Tag Archives: fiction

The Contract – between heaven and earth

I’m really excited to have John and Gwen stop by today. I had the honor of being a beta reader on this story, and I think you guys are going to like it.

The CONTRACT between heaven and earth

By John W. Howell & Gwen M. Plano

Thank you, Craig, for inviting us to join you today. We are super excited to be featured on your blog where some of the most imaginative writing takes place. Also, we are so thrilled to meet Lisa Burton. We’ve wanted to try on The Hat, but we promised to be on our best behavior and besides who knows what could happen if we did. Thanks again.

The Contract

Available on Kindle and Paperback

Kindle priced at $0.99 for the introduction.

The CONTRACT is a different story for writers John W. Howell and Gwen M. Plano. For either of them, it is their first attempt at co-authorship. After a year of Hurricane Harvey and other challenges, they have created, what they have termed, an inspirational thriller that bridges heaven and earth.

Here is the blurb:

The earth is threatened with a catastrophic political event which could result in international warfare and destroy all life on the planet. In heaven, a divine council decides that extraordinary measures are essential. They call for an intervention that involves two souls returning to earth. The chosen two sign a contract that they will work to avert the disaster.

Brad Channing, a Navy SEAL, and Sarah O’Brien, a teacher, become heaven’s representatives on earth. The story follows them as they individually and then together face overwhelming obstacles and eventually end up on a strategic Air Force base in California. It is there that they discover a conspiracy to assassinate the President of the United States. The terrorists have a plan for global dominance, and they are determined to complete their mission. Although military leadership appears to have the President’s best interests at heart, it is not clear who can be trusted and who should be feared. The action is rough and tumble as Brad and Sarah try to figure out the culprits for the plot that will turn into a worldwide conflagration unless stopped.

If you enjoy thrillers, this is one with enough twists and adventure to keep you riveted and guessing. If you like your thriller along with a good romance, Brad and Sarah’s initial attraction and eventual love will sustain you as they live out their heavenly and earthly desires.

Trailer

Here is an excerpt.

After a few moments of silence, the general got up and walked over to a double set of windows. He pulled on his chin and appeared taken aback by the information. Then he turned to face Brad, crossed his arms, and leaned back on the window.

“Do you know who arrives in four days, Sailor?”

“No, sir.”

“The President of the United States.”

Brad gulped. “Oh, my God. They sent me here because the bomb has something to do with the President?”

“Sailor, when you went on an op, wasn’t every detail orchestrated?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Didn’t you have diversions in place, to sidetrack the guards?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Your SUV is set to explode at zero-ten-hundred hours in four days. The President will address the base at that time in the ball field. The entire Reconnaissance Wing will congregate on that ball field. Do you understand?”

“I do, sir. Equipped with our nation’s most advanced aircraft, the Reconnaissance Wing provides for our national security.”

“Sailor—” The general smiled. “You may have thought you’d have a few days of vacation here, but you’ll work with me now.”

“Yes, sir. Whatever you need, sir.”

Authors Bio.

John Howell Head shotGwen's headshot

John began his writing as a full-time occupation after an extensive business career. His specialty is thriller fiction novels, but John also writes poetry and short stories. His first book, My GRL, introduces the exciting adventures of the book’s central character, John J. Cannon. The second Cannon novel, His Revenge, continues the adventure, while the final book in the trilogy, Our Justice, launched in September 2016. The last, Circumstances of Childhood is a family life thriller story and launched October 2017. All books are available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions.

John lives in Port Aransas, Texas with his wife and their spoiled rescue pets.

John’s other books.

Available on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/author/johnwhowell

Gwen had a lengthy career in higher education, and it was there that she published her first book, Beyond Boundaries, for students interested in volunteer work in developing countries. After she retired, she wrote her award-winning memoir, Letting Go into Perfect Love.

Gwen lives in Branson, Missouri with her husband.

Gwen’s Books.

Available on Amazon at https://amzn.to/2wdXsrn

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Hodgepodge kind of day

Otto decided to get me up at 5:00 this morning. It really wasn’t in my plan, but Momma put some leftover chicken breast in his bowl, and he knew it was there. He held out as long as he could, then needed to get at it.

Across yesterday and today, I got one shtick out the door for an interview, and scheduled one for July. I have another one to schedule, and two more to move ahead in the queue. One of my guests is a planner, and needs a date in August. I went ahead and scheduled that one too. (I love planners. They can make the interview part of a larger tour.)

I managed about 2000 new words of fiction today too. Yesterday was all about cannons, swords, and action. Today was all about coming down from that. The pirate crew is starting to meld together, and it occurred to me that, as a whole, the crew is also a character. A lot of character building happened today. Fart jokes were made too.

I watched a beautiful horse race today, which led to another Triple Crown Winner. These things are rare, and there may have been as many Popes in my lifetime as Triple Crown Winners. (I’m not taking the time to count.) So excited for Justify and his peeps.

Now I’m hoping my baseball team can pad their lead in the west. This is going to be a tough series, and we’re on the road, but stranger things have happened.

