Friday, August 31, 2012

Steven Manchester Takes Us Where All Must Go...

"Doctor Olivier was a white-haired gent with a moustache trimmed a half-inch off his top lip, betraying his military background. With a white coat to match, his stethoscope swung freely from his thick neck. He had large hands with perfectly manicured fingernails. It's strange the things you pick up when somebody's about to invade your private parts. "Don," he began in his calm, no-nonsense approach, "I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news, have colon cancer." He opened the folder for more details.
"I felt like he'd just punched me in the gut. 'I what?' I asked, one octave higher than normal.
"The rectal bleeding, weight loss, abdominal pain and the fact that your stools have become longer and more narrow are all symptoms...
" A bolt of panic, generating from my core, shot out and filled every cell of my body. My extremities began to tingle and my breathing turned shallow. There was a sudden pain in my chest and I knew intuitively that this was felt for my wife. What's Bella going to do? I wondered, and a wave of dizziness nearly pushed me off the table. Then, I must have gone into some kind of shock or something. I kept eye contact, but for a while all I heard was a hum; the occasionaol phrase dancing in and out.
"...trace amounts of blood. Blah. Blah. Blah. ...blockages preventing bowel movements. Blah. Blah. Blah. ...consumption of red meat, obesity, smoking. Blah. Blah. ...stage four. Blah. Blah' There was a long pause. 'Do you understand what I'm saying, Don?' he finally asked..."
Twelve Months

By Steven Manchester

I first met Steven Manchester through his book, Pressed Pennies! (Check out my review). I still remember the book's title and it brings the book to mind. Titles are important, but they don't necessarily guide you in knowing what a book will be about. Indeed, I thought Twelve Months was a thriller. And, you know what, in many ways it is! Just not the type of thriller I'd expected...

His name is Don DiMarco, but it could have just as easily been...yours! At my age, it was easy to put myself in Don's place. My mother had lived with me during her last years and I had oftened sat and watched her chest to ensure she was still breathing...just as I now watch for signs in my own life... But Don was not my age. He had retired early, at 57, to spend time with his loved ones. He was also like me in that, we are both thinkers--those that spend time on reflection, our lives, our relationships. Are you like that?

Maybe not now. But what if you were given 12 months to live?

That's right, Don's doctors told him to "get his affairs in order" and they would do the best they could to make it easy for him...

I was still working at 57, although I did retire early due to Job Burnout. But, I wasn't even thinking about death at that time. Don hadn't been either. And I'm assuming you haven't either...

Don DiMarco did not immediately start to get his affairs in order. He began a celebration--a year of celebration for he and his family. A joyful, loving time of togetherness! Readers, you've just got to read about that year!

You may have seen The Bucket List several years ago and even created your own bucket list--things you want to do before you die. The movie was a comedy and with the two characters, I am sure anybody who saw it would have enjoyed it...laughed, had fun...

But, you see, when you read a book, you are not just seeing the list of things being done. You see and read about what the main character is thinking--you feel his pain, you know when he sets it aside to go on sharing with his grandchildren, craving each and every minute that he still has to give them precious memories and show how much he loved them...

You learn about how Don's family felt, what and how they responded, and how they showed Don their love...

Yes, Don had a list of things he'd always wanted to do...some were fun things, some were to create memories. It was only his wife, in the privacy of their moments together than Don allowed her to share in how badly he was hurting, how quickly deterioration was occurring.

There may be other books out there about death and dying. But I have never had the privilege of sharing a loved one's death. Even my mother thankfully died in her sleep, having had the Lord take her with no pain. But that doesn't happen to everybody. Your family's medical history may allow you to mentally think through what might happen. But Manchester's novel takes us to the time and place where death is imminent for Don DiMarco and his family...

You will experience his fear, his pain, his regret--but, so much more, you will experience the ability each of us will have--to joyfully celebrate those final days, months, or years, knowing that we can face death head on--and make it bow down to what we are willing to do during those days. Plan right now to celebrate with your loved  ones as death calls... Read Twelve Months by Steven Manchester and learn what is possible... Yes, I said "learn" because for many of us, we live each day not thinking about anything but getting through that day. Manchester has a special gift, in addition to his wonderful writing, in being able to take us into the intimate moments that occur in our lives. He forces us to realize that there are alternatives to giving in to pain, for instance--to choose life up to the very moment of death!

Memorable, obviously, but unforgettable in its potential for each of us. A thriller? You bet! The thrill of experiencing your own 12 months... I pray that each reader will take the opportunity I've had. Thank you Steven Manchester for writing this book...


Steven Manchester is the published author of Twelve Months, Pressed Pennies, The Unexpected Storm: The Gulf War Legacy and Jacob Evans, as well as several books under the pseudonym, Steven Herberts. His work has appeared on NBC's Today Show, CBS's The Early Show, CNN's American Morning and BET's Nightly News. Recently, three of Steven's short stories were selected "101 Best" for Chicken Soup for the Soul series. When not spending time with his beautiful wife, Paula, or his four children, this Massachusetts author is promoting his works or writing. Visit:

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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Who Is She? The Woman Sharing Her Secret? Shhhh...

"I loaded myself into my car after everyone had
left, and headed off to the beach. This time of day,
no one was there. School and work took most
people away during the week. The beach was
deserted, all mine, and I took my time finding the
perfect place where I thought I could see him if he
did show up. I had nothing to go on, not one thing
I could use to my advantage. A plan has to have a
course of action--in fact my plan was so full of
holes that anyone in their right mind would not
even have tried to carry it out. But I wasn't in my
right mind. Here I was, waiting, like a spider ready
to pounce on her prey. Thinking logically was not
going to factor into this action. All day I waited,
watched. When the sun started to set, I knew it
was time to head home. Of course, I had not seen
him...I thought for certain my perfect plan would
have worked. Instantly, my mood changed. I had
never felt this down before. This stranger, this
unknown person, even controlled my mood..." 

