Excerpt: The Gladiator and the Guard

Literature | Posted by Shannon
May 23 2016
An Excerpt From

 

The Gladiator and the Guard

 

written by Annie Douglass Lima

 

cover art by Jack Lin

 

Bensin had been nervous all day. Not just because he was scheduled to fight the Yellows that afternoon. Not just because Ninety-Nine was scheduled to fight too, possibly at the same time. Not just because Gile had decided to do something different this weekend and give the audience a little extra excitement.

The “something different” was definitely worth being nervous about, though. Six separate martial arts were being featured today. A total of twenty-four glads from the two arenas would be fighting, each using his personal favorite weapon or style of unarmed combat. Members of the audience would be chosen to draw numbers, which would determine the order in which each glad would join the melee. Every five minutes, a new glad would be picked from each side, and they would fight as long as they could. When one was disarmed or too badly wounded to continue, he would retreat, but the victor would stay and keep fighting whatever other opponents were still out there. Depending on who was picked when, and how the battle was going when they were brought in, it was a good guess that things would be pretty uneven for a lot of people a lot of the time.

All of that made Bensin anxious, but he had another worry as well. This would be his first battle out on the sand since his new resolution. He still hadn’t figured out if or how he could possibly be the kind of person he had chosen to be when he was fighting. Would he be able to disarm an opponent, or possibly multiple opponents, without injuring them? Would it mean he had to let someone else beat him? Might it mean that he would end up injured, himself — or perhaps even killed?

That’s going to happen eventually, he reminded himself as he jogged on the treadmill. Won’t it be best to die in a way that involves standing up for who I am and what I believe is right, and not letting the arena force me into violence?

But Bensin still wasn’t quite sure about that. I can just wait and see how it goes. I don’t have to make the decision now.

But he knew that wouldn’t work. There wouldn’t be time to stop and think about it in the middle of a battle. He had to make up his mind beforehand and then stick to it. What’s the point in deciding I’m going to be a certain way if I don’t keep it up when things get hard? But how exactly could a person not be violent when he was fighting for his life?

 

Bensin, a teenage slave and martial artist, is just one victory away from freedom. But after he is accused of a crime he didn’t commit, he is condemned to the violent life and early death of a gladiator. While his loved ones seek desperately for a way to rescue him, Bensin struggles to stay alive and forge an identity in an environment designed to strip it from him. When he infuriates the authorities with his choices, he knows he is running out of time. Can he stand against the cruelty of the arena system and seize his freedom before that system crushes him?

Click here to order The Gladiator and the Guard in Kindle format from Amazon
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Click here to order The Gladiator and the Guard from Smashwords (for Nook or in other digital formats) 
for $2.99 a discounted price of just 99 cents through May 30th!

 

Annie Douglass Lima spent most of her childhood in Kenya and later graduated from Biola University in Southern California. She and her husband Floyd currently live in Taiwan, where she teaches fifth grade at Morrison Academy. She has been writing poetry, short stories, and novels since her childhood, and to date has published twelve books (two YA action and adventure novels, four fantasies, a puppet script, and five anthologies of her students’ poetry). Besides writing, her hobbies include reading (especially fantasy and science fiction), scrapbooking, and international travel.

 

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Summer, Intellectuals, Imbeciles

History, Misc., Personal | Posted by Shannon
May 16 2016

Summer is here early, and I don’t say that because of the weather, which is, at this particular place and time, overcast, rainy, and certainly no warmer than 60. I say it because the school year is over and done, and I’m settling into summer routines. My job takes less time than the classes, with attendant tests and papers, I’ve been occupying myself with since January, so now I’m turning to other things. Writing queries, a short story or two, an epic hermit crab essay. This blog.

I also have a summer reading list, which consists solely of books that possess these two qualities: (1) I choose them; (2) I don’t have to write papers about them. The first of these books is Imbeciles, which is not what it sounds like.

The book title is taken from a declaration made by Supreme Court justice Oliver Wendell Holmes regarding the case Buck v. Bell: “Three generations of imbeciles are enough.” With the ruling of Buck v. Bell, the Supreme Court upheld the forced sterilization of the socially unfit – those deemed criminal, insane, or “feeble-minded”. This is eugenic sterilization, the elimination of undesirable genes through sterilizing undesirable people, and it is now largely forgotten. A hundred years ago, however, it was being mandated in American law.

