Tuesday, June 6, 2017


We're so excited to launch the first book of this new dystopian series! Kristen Hogrefe merges the action and adventure of the post-apocalypse with the richness of a historical. Who would believe these two could come together so perfectly?

But the setting is only the first best thing about this book. Portia Abernathy is a most unexpected heroine. Physically impaired and petite, this blonde has one goal: to arrange her brother's release from the satellite.

Here's the short version: 

A Revisionary rewrites the rules.
A Rogue breaks them.
Which one is she?

Nineteen-year-old Portia Abernathy plans to earn a Dome seat and rewrite the Codex rules to rescue her exiled brother. Her journey demands answers from the past civilization, but uncovering the truth means breaking the rules she set out to rewrite.
Where will the world be in 2149? If citizens forget their past, they will be lost in an identity crisis. That's exactly the state of the American Socialists United (ASU). This dystopian story opens in Cube 1519, a ghetto where the only use for obsolete cell phones is to throw them like rocks at mongrels. Portia and her father survive like many other citizens, with no electricity or technology and no expectation for a better life.

Yet Portia remembers her brother Darius—before he was taken from her. Now that's she's graduated, she determines to get him back. She thinks earning a Dome seat as a Revisionary candidate will be her ticket to rewriting the Codex and reversing his sentence. However, when she receives her draft and arrives at the Crystal Globe University for training, she discovers the world is very different outside her cube and that prisoners like Darius aren't the only ones trapped by the system.

Written for young adults, THE REVISIONARY offers a suspenseful plot, flashbacks to America's Revolutionary era, and rediscovery of the founding values needed to rebuild Portia's unraveling world. "In school, teens hear that if they don't learn from history's lessons, they're destined to repeat them," author Kristen Hogrefe says. "Portia lives in a world where leaders wield ignorance to control citizens. Only when Portia sets out to rescue her brother does she realize the lie she's been living and determines to break free."

Blockbuster novels like The Hunger Games, Divergent, and The Giver popularized the dystopian YA genre. THE REVISIONARY builds a dystopia of a different kind—one that looks backward to find wisdom to move forward to offer an underlying message of heritage and hope.