I took a minute to catch up on blogs, and stumbled across some exciting news. Karen O, is the first book reviewer I ever met. Years ago, she was taken by Lisa Burton in her debut novel. She asked me if she could use Lisa in a story she was writing.

Lisa was just lounging around, and I hadn’t come up with tasks for Lisa at the time, so I said yes. Karen serialized this story on her blog, and it was a lot of fun. A while back, she asked me if it might be alright to publish it. I said yes, with no reservations, and encouraged her to do it.

Karen is doing a cover reveal today for her story, Neighbors. Lisa has a small co-starring kind of role in the story. Go visit Karen for more information at this site In A Small Compass.

If I do nothing else, it’s been a productive weekend. I plan on addressing those pending interviews, but we’ll see how it goes.

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One of those days…

The internet has been pretty quiet this week. I noticed the number of posts in my reader is down, and other forms of social media are less active too. Blogging usually slows down for the summer, but Twitter seems to never end. Whatever the reason it’s observable.

I’m in kind of a blue mood. These happen every once in a while. I’d like more sales, more reviews, more of everything. This isn’t unusual, but the summer slowdown seems to be hitting Yak Guy kind of hard. I should have released it a month earlier than I did, or held it for Fall. What’s done is done now. I think it’s a good story, and hopefully folks will read it and feel the same way.

I’ve also been fighting with finances again. This seems to be a recurring battle, and I ought to be used to it now. It makes me have strange ideas about whether publishing my stories is worth it at all. The dream is just to pad my retirement a bit in about eight to ten years. I could easily write my stories and park them in a box somewhere. They make me happy, I feel creative, but it kind of kills the improvement. Readers help me whet the edges and raise my game. Publishing costs money, even if it’s just a cover, and that creates a vicious circle.

My daughter has taken a new job that will send her back to Sun Valley. She loves it over there, and it’s a supervisory position for more money. I hope she can find a place to stay, because Sun Valley isn’t like the rest of the planet. Things are expensive there.

I kind of like Jackson the cat, but he’ll be moving with her. There is one small benefit to this too.

I need to get over my crappy mood and get ready for the weekend. I have piracy to write about, and don’t want to spend the weekend pouting. I found this somewhere on the Internet and it helped a bunch.

Mayhaps I should searcheth around and see where I can buy this needlepoint when I have a few bucks. This is a powerful message, and would look great on my wall somewhere. It’s a good reminder to get over myself and get back to work. I WILL get back to work and put the evil thoughts behind me… by Friday… Saturday at the latest.

 

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That’s a wrap

It was a very productive weekend for me. It didn’t involve any new fiction, but I got a lot done. For three days I worked on interviews for Lisa Burton Radio. I never got them all done either, but I did all I could.

I should be able to move everyone to the next level next weekend. Some of these people have been waiting a long time. I can maintain my schedule without putting all this effort in right now. A couple per week keeps the line moving. However, I’m not patient at all, and don’t want people to think I’ve forgotten them. I shouldn’t expect my guest authors to be patient either.

As far as scheduling goes, if everyone returns the stuff I sent out this weekend, I can schedule interviews through June. I’m trading one logjam for another one, but at least folks will know something is happening.

That’s the funny thing about this slot. It’s feast or famine. It’s entirely possible that sometime in August I’ll be out of authors seeking promotion. It would be great if they would tickle in about one per week. They never do.

Still, it was very productive. I also finished reading a book. I started it on the way home from NOLA, and read 7/8 of it then. A two week gap, forced me to read back a bit, but I finished it. I also wrote a very short review.

Reviews don’t have to be long. A few lines about whether you liked the book, or not, and why, is all it takes. Think about this if you’ve finished a book lately. The review counts, it’s tallied based upon how many stars you gave it, and nobody expects a lengthy book report. These reviews mean a lot to the author.

I found some things on Pinterest and saved them to my Piracy board. I’d love to write about them, but it might take a couple weeks before they hit my story. These involve sea monsters and the like. I’m excited about them, but they will have to wait their turn.

If I can get the rest of the interviews on my flex day, I might get to new fiction on Saturday. Fingers crossed.

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It’s a Milestone

I was brought up to keep quiet about accomplishments. I’ve done that all my life, but it’s kind of counter-productive to all the promotion that comes with being an author.

We all work hard, and it seems like progress is slow. It is there, and it’s harder to observe, but it happens. I’ll walk you into my announcement.

Today was largely dedicated to Lisa Burton Radio. In fact, I accomplished nothing else. I assembled and scheduled two interviews. At one per week, I’m keeping ahead of the game. This is because I know what it feels like to fall behind.

I also sent another shtick out, with one more to go out tomorrow. This is the mid-point of the process. This is how I keep the line moving.

Somewhere along the way I spotted a number in my editor. Remember, this is WordPress we’re talking about here, so there is a bit of uncertainty. The number was 100. From what I can tell, there have been one-hundred episodes of Lisa Burton Radio.

I know it’s possible the number refers to one of the episodes I have scheduled, but that poses the question: When is it appropriate to celebrate?

I choose now.