I am about one third of the way through Imbeciles. I’ve just finished reading about an expert witness called in to support the forced sterilization of Carrie Buck, the young woman at the center of Buck v. Bell. This expert never met, let alone examined, Carrie, or her mother and daughter – the first and third of the supposed three generations of imbeciles. He did, however, request comprehensive data regarding her genealogy, blood relatives, and their literacy, social status, mental test records, and physical and mental development.

What strikes me is that, before testifying that a young woman should be sterilized by the government, he wanted to see her family records, but he never wanted to see her. He was interested only in data, facts and figures about people without faces. It occurs to me that it is through this divorce between data and people that intellectuals get themselves into trouble.

And their victims.

Movie Review: Peanuts

Culture | Posted by Shannon
May 09 2016

I am back! Where have I been? Well, that’s a long story. I will only say, for now, that with finals week behind me, I hope to be posting more often. And I will begin with this review of a movie I now regret not catching in theater.

 

Who hasn’t seen it – Snoopy balancing a typewriter on his doghouse, Linus with his blanket, Charlie Brown decked by a fast ball on his own pitcher’s mound? These are all unforgettable images, imprinted on our culture’s memory.

But who has seen all these things in 3-D computer animation? Because, thanks to The Peanuts Movie, now we all can.

The Peanuts Movie, released last year, takes up this challenge: How do animators change Schulz’s comic into a computer-animated movie, while retaining its style and its appeal? This challenge is paralleled by the greater one faced by the writers – how to remain faithful to the old, great comic without simply repeating it. The specials were short, and this full-length movie requires a greater adaption than they did, a greater bending to the requirements and limitations of a different art form.

The makers of Peanuts meet both challenges with considerable skill. The film translates the style of the comic into 3-D; the characters look like themselves, and their world looks like the one Schulz created for them. Beyond its visual style, the film draws so much inspiration from the comic that every moment is suffused with it. Watching the movie, you can feel the comic.

And yet just enough is new. Movies, unlike comics, demand to be unified into one story, and the filmmakers provided this unification through the little red-haired girl. The story, although episodic in structure, is held together by the thread of Charlie Brown’s single purpose to impress her. The episodes, although never directly copied from the comics, all have their antecedents in the book reports, school adventures, and sports that Charles Schulz used so richly.

Some characters, most notably Charlie Brown and Snoopy, have been subtly changed. Charlie Brown spends most of the film as star-crossed as ever, always trying to be the hero and somehow always ending up the goat. Yet his failures are more dignified here than in the comic; it is hard to imagine Schulz giving Charlie Brown as much ability as this movie does, or as much meaning in his losses. Charlie Brown, in the film, loses a school competition because of an act of kindness; in the comic, it would have been because of something less meaningful, more random, more darkly comical.

Here, as in the comic strips, Snoopy is distinguished chiefly by the fantasies that so far outstrip his actual position in the world, and by his own unawareness of that fact. He is, however, far kinder to Charlie Brown, helping him and rooting for him throughout the film. Snoopy’s obliviousness to Charlie Brown, whom he thinks of as “the round-headed kid”, is removed from the movie. He yields the dance floor to Charlie Brown where Schulz, funnier and harsher, would have had him beat his owner to win the dance with the little red-haired girl.

This general softening goes beyond the characters to the story itself. The ending held a victory Charlie Brown never, in fifty years, achieved in the comics. This is partially, no doubt, because comic strips go on and movies end, and the unified story must have an ending to match. But it is also, no doubt, part of a judgment that the comic was a little too sad, Charlie Brown a little too inadequate, his world a little too cruel.

Schulz’s Peanuts was never truly jaded, never reached the bitterness or cynicism of some modern comics. Yet it is, in certain moments, more achingly sad than any of them, and running jokes like Charlie Brown’s always-bad baseball team seem to reflect this same blue measure of the world. The movie’s alleviation of this sadness is its one true departure from the comic. Other alterations, such as putting Peppermint Patty in the same school as Charlie Brown, are mere compression for the sake of time.