Preview the First Chapter

Saturday, 9.5.2149
Chrysoprase, Cube 1519

Some people are born with defects like mine. Others are damaged at the hand of another.
Lying flat on a frayed mat, I tug one leg and then the next to my stomach to stretch the tension in my back. Dawn streaks through the cracked pane above me, brightening the dull gray outline of my graduation uniform to navy blue.
I stand and tip-toe across the loft room’s cold wood floor. Pulling up the hem of my sack pajamas, I strap on my thigh holster and then try not to trip while climbing down the ladder. Whoever owned the rag dress before me must have been a good foot taller.
Dad is asleep on his mattress, which takes up half the room downstairs. The other half is our kitchen and wooden table.
We’ve called this converted barn home ever since our ration reduction ten years ago. Ever since the Court convicted Darius and our family shrank to two.
I start the fire and add water to the cast iron tea kettle. Dad says there are rumors of electricity being restored in some of the squares for the first time in decades. For me, a hearth works just as well.
With the kettle set to heat, I slip out back to use the shower stall, pausing only to grab a towel and the wishbone from last night’s wild turkey.
I’ve no sooner shut the door than the growling begins—and I double check the latch. It will hold. I reach for the lye soap and twist open the rusty metal spigot. The cold water drizzles onto my shoulders and dances down my skin. I shiver deliciously. This must be the feeling that makes little sparrows cavort in puddles.
My mind wakes up by spinning lines of verse. I work them out by singing a low alto tune, the best I can manage early in the morning.
my friend or foe?
If foe, then off you go.
If friend, then don’t bite me but a
The growling resumes, louder this time. Either the alley mongrel is extra hungry today, or another mutt has crossed its territory. I shut off the tap, mop the water off my skin with a threadbare towel, and rub dry my pixie-cut hair.
Then, I redress and reach for my Taser. Dad insisted I apply for a permit to carry one when medical pulled me out of a physical education course on account of my back. He figured that if I can’t run from danger, I should at least be able to aim at it. The process took a few years and required a security elective class, but the trade-off was worth the hassle.
There are some things in life no one can outrun.
I press my body tightly against the stall frame and peak through a fractured panel. A mutt with matted gray hair and one good eye paws at the door. I relax and re-holster my Taser. I won’t need it today. Our alley mongrel is testy but harmless.
I crack open the door and toss the wishbone into the woods. The mongrel bounds after it, and I hurry to the kitchen where my tea kettle puffs steam and whistles like the boy who used to live next door. The simple fragrance of tea and oatmeal wakes Dad, and he joins me at the table. The bench groans under his weight. His mechanical work and years of physical labor have built his naturally thick frame to the size of an ox.
Well, at least compared to me. I’m barely five-feet tall. My mom was small too, or so Dad tells me.
We sip our tea in silence. I won’t waste words with another argument.
Dad doesn’t want the draft board to call my name. I do. Today, one of us will get our way.
Only the hearth heard those long debates between us. Its crackling tongue, like an old gossip, provokes my memory.
I was a child of nine, unable to sleep in a room bereaved of a brother. Can’t we bring Darius back?”
Sweetheart, we can’t change the ruling. Only the Court could if someone amended the satellite sentencing laws.”
Who could do that?”
His eyes had betrayed the hopelessness of such a reversal, but for my sake, he offered one possibility, one he later regretted. Why, that would be our Dome Revisionaries. They interpret our Codex, or law book, and decide how to apply or improve it.”
Dad never gambled his little girl would pursue training as a Revisionary candidate, but that’s exactly what I did. My scores in school climbed to the top of the charts. I used my accomplishments in language arts, Revisionary theory, debate, and logic as leverage to persuade my professors to enroll me in a Revisionary undergrad program I finished two years early.
But my achievements frightened Dad. Do you want the draft board to notice you?” He demanded.
Yes, I do.”
The draft is what Darius defied. I may never see you again if you are drafted.”
“We’ll never see Darius again if I don’t try.”
Darius may already be dead.”
But he might still be alive.”
There’s no guarantee you’ll succeed.”
There’s the chance that I might. You said yourself it’s the only way to change the rules and bring Darius back.”
I’ll find another way.”
There isn’t one.”
Dad gave in, but something changed. Many nights and weekends, he never came home. When he did, he looked like soot and smelled like earth. I bandaged everything from cuts to broken fingers, but nothing kept him from leaving again the next night.
Once, I tried to follow him, but he caught me. My gentle father transformed into a ferociously protective papa bear. His warning and whipping sent my feet scrambling home as fast as my sore backside could manage.
After that, I never asked where he went, and he never offered to explain.
When Dad was home in the evening, he invented a game called “Forget and Remember” to help me focus on what we had, not on what we had lost. In the firelight of our small hearth, I also spun my verses. He especially liked the ones that included a riddle for him to solve. Those dusk hours are some of my happiest memories.
To most, the man across the table from me is nothing but an old broken Tooler with knobby fingers and dirty nails. To me, he is everything left that’s kind and lovely in the world.
The hearth’s chattering fades.
You’d better hurry up and get dressed.” Dad stands and starts for the door. You don’t want to miss the train.”
Where are you going?”
He puts on his leathery hat. I have something to do first.”
My lip trembles in disappointment. I had hoped he would walk with me today. Promise you’ll meet me at the station.”
His hand slides off the door latch and reaches for my chin. Of course, sweetheart.” Dad pauses and takes a deep breath. Even if attendance weren’t mandatory, I wouldn’t miss the train. My brave girl’s quest is a fool’s errand, but I’m proud of her spirit.”
I search his deep brown eyes, so much like Darius’s. Are we not all fools for those we love?”
He smiles and is gone.

Get Your Copy and "Meet" the Author!

THE REVISIONARY is now available in print and e-book at Amazon. Get your copy HERE! But that's not all.