The Puppet's Secret

By Alex Samms

There is one issue I want to note as part of my review...this is not a full-length novel. I didn't notice the page count when I accepted the book and confirm that I don't normally read and review what would be called a short story or novella, depending upon your definition. What that  means is that the story has one main theme and no subplots...I read it in one sitting... Provided only for your information...

However, once said, I immediately point out that this author has a true sense of drama and suspense in her writing! I understand this was her first published story so I certainly do commend her and hope she will consider adding to this story or continue to write in the psychological romantic suspense genre she's provided to readers in The Puppet's Secret.

Have you ever been obsessed? Truly obsessed? I don't think I have so it was very intriguing to have a woman share her secret with me... If I had not been reading her story, but rather sitting across from her, I would have talked with her, tried to help her see that she was not being logical, that she maybe needed to talk to a doctor... But she did seem to realize it...some of the time...but then...

I'm not even going to identify her, other than to say she's in her late 40s, married with children. I got the impression her marriage was not the greatest, but maybe it was just all in her imagination...

Did she want to have an affair? That would have made more sense and I could have talked to her about how friendships sometimes go too far...

But she didn't know the man she had fallen in love with. She had never seen him before, they had never spoken. He had passed her one day when she was on the beach. And he was with a beautiful woman with whom he seemed to be totally involved...

That woman didn't matter. She knew that once he saw her that everything would be all right. After all, that is always what happened in her romance books...

Enter the mind of an unhappy woman if you dare... Is the secret she has shared true? Or just her imagination?  Readers, let me know what you think? I just wish I could have talked to her--tried to help. Would you have wanted to stop her? Can you beat an obsession? Is an obsession a form of insanity?

This story is very thought-provoking! You may have seen at least one TV movie where another woman was obsessed. Something about cooking a pet rabbit... You remember the one... If you enjoyed that theme, then you'll want to read The Puppet's Secret by Alex Samms...

Highly recommended for readers of romantic psychological suspense...


About the author: (No picture Available)

The inspiration for this novel came from Alex Samms imagination alone, although she cannot say without tales of love gone bad from persons in her life whom she will not mention, but who know who they are.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Fantasy Series by M. L. Lacy: Adult Fairy Tales...

Check out My Reviews from Beginning!


By M. L. Lacy

Into Fantasy? You may have missed this in the past...but I highly recommend you take a look at this series. If you are enjoying Grimm on TV like I have, you may find that there are just as many fantasy creatures in these books. In fact, you will enter a world where there are humans and all the fantasy "types" you may have ever read about--giants, vampires, werewolves, witches, etc. All classified as "magicals..."

I was surprised that it had been three years since the first book came out. Surprised because as I began to read Trepidation, I remembered all the characters and story line. Of course, the author has shared so much via her books that average over 400 pages each! As an aside, if you are really "into" fantasy, I recommend you start the series from the beginning...

I referred to the series as "adult" because, according to custom in the magicals world, there is an exchange and sharing of partners within their Clans. Lacy does an admirable job, however, in keeping the scenes almost chaste. You see, the main character, "The Chosen One" is still part human. When she was first introduced into the magicals environment, she was quite shy and inexperienced and could not imagine being involved with anybody besides the man she loved. 

Aubrey had been chosen by The Elders long ago to be the final "Chosen One." Since she was introduced to who she really was in The Awakening, she has grown accustomed to her life and, more than anybody realizes, has become more magical than anybody knows, especially her main enemies!
Additionally, she has read and absorbed all of the knowledge from the former elders...

In addition to updating us on the lives of magicals, in this novel we meet the former "chosen ones," who have been living in a castle, who help in her latest attack from Esmeralda and her followers. One funny event is when the castle opens all doors to Aubrey, while deciding to lock its doors, including the one little room where it had earlier allowed Esmeralda to live--she is forever locked out!

And that was mainly because Aubrey had taken a stand! Against the recommendations of her clan, family and other followers, Aubrey demands her rightful place on the magical council, refusing to have her blood tested (to determine how far along she has changed to becoming a magical) and proves her right by magically creating a tea party scene in the Council Building...a building that also had been free from the use of magic until she was ready! But Aubrey has learned well that "no rules apply to her!"  

And one other small addition is that Aubrey's "fifth" of her "Special Seven" has been identified and we are privy to the beginnings of their relationship. What does that mean? Well, she has seven partners in her life...but has so far only connected with five, all of whom routinely visit and spend intimate time with her...  

I especially enjoyed this third book. It was a lot of fun watching the chosen one finally take a stand against everybody, including all of her male protectors and guards! And when her other sister chosen ones come into the act, it sets the time for both male and females to fight the battles that must be fought! The most important being to heal the relationships with humans so that they can live safely and happily with the magicals. This one got me excited--because I'm already wondering what is going to happen next!

Have fun with this one! A truly fantastic fantasy world, don't you think?


"Esmeralda's heart was pounding with her excitement as she realized what she could have. She saw the beauty in the beast before her and her heart ached for its touch.

"The dragons turned to the captives and fed upon them as everyone watched. No screams were heard from the confined prisoners. No struggles were given. The only sound to drift out of the arena was that of teeth crunching bone, and it filled the night. Esmeralda felt a soft shiver of elation as she watched the dragons morph back into their magical form. Those robed in red wrapped the white robes around their naked loves and then they disappear into the forest.

"Are you impressed?" his throaty voice brushed her ear.

"The ritual had captured Esmerald's attention, and she hadn't realized the host of the night's event was standing behind her. She straightened. Her hands smoothed the fabric of her cloak as she turned to face him. Her violet eyes reflected the fire's light back at him.

"David. Yes, I am," she said. Her eyes studied the man that once was her eternity. But her passion for finding her demon and his passion for finding his dragon had torn them apart. "Where did you find them?" she questioned...

"She smiled as she began to understand why he had asked for her to come...He still had the powerful gray eyes that had held her spellbound on so many occasions...