The Peanuts Movie is an accomplished retelling of Schulz’s great comic strip, successfully exchanging the art form of a comic for the art form of a movie. It is both funny and touching, and if less profound than the comic, it still provides that moment of satisfaction that the comic never did.

That moment where Charlie Brown finally wins.

Good Friday

Literature, Religion | Posted by Shannon
Mar 25 2016

A Good Friday Excerpt of
Orthodoxy
by G. K. Chesterton

The grinding power of the plain words of the Gospel story is like the power of mill-stones; and those who can read them simply enough will feel as if rocks had been rolled upon them. Criticism is only words about words; and of what use are words about such words as these? What is the use of word-painting about the dark garden filled suddenly with torchlight and furious faces? ‘Are you come out with swords and staves as against a robber? All day I sat in your temple teaching, and you took me not.’ Can anything be added to the massive and gathered restraint of that irony; like a great wave lifted to the sky and refusing to fall? ‘Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me but weep for yourselves and for your children.’ As the High Priest asked what further need he had of witnesses, we might well ask what further need we have of words. Peter in a panic repudiated him: ‘and immediately the cock crew; and Jesus looked upon Peter, and Peter went out and wept bitterly.’ Has anyone any further remarks to offer. Just before the murder he prayed for all the murderous race of men, saying, ‘They know not what they do’; is there anything to say to that, except that we know as little what we say? Is there any need to repeat and spin out the story of how the tragedy trailed up the Via Dolorosa and how they threw him in haphazard with two thieves in one of the ordinary batches of execution; and how in all that horror and howling wilderness of desertion one voice spoke in homage, a startling voice from the very last place where it was looked for, the gibbet of the criminal; and he said to that nameless ruffian, ‘This night shalt thou be with me in Paradise’? Is there anything to put after that but a full stop? Or is anyone prepared to answer adequately that farewell gesture to all flesh which created for his Mother a new Son? …

The mob went along with the Sadducees and the Pharisees, the philosophers and the moralists. It went along with the imperial magistrates and the sacred priests, the scribes and the soldiers, that the one universal human spirit might suffer a universal condemnation; that there might be one deep, unanimous chorus of approval and harmony when Man was rejected of men.

There were solitudes beyond where none shall follow. There were secrets in the inmost and invisible part of that drama that have no symbol in speech; or in any severance of a man from men. Nor is it easy for any words less stark and single-minded than those of the naked narrative even to hint at the horror of exaltation that lifted itself above the hill. Endless expositions have not come to the end of it, or even to the beginning. And if there be any sound that can produce a silence, we may surely be silent about the end and the extremity; when a cry was driven out of that darkness in words dreadfully distinct and dreadfully unintelligible, which man shall never understand in all the eternity they have purchased for him; and for one annihilating instant an abyss that is not for our thoughts had opened even in the unity of the absolute; and God had been forsaken of God.


Review: Dragon’s Rook

Book Reviews | Posted by Shannon
Mar 13 2016

A border war is, or should be, a simple thing. Two kingdoms want land, to the point of battles and blood; they fight it out, until one gets the land and the other finally goes home. Tragic, as we all know, but straightforward.

But in the war Dissonay and Skarda wage over the unclaimed Territories, nothing is straightforward. Beyond the dispute over the land is a riven family, rumors of an unfaithful queen and brothers-in-law turned against each other and cousins crossing swords to the death. Further yet, a more distant kinship is the heart of a more ancient feud, where lost heirs and lost swords are menaces to the Mad King. And at the furthest edges, old, inhuman powers reach hands into human battles.

In Dragon’s Rook, Keanan Brand spins a complex and epic tale. The novel is high fantasy, of an old-fashioned flavor. There are bits of an invented language, and the story is more multi-threaded than I see in most contemporary fantasy (excepting works by Stephen Lawhead, an old-fashioned author in his own right).

The book itself is long for a modern novel – just breaking 500 pages. A second book will finish the story. It might have been possible to shorten Dragon’s Rook and create a duology, and I salute the author for not doing so. Dragon’s Rook ends in a good place as it is, with its climaxes and converging story lines. Additionally – I will confess it – I have seen so many trilogies, a duology spices things up a bit.