In just over an hour, (7PM Central) Kristen will chat with our WIP executive editor, Marji Laine Clubine. Get the inside story on this book and the dystopian genre, in general! Here's the link to Blogtalk Radio, the "Along Came a Writer" Network!

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Young People and the Bible

Just because the word teenager doesn’t exist in the Bible doesn’t mean that young people aren’t represented within its pages.

Although art and movies of the past often portrayed biblical figures as much older than their real counterparts, the Bible contains many youthful characters. Mary, the mother of Jesus, was probably around 16 years old when the angel announced she was with child.

Of course it’s not necessary for the Bible to be mostly about young people for God’s Word to be relevant to teenagers and for them to appreciate it. But what better way to get a teen’s attention, or engage a reluctant young reader of scripture, than to feature a young biblical figure in discussion or study right off the bat?

As in contemporary young adult/teen novels, characters such as parents, grandparents, and mature authority figures like teachers can be as likeable and interesting as the teenage characters.  But a YA author writes the opening scene of a novel with the focus on the teen protagonist, and soon, if not right away, shows that life is just-not-fair for that teenager.

I know I would’ve been much more interested in the Bible in junior high and high school if I could’ve related my feelings of being treated unfairly sometimes to the same treatment of a young biblical figure. Teens are all about their own problems and validating their feelings about those problems.

As Christian parents, grandparents, counselors and others helping our teens make it through these difficult years, we can point them to God’s Word to encourage and help them find answers to problems.

For example, while Isaiah 40:30-31 recognizes the weariness and discouragement that young people might experience, the passage identifies the solution—reliance on the Lord for strength and endurance.  (With Him on your side, things will get better, right?)

Isaiah 40:30-31 KJV

Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall; But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary; and they shall walk and not faint.

Just like today, troubles can start early. The youngest king of the Bible was Joash (or Jehoash), who was only seven years old when he began to reign in Jerusalem. His father had died when he was one year old. Before he took the throne, he had to hide for six years (with the help of his aunt) from his wicked grandmother who had killed all her other grandchildren and children in order to rule herself.  See 2 Kings 11:1-3.

As a tween or teen, this story would’ve hooked me on the Bible, but I never heard it! Like many young people, I would’ve felt Joash’s sadness over growing up without a father.  I would’ve related to his fear while hiding. I would’ve been angered by the wicked actions of the grandmother and wept that she would want me dead. My own grandmother!

Joash goes on to be a good, wise king and reigns for 40 years. Teens would recognize from this story that their childhood problems, although possibly serious, don’t have to hold them back or make them lose faith in themselves or in God. 

Which Bible figures do the teens you know like or relate to the most?

About the Author

Cynthia T. Toney is the author of the widely popular Bird Face series and will be debuting her first middle grade historical this fall. She is a former advertising designer, marketing director, and interior decorator who holds a BA in art education with a minor in history. While employed by a large daily newspaper, she tried to rewrite some ad copy without permission and got into trouble for it. At that point, she knew she was destined to become an author.

Learn more about Cynthia at her author page on Write Integrity Press.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

A Mountain Hike by author Harriet Michael

A Hike Through Matthew

Summer time is fast approaching. Time to think about summer vacation plans. Do you like roughing it while camping or staying in a fancy hotel? The beach or the mountains? Salt water or fresh water? Sand under your feet or a mountain path to hike?

Today, for a little pre-summer adventure, I’m going to lead you on a hike through the mountains in the book of Matthew. Let’s see what we discover.

The Mountain of Temptation
In Matthew 4:8, Satan took Jesus to the top of a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world. There the devil tempted Jesus by promising to give them all to Jesus if only Jesus would worship him. Because the Bible doesn’t tell us the name of this mountain, we don’t know exactly where it is. All we know is that it was a very high mountain. Of course, Jesus refused to worship Satan. Though He was tempted, Jesus did not sin.

The Mountain of a Sermon
A mountain is seen again in the next chapter of Matthew—chapter 5. This time it was a small mountain near the city of Capernaum and instead of being tempted, Jesus was preaching what is often referred to as “The Sermon on the Mount.” This sermon of Jesus contained the Beatitudes—a list of conditions under which a person is blessed. Again, the Bible doesn’t tell us the name of this mountain; just that it was near the city of Capernaum.