"Is that why you asked me here? Because you want my demon?"


M.L. Lacy is the author of the Chrysalis Series (The Awakening,Tribulations, and Trepidation) and the upcoming Starburst Series.

M.L. Lacy was awarded first place in the Rebecca's Read's 2010 Written Art Award for her book The Awakening in the Fiction: Science Fiction/Fantasy category.

M.L. Lacy is married and lives in far north Fort Worth, Texas.

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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Lee Child's Jack Reacher Latest Coming--Plus Contest at Shelf Awareness!

  A Wanted Man:
A Jack Reacher Novel

By Lee Child

It had been awhile since I'd had the chance to read Lee Child, so I was happy to see Shelf Awareness had ARCs available. It is due out on September 11th.*  I recommend you mark your calendar! A Wanted Man shows Jack Reacher at his finest (of course)! Yet, I must say that he's quite a strange character... For instance, he roams the country, without a home or other possessions and wears his clothes for 3 days, then tosses them for new... If you haven't met Jack Reacher yet, this is a perfect opportunity to meet or get reacquainted. He's an unforgettable character!

At the beginning of the story, Jack is hitchhiking his way to Virginia to meet a woman who sounded nice on the phone... On the way he finds himself in a heap of trouble! But at the end, he's still on his way to Virginia... Let's see what happened in between!

A man had been murdered...A waitress had been kidnapped...
And the two responsible were heading out of town!

Thinking that roadblocks would be up, with the police looking for two men, they had taken the waitress and then picked up Jack... A big mistake on their part!

It didn't take Jack long to pick up that something was wrong in that car...At first he had thought that they were all traveling together, probably worked together since they were all dressed alike...but then he noticed that the shirts appeared to have just been bought, still had the folds from the packages and really didn't fit well...

But he played it cool and talked to the two men, learning much that seemed to be the truth...later, he realized that might mean that they didn't think he'd be alive...

Finally, one had suggested that Jack also drive to help the miles go faster. During that time, the waitress started to watch Jack in the mirror and quickly devised a method of communication using eye blinks! He learned that the car was hers and that their earlier clothes had been bloody...

Up to this point you might think this is a simple kidnapping/rescue...NOT! Readers find that the victim killed was somehow known to the CIA! Further, that there really isn't a "case" because it's being hushed... Still, though, that doesn't help the waitress and Jack, inside the car...

Readers, just one little hint, you never know who the characters really are! Except Jack, of course! Soon you'll be learning about terrorists, one or more undercover agents, a secret location that has been taken over, a kidnapping with Jack to the rescue...and so much more! There is a slow torturous "Hunt" scene in that secret location which was the high point for me... And if that's not enough to get you excited, then how about knowing that Jack's partners in the search are two female gorgeous and talented agents?

I must admit that the ending was a surprise; I had not picked up on the clues about what was really going on, so that it was somewhat anticlimatic--but oh, so important an issue, one that many would never think about in that "war on terrorism" that is ongoing... Of course, thanks to Jack Reacher, we have learned more about what issues are routinely being investigated by the CIA, FBI, together with local police.

This best-selling author has a series full of suspense, action and complex, thrilling crime/murder investigation with a main character that is totally unique. I saw somewhere where there was an argument about Reacher replacing Spenser...Readers I've been an active fan of Spenser for years and there really is no comparison between the two... Spenser is...well, Spenser and I love him as a character. Reacher is sexy, unique, tough, opinionated, and cruising around the world...Don't try to compare him, he's one of a kind! Read the Latest by Lee Child coming September 11th! Spend an exciting weekend with him!


*Did you know that Shelf-Awareness is now having a contest to win this Book?! Here's the info from Kristin:

Our contest ends August 31st, so it would be great if you could get let your readers know about our contest.


Kristin McConnell
Publishing Assistant | Shelf Awareness

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Check out Interview/Reviews At Bestsellers World.Com For Charles C. Anderson...
This interview was conducted by
Douglas R. Cobb on August 6, 2012.

I don't often get the privilege of interviewing the same author more than once, but retired doctor and brilliant author of the thriller The Farm and the medical thriller The First To Say No, Charles C. Anderson, has agreed to do a second interview with me. I am honored that he did, and I can honestly say that The First To Say No is another amazing, page-turning thriller from this extremely gifted author. I hope you like reading it as much as I enjoyed interviewing Dr. Anderson.

Douglas R. Cobb: I didn't ask you in the last interview who were some of your literary influences, Charles. It's a question I generally ask in interviews, but I jumped in with questions about your novel The Farm right from the start. So, would you please tell our readers, Charles, which books/authors have influenced you over the years? 

Charles C. Anderson: My two favorite authors are Michael Crichton and Michael Palmer, both...

Click over to read interview and reviews at Best Sellers World!

     Review of The Farm

     Review of The First To Say No


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Monday, August 27, 2012

Donna Fletcher Crow's Shares Cool Early Book Via Ebooks!

"She smiled, brushing back her short dark hair.
"Nice to hear you admit it. But now, look.
Concentrate on what I'm saying." She shoved the
magazine under his nose. "Sir Gavin Kendall is going
to be there. How can you possibly turn down an
opportunity like this? Shy, he's practically your
opposite number--"
"Opposite number?" 
Richard looked at her dubiously.
"You really are hopeless." She threw up her hands.
"Opposite number--like in a spy movie--the foreign agent
whose work corresponds to yours."
Richard picked up a red pencil. "Your references are
obtuse, Dr. Allerton. I don't read Sayers' mysteries and
I don't read Le Carre spy thrillers."
"That's precisely my point...

Dorothy L. Sayers
 Oxford, 13 June 1893 – Witham, 17 December 1957

Shadow Of Reality

By Donna Fletcher Crow

What a cool book! If you love mysteries, then this is for you! It's a double whammy! A Mystery within a mystery! And I loved it...and went out to order the next in series... Thanks so much to the author who has brought her earlier books to us through ebook editions!