Lisa Burton

I’ve worked hard to make these interviews into a going concern. The kind of place someone might seek out when promoting their fiction. I kind of feel like I’ve accomplished that.

This isn’t discounting the partnership with all of you. You folks have been wonderful to participate, to use the sharing buttons, and to actually buy the books being showcased. Thank you for all of that, and Lisa thanks you too.

I’ve gotten to work with some amazing authors, and I’ve learned a lot from you.

Thanks also to Sean Harrington, who revamped this image for me on very short notice. He’s been a godsend to me, and I look forward to many more years of working with him.

I’m not going to slack off, but for one night, maybe it’s time to have a glass of whiskey and take some small pleasure in one of the little things. Here’s to the next 100.

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day

I didn’t get some things done, but made good progress on others. I still need to create a couple of shticks for Lisa’s radio show, and I have one more to schedule. That one is weeks out, but the author requested a specific date and I want to accommodate her. I know how I feel when making plans. I would want to know it’s a done deal. It is a done deal, I just need to get on with it.

I dedicated my time to my own fiction. It came to around 3000 words. I don’t have a complete count, but somewhere around that mark. My main character has to cover up one eye, because the townsfolk decided it’s the evil eye. I also created four tiny monsters with more to come. They haven’t even taken to sea yet, and that’s one of my biggest obstacles here. Act one involves the guy trying to live up to his father’s reputation. He will decide to take his own path, and that’s the part that occurs at sea.

Doesn’t sound like a problem, until you think of promoting it as a pirate story. Will people stick with it long enough to get to the parts I advertise? It may be something that sorts itself out in the second or third pass. Right now I have to draft the damned thing.

I might carry those flighty readers along with some symbolism, and an eye patch could be part of that. His eye is fine, but it’s now permanently red. That scares the general population.

I’m also dealing with travels and conversations. This is touchy, because I want to do some world building and have some of these conversations. However, too many campfires and such might irritate some folks. Like I said, this is the draft process

I’d like to work on it tomorrow, but I need to keep up with the promises I made others. I may need to have a Lisa Burton Radio day and be happy about it.

In other news, my bread rose for about 30 hours and turned out awesome. (Awesomely? Is that a word?) Old What’s Her Face bought me a banneton, also called a brotform, for Christmas. This is a special basket for raising free-standing loaves of bread. I’ve never used it before. It helps the loaf retain its shape on the final rise. It also adds a cool spiral shape to the top crust.

Today was the day. I also used my peel and baking stone for this one. Here’s how it turned out, and it was great with our corned beef.

You can see the spirals the basket made before I added the expansion slices. To use the peel, also in the photo, I added some corn meal to it and the baking stone. This isn’t for flavor, it’s to keep things from sticking. My only mistake was taking the bread from the brotform while the oven reached temperature. This gave it time to spread and I should have done it at the last second. Next time: Dump, slice, bake in about five seconds.

It already has a wonderful sour flavor, and that’s the result of the long rise. My bread usually doesn’t develop that until the next day. No idea why.

I’m skipping the Irish whisky tonight. Old What’s Her Face bought me some cool Irish stout from a small brewery. Beer is very Irish too, so I’m not disappointed.

Hope all of you who are celebrating do it with care. We’re staying home and may rent Justice League on TV. Maybe.

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Friday flex-day

I started fairly early this morning. No real reason, it was just time to wake up. I fed the dogs, and my sourdough starter, before taking on my chores. I changed a few lightbulbs and finally updated the clock in my truck while the coffee cooked.

I scheduled Lisa Burton Radio for next week, then scheduled a promotional post of my own for later in the month. I have a group post in a few weeks, and made my minor contribution to that, but it still needs some graphics.

I also went on Pixabay and found some images for my next Story Empire post. It’s a few weeks away, so I can mull the whole thing over, but the images are set aside. I also grabbed a mud image while I was there.

This is the season of mud in the American West. It might not come to pass this year, because winter didn’t amount to much, but it’s still that time of year. Sorry Easterners, I know what you’re going through. I cropped the mud photo and used it for the background image on my blog.

Then I used my feeble art skills and updated my banner. Since mud is a season of change, the banner reflects a coming change too. Lisa’s snow sculpture of The Hat is melting, but it seems to have attracted something else. Perhaps it is a coming change.

I have a gazillion interviews to work through, and I’m not going to kill myself getting to them. A posting schedule of one per week allows me to take a breather here and there.

I should dedicate some time to gearing up for my next promotional push. I’ll probably need some pre-written posts, some victims hosts to send them to, and a plan of some kind.

I’m going to use that time to play with my new project, tentatively called The Voyage of The Lanternfish.

There is a corned beef thawing in the kitchen, and if I time it right, there will be some fresh sourdough to accompany it. My theme is a little here and there this weekend.

I might not make more than an editing pass on Lanternfish. I want to go back and add some color to the cast now that I am more familiar with them. The buxom tavern girl has an embarrassing history, and the runaway slave guy needs fleshed out too.

Wouldn’t be surprised if I add new words before the weekend is over.

I wonder how I’m fixed for Irish Whisky? Maybe I’d better go check.

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