking politically in terms of Republican or Democrat. I’m saying they couldn’t predict the behavior of the American electorate and I like that.

Of course I’m sure the analysts and marketeers are having break downs. They’ve made lots of money off of the American people and can well afford the price of their psychiatrists. So, I don’t feel too badly for them. They’re freaking out because they are now doubting their ability to accurately segment the American populace into groups they can sell more stuff to. That’s a good thing, IMO. And I’m not against selling. I’m not even against data. We just rely on it much too much. Especially in our intelligence agencies. We need to get operatives on the ground, but that’s another topic.

This is about what I’m for. I’m for the type individualism in America that has bread excellence. I’m for the American entrepreneurial spirit, creative genius, the can do attitude that has always been part of our nation. I’m for the get-up-and go that has been demonstrated in the American story. I’m for the colorful differences between the many groups in America (the races, religions, ethnicities…all of them, don’t leave out the ones that don’t appear to be PC). I love the pride and the quirks of regional America. I want to celebrate these attributes which are found in a people with spirit and a greater reliance on individualism.

Work at everything you do with all your heart. Work as if you were working for the Lord, not for human masters. ~ Colossians 3:23 [NIRV]

I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. ~ Philippians 4:13 [KJV]

Techno Undercover Tactics ~ Are They Today’s Reality or the Realm of Fiction Writers?


2007.5 Ziggy Incognito

In the good olde days, or the bad olde days, depending on ones perspective, the very first thing an undercover operative might want to do is mask his or her appearance.

But in today’s high tech world, things have changed a lot…

All the good espionage toys and gadgets have been the creation of action-adventure, crime fiction thriller, and futuristic sci-fi novels. Well not any more.

Although while not a secret, it’s not generally known that a powerful new tool was tested during protests at the Republican National Convention (2012). Smart phones were used to video the crowd and to communicate one agent to the other. Prior to that an undercover operative might be discovered if seen with an earbud sticking out of his or her ear. The use of specially outfitted smartphones and tablets made operatives blend in with a high-techno crowd. As first reported in the National Journal, September 17, 2012, these special apps allowed operative on the ground at the convention to send real-time voice, video, and data. Law enforcement officials around the country are excited about the possibilities of using this new technology. It’s as if they have entered a realm that here-to-fore had be the providence of hyped-up crime fiction thrillers.

According to the developers of this technology, police departments who were monitoring the protests used a next-generation broadband network not only to send secure voice, video, and data communications, but also to send evidence-quality, permanent recording of all data collected at the protest. But not only that, the system brought together fixed-surveillance camera feeds, live video transmitted from the operatives smartphones…as well as global-positioning system information, and traditional radio traffic. Wow!

According to Darlene Storm (whose motto is surveillance is sexy) on the blog CompterWorld, this real-time video and data was fed into the 94 camera RNC surveillance system which is connected to a wireless network. All video of the protest will be stored for four years.

Now, since turn-around-is-fair-play, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has encouraged reverse-surveillance and has released a stealthy Android app called Police Tape whereby citizens can secretly record law enforcement personnel. It’s become an age where everyone can spy on everyone, anywhere, all the time. Ain’t it wonderful?