Dragon’s Rook features a large cast of characters, all realistically drawn and many vivid as well. Relatively few got under my skin, but they did exist: Maggie, Yanamari, Mad Morfran and, to a lesser extent, Kieran and Rhon. I felt a couple more would have, had they been given the stage for it. The plot moves through many dangers, and the author lets this take its toll on the characters. A number die, and not only throwaway characters. I am inclined to think too many died. But the author’s willingness to discard characters has its upside, most notably in paving the way for a brilliant new villain.

This novel possesses a strong religious element. Characters struggle with questions of suffering, God’s will, and their own free will. Unlike much Christian fantasy, the outward forms of religion are built into this world: churches (called kirks), priests, religious signs, funeral rituals. Superstitions and a dark, sorcerous order are also part of the religious landscape. In this, as in other ways, the world-building is realistic and thorough.

Although the book is not generally graphic, there are grisly moments. I found one scene hard to bear. The large cast, though mostly a strength, had a negative side in that the characters were sometimes hard to keep track of. It wasn’t always easy, for example, to distinguish one secondary member of the Fourth Lachmil from another.

Dragon’s Rook is strongly written, with beautiful phrases and evocative descriptions. It is a complex epic, drawing its characters from many different corners to face the revival of old hostilities, old legends, and old hopes. Recommended to all lovers of high fantasy.

Story Excerpt: Adela’s Curse

Culture, Literature | Posted by Shannon
Mar 07 2016

Adelas Curse cover

 

“Adela, would you like to dance?” Rafael asked.

“Oh, I don’t…” Adela stammered.

“Of course you do,” Lidia said. “Please help me escape him.”

Rafael rolled his eyes comically at her and took Adela’s hand, leading her out onto the dance floor.

“Did Lidia make your necklace?” he asked. “She’s quite talented,” he continued after receiving Adela’s nod.

“I’ve seen the carvings you make,” Adela said. “Lidia might even have one.”

“Really?” Rafael said with interest.

“But I could be wrong.”

Rafael laughed. “You tease me! And what else can you do?”

“I have the amazing talent of being able to wiggle my ears,” Adela said seriously, and Rafael laughed again, spinning her as the dance ended.

“Lidia says that your singing puts the birds to shame,” he said.

“If she means that I can twitter quite excellently, then yes.”

Rafael’s laughter seemed ever present. “You continue to amaze me. Would you consider singing tonight? I would love to hear you.”

“I see you and Lidia have been scheming,” Adela said. She loved singing but not in front of a crowd like this!

“Alas, I cannot deny that,” Rafael sighed heavily. He escorted her through the dancers and back to Lidia.

“Your friend is quite charming; a welcome relief from your constant nagging,” Rafael told Lidia.

“What? You cannot stomach hearing your own voice repeated back to you?” Lidia asked.

“I was not aware that my voice sounded like nails on rock.”

“That’s because no one has had the heart to tell you. No doubt they are too busy swooning and stroking your ego.”

“I have an ego?”

“With a hat like that, who wouldn’t?”

 

 

Adela’s Curse

A curse. A murderous scheme. A choice.

A witch and her master capture a young faery and command her to kill their enemy. Adela has no choice but to obey. If she does not, they will force the location of her people’s mountain home from her and kill her. To make matters even worse, the person she is to kill is only a man struggling to save his dying land and mend a broken heart.

Count Stefan is a man simply trying to forget the woman he loves and save a land crippled by drought. When a mysterious woman arrives at his castle claiming to be a seamstress, he knows she is more than she seems.

Adela enlists the help of Damian, another faery, to try and delay the inevitable. He insists she has a choice. But with the witch controlling her every move, does she?

 

Find Adela’s Curse on Goodreads

 

The Blog Tour

 

Claire Banschbach was born and raised in Midland, TX, the fourth of eight children. She was homeschooled through high school and is now a proud member of the Texas A&M University class of 2014. She is currently working on her Doctorate of Physical Therapy at Texas Tech University Health Science Center. She continues to write in her spare time (and often when she doesn’t have spare time). She hopes her strong foundation in God will help to guide her writing.
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Cover Reveal: Adela’s Curse

Literature | Posted by Shannon
Feb 18 2016

Adelas Curse cover

A witch and her master capture a young faery and command her to kill their enemy. Adela has no choice but to obey. If she does not, they will force the location of her people’s mountain home from her and kill her. To make matters even worse, the person she is to kill is only a man struggling to save his dying land and mend a broken heart.