The author notes that she and her husband attended a mystery weekend and got the idea and then used one of her favorite authors, Dorothy L. Sayers, as background to her story. When I first started reading mysteries, gothic and crime novels, I had read Sayers, but, that's been a long time ago! So I was pleased to be reminded of this English author's work... I thought it was interesting that Crow chose to have a man and woman go to the mystery weekend, just as she had really done with her husband. I'm pretty sure, though she doesn't say, that there was not a real murder that time...

Elizabeth Allerton and Richard Spenser worked together at a local college and were close friends. So close that Richard routinely sought her hand via a marriage proposal that Elizabeth routinely laughed at...but at the same time, thought nothing about asking Richard to go away for a week with her. Of course, to a mystery week! Elizabeth was often trying to persuade Richard to read more mysteries, which was her passion, and she had recently taught her new course, mystery writing, to a sellout crowd of students. She was excited because Sir Gavin Kendall was going to be there--an expert in mysteries that followed the style of Dorothy Sayers.

Richard probably wouldn't have gone if he had known that when Elizabeth set eyes on Sir Gavin, she immediately saw the man of her dreams! He was everything that she had ever dreamed that the man she would love would be...And it seemed to be mutual...

They were quickly placed in a small group, with which they would work during the week. After their meal, she had looked up and saw Sir Gavin, who would be working with her group and who was also a character in the murder mystery. In fact, it turned out that he had been engaged to the woman who had been murdered!

I must admit that the whole adventure of a mystery week is intriguing to me, so I thoroughly enjoyed the actual play and then the followup interviews with all the potential "murderers..." But that was not to be the only murder to solve...

That could not totally detract from what had happened to Elizabeth when she had entered her room there...It happened later because when she was first in the room, the door to the bathroom was stuck, and now it was ajar... 

She had gone into her bathroom and saw a body! And promptly fainted!

When she woke up, she was told that the body had really been one of the actors and that they had since decided to eliminate that part of the mystery since she had reacted so violently. And so, the week continued, the mystery must be solved! And Elizabeth was enjoying having private times with Sir Gavin, while Richard had an admirer from their group that was quite willing to share some time with him!

And then jewelry was stolen from various guests!

As the week continued and the investigations became more involved, Richard and Elizabeth found themselves teamed in a search, and discovered the "dead body" (yes, the same man who she had seen in her bathroom)in another bedroom. Elizabeth was totally committed to finding out what had really happened, but as she tried to think through the mystery--then the clues of the fictional mystery would come to mind...It was fun to watch, fun to read...but not fun for her! 

Clues, clues, clues--the characters in this story are soon involved completely, but were still committed to winning the prize for solving the week's mystery...Now police were involved, conducting their interviews, while the game participants continued to search for their guilty character! Confused yet? You should be because that's the fun of having a mystery develop within a mystery week! Right? Too confusing for you? Then you're really not a mystery fan...LOL...and, all of this occurred well before all the magic of CSI and its scientific evidence. These clues went all the way back to the basics, but Elizabeth knew what she was doing... maybe too much...

I think it is important to highlight the type of book this is since it is a perfect example of the length and structure  of earlier mysteries written as gothic romance/suspense...I grew up on this type of book; but there is quite a difference in later works of Donna Fletcher Crow.  A Very Private Grave is a complex in-depth historical mystery that responds to today's demand for more narrative and descriptive material on characters and setting. So recognize what you are buying in this later edition of an earlier published book. If you enjoy both, fine, but do recognize the two for distinct periods in publishing...In my opinion, Crow has steadily responded to the desires of her fans in writing both types of books... Her later, more contemporary books are excellent as well!

Highly recommended for those who enjoy the game of mystery solving...


Donna Fletcher Crow, who lives in Idaho with her husband of 46 years, is the mother of four adult children, grandmother of 10 and author of thirty-some books, mostly novels dealing with British history. Her best known book is the epic historical novel Glastonbury, The Novel of Christian England, which was awarded First Place, Historical Fiction, by the National Federation of Press Women.
After almost 10 years in the publishing wilderness Donna is reentering the fray with The Monastery Murders, a series of ecclesiastical mysteries featuring Felicity Howard, an American woman studying for the Anglican priesthood in a monastery in remote Yorkshire. When Felicity's favorite monk is bludgeoned to death she finds herself learning about a lot more than theoretical theology. A Very Private Grave, the first in the series will be released by Monarch Books (Lion Hudson) in May 2010 in the UK and next Sept. in the US by Kregel Books.
She says, "I write historical novels and contemporaries that draw heavily on historical background, because I believe it is vitally important that we not loose touch with our rich historical heritage. Those who have gone before us have worked too hard and suffered too much to preserve the privileges we enjoy for us to forget their stories. Reading of the triumphs of the faithful in ages past can inspire and strengthen us for our own challenging times."
Donna is an enthusiastic gardener, enjoying the challenge of growing an English cottage garden in the Idaho desert. You can visit her garden at
She also enjoys drinking tea with family and friends and hearing from her readers. You can write to her at

Friday, August 24, 2012

Thank You Dylan Morrison for Sharing Your Story...

Jesus (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
"Fully convinced that I was safe from the clutches
of the visiting American fundamentalists, I wasn't
prepared for what lay around the next spiritual
"The following afternoon, as I closed the front door
of our home preparing to jump into my car, I
suddenly stopped. "What on earth was that?" I asked
"'That' had been a gentle but firm Voice from
somewhere within the confines of my head.
"This was its crystal clear message: 'If you love Zan
you will go with her to the meeting on
Thursday evening."
"As I drove into Ballybrigg's town centre, I couldn't
shake off this hauntingly invasive command. It
kept rattling around the reluctant caverns of my
puzzled mind. I recognized the Voice though.
There was no doubt about it. I'd heard it many times
in the past. It was Holy Breath, more popularly
known in religious circles as Holy Spirit, the
Spirit of Yeshua, the Anointed One. About the only
thing I knew for certain in my confused state was
my deep unquestionable love for Zan, so that was it
The Prodigal Prophet

By Dylan Morrison

In today's world, a marvelous thing is possible! Dylan Morrison, author of The Prodigal Prophet can have his books placed right into our hands! Now this was important to me, even more than those that I've read from authors from other countries--because Dylan's story was for me... It just may be for your too. If something in these thoughts I'm sharing means just a little to you...then I recommend that you get his book immediately! Dylan brought His love into my life--the important kind--the Jesus kind...