The Mountain of a Miracle
Jesus is once again on a mountain in Matthew 15: 29-39. Here, He worked a miracle, feeding 5,000 people with only the lunch of one little boy—just five little loaves of bread and two small fish. It was lunch time and the people were hungry. Jesus told them to sit down and they obeyed Him. Then he kept breaking up the little bit of food that was available and sharing it. Miraculously, there was enough to feed all the people with twelve baskets left over! The Bible does not give the name of the mountain but does locate it near the Sea of Galilee.

The Mountain of Transfiguration
Mathew 17:1-9 tells of the “Mount of Transfiguration.”  In this story, Jesus took three of his disciples with Him up to a mountain and his appearance changed right before their eyes. His face shone like the sun and His clothes became as white as snow. Moses and Elijah appeared with Jesus and began to talk to Him too. The three disciples stood near Jesus and watched in amazement.

The Mountain of Olives
In Matthew 24, Jesus is on a mountain again and this time the Bible tells its name—the Mount of Olives. Here, Jesus told the crowd listening to Him all about His second coming—the time when He will come back to the earth again.

The Mountain of Ascension
And finally, in the very last verses of Matthew after Jesus had been crucified and rose again, He claimed to have all authority in heaven and earth and He told His disciples to go into the world and tell others about Him in a passage often referred to as “the Great Commission.” Then He went up to heaven and He did all of this from a mountain, which again is not named.

Now we have hiked up and down the many mountains mentioned in the gospel of Matthew. Not the same sort of hikes we will take this summer but an interesting one just the same. It’s interesting to realize that mountains were important in Jesus’ life.

About the Author
Born in Nigeria, West Africa, as the daughter of missionaries, Harriet E. Michael is a writer, gardener, wife of over 35 years, mother of four, and grandmother of one.

She holds a BS in nursing from West Virginia University but has discovered her passion for writing. Since her first published article in 2010, she now has over a hundred and fifty published articles and devotions.

You can learn more about Harriet on her author page at WriteIntegrity.com or on her website.

Monday, May 1, 2017

HAVEN'S FLIGHT is taking off!

We are so excited about our newest suspense, HAVEN'S FLIGHT by Dena Netherton. With a strong faith thread and a high level of conflict and tension, suspense lovers are going to enjoy this one! Make sure you take a breath now and then, because Ms. Netherton doesn't offer many opportunities for normal breathing through this story!

What readers are saying:

"... quite gripping.  Rather than "painting" a story, it's more like the author has architected a three dimensional structure of a story. Well done!"

"... keep you on the edge of your chair."

"... I couldn't put it down!"

"... expertly reeled me in to the finish."

"... incredibly descriptive language ..."

"... a plot that captures your imagination and takes you to a setting that is as beautiful as it is dangerous."

"The unpredictable plot kept me guessing throughout."

Short Version of HAVEN'S FLIGHT:

How can you flee from an unseen enemy?

Haven Ellingsen enrolled in Life Ventures Therapy Camp in the Cascade Mountains to help her heal from horrible memories of her mother’s violent death at the hands of an armed robber. But now, a greater fear dogs her steps. The rustle of leaves or the snap of a twig could be nothing. Or it might signal the sinister presence of the stalker who won’t stop following her. It seems like a cruel trick from God to throw Haven into another dangerous situation only a year after her mom’s murder.

He hides near her tent and listens to the girl talk with the counselor. Mostly she talks about her father. She’s unhappy, and he can’t stand to listen and do nothing about it. He needs to rescue her. He needs to make sure she doesn’t ever go back to that man. His own father was the cause of his mother’s death. And Ruth’s. He can’t let that happen again. Not with this girl. When the time is right, he’ll take her away to his hidden cabin where she’ll be safe. And he will feel peace for the first time in years.

Can one month of survival training equip a girl to face all that the rugged wilderness and a madman can dish out?