Count Stefan is a man simply trying to forget the woman he loves and save a land crippled by drought. When a mysterious woman arrives at his castle claiming to be a seamstress, he knows she is more than she seems.

Adela enlists the help of Damian, another faery, to try and delay the inevitable. He insists she has a choice. But with the witch controlling her every move, does she?

 

Find AdelAdd to Goodreadsa’s Curse on Goodreads 

 

 

Author Bio

Claire Banschbach was born and raised in Midland, TX, the fourth of eight children. She was homeschooled through high school and is now a proud member of the Texas A&M University class of 2014. She is currently working on her Doctorate of Physical Therapy at Texas Tech University Health Science Center. She continues to write in her spare time (and often when she doesn’t have spare time). She hopes her strong foundation in God will help to guide her writing. 

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From the Office of Cooking Experiments

Culture, Misc. | Posted by Shannon
Feb 07 2016

The Office of Cooking Experiments – lately released from the kitchen, which is why there is flour in our hair – is pleased to once again offer our cooking wisdom to you, the amateur cook who frankly needs it. We get our wisdom the old-fashioned way, through experience. We also get our experience the old-fashioned way, through lack of wisdom. “We make mistakes so you don’t have to,” that’s our motto.

Today’s topic is safety. Safety is, of course, of first and greatest importance, and we wish we had thought of it before now. On the expectation that it is not too late, we now present safety tips to be observed while you are also observing our cooking tips. We preface these tips with a brief reminder, sprung from sincere concern and a desire to protect: We are not legally liable for anything.

And now, fellow cooks, the tips:

When you cook, make sure the smoke alarm is turned off. Smoke alarms tend to be sensitive contraptions, liable to go off if you broil chicken or fry potatoes or even just boil water. Consequently, smoke alarms are always crying wolf (metaphorically speaking), and the members of your household become conditioned to roll their eyes in annoyance whenever they hear the smoke alarm go off. This is unsafe. You don’t want your loved ones assuming, whenever the smoke alarm sounds, that you are merely cooking. You want them assuming that something may be wrong. And if those two are the same in your household, we clarify: “something wrong to the point of maybe involving the fire department.”

EXCEPTION: This advice is predicated on the assumption that you remain in the kitchen. If you are one of those cooks who routinely leave to check the mailbox, do laundry, find a book, nap, etc., then you should definitely leave the smoke alarm on. It will signal you when it is time – high time, in fact – to be heading back.

Remain vigilant, spatula in hand, whenever broiling something that requires only a few minutes to roast. We are thinking of pecans, for example, or granola. Remember: If it is done at seven minutes, it is hopelessly burnt at eleven minutes, and at fifteen minutes it bursts into flames.

If, while you are boiling chicken, a flame starts in the burner, do not attempt to put it out by covering the burner with the lid that was on the pot. Having been on the pot, that lid is now splattered with chicken grease as well as water. Have you ever seen what flames do when exposed to grease? Shoom.

Before carrying around a heavy marble rolling pin, ensure that the handle is fully intact. If the handle is not intact, it may suddenly break, and the marble rolling pin will with unerring accuracy land on your foot. If you are lucky, no bone will break; rather, your skin will turn several impressive and unnatural shades, and your foot will be sore for weeks. And if this happens on Christmas, particularly that Christmas where you were already nursing a moderate-to-severe cold, your Christmas will be pretty much over; all that is left, after you finish whatever you needed the stupid rolling pin for in the first place, is to go to bed.

But enough with bitter memories. Our point is that you should remain safe in all your adventures in cookery, and this requires simple precautions and, in certain crucial moments, quick thinking. And if a speedy exit is ever absolutely necessary, the back door is always located very near the stove.

Prism Tours Grande Finale: When Love Matters Most

Culture | Posted by Shannon
Jan 17 2016

On Tour with Prism Book Tours.

Book Tour Grand Finale for

 
When Love Matters Most

 
By Kate James

Now More Readily Available in Print

This is an exciting time for Harlequin Heartwarming. Thanks to the loyalty of our readers, for the first time, our January releases, including When Love Matters Most, are available as mass-market paperbacks through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Harlequin.com. Also, When Love Matters Most will be available in select Walmart stores in the United States in February! Please check the Harlequin website for the location nearest you. Thank you to all our readers who made these advancements possible for us!