If you have been disgruntled, disgusted, or agonizing over the pain and violence in today's world. Dylan will speak to you. If you have been disappointed by work, by the church, or by the political world, then Dylan has something to share with you. For me, there was quite a lot; for you it might just be one thing. But maybe that one thing has been preventing you from moving forward in your life...  The Prodigal Prophet is an autobiography to some extent; but I think because of where he lived, or the time in which he lived  his early years, there is much that may parallel your own.

You see, this is about Dylan's spiritual life. And he lived in Ireland during all that happened based upon religion! Dylan had met Jesus at an early age and had become very involved... He is still involved today, but in a very different way! I am thankful for his sharing what he went through to get where he is right now.

It was in the 1950s in conservative Northern Ireland where he was born... He was a Protestant. One of those who had won over the Catholics. Readers will share his early life within a family who sold fruit and vegetables to local markets. It was a small book given to him that helped him find God's Spirit.

During the years, he became more and more involved. And during the 60s and 70s, he was introduced to the Jesus people and various other denominations. He was actively within a specific group's administration...And then he wasn't... Was it really possible that his leader had become worried and jealous about Dylan's role? He had been his mentor and Dylan found it difficult to understand. This short paragraph is merely an overview, but years are covered as Dylan is searching for all that was available to him...

One of the issues that came to him was that the church was just as hierarchical as other organizations, including a search for power...and money...

He fell in love with Zan and married, soon to have a child Ben who had died. His cry to God had not helped to save him. As with all churches, organizations,, there are always good people as well as those who look toward other gods for happiness. There were many there to help them through this tragedy.

Dylan had been given the gift of prophecy, but soon found that not everybody was willing to have him share to their congregations.

While surrounding Dylan's life, the book provides an excellent chronology and overview of the various movements that have captured the attention within Christian faiths, such as the Charismatic movement and others that I had not heard of. Many came from America but then were led by those living wherever Dylan and his family were located at any given time. At one point they had moved to California and other locations on the west coast, but then returned home.

And then Dylan was receiving not only messages for others but was dreaming and learning about what he was supposed to do as well. For one thing, God was taking over: "Unknown to me, though, Divine Providence was about to intervene in our faltering pilgrimage..."

I don't often read other reviews until after I've posted mine, but I did just now...and the majority of reviewers said that much of what Dylan has written is close to their own truths...  Doesn't that, in itself, speak to you? We are those that still believe...but have questioned the validity of teachings and structures of organized religion.

Have you heard the Voice? Maybe a long time ago? Or maybe not at all? But you think there has to be more? You are disillusioned with today's world. No promises, of course, for Dylan's book is not from a televangelist or major religious leader. All Dylan is doing is sharing his life's story with you...

Oh, I could add that He told him to...

YOU will know whether this book is for you...Hear that whisper?


Dylan Morrison is an Irish spiritual author and out of the box Yeshua thinker, now resident in the beautiful English cathedral city of Lincoln.
A mathematics high school teacher in a previous incarnation he became an author after a two totally unexpected mystical experiences gate crashed his humdrum life in June 2004.
Dylan writes from a stream of consciousness, particularly for those damaged by or curious about the psycho-spiritual religious world.
His aim is to remove the religious packaging from around the historical Nazarene prophet, Yeshua, inviting his readers into a practical experience of Yeshua's spirituality.
Dylan's first book 'The Prodigal Prophet', a 'Wizard of Oz' meets Bunyan's 'Pilgrim's Progress', details his roller coaster journey in search of the Divine in the often whacky but deeply tragic world of Irish evangelical religion.
Dylan's wife Zan is glad that he writes - it gives her a few hours each day to enjoy the peace and quiet that such a literary endeavour requires.
Dylan's second book 'Way Beyond The Blue', a 21st century take on the mystical search for meaning is soon to be published.

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Thursday, August 23, 2012

Read Another Exciting Chapter From The Farm!