First section:

Thomas Dade Boone held his breath and eased the back door shut. Then he listened hard, fearing the creak of his father’s pursuing foot on the upstairs landing. Hearing nothing, he turned noiselessly, hefted his duffle bag, and stepped onto the dark, dew-filled grass.

He patted his back pocket one more time to reassure himself that his wallet hadn’t somehow fallen out. He’d failed to escape his drunken father before. This time, he had money. This time, he would not fail.

A June fog eerily shrouded the half-acre that separated the old Tennessee country house from the barn and chicken coop. Beyond those buildings, in the midnight gloom of trees, his girl waited for him. Beautiful, dainty, and blue-eyed.

If the moon had been out, he would have glimpsed the shimmer of her long, pale hair reflected by the rays of the moon. Ruth. He crept around the barn and strained to see her. Once reunited in the trees, she’d reach her arms around his neck the way she’d done that other day in the barn, and pull his face down to hers for a kiss.

In the morning, his father would see that his bed hadn’t been slept in. Then he’d phone Ruth’s mama and find that her things were missing, too. They’d know. They should’ve known from the day Mrs. Gatling—soon to be Mrs. Bartholomew Boone, Thomas’s step-mama—brought Ruth over and introduced her as his future step-sister. That was nigh on four months ago. Ruth could never be his sister. Not when he’d fallen in love with her on first gander.

He cleared the open space in front of the barnyard, felt with his foot for the drainage ditch that formed the boundary of his father’s property, and leaped the six feet to the soft dirt on the other side. Beyond the ditch, a row of maple trees hid his father’s property from neighbors.

“Here, Tommy.” A feminine hand grasped his and tugged him under the branches of the nearest maple. “Did you get your daddy’s money?” Her fingers wormed around his back pocket.

“Hold your horses,” he whispered and nudged her hand away. “I got it. C’mon. Let’s git a ways down the road before we do any more talkin’.”

He gripped his duffle and they took off diagonally across the woods. In another quarter mile, they met the gravel lane to his father’s farm where it rounded the last acre of baby corn before intersecting with the county road. Though he couldn’t see it through the fog, just a tad farther down the road lay the bridge, then the town and the bus station.

He used his flashlight just long enough to help Ruth scramble across the dry ditch and up onto the road. Distant lights from the closest neighboring farm glowed like fading embers. A dog’s bark echoed from somewhere far off. His nostrils twitched at the familiar earthy scent of cow manure rising from the nearby fields.

“Can’t we use the flashlight? It’s too dark, Tommy. I’m gonna trip.”

“No, girl.” He pulled her closer. “Too risky jes yet. Someone might see the light and git suspicious.”

The warmth of her body and the brush of her bare arm filled his gut with fire. If they hadn’t been in such a hurry to get to town he would have held her and shown her just how she made him feel. “After we git over the bridge we can use the flashlight. There’re so many trees on the other side, nobody’ll see us.”

Minutes passed. No sign of pursuit. It had to be safe enough to talk now. “Once we’re in town we’ll have ’bout an hour till the bus comes through.”

Ruth gasped when she stumbled into an unseen rut in the road. She gripped his hand. “How long will it take to get to Cincinnati?”

“’Bout six hours, I think.” He shifted the duffle bag and rolled his shoulder to work out the stiffness. “But once we git there, we can buy a ticket to anywhere.”

“We got that much money?”

“Uh-huh. Tons.” A soft breeze cleared the haze for a moment, and the sickle moon dimly revealed Ruth’s pretty face. She gazed up at him with such adoration that he dropped the duffle, scooped her up and swung her around, making him dizzy.

“I love you, Ruth.” He lowered his lips to hers, and she clung to his neck.

They’d get so far away that his father would never be able to knock him around anymore. Some safe place. In a few months, he’d be old enough to marry Ruth, and then they could get started on having all those babies she was always talking about. His father wouldn’t win this time.

He set her down and they started to walk again.

“How come you didn’t bring your rifle? How you gonna hunt without it?”

Thomas gave a little snort. “Now can you just see us gittin’ onto the bus and me totin’ that thing? Looks suspicious enough, us being teenagers.”