— Kate

We hope you found out more about the characters and the research behind the K-9 Trilogy, and also enjoyed all the reviews! If you missed any of the stops, go back and check them out now…

 

“I especially enjoyed the various elements to this story. There’s a mystery/suspense angle that plays well into the romantic angle, which is complicated. I enjoyed the family relationships, the new friendships, and the loyalty to each. This is definitely a series I plan on continuing to read!”

Becky on Books – Interview

 
What inspired you to write this book?
 

I have tremendous respect and appreciation for law enforcement personnel who dedicate their lives to keeping us safe, and I love all animals, with a particular fondness for dogs. Combining these two things, the K-9 trilogy was a natural outcome for me.

Sunrise Avenue – Review

 

“Still, ‘When Love Matters Most’ is a heartwarming novel. They’ve got that part down pat! The content is clean and still romantic. Madison is a strong female character and Rick is a man with jaded past and a big heart. Together they tackle obstacles and come to realize that perhaps what is matters most, is love. :)”

 

“A sweet romance with a dash of suspense, When Love Matters Most gives another fascinating peek inside the world of police dogs and their handlers. While it starts out a bit heavy on narrative, the dialogue eventually evens out and the pace flows smoothly from there. Kate James has obviously done her research, and readers will appreciate K-9 officers on a whole new level after reading When Love Matters Most.”

 

“This engaging and entertaining story will delight readers, along with fun and easily-relatable characters. I would recommend this story to readers that enjoy contemporary novels with a mix of romance and mystery thrown in.”

 

“Overall, this was a good book. I enjoyed it from beginning to end. It was good to get to know Rick and Madison and also to see the characters from the previous book in this series. I’m looking forward to the next book!”

deal sharing aunt – Interview

 

What would you like my readers to know?

 

I would like your readers to know how much I sincerely appreciate that they choose to spend their valuable and limited leisure time reading this post or one of my books. I am also very grateful when a reader posts a review or reaches out to me to let me know how they enjoyed one of my books.

Colorimetry – Ten Character Traits of A Veterinarian

 

Madison Long, the heroine from When Love Matters Most, is a veterinarian. Not only is she the primary caregiver for the San Diego Police Department’s police service dogs, she is conducting ground-breaking research involving platelet-rich plasma therapy, to help animals heal from injury.

I Am A Reader – Ten Reasons to be a K-9 Officer

 

Rick Vasquez, the hero from When Love Matters Most, is a sergeant with the San Diego Police Department’s K-9 Unit. His job is to thwart drug trafficking. He’s been partnered with narcotics detection canine, Sniff, since he joined the K-9 Unit. Rick and Sniff are as close as is possible for any person and dog to be. Here are ten reasons why it’s advantageous to be a K-9 officer working with a police service dog partner.

Mel’s Shelves – Review

 

“I loved watching their relationship develop! It felt natural and they had some great conversations. Those did lead to a huge issue that came between them and I honestly wasn’t sure if they would be able to resolve it. There was also mystery and suspense in this book, which made me love it even more. I loved this book from beginning to end!”

 

Slice of Life – Review

 

“The author shows knowledge concerning K-9 Units, and she has artfully woven police business together with a romantic story. When Love Matters Most is a book that’s difficult to put down, and I can honestly say this is my favorite of the Kate James novels I’ve read so far.”

 

“Another great one that wrenches at your heartstrings! The 2nd book in The K-9 Trilogy did not disappoint. I loved meeting Rick and Madison and it was great to see Cal & Jessica again from the first book in the series.”

Falling Leaves – Review

“When Love Matters Most is a story that touches the reader so closely that this book was so easy to fall in love with. I really like the characters because of their heartwarming personality.”

underneath the covers – Heroes Chat

To celebrate our releases, we decided to bring our heroes together to talk about the challenges law enforcement officers face sustaining relationships. As our scene opens, K-9 Unit sergeant Rick Vasquez, the hero from When Love Matters Most, is nursing a beer at Buster’s Beach House Bar in San Diego, after having broken off with his love, veterinarian Madison Long. Unexpectedly, he sees FBI Hostage Rescue Team (HRT) agent Kylie McKenzie, who Rick had met a number of years ago when he and his narcotics detection dog, Sniff, assisted the FBI with a drug-related hostage case…

Teatime and Books – Researching the K-9 Trilogy

Having had only a passing knowledge of police service dogs through a friend who used to be a handler, I knew I had to do research, and it turned out to be a lot of fun….After securing the requisite security clearance and necessary approvals, I had the great pleasure of spending a considerable amount of time with PC Jim Hilton of Ontario’s York Regional Police.