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 Dr. Andy Carlson applied a dressing of four by four gauze and wrapped the  stab wound to the left hand of a twenty-three year old intoxicated woman.  She had been trying to separate frozen hamburger patties with a butcher knife and had managed to shove the knife up to the hilt into the palm of her left hand.
Carlson had no emotional response to the girl.  She was a bread-and-butter night shift patient.  His mind was on other things.
“In this case, we shouldn’t sew up the holes on either side of your hand,” Andy said. “When the knife went in, it brought germs and hamburger.  When I pulled the knife out, some germs and hamburger were probably wiped off inside your hand.” 
“What’s going to happen?” she slurred.
“You didn’t damage any tendons or nerves,” he said.  “The latex drain that I left in the wound tract will allow the infection to come out of each side while you take oral antibiotics and keep your hand in a splint and an arm sling.”
“How long does that drain stay in?”
“When you come back to the wound clinic in two days, we’ll take the drain out.  Hopefully you won’t have any infection. The worst thing that could happen is that your hand would need to be opened up in the operating room to drain a pocket of pus, an abscess. I’m optimistic that this won’t be necessary.  Penny is going to give you written instructions and prescriptions.”
“Thanks, Doc.”
“One more thing,” he said.  “If you will put those frozen patties in the microwave for about forty-five seconds you won’t need a knife.”
 Upon entering the exam room, Andy had detected alcohol, marijuana, raw hamburger, spearmint gum, and too much perfume.
 While un-wrapping the bloody towel from her left hand, he had noted the pattern of blood spattering on the patient’s upper chest and left arm as well as the lack of blood on the bathrobe she currently had on.  She had not been wearing clothes at the time of this accident, and did not put on the bathrobe until after wrapping her left hand and the knife with the towel. 
The lipstick underneath her left ear and the frantic girl who accompanied her to the ED suggested that the patient was gay. The angle of the knife confirmed that this was indeed an accidental stabbing, not an injury sustained in self-defense.  There would be no need to notify the police.  Certain antibiotics could safely be used with little risk that the patient could be pregnant without knowing it.
            “Dr. Carlson?” The triage nurse approached him.
“Penny,” Andy said, “How’s your leg?”
“Getting better.”
Penny was a petite equestrian with short brown hair.  She loved her horse so much that she didn’t seem to tire of the continuous stream of injuries the animal inflicted upon her.  Her latest trauma was a kick to her right thigh, from which she was still limping ten days later.  It was never the horse’s fault. Andy thought that if her husband had caused the same injuries, he would have been locked up by now.
“These two guys the paramedics brought in are interesting,” Penny said.  “They’re brothers, medical students at Eastern Virginia Medical School.  They’re real Saudi princes, members of the Saudi Arabian royal family.  Their demographic page says to send the bill to the Saudi Arabian embassy in Washington.  Apparently they were walking outside their home in Ghent, where they live together, and two men assaulted them with baseball bats.”
Andy looked toward exam rooms four and five.
“One has a nasty forehead laceration over his right eye with a big hematoma, but it’s no longer bleeding,” Penny said. “He had no loss of consciousness. The other got hit across his left knee and can’t walk.  Other than that, it looks like minor bruises.  Neither patient had been drinking.  The prince with the head injury has a sore neck. Neither has back pain.   Both have stable vital signs and are alert.”
“Send the guy with the head injury over to CT to get a head and neck study,” Andy said. “When he gets back, do a visual acuity.  Send the other prince for a left knee film.  Check on their tetanus status and I’ll get to them as soon as I can. Do they speak good English?”
“Better than that Southern twang of yours,” Lindsey Baker, the night shift charge nurse, said from behind him.
Andy Carlson was now a thirty-four year old bachelor. His thick brown hair was bleached from outdoor work on his farm. It flopped across his forehead when he lowered his head.  All Carlson men had prominent cheekbones and noses, with midline dimples in their chins.
 Physically, the most impressive thing about Andy was his upper body.  His neck, shoulders, chest, and forearms were massive.  Perhaps the size of his upper body was more noticeable because he spent most of each shift in the ED leaning over stretchers, his neck flexed and forearms extended. Chronic neck pain is an occupational hazard for emergency physicians, especially tall ones. 
       “Dr. Carlson,” Lindsey said, “the chronic lunger in room twelve has had three nebulizer treatments and oral steroids.  He feels better and wants to go home.”
The typical chronic lunger is a middle-aged to elderly patient who has destroyed his lungs by smoking, yet continues to smoke, even after requiring oxygen at home, or having a hole cut in his neck to breathe through, or having been placed on a mechanical ventilator in the past. Any respiratory infection is life-threatening to these patients.
“Get a room-air oxygen saturation and bring me his vital signs,” Andy said. “What about his chest X-ray?”
“It was read negative by the radiology resident,” Lindsey said.  “The guy with the kidney stone in room six says his pain is coming back.”
Andy reviewed his evaluation and treatment of the kidney stone so far. “He has a three millimeter stone in the middle of his left ureter on CT.  He’s had thirty milligrams of Toradol , four milligrams of Zofran, and two milligrams of Dilaudid IV about two hours ago.”
“Correct,” Lindsey said.
“Give him another milligram of Dilaudid IV,” Andy said.  “He should be able to go home soon with a prescription for Percocet and a referral to urology.  A stone that size will pass on its own.  I’ll go in and explain it to him.  Make sure he has somebody to drive him home.” 
Lindsey stepped closer and whispered, “You’re not going to cancel out on me this weekend, are you?” 
“Not on your life. I’m having trouble thinking of anything else.”
Lindsey Baker had only worked at DePaul for three months.  She had a lot of ED experience and had applied for the job of night charge nurse.  She said that she was twenty-eight.   Her nose was subtly turned up. She wore her thick auburn hair short and, so far as Andy could tell, never wore the same ear rings twice.  She was five foot three inches tall and weighed less than 110 pounds. Her eyes sparkled when she laughed. Andy felt overwhelmed when she was close to him.  
       Andy worked all night shifts, partly because he had no family to go home to and partly because they paid him ten dollars per hour more for a night shift.  He noted that the male interns and residents often hung around when Lindsey worked nights with him.  She appeared to enjoy ignoring them. 
       “Dr. Carlson,” Lindsey called. “The heroin overdose  left A.M.A.  He ripped out his IV and ran out the ambulance entrance shortly after we gave him Narcan.”