Their boots crunched on the gravel road. A cricket chirped, then silenced as they passed nearby. “Besides, I’ll get a job, and then I can buy a really good gun. I’ll bag a deer, and you can make us venison steaks every night.”

Ruth sighed with a voice as sweet as molasses on a cornmeal biscuit. He ran his hand down her soft hair. Yes, they’d find a place where his father wouldn’t be able to track them. As far as his money would take them.

The foggy night air laid a sheen over his face. Gurgling sounds, the echo of currents slapping the banks, the silken slipping of leaves as they washed over soggy branches—the song of the river—made him quicken his pace. They rounded a bend and their feet met concrete. The bridge loomed up ahead. Thomas hadn’t set foot on the bridge since …. A pain, hardly dulled by the passage of nine years, squeezed his heart … since his Mama had died.

She’d been running from Father, too.

He held his breath for the last seconds it took to reach the structure. At the edge, he peered over the bridge’s guardrail. The water flowed swift and deep. Deadly, after a season of rain, with a jagged log or two hiding in the murky underwater, like mean old snapping turtles. Crazy currents. He’d taken the canoe out last year when it was like this. Wanted—out of some perverse need—to see the spot where his mama had died. He’d accidentally rammed the canoe into a submerged log. When his father saw the hole in the boat and found out where he’d been, he beat him with two belts tied up together.

Thomas started at the approaching crunch of tires on the gravel road behind him. His heart pounded at the sound of the motor. Had to be Father’s truck. The lights of a big vehicle crashed through the murk, and its diesel engine snorted like a raging feral hog. Fear and hatred seized Thomas’s gut and twisted it till his breath came out in short gasps. Ruth stood paralyzed and her big eyes searched his with a pleading look.

“I’m scared, Tommy.”

“Quick, Ruth, run ‘n hide down the bank.”

But Ruth seemed glued to her spot on the paved bridge. “Run, girl, before he sees you.” The roar of the truck drowned out his voice. Thomas shoved her behind his body and braced his legs as if fixing to stand up to the blast of a hurricane. He blinked into the glare of Father’s headlights.

The truck screeched to a halt and Judge Bartholomew Boone opened the door and launched himself onto the pavement. He stuffed the truck keys into his pocket. Thomas trembled when the silhouette of his father’s form passed in front of the headlights. Strong, purposeful steps approached. Though not as tall as Thomas, he had a head and shoulders of massive proportion and a voice to match. Even big men trembled when Father’s voice thundered from the judge’s bench.

“Thomas, step aside.” His father’s eyes dismissed him as if he were no more than another small-time criminal in his court, facing sentence.

Thomas turned slightly and shook his head. “N-no, Sir.”

Only a twitch in his father’s graying mustache betrayed surprise. “Boy, do you dare to disobey your father?” The man raised his arm to backhand Thomas’s face.

No, no, no, no. You won’t win this time. Before the slap connected, Thomas lunged and sent his own fist into the man’s gut.

Judge Boone hunched over and clutched his stomach, unable to speak.

“You’re never going to hit me again.” Thomas’s jaw clenched so tight he almost couldn’t get the words out.

Ruth started to cry.

“You-you made Mama go away. You take away everything I care about. Well, you can’t take Ruth.”

Thomas turned, pushed Ruth ahead of him, and hurried away. They’d made it halfway across the bridge when a hand grasped his shoulder and spun him around. His father’s fist met bone and flesh. Thomas crashed to the pavement, clutching his jaw. The world seemed to tilt and twirl. It took Ruth’s scream to bring him back to full consciousness. His eyes focused on his father, dragging Ruth toward the truck.

Thomas scrambled to his feet and ran after them. He threw himself onto his father’s shoulders. Ruth scurried out of the way of his flying fists. But this time the judge was ready. He guarded his head and blocked his son’s punches.

“You come at me again, boy, and I’ll have you thrown in jail for a year.”

Breathing hard, Thomas stared at his father, at the sagging jowls and the discolored cheeks that came from hard drinking, the cruelty that had etched deep lines around the man’s eyes.