Rockin’ Book Reviews – Character Descriptions & Reviews

Enrique (Rick) Vasquez, alias Pitbull, is a sergeant with the San Diego Police Department’s K-9 Unit. His job is to thwart drug trafficking. He’s been partnered with narcotics detection canine, Sniff, since he joined the K-9 unit. Rick was born in Mexico to parents deeply immersed in the drug trade…

“You will be cheered, mesmerized, enraptured, captivated and more with Kate James New Novel, ‘When Love Matters Most!'”

Enthralling Dimple – Excerpt

Enrique flinched at the burst of gunfire. That slight motion nearly made him lose his balance. He’d been hiding in the corner of his closet for a while, as high up as possible, bracing himself with his back against one wall and his feet against the facing wall. It wasn’t the first time he’d hidden there, trying to avoid discovery, but at twelve he was almost too big to fit. His muscles spasmed from the exertion. He rubbed his thigh, trying to get the blood circulating.

“Would I recommend this book? You bet. Anyone can read it and I think that they should. Crisp writing, great characters and a plot that is revelant today. Plus, its just a great romance. “

When Love Matters Most (The K-9 Trilogy, #2)When Love Matters Most
(K-9 Trilogy #2)
by Kate James
Adult Contemporary Romance
Paperback & ebook, 368 pages
January 1st 2016 by Harlequin Heartwarming

Keeping her safe at all costs

Could their backgrounds be any more different? Rick Vasquez, a K-9 unit sergeant with the San Diego Police Department, fled drug-related violence in Mexico as a boy. Madison Long, who recently became primary veterinarian to the SDPD’s canines, is the privileged daughter of a judge. Rick has dedicated his life to curtailing cross-border drug trafficking and preventing other young boys from being drawn into the dark world of the cartels.

But everything Rick and Madison value, and the growing love between them, is threatened by the dangers of Rick’s job, and the risks he’s determined to take…

Kate James spent much of her childhood abroad before attending university in Canada. She built a successful business career, but her passion has always been literature. As a result, Kate turned her energy to her love of the written word. Her writing has been recognized with a number of awards, including first place honors for Silver Linings in both the First Coast Romance Writers’ Published Beacon Contest and Ancient City Romance Authors’ Heart of Excellence Readers’ Choice Award. Her November 2014 Harlequin Heartwarming release, A Child’s Christmas, received first-place honors from Southern Magic, the Birmingham Chapter of the Romance Writers of America, for the 2015 Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, placed second in the Ancient City Romance Authors’ Heart of Excellence Readers’ Choice Award, and was a finalist in RWA’s Desert Rose Chapter’s Golden Quill Award and the Colorado Romance Writers’ Award of Excellence. Finally, her October 2015 release, When the Right One Comes Along, the first book in her K-9 trilogy, has received a Best Book of 2015 award in the contemporary category.

She and her husband, Ken, enjoy traveling and the outdoors with their beloved Labrador Retrievers, Harley and Logan.

Kate would love to hear from you! You can connect with her by e-mail, through her website, her Facebook page, Twitter, or mail at PO Box 446, Schomberg, ON, L0G 1T0, Canada.

 

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New Year’s Salutation

Misc. | Posted by Shannon
Jan 01 2016

New Year's 2016

So now we’ve had the countdown to the New Year, the confetti, the ball dropping, the calendar change. It all adds up to one thing.

We’re doing this year thing again.

So Happy New Year. I hope this New Year’s finds you happy and well, and that you carry with you every blessing and joy of the old year. May troubles fade and happiness bloom, and may your opportunities to do good and to know good be rich and many. May you be kept in God’s grace, and go forward in His providence.

Happy New Year, to everyone. Good luck.

God bless.

 

New Year's