Andy nodded.  “Too bad we never had a chance to tell him he almost killed himself.  Leave the chart on the counter and I’ll sign it.”
“I’ll check for him outside,” Lindsey said. 
She placed the patient’s chart on the doctor’s side of the long desk at the nurse’s station and walked out of the ambulance entrance into the parking lot. 
Once outside, she looked around and took a cell phone out of her pocket. “Harrison, it’s me.  The Saudi princes are here.  I was worried that the EMS crew would take them to Sentara. …They’ll survive…We leave in the morning.  Make sure everybody is in the right place…Dr. Carlson is thinking about getting lucky…  See you tomorrow afternoon.”
She closed the phone, walked back into the emergency department, and said to Andy, “The eloper isn’t in the parking lot.”
           Andy’s thoughts shifted to his family farm as he completed his chart work.  The Carlson farm in Farmville, Virginia had been purchased from King George II in 1743 and the 3400 acres had never passed out of the family.  Ten generations of Carlsons were buried there.  Most of the property was encircled by the Appomattox River, resulting in unusual privacy. Since his father had been killed in a light plane crash a year ago and his brothers were still doing mission work in Uganda, Andy owned and operated “The Farm.” 
Andy had completed a one year fellowship in trauma at Sentara Norfolk General following his retirement from the Navy.  He scheduled himself for four twelve-hour ED shifts in four days, twelve-on, twelve-off. That left him four consecutive days off, time that he used to do those things that were in his blood—farming, building, and hunting with primitive weapons.
Such a routine also allowed him to schedule his binge drinking.  He didn’t drink in Norfolk.  He looked forward to getting drunk during his first two days at the Farm, using the next two days to sober up.  This had been his habit since his dad’s death.
Up until a month ago the only woman in his life had been Sahar, whom he had enrolled in Old Dominion University in Norfolk.  She was majoring in computer science, but her primary interest was Andy.  The fact that he was twice her age did not deter her.  Despite his reassurances that she would soon find the right man, Sahar stalked him like a panther. They met regularly for dinner, but Sahar refused to accept him as a father figure.
Sahar had abandoned her abaya.  She was a lovely eighteen year old woman now, integrating rapidly into America.  Andy felt guilty whenever he thought about her.  To give in to his physical attraction for her would be dishonorable.  He didn’t save her life to take advantage of her. 
Andy classified himself as an amorous drunk, as opposed to a mean drunk, a fightin’ drunk, a sleepy drunk, a crying drunk, or a giggling drunk.  As a teenager, alcohol had helped him dull the pain of losing his mother.  He hadn’t grown up with a sister.  Approaching any woman who wasn’t a patient without the help of alcohol was a steep mountain to climb. 
On the other hand, once he had a few drinks Andy tended to be amorous with whatever was available, especially during his Navy career.  On more than one occasion he had left a bar with a sure number ten, only to wake up with a number two.  He could attest that such things happened in the real world outside of country music. The experience had scared him sober for more than a month on two occasions, during which time he treated himself for imaginary STDs that might have gotten through imaginary holes in his condom.  In the Navy, he had solved the problem by taking Josiah with him to serve as an advisor in bars.  Joe had a steady girl back in Virginia Beach and seemed content in this role.
Since his retirement from the Navy, Andy had come to worry that he could not have sex without alcohol. Sahar aroused feelings in him, but she was out-of-bounds.  He vowed to abstain from drinking around her.  Without alcohol, no other woman evoked sexual desire in him.  Until Lindsey had appeared in his life.  While they had never actually had sex, there was clearly no lack of motivation on his part.  Curiously, since Lindsey took over his thoughts, he had lost his desire to drink.  He had never even discussed his drinking problem with her. 
The abrupt end of his need to binge had set off a round of introspection over the preceding weeks. What had he been seeking in his binges, in exchange for the hangovers and self-loathing the following days?  How had booze and loss and sex become so entangled?  The answers were coming into focus.  He had been seeking love.  The love he had lost from his parents and from Joe.
 For him, even those mindless one night stands were about love, the only cure for loneliness and emotional pain. Alcohol had become his only access to love. For this love he had been willing to crawl on the floor to empty his stomach in the toilet, over and over.  Lindsey was going to change all this.
Lindsey had all of the physical attributes that Andy admired in a woman.  As a lad he had an aunt who tried to suffocate him with her gigantic breasts every Sunday after church, using the guise of a hug.  He tried to hide from her, but she would not be denied.  He traced his love for small breasts back to this frightful period in his life.  Drunk or sober, petite women were his first choice.
“Excuse me, Dr. Carlson.” 
Lindsey had silently walked up behind him while he was suturing a wound. She leaned forward with her mouth next to his left ear.  He could feel her breath.  Her perfume locked-on.  Her right hand lingered on his shoulder.  She spoke softly, updating him on the status of several patients.  When she finished, he wished he had paid more attention. 
Andy knew that other people who worked in the ED had picked up on the sparks between him and Lindsey. It was impossible to keep any secret for long in the ED.  
They planned to have three days and three nights together on the Farm.  He had invited Lindsey once before, but she had a schedule conflict. Things had fallen into place.  They were planning to leave at the end of their shift at seven in the morning for Farmville, Virginia, a two and a half hour drive. 
Lindsey returned to give more follow-up information and Andy tried harder to pay attention to what she was saying this time. 
“Your head CT on the Saudi prince is on the PAX machine.  The radiologist has already read it negative.”
“I’ll take a peek at the CT and go see him.”
A computerized axial tomography study, or CT scan, allows the physician to take X-ray slices through any part of the human body, and then reassemble those slices in any plane.  It is difficult to hide injury and disease from a CT scan.
The prince’s CT showed only soft tissue swelling outside the skull with no intracranial injury.  The CT of the neck was normal. 
Andy picked up the prince’s chart and walked into exam room number four.  “I’m Dr. Carlson.”
He shook the patient’s hand.  The prince listed his age as twenty-three.  He was dressed as an American, with short dark hair, clean shaven, polite.
“I understand that you’re a medical student at EVMS,” Andy said.
“I am Muhammad Abdullah.  My brother is also a student at EVMS, only he is one year ahead of me.  This is my first year.”
“What happened tonight?”