“I’ll tell them about you—how you beat me like an old mule.”

“You think they’d believe you?”

When his father snickered, Thomas’s breath emptied like a punch to the gut.

“I’m a judge and you, well, you’re just a troubled boy who never got over his ma dying.”

From somewhere deep, a roar thundered up Thomas’s torso and erupted. He lurched for the man’s throat. But strong as he was, he could not overpower his father. Another blow made him stagger backward.

Ruth ran to him and tried to stop him. “Please, Tommy, take me away from here. Let’s go.”

Thomas’s father laughed. “You think you’re going to get far? The police will pick you up before you even get over the county line.” He straightened and swaggered back to the truck. In the glare of the headlights he called out, “By tomorrow morning, you’ll be in jail and Ruth will be back where she belongs.”

All true. The police would be looking on every road, every bus station, every train station. At the age of seventeen, the law would say Thomas had no safer place than his parent’s home. And Ruth was only sixteen. After Mrs. Gatling married his father, Ruth would surely have to endure the same kind of beatings Thomas had lived with all his life.

“You can’t beat me, Thomas. I always win.” As if to rub it in, he lifted the corner of his lip like a dog at a fire hydrant.

Thomas’s face drained of expression. His father would win again. There was no way to keep Ruth safe. Except.

The whoosh of Tommy’s pulse surged in his brain, rivaling the roar of the river fifty feet below them. He shut his eyes and saw again the image of his mama’s car as it sailed off the bridge, sailed far away from his father. The river had rescued Mama. It would do the same again.

He looked down at Ruth.

“Please, Tommy, let’s get away.”

Yes, get away. For good.


Friday, April 28, 2017

Easter Ears

Easter Sunday presented me with the reality of focusing on the cross up close and personal once more. Easter weekend causes us to reflect first on the suffering of Christ and then the joy of His resurrection. But, what if there had been no resurrection?

When I met Jesus up close and personal for the first time, I couldn’t stop saying, “Jesus died for me!” Even if I’d been the only person on earth, He still would have gone to the cross. That’s how much He loves us––John 3:16.

Now, the Easter baskets will find their way into closets or storage areas until next year. But, where is Jesus’ place in my home and life after Easter? Will I tuck Him into storage areas of my heart where He will wait patiently at a distance for my attention? Or, will Easter morning be continual in my heart?

This year, I thought about Easter baskets and how to communicate the Easter story to little ones. God
tells us to think like children. “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3 NIV).
  • In my children’s books series, Really RareRabbits, the little rabbits hear someone teaching about Jesus. They listen. They press their ears to the window to hear more. As adults, are we too busy and distracted to listen to God’s voice?
  • Do we press our ears to God’s heavenly window and listen to His voice or have we come away from God’s window and only hear the world’s noise?
  • Even a child can hear the story of the cross and believe. It’s a simple message of love. Jesus came to earth to die for all so that we might live with Him in heaven for eternity––if we only believe. 
Easter is a time of renewal and reflection. Let’s continue to reflect on all Christ did for us on the cross. And, rejoice because he’s not on the cross, He is risen! If He had not risen, we would have no hope of eternal life.

So, let’s determine to press our ears to God’s window and listen to His voice not only on Easter morning but always––with our elbows on heaven’s windowsill and our Easter ears pressed tight like the little rabbits in my stories.

About the Author

Peggy Cunningham is a devotional and children's author and missionary to Bolivia. You can learn more about Peggy and her books, including her latest DANCING LIKE BEES, at her author page at www.WriteIntegrity.com

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

3 Reasons to LOVE April Fool's Day - No 4!

by Marji Laine

Sick of the pranks and jokes and silliness of April Fool's Day? Boy, when I was teaching, I LOVED the times that April 1st fell on the weekend!

But this year, I can't WAIT for April Fool's Day, and I have 4 reasons why ...

Reason #1
COUNTER POINT (a finalist in the Grace Awards) is only 99¢ on April 1st and 2nd. Need a new read? How about a spine-tingling suspense twisted together with a riveting mystery and scintillating romance? That's what you get with COUNTER POINT, all wrapped up with a strong message of faith in a "game" of ultimate power.

Reasons #2, #3, and #4:

Some of my sister authors of mystery and suspense at Write Integrity Press have their books on sale at 99¢ as well. BETTER THAN REVENGE is a riveting romantic suspense with a side of creepy. IMPERFECT TRUST is book 2 of the Cameron Family series and full of action and adventure along with doses of romance and espionage. MISSTEP offers a twisted mystery in a town full of outright oddities that offer out-loud laughs!

Four mystery/suspense novels in four completely different flavors can satisfy your every whim and get your spring starting right!

And all of this is to celebrate the first release from a new suspense series, The Hunted, by one of our newest sister authors, Dena Netherton! HAVEN'S FLIGHT is available for pre-order right now. It is 40% off, only $2.99, until April 3rd. This is an intense suspense with a creepy stalker! And DEFINITELY worthy of your time!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Award Finalists!

Monday, the finalists for the Grace Awards were announced and among them were three of our own!
For best YA (Young Adult) book: Cynthia Toney's 6 DATES TO DISASTER. Here's the short version of the story:
When Wendy's family faces financial hardship, she must find a way to see Mrs. V and Sam again--but will she lose David forever in the process?
For her mom's birthday, Wendy finds an old jewelry box at a flea market--the perfect gift for someone who loves salvaged junk. Inside the box is a cryptic note that appears to have been written recently. Wendy's curiosity leads her on a search with boyfriend David at her side, eager to help. Who wrote the note, and did the intended recipient ever see it?
But Wendy needs more personal and urgent help--the financial kind. Wendy's stepfather has lost his job, and the family's plan to visit Alaska on vacation is headed down the sewer like a hard Louisiana rain. How will Wendy ever see Mrs. V or Sam again?
An opportunity arrives in the form of tutoring Melissa, one of the Sticks, and Wendy's money problems appear to be solved. Until the arrangement takes a turn that gets Wendy into trouble like never before.
In the final months of ninth grade, she might lose everything she counted on for the future.
And for best Action/Adventure book, we have a tie between:

Betty Noyes' IMPERFECT BONDS and Marji Laine's COUNTER POINT. That's going to be a hard choice for some judge! Here are the short versions for these stories:

Some bonds hold strong despite our efforts to break them.
Cassidy Cameron’s life is in a tailspin. Her estranged twin sister hates her. Her family tiptoes around her. She’s lost her driver’s license and any hope of a new job. Worse, the arrogant town deputy who stole her heart wants more than she’s willing to give … or is she the one who wants more from him? And now she’s being threatened by a pair of unsavory ruffians.
Deputy Derek Naughton is stumped and aggravated by a series of malicious pranks around the county. Add in a too-smart German shepherd and a too-sexy troublemaker who also happens to be his best friend’s little sister, and he’s ready to cry uncle.
Derek pulls out his guns instead when Cassie stumbles into a maelstrom of illegal arms deals, illicit drugs, and human trafficking.
This sizzling romantic suspense is chock full of nail-biting,
edge-of-your-seat action.

Someone is determined to finish a murdered hit man's final assignment.
Her father's gone. Her diner's closing. Her car's in the lake. Cat McPherson has nothing left to lose. Except her life. And a madman's bent on taking that away.
Her former boyfriend, Ray Alexander, returns as a hero from his foreign mission, bringing back souvenirs in the form of death-threats. When several attempts are made on Cat’s life, she must find a way to trust Ray, the man who broke her heart.
Keeping Cat safe from a fallen cartel leader might prove impossible for Ray, but after seeing his mission destroyed and several godly people killed, he knows better than to ignore the man’s threats. Cat’s resistance to his protection and the stirring of his long-denied feelings for her complicate his intentions, placing them both in a fight for their lives.
Can she survive when ultimate power wants her dead?

Find all of the finalists at Amazon and information for them at GraceAwardsdotorg.wordpress.com. Winners to be announced May 31. Which would you choose as your favorites?