“We were walking near our apartment, not far from here, when two men jumped out of a car and beat us with baseball bats.”
“Did you know either of these men?”
“We didn’t know them or why they would want to beat us up.” 
“Were you robbed?”
“And you reported this to the police?”
“The paramedic said that the police would come to the emergency department to interview us.  My head was bleeding.”
Andy asked, “Have you been the target of a hate crime before?”
 “We have been treated very well in the United States,” the prince said.  “We are so busy studying and going to classes that we don’t travel much.  No one has ever tried to harm us.”
“Your wound needs to be cleaned out a bit and I need to remove some of the clotted blood under the skin,” Andy said.  “Are you allergic to local anesthetics?”
“No, sir.”
“Have you ever had sutures before?”
“Once, in my foot, in Saudi Arabia, at King Faisal Hospital.”
“Then I’m going to open up a suture tray and anesthetize your wound with a small needle and one percent lidocaine,” Andy said.
He prepared the tray with non-sterile gloves, anesthetized the wound, and then switched to sterile gloves.  He painted the area around the wound with Betadine, an antiseptic. The laceration was just above the right eyebrow, horizontal, seven centimeters long, but did not involve the right orbit.  Swelling had already extended to the soft tissue around the right eye.   Andy placed sterile drapes around the wound and began to remove the hematoma with his index finger.
“You’ll have a black eye from this wound,” Andy said.  “The blood gravitates to the loose skin around your eye, and it takes about ten days for all of the breakdown products of blood to be absorbed. There’s nothing wrong with your vision and you don’t have any broken bones in your face.”
         Andy cleaned the skin around the wound with Shur-Clens and irrigated the wound with a syringe of saline.  He repaired the wound using individual nylon sutures and gave his standard speech about wound care. 
       “Lindsey, could you give this gentleman a wrap-around pressure dressing for his forehead, with an ace bandage to top it off?”
She nodded.  “Mr. Abdullah, I have some written instructions for you. Your tetanus status is up to date.  Your sutures will need to be removed in seven days.  We can do it here in the ED.” 
“They will have to be taken out in Saudi Arabia,” replied the prince.  “Our school year has ended and my brother and I will be traveling home on Sunday.”
Lindsey looked up.  Two Norfolk police officers were walking toward them.  “The police are here to interview you, Mr. Abdullah.”
Andy moved on to prince number two in the next room, Fahd Abdullah, age twenty-four.  They looked like brothers. 
“How is my brother Muhammad?” asked Fahd.
“He’ll be fine,” Andy said.  “The police are talking to him.  I’m Dr. Carlson. Tell me about your injury.” 
The prince extended his hand. Prince number two seemed as amicable as prince number one.  He told essentially the same story as his brother.
Both princes spoke the King’s English--the king of England, that is.  Since Andy could not discuss his SEAL career, he didn’t mention that he spoke Arabic or that he had been to Saudi Arabia many times. 
“They were white males,” Fahd said, “about our age.  They didn’t say anything or ask for our wallets.  One of them hit me on the left knee.  Now I can’t stand up.”
 “Please excuse me while I look at your X-ray,” Andy said.
After a few minutes, Andy returned. “There’re no broken bones in your knee.”  Andy tested the ligaments of the knee and found them intact.
“The swelling is caused by a bruise over your kneecap, or patella.  I don’t see any fluid inside your knee joint.  That means that this is not a serious knee injury, but a bruise.”
The prince nodded.
 “The reason that you can’t bear weight is that the kneecap is part of the system that locks your knee when you stand,” Andy said.  “Any bruise from the quadriceps muscles in your thigh to the patellar tendon in your lower leg will result in a feeling of giving out if you try to stand.  It’s a reflex that warns you that locking your knee will be painful.”
“What do I need?”
 “A good splint and a pair of crutches for about a week,” Andy said.  “I would recommend an ice pack, a knee immobilizer, elevation of your knee above heart level during the next couple of days, and some short-term pain medication.  If you don’t try to bear weight, the bleeding around your kneecap will stop.”   
  Lindsey moved in on cue, with a knee immobilizer and crutches. 
 Andy went back to the main counter and leaned against it as he completed the two records.  Haven’t seen any Saudis lately, he thought.  Lindsey really looked nice with those pearl earrings.
        The night wound down with coughs, sore throats, vomiting and diarrhea, allergic reactions, and alcohol-related trauma and illness.  Andy’s only real challenge was a sixty-seven year old female patient in congestive heart failure. By 7:10 in the morning he was searching for the day shift doctor.  One of his best friends, George “Tank” Hedley, was looking over the patient tracker on the wall.
Tank asked, “Bad night?”
“Not really.  I have one lady, Ms. Bailey, who was in respiratory distress from CHF, but I think she’s going to make it.  The guy with the kidney stone has a prescription on his chart, an instruction sheet, and a urology referral. He can go. He’s been waiting on his ride.  I’m going to finish up my paperwork while I wait to see if Ms. Bailey can grab the brass ring of life.”
“All we can do is dangle it over the bed,” Tank said. “They got to reach up and grab it.”
“Dr. Hedley has the con,” Andy said as he saluted him.
“Dr. Hedley has the con. Aye, sir.”  Andy loved to work with another former Navy doctor, who understood the proper way to change command.
Dr. George “Tank” Hedley was a talented career emergency physician whose life-long obsession was to stay in top physical condition. He signed his emails “Fitness is a journey, not a destination.” He belonged to three health clubs in Hampton Roads, in case he got the urge to pump iron at odd hours or from remote locations.  Unwilling to compromise with his thinning hair, Dr. Hedley shaved his entire head, hence the nickname.
Andy looked up Ms. Bailey’s medical records on the hospital computer.  She had a history of congestive heart failure, which had worsened several times due to non-compliance with her medications. 
Walking back into room two, he found Lindsey adjusting the frequency of blood pressure measurements on the monitor over the patient’s left shoulder.
 “I haven’t heard any screams from this room, so things must be looking up,” he said.
Lindsey whispered, “You’re good at what you do, Dr. Carlson.”
“But we haven’t done anything yet,” he whispered back.
“I’ll meet you at your truck.” 
The patient smiled.
“You didn’t by any chance stop taking your medication did you?” Andy asked Ms. Bailey.
“I wanted to give it one more try,” she said. “My pastor told me that all things were possible for those who believed.  I believe now that he doesn’t know anything about my heart.”
“That’s a fair assumption," Andy replied. “But you should be good to go in a couple of days.”
She said, “I hope that you and Miss Lindsey have a nice weekend.”
Lindsey looked at Andy and raised an eyebrow.


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